Monday, November 23, 2015

DivShare Is Dead, A Note To Readers


When I started this blog in July 2004, I basically wanted to see what all the fuss was about with blogging. I was (and still am) obsessed with music so that was the obvious choice. Back then this blog had no pictures, no graphics, no audio, and no video, only text. I went to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival that month and wrote about everyone that I saw play. As soon as I posted I was hooked. I am also a lifelong photographer and I photographed every artist that I saw play at Falcon Ridge. At the time, it was painful not to include these pictures in my post. There was no easy way to do that then, let alone post audio tracks or video. YouTube didn't exist yet in 2004, it began in 2005.

As soon as it became feasible I added photos, audio, and video to the blog. Each of these elements required an outside website to host the media files. With audio, the first and best hosting site was a website called DivShare. You uploaded your files to their servers and they provided HTML code to embed audio players in Blogger blogs. At their inception, this service was free. Several years ago, "to ensure the future availability" of all the music files that have been embedded in my blog over the years, I began to pay DivShare for their service.

In 2015, what with YouTube, I didn't have too much need for audio tracks in my blog articles, but when I did, I began to have problems uploading files to DivShare. After months of DivShare being unresponsive to requests for technical support, today I looked into it. Sadly, I must report that all of the music files that I had stored on DivShare have been deleted, and the website no longer seems to exist. All of the audio players embedded in my past articles no long exist. Although this is unfortunate, it is not feasible to go back and redo all that audio. None of the articles in 2015 are affected since they contain no DivShare audio. Going forward, I will just use YouTube until such time as I find a new host for music. Please use the comment section below to offer any suggestions, your imput will be appreciated.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Hooters - The 35th Anniversary Concert, Keswick Theater, Friday Night 11/06/2015: An Incredible Set, The Hooters Party Like It's 1980



All photos by Bev Kates (exc. as noted)


First encore: Give the Music Back>Nervous Night> Blood from a Stone

The Hooters brought their 35th anniversary tour to the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA for two sold-out shows Friday and Saturday night, November 6th and 7th. Friday night the faithful were out in force, memories of past shows were coming through loud and clear; Ambler Cabaret, 23 East Cabaret, Chestnut Cabaret, Wissahickon High School, Ripley Music Hall, Norris Theater, Electric Factory, JFK Stadium, and World Cafe Live, just to name a few.


Photo by Lindsey Mitchell

I'm pretty sure that I've seen The Hooters play more times than I've seen any other band. One big reason for that is The Hooters make music to which you cannot sit down. I've seen them in all kinds of venues and give me a bar or a dance hall any day; you've just got to be able to move. I'm not necessarily talking dancing, not in the style of Elaine from Seinfeld if you know what I mean. The best way is to stand in front of the stage where the music can hit you full on in the chest, nice and loud, where you can literally feel every note of the bass and every kick of the bass drum, right in your gut. That, my friend, is a Hooters show.



One fond memory I will share is from the early 80s when The Hooters often played the Cabarets. I lived walking distance from the Ambler Cabaret when The Hooters were playing a residency, it was something like every Thursday night for a month. So I walked down to the show, stood in front of the stage and had a totally enjoyable night of music. While there, I bought a Hooters t-shirt. The next week I came back wearing my Hooters t-shirt. I could not get into the venue because wearing a t-shirt violated their dress code. Recognizing the irony of the situation, I walked back home with a smile, donned a button-down shirt and walked right back to the venue for another great night of rock 'n roll, Hooters style. I could not get enough.



Back at the Keswick, the lights went down and Pierre Robert took the stage, the WMMR disc jockey who has been behind The Hooters since day one. Among his comments he said that right now, today, 35 years on, The Hooters are playing better than they ever did. He wasn't kidding. After opening with a fiery "I'm Alive", the boys delighted the crowd by reaching way back for three songs from their very first album Amore: "Hanging On A Heartbeat", "Amore" (the title track, a nice surprise), and "Day By Day". They were tight, just like thirty some years had not even passed, "you can't waste time when you're hanging on a heartbeat"; whew!



