postmodern tucson

Friday, March 24, 2006

oh, dick... let's do it again sometime: a tragic missed connection

Speaking of demanding hotel stays, our beloved Dick Cheney was in town yesterday, speaking at a $500-a-plate Republican fundraiser for Arizona senator Jon Kyl. Apparently he didn't spend a night at the Westin La Paloma Resort, where the fundraiser was held... the veep was only in town for a few hours. Understandably, a great deal of Cheney's time was spent shuttling between La Paloma and Davis-Monthan AFB, where, naturally, Air Force One was parked.

As if that weren't exciting enough for postmodern tucson, it gets better.

'Missed connections,' arguably the greatest feature of the already fabulous craigslist, takes public interaction (or lack thereof) to new heights. 'Missed connections' is a bulletin board of just that-- missed possibilities for local human interaction. Catch a hot little number down at Congress last weekend? Anti-semitic cowboy tickle your fancy at the Borat Bar? Too shy to speak up? 'Missed connections' entertains the possibility of getting a second chance for communication. Granted, the idea of a second chance happening is slim at best-- the idea that a desparate invitation a la "you took my order at Beyond Bread... I was wearing a yellow t and pigtails... let's do coffee sometime!??" requires that that server is as desparate as you! So desparate, in fact, that he/she is wandering archived missed connections to see if someone "cared." Obviously, this oddly distanced form of interaction is largely one-way, and allows for a lot of role-playing and joking (and all around entertainment for many who read but choose not to post)... but there's nothing insincere about a posting I came across this morning. What can I say? He was only here for a few hours, but left a trail of broken hearts.

missed connection - dick cheney - m4m - 24
Reply to:
Date: 2006-03-24, 7:17AM MST

as i toted my spry little ass to work today, i was surprised when an officer of the law cut me off at the top of the entrance ramp. "to what do i owe the pleasure of your company this morning," i inquired. "it's cheney's motorcade... should be 'bout ten minutes." so there i sat, watching helicopters, motorcylces, trucks, etc, drive by.

in the midst of deep calculations of the cost of said motorcade (in addition to his fundraising trip at a five-star golf resort), i saw two armored limos approaching within the mass of flashing authority. i waved with my right hand, gawd blass america, and concurrently delivered, perhaps, the finest mid-digital salute i have ever performed with my left. if only one could put hand signs in a bold font...

we made eye contact.

i smiled and continued to wave emphatically with both hands.

you stared at me.

i stared back- you looked restless, ill, deceitful, opportunistic, pale, and wicked. i know there was a real connection there.

i waved more... you shifted your gorgeous, beady, lying eyes away, and likely ordered my death to your cronies.

a special magic hung in the morning air.

call me if you'd like to do it again sometime!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

strokes in mesa, for better or worse... but mostly better

No matter how bad Phoenix seems, there's always Mesa.

(Begin essentializing rant here:) Mesa is the epitome of the ugliness and wastefulness that is urban sprawl. It puts the San Fernando Valley to absolute shame. Once a modest town, Mesa is now a SuperWalmart-sized suburb which doubles as the second largest city in Arizona. It's a one-two punch of 'back to basics' middle America: Mesa boasts a legacy of religious conservatism (the town itself was founded by Mormon pioneers in the mid-19th century) and neo-nuclear families fresh off the latest white flight.

That said, apparently The Strokes prefer Mesa folk over those of us here in postmodern Tucson. Or maybe our music venues were overbooked for March 21. After all, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was playing Solar Culture on the same night. Maybe their booking agent was a little more ambitious. Or just a little more in tune with Tucson audiences.

I mean, let's face it... the Strokes could have easily sold out Tucson's largest (yet still refreshingly intimate) venues, either the Rialto Theatre or TCC Music Hall. Instead, the band parked at the Mesa Amphitheatre where they played their first US tour date that hasn't sold out. Let me put it this way: Amanda, Miguel and I arrived at the venue a half hour after doors open, and the parking lot is fucking empty. I could have thrown a rock (or Miguel) from my car to the security check-in.

All things considered, the Strokes' set was stellar. After waiting out a bunch of hot air from the Eagles of Death Metal, the boys stepped up and played that stage like it was the goddamn Fillmore. If it weren't for a rather stiff crowd, I'd consider it to be the best show I've seen them play... but nothing beats the energy a Bay Area audience.

The setlist went a little something like this:
You Only Live Once
Red Light
The End Has No End
Life's a Gas
I Can't Win
Heart In a Cage
Last Nite
Hard To Explain
Ize of the World
Trying Your Luck
Barely Legal
Ask Me Anything
Vision of Division

NYC Cops
Take It Or Leave It

First Impressions of Earth might not be the band's strongest album, but its work makes for the best live performaces. "Ize of the World" and "Vision of Division" were guitar-heavy, bar-none standouts, "You Only Live Once" a swooning kick-off, and the stripped-down simplicity of "Ask Me Anything" eerily emotional.

The band spiced things up with "Life's a Gas," a cover of the Ramones' later work, which was delivered flawlessly. Apparently the song is the B-side to the Strokes's second single off of FIOE, "Heart in a Cage."

I was definitely missing three key Strokes tracks here: "Alone, Together," "The Modern Age," and "15 Minutes," the latter possibly the best off of FIOE, but perhaps too difficult to pull off well live. Amanda was a little upset she didn't get "Razor Blade." In any event, we were hardly left unsatisfied.

I'll always have an obvious bias for the Strokes, but 5 years after the release of The Modern Age EP, the band is undeniably at their best. For one, Julian's sobered up, finally comfortable and grown into his place at the mic. But the longevity of the band as a whole has been most impressive. In 2001, the idea of the Strokes putting out a halfway-decent third album would have been incomprehensible. Now, in 2006, the other bands once credited for ushering in a new, supposed Rock revolution alongside the Strokes-- the Vines, the White Stripes (certainly debatable...), etc.-- have faded/and or if not already been deemed extinct. This can't be a coincidence.

Keep it coming, boys.

(More pics and vid coming soon, courtesy Miguel)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

note from the manager: power washing


Upstairs Residents:

Saturday morning beginning at 8:00 a.m. I will be doing some power washing. In particular I will be washing the screen doors. To do this I will open them, pressure wash it off, and let it dry for 10 minutes, then lock it back up.

(manager, Brentwood Apartments)

channeling the unremembered 70s

Davis, California, 2003: (L to R) yours truly, Asfala, Pablo "el Diablo"

Pablo just sent me this photo, an old gem from the Davis yearbook. While, for obvious reasons, this looks much more dated than it actually is, I think this was taken during my first visit back to Davis in the fall after my graduation. I had just started my MA at SUSE and was itching to bond with my dear old roommie Crepeville-style. I remember Pabs seeing Asfala walking by, across the street, and so I ran after her so that she could join in on the reunion. Thankfully I had my trusty disposable camera on me at the time, and as result our historic snapshot ensued.