I spent a few hours today down on the lawn of the Field Museum, talking to the people doing the Story Corps mobile recording trailer. Technically, I think I was "reporting" - I used a little notebook that says "reporters note book", to take my notes, so I guess that made it official. If you live in America, you should make an appointment for when they come near you, to record an interview with someone. Today on the NPR, they aired one of the Stopry Corps Chicagoan-lifetales, this one was from a local blind comic. He spoke about, how, as a teenager - he was rapidly going blind, and he used his blindness to get over on as many chicks as possible. Because in the immediate post coital moments, those were the only times he did not feel blind. And now that story gets indexed and logged in the Library of Congress, so when someone is researching the lives of the visually impaired, they can find out that you don't have to be able to see to be a player. (I would like to suggest that this dude's life story would make a great film -- It should be like 8 Mile as a Farrelly Brothers comedy, with lots of gags involving blindness and ejaculation.)
One of the women who recorded today, she interviewed her dad about coming to America. Once to me, and twice to the recording facilitators, the identified herself as "an elected official (stern silence, pause, period)"-- I was cracking up. Not to sound too Holden Caulfield, but I think that being elected, officially,or otherwise, is the last thing in the world I would brag about. I wanted to ask her "But what, really, does either "elected" or "official" mean in 2005?". But, whatever, invoking democratic process like it actually exists just as redonk/imaginary-land saying "I blog. Professionally ."
PS1000: IF YOU ARE IN BROOKLYN OR MANHATTAN on SEPT 1st (this Thursday) go see Des Ark play. Durham art core duo, and they play on the floor, not the stage. The stage for most bands is not even needed. Destroy band-audience boundries and the hierarchcy of the stage in 05 and beyond! Also, Aimee has a voice like PJ live-direct froma ward at Bellevue. It'll give you shivers and make you love things. She is eminently replacing your gtr heroes with her strutting, swaggering and ripping riffs. I saw them play in SF and NC in the last 11 months and every time I just thought, in a dream state, that I need to practice the bass much much more and then I will lure Aimee north and we could have some sort of wizardry tech-virtuoso blitz band, a Mars Volta for teen queer girls to believe in. GO SEE THEM PLAY WHILE YOU CAN!
I burned this hot shit LAVENDER DIAMOND CD from my pal "Cali" Calabasas Pfeffenshef-Zhivago, early on last week, when we were in that rank LA light, and still, had not listened to it yet, but whatta mistake.. "You Broke My Heart" in Mp3 format from Lav Diamond. Judy Collins does Can, but with plodding bells, no funk. You know, same one-two-one-two, like Lungfish! You love it.
Fell asleep with my unicorn-face pressed into a garage sale'd copy of Brave New World, prior I was half-laffin at Huxley's introduction, the part where he hates upon academia. I dreamt of driving Joni Mitchell in a cab. I woke trying to shake the cloud of uninspiration and end of summer blues off, which is just a hang over from spending all day yesterday at the beach with Miles and JR. 47 miles each way to Valaparaiso, to the national park Dunes, and always, next morning, I wake up kicking the covers and doing this pouty, flummoxed dance around why can't I jus' go to the beach everyday.
Meanwhile, here is a BBQ and KingKhan video to watch . BBQ is the one man garage wunder-pup Mark Sultan aka Mark Sexareeno aka the dude that sang in The Spaceshits, and he's hitting the road next week. "Waddlin' Around" is not to be missed. Dude, I stopped paying attention to garage rock when the Gories broke up, but Mark Sultan is garage soul gold.
Maybe everyone else has spam filters that regulate on it, so maybe you are not getting this, but starting last week, I started getting spams about a place to meet sex-o-holics online or in person. Every time I get one, I keep thinking of this , which I know is not what they are actually advertising.
This is the part of the night where we bump the BALT-HOUSE (Rod Lee, vol.5 if you must ask) loudly, and prance around trying to figure out if these heels are too "whorish" to meet the mother of the boy-who-is-my-friend.
In a tangentally related anecdote of no importance: Today I was sitting non the stoop, talking to Brendan, animated and dishy as ever, on the phone and this happened:
"Hey, Brendan, I might have to go. My boyfriend --
(friend who is a boy stops dead in his tracks, jaw swings open like a garden gate. We both exchange "Oh shit?!" looks)
-- sorry my friend, who is also a boy, is walking through my yard right now wearing what appears to be nothing but a kimono bathrobe open to the waist, cowboy boots and blueblocker sunglasses."
Brendan: "Rippersville, dude.That is a tight look."
(pause) No, wait, I don't have to go... he just walked past me. Yeah, I think he is just here to get his laundry.
Brendan: "Whoa, you let him do laundry at your house?! How long have you been together?"
Most of the summer.
Brendan: "yeah.. That's totes intense."
I realized something watching the Minutemen doc tonight, about punk rock. About the word-meaning of punk rock, something that despite all the familiar screes we hear from oldsters (38+ holla!) about the freeness and unformalized definitions of back in the day version, is that when you hear Mike Watt, and D Boon (RIP) talk of their punk rock, esp. D--his punk is synonymous with hope. Hope, and promise for a new world with one's self and hope for everything else, but it's not a blinders-on hope, it is a hope anchored with a realism about what the world is really like, hope posit'd fiercely against certain cynicism. A hope for (then) El Salvador, and a hope salvaged in the face of the front row of the Cathay de Grande spitting in yr face while you yawlp, while you shout for history and speak for truth.
Maybe we know it still. Perhaps we know it better, now in 2005, as the kind of hope age and experience beats out of you, the kind of hope that reanimates in nostalgia or conjugal visits with our favorite singles from out 18th year. Maybe we have tattoos to remember easier by. But, still, there is Mike Watt, through the whole thing, showing off Pedro from the drivers side of his van, saying yes we can, yes we can still. Then there is all the footage from all the living rooms, everyone from Thuston, to Joe Baiza and people last spotted on the back of a Tom Troccoli's Dog LP , all these people - some deeply jowled and drug damaged and others bright and shiny, against backdrops of rooms piled high with records and 29 years deep into "punk" and still taking hard drags off their music-love , still going, still alive with it and excited. In a word, it was neat. Sometimes, punk as we see it now is so embittered and emphemeral, you wonder, how has it sustained this long, other than simply as an industry -- but yeah, yeah, hey there is something to it. You keep yr hed down and keep working, you trust the crackling embers in your heart. And, Yeah, hey, Mike Watt was born with a flannel shirt and Chuck Taylors on, jamming econo on the daily, still! Mike Watt manages to convey being an old-punk as simply - a real deep commitment thats based on hope and love-of-DIY, rather than a pathetic thing he never matriculated out of -- which is how other people seem to wear it.
