PREVIEW: POPTHOMOLOGY PRESENTS KITSCH FLICKS: VINTAGE ANTI-DRUG FILMS & SONGS @ CHOP SUEY, 2/3/16, 7PM

Seattle-area cats and kitties, I am SO VERY EXCITED to be presenting my very first video night at my go-to joint for music, mirth, and mayhem, Chop Suey, this Wednesday night, February 3rd, beginning at 7PM and running until close! The evening's theme is the (mainly) mid-century anti-drug/alcohol/smoking public service announcements, songs, kids' programming, and short films that infused my childhood and yours with a lot of freaky and unintentional hilarity, and nightmares that lasted well into adulthood. I've selected over three hours of clips ranging from the 1920s (whoa!) through the early 1990s, including songs by Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby, a groovy gold-satin-suited Sonny Bono urging us to think for ourselves about the dangers of marijuana, singing blue pills warning us that they are not candy, and culminating in the infamous 1967 acid-soaked "Blue Boy" episode of TV's "Dragnet!" It's fun, funny, and a cultural time-warp -- think of it as your opportunity to soak up some sociology while marveling at the many media attempts to "get you kids on the right path."



PHOTOS, VIDEO, & REVIEW: TY SEGALL & THE MUGGERS, CFM @ NEPTUNE THEATER, SEATTLE, WA. 1/21/16

Well. It's time to write about this show. I think I will begin with the time-tested Adjective Toss while I gather my sentence-forming abilities.

Unsettling. Massive. Fun! Weird. Heavy. Insane. Jaw-dropping. Repellent! Endearing.

I've seen Ty Segall play many times over the years. I am a yuuuuge fan, and admire so much about our young blond friend: his relentless and top-quality musical output, ultra-fun, dynamic live shows, and willingness to leave the garage every so often to give us work that is quiet and reflective all the way over to sledge-hammer heavy metal. Every so often, I think MAN AM I LUCKY that I get to be able to be a part of that talent tsunami, even in my very small way as a photographer, writer, and fan.

And of course, I am not the only one who thinks this way. Everyone at the sold-out Neptune Theater did, I'm sure, as well as all those poor sodden souls who hovered outside the venue in the rain hoping to score a spare ticket. Having a raincoat might have been helpful inside the venue, as it turned out, but you'll have to wait a few paragraphs to get the explanation.


SOUND & VISION: I DID A COVER OF DAVID BOWIE'S "SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS), YUP

Wow, OK, the start to 2016 has been rough for us earth folk, right? Too many irreplaceable losses, too many threats of irreplaceable losses, grief casting deep shadows over what should be a time of renewal and hopefulness. The world will get its mojo back -- it always does. For us sensitive critters, we just have to find our own ways to cope such that we make things better, and not worse.

Years ago, I came across a live acoustic version of David Bowie's "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)," from his 1980 album of the same name, that I absolutely adored. It was simple as could be, the song stripped down to two D-tuned acoustic guitars and Bowie's vocals and a harmony. He jokingly told the story of "being in penitentiary with Johnny Cash back in the late '50s" and how, he said, he and Johnny came up with the song there. Funny, and a delightful example of Bowie's fine sense of humor. Taking his own fairly avant-garde rock song and turning it into a Sun Records-style rockabilly jaunt underlines something I love to repeat: a great song can be done in infinite ways and musical genres and still will be a great song.

I had immediately upon hearing it wanted to have a go at recording this version myself, and for some reason put it off long enough that I forgot about it. It landed in the ever-increasing mountain of "Things I'd Like To Do Someday," along with traveling to Europe, living in New York City, joining a bowling league, and drinking adequate amounts of water. With David Bowie's passing and all the waves of tributes and songs and articles, I came across the track again, and smiled. This would be a good time to finish what I started, I thought: a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny little throw of something creative to the cosmos can't hurt.

