PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!


CP: I didn’t know just what Philadelphia lost when I heard that Jack Rose died. I’ll have to plead ignorance – Philly transplant and all that – but a.d. Amorosi’s tribute brings Rose’s innovation as a musician and his lasting influence into sharp focus: a true testament to the spirit of an artist.

“What Jack was learning and playing transcended what goes on usually in that sort of music,” says Thurston Moore, the Sonic Youth guitarist and CP_2010_02_11.jpgfriend of Rose. The two played together on a Dredd Foole & the Din album called The Whys of Fire. “Jack was always pushing that technique forward. He was developing in public.”

There was joy to be heard in everything Rose did — the joy of discovering new licks and old blues, and structuring something original from that, the joy of being part of something artistic and communal.

“In the words of Captain Beefheart, Jack ‘breathed with all his holes open,'” says Rose’s friend, writer Byron Coley, who runs Massachusetts record shop and label EcstaticYod. “That was always a nice respite from the easy irony and self-satisfied dumbbell-ism that’s so common.”

When the folk/blues/ragtime guitarist and composer died of a heart attack on Dec. 5, 2009, at the age of 38, it seemed like a cruel trick.

His Thrill Jockey label debut, Luck in the Valley, was due in 2010. His wife, Laurie, and he had a life in Philly. The cherished musician was busy. He was beyond something as trivial as death.

I’m most impressed at how Rose shaped Philadelphia’s scene not only as a performer, but as an informed listener. The Thurston Moore quote threw me – that’s a high-profile testimonial if ever there was one – but check how this city’s musicians talk about him. From a friend and record store owner: “I was set up selling records and Jack hung around the table some, letting me know which ones were good and which ones stunk. He was helpful as hell.” From a member of the bandEspers , regarding the tribute show: “It should be something that Jack would approve of. That’s the standard with any Philly show, that Jack would show up and would like your set.” In his study of the craft, his knowledge and willingness to talk shop, what was Rose if not a critic? But it seems he was much more: not the critic, but the man in the arena, the one to whom credit is due.

PW: Stripped and unzipped, PW boasts this week of a “Sexy Issue.” Well, well. Beyond the arresting cover photo and the cheeky chalkboard writing (“I will not touch the stripper” — nice) are some thoughtful spots on folks in all corners of the titillation industry. Lots of good material — kudos to TaraMurtha — but let’s dig into the piece on cover girl Heather Henderson, her impending retirement from stripping and her “parting gift” to the scene: Stripper Rant.

The concept is simple. Henderson hangs out in strip club dressing rooms and records as dancers working that night talk about things like pwcover1.jpglap-dancing for no-neck dudes that “look just like Grimace fromMcDonalds ,” or smiling pretty on a popped ankle in heels. A strip clubs’ dressing room is the perfect spot for Henderson’s podcast, which is really about exploring the spot where fantasy and reality collide. A backstage dressing room is the proverbial telephone booth, where flesh andfakery—wigs, lashes, heels, glitter, tape—fuse to create the bombshells, lolitas and farmer’s daughters we pay to dance under the lights and let us stare.

The current episode of Stripper Rant opens up with a dancer relaying an anecdote about an all-too-typical scenario: The girl danced for a customer and then hedidn’t tip. When her friend asks him why he didn’t pay, he remarks that he didn’t like the dancers’ boots. He says they have “a hidden agenda.”

The dancer is pissed.

“Hidden agenda? My hidden agenda is to make fucking money. My hidden agenda is, ‘I am a stripper. What do I do? I take off my clothes. And what do I want in return? Your dollars.’”

As it was once said: “She works hard for the money, so you better treat her right.” Elsewhere, we’ve got erotic gifts (V-day is coming soon, y’know), local pornographers making it big (having a dude named “Meatball” helps) and the theater world’s sexiest actor. Phew. This issue should have been wrapped up in brown paper and distributed from behind the counter.


CP: Drill, baby, drill: Channeling Palin in PA. Another housing project? PHA-t chance. You may know it better as Handy Nasty. Xfinity: More like WTFinity?

PW: The eyes of Texas are upon you, Percy Street BBQ. Hungry like the Wolf… for trumped-up prosecutions. Love, mercy, high mileage: a trek to Death Row. Cinematic sex: And now for something completely different.

WINNER: In honor of the hard work it takes to make others breathe hard, I’ll give PW the nod for a truly sexed-up Sexy issue. Next form I fill out, under “Sex,” I’m putting “Yes, please.”

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