2225 WEST MAIN ST. RICHMOND, VA. 23220 804-359-6996
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Photo by Sarath NathaN & Number oNe DeSigN
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“ H and Prints” at Ghostprint Gallery March 7th-March 29th Opening March 7th at 7pm
Nationally recognized street artists Klutch of Vinyl Killers and Hotel des Arts, Josh MacPhee, author of Stencil Pirates, Barrett Gordon, a Chicago based collage artist who prints rubbings from the street into his work, and Matthew Adamson, NYC artist (and VCU graduate) will showcase new work. Portland artist Klutch has been continually creating visual mischief since his involvement in the early 1980s punk and skateboard scenes and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. His work has been published in Time Magazine, F*cked Up and Photocopied, The Art of Modern Rock, and The Art of Rebellion 2. In 2008 his work will appear in PEEL; The Art Of The Sticker, Graffiti Now, 400ml, and Stencil Nation. These days, he is best known for being the mastermind behind Vinyl Killers, an international collective of artists who repurpose old vinyl records into new original artwork.
Josh MacPhee is an artist, curator and activist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. His work often revolves around themes of radical politics, privatization and public space. Lately, he has focused on creating a large series of silkscreen prints, which draw, in both aesthetics and content, from 19th century labor graphics, the history of street writing and art, and 1960s political posters. He is the author/editor of a number of books. His most recent is Reproduce & Revolt: A Graphic Toolbox for the 21st Century (Soft Skull Press, 2007, co-edited with Favianna Rodriguez). He also organizes the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series and is part of the political art cooperative Justseeds.org.
Barrett Gordon lives in Chicago and produced a collage series compounding found building drawings and their researched information. For the last work in the series, he performed a garbological investigation of the city of Buffalo. More recently his work has engaged crayons, paper, clay and paint with the urban surface, resulting in a series of rubbed and stamped compositions directly from the streets. As a member of the Language Arts Publishing Collective, House Press, he co-edits String of Small Machines with Luke Daly and Eric Unger, and he also publishes his collaborators' own works. Two books, one his own, and one in collaboration with Milwaukee artist David Baptiste-Chirot, are forthcoming.
Matthew Adamson grew up outside of Washington D.C. He was heavily influenced by the street art that was plaguing the streets of the nation's capitol in the 1990s. This is where his interest in art became an obsession-an obsession that would take him out of his high school art classes and away from canvases and onto the unfamiliar streets. He later went on to receive his B.F.A. in painting and printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University. After graduating and still heavily focused on street art he has spent several years in New York City as a bike messenger and artist. Ghostprint Gallery 220 West Broad St. Richmond, VA 23220 www.ghostprintgallery.com (804) 244-1557 1pm-7pm Wednesday through Saturday or by appointment
e y b e by
It was born in an apartment full of silk screens, puffy paint, and Orson Welles. Long nights of drawing nonsense for no one. Staying up all night to make an arsenal of weird to sell at the Bizarre Market. We had art degrees to thank for jobs we hated. So we made food and art in an apartment that was messy, exhausting, and exciting. This was “Houseband”. I loved Houseband. I loved my friends and what they were making. The art scene here didn’t care too much about us. This was before Gallery5, Transmission, or Quirk. Plant Zero was in the making, but we had lost the Orange Door. It was not about validating what we were doing. It was about making our own home. The art community needed to loosen up. It needed fun. And we were having fun. So with a lot of paint, coffee, music, beer, arguments, and laughter... we opened None Such in the spring of 2005. I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I sold clothes for security in case the art could not pay the bills. Surprisingly, the art ended up paying the bills. I am proud of that. My peers who had jobs that barely afforded them rent, started buying art for themselves or each other.
Photos cour tesy of None Suc h
(Goal accomplished) I cannot explain how good it felt to help my friends. All in a day, I could help a buddy pay his rent by selling to another friend, a piece of art they loved. Or give Pete a free shirt on his birthday. Or Nate a place to bang his drums. I was even able to employ a friend or two. I at least did my best to feed or clothe a couple of them. All of this in a day’s work. Sometimes the cozy environment, or maybe the secrecy of the tiny base-
ment, brought in people who just needed to talk. An old teacher of mine once joked that I should charge for these sessions, as he found himself spending lunch breaks on my couch. So much has happened since None Such opened. I made so many new friends. I met so many beautiful people I would not have known. And I had to say goodbye to many. George, Jonny, and Travis all left their footprints in that place. They showed me what the world looked like to them. And now I get to see it that way, forever, even thought they are gone. I hope that when Nonesuch is gone, the footprint is big enough to stand in. There are so many of you who made this the most incredible time of my life. You were even helping each other without even knowing how much. Was it Benjamin Franklin who said, “Just do it,” or was it Ward Teft? Either way, I am really glad I did it. I hope all of you keep doing it. Keep making stuff, keep watching movies. Keep playing music. Keep having fun. Thank you so much. Boo and I will miss this place soooo much. - Melissa Roberts P.S. - My brother will be opening a restaurant that he jokingly refers to as “None Such with food”. I would love to see familiar faces there. So please come visit me at “The Black Sheep” next month.
Sterling H un dl e y I nt e r v ie w by R . A nt ho ny H a r r is
Illustr ation, as a vocation, is o ne o f b e ing lo c k e d in a r o o m fo r hour s on end wor king at vis ua l p r o ble m s fo r c lie nt s w it h no p a tience a nd concr ete deadline s. Pulling hair. Gnashing of teeth. Shaking fr om one too many cof fees. Bloodshot eyes. Fr a gile e go . If you look c losely, your f a v o r it e illus t r a t o r s a ll s ho w t he s ig ns of their daily grind. Almost a t ha nk le s s jo b w it h a r t d ir e c t o r s a s your only friends and stude nt s (if yo u a r e r e a lly go o d ) a s yo ur gr oupies. So with their her mitic exist e nc e , it is d if f ic ult p ut t ing a f a c e t o your f avorite illustr ator s. H o p e f ully, I c a n p ull b a c k t h e c urtain for a fe w pa ges and le t yo u in o n St e r ling H und ley. H e has r eac hed the pinnac le in his c ho s e n p r o f e s s io n f r o m ha v ing “done” the Gr ammy’s and Rolling Stone t o b e ing r e c o g niz e d by his peer s in Communication Ar ts a nd Society of Illustr ator s An nuals on the r e gular. Ster ling ha s c o m e a lo ng w ay f r o m his humble VCU r oots and is one o f o ur f a v o r it e s. All t ha t s a id , yo u still won’ t know w hat he loo k s lik e .
“Shipwr ec k“
R . Ant ho ny H a r r is When d id it hit yo u t ha t yo u c o uld m a k e a li v ing d o ing illustr ation? Ster ling Hundley In sc ho o l, t he id e a t ha t I m ig ht n o t f ind s uc c e s s a s a n a r t is t ne ver enter ed my mind. I fo und illus t r a t io n my s e c o nd ye a r in a r t s c ho o l, a n d I fell in love with the p r o ble m s o lv ing e le m e nt o f t he d i s c ipline . I w a s a w a r e of the hor rible attrition r a t e o f p r o f e s s io na l a r t is t s, a nd I w o uld s hr ug o f f t he doubts as if they wer e o t he r p e o p le ’ s c o nc e r ns. Re a lit y s e t in, a s it a lw ay s does, w hen I gr aduated . I b e g a n a s k ing t he t o ug h q ue s t io ns : W ha t a m I d o in g dif fer ently than all of the t ho u s a nd s o f s t ud e nt s g r a d ua t ing f r o m a r t s c ho o l s acr oss the wor ld? I w ait e d t a ble s, w o r k e d a t a g y m , t a ug ht a b it , w o r k e d r e tail, and some w her e I fo und t he c o ur a ge t o lo o k a b ov e t he m ir e t ha t my li f e had become. I found a c o m m unit y i n t he I llus t r a t io n Ac a d e my, a nd I c o m m it t e d to a total immer sion of my lif e in a r t — m uc h a s it ha d b e e n i n s c ho o l. R AH Ar e ther e any majo r p r o bl e m s w it h b e ing a p r o f e s s io n a l illus t r a t o r o ut o f Ric hmond? Has the Inte r n e t m a d e a lo t o f t ho s e p r o ble m s go a w ay ? SH I think that ther e a r e s o m e g r e a t t hin g s a b o ut R ic hm o nd a s a n a r t c o m munity. If a young ar tis t c a n k e e p t he ir c o s t o f li v ing f a ir ly l o w, t he n m a k in g a li v ing pr ofessionally b e c o m e s t ha t m uc h e a s ie r t o d o. T he m o r e m o ney yo u spend, the mor e you h a v e t o m a k e . R ic hm o nd is a f a i r ly inex p e n s i v e p la c e to li ve. It’s filled with c r e a t i v e s. I t ’ s o nly a s ix ho ur d r i v e f r o m M a nha t t a n. It’s been good to me. T he I nt e r ne t is t he r e a liz a t io n o f t he U t o p ia n id e a l o f uni v er sal, shar ed know le d ge . T he a c c e s s t o a ll info r m a t io n fo r a ll p e o p l e (t o a cer tain de gr ee). Mar lo w e ’ s D o c t o r Fa us t us g a v e his s o ul fo r t he p o w e r o f knowing all things. We j us t ne e d t o lo g in. N o w t ha t I t hink a b o ut it , m ay b e t he Inter net is consuming o ur s o uls ! B ut ye s, t h e I n t e r ne t ha s m a d e i t p o s s ible t o have your ar twor k anyw he r e it ne e d s t o b e . R AH After being inc lude d in t he Society of Illustr ator s Annual m ult ip le t im e s and wor king for top c lie nt s s uc h a s Rolling Stone , w ha t m o unt a ins a r e le f t t o c limb in the field? “Hemingw ay - Faulkner”
L - R: “Mar at-Sade” “Death” “John Br own” “My Lady Ric hmond”
SH T h e c lie nt s a nd a c c o la d e s a r e f la t t e r ing, a nd s e r v e a s dr eams r ealized. St il l, t he m o t i v a t io n c o m e s f r o m a c o ns t a nt d e s ir e fo r im pr ovement. I dr eam o f ha v ing a his t o r ic a l im p a c t . O f d o ing t hing s d e c e nt ly. Of helping other s r e a liz e t he ir d r e a m s. P r o f e s s i o na l ly, I ’ v e g i v e n my t w e nt ie s to illustr ation. My t hir t ie s w ill b e fo c us e d o n f ine a r t . I w a nt t o b e a w r it e r in my for ties. Fifties? M ay b e c a ge f ig ht ing ? All o f t ho s e t hing s s a id , I ’ m s t r i v i ng for ver y specific go a ls in e a c h d i s c ip line t ha t a r e s o g r a nd t ha t t hey w o uld embar r ass me to s e e t he m in p r int . R AH D o yo u f ind c o m m e r c ia l illus t r a t io n t o b e c o nf ining ? SH N o, I d o n’ t . T he idea o f i llus t r a t io n is c o nf ining. T h e r e ality is that the me d ium a llo w s t he a r t is t w h o c a n t hink , a nd m a nif e s t t ho s e t houghts as pictur es a n d w o r d s, t o m ov e la t e r a lly, in d e f init e ly. M y a s p i r a t io ns to cr eate per sonal w o r k fo r g a lle r y w a lls d e a ls m o r e w it h t he c lo s e - e nd e d na tur e of illustr ation. T he illus t r a t o r is lim it e d in b o t h t im e a nd s p a c e i n w hic h to make an impr es s io n o n t he v ie w e r. As a r e s ult , t hey ha v e t o d o a lo t o f t he pr oblem solving a n d he a v y lif t ing fo r t h e v ie w e r. A r t in g a lle r ie s i s a f fo r d e d the luxur y of both t im e a nd s p a c e . T he v ie w e r ha s m a d e t he e f fo r t t o s e e k out the wor k, hence t hey ha v e p le nt y o f t im e t o c o ns id e r i t . As a r e s ult , f ine a r t can be muc h mor e o p e n e nd e d . T he r e is a hie r a r c hy in t he a r t w o r ld t ha t no one e ver speaks a b o ut . F ine a r t is r oy a lt y in p e o p le ’ s eye s. I llus t r a t io n is blue collar. Other a r t is t ic d is c ip line s a ll f a l l int o t ha t s p e c t r um s o m e w he r e . People get bitter a b o ut t his. I ’ m no t t r y ing t o c ha nge t he na t ur a l o r d e r, o nly figur e out how I c a n li v e in a s m a ny o f t ho s e p la c e s a s p o s s ible . R AH Af t e r b e c o m ing e n t r e nc he d in e v e r yo ne ’ s m ind a s o n e thing, is it har d to s e ll t he m o n s o m e t hing e ls e ? SH T he r e a r e a num b e r o f il lus t r a t o r s w ho ha v e c r o s s e d over into the g al le r y w o r ld . As a b s t r a c t ex p r e s s io nis m s e e m s t o b e t r i c k ling out, collector s a r e t ur ning t o r e p r e s e nt a t io na l p a int ing a g a in. M a ny p a inting de par tments ha v e a v o id e d r e p r e s e nt a t io na l p a int in g fo r ye a r s. I n t ur n, the g alleries ar e t ur ni ng t o illus t r a t o r s w ho p r id e t he m s e lv e s in d r a w ing, painting, pr oblem 18
solving, and pictur e making. T he ha r d e s t t r a ns it io n is f ind i ng t im e in my li f e to cr eate a substantial body o f w o r k w it h w hic h t o a p p r o a c h g a lle r ie s. I a m an illustr ator, I teac h full t im e a t Vir g inia C o m m o nw e a lt h U ni v er s it y, I t e a c h at the Illustr ation Academy, I ha v e a p e r s o n a l lif e , a nd I ’ m t r y ing t o c r e a t e per sonal wor k in my of f tim e . D ue t o my p hil o s o p hic a l b e lie f s in t he d if f e r ences between illustr ation a nd f in e a r t , I d o n’ t w a nt t o s ho w my la r ge b o dy of illustr ation wor k in g alle r ie s. I ’ ll ge t t he r e , but it m ay t a k e m e a b it lo nge r than I’ d like.
