December 27, 2007



I drew this flier. The G in light got messed up. It is based on a drawing in Bryan Turcotte's new book about punks visual culture that Cali helped with Punk is Dead, Punk is Everything that came out last week and is really marvelous.

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December 25, 2007


My mother was eating a pear and my sister, maybe eating a pear or something that sounded like a pear when you ate it, both of them leaning against the island, as I was stalling against work, and taking pictures of them through the centerpiece fishbowl of flowers and peat, in which my mom had installed the model Appaloosa horse that Matt bought for her stocking, and my mom and sister looked up, twinning beams of annoyance, sidelong at my camera, and my mom says to sis-sis, "Oh, it's so hard living with an artist." Sigh, crunch-bite, glance. "Why don't you turn on the flash, Jess?" suggested my sis as a way to make what I was doing pro-actively annoying, rather than incidentally. My mom holds the freshly bitten side of her pear three inches from the lens "Here."

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December 23, 2007


They would not have it until after Christmas, but I think honestly, theres no point in giving a gift if you can't present it a month late, right?
But, I'd really like to suggest you, or someone. buy Julie Doucet's drawn diary, 365, which comes out first week of Jan. It's Doucet on blast but more crucially b. it's rather frank about being a tempramental artist --she does not spare herself c. gives several considerations of what success is when you are 15 years into being an underground comics wonderfille, still...It's thick and plowable and personal and personable, written in charming canadian esl and worth paying money for.

I do not know what else to tell you aside from if you have to bring a child relative to a movie this week and they are not old enough to see Golden Compass, Alvin and the Chipmunks is not that terrible and also is one of the most accurate movies about the major label music industry ever made, with David Cross playing A&R guy to the r&b ground squirrels. The only unrealistic part is where the Chipmunks make money off their hit record.

The end/goodnight.

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December 20, 2007


If you are in Chicago before 1/5/08, really, you hafta go see the Achilles G. Rizzoli exhibit up at Intuit, the outsider art museum.
He was obsessed with utopia, lived with his mother and associated with neighborhood children, and in his spare time drew ultra detailed fantasy buildings representing people, including what it might be like to lose his virginity, which he never did.
It's free to see all of this. You will be amazed and inspired.

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December 19, 2007


I keep meaning to mention it--maybe find a way to work it into the essay I have been working on in my cabeza for the last 18 months about (tent. title "Notes on Trapped")--as I keep reading mentions on blogs and news places about it BUT only people who live outside of Chicago actually blv R. Kelly will go to trial. We have a crookedy, bribed out, mobbed out, back scratching and otherwise flawed local system. My as of yet unconceived children will be working afterschool shifts at Hardees before R Kelly sees a courtroom.

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December 18, 2007


No year end lists to contribute to for publication this year. Budget constraints, art constraints, not being staff are most of the reasons. It's perfectly fine because "best" is disturbingly open-ended, and what difference does a year make when art is currently only truly dividable into pre or post 9/11, pre or post Katrina, and save for that effluvient noise coming from down the hall--it's all popular music, and there is less meaning and more money than ever in anything you might be tempted to call underground. More people getting more rich on a myth is a terribly old story I'm not much interested in anyhow (Next year we're going to have a Pitchfork channel of TV, dogs! Perverse! Intense! The meaning of the absence of meaning writ broadcast large!) It's also perfectly fine because I'm not sure I can name a couple 2007 LPs that I listened to again n again all the way through for pleasure, that brought me pleasure, that I felt like I understood, or could campaign behind. Part of the reason behind that was simply, or maybe sadly (?), constraints of the job. This year, almost all of the money I made writing was in blurbs, charticles and show previews that are between 300 and 80 words instead of longer stories, essays etc. I had to write way more stuff, but with not much space to extrapolate on big ideas (if the band even has them) or theories (if I even conjure them), and what I write is more about the "good vs. bad", interesting vs. not and making a joke or two. Another factor was having to write about second or third choices because I'm freelance, not staff, and pop or hip hop (etc.) is someone elses beat, and ouila, now theres a lot more Myspace-only local bands on my radar, less time mining albums for the big idea; how I make money neccesitated (sp) a change in what I listen to and how I listen to it in 2007. I ain't complaining, as fact is print journo is tomorrows buggywhip today; I'm lucky to squeeze paychecks out of it. Friends (still) ensconced on mastheads are quick to remind that the only crit refuges left are academia or books, as jobs and column inches are impossible to come by in the ought-seven. I never met an ivory tower I liked, so I went with the latter. My pub date is March 2009, according to the deal memo, but in the meanwhile, look for my byline on the inflight next time you fly from Duluth to Phoenix.

