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Maybe nerds like dissecting religion (scientific fact: If something can be dissected, nerds will dissect it), or maybe humorous reinterpretations of biblical lore are hot for Spring 2010 indie culture.  Either way, the Bible’s been catching my eye (and ear) a lot lately in ways I find genuinely interesting for the first time since I managed to smuggle The Catcher in The Rye into my catholic school bible reader in 9th grade.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! is a collection of wryly reworked biblical stories by PRI contributor and writer Jonathan Goldstein.  In this version of  The Bible, David kills Goliath more for kicks than to save his people, Jonah has a brother named Vito with a childhood secret, Adam and Eve read more like Robin and Barney from the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and poor Joseph of Nazareth is having a hard time swallowing the ol’ a-divine-angel-impregnated-me story.  You can hear Goldstein read his version of Genesis on the most recent episode of This American Life, which deals with Starting from Scratch.

Long awaited and recently released, infamous cartoon artist Robert Crumb is currently on tour for his latest book, Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis.  The book, which Crumb has spent the past four years working on, was released by W.W. Norton & Co this fall to critical acclaim.  In anticipation of the large R. Crumb Genesis show currently on display at LA’s Hammer Museum, W Magazine (considered by many to be the ecclesiastical equivalent to say, a hymnal or missal in the cult of fashion) recently commissioned a spread by the artist, defining female archetypes through the ages with his recognizable brand of satirical comic art.

And finally, a little blasphemy for the ears: while listening to an old episode of All Songs Considered, I came across Lou Barlow’s new solo album, Goodnight Unknown, which inspired me to revisit some of the Dinosaur Jr./Sebadoh pioneer’s earlier solo work.  Enter Mary, a folky interpretation of Jesus’ conception that paints the Virgin Mother in a less-than-virgin light.  Barlow’s most accessible album, EMOH was released in 2005.  His latest, Goodnight Unknown was out earlier last month, and is available nearly everywhere thanks to the wonder of the internet.

In the end, I still wonder what exactly it is about The Bible that makes it a constant source of inspiration to artists.  Will this eternal well of inspired subject matter eventually dry up and become trite?  Or, like all things fashionable, has it already dried up and become retro-chic to reference?

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Looking for something fun to get you out of the house this gloomy Thursday?  Too broke to enjoy the rest of Noise Pop?  (I know I am!)  Good thing this city is full of highly entertaining  free crap to do — So, read on, my cabin-feverish friends!

 

Photo credit: Greg Crane

Photo credit: Greg Crane

Do you like local indie rock, free booze, and Little Star Pizza?  (I can understand differing musical tastes and a penchant for non-alcoholic beverages, but no one in their right mind turns down Little Star!)

Head to Diesel’s Union Square flagship store tonight for all of the above.  The boys of Birdmonster will be putting on a free show — consider it a mini-Noise-Pop event, if you will.  Be there tonight from 5-9pm, but don’t forget to RSVP!

Looking for something a bit more mellow?  Need to occupy your mother while she’s in town (before you completely lose any marbles you may have left)?

Banana Republic is hosting a similar event for the chino-loving country-club-set (I won’t lie, though — I totally dig the ol’ BR, even thought I’m probably half the age of their target market…)  Live musical performances, complimentary refreshments (most likely of the tamer variety — no jungle juice here), and free consultations from Benefit makeup artists.  Plus, if you get there early and stake out the competition, you might be able to wrangle yourself a limited-edition gift bag of some sort.  Once again, though, be sure to RSVP.

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It’s official: Noise Pop ’09 is here!

The week long, city-wide festival kicked off last night at Mezzanine with a Toyota sponsored, icecream-filled, swagalicious, ear-melting opening party, complete with a performance by Deerhunter.

I’m not much for sponsored events, or in the know about how they generally go, but this one was pretty sweet (self righteous, anti-corporate hipsters may need to get off their high horses, now) — free admission, an ice cream truck, made-to-order screen printed tees (with decent graphic options), and rock band (the only thing I could definitely do without). Plus, the boys of Filter Magazine, who were organizing the aforementioned festivities, were absolute dolls.

Regardless of all the awesome free stuff, Deerhunter’s performance is what the evening was really about.  When I got there during   at 6pm, people had already started to line up, and there was a measurable feeling of excitement as fellow early birds shared stories of past Deerhunter experiences.

