Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ends Meeting Ends

Sunday I was at a memorial for someone I thought of as an aunt through my teen years, surrounded by people who guided me through my formative years. As I sat in the church pew, during a lull, a spark of memory ignited and I recalled that last night I dreamt that I was being executed. I was going to get a lethal injection for a crime that I didn't commit. I believe the rest of my family was too, but I'm not sure. In any case, the battle had already been fought and I knew I was going to die. Most of the imagery was in a white cinder-blocked hallway, but the events were so cerebral that imagery wasn't that important. Emotion was everything.

The part of the dream that I remember involved knowing that I could pick my last meal, the last music I heard, and my visuals while I died.* And what it really involved was me accepting the quickly coming inevitability of my own death. It was REAL. Unlike my zombie dreams, which seethe with reverie, adventure, and independence, this dream shoved together my consciousness with the end of my consciousness. The processes I went through in this flash of night were genuine, even though I know the probable cause for profound feelings in dreams. While the processes may be an effect of my brain trying to sort out its intake, that doesn't make the lessons or the experience any less real or valid. It really jarred me, forcing me to not just think about the reality of death but to truly experience it, completely forget it for eight hours, and resurrect it in the midst of slight grief. And of course, once it's resurrected, that feeling can be remotely accessed; genuinely re-felt upon command. It requires that unconscious point of gullibility and spontaneity to tap that feeling truly. Quite an unsettling sliver of sleep, that one.

*For the record, salmon sashimi and mashed potatoes with Mom's eclair cake, Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1, and Elizabeth Lake shore at sunrise.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Everything Is Good.

You might think that title is a hippie-dippy succession in my philosophical post parade. But you'd be wrong, even though we should constantly remind ourselves of that little nugget. Have you heard Tone and Niche? They're pretty incredible people who write classic and moving songs. And not just moving in the slow, sad, must pay attention to all the words way; there's a real captivating melodic genius to Anthony Retka's writing that doesn't require active attention. It's so easy to hear and understand even through the poetry and nuance mixed in like peat to the rich musical soil. With influences as time-honored as Lennon and Dylan, and as far-reaching as Andrew Bird and Leadbelly, they've found ways to interweave pop science with contemporary songwriting experimentation. But basically, they write a damn fine song. And violinist "Niche" Nicole Varga? Just try standing on two legs while she plays her solo on "From Her to Me." I dare you.

Well, anyway, tonight they're releasing their first full length album since 2007 (I can't believe Rust was that long ago!). It's called Everything Is Good, and I can't wait to hear it. It's a pretty optimistic sentiment in ornery, cranky times, which is actually both comforting and yet seems a bit sarcastic. The band believes in their friends, believe in heartfelt conversation, and believe in the community of artists around them. They talk about the good in everything constantly. Tonight's show is at the Berkley Front, it's costume-optional, and you can even bring a painted or carved pumpkin to decorate! Time for me to bring out my best Nancy Drew.

The funny thing about me promoting this release is that I haven't heard a single track. I'm not even sure if I've seen them perform more than two of the songs on it. But I'm so assured in Retka, Varga and gang's ability to craft something beautiful that I'll confidently say it's more than worth the money to get, and the songs are so sweet that you'll find yourself humming them on car rides home from work, or walks to the mailbox. Please go. If you can't make it to the show, consider buying it or one of their other releases from their store.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slow Down, Bessie.

It's mid-Autumn, which, of course, has its characteristic smells, sounds, memories, and compulsions. It's the most beer-friendly season, where warmth and family (in whatever sense family manifests) become more important than crazy hot nights. Even though Americans don't often operate how we used to when seasons actually dictated our lives, there's still some sense of needing to store, to take note of what we have, to plan. We see the animals doing it, and even though we can still get avocados in November, we're more compelled to use at least some seasonal vegetables. Many of us start staying in and drinking more, going into a little pre-hibernation or getting closer to our "best" friends.

This season, along with my reading habits and living habits, have me thinking about these ideas; the tenets of Fall. After an exceptionally rowdy boyfriend's birthday party, and the two days of hangover that have followed it, I'm taking at least a month off. Not just the sauce, but caffeine, highly processed foods, overly-salted or sweetened stuff, store-bought drinks, and other things that just basically suck for my body (and my psyche!). I'm sick of consuming things and wasting so much. It's a full-time job to organize your own waste efficiently, but I'm going to at least make conscious decisions on what to buy. I don't need to get bottled drinks. I don't need to get that candy bar (which is pumped full of air anyway), and I certainly don't need to get spring and summer produce in the dead of winter! (Although, I must admit, giving up avocados all winter will be very difficult!)

I'm reading a book called Eaarth by Bill McKibbon, and I think this feeling I'm getting relates largely to his sentiments about the planet's Autumn, when we sober up and realize reckless consumption can't last forever. Basically, McKibbon reasons quite astutely that the workhorse, not the racehorse, will need to rule the principles of humanity's future. "Durable | Sturdy | Stable | Hardy | Robust | These are squat, solid, stout words. They conjure a world where we no longer grow by leaps and bounds, but where we hunker down, where we dig in." (Emphasis his) We are so used to demanding and getting exactly what material conveniences we want (and yet being constantly mistreated, oppressed, and repressed in essential ways) that the idea of personal sacrifice seems ridiculous to many. I'm certainly exhausted after a hard day of work and have had my fair share of microwaved Lean Cuisine broccoli fettucini. But I'm starting to invest far more value into the notions of Durable, Sturdy, Robust. They speak of more depth; they resound.

Connect Slow Food and Cittaslow with the current buzzy Occupations and finally publicized raised consumer consciousness (I may just muster up the gumption to move my money into a local credit union instead of the big bank it's been in for my adult life). The push for locality and conscious consumerism is hard in ways; some of us have been showed the inconvenience and price tag of paying attention our whole lives. Yes, it takes time to make meals. It takes effort to know what's in season. But the kinds of sacrifices we should be making are far more rewarding than the injustices that we endure regarding our livelihood.

I've been seeing a commercial lately that seems cute enough to work for lots of people my age. But I now have a hard time even being able to see the sense in it, and I have a feeling more and more people are starting to feel the same way. It's animated and the narration throughout it actually says that you accumulate Stuff through your life in your tastes and documents, and that Stuff is what defines you; it's who you are. It shows others who you are. Through the spot the cute little animated characters have balloons of music notes, calculators, computers, whatever that are attached to their blue and pink heads at all times. The end of the commercial is as follows: "...what are you without your Stuff? Better yet, without your Stuff, who are you?" It's a scary concept to consider "within the normal bounds of American ideology". I mean, by that logic Ghandi was a total loser, and so were all those other minimalists. If you don't have Stuff, like say, you're a refugee mother trying to freakin' feed her children in the Somalian drought, well. You're nothing, I guess.

