11:11 Presents just announced that Neutral Milk Hotel will play the Wilma Theatre Sat., June 6, which means you won't just get a Jeff Mangum sighting—it's the whole fam damnly.
The beloved experimental band has influenced the likes of Bon Iver, Bright Eyes and Arcade Fire. The band went on hiatus for several years, but returned in 2010 and started touring again.
$33 advance/$36 day of show
Tickets on sale this Friday, Dec. 12, at noon at 1111presents.com, Rockin Rudy's, the Wilma Box Office and (866) 468- 7624.
There are two kinds of craft fairs in this world: the kind that you can lazily browse through in 10 minutes, or the MADE Fair kind: the rock concert of craft fairs. The bi-annual alternative fair packs thousands of people into the Adams Center, and some tight corners and popular booths can get as packed, sweaty and elbow-y as a mosh pit. The concessions stand even serves booze now, too, adding to rock ‘n roll experience. New this year, two gyms have been added to the layout and an additional entrance added to the rear of the center.
MADE Fair, while fun, is something you also wanna be prepared for. Maybe it’s because of our generous outdoors, but Missoulians aren’t great at sharing personal space in close confines. (I’m as guilty of this as anybody.) So with that in mind, I offer an etiquette guide for crowded craft fairs. When I asked Facebook friends for suggestions, this got some of the most irate responses I’ve ever seen from otherwise gentle people, such as, “LOOK IN THE DIRECTION YOU ARE WALKING.” Other responses, regarding the use of double strollers, contained language I won’t reprint here.
So, some don’ts: Don’t bring the double-stroller, please. Don’t swing around a heavy backpack. Don’t arrive hungover, unless you hate yourself. Don’t chit-chat with the vendor when people are in line behind you waiting to check out. Don’t scoff at the price of an item: it’s simply rude, and the hard-working vendor can probably hear you.
Some dos: Do use coat check, for Pete’s sake, it usually benefits a local nonprofit and takes a load off. Do enjoy a libation (or three.) Bring cash in small bills, because not all vendors have Square swipes. Keep with the flow of traffic. Have another adult with you to keep any children in your party entertained somewhere outside of the melee, like the bleachers.
Also, prepare to lose your friends. Every year I go in to MADE Fair with a couple buddies, look a different direction for a split second, and wind up never seeing them again until we all stumble out of the fray, dazed, into the winter sunlight. Pre-assign a meeting place for everyone to get back together; nobody can ever hear their cellphone go off during these things.
At the end of the day, MADE Fair is totally worth some mild hassle. It supports local, independent hand-crafters and artisans, allows for one-stop decimation of Christmas lists, and it’s a tribute to Missoula that we turn out in droves for it.
Sing it: "Firecracker likes to be lit up! Firecracker loves to blow it up."
Beloved Missoula band The Magpies released a video for the bright and fuzzy rock song "Firefly" from their newest album, Tornado, which we wrote about in October. The video was shot by Amy Donovan, who is married to guitarist Hank.
Check it out:
Freelance photographer Amy Donovan went to the Johnny Marr show at the Top Hat on Monday. The guitarist best known for his work with The Smiths, played for the release of his new album, Playland, and Donovan captured him here:
It's Veterans Day, and on this occasion you can curl up on your couch to watch the Netflix premiere of the Montana-made documentary Not Yet Begun to Fight. This film, which we wrote about when it showed at the Big Sky Documentary Festival last year, tells the story of a handful of wounded veterans who find healing through fly-fishing in Montana. It specifically focuses on a retired Marine, Colonel Hastings, who takes new generations of PTSD veterans out on the water where they can find catharsis and, hopefully, some peace and camaraderie. This isn't some rose-colored glasses film—the vets are raw and intense. But filmmakers Sabrina Lee and Shasta Grenier have captured profound moments of humor and hope, throughout.
The film was selected by the New York Times as a broadcast highlight for the week when it aired on national PBS stations, and it was hand picked by Roger Ebert to be on of 12 feature films shown at Eberfest 2012.
It's now available for streaming on Netflix and available for 99 cents on iTunes just for today.
Remember the whole controversy on "The Daily Show" where some Redskins fans felt "ambushed" by the Native Americans who showed up to discuss the team name? And remember the essay one of the Native Americans, Migizi Pensoneau, wrote for the Indy that blew up on the Internet?
