by Mike Murphy
I wrote a thing to find out a thing that maybe some people were wondering.
Buckingham Palace guardsman under investigation after video shows him pirouetting on duty
ITV News: A Grenadier Guard has been caught on camera busting some moves outside Buckingham Palace, but the soldier is expected to receive disciplinary action for his dancing.
It seems like a pretty boring job, to be fair.
I made some ads for the news app I’m building for my final project at Medill.
I am the next David Ogilvy.
How Reading The News Has Changed In Recent Years: A Short Personal Journey.
(i.e. Taking photos for Flash.Me’s ads)
A couple kids and I are building a news web app to get you caught up on the news each day for our final project at Medill. We just launched our second ‘alpha’ test of daily content.
I wrote a story today for it on the Guardians of the Galaxy and what that’s all about.
Check it out, if you like news or funny things or flat design or have nothing to read on the train.
Plus, if you bookmark the site on an iPhone or iPad, it turns into an actual app. MAGIC.
I pulled together some photos from my trip to Williston, ND for an article due out at the end of the month. Check ‘em out on Exposure.
This was about twelve hours ago in the North Dakota Badlands. America’s pretty fantastic #TimMike2ND
An oil derrick with a large gas flare in action, about 15 miles outside of Williston, ND, this evening.
This was my view for most of the day. #TimMike2ND
Pretty sure this is the first oil derrick I’ve ever seen.
More photos to come as my roommate and I explore northwest North Dakota.
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Evanston SPACE July 7 2014
Opening act: Dance Bullies
I am a cynical person. I have been compared to this cat. A professor in college called me “curmudgeonly.” As such, it’s rare that I go to a show that has any sort of profound effect on me. I love music that I love, but being around a bunch of other sweaty, shoving, obnoxious bearded assholes like myself to hear something I could hear better at home, doesn’t usually appeal to me.
Full disclosure: I already knew that I enjoyed Alynda Lee Segarra’s music. A friend told me to listen to her band’s song, “The New SF Bay Blues” earlier this year and I immediately went and found every song I could by Hurray for the Riff Raff. So when I heard she was going to be playing in Evanston, somewhere I could walk to from my house, I really had no excuse not to go. But I wasn’t expecting much.
In a the back room of an expensive pizza shop in an expensive suburb of Chicago, I am watching a small woman of Puerto Rican descent who was born in the Bronx, who spent her youth going to punk shows on the Lower East Side, traveled across Germany and now lives in New Orleans, sing folk songs. I text my friend who is running late to hurry up because Segarra is on stage and she is doing something beautiful.
The lights are off apart from a single spotlight on Segarra. She says her band will be out in a minute, but first she wants to sing a song on her own. She sings “The New SF Bay Blues” and it is perfect.
There’s something about listening to someone who is the same age as you, who has lived more fully than you ever will, singing with poise and beauty and grace and honesty that makes you realize she will haunt you tomorrow, next week, and when you’re in your mid-thirties, wondering how you ended up in this cubicle worrying about mortgage payments and daycare costs.
Segarra has the stage presence of folk singers from generations before her. She jokes about writing traveling songs while being on tour, so that’s what she’s going to sing. She asks the crowd if they’re following the World Cup as closely as she is. Three guys in Germany jerseys nodded along. She tells the audience that the band brings a piece of wood from their hometown of New Orleans that they put on stage, so they can dance on a small part of New Orleans, wherever they are. Segarra is a musician out of time.
Segarra said she wanted to write a murder ballad because they’re always written by men, and women are always getting killed. There’s a whole separate story that could be written about Hurray for the Riff Raff’s subversion of traditional tropes in folk music, and that band as a whole identifies as queer, but I couldn’t do any of that justice. To me, while Segarra was singing “The Body Electric,” it just reminded me of Jack White’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” – a great rendition of a famous country song where the fact that the gender roles were reversed seemed irrelevant.
Segarra was backed on stage by a competent band – a strong fiddler, a guy on keys, one on an upright bass, and a guy on drums. They helped bring Segarra’s songs to life, bring them to a place where you want to stomp along with each chugging bass line and fiddle riff. I wondered as they played “Western Cowboy” what it would’ve been like to see Bob Dylan and the Band at some random tour stop in the Rust Belt in 1972 and if I would’ve felt like I felt right now.
I doubt that Segarra will ever become a voice of a generation, or that those really take the form of musicians any more, or if that even matters. But there was something I felt that night that was not dissimilar from the myriad times I’d listened to The Last Waltz – get out of here; explore the world – you have not seen enough, you have not felt enough to be content with where you are.
At the end of the evening, Segarra and her traveling band would leave Evanston. I think their next show was somewhere bigger. I had to go back to being a grad student with debt and no job prospects in a dorm that smells like old shrimp.
The performance was too short for me. The band played for about 90 minutes, but I wanted to hear them play everything they ever recorded, just to say I’d heard it live. I guess this is how people are supposed to feel at concerts.