March 26 – April 2, 2015

Ummmm hey that’s an 8-day gap. Crud. What happened?

Indiana passed a really terrible discriminatory law that a bunch of other states already had some similar version of, and was dumbfounded when people actually noticed. I was born in Indiana, but we moved away when I was 10, so I don’t have much Hoosier left in me. Bloomington is pretty. The upper half with all the flatness is pretty bleak, although they do participate in the greatest Midwestern tradition, the BPT:

A terrible band with a terrible name played a show in Raleigh. My Internet friend Brenecia interviewed them & it was hilarious.

Friday night I drove to Carrboro to see Swans. The show was kind of a slog, honestly. Their show at the Lincoln Theatre a couple of years ago was phenomenal – huge, propulsive, engaging, cathartic. This one was much more in the vein of being beaten over the head for two hours. Which is still 100% Swans, so I’m not complaining – but it wore me out *and* didn’t alleviate the stress I’ve been carrying around for the past few weeks.

Saturday we saw It Follows, which was every bit as amazing as everyone says it is. The thing about indie horror is that it tends to be either very very bad, or very very good. This is firmly in the very very good camp. At some point very soon, creepy horror movies set in the decaying ruins of Detroit will become totally passe – but that point hasn’t hit yet. And anyway, the setting was only one small (albeit important) part of the formula. The performances were top-notch, and the cinematography – particularly the flat lighting – was outstanding.

Director David Robert Mitchell had only made one previous movie, a 2010 coming-of-age called The Myth of the American Sleepover. We watched it Sunday night and, lo and behold, it’s also amazing. Best bittersweet teen ensemble last-night-of-summer movie ever. Highly recommended. Stream it!

Tuesday night I participated in a panel discussion at NCSU about the past 35 years of Raleigh music. Or that was ostensibly what it was about. It was put together by Grayson Currin and Jason Evans Groth – you know Grayson. Jason is a musician and librarian who moved to Raleigh from Bloomington a year or two ago & was surprised to discover that the three cities in the Triangle have semi-distinct music scenes – as he told the audience, a lot of touring musicians pass through the Cat’s Cradle & shorthand the entire Triangle as “Chapel Hill.”

So we wound up talking more than we probably should about whether there’s a difference between “Chapel Hill music” and “Raleigh music” and whether one is better than the other. But we also talked about a bunch of other stuff & I don’t honestly remember most of it. When I got home, M asked what we talked about & I had no idea – I told her it was like asking someone what they talked about at a party for two hours. We kinda riffed on whatever.

The panel was me, BJ Barham of American Aquarium, Brian Shaw (current co-owner of Nice Price Books in Raleigh), Sara Bell, Caitlin Cary & Paul Siler. All good people. It was a fun thing to do, although I probably don’t want/need to do it again.

It was all recorded, and I know I’ll never listen to it, but I’ll post a link if/when it goes up.

Wednesday night there was a [typically underpromoted] show at the Duke Coffeehouse, sponsored by WXDU. The headliner was Spray Paint, an Austin band whom I have still not seen because of course the show didn’t start on time so I wound up leaving during Whatever Brains. 

It was my first time seeing Davidians, and they were even better than I had expected them to be. I mean, I saw Double Negative a LOT, and I have (and love) the Davidians singles, but nothing had prepared me for how wild & inventive & perfect Davidians guitarist Colin Swanson-White is. Jesus. 

Thursday night we went to the Carolina Theatre to sneak-preview the new seats in the cinemas with a screening of Vertigo. Which I had never seen. Seriously. I had seen individual scenes here & there, but that was it. No, I have no idea why I hadn’t seen it – I’ve seen nearly every other Hitchcock movie, so you’d think I would’ve seen his masterpiece by now.

Not only had I not seen it, but I had somehow either not been aware of, or had forgotten, the central plot twist. What a wonderful gift to go into it entirely unawares. I hated nearly everyone in the movie so much up until the twist. I still hated some of them after it, but in a totally different way.

My only objection to the whole thing is the utter disappearance of Midge during the last act. That seems like a legitimate flaw. I guess I’ll go read the scholarship & see what the consensus is around that.

Dang, what a week. I wish I’d written this a few days at a time. Lesson learned?

March 26 – April 2, 2015

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