Friday, February 27, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
One of my favorite bands from high school, The Format, broke up a year ago. It was a two-man band from my hometown, and I've seen them play everywhere from the now-defunct Nita's Hideaway (which I passed on the road the other day, it's like rubble) to the tiny closet space known as Modified to bigger, New Yorky venues like Irving Plaza and Webster Hall. I stumbled upon a link to this guy's blog, this guy who was The Format's manager, and it was interesting to see how the dynamic of the band shifted, their struggle to make it in any sense, what the two of them are up to now.
I still listen to their songs. I think they captured an essence of my Southwestern coming-of-age that I needed to carry with me on my trip cross-country when I was 18. They may be on to bigger or more meaningful things, but those songs will always be Phoenix to me.
The video below is from one of their Flagstaff shows in early 2004.
fotografia from freshpeel.com
Monday, February 23, 2009
Something around me smells like hot dogs. Hot dogs were featured in a movie I just watched. I'm going to get my hair cut like the girl in the movie. Do people ever put garlic on hot dogs?
I danced once to that song, while wearing duct tape on my mouth! O Cow. The Knack thought they would be bigger than The Beatles. They said so in an interview, which is why they are not bigger than The Beatles.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Alex Petrusek strikes again:
Is it time for a nerd army resurgence?
By: Alex Petrusek
Published On: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
All right, I give in. I’m willing to accept that “uncool” has become cool.
Big, cumbersome glasses once associated with nerd-dom are now a fashion must. Plain, frumpy clothing is “in.” Collectively, we as a nation dress like disaffected high-school sophomores.
“Indie” artistic culture is becoming increasingly popular, and being “weird” is no longer seen in such a negative light as it was, let’s say, in 1999, when boys aspired to be Fred Durst and girls dressed like hookers. “Smart” is no longer synonymous with “loser.”
It’s now socially acceptable to play video games with a significant other, to make Star Wars references in public, and to care about things like “America,” “nature” and “the future.”
But forgive me if I’m a little skeptical.
I’m a nerd. Not the “I was pretty popular in high school, but I loved those ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies” faux-geek, but the real-deal-Holyfield “I’ve seen every episode of ‘Stargate SG-1,’ and I openly dislike the taste of beer” Duke of Nerds.
I’m nearsighted, have terrible hair and get creepily good grades for comparatively little effort. Attractive girls still (kind of) make me nervous. I’m pretty sure my inner monologue is unabridged insanity.
I am, as my former kindergarten teacher put it, an “independent thinker.”
You’d think someone like me would welcome the pop-cultural shift toward accepting “weirdness” with open arms. Don’t get me wrong, I do, but almost seems too easy.
Perhaps I’m not entirely convinced of society’s acceptance of being truly original. While ostensibly it’s OK to listen to strange music, to wear strange clothing, etc., most of those who do identify with reaffirming social sub-groups.
Hipsters all have each other to reinforce their American Apparel and love of Yeasayer; hippies have each other to reinforce their deconstructed shawls and love of Phish. It’s reinforcement through numbers, no matter how small those numbers might be.
But what about the truly independent thinkers? Where are the individuals, powered by their very own little mental motor that compels them, in all seriousness, to play air-piano to the “Baywatch” theme song while driving? Where’s their social reinforcement?
They’re out there, all right, but they’re not included in the new pop-culture shift. They’re just too weird, too divergent from the norm; the ever-pervasive American social group-paradigm still doesn’t know what to do with them.
But you know what? That’s actually a great thing. While the pop-culture shift might not be big enough to include everyone, it includes more people than it used to. That’s great news for formerly-marginalized metal kids or “Rocky Horror Picture Show” fans; welcome to acceptance!
As for the independent thinkers, dread naught and keep pushing those boundaries. Hell, if everyone was suddenly absorbed by a social trend, then nobody would be truly “independent” anymore, now would they?
Or, to quote the aforementioned “Baywatch” theme song, “In us, we all have the power, but sometimes it’s so hard to see/ That instinct is stronger than reason/ It’s just human nature to me.”
Oh, I’ll be ready.
Alex is talking at birds, and can be reached at email@example.com.