The Features

We Fight We Die: How The Disenfranchised #Occupy

Jeff Kirkman III, Alexander Burton, Michael Rodriguez and Stanley Andrew Jackson III; Junesong Arts’ We Fight We Die. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Self-defined as representing the masses, it’s no surprise that a majority of Americans approve of the now-global “Occupy” movement—they understand it as the manifestation of desperation, a fight where compromise failed. Feeling powerless in the face of corporate greed and political corruption, hundreds of thousands are venting their anger in the most public, most drastic way possible: by taking to the streets.

But what about those who are neither among the wealthy one percent, nor among the “other ninety-nine”? That is, those truly at the bottom, for whom money-hungry CEOs and rotten Congressmen are perhaps the least of worries; for whom starvation, extreme cold, or gang violence are a much more real threat than losing healthcare or facing foreclosure. Where can they rally? How can they express themselves?

After watching Junesong Arts’ new stage production We Fight We Die, the answer may be that they, too, must occupy the streets…but with aerosol cans instead of pitchforks. Continue reading

Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Buzzcocks @ The Black Cat 5/11/10

Buzzcocks at The Black Cat 5/11/10
courtesy of Buzzcocks.

Woo-hoo!!!*

Buzzcocks launched the U.S. leg of their “Another…Bites Tour” at the Black Cat on Tuesday night with an exuberant set of their classic, reverb-drenched, pop/punk, sing-a-longs. Since their early-90′s revival, original members Shelley and Diggle have been performing non-stop in the US and UK. Right up there with Stiff Little Fingers, Buzzcocks are one of the longest running and quality-consistent graduates of the original UK Punk class. To mix it up on this tour the band are performing their brilliant first and second albums back-to-back (both released in 1978) along with “other hits”. While album-entirety shows are becoming quite trendy of late (not that I mind), for Buzzcocks I think this dual-album attack is a great move. As their legacy becomes tied more and more to their ability to write amazing singles (as collected on the essential “Singles Going Steady“) this dual album tour is here to remind us that Buzzcocks were also responsible for crafting some brilliant albums; each with an energy flow, sonic imprint, and lyrical themes that deserve their place in rock history as well. Actually Tuesday night’s show did much more than gently remind us of this fact; in typical Buzzcocks pop-roar fashion the show served as a blaring klaxon alarm that made the relevance of “Another Music in a Different Kitchen” and “Love Bites” impossible to ignore.

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Serena Maneesh @ DC9 4/7/10

Serena Maneesh
courtesy of Serena Maneesh.

Norwegian, neo-shoegazer, wunderkinds Serena Maneesh (finally!) returned to the DC area on Wednesday night when they played a painfully short but brilliant set at DC9. It has been four long years since Serena Maneesh first brought their mammoth live sound to our area; when they played to an embarrassingly small crowd at the State Theater in 2006. I was one of the lucky few in attendance that night and I have been a babbling fool about this band ever since; singing their praises every time the shoegazer revival is up for discussion and playing just about every track off their first self-titled debut at my DJ nights over the years. If you read my original review and then their #2 spot on my 2006 best shows list, it is obvious how taken I was by their My Bloody Valentine-esque approach to live performance. The State Theater show is one of the best shows I have ever attended. Hence my many years of agony awaiting their return.
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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Muse @ The Patriot Center 3/1/10

Photo courtesy of
‘Muse – Patriot Center – March 1, 2010′
courtesy of ‘Mrs. Gemstone’

Even though I consider Muse one of my favorite bands, I have written very little about them over the years. The majority of the 6 times I have seen them perform took place far away from DC and therefore the majority of their shows did not end up reviewed on any of the DC sites I write for. It is fitting that Monday night’s show at George Mason University’s Patriot Center is the one to finally get a feature review out of me. Fitting because it was without question the best performance of theirs that I have seen. Fitting too because I have followed this band since they first washed up on American shores and have witnessed their progression as a live act. Over the seven years or so they’ve been touring here, Muse have not so much shown an evolution as performers as they have consistently demonstrated their massive power as a live act; an act so huge that whatever stage I saw them on seemed tiny in comparison to their unbridled, power-pop fury. With each tour, each stage got a little larger, and Muse seemed one step closer to realizing their master plan of becoming the best live band on the planet. Having seen them on Monday night, I think it is safe to say that they have finally realized that master plan.
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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Stacy’s Coffee Parlor – Good Coffee, Good Folks and Good Books

Stacey's Coffee Parlor

I love coffee shops that encourage things like reading, sharing and creating community. After the recent tempest in a coffee pot I started, I was not sure whether I would be welcome back at Murky, so I went for a place I had not been to before. Stacy’s Coffee Parlor in Falls Church fit the bill. The folks who were here when my lovely wife and I arrived all apparently knew each other, as well as the guy behind the counter and I felt immediately welcomed.

Stacy’s has ice cream and food and truffles and pastries and other good stuff to eat, in addition to all the requisite coffee drinks a person could want. Art on the walls, open mic night, regularly scheduled music – it all got my attention. What really clinched it for me was the library, whose sign encouraged reading, taking and sharing. It’s not a huge library but it’s something. You don’t see that in a lot of places, and I was glad to find it so close to home.

Definitely check it out. It doesn’t have the same vibe as Murky but it has its own unique feeling. The best part? It is head and shoulders above Starbuck’s and has free Wi-Fi. Stacy, I am glad you are my new friend.