Scene and Heard 2016 In Review

Scene and Herd: Year In Review — 2016

by • January 6, 2017

Douglass Dresher | Staff Writer | Shows I Go ToScene and Herd w/ Douglass “Doug I Go To” Dresher
Staff Writer & Photographer

WHO:

Me: Douglass “Igoto” Dresher

WHAT:

2016 Year in Review

I preface my entry by offering that some of the stuff I may be writing about did not, in fact, take place in 2016.  BUT – I came across it during 2016, so it is new to me.  Much like reruns of shows you didn’t see the first time.

WHERE:

The NY/NJ/PA area – well, NYC, Central NJ, and Philly.  I don’t like to travel too far.  Truth-be-told, I don’t travel to NYC or Philly that often either.  I have a day job for which I wake at 5:30am, so the NYC and Philly shows are a killer on my ability to stay awake the following day.

WHEN:

January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016

WHY:

As humans, we seem to have an inherent need to encapsulate our experiences.  The ticking of the clock is a construct of our primordial need to catalog our experience. Once we stopped farming, the clock became important to us.  When we woke with the sun and slept with the moon who needed clocks? 

Interestingly, many researchers posit that time exists in one of three forms – the future, the specious present, and the past.  Okay, that is my own theory, but I’m sure others have thought of this before.

There are two scientific definitions of time.  Newtonian time states that time is part of the fundamental design of the universe.  This definition offers that time is independent of events, which then occur in a sequence that cannot be undone.

 The other scientific view of time offers that there is no referent, no specifically defined flow which events either move through or take place in.  Immanuel Kant offered that time is neither an event or thing, but that time is a construct of human consciousness. 

 But I have digressed – So here, in no particular Kantian order, here is my 2016…

THE GOOD:

Pinegrove:

This is as good as good gets.  Many will say that their melodies and lyrics are the central focus, and I wouldn’t argue.  Evan Stephen Hall’s lyrics are smart, sharp, intellectual, and cut right to the emotional heart of the issue.  He obviously paid attention during his 20th century literature classes as his work is firmly rooted in the Modernist ethos.

Yet – I will say this – the drummer is what keeps this band focused.  Many of the songs seem to trip along.  Much like when you are humming a melody as you roll a tire down the dirt road.  Keeping the tire rolling with a large stick, you sometimes fall off the beat.  But Zack Levine (the drummer) can shuffle the pulse, or just hold off for a 16th of a beat.  The listener is ever so slightly thrown off, but not so much that he or she loses footing.  I am in awe of the subtle simplicity and mathematic precision of Levine’s drumming.  Well done sir!

Thee Oh Sees:

I am not sure if they did anything during 2016, but thanks to Spotify, they were new to me.  I don’t completely care for some of the sound canvas art-shit-head tracks.  But, their up-tempo tracks make me drive fast.  The band plays fast and loud, had two drummers at some point and John Dwyer, the guitar/singer, plays a SG-shaped EGC DS, which, for those who don’t suffer from guitar envy, is an acrylic see-through SG shaped guitar.

Other things I really like that may have been around for a while but I didn’t know about until 2016:

A Minor Forest:

A San Francisco-based math rock band from the 1990s.  They played a few shows in 2014, but I didn’t know  so I missed them.  And the shows were not close to my house…

I did a few moments of research on Erik Hoversten, the guitarist.  He seems to have played in a few other bands.  Or he is a doctoral student at Rutgers University.  His is not an uncommon name.  For $12 I could have researched his criminal record, but that would be too intrusive.

Jim Oblon:

Jim Oblon is a stunningly smooth Nashville guitarist who you would have seen playing drums for Paul Simon during his last few tours.  Because, as a fantastic guitarist, he is a fantastic drummer.  Watch his performance on Paul Simon’s Live in New York, July 2011 broadcast.  The band transitions from the (suddenly and sadly poignant) Hearts and Bones to Mystery Train and then Wheels.  Oblon pulls a Telecaster out, and while sitting behind the drums, plays a guitar solo that brought tears to my eyes.  If that solo was being offered at the Crossroads, I might consider it a fair trade.

Jascha Heifetz:

I finally found the Heifetz recording of his last live recital on Spotify.  (The Heifetz Collection Volume 46) His rendition of Bach’s “Partita No.3 in E” is as close to perfection as any human can come.  His version of Debussy’s “La plus que lente” is as close to true love and anyone could possibly hope for.  Sadly a few of tracks aren’t streamed, but the rest of the two-record set is stunning.

Movie Reviews:

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane – Missed it
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass – Painful
  • Allied – Started off slow, but built to an emotional and unpredictable conclusion
  • Arrival – Missed this one too
  • Bad Moms – Very funny
  • Captain America: Civil War – Had no interest in seeing
  • Deadpool – Really funny
  • Deepwater Horizon – Would have been a better Science Channel movie
  • Dirty Grandpa – Gross, but a few good laughs
  • Divergent Series: Allegiant – Don’t remember if I saw it
  • Doctor Strange – Missed this one as well
  • Eye In The Sky – Tense and difficult to reconcile right from wrong
  • Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – I wanted to see this – my wife went with my daughter – but without me
  • Fences – Moving performances. Can a flawed man still be a hero?  Ask Achilles.
  • Finding Dory – Adorable and fun
  • Florence Foster Jenkins – Not really that enjoyable, Charlie Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux was a better, if not terribly flawed prequel
  • Ghostbusters – Ah! What could have been!
  • Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson’s heavy-handed insertion of Christ ascending to Heaven put me off. But what could I have expected to be different?  Otherwise a brutal movie in the same style as Saving Private Ryan.  At least the end of Saving Private Ryan made every man in the theater cry:
    • Old James Ryan: [Last lines, addressing Capt. Miller’s grave] My family is with me today. They wanted to come with me. To be honest with you, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel coming back here. Every day I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. I tried to live my life the best that I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that, at least in your eyes, I’ve earned what all of you have done for me.
    • Ryan’s Wife: James?…
    • [looking at headstone]
    • Ryan’s Wife: Captain John H Miller.
    • Old James Ryan: Tell me I have led a good life.
    • Ryan’s Wife: What?
    • Old James Ryan: Tell me I’m a good man.
    • Ryan’s Wife: You *are*.
  • Hail, Caesar! – Forgettable
  • Hell or High Water – I hate feeling bad when the character you like is a lawless killer
  • How To Be Single – Funny enough
  • Keeping Up With The Joneses – Not funny enough
  • La La Land – Adorable
  • Manchester by the Sea – A hyper-realistic movie that touches on loss and redemption. Not for the faint of heart or anyone who has experienced painful loss.  Probable will win best movie
  • Masterminds – Dumb
  • Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates – Dumber
  • Miles Ahead – A deeply stupid movie that trivializes Miles Davis’ life and turns it into an action movie. A wrong note that can’t be unplayed
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Really good
  • Moana – Missed this one
  • Money Monster – Could have written the end of this about five minutes into the movie
  • Paterson – Can’t wait to see this
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – They should have stopped
  • Ride Along 2 – I don’t remember anything about it
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Star Wars for Grow’d ups. Graphic and without the saccharine sheen of a kid’s movie
  • Sausage Party – Missed it, but my older sons told me it had its moments
  • Sing Street – I fell asleep
  • Star Trek Beyond – I also fell asleep at this one as well
  • Suicide Squad – Missed it
  • Sully – Great made for Lifetime move, but wasn’t
  • The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years – You’d think I would have seen this, but not yet
  • The Edge of Seventeen – Had its moments. Wasn’t the same without Ellen Page
  • The Huntsman: Winter’s War – Tried to fall asleep during
  • The Little Prince – Purposely would not see. I would never see a movie based on a book I so love. I already know how the characters look and sound, I didn’t need a movie to ruin my own vision.
  • The Nice Guys – Almost
  • The Revenant – Way too much grunting. By the time the movie was over I had wished the main character had died in the first fifteen minutes

Other stuff I enjoyed during 2016 that you might like:

  • David Foster Wallace: Commencement speech Kenyon College, 2005
  • Joe Strummer: Movie – The Future Is Unwritten, 2007
  • William Tucker: Photos of the late Tucker’s 1966 Stratocaster
  • American Football: Follow-up to their 1999 album
  • The West Wing: Just about any episode
  • Paul Simon: Stranger to Stranger
  • Superheaven: Ours is Chrome
  • Nikon: D7200 w/ Sigma 17-50 2.8
  • Skinny Lister
  • Jim Campolongo
  • The Minutemen
  • Regressive Aid
  • Wilco

THE BAD:

The Election of 2016

Never in American History has being unengaged, uninformed, disconnected, and narcissistic, been so patriotic.  We increasingly live in a bipolar country.   I will give you that Clinton was a flawed candidate who could not ever shake the fact that her name was Clinton and that she didn’t have a penis.  But that so many people still voted for Trump I find deeply saddening.

I know – people are scared.  We are scared that the entrance to the tunnel will explode, or that the building we are in will be plowed by a hijacked plane.  These are valid fears.  People are unemployed and underemployed.  They are not even able to live paycheck to paycheck as the money seems to always run out a few days before payday.  Our children have grown up in a world that is graphically violent and broadcast in high definition.  The news cycle is unending with breaking news both overhyped and under played.  That I even know the name Kardashian should be an embarrassment to the entire 24-hour news system.

What is it that anyone wants?  It always seems like if I only had $5,000 extra I would be able to get caught up.  But that isn’t the problem.  The problem is the widening gap between the ultra-wealthy and the middle class.  They have convinced us that our millions are just a great idea waiting to hatch and that we are all millionaires in the making.  So, we have Starbucks and watch TMZ and talk about Kanye West.  Really?  Who actually gives a shit about Kanye West and any of his opinions?  We seem to know more about him than about foreign policy or our Supreme Court.

For those of you who voted Trump into office, basically because you thought he would “drain the swamp” and make the necessary changes – how is that going so far?  In my opinion, although I fear that he might sue me, Trump is a carpetbagger, a snake oil salesman, and, an embarrassment to any literate / awake human.

To his supporters, I know that you will respond that I have drank the cool-aid and I have blindly fallen victim to the liberal media.  I know that there is nothing I can say that will get you to change your mind, and that’s okay.  I would rather be blinded by liberals than dumbed down by conservatives. 

That’s all I have to say about that.

THE UGLY:

Donald Trump.

12/31/2016:

Goodbye 2016.  I have been perplexed by your divergent polarization of this wonderful experiment of a country. 

We have both same-sex marriage and an unpresidented attack on the First Amendment.

We participate in a world economy but want America first. 

We are so technologically advanced it is easy to ignore facts because opinions are thought of as more truthful.   

But I have hope.  We also had some great music, touching films, good and true friends, children getting into college, cameras that take nice images.

We have love and hugs and kisses and hearts and wives and husbands and girlfriends and boyfriends and the sun comes up every morning and sets every evening and the light of the morning bathes the dark cold evening with warmth.

There is nothing more true than the morning sun.  Let it guide you and warm you.  Let it set you on the course of your sincere choosing.  Let the morning light offer you the choice to do what is good and right and kind.

Scene and Heard 2016 Year In Review by Doug “Doug I Go To” Dresher.


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