Recent Work

I have a link and an order. Well not an order, rather a seek this out kinda direction after the link.

First up is the link. It’s to a book review of a book I read called Lincoln’s Melancholy, and it can be found here: http://frontwheeldrive.com/lincolns-melancholy-by-joshua-wolf-shenk

Secondly is the band Nurses. I did a write-up on them that can be found in the September 2007 issue of Thrasher. If you like skateboarding, Michael Sieben or bad puns involving noise rock bands from Temecula, CA, then I would encourage you to go buy it.

The Evens

(I just got the new Fugazi photo book by Glen E. Friedman and was reminded of this thing I wrote about The Evens last year. The Evens aint Fugazi, but one half of The Evens was one quarter of Fugazi, so this is essentially one eighth about Fugazi, more or less. www.fugazibook.com will get you to the source of this fractional mess better than my mathematically challenged ass can…)

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I’ll be honest. It’s real hard to write something about Ian MacKaye and his new band The Evens without reaching for the Fugazi button half a dozen times. So I’m just gonna put it out there and get it over with: Fugazi, Fugazi, Fugazi, Fugazi, Fugazi, Fugazi. Wow, that felt good. Unfortunately, and fortunately, Fugazi is on an indefinite hiatus. They’re not broken up but they’re not making music either. I say that it’s fortunate because Ian MacKaye has taken the time freed up from his previous venture to pursue an alternative to the force that Fugazi had become. (And I say that it’s unfortunate, well, because Fugazi was/is awesome. But seriously, duh, did I need to say that?)

Since 2001, MacKaye, along with Amy Farina (formerly of D.C.’s The Warmers), have attempted to deconstruct the traditional paradigms of independent music through The Evens, a two-piece musical venture consisting of baritone guitar, drums and vocals. The Evens as a musical entity is a new approach stylistically for the duo. The sound is hushed, analytical and provocative without provoking direct aggression or anger. Alternative forces are at play within The Evens. If an emotion is invoked, it’s explored and speculated over, rather then given the traditional “Fu*k you” of most of the present’s traditional music model. The live performance is where much of The Evens’ philosophies become most prominent, and there exists multi-faceted intentions for the hushed and calculated approach of The Evens.

Traditional electric music of any sort, when performed live, needs to be amplified. And proper sound amplification systems are invariably found in but a few locations. Namely, clubs, performance spaces and bars. These spaces almost always sell alcoholic beverages, which additionally limits the age range of spectators. By removing the need for a sound amplification system, The Evens can expand their range of performance spaces and range of guests. It’s a simple premise: remove the sound board, remove the traditional commercialism of a typical performance space, open up the music to anyone that wishes to hear it.

As a result, The Evens have performed in spaces that include museums, churches, restaurants and libraries; and the cavalcade of spectators at an Evens show can range from toddler to student to middle age, and everywhere in between. It is but one of many techniques that The Evens employ to explore the realm outside of traditional punk and rock methodology.

In addition, The Evens have long explored the notion in music that “Volume equals power.” And as MacKaye has always taken, the road less traveled meant deconstructing that belief. In this way, The Evens have created a far more intimate relationship with its audience. As MacKaye has previously stated, “Volume can be powerful, but it’s not always powerful. Sometimes things that are quieter lay it out even more intensely.”

The result of The Evens subtler, quieter performance is a close-knit almost symbiotic relationship between themselves and the audience. In the simplest terms, people do not leave an Evens show fatigued or suffering from tinnitus. In fact, the energy of an Evens shows is more akin to that of catching up with an old friend. Interaction between the band and audience is encouraged; and the absence of a stage removes the heightened stature that is often placed between musician and fan.

The Evens second full length, ‘The Evens Get Evens,’ will be released in November on Dischord Records. Again aiming to deconstruct the makings of traditional indie music, the process of recording the album was brought closer to home, away from the recording studio. It was recorded entirely by the band in the basement of the Dischord house, and mixed by longtime Dischord cohort Don Zientara at Washington D.C.’s Inner Ear Studios. The resulting 10-songs are reflective of the close, candid live performances of the Evens.

Too much of the world is cheery enough to just sit along and go for the ride. The Evens are challenging traditions and thought processes that shouldn’t be structured to begin with. If you can appreciate that, then The Evens might just be your best friend and worst enemy all rolled into one, fortunately and unfortunately.

DUDLEY “BOOGER” DAWSON 1966-2007

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SANDUSKY (AP)- Dudley ‘Booger’ Dawson, a pivotal figure in the fight to end discrimination against what would inevitably be known as the “Nerd Movement,” died yesterday at a Sandusky area Hooters restaurant. His longtime friend, Adams College Dean of Admissions Louis Skolnick, told reporters that he died during a belching contest. “He has just finished burping and was trying to pull a server’s shorts off, yelling that he wanted bush. It was the only way I could have imagined him going,” he said. Dawson was 41 years old.

Dawson was a key part of the Bill Gates-affiliated legal team that doggedly attacked nerd discrimination in the workplace. He was the lead lawyer in Gable v. Adams College, assisting the college’s board of trustees in writing a University Civil Rights Code which enforced inalienable rights for all students of the college, including subsections specific to the conduct of nerds and jocks.

Dawson later went on to extensively crusade against nerd discrimination, establishing links between The Civil Rights Act and nerds in the workplace. In 1994, he told a reporter: “The Civil Rights Act states that all individuals are entitled to receive fair treatment, regardless of race, sex, age, sexual orientation or other factors. Though the Civil Rights Act does not protect individual explicitly from nerd discrimination, the Act encompasses all physical and physiological issues that any individual may be faced with. Since my freshman year of college, this concept has become central to my life’s work.”

