rest in peace ms ellie greenwich. we are a little slow posting for various reasons, forgive me. someone on facebook was kvetching that not enough people were upset about her passing, but I doubt that is the case — though she probably was not as well known as the people who sang her hits. I can hear music, all right. ever since I got into girl groups in high school, I was digging ellie g music whether I knew it or not. I do a mean karaoke of “be my baby” and “leader of the pack.” dump does a mean cover of “I can hear music.” she was the tops. here is the guardian obit, the new york times obit and a hefty interview from girl group chronicler sheila at cha cha charming. we’ll miss you, eg.
for those of you who don’t read the guardian every day, perhaps you missed this piece by cathy rogers about her dolce vita in the italian countryside and how a change of location isn’t always the answer. cathy from heavenly!
here is an interview with our man bob in the quietus and it’s all about pop pop pop. funny how foxbase alpha only ended up sounding uber-british because the band could not afford american samples! who knows what it would have sounded like had lawyers not gotten in the way. check out the johnny marr interview while you’re at it. (thanks travis)
this week we put up the site for the new store and gallery I’m working at opening up in portland: Land opens oct 9 and will have these awesome shelves built by nikki mcclure’s husband jay t scott. the first exhibition will be nikki mcclure’s original papercuts she made for her 2010 calendar.
MAY… As previously mentioned, in late may I went out to portland, oregon, for a couple weeks to find a job. I found out (merci to slim and ryan and carrie) that buyolympia.com might be seeking someone so I wrote em a letter. went back to durham, NC, but not before checking out the grilled cheese grill, lovely hulahands, food fight, burgerville, pho van, white eagle, fresh pot, por que no, laurelhurst theater, screen door, camera obscura, forest park and pretty much every dog walking space there is with my dog crazed pals in lovely pdx.
JUNE… back in NC I re-connected with kurt-wally lilys after a decade+ at the farmer dave / jenny lewis show at the cradle. I don’t quite get the jenny lewis appeal. there are a few nice songs but I don’t see why that should translate to a packed house of 19-year-old girls. had a chat with the buyolympia guys on the phone — will be going back to portland to have a meeting in late june. met up with them on june 30 — a 2 hour job interview is a good sign!
JULY… Stayed with my old pal Jeanne around the Alberta area this time. Super hot in Portland but none of that NYC smell or East Coast toxic humidity. I get a job offer — yes, I do feel lucky! — and find an apartment very fast in NE. See the John Dillinger movie and then fly to NYC on July 4, which goes remarkably smooth. arrive in NY and go straight to Paul Lukas’s bbq, where I see Claudia, Brenden, Robert Vickers and Tim from Ajax! We pick up John Woo and go to Molly’s and watch fireworks on the rooftop, the fireworks were far away but it was one of the most beautiful NY twilights in memory.
Next day I saw Coraline the Stephin Merritt penned musical at the Lucille Lortel Theater on Christopher Street and love the music and toy piano display onstage. The next night we had an evening in honor of my dear late friend Spencer Gates, one year after she lost her battle with breast cancer. Did some things related to the Stephin Merritt documentary, ate at Angelica and S’Nice numerous times natch, saw the Avedon fashion photography show at the ICP, ate delish vegan ice cream with Dudley, and did way too much eating and talking like I always do in NYC. That documentary is taking shape! I hope it isn’t long now before people can see it.
Back in NC in time for Merge XX Fest, a veritable college reunion of indie rock. I was in the middle of packing boxes to move to Portland, so I did miss some things thanks to sheer exhaustion, but I did witness The Magnetic Fields (who were attacked by a giant palmetto bug onstage), The Clientele (who played some stunning stuff from their forthcoming LP), Versus (with Edward “The Pacific Ocean” Baluyut back on drums) and Margaret White guesting, M Ward (who was a little too rockin’ and cover-heavy — not the right covers — pour moi), Destroyer (big hair!), She & Him (nice wardrobe, lovely venue), Mark Eitzel (now a bear!), and some others… It was just superfun to see the whole gang there to chat with — Dawn and Josh, Kurt Wagner, FM Cornog, Mac and Andrea (who introduced me to Tabitha Soren), Laura, Martin, Phil Morrison, just like old times and just as sweaty and bug-filled as any summertime NC Merge fest… and there was nothing but good eats every night that week too — from the Lantern, Med Deli, Carrburritos — if only I appreciated the Triangle as much as it deserves…I will miss it, esp. those munchkins.
