Showlist, circa August 21.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21st, 2010 by byronkho

So my show list has been updated yet again, due to the fact I can’t make SO many of the shows because of rehearsal demands. I’ve kept on 3 shows I’ll probably try to push and make since they’re gonna be AWESOME.

September 4: Electric Zoo Music Festival.
September 17: Biffy Clyro at North Star Bar.
September 18: Sea Wolf at North Star Bar.
*September 23: Andrew Belle, Joey Ryan, Paula Valstein, Jay Nash and Amber Rubarth at World Cafe Live.
September 26: Gabriela Martinez at the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
*September 30: Stars at the Troc.
October 15: Ingrid Michaelson at the Troc.
October 16: Sara Bareilles/Greg Laswell/Holly Conlan at the Troc.
*October 17: Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott at the Kimmel Center.
October 22: Guster at the Electric Factory.
October 23: Phoenix at the Tower Theater.
October 29: K-OS at the North Star Bar.
November 9: Dala at World Cafe Live OR La Roux at the Troc.
November 10: Sufjan Stevens at the Academy of Music.
November 19: The Frames at the TLA.
November 21: Brooke Fraser at World Cafe Live.

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Uptempo.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20th, 2010 by byronkho

This version from The Baseballs just edges out Biffy Clyro and Mechanical Bride for my favorite rendition(s) of Umbrella. Rihanna’s original is pretty low on the list now. I so love rockabilly.

After a 3-hour jaunt to Eulogy the other day with Airplanes, I was feeling upbeat about a few things. 1) Life is good. 2) So many ideas for songs for the “musical” or my scrapbin to pull out the next time I promise to write a musical with someone… too bad I’ve forgotten half of the song ideas since I didn’t write anything down. Even as I write this I regret not opening up Finale… but I’m not motivated enough right at this point. I’m going to invest in a tape recorder, so I will be purchasing one. Soon. 3) I had a beer that tasted like malt vinegar – and I didn’t mind. 4) I need a good fight every now and then.

I’ve got Into the Woods. So I’ll be at Penn like every night, again. I’ve got 6 weeks to whip a huge cast into shape, musically. Plus the pit. I groan at the thought of the work involved. Groan, I tell you. But I’m excited. Really. Also, a real decent idea for the setting of the “musical.” I’m putting it in quotations until we actually do something solid on it. I wanted to take a musical writing class from Lowdermilk this fall, but classes are on Thursdays during rehearsal. Boo hiss. Here’s to the spring semester?

I would like to see Rachel Bloom do more standup (I’ve seen her short clip which was moving not because the material was really hilarious, but she had really good flow and had incisive comments about a lot of topics that kept me entertained. No “who I saw on the subway” bits, no sex jokes, no “’so how bout these internets these days” anecdotes… all that usual i’m-a-comedian-on-the-club-circuit-give-me-my-$150-so-I-can-afford-gas-to-my-next-gig-I-look-tired-of-my-material-that’s-all-good-night-folks. And few comics actually talk about art!). Coincidentally, I happen to think she’s really cute. I also know that she really is cute because a lesbian told me so. They’re usually right about hot women. Thank god the song wasn’t about Gary Gygax, that might have been going a bit far.

Electric Zoo is coming up real soon. I’m psyched. Though I am mad I can’t make the Sunday show, meaning I miss out on XXXChange, A-Trak, Diplo, Fedde Le Grand and Boys Noize. Son of a… by the way, that version of Superfresh (Boys Noize ft. KO the Legend and Afari) that they used on the Fanboyz episode of The LXD… HOT. Download it. I’m about 3/4 done a (mostly) electro mix that I’ll post soon. Here’s a track I needed to get on there. Love it.

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Graham on Immigration

Posted in History and Politics, Opinion on August 17th, 2010 by byronkho

The “anchor baby” statements Senator Lindsey Graham has been making during the last couple weeks are obviously inflammatory, self-serving and election-year bunkus. While immigration reform is a subject that should be debated and possibly subject to actual legislative action, changing constituional amendments is a dangerous thing. Especially regarding topics that are only being brought up for easy short-term political capital.

