moving day

Howdy, blogreader!

FYI, I’ve decided to start a new life at a different URL. Not a whole lot is changing, but I’d like to have a slightly better organizational system without having to re-tag everything, and I wouldn’t mind breaking with the archives of the blog I’ve kept since I was 21. So, without further ado, moving myself to a new blog called heads down! thumbs up!

Thiss archive isn’t going anywhere, don’t worry. I appreciate your patience and your RSS reader-updating. Temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement, you know. I hope to start updating more often again.


friday night talks

Hi people.

So, one thing: I have a couple articles in the newspaper I write for this week. One is about The Poison Control Center, which is a band that put out a good record this year. The other is about the J. Pitts Podcast. These are both good things; you should read them!

Now it’s Friday night and I’m in a coffeeshop tea shop and about to go to a show probably (Small Cities? Likely, thought the show at Brillobox is tempting as well.) What else is new with me? I’m working on helping to write a book about the Mr. Roboto Project. That’s taking a lot of my time. I’ve been into playing tennis after dark lately. I’ve been keeping up with running as much as possible.

What’s new with YOU?

Current Fixations: Wallander

Welcome to a new-by-way-of-old feature I’m calling Current Fixations. Here I’ll explore something I’m obsessed with, perhaps temporarily. This could be a TV show, a magazine, a book/series, a record, a band, a vegetable, an animal, whatever. Today’s installment: the BBC series Wallander.

Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander

The first three installments of Wallander aired on the BBC in 2008, and on Masterpiece Mystery on PBS in 2009. The series is based on a series of detective novels, which I have not read yet, by Henning Mankell (who, by the by, is currently caught up in the Gaza flotilla controversy — all the more reason to love him?) The novels are about Kurt Wallander, a detective in the town of Ystad.

Wallander, a clever detective whose personal life is in the toilet, is played brilliantly by Kenneth Branagh. In the first three installments, we get a feel for his family life: father drifting toward senility, wife filing for divorce, daughter trying to hold on but finding him to be, at times, too caught up in his work to get along with. The series is as much about Kurt as a person as it is about Kurt as a tool for discovering whodunit.

The series is beautifully shot in Sweden, taking advantage of the long twilights of the Swedish summer to deliver a slightly unsettling feel. The camera work is gorgeous, concentrating a good bit on the scenery of the Swedish countryside and constructing shots that are fine art in and of themselves. There’s gore, to be sure — blood, decomposed bodies — but the most unsettling aspects of the films tend to be the psychological stresses in Wallander’s life and work. Even when a crime is solved, there’s no happy ending in Wallander.

Series Two of Wallander was filmed in 2009 and began airing in the winter of 2010; no air date is set yet for the series to come to PBS, but I’ve seen trailers on WQED, so I’m assuming they’re planning on showing it this year. I hope. In the meantime, it’s worth getting the first series (three 90-minute episodes) from the library, as I just did.

bringin’ sexy blogging back // summer mix!


Let’s just pretend I didn’t fall off the map for a couple months there. It’s about time I made you a new MP3 mix, because, dammit, it’s summer, and you want some tunes. This is a mix that runs a little over an hour and has a few new things, a few old things, and a lot of in-between things.

Track list:

1. Aloha: Searchlight
2. Oxford Collapse: Lady Lawyers
3. The Poison Control Center: Calling Card
4. The Sundays: Hideous Towns
5. Pattern Is Movement: Trolley Friend
6. Bear In Heaven: You Do You
7. De La Soul: Eye Know
8. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists: Timorous Me
9. Old Time Relijun: Your Mama Used to Dance
10. Booker T & the MG’s: Hip Hug-Her
11. Creedence Clearwater Revival: Hey Tonight
12. The Modern Lovers: Dignified and Old
13. The Kinks: Afternoon Tea
14. Daniel Johnston: Don’t Act Nice
15. The Zombies: Just Out of Reach
16. Retribution Gospel Choir: Working Hard
17. Shotgun Party: Operatar
18. Jeffrey Lewis & the Junkyard: Whistle Past the Graveyard
19. Howlin Rain: Calling Lightning Pt. 2
20. Big Star: My Life Is Right
21. Silver Jews: The Wild Kindness
22. Tom Waits: Downtown Train
23. Joan of Arc: God Bless America

Download it here!

