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It’s All About Me / Eugoogly, Pt. 3: The Great Stylus Meet-Up ‘07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 4, 2007

And we would all go down together

So the last hurrah has come and gone, and this will be the last part of my half-week-long tribute to Stylus Magazine (and no, you haven’t missed anything I’ve written on GHIII in the last eight days, and yes, I’m well aware of how shameful that is). But I feel like this grand aggregation of Stylus folks–nearly 20 writers at one point or another over the course of the weekend–still deserves some coverage on this blog, especially since who knows how long it’ll be before I have an excuse to write about these fine people again.

It was pretty much the kind of weekend that I had expected–fraught with cancelled or poorly thought-out planning, huge monetary hits and my own unique blend of insecurities and social anxieties, all of which were nonetheless more than made up for with a handful of moments of true emotional transcendence, the kind that are generally few and far between in this world. The sensation of genuine belonging can be so elusive, and I’d be lying if I said I felt it even close to the entire weekend, but those few moments this weekend–unanimously mocking the innumerous flaws of Ian Curtis biopic Control after a misguided viewing, agreeing to order a totally unnecessary third bottle of Pinot Noir at Saturday dinner, and closing the climactic karaoke outing with a staff-wide embrace to the strains of “Bohemian Rhapsody”–will likely stick with me for years to come.

I’d already met a good deal of these people before–New Yorkers and almost-New Yorkers Mike Powell, Tal Rosenberg, Barry Schwartz, Jayson Greene, Liz Colville and Nate De Young, as well as out-of-towners Ian Mathers and Alfred Soto, who were around for the first great Stylus gathering in September of 2005. But naturally, the real draw of the weekend for me was getting to meet a good deal of our out of town writers for the first time. And I gotta say, the stereotype of music writers being boring, disshevelled snobs has been pretty much disproven for me, at least when they’re interacting with each other (or myself). Those that made the biggest impressions on me were to include (in alphabetical order):

  • Cosmo Lee. Cosmo was a surprise on many levels, not the least of which was that one of our site’s resident metal experts actually turned out to be a short, bald, fashionable Asian fellow who worked as a lawyer (though not the real kind, he swears) in San Fransisco. He was also among the friendliest people I met this weekend, who seemed the most interested in actually getting to know me, though, admittedly, there wasn’t too much for him to get to know. “You should get out more,” he told me at one point, in a way that would seem patronizing from almost anyone else, but just sounded genuinely thoughtful and concerned from him. “There’s a whole world out there.” “You could apply that statement to so many levels in my life,” I responded. “It’s kind of scary.”
  • Mike Orme. Before this weekend, I’m not sure I could’ve believed that it would be possible for me to meet someone as well-dressed, well-spoken and well-travelled as Mike Orme without wanting to punch them in the throat. Yet I felt my fist curl up not a single time talking to Mike, who consistently proved himself the most intelligent and interesting person at the table without ever seeming pretentious or superior for doing so. Plus, choosing Dishwalla for karaoke will always be a sure way to my heart.
  • Theon Weber. Theon was almost certainly the coolest person I met this weekend. Despite being the youngest ‘un at the meet-up–which proved tricky at a couple bars Friday night–Theon’s demeanor bespoke a maturity and confidence of which I can barely even conceive, not to mention the fact that he was one funny motherfucker. On a personal level, Theon and I clicked almost instantly, sharing a mild fear of Todd, an adolescense spent on computers (his on gaming, mine on the internet) and an appreciation for ridiculous John Mahoney quotes (“I MAKE THEIR LIIIIIIVES BETTER!!!“). And with stunning rendition of the Talking Heads version of “Take Me to the River,” Theon rivalled Todd’s wailing on “All the Things She Said” and the Gaerig and McGarvey freestyling over “Make it Rain” for the biggest staff karaoke show-stopper. (And note to certain karaoke-goer readers of this blog: I’m not the only with a fondness for doing LFO’s “Summer Girls”)
  • Dan Weiss. A last second volunteering of my apartment for the use of out-of-towners led to Dan staying at my place for the weekend–consequently, I spent far more time with Dan than any of the other staffers. It quickly became clear that as fellow semi-Philadelphians and products of the post-grunge era, Dan and I were cut from the same cloth, and we spent the weekend sharing memories of Y100, Wawa and failed experiments by 90s rock bands (Bush’s Decostruncted, the computer game that came with the Alice in Chains box set, the KoRn unplugged album). A nice guy and a very undemanding guest.
  • Jeff Weiss. Possibly the most charismatic Stylus writers I’ve met thusfar, Jeff also proved himself as the most inspirational current staffer, with three paying freelance gigs to his name, as well as an agent, a manager, a blog that gets paid for its ad space, and even an ex-girlfriend who dwarfs my WSOPC accomplishments with her half-million win on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? He’s also got a screenplay for what sounds like the most promising comedy of the next decade, as long as no one beats him to the punch and Ashton Kutcher keeps his schedule open. Let’s just hope his unceasing reccing of Heavy Metal Parking Lot–which I ended up buying, despite having never seen it–holds up.

