Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Off-Site: COLAVISION at YouTube

I took my last exam yesterday, and I did not realize until it was done just how much this one was weighing on my mind. It was Business Associations 2, the second half of a two-semester class. This section covered close and public corporations, proxy fraud, shareholder voting agreements, fiduciary duties of corporate directors, various sections of the Securities & Exchange Act of 1934, accompanying administrative regulations, shareholder derivative suits, Special Litigation Committees...

At which item in that list did you nod off? For me it was proxy fraud (must've typed the rest in my sleep).

Anyway it's done now, which means I can finally get back to the important things in life: obscure Dayton indie rock bands that no one remembers! Even better: obscure indie rock bands that I played in!

So once again, from Mite's YouTube site, I Remember Dayton is proud to serve up some never before seen video. Here's a pair from my band COLAVISION.

Both of these were shot at the now infamous punk rock wedding reception celebrating the unholy union of Greg "Grog" Simerlink (OXYMORONS bass player and mastermind behind Mutant-Renegade Records & Zine, as well as The Chickenfish Speaks) and Jen Cook (COLAVISION bass player).

The marriage didn't last (no offense, Grog or Jen -- mine didn't either), but the wedding was awesome. They had the ceremony at the Page Manor Twin Cinemas, where Jen was working at the time. That theater itself was quite the indie rock hangout in 1994 (probably because so many indie rockers worked there) and no doubt deserves a blog entry of its own. But I was living in Columbus at this time, so I'm not really the one to write that entry (Jen, I'm looking in your direction). Still, I do remember that one of the employees actually owned an original print of the first Star Wars movie that they would sometimes screen privately after midnight. Because it was a private screening, they'd let you smoke in the theater, so I may be one of the very few people on this earth who can say he saw Star Wars in a theater while smoking -- a dubious distinction, to be sure, but a rare one at least.

The Page closed its doors some time in the mid-'90s. Someone reopened it in 2004, and at Christmas that year I dragged Val out to see Surviving Christmas (with that delightful Ben Affleck). But by 2006 it was closed again. As far as I know, there are no plans to reopen it.

The reception was held at Canal Street Tavern. I remember that OXYMORONS, CANDYASS, HEIKE, and COLAVISION all played -- and perhaps one or two others (did THE WILL play? Grog?). In between the bands they did all the usual wedding stuff: garter, cake, bouquet (didn't Gail catch the bouquet? or was it Andrea?) Most of the wedding party played in their formal wear. You'll see Jen in her wedding dress. If memory serves (and does it ever?), this is also the night that Jen cut Grog's long hair on stage.

I would assume that Mite has more video from this night. In addition to these two COLAVISION videos, he has at least one video of THE OXYMORONS performing "Little Man Hate" (check the site). HEIKE's first cassette, Precious Underground, features a number of songs from our live set at the reception -- will post soon enough.

Okay, I've been typing for about half an hour now, and this post just isn't rolling like I want it to. Maybe I'm too distracted. Exams are over, but I've about a million things to do today (mow the grass, apply for a job, re-apply for student loans -- the list goes on), so I'm just going to do all that and maybe try to write a more fluid entry on all this some other time.

In the meantime, enjoy the videos. And don't forget to download the COLAVISION record if you like the songs presented here.

take care


ps. "Spasm" is the only COLAVISION song that Jen sang lead on. It's one of those songs we wrote toward the end that I'm sorry I never got a really good recording of. I have a rough mix on cassette of that (and a few others) that we did at Cro-Magnon. I will post it at some point, but the vocals are way, way down in the mix. Sadly, the masters seem to have disappeared from the face of the Earth.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

OXYMORONS video, fixed

Mite fixed the sound on THE OXYMORONS video:

take care


Monday, April 21, 2008

FYI: No promises this week...

Okay, I realize it's been quite a while since I posted some actual music for download on this blog. I also realize that quite a few people have written me with information on Dayton music-related offerings that I have yet to feature here.

