Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cool, At Angry Mom Records/Small World Music

It is cool here at Angry Mom Records, in every way of the vernacular, slang, and real.

I work here on Tuesdays.

It's a hundred degrees outside and in here it's about 68. The building (Autumn Leaves Books) is air conditioned, plus we're in the basement. The differences are notable.

It's also cool because, you know, we're here. We became a partner in the place when it opened, and we closed our store, Small World Music, to merge here. Tuesdays we are here alone all day.

So stop in to see us. Talk about the Binghamton Mets (see previous post). Or music.

What's new around here lately? Alabama Shakes, Beach House, Lindsay Buckingham, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dr. John (produced by Dan Auerbach of Black Keys), Fistful of Mercy, Norah Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Stone Canyon Rangers, and Hank Williams III.

Right now we're playing Freddie Hubbard. It's cool.

We're open til 8 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bob Dylan's Scheme

Nicholas Hill, on the Nonesuch radio program on WVBR this morning, played a bunch of Bob Dylan  - like, 3 hours of it - because, he said, it was Bob Dylan's birthday this week, and because "Bob Dylan is alive."

We like that. Tributes to the dead are necessary, but to the living are lovely.

Nicholas played some other artists covering Dylan material, and we realized nobody does his stuff as well as Bob Dylan himself. It's because Bob Dylan tries hard, in the right way.

Technically he is not so good, and he doesn't worry about that. All his performances are heartfelt, though, and indicate thinking.

He's not trying to make it good. He's trying to get it right.

Thanks to Bob Dylan for all his living, and to Nicholas Hill for nice hours of accolade.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Coming College Crash

A generation ago, when the U.S. had money for things other than wars, college education opened to the middle class in a way it never had before, with plentiful need-based financial aid, and need-blind admissions.

Today, aid comes in the form of big loans for exorbitant tuition, and college loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the U.S.

Colleges have big marketing budgets to keep the middle class desperate for marquee education for their children, no matter the cost.

A bad job market doesn't hurt. In fact, it helps. With no jobs, colleges are flooded with enrollment. There's nowhere else to go.

For the big-name schools, it's a double blessing. With so many college degrees out there, people perceive extra value in the most prestigious diplomas. The big schools have big marketing budgets to keep that frenzy foaming.

The crash figures to be a long process. Schools can stay full a long time. For every smart middle class kid priced out of Cornell, for example, there's a rich dumb one to take the spot.

It will be more an erosion than a crash, as once-prestigious schools, always playpens for he rich in part, become exclusively so.

Unless we work against it. The Occupy movement is addressing the issues of rampant tuitions and crushing debt.

The Obama administration seems to be listening. The president recently spoke of granting federal aid to schools bsaed on their basis of each school's efforts to stay (or become) affordable.

We hope it is not too little, though for current students it's too late; and that the crash, if not forestalled, can at least be fixed, with effort and time.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"The Big Splash": Anti-Fracking Concert, Sun. 3 June

The beat continues against chemical drilling for gas in our area.

"The Big Splash" is a benefit concert scheduled for Sunday 3 June in Recreation Park in Binghamton.

Performers include Sim Redmond Band, Evil City String Band with Richie Stearns, Thousands of One, Yolk, and the Burns Sisters.

The concert is preceded, on Saturday, by symposia on legal and environmental issues surrounding fracking, as the chemical drilling is called.

More information is available at and

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ethiopian Food In Ithaca

A surprise to us, when we moved to Ithaca from DC years ago, was the absence of Ethiopian restaurants.

In DC, they are common. What do you want tonight, Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian? Casual, inexpensive  places.

Now, it seems, the void has been filled, at least a little, with the presence of an Ethiopian food vendor at the Congo Square Market.

The Market is a neighborhood enterprise at the Southside Community Center on Plain Street, held every Friday.

The Market starts at 4 p.m. The Ethiopian food goes fast, we hear, so get there early. Then let us know how it is. We work Friday afternoon - evening. We might have to take a personal day soon.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

George Jones At GrassRoots Fest

The GrassRoots Festival has announced that country music legend George Jones will appear at the festival in July.

The festival schedule has not been released, so the day of his appearance is not yet public.

Four-day tickets are available for $95 at 

Daily passes are not sold in advance, but at the gate.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Big Bash To Beat Fracking, Albany, May 15

New Yorkers against fracking will convene in concert and in rally a week from today, in Albany.

The rally is at 4:30 on the West Capitol Lawn.

The concert is at 7:00 at The Egg performance center. It features Natalie Merchant, the Horse Flies, Citizen Cope, Medeski Martin & Wood, Dan Zanes, John Sebastian, Joan Osborne, Toshi Reagon, the Felice Brothers, and others.

Ticket prices start at $40 and go to $150. More information is available at

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Beastie Boy

Much as we hate to write about dead people, as they become so prevalent as we age, we got to say something today about Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys.

We loved the Beastie Boys the moment we heard them, in 1986. We weren't supposed to. Our friends didn't. We played their CD at work and were made to take it off. It was stupid and vulgar.

That's what our white, college-people friends thought. We are white, too, and also went to college, so no offense. But we lived in DC at the time, and worked also with young African-American guys, and they considered the Beastie Boys funny and real.

Adam Yauch was maybe the most gifted one. He was smart in a way that my black friends saw, and white friends didn't. Years later maybe they did, when Mr. Yauch did exemplary work on behalf of the oppressed population of Tibet.

I admired him mightily for that, too. But I also liked the beats, the voice, the jokes.

And I liked him because he was a city-o. Brooklyn. Edward R. Murrow High School. A few years younger than me.

A few years younger than me. Dead of cancer of the salivary gland. Of the salivary gland?

The lesson is, I guess, take care of yourself, and enjoy life while you can. Do good work and be creative, even to the point (especially to the point?) of being different, or even outrageous. Don't be afraid.

And:  as per my old white DC friends: fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. Farewell, Adam Yauch.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog