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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Psychomerrychristmas



Good Morning DC Rockers! This week's posting, "A Ghost of Christmas Past," ended up on Washington DC My Hometown,  but I wanted to wish you all a happy holiday here as well.

If family or other manifestations of the season are getting you down, Goin' Goin' Gone will be rocking JV's tonight starting at 8:30 p.m. until the wee hours. Also, my good friend and stellar musician Alice Despard returns to the Galaxy Hut for one night only with Crowd Scene on Monday night. Music gets going round 9. Hang in there, y'all and godblessuseveryone.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Paraphernalia

"Responsibility" by Bill Owens

Most of us spend too much time taking care of an overabundance of stuff that we heedlessly accumulate. Then come the holidays which can cause incoming angst as much as outgoing packages of anxiety wrapped up in colorful paper and disguised as love. Or sometimes you just gotta buy the boss a tie. This weekend we have a lot of rock shows laying around. Give yourself (or a favorite companion)  the gift of live music.  Here are just a few of the rocking things going on Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 


Friday Dec 16

Johnny Bombay and the Reactions/Rockaway Birch @ Slash Run

Little Red and the Renegades @ Villain and Saint

NRIS @ IOTA

Sat Dec 17 

Hendrix Tribute w/ Anthony @ IOTA

Rhodes Tavern Troubadours @ Hank Dietle's

Sun Dec 18

Anthony Pirog @ JV
w/ Dave Chappell


All of the above feature tried and true musicians, and will be a lot more fun than cleaning your room.  Another bonus? None of these outings will break the bank or end up in the basement behind the furnace.





Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Slickee Boys Split



The Slickee Boys may hold the "Cal Ripken" award for playing the most shows at the 9:30 Cub, but it's been over five years since the band broke up, and still people refuse to believe it.  I know it won't help to present facts here since the popular trend these days is to deny reality, but two of the boys will be playing this Thursday in two separate towns.


 Marshall Keith will be opening for Andy Bopp at the Wind Up Space in Baltimore. (If you live up that way, you are lucky, if not, this show is worth the drive.)



 Meanwhile Mark Noone and his Yachtsmen will set sail for IOTA in Arlington. (Always a raucous event in the guise of civility.) So once again we have one show in Maryland, one in Virginia. Both on Thursday.  Believe It or Not.




Thursday, December 8, 2016

Coping Mechanisms


This has been an especially weird and dark autumn. The recent election turned lives upside down, and trolls are erupting with glee. The gunfire at Comet Pizza last Sunday, our most local example, was a direct result of false news stories that won't go away.  Joel Achenbach, of the Washington Post, wrote a great article this week explaining why things are. He writes:

 "The Information Age has become the Misinformation Age. Pizzagate is not an anomaly it’s the natural consequence of advances in information technology, the erosion of traditional media and the strenuous efforts of demagogues to tribalize our civic life....The fake news epidemic is a lethal combination of technology and human nature. It’s supply and demand. We probe for missing information, what’s hidden, what’s secret. Digging up secrets has survival advantages. We’re programmed that way."  

My survival response to the election and seasonal disorder was to fortify myself with nourishment. I started with scrapple, eggs and biscuits. And then I made myself a chocolate cake.  (Clearly I am taking the fight not flight route here.) I also derive comfort from old routines. Christmas, whether we are believers or not, brings a whole season of reprises. To set the mood, I like to watch my favorite version of  "A Christmas Carol" with Reginald Owen. (1938) 




Also I'm all in favor of hanging lights with impudence to combat the early evenings brought on by a retreating sun. An old standby in itself, Martin's Tavern, is the bomb when it comes to combining lights with decking the halls every year- an effort that takes, according to undisclosed sources, two weeks and three days to accomplish - mostly after hours. This year I am torn between the race horse adorned with glittering antlers and a plaid scarf, and the large fish wearing a glittering silver garland- sporting what I think might be a miniature Mount Vernon in its mouth. All of which are sadly not displayed here:





And then there are holiday concerts. I'm not a big fan of Christmas music per se, but live music played well is a gift. This weekend  Last Train Home takes over IOTA all weekend long with a matinee show on Sunday (which my older kids remember fondly and would gladly attend if they weren't all grown up and moved away.) Look for the David Kitchen Band and guests making merry at JV's Saturday night.  And last but not least - Eric Felten does a bang up Nutcracker every year about this time at Blues Alley.








Friday, December 2, 2016

United States of What Now?