After some "Morning Buzz", the classics were non-stop, a beautiful "Private Emotion" then right into "South Ferry Road" (you know that little street in East Falls that connects to Kelly Drive/East River Drive). Then "All You Zombies" with that glorious reggae riddim.

The Hooter's signature covers and the hits would not stop. Next was their acoustic take on Don Henley's "The Boys Of Summer" leading into "Graveyard Waltz" and their intense reggae version of "500 Miles" complete with the verse they added about Tiananmen Square. Next up was their version of "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds", which nicely set up "Where Do the Children Play".



As they played, the years were literally melting away. Eric Bazilian sang and played that familiar two neck guitar, and he doubled on sax, just like the old days. Rob Hyman sang and played all manner of keyboards, including accordion and the famous melodica that gave the group their name. David Uosikkinen anchored the whole thing on drums and Fran Smith completed the rhythm section on bass. John Lilley and Tommy Williams also played guitar. The great songs kept coming. This was the home stretch.



"Karla With a K" sounded amazing leading into "25 Hours a Day"; so great to hear that old one. I loved that they played "Satellite", it stayed with me long after the show, "so jump in the river and learn to swim, God's gonna wash away all your sins, and if you still can't see the light, God's gonna buy you a satellite". An intense "Johnny B" set up "And We Danced" to close the set. This was a superbly selected set. Awesome, totally awesome.

For whatever reason, the Keswick ushers seemed much less consumed with people's cameras than usual, so Bev ran video for the entire first encore, see above; she got some great angles from right in front of the stage. They started with a gorgeous "Give the Music Back", then "Nervous Night" was a nice surprise. Then the crowd went nuts as they played "Blood from a Stone" and everyone sang along, just like the old days.



They say strength and fortitude keep a man from getting screwed
Yeah, but the future raises so many doubts
You can put it in, but you can't get it out

A black hole in a bottomless pit
I'm gettin' tired of all this bullshit
You can drive the outside lane
Last car on the gravy train

You can write you can call on the phone
You can knock but there's nobody home
I could scream and I might moan
But you can't get blood from a stone

No you can't get blood from a stone



The Keswick was going crazy as The Hooters left the stage. After a short time they reappeared for encore #2. First they went way back to the early days for "Birdman" and their very first single, "Fightin On the Same Side". The second encore rolled on with Rob and Eric's two songwriting triumphs. First was their version of Joan Osborne's "One of Us"; it celebrated both Bazillion's song and The Hooters' collaboration with Osborne on her megahit Relish album. Then came Hyman's composition "Time After Time" which, similarly, celebrated The Hooters backing Cyndi Lauper on her brilliant debut album, She's So Unusual. During the thunderous applause that followed, the boys left the stage only to come back for yet a third encore, it was the celebratory "Washington's Day". Then they took their final bows and another one was in the books. Many thanks to Rob for the setlist, and to David for the drumsticks. And many, many thanks to The Hooters for 35 great years; long live The Hooters.



With all the music and all the history still resonating, I thought of a great moment in Hooters' history that I'll share before wrapping this up. As best I can determine, the year was 1985. The Hooters were celebrating what would have been their fifth anniversary as a band. The venue was located at 608 South St; in between the property's reincarnation as a Tower Records and its original use as a furniture store named Ripley, there was a venue named Ripley Music Hall. In honor of this being their anniversary show, The Hooters brought out a ska horn section, then they proceeded to play the most incredible version of "Wireless" that I had ever heard. I would give my left you-know-what for a recording of that show.



The Hooters' Website
The Hooters' Facebook
The Hooters' Twitter

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I ♥ Huckabees, 2004, Fox Searchlight Pictures, An Existential Detective Story, I ♥ I ♥ Huckabees




I don't know how I missed this movie when it came out in 2004. How I found my way to it now is somewhat germane. I am in a long project to digitize my music collection and last week I ran across a CD of the soundtrack to I ♥ Huckabees. I gave it a listen, it sounded good. I read a thoroughly glowing AllMusic review, it was essentially a Jon Brion album; he is a pop-meister, producer, musician, and songwriter. He has worked with Fiona Apple and Amy Mann and has a number of film soundtracks to his credit. Here is a little bit of what Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote on AllMusic.com.

