I would be lying if I said that Michigan Womyn's Music Festival didn't intrigue me a little bit; the feminist "womyn-only" music festival has been occurring in Wahalla, MI every August since 1976, has no corporate sponsorship, a feminist volunteer community from all over the country build the festival grounds from scratch every year and the music lineup ranges from the good (Thee Satisfaction, JD Samson from MEN) to the Lillith Fair-esque (Indigo Girls and Melissa Ferrick) to the weird stuff I've never heard of (a performances from "Womb-Words, Thirsting.")
But before anyone gets too excited about dropping your 5+ male children off at the "Brother Sun Camp" outside the festival perimeter and getting pumped to synch up and watch some Indigo Girls with your second-wave sisters, you should know about the dark cloud that still hangs over MWMF: the fest has a strict policy of only welcoming "womyn-born womyn," which means their exclusion of trans women has alienated most of their supporters in the queer community. The policy first came to popular attention in 1991 after a festival goer named Nancy Burkholder was ejected after revealing that she was transsexual, and sparked the yearly protest "Camp Trans" outside the gates. Old guard supporters of the festival maintain that they are just trying to cultivate a safe space for women in their policy of excluding trans-women and men. On the MWMF website:
"There is no way to really be prepared for the experience of being in such a large gathering of womyn in a totally womyn-created environment (even if you've attended other regional festivals). It is exhilarating, exciting, liberating and overwhelming at times. For many of us it is a relaxing, organic environment where we feel most whole and most truly ourselves."
Besides Camp Trans, it looks like there is a petition to boycott the festival until they include trans-women that is being circulated on the performers facebook pages, and one of the main performers Andrea Gibson has issued a statement dropping out of the festival just today due to the trans-phobic policy.
What do YOU think of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival?
Hey, wondering what Michelle "God Hates Fags" Shocked is up to, now that every venue she was scheduled to play at on her tour canceled her appearance after her insane anti-gay rant? (Full rant audio here!) Well, if last night is any indication: Protest-busking outside the venues where she was originally scheduled to play. With tape on her mouth. NO JOKE. From the AP:
Her show had been cancelled, but that didn't stop alternative folk and rock singer Michelle Shocked from showing up at a Santa Cruz nightclub where she staged a sit-in with tape across her mouth that read "Silenced By Fear"...
Sitting on the ground outside the venue and strumming her guitar, Shocked was largely ignored and refused to speak. She pointed to a sign inviting people to pick up a Sharpie marker and write on the white disposable safety suit she was wearing.
The last time I saw Amanda Bynes was in a teenager movie. Drake = medium-wholesome actor-turned-rapper-turned-inventer-of-#YOLO, right? And he's Canadian? Canadians can't murder. Also, don't wish for your own celebrity vagina murder. Wait, what does that even mean? What's happening? Am I old or is the internet broken? Ugh!
Katie Crutchfield co-founded the Birmingham-based punk groups PS Elliot and Bad Bananas with her twin sister Allison (a la Breeders!) Her bands are have been an essential staple of the punk/DIY scene for years. And now, her current solo project Waxahatchee takes the candid feel of singer/songwriter predecessors like 90's Liz Phair and Cat Power and mixes it with the serrated edge of her punk rock roots.
Her new album Cerulean Salt is being praised by NPR/Spin/Pitchfork/Everyone, and you can pick up a copy at one of the two Seattle shows Waxahatchee this weekend: Tomorrow at the Victory Lounge (433 Eastlake Ave E) or at Porchlight Coffee (1318 E Pike St) on Saturday.
When asked if he would ever cover a Nirvana track live, he said: "Every once in a while we talk about it. For the Sound City gig here in London we were thinking about musicians that we could invite because Stevie Nicks and John Fogerty couldn't make it. Someone came up with the idea of doing a Nirvana song with PJ Harvey. Kurt loved her and we love her and we thought, 'Yeah, what would we do?' I said: 'God, what if we were to do 'Milk It' from 'In Utero' with Polly singing?' We all looked at each other like, 'Woah, that would be amazing…' and then she couldn't do it!"
