the state

– of wild animals, the kids, and a preacher. by vastate
Saturday, 28 February 2009, 16:09
Filed under: Uncategorized

clementine was “at capacity” for much of the night.

kids were climbing the walls, bouncers were placed at all entrances to prevent stragglers from sneaking in, the bar downstairs was full of the overflow.


apparently, there is dire need for all ages shows around these parts.

most of the kids mentioned above were underage (which makes them seem like criminals, no?).  and completely psychotic for wild animal party.

the bartenders were not so impressed.  word on the street is that even those who could drink were lousy tippers.  sigh.

come on kids!

i’m a huge proponent of all ages venues and shows.  and therefore, i’m a huge proponent of  showing a little respect when the opportunity arises or it won’t happen again.  just sayin’

i lived in seattle when i was 20, and it was horrible.  absolutely horrible.  all i did was stay home and feel sorry for myself while my friends went happily to over-21 bar shows. and almost everything was over-21.


so, i’m glad that 1.) bands want to play for everyone and 2.) venues are willing to let everyone in.

the thing is that high-school kids and early college people are often the best fans.  really, honestly interested in the music.  willing to travel long distances for a favorite band. less likely to grumble about about the cover charge.  their excitement not tempered with too much alcohol.  devoted.  in short, they are who musicians want listening to their music.  unfortunately, they don’t help out the bars, who help out the musicians.  it’s a broken system.  sigh.

i would write some nice stuff about wild animal party’s music, but i was barricaded to the downstairs bar for the duration.  (despite my best attempts:  pretending to being their photographer, saying “i’m with the band”, i was struck down mercilessly.)

the bouncers at clementine looked just like this. really.

my impression through the speakers was that it was really solid and energetic.  if anyone wants to write in a review who was actually upstairs, we’ll post it. it was hard not to be excited, seeing as i’ve never heard of a local venue being at capacity like that…long live the h’burg music scene.

some of those “underage” left for preacher‘s surprise set (also a little lame, but beneficial, as i was actually allowed upstairs).  it maybe showed a bit that the guys found out they were playing only 3 or so hours before going on (due to sickness in the cinnamon band): they were perhaps a little less tight, a little sweatier, and a little more long-winded.

but still blessedly entertaining (poison drinking was involved) and crazy (on-stage collapse & resurrection).  with really really good music thrown in. (“he is a rock” & “i luv you my friends” were consistent crowd favorites.  they even were allowed a 12:45am encore of david byrne’s “heaven”.  (thanks, jeremiah & all the clementine waitstaff that usually goes home earlier…)




– of a SURPRISE preacher SHOW TONIGHT! by vastate
Friday, 27 February 2009, 19:56
Filed under: -of deals, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of localism, -of sound

brothers & sisters-

HE has SAVED you from fretting about tonight’s plans.  no more strife, no more stress from that artificial sense of personal freedom.

for it is predestined;

PREACHER will be blessing one and all tonight in a surprise show at clementine cafe.



due to excessive folly, the cinnamon band has been struck down for the night…(prayer requests for healing will be offered during the show).


wild animal party & nelly kate will begin around 9:30ish.

wildanimalparty +   nellykate

preacher will be telling the good news around 10:30ish.

remember, it is your destiny.

see you there.

(bring your $5 or the state will make fun of you in public.)

– of t.j. maxx organic mecca. by vastate
Friday, 27 February 2009, 19:26
Filed under: -of deals, -of jhumphrey, -of style

pssstt.  i was maybe just at t.j. maxx and they have loads of korres natural body products for $4-$6.


here’s an short review from these folks:

  • We love that Korres products are organic and natural. There are no mineral oil or synthetic ingredients of any kind. It seems as if the company is truly dedicated to getting you the best researched and documented ingredients they can find.
  • It’s nice to see products that have an ingredient list that resembles your grocery list instead of all kinds of crazy chemicals that you can’t pronounce.
  • The Korres website offers all their products on-line through

– of today is the last day (MACRoCk-style). by vastate
Friday, 27 February 2009, 15:44
Filed under: -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of localism, -of sound

you better get recording a fancy little demo if you haven’t already.


today, the 27th of feb., is the deadline for MACRoCk band applications.


