• The saga around BYT‘s “Write a suicide note to win Morrissey tickets” continues. Here’s a summary: BYT posted a contest on Monday asking readers to write suicide notes in order to enter a contest to win tickets to Morrissey’s show at Strathmore. I wrote about this in Tuesday’s Music Notes. The Washington CityPaper picked up the story later that day and got some quotes from BYT managing editor Logan Donaldson. On Tuesday night, BYT quietly changed the contest to say “string together a couple of paragraphs using only Morrissey’s lyrics”; I printed the full text of the new contest and a rant from their Assistant Editor Stephanie Breijo in Wednesday’s Music Notes, and DCist picked up the story, getting an additional quote from Donaldson. THEN, BYT took its contest down entirely (if you click on the contest link now, you’re taken to a login page). The Washington CityPaper reported on that, with an additional statement from Donaldson.
• The Washington CityPaper picked up the commentary I wrote yesterday about BYT’s ridiculous “write a suicide note to win Morrissey tickets” and talked to BYT managing editor Logan Donaldson. Donaldson’s response is fair, but it’s somewhat negated by this response on the initial BYT post, from Assistant Editor Stephanie Breijo. I’m not going to repost the link, but I will copy/paste her text:
In defense of this post and with full disclosure I’m writing to say that I, a BYT staffer fully in support of this giveaway prompt, have lost two people–with whom I was very close–because they committed suicide. One of my closest friends in high school OD’d in Los Angeles after a fight with her boyfriend. One of the first boys I ever kissed joined the Air Force and after a long tour in Iraq hanged himself over the side of a boat (in a very public place, no less).
Suicide is very real and it is TERRIBLE. I have experienced suicides first-hand but I’m writing to say that this does not place me above humor. Is it morbid? Entirely. So is Morrissey.
I have a newsflash for all of you: You are going to die. Everyone you love is going to die. Everyone you have ever met or interacted with is going to die, and this includes myself, the author of this post, and all its contestants. The fact that others choose to bow out before their time is sad but it is their decision. Sometimes all you can do is laugh, no matter how shitty the circumstances may be.
A quick google search will show you we are not, in fact, the only online publication discussing suicide in this fashion, in this week alone:
To Catherine Lewis of Showlist DC–I am truly sorry if we have offended you. But if you cannot see the humor in this, you probably shouldn’t be reading our site or, quite honestly, caring what we write about. It is our site. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. No one is pressing a gun to any reader’s head (perhaps more suitable for a Nirvana giveaway of some sort?). No one is being forced to read, nor are they being forced to participate.
That being said, we appreciate your input nonetheless.
Wishing everyone the best for the remainder of your days (however many you may have left),
So, to summarize, (1) it’s OK because Vice did it first. Also, (2) it’s OK because someone at BYT knows someone who committed suicide. And finally, (3) BYT apparently has more than one person on staff with the title of “Editor”. Who knew there was any actual editing going on at BYT?!
Anyway – BYT has changed the text of the contest. It’s no longer “write a suicide note to win tickets”; it’s now this:
TO WIN: Since there is no longer any truth to there being a light that never goes out (oh, song title puns!), and Morrissey has (has not? whatever) announced he’ll be retiring in 2014, why not string together a couple of paragraphs using only Morrissey’s lyrics. Okay, you can use The Smiths too. If you must.
• Shakeup at the Washington CityPaper: editor Michael Schaffer and Lydia DePillis (who writes the Housing Complex column) are joining the New Republic. Managing Editor Mike Madden is taking Schaffer’s place, and Arts Editor Jonathan L Fischer is taking Madden’s. If you’d like to read the emails from these folks, here are some reports from folks who are intricately linked to the WCP folks: Ben Freed [DCist] and Andrew Beaujon [Poynter].
Last night, I went to the Black Cat and saw British twee band Allo Darlin’. I wouldn’t ordinarily identify as a fan of twee, but I do really dig the Field Mice and Camera Obscura, and I find Allo Darlin’ to be very much in line with those two bands. (Also, I recently reviewed the band’s latest album, Europe, for the Washington Post). I was pleasantly surprised to see that the show was packed (and packed with people who knew a lot of the band’s lyrics, too!). Live, the band really captures that “just exuberant enough to be slightly off-kilter” brand of indie-pop; I don’t think the bassist stopped jumping up and down for the band’s entire ~45-minute set. Another pleasant surprise: frontwoman Elizabeth Morris’s solo ukulele song “Tallulah” during the encore was performed to….complete silence! So great to hear DC crowds keeping quiet after a whole slew of chatty shows.
An unrelated story from last night’s show: I got an iPhone a few weeks ago, and I’m still warming up to it– sure, some of the apps are cool, but I’m not a fan of its email functionality, and that’s what I want a smartphone for, more than gadgets and doodads. Anyway, last night at the show, one of those apps came in handy: a flashlight app I’d recently installed helped a woman find her contact lens on the floor of the Black Cat. I kind of wanted to ask if she actually planned on putting it back in her eye– no amount of rinsing could possibly get nightclub grime off of that thing.
• Interview: Metal Chris talks to Evan Harting, co-founder of Maryland DeathFest [DCHeavyMetal.com]. You can either listen to the interview via MP3 (~20 minutes) or read its entire transcript (or both!). Metal Chris talks both about festival logistics (parking, food) as well as the merits of downloading (Metal Chris rightly points out that many of the bands on the DeathFest schedule wouldn’t be known enough to come to the U.S. if not for the availability of their music online). Teaser from this cool interview: I think having at least some of your music available online for free is great and it gets your word out there. If you’re in metal to make money then you’re doing something wrong anyway.
• Local band profile: Stephanie Williams on Heavy Breathing [DC Music Download].
• Watch out for disco balls! In April 2010, a woman was allegedly hit by a falling disco ball at the Franconia Moose Lodge in Alexandria. Now she’s suing [Washington Post]. The horrific incident happened in April 2010 at a Sweet Sixteen dance, according to Robert M. Somer, the lawyer who filed the suit. He said the victim, Ana Guevara Blanco, suffered a concussion, a fractured nose and facial bones, was hospitalized, and ran up about $15,000 in hospital bills. After some plastic surgery, her nose still doesn’t look the way it once did, Somer said.