Thankfully, he admits that a Nirvana reunion can't be taken lightly: "The thing is, it's sacred ground. If we were ever to do something like that it would have to be right because you want to pay tribute. There's a reason Foo Fighters don't do Nirvana songs, and it's a good reason."
Fuck yeah it's for good reason. PJ Harvey would be amazing, for sure, but it'd also be unsettling. I'm not sure I want to see any Nirvana renion. Ever.
Would you be okay with a Nirvana reunion? If so, who would be an acceptable frontperson? PJ Harvey? Stevie Nicks? Paul McCartney? WHO?
Let's have a poll:
The only acceptable Nirvana reunion would be fronted by...
• Eugenie Jones sounded like old-fashioned jazz magic at Columbia City's Royal Room last Friday night, except for the less-magic moment when she explained what Kickstarter is from the stage. Her new recording, Black Lace Blue Tears, is available online (along with her Kickstarter).
• On Saint Patrick's Day on Sunday, we couldn't help but notice there was only a SINGLE green-and-white Cat in the Hat hat spotted in all of Belltown, and only two instances of shamrock-shaped glasses in all three stories of the downtown Target. Step it up, Seattle, step it up.
• The second annual Balkan Night Northwest started off on Friday night at the Russian Community Center. Revelers of all ages celebrated the food, music, and culture of Southeast Europe—a swelling circle of dancers rotated to the music pumped out by several live bands, including the bass-and-drum ensemble Orkestar Zirkonium. The highlight of the evening was when the jubilant cook sprang from the kitchen and performed a mock striptease with his apron.
• The Catheters played the Stranger's Penumbra bash on Saturday at King's Hall, and they killed it—proving that sometimes you can take an eight- or nine-year break and start right back up, as long as there's enough beer present.
When faced with POPE GOSSIP THIS HOT last night, there was nothing left to do but make a Spotify playlist. It's an hour long, but there must be so many more songs that would be perfect for the Sexy Pope Gossip Playlist! Anything missing?
"Journalist David Gibson, who wrote the latest biography on Pope Benedict, said the Pope's resignation was likely due to numerous factors, mainly revolving around the internal problems of the Vatican, of which sexual shenanigans were likely one."
• Mark your entire calendar! VIPCD (Very Important Central District People) Hollow Earth Radio and 20/20 Cycle are bringing you the sixth annual Magma Festival every weekend in March. This year's eclectic lineup includes NW queercore (the Need are reuniting!), hardcore, hiphop, pop, garage, experimental, electronic, and more. For more info, see hollowearthradio.org.
• It's been confirmed that Seattle prides and joys Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will be the musical guests on Saturday Night Live on March 2. Something something, two wiiilllld and caaarrrazzzy guys!
• A Florida man allegedly hit his boyfriend in the face with a plate because he was listening to Alanis Morissette, reportedly telling police, "That's all that motherfucker listens to." In a related hot tip, following the Twitter handle @_FloridaMan is one of the most rewarding/horrifying things you can do on the internet this side of YouTube video "Lindsay Lohan's Changing Face—25 Years in 60 Seconds."
By the time the actual Grammys rolled around, I felt a little partied out from all the weird stuff happening that weekend (also, the Odd Future crew had been making a rowdy party music video in a room on our hotel floor until really late). The whole thing starts early, and it felt sillly getting sequined-up in the early afternoon.
The Grammys are held in the Staples Center, which feels like any sporting event stadium, except it's crawling with people in black-tie dress code standing next to corporate hamburger spots and nacho stands. But those places are closed and no actual food is available during the (REALLY, REALLY LONG) show and apparently people passing out is not all that uncommon. When I sat down in my plastic stadium chair, it crossed my mind that the invention of the clutch purse is a cruel joke... you can barely fit a phone in them! Worthless!