Listen in the car, chillin’ on the beach, workin’ in the garden, etc. etc.

don’t call it a comeback (DC trip content)

Okay, so here I am, yes. Last weekend a Friend of Andy and I went to D.C. and had a good time and ate a lot. Here are the things:

  • Thursday evening, arrive and meet Master C at his home to drop our stuff off then head for U Street, the general vicinity of where we were all three headed. Before our respective shows (FoA and myself were headed to the 9:30 Club, Master C to DC9), we hit up Dukem, the storied Ethiopian restaurant on U. After we got our drinks but before we got our tasty vegetarian platter, hurricane-force winds and torrential rain forced us to flee the patio and head inside. FoA was nearly blown away, literally. Once we got inside, it was crowded, but the food was stupendous and then honey wine happened. Honey wine should probably happen every day forever.
  • An unfortunate side effect of honey wine is being really late to things. We had actually scalped tickets to Ted Leo (at face value, don’t worry) but didn’t get to the show until the last song by Obits. However, Ted Leo slayed, hard. The songs from the new record sound great, and he dipped back into some older stuff — four songs from Tyranny of Distance, including “Timorous Me,” which had me really excited.
  • There were two dogs and a cat at the home of Master C. Tinkerbell is tiny and Buddy is big and doofy; Tink sleeps on Buddy’s tail:

Best buds

Griz stretches:


  • Friday morning involved rising really late, going to meet Master C at Dupont Circle and going to, er, Chipotle. This is one of few Chipotles that have seitan apparently, but FoA and I did not know the code word for seitan and were quickly whisked through the line without getting any. Whatever, Chipotle is kinda tasty. Our day also involved going to the International Spy Museum Store, and Target.
  • Friday night: dinner at Pho 14, an excellent little Vietnamese joint near the home of Master C. Big points for serving a tofu banh mi, which I swear I took a picture of, but I can’t find it. Things about this place that were a little weird: the soundtrack (top 40 hits of the past 30 years, very quiet), the big screen TV showing CNN (Larry King Live was hosted by Jesse Ventura that night; Rod Blagojevich and Ron Paul appeared as guests). The coconut juice, replete with plastic spoons and umbrellas, made up for any weirdness.
  • THEN it was on to the Red Derby, where we met a kitten.

The story behind this kitten? Apparently a man approached the people outside of the bar before we got there and said he was getting rid of this kitten. One of the patrons asked to see the kitten, and as soon as he handed the kitten over, the man ran away. Someone got a new pet! It was unclear whether the kitten-dumper yelled “NO TRADEBACKS!” while fleeing. After that, the night couldn’t really get much better, but with sufficient Pork Slap


and Mac & Cheese Wedges, we muddled through.

  • Saturday, we headed over to Adams Morgan, where brunch occurred at Tryst.  Yes, I had a Hot Cindy. Then I picked up a sweet t-shirt and a vintage tie from Meeps. Then I picked up Becker & Fagen: The Early Years on vinyl at Red Onion. Then it was naptime again.
  • Saturday DINNER was at Tonic, where I became a glutton and at a huge veggie burger with a FREAKING FRIED EGG ON IT:


More importantly, we got them to show the Pens game. At a bar in DC. With Red Wings paraphernalia on the walls. Who knew?!

  • Saturday NIGHT we went to the Black Cat for Britpop night; it was a good time, though some of the selections were decidedly not Britpop (The Ramones, Iggy Pop, THE POSTAL SERVICE?!) Also, if you know who did a cover, maybe in the ’80s, maybe with lady vox, of The Specials’ “Do the Dog,” please let me know. I am curious, orange, and did not bother asking the DJ what that was all about.
  • Sunday, we attempted to return to the Red Derby for brunch, but we got as far as Bloody Marys then the kitchen shut down for some reason and we had to leave before it was up and running again. Oops. It’s okay, Red Derby! We still love you!

mid-week announcements

Here are a few things for you to think on:

  • This week’s MP3 Monday was Big Hurry; download that joint! You won’t regret it!
  • Today’s paper (which goes online tomorrow) features my articles on Maree Gallagher (local promoter/publicity person) and The Ceiling Stares. Check it out!
  • The Ceiling Stares release show is at Gooski’s Saturday night; you should go! I think I will!
  • Before going there, you should go to the BRICKS booklet release party at AIR.
  • BRICKS was founded by my friend Charissa, who was married to my friend Rick, who passed away a year ago today. I’ve been thinking about that a lot today. It’s weird how reminiscent the day is — the temperature, the angle of the sunlight. The ensuing couple of weeks were really weird. I remember listening a lot to the Arthur Russell album Love Is Overtaking Me. There are a couple of songs from that album that inevitably make me think of Rick, even though we never discussed Arthur Russell and I’m not sure if he was familiar or not. Here’s a song that makes me think of him and the way he affected people:

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things that have been done, things that have not:

Done this weekend:

  • Hockey watching, a few times.
  • Harlan Twins/Boca Chica/Meeting of Important People at semi-secret(?) North Side location.
  • Tons of laziness.
  • Lunch at Crepes Parisiennes, dinner at Green Mango. Thumbs-up on both of those
  • Being accosted by post-parade drunks soliciting a ride to Shadyside for $50.
  • Sun Tornado and their friends Imperial China, who sounded really good despite equipment troubles, at Garf Art. Between the two I witnessed some breakcore, and some dancing to breakcore, which was kind of new to me. I felt like an old man. “How are these kids dancing to this? I DON’T GET IT!” It was awesome.

