Thursday, July 30, 2009

the sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it...

So last night I called up a few friends and we decided to catch the Incubus show downtown at the amphitheater. As we learned last year, when we checked out Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, there really is no point in paying insane ticket prices and service fees and dealing with large crowds of people when you can sit on the guardrail by the bridge just across the railroad tracks and the acoustics are perfect.

There were other likeminded people with the same idea, friendly assorted hippies and metalheads having a musical tailgate party with lawn chairs and beer who came around and told us we could see better over by their side. It was a perfect night, clear and warm, the skyline and the bridges lit up, and listening to great songs and nostalgia tripping to back in the day.

I was a huge Incubus fan in high school, back in the days when I was wearing really baggy pants and too much jewelry, when that was about the only good thing on Clear Channel and I had yet to immerse myself in college radio. Some of the earlier albums sound a little dated now, but their sound has evolved so much. I guess they're like the Soundgarden of my generation, huge albums with a lot of hits, and enough weirdness to keep it interesting. Hopefully Brandon Boyd doesn't go the way of Chris Cornell.

But they put on a great show, it sounded perfect, and we were also massively entertained watching high school kids attempting to sneak in by shimmying down the bridge onto the other side, climbing the fence, scaling trees, and jumping over the restroom while being chased by beefy security guards in yellow shirts.

A good time was had by all, and it was just what perfect summer nights in Cleveland are made of... cheap thrills, good people, sweet music.

Setlist (youtubes for some of the favorite cuts)

Pardon Me
Nice To Know You
Anna Molly
Love Hurts

Just a Phase

Drive (acoustic)
Make Yourself (acoustic)
Dig (Acoustic)

A Certain Shade of Green
The Warmth

A Kiss to Send Us Off
Wish You Were Here

Aqueous Transmission

Are You In?
A Crow Left of the Murder
Let's Go Crazy (Prince cover)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

can't wait for this

Anyone who knows me or has read this for any length of time knows that I have a deep love of Mark Lanegan's music. I have this thing for singers that I would never date in real life (hello, Greg Dulli!) but whose music resonates very deeply for me.

I've missed him every time he's come through (Gutter Twins, Twilight Singers, QOTSA solo, etc)...So I'm very much looking forward to the Soulsavers show at the Grog on 9/26.

That last album gives me shivers in the way that only the best music can. I know that when I hear them play "Revival" and "Kingdoms of Rain" I will begin to sob uncontrollably and feel no shame.

And as a bonus: Lanegan & PJ Harvey backed by most of Queens of the Stone Age

today I hate everyone

Some people need to grow up and get a life and stop thinking that everyone's out to mess up their day. That's not what I do, and I can't help it that you're unhappy with your life.

"And if I hurt you I am sorry that was not my intention..."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

playlist 7/28/09

incubus - agoraphobia
telescopes - spaceship
ataxia - the sides
bitter:sweet - our remains
the verve - life's an ocean
me'shell ndegeocello - bitter
mos def - no hay nada mas
the roots - baby
portishead - wandering stars
diplo - big lost
vulpes vulpes - inevitable instances
georgia ann muldrow & mos def- roses
gnarls barkley - who's gonna save my soul?
andrew bird's bowl of fire - satisfied
ollabelle -see line woman
natalie merchant - soldier
rokia traore - mouso niyalen
oumou sangare - wele wele wouton
esau mwawaya - funa funa
t-bone burnett - baby don't you say you love me
aretha franklin - save me
elsie mae - do you really wanna rescue me
watusi - oi gere
george benson - the ghetto (bossa remix)
the don, isaac, ezekiel combination - ire
mountain goats - jaipur
afghan whigs - citi soleil
ride - leave them all behind

Monday, July 27, 2009


And of course, life in Cleveland is not all mid-20s angst all the time...

There is still graffiti to be photographed, even as it looks like the Metalcrete building by the funwall is being buffed and fixed up (who would buy that anyway) and there's a camp of homeless people now living underneath the 25th Street bridge.

And, on the way out to the east side, we had an encounter with the Heaventrain in a parking lot on East 30th.

I need to start carrying my camera with me everywhere. There's too much I'd miss otherwise.


I tend to be pretty social just because I enjoy people and find them interesting, but I just get so drained when everyone decides you're the perfect confidant to talk about tension regarding mutual friends. Sometimes I don't answer my phone depending on who it is because I get to the point where I just don't want to deal with whatever the inevitable conversation will be. I don't know who to believe or if I can believe either side of the story because it seems like everyone thinks they're the hero and the victim.

And I find that I still prefer to avoid large groups of people I don't know. Or what's worse, when half of them are people you do know and their friends are standoffish because you've got the wrong style or the wrong zipcode or the wrong pigmentation and therefore you're assumed to be a certain way. And you realize how little you relate to your generation and that most people aren't like you.

It seems like a lot of us in our mid-20s are either partying themselves into oblivion or getting married and not hanging out anymore or just hanging out with other couples. And it's awkward sometimes being around people who just talk about what they bought from Ikea and what was on TV last night.

And I don't like the club scene, the bar scene, and parties where everyone's drunk and all I want is a cup of strong black coffee because even a glass of wine will make me fall asleep. I'm not interested in dance moves, hookups, drama, how artsy you are, Top 40, trendy indie band of the week, or how many shots of tequila you can handle. I'm still a geeky kid from the suburbs who happens to prefer the city and all that it involves.

I just like to keep it chill.

My best times have been with a couple good friends chilling on a balcony or a front porch, walking along the shore at Edgewater, driving through Cleveland listening to music, taking random road trips, staying out late drinking coffee at eating pancakes at some 24-hour place having absurd conversations where you laugh a lot and get profound without trying.

Sometimes I wonder if it's weird that this is all I need.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I got to have some fun at work today, with me and a student digging through crates of old donated records that have been sitting down in the basement for how long. We were trying to pull albums that would actually sell on the booksale shelf, something other than Barbra Streisand and Mantovani's 101 strings. Found some good stuff that's now ripe for the picking by the masses that frequent my place of employment.

I keep thinking "I'll take a day and chill" and it just hasn't happened... every day is something new and crazy and while I love it, I haven't touched my paints, haven't picked up a colored pencil, haven't had a night to light candles and sketch and listen to music and get introspective.

In other words, be the antisocial kid I was in high school and the eccentric college roommate who spent her weekend nights listening to records and painting while her roommates were out doing whatever else.

And I guess it's good that life is full and people actually make an effort to hang out with me and life didn't end once I entered the "real world." I feel like I've learned more about life in general since I moved back to Cleveland than I ever did in college, simply because similar musical and literary taste is not the basis for most of my friendships anymore and I've realized how shallow that criteria can be.

I'm beginning to believe that while subculture can make you feel more cultured, it can also narrow your perspective just as much because of its sheer insularity. More on this when I'm more coherent.

And I need another graffiti day. I haven't had one since February and I know there's all sorts of new art to discover.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Finally getting my car back, just in time for further adventures. I'll be picking it up tonight, babysitting tomorrow night, driving down to Kent on Saturday for hanging out with good people that I don't see enough, and going out to hear the roommate and good friends in the Kyle Lanzer Band at Wilbert's this Sunday evening as they open up for Lost State of Franklin. I hear good things about that place and I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

just because you're paranoid... doesn't mean they're after you

In my line of work, I see a lot of these people coming in and out who have very interesting ideas about the world and the powers that be. You can sometimes tell which ones think that The Man is out to get them, and then others seem pretty normal and then start asking for books written by crackpot professors out west where the only copy is somewhere in Kansas and evidently the government is trying to destroy it because THEY don't want us to know the TRUTH.

So I google the guy that our patron was talking about and evidently he's into that whole Western Civilization/ethnic purity thing (figures that he got his college degree in apartheid era South Africa)

Sometimes it's so hard to keep a straight face, especially when people seem like they've watched National Treasure 2 a few too many times.

And I've heard so many of these things and it just gets me how there's so much craziness in the world, why do you have to add to it?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

playlist 7/21/09

twilight singers - papillon
fugazi - recap modotti
soulsavers - arizona bay
koushik - coolin'
esau mwamwaya - kamphopo
patti jo - ain't no love lost (curtis mayfield)
mariam makeba - samba
blockhead - the first snowfall
esau mwamwaya - tengazako
the roots - star
bongo maffin - amadiozi
joy orbison - hyph mango
les escrocs - pirates
oumou sangare - sounsumba
ray c - sogea sogea
ernie - praha paradise
thievery corporation w/ femi kuti - vampires
thievery corporation w/ seu jorge - el pueblo unido
joe strummer - tony adams
manu chao - je ne taime / mentira
quetzal - desahogate
blk jks - molataladi
amadou & mariam - djama / djuru
dengue fever - tip my canoe
the dirtbombs - earthquake heart

Monday, July 20, 2009

what it is...

Drove out to Oberlin on Friday night for a birthday party, where I caught up with long lost friends and we played games and blew off smoke bombs in the front yard. Doesn't seem like we leave Cuyahoga County very often and the change of scene was refreshing. Mukhtar brought along the new Mos Def album which made great soundtrack music.

Stopped over to see the family on Saturday morning as usual, got some chill time at the house, had some unexpected company over, and watched the Indians lose with my dad. Still, it was a nice night out, good for baseball, and the free hot dogs were appreciated.

Went over to Swahili church for the first time in about a month because I was missing everyone so much. They had a party afterwards that I stayed for, good food and good people. It was a perfect day for driving, and since I hang out on the west side everyone was rocking their Puerto Rican flags all over... low rider cars and reggaeton and flags everywhere. Me and Alex ended up going out to Huntington Beach to chill on the rocks and watch the sunset and the city lights come on. It was just so perfect out.

When it's like this, I don't want to sleep. The days are beautiful and the nights even more. I know how short this time is, and I just don't want to miss it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

playlist 4/14/09

pretty much did this one on my laptop, which is nice because I don't glitch up and I can always supplement with the CD players and turntables if I want/need to. Also, the new Oumou Sangare album is very good.

viva voce - let's bend light
morcheeba - on the rhodes again
aretha franklin - save me
raphael saadiq - 100 yard dash
the fugees - no woman no cry
madlib - movie theme
kid koala - third world lover
ray c - unknown tracks 1 & 14
joy orbison - hyph mango
lupe fiasco - sunshine
lamb - angelica
pete rock - a little soul
the bellrays - every day I think of you
sharon jones and the dap-kings - take me with u
the dirtbombs - sun is shining
curtis mayfield - pusherman
nekwaha - semi colon
habib koite - pula ku
toubab krewe - bani
pharaoh's daughter - samai
malatu astatke - tezeta

Monday, July 13, 2009

i'm in love with modern moonlight

Checked out the Tremont Art Walk on Friday night. None of us were really feeling the whole art thing, so we got ice cream and walked around. It was so beautiful out, one of those weekends where I didn't get much sleep because I just wanted to stay out all night and soak it in.

My sister's wedding shower was this weekend so I got to hang out with all the aunts and the girl cousins and eat ridiculously good food. Went to hear my roommate and some friends play at the Barking Spider. I missed the first half of the set but they rocked it. Never heard "Folsom Prison Blues" played with so much funk.

Went on a long-overdue late night Cleveland drive with the golden combination of a beautiful summer night, good tunes (the Fugees, the Roots, Pete Rock instrumentals), and wonderful company. Stayed out way too late, but the way that the streets look at night always awakens something in me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

smooth stones beneath me

It's been a stressful week, not for any one reason but just all these little things and doubts and lack of sleep. I went up to Edgewater yesterday to walk along the beach and be by the water and the waves and just felt very alone, even though I've got more amazing people in my life than I know what to do with.

I've been learning that while emotions are natural and good, they can also skew your perception of the way things really are. When I chill out and step back, I always wonder how I got there.

It's not the first time I've felt this way, and it won't be the last. Usually I channel all this into guitar playing and paintings covered with scribbles in sharpie marker and colored pencil. But last night I couldn't even bring myself to do that.

If this past week had a soundtrack, it would be this song, which still rocks my world.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

playlist 7/7/09

malatu astatke - asmarina
rokia traore - kanan neni
ghostland - guide me God (and I will find you)
U2 - love is blindness
janelle monae - sincerely jane
joe strummer - global a gogo
joi - fulfillment in dub
toubab krewe - hang tan
das primiero - liberdade
k'naan - fire in freetown
juana molina - quien / un dia (request)
mariam makeba - samba
letta mbulu - mahialele
zap mama - kemake
antibalas - dub je je
trevor dandy - is there any love?
cesaria evora - angola
MIS - el microfono
dennis ferrer - funu
novalima - zamba lanco
natalia y la forquetina - amor es rosa
anna luisa - do zero
amadou & mariam - batoma
sierra leone refugee all-stars - seconds

Monday, July 6, 2009

best of the blotter 5

WELFARE CHECK: An anonymous caller reported a homeless man with a shopping cart on the corner of Pearl and Whitney roads June 22.

The woman was irate that the city was allowing bums in Strongsville.

Officers checked the corner and located the suspect, lives in the city and is not homeless.

THEFT, SOUTHINGTON ROAD: A computer, chocolate chip cookies and a first-aid box were stolen June 25 after someone broke into Greenview Day Treatment Center, 14201 Southington.

JUVENVILES: A Lakeview Drive resident called police June 22 to report three or four kids dressed in black capes with black hoods had just rang her doorbell and ran away. Officers responded, but were unable to locate the kids.

For the record, Medina might have the next best blotter after Lakewood.

