Monday, July 16, 2007


Just had a great weekend at the Pitchfork festival. Just for Saturday, but what a bargain that was, like $29 for a day of great sets. It was also the first time I've taken the train to Chicago, which was quite a pleasure for not having to deal with parking and being able to sit and read the whole trip there.

Picture above is the crowd for Mastodon. Joseph and I hadn't planned on trying to see them, but ran into some former students who'd been waiting in the front row for Cat Power's set, which wasn't planned to start for another three hours, and after talking to them a few minutes Mastodon was ready to go, so we stayed. I stuffed a large wad of paper napkin into each ear and began trying not to laugh whenever the metal hair-gods of Mastodon looked my way. God, they're so serious. I really did feel like the lead singer was looking at me and could tell that I was not one of them.

The picture below is the crowd at Dan Deacon, the highlight "experience" of Saturday, I think. See, instead of fists, his crowd did things like wield a squirt gun that is color-coordinated with your purple fingernails. Deacon didn't even set up on stage, but nobody really cared that much because he was so funny , talking through his whole set, telling the sound guy to turn up the volume "about 400 dragons" and, I dunno, just not shutting up, like some holy goof with a drum machine.

The people watching was kind of fun, too. I took this picture because the guy's pose reminded me exactly of a reversed version of Edouard Manet's Olympia:
Edouard Manet, Olympia 1863-1865
Do you see it? It's so obvious, I think the guy must have been doing it on purpose, thinking to himself "I am Manet's Olympia" over and over. He must be a little strange, if you ask me.And here is Joseph showing off his Obama t-shirt, his very first stop inside the gates that day. Joseph knows his stuff and predicts Obama will be the man, while I am reserving judgment. You should have seen Joseph shut down a volunteer for Libertarian candidate Ron Paul who accosted us while we were on the way to the Old Town School of Folk Music's summer festival on Sunday.

Walking by a shoe store in the Wicker Park area on Sunday, he told me a story about a time when he passed the store when it was closed and dark, but in the store window was its guard dog in the act of eating the display shoes. When Joseph told me this I first thought "no, life is not that funny; things this good cannot happen," but then I thought again on this sunny day with a light breeze surrounded by Chicago's version of beautiful people and thought "yes, it's true; life is this good. The dog ate the shoes."

So, for the record, my favorites from the day at Pitchfork:

1. Grizzly Bear. Much more dynamic and raucous than on their records, and they pulled off their harmonizing, too. One of those shows where you find yourself liking songs live that you sometimes skip through on the cd.

2. Califone. I'd never listened to Califone before because, seriously, their name reminded me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication and I can't stand the RHCP. But I gave them a try knowing they'd be playing this weekend and it's great. If their set were longer, it might have supplanted Grizzly Bear as my favorite of the weekend, too.

3. Dan Deacon. His album Spiderman of the Rings is pretty fun, and live he doesn't sound much different--I think he almost just presses play on his ipod, because at the beginning of the set he kept muttering "c'mon ipod, work" and he wasn't kidding. But his show is great. The crowd was so ready for him and into him and just positive all around.

My only real disappointments were Iron & Wine, who were bland as heck I think because he tried to electrify things instead of stay acoustic and intimate and stuff. Also Cat Power was only okay, but she was sober, at least, I think. It was a lot of sun--a nice brief shower would have been nice--but an awesome day. I might have to seriously consider going at least two days next summer and bringing more of the family.

Friday, July 13, 2007


If anyone from my AP classes reads this . . . I'm curious to hear if you've received your scores yet. Send me an email at my school address if you don't mind sharing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Strawberry Jam

This new record is unreal, really. On the A.C. forum most people think "Fireworks" is the best song, by a big margin, but "Cuckoo Cuckoo" just makes me bang my head on the table. And after that, it's "Derek" and "Unsolved Mysteries." This may be the last record I listen to in 2007. Please excuse the hyperbole.


One of the best things about going away on vacation is that when you get home you get to read a huge stack of mail all at once. It's so exciting. Maybe a book you forgot you ordered from Amazon came in while you were gone. Maybe Netflix sent you the first episodes of Entourage. And even if Entourage turns out to be not that good, which it isn't, unfortunately, except for Jeremy Piven, that's okay because this time I also got a letter telling me that a poem of mine, "Ghost a Dress Might Wear," has been accepted for publication! I'm thrilled, really. I've had a few other things published here and there, but this particular journal, Many Mountains Moving, is a bigger "stage," I guess.
Makes me want to send more of these things out and see what happens.

To celebrate, C brought home tortilla chips, chicken salad, and a carrot cake. Interesting mix. She claimed to have been pressed for time after discovering that Baan Thai was closed for a few weeks while the owners took a trip home. It tasted pretty swell, though.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Back from the beach.

Here we are toting a few sandwiches out to the Lake Michigan shore before Saturday's sunset, the last of our 4th of July vacation. This picture kind of reminds me of the old Stone Roses video for "I Wanna Be Adored." I wonder if I have a copy of that cd that isn't scratched to death.
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