I love it when grown ups put together fests, because there is only three or four bands a night, rather than 17 hardcore bands from Wheaton and the show starts at 10 am in an Elka Lodge. Plus, there is a picnic and nights that are just movies instead of bands, for the reasonable Olympia-fest touch. My friends Bill and Shea are putting it together. Valley of the Vapors Hot Springs Arkansas October 20-29th. Bill and Shea are adult punx and I used to be their regular babysitter back when they lived here (yep, that's right, terrible with adults, great with kids - who knew?) Bill and Shea did not get unpunked by parenthood, and did not get derailed by diapertime, and ouila this is their third fest of the year. River City Tanlines are the first night headliners. RCT are the best band in America. I'm going for some of it. You should too. We can take a detour to Little Rock and go see if that gazebo in the park by the river is still there, where Econochrist and Soophie Nun Squad used to play, back before they moved to the East Bay. And we can stand there, remember, remember tons of things that felt important and are now just detritous, and we will stare at the Gazebo and feel reeeeeeaaaaallllly old, and wonder about what we would be like if we had grown up here .
This weekend, sweet Chicago, ditch what yr doing, cos the Minutemen documentary is playing Fri-Sun at The Siskel Film Center . Special reminder, on the Pearl Jam tip: For less than the price of the Ticketmaster service charge for online purchase, you can take the Blue Line downtown and buy tickets in advance.
I got six long emails today so far about the NO DEAL NOISE post below, and so here are some new ideas, Cliff Notes style end of chapter discussion for the group suggestions:
1. How do you feel about lack of connection with audience (alienating via offence, not having intellgiable lyrics/just screaming) within the noise aesthetic? What noise bands do you connect with or like and why?
2. Do you think the irony/ungeniune/impotent thing (in and out of noise scenes) is a culture wide reaction to the fashionability of omnificense of emo -- a reaction to emo's coifed looks, connection to audience, connecting via lyrics, young idealistic hopeful and mad personal steez?
3. Neck bandanas being reclaimed by noise fans, no longer just the look rocked by dogs-owned-by-Crusties or ultimate frishbie playing hippies. Bandanas and tie die as the "suitcoat and tie" for 06?
(And to be clear, I do not wanna be pegged a noise-hater or that I do not get it, cos I am 'bout it bout it, and we can sit around and talk about Zorn's Kristallnacht, and Gavin Bryars and Borbetmagus and Harry Pussy til dawn, k? Peace out dot com on authoriative phallocratic discourse 4-evs.)
PS. My review of James Frey's latest novel is readable in this weeks' Reader . Cali pointed out last week that Frey's debut, Million Little Peices reads like by-the-numbers Rollins, with it's whole
style in effect. This one is better. He's using punctuation. I did not come around on MLP until like half way through, this one is engaging from the start, and gets better once Frey is freed up from the burden of his newly sober myopia and can talk about other characters. Other than the two chapters where we are treated, every several sentences to the rundown on his gf's curves, her body, her body and James Frey's utter fondness for penetrating her. I do not have a problem with people fucking in books, but it should be graphic, and not giddily implied, and certainly we should be spared the egregious "Your Body Is A Wonderland"/"the so-loving bloje that made me bawl" in the middle of yr otherwise emotionally thuggish memoir.
That said -- the surprise ending had me crying for the last 22 pages.
I went to the Noise Show at the new arts-space and the memo my brain is issuing is that, officially, I am over it. It being: this whole transgressive beardo / faux-ironic/non-ironic/ ironic -- "the "mystery" of are we serious, maybe maybe not?" -- the entire scene that playfully confuses facism-chic and fashion -- is straight up wack bullshit. These bands purposefully teeter the line of "might be joking" as their aesthetic statement, so that they can, conviently dial up, and then withdraw "meaning" from "transgressive" elements. So, that, if you are offended by say, a "questionable" song about rape, or a pro-bulimia anthem or a white man in leather screaming "PALESTINE/ISRAEL/PALESTINE/ ISRAEL!" pretending all the while like it's more than a signifier, you being offended might be the point, or if you aren;t that might be the point because hey man, all they are doing is pushing controversy without context and fronting like it's actually an aesthetic statement.
But it's not. It's effete bullshit.
There is no real idea, it's totally uncommital, reactionary and puerile fakery. At best, it aims for some elusive Albini-schooled pigfuck , but, it never gets there. BECAUSE THE GUN IS NOT EVEN LOADED. It's gestures are impotent, and while the impotent gesture is supposed to be the commentary on the (supposedly) potent gesture (potent gest could be delivered by Boston or emo or Xiu Xiu or Staind) or the affectation of understood potent gesture, and the inherant offense of potent gesture as being "genuine", because music/music culture being what it is, the genuine potent gesture is actually hollow and revolting , but here is the crux -- this impotent gesture, too, is also hollow and revolting -- so how is that commentary? Is that in fact ironic, too? Does that make it post-ironic ironic irony? Where is the actual transgression taking place? OUILA -- there is no actual transgression because they are parallel things, they are both revolting and hollow fake gestures not actually commenting on anything, it's all just like, dudes miming rhetorical handjobs into infinity and beyond.
See, dudes, like Yoda says, there is no try, there is only do, and this squawky noise blast / nazi-porn-racism anti-music / Jim Goad drunk on Ivy League semiotics, Whitehouse 12's and bukkake -- it's all try and no "do" -- and I know that that, supposedly, IS your point, but like, I mean, really --HOW IS THAT A POINT IN 2005 AD? It's not.