Let me say to those who hunger for more music and to those who have supplied me with information that I have seemingly ignored, I am aware. It's just that over the past couple of weeks, things have been kind of nuts for me. I won't bore you with the details (although regular readers of this blog will doubtless note that I have not been reticent to bore you with such details in the past), but here are the highlights:
  • I've been named Executive Publishing Editor of Capital University's Law Review for next year. This was both an extreme high (because a position on the Law Review's executive board is kind of a big deal for a law student) and a total anxiety producer (because of some internal politics and because of the fact that it's a lot of responsibility and if I fuck this up, I'll be paying for it).
  • I was named Staff Member of the Year for my work on Volume 36 (this year's edition) of the Law Review (another nice feather in the cap).
  • My ever-spiralling personal life has gone through so many highs and lows recently that I honestly feel like I'm trapped in a REPLACEMENTS song.
  • I only just realized that I am both ahead and behind on studying for exams (it's complicated because my exam schedule is bizarre this semester).
There's more, but the bottom line (ugh! "bottom line" is such a Republican phrase) is that I have two exams between now and next Tuesday. So after next Tuesday, I'll be posting lots more music regularly, but until then I have no idea what I'll be posting. Please bear with me.

take care


Thursday, April 17, 2008

A flyer with a big cock on it...

Here we go then: the infamous penis flyer!

I haven't seen this damn thing in at least seventeen years, and it looks just as stupid now as it did when Gail and I put it together.

I had known Gail for just a couple of months at the time. I don't remember exactly how or where I first met her, but it was most likely at WWSU's Alternative Tuesday some time in the summer of 1989 -- perhaps through our friend in common*, Laura Albrecht, whom I knew because she was a student in the English Department at Wright State and whom Gail had known since elementary school.

At some point, I'm going to compose a nice, long blog entry on Gail and her relationship to Dayton music in general and THE OXYMORONS in particular, but for now I'll just say that she was the co-mastermind behind this flyer, which proved to be one of the most memorable and boneheaded manuvers I would ever make in my life -- but one of the few boneheaded manuvers I would ever make for which I would suffer no consequences.

Gail and I made this flyer in the library at WSU. I found the picture in a book of woodcuts by 19th century illustrator Aubrey Beardsley -- who may be best known for his ornately rendered version of Le Morte D'Arthur (I have a facsimile -- it's quite beautiful), but who also produced illustrations for any number of other works under the William Morris imprint, including absurdist, semi-pornographic romances, of which the illustration here is typical.

What twenty-year-old mind could resist slapping this stupid illustration on a flyer and adding the equally stupid dialogue balloon over it? Certainly not mine, nor Gail's. This one writes itself, no?

I swear to god, none of us ever questioned it. We just put 'em up. In fact, I remember this particular flyering adventure as one of the very few times that we all went flyering together: with a hundred of these things, plus a brush, a big can of glue, and a lot of Wild Irish Rose. We put 'em up in a number of places, but we hit the Oregon District the hardest. We put these big green pieces of paper with a big cock on them all over bulletin boards, the sides of buildings, benches, and one or two NO PARKING signs.

And we really thought nothing of it. I was actually surprised when Ben called me a few days later and told me how a City of Dayton police officer had come knocking at his parents' front door on a Sunday afternoon. Seems this same officer had also come storming into Canal Street Tavern earlier that day bellowing that he was going to arrest someone if they didn't give him the location of someone in THE OXYMORONS. Mick gave Ben up, but we couldn't really blame him -- now or then.

It seems initial complaints had come from business owners throughout the Oregon District and officials at Sinclair Community College (where we had also put quite a few of these up). The cops got involved from there. This particular cop must've either gotten his ass chewed off by Chief Inspector Todd or he was bucking for promotion because he put Ben in the back of that car, drove him all over Dayton, and made him take down every flyer that we had glued to NO PARKING signs.

Okay, now that I'm typing this, I'm getting the impression that I might be confusing this flyering incident with a different one, but in any case, all of this stuff happened. It's just that some of the events might've happened on a different occasion.

In any case, Ben took the hit for all of us, and I'll thank him once again for that. He took down every one of these things the cop told him to, and he never gave him my name or Nick's or Grog's. By the time I even heard of police involvement, it was all done.

Yeah, I'm thinking more about it now, and I'm pretty sure that this flyer just got Canal Street Tavern a bunch of angry phone calls. It was another flyer that got Ben shanghaied into Dayton urban renewal.

