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apex

one of the hallmarks of a really good time, for me, is when i seem to be able to create entertaining stories (well, maybe only entertaining for me) from even the smallest details. there are certain times when i simply feel so energised, so excited, that every individual gesture or image seems to be worth pausing to describe.

i could write an entire entry here simply describing the agonising logistics of my cab ride to the first night of the apex festival in new york, having confused the street address when i tried to go by subway. i could go on about getting dropped off nowhere close to my destination, because the cab driver who picked me up couldn't be bothered to figure out where he was headed and had grown bored trying. and i could further add something on my misadventures trotting around the increasingly abandoned streets of new york in a pair of boots that were decidedly not made for walking, until i found my path blocked by the crater of ground zero, its hazy gloaming haunting the surrounding blocks (no wonder cab drivers don't want to go there). there are dozens of these little vignettes that made up my experience this weekend, each of them potentially a piece of writing on their own.

alternately, i could stick to reporting the facts. i could list off the tracks played in my dj set- the first one i've done in some years and enough to remind me in short order what i once really enjoyed about the experience. i could give reviews of each of the ten performances over the course of the weekend, pausing to reflect on the difficulties of mounting an effective stage show in the power electronics/ dark ambient genre, particularly for performers who rely on digital equipment ("is that band playing or are they checking their email?"). that would inevitably lead to an aside about the powerful intimidation of texas' steel hook prostheses, or the engagingly humourous persona of deutsch nepal.

either of those methods would allow me to communicate something of the weekend i passed in new york, but both would be inadequate. listing off tracks that i played as a dj would not explain the peculiarly gratifying experience of playing for an audience familiar with what i was doing- a first for me. likewise, talking about the jolt of fear that shot through me when a microphone went whizzing past my head and landed, still live, with a gunshot crack a foot away from me would reveal nothing about the murky vocals and the combination of electronics with live processed sounds that made that particular set a high point in the weekend.

of the bands who played- post scriptum, travis morgan, sistrenatus, visions, herbst 9, skincage, steel hook prostheses, land : fire, bain wolfkind and deutsch nepal, there was a surprising variety- i'd heard most of them but seen none. the second night had a particularly good variety of sounds, helping to keep the energy level building throughout. when i look back on it, i'm sort of awestruck at the amount of work involved- work that people like me don't get to see- in putting on something of this magnitude and to have it come off with no major flaws. the success of the larger picture is what kept me energetic and happy enough to observe the details of the proceedings that form my own personal memory bank.

Comments

Michael Begg said…
"is that band playing or are they checking their email?"
I do love that!
After the last show I played with Fovea Hex someone observed "They are a beautiful band but why do they have their accountant on stage"?
If you come up with any answers as to how to make laptop twiddling more physically arresting let me know!
I would suggest using a minicam set up behind the laptop artist, projecting on a screen onstage what he/she is doing... which might take away some of the magic, but it insures that they are not faking it ;)
pelao said…
better set that minicam elsewhere, possibly innardwise...

as long as you're here, why not read more?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…

mental health mondays :: separate and not equal

given the ubiquitousness of racial disparities in the united states, there's no reason why we should be surprised that they exist in mental health care. unlike a lot of other areas, the people in power have acknowledged the problem for decades. but the situation isn't getting any better. 
the united states surgeon general documented the differences between white and non-white mental health care back in 2001 so we can assume that it was already a known problem at that point. two years later, a presidential commission said the same damn thing and groups like the national association for mental health seized on this to develop guidelines on how to bridge the ethnic gap. from the turn of the century through 2007, the number of papers and publications talking about the mental health care gap spiked. the issue was viewed as being on par with obesity when it came to urgent problems.

starting in 2004, researchers undertook a massive project that involved the records of nearly a quart…