Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: “Stewart Lupton and Hoots of Recognition” Edition

Good morning! We launched a new Web site today, which perhaps you didn't notice since you read my roundups in RSS, thus denying me valuable impressions. (Actually, I have no idea if that's how it works. Someone enlighten me!)

The South by Southwest postmortem! Certainly its own form, not quite a cottage industry. I have been reading a lot of these! The AV Club Austin has a heartbreaking one that you shouldn't skip, as it concerns D.C.'s Stewart Lupton, the Childballads and former Jonathan Fire*Eater singer whose early career burned bright but hit stumble after stumble since. At Brightest Young Things' all-day showcase at South by Southwest, Lupton performed as the beatin's, his recent cowboy-ditty project with artist Carole Greenwood. Take it away, AV Club's Sean O'Neal:

Here was the sum total of Lupton’s SXSW set: a wracked, overlong, three-minutes-plus explanation for why Lupton’s partner in The Beatin’s, Carol Greenwood (sic), couldn’t make the show, which was greeted by massive waves of indifference from the audience. An even longer, even more awkward acknowledgment of Alex Chilton’s death, followed by Lupton reading the lyrics to an entire Big Star song off of his cell phone. An achingly slow cover of Dean Martin’s “My Rifle, My Pony, And Me,” where Lupton’s face contorted and strained theatrically over every syllable, utterly draining the song of any meaning beyond being a pretentious performance piece. A long, uncomfortable, five-minute-plus story about the last time he was here with Jonathan Fire*Eater (no hoots of recognition, save a quiet one from me) 10 years ago, and how even though they weren’t even talking to each other at the time, he couldn’t have imagined better compatriots to share that experience with, followed by Lupton proclaiming that today he couldn’t imagine a better 10-year anniversary capper to that gig than the show he was playing right then.

It goes on for a while in that vein. Incredibly, Lupton responded in the comments and apologized:

That review was pretty dead on. Actually, it was incredibly accurate. You were right, point for point . it was not fun. it was not "in the zone." i talked too much and felt zero inner reverence or sense of presence. i shoulda stayed home and finished my own damn record. but i conceded to take part in something that my heart was just not in. I went South because i didn't follow my True North. My gut. Thanks for reminding me of that. Sorry i let you down. Somethin in me wanted to break somethin...if I would'a listened to that voice , you might've caught a hot 15 minutes. Instead, i caved. to expectations. not yours. and not mine. but they there .

And:

The stress and confusion clouded the airwaves to a point of inscrutability. and i was not under any influence whatsoever but the extreme pressure to represent this side project i produced over the summer (The Beatin's- A Little Give And Take, i think you would actually really like it. ) that had not even managed to rehearse once. So there i was, under/overwhelmed, furious at myself for not listening to my gut and for suffering fools. Sometimes i want to tear it all down. I just wanna thank you airing it all out. Time to get back to work. I can hear my gut now. I wouldn't throw in the towel yet, and i'm a betting man. Stick around, things are just startin to get interesting again right about now.

Respectfully,

Stewart Lupton

The stress and confusion clouded the airwaves to a point of inscrutability. and i was not under any influence whatsoever but the extreme pressure to represent this side project i produced over the summer (The Beatin's- A Little Give And Take, i think you would actually really like it. ) that had not even managed to rehearse once. So there i was, under/overwhelmed, furious at myself for not listening to my gut and for suffering fools. Sometimes i want to tear it all down. I just wanna thank you airing it all out. Time to get back to work. I can hear my gut now. I wouldn't throw in the towel yet, and i'm a betting man. Stick around, things are just startin to get interesting again right about now.
Respectfully,
Stewart Lupton

O'Neill responded to Lupton's comment: "Don't worry, Stewart. I don't think I'll ever give up on you. It's good to hear you won't give up on you either."

IN OTHER NEWS:

Arlington Cinema 'N' Draft House has a solid double feature tonight of films with questionable racial attitudes: Invictus, in which rugby heals the wounds of apartheid, and The Blind Side, which the Village Voice accused of peddling "the most insidious kind of racism, one in which whiteys are virtuous saviors, coming to the rescue of African-Americans who become superfluous in narratives that are supposed to be about them."

This song has been my jam for the last week or so.

The Last Supper made you fat.

Cornel West Theory has a new video:

That's all!

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  • Haterade

    It would be a lot easier to buy Stewart's explanation of that performance if O'Neill's description didn't pretty much apply to all three or four Stewart Lupton/Childballads sets I've seen over the past year and a half.

