Today was so full of surprises. Here is one I can tell you about: I am djing New Years Eve at The Empty Bottle, opening for Spankrock and Juan McClean. Tickets at $20 and can be purchased on the Empty Bottle site .
Help keep Al Burian in a job: order the new issue online from Quimbys .
Robin and I were originally slated to go as Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, but she showed up and pouted: "I look way more Denny Diaz," she said. Nothing we did could ramp us up to the monied skeez bag/coke party on a sailboat 1977 look, even though we listened to Can't Buy A Thrill while mascaring our faces and greasing our hair with greasy foot lotion.Nothing worked. So, we just went as "skeezy dudes" -- which morphed into "Shooter Jennings and Rick Danko" once we put on our sunglasses. We doused ourselves in Old Spice for drag-realness, JR was gagging in the car and said that he was reminded of the De Lillo story about the toxic cloud that follows people, killing them.
This girl's friends recognized me as her ex-boyfriend. I helped her have a healing moment--she told me she was too good for me, I agreed, and apologized for being an asshole who could not rise to the occasion of her love. She then asked me how I did the chesthair so real. "Eyeliner."
We went to another show, which was also a party. Make Believe was playing, Tim was screaming and the entire freshman class of School of The Art Institute was sweating Wild Irish Rose out their ridiculous costumes.
JR went as "Scooter Libby" by wearing a Rumsfeld mask with a Sox cap. Kiki was a vampire type.
Mz Mexico drinking Lite from a bottle.
El-P showed up, dressed as himself.
The guy on the left was one of about 10 people dressed as pimps/members of The Time. The guy on the right was wearing nothing but a golden cross earring and a pair of pantyhose.
Kinsella went as Captain Lou. His chest hair went as an inferno.
Something is totally up with these Boston kids. I think they are in high school or just graduated from. They are in some weirdo gang dedicated to "fun" and hobby music. The gtr part on The Futz' "Santa is Dead" is the best thing to happen on my computer all week. The Futz are friends with Ed In The Refridgerators , which is a twee band that dresses in full pope regalia (solos+conical hats!)-- and shares a member with a band you might know about Harry and The Potters who are all HP all the time and has something to do with National Awesome Society , which may or may not be name of their cadre. Possibly the most earnest quipping ever/possible manifesto for the whole thing: Jason Anderson's pre song monologue about the commerce and emptiness of going to shows (" I want to make this the best Thursday night of the whole month!"). Only second to Tony Gong's "Boyfriend Material".
From Eveny, via Pygmail dot Blankie dot gov: "I used to think that if you put America in a Bunsen burner and cooked it down to its most fundamental essence, that you would have Las Vegas. But now I think that really, you just get The Cheesecake Factory. The faux-fanciness, with all the insane "Italian" "frescos" + the strange faux-familiarity between the customers and the waiters + the planet-sized portions + the creepy classical music + the awesome clientele wearing their dress-up outfits (girls: fluttery skirts, strappy-strap heels, skin cancer; boys: shirts tucked in) and clutching their vibotron-table-alert beepers for hours upon hours as they eagerly await a table -- it's like an underground railroad beamed them in from some Los Angeles prom and dropped them off right there at the Factory gate + the name itself, which sounds like a euphemism for something bad that happens in your pants or womb + the fact that there are twenty-five different cheesecakes, which is beyond all sanity + a full bar = one soaring American eagle of a restaurant."
In other news: You can, as of, 5:30 CST, purchase Hit it or Quit it at Quimby's and Reckless in Chicago. Reckless lifted their HIOQI ban! Also, also, at the Hold Steady merchtable at the show, as well.
In reference to this post from last week about allegations regarding American Apparel , I got an email AA honcho himself, Dov Charney, who was interested in setting quite a few things straight with me. A partial transcript of our 90 minute convo and some notes from Dov are forthcoming in the next few days.
