Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Final Four Coverage (Yes, Of Course It Contains KU Boobs)

Readers, the day has arrived! KU faces Ohio State in a Final Four battle for the ages but most of the talk around Larryville centers not so much on the game itself as on plans for a massive Mass. Street afterparty (let's not count our Jayhawks before they hatch, folks!) and the ongoing phenomenon of "KU Boobs," which has now spawned a T-shirt:

Let's hope these shirts will help prevent at least as much domestic violence as they inspire.

Order yours here .

In the event that KU does win tonight, Larryville's finest have decided to close Mass. Street entirely, issuing this rather ominous proclamation:

"...if you park your car down there, you are probably staying down there for the duration. We won’t be escorting anybody out.”

We're envisioning a kind of "Escape from LFK" situation here. (We'll be dressed as Snake Plissken).

But where will you be watching the game? If tradition/superstition didn't require us to remain at Dempsey's, we'd certainly consider joining the masses at Liberty Hall simply because this poster is so fucking cool:

Anyway, drink up, rock chalk, and we'll leave you today with this #kuboobs shot of our occasional guest-writer @courtbelle ! Thanks, Courtney!

Our Interview With Guitar Wolf: "We Might Bite You!"

Readers, we've been on a total Japanese pop-culture kick recently. We finally watched the controversial, long-suppressed-in-America Battle Royale (which proves once and for all that The Hunger Games is for pussies). We devoured Haruki Murakami's 900+ mindfuck of a novel, 1Q84. And we spent four hours with Sion Sono's Love Exposure (not only the best film we've ever seen about kung-fu and upskirt photography but also one of the most impressive recent works of art).

But one of Japan's greatest exports dates all the way back to 1987, when the "Jet rock" sounds of Guitar Wolf were unleashed on an unsuspecting world. These days the band continues to wreak havoc across America (watch their new tour video here ) and will take the stage at the Bottleneck next Friday, April 6. Opening the bill: New Zealand's The Transistors and Larryville's Jabberjosh and The Sluts.

We were honored to chat with lead singer and guitarist Seiji about the band's long musical career, their film work, and what's likely to occur at a Guitar Wolf show (spoiler alert: it ain't pretty!).


Richard: We understand that Joan Jett is a huge influence on your sound. Tell us about that, along with your other influences. And can you end by using one of those "we sound like _________ meets ____________" comparisons that music critics love so much?

Seiji: "Universe meets shit "

Richard: You guys have been around a very long time by current rock standards, since 1987. What are some of your favorite moments from your career and what keeps you going night after night?

Seiji: The last time we were in Lawrence was when we were touring with The Cramps. I remember very well. The burger I had at the restaurant in front of the club was delicious.

In order to keep rockin’ hard every single night, I sneaked into the Great Pyramid of King Khufu one night to get the secret elixir. I was chased by the Cleopatra’s mummy and almost eaten by the Sphinx. I couldn’t solve the riddle of the Sphinx. But somehow I could manage to come back home alive. With that elixir, I’m good to go every night. Sorry, you can’t have it.

Richard: You're also known for film work such as playing yourselves in the alien/zombie flick Wild Zero. Do you have any plans for future films to cash in on the current zombie craze?

Seiji: The sequel will be “Wild Zero – an episode of Time Trip - The Wolves on the Tokyo Castle." We are going back to the era of “Samurai” warriors and fight against the UFO and the samurai zombies. I hope there will be some scenes for me to make out with the American girls. The director told me he was looking for a producer.

[Watch the Wild Zero trailer here ].

Richard: What can our readers expect from your show at the Bottleneck?

Seiji: Wait! Don’t ever expect anything from our show. Here’s a warning. We might bite you when we get excited during the show. So get the rabies shot before you come to our show. Don’t forget.

Chip: I'm relatively unfamiliar with your canon, so tell me this: Does this band contain an actual wolf who has somehow acquired guitar-playing capabilities?

Seiji: As you might have known, I’m a quarter wolf. My gramma was a Japanese wolf. She sometimes comes to see our show. Are you talking about her? She wants to come to the US to see her good coyote friend to enjoy a cup of tea. If you happen to see her at our show, let her bite your fat belly. I’m asking you for the sake of US-Japan friendship, please.

Tour and band photos (click to enlarge):

Thursday, March 29, 2012

We Chat With Paul from Wonder Fair About Final Fridays' Cat People, Harry and the Potters, and Regional Sodas

Today we're chatting with Paul from Wonder Fair about the gallery's Final Friday opening called "Cat People," the continuing cultural relevance of "wizard rock," regional sodas, and the delightful taste of milk-based cocktails. Enjoy! And please see the Harry and the Potters' gig at Wonder Fair tonight at 7:00 (FB event page here ) and the "Cat People" exhibit which opens tomorrow (FB event page here ).

Chip: Like all humans, we love looking at cats being cute and doing funny things, and this month’s Final Fridays exhibit, Cat People, sounds, well, adorable. What can we expect to see, and what the hell is a “milk bar?” And will it also sell PBR?

Paul: My brother Joe has a theory that Cat People will be the next pop culture craze. Vampires took over a few years back, and then made way for zombies. If he's right and Cat People are next, then we're on the cutting edge. If he's wrong, that's fine, I still think we have a cool exhibition. Most of the art on the walls concerns the human-feline relationship. I think the cat-loving community subconsciously yearns for a deepening of that relationship and the eventual transformation into a hybrid Cat People race. I don't mean that in a sexual way, but we did watch the 1982 psychosexual thriller "Cat People" starring Nastassia Kinski as research for the exhibit.

I'm not sure what the Milk Bar will be serving yet. I've been on tour for the last week and a half and am writing to you from our van. As soon as I get back to Lawrence, I'm going to hit the Iwig store and see if I get inspired. Rest assured there will be at least one milk-based cocktail. We're hoping that most visitors have had their own White Russian-inspired epiphany and learned that milk and alcohol should be consumed in moderation, so yes, as always, there will be PBR available.

Richard: To be honest, we were a little worried when Wonder Fair came under new management after the era of BARRR and the gang keeping it weird down there, but so far the gallery's freak flag still seems to be flying high. Tell us about your vision for the gallery and what it can offer? What demographic are you appealing to the most?

Paul: The whole reason we got involved was because we loved what Eric Dobbins and crew had brought to Lawrence. When Wonder Fair first opened, it seemed like a missing piece of downtown Lawrence had finally been revealed. I think it really reflected how unique and weird and playful Lawrence can be.

Meredith had been a volunteer at the space and when those guys eventually moved on to the "Big City" (KC), they turned to her to take up the mantle and keep Wonder Fair alive. I think it plays an important role in Lawrence as a place to highlight the work of emerging artists, both on a local level and a national level. We also want Wonder Fair to be a place where you can experience art rather than casually observe it and we factor that into our curation of the gallery space and the shoppe as well as the music and art events we've been hosting. We want to be a place that involves and engages the community.

Wonder Fair always had a kind of magical vibe: first when it was in the basement and now in our current location above the Casbah. We want to keep that magic alive. People have to make a commitment to climb up those stairs without knowing what the payoff will be and we try to honor that by making a trip to Wonder Fair something that is both visually and intellectually rewarding.

This already sounds rather professional, so to avoid sounding like a total douche, I'd rather not discuss things like "target demographics." Suffice it to say, we want everyone to come to Wonder Fair because we have cool stuff that is well-designed and made by people with faces.

Chip: Paul, we know your band Harry and the Potters has achieved great success, and we certainly love “wizard rock.” What do you think is the future of the genre now that the Potter series has reached an end? Does it have staying power, or should you perhaps be forming a Hunger Games band, perhaps called Katniss and the Arena-Rockers, with a lead singer who shoots a bow and arrow?

Paul: Let's cut to the chase: this is a nice way of asking if my band is still culturally relevant. I've been answering this question since 2007 when the last Harry Potter book came out. Things have changed a bit for us since then. In those days, we were playing 120-130 shows a year, but now we've scaled back to about 50 or so. It's enough to keep us alive without dominating our lives and allows us opportunities to focus on other projects (like Wonder Fair). But back to the relevance part which is a fair question. It's true that Harry Potter is not really a perpetual media topic as it was for much of the last decade. However, the significance of these books is really lasting and profound. This may sound weird, but I think that Harry Potter was, in many ways, the rock star/culture icon for this current generation of teenagers and 20-somethings in the same way that Kurt Cobain was for kids in my generation. Maybe I'm only saying that because I am in a van right now and we just listened to Nevermind (FYI: it is still awesome).