ALSO: Is it transgressive, or is it just generational ignorance, when you ask the door guy "What does AIDS Wolf sound like?" before you lay out 5 bucks, and the merch guy-so-greasy stands on the table and yells "I can tell you this: AIDS WOLF GAVE ME AIDS! WHOOO-HOO!"? I thought "Well, his trangressive trick worked. He is trying to show how much a fuck he does not give by offending me, and it worked. I am offended by him." The band, see, they did not work because I was just annoyed and not, in fact, disgusted.
I only stayed for one band. Bloodyminded (see above) were still playing when I left. The audience was doing the nouveau-scrub tie-dye shirts/ screaming/ "we're crazy mode" with one kid with shaved in male pattern baldness sig heiling and spraying his Sparks™ everywhere and "moshing" along with a few other people portraying/mocking geniune gestures of actual excitement.
An article I wrote about spending 23 days on Warped Tour last summer, about looking into the soul of teen America and seeing my own death - Six Feet Under style -- appears in the DaCapo Best of Music Writing 2006, edited by teen trangressive fiction wunderkind, JT LeRoy, comes out in a few weeks, but you can order it here
The Hold Steady story from NPR, where you can hear me be snarky, which you can hear after like, 8pm EST or something: here
A Viewmaster set based on Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities / Calvino history available here . Whoa.
Can we rig it so that "Soul Finger" by the Bar-Kays plays every time I enter a room? It cannot play as I walk outside though, unless I could be surrounded by neighborhood kids on BMXs high fiving me in slow motion. If that was my outside song, I would have to fix up my walk. My shit is all crooked. In my dreams, where my life is more like a Bones Brigade video, I get everywhere by skateboarding and there is no sound, only side one of Bad Brains Rock For Light blasting.
On my so-omnificent-tip, I will be on NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED tomorrow night, that's Weds Aug 24th, commenting on America's favo party band, YE OLDE HOLD STEADY. When Al and I went to NPR in DC to tape the shizz, when we were on reading tour, he said I made Hold Steady sound like the worst band ever in my description. I think I said something really awful that only the band will find complementary, like "Steely Dan narratives over like, punked up, like, um, J Geils Band" to be exact. You know, you never realized how inarticulate and squeaky your voice is, or how bad a state-combo a Minnesota-cum-California accent is, until you are in some hi-tek soundproof NPR booth and all you can think is "Has Cokie Roberts ever sat in this chair?"
I was on lap two of the Silverlake Resevoir in the dim dawn, my pop at my side, unmistakenly Sunday morning in Los Angeles, lidded tight and lightless by the marine layer fog, and my pop, he said "It's just a confluence of things, Jessie. That's all it is."
And thus, a confluence of things has brought me home. I have a confluence to tend to, and so I flew home from tour, for no reason that had anything to do with my tour, and reasons that won out over the holyshit fact that I was touring playing on the kit that Joe Morello played on Dave Brubeck's Time Out (and later gave to Nedelle's dad). Left outta LAX, flew into Chicago at night and thought of the Liz Phair song about just that. Thought about the Spoon song about Chicago At Nite, and thought about the confluence. I thought about California and I thought about Didion's freak out detailed in Slouching . I thought about the spook of SF and the girl-hair golden of the hills lining the 5 South as I drove. I thought about Yeats and the part that does me in:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Oh, we are the worst, aren't we?
So now, home in Chicago, arms wide to it's bar crowds loud and spilling and it's smoke-everywhere policies and thunky potholes and the sweet sting of the pacifying familiar.
Dude. Who is frontrow at the Huggybear/Mulkiteo lecture with me? YOU.
The HARDCORE HISTORIES series at Messhall is still raging. Tomrrow August 21, 6-8:30 PM Swedish hardcore Meatball Dinner w/ lecture/ personal sharing time !!! -- from the newsletter: Tonight we will focus on the vast world of Swedish hardcore with tons of rare records provided by Brendan Sullivan and others. We'll have records by bands like
Crude SS, Anti Cimex, Dom Dar, Krunch, Discard, Avskum, Asocial, Crudity, Fear of War, Raped Teenagers and G-Anx. For total mental destruction we will also have a trove of records by the mysterious Swedish sociopaths The Brainbombs. Please bring any Swedish records and a thematically
appropriate beverage or dish (note that Old Style and PBR are appropriate for all Hardcore Histories events). Vegan and vegetarian Swedish meatballs will
be provided by the organizers but feel free to try making your own version of this dish (hint: if you aren't feeling creative you can roll Gimme Lean into
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Elijah M Burgher - "Queercore for the Queercorps"
Presentation followed by open session for spinning
your own Queercore records. This presentation will focus on the bands Team Dresch, Mukilteo Fairies and Huggy Bear.
Moved locations, and am now staying with my friend Jonah, who is only home overnight in between tours. We both leave for tour tomorrow (Jinx!). So far, totes eventful. Jonah did some recording as part of his unique recordings project. Special versions of two songs and (I think) a cover, with a special dedication, purchased for some people who are getting married (much better than a 16 speed Oster blender!). Since his place is small, I could not be all clikclicktypey in the background of marriage-song, so I hung out in the bathroom and picked at some zits and dreamt of the day when my drumming transitions from "Ultimate Beginner Basics" to more, like, Bonzo's Montreux. Needless to say, my fantasy life is incredibly rich.
At lunch, Jonah asked me why I was going on this tour. I have 55 complicated reasons for everything, but this one is mostly playing out as "because I can", because I like Nedelle, because if I am going to write and write yelling about JOIN A BAND GIRL then I need to be on that path myself. I also go back and forth from thinking punk rock and music and YE OLDE UNDERGROUND needs more ladies up in it, to help salve and wreck shit beautiful, to thinking LET THOSE BOYS WITH THE TATTOOS DROWN IN A SEA OF THEIR FUCKING AWFUL ALBUMS AND THEIR RANCID RAP DREAMZ AND THEIR BILOUS, PHALLOCRACTIC NONSENSE . I may be angry, sure, but I am testing the waters just the same.
