Ghosts of Melbourne

My sis moveIMG_20160209_131916d to Melbourne, Australia.  Inconvenient to be sure, but it proved a great excuse to see at least part of a country I’d never visited. 10 days of 80-something weather in February was also attractive to a vagabond feeling stuck in a dreary pacific northwest winter. I went in knowing little about the city other than it gave the world AC/DC, The Crocodile Hunter, and Kylie Minogue (two out of three ain’t bad?) and has a reputation as an arts hub. Since my motivation for going was to see someone important, I did no research, made no plans, except for seeking out a George Costanza themed bar, and just took Melbourne as it came. Continue reading

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“We’re part of it now!”: Visual Kei and a Girl on my Right

My friend and I landed in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido—Japan’s northern most prefecture—feeling rather confident we could score a ticket or two to the sold-out Babymetal show in a few days time. A flurry of assistance spurred on by our pathetic and desperate Big Western Eyes of Sadness® had brought ticket success in Osaka a few days prior and along with the excitement of seeing a new city in a new region, this second-guessed and rather expensive excursion to Japan’s gorgeously mountainous north had become more than a worthwhile adventure. Continue reading

Just Another Day in Prague

It took no time at all to feel so at home that settling into a life in Prague had become a real consideration. “That’s how it was for me,” confirmed the waiter. “Came here on holiday. I just never went home.” For the third time in just under a month I was at the Hard Rock Cafe a few steps out of Old Town Square eating the best burger I had ever tasted beyond US borders. The atmosphere was also unlike any other with the greatest staff, the company’s largest memorabilia collection in Europe, and a custom-made guitar shaped chandelier, all within the oldest building to ever host the brand. Behind the three stories of burgers, guitars, and neon bars was real history in concert with a pulsing modernity—the soul of a city I had grown to love as if it were already my home. “Want to work here?” he asked. “Merch, club, office, whatever!” Twice in one day. Prague didn’t want me to leave.  Continue reading

Salt Lake City Road Trip – PART II

I have heard that parts of Idaho can be pretty epic. Not this stretch. Even passing through Boise there was nothing. No canyons, pretty fields, city views or potatoey things.  I stopped in Burley for gas and a late lunch where I discovered I can pump my own gas like a real grown up! Fuck you again, Oregon. Little Ceaser’s was most convenient for food…oh well. Either that or gas station wings. Roll with the road-trip culinary punches, I guess.  Continue reading

Salt Lake City Road Trip – PART I

The first time I heard King Diamond’s brilliant concept album Abigail (early ’88, though it was released in ’87) I thought “it would be cool if he played the whole album live!” Then with his horror themes and Satanic camp aesthetic I thought “King Diamond performing a Halloween show would be rad!”

What can I say? I was 13. I had simple dreams.

King Diamond 2015 tour tickets went on sale a few months ago. No Seattle. No Vancouver. Certainly no Portland. But he was going to be in Salt Lake City…on Halloween …performing Abigail…in its entirety. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities (or…Don’t Throw the Panties)

Portland. I live here. I hate it.

It has its charms and its moments, but there are plenty of reasons this city doesn’t sit well with me. Trumping all other grievances is one hell of a subcultural disconnect. I’m not represented here in a meaningful way. I think I prefer London. Surprised? Me too. London offered me something I miss almost more than anything at the moment (I’d say it’s second on the list). That city, that sewer of a noisescape and vacuum of value and standards, managed to resurrect my love of music and bring me back to a place of fandom I had not experienced since I was a kid. Whether it was Continue reading