Dear Liz and Laura,
Your roommate has rejected a small photo you wished to put up on the basis that it ‘messes with his vibes’. He then proceeds to put up a 5 foot by 6 foot tapestry of Bob Marley in the Irie colors. How to proceed?
No Roommate No Cry
Dear No Roommate No Cry,
You neglected to mention what your “small photo” depicted. If it were, say, of a bloody moose head, or Cameron Diaz, that might be objectionable to anyone. But if he simply won’t let you contribute to the decoration, that just ain’t fair. You should revisit the ground rules of sharing the space and assert the fact that you want to express yourself and feel comfortable at home just like he does. As to the stoner tapestry, there’s nothing wrong with Bob Marley, but the decoration you described does sound like something out of the bargain bin at a head shop, and/or a freshman dorm room. Perhaps you could delicately suggest that your roomie move the offending article into his bedroom because it’s ruining your dating life. Nobody wants to take a hottie home from the bar and have her first impression be that of a weed-laden bachelor craphouse. If your roommate has any interest in his own dating life, he should 86 the hippie flag altogether.
Liz and Laura
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What happens when a band whose catalog is loaded with ever changing rhythms, wicked fast guitar pickings, and three layers of high notes performs live and in concert? I walked into the Music Hall of Williamsburg wondering what sort of brain-churning mishmash we attendees might be getting ourselves into on our date with the Dirty Projectors. Opening band No Kids set an awkward tone for the night with their chunky, confused piano parts and unenthusiastic appearances, though those of their songs infused with a Latin flavor were somewhat danceable. A few requisite drunk girls swayed casually as they played out their short set, but in the end most of the crowd’s energy was saved for the main event. At last, a chance to see what happens when a band led by David Longstreth — whose assorted tastes and tendencies have led him to invoke both Don Henley and Black Flag – takes the stage. Indeed, last year’s Rise Above is a sort of retelling of Black Flag’s 1981 album Damaged – though the songs are completely restructured and entirely non-similar in sound, the lyrics are heavily borrowed. A funny pairing to be sure, but not one that took away from Rise Above’s awesomeness or, as we would soon learn, the band’s live performance.
Yet for all their eclecticism, Dirty Projectors aren’t all that spazzy on stage. Their seeming humility is interesting given their range of influences and the all-over-the-placeness of their albums. Longstreth stood front and center to deliver his enviably crisp and wide-ranging voice, and though he did command attention in comparison to his bandmates, he maintained a calmness throughout the set interrupted just a bit by particularly rockin’ breakouts. Bassist Angel Deradoorian and second guitarist Amber Coffman did not appear to be very animated folk, but this shared behavior did not draw away from their respectable vocal performances, as both ooo’d perfectly in sync to create the Dirty Projector’s signature three-part harmonies. The charm of this arrangement added an innocence to the band’s sound, which was wonderful to hear live along with the jumping accompaniment of the actual instruments, which proved to themselves be played quite expertly. Though through most of the set the people on stage weren’t particularly outgoing or performance-oriented, the songs themselves were excellently played, leaving the eagerly anticipated moments of sonic outburst to rattle with their own insane energy. Highlights included the apparent crowd favorite “Depression” and “Rise Above,” which was just plain lovely, a description I don’t think I’d ever use to describe a Black Flag song, no offense to that fine band. And so, my initial questions were answered satisfactorily: this band is good live.