Neighbors rally with banner/photo by Bill Hanke

My friend Bill Hanke wrote me this week to commiserate over the furor going on about Comet Ping Pong. We are both astounded and disturbed by the "fake news" story concerning this local pizzeria which has become the target of outrageous rumor and cyber bullying. Even the New York Times and the BBC have picked up on the unsubstantiated stories of child trafficking in their basement.

protestor/ photo by Bill Hanke

WHAT?

Somehow I never noticed this going on in the last ten years that this very cool place has been open- serving up pizza and providing ping pong for us hyperactive types who can't just sit and wait for our food to be served. Comet is also a big supporter of the DC music and art scene, often leaning towards punk rock. I sometimes forget to check the calendar, but will make a bigger effort now.  Please join me in supporting this local business which does not even have a basement.


And while we are in Chevy Chase, kudos to the folks who are making a rainbow connection by creatively welcoming their new but temporary neighbor Mike Pence with gay pride flags. DC ROCKS salutes you.





Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanks


My mother was a very patient woman - a trait that was probably key to my parents’ seventy-two year long marriage. She was a planner and a worrier which motherhood forces many of us females types to be, and Thanksgiving turned out to be one of her biggest trials.

Yes, there was an overabundant dinner featuring turkey and ham, plus a surfeit of sugar: Aunt Catherine’s cheesecake, Aunt Elaine’s rum cake, and Cousin Anne, who was from Louisiana, always brought pecan pie. It was a swell party - especially for the blissfully unaware kids running amok confined to the basement as much as possible with the eldest child “in charge.” But as our numbers grew so did the anxiety. 

It started in August when my mother pulled her notes from last year fretting over the seating chart while crunching algebraic numbers on just how many pounds of mashed potatoes were consumed versus how many men were attending. She and my sister set the tables the Sunday before and troubleshooted. (What about that pesky table in the family room? It'll block the football game. How many kids are old enough to sit in a real chair?)

On Thanksgiving morning, my father would attach a rake to my brother Peter and strap himself to a leaf blower, and both would spend the entire day chasing autumn detritus from the yard even though it was dark by 5:00 which was party time.





Much to my mother's dismay, Dad was often in the shower when the first guest arrived -usually his brother Nick. (We could count on his car gliding up the leaf bare driveway at 4:55.) Fortunately, Peter would already be manning the bar set up near the front door. Uncle Nick would demand his vodka and tonic, and the party would begin with my mother hiding in the kitchen.  

Not a fan of crowds, she was in no hurry to greet her guests which tipped fifty to one in favor of my dad's Greek side of the family.  But Mom was always ready. She started cooking in September and finished just before 6 p.m. which was dinner time.  What drove her crazy was my father still buzzing around the patio at sundown, or that little incident one year when there was no hot water at zero hour. (Dad kept everyone on a strict schedule to save on fuel costs, and he forgot to over ride the timer on the water heater.)

 We knew the party was over when my sister corralled her sons to break down the tables and take the folding chairs to the basement which now resembled an abandoned battle field of cake crumbs and scattered toys. This usually happened around 8:00, but it felt like midnight.

This year if things get too weird or volatile at dinner (or if Thanksgiving just isn't your bag) here's an out.  Dave Chappell, DC's own overlord of the Telecaster, will be holding forth with his band at JV's in Falls Church. Dave's talent is something we can all agree on, and there's plenty of common ground in beer. Show starts at 8:00 which may feel like midnight, but there'll be plenty of good sounds to wake you up.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Resistance is Not Futile



Thank you, Lynn Thorp for turning me on to the new guerrilla art group "DC Resistance." Here's a crew determined to make sure sane voices are heard in a world turned upside down if the alt right has its way.

If your head is craving distraction, this weekend's picks include the short lived reincarnation of  Goin Goin Gone at Hank Dietle's Saturday night. Dietle's is a tiny honky tonk where you can lose yourself in suds and song.  And for all of you dreading Monday, treat yourself to the Dan Hovey Band playing JV's on Sunday.  Dan's been playing guitar so long that he's gotten to be really, really good at it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Light Not Heat

Wilson High Protest/ photo by Mark Noone

I think it's safe to say DC was rocked by the election last week. When I walked out onto 18th Street at 12:30 a.m. last Wednesday after attending a party, I had never seen Adams Morgan so still. A few police. No people. Dead quiet. 

