Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It's weird, as it gets drearier and colder outside I actually find myself waking up even earlier. This seems in direst contrast to most folks I know who tend to bunked down when the weather changes in this manner.
For years I wasn't a morning person at all. I never have needed much sleep -- when I was working in bars and restaurants and came home at 7 a.m. I wAs still usually up and active by 11 a.m. -- but ever since I started the regular 9-to-5 I've found I generally like an early start.
This is boring. I thought I was going somewhere with this but now I realize I mistook my first thoughts to be an important prod when they instead were mere descriptors of simple fact.
I'll come up with something later to make up for this!
UPDATE: Whoops! I was up so early I forgot to turn off my alarms so it's blended squall of static and overlapping radio stations just scared the bejeezus out of GalPal. Sorry honey!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
GalPal and I have a trip to Cancun coming up. I can't wait. I've never taken a vacation where I paid for everything up front and it's one of those all-inclusive deals, thus ensuring I can just enjoy myself and not worry about coming home to a big debt for good times I've already had. On the flip side I'm a little afraid it will be something supposedly fun I'll never do again. Aimless leisure and endless pampering actually seem a little frightening to me, but as even a casual reader of this site has probably figured out, I am a man on the go -- often ridiculously so -- and for the first time in my life I think I need to unplug and take a break, even if it's just for a few days.
Of course all that time spent outside by the pool or on the beach means I'll be shirtless which also means a) aircraft will need to be diverted in order to avoid the blinding glare bouncing off my chest and into the sky and b) I need to lose a few pounds so I don't look utterly ridiculous. I'm by no means overweight, but I have slid into the trap of slipping in more sweets that are necessary into my daily diet over the last few months, so I'm pulling them back out to regain equilibrium.
So what do think? Will I be able to enjoy myself? Or will I be going stir crazy and driven mad by the cheesy resort nightlife entertainment by midnight our first day there? And also, any advice from folks that have done these all inclusive deals before? We were told not to tip but that seems ludicrous. I'm a pretty generous tipper though so I need to know what's actually appropriate down there? And who do we tip? When?
This is gonna be weird, but I think it might also be awesome.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Last night I saw a ridiculously good show as fun. tore the hell out of Schubas and sent everyone home with smiles that would make even the most blissful post-orgasmic couples jealous.
Tonight I am seeing Mikhail Baryshnikov dance at Harris Theater, Miike Snow rock out at The Empty Bottle, and then various friends DJ at Sonotheque.
Tomorrow night I am DJing with JB at The Continental.
Sunday night I'm seeing Mark Lanegan play with Soulsavers at Double Door.
My life is ridiculous.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This made my morning.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Exclusive - Backstage with The Flaming Lips and Deerhunter|
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I just got word that Yo Gabba Gabba is releasing a compilation of all the tunes on the show including stuff from of Montreal, The Roots, the Shins, and motherfuckin' Biz Markie. Whilst I am excited about all of those tunes I am most excited that it also includes Chromeo's "Nice 'N' Clean," the perfect soundtrack to washing your hands before dinner!
It truly was a pleasure to talk to the man. The entire interview is now online so peep it up:
INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN SMITH: PART ONE
INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN SMITH: PART TWO
You'll understand the choice of the photo above once you finish the interview!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I was just sent a link to the latest video off the forthcoming Flaming Lips Embryonic album. It's for "I Can Be A Frog," and it's probably the most, um, accessible of the album's 18 songs. This came on when i was driving around with GalPal last weekend and at first I thought the girl talking and making animal noises was Wayne Coyne's wife Michelle, but I've since learned it's actually Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Anyway, dig it.
I was super bummed when Ladyhawke's tour was canceled a while ago (visa issues I think?) so I was willing to brave the suckfest Perez Hilton "sponsored" that hit town last Saturday. Ida Maria had already dropped out due to sparse crowds at preceding dates, and that meant the bill was left with only one decent band.* Anyway, Ladyhawke did not disappoint, and I took a bunch of pictures. You can see a bunch off them at Chicagoist, and then check out the rest on Flickr.
