>This Household Kicks Ass, Takes Few Names

>I haven’t done much lately interesting or meaningful, but that will change next week when I have to go to Texas. However, my oddball housemates (more commonly referred to in polite company as “son” and “wife”) have been anything but stationary. What follows is a recap of some of their goings-on which I have been quite content to be the proud spectator of.

JUDGMENT HAMMER

A couple months ago Sid joined this band. They used to be called The Four Horsemen, and under that name my previous band had probably played more shows with them than any other local band. They play vintage, 80s-style Bay Area thrash metal (think early Metallica, Exodus, etc.), and they play it very well. They started young — while the remaining original members are in their early 20s, when I first saw them they were Sid’s age — 16. Recently they found themselves in need of a drummer and a bass player, so Sid and his buddy Dustin, who were playing together in their other band, HELLIANA, joined the ranks. They had done one show in January, and I was surprised at how good they were. Sid in particular, as the speed and chops these guys display are definitely a notch above what was going on in Helliana (I didn’t doubt Dustin’s ability; the kid is a monster bass player, and at 16-17 he could already play circles around me).

So a couple weeks ago Sid told me they were playing some battle of the bands competition at a local bar in town called Sean Kelly’s. I laughed out loud for several reasons. For one thing, the joint is small — the stage is about the size of a drum riser. For another, I know the kind of music they have there, and it ain’t Judgment Hammer. Hell, my honkytonkin’ friend Bob Wire played there, and I imagine he was probably too rowdy and loud for what they are after! Finally, I had inside information as to what the goal of this contest is, because the drummer in my band is one of the judges. Essentially, Sean Kelly’s has undergone some management changes and wants to refocus on music; part of the goal of this contest is to find new talent to book there.

Talented as they are Judgment Hammer isn’t what they’re looking for. Period.

So on their night there were 14 acts scheduled. Each act gets 15 minutes. That time includes set up and rock time. First band is an act called Peanut Butter and Didgeridoo Jam. They were okay, but pretty typical wanky hippyesque stuff that you’d expect in Missoula. They had some auxiliary percussion, an acoustic guitar, some hand drums, and they just . . . jammed.

Three acts later, it was HAMMER TIME.

Sid had to play the “house” drum kit; this dinky little thing with only an 18″ kick drum. The kick drum Sid practices on at home is 26″. Hell, his snare drum was higher than the rack tom! He was bitching up a storm, but I told him to just shut up and deal with it. They only played two songs, and they killed it. I was having a blast, and I wasn’t the only one. A number of people got right up front of the stage with me, and the cheers for them were loud.

What I loved is they looked the adversity in the face and just unleashed. Sid played the kit furiously. They rocked that little bar with all the swagger and panache that they would if it were Madison Square Garden. I was grinning ear-to-ear the entire time. They delivered a hell of a lot of rock show in their 15 minutes, and I was proud as hell of them.

Did they advance? Of course not. One judge totally hosed them by giving them low, low scores across the board (3 of the 4 scored them in the high 30s out of 40, this guy gave them a 20 out of 40). That’s why I hate these contests. Maybe you don’t like a certain style of music, but you need to recognize talent or don’t be a judge. The 4th category was for energy, enthusiasm, etc. The guy even wrote on the sheet theirs was great. Then he proceeded to give them a 5/10. That’s just chicken shit. Even Travis, our drummer, when he saw me the next night at our band practice bellowed, “[insert name of local venerable sound man] totally fucked those guys!”

Yeah, he did, but it didn’t matter. Judgment Hammer did what they went to do on their terms, and I was stoked to see it.

DONKEYGIRL

I mentioned last week that Julia is entered in Project Selvedge this year, a local fashion design competition that spans two months and is comprised of 7 different challenges. The first challenge, which I wrote about, was that they had to take some grab-bag fabric provided by Selvedge and make something that exemplified their aesthetic as a designer. Each challenge is judged, and contestants are eliminated each week until only 2 remain for the final challenge. Each challenge also has a winner, and the reward is a bye for the following challenge. In other words, they still have to do the challenge, but they are immune to being judged out of the competition. Julia didn’t win the first challenge, but she did advance to the second.

For the second challenge (16 contestants had been reduced to 8 or 9) each designer was given a $25 gift certificate to Secret Seconds, a local thrift shop run by the YWCA. They had to find items suitable to design a kick ball uniform. From the description:

This is our first sportswear challenge on Project Selvedge and it won’t be easy-especially considering you have to get all your supplies at Secret Seconds, on a $25 budget. Le Kickball is the newest scene in fashionable recreation here under the Big Sky. Each designer needs to invent a team (and name it, that’s important). And design an outfit that can be kicked, slid and pitched in.

Can’t wrap your head around Le Kickball? Maybe this will help: http://www.myspace.com/lekickball
I dare you to try this at home.
Julia went to Secret Seconds the Saturday after the competition and these are the items she came home with:

So with those items, she created a team called The Furious Truckstop Waitresses, modeled on a rollerderby team she and her friend had come up with in Tucson, and put together this outfit.

She fussed and fretted over it all week. Took her sewing machine with her on a trip to Vegas she had previously planned. Wrapped it up at the last minute and changed into it. When she came up the stairs I about died laughing — especially her beehive, “Flo” hairdo.

Here are some of the designs that others came up with. The common theme seemed to be to take stuff they found and use as fabric to make brand new things, as opposed to reworking something existing, which is what Julia did. Red and black was also popular, for some reason. I thought all of the designs were pretty good, really. I’d hate to have to do the judging, but then again I don’t have the same eye for this kind of thing that the pros do.

Click this next one to enlarge it. You can see that Julia and my friend Toni are totally checking out this girl’s ass.

So after everyone showed their designs and weathered questions from the judges, the judges went away to deliberate. This time there were 5 judges, as opposed to the 3 from round 1.

Julia wasn’t feeling too confident (she told me, as the judges returned, “Now don’t get mad if I cry…. “). I was nervous. Then out of the 8, they had 4 step forward and told them they were safe. Which made me think the remaining 4 were out, which included Julia! I almost broke into tears! I felt like a bucket of water was dumped over my head. But as it turned out, 1 of those 4 were eliminated, and the remaining 3 were the top 3 of the night. From those three, they narrowed it then down to 2. It was agonizing. Then they announced the winner . . . was Julia! It was pretty awesome. That means the next challenge, which she is diligently working away at, doesn’t really matter — she will automatically advance to round 4 afterwards regardless of how it turns out.

The excitement was short-lived, because it was announced what the next challenge was, and that they had $50 to make the garment, and that they had 20 minutes to pick out their fabric starting right then. So they had to think of what they want to make, then find fabric for it, all under the gun. You should have seen all their faces!

It was exciting. You can see photos of all the designs here.

I’m pretty goddamn proud of her too. Julia and Sid both officially owned this past week.

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