"While there are elements of the carnival-esque sound of his Magnolia score -- after all, that is his signature -- as well as his moodier charts for Punch-Drunk Love and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Huckabees has a mischievous, impish spirit that distinguishes itself from those three other major works. There's an offhanded virtuosity in the arrangements and eclecticism that's rather astonishing -- the music is so whimsical and light on its feet, so entertaining in its kaleidoscopic array of colors and sounds, that it takes close listening to realize how clever and subtle it all is. That alone would have made Huckabees more than worthwhile, but those five new songs are all pretty terrific too. Anybody familiar with Brion's collaborations with Mann and Apple will not be surprised by what's here, but these songs are so well-crafted -- so sturdy in their melodicism and so imaginative in their production -- that they're impossible to resist; they're appealing on the first listen and grow more emotionally resonant with each spin."

After reading that, I was in. I also learned that I ♥ Huckabees was directed by David O. Russell and since I absolutely loved his two most recent movies, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, I knew I had to see I ♥ Huckabees.

Courtesy of Netflix, this afternoon I dropped the disc into my player and quickly realized that this was not like any other movie that I can think of. It's somewhat of an existential detective story that plays almost like a stream of consciousness. It's got a great cast. Jason Schwartzman plays Albert Markovski who works for Huckabees, a chain of big-box department stores. They don't name names, but I think most viewers would identify the woodlands he's saving as the Walden Woods project in Massachusetts. Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin are likewise perfectly cast as the existential detectives. They never say her full name but they're are 20 million references to Shania, "Shania doesn't give a shit". And it's oh so sweet when Jason Schwartzman and Jude Law are arguing on the elevator, then the door opens and we see Shania Twain and she says "I am vegetarian, I eat tofu tuna".


Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

There's lots more to it of course and there is a great cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, Naomi Watts, Isabelle Huppert, Talia Shire, Richard Jenkins, Jonah Hill, and Isla Fisher. The writing and the dialogue are the main attraction here. As I watched this I couldn't imagine how the copywriters at Netflix could write the paragraph on the disc sleeve with a straight face. About three quarters of the way through the movie I had to re-read the sleeve.

"When a mystery needs to be solved, and it's not a whodunit but rather a maze involving complex emotions, it requires the expertise of intellectual -- and perhaps slightly kooky -- detectives Vivian (Lily Tomlin) and Bernard (Dustin Hoffman). Jude Law and Naomi Watts co-star in David O. Russell's quirky comedy that finds the existential husband-and-wife team helping a do-gooding client (Jason Schwartzman) who's plagued by twists of fate."

That's actually a pretty fair description of the movie, but if you haven't seen it, I don't think it really prepares you for what you are about to see. The entire time, it seemed to me that it played like modern day Firesign Theater. I can tell that I loved this movie because it kept a smile on my face almost the entire time. I can't wait to watch it again. Ironically, the music didn't play that much a part in the movie. The movie's music soundtrack was good, certainly, but nothing like the way Russell uses music in American Hustle.

I ♥ Huckabees scored 66% on Rotten Tomatoes. This movie is clearly not for everyone. But I liked it. A lot. Rotten Tomatoes said,

"Pairing up with another of the duo's clients--firefighter, tough guy and uncompromising soul searcher Tommy--he joins forces with the Jaffes' arch nemesis, the sexy French philosopher Caterine Vauban, who valiantly battles for the contrasting point of view. Now, as Being chases Nothingness, Albert, Tommy, Brad, Dawn, Bernard, Vivian and Caterine chase one another in a wild romp through life's biggest questions to find the true answer."

Roger Ebert totally didn't get I ♥ Huckabees. He wrote,

"I went to see "I Heart Huckabees" at the Toronto Film Festival. It was on the screen, and I was in my chair, and nothing was happening between us. There was clearly a movie being shown, but what was its purpose and why were the characters so inexplicable? I found the pressure point that is said by the master Wudang Weng Shun Kuen to increase mental alertness. Then I dashed out for a cup of coffee. Then I fell into the Yoga sutra of yatha abhimata dhyanat va, literally clearing the mind by meditating on a single object until I become tranquil. I meditated on the theater exit door."

Finally, I think Manohla Dargis of the New York Times got it right when she wrote,

"The high-wire comedy 'I ♥ Huckabees' captures liberal-left despair with astonishingly good humor: it's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' for the screwball set. Chockablock with strange bedfellows — Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin play a hot-and-heavy married couple, Jason Schwartzman gets his groove on with Isabelle Huppert — the film is a snort-out-loud-funny master class of controlled chaos. In this topsy-turvy world, where Yes is the new corporate No and businesses sponsor environmental causes while bulldozing over Ranger Rick, a pair of existential detectives sift through a client's trash to solve the riddle of his malaise. Like the film's director, David O. Russell, they gladly risk foolishness to plunge into the muck of human existence."


Watch the trailer.






















Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Gender Equality Is A Myth, Even In Music; Whatever Happened to the ERA? Two Journalists Who Kicked My Arse Down the Road to Feminism



Photo courtesy of dcclothesline.com

Listen to Aretha Franklin - "Respect"

My thought process: When you have held a certain set of beliefs for a long time, such as we are all created equal without regard to sex, race, religion, or politics, you tend to take it for granted that issues like gender bias are basically in the past. It's sad to realize that here in 2015 we are still a long way from gender equality in the USA, and sadder still that we have not even achieved it in music. Why music? Because of all the elements of culture, music has provided the most free thinking idealism. It was music that heralded the cultural and sexual revolution and brought the Woodstock Nation to the world in the late 1960s. You would just hope that the music community would have progressed a little further by now than the society at large. But, perhaps not.

Reality check: In this country, women have only had the right to vote since 1920 (this period was nicely depicted in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire). I just received a shock that I was completely unprepared for. I had just typed the next sentence, "If you are old enough to remember Woodstock, then you also can remember when the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the US Constitution became law." I was going to say in the 1970s, but after a few minutes with Google looking up the date of ratification, I am totally floored to learn that the ERA passed Congress in 1972 but fell short of the necessary 35 state's approval needed for ratification by just three states and is still not the law of the land. The website equalrightsamendment.org has an excellent FAQ about the ERA and why it has not yet been ratified. I'll just say instead that if you are old enough to remember Woodstock, it's likely that your grandmother was alive before women had the right to vote. We are clearly not as evolved on this issue as we think.


Photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

Although it's beyond the scope of this article, I must mention that the global picture isn't good. There are too many parts of the world where women are denied basic human rights including some areas still forcing women to undergo the barbaric practice of genital mutilation. The World Economics Forum ranks countries based on gender equality, and the 2014 rankings can be viewed on their website . The Scandinavian countries are at the top of the list, the U.S. comes in 20th. We consider ourselves to be one of the most progressive and enlightened societies on Earth. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go.

A columnist that I enjoy reading, Bob Lefsetz, is fond of saying, "What kind of a crazy f*cked up world do we live in, where...". On this site, I don't normally use that turn of phrase, but on this topic there is truly no better way to say it. What kind of a crazy fucked up world do we live in, where we don't have complete gender equality, where we haven't had it since day one of the human species. I know I'm taking in a lot with that statement, but there are many parts of the world that are far worse than here and over the course of history, things have been way worse.

The Inescapable Conclusion: The idea that half the population would subjugate the other half and deprive them of basic human rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness based only on gender, is messed up to its core. No one, female or male, with a working brain and a sense of right and wrong, could think otherwise. This is maddening to say the least. The dumb thing is that this information is nothing new. I could have looked at this from the big picture perspective at any point in time and come to the same conclusion. But, for some reason, reading the following two articles struck a chord in me and has caused me to reexamine this issue and I can only come to one conclusion. I am horrified that this situation exists, but proud to say that I now consider myself a feminist. And as hard as it may be to change laws, it seems to be harder still to change attitudes. Sexism is ugly no matter where you find it and it has surfaced again in the realm of music, as follows.


Facebook photo

Erin Coulehan is a free-lance journalist who writes about music for Rolling Stone and other publications. The following appeared on Elle.com, October 15, 2015, and is reprinted with permission.

MY NAME ISN'T PENNY LANE: REVELATIONS FROM A FED-UP FEMALE ROCK JOURNALIST
Recently acquired music site Pitchfork is excited to grow for its "very passionate audience of male millennials." But what about the women who are fighting to be included in the boys' club?
BY ERIN COULEHAN

​I got into music journalism for very specific reasons: I love both music and the rush of writing on a topic about which I am so passionate. I entered this world in the hopes that my stories would touch artists and readers the same way certain songs and bands have inspired me.

Over the course of two and a half years of covering music for outlets such as Rolling Stone, I quickly learned that the world of rock and roll is tainted by a pervasive sexism. Moments I've gotten used to: a nonprofessional squeeze on the shoulder by an artist or manager at a show; being referred to as "girlie" instead of, you know, my name; jokes about striving to be like Penny Lane from the movie Almost Famous.

The work, for the most part, outweighs whatever male-dominated BS to which I've been subjected. Like catcalling on the sidewalk, misogyny in this industry is something I've gotten used to in order to keep moving. And, my gender aside, I've always believed that this industry rewards its talented disciples.
This belief was challenged by a single quote regarding Condé Nast's acquisition of Pitchfork, the independent music site that's earned respect as a major player in music media in the digital age. In a statement to the New York Times, Fred Santarpia, Condé Nast's chief digital officer, said the new merger introduces "a very passionate audience of male millennials" to the company.

It's true that many of Pitchfork's readers are male. In fact, 88 percent of its readership, according to a recent census conducted by the outlet, is male. But shouldn't music—​and therefore music coverage—​be gender agnostic? (After all, a 2013 Nielsen study found that women buy more music than men. Not to mention the fact that women like Taylor Swift are singlehandedly shifting the industry's business model.) Why, then, did Santarpia feel the need to exclude Pitchfork's equally passionate female readership? Certainly he didn't understand the impact the comment could have on women who, like me, are fighting to make an impact as music critics, editors, writers, and photographers.

I remember the first major music festival I covered. It was a sweltering weekend in Philadelphia, and I was there for the 2013 Made in America show. I watched in awe as Beyoncé prepped for her set backstage and then I interviewed a number of bands and artists whom I admire. One group in particular had been pushing me off all afternoon. "Just a second, sweetie," the band's manager kept telling me. "They just have one more interview before you." They eventually got to me, but I was told to make it quick. About 10 minutes into our conversation, the lead singer put his arm around me, which made me stumble over my question. I quickly wrapped up the interview and was about to leave when he said, "Thanks so much, sweetheart. Which blog is this going on again? Maybe I'll check it out."


"RollingStone.com," I said and smiled sweetly before turning to leave, blood rushing to my cheeks.

This experience is not exclusive to me.

"THE REAL PROBLEM IS NOT THAT MEN IN THIS INDUSTRY AGREE WITH OR CONDONE SEXISM, BUT RATHER THAT THEY DON'T ACKNOWLEDGE IT AT ALL."

"I can't think of a show or festival I've shot when something hasn't happened," a photo editor friend told me Tuesday night at CMJ, the New York–​based showcase that exposes up-and-coming bands to the media. "I mean, stuff has even happened tonight."

She then described an experience she had while in a photo pit for a popular alt-rock group. A man associated with the band's management grabbed her waist from behind to direct her through the pit, his hands locked on her hips the entire time she photographed the set. "How many times have we each been called 'someone's girlfriend' while waiting to interview or shoot somebody?" she said with a laugh. Before ending the conversation, we noted the look of surprise we've often received once our knowledge of music is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. The realization is usually followed by a statement like, "It's so hot that you're into music!"

Personally, I'd like to believe that we're thought of as more than silhouettes in skirts, swaying mindlessly on beer-sticky floors.


