(all photos taken on a Nikon D300 with 35mm 1.8 lens)
(all photos taken on a Nikon D300 with 35mm 1.8 lens)
KOMU ran this story about connecting a rock show flyer to this past weekend’s Brookside Apartment complex fire near downtown. The rock show in question happened over three weeks ago at the Blue Note and featured local bands Enemy Airship and Believers plus Daryle Bascom’s Videology. The poster in-question was printed by our own Ben Chlapek, an accomplished poster maker here in town.
The disappointing part of the story is that KOMU reported that the poster was being considered in the Fire Marshal’s investigation, insinuating that Ben and the other artists involved in the show were somehow at fault for the fire. Sure, KOMU didn’t directly say that Ben et al. were responsible for the incident, but their irresponsible reporting is going a long way toward dragging the artists’ good names through the mud.
The damage was done in two ways. One problem lies in how KOMU reported the story in the first place, leaving the audience with very little context to see the full picture. The second issue arises when they post these kinds of stories on Facebook and allow the uninformed to run wild with hyperbole and sensationalism.
KOMU reported only part of the story, leaving assumptions to be drawn by their audience. There’s the implication that the drawing is of the Brookside Apartment complex. However, there is no identifier aside from the fact that the building on the poster LOOKS LIKE EVERY OTHER APARTMENT COMPLEX IN COMO. It says “Brookside” nowhere, nor does the image include street names “Walnut” and “College”, where the fire took place.
There is little attempt by KOMU to present Ben as anything more than an “artist” or band member. Keeping him faceless allows the audience to make all sorts of judgments on his character (depending on their views of artists). Obviously, I know Ben and have some idea as to how much he cares for this community. Aside from Ben’s released statement, KOMU did very little to paint an accurate picture of who Ben is. Doing so would have left them with virtually no story.
A little Googling would have revealed a pattern of flaming buildings in Ben’s work. Said work is not only engaging but making some noise in the poster art world. Still, flames are present in other examples of his prints. Check the two prints below. Should we also blame Ben for the end of the world in 2012 as well as the destruction of Inuit homes? The point is that there’s a pattern that suggests the show’s flyer had little-to-nothing to do with the apartment fire. He draws buildings on fire from time to time. It’s merely a coincidence that someone thought the poster portrayed Brookside.
Now, there’s the Facebook post. KOMU has made a concerted effort to engage their viewers through social media. While this sounds great to someone like me who values the community dialogue social media encourages, the combination of a lack of context and someone to monitor these discussions leads to a misinformed public jumping to conclusions, something a news organization is supposed to combat.
The above comments are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the discourse that often results in KOMU Facebook posts. Some of the most bigoted and vile statements I have ever seen in COMO happen on these threads. To be honest, these reactions are tamer than most KOMU stories. Still, people were quick to jump to the conclusion that Ben and the bands were somehow involved in the fire.
KOMU failed to present the full story as well as monitor their own discussion. I help run this blog as well as other blogs and several Facebook pages and groups. If someone posts something that stinks of libel and/or intolerance, I at least will call them out on it or even remove their comments. While I get that KOMU wants to allow their viewers the liberty of speaking their minds, this sort of “discourse” only spirals down a rabbit hole of ugliness.
The full story would have not only included Ben’s profile but a list of other avenues the fire marshal was investigating. There have been rumors of poor treatment toward laborers floating around the project. What about the many residents angered by the continued development of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods? How about the fact that it’s dry in Mid-Missouri this time of year and these sorts of things happen in new construction projects? Instead, the KOMU story only gives one possibility for the investigation. The audience is led to believe that this is the only angle officials are investigating. I find that hard to believe. Including these other possible causes would have not only provided more context but would have lessened the negative effect on the artists. Again, this would have led to a less-sensational story.
One thing KOMU did mention in their story was Ben’s official statement (emphasis mine):
As a resident of the downtown neighborhood, I am terribly saddened to hear about the fire at Brookside apartments. The poster I created is, in hindsight, an irony and coincidence which I cannot erase. Out of respect for the owners of the property and the future residents of the complex, I have taken the image off of the internet and will no longer display it in any form.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for KOMU. The station displays the image of the flyer in their original story and has posted it on Facebook (from where the above comments originated). I even have an image of the original flyer, yet have chosen not to display it here out respect for Ben’s wishes. Oh, and I’m sure you noticed the screen grab above on KOMU’s Facebook page. It seems Ben et al. should be singled-out for their artistic imagining of a building on fire, but KOMU can capitalize on the Brookside fire all they want.
