CF*2012: for the love of pop!


chickfactor beermats: designed, typeset and printed by hand on a letterpress by Tim Hopkins at the Half Pint Press

The magic starts in just a few weeks and we can hardly wait. Just look at these lineups! And the audience will be pretty special too.

Fri April 6 at Artisphere, Arlington, VA: The Pines + Dot Dash + Honey Bunch + Stevie Jackson + Frankie Rose! Tickets

Sat April 7 at Artisphere, Arlington, VA: Black Tambourine + Lilys + Fan Modine + Lorelei + Special Guest Tickets

Sun April 8: CF editor will be on WFMU with the awesome Gaylord Fields from 5-7pm EST, ticket giveaways may occur!

Mon April 9 at Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ: Black Tambourine + Fan Modine + Rose Melberg + Special Guest Tickets here, also at Other Music & Tunes Hoboken

Tues April 10 at Bell House, Brooklyn, NY: Black Tambourine + Small Factory + Versus + The Lois Plus + Some special guests (Sold out but keep an eye here for people selling)

Wed April 11 at Bell House, Brooklyn, NY: The Aislers Set + Pipas + The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group + Bridget St John + Special guests (Sold out online but Other Music had 17 left as of yesterday)

Thurs April 12 at Bell House, Brooklyn, NY: Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian) + Honey Bunch+ The Softies + The Pines + Special guests Tickets here & Other Music

Wed May 30 at Bunk Bar, Portland, OR: Joe Pernice + The Softies + Lois + Selector Dub Narcotic Tickets here

We are planning to have a party like it’s 1992: we challenge you to put your cell phones away for the entire night!

chickfactor 2012: for the love of pop update!

Wow, thanks for the enthusiastic response, pop kids! We, too, cannot wait for these shows to happen.

Here’s the ticket link for the D.C. shows on April 6 & 7 featuring Black Tambourine, Lilys, Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Lorelei, Dot Dash, Honey Bunch and Fan Modine!

There are also still tickets for the April 11 show in Brooklyn, NY (The Aislers Set! Pipas! The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group! Bridget St John! Special guests!)

and the April 12 show in Brookyn, NY (Stevie Jackson! From Belle and Sebastian! Honey Bunch! The Softies! The Pines! Special guests! *please note A Girl Called Eddy had to cancel due to recording dates)

We are looking into setting up shows in London and the West Coast (work with me, Portland!) and there will be *one more* East Coast announcement sometime this month.

Black Tambourine (Mike! Pam! Brian! Archie!) photo by Tae Won Yu.

cf 2012: for the love of pop

chickfactor will celebrate its 20-year anniversary with five blissful nights of sparkling indie pop on the Northeast Corridor of the USA (three in NY; two in DC) including the first shows in years by Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Pipas, The Aislers Set, The Pines, The Softies, The Lois Plus, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group and Fan Modine and rare performances from such pop luminaries as Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian), Frankie Rose, Lilys, Lorelei, Dot Dash, Versus, Bridget St John and Honey Bunch.

chickfactor started in 1992 in D.C. and New York by pop-loving maniacs Pam Berry and Gail O’Hara, who used to travel up and down the East Coast seeing Small Factory, Honey Bunch, the Wedding Present and any other fine indie-pop bands of the era. We are spoiled silly and lucky as all get-out to be able to present this super-stellar line-up. Get your ticket fast, do not dilly-dally!

Black Tambourine at the Spiral in NYC, 1991, photo by Tae Won Yu

April 6 & 7 at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia


(excellent guitarist-singer in Belle & Sebastian, the one who wrote a tune called “chickfactor,” natch. Mr Jackson has a new solo release titled “(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson”; on the cover of chickfactor #12 with Janet Weiss)

(Bay Area pop wunderkind and former member of Vivian Girls / Crystal Stilts, on Slumberland’s roster)

(early Slumberland act featuring super-talented Velvet Crush fella Jeffrey Underhill; interviewed in chickfactor #11)

(awesome D.C. pop group featuring Terry Banks of Tree Fort Angst, Saturday People and glo-worm; featured in chickfactor #15)



(legendary D.C. noise-pop group starring chickfactor co-founder Pam Berry, Slumberland boss Mike Schulman, Brian Nelson and Archie Moore from Velocity Girl, among many other bands; they have not performed live since 1991!!)

