Fact: The Habitat is the best venue in San Diego right now.
Fact: Habitat shows are almost always free, and all ages.
Fact: It is worth your time and energy to investigate the Habitat, which is located smack dab in the middle of golden hill!
You should seek out and embrace independent culture because it is good for your soul. A good independent culture event has a spirtual quality that even the best culture industry sponsored events lack. It is the non-profit oriented nature of independent culture that gives it is this special spiritual quality. While the performance may not reach the higher technical profiency of culture industry product, the energy is of a distinctly higher, more fulfilling level. Kind of like the difference between getting your coffee at Krakatoa/Influx v. getting it at Starbucks- and if you don't grasp the esssence of that comparison- fuck off. Consuming indie cultural product makes you better then people who don't. I'm sorry- it's true.
Last night I saw another amazing show at the Habitat, only this time- it was "Certified Bonkers" packed to the rafters with the fucking kids who, I'm pretty sure were there to see the Donkeys- a keyboardy indie rock band that is about to (?) embark on a national tour:
Jun 16 2007 8:00P
phonenix, AZ trunkspace -
Jun 18 2007 8:00P
oklahoma city, ok the conservatory -
Jun 19 2007 8:00P
Palladium, Dallas Texas Dallas, Texas
Jun 20 2007 9:00P
Austin, TX- Emo's Austin
Jun 21 2007 8:00P
houston tx, the prolateriat -
Jun 25 2007 8:00P
Athens, GA- Caledonia Athens
Jun 26 2007 8:00P
Atlanta, GA- Drunken Unicorn -
Jun 27 2007 8:00P
Norfolk, VA- The Boot -
Jun 29 2007 8:00P
Washington D.C.- The Red and The Black Washington DC, Washington DC
Jul 1 2007 8:00P
First Unitarian church side chapel Philidelphia, Pennsylvania
Jul 3 2007 8:00P
Brooklyn NY- Don Pedro's Brooklyn, New York
Jul 5 2007 8:00P
New York, NY- Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Jul 6 2007 8:00P
Cambridge, MA - Middle East Cambridge
Jul 7 2007 8:00P
Burlington, VT- Kriya Studio Burlington, Vermont
Jul 9 2007 8:00P
Cleveland, OH- Beachland Tavern Cleveland
Jul 11 2007 8:00P
Chicago, IL- Beat Kitchen Chicago
Jul 20 2007 8:00P
Seattle, WA- Atlas Clothing Seattle, Washington
Jul 21 2007 8:00P
Portland, OR- Holocene Portland
Jul 25 2007 8:00P
San Fracisco, CA- Bottom of the Hill
They are on antenna farm records and from the looks of that schedule have a great booking agent. I don't have a long relationship with the Donkeys. In fact, looking at that national touring schedule and comparing my own limited knowledge of these cats makes we wonder where the fuck they've been, but I've learned that I do not, in fact, know everything. I mean... look at that tour! Roy mentioned he thought the Donkeys had already toured with Casiotone.
Anyways- I can see the commerical potential in the Donkeys- they have they keyboardy indie blogger nation sound down to a tee. I can just see the glowing testimonals rolling in from across these fair united states, but they aren't really for me. Fans of Kite Flying Society, Old Man Hands and Vision of a Dying World should take note- and everyone should take note of their awesome draw- they packed it out at the Habitat- that was my perception- people were there for the Donkeys more then Casiotone. The crowd thinned out a bit for Casiotone, who were the nominal headliner.
The true discovery of the night was the Greenbelt Collective- a "non-nette" in the style of Danielson Familie and local nine piece Red Pony Clock with a nod in the direction of Sufjan. A couple of stylistic points set Greenbelt apart 1) the strong environmental (as supposed to religious, say) theme in their song writing 2) This non-nette is run by two women and the boys sing back up.
I bought their full length cd- which is lovingly hand crafted (see a picture of all the cool packaging in my flickr profile). And- I really like the cd! It sounds like Danielson Familie except it's not annoying like Danielson.
The Greenbelt Collective is from Vancouver, British Columbia. A web site called "Vancouver DIY" seems to have all the info on their lil indie rock/indie pop scene up there- including pdf's of zines! That's right: Vancouver indie kids still making actual zines! On paper! And scanning them in. Awwwww... Adorable!
Am now contemplating a trip to Vancouver (which I've been meaning to check out anyways for like, five years), to check out Vancouver DIY scene.
Casiotone wasn't that great.