Jon Stewart recently spoke with New York Magazine and addressed the segment, essentially adding support to Pensoneau's take on the matter.
"I’ll tell you where there was a real ambush," Stewart told the mag. "When the Native Americans went to the stadium and people said the most vile shit to them. The ugliness that arose was mind-numbing."
You can read the rest of the interview here.
The Big Read—a national program encouraging citizens to read great works of literature—wraps up its 30-day celebration of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, and I find myself slogging once again through a quagmire of questions about Vietnam, a war that ended as I was coming of age, the war that tore our country apart.
I wasn’t there. My father was. Three tours. My family has the scars to prove it. I’ve spent 30 years nursing a peripheral obsession with that war in an effort to understand its effect on my dad, a highly decorated Marine Corps pilot who died last year. He rarely spoke of his time in Southeast Asia, and The Things They Carried filled in some gaps for me in unexpected ways.
The first time I read it, five years ago, I was knocked out by O’Brien’s prose. Combat is ugly, he writes, but it also contains astonishing beauty: “Like a killer forest fire, like cancer under a microscope, any battle or bombing raid or artillery barrage has the aesthetic purity of absolute moral indifference … and a true war story will tell the truth about this, though the truth is ugly.”
I’ve read dozens of books on the Vietnam War, but O’Brien’s is the only one that gives equal weight to the mundane and the extraordinary. Extreme acts of heroism are recalled with the same detail and emotional heft as heartbreaking acts of cowardice. There is no judgment, just the clear-eyed conclusion that war can turn us inside out. The sublime and the horrible came at you non-stop.
O’Brien’s ability to witness and remember the startling gems of truth within the surreal, horrific backdrop of a pointless, never-ending jungle war brings the focus of the narrative where it is most effective: soldiers not as soldiers, but as vulnerable people. Just like you and me. He doesn’t ask the big political or dramatic questions about the U.S. presence in Southeast Asia, he writes about a butterfly on the chin of a Vietnamese man he’s killed with a grenade.
These stories are hard to tell, and O’Brien doesn’t gloss over the rough parts. His account of a platoon of foot soldiers searching tunnels and digging foxholes and slapping mosquitoes and marching from village to village with no purpose or direction is so vivid I half expected to see mud on my fingers after turning the page. I especially appreciated his liberal use of combat jargon, leaving the reader to suss out the meanings of the colorful language that helped the soldiers feel like they belonged, like they were a part of something.
And yet, The Things They Carried is much more than a collection of war stories. It’s a book about how to tell a story. “By telling stories,” O’Brien writes, “you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself.” Like my father, O’Brien didn’t talk much about his experiences in the war after returning stateside. But he wrote about it, expecting catharsis, hoping for wisdom. “Telling stories seemed a natural, inevitable process, like clearing your throat.”
I wonder if my dad just never felt like he was ready to clear his throat.
One night about 20 years ago, I stayed up with the Major in his Las Vegas home. My mother had gone to bed, and we sat at the kitchen table drinking gin over ice, just two men shooting the shit. I asked a couple of general questions about helicopters, and the conversation angled to the time he was flying missions out of Khe Sanh, a notoriously dangerous Marine outpost, around 1969.
Although he’d been identified as one of the top 10 chopper pilots in the theater, he told me he was frequently “scared shitless” flying missions through the jungle or taking enemy fire out over the South China Sea. As the gin loosened him up, he shared his memory of one such mission, and I watched as his jaw clenched and his eyes grew large, remembering not just what he saw, but how he felt. The intensity and determination on his face is what I remember of that night, not the particulars of the story.
The Things They Carried helped me realize that maybe I’m not asking the right questions. The heaviest things they carried in Vietnam were not of military issue. They were the things you can’t see. And most of the men and women who served in that singular hell called Vietnam will carry these things until the day they die.
Tim O'Brien talks about his influential book at the Dennison Theatre tonight, Oct. 28, at 8 PM as part of Big Read festivities. Free. The Big Read's big finale is a capstone event at Draught Works Wed., Oct. 29, with tunes provided by Bob Wire. 5-8:30 PM. Some proceeds benefit the Valor House.
Two hours sounds about right.