No, it's silly to think that. It may seem like a harmless commercial but ads are powerful propaganda. With this said, my thoughts for the Occupiers everywhere boil down to this. Remember that while we are constantly brainwashed, our political power is constantly revoked, and our voices are constantly trivialized, we also have more power and responsibility than we sometimes think. The demands we make for freedom and justice really must mirror personal loosening of the shackles of consumer bingeing. It's got a strong hold, but it's important to even just be conscious of the Power we have. Not only the angry, demanding power we have, but the Hardy, Durable Power we have to hunker down and make things work for the Winter that's ahead. It's one of the grand human and American values a large portion of us have forgotten. I'm not trying to be holier than anyone--I'm a wimp who rarely follows through on any of her grand decisions. But we gotta try to wake up. Wake up and smell the leaves, feel the shift, gather the family, and tally the store.

Monday, October 10, 2011


How is it considered negative damage when storefronts and billboards are ruined but the intrinsic worth of property on natural land isn't even a thing? Why isn't there an immense cost when we damage an ecosystem?

 How is there intrinsic value in manmade structures but none in natural resources?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Miss Guided

I had to run errands today. Apparently it's October and that means it's extra important to tell people their bodies are not their own, so there were a bunch of anti-choice church-related protesters all along Woodward for a good mile stretch surrounding the Shrine of the Little Flower. Signs that separated Jesus from baby-killing women, all that. I know that the people protesting (including preteen girls and boys and men and women of every age, all caucasian besides one family I saw) have no ill intent, and genuinely think that they are helping people with the blanketing notion of no abortion, and I feel no contempt for the actual vessels that hold the misguided ideas that seem to be spreading through a tired and cranky America.

But I couldn't just ignore it. It made my blood boil. The youth were laughing about the seriously twisted things they were saying: a joyful fellowship of horrific judgment. I had to express what I was feeling. Not angrily. I had to go to the mega-grocery store anyway for a couple things and I picked up a marker, poster board, and masking tape. In the windy lot I marked the thing up and then taped it to the passenger door (I debated the hood at first, which may have been more effective, but who knows). I trawled by. I don't think anyone even tried reading the sign, but you know, I don't care. Because I said something I believe wholeheartedly, publicly, without malice. And this was such a trivial little gesture, but for me it was big because I'm mostly unable to articulate myself. It's a step, just one of many. Ineffective to others as it in all probability was (except maybe for that middle aged guy with the pickup who watched me tape the sign up), it still signified a movement within me; a movement from reserved, tongue-tied sputtering frustration to clear, responsible expression. Whew.

The displays of white crosses I see on church lawns are angering and disturbing. I know someone who walked up to some protesters and asked them if they wanted someone else's shoes to walk in. I'm realistic; I know that this issue will be debated for a long time. But really, being vehemently against personal bodily choices is silly at best in the grand scheme of things. Really

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Practice, taller ants.

Yesterday I was sitting on the raggedy "black" leather couch, eating my lunch (<3 burritos) and glancing intermittently at the ivy facing me and the book in my face. Though I did not feel it at all (where did you come from, ya bastard!), a little brown ant somehow very quickly crawled up my arm and near the center crease of my book. I contemplated the things I would have normally done. Either brush it aside fiercely (certain death for the ant) or close the book and crush it (beyond certain death for the ant), then let it fall to the floor. I instead thought about the value of the ant's life as higher value than the book binding. I tried to coax it out of the crease by several means: first blowing, then with my finger, by slowly closing it without crushing it, and finally by taking a pencil from my purse and trying to guide it out. Alas, that fucker was so confused by the whole ordeal that it kept trying to hide itself as deeply as possible, so into the tenuous binding of the book it fled. As much as my father taught me to be absurdly respectful of books and other such actually valuable possessions, I purposely partly broke the binding of this book (which is invested in cultural understanding) so I could properly herd the insect onto my arm and then blow it onto the floor.

In all probability, it never found the pheromone trail back to the colony and perhaps died victim to a sole or a terrier's tongue within the foot surrounding, but I like dreams and dreaming.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wider Lens

My sis's blog is over here. It's cool. She's posting a picture a day, starting yesterday, while she's in Manchester. The first one's a loo.

That's it for the moment. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Wayfinders

My sister just moved to Manchester, UK, for the next 13 months to get her Master's Degree in Visual Anthropology with an emphasis in ethnographic filmmaking. It sounds complicated but it's very closely related to the idea of making documentaries. Just think about it from the point of view of a cultural Anthropologist. It's pretty awesome, and I know she's going to do some amazing work, because she's someone who is constantly invigorated by people and knowledge. It's something that runs in the family.

As soon as she left, of course, I happened to be at the library and I picked up a book called "The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World" by Wade Davis. By reading the back, I knew it was related to Anthropology. Now in the middle of it, it's clear that it's completely anthropological, and closely related to my sister's field. Davis is actually a documentarian too, and has traveled the world to discover the different forms of genius that exist in cultures that still are often thought of as savage or uncivilized. The reading is fascinating. It's full of historical accounts, personal journeys, and fantastic descriptions of ways of life that are vastly different from ours yet incredibly complex and in many cases more egalitarian, efficient, thriving. The reason cultural diversity is important, Davis reasons, is the same reason biodiversity is. We have so much to learn from all different cultures and yet often the predominant or colonizing forces outlaw those things they don't understand. That idea has been taught to us since we were small, and so it gets tired, but it's still relevant, and Davis puts it in a fresh perspective.

So I've recommended the book to my sis and I'll recommend it to you, too. Another thing I'll recommend is to go to your local Public Library, walk without paying any attention through the non-fiction aisles, and blindly pick out five books. Many might be duds, but you'll get to learn about something you wouldn't normally seek out.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Note on Creation and Destruction.

I'm a guilty pseudo-punk. Intellectually, I despise the forces of modern slavery (corporate rule, sanctioned addictions, etc.) and the subliminal traps we as humans are born into. Concretely, I pretty much don't do a damn thing about it. I think a lot about changing that. A lot. I think about art's role in revolution and change, and I think about the creative power of community, and I think about the uses of current modes and tools in the fight for better ways of living for everyone. I think about the "I" versus the "we" and I think about creativity versus destruction. But I think. Part of the problem with that is that it doesn't even get to the physical, visceral "talk" point with other people. I just sit on it. Mull it over. Get angry. Post an article. Complain with friends about the obvious things through well-thought-through Facebook comments. And then let it recede, nestling into the little pacifist blankets in my brain to sleep until next month.

