Monday, March 13, 2006

animalistic week

You know how every so often, you have one of those days when about fifteen different things happen to you? Not necessarily all good or bad things, just a really freakish volume of activity? Last Tuesday was one of those days for me. In fact, last week was one of those weeks. I’m still recovering, so for now I’m just going to post the item I was supposed to have posted last Wednesday but didn’t have time to proofread before I had to leave town. I present it to you un-modified, so when it talks about “yesterday,” it means Tuesday, March 7th. I make no apologies. You people know me well enough by now.

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March 8, 2006

For the second day running, the coffee machine at work is broken. Because the free coffee is the only thing about this place that doesn’t make me want to festoon my neck with brightly-colored rubber bands in order to cut off the blood flow to that brain thingy up there, I am just a little petulant today. Also, those cock-teasing management whores hinted earlier this week that they might fire my boss, but seem to have backed out. Next time I am putting roofies in the bottled water at the board meeting. Or something. (It’s apparently “Blog Against Sexism” day or something, so, hey, rape joke!)

But. Look at this furry lobbie. Isn’t it hilarious?

Sigh. Moving on. Yesterday morning, I spent a memorable half-hour in a darkened room curled into fetal position, as a young man rubbed my breasts with a phallic instrument covered in lubricant and made periodic essays at unspeakably awkward small talk, all the while peering intently at a little screen on which my internal organs somersaulted grotesquely. Some time after this surreal incident, mostly recovered (the goo wiped off my chest with a hospital gown), I spent a no-coffee break flipping through the Santa Barbara Independent. Because I really don’t care about this town, all I ever read in the Independent are my two horoscopes. I now transcribe this week’s installments for you (horoscopes have been edited for content [references to Paris Hilton playing Mother Theresa removed to preserve the sanity of the innocent] and to run in the time allotted):

Virgo: It will be a rather animalistic week, Virgo – or at least it should be.

Libra: Be on the lookout to find value in things that no one else esteems. Find the hidden beauty that everybody has missed. Hunt for riches in the least likely places.

Upon reading these, I set to cackling with glee, for what was I doing later that evening? Why, I was going to see the band Animal Collective. On one occasion, I forced the boyfriend and the Idler both to listen to this band, and neither has ever spoken to me again. And, hey, it has “animal” in the name! Bravo, Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology, spot-on!

So how was Animal Collective? It was completely awesome, you doubters. They sort of thrashed, in an art-school-hipster ethereal-noise jam band kind of way. I’m not what you might call a jam band person, and I was handicapped by lack of earplugs and exhaustion, as well as frustration about a bank fraud matter I’d just uncovered on the drive down to the concert (someone counterfeited my ATM card and stole $1,000 from me, but it’s OK now), so I can’t really claim this was my favorite concert ever. Most of what they played was longer, slower, and less song-like than I would have preferred, and I hadn’t heard most of it before, which is odd because I own two of their three albums. But when they played songs I recognized, songs with an actual beat, it was absolutely fucking incredible. Their songs are very vocal-heavy — nearly everything features at least two or three layers of weirdo backing vocals — and I have never, ever heard backup vocals pulled off so well live. I was completely impressed. There was nothing delicate about this show, which is what I was expecting — it was straight-up screaming noise and solid musicianship. Plus, the singer/guitarist wore a cap with ear flaps (always a good choice); the guy in charge of making electronic noises wore a lamp on his head (like a miner) and threw his white-boy afro around like a madman; and the bassist, dressed entirely in white, either had really strangely-fitting pants, or had a little boner for the entire show. Love for the craft, my friends, love for the craft.

Now, moving on to the part that some of you might actually care about: the venue. The show was at the Vanguard, which is on Hollywood Boulevard just a few blocks from where I used to live, so you can picture the neighborhood. It’s one of those converted warehouses where the bathrooms have attendants and they charge $6 for a bottle of water at the bar (I am not even exaggerating). The blandly industrial façade of the building has been oh-so-carefully preserved; you have to go around to the side of the building and through a chain-link fence to find the entrance or any other indication of the building’s current purpose. Inside, last night, it was a sea of art school hipsters wearing ballet flats and thrift store fake fur collars over their $85 camisoles. After drifting for a while and not tipping the bathroom attendant (bank fraud! $6 water! no money left!), I ended up on the balcony, where the red fluorescent lights were unfortunately too dim for me to read my book. (Yes, I am actually this cool: I tried to read Villette at an Animal Collective concert. Y’all run along home to your mommies, now.) Instead, having an entire squishy couch to myself, I took a little disco nap while the second opening act was on (First Nation: lots of harmonizing vocals, pretty and boring). By the time AC came on, the floor was packed, but the balcony never even got crowded, and the view was better than it would have been for me, as a tiny short little person, on the floor. The balcony even had its own bathrooms. And, oh yeah, the sound was excellent.

I leave you with the following overheard exchange between two 18-year-old hipstertards:

Guy: This place is like a rave!
Girl: Well, I’ve never been to a rave, so.
Guy: Well, it’s just like this.
Girl: This is kind of hippie.
Guy: Yeah, raves are kind of hippie.

I’m not really sure what these two were on, but it was certainly not the heady cocktail of fatigue, aggravation, and blown eardrums I was tripping on at the time. Lord love 'em.

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