P-Pop High School
Super fun time punk explosion number 1!
P-Pop High School
Super fun time punk explosion number 1!
CAREERS. Searching for a job is tough. Sometimes attending a job fair can be even worse. They often seem impersonal, frustrating and fruitless — even more so now with fairs being swamped with more-than-usual applicants as the economy continues to tank and unemployment rises.
But there are a few things you can do to maximize your experience, says Kate Lorenz, an editor at Career Builder.com, and one of the authors of the new book “Career Building: Your Total Handbook for Finding a Job and Making It Work” (Collins, $17).
Networking and making the right introductions are obviously important. But there’s another factor to consider, she says. “Job fairs are a great resource for job seekers because it exposes them to employers and positions that they might not have considered otherwise.” Expanding your search criteria, even on the spur of the moment, will yield more results.
Of course, some genius around the turn of the century happened upon the relics of a bygone age known as the '80s. Back then, they had things called new wave and post punk, where people used guitars and drums to get people dancing. Next thing you know, we're locked tight in the pocket of a new decade of four-on-the-floor and high-hat beats and warbling crooners trying to hit the high notes while doing aerobics onstage.
Friendly Fires are the latest UK rock band to suckle from that historically fertile, dance-powered teat. Dance rock, new wave, disco rock, whatever. It's chiming synths and bouncy basslines from a band that sounds like they spent a lot of time listening to The Cure, along with plenty of German techno, '80s NYC post punk and the haze of shoegaze.
It wasn't always that way, says singer Ed MacFarlane on the phone from Prague: "We were really into more avant-garde and experimental music." Post rock? Yikes. That didn't last though. "It got to the point where we said, 'What is the music that we really like?' And what we like is a catchy melody."
No shortage of those on their self-titled debut. But more importantly, you can dance to it. Especially if you're listening to their breakout single, "Paris"—a controlled explosion of percussion, bells, snares, toms and the essential hand claps. The music sounds like the charged-up house beat playing in Club Wherever, circa whenever. "Our music definitely has a dance influence," he says. "But I don't think that's the be all and end all. I prefer to think of it as romantic music, or epic. Dance is at the core of what we're about, but we're not just a party band. We're a bit more than that."
Indeed. On "Paris," the smooth vocal of the verse contrasted with the soaring chorus illustrates the point. It charges the entire set with a grandeur and a layered beauty more akin to pedal-wanking shoegaze than generic thump. "The kind of dance music I like the most is more accessible dance music." Music, he says, that you can dance to and have an emotional connection with.
Trace the same pattern on the songs "White Diamonds" or "Jump in the Pool." It's as if the band pauses midway through a song, amidst the beat push and finger snaps and cowbell, to catch their breath, then get caught up gazing longingly at the clouds. Oh, and look, that's a pretty sunset, isn't it? There's emotion in the details, and the ache of the vocals. But before too long, here comes the beat again. And the drums. The drums. The drums.
WITH WHITE LIES
AND THE SOFT PACK
PARADISE ROCK CLUB
967 COMM. AVE., BOSTON
So, with the economy in mind we sought out a few lower priced cocktails at some of our favorite swank bars, and the results were surprising. While happy hours are illegal in Massachusetts, there are some watering holes that have managed to set up cocktail specials that are extraordinarily wallet- and palate-friendly.
At the always top-notch Gaslight, they are running a Le Mois De Fous (month of the crazies and the seven winds) special. From 5-6:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m.-midnight on Sunday through Thursday, restaurant-goers can avail themselves of five specialty cocktails for a measly $5.95. The real find is the Joker (below; Bacardi, ginger cognac, parfait amore, passion fruit, orange juice) with its cavalcade of fruit and spice.
"Orange and ginger are paired a lot in cooking," explained bartender Joe O'Connor. "So this plays on that."
Speaking of cooking, the cocktails on the special list are served with amuse-bouche like bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese. Truth is, Gaslight's cocktails aren't that expensive to begin with. The near perfect Boston Common (basil, vodka, elderflower liqueur, $9) is herbaceous, green, and sharp.
Nearby Aquitaine is running a similar special 5:30-6:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday for $5. Like Gaslight, the drinks are served with the chef's whim hors d'oeuvres.
"Happy hour is so great," explained manager Nicole Perry. "But unfortunately we can't do it. This is our way of offering something like that."