My daughter called me sobbing. She knows misogyny when she sees it- just like people of color know racism when they see it. Back in the 1940s, my blue eyed Greek American father could pass for white which meant he could sneak his family into resorts like Beverly Beach where no Mediterraneans were allowed. (Never mind anyone else of any sort of color.) And I am pretty sure my father would have voted for Trump. Without irony.

(One silver lining of these times might be the fodder for satire here. SNL  has come up with two brilliant skits: "Black Jeopardy" and  "Election Night.")

I have talked to Trump supporters. As much as I find it hard to comprehend, there are women who voted for Trump. Sisters and mothers, people I love and respect, voted for Trump.  Why? I asked them. Here are some of the answers I got: Because that "basket of deplorables" statement really hurt. Because though global warming might be happening, we can't do anything about it so why not bring back steel? Yesterday I heard that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, the Republicans would have accepted the news quietly without the protest. Though my jaw may have been dropping,  I did not try to refute these statements.  I looked at these conversations as windows into worlds I don't understand.

The news of journalist Gwen Ifel's death was another blow this week, but her life has inspired me. Her mission was to “tell the stories that shed light and spur action.” One small comfort I was able to give my daughter was to look at Trump's election as a wake up call to activists everywhere. Yesterday Montgomery County kids walked out of school. Today Wilson High School staged a protest downtown. Too young to vote, they wanted their truly diverse voices to be heard- to show their unity. They were impressive in number, armed with light not heat. The students marched from the Trump Hotel down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. Donald Trump may have started this conversation. I hope America is listening. 


photo by Keagan Hall


Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Signal Through the Flames


Last summer while wandering around San Francisco, I picked up this poem/postcard at City Lights- the iconic book store of the Beat generation. Co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and activist, once described himself as more of a Bohemian than Beat kind of guy, but his writing is not confined to the past. His poem "Pity the Nation" is so relevant to this election season that the words fairly leap off the page. 



The store seemed a lot cleaner than I remembered, but it's still holed up in North Beach and still a refuge for pensive souls during turbulent times both past and present. 

With the presidential election of 2016 bearing down on us this Tuesday, sound bites tend to drown out more articulate voices. Another of Ferlinghetti's poem might make a better meal for thought, and a reminder of how much we need our poets and musicians (thank you, Bob Dylan) as much as or more than politicians to speak out:

Poetry As Insurgent Art (I am signaling you though the flames.)
I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Civilization self-destructs.
Nemesis is knocking at the door.
What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?
The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.
If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.
You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words....


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spooky


A lot of disturbing things have been happening this year. Number one might be the election, but I don't want to talk about that. Number two might be that other clown craze which started in August and continued with such a fervor that even our local high schools were receiving threats last month. As Halloween approaches, will another outbreak occur? Check out this excellent article in the New York Times What Do the Scary Clowns Want?   by Bess Lovejoy. She includes this salient point:

Benjamin Radford, author of the recent book “Bad Clowns,” points out, “It’s misleading to ask when clowns turned bad, for they were never really good.” 

This pretty much affirms my lifelong aversion to grease paint. 



The article also touches on why urban legends persist.  I know one whopper started at Wilson High School thanks to my late great friend Mark Petsche. That was the year Mark showed up at my house dressed for Halloween as "Bunny Man" in a white sweatshirt and tall ears. I didn't quite get it until he showed me the axe.  That's when I convinced him we should go over to the park where my first born and her teen age friends were hanging out- too cool for trick or treat. Back then an abandoned house conveniently provided the perfect place for lurking, and sure enough we spotted them there.  What happened next is a bit Blair Witch blurry, but I do remember screams drowned out any attempt at explanation as the kids tore off in all directions.

Marshall Keith, a founding member of DC's legendary Slickee Boys, is more mysterious than spooky and definitely more musical than your average axe wielding rodent.


This Saturday night Marshall will be performing at Ivy City Smokehouse- a relatively new concert space and tavern. Jumpin' Jupiter and The Stents will round out this party and costume contest with a $100 gift certificate going to the winner. No clowning around!



Thursday, October 20, 2016

At the Bus Stop with Ian Hunter



I know I'm going for mossback status here, but I remember when the Metro was so new and exotic we would buy a fare card just to ride around.  "People Going Nowhere" as Crippled Pilgrims used to say. Once the Metro was in full swing, however, it became almost unthinkable to take the bus. The red line spawned the blue which begat the yellow and so forth. The Metro was a great way to get around until it wasn't.

