Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Do Know Loud

My first concert was the Who.

My virgin ears didn't know what hit them.

When I saw Kings of Leon in Chicago two years ago, my ears rang for 2 straight days and nights.

I saw local band Stink Eyes perform inside ADA Gallery and it was so loud across the street that I was told people were complaining about it there.

They can all bow down at the sonic altar of My Bloody Valentine.

I think my ears may actually be bleeding...despite the earplugs I (and most of the audience) had in.

 This audience came for the noise and MBV delivered.

And they came from all over the East Coast since this was the band's only mid-Atlantic show.

I saw people I never see at shows tonight.

And everyone of us had brightly colored earplugs inserted deep in our ears so as to have some trace of hearing left tomorrow.

But we can also say we saw MBV and that alone is worth the price of any hearing loss.

But it might be a good idea to talk really loudly  if you see me anytime soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Adam's Bottom Made Up for the Rain

The law of averages finally caught up with me.

I've been attending Richmond Shakespeare Company's summer performances at Agecroft for years.

Unlike my tall friend Thomas, who finds these evenings painful (citing the heat and those awful plastic chairs), I love the outdoor ambiance.

I think it's great the way the actors use the stone walls to climb over, when they spout dialogue from windows or gesture to the stars.

I especially like enjoying a play that begins in the light of a summer evening and ends in darkness and, when I'm lucky, moonlight.

Last night was the final, final performance for A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play whose run I had missed because it coincided with my fortnight at the beach.

And, yes, I'd seen them do this very play just a few months ago at Second Presbyterian, but Midsummer is a play that begs to be performed outside.

Which it was for about 35 minutes until the threatening sky finally opened up and canceled the rest of the show. I felt better that the actors seemed to be as bummed about it as the audience was.

Luckily, my front row seat had already afforded me a very cool moment before the rain came.

Adam Mincks' character Nick Bottom (who had just been assigned the role of Pyramus) was reveling in anticipation of the role when he grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes and delivered his lines to me.

So yea, I thought I was pretty special for a hot minute there...until an off-stage voice shouted, "Actors, halt!" and that ended that.

I'm not complaining in any way, though.

After years of outdoor productions, this was my first rain-out, so I was probably long overdue.

Up next: Hamlet...and I feel sure the gods won't rain on me again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Eat This Lobster Roll Now

A lobster roll is the simplest thing in the world: big chunks of lobster meat, enough mayo to bind them together and a perfectly buttered and toasted split hot dog roll.

If you appreciate this sublime combination, I would suggest you go immediately to the Black Sheep and order the Nor'easter...preferably with a side of bread and butter pickled veggies.

If this meal doesn't transport you to a summer day up north, then I can only be very sorry for you.

When I was ten, my family spent a month on vacation in Maine.

What stands out in my mind is how cold and rocky the ocean was, that we could light the fireplace every night (and it was July!) and the sheer amount of lobster we ate.

When I bit into that lobster roll in Carver today, I was transported to that month of lobster heaven.

The Black Sheep is a neighborhood place for me, so I don't need reasons to go there (today's visit was to spend time with Adam, of local band Marionette, a friend and a really interesting guy).

I do see an awful lot of their lobster rolls in my near future.

Memory jogging qualities aside, this lobster roll is summer on a plate.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lust, Location and Locals

I go to the 48-Hour Film Festival screenings because I am curious about what the local film community can come up with just two days.

I go to see people and places I know caught on film.

I go to be amused and surprised and sometimes even enjoy something cringe-worthy.

As usual, this morning's festival delivered.

Some personal highlights:

A mocumentary about vegetables as sex objects. Tomato lust was seriously funny.

A roommate film shot on my block that featured my house, my fence and even the tree my dog regularly pees on.

Last weekend I saw them shooting it and this week I got to see the finished product.

Female roommate drama and a green terrorist made this an hysterical film.

A twisted take on going home, featuring one of my favorite local actors, Brandon Crowder.

I usually have to pay 25 bucks to see Brandon crack me up with Richmond Shakespeare and today I got to see him play it straight for only $7.

Well done.