P r e v io us Pa ge : “ C ayc e “ T his Pa ge : “ T he Sk in O f O ur Teeth“ “ Sh a k e s p e a r e ” 19
R AH W ha t a r t is t s / m u s ic ia ns / t hing s d o yo u lo o k to for ins p ir a t io n? SH I a m a lw ay s lo o k ing a t ne w ins p ir a t io ns. C ontempor ar y, c las s ic a l, a nd e v e r y t h ing in b e t w e e n. I b e lie v e t hat an ar tist has the r e s p o ns ib ilit y t o r e c o r d t he t im e in w hic h t hey li ve. Our w hole li v e s, w e t a k e in m ov ie s, m u s ic , im a ge s, a ll aspects of life, etc. Ar t is t s a r e f ilt e r s a nd int e r p r e t t his info r m a t ion, tur ning it into v is ua l id e a s t ha t o t he r s c a n un d e r s t a nd . I f yo u look at an ar tist’s b o dy o f w o r k , a nd yo u d o n’ t s e e g r o w t h, o r c hange, then they a r e no t d o ing t he ir jo b. T hey a r e lo o k ing inw ar d, not outw ar d. A f e w na m e s o f ins p ir a t io n: B e r ni ni, Sc hie le, Fec hin, Picasso, B o nna r d , D e g a s, W his t le r, S a r ge a nt , M a r k English, Gar y Kelley, Ro m a r e B e a r d o n, B e n Sha hn, Ro c k w e ll, L eye ndec ker, Wyeth, Cub is m , B r a d H o lla nd , Sa u l B a s s, R a d io he a d , e nd less musicians, d ir e c t o r s, p ho t o g r a p he r s, d e s ig n e r s, e t c . , e t c., etc. To see more of Sterling’s work go to www.sterlinghundley.com
“William Henr y H a r r is o n”
“ B e nd s ”
“Reser v ations”
St u d i o 23
is t he lov e c hild o f fo ur r e c e nt g r a d ua t e s o f VC U ’ s Pa inting and Printmak ing D e p a r t m e nt . T he m is s io n o f St ud io 2 3 is t o e nc o ur a ge t he g r o w t h o f p r int m a k ing in Ric hmond by p r ov id i ng a r t is t s w it h a n a f fo r d a bl e w o r k s p a c e , i ns t r uc t io n a l w o r k s ho p s, a nd ex hib ition oppor tunities. We a r e d e d ic a t e d t o c r e a t ing a n a t m o s p he r e o f c o lle c t i v e ex c ha nge t ha t e nc o ur a ges innov ation and ex p e r im e nt a t io n in t he m e d i um o f p r int m a k ing. T hr o ug h ex hib it io ns a n d o ut r e a c h p r o gr ams, we w ant to c o n t r i but e t o t he g r e a t e r R ic hm o nd c o m m unit y a nd s ho w t ha t p r int m a k ing r e m a ins a per tinent method o f c o m m unic a t io n. We a r e c ur r e nt ly e q ui p p e d fo r e t c h ing a nd r e lie f p r int in g, a nd ho p e t o s o o n f e a t ur e a fully oper ational p r int s t ud io w it h c a p a b i lit ie s fo r s c r e e n p r int ing a nd w a t e r le s s lit ho g r a p hy. We a ls o plan to featur e a s m a ll g a lle r y s p a c e . St ud io 2 3 w ill b e uniq ue in R ic hm o nd , t he o nly f ully o p e r a t io nal print studio open t o t he p ublic . “I’m Her e, You’ r e T her e” by Sar ah Watson
Studio 23 wouldn’ t have ma d e it w it ho ut t he ge n e r o s it y o f K a t e H o r ne , w ho is le t t i ng us house her beautiful printing p r e s s. C he c k he r w o r k o ut a t t a lk ing ho r s e p r e s s. c o m ! Look for us on Mar c h 7 th (F ir s t Fr id ay ) a t Tr a ns m is s io n G a lle r y, 3 2 1 B r o o k R d . T he show is titled “Studio 23 a t Tr a ns m is s io n G a lle r y ” a nd r u ns f r o m M a r c h 7 t h- 3 0 t h. We ar e also taking par t in the S o ut h e r n G r a p hic s C o unc il C o m m a nd P r int C o nf e r e nc e M a r c h 26th-29th. If you’ r e inter ested in v is it ing t he s t ud io o r s ig ning up fo r a w o r k s ho p, e m a il us at studiotwothr ee@gm a il. c o m . Yo u c a n a ls o k e e p up w it h us a t o ur blo g, studiotwothr ee.blo gspot.co m - Beth Noe, Sar ah Watson, As hley H a w k ins, a n d C indy Ei d e C l o c k w is e f r o m t o p le f t : “ U nt i t led” by Cindy Eide, “For t” by Beth Noe “ G r o up Po r t r a it ” by As hley H a wkins, “Jac ket” by Ashley Hawkins
REPRESSE D I I I T his Mar c h, the Re pr essed s ho w w ill b e go ing up for its thir d year at Galler y 5 . A s o c ia l ly c o n s c io u s visual exhibit and wor ksho p d r i v e n by it s c ur a t o r Bizhan Khoda bandeh, found e r o f T her e Once Was A Re volution (T.O.W.A.R.), Re pr essed c o nt inue s t o dr aw talent fr om ar ound the r e g io n a nd g i v e v o i c e to a community of disenc h a nt e d a r t is t s, t ir e d o f cur r ent do gma. Bizhan w as k ind e no u g h t o a ns w e r of a fe w of my questions. 24
R . Ant ho ny H a r r is : B iz ha n, c a n yo u g i v e o ur r e a d e r s s o m e info r m a t io n o n ho w t he p r o je c t c a m e a b o ut ? B iz h a n K ho d a b a n d e h : O r ig ina lly, Re pr essed w a s a w o r k s o n p a p e r ex hib it io n w he r e p a p e r w a s t h e o nly un if y ing f a c t o r. Fo r Re pr essed II , w e w a nt e d t o t a k e a b r e a k f r o m w o r k t ha t w a s a e s t he t ic a l ly fo c us e d a nd c r e a t e a m o r e s o c ia lly r e s p o ns i v e a r t ex hib it io n. We f ig ur e d t ha t ut iliz ing a w e l l-
e m b r a c e d s p a c e a s a p la t fo r m for public concer n w o uld e nc o ur a ge s o c ia l a c t io n and intr oduce ideas t o no t o nly a c t i v is t s, but t he us ual Fir st Friday ar t e n t hus ia s t s. H a v ing lo c a l a nd national ties to dis s e nt - b a s e d a r t is t s m a d e t his idea mor e feasible. R AH : I n it s t hir d ye a r, ho w ha s the original vision g r o w n? B K: H a v ing a s uc c e s s f ul Re pr essed II helped to
photo “ Human Inhumanit y ” - Jor ge Catoni & KD Matheson 16” X 75” Laminated
spar k inter est in a lot o f p o lit ic a lly m o t i v a t e d ar tists. Due to this ne w int e r e s t , t he t hir d ye a r has expanded to mor e me d i um s t ha n p a p e r. We ar e ver y excited to inco r p o r a t e d is s e nt - b a s e d perfor mance, sculptur e, and ins t a lla t io n a r t is t s. Since Re pr essed II , we ha v e inc lud e d w o r k s ho p s that touc h on v arious acc e s s ible a nd a f fo r d a ble printing and guer rilla media t e c hniq ue s. T his g i v e s par ticipants an oppor tunity t o c r e a t e t he ir o w n v i sual statements.
R AH : I n c r e a t ing a “ s o c ia lly r e s p o ns i v e a r t ex hib it i o n, ” is it ha r d t o b e unb ia s e d a s t h e c ur a t o r ? I f s o m e b o dy w a s t o m a k e a p r o - B us h p o s t e r, a nt i- Am e r ic a n s c r e e n p r int , o r s o m e t h in g t ha t r a n t o t a lly a g a i ns t yo ur o w n v ie w s — is i t yo ur jo b to s ay s o m e t hing o r jus t f a c ilit a t e t h e c r e a t io n o f o p inio ns ? B K: I t is im p o s s ible fo r a nyo n e t o b e unb ia s e d . E v e r yo ne ha s a n a ge n d a , w hic h is p a r t ia lly w ha t t hi s
ex hib it i o n is a b o ut . W he n v ie w ing submissions, we t r y ha r d t o fo c us o n ho w w e ll an idea has been p r e s e nt e d ins t e a d o f a n ind i v i dual’s stance. Hav ing o nly o ne - s id e d d ia lo g ue c auses people to in t e lle c t ua lly r e g r e s s. H o w e v e r, it is r ar e that the s ub m is s io ns c o nf lic t w it h my o w n wor ld vie w. I have my o w n a s s um p t io ns a s t o w hy. When right-wing p o lit ic i a ns a r e a lr e a dy in p o w er, the r esponse to s up p o r t s uc h id e a ls i s n’ t a s d i r e a need because 25
t hey a r e a lr e a dy b e ing r e a liz e d . I a ls o t hink t ha t t h e “ c a ll fo r entries” aesthetic a n d t h e k ind o f p e o p le t ha t G a lle r y 5 a t t r a c t s, c o nt r ibut e s t o this issue. R AH : I r e a d t ha t t he ex hib it w ill b e he ld in c o njunc t io n w it h the 2008 Souther n G r a p hic s C o unc il C o nf e r e nc e . W ha t is t he c o nne c t io n? B K: T he So ut he r n G r a p hic s C o unc il is a p r in t m a k e r s c o nf e r e nce that will be held t his ye a r in R ic hm o nd a nd w ill b e ho s t e d by n um e r o us lo c a l g alleries and or g a niz a t io n s. M a ny o f t he a r t is t s t a k ing p a r t in Re pr essed III , a r e member s of this c o un c il, s uc h a s Jo hn H it c hc o c k a nd M a r w in B e g aye , As p a r t of the Re pr essed c lo s ing ex hib i t io n o n Fr id ay, M a r c h 2 8 t h, t h e s e t w o w ill have a print action, inv o lv ing m us ic by T hund e r s no w, li v e s c r e e n p r int ing, a “ buf fet” of fr ee print m a t e r ia l s, a nd a n a p p e a r a nc e by t he Am a z ing H a nc o c k B r o t her s. R AH : W ha t w o uld m a k e Re pr essed III a s uc c e s s ? I s t ha t ha r d t o equate on an ar t ex hib it w he r e d o ll a r s ig ns m ig ht b e c o ns id e r e d e v il? B K: All o f t he a r t is t s ha v e v a r y ing p o lit ic a l s t a nc e s o n a w id e r ange of subjects, s o t he r e w ill a lr e a dy b e d if f e r e nc e s b e t w e e n t he ir p e r s o na l p hilosophies. If you a r e im p ly ing t ha t a ll a r t g a l le r ie s o nly m e a s ur e s uc c e s s by t he amount of money t hey m a k e , t he n t ha t is a n unf a ir a s s um p t io n. P r im a r ily, t his exhibition’s success is m e a s ur e d by t he s up p o r t o f t he p a r t ic ip a nt s, t he a t t e nd a nc e of the public , and by ho w m a ny a r e c o m p e lle d t o c o nt inue t he s e d ia lo g ue s o ut side of the exhibit. O n e o f t he w ay s w e a r e t r y ing t o e nc o ur a ge o ut s id e p a r t ic ip a tion is thr ough the d is t r ibut io n o f lit e r a t ur e o n v a r io us s o c ia l is s ue s t ha t w ill b e av aila ble for sale a n d fo r f r e e t o o u r a ud ie nc e . B e c a us e o f t he s t a n c e s t ha t G a ller y5 has taken in t he p a s t a g a ins t r e c e i v ing f und i ng f r o m une t hic a l c o r p o r a t ions, it is especially im p o r t a nt in r e t a ining t he ir m o r a l v a lue s t o r e c e i v e f ina nc ia l suppor t fr om their a u d ie n c e . Br uce Ne w - “War : An American Tr adition” 16” X 20” Photomonta ge
Re pr essed III will take place Mar c h 7th, 2008 fr om 7pm-11pm and will b e t he p r e c ur s o r t o a wor kshop series. R3 is also being held in conjunction with T he 200 8 So ut he r n G r a p hic s Council Conf er ence with c losing r ece ption on Friday, Mar c h 28 th. For m o r e info r m a t io n go to www.g aller y5ar ts.or g.
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been contractually obligated to do the Mike Patton thing, and I was in the band for a year and a half before that thing came out. Which is really weird because we toured GREG PUCIATO OF THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN for a year and a half and were playing versions of songs on that Irony Is A Dead Scene EP that weren’t even done By Ryan Kent Photos by Chris Lacroix yet, and I’d never even heard that Mike Patton was going Lucky for you I've only got a few pages because, really, to do them. We just star ted writing it, and I was doing it a I could go on and on for days about these bastards. I’ve different way, and I can’t even remember how it was now, been to my share of concer ts, but I’d have to say that but he came in and did a different thing. But honestly at the Dillinger Escape Plan’s set on February 2nd at Toad’s the time, man, from the time I joined the band we went Place was definitely in my Top 5. Currently on tour with on tour almost right away, and I didn’t have time to really metal heavyweights Killswitch Engage, in suppor t of their think about being fresher or coming after someone else. ferocious new offering of mind fuck called Ire Works , the We were just on tour, and I knew that we just had to kick Dillinger Escape Plan were vir tually an impossible act to ass, you know what I mean? I wasn’t, like, real worried follow. I counted more mouths hanging open than people about what Dimitri would have done or what Mike Patactually jumping around. Awe inspired by the sonic bril- ton was going to do or anything like that. I never really stopped to think about it until, like, years later and I’d liance happening just feet away. already been in the band as long as those people had. It hasn’t been easy for the DEP, though. Original singer Inevitably, along the way, I heard people say things like, Dimitri Minakakis. Gone. Original guitarist Brian Benoit. “I like this guy better” or “I like the new guy better” but Gone. Drummer Chris Pennie. Gone. On stage accidents, you can’t really pay attention to that stuff. equipment failure and really any other negative shit you RK It’s a different band. can think of has happened to these battle worn badasses; GP Yeah, Dimitri and me are friends so it’s always been but thankfully, in the midst of all that, I was able to throw funny to us to hear people say, “Greg’s better than a finger in the air to bad luck and hang out backstage with Dimitri” and “Dimitri’s better than Greg” because we’re both fans of each other. I think you become a fan of vocalist Greg Puciato after his band’s set. the other person’s shit more so because it’s always Ryan Kent How did it feel to join a band that had already weird to hear your own voice. I liked Dimitri’s stuff betestablished themselves with two other vocalists (Dimitri ter than mine (laughs), kinda, and he says he likes the new stuff better than the other stuff. Minakakis and Mike Patton)? Greg Puciato Oh, wow, this is crazy. I haven’t an- RK I heard your stuff first. swered a question like this in years. Man, it’s fun- GP That’s funny. I didn’t even like my own voice until ny…it’s weird. I was actually in the band before this record. When I heard Miss Machine I could not get they did the Mike Patton thing, and they had already used to it, man, it was weird.
