mix tape

A Shady Deal in a Barren Olympia Parking Lot

Loyalties Divided Between Digital
and Vinyl
Made by Courtney Bennett
Reported by Kat Siddle

This month’s Mix Tape came to Discorder courtesy of Ladyfest Olympia’s “Mix Tape Exchange” on July 31, 2005. My handwritten and photocopied festival
program placed this event “at the Artesian Well behind Manium.” I had walked past Manium the day before, and as far as I could figure out, it was a car garage and heavy-metal concert space. I wasn’t really sure what the Artesian Well was either but I was excited about having a one-of-a-kind mix made by a stranger—after all, our tastes had to overlap, since we were both at Ladyfest—as well as a unique memento of the weekend in Olympia.

I arrived at Manium Sunday morning, looking for the Artesian Well, picturing white marble and stone cherubs balancing amphorae in their chubby arms.
Instead, I found a few greasylooking guys leaning on cars out front; I skirted them as I circled round the side of the building. In the empty parking lot, I saw
a group of four girls standing around looking bored, but no well, Artesian or otherwise. Then, one of them moved and I saw it: a pipe sticking out of the concrete, bent 90 degrees at the tip and gushing water into a drain at its base. It was the only thing in sight that I moved forward, waving my mix tape.

I traded tapes with Courtney Bennett, a girl with pink cowboy boots and a red motor scooter. We talked for a while about the bands on our tapes and the shows we had seen that weekend. Men in pickups kept stopping to fill plastic jugs with water from the well. Holding Courtney’s tape in my hand, it occurred to me that I really should have put more Vancouver bands on my tape. Some Tegan and Sara or Young and Sexy, maybe. Two teenage boys headed for the well looked us up and down. “Hey ladies,” they said, “how’s it going?” We all kind of just looked away, not irritated enough to bother replying, but a little conflicted about being called “lady” by boys who didn’t seem to be really “getting” Ladyfest, if they knew it was going on at all. We ignored them, and when they’d finished filling their water bottles, they left.

While my expectations of the tape-trading event proved somewhat misguided, and many of my questions were left unanswered (why didn’t they hold the swap in one of Olympia’s many awesome cafes?), Courtney’s tape is an excellent keepsake to come away with. It’s a girl-pop sugar rush, filled to the brim with tracks from classic Kill Rock Stars and K Records acts.

I broke my MP3 player shortly after returning from Olympia, but fortunately had Loyalties are Divided between Digital & Vinyl (named after a line from a
Lucksmith song). It has become my constant companion.