Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekend of change, dammit

Let's start at the beginning. Friday was my last day of work at Anonymous Law Firm LLP and frankly, I knew it would be sad, but I was unprepared for just how hard it would hit me. I'd been there eleven years, and that's a lot of time to have spent one third of one's weekday life. I actually liked the people i worked with, dammit. But it was time to move on. I'm not really going to be in IT so much anymore. I'm moving to creative services, and it's a whole different world.

Part of the transition was immediate. The Cream City Photogs had our opening at the Art Bar Friday night. You can probably tell I'm in such a flux over this transition that I didn't have much of a chance to promote it here, but we're at the Art Bar through March 13, and a majority of the work is stuff that hasn't been hung physically by us before, or even shown on Flickr, so if I do say so myself, it's worth heading out to Riverwest to catch a few of Don's excellent beer selection, play a game of Beer Bong Bingo and look at my art, dammit.

Saturday afternoon myself and Miss Dawn loaded up the cars and took our Girl Scout troop to the Al McGuire center to watch the Marquette Women's hoops team absolutely trounce Seton Hall. I'll write more in detail about this game after the troop meets tomorrow; I think it will be more fun to read after I get the post game thoughts from the girls. Especially since part of the reason we went was for a badge (about sports appreciation) and one of the things the girls are supposed to do is compare and contrast how women's sports are compared to men's sports. Should I point out to the girls that even though the MU women aren't ranked, a blowout like this probably warranted a bit more than J-S page 9 and a lede graf about their damn haircuts? Sheesh, that sounds like something I'd lede with, not a professional sportswriter. (see, anonymous commenter? I'm NOT trying to be something I'm not! Bronx cheer to you!) Compare that with the fact that the Bucks aren't exactly ranked (or the pro equivalent of being ranked) either, but Michael Redd so much as farts in our general direction and the Bucks get front page. OK, off the soapbox. But expect me to comment tomorrow night on the excellent free throw and 3-point percentage the Golden Eagles posted, coupled with one of their largest turnout crowds. (OK, part of that was probably due to Girl Scout Day, and a women and girls health fair that was about.)

But if ever i needed something to transition me from law firm to creative, hoo boy, Keno-Core was it. I was pooped from the game (supervising a troop of 2nd through 6th graders is exhausting!) so Brian and I didn't get to see more than two bands, but basically, two bands was all we needed. Keno-Core packs a short, but effective punch, as does all good hardcore punk. I've written abut Keno-Core before and it's a great little scene. The two bands we caught were BB Slags, featuring the infamous and legendary Beautiful Bert. OK, I probably missed it when he did his obligatory dropping of the trou. Old news. Is there anybody in SE Wisconsin who hasn't see Bert drop trou? And it's not even obscene, because Bert has enough flesh to ensure that nobody's going to see anything anyway. I think he's come to the point of, OK, let's get this out of the way straightaway so we can get on with the music.

And gettin on the with music he does. As usual, his band (this time around the Slags) is one of the tightest punk outfits I ever hope to see. Bert is still a showman, he still belts out great punk songs, and in his own way, he's a punk treasure whose reputation of grossness unfortunately detracts from the excellence of his band. Even if he didn't have his past stage antics (which will follow him to his dying day), a Bert show would still be worth the price of cover. I guess in the middle days of punk, after most punks had seen everything and done it twice, he had to come up with something shocking, to shock a crowd that's was born jaded.

Pistofficer was next, and man, they're good. By the time Bert was done, half the crowd was on the stage, milling about, sort of answering the question, "What if George Clinton was a malcontented white kid from Kenosha?" Because that's what the stage reminded me of -- the P Funk All Stars crammed up on stage, all taking turns singing or simply existing. Except half the people on stage were simply scensters. Pistofficer is a great band in and of themselves. They write the kind of deliciously snotty songs I love. "DUI" stood out for me, for its politically incorrect premise and horribly defiant chorus: "Yes, Sir, I've Been Drinking." Couple that with songs with titles/choruses like "What the Fuck!" (well, that's the verse, chorus, bridge, and everything, funnier than all heck when delivered by Pistofficer), and "The End of Our Rights." But these are sharp, intelligent, gloriously jaded punks whose attitude almost winks at you with a sense of agressive release that's also pretty damn fun.

