Tattoos: R&B artist Chris Brown claims his newest tattoo—which strongly resembles a battered woman’s face—was a result of a terrible attempt at a calavera. Whatever its origin, the ink was an ill-considered choice, given his tumultous, violent relationship with pop star Rihanna. In mid-December, she reportedly had his nickname, Breezy, inscribed somewhere on her flesh. As we go to press, the Twitter-sphere reports that the couple has reunited. Many other humans also have tattoos and relationship problems.
Cultural appropriation: Ska-pop outfit No Doubt's comeback attempt was panned by Native Americans and their allies, after the group's awful music video for “Looking Hot” glorified Native stereotypes and sexual violence. Marisa Demarco penned an excellent editorial on the subject. Resolve to support Native artists in 2013 by spending your hard-earned cash with culturally responsive companies like Beyond Buckskin, which carries rad silk scarves by Santa Fe-based artist and designer Virgil Ortiz and 8-bit bling purveyor The Soft Museum’s wares.
Freedom of speech: Russian punk rock art collective Pussy Riot's activism frequently got sensationalized in a sexist and patronizing way by the mainstream media, but the fact that Pussy Riot galvanized dialogue and protest in post-Soviet Russia and around the globe is beyond question. The fact that balaclavas got rocked in the process is merely a bonus. Read the Alibi’s take on the group for a thorough and insightful introduction to the subject.
Kickstarter politics: Ex-Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer has a lot of devoted fans, and she crowd-funded her latest album, raising $1.2 million. She only asked for a hundred grand, but the folk singer’s sonic soulmates kept the money rolling right in. The release, titled Theatre is Evil, is pretty terrific. As the tour approached, Palmer solicited local horn and strings players to open for her sans financial compensation. Playing the prole and the plutocrat simultaneously isn’t looked on kindly in an era plagued by wealth inequality. She backpedaled pretty quickly, opting to compensate musicians.
Misogyny and homophobia: Former hip-hop ghostwriter/R&B sensation Frank Ocean came out this year by posting a letter on Tumblr. Hip-hop is often criticized for misogynistic and homophobic lyrics and videos, so his honesty and openness are commendable. Ocean told Rolling Stone that he rejects the notion of labeling his sexuality and prefers the term “dynamic” to “bisexual.” Homophobia and misogyny are alive and well as 2013 nears, folks. For local takes on the subjects, peruse Burqueñas Talk Muscial Misogyny and Queering Public Spaces.
A New Mexican inmate, an ex-con on probation and the latter’s nephew allegedly devised an elaborate plan to castrate and murder Justin Bieber. The prisoner, Dana Martin, allegedly became murderously angry with the pop star because of a continual lack of response to his letters. Martin is reported to have a tattoo of the tween dreamboat. The investigation is ongoing.
Santa Fe art collective Meow Wolf are on a show-hosting hiatus, owing to the lack of a suitable venue. The group recently formed WolfPAC and are working on three initiatives they believe will improve life in Santa Fe: decriminalizing the possession of recreational marijuana in amounts under one ounce, moving the annual burning of Old Man Gloom (aka Zozobra) back to Friday and working with the city council to establish a venue. Learn more at: meowwolfpac.
In 2012, our burg has borne (or will bear) witness to reunions of Fatso, The Gracchi and The Mindy Set. And El Paso, Texas will thrill to one-time Burqueño rock act Chinese Love Beads. Aural Prozac-voiced shredder Steve Hammond relocated to Mexico, causing a live show hiatus for Tenderizor, Leeches of Lore and Knife City. Several local bands of note are no longer with us. Crank up your stereo for a moment in honor of: Mother Death Queen, Deadtown Lovers, The Glass Menageries, Great White Buffalo, Of God and Science, A Very Special Lie. Natural Sound shuttered. The New Mexico Symphony no longer exists.
Things always wax and wane, but there’s a vibrant music scene in Burque. If you’re a noise aficionado, this city’s got you covered. The same goes for hip-hop, rock and roll, metal, punk rock, rockabilly, classical, you name it. As with most things in life, you only get out of a scene what you put into it. As an extreme introvert and reluctant crowd member, I know how easy it is to come up with excuses not to get out there. One of my top resolutions for 2013 is to experience more live music. I hope you’ll join me.