TURTLE CROSSING: Medina City Police spoke with a driver who had stopped her vehicle and turned on her car's flashers on Branch Road, blocking the roadway. The woman was waiting for a turtle to cross the road.

FENCING LOUDLY: While checking out a report of a noise violation at a Birch Hill Drive residence, police found two people fencing with each other. Police told the individuals to stop their fencing match and go back into their apartment.

FIRE HELMET: Police responded to Wadsworth Road on a report of juveniles riding their bikes in the road while wearing a helmet that was apparently on fire. The suspects were gone when officers arrived.

ANIMAL NUISANCE: A sick beaver foaming at the mouth was chasing a dog around the area of Van Buren Way the afternoon of June 5. Police said the beaver was aggressive. It was destroyed by officers.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY: A woman found a suspicious plant growing in her flowerbed. Police told her it appeared the compound leaves were those of a buckeye tree, not a marijuana plant.

SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR: Police observed a male and female in a vehicle parked on East Reagan Parkway at shortly before midnight on May 16. The couple was engaged in what police described as "after-prom activities" rather than "suspicious behavior."

SUSPICIOUS PERSONS: Police were informed of a person walking around a North Court Street parking lot in an aluminum foil suit. Upon investigation, it turned out that students were making a movie for speech class. Police advised them that pretending to beat up a person in an aluminum foil suit will get the police called on them, and they were advised to pick a more private place, not a public parking lot.

CRIMINAL DAMAGE: A window was broken out with a dog bone at a Longview address.

fun with craigslist

Starting Elton John Tribute Band (Lake County)
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-07-01, 11:21PM EDT

ATTN: This is not for ametures!!

I am looking for highly experienced progressive artists with atleast 15 years experience with major accomplishments ie., Pianist and Keyboard Artist, Drummer, Guitarists, Bass Player. you must have your own equipment, transportation and the ability to contribute financially and have the ability within your schedules to make a full time commitment.

I also want to put together a small Orchestra or a Keyboardist that knows how to synthesise the background music. I am in direct contact with a costume designer in Las Vegas that works with all the stars and I also have direct lines of communication to grab Eltons attention if we can get as good as I like possibly to gain his support. I want to get serious with this.

My name is Dino Wantsome an up and comming Stand Up Comediat but an accomplished vocalist as well who just happens to sound just like Elton John. Please feel free to come hear me every Saturday Night at the Park Road Bar and Grill in Painesville Township, Ohio in Lake County. Please call first before you come and if you want to eat remember kitchen closes at 11pm. I sing from 10:30 till 2am. Just go to Map Quest and by all means if you think you can play ALL of Eltons Music as good as the man himself then lets get it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am talking about a show possibly billed as "A summers Evening with Dino Wantsome & Freinds and the music of Sir Elton John"..................... OR something we can work it out latter!!

another open letter

Dear Male Species,

This goes out to you. Actually, most of my open letters have been addressed to members of the male species, but this one is more general than the Angry Guy on the Bike that I Almost Hit But Didn't Mean To, and the Dear John McCain open letter.

So, this has to do with how you treat your lady friends. Evidently we live in more enlightened times where we females have jobs and drive cars and aren't fainting in our corsets anymore while the maid runs to get some smelling salts to keep us from swooning again at inopportune moments. Thank God.

But, my friends, this doesn't mean that chivalry needs to go by the wayside just because we're more independent and self-sufficient than we used to be. The truth is, as much as we like to hate on you for being insensitive and sometimes clueless, we do like having you around. And we do like it when you treat us well. This goes far beyond "I don't beat you up," by the way. It involves some measure of just being awesome and standing up for us when we need a little extra help.

If you see something that might be making her uncomfortable, it probably is. This isn't just a violation of physical space. When what someone's saying starts sounding like an obscene phone call, that's not ok either. Honestly, we would love it if you would intervene.

And we hate when you just stand there all passive and let us take it, because you're allowing it to happen, you're contributing to the objectification and degradation of women. Because it shows that when it comes down to it, you don't really respect us either, and we just lost any respect we had for you.

But before I get all man-bashing on here, I want to say this.

Sure, we can hold our own with a lot of things, but there's nothing that makes many of us more angry than to have you standing by instead of standing up for us. It could be as simple as "hey, don't talk to her like that," when someone more or less thinks it's ok to suggest all sorts of things he wants to do with her, or pulling her out of the mosh pit when it gets too crazy, or if you're out at the club putting your arm around her to ward off the advances of that drunk guy who's trying to grind on her.