Some of the most influential figures in music journalism today happen to be women, many of whom are on the Pitchfork masthead. Jessica Hopper is Pitchfork's senior editor and the author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. She has served as a role model for female journalists—both inside and outside the music realm—by encouraging us to discuss instances of sexism within the industry via Twitter.

Hopper and a number of other female contributors to Pitchfork have inspired girls who want to get into music. "I've read Pitchfork since I was 15," says Zoe Leverant, a contributor to the The Pitchfork Review and the Village Voice. "I wouldn't be a music writer, or by extension a writer at all, if Pitchfork hadn't shown me it was a possibility."

But with a single line from a press release, many of us have felt shut out by the community that inspired us in the first place. "After reading that line, I felt that it erased my contributions and fandom," says Nilina Mason-Campbell, a former contributor to Pitchfork. "I never felt like I was writing for a 'passionate millennial male' fan base."

The real problem is not that men in this industry agree with or condone sexism, but rather that they don't acknowledge it at all. "It's a big uphill battle that we have to fight every day," says Courtney Harding, former music editor at Billboard. "The good ones are at least thoughtful and responsive when I point [sexism] out."

Each woman I spoke to for this article had her own horror stories pertaining to sexism in editorial offices and within the music industry as a whole. Each vignette was like a different version of the same sad song. It's not new that we're faced with sexism in this industry, but isn't it about damn time something happens about it? The only way to enforce change? "Doing this," says Leverant. "Talking about it, naming it, and demanding better."

Let's hope this message reaches its intended, passionate male audience.

Email Erin Coulehan at elcoulehan@gmail.com

Well said, Erin. This article reminded me of one published at masslive.com on September 08, 2015 on a similar theme.


Photo courtesy of Kalliope Jones

Teenage girl group Kalliope Jones told by Three County Fair judge to 'use the sultry'
The teen band Kalliope Jones says they lost points at the 3 County Fair's junior Battle of the Bands for their lack of sex appeal on stage.
By Mary Serreze | Special to The Republican

NORTHAMPTON — Members of a teen girl rock band say they lost points at the Three County Fair Battle of the Bands for failing to "use the sultry," a piece of advice they deemed "glaring and crude, sexist and stereotypical."

The pop trio Kalliope Jones — Pioneer Valley residents Isabella DeHerdt, 16, on vocals and guitar; 14-year-old Alouette Batteau on drums and vocals; and Amelia Chalfant, 14, on bass — competed in the junior division of the contest Saturday and came in third.

According to a scoring sheet provided to the band (see below), one judge on the three-member panel gave the group a "3" out of "5" in the "Stage Presence - Showmanship" category with the following notes:

- Good outfitting style-matches music style well
- ♥ the sultry in bassist voice + Guitar singer's too (sic)
- Use the sultry to draw in the crowd.
- Audience participation opportunities missed

The unidentified judge, whose name was not printed on the sheet, issued Kalliope Jones one extra bonus point with the brief note that "Chicks Rock."

The band quickly responded on Facebook:

"Today, we played at the Tri-County Fair at a Battle of the Bands for ages 12-16. Everyone played spectacularly. For instance, 'Nomad vs Settler' and 'The Negative' are wonderful bands and everyone should go check them out.
There were three judges who decided who got first, second, and third place in the competition, and they ranked each band on different aspects of musicality and performance. They also commented on what each band's strong points were and how they could improve. After they gave out awards, everyone received the judges' sheets so they could look at the said comments.
We received third place, a cash prize and gift certificates. In the comments, we were told to "use our sultry to draw in the crowd." We ended up losing points for not utilizing this aspect enough.

As Amelia Chalfant said, "A woman's sex appeal, or anyone's for that matter, should not be the defining factor in their success in the music industry, and in addition to that, WE ARE CHILDREN! WE ARE 14-16 YEARS OLD."

The judges tried to say they meant it as a positive thing; that it was supposed to mean "soulful". They did not understand why we confronted them about it.
From Merriam Webster - 
Sultry
: very hot and humid
: attractive in a way that suggests or causes feelings of sexual desire.
We then asked if they had made similar comments to any of the bands that were made up of only boys. They said, "Oh, no. It is a completely different thing."

