A Really Cool Diwali Event I Can't Attend

In just a few hours the Hare Krishna temple in Dallas will be having what they call “Lord Krishna’s Mountain Festival,” which is three hours of celebrat… well, let me just show you the invite:

Govardhana Puja, also known as the “Lord Krishna’s Mountain Festival” commemorates Lord Krishna protecting the inhabitants of his village from a torrential thunderstorm by holding a mountain named Govardhana over them for 7 days. The centerpiece of the festival is a 12 foot replica of Govardhana mountain made entirely of chocolate cake accompanied by ornately decorated dolls of the villagers. Surrounding the hill will be 1,008 other food preparations made by the Hare Krishna devotees. Later that night the temple room will be illuminated completely by candlelight for “The Festival of Lights” or Diwali. It’s a stunning sight that only happens once a year! The celebration will also include kirtan or interactive musical meditation, dance, a free vegetarian feast, and more!

  • 5p Kirtan
  • 6p Class by Giriraj Swami
  • 7p Mountain Kirtan Tour
  • 8p Feast

This is most awesome. Since I learned more about Diwali, I’ve looked forward to it every year. It adds some new meaning to the season, or maybe it’s just a different meaning?

Every morning the devotees “wake up” the avatars in the temple. I’ve been present for this ritual and it’s a pretty cool thing. I promised I would come back repeatedly but, it was too difficult to commit to. But anyway, they’ve already been preparing for this festival since four this morning and they didn’t waste anytime to put one of the recordings up on their podcast. This goes more into the details of the story, what this celebration is all about:

Unfortunately I can’t go to this thing and I unfortunately cannot find the write up I did about a Diwali Celebration some two years ago for the Ekta Mandir up the street, but here are a few videos I thought were pretty cool, about this whole thing.


Getting Real With Rue Snider


“Something Snider This Way Comes,” lifted fair and square from Rue’s Facebook Page

 Revealing Yet Elusive

I’m fascinated with Brooklyn cause I’ve never been. Yes, I’m that guy. How long am I gonna tread water before I make the push up North? I know, I’m being impatient. I’ll make it up there one of these days. But let’s get real here.

I haven’t had that many relationships in my life and I’ve failed miserably with the ones I’ve had. Being candid about that shit is a load off but I’m not usually that straightforward about it with people, so regret tends to build up. But I’m also a bit of a dick so I don’t dwell on it.

Some days it weighs heavy and most days it doesn’t. Of course the further I get away from it the lighter the weight becomes with time.

“What the fuck are you talking about,” you ask?

I’m talking about Rue Snider’s super-honest album Alone Again Relax. When I heard this guy would be touring through from Brooklyn, I tuned in and discovered a songwriter who’s not afraid to wallow in the darkness and write about it.

Sure it’s not uncommon for singer/songwriters to go there but this guy is punk, baby! He’s got an edge that puts things in a straightforward and specifically sharp way, that sends the occasional shiver up and down my spine bones.

That’s why there’s a lot of range to uncover on this album that isn’t just rage specific. Anyone who’s had a successful relationship can appreciate the construction of the well-placed hooks and melodies all over this thing. Snider’s film-making chops is also important in having influence with the stories he tells.

While Rue gets ready to travel, I figured this would be a good time to find out what this dude is all about.

The Bottle With Me And Snider Makes Three


Zoe Dune: I love whiskey so much that I don’t have a preference. It’s like maple syrup to me, I feel like a fucking bear every time I’m near it, so I can totally relate when you applied “whiskey cry” as a genre or style for your music. Tell me that is or was a scene somewhere?

Rue Snider: Maple syrup, huh? Are you implying you put it on pancakes and toast? I love whiskey too although I try to limit how much of it I consume these days. I’m pretty crazy about Few Rye and Templeton Rye. They’re both out of the Chicago area I think. I drink bourbon most of the time though if I’m drinking whiskey. Usually something cheap but passable. Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, even Evan Williams. Bars in Brooklyn have dozens of whiskeys. Nobody drinks anything clear here. It’s strange.

Whiskey Slur (not whiskey cry) is a term I listed as a genre on our facebook page to be tongue in cheek. I don’t hide the fact that I’m a drinker (it’s all through the tunes) but I take the writing process very seriously and I don’t really produce anything of consequence under the influence. Recreational activities tend to seep in when you’re working on a song though, even if you’re stone cold sober when you create it.