Important notes from the 2013 Grammys:
*Taylor Swift opened up the show with an elaborate all-white nightmare production of "We Are Never Getting Back Together," complete with dancing clowns. Meanwhile, her ex John Mayer was dressed like a game-show host in the audience with his new girlfriend Katy Perry.
*Katy Perry consoled those who didn't take home the best new artist award by saying, "Don't feel bad if you didn't win. I never won this and I have my own eyelash line. Take that, Bon Iver."
*There were 20 performances this year—a record number. I was kind of bummed the speeches didn't run longer though, I kind of like babblers.
*Boring tribute medleys happened every five minutes.
* Jack White brought both his female and male band for two songs and completely slayed. His losing album of the year to Mumford and Sons made me so angry that I started yelling at the guy next me like a crazy sports dude, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? THIS IS TOTAL FUCKING BULLSHIT!" (But seriously, Mumford?! Clean out your ears, Academy.)
*During commercial breaks, everyone on stage kept commenting on what a great job the host LL Cool J was doing in this really paternal way, as if he were a small child we were supposed to be cheering on during a play.
*There were zero obligatory cheers when Chris Brown's nomination was listed off.
*The best new artist award went to the band Fun. who ruin spin class for me several times a month.
*Goyte won album of the year, and still looks like Gary from Partman Parthorse.
*The Black Keys (perhaps most famous in Seattle for their alleged TP-ing of Stranger writer Derek Erdman's house) partnered up for a performance with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
*Justin Bieber was rumored to have been conspicuously absent because he felt sad about not being nominated.
*Between the new dress code that basically only targets women from dressing too slutty, and Chris Brown being honored with performance spots last year, I'm hoping the 2014 Grammys don't include another surprise anti-feminist diss.
*All in all, every performance was a lot like watching the film Con Air... so much crazy action that you almost start get bored when the 15th climax point rolls around. It's the musical equivalent to an amazing motorcycle chase after a plane crash.
• On Twitter, local hiphop maverick OCnotes announced, "due to family responsibilities Im movin to portland on march 10th. 1st OCnotes show will be march 8th at Reed College." Seattle's loss is Portland's gain; good luck in Stumptown, Otis Calvin.
• Adam Green and Binki Shapiro charmed a Barboza crowd last Wednesday. Especially, it seems, a man in a fragrant leather jacket who whisper-talked to anyone who would listen: "I can't wait for them to stop playing so I can take the set list and get it signed." He even whipped out a Sharpie and smelled it periodically to show how serious he was about autographs.
• Sasquatch! music festival tickets sold out completely in record time—90 minutes after going on sale last Friday. Local mushroom dealers have had the same, completely unrelated problem.
• Rumor has it that Ballard's Fin Records is releasing a 12-inch by Grynch and the Physics (they've already released an album by J. Pinder). Could Ballard be the new center of hiphop? How strange if that becomes the case...
As I said before, I was in the company of my band manager girlfriend so our room turned into a nightmare of a people getting ready for the Grammys and all the fancy parties beforehand. A fashionable New York stylist was hired last minute to run around and pick up swanky clothing for the band and their girlfriends. She pulled borrowed racks of suits and dresses from showrooms and estimated the amount of clothing racks packed in my room to be about $200,000 of stuff.
After literally tripping over piles of Armani suits first thing in the morning, the stylist lady kidnapped me for most of the day to drive around LA with her while she screamed at people about shoe sizes and borrowing diamonds on speaker phone. Crazy Stylist Lady suggested that I wear a nightmare pair of diamond studded stilettos, but I couldn't stop wobbling in them and started to feel juvenile for never having mastered heel balance. I was later calmed after chatting with a girl who informed me that she also walks like Ace Ventura in heels, and that she only bought the Fluvogs she was wearing because one of the reviews was by someone who said that they could walk in them even though they had MS.
We were finally ready for the infamous Clive Davis pre-Grammy party, which had an alarming amount of checkpoints and was packed full of important looking old guys and celebrities.