We were more than happy with classics like the Americano (sweet vermouth, Campari, soda), an orange aperitif garnished with a flame kissed orange peel, the Blackberry Bramble (gin, black currant liqueur, lemon juice), sparkling and thick with dark fruits, and the Ramos Gin Fizz (egg white, cream, orange blossom, soda, gin) a creamy aromatic blend.
Five dollars for a cocktail in Podunk is a bargain. In the South End or on Newbury Street, it's practically theft. We found a great $5 concoction at Sonsie: the Stimulus Package cocktail (tequila, Alizé, pineapple juice). Taking the pressures of the economy quite literally, they've designed a simple, fruit-forward, rocks drink. Bursting with passion fruit from the Alizé, and naturally sweet from the pineapple, it's tropical and refreshing, and best of all, priced to move.
Of course there are a few things to consider before making the plunge, says Debra Wheatman, director of career counseling at Vault.com, the online database and resource for job searching.
Most creative fields, says Wheatman, are now experiencing “the same type of economic crunch that other sectors of the economy are.” The main culprits are the music and publishing businesses, both in shambles thanks to the Internet.
But Wheatman says it’s that very problem that might provide the artistically ambitious with an avenue toward achieving their goals. Want to finally finish the novel you’ve been working on? Self-publishing has exploded online. The same goes for musicians as well. The Internet is your publicist, distributor and manager all rolled into one.
Don’t be quick to dive headlong into uncharted waters, though. “If you’re a young person just out of school and you find yourself unemployed, it might be an OK time to try your hand at something that you’ve always really wanted to pursue,” she says. On the other hand, if you’ve got a family and a mortgage? “It might not be such a wise idea,” she cautions.
Probably sound advice, but sound advice isn’t for rock stars and literary geniuses. Go for it. You’ve got nothing but time now.
Most of the time all that an unwieldy text needs is a good editor to whip it into shape. At M Bar & Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental they've edited their weighty drinks menu - literally, you could kill someone with this thing - into a user friendly format. Broken down by base spirit on each page, it's a handy way for people who know they prefer gin to find something to their taste, or to branch out to another spirit.
The staffers are useful resources for navigating the text as well. Their highly professional demeanor, almost overly formal (but who can complain about that?), certainly reminds you that this is a luxury hotel. The garrulous beer drinker (Hafbrau Helles and Harpoon IPA, $6) we struck up a conversation with assured us the service is always on point.
We might have to join him in a beer next time. While $15 isn't the upper limits of cocktail prices in Boston these days, it's certainly not cheap.
We found a few that were worth it anyway, like the Kremlin (Vodka, Ume liqueur, lavender syrup, green tea, soda). Tall, lean, and elegant - literally, with its beautiful orchid garnish, and figuratively, with the easy notes of lavender and Japanese plum - this was something special. Lightly carbonated from the soda, it's punchy enough to coalesce on the palate, and with its green tea components you could almost convince yourself you're drinking something good for your health.
Speaking of garnishes, bartenders everywhere could take some notes on the presentation of the cocktails here, such as the Swinging Tokyo (Gin, limoncello, yuzu juice, raspberry puree). Stop plopping shriveled lime wedges on a martini glass! Instead, consider the diced fruit poetry of this well-appointed glass: a full, juicy lemon wheel draped with a lengthy flourish of twisting lime. As for taste, with the citrus of the yuzu and limoncello, this drank like the boozy end of a bowl of spiked sorbet. Save this for after dinner.
In our opinion, there's no bad time to drink a cocktail as spicy as the Akuma Margarita (tequila, Cointreau, house sour, hot peppers, lime, Tabasco). Akuma means "the Devil" in Japanese. This is serious, sweaty business, popping with chunks of red jalapeno. It gets its deep orange from muddling the peppers with Tabasco. With two long jalapenos resting on the rim of the glass like devil horns, it's another unique, and playful presentation. It's clever thematically and emblematic of the extra step that M takes to ensure that the resolution of your evening is a happy one.
At least that’s what the people behind the new art exhibit “Spin” at Rescue Apparel and Accessories in Allston have been up to.
Organized by Glovebox, a local non-profit art group that helps artists find non-traditional spaces to exhibit their work, “Spin” is one in a series of themed shows they put on throughout the year.
“The theme of this show is one of dedication to how things used to be and how far technology has come in such a short time,” says Glovebox artist Kevin Hebb. “Cassettes and vinyl records were chosen as canvasses for their classic iconography and simplicity.”
Featuring the work of more than 20 artists, the show displays a broad swath of medium and material, all specifically made with, or conceptually drawn from the idea of these utilitarian musical objects. Once familiar and every day, their increasing obsolescence can’t help but imbue the cassettes and vinyl with a sense of the passage of time.
Glovebox co-founder Jodie Baehre’s piece “White Noise” illustrates that point well. “I decided to focus on the actual cassettes,” she explains. “I had planned a couple of pieces, but the all white series looked so sleek and shiny. Many people thought they were ceramic because of the EnviroTek (an environmentally safe resin) used to finish them.”
Indeed the altered cassette tapes give off such a bright, simplistically designed glow, they resemble iPods. That temporal disconnect is probably part of the point.
For her piece “Audi Alteram Partem” her partner Liz Comperchio took a more abstract collage approach.
“I was focusing on words that have to do with sound,” she says. “Listening, and or experiencing music and or life. The Italian phrase ‘Che cosa suona come?’ translates to ‘What does it sound like?’ I have an image of a cowboy wrangling cattle with the phrase ‘audi alterum parem: hear the other side’ which is ambiguous in its intended meaning.”
“Is it referring to the show theme, or the act of the cowboy and the bull?” she asks. “Is it addressing a language barrier that the piece explores? We are given a set of sensory features and we distribute them without thinking ‘where or how else could I experience this?’ In what ways can I truly hear something?”
There are a lot of financial issues to consider once you’ve been laid off, and not just the fact that you aren’t pulling in a paycheck anymore. Financial advisor Dan Moore says there are four things that everyone needs to plan for.
1: Unemployment benefits
“The sooner you get your application in, the sooner you will start receiving benefits,” he says. “A quick online search on how to collect insurance benefits will give you a good general overview of who qualifies and who doesn’t.”
2: Assess your finances and reduce expenses.
“Regardless of your employment status you need to know where you stand financially from a cash flow perspective. In other words make a list identifying all of your monthly expenses. Once you have a handle on your monthly income and expenses you can calculate your net cash flow, which is net income minus expenses. If the result is a positive number, then consider yourself lucky.” Next, says Moore, separate your expenses into “wants” and “needs.” “If you are cash flow negative,” he says, “then the responsible thing to do is to cut most or all of the ‘wants.’”
Don’t leave it with your old employer, says Moore. “They actually own the plan and it is better to roll it into your own traditional IRA where you can have more control.” This shouldn’t be in an issue unless you’re dipping into the fund. “I strongly recommend against this,” he says “due to high taxes and penalties.”
4: Health insurance
“If you can’t enroll in a spouse’s coverage, then you should find a broker who will shop the market for you,” says Moore. “Most health insurance brokers focus on groups and not individuals, so as a last resort you may have to go to the carriers directly.”
The latest in a long line of hotel restaurant bars is the recently launched Sensing at the Fairmont Battery Wharf. Opened by celebrated Michelin chef Guy Martin, it's based on his Parisian restaurant of the same name.
Here Martin and company transplant the focus on fresh, regional ingredients to the Boston waterfront. It's an approach the mixologists behind the bar share as well, with a variety of seasonal cocktail recipes made with fresh herbs and spices.
Many of the drinks we tried were the type of summery cocktails that would definitely be better enjoyed outside along the water, taking in the view of the maritime city's comings and goings. (Sensing will eventually feature seasonal outdoor dining.)
On a bracing winter night, we found solace at the visually pleasing hand-laid tiger marble bar, and in a few glasses as well. The Cilantro Sting (cilantro, Serrano chilies, Absolut, Patrón Silver, fresh lime juice, $17), in particular, was a welcome respite with its layers of heat and spice from the chilies and tequila. They're pressed into the glass with a substantial portion of cilantro, which makes for a grassy, dry, and well-balanced mix.
The Katana (Absolut, Nigori Sake, fresh lime juice, pressed cucumbers, $17) was a second crisp, pleasing option. Like many of the others it leaned heavily toward the vegetal side.
The Oak and Sage Margarita (Sauza Tres Generaciones Anejo Tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice, pressed organic sage, egg whites, $17) was a playful variation on the margarita with a wholesome eggy froth, and notes of lime and orange playing off one another. The oak of the aged tequila, and a heavy sage base give this cocktail its name, and most of its flavor.
