HOW TO BE A MISCREANT #4 by mister matt gasda
Today I spent about seven hours wandering, sitting, reading, and writing in Central Park- I moved to New York about four days. Needless to say I feel fringed by loneliness. At least, my list of viable contacts has been cut down pretty significantly and well, the city is so big that whatever friendships I did have going in seem dwarfed by the sheer amount of people here who are complete strangers to me. So far moving to New York is more liking visiting a big foreign city where you don’t know the language... Not that I entirely mind this – I expected it, and semi-consciously I know that it is good for me to stretch myself, to be alone, even if I don’t want to be. But after a few days, or even a day of mostly wandering around by myself, the question of why imposes itself. Why should I be alone when I don’t have to be? What’s the point? Isn’t this just a kind of spiritual masochism? The answer is yes and no. Yes is it is painful, and yes it isn’t strictly necessary, but it isn’t a permanent condition- it’s a reconditioning in fact. The mini-epiphany I had today, at several points during my seven or so hours in Central Park is that I’m2 are too conditioned to seek entertainment and company and have lost the ability to be alone even for a short period of time. I couldn’t even keep my phone off all day as I had planned – around five I created an excuse for myself to use it... There are all sorts of fallout from this state of affairs – from this inability to be alone. I will focus on one for the sake of space and brevity – we let good moments of solitude pass by. Instead of saying perhaps, ah isn’t the little boat pond here in Central Park so beautiful as the sunsets, or aren’t those German tourists funny, or isn’t that man or woman beautiful we check our phones, start dreaming of checking our email, or pray that someone sits down and talks to us3... We lose the ability to live in other words... This is not an original thought, but I hope to at least give it a fresh context. It’s becoming increasingly easy to ignore our solitude, to find loopholes in the system, and I think, consequently put off the hard thinking through that goes on when we’re lonely. Being lonely can deepen us, it can force us to think about why it is we’re not satisfied with ourselves – which is at the root of all x, a dissatisfaction with the state of mind we exist in. And lest you, brave reader, think you are safe from this malady of loneliness, try spending even a day without your cell phone, internet, iPod, or company and then you will really find something out about yourself.4 I’m afraid I’m even writing this article in a sense to give myself a healthy fix of the computer after a hard day of being disconnected. I think of my state of mind – and I use the internet relatively infrequently, and don’t have a smart phone, nor use an iPod – as an overgrown garden. Even a little bit of distraction spread evenly throughout the day makes me feel mentally stuffy and sickly... and yet like all addictive things that are bad for us... I’m, well, addicted. I want to feel this pleasant bath of cloudiness. It’s the perfect antidote to being alone in a new, huge city where I don’t know a lot of people. It’s unfortunate because it gets in the way of me actually feeling what I’m feeling.
This is a border line cliche right? We have to challenge ourselves, get our of our comfort zones et cetera. and we 3 preferably a beautiful Swedish person 4 It is ironic that this is article appears on the internet, no? The fact that I allow it to should be a pretty fare indication that I don’t think the internet is evil, just over-prevalent in our lives. 1 2
TRANFORMERS: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON ANALYSIS by sgt. lance st. laurent Do not that title mislead you; I have yet to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the new film from that director of destruction, that auteur of asinine action, Michael Bay. As I write this, it is June 30th, and I am roughly 72 hours from seeing what promises to be the most spectacularly empty spectacle of the summer. When I leave that theater in three days time, I will not return the same critic I left. My body will be here, but my mind will be in a world where men are men, women are supermodels, black people speak in jive all the time, and cars are secretly robots (some of which also speak in jive). That is the world that Michael Bay creates, a distilled product of the white male brodude id, the unholy spawn of Spike TV, Statham sweat, and Maxim Magazine. Yet my soul yearns for it. Every fiber of my being (especially those cliche man parts like my gut and my balls) wants to see this film. That is what I am here to explore. Because Transformers 3 is essentially critic-proof, I will turn my considerable insight back onto myself and get to the matter of why I, like an abused spouse, will always go back to Michael Bay. So without further ado, I will rundown the many possible reasons that I will enthusiastically be buying a ticket for Transformers 3, from least plausible to most plausible. 