And because I am trying to un-ingrain these ideas of "TECHNICALLY GOOD" as being tops on the heirarchy. I am say "eff-off" to the heirarchy, to win/lose/top/bottom binaries and dicotomy, to good=right, to technical=legitimating. 2005 is about doing things I am not already good at. In this case, that is playing drums. Sure, I have played drums in CHI-BOOGIE'S MOST LEGENDARY PARTY BAND SINCE PETER CETERA WENT SOLO, A Billion Dollars, and I own a drum kit. I have played drums about 15 hours in the last year, may-be. I have played drums about 30 hours since Monday. Going on tour, it's a good way to learn. Practicing is a great place to start when it comes to playing drums. Nedelle typified my playing, when Matt asked, as "charming." This is the first time anything I have ever done has been described as charming, so I am deeply encouraged.
Also, in similarly bigger news, much more vague news: I got another job. It's a very "modern" job. Come fall, I'm getting paid to blog about PUNK ROCK. Next month, I can tell more I think, and when I do, you will pee in yr Diesels. Seriously. In the meantime, gossip to yrself about it.
Mike is still my newish friend but tonite we went on one of those walks that, as he szaid, ages you as friends. "We are 55 in friend years after that walk" he said, and it's truer than true. We skipped the Burmese show and walked 15 blocks uphill to see the city high up from a park. Climbed on stuff and froze a little. Mostly we talked about anger, fear and the weird soul of San Francisco.
I think of SF as a ghost town, so haunted by all the ghosts from gold rush panhandlers, to everyone ever downed by a quake, to all the hippy ODs, to generations felled by AIDS, all of the ghosts mingling hard in Manson fam hill habitrails and scriggly-scraggly fault lines. All that Helter Skelter juju, all the Monterey'd money, all that leftover vibe from the America slowly dying routine, the push and pull of fog and ocean, the special feeling you get in a city where a third of the people on the street are on their way to cop.
But mostly, mostly, the soul is in the sign in english and spanish on the firehouse next door that has a baby in a big hand and says "safe drop off site", though the sign in spanish is more explicit -- "this is the safe place to abandon your son or daughter". It says "Renuncia" instead of drop off. If you are freaking and must renounce parenthood -- The sign is to encourage you, if you have to bail on yr baby, do not put it in a picnic basket on the BART, bring it to the fire station. Renounce sons or daughters here.
Adam Gnade did a epic discourse, a narrative and a what the fuck, all 3000 words style on Rjyan's new record (I would note, on some "who gives a fuck?" tip, that that record is a record I promoted, but like, really "conflict of interest" is bullshit, because it's all conflict of interest and every one is everyone else friend and I entro-duced Rjyan to his wife and manage him and so what. We are all getting played by someone's nepotism and half of us are getting paid on it, and the other half resent it all, but you know what I am really saying is: YES, the blood is everywhere and it's as bad as you think and WORSE, routinely. What I am meaning to tell you is: Adam writes for Hit it or Quit it, and his writing is getting better by the sec, and HIOQI is on a Canadian book press right now, getting inked for yr everyloving autumn reading joy.)
I wrote this 2000 word DEAR DIARY YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE IT post the other day, and thought it posted, thought I was keepin you (who is you? I mean, aside from bloggers, my ex's exes and my mom?) up to effing date, on some real time realness but it went missing like yr boyfriend in the bootyclub, lost to the ether.
It included a detailed recounting which I will now recount again, of a rite of punk passage, albeit belated: I GOT IN A FIGHT AT GILMAN! OH yes, I DID. at the BARR show, with a boy 10 yrs my junior, who was wearing a striped tie and eyeliner, like he was taking the Bronze medal in the Alkaline Trio fash-lympics. But that was and is still currently "beside the point". It was not a physical fight, unless you count that kid rolling his eyes at me. He was yelling SHUDDUP SHUDDUP GET OFF THE STAGE to the young man who is the one-man band This Song Is a Mess But So Am I, which officially is a "concept" band (wrong word, because life and living it is not really a "concept", even in this era of madd ironixx) about -- not about, but more is a TOOL-ART/OUTREACH about this kid's mom dying and his grief. His grief that is over him like a cummulus puff, as he screeeeeams and screeeeams and throws his body into the floor and the into the loud sounds and I am tearing up right now typing about it not because it is so much I am an eazy-cry, but for a lot of reasons but mostly because he WAS grief, that big angry, been robbed, fuck you god kind ABOUT HIS MOM. It is raw-as-heck to swing yr chapped-heart, yr kid spirit begging, like an albatross, from the stage at Gilman. It is also this epic leap of faith to log that/express that/share that with PUNK/BAND as a vehichle.
ANYHOW, that is on stage, and next to me and Brendan was STRIPED TIE KIDLING howling heckles and I am not feeling like there is any room for that to be happening right then, and so I stepped to him, on some personal intervention and asked him why he needed to be doing that and if he does not like it, there is ins and outs, and why does he not just step outside rather than disrespecting the art of another member of his community and the other people watching the show. I am righteous and old, you know, and so I roll like that. Kid and I got into it. We had some words. Then: He asked me how old I was. He thought I was his age. He was trying to disqualify me on some "you just don't get it, little girl" tip, and finally, he did this look-me-up-and-down thing, shook his head and asked "Have you ever been on tour before?" and I said "Yes." He was a touch shocked, like he thought I lived in the stock room at the Gap... He asked "How many times?" I said "This last year, or in my whole life?" and he did this ha-ha yeah right skeptical thing, and says "Yeah, how many in the last year?" and I said "As of next week, six." -- And his face dropped. I do not know what that proved, what dick-move that vaccummed outta his head, what sort of authority that magic SIX proved, that I was not just some bitch quashing his goodtime, that I was the same thing he beleives he is? I am not sure, but, with that, he fumbled and he dropped his PUNK SO HARD thing and avoided my eyes and looked at the ground and ummed and ahhed and said "Wow. Yeah. I have only been on tour five times ever, actually. Um, ok, cool." and he left and went outside with his friend for the rest of the set. He waved by to me when I left, which baffled me but I waved back because peace is "tops". After he walked away Brendan goes "OH MY GOD! DUDE! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! THAT WAS IN-TENSE!". It was like I won, but am not sure how I won. Maybe the kid knew I was speaking as a veteran heckling shitstir, he could feel my dinosaur-y fuck-the-world vibe eminating from my core, wafting like popcorn scent.
