Sara Bertuldo (See Through Dresses) on racism and exploitation in art; Thick Paint, Anna McClellan tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In my November column in The Reader, I wrote an essay titled “With the Best of Intentions: Yellow face, the N-word and a divided music community.” The column discussed accusations of racism made toward members of the Omaha music community. If you haven’t already, read the column now to understand the context of the rest of this post.

As an addendum at Lazy-i.com, I also posted a Q&A with Simon Joyner about the controversy, which you can read here.

After I posted links to both the column and the Q&A in Facebook, a number of people reacted, saying I didn’t capture both sides of the issue. Someone suggested I ask See Through Dresses front woman Sara Bertuldo for her thoughts on the matter, and Bertuldo indicated she’d be willing to do an interview or answer questions.

See Through Dresses was on tour at the time, so I suggested we do it via email (as I’d done with Joyner’s Q&A), and sent Sara the following questions to be published with her responses as a post in Lazy-i.

My questions:

— What was your reaction to: Joyner’s song, Noah Sterba’s song, Harouki Zombi?

— Do you think the artists in question have done anything wrong or were trying to intentionally hurt anyone through their actions?

— Is it OK for artists and musicians to broach these sorts of topics in their work? Why or why not?

— Were you satisfied with the apologies or explanations offered by these artists about their choices?

Sara sent her responses late last week in the form of the following essay:

The first reaction is anger.

Imagine someone says something bad about you. What you did. What you said. Or maybe what you wore. How would you feel? I’d feel pretty angry. Is it really bad? Was it something to feel ashamed about? Did you make a mistake? Can you apologize for it? Should you?

Now imagine someone says something else bad about you. Only this time it’s something undeniably true, like something about your identity. Or the color of your skin or shape of your eyes. Something you can literally do nothing to change. How does it feel? I know I was angry. 

When you react with anger, people say things like “don’t take it the wrong way” or “it’s a joke” to minimize it. What it feels like when that happens is that they minimize me and my experience.

Racism.

It’s a scary word to a lot of people.

My experience with racism is like a book I carry with me. That book is a heavy weight that sits on my chest. And every time I experience something like this, that book opens. It is filled with my memories of prejudice. Memories of being asked if I was Chinese or Japanese in elementary school, being told I “act white,” being fetishized, and learning my mother withheld our language from me to make me more American. She did this to help me fit in. She was treated poorly because of her accent when she immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. When she had children she promised herself that wouldn’t happen to them.

Racism.

Racism is a normal word to me.

I believe it is embedded in all of us and the only way we can fix it is by educating ourselves.

I’m really tired of absorbing everything and keeping silent. It makes me feel sick.

There was a time that I let things slide. I kept quiet because I wanted to preserve some sort of peace. Talking about it was way too real. And people say things that make you question how you feel. To make you quiet. But all these little things that have been said just add up. Every single thing I hear or read, it just eats at me.

Link: http://seethroughdressesband.com/post/161006916559/

I had written something before detailing my experience post-Harouki Zombi stuff. I personally left out names. I didn’t want people to feel attacked. I did not want them to feel the way I felt. I was so angry when this all started, but I tried to let go of that for a moment and write my story. I felt by offering a personal account on what it feels like to be a person of color I could help them see how upset I was. I thought my way for me to change someone’s views was through compassion and not anger.

But months later, it keeps coming up so here we are again.

So to Orenda, Noah, and Simon:

With all due respect, yes, you are all artists. And you are all white. You benefit from things I do not. You absolutely have the freedom to do whatever you wish in your art. But if you are so progressive minded, if you are as compassionate as your friends say you are, please treat our culture and words with reverence. Keep making art, but please do not exploit us. I don’t believe there was intent to cause harm. But the fact of the matter is, you did. I believe it’s more meaningful to take a step back and listen now. Listen to us.

I resent this whole ordeal. I am upset it’s taken so much time from me. I spent so much time thinking about it, crying about it. I’ve cancelled band practice over it, been depressed about it at work, and now I’m out on tour writing about it when I should be enjoying where I am.

And to the people that were so outwardly angry about it, I sympathize with that anger. I really do. People called them bored, childish, social just warriors… You know why marginalized people react that way sometimes? It’s because people don’t listen to us. And it happens again and again.

Here is one marginalized person’s opinion. Because we coexist in this community, I thought you should hear it. You can take it or leave it.

