You Gots To Grill – Vol. 8
“To Pimp A Butterfly Shrimp”
No shows booked at the moment.
I’m in Pittsburgh this weekend for a long weekend of gigs. Holler at your mans. More details in the sidebar. Hit me if you need more info.
“Diamonds & Denim”
Fundraiser for the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s Hospital of UPMC.
6p-Midnight – Market Square – Pittsburgh, PA
3.27 – Twelve on Carson
3.29 – Ginger Hill (SRU)
3.30 – Meat & Potatoes (Brunch)
3.30 – Twelve on Carson (Dinner & A DJ)
3.31 – Meat & Potatoes (Nightcap)
4.1 – Jimmy D’s (w/ DJ Nugget)
In This Edition:
Pittsburgh Mini Tour // Doc Delay Interview // First Thursdays
(full schedule to the right —>)
I’m heading out to Pittsburgh for a run of gigs. If you’re in the area, come party!
I’m also going to have a REALLY BIG tour announcement real soon. Sallimsayin…
Doc Delay on my Extra Credit Podcast
I first stumbled upon Doc Delay when I was perusing the Piecelock 70 site for random People Under The Stairs music and DJ Day remixes. I was pleasantly surprised to find some of his excellent mixtapes and remixes. As I dug around on the internet a bit, I only found more goodness. If you like funky sample-based music, you’ll enjoy Doc Delay‘s creations. Check out this interview, give the podcast a good rating on iTunes and watch the trailer for his new album “Morgan” below.
Also, if you need some DJ gear, sound, lights, whatever, visit our podcast sponsor, AGI Pro DJ, and use the code EXTRACREDIT when you check out. You’ll save some loot while supporting a DJ-based company!
1916 Smallman Street – Pittsburgh, PA
4th of July this year was awesome. Red Bull hired me to DJ out of their giant monster truck, the MXT. The MXT transforms into a party with a full DJ setup, speakers, flat screen TVs, and an Xbox / Playstation setup in the tailgate. When this bad boy is open, you can’t miss it. I was downtown at the point for Pittsburgh’s Regatta all day and night on the 3rd and 4th. There were events all day and night including Miles from the Red Bull Air Force dropping into the city occasionally from a helicopter in his Skyak. In addition to the day gigs, I got to warm up the crowd for the fireworks and broadcast the choreographed music for the fireworks display. There had to be 5,000 people at the point for the finale! Check out the video at the bottom. Thanks Red Bull!
Let me preface this piece by saying that I’m fond of many things in Pittsburgh and there are some really great people there, my family and friends especially. As someone born and raised in Pittsburgh, having traveled extensively and even lived in several other cities before hanging my hat in Portland, I feel qualified to speak on this topic. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve never shied away from speaking my mind, so I’m taking this opportunity to clarify some apparent misconceptions.
Based on a little research of Maura Judkis’s Twitter feed and her subsequent opinion piece, I think the sequence of events went like this: Maura (Pittsburgh born and raised) watches Portlandia. On 12.29 she tweets about her dissatisfaction with its repetitiveness. Somewhere in between 12.29 and 1.3 she reads a Washington Post list of In & Out for 2012. On 1.3 she decides to write an opinion piece about Pittsburgh’s superiority to Portland. I’m using the term “opinion piece” loosely because I should be calling it “uninformed opinion piece”. I’m almost certain at no point recently, if ever, has Maura visited Portland, Oregon. If she did, she had a horrible tour guide. While it’s good for an occasional laugh, watching Portlandia to develop an opinion of Portland is like watching Spinal Tap to develop an opinion of the heavy metal genre of music. It’s an over-embellishment of some of the more ridiculous nuances for the sake of comedy. (I assure you, there are plenty of people here who are over the joke of the show as well…) You’re discrediting the Washington Post.
Pittsburgh and Portland are constantly compared because of their similar size, cost of living and topography (we even have our on confluence of 2 rivers, we just didn’t give them 3 names) while being contrasted due to their geographic locations. Growing up in Pittsburgh provided me a wealth of opportunities due to its low cost of living, thriving music scene of the ’90s and small size. It was easy to explore the city, make friends all over town, take in some great shows and carve out a path for a career as a DJ. At the turn of the century, the golden era of Pittsburgh began to fade slowly for me. Several of the key mid-size concert venues closed, forcing bands to route their tours to Cleveland, Buffalo and other cities with more 500-1000 person venues and lower entertainment taxes (there were few cities with higher entertainment taxes). Clearchannel began to eat up all the free-thinking radio stations until the airwaves became a homogenous goo of only a few genres, taking with it all the annual radio-station-supported concert festivals. Despite taxpayers voting against it, the financially stressed city continued to build new stadiums for sports teams while maintaining a regular schedule of cutting public transportation routes, raising public transportation fares and downsizing its police force and school system. Harsh winters were met with an inability to handle snow removal (acting surprised by snow every winter) from a city that sometimes couldn’t afford salt.