Arrived in Portland on July 28, when it happened to be a record-blasting 107 degrees F. WTF. It’s a crazy emotional week (Olive, RIP), my pal Carrie is about to move to NYC(!), there are multiple trips to ikea, fred meyer, and every vintage furniture store on Hawthorne. Also got to attend a screening of Some Days Are Better Than Others, a new and very Portlandy film starring Carrie Brownstein and James Mercer and a few other familiar faces — that was really fun.
AUGUST… And so here I am, in Portland, getting ready to open a buyolympia.com retail store and art gallery (see our first press here) and basically just beginning to get to know Portland! So far I am getting to know my new coworkers pat and aaron and bennet; I had dinner with rose and jen (a.k.a. the softies) — rose is about to tour and release a new quiet one on k records; I went to see joe pernice do some songs and read from novel at doug fir, where, with any luck, I will be hosting some chickfactor festivals in the next year or two. I also finally met fellow zine nerd tim hinely from dagger, who has just published a new print issue. pack up your guitars and head this way!
okay. so I went to portland for a fortnight at the end of may and I asked around about jobs and stuff and just when it seemed I wasn’t going to be able to even get a job at whole foods, a few of my friends said that buyolympia.com (home to some of our most treasured artist-designers such as nikki mcclure, tae won yu, stella marrs, etc.) might be looking for someone to help their ever-expanding online store and multifaceted business. I wrote ’em a letter! and voila, I have been hired by them and am moving to portland in august. I adore portland and the only thing holding me back from moving there before was its non-proximity to new york, london, washington, d.c. and the NC triangle — the places I must return to often these days. but I am excited to be moving somewhere with great coffee, vegan/vegetarian snacks, $3 movies, slow living, public transport, bike-friendliness, cool summers, a great music scene, my fab new employer and on and on and on. buyolympia.com is on the verge of opening a retail store and gallery space in their north mississippi avenue warehouse, where they also have a large parking lot ripe for ace events like jumble sales, little gigs, flea market parties and craft fairs. anyway, on another note, the magnetic fields documentary is plugging along and *may be* close to being viewer ready — if anyone is friends with someone at sxsw film fest or sundance or another film fest programming office, do tell. see you portlanders in portland soon! (and you non-portlanders please do visit — we can sing karaoke and drink G&Ts at the alibi (pictured), the most perfectly signed tiki bar ever.
america loves a funeral, especially when it’s a dead celebrity. you don’t get much more celebrated than michael jackson, huh. the aftermath of his homicide or whatever it was is pretty hard to avoid, stomach and witness. latoya, please! is there not an ounce of dignity in your surgically altered being? I guess not. the whole thing is just silly. yeah, there were some good pop songs, but probably not as many as ellie wrote! and he didn’t even write most of them. anyway, the most sensible thing we’ve seen written was by our old pal and boss from the washington city paper, mark jenkins. on another note, watching the slow, sad, painful disintegration of the alternative weekly has been pretty hard to take. those papers had a huge influence on me as a young fanzine editor in the making, and I really wish things were in better shape so they could all buy themselves back from whoever owns them now. that said, and after reading things like this, it is pretty clear that replacing mark jenkins as critic at the washington city paper with a gaggle of cheaper youngsters really wasn’t very bright.
the photo here of the clientele (in their natural habitat: a crumbling and ancient drinking establishment) is from 2005 and it is not supposed to look like that. the normal version doesn’t have this psychedelic sheen but I figured, hey, it’s the clientele, at that old pub near chancery lane — what’s it called guys? anyway. it’s no secret that the clientele are one of our fave bands ever here at cf, ever since we discovered them in 1999. we’re really looking forward to their new album titled bonfires on the heath (read the merge blog here) and we’re also hoping that this is the one album that makes the whole united kingdom sit up and take notice that they have this awesomest of all bands living in their midst, instead of bleddy ignoring them and praising instead idjits like lady gaga, keane and other tedious musical fare.
photograph: gail o’hara, london, 2005