Bands one and all, today is the day, the last day, to apply to perform at MACRoCk this year. Head over the bands section of our site for the application to mail in with a at least 3 song demo. Everything that is postmarked today or earlier will be considered. For all applicants, expect to receive notification on your submission in early March. Send ‘em! Questions? email:

– of toxic toys? by vastate
Friday, 27 February 2009, 15:14
Filed under: -of deals, -of harrisonburg, -of health, -of jhumphrey, -of kiddos

i was at gift & thrift yesterday, following up on a lead that this precious little consignment store was no longer selling used toys.

not any more...

not any more...

has anyone heard about this really big, little issue?  no?  here’s the gist (from the la times):

Barring a reprieve, regulations set to take effect next month could force thousands of clothing retailers and thrift stores to throw away trunkloads of children’s clothing.

The law, aimed at keeping lead-filled merchandise away from children, mandates that all products sold for those age 12 and younger — including clothing — be tested for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable. Those that haven’t been tested will be considered hazardous, regardless of whether they actually contain lead.

i am particularly interested after a long discussion a few weeks ago with the owners of the flying squirrel – a locally-owned kid’s consignment store in brooklyn.  they were discussing (lamenting) which WAHM (work-at-home-mom) & used items they would potentially have to ditch from their sales rack in response to this new mandate.  i also wonder what my old friends at bootyland in seattle are thinking and doing regarding this issue…

flyingsquirrel +   bootyland

have you ever bought an adorable screenprinted onesie?


paypal-ed your way to an amazing handknitted toddler cap?


scored a sweet vintage fisher price winnebago for $5?


the days of being able to outfit and entertain your little ones via local and recycled sources might soon be over.

goodbye etsy.  so long kwik, polar babies, green mountain organics, soft star shoes, the pajama squid, cheeky baby shirts, handknit cashmere caps, tiny vintage cowboy boots.

etsybagconductorbamboo-cloth-diapers-detsoftstarshoes +  babykimono+  monsterdoll011+    woodenguitarcabbage + psalms-coat

these small retailers can’t dish out for lead testing.

hello target and walmart.  hello plastic and poly-blend.

walmart +   Retail Sales +   plastictoyasst111103

i’m honestly disappointed in gift & thrift.  why not fight back?  put up a big sign that states clearly that they don’t test for lead in all of their toys because they are a thrift store, and ask customers to sign a waiver when purchasing toys?  it gets the word out, covers their ass, and all are happy.  when they fold and succumb immediately, all it does is pave the way for such legislation to better the already-thriving retail world of target and walmart.


gift & thrift, post this sign. but keep selling toys.

didn’t you sign a waiver when you bought your old house, stating that you understood that your kid could possibly eat the paint off the windowsill and die of lead poisoning and you were okay with this possibility?  what’s the difference?  expect that the people who loose in this situation are the little people.  the small businesses, the old grandpas carving wooden pull-toys, the stay-at-home-mom with a sewing machine.  poor people also loose.  who buys used toys?  poor people.  who’s kids will being going without?  poor people.

i don’t see the government this worked up about vaccines and environmental toxins as preservatives. nobody is too worried  that my kid might have been injected with trace amounts of heavy metals last time he got a shot.  i don’t see tuna fish being taken off the shelves in a fish exodus in the name of consumer safety.  all the grocery stores have to do is post a little sticky note below the stacks of cans saying that preggos and kids shouldn’t eat a lot of the mercury-laden stuff.  we all play the game of risks/benefits every day – especially when it comes to our kids.  the world is a fucking deathtrap if you really want to think about it that way.

tunacan +   vaccine23lead_paint

i feel a bit terrified that i’m presenting a strong libertarian, anti-regulation stance on this issue.  but my point is that the government cares way more about walmart, merck, & the housing market than they do about my kid.

so lay off.

lay off of my kid’s toys.  and my friend who sews handmade nap mats (hi amanda!).

transparency and accountability are the keys to regulation.  and what better way to be held accountable than to be selling your wares locally to your best friends?  (joel salatin, of local polyface farm fame, has an amazing argument against government regulation of meat products that is incredibly applicable to this situation.  read his book, everything i want to do is illegal.)


wanna do something about it?  good.

