Wednesday, December 5, 2007
We live in a city of old myths, storied legends and sharp, sometimes unfair criticisms. Ugh is here to debunk or re-bunk those criticisms, legends and myths alike.
Myth #1: WiFi Philly
Classic myth. Earthlink says all of Philadelphia is now covered with the exception of the far Northeast and West.. coulda fooled me. I live in Center City, bought the thing for $6, and have no connectivity. Is this happening to anyone else? Apparently...
Myth #2: Short Sidewalks
It's been a long-lived notion that Philadelphia has short, or narrow, sidewalks due simply to it's history. Planned for in 1682 by William Penn and Joey Sweeney. Well before the inventions of things like cars, parking for cars, and outdoor café-style seating to hog up all the room.
Well, this is simply a myth. Philadelphia has short sidewalks for three very specific, very thought out reasons, all of which have the unfortunate side affect of pissing me off.
Reason 1. To let women with grocery bags in both hands feel nonchalant about not moving an inch to either side side of the sidewalk when you are trying to walk past them. Often leaving you stopped altogether between a tree and a fire hydrant waiting for the bitch to hurry up. Men on the other hand generally do move a little.
Reason 2. To make avoiding that mistake-of-a-one-night-stand you see walking around every now and then nearly impossible. And almost always extremely awkward and short.
“How are you do...”
“Good, good and yo...”
“Great, I'm on my way to...”
“Oh cool, I won't hold you up th...”
“Awesome, see ya.”
Reason 3. And finally, to make groups of threes walking down South Street forget that a group of three takes up the entire walkway. Leaving an on comer paralyzed with confusion and rage, trying to nudge between two of them in an effort to make a point.
“Don't you know about sidewalk etiquette mother fuckers?”
But of course two on them are laughing about how cute they think the Jonas Brothers are, and the other is texting, and none notice how entirely useless they are being.
More myth busting to come. Stay Tuned.
Written by Conrad Benner
For months now Georgy and his boys have been building a case for war in Iran. Drilling us with the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. (Weapons of mass destruction as it were.) On and on the administration droned,
"We must take serious action against this great threat."
The rhetoric towards the Iranian government reach an awkward and fevered pitch this past October when Bush freudianly let out his WW3 plan. Scratch that, I'm sure he means worst case scenario.
It was feeling like Iraq all over again. Jesus, I'd bet you most Americas think Iran and Iraq are the same country and wouldn't even know we'd have started a whole 'nother one.
Well didn't things get interesting when the information was leaked this week that not only has Iran NOT been doing shit with nuclear anythings. But that their nuclear plant had been shut down for over 4 years.
Our administration and our intelligence knew all about it, but continued to hold the information from us, the people. AKA they lied. To try to get us into another war. Like they lied, to get us in our current wars.
But I'm just me, opinionated as shit. For a little more "objective" coverage check out Politico.com, my new favorite political site! And I promise you completely non-boring.
Written by Conrad Benner
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Meet Jacci Stallone... One of my friends, one of the best dressers I know and the owner of Gutter Fairy Vintage.
Conrad: How did Gutter Fairy start?
Jacci: It officially started about 2 years ago. Another Ebay vintage store added me through myspace, and I was just like why did I not think of that first? I used to have my ex-boyfriend take pictures of me modeling the clothes, which usually ended up in a big fight, so it got out to a rather slow start. Also, I originally thought it would be a lot easier than it is. There is a lot of work behind having an ebay store and its difficult if you're also working a full time job and doing a lot of partying. I do have some help now from my beautiful models Alexis, and Kate. Hopefully soon I will also be working with local photographers such as Vincent from Stay Local, Paul from Philthy.us, and my friend Isaac from uhhhh West Philly, to make the shoots more professional looking. Now that I am a grown ass woman of 24, I feel I need to simmer down a little and be more serious about all of this.
C: Where do you find the clothes? (without giving any of your secrets away.) How many things are you selling right now?
J: I can't tell you where I shop, but I find all my clothes at thrift/secondhand stores for the most part. Also, many are from my own closet...things that I have worn once and can not be seen in again. Other items have been donated by friends. As they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure...right? I try to put up about 20 new items at a time. Hopefully soon I will become incredibly consistent with this and do it once a week. Like clockwork.
C: How would you describe your personal style and how does that effect what you sell? (For example, do you only sell stuff you'd wear?)
J: I don't really think I can describe my style. I feel like people try to label it a lot, or tell me "oh you look like ______(insert any famous female with black hair or bangs)"...most of the time I look nothing like these people. I wear whatever suits the mood I'm in, and this definitely changes A LOT. As for what I sell, I definitely gravitate towards things that I would wear, but then again, I would wear almost anything as long as I can make it work. I do try to cater to all different styles. For example I'm not too boho myself, but I know girls are going crazy for those poncho sweater capes, so finding them is like finding gold. I love to find gold.
C: Any plans to open a shop?
J: I would love to one day have my own shop. That has always been my true dream. I'm not really in a position to do that right now, but maybe one day.
C: What are a couple of your favorite items you're selling right now and why?
J: Hmm right now...well I'm always partial to biker style leather jackets, and there is one for sale right now. Also I like that tan quilted bomber jacket. It's so retro and 70's. But that red dashiki is my favorite. I love dashikis and would probably be happy wearing one everyday for some reason. I'll wear them with bamboo hoop earrings, I don't give a fuck! Oh and that little suitcase?! It says Cairo on one side, and Linda on the other side and is hand painted. So weird. Anyone named Linda out there? This purse got your name on it yo! Literally.
C: If you went shopping in Philly tomorrow what would be the first 3 shops your hit up?
