stAllio!'s way
Friday, August 13, 2004 
sf part ii: no other possibility
okay, quickly because i want to get to the nuvo party for mms (& the liquor is only free from 4-5)

wednesday connie had an errand or two to run without me, so i laid around reading cryptonomicon for a couple hours until she was done. it was relaxing. after she got back, we went out for sushi. we had planned to go to a place called "tokyo go-go" but when we got there we discovered it was closed for a private party. but after walking only about a block, i spotted another japanese/sushi joint called "restaurant yo yo"... such is the magic of san francisco. & yo yo was probably cheaper than go go, to boot.

after dinner we headed down to the odeon bar (connie's favorite bar in the world) to see "ask dr hal". dr hal is a well-known subgenius (he's on the puzzling evidence show on kpfa, right after over the edge). for the ask dr hal show, audience members write down esoteric questions and enclose a small gratuity. chicken john, odeon owner, moderates while dr hal tries to answer every question, typically with a stream of beautiful bulldada and rambling genius. musical accompaniment is provided by krob: perhaps somewhere between djing & live performance? (i had seen a variation of ask dr hall at indyvival 2003, but that was moderated by ivan stang, with no krob, so it was not quite the same.) we also saw a couple short films, one by an odeon regular/employee about how television affects people, the other a new short by stang called "bug porn". good times. after the show they were rounding up people for a bus trip to go bowling in some suburb (daly city?). i like bowling but wasn't too eager to get potentially stranded in some strange town late at night, so we headed home.

thursday was my birthday. instead of the usual "breakfast" of pop-tarts, i decided i'd rather go to st. francis, a soda fountain & pancake house that's only a block or two from connie's house. i had french toast and ham; i think connie had a sandwich. the first time i went there, in december, i noticed that they have a great collection of vintage (or retro) stickers & trading cards for sale: garbage pail kids, wacky packages, & all sorts of other such campy goodness. so i spent more than $20 on wax packs of cards & stickers like yo mtv raps, wacky packages, pee wee's playhouse, and rocky horror picture show, as well as surprisingly lame cards starring the simpsons and bill & ted. we went back home for a few hours, before eventually going back out to get tapas for dinner, connie's treat. i'd never had tapas before: basically like ordering a half dozen appetizers for dinner. some of them were quite good, some were not quite as good. it was also my first time drinking sangria: it will not be the last.

from there we began the walk to the somarts gallery, to see the first night of the san francisco electronic music festival. during the hike i spotted a busted computer lying on the sidewalk (not the first i'd seen, but the most picturesque). so i finally took out my camera & used it for the first time in the trip (after carrying it with me every day): take a look.

note: all pictures are 1280x960 & are like 200-300KB. deal with it.

eventually we found the venue. it was basically some old warehouse space, with a very nice stage built in a back room, & an art gallery in another section. i thought the music was all excellent, but for a ticket price of $15 i was underwhelmed. if it had been $10 i wouldn't have complained; if it had been $5 i would have most likely raved about how great it was. but for $15 it was rather boring: just sitting in a dark room, theater-like, watching some guy stand there in front of his gear.

first up was marcos fernandez. i was in the bathroom for the first part of his set, but what i heard was pretty good avant garde ambient type stuff. (it's been a full week since i saw these shows, so you'll have to forgive me if i can't remember too much detail about what they sounded like; i've seen lots & lots of live music recently.) apparently there was some kind of internet stream going out: whether audio or video i know not. but i didn't see anyone taking any flash photography, so in an effort to not distract the artists, i tried taking some pictures without my flash. it was really dark, meaning the shutter had to stay open for a few seconds, & i had some trouble holding the camera still for that long. at one point i gave up trying & decided to just let the camera jiggle or capture movement. i took several such pics, most of which came out looking like this, but the most abstract one looked like this (i think for that pic, i actually rotated the camera 90 degrees while the shutter was open).

up next came cenk ergun who did some experimental laptop work. it was similarly avant garde and ambient sounding, although i think he got pretty dissonant near the end, which i definitely enjoyed. i only got one pic of him, and it's not very good.

following cenk there was an intermission. we went outside while i had a cigarette. after that, i finally found the bar area & got a glass of white wine. the merch table was next to the bar & picked up a wobbly 12" called multiple pleady. it appears to be a remix disc, with mixes by blevin blectum, people like us, and someone else (too lazy to check right now, & there's little time before i leave).

after the intermission came perkis/wobbly, a collaboration between plunderstar wobbly and some guy named tim perkis. they were a bit ambient, a bit noisy, occasional hints of rhythm... none of the recognizable pop samples that are prevalent in much of wobbly's work, but i'm sure many or all of wobbly's sounds came from plundered sources. here's another photo.

