I think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.
By Joshua Miller: Author Page
What I’m Thankful For:
89.3 The Current
Today is the last day of my annual winter sojourn back to my frosty motherland, Minneapolis, Minnesota. My skin has lived permanently in Los Angeles for almost ten years now, but every winter I feel a salmon-like pull to return to my spawning grounds. I need to reboot in the cold. LA is just too warm for me. Yeah, I know that sound absurd. But like with beer, you can only leave me in the sun for so long before you need to jam my Scandinavian ass back in the ice for a while. Otherwise I’ll taste like shit.
Aside from beating LA in the freezing cold category (a race I’m sure 99.99% of Los Angelenos are happy to lose), Minneapolis can’t claim to best the City of Angels in too many other areas; LA’s sheer size and cultural importance give it an unfair advantage. But there are some big wins for my lil’ Twin Cities. For one thing, they have a football team (the Minnesota Vikings, for the sport illiterate out there). Better microbreweries. Better German food. A stronger theater community. And the Twin Cities’ surrounding suburbs generally clutter up yearly “Best Cities To Live In” lists (Eden Prairie, MN was #1 a bunch of 2010 lists).
None of that has ever surprised me though. I mean, we have more Germans. Only makes sense we’ll have better German food and beer. What has always shocked me about Los Angeles though, is that despite being an epicenter for arts and entertainment…
It has fucking shitty radio stations.
I mean shitty. It is a goddamn joke. I’m rapidly closing in on my first decade as a Los Angeleno and in that time there has been one good radio station: Indie 103.1. It went on the air in 2003, and was great for a little while before retooling and $-pandering hobbled it. Now it exists only on-line. I don’t find it strange that an interesting radio station failed. What is so fucking bizarre is that it was the only interesting radio station. And now there are none. LA should have countless quality radio stations. I feel like conventional radio doesn’t even exist for younger people in LA. We’ve all been sent elsewhere. Everyone I know in LA either listens to their iPod in their car, or XM radio.
I want regular radio though.
My musical tastes are similar to my film tastes. I can appreciate almost anything, but I also skew more closely to less mainstream artists than I do to the big pop acts. Yet, unlike with film, I’m fairly incompetent at rooting new things out for myself. It is very easy for me to go an extremely long period of time without learning of a popular new band – even one I would love. Pandora is great, but while I’m at home I’m generally working, and I’m the kind of writer who prefers silence (the tone of a song tends to influence the tone of what I’m writing, which isn’t always good). My car is the ideal place for me to be listening to music. And us Los Angelenos spend a lot of time in our cars. LA is like the ‘Old West.’ Your car is your horse.
LA’s radio is all computerized bullshit that plays the same 50 songs endlessly. Oh good, the Red Hot Chili Peppers again! I hope they play another song by The Doors after it. And all the prominent DJs are baby boomer relics on the classic rock stations. I don’t listen to rap or hip hop, so there might be some amazing stations catering to those genres. I don’t know. But quite often I just ride in silence (or embarrassingly singing to myself), unable to stomach “Black Magic Woman” one more time.
So one of my favorite things about coming back to the Twin Cities in recent years is 89.3 The Current. My favorite radio station. Actually, The Current just won Mpls St. Paul Magazine‘s “Best of the Twin Cities” reader poll, beating out both the Twin’s new stadium and the “Local Beer Movement.” Beating out the beer movement is an amazing feat for a radio station, as anyone who has sampled the Surly Brewing Co.’s selection can attest to.
Much like Portland, Oregon, the Twin Cities is still kind of stuck in the 90’s. Musically at least. So The Current has a decidedly indie hipster bent (just check out their listener voted best of 2010 playlist) But they play an extremely diverse array of music within the wide spectrum of “hipster” tastes. In a drive downtown I might hear Atmosphere, Billie Holiday, Florence and the Machine, A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West, Otis Redding, The Beatles, and maybe even Soul Asylum’s cover of The Beatles’ “Good Morning.” And the station has a fun collection of on-air personalities, like the British transplant Mark Wheat.
I always leave Minnesota having discovered some great new songs and artists, and for that, I am thankful for 89.3 The Current.