February 28, 2007


Ten years ago exactly today, I moved to Chicago. It's true! The longest I have lived anywhere, which makes it officially my hometown, beating out Minneapolis by a year. It's true! I got here to Chicago and then that night went out to the Empty Bottle for Brian Case's 21st birthday, where he vomitted all over the bar. It's true! Now 10 years later, he is the only one out of our whole posse who has much in the way of a successful music career (though Rob Lowe has his own DVD). It's true! Almost ten years ago, Liz Armstrong was not yet a popular local enigma and was just an ambitious young woman who lived in my bedroom with me on a sleeping bag-- and now she lives in Las Vegas. It's true! Shayla Hason worked across the street from my apartment but we did not become friends until seven years later. It's true! Not quite 10 years ago, I had a crush on Matt and now we are the human masters of two cats together and I get to drive him crazy with requests like "Please, talk like a pony" or "Can you get yr running clothes out of the shower" in person every single day. It's true! A decade ago, this month, I saw Braid play all the songs off Frame & Canvas at the Fireside and has a discussion after the show with everyone I went with, and we were all in serious agreement that "Braid are the next Fugazi"--and it felt like that was meaningful. It's ALL true!

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February 27, 2007


Scroll down for ponytail!
Scroll down for summer neck!
Scroll down and feel spring on ya when you lift yr warmed hair!
Second picture reverses winter!

You may be thinking I am making a stink and a fuss to boot about oh winter blah blah cold indoor living, but my senses are dull and hun-gry. My friends all have the same complaint--no thrill left in kicks. You wind up watching "Ask This Old House" where they go install the ceiling fan in the condo of the girlfriend who doesn't have a boyfriend to do it for her because all feeling has been milked from in-home opportunity. You can read fine books and listen to all kinds of the best songs, new and unknown, but you simmer with impatience the entire time. Be done! Be spring already!

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If yr not going to Tim Kinsella at the MCA or the 50 guitar e-chord eliminating evil orchestra at the Bottle, remember, I am djing at the fun queer disco night at Funky Buddha Lounge. 10-11:30. I really promise to make the most of it, I am really going to make it feel like summer as best as I can.

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February 25, 2007



There were several things that were great about the night. It snowed 4 inches while we were in the show. Plus, there was this. She entered by walking up the side isle, fresh from outside, with her coat and hat and scarf on, holding a to-go cup, walked on stage, took her outside stuff off, dropped it on the floor next to the piano, pulled out her bench, pushed up her sleeves and just started playing. She was wearing a bulky long sleeve shirt and pants with cargo pockets with a bunch of stuff in them. She was on stage looking like it was just a stop she had to make before she hit Petco for some litter. Oh, I loved that. It's a mom move, a confident, spiritual, feminist move, it's totally rockstar--the talent and the show is her, and thus, mascara/no mascara makes no difference at all.

She also has a big muppet-mouth smile, we were sitting almost behind her and I saw it's corners, dazzling back row teeth going zing like a gemstone in a cartoon when she'd look up to us between non-verse and the part that follows it.

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February 23, 2007


How naturally great a writer and reporter is Kathy Horyn?

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February 22, 2007


Maybe you are ultrabloghound, so perhaps you saw it, but even if you did, you can stand to read again. The true story of inspiration behind Teenage Teardrops, the anything label. This just goes to show, LA is really posi, and is kicking the rest of America's proverbial creative ass. Ben and I widened our eyes over our juice drinks last night "I KNOW!" we said, in almost jinxable unison. When we lived there is was coffin city! No Jabberjaw and you had to settle for like, going to go see shows at The Roxy because 19 and on your punk hustle, with no house shows to be had. No special magazines. Today, JR and Burian and I were eating lunch at my kitchen table and JR suggested that the next issue of HIOQI be about the realities of aging punks, or just aging. Meaning confessing, shamelessly, that you miss the 90s or you miss college or being grown and 33 is hellsa fiasco. Which summarizes the last issue of Change Zine. That is always the issue you put out before you give up and get married and work with with in a cubicle. I am not generalizing, because I have known live actual people this happens to. Every 22 seconds, an old punk gives up the ghost. Only 1 in 12 punks will make it to 34. It could be happening to someone you know right now. It could happen to you.
But (extended story in extra inning made short) this Teardrops interview is really about the oldpunx path to enlightenment. You can love Judge, but you can also have an open heart to the future and not lose anything by it.

