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Thursday, Jul 17, 2014
When you live in a cutting-edge state where marijuana is legal, it’s easy to forget how far behind so much of America still is.
Photo courtesy of Gregory M. Schwartz


With marijuana having been legalized in Colorado and Washington state, there were activists who decided it was high time to go for legalization in the nation’s capital. Hence, the D.C. Cannabis Campaign was launched this spring to collect the signatures to get Voter Initiative #71 on the fall ballot in the District of Columbia.


When members of the campaign feared that they might not obtain the 22,373 valid signatures from registered District voters by the 7 July deadline, organizers sought to bring in reinforcements from afar. A handful of activists from California and other distant states soon took up residence at the campaign’s headquarters on Embassy Row to help push the initiative over the top.


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Thursday, Jul 17, 2014
A holiday Panic show provides the intrepid traveler with another flashing chance at bliss amidst the economic chaos that passes for the dwindling American Dream in 2014.

When legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson visited Las Vegas in the early ‘70s to report on a district attorneys’ conference on narcotics, he wound up penning a soliloquy for Rolling Stone magazine on the California counterculture revolution of the ‘60s that still resonates decades later:


“There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning… And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave… So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”


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Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014
Andrew Bird's newest album Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of... features covers of the Handsome Family that were brought to life at Summerstage.

After Luke Temple, of Here We Go Magic, opened to a crowd that had already reached the venue’s capacity Andrew Bird started off his Summerstage show with three solo offerings before bringing out his backing band. The troupe called The Hands of Glory performed with Bird for the rest of his lengthy set reimagining his originals (draw from nearly a dozen albums) and some covers, mainly those from Bird’s most recent album, Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of… consisting entirely of songs originally by The Handsome Family. This backing band included regular collaborators Tift Merritt, Kevin O’Donnell and a few others and they gave Bird a country nest from which to perform though there was a couple chances for him to go on one of his more abstract, whistling journeys. A fine performance for the outdoor venue on an evening that remained undisturbed by rain.


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Monday, Jul 14, 2014
Timberlake performed an exclusive show for 2,200 people in the middle of his Summer arena tour run.

Justin Timberlake is in the middle of a huge sold-out arena tour yet he took the time to perform a more “intimate” show at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom for a corporate sponsor, Mastercard. Or it could have been American Airlines who had a larger promotional presence on site, but I don’t think I heard Timberlake give them props during his show. Just the credit card. In any case, the exclusivity made this the hot event of the night for New Yorkers even if it wasn’t the hot event of the week. There were several large concerts going on in the NYC area over several (other) nights including Katy Perry across the street at the Garden and Beyoncé and Jay-Z with two nights at the Meadowlands (Hova did not grace JT’s set unfortunately).


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Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014
Icelandic phenom Ásgeir has just released a new video for "King and Cross" and recently performed at a sold out show in New York.

After his short performance at CMJ last year, Ásgeir Trausti was slow to return to New York for a proper performance, coming over from Iceland more than six months after that gig (a Spring show at Rough Trade ended up being cancelled though it he was spotted in the US at a Hozier show). The time in between allowed him to release In the Silence, an English language version (translation help came from John Grant) of his debut album Dýrð í dauðaþögn, that had been picked up by at least 10% of Iceland’s population.


The Mercury Lounge show had been sold out for months but, when the day finally arrived, the venue never seemed to pack to capacity. That was fortunate for the folks at the front who were dancing along in the gloomy atmosphere that Ásgeir wallowed in. The singer-songwriter was backed by four musicians including his older brother and the album’s producer, throughout his mixed Icelandic/English set, performing the songs from both versions of his powerful debut.


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