Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Anybody want to guess why I've been thinking about that lately? With no sign of de-escalation in sight on the European front, we're all back under the umbrella of the dumbest human action imaginable: the specter of nuclear war. Back in 1962, the world leaders involved were all relatively young and virile, with JFK (45) competing with Castro (36) for in-office libidinous excess. They clearly both had something to live for. Even Krushchev at 68 looked like a spring chicken compared to the mendacious zombie who is currently stinking up the Oval Office. I genuinely fear that the game of warheads being played will end up being set off by the advanced age of the belligerents (Putin just turned 70 last week), causing the Freudian death drive to override the natural eros and joie de vie most people enjoy, powerful or not. In the off chance there's a nuclear exchange, I just want to take a brief moment to reflect that A) The wrong side won the Cold War; B) Putin is the result of the U.S. carving up the U.S.S.R. and handing the reins to the oligarchs; and C) Western liberalism is an ideology of hubris, stupidity and failure. Ah, that felt good to get off my chest.
Anyhoo, it's still spooky season here in the western world, and have I got some corkers for you this week to draw your mind away from an event none of us individually have the power to prevent. We're not only gearing up for Halloween, but for another fun election season, which I am told has the existential future of a democracy at stake. If I thought I lived in one of those, I might even be a little worried.
Get out there and cut a rug, you scamps.
Oooo, it's Thursday the 13th, which has got to be like the generic knock-off brand version of Friday the 13th, right? About 40 percent less spooky perhaps? Anyway, consider checking out the Jam at 10 p.m., where you will find Hip Hop Thursday in full swing. DJ Pressure, Starcata, Chuck Angeles, Flo J Simpson and more will be holding it down. I don't believe there's a door cover, either, for those of you who want to kick it on the cheap.
Ledward "Led" Kaapana is a masterful Hawaiian guitarist who has honed the various slack-key styles into his own private playground. Having seen him before, I can tell you that if you have even the slightest inclination towards hearing good Hawaiian tunes played beautifully, you must not miss this show at the Old Steeple at 7:30 p.m. ($35, $30 advance). Fair warning: The man plays so sweetly that the blessed dead in the cemetery next door might rise up and come round for a gander at the goods.
Every so often a show comes to my attention that, while not exactly something I would seek out, is funny or weird enough that I feel compelled to report on it. Tonight, such a show is happening over at the Jam, where Felix and Fingers are billed as a dueling piano act. Beyond the time (8 p.m.) and the cost ($25), there is a paucity of information regarding this gig. This could be a Vegas showcase reminiscent of the glory days of Liberace, or just a fun little dinnertime sideshow. There will be room for dancing, so write that down.
I'll never publicly cop to being a Grateful Dead fan. However, I am familiar with the group's eras and discography, and I do rather reliably report on various Dead Head satellite bands. The Arcata Theatre Lounge has such a show tonight, when Los Angeles' Grateful Shred (ugh) will be hitting the boards at 7 p.m. If you're interested in this (you know who you are), never fear, assuming there are tickets left, the price is a reasonable $23, so even in this parched weed economy, you don't have to sling too many mids to get onboard.
Monday and Tuesday
Ah, wouldn't you know it? These mid-October nights are rather bare music-wise, so instead of sending you out looking for live adventures, I will recommend horror works to you, in the form and order of the classic wedding items (because I am feeling romantic) Something old: Read Stephen King's Salem's Lot. It's possibly his most succinctly terrifying book. Something new: Check out Gretchen Felker-Martin's excellent 2022 novel Manhunt, although, fair warning: If you are a TERF (trans-exclusive radical feminist) you probably won't have a good time. Something borrowed: Watch Italian schlock-horror master Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2, which rode the coattails of George Romero's work by "borrowing" the Italian title of Dawn of the Dead and pretending to be its sequel. Sleazy and scary — plus a zombie fighting a shark. Something blue: Well, if we extend the term "blue" to include the mildly pornographic, then there is no better horror film that is rife with nudity than Robin Hardy's 1973 masterpiece The Wicker Man. The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission.
Here's a fun two-fer to make up for the last couple of dry days. First up, over at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, there is a showing of John Carpenter's 1982 masterpiece, 'The Thing,' which is the greatest film to ever spectacularly fail the Bechdel Test. Pre-show raffle at 6 p.m., $5 to get in, $9 if you want a poster (of course you want a poster, this movie is sick).
Two hours later over at the Miniplex, you can hear the sweet sounds of Los Angeles-based folkster ITASCA, whose fey sounds articulate a sad beauty rarely captured this well. Local acts Sara Kei duo and The Widdershins open the evening up for ya. The money's right, too, as the door is asking a mere sliding scale $5-$10 for admittance.
Collin Yeo (he/him) has $50 for any taker on the long odds that Brett Watson will get reelected, because the only intersectionality Collin has seen any results in locally is that of "bad" and "stupid." He lives in Arcata, where the NIMBYs call the shots.