Sunday, August 31, 2008

DNC recap

_ 8/27: Rage Against the Machine, The Coup, State Radio and Flobots played the Tent State Music Festival to End the War for 9,000 people @ the Denver Colisuem. Tickets were free if you won some from Tent State University in a lottery, but on the day of the show, the people at the door weren't really checking tickets, so pretty much anyone who decided to give it a whirl and walk in could get in.

Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys served as one of the MCs in between sets. "I can't believe just how undemocratic the Democratic Party is," he said during one break before Flobots came out. "Do you know how much money they spent on security?" ($50 million, was the budget, btw) "They could've spent it on building houses for homeless people." Another mc led the throngs in a chant of, "They're our brothers, they're our sisters, We support war resisters."

Ron Kovic (the guy Tom Cruise played in Born on the Fourth of July) got cheers when he took the stage. "This is our country. They're not going to take our country from us," he said.

Flobots took the stage. Brer Rabbit did some break dancin moves and also did the man splits.

Before Rage came out, with a black cloth hanging from the back with a red star on it, veterans came out and said some words. Rage saluted the vets. By this time, it was about 2 p.m. The crowd on the floor pushed toward the stage, and some people flew down the stairs of the coliseum stands down to the floor. Hey, it's a Rage show. It was all dark inside, and Zack de la Rocha even said, "Good evening, I mean, good afternoon." No liquor was served, so that may have saved everyone. But anyways, they came out and played Guerilla Radio, Testify and Pocket Full of Shells. Wayne Kramer (MC5, who played at the national convention in Chicago in '68) joined Rage for "Kick Out the Jams." He had on white jeans, a white button down and a T-shirt from Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Backstage, Kramer was saying that in '68, they were protesting the Vietnam War, which he says the U.S. was lied into and now we're in Iraq, another war we were lied into. Things have changed in terms of protests though. "Trying to use the tactics of the '60s, while I'm sure they are exciting for those involved, are ineffective," Kramer said backstage. "Authorities have learned their lessons well. They control information better than any time before. ... They know how to control crowds. They have a lot of high tech equipment and they can't wait to use it. The old paradigm is ineffective now. We need a new way to exercise our rights as set out by the framers.
"Change starts from the bottom up. Barack Obama is not going to be the messiah. He's not going to save us. We have to save ourselves. Change has to happen in our own neighborhoods, our own workplace, our own schools. It literally is power to the people."
He said he's no different from 40 years ago. "I'm still critical of contradictions and abuses of power. I'm still a champion of human rights and of peace and justice in the world. How could I ever change that.
"This is a struggle that will never end. All any of us is trying to do is move the country forward."

Immediately after the show, Flobots and The Coup frontman Boots Riley marched in the Iraq Veterans Against the War protest from the Coliseum to the Pepsi Center with an estimated 3,500-4,000 of the concert goers and other protesters. Brer Rabbit, Jonny 5, Jesse and Andy were spotted near the front, plus a couple members of Rage Against the Machine for a short time. That march is a nearly 4-mile route, folks. And they had no permit, but police worked with protesters, keeping them safe and blocking traffic in way of the protesters' planned route. No reported arrests. People from businesses along the route came out to look. Some left ice cubes and water, some sold water to the protesters, because it was sunny and HOT. Plus, you figure everyone just came from sweating their butts off during the 4-hour music fest, ending with Rage Against the Machine. Some (including Flobots) hadn't had anything to eat and only a little bit to drink. Funny side note: an anti-porn group's truck on its way somewhere else somehow got stuck in a line of police vans trailing the protesters and couldn't get out, so they ended up following the protest marchers. (all ended peacefully...can read more on the protest here)

That evening, outside Manifest Hope Gallery on an outdoor stage at the corner of 30th and Larimer was Unconventional '08. I missed it on account of I was still recovering from the march. But I caught up with it for the VIP party inside the gallery. The organizers handed out VIP tickets earlier in the week, but looks like most of the people who got in early were Denver hipsters who knew someone who knew someone who could get them inside. That meant a long line of people with VIP tickets having to stand in line outside on the off chance anyone inside decided to leave. Doors were at 9, and Shepard Fairey was DJing, with everything from Mariah Carey to 80s rap. But I don't think Sarah Silverman took the stage til 11p or something. On John McCain, she said, He may be a war hero, but not of this war. She also talked of going to a Barack fundraiser, seeing Obama and trying to come up with an intelligent question to ask. So she went over to ask the question. "He said something really interesting. He said, 'I'm Kanye West.'" Ben from Death Cab for Cutie and Zooey Deschanel sang. Anyway, among the folks attending were filmmaker Qasim Basir (who filmed the Yes We Can shorts on YouTube that support Obama), Christy from ManiaTV. Ben was just playing on acoustic guitar, and with the mood quickly switching from hobnob-with-drinks-and-art to lullaby time, and people started cuttin' for the door.