Photo credit: Jeff Luger

Photo credit: Jeff Luger

Deerhunter were total southern gentlemen and a blast to interview.  Singer, Bradford Cox, and bassist, Josh Fauver were incredibly generous with their time, even though they had two other on-camera interviews the same night.  The MezzRx team’s video interview with Bradford will be up on the blog soon, but you’ll just have to wait until late spring to pick up the latest issue of one eighty Magazine.

Photo credit: Jeff Luger

Photo credit: Jeff Luger

Originally, I had planned to head out after the interview, but as I became distracted by all the ice cream and good people (classmates, friends, old co-workers, even my hairstylist was there!), I couldn’t resist staying for DH’s set, and I’m glad I did.  Mezzanine’s sound set up really did them justice, as did the San Francisco crowd.  I only hope the rest of Noise Pop keeps up the energy level.  Deerhunter has set a pretty high bar for the rest of the bands playing, but I have no doubt they’ll step up to the challenge.

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Check it out, ladies and gentleman — you can now get an additional weekly dose of shit-I-feel-like-talking-about at Mezzanine’s blog: MezzRx.  And as if that weren’t great enough news on its own, I hear they have tons of great contests and giveaways that the masses have not yet caught on to. They do.  Seriously, I want to submit a question for the Deerhunter interview to win a chance to meet the band I’m already interviewing, but that would be redundant.  If you win, though, you’ll get to interview them with me!

And on that note, I’m pretty fucking jazzed about NoisePop, and I hope you are too, but just in case you’re not, I’ve put together this anticipatory playlist for your listening pleasure.  You’re welcome.

Deerhunter — Nothing Ever Happened
Off of their latest, Microcastle.  DH will be playing at Mezzanine on Tuesday.

Stephen Malkmus — Vague Space
Mister Malkmus, of Pavement fame, will be playing at the Great American on Wednesday (with a local favorite of mine, Goh Nakamura).

AA Bondy — There’s a Reason
Mister Bondy will be playing at Slim’s on Thursday with Martha Wainwright.

Port O’Brien — I Woke Up Today
Good acoustic fun.  I’ve seen them at the Swedish American, but they will be playing downstairs at Du Nord on Friday.

Les Savy Fav — Rage in the Plague Age
From 2008’s Let’s Stay Friends.  These boys put on a mean live show.  Playing at Mezz on Sunday the 1st.

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Looks like somebody’s been watching a little bit too much Gossip Girl… and Clueless… and Dynasty…

Rumor has it that Chinese favorite, Cho Cheng actually based this season’s look off of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless children’s story, The Little Prince, but I’m not seeing it.  To me, it feels more like he heard the 80’s were back and whipped out his Dynasty box set faster that anyone could say Alexis Carrington Colby.

Mister Cheng channels his inner Cher Horowitz this season, courtsey of Getty Images

Mister Cheng channels his inner Cher Horowitz this season, courtsey of Getty Images

Now, does that look like a very happy model?  Mister Cheng sent cadre of sour faced ladies down the catwalk in matching blonde Emo Phillips wigs and equally hideous (often matching) outfits.  Regardless of his intentions, I found the wigs downright offensive, and the models totally uninspiring.

Say what you will, I know it seems like an easy job (and I have met many a model who was indeed dumber than a box of rocks), but no matter how tallented a designer may be, his (or her) collection is only as strong as the models who present it, and some of Cheng’s were having trouble with the most fundamental task a model faces — walking in a straight line.  As a result, they looked more like bow-legged ostrich chicks than the Blair’s and Selena’s Cheng had no doubt envisioned.

No great loss, though, as his collection totally missed the mark, recreating rather than reinterpreting the hot looks your grantmother wore to the country club back in 1985.

Cho Cheng wasnt inspired by the 80s so much as he recreated them, photo by Getty Images

Cho Cheng wasn't inspired by the 80's so much as he recreated them. Photo by Getty Images

Color: Many in the industry have been known to say that when times are tough, designers fall into two camps: the practical (and sometimes bland), with their wearable, seasonally appropriate colors; And the fantastical (and often visually offensive), with their vibrant pallets of neon escapism.  Cheng definitely falls into the latter.  Although the collection was grounded in white, ivory, black, and gray, Cheng favored pink, teal, and red, occasionally getting carried away with primary green and yellow.  If that weren’t enough, he also dabbled in small houndstooth prints, nubby tweeds, and metallics.  Need I say more?

