Posts tagged live
A Darker Figure #73: Sophie's first show with The Blood of Others

Yes, I'm taking over the newsletter this week. Last Friday I played my first show with The Blood of Others. I was on bass keys. I had been practicing regularly with the guys and on my own for a while because I had never done anything like that before and I anticipated that I would be super scared to be on stage and I wanted to get as many things as possible under control beforehand, because everybody knows that there are many unknown factors once you’re on stage and it could all go to shit so fast and so if at least I knew my parts very well, that meant I could keep that in mind to reassure myself that it was going to work out. Well damn, that was a crazy sentence.

I also wanted to be able to just enjoy myself and rock out and have fun, and watch Michael be his sexy self on stage, and I was able to do all of those things. We all had a great time! This is what we look like when we’re having fun:

Photo by Nate Bennett

Photo by Nate Bennett

It was an awesome and kind of surreal experience. Surreal because I am so used to watching the show from the other side and being so excited to just be there and see it happen. It occurred to me in the midst of it that this time I was helping it happen and it felt exhilarating, incongruous, and a bit ridiculous. On top of that, Wes made me laugh in the middle of it and now there is a picture of me with a big smile while everybody else looks super serious because they know The Blood of Others is no laughing matter. Take a look:

Photo by Cybermind Photography

Photo by Cybermind Photography

Now everybody is going to think I find the extinction of nature hilarious. Look at that noob over there giggling over the death of our forests. She must think it’s too dark and no one can see her. I for sure always know how to make a good impression. But to my defense, it didn’t help to look at one of the backing videos of a deer sassily walking around like he owns the block. I guess that’s part of the point Michael is trying to make with his lyrics:  well, that deer does in fact own the place and you’d better get the fuck out of his way. That deer is not joking. That deer will sass you out of the room in no time with his dope neck moves.

The rest of the show was awesome! Marck from UNCRSD was great; it was my first time seeing him live after seeing him around for a while. And James from Jihad put on a really good show too. He is also a really nice guy and I ended up doing merch for him as well (I usually do merch for The Blood of Others). There was a guy who kept coming back to the merch table and was very excited about all the bands and asked a lot of questions and bought a lot of stuff, so that was cool.

I was wondering if I would have any pictures of the show and it turns out there are plenty, so thanks to all the people who took those! I was talking to Wes before the show about how I’d like to have pictures to show my family (nerd!), and he had this idea of getting a disposable camera and giving it to someone in the audience. I think one of the Missing Witness guys took care of that, and we are looking forward to seeing what the photos look like. Wes said he got some of his favorite pictures of his own show a while ago when he used a disposable camera. Wes knows what’s up.

The feedback for our show was really good, and I am happy about that. A few people told me that I did well and that was nice. I didn’t talk to many people because I am just awkward and I’m not sure what to say. If you feel like I’m weird, you’re onto something, but it’s not that I don’t want to talk to you, it’s mostly social awkwardness, which I’m sure many people relate to. In a weird way it’s easier on stage because I know what I’m doing and I don’t have to come up with stuff to say. I used to drink a little bit in social settings (mostly because I used to hang around alcoholics and wasn’t sure yet of what I wanted to do with myself) and of course that helped, but I decided a few years ago that it really wasn’t what I wanted for myself and that I would rather be honest with myself and others even if that meant it was going to be - sometimes - painfully awkward.

It used to be way worse, to where just being in a room with other people would make me nervous and self-conscious, so for me to be able to be on a stage now is huge. It also helps to be surrounded by really good people, some of whom have this crazy ability to make conversation effortlessly. I was talking with Michael about this the other day, about how it surprises me that he still defines himself as somewhat socially awkward, while I feel like he is so good at talking to people now (even if he says he wasn’t in the past). I think it’s interesting how we are sometimes stuck in seeing ourselves the way we used to be while people around us can see a completely different thing because they notice the change more than we do.

Now for the special “Silly Sophie” minute of the week: a few days ago, I was outside the Lovecraft Bar here in Portland and people were having a conversation about the movie Robocop (which I’ve never seen). When I heard, “you know, Robocop, that movie where a cop becomes a robot…,” my mind was totally blown because I never realized that Robocop actually meant “Robot-cop” so I had one of those dumb moments when I was like “Oooooh, that’s why he’s called Robocop…It makes so much sense!” I didn’t say anything then because I didn’t feel like it but I just wrote here that I wanted to be honest, so here goes. This was my dumb moment of the week. But to be fair, the movie was part of an era when I was in France and didn’t speak English, so I didn’t know what “cop” meant, and they didn’t translate the title in France (sometimes they do, and it’s either terrible or somewhat cooler, like “The Teeth of the Sea” for “Jaws”). So to me, Robocop was just a random name, really he could have been called anything, and that’s how it remained in my psyche even though I now know what a cop is. That made me wonder how many French people who actually saw the movie in French and don’t speak English still don’t know that the name is super intentional. Now I feel extra smart and I’m patting myself on the back.
You should comment on this newsletter and share your dumb moment of the week with us. I know you’ve had one. Then we can all feel super smart together.

To stay on the topic of honesty, I'll leave you with what Jonathan Safran Foer said yesterday at the reading I went to (this is the gist of it): "Sometimes people tell me, 'I liked your book a lot but I wish there was less [insert whatever here] in it,' and I tell them, 'Sure, there could be, for instance, less swearing in my book, and I don't think the book would be any less of a good book without it; I don't think the book wouldn't be as good if it were, say, more charming, but I do think it would be less honest, and that's why these things needed to be in there."

Next week Michael should be back to writing his own newsletter, so you can look forward to that. Thanks for having me!