1.) go talk to the gift & thrift folks.  make suggestions (see above), don’t just complain.  are other local consignment stores sending their toys to the landfill?  check it out and go talk to them as well.  (and then send us an email and let us know what you know.)


2.) you can also do the whole “write to congress” thing – which has been successful in staving off the deadline for one year.  as of today, there are 347 more days to comply with these regulations before being penalized.  a lot of work is being done by groups representing businesses at risk – such as the handmade toys alliance – to put a stop to the insanity in 346 more days. go to their site for more ideas.


-of rebirth (jindal style) by jgrimsrud
Thursday, 26 February 2009, 10:58
Filed under: -of funny, -of jgrimsrud, -of politik, -of the outside world

the republican party is reborn, & the latest evidence was bobby jindal’s stinging rebuttal of obama’s speech to congress tuesday night.

the finest moments of political genius & inspiration call upon the great spirits of our history & the classic narratives of the uniquely american story.  john stewart saw in “bobby” the shade of a great american:

this may be true, and i would love to see, as part of formation of a narrative of economic recovery, “bobby” jindal tour a crayon factory.

but we at the state believe that this is the dawn of a new era.  the (briefly) flagging republican party is truly reborn, and “bobby” understands that today is a new day, and demands a new cast of american heroes & american narratives.  yes piyush “bobby” jindal, ¡today is the day of kenneth “the page” parcell!

– of possibly good pizza. by vastate
Wednesday, 25 February 2009, 17:59
Filed under: -of eats, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

so, i’ve spent several weeks grilling friends and strangers for the scoop on franklin’s.


i have not been to franklin’s cafe and wine bar yet.

but i harbor a deep skepticism.

i had great hopes as the building was outfitted with huge glass windows and sat clean and sleek on the corner of mason & market.


but then the junk began to appear.

the plastic chairs, the weird bad writing on the windows, the inexplicable cart, the multiple cheap signs with sad graphic design.

i heard some bad reports on the wine and food.

costco has a much better wine selection.

they won’t tell you how much the wine costs.

nobody who works there knows anything about wine.

the sandwiches come in red plastic baskets.  which is an upgrade from the styrofoam plates.

the lunch is not that great.

the atmosphere is tacky and cluttered.


and then, i began to hear a little, repetative, bright spot in all the disappointment:  the pizza.

this funny little video has a shot of the grilled pizza.  which i hear is lovely.  really lovely.

crisp.  charred in the right spots.  and abundance of toppings.  a willingness to allow personalization.

this is what i imagine and hope for:


so, here’s my not-so-humble advice to you, franklin’s:

1.) strip your restaurant.  of almost everything.  the plastic.  the posters in cheap frames.  the writing on the windows.  the ‘grand opening’ sign.

2.) paint it white.  everything.

3.) hire a real graphic designer to help you out.  multiple generic fonts are never cool.  (okay, this is an annoying an overly picky suggestion.  i deserve any comments telling me to stick to the important things…but seriously, look:)

franklin1 +     franklins2 +    franklin22

3.) get some real plates.


4.) go with the pizza. PIZZA.  you would have the market.  there is no good pizza in harrisonburg.  you could be the place to go for grown-up beautiful pizza.  and a good pizza is truly a beautiful thing.  don’t be a cafe.  be a pizza place.  focus.  hone it down.  channel your resources and energy to the one thing you have going for you.

5.) go local. with as much as possible.  the veggies, the wine, the meat.  shop at the farmer’s market. buy your meat from T&E’s.  buy your wine from local vineyards.  and USE this to your advantage.  flaunt it.  write it on everything.  raise your prices, if you have to.  people will pay for local.

so, this is sort of an alternative restaurant review.

i’ll write another – hopefully exceptionally pizza positive – after i actually eat there…