Thanks to Grog for digging this up, scanning, and sending it along.

take care


* I use the phrase "friend in common" rather than "mutual friend" because even though the latter was good enough for Charles Dickens (the finest man of English letters after Shakespeare and William Blake) it contains an improper use of the word "mutual."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Smokey the Bear, Jeffrey Dahmer, GREEN DAY, THE OXYMORONS, and me...

Grog dug up some flyers the other day -- among them, this one for a punkfest that THE OXYMORONS played with GREEN DAY in 1992 (or thereabouts).

GREEN DAY and THE OXYMORONS were supposed to be the big draws, so GREEN DAY was slated to play last and we were to play right before them. We sat there in some park outside of Milwaukee pretty much all day drinking, listening to one band after another, and talking to people as they came by the van. It was fun for the first few hours, but by 10:00 p.m. or so, I was ready to play and get the hell out of there. We had a six-hour drive to St. Louis in the morning.

This park had a gigantic hot air balloon figure of Smokey the Bear sitting maybe thirty feet from the covered area where the bands were playing. At some point after sundown, somebody slashed it. The police showed up, saw that big expensive bear sagging, and kicked everybody out. So the show got moved to an apartment in Milwaukee occupied by a friend of the kid who had put the festival together.

The apartment was pretty huge and situated on the third floor of a three-story building. The lower two floors, strangely enough, were occupied by an abortion clinic. The building itself was located just a couple of blocks from Jeffrey Dahmer's old apartment building, which was still standing at the time. Dahmer had been arrested just the previous summer, so we all drove by the building and marvelled.

There were a lot of people on hand at the apartment. We decided to go say "hey" to GREEN DAY and offer a handshake to old Billie Joe. No response. Same from the other two members. Then GREEN DAY decided that they MUST go on first so that they could go to bed, even though they were staying in Milwaukee and we and the other band had to be in St. Louis the next day. We explained this and the fact that the crowd would greatly diminish after they played. Their only response was that if they didn't play right then, they were leaving. So we let them go on and, as we expected, when they were done, half the room was gone.

We recognized most of the people who had stayed, so we knew that if we played next, no one would see the last band. So we let them go (they were very cool but I can't remember their name) and ended up starting a six-hour drive to St. Louis at 4 a.m.

GREEN DAY begged and pleaded the owner of the apartment to let them stay there. She said "okay." Somebody put a GRATEFUL DEAD tape in the stereo. GREEN DAY's drummer threw it out the window, and they got kicked out. So they were outside singing "Trucking" and acting like it was no big deal. Then the bass player started sidling over, looking at us like he wanted to give us the privilege of allowing GREEN DAY to sleep in our van. We waved "bye-bye" and high tailed it on to St. Louis.

I heard later that the guy who had organized the show let them stay at his house. This guy lived with his parents. GREEN DAY showed up at 6 a.m. and promptly set about dying their hair in the guy's bathroom, getting hair dye everywhere (including the ceiling) and leaving a big turd behind the toilet. Wow. Punk rock, I guess. Anyway, that's the story.

So basically, they were assholes. But, what the hell? Kerplunk, Dookie, and American Idiot are really good records. I guess I just wish I'd never met them.

take care


ps. Grog also sent me the infamous penis flyer. I'll post that in a few days.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Off-Site: ¡THE OXYMORONS! on YouTube...

Another great upload over at Mite Mutant's YouTube site: it's a video of THE OXYMORONS playing "Unearthing Your Grave" at Canal Street Tavern. I'm not entirely sure of the year, but the song plus the length and color of my hair lead me to place this in 1992.

This one actually brought a tear to my eye. I've seen very little OXYMORONS video over the past fifteen years and almost none since Ben died -- strange to see him on stage again playing this song.

My only problem with this video is that the sound is very, very low, but Mite tells me he's working on fixing that and will upload more when he does so.

I don't know why I'm doing the hippie dance in this one. Pretty goofy.

take care


Saturday, April 12, 2008


An anonymous reader submitted the following comment for approval on the previous post (the one about the audio files over at the WWSU Reunion Page):
you're just jealous that kim deal made it and you DIDN'T.
There are several things I love about this comment.

