By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Lady Gaga
An online reader comments on "Slutwave: Pop Phenomenon or Feminist Scourge?" Rocks Off blog, by Neph Basedow, January 13:
Love 'em and leave 'em: The problem with Katy Perry isn't necessarily what she's wearing, but rather what she's saying. In one song she reinforces hetero-normative gender roles, complaining that her boyfriend wears certain clothes and does certain things and is therefore gay. She says, "You're so gay and you don't even like boys" and wishes that he'd choke himself with his H&M scarf ("UR So Gay"). Later she exploits male fetishism of female bisexuality with "I Kissed a Girl." Then she has the audacity to accuse Lady Gaga of exploiting religion, which isn't surprising given that both her parents are preachers.
Ke$ha's music is more offensively and aggressively superficial, defining her existence on the love and acceptance of a man. She sings about getting drunk, partying with friends, talking about/with boys, being obsessed with boys. Not to mention that her voice makes me want to tear my ears off.
Lady Gaga has always made clear her reasons for the outrageous costumes: to create a safe space for her fans to experiment and to feel free to express themselves and dress how they want. Furthermore, her lyrics are heavily feminist and accepting of alternative lifestyles, and she makes every effort to reinforce it in interviews. Some of her songs are about women who step into typically male behavior, women who aggressively pursue what they want. Gaga concerts feel more like a motivational speech sometimes because she's taking breaks in between songs to expand on her worldview, and to confront bigotry.
In short, I think that Katy Perry and Ke$ha are encouraging women to define themselves in a man, while Lady Gaga is giving women permission to love 'em and leave 'em as they please.
Daniel Johnston's 50th
Online readers comment on "Friday Night: Daniel Johnston's 50th Birthday at Fitzgerald's," Rocks Off blog, by William Michael Smith, January 17:
Tragic magic: I don't think anyone really familiar with Daniel Johnston and his music would refer to his guitar playing as "childlike" or his concert as a "train wreck" as if this were some sort of insightful analysis. That would be like commenting that Tom Waits's voice was surprisingly gruff.
I saw the Cactus in-store and didn't take it as, he "could only get through 2 1/2 songs"; he wasn't scheduled to play any, so we got a treat. And at Fitz, I never was worried that he'd "cratered" because I knew SCO was scheduled to come out and back him after a few numbers.
So yeah, a DJ show ain't exactly polished and predictable, but that's part of his beautiful tragic magic. I felt honored to be there.
Great show: I truly thought this show was superb. While it's hard to tell what's really going on in the mind of DJ, he honestly looked pleased to be in the situation he was in. It was a very lighthearted show, and was one of the best I've seen in quite a while.
Hating waiting: I went to the show, and the performance was about what I expected. The part I hated was waiting through three hours of other bands for him to come on. And upstairs it was hot and crowded. Entire show is on You Tube.
Great bill: "True Love" sealed the deal. That's an amazing song! You shouldn't neglect the other bands that played, though — or maybe devote a separate blog to them. Roky Moon and Electric Attitude were both their rocking selves, and The Bright Light Social Hour pretty much stole the night out from under everyone else. Kudos to Hector Del Valle and Fitz for putting on such a great complete bill.
Not So Royal Treatment
Online readers comment on "First Look at Royal Oak Bar & Grill," Eating Our Words blog, by Katharine Shilcutt, January 17:
Try to care: Given that they've only been serving food for a few weeks, I could understand there being a mix-up of some sort. But it would seem like the manager would be falling all over himself to apologize, sending over a free appetizer/round of drinks — something.
I never understand why new businesses like this don't make more of an effort to make customers happy. I'm tolerant of mistakes, especially at new places, but I expect someone to care when the mistakes are pointed out.
Why? They worked on that building for months and clearly spent a lot of money on what had previously been some failed bars with vacancies in between for a long time. So why spend so much on the redo to erase the stigma of failure and then drop the ball so fast with awful service? Especially with owners already in the biz? You get one chance with Houstonians...too many other choices.
I'm surprised no one has commented on the name. I think it's awful. Blah. Suburban. Not Montrose.
Another shot: It sounds like you had a bad experience, which from what I understand is rare. I would like to first point out that there are no waiters. Royal Oak is a bar that serves food. This means you have food runners and cocktail waitresses. While I will absolutely agree that you should have gotten service regardless, I just wanted to point this out.
Also, Royal Oak has been serving food for a few short weeks. They are still working out the kinks, as does any new bar. As far as feeling like you didn't fit in, I have been to Royal Oak at least ten times since it has been open and certainly don't fit the Midtown/ Washington Avenue profile — and I've had no problem with service.
It seems like you had a bad experience, probably came in right after a rush. I would give it another shot. But if you're looking for the next Catbirds, Royal Oak isn't for you. Royal Oak is bringing a different environment (that has been needed) to our lovely Montrose neighborhood. The originals will always be longtime favorites, but we should welcome newer and classier establishments.
Mistakes happen: No business is perfect. But it's very telling to see how a business reacts to a mistake. Royal Oak's indifferent approach speaks volumes about their attitude toward their customers, and explains in advance why they won't be around at the end of the year.
The poster that ran with our article on the Main Street Block Party ["The Main Event,"by Chris Gray, January 20] was incorrectly credited. The artist is Meredith Cunningham.
The Houston Press regrets the error.