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Don Hall

Double Take: Action Bronson Live at Metro

February 3, 2014 | By | No Comments">No Comments

Photography NIKKI LOEHR

I’m John Taylor. I write. I go to shows.

Ever scope out the crowd and notice a loner standing off to the side quietly jotting down notes?

That’s me. The sore thumb who knows all the words but doesn’t sing along; the outcast who anticipates each punchline but doesn’t laugh; the lone attendee who is aware of the twist ending but doesn’t gasp when the rest of the room does.

I’m the critic, documenting each nuance so the people who weren’t at the show on Friday night know whether to buy tickets for Saturday night.

It’s my job to have an opinion. What’s yours?

Double Take is my way of drawing you into the critic’s circle. You have an opinion, too. Let’s hear it. First my take, then yours. No notepad required.

And without further adieu…

My take

We’re only one song into the setlist, and Flushing, Queens, New York chef-turned-emcee Action Bronson has just been handed a joint. Despite the numerous signs adorning the Metro, reminding patrons that “NO SMOKING” is allowed-both indoors and out-Action lights up. He exhales, smoke rising above his gray ski cap. The song he’s stomping through, “The Don’s Cheek,” name checks the following: jet skis, choice weed, David Spade.

Action Bronson at The Metro in Chicago, IL

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Wisdom of the Creatives

January 10, 2014 | By | One Comment">One Comment

curated by ALAN LAKE

sax toast

Stephen Sayadian
“Sax Toast”

Long perched upon my living room table is a book gifted to me by an old friend called The War of Art, a play on Sun Tzu’s Art of War- only geared towards the creative process.  Glancing through it once again this New Years Eve, putting it down I resolved to seek more inspiration in my life.  Which in turn makes me more creative in my own life.

“In pursuit of joys untasted”  from Verdi’s La Traviata sums it up nicely.

With this in mind I thought it might be interesting to ask some of my more creative friends their viewpoint on the subject.  Impulsively, phone calls were made and emails were sent to a group of people that make my life richer with their presence- musicians, inventors, photographers, chefs, record producers, authors, filmmakers, scientists and then some.  Tasking them to give me a comment/thought/impart wisdom about creativity-  their responses are below.  I’ll start:

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Say Yes to the Ye-Ye’s

December 17, 2013 | By | No Comments">No Comments

photo credit: Meghan Berryman

photo 2When I first hear The Ye-Ye’s, I’m drunk and on a date. It’s Salonathon, and I’m hot, sweaty, and certain that I’ve never heard anything this sexy in my entire life. When they finish their set, I stand up, abandon my date, and make my way through the crowd to tell them so.

Throughout the set, I have held but two thoughts in my head. The first is this: I thought I didn’t like 60s French pop. It had always seemed twee, infantile, and misogynistic, even if it was wrapped up in talent and cotton candy.

The second thought is as follows, and the irony of criticizing sexism in the music industry before writing this next sentence is not lost on me: These musicians, collectively, are the most beautiful women I have ever seen.

The Ye-Ye’s wear fake lashes and full inked sleeves. They know how to handle a guitar or a drum, and they make grrreat eye contact with the audience. Beyond all this, though, these grown women are performing cute, simple little pop songs intended for the mouths of teen girls, and they are enjoying the shit out of it. The Ye-Ye’s evident pleasure in making these tunes their own is absolutely alluring. By the end of their cover of Peggy Sue, I’ve nearly lost my head.

These women are beautiful, I think to myself as I rise, handing my date my drink without so much as a glance in his direction. I must be brave, and tell them. They must know. It is only right.

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