*By the way, Maria really jumped off a day too early, because the crowd at the Metro was large and enthusiastic!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
So last night I'm outside the Little Boots show at The Empty Bottle and this girl next to me is just livid. She was hoping to interview Little Boots after the show but apparently the interview fell through, and the tour manager was kind of a dick about it. And, according to this chick, while the show was great, and the music was great, and Little Boots was great, the review this girl was going to write was just going to eviscerate Little Boots and point her out as the phony she was! Plus, Little Boots didn't even sell her own merch at the merch table! Little Boots doesn't care about the local scene!
Now I can understand it's a bummer to have an interview fall through. And I've dealt with my fair share of dick-ish tour managers. And while I do think it's cool to see an artist selling their own merch, I don't expect and electro pop acts that's only touring small clubs to seed her path in the states because she's already pretty huge overseas to tell me which size t-shirt I should buy.
I've spent years accumulating the cred that gets me the access I get, and even then I get turned away a lot. It's just how things work. When you're writing about the arts you need to write about THE ARTS, not your petty feelings of being denied access to this or that personality. I just did an interview with Kevin Smith (part one is up now!) and it took forever to set up because he's a busy guy. And at one point I didn't even think it was going to happen so I was just going to preview his appearance in Chicago tonight. And believe me, the preview was NOT going to say, "This jerk can't even find the time to talk to me, so you shouldn't go see him talk!" It WOULD have been, "Kevin Smith is a funny motherfucker, he's in town tonight, catch this rare chance to see the hilarity in person."
A lot of writers nowadays are spoiled brats, prone to throwing diva-like tantrums. And it's fucking ridiculous. And it makes it harder for people like me to do my job, because the various channels of promoters / managers / artists I used to deal with are now getting clogged with these jerks and their inflated sense of entitlement.
[/hey kids, get off my lawn rant]
By the way, Little Boots was fucking fabulous. If you have a chance to see her now, DO SO. She's not gonna be playing tiny room next time around, I guarantee it.
Photo by memekode
Yesterday's Slate V talked about condom ads around the world and reinforced what a parochial environment we live in. My particular favorite ad was a British one that comes near the end, chock full of excuses to avoid slipping some protection on that even a teenager would find laughable. (Watch it below ... the add I'm talking about comes in at the 4:25 mark.)
Watching these condom ads made me realize that I have never publicly endorsed a condom myself! Now I am, of course, a virgin, and have never seen the naked female form outside that one scene in Revenge Of The Nerds, but if I were to engage in sexual relations out of wedlock, I would probably use Trojan Ecstasy condoms. Sure the name is silly but, and mind you this is after 21 years of NOT engaging in premarital sex, this is truly an amazing piece of engineering. It's been claimed many time before but this particular gift to mankind actually feels better than wearing nothing at all. Had I ever tested it out in a real life situation. Which, of course, I have not. (Hi mom!)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Pavement is reuniting?
Well, O.K. then. It's about time. However I'm not losing my shit over this news like 99.6% of the other folks writing about the group getting back together. Pavement is by far one of my favorite bands ever, but I don't find this news to be earth shattering, or even all that interesting.
Would it be nice to see them again? Sure. But after the last lackluster Chicago performance I attended I can't say I'm expecting much.
Maybe it's because I saw them play live a lot from Crooked Rain... onward. Maybe it's because I've actually chatted with Spiral Stairs and Steve Malkmus at shows, thus demystifying the two main members and removing the cloak of indie rock royalty that probably obscures most people's vision.
On top of it, the news isn't exactly unexpected. The group just kind of fizzled out because various members got bored. There were no feuds, no real acrimony, no reason the band wouldn't get back together to play at some point in the future.
Or maybe this doesn't fill me with glee because I'm just a jaded old fart. I keep forgetting that a lot off folks that write about music probably came of age at the tail end of Pavement's existence, if they were even into music by that point at all. So sure, most are tripping over themselves with huge expectations and hopes* but, c'mon, this ain't exactly The Police or Blur getting back together, right?
*My hope is, of course, that Pavement play a couple shows for shits and giggles and then go their separate ways again. I fear them re-entering the studio (although if they did, and could regain that ol' fire like Dinosaur Jr has successfully done on their last two reunion records, then I would be A-O.K. with it, but chance of that happening are awfully slim).
