For the week of 9.20~9.26 | Best Bets | Indy Week
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For the week of 9.20~9.26 

In funnest monsters ever

It's OK to have dreams, right? Last week, I e-mailed Portland trio MENOMENA and asked if they could do me a favor at their Sunday, Sept. 24 show at KINGS: play their album Under an Hour, a dance score written in three parts, which they composed for the Time-Based Art Festival in Oregon in 2004. The recorded version, whose three tracks clock in at 54 minutes, is one of the unheralded gems of 2005: Banjos, pianos, saxophones, snares, cymbals, glockenspiels and electronics unfurl and tuck together neatly, distended pieces in tricky meter providing an ornate seismic surface for sweeping visions built from the tiniest gestures. "We're leaving the ol' orchestra at home this time around," replied Danny Seim. But that's fine: If Under an Hour proves anything, it's that Menomena is a band wading in overwhelming ideas. Their 2004 debut, I Am the Fun Blame Monster, was written by building songs piecemeal from loops in a self-designed program, and then learning the results--idiosyncratic pop gems full of dynamic dips and huge hooks--from the program. The result is as organic as it is unorthodox. They play LOCAL 506 on Friday, Sept. 23 with openers WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS (the Austin quartet's debut is too tight to be that Schlitz-fueled, really) and top-billers THE LONG WINTERS, a band that has the nasty habit of packing too much sound into John Roderick's endearing songs. The show starts at 9:15 p.m., and tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. When they headline at Kings Sept. 24, three-fourths of DeYarmond Edison makes its debut as MEGAFAUN, and BLACK SOCKS makes its first local appearance in months. Cover is $7, and the show starts at 10 p.m. --Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Menomena
  • Menomena

In economic reform

"The first thing is to remind ourselves that in fact, global companies aren't as pervasive and all powerful as we think," says MICHAEL SHUMAN, author of the recently released The Small-Mart Revolution and 1998's Going Local. Nationwide, nearly six in 10 businesses are local, yet major corporations--including big box behemoths, telecom companies and auto manufacturers--receive billions annually in government subsidies and tax abatements. And while governments have cut these sweetheart deals since the 1970s, 75 million jobs have kissed the United States goodbye. "It makes no sense," Shuman says. "You're throwing money at the totally wrong parts of the economy." OK, ginormous corporations are bad for local business, so now what? One solution would send chills down the spines of bean counters at City Hall. "I'm only half snide about this," Shuman explains. "Close down our economic development departments, the whole system. It would begin to equalize the playing field between global and local businesses." More realistically, Shuman cites success stories, including Durham's Self-Help Credit Union, in which local communities are regaining some control over their economies: Santa Fe, N.M., has a local bank card that unites a network of businesses; Bellingham, Wash., publishes a guide to locally owned stores; Ithaca, N.Y., has developed its own currency. He also provides tips on how to launch these ideas for more sustainable communities. Provide people with guides to locally owned stores--and ask them to shop there--and more importantly, move your money to a local bank. Shuman speaks Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. at UNC'S STUDENT UNION, and later that evening at DUKE UNIVERSITY'S NASHER MUSEUM at 7 p.m. Both events are free.--Lisa Sorg

click to enlarge Michael Shuman
  • Michael Shuman

In royal pageants

If you've never seen the Indy's QUEEN OF THE TRIANGLE pageant, you're missing a terrific show. Now in its sixth year, the competition welcomes drag performers of all shapes, sizes and genders--last year's first-ever drag king performance expanded the pageant's horizons--to the LINCOLN THEATRE in Raleigh. Drag Bingo's Mary K Mart and John Paul host talent and evening wear competitions, along with other special performances. The winner rides high in the N.C. Pride Parade on Sept. 30. Expressions of Chapel Hill throws nifty little prizes into the crowd throughout the evening. Best of all, proceeds from the event benefit the Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolina ( The show goes on Sunday, Sept. 24. Doors open at 7 p.m., curtain at 8. Sorry, 18 and older only. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For ticket info and directions, visit --Fiona Morgan

click to enlarge Queen of the Triangle
  • Queen of the Triangle

In townwide tunes

Pity the performer who's stood on the Cat's Cradle stage and announced, "It's great to be here in Chapel Hill!" With the "Hill" still echoing, at least five people are bound to respond with "This is Carrboro!" It's a town justifiably proud of its music venues and music scene, and the CARRBORO MUSIC FESTIVAL is the one day of the year when the flag flies the highest--and does so all day long. All together, 21 stages--from inside at Open Eye Café and the Cradle to outside at Weaver Street Market and in between, in the parking lots of places like Fitch Lumber and Tyler's--will dot the town on Sunday, Sept. 24 and present everything from ragtime, bossa nova and woodwind chamber music to dub, Latin pop and (as required by law?) several flavors of Check the full schedule at for proof. The music starts at 1 p.m. on more than half the stages, with the others quickly following suit. Take the fest's slogan at its word: "All kinds of music. All around town. All for free." --Rick Cornell

click to enlarge Memphis the Band / Carrboro Music Festival
  • Memphis the Band / Carrboro Music Festival

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