For I will weather the storm

Dear friends,

I was waiting for the F train a couple of days ago. When I got on, I eyeballed the car looking for that elusive morning commute seat. I saw a disheveled redheaded man in his late 40s with an empty seat next to him. He saw me look at it and him. He narrowed his eyes and shifted slightly in a way that I recognized as psychic projection of DON'TSSITHERE DON'TSITHERE DON'TSITHERE. Tough. I made my way over, gave the loud "Excuse me" and settled into the corner seat. He smelled strange, a mixture of cigarettes, old newspapers and mints. After a couple of minutes of slightly embittered fidgeting, he put his hand in his expensive looking leather bag and slowly pulled out a plastic wrapped comic book. He handled it carefully but made sure to keep himself compact, his reading hands spaced just so, so that the pages were barely open. This way no one could look over his shoulder and see anything other than the words FLASH! and POW! I had to look. I couldn't help it. I'm a voyeur.

A little later a couple got on and came and stood over the man. The girl had great tousled 60s sex kitten hair and large sunglasses. Her large leather purse swung haphazardly as she draped herself over her stylish counterpart. Red headed comic guy tensed again. This time I felt his pain. The bag kept swinging closer and closer to his face and his comic book. I waited to see if he'd snap. He didn't but his mind was clearly at work. Trying to keep himself together. I closed my eyes and imagined him in the middle of the sea in a tiny rowboat with his comics, some ham sandwiches and maybe a Victrola. It would be playing this song.

Deep Water/Portishead (mp3)

Back in the day, I was quite the Portishead fan. Dummy was certainly the soundtrack to some turbulent emotional times and who could ask for better background music than Beth Gibbons splintered warble and some well placed wickety wickety scratching. It was James Bond music for people whose sole dangerous mission was to get through their week. It made day to day drudgery profound and thrilling. Romantic disappointment quivering and grand. Nobody loves me? No one but you? Great, because it sounds fabulous and L-U-S-H and therefore has MEANING. Eh, I was young. Anywho, I haven't given Third enough of a thorough listen to deem it as powerful, it isn't First so how could it possibly compare? It's a harder edged beast, less atmospherics, more confrontational. Deep Water sticks out from the other tracks by virtue of its very otherness. Like the metaphoric scenario it presents, the song sounds utterly alone, adrift in the middle of the ocean. Gibbons sings quietly to soothe herself from the terrors and is joined on the chorus by disembodied male voices that repeat her lines. Are they mocking her? Or reassuring her? I can't help but feel, despite the fragility of this brief little tune, that there is hope on the horizon. Another boat? A waiting friend? Or perhaps, at long last, land.

Pre-order Third by Portishead.

Love, D

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I'm giving it all in a moment

Dear friends,

Things will really get all dear diary up in here today I think.

I was very tired. The kind of tired where it seems like exaggeration. My head kept falling down towards my desk. I didn't fall asleep. I couldn't. I was at work. But I really wanted to turn off the monitor and close my eyes. Instead, I stared stupidly ahead, weaving slightly, eyes half-closed, until I could leave. When I got home, I ate dinner, drowsily touched J on the cheek, got up and went to bed. It was 8:30. I haven't gone to bed that early my entire life. Not even as a child. I'm just not a sleeper.

That was the first sign.

For some women finding out they are pregnant is this giant hip hop hooray type of moment. For me it was sheer abject terror. It was unexpected and I was unprepared. I thought about all the holiday drinks I consumed, all the jumping and running I'd been doing, the spinal meds I'd been poking into my stomach with a syringe and godknowswhatelse. I went to see my doctor and he looked at me with bemused, basset hound eyes. "You want this baby?" he asked. I started laughing nervously for what was probably too long. "Yes. Of course I do." And as soon as I said it, I knew it was true.