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Schedule:

Tonight: Pharmakon at High Water Mark. Should be interesting!

7.18.17: Screening of Phantasmagoria at the Lovecraft

7.28.17 to 7.30.17: Terminus Festival!! The Blood of Others is opening the festival so you'd better show up early.

A Darker Figure Newsletter #64: Jeff VanderMeer reading, Terminus Set Times, and upcoming shows

Welcome to A Darker Figure Newsletter #64! This week I went to a reading at Powell's, have an interview lined up for tonight, and am excited about some shows that we will be playing this month! For more detailed posts about events or podcast episodes, please check out my new website: www.iseebadspirits.com

Jeff VanderMeer is an author, but also an environmentalist with a strong leaning towards dystopian futurism, philosophy, and portraying characters as changing beings. The Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) was a great set of books that I highly recommend you read! I have reviewed most, if not all, these books in this newsletter before, and am guilty of pushing my own copies of the books on to anyone who has the slightest interest in any of those subjects. I think that it is a mistake to call his books science fiction because it is only slightly accurate. Some of the characters are weird, and alien, and some of the environments are strange, but the topics and the philosophies and the questions are human. When asked last night, by an audience member, if he thought his books were about the future: VanderMeer and co-speaker Lydia Yuknavitch had a conversation about science fiction being closer to current reality than we think - mentioning that even The Handmaid's Tale, whose technology is now outdated, has concepts that are still ahead of their time, and feel present now - after a few more related questions, the conversation ended with VanderMeer stating: "Memory, for some people, is all they have of the future because it is all they have left of the past." 

He also said during the conversations that he likes to give his characters unreliable memories because that seems closer to what life is actually like for most of us now. That authors usually use memory as a device to describe the past in a narrative and that he likes to use it as a tool to make a character seem real, but also flawed. I'm elaborating a little bit because I don't remember the exact words, but I think that this is an interesting way to write, and interesting way to think about memory in general. I recently wrote a very short story as a stream of consciousness/journalling exercise in which there were a lot of real, hurtful, and sad memories that came up when I let my consciousness take something that happened and just run with it until I was done writing. I am still working on it. Sophie is, of course, helping. She is a master editor, she just doesn't know it yet. 

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If you haven't listened to last Monday's Talking to Ghosts interview with Andy McMillan, I highly recommend it. It was very inspiring. It made me want to quit my job and do something creative. Maybe next year, who knows! (Sophie is scared about this, rightfully so. I keep mentioning it.) 

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If you are planning to go to Terminus Festival in July, you should definitely get there for the first band on the first day of the festival! (because that is us.) 

Daily schedule:

Friday, July 28 (Doors 5 PM/ First band 6 PM)

THE BLOOD OF OTHERS
STRVNGERS
VOWWS
COMADUSTER
KOMOR KOMMANDO
BELLA MORTE
CUBANATE
3TEETH

Saturday, July 29 (Doors 5 PM/ First band 6 PM)

HAEX
FRACTURED TRANSMISSION
CERVELLO ELETTRONICO
GLASS APPLE BONZAI
LUDOVICO TECHNIQUE
THE GOTHSICLES
ASSEMBLAGE 23
THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE

Sunday, July 30 (Doors 5 PM/ First band 6 PM)

GREYSCREEN
WIRE SPINE
ACTORS
THE RAIN WITHIN
MR.KITTY
DRAB MAJESTY
WULFBAND
PIG

Weekend passes are on sale NOW for $180 on our website at www.terminus-festival.com. Limited single day passes will be on sale shortly for $70.

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I also have a show that I am producing next month with Technophobia from Washington, DC. I am very excited about this one. You can check out more details on my website: www.iseebadspirits.com 

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I just started reading Alexander Maksik's Shelter In Place, after reading the first page in Powell's the other day. This book also has a recommendation from Lauren Groff, who wrote the book Fates and Furies that I enjoyed quite a bit. But it doesn't need it. The writing style is unique and charismatic. The narrator is extremely flawed, but honest to the reader about it. I can't say much more because the last book that I recommended to Sophie, I spoiled accidentally. But you should check out this book. It is very good so far. 

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Schedule: 
Tonight: Boy Harsher, Koban, Soft Kill, and Vacant Stares at Analog Cafe in Portland, OR
5/20: Sky Symbol Rituals and [product] perform at Obscurus in Everett, WA
5/25: The Blood of Others opens for HAEX at The Lovecraft in Portland, OR
6/10: Sky Symbol Rituals set for Volt Divers at The Lovecraft in Portland, OR
6/11: Technophobia, Pleasure Curses, Neybuu and Carrie Gummer on Visuals at The Lovecraft in Portland

As always, thank you for reading this newsletter. Stay safe out there. Read more books. It'll help. 
If you need a recommendation for something to read or if you want me to send you a random book from my shelf, feel free to reach out! I'm down. 

Technophobia / Pleasure curses / Neybuu in Portland, OR

I am producing a great show in Portland, OR at The Lovecraft Bar: 

Technophobia from Washington, DC is a wonderful female-fronted Darkwave/EBM band that uses hardware and analog synthesizers, and of course, some heavy sampling. They have a full-length album out now on Working Order Records called Flicker Out that I highly recommend checking out.  Working Order Records is a non-profit that works to "bridge the gap between musician ideology and social impact. Created by socially-conscious music lovers, vinyl collectors, and musicians." 

Pleasure Curses, originally from Washington, DC - now live right here in Portland - are a dance/electronic group with a great new EP out on May 16th called Screens. 

Neybuu I saw do an incredible performance at Volt Divers here in Portland and knew that she would be perfect for this show! 

I have also added Cari Gummer as a video projection artist to this show!