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Have you seen the This American Life the TV Show Trailer? I do a little work for the radio show version, but one very chilly night, I got to be a PA on a shoot for the TV show, for the one where the lady yells "next bitch in line?!". I got to stand at that business outside til 4 am and get drunk assholes to sign releases. It's true! I am psyched and proud of my friends who made the show and am going to watch every episode, even the scary one with the bull! YEEHAW FOR THE TV SHOW!

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February 21, 2007


I'll print the whole thing up, somewhere, when I am through with it's paid purposes, but here's the first answer and question from my interview with Frida Hyvonen; she is a real inspiring gal.

On your record, independence is a theme--how important is independence or even solitude to your work as an artist?

I think essential at this point. Or should I say it's what is significant for what I do, how I do it, and central for what I struggle with. To have the solitude you need without feeling lonelier than you can bear. I bought a house the other week, it's close to nowhere, and I live on my own, so I expect this summer to be the heyday of thinking.
Oh that question is so huge.

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February 20, 2007


It's happening again. It has been forever. Since that Chicagoist party where someone plugged in a lamp and it made the one turntable short and I had to "spin" by the dim lite of the iPod. I think that was summer or spring. But, somehow, with no use of force nor sympathetic magic (like walking around the house with headphones on yelling "SORRY--I DON'T TAKE REQUESTS" at the plants) I am djing.
I am djing next Tuesday, which is the 27th, before Jordan Z. It will happen from 10-11:30 at Funky Buddha Lounge, which is on Grand, just below where it intersects with Halsted and Milwaukee. My guess is that my dj-skills will be moderately rusty, but my selections will be pure and tender. Blackstreet, Ellen Allien and "Cola Bottle Baby", for sure, and then the rest will be nasty dancing music and some rap songs that I like. I think it is either cheap or free. Be forewarned, this is a bar that does not have free water, only those giant VOS waters that look like they should actually be shampoo.
Thats all, goodnight.

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February 19, 2007


Best idea ever alert. The Old VIP theatre on Chicago avenue (5,500 sq feet it says) is for sale for a nice 1.2 mil. Considering most condos in this same neighbor are like, 400-900,000 for some new construction cracker box, the VIP is a deal. Though I did like it when the VIP was just the discount puffy-coat store, I would like it way better if someone turned it into the new Fireside Bowl. Not to hate on the Beat Kitchen, but they have the accoustics of a toilet bowl. Are you listening, Brian Peterson? Hardcore matinees that happen on a bus line! It could be sweet!

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February 16, 2007


from an interview on Killer Pop with Yo Majesty, who play at Funky Buddha 3/1

Finally, when are you coming out to Orlando?

Shunda: Like, as soon as you request for us to come. Make sure the accommodation is straight, coz I mean, we ran into situations where we were not treated like the women we are.

Jewel: Majesty, our name!

Shunda: And what we bring: we're not just bringing good music, man, we changing lives for real. People not just loving us and vocalizing it just because the music sounds good, they're listening to the words that we're saying [and] it's encouraging them. It's helping them get out of drought. Take your ass out to the club, drink on it, shake it a little bit and you know what I'm saying. Start over, you know, pick your self up.

Jewel: We got from the church in the morning to cleaning your house and you and your man just got in a fight, you popping and you gonna say, “Baby I'm so sorry, Lord, forgive me, Lord, I know you love me,” to: “Fuck that shit!” (laughs)

Shunda: What we’re doing is we're trying to help people be stress free.

Jewel: And stress free means be real with yourself, baby.

Shunda: That's real, so whenever you have us come through and take care of what needs to be taken care of we won’t have no problems, coz we'll be comfortable in our comfort zone and we'll come lay it down and make it happen and blow Orlando up.

