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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boston: Mooninites Came, Conquered

As both a Boston resident and a longtime fan of Cartoon Network's Aqua Teen Hunger Force, how could I not comment on the multi-faceted mess that gripped our uptight little metropolis yesterday? I watched with both amusement and bemusement as the whole situation unfolded on the major news networks and ever-refreshing rss feeds in front of me. During a rare day at home, I was practically glued to the tube once I realized the "packages" that drove our city officials and talking heads into a tizzy were lit-up likenesses of the bitter little Mooninites known as "Err" and "Ignignokt". On a day when the real ATF took on the fictional ATHF, it's hard to say who came out on top. But our city's already-buttoned-up image sure took a hit.

Every single time WCVB-TV's Natalie Jacobson said the word "Mooninites", or incorrectly referred to CN's late-night block of animated shows as "Aqua Team" instead of "Adult Swim", I got a tiny thrill inside (she honestly said "... looks like a little Pac Man kinda deal."), but a few details started bugging me as the reports and news conferences piled up...

  • This entire debacle is being constantly referred to, both yesterday by officials and still this morning by the press, as a "hoax". Which is defined as: "something intended to deceive or defraud". Anyone who's been paying attention, whether or not they're a fan of ATHF or aware of modern viral-marketing methods, can see that deception was not the intent of either the marketing company behind this or the guys they got to put the signs up.

  • The objects in question, which have been accurately referred to as battery-powered signs or lite-brite-based graffiti, were not "packages", as officials and media-types keep calling them. Objects, maybe, but they were not wrapped or covered in an attempt to enclose the contents. They were flat 1-2 foot perforated boards with batteries attached, and a quick investigation could have determined what they were. Semantics are important here, especially given that...

  • During the first late-afternoon news conference, our obviously annoyed Mayor Menino kept calling the things "bombs", three times in fact, before correcting himself. From his mouth...
    "Earlier this morning I received a call from Commisioner Davis of a suspicious bomb at Sullivan Square in Cambridge..."

    and then...

    "We have been working together investigating all calls we've received about suspicious bombs in Boston and in Somerville."

    And while haphazardly calling these things "bombs", and amping up the fear, he made sure to say that...

    "This is no time for anyone to panic, we believe we have the situation in hand...".

    Until finally, it dawned on him...

    "The inidividuals who have placed these bombs, uhh, packages I should say, should be warned that there's a heavy penalty: it's imprisonment, two to five years for each one of them. This is about keeping a city on edge, it's about public safety, and when it comes to public safety, we're throwing everything at it."
    No time to panic, huh? His lack of self-awareness during this fairly important public moment could only have heightened the situation for casual viewers.

  • I've been seeing these things around town, and online, for a couple weeks. If this is, in fact, what terrorist devices may resemble, then our town is well and truly in trouble.

    Two distinct sides have formed in the unavoidable Boston Aqua-gate '07 blame game: Those who are pointing and laughing at our public officials (and the media machine they fuel) for what they consider an embarrassing overreaction VS. those who want Turner Broadcasting, Interference Inc. (the marketing company they hired), and both Peter Berdvosky & Sean Stevens (the two young guys who did the legwork) to pay dearly for a stunt that not only inconvenienced hundreds, but rung up a half-million dollar price-tag. And so far, the sides seem to be divided neatly between generations, or at least between those who keep a finger on modern media/technology vs. those who live in a paranoid pop-culture-free bubble.

    It's not hard to guess where I'm leaning, but I do think a very small amount of fault lies on the unfortunate placement of our Mooninite masters. While many of the signs were placed on businesses or random buildings, it was the ones under bridges and interstate overpasses that got this whole mess started. The one on Central Kitchen? Cool. Under this bridge? Minor mistake. On New England Comics in Allston? Nice. Over the Massachusetts Turnpike? Yikes.

    But one late fact has thrown the whole thing into a new light, and if anything it makes Peter and Sean the victims of some extremely unfortunate timing. It appears there were two unrelated fake pipe bombs found in Boston yesterday. That's what the originally-reported 1pm phone calls to the police were about, as opposed to the early morning report from an MBTA worker who spotted one of the lite-brite Mooninites near the Sullivan Square T station.

    So an actual hoax and a harmless display of urban marketing art got rolled together into one big unwieldy mess, and two guerrilla artists (and their hair) are caught in the misdirected crosshairs of some angry authoritarians.

    Here are a whole lot of relevant links I've collected over the past slightly surreal 24 hours...
  • Adult Swim's full apology, which appeared as pre-cartoon "bumps" when their block of programming aired last night, is now the front page of their website.

  • Peter Berdvosky's personal website (, which hosted video of the marketing "mission" as he called it) is now down, either on purpose or due to total bandwidth overload. You can still check out video of the installation on YouTube. There were also lots of pictures from their cross-town art project, and all were dated no later than a week ago, of course.

  • It was just as amusing hearing Channel 5's Jorge Quiroga say "Mooninites" as it was seeing some networks spend time digitally removing their middle fingers.

  • Todd Vanderlin's flickr images, where the early evidence of the Mooninites appearance can be found. Images dates? January 15th. He also let the world know that it was Interference Inc. (whose page disappeared yesterday afternoon) handling the ATHF marketing duties.

  • And via Todd's images, even the excellent Make Magazine was pulled into the early news bites.

  • Yes, of course you can already buy t-shirts.

  • Naturally the Adult Swim messageboards have gone into a frenzy.

  • Was nice to see my neighborhood comic shop, Allston's New England Comics (and their 50% off sale), get some free publicity out of the deal, what with one of the Mooninites resting peacefully next to their storefront sign until it was confiscated...

    Store employee Gwen (who also happens to be the daughter of comics/novel writer Peter David) and manager Ben even got a little tv face time...

  • Lots and lots of area coverage and commentary can be found in an infinite number of places, including Universal Hub, Bostonist, the Phoenix's OTD, and Livejournal's B0st0n community.

  • "Bow your heads or I'll bow em for ya!" - Err

  • featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
    live in cambridge, ma
    on november 14th, 2008
    previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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