By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Social networking is a totally relative experience. And over time, this particular fact of web life will become increasingly intensified as content aggregators serve up progressively efficient ways to provide personalized content based on previous clicks. The thing that's blowin' up your blogroll, news feed, or wall-o-Tumblr could exist, for someone else, in an entirely separate Internet.
Right now, though, if your Facebook account is tuned to the bars, galleries, and artists that populate the Biscayne corridor, you've probably experienced local music festival Summer of Weirds' online assault.
With a long history of employing feverish fandom to hype his various local music pursuits, the fest's curator, promoter, sound guy, and stage tech, Jeff Rollason, has been spending untold hours stalking the social sphere and spreading the Weirds word like Speedy Gonzalez with Wi-Fi.
Asked to comment about Facebook as a platform for pushing his event, Rollason simply pauses, smirks, and says, "Well, there's people on it." It's a dry joke directed at the social network's immediate predecessor: the formerly ubiquitous (though notably cruder and ultimately forsaken) place for friends, MySpace.
For a while, Rollason seemed to be MySpace's figurative last man on Earth, a desperate avatar wandering a digital wasteland loaded with dead profiles, viruses that had spread like vines, and features that never finished loading. But finally he made the transition to Facebook this summer, just in time for Summer of Weirds.
Now in its second year, Rollason's annual festival is a descendent of his now-defunct Night of Weirds monthly showcase. Eclectically booked and often featuring cutting-edge experimental artists, the showcase was Miami's premier freeform live-music experience from 2007 to 2008.
The first Night of Weirds took place in April 2007, and it featured Ed Wilcox, a free-jazz percussionist, vocalist, and regular collaborator of Sun Ra saxophonist Marshall Allen. Also atop the bill: Zack Kouns, known on the experimental circuit for his work with Ohio-based psychedelic noise project Social Junk. The show had a strong turnout. And soon Churchill's hired Rollason to host Weirds the first Tuesday of every month. The event grew quickly, becoming a local experimental-music standard thanks to its consistent, loose formula — short sets, stacked lineups, and no rules.
However, in addition to the noise acts and experimental rock bands generally associated with the Weirds brand, the showcase regularly included non-Weirds — Norms perhaps? — such as DJ Le Spam, indie-pop songwriter Rachel Goodrich, and electro duo Afrobeta. For Rollason, the weirdness is just as much a matter of juxtaposition (say a metal group followed by a country singer and then a vulgar puppet show) as any individually deranged act.
As the project progressed, though, its chief executor soon found himself in what he describes as a "stalemate" with Churchill's Pub over band perks and money.
"The Churchill's policy is promoters keep money from the door," Rollason says. "My policy is I only do free shows." His logic follows that a show without a cover will not only amplify attendance but also leave patrons with plenty of cash to spend on alcohol. "I lose money every time I do a Weirds," he says. "And Churchill's makes a killing. A lot of man-hours go into one of these shows, especially when you factor in all the time spent booking and promoting."
As a result of the dispute, Rollason held Weirds-in-exile events throughout 2009 and 2010 at then-popular spots, including the Upper Eastside Garden, the Tik Tak House, and Harvey's by the Bay at the American Legion. But finally the freak parade returned to Little Haiti's favorite English pub in September 2009 for Weirds Sell Out, followed nine months later by the inaugural, two-day Summer of Weirds in July 2010.
"I still love the place," Rollason says of Churchill's. And he's being sincere. But he's also aware of the irony inherent in decrying a venue that one is simultaneously promoting. So ultimately his conflict with Churchill's booking policy isn't really all-out war. It's something closer to the kind of recurring squabble that distant relatives get into every holiday. It's the same fight, over and over. But everyone is still blood-related. And they all still show up for the next family reunion.
Pressed to identify the headliner for this Friday's festival, Rollason is reluctant. But he cops to being excited about hosting Tampa's Ant Parade, a minimal solo chanteuse who performs ghostly, ethereal psalms and plucky electro-pop numbers.
"You could probably say Ballscarf is the headliner," he says, referring to a noise act (not so much a band per se) whose last performance featured screeching feedback courtesy of visual artist Jay Hines, shrieking vocals from filmmaker Aiden Dillard, and an inflatable bounce house unleashed indoors. "You'll at least know the show has started," Rollason quips.
But here's the real answer to the headliner question: When it comes to Weirds, any act in any slot has the potential to be the star. And that's especially true in light of this year's eclectic, high-quality bill, which includes twisted postpunk-pop variants courtesy of hahahelp!, This Heart Electric, and Luma Junger. Solo female artist Sharlyn Evertsz will be the evening's noise-improv anchor. And attendees can expect particularly bizarre performances from a cappella R&B sleazeball Passion, experimental puppetry troupe Puppetree, and otherworldly Americana outfit Boise Bob and the Backyard Band.
Awesome!! SUMMER OF WEIRDS!!!! go early, stay late. TEN PM SHADOW THEATER. do it. Puppetree! fun words to read, thanks. I want to road trip with Matt even more now!.. if there's room in the vehicle, Im very big.
ASIANS CAN ACTUALLY READ MINDS!!!!!!!!!they can hear and see what your visually thinkingthis is the dead truth
the reason alot of asians have completely expressionless faces, only associate with asians and dont associate with non asians very much is to avoid accidentally revealing that they can read read minds, if all over a billion asians were to show facial expressions all the time just as much as non asians, associate with non asians much more, and be much more friendly and talkative, then alot of them might accidentally reveal that they can read minds by accidentally showing a facial expression or dirty look when someone thinks, or visually pictures something in their mind they dont like or find astonishing or funny, and if they were all to associate with non asians alot more there would be alot more people around for them to accidentally show facial expressions when those other people think things they dont like, so they only associate with asians so there wont be anyone around for them to see that and have any accidents happen in the first place
think about it, its not normal how alot of them act, and the entire way they act is all to hide their mind reading abilities, it makes perfect sense to do all of that to hide that they can read minds, because all of that is the perfect way to do it!every single asian on the planet is hiding their mind reading abilities, they value hiding their mind reading abilities more then their own lives!thats why nobody knows about it!
try thinking, best yet visually picturing in your mind something something absolutely crazy as you possibly can when you are around asians, and try looking for asians who give people particular looks, especially dirty looks for what appears to be for completely no reason, that is them giving people looks when they hear and visually see someone thinking something they dont like, find funny or astonishingit still happens despite a large number of them having completely expressionless faces all the time, it would just happen alot more if none of them had completely expressionless faces all the time, its not uncommon!
i know this sounds crazy, impossible, and completely unbelievable, BUT IT ISNT CRAZY WHEN ITS TRUE
you have to spread the message!!!the world has to know about this!!!!
what the fuck was that last comment about? i'm really into that! long live The Weirds and that last comment about Asians!