I find solace in my friends and family that support me. I can only work on the people I care about or people that want to be better and if you don’t want to learn from this, that is totally fine.

I’m sorry if that sounds angry, but if anger is all you see then you’re missing the point.
— Sara Bertuldo

Thanks, Sara, for the thoughtful comments on a very difficult subject.

* * *

Tonight at Brothers Lounge it’s the return of Thick Paint. The band has been on the road for awhile and swings back into Omaha with Anna McClellan, who just leaked the first single, “Heart of Hearts,” from her forthcoming album Yes and No, due in February on Father/Daughter. Dilute also is on tonight’s bill. $5, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Orenda Fink, Anna McClellan tonight; Lodgings, Leafblower, Low Long Signal Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:51 pm December 9, 2016
Anna McClellan at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015. She plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. She plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We’re entering a dead zone for shows — the weeks leading up to Christmas, bleak cold days where it takes massive effort for people to venture out into the arctic cold. Like what we’re experiencing right now. The only worst time for shows is after the holiday and before spring. But we’ll get to that, eventually.

There’s a couple big benefit shows happening this weekend.

Tonight there’s an “amplification concert” (my term) called Mobilize Omaha at The Waiting Room. A handful of nonprofits will be presenting their messages to an audience who will also see performances by Orenda Fink, Anna McClellan, Masonjixx, Kait Berreckman and a “surprise guest.” It’s organized by Planned Parenthood, but your $5 donation will be split among all participating non-profits. Starts early, at 5 p.m. and suggested donation is $5, but you can do better than that.

Tomorrow night it’s back to The Waiting Room, this time for a benefit for Youth Emergency Services featuring performances by Low Long Signal, Armful of Tiger Lilies, Slow Stoics, The Clocks, & Port Nocturnal. Tickets are $5 today, $7 DOS. Show starts at 9.

Also Saturday night, they’re calling it “Dad Rock Night at Milk Run.” The line-up ain’t exactly dad-rock-like: Lodgings (members of NAWAS*, Son Ambulance, Head Of Femur, UUVVWWZ, Sound of Rails); Leafblower (members of Little Brazil, NAWAS, New Lungs, Face For Radio), The Sleeperhits and Mike Saklar (Sun-Less Trio, Comme Reel, No Blood Orphan, Ravine). All four acts for just $5. Starts at 9 p.m. at Milk Run.
     * Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship

Also Saturday night, The Brothers Lounge is hosting a Toys for Tots concert featuring DSM5, Jump the Tiger and Mim Aparo (Anthems). $5 or a toy gets you in. It’s a great cause. Starts at 8 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section.  Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

BFFFF (Laura Burhenn, Anna McClellen), Bloodcow tonight; Son, Ambulance, Well Aimed Arrows, Omaha Girls Rock! Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm July 15, 2016
Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015. She plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Quite a few shows this weekend, though no national touring indie bands (What else is new?). Let’s get on with it.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s is pretty gnarly fundraiser for the Benson First Friday Femme Fest (BFFFF). Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds will be playing a set along with Anna McClellan, Mesonjixx and Badland Girls. Your $10 admission goes to a good cause. According to the invitation: “BFFFF is completely DIY with no budget, and everything made the day of (after pay-to-play costs of the venues/PA rentals/etc.) goes to the bands.” Starts at the usual 9:30.

Also tonight, Bloodcow returns to devastate the Barley Street Tavern with their other-worldly metal mayhem. Joining them are tough guys Hand Painted Police Car and Leaving Vaudeville. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night everyone’s going to The Brothers Lounge for a sharp bill that includes Well Aimed Arrows, Those Far Out Arrows and Son, Ambulance. $5, 9 p.m.

Before you head out for the evening, there’s a super fun early evening event at The Slowdown. It’s the Omaha Girls Rock! showcase. This performance is a culmination of the girls’ hard work in one week to learn an instrument, form a band, and write a song. Always a good time, and a chance to see the stars of tomorrow. Show starts at 5:30 and suggested donation is $5. Find out more about this very cool program at omahagirlsrock.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Dog Party, Sneeze Attack, Frigs, Anna McClellan tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm July 12, 2016
Anna McClellan at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015. She opens for Frigs tonight at Brothers Lounge.

Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. She opens for Frigs tonight at Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Briefly, a couple very good shows are happening tonight.

