Greetings and salutations, sad clowns! This may be a music blog, but I am devastated - positively destroyed - over the loss of a cultural touchstone I hold dear. My beloved Gawker Media has been acquired by Univision, a media corporation that plans, while keeping some of their vertical titles, to shut down gawker.com. TRAGEDY. I don’t know anyone at Gawker and it’s not really my modus operandi, per se, to compliment big media on much, but Gawker has been a huge influence on me and I am super sad to see it go.
If you’re curious (you’re not, this is entirely a masturbatory paragraph, just skip to the parts where I mention your band, it’s fine), when I set out to create HT:P! I drew direct inspiration from properties like Gawker and its verticals (particularly jez, obvs), dlisted, go fug yourself, Pajiba, Bad Candy (deceased), and, lastly, Television Without Pity, Fametracker and Tomato Nation, three of the longest surviving (now 66.66 (repeating) % deceased) blogs from the late, great webring (OMG REMEMBER WEBRINGS? I OLD) Damn Hell Ass Kings. The reason I drew inspiration from those sites and not from sites like Vice, Vox, Pitchfork or Slate - who cover similar crap as the above properties - is because on the former sites, you recognize the writer and come to the table for that person’s voice. You’re there not to just read the sordid details of how Justin Bieber deleted his instagram account and it was the first site that came up in your google search, you’re there to find out what Sarah Bunting had to say about it, or what cheeky joke Hamilton Nolan or Michael K would make about it, or how Heather and Jessica ignore the story completely and focus on a slideshow of Bieber’s recent wardrobe fails. These writers are like friends that you want to talk to because they’re funny or insightful or rebellious or clever or shocking or all of those things. Sometimes they just use language in a way that is thoughtful or interesting. And on the latter sites, it’s more about the content itself, because those sites are more interested in generating clicks to serve advertisers than they are about necessarily providing a platform for a writer’s voice. Admittedly, some do it better than others - Pitchfork, for example, thrives on a sort of snark lacquer across posts that draws attention from the content to the writer, while Slate chooses to basically be personality-less (except for Mallory Ortberg, bless her soul), thriving on churning out upsettingly abrupt “think pieces” that lure you in for clicks and fail to deliver on the meat. Whatever.
And that’s fine, not all sites have to be ALL ABOUT ME just as how all pants don’t fit me or all tv shows don’t interest me. I just roll how I want to. But Gawker was my favorite thing to read, and I have to give props to Publisher Nick Denton on the way he built his empire - eventually forced out of business by a petty Silicon Valley robber baron/narcissist - to speak its voice, be vital, be funny, challenge authority, criticize what they wanted to criticize, and YES: MAKE MISTAKES. You know, like how I do every day? And probably also you? Plus, the writing was so good on Gawker, and they covered stuff that mainstream media glossed over, if they touched on it at all. Yes, as of late they had a kajillion typos, but at its heart, the writing was fun and relevant. Anyway, I’m gonna miss it. I know the writers will go elsewhere in the Univision organization, but it won’t be the same because the publisher is different and these writers will now work under new editors. And so, beloved Gawker Media: I SALUTE YOU and FUCK HULK HOGAN and FUCK PETER THIEL and seriously FUCK THIS ECONOMY AND THE RICH WHITE SNOT CRUST IN CHARGE AND HOW EVERYONE IS SUPPOSED TO JUST ACCEPT BEING JOBLESS AND POOR NOW. In chaos magick, money is only evil when it is not moving. I’d say things are pretty evil right now.
Also, children who are the future, please, please, PLEASE KEEP WRITING. Never stop writing. Experiment with stuff, try, fail, be silly, be poignant, but above all, please don’t let the written word die. We take writing for granted because it’s all around us and it requires effort to extract depth from it, but in the grand scheme of things, language, and written language in particular, are still so young. Don’t let them fade out. After my mom died there was this like, moment of panic during which I knew all of my childhood crap would be thrown out by my dad (his way of coping, I think), so I swooped in and took what I could manage to keep in my apartment, and one of the things I got was… what was it, exactly - I guess an art book I made dedicated to lyrics and typography? I would get some lyrics I liked (mostly REM at the time, but also probs some 10,000 Maniacs, Yes (I KNOW, I LOVE YES, WHUT OV IT), Grateful Dead, Jane’s Addiction, INXS), anyway, I’d grab a bit of lyrics and draw these words in the book and decorate the page or whatever, and it’s just kind of a nice thing to have now, but also inside of it I found a fake dictionary I made with my mysterious old childhood friend and it’s funny to look back on it and see how children are so good at playing with words and language and being creative in ways adults are not. Anyway, my point is: honor the written word. KEEP THE FIRE. RAMBLE ON!