As far as I know Whiskey Slur isn’t a scene anywhere. Although when you get a bunch of people from bands in Brooklyn together the spirits tend to flow pretty liberally, so I suppose we could create a sub genre of indie folk or something. I imagine most scenes across the country delve pretty heavily into the brown spirits so that probably would work a lot of places.  I guess we’ll find out on this tour!


Zoe DuneI would have gone all the way to whiskey sob, but I stand corrected. Whiskey slur reads better and doesn’t look completely pathetic. I mean, it was the breakfast of champions (H.S. Thompson), and if not completely on the mark, it was at least somewhere in the range of whiskey/bourbon/scotch. Whiskey snobs will correct me for sure!At a certain point in your album, I was kind of like, “Get it together man, she’s gone!” And while it looked weird to my roommate for me to be yelling at a bandcamp page, I do wonder if to get through your breakup, you might have blown off Aunt Jemima for a bottle of rye on your pancakes, during those regret-filled mornings?


Rue Snider: Ha! So you at least made it to the chorus of the first track. Yeah, the record has a theme. Here’s the thing Zoe, there wasn’t any regret on my part. I don’t think anyone should ever regret loving someone even though your time together will inevitably come to an end. I mean everything dies. I wrote the record in order to avoid pouring whiskey on my pancakes, to continue with your idea.


I didn’t start writing songs because I had “something to say.” I started writing songs to save myself, you know? After a while you get better at it and you learn the craft of songwriting. Now I can write songs about whatever. In fact the last two Januarys I participated in a song writing challenge with some other people where we wrote a song a day for 31 days based on a daily word that was picked randomly. You come up with some interesting stuff in those situations. This album that we’re touring now though, Alone Again Relax, is very much about self preservation.


There are other songs, lots and lots of other songs. I’m touring with another guy names James Margolis. He does the heavy lifting when it comes to the guitar playing. We have around 50 originals of mine that we’ll do over the course of this tour. There was another record written that we started to work on that got shelved for Alone Again Relax. I just couldn’t go on and I didn’t want to wake up every morning and get fucked up and hate myself and be sad. So I wrote a bunch of songs about this one girl and it was a way to get over it. Sometimes yoga doesn’t work. The whiskey wasn’t broken, but every morning I woke up to a new day alone. So I wrote about that shit. Interestingly, some people really connect with the tunes because they’re so personal and specific. I’m glad.


Zoe DuneI never took the long-term deterioration of bitterness seriously until recently. I think it’s true you have to wrestle it somehow and turn it into energy. I can’t imagine with your background in film and now getting into the muck of songwriting, that you could have been under for very long. But you stuck to it on that song writing challenge, which takes a lot of focus. What kind of battles did you have on those days you might not have come through with a song?


Rue Snider: I was under for a long time. A LONG time. There’s always a song, even if you’re not the one who writes it. There has to be, or else you get into those marathon Netfkix sessions that go on and on. House of Cards in 4 days. Stuff like that. Also, I ate pizza every day for like four months straight. That was a little crazy.The long term deterioration of bitterness is an interesting topic. I’m not impressed when people get over things quickly, whether it’s a lost love or something else traumatic. I got a text from a woman today who was dumped by a guy a week ago that she was head over heels for. Her text said, “There’s no use crying about the wrong guy when the right one is out there.” She had internalized that shit already. It’s true I suppose, but Jesus Christ, their relationship just ended. I think things have to deteriorate at their own pace or it can weird later.


Zoe DuneWell that’s an interesting thing because I’m on this thing these days about forgetting our past. You know, like short term memories. But some things take hold and our crazy brains won’t let those things go. But then again, they begin to mutate into something else and translate differently. For Alone Again Relax, how does that release translate to you now as opposed to when you first put it out? Like you said, you have a colonic unit of songs that aren’t on it so, it’s not like it’s constantly torturing you?


Rue Snider: You know at the end of the first Nightmare on Elm Street when Nancy realizes that all she has to do is stop being afraid of Freddy and he won’t have power over her anymore? It’s kinda like that. But then in the next scene Johnny Depp’s convertible turns into Freddy sorta and they all drive off into, I don’t know what. and then her mom gets sucked into that tiny window in the front door. never understood that last scene.


