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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Dave Lepori

Peak Experience: Pike plays April 1 at the Agenda Lounge.

Learning to Crawl:
New music magazine heats up the street

THE NEW monthly Crawl purports to cover the local arts and music scene; local gadfly Robert Butler controls the content. At its best, Crawl offers some decent poetry, lots of pictures and heavy doses of music writing; it also humanizes some misunderstood subjects. At its worst, Crawl looks like the work of a bunch of star-chasers who can't spell. (The diss on me in the "Soc" column was pure drive-by. I'm an easy target, but even my detractors should spell my name right.)

One editorial, however, may raise some hackles. It's titled "Ebonics," credited to "The Giggler." The piece--which isn't labeled as humor or parody--is a real button-pusher. Activists and liberals will probably call for the Giggler's head on a stake. I showed the anti-Ebonics article to someone who knows a little about catching heat: Andre Barefield, publisher of the black-owned Booty Crack. The newspaper documents the "Bay Area underground hip-hop experience" and prints some rather salacious content about folks and issues. Barefield, who is African American, has endured heat for speaking his mind on a variety of topics--Polly Klaas and the Gremminger case--and for his satirical "Klansman Bob" column.

Barefield admitted he had problems with Giggler's statements regarding self-designation, but added, "This guy has got balls. And he's very informed. He's on the right side of this [Ebonics] thing. It's definitely not a parody or satirical. He's coming straight forward. He's definitely being racist, but he's being truthful." Alternately, Butler told me that the Ebonics article--and anything written by the Giggler, who is neither white nor African American--should be taken as parody. "It's the ignorant talking about the ignorant," Butler explained. "We don't want to be so politically correct, because there are so many other magazines that are so far out there."

Barefield felt the publisher should have backed up his writer and not call the column a fake. "He should have taken a stand," said Barefield, who plans to run a similar take on the Ebonics article in an upcoming issue of Booty Crack. "[Giggler] can invoke feeling and get your interest, but he did a Klansman Bob. The only problem is, I can get away with it! When I speak racistly as Klansman Bob, I'm speaking for this angry community. I'm speaking for them and with them. He's just doing them in! [Crawl] might get shot up!"

"It's not like we're trying to create anarchy amongst the masses," Butler said. "We're trying to give people an opportunity to express themselves and give people who don't normally have a voice an outlet."

Balls to the Wall

Loudness played the Edge in Palo Alto last week, and there was a rumor circulating that the Japanese heavy metal band had flown in 200 of its diehard fans. The fans must have had visa problems, because when I arrived, disgruntled American heavy-metal types outnumbered nihonjin at least 10-1. Guitarist Akira Takasaki brings to mind a wicked cross between Eddie Van Halen and Carlos Alomar. The single, "Crazy Rock & Roll Nights," was welcomed like an old friend, but when the band crossed into balladry or new song territory ("Evil Ecstasy"), the audience hit the bar or the exits. Boy, some people just can't handle progress, can they?

Let's Knife!

Pike celebrates its CD release at San Jose's Agenda Lounge on Tuesday (April 1), along with Five for Fighting. ... Another Japanese band, Shonen Knife, plays Palookaville on April 12.

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From the March 27-April 2, 1997 issue of Metro

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