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Effigy, Newspaper, Whatever...

Burning issues, yapping yuppies and the F-bomb


Burned in effigy. These were the words I heard not long after visiting The Room last Wednesday night to catch the Anticon Records showcase featuring Alias, Sole, Odd Nosdam, and Telephone Jim Jesus.

It seems one local musician, unhappy with my work in the music section of this paper, torched a copy of The Loaf outside the venue a while back, dropped a few F-bombs my way, and announced that he was burning me in effigy.

But I'm not upset, or even angry. Far from it. Being burned in effigy is a pretty big honor when you stop to think about it. A glance down the list of those so honored would include folks like Abraham Lincoln and George W. Bush, as well as Lucy Perkins and numerous members of the British monarchy.

The only problem is, burning a copy of this paper doesn't quite fall under the definition of effigy-burning. Along with me, you're taking out various other talented journalists, the weekly horoscope, Bizarro, and various folks looking to meet that special someone with a leather fetish.

All was quickly forgotten when Alias and Sole (pronounced "soul") hit the stage, commencing to pump up the crowd with an hour-plus of intelligent, forceful hip hop. I was later told that one of the guys had thanked this paper from the stage for our preview coverage. When asked if I'd like to meet the grateful fellows, I declined, preferring to keep relatively anonymous. Telephone Jim Jesus evidently does too. His real name is George.

Speaking of letting a few F-bombs fly: Chuck D, the self-proclaimed "hard rhymer" and founding member of the seminal rap act Public Enemy, spoke to a group of college students at UNC-Charlotte on Thursday. Chuck prefers to call his appearances "conversations" instead of lectures, which might be a good idea. Chuck (Mr. D?) dropped at least 100 F-bombs in his visit, and ended up speaking (er, conversing) some 30 minutes past his scheduled stopping point. The rapper held court on BET (The "Beauty "En Thugs" network"), MTV (spelled EMPTY-V, says Chuck), collegiate kids trying to act hard via "thug" behavior ("slangstas"), and even our very own Robert Johnson ("Johnson -- a multibillionaire -- said he sold BET to provide for his family. . .now, how big a fuckin' family he got?").Chuck D has always been a voice for change in his musical endeavors. Now, it seems, he's found a new way to bring the noise, speaking directly to those perhaps best prepared to enact change in the future.

Key to fighting what he calls the "dumbass-ification of America" is education and global communication, says Chuck, who mentioned that a good friend of his recently sent him an e-mailed petition urging mega-star Jay-Z to reconsider his promise to "retire" from rapping. "Our President just got 87 billion dollars to continue a war, our personal freedoms are being taken away, and you want to use your energy to worry about some shit like this? Of course he'll keep rapping. What the hell else he gonna do?"

Friday Evening, I went and saw roots-rocker Peter Case at The Evening Muse. Arriving a tad late, I asked how much I'd missed. "About two songs and about four stories," I was told. The talky rocker delivered the goods, however, even including a rather amazing solo acoustic version of Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale." Unfortunately, there was also a talky yuppie couple at the bar, loudly holding court on the music, the beer, and even the folks around them. "I don't understand it," someone said to me. "What kind of person stays at a show that they're obviously not enjoying?" I paused for a second before responding. "A music critic?"

We at CL recently got a fax announcing that the Renaissance Festival hired an official town crier for their final weekend of the year. It seems this person's official job was to announce Carolina Panthers scores and highlights, all in ye olde inimitable "Ye Olde" fashion. The fax went on to state that the crier was hired per yours truly's recommendation of a few weeks back. Advocacy journalism, thy name is Scene and Herd.

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