ASAP via New York Times
Cajun Tomato hip-hop correspondent Scott Hesedahl makes his debut with this dispatch about Harlem rapper ASAP Rocky’s Roseland Theater tour stop, which also included indie rap faves Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q.
PORTLAND, Ore. – I am now 0-for-2 in my quest to see Detroit MC Danny Brown perform – despite having tickets to both shows – though I assure you it had nothing to do with me “smoking blunt after blunt after blunt after blunt.”
There were, however, many blunts blazed during the sold-out ASAP Rocky/Schoolboy Q/Danny Brown show Monday night at Roseland Theater, during which I realized my assertion the kids these days are getting soft may not always hold water. More on that later.
This is the 12th installment of Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100, a daily series chronicling my experiences and observations as a new New Yorker.
A few Saturdays ago I was sitting in a bar in Williamsburg when a skinny man of Dominican descent entered wearing a sleeveless, chicken noodle-colored shirt that failed to reach his belly button. A black camera with a pricey-looking lens hung near his waist. Perhaps he fashioned himself a bohemian photographer. What I do know is he didn’t appear the least bit bothered his shirt was fit for sale in the kids’ section at a neighborhood thrift store.
They’re everywhere in Williamsburg, like ironic cockroaches convinced granny glasses, scrotum-hugging jeans, and midriff-revealing T-shirts will live on after the apocalypse. Their conversations are like their outfits – ironic, devoid of taste, and loaded with cancerous levels of pretension.
While I lived in Portland there was always noise about Brooklyn, particularly Williamsburg, being its main competition for the mythical title of America’s Hipster Capital.
So where do I stand on Portland vs Williamsburg in the ultimate slap fight of hipsters?
An inferno shadow
“Poooooooorrrrrrrrrtttttlaaaaannnddddddd …. ”
George Lewis Jr. whispered his crowd greeting Wednesday night in a belabored way that suggested he had sampled the city’s finest kush before taking the Doug Fir Lounge’s stage. A blazed Lewis, in the flesh, represented progress from the first time I paid to see Twin Shadow at the venue last year.
Lewis and Co. started off with “Golden Light” and “Five Seconds” – two of my favorite songs off their new album, Confess. However, they felt low energy and Lewis’s vocals seemed off-time. That did not stop the guy behind me from exclaiming to a friend in his thick Irish accent, “He’s a young fuckin’ Prince.”
Did a young Prince ever wear a see-through sweater? (Maybe.)
My signed ticket
About 20 minutes after British “dark pop” buzzbaby Charli XCX finished her brief set Wednesday night inside Doug Fir Lounge a twentysomething woman to my right asked aloud if anyone had a pen.
We were waiting in a poorly formed line to congratulate the 20-year-old Brit on her captivating performance. “I do,” I answered, passing the fan a blue, dime a dozen pen that, as a reporter, I always keep on me out of habit. It worked, she exclaimed after writing on her hand.
A few minutes passed before Charli XCX’s attention turned to the woman who had my pen and her friends. At this point, I thought they were going to ask the singer to sign a set list or a ticket stub, as I had planned.
Wrong. Wednesday turned out to be my anonymous pen’s breakout.
My hiding face
I am hiding again. My “landlord” is at my house fixing the toilet. She has an idea someone besides my roommate is living in her house but does not know it’s me, a 6-foot-2 gingersapien. I aim to keep it that way for everyone’s better sake.
Anyway, I am sitting at a nearby coffeeshop getting overcaffeinated, observing Portland boho chic fashion, and, um, watching a guy squat on his haunches while reading the Oregonian newspaper’s lead story line by line in its box. BUY THE PAPER, BUDDY!!!!
He walked off. Oh well. Such is the newspaper business. Steal the product, ya bastards!
If you’ve made it this far, high-five. I have an announcement: I am looking for writers. Yes, if you have an interesting idea or topic you would like to write about in this space, let me know via email – email@example.com. Please, please, please, no Jonah Lehrer or Fareed Zakaria bullshit (i.e., fabricated or plagiarized work).
Shortly after LCD Soundsystem played its sold-out Madison Square Garden retirement party last April, I wrote a lengthy piece about what they meant to me as recording artists and a live act. In a nutshell, I believe they were my generation’s defining act.
So when I went to Hollywood Theater Thursday night to watch “Shut Up And Play The Hits”, the concert film/documentary about LCD Soundsystem and its frontman James Murphy, I entered with high expectations – especially high because the idea of watching a concert documentary generally would not be high on my list of things to do.