None the less, I'm not bummed. Esp. about the non existence of year end list. Hierarchy is bunk. Bunk as heck! PLUS You already know that the M.I.A. record is serious business, though her live show made me feel like she's a Mumia-beat Dan Deacon for those who are down with the other and have the Mp3 blog to prove it. I think PJ Harvey making a record from the POV of a Victorian-era ghost baby is really interesting. Best? As best as the zillion Lil Wayne songs that I downloaded this summer? I have no idea. Probably not. As best as Mika Miko doing "Attitude"? Defs not as best/bext as how Lil' Mama Chancla smelled, NAY! stunked after singing "Attitude". I do not know if Radiohead is best because I haven't downloaded it because I can't decide how much I want to pay for it. Not sure if that Radiohead has much as the fuck the man bestness as the mailorder only edition-of-100 cassettes that Rjyan and Roby put out. Or the Landlord demo-cassette that the kid at the farmers market passed me. Is free, invisible, green non corpo action from a band that makes like, a million dollars a show or free, hand-to-hand traditional sharing of the peoples medium (pre-internet version) more of a BEST remix of anti-capitalist ideal? You can't really tie best. Another best is the differential between No Age on record (I like some of those EPs bester than others, and you can tell it wasn't an LP in the first place) and No Age on the stage which revealed that America's favorite Angeleno cool dude dual/duel/duo is making punk a threat again. I am not sure how it's best compared with when I went to see Watain and their corpse paint had so much realistic peeling skin that it made me gag a little and leave after a few songs because they were an actually scary black metal band. Though were their costumes as best as the kid at Fiery Furnaces halloween show dressed as a furnace on fire? Perhaps a tie. What is best scariest or charming effort? Watching Tim Kinsella turn over a new solo leaf, as a singer-singer songwriter, baring all and inspiring a very mortal tremble amongst the 22 or 34 people watching on a Free Monday at the Bottle, his married/buried allegories the most powerful take since "All Apologies"; I had to leave because it was so good. I couldn't take it. Another song more and there'd be some unmooring of internal paradigm. There was also that backyard party Bird Names show which was a wretched best--I felt my age ruefully and deeply and then during the show, suddenly, an epoch lifted amongst the sweat and flashing xmas lights.

Yeasayer might of made the best of the Tv on The Radio rip off albums of 2007, but that dudes got a fretless bass, so I might have to differ to Dragons of Zynth, who have one great song that out-TV-On-The-Radio's Tv On The Radio. Like most people, I also like the bands that sound like my favorite band. Generally, the last thing I want to admit--that I'll settle for a cheap imitation. As a best, it was not as best as Rickie Lee Jones singing about the garden of Gethesemane, or the Michael Dracula album. Michael Dracula is a girl who sings like she is very high, cold and careful. Static doom and a certain intransigence is why I think people like, say, Wooden Shjips, but 10 minute songs is a lot to ask of people, and I'm still not feeling hippydroneshit as the new punxsound, so I go for Michael Dracula. I also thought that Lavender Diamond was going to be best, but I keep forgetting to listen to it a third time. Those first two? Wonderful. It'll make you feel like a virgin again.

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December 17, 2007


Craft night. The hottest new monthly in town. Felt squares are the new bloghouse. BYO scissors is to 08 what "Lindsay Lohan's Revenge" was to early 07, but in reverse; making stuff amongst friends snuffs the desperate tones of your mind. Nevermind those blinking Myspace ads, here's friendship! I would have invited more people but I didn't have enough chairs.

We listened to the Savage Love podcast and made cards and presents and covered the whole house (and Wyatt too) in glitter glue.

