Shipping News is a mostly instrumental group from Chicago and Louisville that plays a type of music often referred to as math rock. The best I can define math rock is heady, muscular, often instrumental music that betrays '70s progressive and Krautrock influences. You can't dance to it and you certainly can't sing along.
Shipping News differs from the math rock pack (is there really a math rock pack?) because rather than filling their songs with acrobatic tempo and volume shifts, their songs derive their power from slow swells and ebbs of tension. I wasn't stoned, but it was fantastic stoner music -- in the sense that weed would help the listener appreciate the subtle harmonic changes in the songs.
And did I mention that the bassist/keyboardist guy was hot? "I've had a crush on him for a long time," said an audience member who asked me to send her pictures of him.
I think Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) was at the show. I tried to confirm my indie "Peach Buzz" celebrity-sighting, but I lost her in the dark.
Jesus, that was violent: The biggest cultural event of last weekend took place in movie theaters. Since I don't actually review movies, I decided to cover the event by standing outside the Regal Hollywood 24 Cinema in Chamblee Sunday afternoon to solicit interesting comments from the after-church crowd.
It was a bad idea. Not only did everyone I approach not see Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, but the people who saw my backup movie, The Passion of the Christ, weren't willing to comment. It was obvious from nearly everyone's facial expressions, though, that the film was a deeply emotional experience. From the people willing to talk, comments ranged from, "It depicted the essence of the Gospels," to, "Scripturally, it was an exaggeration."
Failing to get enough to write about, I went in the theater to see the movie for myself (The Passion, not Dirty Dancing). An extended trailer for the "Charlie's Angels" TV biopic preceded the film. I wonder if some idiotic marketing software matched the words "Christ" and "Angels" in the titles and decided that "Charlie's Angels" would be a great preview to show to The Passion crowd.
The crowd wept a lot during the film. Only at funerals have I been around so many crying people. That didn't stop the woman next to me from having a two-minute conversation on her cell phone. At least her phone was on vibrate. While Christ was hauling the cross down the Via Dolorosa, some jerk's cell phone soundtracked the scene with a chirpy rendition of "When The Saints Go Marching In."
Mighty White of Him: Let's transition from subtle, debatable anti-Semitism to the full-blown, all-out, undeniable kind. On Saturday afternoon, my friend (and sometime CL contributor) Matt Monroe and I drove up to Kennesaw to visit Wildman's. Wildman's website declares that the store is a Civil War surplus shop. A better description is "White Supremacist Gift Shop." The store is filled with Civil War relics, yes, but it's also packed with Nazi, KKK and anti-Semitic knickknacks aplenty. Need a copy of David Duke's latest book? Go to Wildman's. Wanna understand better how Jews control the world? Wildman's has a copy of the (libelous and fictional) Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Accidentally stain your work clothes with Cran-Apple juice? Wildman's got a Grand Wizard's get-up in the back!
The CD bin alone was worth the visit. I didn't buy it, but for a minute or two I had my eye on a CD called Panzer Marches. The cover depicted shirtless Nazi soldiers relaxing in a meadow beside a tank. Those Nazis were really good at homoeroticism.
The CD I did buy is called The Good Old South: Country Style. If you're easily offended by the word "nigger," it's not the CD for you. (Nor, for that matter, is most hip-hop.) However, if laughing at the paranoid country musical fantasies of racist goobers is funny to you, this CD is non-stop ironic fun.
While making my purchases, I struck up a conversation with the store's namesake Dent "Wildman" Myers about the picture of Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page taped to the cash register. For an openly armed "Wildman" who hinted to a reporter at this newspaper in 2001 that he's a Klansman, he was awfully friendly to swarthy old olive-skinned me. He explained that Page used to visit him in the '70s because Wildman had a large collection of Aleister Crowley memorabilia. Crowley (who died in 1947) was a famous British occultist. Page was/is so famously obsessed with Crowley that he bought his mansion back in the '70s. Without prompting, Wildman generously, or was it self-aggrandizingly, produced a stack of photos of he and Page along with postcards and letters. It just goes to show, even peddlers of racist smut can be fun to spend an afternoon with. I highly recommend a visit.
Fair and balanced: On Sunday, Congregation Beth Jacob in Toco Hills held a carnival to mark the Jewish holiday Purim. It celebrates the Jews being saved from the King of Persia. Being saved is as good a reason as any to let loose. The Beth Jacobites celebrated with traditional Jewish costumes such as a Confederate soldier, spy, ninja, Power Ranger, and a middle-aged Asian woman with a piece of paper taped to her shirt that said "UN Observer." A kid who I thought was Moses, but was actually Gandalf, was selling pickles with his friends.
Throughout the day, there were lectures by rabbis. I sat in on one about Purim and terrorists. The rabbi was wearing shorts and a Ray Lewis football jersey.
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Mo gibs muh 'dat.
One step forward, two steps back.
Hey "Here's Your Editorial", what does Dale Earnhardt Junior have to do with this article?