RK How do you think you’ve helped strengthen the band? GP Um, that’s a weird question to answer without sounding like you’re tooting your own horn, know what I mean? I think I’ve definitely brought variety to the table. Vocally, I feel like I’ve enabled us – after that Mike Patton EP especially – I don’t think they wanted to write one-dimensionally anymore as far as just screaming and things like that, so I feel that I’ve definitely enabled Ben (Weinman, guitar) to pretty much do whatever he wants and give him confidence to know that I’ll be able to come up with something for it. And live I know we’re a definitely more energetic band then we used to be. RK Totally. I mean, I’ve been to a lot of concer ts, but your set was definitely in my all time Top 5. GP That’s awesome, man. Dude, thank you. That means a lot, man. RK: Half the show I just stood there with my mouth open at you guys going apeshit. GP (Laughs) That’s awesome, man. That’s the best compliment, dude. That’s the best – a lot of times people guage the crowd reaction by how much the people are moshing and shit, and a lot of times we’ll have shows and people don’t really, like, aren’t that active in the crowd and I’ll think, “Wow, they’re not that into it” and later on a lot of people will tell me they were just standing there with their mouths open because they didn’t know how to react, and that’s the best response almost, man. RK What do you think are the strengths of Ire Works compared to Miss Machine ? GP I definitely think Ire Works is what we were reaching for with Miss Machine but not quite getting. I like Miss Machine , I’m not going to say that I don’t like it, but I defi31
nitely feel that that record was us growing from Calculating friend of ours and it was super fun and it was the first GP Um, it’s funny because I don’t really get to talk Infinity to where we are now, but not one hundred percent time we’ve ever had, like, a guest vocalist with me; not to them – there yet, you know. I feel like “Black Bubblegum” is the like Mike Patton doing his own thing but like two people RK I mean, like, shit on the Internet or word of mouth, song that we wanted “Unretrofied” to be and “Milk Lizard” on one song. But really because we have a new drummer, you know. I feel, is the song we wanted “Setting Fire to Sleeping Gi- Gil (Sharone), and that song was a song – almost every GP Here’s the thing, man, you’re always going to hear ants” to be. Not that those other songs are bad songs, I other song on the record we had full demos of when we shit and if you build a big fan base doing something just feel like we’re much stronger now after those things. went to the studio. that sounds like noise and then you star t singing RK You can totally hear the pop sensibilities in “Baby’s RK With Chris Pennie? – some people just get stuck in something and they First Coffin” off of Miss Machine . GP Yeah, and Gil didn’t copy Chris’s playing, but he had a never want you to change and that to me…I underGP Well, this is the first record that I think when we got fucking template to work with. And with “Horse Hunter” stand it in a way. If they wanted to listen to a fucking done everyone was happy with it. With Miss Machine , the when we went into the studio that song didn’t even exist. rock song they’d listen to the fucking Rolling Stones second we were done we star ted picking it apar t and We just knew that we needed another song and we had or Aerosmith or Guns N’ Roses or something like that, wishing we could change this and that. But with this re- no time to write it, and we had no idea what was going to but I feel like we’ve never been that kind of band that cord, as soon as we sat down and listened to it we were happen so we took a few days and wrote that song and to puts out the same thing over and over again. We made like, “Yeah, that’s exactly what we wanted to do.” me it’s one of the cooler songs on the record. For us it it clear early on, like when we did the Mike Patton thing, RK Bob Dylan said that about Highway 65 Revisited . He answered the question, “Okay, Gil can play Chris’s par ts that we just weren’t going to do Calculating Infinity stuff said it was the closest he ever got to the sound that was but can we come up with something cool with him?” He’s over and over again and then when Miss Machine came in his head. our guy, man, that was our final question, “Can he write out I feel that was the record that shook most of those GP Yeah, it’s hard to achieve, man. That’s just one of this kind of shit?” types of people off. Like anyone who was not going to those things, I never thought we could make a record let us grow from Calculating Infinity I feel like, shook off and not – I mean there are par ts of Miss Machine that RK Are you guys speaking to Chris Pennie at all? with Miss Machine , and most of the people who stayed I can’t physically listen to because it makes me kind of GP Um, not really, man. It’s so far behind us now that, on were totally prepared for everything that came from crazy because I know what I wanted it to sound like, honestly, us as a band are probably in a better place Ire Works . It’s something I heard a lot three years ago, and it doesn’t sound like that. But there’s absolutely – not just in terms of playing – because our shows are but I don’t have to hear it now. I could see it happening nothing on this record that sounds a different way then more consistent than they’ve ever been, and I think when we went on tour after Miss Machine came out. Our we wanted it to, and that’s super rare, man. Even if we we’ve just put out what I feel is our best record we’ve attendance actually dropped a little bit and then rebuilt, can never do that again, it’s nice to know that for one ever put out, and interpersonally in the band things have so I know those people are gone and we got new people moment we actually did. been good but there have always been some problems, so, whatever. you know. But this is the best it’s ever been, so I have RK What are your favorite tracks on Ire Works ? nothing to complain about. If he’s happy over there then RK People compare the cover of Ire Works to the cover GP I really like “Horse Hunter”. It’s the second to last let him be happy. of Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Was that specific track, the one with Brent Hinds, (guitar) from Mastdesign intentional? odon on it. Just because, for multiple reasons. One, RK How have diehard Dillinger fans accepted songs like GP (Laughs) It wasn’t on purpose. I mean, we were very because obviously Brent was there, and he’s a good “Black Bubblegum” and “Milk Lizard”? aware of it before it came out but honestly, I don’t really 32
we were going to tell people it was Ire Works and, it’s funny, man. RK Dillinger is so much different then Killswitch Engage and System of a Down, who you have also toured with, but you guys get lumped in with more mainstream bands all the time. Do you think it’s to reach a different audience or because you guys are so fucking hard to categorize? GP Definitely because we’re so hard to categorize, man. There’s nobody we can tour with that makes sense, perfectly. We’re never going to be a band that’s like the perfect fit for any bill. I mean, you could put us on Ozzfest, and we’d never do as well as a Shadows Fall or a Hatebreed or anything like that. And on Warped Tour we’re never going to do as well as a Saosin or From First to Last or something, you know. There’s no tour where we’re going to be, like – we don’t have a target audience that’s very easy to identify with. I know that it’s very frustrating for people to try to market us, and booking agents and the record company, but it’s just the way we are. But because of that it’s a blessing because we can go do something like a few weeks on Warped Tour, and then go do a tour with Killswitch Engage and then go out with a band like the Melvins, you know what I mean. That’s something that a lot of our peers can’t do because they’ve stuck themselves in such a niche that they’ll RK What does Ire Works actually mean? GP Well, Liam came up with it. I guess the word “ire” never be able to get out of it, so we consciously make an means, like, anger through negative emotion or something effor t to vary the acts that we are touring with so we don’t like that, and I guess “works” is just a collection of songs get pigeonholed. so, Ire Works , meaning, like, songs that were born from RK Well, it’s awesome too because regardless if people negativity, in a way. As cheesy as that sounds (laughs), I at the show like you or not they’re definitely going to redidn’t come up with it, but I like it. I think it sounds unique. member you. GP Yeah, you stand out. If you got four bands in a row It’s fine with me. RK To be completely honest, I didn’t really know how to that are all emo bands and then there’s us or four bands pronounce it. I was thinking maybe you guys were doing a that are metalcore bands and then us, even if you don’t understand what you’re seeing you’re going to be like reggae thing like irie. GP Yeah, yeah Ire Works . We joked about that forever, man, – this band is over here and all of the other bands are because Gil has a couple videos of him on the Internet playing reggae and we told people when we pronounced it care that much, man. It does look like Dark Side of the Moon (laughs), but Dark Side of the Moon is a fucking cool cover but thematically it had nothing to do with it. We didn’t come up with it – the ar tist, he just gave it to us and he didn’t even realize it when he did it. He’s not, like, that into rock music so when we told it to him he was like “That’s crazy” because he’d never really saw Dark Side of the Moon before so it wasn’t on purpose. But we wanted this record’s cover to be dark and we wanted it to be simplistic because Miss Machine was like a bright color and there was all kinds of crazy – there was a collage and stuff all over the place, and we wanted this record to be like a darker cover and the triangle kind of ended up symbolizing the fact that when we wrote the record there were only three people in the band – just me, Ben and Liam (Wilson, bass). We just thought it looked cool, and it summed up how we felt about me, Ben and Liam getting stronger during Brian (Benoit, guitar) and Chris’s absence. So the triangle seemed like a cool symbol.
over there, you know what I mean? I don’t ever want to a lot of things we’ve already accomplished have a situation occur where people can’t tell us apar t were things that I thought we never were from the band that came before us or after us. I don’t going to be doing. Like, we’re going to be feel like we’ll ever be in that position, but I don’t think on Conan O’Brien next week, and that’s rithere is any band out there that we wouldn’t tour with, diculous. I never thought in a million years, honestly, just because I know that no matter the situafive years ago, that this band, which sounds tion we’re always going to be the odd person out so it like noise to most people would ever be on doesn’t really matter. Conan O’Brien or something like that. So, at RK That must feel so good, man. this point in time, man, I would like to, and this GP: It does feel good because, number one, it ends up is kind of what everyone wants to do, I would letting you know that you’re not going to be lumped in like to be able to continue to have absolute with a bunch of other stuff and number two, it’s kind ar tistic freedom and be able to live like an adult of like an us against the world type of feeling which while doing it, you know what I mean? Like to is really good for the health of your band. The thing actually be able to pay bills and stuff like that, is we know that we can play any bill and kick ass, and which is a thing people – there’s no one who can say what we just did wasn’t Ben Weinman That’d be awesome! intense. Even if you just want to go bang your head GP - hate to hear about, you know, like money to thrash music for an hour, you can’t see us and and stuff like that. In an ideal world you wouldn’t then walk away being like that wasn’t fucking out of want to care about that. But the crazy thing is we control, you know what I mean (laughs)? No matter have never compromised our integrity, we’ve never what you listen to. done anything in this band for the sake of “we’re RK I’ve only got one more because you answered a going to make more money doing this ” you know bunch before I even asked them. what I mean, or “we’re going to tour with these GP Ah, I tend to talk a lot (laughs). bands because we make more money” or “we’re going to write these songs to make more money.” RK What do you want the Dillinger Escape Plan And we’ve never been a band who all of a sudden to accomplish more than anything? What’s your got bigger, but we’ve always been a band that’s been biggest hope? snowballing. We’ve been around for ten years at this GP Well, I want this lineup to stay together as point, in some shape, and that’s insane because for long as possible, because I feel like this lineup most bands, ten years is a long fucking time. I’d like is the best lineup we’ve ever had, and I defito just continue the trajectory we’re on without fucking nitely know we’re at least going to write anit up (laughs), you know. other record – and it’s hard to say, because RK Awesome, man. To c hec k out mor e T he Dillinger Esca pe Plan goto myspace.com/dillinger esca pe plan
TURN YOUR HEAD TO THE LEFT AND COUGH! B y I a n M . G r a ha m
I m a ge s c o ur t e s y o f C o ug h
I ’ v e k n o w n Pa r k e r C ha nd le r, t he b a s s p laye r fo r C o ug h, fo r ye a r s. We w e nt to high sc hool to ge t he r, a nd he w a s in my lit t le s is t e r ’ s c la s s. We b o t h p laye d in b a nd s – he played death metal, I p laye d p unk , o f t e n o n t he s a m e t ic k e t a t t he t e e n c e nt e r. N o w, I ha v e n’ t played out in four o r f i v e ye a r s, but he ’ s s t ill r o c k ing, a n d w e ll, a t t ha t . C o ug h’ s ne w C D, Sigil Luciferi , hit s lik e a t o n o f b r ic k s. I f yo u c a ug ht t he ir fir st disc , Kingdom EP (w hic h w e r e v ie w e d a w hile b a c k ), a nd d ug it , yo u ’ r e p r o b a bly go ing t o shit your pants over this o ne . I t ’ s go t s e r io us w e ig ht , t a k i ng t he s lo w a g g r e s s io n o f Je s u w it h t h e r aw, analo g sound o f To r c he . T he r e a r e s e c t io ns t ha t r e m ind m e o f C o nv e r ge ’ s s lo w e r s t uf f, and those ar e the f a s t e r p a r t s o f t he C D. T he a lbum o p e n e r, “ K illing F ie ld s ” , is q uit e s ig na t ur e. T her e’s a r e p r is e o f “ 2 8 8 Ye a r s o f Sin ” , o f f o f t he f ir s t r e c o r d , bu t my f a v o r it e t r a c k (and not just be c a us e o f t he n a m e ) is “ N o r t he r n P la g ue ” . T he s o ng build s, ha s a b r ie f c r escendo, and slowly lum b e r s o ut w it h a d e f init i v e s t o m p. O n a s c a le o f o ne t o t e n, it ge t s a “quality ensur ed” s t ic k e r. T he ir le a d s inge r, K ir by, r e c e nt ly s p lit t o N o r t he r n Vir g inia , a p p a r e nt ly for no good r eason. T hey w ill c o nt inue a s a t hr e e - p ie c e , w it h no int e nt io n o f r e p la c ing t he v o cals r ole. T hey just r e t ur ne d f r o m a t e n- d ay t o ur, f r o m Vir g inia t o Flo r id a , a s a t hr e e - p ie c e , w it h Par ker (bass) and D a v id (g uit a r ) p e r fo r m ing v ox . I w e nt ov e r t o o ne o f t he i r p la c e s t o c o o k o ut, have a beer, and ta lk r e c e nt ly, w it h d r um m e r Jo ey, a s w e ll. M o s t o f t he c o nv e r s a t io n w a s a bout mathematical e q ua t io ns, p a r t ic ula r ly, t he p r inc ip le o f M / B (m o ney ov e r b it c he s ). W h a t fo llo w s ha s b e e n e d it e d fo r s q ua r e s.
IMG How long were you on tour? Par ker Ten days. We played eight shows, and had two days off. IMG Anything fun? David We got a lot of free beer at the hospitality center. IMG What’s that? David It’s Anheuser-Busch, you know? They give out free samples. IMG Did you get smashed? David Yeah, they change bar tender s ever y ten minutes, so you go to one bar tender, get two, go to another, and drink all night. I think there’s something in the beer there, man I was dr unk as shit, I was obnoxious. IMG Well, isn’t beer supposed to be better at the brewer y? David Whatever it was, it was great. Bourbon-cask ale, that’s what I was drinking. IMG Well, I cer tainly love bourbon...