We made the record really quickly because I was afraid I would start to edit the songs if I had too much time to live with them. Most of them were recorded within a day or two of being written. The way I approach songwriting means I kind of preserve the past. But that doesn’t mean holding onto things too tightly. It comes back to the art as survival idea. I make stuff to survive and part of that is letting go and moving on.


I’m surprised to hear a writer say she’s interested in forgetting the past, since writing captures it. Even if you’re telling someone else’s story or just making things up. There’s still a piece of time that gets saved in whatever you’re doing. Right?


ZoeDuneWell, it’s more like that we can’t help but forget the past. Saying that, it’s weird because I can almost say that I can remember everything up to three years and then everything is slim pickins, you know? But the writing process, whether it’s music or words; the most you can hope for is to just be engaged with what you’re doing and then move on when you’re done.But to come back and revisit that is usually someone else’s job I’m sure. There have been moments when I’ve looked back at some things and be like, “was I even present for that at all?” But yes, I’m pretty manic about documenting everything I can but also try to put it together in some cohesive and somewhat accessible form. It looks like you might have made a similar move with the help of Robin Irene Moss and E.W. Harris, and the Brooklyn singer songwriter scene for it to all make sense?
Rue Snider: EW Harris is a NYC musician who also engineers and produces records. He is in a band called The Sky Captains of Industry. I wish the entire world knew their music. It’s awesome. So so awesome. He has a solo record too and is making another one. Everybody should look him up. He and I are going on tour in December with another Brooklyn songwriter, Don Paris Schlotman, through the south east for 3 weeks. We’re calling ourselves Brooklyn Drinkers Union. It’s kind of a songwriters in the round deal. Should be fun.
Robin Irene Moss toured as a member of No Strand for a year and contributed a lot of really valuable ideas to the music. She was a big part of Alone Again Relax. She’s focusing on her solo stuff right now. The new material with the band is moving in a decidedly more rock direction and she’s very planted in the folk world.


Brooklyn has a very supportive songwriter scene. It’s refreshing. The quality is very high and that pushes you to always be on your toes and never settle. I could do an entire interview and just talk about the amazing musicians I know in New York who inspire me. It’s great to have really talented friends. I mean even the people in New York whose music I don’t like at all are still really fucking good. It’s a positive place to call home.


ZoeDuneOh yeah, I’ve listened to some of their stuff. To get to that level of quality song writing, takes patience, meaning to not rush the ideas and take time to flesh them out. You’ve mentioned before how Harris was able to help build one of your tracks, adding things to it. Now, I’ve often wondered what it takes to be a good producer and I can only imagine they would have to be free to contribute as well as take away or at the very least, understand where things should be going. You know, getting your hands dirty. And with open mics, you usually come across the same people. Parts of Dallas and many other cities have that Brooklyn melting pot thing that I like. I’ve never been up there, but look forward to hitting up some of those open mics myself. Is everyone always held together pretty well on the road? Have you toured down South before?

Rue Snider: That’s a lot of questions. Okay, a producer has to contribute or else they’re just an engineer. EW Harris has a style and that’s why you hire him. It’s your record at the end of the day and you have to make the final decisions. But using a producer and tying their hands doesn’t make any sense to me.


There are a lot of people in New York City but as you pare things down and get involved in different activities the City gets smaller very quickly. It’s not that I saw the exact same people at every open mic all the time when I was doing that. You just kind of attach to certain groups and end up going to the same places. There’s a songwriter collective called BigCIty Folk run by a guy named Niall Connolly. You should check him out too. Everyone in No Strand and everyone who has played with us pretty much came out of that sort of umbrella. It’s good to have a community. Niall has worked very hard for years to really make something of BigCity Folk. I’m grateful for that. I kinda just plugged int to what was already happening.


Being on the road is really fun, but the most we’ve done at one time is 10 days. This tour is 5 weeks. I expect there will be new challenges. But this is what we want to do and you take the difficult stuff to have the satisfaction of playing for people every night. Or at least playing. At our level sometimes people don’t show up. I want to spend most of next year on the road really laying some solid groundwork and getting in front of lots of people. The internet is great for people having access to your music, but they’ve gotta know about it in the first place. And I don’t think anything replaces the excitement and energy of a live show. To answer your question though, no, everyone does not always hold it together on the road. But for the most part it’s cool.


