Weekly Roundup: August 31 – September 5, 2020 (or, “The Revival”)

Well, it’s only been five months since I’d last posted a “weekly” roundup. That’s pretty on brand at this point, right?

In these times of COVID-19, time as a concept seems as nebulous as it does immemorial. Seriously, some days I wake up and still wonder if it’s June. Yet, the clock does still keep ticking in the same 12-rung, twice-a-day cycle that it always has. There have still been some landmark moments here and there that recall that place some semblance of rigidity back into the monthly calendar. A lot of it, in 2020 fashion, hasn’t been good. In an at-home dosage of bad news, my mini-dachshund of 14 years, Twinkie, passed away in June.

Averting the negative, however, I would like to focus this blog more-so on the positive movements that have happened between this report and the last. Beginning with Twinkie, like every loved one who has come to pass before her and for all of those who will after her, she brought a light to my life that I am better for having experienced. It’s not snuffed out, either. Twinkie’s memory keeps her alive and well in my heart. Some days, it feels like she’s still very much tangibly here.

Having come to a point of acceptance with my grief, it’s now a comfort when that feeling comes around. I’d thought that I wouldn’t want another dog like this, but the thought actually brings me joy. To offer our homes and our hearts to these endlessly-loving souls for the time that we do have with them is invaluable. New bonds built don’t devalue old ones; rather, they reinforce each other, just as the memory of our shih tzu, Britney, did to our relationship with Twinkie after the former’s passing. Now, both of them will be with us whenever the day does come when another pup comes through our door.

As Tucson and Pima County have been moving to reopen various facilities, I’ve found some old duties beginning to bubble back up to the surface. PR for Monterey Court, a outdoor music venue that I’ve called a second home for several years now, has kicked back up. I’m incredibly glad that this beacon of our local scene has managed to survive this rough-and-tumble era for small businesses and be able to reopen — at half-capacity, and with secure mask and distancing procedures in place, of course.

I’m now also an official member of the board at the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association, who puts on the Tucson Folk Festival! I’ve not the slightest clue just yet how our fest may look (or not look) in 2021, but I’m excited to play a critical role in assisting the organization’s further development, even throughout these weird and uncertain times. I’m heading up their PR Team, which looks something like assisting with website and newsletter development, but also some more on-the-ground stuff once it’s sensible.

Lister Potter III and I have successfully skated through an entire year of our podcast, Super Cast Bros.! It’s been a greatly rewarding first 27 episodes for a multitude of reasons; from just knowing that we are capable of recording and producing something like this, to the fun that it brings in forcing open slots of time every couple of weeks to talk with one of my best friends about a hobby and a franchise that I’m still very much passionate about even though I don’t have the time for it that I did when I was a kid. Given, we do treat this like a job, and so we’re bringing some QOL updates to our second season. It debuts on September 12 and will feature a jingle (by Kellyjelly) and a video format when viewed on YouTube!

So, there’s been much ado about some semblance of things adjacent to this website’s orbit over the past several months. (Of course, I’m still at it over at PopMatters and For Folk’s Sake, as well.) What about directly within the website’s orbit, however? When are we going to get consistent ‘Weekly’ Roundups? When will the site be more than just a hub for Super Cast Bros.?

That moment is now. Beginning this month, exclusive music features will begin to be produced for jfrahm.com. My ultimate goal is for the music portion of this website to chronicle the stories of artists who are fully invested in their craft, who bring a variety of angles to a piece simply through their being.

More than an investigator or a reporter, I want to develop conversational works that flow naturally between interviewer and interviewee; to get it to a point where the chemistry is palpable enough to the reader that they’re inherently invested in finishing their read, word-by-word. My favorite pieces are always the ones where I feel like I’m entering the conversation as a well-versed fan; that’s why my recent PopMatters piece with Noah Guthrie felt so good and natural. Over here, the Jamie Alimorad and Mackenzie Shivers pieces were good starts, and now I want more of that.

This is especially so with Tucson artists. We have such a great scene that’s just waiting to burst into further notoriety, and I want to do what I can to coax it onto that next plane. I’m not keeping it Tucson-exclusive, though; Jamie lives in California, and Mackenzie from New York. Anyone (and anything!) is possible with the pieces produced for this website, and that autonomy is the most exciting thing about it for me. It’ll be fun. Thanks for taking part in the ride.

Lister will also be playing a larger part in the development of this website, as he has graciously offered to produce video game reviews for us. Entitled Zantok Plays, this feature series will turn its head from around the corner whenever Lister completes a game in his arsenal that he feels an innate desire to speak on. There won’t be a set schedule with it, then, but that will allow Lister to pursue his passions in full when developing his writing, and that is what this space is about more than anything. More than SEO or any traditional measure of a “successful” web space, the voices who inhabit this site are genuine souls who want to share their unvarnished hearts with their audience. There’ll be more info here, later, but I’m excited, and thankful, that Lister will be helping the expansion of jfrahm.com in yet another meaningful way (on top of the Super Cast Bros. stuff)!

Since Lister is now “on staff” with jfrahm.com to write Zantok Plays pieces, he’ll also be contributing to the Weekly Roundup! I will ask him a question for each week’s piece, where his answers will be featured. It actually begins with today’s piece — hop on to the bottom if you’ve got curious emoji eyes.

There’s one more individual who’ll be hopping “on staff” soon to help with the musical side of things in a big way, but there’ll be more on that later.

So, mark this as a revival — hence, the name of the blog! I have some precautions set in place to help me actually keep this thing going. I may not always have as much to say in these Roundups, for starters. I’m not holding myself to a standard that says that I always should, either. Rather, most of these pieces may only end up being a couple of paragraphs long before getting into a list of what’s been posted out-and-about with Lister and I’s bylines.

Speaking of, here’s that weekly list! Not much this week, but what’s here is golden. I especially would like to highlight Brennen Leigh’s excellent “Billy & Beau”. Covering Emi Meyer’s “Space” was special, too, since I’ve been a listener of the artist since 2010’s Passport.

PopMatters

Super Cast Bros.

Also check out Lister’s collaborative gaming channel, Select Start Gaming, on YouTube. They update quite frequently!

Lister’s Q&A of the Week!

Jonathan: You’ve recently seen New Mutants. How was it?

Lister: “Pretty good! I was concerned because this move has been in development hell for years between reshoots, reedits, and Fox selling their properties to Disney, but it turned out better than I was expecting! There were obviously some things changed from the comics, but I was glad to see that for the most part the actual New Mutants were mostly accurate to their comic origins. Magik was badass as we would expect and Anya Taylor-Joy did a great job with her.”

“While I am glad that Disney has the X-Men rights now so we can get Mutants properly in the MCU, I do have to admit that I’m disappointed I’ll never see the full trilogy that this movie was supposed to kick off. While it’s likely whenever we get these characters in the MCU they’ll all be recast, I would not be disappointed if Anya Taylor-Joy stayed in the role of Magik. Sunspot didn’t really get much love in the film which is unfortunate, but the rest all felt great to me. The Demon Bear and the Smiley Men had some real HOLY SHIT moments with them and while it probably wasn’t meant too there were a couple of the “horror” moments that actually made me laugh. All in all I enjoyed it and I’m glad it was finally able to release in theaters.”

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