The problem with Keno-core, though, is that outside of Kenosha, they don't seem to know how to market this package of theirs. A majority of the audience were people who made the trip from down south, and I head a few complaining that Milwaukee either doesn't have a punk scene or doesn't like Keno-Core (some even accusing the Milwaukee punks of being jealous.) Wrong on all counts. First, Milwaukee's punk scene is alive and kicking -- witness the punk show at the BayView VFW post a few weekends back. Brian dropped off our sitter there and he's here to tell you that there's a darn fine Milwaukee hardcore scene. Second, the reason there weren't a lot of people there was that, frankly, I only found out about this show by chance. There was a flyer, and that's it. I have plenty of Keno-Core bands amongst my myspace friends, but too many insist of clogging up bulletins with crap, so that I totally missed any posting about this actual show.

No, if you're going to have an all-day, all-ages show, Kenoshans, you need to have made arrangements to say, plug the show on 'MSE, made sure the local press knew about you coming, (CALL the Shepherd, etc.), and then, finally, lose the "everybody hates us" attitude that might even account for your stupid ass behavior that gives you a destructive reputation.

Case in point. Here's a report from Darrell "The Brains" Martin, who not only is a Bert fan (and now a Pistofficer fan), but he is in a special position to comment. Why? Because Da Brainz holds the custodial contract for the Miramar Theatre. That's right, kids, Da Brainz had to clean up after you! As Darrell might as well be a guest blogger, rather than try to deal with meta nested quotes, I'll just put his words in blue and mine in black again. So here's his account.

I was talking to this one kid in the lobby area, where the cigarette smoking was going on. He made a comment about my Hendrix T-Shirt and asked me if I'd actually seen him.

"April of '70 in the Auditorium," I replied.

"What's the Auditorium?" he asked, and he kept on asking questions about those old days. And then i told him how many shows I'd seen, and proceeded to tell the story of the first Bert show at Trash fest.

After you guys (V'ron and Brian) left, there was the usual stage diving,
[darrell renders this with an earned, "seen it all" voice] everybody getting up on stage and grabbing the mike, and then, Bert's buddy Pete started screaming into the mike and therew the mike stand down and then it broke. The show kept on going and mikes were coming off the stands, and people were singing and screming and hollering. But the sets went on really well.

But that's when Pete was getting accosted for doing things that he shouldn't be doing. [Miramar proprietor] Bill [Stace] put a stop to that quick and pulled him down.
[Seems "Pete" was attempting some inappropriate behavior with one of the girls, and that particular girl's father was there and none too happy about it, and decided to use fisticuffs to make his point.]

Then there was fake fighting outside between one of the girls. Bill broke that up, but they were just moshing, and then this one guy comes outside and starts going on about "why aren't Kenosha punks appreciated here? Milwaukee sucks..." Yeah, whatever. Bill calmed the kid down, but finally agreed to disagree. But he still kept mumbling and moaning about how Kenosha is Number 1 in punksville, blah blah blah, more music came on, and the crowd was getting smalller and the stage diving was getting more intense.

Then BAM, the show just ended 12:30 or so. I found out later that a bass guitar got ripped off from a Madison band, and bass amp head ripped off. Needless to say, nobody made any money. Bill paid everybody a few $$$. "My expenses are covered," Bill told Bert. "Mike stands are broken, mikes are broken."

And then I started to go to work.

Took me 3 hours just to get the back room and auditorium cleaned out. (I can clean everything for a regular show in about that time). I still have about 2 hours worth of work to do.


I don't think we'll see Keno-core in Milwaukee for awhile. Shame, too. They've got a great package there; too bad they don't know how to use it. Dammit.

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