Last night we played a library sponsored show in an elementary school in Springfield, MO. About half of the audience was from this Harry Potter generation and I think a lot of them came to the show because they want a way to continue to celebrate and involve themselves with this very significant part of their youth. Maybe it's the same reason I still go and see They Might Be Giants when I have the chance (FYI: they are also still awesome). But the other half of the audience at the show was an entirely new generation of Harry Potter fans: really young kids who have parents that are now raising them in this magical world. So, in a sense, we are still functioning with much the same purpose and intent as when we originally started our band nearly 10 years ago: to subversively turn America's wizarding youth onto the world of DIY punk rock.

As for the Hunger Games stuff, fuck no, we won't be throwing our hat into that arena. That would make us look like opportunistic assholes. And yes, I'm sure there are many people who probably already think that's the case and maybe they're correct to some degree. I'm just trying to keep as much of my integrity in tact as possible while still dressing up as a teenage boy wizard.

Richard: Tell us what’s on the horizon for Wonder Fair in 2012? Will there be any events centered around the inevitable Mayan apocalypse?

Paul: 2012 is the Year of a Million Dreams. Or at least I assume so. I've gone to Disney World a couple times over the past few years and every time I'm there, it always seems to be the Year of a Million Dreams, so I assume things aren't any different in 2012.

We're dreaming of helping to turn Lawrence into a print mecca of the midwest: fine art multiples at affordable prices. A medium for the people! To that end, we've got a print invitational happening over the summer which we hope to maybe turn into an annual event and then we have a great show in the fall with KU professor and print ambassador Michael Krueger and a couple of his buddies.

Wonder Fair will also soon serve as Lawrence's only soda speakeasy. As we've been touring through the midwest, I've been stocking up on regional sodas that are unavailable outside of certain geographic regions. We're rolling hard with cases of Moxie, Cheerwine and Faygo. Not sure of the legality of this project. I heard a while back that 715 had their Dublin Dr. Pepper confiscated, so that's why we're going for the speakeasy thing. Mum's the word, guys.

Here's the funny pic for the Harry and the Potters show:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Burger Wizard Returns: Blood and Muscle at Dempsey's Pub / Final Friday "Cat People" Preview /Today's Post Contains No #KUBoobs

The Burger Wizard has a lot of very loud opinions about Larryville's burgers, so we invited him back to share his thoughts on Dempsey's, which he boldly declares "the most boner-worthy burger in LFK." Do you agree?

Enjoy the review and contact the Wizard directly via Twitter
@mentalplex to discuss.

If you enjoy your burgers rare (and, when you find a truly sublime burger, you should), please, please don't call it bloody. It's not bloody. Your rare burger is red and juicy because it's made of muscle and fat, and at 120 F muscle is red and fat is juicy. The only bloody burger I've ever had was the result of a stray cow butchered and hand-ground by my dear friend Johannes when we were lost in the mountains of Patagonia ($1635 plus airfare). With this in mind, let's turn our attention to tonight’s review.

My first Lawrence burger was Krause’s Black & Blue ($7.95) at the Burger Stand. There, in one of the wooden booths at the Casbah, I heard a story about their feud and eventual break from Dempsey's pub. The burger demanded my full attention (more on that next time) so I remember very little of the story, but I left with a compelling need to insert myself into this little burger war. Today, after a painstaking series of trials, it is my pleasure to announce Dempsey's Pub the pants-down winner of the most boner-worthy burger in LFK.

My first attempt at a Dempsey's burger was on a weekday afternoon. I asked Kif, the weekday afternoon bartender, how quickly he could get a burger out for me (a good way to ensure a rare burger) and ordered the bleu burger ($8) rare, with a Boulevard tank 7 ($4). It was a slow afternoon and the chef was also behind the bar. He smiled, and left for the grill. 6 minutes later, I was enjoying the most sublime burger I’ve had in many years. It was warm, soft and juicy, pink on the outside, red in the middle, and with a texture that haunts me like a green kid’s first taste of black tar. The burger is served on a white bun and topped with folded strips of bacon and a caramelized onion confit. The Maytag Blue is there, but it sneaks up on you, folding into the melting redness of the meat only to lash out with moments of salt and complex richness.

Bleu Burger ($8), Dempsey’s Pub:

Sadly, after several tries, they were unable to replicate this masterpiece. They come closest on weekday afternoons. Friday nights and game nights come with a surly crowd of 22-year old kids, inattentive bartenders, and a burger that get lost in the shuffle. But, somehow, even a burger that sits on Dempsey’s grill for a few minutes too long can show flashes of brilliance. Whether it’s the deep, earthy char of a medium well Kobe ($9), or the sharp bite dancing across the Au Poivre ($8), even on its worst day, Dempsey’s is sure to please.

Kobe Burger ($9), Dempsey’s Pub:


Readers, this month's Final Friday was originally slated to include a controversial public chicken slaughter and dinner, but that idea was largely stamped out by the City Fathers and an angry mob of outraged foul-lovers (what's left of the project goes down at the Percolator). Therefore, our best bet for Friday is Wonder Fair's "Cat People" opening, a night of cat-art which will also feature "a Milk Bar and YouTube cat video theater."

Is this a bar where scenesters will lap milk (or PBR) from saucers like kitties? Or are we actually invited to bring our feline companions? Or is this "Milk Bar" like the "milk bar" from A Clockwork Orange (picture below)? The latter is probably unlikely, but let's hope Wonder Fair seizes on this idea for a future opening.

Either way, it's sure to be as profound as it is fucking adorable!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Interview: We Chat With Adam Hess From Up the Academy / Plus: KU Boobs of the Day!

If you're an observer of the Larryville scene, you've certainly been listening to the recent wave of top-notch garage rock acts emerging from our fair city: bands such as Rooftop Vigilantes, Mouthbreathers, Dry Bonnet, and Up the Academy (many of which share members). And even if you're not an observer of the scene, you've probably also been listening to them, since all these sons-a-bitches play loud as fuck!

Today we're chatting with Adam Hess from Up the Academy about how they fit into the scene, their new 7" on Replay Records, hobo circle jerks at SXSW, and the sadly forgotten 1980 teen sex-comedy that gave the band their name.

Enjoy the interview and check out Up the Academy at the Replay this week (Wednesday March 28) with Texas' Church Shoes. Get prepared with a few songs from Up the Academy here and a few songs from Church Shoes
here . Play it loud (obviously).

Chip: Tell us about your band name. Does the title come from the terrific 1980 teen-sex comedy Up the Academy, starring a young Ralph Macchio?

Adam: Yes, it does come from that classic piece of American cinema. Part Porky's, part Animal House, all Macchio. Ron really liked that it was filmed at a military school in Salina and that if you had seen it in your youth it held some iconic significance. It's true, when people get the connection with the band name their eyes kinda light up like they haven't thought about it since they were a kid.

[Watch the Youtube trailer of Up the Academy here ]

Richard: There are a hell of a lot of garage rock bands in Larryville right now and most of them seem to contain the same people. What sets Up the Academy apart from the pack?

Adam: Absolutely nothing! We're just as much a part of this incestuous cesspool of dirty three-chord rockers as anyone and happily so. It's a cool scene. Even if the music sucks, at least something's happening.

Richard: Can you describe your sound using pompous Pitchfork-style music writing along with one of those “we sound like _______ meets ________” comparisons that music critics always use?

Adam: Hold on, let me pull out my "Pitchfork's Snarky Word Book." Let's see...feels like a banana split hitting you in the face, sounds about the same. I'd like to think we're like midget porn: a few people are getting off and the rest just can't look away.

Chip: You guys just returned from SXSW. Give us your best tale of SXSW debauchery, ideally involving an orgy with celebrities in a hot tub full of barbecue sauce.

Adam: Aside from our participation in multiple hobo circle jerks and a full on Carl Buddig deli meat fight with a tranny double amputee it was a pretty tame year for us.