So I did it, very minimally, yes, but I'm glad to kick one pebble off Someday Mountain and am glad to share it with you. I did a silly video to go along with it because who doesn't want to see SMPTE code leader girls and '70s space dinosaurs?

If you like, you can very much for free download the track HERE. Thank you very much for listening, and thank you David Bowie, for everything.


DAVID BOWIE 1947-2016

1969: It is summer, July to be exact, that magical season of sweet green grass, warm sunshine, endless hours of play, no school. Yet I am inside, crouched next to our ashy beige TV console, tuning in the solitary rock station on the FM band that I could receive in my rural area. My cheek is so close to the speaker that I feel the scratch of the tweedy fabric. The song that I am listening to is "Space Oddity," by David Bowie. The lines of reality blur in my mind between the story in the lyrics and the ubiquitous, surreal TV coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing -- "Can you hear me Major Tom, can you hear me Major Tom, can you hear me Major Tom?" -- and wait with a strange and awful nervousness to hear of his rescue and reunion with his wife, whom he he loves very much. I know it's just a song...or is it? I'm compelled to listen to it each time I hear it played, which was only a handful of times that I recall, hoping there was something, anything Major Tom could do to return to Earth. I am seven years old.


PICTURE BOOK: MY FAVORITE CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHS OF 2015

At the end of each year since I started this site and got back into the world of music photography, I like to pick my favorite shots that I took that year and do a little post. Now, as I prepare to look at my 2015 work, I am filled with emotion. Due to unexpected serious illness, I wasn't able take any photos -- or do much of anything with my eyes at all, other than walk around in a blur -- for the first two months of the year. It wasn't clear (black-humored PUN there) if my eyes were permanently damaged or not, or whether I'd ever be able to photograph anything again. Music photography is so much of my core, my identity, how I relate to the music I love, that the thought of losing the ability to do it decades before I expected to was profoundly worrisome.

BUT HEY GUESS WHAT? My eyes settled the eff down, I got stable sight back, and got back to shooting in March! Woo hoo! So, my two criteria as always for selecting the shots for this post remain the same: 1. Do I love it?, and; 2. Is it beautiful? This is what I strive for, no matter the conditions or challenges: to make something beautiful that you will please to enjoy. Thank you for viewing my efforts, very especially for 2015. (You may click on the photos to see them all large and in charge on Flickr, and can peruse all my photos there should you be so inclined!)

Tweedy, Neptune Theater, Seattle, WA, March 12, 2015

What makes this lovely for me is that here we have a picture of father Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and his son Spencer on drums, and that this image sums up the tone of this show: the relaxed, funny, experienced frontman who spent a lot of time interacting with the crowd, and the son who was performing on his first major tour and kept a very close eye on his Dad. Sweet.

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The Sonics, Silver Platters Records, Bellevue, WA. 3/30/15

Pacific Northwest garage rock legends The Sonics were my heroes of the year, snagging my Album of the Year nod with "This Is The Sonics." Here at Silver Platters, I got to see them holding the vinyl press of the record for the very first time as they arrived for a signing session for fans. What a moment.

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The Sonics, Moore Theater, Seattle, WA. 4/2/15

That time when Krist Novoselic of Nirvana joined The Sonics onstage and drummer Dusty Watson shook his hand.

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Steal Shit Do Drugs, The Sunset, Seattle, WA. 4/8/15

The post-processing choice for this explosive new punk band was the centered double exposure. You can look at this photo and hear and feel the music, no?

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The Sonics, Easy Street Records, Seattle, WA. 4/18/15

That time when Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Freddie Dennis of The Sonics were so close to you that your camera lens hood got bumped off.

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Steal Shit Do Drugs, Spin Cycle Records, Seattle, WA. 7/15/15

Moody red light theirs, post-processing double exposure mine.

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wimps, The Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle, WA. 7/14/15

When your fun friends play on a pier in sailor gear and you decide to porthole them.