1) The idea that we can de-recognize a class of people that were once considered citizens is a bad thing. While a comparison to the extreme, the first step in getting the German people used to the idea of the Jewish populace as an economic scapegoat and an unwanted population was by stripping their citizenship. By making them stateless, they were eligible for deportation and more abusive punishments for whatever grotesqueries they were being blamed of. Citizens can’t be punished in certain ways, but certainly non-citizens can. The 14th Amendment was actually put in place to rectify the abuse of non-citizens, namely African Americans. Even then, they had shameful items under debate like the Chinese Exclusion Act. Thousands of Chinese who built the railroads that made America great during the 19th century… and all of them prevented from becoming citizens though they built the country. And of course, the racial riots that pop up periodically. At one time, it was the Italians and Irish who were getting the brunt of public anger about illegal immigration; today, it’s most obviously the Latinos who are getting it.

2) Economic scapegoating is the root cause of this proposed constitutional change. The theory is that these illegal aliens are coming to America to weigh down social services with extra costs, and are taking away our jobs at the same time. Taken one at a time:

  • Yes, illegals can weigh down social services, including swelling welfare rolls, school costs and hospitals (who are required to service everybody, regardless of ability to pay), all without adding to the tax base. However, if they were somehow able to pay taxes… that’s where their kids come in. Their kids frequently grow up, assimilate into American culture, and start becoming productive tax-paying members of society. Immigration reform can also help the parents of those kids to become tax-paying members of society. Grant them easier ways to citizenship status and they can actually start paying their share back to society instead of taking away from it.
  • They’re not taking away jobs most people want. First, the huge amount of illegal immigrant labor available to employers in agriculture helps keep food costs way down for the rest of us. At “normal” wages, our food would be much more expensive – just liken this to buying all your groceries at Whole Foods. Second, when these jobs are offered to normal American citizens (and there are many cases in communities all over the country), most people refuse to take them. Hazardous or strenuous work at extremely low pay: not really what most Americans want, even the ones on welfare. The attitude is prevalent in a lot of poor neighborhoods. Why work a hard job like that when I’m doing all right on welfare? Selling drugs is preferable.
  • The birth rate for the United States is pretty low. That’s the standard in all well-developed, affluent nations: their productive adults have “professional” jobs and they don’t have the time to be burdened so much by kids, so they have less of them. They don’t need kids to help bring in money like in most poor nations – and especially in ones where they need hands to help run family farms (for their own substinence, let alone for sale to market). This is not the case in the emerging markets of Brazil, India and China. Part of the reason George III was so bitter about America during the War for Independence was that they had a rapidly growing population that was encouraging wealth creation that he couldn’t get his hands on. That’s still the case today. In some of these other countries, their rapid population growth and strong entrepeneurial drive means they’re becoming more and more competitive while stagnant ones are becoming less competitive. The United States is arguably stagnant on a few points… education and health care may ring a bell. Allowing our population to swell with legal citizenry is only an investment in our future.
  • 3) While social standards do change and so laws will change to reflect those, it is sad to consider that the hypocrisy of these latest calls for change. Certainly the Native Americans booted off their land from 1492 onwards would be most mad at the ever-increasing deluge of illegal immigrants they’ve seen over 5 centuries. Those illegal immigrants proceeded to setup a new country on land they just stole. OK, that’s water under the bridge. But then again, wave after wave of illegal immigrants came in and birthed kids who setup as citizens… and are now the ancestors of many of the fine, outstanding still-citizens we have today. Supporters of this kind of reform will say that obviously the law is not going to be retroactive, as that’s impractical. But that begs the question: how many people like our currently flourishing descendants of illegal immigrants will not have that chance in the next 3 or 4 decades if this goes into effect?

