November 30, 2010


This almost sounds too good to be true: Twin Peaks + SNL + Sleater Kinney +  Parks and Rec + Colbert  !

Taken from the IFC site:

"IFC has greenlit "Portlandia," an original comedy series that lovingly skewers illustrates the people and values of Portland, Ore. We're guessing a lot of recycling, rain gear, and coffee drinking will be happening.

Fred Armisen of "Saturday Night Live" fame and Carrie Brownstein, the vocalist/guitarist from Portland band Sleater-Kinney, will star in the series, alongside guest stars Kyle "Twin Peaks" MacLachlan and Aubrey Plaza from "Parks and Recreation".

In the series' premiere, viewers will meet the owners of a feminist book store; a militant bike messenger; an artsy couple who put cut-outs of birds on everything; and a punk rock couple negotiating a "safe word" to help govern their love life. All presented with the trademark humor found in Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen's previous work. Yeah, we're talking about their brilliant collaboration Thunderant.

Armisen and Brownstein write the series with Allison Silverman from "The Colbert Report" and Jonathan Krisel of "SNL" and "Tim and Eric", who is also the series' director. The series is executive produced by Lorne Michaels. "Portlandia" begins production later this month and is shot entirely on location in Portland."

November 28, 2010

No Picnic

It wasn’t important that in reality my parents were forcing me upon my older half sister for the afternoon in some sort of last minute babysitter maneuver. The end result was that I was in fact going to spend the afternoon with my someone I rarely saw and thought was incredibly cool. She didn’t live at home anymore and like anyone who was older and had the freedom to do whatever, whenever, with adult privileges like a driving license... she was utter magic to me. Before the age of ten adulthood seemed far away and impossible; a nearly unattainable status and I looked at basically anyone over the age of 18 as if they were royalty. I couldn’t tell the difference yet between a stoner fuck up of a sibling or a legit responsible parent so in my eyes if you didn’t have a bed time and could pick out your own clothes, you might very well be God.

My sister’s plan for us would be a picnic in the woods; just us girls taking to the highway and driving about 20 minutes north to a state park for a day of fun in the Autumn fun. With equal bliss I imagined us in the car with the windows down and the radio up loud. Unlike my parents who enjoyed music at a pleasant low level one could easily talk over, a ride with a sibling would include music played at an unreasonable volume or at least this is what the television and the movies had told me. From a young age I loved music and loved the idea of traveling anywhere with it turned up to such a volume that you couldn’t possibly talk over it. Music would be like a noisy passenger in the car owning all conversation and to a kid who dug music in a big way, this kind of a loud ride was an intoxicating notion. Maybe even more exciting to me than a day trip without my Mom or Dad.

It never once really occurred to me that we were ill prepared for this picnic. I didn’t think to ask where the food was or the blanket for us to sit upon and I certainly didn’t feel it was my place to question her choice when she realized we were without food and opted to pick up our meal at a gas station. Items from an Exxon station surely counted as picnic food, didn’t it? Feasibly to the free spirited college age youth Slim Jims, gum, and soda was real food. I was in the passenger side of the front seat of a car with someone who wasn’t my parents or someone else’s parents and I felt the definition of cool. Teenager cool.

Not even when my sister pulled over on the side of Route 17 North where it stopped looking like we were on the cusp of a town and it started to look more like unpopulated nature, did I question her choice. I knew this was not a park nor was it a typical picnic location but again, who was I as a 7 or 8 year old to argue what was official picnic territory? We climbed up the side of the steep highway hill until we could no longer see cars whizzing by, only hear them. She calmly tossed down her jacket and sat upon it momentarily to show me that this was all perfectly normal and just just as I followed suite she promptly stood up, dusted herself, and said she would be right back.

What? You are leaving me? Some 30 years later I don’t recall if I said that out loud or not. It was at that moment that I realized how unwanted I was and that she was doing something so adult in nature that she needed to step away from her kid sister. We weren’t two girls on the go about to adventure out into the wilderness, I was still just her stupid little sister, an unwelcomed addition to her daytime plans being told to sit and stay like a puppy. In about 15 minutes time my status had nosedived from fellow human being to pet.