Jewel: We ain’t even saying paying for a show for us to perform, just some accommodations.

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I laid awake for an epic hour or two thinking about my nana and if in heaven she can see me. I got meaner and cry a lot more since right when she died and I wonder if that is because her spirit has come to reside in my spirit or just coincidence because thats how it goes when your grandma dies. Or if she is part in heaven and part in everyone that loved her. Or if she is all together someplace else, in a baby I don't even know, or a baby I will know one day. Because I went to her grave and I know she is not there. I got my memorial Z tattoo upon my bicep for her and it is healing and itches all the time and so I wonder what she is doing all the time rather than just wondering often. I think about her and wind up at the same thoughts: The last time I saw her I knew it might be the last and my car was just down in the parking lot and my camera inside it why didn't I go get it and take a picture? Why didn't I go visit again after that? If I ever have a baby they won't ever know each other. Can she see me and is she sad I am not married and do not have a family of my own? Does she know I feel ambassadorial for her and my living grandma and every time I do something they never did or could when they were my age, that I think about it as if I have scored for us as a team, even though I am here and the rest of the team is in heaven and Indiana? I have a bank account in my own name with my own money in it and it is for us. I spent all day yesterday trying to place an airport I remembered everything about but the city it was in (Cologne) because when I was there I made sure to take notes because they had never been to Germany. That today I woke up when I wanted to and read a book and made tea for myself and was under no obligation to make breakfast for anyone else and went back to bed to read some more because they cooked meals every day for decades whether they felt like it or not and fed animals and children and husbands with care from dawn on. Does she know that I live in sin with a man that occassionally "runs the sweeper"--(which I am positive is the main thing that impressed my nana about my stepdad, aside from him being a good dad, when she came for my graduation and saw him get serious with the vaccum and then talked about it every time his name came up forthe next 13 years) that when Matt vaccums, I think he is vaccumming for all of us.

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February 13, 2007


It's a twofer. Hey! If you liked that video--SCREAM CLUB IS ACTUALLY PLAYING. ON Thursday. $5 at Ronnys Bar, 2103 California. Gamine Thief, new band Wretched Pin Ups, and homocore from Minneapolis Central Standard. Gamine Thief are some of the folks who put together the Chicago Girls Rock camp and they are akin to early Sleater Kinney, but with two Corrins and a trumpet. Five bucks gets you tons of feminist rock, lesbitronic dance raps, gender queer ambition making good on old riot girl promise--alllll night long. See you there!

PS. Sorry that this week blog is gone the way of a save-the-date calendar/er. Hopefully this is a non issue for you because you are local to the Chi and anxious to find something to do other than wait til the blowing snow advisory passes and cry over the childhood you never had.

PPS. If you have finished out whatever season of whatever cable show you compulsively netflixxed or w/e, let me suggest to you a little movie called KLUTE, which stars Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. It is Jane at the height of her powers, with a flawless feathered mullet that signalled her entre into feminism and totally bummed out her philandering frenchie husband who was into her femmey bouffant ( in real life, not the movie). She plays a hooker who lives in a basement apartment that looks like a prison cell, has an icey-cool soul and it is a scary movie for a lot of reasons. I think technically it's a "psychological thriller", but it's a ride in the whip of hell-tension and hot Jane Fonda in her call girl couture is driving. That is my other suggestion. If you don't want to go to the riot girl dance party at the skeevy bar, watch Klute.

PPS. Is it just me or is the current season of 24 really terrible? I don't care who dies, gets tortured, gets shot to protect freedom, radiated to death etc--I just want Kiefer to stop yelling "TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW" or "FIND THEM AND GET BACK TO ME" every 1 minute, and yelling it like some just knifed him in the colon. The only thing I am buying is the farmer from BABE as the evil dad. Everyone else can get eaten alive by nuclear terrorist horses for all I care.