I mean, look at this, what I'm doing right now. I'm writing on a blog which a dozen people read but I don't update enough to expect them to, into the continuous self-purging noise of the internet, for what? A release? I guess that must be what it is. I have a hard time talking with people but I can be eloquent in text.  However, the obsessive attachment with non-physical, non-verbal interactions that riddles the globe and my generation especially is ruining the very spirit of life, empathy and real communication that is so key to actually changing anything for better. Yes, outrage spread by angry consumers can get demeaning shirts off the shelves, and can generate conversation about the horrible things that are being publicized all over our culture, but what about the things that are only experienced in reality? At the end of the day, the Western world is hooked into twisted machines of continuous insatiability while the third world uses water they shit in (and the wealthy dump toxins in) to make their food and wash their clothes. When it comes down to it, our culture is eating itself and we can't even really fathom what it's like to struggle in the way that people trying to survive actually struggle.

Living the way we do causes a lot of anger and repression. We are one psycho bunch of people. More than half (I'd be willing to bet at least 3/4) of us have some sort of psychological issue or mental disorder. We're grossly unhappy, and many of us, especially the young ones, react in almost a knee-jerk fashion. We want to destroy what's making us unhappy. Many of us are smart enough to know, even just in fragments, what is responsible for pushing in on all sides (other than our own selves, of course). We know it's that boss who won't let you take a break on your job because you don't smoke, that logo that keeps insisting you won't be able to live without an iPhone once you get it, that movie that reiterates exactly how a woman and a man should act and present themselves. But it's bigger than that. We just lash out at the small stuff. Sneer at the Apple employee. Tell people how awful the movies and how fake the actors are. Hold a deep contempt for all the smokers who stand outside and talk about things you couldn't care less about. Maybe we sometimes take direct action. Spraypaint the crap out of a billboard. Spit in our boss's face with the final straw. Egg the producers. Destroy. Even if it's well-prepared for and thought out, it's still knee-jerk.

One of the concepts I dealt with a lot in art school was destruction as a form of creation, and vice versa.  Burning a house fertilizes the soil, etc. Destruction brings renewal. It's something I definitely agree with, generally. In fact, I'm sick of making art that just adds more stuff to this miasma. As much as new images seem constantly needed (especially on such an image-heavy environment the world is in now), the value of the image is a far, far cry from the value of genuine experience, and the ecological impact of artistic materials (including computers, production, and more, not just paint and canvas) weighs out the value of that image, to me. The spraypaint that was used to "subvertize" is horrible for the Earth and for our health. The eggs used to pummel the bigwigs were taken from probably abused chickens, a total waste of unrealized life. That window you smashed cut up the feet of a little boy walking through the street in his sandals. Using bad destruction as symbolism is dangerous too. You want to smash your TV? Go ahead. The chemicals in there will make people sick and kill plants and curious animals. This kind of "destroy" mentality is counter-active.

The emphasis needs to shift from selfish anger to active responsibility. The same goals can be accomplished, but through means that benefit or at least stabilize the people, animals, plants and geography around. Yeah, it might take more time, it might mean scratching ideas that would make more sense because they "work with the concept more aesthetically". But ultimately, we have to ask ourselves what is more important; the individualistic triumph of cleverness, or the ethical, communal triumph of intelligence. It's a weird place for us to come from. Considering we are continually told to be ourselves, screw the crowd, and that everyone is out to get us, it's hard to think of others as our allies. But I think it's high time we do that. Not by following the masses, but by seeking out genuine companionship, responsible ways of creation, and honest, open dialogue.

Cynicism ain't gonna get us very far. In fact, I believe that's the biggest problem with the portion of the youth who can actualize change. We gotta stop smashing our Stratocaster on the stage floor and start putting it in the hands of a thirsty young girl. It will make far more difference. In a spectacle that proclaims as its mission, "MORE, MORE, MORE!", we need to become the louder voice, screaming, "WE CAN DO BETTER!" What is better than more? I'm not sure, but I know some things that go into it. We're sick with an absurd hunger and the doctor's telling us there's no reason to change our diet. He doesn't even acknowledge the tapeworm comfortably inside. We have to tell him we know it's there. We have to become the doctors, the teachers, the students, the explorers, the crafters, the farmers, the builders, the ambassadors and councils that determine our own well-being. I know I've got a long way to go. I'm writing a blog post that I'll post on my Facebook wall in hopes that someone reads and comments. But I swear, I want to make a change. I want to try to engage people in conversation. I want to learn what people have to offer, no matter what their background. I'm just so sick of all this... stuff. I want to experience reality, or at least the quasi-reality we're offered, to see what transformation needs to happen, through creative, responsible destruction and construction. I don't like being so cynical, as easy as it is. Anyone else?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Axis Mundi PARTAYY

Who doesn't love a good party? Hush, it's a rhetorical question. I know you love it. How about a "truly eclectic musical soiree? Fuck yeah. A bunch of bands are gearing up to play this fantastical shindig on TOMORROW, AUGUST 5th. The caps were necessary to reinforce that I'm really late with this post. "What is Axis Mundi?" you ask. Well, I hope that's a rhetorical question. It's a record label collective. Here, let them tell you.
Axis Mundi is currently comprised of Communist Day Care Center, Algae Records and Tapes, Forget Records, and Sonic Lullaby.  The collective was formed on the simple mission statement of artist success through artist collaboration, and its labels specialize in music ranging from lo-fi tape fuzz, to ambient shoegaze, to country rock. 
So we can all expect to hear No Age Sigur Ros Drive-By-Truckers, not Hawthorne Heights Yanni Toby Keith. Believe me, I know this. I've seen many of the involved bands. Axis Mundi holds showcases some weekday nights at The Berkeley Front. But what excites me is that I've not seen many of the bands, too. Tons of bands that aren't your everyday expected Detroit Pop-Rock. It's like punks and hipsters and nerds all holding hands on stage. If there's anything I can say about the guys in charge of this event, it's that they are hopelessly excited about music in its infinite forms. And they're damn good at bringing people together to enjoy it, no matter what kinds of cliques those people might wanna stay in. Bands that are playing, which stretch all across the board, include Sound and Fury, DandyLyon Whine, Dinosaur Monster, Pupils, Sea Turtle Restoration Project, and other diverse acts, including offshoots of Mother Whale and Jura. One of them, St. Zita, is brand new and is comprised of a viola and a guzheng (pronounced goo-jung) and my nerdy self cannot wait!

This whole thing is going down at North End Studios (known to many as Sparklewood), which is that huge building on Grand Boulevard in Detroit with the teal and pink drip mural. Thanks to Katie for making that lonely building so easy to direct people to.

