May 252011

Andrea was on her way to Al’s Bar for an origami-folding event when we asked her to sit on the old couch. Because she lives on N. Limestone, it wasn’t hard to persuade her to go home and get her own camera to take this photograph since we were not prepared with ours.

Image and text by Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, Discarded project.

Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde

Discarded project


May 242011

Sunday, May 29

These United States with Onward Pilgrim and Palisades

Cosmic Charlie’s; 388 Woodland. 9 P.M.

These are three of the best local-ish pop/rock bands with dual specialties in melodic invention and dirty, atmospheric guitar work you’ll find here or anywhere, or at least in cities of comparable size and culture. Obviously if you went to some huge city, Calcutta maybe, with its tens of millions of people, you might find some number of melodic, atmospheric pop/rock bands greater than just the three playing this upcoming gig here in Lexington, but I’ve never been to Calcutta; it’s possible they only have one or two, or maybe none at all. They might have 100! Even so, they might not be as melodically inventive as These United States, Onward Pilgrim, or Palisades, nor as dirty. And it’s a moot point anyway, because the Calcutta-based bands probably sing in Bengali and let’s face it: we’re American, and we’re not gonna voluntarily listen to somebody sing in Bengali.

I’ve read now on Wikipedia that the name is officially “Kolkata,” no longer Calcutta, much as at some point Bombay became “Mumbai.” The name of the Kenneth Tynan musical, however, is unchanged. As is the name of Bacardi’s distilled gin, and that’s important, because in a loud, crowded venue such as Cosmic Charlie’s is likely to be when These United States, Onward Pilgrim, and Palisades play there Sunday night, the 29th, the speed with which your bar drink will be delivered to you depends a lot on the name of the drink you’ve ordered: names consisting of hard, cutting, and/or shrill sounds connect with the bartender’s ears much more readily than soft, vowelly, low sounds. This is why I always order “Jack, rocks” when in a noisy venue; the consonance gets me what I want with a minimum of fuss. And while shouting “B-uh-omm-b-uh-aaayyy mart-ih-eeeeeeeniiiii” at the bartender isn’t ideal, it’s better than “Mumbai”—the word is two letters away from “mumble,” after all.

In fact pop/rock bands from Calcutta…er…Kolkata probably do sing in English. Across the world, English lyrics are the ticket to the big time, or so the world seems to believe. The notable exceptions are Rammstein and French rappers: the former employs German as an assertion of agency, and as an embrace of social and political otherness in pop music’s English-speaking hegemony, while the latter are just, well, French.

American and British acts do occasionally sing in other languages besides English, usually to enhance romantic effect, as with The Beatles’ “Michelle” and Stevie Wonder’s “Ma Cherie Amour,” or to identify with an oppressed people, as with The Band’s “Acadian Driftwood” or portions of Zack de la Rocha’s solo work. Then there are those songs you wish were sung in other languages, if only because your enjoyment of them would immeasurably increase if you didn’t understand the words. Here are a few examples, courtesy of Google Translate:

07:00, svegliarsi la mattina
Gotta essere freschi, devo andare al piano di sotto
Devo avere la mia ciotola, devo avere dei cereali
Seein ‘tutto, il tempo è goin’
Tickin ‘ancora e ancora, scorrendo tutti’
Gotta scendere alla fermata del bus
Devo prendere il mio autobus, vedo i miei amici (miei amici)

Ah, Italian, the most beautiful of all tongues. Here’s another:

Så håll i de som verkligen bryr sig
I slutändan kommer de att vara de enda som finns
När du blir gammal och börjar tappa håret
Kan du berätta som fortfarande kommer att bry sig
Kan du berätta som fortfarande kommer att bry sig

Mmm bop, ba Duba DOP
Ba du bop, ba Duba DOP
Ba du bop, ba Duba DOP

The Swedes all sing in English, so why not return the favor? One more; see if you can guess.

Aš dėl šlovės kraštas
Ir aš kabinti ant tiesos momentas
Ant šlovės kraštas
Ir aš kabinti ant metu su Jumis
I’m on kraštas
Aš dėl šlovės kraštas
Ir aš kabinti ant metu su Jumis
I’m on su jumis kraštas

The original is noxious, but the Lithuanian less so, though it’s probably not a very accurate translation. And no, I don’t know why Google can’t find the words for “I’m on,” unless decades of Soviet occupation succeeded in erasing first-person pronouns from the language in the name of utopian collectivism.

Of course, oftentimes the problem with Anglo-American pop music isn’t so much the language in which it’s sung, but the perspective it tries to foist upon us. Here I’m obviously referring to the folksy, quirky, light-hearted-but-environmentally-conscious-and-socially-progressive crap that advertising agencies think will make us buy their folksy, quirky, light-hearted-but-blah-blah-blah products, such as Volkswagen cars and Apple devices. Usually there’s a finger-plucked acoustic guitar, maybe some hand percussion, and a metrosexual male in a sing-song tenor half-whispering some environmentally conscious and socially progressive bullshit. Drive the new Touareg, the ads tell us, with its built-in iPhone dock and soy-latte-sized cup holder, and your children will do well in math and science and seek non-violent conflict resolution strategies with bullies on the playground.

And yet some still wonder why I hate white people.

