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Swan Island calls it quits

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Benefit for the Jersey 4 with Swan Island

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Making a comeback (Swan Island that is)

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Swan Island, Le Tigre DJ set tonight

I’ve known about this impending awesomeness for days, but it only occurred to me last night, as we tried to convince an east coast friend to move to Portland because of how much fun she was going miss at this show, that I realized I hadn’t let you know what a fantasically musical and dance righteous night this would be.

The night at Holocene starts off with "Portland’s answer to the tribal, experimental punk music of The Slits and The Raincoats," The New Bloods, at 9p, then moves on to Swan Island. Lead singer Brisa Gonzalez manages to commingle thrashing Siren with a throaty lusty Dietrich voice that is as smooth and soothing as it is energizing. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but it gets me on the dance floor in a sort of rock’n’roll trance that cannot be broken. If I had to be stranded on a deserted island and could only take 2 recent albums with me, Swan Island’s debut would be one of them. The other would be The Gossip’s latest, which I could also listen to over and over for the rest of my life. Check out sample videos from both of these fine bands in a post from December.

The evening ends with a Dj set by JD Samson and Johanna Fateman. From the amount of love Le Tigre generally produces combined with the beats I’ve heard hottie-dyke-mustached JD throw down this set is sure to get hoards of sweaty girls on the dance floor. I have little doubt that it will get you laid. If that ain’t worth 8 bucks, well, I just don’t know what is…

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The ladies of rock video

And, on the heels of yesterday’s excited post about dyke rock I want to give you a little YouTube taste (mmm…) of the brand news videos of my two favorite bands right now.

It’s no secret that The Gossip are breaking ladies’ hearts across the world (especially the UK), and I definitely love Beth Ditto for being not just sexy, but a lady of size, not afraid to let every inch of her be hott. Unfortunately, this video doesn’t really play to her innate sensuality, although I do love the design-ey, colorful box elements.

Swan Island are a newer favorite, and the only music I’ve worked hard enough for to actually track down a hard copy, i.e. CD, of their debut release when I couldn’t find it on eMusic or iTunes. Their both rockin’ and weird, in fact, each seem to be a sort of distinct queer character, a sort of comic book of dyke punkness. That’s why I really appreciate the stop motion animation and academically storybook nature of their first video, even if personally think fills an middlin’ slot in my video countdown. But I could be very wrong about both vids, seeing as these Tube versions are of pretty poor quality. I may be blown away when I finally see them on Logo

Oh, and be sure to check out SI this Friday the 15th at Berbati’s (231 SW Ankeny).

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Homo-a-gogo or Homo-a-stay home

Once again it looks like I’m going to be missing the festival of homo music a mere 2 hours to the north of us. Homo-a-gogo only happens once every 2 years and yet somehow I am foiled every time. For those of who who can make it up there, peruse the full schedule of events and decide how much sleep you need, because everything is worth going to. However, I am especially disappointed to miss presenter Vaginal Cream Davis tomorrow, then later a show featuring The Gossip and Jenro. Saturday’s show, featuring Lesbians on X and Michelle Tea should also be fabu.

But if you are like me, indeed, there is hope for you yet. Several of the musicians are local and will play here soon, like The Gossip at the Wonder Ballroom Aug 31st, or Swan Island this Saturday at Mississippi Pizza. Artists from far away may take the opportunity to play Portland as long as their going to be in Olympia. So far I only know of two, Hey Willpower at Holocene Friday (I’ll get to that show in a minute) and the amazing one-woman show of Lenelle Moise, Saturday at the Blue Monk. But I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for more.

Besides, we’ve got some of our own fun stuff anyway (nyah nyah). Booty rocks Acme as usual Thursday. I hear last week was record numbers to it’s sure to keep the your Augusts nights hot. Also, Homo-happy Holocene will present a CD release party for DnD (Do’n’Dudes) this Friday. I wouldn’t want to miss a bad with a description like this:

[DnD] is all about crazy positive dance vibes, dudes ripping their sweaty shirts off, and freaking your neighbor down and dirty to the floor…

DnD will be joined by queer electro group Hey Willpower from SF and DJ Cloud aka songstress Tara Jane O’Neil.

So in or out, it’s up to you…
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Team Dresch show recap

My recommendation: Get back together, you’ve still got it.

How can songs written and performed more than 10 years ago still sound contemporary and exciting? I admit to a certain amount of bias in my love for this band but this is a question I can answer. At least 3 things make TD still one of the greatest bands ever: Donna’s flawless guitar handling, Jody’s non-stop energy (even as a Mom now!) and Kaia’s sweetly sincere vocals. They make a great band and even after an 8 year hiatus the synergy is perfection. I had hoped that a few new songs might mean a better indication that they intended to stick it out (I might have heard one, I’m not sure, I was too excited), but at least a September Midwestern show means they’ll at least be playing through the summer.

The show started out quality but mellow as I sipped my beer with the other grown-ups and bobbed my head only enough not to spill while watching Swan Island. They played it well with a drum beat that really pushed through you and a vocalist as fashionably interesting as her strong voice. But I knew after TD’s first song that I couldn’t be stuck in a gated drinking community that cared anything about small outlooks, annoyances, or concerns beyond what was happening on stage. And I’m glad I sweated it out with the all ages crew. While even they might have seemed reticent at first it didn’t take terribly long for the crowd to gain momentum and I laughed and howled as I was jostled in time to the music. The purple blotchy bruise I sustained on my right cheekbone was certainly worth being so near and so much a part of the Team Dresch fan base. In fact, I treasure it as a memory and a battle scar. I can only hope to be blessed with more music war wounds in the near future.

Oh and by the way…I was much too absorbed to actually obtain any pictures. I probably would have broken my camera anyway. If anyone has any please let me know and I’ll get ’em up here.
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Team Dresch lives again

This Saturday night will see the much anticipated Team Dresch show at the Wonder Ballroom (128 NE Russell) with starting lineup Swan Island and Libber. Though we received a small moment of release two years ago at Homo-a-gogo devoted fans have been deprived of our Dresch drug for nearly 8 years now. And though it really cant be billed as more than a reunion show at the moment, there is hope alive that the 4 (mostly) original members may find their groove again. Either way, Saturdays show is sure to be a frenzied mess of dancing emotions.

For those of you who may not have been as maniacally obsessed in the mid-90s as most young ladies were Willamette Week provides a great overview of the bands sordid history, much like an musical abbreviated version of E! True Hollywood Story. Even better, check out either of their two albums, which can be found on Donnas record label Chainsaw. Even more exciting may be the new availability of the famed Free to Fight compilation. This anthem for female power and safety is now freely downloadable in mp3 format for the audio and pdf for the accompanying booklet.

A fan-based version (including my own teenaged self) can be found in my last excited Team Dresch post. And for updated news and info in the ongoing TD drama keep aware of the bands Myspace page.

Check back later this weekend for all the joy, heartbreak and gossip that tomorrows show will produce. And if any of you have pictures or stories of your own, I would be ridiculously excited to hear them.
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Casting call for lesbian short film based on Michelle Tea’s ‘Valencia’

Michelle Tea in San Francisco's Mission district in the '90s

Local filmmaker Aubree Bernier-Clarke (who you might also know from Swan Island or a recent Portlandia cameo) has issued a casting call for a short film she’s producing from Chapter 3 of legendary 90s dyke author Michelle Tea‘s Valencia. Below is her description of the project. If you’re interested in getting involved email valenciapdx@gmail.com.

This film will be part of a feature film based on the book, with different directors creating short films for each chapter. The novel┬ádramatizes the hopes and hurts, apathies and ambitions of young lesbians looking for love in San Francisco’s Mission District in the early 1990s, focusing on Michelle, a poet navigating the druggy, boozy dyke scene while consorting with a series of lady loves.

I’m casting for the following roles:

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New music videos from Corin Tucker and Emma McKenna directed by Aubree Bernier-Clarke

Aubree Bernier-Clarke

Local filmmaker and musician Aubree Bernier-Clarke (who you might recognize from her former band Swan Island, or more recently her cameo in Portlandia‘s Dream of the 90s) has been churning out the videos for queer muscians. She recently teamed up with Toronto based queer folk chanteuse Emma McKenna to direct the music video for “Run With It” and the Corin Tucker Band (Sleater-Kinney) for their song “Riley.”

Filmed partially in a tiny and quaint practice space the CTB vid also shows of some of Portland’s best features, including a nice segment on the Skidmore Bluffs. Their new album, 1000 Years, didn’t initially excite me very much, at least not in comparison to Tucker’s rockin’ roots, but it’s grown on me enough that I named it as one of 2010’s top ten queer albums.

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