Because the collective is very much about the fusing of visual and sonic art, they've also made sure this is an art exhibit. Artists that have either worked directly with some of the bands involved or around the collective's orbit have work selected for the gallery. Alana Carlson specializes in allegorical painting, but has shown her installation chops with her involvement in Forget's performances. Steve Gambord experiments with all sorts of mixed media and is continually pushing his own 2D boundaries. Other artists on display include Christin Richards, Mike Ross, photographer Gabriel Banuelos, Eric Peiti, and many others.

It's August. I'm pretty sure August is party month. (Don't tell July, he'll get jealous.) Everything starts at 7:30 on TOMORROW, FRIDAY. It's just $5 for all that fun. Here's the fb page. Come equipped.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"hope our poems make things clear..."

I know it's been a month, and I know a lot of my posts tend to be either entirely too cheery or entire downers. But this is going to be mostly the latter. I hope it's got enough of the former.

My friend died today. Or yesterday. It doesn't matter which day. I've always been able to tell others that I feel blessed to have had a great childhood with little grief and strong foundations. Although I have a lot of friends who encountered significant loss early in life, and I have encountered major loss of some kind, I've been lucky in that a peer never unexpectedly left. This is hard.

David Blair is an artist, a poet, a musician, an actor, an author, a thinker, a performer, a teacher, and one of many gods I've hugged in life. I'm so happy, in a way, that I have an opportunity to help cultivate the seeds he's spread. He's not gone, but he did die. I'm expecting him to call and say, Oh, they mixed me up with some other dude. You know how it goes! and then laugh big with a piratey tooth gap. But he left, and he just gave everyone he touched with the next task: to take his lessons and craft them into our own beauty, to give that beauty to other people of all creeds and stations (I don't care how cheesy this is) and to ensure that that beauty is multipliable infinitely. He traveled the whole world and called Detroit home. He introduced me to half of my friends, and the other half just knew him. I played his CD release two years ago, my Birthday Eve. We did an impromptu unrehearsed Purple Rain. I'm rambling but I guess I can't help it.

This loss is such a shock that it requires me to be vigilant of all the amazing people that Blair has touched in his life. He was SO completely uncompromising that he lived 7 lifetimes in his short 50 years. And he didn't lead just by example; hundreds of students can attest to that. I'm one of them.

He has believed so enthusiastically about humanity that typical Detroit cynicism immediately stops being cool as soon as he enters the room. His natural knack for musical and English language commands whatever he points his tongue or pen or guitar toward. He's worked hard his whole fucking amazing life. The things he can see make the most privileged feel blind. Just say "hello" and you may have stopped a war, right?

I'm going to leave you with a poem about this city. Why? Because I can't lie, I hate it here sometimes. But you can't listen to this piece and not fall in love with the insanity like the first time. You just can't. Us mental cases are too sweet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Flux Sucks.

(Eleanora playing at Club Bart, 2010)

Maybe it doesn't help that I'm listening to Vic Chesnutt's last release before his untimely death, and that I'm drinking merlot, and that my apartment is a mess. But the news that's been hitting lately is throwing my moods into difficult spirals. First, we heard with less than a week's notice that the Belmont was closing. Well, no, actually, first we heard that the Burton Theater was moving. That was a bummer, considering its promise and the fact that I'd only been there once, to find out the night's show was sold out. Then we heard the Belmont had been sold and that there would be a last hurrah on June 11th. I was directly impacted by this, because I was supposed to have a solo art show at the end of July. I didn't attend the closing party because of the competing Lager House filming. Now, with only four days notice, Ferndale's online world has become aware that Club Bart will close and await a transformation into what some are saying will be a French bistro. I was told that last bit a day before it was published, but I thought the bearer was sorely misinformed. He wasn't. I'm devastated.

(Hanging out at Club Bart, 2010)

Of course, everything is in flux, especially when it comes to Detroit musicians, artists, DIY-ers, and young entrepreneurs; the target market hangs at financial threads itself most of the time. I know half the shows I've been to in the last three years, I couldn't afford the cover. I can't say that my own shmuckiness didn't contribute to these places shuttering. I can't say that it wasn't due to poor management, shady employees, asinine customers, or simple geography. In most situations, I guess it's a combination of these, flicked into oblivion by bad luck. It must be expected, I suppose, with stability a rarely used word in the Detroit arts, that our mainstays are not always staying.

While everything around our culture shifts, we must keep tallies on the memories we've shared with one another and the places they're attached to. Being a part of two filming sessions at the Belmont, wearing a beard at Club Bart, passing out 'til dawn on the couches at Trowbridge House of Coffee--these memories, the grittiest, most Detroit, most genuine and at times most frightening moments of my life, lived at bars that worked for years to make sure stupid kids could do stupid things at will with the caveat that they achieve something brilliant once in a while. I think some of us got to those moments. Perhaps the best we self-proclaimed helpless bystanders can do when our little dives and venues disappear really is to realize that that $3 can of Cream Ale was totally worth it.

(Trowbridge House of Coffee, 2009)

(Belmont music video shoot, 2009?)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Things about me at which my friends are amazed when disclosed.

  1. I've never seen The Big Lebowski.
  2. I come from a Polish family but never had polish food 'til college friends who live in Hamtramck educated me.
  3. I once wanted to be a preacher.
  4. I once loved really shitty country music. (No, like REALLY shitty.)
  5. I've never had collard greens, ribs, or any form of duck, rabbit, or elk.
  6. I know how to change oil.
  7. I really believe that the government is tracking us through RFIDs and other such things through vaccines and other tools. (Though they just need facebook, already proving useful to them)
  8. I still weep when I hear a young voice sing an incredible aria in an incomparable tone.
  9. I've never been south of northern Tennessee (other than Hawaii, which I was sick for half of and it's like going to another country so it doesn't count), or west of the Mississippi (read above).
  10. I hate. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No, I'm not posting lyrics.

I realized today that I write far too many "lyrics" to ever put to music. The problem with these little couplets, stanzas, one-liners and phrases is that they would look ridiculous as poems. And the ideas that are deserving of their composition are so varied that they could never be put together in a single "clever" song like Dylan has done well time after time. And so they collect in little notebooks mixed with drawings and exhibition concepts that I hope will overtake the bookshelf eventually, crowding out the leftover textbooks and old Juxtapoz rags that junk it up now. But these are inactive words.

Here, now that I've given you a readable, interesting paragraph, let me confuse the shit out of you and myself and go completely off topic.

