August 19 – 27, 2015

Just got home from seeing Tangerine, which I heartily recommend to all of y’all. I was going to say that it was the best movie I’ve seen all year, but it has been a good year for movies (It Follows, Mad Max Fury Road, etc) so we’ll just say it’ll definitely be making my top-10 at the end of the year. It follows two sex workers in LA on Christmas Eve, along with an Armenian taxi driver and his extended family. Both lead actresses are transwomen. The entire thing was shot on iPhones. It’s messy and anarchic and sloppy and foul-mouthed and totally filled with life. It made me feel like independent films used to make me feel in the 80s and early 90s, i.e. more Slacker/Clerks, less Little Miss Sunshine.

This week has otherwise been pretty quiet — my interns left on the 19th, so I’ve been doing wrap-up stuff at work, and have otherwise been able to start thinking more clearly about what I want to see at Hopscotch, and then a few weeks later, at Afropunk ATL.

In order to assist with the Hopscotch planning, I once again put together a Google Calendar of all the shows, both daytime and nighttime. See my earlier post for details. I typically use it by creating a second custom calendar & copying my shortlist picks over to it, and then hiding the original.

I already made a shortlist, but now that I have a little more breathing room, I’m liable to go back and re-listen to everything again. One thing is for certain, though: I’ll be at Kings for the WXDU/WXYC/WKNC Day Party on Friday, September 11. Won’t you join me?

Last Friday night my friend K & I drove to Winston-Salem to see High on Fire and Pallbearer at Ziggy’s. I’d never been there, neither this location or the previous, more-or-less outdoor one. It’s a weird room — big and boxy and industrial, with a balcony like the Lincoln or the Ritz, but somehow smaller than either of those venues. It actually sounded pretty good once someone who knew what they were doing, and cared, was running the mix.

At the bar, the special was a 32oz “rum bucket” for $10. There was a big pile of plastic Malibu-branded buckets on the bar. I didn’t see any of the metalheads drinking out of them. Weird vibe all around, but everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Pallbearer were great. High on Fire were . . . loud. I actually love their new record (and the songs they played from it definitely stuck out as superior), but mostly it was a lot of riffing and a lot of Matt Pike bellowing and after 25 minutes I felt like I pretty much got the picture.

On Monday the 24th, Chicago music critic Jessica Hopper tweeted the question “Gals/other marginalized folks: what was your 1st brush (in music industry, journalism, scene) w/ idea that you didn’t “count”?” She then retweeted all of the replies, hundreds of them. It overwhelmed my Twitter feed, off and on, for the next several days.

Someone did a Storify of a huge chunk of them. You need to go read it.

Speaking of Twitter, I usually skim back through my timeline when I sit down to write one of these, because my memory is terrible. And I have to say, it’s usually a pretty good read, my Twitter timeline. Even on days when it’s 95% retweets, there’s some quality filtering happening.

August 19 – 27, 2015

2015 Hopscotch Music Festival Google Calendar

As in previous years, here is a Google Calendar with all of the Hopscotch shows on it — day parties and nighttime shows. Links:


To add this to your Google Calendar, click on the boxed arrow to the right of “Other Calendars” (in the left column), and click “Add by URL,” then input this URL:


2015 Hopscotch Music Festival Google Calendar

August 7 – 18, 2015

Spent some time this morning getting angry about how the local “progressive” newspaper just fired its editor, without warning, and without any explanation beyond “the decision was made to make a change.” Which is some mealy-mouthed bullshit, the kind that corporate TV newsrooms use to fire anchors once they reach a certain age. Or football teams use to fire their coaches, although in those cases there’s generally a losing record that everyone is well aware of.

I don’t really know Lisa Sorg — it’s a small town, so we’ve met once or twice, and we have plenty of mutual friends, but that’s about it — and I have probably spent more time over the past couple of years arguing with her on Twitter than praising her work. But under her direction the Indy has been vibrant & opinionated & full of a range of different voices. Including her own — her byline has appeared on more stories than that of any other editor that I can recall.

And maybe that was part of the problem — maybe she was a little distracted by her passion for writing & reporting. If that was the case, though, then why not negotiate a leadership change and move her to a staff writer position? Or at least tell her what the deal is.

I’m sure there are a dozen sides to this story that I don’t know, and at least 8 of them I’ll never know. But I’m trying to imagine a scenario in which the formerly locally-owned Independent Weekly would have fired an editor with no warning, and no stated reason. I can’t imagine it, because that was never how owner Steve Schewel & publisher Sioux Watson operated. Their progressive politics including being human to one another.

Another big gap in blog posts, obviously — work in mid-August is peak busy & peak stress. Took 16 interns to corporate headquarters in Armonk, NY for the big end-of-summer expo, and then spent a couple of days with M in Manhattan over the weekend.

On Saturday we saw Penn and Teller *and* Fun Home, *and* ate dinner with our old friend M. This after a sleepless Friday night thanks to the bastards at the Jane Hotel, who would apparently rather run a dance club than provide quiet rooms for their guests to sleep in.

I’m glad I saw Penn & Teller. It was about what you’d expect it to be, but live and in person. I’m fond enough of Penn — you pretty much know what you’re going to get with him, but it’s neat to see him do a 90-minute show with very few breaks, and to realize that he’s a real showman, an actor & a raconteur.

But Teller is the star (which Penn is at great pains to emphasize throughout) and it was honestly pretty magical to see him do his thing from 25 feet away.

Fun Home was beautiful. Although I have never been particularly resistant to musical theater, I’d hardly call myself an aficionado. And honestly, although the musical numbers were hugely entertaining, it was the acting by the three Alisons that really got me, so much so that I was about to wonder whether the show will be the same with other actors in those roles.

But I think the answer is yes. I look forward to seeing a high school production of it somewhere, sometime. That’ll be amazing.

I have one more day of interns in the lab, and then my summer is over. Expect more writing here shortly.

August 7 – 18, 2015