The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast has been rockin’ for a couple of weeks now, with Calvin Johnson sharing all of the latest cultural artifacts that are uniquely K. The response has been fabulous. Thanks for listening!
The above “thumbs up” comes our way courtesy of listeners Dylan McDonagh and Richard Davis of Seattle, Washington. The below “five star” review was sent over by Andy Mascola of Nashua, NH:
Next week we will be talking to Alan Larsen from Some Velvet Sidewalk. Also upcoming is an appearance by Brian Tighe, Allison LaBonne and Starfolk.
The Northwest Literary Showcase at this year’s Helsing Junction Sleeopver, August 15-17, presents a broad mix of essayists, novelists, zinesters, and poets from around the Northwest. Combining seasoned award-winning authors with up-and-coming writers, the showcase brings an entertaining assortment of local talent.
Some of the artists appearing this year are:
Sarah Mirk lives most of her life on the internet. But after hours, she likes to make comics, consume entire newspapers, and talk to strangers. She’s the online editor of national feminism and pop culture magazine Bitch and hosts the magazine’s engaging feminist podcast Popaganda. She writes and draws nonfiction comics, including the popular 10-issue series Oregon History Comics, and also gives lectures and workshops nationwide on media activism. Her essays have been featured in several books, so now she’s excited to announce the release of her own book, a nontraditional guide to relationships called Sex from Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules. After three years of work, the book debuts this month.
Zach Mandeville is a writer, barber, and comedian living in Olympia, Wa. He’s author of the zine Funwater Awesome and performs stand-up comedy around the country.
Moe Bowstern’s favorite superpower is storytelling, and she has been using and honing it since she was about 8 or 9 years old. In 5th grade she had a hippie teacher who ate bean sprouts and played soccer with her and her classmates at recess who helped her access the joys of writing down the told story so she could whammy people over and over again with her superpower. She has published Xtra Tuf, a zine about commercial fishing, since 1996 and also writes a column for SCAM! zine and book reviews for Hip Mama. She has worked a number of labor jobs, including fishing, painting, gardening and construction work and currently run a small housecleaning business in Portland Oregon; she has co-directed original puppet shows with live music since just before the turn of the century, which has taught her artistic fearlessness. She is fond of humans and other animals, especially the ones she lives with, and appreciates the good green earth.
Sarah Tavis has been a Texas punk girl, a teen mom, a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, a bookseller, a devil woman, and a teacher of creative writing: each of these fueling a different experience with the written/spoken/sung word. Her rich and varied background is reflected in her work today with Chula Chula Press, which pushes against the conventional restrictions of literary form and genre.
A.M. O’Malley has been writing, making zines and publishing on various planes since 1994. She has recently been published in The Newer York, Poor Claudia, Phenome, UnShod Quills, The Burnside Review and The Portland Review. Her chapbook of Memoir-Prose Poems “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Something Else” is forthcoming in 2015. Ms. O’Malley teaches writing at the Columbia River Correctional Instituition and at Portland Community College. She is also the Program Director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center, a literary arts and zine resource non-profit in Portland, Oregon.
Sara Renberg is a Portland-based poet, musician, and programmer. Her first record, The Tall Calm (recorded at Dub Narcotic Studios), is out on Antiquated Future Records.
Joshua James Amberson is the author of the critically-acclaimed zines Basic Paper Airplane and The Prince Zine. His short prose and journalism have been published in a wide variety of publications, including Broken Pencil and Performer Magazine. He’s a weekly contributor to The Portland Mercury, a creative writing teacher through Portland Community College, is currently editing an essay collection called Everyday Mythologies, and working on a young adult novel called The Importance of Forgetting.
Plus one: Cyrus Smith, Burton Ford, Charlotte Venturi, Sarah Keliher
We now have these in our shop! K Votive Candles
K Records (Votives for Record Labels), 2012, hand drawn, two-layer screen print on laminating film, found votive candle.
[ RETURN ]
The inimitable Dame Darcy is auctioning off precious artwork from the deeply satisfying comic book Meat Cake #7. This is a once in a life time opportunity to own a piece of the Cake! Go HERE to view the auction items and bid on a Dame Darcy original.
Go HERE to view Dame Darcy‘s latest work, Voyage of Temptress.
In related news, the Dame herself will be making an appearance this Saturday, July 26, at Park Circle Comics in Charleston, SC. Dame Darcy will be there 1:00 to 5:00 PM.