Richard: We hear there’s new Up the Academy music on the way. What are the details and what else can we expect from Up the Academy in 2012?

Adam: We're pretty excited to be finally releasing a few songs we birthed, tit-fed, wiped, and coddled into the world on some sort of actual format. We have a 2 song, 7" coming out on Replay Records in a few days and a split 7" with Magic City out of St. Louis following soon after. For the Replay 7" release look for a projection of "Up the Academy" (the movie starring Ralph Macchio) while Up the Academy (the band) is playing music, and feed on free popcorn. The date for that is lookin like April 12th. Also sounds like the Replay's Spring Into Summer is happening again. I've heard rumors of an all day show with tons of bands and even a PBR orgy. You can guarantee we'll be there in some capacity.

Chip: You guys barely have an internet presence and hardly even announce your own shows. Is this some kind of carefully calculated punk aesthetic or just general Larryville rock-and-roll apathy?

Adam: We don't have a web presence because we don't want to. In some places, people don't even talk to each other. Fortunately for our fair town here, our people still talk to each other, and they come out to shows without a FB invite or email or some band's intraweb presence or even a show poster. They come out to shows because they're moved by the power of the....moved by the.... uhhh yeah we'll have to claim total laziness on that one. Oh, by the way we're playing Wednesday March 28th at the Replay Lounge with Church Shoes (awesome band from TX).

Here's a peek at Ron Miller's cool front and back vinyl jacket art for the 7":

And here's a photo of the band at the SXSW Replay Records' showcase courtesy of I Heart Local Music (go here to check out the full gallery and videos). We dig those air-brushed Playboy bunny shirts!


Tip for bloggers: a mere mention of "KU Boobs" in your blog headline will score you a record number of pageviews (even more than getting a blog post linked to the official Elvis Costello site, it seems).

Yes, America is crazy-horny for KU Boobs, and today's set comes courtesy of our Larryville Twitter-friend @christinamaki . Thanks for sharing your boobs with the world!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Obligatory Elite Eight Photo Blog: Street Parties, Leotards Parties, and KU Boobs!

Making it to the Final Four demands a full evening of boozing and high-fiving and dancing and climbing trees along Mass. Street, especially following another glorious defeat of Roy "Crybaby" Williams. And Larryville was happy to make the most of the opportunity yesterday.

We were jealous of these rooftop revelers and their great view (Chip kept falling while trying to scale the wall of Teller's).

Afterwards we took a break from the streets to hit the Replay, where our pals in The Leotards rudely interrupted a dance party for a short set of filthy tunes that contained a moving (yet still highly danceable) cover of "Bitches Ain't Shit."

And then it was right back to the streets in time to watch this chick puke through a sunroof.


But perhaps the highlight of the weekend was neither on the court NOR in the streets but rather in the magical hashtag #KUBoobs, which began appearing prior to Friday's NC-State game and continued throughout the weekend to feature "delectable" (Chip's term) shots of ladies' cleavage encased in KU attire. If you're reading this and still not convinced to join Twitter, there is probably no hope for you.

Special thanks to our Twitter-buddy @_cimmy_ for allowing us to share this nice shot of her KU Boobs! Rock Chalk! See you all in the bars on Saturday.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Interview: We Get Adorable With Richard Gintowt and Hidden Pictures

Scenesters tend to like their rock and roll gloomy and self-important but, if you're like us, you occasionally crave a little bouncy pop, something that's (dare we say) fun. Then look no further than Hidden Pictures, with their lovely boy/girl harmonies, glockenspiels, and songs about crushes on sexy librarians ("Anne, Apparently"). Today we're chatting with Richard Gintowt and the HP gang about their upcoming album (Rainbow Records), about whether or not they're "adorable," and about our shared passion for the twee sounds of Transmittens. Make sure to catch Hidden Pictures at the I Heart Local Music birthday party on Saturday at the Bottleneck alongside The Sluts, Magentlemen, and Doubleplus.

Visit the FB event page for the show here

And check out the new song "Calling Christine" from Hidden Pictures' upcoming album over here .

Listen to their previous album Sychronized Sleeping (and all their other material) on Bandcamp

And laugh at a drunk guy reviewing that album over here (very funny; completely true)

Enjoy the interview!

Richard: As you may know, we’re fans of adorable things, and we find the stage dynamic and harmonies between you and Michelle quite adorable. Some reviewers have invoked She and Him, but what performers would you list as influences?

Hidden Pictures: You know, if you got closer to us, you wouldn't find us so adorable. Michelle is currently hacking up phlegm in hopes of being healthy enough to sing this weekend. Richard recently completed an eight-week course in anger management, which we suppose makes him slightly more adorable. At any rate, our complete list of influences would be adorably longwinded, so we'll just go with a few recent inspirations. Richard has been using Spotify to rediscover all the great music that predated his birth; recent discoveries include Marshall Crenshaw, the dBs, Emmitt Rhodes, and Any Trouble. On a more modern note, he's been spinning Field Music, Plants and Animals, Damien Jurado, and Dr. Dog. Michelle's all-time faves include the Shins, Nada Surf, Fruit Bats, Pernice Brothers, Wilco, and Belle and Sebastian. Cameron writes extensively about the music he loves on his Record Geek Heaven blog, and Corey and Nate mostly listen to Christopher Cross.

Richard: Way back in the good old days an intrepid young Richard Gintowt was a music writer on in the era when that site actually covered music. Can you describe the Hidden Pictures sound using some pompous, Pitchfork-y or Daytrotter-y style music writing?

HP: Ha, those were some good ol' days indeed. We always imagined Pitchfork would grade us out at a 4.8, since that's about where they rate most of the albums we love. How about this...

"Dish water swirls down the drain of eternity. A distant chime echoes in the ether. Chim chim chiree? Hardly. There was a place and time for bands like Hidden Pictures, but it's evaporated like so much salt water. An honest effort nonetheless. 4.8"

Richard: Not enough bands are rocking the glock' these days (as we like to call the glockenspiel). How did that instrument become essential to the band?

HP: Well, at our first gig Michelle played a tuba and farted loudly and no one thought we were adorable. [Chip laughs for eleven minutes at this point in the interview] So we did some research on and decided to invest in a glockenspiel. Now she farts discreetly and they smell like lavender.

(True story: Richard inherited the glock from his high school marching band and it seemed like something Michelle could play that was loud enough to compete with the boys. We actually didn't use it that much on the new album though, for fear of being labeled "adorable.")

Chip: If there’s one thing we like it’s sexy librarians. And if there are two things we like, it’s songs about sexy librarians. Your song “Anne, Apparently” is a good example. Is that song based on a real sexy librarian who “works at the library in Strawberry Hill?” Give us the background on that tune.

HP: Yes, that song is exactly as pathetic as it sounds. Richard hit on a girl at the KCK library and she straight dissed him. So Richard convinced Michelle to re-enact the scenario in a music video with happier and more '80s-tinged results. Now when Richard hits on librarians, he shows them the video on his phone and says, "This could have been you."

Watch the video here.

Richard: Hidden Pictures is playing the I Heart Local Music birthday show at the Bottleneck on Saturday. Tell our readers why they NEED to attend and what they can expect from the set?

HP: We wouldn't say you need to attend per se - Hulu recently added season 1 of "Celebrity Fit Club" so you might want to catch up on that first or risk being embarrassed in social interactions. But if you do decide to attend, we have a bunch of new songs to play for you and Michelle will spit phlegm all over your date. Also, there will be Sluts, which is typically a pretty good draw in Lawrence.

Richard: We hear there’s a new album on the way in the near future. Tell us about it.

HP: Yep, it's called "Rainbow Records" and we hope to have it out in a month or two. It's got twelve songs, many of which will be fairly new to people. A lot of it is thematically about records and bands that shaped Richard into the delightfully misanthropic 30-year-old that he is today. Ed Rose mixed it and it sounds like a billion bucks. We're pysched to get it out.

Richard: We once talked to you at the Replay about the genius of Larryville’s now sadly defunct twee heroes Transmittens. What was it that made them so terrific, and why do you think that no one has stepped forward to fill their twee little shoes here in town?