J: Well seeing as I pretty much only shop at thrift stores (for Gutter Fairy and for myself), I will not reveal what they are because I am a very selfish person. Haha. I feel that style and shopping in Philly is very limited. Even more so in the recent years. South St. isn't even worth walking down, but I would stop at Retrospect. I always find something there. Hmmm and then I would probably go to Sweet Jane Vintage (which isn't even open yet), but my friend Jen is the owner and we have the same views when it comes to fashion, music, etc. so I know I would definitely not walk out empty handed. My third choice would be the beauty supply store on 7th and Chestnut. They have everything! You can buy huge cheap earrings, a new weave, crazy tights, and a du rag all at once!!!
C: Ok, let's play a game. I'll name some fashion trends I've seen in Philly. I'll say what I think about them and you, as the expert, give us your opinion too.
Conrad: I still like these. Although I tried one on at Urban once and it fit me weird.
Jacci: I don't hate on these...The only reason I wouldn't wear one is for the fear of running into someone else wearing the same thing. That is one of my worst fears, besides getting tangled up in a blind man's cane on the street, and eating rice.
Conrad: Love them. I have a pair that was apart of my Halloween 'Sunny and Cher' costume that I like so much I gonna start wearing out.
Jacci: Yes you looked cute in those pants. I want a high waisted pair of bell bottoms real bad. Kyle helped me the perfect pair of vintage Wrangler bell bottoms at Retrospect, but when I got them home I couldn't even fit them over my huge ass. So sad. Maybe you will see them on Gutter Fairy soon, if anyone's small enough to fit into them!
3. Girls in boot cut pants and high heels?
Conrad: I hate this so much. It reminds me of being on a boat... like a navy boat or something.
Jacci: The only good thing about this look is...nothing. It reminds me vomiting chocolate rain...and not in a good way.
Written by Conrad Benner, Photos by Jacci Stallone
While the majority of the You Tube Republican debates held yesterday were a match in who was more well, Republicany...
For example: Who would get the closest to supporting torture without having to call it torture? Who would pass the most legislation to fuck over immigrates? Who believes every word in the holy bible (literally a question asked and then answered seriously at a presidential debate)? Who is more willing to punish women if they get an abortion, “when” Roe v. Wade is overturned?
Oh and of course, who is going to advertise smaller government, safety and conservatism, while actually legislating away more and more of our freedoms. Scarring us with “terrorism” to continue broad, unending and unfair wars around the world. And push consumption of non-renewable resources all while ignoring environmental and human needs... and I'm talking about the Dems too... Ugh.
As you can tell, I might be a little over the whole “America” thing right now. I need a soy latte and a hug... Anyone?
Where was I... yes, while most of the debates were very typical. There were some kinda interesting questions.
Ron Paul: actually vaguely cool.
In a plot startlingly similar to George Orwell's 1984, a You Tuber confronts Ron Paul about his conspiracy theories concerning the movement to create a North American Union, combining the American, Canadian and Mexican governments.
Gay people: too icky to serve.
In this question the candidates are asked if they think gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military. It's interesting to see how many of our future wanna be presidents openly endorse inequality and would legislate discrimination.
African Americans: just don't vote for them.
Here Giuliani equates getting the black vote immediately with welfare. Haha... Dumb ass. And you wonder why African Americans don't vote Republican.
Well, either way you look at it I encourage you to watch the whole debate. One of these men will be running for the White House soon enough and god knows he will not be talking like this when he wants to get our votes.
Written by Conrad Benner
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Conrad: I fucking love "Shake it to the ground", How'd you come up with that track?
Rye Rye: Well the track came about because I had did my first song in the studio and in the lyrics I said "imma shake it to the ground, bring it back up, twirl it all around, yea u know what's up" lol which from then blaqstarr took that bit and we just made it out of another song "shake it to the ground", so there it was a good chorus and only thing that was left were the 3 verses which I eventually wrote and recorded. So that's how I came up with the club bangin track. Thanks for fuckin loving that track, it's amazing!!!!
C: What's the scene like in Baltimore? What are some of your favorite places?
R: The scene in Baltimore is crazy. I mean its like other places u know different scenes all around. It is hood basically in some areas, some areas beautiful with just crazy ass people lol, but dancing has become a major part of Baltimore now. We got the boys dancing crazy legging all over the place u know, girls doing them just mad crazy. Some of my favorite spots are the clubs. I haven't been lately but I use 2 be in love with it. Always crazy, always breakin out into fights ruining shit hahahahaha, Club Paradox is the best and another favorite spot is my hood....Chapel Hill, where I grew up and raised around the dopest boys! Lol big brother figures.......
C: Have you been to Philly much? What do you think about our city?
R: I've actually been to Philly one time for a show. I mean the party was crazy. I was amazed at a lot of the dancing and things because I couldn't believe everyone danced the whole entire night, it was very fun and I enjoyed it. But I am going to be doing another show there on Dec. 1 with M.I.A. and I plan on going there to visit some friends of mine.
C: Who are you working with on the album?
R: On the album, I plan on working with DJ Blaqstarr, M.I.A., Afrikan Boy, Diplo, and many other upcoming artists! I would love to work with Mario because he is straight out of Baltimore and I think me and him should collab and just do a lil sumthin sumthin!
C: You're in the middle of a US and UK tour opening for M.I.A., What are you most excited about?
Well I am most excited about being able to perform and show my skills off in another part of the world. I am also excited about the experiences that I might come across. I heard they had some good shopping stores and the clothes are amazing lol!
What's your Ugh-pinion on...
C: The music industry?