Firstly, Toronto band Frigs, who I wrote about yesterday here, are playing tonight at the Omaha’s No. 1 punk bar, Brothers Lounge. Opening the show is the amazing Anna McClellan and her band and Collin Duckworth & The Transcendental Lovers AKA Sophie Hug & The Kisses AKA Nathan Ma & The Rosettes. This $5 show is said to begin at 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Asian Man/Burger Records band Dog Party headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Opening is Sacramento duo Sneeze Attack (one of the better band names in recent history, right up there with Dog Party) and Omaha’s own The Ridgways. This $7 show is start to start at 9 p.m.

* * *

Finally, condolences to the Maxwell family on the passing of Frank Maxwell, 49. Frank was a member of legendary Omaha rock band Fifth of May, who I remember seeing at the old Howard St. Tavern many many moons ago. His loss is being felt throughout the entire Omaha music community.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Anna McClellan, Razors; Filter Kings, Clarence Tilton tonight; Simon Joyner, Sam Martin Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:05 pm December 4, 2015
Anna McClellan at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015.

Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Capacity crowd at O’Leaver’s last night for Anna McClellan. The former Omahan returned to town after a 2-week tour, which I guess made the show a homecoming of sorts. The packed house looked like it included lots of proud parents and relatives mixed in with the usual woke-up-at-4 p.m. O’Leaver’s crowd. It felt like a holiday show thanks to all the love in the room.

Miniature Horse at O'Leaver's Dec. 3, 2015.

Miniature Horse at O’Leaver’s Dec. 3, 2015.

Opening the night was the enchanting Miniature Horse a.k.a. Rachel Tomlinson Dick and her trusty electric guitar. Compared to the three or four times I’ve seen her before, Dick sounded a bit reserved, maybe because her amp was overpowering her vocals, which felt meeker than I remembered. Dick’s stripped-down sound is comparable to early PJ Harvey on louder performances. Last night I was reminded more of Joni Mitchell and her delicate finger-picking guitar.

Razors at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015.

Razors at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. Notice what the club did to the usually obtrusive flat-panel TV?

The only person I recognized in the crowded 7-piece band Razors was Jim Schroeder of UUVVWWZ, who supplied keyboards on a set of psychedelic garage rock songs that wavered between gritty Brian Jonestown Massacre and the baroque style of ’60s acts like Left Banke. Male/female vocals pushed the band to the next level, especially when they attempted to harmonize. Schroeder’s keys also were essential. These folks are worth keeping an eye on.

Finally at around midnight Anna McClellan took the O’Leaver’s worn-carpeting-patch of a stage, this time as a trio. Fans remember McClellan from her earlier incarnation in indie rock band Howard. Her solo work is more stripped down and personal, relying on chiming acoustic piano and a unique voice that ranges from a flat, bored howl to a bluesy, Billie Holiday croon.

Her new release, Fire Flames (Majestic Litter, 2015), is a collection of pretty songs draped in a winsome loneliness, small portraits of everyday life and love sung by a woman with an intense awareness of herself, her wants and needs and the limits of the hand she’s been dealt. There’s an abstract honesty to every word of every song.

Superstar Conor Oberst sings harmonies on the title track, which also happens to be the most haunting song of the collection. No doubt Oberst was hanging out at Mike Mogis’ ARC Studio with engineer Ben Brodin the day they recorded the tune. It’s no surprise that the record has that dusty-library quality of early Saddle Creek Records releases, making it a must for anyone who follows that label.

The McClellan trio played mostly songs off Fire Flames, plus a few new numbers that continued in the same vein. McClellan in full brassy voice belted out each number like a classic torch singer but draped in flannel rather than lamé, a snapshot of Midwestern melancholy. The crowd adored her, and she soaked it in with appreciation. Few of us will ever be lucky enough enjoy such a homecoming.

* * *

A quick note of one minor but important change at O’Leaver’s — the management finally figured out a way to cover up that big, ugly flat-panel TV screen that loomed over all the performers for the past seven or eight years, marring every photo taken at every show. They created a sort of album-jacket camouflage insert that miraculously makes the TV seamlessly blend in with the rest of the crippy-crap album jackets stapled to the walls (see Razors photo, above). It’s a small thing, I know, but it makes a difference. I hope my whining about the TV helped spur the change…

* * *

Onward to the weekend. There are no touring indie-rock bands playing anywhere (What else is new?), but there’s still plenty to see and hear.

Tonight’s prime offering is something called Telecaster Disasters at The Waiting Room. In fact it’s a night of alt-country-fueled guitar rock headlined by The Filter Kings (first show in ages) with Monday Mourners, The Willards Band and one of the most talked-about newcomers of 2015, Clarence Tilton, whose debut album is destined to make it onto a lot of local “best of” lists. $8, 9 p.m.

Also tonight (Friday), Eklectica headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Lineman’s Rodeo and David Nance Band. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And there’s the Omaha Zinefest Benefit Show at West Wing, 301 So. 38th Ave. (across the street from The Brothers Lounge). According the Facebook listing, “Omaha Zine Fest is coming at you on March 12th! Help us raise funds to offset the cost for local and regional zinesters to come to town and showcase their work.” Playing are Bib, The Sunks, Pro Magnum and Jocko. $5 donation, 9:30 p.m. More info here.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Simon Joyner returns to the Reverb stage. Joining him is Sam Martin, who is celebrating a cassette release — look as I might online, I can’t find any info on what this cassette is, who’s putting it out, etc. Also on the bill is Noah Sterba Band. $7, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday is O’Leaver’s annual chili cook-off. For $5 you get to eat chili from 1 to 5 p.m. at The Club. Later that night, Kait Berreckman headlines with Tara Vaughan and Blue Bird. The music starts at 9:30 and cover is $5.

That’s what I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

New Live@O’Leaver’s (Crushed Out, Eric in Outerspace, Powers); Anna McClellan, Miniature Horse, English Beat tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:49 pm December 3, 2015
Miniature Horse at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015. They play tonight at O'Leaver's.

Miniature Horse at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015. They play tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The next trio of Live at O’Leaver’s recordings went online this morning. Check them out below.

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s the return of Anna McClellan. The singer/songwriter just released a new collection of songs called Fire Flames on hip, cassette/digital-only label Majestic Litter, and it’s a scorcher. Also on the bill is Miniature Horse (a.k.a.  Rachel Tomlinson Dick) and Razors. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, legacy ska act English Beat is playing a sold-out show at The Waiting Room. The Interpreters open. 8 p.m.

* * *

Has anyone noticed that friggin’ photo of Digital Leather has been on this homepage for four years? What did The Sydney ever do with that awesome Phillips 66 sign?

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

PUJOL now on Bartertowncoop?; new Anna McClellan tape; Sufjan Stevens, Gallant tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 6:45 am October 28, 2015
Sufjan Stevens takes flight tonight at The Orpheum Theater.

Sufjan Stevens takes flight tonight at The Orpheum Theater.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What are we to make of the fact that PUJOL has a new EP called Kisses coming out on Bartertowncoop rather than Saddle Creek Records? Well, it shouldn’t be a big surprise. PUJOL is a rather prolific artist and has released stuff on multiple labels over his career. No doubt Bartertowncoop offered a release date that aligned with the upcoming Black Friday Records Store Day promotion Nov. 27 (which is when the album is slated to drop). Check out the first single from the EP below.

That’s not big news, but there hasn’t been much news going on lately.

Look for an announcement in these here online pages about a new venue opening next month. Will it be a game-changer? Maybe, maybe… I think so, considering who’s involved, but more on that latter.

I’ve been meaning to share this new video by ex-Omahan Anna McClellan (you remember her from Howard) that I first spied on the Hear Nebraska website. I rarely share new video tracks, but this one is pretty inspiring and marks a new direction for McClellan, who has a new cassette/download out on Ryan Fox’s Majestic Litter label (which you can order right here for a mere $7). This is one of my favorites so far for the third quarter ’15. I’m told McClellan is now living somewhere in New York. Anna, what happened to those gigantic glasses you used to wear?

Well, tonight I’ll be sitting with some of you at the Sufjan Stevens concert at The Orpheum Theater. Last I looked, tickets were still available for a variety of prices starting at around $41.

I suspect this could be a pretty gloomy affair. Have you heard his new album, Carrie & Lowell? It’s about as much of a downer as you’d expect from an record that’s about the death of Stevens’ mother. Based on the set list from last night’s performance at The Paramount Theater in Denver (which you can see here), we’ll be getting a performance of the new album in its entirety, plus one or two from Illinoise, The Age of Adz and  Seven Swans during the encore. Bring your Kleenix.

Opening for Sufjan is LA performer Gallant.

This is listed on the Ticket Omaha website as having a 7:30 start time, which seems odd. See you there.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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