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These days it seems harder and harder to see a good show in Tucson. There are long fallow periods followed by a concentration of exciting events that only the hardy can handle. The WXSW mini-festival here, piggybacking on SXSW in Austin, is a prime example. For once, there are multiple things I want to see. But I won't be able to go to most shows. What I am going to see, barring the onset of the Rapture, is Monotonix. I've wanted to see this band for a long time. When I reviewed their EP for Zeek, I watched tons of YouTube clips that demonstrated without a doubt that the seeming hyperbole surrounding their live shows is merely a statement of fact. Anyway, if you want to be impressed, disturbed, unsettled and perhaps given a brief glimpse of the sublime, you should join me at Club Congress on March 25th at 8pm. This is one show that even the installation of an over or under-21 "cage" won't ruin.

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Current Location: 85704

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I went for a long bike ride as the sun went down in an effort to decompress from holiday stress and to store up some relaxation in advance before dealing with more holiday stress. The sky was beautiful. My "alternative" playlist came up with consistently great songs in shuffle mode. And I got the workout I needed. But the ride ended on a sad note. While turning down my favorite nearby road, a dead-end, I saw a car ahead rolling towards me at coasting speed. At first I thought they were just lost or perhaps looking for a good spot to admire the view. But then the driver motioned for me to stop. It was an elderly man connected to an oxygen tank. He was very distressed.

I asked him what was wrong and he explained that he was looking for his wife's lost dog, which someone thought they'd spotted nearby, down in the wash, just north of La Cañada. He explained that she was a shut-in and that the dog was her constant companion. She had been disconsolate since she disappeared on the 23rd and refused to celebrate the holiday. Not being a dog owner, I'm not sure what the best approach would be to help this man.

For what it's worth, the dog is an eighteen-month-old champagne Lab that answers to "Molly." She's not that big, by Lab standards, and has a pink nose with a dark spot. "She looks a little like a pig," the man explained. What makes this tale even sadder is that the dog was severely abused before he and his wife took her in and might exhibit residual wariness around strangers. He has contacted the Oro Valley Police and the Humane Society, but I'm betting there's some social networking way to get the word out about this. Facebook? Craig's List? The man seems ill-equipped to make use of the internet and I'd like to help him. Any ideas?

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Current Location: 85704

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One of my favorite unsung movies is playing on the big screen at The Loft tonight: Point Break. Keanu Reeves may not be the world's most supple actor, but when you have chase scenes as good as that movie does -- it may have the best one on foot that I've ever seen -- nuance is unnecessary. It's showing at 10pm. I'll be there. Perhaps you will be there too. Have I mentioned that The Loft serves beer and wine? We're talking seriously civilized movie-going here. Oh, and you'll get to see the crowd milling about for Rocky Horror on your way out, which is an added bonus.

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Current Location: 85704

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The Hold Steady plays tonight at Plush. I'm going. Show time is 11pm, though it may be packed long before then. I'm going early anyway. I want to be there in time to see the opening act Illinois too, since they hail from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where I passed the happier days of my youth.

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Current Location: 85704

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A friendly reminder that Stephen Malkmus of Pavement fame plays at Plush tomorrow night. And now Janet Weiss from Sleater-Kinney is playing the drums in his band. When I saw Malkmus play solo acoustic in Portland this past September, he was in fine form and debuted several new songs that sounded even more intricate than his previous compositions. I bet they'll shine live, too.

I can never predict turnout in Tucson, but the Devotchka show at Plush in December was so crowded that, arriving shortly before the announced starting time, I was unable to see or hear much of anything. It would be wise, in other words, to get there as early as possible, if you want an optimal concert experience. You also may want to purchase your tickets in advance online, but will have to do so before midnight I believe. Here's the link, if you're interested. Since I may not be able to attend the show at the Marquee in Tempe on Wednesday and will definitely not be at the Flagstaff show on Thursday, much to my chagrin, I'll be on my way as soon as my partner returns from visiting her dad in the hospital, the very place I'm headed in a few minutes. We're getting to know Northwest Medical Center very, very well.

