Hope, Fear and Dreams
We have new president (finally) and I will take a moment to step up on the soapbox that this little project affords me and tell you what I might think of that. If you are waiting for me to review Stevie Wonder’s performance of Higher Ground at the We Are One concert, that’s not where I am going (though I have on good authority that it was great live!). Nor am I going to tell you that I have become the 57,720th Facebook fan of Aretha Franklin’s Inaugural hat. (Though if you like you can become a Facebook fan of the A-List) Of course the campaign slogan was HOPE and that’s what I will be talking about. But first, the clever people at Decatur’s own Paste Magazine have allowed us to have some fun with that. Join the fun and create your own Obamicon based on the ubiquitous Shepard Farley poster.
The serious question that I want to pose about that slogan is this: what is hope? Really. What is it?
I don’t doubt that this president embodies hope. I truly believe that he does. But that only begs the question. What is it? Right now, in this very moment, I have more hope in my heart that I have known in years – though that is not exclusively attributable to Mr. Obama (and no, there is not a winning powerball ticket in my pocket giving me hope, though this feeling wouldn’t be that different).
But again, despite experiencing it myself, I am still not sure if I know exactly what hope is. I considered that maybe it is freedom from fear, which is only apropos given the times. But I was unpersuaded; that is not it. I thought maybe it was courage or perseverance to stay strong until those very times turn better. But still that is not it. While ruminating on this point, it was suggested to me that maybe hope is the ability to dream. Let me say that again, hope is the ability to dream. In an instant I knew that was it. That is exactly it. Let me tell you quickly how I knew.
Some time before I came into this world it was a different place (though not in every way). A struggle was on and a great man shared with this nation a dream – “a red beacon light of hope.” But the dream was not complete on that day. It was only conceived. And when I was a young man, a great band told the story again – knowing that even in the name of love, it was still a dream. But maybe by then it was growing.
Time passed and this week, all of that changed. The dream became real for anyone who believed in the words of the great Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, or even those of Bono.
On January 20, one man became the embodiment of the dream. Now the dream can act. It can move. It can do. The dream has found its ability, and in that ability it gives us hope. It feels good.
This Week in Dogwood City
The Duhks will be at Smith’s Olde Bar on Thursday. This is a show I fully intend to hit if only because I haven’t seen Brittany in weeks. Really this is a band I should have seen a long time ago. Well established in the folk scene, this is exactly the kind of show I enjoy when I want some solid, traditional song-writing and a little mandolin. The new record is Fast Paced World and there is no reason to believe that it will not follow in the progression of increasing sophistication that this band established with 2006′s Migrations.
Vera Fang, who has no website but has a couple of lo-fi you tube videos like Neon Neverland, will be at the Drunken Unicorn on Friday. This pixie punker sort of fascinates me if only for the fact that she and her cohorts may be the only other people in the music scene as technologically indifferent as me. The best info you will find is courtesy of an A Lister who writes for one of those other pubs – nice story.
Redneck rapper YelaWolf will be spitting lyrics at Lenny’s on Saturday night. I have not hit a show yet so I am still unsure whether this guy is always tongue in cheek or not, be he sure seems to be having fun with rhymes like Box Chevy. If it isn’t so good drown your disapointment in a couple of PBR tall boys.
The Earl makes room for The Selmanaires on Saturday night. They will be joined by The Features. If you can believe what you read, these Nashville boys are the favorites among the “ultra-hip and hyper-critical” in the Nashville music scene. No not the Opry, but the scene that has produced The Raconteurs, Kings of Leon, and Ben Folds (coming to the Tabernacle Feb. 27). Sounds like a nice bill for $10 at the door.
Lacking in Greatness, but Hope…well y’know
The Killers are at the Atlanta Civic Center on Friday. That show hasn’t sold out – which gives me hope that our music-loving brethren in this town have taken the same critical view of the band’s latest effort as I have. The Modern Skirts are at The Earl again on Friday in case you need something to do. And I will not mention another local Shawn Mullins show this year (even though he’s at The Loft on Thursday). Finally, some sorry band somewhere is going to try to draw a band on Sunday evening despite the obvious competition. Good luck with that boys.
The Fray will be at the Variety on Tuesday night but the show is sold out. I could have, and should have, predicted this. I might have if I had any interest in going to the show – which, of course, I do not. The February 4 Andrew Bird show at the Variety is also sold out – which did surprise and disappoint me (personally, of course. I am happy for Andrew and the Variety). If it is any consolation, we can check out this 2007 live performance for a flavor of what might be missed. A final future sell out is the March 7, Morrissey show. I confess the speed of this one surprises me. I wonder if all these ticket buyers have seen the promotional poster/cd cover/website where he is holding an infant child like a rugby ball? I’m jus sayin’ this might not be quite the same show you saw in high school.
That’s the A List and by the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong.