A Dull And Witless Boy: (rant?)

A Dull And Witless Boy: (rant?)

one of my favorite points in a burgeoning relationship is the first time you really smell them.  maybe they’re wearing perfume, maybe the slightest hint of vanilla or lavender, and maybe you’ve spent a night out at dinner and dancing at some ridiculous club downtown. at the end of the night you’re sweaty and laughing, self-conscious about sweat spots on your clothes, she’s lightly draped her arm over your arm to steady herself as she adjusts her heel, and you catch that first lazy scent of whatever she’s wearing; maybe it’s just her, maybe she just smells good.  (maybe it’s pheromones.)

and maybe you’re in the car driving back to drop her off at her apartment, and there’s that awkward goodbye where you’re not quite sure if you should give her a kiss, and maybe you don’t, and then you’re in the bathroom brushing your teeth, staring at your imperfections in the mirror and imagining the perfect scenario for how that date should’ve ended: she, draped on your arm, adjusting her heel, finds out it’s broken. she holds the heel in her hand, showing you, and says, “i’ll just take them off,” and you say, “and walk barefoot on the street?  i don’t think so,” and before she can contest you’ve swept her up in your arms, taking her to your car, and there as the windows start to fog up with your residual body heat from intense tangoing, you kiss, soft and naive, learning each other’s lips.  and then you drive her home.

and as you’re dreaming this, lying in your bed, struggling to find the perfect sleeping position, you catch the faintest hint of her scent again, a thin tendril of vanilla or lavender curling around your nose, begging you to remember.  and it smells like it’s coming from your pillow.

the next morning you wake up feeling more alive than ever.

a dream

I had a dream last night that I was in my childhood home in Nampa, it was nighttime, my parents were sitting watching TV in the living room (mom was crocheting of course), and I was in the kitchen looking out the window as the house on the corner was swallowed into the earth, like the earth just cracked open and swallowed it up.  I shouted to my parents but they seemed disinterested in the whole thing.  There were news helicopters in the sky and spotlights circling the plot of land where the house stood.  And as I was watching the ensuing chaos outside the house next to it also was swallowed up.  And then the next house, and the next, until the entire block was gone.  There was a moment where I was just staring at an empty land where these people used to live, and that’s when I woke up.

Normally I don’t try to find symbolism in dreams, but if that one didn’t scream “You Can’t Go Back,” I don’t know what will.

mfnw 9/18: day three

Boy, I really let this fall by the wayside, didn’t I?  Long time readers will find no surprise in that.

Friday night started late again; Paul and I were determined to get some sleep before we headed out to a very long night of music.  I ended up taking a two hour nap, but Paul wasn’t as fortunate (this totally makes us sound gay, like we were sleeping in the same bed or something.  We weren’t, but if it makes you feel better to imagine that we were, that’s fine.), so I was nice and refreshed and he was still a little bleh.  We found ourselves getting food instead of seeing the 8pm bands (we hadn’t heard of any of them).  Food was sushi.  A quick tangent[1. They’re never quick, are they?] about sushi: I love it.  I grew up hating seafood.  I still do, really.  In landlocked states, fish is smelly and disgusting, having been frozen for some time.  Once you get over the cascades, it generally tastes better.  I can eat salmon, because there is fresh salmon in Idaho, but other than that, get it away from me.  Lobsters, shrimp, etc?  No way, dudes.  I don’t want to eat ocean bugs. Continue reading mfnw 9/18: day three

mfnw 9/17: day two

Thursday, Friday and Saturday had Nike-sponsored all ages shows at the Wonder Ballroom, shows that happened earlier in the day (five-thirty as opposed to nine or ten), I suppose so high schoolers could go to the show, rock out, and be home in time for homework.  A bit of backstory: Paul and I both purchased VIP wristbands, instead of regular ones.  It cost us $100 more, but it was well worth it, as you’ll read about in tomorrow’s blog.  One of the perks of having a VIP wristband was that you got immediate access into the venue; in other words, you didn’t have to wait in line.  While this was super sweet, the Wonder shows did not follow this rule.  So even if you had a wristband, you still had to wait in line.  Since Paul and I had to work until 5:00, we couldn’t get to the show in time, especially because the lines to the Wonder shows are always PACKED.  By the time we would get there, the line would be full of young teenaged hipsters trying outlandish new fashions, ushering in a new age of Annie Hall hats and vests, ridiculously skinny jeans, and Converse. Oh god the Converse. Continue reading mfnw 9/17: day two

mfnw, 9/16: day one

If I were a real writer, stealing literature riffs from Hunter S. Thompson or George Plimpton, I might make some grand thesis-esque statement for my first paragraph about Musicfest NW, something about the welcoming atmosphere of the Portland music scene for this one glorious weekend in September, maybe a little bit about myself and my love of music yet continual need to branch out, to listen to more, to find yet another band that I love.  I might hearken back to my childhood, relating stories of listening to my father’s americana/country band practicing in our basement, or the time my dad walked in on me singing “Hakuna Matata” at the top of my lungs in my bedroom[1. I swear I’m not gay.].

But this is Musicfest, not the fucking Beatles, and this is a blog, not some goddamn Rolling Stones feature. So let’s get into it. Continue reading mfnw, 9/16: day one

musicfest mini-update #2

Viva Voce @ Doug Fir
Viva Voce @ Doug Fir

I guess the big news is that Paul and I are not going to see Modest Mouse tonight. The reasons are twofold for me: 1, I am le tired. The past four nights have been a bit whirlwind, and for some reason spending four hours (or however long) in one location, the somewhat dismal Crystal Ballroom, is strangely anticlimactic. Friday and Saturday were great nights, and while I enjoy Mimicking Birds and Modest Mouse to a certain extent, I don’t enjoy them enough to go see them tonight. That’s just how it’s going to be.

