Well, Harry's back today, on the top of the FYI and splashed on the section's back page. Why, you ask? That's easy.
Jimmy Eat World
Friday, July 20
Better Than:Yelling for "Sweetness" alone in a dark room.
By Crystal K. Wiebe
The guy next to me must have felt very cheated by his Jimmy Eat World experience last Friday night. The drunk bastard kept yelling for “Sweetness,” but the band never played the guy's favorite song during a sold-out show at the Granada. I would have enjoyed a live rendition of that massive hit, too. But it was satisfying to know that the guy who annoyed me all night went home a little irritated himself.
Most of the band’s other popular songs made it onto the setlist, albeit acoustically. Performed that way, the power pop was stripped down to its naked, emo heart, which inspired lots of young couples to hold each other and sway to the music, despite the oppressive temperature inside the venue.
Security didn't allow us to photograph the show, so here's an old promo shot.
The MySpace people writed:
"Two bands who will probably never play in Kansas city together ever again, in a place this small, to such and eager crowd." [sic]
Sensationally bad press -- the kind when a reviewer all but tells a band or musician to stop making music and find something else to do to pass the time -- is cause for commemoration in an artist's life.
It's like in that episode from the first season of Entourage in which the rising-star character, Vincent Chase, gets a horrible review in Variety, and his never-was actor brother, Johnny Drama, consoles him by telling him that one critic hated one of Drama's performances so much that the critic theorized that Drama might be "mildly retarded." Now that's bad press.
Except in the case of a sociopath, it's hard to forget evaluations that people have given of your work, both the favorable and the harsh. But mostly the harsh.
I recently wrote a harsh review of the CD Sea Things by local singer-songwriter and visual artist Sterling Witt. After that review ran, I half-wondered if Witt would take up the dare implied in the review and send one of his nonmusical creations to the Pitchoffice -- a glazed ceramic turd, perhaps, or a decorated sea shell containing a live, angry crab.
Months passed, and we heard no response aside from this letter from a fan of Witt's.
But today, a box arrived. It was full of neatly laid paper airplanes in an array of colors, all bearing printouts of my review under the handwritten, curlicue heading "My Worst Press Ever." These anti-one-sheets also featured a picture of Witt's glowering mug and a list of upcoming shows. And, beneath the planes, covered in confetti, were two black T-shirts, one M, one XL, each with a copy of my review emblazoned on it.
I don't know how Witt really felt about the review, but he certainly channeled his feelings into a creative and even celebratory response (however ironic), and I'm impressed. This really is a gift, both in terms of the physical present and in the sense that I'll have a story to break out at parties.
So, thanks for the shirts, Sterling. I wish you all the best. May you go forth and find some critics who don't hate your CD as much as I did.
The release of the final installment of the Harry Potter series has baseball writer Rany Jazayerli thinking about the parallels between Hogwarts and Kauffman Stadium. -- David Martin
Editor's Note: Robert Bishop, a longtime Pitch freelance writer, recently competed in VH1's World Series of Pop Culture. Below is his account of the contest.
It was down to me for the championship round of VH1’s World Series of Pop Culture. I was the last man standing out of my team from Kansas City, Wocka Wocka. I faced the Twisted Misters, who still had all three of their players left.
My wife, Kelly, had been knocked out by Victor Lee in a tiebreaker. The category was Emmy-Winning Dramas Since 1981, and between them they exhausted 13 out of the 14 possible answers. With a correct answer, Kelly could’ve forced a second tiebreaker. But she couldn’t come up with Cagney & Lacey. Next down was my other teammate, Rachel Cahill. Rachel’s category was Spoiler Alert, calling for her to name the movie based on its ending. She offered the answer Trading Spaces II, thus inventing a sequel to a movie that doesn’t exist.
Now I was up, and a guy from Twisted Misters named Victor was back. We both got every question right in the category of Bite Me, all about movie foods. That forced a tiebreaker round. The category was based on the film Little Miss Sunshine: “Name the six actors that hit the road in the film’s iconic yellow VW bus.”
No problem, I thought.
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