R: My opinion as far as music is that it is becoming a takeover on the world. Here it is everyone wants to be a singer, rapper, everything lol but it's cool, I just wish that it was an easier way for people to become apart of the industry. It is sooooo many people out here who is talented and just can't show themselves off to the world. Back in Baltimore there is some haterz along the way, I mean people that work at radio stations, don't give others a chance to let their music be heard, and only promote u if u are their artist hahahaha lol, most people know who that person is! I also believe that me and Chris Brown should be together and just live hahahahaha just kidding!
C: Jordin Sparks whack new "Tattoo" song?
R: I never heard it truthfully! But I think she has an amazing voice. I Never heard any of her songs yet. LOL!
C: B-more crabcakes vs. Philly cheese steaks?
R: Philly cheese steaks be bangin! I would eat it before I eat a crabcake, haven't had any in awhile sooooo I don't really care lol! But I love eating Cheese Steaks at night when my mom go and get them from Mama Mia's.( store in Baltimore)
C: Hillary or Obama?
R: Well it is kinda hard, hmmmm...... I have to find out more about them! Whichever one that would stop the bombing in other countries and help them out.....
C: Thanks again Rye Rye for your time. We love you already. And we'll see you Dec. 1 in Philly.
R: U r very welcome, hope everyone enjoy the show in Philly because it is going to be a dope show, and M.I.A is the best sooooooo please come out!
Check out Rye Rye and DJ Blaqstarr's 'Shake it' video below. For show listings go to her Myspace Here.
Written by Conrad Benner, Photos by Rye Rye
Sunday, November 25, 2007
If you've lived in Philly the past couple of weeks you know.. The Barbary is open. And if you've been to Barbary in the past couple of weeks you know.. It's the most exciting new venue in town. John Redden, who bought the bar this past summer, has been renovating it 'till it's opening earlier this month, sits down with Ugh to chat.
Conrad: So John, what's the new Barbary like?
John: It's a DIY-oriented club for DJ's and bands. Great dance floor, cheap drinks, amazing sound, no bullshit.
C: It's all about who you know. The following DJ nights are planned to relocate to the Barbary.. White Tees & White Belts, Intensified, Broadzilla, Click, and The Turnaround. Can you even do that? (No, seriously where do I buy my season pass?) How'd you get all these nights to move? Anything else moving?
J: You forgot about Sorted, which I'm pretty sure is the longest running party in Philly. It was one of the best monthlies the old Silk City ever had... anyway... it's pretty simple, actually. It's all about giving DJ's/promoters everything they could possibly want from a venue. Each party at The Barbary is a team effort. I work with the DJs/promoters to come up with the best game plan to make their party successful. On top of that, I take everyone's overall feedback on the venue in order to make the place better.
Pretty much every big monthly party in the city is moving. Some I can't mention because the party hasn't technically left their current venue. There's tons of new parties as well. Spankrock is doing a weekly Monday with DJ friends and artists. We're doing a monthly iPod battle... like a legit one.. YouTube it.. amazing. Ian Saint Laurent is doing a monthly hip-hop party with Brendan Bring'em which will be insane. Super Todd Bros and Oh Murder Inc are teaming up with Strawberry Mansion and doing first Thursdays. We have a 60's electronic burlesque monthly. There's a pretty big house monthly in the works. There's tons of other parties that will start in '08 as well.
C: You've been in the Philly scene for a minute now. What do you like to see when your out? What do you hate to see?
J: I like to see it when people lose themselves in the moment. Whether it's seeing a band, dancing, or an amazing conversation... for a split second, not even knowing or caring about anything else but what is happening at that exact time.
There isn't really anything I hate to see. Everything, good or bad, has it's purpose. I try not to take nightlife that seriously.
C:I remember about 3 summers ago going to Silk City (the dirrrty Silk, before the makeover) to go to Socket (John's old DJ night for new heads). It was when I first moved here (aka, moved outta my momma's in Fishtown) and in so many words.. it was the shit. How do you bring Socket's spirit to the Bary?
J: Great question. Yeah, that party was really really fun.... It's kind of like having an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend that you were never able to get over. You constantly want to relive that period of time where everything seemed perfect. However, you can never recreate that same exact feeling. But... I think with socket it's different. That party was unique because it was the only party where a brother and sister could DJ and bartend (with DJ Deejay) and basically be in charge of everything. It was super DIY for a night at a bar... and when Silk closed, there wasn't a single venue in the city that would allow us to take over like that. But now that I own The Barbary, it makes perfect sense to bring it back. We rotate playing music and serving drinks to everyone... it has a very positive vibe.
C: Is it too soon to call it the BRBRY?
J: Haha good one. Nah, the name will stay the same.
C: Anything fun coming up? Will we ever see Crescendolls again?
J: Yeah. The Barbary will totally blow up in December. That's when most of the parties kick in. In the meantime, here's some dates for the rest of November to hold you over...
11.27.07 Get Smart - 60's garage/psych rock w/ DJs Noah and Ashley
11.29.07 The Zoo - indie/electro/hiphop with Scottytoodope, Diamond Girl, and special guest...me.
12.01.07 the return of Sorted!
As for Crescendolls, we'll see. I'm focusing on getting everyone else's monthlies off the ground first.
C: John, have a fun Philly Story?
J: One time about 4 years ago, I was leaving an after-hours club and a girl asked me for a ride on my motorcycle... I obliged and we were on our way... She immediately starts kissing me all over my neck and starts trying to give me a hand job while I'm trying to pay attention and ride.. She's saying all kinds of nasty things, and I turn around to look and at her, and voila! She's missing a front tooth. I literally scream at the top of my lungs, pulled over, hailed her a cab, and went home as fast as I could. I proceeded to go on the wagon for about a month. The end.
C: Would Britney get a free drink at the Barbary?
J: Nope. Only DJs and band members get those.
(Ugh visits Barbary photo booth: This time it's like John is saying, fuck you take your own picture.)
