Leonid meteor shower clouds
In 2005, the state of Texas adopted an amendment to its Constitution that said marriage in the state could only be between one man and one woman. The amendment also declared: “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.” Now, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, is saying that the second section effectively “eliminates marriage in Texas”:
She calls it a “massive mistake” and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.
“You do not have to have a fancy law degree to read this and understand what it plainly says,” said Radnofsky, who will be at Texas Christian University today as part of a five-city tour to kick off her campaign.
Abbott’s spokesman Jerry Strickland replied to Radnofsky’s charge by saying, “The Texas Constitution and the marriage statute are entirely constitutional.” This isn’t the first time the reach of the second section has been questioned. Before the amendment passed, a group called Save Texas Marriage warned that a judge could potentially void all marriages in the state if the language became part of the Texas Constitution.
If you’re a fan of modern day punk and hardcore, but can’t quite stomach the thought of elbowing your way through crowds to try to catch 300 bands in three days time — and you live in Orlando — then the days surrounding Halloween weekend can be wonderfully exhausting in the way of live music and late nights. Every year Central Florida gets crashed by bands on their way to and from The Fest, Gainesville’s punk rock bonanza. If I made it to every show that caught my ear I wouldn’t get any sleep, so this year’s winning choice was the Bridge Nine Tour headlined by Strike Anywhere, but also offering a triplet of other explosive up and coming bands who all call the hardcore label home.
Ruiner is fronted by Rob Sullivan, a red-haired, bare-chested monster of a man who stalks the stage with a Henry Rollins stomp, and even shares a similarly pumped-up physique. His stare is intense, his tendency to float on the edge of the stage keeps fans in front on their toes, and his scream/speak/growl approach to vocals brings a bit of Black Flag and Minor Threat to the young band’s sound, which otherwise has a lot in common with modern metal/hardcore acts like Converge or Bane. The whole concept of merging the metal and hardcore cultures, which once stood defiantly on opposite sides of the street, has been horribly overplayed in recent years but Ruiner sells the sound better than most — especially live. By set’s end an enthusiastic few were trying desperately to get a pit going, but it was too early in the night for much action. Beer first, body slamming after was the mantra for most, it seemed.
Long Island’s Crime in Stereo is a band transitioning from their relentless hardcore roots into something with a bit more depth, and they wasted no time in letting the audience see this new side of their personality. Vocalist Kristian Hallbert quietly cradled the mic hidden beneath his hooded jacket and, with eyes closed, eased the anxious crowd into their soon to be volatile set. Soon to be, being the operative phrase. The opening song was slow and contemplative and had the fury not kicked in quickly, it could have turned ugly. While the band’s time on stage was mostly spent spewing out the sort of sweat-inducing songs that allowed their fans to vent their troubles out on the hard concrete floor, and affectionately on one another, they didn’t shy away from taking the mood down and allowing the room a moment to breathe.
Not that this crowd wanted a breather. Crime in Stereo was a good, strong primer for the flesh pile-up that commenced within seconds of Polar Bear Club’s set. With just two albums worth of material with which to annihilate a crowd, this young upstate NY bunch is poised to be the next big thing. Combining hardcore energy with melodic hooks and elements of the poppier side of punk (please don’t make me say “emo”), they’ve got all of their bases covered and, understandably, attract quite an eclectic group of fans — from the young kids with the choppy haircuts to the skinhead, muscle-bound sect. They all come together to bash their heads together in celebration of modern day post-hardcore fun.
The star of PBC is front man Jimmy Stadt whose sincere smile, which may be less than traditionally “hardcore,” endears him as a kid on top of the world as he looks out on a room full of kids climbing atop each other for the chance to sing along with him. When not giving face time to every single fan who requests a fist bump or a slap on the back, he dances around the stage with a snakey move that was all but trademarked by Axl Rose. In fact, there’s a certain element of G ‘n’ R in the guitar parts of “See The Wind” — one of the dozen songs that turn The Social into a beautiful mess of bodies. Polar Bear Club sounds good on record, as evidenced on their latest release Chasing Hamburg, but at their root they are a band that needs a stage and a rowdy crowd. Sign me up any time they come through town!
