Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

there is such thing as a free show

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“People always complain about celebrities being all fake and fancy, and then they get mad at you if you go on TV and don’t look all fake and fancy,” said Kimya Dawson Wednesday night, fresh off an appearance on The View for which she’d been apparently been panned for not dressing up.

Kimya – of The Moldy Peaches, the Juno soundtrack, and general awesomeness – played a free show at Crooked Beat record store in DC Wednesday, which I was lucky enough to catch. Crooked Beat is Old School and also Very Tiny. We were packed in tight, and I was surrounded by all manner of young hipster children — mostly of the high-school variety — with asymmetrical hair and homemade clothing, piercings, pins, and inexplicable backpacks (I was glad to discover absolutely nothing has changed in high-school-hipster-attire since I was a young thing). Perhaps because of the goodwill soon-to-be-spread by Kimya, I found a batch of particularly vocal ones surrounding me to be intensely charming, instead of predictably annoying. The whole scene reminded me of the 90s, in the best way possible. Anyway, we were packed so tight that not everybody who wanted to come inside could fit, so Ms. Dawson, being the nice lady that she is, sat outside in the cold to play a few songs for the thronging masses before coming in. Adorable, right?

Record-Store Dude eventually announced that Kimya would be coming in the front door, so could we please clear a walkway and, oh – remember – No Touching (very George Bluth’s prison guards). We made an aisle down the middle, and Kimya entered, took one look at the red-carpet-esque/parting-of-the-sea in front of her and said, “Oh god, are you kidding?” before starting awkwardly down the aisle and breaking into a soul-train dance halfway through. Later, during the set – which included only one song from the Juno soundtrack (“I guess I’m supposed to be promoting this thing, so I should play at least one song”) and a few songs from Kimya’s upcoming baby-songs album, AlphaButt (she’s got a 2-year-old daughter, Panda) – someone told her about the No Touching instruction, and she was kind of incredulous: “They told you no touching???? Human touch is my life. When I’m done here, we’re all gonna touch.”

This was the best thing about the show – the rapport between Kimya and the audience. She’d stop in the middle of songs to tell stories (The reason she looked so uncomfortable on The View? She’d just been told pre-show the word “turd” was off-limits, and was anticipating replacing the offending section of the line “shook a little turd out of the bottom your pants” with “blew a little load” in front of all those View ladies). If she messed up a song, she’d start over. Between songs, she paused to read a fan’s homemade card, to ask a particularly-squished-in audience member if he’d like to come sit on stage, and to just generally shoot the shit with the crowd. It was exactly like you always wish concerts would be – spontaneous, low-key, unique — not just straight-up recitation of recorded songs. And while there was (thankfully) no group-touch session afterwards, Kimya did stick around to sign autographs, take photos and give hugs. I totally rushed up front with all the high-school kids to get a photo.

P.S. This is my first post here so, you know …. hi.


Written by Elizabeth

January 25, 2008 at 5:59 pm

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