Dedicated to classics and hits.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Show Review: Casiotone(Chicago), The Donkeys(San Diego), The Greenbelt Collective(Vancouver) @ The Habitat
Fact: The Habitat is the best venue in San Diego right now.
The Creation of Youth Culture
by Jon Savage
author of "England's Dreaming"
published by Viking 2007
Author Jon Savage is best noted for writing what many consider to be the definitive history of punk rock- "England's Dreaming" (personally, I prefer Greil Marcus's "Lipstick Traces".) In "Teenage"- his new book- he gets all ambitious. Teenage is a straight forward social history of what Savage calls "the creation of youth culture." One of the facts i learned this book, was that socialologist/philosopher Talcott Parsons coined the term "youth culture" in 1943.
I think this book is a must read for professionals in the culture industries- journalists, music industry folks, etc. The 450 page length is a tad offputting, but the length is set off by the structure of the book: episodic, proceeding from the 1890s- to 1945 in chronological orders, most focusing on one specific youth cultures from the U.S., the U.K. or Germany (France is mostly absent, along with Italy, Austria and Spain).
Generally speaking, Savage explicates his (fairly non-controversial) thesis that the industrial revolution stimulated the consciousness of youth as a class (by getting them into the work force early, creating more leisure time on a society wide basis, and weakening the relationship between children and their parents) and that "Youth" emerged in the mid 1920s as the most powerful "demographic" of western market capitalism.
Not a very novel set of ideas- I think most would already "know" the above paragraph to be true at some innate level. The devil, of course, is in the details, and it is Savage's work with the primary sources of each particular era which elevates this work from tedious pop history to a must read classic.
Working with the same careful eye for detail that marked his other work, Savage mines the detrius of low and middle brow culture (with the occasional shout out to contemporary academics and artists) with the skilled eye of a grizzled prospector.
Examples are numerous:
"Among the styles associated with the college market were, for women, variants on the flapper trinity of bobbed hair, cigarette smoking, and shorter skirts: tubular dresses, open galoshes, yellow raincoats, silk stockings, and bandanas tied at the head and waist."
"Sub debs- they live in a jolly world of gangs, games, gadding, movies, malteds and music."
"Many of the areas populated by soliders retained the marginality associated with the hobo days: they were full of peep shows, burlesque theaters, and fleapit cinemas showing exploitation films with lurid posters"
Oh ho- don't know what a Sub Deb is? You want to.
Savage starts off in the 1890s- the earliest chapters are the weakest. The apogee, as far as Savage is concerned is in the 20's:
"The youth movement of the 1920s had been all too scucesful in creating their own discrete worlds. In doing so, they had reminded manufactuers, governments, and ideologues that youth comprised a social force that was far too important to be left to be left on its own."
The next 10 chapters mainly deal with Hitler and his fondness for youth culture(!). Indeed, in Savage's analysis, Hitler's succesful appeal to youth was key in his rise to power within Germany. Hitler, it turns out was a fan of American advertising guru Bernays. Whether the goal is social control or consumer capitalism, the techniques, all too often, are the same. It's hard to read the Hitler Youth chapters without thinking a little bit about some of the common characteristics of youth culture. Specifically, the thought that youth, unburdened by experience- are quick to embrace extreme ideas and have little patience for ideas that invovle gradualness or delayed gratificiation.
One of the intriguing inferences one can draw from this book is that- because of the tight relationship of industrialism and consumer captialism to "youth culture"- it's almost fair to say "youth market" instead of "youth culture." In other words- "youth culture" effectively doesn't exist in the absence of consumer driven market capitalism. Think about it.
Savage leaves many of the bolder inferences the reader can draw from this book unstated. The lack of any kind of theoretical explication makes "Teenage" an enjoyable read.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Jyoti Bihanga (San Diego Vegetarian Restaurant)
Sri Chimnoy is a 75 year old indian born/american bred religious leader/vegetarian restaurant entrepreneur who runs his rackets out of Baltimore, Maryland.
On occasion, he will give "Concerts for Peace" in various cities. These concerts are always free, and after the fact I'm always like "Dang, I missed it." I, personally, have been solicited about attending such concerts in cities like Washington DC (in the 90s) and San Francisco, CA(00's). As far as I can remember- the marketing is always exactly the same- Sri Chimnoy, beatific smile on his face, strumming a sitar or similar Indian (as in "from India") stringed instrument.
But the fact is- the man runs a damn fine chain of vegetarian restaurants- they are always located in fairly run down parts of town, but they always- ALWAYS bring the vegetarian eating thunder. Their "Neatloaf" as they call it- is far better then any Meatloaf I've ever tasted, and, as an added bonus it isn't filled with beef anus and whatnot (typical content of hamburger- yum!)