David It didn’t taste like bourbon, though. It tasted like vanilla. IMG Where did you cut the new album? Par ker Volume Studios, in Chicago. IMG Why did you want to go there? Par ker Sanford Par ker. He did Buried at Sea, and we really liked the sound. IMG How long did that take? Par ker We were up there for about two weeks. Joey We had a blast. That guy is the fuckin’ man – you walk around with him, you get hooked up. David Yeah, ever yone knows who he is, open door ever ywhere, get in for free, people want to know who you are. IMG Free goodies? David Plenty of ‘em, crazy shit. He took us to this metal burger joint, they had all these burger s named after metal shit. What were some of the names? The fucking Slayer, its a burger with all this fuckin’ chili on it. Sanford’s crazy, though. He set us up with this chick, gives us par ty favor s, gave us cab fare to get home from this par ty in the middle of fuckin’ nowhere, and he never even showed up. We were at this dude’s house, we all got fucked up, Par ker passed out, and the dude kicked us out at five. He was tr ying to rail this chick that we brought with us, and when she dipped, he was like “Yeah, you can take your dir ty ass friends with you. I’ ll call your ass a cab” so we said fuck it, it was our last night. We just drove back to Richmond. IMG Five a.m., and you hit the road? David Yeah, Par ker got a few hour s of sleep, so he was sober. IMG What does the name of the new album mean? Par ker Sigil of Lucifer. Kirby wrote all the lyrics, so we didn’t have much to go on with a title after he left. Lyrically the whole album was his concept, so... We needed something to describe it, and sound cool. The Sigil itself is on the inside cover. IMG Is that the inver ted pentagram, with the symbols? Par ker No, that’s our logo. The Sigil of Lucifer is basically a triangle with an upside-down star in it. It’s kind of hard to explain. IMG Speaking of Kirby... Did he just kinda fuck off ? Par ker Basically. Joey He moved to Nor ther n Virginia, but it was gradual. He’d been sliding off for a while. He’d only come to practice if there wasn’t football or NASCAR to watch.
I mean, we (Par ker) live two blocks apar t, we’re always fucking with each other, and Kirby was an hour and a half away. David We could tell he wasn’t really into it anymore. The three-piece wor ks out better for us anyways. IMG Will there be another album after this, as a three piece? No interest in a singer? David Oh yeah, we’ ll do another, but there’s no interest at all in a new singer. Joey We’ ve been getting a lot of positive feedback on the three-piece. David It does kind of suck, though. We were hoping that this would be our definitive record, something to stand on, and now the sound will be different. We’re star ting all over again, so now we have to up that one. IMG I was at Guitar Center when Par ker was getting his fir st new bass. Par ker Were you? IMG Yeah, we were both there with our moms. What are y’all listening to right now? Joey Lil’ Wayne. We listened to him all the way down to Florida and back, ever y fucking day, ever y hour. Par ker We were hearing metal ever y night, you know? Joey He’s just into the same shit we are, par ties and gir ls. He calls himself a rock star. Par ties, gir ls and money, that’s all you need in life. And the new Snoop. IMG I stopped paying attention to Snoop when he said he was quitting smoking reefer. Joey Yeah, but he quit quitting like a month later. IMG If you guys had to enter the Thunderdome in a two bands enter, one band leaves scenario, who would you want the other band to be, and why? Joey What’s the name of that midget Kiss cover band? We could beat a lot of ass over there. IMG I had no idea. I saw a midget band in DC a while ago, The Little Kings... Par ker Did you see my mom there? David Maybe Radiohead? I hate the fashion euro mullets. Joey Wait. Linkin Par k. They’re pansies. Par ker I dunno, some of those dudes look like they go to the gym. Radiohead? No chance. David Ah, but I don’t really hate Radiohead. I do tr uly hate Linkin Par k, though. Par ker OK, Linkin Par k. IMG Total pansies.
Im a g e
C a ll a h Ja m e s
Sigil Luciferi will be released this month. To hear more Cough goto myspace.com/cough666
B y C a r l A t hey
The music industry isn’t what it used to be. There are more bands, more record labels, and with the rise of online services such as Myspace and Pure Volume, overall easier access to all of these things. As a result, the odds of your band getting noticed are much slimmer than they might have been a few years back. The chances of hitting it big as a band are slim these days, but that’s no reason not to get out there and play. Having played in bands for the past five years of my life, I’ve learned a few secrets to getting the most out of playing. Here are some of the key points I keep in mind when I play. Find a group of people you really enjoy performing with. Your band is your family. You are going to argue. You are going to disagree. You are going to piss each other off. At the end of the day, it is important that you have a mutual goal for your music, and you can come together to achieve what you want. You aren’t likely to get there on your own. Good songs are important if you are going to build a fan base, but even “Stairway to Heaven” would be worthless if Led Zeppelin didn’t know a few people. Get out there and network. Set up shows, establish contacts from out of town. Go to shows that might not be your typical scene, and meet the people who are making them happen. The more people you help out, the more likely it is that others will return the favor.
Play shows. Lots of them. People enjoy what is familiar to them. It’s a convenience thing. The radio and pop music thrive on this principal. People would hate most of the songs on the radio if they didn’t hear them five times a day. You don’t have access to that kind of airtime, so your best option is to play lots of shows. Not to mention, playing live is more fun! Support other bands. Music is about community. If you don’t help other bands out with shows, good luck getting shows of your own. If you can’t bother to listen to another group’s set before or after you play, don’t expect them to stick around to hear you. Nobody likes a snob, and more often than not, personality will get you a lot farther than talent. Go places! I may be contradicting the article’s title here, but I’m being serious. Richmond’s music scene is amazing, but there is a whole world out there. Be reckless. Pile into a van, hit the road, and don’t come back until the money runs out! Touring is the most exciting and essential part of playing music. Don’t miss out. Be in it for the right reasons. You’ll probably never be famous. No offense. There is too much competition. You are not a beautiful snowflake. Pipe dreams of fame and fortune will only lead to disappointment ninety-nine percent of the time. If you don’t love what you are doing, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. 39
Pul p T o n e s N O . 1 B y L a nd is Wine
I m a ge by Br andon Pec k
The Beautification of
KELLY A f e w m o nt hs a go, I , a s w e ll a s m illio ns o f o t he r s w it hin the United States a n d a b r o a d , w it ne s s e d t he d e a t h k ne ll o f Am e r ic a n M u s ic Tele vision. Ar ound t hir t y m inut e s int o t his ye a r ’ s V M As, I w a s s t r uc k w it h t he distinct feeling t ha t M T V a nd t he a r t is t s it w a s s ho w c a s ing w e r e , v e r y visibly, f loundering t o r e t a in t he r e le v a nc e t ha t t hey ’ v e fo s t e r e d a nd he lp e d to steer since the e a r ly 8 0 s, he a v ing in a ll o f t he t e a r y - eye d d e s p e r a t io n of a dr unken exlov e r no w s a g g ing a nd lis t le s s. O f c o ur s e t he r e w e r e a lw ays cr ac ks, and the r a t ing s ha v e b e e n d e c lining s t e a d ily s inc e t he t ur n o f t he centur y, but the B r it ney d e b a c le a nd la c k o f a ho s t g a v e t he p r o c e e d i ng s a r esounding air of f ina lit y. Ev e r y t hing w a s d e s p e r a t e ly r e he a r s e d , p o o r ly e d it ed, unintentionally a w k w a r d , o r p laye d a s c oy w ink - a nd - no d no s t a lg ia (a b ig hello to the Foo F i g ht e r s a nd Se r j Ta na k in c ov e r ing “ H o lid ay in C a m b o d ia”). It desper ately ne e d e d R . K e l ly. T he s e d ay s, t he P ie d P ip e r o f R & B ha s b e c o m e a n im mensely polarizing f ig ur e . W he n e v e r I b r ing up t he m a n’ s na m e in p o li t e d is cussion of popular c ult ur e , I a m c o ns is t e nt ly p r e s e nt e d w it h d um b fo und e d looks or outright r i d ic ule fo r s up p o r t ing s uc h a — a nd I ’ m p a r a p hr a sing her e—“hate f ul, m is o g y nis t ic , a nd s t up id ” a r t is t / m us ic ia n. I t’s tr ue that muc h o f t his init ia l s k e p t ic is m a nd c o nt e m p t s t e ms fr om the c hild p o r no g r a p hy c ha r ge s, but I ’ m no t go in g to w aste my time d e f e nd ing a m a n’ s p r i v a t e a c t io ns a nd their r elationship t o p ublic inf lue nc e (Ro m a n Po la ns k i, anyone?). What we a r e r e a lly d e a ling w it h is a m a n w ho has ca ptur ed the z e it ge is t ov e r t he p a s t f e w ye a r s in near ly e ver y demo -
gr a phic , gi ving the gr own a nd s ex y a m o ng us “ St e p (I n t he N a m e o f L ov e ), ” the a bsur dist theater/nar r a t i v e s e r ia l o b s e s s e d “ Tr a p p e d in t he C lo s e t ” p a r t s 1-22, and bestowing upon us t he lif e - a f f i r m i ng g if t t ha t is “ I g nit i o n (Re m ix ). ” Her e is a man w ho is willing t o p us h him s e lf f ur t he r (fo r b e t t e r o r fo r w o r s e ) than any other popular cont e m p o r a r y a r t is t in a ny ge nr e , a nd ha v e t he r e s t of the hip-hop and pop wo r ld s o n t he ir k ne e s t o c o lla b o r a t e w it h him . H i s most r ecent r adio sta ple, “ Sa m e G ir l ( Re m ix ), ” e v e n f ig ur e s in a f r e e s t y le in w hic h Kelly imitates Mic hae l J a c k s o n w hile c r o o n ing his g ue s t ’ s (T- Pa in) r a d i o hit (“Buy U a Dr ank (Shaw t y S na p p in)” ), a f t e r w hic h he go e s o n t o im p lo r e the audience to buy his album , r e it e r a t ing “ t ha t s hit is o f f t he c ha in. ” So ulf ul expleti ves aside, the song it s e lf is t he s o r t o f na r r a t i v e t ha t no o t he r a r t is t (shor t of Usher, w ho took a s im ila r r o ut e w it h “ C o nf e s s io ns, ” but a ls o a p pear s on “Same Gir l” and it s r e m ix ) is e v e n a t t e m p t ing t o t a c k le t he s e d ay s. But w hat a bout the hipster c o nt inge nt yo u s ay ? D o n’ t w o r r y, R . K e lly m a d e sur e to inc lude a cameo by Will O ld ha m (a . k . a . Pa la c e M us ic , B o nnie “ P r inc e ” Billy, you know the drill) in o ne o f his ne w ins t a llm e nt s o f “ Tr a p p e d in t he Closet,” and held an inter ne t s c r e e ning, c o ur t e s y o f I F C , o f e a c h ne w e p is o d e with commentar y and giddy la ug ht e r f r o m K e lly him s e lf !
g a in s o m e o f t he g r o u nd t ha t ’ s c o m p l e t e ly f a lle n o ut f r o m beneath them this ye a r ), but K e lly is a t a p o int w he r e he d o e s n’ t ne e d So und Scan number s to m e a s u r e his le v e l o f s uc c e s s / s a t ur a t io n. “ Tr a p p e d in t he Closet” w ar r ants ne w s blur b s a nd t ho ug ht f ul o p - e d p ie c e s f r o m m a jo r ne ws networ ks in the w e e k s b e fo r e it s r e le a s e , O f f - B r o a d w ay s p i n- o f f s a nd m ult iple r eadings, both d r y a nd c o m ic , f lo ur i s h t h r o ug ho ut t he c o u nt r y, a n d v ie w ing par ties, encour a ge d by t h e I nd e p e nd e n t F ilm C ha nne l, a b o und . Ev e n t he Ne w Yor k Times p la s t e r e d K e lly o n t he f r o nt o f it ’ s Ar t s & Ent e r t a inm e n t session the week t ha t t he ne w ins t a llm e nt s o f “ Tr a p p e d … ” w e r e r e le a s e d , r eiter ating just how m uc h a c ult ur a l e v e nt it w a s a nd c it ing num e r o us p e o p le pr aising the genius o f R . K e l ly. All o f t his is ha p p e ning w he n o t he r s a r e s c r a mbling to shout that t hey ’ r e “ o n t o p ” w hi le t he c e iling r a p id ly c o lla p s e s a b ove them. Our pop s t a r s ha v e ho m o ge niz e d w e a lt h a n d f a m e t o t h e p o i nt t hat it doesn’ t e ven s o und lik e t hey c a r e a ny m o r e . T ho ug h s o m e w o uld c o ns ider K anye West the ex c e p t i o n t o t his r ule , he s t ill o p e nly p ine s fo r t he s uc c e s s and satur ation of M ic ha e l J a c k s o n’ s T hriller , w hile p a inf ully a d m it t ing w ha t we all know: the er a o f f if t y - m illio n p lus i s f a r b e hind us, a n d t he m us ic i nd us t r y simply does not ha v e t he m e a ns t o r e s u r r e c t it .
