One of the coolest aspects of Almost Famous is that it takes place in the creative heart of Capitol Hill at the Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC). CHAC sits amongst several practice spaces and artist studios at 1621 12th Avenue (at East Pine Street), near where foot traffic between clubs in the neighborhood is perhaps the most concentrated in the city. That means if you're out and about on Friday, July 2, between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., be sure to put this event on your route, especially since it offers a full bar (sorry kiddies, this one's for 21 and over only).
Graylife's Brian Rauschenbach and Jon Cairns took time out of an impossibly sunny Saturday afternoon to meet me down at the Still, a laundromat/bar located at the corner of Belmont and E. Howell Street, so I could talk to them as I did my neglected housework. Sadly, all but a few seconds of the conversation we'd captured on a recorder were drowned out by, among other things, the power tools used to repair the many broken machines ('bout time). But the gist of the conversation was that these two guys have a great idea, and are going to do all they can to get the rock, DJ, art, and fashion crowds to hang out in one big group, with exposure to all as an unavoidable outcome of their relentless planning. For more information and directions, go to www.graylife.com. For a place to get boozed up while doing laundry (careful while pouring that bleach!), try the Still--just don't expect much quiet there.
Now something very different. I went to see Lloyd Cole at the Tractor Tavern last week and not only was it one of the most memorable and nostalgic shows I've seen in quite a while, but its polite, appreciative audience is to be commended. Cole played a lot of the songs that have gotten fans through some hard times in their lives (except for my favorite, "Rattlesnakes," which serves as the beginning and the end credits for the worst and best two-year relationship of my own young love life) while telling several charming stories in between. Kids who missed out on Cole in the '80s and '90s might want to go back and check out his music if they're looking for either jangly or stripped-down songs about relationships and life in general. He's an easy fit with what Simon Joyner or Crooked Fingers are doing today. Like a big old geek I brought along my beat-up old vinyl copy of Rattlesnakes for Cole to sign and he asked incredulously if I'd bought it in 1984 when it originally came out (I had). I'm pretty sure I was shaking as he signed it with a note to have a happy life--I think I will.