And though I didn’t really spend too much time with them, I also gotta make mention of Evan McGarvey and the Gaerig Brothers, Chris and Andrew, who in the great lunchroom cafeteria setting of Stylus almost certainly collectively make up the cool kids table (which I mean in the most complimentary and semi-jealous way possible). Chris’s response to my protesting that I wasn’t drinking Friday night because I wasn’t feeling well of wordlessly and unblinkingly pointing towards the bar was certainly a weekend highlight (and of course, I had no choice but to comply). Also gotta shout out Learned “L. Michael” Foote, who I talked to for maybe ten seconds, but who was nonetheless courteous enough to friend me on Facebook the next day.

But as usual, the greatest performance of the weekend was from editor Todd Burns. Though the occasionally strained nature of my internet relationship with the man has (by this point) been well documented on this blog, and though a couple times over the weekend our communication was less than stellar (he neglected to call me back for info about Thursday night plans, I gave him the wrong directions to the karaoke place on Saturday), I continue to be in awe of the man. His ability and willingness to coordinate with all these people, not just in terms of plans but in terms of making sure he talks to everyone, making sure everyone’s doing all right, was truly astounding, and his final move of paying for the night’s karaoke–no small fee for three hours at 15 people–was the perfect finishing touch.

So what now? Well, it seemed like just about everyone at Stylus had some sort of post-site exit strategy–other freelance gigs, other things to be concentrating on, all sorts of other possibilities (including a handful of writers who even made the jump to the ‘Fork, which is pretty cool). As for me, it’s kind of hard to say–this is entirely likely the end of me as an internet music writer, but I’d definitely like to get something real world for the time being, and I’m applying for a bunch of internships to that end. And don’t worry, the blog ain’t going nowhere–or rather, it’s going somewhere, but me and the archives are coming with it, and hopefully at some point I’ll even be bringing some new writers along for the ride. The best of IITS, I’m sure, is still yet to come.

And I do hope we meet up again as a site at some point–make it a yearly thing or some such, celebrating the life and times of the site that meant to much to us over the course of its half-decade of existence. If nothing else, I’d hate to have spent all this time socializing (outside the internet, no less!) for nothing.

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6 Responses to “It’s All About Me / Eugoogly, Pt. 3: The Great Stylus Meet-Up ‘07”

  1. […] Chris Abraham – Because the Medium is the Message wrote an interesting post today on Itâ??s All About Me / Eugoogly, Pt. 3: The Great Stylus Meet-Up…Here’s a quick excerpt…the real draw of the weekend for me was getting to meet a good deal of our … Yet I felt my fist curl up not a single time talking to Mike, who […]

  2. Youuuuuuuu jerk – Theon wasn’t flying solo on “Take Me to the River,” man.

    Great to see you again, though – sadly, you and Alfred were two of the few in that massive crowd of people I didn’t really get the chance to chat with, which I guess makes sense since we hung out for all of last time’s outing. The Great Stylus Send-off was awesome, and I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again next year.

    I wasn’t there when Chris pointed you to the bar – that’s more than a little awesome.

  3. brownies said

    what about Nick Sylvester?

  4. Dan Weiss said

    I was thinking the exact same things almost verbatim, Andrew (especially about Orme). Just replace “Dan Weiss” with yourself and “guest” with host. If I ever make it out of here, we’re gonna have to make a thing of Red Hot Szechuan + Guitar Hero.

  5. Jeff said

    Thanks for all the kind words, Dr. It was a pleasure meeting you as well. And might I say that you certainly deserved the superlative of writer whose thorough and complete grasp of pop culture knowledge I most envy.

  6. Jeff said

    So how was Heavy Metal Parking Lot?

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