Now I've come full circle back to the bus. I've learned to to chase the elusive D5, rely on the M4 and embrace the D6 -that rambling wreck of a route which traverses the city from Sibley Hospital to Stadium Armory. Just a buck seventy five will get you a little over an hour's worth of travel. The bus offers a solace that might be lost on those trying to dash downtown in their own private bubbles. The bus driver may well be the first and only person to wish me a good morning. I like to get a window seat as we tour my neighborhood.  There's that woman with trapezoid hair that I haven't seen in a while. She wears neon blinding running shoes and jogs along at a speed just past walking looking like she may pitch over momentarily. As we go along admitting fellow travelers the volume rises and falls affording great eavesdropping opportunities or time to catch up on my reading. It's a DC amusement park ride as we barrel down New Hampshire Avenue trying to make up lost time before hitting the grid lock of K Street which doesn't loosen up until near 13th Street.  The route bobs and weaves across the city. There is even a stop at dc space. Too bad it's a Starbucks now.

Whatever way you get around I recommend getting down to the Hamilton this Monday night. DC's own Dot Dash will be opening for the man, no, as Craig Ferguson once put it so well- " the rock god" that is Ian Hunter who incidentally inspired the name of this blog. Learn how here.




Friday, October 14, 2016

The Great Pumpkin Lives at Homestead

Homestead Farm 2003

What's going on this weekend? Beautiful weather. A tinge of fall. Might be a good time for a ride out in the country to get pumpkins and the like. When I was growing up, Homestead Farm was a bit hard to find hidden away down not so paved roads outside a one horse burg called Poolesville. And before I discovered it, before we had pavement, James Allnutt bought 746 acres near the Potomac River in 1763- long before we'd even sealed the deal with England. And a mere 250 some years later, Ben Allnutt is still farming 230 acres of that original parcel having made it through all the struggles that a family farm entails. Man, that's a lot of hard work. Help keep this place going with a visit, and you'll get the whole 9 yards of all things autumnal: hay rides, cider, apples and of course-pumpkins.

Back in town I recommend the NRIS at IOTA if you are looking for something to do on Saturday night. The first time I saw this band play, they were all stuffed into the front window of the  Galaxy Hut.  While I founder for adjectives to explain their vibe,  you can watch a clip from that very show in 2012. The sound quality includes genuine club noise interference, but I think you can get an idea of their energy and come up with your own modifiers. Plus they've been practicing for three years since that video was taken. The show includes an album release party plus Sam Cooper and the Sleepwalkers -all for ten bucks. Sounds good to me.

NRIS @ IOTA


Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Not So Cautionary Tale of Procrastination


Random crime hit our neighborhood a few weeks back when police surmise that one or two gangs descended to ransack and steal cars. My car did not escape notice, but I wonder if the spree stopped there because the next car down was untouched even though it was left unlocked with expensive things inside. I think my block might have been spared because of Ed, the dead guy in my car.

I didn't mean to leave him there, but I am a terrible procrastinator. Ed arrived in a cardboard carton from Maine with a little note from a friend who hoped I could help fulfill Ed's wish to swim with the fishes in the Chesapeake Bay. My friend suggested I might toss him off the bridge on the way to the beach which is easier said than done when you consider little things like traffic and legalities. A fishing trip seemed a more likely scenario, but when the opportunity arrived, poor Ed was overlooked. Left behind, he languished on a radiator behind the fisherman's front door for months, semi- forgotten until I spotted him there. I  figured if I took him home he might have a better chance of rising to the top of the to-do list, but alas, he landed in my car, and between summertime laissez-faire and an upcoming trip out west, Ed spent most of August tooling around town running errands before we left him behind once more.

Upon our return, school started up again and before I knew it, Ed became further buried in reusable shopping bags and books headed for the thrift store. And so it was that on that fateful Friday in September when the thieves hit our neighborhood, dear old Ed was still resting in peace in his cardboard carton on the back seat -perhaps giving new meaning to the term "neighborhood watch."

Early the following morning, a neighbor called to tell me that my car doors were wide open, and things were a mess. I hurried outside to find the contents of the glovebox strewn across the front seat and a change purse tossed onto the sidewalk. A poncho and picnic blanket had been pulled out of a small backpack and tossed aside, but a thrift store bound DVD player was left untouched right where it was-next to Ed's empty carton.  I can only imagine what happened next when, after opening the grey plastic box within, a small pile of Ed fell on the seat. And although the cardboard was left by the DVD player, someone carefully placed Ed's official funeral home box right side up in the back of the car with most of Ed still in it -almost as if he were now properly riding in a hearse.

