Posts Tagged ‘baltimore’

Love at first Byte

The world’s acceptance of chip music — that is, music made using antiquated video game and computer hardware — has changed drastically since I got into it. Which was, holy crap, over twelve years ago now. The focus has shifted from single dudes sitting alone in dark rooms and rocking out to large crowds sitting together in dark rooms and rocking out.  Chip music has become more performance oriented and regular concert events are popping up all over the country. New York has Pulsewave, Philadelphia has 8static… it was only a matter of time before Baltimore got it’s own chip event.  I’m proud to be one of the musicians asked to perform at the first ever BYTE NYTE.  Here are the details!

  • Saturday, June 4th, at the Hour Haus in Baltimore, MD.  Doors open at 7PM and tickets are $8 at the door (or $5 if you pre-order)
  • Music by Starscream (NYC), Bear & Walrus (that’s me!), Trey Frey (WV), Kedromelon (MD) and Dauragon (DC).  Live visuals by Pixelseed.  Live!
  • Everyone who attends gets a free CD featuring music from all five bands.  This is a seriously amazing idea, especially in a college town like Baltimore where not everyone can afford to buy CDs at shows. I was so excited by this that I did a fresh remix of a Bear & Walrus song specifically for the CD, and it’s never going to be released anywhere else.  So it’s sort of like a location exclusive track, which I think is a cool idea.

It’s going to be an awesome time. Here’s the thing: in order for Byte Nyte to be a regular thing, the word needs to spread.  It’s hard to kick off a new event out of nowhere. So if you have any friends in the Baltimore area… tell them to come!  The more people that come to Byte Nyte, the more money the organizers can put towards booking awesome artists.  I really want to see this explode the way Pulsewave has and become a monthly event.  Baltimore needs a something solid like this.

I’ll leave you with a video of Bear & Walrus performing at 8static a few months ago. It was a great show. Byte Nyte will probably be exactly like this, at least in terms of wardrobe, because I only have, like, two t-shirts (and they’re both Lady Gaga related).


SPX: The ‘X’ Stands For ‘Expo’

2009-09-26 12.32.34

Last weekend I took a trip to the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland. SPX is where all the cool kids go to talk about comics and art and how much they hate Walmart. I’ve spent the last seven years living in various far away lands, so I was excited to be able to attend this year. I packed my best five dollar blazer, a DSi for flipnotin’ on the go, and three porkroll sandwiches (consumed before I made it out of Philly). I did forget a few things, however:

1. My digital camera, which is why the only picture I have from the expo is the blurry cellphone shot above.
2. My self control, which is why I spent thousands of dollars on books.

The expo has apparently become much more popular since my last visit, which was probably a decade ago. Every booth was occupied, which made my goal of talking to each artist a bit of a pain. Still, I did it, and it only took about three hours. I found that there was an obvious conversational trend.

“Uh… hi.”
“My name’s Zachary! Really nice to meet you. Can you tell me what your work is about?”

I’m going to make this plea to any illustrator reading this blog: please, learn to talk about your work. Why did you create it? What was your inspiration? What’s the central theme? Why does it exist? I know you’re a shy art kid, but this is an expo. There are people walking around with money to spend, and they are looking for new and interesting experiences. Maybe your work is a new and interesting experience! Maybe they want to give you money! If you can explain, confidently, why your work is worthwhile, they will most likely consider it. Just try to put a little more effort into it than a shoulder shrug and some mumbling. At the very least look up from your sketchbook long enough to make eye contact.

Part of the problem is that I love comics for the storytelling rather than the art. SPX has a heavy focus on the visual component, so I might have freaked a few people out by ignoring their wares and jumping straight into asking for details. Hell, the Ignatz Awards — sort of like the Eisner, but for indies — has an “outstanding artist” category but nothing for “outstanding writer.” Which is fine; there are many different rhetorical modes of discourse to engage your audience with. Maybe I’m just a strange critic because I don’t care what your work looks like, I want to know what it has to say, and how the visuals work to communicate that.


One nice surprise at the show was seeing Emily Flake, whom I have been totally crushing on for a while now. She has a fantastic strip called Lulu Eightball that runs in the Baltimore City Paper every week… the premise is sort of feminist ideals juxtaposed with completely absurd situations. It’s very good. I tried to think up something really clever and funny to say to her, but all I could manage was “So, do I need to read volume one to understand what’s going on in volume two?” Which I guess is sort of funny, because the strips are mostly unrelated to one another. Alas, all I got was an “are you serious?” eyebrow raise. I was hoping for a “you are so funny and are exactly what I’m looking for in a friend and/or partner!” smile, but I’ll take what I can get. I bought a copy of Lulu Eightball Volume Two and then ran to the parking lot to chain smoke for a few hours.

I purchased many other books, and I’ll be making little posts as I read them (assuming they’re worth recommending).

Of course, the true evidence that this year’s Small Press Expo was a success: this weekend I am stuck in bed with H1N1. Again. I’ve always said that it’s not a party without a pandemic.

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