8. Cartoonish head trauma Shortly after a screening of Transformers 2, I screamed to the heavens that I didn’t want to remember that hellish experience. In a twist of fate, a large item (anvil, piano, fat woman in floral dress, etc.) fell on my head, thus erasing the experience of Transformers 2, along with every other detail of my life and identity, from my mind. I can no longer recognize my family’s faces, but I’ve had some wacky adventures. Pray that this new Transformers brings me back to being the man I once was. 7. I genuinely appreciate Michael Bay’s distinctive voice and visual style Next, please. 6. Critical rebellion After seeing the Rotten Tomatoes score for this film, I yelled, “You’re not my real dad!” at my computer screen, stormed out of my house, and bought a ticket. I will eventually come home, filled with shame, to reconcile with Rotten Tomatoes. The grounding will only be for two weeks. 5. I am secretly a 14-year-old boy This movie and touching Susan Bowman’s boobs at the Homecoming Dance will be the highlights of my year. 4
4. I genuinely appreciate Michael Bay’s distinctive voice and visual style Next, please. 3. Misplaced hipster self-loathing In an effort to break myself from the shackles of film snobbery, I will view Transformers 3, and, dammit, I WILL LIKE IT. Henceforth, one should expect me to use the phrases “dialectical montage” and “male gaze” while discussing how Michael Bay’s use of nonlinear editing is the best since Ozu. Everyone will hate me, but not nearly as much as I hate myself. 2. Minor Alcoholism Since the last Transformers film, college has expanded my mind in ways I couldn’t have even imagined… is what I tell my parents. In truth, two years in college have done nothing but give me a distinct taste for bad vodka and great weed. Those brain cells that have been lost happen to be the ones that hate the Transformers franchise. 1. I’m a hypocrite, a bad person, and a sometimes optimist Transformers 2 was one of my least favorite movies ever. It was so bad, in fact, that it led me to write my very first movie review, a screed of poor writing and bad grammar that came straight from the heart. That being said, I like ‘splosions, and I like robots. All I want in the world is a movie with a plot that can get me from robot fight to robot fight without making me want to strangle a puppy out of anger. I’m not asking for a Coen brothers script (although if you look at the cast list for this film, it reads suspiciously close to a Coen brothers film), I just need something that is inoffensively shitty. Please Michael Bay, don’t break my heart again. 5
“NOBUNNY LOVES YOU!”
Single of the
The Miscreant loves Nobunny, and we hope you do too! So this week’s single is “Brace Face.” Also, check out other tracks we enjoy of Nobunny’s on our Facebook page! 6
ALBUM REVIEW: ATOMOSPHERES’ THE FAMILY SIGNS by nick catellier Hip-hop music is an odd beast. There are so many beautiful hip-hop records that exist that never get the recognition or air-play they deserve simply because of the mainstream flash that dominates our radio. But throughout the entire evolution of rap music one group has proven to me that beautiful, clever, hip hop is still alive. This group is non other than minnesota’s Atmosphere. Since there formation in 1989 Atmosphere has released some of the most critically acclaimed records in the hip-hop genre, their latest, entitled The Family Sign, is no exception. Last week I bought The Family Sign, opened it up, and fed it into my CD player and just drove. The album opens with the song “My Key”. It kicks in with a piano motif that sent chills through my spine, quietly I hear atmosphere rapper, Slug whisper, and then the beat drops. Hooked. Atmosphere uses a live band when performing, a feat that few rappers can successfully accomplish, and you can really hear in is this record. This album seemed a lot more guitar oriented than anything they had done since. It gave the whole album a lingering feel, like the guitars where guiding me along the tracks. The drums and synths add a great... atmosphere, for a lack of better words. What stands Atmosphere apart from every other independent rapper is his ability to craft some of the most amazing lyrics I have ever heard. Slug is the Hip-Hop Bob Dylan, he makes you feel exactly what he feels and that’s just through his words. A rap song that makes you actually feel something through its lyrics is very rare but its a gift that Slug has. The album ends with “My Notes.” I would go as far as to say it is the most cleverly crafted and most beautifully well done rap song I have ever heard. It is a perfect way to close the album, it has a great piano motif throughout and Slugs lyrics are at the top of his game. But the thing that make it so perfect is its abruptness. When it ends, it just ends with no warning or fade-out. I find this to be a genius way to end an album. Give them everything they want but leave them wanting more. Every track has its own feel but it doesn’t disrupt form overall feel of the album which is a wildly important thing to do, but most importantly this album was just fun to listen to. I bobbed my head throughout the whole record and highly recommend it to those who want to hear a different kind of rap. I give The Family Sign a 7.5/10.