Graffiti artists were busy in Denver. You know those billboards the Republicans put up around town that said MLK was a Republican? DUring the week, at least one was written over with MLK was an Obama man. Then overnight Wed into Thurs, they were painting an Obama portrait onto the brick wall on 20th and Stout

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

unconventional '08

Stop by the Manifest Hope Gallery @ 30th and Larimer today, check out Obama-inspired art by Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Mac, Van Taylor, CRO and others, and pick up free tix to the street party this evening w/ Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Silversun Pickups, Cold War Kids, et al, special appearance by Sarah Silverman.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

DNC music, celebs, parties, entertainment

Places to be, people to see during the DNC (partial list, more to come)

8/23: _ Flobots play the media welcome party at Elitch Gardens (invitation only)
_ Rock the Bells
8/24: _ Green concert at Red Rocks (invitation only) with Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow,
_ Opening night reception commemorating Hurricane Katrina recovery (invite only)
8/25: _ Rock the Vote bash (sold out!) with Wyclef Jean, NERD, Fall Out Boy. 10 p.m.- midnight
_ Rock the Vote after party (for VIPs), Grant Chambers salon, with Nick Cannon. Midnight - 2 a.m.
_ Cinemocracy Rocks (film festival winners) @ Red Rocks with Okkervil River, Jill Sobule, Apples in Stereo. $20
_ Jill Sobule, Michelle Shocked @ Codepink event, Cuernavaca Park, 6:30 p.m. FREE!
8/26: _ Willie Nelson @ Red Rocks, $55
_ James Taylor, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Ani DiFranco tape an e-town show, $50-$85
_ Cyndi Lauper, Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge at the Fillmore, $98-$500
8/27: _ Rage Against the Machine, et al, (see post down below) FREE, if you win tickets in a lottery (details below)
_ Moby @ the Church. $30. Part of proceeds go to Obama's campaign
_ Unconventional 08: street party and invite only VIP party, Silversun Pickups, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Jenny Lewis, Zooey Deschanel, Sarah Silverman @ 30th and Larimer
_ Hot IQs play FREE @ Floyd's 99 Barbershop (16th and Champa). Free appetizers
_ Black Eyed Peas, Fillmore
8/28: _ DJ Jazzy Jeff @ the Church. $15

8/25-8/25, from 4 p.m - 9 p.m., show a business card proving you work downtown and you get $1 domestic draft beer at the Magnolia Hotel bar (normally Harry's Bar but renamed because the Vermont and W.V. delegations are staying there). 17th and Champa

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rage Against the Machine, Flobots (and a little blurb about Popwreck)

Rage Against the Machine is playing free at the Denver Coliseum during the Democratic National Convention at the Tent State Music Festival to End the War. Read this for details on how they're giving out tickets. Also playing: Flobots (of Denver), The Coup, State Radio and Wayne Kramer (you know, from MC5). Kramer, now 60, played with MC5 at the convention in Chicago in 1968, which was marred by clashes with police. He says he and Tom from Rage have worked on activism together before, so it made sense 40 years after playing at the convention in Chicago to protest Vietnam to play during the DNC again to protest a different war. "We're doing what we can. Everyone can do something in their own community, in their own job. This is something I can do. It's my responsibility," he said.

So does he have any expectations for Denver? "I try to avoid expectations. Who knows what to expect. There's no way to predict. In Chicago, I had an expectation. It turned out kinda the way I thought, that the Chicago police department would make a rampage, and a lot of people would get hurt. Will Denver police do the same thing? I don't know. Have we learned anything from history. I don't know. I thought we'd learn from the Vietnam War not to repeat the same mistake. But we haven't." He says he's going into the Denver festival with a hope of non violence.

Kramer says he's planning to vote for Obama. "I have never in my life believed in a
president or presidential candidate, although I do admire Jimmy Carter a great deal, but Barack Obama to me represents a politician of a magnitude above and beyond anything we've seen in my lifetime."

Flobots, meanwhile, have a nonprofit doing nonpartisan voter registration work. They're playing at private events for the DNC, including a media welcome party Saturday before the convention and then a National Association of Recording Artists event. But they've been talking with Tent State organizers for a while about doing the public festival too. "We have a message we want to put out and want everybody to hear it," Jonny 5 said. "There's a larger shift in consciousness of, especially younger people in this country, that is very honest about this country's mistakes and the fact that U.S. policy has involved violence and antidemocratic decisions. At the same time we're not going to surrender to that."

Popwreck plays at the Larimer Lounge tomorrow night, 8/15. E-mail us soon if you want $3 tickets.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today at Safeway, I was in the checkout line behind House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. The guy in front of him couldn't get his Safeway discount card number to work, so Andrew Romanoff let him use his. The speaker was buying a couple of stuff in bulk and said he didn't need a shopping bag. So our House Speaker is a smart shopper. And environmentally friendly too. Thought you might like to now

Friday, August 08, 2008

It was a unique experience driving west on U.S. 6 from Denver this morning. The fog was up in the city but not yet from the foothills, so during the drive, it really felt like, "Hey, what did they do with the mountains????" It just looked like empty sky up ahead. That could be part of a movie or something. Someone work on that and send me a 1 percent cut.

Anyway, in the CD player was "Afterthought" from Jihae. It's an intriguing bunch of remixes from her last album. The moody, melancholy, mellow songs are now sexier, more fun to share and mull over. My favorite is "Cement Garden."