Photo by Christine Taylor Jesse Sykes
That's why we're excited to announce the winners of our first VMG music writing awards. The honor goes to the authors of one blog post and one print piece; eligible were any of our freelance scribes.
The envelope please...
Photo by Larami Serrano Shea Serrano
1:45: "Thriller"? This guy is killing me. Zero continuity. He couldn't have spent any time planning this mix, right? I mean, fuck. One time for Valentine's Day I gave a girl some chocolate milk, a pair of neon shoelaces and a card with a picture on it of a dog smoking a cigar that I'm fairly certain was meant to go to a dad celebrating the birth of his first child. (All available at your local Walgreens, FYI.) In fairness, I was only 14 years old, which meant I wasn't having sex yet, which meant I wasn't really trying to impress her that much, but still. It was bad. I knew it even then. This is worse than that.
Serrano is a full-time ESL teacher and father of three in Houston who writes regularly for Houston Press, L.A. Weekly, XXL, MTV, Grantland, and many others. He also created and illustrated Bun B's Jumbo Coloring and Activity Book, which will be available in print next fall through Abrams books.
The best print story from our papers this year comes from Jesse Sykes, whose piece "From Cripple Creek to Pound Ridge" was published in Seattle Weekly. Written upon the death of Levon Helm, it remembers the area of upstate New York where she grew up near Woodstock, famous battlegrounds, and the spot where The Band recorded Music From Big Pink.
My family had a little house in Bethel, New York, a town in the Catskills, right down the road from Yasgur's farm where the Woodstock festival was held...I remember the shot-out windows, the half moon on the outhouse door, the metal porch chairs, and the complete silence. The house stood in a meadow surrounded by 150 acres of deep woods. I was too young to remember, but my dad always liked to tell the story of how Max Yasgur supposedly held me in his arms when I was a baby. As a teenager, my dad would take me to the field where Woodstock all went down, and I recall feeling an intense ache in my chest and throat, a sweet kind of sadness. I had not been there, yet I felt I had.
Sykes is an Iowa-based singer-songwriter. After releasing three well-received albums on Barsuk Records, her band, the Sweet Hereafter, self-released its latest record, Marble Son. She began writing for Seattle Weekly in January.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.