    4) He’s shooting himself, and his Republican party backers, in the foot. Rednecks will vote for him, but he’s likely to lose the Republican party a lot of trust from Hispanic voters. He’ll probably lose a lot from Asian voters as well. Being an Asian, I know the impossibilities of NOT knowing at least one Asian illegal immigrant. I even know a bunch of Hispanic illegal immigrants, and I know I’m swayed by the fact that they all work harder than me to survive. Not to mention some heat from African Americans… I see Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters on the news, and I notice that they are black Democrats. If I were black, I would think that this was a racially motivated inquiry, regardless of whatever charges they have against them. Ethics complaints? That’s something rich white people worry about. It’s politically beneficial, obviously, for Republicans to be shooting after Democrats. But that’s an almost irrelevant part of the story compared to its racist and class-based subtexts.

    5) Changing the 14th Amendment doesn’t actually do ANYTHING concrete about illegal immigration. Illegals will still come here looking to make money and run away from horrible conditions in their home countries. If their kids are born here and are illegal, they will likely still feel they’re better off than if they stayed where they were. This removal of citizenship for birthers only creates a larger population of illegal people that will abuse social services and not be able to pay taxes.

    A lot of these calls for change are simplistic and aimed at less-educated Americans. I don’t know how many forum responses I’ve read that state that all illegal aliens should be deported. Well, sir, that will cost us billions of dollars and lots of manpower that could be better used to target something much more important, like terrorism. And the fact that most of the successful terrorists had legal visas, or were citizens (don’t forget people like the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh and the Weathermen). A lot of people have applauded Graham, while forgetting all the realities of the change. How much it will cost to enforce, what that will do to racial tensions and divides in this country (let’s see how we can alienate every single racial group that may have been sympathetic to the United States), precedent (it’s so easy to change our Constitution, let’s do it more often! Starting with the 1st Amendment!) and also the creation of an Us vs. Them mindset (and possible resurgence of racial superiority groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis).

    (As a hardly relevant sidepoint: what did these babies ever do? Personally, I find it hypocritical that Republicans can be AGAINST abortion but FOR any of these proposed changes. YEA to fetuses, NAY to babies.)

    One forum posting I greatly agreed with.

    During the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin said:
    ‘When foreigners, after looking about for some other country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours, it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection.’

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    Particularly vivid dream.

    Posted in Personal on August 15th, 2010 by byronkho

    I woke up at 6 AM (only a 5 hour sleep? Come on!) and realized that I just had a really vivid dream. I’m headed to New York in another hour. Am currently enjoying an early morning dose of Lusine’s Twilight.


    Cosmic dust, set against the South Pole sky.

    I must have murder on the brain… I dreamed that I was a detective, working with a partner on a Homicide case. Some clue or other led us to the downtown apartment whose tenant was missing and presumed dead. We were moving through her rooms and her presence was heavy in the air, a sad ghost peering at us around shadowy corners and from darkened hallways. Listening to her voice messages, it was easy to tell when people were starting to feel panicky, and where they began to be, of all things, resentful. It spoke volumes that her disappearance of several weeks looked to most people to be a regular practice of a reclusive type; that she should disappear into the wilderness was somehow expected, instead of a worrying fact leading to a lonely bag of bones.

    On her phone, still plugged into the charger, the last call and message was from a woman who cried a bit and said “I think it’s you.” A picture was attached: the bottom snippet of a drawing, with a scribble where our missing girl’s signature was and the inscription “I’ve just remembered.” The rest of the drawing was obviously detached. We knew full well what the drawing had been of. A melancholy artist and photographer, our girl had worked off a shot she had taken off a Balinese woman looking over her shoulder. In pencil, she had enlarged a section of the photo that just included the charged space right over the woman’s shoulder where she happened to be turning her face. She had a faintly confused expression, as if the person she wanted to address was gone, and her moment of remembrance was futile. I knew because I had seen the original photograph. We had included the affair with the woman’s husband as a point of interest in the case, but we knew he couldn’t have done anything directly to our victim – having been under arrest and in lockup for the past few weeks due to a gross embezzlement charge unrelated to this case. In jail, the photograph was the only thing he had brought in from outside. I pictured him at night, staring at a picture of a woman he didn’t know, taken by a woman he must have loved, and how that loose connection was enough. Strangely, he asked no questions about her when I had interrogated him; it seemed as if he was stuck in the past, and had given up on her future. I pictured him forgetting how our victim looked like.