Last week I took a much needed vacation. Polly and I biked out to Grayland State Park on the Washington Coast and laid around on the beach. Got sunburned. Whenever I travel I like to do field recordings. Most field recordists are looking to isolate and capture specific sounds, but I’ve always been much more interested in ambience and soundscapes. I’ve got piles of files of empty rooms, crowds, birds, streets, forests, playgrounds, and lots and lots of rain. You can hear these recordings all over my music. Paticularly this EP:
Anyway, armed with my trusty Zoom H4n recorder, and an old sock (as a wind screen) I taped my way round the coast:
We camped in the Capitol Forest the first night, right off WA-12.
The roar of the ocean when we got to the beach.
Our first campfire.
The town of Grayland, WA right on WA-105. Buzzing power lines, flapping flags.
A windy night on the shore. The shore pines swayed and creaked all night.
Waves crashing against the Seawall in Westport, WA
There was also this amazing vault toilet by our campsite that had a really nice sound to it. So I recorded impulses to load into a impulse verb plug-in. Might sound nice as a drum ambience.
All these files are available to download under a Creative Commons Atribution-Only license, which means you can use them for any project (commercial or not) as long as you credit me.
A very nice trip, but I’m glad to be back at the studio.
Here’s Phil Elverum of P.W. Elverum & Sun stepping out of his auto in Olympia while making the rounds of prime posting locations. Ms. Mariella Luz greets him with her usual aplomb:
The Anacortes Unknown Music Series starts tomorrow, July 18. It features mass K artists including the Hive Dwellers, Arrington de Dionyso’s Malaikat dan Singa, Karl Blau, LAKE, Lovers without Borders, Mecca Normal and D+:
See you there!
On this edition of the Pink Elephant’s Gravecast Calvin Johnson explores the new Mirah album Changing Light [KLP253], the Barcelona record label Chin Chin, with a listen to their artists Los Urogallos and Las Chinchetas. There is a brief discussion of Gutterfest, a small press fair, which dovetails well into the Pine Hill Haints and their visit to the Dub Narcotic Studio.
Last week the Lemons were touring through the Northwest with the Memories. They stopped by the Dub Narcotic Studio to say hello and hunt around for photogs of the Vaselines (we did find one, from a picnic at Loch Lomond in 1988 with Beat Happening and the Pastels). Below the Lemons are being shown around the studio by Sam Gray, who coordinates all the Dub Narcotic Studio activities:
Here the Lemons plan their lunch break before driving on to their Portland, OR show that evening:
Listen to the Lemons, from their Lemoncita EP:
Getting lost in the Gospedelic Underground
By Lois Maffeo
One of the great paradoxes of history is that the stuff that people couldn’t take seriously enters the record as the stuff that mattered the most. Museums are filled with artifacts from ancient cultures that were probably only chamber pots and welcome mats. So what we think about art today, might not really mean anything on any given tomorrow.
That’s what great about Make Up. They eclipse opinion. Are they high art or pap? It doesn’t matter. You can argue about it until you are blue in the face, but you will never be able to determine whether or not Ian’s eccentricity, Michelle‘s sophisticated look, Steve‘s detached cool and James‘ chameleon-like compositions are the Real Thing. Because what is The Real Thing? NOBODY KNOWS!
Please, please listen to Save Yourself [KLP105] by Make Up. Their new mood is psychedelic, but not the stoned variety. Make Up‘s “gospedelia” takes a thread from the ‘gospel yeh-yeh” of their earlier K and Dischord releases and winds it around a mind-blowing groove. This isn’t acid music. It’s a new message from The Aspirin Kid. Ian Svenonius‘ polemical musings about geometry, child bearing and death, the psychedelic vibe go way beyond pastiche. His lyrics are, at the least, thought provoking and very possibly profound.
R U isosceles or R U tetrahedron? It doesn’t matter, I guess. As long as U R a Make Up fan.
Lois: What exactly is the rock & roll comintern?
Ian: Make Up is spearheading the movement, the rock and roll comintern. It’s basically a movement to re-direct the energy of rock and roll bands. Instead of pitting them against one another, we look towards unionizing them – to form a strong coalition against the controlling powers. Rock and roll bands are always pitted against one another. The Blur versus Oasis, Rolling Stones versus Beatles dialectic. What we want to do is re-direct the energy against the REAL enemies, the Mo Ostins and other people who always maintain power. They have this idea of early retirement as the central condition of rock and roll groups. All these commercially invented criterion. It doesn’t stop there.
Is there a party structure within the rock & roll comintern?
Of course there is a structure. There’s an information gulag. I’m a spokesperson. The rest of the band is all part of the politburo. We have gavels. We strike them strongly.
How do you feel about communism?
The crisis of capitalism in Russia is really evident to the Make Up. When they ripped down the wall we all knew. It was so predictable that Eastern Europe was just going to become a labor pool. First the czar -now this bullshit!
Do you have a stance on religion?
