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Fuck the Free World, 202

I just watched the Eminem movie on my HUGE NEW TV last night. I buy electronic devices about once every 20 years so this was my big soulkiss to modernity. Not to mention I finally embraced the digital age and dvd’d myself. I have consumed. I feel weird. More importantly, my companion noted that the badass rappers in the movie were drinking pbr. Eminim was a teensy-weensy bit adorable sometimes. Good family fun, a chance to grow and learn together, which is why owning a HUGE TV is so important. As always, Eminem made me thoughtful and reflective.


You may not know, but my town is known for nothing. Culturally speaking, it’s a no-go (except for go-go, yo). Seriously though, in terms of urban identity, dc is more like a figurehead—symbolically precious like the House of Windsor or Bill Clinton, yet in effect useless and silly. I love how when people say they were born and bred in dc, the response is, “Oh, where? Virginia?” In the roll-call of cultural centers, mark dc absent. Music? Theatre? Small galleries? Where? Not here. Not in abundance, I mean. There currently are some really plucky efforts going on about town to revitalize small performance/arts spaces which I am wholeheartedly behind.

ANYway, ranting along, it’s understandable why no artists live here. They can’t afford to. DC offers the city key ring only to the impoverished and the well-heeled. It’s kind of like America in microcosm that way. There’s no industry here, no jobs for the middle-class, and the working poor are barely hanging on by cobbling together 502 minimum wage gigs. The strange thing is that some factoid was issued this year about how dc topped hip hot spots (read: real cities) as a destination for young professionals. Go figure, right? But combine this with the recent census data that shows the city’s population has shrunk yet again this year, and you are left with a city full of the young, unmarried, and upwardly mobile. This is where the khaki pants, jockstraps, eager beaver interns, that hot conservative chick from your high level poli-sci class at BU, the kid who shot through the upper crust assembly line from prep-school through Yale like a greased hog, (slick with a nepotistic, unmerited oily sheen), through the hands of consequence—this is where they all come to grow up after gradumate skool and marry well. Shudder. At least after they breed, they leave.

Still. I stick up for it a lot. After all, it isn’t the city’s fault that it was designated one giant federal office park and left for dead. It is the only city with lots of free museums in it and its own license plate.

Which brings me to the only other thing dc is known for—youuu know; c’mon; don’t make me say it. Alright, alright. Dischord bands (esp. from the golden era of the mid-80’s) are deemed absolutely top shelf in this town. We’re talking primo quality, no questions asked. I’ve seen (ok) Fugazi more times than I can shake my commemorative Mayor Barry crack pipe at, but you know what? Sir Ian MacKaye is still a self-righteous punter. No matter, I can still represent for my town. There were some great acts to come out of the heyday of harDCore.

Notwithstanding, there’s nothing as underwhelming posthumous fame unless it’s an entire town with an acute case of nostalgia for days gone by. Suffering from contagion, I confess I have gone to see two revival shows in twice as many weeks. First was Soul Brains, the artists formerly known as Bad Brains. This band was a legend in its own time, I unfortunately being just young enough to miss out on the bulk of their legendary ascent as our own local pantheon. But I caught them live a couple of times and since music this good doesn’t have a shelf-date, continue to love them unabashedly. This show was not entirely unlike reconnecting with your high school sweetheart and wrapping your head around those few extra pounds and pictures of the kids and thinking ‘oh fuck, if that’s him, I must have changed in a similarly unflattering fashion.’ What? I don’t know. The show sucked, is what I am telling you, and I ran into people I LITERALLY hadn’t seen since hs and there was nary the requisite crowd of burly dudes in Abercrombie and Biyatch wear lurking by the bar that has somehow ensconced itself in the (suchasitis) hipster scene around here. And there was a mosh pit (which I haven’t seen since a time when I would’ve popped into it for a quick dose of sweaty, immediate humanity) that stood idle while the band did this strange set of dub crossed with bad gospel until the end, when they pulled it out for about 15 gleeful minutes. The other revival show was also a mellower version of a decent hardcore band from back in the day (Civil Disobedience, if you must know. Had to be there ([here], I guess).

Revivals call to mind those backwoods tent sermons that crash fire and brimstone down on everybody until they’re writhing like snakes molting their sin skin and babbling in tongues, all in reaction to the key ingredient—fetishism of the divine, perverted fanaticism. Which is kind of like these revival shows. That’s the only reason they are even popping up, this kind of prolonged fanaticism being the evil twin of acute nostalgia. Ah well. No conclusions here, just killing time while it kills me too. Ha! Got you good today, didn’t I, Time? How you like me now?

reflect - reinvent ....rayclaire@gmail.com... what i used to think... what i hear... what i see... where i'd like to be...

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