That being said, it’s actually been years since I’ve heard the song on Thanksgiving and I had pretty much forgotten about the song and its annual Turkey Day broadcast until I heard Lin Brehmer talk about it on XRT this morning. Growing up, I had always heard “Alice’s Restaurant” on the local rock station in Peoria and just figured it was some sort of quirky, local tradition at the station. However, XRT has also been playing the song for years on Thanksgiving…and apparently pretty much every other rock and classic rock station in the country plays it every year?!?
Well, I’ll be damned!
Hearing Brehmer talk about the song and explaining the meaning behind it also made me realize that I had absolutely NO idea what Guthrie was singing about…or for that matter, why it was played annually on Thanksgiving. So, as a public service this Thanksgiving holiday, here is the official story behind Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant...”
Arlo Guthrie’s most famous work is "Alice's Restaurant", a story song that lasts 18 minutes and 20 seconds. The song, a bitingly satirical protest against the Vietnam War draft, recounts a true Thanksgiving adventure that began at Alice's Restaurant, where "you can get anything you want (excepting Alice)". Alice, in this case, was restaurant owner Alice Brock, who lived in a former church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The song describes how Guthrie was hauled into court for littering some of Alice's garbage after discovering that the dump was closed for Thanksgiving, and because of the resulting criminal record he was eventually rejected as unfit for military service when he was called up for the draft. The characters in the story, including both Alice and "officer Obie", who arrested him, became famous in their own right as a result of the song. "Alice's Restaurant" is regularly played on some radio stations every Thanksgiving.
(courtesy of the Science Daily encyclopedia)
Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” will be heard locally on WXRT-FM (93.1) this Thanksgiving morning at 11:00 AM. If you’re out of town, scan the dial for a local rock station, and chances are you’ll hear it sometime before noon. Happy listening and happy thanksgiving…
Dubbed "Hip Hop For Hunger," the night also features fellow Chicago underground artists Juice, Mass Hysteria, Pacifics, Dynamic Vibrations and numerous other MCs, collectives and DJs. Live art will be provided by Jose Garibaldi, Mike Bianco, Corey Barba and Tim Seely. Cans of non-perishable food items will be collected at the door and for those who bring in two cans of food, admission is only $10.
The Hip Hop for Hunger benefit takes place Wednesday night at Metro, 3730 North Clark. Doors open at 11p, show is at 11:30p. Admission is $15 at the door, or $10 with food. 18+only.
As far as the rest of the record buying public goes, sounds like a great week to dive into the bargain bins and pick up some classic vinyl...
According to its promotional website, the documentary "explores Moog's collaborations with musicians over the years, and his ideas about creativity, design, interactivity and spirituality." The film also features appearances by Keith Emerson (of Emerson Lake and Palmer), Walter Sear, Gershon Kinsgley (of "Popcorn" fame), Jean-Jacques Perrey & Luke Vibert (aka Wagon Christ), Rick Wakeman (aka keyboard wanker for Yes), DJ Spooky, Herb Deutsch, Bernie Worrell, Pamelia Kurstin, Tino Corp. with Charlie Clouser, Money Mark (of Beastie Boys fame), Mix Master Mike (of Beastie Boys fame) and more.
The soundtrack ain't half-bad either...A majority of the aforementioned artists are featured in addition to the likes of Tortoise, Stereolab, Meat Beat Manifesto and Moog Cookbook.
The Moog documentary runs tonight, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. For complete show times, visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
Friday, November 19th marks the grand opening of a brand-new independent record store on the south side. Located at 1377 east 53 st (near U of C), Hyde Park Records will open its doors to vinyl-hungry patrons tomorrow afternoon and will celebrate the occasion tomorrow night (7-10p) with a grand opening party featuring "food, drinks and stuff." Meaty Ogre from Galapagos4 will be providing the soundtrack for the opening night festivities and will be playing a heavy dose of obscure soul 45s most of the night.
Hyde Park Records is the brainchild of local music junkie Derek Erdman, who says the store is "the a culmination of 20+ years of combined music collecting." One word of caution though, Erdman warns that "stuff on the first day will blow your mind."
For more information, visit www.hydeparkrecords.com or call the store at 773-288-6588.
Here's how DJ Spooky describes the film and his video installation project on his website...
