Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I am having ex-hometown venue withdrawal. Not for the new 9:30 after seeing 9:30 F Street, which was music docuriffic and made me admire & respect Ian Mackaye even more than before, which seemed impossible--no, for the Beachland Ballroom, my erstwhile pogoing grounds and site of many a 2nd wave riot grrrl rally/front row lady guitar hero swoon. I only just found out the pinball machine is free. To think, I could have been pinball wizarding it up gratis that whole time.
In all seriousness, this venue changed my life. It made me believe again in the power of live music, in the importance of breaking out of the bedroom listening circuit once in a while, of braving the smoke clouds and scenesters and drunk asses who yell, "Play Freebird!" for the chance to transplant that cloistered, personal transcendence into the middle of a crowd of other people, where you stand to gain so much more--something akin to collective spiritual catharsis. Because when the crowd isn't too wasted and the band isn't too tired and the jams are kicked the fuck out, stars align and you can look yr neighbor in the eye and know in yr gut of guts that we are all part of this same precious, psychopathic tribe called humanity.
The Beachland can swing this, I think, because it is so defiantly tiny. For reals, it's like my elementary school multi-purpose room reborn. Its stage, it is not the province of Rock Stars, it is the same creaky-floored, broken-curtained kids' hangout where my fourth grade English class performed Macbeth. Where I, as perhaps the campiest ten-year-old Lady Macbeth in the history of the world, got to sleepwalk, faint, and scream with great conviction from offstage left to indicate I was committing suicide by throwing myself off the castle wall. In that picture up there, if you replace the amp with a cauldron full of dry ice and the guitar with a cardboard tree, you have Act I, Scene I. So naturally, I am partial. Unsex me here and then some.