(early Slumberland genius songwriter Kurt Heasley is back for this special D.C. reunion festival)

(NC via NYC ace songcrafter Gordon Zacharias)

(early Slumberland D.C. powerhouse act featuring Matt Dingee, Stephen Gardner and Davis White)

Frankie Rose…photo by Lauren Bilanko.

+   +   +   +   +   +

Small Factory photo by Lydia Vanderloo.

Jen and Rose are the Softies!

The mighty Versus. Photo by Michael Galinsky.



April 10, 11, 12 at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York (first night sold out; tix still available for other two)

Awesome special guests on each night as well!



(legendary D.C. noise-pop group starring chickfactor co-founder Pam Berry, Slumberland boss Mike Schulman, Brian Nelson and Archie Moore from Velocity Girl, among many other bands; they have not performed live since 1991!!)

(first show since 1995 by the amazing Providence, RI pop group featuring Dave Auchenbach, Alex Kemp and Phoebe Summersquash, cover girl of chickfactor #1)

(smoking hot NYC trio back to the lean, clean lineup of suave brothers Edward and Richard Baluyut and the one and only Fontaine Toups, cover girl of chickfactor #6)

(erudite Olympia singer-songwriter Lois Maffeo will play with Heavenly / Talulah Gosh / Would-Be-Goods guitarist Peter Momtchiloff; this is their first show together since 1997; Lois shared the cover of chickfactor #5 with Rebecca Spinane; Momtch in chickfactor #2)



(seminal Spectorific Bay Area pop combo led by Linton, interviewed in / cover of chickfactor #13; first show since 2003)

(unmissable London-Brooklyn electropop duo Mark Powell and Lupe Nunez-Fernandez will play their first show since 2008; interviewed in chickfactor #14)

(legendary British folk-pop artist whose early recordings were released by John Peel, who basically started a label for her; interviewed in chickfactor #12)

(Minneapolis jazz-pop god will play in NY for the first time since 2002 with Emily Ruiz, Charlotte Crabtree and Alison Labonne; interviewed in chickfactor #9)



(excellent guitarist-singer in Belle & Sebastian, the one who wrote a tune called “chickfactor,” natch. Mr Jackson has a new solo release titled “(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson”; interviewed in chickfactor #12)

(early Slumberland act featuring super-talented Velvet Crush fella Jeffrey Underhill; interviewed in chickfactor #11)

(SE London folk duo featuring CF co-founder/Black Tambourine singer Pam Berry and Joe Brooker)

(super-soft ultra-pop duo Rose Melberg and Jen Sbragia’s first show since 2000; Tiger Trap and All Girl Summer Fun Band featured in chickfactor #4 and #15)

BROOKLYN: Three-day pass $70. Single tickets $25 in advance, $27 at the door.


The Pines!

The Aislers Set

A not-too-recent pic of Honey Bunch!

The Legendary Jim Ruiz!

Stevie Jackson setting an example for the kids

Bridget St John…

Dot Dash!

Gordon Zacharias, aka Fan Modine!

The Lois Plus (that would be Lois Maffeo and Peter Momtchiloff!)


Thanks to Other Music, Bell House, Slumberland RecordsWFMU!

Follow us on this silly thing or that silly thing.

This event is dedicated to the memory of George GelestinoTrish KeenanKirsty MacCollMary Hansen and Spencer Gates.

Stay tuned.

We are celebrating our 20th anniversary, regardless of our long bouts of inactivity, in 2012.

Washington, D.C. April 6 & 7

Brooklyn, NY April 10, 11, 12

Trust me, if you love pop as much as we do, you will want to be in those places.

Hopefully we’ll be doing parties in London, LA, SF, Portland too.

Insanely ridiculously exciting line-ups of bands TBA soon.

News of the Gedge.

chickfactor had the pleasure of dining with David Gedge of the fantabulous Wedding Present and his family at the delectable deli Kenny & Zukes in Portland, Oregon, this week. We are more than a little excited about TWP’s spring tour in which they will be performing all of the perfect Steve Albini-produced album Seamonsters for the kids.  This album (and this song that I love) takes us way back to 1991 when we were roadtripping it north with Pam and the gang, going to Pier Platters and Maxwell’s and buying lots of records and playing this one over and over. In case you were unaware, we started chickfactor fanzine because of TWP frontman Mr. Gedge! Anyway, according to his Scopitones site, TWP will be Seamonstering in North America and Japan in March and April and playing it in Europe/The UK Sept-Nov. We look forward to attending more than one of these concerts. Also there is a new TWP fan club thingie called Club 8 — details here.

pdx: bob stanley pop quiz!