The problem with the era of the simulacra is that language and valuable/meaningful action are so vastly set apart that language becomes its own hyperreal action, set apart from valuable/meaningful action. An easy (albeit, very superficial and non-interesting) example of this is the popular facebook copy/paste status that is intended to raise awareness for one thing or another. we've all seen (or posted ourselves) that "90 percent of you won't repost this, but 2 billion people die every year of horcruxes. If you know someone who's been affected by horcruxes, put this as your status for one hour and I'm sure so many people will all of a sudden cry a cure into existence." Thing is, it's an easy way to tell people that you care. The digital world is a funny thing (here I'm jumping ahead; follow me!): you can renege on just about anything you type by indicating your tone wasn't taken in the right light. This is different from previous print-based communications because it takes place on a more immediate context and in much smaller sentences/fewer characters. Twitter statuses can be taken as poetry because they are packed with as much information as possible that anyone with a bit of wile can use to invite all sorts of interpretations. ...Hence, trolls. It's like a triple dog dare to be a troll. And anyone can do it at any time, because there is no font for sarcasm and the anonymity of the web gives so much power to play with serious people. The internet segregates and separates people just like "IRL" because it's language-based, and language is the origin of segregation. So you have well-educated people (who have been shown the tools to use language in a wide variety of ways) and poorly-educated people (who have not) communicating on a single platform--not to mention all the age differences, and they often will separate from one another, or when they clash, more virulent results are seen than when they clash IRL, because of the mask and immaterial nature of digital communication (no bodily risk is associated, usually, with online bickering). The cleverest wins online, and seems to be the ultimate goal of modern Homo Sapiens. So this is the contemporary problem. A platform for an ultimate world community to congregate is invaluable and utopian, but when it is immaterial, the results will ultimately be immaterial. ...Right?

If you actually read all that, then I congratulate you upon your mapping of my brain.

In keeping with the theme, TL;DR version: OMG the world sucks and is awesome too and it's all the internet's fault and it's just like real life dood.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What To Do, Part Two of Infinity, Or: Zombie Dreams Abound

I keep having zombie dreams. Last night I had one for the first time in months. In these dreams there are rarely zombies; in fact often times there are only half a dozen or so people at all. Mostly they consist of the struggle to ransack and seek out everything that will be useful, starting from my own home and then moving with a friend or two to a camp. Many times they are more about exploring houses, and the dreams have a very whimsical aspect. Once in a while, like last night, there will be an element of danger, but the danger isn't zombies (even though they are the reason for this societal meltdown), it's the people who scour the houses for anything useful, rob anyone who might be there, and kill them. Last night I hid in an attic at my parents' house with someone until these people left. Then it was all business, grabbing what to me were the most important items to take in whatever car we were going to find. Almost always, the people I am with, who are allies or camp-mates, are unspecific; that is, they have no identity that I know of. Last night's dream took place near the beginning of the apocalypse, but I have had some where I had been wandering the countryside with a few "friends" (no one I know in real life), mostly in cars, for perhaps years. One dream took place at night, in winter, and we searched for a house that we could settle down in for good, now that the threat was over. It was so peaceful, looking down that line of houses, some porch lights lit (which in the dream just meant that the power grid for that neighborhood was functional), and knowing that there were worlds of architecture to explore with barely any people to get in the way.

What To Do, Part One of Infinity

Is it better to have a goal and no means or means and no goal? I don't know. 

What am I supposed to do in life? What do I want to do in life? Could the twain meet? These are the three most important questions I could have about my future (and my present and past, for they have everything to do with it). "A certain practice of life" ...have I ever done anything exceptional in my practice of life that includes art? Nothing comes to mind. I've made individuals happy while making pictures on canvas or paper, and I've felt joy in imitating shape, exploring texture and context and concept and implication and color and light, but is that really what I want to do? I think not. However, a life devoid of creative expression is a dull death. How related, entwined do my life and my art need to be, though? No matter what I do, I can't imagine it including all the facets of what I love doing. The whole life would mean my work (career!) was meaningful (as the theorists say, meaning is a tricky concept) and inextricably tied to who I am and how the world is. As much as I want to pretend that my happiness is independent from pressures of peers, family and authority, it is not, and it isn't independent of the general social statuses of cultures and facets of groups around the world (and it shouldn't be).

Maybe at my pit I will always be an absorber, an observer and listener. I will never be a teacher. I would make a horrible teacher. I will never be able to relay information to children or adults unless it's trivia. I will never be able to debate anyone. I'm too flustered, distracted, speech-impeded, and sensitive. I can have discussions with people, but cannot successfully confront debate. I could never manage or own a business (for pretty much those same reasons).

I have all sorts of romantic ideas about abandoning everything I own and everyone I know and traveling the globe doing good and learning all I can. They are frivolous ideas, but I can't dismiss their value in helping me decide what I'd be best suited to do. The free consumption of time--that's what I've really learned is ultimate freedom. I'd have to exist outside of the society as I know it in order to be such a pure consumer. More romantic ideas. Seems quite a selfish goal, when it comes down to it, right? I want to do good things. That's all I know. And I don't want to do them in the way that most professions can be twisted to say that they do good. I want to do them in impactful, empowering, direct ways. And I want to be a professional learner. A student of the Earth.

Well, I've gnawed a little bit away at this. Here's to the first step.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


In twenty years, the future music scene of Detroit and the world (barring any apocalypse that may be in store) will look upon the musical culture creations seething from the sidewalk cracks in this city with nostalgia, curiosity and reverence. I'm serious. Be as cynical as you want (we are notoriously cynical about everything), but it's true: the art we make here is incomparable to any other place on Earth. And when the music nerds of the future geek out on our yet-to-be-named era of Detroit music (post-garage? I'm working on it) like us kids look upon the New York post-punk no-wave scene of the late 80s, they will turn to the key figure in the documentation of this time, these venues, these crazy people and the things they do.

That key figure will be undoubtably Jeff Milo.

They will pore through digital stacks of Jeff's writing, his interviews, flourished depictions of guitarists' demeanors, moments at shows described as spiritual experiences (with a monk's inspiration!), and the strange quirks of the keyboardists who can't stay on stage. 3am interviews at Dunkin' Donuts with scruffy, wild-eyed thirty-somethings will become richly romantic scenes to the musicians of the future. Because of Jeff's equal and unfettered love of both music and words, the misplaced underbelly of this town will be forever remembered in the most fantastic way; the most honest and glorious way, through his eyes.

Jeff has been writing relentlessly about Detroit music for years, keeping a blog and attending countless shows. It's his Birthday this week, and just last month he hit 1000 posts on Deep Cutz. Friends will be playing his Birthday party at the Loving Touch in Ferndale with Golden, Legendary Creatures, and Electric Fire Babies. There might be some surprises through the night, too. It's on Wednesday, and I'm sure the place will be packed. You should go and buy him a drink. I know I will.

