Friday, May 31, 2013

I Went to an ICP Show Last Night and I Think I Might Be a Juggalo Now

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, May 31, 2013 at 12:29 PM

To be clear: I wasn't expecting this. When I told people I was going to an Insane Clown Posse show, it was always with that mixture of mock-sheepishness and eye-rolling dismissiveness we reserve for cultural events like this — cultural events that are populated by people that are, on some demographic or maybe existential level, different from us; cultural events that are really, really easy targets; cultural events that, you know, feature as prominent motifs murderous clowns and wanton misogyny and horrible, horrible music.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how a huge portion of both the fascination about and distaste for ICP is bound up in class: Juggalo culture has, for whatever reason, come to be pretty synonymous with a specifically blue-collar, white, male, often midwestern, archetype, one that's been pushed out of manufacturing jobs by recession and globalization and marginalized by lack of education — as Violent J told me on the phone a couple weeks ago, "we're not the college demographic," and as Cord Jefferson eloquently argued in a 2011 Good piece, making fun of Juggalos is one of the last acceptable forms of class bigotry. Which is significant generally, but also to the way I came into this show: I was fully expecting to be an elitist asshole about this, basically. I was going to tweet bitchy, condescending things and be somewhere disgusted by the whole affair. Because I'm a Berkeley-born, liberal-arts educated feminist with a somewhat-embarrassing-but-very-real-investment in the idea that I Am Defined by my Taste and That Said Taste is Generally Good. Because that's what people like me are supposed to make of ICP.

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, May 31, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Sad you didn't get to go see ICP in Oakland this week? It's ok! It's the weekend! Here are five perfectly fun activities that are sure to make you WOOP WOOP (ICP face paint always encouraged):

ISSUES 6-Year Anniversary
The East Bay has no shortage of niche-based shops — selling such items as tinctures, boutique camping goods, and imported Japanese kitchen-wares — but one my favorites is ISSUES, which is dedicated to stocking every magazine you've ever heard of, and many more that you probably never knew existed. Apparently owners NoellaTeele and Joe Colley decided to open the store after struggling to find a place to buy a magazine to pair with their brunch at Au Coquelet in Berkeley. Six years later — and despite the fact that print publications have suffered at the pitiless hands of the Internet — ISSUES is alive and well, hosting record swaps, readings, and art shows to boot. Swing by this weekend to celebrate its anniversary, with live DJs, beverages, desserts, and discounts on everything in the store. 12-6pm, free. IssuesShop.comAzeen Ghorayshi


Friday Nights @ OMCA
In case you missed it, the Gallery of California Natural Sciences at the Oakland Museum of California is reopening after two years, and it's INCREDIBLY AWESOME. This Friday, OMCA will have special extended hours for guests to wander in and out of their newly jazzed up natural sciences wing, which houses — among other things — a mini replica of many parts of Oakland itself. Off the Grid will be there, as will a beer and wine garden, family fun activities (gold panning!), DJ's, and a re-screening of the much-loved Oakland Internet Cat Video Festival. Make sure to come back on Sunday — when there will be free admission — in case you miss anything amidst all the hullaballoo. 5-midnight, free. MuseumCA.orgA.G.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Insane Clown Posse's Violent J on Haircuts, Haters, and Ben Folds Five

by Ellen Cushing
Wed, May 29, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Last week, by virtue of some great karmic fortune/the unimaginable largesse of the folks at Psychopathic (!!) Records, I had the once-in-a lifetime opportunity to conduct a phone interview with none other than Violent J of the acclaimed indie-folk band Insane Clown Posse, in advance of the band's appearance tonight and tomorrow at the Oakland Metro Operahouse. I was hungover. He was at a Comfort Inn in Louisville. Fun was had by all. Without further ado:

On how his day was going at the time: "I just got a haircut."

On whether shows feel different depending on location: "The only difference we notice is the accents. Juggalos are the same. It’s the same kind of person."

On what, exactly kind of person a Juggalo is: "Somebody with a big imagination. Somebody who considers themselves some sort of underdog. Maybe feel like they're fucked with a lot, or they're misunderstood. Being a Juggalo is about freedom. It's about not judging each other."

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Treasure Island Music Festival Lineup Announced: Atoms for Peace, Beck, Animal Collective, Many More

by Ellen Cushing
Tue, May 28, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Lookie here, we've got Atoms for Peace, Beck, Animal Collective, Major Lazer, James Blake, Real Estate, Little Dragon, Sleigh Bells, Phantogram, Antwon, STRFKR, Tricky, Holy Ghost!, Japandroids, Cayucas, Deep Sea Diver, and more; the exact schedule hasn't been announced yet but if this year is like previous ones, acts will be roughly divided along genre lines, with one day featuring more rock and the other focusing on dance and electro. Tickets for the festival, which happens October 19 and 20 on, you guessed it, Treasure Island — go on sale this Friday, May 31, at $130 for a two-day pass (though they get more expensive the later you buy, so move fast).


What We Like: OkCupid Juggalos, Street Art, Trappist’s Truffled Grilled Cheese

by Whitney Phaneuf
Tue, May 28, 2013 at 8:23 AM

This New York Times Magazine article on germs makes me want to hide my toothbrush in the closet. — Kathleen Richards

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Brick & Mortar Music Hall: Limited to Eighty Decibels

by Whitney Phaneuf
Fri, May 24, 2013 at 2:46 PM

The shows will go on at San Francisco venue Brick & Mortar Music Hall, but after a ruling by the city's Entertainment Commission this week, the bar and music venue will operate under heavy restrictions — including lowering its sound to a wimpy 80 decibels.