This may be one of the few times that procrastination has paid off, but in general, good people, it's not the best idea. Procrastination leads to inactivity which leads to societal rot which leads to musicians not getting paid. Please check out the calendar in the sidebar at DC ROCKS. There's plenty of music you've been meaning to see this weekend. And next weekend, too....and the one after that.







Friday, September 30, 2016

Your Own Reality


Call me a sadist, but I forced everyone in my house to watch the debates last Monday. I even printed out language specific bingo cards, to keep things interesting, but weirdly enough none of us won. If only Hilary had taken a sip of water or if the Donald had said the word "huge." ("Braggadocious" was not on the game card.)

Then I woke up this morning thinking about the different worlds of slang. Politicians pursue things like birthers until they need to walk it back, double down or pivot with the one percent.  Musicians ? They like to woodshed until they can shred without clams for cabbage. 

Both politics and music will be in the air at the Takoma Park Street Festival  although fortunately harmony and funk will be the overwhelming vibe here in this nuclear free land where even 16 year olds have the right to vote. Besides the usual outstanding farmer's market, food vendors and artists galore will line the streets while nineteen bands play all day long on three different stages. Two will be at either end of the festival and one in the middle at the gazebo. Check out the local hepcats without laying down a lot of lettuce and have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Sunday. 

(Link above has full schedule and more information)



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Down For the Count


I think I stopped watching the evening news about twenty five years ago- shortly after the best sportscaster ever, Glenn Brenner left the planet. I mean what was the point?  Every night we heard about all the scary stuff going on, but with Glenn gone, there was no one there to make you laugh your head off at the end of the broadcast. When he was "in charge" of sports, even non athletics fans like myself tuned in just to see what he would do next. Once he turned anchor Maureen "Mo" Bunyan into a Damon Runyon character, complete with fedora and cigar, to prognosticate the upcoming games. Another time he enlisted Sister Marie Louise, a nun and rabid foot ball fan.


This Friday my kind of sporting event is happening at Bethesda Blues (which has now decided to be Bethesda Live.)  Blue eyed soul crews King Soul and Soul Crackers will be duking it out in a mock battle of the bands called "The Thrilla in Vanilla."  The loser  gives up the right to use the word "soul" in their name. (Gotta give these boys points for creativity here.) Not just a concert, this will be a danceable exercise in hilarity. I'll bet Glenn would've loved to be a ref in this ring.

Hit the link above to watch a tribute to Glenn Brenner/ a trip down memory lane.










Friday, September 16, 2016

All the Small Things


Sometimes it takes an outside eye to catch your own style. My friend Wendy was the one who pointed out to me my penchant for little things.  She walked into my kitchen one day, picked up my mouse sized cast iron frying pan and started laughing. Then she pointed out the colander that comfortably might hold four or five raspberries and a bottle of hot sauce that was only slightly taller than the miniature troll standing next to it -if you didn't count his hair. I'd always heard that "good things come in small packages" as a kid, but I wasn't aware that I had embraced that idea. I gravitate towards sliders, silver dollar pancakes and definitely pint sized venues.

As far as night life goes, I think the Galaxy Hut on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington might be the tiniest coolest bar I know. It holds around 50 people and has 28 taps -none of which are Budweiser. This place certainly isn't for everyone, but I have seen some of the best shows I can remember within the confines  of that space including many by the founder herself- Alice Despard. This Sunday catch The Rambling Shadows (for those of you with in tact memories -you might remember folks from The Crippled Pilgrims and Black Market Baby.) and the Gully Jimson Quartet. Five dollars is the perennial cover charge here to keep the bands from starving.

  


My new favorite radio show from the land of Lilliput is on WOWD-a low power radio station in Takoma Park, Maryland. (The station's bathroom might be bigger than the studio space.) The format focuses on hyper local things, but on Sunday mornings from 9-12, DC music fans anywhere on the world wide web can tune in to "The Forbidden Alliance Show" hosted by music connoisseur Robbie White and his able assistant former WHFS deejay Weasel. Robbie plays anything but top 40 and has a jam packed schedule interviewing local musicians and the like.  This Sunday's show will feature Joe Dolan of the Beatnik Flies and the Vi-kings. Creative radio as it should be - far from the corporate world.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Instant Karma


The Beatles have been on my radar as long as I can remember, but I was a bit too young to fully appreciate their music at the time. I was more a Snoopy fan when they broke up in April of 1970, and way into dogs and riding bikes.