The first time Jeff wrote about something I was involved in, I was 19 and in a psychobilly band that was getting a little press. I never bothered remembering the name of the guy writing about Josh Daniels and the Addictions, nor had I met him. That was back when I was doe-eyed with dreadlocks and awful fiddle skills. But he saw something there that was good, and randomly popped back into my life and my boyfriend's a couple years later when he wrote some more nice words about Scottie's new band, The Rogue Satellites. Since the time that I introduced myself at the half-wall in the Garden Bowl, he has been at almost every show I have and three times more. He has written wonderful things about my current band, my friends, and people I've never met. None of the things he says are flippant or appeasing; they are sincere and he only can write what he is passionate about--who he wants other people to hear.  He has recently said of his blog (which translates to all of life),
...[T]ruth be told, inspiration to keep writing here is refreshed on an almost weekly basis; it could be the subtlest of gestures, a fleeting lyric belted out live and almost lost under piles of feedback, or the fire in someone's eyes as they emit their stories, their takes, their opinions, their plans, ...their hopes, to me, at the side of a bar or the side of a stage.
Jeff, we emit those stories to you with the most passion, the most inhibition, because we know you are listening. We know you can never stop listening. We love your determination, your care, your love of gin and half-caff coffee, your praise and promotion, your wit and ceaseless enthusiasm, and your words. You are the heart and hope of Detroit's independent musical soul, and I think I can speak on behalf of everyone you know when I say, Cheers, brother. Your Birthday should be the happiest anyone could have. You deserve a place in history as a legend of music writers. We hope you never stop, but if you stopped now, the world would still never be the same.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I feel as though my curiosity is in a sorry state. It must be reignited, as they say. Crickets may start the thirst. I think sometimes it's a gendered subject. No, it's always a gendered subject.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Things I ACTUALLY Did at Blowout.

As someone (me) once said (about a week ago), "I have a feeling my post-blowout post is going to end up being mostly stories about me wanting to do a bunch of shit but getting drunk instead. ...Actually that sounds like my biography." Of course it's dark humor; my liver is in fine shape, even considering the damage I wreaked on it during so-called "festival kickoff weekend". But the fact that the picture above and five others almost identical to it are the only ones I took at the pre-party definitely set the bar for how the other nights would go. Granted, I became more productive in documenting, but I definitely did not do anything close to my ambitious promo/wishlist post. This is what actually happened, but you must imagine it all amplified in beer, sweat and flowers.


Made it to the Majestic complex in great time; we got our wristbands and headed for the bar, where we promptly managed to stay talking to passing friends for over an hour, by which time we thought maybe we should combat any claustrophobic and budlightophobic tendencies to head upstairs for Lettercamp. Of course it was even worse than downstairs. The moment we got in there were roughly 1846 people we knew ready to give us hugs and tell us how excited/drunk/broke they were and we returned the feeling. I never listened to a note of Lettercamp, because I was outside talking to people from Sharky and the Habit and Blue Black Hours. For some reason I spent a lot of time on the deck. Then basically I saw a couple of minutes of the Julie Hecker tribute and tried to pay attention to Moon Pool and Dead Band. I liked some of what was going on with that but honestly wasn't really in their mode. Secret Twins took the stage and became the best-remembered band of the night, despite the fact that I never really looked at them and it was at the end of the night when I was drunkest and I was standing behind a pillar at the back of the room. That really says something. Dina's flying v guitar sound was awesome; they could have gone with the cutesy acoustic guitar-drums duo but they're smarter than that and got the attention they deserved. Definitely something I'll be seeing more of.


After loading up the gear, I headed down to Mars Bar with Steven and Scottie, where I ended up the entire night, not counting a short trip to Jet's Pizza and a brisk parade down Jos Campau at the end of the night. But that's later. We walked in while Betty Cooper was playing. I'm not going to pretend I know their history or anything but I recognize the one singer from somewhere that just can't be placed.

Very pop-rocky, guitar driven and catchy tunes. I enjoyed it. It was confusing at first when the go-go dancers hit the tabletops; I thought, Did this band hire dancers for their set? Weird. But the two girls were hired by the venue, and as strange as the setting was, I talked to them briefly and they're nice.
The next band to hit was Robin Goodfellow. There's one on the list I got. They brought their pyramid-headed wood nymphs and strange electric folklore into the Jersey Shore bar while Superman IV played on a huge screen behind them. It was pretty incredible.
I love ^that picture^. I think it's something I'll never replicate.
Banxx was after Robin Goodfellow, but it ended up being Allan James by himself. I think I heard in passing that there was supposed to be someone else in the band but something happened to bar that. Either way, it ended up being awesome in ways (he covered Vic Chesnutt and offered hilarious banter), but awkward in others, as it became a strange lull between a couple of concept bands. Just a set order strangeness.
Then came Marco Polio and the New Vaccines. I painted Steven, a somewhat regular thing for me now. I had better start getting a stylist's salary. A couple of the 20 bouncers at the Mars Bar were alarmed at the frantics of Polio, and at one point two friends got yelled at for standing where the dancers had been doing their thing. Two new songs, very enjoyable. Black cardboard box monoliths were in the audience, and the only flop of the night was when the audience insisted on throwing said boxes around. Hard-edged boxes are far more dangerous than balloons.

After the regular set was done, they continued their last song (a classic, "Dance With Nobility") into the streets of Hamtramck, with a resident walking a dog beside us and so many of us in tow. Steven was able to make it onto the Night Move, but the failure to coordinate the whole band to get on thwarted the idea of riding to another venue. Still, the parade down Jos Campau was surreal.


My band played first at Baker's. With the Loco Gnosis showcase, we knew there would be a built in crowd of some sort. At first we were worried.
But our fears were assuaged by the time we went up to play. The place was pretty full, and a friend recorded the whole thing, and I just have to say that sound guy was the best we've ever had. Not only could you hear the violin perfectly, the friggin' clarinet was clear as a bell. We had a lot of fun and introduced another new song. (Photo by J Michelle Dark)
As soon as we were torn down, the guerrilla Detroit Marching Band entered with all manner of drum and trumpet. It was cool to see them, though I guess some people had heard them play like ten times over the weekend and got a little sick of it. Once was just fine enough for me.
I got to see a little of Electric Lion Sound Wave, who make great sounds that coddle and surprise your ears. Since I had stayed at a single venue on Thursday, though, I was determined to go out and experience other bands/bars. First we tried Smalls, where Bars of Gold was playing. I believe Scottie is cheating on me with Brandon Moss, which is okay with me, because he's fantastic. But neither of us got a chance to see his other love, because the place was so jam-packed you could not get in the room. Seriously. So we packed that train up and went to Skipper's with some other friends to see Tare.
You should see Tare. Really. They are high-energy, spasmodic, and damn good. It's a two piece featuring members of I, Crime, but this band is nothing like the americana-rock of the latter. Switching beats, moods and tempos drastically in the middle of songs (all perfectly timed, too), they are entertaining as hell to watch. And I know, I've observed hell.
It was time to head back to Baker's, and luckily we didn't miss any band completely. I came in while Jehovah's Witness Protection Program was on their last song, the one about freedom. Anthony was able to crowd surf in the strange room, which was awesome. I was a little tuckered out, but you have to keep on keepin' on, so I got another beer and got excited for Duende!
Duende! killed. Their unique sound was well-received and, though usually the rowdiest, they were a perfect centering force for the wasted masses. Owed in equal parts to the straight and hard drum sound Laura gave, the poetry of "Jellyroll" Joel's guitar, the cut of Scott's bass, and the wildly hypnotizing vocals of Jeff, Duende rounded out my Friday perfectly, able to pull off "Tombstone Blues" in their own psych-country-punk way.

