Friday, January 16, 2015

MARS DIXON - Top Ten of 2014

   Mars is one of my favorite humans. Every time I see him, he's somehow more amazing. Mars plays guitar in AYE NAKO, wears flower-print denim better than anyone, is totally fucking hilarious and loves dogs.

I didn't put things in an order. I just wrote them in this order.

I heard Sammus late in the on Christmas Day having some alone time listening to my podcasts. Listening to Another M reminds me of this sort of heroic melancholy I used to feel while playing Metroid as a kid. I always felt gloomed out about Samus’ story and how she was all alone exploring and fighting all these monsters. Most chiptune music I’ve heard hasn’t really been my thing, but these beats are so tight. They say:
“Another M is a seven-track EP that retells the story of intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran from the classic Nintendo game Metroid as she is imagined by producer, rapper, and feminist warrior Sammus. Using the vehicle of self-produced hip hop beats inspired by the game’s soundtrack in combination with heartfelt lyrics and delivery, Sammus takes listeners on a journey from Samus’ lonely childhood with the Chozo race to her epic battle against the evil Mother Brain.”
On the same day I found Sammus, I also started researching how to make my own chiptunes and am trying to find my copy of Metroid for Gameboy in my closet.
ßLK G33K$ R ©oøL! 8)

Earlier this year, I got invited to a basement show at a house I’ve never been to in Brooklyn. I missed most of the show because I’m anxious as hell and it keeps me from leaving the house on time. I was just climbing down the dark stairs which were barely lit up by Malportado Kids’ projections on the wall behind them as they were playing. I didn't know much about them at that point but right away I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Since then we’ve played a few shows with Downtown Boys and have become band friends. I told Victoria, the vocalist in both bands, how I aspire to be as poignant and unmistakably passionate as her with the things I say in between songs but she pointed out me that my style of stage banter/song explaining is just as meaningful so that's cool. <3 o:p="">

(photo by joe mccann)

 3. The reanimation of my personal love for and deep obsession over video games:  I was born with a NES controller in my hand. Betwixt the year after moving out of my mom’s house til my birthday this past summer, I stopped playing video games pretty much completely, an era of unnecessary self-deprivation. All those years, I would dream video game dreams and sometimes they started off where I’d just be playing the game like normal but then somehow get sucked into the TV and become the character I was playing. I’m so glad to be back where I belong. This has always been my favorite form of escapism. Keeping up with these newfangled ways of communicating via social media, I came up with the hashtag #limpwristedgaming hoping it catches on soon. My gaymer name is xn0txhumanx btw. Much thanks to all my friends who got together and surprised me with a PS3 for my birthday!

Back in March, I went to the release show for his comedy album Waiting For 2042 at Union Hall with the friend who, years ago, told me he was one of the so very few stand up comedians that was actually funny. Janeane Garofalo, Ted Leo and one or two others opened for him. The album title refers to the year white people in America will be the minority according to statistics. Heh heh.

5. Limp Wrist at Chicago’s Fed Up Fest
It was supposed to be a surprise! To keep the bros out, it had been unannounced til a few hours before they played. I found out the night before though. It’s been a while since I went so nuts at a show that my glasses fell off, since my shirt got so soppin’ wet I had to take that shit off and put it in a plastic bag (that I ended up forgetting about for a day -- PU!) and then the new shirt quickly became uselessly soaked too. This was one of my favorite weekends this year.

6. Kendrick Lamar -  i

There were some rough ass weeks in November and December that only felt manageable partly by watching this video and listening to this song on repeat, and singing along to the chorus: “I love myself/One day at a time/Sun gon’ shine”. I struggle to tell people I love them. It’s quite unfathomable to tell myself. This is a 'fake it til you make it' situation.

7. My highlights of hilarious things I’ve posted on Tumblr that helped me get through the year:

They were on my list the last time I made a top 10. Still my favorite band. We played a few shows with them this year, most recently, at Glasslands with Mary Timony’s Ex Hex. It feels cool to be inspired by friends. According to Spotify, all the songs on this EP were in my top 10 list of songs I listened to the most this year.

9. Friends & Community
Growing up in the racist-ass, small-minded town of Horseshit, Arkansas, I would have never thought I’d find myself surrounded by people who actually like and care about me. I purged a lot from my real life contact list. The “friends” who had no respect for me as a black person because they are having a such a great life being colorblind and willfully ignorant. So grateful to have friends who came and visited me while I was recovering from surgery or wrote me letters/emails/texts. So grateful to have friends who hear me when I say I’m not doing ok as I am constantly traumatized by the brutality of police, white vigilantes and the state. So grateful to have cool black friends in my life to relate to and I keep making more like every month.

10. Old stomping grounds (I hate that phrase) - visited Arkansas and the Bay Area
I hadn't really spent time in my hometown in like 6 years til this past summer. It's only ever been painful and exhausting to return but I felt like I needed to. I took some pretty amazing footage of my mother in different environments and some of me exploring one of my elementary schools that had been closed and boarded up. Months later, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all -- What happened? How do I feel about my family?

It had been 4 years since I brought my goofy ass to the Bay. I don't know what took so long. I missed it so much despite how much things have changed there. I loved seeing and hanging out with old friends. The times I walked around alone, I'd find myself totally captivated by the hills, the water and the cloudless sky. That shit is so pretty. Carolyn, you're a turd. I love you!

(Failed panoramic of my mother at one of the many lakes we visited that day.)

(Grumpy on my birthday in my mom's bathroom.)

(Taken by Julia Booze. We met a puppy at Lake Merritt.)

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