Actually, it really isn't. This conspicuous act of sexist and stereotypical thinking was deplorable and pathetic. The fact that they made these glaring and crude, sexist and stereotypical notes about our performance was made worse by the fact that they did so while drinking beer, blowing their bloated beery breath in our faces. It was astonishing, revolting, and VERY offensive.

We are grateful to have ranked among the top three performers (who, by the way, besides us, were all boys), but to be judged on our sex appeal and told that we need to be more sexy in order to make it as musicians goes against everything we have been taught."
The lengthy comment thread following the post included this from musician Katryna Nields, mother of bass player Chalfant, who charged that teenage boys are not subject to the same sexual scrutiny that girls are:

"That is not acceptable to say to a 14 year old. (That) sex appeal is part of rock N roll - male or female. No one felt the urge to talk to the 14 yr old adorable boys to grind their hips a bit more. This is a double standard that goes far beyond the music business. 14 yr old boys are just cute boys. 14 yr old girls are sex objects. Unacceptable and I am proud of these girls for speaking out about it. (Judges) feel free to tell them to practice; to write catchier songs; to have better transitions between songs; to connect with their audience; but don't tell them they are sultry and they should use that to connect with the audience. We have to look at this. (Whether it is a) reality in the world or not, it is not acceptable."
Northampton resident James Ryan, president of the fair's Board of Directors, said Tuesday that he wasn't aware of the controversy because he's not on Facebook. He added that no one has been in touch with him about the matter.

However, he said that judging a teen girl band on their sex appeal is "completely unacceptable" and that conversely, he wouldn't want to see teen musicians overtly expressing their sexuality on stage at the Three County Fair.

"I have two daughters and a son of my own, and wouldn't want to have anything like that happen to them," Ryan said.

Ryan referred a reporter to Sandra Stanisewski, the board's secretary, saying she organized the Battle of the Bands.

Stanisewski, reached by telephone Tuesday, declined to speak with The Republican / MassLive. Before hanging up the phone, Stanisewski said that the fair's executive director, Bruce Shallcross, "is the only one who can talk to the press." Shallcross did not immediately return two telephone calls Tuesday morning seeking comment.

Band parent Amelia Maloney, in an email to The Republican / MassLive, said she did not know the names of the judges, only that there were two women and one man, and that the two women "referred to themselves as DJs."
Maloney referred to an online essay by blogger Ashley Xtina that decries the "twerking/half-naked stunts" female musicians such as Miley Cyrus "have to use to pull them to the top."

This conspicuous act of sexist and stereotypical thinking was deplorable and pathetic.
"This is certainly something we should not condone, perpetuate, allow our daughters to be subjected to or our sons to think is permissible," she wrote.

Katie Hennessey, the mother of drummer Batteau, had this to say on Facebook:

"Also, for the record, one of the comments from the judges (after the comment about their "outfits") was, and I quote: "Chicks Rock." Uh huh. Chicks. Rock. Didn't know the Tri County Fair happened in a time warp. Hello 1950's. We want our dignity back."

Hennessey added in an email to The Republican / MassLive that the goal at this point is to educate and engage in dialog:

"We realize that it's actually TRUE - they DO need to be sex objects in order to get ahead in the music biz. Our goal is to change that."

By Tuesday morning, the band had taken a more conciliatory tone, saying on Facebook they appreciated the opportunity to play and were thrilled to earn a third-place prize. They said they didn't want to "demonize" the judges or the fair, and did not wish to exaggerate what happened:

"Our goal is to educate people who think this, and change the paradigm. We sincerely hope the judges made an honest mistake in their use of the word 'sultry,' and that they, the sponsors, and the fair organizers join us in eradicating sexism wherever it may show up."

The girls said they hoped the fair would work with them "to transform this whole unfortunate experience into an opportunity for positive change."

Hennessey said Tuesday that the band had written a letter to fair organizers and were awaiting a response.

Kalliope Jones can be seen performing here in a 2014 YouTube video:


Battle of Bands Judge Feedback