We don’t get a brand-spanking new sports team every year. It’s always a little exciting, seeing what they name it, what town it’s going to, who is going to end up playing for it; but I don’t think anybody expected the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the dumbest named team in any sport, to make it this far into the NHL post-season less than a year ago. Hockey seems tough to rig. It’s hard to make the call that perhaps this is to get the team off on the right foot, making sure Las Vegas of all places gets all the curious new casual fans excited about hockey out the gate. Cinderella runs and telegraphed story lines have become a little more prominent in recent years, but I think an even more nefarious phenomenon is at work here.
In the fall, some wealthy, gambling addict maniac stockpiled numerous firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition into a high-rise Las Vegas hotel and opened fire on an audience of concertgoers, killing dozens and wounding hundreds before killing himself as police closed in. The tragedy has had a chilling effect on Vegas tourism, compounded with other attendance-related issues and difficulties adjusting the “product” to appeal to younger consumers. There’s clear motivation and incentive for Las Vegas to have something new and exciting to crow about, and little does more to foster a collective, unifying identity for a town than local sports, something Vegas has been lacking for ages and looking to add more to with the impending move of the Oakland Raiders.
Let the game do the healing, right? It sounds outlandish, but this isn’t the first correlation I’ve found with towns seemingly fighting back against the adversity of a tragedy and taking home a championship. Just last year, I watched my beloved New York Yankees fall to the Houston Astros in the ALCS after Hurricane Harvey and other storms devastated the region. Houston went on to win the World Series. The New Orleans Saints’ win in 2010 is a little suspect, considering it took years for the area to start recovering from Katrina… Perfect time for an economic jumpstart. West Germany had three World Cup wins in 36 years! The inverse to the rule here is when the nearly-new Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in the World Series in 2001, right after 9/11. If there was ever a year to give it to the Yankees, it was probably after 9/11.
Vegas (0-1) and the Winnipeg Jets (1-0) go at it in Game 2, tonight, at 8pm ET on NBC.
Nope. Absolutely not.
Without delving into what I’d consider a boilerplate introduction to the history of the genre (involving a confusing, simultaneous defense and condemnation of Chris Carrabba), the much-maligned and misunderstood punk subgenre of “emo” is probably not what you think it is. If the term brings up images of fourteen year old kids fucking around on an escalator after adding to their Tim Burton-goth wardrobe at Hot Topic and listening to what sounds like the Backstreet Boys collaborating with Lil Jon, that’s not your fault either, the label was both invented and hijacked by record companies and over-the-hill music journalists in 2005. Those kids don’t really fit the “sad crowd” demographic that the “real emo” inherited from the original runs of goth and shoegaze. The “real” heyday, actually the genre’s second wave after spinning off from hardcore punk in the mid-80s, was in the mid-to-late 90s with bands like Mineral, Hot Water Music, The Get Up Kids, Sunny Day Real Estate, At the Drive-In, and Cursive with an aesthetic better described as “muted thrift store bus commuter chic.” Fans were probably more into “The Omaha Sound” than the repackaged, corporate-pushed fuck-you-dad goth-by-way-of-Natural Born Killers of My Chemical Romance or Blood on the Dance Floor, the latter of whom were in it to molest preteens with asymmetrical haircuts.
Average early Jimmy Eat World fan
Notable for the genre, most of the bands enjoyed moderate underground success before disbanding and being far more appreciated down the line primarily by white kids born between 1987 and 1995 who really identified with Kevin Arnold when they were growing up and weren’t old enough to ever see any of the mostly obscure bands characterizing their tastes in arguably their most formative years. This has brought a sort of revival in the genre in recent years, characterized by a flurry of reunion tours from the original progenitors of that late 90’s sound as well as new acts that have finely tuned the sound and tropes, including a noticable tuning down from the “fuck that stupid bitch” teenage misogyny characterized by some of the earlier, lesser known acts. It’s like emo made in a lab now, after 15 years of obsessive study, designed specifically to just make you both regrettably sad or nostalgic in a manner that’s so effective you shouldn’t be allowed to listen to it on public transit.
One of my favorite characteristics of many of the revival bands, the membership of which I share an age range with, is a reoccurring graphic design motif of using childhood photos from the early 90s as album covers. They almost all do it at some point, and I’ve been really curious as to whether or not this is some kind of planned meme from bands that have toured together. I’ve collected several of my favorites, as well as give a quick rundown review of the band, just in case you too have entered your late twenties still not quite able to get out of the sad crowd.
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If you’re everyone, you listen to podcasts. If you’re Caucasian, you HAVE a podcast. I’ve got a lot of favorites, Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast is one of my favorite things to listen to, Chapo Trap House is lovely, Streefight Radio tells me listening to Orchid is “good praxis”, Doug Stanhope makes me want to drink and also quit drinking, and the Crooked Media guys keep me informed about the inner workings of American government while simultaneously reminding me why I’m not a centrist Democrat politically.
