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Archive for the ‘Barfoed Does America’ Category

BDA: Nashville (9/30-10/1/10)

October 30, 2010

Just eight hours south of the Windy City is a music mecca that trades bratwurst for BBQ and seems like practically a different country, especially in the hat-wear department. It is Nashville, TN (OBVIOUSLY) and it was the third stop on the Barfoed Does America tour.

Throughout the planning stage of this whole poppycocked adventure, the only constants were Ithaca, Chicago, and New Orleans. What happened in-between or afterward? Best left to improvisation, I thought, and “road feel.” On closer reading of On the Road, it became apparent that the latter was actually just mescaline (and I didn’t have any) but improvisation…that I could definitely do. And so it was, waking up in Wicker Park on the 30th of September, that I decided it was time to have me some barbecue.

Keep reading!

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BDA: Chicago (9/28-30/10)

October 28, 2010

How do you capture a city like Chicago? How do you properly deconstruct a place that has given us Oprah AND Al Capone AND the Cubs, a land of boundless contradiction that seems dead-set on defying one’s expectations? You can’t, at least not easily. All you can do…the only option, really…is to write a bunch of random stuff and hope it makes some shred of logical and artistic sense. Fingers crossed!

Greetings from Chicago

Chicago is, so far as I can tell, the only city in the Midwest. This observation is based less on categorical evidence than the specific route I took to get there, but locals confirmed as much — it’s really all there is for hundreds of miles. With that title comes a great deal of responsibility, then, and an “all things for all people” quality that permeates every corner of the Windy City. I mean EVERY city has that — New York and its Variety Cafes first and foremost in America — but the relative smallness of Chicago makes it even more apparent.

I try and make up for that smallness with LOTS more words, here.

BDA: ‘This American Life’ Drives This American Crazy

October 22, 2010

This American LifeWhen you’re behind the wheel of a fuel-efficient hatchback for over 4000 miles and your musical tastes are expansive, but not that expansive, you’ve got only a few options as far as dealing with boredom go. There’s the classic “License Plate” game (46 of 50 states!). Tractor trailer pickle. But no matter what you come up with — no matter how finger-paintingly creative you are — you will eventually (begrudgingly) find yourself turning to the Podcasts menu on your USB-connected iPod. Then thumbing your way down to a little show called This American Life. You’ll listen to an episode. Maybe several. And only afterwards will you arrive at the central issue that’s been unconsciously nagging at you the entire time: you know this is good for you in some weird way…but does it have to be so DOUCHEY?

To be answered in the next part of this post (maybe).

BDA: The Northeast (9/27-28/10)

October 21, 2010

It is a truth universally acknowledged that wanting for high-end retail in the wilds of Pennsylvania and New York, you are never far from a  fireworks outlet. And so it was, armed with Blue Thunder rockets and a prodigious amount of roman candles, that I made my way to Ithaca, NY for the first leg of my cross-country trip.

The weather didn’t get the memo I sent about “amping up the poetry” on my drive through western Pennsylvania, but this just gave me time away from scenery-shooting — plenty to follow over the next 16 days! — to concentrate on becoming one with my ride. Day one saw a lot of firsts, actually: first gas pumping (both alone and with company, as NJ forbids us juicehead gorillas from doing it ourselves), first cruise control experimentation. That you can actually get the car to drive for you sort of I still marvel at like a kid building a science fair volcano, or discovering cheating through your calculator. Just an amazing world.

More! Here!

BDA: The Alamo Drafthouse Rules (10/6/10)

October 7, 2010

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS is lighting up my next three days like an alternative music Christmas tree, so I figured I’d bang out 1-2 “Barfoed Does America” posts today before going Internet-silent (dubious claim!). The catch? An emphasis on documentation over quality and polish; reportage over…good writing. (Read: fast and loose typing.) Why you’re still reading is anyone’s guess, as I’ve basically just told you that what follows is subpar Lifting Fog…but that’s on you, pal. Thanks for your support!

We are all humans here, and therefore have all been to the movies. That’s EVERYONE — even jerkbags who say “I don’t go to the movies.” Even poor people who really cannot afford to go to the movies. We all go! And we all love it!

But for as long as movie theaters have been in existence, so too have complaints about the movie-going experience. From the old standbys (ceaseless chatter; crying babies) to the new standards (“Love in this Club” ringtones), the drawbacks have become as much a (begrudgingly) accepted part of going to the movies as pre-show trailers. We deal, because we have to.

There is a theater deep in the heart of Texas that says NO WE DON’T.

(Which you can read about by clicking this link!)

Barfoed Does America: How Not to Pack (9/27/10)

October 6, 2010

One week later I’m returning to the scene of the crime — the crime being everything about Lifting Fog, I guess! — to try and figure out just how to break this now half-over trip down in blog form. Originally I had thought I’d write in legs (Home-Ithaca; Nashville-New Orleans) as a way of organizing my thoughts, but that seemed forced — like I’d be imposing some rigid structure and expectation on something that’s been anything but. Then I thought maybe I’d try VLOGGING for the first time — turn the camera on and just let my twisted improvising guide the way. But of course vlogging is dumb.

Yup!

So forgoing any kind of motif or design, I’m just going to tackle each post on its own terms. Didn’t Michelangelo say something about letting the marble “speak to him,” or something? I think he did. He just never imagined I’d be the Michelangelo of the 21st century, and “Barfoed Does America” my David. Because he would have totally killed himself.

…And with that, let’s jump right in!

The heart of this post juuuuusst after the jump here.

Barfoed Does America: The Beginning

September 29, 2010

Usually I’d start one of these things with a meandering, “epic” opening that inches into the rest of the post deliberately (like it’s a mink bathrobe or cold pool), going on and on about some seemingly unrelated topic. I’d try your patience and commitment with my purple prose. I’d throw in a lot of words I only sort of understand (“homogenous”; “zeitgeist”). I’d definitely invoke the rule of threes, prodigiously. But we DON’T HAVE THAT LUXURY THIS TIME. Why?

Keep reading!