"The sage gives an earthiness to what otherwise might be a summery drink," said bartender Jason Brown.
Other options like the Pomegranate and Cucumber Mojito (pressed cucumber, organic mint, Bacardi Light, fresh lime juice, pomegranate juice, soda, $17), a dark fruit and minty vegetable blend, and the Seaport Lemon Smash (Ri 1 Rye Whiskey, muddled lemon, organic mint, sugar, $14), an evenly sugared, citrus-and-spice variation on a Mint Julep, had us gazing out the window longingly, waiting for the warmth of summer so we could properly enjoy them in concert with the scenery.
Until the winter breaks, however, we don't see ourselves going back. Sure, if you're staying at the hotel in the first place, you probably have money to spare, but stopping in for a cocktail after work, or on a weekend night just doesn't make sense with such prohibitively priced drinks. Perhaps at some point that, like the seasons, will change.
Sensing, 3 Battery Wharf, Boston. 617-994-9000. www.fairmont.com/batterywharf
PROFILE. Ask anyone from the video game generation to hum the song from an old game like Super Mario Bros., and they’ll be able to do it instantly. It may have been a decade or two since they’ve played a certain title, but the music remains just as memorable as the game play. That’s an emotional, and nostalgic response that the Video Game Orchestra, and its creator Shota Nakama are going for.
For a few years now bands like the Minibosses have been tapping into this phenomenon with an indie rock based approach to video game music, but the Berklee College of Music affiliated VGO, with a 45-piece chamber orchestra, five-piece rock band, and 40-plus member choir have exploded that concept onto a much larger scale.
“There are a few professional video game orchestras existing,” says Nakama, a native of Japan, who organized the VGO with classmates Simon Lee and Kian How, “but we do more contemporary music, so we added rock band and choir to the chamber orchestra so we can play any sound. It actually blends quite well.”
It’s a result that he credits to the performers’ passion for the material. “If you go and talk to any orchestra, most students, they hate being in the orchestra. They are either doing it for scholarship purposes, or they’re just there not liking the music as much. With video game music, people like it and they want to be there.”
The orchestra’s repertoire is comprised of 25 songs and counting.
But there is a big difference between those old eight-bit songs and the more complex music of today’s video games. The VGO also performs music from more cinematic titles like God of War and Silent Hill that border on the traditional film score territory.
Nakama says it’s not quite the same as film music, where you are more restricted.
“You have to be syncing the music with the picture. The nature of video games are, you don’t know if a player is going to spend two hours in the same space, so it has to be melodic and memorable. You have to entertain people, or they get bored.”
The same rules apply at an orchestra performance. In order to remedy that boredom factor, the VGO will show clips from various games while they are performing, aiming for a more immersive game play experience than you might expect from an orchestra.
“Entertainment is the biggest part,” he says. “In a lot of classical orchestra performances you go in the room and sit down and are as quiet as possible and focus on every note they play. But that’s not really what we want. We want to entertain people, to give a great show. We want people to say ‘what we paid was worth it.’”
And to hopefully not hit the reset button.
Exactly what games will the VGO be covering?
“From Final Fantasy, Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog," says Nakama, "pretty much everyone knows what we are playing. It’s a nostalgic moment like when you were a little kid and playing those games and feeling great.”
The Video Game Orchestra
Tomorrow, 8:15 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Mass. Ave., Boston
MBTA: Green Line to Hynes
When people talk about classic bands they don't like, they're really speaking in a coded language. For example, "I don't like the Beatles" is the same as saying "I'm a liar." But when I say that I don't like Led Zeppelin, there's no subtext. A lot of it has to do with Robert Plant's fiendish, helium-powered caterwauling. I tend to prefer bands with vocalists, not police sirens in tight pants. The lyrics, which run the gamut from unimaginative doggerel to too-imaginative fantasy goofs, don't help. Listen to "D'yer Mak'er" if you need a reminder. Sure, they inspired a lot of great bands, but should we not then hold them accountable for the thousands of downright awful imitators they've inspired? Remember that whole hair metal thing in the '80s? Who do you think put the bustle in those dudes' musical hedgerow? And grunge? That was basically goateed Led Zeppelin on smack.