Sunday, February 16, 2014

White Privilege in the News


For the moment (Sunday 16 February 2014 at around noon, my time), the top headline on CNN.com says this:

Gunman 'in disbelief' over loud-music verdict: He could spend rest of life in prison.

But how can he be in disbelief? He doesn't deny his involvement. He held the gun. He aimed it into a car full of kids. He injured three and killed one.

And, more importantly, why does CNN believe his shock is the story here? I have a hard time imagining the editors would go with a headline as sympathetic to the astonishment of a shooter who killed a teenager while firing into a car full of teens if the shooter weren't a middle-aged white dude who just wanted those damn kids to turn down their damn hip-hop.

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In case you haven't found it already, here's a surprisingly entertaining blog on this topic: Yo, Is This Racist? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Get So Happy When You Wish Me Dead

A couple years ago I converted some aging cassette tape recordings of my early-nineties band, Balance, to digital files. After letting those float in the recesses of my hard drive, I finally decided to compile and sort. I'll eventually put together a selection of the best recordings of the best songs, but for now I've posted one song, with lyrics, on Youtube.

We were called Balance over my objection. I wanted a more interesting name, but it was the guitarist's band before I joined and apparently again years after I left. But we were pretty good, I think. If there was a weak link, it was my struggle to find my voice in the p.a. system when things got loud. I sang, wrote lyrics, wrote some of the music, and played acoustic guitar. Kevin Otis was our virtuoso electric guitar player--sometimes a little too virtuosic for the good of the songs, in my opinion. I'd keep that to myself if I hadn't told him just that at the time, and if I didn't know he passed away several years ago. I found his obituary online, and it still fills me with sadness to know he's gone. He was very talented, but more importantly he was a kind, gentle, decent human being. I loved him and loved working with him, despite artistic differences that ultimately split up the band.

Over the years I've lost my memory of the last names of our other band members. We had a great, heavy-footed drummer named Brad, and a rich, melodic bass player whose name I think/hope/believe was Matt. It's so strange how this information has fallen away. I'd love to get back in touch, if they're out there.

Anyway, we played at least one weekend a month at the Deluxe Tavern in Colorado Springs for a couple years. We played other gigs around town, too, and once or twice up in Denver. We got our start opening for The Auto-No and another band called Squishin' Bugs, but soon enough Jeremy, the music booker at The Deluxe, recruited us for their rotation of bands. We played every fourth weekend, all original songs (with the occasional punked out cover of Pete Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone"). Those were good times.

Here's one of the songs that I wrote on my guitar. Of course, everyone else wrote their own parts. Usually songs started with me or Kevin, but our best sounds probably came from tunes laid down by our bass player. Lyrics were my strength, melodies weren't. Here goes nothing:


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In Defense of Woody Allen

In light of the disturbing testimony in "An Open Letter from Dylan Farrow," I put together a short film in the style of Woody Allen, wherein I offer every single argument I can come up with in defense of the writer/director/actor/comedian/clarinetist. It's not what you think.