UPDATE: O.K., read the press release a little more closely and it says:
Please be advised this tour is not a prelude to additional jaunts and/or a permanent reunion.That makes me feel better! So now I'll just sit back and enjoy thee shows!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I was listening to a 9:50 minute instrumental version of "Baba O'Riley" off Pete Townshend's Lifehouse demos from the Lifehouse Chronicles collection (sadly out of print and impossible to find?) and was struck by the man's forward thinking approach to music. That synth loop that kicks off the tune is extended between the opening half of the tune and the crashing close. The minimalist repetition creates a sort of phantom zone state of mind so that when the guitar and drums comes slamming back in it's even more powerful than in the recorded version. I'm sure if I was hearing both the final take and this original demo for the first time at the same time my view would be different. And it's fascinating how in the demo the second half takes a cue from free jazz and just kind of careers all over the place instead of maintaining the heavy chug in the finished version.
Are you following any of this?
I guess I'm musing on this because I'm grappling with how difficult it can be to get excited about music these days. I'm not saying there's not a lot of stuff out there to like, and I certainly am in love with music still, but I wish I still had that fresh life or death excitement a song could bring to me in my formative years. And hearing this demo of an old Who song made me enjoy that song all over again, and resurfaced the joy I felt when I was 16 and really discovered the band and just CONSUMED everything of their I could find.
But back to Townshend's genius. So I'm listening to this demo, recorded in 1970, and damn if it doesn't sound even ahead of our time. Just terrific.
Also, this same set of demos has the original version of "Sister Disco." Written in 1970. Now that is visionary.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Look, I'm a huge Flaming Lips fan and while the last few albums have been fine, I've just been waiting for them to shake off the "Do You Realize" pixie dust and get a little more obviously scary again. (They've never stopped being lyrically dark, they've just been dressing it up in happier sounding clothes.) The new disc is out next month, and judging by the tastes of tunes the band has released, it looks like it might just be a complete winner.
Anyway, you can pre-order it right now (in regular or deluxe form). Of course, I wouldn't write a blog post JUST telling you how to pre-order an album, but since it's now on their site, the band has released the full track-list along with song lengths!
The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
- Convinced Of The Hex 00:03:56
- The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine 00:04:14
- Evil 00:05:38
- Aquarious Sabotage 00:02:11
- See The Leaves 00:04:24
- IF 00:02:05
- Gemini Syringes 00:03:41
- Your Bats 00:02:35
- Powerless 00:06:57
- The Ego's Last Stand 00:05:40
- I Can Be A Frog 00:02:14
- Sagittarius Silver Announcement 00:02:59
- Worm Mountain 00:05:21
- Scorpio Sword 00:02:02
- The Impulse 00:03:30
- Silver Trembling Hands 00:03:58
- Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast 00:03:45
- Watching The Planets 00:05:16
A few weeks ago Rudy and JB put together an awesome pub crawl for all of us using Logan Square locations both known and unknown to us. GalPal teased me for taking part in such a "bro" activity ... I told her we were actually taking it back from the bros! Here is how it went.
Stop One: Logan Bar & Grill
A faceless, kind of corporate feeling, generic place. There was almost no one there. It was early on a Sunday on a holiday weekend though. I've been there once or twice in the past and the staff is always friendly so while it's not the kind of place I would usually hang out in, the reasons are purely aesthetic. However, it was a nice chill place to kick off the pub crawl.
Stop Two: Cole's
This was the find of the day. Cole's is new, Photogal had raved about it, and it's an old man bar own by an, er, young man. It kind of reminded me of The Burlington's vibe, only bigger with both a pool table and a back room that sometimes hosts bands. the decor was winningly shabby and the staff was extremely polite. So polite they offered us baked goods! (Cookies made by the owner's girlfriend and brownies made by his mom.) I'll definitely be paying this place many return visits.
Stop Three: Helen's Two-Way
This place is a dive. I love it. I've been there many times but it had been at least a year since my last visit, so it was nice to stop back in for a beer. Oh wait, I have been there more recently! I went there with GalPal after our first time at The Whistler! Well, that's more a testament to the potency of The Whistlers drinks than it is of my love for Helen's. This is also where we started to add a few people to our party.
