One of our more memorable posts last year was the above picture of Kirk Cameron, seen celebrating his 41st birthday with a crappy cake, two chicks and 42 inches of Subway – though of course the chicks were fully clothed and one of them wasn’t even allowed in the room. THAT’S WHAT YOU GET, BELINDA! FOR THE LAST TIME, THE DIXIE CHICKS ARE SECULAR! Though Cameron’s friends would later try to claim the party was actually super fun and everyone came, Belinda’s face had already told us everything we needed to know. Kirk Cameron’s birthday party was sad, lame, and terrible.
Well today we’ve got a new challenger to the crappy birthday crown, in the form of Minor Threat and Fugazi front man Ian McKaye. WTOP in DC has the account of McKaye’s 50th birthday surprise party in DC, attended by and featuring performances from people from the 70s and 80s hardcore scene. “But that doesn’t sound so bad!” I bet you’re thinking. Well, remember that Ian McKaye is also a vegan teetotaler. In addition to a punk icon turning 50.
The party was thrown Saturday night by Amy Farina – MacKaye’s wife and bandmate in The Evens, and Jeff Nelson – MacKaye’s former bandmate in Minor Threat and co-owner of Dischord. “It was a heavily guarded secret,” reports one invitee.
Surprise party. That’s worth at least one suck point. “Oh, sorry, honey, I didn’t have any of your cool friends’ phone numbers so I just invited a bunch of people from my work.”
The emailed invite requested guests not bring presents for MacKaye, who throughout his career has insisted on low prices for his bands’ concerts and records.
No presents. Let’s call that two more suck points.
At the Saint Stephen & Incarnation Church in Columbia Heights, MacKaye’s sister Amanda checked guests in, with a red rubber stamp that said Ian.
I’m not sure how to categorize the party being at a church and having your name on the hand stamps, but let’s call that two more suck points.
Vegetarian snacks were served, with soft drinks. MacKaye famously doesn’t drink, and has been a vegan for years – all part of the life philosophy he explained in the Minor Threat song “Straight Edge.”
Cake is usually vegetarian, but calling them “vegetarian snacks” is a sure-fire way to make it sound like they sucked. “Vegetarian snacks” + no booze or drugs = 50 suck points. I’m sure straight edge is great if you’re a recovering addict or an orphan or you were molested as a child, just a good way to keep you from killing anyone, but for everyone else it pretty much sucks.
“They’d prepared 50 cakes for Ian – each the size of a 7-inch record,” says the insider. 7-inch records were the format of MacKaye’s bands’ first releases.
Hmm, a little cutesy, but let’s say it’s a wash.
Guests included fellow musicians and members of the 70s and 80s punk scene, many who hadn’t seen each other in more than 20 years.
A DJ played music for guests until MacKaye’s arrival. Bands performing included MacKaye’s brother Alec and Minor Threat guitarist and bassist Brian Baker and Brendan Canty, who played with MacKaye in Fugazi.
“Ian was circulating. He was putting his arm around people, thanking them for coming,” says one guest.
“It was like all the D.C. punks paying tribute to the Don Corleone of the D.C. scene,” says another attendee.
“Amazing feast, music, and conversation,” enthused attendee and musician John Stabb wrote on his Facebook page. [WTOP]
Okay, so there was no booze or animal products and it was a cutesy lame surprise party, but at least there was live music and people came. Meanwhile, Kirk Cameron didn’t have booze or guests or music, just zesty Subway sandwiches on freshly-baked bread. To be sure, that’s a strong factor in his favor. But I still think I’m going to have to give the edge to McKaye. In any case, the parties did have one thing in common: Belinda wasn’t invited to either.