Rock in the Suburbs: Why Punk Moved Out of the City and Into the Cul-De-Sac

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With unaffordable Progressive Disneyland hell-hole cities like San Francisco’s predictable cost-of-living increases and perverse real estate inflation driving out all but the wealthy and well-connected, the bright lights don’t beckon young punks like they used to.

Shows like that are increasingly common in Santa Rosa, and it has a lot to do with the prohibitive cost-of-livingpunk-sneer in nearby San Francisco. “I had every intention of moving down to the city,” said Ian O’Connor, 23, who organized the gig.

[Read the full story here, at The Guardian]

“But when the time came, it was too expensive.” Instead, in the last three years, he has booked dozens of all-ages gigs in Santa Rosa, mostly at unofficial venues: detached garages, living rooms, lobbies of sympathetic businesses. The scene thrives on the participation of people like him, area natives in their early 20s who, not so many years ago, would’ve likely moved an hour south to Oakland or San Francisco.

O’Connor stressed that though Santa Rosa is relatively affordable, the local punk scene faces challenges that cities with established reputations lack. “If you’re in the big city, you can sort of just jump into the stream,” he explained. “If you’re in a small town, you have to get down on your hands and knees and dig a ditch so that the water can run.”

“I had every intention of moving down to the city. But when the time came, it was too expensive.”

— Ian O’Connor

One hallmark of punk’s inception in the Bay Area and throughout the Pacific northwest was the notion of cities as places of possibility, so hollowed out by eroding tax bases and selective civic neglect that they seemed “deserted and forgotten”, as music journalist Jon Savage wrote of his 1978 trip to report on San Francisco punk bands such as Crime and the Dead Kennedys. “It was there to be remapped.”

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But with the same cities stricken by intensifying affordability crises – premiums on space that make somewhere to live, let alone rehearse and perform, available to a dwindling few – they don’t beckon young punks like they used to. And though reports of music scenes’ deaths tend to overstate, news of shuttering venues (see eulogies for The Smell, The Know, and LoBot) deters some of the intrepid transplants needed for invigoration. Dissipating metropolitan allure, however, helps account for the strength of scenes in outlying towns.

“The people who before just came to the shows are now setting them up. It’s been pretty astounding in terms of genuine participation…We could move and struggle somewhere else, but I think there’s a lot of people who’d like to see Santa Rosa become something like Olympia.”

— Ben Wright

In Santa Rosa, Acrylics are at the center of things. The five-piece, which recently announced a forthcoming record on leading west coast punk label Iron Lung, boasts a lashing and cantankerous sound, with staccato new-punk-250turnarounds and nervy guitar leads. They share members with a constellation of groups, including tightly wound punk outfit Fussy; sturdy hardcore units Rut and Service; and the dynamic noise-rock band OVVN.

“People in Olympia don’t think moving to a bigger city would be daunting – just dumb. Why pay five times the rent?”

“The people who before just came to the shows are now setting them up,” said Ben Wright, 24, who recorded recent releases by most of the aforementioned groups and plays guitar in Acrylics. “It’s been pretty astounding in terms of genuine participation… We could move and struggle somewhere else, but I think there’s a lot of people who’d like to see Santa Rosa become something like Olympia.”

Scott Young, 28, grew up in the Pacific northwest and moved to Olympia, Washington, in 2006. Until recently, he played bass in Gag, a winkingly scabrous hardcore band that’s lately influenced the genre significantly. Corey Rose Evans, 23, moved to Olympia from the Bay Area in 2010 to attend Evergreen State College and eventually joined both Vexx, a raucous foursome composed of inventive, tactile instrumentalists and a mightily expressive singer; and G.L.O.S.S. (“Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit”), a blistering and bold hardcore outfit that foregrounds transgender issues and skewers reformist politics. The scene is decidedly autonomous, centered around small labels and self-organized gigs. Read the rest of this entry »


Hillary Clinton Bikini Mural Covered with Niqab after Public Decency Complaints

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Council had threatened Melbourne street artist Lushsux with a fine over original mural, which depicted Clinton in a swimsuit with $100 notes tucked into it.

A Melbourne street artist who was threatened with a council fine over a provocative mural he painted of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has responded by covering her image with a niqab.

“We believe that this mural is offensive because of the depiction of a near-naked woman, not on the basis of disrespect to Hillary Clinton, and it is not in keeping with our stance on gender equity.”