HP: Nice! Last we heard, Transmittens relocated to Seattle and morphed into Seapony and put out a record called "Go With Me" on Hardly Art. It's actually doing fairly well, and that's great b/c they deserve it. We were just thinking of Transmittens yesterday while watching that episode of Portlandia where that chick from the Decemberists is in a band called Sparklepony and she can't get into her own gigs. That's sort of how we imagine Danny and Jen: wandering venue to venue in Seattle, adorably unable to convince the door guys that they're in the band.

Chip: What do you make of the current music scene in Larryville right now? Which bands are giving you a music-critic boner right now?

HP: To be honest, we're a little out of the loop having recently relocated to Kansas City. But we can say that we, at this very moment, have a raging hard-on for the ACBs, Cowboy Indian Bear, the Empty Spaces, the Dead Girls, Grisly Hand, the Republic Tigers, Soft Reeds, Ghosty, Minden, the Glass Ouijans, La Guerre, Making Movies, Sam Billen, Hospital Ships, the Caves, O Giant Man, Quiet Corral, Ha Ha Tonka, Antennas Up, Sons of Great Dane, Fullbloods, Oriole Post and a bunch of other bands that are probably weirded out by our raging hard-ons anyways.

Adorable photo via Michael Forester:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Meet Your New Favorite Band: An Interview with The Leotards

Surely one of this year's most important scenester events will occur this Sunday at the Replay's matinee show when The Leotards take the stage. Consisting of King Tosser on guitar, Stephanie Stix on vocals and simulated sex-sounds, and the invaluable Cher Alike (a drum machine), The Leotards have thus far been more myth than reality in Larryville, appearing only fleetingly at such gigs as a Rooftop Vigilantes house party (we weren't hip enough to be invited) and a bizarre, "family-friendly" concert at the Percolator (where the 'tards blazed through a debased set that scarred young minds permanently and almost got the band arrested for public indecency).

Sunday's matinee starts at 6:00 and also includes a performance by the Vigilantes' Zach Campbell. The Leotards headline the evening, but get there early, because their sets are fast, furious, and filthy. It's true that this event is occurring simultaneously with the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra's Baroque by Candlelight event, but we suspect the demographics may not overlap much (and we assure you that Bach ain't got shit on the Leotards!).

Please check out four Leotards songs on Soundcloud over here . The tracks begin with the surprisingly restrained "Atmosphere," but put the kids to bed starting on the next track and listen quietly if you're at work, because you WILL get fired for playing such obscenities in the workplace.

We were pleased to chat with King Tosser and Stix this week about rock and roll, boners, and the trenchant social critique that lies behind such soon-to-be-anthems as "Sugar Dick" and "Cock Jokes."

Richard: Tell us the origin story of The Leotards, which we understand is a sordid tale involving drum machines, floods, and probably a fair amount of drugs.

SS: The Leotards started one drunken late night with King Tosser on the acoustic and Stix on the tamb and mic. Our first original song was reminiscent of early Indigo Girls. The rest is pretty much a blur. We lost our first drummer, Cher, in the's too depressing to relive.

KT: In the beginning there was The Leotards...and on the second day they did convert the infidels to their sweet post-punk meets neo-disco stylings. Alas, then came the terrible Kansas City flood of 2000-something-or-other when--as befits such myths--only 2 Leotards were allowed on the ark. Cher (our original robotic drummer), sadly, perished, soon to be replaced by Cher Alike, a far superior model and a credit to the cyborg community. The rest, as they say, is history (or religion).

Now, I can understand how you might presume that our ecstatic performances are the result of the ingestion of copious amounts of drugs, but I can reliably state on the authority of our personal crack dealer that The Leotards are driven by nothing more than divine inspiration and Jim Jones-like self-delusion. However, Stix is correct that our early performances were so bloody awful that they did garner comparisons to the Indigo Girls.

Richard: You’re a music critic yourself, King Tosser, so this should be an easy one for you: Describe The Leotards’ sound using a “we sound like ________ meets ___________” comparison.

SS: NWA meets The Stooges meets Dire Straits meets Diana Ross.

KT: Here goes..."We sound like" Joy Division meets Pansy Division meets Mad meets Chester meets 2 Live Crew meets Too Short meets Leo meets Tards meets postpunk meets neoprepunk meets the hip to the hop to the hippity hop. (Best understood when read really fast to a catchy nursery rhyme jingle).

Chip: Stephanie Stix makes a lot of “sex noises” in your songs, which gives me a boner. Is this the reaction you’re hoping for from the audience? It will probably cut down on the dancing, since I find it hard to dance with an erection.

SS: If we can get anyone to come hear us play, I don't really care if they're standing in an erection coma or dancing.

KT: Sex noises? Do you mean her in-song impersonations of a cat being strangled? Depends on the type of sex you're referring to, I suppose. My on-stage boner is purely functional as I can't afford a slide for my guitar, but you've given me an idea for a possible new dance craze.

Richard: I once saw The Leotards perform a decidedly “un-family-friendly” show at a “family-friendly” Percolator performance. Will you go the opposite route at the Replay, perhaps offering up a set of old jazz standards or something? What can we expect from this gig?

SS: A little MJ dancing, rapping and possibly a 6 foot long dildo squirting the audience in their faces and definitely a mic up Tosser's ass.

KT: I like to see us more as "Manson Family-friendly" rather than "un-family-friendly", and as for the jazz standards idea: do you know any that require no more than 2 major chords? And Stix, I'm certainly looking forward to a Mike up my ass; oh, did you say "mic"?

Chip: I find myself drawn to the song in which you repeatedly pose such questions as “Is that your dick in my mouth?” I can’t help but feel the song is intended as a larger commentary on the American condition. Can you offer some insight?

SS: The Leotards are social activists, first, and music gods, second. I once stuck an Oxy up Rush Limbaugh's ass while his limp dick was scratching a chronic itch I had in my throat."

KT: You are correct, Sir, the song is one of many addressing social concerns via pointed metaphors. You might consider our dietary awareness songs that were inspired from hours of watching Dr. Oz ("Sugar Dick", "Fat is Wack"); our attempts at helping the First Lady in getting kids to exercise ("On My Knees", "I'm a Playa"); or our protests against fowl (sic(k)) local art projects ("Cock Jokes"). As Stix correctly comments: America first, blow jobs second.

Richard: From what I know of the Leotards, you are big fans of brevity. Will this Replay set clock in at about the same length as a Rooftop Vigilantes’ album?

SS: 15 minutes for the set and 30 seconds to take care of all the erections.

KT: 30 seconds for the set and 15 minutes to take care of all the erections.

Chip: I love your song about wanting to fuck Kate Winslet, which I believe is something many of us can relate to. How did that song come about?

SS: Chip, you should really get your facts straight, you fuck! The song Kate Winslet is actually a true story in which I was walking down a hallway at a local high school, selling LSD to minors, when Kate Winslet approached me and said SHE wanted to fuck me. I, of course, obliged.

KT: Sounds believable.

Richard: How would you describe your vocal styles? Who are your influences?

SS: My influences include Whitney Houston, Too $hort and PJ Harvey.

KT: Mine are Tiny Tim, the blond bird from Abba, and Morrissey in castrato mode (Isn't he always?).

Chip: If I were King Tosser, I’d probably have a boner during every set, since so many of the songs are powerfully erotic. Stix, does he often have a boner during practice?

SS: If Uncle E could time his Viagra right, he could probably have an erection that lasted through the first two songs in our set.

KT: An unnecessary and unfair cheap shot! Those are 2 of our longest songs!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This Week in Local Sports: KU Men's Basketball, KU Women's Basketball, and the Heroic KU Spirit Squad / Plus, Chip Reads E.L James' 50 Shades of Grey

It's an exciting week for KU Sports with the men's basketball team heading for a Sweet Sixteen match-up with North Carolina State in St. Louis on Friday.

But you may have also heard that the women's basketball team is doing well down in Little Rock. First off, some dudes from KU's Spirit Squad are going around saving people's lives on the street (Chip: "I've often dreamed of being rescued by KU cheerleaders, although usually it's the female ones."). Watch a video via Huffington Post here ). And what about the tournament? The Lady Jayhawks handily dispensed with Nebraska on Sunday (while you all were watching the men's game) and will face Delaware tonight, whose star player Elena Delle Dunne is getting a little attention on the KU Sports message boards today.

