Since Newport Folk I’ve been DEVOURING records, spinning them at home when I can and working in a state of near-deafness as I lost my earbuds and have been bringing my giant Leia Bun-esque headphones to work, and they block out everything but what I’m listening to. Lately it’s been all about the new Shovels & Rope (more on that later), the new Zola Jesus and Strand of Oaks, who I’m so so so so so so excited to see in September. Counting minutes, really.
Maybe it’s the projects on deck, maybe it’s excitement for events in the weeks to come, maybe it’s creative fulfillment, maybe it’s financial stress, maybe it’s the pile of transcripts and draft edits I have on my to-do list for the afternoon, maybe it’s a lack of sleep or maybe it’s just that time of year, but holy shit: I woke up this morning and went to the market for eggs, and when I stopped to grab the paper and caught the date on the front page, I was stunned for a sec. I couldn’t believe that this summer is nearly over.
Last November, I was joking with a friend about how 2014 was the year I’d became Speedy Gonzalez, complete with smoke trail in my wake and fast-talkin’ sensibilities. Based on the trips I’d booked and the assignments I’d confirmed at the time, I knew that 2014 was going to be full of travel. I knew in December, when I went to London to hang out with Esme for a week and try the city on for size to see if I’d be interested in moving there, that it was the first month of many that I’d spend bouncing between New York and other places. “I’m only gonna be in my apartment for three weeks at a time for all of 2014,” I laughed.
It turned out to be true, more or less: after London in December, I went to Antigua for some much needed hang time with my family after a terribly difficult year. After Antigua, I hit the road with Diarrhea Planet and Those Darlins for a stretch of dates that brought us from the South to Brooklyn, and went to DC to watch a dear friend get married a couple of weeks later. March was Austin for SXSW, April was LA (with a Big Sur detour) for two weeks, May brought about a rejuvenating week in Seattle, my first visit to The Gorge for Sasquatch! and the official start of festival season on Memorial Day Weekend. June was a return to Tennessee for Bonnaroo and a long weekend in Maine to belatedly celebrate Mother’s Day; July was a couple of trips to New England, once more to Maine and then to Newport Folk, my favorite festival and summer tradition by far.
Eight months into 2014, I’ve stuck with that nomadic tendency, spending at least one week a month out of Brooklyn, and then August slowed down a spell. This summer, despite the insane workload and travel plans, I’ve been able to meet old friends for coffee, indulge in long dinners, make a point to grab veggies from the farmer’s market, celebrate birthdays, head out for picnics whenever I could and spend time with my parents. (Long morning boat rides on the lake with my mom is still one of my favorite things, ever; my dad came to New York for the first time in 30+ years in June, and that day-and-a-half we spent exploring my favorite spots and my neighborhood and buzzing over his first Broadway show was the most fun I’ve had with him to date.)
This is all to say the last six weeks or so have been such a whirlwind that I’m panicking at the thought of summer coming to a rapid close with so much on my plate. At the same time, I don’t think I’ve been more excited for a new season to start. Things are great at Fuse and I feel lucky each and every single day that I get to head into that office and work alongside a bunch of people I really, truly like. The assignments coming up in the next two months, at Fuse and elsewhere, are intense, intimidating and fun. I’ll be heading back to Boston for a proper visit in September, and I’m counting minutes until I’m making my mom’s birthday cake, hugging all of my favorite humans at Boston Calling and making a bunch of bad decisions at the Independent after 2:01am. This is why I’m sat here in my apartment with coffee getting cold and the planner open with a bunch of things that’ve yet to be crossed off: I’m too excited about all of it to get started on the rest of it, because the rest of it involves taking one step closer to fall.
Yesterday involved a lot of these wonderful things about this whirlwind of a lovely summer: fantastic company, flowers from the farmer’s market (lisianthus), apple cider doughnuts, fresh peaches, lazy strolls down Smith Street and afternoon beers at a watering hole I’ve been wanting to hit for ages. I could’ve knocked out one of the features I’m currently staring down, but I needed to slow down for a second. And I hope that the next few days slow down a bit before September starts, because the slow feels pretty great.
RIP you brilliant and fantastic man
I need to get off the internet for the day which is hard seeing as I work on the internet everyday but jesus.
I am so grateful that this wonderful man existed and his movies were so important to me as a kid. That’s all I got right now. I’m so, so terribly sad about his passing.
Sorry guys. I gotta see about a girl.
I am watching bands on a boat and all I can think of is that episode of The Office where Michael tries to do the worm to “Get Busy” by Sean Paul.
The digital jukebox is a modern-bar mainstay, a strangely sterile presence in a sticky, moldy, and otherwise downtrodden place. It’s a weird little robot, benevolently aglow even when it’s without company, pushing its own buttons and eagerly awaiting the swipe of a drunk kid’s credit card before it dispenses the same two songs from Exile on Main Street in a whiskey-lubricated moment or delivers the latest Rihanna track. It overwhelms with its many choices, thousands upon thousands of singles available just beyond the sensitive surface of its touch screen. It’s a familiar and predictable presence, and the rate at which it has replaced the wax and ebony organs of its candy-hued, rusting ancestors is unfortunate.
Mike Stuto’s digital jukebox isn’t like that."
— Really loved writing this intro for this profile on Hi-Fi, the reincarnated East Village music haunt that used to be a venue and now serves as an unofficial living room for music types. I’m doing a series on the unofficial music landmarks of New York City for The Village Voice, and Hi-Fi was the first up. Can’t wait to dive into the next one — we’ve got the next three picked out — but if you have any suggestions, by all means, drop me a line.
So, this crazy thing happened at Newport Folk: Jack White broke down in tears. TEARS. REAL. EMOTION. I’m not teasing the Third Man prez and former White Stripe; I was legitimately dumbfounded that the notoriously guarded rocker was opening up to the crowd the way he was while conducting a sing-along tribute to Pete Seeger with “Goodnight, Irene.” It got me thinking about how the Jack White I’d seen at Governors Ball and Bonnaroo earlier this season wouldn’t have stopped shouting or launching into weird rants long enough to pull off such a beautiful moment, and how Newport Folk really, truly cultivates this experience and obliterates any sense of celebrity and inaccessibility between its audience and its talent. I went long on this for Esquire, dissecting the pros and cons of the mega-festival industry and why Coachella, Lollapalooza, etc. can learn a thing or two from the folk at Fort Adams.
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