Beyond the Fold: March 8

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Some might remember Sarah Asher, the most charming ukulele player in Columbus, from the cover of our Comfest issue last June. As we wrote in that week's music preview, "Asher's delightfully quirky sound is uniquely Columbus-made—and that's what Comfest is all about."

This week I got to follow up with a longer story previewing her performance at the Screamer House, a South Campus pad that hosts punk and indie shows. We don't normally cover house parties, but the residents have been showcasing some solid stuff lately.

Sometimes the Locals Only column is an awkward space: It's longer than a traditional CD review, but too short to profile properly someone as interesting as Sarah Asher. I tried my best to mimic how pleasant, hilarious and quirky she was in the Alive photo studio.

We talked about her record, Balloon on a String, which is excellent and available at Magnolia Thunderpussy, Used Kids and Lost Weekend. Its five amazing songs waver between sunny and stormy - her simple chord sequences buttressing deep lyrics about love and loss.

In the story, I mentioned that Asher handed out her EP to fans at Comfest. Many might ask: Why are we writing about her now? Answer: Balloon on a String got a formal, pressed release at the end of January on local label Tract Records.

For more on this delightful person, check out the podcast I did with her last week. She talked about her songs and played a new track called "The RIcker." It's awesome.


Pulse: Auto Show preview

It probably shows through a bit in some of my auto coverage (our layout genius Michaela hides it well), but I'll come right out and say it: I am not comfortable writing about cars and doing so makes me very nervous.

Nearly everything about the industry - model years, brand strategies, engines and gadgets - confuses me. To meet deadlines and create copy, I work three times as hard on car stories as I do on any other. As far as cars are concerned: I like them. I like owning one that doesn't break down. I hope I can drive mine for many years without maintenance.

These troubles are complicated when doing preview coverage for a mid-market expo like the Columbus International Auto Show at the Convention Center March 9-18. [Homepage]

Unlike bigger U.S. shows, Columbus offers no media preview. Normally, reporters and photographers are invited to a show several days in advance to check out the new rides and talk with the people that put them together. To cover the Columbus show is to write about it blind.

It doesn't help that auto companies are never quite sure which models they're sending; the list I got changed twice since it was faxed to me on Friday. Besides the three models from Daimler-Chrysler, it's still unclear which concept vehicles will be shown.

Admission is only $8, though, so it's a good way to kill a Sunday afternoon before the MLB season officially starts.