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‘It kicks ass to still be around’: X’s John Doe and Exene Cervenka on song origins, LA punk and their new book

X, an original 1977-era punk band, has remained one of my all-time favorites for decades, but I never got to see them until a recent show at the Pageant Theater in St. Louis. It was fitting to watch X in Missouri, the setting for Road House — the craptastic Patrick Swayze vehicle that featured X co-founder (and actor) John Doe. […]

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Damon & Naomi, high school sweethearts turned alt-rock duo, hit the road again

Damon & Naomi’s career arc has all the makings of an indie rock jukebox musical. Think Jersey Boys meets Samuel Beckett, starring bassist Naomi Yang and drummer Damon Krukowski as post-punk New Yorkers who fall in love and become the rhythm section of a beloved band. Success for these children of immigrants turns bittersweet after […]

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Guerilla Toss on their chaotic origin story and psychedelic new album, ahead of Mission Creek

For a band that creates frenetic, rhythm-charged, psychedelic music, Guerilla Toss’s absurd origin story is perfectly on-brand. Back when Kassie Carlson first crossed paths with the group at a DIY basement venue named the Smokey Bear Cave, they initially had a saxophonist instead of a vocalist. Meanwhile, she was singing in a hardcore band […]

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Must-see acts every day of Mission Creek Festival 2019

I often suffer from option paralysis when attending music festivals. But the wonderful thing about Mission Creek is the way it has been carefully curated by the programmers, ensuring that you can have eye- and ear-opening experiences just blindly walking from venue to venue. Still, it helps to have some kind of exploratory roadmap. With […]

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From Judy! to Tom Tomorrow, Iowa City’s ‘revolutionary’ zine scene flourished out of Zephyr Copies

“Sometime during the early 1980s,” intermedia artist Lloyd Dunn recalled, “a number of people in many different places suddenly understood that they could afford to become publishers, as photocopy shops began to appear in cities around the world.” In the years before the internet, artists, outsiders and other weirdos connected with each other through a […]

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Book excerpt: The Fugs’ Ed Sanders incites a indie media revolution with his zine ‘Fuck You’

Ed Sanders grew up in western Missouri, in the small farm town of Blue Springs. After briefly attending the University of Missouri, he hitchhiked to the East Coast in 1958 to attend New York University. “I soon was enmeshed in the culture of the Beats,” Sanders recalled in his memoir, Fug You, “as found in Greenwich Village bookstores, in the poetry readings in coffeehouses on MacDougal Street, in New York City art and jazz, and in the milieu of pot and counterculture that was rising.” He also began volunteering at the Catholic Worker, a newspaper founded by activist Dorothy Day that was dedicated to social justice. […]

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Richard Hell’s New York City

Richard Meyers landed on New York City’s Lower East Side in late 1966. Within a few years he had reinvented himself as Richard Hell and transitioned from poetry to punk rock. This blending of art forms was not unusual among the residents of the city’s dilapidated downtown neighborhoods, a topic that he and writer, photographer and actress Lisa Jane Persky will discuss during Making a Scene: A Conversation About Downtown New York City, a free event that I will moderate at the Englert Theatre during the Witching Hour Festival.
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A true history of fake news: Unicorns on the moon

Part two of two. Read part one: A true history of fake news: The many identities of Benjamin Franklin The 2016 U.S. presidential election season unleashed new anxieties about “fake news” and other slippery forms of propaganda that have been enabled by our newfangled social media. However, media manipulation has a long history — one […]

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Built to Spill, Mission Creek Festival headliner, is as chill as ever

Everything about singer-guitarist Doug Martsch and his longtime band is unassuming and undramatic — from the two decades of major-label albums they’ve steadily released as the music industry collapsed around them to the lilting melodies and long, winding solos that weep gently from Martsch’s guitar. […]

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Prairie Pop: Former Angels of Light reminisce about the influence of their brother and son Hibiscus

Before George Harris III became Hibiscus and founded the genderfluid theater troupe the Cockettes, he put on shows with his family in Florida during the early 1960s. The oldest of six siblings — three girls and three boys, sort of an avant-garde Brady Bunch — George formed the El Dorado Players, named after the street they lived on in Clearwater, Florida.

“Hibiscus had real leadership qualities,” his youngest sister Mary Lou said. “He came out of the womb as the grand marshal. He was just like the leader of the parade — tons of ideas. ‘Let’s get it rolling. Let’s not even think!’” […]

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Prairie Pop: NPR’s Codrescu breaks down Dadaism’s ongoing influence

Andrei Codrescu: Documenting Dada/Disseminating Dada Shambaugh Auditorium — Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. Dada was a volatile artistic, social and political movement that exploded in 1916 from the Zürich club Cabaret Voltaire, creating reverberations that can still be felt today. Its fuse was lit by refugees from World War One who decamped to Switzerland, […]

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Prairie Pop: Bibbe Hansen’s rebellious history and dynamic legacy

A single family’s artistic DNA can sometimes leave traces on the genetic makeup of the broader culture. Bibbe Hansen’s familial history, for example, also doubles as a survey of modern American bohemia and popular culture. It spans time and space, encompassing the 1950s Beatnik era and the present, New York and Los Angeles, Happenings and […]

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