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Love Bites 

Soundbites: Love Bites, TWIB (This Week in Benefits), BiteTorrent

Holy writer’s block, Batman.

I have been sitting in front of a blank computer screen for the last hour trying to come up with a clever lead for this column. Really, an entire hour. And guess what? I got nothing.

The problem, I think, is Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if you were aware — I wasn’t until just about an hour ago, funny enough — but the big day is this week. Sunday, to be precise. Yikes.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is happy on Valentine’s Day. If you are in a relationship, the pressure to perform can be crippling. Dinner, flowers, presents. It isn’t enough simply to be in love? We really have to make a huge show of it every February?

Which brings us to the bold, dateless wonders who spend Valentine’s Day alone. For single folks, February 14 is possibly the worst day of the year. It’s like being stuck in a restaurant where everyone else is eating filet mignon, but the waiter will only serve you tofu — reverse that half-assed metaphor if you’re a vegetarian.

Valentine’s Day sucks, plain and simple. So what are we to do?

Might I suggest roller derby?

This Saturday at The Monkey House, the Green Mountain Derby Dames fight back against everyone’s least favorite Hallmark holiday with an evening they’ve dubbed “Shot Through the Heart: the Anti-Valentine’s, Valentine’s Event.” And let me tell you, when the Dames fight, it’s a good idea to be on their side. Trust me.

The evening doubles as a Haiti relief fundraiser, with proceeds going to benefit the Red Cross. DJ Tony Bonez provides the tunes and there will be loads of giveaways for lift tickets, romantic getaways and such. But the real draw is the “Ex-corcism wall.” You read that correctly.

Revelers are encouraged to bring mementos of past relationships — mix tapes, old photos, love letters, underwear, whatever — to be plastered to the wall, which will presumably liberate you from the shackles of failed love and theoretically free your soul to hit on anything that moves. They’ll even knock two bucks off the cover. Although, since it’s a benny, maybe you should be a sport and donate the full door charge anyway. Just a thought.

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TWIB (This Week in Benefits)

Another week, another full slate of Haiti benefits. Let’s dig in.

In the weeks since the quake, we have seen literally dozens of Haiti benefit concerts, most of which have employed the “We Are the World” strategy: Corral as many big-name local acts as possible under one roof. It’s been a successful tack, for sure. But this weekend, Jeffersonville après-ski joint The Brewski takes the concept a step further with what could be the grandest Haiti helper of ’em all: Hope for Haiti.

The show features 24 bands — yup, 24 — including Starline Rhythm Boys, Red Hot Juba, Seth Yacovone, the Oleo Romeos and the Gordon Stone Band. And that’s just Friday. Saturday will see performances by Greyspoke, the Taryn Noelle Trio, Conscious Roots and Pulse Prophets, among many, many others. In addition to the tunes, you can sip Haitian rum while noshing on authentic Haitian food. All proceeds go to benefit UNICEF and its ongoing Haiti relief efforts.

Traveling south on Route 100, the Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield has a weekend-long celebration of Black History Month called Blue Jam, culminating in Monday’s show, Grace for Haiti, which features the Eames Brothers Band and — drum roll, please — Grace Potter. Get it? Grace for Haiti? Ms. Potter will be performing solo, though one imagines Nocturnals drummer Matt Burr might lend her a hand, since he’ll be manning the kit for the Eames boys. Tickets are only available at the theater. Call 496-8994 for more details.

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BiteTorrent

  • Speaking of Blue Jam, the main event is really happening on Saturday, when blues legend and Delta Groove recording artist Bill Sims Jr. takes the stage with local harmonica hero Mark Lavoie. I’d show up early to catch a screening of the 1999 PBS doc An American Love Story prior to the concert. The film centers on Sims, who is black, and his wife, Karen Wilson, who is white, and their 30-year struggle as an interracial couple in the United States. Powerful stuff.
  • The Vacant Lots recently headed back into the studio to record their third album in less than two years. That’s not quite Saint Albums-level prolificacy, but it’s still impressive. According to guitarist Jared Artaud, the new record is “a departure and transformation of sound.” Color me intrigued.
  • A little more than two years ago, I reported that local superstar James Kochalka had landed a part in a small animated indie flick called Mars. I’m happy to report that the film is completed and will debut next month at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas In the meantime, you can view the trailer — which features a creepy-looking cartoon Kochalka — at swervepictures.com.
  • Doors fans, take note: Local tribute act People Are Strange — led by Matt “The Lizard King” Wright — light your fire at The Monkey House this Thursday.
  • Congrats to Lewis Franco! The swingin’ hepcat has a track from his excellent 2007 children’s album Swingin’ in Daddyland appearing on a new Putumayo Kids comp called Jazz Playground. Ironically, the song, “Stomp, Stomp,” is one of only a handful from that album that Franco didn’t write himself — it was penned in the 1930s by a group called The Cats and the Fiddle. Still, it’s quite an honor for Franco. The new CD hits shelves on March 9.
  • Best genre descriptor ever: “Amerarcana.” The term refers to — and only to — Foley Artist, a rarely seen collaboration among Michael Chorney, Miriam Bernardo, Phil Carr and the brothers Eames, which features some seriously spooky Americana. They’ll be at the Parima Acoustic Lounge this Friday.
  • OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been semi-intentionally avoiding local funk outfit Funkwagon because … well, their name is Funkwagon. But I can’t ignore their funkaliciousness any longer, and neither should you. Catch them splitting sets with blues-funk outfit WAGAN — as in, We Ain’t Got a Name — this Thursday at Club Metronome.
  • Ever wonder what would happen if The Format — may they rest in peace — suddenly turned into a string quartet? My guess is that it would sound a lot like Northampton’s Darlingside. Find out when the chamber-pop outfit plays Montpelier’s Langdon Street Café this Thursday.
  • Last but not least: Mark your calendars now. True School Wednesday on February 17 has been moved from Nectar’s to Club Metronome. Why? It might be because Gift of Gab from Blackalicious is performing. Tickets are available at www.FlynnTix.org.

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    About The Author

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles

    Bio:
    Dan Bolles is the Seven Days music editor. His column "Soundbites" appears weekly.

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