PLEASE DON’T STOP PLEASE by the arkansas native, andrew mcclain
Around dusk, my friend Colin and I pulled up and parked on the street across from the venue. Originally, it was a men’s big-and-tall store on Main Street in downtown Little Rock. Through the 90s, it was a punk club called Blank Generation. Then it was the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative, who recently lost their funding. A few of the volunteers decided to keep paying the rent and open a franchise of Super Happy Fun Land, a small venue in the Houston area. The inside is a high-ceilinged affair, walls covered with art (some for sale, some on the actual wall) and floors with linoleum and two long, hardwood rectangles. A decent-sized crowd of Little Rock’s hippest young gunslingers trickled in, paid their five dollars, and headed down to the basement, where the bands were setting up. I’ve been hooked on Don’t Stop Please’s live show ever since I saw them perform as a three-piece (their original lineup) the previous December in a garage, with Joel Ludford and Krzeszinski on guitar and Nick Caffrey on the upright bass. Caffrey and Ludford have a six-year background playing music together, through high-school jazz band, and Krzeszinski almost as long. It’s obvious that none of these guys wanted to join a band because they thought it would be a cool thing to do; these guys live and breathe music. They can’t help it. I’ve seen the band several times since, once opening for Heartless Bastards, and again at the Oxford American magazine’s Summit for Ambitious Writers (editor Marc Smirnoff is their neighbor, and apparently quite a fan) and been engaged by their act, partially because they keep adding new people. Multi-instrumentalists Robert Gaiser, Will King, Anna Horton, and Shelby Matussak have all joined the original trio since that December garage show. The band bounces back and forth between a handful of genres: bluegrass, up-tempo blues rock, jazz, and lately they’ve been experimenting with a bit of Latin, bossa-nova flavor. Down in the basement, Ludford soundchecked with a simple song I hadn’t heard him sing since I’d heard him teach a garage full of drunk college students to sing along with it in December. Its single, bawdy verse, sung in an exaggerated, mournful Southern drawl: “there’s a harp in my heart that sings a sad tune cuz I know this is the last time I’ll be fuckin’ you” Ludford’s bandmates sang along as they hauled in their trailer full of equipment. A drum kit, an upright bass, a cello, two keyboards, (one of which, Ludford allegedly stole from the Peabody Hotel as a teenager) a trumpet, an alto saxophone, a trombone, a ukulele, a banjo, and a handful of guitars. Because all seven band members play several instruments, their live show feels like a game of musical chairs, shifting positions between songs. A TV tray in front of the drum kit is filled with a variety of percussion tools, ranging from woodblocks and a customized washboard to a set of spurs (which Gaiser is fond of).
The show began, and the band began kicking through a long set in the small, unventilated cellar. It’s hard to imagine a seven-piece of college-age kids playing together without falling into absolute cacophony, but it happens. This group is impeccably practiced. They are superfans of their own music. “Luca,” a sultry Latin number featuring Horton on vocals and ukulele, is backed up by Caffrey on the upright and a sparse arrangement of woodblock percussion garnered an emphatic response (peppered with cheeky catcalls) from the sweaty crowd. The group closed with their song “A Long List Of Numbers” from their new EP, “Brandy Swandlamp.” The song is an uptempo rocker that sits somewhere between Ben Folds Five and Cold War Kids, with frenetic guitar work and a loose, unbound electric bass sound. The song has several movements, one sung by Krzeszinski, and another where Ludford does a spot-on Caleb Followill yawp. After several Don’t Stop Please shows, you’ll notice a few patterns and repeated bits, and my favorite takes place during this song, and it goes like this: somewhere in the chaos, Caffrey slips off to the side of the stage, where he discreetly picks up his trombone and, at just the right moment, lets loose a triumphant solo while strutting across the front row of the audience. And that’s as close as I can get to explaining what’s wonderful about a Don’t Stop Please show. It’s a big, exuberant jam session; it’s a precise brand of chaos born out of a true love for playing music, and it’s a trombone solo that comes out of fucking nowhere.
GIT-FIDDLE by new londoner kyle kuchta I have always wanted to play the guitar, or some other instrument like that (banjo, bass, sitar, and so on and so forth and ukulele). But I chose to learn how to play the drums. Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that, I love the drums. And if I could pick to play one over the other, I would pick the drums. That doesn’t mean I’m not about wanting to know how to play guitar. I guess air guitar has its roots in metal and hard rock. I mean who doesn’t like to shred air to 80s hair metal, bro? The reason I wanted to learn guitar when I was younger was because of metal music. I understood the appeal of it. I wanted to be John 5 or Tom Morello or Dimebag Darrell and play on a stage to fans. Instead, I played air guitar in my room to my CD player. Then I got super self-conscious and realized I probably looked like a fucking fool. Not that anyone would’ve saw me, but those hopes and dreams of playing the guitar would not necessarily come true. So I didn’t waste the air anymore. Recently, however, I’ve found myself picking up the ax again. Though this time, I’m playing to a different tune. I’m not the nu-metalhead I was in middle school anymore. My musical preference has gone through a few phases since then. While streaming Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three’s new album Middle of Everywhere at work, I found myself attempting to strum along with his old-timey riffs. Then I realized I was at work, and that’s not appropriate when you share a desk with your supervisor. Never have I ever air guitared to something like Pokey LaFarge before. The rest of the day, I found myself listening to a lot of folky songs, trying to figure out how to play the git-box to them. Thao & Mirah’s “Folks,” Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s “Between Two Trees,” Horse Feathers’ “Belly of June”, etc. The thing with these songs is that there is a rhythm to the guitar or banjo that I can understand because of the drums. Of course, that’s the only thing I can remotely relate to while air guitaring. I don’t know much of anything else. But instead of being self-conscious and embarrassed by this like I used to be, I’ve found more comfort in not knowing what I’m doing. I have a higher appreciation for what I don’t know. As much as I’d still love to learn how to play, for now I’ll sit in the office and strum the air. Until my supervisor yells at me. 10
THE PHILLY CHEESE WITH PRETZELS AND A DIET by david faes, world traveler I hadn’t really been anywhere. I had nowhere to run to, nothing to run from, but I was running. “I need to get back,” I said but all I could think about was why. After years of never feeling like I belonged to a place, to a culture, to a wind of sorts I had found the strength to open my wings. Running through a marble hall, I clenched with all my power in my fist a paper bag of pretzels, cheesesteak and soggy mozzarella sticks - the week’s only souvenirs. I missed the rain as we ran to The Ritz, tripping our way across cobblestones. After ten minutes of the movie, the screening was cancelled. “Woody Allen does it again!” “Well at least we know Paris is beautiful!” “You know, films these days are too long anyway.” But hey, we got free tickets to any Ritz anywhere. We headed over to the Ritz East, a block away. It rained. We walked. A flamboyant type at the door asks, “Would you like to know the screenings?” as per typical. We nod, soaked popcorn and half drunk drinks at hand, expecting to hear the screenings we had looked up online earlier that day. “Judas Kiss and Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.” We end up going inside, little did we know until we got into our seats that we were at the opening screening of the 2011 LGBTQ Movie Festival. Electricity filled the air as gays of all kinds swarmed into the theater, and there was a near majority of young folk, dressed uniquely and freshly, styled for the future, fashioned for coffee houses, university off-campus housings some and thrift stores, some with wool sweaters at hand. Couples, singles, bears, fairies, drags, jovial with anticipation and excitement, references flying regarding New York’s big decision. All of city hall was basically there to support the event, including the mayor who finished off the opening ceremony humorously by dropping the microphone and saying “I’m not out.” We left the screening early, despite the magnetic energy that kept us to our seats. We pushed back five more minutes than we planned, it turned to ten. And now, I was running across streets, nearly missing the speeding lights of cars, electricity still buzzing about the belfry. The bus closing its port, I pound on the door. It opened. 11
photos by ray mcandrew
THREADS READ poetry by mirrah stoller Searching through a shallow sea of eyes; some afraid, some confused so few caught onto Threads of understanding So he threw out the nets and they are trapped. They know we’re talking about the things they’re used to being comfortable with and he’s probably aware of a thing they should be paying attention to The Concepts they run from out of fear like he used to be step into the void where only they would ever live fear of cold or alone, in the dark A place under here where one must begin by casting seeds blindly into soil that depends on an upbringing Maggots, Insecurities; the locusts of society, of a family that does not yet understand because this garden will be in the dark for some years or more. So they attack the unknown; spray it with weed killer drink crush creative sprouts and sprigs with corporate motivation tractors tear the soil is packed the white grub infests they don’t want to save a garden they want to drive a diesel engine; they want to be up high in a safe place man made proved to work by industry standard and so the machinery feeds the rest... but the driver sees him ... notices various bean sprouts pansies artichokes... spots a tree in the distance that took years to grow but now fosters ideas and badgers and teaches oyster mushrooms to blossom from its tough bark pearls feed slime mold bugs and woodpecker sounds across the field calling for tractor to yield and let the driver see the trees for the forest the green to help the others catch the Threads that will always lead back up to the others The light that bean sprouts grow to always accessible when we talk to one another when the boy with the book sits under the tree; and that way they both see what beautiful minds we all could have had have we We who see the red Strings and the old trail of rotten bread crumbs hidden behind frightened blank stares Did what he could in the way they took it in Whether Johnny Appleseed specifically planted certain organisms edible nourishing fruit trees or whether he simply surprises with a casting of wildflower bulbs for then at least some must take root as those stares notice the beauty in the diverse growth bread crumbs feed what needs to start now and that strange trail of trees, and maybe some weeds, Is what the people really truly need to feed two eye’s shared soul.
