Owen!

At home with Mike Kinsella

Unless you're major-league relief pitcher Antonio Alfonseca, Owen's Mike Kinsella has recorded with more bands than you have digits on your right hand. Though he fronted the critically acclaimed, blink-and-you'll-miss-'em American Football, Mike's most recognized musical connection to date is as a member of his brother Tim's Joan of Arc. But Kinsella the Younger (no relation to baseball fiction writer W.P.) is now on a solo journey. His latest soft-voiced offering, At Home With Owen, features the stellar "Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi," a reference to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, a novel the sometimes drummer, sometimes folk singer admits he never quite finished. Outtakes spoke to Kinsella the night before he left his new bride and his new Chicago condo for a five-week tour, which ends this Saturday in Fort Lauderdale.

Outtakes: You've recorded with, by my count, six bands and toured with even more. And you are the sum total of a band called Owen even though your name is Mike Kinsella. Is there a long history of schizophrenia in your family?

Mike Kinsella: [laughs] No, maybe just boredom. There's probably a long history of boredom, I guess.

"It's Mike, actually."
"It's Mike, actually."
Avenue D has all the answers.
Ben Mistak
Avenue D has all the answers.

You wrote a song that name-checks Pietro Crespi, but you never finished One Hundred Years of Solitude. Name a book that you've read at least twice.

At least twice? Do magazines count?

Yes and no.

It's got to be something from high school. Oh, you know what? Probably The Catcher in the Rye is a safe one. I'm not lying that way.

Here's a hypothetical: Your new condo catches on fire. Your wife and any pets that you might own all escape, but you can choose only one inanimate object to save. What do you grab?

It's either an Xbox 360 or... I've got a stuffed dog that I've had since I was born. I might save the dog.

Does the dog have a name?

Dog.

So there's not one particular guitar with a serious emotional attachment.

I've got one electric guitar and one acoustic guitar, and I really like both of them.

But it's not a love thing.

No, I just know I can get another one, and it's not like I couldn't replace either of them. Like, I can actually think of how I would replace either of them if I had the money.

You could get another Xbox though. You can't replace Dog.

Yeah, I guess it's got to be Dog. — Rob Trucks

Owen performs Saturday, December 9, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Also on the bill are Copeland, the Appleseed Cast, and Acute. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $12. Call 954-727-0950, or visit www.jointherevolution.net.

My Country Disses Thee

When Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple and her directing partner, Cecilia Peck, first approached the Dixie Chicks about making a documentary on the band, lead singer Natalie Maines had not yet uttered the words that would transform the Chicks into country music outcasts and free speech activists. They had even turned down the offer of the documentary that would become Shut Up & Sing. Then Maines said from a London stage, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas" ten days before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The American press got hold of the news, and Maines, along with Emily Robison and Martie Maguire — the best-selling female group in history — quickly became the target of a conservative smear campaign usually reserved for sitting presidents.

"We were really disappointed," Kopple says of the initial offer's rejection. "But then a few days later, they made the comment and we were like, 'We have to do this. '"

The Chicks were concerned with how they'd be represented in a documentary. But, Kopple insists, once they were given the go-ahead, "[We were] free to tell whatever story we wanted," without interference.

Shut Up & Sing depicts Maines' stubborn, justified righteousness driving the controversy's management. They demonstrated an almost startling savvy when it came to manipulating their public image with media coverage like an Entertainment Weekly cover of them naked and covered in words like Dixie Sluts and Traitor.

"I think they are women who are extremely hands-on," Kopple explains. "Not only about their music but their business and business strategy too. They want to be included in everything."

But it has to be asked: Should Shut Up & Sing be considered part of that business strategy? "No. I don't think they thought the documentary would show in theaters," Kopple insists. "I think they thought maybe it would be like home movies. They had no idea, no idea."

In fact, the Chicks didn't see a final cut until the end of July. Cunning strategy or not, a recent mainstream media ban on advertising the film has only played further into their hands. On October 26, NBC refused to air Shut Up & Sing ads because they disparaged President Bush.

"I think that it's pretty revealing since the film is about censorship and free speech," Kopple says. "It shows us how delicate and how troubled we are as a country and how we have to speak up." — Cole Haddon

Advice From the Ave.

The sleaze-tastic ladies of New York City's Avenue D have been helping folks get lucky for years. Their songs, educational in nature, lecture on everything from the festering evils of being "2D2F" ("too drunk to fuck") and the benefits of overt sexuality in "Do I Look Like a Slut?" The scatological tag team revisited its old South Florida stomping grounds last week to remind us of an important lesson: that it's necessary to damage your goods while you're still young enough to enjoy it. The duo also found time to answer questions from a few eager Outtakes readers.

Dear D's,

It's the holidays, and I'm low on funds. But I still need to stuff my boyfriend's stocking — what's a girl to do?

— Hard-Up in Hollywood

Dear Hard-Up,

There are plenty of things you can do to stuff his stocking. Chances are, he's pretty into your ass. So you could always wrap that up nice and pretty, write him a song, cook him something tasty, or just do something he's always wanted to but that you haven't gotten around to doing yet. Use your assets, Hard-Up, and he'll be hard too.

The D's

Dear D's,

So I like this dude, but I'm shy! What's something subtle that I could do to get the message across?

— Blushing in Broward

Dear Blushing,

Do not be subtle. Guys are a bit thick when it comes to chicks. Just play him your favorite Avenue D song and wear your favorite "do me" outfit, and we think he'll get the picture. If that doesn't work, falling into his lap is a classic.

The D's

Dear D's,

I'm having my fiancé's parents over for dinner, and I want them to know that I'm "wife material." What should I cook for dinner, and what kind of music should I play?

— Place setting-picking in Pompano

Dear Picking,

You should know how to cook two things really well. I was recently married and wooed my husband with two dishes: pasta putanesca and peccadillo with rice, beans, and platanos. I suggest pasta putanesca because it is easy to make and tastes like it's not. Just don't tell them that putanesca is what the prostitutes in Italy used to cook way back in the day because it was cheap and easy and you'll be fine! As for music, a little Avenue D always impresses the parents.

The D's. — Jamie Laughlin

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