Finally, I have a blog

The wait is over. Read about my banal adventures in colorful language.

Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Round-Up

Okay. Want to know wtf I’ve been up to lately? Here’s wtf I’ve been up to:

I’ve got some exciting stuff coming up quite soon. For the first time ever I’ll be covering Jazzfest & manning the helm of the beingnola twitter account. Look for me on twitter @beingnola April 27-May 4 and on CraveOnline, where I’ll be providing full, full, super freakin’ full Jazzfest coverage.

Today

I spent most of the day in bed. Yes, Wrestlemania is still loading out, even though the giant W and M and all the letters in between have been lowered to the ground and disassembled. But for myself, I never even hit the floor of the Superdome this morning. It’s mostly due to depression, or at least that’s a tidy excuse to give credence to what I’m about to write.

From the start of this month until my impromptu bed in I’d been working with Wrestlemania’s pyro team, a group of guys from all over the country whose varied talents brought wild, fiery concepts to life. Did you know the man who crafted those flaming coffins for the Undertaker is also the person you should be thanking for the SFX in Team America? Or that one of the carpenters helping to build the wooden platforms that held all those flames and bursts of smoke emitting from under the stage has also been helping to build the Freedom Tower in New York City?

The crew was spectacular, kind, and so incredibly patient. I learned the inner workings of pixel flames and that confetti drifts pretty well when fluffed and dropped from 200+ feet. It was enough to get me curious and since I’ve been actively trying to do more pitching with my other job, (and failing miserably, to be honest with you) I figured I might as well extend that risk. I confided in two of my leads about it before the show and they were very supportive.

Oozing confidence, I was brought back to reality the day after Wrestlemania by one of them relaying a surprise conversation with the person I’d be asking about a job. For the sake of anonymity but less confusion, let’s call my lead “A” and the company owner “B”. Without prompting, B fashioned his own verbal pyrotechnics and dropped some truth bombs over dinner one night, telling A that women just aren’t good on the road.

The company had tried it a few times and sexually charged scenarios and ultimately stereotypical shit would ensue with each attempt: according to B, one woman traveling with all men has the power to divide a crew. Through sheer force of existence, one of those men will stand up as a brother figure while yet another pines for her. The two men will clash and the crew will be at odds.

Or, the woman will flirt with everyone – EVERYONE – in that non-harmless kind of “super serious about fucking you” way that divides bros based on who can score with her. Calmly discussing this with A, we both agreed that you can teach green but you can’t force a crew to come together, in such tight quarters, and for such long stretches if such monumental conflict occurs.

Normally and especially given my writing career, I’m not about that hearsay life. After holding this gig behind the scenes just as long as I’ve been professionally writing and given just how incredibly trustworthy and real A is, I’d take the conversation as B’s true sentiments. But enough with the letters.

I agree on a happy crew but that’s as far as things go. It’s fucking pathetic that according to such anecdotes, women are more an issue on a crew than seen as simply a coworker, colleague, or equal. Flashback to my last big show and that sentiment is further echoed.

Towards the end of a very long and tiring load out, I had a man attempt to help me carry plywood, one who wouldn’t take no for an answer. After trying to be polite in saying I didn’t need help, after explaining the system already in place for relaying the flimsy, rather light board, and after repeatedly telling him that I was fine, all I could say – well, yell at that point – was, “are you fucking kidding me? It’s just a sheet of plywood.”

Silence filled the space, the type of quiet that tries to keep the peace by siding with the least emotional person. A friend of the man tried to justify his actions: you know how men are.

I do. I know how women are. I know how any person is so much as I know what they look like, the grip of their handshake, and their name as they introduce themselves. I will never be able to infer that some random person walking up to me is a little confused about what it means to work with someone so much as I’d hope someone wouldn’t so abruptly judge me as a shit-starter for the sake of my gender. Or, hell, what they perceive my gender to be, but we won’t get into that here.

This episode comes a week after I had to fight my way into a work trip because I’m a woman. No, there’s no larger explanation than that. It was an out of town trip where I’d be rooming with a coworker and, guess what? All of them were men and the person booking it wasn’t cool with me not happening to be a man as well. It took asking for documentation or some type of company policy explicitly stating that employees of the opposite sex can’t room together to change their minds. Had I been anyone else, I would’ve been fine.

The written justification of putting me on that gig was by saying that the person I’d be rooming with (a dear friend and just generally awesome dude) was my cousin. Fucking fine. I’ll take it for now. Every person of the opposite sex (except the person I’m dating) who I happen to be working with can be related to me. That’s cool that we’re a family and it’d be even cooler if we followed the same tenants of one and treated each other with the dignity and respect necessary for each person to thrive.

My birthday is in four days. Every year, no matter if I celebrate grandly or barely acknowledge the thing, I mentally go through a retrospect of how the past year has treated me. My birthday acts primarily as a bench marker and it’s a shame that I can’t stay more present for it, but this is the way my mind tends to work. My main regret of the past year? The lack of professional risk primarily fueled by doubt.

It’s a risk to speak up, to put yourself out there. I’m sure I took a risk in being as boisterous as I was throughout this Wrestlemania because it was actually quite unlike the doubtful self I’ve let slowly latch onto my main personality traits like some type of inveterate fungus resprouting with each rejection letter and failed gig. Fuck that and most certainly fuck the rampant sexism in the industries I enjoy.

Before the pyro crew left yesterday, I did manage to snag a contact number. Wish me luck when I call them tomorrow.

Buku Music + Arts Project 2014Photos are up from Buku. Check out my review of the festival via mxdwn :]

Buku Music + Arts Project 2014
Photos are up from Buku. Check out my review of the festival via mxdwn :]

SXSW 2014, a set on Flickr.
SXSW 2014 photos are up. Check ‘em out & check out all my reviews via mxdwn.
SXSW 2014, a set on Flickr.

SXSW 2014 photos are up. Check ‘em out & check out all my reviews via mxdwn.

Semi- Pre-SXSW Round-Up

It’s technically SXSW like right fucking now but I figured I might as well make a round-up before I head to any showcases. So, here ya go: what I’ve been up to since the last time I checked in with you fine folks.

Be sure to check back on my SXSW post for links to what I’ve been up to & photos of what’s awesome in Austin. Follow along in realish time via twitter (@ayetalian) & instagram (@knottedkitelines).

For fun and just because: here’s a mix of just about every artist I’ll be trying to catch at SXSW. Got any favorites? Let me know & follow all my SXSW adventures on instagram (@knottedkitelines) & on twitter (@ayetalian). & don’t forget to check back on my SXSW post for even more updates.

(Source: Spotify)

It’s that time of the year again: SXSW 2014

Through some stellar chai (shoutsout to the Hideout in Austin) & a surprise free evening, I’m blogging again. Below is my SXSW schedule, which will be updated with links & all sorts of fun stuff as the week progresses. I’m reporting again with mxdwn with a hand-picked schedule that is guaranteed to shove more new music in my direction than last year.

Fine reader, are you also in Austin? Hit me up.

Wednesday
Afternoon: Antiquiet Showcase (John Flanagan, Ume, 8mm, Grieves, etc.)
Evening: Crave Online (Semi Precious Weapons, 8MM, Miniature Tigers, The Silent Comedy)
Thursday
Afternoon: Paste Showcase (Gardens & Villa, Split Single, Agesandages, Lydia Loveless, Papa, Matisyahu)
Evening: MTVu Woodies
Friday
Afternoon: Spin Showcase (Cloud Nothings, Warpaint, Future Islands, Radkey, Against Me!, ScHoolboy Q, Temples, The Orwells)
Saturday
Afternoon: SXSW Off the Beaten Path
I’ll have bigger & better blog posts after I get back from Austin. Expect a full round-up, some photos, & me fulfilling my very strange writing commitments to friends.