Fuck it, let’s go listen to some smyooth myoosic!!!
Friday August 19
Alright, so here’s where you’re going Friday night: you will go see Vinyl Cape, Cadaverette, The Asthmatic and Fenimore at SPACE. Many of you have seen the outstanding trio Vinyl Cape, and they are indeed some of the most accomplished performers in this city, but there’s some new shit here too - Cadaverette and Fenimore are relatively new acts repurposed from previous projects (Stone Tools in the case of Cadaverette and Hi Tiger in the case of Fenimore). AND THEN THERE IS THE ASTHMATIC. This teenage girl is a dour and diminutive character straight out of a mysterious midnight Salon hosted by David Lynch in Truman Capote’s parlor who is simultaneously endearing and TERRIFYING. Anyway, maybe you’d enjoy something like that. Maybe you wouldn’t, I don’t fucking know, get off my back, dick.
FYI tho, Zeme Libre is playing for free in Congress Square Park earlier in the day and Sam James is doing an early thing at Blue, so maybe you can do more than one show, like a real whatever the equivalent of baller is in local music.
Armies are opening for Eric Krasno at PHOME. I guess if you give a shit about seeing Eric Krasno you’ll give a shit about seeing Armies before him. YEAH I GET IT KRASNO IS A SICK ASS FUCKING PLAYER, but most of the people who go see him probably had someone “cool” tell them that Krasno is a sick ass fucking player rather than just, you know, making that decision themselves. Look, I drink $6 wine from Trader Joes, I get it, we can’t all be connoisseurs of everything. He’s just been around for so long, aren’t we good now, on him? Maybe I feel this way because for like, an entire decade, he was at every club/festival/show that I went to in the NYC area, and it was enough. ENOUGH OF YOUR GIANT HAYLEY JOEL OSMONT GUITAR PLAYER, LETTUCE PERSON. Hoooo boy. You know what, though, I did smoke a joint with him once and he was an unreasonably nice guy. I don't deserve to make fun of him.
Flask has Friction Fridays, Geno’s has The Wicked Woods, Nick Perry’s Brass Tax and Ticklefist, Salvage has The Jonathan Sarty band, and Portland’s own answer to Richard Marx and THAT IS 100% NOT AN INSULT YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME Ryan Halliburton is at RiRa.
Go do something. Yes, even the stuff I made fun of. My opinions are stupid and wrong and you are right to hate them. Check the calendar and go get a life or something.
Saturday August 20
Alright I’m gonna say your best bet is this Star Wars cabaret thing going on at Studio 55 starring the Avant-Garters, who are a burlesque troupe, so I guess if you were born between 1965 and 1985, you can pretty much see an IRL reenactment of whatever gross gold bikini fantasies you have. It looks from their header photo like there’s some boy booty in there alongside the girl booty so that’s nice and fun and good for everyone. Go feel weird and squishy inside.
Empire has a show from a bunch of Portland bands you don’t hear about too much, Bootstrap Cannonball, Los Federales, Greg Hall and the Barnhouse Band, with special guest Abby Litman.
If you go to The Ish’s fb page, you probably recognize someone in their photo, but I do not because I’m still new enough to not know everyone, which is so nice and a good thing. So I’m probably insulting your friends when I say that that photo makes it look like there are way too many people in The Ish so my mind immediately goes to “RED ALERT, RED ALERT: JAMBAND ON THE HORIZON” and also they have Howard Stern in their band. Zing! Anyway, they’re playing at Oxbow.
Dominic and the Lucid with Unspecified Special Guests are saying goodbye to their friend Nate Cyr at Port City Music Hall. This morning, I ugly cried in front of a coworker or two. The kind of cry where you can’t talk anymore and you start making noises like a small dog trying to get you to open the back door and let him in. Those kinds of noises. The kind of cry during which you lose a contact lens and then just have to take both out and hope you can drive home later. I cried so hard I went around the back of the building and threw up. And then I continued crying. Then when I came back inside all of The Men in front of whom I had just ugly cried, who I thought would have enough emotional sense to Just Go Away Already, were still in the room, screwing around on their cell phones, waiting for me to come back so we could finish our conversation. SO ALL OF THIS IS TO SAY that if this is a farewell show, and I end up going, I will probably bawl my eyes out because the floodgates have been opened. Wide. They’ve been opened wide.