The Suburbs of St. Louis

I was afraid I would finish this project “too late,” and that’s part of the problem. The issues thrust into the public eye recently regarding race, militarization (and lack of accountability) of the police, and flagrant infringement of First Amendment rights are made all the worse by the fact that the public eye is not one that’s been known to linger in any one direction. The public eye is easily distracted; public consciousness is quick to forget. (Kareem Abdul-Jabaar has thoughts on this.)

What could I say about the events earlier this month in Ferguson, Missouri that wasn’t already being said? I was struck by the same deep sadness and hollowing disappointment that seemed to be afflicting so much of the nation. The reality of the vast sea of injustice that washes over our country (and the world) on a daily basis felt overwhelming at times, but I didn’t have a way, or even desire really, to put all my feelings into words.

I was listening to Arcade Fire the other day and happened upon a cover of their song “The Suburbs” that gripped me instantly. Chilling female vocals carried the down-tempo melody across synths that were eerie and piercing, adding a haunting quality to the song while maintaining the original’s strong sense of disillusionment. The video for the original, if you’re not familiar, is a thought-provoking Spike Jonze work in which teenagers’ lives in familiar North American suburbs get disrupted by neighborhood warfare and military presence. (Definitely worth a watch.)

I couldn’t help being reminded of the video as I scrolled through the day’s collection of Ferguson stories, photos, and videos with Mr Little Jeans‘ cover on repeat in my headphones. Spike Jonze’s vision of a fictional suburban warzone was only a step beyond what was happening in a very real American town, and I felt compelled to make something of that notion:

There was no shortage of material for the video; the stuff I chose was primarily sourced from KARG Argus Radio’s LiveStream of the event, the New York Times article Ferguson Images Evoke Civil Rights Era & Changing Visual Perceptions (terrific photographs in that one, too), the Tweets and Vines comprising the feature Ferguson: Militarized police use force against protesters, arrest journalists, and Charlie LeDuff’s “This Is Not What Michael Brown Would Want.”

Other items I found of particular interest were the VICE News coverage, What I Did After Police Killed My Son on, Ferguson From Afar: How the World Sees the Protests on, and of course, Twitter’s entire #Ferguson record. You’ve probably seen John Oliver’s take.

Melissa Harris-Parry’s Searing Tribute to Black Men Killed By Police was probably the most heart-wrenching as it demonstrated the degree to which this is not an isolated incident. It’s not an isolated incident, and it’s not something that deserves to be forgotten. We need some real change.

Chicago & Wisconsin

I’ve had this draft saved forever and have bigger things on the horizon so I just want to get this posted. We spent the Monday after Pitchfork walking around Chicago and caught up with a few of our respective friends in the evening (and had some world famous Lou Malnati’s, of course). Got a rental Tuesday morning and drove up to my family’s cabin six hours north, in Wisconsin. Had a few days there on the lake; on the last some of my family came over from Minnesota with lots of food and some lake toys.

hancock chicago birdhouses chicago chicago trump tower chicago jay pritzker pavilion chicago cloud gate bean chicago black and white cloud gate bean chicago red cloud gate bean chicago yellow sculpture jaume plensa chicago millenium park face fountain smiling chicago face fountain spewing chicago kids splashing millennium park chicago shy boy millennium park chicago man with newspaper chicago marlon trees chicago leaf shadows chicago art gallery courtyard chicago congress hotel chicago

correctly identified by marlon as the fountain from 'married with children'

correctly identified by marlon as the fountain from ‘married with children’

lake michigan boats chicago lake michigan sailboat chicago loop eyes chicago

beach by the planetarium

beach by the planetarium

madison lake mendota

took a pitstop in madison and grabbed a beer at the university of wisconsin campus, on the shores of beautiful lake mendota.

scenery wisconsin

thanks mar for these in-traffic scenery pics!