Also great: Adam and Lydia and Mimi and Stella have adopted me like some foriegn-immersion style guest, and I am learning the way of happy punk family . I arrived here right in time for Mimi's 8th birthday party. They fed me cake, showed me to the DSL hook up, showed me a skateboard to borrow, slid me a copy of the Minutemen doc to watch at my leisure, then showed me the drive where they keep their iTunes and said "Please, raid it."Adam loaned me his 65 Jeep Wagooner for the week. They handed me the keys and directions to Gilman. I know it sounds like I died and went to heaven, but I am so alive. So so actually all the way live.
Also: Happy 30th Birthday to that fox Matt Clark.
I have been awake for 21 hours now, and I have done my did and I am ready to roll out to California on a one-hour night's sleep. Mobile office packed. Maracas packed. Month of New Yorker back issues packed. All the records I gotta write about stored in the 'podenstein .
So hey. Come find me. I'm the old tired one, rocking the "I believe Anita Hill" hoodie and filthy track shorts, the one with the rusty hands, the one behind that lady with the clarion voice of a bell(e), Nedelle.
19 - Visalia, CA @ Howie and Sons w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
20 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
21 - San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
22 - Phoenix, AZ @ Modified Arts w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
24 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
26 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
27 - Columbia, MO @ Mojo's w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
28 - St Louis, MO @ Czech American Educational Center w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
29 - Newport, KY @ Southgate House w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
30 - Columbus, OH @ LIttle Brothers w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
31 - Washington, DC @ Warehouse Next Door w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
01 - Philadelphia, PA @ Northstar w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
02 - Baltimore, MD @ Talking Head
03 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
04 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott
06 - Grand Rapids, MI @ DAAC
07 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas w/ Feist
08 - Champaign, IL @ Courtyard Cafe
It's not the best song on the album, even, but click here to download an mp3 from the upcoming Milemarker album . It is the song on the album that sounds the most old-familiar Milemarker. I like to imagine that Dave is screaming the words "And Scott La Rock / In different states!" but I do not think those are the lyrics. Word from up high is that they added a second drummer and girl who helps sing and plays trumpet. Someone on here, I have no idea who exactly, maybe new member Tony, is singing like evil-times Prince, or luded-to-the-marrow Cedric Bixler. The rest of the album is like classic Neurosis power ripping over Sonic Youth's "PCH" -- it "drops" 10/25 -- just in time for the onset of yer seasonal depression. Totally fucked, swampy and explosive, and as usual, lots of sex n' anxiety themes.Oh, Even the flute solo is heavy. The best part of the whole thing, not to spoil it for you, is when Dave screams "It's 19/9-6/you/mother/fucker!" -- a classic refrain for the ages, surely.
Cosmopolitan twinsicle, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd and I were talking about parties at silos and COVAD dumping in the meadows of her town growing up, and we got onto the topic of the unofficial rule that when you are a 15 year old punk girl, the guy who sells you your first hit of acid, or buys beer for you is always some much older anti-racist skinhead dude who is effed up but schools you hard on the dictum of punkess . The skin she hung with was some Cheyenne S.H.A.R.P. (Who knew there were SHARPS in Wyoming?) The skin I hung with was dating my 9th grade best friend, he was 17 and he was an "ex skin", his favorite band was (duh, it was 89-90) a punk funk band that repped hard for racial unity 24-7 Spyz . He had a million warstories on repeat: some guy from St. Paul selling him bunk acid at Sunday Night Dance Party and how he was going to give him a curbie when he saw him. Or the time he got high with Darryl from Bad Brains. Or about getting scabies from the couches at First Ave. About why I should never wear blue laces in my docs. The time he was on house arrest. The story behind "JOPY". He knew about everything and nothing. He was macho and dumb and loaded every day by 3, but he was the only dude who would explain punk's secret code to us, and so he was our friend. He would wait for us afterschool (he'd dropped out years before), hang out in the parking lot, burnt from having been up for 3 days on trucker speed, ollieing over the cement burm, wearing a Corona drug rug hoodie .
He was the dude that, the last time I took acid and had the worst drug experience of my 9th grade summer, prescribed the sure fire way to fix a bad trip -- 1. lock me in a room so my bad trip would not "contaminate" the group and 2. make me watch Def Comedy Jam. He was right, and it totally worked, and I was totally a-ok until his best friend stuck pistol to my temple and told me he would shoot me and my friend if I did not stop talking. I stopped talking. Though if I had known it wasn't actually loaded, I wouldn't have started crying. That was the last time I did acid. The first time I took acid, I was at the Chi-Chi's in City Center. That is a better story, but it will be saved for another time.
Meanwhile, my story about Chicago Tapes Project is up and readable in this week's Reader - click on the Our Town section . Ilana and Aay totally just made like, 10 or 12 new tape stations in anticipation of the publicity. Please spread the word because Tape Stations could stand to go national.
Gosh, gosh gosh. I leave for tour in like 40 hours. Holy amazing.
In case yr picking up the Chicago-lit/zine special issue of UR Chicago that came out, in case, I would just like to contextualize something that came out of my big mouth regarding Venus zine, Hit it or Quit it and home made coin purses:
What I was trying to say about Venus is that I think their editorial steez is much aligned with 1975-era feminism, where the struggle was very much focused on women finding liberation via making money (as money was coming with newfound fullfilment of full-personhood through work and self-support). That economic freedom was getting women free, it was getting men free from the burden of sole-providership. A powerful ideal that is now a pretty widely accepted ideal, one that is still unfolding and should not be underestimated -- natch.
BUUUUUT I feel like the whole aspect of Venus that is centered around people making money off crafts, or female bands getting popular and making money off that, or that we alliege ourselves with "feminism" by buying Sleater Kinney records and selling coin purses we made out of felt is dangerous and lax at best. It is us reacting to the post riot girl back lash, "quiet support" -- we stopped writing RAPE on our bellies and knuckles, stopped getting so much heat for forcing an issue that a lot of people did not want to address and settled for lining the coiffers of indie labels and buying pillows that looked like records. Because it is a lot easier. And no one gives you shit when you are just living yr politics by going to the Le Tigre show, and dating a dude/girl who sends you Stella Mars postcards from tour, or making your room look cute. (Hi. I'm not hinting here, it's a hxc style call out.)