Bangkok_Jayhawk says:

"Men's sports: Become famous for being good.
Women's sports: Become famous if you are good AND good looking."

RedDemon99 cracks wise: "How do you explain Brittney Griner?"

And KatieKelley retorts: "Male chauvinist pig.........".

And Bayhawkaholic tries to mediate these brewing disputes: "We can notice her outer beauty, AND value her beautiful spirit at the same time."

But getting the most attention on the talkbacks today is the LJ-World piece titled "Kansas’ Ben McLemore headed home," a headline that terrified this morning's readership (even though it's really just a cuddly piece about Ben being hyped to visit family in St. Louis this weekend).

Gardenjay says: "someone needs to proof and re-write the thing, maybe by morning. It would be nice to acknowledge the posters after this article is re-written so that we don't look like over-critical doofuses."

Sorry, Gardenjay, the LJ-World talkbackers are always going to find a way to look like "over-critical doofuses." It's just the nature of talkbacks in general.


Readers, we've written before about the popularity of e-book erotica, but somehow the latest sensation, E.L James' 50 Shades of Grey, escaped our attention until recently.

Forbes writes:

"The erotic trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey by British author E L James began as Twilight fan fiction that slowly built an audience online before triumphantly erupting on the publishing scene as “THE book everyone is talking about.” It’s called “mommy porn” for its suburban female readership and graphic sex scenes, is getting credit for spicing up marriages across the U.S. and even received criticism for encouraging women’s sexual submission." (read the full piece from Forbes here ).

So what does "mommy porn" sound like? It's not as easy to find excerpts on-line
as you'd think, but we discovered this list of memorable quotes via a site called Read/React/Review (check it out here ):

“I’m lost in a quagmire of sensation.”

“I revel in his possession, his lust slaking mine.”

“Trepidation lances through me.”

“He’s got right under my skin, literally.”

“I turn into my pillow and the sluice gates open.”

Chip: "Does the 'sluice gates' line mean that she's crying or does it mean...something dirtier? Or both? Damn it, I suppose I'm going to have to read this erotic trilogy."

Also, "Slake" is a word we need to use more often.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Interview: Astrokitty's Joel Talks About Wednesday's Super Nerd Night / St. Patty's Photo Blog

The next Super Nerd Night (not to be confused with "Nerd Nite") is coming your way this Wednesday at the Bottleneck, and Joel Pfannenstiel from Astrokitty Comics has some funny things to say about what happens there and why you need to witness it. Enjoy the interview, and make sure to check out the FB event page here for full details on the nerdery (video games, board games, drawing contests) plus the entertainment line-up, which includes The She Bangs, Not a Planet , and a performance from Foxy by Proxy burlesque revue.

Richard: According to the FB event page, the last Super Nerd Night set some attendance records for you. Why do you think there’s such a resurgence of nerd culture right now, not only with events like yours but also with the more academic (but still drunken) Nerd Nites springing up across the world?

Joel: Nerd Nites are completely different. From what I understand, they're like hipster TEDtalks, which is awesome, but COMPLETELY different than what we have going on. I mean, you're a lot more likely to get an erection at SUPER NERD NIGHT than you are at NERD NITE. Also, we started this shit here in Lawrence and then Cali done take OUR brand and spread it, skeet-like, all over the face of the Western seaboard, thanks in large part to former-Lawrencian, Amy Lukima. We moved to the Bottleneck when we learned the Borg had assimilated the Jackpot, and couldn't be happier with our decision! It's bigger! It's better! It has more lights! It's right around the corner from Astrokitty! As far as "nerd culture" goes, I know what you mean and it does exist, to an extent, but it's pretty much just an orgy of pop culture appreciation with a side of not discarding the entertainment of our youths (or finding it, after having decided it's cool to do so once again). Nerd is a useful term, but also hard to pin down. Is it as useful as "hipster"? Sorta...but also as worthless. It means something but doesn't really encapsulate what it's supposed to, because we're not all the same, exactly. Oh man, I got fucking philosophical again, didn't I? Stop me if I do that again. BTW, I love the Nerd Nite folks. I kid because I love.

Richard: Sadly, we’ve yet to experience a Super Nerd Night ourselves. Can you convince our readers in a few sentences why this is something that can’t be missed?

Joel: Hm. Probably not in a few sentences. It's one of those transitory, but profoundly resonant the first time you beat Contra or having just read Preacher Vol. 2. That said, it's video-games, art, card/board-games, bands, alcohol consumption, and occasionally half-naked girls...all in a bar setting.

Richard: Speaking of half-naked girls, Foxy by Proxy burlesque participated in the last event and is back for this one. Aren’t you afraid that the nerds will be scared off by the pretty women?

Joel: Well, no. I mean, the kissing booth didn't work out the way they might have expected it to, but that's pretty confrontational and also underlines the needing to pay for it thing, which most nerds would like to avoid even if it's a harsh reality in some cases. I think everyone, women and men alike...from fratty choad to nearly asexual to see ladies strut their stuff and shake their thangs. It will be a nice respite from the aural assault of the She-Bangs and Not A Planet (though theirs will both be the good kind of assault, the kind you ask for). It's like a one-act-play that gives you tinglies while you think about getting back to that game of Munchkin you've got going or the stage on Golgo 13 you have paused. These ladies are doing an awesome job representing the sexy AND the entertaining right here in Larry-fucking-Kansas. They're also amazing representatives for SNN. They walk around and get people excited to be doing things and definitely increase our lady-to-dude ratio.

Chip: Let's talk more about ladies. Is Super Nerd Night a good event for single male nerds to meet women, or does it consist mainly of super-introspective women who won’t look up from their Magic decks and are encased in dragon suits or some shit?

Joel: Not sure what a dragon suit is...but I don't play poker much. I saw quite a few ladies at our last SNN, but I didn't ask any of them out. I'm married, so that's frowned upon. Several of them seemed to be wandering around solo or in packs of ladies. I'd say it's a great place to meet like-minded people who dig games and alcohol and music and art and geeky pursuits in general. If you end up horizontal with some of those people, well...there's a bonus. It's like finding that hidden 1-up. My experience with ALL Magic players, though, male or that little can break their focus aside from the announcements of free door prizes. Luckily, we'll have plenty of those at SNN.

Richard: Do you have any favorite Super Nerd Night moments that stand out from past events?

Joel: Some of our Drink & Draw pieces we've had turned in...are truly hideous and spectacular. Memorable, for sure. Also, got hit on when I was dressed up like fat, time-lost Harry Potter one time. Well, the fat was real, but the rest was an illusion. Beyond that, there is the glory of playing the original NES Pro-Wrestling on a huge TV and having people get into it and talk smack. Plus, of course, all the bartenders at the Jackpot were always very awesome. The event started humble, as a way to play Magic in a bar, and has now mutated into this hydra of entertainment that I'm always trying to staple new heads onto. I'm glad we've moved to a new venue because it allows us to do so much more, but I'll miss our scrappy beginnings and those I started the whole thing with. Hell, I didn't even come up with the name, originally...but talk about branding! It says it all!

Richard: What are your goals for future Super Nerd Nights, or do most nerds believe that the zombie apocalypse will eliminate the need for all such planning?

Joel: We're all prepared for the apocalypse of zombies, vampires, mutants, or aliens. That's how nerds roll...when not rolling a D20. BUT, if you want to know what we have up our sleeves? Well, it's a bi-monthly thing now, so it makes it much easier to plan AND we have a planning committee/group so we can delegate and get shit done for REAL, son! We want to make each one special and stand out, and with these two under our belts (after this March one blows up), we'll have a better idea of what works and what doesn't. We know the Bottleneck is expecting to get two more projectors, so I anticipate we'll use those. We're working with the bartenders to do specialty geek-drinks, so that will evolve. We're trying to work with as many local businesses that seem to fit into our vibe as that will likely expand/shift (right now it's Hastings, FoxyByProxy, Liberty Hall, D20 Girls, GameNut & Astrokitty). This March edition will feature a big-screen Wii set-up, using our current projector, but we'd like to get the big-screen gaming tourney ready for May. Speaking of May, it will be our first theme edition of SNN. It's going to be all things METAL, so expect all the games to be fantasy and horror themed and the music, well...metal as fuck. Plus, a few other AWESOME surprises up our sleeves. Very excited about all of the coming iterations of SNN! All the proceeds from the door, btw, go to a select charity this year...AboutSF. Look them up online! It's a very nerd-centric cause!