After an hour of listening to people callin' in with their sex problems, it began to effect what we were producing.

Not pictured: Kelly's "Welcome Homo" seasonal door hanging, the bird sculpture emblazened with "BLO JOB" in glitter, JR's deep crimson blushing as we girls discussed the caller who complained that as a feminist, she feels demeaned by "doing it doggy style".

Though nothing really captured the essence of the evening like Kate's misspelled door hanging for her new place. Kelly did the whipstitch, I advised on the matter of the glue, Morgan spellchecked it. Good work, team!

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December 16, 2007


The story I did on post-Fireside all ages shows is out. It's a basic overview on one facet of the scene. Talking to folks doing house shows in Little Village and hardcore shows in Pilsen without steady venues, it's a diff. story all together. The older punk promoters all suggested that one of the benefits is that in absence of the Fireside--a centralized place--that posers and kids from the suburbs got weeded out. I thought that was a pretty funny thing to cite as beneficial to the scene at the ages of 31, 32 and 38 respectively. Personally, I am pro-poser because poserdom is the nut from which we all hatched and many times the suburban bands, the goofball kids existing in relative isolation are the best--or at least better than the born cool citykid bands. Plus, and after all, if it wasn't for the Fireside nurturing the weird genius of teenage suburban dorks, emo as it is understood today would probably not exist.

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December 14, 2007


Last weekend, I went to Derek Erdman's birthday party. There was no cake, and he spent the entire time making grilled cheeses so as not to have to deal with anyone. These two teenage girls showed up and were standing in a huddle in a corner. I decided to befriend them and introduce them to people I knew. When I was 16 and hitting up the parties of the people I worked with at the record store, grown-ups all, I would wind up standing in a corner with my best friend trying to project WOW. I'm having so much fun drinking this beer, while slugging back the Michelob Light we'd pilfered from her parents basement fridge.

And even though it was totally the lamest lame that ever lamed we would front to our school friends about the rad adults party we partied at, and never acknowledge to one another the soul crushing experience of being the only teenagers at a grown ups party.

It was not a soul crushing experience. Amy's dog Camille was there, eating edamame and lemon bars. Lemon bars are delicious.

The girls were asking me and Lil' Dave Maher for recommendations on records they should pick up. "Well, what sort of things do you like?" we asked. They really love the Delta 5, and are in a Delta 5 cover band, just the two of them, but it's just french horn and tamborine. We were kind of stunned, and professed that they were the coolest people at the party and totally didn't need our help. The pressed on. Dave told them why Double Nickels was crucial. I suggested Au Pairs, Slits, Antena and disc one of Best of The Whispers.

I wanted to ask if I could join their band, but I know grown ups can be a corrupting force, and I am already in a new band. Perhaps my band with Kate and JR--Juan of Arc--can play with the very special 11th grade chamber-minimalist tribute to Delta 5. TBA, my dudes!

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December 12, 2007


The next few weeks concert sched is all local every night all night due to holidays and people knowing that the third week of December is a fucking beat down in the Chi-Bougie (note new spelling). But, starting tonight, at the Hideout is Mazen Kerbaj (via Peter, natch) the Lebanese improviser whose jazz doesn't sound like what you think jazz sounds like, though it's minimalist bliffs and puffs and clicks are well familiar to all whom've been living in a post-Tortoise Chicago for a few yrs.

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December 11, 2007


This might be my favorite thing to happen in a movie all year, aside from the last few scenes in Water, during which I was sobbing with abandon (as was the one other person in the theatre). I dunno why this movie is getting bad word of mouth, because it was fanfuckingtastic. Ritchey is right vote with your dollars for movies with girl heroines. Some evil, nebulous, corpo they wanted to make the main character a he, not a she, like in the book--Fuck the patriarchy!--See it twice! I choked up when Lyra is riding to save her friend on Iorek's back--it is like every child's dream of animal bond! Riding through the snow with your talking animal friend to pursue child justice! POWER TO THE LITTLE PEOPLE AND THE NEWLY SOBER POLAR BEAR THEY RODE IN ON! The ending is a little ridic but only for the last 4 minutes, but they give us a teaser for part two that instills forgiveness: PART TWO IS A "WORLD WAR OVER FREE WILL" , says the witch who goes by her first and last name, which sounds like she's reading her Ikea shopping list every time she introduces herself. FREE WILL! Even in it's tramped down Hollywoodian ways, I wonder what sort of radical notions this could instill in children? Here's to hoping.

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December 09, 2007


LOLsheviks, via Robin.

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December 08, 2007


The night of the ice storm, me and Al had a tea party and talked about free love and what being over thirty is about. It'll have to do for a while, since last night he left town and moved to Carrboro. Home again, home again, jiggity jog.

Years ago, when Milemarker moved to town from Carrboro, c. Frigid Forms, I heard they were anarchist-socialist assholes. Turns out they were actually inspiring radical weirdos, nicer than most anyone from these parts. I think people were pissed because they were the best band in town and already popular--they were so inspiring, radical and weird, it showed the rest of us up.

P1040028.jpgIn the years since then he's been my neighbor, my room-mate, my editor, my family, my band-mate, my tour mate, my art coach, my anarchist-socialist asshole--and, if you ask our old landlord--my no good ex-husband as well. Bye friend! See you soon!

Look closely--can you spot the hidden bicycle in this image?

If you read Nelson Algren's Neon Wilderness and imagine it any other way than this, well, you imagined wrong. If he's writing about Polish people and they aren't in a bar or apartment on Division, this is right about where they are.

Or they might be here, where Miles is standing. I lured him out into the snowstorm with a gingerbread muffin I made, like in a fairytale.

I did not bake him into a pie or strand him in the forest though. Instead, we went to The Crotch, and JR showed us proof of his cop blood. Homemade target, shot with bebes--a perfect bulls eye at 10 feet.

This week's motto: SKATE OR DIE!

After skate night, there was the Auxes/Head of Skulls/Yakuza show. It was so nice to see my old friends and former bandmates, and Mike Triplett, who plays in Auxes too. Mike was in a coma, but now he's in this band. Everyone is psyched he lived to shred again. Auxes closed their set with a Wipers cover; fists were pumped and lifted towards heaven.

JR was there, channeling Donald Fagen.

Ben was acting hard over by the hunting video game.

After seeing five jazz shows in the last week, it was funny to see someone play a saxophone with their shirt off, then sort of air-fuck it and then scream and growl and jump in the pit, but that's how Bruce Lamont rolls-- the sole force behind putting reed instruments into progressive shred metal.

I bet theres a few dozen ladies in town that would pay cash money for that sort of attention from Bruce.

As I took this picture, Al was saying "Oh great, another picture to put on your blog." THAT'S RIGHT BOY-O!

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Hilton Als on the eyes of Kim Gordon.
Imagine being of that talent. Being one that just dashes that kind of thing off as a blogpost; it makes you want to peck yr own hands off with the keys of the Smith Corona.

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December 07, 2007


Mark the page in your Filo-Fax, but Pukers, from Los Angeles, are playing on the 15th at Enemy Loft, which I think is where Buddy used to be, so there is not a malcontent or partyboy in town that should not be able to find this show.

And well, sooner than that, tonight! One night only! Dave Laney and Pete's new band, Auxes. It's pronounced like Oxes, the Baltimore joke band. Dave was in Milemarker and Challenger, and Pete replaced me in Challenger and is also the merch dude for every band that changed your life in 2002, he ran the AK Press table--you have prolly bought an anarchist manifesto from him, even--a great man, that Pete! It is a special night, celebrating and capping Al's years in Chicago; long may he run.

"Are you a cop? / Are you a christian?" is one of the better punk refrains I've heard in some time.

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December 06, 2007


Holy scuzzo, JR UNPDATED HIS BLOG!. Meanwhile, in real life, just today he almost bought Anita Baker's Real Love on CD for $1.50, so not believe that he only listens to modern classical and black metal. I'm not teasin', I love Anita; plus, I almost bought Aerosmith Pump for no reason other than they never play "Janie's Got A Gun" on the radio anymore.

