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Sub Pop, Beck, Pemberton Festival, Pete Wentz, Boy George
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Last month I wrote a travel piece on Virgin America and mentioned how I support as many Seattle-based companies as I can, one of them being Sub Pop Records. The record label that gave Nirvana, The Shins and Flight of the Conchords their career launches is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2008. Located in the Belltown district, Sub Pop has become a staple for indie music listeners and rapidly assumed the role of critics' darling from national press-media. Even more astounding is the label's worldwide reach, particularly within the Asian and European youth markets. A week-long roster of events commemorating the label's momentous anniversary begins July 10 with a private party atop the Space Needle's observation deck. I'm on the guest list and eagerly look forward to it because Sub Pop has been awesome to work with in the six-plus years I've written for Seattle Gay News - I'll never forget getting ripped with then-PR director Jed Maheu at Neumos just before The Shins went onstage for a special gig in 2004 (Maheu went on to work for Hustler magazine). Scheduled events continue on July 11 with a comedy show featuring David Cross (Arrested Development), Todd Barry, Eugene Mirman and Patton Oswalt. On July 12, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth and The Gutter Twins play at The Showbox. Finally, back-to-back concerts at Marymoor Park on July 12 and 13 include Flight of the Conchords, Iron & Wine, Mudhoney, Fleet Foxes, Wolf Parade, and Low. Obvious absentees from the 20th anniversary festivities are The Shins and former label artist Rosie Thomas. What's up with that? Anyway, you can support Sub Pop Records by attending the July 11-13 events or purchasing music by any of their artists at your favorite record store.

Beck's new album comes out July 8, but you can ear-sample it in its entirety a day before. Nectar Lounge (412 North 36th Street) is hosting a Modern Guilt listening party during happy hour (5-7 p.m.) on July 7 with an opportunity, aside from being among the first to hear the new disc, to win a pair of tickets for Beck's upcoming appearance at Bumbershoot. Three tracks from Modern Guilt are currently streaming at iLike and MySpace, "Chemtrails," "Orphans," and "Gamma Ray." The album is also available for pre-order at www.amazon.com, or if you purchase it at iTunes you'll receive an instant download of "Chemtrails," a video of "Gamma Ray" and access to preferred seating at select Beck concerts via Ticketmaster. In addition, Beck created a website for his latest CD simply called www.ModernGuilt.com. For any diehard Beck fan (and I'm in this league), a brand-new album by this innovative artist is cause for celebration. So swing by Nectar Lounge on Monday, July 7 and celebrate the unveiling of Modern Guilt with me and other Beck faithful. Don't forget to buy your Bumbershoot single day-ticket to see him perform live.

If I appear giddy these days it's because I'm three weeks away from seeing Coldplay, Wolfmother, Death Cab for Cutie, Nine Inch Nails and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Pemberton Festival. The inaugural music event is slated for July 25-27 at Pemberton, BC, about 20 minutes from Whistler. The three-day lineup also includes Interpol, Jay-Z, The Secret Machines, Metric, Brazilian Girls, The Crystal Method, Matisyahu and N.E.R.D. Of the above-mentioned artists, four of them have interviewed with Seattle Gay News in the past three years. I found out a week ago that I was officially approved for media credentials, and it was like having an early birthday gift because I've been all over this festival since the day it was announced. If you want to attend the Pemberton Festival and don't drive, no worries - take Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) to Vancouver BC and connect onto the Whistler Mountaineer (www.whistlermountaineer.com). At Whistler, shuttle service to-from the festival will be available. Contact me at the SGN office if you need any additional information. More on Pemberton in the weeks ahead.

Pete Wentz, lead singer of Fall Out Boy and now married to Ashlee whatshername, has cleaned out more of his closet admitting to a national Gay publication (which I never read) that he made out with several men as a teenager. This expands on his earlier statements of making out occasionally with other guys, earning him the new title of Bi-curious slut. The daddy of Ashlee whatshername's baby-bump, Wentz says the last time he locked lips with a dude was at the age of 22 - seven years ago, if you believe what he says. Fall Out Boy's latest effort, Infinity on High, did mediocre business in comparison to their mega successful debut From Under the Cork Tree. Hence, Wentz's free time to speak with the press. But kudos to Wentz for experimenting; at least he gave man-to-man action a decent shot - yes, I'm talking to you, Panic at the Disco!

Here's your Gay drama for the week: Boy George was forced to cancel his entire US tour after his visa request was rejected. The visa flap stems from an incident last year in which a male escort alleges Boy George (real name Ge0rge O'Dowd) chained him to a wall at the pop singer's personal residence. Um, yuck. Between Boy George and George Michael, I'm not sure who's had the worse luck with their hands in the cookie jar. Should either decide to add more excitement to their nights on the town, I suggest a phone call to Amy Winehouse, who punched a fan during a recent live performance at the Glastonbury Festival. What a bee-otch! Gotta love those English divas!

Did I ever mention that I met George Michael's boyfriend in Dallas last year? I forgot about it right away. Yawn.

Lastly, I hung out backstage with The Blakes following their remarkable set at Neumos last week. The Seattle-based trio gave me prime scoop on an upcoming career development, though I'm not at liberty to ink the news just yet. I will say, however, that they're destined for greener pastures.

This week I'm at the Beck listening party, We Are Scientists concert and Sub Pop's soiree at the Space Needle. And, pinning magazine photos of Shia LeBeouf on my bedroom wall.
 

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