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Not like I am planning on leaving this apartment anytime before that snow melts, but the art institute is free until the 21st. This apartment has forced-air heat and it has spoiled me and I do not like to be out or away from warmth. After years of living in questionable dilapidated situations where the winter-living involved doorway blankets, box fans strung up and hung at weird angles, industrial plastic sheeting tacked multilayered over every window, stuffing mysterious gusting spaces with caulk and balled up newspaper circulars to keep snow from entering your room, serious denial and multi-appliance jerryrigging etc-- after years of that--having a house that goes above 60 feels like a real treat. I told Matt yesterday that I am not sure I qualify as punk anymore and that I think it mostly has to do with having central air.

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February 12, 2007


Chiditarod is coming again! I went last year and biked the course for a story on it and it was one of the funnest things I did all last year and I was not even in the competition. All you need is a working shopping cart, four pals, some rope and 15 lbs of canned food and you can do it. My tips are do not drink at every stop and have your friend who brings you your canned food do it at the end of the race and not the beginning and remember to grease your wheels.

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I know America really only has room to let one gender-queer electronic dance band be popular at a time, but since Le Tigre is "on hiatus", can we let it be Scream Club? At least just for a little while?! PS. Cody Critcheloe=still genius

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February 11, 2007


Is it a pig in the story that goes "home again home again jiggity jog"?
I am home in my house and have felt gone forever and now feel relieved and comforted. This is not to say I minded sleeping on a hot couch or a cold utility closet futon, because I did not. The guest closet I slept in was painted dark purple and was decorated with a sewn, patched flag of a bedsheet pinned up to diffuse the bare bulb and a taped-up xerox of Ornette and Anthony Braxton (i think) playing pool and looking cool in collared shirts and sweaters. The little cat that lives there licked my hair clean while I slept. I didn't mind at all.

And then, suddenly, the next day came and I was in Times Square (on business, we all are when we are there). And a curious thing came to pass: I breathed the same rareified air as Nicole Richie. She stood next to me and Jon widened his eyes violently as a signal, and I saw her from the corner and she was such a slight wisp of humanity, I had already seen thought she was a little child of 9 or 10 who was in the Good Charlottes entourage--a lil' sis or a terminal, prize-winning child.

And then later you think today I was brushed by the bulky handbag of one of my generations premier celebutauntes and just yesterday I was standing in the kitchen of the Lil' Pancakes house talking about finding meaning in post Paper Rad art (comics, neon, irony) when Mike said that he thinks that sort of thing is the concern of the aristocracy. He was making lentils & coconut rice when he said that. I tried to explain New Sincerity, what I know, but conceeded "I don't know much about Judith Butler beyond her wikipedia entry." and something like (digression).

And you think Does Nicole Richie like art that is sincere or does she prefer art that is ironic? Does she get jealous that she goes TRL with her friends a lot but is never on herself--always the bridesmaid?

I said: "I am into art that means something. I like stuff I can feel about."

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February 09, 2007


I would really like it if men dressed like this. I just would. Like fairytale helpers come to help you through the woods.

Today I am in New York ("It's called the Biggest Apple for a reason"). I like being here most always, it's a good combination of feeling industrious and being invisible. Best American city for demonstrating people as a teeming mass, a big churning molten pile of humanity.

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February 08, 2007


Ok, so I have a change for the shirt idea
Which one?
I think it should say "Apathy is the art of the bourgeoise" in stead of "Not caring is the art of the bourgeoise"
I dunno. I think apathy is one of overused those words--it puts people on the defensive. It sounds accusatory.
Ok. Then why don't we just make it say "You're a Nazi"

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February 06, 2007


New England was designed for horses and buggies and the houses and buildings are plopped down and curiously arranged in a no particular direction mish mash and as a result, all crooked streets and roundabouts and after years on the grid system, my brain was choogled. In just trying to get to the Lil' Pancakes house, a mere 4-5 blocks from Providence exit 21, it took an hour of circles, a couple passes past the mall and a tryin'-to-turn-around which brought me way closer to Woonsocket then it shoulda. It is frosty as the dickens in this old 1880-ish casa--a given for all truly punk houses--blazing uncontrollable heat or run-in-place-to-stay-warm is the rule--but the hospitality is rill nice and I am getting a fresh tattoo tomorrow, sometime after breakfast, but before the "pizza party".

