Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Out Today: WAX FANG The Astronaut

Today the long awaited rock opera The Astronaut by WAX FANG hits the shelves. This one has been getting a lot of press; it has been covered by NPR and SPIN, among others.
the album is available all over town as well as online, and there are limited editions out there too, if you can find them.

It may also be noted that THE ASTRONAUT is being released just days after a paper titled "Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes" published by Stephen Hawking states that an Event Horizon is not possible.   While that may seem like good news for Astronauts in general, the proposed alternative is  nearly as terrifying.

Monday, January 27, 2014

reflections on a snowy day (an essay about Louisville's history)

221 years ago this week Louis XVI lost his head; below is an essay written by Martina Kunnecke and I thought I would share it:


221 years ago this week (1/21/1793) , the man for whom Louisville is named lost his head to the guillotine--essentially ending the absolute monarchy that had ruled France for a 1000 years. Years before, the VA legislature had named our fair city after Louis XVI-- who had sent troops to aid the young American country to fight the British.

Louisville has a rich historic connection with the French. There were 3 waves of French emigres who led the earliest settlements in Louisville, Shippingport and Portland. The first came as trappers in the late 1600s; and, eventually an outpost called La Belle, the precursor to Louisville was established. (FYI-When Daniel Boone led his trek through KY, he would encounter folks of African descent, who had accompanied the French on those early expeditions and chose to remain behind, making KY their home. )

The second came to participate in the American Revolution--which helped France re-establish itself as a world power, but led--in part-- to the staggering debt that instigated the French Revolution. The French spent roughly 1.5 BILLION livres to fight the British in the Americas. On the eve of Louis' execution, these and other costs associated with aristocratic extravagance & fiscal mismanagement had spiraled to 12 BILLION livres. Though Louis was well-meaning and spoke often of reform- the aristocratic ruling class refused to be taxed and were oblivious to hardships suffered by the merchants, tradesmen and farmers who shouldered the burden. Increasingly,these, along with the "lower class" (the peasantry and the lower wage-earners) were embracing the wild concepts of social equity and liberty for all...put forth by the voices of "enlightenment" (e.g. philosophers Diderot, Voltaire, etc.).  These disparate groups would form a

Fleeing the heavily taxed environment and the social disintegration in play, the 3rd wave of French emigres came to Louisville during the French Revolution. This included the surveyor and ferry company owner Monsieur Aaron Fontaine (Fontaine Ferry Park). Behind them.... the "ancien regime" was dying under its own weight...much blood-shed and chaos...before them-- Louisville, a bustling economy and a prosperous future.

In 1967, Louisville's sister city, Montpelier, sent the statute of Louis that now stands in front of the old court-house on Jefferson Street between 5th and 6th.  It should be noted that Louis' wife, Marie Antoinette, lost her head as well--though months after his execution. And though the sentiment "let them eat cake" is attributed to her, there is no evidence that she actually uttered the words that epitomized the "cluelessness" of her peers to the trials suffered by ordinary people.  
A generation later, philosopher Alphonse Karr would attribute the "cake" comment to Marie Antionette.  He is also the source of the adage,  <<plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose>>----- "The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Reflections on a snowy day......

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Starkiller Reunion

On December 21st the consolations aligned over Zanzabar to bring a perfect storm of post-psychedelic rock. It was probably not a coincidence that Starkiller's first show in about a decade happened on the first anniversary of the Mayan Prophecy of the end of the world; a subject front-man Dom (Dham) Cipola  covered in his new band The Phantom Family Halo.
Guitarist Christian Tonegawa  said the band practiced for just 3 days before the show, as Dom is currently living in New York, but no one could have guessed this based on the very solid performance of the band, as if they had been transported directly from a stage a decade ago when Starkiller reigned God King in the Louisville rock scene.
The band covered many of their best songs from Gravity and Just Her Light from their first 7 inch, to The Mary Bell from their first recordings,to the very brilliant Vampire Country sung by Christian Tonegawa. The band played a very amazing set of about 10 songs, but at about one song per year in exodus, it would have been nice to hear more. But surely someone had the foresight to record the show, so hopefully we won't have to wait another decade to hear them again.
Starkiller Reunion at Zanzabar

Friday, January 10, 2014

1/11 SSM @ New Vintage for Bipolar Support Alliance

This Saturday Second Story Man will be playing at New Vintage  for the DBSA (Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance). Last year Pinata Me (Even Bailey of SSM) played, perhaps he will play some songs as well. DBSA is also hosting an art contest for a show in April, contest info here.
DBSA art contest