  • Joe

    Greenwood didn't perform. She was bumped from a flight, and never made it to sxsw.
    So the elusive beatin's have yet to play a set. The criticism was landed at Lupton who filled the beatin's slot as a solo act, which is a stretch for any performer used to performing with a full band. At least credit Lupton for his boy scout bravado and "show must go on" performance. No other dc performers were reviewed, and from the tone of O'Neal piece, it is clear they dodged a bullet.

  • Leopold

    Anyone interested in what Stewart's band is really up to in DC these days, check this one out: http://readysetdc.com/2010/01/08/child-ballads-velvet-lounge/

    All the 'woe is DC' folk need to shake off their blues and open their eyes.

  • Alex

    For my money, Stewart L. has put on some of the finest, most focused rock & roll performances that I've had the privilege to witness over the years. So if SXSW was an off night, so be it. There are other nights, and other shows. But using a brief performance as a basis to form lifestyle judgments about the performer seems questionable, at best.

  • http://www.myspace/thebeatingsband cw greenwood

    Stewart Lupton is a captivating and skilled performer.
    Always.
    And, a musician and poet perpetually forging alliances with other artists as his recent collaborations with like-minded musicians including Laughing Man, Lightfoot, Andrew Bucket and Sam Cintha attest to.
    For the beatin's EP an intentional inclusion of musicians from all points on the aesthetic map included Cynthia Connolly (Dischord, dcspace), Asa Canty (son of film-maker/musician Brendan) and Paul Thornley (USRoyalty).
    Those who have attended recent performances of the childballads, as Alex writes above, invariably find them compelling. Listeners can reliably predict more of the same from Stewart, as art is constantly being made in his world.
    i consider myself fortunate to be a collaborator.

    more items of interest-

    http://www.allournoise.com/2010/01/aon-sessions-childballads/

    http://stage.brightestyoungthings.com/music/byt-sessions-stewart-lupton/

    http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=46707570&blogID=282842305

    cw greenwood
    the beatin's

  • cwgreenwood

    x

  • http://www.myspace.com/thebeatingsband cwgreenwood

    Stewart lupton is a captivating and skilled performer.
    Always .

    And, as a musician and poet, he is in perpetual motion, forging alliances with other artists as his live collaborations with like-minded folk including Laughing Man, Tennis System, Lightfoot, Andrew Bucket, Sam Cintha, Judah Bauer and Jamie Hince attest to.

    For the beatin's EP, an intentional inclusion of musicians from all points on the geographical & aesthetic map included Cynthia Connolly (Dischord and dcspace), Asa Canty (son of Brendan Canty, film-maker and musician) and Paul Thornley (USRoyalty).
    Those who have attended recent performance of his band, the Childballads, as alex writes above, invariably find him compelling. Future listeners can reliably predict more of the same from Stewart, as art is constantly being made in his world.

    I consider myself fortunate to be one of his many collaborators.

    more here:

    http://www.allournoise.com/2010/01/aon-sessions-childballads/

    http://stage.brightestyoungthings.com/music/byt-sessions-stewart-lupton/

    http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=46707570&blogID=282842305

    c.w. greenwood
    the beatin's

  • lamb

    fuck the haters, sir lupton is the man!

  • friend of a friend

    Hey Stewart-

    I just wanted to say thanks for the honest rejoinder to what was, admittedly, a mostly uncharitable review of your SX gig. I hope it was obvious that I didn't go to your show with an agenda; I really do have nothing but respect for the work you've put out over the years, and I truly believe you're a talented guy. (And fuck, I'm not kidding when I say Jonathan Fire*Eater is one of my all-time favorite bands. Whatever your current feelings on the group, it's meant so much to me for a decade and more--and your lyrics and vocal delivery, especially, have been both a huge influence on and endlessly renewable source of pleasure for me.) I'm still planning on checking out the Beatin's, as well as anything else you feel like doing, from here on unto eternity. Like I said in the comments, I don't plan on giving up on you, and I'm happy to hear that it sounds like you won't give up on you either. Maybe the next time I see you live it'll be as transcendent as I know it can be. Or at least a little more fun for both of us.

    best,
    sean.

    Sean O'Neal
    Austin City Editor • The A.V. Club
    815-A Brazos St. #350
    Austin, Texas 78701
    cell 512-413-8002 | f 512-708-1414
    austin.avclub.com
    twitter.com/AVClubAustin

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