Check out The Barbary's Myspace for current party updates.
Written by Conrad Benner, Photos by Louisa Engle
Unfortunately not a legal one, same sex unions are still illegal in the state of Pennsylvania. The event was seen as more of a favor to a friend. Although Street was pretty "cool" about it saying "[I] believe people have the right to have their relationships." ... WTF does that mean?!? That's like one step away from saying "I do not support gay marriage faggots." Gay.
The couple, Ryan Bunch and Micah Mahjoubian (above) are about as hot as the temperature they share a screen with and seemed to look on the bright side of things, saying "As head of the city of Philadelphia, he lends legitimacy to what we've done today and that was important for us to do that in front of our friends and family."
Well, congratulations boys on the... same thing you were before. I hope one of you doesn't have to visit the other in a hospital soon... 'cause they don't let you do that.
Eh, I guess it's baby steps to equality.
And in case you've lost count: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and of course New Jersey all offer same sex couples the same rights as opposite sex couples. It's just common sense.
Written by Conrad Benner, Some stuff from NBC10
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Hilarious Funny or Die parody of “green” people,
And sticking with the green theme, remember 2 Girls 1 Cup. That was kinda a nod to conservation and recycling... Yeah. It was also wicked gross. Here’s a funny John Mayer parody, 2 Guys 1 Cup,
Written by Conrad Benner
I know we haven't seen much of each other lately... And I know it's mostly my fault. Hell, it's probably all my fault. You've been nothing but an angel to me from the start. I know... I know, I've been a pretty crappy BF these past 2 weeks ('blog friend'.) It's just that things got so hot, so heavy, and so confusing, so quickly. I was barely ready for it all.
One minute it's just the two of us talking about how Britney fucked up the VMA's, next minute we got the whole town in our pockets, sippin' on the finest City Specials this side of Broad, interviewing bands I've never even heard of, even had Philebrity toss our name around. That's how cool we were kitten face.
And you know how I am with change and commitment. Jesus I didn't even pick an official all time fav Spice Girls song till 2 months ago and now their all back together and shit making new ones. I'm a hurt man, that's all I'm sayin'.
We became different people too, don't try and pretend otherwise. You were all talking about settling down, buying a real domain name, "getting out of this shit hole" as you explained it to me. Even talkin' about poppin' out a few advertisers. I wasn't ready for all that. All I wanted to do was live my life, street. Go out all night, sleep all day, get some food somewhere in the middle, do it all over again the next night. Maybe throw in an update every now and then to make you happy. I'm from Fishtown baby, that's just the way I was raised.
It didn't even really hit me... you know, that I wanted... no scratch that, needed you, till... till Kanye's mom died in that plastic surgery. It like woke me up and shit, you know? Like what if they found out me or you had plastic in us, and they had to remove it but one of us died and we could never talk again. That'd be fucked up. Real fucked up.
Now I'm not saying I'm gonna be able to change overnight. I'm still gonna go out with my pals now and then and get too drunk and maybe forget an update sometimes. I'm only human. And moreover, I'm only human, 22, and in Philly, where that's kinda the main event. But I promise you.. no, look me in the eyes.. I promise you I'll be the best BF I can be. I'll never forget to write about a fun DJ night I go to, or forget to write you on our aniversity and I'll even work on the whole, throwing-up-in-bed-in-the-middle-of-the-night thing you've been mad about. All for you baby, all for you.
Now that we've talked that one out and before we tuck one in (wink.) Let's update you Bitches. Since last we updated...
Courtney found out she's going to college, Temple to be more exact.
(Reenactment of receivement to acceptance letter.)
Jason's in a wheel chair. Chair with wheels to be more exact.
(Really he's just doing a 'sitting down shot gun', incidentally also his Indian name.)
Louisa thought Jason was really in a wheel chair for like a second.
(Reenactment of Louisa thinking Jason's in wheel chair.)
I, Conrad, hit on a straight dude.
(I really should know better by now.)
And Erin kept it fancy and is graduating college.
(Seen here with unknown photographer.)
Seriously though, we appreciate all the support we've gotten for this blog. We've just been a bunch of lazy drunks. And as always, if you know any fun things that we should know, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks y'all.
Written by Conrad Benner
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Louisa: The Boats began some years ago in Savannah. I know lots of people, myself included, were pretty disappointed when you all broke up. Before reuniting in Philly you were kind of spread out across the country. Tell me about the current line-up and how you came to get back together.
Micah: Yeah. Nate, our drummer, and Geoff, our bass player both moved to Philly by coincidence. Jonathan, the guitar player, moved to Portland and I moved to southern California. I visited Nate and Geoff here and decided Philly pretty much ruled so my wife let me talk her into moving here. We called Jonathan to see if he’d move out but he has his own band, Mira Flores, that are doing well. So he’ll stay in Portland but in the mean time we became friends with Beto who plays bass with Walker Lundee. He switched to guitar for The Boats and you’d think he played guitar his whole life. That’s our line up.
L: I'm excited about a new album. When is it expected to be released and what can we expect?
M: We don’t have a hard date yet but it’s being mixed right now so it shouldn’t be too much longer. I think you’ll like it. Some of the themes will be familiar to Boats fans. Like, a lot of songs deal with relationships but also a lot about growing up and what it means to be an adult.
Musically, I like to think the writing has been honed a little bit, the playing is a little tighter and the recording is better and punchier.
L: You just got back from playing a show at the Black Cat in DC. That spot is pretty integral in the DC indie scene. Had you played there before? How was it?
M: We loved playing there. I’d never been there before. The food was great. The room sounded good and we love playing with our Savannah friends, Circle Takes the Square.
