This is the most popular feature (within the very relative confines of that word as it relates to this). A look at things I want to shine some light on - not everything I'm going to do, and not quite (as the old version was) everything I'd do if money and time were no object.
are my top 5 suggestions for the week in question - named for my great
pal Fred Pfening and named long before it was born, by A., who suggested
"Rick's going to have a blog called 'Hey, Fred! Here's what's coming to
town...' - whatever media strike my fancy. It could be all theater one
week, it could be all films or all readings or all gallery shows, but
most weeks will include some if not mostly music - I hope to spark some
conversations and get people excited about what I'm excited for. If you
read this, let me know what would make this more useful to you. As well,
if you get any value out of this, please send me links/invite me on
Facebook/send up a carrier pigeon to let me know about your events.
First, R.I.P. to Brett Helling, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, singer, and great, great friend to many people I care very deeply about. I never knew Brett well but was always happy to see him when I did and I know his death is a great loss for many corners of the music scene in this town.
Lester Bangs obituary anthologized countless times. He was a key component of influential bands like Rocket from the Tombs and early Pere Ubu and a vital link bringing New York proto-punk bands like Television and the Patti Smith Group to Cleveland and introducing the Dead Boys to the NYC scene. He died too young and left a small, but very, very choice body of work. David Thomas continued that work and took it in every more fascinating directions ever since with his work in Pere Ubu, solo records (the version of David Thomas and Two Pale Boys featuring Richard Thompson is a personal favorite), and a revived Rocket from the Tombs, as well as his avant-garde theatre and prose work. I can't wait to see what his "performance talk" looks and sounds like. Video below this is a song written by Laughner and performed by Rocket from the Tombs in an essential document, breaking a longstanding rule of mine of not posting videos that are a still photograph with music behind it, but sometimes there isn't a choice. This should have been Ohio's official rock song, and I feel like it is for those of us who give a damn. Panel discussion is 9:00am-10:30am, performance talk is 5:00pm-6:30pm. Both events are free.
February 27-28: Erik Friedlander and Mitch Epstein, American Power. Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N High St. Erik Friedlander is one of my favorite cellists who I've seen more than a dozen times and probably have 20 records featuring - in a variety of modes, including John Zorn's compositions in the Masada String Trio, recreations of jukejoint blues in Nighthawks, riffs on Oscar Pettiford's music in his Broken Arm Trio, free improvisation, and string arrangements for bands like Mountain Goats. Friedlander particularly excels in works inspired by and riffing off other media, including his solo cello record Maldoror based on the poems of the Comte de Lautreamont, his work based on his father Lee Friedlander's photographs Block Ice and Propane and this new project built around Mitch Epstein's book American Power. Friedlander's never played a note that wasn't worth hearing. Starts at 8:00pm. $18 tickets are available at http://wexarts.org/performing-arts/erik-friedlander-and-mitch-epstein-american-power
February 28: Miss Tess and the Talkbacks. Brothers Drake, 26 E 5th Ave. NYC's evergreen roots scene is in a particularly good upswing right now and high upon that wave is Miss Tess and the Talkbacks, a four-piece band led by a voice that's mastered every emotion she wants to deploy. They synthesize classic rockabilly, small-group Western Swing, and grooving early R&B with aplomb. Stellar original songs and a razor-sharp taste in covers and arrangements. This should bring some warmth to even the coldest heart on even the coldest Saturday night. Local fellow retro-revisionists The Dewdroppers round out this raucous party of a bill. Starts at 10:00pm. $7 cover.