The quote about the SK/coin purses appears as if i am saying that everyone who writes for HIOQI owns Sleater Lps and makes coin purses .Which is almost true, but I was using air-quotes over the phone, so this did item did not translate. Anyhowzzz, While us/girls/punks supporting each others art/non-mass manufactured items/our friends handiwork is CRUCIAL to our community, and being mindful of how and where we spend and make our money, I feel that that party-line towed by Venus and magazines like it -- is not pointing us towards real liberation. It's way way too late in the 2005 Capitalism Afterparty to be so Helen Gurly Brown style, because orgasms and a pair of Jimmy Choo's with a peacock feather on them and disposable income ARE TOTALLY NICE, and yes that is progress, but shoes and cash and vibrators are not the light at end of the tunnel. THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL IS YOUR SCENE ON FIRE.
Lest we forget: It's capitalisms trick to sell you on the prizes. Feminism is a powerful idea that can liberate both ladies and the dudes, it can liberate all people, and so we have to make the ideas, the life of the life of it, accessible. We, as people who believe that feminist revolution is TOTES POSSIBLE IN EVERYDAY LIVING --- If we make feminism be about having these things, a. we sell it short, as well as ourselves b. we keep it from being accessible to people who will never have those things -- people who are alienated by cosmopolitanality, people who will never have fancy shoes or access to good jobs, and those are the people that need liberation-ideas most -- and we are indebted to those people c. we are then celebrating normative white/middle clas privaledge right -- which is bullshit and fundamentally hurts the cause of feminism as a whole.
All the art we make as feminists is a little billboard of possibility that we are showing to each other and the world, and that possibility, that light at the end of the tunnel has everything to do with our hearts and our hands and conditions we each live daily -- and I think we have to mind that message and mind it fierce.
Thats what I was saying. Thats what I meant about that.
Once a man in a dream, he was a cowboy that looked like a young Lorne Greene, he sang a song to me in a sonorous tenor, and the only words were "Wild Loose'd!/ and Mercy Bound!". I thought about the song often on the last tour. Here are some pictures from the first few dates when Al and I took the trip in the car last month. Like they sing at the toy store: Welcome to my world.
Many people had crossed legs when we read at Bluestockings.
It was like this a lot. It was We Eat So Many Popsicles dot com.
Dirt Palace in Providence. They are to punk arts commune-houses what Fugazi is to bands. Every day I think, how can I live more free today, how can I live more Dirt Palace . Dirt Palace girls tag their own bathroom walls with feminist and anti-war and totes baffling slogans. It killed me. In this picture, by the trailing lights, there are giant paper birds hung. Peacocks. Flightless birds made flying.
This woman with the cone, she is my gtr heroine, Sara Jaffe. She played with us in Easthampton. I took her on an ice-cream date. Her new thing is called TAM TAM, it's improv I think. She gave Al and I home made double disc comp Cds sewn inside manilla envelopes. The sewn envelope is a true DIY packaging classic of the ages.
The sugar cup at the honor system coffee station at Flywheel. Real punx care about each others immuno-health, do not let anyone tell you otherwise!
Providence. We walked a half-hour through the woods on a path Mike knew by memory, saw very much great nature and dozens of baby toads and special flowers people knew the name-history of (do you know that word I mean?) and then suddenly we got here:
Which is the sort of place you get to and think, "If I lived here, I would come here everyday and swim for hours like it was my job." But everyday, here in Chicago, I live a miles from the free Olympic pool and it's open swims and it's lap hours and never go. And the filthy lake is open all day. And there is a park pool (kid-pee pool) and the Natorium (gay cruising) six blocks in either direction and I never go, but really, really, I promise, I would swim there every day if I lived in Providence or even in Pawtuxet.
I arrive in SF on the morning of the 13th. On the evening of the 13th, I need a ride to the BARR show at Gilman. Unless there is a train. I like the train. Really hate the bus, though. Can you facilitate? Are you going to the show, too? Please yodel if you can. In exchange, I can give you your choice of the following: 1. my pleasant company 2. the copy of May 18th New Yorker magazine I just finished with 3. Some gas money. I will not leave my empty drink cup in your ride, and I will not smoke in yr car. I am trying to quit. Please do not give me a cigarette.
I called Miles and said "Come with me to see Chris Richards' show, you have one block to decide, come outside if you want to to go, I am almost to you. " He did and we walked in and Anthony Decanini was hollering into a sax, and that was being run through pedals. I do not think he knows how to play the sax beyond working it, he was sucking breath like how you do when yr doing the butterfly in the pool at the Y, and wiggling his fingers all over the valves. He would make the shit winney and whine and then he walked behind the audience (16 present and accounted for) and blow us from there. I have some issue with amatuer brass, that does not exist for other things. "Fake" "jazz", here is an argument I will rarely ever make, but: it's been done . Free as signifier is some drunk on unreality juice idea I refuse to swing with. I want my out out and my free fucking free, and with jazz, with horns espesh, I am of the you must know the rules to break them escuela. Jazz is not like punk, to me, for me, where as punk is often at it's greatest sometimes when someone is just slapping their guitar around coaxing the worst sounds out of it from hands that have just the faintest clue how to making the gtr sound like a mountain of screaming infants. Maybe because to me, punk=easy and oft calculated and jazz=hard and visceral and into the mystic. Para exemplo, When Peter Brotzmann plays I feel as if I am in the very heart of God, because my pulse shifts and my own heart shifts to some master clock. Best punk, best noise damage, Wipers "Tragedy" and Bad Brains "Pay to Cum", make me feel like I could chew through the side of the house like a beaver or that not having a shaved head is totes bouge, or I just wunna start a band. And, so, tonight, I judged Anthony as fake, as some 7th gen Aylers Angels tarrrsh. Harpoons of unlove on whatever authenticity debate is wedged inside his sax-o-fone.
