Billy Joel - CoreStates Center, Philadelphia, 1998ish Y100 FEASTival (Beck, Oasis, Moby, Stroke 9)- First Union Center, Philadelphia, December 1999 Dave Matthews Band - First Union Center, Philadelphia, December 2000 U2 - First Union Center, June 2001 U2 - Madison Square Garden, October 2001 Field Day Festival (Radiohead, Blur, Spiritualized, Beastie Boys, Liz Phair, etc.) - Giants Stadium, Summer 2003 Radiohead - somewhere in Berlin, October 2003
When I was a kid, I preferred Alternative to Pop, and I pretended to hate the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys even though I secretly downloaded their songs on Napster. But I never went to the giant concerts filled with preteens, the ones with ridiculous production values and costume changes. And even though I liked Madonna, it was never enough pay to see her in concert.
But tonight! Tonight will be my first concert with costume changes! Because I am going to see Lady GaGa. Last night we got a wicked T-storm and I thought, “What does Lady G. think about this storm?” Because I pretend that I identify with the weird pop star who went to the same college at the same time as me, even though I’m sure we have nothing in common. Also, I was half-asleep and not thinking too clearly.
Tonight, though, I’m anticipating the arena filled with superfans, women in their 20s and 30s wearing the stupidest glitteriest outfits they have, everyone singing along to the pop star who encourages us to embrace our strange tendencies— which, I’ve gotta say, will be more fun in Minnesota than in New York. For evidence of this, check out the StarTribune’s incredible video (that they won’t let me embed) of show fashion from last night.
It’s my first real lady pop show! I’m bringing champagne to the preparty!
Join us for readings, drinks, and refreshments this Sunday night at Walker Open Field. Let’s start a Twin Cities Runoff community. Make sure to email us with story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s a perfect way to chill after a busy weekend? Hanging out with the Twin Cities Runoff, of course! We’ll have readings from Runoff contributors (including yours truly) and we want to talk to you about what TC culture you’d like to see covered.
“But the fussy, mincing habit of attempting to create demand with a sniffy insistence on things like “artisanal” cheese or soda, coffee brewed in some Japanese contraption for eighteen hours, etc., is manipulative and artificial and stands in opposition to the fun part of sharing good things together.”—Maria Bustillos on pairing, for the ever-awesome Awl. I agree with all of this, and would describe how the whole culture of “pairing” deeply, deeply bothers me in relation to my job, but I need to stay employed for the moment, so just read.
Maura’s evaluation of the recent NY Times Books sexism issues resonates pretty strongly with me, so I suggest you take a look. I’m all for destroying the Dude Publishing Canon, but please not with Jodi Picoult, whose subject matter I find terrifying because I think people only read it to make themselves seem happier. The added review of the new Shtyengart maybe steered away from me reading it largely because of the above quote. Reading about men’s thoughts about their own unattractiveness and their surprising ability to meet and date attractive women is like Sex & the City 2 for white lit dudes.
Recently a friend asked me whether I only read female authors anymore, and I said, no, I’ll read male authors, but I don’t like to read about rich white people who make themselves miserable because Freedom sounds as boring as The Corrections if not more so. Also, you only read it to make yourself seem happier. And, in general, I find that most book industry darlings write about that subject too much to retain my interest. I read books from the early part of the 20th century because I really like them and I read authors like Margaret Atwood because she gets me there. So yeah, most of the contemporary authors I like are women because they tell the types of stories I want to read and, at least with the books I choose, there is less misery-oriented ruminating. Although, truth be told, lately I haven’t been reading anything at all book-wise. Maybe when it gets colder out.
It saddens me to know that that’s how many sad young literary whatevers think, and how they don’t notice it until I point out the lack of female authors on their bookshelves. Because when I go over to your house I will judge you by the diversity of your bookshelf. Please don’t tell me you enjoyed The Corrections if you’d like to go on a date, unless you mitigate that with your love for Willa Cather.*
*This is not actually true; I am actually way more tolerant of potential dates than I’d like to be regarding their taste in books. But I still comment on the bookshelf.
“Very pleased to meet you. I’m a small, well-mannered black young woman with a magic eye. I’ve met other cats with one blue eye and one green eye and such, but I’m told I’m truly rare – to have two colors in one eye. Some say that, way back when, about the time Stonehenge was built, there were cats like me who really could do magic with their special eyes. Good magic only – like finding things that had been lost, healing young sprites and fairies who had tripped on logs, and, occasionally – so they say – helping people to move large, heavy stones.”—
Do you spend your time on animal shelter websites ever? You have, at least once, looked to adopt a pet online. And I’m sure you’ve noticed that some of the best copy on the internet is pet descriptions on animal shelter websites. I don’t even know why I’m starting this magazine because I sure as fuck can’t compete with prose like Queenie’s history.
Return of the Wednesday Morning Dance Party: Menomena - “TAOS”
Has this song been on the Current all summer and I just haven’t heard it because my car stereo is down and I’ve been working in the mornings? No matter what, now it’s my theme song. I bet I know what you like.