After that awesome night, I went home and slept soundly, my ears still ringing.


I was in Ferndale giving people sushi and making a little dough. Scottie got home around 5am after an afterparty to end all afterparties. No one got killed.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh, yes, we will be blown out.

I don’t pretend that anyone cares about other people’s carefully-thought-out picks for Hamtramck Blowout (in the same way that I haven’t a clue nor a care about these Oscar things everyone’s pretending are important). But I guess if I’m running a blog and make a post every so often, and if that blog should appear on a roster of Detroit music resources, I should probably write something about music once in a while.

I want to see a bunch of new bands this year. There are a lot of classics that I’ve just never seen, either, but I’m pretty good at faking that I have. And there are several bands that I have seen, (some multiple times!) and remember nothing about the whole night. I’m going to play it safe with my opinions, though. The new/unheard of bands are a stab in the dark for me so I can’t advise who to see, but I’m glad they are getting this exposure (considering mine is part of this group, too!).

So if I could transport myself with extreme ease to any bar I wanted, and if I didn’t work at a restaurant at night, this is what I would do on Blowout week. This list is for anyone who is obsessed with everything I do. Read on, Mom.


This is easy because everything is in one place and spaced out in a timely fashion. As much as I’ve tried to catch Secret Twins all over the place, I have, alas, been unable to see them. I’ve heard their tracks online and I dig it. I’m a little puzzled about The EEKS playing this night; I saw them this summer at one of their first gigs and it wasn’t anything special to me at the time. A lot of energy from the singer; power-punk with a poppy edge. I suppose they’ve grown in waves since then, though they weren’t bad as fledglings in August. One band I really want to catch is FAWN; they had a record release thingy that doubled as breakfast one time this summer and I thought, “Oh, how cute” and then when I listened to the music I thought, “Oh, how great”. It seems the fairer sex is dominating the night at the Magic Stick. The majority of the musician community is unconsciously wincing a little inside. Sorry, I had to say it.


It’s pretty hard. But I do know that at midnight I will be obligated and ready to watch/participate with Marco Polio and the New Vaccines. Just recently they opened up for Deerhoof and I don’t even think I have to mention my obvious bias. I will probably try to start the night off at GofC Lounge (that’s called street talk; I’m cool enough that I can use it so I don’t have to put in a dozen more letters), with Tone and Niche. They are pretty nice cats. I’ve seen them many times before, but they always deliver and would be a great fresh way to get going. Nichole will kill on fiddle; I can only aspire to even attain her tone (ha) someday. Because they’re going on so early, I’ll be able to catch Hi-Speed Dubbing in the Hall just yards away. I like those guys. Definitely a change of pace and it’ll give me a chance to pay more attention to Justin’s guitar playing. Then I’ll pop back over to the Lounge again to catch some of Scarlet Oaks; they will have some lineup changes this time around, but I hope to hear some grittiness on drums. Noelle was great for the dirty and nonchalant way she kept the beat, and I want to see what a change of personnel will do for them.

In a perfect world I would make it to see Robin Goodfellow at Mars Bar. This project has been remarkably well put together in a small amount of time. I blame it on their crazy light show, pyramid hats, and Nathan Burgundy’s firm commitment to the bowtie. And I really want to check out Indian Guides, as my multi-faceted friend Jason Worden is a member and I have yet to see them. But it may be impossible to get to Skipper’s and all over the rest of town before going back to Mars Bar to see Polio at midnight. …Because I also want to finally hear Zoos of Berlin at the New Dodge. I can’t even remember if I have actually seen them live, which is a sad thing, because I often pretend that I’ve heard everyone in this town. But I have heard their recordings and they are quite fabulous. I’m sure anyone reading this probably knows that already though, except my mom (hi, Mom!). If I weren’t watching my maniac boyfriend and his maniac friends tear it up at midnight, I would be simultaneously at Small’s for Illy Mack and the New Dodge for Child Bite.


This is the night I will grace the stage. My five-piece band, Eleanora, will be at Baker’s Streetcar at 9:20 sharp for the Loco Gnosis showcase, which is exciting. We plan on literally murdering everyone there with our music. But in a way that you feel like you could never experience something so wonderful ever again, so you welcome death. Though the reality may be that I will stay for the rest of the Loco night, after I play I will try to catch Forget at Whiskey in the Jar. Another one of Worden’s projects, it features a different lineup each and every time, and is completely improvised. How’s that for a set list? After Forget makes me forget everything I know about performing and creating, I’d like to see some good weird rock and roll over at Small’s where Bars of Gold is playing. It’ll snap me back into the present time and place, plus I hear that drummer is kind of a badass. I’d fancy a trip back to Skipper’s to see Tare, which I loved about 2-3 years ago when I first saw the two-piece at the Trumbullplex. Drums and guitar, hard and fast, short and dirty. It’s starting to sound like Friday will be a night for heavy drinking. It would be nice to catch the beginning of The Octopus, and then see some of The Kickstand Band at GofC Hall, where my middle school friend Allison is showing her bass chops. I’m used to her on trombone and I’ve never seen this band. And then it’ll be back to square one at Baker’s with Duende tearing it up: the craziest vocals, the longest bass drum, and the slickest guitarist in Detroit all under one roof.


Saturday I will be both hung over and working at night, so the following is hypothetical. But Pewter Cub is friggin’ amazing and I’ve already written about them, so obviously they are now famous and everyone will be at their set at Baker’s. It would be fun to check out “DJ Tim Vulgar” at the Painted Lady, and be a part of his Kresge performing arts grant at the Human Eye Showcase. I think I’d mostly be hanging out at the Loco Gnosis stage again, though, with kinda-newbies Crappy Future; the best family band in Detroit, Woodman; and last year’s apple of Detroit bloggers and partiers eye, Macrame Tiger. I am not going to be there because two of my coworkers are in that band. Other favorites of the night definitely would include The Mantons (another great drummer), Legendary Creatures (who can cover Elliot Smith and not sound like a fuckwad? They can.), FUR (again, I’ve written about them, they will make you feel all warm, tingly and stabby inside), and Electric Fire Babies (mash-up of Carjack and Hi Speed Dubbing and other craziness, bring it on!).