Silhouette: Cheng really embraced the 80’s, with squared, padded shoulders and angular jackets that hit at the hip (peplums and kick pleats were in full effect).  Skirts were micro mini, either pasted to the thighs or as full on tutus.  For evening, Cheng prefered longer lines, although the emphasis remained at the hips and bust, veering only occasionally for fishtail skirts and giant trains.  And did I mention he’s on a one-man mission to bring back culottes?

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

Hates: Normally I would do my “Loves” first, but I’d like there to be something positive left to end on.  Not only did I dislike his collection, I was particularly turned off by two things: the wigs, and the skirts — this picture encompasses both.  First of all, Asian models are totally underrepresented in fashion (I’m pretty sure she’s Asian, but what do you guys think?).  Despite the fact that we make up roughly 1/6 of the world’s population, there aren’t a lot of us who are 5’10” — it’s not discrimination, it’s just a fact.  So if you’re a proud Asian designer who’s found a beautiful Asian model, what on Earth would posess you to cover her look up by slapping a blonde wig on her?  This applies to all of the girls, really, but I see so many young Asian girls around SF (especially international students), lightening their hair and doing their eyeshaddow just so, and I find it disappointing.  On top of that, Cho Cheng did not design for real women either.  White is a classic color — clean, beautiful, virginal… and ,in the form of tights, hands down the fastest way to make your thighs look even bigger! Pair that with a collection of micro minis and hip pleats and you’ve just made enemies with everyone over a size 6.

Loves: Despite my obvious distaste for the collection, there was one outfit I didn’t mind — a mauve satin number with black detailing and a matching swing coat.  Unfortunately, it was being worn by Wobbles McGee, whose shoes were either two sizes two big, or whose feet may have been made of Jell-O.  No image from Getty on that one, though.  I also honesty loved the music — I understood the jet-setting 70’s lady theme and love songs, I just wish I would have seen a different manifestation on the runway.  Anyway — here, for your viewing pleasure, is Cho Cheng’s playlist.  I think it’s more entertaining than the show itself, but if you simply must watch that, too, you can do so here.

The Rubettes — Sugar Baby Love
The Pipettes — I Love You
Bitter:Sweet — Dirty Laundry
Beter Björn and John’s — Young Folks
Lily Allen — Chinese
Dusty Springfield —I Only Wanna Be With You

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I just had a lovely interview with the good people of Mezzanine for the upcoming spring issue of one eighty Magazine.  Mezzanine is perhaps the greatest SF venue for combining music, art, film, and fashion.  They’ll also be hosting Noise Pop this month, which is bound to sell out, so secure your coveted position as hipster of the month, and get your tickets now.

Speaking of Noise Pop, I’ll also be interviewing a headlining band later this month — even more reason for you to be salivating in anticipation of April’s issue!  Don’t fall behind — Follow one eighty on Facebook: Do it, do it, do it!

Download a preview sampler here, featuring tracks from Les Savy Fav, No Age, A.C. Newman, Ra Ra Riot, and Deerhunter. (Aural goodness courtesy of Insound)

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First of all, I must preface this post by saying that I probably wouldn’t have considered writing it if it wasn’t for Dino, but his love of Beyoncé runs deep, and who am I to argue with such a fabulous man?  That being said, I think we’ve all found ourselves at least a little bit fascinated with Miss B’s style evolution at some point since Destiny’s Child exploded on to the scene, booties a-shakin’, back in the day.

Miss Jay-Z has shed her bootylicious cocoon of late, abandoning the TLC-esque duds she sported above in DC’s Survivor, opting instead for clean lines and a more grown-up, Fosse-inspired brand of booty shakin’ in her video for Single Ladies.

Despite her fashion sense being on the up-and-up these days, I still can’t sem to get over the steaming pile of fail produced under her name by the (now bankrupt) House of Deréon, Deréon, and The Deréon Girls Collection.  Along with her mother, Tina Knowles, Miss B let some pretty awful designs out into the world, highlighted in a controversial ad campaign that many critics claim over-sexualized little girls.

All things considered, though, I feel like Beyoncé has made consistantly respectable fashion choices recently.  Now, if she could just design some more sophisticated clothes (sans Mama T) to go with her new, sophisticated look, I might finally be able to forgive her for the distaster that was Deréon.

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