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Chris La Tray

The Durga Tour Will Blow Your Mind

For my money, ATS – American Tribal Style – bellydance is one of the most exciting and innovative forms of physical, visual art happening today. Troupes like Indigo, Unmata, and scores of others are combining the shapes and discipline of a centuries-old art form and taking it to exciting, and controversial, new places. For many participants it is a way to perform and learn a respected technique; for others, it is a spiritual expression that spans centuries. Missoula is fortunate to be the stopping point for one of the best performers out there when The Durga Tour comes to town on Thursday, May 28th.

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Tom Catmull and the Clerics – Glamour Puss

The new record is not so much a departure for Tom and his band, but a big step up and forward. Catmull’s songwriting has always been top notch, it is just better this time around. The sound of the recording is improved (it was recorded at Club Schmed Studios in Missoula, and mixed in Seattle at the Imperial Room); hell, the band just sounds better, period. Not surprising, as this is a combo that plays a pile of shows and obviously has a great time making music together.

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The Night I Was The Master

When I heard that Nine Inch Nails was coming to Missoula, I thought it was cool that a band of that stature would play here, but the ticket price was greater than my real interest in seeing them. I have always liked the songs I’ve heard, and I am certainly aware of their place in history as a forerunner of a much-copied style of music, but I was never a fan. Nonetheless, when the opportunity came to go for free, and be given a photo pass as well, I jumped at the opportunity.

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Travel: It’s All About Getting Lucky

Pretty much any trip for me that isn’t paid for by work is pushing my ability to afford it. There are always the huge distances to be covered, dogs to be kenneled, and various other expenses tugging at my wallet just to make it all happen, but I do it anyway.

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Buying Nothing is a Tough Sell on Black Friday

Black Friday of course is the name given to the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the biggest retail days of the year. It is the official start of the Christmas shopping season, supposedly, though it seems apparent that, like Christmas decorations, that frenzy is beginning before the Halloween junk is even stuffed back in the garage. Flyers advertising early “Black Friday” sales started two weeks ago. The chains are particularly desperate this year, especially with typical Christmas meccas like Circuit City bankrupt, and Best Buy issuing their own ominous rumblings. Money is tight everywhere, and the only people who will be surprised if more companies fail after the holiday fog clears will likely be the same ones who were surprised when the house of cards that is our American borrow-and-spend economy started to tumble in the first place!

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It’s Almost Over, Time to Get Started

My employer is a small company in Ohio. In the department I work in, politics was mostly a right wing circle jerk. We are talking card carrying members of the “you’re either with us or against us” crowd. Men who would give you the shirt off their back, then turn around and spout the most racist, misogynistic drivel you can imagine, and not even realize it. The only way to distract them was to steer the conversation to either sports or lawn care. I got by pretending to cheer for the Buckeyes, when in reality I tend to lean more toward Michigan.

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Why You’ll Never See Me in a Suit and Tie

This entire “collapse” fiasco reminds me of the years I lived in Washington state. I worked for a company a short distance from the late, great Longacres Park in Tukwila. A couple co-workers clearly had gambling problems. As the last of their paycheck disappeared in the showering dirt clods of another bum wager, they would throw their tickets to the ground and bellow drunkenly to the heavens, “I knew I should have bet that fucking 5 horse!” Only in the latest edition, a generous racing official comes along, picks up the loser’s ticket, and says consolingly, “Oh, don’t worry, son, we’ll take care of that.”

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What Did You Do This Summer?

There isn’t anything particularly glamorous about a van-based rock tour. Maybe the bigshots who have money behind them for a fancy bus have it pretty good, but for those of us in the trenches it is a gritty – and smelly – endeavor. Three words sum up the experience in order of time spent: driving, waiting, and rocking. Everything else, like eating and sleeping, you squeeze in as best you can.

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Hope Don’t Park Your Mother****in’ Car

I can certainly see why people like Barack so much. He is a fantastic speaker, and brings a verve to his delivery that is lacking in just about everyone else’s stage rap these days. He has a knack for making a person actually believe that hey, maybe this guy is legitimate, and that all the changes he speaks of are possible. All in all, though, I came away from the speech, and the convention as a whole, feeling about like I expected to: pretty underwhelmed, fairly disgusted, and not particularly hopeful. I’ll vote for the guy, but I don’t know that I’ll put a bumper sticker on my car for him, and certainly won’t do the yard sign thing. I don’t feel strong enough about him, or the Democrats as a party, to really proclaim my allegiance.

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Independent Music — Totally

Missoula hosts the premier independent music festival in the Northwest. I’m talking, or course, about Total Fest, which just saw its 7th incarnation go off as a resounding success this past weekend. This is a huge event to wrangle; lots of bands from all over (all of whom needed places to stay, things to eat, gear to protect, etc.) to manage, three nights in a row of rock, and all the promotion and hustling to make it a success. From what I saw Saturday night, it all seemed to go off with less fuss and confusion than most single night shows I’ve had to suffer through with only 3 or 4 bands involved! Just a fantastic effort all around.

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