New Year Round-up + Resolutions

Happy 2014 …or is it? I entered the new year with an unexpected burst of illegal pyro, quarter chaos, & unwritten resolutions, many of which were swiftly knocked to the ground. It’s been a bad run of weeks on the mental level. What I have to complain about (failed pitches, breaking from certain publications, trying to embrace others) professionally is still a nice chunk of nothing. It’s a miracle I get paid at all; that thought prompting a crisis of faith with an infinitely looping mantra of “what the hell am I doing?” set to a blank page, empty screen, & fleeting concentration.

A close & very creative friend of mine said that I seem to have more questions than answers; vague paths arriving at further interrogation. Being inquisitive is probably one of the biggest reasons as to why I write anything. Prioritizing those questions & determining what needs pursuing & what’s a false lead is the bigger problem. So, before I get to the resolutions I’ve finally decided to not only write down but stick to, here’s a friendly round-up of what I’ve been up to since my last happyass check-in.

Now, here’s what I’ve got resolution-wise:

  1. Inspired by who fucking knows what, I decided to let my friends tell me what to write. I’ve been assigned everything from a band profile, general ranting, & writing itself to two obituaries, a bizarro world that still includes the Sochi Olympics, & David Vitter’s secret life as a drag queen. I’ll be posting one completed assignment a week on this here blog.
  2. After that, it’s back to the 30 Day Challenge & finally finishing some last album reviews from my Big Music Challenge in 2012.
  3. I’ll also be physically writing in my journal. One page a night about anything I want.
  4. Inspired by Monday’s #pizzart, I’ll be doing a weekly photo project as well.

I’ve got quite a few general well-being resolutions but this blog really isn’t the venue to tell you that I want to finally quit smoking once & for all or that, for the first time in my life, I’m looking to alter my diet in a more healthful manner.

Tomorrow’s a new day & a new month & to that I say onward!

Everything All at Once: My Favorite Albums of 2013 Plus 3 NOLA & 3 SF Artists to Watch

I’ve been sitting on these for way too long. Here it is, my favorite albums of 2013, in no particular order:

1. Portugal. The Man — Evil Friends

2. Nine Inch Nails — Hesitation Marks

3. Wavves — Afraid of Heights

4. Atoms for Peace — Amok

5. Arctic Monkeys — AM

& my artists to watch are right here:

NOLA:

1. Dirty Bourbon River Show

2. Bantam Foxes

3. Cardinal Sons

SF:

1. White Fence

2. Wax Idols

3. Painted Palms

Here it is! My Top 5 Songs of 2013:

1. “Plastic Soldiers” by Portugal. the Man

This is the song that’s gotten me through countless long drives this year, a run on the beach, & most unnecessarily long trips on Muni. There’s such movement to the cascading guitar riff, the driving drums, the legato synth.

2. “This is a New World” by the New Regime

Effortlessly catchy with the type of slinking bass line that you can’t help but feel compelled to start nodding your head, at the least. “This is a New World” is one of those songs that I have — without fail — been unable to get out of my head since I’d first heard it.

3. “Copy of A” by Nine Inch Nails

The rush of being in a NIN photo pit immediately hits me as soon as I put this song on. Nothing but happy memories & complete & total awe from something I never thought I’d ever do: get paid to take photos of one of my favorite bands in the world.

4. “You Lust” by the Flaming Lips

When the Flaming Lips began their SXSW show at Auditorium shores by playing through their entire (at that time) unreleased LP The Terror, nobody knew what to expect. This gem with vocals from Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel is as mind-altering on record as it is live.

5. “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” by Arctic Monkeys

Total proof that the Arctic Monkeys weren’t just a flash in the pan or a curious group of seriously young lads. “Why’d You Call Me When You’re High?” makes the best of a breakup and adds another layer (& edge) to a band that consistently has blown me away.

(Source: Spotify)