— Council chief executive Stephen Wall

Maribyrnong council took issue with the original mural, which depicted Clinton wearing a revealing swimsuit with $100 notes tucked into it. The council said residents complained about the piece, which was painted on to the side wall of a scooter shop in Footscray, 5km west of Melbourne.

In a statement, the council said the mural contravened its gender equity policy.

“As well as the council threatening the owner of the building with prosecution and a fine if the mural was not removed, the artist, known as Lushsux, had his Instagram account deleted after posting the image to the social media platform.”

“We believe that this mural is offensive because of the depiction of a near-naked woman, not on the basis of disrespect to Hillary Clinton, and it is not in keeping with our stance on gender equity,” the council chief executive, Stephen Wall, said.

“We contacted Victoria police to provide their opinion on the matter, and they deemed the mural to be offensive and in contravention of the Graffiti Prevention Act 2007, which council is responsible for enforcing.”

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As well as the council threatening the owner of the building with prosecution and a fine if the mural was not removed, the artist, known as Lushsux, had his Instagram account deleted after posting the image to the social media platform.

However instead of removing the mural, Lushsux covered up the swimsuit by painting a niqab over the top of it, leaving only Clinton’s eyes showing. Next to his work, he painted the message: “If this Muslim woman offends u, u r a bigot, racist, sexist Islamophobe.”

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Clinton is not the only politician to come to Lushsux’s attention.  Read the rest of this entry »


Buzz Aldrin Joins Florida Institute of Technology, Forming ‘Master Plan’ for Colonizing Mars within 25 Years

 In this July 20, 1969 file photo, astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. stands next to a U.S. flag planted on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the lunar surface. During a ceremony in Melbourne, Fla. on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, Aldrin announced he is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Technology to develop "a master plan" for colonizing Mars within 25 years. (Neil A. Armstrong/NASA via AP)

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Marcia Dunn reports: Buzz Aldrin is teaming up with Florida Institute of Technology to develop “a master plan” for colonizing Mars within 25 years.

“The Pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay. They didn’t wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement.”

— Buzz Aldrin

The second man to walk on the moon took part in a signing ceremony Thursday at the university, less than an hour’s drive from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The Buzz Aldrin Space Institute is set to open this fall.

The 85-year-old Aldrin, who followed Neil Armstrong onto the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969, will serve as a research professor of aeronautics as well as a senior faculty adviser for the institute. Read the rest of this entry »


Australian Koalas Chill in First Class Before Being Flown to Singapore

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Jenni Ryall: writes: Australia’s national airline, Qantas, has released photos of four koalas living the high-life in first class seats.

The native animals were the stars of the photo shoot a week before they were gifted to the Singapore Zoo on Monday, to mark the country’s 50th anniversary of independence.

Although it looks glorious for the furry guys, they were actually transported to Singapore in the plane’s cargo hold, like all animals.

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The photos posted to Facebook show the koalas, from Lone Pine Sanctuary in Brisbane, being offered treats such as fresh gum leaves, a can of lemonade and a hot towel. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Rogan: White House Has Displayed Willful Delusion over ISIS Threat

National Review Online


The World’s Top Coffee Cities

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Caffe Ciampini in Rome’s Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina (Amanda Ruggeri)

For BBC Travel, Lindsey Galloway writes:  In many of the world’s top coffee cities, the cafe is more than just a place to get a warm drink – it is also a hub of culture and conversation for locals and visitors alike. And while each city defines its coffee culture in a different way – whether it be by their classic drink style or by the sheer concentration of independently owned coffee houses – these six cities, taken from “best of” lists in publications including Travel and pouring-coffee_422_36376Leisure and the USA Today, have one thing in common: the cities are filled with people who live for the craft of coffee.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei residents are known for being extraordinarily friendly and extremely polite. Since the island was once a Japanese colony, it is not uncommon for shop employees to smile and bow in unison when someone walks through the doors. And nowhere is this friendliness more apparent than in the city’s surprisingly unique cafes. Topo Cafe, in northern Taipei’s Western-style Tianmu neighbourhood, is so offbeat it has a miniature, gold-fish filled river  running through the middle of it.

Alistair Chang, an American from the Washington DC area, lived in Taipei for a year, documenting his favourite coffee spots on his blog, Taipei Cafes. He said he especially loves the establishments near the Zhongxiao Dunhua transit station in southern Taipei’s Da’an district. “These cafes are a little bolder,” he explained in an e-mail. “Homey’s Cafe, for example, requires you to walk up two unmarked, sketchy cement stairs to find, while the Barbie Cafe is exactly what the title suggests: completely pink.” Read the rest of this entry »