L: How do you like the Philly music scene? Any favorite local bands right now?
M: Yeah , it’s pretty good. Nate introduced me to Dr. Dog’s music while I still lived in California and I thought it was terrific. When we moved out here to our first apartment, Toby from Dr. Dog was our downstairs neighbor. That was exciting. They’re my favorite philly band along with Spinto band. I also like Buried Beds and some others . I suck at remembering names.
L: What other projects do you all have going on at the moment?
M: Geoff is always busy at his job at NFL Films doing sound design. Nate has a pet portrait business. He makes luminious oil paintings of peoples pets. Beto plays in Walker Lundee, like I said, and he also does a lot of illustrations. I like painting signs, and fixing up curbside finds.
L: Where are your favorite places to play?
M: We like The Tritone, The Khyber, The Church. I want to play at the Northstar just ‘cause I think it’s a cool venue but we haven’t played there yet. The very best though is peoples houses. House shows are the most fun.
L: Favorite hangout places in Philly?
M: If we’re all together we usually go to Tritone. We like their drink specials and they’ve always got something weird on the menu like fried pickles or alligator. I thought they were an endangered species but I guess they’re not. I asked the waitress, “ what is alligator?” She said, “like… alligator.”
Nate and I live in west Philly so we usually hang out at the Green Line Café or the Satelite Café. Geoff and Beto always go to a bar called Atlantis after practice.
L: If you could play a show with anyone/band past or present who would you choose?
M: The first thing that comes to mind is the Pixies because they’re my favorite band but I suppose it’d be a better fantasy to give myself more musical ability, go back in time to the 50’s (not unlike Back to the Future) and go on tour with Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. Ok, throw in Elvis and Roy Orbison and call it even.
L: What do you all do in your free time?
M: I like car shows-even though I feel that cars are evil polluters I still like looking at them. Geoff loves football and fantasy football. Nate likes reading, learning everything about anything and bicycle touring and Beto likes golfing and going to shows.
L: Give me some good/funny Philly stories/memories/experiences.
M: I walked down into the 19th and market trolley stop and there were a bunch of kids laughing. I was trying to see what they were laughing at and there was this poor crazy woman with her pants around her ankles but with a long shirt so she was covered. She was yelling, but kind of singing,”I wanna know WHO’s!…the mother fucker that’s been callin’ the cops on me….every time I pull my drawls down to take a piss. I wanna know WHO’s!...”and so on like that over and over. Is that funny or sad? I thought it was funny.
L: Many of your lyrics are quite bittersweet and personal, a quality which allows people to identify with them easily. What inspires you to write songs?
M: What happens usually is I’ll just be working or walking down the street and I just talk to myself, like you do, and a couple words will strike me as kind of musical or they have a ring to them or whatever. Then I start singing them to myself. It’s easier if I’m upset for some reason.
Another way is, I’ll hear something and it sets off a trigger. For instance one of my friends was sleeping with a really cute girl and another one of my friends was like, ”Oh, she doesn’t really even like him, she’s just fucking with him.” and I thought, “oh, that kind of sucks.” So I tried to write what it might be like to be him and that’s where Don’t Fuck With Me Baby came from.
Sometimes I’m not really inspired at all and Nate or someone will just kind of force me to write something. Like, my wife said, “lets write a song about my friend Rose.” I didn’t want to and she drug me through it and ended up with I’m Your Ghost which turned out to be one of my favorites.
L: Favorite song of all time? (that's actually pretty hard)
M: My favorite song is Leader of the Pack by the Shangri-Las. It’s like a little movie with its great dialog and sound effects. It’s just a magical combination of totally beautiful and totally stupid at the same time. My favorite part is when they do their spooky and sad outro at the end that I think is actually chilling and then they play these dopey tire skid noises over the top of it that makes it funny. I don’t think it’s the most important song in the world; it’s just my favorite.
The Boats play this Saturday, November 10th at Johnny Brendas. Come see.
And check out their myspace, www.myspace.com/theboats.
Written by Louisa. Flyer provided by artist.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Sometimes you stumble upon something that restores your faith in an angry city. Restores your faith in strangers and ideals. Not in a cheesy way; just a nice refreshing way. The Mural and the Mint did that for me. Michael Kiley is doing something different with his free music project. As he put it, "Free music isn't an original idea", however how many people do you know who are making and giving away full albums without the goal of eventually turning a personal profit?
Louisa: Explain how this whole project came about.
Michael: I started thinking about releasing my music for free a few years ago. Only recently have I had the courage to actually do it. To be honest, I am not really sure if its a good idea. But I do think that in the end, more people will hear my music than they would if I had a label press copies and release it. I just try and not spend money on this project. If I don't spend money, I can't loose money, which is what 99% of musicians end up doing (and what I have done in the past). The times of record sales supporting an artist are long gone. Most of the people that make money off of record sales are non artists. Songs have become marketing materials, so that's what I am letting them be.
L: Your project from title down is distinctly Philly. Are you a native?
M: No, I grew up in North Jersey, and spent some time in New Mexico before moving here. But I love it here. I never wrote a song until I moved to Philadelphia. It has definitely inspired every ounce of this project in one way or another.
L: The idea of making music and not getting financially compensated is so completely backwards from today's mainstream music industry. How have you been received by listeners and other musicians?
M: Well, that's what I'm reacting against. It shouldn't be backwards. Everything about the music business is about making as much money as possible, which is what's really backwards. Neil Young will throw images of Clear Channel planes dropping bombs during a show at a Clear Channel venue. That happens because Neil and the people around him are more interested in making money than producing themselves. And if there is anyone who could set up in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere and play a sold out show it's Neil Young. Its just been going on for so long that people like him who actually care about music and actually hate Clear Channel or Live Nation or some other conglomerate can't separate the two any more, or just don't choose to. It's not anti-establishment to trash a company and then cash their checks.
