Sunday, June 26, 2005

Modern Girl

Dear Carrie:

I just wanted to let you know that the perfomance of Sleater-Kinney last night at the 9:30 Club was one of the most intoxicating, high-flying concert experiences of my life. You own the distinction of being only the second musician to ever cause tears to well up in my eyes upon first glance or first guitar chord. No joke. I've understood the fervor of S-K fandom ever since first buying your records; now I truly get why you, Janet & Corin are idolized.

From the opening riff of "The Fox" to the blistering closing rendition of "Dig Me Out," you were stellar. And I can't thank you enough for the cathartic experience of watching you spit out the lyrics to one of the band's all-time greatest songs, "Modern Girl." It was vitriolic and I needed that.

Other highlights included chanting "Oh, you've got the darkest eyes" during "One More Hour" and getting slammed around during the energetic cover of Danzig's "Mother." And no doubt "Rollercoaster" is bound to become one of your concert anthems for years to come. Other tracks from The Woods played well live too -- "Wilderness," "Jumpers," and especially "Entertain." That song rocked!

One thing sure needs to be said -- you and your bandmates were definitely in finer form than the lackadaisical crowd (with the notable exception of the shaved-headed lass and short 40-yr old man who entertained [and pushed] me throughout).

Please make sure Janet's snare and Corin's vocal chords are okay. They both took a mighty beating last night. And tell Janet I'd like her arms.

-Sarah D.

P.S. Also pass on to the boys who opened for you that they were fully loud and semi-compelling, but need to understand that they haven't reached the realm of "jam-ability" yet. They should stick to their discrete, linear songs (which alternately sounded like Metallica, Jimi Hendrix, and the Clash -- sometimes even within the same tune) rather than waste the audience's time with jamming that grew to sound lazy and was stiflingly boring. Maybe you should give the preppy twins and the erstwhile pirate (Redbeard!) a lesson on how to jam without putting the crowd to sleep?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Orgasm Addict

Now that I have your attention, my monthly excursion to Revolution Records turned up a couple treasures:

1) The Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady -- I bought the cassette tape of this compilation from a Coconuts record store in Franklin, MA when I was 17 or 18. It was a little too hard for me then, but it's just damn perfect now. (Hey, I was coming off a year or two of listening solely to classical music.) Between "Orgasm Addict," "What Do I Get?" and "Noise Annoys," I am in aural heaven. [Orgasm, aural, get it? Sometimes I'm so 14-yr old boy-ish.]

2) Me'shell NdegeOcello: Plantation Lullabies -- After reading a Washington Post article about this hot maven of the bass, I had to get an album. I was initially turned off by the sticker exhorting the buyer to pronounce her last name ("say it: 'n- DAY -Gay -O -CHELLO'") but decided to get over it. The appealing song titles overcame my initial hesitation: "I'm Diggin' You (Like an Old Soul Record)," "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)," "Shoot'n Up and Gett'n High," and "Dred Loc."

Turn it up.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Call of the Lakes

Last night I attended a farewell gathering for some fellow Humphreyites who (much like myself) had ventured out to the policy world of Washington, D.C., fully doe-eyed and greener than Shinnecock. Well, as a few of us have discovered, the land of 10,000 lobbyists is not nearly as satisfying a place to live as the land of 10,000 lakes. A fellow New Englander was also in attendance and so turned to me to explain this indescribable allure of the Twin Cities and its environs. While I could come up with some concrete examples of its brilliance, I must have sounded like a blathering idiot. Cause for the most part, in my comparison between D.C. and the T.C., tangible factors did not really play into it. It's more the general "feel" of the place and the people. The general laid back vibe versus the hyper-competitive, "Let's-define-you-by-your-job" vibe. The general "It's okay for you not to shave your legs" sentiment versus "Dear, God, she's not wearing nylons" sentiment. But, there are certainly some tangibles, as well. And here they are:

  • The Walker and the M.I.A. and the Weisman vs. the Smithsonians, the National Building Museum, the National Gallery of Art, etc., etc.: Now, I know what you're going to say: How can Minneapolis possibly win in the museum category? OK, well, I guess it really can't. The Building Museum is probably the most serene, exquisite, and interesting museum I've ever been to. I love to sit in the expansive hall and read -- certainly not something I'd be caught doing in the Walker. Still, for the sheer size of the city, Minneapolis' museums are quite impressive and are more than enough to keep a less than museum-savvy gal happy. And -- due to recent shake-ups at the Corcoran -- D.C. is still without a Gehry. Score one for the T.C.
  • The C.C. Club vs. ??: Yeah, it's kind of sad that there is not one bar in D.C. that I feel comfortable comparing to the C.C. Club. The dog-eat-dog D.C. thang seems to preclude the existence of any truly chill bar with a good juke box that isn't some fancy new computerized beast. Whereas, C.C.'s jukebox is full of jewels. And they serve Leinie's Honeyweiss, which D.C.'s Brickskellar can't even boast. Add in the musical history of the C.C. Club (scroll down for C.C. goodness), and it's just magical.
  • Metro Transit vs. Metro: OK, neither's a gem, but let's see, an hour long ride below ground vs. an hour long ride weaving your way through the Cities? I'll take the bus. Sure, D.C. also has buses, but I have heard enough horror stories to know that they are NOT reliable. AT least not in the way that I was always able to count on my 1 a.m. bus home after my shifts at Marshall Field's.