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Holy scuzzo, JR UNPDATED HIS BLOG!. Meanwhile, in real life, just today he almost bought Anita Baker's Real Love on CD for $1.50, so not believe that he only listens to modern classical and black metal. I'm not teasin', I love Anita; plus, I almost bought Aerosmith Pump for no reason other than they never play "Janie's Got A Gun" on the radio anymore.

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The SONORE show last night was a real mindblower, though these young dudes hump-dancing on the ottoman might scoop them in the mindblower department.

Last nights MVP, Mats Gustafsson, is a colossus. Here is a footage of him playing with EYE from the Boredoms. He really frees the jazz, and p.s. this shit is kind of tame in comparison with last night. He was taking this huge screaming gasps of air and scrunching his body, his eyes were ringed pink from all the sweat going into them. He went through 10 reeds in like 40 minutes. He is a real wolverine with that saxophone.

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December 05, 2007


I'm busy and Peter says it better, in a way that is less pervy about Brotzmann, but Sonore, the father-son-holy-ghost of blow-outs tonight at the Hideout. I saw the Tentet at the MCA, and I am still trying to figure out my feels about it other than I am still in love with old man Brotzmann, the physicality of Mats' playing (first I'd seen him) made me quiver a bit, and also, the German guy with the trombone who was totally feeling it at all times--I loved it when he'd boogie and his curly hair cape would flap and he was making doodley-doo faces, singing along. His wild East German fashion sense and the fact that you could tell that jazz is his whole life and spirit was really excellent.

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December 04, 2007


I got this off of the Spiderfang fan(g)site:

And it is my obsession as well. What could cause one to think that 150 sq ft of carpet would run you as much as a college education? My theory is that Jose went into the service right after highschool, and so he has no idea how much anything costs. Matt says that even if he's ever shopped at a PX on base, he would have an idea, because the PX is kind of like Costco, and that they do in fact sell couches.

The old Kid Sister video that no one is talking about, probably because there is no Kanye cameo in it. I like this one better because it's about friendship, not manicures.

Weather Report c. 75. = way better than you thought.

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December 02, 2007


Those mixes that SFJ wrote about are listenable here: Rajaz Meter and Psycrunk.

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December 01, 2007


LA-to-Chicago transplant Adam McCormack writes:
I've only lived in Chicago for a few years so I can't really comment on "how things used to be," but I think the New Yorker piece [on No Age] touched on something essential in identifying The Smell as a geographical/cultural focal
point of this l.a. scene ("community" is probably a better word for what's going on there/not happening here). There isn't really any equivalent in Chicago - all-purpose, all-age, inclusive gathering spaces - and the few venues that might fill this void just aren't, what's the word I'm looking for here?..."welcoming" as a place like this needs to be in order to nurture a strong community (it's a "scene," instead). Then again, these places might not give a shit about building community in Chicago (not everybody wants to turn their
home/performance space into a rec center), but it's disappointing that, with all of the creative energy in this city, it all feels so fractured. It's also just really hard to get anyone to go anywhere that doesn't sell alcohol. That, too, might have something to do with the weather, but I'm not sure. People in the midwest really like to drink."


I am working on a story right now about Chicago's all ages scene and the #1 word that comes up is "fractured". We have more all ages shows happening in Chicago now, but it's punk shows one place, noise shows at three other lofts, ska shows in the burbs, black metal shows in DeKalb, indie rock as dominant city venue force in theatres and such. Most scenes thriving, just not on the same bills, which was kind of the virtue of the Fireside. Whomever was coming through town that day was on the same bill. I interviewed five people and they all said they miss that. Me too. At the time, it was kind of annoying to sit through a rockabilly band and a socialist Oi band to see Pretty Girls Make Graves, but then there were also nights where it was a teenage anarchy band and Har Mar opening for Men's Recovery Project--totally fucked and totally sweet. Decentralization begat fractionalization begat the current all ages boom, so it's a bit of a mixed bag.

(But, alas: a positive omen--a happy face appears in the coffee press.)

SOOOO...With all that in play, would scene unity* really get us anything? Other than a ska band opening the Battles show? And thirty-fifthly, would whats happening in Chicago be different if there were a crew of sober people at it's center, like LA?

(*as it exists in the classic ideal-- ie Op Ivy songs)

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