That's not to say that I don't think musicians should be financially compensated for what they do. Of course I do. I just think that the existing model for paying musicians is so fucked up that I no longer want any part of it. That's why I am asking for donations. People who care about what I do support me, through giving money or donating time and ideas. Like Punk Ave, the company that host my website for free. They believe in what I am doing. I have made more money through donations than I ever have selling records. And that money, little though it may be, goes directly back to the art.
That has been the most negative thing that I have heard though, that giving music away cheapens the artist. But that's not how I see it. Giving 90% of your record sales to managers, label execs and promoters is cheapening yourself. Now, that's not to say that those people shouldn't get paid for what they do, but it is to say that they have become the focus. The artist is the one who takes the risk now, not the publicist or whoever. That is why all art should be free. It should be funded, and free. I'm just trying to find a different way of getting paid, and of making sure the money goes back into the work, not back into the add budget. And look, there are exceptions to every rule. There are good labels and good mangers, good promoters, and good people who work for Live Nation. I'm friends with some of them. But on a whole, it is mostly rotten.
L: You have an upcoming show at L'etage. This space seems perfect for your style of music. Are you planning on playing more shows this winter?
M: Yeah, I love L'etage, when the crowd is right. It's great as a small music venue. I'm going to play a show in Delaware on December 15th, for Tric Town at Mojo 13. After that I think I am going to focus on setting up my own show in an alternate venue. I want to collaborate with dancers and film makers on an evening. Less like a rock show, where people will filter in throughout the night, and more like a performance that starts at a certain time. I try to work with different people every time I perform, creating new versions of the songs for each show. We'll see if I can keep it up.
L: I love the embroidered image for the cover of Caterpillar-Cocoon-Butterfly. Who made it?
M: Her name is Katie Henry. She has the moniker Made By Hank for her work, which you can find on her Myspace. She makes embroidered drawings of people with animal heads and animals with animal heads...I'm still waiting for the animals with people heads, but she doesn't like sewing faces. She also makes great bags. She's gonna be famous.
L: Have you been involved with any other projects (musical or other) in Philadelphia?
M: Right now I do sound design and compose music for theatre and dance. I'm working on a piece with my wife, Nichole Canuso, for the '08 Live Arts called Wandering Alice. It's a site specific work where the line between audience and performer blurs.
L: How do you feel about the music scene in Philly? Any favorite local bands/musicians?
M: It's good. I feel like we could help each other a bit more. I like running into other musicians around town and chatting with them about what they are up to. I feel like most of us are going through similar things...how to legitimize yourself as a musician, how to have a relationship or a marriage or a family and still do what we love. Maybe I should start some sort of support group. That sounds so lame though. No one would come. I love Josh Marcus and Pattern Is Movement among others.
L: Obviously you are proponent of free music. How do you feel about the Limewire type downloading of music not intended to be free?
M: Limewire is stealing, I think it is wrong. I also think it's bullshit that a program like Final Cut Pro should be $1000. That's just people getting fat. But that's not up to me. I don't have the ability to make a program like that, so who am I to say what it's worth. But you can't look at stealing on a case by case basis can you. Is it ok for the start up director to swipe that program because he can't afford it and could be a great film maker? Is it o.k. to take Radiohead's record for free because they don't need the money? No, I took it for free because I make free music myself, and because they let me. I also think it's wrong that a club will take all the money from the bar, AND pay out the sound guy and door guy FROM THE DOOR before they pay the band, but I also don't have the power to open my own club. People can do things however they want to. I'm just disappointed with people's inability to put themselves in check. For a club owner to say, I'm gonna make $100 less dollars tonight and give it to that band that drew five people because they were GOOD, which is why I booked them in the first place. Now they have $100 more to make music with, and I still made money off them and their friends at the bar. When people start thinking that, this town's music scene will really flourish.
L: I'm sure the internet has been critical in getting your music heard. I've noticed lately that bands will list their Myspace page before their real band website on flyers. What do you think of Myspace's involvement in music promotion?
M: Well, My Space is free and having your own web site is not. It also takes no knowledge of html to use it and that's why it is brilliant. It streamlined the web for the masses. It's too limiting for what I want to do though, I can only post 4 songs there for example. It's heyday is over, but it is still invaluable. And it is owned by one of the worst men in the world...I suppose all us peaceniks are hypocrites for using it, just like Neil.
L: Do you think a project like your's would be possible without the advent and popularity of "online communities"?
M: Of course not, the internet is the only place to get my music. There are no copies of it. I think "online communities" are my only hope of being heard. I just hope they find me.
L: Give me a favorite Philly memory/story/experience.
M: I don't know that you could call this a "favorite" but I can't shake it. I was in the police station at 24th and Wolf about a month ago, waiting in the lobby for someone to drive me back to my job (its a long story). There was a mom with her daughter in her lap, she was like 7 or 8. They were both visibly shaken up. Her husband walks in, to which she promptly says "You need to put your fanny pack in the car." And her eyes motion to a sign that reads: NO FIREARMS BEYOND THIS POINT. IF YOU ARE ARMED, NOTIFY DECK OFFICER." He ignores her and sits down. I can't help but think how ridiculous it is to carry a gun in a fanny pack. Fucking hilarious. He asks what happened. Apparently some kids shot a gun off while she was driving her car with her daughter in the back seat. The bullet went through the rear window, and the girl got cut from some of the glass, but the bullet didn't hit anyone. The dad's response was, "We'll that's why I've been carrying since I was 21. This weekend we'll go get you your permit so you can start packing too." The wife just nodded in agreement. It took all my restraint to not ask the guy if his gun could stop bullets. It's so strange to me that people in this city and in this country consistently try and solve problems by becoming them. That's what the song Tyree is about...a boy was shot dead right in front of my house, and it turned into people yelling at each other when they should be coming together.