Early in his career, Dawson rose to legal infamy through a series of unorthodox, uncouth exploits within the courtroom, including picking his nose, passing gas, belching and several pronounced advances towards large women. He was cited with contempt of court in 1989 for referring to a district judge as “My mother’s old douche bag,” and was frequently reprimanded for dressing inappropriately, including one hearing in which Dawson attended in a t-shirt which read ‘Gimme Head Til I’m Dead.’

Dawson was a graduate of Adams College and The Adams College School of Law. He was a lifelong member of the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity and had recently served as a chief judge on the Sandusky Circuit and as a posthumous member of the Law Blog All-Name Team. In his spare time, he enjoyed beer drinking, dancing with large women and belching competitions.

He is survived by a wife, Heidi ‘Booger’ Dawson, a son, Dudley Jr., both of Sandusky, OH, and a stepfather, known simply as Snotty, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

JOHN MCCLANE 1957-2007

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NEW YORK CITY (AP)- John McClane, the reluctant but valiant dark horse of the New York City Police Department that became world renowned for his vigilant roles in foiling terrorist attacks at Nakatomi Plaza in L.A., Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. and The Federal Reserve in Manhattan, N.Y., as well as most recently cutting short an attempted “fire sale” attack by terrorist computer hackers on vital networks of the United States government, was remembered by his longtime friend and co-conspirator Al Powell as a hero that never stood down from a fight.

“John was the last cowboy… The last great hero America might ever know,” Powell told The Associated Press on Saturday. Powell, a Los Angeles Police Department officer that befriended McClane during the siege on L.A.’s Nakatomi Plaza in 1988, had remained a close friend since the attack and had counseled McClane through three consecutive attacks in the aftermath. “John was special, there was nobody like him.”

McClane died August 11, 2007 of heart failure. He was on a birthday outing, playing golf at The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey with friends Zeus Carver and Matthew Farrell. His final words, according to Carver, were “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker,” as he teed off on the green at the beginning of the game. It was McClane’s favorite catch phrase, echoing his abject cowboy-ism and heroic exploits. At the time of death, McClane was still employed in the NYPD as a Detective Lieutenant, but was on medical leave. He had just turned 50.

His thirty years of service in the New York City Police Department demonstrated a lifetime of valor, exceptional service and a commitment to right the many wrongs of the world. McClane’s altruistic obligations additionally propelled his persona into the celebrity spotlight several times throughout out his life, beginning in 1988, when McClane battled international thieves in Los Angeles’ Nakatomi Plaza. Single handedly, McClane foiled an attempted heist by Eastern European terrorists to steal $640 million in bonds. The gang of 25 terrorists were killed or apprehended with minimal civilian casualties. All this was accomplished by McClane without the aid of the local police or FBI. Additionally, he was not wearing shoes during the siege and battled the terrorists barefoot.

Two years later, following a brief move to Los Angeles, McClane again unfolded a terrorist plot at Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport. A terrorist cell had attempted to hold approaching planes and their passengers and crew hostage until they could secure the release of a former Central American general drug lord. But the ensuing escape of the terrorists and drug lord was again, single handedly thwarted by McClane as their plane left the ground, killing everyone aboard. In the chaos, a British Airways jet was also lost, killing everyone aboard, a loss McClane had struggled to cope with for the past 17 years.

Five years later, McClane again found himself in the spotlight. After relocating back to New York City and rejoining the NYPD, McClane was specifically summoned by international thieves to do battle on the streets of New York City. McClane, along with the help of Harlem resident Zeus Carver, summarily defused bombs throughout the city, carefully placed by Eastern European thieves that that were attempting to rob the high-security vault in the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The defusing of the bombs saved countless lives, including thousands of school children throughout the five boroughs. The stolen gold was eventually traced to Montreal, Quebec, and McClane joined international police forces to apprehend the stolen gold, which was returned to the Federal Reserve Bank. The city suffered massive structural damage, but through McClane’s valiant efforts, many lives were saved.

McClane returned to the international spotlight earlier this year while shuttling Matthew Farrell, a computer hacker from New Jersey, to Washington, D.C. While picking up Farrell from his Camden, N.J. home, the duo encountered a team of assailants. McClane and Farrell escaped, unknowingly thrusting themselves into a U.S. born plot by mercenary hackers to shut down the U.S. government. Following power outages to most of the Eastern seaboard and massive damages to the infrastructure of the U.S. government, the terrorist plot was again thwarted by McClane, with help from Farrell and the FBI. During the chaos, McClane’s daughter was taken hostage by the terrorists, but she was eventually freed unharmed. McClane also suffered several gunshot wounds. Remarkably, it was his first wounds suffered during thirty years of gun battle. He had spent the past three months recuperating from his wounds.

The New York City native began his career with the NYPD at the age of 20, entering the force with a disregard for authority and a penchant for non-traditional police tactics. His destructive tendencies and laconic humor earned him a reputation as a “loose cannon” within the NYPD, characteristics which only began to serve him well starting with the Nakatomi siege of 1988. Though his vigilantism and disregard for authority put him in danger of losing his job more than once, he eventually won over his many detractors in the department through his palatial devotion to crusade against lawlessness, his brute ability to overcome physical pain and an exemplary but often undermined commitment to his family.

In 1986, McClane married Holly Gennaro. The couple had two children before separating in 1995. McClane remained single since the separation, claiming that his solitude was a result of becoming a “reluctant hero” in a recent interview with The Associated Press. Citing the state of his life, McClane says he often found himself in dangerous situations, “Because there is nobody else to do it.”

McClane is to be buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y. later this week.

McClane is survived by two children John McClane, Jr., age 17, and Lucy McClane, age 20, and Kevin D’Arcy, a cousin.