This is our first time down south. We’ve toured a lot between Washington DC and Burlington, VT. We’re trying to expand our circle. After this tour I have a week off then go out for 3 weeks with Brooklyn Drinkers Union hitting a lot of the same towns in December. I don’t think we’re going to make it to Texas unfortunately. I’m excited to hit new places for the first time and then come through again really soon. Hopefully I can build some relationships that way.


ZoeDuneSince we are coming to the end of 2014, what does 2015 hold of Rue Snider?


Rue Snider: We’re working on a winter tour to Germany, then a trip to Austin for SXSW, then a big summer tour, a new record that’s about halfway done, more singles, a HUGE video that we shot for this song “Heaven,” and lots more songs. But mostly just meeting people and making music with my friends.


ZoeDuneWell that is damn swell Rue. Lots of luck with the tour, we’re definitely super stoked to hear that Brooklyn sound. Might even introduce you to a little Texas whiskey while you’re here! Oh hell, let’s do it!


Rue Snider: Thanks Zoe. See you in a few weeks!

– Rue Snider will be Live@BryanStreetTavern on Oct. 31st.


Anderl, Timothy. “GHETTOBLASTER.” Ghettoblaster Magazine. GhettoBlaster Magazine, 3 Feb. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014. <http://ghettoblastermagazine.com/2014/from-the-horses-mouth-rue-snider-rue-snider-and-no-strand-on-alone-again-relax/&gt;.




My Playlist, SON!

Okay. It’s been some time since I posted anything about my playlist. Time for me to get back to that though and for good reason. I’ve been listening to the shit out of this stuff that I haven’t listened to much of anything else.

So that covers most of September. Following that and knowing that I have to move on, here are more sounds I discovered only recently that you should get into too.

Monica Heldal (Norway)

I just found out about this through the interzone and very glad I did. Powerful stuff, man.

Alabama Shakes(Athens, AL)

Just the other night, the local PBS affiliate KERA re-aired a broadcast of Austin City Limits that featured all of the country greats, including Jeff Bridges doing the Crazy Heart song that helped make the movie a hit. The first group to go up included Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughn and the Alabama Shakes, who played the fuck out of the set!

I’d never seen Bonnie Raitt on the slide guitar before and honestly, it was pretty damn sexy. Don’t judge me! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to diversify my tastes. But before this, I had never heard of the Alabama Shakes before. And no, I still haven’t seen Silver Linings Playbook yet either. They were featured on the Twelve Years A Slave soundtrack but, I tuned the music out for some reason. I know, I suck. But it’s never too late to get into good shit man. Take your pick of all the tracks available there and stream em before you buy them so you can hear for yourself. Even if it was a blind purchase, you’re good.

Blogger Beat-Down #31

Whoa! Hey! Here’s another Blogger Beat-Down! WHAT!?

Yep. I’ve figured out, the best way to do these things is to just do them. A pretty novel idea. So, I’m back on track with this thing, putting it out there for the world to see. I’ll make this a weekly thing for sure. Maybe two a week, maybe once a week. Ugh, now that I read that, it seems more exhausting to me than I first thought. No, no! It’s getting done!


When Art Bell left Coast To Coast AM years ago, the weirdo community doubled over and panicked, thinking there would never be anyone good enough to replace him. Well, George Noory was already getting a good reception on the radio. At least I thought so. He was especially applauded when he confronted people who really slipped up on the program for being obvious con-artists. (George Noorey Helps A Woman In Need)

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Ben Affleck and Bill Maher Are Both Wrong About Islam

Buckethead Ben

The footage of Bill Maher and Ben Affleck has gone viral for the obvious reasons, one of them being that they’re both talking about a polarizing topic of Islam and that Affleck and Maher are two of the biggest ‘go to’ sources for debate porn. My interest in this is more because of Maher but I also have an unhealthy obsession with Affleck that I don’t understand so, let me try to wrap my head around that issue first.

When you look at Affleck’s film resume from the get go, it wasn’t until he started directing projects he wanted to do when he started forming a political voice. In my opinion, ARGO is hardly that political perspective, but since Hollywood has plenty of smoke to blow it it needed an asshole to blow it up in and that asshole is Ben Affleck.