Important observations about this party:
*Everyone was seated at tables while Clive kept introducing important person after important person for standing ovations. After a while my feet got super tired and I had to stop standing up (I mentioned the wobbly shoe thing.) *Alice Cooper and Joni Mitchell were at a table nearby. (Everyone knows that I hate to spread rumors, but what if they were dating? That would be the most amazing couple.) *I decided that me going to these parties is like a non-Catholic going to check out the inner-workings of the Vatican or something. *A Whitney Houston memorial tribute video played—the one where she performanced all sweaty and amazing with one dangly rhinestone cross earring and her hair was at the height of '90s poofy triangle-head fashion. Her death looms over this event because she was found dead in her hotel room upstairs in the midst of last years party. * Johnny Depp was sitting with Tim Burton, Miley Cyrus and Wiz Khalifa were killing wine bottles together at the the other end of the room. *Joni Mitchell kissed me on the cheek because I said something amazing and charming to her in a champagne haze. * I met the guy who wrote the Boy Meets World theme song. He tipped me off to the fact that he might be doing the new theme song about the show Girl Meets World, the sequel about Cory and Topanga being married! (I've heard the most important, relevant music gossip ever at this party!!) *Jennifer Hudson played at the end of the night. I texted to ask a friend who she was and was met with total disgust at my ignorance, "Jennifer Hudson was on American Idol then went on to win an Oscar for Dream Girls. Her mom, sister and nephew were murdered in Chicago by her sisters baby daddy. It was so fucking sad. All over the news. Then she lost a bunch of weight and looks amazing. She is an American hero. I love her like l love Beyonce."
Unlike every other person in the room, Chris Brown did not stand up and applaud when Frank Ocean won Best Urban Contemporary Album at the Grammy's last night. Adele saw him pouting and reportedly "gave him a piece of her mind." There's a picture of him looking at her like "Awe shucks, why are you yelling at me!?"
Of course no one heard what she actually said and she later posed for a photo with him, so she couldn't have been that pissed.
So, I'm at the 2013 Grammy Awards, mostly because my girlfriend manages a band that are doing super well and are up for two awards. I'm most excited for all the weird, non-televised awards: best Christian contemporary, best metal performance of the year (?!) and packaging. Also, I met a stylist for the band who informed me that CBS has issued a strict dress code that may very well ruin the Grammys for EVERYONE.
The ‘Standards and Practices Wardrobe Advisory’ to all attendees reads:
"Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered…thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare flesh under covers of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples.”
This announcement caused an uproar for attendees. ("What are any of us supposed to wear now if you are gonna BAN SIDE BOOBS?")
Other notes from day 1: *Went to a "Friends and Family Party" at Lot 5 of Paramount Studios and saw Carly Rae Jepsen play two songs. She sounded amazing, but was unbelievably checked-out for her performance of "Call Me Maybe." She might as well have been brushing her teeth. I didn't recognize the second song.
*Overheard Angel Hayes talk about her Twitter war with Azealia Banks, "Azelalia is a DUSTY BITCH...she's just totally REGULAR LOOKING." Getting called regular is such a major disssssss. *My girlfriend spotted Macy Gray, and then I briefly got excited until I remembered I couldn't exactly remember what any of her songs were. *I saw Dave Grohl shopping for suits earlier in the day, and went into an embarrassing preadolescence style panic. I frantically texted M.I. Birdsall of Dont Stop Believin' Records to get advice on what to say to him, and she replied, "Ask him what Courtney was REALLY like." The stylist in the store asked me what was wrong with me, and then noticed him in the corner and her eyes widened as she yell-whispered, "Oh my god, Dave Navarro?" *Next up, getting ready for the Clive Davis Party, which has the ominous shadow of Whitney Houston's death from last year hanging over it.
