Thursday, March 10, 2005

Not In The Face!!!!!

That battle cry from the Tick's trusty sidekick Arthur best epitomizes my week. I came home Friday night- after ten hours of listening to high schoolers read hip-hop influenced poetry- and took the dog out for an evening stroll and some exercise. It was going along swimmingly when Emmy dropped the rawhide bone after a sprint.

I went to pick it up for another toss into the field when Emmy suddenly leapt for it while I was bent down, catching my nose with her skull. I dropped like a stone on the spot, stars in my eyes and a trickle of blood running out my nose. Emmy, great dog that she is, focused on the rawhide and tried to snatch it out of my hand.

While all this was unfolding a group of girls walked by, saw the scene, and screamed. "That dog's trying to hurt you, mister!!" I tried to reassure them that Emmy was harmless, but my bloody nose did little to alleviate their fears.

The next night I started things off by heading to HotHouse to catch My Damn Butterfly as part of a fundraiser for Chicago Indymedia. They didn't disappoint. Neither did the helping servings of Booker's served to me by Jasmine while I was there. I got the chance to speak with Kelly Hogan and ask her about the live album she recorded with the Wooden Leg in August. I also ran into Ted Sirota, so we got a chance to catch up with each other.

From HotHouse I made my way to the Abbey Pub for The Legendary Shack Shakers. The "seeing music with Michelle" curse was still in full bloom, as she canceled out with a migraine. But Peg, McMahon, and the others who confirmed made it. I lied about seeing the Shack Shakers before but will never again after Saturday night.

The Shack Shakers simply brought it (to quote Dave Pavkovic). It was everything I used to love about punk rock and still do about rockabilly. Body fluids were flying everywhere. I couldn't understand a word being sung into either mike (the vocal mike or the ham radio mike vocalist J.D. Wilkes used for his mouth harp) Garbage was making its way to the stage. One got the palpable fear that if Wilkes or guitarist David Lee took up some of the offers for a fight they would have gone into the crowd all elbows and knees. I was spent by the end of the show, a huge ass grin on my face, not wanting to go home. And the Abbey was as smoky as ever, which I'll expound on in a bit.

Anyhoo, contrast all the energy spent by the Shack Shakers with the "blueprint for punk rock" approach taken by opening act The Saps. I just couldn't get into the band and what I think is their cookie cutter approach to punk rock. Peg, however, was ready to give a doctoral thesis on their relevance to me when I expressed my disinterest.

Our main point of contention was lead singer Dan Lastick, who preened his way through the Saps' set with dimpled good looks and ironic lyrics. "The themes of his lyrics are emotionally resonant," Peg contended. For your reading pleasure I'll summarize the breadth of Lastick's lyrics for you: fuck you, fuck you, fuck the world, I hate hospitals, I can't get laid, fuck you, fuck you!!!!

That's a deep emotional well Lastick is tapping. My guess is that Peg was enamored by the admitted hotness of Lastick but simply was too cool to admit it publicly.

So Sunday I woke up and could not get into any sort of groove. I think it was because of all the smoke at the Abbey; it certainly could not have been the alcohol (sarcasm mode turned off). Sluggish and ill all day I should have called in sick to the Ugochi concert at HotHouse. Instead I checked my sense of humor at the door and slogged through the night. I couldn't put faces and names together until the show ended when I realized that Ugochi was at my 35th birthday celebration at Puffer's last summer. By then I was making mental notes to check out Hot Ghetto Mess.

It all culminated with a whimper Tuesday when Emmy bloodied my nose again, this time with an errant toenail that puntured the inside of my left nostril. Walking her around McGuane Park the site of Emmy crawling through the softball fields like swimming in Vietnamese rice paddies followed by me with toilet paper shoved up my nose made for a beautiful vision, especially when Emmy started tensing up at the sight of a poodle and crouched even lower to the ground in an effort to approach the other dog.

I'm surprised the poodles' owner didn't flag down a squad car, have me arrested, and have Emmy sent to the pound.

In the middle of all this I managed to read a little bit of Rosie O'Donnell's blog. Makes me long for the kids to read their poetry again.

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