First, I love that the commenter obviously knows where the CAPS LOCK key is but defies convention by refusing to capitalize either the first letter of the sentence or Kim Deal's name. Tre chic...

Second, I love that it's so apropos of nothing. I am stymied to find any connection between my being jealous of Kim Deal and the WWSU Reunion -- or, for that matter, anything else on this blog. I don't remember saying anything nasty about Kim Deal here. Now if the commenter had said "Bob Pollard," that I could see. I had one or two posts a couple of months ago in which I expressed my lack of interest in GUIDED BY VOICES. But this commenter chose Kim Deal for some reason. Gee, I wonder why? Hmmm... The comment just sort of bursts with unwarranted phlegm and accusation. It's like absurdist performance art. Kudos.

Third, I love that it states the blatantly obvious. Of course I'm jealous of Kim Deal! Who wouldn't be? -- at least on some level. She's made a lot of great music that's better than just about any music I've ever done. For the record, I'm also specifically jealous of GREEN DAY and SMASHING PUMPKINS. And generally, I'm jealous of anyone who ever eked out a better living making music than I did. To go further, I'm jealous of the people who get better scores on law school exams than I do. I'm jealous of people who make more money than I do. I'm jealous of people whose son or daughter isn't as obsessed with video games as mine is. I'm jealous of people whose blogs get more hits than mine. I'm jealous of people who have steady jobs with health insurance and retirement benefits. I'm jealous of people who can maintain stable interpersonal relationships over a life time. Shit, count up all the people I'm jealous of and Kim Deal is but one of millions -- and she's not even at the top of the list.

But I try to remember that the list of people I'm not jealous of is just as long. I'm certainly not jealous of people who refuse to even try to have interpersonal relationships out of fear of getting hurt or some misguided sense of self loathing masquerading as individuality. I'm not jealous of people who blame others for their inability to hold a steady job. I'm not jealous of even the most popular bloggers who spew stupid ideas. I'm not jealous of people who are constantly at war with their own children because their children didn't turn out to be little copies of themselves (I think of that line that Willie Loman's neighbor delivers in Death of a Salesman: "My salvation is that I never took any interest in anything."). I'm not jealous of people who blame the instructor (and everyone else) when they don't do as well on a law school exam as I do. I'm not jealous of people who waste their lives on alcohol and drugs and end up entering middle age with no human connections, no self worth to speak of, and no hope for the future because they've never been able to get their act together and probably never will.

I'm also not jealous of anyone who posts chickenshit comments anonymously on blogs. But I guess that's another thing you could say of anyone -- except, of course, anyone who posts a chickenshit comment anonymously on a blog.

But to bring this back to the subject of I Remember Dayton, I'll say yes, there are times when I wish I had done as well making music as Kim Deal has. But to go further, I suspect that there are times when Kim wishes she had done as well making music as, say, Bono or Alanis Morissette.

Thousands, if not millions, of people in shitty towns like Dayton all across this shitty country have music inside them struggling to get out. Of those, I bet 90% of them never write a song, or sing, or learn how to play an instrument. Of the ones that do, I bet 90% of them never put a band together. Of the ones that do, I bet 90% of them never make it out of the basement. Of the ones that make it out of the basement, I bet 90% of them never make it out of their home town. Of the ones that make it out of their home town, I bet 90% of them fold within five years. Of the ones that end up with a sustainable music career, 90% of them never make a living that is much more comfortable than the average public school teacher.

So I figure anyone who made it out of the basement and left enough trace behind to merit attention on a shitty blog did pretty well -- considering. At least, we could've done a lot worse. I think of that pivotal scene in Rocky where Mickey shows up in Rocky's apartment with clippings from Mickey's long past heyday as a fighter. As Rocky points out, at least Mick has the clippings, at least he had a prime. It's pathetic, but it's less pathetic than a lousy ground floor apartment with only two turtles for company and a job breaking peoples' thumbs because we hate ourselves for never taking our shot.

take care


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Off-Site: WWSU audio at reunion page

For the unaware, Wright State University's campus radio station is having a reunion that's generally for staff who worked there through the '80s and early '90s (although my impression is that pretty much anyone who has ever worked at the station is welcome). For some inexplicable reason, I still haven't registered for the reunion, but I will be there. And I've been keeping up with reunion planning events via the e-mail list and the WWSU '80s Reunion Page.

