HIGH FREQUENCIES: Scoundrels cling

And fools rush in

#1 Flag X Tony Paris
Photo credit: TONY PARIS
THE LAST REFUGE: 9/11 was just yesterday. What will tomorrow bring?

Welcome to 2024. It’s like 2023 never happened. That’s how fast the months now go by. I wouldn’t have imagined it. Not even ten years ago. But they fly past now. Blink and you miss it. And the twinkling of an eye? Life and death seem interchangeable. Certainly inextricable. As we’ve always known.

Humanity took a beating in 2023. That’s still going on in this new year. It’s like a switch was flipped, somewhere between 2020 and the COVID years. Suddenly, people stopped caring. For each other. The world is now one of greed. The more you get, the more you want. While others just want a place to live. Shelter. Food. A warm hand to hold onto, not the cold, hard, lifeless touch of a corpse. A son. Daughter. Mother. Father. Sister. Brother. Tearful reunions are few. Most such reunions will never be. Cries in anguish. Screams in agony. Loved ones no more. Life no more. Laughter no more. But steadfast eternal. Embedded in the soil embedded in their soul.

Election years always remind me of the Bob Dylan quote, “Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.” It wasn’t a new thought. Mark Twain recognized, “Patriotism is usually the refuge of the scoundrel. He is the man who talks the loudest.” But even Samuel Clemens owes the thought to his predecessor, Samuel Johnson, who, in 1775, admonished, “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Was it patriotism? Or was it plagiarism? Ask ex-Harvard president Claudine Gay. She knows the difference. And she’s paid the price.

It will only get worse as the months roll into November. Pay attention. It will come quick. Like a thief in the night? Be steadfast. You must decide what’s wrong and what’s right.

While freedoms are being stripped, and wars wrapped in lies continue to rage, truth has taken a backseat in the new cocoon of virtual reality. With sheltering in place but a memory. The skies once again filled with exhaust fumes and toxic gases. Respiratory illness is now a part of daily life. No, we never went back to normal. Never will. And truth, like so many of the disenfranchised in this country, can’t breathe. Welcome to 2024.

Katherine Yeske Taylor in conversation with Amber Ritchie, Charis Books & More


Katherine Yeske Taylor returns to Atlanta Saturday, Jan. 20, to promote her new book, She’s A Badass: Women in Rock Shaping Feminism. Longtime Creative Loafing readers may remember her byline in these pages some years ago. But most people who keep up with music probably know her writing in national publications, including Billboard, Spin, American Songwriter, FLOOD, and others, where she has created a following for her insightful and intuitive brand of music journalism since moving to New York City.

Yeske Taylor got her start writing about music when still in her teens. As she recounted in her piece for Creative Loafing’s 50th anniversary issue, she did so by persisting, by being relentless in contacting CL’s then music editor (full disclosure: me) every week until I gave her an assignment. Well-written and engaging, it was clear Yeske Taylor wrote because she had something to say and wanted to be heard, not just because of an appreciation and understanding of music and the purpose it serves.

She’s A Badass: Women in Rock Shaping Feminism follows through on the promise of her earlier writing, making a strong case for what it means to be a badass, that is, what women have encountered, had to put up with, and endured for choosing to make their way in a male-dominated industry, one that was, until very recently — and, in many ways, still is — sexist, bigoted, and misogynistic; tempered but still unconstrained, by the #metoo movement.

Interviewing twenty badasses, Yeske chronicles the ups and downs along with the pitfalls and breakthroughs they’ve encountered in getting equal billing and achieving gender equality in what, for all too long, has been a male dominated industry. The chapters include discussions with a wide variety of women musicians of varying backgrounds and political views, who see themselves as feminists and those who don’t, including Amy Ray, Cherie Currie, Lydia Lunch, Ann Wilson, Amanda Palmer, Orianthi, and others who have had to maneuver the patriarchal business in order to create their art.

For this event, Yeske Taylor is in conversation with Amber Ritchie who, in addition to her writing and podcasts, serves on the board of Y’All Rock Camp Atlanta, the co-sponsoring non-profit organization working with “trans and nonbinary youth and cis girls through music education, creative expression, and performance.”

BADASS AUTHOR: Katherine Taylor Yeske. PHOTO CREDIT: Karen Stackpole

In addition to the live discussion, after which Yeske Taylor will be signing copies of her book, the event will also be hosted virtually on crowdcast, Charis’ virtual event platform. Though also free, you must register for the online event here.
Free. 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20. Katherine Yeske Taylor in conversation with Amber Ritchie, Charis Books & More, 184 S. Candler St., Decatur, 30030. (404) 524-0304. charisbooksandmore.com Please note: All attendees must wear a face mask at all times inside the building. Seating will begin at 7 p.m. Those with accessibility needs may contact info@chariscircle.org for more information.

Darling Machine, Lesibu Grand, Hip To Death, The EARL


Darling Machine celebrate the release of their new LP, All The Lonely Come Around, with Lesibu Grand and Hip To Death joining them for the festivities. This second album from the reconstructed Atlanta quartet find the band furthering the sound explored on 2019’s Darling Machine, but with synthesizers aiding and abetting some of the guitar flourishes and goth-tinged vocals. They still rock, but with a more expansive sound. Indeed, Darling Machine offer anthemic songs that recall the best of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s psychedelic, glam and heavy metal, but with a sound distinctly their own. The band rocks, rolls, and transports the listener to others music worlds yet to be fully explored. Like the band live, play this record LOUD. 
$15. 8:00 p.m. doors; 8:30 p.m. show. Saturday, Jan. 20. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave.NE, Atlanta, 30316. 404-522-3950. badearl.com

Paige Watts, What’s With Atlanta? book signing, Donaldson-Bannister Farmhouse


Atlanta author and travel writer Paige Watts — “Paige Minds The Gap” — will make a presentation and be signing her new book, What’s With Atlanta? Published late last year, the book offers a fun and whimsical overview of what makes Atlanta such a great city. With large print and lots of photos, the book is not an in-depth history of the city, but more a primer on what makes it tick, a glossary, if you will, of the who, what, what, when, where, and in some cases, why of the city’s landmarks, historical significance, sports, festivals, and traditions. In a city of over six million people, with transplants probably outnumbering the natives at this point, What’s With Atlanta? serves a useful purpose — educating those new to the ATL on some of the “secrets” that natives have known forever and sometimes take for granted — like what it means when you’re given directions, and told to “turn right at The Big Chicken.” Or, whether you want those “scattered, smothered, or covered?” And, there’s always the ubiquitous “What’ll ya have?” when you enter The Varsity. Watts explains these Atlanta colloquialisms and more, filling in the blanks for newcomers and setting the record straight for those who think they don’t need such a book. And, Watts gets extra credit for acknowledging that no one who lives here actually calls the city “Hot’lanta.”
Free. 9:30 – 11 a.m. Saturday, January 20. Donaldson-Bannister Farmhouse - Dunwoody Preservation Trust, 4831 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd, Dunwoody, 30338 (770) 668-0401 https://dunwoodypreservationtrust.org —CL—