Omnivore’s Pride (or Downfall?)

Badge courtesy the Astronomical League

My ideal state of existence is motion and consumption. If I could, I would spend the better part of each day listening to simultaneous talk radio and music, reading websites and blogs interchanged with books and some web video, all while sweating on a treadmill or stationary bike hooked up — just so I can, like, be contributing in some way to the world — to a generator feeding power to churches that help the community. I want to be a media consumption machine. To unwind, I would watch two movies simultaneously and drink coffee and wine.

In my latest post, I spotlighted a few of my favorite regular all-you-can-absorb hubs of good online content. In this post, I’m not going to attempt anything so comprehensive. Instead, in the spirit of The Paris Review Daily’s Culture Diaries feature, I’m going to run down my past weekend in terms of the music, art, media, literature, etc. I’ve noshed on.


After Work — A. and I rode our bikes down to First Fridays in the Crossroads. This local, monthly tradition of gallery openings and street performances has nearly reached critical mass in terms of the city needing to close off a street or two. We got a late start so weren’t able to see much but caught a couple of openings:  the playful and adventurous  KCAI in 3D and Jesse Small‘s symbolically complex, war-themed UNDADOG installation at the Belger Arts Center and Philomene Bennett’s bright, soothing oil paintings at the Late Show.

Night — Met up with S. at the Record Bar for local bands Hidden Pictures and Soft Reeds and visiting English band Field Music. All the bands were strong, but Field Music stole the show with its ultra-precise and brainy pop. I got to talk with FM guitarist/singer/drummer David Brewis before the show, and though he couldn’t have been friendlier, he expressed discontent with the tour overall, mainly because for a critically adored but commercially unsuccessful act such as his, touring the middle of the US is a big waste of money. This was reflected in the crowd Friday night — perhaps 50 people stuck around. I enjoyed every pristine harmony, off-kilter beat, ornate riff.

Belly-kicking burritos from Don Miguel bakery for brunch and a couple hours of web surfing before heading out to Lawrence, KS, (45 min. away) to meet friends at the Scion Garage Fest, an annual, traveling exhibition of “garage” bands from all over the country. I saw mostly partial sets from Gentlemen Jesse and His Men, The Nodzzz, Times New Viking, Best Coast, Thee Oh Sees and the Greenhornes — barely even a core sampling of all the fest offered, but I had set a curfew for myself and was too tired to blow it. I haven’t seen this much live music in one week since back in my music editor days (this includes this past Wednesday’s amazing show by The National, which probably deserves its own entry, if not novella).

On the drive down, I listened to comedian Paul F. TompkinsPod F. Tompkast. On the way back, Extricate by The Fall and the beginning of Eugene Mirman‘s God Is a 12-Year-Old Boy with Aspberger’s.


Started the day reading Red Star Over China by Edgar Snow for an upcoming KC Library blog project. All morning, vinyl-loving friends Tom and Mark were having a record garage sale, so I dropped in, more because I like Tom and Mark than because I needed any records. These guys are elder statesmen of the midwest music scene. In the 70s, early 80s, they ran a powerpop record label called Titan! and are connoisseurs of obscure garage and pop bands from the 60s. I must admit, despite all my consumption of so-called garage rock this weekend, I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable as T. or M. or half the people at that fest yesterday. In fact, I’m sure I put my foot in my mouth at least twice around some garage-obsessed friends, but I don’t feel too bad. I’m proud of my omnivorism, even if all this relentless sampling renders me unable to participate in many specialized discussions. I may not be an expert in anything, but at least I can enjoy things like contemporary British fiction, zombie movies and the Ying Yang Twins in the same, I dunno, life? (One area I drastically need to work on: sport.)

I walked out of the sale with records by The Jam, Nicky Hopkins and Thelonius Monk. Afterwards, I went for a bike ride and listened to interviews with John Waters and Flying Lotus (separately) on The Sound of Young America; a New Yorker: Fiction podcast featuring Chris Adrian reading a chilling but kind of hard to follow Donald Barthelme story, and part of a Wired podcast interview with a couple of vloggers who weren’t very interesting. Listened to a third Young America interview, this one with the mindblowing soul singer Bilal and am now listening to his station on

Tonight, I will catch up on some blogs and try to take a good-sized chunk out of the Snow book. But a part of me just wants to watch Wallander on PBS and strum the ol’ six-string.


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