    I was even forgetting. Me with a headshot of her taken by an ex-boyfriend who passed it on only after coercion; it was clear he didn’t miss her and didn’t care that she was missing. She was “poisonous,” the only adjective he could bring himself to use in describing her. I wondered why he still had a picture of her, and why it was a professional headshot instead of the two of them laughing in a park or by herself, with some languid and unposed expression on her face. I would look at her stiffly set face and wonder why the color was gradually leaching away, why she was getting paler as my hopes for her survival died, and why it is I felt the whole thing would disintegrate, the dust falling through my fingers into the cracks of the boards under my feet. Why that last imaginary spreading of ashes was her eulogy; no one else stepped up to the plate, and I was, figuratively, the last person in the universe that cared what happened to her. My partner was ready to move on and throw this case into a filing cabinet, moving it from active to cold. I stood on the balcony of her apartment, ground out a cigarette on the stone railing, and said goodbye to her ghost.

    Hmm.

    Posted in Personal on August 14th, 2010 by byronkho

    Making Time Pool Party at the Flying W. Damn good excuse to do some laps on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

    Airplane Pool!

    And Lexie’s hosting gigs are paying off… getting posted on Phrequency I’m sure is a good thing. Nick Catchdubs of Fools Gold Records (A-Trak, Kid Sister, Kid Cudi) playing a set with the Philadelphayinz, tomorrow night!

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    Hiphop mix for those who’ve stopped at Kanye.

    Posted in Personal on August 13th, 2010 by byronkho

    So there’s real hiphop where the words are actually a focus, and isn’t all lazy sounding or produced like whoa. From the early 90s till today. Aww yeah. Good if you’re rollin.

    All songs on YouTube are linked.

    Definition – Blackstar
    Work Part II – Big L & Gangstarr
    Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty By Nature
    Good To Go – Yelawolf & Bun B
    Freedom of Speech – Immortal Technique
    Fame – GZA
    Dead Wrong – Notorious B.I.G. & Eminem
    Must Be The Music – Big Punisher & Cuban Link
    Left Out in the Cold – Aceyalone, 88 Keys and The Alchemist
    Hits from the Bong – Cypress Hill
    Moon & Stars – BIG K.R.I.T. & Devin The Dude
    Buddy – De La Soul & A Tribe Called Quest & Jungle Brothers & Queen Latifah & Monie Love
    Worldwide – Royal Flush
    Verbal Murder 2 – Pete Rock & Common & Big Pun & Noreaga
    Masters of the Universe – Binary Star
    Rolling With Heat – The Roots & Talib Kweli
    Im Like – 88 Keys and Mars Whitemen
    Temperature – Zion I & Talib Kweli
    Gettin Up – Q-Tip
    Get’cha Some – Big Sean
    How to Roll a Blunt – Redman
    Regulate – Warren G & Nate Dogg

    Pregame Playlist.

    Posted in Personal on August 10th, 2010 by byronkho

    To get revved up before a night out, I have some surefire reliables to lean on. Electro and hiphop all the way (and some revamped disco). Plus a ridiculously cheery dancehall right at the end.

    All songs on YouTube are linked.

    Don’t Break My Heart (Build Me Up Buttercup) – B.o.B.
    That’s Not My Name (Justin Kayes Mashup) – The Ting Tings & The Knack & Toni Basil & Plastic Bertrand & The B52s
    The Opposite Of Adults (KIDS) – Chiddy Bang
    Theres Nothin – Sean Kingston & Elan From The D.E.Y. & Juelz Santana
    Sleepyhead (White Sirens Of Burr Remix) – Passion Pit
    Holiday (Extended Mix) – Dizzee Rascal
    Nothin’ On You (Villains Remix) – B.O.B. & Bruno Mars & Bei Maejor
    California Gurls (ALGERONICS Remix) – Katy Perry
    When We Were Young (Breakbot Remix) – Sneaky Sound System
    Chillin’ (The Knocks Remix) – Wale & Lady Gaga
    D.A.N.C.E. (Spank Rock Remix) – Justice & Mos Def & Spank Rock
    The Ruins (Fear of Tigers Remix) – Yes Giantess
    Tightrope (Organized Noize Remix) – Janelle MonĂ¡e & Big Boi
    Gettin Over You – David Guetta & Chris Willis & Fergie & LMFAO
    It’s That Beat (Toxic Avenger Remix) – Playdoe
    DJ – Alphabeat
    Don’t Upset The Rhythm – Noisettes & Wale & Estelle
    Truth – Chiddy Bang & Passion Pit
    Won’t Go Quietly – Example
    That Tree (Remix) – Snoop Dogg & Six Nine & Kid Cudi
    On Ne Sait Jamais – Magic System & Leslie & Sweety