It wasn’t until today, at age 39 as passenger along a wooded highway that this memory came flooding back to me along with what she was actually doing that warm Thanksgiving weekend in the late ‘70s. My parents had pushed me off on her when her plan for the day was originally to smoke pot and then meet her dealer for more pot who happened to work at the state park. No half pint nuisance AKA me was going to change this plan so what else could my desperate to get high sibling do but leave me on the side of the highway tucked away in the woods as she lit and she did eventually returned back to me,  smelling funny and looking like a wide eyed glassy eyed woodland creature. It was at that instant that our 10 minute “picnic” was over. I couldn’t fathom why we were still heading to the park if the main event of our plans had just taken place but I was too hurt and confused to argue.

Our adventure to the state park was equally disappointing because A) There were no more snack or drinks to consume and B) we never actually ventured into the park. There was only a great deal of waiting in dusty gravel bed of the parking lot and finally the feeling of utter embarrassment because her “friend” who worked in the park seemed very angry that there was a little sister hanging around while the mystery package exchanged hands for money. They argued about my presence which needless to dropped my social status even father to something lower than a pet who by the way were welcomed at this park according to the sign where we turned in.

Worst of all there was no music. Apparently my very stoned sister didn’t like to drive to music so our travel companion for the day wasn’t Boston or The Ramones, it was uncomfortable silence. I didn’t really understand what pot was at this point in my life. I knew people smoked it but I looked at all smoke as stinky and gross, never once in my sheltered existence understanding that pot smoke was any different or more evil that cigar or cigarette smoke. From this experience all I could gather was that skunky substance made my sister into a paranoid drag in need of quiet where at least my parents had The Beatles or the Stones in the car to fill up the space between us.

There are so many things I learned that day. Highway picnics catered by a gas station suck. Traveling without music is freakish and wrong. People who prefer silence make me nervous. When a trip to somewhere is promised, make sure it doesn’t just mean the parking lot. Not all adults are mature, trust worthy, or hero material. When your parents ask how your big day out with your sister went, you do not mention drug deals, you show them the pack of gum left as a souvenir along with the leaf that had freeloaded on the back of your jacket you sat upon as your sister got high. And lastly, this is one of the many reasons why I have never been a pot smoker. I associate pot smoking with lies, sneaking around, poor taste in food, boredom, and the inability to enjoy rock and roll.

November 25, 2010

November 25th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : The Band / Last Waltz

The reason I love the music magazine Mojo is because reading even just one issue allows me to be a mini expert on a wide spectrum of sounds and the people who make them. They are one of the few magazines I enjoy from cover to cover, even the the topics I didn't think I cared about because 99% of the time their staff finds a way to lure me in and make me appreciate whatever it is they are writing about. 

I think when I began my radio show Cause & Effect I wanted to create a two hour event any listener could tune in to and walk away from maybe still not loving whoever the artist of the week is but at least own a deeper understanding of how interrelated all music is and find at least a few things their ears are for the better being exposed to. 

By having a radio show on Thursday, I am blessed (or cursed depending on how you look at it) to have to create something for Thanksgiving listeners, ideally something to help relieve the stress of what was probably a family filled day and a little bit of driving. This year my friend Otis pitched the idea of doing a show based on The Band's Last Waltz which at the time was announced to be their final live show to be played on Thanksgiving Day in 1976 at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. It sounded like a PERFECT idea for a show however the only catch was I had never listened to that performance before nor had I seem the legendary Scorsese film documenting the event either. Needless to say I have spent the past two weeks doing a lot of homework to get myself up to speed. 

It wouldn't be far from the truth to say that I am not a fan of The Band however the one thing I have learned from doing the show for a few years is that there is always something amazing and interesting to pull away from putting together any radio show and this is no exception. Legally I can't play more than a handful of tracks from any one release during my two hours on air so I decided to recreate the live show set list (not the edited down film version) using original versions or alternate versions of the songs The Band and their ridiculously star studded event performed that evening. 