What most podcasts have in common is the same smallish pool of advertisers. While I understand how toxic advertising is to the human mind, its constant barrage warping and controlling your desires, I understand it as a necessary evil in the present day and am generally not opposed to it if it’s done in good taste. MeUndies, Trunk Club, Blue Apron, TommyJohns, Sheri’s Berries, Stamps.com… You know them all. The live reads might be easy to skip, but some people, particularly comedians, understand that if the read can be content, rather than a sterile recital of copy, I as the listener am more likely to listen to it. For instance, Bill Burr’s MeUndies jingles, almost never the same thing twice, are absolutely hysterical:
If that doesn’t have you puttering around the house going “owwwwwhhhhh boo doop boop boop” you’re dead inside. I’ve gotten used to them, and I don’t skip through even if the hosts aren’t “enhancing” the read. I want to support the shows. After years of pirating radio shows with the commercials and reads edited out, I’ve let the podcasts just sell me their shit or ask me for money on Patreon. I’ll buy the book, follow on Twitter, whatever.
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A movie with this level of hand-craftsmanship doesn’t come along very often, and even if you aren’t a fan of Wes Anderson’s quirky aesthetic or brand of characters and dialogue, I would encourage anyone who likes movies or animation as a whole to go see this movie. Thematically, I think it introduces some interesting characters and ideas that are generally pretty underrepresented. We aren’t allowed to have movies anymore without some kind of controversy, and I’ll delve into that, along with some spoilers, after the jump.
Isle of Dogs is about a squad of dogs dumped on a trash island after the mayor of a nearby megatropolis declares all dogs a public health hazard. A young boy crash lands, searching for his own dog that was also his bodyguard. A quest across a drably intricate and gorgeous industrial decay ensues with snappy dialogue from vocal talent like Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, and Greta Gerwig. I thought it was delightful, 4.5/5.
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
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As both a longtime Northwestern Denver resident and a self-sabotaging, economically disadvantaged proletarian, public transit development in Colorado is something I pay a lot of attention to. I’m on my second car and I didn’t learn how to drive until I was 19, which was almost ten years ago, and I didn’t own a car until I was almost 21. From about 15 on, I rode Denver’s buses and trains for work, play, and everything in between. One conclusion I think many of my fellow riders can agree on is that RTD, Denver’s Regional Transport District, is fucking horrible.
Much of my early usage with Twitter was primarily to antagonize the intern running the RTD account. Buses very rarely run on time or don’t come at all. More often than not, a trip with more than one transfer is going to get screwed up, and that makes using public transit as a way to reliably commute almost impossible. Unless you’re planning on leaving an hour earlier, which compounds how horrific RTD’s metro transit routing network actually is: an accurate anecdotal estimation is that for every 10-15 minutes it might take to drive somewhere, you can count on at least an hour on a bus. My commute is about a thirty minute drive. Once you factor in the walking, due to the fact that both my destination and my home don’t have have any direct bus service, using public transportation for my commute takes nearly three and a half hours. One way. Inclimate weather? Go fuck yourself. Continue reading →
I’ve never been this ready for baseball season. Maybe it’s two years of Denver Bronco mediocrity, the sting of the Yankees losing to Houston in the 2017 American League Championship Series, and the fact that I’ve been taking in quite a bit of PAC-12 college ball these days, but I’m way more amped up than usual about Opening Day. It’s comforting: as the world unravels and anxiety spikes we emerge anyway from the cold, looking forward to the warmer months of the year always knowing we’re going to be playing baseball. It might be the only constant in America I not just reliably depend on but welcome.
Having never lived in New York and never written a lot about baseball, I realize I have a bit of explaining to do. Or maybe I don’t. This is the inferiority complex I’ve developed as an all-too-common out-of-state fan. In Colorado, a typical baseball season ends sometime around June. After a brief period of optimism that runs itself dry around mid-May, the Rockies (usually) putter out and the town begins fantasizing about summer football workouts. Maintaining enthusiasm for baseball on the other side of the country in the face of such consistently disappointed fans ends up requiring a bit of biographical backstory.
When I was born in 1990 in California, it didn’t take long to get me to an Angel’s game. My dad, who grew up on the East Coast, loved baseball and he’d put me in his glove at “The Big A” where we watched those middling early-90s Yankees teams when they came to town. Somewhere, there exists a VHS tape of me at about 2 watching a tape of the Minnesota Twins winning the 91 World Series, which I watched on a loop that winter because even as a baby, I was irritated there was no baseball to watch. Several of my first sentences were attempts to start a discussion about Kirby Puckett and Chili Davis.
When you’re little, seeing your parents lose their shit has quite a novelty to it. Gene Michael comes in as General Manager, turns the Yankee franchise around, and by 1996 my house had gone stark-raving mad for Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte , Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neil, and Derek Jeter. At the same time, my mother, who grew up in Colorado, was attempting to match the Yankee fever with her elation for back-to-back Bronco Superbowl wins and the anointment of John Elway as Saint of All Quarterbacks. As a very young child, I was completely spoiled by watching longstanding familial sports allegiances rewarded with what seemed like championship contending teams year after year. Continue reading →