Pop Rocks: Westobou events worth a look ahead

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If I may borrow an important piece of advice from the philosophy of Public Enemy, I tend not to believe the hype. While I’ll always walk into a movie or drop the needle on a record hoping for the best, the truth is I rarely expect it. Does that make me a pessimist? Perhaps. I prefer pragmatist, but either broad-stroke definition probably works.

The downside of the philosophy is that I rarely find myself truly looking forward to things. However, in recent days I’ve found myself becoming earnestly enthused about some specific dates on the horizon.

Do I know that I might walk away disappointed? Sure. Do I expect to? No.

BOOKABOU. Although the Westobou Festival focuses primarily on visual art, dance, music, film and spoken-word performances, there has always been a place in its programming for literature. Last year it was the Augusta-Richmond County Library’s focus on Harper Lee and her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. This year it’s a trio of book-centric events taking place on Sunday, Oct. 7.

• The first is an event featuring author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, who is something of a star in the highly competitive field of children’s books. She is a two-time recipient of the Children’s Choice Book Award and her Lunch Lady series of stories is being made into a movie starring Amy Poehler of Parks and Recreation fame.

• The second event is something of a sequel. Last year Atlanta-based artist Sarah Hobbs built a site-specific installation at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art. This year she returns with a book of images culled from that work.

• Although Jesse and Jacob Kovacs are seventh-generation winemakers, their appreciation is expressed in ways that are anything but traditional. The authors of The Young and the Thirsty: 25 Wines for the New School Drinker throw out the myth that good means expensive by introducing novices to fine wine on a pretty good budget.

NO REPLACEMENTS. I had pretty much given up hope on a reunion of the seminal Minneapolis band The Replacements. Not only had the two members still actively producing music – singer Paul Westerberg and current Guns n Roses bass player Tommy Stinson – seemed hesitant to pick up where they left off, but drummer Chris Mars retired to make art and guitarist Slim Dunlap suffered a stroke last winter.

But Peter Jesperson, the man who signed the band to his legendary Twin/Tone label is organizing an interesting benefit project for Dunlap. He plans to release a series of seven-inch singles, each featuring artists covering one of Dunlap’s songs. Already on the roster are Westerberg and Stinson. Mars will also participate, although perhaps not behind the kit. Each release will feature his art.

GOOD CUSSES. I’ve been high on the Savannah-based band Cusses for a while now and worried that it might never bring its unique blend of Patti Smith poetry, Jagger swagger and super Sabbath sludge to an Augusta stage.

Crisis averted. The band will perform Saturday, July 14, with Panic Manor and DJ Joycette in support. I expect great things from this band. Do yourself a favor. Check it out early and often. You’ll become a fan.


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