It was my third year at the 48-Hour Film Festival and it's become one of my favorite annual events, Byrd Theatre seats aside.

If we ever get new seats, I intend to stay for all three screenings for even more lust, location and locals.

Neko Case Redux

Didn't I just post about seeing Neko Case a few months ago?

Well, yes I did, but that didn't stop me from heading to Norfolk last evening to see her for the second time in less than four months.

Actually, what's more amazing than wanting to hear that voice again is that I was willing to make one of my least favorite drives...east on 64.

Hate the road, hate the traffic, hate the lack of view.

But it was all worth it when she took the stage at the Norva and graced us with that unique voice of hers.

As someone once said to me, "Oh, come on, no one else sounds like that!"

Even after being shocked by her microphone ("This thing shocked the shit out of me," she said, "and burnt the inside of my mouth."), she continued without missing a beat.

Surprisingly (or maybe not for Norfolk) the show was nothing like sold out.

In fact, there were even bar tables and stools set up at the back of the floor (as I had seen once before for Pete Yorn there) because there was enough room to do so.

After the sold-out show at The National, it was kind of nice to hear Neko without being shoulder to shoulder with the masses.

Actually, it's kind of nice to hear Neko Case anytime...anywhere.

Even if driving back at 1:30 a.m. gets a little lonely.

Ah, well. It gave me time to dream of better days...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

D.I.Y. or Die

You can't fail doing what you love.

That was the theme of the documentary "D.I.Y. or Die" which was screened tonight at Gallery 5 as a benefit for the Richmond Zine Fest, coming in November.

The film was like a video handbook for independent artists and featured a dancer, painters, musicians (Dave Brockie and Jay Mascis, to name only two), a circus artist, a sculptor and writers, among others.

It was divided into parts: Inspiration, Publicity, Dealing with Adversity and Commerce, with the artists offering their unique takes on each topic.

The common thread was that D.I.Y artists are not doing it for the money, but for the love of their art. Their passion, despite the economic shortcomings that usually go hand in hand, was impressive.

Also shown was "Grrrlyshow," featuring interviews with various female zine writers (Jewish, black, Israeli, gay) about how they got started and why.

Interview footage was interspersed with vintage film clips highlighting the can-do attitude of women and girls; the film was a sort of pep talk for budding zine enthusiasts by those in the know.

The Richmond Zine Fest has already secured 26 table participants for the November 6th and 7th event and will continue to take submissions until September 30th.

The first night will coincide with First Fridays Artwalk, which should guarantee a full house.

The art will remain at Gallery 5 not only during First Friday and the Richmond Zine Fest, but throughout the entire month of November.

 Last year's festival was excellent and it only lasted one day.

This year, there will be no excuse not to experience the unique art form that is zines.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Yes Men/A Yes Man

After two weeks of vacation at the beach, it was satisfying to get home and find e-mails and messages from so many friends insisting that we meet up as soon as possible on my in every night this week was spoken for by mid-day Monday. I already have lunch plans for two days next week and assignations for three nights. Not bad, not bad at all.

Last night was dinner at Black Sheep (Artichoke Heart Galette, yumm, and a La Brea Tarpit for dessert) and then the documentary "Yes Men" at Gallery 5. This 2006 film was about the Yes Men, a group of activists who practice what they call "identity correction" by pretending to be powerful people and spokespersons for prominent organizations. They create and maintain fake websites similar to ones they want to spoof and then they accept invitations received on their websites to appear at conferences, lectures and on TV. The film focused on their impersonations of WTO big shots, giving speeches and presentations. It was hysterical and appalling at the same time. Only a college audience rejected the bullshit they were spouting, while the adult audiences appeared to buy into their line of crap completely. G5's second Tuesday of the month screenings are always worth checking out, for future reference.

The rest of the evening was devoted to us walking Jackson Ward (and running into my favorite neighbor Larry,who was a little tipsy after a few drinks at the Crossroads) and back to my place for some excellent getting-to-know-you-better conversation. It may not have been a night at the beach, but the evening had a lot to recommend it...mind, body and spirit-wise.