I don’t really have to babble on about missing London these days. London knows how much I miss it! As do New York, D.C., NC, LA, SF and the folks in those places. I am very happy that London has decided to send its (unofficial) mayor and one of its finest advocates and citizens out here to Portland, Oregon, to check up on me. That’s right, folks. We are lucky to be able to announce this event for the PDX pop kids…

chickfactor is super-excited to present…


and a screening of FINISTERRE, the gorgeous film about the delovely city of London made by Paul Kelly and Kieran Evans

Watch the Finisterre trailer
About Finisterre (from the Plexi website)…

London has always been a source of influence, inspiration and curiosity. Paul Kelly and Kieran Evans’ FINISTERRE tries to identify the dreams that London holds for so many, and the reality of the city — the spaces between the landmarks, the spaces Londoners inhabit.

Presented and scored by Saint Etienne, the film takes us on a journey from the suburbs into the heart of the city over an imaginary 24 hours. Along the way we hear from characters that have influenced or been a part of the Saint Etienne story. FINISTERRE features the observations and reminiscences of Lawrence from Felt/Denim, Mark Perry, the editor of original punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue, as well as Vic Godard from Subway Sect and artist Julian Opie, folk singer Vashti Bunyan, London-centric author Shena Mackay, and Nick Sanderson from Earl Brutus. Through the interviews and imagery we see London from an insider’s perspective. The result is a hymn to London, and an extraordinary record of the city today.

“Enraptured by the possibilities the city offers for creating exhilarating forms of social and cultural life… FINISTERRE should serve as an inspiration to London Lovers everywhere.”
-Sight & Sound

“Beauty, pathos, magic — FINISTERRE, like the city it chronicles so lovingly, has it all.”
-The Telegraph

**** [four stars] “A feature-length love letter to a pop-art metropolis. The camera’s unequivocally seduced by the dazzle and the drizzle of the wonderland.”

One of the most important groups to emerge from Britain in the early 1990s, Saint Etienne first turned the music scene back to the pop aesthetic of the ’60s, combining it with danceable club beats. In 1990, they released their debut single, a cover of Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, which became a massive club hit, priming fans for the 1992 debut album, “Fox Base Alpha”. The album was a hit and several other singles followed. They have subsequently gone on to release over ten albums. Their latest, “Tales from Turnpike House”, was recently released in the UK by Sanctuary Records.
There will be some kinda prize(s) for pop know-it-alls, to be sure. It’s all happening at Beulahland on Thursday, October 6 at 7pm!

cf in music video, salon.

Greetings, chickfactor readers! We hope to have an update soon about the chickfactor 2012 shows we are planning. So far we believe that the NY & DC shows will be in first half of April 2012, and London will be on the agenda. Also hoping to do something in Chicago, LA, SF, PDX, we’ll see. Cofounder Pam Berry needs to be there, it all depends on her.
Meanwhile, I have a cameo in the above awesome rawk video, which was directed by Tom Scharpling and I’m sure you’ve seen but there you go.
I also started writing for Salon recently. My first chickfactor poll is here and my interview with the Wild Flags is here. Enjoy.


from chickfactor #15: an interview with nikki mcclure

nikki is an inspiration—a renaissance woman, a jane of all trades. she took the time out of her busy schedule of art, gardening, cooking, making music, nature-watching, and everything else, to answer some questions.

interview by dawn, photo by gail (nikki with cynthia connolly at ladyfest 2000; interview originally appeared in cf#15, 2002)