We were told we should wait the requisite three month period before telling people. "It might not take" was what we were told. I thought about the taking and not taking. I stopped running. Started walking (when I wasn't busy being ill) and stopped taking my medicine against my doctor's advice. No twenty year study on Humira, eh? No thanks, I'll pass on the needle action. Developed overnight superhero sense of smell, which is the crappiest superhero power imaginable. Started reading alarming books about fetal development that delineated everything that could possibly go wrong. Cried a lot. Laughed a lot too. It's just too ridiculous. I'm not a baby person, never have been.

Going out was unbearable, not only did I feel like shit but suddenly I was without the magical elixir that made it possible for me to talk to people and not hide in the shrubbery: alcohol. I found myself squirming through conversations that I could've previously handled with some well placed backslapping and arm punching. I discovered that most of my friends really only like to meet in bars. I rediscovered that more than half the people I know despise children. Very vocally and loudly. I thought about how often I heard these discussions in the past and shrugged uncomfortably. I didn't want any kids but who am I to judge another's joy? Now I listened and felt guilty. Like an intruder. An undercover breeder coming to bring more caterwauling infants into the world. I felt angry because what I really wanted was to be past the three month wait so I could scream out "I AM THE ENEMY AND I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE MY SPAWN PEES ON YOUR FLOOR AND PUKES PUREED BANANAS ON YOUR COUCH!"

Not really. C'mon, I got more class than that! The thing is I am ambivalent about most things. Except for one. I love the baby daddy. He is the best person I have ever known. If I can help out the world by bringing some more of him into it then I figure I'm not such a fuck up. Besides I am very excited about acquiring a brand new encyclopedia set and reading out loud about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Because babies need to know about the ancient wonders of the world.

Anywho, as of today, we are finally past the three month mark and all our tests have come back with desired results. My family in Chile has been alerted prompting several hilarious phone calls from relatives who are appalled by my Spanish but overjoyed at the news. To those of you J and I couldn't tell in person this past week, we are sorry. Setting up these conversations is harder than you think, it's not like we were buying a car or taking a trip, an IM just wasn't going to cut it. Also, personal circumstances have been difficult. All those lay offs you keep hearing about? They're coming your way, best believe.

To those of you that were expecting wedding invites, you'll get them but not for a while. We need to find new jobs first. Perhaps in a year? Our nuptial BBQ will happen. We promise. We hope. Fingers crossed.

I continue to be terrified by the way. Things could still go wrong. The birthing books are scarier than the pregnancy books. BUT I'm less scared at the thought of being a mother and I never thought I'd get there. 2008 is definitely my sea change year. The future is here.

The Kick Inside/Kate Bush (mp3)

Ms Bush writes about ladies things.

Purchase The Sensual World by Kate Bush on Amazon Digital.

Love, D

* The Monkey thinks this is ridiculous, who needs actual Encyclopedias when you have the internets! Kinda takes away the magic a bit though, doesn't it?

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Whatever happens do the dance

Dear friends,

A dream:

I am dressed in medieval garb. I am me, I am not me. It's hard to say, but judging from my outfit and surroundings it would appear I'm on the pilgrim's path and the pilgrim's path looks a lot like the 9W next to the Hudson. It's no highway though, it's a road, glassed over like a mall walkway, lined with diversions. I know that at some point I should stop or take a detour, I have vague-ish plans to visit the Woodbury Outlet Mall (?!?) but I keep walking. It's important to note that every time I encounter someone on this road (an old man, a woman and her toddler, a teenage boy, a group of Japanese school kids) I have to put down my staff and backpack and burst into dance. They're dancing too. Our soundtrack is this song. It blares out from nowhere. We dance for a chorus and when the music stops, we simply go on our way.

D.A.N.C.E./Justice (mp3)

Justice n'approuve pas ce rêve

Purchase Cross by Justice on Amazon Digital.

