Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Five takes an artistic turn

I almost didn't get in.

After waiting months for the double-bill of Switchfoot and Anberlin at Calvin College, I walked up to the ticket booth as the student worker was setting things up.

“You've got tickets, right?” I asked. I wasn't worried. Once I attended a concert at Calvin, and it was a gathering of John Reuben and about 50 friends.

“We've got two.”

I smiled.

“No, I'm serious. We have two tickets, and that's only because someone turned them in. Don't move from that spot."

So after purchasing half of the available tickets I enjoyed an awesome concert featuring two of my favorite bands – and met some new friends, too.

Many miles on treadmill and trail have been logged to the sound of Switchfoot's “Hello Hurricane” since it was released in 2009.

Anberlin was a more recent discovery, true to my practice of being about 5 years behind the times musically.

The show was the highlight of an arts-centric Deezo Friday Five.


Calvin's Hoogeboom Arena was set up with wooden bleachers on the sides and standing room on the floor. I opted for the bleachers near the side because I am too old for the mosh pit.

Lead singer Jon Foreman was interacting with the crowd a lot, leaning over the stage, leaning in to the out-stretched hands. But during “The War Inside” he jumped off the stage and into the crowd and walked along the beachers, then turned and started stepping up – right toward me.

Foreman looked up and extended his hand, then used mine to pull himself up into the row and sang the rest of the song two spaces away. Cool!


Anberlin's sound was pretty muddy until the acoustic songs – including “The Unwinding Cable Car” was a great surprise.

Andrew likes to collect set lists after the show, and we've begged roadies of many groups for the paper, which usually is duct-taped to the stage floor.

But this time I was walking past the sound board and saw the Amberlin set list just sitting there. The guy working behind the board said I could have it. Sweet!

Atomic Tom

It's not easy being the opening act. Usually the best thing people will say is “They didn't suck,” and the biggest applause typically comes after the singer says, “We've got one more song for you.”

But I liked Atomic Tom. Sure, they got points after saying they were from Brooklyn. But their rocking cover of Human League's “Don't You Want Me” was a nice surprise, and the rest of the set was a nice mix of power pop – with the emphasis on power – and straightforward rock.

“Take Me Out” sounded familiar and I liked “The Moment,” the title cut from their CD. I went to meet the band at the merch table after the show, and snagged the last CD they had. Nice guys.

The CD has been steadily playing in the car since the concert, and I found their apparently famous video of “Take Me Out” played and filmed entirely with iPhones on a subway.

“Catching Hell”

I got an email out of the blue last winter from someone who said he was working with a documentary producer and was interested in using two photos he found on the blog.

The post was about Will and I going to see the Mets lose at Wrigley. As will once explained to a Comiskey vendor as I snapped a shot of him preparing my hot dog, “He documents everything.”

And on this particular adventure, we located the seat where infamous Cubs fan Steve Bartman was sitting when he prevented Moises Alou from catching a foul ball in the 2003 playoffs. Or not. It's not really clear whether Bartman actually got a hand on the ball, and the Cubs proceeded to allow 8 runs in the rest of inning, all without Bartman's help.

But this was Chicago and Cub losses are blamed on curses and not incompetence, so Bartman has been forced into exile.

We found the seat, and some goofball was sitting there, preventing others from taking in the view. I documented him.

Then I recreated the Bartman alleged near catch and Will documented that because that, too, is what we do.

The producer wanted to use both of those, and I happily consented.

The documentary aired Tuesday and was called, “Catching Hell,” focusing on the treatment of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner after the glorious 1986 Mets World Series comeback and Bartman.

And, about 90 minutes into the show, you will see the goofball and me in a montage of fans recreating the moment, which must have been a surprise to the goofball, had he been watching. I get a photo credit, too!


Grand Rapids is filled with art of all shapes, sizes and quality this week for the third annual ArtPrize competition.

People spend the first two weeks voting thumbs up or down on each pieces, and the ten with the most votes continue into a second round, where the winner gets a nice pile of cash.

As you can imagine, high-brow art people are horrified – horrified – at the kind of stuff that lands in the top 10. It's like when music critics tell us how we should love some artists when we all just want to hear Foreigner.

Confession: I like Foreigner, and I like the stuff that sends the hoity-toity people into a frenzy. This year, artist have figured out the kind of stuff that voters like and have been accused of pandering more than a politician in Iowa a week before the primary.

The arts version of “Hot Blooded” is called “Gerald Ford Goes to ArtPrize,” and kind of looks like a wax museum version of the native son pondering a bronze bust of himself.

The same artist last year created an ultra life-like sculpture of a monk which was praised mightily but did not get a ton of votes. This year's version is in the top 10.

I wanted to vote for it just because A) it is pretty cool, and B) the high brow folks would go ballistic. Alas, with just one vote to cast, there were great negotiations within the family. We voted for “Rusty,” the giant dog made from car scraps and tree stumps.

Maybe a little more "I Want to Know What Love Is" than "Double Vision," but still pretty cool.