But sometime in my late teens I found their music irresistible. While a lot of my class mates were into the latest disco and pop tunes, I was looking back to Rubber Soul and the White Album. As life went on, I found the recordings of their early energy pouring out of Hamburg just as compelling, and I still wonder at their staying power. I never get tired of their albums. 



Speaking of staying power, I am not sure how Ron Newmyer has time to eat or sleep as he is churning out yet another tribute show to John Lennon this Saturday. I have seen a bit of the prep that goes into these shows. How can I  describe just how much work is involved? 
Imagine organizing twenty two cats in one place and getting them to tap dance. In a bathtub. Then add just a little bit of water... 

Please believe me when I say, he and and a truly impressive line up of hep cats will not disappoint -this is a truly cool way to see the impossible - John Lennon (and the Beatles) coming alive again at the Hamilton.  




Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hey Hey My My


Once upon a time, I remember getting a Captain Kangaroo record for my birthday which I was allowed to play on a portable record player in our basement.  I was thrilled. I started combing the house for music, ransacking my brother's rock n roll as well as my father's forgotten 45s. Finally I ventured out and bought my own vinyl which was a different rite of passage altogether. I started out humbly enough with a 45 of "Uncle Albert."  I even put my name on the front so it wouldn't get lost at some frenzied slumber party which it never did.


The cassette and 8 track tapes that followed never had the charm and artwork of the album, but wow, what joy and power it gave us.  Cars were transfigured into our own private concert halls.


And don't get me started on mix tapes. We were suddenly free to make up our own segways culling this song or that from albums.  My College Park housemates and I were all into it. Alan provided the Doghouse with a near professional reel to reel soundtrack, while Dougal was amassing enough live recordings of the Dead to cover his bedroom wall, and Chauncy turned me onto innumerable bands which I first heard blasting out of his second story window on Guildford Road.


Tapes were presents, tapes were apologies. They were vital for road trips, break ups and celebrating just about anything. When the CD came along claiming superiority, I howled in dismay. NO. I wasn't going there. I dug my heels in for years, but finally succumbed to that overwhelming tide thinking there was no turning back. Boy, was I wrong.

Flash forward to now. What remains? Much to my surprise- all of the above. Despite Walkmen and iPods and blueteeth, vinyl has been reclaimed, and on a recent trip out West which included haunting record shops, I saw the good ole cassette tape in its own section clawing its way back as well.

Joe's Record Paradise, a DC tradition,  opened in 1974, and although they have moved numerous times, their clientele has always followed. Joe's is not just a store, but part of our history and has always attracted musicians and deejays as a hang out or even a place to play. Their latest home however, was almost derailed by the Man ( i.e. the Montgomery County Government.) The opening was seriously delayed by red tape and financial issues which still plague Johnson Lee. Please don't wait for "record store day" to drop by 8700 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. Your patronage can help make sure rock n roll doesn't die- at least not in this little corner of the world.




Thursday, August 25, 2016

Root On


Ugh. School started obscenely early again this year, and despite a meeting about scheduling efficiency, two visits to the school counselor and multiple emails, my son still ended up with a class he didn't want (no surprise) and a class he already took last year. What? No matter who is in charge, it seems our education system slogs on and on with an unusual penchant for imposing unrelenting lassitude. (And I am not referring to teachers here -who more often than not are themselves victims of bureaucracy.)

But perhaps unrelenting boredom was why a boy named Foster Mackenzie the Third was not invited back to more than one prep school here in Washington including Sidwell Friends (which also ejected Mark Noone of Slickee Boy fame). Still he managed to make his way to Yale and then emerged as our salvation from All Things Banal as Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band. One of the rare shows I actually remember during my student years clearly misspent in College Park was seeing that crazy crew at the Back Room. It was like watching pirates sail up Route One.

Although Slim has left us, this Saturday Dick Bangham and his gang of merry minstrels will be amassed for a Root Boy Slim tribute at Bethesda Blues featuring many of the ass kicking musicians who landed in the band including Dan Hovey, Marshall Keys, Ron Holloway and Tommy Lepsom as well as a sneak preview of the film "Boogie Til You Puke"- Dick's current project. Tickets $25 in advance, but beware- $35 on the day of the show(!) Yeesh.




Friday, August 19, 2016

Postcard from the "Other" Washington



DC ROCKS is on the road and found this very cool mural outside a music store in Seattle.  Click on the picture to check it out.