While near ly e ver y other a r t is t w it hin t he p o p s t r a t o s p he r e is c o nt e nt w it h c hur ning out the same lim p p r o d uc t io n, f lo und e r ing in t he w a k e o f d e c li n ing r eco r d sales and w aning int e r e s t in t he id e a o f t he p o p s t a r a s a ny t h in g other than ta bloid fodder, K e lly ha s m a na ge d t o p e ne t r a t e ne a r ly e v e r y nic he of ne w media successfully by no t p l ay i ng it s a f e a n d a llo w ing his im a g i na t io n to r un a bsolutely wild. It’s no t t o o ha r d t o s e e t ha t t he r e a s o n t ha t s o m a ny people have dec lined to buy a s m a ny f ull a lbum s by m a ins t r e a m a r t i s t s in t he past fe w year s is because t he ir hit s h a v e b e e n m o r e r e a d ily a c c e s s ible ov e r the inter net via both le g al a nd ille g a l a v e nue s. W ho ne e d s a n e nt ir e So ul ja Boy album w hen you can ha v e t he s ing le fo r f r e e a nd by p a s s a ll o f t he u n necessar y skits and cameo s ? Ev e n t ho u g h K e l ly s t ill m a k e s e v e n t s o ut o f hi s albums, he has master ed the a r t o f t he s ing le s e r v ing r e m ix a nd t he t e ns io n that serializing cr eates. He m ay no t ha v e t he s a le s f i g ur e s o f K anye We s t a n d 50 Cent (w hic h wer e the r e s ult o f a t r a ns p a r e nt a t t e m p t by t he i nd us t r y t o
O n c e t he ha z e o f d i g it a l m u s ic r e v o lut io n h a s c le a r e d a n d the bodies sor ted t hr o ug h, I ha v e no d o ub t t ha t R . K e lly w il l b e lo o k e d up o n fondly as one of t he a v a nt - g a r d e o f ne w m e d i a . H e ha s e m e r ge d f r o m his initial decade of hits w it h no c o nc e r ns a b o ut s t r e e t c r e d ib ilit y a nd f a ls if y in g a n “authentic” ima ge, a n d ha s fo llo w e d his m us e t o he ig ht s o f ge n ius a nd lo w s o f sheer banality, all w it h a n unf linc hing d is r e g a r d fo r his c r it ic s. T his m a ins t r e am tr enc h-wor k will ho p e f ul ly e ne r g i z e a nd e na ble c ur r e nt a nd f ut ur e m a ins t r eam ar tists to fur t he r ex p lo r e t he o d d it ie s a n d id io s y nc r a s ie s w it hin t he i r own music and per s o na s, f r e e ing t he m s e lv e s f r o m t he t r a p p ing s o f a r e d undantly ric h cultur e. And t ho u g h a ll o f t o d ay ’ s p o p s t a r s w o uld lov e t o h a v e Mic hael Jac kson’s (w ho s e la s t b o na f id e hit , “ Yo u Ar e N o t Alo ne , ” w a s p e nn e d by Kelly) f ame and inf lue nc e , it s e e m s t o b e o n ly R . K e lly t ha t r e a liz e s t ha t muc h of his a ppeal c a m e f r o m w ha t his w a s in hi s m us ic a nd lif e : a s ing ula r o ddity.
Inter vie w a n d p ho t o s by P J S y k e s
T he Fier y Fur naces play music with c halleng ing ar r angements that often will s witc h tempo and style midstr eam. T heir lyrics tell stories with inter esting details a bout a c har acter’s life or situation. T he sound can be compar ed to that of a musical, old r oc k ‘n’ r oll, jazz, or e ven at times a c hildr en’s tele vision pr o gr am. When they perfor m li ve they r einvent themselves by r ear r anging songs, not play ing any keyboar ds for a w hole tour, or making up stuf f on the f ly. T he cor e of the band is made up of br other and sister duo, Matthe w and Eleanor Friedber ger. T he cur r ent li ve band also inc ludes Bob D’Amico (Minar et) on dr ums and Jason Loe wenstein (Se badoh) on bass. PJ Sykes tries to dig a little dee per with Matthe w, the main songwriter, over the phone as Elea nor piloted the tour v an acr oss the state of Pennsylv ania. 44
PJ Sykes How is the tour going so f ar? Matt Friedber ger : It’s going nice and smooth. T he weather has been fine. People ar e loving the Democ-r oc k. T hat’s w hat we call w hat we play, in honor of the primar y season. PJ Any ear ly pr edictions in the caucus that determines the next Fier y Fur naces studio album? Matt It’s pr etty e ven right now. I haven’ t ta bulated the votes. A lot of people ar e saying 1, 2, 3 kind of thing. T hey like this one fir st, this one second.... So I’m going to have to do a point system and see w her e it is with that. See how well we can imple ment the will of the people. PJ I per sonally like: Kythphiaxkis Tr aans-Oinomaos a bout two her ma phr odites in love. Matt It’s a beautiful stor y I’m sur e, the music will be ver y a ppealing... ver y poppy for that one. T hat’s an inter esting one. PJ What do you like to r ead, and does that have any inf luence on your lyrics? Matt I like to r ead; you know the fr ee ne wspa per s in the small towns, and the shopping cir cular s that they gi ve aw ay the g as stations. T hat’s w hat I’m r eading now on tour... any r andom, contempor ar y
nonsense… business pa ges of the ne wspa per have a lot of funny, funny pr ose in those. For r oc k lyrics, I like to imitate other r oc k lyrics mostly, in between “Tutti Fr utti” and Bob Dylan and Mar k E. Smith fr om T he Fall. Pr etty muc h any type of writing you w ant to imitate has alr eady been done in a r oc k or R&B song befor e. You know w hat I mean... Between R. Kelly and R akim and Bob Dylan you pr etty muc h got any style of writing ther e, that you can c laim cover for... c laim a pr ecedent fr om. We like the lyrics to be made up of dif fer ent types of popular cultur e ar tif acts. Whether it be a ne wspa per stor y or some body’s dictionar y they thr e w aw ay. PJ Does having Jason Lowenstein in the band help w hen it comes to r ecor ding and writing? Matt Well Jason is r ecor ding a lot of li ve stuf f. We’ r e going to have a li ve r ecor d that he is the engineer of. Jason is an exper t engineer ; his studio is called “Cr eati ve Musician Recor dings”. No, it’s not called anything... ‘Jason w hat’s your studio called?’ Jason [fr om some w her e in the v an] It’s called “Jake’s Recor ding Ser vice”. Matt www.jaker oc k.com, he’s a gr eat engineer! You should see his overhead ster eo mic placement on a dr um kit. It puts mor e expensi ve engineer s to shame; it’s amazing! T her e’s nothing better than having your engineer being a cr eati ve musician
himself, especially one as well known and well pr acticed and beloved as Jason Lowenstein. PJ Do you think of eac h r ecor d like making unr e lated movies, r ather than a sequel or a pr equel? Or do some of the c har acter s and stories r ea ppear on mor e than one album? Matt I think of them as being unr elated, exce pt “Rehear sing My Choir” and “Bitter Tea”; they wer e supposed to go to gether, but they ar e supposed to go to gether as opposite sides of a coin. I don’ t think of a c har acter r etur ning fr om r ecor d to an other. But you know, maybe some body else can see that better than I can or than Eleanor could. T hey mean specific things to me, specific to us, but oth er people can have them mean w hate ver they like. T hat’s the fun putting a r ecor d out ther e. People use it in w ays you don’ t under stand. PJ If the albums ar e not r elated, do you think c haracter s in songs might inter act w hen you play li ve? Matt Yes! Yes, all I have to say is yes to that question. I tr y to think of how they can go to gether in a w ay that will be dif fer ent, and hopefully fun. T he stories fr om songs played bac k to bac k, it will mean something dif fer ent fr om w hat they mean on the r ecor d. Li ve we play “T he Philadelphia Gr and Jur y” and “Clear Signal Fr om Cair o” to gether now. On the r ecor d they ar e not to gether, and they don’ t 45
necessarily have suc h a c lose r elation. But now li ve they do. You know, so... T hat kind of thing is fun to do, to r ear r ange the songs. Even if you don’ t r earr ange them, you get to make them mean something slightly dif fer ent.
the w ay you thought, and you have to experiment to get the sound you’ r e thinking of or a sound that will wor k. Most of the time we plan it out, our r ecor ds ar e not r eally ver y spontaneous. T hey ar e alr eady written and planned out.
PJ On your we bsite you talk a bout the dr ums in the song “A utomatic Husband” going fr om “li ve” to “dead”, an audio pun, do you use instr uments to r e pr esent someone in the stor y muc h like the c las sic “Peter and the Wolf ”?
PJ Do you write a lot of your stuf f on piano or gui tar, and then tr anslate it into other sounds?
Matt [laughs] Well, I wouldn’ t compar e our music to something as illustrious as Ser gei Pr okofie v’s “Peter and the Wolf ”, but yea... T he music is par t of the stor y telling, or alw ays had some excuse for being ther e, or the sound c hoice of an ar r ange ment decision. T hat’s the fun of making the r ecor d for me especially, and the fun of listening to them for me. T hat’s w hat the band is all a bout. Maybe that’s w her e we ar e little bit dif fer ent than other bands. T he music is meant to be kind of a pun on the wor ds, and the wor ds ar e meant to contr adict or complement the music and bac k and for th. PJ Wher e do you find your sounds, do you collect keyboar ds fr om thrift stor es hook them up to dif fer ent ef fects till you like w hat you hear? Matt: I don’ t r eally collect keyboar ds, no. I have a bunc h of keyboar ds, but not like other people do, ya know? Sometimes w hat you plan doesn’ t wor k 46
Matt I mostly play the piano, but it’s best to think it up as opposed to make it up on the piano. T hink it up in your head and then think up how the arr angements ar e going to go. T hink of a tune in your head, and then ima gine how you’ r e going to ar r ange it based on that. How do you w ant it to sound, w hat ridiculous sounds you need to make it as ridiculous as possible to be ef fecti ve? PJ Do you plan on r eleasing any of your r ecor d ings in Sur r ound Sound like the Flaming Lips have star ted to do? Matt Ohh, I would love to! I don’ t know w hat it would be like to mix just thinking in ter ms of cr oss over. PJ I think it’s an inter esting ne w for mat that is just now being used for music without a visual attac hment. Matt: I think so, too. If you w ant to get people to listen to the music you make, not just on the speaker s of their computer, w hic h is w hat ha ppens
a lot, the only w ay you’ r e going to do that r eally is to do it in a w ay that the speaker s on the computer don’ t actually play the music. T hey would have to listen to it on a 5.1 system. Hopefully they will star t making c hea p 5.1 systems as opposed to a hor rible suburban home theater kind of thing... not that ther e is anything wr ong with having a home theater in your suburban house. But I would love to do that. PJ What do you make of the w ay the music biz is going? Do you like the idea of people only down loading your music vs. buying a CD or LP? Matt I think that the tec hnolo g y handles r elati vely high quality audio so easily, that it’s mor e shoc k ing that people tr y to c har ge money for audio, than people tr ying to get it for fr ee. I don’ t do it. I’m used to buying r ecor ds, that’s how I like to do it. I like to have the physical thing, go and buy it and play it, and put it bac k in its case or slee ve. For people w ho haven’ t gr own up on that, the idea of buying audio must be totally ludicr ous. How ar e you going to sell it? It’s like selling people a bottle of w ater. You need to be mar keting genius of a dif fer ent or der than the r ecor d industr y. Like the Coca-Cola style of pr ofessional mar keting, because you’ r e
selling them something they don’ t need. Obviously they don’ t need music that they can get for fr ee. I don’ t know how ima ge they’ r e going to do that r eally. T hey think people ar e going to be lazy and they can c lamp down. In the shor t ter m it’s going to have a bad ef fect for people tr ying to make r elati vely complicated music , because people can’ t make money of f it. In the long ter m maybe it will be gr eat, because it will r uin the so-called media conglomer ates... maybe that will be a good thing. I don’ t know I’m just jumping at will. T he mana ger contor tions that contr ol all the li ve shows and sell mer c handise, those people ar e just as cr azy and stupid as r e cor d execs e ver wer e. “Colonel” Tom Par ker w as w ay wor se than the execs at R CA--you know w hat I mean, if you think a bout old r oc k ‘n’ r oll stories. So it will pr oba bly make things e ven mor e conserv ati ve if those people get contr ol. PJ I like w hat T he Evens ar e doing by tr ying to play f ar ther outside the cir cuit. Matt It’s tough for people to do it as a job. It’s easy to do it if you don’ t have to li ve of f it; and w hy should you li ve of f it, go and get a r eal job. But then a g ain, people w ant to be musicians and w ant it to be their job, and ther e’s nothing wr ong with that, too. T her e alw ays needs to be the push
to have a ne w alter nati ve cir cuit, w hether to play li ve or to distr usting music. When it has ha p pened it becomes show business in a dif fer ent w ay. T hat’s not necessarily wr ong, it just means you have to kee p jumping to c lear ahead of the g ame. PJ I r ead in an inter vie w that you w anted to be asked a bout Gr eyhounds… w hat a bout them? Matt [laughs] I don’ t know... I love do gs that have had a car eer and ar e now r etir ed. I had a Foxhound w hen I w as younger, called Jar gon. He w as a gr eat do g. T hese do gs have their outside inter est; they ar en’ t just inter ested in sitting on your la p. T her e’s nothing wr ong with a do g w ant ing to sit on your la p... But it’s gr eat to have a do g that had its life and its inter ests and is now taking it easy. So, yeah I love Gr eyhounds, I love the w ay they look, their demeanor, it’s r eal nice. I’ ve ne ver had a Gr eyhound, so I’m not an exper t on them. Ever yone should adopt, if they ar e a do g lover. Add a Gr eyhound to the mix! T hey ar e ver y gentle and good companions for other do gs. T her e ar e so many of them that get euthanized w hen they come of f the tr ac k. Add a Gr eyhound to the pac k! For mor e on T he Fier y Fur naces, c hec k out myspace.com/thefier yfur naces 47
Bryan Hartley Confidential Soul Is Cheap
then I have been more par ticular in my southernrock/alt-country listening.
A year or two ago, I saw Ben Nichols of Lucero perform a solo acoustic set at Plan 9. In between songs his speaking voice was normal, without much in the way of a rasp, and no more of a southern twang than most people that I know. When singing, his voice was forcibly country and he was obviously straining very hard to sound like gravel. It just felt really fake. Since
This is why I love Bryan Har tley. If you’ve ever heard his band, Half Acre Gunroom, then you’ve heard the simple, country rock songs that come from this guy. With Confidential , the straight-forward honesty is amplified, even when nothing else is. The whole album is one acoustic guitar and one vocal, and the great songwriting is more evident than ever. Songs like “We
All Wanna Fall In Love” and “Hot Rod Century” are so catchy that the hooks and choruses will often pop into my head weeks after the last time I heard them. The simplicity of these songs could become tedious or boring to some. They may end up sounding like the same songs, but I feel like the lyrics help the most here. There is something real in them. Bryan isn’t trying too hard to convince you that he’s a harddrinkin‘, fightin‘, good ol’
boy, but instead there is a feeling of casual storytelling in his lyrics. I didn’t spend my teen years in Memphis. I’ve never raced hot rods or kissed a sweet girl under the stars in Grenada, but I get it. That’s why this album is such a comfor table listen. I get it. - Nathan Joyce
Lemuria Get Better Asian Man Records I would be lying if I told you I was a long time fan of Lemuria. I had never heard them until early summer of 2007, and I was not immediately swept off my feet. Yet, I was intrigued enough to keep listening. And listening. And listening. When I found out in November that they were releasing their first fulllength recording on Asian Man Records, I found myself
preordering the LP.
