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Prime Cuts 2013

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Whether The Story Be Marilyn Manson’s Pudginess, Snoop Dogg’s Substances Of Choice, Cutting-Edge Festivals Or A Review Of A Classic Novel, There Were Popular Items Aplenty On The Music/Arts Pages Of Modern Times Magazine In 2013


By Chris G. Braswell
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 30, 2013 — When viewing our world from an optimistic perspective, it is apparent that we do not live in a grim dystopian future despite dire warnings and prognostications of science fiction writers from days long past. And, as we walk the road of happy destiny in the 21st century, there are all sorts of fun things for us to enjoy, not the least of which is music and the arts.

Thankfully for our readers, Modern Times Magazine’s staff and freelancers are a very talented and energetic bunch who provided rather thorough coverage of the scene in 2013.

Do, please enjoy these ‘prime’ cuts, friends!

No. 7 “Why Twilight Could Not Have Taken Place In Arizona”

Background image by Miguel Folch and used under a Creative Commons license.
Twilight novels author Stephenie Meyer grew up in Arizona, but she set her vampire novels elsewhere.

So, it seems the argument here is that the deserts of the U.S. Southwest are far too sunny and arid for the teenage vampires from the Northeast or the Midwest, and probably even for the chainsaw style of raven-haired twenty-somethings who may be ambulatory and thirsting for blood among the Gulf Coast states. Not to mention the West Coast/Inland Empire-dwelling blood suckers.

“Remember when the critic Jean Baudrillard careened drunk in a sports-car across America in search of the end? Baudrillard explained how, in its incomprehensible immensity, the desert signs a Paleolithic f-you to all man-made constructions and flattens human drama in a gesture of stony erasure.“

Or more simply put, “the desert is dry and sex is wet.”

No. 6 “Falling for McDowell Mountain Music Festival”
Images by Jeff Moses.
The 10th annual McDowell Mountain Music Festival took place in March at Phoenix’s Margaret T. Hance Park. Though the festival is no longer at the base of the McDowell Mountains, its new downtown situation was quite suitable, and festival goers who had seen the old venue seemed to agree that the festival and Margaret T. Hance were destined for each other.

The main stage acts included The Roots, The Shins, Umphrey’s McGee, Les Claypool, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Dr. Dog, The Heartless Bastards, Deer Tick, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Balkan Beat Box. Emo reggae band Iration, JGB Band, and locals Dry River Yacht Club, Banana Gun, Mergence, and Decker were also main stage groups.

The local stage bands included Yellow Minute, Ladylike Kongos, Sara Robinson and the Midnight Specials, Drum Circle, The Wiley One, Fayuca, Cousins of the Wize, Jared and The Mill, and Future Loves Past.

No. 5 “Snoop Dogg Lion Zilla: 42 And Still Smoking”

Image by Jason Persse and used under a Creative Commons License.
Ye Olde Snoop Doggie Dogg, or more accurately, Snoop Zilla, formerly Snoop Lion ex Snoop ex Snoop Doggie Dogg aka Snoop Dogg (his real name is Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.), came to the Arizona State Fair in October. According writer Jeff Moses, Snoop Zilla was burning doobage on stage.

Dr. Dre’s Chronic featuring Snoop Dogg, came out more than 20 years ago, in December 1992. West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap and gangsta funk was incendiary then and its feculent spunk remains intact today.

“All in all, the show was just exactly what one could expect from seeing the hop-hop icon live at age 42. He’s still part pimp, still part Cheech and Chong. He’s added a bit of Rastafarian influences, but at the end of the day he’s still the same skinny gangster he was when he first came out in 1992.”

No. 4 “Portraits Of Sister Lip”

Images by Ben Garcia.
The Phoenix-based all-female indie punk band Sister Lip’s cross-country U.S. summer tour 2012 included shows at spots in New York City, Vancouver, and Seattle, featuring all unplugged acoustic sets — they left their bassist and keyboard players at home. Apparently some age issues. These women are industrious young artists, to be sure.

They can be located locally, on the proper nights, at places like Long Wongs, Lawn Gnome, and The Firehouse Gallery.

No. 3 “True Music Festival Has A ‘Truly’ Fine Debut”
Images by Jeff Moses.
With December’s arrival, Arizona’s first large scale, multi-genre music festival made its debut. The 12-hour event took place at the Salt River Fields.

As well as local music, live painters were brought in such as Tempe-based festival veteran Matt Brown, and local art installations were brought in by The Walter Project. There was fire spinning. And skydivers. Local non-profits had booths. There were dancers, and Christmas bicyclists.

The bands were many and diverse. Things were good. Oh, True, do be fidelitous to us, and return in 2014.

No. 2 “Cormac McCarthy’s The Road Is Still A Gut Punch”
Speaking of dystopian science fiction, Wayne Schutsky, a regular freelancer for Modern Times Magazine, conducted a bargain-bin book review of Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 work that inspired the 2009 film. The book deviates from the majority of the author’s other works in two fairly distinct ways — it is not Southern Gothic nor Western — for which McCarthy’s previous novels are famous.

“The framework of this story may seem extreme, but McCarthy actually uses it to tell an extremely down-to-earth and relatable story concerning a father’s love for his son.”

No. 1 “Marilyn Manson Losing Power, Gaining Pounds”
Images by Jeff Moses.
The glass spider-like Manson still has the inclination to don a costume and climb on stage for his act. After all, at the least, his shows can help local communities identify their at-risk youth. But Modern Times Magazine’s twenty-something music writer Jeff Moses had a different take on the June concert at The Marquee Theater in Tempe, and Mr. Moses does make some sharp points.

“Long gone are Manson’s glory days of raucous onstage antics and controversial personal appearances, and what’s left is just a pudgy middle-aged guy struggling to maintain his mass appeal.”

Following his local show, Manson embarked on the Masters of Madness Tour with original shock rocker — and Phoenix’s own — Alice Cooper.

But not before Mr. Moses got in a few haymakers.
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An exceedingly intelligent homeless amnesiac finds a dear friend on the streets who is not really from the neighborhood, but beyond the hill.