It’s been a dazzling progression into full-fledged autumn this year in Kingston, from the natural beauty of our region to great events like a very well-embraced O-Positive Fest to Sean Lennon’s The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger playing BSP weeks back. If you are out at local bars you can hear people chatting about being spooked at Headless Horseman Hayrides or just excited to be out and about. I spent an hour or so at the Senate House yesterday enjoying the peace and quiet before getting Halloween-appropriate colored paper from Catskill Art Supply and then enjoying an amazing dinner at Elephant Wine Bar. If you want to get spooked at home, get on Netflix and watch the 2011 film The Awakening, with the seriously lovely Rebecca Maria Hall chasing ghosts in a dreary 1920s England. My job, however, is to get you to get up and go see some fun stuff about town.
If you have an iron stomach and water proof dancing shoes, catch Barfbag/Cirrhosis (the band goes by either name!) with Pitchfork Militia and Nasty Bastard on Oct. 25 at The Anchor. Doors are at 9 and the show is $5.
Towering death metal guitarist Mucus Barfbag is a really nice, well adjusted young man. “We have all been in Cirrhosis at one point in the last 18 years,” says Mucus. “We are back as the tribe of drunken chaos, the outcasts of Rosendale to deliver a crusty bag of barf to the ears of the HudsonValley. We are proud to play The Anchor with such great friends like Nasty Bastard and Pitchfork Militia. Cirrhosis and Pitchfork Militia played many shows together between 1998 and 2001. Can’t wait for the reunion. Metal is and is important to me and ours because without we would all suffocate like fish out of water. Metal is and always will be! Yaaarghh!”
Good Grief Comics (356 Broadway) is participating in Halloween Comic Fest this year, with tons of free comics, candy and refreshments plus free art classes.
“Halloween Comic Fest is a national event held on the weekend of Oct. 26 and 27,” says store owner Greg Kanan. “Many publishers, large and small, have printed special Halloween Comic Fest mini- and full-size comics that will be available for free in participating shops. Prizes will be awarded in shop for the best costumes, as well as being entered into a national costume contest. Here at Good Grief Comics, in addition to the official HCF events, we will have a free comic art class taught by comic book veteran Paul Abrams, and a free seminar on indie comic publishing hosted by Megabrain Comics founder Jean Michel. We will also be screening a slew of cult horror films and offering up Halloween candy and refreshments.”
I asked Kanan about opening the shop in a time when print media is hurting (though Warren Buffett keeps investing in newspapers, which is a good sign).
“The idea to open the shop came rather suddenly,” Greg says. “I was lamenting, as nerds tend to do, about the lack of a comic shop in Kingston, when my girlfriend said, ‘Well, why don’t you open one?’ I’m pretty sure she’s regretted that on more than one occasion. A year and a half later and it’s already been an interesting and fun adventure. I’d love to see this become a community focal point for people to come and celebrate what they love. Beyond the obvious uncertainty of starting a new business these days, there is a hopeful feeling of liberation. Good Grief Comics is my outlet for my passions and eccentricities, comics and beyond, and I’d love for it to be that place for the people who come in.”
I ask Kanan if he thinks DC is saving super-villain Darkseid for a Justice League of America movie and what comic book film he’d like to see.
“Darkseid recently got his own book, so a JLA film appearance seems possible, but I don’t know if I’d say he was being ‘saved’ for anything after appearing in Smallville,” Kanan schools me. “As far as comic book movies, I’m still disappointed the live-action Transmetropolitan film with Patrick Stewart never happened.”
I have modeled my career as a writer on Transmetropolitan’s gonzo Spider Jerusalem, so I will have to second that.
Lastly, for some spectral vocals and spirit-moving sounds, check out electro-indie band Poliça’s capricious new album Shulamith (on Mom + Pop Music). It was just streamed on NPR and the song “Tiff” features Justin Vernon of Bon Iver (who recently said Poliça are the best band he’s ever heard). Poliça’s moody music is breathtaking, with vocalist Channy Leaneagh’s effects layered voice a truly haunting balance between art rock and mainstream pop.
“We didn’t really intend on changing our sound very much, and in fact we consciously decided to try and maintain the same sort of formula we used making our first record, which was to write a lot of the music in the studio while we were recording it,” says Poliça drummer Drew Christopherson. “What we did intentionally do, though, was to work together as a band more, and really think about what parts of the beats could be replaced by live drums and percussion rather than just layering it over the top and blending it all. But overall, we were just excited to keep rolling down the same direction we’ve been on. With a band like this that is so rhythm-section oriented, it actually makes the melody carry a big weight of where the songs go. It’s fun to work with, for sure.”