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Tinsel Town 

In which eggnog shooters help us get crafty

Ah, Christmas. Time for things like tinsel and lights, baked ham, and roasting chestnuts on an open fire. And cheap, whimsical drink specials at local bars. It's in that spirit that the "eggnog shooter" was no doubt created.

Last Friday, Charlotte music scene alum Tara Busch returned from Wales to play a show at The Evening Muse with Dynamo Dresden, her down-tempo loungecore band. Also on the bill was her brother, Todd Busch, who was introduced as "Charlotte's own songwriting genius." Now, I'm tempted to agree -- certainly no one else in town writes songs about Baby Face Nelson and men dredged up from glaciers with the same aplomb as Mr. Busch. He writes some sad songs on occasion, however, thus the need for eggnog shooters.

One of his songs concerned a father finding his son's suicide note, reading it (tears smudging the ink on the page), and finally offing himself with the same gun. Miracle is, it worked, sending icy shivers all through the crowd (although this could also have something to do with the back door of the Muse, which was busy shuttling smokers inside and out all night. Either way, time for a shooter!).

Finally, Tara Busch rejoined her brother for a Donny and Marie set, which should have sent other shivers -- shivers of recognition -- to anyone with an eye and ear for talent. Todd Busch's songwriting and musicianship combined with Tara Busch's voice and stage presence suggest a potential that's more along the lines of Jack and Meg White than the Osmonds. Who, incidentally, also drive me to drink.

Public Service Announcement: Let's try this one more damned time. This a not a music column. Per se. It is an "about town" feature. Sometimes it will concern music. (Such as may be viewed above.) Other times, it will not. (Such as may be viewed below.) The American Craft Council held their annual craft spectacular at the Convention Center last weekend, featuring an array of distributors displaying their award-winning work. Known too often as Art's little brother, the "Crafts" heading includes all sorts of neat stuff like metalworking, leathercraft, fiber art, and pottery. Saturday afternoon, it was almost completely filled with women, who evidently like crafts way more than men do (problem is, they usually like art more than we do, too). Single men, you missed your chance. There was the can-do 20-1 female/male ratio, of course, but that's only part of the picture. You can tell a lot about a woman by the crafts she prefers. As such, you can safely look into a would-be relationship's future for potential stumbling blocks. Avoid any woman collecting cat art, for instance. Ditto a rabid doll collector. A fan of quality leather goods? Now you're talking. Remember, crafty beats artsy any day of the week in the labors of love.

What if you threw a political art show and nobody came? This was the quandary I was in Sunday, when I went to check out the "Made in USA" art happening at The 8th Street Warehouse. Subtitled "The American Dream Reinterpreted," the show featured artists like Jacqueline Heer, Wm. Weyler and Little Shiva, each illustrating a different take on the American dream/nightmare. There were images of banal Midwestern aridness, advertising logos, American flags, and Cheerwine. There was a slideshow of the destruction of the Hart-Witzen Gallery, which was razed to make way for a train station. There were bands, including The Hungry Ghosts and Invisible. There was also an Elvis Lounge, which even included a psychedelically designed restroom complete with pills scattered about the floor. It had everything, in fact, except for people coming to see it. When I went, I was the only person there. But there was football on, of course, and the news earlier that day that Saddam Hussein had been located -- looking every bit like my boy Leo Tolstoy -- in an underground bunker. "War's really over now," folks probably reasoned. "No need to go see some agitprop art on such a cold day." Keep that attitude and we'll be having cold days for another four years to come.

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