When John Harvey Kellogg developed his now famous Corn Flakes in the end of the 19th century, the product was intended to promote better health through blandness, the idea being that an unexciting and flavorless beginning to the day would discourage the consumer from committing an act that the staunch Seventh-day Adventist considered to be extremely bad for the health: masturbation. There is an irony here, because the 1994 film The Road To Wellville, based on the T.C. Boyle book of the same name about the good doctor and his Battle Creek sanitarium, was only watched by teenage me because of the many scenes containing female nudity. Anyway, Dr. Kellogg was not without his good ideas, even if the mechanisms surrounding them were sometimes a bit off. For instance, he championed maintaining healthy gut flora — an idea that has a strong connection with good digestive health in contemporary society — by an unfortunate series of daily water and yogurt enemas. Was he correct in his thinking? Well, teenage me would tend to disagree with his thoughts on masturbation and I am not willing to entertain non-traditional consumption of yogurt anytime soon, but the man did live to be a respectable 91, so what do I know? Anyway, I am including bygone and off-color ideas about health and well-being into this edition of the Setlist to follow the theme of the Journal this week and also for amusement's sake. Particularly my own amusement because that's really what this is all about, isn't it, dear readers? Amusing ourselves on this long slog home.
Here's a health tip: Avoid corporate compost and favor the homegrown, backyard variety. It's easy to quality control the ingredients when they come out of your own kitchen and the process can even be fun. In fact, it might save your life. According to a 2015 study at the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, more than 50 percent of the 22 U.K. brands of commercial compost tested were found to contain the deadly legionella bacteria. So stay healthy and brew your own. Or just sidestep the matter entirely and grab a brew with The Compost Mountain Boys when they play a lively, free bluegrass set at the Mad River Brewery Tasting Room this evening at 6 p.m.
Also tonight at 9:30 p.m., it's a free show at The Jam with local bands Dimboi, Ms. God and Frog making their debuts, featuring the talented Kyra Teevan on drums. Pints are half off so get beery and make merry.
Your heart beats roughly 40,000,000 times in one year. More if you are stressed out, have emotional malfunctions or health issues, or drug problems. It beats fewer times if you exercise regularly and keep in peak athletic shape, and much less if you are dead. So every anniversary isn't just another year of time notched up, it is also a long-form seismic graph with millions of data points that ticked in harmony with your every emotional accord and discord. Maybe bear that in mind when you see your loved ones on their birthdays and relationship milestones and reward or punish them according to what they did for your heart that year. And perhaps come out and celebrate the one year anniversary of the excellent safe and sober all ages venue The Outer Space at 7 p.m. tonight because its continued existence in our community is good for all of our hearts. La Mancha and Grocery Outlit provide local support for Olympia's indie bands Trust Fall and Squill. Come raise your heartrate in a healthy way, with friends old and new ($6).
Medieval European wellness habits were fairly terrible and might seem, to modern readers, antithetical to the promotion of actual health and well-being. From bloodletting and trepanning to medicines taken from the animal kingdom — dung compresses for festering wounds and boar bile enemas for general upkeep (shout out to Dr. Kellogg) — the ancient Greek-obsessed healers of yore had some fairly gross and horrible cures and treatments. Gross and horrible is also an excellent description for the band name of Seattle's excellent guitar and drum noise duo Shake the Baby Til the Love Comes Out, who play a free show at Blondies at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The awesome lineup for tonight's bloodletting, skull-popping health seminar includes Coos Bay's while I see sound with locals Smooth Weirdos and Blackplate. I'll probably be there, chock full of bile.
Moving from Medieval European madness — Saint Vitus dance, anyone? — to a thread that stretches both backward and forward, dance has been an ecstatic ritual from pre-historical times to the post-truth period in which we unfortunately now live (you know what you've done, Right Wing Media). Uniting the sacred and the profane, the soul and the heart, and the mind and the ass — as the prophet George Clinton pointed out — dance is simply good for all of you. And the quasi-Dadaist midcentury Japanese dance movement called Butoh seems especially concerned with the health and harmony of the entire being. Synapsis hosts the last day of the Humboldt Butoh Festival ($20, $15 advance) today with a workshop at 1 p.m. and a performance at 7 p.m. Look up founder Tatsumi Hijikata on YouTube and tell me this isn't cool and worth your time.
Ataraxia, that tranquil state of lucid calm and health so highly valued by the Stoics and other ancient Greek thinkers, seems like one of those ideas that is difficult to articulate but universally obvious when in practice. The often misunderstood philosopher Epicurus seemed to believe that a very clear route to the nirvana-junior state of ataraxia is through a life lived with friends. To Epicurus, friendship is a stronger cornerstone to a healthy life than romantic love or wealth. Perhaps some of this noble feeling will be on display when the SB and Friends Tour visits The Outer Space tonight. Featuring hip hop artist Signor Benedick the Moor, Boston indie rapper Pink Navel, and L.A. indie rock and funk acts Kim Tillman and Orlando Kennedy, this 6:30 p.m. show should be a pretty bouncing good time ($7).
The binge and purge method of partying and spiritual redemption was a favorite method of maintaining a healthy chi in my more elastic 20s. Blame it on living in New Orleans but I actually think indulgence followed by abstention can benefit the body electric. Phatsy Kline's Parlor Lounge has its own (albeit weekly and decidedly more low-key) version of Mardi Gras, too, starting at 6 p.m. with its Phat Tuesdays series of free shows during happy hour. This week's act is That Buckin' String Band, a quartet of pickers and singers who play a mix of originals and covers on the uke, the mandolin, the upright bass and all things in between.
Arthur Janov's primal therapy method of sounding out repressed trauma through raw emotional output is one of those ideas that gathered most of its steam through championing by famous musicians. And like a lot of those fads, it sounds like a bunch of hogwash to me with perhaps a pearl (amongst the swine) of wisdom. But music is undeniably heavy with raw emotion and its execution seems pretty beneficial to one's inner grace, so what do I know?
The Siren's Song hosts a pretty raw and heavy show tonight at 9 p.m. with local space-bong lords Ultramafic, Stranger Than Fact and Muppet Hunters, a band who I enjoy live somewhat but who I want to be weirder and do more to live up to its name than simply have Cookie Monster-esque death metal vocals ($5).
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Collin Yeo is a calm blue ocean.