Griffith's film (Birth of a Nation) has been a historical object of fascination for me for a long while - it's been one of the defining images of America in the 20th century. As we enter the 21st Century it sometimes helps to know like the philosopher Santayana said so long ago, that "those who do not understand the past are doomed to repeat it."
"Birth of a Nation" focuses on how America needed to create a fiction of African American culture in tune with the fabrication of "whiteness" that undergirded American thought throughout most of the last several centuries: it floats out in the world of cinema as an enduring albeit totally racist - epic tale of an America that, in essence, never existed. The Ku Klux Klan still uses this film as a recruiting device and it's considered to be an American "cinema classic" despite the racist content. By remixing the film along the lines of dj culture, I hoped to create a counter-narrative, one where the story implodes on itself, one where new stories arise out the ashes of that explosion.
WLUW morning DJ Matt Malooly recently caught up with DJ Spooky to discuss more about the project and his philosophies as a performance artist:
Matt - ...I was wondering about that idea of gathering artists in one physical space, cuz I know you’ve compared the work of curating, I think, to ‘living life like a mixtape’?
DJ Spooky- Yeah exactly
m- And also talking about how a mentality of collage of remix or the web has become this sort of basic psychological framework for a lot of kids today, or these generations growing up the 80s and 90s and now. And I was wondering how does that play into your organization of festivals?
d- Yeah, I mean basically anytime you have all these kind of multiple frames of performance going on, you know, you just look at the context and you can see all sorts of people hanging – that’s the mixtape mentality, you know? It’s always just saying, everybody check this out and let’s see the flow. I really think that the mixtape… the history has yet to be written. I know Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth is doing a book on the history of mixtapes...
m- It seems to a lot of people around the world that the U.S. is becoming stuck in this provincial rut, while at the same time the rest of the world is becoming even more cosmopolitan, even more migratory. Yet the U.S. has one of the highest rates of internet use and of a kind of sampling or mash-up media culture. So how important is that sense of organic interactions, of physical presence, of migration through space, or meetings, in that regard?
d- Wow, this is a complex question. You know, is this gonna be up for a normal radio program? "Excuse me, home listeners, this is getting theoretical." (laughter) Yeah basically I just really think the U.S. is in a strange loop at the moment; but yeah, like you’re saying, people are listening and checking out all sorts of stuff – that’s not the problem. The problem is, I think, the mental sense of not really exploring other cultures.
m- Yeah that’s what I’m talking about
d- It’s like hearing the news and wanting to change the channel and going to, like, a sports or Presidential announcement. And I’m mainly concerned with issues of a lot of what the U.S. is drifting towards, a sense of disconnect with the rest of the world, you know? So for me when I do music, when I curate events, it’s always a kind of bridge-building process...
For the complete interview, tune into Matt's morning show this Thursday at 8:30 on WLUW-FM (88.7)
DJ Spooky's Rebirth of a Nation will be shown this Thursday (11/18) through Sunday (11/21) at 7:30 PM at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 22 East Chicago Ave. Tickets are $18 for MCA members and $22 for the general public. For more information, visit www.djspooky.com or www.mcachicago.org.
Vast Aire - "Pegasus/Red Pill" (12") (Chocolate Industries)
Brand new 12" vinyl release from the former Cannibal Ox MC. Tracks originally found on the "Harlem hustler's" debut solo album, Look Mom...No Hands.
Make Believe - "The Pink" (7") (Flameshovel Records)
"Strange things can happen after your skull is nearly cracked open. Chicago's weirdest wunderkinds follow their debut EP w/ two NEW songs only available on this PINK wax." Yes that's right, pink vinyl! According to the Flameshovel website, this one's limited to only 1,000 copies.
There is going to be some serious beats dropped at this performance, another amazing line-up put together by Sonotheque and Biz 3 publicity. Besides putting out hot records from the likes of Madlib, Charizma and the Lootpack, Peanut Butter Wolf is also well known around the world for his stellar remixes and skilled work behind the turntables. El-P is arguably one of the best hip-hop producers at work today and he ain't too shaby behind the mic either. Oh yeah, he's also the head of Definitive Jux records, home to RJD2, Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox and Mr. Lif.
Trust me, if you have any interest whatsoever in hip-hop and electronic music, you do not want to miss this show.
Doors open 8, show is at 9. Admission is $7, 21+ only. Sonotheque is located at 1444 W. Chicago Ave.