Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vinyl Rocks

Calling all vinyl and nostalgic music fans. If you haven't gotten the chance to see Jeff Krulik's latest film "Led Zeppelin Played Here," tomorrow's event at Artisphere is where you want to be. The  DC Record Fair features music, film, discussions, and loads of vinyl from 11 until 5. The Led Zep movie, screens at 2:30, and will be followed by a talk with both the film maker and Dischord Records' Ian MacKaye. $5 admission all inclusive. Such a deal.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Kids Are Alright

One thing DC does NOT have is places to take kids to see live music, but summertime opens up a lot more possibilities including the free Washington Folk Festival which runs at Glen Echo this weekend. If you haven't been to the park in a while, you'll be surprised at the restoration which is topped off with a big ole retro style neon sign and an old street car parked right out in front. (I used to go to the music events there in the 1970s when Glen Echo was pretty much abandoned and down to weeds and yurts)
The festival can get zoo-ey so go early or take a bike.

Also there's a rare chance to take the small fry to IOTA this Saturday at 5 pm for an all ages matinee with the NRIs who are celebrating their new CD "Playground." Check out  "Across the River." It's one of my favorite DC songs.  NRIS also play a "drinking age show" later that night with Light Arms and Step Pets.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

More Trash Talk

I don't often write about things political, but in case you haven't heard, "Supercangate" is "on" in the District, and I heard Vincent Gray on WAMU this morning saying the move to supply every residence in DC with new Supercans was not motivated by politics.

Oh, come on.

This remark had me yelling at the radio as I can not take it when my intelligence is so directly insulted.

The vfliers for the "new" super can came out just before the DC primary last April.
In the past,  residents had to pay a fee to replace their old Supercan (I think it was around $65) and then suddenly we are all getting newer, bigger ones... for nothing?

Why not ask residents if they needed or even wanted a new bigger trash can? ( Older residents can hardly push these 96 gallon behemoths around.) And what to do with all those old garbage bins?
They were supposed to be picked up and recycled, and that's not happening either.

Now Gray, a lame duck mayor, has a lot bigger mess to clean up than that pesky shadow campaign.
Not political? Once again I've got to hand it to Jake Flack of the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours for calling them like he sees 'em- even back when it was Marion Barry's Supercan.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Back the Punks That Rock DC

If you have lived here long enough, you know that Washington, DC. has an incredibly prolific and diverse, yet crazily incestuous and intimate mosh pit of a local music scene- especially if you go back a few decades. Here's a quick quiz:

Raise your hand if you ever went to Madam's Organ. 

Talk to me if you remember Mark Hall's mural on the side of the Ontario. 

Did you ever run the gauntlet through that scary (and bad idea) of a plaza when F Street was closed between dc space and 9:30? 

And speaking of  9:30, were you ever thrown out of the old club?

Were your front teeth knocked out (accidentally) during a slam dancing kind of show?

If you weren't around back then, this was a time when DC was stagnating. Neighborhoods laid to waste in 1968 were still struggling. People fled to the suburbs at the end of the work day. Just about the only characters willing to brave the void were the unsung heroes we call artists, and musicians. These people made this town come alive while congressmen slept. 

"Punk the Capital" is an exploration/ road map of how the 1970s music scene begat what became harDCore in the 1980s. Way before cell phones captured every other minute, this movie looks to  preserve raw and rare footage combined with primary source interviews and memories straight from the horse's mouth. We are lucky to have so many voices still alive to tell the tale- among them Alec and Ian MacKaye, Cynthia Connolly, Xyra Harper and Henry Rollins. 

And bands. 
We were stinking rich with bands like: Half Japanese, The Nurses, White Boy, Bad Brains. Black Market Baby, GI, Faith, Minor Threat. The Urban Verbs, Razz and Slickees.

photo by Alan Kresse
DC film makers James Schneider and Paul Bishow were very much in and of that scene. Please help them finish this daunting but very important project. Visit their "Punk the Capital" kick starter page, watch the clip, and see if it doesn't grab you like it grabbed me. You can back this film for as little as a dollar, but larger pledges have a variety of rewards including a punk rock walking tour of DC, bricks from the now razed Ontario, and a sneak preview of the film (along with other surprises) at the Black Cat on June 10th. (which I'm thinking would also make for a hellatious reunion party/event.) Who's with me?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throw Me Back to Georgetown

Georgetown. Whatever happened to you? You used to be so cool. What happened to the old book stores? The record shops? (Ok -I know where the record shops went.)  And clubs ? Seemed like every other storefront was a music club:  Emergency, Crazy Horse, Beneath It All, Desperados, The Bayou, the Cellar Door and, one of the lone survivors, Blues Alley to name a few.  If you want to check out the old scene, kick back this weekend and read the piece David Arnson of the Insect Surfers wrote for me awhile back about a walk through Georgetown circa the late 1970s.

Or better yet, check out Gypsy Sally's, the new kid in town with a throwback sensibility located on the Key Bridge end of K Street- down under the Whitehurst tucked away from the tourists.  Reminiscent of a cross between Desperados and the Crazy Horse, this 300 capacity club is owned by a couple who want to make a go of bringing back that scene with an emphasis on roots rock. This Saturday check out the high energy and vintage instruments  brought to you by the Highballers. Plus The Weathervanes' new CD party and an acoustic set by Lauren Calve. All this for $12. If you go, let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Come What May

May weather sounds the clarion call to rediscover the Great Outdoors. Birds are all atwitter, lawnmowers are abuzzing and motorcycles, well, motorcycles take me back to the days when the Olney Ale House was a rural destination. Tucked into a fork in the road where Route108 meets Dr Bird, it was a biker bar /hippie roadhouse in the middle of nowhere; the kind of place Arlo Guthrie would've loved.

The first time I went was for my friend Lisa's 14th birthday. Her mother raved about the fried chicken all the way there, and she was right. It was worth the trip- not just for the food but for how cool it was. When I lived in College Park, it was the Great Escape from suburbia. Half the fun was riding on those winding country roads and getting lost trying to find it again. Then we used to sit outside under the great old tree that shaded the beer garden and the parking lot and watch the motorcycles roll in. The ale house is still there- fairly unchanged on the inside, but the ex-burbs have taken most of the farmland and woods away- and the bikers, too for that matter.

Warm weather also bring on the phenomenon known as out door music which is hard to miss all over this town and mostly free. This Saturday alone (lord willing and the creek don't rise) you can watch The Magic Flute/ "opera in the outfield" at National's Park. (How amazing is that?) There's a Funk Parade going on all afternoon down on U Street. Out in the 'burbs  The Rockville Art Fest features live music including King Soul from 4-6. Or catch my friend Doug Stevenson and his Spades bringing a honky tonk kind of thing to the streets of Adam's Morgan.