Trust me on this, they will love you forever.

we roll deep

I forgot my USB cord, so pictures from this weekend will be forthcoming, but it was yet another fabulous 4th of July this year. Every year since we stopped going to the next-door neighbor's pool party, it's been a good time and a different thing every year.

Last year, I crashed parties and spent the next day with two compadres running down the train tracks off 107th and Cedar with a camera taking pictures of graffiti, and the year before that was a family reunion in southern Ohio that involved kegs, polka music, and my cousins blowing off illegal fireworks at the bottom of the hill. The year before that was in Kent, where I watched fireworks at the community festival, went to a show in the back of Turnup Records, and spent the fourth itself with the elderly neighbors of one of my friends, who were completely drunk and when I asked for a water, was somehow served a gin and tonic instead. Thankfully the porch swing we were on collapsed and my glass broke so I didn't have to drink it.

I spent my Friday off slacking around the house before going out to Berea to hang out with some of the family and then Jerusha and I were supposed to go to Udupi but the power went out in the neighborhood minutes after we got there so we drank mango lassis in the dark before going back to my parents' house in Parma to chill for awhile.

My dad was off on the 4th so I got to hang out with him and help my sister cook for the festivities. My sister and her fiance are moving to an apartment in Lakewood just a block from the park, so we went up on the roof to watch the fireworks.

There ended up being a huge crowd of us, between my family and my aunts and uncles and cousins, the future in-laws, and a few phone calls later, eight of my friends came up too, prompting jokes about my "entourage" from my cousins and aunts.

Most of us parked by my apartment and walked, and I love how on this holiday everyone's out and hanging out on their porches, walking in the streets, there's the smell of firecrackers and food on the grill. Mukhtar brought along some firecrackers and we were taking turns lighting them and throwing them into the street as we were walking down.

The mood on nights like these is so festive and we were all having such a great time and finding everything entertaining.

Since a lot of the suburbs have canceled their fireworks this year, everyone seemed to be coming up this way for them, and the streets were packed by the time we got to my sister's place (which is beautiful by the way). We climbed up all these stairs just as the fireworks were starting and it was the best view for fireworks, never seen them so big or so loud in such a good place.

From summer09

Part of the ambiance I'm sure is from watching "Mary Poppins" as a kid and movies where people live in big cities and chill on the rooftops all the time. But it really was the perfect night and the perfect ending.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"what do we want? roots crew! when do we want it? now!"

I'm not good at writing show reviews. I reread some I had written on a previous blog years ago and I cringed at the writing quality, just as I'll probably cringe at older entries on here when I look back in a couple of years.

But last night, I met up with the usual suspects to see the legendary Roots crew and their live show. There was no opening act, just a DJ, which is better than a lousy opener I guess because you can hang out and talk and quote your favorite Pharcyde lyrics at each other and wonder when the band is finally going to play.

I've always heard about their reputation as a great live band that really jams on their songs but I don't think it registered just how good they are, incredible energy and stage presence, watching Kirk and Tuba Gooding Jr. and the bassist
dancing behind Black Thought while playing their instruments was priceless. They looked like they were having fun, and the crowd was having a great time too. I don't know how I missed out on this all those years.

For those of us kids raised on the rock, we got a drum solo interlude some amazing guitar work, nonstop songs that encompassed much of their back catalog, reworked to include elements of Bo Diddley, Lil Wayne, Led Zeppelin, the Sugarhill Gang, Black Sabbath, Fela Kuti, and probably others that I missed. The set was structured so well, effortlessly mixing and shifting between genres... jazz improvisation, afrobeat rhythms, guitar solos, funk grooves, reggae breakdowns.

and if you want at least bits and pieces of the setlist, which I should've kept track of but I was having such a good time that I didn't.

in the music
here I come / iron man
get busy
sorrow tears and blood / criminal
mellow my man
the next movement
i shall proceed
rock and roll part 2
you got me / i'll be there / sweet child o' mine / immigrant song /other
the seed 2.0

It was one of those shows where I just felt so satisfied at the end. It's been such a rough two weeks that the whole night was just so refreshing.

We all felt so good that we all got outside and exulted in the rain and slid down the slick sidewalks of empty downtown before heading out to IHOP (evidently the only 24-hour place on the east side) for late night food and the kind of insane conversation where you're all flowing off of adrenaline and coffee.

You know that you have to be up and at work the next morning but it doesn't matter that it's 2am because you're dissecting the Cleveland accent, discussing sampling, movies, reminiscing and adding to epic inside jokes, debating east side/west side, the merits of Lakewood vs. Cleveland Heights.

So worth it. One of the best nights I've had in a long time.