Not done this weekend:

  • Taxes.
  • Making it to friend’s fundraiser :( (The South Side post-parade situation about gave me palpitations).
  • Pittsburgh Pen Pal letter (I swear, it’s happening reallllly soon).
  • Playing with a baby goat.

Tomorrow, look for a new MP3 Monday from Big Hurry on FFW>>. Hooray!

what the hell did i do this weekend?

Here’s what the hell I did this weekend:

  • Friday, Lawrenceville church fish fry with Lawrenceville buddy. There was fish. There was cole slaw (eh . . . it was okay). There was mac and cheese. There was Mountain Dew that was a couple months past its “Best By” date. And, most importantly, there was PUDDING.
  • After that, Unblurred: saw friend Laura’s show, as well as stuff at ModernFormations, ImageBox, Most-Wanted, <c> space, Irma Freeman Center. I think the stuff at <c> space (drawings by Michael Benedetti), while it was slow to grow on me, ended up being my favorite. Carolyn Wenning’s stuff at ModernFormations was also pretty great.
  • Then Radio Ready with Jordan and Andy, at Envy, which was an excellent time, despite my belief early on that I wouldn’t make it past 9:30 without a nap. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it! And drink beer!
  • Saturday involved lunch with Former Coworker Friend of Andy at Quiet Storm, where I destroyed some homefries for the first time in AGES. Them shits is good. Then a run in the afternoon (I’m out of shape and I think I have asthma), then dinner at D’s with Brian, then off to Brillobox for Slim & George Cessna. That show started off really crowded, and the opening bands weren’t necessarily my bag (though I may have enjoyed them more if I weren’t feeling claustrophobic). But eventually it cleared out slightly and Slim was AWESOME and he has a song about being a Heguenot, which I did not know was a thing until I read an essay last week that Frank DeFord wrote about being one.
  • Sunday found me going to a lecture at the Frick with the momz. It was about FDR and the New Deal and the Depression and was pretty interesting, though that theater is kinda stuffy and not well-lit, and some old folks definitely fell asleep during it. Then dinner at Casey’s in Oakmont, then back home, at which point some goofball kept insisting that I come to Yo Rita. And I did, and it was good. And thus my weekend came to a close.

Technically, I think this is what my weekends are supposed to be like — with less “ehhh, took a three-hour nap and stayed in watching TV Saturday night” than often happens.

So what’s on for this week?

Wednesday night is the release party for our music guide issue; it’s at Rock ‘n Bowl, at Arsenal Lanes. The band is Thee Starry Eyes, which, I just found out (by running into Mike Prosser), is Mike Prosser’s band!

Otherwise, beats me.

What the hell did YOU do this weekend?

jump on it

In the interest of blogging more than once a week, I bring you this!

First off, I’d like to point out that while Canada DID beat the US team in both hockey finals in the Olympics, I had a rare time yelling “CROSBY SUCKS” for a few days, and also “DAAYYY-O!” and “WOO-WOOO!” so all was not lost. Now I’m back to loving little Sid-man. I will eat Crosby’s Crab Balls any day.

That’s a menu item. At Silky’s. During the playoffs.

In other news, I witnessed a portion of the passing of the 722 Wood Street Roboto space on Saturday in a fun and nostalgic trip; perhaps the highlight was seeing Q and Eric bring back the El Camino Club of SWPA for an encore; that band had been just barely before my time, so it was a special moment for me.

Also, I hit up the Square Cafe FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER despite having lived in the ‘hood for going-on three years now. I was quite satisfied! Maybe even impressed! I’d heard conflicting reports, so I went in with medium expectations, and they were exceeded.

While we’re on the horn, do me a favor and check out this week’s MP3 Monday over at FFW>>. It’s Pairdown. They’re good. You want to download and listen. Make my life feel worthwhile. Thanks.

What’s coming up in the near future, you ask? Unblurred! Radio Ready! Fantastic Voyagers! Total world domination!!!

hey what’s up

Lamest blog ever. Here’s the things for this week:

  • Peep this interview I did with Sondre Lerche. He’s playing Club Cafe tonight.
  • Speaking of tonight, there’s a show at Roboto tonight. And tomorrow. And tomorrow night. And the next night. Then never again. I plan to turn out for some of these events celebrating the end of its current location. You oughtta too! Check it.
  • I checked out some fun local shows last weekend, then forgot to write anything about them. Oops. I blame sleep deprivation. Accidental, not at the hands of skilled torturers.
  • I can’t wait to sleep a lot this weekend.
  • How are you?