What happens when a veteran band like Strike Anywhere tours is that no matter how good the opening bands are, their crowd is their crowd, first and foremost. Theirs is a loyal fanbase and one that, until now, I couldn’t really call myself a part of. They never fail to impress as a band that can turn a room full of strangers into a family and their music is a well-measured mix of melodic punk and angry politics, but each previous show I had attended I did so as an observer. This time around, with their latest album Iron Front fresh in my head, I finally found myself on the same page as the those around me — especially when they played the brand new “Invisible Colony” and “I’m Your Opposite Number.”
Wearing his ever present Clash T-shirt and with his blond dreadlocks strewn about his ageless face, the petite but commanding presence of Thomas Barnett was once more the heart of this band’s success. His boundless energy found him pouncing across the stage and, like his tour mates, sharing mic time with the eager crowd-surfing singers in the audience. Few bands can get the tide of bodies riding high like Strike Anywhere can.
Shows like this one are a success, in part, because of their breaking down of the artist/audience wall. There is no Star ego, no separation between the kids in the crowd and the kids on the stage. The bands play and then jump into the crowd to play the role of fan for the next band in line. And so the cycle continues, and music plays on.
To see more photos from this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.
Strike Anywhere: www.strikeanywhere.org
In its first incantation, Surf Music made you cool and attracted chicks with minimal clothing. By the ’80s, punks had discovered the short songs, punchy melodies, and simple chords that gave a new angle on flipping off the older generation, but today’s post-surf music sounds a bit depressed. It feels its age, notices the receding hairlines on the guys and the too-late-for-surgery sagging of the girls.
The Drums are a pair of very earnest young men writing Robitussin-slow songs perked up with the sunshine of Prozac and Paxil. For a duo, their harmonies deliver their direct lyrics over drums and whistling. “Let’s Go Surfing” might be the single release, if people played 45s anymore. It certainly falls into the surf genre, but there’s no sense of something big about to happen, whether it be the perfect wave, a friendly fight, or a first joint orgasm. Backup vocals feel filtered and far away, as if the other musicians set up in the hall closet and there wasn’t enough microphone cable to reach them. “Don’t be a Jerk Johnny” talks directly to love — a disembodied girlfriend, Jenny, tells lead singer Jonathan Pierce “not to be a jerk.” It may be too late, he’s tired of her at a depressingly early age, exclaiming, “You used to be pretty, but now you’re just tragic… You’re full of horse shit.” I find this attitude more fitting for an older cynic, not for teenagers in lust.
The Drums focus more on what actually happens when the sun sets and the tide goes out, rather than on the potential of a situation. It’s a shoegazing beach party, and if having fun brings you down, The Drums will be right up your pipeline.
The Drums: www.wearethedrums.com
It was an encounter one Ozark 10-year-old will likely never forget.
Called to a home to help control an allegedly “unruly child,” an Ozark police officer was reportedly told by the girl’s mother that he could use the electric weapon to subdue her, according to 40/29 News Arkansas.
However, the girl supposedly kicked the officer in the groin when he approached. “He had no other choice [but to Taser her],” Ozark Police Choief Jim Noggle reportedly said. “He had to get the child under control.”
According to the Associated Press, the officer’s name is Dustin Bradshaw. His aggressive approach to dealing with a child has the girl’s father enraged.
“If you can’t pick the kid up and take her to your car, handcuff her, then I don’t think you need to be an officer,” Anthony Medlock reportedly said.
And a jewel of a mother as well.
Poor Michelle Bachmann can’t seem to catch a break lately.
Less than a week after Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, of all people, poked holes in a Fox report on her November 5th tea party healthcare protest which utilized falsified footage to inflate the attendance, a Washington D.C. based watchdog is calling for a House probe of the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota.
“CREW contends that Rep. Bachmann misused her official congressional website by urging people to come to the Capitol to protest the legislation despite House rules restricting members from using their websites to engage in ‘grassroots lobbying or solicit support for a Member’s position,” states a press release on the website for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Rep. Bachmann’s website urged people to come to the Capitol rally ‘and tell their Representatives to vote no’ on the health care reform bill.”
CREW excutive director Melanie Sloan adds, “Taxpayers fund members’ websites and because of that those sites may not be used to organize a public rally for or against any particular legislation.”
Couldn’t happen to a more suitable dingbat.
Residents of the C Street Christian fellowship house will no longer benefit from a loophole that had allowed the house’s owners to avoid paying property taxes.