As I began to travel and visit various cities domestically and internationally, I began to find the things I loved about Pittsburgh in other places but done better and smarter. (Much like when I visited Japan in 2004 and saw common sense ideas put into practice that haven’t caught on in the United States yet.)
The first time I DJ’d in Portland, I fell in love. On subsequent trips I explored and was educated about its thriving music, art and food scene as well as its abundance of great coffee and microbreweries. The people were environmentally conscious and the city planning reflected it. In a short drive I could get to a beach, a desert, gorges with waterfalls or a snow-capped mountain. The strong support for local business was reinforced by the superiority of the local product.
After those first few trips to the Pacific Northwest, I was never the same. Things in Pittsburgh that once seemed exciting and flavorful with life suddenly seemed slightly bland. I saw the shortcomings of non-progressive thinking in local government (as of this writing you can still smoke in most bars and clubs in Pittsburgh) and the reluctance to even entertain new ideas in large portions of young people. There were still the amazing core of people in Pittsburgh opening fresh restaurants, throwing good parties and making exciting art (you know who you are and I love you), but I realized they were a minority and would never reach their greatest audience without the support of the local community and government. (In 2008, while Girl Talk’s “Night Ripper” album was ranked #24 on Rolling Stone’s “Top 50 Albums of 2008″ I still had to tell Pittsburgh fans that he was from their own city. Please wake up!) I stopped trying to plan events because, after extensive consumer research, I realized that the success or failure of a party didn’t depend on the quality of entertainment or hospitality, it depended on reasons that followed no logic. People went places they loathed as long as their friends were going (for whatever the reason) and neighborhood segregation was rampant. Quality entertainment fell on sparse audiences because people wouldn’t drive 10 minutes or cross a bridge or go through a tunnel to visit a neighborhood they typically didn’t see. (Pittsburgh also has it’s own hipster population…)
On paper, Pittsburgh continued to appear on lists of places to visit or best places to live. It made sense to me based on an equation of property value, colleges, hospitals, sports teams, etc. On paper, especially if you lived somewhere with property values double what they are in Pittsburgh, it seemed like a dream come true. I even bought rental property for half of what a single-family home costs in most markets. But to me the cost of living only compounded the problem. If you can buy a home for $75k, the work ethic to really hustle doesn’t exist in a lot of people. (Why did I know so many people who couldn’t make ends meet when I was paying a $450 mortgage on a 2 bedroom house?) The struggle-borne creativity that bred amazing ideas from markets like New York and Los Angeles and Detroit and Philadelphia wasn’t occurring. People were still creating, but it wasn’t being supported and consumed to spark the critical mass of sustain. Mediocrity was too commonplace and I was quickly burning out the handful of my favorite restaurants, bars, etc. Mass amounts of college graduates were leaving the city due to a lack of jobs and little nightlife of interest for young professionals. (I even heard Pittsburgh was one of the top graduate flight schools in the country but I don’t know how to track that.)
I needed more, I found it elsewhere and I left.
Despite what anyone thinks, I’m not bitter or contemptuous towards Pittsburgh. I worked hard while I was there, it was very good to me and I have lots of great friends and memories there. I’m just able to look at it objectively as someone who has seen more places than most and as a person who always looks to improvement. (Most of my arguments about Pittsburgh happen with people who have no passport or haven’t ventured outside the state) I’d love to see great things come out of Pittsburgh. Unfortunately the city needs to stop writing a blank check for anything sports-related and learn how to balance the budget and start re-investing in its people through schools, public transportation, culture, local art, small business, public services and police. (Food cart permitting really isn’t rocket science) And until people stop romanticizing about sloppy sandwiches and binge drinking, Pittsburgh will continue to be known as a “Drinking town with a football problem” (cute, but old) and not as a “great city” like Chicago or even a Pittsburgh of the ’70s.
That having been said, I feel confident in saying anything good that Pittsburgh has, Portland has in spades. We’ve been doing most of the great things Maura mentions longer and better than most cities in the country. If you don’t like eating delicious food, drinking amazing beer and coffee, exploring breathtakingly beautiful natural surroundings or immersing yourself in awe-inspiring music and art (all at a low cost), then you probably shouldn’t visit Portland.
Don’t forget to check out my recent Portland-inspired mix here.
Your friendly tour guide…
P.S. Anyone who follows an In & Out list like the one published in the Washington Post A) can’t form their own opinions and is irrelevant and B) should also follow Maxim magazine for holiday recipes.
P.P.S. The best thing about Andy Warhol was that he became famous enough to get his own high-profile museum capable of hosting touring exhibits of art that I actually find interesting.