(Posted Thursday) This is one of those weeks where there are so many – too many – things to do, just on the concert front.
Blue Öyster Cult. Pat Benatar. Jake Shimabukuro. Arlo Guthrie. Manchester Orchestra. Los Lonely Boys. Steep Canyon Rangers. The Eli Young Band. Old school rock, old school folk, “Texican” rock, bluegrass and country.
Add to this a second tribute to Spokane’s own Mildred Rinker Bailey, the legendary jazz singer and member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, featuring Julia Keefe. Keefe, along with vocalist Heather Villa, feted Bailey on Thursday night in Spokane. On Tuesday night, Keefe, herself a Nez Perce Indian, will team up with the NIC Jazz Ensemble and Cardinal Vocal Jazz for a free concert at North Idaho College’s Boswell Hall, 1000 W. Garden Ave.
Getting back to Blue Öyster Cult, it’s been a few years since BÖC has been in our area, performing their classic hits “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” “Burning for You” and “Godzilla.” One of their more memorable shows in the area may have been back in 1976, when the band was among the headliners at Nor’wester, a music festival at the Northwest Speedway at Stateline that was promoted as a West Coast Woodstock. Although they played their set, promoters pulled plug early after other headliners such as Bachman-Turner Overdrive never showed. The result? Hundreds of disgruntled fans rioted. Someone drove a 100-foot-crane into the empty stage. Others set fire to trucks and buildings on the site, causing roughly $250,000 in damage – a lot in 1976.
It’s beyond unlikely that there will be riots on Sunday night on the West Plains as the band performs at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. In short, don’t fear the Blue Öyster Cult.
American horror story
(Posted Monday) In 2001, two things occurred that led, however indirectly, to a movie that I saw Sunday at the TriBeCa Film Festival. Enjoying a short stay in New York, my wife and I decided to check out TriBeCa, one of the country’s more storied film festivals. And the film we saw was a documentary titled “The Newburgh Sting.”
So what were the two things that occurred in 2001? One was the obvious: the events that occurred on Sept. 11. The other was the release of a documentary titled “Southern Comfort,” a study of transgender people living in, of all places, rural Georgia. “Southern Comfort,” which was directed by Kate Davis, remains one of the most powerful, eye-opening cultural studies I’ve ever seen.
And the tie to TriBeCa? Davis co-directed, with David Heilbroner, “The Newburgh Sting,” which is a study of four men who were arrested in 2009 and convicted – of terrorism. All New Yorkers, poor and black, the men had been recruited by an FBI informant. They willingly cooperated with the informant in what was a plot to bomb a Jewish center in Riverdale, N.Y. But here’s the thing: They were promised $250,000 to do so (which is more money than any of the four had seen in their lives); the informant provided the so-called weapons (a Stinger missile and two “bombs,” none of which was armed); and the informant drove the car they used to get from Newburgh (a town 60 miles from New York City) to pick up the “weapons” in Connecticut (which, not coincidentally, made the crime a federal offense and ensured the incident would attract headlines).
“The Newburgh Sting” is a horror story, one that shows just how easy it is to target and scapegoat America’s poor. Meanwhile, the vast majority of those who have committed – and continue to commit – economic terrorism on the world economy walk free. I’m no raging anarchist, and I don’t want to occupy anything, but after seeing Davis and Heilbroner’s movie, I’m feeling more than a bit angry. What’s worse, I’m afraid.