Then, Chris Paul Richards. late of the late Q and Not U, now of his solo gong Ris Paul Ric . I think no one does transitional band quite like DC PUNX -- Cupid Car Club, Egg Hunt, Happy Go Licky, Monorchid... member that summer when the Embassy Tape(s) with Las Mordidas was my only jam.( I saw them in a basement on Bryant Avenue in Mnpls with this dude and Jeff Speigel, the day I graduated from 11th grade. After Las Mordidas, we got in Jeff's PURPLE JEEP and drove to see Trenchmouth play in Mankato ). Chris' shiz is no exception. It was kind of unformed, but it made it good-er, pedals, rhythm gtr loops, some octaver pedal taking his voice to new heights, the Black Eyes kiddo playing bells and crock pot lids (I checked). The MP3 linked above is much more indie folk than it was, it was more of Constellation Records house funk band, more Sung Tongs for "Starfish and Coffee" virgins. I got the demo, which is bedroom jams produced by Tim Hecker, and it is "of the moment" cos Ris P Ric is dying a quick death as Chris is putting together a band he only described with an exploding whoosh sound and arm motions and the words: "Like... Loud."
I lit the yard torches in hopes it would be a bat signal, or work like the search lights that roll up through the clouds, so you know where the club is, or that the Eagles are playing (I wonder if when you become that eschelon of famous, if rolling search beacons are on yr production rider, or if they roll with you?). Light the $9 Home Depot Lawn Centre purchased yard torches. Miles worked the flammables department and then dipped to a Chicago Ave burrito hut with my other confidante help-meet (or is it help-meat?), JR. So I sat in the yard, alone, feet up on the table, empresario of the ratty yard, waiting for someone to show. I scrolled the phone nervously.
No one will come. I know it . Hostess anxiety.
And then Robin Bonebright, friend from Blogtown, who sells special umbrellas for a living, showed up. She brought champagne and cupcakes she had made and cigarettes. Then Kiki and Doug. Then Miles and JR returned with tacos and king cans and then more people and then some more and Hunter with his frenchy moustche and Jane with her perfume and then it was 12 and I was manning a watermelon that was so big that cutting it was a two person job, and then the guest of honor showed and it was introductions all around. It was stories about the dude with a watermelon on his head shitting in the yard at the Dillinger 4 party, or the time JR's old roommate tossed a lit quarter stick of dynamite out the window and 15 feet from his yuppie neighboors 4th of July party. I laddled lemonade from a 5 gallon bucket into red Solo cups and said "Good to see you, good to see you."
Then it was sotto voce debate as to whether we are supposed feel gentley sorry for OR totally annoyed by dudes who are so intimidated/unfamiliar with how to socially navigate a non heirarchacal (sp?) setting (circle of writer girls talking) that they freak out and engage competitive/male gender culture norm (start rattling off minutae about prog-jazz fusion drummers you have never heard of, the key fact being that he knows you have never heard of them). I should have run in and referenced my CrimethInc instructional poster on subverting gender norms, consulted it like a Ouija, as it is handily posted above my office desk for just that, but instead I rattled the ice in the bottom of my cup and gossiped. (Poster: (download it here) or (buy it here) ( it says: "For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligiance": again - what will bust us out of the cliche: empathy and example or confrontation and ball busting?).
I made the rounds and offered up laptop sized hunks of watermelon from a Priority mail box. Someone put Monkee on top of a ladder, and people gathered around, marveled at her sweetness, her collar-with-a-bell. Not quite West Bay Invitational as far as punkparty, but it was nice just the same .
The SSION's new album is positively humpable. And hummable. It's like P Smith's Easter gone Hot97 Countdown as hosted by Nick Sylvester. Like Black Mountain and The Time and a good time, in the classic bathroom wall sense.
Don't you miss shows like this . Man, look at the hair of Kansas City.
Check out the SSION site , go under "PR" and check out the "NY Slideshow" - Cody's drawing of him pushing Kim Gordon in a wheelchair, while she holds a pot leaf... it says so many things, I am not sure where or how to address it. It makes me look forward to the Kurt and Courtney coloring/poem book that he is working on with great anticipation.
Maired Case whatta woman, what a blog. Naturally, she's a Hit it or Quit it contributor. She also did a zine/ edited a zine about Juvenille Corrections center.Not Juvenille Corrections as in the editor that rewrites yr reviews and inserts terrible Blender-style puns, but Juvenille Corrections as in kid jail. Written during zine workshops by JV offenders, where they wrote about every job they had ever had, about how Lil' Wayne lyrics helped them start asking the questions: "Do I really want a baby? Is he using me?" before each time they slept with their boyfriend, about what shoes they wore on the outside -- back when they were getting in trouble on the streets of South Bend, about their parents and cousins and siblings that died died were shot died died. It is alternately very funny and sad, verging on tragic. The title of one particular essay (about depression) in there is already becoming standard usage vocabulon around the house: "Feelings of Emotion".
Email Maired about where to send yr $4 for her zine, if you did not already get yr fill from me calling you and reading passages out loud.
Photo of one of Pat DeWitt's "Designer Colostomy Bags". The worst thanksgiving I ever had was with Pat, his parents, his older brother , and his younger brother . It may not have been thansgiving actually, but it felt like it. Like 100 years ago or something. I had a shaved head and Pat, Pat was drawing on his eyebrows in thick black liner, two chunky upside down V's arching them above his brow ridge. Coal black and witchy. A terrible look, but sold well on the basis of the addled confidence it betrayed.
Party in my yard Saturday 8 pm. Stop by, unless yr an asshole.
Virgin Screwdrivers for all takers.
Runaway Bride will not be joining us, as she is leaving a few days early on her Vision Quest. We are ripping lines of Ol' B off each others tits as we blog. You are soooo bummed yr missing it.
I still get scurred. Even though I am near 29, and I have been into the zone maybe 32 times since age 14, into the rack-hardware and stringed-virtuosity empire. As soon as I enter I feel like I am already faltering because I am so un-Yngwie and only in my wettest of dreams Bonham-ing . I am glaring, I am girl, I am 2-note solos and feed back arcs.
I fucking hate the music store, and I have have beef with anyone else in the store (a psychic EAT SHIT to anyone soloing on an opalescent purple BC Rich) and the same for the people behind the counter looking so startled, asking if I am buying these picks for myself or my boyfriend. Eatshitthousand, dudes. I know that on the outside, I look like I am playing tambo in Microphones , but for all you know, I am channelling Alan White in my sleep . So, put that in yr e-bow and smoke it.