    Argh and a half.

    Posted in Personal on August 10th, 2010 by byronkho

    1. Keane, Ingrid Michaelson, Fran Healy. Concert at the Mann Center – twice in one week. Fran Healy from Travis starts. I used to listen to them so much… Flowers in the Window, Sing, some of these songs kept me sane during college. I guess Travis is broken up now since Fran is travelling around on his own. He did an okay job but I feel like he would have come through better if he had brought a band. As it was, he was a little nervous to be doing all this on his own. His voice was good during the songs, but his chatter was awkward and he threw in a self-conscious story about Oasis and threw in a few ‘fucks’ that were clearly nerves speaking. Also, poor song choice for a solo acoustic set… he has some great songs, and this could have been an awesome set. I KNOW he is awesome so it was a little disappointing. Oh well, regardless, he still got a shoutout to ‘great songs’ from Keane later – who failed to mention Ingrid Michaelson at all. A shame, because she was great.

    I had previously discarded Ingrid as a YT sensation of the day with minimal talent, but after seeing her live, I’ve radically changed my view of her. She is extremely personable, which obviously helps in a good review… but her voice is soaring and beautiful, and she’s clearly competent on all the instruments that she plays. Pair that with a band whose harmonies are pitch perfect, and you’ve got a perfect set. Incredibly, she ended her set with Toxic, by Britney Spears. At first, I was like WTF this is so not suited to her, though she sings it well enough. And then they changed the game. All 6 of them lined up across the stage, and then did coordinated dances for a minute or two. As the song was building up to its climax, they did choreographed single bows before ending with one more shoutout by Ingrid and a rocking chair pose for Ingrid on their outstretched hands. Quite effective. Can’t forget her set. Apparently, I missed her at WCL last year and what a shame.

    Keane, Keane. You have such crazy, rabid fans. I didn’t think you had too many left since you left the limelight after Hopes and Fears, but I was wrong. Amazing concert, with 3 encores. The pianist, Tim, has his head-bopping thing going on in such a violent manner I thought he might pass out during the show. No, he didn’t. Played all the piano stuff on their big exposed piano numbers very precisely. Good for him. Vocalist doing crazy songs that would definitely blow out my vocal cords for 2 hours, and he sounded fine all throughout. I wasn’t familiar with all their newer songs, and was definitely weirded out by their early 90’s anthem that has a lot of “WOOOOO’s” in it. I do like some of the stuff on their new Night Train EP though I couldn’t help but think of the Flaming Lips the entire time they had that robot with the laser eyes cover on the back wall of the stage. We left after big encore number 1. I came out of the bathroom being like what, they had a 2nd encore? After tumultuous applause, we were like okay, it’s done. As we walked outside the gate… number 3 started. All songs I was unfamiliar with, but I could hear clearly enough right outside the walls. I was also deaf, as the volume for Keane was ridiculously loud, way louder than any other artist I’ve seen at the Mann. If I had had epilepsy, I would definitely have had a seizure – they had enormously bright, rapidly flashing lights several times during the set. And no warnings on their programs or posted anywhere in the park. I love the lights, but I was like that’s a major hole legally speaking, isn’t it?