After miles of walking and several dance-offs, I notice a church entryway. I peer in and admire the vaulted arches and stained glass windows. No one is inside. I notice a woman sitting to the right of the entrance who looks a bit like Blaire from the Facts of Life and ask her if she's waiting to go in. She tells me that it's open, she's already been inside because "she's been to Europe" and that now she's just waiting for her friends to catch up. Right. I have friends too. They're lagging behind. Should I wait for them here? I could use a rest. I'm in the middle of making my decision when my alarm goes off.

Love, D

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My eyes were blind but you turned on the moon

Dear friends,

I'd like to draw your attention to something lovely.

(photo by Lars Stephen)

Last week, Stereogum* debuted the fabulous new video to Dean and Britta's cover of Ann-Margret and Lee Hazlewood's You Turn My Head Around.

You Turn My Head Around/Dean and Britta (video)

DISCLAIMER! I am SO biased because I am friends with the clip's talented director, Sera Rogacki AND I had a hand in casting the video. I wear many hats. Anywho, I'm loving the way this Jacques Dutronc inspired mini-movie turned out! Check it out and bask in the cameos by Oweinama from Madam Robot and The Lust Brigade, Lady Byrd from Who Needs Radio, Demetri Martin, Olga Bell from Bell, George and Jess from El Jezel and Sammy and Cesar from The Lisps!

(photo by Lars Stephen)

Here's the original version for the purists...

You Turn My Head Around/Ann-Margret and Lee Hazlewood (mp3)

Purchase The Cowboy and the Lady by Lee Hazlewood and Ann-Margret from eMusic.

Do give the cover a listen. Britta's vocal is effortless which is no small feat given the song's tonal-shift demands. From pretty and soft to soaring and exuberant, that drawn out shout of "Baaaabyyyyyyyyyy!" sounds like love in all its Springtime hues.

Purchase Back Numbers by Dean and Britta on Amazon Digital.

Love, D

* The 'Gum video player was giving me issues, freezing repeatedly, so rather than link, I embedded this one from You Tube instead.

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After The Jump @ SXSW '08!

After the Jump is headed to SXSW for the first time ever with four outrageous shows, including our very own official showcase (not bad for an organization under a year old huh?).

Each show has some incredible tricks up its sleeve, so if you are headed to Austin, don't miss out!

Friday 3/14, 7pm

The After the Jump Backyard @ 1204 Salina St. - East Side
Free and open to the public + Free beer and bbq!
7 Laura Palmer
745 Senryu
830 The Physics of Meaning
915 Salt and Samovar
10 Oliver Future
1045 These United States
1130 The Lisps

Saturday 3/15, High Noon
ATJ/Indie Outlaw/Paper Garden Day Party @ Lucky Lounge 209 W 5th St,
Free and open to the public, Open bar + bbq and free shirts and bags courtesy of Speakerheart!

1215 Peasant
100 The Pendletons
145 Darla Farmer
230 The Answering Machine
330 LoveLikeFire
415 Morning State
5 Cloud Cult

Saturday 3/15, 2pm
The After the Jump Backyard @ 1204 Salina St. - East Side
Free and open to the public + Free beer and bbq!
215 Bell
3 Laura Gibson
4 Luke Temple
5 The Lisps
6 White Ghost Shivers
7 Jukebox the Ghost

Saturday 3/15, 7:30pm
ATJ Official SXSW Evening Showcase at Lambert's BBQ
401 W 2nd St - badges and limited tickets @ door
8 The Teenage Prayers
9 Care Bears On Fire
10 Neimo
11 Tigercity
12 Cassettes Won't Listen
1 Project Jenny, Project Jan

Find out more about us and our causes at www.afterthejumpfest.com and stay tuned for some big announcements in 2008!

Make sure as well to check out our sponsors whom have devoted time and money to aid After the Jump in their efforts. Without them, this would not be possible:

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I'll Take the Green, please.

Reiko remembers 尾崎豊 Yutaka Ozaki:

"God, the things I wanted to do to him when I was 12!" She bites her glossed lip and smiles.

"I bet."