Although some would disagree, I think of the 1980s as sort of the silver age of indie rock. When rock and roll first came along and for the next decade or so after that, there was no need for the term "indie rock" because all rock was indie rock: that is, rock and roll music produced by small, independently owned record labels with limited resources -- because at that time, rock and roll was controversial and no executive with any business sense would touch a rock act. Of course, by the mid-'60s rock and roll had become big business, gigantic corporations had wised up, and record labels owned as sole proprietorships or close corporations were beginning to feel the squeeze. But even then you could find such labels competing with the big guys -- probably the most notorious example being CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL, who released on the independent label Fantasy Records throughout their career.

Through all of this, because the FCC carefully regulated the number of radio stations any single entity could own in a given market, even the smaller indie labels could still get their records on the charts by working hard to get them out to radio stations and cold calling the individual program directors. But a lot of that changed in the '80s when Ronald Reagan's FCC basically deregulated the commercial market (as the current FCC continues to do today). Suddenly, as more commercial stations in different regions came under centralized control, program directors became less and less likely to play anything but the playlist approved by some home office in Delaware.

In my view, it's here that college radio became an important outlet for indie rock. Don't get me wrong, good college stations have always been host to out-of-the-ordinary programming of all kinds, and a lot of that was music. But such music tended to be the kind of thing that wouldn't ordinarily appeal to a mass audience (like most of what BOMP! Records (god bless 'em) was putting out). I think it was in the '80s that a lot of music which was otherwise commercially viable suddenly found itself shut out of the commercial market simply because it was not on a major, corporate label.

This is what impressed me about what we used to call "Alternative" or "Modern" rock back then when I first started working at WWSU -- how radio friendly it otherwise was. Sure, artists like BONGWATER and HALF JAPANESE opened up new horizons for me about what music could sound like, but what amazed me most was how so many artists on college radio should have been climbing the top 40 charts.

I'm talking about acts like THE REPLACEMENTS, KILKENNY CATS, THE NUNS, THROWING MUSES, THE PIXIES, THE DIVINYLS, THE CURE, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, VOICE OF THE BEEHIVE, SOUNDGARDEN, and probably most glaringly CONCRETE BLONDE -- also, pretty much everything that was played at Alternative Tuesday. Although each of these artists had a sound that was a little outside the mainstream, none of it was anything the general public wouldn't have liked. Of course, a few of these artists would later chart on the Top 40, and one or two would have undeniable mass appeal later on in the '90s, but only after being relegated for years to the "Modern Rock" charts (or scoring chart toppers overseas while their albums languished in this 50-state cultural backwater). CONCRETE BLONDE, in fact, had been signed, ignored, and finally dropped by a major label several years before they had a string of Top 40 hits in the early '90s.

As I said, we called it "Alternative Rock" back then, but even when that term was taken seriously (i.e. before "Alternative Rock" became so mainstream that it was no longer an alternative to anything -- which is about when people started calling the music on college radio "indie rock"), it should've been replaced by something more descriptive: like "Human Rock" or "Real Person Rock" or something like that -- because the real difference between Alternative Rock artists and commercial radio artists was that the people making Alternative Rock were far more human and real to me than the people who made commercial rock.

First of all, people like Paul Westerberg, Bob Mould, Johnette Napolitano, and Kristin Hersh did not really look like rock stars. They were overweight or they were underweight or their faces weren't air brushed or their hair wasn't styled. Their wardrobes weren't selected by some art director in a New York design firm. Their videos (those that had them) weren't professionally produced, nor were most of their recordings. They played small venues where I didn't need binoculars to see them, and if I wanted to, I could meet most of them and have a conversation after the show (which I often did). They made music that was as good as or better than anything I could hear on commercial radio, but unlike bigger commercial artists, I felt like these guys were actually working for a living.

Anyway, that was the thing that really attracted me to Alternative Rock back then. I liked that most of it was fairly original but also had a good beat and melodies you could sing along to, and I liked that it seemed close somehow.