    2. little boy hangin out with dad. he ruffles little boy’s hair while little boy eats ice cream. they’re sitting on the steps. sounds fine? well, it’s 2 am, the dad is drunk and the steps don’t belong to them. ghetto. but it’s still better than the drug dealer near our house that has his kid sitting in the driver’s seat while he’s dealing out the passenger seat window. don’t want no scrubs. and still better than all those dicks who eat their food and leave their trash on my lawn and near my door. they left rotting chicken bones one day near my door and i had ants that were attacking the front door. i was horrified. i sprayed down the stairs with water, waited till it dried, and then put liberal amounts of insect repellent on the door and steps for a few days until the attacks stopped. all because of those damn chicken bones. there’s this fat woman in the neighborhood that causes trouble with the residents that own homes. it’s probably some issue against gentrification of the hood. i’m pretty sure it was her, since she’s always eating chicken (how stereotypical, geez). caitlin already hates her for other reasons to due with meddling with parked trucks and such, as well as classy “bitch” namecalling outside.

    3. scary stories. bro told me about the birth of a baby born WITHOUT a skull. exposed brain. to make things worse, the placenta was FUSED to the brain and unremovable. it was during lunch and i almost catapulted some stuff. blecch.

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    Soundtrack to an afternoon, take two.

    Posted in Personal on August 7th, 2010 by byronkho

    I rethought my soundtrack to an afternoon since that sappiness doesn’t last that long. This is a more robust mix, really folk-based but mixing in some good indie pop and rock. The best thing? Most of the bands I’ve either already seen live or will see live this year. HOTNESS.

    All songs on YouTube are linked.

    A Mighty Leviathan Of Old – Vandaveer
    Belated Promise Ring – Iron & Wine
    Broken Headlights – Joey Ryan & Sara Bareilles
    We Intertwine – Larkin Poe
    Lions – Samantha Crain
    Static Waves – Andrew Belle & Katie Herzig
    Cannibal Queen – Miniature Tigers
    The Re-arranger – Mates Of State
    Forevermore – Katie Herzig
    What Kind of Love Is This – Dave Coffin
    Hover – Rhett Miller
    Bats – Paul Dempsey
    Raining In Me – The Benjy Davis Project
    Rally – Phoenix
    Carry On – Amy Regan
    Heart To Tell – The Love Language
    Scissor Runner – Jenny and Johnny
    The Violet Hour – Sea Wolf
    Devils In Boston – Samantha Crain
    Long Hard Fall – Larkin Poe
    Stoppin’ The Love – KT Tunstall
    Breakdown – Handsome Boy Modeling School & Jack Johnson

    Hiphop mix for people unfamiliar with how far it’s come since the late 90s…

    Posted in Personal on August 7th, 2010 by byronkho

    So a friend mentioned she never really got exposed to hiphop and so was kind of clueless as to what’s good. I was flabbergasted, to put it mildly. Later, sitting and poring over my music, I thought about what a good way was to introduce somebody like that to hiphop, and to not just radio hiphop but world flavors, real hiphop, soul or R&B influenced, indie newbies, etc. Here’s what I came up with. Obviously, there’s so much good stuff out there… but I feel this is a good way to start.

    All songs on YouTube are linked.

    I Want You – Theophilus London
    Drivin’ Me Wild – Common & Lily Allen
    Smart Went Crazy – Atmosphere
    Super Lyrical – Big Pun & Black Thought of The Roots
    Classic Example – Hilltop Hoods & Pharoahe Monch
    Ya Llego – The DEY & Fatman Scoop & El Chino Dreadlion
    Bang on the Drum – Sibot & Spoek Mathambo
    Q&A – Pete Philly & Perquisite
    Virgo – Nas
    Slow Down – Chiddy Bang & Black Thought & elDee
    Latin Girls – Black Eyed Peas
    Disco (Timbaland Remix) – Slum Village & Ms. Jade
    The Instrumental – Lupe Fiasco & Jonah Matranga
    Luv Me Baby – Murphy Lee & Jazzy Pha
    Satisfaction – Eve
    All Got Our Runnins – The Streets
    Office Musik (Clockwork Edit) – Dwight K. Schrute vs. Weezy
    ABCs – K’naan & Chubb Rock
    Let Just Do It (Urban Remix) – Lisa Left Eye Lopez & Missy Elliott & Chili
    Shine Blockas – big boi & Gucci Mane
    A Love Song – Amanda Blank