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Stallion, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 7/30/15

When your other fun friends form a band dedicated to pro wrestling, arrive in a white Mercedes wearing your own silver leggings and a full-length fur in summer, and you paparazzi them.

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The Gooch Palms, Pizza Fest IV, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 8/7/15

Beer on me and my camera? CHECK. Worth it? OF COURSE.

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Gazebos, Pizza Fest IV, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 8/7/15

For a split second, lead singer Shannon Perry turned into a marvelous platinum poofy creature on tattooed stems.

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wimps, Bill and Melinda Gates Amphitheater, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA. 8/27/15

"Preschool punks party in park; proud parents psyched."

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Thee Oh Sees, The Crocodile, Seattle, WA. 8/30/15

Shooting Energizer Bunny frontman John Dwyer is the best. This time, I shot from behind the stage; interesting perspective, very challenging task. What I like about this one is that the silver of light outlining Dwyer is so minimal, but so effective.

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Partman Parthorse, The Highline, Seattle, WA. 10/28/15

Now there's a true fan of PMPH lead singer Gary Smith! (P.S. The twirling little boy with the Cupid curls in the wimps photo above is Perseus Smith, son of our minimally-attired fake-bloody friend here and Lisa Smith on the orange drums.)

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Steal Shit Do Drugs, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 11/4/15

Their red lighting, my contrast and color boost, Kennedy Carda's big shout.

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The Intelligence, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA. 11/15/15

That time when one of your very favorite bands play a local art museum on a Sunday afternoon and gives you lighting + performance that gives you a photograph that's pretty art-y.

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Dancer and Prancer, The Funhouse, Seattle, WA. 12/19/15

And to close it out for 2015, your friends who play in a Christmas surf rock band bringing goodwill to all.

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PEOPLE LIKE LISTS: MY 11 FAVORITE ALBUMS & EPS OF 2015!

I'm bucking tradition by delivering my "best of" lists for 2015 in 2016 because I CAN. I could, IF I WANTED TO, deliver my 2015 lists in 2020, EVEN. Before I become too drunk with power, I think instead I shall move forward and offer you my picks for what new sounds floated my boat in 2015, because I'm always hoping your boat may be floated in a similar manner and then we can head out to sea like Lemmy leaning into the wind on the bow of the Titanic, or something perhaps slightly less crazy and doomed, like Keith Richards in a Boston Whaler. Please to enjoy!



LIKE THERE WOULDN'T BE SOMETHING FROM TY SEGALL ON THIS LIST

Ty Segall: Mr. Face EP (Famous Class)

Famous Class puts out the best little gems on 45, and this guy is certainly is a charmer. Mr. Face finds Ty at his weirdo best: free to add in little quirks like a penny whistle while keeping that California psych-garage vibe that feels like you just uncovered some dusty '60s freakbeat record at a yard sale. Ty totally gets both the playful and heavy aspects of '60s music, and makes it all his own. Bless you, my little prolific one.



INSTANT SUNSHINE

Jacuzzi Boys: Happy Damage EP (MagMag, Burger)

How I love Miami's Jacuzzi Boys, and love them extra-much for providing me with their new "Happy Damage" EP on MagMag Records, which contains the song "Sun," which just makes me feel like flying up into the sky in joy...without doing that whole Icarus deal, of course. Sweet and strange in all the right ways, and big, shimmering production. Cool vid, too.



AN UTTER EMBARRASSMENT OF LOCAL RICHES

I'll tell ya straight up: I think Seattle has the best new music scene in all the Yoo Nighted Staytz. Throw a rock anywhere and you'll hit a great band that's combining compelling performance and kickass songwriting and their own unique thangs that are just soooo gooood as to make me feel guilty that I don't go out every single night to the clubs while it's all in full bloom. Can it stay this way? I don't know, but I know that WE IS HOT right now. I want to also say that you shouldn't throw real rocks at bands as that is not nice. Here are several Seattle releases that I loved to pieces this year.