Chip: What exactly is a “geek-drink” special? Is it really just a PBR that’s been renamed a “space beer” for the evening?

Joel: Well, it's evolving. We'd like it do be something fact be a slew of somethings awesome, but we will be working more closely with the Bottleneck to establish what sorts of drinks they can make and what the price point will be. I'd love to have a drink called the Re-TARDIS or something. It's a goal. This time around, it might just be a rum & coke called Luke Cage.

Richard: I'm hoping for a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, at the very least.

Chip: I'll assume that's a nerdy reference to something.


We started our St. Patty's day with a gypsy, washboard-jamboree with Dumptruck Butterlips at the Granada.

This dude was on the scene:

Then we looked at a dyed-green horse in the parade, because it ain't St. Patty's until some animals have been dipped in food coloring!

And of course the Sandbar took top prize once again with their pirate antics.

Then we caught some tuba and accordion jams from Olassa opening up the Replay afternoon party: Our favorite: "I like the way the wind blows." Did we miss the one about the airline stewardess? If so, we blame Courtneybelle and the @nuthousepunks gang, who kept us inside drinking during the first few songs of the set.

The unexpected stars of the night were The Recessionists, a new band which turned out to be a funked-up take on classic girl-groups, complete with "shoobi-doobie" choruses, bad-ass horns, and covers of songs like Erma Franklin's "I Don't Want No Mama's Boy" that were capable of making even the most apathetic scenesters bounce around a little. Go see this band as soon as they play again.

Overheard conversation:

Scenester 1: "I like this band, and yet they're exactly the kind of band that could play at my mother's high-school graduation."

Scenester 2: "No. They are better than that."

The second scenester was right.

And here's a better photo of Recessionists via @karenmatheis in which you can see their awesome socks!

And the F Holes closed the evening session with "a good time down at the bar" (Chip: "That's a reference to one of their songs!"). We love how the band howls "BURY ME SHALLOW" on the chorus of "Bury Me Shallow."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our Suggested St. Patrick's Day Itinerary

10:00 am: Dine on corned beef hash and Boulevard Chocolate Ale (they must have stockpiled that shit!) at Dempsey's Pub.

If you prefer your St. Patty's breakfast to be free (and accompanied by pitchers of green beer), opt for the Bottleneck:

11:00 Sing some drunken Thin Lizzy songs (badly) with Sam and Duckie during the Jackpot's all-day karaoke from 11:00-5:00

noon: Read bits of Finnegan's Wake with some dudes we know over at Henry's:

"...a waalworth of a skyerscape of most eyeful hoyth entowerly, erigenating from next to nothing and celescalating the himals and all, hierarchitec-titiptitoploftical, with a burning bush abob off its baubletop and with larrons o'toolers clittering up and tombles a'buckets clotter-ing down."

Chip: "I don't know what's happening in that section, but I think it's something sexy due to words such as 'clittering.' "

1:00: Parade (catch a short nap during the boring parts; wake up to watch the Sandbar win the float competition).

3:00 Enjoy some Olassa tunes at the Replay (and read our interview with the band's Cain Robberson here )

4:00 Sing some MORE drunken Thin Lizzy songs (badly) with Sam and Duckie during the Jackpot's all-day karaoke

7:30 Watch Hospital Ships and Heartscape Landbreak at Lawrence Arts Center and purchase a freaky anti-Brownback T-shirt designed by BARRR (read our interview with BARRR here ).

10:00 Pass out in alley behind the Replay

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Jason BARRR Interview: "I hold the record for quickest knock out at the Replay"

Most days BARRR barks at you in 140 characters or less via his Twitter feed (follow him here ), but when he sits down for a podcast or interview, that dude can be...verbose!

If you've spent any time within the local art and cultural circles in recent years, you certainly know Jason Barr already. Chances are you've seen his work, drank a beer with him, done some "DRUGGZ," swam with him at Village Square pool, punched him in the face, or been punched in the face by him (perhaps all in the same afternoon). He's poised to leave Larryville soon for the KC art scene, so we like to think of this lengthy interview as BARRR's final love letter to Larryville.

Also, you'll want to make sure to pick up one of the limited edition "black metal Brownback" T-shirts he's made for this Saturday's Hospital Ships' show at the Arts Center. See the design at the end of the interview and pick one up at the show or on-line afterward, if any remain.

Enjoy the interview, which goes frighteningly deep into both the man and the myth! And stop by the BARRR Heaven website for info on his art and podcasts.

Chip: You tend to paint a lot of stuff that gives me nightmares, such as masturbating demons. Why can’t you offer up the occasional nice landscape, or bowl of fruit, or a tasteful nude?

BARRR: I've always painted over landscapes & still lifes. It's something I'm drawn to but definitely not to create them. I just want all the hard work someone else put into creating a boring/shitty piece and then I wanna vandalize it. Don't forget that Welcome To Asteroid Head Land was an installation landscape...just our psychedelic nightmare version of it. Ha.

The whole masturbating demon painting is such a joke now. I didn't even want to include that painting in that show. It wasn't really finished and it was washed out. You could definitely see a cock shooting a bullet thru his face but that's about it....and you really had to look thru all that purple paint to even see what the fuck was going on. I showed it to Kenneth Kupfer and he said "You're putting an angel with a boner sniffing coke with God in heaven...why wouldn't you put that piece in your show?!" So I did and now I'm regionally famous. Ha. How dumb.

Richard: How would you describe your work and who are your influences? And can you incorporate one of those “My work is like _______ meets ________” comparisons that critics love so well?

BARRR: Hmmmm.... I really like a lot of stereotypical stuff like Picasso, Paul Klee, Salvador Dali, Mondrian, Francis Bacon, and also some pop art like Basquiat, & Warhol of course. But more modern characters like Vincent Gallo, Skinner, Larry Clark, Travis Millard, Jay Howell, Chris Johanson, Clint Rickets, Scott McPherson, Michael Krueger, Ed Templeton, & Kenneth Kupfer def inspire me daily. People always say my work reminds them of a million different people. Film really inspires me as well. I love Harmony Korine. I like people that make raw art that is really about the attitude & feeling it emits. I could care less about someone trying to make a drawing look like a photo. I'm not dissing it. It just doesn't make me feel anything other than damn, that's good, probably took a long ass time to make.

Chip: We hear that local Twitter celebrity Fake Jeff Withey commissioned you to do some paintings for him? Is that dude as fucking cool as I imagine, and how did this all come about?

BARRR: Yeah.. I reached out to @FakeJeffWithey & we had a little meeting of the minds. I hoped to contribute to the modern myth & maniac that is Fake Jeff Withey. We vibed on the same level… and I created the Hot Tub Party which is supposed to be the secret lair in which Fake Jeff Withey brews his secret Gatorade with babes soakin in it. It kind of turned into an acid nightmare….but that shouldn't be a surprise. It's really just me throwin ideas at that guy & him responding….ok…that's hilarious….just don't get me sued and we're golden. I love that guys acct & yes…we partied hard together. I can't talk about that night legally. Dude makes me look like a total puss….parties harder than Andrew WK.

Richard: Tell us what you’re working on for the next Final Friday and how hyped should we be about it?

BARRR: Well… I won't have anything in the next Final Friday show here in LFK.

I'd say the most important event going down will be the new Lawrence Art Auction on display. That's a huge swath of artists all in one giant group show. I think Ben Ahlvers has really improved the quality of work. I've seen the show. It's up now. It's amazing.

I also have a painting in the show titled "Happy Birthday Langston Hughes. Thanks For The Cake." It's basically about how I didn't realize that this huge cake was for some Langston Hughes literary prize being given out here at the Arts Center and I seriously just cut the corner out before the event and ate it. Yeah. Real smooth. I'm an idiot. Everyone's been making fun of me about it for a month now. So... I made the painting of the cake with the piece missing. Pretty straight forward, but I hope people can see the charm in making fun of yourself.