When I was leaving a party at the Rendezvous Grotto last year, I passed the upstairs theater and got totally sucked into the last two songs of a set by Wax Idols from Oakland. I ended up buying their amazing debut record, No Future and it was one of my most beloved new music finds of 2012. Since they are about to release a new record in March, I dug up six hot facts about the Wax Idols: 1.) The band is the brainchild of frontwoman/songwriter Hether Fortune who plays almost every instrument on No Future, and band name is a reference to the wax-colored Christs that glow in the dark from the Bob Dylan song "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding.)" 2.) In one interview, she says that she was dropped from Hunx and His Punx for being "too serious," and she refuses to let band members drink, do drugs, or talk onstage. 3.) The band released and quickly sold out of their their Schadenfreude 7" on vanguard Seattle label Suicide Squeeze. 4.) One of her goals is to become good friends with Marilyn Manson, because she thinks they'd end up being "really good friends." 5.) Hether Fortune created a a zine called "Orgazm Addict" about her gig as a working dominatrix, and her tweets about her job can be pretty amazing. 6.) They have a video directed by the brilliant Hannah Lew (also the drummer of Grass Widow)
And Billboard is reporting that Sub Pop will be releasing a deluxe 10-year anniversary edition of the platinum album Give Up, which was originally released on February 19, 2003. A number of unnamed sources (read: secret tellers!) are confirming the band will play Coachella, too.
On February 4th, the Neptune will host the Sasquatch Launch Party. Built to Spill and Cody ChesnuTT will play, Luke Burbank will host, and Sasquatch organizers will announce the line-up for the annual Memorial Day Weekend festival.
It's already been rumored that the Postal Service are reuniting, possibly for Coachella, but there's no way they'd get back together and NOT play Sasquatch, right?
Telekinesis also has no Seattle date on his upcoming spring tour (featuring members of Say Hi, Wild Flag, and the Globes!).
Hmmm... Who else do you think might be appearing?
Tickets to the party are free and available Saturday, February 2, at the Neptune Theatre box office. First come, first served.
• KEXP's Audioasis Food Lifeline benefit show at the Sunset on January 5 started the new year out with an incredible lineup—Wimps, Dude York, Don't Talk to the Cops!, and Stephanie. Each played fantastic sets, while folks outside attempted creative ways of getting into the sold-out venue. No one could stop smiling, and a Good Samaritan kept buying complete strangers beers without roping them into any creepy small talk whatsoever. Magic!
• Sam Melancon is moving his outstanding experimental-electronic-music night Motor from Lo-Fi to Electric Tea Garden starting February 7. (Motor will then take a break until after Melancon's Debacle Fest happens in May.) We highly recommend you follow Motor wherever it goes—even if it ends up in an abandoned warehouse in Tacoma or a strip mall in Woodinville.
• If you find yourself in Tacoma, might we suggest stopping by Dorky's Arcade for rooms of awesome gaming and an enthusiastic DJ who will mix Carly Rae Jepsen with Skrillex and then dance like no one/everyone is watching. We learned the arcade has also started a Facebook petition to convince Weird Al Yankovic to come to Dorky's for an appearance before his Pantages Theater show in April. I don't know what your 2013 goals are, but this seems as good as any.
Earlier this week David Bowie celebrated his 66th birthday by releasing a new song and announcing a new record. The Next Day will be out in March and of course people (myself included) started to speculate on whether Mr. Bowie would make an appearance at Coachella or any other big summer festivals.
Producer Tony Visconti crushes those dreams, though, saying Bowie made it clear he had no intention of performing live anytime soon. NME says:
In an in-depth interview with the producer in next week's magazine, which will hit newsstands on Wednesday (January 19) and will also be available digitally, Visconti reveals all the inside information on Bowie's two-year long recording process for the album – including details of all the key tracks. In it, Visconti reveals that the singer is insistent there won't be any future live shows.
When asked if there was any talk in the studio with the band of how the tracks would sound live, Visconti replied: "He’s fairly adamant he’s never gonna perform live again… One of the guys would say, 'Boy, how are we gonna do all this live?' and David said, 'We’re not'. He made a point of saying that all the time."