L: What are some of your favorite things going on right now in the city?
M: Baby disco. Benna's cafe. Pig Iron Theatre and Headlong Dance Theatre. The city wide free wireless. Just kidding.
To donate or learn more visit www.themuralandthemint.com or their Myspace. And come see The Mural and The Mint live at L'etage above Beau Monde on Bainbridge between Sixth and Seventh on November 29th at eight pm.
Written by Louisa Engle. Photo provided by artist.
Good morning bitches. Micheal Nutter is your new mayor, and that's a great thing. Winning with over 80% of the vote, the widest margin of recent Philadelphia elections. Nutter proclaims “It's a new day in Philadelphia.” With plans to clean up the city and clean out city hall, Nutter truly is a breath of fresh air.
His Top Issues:
Nurturing a more ethical city government
Fighting litter and cleaning up the city
Better zoning and more incentives to create new businesses
And his controversial, “Stop and Frisk” approach to reducing crime and to getting illegal guns off the street. Watch the video below to hear Nutter on crime.
(See a full list of Nutter's campaign promises Here.)
And above all things Nutter is our greatest salesman. He loves this city and wants the world to know how great we are... or, how great we will be after a year or two with him in office.
It's all kinda like when you're dating a guy and he seems okay at first. But then you all get too drunk one night and he calls you a bitch in front of your friends. And your all “Fuck you, that's not okay.” But then he apologizes the next day and brings over that obscure 80s movie you really like... like The Adventures of Babysitting. And your all, whatever he's a good fuck. But then like 2 weeks later you all are super drunk again and he kinda hits you. But like your not really sure if it really was a hit or more of a pushing type of a deal. You just know it was a little too aggressive and it makes you a little uncomfortable. But you still don't really break it off. You just kind of keep hanging out with him. Till one night a week later you see a really cute guy at the bar and your all “he's cute.” So you talk to him and he's really interesting and like, actually has a plan. But not in an obnoxious way, just like he knows want he wants. And he doesn't need to drink all the time. Like he's cool just baking cookies and shit. So you cut it off with that first guy and you keep thinking to yourself, “This is what I could have had the whole time?!? What the hell was I doing before?”
It's like that, you know?...
Want more Nutter Butter? Check out his,
Written by Conrad Benner
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Grab your shotguns because this weekend I had a hell of an epiphany about shot-gunning things.
Not only does poking a hole in a can and pulling a tab cut drinking time in half, but it will get you hyphy as fuck and fierce face all over the sideshow. I dare you to prove me wrong.
In fucking fact, I declare this to be the winter of shotguns, next time any of you see me out (which can't be too many, because honestly who reads this joke of a horseshit "blog"), hand me something unopened (within reason) and i'll drink the hell out of it.
Anyway, so I'm
Firstly, when did it get so dicking cold outside? I understand seasons changing and all that, but why so damn quick? These southern bones get cold quicker then you yankees, and despite the so called fashion positives of cold weather accessorizing, it does make it increasingly harder to tell who of you out there are uggos. Gnar gnar bodies hidden under layers fancy clothes. NOT COOL MAN. Throw me a bone Philly, why did we have to skip autumn?
Secondly, here's the new podcast. Seriously, chop this sucker up and suck it right into your ears. It has pretty songs on it.
second verse, same as the first.
get it right here.
1 - Cornelius - Breezin'
2 - Everything, Now! - The Birth of Ugly Magic
3 - Dodo Bird - Horny Hippies
4 - Black Diamond Heavies - Fever in my Blood
5 - Arizona - Some Kind Of Chill
6 - Ringo Deathstarr - Sweet Girl
7 - Black Moth Super Rainbow - Sun Lips
8 - The Intelligence - Dating Cops
9 - Tenlons Fort - Ghost on a Hill
Also, if any of you clicked on the link in my last entry, you're gross.
Posted by idiot of the year, Jason Turner
Friday, November 2, 2007
It’s all hollow eyed owls and chain saw kitties for James Olstein and Ellen Metro, the mystical combo behind Tame Clothing. The clothing line, specializing in hand silk screened tee shirts, hoodies, and pillows, relocated several years back from Pittsburgh and has since been embraced by the Philly art scene. After selling out several locations, the line is now exclusively available at Mew Gallery in the Italian Market. I’ll tell you first hand that these two have brains filled with brains. James’ complex sketches come alive on these wearable pieces of art. I mean if you think about it, we all knew a robot would puke nuts and bolts if he’d had a few too many...
Louisa: When did the idea for Tame Clothing come about?
James: This kid in Pittsburgh had opened a store of his own silk screened shirts and prints. They were 40 dollars for a shirt and 200 for a print and he was doing it out of this loft his parents had bought him. Every print was just garbage and I realized I could do better than him. So the next day I bought my first screen and started to teach myself to screen print. I figured if this kid could do it I could do it better. Ellen and I have been at it ever since. We won't stop until we put Sears out of business.
Ellen: Jim has been really into t-shirt design for a long time now and he wanted to make shirts that would appeal to us, as well as unique designs that would appeal to people like us.
L: Do you and Ellen hand silk screen all the pieces?
E: Yes, we do. Jim is MUCH, *MUCH* better at it than I am and honestly, I have only screened a few pieces. I have helped him screen a few shirts and I did my entire last set of owl pillows.
L: Where are the pieces currently available?
