common knowledge that it was the post-Nirvana major-label
feeding frenzy in Seattle that really lit the fuse for the
alternative rock revolution, but as is often the case, common
knowledge is probably wrong. The real progenitors of the
scene may well have been a couple of Northeastern bands:
Boston’s the Pixies and Amherst’s Dinosaur Jr., whose legendary
front man, J Mascis, will perform a rare acoustic show at
Valentine’ tonight (Thursday).
Early Dinosaur Jr. releases blended hardcore rhythmic thunder,
sprawling Sonic Youth-style noise breaks and sharp, soaring
solos a la Neil Young; teamed with that racket, Mascis’
voice, an unmistakable woeful groan, seemed the perfect
representation of the slacker generation’s angry apathy,
a strange and furious immobility. The volatile mix proved
the product of a volatile lineup, however, and after three
albums on the famed SST label, Mascis told the band’s other
songwriter, bassist Lou Barlow, that Dinosaur Jr. were a
done deal. The good news is that the very next day, Dinosaur
Jr., sans Barlow, were resurrected—but it was a very different
animal. The band’s next album, their major label debut,
Green Mind, was essentially a J Mascis solo project—one
destined for only retrospective appreciation. Fans and critics
alike were disheartened by the stylistic variation of Green
Mind from Mascis’s previous work. Today, though, the
album—with its inclusion of acoustic guitars, folk and funk
elements, and its tighter, more pronounced melodies—is regarded
as an artistic high point for Mascis.
Mascis never achieved the same cultural visibility as onetime
opening act Nirvana, but he has continued to crank out consistently
engaging hard rock, both under the Dinosaur Jr. rubric and
as a solo act. Most recently, he teamed with Guided by Voices
head honcho Bob Pollard and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin
Shields to produce the album More Light, under the
name J Mascis and the Fog. Apparently the ad hoc supergroup
were never actually a band out of the studio, so now Mascis
is out on the road doing his thing acoustically, which will
give fans the rare treat of catching Mascis’ underrated
songwriter skills all up close and personal-like.
J Mascis will perform at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave.,
Albany) tonight (Thursday, Aug. 1). Tickets for the 8 PM
show are $15. For more information, call 432-6572.
we think back to Sept. 11, there are images that stand out
in our mind. Magnum, an internationally famous photo agency,
had 11 photographers coincidentally on hand the day the
World Trade Center was attacked to document the horror,
heroism and turmoil. The New York September 11 by Magnum
Photographers exhibit opens today (Thursday, Aug. 1)
at the New York State Museum.
The 42 photographs are separated into two sections, one
that honors the memory of the two towers and one that displays
the havoc that was caused by the attacks. The photographers,
who are experienced in photographing warfare and violence
all over the world, were in New York for an agency meeting
and risked their lives to memorialize the events that transpired
during and after the attack. The photos also appear in a
companion book, which The New York Times Book Review
described as “an emotional charge that is characteristic
of the best photojournalism.”
In addition to the photos taken, there is a 25-minute documentary
film by Evan Fairbanks, not a Magnum photographer, which
documents the attack and the aftermath. There are interviews
with bystanders and evacuees, and the film actually follows
firefighters into the World Trade Center.
Kenneth Jackson, president of the New York Historical Society,
notes that the photos could be very disturbing to some and
that children should receive parental permission before
viewing the exhibit.
Another exhibition, Preserving History: New York State
Museum and the World Trade Center, will feature a large
collection of materials from the site of the attack.
York September 11 by Magnum Photographers at the New
York State Museum (Madison Avenue, Albany) opens Aug. 1
and runs until Oct. 14.
Museum is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5 PM. Admission is
free. For more information, call (518) 474-5877 or go to
Uhry, author of the Pulitzer Prize- and Oscar-winning Driving
Miss Daisy, will premiere his new play Without Walls
at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The play centers on
the relationship between a cryptic black drama teacher named
Morocco Hemphill and the Dewey School’s newest transfer,
named Anton. Both characters have hard lessons to learn
about each other and themselves.
Uhry, who started his Broadway career as a lyric writer
under Frank Loesser, has penned two Tony Award-winning plays,
Last Night of Ballyhoo and Parade. He was
also one of four writers to write Mystic Pizza, famous
as the film in which Julia Roberts had her first major role.
Walls will be presented on the Nikos Stage (adjacent
to the Adams Memorial Theatre on Route 2 in Williamstown,
Mass.), opening Wednesday (Aug. 7) and running through Aug.18.
All shows on Tuesday through Friday evenings are at 8 PM
and Saturday evenings at 8:30 PM. Matinees are Tuesdays
and Sundays at 2 PM and Saturdays at 4 PM. Tickets range
from $20 to $22. For more information, call (413) 597-3400
or go to www.WTFestival.org.