about mark flanigan

Cincinnati native Mark Flanigan has been writing and performing for over 14 years....Works from his collections Wrong-Way Poems For One-Way Streets, Not Necessarily God Stories and Next to Nothing have appeared in a variety of independent publications and, along with his performances, have garnered critical acclaim. He has also co-written a screenplay (“Midway,” with Brian Keizer), edited a literary publication (omnibscure) and worked to develop, produce and curate various gallery shows and performance readings -- notably, VOLK/c.s.p.i. and Intermedia Series readings at the Contemporary Arts Center and the Weston art gallery. Flanigan’s monthly column, “Exiled on Main Street,” appeared for over three years, first in x-ray, and upon his resignation there, at semantikon.com. Performances of his can be found on “the Volk/c.s.p.i. spoken word series CD (2001),” which he co-produced, and on the CD “One Night Only" (2002).   To learn more about his work, read his blog, review some of the works mentioned above, and listen to additional audio tracks:

Visit markflanigan.com

flanigan audio
mark flanigan exiled from archives

October 2007: The Dance

June 2007: Cake
May 2007: Special Edition "Light Travel" Mark Flanigan and Steve Proctor
April 2007: Zero Hour
March 2007: Prelude to a Kiss-Off
Jan 2007: State Of The Disunion Address 
Nov 2006: Youngblood
Oct 2006: How I Spent My Summer Vacation
exiled on main street archives

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Staggering Statistics/Violent Femmes
Friday, March 10 2006
LC Pavilion
Columbus, OH

>>> View Show Photos


      I don’t necessarily trust Austin Brown.
      To wit: The first time I ever met him, he stopped a mutual friend of ours and I on the street. Turns out, now that the bar was closed, the whole lot of us were headed to the same party. Which wasn’t a surprise, really, since the apartment was just around the block.
      What was surprising, however, was that Austin offered to drive us. Even more so, the fact that he was parked three blocks in the opposite direction of the party. Once we found it, my friend and I discovered that the van was chock-full of two-by-fours and four-by-eights stacked precariously throughout it. I called ‘shotgun’ and my friend squatted on a bucket while wood pressed up against the back of his head. My money was on certain decapitation.
      We drove the four blocks back and into the lot adjacent to the party. This was at a time when people came downtown, so there happened to be an attendant collecting money for parking. He wanted five bucks. Austin explained, “It’s okay, my friend lives here.” The guy wasn’t impressed. “Five bucks,” he repeated. To which Austin then replied, “Fuck that,” and turning around like he could actually see out the back of his van, he shoved it into reverse and then navigated thus towards the exit, literally giving it gas as he backed straight into a telephone pool.
      And not much later, at the party, I would watch as in the foreground my friend sewed back on his ear as in the background Austin Brown bowled in someone’s living room....
      So, I don’t necessarily trust Austin Brown.
      But there he is all the same, on the Jumbotron even, in front of three thousand people, pulling it off.... For openers, he and his partners in crime are ripping into the last track of their recently released E.P. with a vengeance. And what I notice first is the obvious: they sound good. Which isn’t all that surprising either, they can do similarly inside a closet. No, what’s interesting is how vital they sound. Brown’s vocals—“So much to say, so much to say”—are done such that one isn’t sure if he will shred his last remaining vocal chord; this anchored wonderfully by a confident drummer, Joe Klug, pulling double-duty as backing singer—“In your way, In your way”—while bassist John Curley showcases his singular and inspired playing with a youthful vigor. On stage, relatively new addition guitarist/keyboardist Sam Wommelsdorf appears only to be trying not to get in the way while my ears tell me a different story: it’s my first time seeing the band as a four-piece, and as they reach the opening song’s coda, I realize the sound is fuller and more immediate with his welcome addition.
      The crowd doesn’t know what to make of them exactly. A crowd that large rarely does, I imagine. However, one has the overall sense that they are intrigued. “Who are they?” some guy nearby asks me. I tell him, “Staggering Statistics.” “The who?” the man asks, confused. I repeat the name and he looks away still uncertain; I tap him on the shoulder and say, “The bass player use to be in the Afghan Whigs.” Said news causing the man to nod respectfully, whisper as much to his neighbors at every point of the compass, and listen anew as the band embraces the second song.
      A few minutes later, the guy turns to me and says, “Well, the bass player looks like George Lucas, but I like them anyway.” Nor is he alone, it seems.
     “Winner Take All (listen to exclusive MP3),” a single from their forthcoming "All of this and more..." album is followed by “Wet Book Of Matches” and a rollicking, ferocious “LCD (listen to exclusive MP3),” the latter a biting indictment of someone whose name I am not at liberty to disclose. Anyway, you probably wouldn’t recognize it. As the song goes, “it is amazing you can even remember your own name/everyone’s got a different version/can you remember which one you gave to which person?”
       The next three songs are unfamiliar to me. For Staggering Statistics are, if anything, prolific. Together less than four years and they already have released two albums, another is on the way, and a fourth is in the can. Pointing out that their show didn’t include one song from their first album as well as the fact that almost half of their set was unreleased, Joe Klug later explained simply, “What can I say? We keep moving.”
      Indeed, they do. I catch swatches of lyrics, but mostly just take in the manic vibe of the band: Austin’s sometimes laconic vocal delivery juxtaposed against an often frantic sonic attack, a band caught somewhere in-between too cool to care and carelessly not cool. And listening to their closing song, “New Vocation,” I’m reminded of why I hope they don’t feel the need to find one too soon. At one point in it, Brown somehow breathlessly, unapologetically crams fourteen words—most of them with three syllables—into a space where there should be at most five. Which is why I like the band: everything is left of center, a bit off beat. The best of their songs surprise you. Take you the opposite direction. Get quiet when you expect them to explode. Keep you on your toes. Bowl in your living room while your ears bleed, if need be.. In short, this band is one train that will pick you up without asking for a destination, knowing you should be satisfied with where you’ll land.
      “This moment belongs to me/oh yeah, come on and try to take it,” the vocalist screeched repeatedly before the band coalesced for an extended outro. I, for one, have no desire to.

Staggering Statistics March 10th 2006 LC Pavilion Columbus Ohio Photos by: Semantikon Staff
 
Austin Brown
Staggering Statistics Links
Band Photo
Sam Wommelsdorf
John Curley
John Curley + Joe Klug