A warning before you read any further: This week's episode of It's My Party is exactly that--my party. I took a week out to check in with my goddamn gorgeous friends. Much to the consternation of several readers, I am not always in the mood for "something new." But whenever I follow a yen to appreciate the talents of those I already know well, I usually experience the serendipity of not only finding out that their talent and popularity has grown tremendously while I was seeking greener pastures, but also discovering a whole raft of new projects in the process.

I checked out First Thursday by going to the Alibi Room for the opening of Kevin Willis' fabulous art show. Willis--who recently returned from an arduous residency in Los Angeles as he created the animation for the latest Tool video--was feted by members of the New Mexicans, 764-HERO, Carissa's Wierd, Modest Mouse, Minus the Bear, and a whole gaggle of scenesters, including at least one former Stranger music editor, and I'm not talking about myself. The artwork of Ryan Iverson and Alan Hurley was also on display.

Saturday was all about ye olde days, as I finally got to see a gloriously relaxed set by the Maroons at Chop Suey. My favorite moment of the evening, besides the constant White Stripes references (the White Stripes held the hipsters' attention over at the Moore as the old and bored or, dare I say it, curious assembled at 1325 E. Madison), was when the keyboard broke down during the band's second song. What would have been a sad affair turned out to be kinda funny, because after much technical fiddling, singer/guitarist John Moen walked over, banged on it a couple of times, and the vintage Wurlitzer was up and running. Way to go, Fonzie! Visqueen, whom I hadn't seen in a while, put on a blistering opening set, and during a tuning break, singer Rachel Flotard got off a clever White Stripes reference that managed to also include Mike Watt--who was doing his thing over at the Crocodile. Most of the same people who attended the Alibi Room shindig were in the house for the Maroons, along with members of Alien Crime Syndicate, the Terror Sheets, Alert New London, and good old Jason Finn, current member of No. 13 Baby.

Sunday I headed down to the Crocodile for a check-in with Pretty Girls Make Graves, who absolutely floored the nearly packed house with their best hometown performance to date. Singer Andrea Zollo, a.k.a. Sexiest Girl Singer in Rock, thanked the audience for coming and sweetly noted that everyone showing up on a Sunday night made the attendance much more meaningful. Bassist Derek Fudesco seemed to have recovered from his harrowing bout of food poisoning, which was so bad he landed himself in a Los Angeles hospital. (Yet again! Remember the busted-foot debacle in Germany?) Like a champ, however, he pulled the IV out of his arm just in time to make his band's show at the Troubadour. Tourmates Your Enemies Friends made a fine impression on Seattle, despite a set thwarted by technical difficulties. I am delighted to report that YEF will soon make Seattle their home, right after they finish their current tour. And I just have to say it: Singer Ronny? Cute Boy Alert.


While I'm at it, I'll plug a rock show to be held at Double Trouble (next door to Bimbo's on Pine) on Saturday, June 15. Three bucks will get you a performance by Glass Candy & the Shattered Theatre.