Wimps: Suitcase (Kill Rock Stars)

Wimps' long-awaited sophomore album is a delight. Witty, world-weary lyrics and stripped-down DIY punk mesh into something that is thoughtful, fun, flip, and just a touch nutty, LIKE PEOPLE ARE. Are you always the "old guy" at the party? Listen to "Old Guy." Do you spend a lot of time on your couch? Listen to "Couches." Do you have a living situation that is at best a ramshackle collection of ruffians, layabouts, old food, and rats? Listen to "Dump." Wimps have you covered.



Pony Time: Rumours 2: The Rumours Are True

Luke Beetham and Stacy Peck make a much bigger noise that you would think two people could manage with a minimal drum kit and a fuzzed-out bass/baritone guitar. It is a good noise, a very good noise, grumbly and rumble-y with glimmers of '70s pop glam and throat-grabs of primal garage rock. This album will be released on vinyl on S.S. Records in 2016, which gives you even more opportunity to love it. Dig this Alvin Stardust video vibe!



Steal Shit Do Drugs: First Comes Money EP (Help Yourself)

Steal Shit Do Drugs (or SSDD if your grandma is around) burst forth this year in a big way, releasing their first EP, going on a West Coast tour, and playing some pretty high-profile gigs. Get in now so you can say you knew them when, folks, and DO NOT miss the chance to see them play. Kind of like the Stooges with lots less blood and more shirts, you can't keep your eyes off them.



The Gods Themselves: Pink Noise

This trio brought an impeccably-produced album that effortlessly mixes decade-spanning genres -- late '60s psychedelia, '70s funk, '80s technopop, '90s rap, and a little post-punk and classic rock thrown in for good measure. When this band finds its audience outside of Seattle, I think sky's the limit. They also dress really, really well.



Childbirth: Women's Rights (Suicide Squeeze)

Tammy Wynette, in the first line of her 1968 hit song "Stand By Your Man," sang "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman." YA THINK, SISTER? YA THINK?? Even in 1968 I thought that it was not fair that women were treated like second class citizens, but figured the adults would work that out for me by the time I got to be an adult myself. SURPRISE! Despite many gains, we still are drowning in a world that thinks we are lesser beings, disposable and controllable. One could get very depressed and angry about this bullshit, but if you are Childbirth you turn your angst into fun and funny feminist songs that remind you that a sense of humor is not only personal salvation, but a very clever weapon, indeed.

I've played this song more times than I'd be willing to admit.



"I AM SO SMART, S-M-R-T"

The Intelligence: Vintage Future (In The Red)

Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (Milk!)

It's true: sometimes all I want to do is to play "Tequila" over and over again and dance around like a sunburned, drunk cruise ship matron. But more often, I prefer some intelligence with my groove-on. Specifically, if I get an album by L.A./Seattle band The Intelligence in any given year, that year is then made 74% more cerebral and 100% better. It feels like I waited for "Vintage Future" THREE WHOLE YEARS, because I did, and now I hug it to my chest and dare anyone to try to get it from me. Go buy your own! Thank you, The Intelligence, for making it. Go make more, before my hearing goes.



People do like lists, and you may have noticed Courtney Barnett made a whole lot of 2015's bests. Let us all get down on our knees and thank this young Australian for writing lyrics that are so damn smart you have to listen over and over again just to figure them all out, ala Elvis Costello in his verbal heyday. Barnett goes past pithy wordplay into storytelling; the funny, weird things that happen in everyday life seem absolutely compelling in her hands. The music is simple, three-chord stuff, anchored by Barnett's heavily-accented talk-singing style and some sweet harmonies. I could not be happier that now lots and lots of people get to hear what she's doing; she's a gas, gas, gas.



AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Action Aid: All I Want For Christmas Is A Goat

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

Oh, god. I made this my ringtone.