I learned all sorts of fun facts about this event (many of which are what rock and roll tales of drugs and ego are made of) but what I wasn't expecting to learn was that The Last Waltz was The Band's very own very of Cause & Effect. For more than 5 hours the band performed music of their own while sprinkling in covers of the songs that inspired them as artists along side their peers, many of whom they befriended during their epic career. The special guests that evening included Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood and Neil Young. And even more remarkably, the audience paid a mere $25 to witness this event never knowing who any of the special guests were AND from 5 to 9 were fed a turkey dinner while a big band performed. I still can't wrap my head around what it was like to sit down to a Thanksgiving Feast with 4999 other people and then watch a band you love be joined by a new super star artist every few songs...never knowing what surprise musical guest was just around the corner.

The Last Waltz as a concert is unbelievably special and what makes this all the more historic is the fact that one of the most famous American directors filmed the event. Martin Scorsese created what many believe to be one of the best music films of all time but I am a music nerd, not a film nerd so I will not spend time writing about the film. 

You will have to tune in tonight to WRIR (97.3 fm on the dial for locals or stream live at from 7PM to 9PM to hear two hours of The Last Waltz recreated for your listening pleasure with a ton of interesting tid bits about this slice of rock and roll history. Maybe you are like me and never thought much about The Band before but once you hear the list of music they were both influenced by and inspired after the fact, you too will have a new appreciation for their catalog of classics.

A big thank you to Otis for all his help, I couldn't have completed this special show without him!

November 23, 2010

Sick Of Goodby's

In 1994 I was living in Seattle, WA and coping with the death of my oldest brother Peter as well as my Grandfather Frank. I was also a member of the band Dalia Seed and we were in the middle of writing our next record that would eventually and aptly be called Survived By. The rest of the group was located on the East Coast (as was my entire family) so I was feeling incredibly alone and detached as I began working on my portion of the album and tried to wrap my head around my first real experience with human loss.

As a band we had a highly unusual way of working on new material. Faced with the challenge of living across country from each other, we mailed cassette tapes back and forth with ideas for songs. I didn't have a proper 4-track recorder so I would actually play their new songs recorded at a practice live on a little hand held tape recorder and then record myself singing over it by jamming a guitar pick in my answering machine so it would record for an extended period of time. I was broke and this was pre-computer so it was the only way I could offer the rest of the band a blueprint of what I was thinking for each new song. "Jet Spin" was among the first songs I recorded this way and it was one of my first attempts at purging my emotions seeped in helplessness, anger, frustration, and grief so openly.

I had named the song "Jet Spin" after a local amusement park ride at the base of Queen Anne. the neighborhood I was living in at the time. I was terrified of the thing and I looked at it as a living symbol of the topsy-turvy ache my heart was ravaged by and sick over.

My father had given me a subscription to Vogue magazine and that same month there was a story on the photographer Robert Frank who as a kid of 23, I had never heard of. The story featured a few pieces of his work and among them was "Sick of Goodby's". Upon seeing it I instantly burst into tears because I was looking at this stranger's raw messy grief sprawled across a mirror hauntingly written in what looked like blood.

This was perhaps the first time in my life I connected so heavily with a piece of art and understood, no actually deeply felt the electrical power of it's truth, sadness, and beauty arc from the page into my body. I tried to buy the book so I could own it properly however it was too expensive for me then so I lived with that page torn out from Vogue pinned to my bedroom wall for months.

Robert's words "Sick of good-bys" echoed inside my head for months and with nearly super natural force, it found its way into the lyrics of Jet Spin.  Most of the Dahlia Seed songs are extremely personal but this one in particular holds deep meaning to me because I associate it with finally grasping the importance and power of art. Imagine my relief to discover another human who had expressed themselves in a way that literally mirrored how I felt but was unable to express on my own. His image and words gave me the courage to eventually communicate my pain which I can only describe as something between an orgasm and projectile vomiting. It was also the first step to healing, something else I couldn't fully understand or appreciate at the time.