And while I left the theater wishing I had been at LCD Soundsystem’s final show, not to mention begrudging the lucky bastards who saw it live, I felt conflicted about the film I had just seen. Yes, I enjoyed the live footage (no surprise) but the loose documentary surrounding it, particularly the bloated and pretentious interview stylings of journalist Chuck Klosterman, I could have done without.
That’s a roundabout way of saying maybe I should have waited for the release of the nearly four-hour Madison Square Garden concert on DVD.
WARNING: SPOILERS spoilers SPOILERS spoilers SPOILERS!!!!
Forget the Olympians shown on tape delay Sunday night. “Breaking Bad” took the gold in the TV Olympics. If you’re wondering, AMC’s other show, reality series Small Town Security, failed to make the TV Olympics. That show is to TV what this 11-year-old girl is to National Anthem singers.
“Hazard Pay”, the third episode of “Breaking Bad”‘s fifth season, did not quite match the suspense of its predecessor, “Madrigal”, but it captivated nonetheless, in the way it moved the plot along. Mike is willing to do what it takes to keep his word. Skyler cracks up. And, well, Walt is Walt, the would-be meth kingpin, who never quite controls the chess pieces the way he would like.
Here are my thoughts on “Hazard Pay.” Check it!
Dylan in the Dark
During Cloud Nothings’ second song Saturday night, the bottom string on Joe Boyer’s electric guitar popped. Once the song, “Fall In”, concluded, Boyer crouched to reattach the string while band singer/guitarist Dylan Baldi noodled the silence away. A few minutes later, Boyer stood up, his instrument repaired, and apologized for the delay.
Boyer’s timeout for equipment repair was the only time Cloud Nothings came up for air during its blistering set Saturday night at Bunk Bar in Portland. Rarely have I seen a band assault its instruments the way the Cleveland-based four-piece did. Perhaps The Drew Carey Show was onto something when it declared “Cleveland Rocks!”
WARNING: Spoilers. Spoilers! SPOILERS!!!! Oh, and MAGNETS!!!!! How do they work???
I started having “Breaking Bad” withdrawals as the credits rolled after the Season 5 premiere Sunday night. If I ruled the world, Hollywood Theater in Portland would have aired all eight episodes of Season 5’s first half until the sun rose Monday morning. My eyes would have glued to the screen at some point. Eventually I would have fallen asleep for the rest of the day – no work, just sleep. If only I ruled the world. I am not Walter White though.
The Season 5 premiere finds Walt (Bryan Cranston) emboldened after claiming victory over nemesis Gus Fring in the Season 4 finale. He is Heisenberg minus the black Pork pie hat. I am sure he’ll don the hat soon enough. Or a full head of hair, as foreshadowed in the premiere’s opening scene.
This episode showed multiple characters covering their tracks – Walt, Jesse, and Mike using magnets to destroy Gus’s computer, Skyler visiting Ted in the hospital, and Hank seeking video surveillance info on Gus’s superlab. These chess moves don’t settle any scores. If anything they open up more cans of worms.
Here are my thoughts on “Breaking Bad” Season 5, Episode 1:
Beasts now showing at Cinema 21 in Portland
WARNING: Spoilers below. You should see the movie before reading unless, that is, you love my writing so much you can’t help yourself. If that’s the case then feel free to spoil your dinner.
Let me just get this out of the way: I still don’t follow the auruchs, the icebergs collapsing, or any of the fantasia elements that happen in Beasts of the Southern Wild. I know they offer a parallel to what’s happening in the Bathtub and in the life of young Hushpuppy. My friend Rob did a great job explaining these parallels in the comments section after my first post about the movie, and I encourage you to read his thoughts.
On my second viewing of Beasts of the Southern Wild, much like my first, I found myself largely uninterested in the deeper meanings of the mythical elements at play. This time though they didn’t dampen my affection for the film. I focused exclusively on what I adored about the film – Hushpuppy’s complex relationship with her father, the lush south Louisiana landscape, the joy the characters project, etc. – and put aside my previous concerns. Also important: The sky-high expectations I had the first time I saw the film were more realistic this time around.
It hit me while watching Beasts of the Southern Wild for the second time in five days that I will need to see it a third time, and possibly even a fourth or fifth time, while it’s in the theaters. It is my culture, my people, my bayous depicted on that screen. Thus, I am deeply moved and filled with a sense of pride that is hard to explain to people not born in the Bathtub. So revelatory was my second viewing of Beasts of the Southern Wild that I considered seeing it a second time Friday night, but abandoned the idea because the day’s first viewing overwhelmed me.