Monday, July 21, 2008

Reverend Slanky, Block Party, Some Personal Shit and More

Reverend Slanky capped a full day of music, fashion, food and fun at the Hip Strip Block Party Saturday. Secret Powers played earlier. Some photos of them may be found on the flickr archive. See the link to the right on this page. I'll cover this event soon, with more photos.

I've bitched and moaned about not making a living as a photographer long enough. Dammit, if you can't beat them, join them. I will not give up my passion, but I've succumbed to the need for supplemental income.

The beard has been trimmed, and the hair buzzed. I have a new part-time, slightly irregular job with a varied and unpredictable schedule. Job hunting and dealing with bureaucracy gobbled up most of my time over the last 10 days. Thus the blog went several days without a post. My fingers are crossed, as I hope the new job will provide enough additional income to keep food in my stomach and a roof over my head, while not devouring my life and making me a total wage slave.

Tomorrow is a very early day at my new job. Before retiring, I want to take a quick turn around the scene.

I still think Joe leaving Black Velvet Elvis is the biggest music story around. That group has been one of my favorites, since the first time I saw them. Everyone should turn out for their final performance together, during Total Fest, coming to the Badlander, August 14-16.

An executive decision has halted all performances at Dauphine's. It had been serving as an all ages performance venue, while tangled politics made the Youth Center unavailable.

Tangled politics also continue to cause problems at the Senior Center.

Politics are a pain in the ass, and "politically correct" is an oxymoron. If it's correct, it isn't political. And, if it's political, it sure as hell isn't correct.

The last local performance by Good Neighbor Policy was covered here and by other media. Another hit to the local music scene is the upcoming dispersion of Arrows to the Sun. Their final performance will be Wednesday, July 23, at the Bike Doctor's on O'Toole.

Good night and good luck.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Joe Leaves BVE

Who's missing? Joe is, because he is leaving Black Velvet Elvis. He's being coy about his reasons for leaving and about what he may do next. It isn't a stretch to assume he will be playing with another band in the future, but with whom and where? Rumor has it, he is contemplating a move to Portland.

Olivia can still sing, and Tony can play the guitar. That's a double understatement, because they are both terrific at what they do, but without Joe, BVE loses some impact. A drum machine is no substitute.

Joe will play with the group, for one more outing, during Total Fest. His congenial manner has made him popular on the scene, and everyone wishes him well with whatever he does next.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

iNHUMANS Prove Badlander Best

Badlander just won the honor of "Best Place to Hear Live Music," and Friday night the venue lived up to its billing, as the iNHUMANS provided the hippest show in town. The Badlander filled to capacity and had to turn people away, as the word spread and fans flocked to the site. Up front, Kyle and Austin put on one of their liveliest performances, feeding on the energy of the enthusiastic crowd.
The guitar player joined in with a counter-point,
while the turntable master did his thing.
I've covered the iNHUMANS on this blog before, but this time there was something new. Now, they have back-up singers, very swinging back-up singers, campy, vampy and fun back-up singers.

See you at the Badlander for the next hot show.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fire Season Is Here

This was supposed to be a happy little blog posting about Broken Valley Roadshow playing Out to Lunch in Caras Park, but I became distracted by another drama. In spite of the wet spring and late snow, things are getting dry, and fire season has arrived. I was on the phone when I first heard the helicopter. I thought Medivac was landing in the parking lot here at Creekside Apartments, but the sound circled the complex and came down the river past my window. One look told me there was a fire close at hand. The chopper quit flying at dark, but smoke was still billowing over Mt. Sentinel. What will the story be tomorrow?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday Night Music Treat

Evidently the music started at the advertised time, Monday night, at the Badlander, because I missed the first band. It is just as well, because their name would be deemed inappropriate for this all-ages blog. I didn't miss Deny the Dinosaur, and for that I rate the evening a success. It was pure gravy, after the Dinos' set, to find that Modey Lemon, out of Pittsburg, are also a rocking bunch. It's hard to stand still, when these guys are stirring the air with their beyond-classification brand of music.

I'm starting to recognize some regulars who always seem to show up when the music is surprisingly good. Some, supporting their brothers and sisters in the trade, are members of local groups, such as Bridgebuilder and Victory Smokes. These dedicated music connoisseurs found plenty to praise last night.

Modey Lemon

Deny the Dinosaur

Did someone say Deny the Dinosaur once had a singer? If so, no more. Now the trio performs driving instrumentals, with flair and fury.

Jordan does some distinctive finger work.
It's good to see a man happy with his work.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Confession, Peace and Flowers

Confession: I'm an old hippie, as you may have guessed, just when you thought we were all dead and gone. Why did the hippies move to Missoula? There's no work. Oh yeah, that's funny. I moved here to study photography.