Stop Four: The Whistler
We took over the patio. We consumed incredible drinks with unpronounceable names at reasonable prices. We all donned sunglasses to show Rudy why you do NOT wear sunglasses at night. Rudy, Balls and I stuck ridiculous poses. This is where the fun really started to pile on, luckily just in time for GalPal to join us after the photo shoot she was in all afternoon!
Stop Five: The Rocking Horse
Aaaaaand, this is where the evening almost slid off the rails. Douchebag central. Just wall to wall jerks. We rescued a few of our friends who were there waiting for us and beat it as quickly as possible. I did a shot just to say we stopped there but couldn't wait to get out.
Stop Six: El Cid
By now everyone was ready for some food and El Cid really hit the spot. We all got a huge table, consumed many frosty margaritas, and I ate a mountain of tacos. Even more friends joined us, a bit of good natured verbal sparring erupted, and the evening was back on track! There are a jillion Mexican places in Logan Square and honestly El Cid is not really distinguishable from any of them food-wise, but the place does have a killer patio and great ambiance.
Stop Seven: Whirlaway
Ah, Whirlaway ... the original Logan Square hipster bar is still, well, the most hipster attitude-y of the Logan Square scene. the place is comfortable enough, but I've never felt 100% comfortable there. Plus, i was running low on cash by this point and there was no ATM machine in sight! (This is one of the bad things about the Logan Square stretch of Fullerton - for the most part, if you run out of cash after 10 p.m. it's a huge hassle to find a cash machine. They all require a 20 minute walk.) So, Whirlaway was O.K., but most of our party seemed to be spending most of their time on the sidewalk which is why we finally decided to hoof it to...
Stop Eight: The Burlington
Yeah, what a surprise. Of course we were always going to end up here. Even after testing so many different drinking establishments in a single day, The Burlington remain my favorite Logan Square bar.
Now, I can't wait until NEXT year's Logan's Run DIY Logan Square Pub Crawl!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
NASA released this image over New York, taken from the space station, after the events on September 11, 2001.
(click to enlarge)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I watched the show for most of its run, until the point at which the characters, who lived in the same apartment complex in Los Angeles, had gone through all possible romantic combinations with each other and began repeating them, as if their personal history didn’t exist. See, at that point, you’re not just messing with my head; you’re acting as though I didn’t have a head. That’s where I draw the line. I try, anyway.
I find it interesting Nancy Franklin and I had almost the exact same response to the original Melrose Place. So much so that the "I try, anyway" accurately reflects the fact that I taped EVERY single episode on up to the end on VHS back in the day.
And, ask Photogal how we almost didn't date because of Melrose Place.
You are absolutely correct if you deduced this photo of the always adorable Betty the Beagle is meant to buy me some time.
I'm working on a recap of last weekend's pub crawl, but the mixture of the day job and an absolutely slammed schedule of arts coverage around town is delaying its completion. Tonight I'm going to try and hit up the live Monneypenny thing, but that depends on whether an interview that's supposed to happen remains scheduled for tonight. The one thing I am definitely doing is heading to Hideout to see Grammar later! I'd tell you about how awesome they are, but GalPal already did a fine job of that, so I won't.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Marcus appeared on Chicago Tonight last week to discuss that endlessly amusing topic of online versus MSM and that whole changing media landscape thing. What a hoot!
I jest. The conversation was pretty interesting and I thought Marcus more than held his own. I won't really get into my opinions of the viewpoints espoused by certain guests, but I think it's pretty apparent that a few of them still don't "get it," and that their inability to do so at this point is, frankly, quite shocking.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Rudy and I are professionals.
In other news, I'm scheduled to interview Kevin Smith tomorrow evening. After his 24-hour Tweetathon I'm not sure if there are any questions left out there to ask him! (Kidding, I do have questions of my own, but if there's something you can think of, that the dude hasn't already been asked a dozen times before, let me know and I might slip it in the the Q&A!
Monday, September 07, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
Things I'm doing this holiday weekend?
- DJing at The Old oak Tap tonight from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m.
- Trying to schedule an interview with Kevin Smith.
- Going to the beach for the first (and probably last) time this summer.
- DIY Logan Square Pub Crawl with pals.