Previously, the house — despite being home to numerous lawmakers — had been tax exempt, because it was classified as a church. That arrangement had allowed the building’s owner, the secretive international Christian organization The Family, to charge significantly below market rents to its residents. In recent year, Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Reps. Zach Wamp (R-TN), Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) have all reportedly called C Street home.
Natalie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Office of Tax and Revenue for Washington D.C., told TPMmuckraker that her office inspected the house this summer. “It was determined that portions of it were being rented out for private residential purposes,” she said. As a result, the tax exempt status was partially revoked. Sixty-six percent of the value of the property is now subject to taxation.
Sure, it was a church. They just worshiped greed and adultery.
Assassins By Steven Sondheim
Directed by John DiDonna
Starring Cory Boughton, Kevin Sigman, Marcie Schwalm, Nathan Bartman
Seminole State College, Lake Mary FL
Sure. “Shoot the President”. That’s your answer to everything if you live in this nether world of mis-motivated political operatives. Sitting high upon the throne of gunpowder politics is John Wilkes Booth (Boughton). A string of bad reviews drove him to shoot a middling president and boosting him in the polls. The reviews he got after his bold move were worse than ever, and when they cops burnt him out of his barn he learned a belated lesson – no one appreciates the sacrifice you make for others. While Booth seems somewhat rational, all the other assassins seem completely unhinged but still possessing a twisted internal logic. Giuseppe Zangara (Fredy Ruiz) seems motivated more by a stomach ulcer than any politics, Sara Jane Moore (Schwalm) brings her kid and dog to the assassination and ends up throwing bullets at Jerry Ford, and we never hear from John Schrank who actually popped a cap into Teddy Roosevelt. Then there are the really scary ones: Squeaky Fromme thought Chucky Manson was the Son of God, Leon Czologosz (Cory Owen) fantasized about Emma Goldman, and Samuel Byck (Michael Sapp) wore a Santa suit and thought he could pilot a 747 into Dick Nixon’s White House. At least Al Qaeda took flying lessons first.
Even by Sondheim standards, this is a totally bizarre show, yet clearly in the sweet spot of local impresario John DiDonna’s theatrical mission. The story vignettes put past history into context, and make the viewer rethink that common dismissal of a shooter “Oh, he’s just nuts.” Sanity may be a rare commodity among freelance assassin, but every evil spirit must believe that what they are doing is somehow justified. Amongst all this high fiber political history are some very nice musical numbers. “The Ballad of Booth” melodically recalls the sense of anger the civil war brought to American political discourse 150 years ago, while “The Ballad of Guiteau” reveals the grandiose and ever expanding mind of a man who thought he could do anything. “Another National Anthem” ties all these world shaking logic into a tuneful if not coherent argument that leads us to the best role in the show – Lee Harvey Oswald (Bartman). With a failed marriage, worse than awful military career, and two defections to his credit, Oswald comes across as a despicable looser who debated suicide or assassination as a way out. He takes a plastic rifle and pans the audience, delivering a slug into the brain of Americas post war superiority complex, and enshrining himself as the permanent American Antichrist.
Killing the president rarely fixes the problem you perceived. The System is too large and redundant to change for the loss of one man, no matter how important. And the bad guys and lunatics are much more interesting than the sane, especially if you can just pay to see them in the freak show. Finally, Sondheim can spin a decent musical out of the least promising material. “Assassins” keeps getting produced, and while you might not resonate with its internal politics this production entertains all the way from the opening Parade of the Styrofoam Presidents to the final volley of shots aimed at the audience. This is True Crime, told on a grand scale.
For more information on the Seminole State College Theater program, please visit http://www.scc-fl.edu/arts/theatre/
…it was not sending his team out on the field prepared when that drive started. Tom Brady called a time out BEFORE 1st down! The clock had stopped because the possession had changed. There is no reason to call a timeout, unless you are unprepared. After the kickoff, the offense should already have the play, the offensive coordinator/head coach should have the right players on the field and the team should be ready to roll.
Instead, the Patriots were confused and appeared to not have the right people on the field. So with the clock already stopped and Brady & Co. ready to close out the game, New England instead goes out on the last drive and uses two time outs in 30 seconds, one with the clock stopped and then to make up for it, goes for it on 4th and 2 on their own 28 yard line.
Maybe Coach Belichek learned his lesson…never dare Peyton Manning to beat you, because he will.