cranberry bog wisconsin scenery2 wisconsin scenery3 wisconsin float on swede lake wisconsin cloud reflection wisconsin marlon boat swede lake wisconsin cloud reflection2 swede lake wisconsin swede lake wisconsin marlon boat2 swede lake wisconsin marlon rowing swede lake wisconsin swede lake2 swede lake wisconsin

captain marlon, swede lake edition!

captain marlon, swede lake edition!

swede lake3 wisconsin lazy ang swede lake wisconsin oar reflection swede lake wisconsin swede lake4 wisconsin swede lake sunset wisconsin swede lake sunset2 wisconsin swede lake sunset3 wisconsin mar glasses swede lake wisconsin three wishes swede lake wisconsin rowboat swede lake wisconsin rowboat2 swede lake wisconsinswede lake float

kids and shirl swede lake

AND THEN (no, not quite done yet) we drove the seven-and-a-half hours back south to Champaign, where Lee and Liz were getting married.

scenery to champaign

mirror selfie lolz

illinois barn

illinois scenery illinois scenery2

downtown champaign blind pig breweryme mar weddingBut more importantly:

(And boy did it rain! Started pouring right as we were headed to the bus to the ceremony, there was crazy wind and flickering lights [at least in my memory haha]… and then it all stopped right as the bride started making her way down the aisle. WeDdInG mAgIc!)


Pitchfork Music Festival (INCLUDING MORE GIFS)

Marlon and I took a vacation a couple of weeks ago that we kicked off at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. We flew in late on Friday so had to miss attractive acts like Sharon van Etten (coming to the Jefferson in October, though!) and Beck, but Saturday and Sunday had plenty of good ones in store. We spent most of Saturday with Lee, an old friend of Marlon’s whose wedding we’d be attending the following weekend in Champaign; and parts of Sunday with Stephanie, a high school friend of mine, and her boyfriend Darrel.

wild beasts 2

nice 'stache

nice ‘stache

we too had such flowers...

more random crowd pictures?

we arrived early to get a good spot for pusha t and everything, and then he was late as hell.

we arrived early to get a good spot for Pusha T and everything, and then he was late as hell.

sunglass swap

sunglass swap

we like and love each other.

we like and love each other.

marlon & lee

marlon & lee

lee ang mar pitchfork ang sunglasses

we caught Danny Brown from afar.

We were pretty amped up for a few of the night shows: St. Vincent, FKA twigs, and Neutral Milk Hotel. St. Vincent’s set opened with a HAL/“Fitter Happier”-sounding voice requesting that we don’t “digitally capture” our experience and I chose to obey the robot. But hey, someone else got the whole set on tape so. Go nuts.

It was a pity to have to dip out early to catch twigs, but also worth it. Think she’s really starting to blow up.

And due to allegedly typical stage fright (or something to that effect), Neutral Milk Hotel did not have their big screens on, and the stage was poorly lit, so that experience was a mostly audio one… Played pretty much everything you’d want to hear, though. Glad to have had the Jeff Mangum solo experience last year, as well.

neutral milk hotel pitchfork

Sunday I briefly joined Ollie in foxhood:

whole foods chicago fox pitchfork

Then we saw Perfect Pussy, and in an attempt to get a picture of her armpit hair, I took a bunch of pictures, so I made a gif.

perfect pussy pitchfork gif



makin friends.

makin friends.

(click for larger image)

(click for larger image)

me & mar goofin

ang flower



grimes pitchfork2

marlon flowers pitchfork stephanie flower pitchfork darren flower pitchfork gif

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar was fantastic as the festival’s closer.

Then we went and had a photo shoot at a nearby bar until it made sense to actually attempt to get an Uber.

marlon bar marlon bar 2 ang bar ang bar two ang bar three

don't remember what the promise was, but i hope i haven't broken it.

don’t remember what the promise was, but i hope i haven’t broken it.

Oh and I made a big playlist with songs from all the festival bands, to include the ones from Friday.