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February 04, 2007


My opinion about shows is out again, if you need it.

PS. The new Rickie Lee Jones. It's intense and not what you are expecting. It's like her Radio Ethiopia, but kinda stoned and older in Santa Cruz. It's like divorce blues, but yr kind of like "Damn Rickie, that's real." Her voice is reedy and raggedy. It's not adult contemporary how you are thinkin' it is.

PPS. Orthodox's Gran Poder is also some seriously fine business, but it's apocolypse metal with cymbals mixed 2x as loud as everything else, and features a Venom cover and the lyrics are in Spanish (I think). It's inverse Rickie Lee Jones, and much more Melvinsy.

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It's the birthday of my favorite liberal theologian/humanist/ father of "Death of God" theology Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who blvd that it was true Christian duty to act radically in the face of injustice, so he conspired to kill Hitler, a plot which he hung for. PBS did a nice doc. about him a few years ago that you can probably check out at any decent sized library. He was a Christian activist with a big fat problem with Christianity, got his spiritual education in Harlem, smuggled Jews into Switzerland, wrote a gang of books and papers. Theres a tidy overview for you here.

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February 03, 2007


There is no way to explain with out coming up short. Also, myspaced recordings are paler still. But. It's worth a shot, so bear with me: Retribution Gospel Choir were the best band I have seen since that nutso Coughs show last winter. I been confident about what Alan can do for a crowd since I saw Low play at Speedboat Gallery to an audience of just 10th grade me and Azalia Snail, and I like Low more now that they are scuzz-loco, all kinds of doom and boom, but this, his other band is all together some other hot science. Retribution Gos. Choir seems topically bent on violence, and the lyrics all reminded me of PJ Harvey. They solo'd tons, and the songs had the perfection and resolution of "Serve the Servants", but were violent in the words (valleys, death, war, stray kids slicing their faces off, weapons, the bible) and the freak out was genuinely unhinged, like they prolly could not reign it back in if they tried. Then they did a Black Uhuru cover that sounded like Crazy Horse w/ Grant Hart on drums. One song had the great, great line "I have heard your records / And they sound a lot like mine"--snap! Afterwards, JR and I kept talking about them all night, like how are you feasibly a reggae band that sounds like Big Star and the apocalypse? How are you able to put Ragged Glory, "Heart Shaped Box" and I-Roy in one song and not sound like hot hell as presided over by a Sublime cover band? It is possible and being done, as you live and breathe.

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February 01, 2007


Business notes:
1. The benefit, if you were not there and do not know, was a unqualified success, hella duckets were raised, the bands were terrif, fun was had by all. That was no surprise. What was a surprise is that in 100-1 odds (literally), the winner of the "Fred Armisen in yr own home prize" was Fred's ex-wife, Sally Timms. Sally offered her ticket up to the highest bidder; The Empty Bottle came in with the big cash, and plan to use the Fred performance to anchor another benefit for baby Cal. If you couldn't make it, you will have another chance to support the Robbins family and get wasted in public sometime before the summer is out.

2. I am having a recurring dream that is so awful and wonderful that I must share it, and hope that perhaps someone can use it for fodder for DC band slash fiction. It is even better than the one last week where instead of a car I drove a gazebo with wheels on it. This dream is progressing like a soap opera--in chapters: I am a roadie for a Red Hot Chili Peppers / Fugazi / Cranium super-band. In the dream, they are all on tour together and then have a rotating line up in this super band, which in my dream sounds like Mars Volta but much more softly magical--but the nucleaus is Fruciante on gtr, Guy singing and the rest of Cranium as backing band. Most of the songs are like "weedly weedly weedly aaaaahhhhh klang klang aaaah" but with a lot of tremelo and delay. In the first dream I was just stage managing them at some goth metal festival, setting up the on stage stripper pole and colorful curtains that whip around them as they play. But in subsequent dreams I have managed to talk my way into being in the band by telling them I played in "a little known American version of Huggybear" and then they ask me "So how many songs do you know how to play?" and the answer that gets me in the band: "Tons. All kinds."

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