Richard: Your public persona, which can be pretty confrontational and abrasive, is well-known in local scenester circles. How much of that is a cultivated act and how much is the “real” Barr?

BARRR: I was definitely bullied a lot as a kid. I also moved a lot. My parents were artists and Christians. So.. I def did not feel like I fit in anywhere I went. I was too weird for the Christians and I was too Christians for the dudes at school. I was also really sick out of nowhere when I was in 5th grade. I had seizures & was hospitalized for almost an entire year in Chicago. That was rough. I was then the full on weirdo/outcast/retard at my middle school. BUT I realized I was funny and could talk a mile a minute. I slowly won people over with my wit & charm. Thank god for that. Luckily we moved to Olathe KS and I was able to be myself. Hence the over confident, loud mouth clown persona. It was all skateboarding, punk rock and fucking shit up with Kenneth & Alex Kupfer. Embracing the absurd & just not apologizing for anything after being a poor, sick outcast up until my sophomore year of High School.

I had to give you that upfront. I have to say that's my excuse for some of my outrageous attitude & personality. The biggest thing people say to me after only reading my tweets or hearing some ridiculous story is "I can't believe how nice you are." It's like they think the blogger or stage persona is how I am all the time. I'm generally lampooning someone that thinks he's too cool for school but at the same time...I'm definitely a snobby know-it-all. It just comes out. I do not suffer fools.

I will also say, it's not calculated. Almost everything I do is impulsive. I have no plan for my career either. I am what I am. I think people are both drawn to strong personalities & also intimidated by them. It's people's insecurity that makes them paranoid. I'm just confident. Everyone got a damn trophy in soccer growing up and now suddenly there's this guy making ridiculous art, standup, music, etc... challenging them on every level.

It started with my blog Farmhouse Blues over 10 yrs ago for I was given a platform here locally and I ran with it. I mean, no one even knew what blogs were back then and BAM... I come in as a 20 YO pointing out the absurdity of politics, hipsters, religion & liberals here in Lawrence. It def shook people up. I was also conservative then. Not kidding. I thought it gave me an edge to run with this character who still partied but was confessed to be a believer & a Republican. (I was also obsessed with Vincent Gallo) It got more of a response than I'd ever imagined and at this point it's hilarious to me. I'm NOT a conservative or a believer at 30. But...I still have the same personality. It's a blessing & a curse to be manic depressive & have panic disorder. Ha. I guess I could've just answered your question with that last line but why make this simple.

Chip: Rumor has it that you’re moving out of the Lost Art Space? Will you be working closer to home in North Larryville and, if so, aren’t you scared of being knifed by the hobos that wander the streets of No Law like wild dogs?

BARRR: You know I'm not afraid of anyone. Especially hobos. I think I hold the record for quickest knock out at the Replay Lounge as well. Dude spit on the back of my head once, I turned took two steps and knocked his ass out with one punch. I then turned around and walked out. I was there for a total of 1 minute. Dri was dj'ing there that night. I had my nice crushed velvet jacket on too. Coulda been a great night. HA.

Well. I lasted 2 months at Lost Art Space. It was awesome. I learned so much in the area of craft (mine sucks) and how to be self sufficient. I made a TON of work there. Those dudes really pushed me in a good direction. It also goes without saying that my aforementioned personality quirks impact whether I can mesh with people. We've all got egos and everyone thinks they're doing all the work. That's the hardest part of a group run project or space. It's stressful at times & challenging.

I've already got my art collective Asteroid Head and I just sold Wonder Fair. I have no real desire to try and do another collaborative art thing. Making art is weird. Especially when you have a specific vision of what you're doing and why, like I do. I want to be in charge of my surroundings & in control of my image/brand 200%. That's why I'm back working out of my home studio. I think I probably sold 5 paintings out of that space off the wall. It's not advantageous for me to pay rent & kick back $$$ for events I can book in a living room. I sell 75% of my work online.

If you can find a commodity to sell to the general public, you can make a living in Lawrence KS. BUT if you're doing what I'm doing... it's not gonna sell to the rich west side folks unless they're a fucking maniac. I've met a couple west side bros that immediately melted and freaked out when they saw my work. They wanted to talk about acid & when they were young but none of those bros bought anything. So, that's cool but it made me analyze what I'm doing on Mass St. Am I here to just hang out or am I really trying to put in the type of quality hours that I need to further my artistic vision. I'm too easily distracted too. That's def on me. Ha.

In the end you have to surround yourself with people that have the same vision. It doesn't mean another attitude or vision is bad or wrong. It's just different and can cause for weird vibes. Concerning the Lost Art Space...I hope those guys keep doing what they're doing. They're good for Lawrence KS. Big shout out to George & Judy Paley too. That space wouldn't even be possible if they weren't such giving people & supporters of the arts. If you haven't made it to 845 Mass yet, do it before it's gone! It's an original space.

I want to talk about N. Lawrence too... I love that place. I'm trying to nail down Frank Dorsey who just bought LATINO SI!!!!! If you follow my twitter feed, that shit was the bane of my existence! I hope to paint 3 murals there before I leave! It's only 4 houses down from me at 5th & Locust. Should be a great way to leave some BARRR art in Lawrence. I'm also working out some new stuff for the Taproom bathrooms like my homie Travis Millard. I'm gonna go hard before I exit this beautiful place I've loved for so long.

Richard: You seem to have a prolific output. Do you have a personal favorite piece from some point in your career? Tell us about it.

BARRR: I pretty much love whatever I'm making at the moment. It's like some sort of weird delusion. As soon as you finish something, you're like…this is fucking genius and hilarious. Just because you made it. Ha. I think that's what keeps artists working. BUT some of us are simply lucky enough to be really dumb & stubborn…so we keep making art. I'm just lucky. Dumb & lucky.I think I'll name my next painting that. LOLZZZ. Although I'll throw this out there… I'm making a limited edt. shirt for Hospital Ships that will only be available at his show March 17th at the Arts Center. It's an anti-Brownback tee…. BARRR x Hospital Ships = Best shit you've ever seen! #HeavyMetalGraffitti is all I'm gonna say on that. It'll be available online after the show…. but if you wanna guarantee that you get one come to that sicccc show!

I want to send out positive vibes here. It's easy to be critical of everything or reactionary just because you're bored. If you use Twitter, you know what I'm talking about. I also don't want to discourage people from being critical. Just find a good balance and remember that if you put out a lot of criticism or negativity you'll get that back. Just be ready to roll with what you're doing. Thanks for being an amazing place to live and work Lawrence KS!

Here's BARRR's Hospital Ships T-shirt:

New Interview: Marty Hillard Chats About the "Jockin' My Fresh 3" Documentary

You've heard Martinez Hillard's sultry vocal stylings in Cowboy Indian Bear, but he's very active these days as well with his hip-hop project Ebony Tusks and with promoting a documentary of the recent "Jockin' My Fresh 3" concert (filmed by Quinn Brabender). Teaser footage from the doc is coming your way each Monday at noon from now until the April release. Monitor Marty's Twitter account here to keep track of the new videos and take a peek at the first bit of footage from the doc (Strider doing Lil Wayne) here . And read the original I Heart Local Music account of Jockin' My Fresh 3 concert over here to get a sense of what kind of shenanigans you may witness in the film.

Catch Marty's next Ebony Tusks show at the Jackpot on Thursday April 5, opening for Steddy P on the "Better Make Room" tour. The FB event page is here .

Thanks to Marty for chatting with us about hip-hop slang, vulgar rap lyrics, and the importance of documentation. Enjoy!

Chip: I don’t know what ‘Jockin’ My Fresh’ means, but I’m going to assume it’s dirty. Am I right?

Marty: For me, it's a loose reference to a Jay-Z single called "Jockin' Jay-Z (Dopeboy Fresh)". It was released ahead of his 2008 album The Blueprint 3 but didn't actually make the album. It's a song I loved from an artist I consider to be one of the best in the history of American music. As for the term itself it just means to ride someone's coattails or to bite their style. It's often used as a self-compliment as are most phrases in rap culture.