Robert's photograph changed my life, opened creative doors, and was the catalyst to a life long passion for photography. For my 39th birthday this year my boyfriend Kenny surprised me by giving me a copy of RF book The Lines of My Hand, knowing that within the pages of the book lies the ever meaningful Sick of Goodby's. I may have never fully come to terms with death or life as a survivor (having also buried a second brother, my parents, and too many friends) but sixteen years later I am honored to finally hold in my hands an official collection of Frank's work that is a permanent reminder that I am not alone and that art carries all of our voices, even the silenced ones.

November 9, 2010

Family Fodder Returns!

I wrote about my love  for this band a few years ago on the site when a double disc collection was released via Jungle Records. Imagine my bliss when I received a brand new press release announcing the band is back with a brand new release called Classical Music..out TODAY!. 

Classical Music is currently streaming on the Quietus as well. Listen to the full thing here.

This new record will appeal to fans of Charlotte Gainsbourg if she partnered up with David Byrne and Hood; with hints of Classic music (as their album title alludes to). This is not what fans have grown to expect from the rotating line up that has defined Family Fodder's mash up of higher energy music in the past but they band has settled into this serence new territory quite marvelously. Actually I take that back, the band has tried on so many musical styles over the years that this is exactly what fans SHOULD expect.


November 8, 2010

Beyond Ipanema

This documentary has been making the indie film circuit for the past year and I can only hope it makes it to our fair city soon. Hint Hint.

"Beyond Ipanema surveys the Brazilian music experience outside of Brazil, through interviews with David Byrne, Devendra Banhart, M.I.A., Os Mutantes, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé, Seu Jorge, Thievery Corporation, Bebel Gilberto, CSS, Creed Taylor and many others."

November 5, 2010


This looks more like an unfunny SNL sketch but apparently it is real.

November 4, 2010

November 4th, 2010, Cause & Effect : DONATION TIME

This stuff always makes me cringe because I am a do it yourself  kind of gal and I hate having to ask for help....but I need it.

Without your support, without your donation to the radio station, my show wouldn't exist. You see without WRIR, I wouldn't have a radio show and you wouldn't have a friend compiling two hours of extra special programming week in and week out. As a DJ on a community station, I don't get paid. I do this show because I love it and as a record nerd, I love the challenge each week and all the new things I learn every time I start working on the next theme. However it takes money to keep a community station going, to keep our lights on, and to keep our gear in working order so people like me have a working mic to talk into and record players to use.

Tonight's show will be a greatest hits type deal. From 7PM to 9PM I will be playing 3 or 4 tracks from my most popular shows from the past two years and I will be able to talk a little about what shows I am working on for the new year. There is some really exciting stuff in the works and I am so honored that WRIR is the place my show gets to call home.

Also a first for the show, a listener is offering a challenge.

A WRIR supporter will match any student donation made during Cause & Effect, up to $100. A student donation is $20 paid in person with a student ID. The person gets a t-shirt from a previous fund drive. If 5 students come to the station with their donations between 7-9 pm on Thursday, she will match their donations. Th...e Cause is WRIR and the Effect is doubling a student's donation! THANK YOU KIND LISTENER EMILY!

And for those of you who live in Richmond and stop by the station tonight, you will also be fed by the culinary wizards at Millie's.

Stop by the station at 1621-B West Broad St. (near the post office)and say hello. Then eat. And donate because we can't do it without you!

If you are a listener who lives out of town, you are still up for all the fun stuff if you donate like shirts, CDs, a tote (depending on the amount you donate) and you can do so by going to or calling the donation line at (804) 622-9747.

November 2, 2010

Don't Tell Your Mother

A Sundays song I had never heard before!

November 1, 2010

Pixies -v- Altered Images

Be patient - it takes about 20 seconds to kick in.....

And wait a second....practically the same song ! ? ! ?

In case you weren't sure of the time line - Altered Images came first (1981), The Pixies song came out in the late '80s.