Monday, May 08, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sunburned Hand of the Man dry-humps a skeleton

Tonight I went to a great Edgar Um production featuring Seattle punk rockers Shoplifting, local quirksters Natura Nasa and punk-funkers Centipede E'est, and Sunburned Hand of the Man, a Boston hippie "freak folk" black metal jam band. The performances were held at a hole-in-the-wall venue without front windows called Paint & Body.

The space is supposedly also an art gallery but I'd never seen such a sketchtronic gallery. How can you entice people to come in and see your work if the windows have been replaced by wooden boards? Anyways, this space is in Wilkinsburg, PA - just beyond the Pittsburgh city line. The street had the all-too-familiar tension between drunk white hipsters catching a "deep" show and the black residents of the locale walking back and forth along the sidewalk wondering what these strangers to their neighborhood are doing - and what the hell they're "listening to."

Tonight's scene represents the utter disconnect between whites and blacks in America. But in this case it's an even greater divide - one group listens to WRCT; the other to the much more mainstream commercial WAMO. The blacks, whose neighborhood we were in, gawked in their inability to comprehend or relate to the goings-on. And the white kids and young adults there to see a freaky show to add to their hipster cred, all the while, awkwardly avoided uncomfortable confrontations on the sidewalks with the stereotypical black beggars, drunks, and plain-old confused teens.

How can these two demographic groups who operate with grossly disparate world views, coexist in neighborhoods where they share common spaces. Is it fair to say that we, the white kids, were in their neighborhood. Or do the white youth have as much a right to call this space their own by virtue of their own poverty. Today in America, this uncomfortable mix does not exist just in Pittsburgh, but all over our cities and suburbs, as whites and blacks sharing similar economic circumstances, for whatever reasons, must share these streets and corners.

Anyways, I'm just throwing that out there.

So I got there in the middle of Shoplifting's rawkus punk set. Eastridge was there when I walked in, but soon disappeared. Ess Boyle was lurking outside on the sidewalk. All the regular faces were present. Paul's CDs regulars. WRCT-type music heads and all the people who showed up to the avant-garde shows I put on at CMU this year. Pittsburgh is very much a small community when it comes to the avant-garde. Or maybe its just an East End thing. Who knows?

Thursday, May 04, 2006 is the shit.

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