THE GUYS WHO KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK AND INTO THE STRATOSPHERE FOR THIS OR ANY OTHER YEAR

The Sonics: This Is The Sonics (Revox)

The minute I heard "This Is The Sonics," I knew. I knew, even though there would be a TON of great albums out this year, this was the one. I'm still awestruck months later and suspect that The Sonics, the '60s progenitors of garage rock and, one could argue, punk rock as well, are magical beings rising out of some kind of mystical Tacoma industrial swamp. How else can one explain it that, 50 YEARS LATER, they make an album that sounds like no time has passed at all??? HOW HOW HOW HOW? I'm serious. "This Is The Sonics" has the same swagger and bite, the swing and snarl, the juvenile delinquent attitude and the Saturday night dance party joy as they delivered in 1965. Ain't nothing slowed down here, ain't no keys lowered, no quarter given to aging bones and muscles. I've never heard anything like it in my whole life, and don't suspect I will again...other than maybe if The Sonics make another album.

"This Is The Sonics" is great rock n' roll, and beyond that, a triumph of brilliant production, willpower, spirit, and resilience. It is my album of the year.



PHO-HO-HO-TOS: HOLIDAY FUN WITH MS. CLAUS (VALENTINE'S TATTOO), & THE FE FI FO FUMS AND DANCER AND PRANCER (FUNHOUSE), SEATTLE, WA., 12/19/15

December is hands-down my busiest month of the year. Some of this is in the form of wrapping ONE PRAZILLION GIFTS and getting multiple paper cuts in the process, very actively ignoring delicious holiday sweets, and standing in line at the post office for 45 minutes with said one prazillion gifts. But my favorite December activity is going to see some holiday musical events arranged by some of my favorite Seattle pals! Last Saturday, I split my evening into two cool events: attending the short-but-sweet performance of Ms. Claus at Valentine's Tattoo, and then zipping over to the Funhouse to catch The Fe Fi Fo Fums and headliners Dancer and Prancer. I brought my camera, so please to enjoy! (Click on the photos to enlarge, and click on the Flickr set links to see more!)

Ms. Claus, Seattle's finest feminist holiday band, features Robin Edwards (Lisa Prank), Stacy Peck (Pony Time, Childbirth), Bree McKenna (Childbirth, Tacocat), and Shaine Truscott. While entertaining the party crowd at Valentine's Tattoo in Capitol Hill, the women wished each other and everyone else a Merry Christmas possibly 50 times in 15 minutes, and smiled a great deal. Lelah Maupin, McKenna's Tacocat sparkly bandmate, was so happy she used her telephone device to capture the merriment. I hated to leave the beautifully-decorated space, and regret not using the holiday photobooth.

Ms. Claus, Valentine's Tattoo, Seattle, WA. 12/19/15 Flickr set 



I MADE YOU SOME CHRISTMAS CARDS (2015)

(click to enlarge...ho ho ho!) 





































PHOTOS & WRAP UP: #SHOUTYOURABORTION BENEFIT SHOW, CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 12/8/15 BY AMELIA BONOW & VICTORIA HOLT!


(I'm very pleased and honored today to host the work of activist/writer Amelia Bonow, co-founder of the #ShoutYourAbortion movement, and Victoria Holt, ace photographer. I am inspired by the creativity and courage both these friends have shown, and grateful for all they bring to our community. Amelia has written a lil' wrap up about the recent benefit show in support of SYA's larger mission, which is to keep opening up productive, positive, and non-judgmental dialogue about abortion, and Victoria took some kick-ass photos of the great local bands that played that night. 

I realize that the topic of abortion is extremely divisive, and I respect that it's a complex subject. However, any analysis of human history shows two things: 1. Abortion has existed forever, and will continue to exist forever, no matter what restrictions are put in place, so all societies choose to make the procedure safe or unsafe, and; 2. If women do not have full autonomy and choice about what happens to their own bodies, they are made lesser humans, and will exist as prisoners all their lives. 

