Make it Count

By Kevin Elliot Reynolds

Disenfranchised voters, hanging CHADs, a Supreme Court appointed president?!? Hey, we know Election Day is more like Election-Month by the time all the recounts and litigation is complete. The Election Protection Coalition has set up a hotline to help fight the disenfranchising of voters, especially minorities, in this presidential election. If you witnessed any efforts to discourage people from voting, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and report it to one of the 25,000 volunteers or 5,000 lawyers that will be manning the phones. Both parties are guilty of suppression, so help keep this a true democracy and report any wrongdoings.

So what does music have to do with politics? Nothing really, except offer a polar opposite to all the stress and anxiety politics present. So if you are looking for an escape, this weekend Lexington and the Midwest Entertainment Industry Conference offer you a rabbit hole.

Although the city’s scene will be sizzling this weekend, some of last weekend’s Halloween festivities are worth mentioning. The Dame hosted a Halloween show to remember featuring one of Lexington’s most stylistically innovative bands in The Apparitions performing Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It was as if Gilmore and Waters were singing to the crowd of masked fans. Last year, The Apparitions covered Pink Floyd’s Animal album to a tee, though The Wall is a much more difficult animal to tackle. They pulled it off with remarkable precision and the packed house seemed to agree. Just around the bend, High On Rose held their own masquerade ball. Malo, American Werewolves, City Mouse and The Yellowjackets all performed their own original jams in a well-rounded musical showcase, though this weekend’s showcase may be the biggest of the year.

The 5th Annual Midwest Entertainment Industry Conference will be taking over the Lexington scene beginning this Thursday. The MEIC is the nation’s first non-profit entertainment industry conference designed to help build careers in all areas of film, music and digital game development as well as showcase independent films and musicians. Hands-on workshops, keynote speeches, and clinics by some of the industry’s top professionals will take place at the Hyatt Regency downtown. This panel of pros includes specialists in the areas of writing, production, distribution, and management among many others. Previous notables have included TV and film star David Carradine, legendary producer Eddie Kramer and three-time Grammy winner Andre Fischer. The MEIC is primarily designed for education, showcasing, and networking purposes, though it is a lot of fun for those who just want to enjoy a plethora of the Midwest’s best up-and-coming musical acts, including many from right here in Lexington. With hundreds of bands that apply to the MEIC, it is a great honor to be invited to play. Over 100 musical acts will grace the stages of 10 of Lexington’s best musical venues beginning Thursday night. Each band gets only 45 minutes to show their stuff, though at the MEIC with industry reps scouring the city, 45 minutes can be a lifetime.

With the number of bands performing, there is not room here to discuss them all. But if you are planning on checking out one of the many blues bands playing this weekend and not an alternative act, you’ll need to know where to go. Luckily the MEIC has designated certain genres to certain venues on certain nights.

Here’s the breakdown by genre: Thursday, Cheapside will host a night of blues and jazz, while High On Rose and Mia’s will feature alternative rock, and the Short Street Lounge will host mainstream rock. All shows kick-off at 9pm with the last band going on at midnight. Friday the MEIC will come into full swing with alternative rock at High On Rose and Mia’s, mainstream rock at Avio, Short Street Lounge, and an all-ages show at the Hyatt Patterson Ballroom. If it is jazz, funk and blues you are looking for, you’ll find it at Cheapside and Natasha’s Café will have world music while singer/songwriter night will be at the Big Blue Martini with urban music at The Fusion, (formerly The Phoenix Ballroom). All Friday and Saturday shows start at 9pm with the last act hitting the stage at 1am.

Saturday will be the final day of workshops, speakers, and music at the MEIC, but it will go out with a bang. Alternative rock will be the theme of the night at Cheapside, High On Rose and Mia’s, while the Short Street Lounge and the Hyatt Patterson Ballroom will offer mainstream rock. Yesterdays will feature singer/songwriters while the Big Blue Martini will host a night of adult contemporary and light rock. For a listing of all the acts check out the Ace List. If you get tired of all the up-and-comers the MEIC offers and wish to see an established musician, Saturday night Rupp Arena has just the artist. Eight-time Grammy winning sultry vocalist, pianist and songwriter Norah Jones will be promoting her latest multi-platinum selling album Feels Like Home coming of the success of her 18 million+ selling, Grammy sweeping Come Away With Me.

And, through Wed. November 10, Third Street Stuff Coffee (corner of N. Limestone and third) is offering special "Third Street Pirate Coffee" 10 percent off its purchase price will be donated to Free Radio Santa Cruz, a low-watt, community radio station recently shut down by the FCC. All bullion received will be sent to FRSC to replace equipment seized during the raid. Many feel that broadcasting is a trust and want the opportunity to receive our news and cultural information form a diverse group of sources with multiple points of view. At the same time the FCC makes it easier for huge corporations such as Clear Channel Corporation to monopolize the airwaves, it is making it more difficult for small low watt radio stations to offer what is typically a more local, and diverse and let’s face it, interesting voice.

At any rate, the MEIC will offer a great alternative to CNN and Fox News. So get out and enjoy the music! Be safe, be responsible and as always…Support Local Music!!!! n