(Tangent: I’ve found myself, since the huge upswing in Twitter recently, putting only one space after a period rather than two, which is how I’ve been taught since I was taught English. I … I’m not sure how to feel about this. It’s a vital necessity when writing tweets, but this is a blog, a safe haven for proper grammar and syntax[1. Well, sorta.]. A place where the tried and true imprints of the hodge-podge English language are given their proper room to breathe, to exist, to push against the bones of a healthy and well-maintained ribcage. I would go back and edit an extra space in between all of these sentences but … eh, fuck it.)

So I’ll begin writing the MFNW reviews tomorrow. Hm, writing it like that sounds a bit pretentious, as if I’m expecting you all to glean some kind of hip Portland cool from me merely by my typing words on an electronic page. The truth is, I stand out like a sore thumb at these events: tall, awkward, long red hair, unironic eyeglasses[2. Real ones, that have stupid black duct tape on the ends to keep them from falling apart.], a childlike sense of awe when watching bands, taking utterly shitty photos with my cell phone camera … etc etc. When I walked into Berbati’s to see the Long Winters on Friday night it was like walking into a surprise birthday party, and John Roderick was, figuratively, the icing on the cake. I was rocking out in my own little world, found myself remembering lyrics to songs I hadn’t heard in quite a while, and generally just looking like a dork. Ah well, this is the weight of my silly little life, I guess.

Anyway, I will also be making a playlist of Musicfest bands, including songs that you definitely have never heard of, from bands you probably haven’t heard of, like Monarques, a band that we just missed play at Rontoms, but whose EP, which they gave away for free, is pretty fucking great.

Truth be told, there was only one band the entire weekend that I didn’t enjoy, and I will tell you who that is later.

So yeah, a mix that you can download and enjoy, hopefully as much as I do!

And now, sadly … back to the real world.  At least I have some new music for it.

musicfest mini-update

the thermals @ bodyvox
the thermals @ bodyvox

In a couple of hours I’m going to be seeing Viva Voce at some VIP party thing, but I want to write a little update before I nom nom on some Burgerville and proceed to rock out yet again.

First off, if you aren’t following me on Twitter and want to hear me geek out on a more live basis, I suggest you do so.  I’ve been taking the Worst Photos Ever with my cameraphone[1. I need to get a BlackBerry, srsly.] and posting them on TwitPic, as well as short bursts of textual energy, such as “THERMALS FUCKKKKK YEAH,” etc.

Anyway, long story short, last night was the best night of MFNW and probably will be the best night MFNW.  All four bands that I saw were awesome, and the sushi that I ate beforehand was awesome, and the nap I took after work but before the shows was awesome. Everything = awesome.

Seeing the Long Winters play again was especially spectacular. John Roderick has long hair and a mustache and a missing front tooth.  He’s great.  The band was as tight and energetic as ever, and the between songs banter was hilarious. For some stupid reason Berbati’s wasn’t as packed as it should be — I blame it on John’s lack of releasing an album or touring for the past year or so. That’s okay though, cause the ones who were there were pretty hardcore fans.

I shouldn’t go into details because I’m going to do that after MFNW. You all should check out the Prids, Explode into Colors[2. Dear girl who plays the melodica: marry me? Love, Josh.], The Long Fucking Winters, and, of course, the Thermals, who played a VIP after party at BodyVox dance studio, with a big long rehearsal mirror behind them, effectively rocking all of our testicles off.  Yes, even the ladies.  The ladies grew testicles and then they fell off, it was so rocking.  We’re all eunuchs now.

musicfest itinerary


There’s only one lineup, and that is — Fences, Portland Cello Project, Damian Juardo, and Will Scheff (of Okkervil River) @ Wonder Ballroom.  I am excited about all of this.

Dr. Dog & Helio Sequence @ Wonder
Either Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Doug Fir or Tu Fawning @ Berbati’s.  Probably the latter cause it will make us closer to
The Twilight Sad & Frightened Rabbits @ Dante’s!  TWILIGHT SAD!

Arctic Monkeys @ Wonder
Something, not sure yet
M64 @ Jimmy Mak’s
Explode into Colors @ Holocene

Lots of bands playing 30 minute sets at Rontoms
Saturday is kind of iffy.
World’s Greatest Ghosts @ Backspace
Brunettes @ Berbati’s
probly Ava Buffalo @ Berbati’s
Point Juncture, WA @ Mississippi Studios
Church & Finn Riggins @ East End

Sunday has only one lineup, with Morning Teleportation, Mimicking Birds, Love as Laughter, and Modest Mouse as headliners. Dunno how into them I’m going to be, but Mimicking Birds is playing and I’ve really come to love the free CD-R I snagged at their MFNW show last year.

All in all, a crazy time, and lots of fun.

variations on a theme; or, how to save the american theatre

Take a deep breath folks, have a seat, bring a glass of wine, because this is going to be a big one.

Before I begin, you have prerequisite reading: The Empty Spaces, or, How Theatre Failed America, an essay from the Seattle Stranger by Mike Daisey.  You must read this before you continue.  Don’t worry, I can wait.

Ready?  Okay. Continue reading variations on a theme; or, how to save the american theatre