So I think the idea was "let's give Sri a chance to Wow us with his music!"
Probably the first warning I had that Sri might not as be as skilled a musician as restaurant entrepreneur would be the programs referral to his maginificent "synthesizer improvisation" and the repeated reference to his music as "Avant Garde". I read this section literally as the lights went down and the performance was about the begin. Inside, a small high pitched voice (in tremolo falsetto, no less), said "Uh oh!"
What the program significantly fails to mention about Sri Chinmoy is that it is far (FAR!) from clear that he actually knows how to play his instruments. Indeed, his lack of... um... skill in this department made his pre-concert video claim that he had "Played... 170 instruments at a concert in Switzerland" damn near terrifying.
The form of the concert was basically that he was sitting down on the stage, and there were twenty different instruments arrayed on tables in front of him, and he would pick one up play a "song" for five or six minutes, but that one down, pick up a new one and play that for a similar length of time. There was also some acapella singing.
Before the performance started he played a fifteen minute video that showed him meeting and greeting world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Gorbachev, all of the Secretary General's of the United Nations (cue eye rolling) AND! AND! demonstrating is unique feats of strength.
I don't understand why bragging about your incredible man strength is so de rigeur among hindi holy men? Obv, humbleness is not one of the traits- or maybe he's being incredibly humble by travelling the world and lifting Carl Lewis (yes- that Carl Lewis) half of an inch off a platform with one arm?
As far as the ubiquitous cult accusations surrounding Sri- hey- haters are going to hate, right? One man's cult is another man's Mormonism or Christian Scientist church or whatever. Those accusations don't even cause me to raise an eyebrow. People can be totally happy in a cult- to each his or her own, that's what I say.
"Sri Chinmoy is a Scary Cult Link Round Up"
Sri Chinmoy wiki- With the Wiki "This entry reads like an ad" Warning!!!"
Sri Chinmoy (Official Site)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The San Diego Union Tribune Does My Job For Me: Kyle Proehl Reviews Prayers/Muslims/Vultures on "Street Blog"
You see this is what I'm talking about. Annddd... they got the post out by TUESDAY. That is "lighting fast" in the world of corporate media. Keep up the good work. Are you sending someone to the Calvin Johnson show this week? Please do- I want to know ALL ABOUT IT. God I am so proud of the San Diego Union Tribune right now.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Let's start with the obvious:
1. Where has Devore Stadium at Southwestern College been hiding for the past 15 years? What a great venue! The ressurection of that particular venue by the 94/9 crew is my vote for "Coolest Local Music Thing to Happen in 2007."
2. The Casbah/Local Pyle Second stage was a great addition! The crowd I observed for Grand Ole Party had to be in excess of one thousand people- the largest crowd I've seen for a local music act... ever.
3. Next year, more bathrooms
I estimated an attendance of 5000+. Based on Garrett's on-stage observation that "Without the help of sponsors... tickets would have been $70"- that would put the budget at in excess of $250,000. Quite a risk for 94/9 to take on an unproven venue and a bunch of local bands that have never drawn more then 300 people. The stage they used was the same stage that UCSD used. I believe there is only one of those big stages. Can anyone tell me how much it costs to rent that bad boy? 50K? 75K? 100k? It HAS to be a substantial part of the budget.
Based on my experiences at both the 94/9 Independence Jam and 91x X fest (91x fest?) it is clear, demographically, that 91x and 94/9 are seeking different markets. 91x is going for 12-16 year olds, and 94/9 is going for everyone else. That was reflected in the audience I saw at both events. At the Independence Jam I felt, mas or menos, totally at home. At the 91x Fest I felt out of place- like a tourist hanging out at Hot Topic in the Chula Vista mall (CV Shout out!).
Of course, the biggest difference between the two events is the absence of Live Nation/Clear Channel at the 94/9 Independence Jam. I don't know if I can ever stress this enough: Live Nation is fucking evil and supporting Live Nation is like supporting the Devil. Everytime you spend a dollar on a Live Nation promoted event, that is a dollar that is NOT supporting the local scene. That is a dollar that is LEAVING the local economy and going straight into the pockets of the faceless shareholders who own Live Nation.
You think about that as you contemplate your attendance at Street Scene 2007. I, for one, wish nothing but failure on Street Scene 2007. It is owned, lock, stock and barrel by Live Nation- Rob Hagey has little or nothing to do with it at this point, and if you think Live Nation is going to improve Street Scene 2007... well... you are a poor sucker.
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