Saturday, July 25, 2015

Jane's Addiction and the Black Swan

A quarter of a century ago, I attended one of my all-time favorite concerts.  Jane's Addiction played to a packed house at the University of Duquesne's A.J. Palumbo Center on the Ritual de lo Habitual tour.  Around 5,000 people crammed into a basketball gymnasium.  That was 1991 and I was 21 years old.

Fortunately, whoever ripped my ticket left behind the latter part of the band's name.  Hey, information can be addicting.  Information spawns addiction.  At least for me it does.  If you disagree with that sentiment, you need not continue reading.  The remainder of this blog will be of little interest.

When entering a venue, they used to pat you down and rip your ticket.  Now they "wand you" and scan the ticket.  I remember when fans would beg the usher to just rip a tiny corner of the ticket.  I'll assume they wanted to preserve the evidence for their scrapbook.  Guilty as charged.

How times have changed.  Just learning about the event itself is different.  Back then, you stumbled across a flyer stapled to a telephone pole.  Or maybe you saw an ad in the Pittsburgh City Paper.  Nowadays, you do a google search and receive the details in 2-3 seconds.  Modes of communication have changed as well.  In 1991, there were pay phones everywhere.  You'd deposit a dime or a quarter.  These days, everyone (regardless of income level) has a cell phone.  Since 1998, the world has changed markedly.  Personalized transmission of information and wireless mobile devices are the wildcard.  And narcissism is the ticket.  Everyone participates but few seem willing to speculate about the consequences. Even fewer realize the role they play.

Everyone has a mobile device.  Perhaps it's already attached to your face.  Someday, I imagine it will be embedded in your body.  There was a hysterical episode of Shark Tank where this "futuristic weirdo" had a proposal to surgically implant a Blue Tooth-like device in your ear.  He may have seemed a little off but I don't think his vision was that far off.  If you seriously consider the reliance on pacemakers, artificial limbs, boob implants... I can see where he was heading.

Here's the Jane's Addiction set list from that memorable night in 1991:

Now here I sit, almost 25 years later, having just attended another Jane's Addiction concert.  Gigi and I hit the July 10 show at Stage AE.  I'd estimate an outdoor crowd around 3,500 or so.

Gigi snagged an official set list.  Score!

They performed Nothing Shocking in its entirety.  Killer stuff.  Great concert opener: Up the Beach > Ocean Size.

I attended a couple other Jane shows along the way.  Cleopatra Carmen, me and a few others hit up the Perry Ferrell solo project (Porno for Pyros) at I.C. Light Amphitheater back in 1993.  It was the same night "Fugazi" exposed himself to me in an alley by the Metropol in the Strip District.  They also headlined the 2003 Lollapalooza concert at Starlake.  Saw that one too.  They played Starlake again in 2009 w/ Nine Inch Nails, but I missed that one.  Not sure what stopped me.  Through it all, I've maintained an admittedly steadfast addiction and infatuation with all things Jane.

While I don't personally know the man, Perry Ferrell and I have much in common.  Not the bisexuality.  Not the dreadlocks.  But rather, the creativity and vision.  That's right.  I'm comparing myself to a rock icon.  Given, that's a lot of audacity.  But with one major difference.  My shit's more important.

Back in the early 90's, Ferrell conceptualized the entire premise of Lollapalooza.  This is a much bigger deal than you'd think.  At the time, there were plenty of music festivals, but nobody dared bring together all the different genres.  Ferrell pushed the envelope with this societal experiment.  The rap crowd, the country crowd, the indie crowd, the metal crowd.  Hey, why not try it?  The answer --- because nobody had the courage to embrace the unpredictability... the prophetic notion of taking a risk.

A few years back, I borrowed the "palooza" monicker for my own idea... SOAKAPALOOZA.  It was all about Westboro Baptist church payback.  Whenever the Topekafucks show up, you simultaneously announce an all-out water balloon fight to coincide with the festivities.  You also arm everyone with Super Soakers.  Fill 'em up with cheap beer.  May I recommend a keg of Natural Ice?  Everyone gets drenched in the crossfire.  Ohh, the outlandish hilarity of fun and games.  Eventually, the video footage goes viral and those intolerant Kansan bastards get a dose of their own righteous medicine.  Hint: It's called being a copycat.  I wrote about it in the Religion chapter of my odd oh biography.

Those same assholes just announced they're going to "protest" the funerals of the recent movie theater shootings in Louisiana.  What the fuck.  It will never end unless regular people step up their game.  Unless society chooses to be proactive as opposed to reactive.  I know.  I know.  Don't give them the publicity.  That's how they thrive.  It's what they crave.  You're playing right into their hands.

Newsflash:  The WBC follows the same model as the current asinine freakshow leading the polls for the Republican presidential nomination.  Trumpapalooza. 

Yeah, Soakapalooza was amusing.  It never really panned out, but I know it has anarchistic merit.

Anyway, this blog isn't about my recollections of Soakapalooza.  It's about the creation of words and concepts that have yet to emerge.  Picture yourself back in 1980.  Before words like "internet."  Before concepts like "cyberspace."  The same rules apply directly to my shit.  Words like "dominipede."  Concepts like an "artificially generated stampede."  They just haven't happened... yet.

I can assure you of something.  This stuff was around well before it just seemingly happened.  The vast majority of mankind just has difficulty envisioning the future.  It's always about celebrating events of the past.  Holidays, birthdays, baptisms, circumcisions, tombstones, the list goes on.  Few are willing to write about "that which is yet to come."  Because if they try, it becomes fictional or conspiratorial or delusional.   With one major exception --- the return of Jeebus... of course. 

I humbly give you the definition of a "black swan" - an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.   If there was ever a term that's google-worthyTrust me, try "black swan."

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