after their set i ducked out to get another glass of wine. while out there i ran into wobbly, who recognized me from when we'd met in december. he was about to rush home, sick with bronchitis. but we talked for a minute & he said he would put me & connie on the guest list for the following night. that was good, because i wasn't going to spend another $30 for two more admissions to the festival, but i was indeed interested in coming back.

last for the evening was joan jeanrenaud, who i discovered was a former cellist for the kronos quartet. i took no pictures of her because, from my vantage point, there was a mic stand that would have been right in front of her in the shot. she had some kind of electronic device (sampler? delay?): she would play a cello part, then loop it electronically while she played on top of it. quite excellent; possibly my favorite performance of the night.

then the show was over. we took the 9 bus home, and laid in bed watching episodes of strangers with candy and upright citizens brigade an old vhs tape i'd brought. connie's cat, girl, was lying on the foot of the bed... at one point connie pointed out the interesting effect of her red room lights and the blue light of the tv screen on girl's white fur. so during a bathroom break i took a few more no-flash photos.

okay, it's almost 4pm, which means i'm off to broad ripple for the nuvo party. coming soon: part 3: friday night (more sfemf), saturday night (bootie), & sunday (my return trip).

Thursday, August 12, 2004 
when it rains it snows 3
as part of the media blitz for mms, a photo & a short blurb about stAllio! turned up in this week's INtake (this is what i was writing/researching when i was inspired to post about the skinny puppy game).

the online version does not have the photos, so if you want to see those you will have to come to central indiana & grab yourself a copy.

the great white hype lives up to his name
if you follow the news you might have recently heard about a beheading video that was hoaxed... it turns out to have been possibly the most successful media jam in quite some time. thanks to connie for the tip on this one.

turns out the "star" of the phoney beheading video is none other than the avant garde hip-hop artist the great white hype. i first heard about gwh years ago on his first release was a hip-hop parody of coil's scatology, & future releases also dabbled in industrial parody and sampling. but i'd never heard any of his work until recently, when i ended up discussing gwh with connie (living in the bay area [where gwh is from], she had also heard of him but never heard his work. so i tracked it down on slsk and some of it is pretty interesting... at times very lo-fi with clumsily improvised lyrics (and i am an expert on clumsily improvised lyrics), so i can see why some people on rmi & the coil list couldn't appreciate it.

so recently i've been downloading all this gwh stuff (which took forever to find) & suddenly he is all over the national news for this media jam. his label's site (linked above) links to this article in the sf chronicle:

The faked beheading story broadcast on two Arab language television stations and sent out on international news services early Saturday was based on a grainy video that was made by three Bay Area residents as an experiment to find out how quickly erroneous information could be spread by the Internet.

The experiment had a delayed reaction, but when it came, it did so more dramatically than the people who made the video ever dreamed.

sadly, none of the media coverage mentions "the great white hype" by that name... they use his "given name": benjamin vanderford. the chronicle mentions that he is a "musician and video game designer" but that's about it.

gwh/vanderford even appeared on fox news. you can watch a video clip of it online: the host displays the typical fox news arrogant attitude by totally missing the point when gwh tries to explain why they made the hoax video.

gwh's point is pretty clear: to demonstrate that the media needs to be more suspicious before propogating unverified misinformation. the vanderford doesn't even show a severed head, only a blade held up against his neck, AP and reuters picked up the story as true, without bothering to check up on it, or acknowledging that they hadn't.

okay, it's bedtime now... tomorrow the mms begins. don't forget: i'll be playing an mms show saturday night at united states of mind, & i'll also be spending a fair amount of my weekend at the summit, so i'm not sure when i'll get to write "sf part ii" but it will happen.

Monday, August 09, 2004 
sf part 1: the coldest winter
multipartite for easier read/write/execute

there's an old saying: "the coldest winter i ever spent was summer in san francisco." this is attributed to mark twain, but one of the first things i learned during this trip was that the quote is apocryphal: twain never said it. who did? who cares?

i left indy on sunday afternoon, 8/1/4. IND airport was crazy busy for some reason. but everything was pretty routine once i got through the ticket line. luckily i had scored the only nonstop flight from indy to SFO, so i just listened to mp3s on my new mp3cd player and started to read cryptonomicon (the first actual novel i've tried to read in at least a year, & a 900+page monster to boot.) my precious connie met me at SFO and we took the bart back to the mission. later in the evening, after some cuddling and relaxing, connie cooked dinner (i don't remember exactly what; sorry honey. i'm pretty sure it was some kind of chicken... hey, how many of you remember exactly what you had for dinner more than a week ago?). and mac and cheese.

