The Boy Looked At Johnny
Ad 0:
2002-04-22 17:50:04 (UTC)

She turns on a New York station

Friday night I had the rare privilege of playing DJ for
Walden's senior prom. The kids suggested I do it because, I
don't know, I'm cool or something. Regardless, the evening
served primarily to point out the ever-widening gap between
my tastes and the tastes of the upcoming generation.

My plan was this: split the program right down the middle
between the popular, booty-oriented dance music the kids
WANTED to hear (Ludacris? Sublime? Nelly? I only have a
passing knowledge of the work of these artists), and
the fun, obscure, super-cool dance music the kids wanted to
hear but didn't KNOW they wanted to hear (say, Dead or
Alive, Ladytron, Blondie, New Order, Happy Mondays, Run-
DMC, Le Tigre).

Ha ha ha. So much for my hipster cred.

When I played the booty stuff, the dance floor was bumpin'. When I
played the non-booty stuff, the dance floor was...well, whatever it
was doing, it wasn't bumpin'. So eventually, I had to withdraw from
the battlefield and just borrow CDs from the kids and play those.

The one upshot to the evening -- and quite an upshot is it
was -- was my introduction to a shy, diminutive, socially
awkward Indian boy named Nadar. Nadar was a friend of
Danny's, and kept asking in complete earnestness if I could
play some Nirvana or Black Flag. I told him I couldn't, but
if it was up to me I would. "I l-l-like alternative music
and p-p-punk rock," he informed me, and we got into a
discussion of some great music while Nelly or whoever was
blasting out of the sound system. Have I ever heard of the
Velvet Underground? he asks. Have you ever heard the
Stooges? I ask. It reminded me of when I was in high school
and turning on to the Dead and Quicksilver and the Airplane
and all that psychedelic stuff, and just being amazed that
there were people out there who DIDN'T listen to the hits
du jour of the day. I told him I'd make him a punk mixtape,
and throw in some stuff he's probably never heard that he'd
probably like -- the Wipers, X, Iggy & the Stooges,
Buzzcocks, Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, stuff like that. I
hope he'll dig it. For me, it was a very inspiring meeting
and I hope it was for him, too.

Speaking of dance parties, last night I saw Half-Seas-Over,
Jaqueline Bon Bon and Tracy the Plastics at the Rud: two
parts dance party, one part punk rock, one part performance
art. It was one of the most fun shows I've been to in
awhile. JBB was fun; they were three girls from Olympia
playing really simple indie dance music. That said, the
music was nothing awe-inspiring, but it was quite good and
enthusiastically performed. These women were playing
orginal music, touring the country playing it, and selling
records; it reminded me how easy and democratic it is to
play in a band. That's a project I am going to be working
on myself as soon as I get back in town. Joel, Bradley and
Katie all came out, and I got to see awhole mess of other
local folks, the kind of folks I'll probably miss while in
Pittsburgh. Leslie, the girl from school I invited was a no-
show, but that's OK. All that meant is I didn't have to
feel self-conscious if she didn't want to get up and dance,
because I certainly was throwing myself into it with some
enthusiasm. Rock and roll!