What would be great is if KOMU actually covered the art and music scenes in a way that would have painted a much more balanced picture of Ben, Enemy Airship, Believers, and Videology. These components of our community are a vibrant part of what makes COMO great. I’ve mentioned and linked to Ben’s accomplishments, but what would the audience think if they knew about the label associated with Enemy Airship that often gives its music away online? Would there have been more familiarity with Believers had the news station already been reporting their debut release and all the buzz it’s creating around town and the rest of Missouri (and beyond)? Do they even know that Daryle Bascom has a long history in the music biz and that his Videology parties are among the most popular and unique of their kind? KOMU’s missing a large part of this story that would have surely painted a much more balanced picture of the situation instead of a sensationalized non-story.
That might be what’s most disappointing. KOMU is affiliated with our beloved MU Journalism School, home of the “Missouri Method.” Shouldn’t they have a higher standard to uphold?
In the end, this will all blow over. The fire marshal will quickly clear Ben and his mates of any wrong-doing. The investigation will focus on actual suspects and evidence, and the Brookside apartments will be ready a little later than expected. However, I wonder whether or not KOMU will update their story. Will they clear Ben’s name as well as everyone else involved with the show? It’s doubtful. That’s just not a story. It won’t bring in ratings. I’d love to be wrong, but I won’t keep my hopes up.
White Rabbits formed in Columbia in 2004, but soon moved to Brooklyn. They quickly rose to national prominence with their debut album Fort Nightly, appearing on Letterman soon after the album was released. The group returned to Columbia last night, a few years and two more albums under their belt. Gull opened for White Rabbits. Gull is an interesting project with a major contradiction. It is a one-man band, yet has the sound and aura of a tribe. The consistently great Believer’s also opened the show.
I grew up watching Elvis impersonators croon and swagger, so when I headed to the Blue Note to see One More Round, a Johnny Cash tribute band, I had low expectations. I thought that I might see an amusing show and hear my favorite Cash tunes. One More Round had something else to offer though: Four extremely talented musicians who put on a great show from start to finish. They are returning to the Blue Note on February 11th to do it again.
One More Round consists of Bill Forness as Johnny Cash, Tara Schmittgens as June Carter, Brandon Jacoby as Luther Perkins (guitar), Matt Davis as Marshall Grant (bass), and Benet Schaeffer as W.S. Holland (drums). At their show on December 9th, they played thirty songs, a full two hours. Forness, who has a mother named June, talked with me after the show.
Did your mother like June Carter and follow her music?
She did not. But my grandmother and grandfather did. My mother did like old country, and I grew up around it. My step-grandfather was a picker, and my uncle actually lives in Nashville and was a singer/songwriter for Tree Publishing House for many, many years. He wrote songs for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and different people. I’ve been a singer/songwriter for 25 years and have been playing and writing songs. I started doing cover songs, doing it as a living.
At first it was an array, like four hour cover shows, just me and the guitar. But the more that I’d do Johnny Cash, the more people would come up and say, “Would you please do this one or that one?” So I started to learn more, and it was being received very, very well. Then there was a breaking point in a restaurant when a guy came up and said, “I’ve been coming to see you play for a while, but I’ve brought my girlfriend. Will you play Ring of Fire tonight?” When I started to play it, he sat her down in front of me and proposed. He said that it was the closest thing to Johnny Cash that he could get. That’s when I said, “I’m going to do this and see if I can make people happy.”
The crowd at the Blue Note was happy the night of the show. Two hard-core Cash fans, one with a large Johnny Cash tattoo on his arm, stood front and center enjoying the show and waiting for their favorite songs: Ring of Fire and Folsom Prison Blues. Seven-year-old Danny O’Toole attended the show with his father Tom, who saw Cash perform years ago in St Louis. Danny’s favorite song is Jackson, a duet that Cash did with his wife June. The band’s June was not able to make it that night. Not only did they manage without her, it turned out to be the song that brought the house down.
