In this new series, Richard embarks on an in-depth cultural journey into the lair of the hipster--local rock shows at various venues about town--and rates them on a scale ranging from one PBR (meaning: the show sucks but it's cool to hang out at the bar and discuss other, better bands) to four PBR's (meaning: this show is the equivalent of seeing Bright Eyes at the Replay just before they hit it big and if you miss it we'll make merciless fun of you for years). Richard's first review: Okkervil River at the Bottleneck.
Richard: "Not being young or attractive enough to get a ticket to the previous night's Vampire Weekend show at Liberty Hall, I decided to join the slightly older hipster crowd for Okkervil River, a band touring on the strength of two critically lauded new concept albums that explore the idea of fame from insider and outsider perspectives, assuming the personas of numerous fictional and historical characters. This was my first hipster Bottleneck show in some time, as most of the cool kids have largely deserted the venue in protest of its often-steep ticket prices, returning only a few times a semester for shows that have an aura of
"importance" attached to them. On this night, the crowd was composed of three distinctly different types: kickball fans who got in free because they knew a secret kick-ball password to use at the door; people who got in for free because they were friends with the band's manager; and people who got in for twelve dollars because they had been following the band's work for years. I found that I had forgotten some of the rules of the 'Neck, such as the requirement of talking loudly through all the slower numbers ("Dude's voice sounds totally fucking awesome live, doesn't it?"). But soon I caught on, and helped drown out singer Will Sheff's incisive commentary with some loud, pertinent thoughts about how the band was still good, very good, but not as good as they used to be before Jonathan Meiburg left to focus on Shearwater. The floor was packed tight and we sang along even as Sheff's songs mocked our hipster status, because we figured he was only joking: "I heard cuts by The Kinks on your speakers, /I saw Poe and Artaud on your shelves./While The Last Laugh’s first scene/ on your flat panel screen/lit Chanel that you’ve wrapped around yourself... /You’ve got taste, you’ve got taste,/what a waste that that’s all that you have." All in all, this show was high hipster-quality and I rank it a solid three PBRS, meaning it was very good but not quite as good as the Mountain Goats' show at the Jackpot where John Darnielle leaned out over the crowd, put a finger to his lips, and politely hushed a sorority girl talking on her cell phone.
Tonight at DotDotDot Artspace, in the strip mall at 19th and Haskell, local artist Paul Fl.nder's "24 hour paint odyssey" titled Wet Dreams has its opening. Details are sketchy on exactly what kind of work this will be, but it's called "Wet Dreams" and it's located next door to the town's biggest porn shop. You pays your money and you takes you chances! What do the boys think? Is it art?
Chip: "Wet dreams are very personal things. Mine, for instance, usually involve Quinton's waitresses and tubs of butter. But I'm not comfortable telling you any more than that, and I certainly don't feel the need to paint them and share them with the community. I'm going with "Not Art" on this one."
Richard: "After so much publicity for the Percolator's "Clouds Are Easy To Love" exhibit, I'm just happy for something that at least has the potential for provocation. I might stop by this month, the next time I'm out there renting porn. I'll go with Art this time."
Don't forget, dear readers, that the East Side People's Market needs your kind donations at tonight's fundraiser in order to remain in business.
Chip: "The only good thing about this place is that it keeps some of the local freaks out of other, more respectable grocery chains which operate on the principle of turning a profit."
Richard: "I had drinks recently with the Vice President of East Lawrence! They're doing good work over there in that community!"
Chip: "Their self-government scares me. I fear they'll one day mobilize and rise up against the rest of Larryville. But I'll tell you this right here and now: I'm fully prepared to fight and die to defend Quinton's!"