  • The Twins vs. the Nationals: The Nats are certainly growing on me. And the Metrodome is one of the very few MLB stadiums that is a worse baseball venue than R.F.K. But, I will always be an American League woman. Give me whichever team provides the greater chance of my being able to see the Sox. (That's the Twins, for you baseball novices.)

  • Blue Moon and Vera's and Anodyne and Hard Times and Caffeto and the Urban Bean and Pandora's and Heavenly Daze and ... vs. Starbucks and Lawson's: Please, need I say more? Sure, D.C. also has Murky Coffee, which has the right atmosphere, but the iced coffee has never impressed me. And, it's SO far away!

  • The Wedge Co-op versus Takoma Park/Silver Spring Co-op: The Wedge is bigger (though I've never visited the SS branch of TPSS) and has a better selection. I do enjoy the quaintness of the Takoma Park store (the Wedge is sometimes uber-crowded), but it really can't compete. The Wedge has fancy juices and smoothies, bad-ass vegan carrot and cheesecake, and sea beans! ;-)
Other personal reasons aside, isn't it clear why one would want to move back to Minneapolis?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

JFK & Lincoln Got Nothin'

Say what you will about the supposedly impressive "similarities" between the lives of JFK and Lincoln -- there's a much more exciting comparison to be made between fictional leading men MacGyver and Sherlock Holmes. There are certainly more than six comparisons, but, hey, I'm not writing a thesis, so this will have to suffice. If anyone can come up with some others, please let me know.
  1. Pete (RIP Dana Elcar) = Watson
  2. Murdoc = Moriarty
  3. Houseboat = 221B Baker Street
  4. Nikki = Irene Adler
  5. Hockey = Boxing
  6. Harry Jackson = Mycroft

Friday, June 10, 2005

Happy F'n 40th Griswold

The landmark Supreme Court case giving (married) women right to privacy in their birth control decisions, Griswold v. Connecticut, turned 40 this week. While the case (in conjunction with the Eisenstadt v. Baird case in 1972 that extended the right to single women) has been important in terms of women's reproductive rights and health, let's not get too hyped about this over-the-hill celebration.

The attack on this fundamental right (and women's sexual behavior) is steadily increasing in state legislatures and pharmacies across the country, as this Guttmacher Institute fact sheet demonstrates. Yet, men's sexual behavior continues to be encouraged and federally FUNDED -- even if you are a sex offender, as was widely reported in the past few weeks.

But, the Viagra/sex offender scandal is just one of many instances of governmentally approved sex - if you have a penis. Of course, governments aren't the only entities working to boost male sex drives while firmly ignoring women's. Corporations are busy R&Ding new drugs & products to get it up, prolong, enhance, improve, increase sensitivity, etc.

In her most recent column in The Nation, Katha Pollitt addresses this double standard:

The only new birth control method coming up soon is actually a nostalgia item, the Today sponge, beloved by Seinfeld's Elaine, which will be returning to drugstores later this year. Two decades into the AIDS epidemic, the only woman-controlled means of protection against HIV--now the leading cause of death among black women age 25-34--is the aesthetically repulsive, cumbersome and hard-to-find female condom. Hormone replacement therapy, promoted since the 1950s as the fountain of feminine youth and sexual vitality, looks to be mostly hype, with the possibility of heart attack, stroke and breast or ovarian cancer.

And what about sex aids for women? Where's that female Viagra they're always promising us? Most newspapers didn't even report that in December an FDA panel turned down Procter & Gamble's application for Intrinsa, a testosterone patch intended to raise libido in women whose ovaries have been removed. The problem wasn't that Intrinsa didn't work (the panel voted 14 to 3 that the manufacturers' trials showed a meaningful improvement in desire and pleasure); the issue was health risks as well as the potential for "off-label use" by women who had simply lost their mojo. A "lifestyle drug" for women! Can't have that.

So, Happy 40th, Griswold. We hardly know ye.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hot & Sticky Extraction of Daughters of Sappho

A few random items:

1. The humidity that plagues Washington, D.C. each year is rearing its ugly head. Beer bottles are sweating, children are crying, and I'm ready to die.

2. I went to the dentist this morning and was told to say goodbye to my wisdom teeth. Too bad, cause I'd grown to like my third molars.

3. There's an awesome episode of "All in the Family" on right now about a local election. It's already discussed corporate welfare, women running for political office, and gay & lesbian politics. I miss Meathead and Archie.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Terrorism v. Feminism

Barbara Ehrenreich has a fascinating take (at AlterNet) on countering terrorism with feminism. I guarantee that some of her strategies (supporting girls' education worldwide, revoking the global gag rule, etc.) would do a hell of a lot more than simply eradicate terrorism. They would improve the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide.