Keeping Tabs

For those keeping tabs, the past couple months have felt like, "When was Zak's not about to shut down?" Rumors of the bar's eviction have hung over the place like the smell of stale beer. Last Thursday, booker Brian Foss sent out an e-mail saying the bar was being evicted on Friday, June 27, and he frantically attempted to move existing lineups to other venues (the Saturday, June 28, show with the Clone Defects, the Intelligence, and the Hospitals is now at the Comet, while most of the other shows have been moved to either the Lobo or Hell's Kitchen). Then Foss sent out another e-mail on June 22 saying that Zak's owner was granted a stay in his current spot through June at least--but either way, Foss has had it. His last day at Zak's will be this Friday, when El Revengo, Ill Gotten Gainz, and Skull Sucker play, and the night should be a good chance to give him a proper Zak's sendoff for all the great work he's done there since August. Foss' talents and good taste in punk will not go to waste, as he's currently talking to a couple different clubs about working with them, and he'll be booking Sunday shows at the Sunset and Friday-night shows at the Monkey Pub starting in August. And while the status on Zak's could be completely different come next week, it's still sad that Foss is leaving (although completely understandable) as that venue was a great little place to see bands play, and on warmer nights, to escape to the outside patio between sets. The death of one live music venue is new life for another, though, and I'm interested to see what will step up to the void Zak's leaves next.

Last weekend I left all Seattle music venues behind and drove down to Portland to check out the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, a cool nonprofit that instructs young women on various aspects of playing music. The camp started out three years ago as the final project for founder Misty McElroy's women's studies degree, and has since turned into a weeklong, 100-camper-strong (with 500 applicants this year), volunteer-run organization, with members of Sleater-Kinney, Sarah Dougher, and other local musicians teaching classes to girls ages eight to 18. On the Friday I attended, the girls learned everything from how to overcome stage fright to how a soundboard works to the basic elements of songwriting, spending their lunch hour dancing to the killer post-punk sounds of the Quails, a trio from San Francisco who later taught a class on political songwriting. The girls also spent their week focusing on lessons in either voice, bass, guitar, drums, keyboards, or DJing, with everyone in attendance forming a band or solo project that performed on Saturday night to a sold-out crowd at the Aladdin Theater. Although the 25 acts only had a week to practice (and in most cases learn) their instruments, it was still pretty amazing to watch all of them play, and overall the camp is a really great idea that I wish had been around when I was a kid. The instruction is moving year round this fall with the afterschool Girls Rock Institute, and if you're interested in learning more about the organization, donating to it (as members of Pearl Jam, the Beastie Boys, the Donnas, and others already have), or otherwise getting involved, check out www.girlsrockcamp.org.

Finally, yet another reason to head out of town this summer: More Than Music 2003 July 11 and 12 in Columbus, Ohio. Before you balk at heading that far away, the event (in its 11th, and, sadly, final year) showcases a ton of up-and-coming acts, graffiti, art installations, films, and more. This year, the "indie kid's wet dream" includes Aesop Rock, the Locust, These Arms Are Snakes, Ex Models, Numbers, Dead Meadow, Neon Hunk, Bonnie Prince Billy, and so many other kick-ass acts my adrenaline goes into overdrive just looking at their website (www.morethanmusic.org). Of course, there are plenty of reasons to stay in Seattle that same weekend, as the annual Capitol Hill Block Party kicks into gear July 12 and 13 with a ton of this region's best acts (see the Stranger ad this issue for the complete lineup), plus putt-putt golf, a beer garden, and the almighty dunk tank with a cast of Seattle personalities awaiting their chance to get wet.

jennifer@thestranger.com

Support The Stranger