Ah, the wonders of social networking!
Last Tuesday, February 17, Seven Days online editor Cathy Resmer passed along a link to longtime area radio DJ Mike Luoma’s Twitter feed. After taking a second to figure out what the hell Twitter was, I clicked through to discover that the veteran on-air personality had been canned from his job at 104.7 FM The Point, where he had been a DJ for two years. Bummer. In other news: I now have a Twitter feed. But let’s get back to the, um, point.
Luoma’s local radio roots go back more than two decades. He got his broadcasting start in college radio at St. Mike’s before moving to the “big time” as the assistant program director for Burlington-based classic-rock station 106.7 FM WIZN. He was with “The Wizard” for 18 years as the host of a number of shows, including “Glow in the Dark Radio,” before moving to The Point in 2006.
In a phone conversation later last Tuesday afternoon, Luoma sounded upbeat, though he admitted to still being in a state of shock. He said his release was unexpected, but that it had nothing to do with his personal performance — the station even offered to write letters of recommendation. He hinted the move was likely motivated by economic factors. “They didn’t come out and say that,” he said. “But that’s what’s happening. Advertising money is drying up.” As an aside, does President Barack Obama’s stimulus package have advertising allocations?
Luoma isn’t sure what’s next. “I don’t know if radio is going to be the logical thing to go back to, or if I need to explore new things,” he said. Fortunately, he is hardly a one-trick pony.
In addition to his broadcasting skillz, Luoma is an accomplished writer, having written for several publications, local and otherwise, including this one. He was recently tabbed to write a regular column for comic-book website CosmicBookNews.com. He’s also a science-fiction novelist; audiobooks of his Vatican Assassin trilogy are available for free download on iTunes. A three-in-one hardcover version of the actual books is available through his website, glowinthedarkradio.com. While you’re there, you can download Luoma’s own comic-book series, “Panthea Obscura.” So at least he’s got a few other irons in the fire — although perhaps he should revisit the whole “free download” thing, at least for the immediate future. A man’s gotta eat, right?
In all seriousness, Mike Luoma has been a fixture on Vermont airwaves for a long, long time, and our local FM band is going to seem a lot slimmer without him. Because, in Vermont, radio without Mike Luoma is like weather without Tom Messner . . . it just ain’t right.
Speaking of social networking, new(ish) Montpelier alt-venue The Lamb Abbey is jumping into the fray, Facebook style, with their new(ish) website. After you’ve started following my Twitter feed, you can go to thelambabbey.ning.com to check out their upcoming schedule, look at photos from recent shows, and/or sign up for an account/profile and join their online community, which, as of this writing, boasts a whopping 12 members, including yours truly. So if you’ve tried to become my Facebook friend but I snubbed you since I don’t know who you are, you can try again through Lamb Abbey — or Twitter. But since I still won’t know who you are, I’ll probably still ignore your request. Sorry.
Should you happen to wander over to that little patch of cyberspace, you’ll notice a pretty sweet show on the calendar for this Friday as The Cush and The Vacant Lots bring a slice of the Queen City to the capital. It’s sort of a reprise of last Friday’s Monkey House show, which was thoroughly rockin’.
One of the more overlooked issues related to the current economic crisis is the effect it’s having on our four-legged friends. Animal shelters around the country are experiencing a significant increase in volume as people shed their pets to save money. Unfortunately, that includes the Humane Society of Chittenden County. To help raise money to accommodate the overflow, local musicians Steph Pappas, Tom Banjo and Nato are selling their CDs at area shops for donations. So, basically, you take a CD and pay what you want, keeping in mind that 100 percent of your donation will go to HSCC. In other words, give generously. Pretty neat, eh? The CDs and donation jar will be at various locations over the next month or so, beginning this week at Panadero on North Winooski Avenue in Burlington. Monday, March 1, the display moves to the New Ethic Café before winding up at Pet Food Warehouse on Williston Road on Monday, March 9.
Local folk/bluegrass favorites PossumHaw are embarking on a whirlwind tour this week, before taking a few months to relax, work on a new record and have babies. Expectant mom/lead vocalist Colby Crehan has been rather busy of late with her other band, The Bluegrass Gospel Project, so the upcoming trio of PH dates should be a welcome change of pace. Catch them while you can: Wednesday, February 25, at the Good Times Café in Hinesburg, this Friday at the Bee’s Knees in Morrisville, and Saturday at Radio Bean.
The good folks at “other music” imprint Aether Everywhere have a big show this Saturday at the worst-kept-secret venue in Burlington, the Bakery. Scheduled to appear are The Pawlet Performance Project, Nuda Veritas and The Le Duo. In addition to the mind-bending sonic shenanigans sure to be on display, those in attendance will receive a free split compilation CD of original compositions by all three acts.
I’m happy to report that Nectar’s monthly Comedy Open Mic Night is still going strong. Its next installment checks in this Tuesday with hosts James Huessy and Mike Thomas. I’m less happy to report that, last time around, some dude from one of the bands scheduled to play later that night mercilessly heckled the latter comedian, who is in high school. I’m told said heckler then proceeded to flash the comic...who is in high school. Stay classy, Burlington.
In non-nudity news (I assume), here’s your weekly Monkey House update: Local fans are already familiar with Nose Bleed Island and James Kochalka Superstar, so that portion of Thursday’s lineup, while pretty sweet, isn’t especially revelatory. But Juiceboxxx is. The Milwaukee-based MC was recently — and accurately — described to me thusly: ironic Vanilla Ice. I’m more of an ironic Snow fan myself. But I suppose that will do. The remainder of the weekend is just silly good with Rough Francis, Chris Brokaw (The New Year) and Persian Claws on Friday, and astonishing Sub Pop indie-folk sweetheart Death Vessel on Saturday with local openers Crinkles and Anna Pardenik.
(Note: I know I’ve been pimping the Onion City hot spot a lot lately. Maybe — probably — too much. But remember a couple of months ago when I told you they had a remarkable calendar coming up? This is what I was talking about. If you book it, they will come. And I’ll write about it.)
Finally, this just in from 1999: Belizbeha reunion. Jazz Fest. Woo-hoo! Details to come...