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Current Location: 85704
Muse: Give It A Day - Pavement - Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition (Disc 1)

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I'm going to the Devotchka show tonight at Plush. They are supposed to go on at 10:45pm. I should be there a little after 10pm.

For those of you who don't know Devotchka, they make great music that fuses a wide variety of genres. They also did much of the soundtrack for the film Little Miss Sunshine.

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Today is the final International Arts Society screening of the semester. We're showing an existential Japanese B+W gangster film from 1967, Seijun Suzuki's Branded To Kill. It's darkly humorous and enlightening for cinema buffs in the way that some of Jean-Luc Godard's classics are. I'm going to be doing the Q+A afterwards and have written the notes, which I will post here in a moment. It would be great to see you there.

Details: The film plays at 7pm in room 120 of the Integrated Learning Center, the underground space in the middle of the University of Arizona mall. You can park in the Second Street garage for two dollars or at a meter. The film itself is free. The film is a little over an hour and a half. The Q+A should be around a half hour. That means you'd be done around 9:15pm if you stay for the whole thing.

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Current Location: 85704

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Tomorrow will be insane. The Rocky Mountain chapter of the MLA is holding its annual conference in Tucson, but I probably won't be able to go until Friday, because I have so much on my plate. There's the Michael Lerner talk in the evening. I'd like to rush over to Modern Languages to see the tail-end of the prose series reading afterwards, since my former office mate and generally wondrous colleague Aurelie Sheehan will be up last. I'm not sure I'll have time, though. And then there's this panel I'm on in the afternoon, right after I'm done teaching:

I can't promise greatness, but the preliminary discussion the panelists had on Monday suggested that our public conversation will be interesting. I might even get to mention Walter Benjamin! It should be over by 6pm. Oh, and the moth exhibition, which dances along the line between art and science, is impressive, bringing out the inner Nabokov in anyone who has an inner Nabokov.

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Current Location: 85721

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Michael Lerner, the main man behind Tikkun magazine, for which I have been writing these past two years, and also the Network of Spiritual Progressives, which attempts forge political alliances across religious lines in an effort to combat the Right, will be speaking in Tucson tomorrow evening.

He's a forceful, stylish writer and speaker, who makes a great deal of sense, even to someone like myself who is more inclined towards secular pursuits. If you are interested in the prospect of taking back spirituality from its bondage in conservative ideology, you should make every effort to attend. Also, there are local chapters of the Network of Spiritual Progressives here. As I learn more about how they work, I'll keep you informed about ways of participating.

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Current Location: 85704

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I'll be at Plush tonight to see Califone, the subject of my next Tikkun feature -- already written, but yet to appear -- and a band worthy of your attention if catchphrases like "ambient Americana", "bluesy neo-Krautrock" or "postmodern traditionalist" excite your curiosity. They're supposed to go a little after 11pm. I hope to see you there.

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Current Location: 85721
Muse: Pink & Sour - Califone - Roots & Crowns

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Charlie Bertsch
User: cbertsch
Name: Charlie Bertsch
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ABOUT DE FILE
You're looking at content from my Live Journal, which I have been keeping since 2003. I consider it a personal blog, though it lacks stream-of-consciousness revelations that typify that genre.

That said, if you manage to discern the confessional mode within entries that are superficially tight-lipped, I will reward you handsomely. Or at least pretend to do so.

In addition to reflections, however mediated, on my daily activities, De File features periodic excavations of material from my "files," a revelation sure to disturb anyone who has seen my garage. It's an experiment in integrating past and present, perhaps with a little redemption along the way.

Politics is always on my mind, but rarely explicit here. I’m working on a theory about what personal writing like this does to literary identification and why some people resist its pull so powerfully. But my goal is to make that theory dissolve in my practice, a density in liquid.

You'll note that I have links to blogs not on LiveJournal directly above, as well as assorted websites of note. The blogs I read regularly on LiveJournal itself fall under "FRIENDS" at the top, for those of you unfamiliar with LJ’s workings.

You can write me. I'm "cbertsch" before the circle-a and "comcast.net" after it.
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