My mom says asks me why I am so macho sometimes, and I do not know what she is talking about until I go to Guitarland or such, and then I am cowboying around, wanting to buy THE BIGGEST MOST GIANT DRUMSTICKS AVAILABLE, as if this will testify to my uber-bruiserness, as if this will make them think perhaps I am playing the gong on the Sick of It All reunion tour, or possibly doing dry wall demolitions with these Vic Firths I am purchasing. To wit, my evening: I have never bought brushes (I am a punk pounder, available only in an unflashy 4/4 and charmless 3/4 - timed models), and I am fronting like I know what to look for in a metal brush for drumming , you, like I sleep with a brush under my pillow, buy fresh ones every day, taking it out of the case and bouncing it (it's not fruit, it's a fucking stick, right?!), "testing" it on a nearby snare " Yeah.... this'll do..." I say. I refuse a bag for my new mallets, maracas and brushes, all "bags are for pussies" style.
I am so embarrassed for my wildly over compensating amateur self.
PS and By the way, if you live in Chicago, I think on Satruday, after nightfall, we (me and Britt Barton Lindsay) are going to be having people over into my yard. Yard party. Email for details.
My review of Common's Be is up at City Pages . In case you think I am all bell hooksian wishful thinking, ask around, because I think there is a a communal feminist-boner for Common's sensitacho (sensitive+macho/does not rhyme with pistachio) vision of nu man Numerica within.
PS: Happy Birthday to Ben Fasman, great friend, great DJ, and who is such hot property that he should be getting repped by Chaz Walters .
PPS. Welcome Amy Phillips , who, as of this morning, lives in anitabakering Chicago. I play on infiltrating More in the Monitor by finding her at every show and standing next to her, running commentary on genderfuckery and bad drum fills.
This is what Maseo kept saying, over every song. Asking all the grown and sexy ladies over 25 to "please holla" - it was the humpty-hump afterparty for the De La/Common/J Legend show - and Miles was on the list plus four, cos he is Miles, but he only rolled up plus me, so my compliments on his refined taste. The guy that gave him the plus four is a local party promoter, who was at the door when we arrived, yelling over Maseo's All Native Tongue All Night set, to the hot/young/sparkled-up guest-list holding door girl "YOU WANT ME TO EAT YOUR PUSSY?! (makes exacting hand/face motions indicating his ability to do such a thing) I'LL BITE IT! YOW!". The pussy-biting promoter turns to us, yelling over "Award Tour" at max. decibels "OH, YOU KNOW HOW IT IS!" and bro-hugs Miles. Does Miles really know, though? I doubt Miles' bosses have ever yelled to him, in front of seven other people, an offer to bite him in the bitch area . You know?
But. This is not important. What was important is that Maseo spun nothing but Jungle Bros and De La and Tribe for 40 minutes, announcing when Lil' Mo, Pos and whomever else arrived, into "the house". Then then, better than the Q-tip hitz blitz was a set of songs for the lover in you - only for the "grown n' sexy" - down disco soul -- and the get-you-pregnant / lotion tracks so real: the NY-borough equiv of Chicago Steppers sets. Miles mostly sat that shiz out, but I danced and then danced some more and I think I could dance into infinity and please, someone, if I ever am on my death bed in the ward, sign me up for some "Maseo DJ Visit" from Make-A-Wish. I can totes still pass for 13, so it's not really scamming.
When I was finally done dancing and had perspired half my body weight into my clothing, I found Miles, who was with the pussy-biter-yeller. Ol' Yeller gave us free drinks, which is good, because water is FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS at the bumpin' club. I saved the giant glass bottle it came in, I might be able to redeem a few of them for a gold brick.
I was reading the zine of Mike Taylor (no linkable internet prescence at this time), Scenery #18, at the kitchen table early in the am. In his opener-page manifesto, he talks the only funny-and-poignant (not too much mocking, not too much cynicism) talk about what getting to be an older punk is like. And there is a line about how when you are young& punk and you think all yr friends are revolutionary geniuses and yr going to blow the lid off the world... and you know, that's kind of just how you have to think. That's how everyone thinks - ie. water polo players think that this is an unprecedented time for Water Polo.
But it is an unprecedented time for Water Polo, surely! And my friends really are the funniest people ever, and we are changing the world with our projects built on love and fun , right? (Btw, I did not write as George Plimpton, but rather as George Hamilton. George Plimpton is very "dapper sweater", and Hamilton is very "the boneyard" and "tanning 'til wallet-y": please! no-brainer!). Also, my friend Cali, congratulations to him: his first art show of paintings and he sold 13 works. And I think he started painting, like, seriously, 6 weeks ago. His pictures are so good and frightening: Five feet tall portraits-on-cardboard of cartoon-y super 2D style white dudes, withered, rocking nothing but soft cocks and gym socks, while holding a knive, smiling like Golem. Creepy like Joel Peter Witkin, like looking at it, your very soul turns into a soiled re-fastenable Pamper.
Did you have a nice weekend? I hope you did. I sure did. I rode my skateboard all around both days, for the first time in two summers, and despite feeling a bit wracked, my only injury came from running into a parked police cruiser. Skateboarding: still not a crime .
I am not making time for this here blog much this week, maybe. The effing phone company sent my DSL connection to, like Poughkeepsie, and so, everyday, I work at the library, or ciphen internet from willing friends til it gets fixed. Then Britt Barton Lindsay, my oldest and dearest and bestest, she comes to visit, and I imagine my every-day will be spent making her smoothies and bringing them out to the yard on a little tray, where she will be perched, turning, sweating, roasting, like gyro-meat, in the sun, while she studies some law, or reads aloud to me from our favorite Jackie Susann novels. Lack of home DSL connection and my love-interest being on tour, it means I am free of distractions and righteous diversions and thusly, the next few weeks will be spent in full-on production mode with the new comic collaboration zine, title es explanitory: JESSICA HOPPER AND MIKE TAYLOR MAKE ART, and working on some other manifesto strewn hotness, riding bikes, playing "Who Shot Ya?" a zillion times.
Whatevs. It's summer. Why are you even inside reading this? You could be outside kissing animals and eating apples. Go. Go.