Get Better arrived at my home a few days after the January 12th release show in Buffalo, New York, the band’s hometown. I scooped the package out of the mailbox, opened it on the way up the stairs and immediately threw it on the turntable. It has barely left that spot since. This twelve-song record demonstrates the threepiece’s adventurous songwriting in what I am
very hesitant to call the pop genre. Though I sometimes found myself wishing guitarist Sheena Ozzella and drummer Alex Kerns would open up and let their very talented vocal chords grab more of the spotlight, it is hard to be too critical when the lyrics are suppor ted by such solid musicianship and songwriting. Alex and Sheena pen most of the lyrics for album, which consists greatly of stories of relationships lost and never realized. While
most of the songs deal with never getting enough from love, bassist Jason Draper contributes one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Get Some Sleep”, a song that hints at the possibility of giving too much.
Get Better is pop with substance; hear tfelt songwriting with a crunching rock ‘n’ roll edge. This record will grab you with Sheena’s voice, and once you are paying attention, it will make you fall in love with everything else that comes with it.- Carl Athey
Punch You in the Face Big! EP self-released www.myspace.com/ punchyouinthefacebig The first release from Punch You in the Face Big! gets moving with a slow, smoky riff, but it only takes the band about thir ty seconds to pull that tube before they take off like Pedro de Pacas: “You ain’t scared of a little speed are you man?” For the next 13 minutes, it seems like PYITFB could skid off the road at any
moment. Even if they did, I have a feeling they’d just barrel over anything in the way and keep on truckin’. Although the “Big!” seems extraneous, there is no doubt the 5 guys in PYITFB sought a truly big sound that recalls the best of Southern metal. Duel guitars and ultra heavy bass coalesce into a swirling lowend crunch that, along with the furious drums, you can feel in your beer gut. You’d be forgiven if you thought this 5-song EP was cut by
fellow Richmonders, ATP or Lord by Fire, but Matt’s parched, megaphone vocals stand PYITFB apar t and make them seem that much louder. Throw in some rock ‘n’ roll cues from AC/DC and Zeke, including a little absurdity (sample song title: “Sled Full of Swords”), and Punch You in the Face Big! will leave you lip-synching along, even if you don’t know the lyrics. - Mike Rutz
HO-AX Avantard (Cassette) C.N.P. Records HO-AX has existed for a few years now in a few different incarnations. This is their first proper release, and it perfectly represents the different faces of HO-AX. It’s also pretty awesome that it’s a cassette only release, especially because I still have a working tape player. HO-AX reminds me of early “hardcore” era Devo, meets Dead Kennedys far ting over a Six Finger 49
Satellite album, with a dash of metal and punk here and there for more gir th. The songs are tracks with the full 4-piece lineup mixed with songs done with what sounds like two members with a drum machine, and they mix together quite well. They successfully shift from a sor t of sci-fi surf punk, to a psychedelic noise-rock band, to car toon anthems, to operatic crescendos, to a full on dance par ty and back. The vocals are sometimes crazed and yelpy, and sometimes the vocals 50
sound like they’re coming out of a transistor radio. Some songs don’t even have vocals and are outlandish musical exercises. A couple of tracks use strange and/ or amusing samples in place of lyrics or vocals. The selfproclaimed “gross nerds” are Legz on guitar and vocals, Evil Bill on drums, Dr. Mattress Fox on bass, and Mr. D.N.A. on keyboards and vocals, and they seem to have a fascination with human genitalia, human fluids, butts and poo. For example, in the song “Time
Travel Bowel Control” the opening line is “take a dump inside a worm hole”. Some of their wholesome song titles like “Bed Wetting Cyborg”, “Up Your Butt and Around the Coroner”, and “Anal Cavity” show that these boys cer tainly aren’t lacking in moral fiber. Fiber. Poo. Yeah. All right, copies can be obtained from the band at www.myspace.com/ hoax, or you can get copies from them in person at one of their shows, which usually prove to be weird, comedic spectacles. They are also
available through the local C.N.P. Records label. - Jack Peters
Dirty on Purpose Like Bees North Street Records/ The Orchard I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Brooklyn’s Dir ty on Purpose. For the most par t, I intensely adore this quar tet of newgazers. They first blipped on my radar a couple years ago, and after seeing them live I was utterly convinced
that they were something incredibly special. The 2004 EP Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow made my head spin with all sor ts of giddy intoxication, and I spent countless hours listening to those five spellbinding songs over and over again. But as good as it was, the LP that followed, 2006’s Hallelujah Sirens , seemed almost disappointing after the highs of that nearly flawless earlier EP. So which Dir ty on Purpose would show up on the new EP Like Bees , the one with
the magical mystery wall of sound? Or that of the slightly underwhelming drone? From the first note, I knew everything was going to be all right. And something immediately sounded more than a little familiar. As my roommate so succinctly quipped after hearing the opening track, “Audience in the Room”, “Kevin Shields wants his pedals back.” Sure, such Loveless era My Bloody Valentine comparisons are cer tainly apt at times like these, but
there’s far more to Dir ty on Purpose than just paying homage to the fuzz and haze of shoegaze days of yore. This is not a one-trick band. The title track, “Like Bees”, will fulfill your winsome boy/ girl vocals and towering guitars needs rather well, while “Back to Sleep” is at once hypnotic and jarring. Even the initially perplexing cover of Real Life’s “Send Me an Angel”, turns out to be a grower. The new material ends with “Airshow Disaster”, an otherworldly instrumental with one hell of
a noisy crescendo.
Brainworms/ Dynamite Arrows
The EP’s digital release also includes five live tracks, many done for Internet radio sessions. They solidify Dir ty on Purpose’s penchant for feedback, as well as show off their considerable live performance chops. Dir ty on Purpose could just be better suited to EPs. Regardless, Like Bees is a wor thy addition to any music collection. - Megan Petty
Split 7 Rorschach Records What better way to usher in the New Year than with a new record from Rorschach Records? The evil geniuses behind the scenes gathered in the secret underground laboratory and concocted a scheme to make us all spend more money. Behold, Richmond’s own sweethear ts, Brainworms, and Brooklyn’s Dynamite Arrows have come together
to bring you quite a solid release. Two songs from each. Dynamite Arrows, if you are unfamiliar, is a poppunk band with a little bit of a folk punk vibe at times. Lot’s of “Whoa-oh-oh” vocal par ts that sometimes make the lyrics completely undecipherable, but ultimately get the melodies stuck in your head. Their two songs, “Lady I’m Fucking Dead” and “Hobo Clown Love Song” (which is complete gibberish), will be
hits for fans of old Plan-It-X bands and Dillinger Four.
unique, and the lyrics are worked into the structure of the song better than Brainworms are back at ever. The thing I’ve always it again with their spastic enjoyed about Brainworms take on hardcore, and this the most is that singer, Greg record is no joke. The first Butler’s lyrics are so fluid song is a reworked version and ranting, that by the of a song from their Which end of a song, you feel as if is Worse LP, entitled “Biggy, you just had a conversation Shor ty, Fatty and Friends”, with him. Favorite lyric on and this version couldn’t this record, by far: “Hey possibly be any more fuck you! So what if you’re intense. The second song, right?! I won’t ever leave “Not Heavy, Just Awkward”, this neighborhood but may be my favorite to come what’s so fucking great from this group of guys. It’s about leaving?!” long, it’s hard-hitting and - Brandon Peck 51
By La u r e n Vi n c e lli
HAUNTED JOHN By Benjamin Br aman
I m a ge Ad a m Jur e s k o
There it is,” I stated, attempting to keep my voice steady. “That’s the demon toilet that has claimed the lives of fourteen people.” Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as the cameraman twisted knobs near the front of his camera, no doubt taking in every detail this possessed refuse depository had to offer. I ignored him; let him get close, I thought. That demon will eat you and your fancy-dan electronics and it’ll smile while doing it. I turned my attention back to the paranormal researcher. “He’s been quiet these last few hours, but I’m damn near positive he ate Fred’s niece this morning. Cute girl, pigtails. You’ll probably see those come up in a few hours. Satanic bastard can eat our souls, but a little hair gives him indigestion.” This young whippersnapper was barely listening, just tapping his index fingers. Hell with you both, I thought. I didn’t make it to seventy-seven by acting like an asshole. I’m trying to warn this young one about the danger right here in this very room, and he’s doing is smiling and nodding like some little empty-headed simp. Does he not understand the inherent danger? There’s a-excuse my French-goddamned demon, a hound of the lowest pits of hell, living in this toilet!
People need to be warned! “Listen up, son! What I’m telling you sounds like garbage; don’t think for one goddamned second I’m not aware of that fact. I saw this thing eat my best friend, only reason I called you. That boy was a war hero and that demon ate him like he was nothing. So I suggest you stop tapping your notebook before I have to make you.” * * * * I listened to this old man’s ramblings with a detached ear. The worst part of this job, and there aren’t a whole lot of perks. The residents here at this nursing home, we like to give to them an illusion of freedom about our complex. Studies have found, almost unanimously, that seniors in assisted living facilities adapt much better to their new surroundings if they are given some freedom to move around the complex, supervised of course. Paranormal researcher? Obviously something he picked up watching his soaps. It’s days like this I wonder if I’m a masochist for taking this job. Day in and day out, I must suffer the horrors of the human brain atrophying right in front of me. All I can do is smile and nod as they ramble on about rogue pickles on horses galloping down the hallway and demon toilets eating their war friends. There times I don’t know how I make it through the day, what with all that I must suffer. I make momentary eye contact with my student, posing for
this exercise as a cameraman. He seems puzzled, but so long as he doesn’t break the masquerade, everything is fine. “Sir, how do you know it’s a demon? Maybe a ghost, or a wizard?” He purses his lips and makes an angry noise though them, but he doesn’t say anything. I need to let him talk some more; I can’t tell if it’s simply dementia or senility or if this is a medical problem. The right drugs can do wonders nowadays. “Damn it son! The thing fed over two hours ago; we’re in mortal danger here!” “And why is that?” I hope my Tivo is working. Access Hollywood is interviewing Katie Holmes tonight. “You’re not listening to a damn word I,” He stopped short, his cloudy eyes darting nervously about his eye sockets as a deep rumbling began below us. “It’s too late! He feeds!” He screamed, jogging from the room as fast as his weakened legs could carry him. Crazy old man. The boilers make those noises all the time during the winter. These old buildings make all sorts of creaks and noises. Then again, I’ve never heard them growl before… 55
TA L E S FROM T O BAC C O AVE NUE N E W CA RY T O W N C H U R C H O F S C I E N T O L O GY M I S S I O N A L R E A D Y AT T R A C T I N G L O C A L C E L E B R I T I E S
Though many consider the church a cult, Scientology has gained millions of followers from around the world, most notably actors Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley - and more recently, Richmond musician Greenbaum.
Having arrived in the Richmond area only late last year, the new Church of Scientology mission on West Cary Street is already garnering its share of attention from local celebrities.
The singer-songwriter, best known for her songs “Spin Like a Top” and “Everything but You,” said she is recording the single “Thetans on the Bridge to Total Freedom” and plans concentrate on more Scientologian music for an album due in early 2009.
In the last week, local radio-industry veteran Bill Bevins, city musician Susan Greenbaum and the hot mom from the Victory Nissan of Richmond commercials have all announced plans to conver t to Scientology, the controversial self-help religion made popular by Hollywood celebrities such as Tom Cruise.
“The record will be a compilation of my journey as a musician, and my new goals of reaching the upper levels of an Operating Thetan,” Greenbaum said, “living far beyond the normal encumbrances deep within the reactive mind to one day reach the mental state of ‘Clear.’”
In his morning show today, Lite 98’s Bevins said he was looking forward to “giving Scientology a whirl.”
The local star drift to Scientology was even apparent on TV commercials for Victory Nissan with the attractive blonde woman pitching Japanese vehicles, cash-back incentives and the need for more silent bir ths in America.
Bevins then told listeners that he was back at the top of the hour, and they just heard the latest from Rascal Flatts and KT Tunstall. “We’ve got a morning traffic repor t for you in just a minute,” he said. “But first, listen, if you happen to drive have through Carytown, be sure to stop by the new Scientology mission there near the Ukrop’s and get a free ‘E-Meter Audit Session’ with a counselor to find your inner area of concern - it can only help you discover your Supreme Being.” Added Bevins: “And now for today’s Impossible Trivia question: How many Russian-made hockey sticks does Canada impor t on an average day?” The Church of Scientology was established in 1953 by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to promote better living through spiritual rehabilitation techniques. A small mission opened recently at the corner of Cary and Nansemond streets. 56
“Check out the all new 2008 Nissan Rogue and the ‘07 Nissan Altima, named J.D. Power and Associates’ Most Appealing Car In Its Class,” said the woman, who, gosh, look at those eyes. “For me, it’s all about KSW and serenity above the physical universe, stop in now for a Free Stress Test and test drive the all new Nissan Z.” Radio host Bevins added that he’d be back after this, but mentioned that you can sign up now at the Carytown mission to become a loyal officer with the Galactic Confederacy, once ruled by the tyrant and mass murderer Xenu. Noted Bevins: “And now for the answer to today’s Impossible Trivia question: 850 hockey sticks a day, that’s how many Canada impor ts from Russia. Our winner this morning is Kenny Newsom, who just won a free trip to the Mediterranean and one-billion year contract with our local chapter of the Sea Orgs.” Tobacco Avenue is Richmond, Va.’s most accurate source of misinformation. Goto tobaccoave.wordpress.com for more delicious satire and wacky enter tainment
Did you know that Richmond’s Downtown Plan was recently updated — by YOU??!! Yes it was. And if you’ve been following recent news items, or the fine work at Buttermilk & Molasses (http://floricane.typepad.com/buttermilk), you already know that the plan is a diabolical scheme devised by a tight-knit group of socialist anarchists hellbent on destroying everything that Richmond holds dear — like unrestrained development and feudal rule. Did you pinkos really think you could get away with all of that? Needless to say, controversy currently surrounds this proposal. Last year, on the eve of its creation, Save Richmond released “The EZ 2 LOVE THAT DOWNTOWN PLAN QUIZ” but apparently many of you weren’t schooled enough on such things as Planning Commission conflicts-of-interest, form-based codes, public charrettes, scenic views and how the city of Richmond actually resides in the country of VCU (bet you didn’t know that). So here is a remedial “pop” quiz that will fill you in on where the Downtown Master Plan stands today. C’mon, be a visionary and you too can be labeled a commie “preservationist” just by taking this simple test. Put a pen to the EZ 2 DISMISS OUR DOWNTOWN PLAN Mini-Quiz and get ready for the 21st century to come to Richmond any day now… any day now… any day now… any day now… just not on their watch. 1. To put reactions to the new proposed Downtown Master Plan into perspective, please list which statement below is NOT a direct quote from James Crupi's recent study of Richmond,'Putting the Pieces Together': A. “The Richmond area is blessed with many great managers, but few leaders. It has people who are strong on execution, but weak on seeing how all the pieces should fit together. They are weak on vision. They are like managers of a department that fail to recognize the impact their decisions have on the rest of the organization. There is either little ‘political’ nerve and statesmanship or the lack of clarity about the future prevents daring initiatives.” B. “[Leaders should] involve people with social and intellectual capital and youth with regularity. For too long the business community has not placed social and intellectual capital on par with economic strength when working on community problems.” C. “People with social networking skills or creative ideas are typically not brought ‘to the table’ on community projects or issues unless they also have economic means.” D. “The people are ready, the leaders are not.” E. All of these were from Crupi’s report.