J: Mew Gallery has been a strong supporter of ours since they opened. They probably have the most stuff. Jinxed on 4th used to carry us too, but sold out. I just haven't had time to make anymore. I've been busy with the responsibilities I've been given after being voted Miss Teen USA.
There's no time to screen print when your Miss Teen USA.
E: I am also going to be dropping off more owl pillows soon [to Mew Gallery].
L: I've seen some awesome pillows you have made. Any plans to expand your reach past shirts and pillows?
J: No not really, there are so many great ideas and designs I have for just those two things. We have hoodies, there hard to hold onto. That's as diverse as we get. We always sell them all. The designs keep getting crazier. I lose a lot of sleep over them. Ellen loves doing the pillows and is really great at it. people love em like kittens and yarn. We have new stuff finishing production now and soon a new website too.
E: Jim is the brain behind the t-shirts and he has come up with basically all of the designs, with a little bit of input from me. I would love to do some square pillows that feature some of our new designs and Jim's artwork on them. I get psyched about making pillows. :)
L: Even though they are printed, each item is a one of a kind piece of art. Do you feel pride when you see people wearing your clothes?
J: I love it. It's always so weird to see someone on the street wearing one. I gave my mom one and she won't let me take a picture of her wearing it for the website. I wanna see them on astronauts.
E: Yes, DEFINITELY. Tame Clothing is something that I would love to do full-time one day if possible. I am much better with and much more interested in the management side of the business. One of my main goals in life is to be self-employed one day, so when I see people wearing our shirts I feel as though I've come a little bit closer to meeting that goal.
L: Did someone really get a tattoo of one of your drawings?
J: Apparently just owning the t-shirt wasn't enough.
L: Where do you draw inspiration for your drawings?
J: Peanut Butter and memories of growing up in the woods.
L: You sell to some great local spots. Do you think of Tame as a Philly company?
E: I do, yes.
J: Yes I do. I love Philly even when the shirt company or an art show fails miserably there is always an opportunity too do better here. We've been a company for over two years an the majority of it has been in Philly. I am in Texas right now and i can't wait to get home to where no one has an accent and everyone hates you right off the bat.
L: Have you gotten good feedback from local businesses?
E: We have. We had our shirts at Jinxed Clothing and we still have shirts and pillows at Mew Gallery. We have a good relationship with both shops and hopefully, we will pick up more shops that want to carry our stuff in the near future! A high point for me was the R5 Productions Punk Rock Flea Market in December 2006. That was the best feedback from the public that I feel we've gotten thus far. Our table was quite popular that day and I don't think the popularity came from the fact that I brought bags full of homemade owl-shaped sugar cookies and sold them for only $1 a piece that day. :) It was the shirts and pillows that got the people psyched.
Tame Clothing can be found at Mew Gallery between Ninth and Tenth on Christian. Check Tame’s myspace www.myspace.com/tameclothing for updates on new pieces and their forth coming website.
Written by Louisa Engle, Photos by artist
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Philadelphia's latest black eye... Well, actually less like a black eye and more like four bloody gun shot wounds.
(Officer Mario Santiago, shot once in the shoulder by suspect at 22nd and Sansom Streets)
Four shot in total; Including a police officer, at least two in critical condition.
Everyone living, working, and playing in Center City last night (Tuesday) were apart of the commotion. Cop cars by the dozens flying up every street; Chestnut, Sansom and Walnut mostly, all heading west.
It was around 10pm, I was working at my gelato shop on the corner of 20th and Sansom when I noticed a police car, then one more, then three more. People standing at the intersection started to fix there gaze westward. Police cars and vans are now flying up Sansom in groups, I think I counted 46 total by the time I saw the last one. [Actual accounts are much more staggering, check it, over 100 Police officers and Marine units were called to the scene. Damn.]
I walked outside, instantly rumors filled the air. (It is Philly.) A couple of Comcast employees were working on a new cable line when I reached the corner. They say they've heard some gun shots. A young man and his girlfriend walked up and say they hear that protesters are being maced by the hundreds at the Democratic debates in West Philly. Briefly, the theory of an explosive was spread around.
I just hoped Hillary was unharmed.. She's my girl.. Fuck off.
Then I heard of shootings around 15th and Sansom by some friends that texted me. That's when things got wired. Two shootings in Center City in less then an hour?!?
At this point Ambulances and Police vehicles are going in every direction. As described by my cab driver later that night, “Shit was apocalyptic.” The cabbie was also nice enough to let me know that the gunman had jumped into the Skuykill and the Coast Guard had come with snippers to find him. (Information the previous rider had left him.)
At that point I was all, “old news, 15th and South, please.” Truth was, I knew I was gonna Google all this shit later. It was 12 midnight and time to get drunk. Like every other night, I'll deal with reality in the morning, at least I tell myself.
Also, Bob and Barbara's is the shit to have fun at on Tuesdays, in case you were out of the loop.
Fact is: I had 4 or 5 specials at BB's and had a good night. But from 10-12 it was a free for all in CC. Everyone was calling there friends, people on the streets were starting rumors (at one point I was under the impression that there had been at least four separate shootings in CC.) Shit was crazy.
Truth is: The gunman shot 3 people in a car at 15th and Sansom for an unknown reason. He ran up Sansom, chased by Officer Santiago and got into an altercation at 22nd street and was shot by the gunman. Who continued his Sansom Street run west to the river where he jumped in and is still in pursuit.
Point is: Crime in our city is out of control. Especially with the guns. We need to stop asking our next mayor what is his plan is to fix it, and start demanding our current mayor to address it. (Um, I guess we should still ask our next mayor what his plan is, but you know what I mean.)
How do we stop the violence? Email Ugh your opinions and comments on this 'shootings' shit to email@example.com
For more information and videos of this breaking news story check out CBS3.
Written by Conrad Benner