Thank you, Amelia and Victoria. -- Marianne)


MEGA THRIFT WEIRDNESS! 24 VINTAGE VINYL ODDITIES & OTHER CRAP FROM VALUE VILLAGE AND GOODWILL!

Well, it's a drippy, gloomy early December Saturday here in the Pacific Northwest. I should be donning raingear to schlep myself out to do Christmas shopping but GUESS WHAT? LET SANTA HANDLE THAT HORSE HOCKEY, I GOTS THRIFT STORE FUNNIES TO SHARE WITH YOU! Please to enjoy things that caused me to smile in public.

Ladies and gentlemen...introducing Dave Boyer and his embedded twin brother, Leechy!




PHOTOS & REVIEW: THE INTELLIGENCE @ FRYE ART MUSEUM, SEATTLE, WA. 11/15/15

First a Genius award and now playing on a Sunday afternoon at a slick art museum? Dang, The Intelligence, youze some kinda fancy post-punk band! These two events are in fact linked, as this special performance was part of the Frye Art Museum's "Genius/21st Century/Seattle" series, made up of 65 recipients of the prestigious arts award, given out annually by Seattle's The Stranger newspaper. The Intelligence received the honor in 2011, and promptly used the $5000 award money to buy 500 lbs. of raw almonds, He-Man Underoos, and one of those cute fainting goats. Only the first part of that last sentence is accurate..as far as I know.

This was a true all-ages show, with a crowd ranging from a sweet chubby-cheeked baby less than a year old to white-haired patrons of the arts, and lots of regular ol' good-lookin', smart-brained Intelligence fans. The elegant setting in a large gallery room with soaring white walls and a warm wood floor was enhanced by low blush-pink light and dramatic shadows. It was particularly sweet to see little kids running around and dancing, familiar faces smiling, and new fans made.

The 45-minute set was generously loaded with lots of songs from The Intelligence's new album, "Vintage Future," a Lars Finberg tour-de-force of incisive lyrics, and catchy, angular, modernist music that is endlessly intriguing, often funny, sometimes tragic, and always important. You may purchase "Vintage Future" at In The Red Records at your leisure, but I suggest just going ahead and doing it NOW by clicking THIS LINK. You know what they say about procrastinators.

Thank you Mr. Lars, Dave Hernandez, Drew Church, and Kaanan Tupper for playing for us and being overall pretty nifty, and to the Frye Art Museum for being free and freaky in the U.S.A.!



(Click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr set link to see more!)

The Intelligence, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA. 11/15/15 Flickr set link



















PHOTOS: BEHIND-THE-SCENES AT THE VIDEO SHOOT FOR "DUMP," STARRING WIMPS! (KILL ROCK STARS, 2015)

Have you ever lived in a dump? Now, I'm not talking about a little lead-based peeling paint here and there, folks...I mean a real DUMP, with pests (both human and rodential), garbage, curling old slices of pizza, with smells that are rich in stale rankness that you can never bleach away? Where there's a dude sleeping on your couch that you don't even know and the police stop by regularly to "say hello?" If so, have I got a video for you to commiserate with! If not, WELCOME TO HELL! At least for a couple of dizzying minutes!

Last August on a pleasantly warm evening, I and many musical pals made our way over to Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood to help Seattle's Best Punk Band™∞, the effervescent wimps, with their new video entitled (you guessed it) "Dump." My job was to shoot photos and stay out of the way. Others had to drink generic beer and stay in the way. Carlos Alberto Fernandez Lopez's job was to direct the video, ably assisted by wife and associate producer Cathy Lopez (and their sweet still-in-utero-then son Iggy), and camera/lighting whiz Joshua Green. This is the second time I've been lucky enough to work alongside Carlos and Cathy, who create such a pleasant, laid-back, and fun atmosphere out of what normally might be something rather stressful. I really am fascinated by how films are made, especially the continuous-shot take, like "Dump." Everything has to be timed just right, or you must begin the shot again. But hey...if there's a mistake it's just a good excuse to drink more beer and eat more pizza!