cf: describe your art.
nikki mcclure: I primarily make papercuts. I cut images from paper using my trusty x-acto knife with a box of fresh sharp blades nearby. I then reproduce the pictures with offset or letterpresses for the masses. the original artwork is sculptural though. at first people think that they are woodblock prints, but when they get real close they see that the paper has been carved like lace. they are 3-d and 2-d at the same time.
cf: describe the process of making your cuts/prints.
nikki: I sketch out ideas working from tiny postage stamp/thumbnail sketches to larger and more definitive drawings. my sketches are usually pretty rough. I save the details for when I am working with the paper. I then draw a new sketch onto black paper with pencil and start cutting. I leave a lot up to chance; making mistakes and fixing them is an important part of my process. the choice of light or dark is of the moment.
cf: how did you get into paper cuts?
nikki: one day I was working with scratchboard and was not getting the look that I wanted and tae won yu was sitting nearby and said, “why don’t you try cutting it out of paper?” I did. it turned out the way I had imagined and it felt good to boot. it really satisfies me.
cf: what is the tradition of paper cuts?
nikki: it has been around since the invention of paper. there are early chinese papercuts that look like snowflakes progressing towards modern cuts that are giant sized and detailed. there is a history of papercutting in mexico, poland, germany, japan, and there is also a jewish tradition. we all have made snowflakes. there is a guild of american papercutters even.
cf: where do you get the inspirations for your books/art pieces?
from living adventures and from happiness. nature, gardens, people working together, swimming in anacortes, new york city, water, the walk home, the morning light, love, those moments where time doesn’t matter, watching birds fly.
cf: did you do a birding map? (I think I read this online) if so, who was it for and why? (can you also describe it?)
nikki: I think you are referring to a guidebook to the birds of east bay (olympia) that I illustrated. I have made maps with birds on them, but they are not necessarily birding maps.
cf: is birding a hobby that inspired your punk rock nature walks during yo-yo a go-go?
nikki: yes. but I am not a hardcore birder by any means, so it really isn’t a hobby. I did bring binoculars with me camping this week and I did get a guide to birds in japan at a garage sale last week…plants and insects are hobbies as well. it’s the whole of the forest and wanting to share some of its secrets that inspired the walks. plus, I wanted to get the punks out into nature.
cf: you taught a letterpress class at the oly ladyfest. do you teach this often? what do you like about the letterpress? do you use it in your work?
nikki: yes. I am eager to share the resources that are at community print with the community. I think it is magic to print and want others to be able to print whatever they want without censorship and by the power of their own hands. therefore, I share more than teach. letterpress is full of mistakes (for me) and I like that. I print text for different things, make posters, an occasional book, and I always wish I had more time to print. I also would love to get a vandercook letterpress. if there is anyone out there who knows where I can get one, please let me know!
cf: what other types of art do you do?
nikki: I print, make a monoprint every so often, draw, watercolor on vacations, and I want to learn how to build things from my woodworking husband.
cf: do you consider your house art? please describe it.
nikki: the garden is always art, even in the winter as the iris seedpods gray. right now it is full of red poppies ringing the baby apple trees; their seeds brought in from the compost. the garden is constantly growing, changing, and more and more lawn is being removed. inside it is looking more like an art gallery with rotating exhibits of friend’s artwork. right now there is work by jean smith, khaela maricich, tae won yu, kanako wynkoop, mal pina chan, katie baldwin, and amber bell. the last issue of nest [magazine] also made me throw out a chair and plan an improved entryway. the kitchen is waiting for cork flooring and the garage is in need of a vandercook to go with the windows salvaged from a cabin on mt. rainier. the house is a 1922 bungalow. wood everywhere and wide open floor plan. (I have yoga class at my house.) I have never been anywhere like it.
cf: what piece of art that you’ve made are you most proud of?
nikki: oh this one’s hard. pride. there are my favorites, of course, but pride is something different. I just made a picture for my 2003 calendar that I am proud of. it was hard. I challenged myself and all it is a man in a field with another figure approaching with a bucket of water. but it is the bucket and how the shadow falls on the water that is what I am proud of. I am proud of pieces, of line width and subtle curves, of hands held right, and water dripping into circles.
cf: when you make art, do you have a specific audience in mind? gail says your art appeals to toddlers. can you explain this?
nikki: my audience usually is me first. I make work to make myself feel good, for the most part. not every picture is a joy, some are work, or rather work, as I make pictures for a client with a picture already in their mind. my book about chickens appeals to the toddler set. they love it. it becomes their favorite book. black and white, find the chickens, what’s going to happen next? pretty suspenseful stuff to a 2-year-old. another audience is everyone’s mothers. and yet another audience are lovers, mine and yours.