WWSU, like a thousand other college stations across this country, played this kind of music all the time, and in keeping with that indie aesthetic, the people who worked at WWSU produced all kinds of audio creations for the station: station IDs, comedy shows, news reports, unclassifiable oddities. In my previous post on WWSU, I mentioned "Das Boot," which Darryl Brandt and Matt DeWald produced in WWSU's secondary studio. I think I've also mentioned at some point that Matt lent me a reel-to-reel containing either the original or remixed versions of that recording. Unfortunately, I need a 1/4" reel-to-reel player to rip it, and I haven't located one yet.

But some kind soul at the WWSU Reunion page has gathered some other recordings produced at WWSU in the '80s and posted them on the WWSU Reunion Site. On the Audio Page, you'll find seven recordings to listen to. This is great stuff and a reminder of a time when all radio stations made their own spots rather than playing whatever Corporate sent them.

take care


Monday, April 7, 2008

CORRECTION notice...

Back in February, Mite posted a video clip from the film The Antioch Adventure, Part 2, and I wrote some observations on it here. In that entry, I assumed that the blonde actress in the clip was Mia Zapata of THE GITS and so did several other viewers who wrote to Mite. However, he has since contacted the director of that film and determined that the girl in the video is NOT Mia. I have updated that entry accordingly, but I wanted to post something here to try to forestall repetition of bad information.

As I always tell my students, the internet's greatest strength is that it's a repository of information on all sorts of topics that are too obscure to merit attention in print, but without the rigorous fact checking process that professional publications go through, the information you find there isn't always reliable. I like to think this blog illustrates both points.

take care


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Okay, this is fucked up!

I hate to push down my post on Musician's Co-Op so soon (and if you haven't read it yet, scroll down one entry, read it now, and come right back up here -- those are my orders!), but I got this group e-mail from Andy Valeri with two alarming bits of news in it: (1) Antioch College may be closing its doors and (2) public radio station WYSO, currently an NPR station owned by the college, may become (hold onto your fucking hat) a syndicated Christian radio station. No shit.

For those who don't know, Antioch College has sort of been Ohio's little piece of Berkeley since its founding in 1852. Even before the '60s, it was an oasis in the midwest for anarchists, communists, crackpots (god love 'em all), and generally dissident thinkers of all kinds. Its first president was legendary educational iconoclast Horace Mann. Its distinguished alumni include civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, actor Cliff "Uncle Ben" Robertson, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, American poet Mark Strand, and (more to our purposes) deceased indie rock icon Mia Zapata.

Even before WYSO became an NPR affiliate in the '80s, the station was blazing trails in radio culture, sporting all sorts of local color and "anything goes" blocked shows that approached the current "freeform" programming of New Jersey's legendary WFMU. Since the late '80s (and perhaps before) the station has been an outstanding supporter of Miami Valley music artists, as documented in numerous entries on this very blog and other places.

Now, apparently, the long and the short of it is that Antioch is out of money, and the current powers that be want to carve up the college's assets and sell them piecemeal. WYSO's license is one of the prize items in this auction.

Okay, I have to admit something at this point: Antioch College students have always rubbed me the wrong way. I've met very few that I could even tolerate on a personal level. I have found that many of the ones I've known, while strongly committed to some cause or some form of artistic expression or whatever, seem severely lacking in the ability to feel compassion for other humans on a personal level. Put more simply, I've just known too many who care more about being an individual than they do about the individuals surrounding them.

Of course, that's my beef, and I hope I haven't made myself persona non grata in Yellow Springs (where I lived for two years in the '90s and have considered returning to when I begin practicing). But I have to say it because I want you to know that I mean it when I write that the loss of Antioch College and WYSO is a loss to the Miami Valley and the world. Even though I have a personal distaste for many of the Antioch students I've known, the world needs them. The world needs the kind of person that Antioch College produces -- as much or more as it needs the kind of person that Harvard or Dartmouth or Smith produces.

For more information on Antioch's current dilemma, read this article from the Dayton Daily News that Andy sent me.