PHOTOS: HELP YOURSELF RECORDS WEST COAST TOUR KICKOFF WITH SSDD, NAIL POLISH, & UBU ROI @ CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 11/4/15

We here in the Emerald City are afforded, EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR, a spectacular bounty of incredible local music talent to enjoy, fed to us like peeled grapes. All we have to do is show up and BOOM! Grape in mouth! Now we will share some of our BEST GRAPES with you, the residents of the West Coast, courtesy Help Yourself Records: post-punks Steal Shit Do Drugs and Nail Polish are heading to Oregon, California, and Nevada RIGHT THIS MINUTE IN A VAN!! The "WE'LL ALL BE RICH" World Tour begins TONIGHT, November 6th at the Kenton Club in Portland, and continues on through Santa Rosa, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Davis, and ends up in Reno on November 14th. I encourage my friends in these three fine states to check out our lovely friends if you can, buy some merch, and dig some of our best and brightest (or best and darkest, if we want to keep with the whole No Wave thang). Thank you!


PHOTOS & REVIEW: BLOWFLY, THE GODS THEMSELVES, WRECKLESS FREEKS, PARTMAN PARTHORSE @ HIGHLINE BAR, SEATTLE, WA. 10/28/15 (PROBABLY NSFW)

Things kinda get a little freaky around Halloween -- crazy costumes, candy overload, spooky decor, the 2016 Republican debates -- but sometimes LEGIT FREAK is on and no amount of bite-sized Twix bars are going to save you, baby! Come with me if you dare to the Highline Bar in Capitol Hill, where last Wednesday night the crazies crept out of their lairs to entertain the brave assembled! DISCLAIMER: visually-squeamish viewers may wish to avert their eyes from fake blood and people jumping on Lego bricks with bare feet. Please to enjoy!


THE TEN STRANGEST THINGS I USED TO EAT AS A KID

Food, to me, is one of the great pleasures in life. When I really like a food, MAN ON MAN, I like it. I savor, I swoon, I make every last morsel last the longest I can, which invariably leaves me the last at the table, flirting with a creamy Brie or juicy mango slice. So, since I'm a big fan of food, I do remember a lot about the things I liked especially when I was little and growing up in Wisconsin, and I thought I'd share (or confess) some of the weirder things I used to consume, with recipes if you'd like to indulge. Please to enjoy!



1. CANNIBAL SANDWICHES

You need: Cocktail rye bread, raw lean ground beef, sliced raw onion, salt, pepper

This was my favorite treat for years and years, and my dad's favorite. It is also fairly insane, as eating raw beef is a bad idea. Oh, but it was SO GOOD! The key, my mom said, was buying the best fresh custom-ground sirloin and consuming it immediately, and pouring on so much salt and pepper that your blood pressure would explode your vessels.

Do I still eat this?: No. I am not insane. But I sure do miss them.



2. MIRACLE WHIP SANDWICHES

You need: Two slices of Wonder Bread, Miracle Whip Salad Dressing

Slather on the Miracle Whip onto the squooshiest white bread you can find; consume. I liked these because they were fast.

Do I still eat this?: No. I now like fiber and flavor in my bread, and buy actual mayo.



3. "REESE'S CUP" SANDWICHES

You need: 2 slices Wonder Bread, Skippy Chunky peanut butter, Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

We never had candy around the house, so the day I improvised this calorie-fest to approximate a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup I figured I was a straight-up genius. The Hershey's gave it kind of a bitter, processed flavor, but WHO CARES? CANDY SANDWICH!

Do I still eat this?: No. I'd weigh 5000 pounds by now and would be forced to have a reality show.