Not all of them, obviously. The members of These United States, Onward Pilgrim, and Palisades are all white, and they’re good people. And it’s not really individual white people, or even white people considered individually—it’s just whiteness generally, and the toll it takes on all of us.

What’s especially galling is when the powers that be try to disguise their narrative of whiteness behind a non-white face or two: a smiling young Hispanic couple shown shopping for a hybrid, for example, or the gratuitous insertion of a black rapper into an otherwise horrifyingly white music video (see “Venerdi,” above). That’s not to say non-whites can’t or don’t drive hybrids, but they don’t do so in order to advertise their light-hearted quirkiness. Or at least they shouldn’t.

May 162011

On Friday, May 20, the Nativity Singers, Palisades, and Oh My Me! will perform at the Green Lantern,  at 497 West Third in Lexington. The show should start around 10 P.M.

This is important, because you haven’t been out in a while, and this is as good an opportunity as ever to call up that girl/guy you’ve had your eye on—yeah, that one—and invite him/her for a drink and maybe some dancing, and then…who knows? If it doesn’t work out, well, no big deal, but at least you won’t be kicking yourself for not trying. Nothing ventured, ya know?

Anyway, here are some links:


May 112011

By G. Jordan Johnson

Hack-er |noun|

1.     An enthusiastic and skillful computer programmer or user.

2.     A person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data.

Anytime the word hacker is uttered, images come to mind of pasty, frail, eyeglass-clad boys and girls intently staring at computer screens and tapping away at the keys. Many associate the word with its second definition and think of misuse, illegal intent, unauthorized employ of one’s technical faculties; the result is a derogatory depiction of any who choose to don programmer’s apparel. However, as a self-proclaimed hacker and an avid fan of all things technological, it is my duty to educate those unaware of or misinformed about hacking.

I find it best to develop an accurate definition of hacking by use of structured examples. Enter Collexion. I was first introduced to Collexion when browsing the web for local Ruby programming groups during my return move from Boston, MA to Lexington. Finding the term hackerspace on their website was all that I needed to validate my query. For all intents and purposes, that’s what Collexion’s location at 109 E. Loudon Avenue is: a space where hackers convene.



Photo by Jordan Johnson

Collexion space at 109 E. Loudon Avenue. Photo by Jordan Johnson

Continue reading »

May 112011

Jasha, Troy, Kamari, Clayuisha, Isaiah, and Daiazhuaniq walked outside the West End Community Empowerment Project for a fire drill just as we arrived at the pile of cast-away furniture. Because it was a beautiful October evening, because the fire drill quickly came to an end, and because their teachers liked the description of DISCARDED, they were eager to pose for a photograph.

Image and text by Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde, Discarded project.

Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde

Discarded project


May 112011

Eli at the UK helm

By Danny Mayer

“We want somebody between God and Superman.”

James Stuckert, Vice-Chair, UK Board of Trustees, January 2010, speaking on the UK CEO search

I should be honest here and say that not once throughout the entire UK hiring process, from Lee Todd’s stepping down as CEO last Fall on up through the May Day announcement last week of University of Alabama at Birmingham Provost Eli Capilouto’s coronation as the next CEO/President of the University of Kentucky, did I ever think the school would hire a president I might imagine as anywhere approaching “good.” When the same corporate hiring firm that chose the last president is granted the same hiring powers, this time on steroids—a search conducted entirely out of the view of the public with a $700,000 salary allowed to float around publicly as possible compensation—it’s difficult to hold out much hope for things going well. Continue reading »

May 112011

Get up, Clean up!

Help keep the northside beautiful by joining the Great American Clean-Up on Saturday, May 14. Volunteer sign-in at 8 A.M. or 10 A.M. at Duncan Park, followed by a celebration and picnic at noon at Duncan Park. RSVP by May 11 at or call Karen Anderson at 859.233.8182. All events are rain or shine. Rain location for picnic: Rosenthal Commons (on Transylvania’s campus at Fourth Street). The clean-up is sponsored by Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association, Castlewood Neighborhood Association, Seedleaf, LFUCG Division of Environmental Policy, and Transylvania University.

Let the gleaning begin!

Faith Feeds began the 2011 gleaning season on Sunday, May 1, at the Lexington Farmers Market.  They will be gleaning that market every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday until sometime in October or November (depending on the weather).  They’re looking for volunteers and ask that you consider whether you have time to donate.

Ideally, they’d like to establish a schedule where a particular group or individual gleans once per month on the same day: for example, last year, Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church gleaned on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Tuesdays of the month.  Of course, if you can only make it on an ad hoc basis – that’s terrific too!

If you’re willing to volunteer, contact for specific times and additional instructions.

May 112011

Saturday, May 14

The Tim Talbert Project

The Crossroad; 286 Southland. 9 P.M.

Like most of you, I judge a man’s worth* using several criteria. First, how long he can survive, alone and minimally equipped, in the wilderness? Second, how well does he command his automobile? Third, does he know where the pocket is?

What’s the pocket? No, it ain’t those things on the front of your dungarees! It’s where the groove is. It’s the place in time where the backbeat lands for maximum funkifying. It’s the space in our id the bass fills, compelling us to move in ways that would cause our grandmas to blush and turn away, God rest their souls. It’s the connection between the harmony, the melody, the rhythm, and the astral plane. That’s the pocket. Continue reading »