An evening with Kiefer Sutherland

I can now comfortably stop being jealous of my friends and fellow Dittos down at SXSW right now. I could not possibly have gone to Austin this year, you see, because I had a prior meeting with Jack Bauer (photo) right here in DC, minutes from my apartment, at the DC Independent Film Festival. (Thanks to Catherine for the tip and Ginny for accompanying.)For the closing film, they screened I Trust You To Kill Me, a rockumentary about Kiefer and Rocco Deluca and the Burden, one of the first bands that his music label signed. Somewhat surprisingly for a music documentary, it was only half about the music. The other half was a very up-close and intimate look at Kiefer’s off-screen life (as well as Rocco’s) and his attempt at being tour manager for this [then] upstart band.In short, the film was awesome. It had all the ingredients of awesome-filmness:

  1. Band on tour
  2. Globetrotting to European and Scandinavian cities
  3. ‘Live’ rock and roll (accompanied by edgy music-video inspired scene transitions)
  4. Gratuitous behind-the-scenes shots of CTU and the 24 set. And Audrey Raines!
  5. Rock star and celebrity actor’s intertwined personal quests for meaning and fulfillment (you can go either way on this one, but the film definitely benefited from this)
  6. Adventure

The movie was great, but the real take-away for me is that Kiefer now earns top placement on my coveted list of people I’d most like to party with. (Sorry, Clinton, but you’re now #2.) This guy is funny, knows how to have a good time, and is definitely not the ass you’d expect him to be. He also seems sort of lonely and empty inside, but that’s neither here nor there.After the movie, the two filmmakers came out with Sutherland for a discussion with the audience. And no, the 14 and 15 year old girls who ran up to ask if they could visit him in LA or get a hug right there did not once make me question my intentions for showing up. I’m a true supporter of independent film regardless of any coincidental appearances by the most badass dude from the best show on TV. After the discussion, they pulled back the curtain and Rocco and his band actually played a short set, which was pretty cool for a Sunday night in Van Ness. Or any Sunday night. Turns out they’re much better live in real life than ‘live’ in a movie — check out the tracks on their first album.

You started this, Beyonce; only you can end it.

Beyonce is really messing up the beginning of 2007 with that horrible ‘to the left’ song (Irreplaceable) that is now playing on every single radio in every home, storefront, elevator, and lobby across this country. I was hoping that it would go away before the end of the year so that we could start fresh, but now it has completely infiltrated the country’s airwaves and our brains.This morning i woke up to the ‘song’ as Seacrest reached number two on America’s Top 40. Then they went to commercial break and started the next set with the same damn song, playing it at least two times in a 10 minute period.First, the song is terrible. Second, the chorus doesn’t make any sense. Third, the song is terrible.About that chorus. What exactly, you may ask, is “to the left, to the left, to the left, to the left, to the left, to the left” that could be so important? Oh, just a box of crap that her replaceable ex is coming by to pick up. It’s central to the message of the song, you see. If the box of crap were to the right (of what, we do not know), then everything would be completely different. And the guy definitely wouldn’t be nearly as replaceable, or irreplaceable. Well, fortunately we have more important things to worry about right now than Beyonce. Still, I hope she retracts her song or someone hurries up and puts out a new chart topper and saves us from more pain.

a few related but unrelated things…

It seems like everyone went home to New England for Christmas, found no snow, and then got really annoyed about climate change. Jimmy and Canning both mentioned that they couldn’t do any skiing. Michael Whitney and Garett even blogged about it. It’s not that they didn’t know or care about climate change before, but it’s different when it hits you personally. On the upside, I think these stories are exactly the type of personal impact and imprint that we’re all going to need to have in order to build any sort of sustained movement around this issue.Bill McKibben and a few intrepid Middlebury College febs graduating next month are organizing a national grassroots day of action on April 14 — calling on Congress to step up their efforts on climate change. I’ve been chatting with them about this over the past few weeks to help figure out the appropriate tech behind a decentralized mass-networking and organizing effort like this. I think they can really make this take off — which means we may finally may be done with marches on Washington. In related news, Sarah Schacht of Dean days (and WOC) is trying to live next year on just one ton of carbon — a impressively simple but challenging idea.And speaking of Web of Change, Jodie started blogging here — I met Jodie on Cortes this year for the first time (after being a long-time fan of ONE/Northwest). I really admire Jodie as a person and thinker so i’m looking forward to following along.While writing this i’m listening to a pretty sweet end-of-year 2 hr mix of funky electro tunes on BBC One that Ibrahim just sent to me — it’s by Gilles Peterson. A few tracks stronger than others, but hey.