By D 58
2. When Richmond's Downtown Master Plan was last amended in 1996, approximately twenty son citizens were involved in the public participation process. This time around, 250 initial participants grew to four times that number by the end of the workshops and public sessions.
Which of the following statements was written about the new proposed Downtown Master Plan's public participation process? A. “Sounds suspiciously like an outbreak of democracy in Richmond.” — The Richmond TimesDispatch B. “The Miami city-planning firm of Dover, Kohl & Partners has worked deftly with city officials to gain input from citizens and civic and business leaders.” — Style Weekly C. “[It’s] the result of more than five months of meeting and talking with nearly 800 city residents about what they want to see as the future of downtown Richmond.” — Richmond.com D. “The proposed plan has been a cold shower for some city power players used to doing what they like and being thanked for it.” — Style Weekly E. All of these things were written. 3. Which of the following is NOT a statement from architect Bob Mills, the chairman of Richmond's Planning Commission and a critic of the new proposed Downtown Master Plan: A. “I work for the city of Richmond, the state of Virginia, VCU, I work for almost every developer in town and all those preservation people. I think because of the position I’m in, I’m probably a more fair judge because they’re all my clients.” B. “It is dangerous to override VCU’s Master Plan in our Master Plan.” C. “Clearly, the people who have participated are the standard 200 or 300 people interested in this stuff.” D. “Is this a Master Plan or a report on the public’s desires?” E. All of these were statements from Bob Mills. 4. Of the following, which is NOT a recommendation of Richmond's new proposed Downtown Master Plan: A. Changing Richmond’s traditional zoning codes to form-based zoning codes that are based on design. B. Making the city more pedestrian-friendly. C. Encouraging neighborhoods to mix businesses and residents. D. Preserving the The West Hospital, due for demolition by VCU.
E. Ensuring future public access to the River. F. Giving the key to the city to Chairman Mao, dancing naked in the streets, barring the consumption of red meat within city limits and taking everyone’s guns away. 5. The Planning Commission had a public meeting in January, where a vast majority of citizens spoke in favor of the new proposed Downtown Master Plan. Richmond's daily newspaper covered this meeting in a story that contained the headline,'Richmond residents criticize plan.' Who were these residents ? A. A lawyer representing NewMarket Corp., which owns 70 acres of property along the James River that is earmarked for potential public land. B. The Executive Director of Venture Richmond. C. VCU’s Associate Vice President for Facilities Management D. All of the above. 6. From the list below, select the one criticism that has NOT been leveled at Richmond's new proposed Downtown Master Plan? A. It is too ambitious. B. It puts emphasis on small-scale development and less on big, taxpayer-funded mega-projects. C. There are things in the plan that would seem to be in conflict with VCU’s Master Plan — and you don’t want to ever, ever, ever do that (gulp!) D. It puts emphasis on protecting the land and views along the river, which is a big no-no for a place hellbent on selling every last bit of its soul to big development interests. E. The right kind of “approximately 20 people” didn’t come up with it. The wrong kind of “more than 250 people” did. F. All of these criticisms have been verbalized in one way or another at the proposed Downtown Master Plan. Answers: 1. E 2. E 3. E 4. F 5. D 6. F Don Harrison is a Richmond-based freelance writer and the co-founder of Saverichmond.com 59
T h e s tat e o f i m m i g r a n t s r i g h ts i n o u r c o m m u n i ty
By Aar on Samsel and Laur e n Vin c e lli
Immigr ants’ rights have become an impor tant issue in Virginia and are sure to be a hot topic in the coming presidential election. Recent laws have made legal immigr ation increasingly difficult and the possibility for undocumented immigr ants already living in the U.S. to attain citizenship less likely than ever before. Local authorities have stepped-up pressure, with Immigr ation and Customs Enforcement (ICE) r aids growing substantially. We sat down with Gloria, an undocumented immigr ant, to hear her stor y of a recent ICE r aid on her home in Chesterfield. Why do immigr ants leave their countries, and what do they face when they ar rive in the U.S.? What happens in an Immigr ation and Customs Enforcement (ICE) r aid? With over 100 immigr ation-related bills under consider ation in the Virginia Gener al Assembly this spring, it is impor tant to know what’s really going on. Why do immigrants leave their countries? Most people who immigr ate to the U.S. do so to escape adver se political or economic conditions. Ima ge by Aar on Samsel
These conditions, however, have often been created as the direct result of U.S. economic policy and militar y suppor t for violent dictator ships abroad. U.S. inter ventions abroad, functioning to protect and expand American cor por ate and political interests at the expense of local populations, often result in the mass displacement of people, who in tur n come to the U.S. seeking wor k or asylum. Of the estimated 12 – 20 million undocumented immigr ants living in the U.S., the majority of those coming over the past 40 year s have been Latin America, specifically from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala. It is impor tant to dr aw the relationship between U.S. inter ventions in these countries and subsequent waves of immigr ation. In Mexico, the Nor th American Free Tr ade Agreement of 1994 (NAFTA) allowed U.S. agribusiness to unload cheap cor n on the Mexican mar ket, triggering a 70% drop in the price of maize between 1994-2001 and the loss of over 2.5 million far ming jobs. It was estimated that more than 15 million people have been displaced, or one-in-six Mexicans. This type of tr ade policy, known as neo-liber al capitalism has ser ved as the 20th centur y’s continuation of colonialism. Many local immigr ants from Guatemala link their displace-
ment to the CIA orchestr ated over throw of democr atically elected president, Colonel Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán in 1954, when new land refor ms began to threaten American companies such as United Fr uit. The over throw ser ved as the catalyst for a civil war that lasted 40 year s, targeting indigenous populations and leftists and leaving 100,000 dead. Likewise, many of those immigr ating to the U.S. from El Salvador were displaced throughout the 1980’s by a civil war that is estimated to have left 75,000 dead and over 2 million homeless. This war, known for br utal gover nment massacres which targeted peasants and clergy, was subsidized with a 7 billion dollar aid package and U.S. militar y tr aining. President Regan endor sed the subsidy claiming that aid to El-Salvador was needed to quell the threat of communism in Latin America. What do Immigrants Do When They Come Here? Many of the Mexicans, Guatemalans and Salvadorians who live in the Richmond area and Nor ther n Virginia are the sur vivor s of the war s and economic displacement lever aged by the U.S. They come to wor k and rebuild families and to simply lead the sor ts of lives that we take for gr anted. Many immigr ants are employed in constr uction, housekeeping, grounds keeping, and the restaur ant industr y. Most are tax-payer s, knowing that 63
in the cur rent political climate those taxes may never be used in their interests. Most are interested in following the “American Dream” of education, wor k, family, financial independence and par ticipation in society. Achieving these dreams, however, grows increasingly difficult as media por tr ayal continues to criminalize immigr ants, as Immigr ation and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ter rorizes immigr ant communities, and as both Democr ats and the Republicans suppor t policies that close the door to foreigner s. I m m i grants i n th e M ed ia Immigr ant are increasingly targeted by attacks in media in tactical play for political power and cor por ate profit (increasingly interchangeable). Immigr ation has ser ved as a political scapegoat for issues of crime, unemployment, and economic recession. The negative por tr ayal of immigr ants has been used to exploit latent r acism and foster a climate of fear and mistr ust. As a result, a dr amatic increase in r acial tension has been felt and documented across the United States. The Anti-Defamation League has found that the Ku Klux Klan has enjoyed a major resurgence due to the anti-immigr ant rhetoric from politicians and the media. Additionally, since 2004, the number of victims of anti-Hispanic crimes increased by 25%. Th e Status of I m m i grati o n i n Vi rgi n ia After the failure of Congress to implement a comprehensive immigr ation policy last year, state and local gover nments have begun taking the issue into their own hands. Last fall Virginia Delegates introduced over 100 new bills to the Gener al Assembly addressing immigr ation. Sever al were passed into law late last year, including Delegate Miller’s bill prohibiting charitable organizations from distributing ser vices and resources to any undocumented per son over 19, and a law that allows Virginia jails to screen and depor t undocumented prisoner s (est. to be 16% on prisoner s in Nor ther n VA). In a bi-par tisan, anti-immigr ant fer vor, Loudoun, Culpepper, and Prince William counties have attempted to regulate immigr ation locally. Prince William County has stepped up the enforcement of a law prohibit64
ing public ser vices to allow access to undocumented per sons and encour aging local police to round up undocumented immigr ants. In the midst of this political debate, the Immigr ation and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has increased activity. While it is unclear how many r aids have taken place since the ICE was founded in 2003, they have been steadily conducted in all par ts of the countr y, on homes, businesses, and public places. I CE rai ds The pur pose of an ICE r aid is to identify, apprehend and depor t undocumented immigr ants, however, with the number of undocumented immigr ants far exceeding the ICE’s reach and capacity, r aids are used tactically to destabilize broader communities. Homeland Security Secretar y Michael Cher toff acknowledges that one goal of the recent surge in ICE r aids is to demonstr ate to Congress the need to pass President Bush’s tempor ar y-wor ker progr am. A progr am criticized for prioritizing cor por ate interests over the well-being of families and communities, it was recently described by economic magazine Dollar s and Sense as a “low-wage scheme, intended to supply plentiful labor to cor por ate employer s at a price they want to pay.” This battle for political power and cor por ate profit has caught wor king-class immigr ant families in the crossfire. Fearing depor tation, many undocumented immigr ants are too frightened to go the store, let alone attend a demonstr ation. ICE r aids target families in the middle of the night or when they are most vulner able. Parents can be detained or depor ted while their U.S.-bor n children are at school; leaving children to be r aised by family member s or become wards of the state. A fi rst-han d loo k at a recent I CE rai d i n Ri ch m o n d Gloria is a mother of two, living in Chesterfield County. She and her husband are both undocumented immigr ants while their children were bor n here in Virginia. Ear ly in 2007, her family was awakened by ICE agents conducting a r aid on their home.
Lauren Vincelli OK so can you tell me what community you live in now? Gloria Oh you mean Chesterfield? We moved out of Richmond when we had children, we thought it would be easier to r aise kids in Chesterfield. LV How long have you lived in the U.S.? G 14 year s, almost 15. LV And your husband has lived here for how long? G 13 year s LV How many children do you have? G I have two. LV And they were bor n in America? G Yes. LV Do they go to school here? G Yes they go to school, my daughter was just tested for the gifted progr am and is in advanced placement for math. My children do ver y good in school. The teacher s are ver y happy with them. They are big assets to the school. LV How old were you when you fir st came to the U.S.? G I think I was 22. LV Why did you come to the U.S.? G I came to visit a friend of mine who was living here, who met an American man and got mar ried. I never planned to stay, just to visit. LV What changed your mind? G I fell in love and ever ything changed. It wasn’t planned. LV Did you just decide to not go back? G I did tr y to fix things from here. I went to Norfolk to the immigr ation headquarter s, but they told me there was nothing I could do, that I had to leave. Since I was dating an American man, I didn’t really know the consequences of staying longer ; he was asking me to stay longer. I didn’t know really what I was getting into. LV This is your husband? G No, I was dating an American for two year s, and then I met my husband, who is the tr ue love of my life. Sometimes you follow your hear t. LV Maybe that’s what’s wrong with politicians; they don’t have one to follow.