monday we slept late and left the house even later (this is pretty much the routine every day). we went to the castro, allegedly the gayest place on earth (maybe i should say "most gay-friendly"). a great place to go if you're looking for gay bars, gay porn, or gay greeting cards. i wasn't really looking for the former two, but we stopped in a few shops and i did pick up a couple greeting cards (for collage-type use): one of a beefcake with a "smiley-face" superimposed over his face (inside is a [cheap] smiley-face whooppee cushion), and the other with a penis, dressed up like a face, wearing army clothes. it's the cutest penis card ever. at some point we went to "lunch" at a nice thai place. it was good.

on the way home we stopped by good vibrations (another "adult" store) and aquarius records, which is a pretty good but tiny record store in the mission, not too far from connie's house. (the same shop where connie once left fliers for unszene's button-making business, & one ended up in the hands of drew daniels from matmos.) i tried not to buy too much because i knew we would go to amoeba later in the week, but i got a couple cds, the doormouse i [heart] rap 12" (oops, originally i wrote "hate" there), a scorn 12" (which i wasn't sure if i had already... turns out it was the one scorn record on hymen that i didn't already have), and a few old dhr records... i found a lot of used dhr records last week for some reason... at aquarius i picked up we punk einheit! (nintendo teenage robots), and shizuo vs shizor, so i was excited about that.

on tuesday, we had a delicious curry for "lunch" at a halal indian/pakistani place, then took the bus up to "the haight" to stop by amoeba. if you've never heard of it, amoeba is an enormous place, the size of a department store, but it's all records & cds (they also have a dvd room). truly amazing, and easily the coolest record store i've ever seen... no question. but with its enormous size, it does give you that disorienting, dehumanizing feeling common in such large, crowded stores: let's call it "the best buy effect" (actual dept stores defuse this somewhat by having cash registers scattered throughout the store; at amoeba you wander around, pick your records, and queue up to enter the checkout farm by the entrance when you're done... quite different from the relatively friendly & hospitable air of a shop like aquarius). i won't even begin to list all the stuff i got there: big bunches of stuff, much of it used, on sale, or just all-around cheap. suffice to say that i learned on my first amoeba visit (in december, at the slightly-smaller-yet-still-enormous berkeley location) that you get a free tote bag/dj bag with the purchase of $200 or more, and i got my second free dj bag that day.

later that night, at home, we made beef stroganoff and brownies (i think that was tuesday, but it might've been monday.) and when did we watch adaptation? i'm not sure; we watched my adaptation dvd one of those nights... it's much easier to recall going somewhere than to remember whether we listened to cds or watched a video while we laid in bed... come to think of it, we listened to cds monday night & watched adaptation on tuesday. but i'm still not totally certain of that.

up next: part ii (i need to sort through my photos & post some before i get to thursday... right now, i have some comics to catch up on, since we never made it to a comic shop)

there can be only one
there was a time, a few weeks back, when i thought i might have big shows in september three weekends in a row. by now it looks like i'll only have one: indytron, a big noise/experimental fest put together by noiseman433.

it's funny: i submitted to two festival-type events at around the same time: the midwest music summit and an event called oranje. i figured that if i had a chance of being booked for either event, it would be oranje... since mms is a huge corporate event where oranje is supposed to be "arty" and claims on the site that it will "showcase the best in progressive music" (extra funny, because of the bands & musicians listed on the site, melk the g6-49 is the only one that strikes me as even remotely "progressive", although to be fair i haven't heard all of those bands, so it's possible that just maybe karl leichty or one of the djs is a little "progressive" [though since they also have "chicago's premier house and techno group", i rather doubt that as well]... why are people who're into experimental visual art & video so mind-numbingly conventional when it comes to their taste in music?).

it turned out to be just the opposite: i got booked for the big corporate event, and the smaller, supposedly progressive event booked a bunch of indie rock bands, "singer/songwriters", and even house music. house music!!!

okay, that was probably my last blog entry before i start recapping my sf trip.

back in the house that jack built
i got home tonight after a wonderful week in san francisco with the lovely connie. the worst part was having to come home... i'm not looking forward to going back to work in the morning (nor my dentist appt in the morning, though that probably won't be too bad).

i plan to write a bunch more about my trip (with pictures!) but it might take awhile; i expect to be super busy at work, plus i have some "catching up" to do at home as well (including lots of new records to listen to).

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