Archive for June, 2013

Black Room Reflections

June 19, 2013

I sift through Blue Moons’ empty bottoms
Pondering this fission shit
No closure, fusion’s unrealistic
Seven black rooms cease to kiss
We made lions of milquetoast Christians
Guess those were just glory days
But inside the bottle, I hear music
Inside our anguish, Sarah MacLay’s.


Search and Desire

June 19, 2013

I saw myself an insurgent, but I was an abyss
For all I wanted was a night inside some tent
Some shelter from the bishop who apes my every move
Cowards are not self-aware so I faced an early gloom
Turns out you are our hope and change despite your grey physique
They will not respect one who brashly shies away from each extreme
I spit in their direction, how can they be so dense?
But if they won’t even respect you, what am I to them?

Israeli Blonde

June 19, 2013

Golden-haired goddess of the hunt, may empires sacrifice themselves to you
A rhinestone token of your generosity lies in my palm
Facing east but not too east, I pine for moments I overslept through
To be one with the war maiden would put me at temporary peace
True, they curse you for bludgeoning restless natives, but the way you look is how you live
They will never know and we will always know too much
Pomegranates crush into 613 reasons why we were never meant to be
But our music loving souls will someday collide on Roads to Peace.

Video Killed the Radiohead

June 19, 2013

Bitter, crappier, sore, destructive,
Still drinking too much,
Regular attendance at AA
(Three times a day),
Thinking no better of your talentless collegiate contemporaries,
Hoo jeez,
Eating hell
(Full of calorie nightmares and saturated death),
A patient, not a lover,
Ten over par
(Babies fucking in back seat),
Sleeping’s hell
(One sad dream),
Some paranoia
Sympathize with animals
(Yet still washing spiders down the plughole),
Keep in contact with old shrinks
(Forget a pill now and then),
Wealthier? No, more destructive
A rat in a cage on antidepressants.

The Lit Invasion: Meet Fialta

June 17, 2013

Four literary buffs from three of the four corners of the country (California, Connecticut, and Washington State) have united under the name Fialta to record 12 songs of “Central Coast literary pop.” Fialta consists of Beth Clements, Sarah Shotwell, Michael Bernard Leibovich, and David Provenzano, the latter two of which were members of the successful SLO indie rock band Sherwood, which broke up last year after ten years together. In the aftermath of Sherwood, the four started collaborated via Skype. Collaboration is key to Fialta, because in the tradition of bands like Queen and Broken Social Scene, all four members are lyricists. In addition, the band features both female and male lead vocalists, and a variety of instruments, including bass, drums, keyboard, trumpet, and the seldom-heard glockenspiel.

Both Mike and Sarah are graduates of Cal Poly, where Mike DJ’d for KCPR and Sarah majored in history, later getting her MFA in English and creative writing. They named the band after a short story by Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov called “Spring in Fialta,” about a fictional Mediterranean small town which bears many similarities to SLO. Further examples of their literary enthusiasm include the song “Porphyria’s Lover,” named after a Robert Browning poem. Local culture itself is another huge inspiration on the band, and their sunny, summery indie pop sound is largely influenced by SLO. However, the same cannot be said for their lyrics, which are much more dismal and dissonant. This musical contradiction is the reason they named their upcoming album “Summer Winter.” Of course, Beth, a native of Glastonbury, Connecticut who studied at UConn, and Michael, who hails from Seattle, were referring to the cold snowy winters of the East Coast and Pacific Northwest, which are not unlike those which Nabokov undoubtedly experienced in Russia.

Summer Winter is set to be released on Friday, June 21, appropriately the first day of summer. They will be performing a pre-release show at Kreuzberg. Tickets will be only $12, and in one of the sweetest deals imaginable, Fialta and Kreuzberg promise a free copy of Summer Winter and a free beer or coffee to anyone who purchases a ticket!

You’ve Just Been…Chonked?

June 17, 2013

Who (or what) the hell is Chonk? An unpopular Urban Dictionary submission defines “chonk” as an “Aussie word for sex.” However, you will be surprised to know that Chonk is actually the stage name of Brian Bauer, an employee at Rasputin Music in Berkeley and an often humorous and psychedelic anti-folk musician. Chonk’s large repertoire varies from catchily offensive folk jams like “Jesus Called Me a Dick Today (But That’s OK, I Never Liked Him Anyway)” and “Sara’s Gonna Get Fucked Up Tonight” to the belated Schoolhouse Rock outtake “Rock N’ Rollin’ Semicolon,” from avant-garde covers of old blues standards like Leadbelly’s “Whoa Back Buck” and “Goodnight Irene” to his first psychedelic masterpiece, the aptly titled “Distortion!” The latter composition gained Chonk a cult following on the Internet due to repeated airplay of its surrealistic music video on The Real UHF, a web series created by Zack Wolk, a member of the Church of the SubGenius and a former writer for The Tom Green Show and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

On October 28, Chonk officially released his second single and music video, an existentialist Dylanesque folk rambling called “Carousel” which appears to be the third song in the history of popular music to use the obscure instrument known as the Jew’s harp (which was actually invented in South Asia by Gentiles) after The Who’s “Join Together” and “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Won’t Eat Prunes Again,” perhaps not coincidentally a parody of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” As a promotional third video, “Boggled Whiskeydream,” will be released within the next few weeks, Chonk will be touring California, including San Luis Obispo, with musical accompaniment from Boone the Ghostfiddler . In the meantime, “Boggled Whiskeydream,” “Distortion!,” and plenty of other Chonk nuggets can be heard or even purchased on his debut album No Other Time, available at Note the Daniel Johnston influence in the album art. For more information on Chonk, please visit or

Questions for SWAP! Magazine’s Hayley Thomas

June 17, 2013

NEW TIMES: Have you published any zines prior to Swap?

THOMAS: Like a lot of socially awkward teens into punk rock, I created a few zines that never saw the light of day. One was called “The Gum Alley Rat,” which I Xeroxed after hours at an elementary school my step-mom worked at down in the L.A. area. At the time, I was pretty troubled. That project was about my life and my friends. I was in an all-girl band at the time. I featured a diagram of “How to Goose Your Man” with lewd, anatomically correct drawings. Sadly, I left the original in the copier, and the zine was circulated around the P.T.A. It was eventually given to my therapist, who actually really liked it.

NEW TIMES: What can we expect for the next issue of Swap?

THOMAS: Nancy Westerfield of Apothecary Tattoo is doing the next cover. Each issue features a different local artist’s work. So far, I’ve been stoked to work with Neal Brenon, Jeff Claassen, Danny Derrick, Morgan Condict, Dr. Cain, Seth Lowe…the list will continue. As for content, the zine is an open forum, and I never go into an issue thinking, “This is what I’m going for.” That’s the real joy of it. I never know what I’m going to find in my inbox. It could be a poem, a review on a local garage band or even a mysterious drawing of Princess Leia riding a Harley. I’m still scratching my head over that one.

NEW TIMES: Where is Swap available in SLO?

THOMAS: Wherever people meet up, loiter and congregate. Find Swap! at your local, independently owned shops like Boo Boo Records, Dr. Cain’s Comics & Games and Retrofit. I have to give a shout-out to the local businesses that support what I do, and in turn, I support them. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve also heard reports of Swap! being found in barroom urinals and park benches, which actually makes me really happy. I know it’s slowly seeping into SLO’s bloodstream.

NEW TIMES: Of the past issues of Swap, which is your favorite?

THOMAS: I was afraid of that question! I’ve done one issue per month since January 2012, and now I’m down to one every two months. I love them all. Thanks to the contributors and local advertisers, Swap! has covered a raucous landscape: Cheap beer reviews, horoscopes (thanks to KCPR’s Biba Pickles), in-depth interviews on local writers, businesses, artists and bands – you name it. June was a big deal because it was published in conjunction with The Cause & The Cure, a compilation I put out with Twang & Bang Records featuring local bands like American Dirt. Each issue had its own download card, so readers could check out free, local music. That issue really embodies my mission. Let’s share, let’s do, let’s swap. That goes for whatever you got – unless it’s contagious.

NEW TIMES: Who are your favorite zine writers?

THOMAS: I’ve been obsessed with Aaron Cometbus since I was 13. You could say my life in po-dunk Atascadero didn’t have much to do with the Bay Area punk rock scene, but at the same time, it saved me. Cometbus assured me that there was something out there that I could be part of – and that I could do my own thing. When I moved to LA at 16, I realized that there’s these awesome self-made zines everywhere you go, like The Rise & Fall of the Harbor Area. You just have to walk around with your eyes open. Now that I’m back in SLO, I’m trying to provide that public, creative thing that is part of the scene and you just can’t shake. You know where to find me! I’ll be hanging out on the periphery, stapling.

The Internship review

June 17, 2013

    So far, 2013 is a great year for fans of the Frat Pack actors (and therefore an abysmal year for the rest of us moviegoers), with the exciting and not-at-all-predictable conclusion to The Hangover Part III behind us and the long-awaited Anchorman 2 (or 5, if you count Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, and Semi-Pro) coming this December. As eight years have gone by since Wedding Crashers, it’s been far too long since Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn have teamed up, so director Shawn Levy decided that the duo should reunite on a new, topical backdrop: Google!  Don’t worry, loyal viewers, it’s not really product placement. Google donated no money to The Internship. It’s just Levy and the rest of the movie industry staying relevant by showing you they actually know what’s hip in the year 2003, I mean 2013 (note the clever Quidditch match later in the film).

Considering Levy directed Cheaper by the Dozen, his grasp on reality is just as loose. Every single suggestion that job opportunities are scarce is quickly shrugged off. Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) apply to Google with the goofiest, most awkward, least professional webcam plea imaginable. So why does one of the most competitive and elite corporations accept these two bumbling 30-somethings? It’s not because of their impressive college degrees. They temporarily enroll in strawman online university University of Phoenix and do little more than wear T-shirts boasting of their supposed academic accomplishment. It’s not because of their illustrious history of employment. They briefly work in minimum wage stints as salesmen under John Goodman and Will Ferrell, who are both uncredited and wasted in cameos lasting five minutes each, apparently for the same reason; if they were credited and appeared more frequently, people might see The Internship for someone other than Vaughn and/or Wilson. The reason that Google bothers to give Billy and Nick the time of day is that “they need more diversity.” Good thing this is Hollywood, because if this were reality, your Internet searches would be about to become much more inconvenient.

With John Goodman kept under wraps, the breakthrough role ends up being Nick’s love interest Dana (Rose Byrne), an Australian workaholic whose occupation has absorbed the rest of her life, and who is the film’s sole link to reality. It’s fitting that she’s the only Google employee who completely doubts that Billy and Nick are the “diversity” the internship program is looking for, unlike others, such as the obnoxiously upbeat Lyle (Josh Brener), the film’s attempt at comic relief (a tip for Levy: It’s not a good sign when your comedies rely on only one or two supporting characters for humor). If Levy’s goal in creating the frail, silly corporate world of The Internship was to provide its viewers with escapism, he failed because they’ll always wind up thinking back to reality, which might be bleaker than The Internship, but is still a hell of a lot more engaging. (119 min.)