"He was terribly good looking," she moans. "I mean he was beautiful enough to convince you that he wasn't even real, you know those impossibly good-looking people. On the poster he was an idol but when he sang, he turned into an idol with a beating heart. Do you get what I mean?"


"Not really. Go on."

She is more than glad to. Yutaka Ozaki devastated Japan at the same time the New Kids were the right stuff and Johnny Kitagawa hit his stride. Kitagawa spearheaded the boy band scene in Japan. Asia's answer to Menudo, he's been marketing and packaging musical eye candy since the 60's. Nearly everything he touches turns into (a lawsuit) gold. Man loves his job. He finds clean young Ganymedes and trains them, as only the Japanese can, to be beautiful, flawless and forever under 21. Then he makes a killing. Johnny's Entertainment Media and its proteges are still in rotation, of course. There's a lot of want out there.

Yutaka Ozaki was a bounty. Impeccable looks, great voice, marketable teeth (rare!) But he was no Johnny Boy. For one thing, he didn't dance. For another he wrote his own songs.

If Joey Mycintyre had suddenly stopped "Please Don't Go Girl"-ing to sing about his depression. If Justin stopped bringing sexy back and started regretting getting that girl pregnant. If Britney started singing about moral degradation and lack of freedom, we might get a taste of what Ozaki was about. Nothing is sexier than a rebel, non?

Particularly in Japan. Particularly in the 80's.

That's ヤバい yabai; multi-faceted word meaning essentially "dangerous", "badass", "not good in a good way". Someone willing to do the unthinkable. Pierce their tongue. Speak out. Get notice beyond expectation.

"It drove me crazy!" Reiko laments. "He wrote songs about love, of course, but more about its consequence. How it made you doubt and examine your nature. He sang about loneliness as though he'd never had a friend. He wrote about anger and how good it was. He wrote about what it feels like to have no voice at all. He would get enraged when he sang, genuinely pissed off. I felt really close to him then. No one else ever sang about stuff like that! It was like he was speaking for us rather than to us sometimes. "

In 1992 Ozaki was found dead, half naked in a Tokyo alleyway at age 27.

In 2004, two tribute albums were released. BLUE & GREEN. BLUE consisted of contributions from major label breakers--Mr. Children, Utada Hikaru, Cocco, among others. I listened to this album once and liked it. The top sellers sang Ozaki's songs poised and melodic. A cleanly arranged thank you. Not bad.

The GREEN album was better.

The guys in green, ya know they doin' alright. The Indies and Unknowns. Chords allowed to go raw, to rage, swerve off kilter a bit. Take the contribution from 熊谷 和徳 Kumagai Kazunori, 米軍キャンプUS Armed Force Camp. It opens with a delirious plastic tub drum staccato trying frantically to escape. Or feet. It's what will play when credits roll. Kumagai speaks the lyrics like a requiem.

"Alone on the street with nowhere to go. Industry washed up and friends all gone out one by one like the ash on my cigarette. My soul made a tiny noise the night the heart within you died for the first time. You were so refined in the ways you never smiled. In a crowd of people, never saying a single thing. Tonight let's come together and lick our wounds. We'll fuck them all, mock the world and find love as a blanket to curl up in."

Reiko sighs.

"Maybe I'm just getting older but when I see Kamenashi Kazuya's eyes fill with tears and beg me not to leave in a video, I don't want to hold him because I know when the song is over, he'll be alright."

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After the Jump Official SXSW Showcase & Day Party

Dear friends,

Czech it...

After the Jump is throwing TWO shows on March 15th. Pertinent details below...

After the Jump SXSW 2008 Party at The Lucky Lounge
205 W 5th St
Austin, TX
March 15, 2008
Starts at Noon
* Free


After the Jump Official SXSW 2008 Showcase at Lambert’s BBQ
401 W 2nd St
Austin, TX
March 15, 2008
* Badges and limited tickets at the door

Love, D

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