Broken Windows, Broken Dreams

Originally posted at BlackBook Mag on November 1, 2011:

image Broken Windows, Broken Dreams

I am on the road in a decidedly non-Kerouac adventure. It’s way more karaoke than Kerouac, as Virginia and its mall culture has engulfed me. As a stranger in a strange land, I am doing as the Virginians do, which included brunch at Eggspectations, the local hot spot. A couple weeks ago, I was walking the puppy in the hood in the wee hours of the morning. Amanda and I were talking about the virtues of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I had just commented that it feels great that we could take this walk without fear of gangsters or hooligans. The words had just left my mouth when we met Matt and Eric.

Their car had been broken into, GPS and laptop stolen, and they were quite upset. We talked, and I said things like “This is usually such a safe neighborhood.” They are the band Gangi, and do this thing centered around the Office of Analogue and Digital, an LA suburban base. They had just done a CMJ gig and were all hyped and positive when crime reared its ugly head. Musically. they are compared “to Destroyer, Bob Trimble, Animal Collective, lo-fi RZA/Havoc hip-hop, and Neil Young on a more experimental beat.” I didn’t understand much of what they were saying about it, but Amanda knew their language. I’d catch something familiar from time to time, and say something insightful like “Oh yeah!”

All in all, they were great guys met under rough circumstances. We waited for the cops to arrive and vowed to keep in touch. I felt bad about their NY experience ending this way. So I was determined to at least give them some ink to ease the violation. Crime violates. Sure it takes something—a GPS, a laptop, a bag in the club—but those things can often be replaced. The thing it does that hurts the most is it makes us untrustworthy. I look a little bit more over my shoulder at 3am these days, and I am sure Matt and Eric have spread the news of the violation. We all suffer more than can be quantified. Thousands of tourists and bands and artists visit us and support our economy and culture. For Gangi, this visit was a big thing, part of their dream. Some asshole tried to make it a nightmare and this cannot happen.