Over the Weekend: June 20-22, 2008

A few sad stories surfaced this weekend, the most shocking of which was news that local thrash metal bandleader Chris Johnson was stabbed to death at a party in Bloomington, Indiana, where Johnson's band Useless Wooden Toys were performing Friday night. According to the AP report, Johnson was "fatally stabbed early Saturday, allegedly by a man he tried to stop from groping a woman." The suspect fled the scene but has since been taken into custody by police.

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Fans and friends have begun leaving messages of support on the band's MySpace page, and local band Off With Their Heads has announced that they will be raising money to help offset the costs of the funeral for Johnson's spouse.

From Off With Their Heads:

I would like to see everyone in this town (and hopefully beyond) show some support for Chris’ wife Michelle. They recently just celebrated their first anniversary together. Since this system that we live in is so fucked up and stupid, she cant afford to give him the proper funeral that he deserves... Even if you didn’t know Chris or dont know Michelle, take my word on it. These are the good ones.

UPDATE: Donations are being accepted via paypal and should be directed to Michele Riordan-Johnson, Chris Johnson's wife. To make a donation, log on to Paypal.com, click "Send Money," and enter Riodran-Johnson's email address, greenieoriordan@lycos.com.

In other bad news, Quinton Skinner reports that the Theatre de la Jeune Lune will be closing at the end of July due to financial difficulties. The Tony award-winning theater has been a longtime staple of the local theater community, and its presence will surely be missed.

Now, onto happier news. Saturday's Rock the Garden was a smashing success, and Jeff Shaw was on the scene to report on the festival's four acts, including hometown heroes Cloud Cult.

Rock the Garden 2008
Bon Iver, Cloud Cult, The New Pornographers, Andrew Bird
Review by Jeff Shaw
Photos by Daniel Corrigan


Craig Minowa of Cloud Cult. See more of Daniel Corrigan's photos in the Rock the Garden slideshow.

Excerpt: "Vernon's charming stage presence and warm voice were irresistible. Then Cloud Cult, whose name proved to be foreshadowing, also proved that their precise and intimate studio recordings could be brought to life in front of 7,500 listeners. Favorites from the band's earlier effort The Meaning of 8 gained new currency alongside more recent material, and first-time Cult watchers witnessed the group's paint-during-the-performance routine bring visual art to bear next to aural."

Continue reading Jeff's review of Rock the Garden. See also: Jeff Severns Guntzel's brief history of whistling.

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