There's another war on, and I'm repeating an old message: peace and flowers.

4th of July Speech/Sermon/Rant

Today is the fourth of July, a day dedicated to patriotism, BBQ and beer. Does everybody have a gun ready to fire into the air? Look, there are fires everywhere. Let's blast some fireworks. Who-ever is drunkest can aim the rockets.

People are still arguing over what the founding fathers meant, when they formed this country over two centuries ago. Were they deists or faithful Christians? What did they mean by a nation of the people? Rich and poor, slave-owner and slave all fought to free us from the reign of a mad king. Farmers fought against the finest troops in the world and kicked their asses. Flags featured snakes, stepped on, ready to strike back. Freedom was a real issue, as was democracy. They were not brand names thrown about to further political goals.

We fought the British empire and vowed to be a republic, never an empire, but our vows were for nothing. We inherited much of the British empire and expanded elsewhere. Now, we are the mightiest empire the earth as ever known. Our military bases circle the globe, and gunboats enforce our will on people everywhere.

My god! What a cynical view! For the counterpoint, let us go to O'really pontificating about how our country is nobly based on the Judeo-Christian tradition. It was our duty to bring democracy to Iraq, and we did.

No thanks. Bill raises my blood pressure. Anyone who hasn't realized by now he gets paid plenty to spout the party line has been completely brainwashed. First of all, the Iraqis do not have democracy, nor do they have running water, electricity, health services or any guarantee of safety. One million civilians have been killed. Two million are homeless, living in ruins, tents, fields and caves. More than that have fled the country as refugees, to live in poverty-stricken ghettos in surrounding countries. Other countries now dread the possibility of our bringing democracy to them.

Iran is next on the neo-con hit list. We certainly have the weaponry to devastate another country. The lion's share of our resources have gone to building weapons and using them for many years. Time out to voice the administration's fear tactics: Oh, my god, China has greatly increased its military spending. Therefore, we must increase ours. Horse biscuits! We spend more than all other nations combined for our military. The pundits tell us war is not the issue, it's the economy. War has wrecked our economy. All services and maintenance, across the board, have been cut to finance our invasion and occupation of a foreign country.

The oil fields were the goal, and the latest news from Iraq, is the oil companies get no-bid contracts similar to Halliburton's. This war has made the rich richer and the poor poorer. Check how Cheney's stock portfolio has multiplied, since he helped lie us into this war. Look at the oil companies' profits setting new profit records every quarter. When they said the invasion would pay for itself, they meant it would pay them. "Let it be; its the free market. We need less regulation, not more!" Road apples! I've expressed my opinion of the trickle down theory before, and everyone understands just what is trickling down. We are literally pee-ons at this point.

This is not a party issue; this goes beyond Republican/Democrat. We are not only an empire, but a decadent one. Turning to the Oxford English Dictionary we find decadence defined as "luxurious self-indulgence." We in the United States are 5% of the world's population, and we devour 30% of the world's resources. That cannot continue.

Unfortunately, elections don't seem to make much difference. I've spoken against the Bush administration and Republicans, blaming them for this fine mess. However, Obama has already caved on the domestic spying issue and is courting the Christian Coalition. He'll be caving (I mean "compromising" on environmental issues next.) Does anyone really believe switching parties in the White House is going to end the corruption?

Our first priority cannot be to elect this bureaucrat or that one, but to end the war. Then we need to go beyond that, to dismantle the military-industrial complex. Ike warned us against it, but we didn't listen, and now it owns us lock-stock-and-barrel. During the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite went over there and saw U.S. soldiers wounded and dying. He came home and put the images on television. The ensuing outcry forced the end of that war. Those in power corrected the problem, this time around, by banning those images from the media.

When O'really refers to the Judeo-Christian tradition, he must be looking at the Old-Testament Jehovah ordering the chosen people to slaughter every man, woman and child, and occupy the promised land. The promised land must not be confused with the garden of Eden, which we are currently blasting to pieces.

I probably upset some Christians with my observations, but consider how Jesus met his end. They came for him in the dark of night, took him to jail, tortured him, put him up in front of a kangaroo court and sentenced him to die. Josephus said it was the rich and powerful who arranged his execution. So it has been in empires since: those who bought their position, instead of earning it, disappear those who challenge their authority. Our government routinely practices the same atrocities. When caught, they merely change the laws.

Superman has encountered kryptonite and can no longer fight for "truth, justice and the American way." Everyone must take up the banner and march forward to bring back the ideals this country was founded on.