Good news for all you RPG and board game fanatics: there’s a con happening this weekend that’s just for you! Check out Crit Hit, happening this weekend in Phoenix. I wrote an intro to the con for Phoenix New Times.
Starting today at Arcosanti is the 2017 incarnation of the FORM Festival (featuring acts like Hundred Waters, Deafheaven, Father John Misty, Solange, and many more). Here’s a feature I wrote about the fest for Phoenix New Times.
Are you in Phoenix and looking to scope out some fresh new art? Come on down and check out the Trunk Space’s “Phx Sux” art show (put together by Troy Farah from De’Lunula). You should come down and check it out because it’s going to be an awesome show AND because it’s the very last art show put on by the Trunk Space. TS, that bastion of all-ages shows, staple of D.I.Y. culture in Phoenix, is closing in May (hopefully to reopen elsewhere in the future).
If you come to the opening tonight, you can also peep the fourth installment of “De’Lunula Screeners”, their warped and wild short film series (this one hosted by Phoenix punk supreme/solid bloke Andy Warpigs).
This Thursday I’ll be performing once again at Lawn Gnome Publishing’s PEP Rally variety show. This week the topic is a subject near and dear to my heart: the occult! I’m excited to be trying out a new bit…. and I’m also excited because I’ll be selling a new occult-y zine, “Elephant Head”, at the show! The first print run is only 23 copies, and each individual copy comes with its own special insert. I’ll be selling them for $5 (and if you happen to be at the show and want one but are short on cash- we can work out some kind of trade).
I started working on “Elephant Head” back towards the end of August, and then put it on the shelf. Over the last couple of weeks, inspiration struck again and I dusted it off and added some finishing textual touches and it is good to go!
A sneak peak at what ze zine looked like a few months ago:
Last night I saw Deafheaven at Crescent Ballroom. How was it? Let me reach into the ol’ bowl of critic buzz words for a sec. Ah, here we go:
Cathartic. Transcendent. Powerful. Raw Power. Fuckin’ Rad.
Yep, that about sums it up.
A few stray observations about last night’s show:
NO HEAVEN FOR FATTIES
They had some amazing looking shirts at their merch booth… but sadly no XXL sizes. Yours truly was out of luck in the concert T department.
MAKING AN ASS OF YOURSELF
There was an assortment of ecstatic, sweaty, thrashy moshers throughout the night. One dude had a unique ragin’ technique I haven’t seen before that I shall dub The Overeager Rentboy (aka The Buttram), in which he would pinball himself through the crowd by bending over and ramming himself ass-first at people in the audience.
TOUCHED BY THE HAND OF GEORGE
George Clarke cut a compelling figure onstage. Dude didn’t have to wear corpse-paint to look intense. He was super-engaged with the crowd, frequently leaning in to the crowd, throwing out high-fives and grabbing people’s hands and giving off a slightly more sane and composed Ian Curtis vibe. I will admit that I felt like a little girl when he gave me a high-five. “He touched me! How cool is that?” I almost shouted that, but then I realized that I was a 32 year old man wearing a bow tie and that would be an absurd thing for me to say.
“THIS GORGEOUS INTERLUDE IS BRUTAL!”
Respect to the moshers who were so committed to raging that they were even wrecking shit during the ambient interludes.
I doubt I’ll hear a more beautiful and moving piece of live music this year than the last few minutes of “Come Back”. The best way I can describe it was like spending time running through a dark forest, banging head first into hard trees and being cut by sharp branches, pursued by some nameless sweaty monster and then suddenly emerging into a wide open clearing bathed in golden light. Those last few minutes were that golden clearing. I wish I was back there now.
Another archival Tumblr piece, also from 2012. I’m happy to say that I WILL be attending this year’s Otoacoustic performance (like I did last year and the year before). It’s my equivalent of Christmas mass, and I am loathe to miss it. If you’re in AZ and interested in going to this year’s Otoacoustic, here are the details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1487546074873742/.
I go to church once a year. On Halloween night. For the last two years, I’ve gone to St. Augustine’s Church in Tempe. I won’t be going this year: I have a performance gig around the same time my annual “service” starts. I’m grateful for a chance to be on a stage doing what I love, but a part of me wishes I could be in Tempe. I hope whatever spirits preside over St. Augustine’s on those Halloween nights won’t damn me for my absence…
If you’re wondering, dear readers, what kind of service I’m referring to (no, it isn’t an orgiastic black mass, so you can close your LaVey books and pull up your pants), I’m talking about the annual Otoacoustic Emissions that Jacob Adler organizes. This will be the 5th annual incarnation of the O.E.; I’ve caught the last two, and I regret missing the 2 before it. They are transcendental, trance-inducing experiences. In short O.E. goes like this: a procession of musicians (walking into the church in 2 lines, dressed in black, some carrying LED candles) enters the church, gathering in a ring in the pulpit area, and begin playing a long drone that lasts for almost an hour, complemented by an organ and gong, a drone that produces frequencies that makes it feel like the sounds are coming OUT of your ears instead of entering them. The sheer power of the experience, the physical PRESENCE of the sound those musicians make, the immensity of it, boggles my mind…
Vocalists hum and wail as percussion and strings and wind instruments and god knows what else plays along, building and building in sonic intensity until the large church hall resonates with sounds so loud and deep and celestial it feels as though we’re listening to whale songs, gigantic whale songs, but the sounds are internal, it feels like WE’VE swallowed the whales and they are singing through our bones and cheekbones and out through the top of our skulls and the sounds get so loud my body starts to rock slowly and I feel like I’m going to lose consciousness and sometimes I do and I wake up to be lifted up higher by that whale song until I forget my own name and how much money is in my bank account and what I’m planning to do later and what I did before I came here and I even start to forget where here is anyway and then the music starts to die down and the whale song gets faint and then its quiet in the church, the church is quiet, but I’m not, my body is humming and my mind is tuning itself, trying to remember how that tune sounded, you know the song, “My name is ___” and I sit in the pews as the musicians leave; I usually don’t end up filling that blank until the last one steps out of view and it’s always a bittersweet feeling, that remembering: few things in life feel as good as being a blank… Sweet, sweet tabula rasa.
That’s how I feel at St. Augustine’s on Halloween. I don’t feel the presence of the dead or the invisible world out on the streets, but in that hall, in that drone, I feel I’m hearing something ancient and inhuman and powerful clear Its throat. I’m going to miss not being close to that throat this year.