Friday, August 25, 2006

Thax All Folks!

Time Out Chicago has an interesting short interview this week with our beloved local rock show poet laureate Thax Douglas, who will soon be officially leaving the Windy City for greener pastures in New York. Asked about the lack of support he felt he's received here Thax sez, "Yeah, that's basically why I'm moving. They're tolerant, but not supportive. Bands are - and most venues - but Chicago is under the stronghold of this "indie-stry" - type crowd." An "indie-stry" - type crowd? Good one, Thax! However, I wonder if he's referring to the crowds at the shows or just the local scene in general? Reading this interview kind of got me Thax actually good at what he does or was he really just a nuisance all this time? I've seen him a million times, but probably only actually listened to his poems a handful of times. He's been such a ubiquitous figure at shows I think I just started just to tune him out after a while. It's like, "oh comes Thax again," and then I would either drift off or turn away and go back to talking with my friends. If anything, the local scene being "tolerant but not supportive" was probably just due to overexposure. However, I'd be curious to hear from actual poetry aficionados out there if they think we're truly losing an underappreciated local treasure or whether we should start warning venues in New York immediately. Thax's Chicago farewell tour started last night at the Sub-T and continues through September 4th. Check out for the complete itinerary.


Blogger E said...

I dig Thax. I'd certainly rather see him introduce a show than Tim Tuten. Sometimes I hung on his words, sometimes I tuned him out, and sometimes my reaction was "Whaaa?".

I'm just not sure that moving to NY is the right idea if he wants to get away from the indie kids, and the bloggers with flash cameras.

8/25/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Robyn Detterline said...

Well, he's better than a lot of amateurs who claim to be poets, but he's no modern day Sandburg or anything. He has his moments, but his poems usually just sound like a bunch of random images strung together with abstract glue. He often sounds like kids in a college poetry workshop trying to sound smart and avant-garde.

I just don't think what he writes is a good way to introduce shows. He kinda puts everyone to sleep. What Chicago needs is a resident slam poet who opens shows and gets people fired up.

I do agree that he's better than Tim Tuten, however.

8/25/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Kirstie said...

I really like Tim Tuten! He knows his music and he's passionate about it! I would much rather have him mc then someone like the Intontation mc's who just seemed to make a bunch of off color jokes.

Anyways, I think it's always difficult to critically judge art forms like poetry. I think Thax is good at expressing emotion when he writes and it's an experience he describes though it is sometimes difficult to see the connection to the music. However, I do understand the validity of wanting to have a warm music community and I think it's something that has to be slowly built up again in many ways.

What I do not understand for the life of me is the lack of support Thax feels he has. What more did he want? My understanding was that he got to see shows for free and profess his love on stage for many bands for free. His book was sold in some small scall book shops but still available. I have to seriously question whether Thax will receive more support in NYC than he did here considering he has built up an understanding here with the local clubs and such. Maybe he has connections there as well but I fear he'll go to The Knitting Factory and explain he's just going to get in free in exchange for reading a poem and they are going to laugh a him.

If he thinks Chicago is full of hipsters, he obviously hasn't been to NYC in a long long time. I think they've renamed Brooklyn the hipster capital of the world. I was just visiting there in April.

8/25/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Seitz said...

I'm not much of a poetry afficianado, but Thax's poems generally had one trait that elevated them to relative greatness. They were short. Very short. And really, that's all I ask for.

Kind of sad to see him go. I'll miss the novelty. And having chatted with him once or twice, he seemed like a good guy.

8/25/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Robyn Detterline said...

I agree that I don't know why he feels he wasn't supported. To me it's a further example of his megalomania. He thinks his poems are so great that he deserves to be treated like a rock star. He's throwing a temper tantrum. While I do agree he has more talent then some rock stars, an old dude reading mediocre verse in a soft, monotone voice is not going to get people excited about poetry.

There are plenty of amazing poets in the city that deserve more recognition and special treatment than Thax received.

8/25/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill V said...

I really like Tim. Thax is ok, must admit he's now a little boring. Tim has great energy, as long as he keeps his rants under 2 minutes I can deal with it. So Chicago, we are ready to the next great introducer. What'ya got?

And Thax, I don't think New York is a good choice for what you are looking for. They won't be any nicer to you there.

8/25/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Kirstie said...

I hate to be posting multiple comments and everything and possibly not giving others enough of a chance first but I was thinking more about this tonight and all of a sudden I felt my blood pressure rise dramatically and I realized I was getting very upset about this whole thing because I started seeing it in a much different light. See...I think Thax does get support-as I mentioned earlier some bookstores do sell his poetry and my understanding is that he gets into places for free. But, I do think that there is a music community in Chicago and that it really says something that someone like Thax can get up on a stage in any number of clubs and read poetry that is possibly a bit inaccessible and metaphorical to a level where people have a hard time understanding where he's going with it sometimes...and in all of the years I've lived here and in the hundreds-possibly thousands of times I've seen him read I've never once seen or heard anyone boo. In fact, often people stop talking on their cell phones, listen, and cheer or at the very least clap politely.

So why am I upset? Well, I guess what makes me feel like all this victimization is just dead wrong is that I feel all of a sudden he's projecting a view of the Chicago music scene as unsupportive of the arts, of community, etc. and frankly I don't believe that to be true. I don't think he'll find NYC open to him and I think for that matter most metropolitan areas would not accept him as openly. I mean, picture Thax trying to read in LA? This should be a good home for him. I mean, the fact that there are show dedications to him. And yet, Thax will go and project this image of a cold unfeeling metropolis that frankly Chicago does not deserve. I don't know whether to be insulted or just downright hurt.

8/26/2006 02:33:00 AM  
Anonymous benschomatic said...

Tim Tuten rocks. His enthusiasm is unmatched. Thax was tolerable. Does anyone in NYC know Thax is on his way? It's almost the ultimate Second City prank to not give anyone there a fair warning. I don't even know how you would begin to explain Thax to anyone. Maybe that's part of his charm.

I think DJBV could be the next great MC for this town. God knows he likes to get into shows for free.

8/27/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Shame we couldn't trade Thax to St. Louis for a Beatle Bob to be named later.

8/28/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger FiveTone said...

Apparently the last straw for Thax was not being allowed into the "performers" tent at Pitchfork. I just wonder how the hell will he be able to afford digs in NYC?

8/28/2006 11:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to ask "Beloved by who?" but apparently people actually like this jerk. And to the person who mentioned Beatle Bob, oh lord! I hope they both drop totally off the radar. Instanter.

8/29/2006 12:47:00 PM  

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