I put waaaay less energy toward Saturday than the rest of the days. Sorry. It’s the law of sleepiness combined with a lack of concern due to the fact I won’t be there.

I want to ask, what are the new acts you would recommend I see, or groups outside of my normal zone that are worth making my way to? Let me know!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rant that occurs while waiting alone and drunk for supposedly the best pizza ever and looking at stupid pictures of Eminem and watching basketball

I find myself caring about this stupid shit. And I'm not sorry, it is stupid shit. Perfectly constructed characterizations based upon statistical findings about the public coma that has settled on the vast majority of the first world population.

I know it's easy to relate to these people we see on TV. Of course it is; that's the way they are designed. The more relatable, the more interesting (in the most formulaic sense of interesting) the setup is, the more people that watch it, the more money that is made from ad revenues. Duh. It's as though everything is a ploy and we're not just victims of it, we become the perpetrators of it through out complete belief in it and surrender to it. Ironically, reality TV is set up to be just the opposite, with its grotesque portrayal of everyday life taken as somehow candid and believable. And I enjoy it. Of course I do. I have a hard time being strong enough to resist it, considering my receptiveness, but Jesus Christ, I really fucking should. There's absolutely no fucking reason that I should be feeling sorry for the nice girl in the Office or the shrink in Bones or even the feminist in Community. Because as nuanced and complex as they seem to be, they are really cartoons. Without a doubt. The viewer must be either entirely sympathetic to them or laughing cynically at them. It's the winning equation. And it's the human condition to have this strange sense of community--we're the weirdest herd animal that has ever existed. We simultaneously pit ourselves against one another and become obsessed with one another. We need to be around friends and crowds and need validation of sorts in various ways, and we need the serenity of isolation that being by ourselves provides us.

It's like media does its job: to be a mediating force between individuals and the society to which they belong. And that is exactly the point at which we need to fight it. It does the important work for us and creates for us meaningless tasks to replace those important things with--to satisfy our chemical impulses and philosophical questions that have lost their original ends, as we surrender our decision-making to an artificial intelligence that we ourselves have created.

Which is the exact definition of a drug. It's fucking worse than any drug a person will take in her lifetime. Because she's forced to be on it 24-7 and it's the very fringe not to be, and no one is telling her there's anything wrong with it. It's perfectly normal and healthy to be not just addicted, but absorbed in it, according to our education.

I need another glass of whisky.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Steve Barman Show

Sometimes people think of things that would be nice to do. Steve Barman is one of those people. He's done oodles of interviews, reviews, and articles pertaining mostly to the music scene in and directly surrounding Detroit. My band's first gig was a show he put on so he could get higher-quality equipment to do such things with. It was recorded on VHS, as though to prove a point. Aw, how cute we were. Barman has been co-running the music blog MotorCityRocks for a while now, documenting the city's events and ideas. It's wise of Barman to use the opportunity he has in Detroit DIY talk-show history to bring in voices from various aspects of Detroit metro culture. By widening the scope of interests covered, he can help localized groups step away from this inversion that so plagues them (us). It also, conveniently, makes it so there are much more possibilities for upcoming episodes, seeing as it's just a baby right now. I'd like to see it come into almost a themed talk show, where the content is always as diverse as it is now, but loosely centered around a topic or word or person. The bridging aspect of the project is important; as they say, "commitment to fostering the link between contemporary art and contemporary society" is key in Detroit's growth.

The third taping for The Steve Barman Show is coming up this Sunday, so you should go if you can. It features family band Woodman, activist, professor and writer Shea Howell, and artist Mary Beth Carolan.

Here's the sneak peak for episode two.

You can watch the pilot and find out more here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Personal Account of New Year 2011 at the Stick

(Midnight and On)

I'm behind the stage at the Magic Stick. The walls are finally all black in here in an effort, I guess, to make it harder to scrawl over them. Three eighteen year old boys giggle as they paint "Silverghost Marco Polio New Years" or something like it across them anyway in broad red strokes. Scottie throws the door open and yells inside.
"C'mon, come on stage with me! It's almost midnight, babe." Half worried about leaving the whole bottle of acrylic red paint with the punks, I still turn my attention to the countdown. I hop up two steps and every light on the platform is on. All the headliners are there, too, in their various paints and decor. I can't really see much, but a lot of my friends, both babyfaced and bruised, are out there on the dark floor eagerly following the projected timer behind us that looks more like a bomb display than a celebration. May as well be, some are probably saying to themselves.
"Can we play one more after the ball drops?" Sean asks Del.
"Yeah, sure! Not like a one ten-minute-long song or anything," and they both laugh.
"Haha, yeah, of course not."
We all count backwards in unison like some huge, drunk kindergarten class until I get to smother Scottie's face with mine, several times and passionately, thoughtlessly. That's it for my fame this night, and I go out to find Steven while the band ends with a ten-minute-long song. I need to paint Steve's body. Feeling creative, I brush his exposed skin with calligraphic and ceremonial lines, circles, dots and boxes, red, red, red. Then I search for Jaye and he tells me something sincere while we get ready to become a parade whale, Chinese New Year style. A beat starts.

Umbrellas broken and raised, we pump them like Jersey Shore stars under the whale body canopy and snake our way up to the the stage before surrendering the costume to the greedy, euphoric crowd. Time to dance. Everyone is fixated on Steven's hypnotic, pentecostal frenzy while on stage Michael and Kyle face off in a battle of synth, guitar and two-step, while Scottie, true to form, rips into his kit without hardly moving his long and already bare torso. After this point my memory gets lazy, due in equal parts to relaxation, Labatt, and my fair-weather friend Mary. There's music for some time, then the switch to Marcie and Del's act, from which I am constantly distracted. There is an hour of conversation with various Lisas, Chrises, Wendys and Pierces, but I don't remember it.

All of a sudden it's 3am and there's barely anyone there, but the bar still serves. Wendy and I decide we should do shots and I'm in Ferndale mode so I think it's a really good idea to buy four shots of Jameson. It is not a good financial decision. But it does go down easy and there's never anything wrong with having whiskey at the end of a night, right?
Steve is at the helm of our often trio, guiding the organization of most things Marco Polio into one trunk. We get home in decent shape, spouting philosophical nightdreams and whining as we wave goodbye. Partly covered in confetti, I slumber in peaceful denial of the anvil of dawn. Denial works as voodoo in this situation, and I wake up at 9 with a case of the missing hangover.