tomoki the violinist

MusicWatch Monthly: Sour grapes

Eschew the news and venues’ booze

I know. There are more important things to talk about and think about right now. Hopefully you’re staying informed about What’s Going On during this Important Historical Moment, both in terms of the bigger picture and the ground-level perspective of the myriad local journalists documenting the last two months of Black Lives Matter protests here and around the world.

We could never make an exhaustive list of people who can speak for what’s happening here in Portland, but a good place to start listening might include: former and current mayoral candidates Teressa Raiford, Sarah Iannarone, and Jessie Sponberg; Alex Zielinski and Sergio Olmos, just two of the many livestreamers who’ve been on the ground since the beginning; The Only Robert Evans, who’s been belling feral cats for years; and the few local politicians worth a damn, a short list that can’t exclude Wyden and Blumenauer and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

Okay, good, you’re staying informed. But you need a break from staying informed, right? We therefore offer this humble distraction. 

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MusicWatch Weekly: Welcome to Digital Heaven

Hermit like a champ with Oregon’s virtualocal superstars

These days we’re toggling between two extremes: on the one hand, digitally mediated mass socialization via zoom, youtube, social media, and all the rest of the burgeoning digital (after)life; on the other hand, some truly next-level hermit action in the form of baking, yoga, quilting, meditation, prayer, journaling, self-reflection, self-recording, and the simple joy of sitting and catching up on all those books you’ve been meaning to read since, like, the eighties.

Of course, most of us are splitting the difference one way or another–for instance, we know dozens of musicians who are spending their quarantine listening to and sharing their favorite albums, a perfect example of how a fundamentally isolated endeavor can be transmuted into an eminently social experience. Same goes, mutatis mutandis, for book clubs and TV show binge-watching parties (let me know if I can spoil Battlestar Galactica for you).

We’ll be talking in some depth about this nascent digital afterlife starting next week, when we’ll discuss: 45th Parallel Universe’s new friend Kevin; defunct Portland cyberpunk indie trio Menomena; recent and timely Matrixy entertainment like Devs, Westworld, and Upload; and media guru Douglas Rushkoff’s “Ten Commands for a Digital Age.” That’s all in the first of several new series we schemers at ArtsWatch have planned for your next few months of quarantined music reading. Stay tuned.

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