4. CANNED MAC & CHEESE + COTTAGE CHEESE

You need: 1 can Franco-American Macaroni and Cheese, 1/2 cup cottage cheese

You're lucky I couldn't find a photo of this mixture, because it looks like puke. The choice of this particular canned mac n' cheese was crucial, with its pale yellow fat long noodles, which were unnaturally slippery, in a salty, weird cheesy sauce. The addition of the cottage cheese boosted the salty cheesiness to another level. This was comfort food for me, but it grosses absolutely everyone else out.

Do I still eat this?: About once a year. JUDGE ME, I DON'T CARE!



5. COLD SAUERKRAUT BOWL

You need: leftover cooked refrigerated sauerkraut with caraway seeds

If my mom had cooked pork roast or chops during the week, you can be sure she served sauerkraut with it, and if there were leftovers, they were MINE. This was one of my favorite Saturday day morning cartoon-watching snacks, complete with sauerkraut juice that I'd lap up from the bottom of the bowl. This also grossed out everyone, especially my friends who might be sleeping over. I did not care.

Do I still eat this?: I still love sauerkraut (and caraway seeds are VITAL), but the big cold bowl of it is beyond what I can process in my dotage.



6. FRIZZLEBURGERS

You need: 1 lb. hamburger, 1 medium onion, chopped, several dashes Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, hamburger buns or rye bread

This was my mom's recipe, and one of my dad's favorite lunches. You'd cook the hamburger down into well-done crumbles that resembled tiny carbon rocks, with translucent, extremely-caramelized onions, dashes of Lee & Perrins, and plenty of salt and pepper. Served loose on a bun or rye, it was tasty as heck, ya.

Do I still eat this?: Yes! And the kids love it, too.



7. BUTTER + PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES

You need: Wonder Bread, Skippy Chunky peanut butter, salted butter

In my house, all sandwiches came with butter. ALL. So I didn't realize this was kinda weird until I was an adult. But, I must say, the addition of the butter to the peanut butter highlights the salt and fat in a most-pleasing way,

Do I still eat this?: No, it seems indulgent. But I remember it with taste fondness.



8. MARASCHINO CHERRY JUICE 

You need: a jar of maraschino cherries

This got me in trouble a lot. We always had a jar of maraschino cherries in the fridge for my dad's cocktails, and we were verboten to eat them, which was awful because they were DELICIOUS. It was all I knew of cherries until I got to be around 10 and had a real cherry, which of course I thought was sour and hideous in comparison to this over-sweetened probably-toxic fruit thing. Anyway, I rationalized that, OK, if I couldn't eat the cherries, I could drink the juice from the jar, right?

Do I still eat this?: That would be really bizarre. No.



9. COLD HOT DOG SANDWICHES

You need: cold cooked hot dogs, sliced into bite-sized circles, butter, 2 slices Wonder Bread

This sandwich was like a more-satisfying version of the classic baloney-on-white sandwich. Yes, the hot dog circles would sometimes fall out of the sandwich as you tried to eat it, but it was a challenge I was up to.

Do I still eat this?: I haven't had one in decades, but would like to revisit it once.



10. ZOTZ

You need: Zotz candy

Zotz! I hope you have experienced Zotz in your lifetime, people. It was created in Italy in the late '60s, and remains my favorite candy because IT IS FUNNY. Food + humor = YES. You start out sucking on the fruity hard candy shell, right? Then you get bored and bite into it. THEN A GIANT SOUR FOAM IS RELEASED AND SLAMS YOUR MOUTH! HA HA! Oh, I love it so. I used to trade hoarded Halloween chocolate for these if my friends had some.

Do I still eat this?: In my 40s, I took the Zotz Challenge on a dare, and stuffed as many Zotz into my mouth as I could and then chewed. The resultant explosion blew out of my mouth while I laughed myself into tears. So, there's your answer.

This lady is trying just one Zot for the first time. HA HA! Strange for some people, is just strange.