HOW THE GREATEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE OCCURRED WHILE I WAS DREAMING a recollection of a dream by sam chertock Do you know how sometimes if, when disappointed by an event or activity, you drop everything and leave it for a while, only to return some time later for a second attempt, which is infinitely more successful? Such was my dream last night. For example: if I were to begin to eat a pizza (imagine something of particularly good quality. Not Papa John’s. Perhaps Domino’s or Sbarro. Really, anything but Papa John’s will do) but be uninspired by its flavor offerings, I would likely place it in the Frigidaire or comparable appliance and call it an evening. However, I would bet a hefty amount of something you and I both desire that in the morning it would taste scrumptious. The time between chow-downs must be enough for the pizza to...marinate. Similarly, last night, I fell asleep after watching Breaking Bad. Bryan Cranston’s continued forays into the crime world must have inspired me to be risky because the dream began with nothing on the screen but a chain-link fence. I climbed it. I say that I felt risky because fences usually are in place to hide, protect, or secure an object or space, and I don’t think I was supposed to be on the side which required my hand-over-hand ascension. Bryan Cranston is inspirational for many reasons, but in this instance, I’ll reference his ability to take on risks. I have never hopped a fence under illegal circumstances. I came down into some sort of music festival. It was crowded. It had food huts and tents and bars and both main stages and auxiliary stages, not to mention a lot of white people and not a lot of non-white people. Without hearing any music I distinctly remember determining that because of the demographic it had to have been an alt-rock performance of sorts. I walked around for a bit and found an interesting soiree of food choices. Then I woke up. I remember being monumentally disappointed. If Bryan Cranston was to inspire me to be a criminal well damn it I was going to hear some music and down some interesting libations. After sip-sipping some sizzurp I fell back asleep. The dream resumed in the front row of a side stage. The only people there were me, my Freshman-year roommate (?) and 15 or so people inebriated beyond the point of being funny to point at and watch as entertainment. These homies were leaning. This whole scenario was reasonably cool because I’ve never been in the
front row for anything, really. Almost immediately, MCA walked onto the stage. I clutched my heart. I was on the verge of fainting. Here I was, with no idea who was to perform, and the GODDAMN F*****G BEASTIE BOYS WALK ON? How cool. “Alright kids,” he said, (almost assuredly consciously using ‘kids’, since the Beasties are aging, as much as I hate to admit it) “today we will be reciting excerpts from The Children’s Illustrated Bible and after the show we will be making hoagies to order.” This dream tasted quite better the second time around. It was cold from the fridge and I had allowed to juices to coagulate. So then...each of the Boys pulled out a pocket bible and rapped about girlies named Shirley, how Mike D is a special individual, and the trials of Ezekiel, all in their signature back-and-forth conversational style. The 17 of us had a grand ol’ time, I can assure you. During intermission (I really don’t know why there was an intermission) we were all freaking out (‘cept for that guy who looked like a Bobbito over there who had too much tequila). I shook MCA’s hand. I SHOOK MCA’S HAND. He asked me what my order was. “Peanut butter and jelly,” I choked. “Dude I’m going to make this sandwich with motherly care and it is gonna be so tight.” I swear to God, that is what he said. Sure enough, the sandwich was so tight (should I reference Michael Scott? Should I?). I woke up happy, which I guess is all one can strive for. I think that’s a good goal: to go to sleep happy and wake up in a similar or better mood. What astounds me about the dream I had last night is not the level of detail but the process by which my brain, in its nightly fugue state, imagined my ideal scenario, without even really asking what I desired, or without having ever imagined such a situation while I was awake. It took random, if integral, aspects of my life and turned it into a story. At the time it seemed so real-life, yet if I hadn’t written it down immediately, it would have been lost forever. I had a better summer concert tour than you did, without the campgrounds and the public water closets, and I didn’t pay a cent for it, thanks to Bryan Cranston.
WANT MORE MISCREANT? Thank you for reading the 5TH issue of ‘The Miscreant.’ And thank you to all who submitted! It’s a great honor to bring so many wonderful folks together in one little magazine. I hope to see more new people submitting, as well as my friends who have submitted so far. This is an outlet for everyone to let out their inner miscreant! So send your reviews, poems, narratives, artwork, etc to: email@example.com. ANYWAYS, I have a special announcement! You can expect a special edition of the Miscreat this Monday that will cover the events of Pitchfork Music Festival. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait! Love, the miscreant
Art, features, reviews, etc by total miscreants. This issue is dedicated to Nobunny.