- Seeing Bryan Scary at Schubas.
- Catching up with all my New Yorkers
- Try to actually fins a few moments for myself to unwind a bit.
- Judging, judging, judging...
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Usually I avoid shows at House Of Blues. It's a nice room, and it sounds good, but if you're press it seems like something ALWAYS comes up there, and it's just a hassle. I mean, even if you want to check on things ahead of time you can't even get through to a living human being on the phone! (I tried calling for 45 minutes yesterday, everything from box office to restaurant to store in hopes of getting a hold of a live person, but was put on endless hold awaiting a "phone ambassador" that never materialized.)
So we get there yesterday an this is what happened:
- Got to the window and tell them I'm on The Living Things guest list.
- Discover I've been given two tickets (I only needed one) but there's no photo pass.
- I tell them I need a photo pass to get into the venue with a camera, maybe I'm on The Cult's list?
- No photo passes at all.
- I call the tour manager.
- There is ZERO signal in House Of Blues so it goes directly to voice mail.
- A friend of mine outside actually needs a ticket so I give him my extra.
- After 30 minutes calling and texting to no avail, I hike back 6 blocks to drop of my gear in a friend's car.
- Get to car, drop off camera, and discover my ticket has fallen out of my back pocket during the walk.
- Scour the streets retracing my path in hopes I find my ticket.
- Nope, no ticket.
- Get to House Of Blues, explain my situation to the box office.
- They can't help. They can't give me another ticket.
- I ask if they'll call back and ask for the tour manager.
- They call. I wait outside. Things don't look good.
- Box office girl opens door, comes over to me, hands me a ticket and say, "You better not be lying or I'm gonna give you a spanking!"
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Tonight I am seeing two bands. One is a shamanic legend from my past that will be playing an album that will pull every ounce of high school sentimentality from me and, I hope, the rest of the audience. I fear though that people will tolerate the slower mystical numbers with measured boredom and only erupt at "the big hit." this is the risk band's take when their "best" album isn't actually their "most popular," but they decide to recreate it onstage anyway. The last time I saw this band they were opening for Metallica on their never ending "...And Justice For All Tour" where they were booed off the stage at the Chicago stop. That crowd broke my heart. I am hoping tonight's show finally allows the last layer of scar tissue to fall away.
The other band is a new band whose recorded music I quite like, but who put on a stage show of which I am highly suspect. The singer preens like Mick Jagger while spouting political sneers and in my headphones this makes perfect sense. My last live experience was severely lacking so I am hoping the situation is different when I see them take the stage tonight.
If you wish, you can see these bands tonight as well.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
So I finally had a successful test run of tweeting my DJ set last Saturday. I marked everything with #djtankboy so anyone that wanted to cold easily follow along, or reconstruct everything the next day. (I've also, as is my custom, archived the whole set with my thoughts on the evening here.) I just noticed last night that Joshua Pressman live tweeted his DJ set following the format I introduced and that's caused me to reflect on why or why not the practice works.
I've experimented with the notion of tweeting sets for a while, for a number of reasons. At first I was cautious, and afraid I would clog followers streams with something they found annoying. Then I realized that people following me had opted-in to do so, and probably expected to hear something about music from me, right? Also, my DJ sets are at night, and that's when the folks who are probably most interested in that sort of thing are still active on Twitter. Finally, I'm creating a musical narrative, so it's not some annoying bot saying "I just listened to [song], or [username] just loved [song]!"
And then a tweet by the Rev made me realize something else; while it's annoying to see certain clubs or nights spam you all day with requests to come on out (something I refrain from doing ... once or twice is usually plenty) it's something else to actually be able to interact with a gig. I'd get tweets during the set encouraging me, complimenting my picks, or making virtual requests. The next day I got even more feedback, quite a bit of which was "wow, I have to make it to your next gig!"
So overall I think it's a positive idea, at least for me. Since I only DJ a handful of times each month it seems like a worthwhile thing to do. That said, not EVERY set needs to be tweeted. Especially if you're DJing more frequently. There's a fine line between engaging people with your sets in hopes of getting bodies out next time orr building new contacts for future gigs, and annoying the fuck out of everyone to the point they cease both following you and attending your gigs.
What do you think, am I right about this?