It serves a function the same way rock and roll does. It’s a gathering place. Political parties can be dismembered so easily by counter intelligence and espionage, but religion is always given an exemption due to its traditional status as a corroborator with the power structure. We’ve always used the church as a kind of fomenting factor as well as a spiritual one. Anyone who loves music is a spiritualist. We recognize the ability of music to speak to the people.
Is that why you have the gospel yah-yah?
A lot of great art forms are built from synthesis of old ones. People said we were crazy to synthesize gospel – that it was diametrically opposed. But we laughed.
You’ve been to Cuba so I assume you stand in solidarity with the Cuban people.
Yah, well not all of them, but definitely Castro. You might be aware that we did a concert to protest the embargo that featured a lot of stars: El Vez, Royal Trux and Blonde Redhead. Cuba is the only country that hasn’t buckled to the U.S. hegemony. It’s been creative. Castro is a Leo, number one, so I feel sympathetic to him astrologically. Cuba has a very independent international profile.
Russia has Cuba. Who does the Make Up stand in solidarity to?
All right thinking groups. The rock & roll comintern is sort of a union of all rock and roll groups against big business. They keep control over us by using the whims of entertainment and by propagating this idea of art. Like the Picasso paradigm and the Beatles paradigm that each artist will change with each album and that change is charted over several albums and then the artist is no longer relevant. We’re looking more toward a working model of The Ventures. They really remained unchanged for maybe, 50 records. What we mean is that all that art, whether it is Picasso or the Beatles, is a perfect example of creating commodity.
Does the Make p have a mafia?
The Make Up is not averse to physical force, but we’re really happy that rock and roll has become peaceful and urbane.
How do you get people to dance?
We pay them. You have to convince the punks that really they’ve got nothing to lose. Dancing? I don’t know. I’m going to start crying.
This interview took place on September 28, 1998.
Weighing in on the Make Up’s hair mystique
by Lois Maffeo
Here at K we are unable to fathom the rumors that keep filtering in from Washington, D.C. that Make Up‘s Ian Svenonius has grown a beard. Fashion polemicist that he is, we know Ian wouldn’t take a display of whiskers lightly. But we’re still reeling from Michelle‘s decision to let her gravity-defying hairdo go slack. Post the bulletin board to let us know where you stand on these crucial issues. But in the meantime, check out Calvin‘s true life run-in with Michelle Mae and her hot rollers! Yikes!
Q: Hey Calvin, where do you stand on Michelle‘s new pageboy haircut?
A: All I know is that Dub Narcotic Sound System played down in California with the Make Up last year and in Santa Cruz I have this friend who lives up in the hills, in a cabin in the woods without any electricity. She only has solar energy. She invited us to stay and I said, “Great! Is it okay for both Dub Narcotic and the Make Up to stay?” And she said, “Sure, but the electricity is pretty limited and I don’t know if you’d all want to stay.”
So I said, “Yah, it’ll be great.” After the show we went up there and slept and the next day we got up. I noticed Michelle walking around with her hot roller set in one hand and the cord in the other, wandering around the house looking for a place to plug it in. She said, “Calvin, I’ve looked everywhere, but I can’t seem to find any outlets here. I’m trying to plug in my curlers and I can’t find an outlet.” Well, I thought there must be an outlet somewhere. So we finally found one in the kitchen and we plugged it in and about 25 minutes later Michelle was like, “Hey, this thing isn’t getting hot.” And my friend said, “Calvin, didn’t you tell her that the electricity is really limited here? It won’t handle any hair dryers or anything.” So Michelle kinda freaked out that she couldn’t curl her hair or dry it or anything. And they had to drive to L.A. and there wasn’t any time to stop along the way. But that night in LA she looked fantastic! I said, “You should keep your hair like that. It’s a good look.” And she did for about three days. So I don’t know if that was the beginning of it or not, but I may have had some small part.
This Pak includes:
All for $30, with free domestic shipping!
In the words of Lois Maffeo, c. 1999:
Please, please listen to Save Yourself by Make Up. Their new mood is psychedelic, but not the stoned variety. Make Up‘s “gospedelia” takes a thread from the ‘gospel yeh-yeh” of their earlier K and Dischord releases and winds it around a mind-blowing groove. This isn’t acid music. It’s a new message from The Aspirin Kid. Ian Svenonius‘ polemical musings about geometry, child bearing and death, the psychedelic vibe go way beyond pastiche. His lyrics are, at the least, thought provoking and very possibly profound.
R U isosceles or R U tetrahedron? It doesn’t matter, I guess. As long as U R a Make Up fan.
Follow the link to The Pink Elephant’s Graveyard (podcast) https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pink-elephants-graveyard/id895689098?mt=2. Available for free on iTunes and Stitcher