Politics as Usual

Somebody start the timer. My 15 minutes of music section fame are about to begin...and end. Next week on this page, you'll be reading the sweet prose of your new music editor, Jonanna Widner, who probably has cooler hair than you. Until then, let me take you on a magical journey into the wonderful world of local politics.

It has been said by somebody--actually, lots of people, usually drunk, usually at East Dallas dive bars--that music really brings people together, man. These people were probably around to buy the original pressing of the Grateful Dead's Europe '72 and happily did so. But the times, as somebody else has said, they are a-changin', and music no longer brings people together. Anybody who's read a WeShotJR comments thread full of anonymous douche-baggery could tell you that. No love for toaster-banging-electro-post-pre-noise-Styrofoam-folk? You're out of the club, jerk, and don't bother coming 'round here no more. But I always admire a valiant effort and have endless faith in the concert-going masses, so I know--and passionately hope--that the scene will prove me wrong this week at two very worthy, yet very different, political campaign fund-raiser concerts.

First off, it's the Crain for Mayor show at the Barley House on Saturday. Zac Crain, former Dallas Observer music editor and man about town, may not have the big bucks behind him, but he does have the kids. And he knows what the kids like: indie rock and roll.

As of press time, the Happy Bullets were the only confirmed band for the Barley show, with a tentative set from Here, In Arms. Last minute much, Zac?

"This is the start of many such concerts," Crain writes in an e-mail interview, "so we're not looking to break the bank in terms of money or exposure." There will be the option of a $10 campaign donation at the door, but for those who scoff at paying for entry to the Barley House, you can feel free to parade on through. If you warm up to the guy, Crain will have a tip jar on his table in the back. The main thing, says Crain, is just that you get there, you young voter, you.

"I'm not going to get the people I want to reach to come to a debate or a speech at a community center," says Crain, who's aiming to reach the "younger folks who are putting down roots in Dallas." Might as well mix a little politics with your whiskey, no? Hopefully, Crain says, after the show, concertgoers will head over to crainformayor.com and check out his platform.

Very clever, Crain. Reel us in with promises of booze and fun, then slap us with social responsibility. It just might work--I know I always feel a little more generous after a drink or six. So it's a good thing the Texas Democratic Revolution Resistance Rally is the following Monday. I'll be primed for more sweet political action.

Resistance Rally! It just sounds like some groovy business, right? Fighting the Republican power. Down with Dubya and all that. The local music scene may pit the Denton Beard Rockers (Sharks) vs. the Dallas Indie Rockers (Jets), but I think we can all unite in our mutual dissatisfaction with the government.

After all, Congress has less than a 25 percent public approval rating right now, so what better time to get Peter Schmidt and His Gentlemen Scholars, PPT, Blackheart Society and Travis Hopper together for a good, old-fashioned Democratic Party hootenanny? None, says Dallas Young Democrats President Jennifer Roberts.

"It's right before an election," says Roberts, whose organization has hosted speaking engagements by Sen. John Edwards and human rights lawyer Lennox Hinds in recent months. But a concert, she says, is the way to go right before the polls open.

"It just generates an excitement that a political speaker doesn't have," she says. Don't get me wrong, I've got love for the handsome Sen. Edwards, but PPT's Pikahsso really gets me worked up--and the rap group's record comes out the following day. Pikahsso's an equal-opportunity album seller.

"We don't care if a Republican or Democrat supports us," says Pikahsso. "Your political prerogative has nothing to do with us rocking the stage." That's the spirit, Pik. Admission to the rally is $8, and there will be appearances by local Democrats running for office plus a multi-media visual art extravaganza put together on the spot by Sarah Jane Semrad, Hal Samples and Carissa Byers, who will be photographing attendees holding placards of their favorite political causes.

Us? We'll be holding up the "Make Martinis, Not War" sign. Can't we all just get along?

Handstamps: Do not miss the twang-tinged rock and roll of Airline at FineLineLive.com's "Listening To" show at Club Dada this Thursday with Telegraph Canyon and Eaton Lake Tonics. Friday it's the folk-pop goodness of J.D. Whittenburg at the Barley House, but if that's not your thing, check out Sean Kirkpatrick and Hogpig at the Amsterdam Bar. Magnolia Electric Co. comes through town at Rubber Gloves in Denton on Saturday night. If Dallas is your thing, spend that evening at Club Dada for the Observer Music Awards Losers' Show featuring the Golden Falcons and PPT.

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Andrea Grimes
Contact: Andrea Grimes

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