Diplo and Bonde do Role

Just back from a RIDICULOUS show tonight at black cat — with an equally strong crowd proudly representing the District on a school night. This crazy Brazilian elctro-funk trio, Bonde do Role, had everyone in the place moving with the first song — and they were just the openers, who couldn’t have been any happier to be there. Diplo spun a powerful set lasting almost 2 hours, and easily raised the temperature of the place by 10 degrees by keeping a packed floor dancing straight through. Bonde do Role was fun, but Diplo really put on a show and made sure we were having as much fun as he was.I don’t have the colorful vocabulary of a music reviewer, but i can say that what made this show stand out was Diplo’s ability to rapidly splice together melodies and tracks that you’d never think of pairing while keeping a close and seemingly effortless watch on the beat. And this wasn’t the typical dance party or DJ set that you might be thinking of — it had none of the repetitive beats or overpowering bass. The Black Cat website described it as “balle funk” — a club-based dance music from Rio “influenced by Miami bass, electro, afro-latin rhythms, pop, and hip hop.” That seems pretty accurate.Lots of good dj’s play with mash-ups or make their own remixes, but to ensure that the melodies and beats work with each other, they’re often forced to build in a stiffness and rigidity that also makes for some rough transitions. Diplo’s were seamless, and fast. By the time we had a few notes or samples of something we recognized, he was moving us on into the next.Thanks to Tones for spotting the show and leading the charge, and to le Jimmy for first introducing me to Diplo a while back through his Fabric live set, which has been near the top of my playlist since I first heard it. Now i just need one more Sunday and everything will be fine…Correction 7/24: Emily found the show, not Tim. Tim just jumped on the proverbial wagon. —Ed.

Night of 1,000 Stars (a dance-off)

What do you get when you mix a bunch of very white americans, WWII-era dance music, ballroom dance students and instructors, and the basement of a “dance factory” that hasn’t changed since its first day in 1976?You guessed it: Night of 1,000 Stars. A Pro/Am ballroom dancing competition where everyone from your 28-year old receptionist to your 68-year old high-ranking Pentagon officer and his wife put on their dancing shoes, tame their ballroom dancing fears, and become “stars” as they show-off their moves. Also the weirdest night of my 2006 thus far…When i heard “basement”, “ballroom dancing competition”, and “Northern Virginia” from the unnamed friends responsible for this evening, i figured we were talking a tweaked out version of Fight Club, where we’d all be in a smoky, dimly lit basement shouting and hollering at some ballroom dancers and breaking beer bottles when the dancers messed up or weren’t good enough. What could be more fun than that?Given these high expectations, you can imagine my shock during the first 30 minutes in this well-ventilted, shiny-floored, and florescent-lit basement. After I finished telling myself that sure I could dance like that if i wanted to, I warmed up to the scene. The next time I come accross something like this will probably be as soon as I’m dropped from the sky into a church barbecue in Ames, Iowa.Then I realized that dreams were coming true before my very eyes. Oh yes. That 80 year-old woman who just performed a waltz with her instructor? That was probably the last item on her list in order to die happy. And the very, very heavy lady dancing the cha cha with her instructor and showing us those thighs when she twirls? She’s learning to be proud of her body. That awkward-looking couple? Ballroom dancing classes are re-igniting their stalled marriage.So do I have any proof that this subculture exists? Glad you asked. Check out this video I snapped of one of the performers… also the most random person in all of DC that we could have possibly run-into here. (First EchoDitto staffer to recognize the woman in this video wins.)


I’m sitting here in Tryst catching up on some emails and Common walks in to sit in one of the couch areas up front and promote his new album. (I was wondering why the place was so busy for a Sunday night… Apparently I am the only one out of the loop.) I loaok over a little bit later and there’s a camera crew shining a light at him while he—still seated—raps away with his buddy next to him. Then I realize that his lyps are in sycn with what i’m listening to on the speakers — oh, it’s him. Free concert. Crazy place this is.