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In advance of their show tonight at the Black Cat, Bellman Barker organized a round table discussion of current political, cultural, medical, online and media events – you know, just to get the juices flowing, so to speak.  Participating were tonight’s bands: Donny Hue and the Colors from Brooklyn/DC, The High Strung from Detroit, and the District’s very own Greenland.





The following is a precise transcription of their conversation…

Bellman Barker: Twitter is playing a key role in fomenting and directing unrest and demonstrations in Iran regarding its recent disputed election.  If you were former Vice President Dick Cheney, what tweet would you send out to the Iranian population (assuming they were following you, lol) to guide them in this time of crisis?

Donny Hue and the Colors: If there’s one thing the two sides can agree on in Iran, it’s that Dick Cheney is the Great Satan. I would tell them to just burn me in effigy rather than beat each other with batons. It would read like this: “BRNMENFGYRTHRTHNBTNECHOTHR”

[photo: Donny Hue and the Colors, cred. Joel Didriksen]

BB: If the over-the-counter drug Zicam actually cured the common cold but caused you to lose your sense of smell for a month after taking it, would you still use it?

Greenland: We are big fans of Zicam.  The best variety, we’ve found, is the q-tip type applicator you stick up your nose.  We’re also generally into experimenting with drugs with horrendous side effects.  I think not smelling for a month would be interesting.  Once a philosopher, twice a fool.

[photo: Greenland, cred. Shervin Lainez]

: The city of Cave Creek, Arizona recently broke a draw in an election for city council by giving the seat to the candidate that drew the highest card from a standard deck of 52.  Would it have been better to settle the 2000 Florida recount by drawing playing cards rather than letting the supreme court decide?

The High Strung: honestly i think its freaky that decisions made in our political lives are made with a deck of cards, i guess unless the majority VOTED to have that be the process. it is a DRAW, which means the public voted fairly down the middle, i dunno, politics is just a game, i don’t feel it really represents me at all, none of these people, dems or republicans, have any idea what type of person i am, nor do they really care. The political sphere is so beyond (or below) what i am capable of having a true hand in, that it just frustrates me to think about it too much.  But to answer your question, yes, a deck of cards would have been more just than a ruling by the justices.

[photo: The High Strung, cred. Doug Coombe]

: When astronauts first landed on the moon in 1969, the training regimen for spacemen was ridiculously rigorous: they had to be badass test pilots that could levitate a ping-pong ball for an hour by circular breathing!  Today, our astronauts are snapping under the pressure of daily life on Earth, donning adult diapers in order to travel cross country; and instead of landing on the moon, NASA is intending to crash instead!  What new astronaut training would you suggest to help bring back the golden years of NASA?

Donny Hue: We should begin by sending dogs back into space. Beginning with our drummer’s dog, Mr. Scrappers, who to date, has bit at least two members of every band he has been involved with. BTW, this thing about the diapers… it’s unconfirmed. Innuendo. Furthermore, we begin and end our lives in diapers so you shouldn’t be so judgemental. If you had to use some of the bathrooms touring bands use, you’d wear diapers too.

BB: Do you ever click on those banner advertisements with dancing figures that say you could get a great rate on refinancing your home?  If so, what happens when you do?  (I’ve always been curious, but apparently not curious enough…)

Greenland: No.  No.  If you do they might try to stick you with some kind of reverse mortgage or terrible balloon product.  These instruments in the hands of predatory lenders can be very bad news.  Or maybe mortgage lenders are just desperate for business.  Either way I think that girl can really dance.  This is a good example of impromptu-dancing-on-the-internet marketing.

BB: If the capitol of the U.S. was moved from Washington, D.C. to Detroit, Michigan, what effect, if any, would the switch have on the arts scene in the Motor City?

The High Strung: I dunno, how has the capitol being DC affected the art scene there?  I suppose there would be a lot more politics in the music, right now it’s a very decadent atmosphere, at least in the music aspect of the arts. People in Detroit thrive on music to make them feel good, it’s visceral, its thick, you can chew the sweat on the dance floor.  The visual art world in the D is a different story, there are many galleries and lofts doing extreme stuff, but still when i go out, i notice people getting fucked up, first and foremost.  I think if the country’s capitol were in detroit, people would get conscious, they’d be more in touch with their environment.  I don’t mean to rag on the folks in the D, we have a lot of political problems that get addressed in our weekly rags, local NPR, etc.  but in this climate, this time in our history the people of detroit are in bad shape.  If you brought DC to Detroit, at least you’d be bringing jobs, and we could finally clean up this place. There are still burnt down houses and building that haven’t been cleaned up since the fucking riots, man!  that was 1967! Anyway, our art scene is one of the only things redeemable about living in detroit!

: What the fuck is the point of mainstream radio?  Related question: what the fuck is the point of MTV?  To sell advertising, right?

Donny Hue: The point of mainstream radio, as you call it, is Duh Duh Double Shots of Rock with a Two-fer Tuesday Mandatory Metallica Block Party Get The Led Out Weekend with the Morning Wood in the Morning and the BEST Classic Rock All Day. I don’t have cable so I can’t weigh in on MTV other to say it’s not as stupid as TMZ, but it’s close.

BB: Will the cover of the Wall Street Journal eventually resemble the cover of the New York Post?  Would that change be positive or negative for our democracy?

Greenland: The best things about the Wall Street Journal are the little illustrations and the narrow columns.  Once in a blue moon I buy a copy while I have a bagel with cream cheese and a coffee.   I get lox but it’s pricey for breakfast, sort of like the WSJ.  I could see why people would be concerned that the WSJ would head in a New York Post direction.  The Post has these big manipulative color photos instead of nice, space-saving drawings.  I think their headlines are also super big and maybe sometimes lying.  Rupert Murdoch bought the WSJ maybe a year ago.  Everything seems ok to me, because I have not read or heard much chatter about it lately.  Nobody seems concerned anymore, so I am not particularly concerned. Now some say ALL newspapers will not be in print soon. If these people are right there will be no “cover” at all for the WSJ.  Regardless, I don’t think of sensationalist media as necessarily anti-democratic, but any cultivation of honest, nuanced journalism is a positive thing.

BB: Why are you excited to play a show this Friday, June 19, at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C.?

The High Strung: I love it, an amazing bar, i love Ian MacKaye and anything he’s involved in, i want in on!

BB: Thanks much for taking the time.  See you all tonight!

[photo: Bellman Barker, cred. Shervin Lainez]