And here are some postings he sent me from people involved in the Keep WYSO Local effort:
Recent articles in the Dayton Daily News raise a big red flag about WYSO. The University doesn't want to include it in the "sale " of the College. If the University keeps the station it seems unlikely, to me at least, that it is doing so because it wants to operate a community radio station. More likely it plans to sell the license to the highest bidder. I think we need to be raising the issue with friends in the College/Alumni community and encourage them to continue to push to have WYSO included in the sale of the college. The fate of the station is being decided now.

The most recent press release from the group (ACCC) that is trying to buy Antioch College from the University, reporting on the negotiations the ACCC, writes....

"In talks, the University's negotiating team spoke of its desire to "leverage the College's assets" and made clear that it did not want to share ownership of WYSO because it wants to explore the possibility of selling the public radio station."

---Ellis Jacobs

I am sounding the alarm loudly.

Antioch University shows every sign of wanting the college to fail, whereupon it can maximize return on various Yellow Springs holdings: real estate, WSYO license.

Over the past 10 months, it has dragged its feet in negotiations with the college alumni in order to realize the objective of closing the college. And the village has had to witness all this as a hapless bystander. If the University prevails in closing the college, this town is headed for a very uncertain future. In addition to loosing income tax revenue for at least 3-4 years while the University "redesigns" its Antioch College campus, village government would do well to plan for a future that sees no re-opening of the college at all. After all, the plans that have been outlined by Chancellor Murdoch are sketchy and rely on significant participation by Antioch College Alums. She really does seem to think that the alums will have amnesia in a dozen or so months and this whole flap will have blown over. Well, the village should NOT hitch its future to THAT wagon. And as for WYSO, the public radio station that this town helped to build, well, don't be surprised if it is sold off to help finance a new Antioch/Seattle campus.

Last June, when people were expressing shock and dismay over the announced closure of Antioch College, Glenn Watts was overheard saying "when we are done, you won't recognize the College." One should take him at his word and meditate long and hard about how central the college has been (and even in its current diminished state continues to be) the defining ethos for this quirky little berg of ours.

HEAR IT HERE, if you haven't already: the hope for the continuation of Yellow Springs as we know it is with the college alumni and their plans to keep the college in operation. With their plan, not only will village tax revenues continue apace, but the college, infused with alumni energy and support for the first time in decades will lead a renaissance for this town and among other things provide a true foundation for the emerging YS Arts Center.

As for the University and its crowd of administrators, do not be surprised if various key players make "career moves" in the near future now that there is a big mess that they might have to help clean up.

EVERYONE, be very careful about what representatives of the University say; the promises they make, A lot of what they say may well prove itself to be just so much smoke. And if serious planning is based on any of what they say, it should be backed up by serious alternative contingencies. To plan any other way when dealing with this crowd would be foolhardy.

---Michael Jones

Finally, here are links to the entries on this blog relating to Antioch College and WYSO:take care


Musician's Co-Op at Canal Street Tavern (now & then)

So last night I went down to show some support for the newly revived Musician's Co-Op at Canal Street Tavern (for the uninitiated, Musician's Co-Op is basically an open stage night where pretty much anyone who signs up can do an unpaid, half-hour set of whatever he or she wants to do). I had only planned to have a beer and stick around for one or two sets, but I ended up staying for pretty much the whole thing. In many ways, last night's Co-Op was a major flashback to the old days, and I think much of that had to do with the fact that Sharon Lane was hosting.

Except for the past year, Musician's Co-Op has been a steady institution at Canal Street Tavern since at least 1981. Mick Montgomery hosted it for the first ten years, but when I first started going in the late '80s, the host was Sharon Lane.

As you may know, Sharon has been a blues and jazz singer/piano player around these parts since the '70s. She's an incredible talent, and it was always worth hitting Musician's Co-Op on a Tuesday night just on the off chance that she would play a set -- maybe to fill in for someone who hadn't shown up or maybe just because she wanted to. Sharon is good enough and authentic enough to make you feel like you're in a sleazy Brooklyn jazz hole in the '50s or '60s -- almost as if you were "leaning on the john door in the 5 Spot/while she whispered a song along the keyboard/to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing" (to quote Frank O'Hara's famous poem on the death of Billie Holiday).

Don't get me wrong, I've never been a particular fan of jazz. You'll never see me slip a Miles Davis CD into the stereo at home or in the car. I don't own any. But when it's played live and played well, I can get into it. Strangely, jazz has that attraction for me in common with blazingly fast, aggressive hardcore punk. Played well by people who love it, either form of music can be amazing.

