As a teen I was an obsessive journal-keeper, so when I began this project I was hoping that people would send in journal entries about 242 Main. Jess Wisloski made my day by generously sharing from her own journals and transcribing the piece below from one entry. Now working as the editor for the Williston Observer, Jess says that 242 was a transformational space for her. – Martha
Name: Jess Wisloski
Hometown: Essex Junction, VT
Currently lives in: Essex Junction, VT
Started going to 242 Main: 1995
First 242 show: Burlingtonitus, I think in April 1995. Yum Yum Tree and Huffy played.
Most memorable 242 show: Avail, which this story is about, though seeing Death at the closing show was epic as hell.
Jess writes, “This was written about a show featuring a then-favorite band of mine, Avail, at 242. I was 17 at the time and had been living in an apartment with some friends that summer, after a bad fight with my parents earlier in the year. My freedom then knew no bounds. It was insanely crowded, and mid-summer sweltering hot (if you dig up the right show poster, you’ll see when it was, but I think it was July). It also references a kid I was crushing on at the time; his last name, by introduction, was his band’s name. Now he’s some street artist who’s now got a gallery in Brooklyn hanging street art…whatever that means. I became a journalist.”
And the Mass…
Sweat was pouring down my back, beads of it surfaced on my forehead and trickled hastily onto the ledge of my cheeks.
The salty drips found their way to my lips, at the taste of which I would take as a signal to swipe my face with my tee shirt, doing away with the thick sweat. And to no avail, for it would only find its way there again. The loud fast rhythm of the music pounded and pulsed through the stage, found its way to the floor and through my feet entered and consumed my body as a whole.
Head bobbing, feet pushing away the ground, arms flailing to push away the mass, pull in the music, I nearly wept for the thrill and pure sanctity of the moment. The skinny blonde boyish man who stood next to me kept grabbing my shoulder, laddering me for an anticipated stage dive. His thin body mounted the stage, like a climber whose destination had finally been reached, and his body would surrender to the sounds and fall haplessly, into the awaiting arms of the mass. I found myself pushed and pulled through the crowd. I was surrounded by strangers, enemies, then friends, although even my friends grouping had strangers intermingled with it.
Among these “friends of a friend” was a child-boy, flushed completely and relying on surrounding people for support. Obviously intoxicated, this creature grasped onto my shirt, and his flailing arm came to rest on my shoulder. Only catching a glance, I looked at him and took in his physical attributes. Pleased with the sweat-drenched mop of curly auburn hair and clear, yet unfocused blue eyes, I smiled broader than before and continued to roll and swagger with the mass. And with him. Contentedly I knew him, as if I could see him in my past and my future both at the same time, to create a catastrophic presence, that he held in me then.
And the mass moves around me.
Below are more of Jess’s journal pages as well as some flyers from 242 events.