Richard: I know the ‘Jockin’ My Fresh’ concerts have been around for three years now, but what’s the genesis of this new concert documentary and why should our readers be super-hyped to witness it?

Marty: Well, I just wanted to give people an opportunity to approach the annual event from a different perspective. If you already appreciate rap music and hip-hop culture then my hope is that the documentary will be an extension to what you already love. If you aren't as versed perhaps you'll see or hear something different than what you expected. If you don't get out to live shows or support the artists in your city or region maybe this will give you an incentive to do so. Plus I'm a big believer in documentation; great music and great events deserve to be chronicled no matter their scope or audience. Quinn Brabender did a great job on it; that's the foremost reason to be excited.

Chip: The idea of releasing a bit of new footage each week as a lead-up to the official documentary release date is pretty cool. My favorite has to be Strider's take on 6”7 and my favorite lyric of 6'7 has to be “Never met the bitch but I fuck her like I missed her.” It’s just so witty. In your own work, do you tend to go in for the vulgar lyrics and constant use of the word ‘bitch’ like so many others?

Marty: Ha! For the record the line is a direct quote from Lil Wayne, the artist whose beat Strider takes advantage of for his version of " 6"7". I can certainly appreciate lyrical content whether nuanced and suggestive or brutally graphic. Ultimately I write what I feel and I like to challenge myself by refraining from certain words and language. It's a dark world we live in. Who knows what my future content will hold? We'll see I suppose.

Richard: We’re guessing most scenesters have seen you in Cowboy Indian Bear, but maybe fewer have seen you in Ebony Tusks. Tell us about your sound, ideally using some pompous Pitchfork-style writing and one of those “sounds like ___________ meets ___________” comparisons that form the basis of most music criticism.

Marty: "Sounds like your 6th or 7th favorite songwriter meets your 6th or 7th favorite rapper". Trying my damnedest to defy even that expectation.

Richard: Tell us where we'll able to watch the doc and can you give us any spoilers about the highlights?

Marty: We'll hit you with that soon - it's currently incubating at an undisclosed location. Suffice it to say that it will look like a damn good time on a Saturday night in January.

Richard: You’re a busy dude, so what all can we expect to witness from Marty Hillard and your various projects in 2012?

Marty: Another Cowboy Indian Bear album + videos, another EBONY TUSKS video + more music, etc. ad nauseum

JMF logo by Jared Bergeron and photos of Marty and Strider via Rebecca Dreyfus:

Nerd Nite 4 Review: "Tilapia is a horrible garbage-fish!"

The nerds of Nerd Nite assembled at Pachamama's last night for their monthly meeting. Let's see what was learned.

1) Wooden Rocket presentation:

If there's one thing nerds love, it's rockets. If there are two things, it's Star Wars sound effects: Darth Vader breathing, R2-D2 beeping, light sabers being engaged. Lucas Miller's presentation (perhaps the nerdiest of the event so far?) gave us both of those things in the context of a touching tale about Haskell University's plucky wooden rocket builders, whose "Space Eagle" rocket took 2nd place in a competition last year and who are currently hard at work on a rocket made of "sitka spruce" that might reach 2/3 the speed of sound. Why isn't someone making a documentary film about these guys, as it's exactly the kind of inspirational material that Harvey Weinstein could purchase and engineer to win an Oscar.

Sadly, no rockets were fired during the presentation.

2) Sushi presentation

Elwood Schaad's presentation about the "lies" and "bullshit" of American sushi was a delightful expose that surely rattled the nerves of many sushi-loving nerds in attendance. It was full of quotable pronouncements such as:

"No one in this room has ever tasted real wasabi."

"Tilapia is a horrible garbage-fish."

"NOTHING in a sushi restaurant is vegetarian."

If there's a sauce on top, that's American sushi."

The speech strengthened Chip's long-running vow to never try sushi.

3) Bracketology presentation

Laura Watkins professed a bad case of stage fright, but it didn't show. Her nerdy passion for college basketball (and all-consuming hatred of Missouri) made for a fun presentation which contained the most extraneous uses of profanity we've seen at Nerd Nite since the Sam Bunnyfield presentation several months back. Any lecture that calls Missouri a "bunch of assholes" within the first minute is aces in our book. And her co-presenter Kevin closed things out with some tips that damn well better win us some money in our bracket contest this year, such as: statistically it's always a smart bet to pick a #12 seed over a #5 seed (a good one this year: Long Beach State over New Mexico).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Interview: Olassa's Cain Robberson Stops By To Chat Before a St. Patty's Showcase at Replay

If you've been paying attention to the twangier side of Larryville music in recent years, you're no doubt familiar with Allison Olassa from various projects (sometimes rocking a sweet accordion!). These days Allison is in the 3-piece Olassa, who'll be entertaining all of us drunks down at the Replay around 3:00 on St. Patty's Day. We talked to Olassa's Cain Robberson recently about the band's photogenic ways, hanging out with Gillian Welch, and their first EP, which is coming your way later this year.

Visit their FB page here and enjoy the interview.


Richard: We’ve seen Allison playing with a number of different line-ups over the years? Does Olassa have a stable line-up these days, and how would you describe the “Olassa sound," ideally using some pompous Pitchfork-style music writing and perhaps one of those "we sound like ______ meets _________" comparisons that music writers love so well?

Cain: Hmmm, stability? Well, when we started, Allison wrote all the songs in her band named Allison Olassa and Company. I wrote the tunes in the band Tiny Tuxedo which Allison was also in. We tried to make the two bands work independently but decided to slim down by adding all the songs into one band, Olassa. We added multi-instrumentalist Tyler Bachert and now have a stable three piece which may be added to later... If we were to give a pompous sound comparison, it might go something like... Gillian Welch with a little of The Felice Brothers. Now I feel dirty, thanks a lot.

Richard: We once saw you open up for Dave Rawlings Machine at the Granada? (A) Was that the coolest thing ever? And (B) did you have any interaction with Dave and Gillian?

Cain: Opening for Dave Rawlings Machine was an unexpected delight. We got a call (all last minute style) from Granada asking if we would open for the show we were already going to attend. We screamed some expletives and settled in to the fastest pre-show practice the great town of Lawrence had ever seen! While on stage, Allison accidentally put on her accordion upside down; we then performed such classics as "Airline Stewardess" and "Spies". After our set, we waited backstage like experienced stalkers for Gillian to come out of her dressing room. She did. We met, and she smelled just like freshly brewed jasmine tea! It was grand! Also, we met the principle song writers of Old Crow Medicine Show who were backing up Dave and Gillian. Dreamy, I tell you, just dreamy.

Chip: What’s the story on those utterly bad-ass, vintage-looking pictures on your FB page where you’re posing with guns and such? And who can I contact about potentially getting some similar shots taken of myself, perhaps wearing a fedora and sporting a boner?

Cain: We get a lot of people asking about the Olassa band photos on our Facebook site. And I'll tell it to you like I tell everyone... Every picture we take ends up looking like that. Ok, well not exactly like that, but we like to think it's very close. Actually that Neil Krug photo shoot was the result of bartering with a close friend of the band named Cherie Yvette. She has a history of being supremely fabulous just for the sake of being supremely fabulous! Here's how it went down... Olassa got dressed to the nines, grabbed a pistola and an accordion and headed down to the tracks. We vogued all badass and click, poof, clang, we were famous.

Richard: What can we expect on St. Patty’s day at the Replay? Will the band be as blitzed on green PBR as the audience will?

Cain: As far as expectations for the Replay show on St. Patrick's: expect the sheen of a brass tuba sauntering on the stage as an accordion wheezes a wonderful original. Imagine three-part harmonies soaring through the air like a child's kite tethered to a single string. Expect that you and a few hundred of your closest friends will be shaking, moving, and dancing about to the extent that your once white chucks will be stained with rich green American beer.

Richard: What’s coming up in 2012 for Olassa?

Cain: In 2012, we will be releasing our first EP named White Down (working title). To support the album, we are planning out several regional tours. Also, we are creating mucho merch for the impoverished and working class alike! Come to the Replay around 3 on St. Patty's Day and tell 'em Tyler Bachert sent ya!