G The problem is that once you get into a situation, they don’t let any door open. You get down in the dar k. There used to be mechanisms in place before 9-11. and I think it was like that with the whole histor y of immigr ation, they always bring family member s, and there is always a way to fix it from here, but since 9-11 they close all those little door s. So it is a really bad feeling because you feel you haven’t really done anything bad, you are not a bad per son, but when you are caught in a situation like that and you feel like you are being per secuted and you have nightmares of people coming to get you. LV Do you have nightmares about this? G Yes, most nights I still wake up at exactly the same time we were r aided last year. This mor ning I had the r adio on, it was amazing because there was an article about some people who are from Ir aq who are in Syria, they are ringing their door s to tell them they can go back to Ir aq, and they were actually ringing the door on the r adio and I heard it when I was asleep and I was in panic because I thought it was my door. I always think I’m over it, but I’m not. LV So the r aid that happened at your house was about a year ago, in December? G Yes. LV How did it star t? How did you know who it was? G What happened was we were at home me and my children were in bed. There was a big pounding on the door, not knocking. They were saying “Police! Police! Open the door! Is your family OK?” There were flashlights all around in the front of my house in the windows and in the back windows also. They were really, really loud. We were ter rified. I said “What is going on? What is wrong? What’s happening? My husband just looked through the window and he saw two white vans and one car, all unmar ked, in front of our house. LV But these people said they were police? G Yes. LV Were there any police car s there? G No, no police car s. LV Did you see any police unifor ms? G No my husband just looked out the window and he knew, he said “It’s immigr a65
tion.” Because we had heard about this, heard that they say they are the police to ter rify you. So I said, well they cannot say they are the police if they are not the police, so I called 911, and I was shaking, thinking about them taking away my husband and that I would never see him again. So I called 911 and said “There are some men outside saying they are police” and the woman asked “Oh no, no, did you call them? I said “No, I didn’t call anyone, it’s just me my family here.” She said “Oh, hold on, that can’t be.” But when she came back she said “No, it’s ok you have to open the door.” And so I hung up the phone. She told me to open, but I knew they weren’t police. LV So you called 911 and told them your address and the 911 dispatch checked and said ever ything was in order? G Yes, she told me to open the door. We have never been in trouble with police, I always have respect for them and figure they are there to protect and to ser ve, that’s what they say. So I open the door, of cour se I was shaking. There were three men, and this big man wearing a vest that said “police”, but they were not police, because they were ICE agents, they say they can act as police. I don’t know if they can, I think its misrepresentation. This big man says; “Don’t wor r y. I know who you are calling I already talked to them and we need to get inside.” They didn’t tell us anything, they bar k, they were shouting at me “We need to get inside! Open the door! We want to see your husband!” I said “My husband is not here.” “Yes he is! Yes he is! Open up!” LV I’m sor r y, that is so absurd. G Yeah. They are doing it all around Richmond. I know so many people who have families who were taken like that. And they are ar med. I thought they were going to break down the door. LV You did open the door for them? G I did, just enough so I could see them! They don’t speak Spanish; they speak English so that if you don’t speak English you are even more scared. I think they were sur prised to see a white per son who could speak English. They pointed into the house with their finger s and they said, “We need to get inside we need to see your husband?” It was such a ter rifying experience for me. I can tell you many stories about people I know. They arrest them in front of their children, cr ying, and they handcuff them. LV When did they leave? G I told them that he was not there, and they kept shouting “We need to see your husband! Yes he is there! We need to see your husband!” I told them “Sor r y he’s not here and I closed the door and 66
I m a ge by Laur en Vincelli I was just so scared” They never showed me any paper s. They never asked for him by his name. LV How long were they there after you closed the door? G A long time. It was like another 15 minutes. It was ver y unreal. LV What did you do after they left? G I was feeling ver y helpless. I couldn’t tur n to anybody. We decided that moment that he would have to move out. That was the only way we could be safe. What if it happened again? LV Did you speak with you children about what happened? G Yes, and they star t cr ying “What happened? What did Daddy do?” “He didn’t do anything, it’s just that we don’t have paper s to be here to wor k” and I didn’t know that my son was telling ever yone at school that his dad had to move out. LV If you’re r aided do they depor t you? G Yes, eventually, but it takes six months sometimes, or three months if you are lucky. I know people that have been in jail for a year without having done anything. Aaron Why do you think they targeted your husband? G Because he applied for political asylum 10 year s ago, and
was denied. So when it’s denied, they tell you, you must leave, but we already had our daughter, we already had our life. What kind of life could we have in Centr al America? LV So at this par ticular r aid, they asked only about your husband? They didn’t ask you for any identification? G No, I mean we are easy to find, because we are honest wor ker s and they can find our infor mation anywhere, probably in the phonebook. They tell ever yone that they are going after the gangs, but gangs don’t have honest jobs; they aren’t listed in the phonebook, they can’t find them unless they are already in jail. It is easier for them to just target hardwor king families who have nothing to hide, who have a regular job and family and roots in the community. LV Do you pay taxes? G Yes of cour se, from the beginning, always. And that’s another lie, because most people who come here without authorization pay taxes because you can apply for the IRA’s they give you a tax number, so that if you don’t have a social security number they let you pay taxes. But you cannot get back anything. Most immigr ants pay taxes; they want to be doing the right thing incase they ever change the laws and then ask you, show me have you been paying taxes? LV Will you ever go back to your home countr y? G I really want to live here, with my family, my children were bor n here. I love this countr y; I’ ve been living here for so many year s. If I have to leave it would be a big change especially for my kids. I don’t want to be living in a countr y that it feels more and more to me like Nazi Ger many. The fir st thing that came to my mind when they pounded on the door - those movies about the Nazis going after the Jews. I don’t know if it’s fair to compare, but to me that came in my mind. And it was legal to do that in Ger many, so what kind of countr y is this star ting to become? People who have not done any har m in the community. LV How will you reunite your family? G That will be ver y, ver y hard for us. It is really affecting out relationship and our relationship with our kids. He was ever ywhere and ever ything to them and now he is not there. If he goes back to his countr y he won’t be able to provide for us.
They have never lived there. I wouldn’t have a job, my husband wouldn’t have a job. It would be ver y hard to get a job there. LV Have you given up on tr ying to immigr ate legally into the United States? G I have not given up, but there are really no options at all. They just keep closing door s on us. We are in a hold. There are just no other options left. They are making the lives of our children much wor se. I always have a little hope; we have been through so many lawyer s who say there is nothing left to do until they change the immigr ation laws. There is nothing to do, just pr ay that they will refor m the laws. You are one of millions of people with the same situation. LV Is there anything that you want to tell reader s of RVA Magazine? G Yes, just get infor med and get to know the wonderful community, the Latino community. They have ver y good values, they are friendly, open. You go to one of their houses they always offer you food, they are ver y nice people. We will thank you for the oppor tunity to talk with you. Call congress and help us to make changes. LV Well Gloria, thank you for taking time out to talk with us, we appreciate it. ----------------------------------------------If you would like to lear n more about how to wor k towards achieving immigr ants rights in Virginia please contact these representatives of the Virginia Immigr ant Peoples Coalition. Jeff Winder : (434) 906-0421, email@example.com Ricardo Juarez: (571) 288-9903, Ricardo@mexicanossinfronter as.org For more info, you can also visit www.mexicanossinfronter as.org/virginia_asamblea_gener al_2008/index.htm And for the American Civil Liber ties Union’s take on immigr ants rights visit http:// www.aclu.org/immigr ants/ 67
Handwriting on the wall pt 1: a rt i st i c p u b l i c d i s c o u rs e , g r a f f i t i a n d v i r a l i m ag ery By Lee Car leton Recently, an ego-tag was sprayed on the fence of my Oregon Hill house. This is my fir st “tagging” in four teen year s. Before I moved to Richmond, I used to visit my brother here and hike around Belle Isle, reading the text of the landscape. The most recent histor y to be read was in the graffiti I found all over the abandoned Vepco hydroelectric plant and the enduring six-foot “steal your face” Grateful Dead logo on one of the rocks at the edge of Hollywood rapids that has been repeatedly covered over by the city only to be re-painted - for over thir ty year s. Most graffiti inscribed in moder n “civilized” contexts is the mar king or communication of the disempowered other - but not always. Moder n graffiti ar tists are using ancient, stable technologies as well as the most advanced, complex digital technologies to enhance their contributions to this unique public discour se where the boundar y of word, image, for m, and meaning are explored in such potent ways as to give some images a near ly viral quality of self-replication. The encroaching dominance of cor porate communications, and the branding of our public space and psyche seem to inspire the proliferation of graffiti “folk” images. These resistant mar kings simultaneously escape and exploit cor porate and technical limitations while providing us the oppor tunity for critical democratic dialog and analysis of their potential meanings and iconic influences. 70
Michel Foucault obser ves that power is not a static commodity held by a single group, but rather something that ebbs and flows within groups and between individuals. Par t of this ebb and flow of power can be seen in urban graffiti dialog between individual ar tists, as well as between the ar tists and the state authority. Though ar tists compete with one another for aesthetic or ter ritorial dominance, state authority is eager to preser ve the “civilized” image of the city by protecting it from the weird and wild inscriptions of the disenfranchised. When the motives of the ar tist are more political or provocative, stencils are often used to expedite the transmission of a specific message or image. It is not so much the medium of deployment, as the polymor phous aspect of graffiti expression itself that bends the word to the needs of the image and the iconic impression desired by the ar tist. Thus word and image combine in a new, more powerful sigil that becomes par t of public discour se. As Mitchell notes, “the life of images is not a private or individual matter. It is a social life” (93). And sometimes that social life involves simple ter ritorial mar king rather than a more complex sociopolitical expression intended to provoke some action, if only new thinking. While much of the graffiti I’ve seen on Belle Isle’s abandoned Vepco plant was the common, ar tless ego-tagging and obscenities, I saw many amazing, colorful and elaborate murals of sur prising skill. Over the year s since those ear ly discoveries, I have seen many other evanescent wor ks of, what seems to me, a wonderful and significant folk ar t. This definition, however, would be highly contested in City Hall. The graffiti murals I saw disappeared regular ly beneath an onslaught of gray paint, often applied by young ar tistic offender s, unfor tunate enough to be caught in the act of creation - or defacement. According to the December 2005 Style Weekly ar ticle “City Bails, Donor s Quit on Graffiti Cleanup,” a proposed two-year $1 million public-private par tner ship for graffiti cleanup was left unfunded at the last minute.
The project was proposed by a local businessman when his grandchildren counted 56 tags on Inter state 95 from Br yan Par k to the James River, a distance of about five miles (Sinclair). I have witnessed this ongoing dialog for over ten year s now, and I continue to be amazed at the per sistence of each side in this competition of urban ter ritorial mar king. According to the Graffiti Hur ts program, “most studies show the majority of ‘tagger s’ are males between 12 and 21 year s old. Approximately 15% of graffiti vandals are young females.” It is interesting to note this program is funded by Kr ylon, a subsidiar y of Sherwin-Williams, which has “tagged” the Graffiti Hur ts website with their red-lozenge, white-lettered cor porate logo and phrasing (each ter ritorially tagged), an image that is abundant throughout the website as well as the educational materials and other swag they offer. Though I have long found the ir regular for ms of graffiti letter s difficult to read, my writer’s bias never considered that readability might not be a central consideration of the ar tist, until I saw the wor k of local ar tist Dylan Mott on an inexpensive print of Monet’s 1867 painting of The Regatta at Saint-Adresse . When I explained to Mott my annoyance with unreadable words, he told me that the looming pink and oddly angular letter s meant nothing. They were an invented word, letter s chosen primarily for the potentials of their original shape. This “defor mative” approach, along with his sophisticated rendering of depth by placing the letter s behind the sails of the boats in the foreground, encouraged me to take graffiti expression more seriously and to look beyond semantic meaning to locate and appreciate its subtleties when present. The looming, pink letter s seem to str uggle, perhaps flushed with effor t, to communicate with us, but they remain an enigma merely signifying letter s grouped to represent a word without clear semantic significance. And yet they seem to menace. Mott’s image of a non-word reminds us of the anxiety potential in the unfixed signifier. As Mitchell notes, “The potency of these images doesn’t reside merely in their
presentness or topical cur rency, but in their status as enigmas and omens, harbinger s of uncer tain futures” (12). It is perhaps the fear caused by these enigmatic omens that provokes such strong state response and not just their significance as mammalian ter ritorial mar ker s. In Mott’s Monet, we have a spontaneously created example of the “hybrid energy” McLuhan discusses in Under standing Media where the ar tist mixes media in new ways such that “the moment of the meeting…is a moment of freedom and release from the ordinar y trance and numbness imposed by them on our senses,” thus providing an impor tant contribution to public dialog (80-81). In an age when our senses are dulled daily by a ubiquity of identical cor porate images and slogans (which are also images), this hybrid energy is more necessar y than ever to snap us out of the trance naturally induced by monopoly media in its homogenized repetitions.
To be continued.... 71
LIKE A KNIFE By Christian Detr es
Spring’s ar ound the cor ner a nd t he ne w lo o k s a r e b e ing unv eile d in f a s hio n m a g a z ine s a nd r unw ays ar ound the wor ld. L ik e e v e r y Sp r ing, e v e r y a r b it e r o f s t y le w ill ha v e a c o nt r a d ic t o r y opinion as to w hat the hips t e r e lit e w ill b e w e a r ing. R a ng ing f r o m Sa t ur d ay a f t e r no o n la und r y day styles to damn near co s t um e - w e a r, w e ’ l l b e t o ld t ha t ha lf t he it e m s i n yo ur c lo s e t a r e o ut of f ashion, and the things yo u’ v e h e ld o n t o fo r t he la s t d e c a d e (fo r s o m e unk no w a ble r e a s o n) ar e once a g ain, a la mode. T ha t Ar a f a t s c a r f yo u’ v e b e e n f la u nt ing m ay no t b e t ur ning he a d s anymor e, but those Chuc ks w ill a lw ay s b e f r e s h. I spend a lot of time (pr ob a bly t o o m uc h) w a t c hing t he s id e w a lk s, t a k ing m e nt a l no t e o f s o m e unexpected accessor y or ja c k e t c ut a nd a t t e nd ing e v e nt s w he r e c r e a t i v e s t y le ge ne r a t io n is no t just welcomed, but expecte d . I no t ic e d a f e w t hing s. Gr anted, I li ve in Ric hmond , w it h a ll o f yo u, a nd a m s o m e w ha t r e m ov e d f r o m t he s t r e e t w e a r f ashion meccas of Williamsbur g a nd Ec ho Pa r k - b o t h fo r m id a ble inc ub a t o r s o f o ut s id e r f a s hio n for the last decade. I’ ve ta k e n s o la c e in t he f a c t t ha t in R ic hm o nd , w e ne e d no t t r y s o ha r d to impr ess the judgmental s t y le go o ns lik e s o m a ny p e r c he d p i ge o ns in t ho s e ne ig hb o r ho o d s. In some w ays, because of t his, w e c a n c r e a t e (o r s im p ly e nt r e nc h) s t y le s t ha t b e g in t he r e but don’ t catc h on due to comp e t ing v is io ns o r s e lf - c o ns c io us ne s s. One thing I’ ve seen r ecent ly ha s b e e n a m ov e t o w a r d s Pa t t i Sm it h a nd r o g y ny a nd t o ug h g r r l shar pness. Inspir ation com e s f r o m w e ir d p la c e s s o m e t im e s. C a t e B la n c he t t ’ s t ur n a s B o b D y la n in this past Fall’s I’m Not T her e c r e a t e d c o nt ov e r s y but o p e ne d a d o o r t o “ jus t t his s id e o f D r a g King” looks that seem fr esh but ha v e t he ir r o o t s in p o s t - B e a t , p r e - ” B e a t le s go t o T ib e t ” 6 0 ’ s mod styles for men. I’m dig g ing it , I ho p e yo u d o t o o.
Christian Detr es Photo gr a phy Ki m Fr ost, Ian Gr aham Photo Assistants/Pos t P r o d uc t io n Sar a, Kim + Wanda Models A ur or a + Ashley of All F ir e d U p Sa lo n Hair/Make-up Christian Detr es St yling Need Supply, Pink! Am e r ic a n A p p a r e l and Mar y Hef f ley Clothing Special T hanks go to I a n G r a ha m fo r t he use of his camer a, lig ht s a nd m us c ula r br ain (par ticular ly the r ig ht s id e . ) P r o p s to Kim Fr ost for being my s e ns e i o n a ll things photo gr a phic. D o ug Sp o o ne r fo r being patient, indisp e ns ible a nd c hill a s a fr ozen cucumber.
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Published on Apr 14, 2008
Published on Apr 14, 2008
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