You pulled up an audience member to sing that song with you. Do you often do that?
That was the first time. The first time anyone has ever said “I’ll get up there and do it!” It was a blast. It was complete spontaneity.
The band plays well together, and Forness has a great stage presence. They covered all of Johnny Cash’s best known songs and threw in some trivia here and there. I learned that Cash did covers also, and One More Round played some of those: Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt, Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, and Soundgarden’s Rusty Cage. They nailed them all, but Rusty Cage, the final song of the night, was one of the best songs that I have experienced live.
Johnny Cash himself once performed on the Blue Note stage. Owner Richard King said in an interview recently that it was his favorite show at the club.
How did it feel to play on the same stage as Johnny Cash?
I was very humbled to perform on the same stage as Johnny Cash and June Carter; that was the first stage I have performed on that they performed on. There was a moment on stage when I felt a calm wash over me, as if I was in the right place, doing the right songs, at the right time. It felt amazing!
I posed a tough question to each band member before we left: If you could only play three Johnny Cash songs for the rest of your life what would they be?
25 Minutes to Go…um…probably “Hurt”, which wasn’t his. Oh, man, there’s just so many that I really like! Probably Ring of Fire.—Bill Forness
I like to keep things peppy, so they’d probably be “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Ring of Fire”, and probably “Get Rhythm”.—Brandon Jacoby
That’s a hard question. One’s got to be “Ring of Fire”. One that we don’t do that I like: “The Ballad of Ira Hays”. My last one would be “Home of the Blues”.—Matt Davis
“Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down…Green”, “Green Grass of Home”. They’re all really heart-wrenchers. “Five Feet High and Rising”; I’ll tell you why: The thing about the chickens sleeping in the willow trees…it cracks me up every time.—Benet Schaeffer
One More Round: A Tribute to Johnny Cash. Saturday Feb. 11th, The Blue Note. Doors open at 8; Show starts at 9.
In case you missed the Globetrotters last night, there’s still plenty to do this weekend. At the Ragtag alone, one could fill an entire weekend and not see the same film twice. So, let the good times roll!
Friday the 6th
Members Only is the nation’s premier 80′s cover band, playing your favorite hair and pop classics from the decade that gave us the Rubik’s Cube, Atari, and feathered bangs! Members Only has been playing regionally since the “Summer of 69″ (no wait, 2008) with experienced musicians Brent Thornton on lead vocals, Sam Adkins on bass guitar, Will “The Prodigy” Clark on the keys, Seth Jaeger and Zach McClease playing guitar, and Justin Gabossi keeping the beat on the drums. With a high energy show and songs you know and love, Members Only is guaranteed to get you dancing and singing along all night!
Looking for a way to spend your weekend? Here’s a list of things CoMo Collective writers are doing with their days off…
Friday, October 21
Saturday, October 22
Sunday, October 23
The previous week to ten days had brought about a number of changes to Columbia. Recent rains cooled the temperature down temporarily. However,it also marks the change of seasons in all but weather and name as the arrival of students to the town basically ends Summer in preparation of the new school year. As a result, August 20th became a jump start of what’s going on in terms of shows with an upsurge not all that often found during the laid back. languid summer months. With that in mind, I went over to the Blue Note to see what was going on and check out a couple of bands.
Starting things off for the evening was a rare performance from The Unfashionables. The local quartet began things on a slightly unexpected note with a semi lush song that hinted at dance music with a feel similar to Roxy Music. From there, however, the band quickly shifted into a set of uptempo rock that’s one part 90s era alternative rock, one part power pop with a sprinkling a heartland rock over the top. What emerged is a set of music that was radio friendly yet still walked the thin line between the arena and the alternative ennui the band members cut their teeth on. While some of their shows in the past have been mixed, the band utilized the size of the Blue Note’s stage to their advantage and gave off a high energy vibe with stage moves aimed for a larger stage. This was the best show I’d seen from this band who need to perform more often if they can keep this level of live show up.