Put him up against Clooney or Redford, or both when it comes to making politically driven films and the nation of Affleck gets wiped off the legitimacy map.

In the argument he’s instigating with Maher, if he wasn’t so over driven with emotion, he would have let the point be made and know when to shut up. Instead he’s stumbling. On the other hand though, it’s possible that even without emotion clouding the facts; his problem is that his logic about the world is like ARGO where he doesn’t have the depth it takes to understand anything below the surface.

ARGO is about Americans escaping Iran under the cover of the production of a fake science fiction film, while this is just people who say “Islam is motherload of bad ideas,” are racist. Affleck is a terrible “logic delivery” system who only scratches the surface of an issue because of his tunnel vision.

Lately, Maher has been the trendy meat in a Aslan and Affleck sandwich over his “Islamophobia.” What Affleck and perhaps even Aslan doesn’t seem to understand about Maher’s view is that ideological beliefs have to be done away with, period. I agree with him that religion doesn’t make any difference in why we’re already goo and in this case, when referring to Islam he’s basically saying that the violence and extremism that’s at a possible “fringe” element of Islam is what dominates what that religion is to everyone else.

He’s talking about being too afraid to draw a picture of Muhammad because he’ll be killed. In no other religion would he have a problem drawing a figurehead. And let’s be honest, it only takes one person to kill someone else for it to become a reason to spin it as a violent religion. And for one Muslim to take offense (in the reality the number is larger) and want to kill someone for doing that, it already makes that religion look like bad news.

Maybe if it wasn’t so difficult to convert or ‘try out’ Islam where you wouldn’t have to go through all the theological hurdles, it might not be the deal-breaker Maher is saying it is. I mean, in Western religions, all you have to do is go to a church building where you can sit, stand, listen to someone on the pulpit, sing some hymns and then hit the buffet afterwards. Islam asks for too much, you have to go and it takes reading and learning from a completely different book to catch up.

So you have to understand where Maher is coming from when he takes that broad brush to Islam, but as Affleck told him, he’s wrong to do so. Also, Maher seems to love quoting polls to make his point so, he’s already pretty hardened in his view. He’s not making it clear to Affleck what his stance is on religious indoctrination first.

But let’s go back to Affleck. He’s defending religion as a ethnically established culture in order to say that it’s racist, which is a stretch if you’re of the view that people are people or humans are human and not these indoctrinated tribes. Because Maher didn’t single out the people by their ethnicity, he was going after the ideology which we all know covers different races.

On top of that, when Ben Affleck makes that generalization, it is only possible within a social mindset that’s politically driven.

So basically, one person who is reasonably going after the ideology vs a guy who can’t reach the depths of basic logic; Maher was right to say they should agree to disagree.


1. Ben Affleck And Bill Maher Are Both Wrong About Islam (Bubblews)(Bubblews)

Blogger Beat-Down #30

This morning, as I was fading in and out of consciousness, I caught a glimpse of this interview on Weekend Edition with the beautiful Minnie Driver, about her new album, something I brought up some months or so ago on her cover of an Elliot Smith song.

Me not knowing right from the get go that it was Minnie Driver is important to this because I kind of thought it was her, but without knowing for sure I was able to focus on how smart and earnest she was in the interview. There was no mention about her acting work and she was treated like a artist of the highest caliber. It was just totally sexy to me. After the confirmation, there was no doubt in my mind that she is the perfect woman; a perfect human.

Almost two years ago, I started recording a podcast. After five episodes, I gave it up until I could get myself a kick ass mic and some additional gear to improve the quality cause it really needed it. Well, the time has come and I’m happy to announce the first test recording of this thing.

I’ve been seriously stoked about getting this mic now for weeks and I finally have it. Why? If you check out the link to the five minute recording I added above, you will see a definite improvement on the quality, as it sounds professional for once! I mean COME ON! Time for me to stop half-assing my way through life and grow the fuck up! Well, maybe this isn’t as grown up as a more professional mic but it’s still going to get me there. Btw, why do people have to say going to, why can’t they just say gonna? (I’m Supposed To Be Recording Right Now)

Like really, this thing is badass but, do what you want. 

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