That's the equivalent of noise generated by city traffic, a garbage disposal, or a washing machine, according to The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). An average rock concert is anywhere from 110 to 140 decibels. Listen here.

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, May 24, 2013 at 6:00 AM

School's out for summer, Obama finally admitted that drones have been used to kill Americans (then said they'll stop soon—kinda), and, you guessed it, it's the weekend! Celebrate what you will, but don't forget to check out these five extra weekend-worthy events:

Pardee Home Ghost Investigation
If you’ve secretly fantasized about going on a ghost hunt, who better to guide you than Karen Zimmerman, local author of Ghost Stories and Legends of Alameda, Berkeley, and Oakland? Join Zimmerman on Saturday, May 25, for a séance at Oakland’s Pardee Home Museum, which was home to three generations of the same family and is thought to have since been privy to some occupations of the paranormal sort. Optional but recommended tools for the beginning ghost hunter are a camera and a voice recorder, and for the more seasoned, “dowsing rods, pendulums, and EMF meters.” 7 p.m.-midnight, $50 (includes a meal in the middle of the investigation). 510-444-2187 or PardeeHome.orgAzeen Ghorayshi

Drakes Barrel House
  • Drake's Barrel House

NorCal Session Fest
According to the authorities at, the category of “session beer” was conceived during World War I, when England imposed allowable drinking periods on workers. As a result, the ideal session brew would be something that quenched one’s thirst without causing drunkenness, allowing the workers to pack in as much fermented fluid as possible. Hence today’s pleasantly broad “session beer” label, most often imparted to anything with less than 5 percent ABV; a malty, hoppy taste; and a clean finish — all conducive to its “the more the merrier” mantra. Satisfy your session itch at Drake’s Brewing Company on Saturday, May 25, when Drake’s hosts its 1st Annual NorCal Session Fest. FiveTen Buger and Fists of Flour pizza will be on hand to pair with session brews from twenty-five breweries, plus live music from local blues-and-boogie duo Clangin’ and Bangin’. All proceeds benefit the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. Noon-4 p.m.; $30 presale, $35 at the door. 510-568-2739 or DrinkDrakes.comA.G.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

What We Like: 'Arrested Development,' 'The Great Gatsby' Game, the Bacon Backlash

by Whitney Phaneuf
Mon, May 20, 2013 at 7:52 AM

This is guaranteed to make you feel good about yourself for not being able to afford all the things at the online emporium of twee ModCloth (includes a Helvetica necklace and mustache-printed—and severely bowed—lingerie). — Azeen Ghorayshi

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

Fri, May 17, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Excited about the end of your work week but stumped as to what summery fun to channel that excitement into? Here are five beee-autiful options, all happening this weekend at an East Bay venue near you!

Oakland Greek Festival
Greece may not be faring too well on the economic front, but that's not stopping the annual Oakland Greek Festival, now in its 41st year. Celebrating the music, food, and long cultural history of the small nation of ten million, the festival will feature live music, dance performances and lessons, cooking demonstrations, and all the souvlaki, spanakopita, and moussaka you can stomach. The festival takes place on Friday through Sunday, May 17-19, at Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension. Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; $6 for adults, free for children twelve and under. OaklandGreekFestival.comAzeen Ghorayshi


Notes & Words
Once a year, writers, comedians, and musicians take the stage at the Fox Theater for a fundraiser of the most heartwarming proportions. Audience members dance, laugh, and experience new literary heights — all while contributing to one of the most objectively good local causes there is: Children's Hospital Oakland. This year's iteration will feature former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, local science writer and comedienne extraordinaire Mary Roach, author (and Notes & Words founder) Kelly Corrigan, and TV star Lauren Graham, plus music from G. Love; porch-folk lyricists Goodnight, Texas; and Oakland School for the Arts' award-winning a capella group, Vocal Rush. Consider your Saturday, May 18 booked. 8 p.m., $50 and up. 510-428-3814 or NotesandWords.orgA.G.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Introducing the Inaugural EBX Book Club

by Ellen Cushing
Thu, May 16, 2013 at 1:53 PM

This is probably a TERRIBLE thing for a books writer to say, but I sort of hate lit readings. I've been to a handful of really, really good ones, but by and large, they're pretty static events: Most of the time, the audience hasn't read the book, so they can't really engage with it, which means it's incumbent on the author to bring the interesting, which is hard when you're standing in a roomful of strangers. It's difficult to talk about your work extemporaneously, to a roomful of people with wildly varying degrees of familiarity with it, without being able to spoil anything and without some pointed questions from the audience. But at the same time, it's actually weirdly super-hard to think of good questions as an audience member. Literature — and all the time, energy, thought, etc. that goes into creating it — is such a fascinating, vital, dynamic thing, and yet, somehow, a lot of readings are ... not that. Which is depressing if you are a person who really loves books!

this could be you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • this could be you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, some exciting news: I'm thrilled to announce the first-ever EBX book club, Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 at Mrs. Dalloway's. The book is League of Somebodies, the debut novel from Oakland author Sam Sattin, and it's sort of like what would happen if you mashed a coming-of-age novel up with a superhero book, which is to say it's both gripping and immediate and, you know, actually about Real Things. (You can buy it at Mrs. Dalloway's or here.) It's good, or at least I think so. At any rate, Sam will be there, and so will I, and I'll ask him questions, and hopefully you will too; you'll likely get more out of it if you read the book in advance, but it should be interesting even if you haven't. At the very least, the goal is just to try to engage with the book and its author in a way that's more interesting than the average reading. Please come! It will be fun, probably! I will bake cookies! Maybe we'll all go to a bar afterwards! See you there!

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