But at the time when I was regularly patronizing the Co-Op, it was worth going whether Sharon played or not, as long as she was hosting. In addition to being a great singer, Sharon is also a great personality, and so she could turn a simple collection of unpaid musicians of widely varying talent performing 30-minute sets in Stalinist order into something with the fluidity of the old Ed Sullivan show or a night at the Apollo. Because she knew most of the performers, she would give a little introduction for each one that almost always included a story. Or while the set was changing, she would tell a story about herself or rant about some situation in her own life. Okay, sometimes it was boring, but if it was, you could just go back to your drink and talk to your friends. And most of the time, it wasn't boring because in her time in Dayton, Sharon has gathered thousands of stories about interesting people and situations.

Last night was no exception. I hadn't seen Sharon host since she stopped doing Musician's Co-Op in the early '90s, but she picked up right where she left off. And I suppose it didn't hurt that she had good material to work with. Last night's performers included Kattie Dougherty (of REAL LULU), John Dubuc (formerly of THE OBVIOUS), and two or three others whose names I don't remember but who were obviously accomplished musicians who had been friends with Sharon for quite some time. About halfway through the night, Sharon also played a set, which she interrupted more than once to bemoan the recession of arts programs from the Dayton Public Schools (something which, I think, cost her a job last year) or talk about the history of Canal Street Tavern and the great men, women, boys, and girls who have performed on that stage. Classic.

Sharon's garulous method of hosting always struck me as a more transient version of the poetry of Frank O'Hara, who made his literary career writing free verse tales of people and places he was acquainted with in New York City. His poetry isn't always easy to understand because it depends on the reader being as intimately acquainted with O'Hara's friends (almost always referred to by first names only) and the bars, museums, apartments, and street corners that formed the back drop of his daily life (again, usually denoted with an offhand reference that might present a single image but lack any consideration for the fact that most of his readers had never even been to these places). O'Hara has been called the poet of New York City for that reason.

I'll say that Sharon has tapped into the same aesthetic for Dayton, but in a more transient way because she doesn't write anything down. Like good origami, her hosting is more craft than art, and it stands only briefly (at least compared to the ages spanning term of a painting or sculpture) before it is discarded and replaced with a new offering.

So if you want to experience it, you'd better get your ass down to a Co-Op when she's hosting, buy some drinks, and listen (Sharon is only one of three or four different hosts that the new Musician's Co-Op will have, but I spoke with one of the others last night, and from what I can tell, there are some good things in the works). Musician's Co-Op folded last year after an unbroken 26 year run because Mick just wasn't making enough money anymore to keep the place open on Tuesdays (ironically, Mick told me last night that when he opened, Musician's Co-Op was the biggest draw he had). It would be nice to see this new incarnation of the tradition succeed. I can't say I'll be down there every Tuesday, but I'll be making the effort to hit it more often. So should you.

take care


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

THE IGNITERS, "Glorious Timebomb" (video, 2001)

Here's a video Chris Wright sent me a couple of weeks ago. It's for THE IGNITERS tune "Glorious Timebomb." Like all the best videos you find on the internet, it is less than two minutes long (because no one can enjoy video sitting bolt upright in an office chair for longer than that), so you should watch it:

I know little of THE IGNITERS except that both Chris Wright and Jason Himes were involved in the band. I'm betting other people I know were involved too.

This video comes to you through the combined efforts of four people: Chris Wright (who sent it to me), Martin Gross (who is hosting it for download on his site), Mike Kilbourne (who uploaded it to his YouTube site), and me.

Download it! (15 MB) (link re-upped 2-1-2013)

For those new to this blog, I'll remind you that Mite is also hosting music videos from REAL LULU and MORELLA'S FOREST, as well as clips from The Antioch Adventure, Part 2 featuring THE GITS and BIG BROWN HOUSE, at his YouTube site. If you click on that link and scroll down, you'll also find clips from STEVEN GULLET, SNAKE OIL, and DAVID POE (formerly Dave Ponitz of GLEE & BEEK) in his video log and favorites section.

take care