Spectravox had the middle slot of the night and had a lot to live up to. Tackling songs from their two CDs,the band’s affable take on melodic pop rock owes as much to commercial new wave and stadium rock as to indie or power pop. With mildly overdriven guitars as a driving force, the band’s quirky songs came across decently enough but faltered slightly at this show in part due to the band they followed on the bill. The highlight was the few songs when frontman Sam Botts strapped on his Explorer and upped the crunch level a bit for a dual guitar melodic rock sound that added an edge the band needed. Melodic, and a bit humorous at times, Spectravox’ music walks a tightrope that is either too melodic for underground rock fans or too quirky for mainstream rock fans at times. However, the people on the floor got it and had a good time which is what matters when a band plays for the most part.
Unfortunately, due to another situation I had to check out that night, I wasn’t able to see the headlining set from local part 80s cover band Disengaged. Thus, I cannot comment on their set but hopefully will get a chance to see them somewhere down the road and check them out for myself.
As I left the Note for other parts of Columbia, I took in the warm weather and the semi chaos that’s part of life in a college town. Between the new students beginning to get their footing in a situation that cna be both exciting and frightening at the same time (we’ve all been there) and the general letting off of steam before the start of the fall semester the following Monday, there was a lot going on after a summer that was slower than some of us expected. Thus is the circle of life in a town like Columbia and the return to the feel that makes it what it is.
Of Montreal have been moving our feet and blowing our minds since 2004′s Satanic Panic in the Attic, though many often forget the band actually released 5 albums before Satanic Panic. The band rolls through town on Saturday, July 2 for a show at The Blue Note.
Expect to hear many of your favorites from Satanic Panic, The Sunlandic Twins, and Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer. All concert-goers should also prepare for the possibility of hearing a track from 2008′s dense disappointment Skeletal Lamping and this year’s weirder than weird Thecontrollersphere EP. The band’s newest album, False Preist, is a pleasant surprise. The album channels early R&B and funk, and features guest vocals by the amazing Janelle Monae and Solange Knowles. Tickets are unbelievably reasonable at $16, and are still available at the Blue Note box office or online here. Remember, you can pay cash at the Blue Note and avoid service fees.
Opening the show is Yip Deceiver, which is of Montreal member Davey Pierce’s side project. Their electronic dance-pop should be a perfect pairing for the main set. Hear two tracks from Yip Deceiver’s debut EP here.
As a citizen journalist trying to get a blog off the ground, I’ll take an interview anyway I can get it. With The Walkmen set to play The Blue Note this Friday alongside New Pornographers, I approached the band with an idea for a Twitterview. They allowed me five questions. The conversation is below…
This seems on par for The Walkmen. They have never shied away from diverse influences. It helps one understand their sound which harkens back to some truly classic rock ‘n roll (Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino), a little doo-wop (Dion), the alt canon (Ramones, Morrisey), and a little something from this decade to hold your interest (Cass McCombs). These selections should tell you all you need to know about the band’s sound.
Lisbon is a pretty great record. It made several best-of lists, including mine. Reports showed that 17 tracks were left off the final version. The Tweet above tells you all you need to know beyond that.
This is where the interview stalled. Only being allowed five questions at 140 characters a piece didn’t make it easy to come up with good interview questions. Apparently, my other questions were too lame with which to bother or were somehow offensive. I guess I’ll never know.
I did try to Twitterview The New Pornographers, but they never responded.
So, in the interest of telling you all you need to know about the show at the Blue Note, I’ll piece together a proper Twitterview using The Walkmen’s Twitter feed. Here goes nothing…
For the musicians out there, @orangebuffalo asked the following question and received the following response…
The sound is pretty unique and will definitely grab your attention. The band does some subtle things with their sonis to create an aesthetic that is rather pleasing to the ear.
I had considered to ask questions about the set lists for the tour, but couldn’t fit it in the five questions the band was allowing me. Luckily, @whiteskittLs took care of it for me…
So, expect a lot of Lisbon Friday night.
What’s in store for The Walkmen after this tour? Well…
If we’re lucky, we might get to hear these new tracks on which the band is working. And next time, I’ll just interview a band like a normal journalist/blogger.
The Walkmen play the Blue Note with The New Pornographers this Friday, April 29. Doors open at 8:00. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.