cf: does your art support you? if so, in what way—commissioned jobs or selling our work?
nikki: I make art and the art supports me. I sell the original papercuts of all my books and calendars. I have art shows, collaborate on making lamps and furniture with jay t. scott (my husband). I also make the calendars and books as a way for more people to enjoy my art. rather than relying on sales of originals, I can sell the reprints affordably. I also do commissions, logos, illustrations, k2 snowboards for 2003, teach art at schools, trade art for veggies…
I try to do more art from the heart than from assignments. I find that the self-inspired art is the art that supports me the most—financially as well as spiritually. but it is good to do jobs for other people: it is nice to not always have to make up new, brilliant ideas; it is good to not work alone all the time and to develop sketches with a client; and work makes more work.
cf: do you have any non-art jobs?
nikki: at present, no. I have worked doing bird surveys, a year at dept. of ecology, substitute teaching, waitressing. but these are all becoming historical notations. I need to clean out my car, oh and do bookkeeping! that’s work.
cf: what is your involvement with tell me how it came about. is it successful?
nikki: is pat castaldo and aaron tuller and artists/makers in olympia. pat is an old friend of mine. he is a master of computer graphics and I work with him on all my projects. so one day he tells me about his dream of selling olympia wares online. it sounded too good to be true, though I was a bit skeptical that people would find out about it. but buyolympia has done well. they advertise, link to the indie web, work all night mailing out everything during the holidays, call the artists to keep everything in stock, support and encourage new work, and people from sweden can not only buy a book and some olympia honey, but contact me to be in an art show.
cf: I hear your studio is a collective. who else belongs?
nikki: the studios are a community of working artists and members of a self-made economy. stella marrs operates her worldwide card empire; amber bell makes books and quilts and studies to be teacher; lucas gray cartoons; rebecca pearcy makes queen bee necessities (though she moves soon for portland); k records stays abreast of the underground music scene; khaela maricich paints and plans operas; phil elvrum orchestrates the microphones; people drop by to silk screen, sing, say hi, take tours, deliver the mail. then there is community print, add al and cypress and ariana to the mix and some salvaged presses and type and boxes of paper and you have a collective of printers. we took a show called 508 legion way to space 1026 in philadelphia this past march.
cf: where have you shown your artwork? will you have a show in nyc?
nikki: I have shown my work in olympia, seattle, portland, toronto, philly, sweden, tokyo, and kyoto. I would love to show in new york, but how and when require some work.
cf: why do you think that crafting is such a big trend right now? can we blame martha stewart?
nikki: sure, she can be part of the blame. but I think she should be blamed for encouraging classist consumerism instead. the trend to make crafts is due to the lack of using our hands to make work. sure we may type all day on these computers, but nothing real and tangible is being made by pressing all those keys. knitting, crossing sticks and pulling yarn into knots, row after row to make something warm is real work. folding paper and threading needle to sew up a book, make the hands work. crafting is handiwork. our neurons crave it.
cf: who are your favorite artists right now?
nikki: mecca normal
cf: who are your favorite musicians right now?
nikki: mecca normal
cf: do you still make music? perform?
nikki: yes, though pictures are my primary form of expression. I sang in tokyo in february and will perform at the what the heck fest in anacortes in july. I haven’t given it up, but I have less desire.
cf: what are some of your other hobbies? okay, more specifically, do you cook? if so, what and how? what’s your favorite dish to cook? hobbies?
nikki: camping, gardening, foraging, gleaning, and cooking, sure, but it seems too necessary for survival to be merely a hobby. I made cherry pies the other night for a camping trip. the tree at the abandoned house a few doors down called to me like a siren with her cascading red cherries. so jay t. and I got some ladders and filled up a bucket in 15 minutes. pitted with sugar and tapioca, crust made with ice cubes in water and cold butter cut into flour with two knives like my grandma taught me. wrap up the finished pies in parchment, pack them in a box with care, and then carry them in your backpack to a lake in old growth forest. eat them around a campfire and you are set.
cf: I hear you play soccer. on your own for fun, or in a league?
nikki: my mom signed me up for soccer in the 2nd grade and I cried, “but that’s a boys sport!” I have played ever since. my women’s team is called the sharks. I play sweeper/stopper (a defensive midfielder, defensive offense/offensive defense); I have been battling with injuries lately ever since I got kicked in the ankle playing co-ed. I dream about soccer all the time though.
cf: what’s the best thing about living in olympia? the worst?
nikki: the best is the abandoned blueberry farm where you crawl under the bushes or walk on top all crouching dragon style and fill your buckets with blue. the worst…I don’t want to tell. cf

nikki’s first major museum retrospective just opened at the museum of contemporary craft in portland, oregon.