Did I send you a text message or a chat about Shakira this morning? Here. Here’s why: “Men in This Town” and every song on She Wolf, which I did not get last year, stupidly, but I probably wouldn’t have been ready for it until this morning.
AND YES SHE’S TALKING ABOUT MY FAVORITE ACTOR, MATT DAMON.
Abe Sauer’s dissection of Target’s anti-LGBT support at the Awl is still important. (Why aren’t local outlets picking up on it?) (I mean I know why.)
No, really, don’t go to Target. It probably won’t help any of this situation because Minnesotans freak out because they “don’t know where else to shop” and New Yorkers are all OMG CHEAP CLOTHES (no. no. no.), but just please don’t go to Target.
“But Jim had a flavor about him. He was like a hamstring. He was not meat any longer, but he smelled of what he had once been associated with.”—Just started Zora Neale Hurston’s Seraph on the Suwanee. The above and a description of a woman’s “whiskey barrel” legs indicates I’ll like this one.
Lord knows I understand that marketing is about responding to stereotypes because “data shows a certain group of people will always act a certain way.” The thing about good marketing is that you’re not supposed to admit to those terrible stereotypes; you’re supposed to find a way to stereotype without being a complete fucking asshole.
In this week’s City Pages, a local restaurant consultant named Jonathan Locke comments on “the Veto Vote” or the “picky eater” in the construction of a restaurant’s menu, and it turns out that this “picky eater” is the lady— the woman in the party, in general.
Locke explains that restaurants often can make concessions to the “veto vote”—the picky, hard-to-please diner in nearly every party who will rule a place out before setting foot through the door—as long as they don’t go too far and alienate their core customers. He uses the example of one of his early clients, Buffalo Wild Wings. When the local chain got its start, the restaurants were all about dude food—even the management referred to it as “gut luggage”—being inhaled by a demographic of young men ages 25 to 35. But they were losing business when the guys’ wives and girlfriends weren’t able to find things they wanted to order. So Wild Wings now serves five types of chicken-topped salads and a list of what they dub “You deserve it” desserts.
Locke explains what he calls the “lady food” logic, which pairs lighter, smaller-portioned items such as entrée salads, fish, and chicken breasts with voluptuous, high-fat desserts. “Because a lot of your customer base is going to order something really disciplined for their entrées simply because they’re looking for that dessert, and they won’t be able to reward themselves otherwise,” he says.
SEE LADIES BE ALL LIKE EATING CHICKEN AND FISH SALADS BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO GET FAT BUT REALLY THEY DO BECAUSE THEY LOOOOOVVVVEEEE DESSERTS. YOU DESERVE IT, GIRLFRIEND.
Usually I’m better at channeling my annoyance beyond sarcastic capital letters, but the article’s author, Rachel Hutton, chose to print that fine example (without commentary? do you really eat grilled chicken and fish and desserts every time you go out, Rachel?) as the sole example of the picky eater. I understand they’re not saying “all women” and just the “lady” stereotype, but there are better words for it, like “the person in the party who doesn’t want to eat chicken wings because it could be a man or a woman.” And, you know, keeping the “lady” wording wouldn’t be so terrible except:
But, Locke cautions, a restaurant like Wild Wings doesn’t want to court women diners so hard that the guys won’t come in. “You need to appeal to as broad a swath of potential customers as possible, while still maintaining a lean and distinct identity,” he says.
So you are, actually, talking about all women and not just “ladies” and controlling them on your menu via grilled chicken salads. You are saying that you can manipulate the number of female diners in your restaurant by featuring “you deserve it” desserts. Because women are such picky eaters that they go for chocolate every time (ack!).
And men are such awful, wing-eating pigs that they don’t go to places where there are a lot of women because god forbid you dip a celery stick into blue cheese right next to a table of single ladies having cosmos. Buffalo Wild Wings’ diners are so frightened of being emasculated that they would never go into a restaurant with too many women!
It would have been so easy to make a point about picky eaters without including the gender stereotype, but Locke and City Pages ran with it and now if I ever step into a Buffalo Wild Wings (I won’t) I will wonder if I am too many women for the guys.
Although certain words associated with this song— “Velvet” in particular, or any other words that make me think of touching plush— make me want to squirm, “Underground” and “Alaska” are quite enveloping. I appreciate winter-oriented women.
What are some songs about dudes for whom it’s all in their heads?
“'You are a dumb shit, Lee Ranaldo,' Lori said softly with the cadence of a David Mamet monologue as she sat unhappily behind her drum set.”—
Neal Karlen, Babes In Toyland: The Making and Selling of a Rock and Roll Band, 1994.
Flying through this book on Babes in Toyland for one reason or another, and it reads like Sassy backlogs. I feel like I’m in my room in Delaware, looking for pictures to tape up on my walls, desperately reading the girlissue of Spin and knowing, just knowing that there are kids out there who are really cool. Is rock magazine writing still like this?
The title of this particular chapter is “Last Rites for Soul Asylum.”