Taking it from the top, freejazz recounting:
We rode bikes to the Puma store, where the party was. Miles has no reflectors on the bike I bought him, so I rode back as protection from cabs, shine on crazy diamond style. We got to the Puma store, I snarfed some treties from the table. Not full treats since it was all cute mini foods, halloween packs of M&Ms. I walked up to Miles and said "gimme me stuff" and he handed me a big tin foil lump from his bag. The dudes with the dreads he was speaking with said "whats that?!" and I put it in their hands. "Exactly what it looks like." I said. "A baked potato straight from the oven?!" he said. "Yep. It's a present. That's why I am here." To deliver a sweet potato to my friend who is having a hard week. What else can you do? What says "thinking of you, kid"? The potato became an item of fun and got stuffed down Ben AND Kathryn's pants, some sim-boner funny funtimes, while the Aluminum Group brothers did a halloween revue that I think maybe only me and 4 other people actually watched, they were french girls, barfing with black eyes, hopping fey in home made "puma" outfits-- c'est incredible, fils. Everyone else was lampin, lampin, stone cold lampin in the free bacardi mixed drinks line and everyone else just ogled the shoes. "These ones. These ones are awesome." said "everyone". (Browsing is totes the new partying.) Ryan Schrieber, Pitchfork's ombudsman came over and gossipped with Kathryn, he has a beard that crawls down his neck a bit and was wearing a fleece coat and a flannel, real Canadian camping/Narnakc Recording Artist style, and kathryn says "You look like Tom Cruise." and before I can say "whuuut?!" she clarifies to him. "As Ron Kovic. In Born on The Fourth of July." -- which might be the best way to insult anyone's moustache ever. Some rep handed Frank a Bacardi gift bag, which he passed off to me: keychains, tiny bottles of liquor and a Bacardi t shirt that looked like Fat Joe's 'round the house jammies. It came all the way to my kneecaps. I know this because I tried it on. As I did so, a woman, perhaps a Bacardi rep, or a stringer for Chicago Social, spun me around and a man with a camera-huge and flashing--took my picture. She opened her mouth wide and showed me her back molars "SMY-ULLLLLL" she says and froze her face, like she was in the picture too.
"you just did that thing. That thing you do to babies when you photograph them."
"Oh, totally! And animals too!" (she laughs)
I imagined her talking to animals, trying to get them to pose.
I turned the shirt into a headwrap, inspired, thinking of how i read today that Neneh Cherry has a new album coming, and suddenly the lady had her arms around me, "SMY-ULLLL" she winnied into my neck as she pulled me into the cameras range, her face frozen in "wild/tonsils" pose, me turned towards Miles and Damon going "WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?". She released me and turned me around-- "One more!" she said. I straightened my turban and threw a gang sign towards the lens.
Then RJD2 played, and it was real mediocre. Dude makes the staid Steve Aoki/Franki Chan gamut look like deep cuts. "Tainted Love" into "Big Pimpin"...kids bracketed by the shoe aisle throwing ass and the folks that new hollered with authority "DIPSET! DIPSET! DIPSET!". I kept thinking that this is the sort of stuff they must play at proms now. (I imagined RJD2 really making a magic night at the Crystal Room in the basement of a Hyatt somewhere in BFE, throwing Cure songs inbetween Snoop Dogg, boys in tuxes, hands in the air miming heat they have never held--lick shots for the JV cheerleader plied with Captain Morgans/ lick shots for the bonfire party in the woods/ lick shots for nightmoves in the back seat of the hand-me-down Camry.) This "show", it was absent teal cumberbunds, which, really, was a sad sad thing.
Anyone wanna help unload 750 lbs of fanzines tomorrow afternoon? 35 boxes, 21 lbs a piece. I will pay you.
Guess what? This year, I am one of the folks on the selection commitee for Ye Olde EMP Conference and K-12 Nu-Jack Barbershop Choral Emsemble. Three EMPs ago, I came home crying because I felt so stupid during the presentations, having to ask K and Sasha what certain words meant, feeling woefully uneducated in the blinding light of critellegensia, grasping desperately at ideas like motes. It was kind of rough, though we danced and stayed up late and made friends many times over. But then, last year, I went back, I bonked out a personal paper on teen poser styles I had known, and the conf. was an equal balance of academics and crits, papers ran the gamut from science to office casual to "idea that changed my life (while tripping and listening to Sun City Girls)". The paper that Elijah Wald gave about Narcocorrido is in my mind everytime I walk down Chicago avenue and the tubas are oom-oom-oompah-ing out the bins of detailed trucks. Ned Sublette's vivid words for New Orleans are still my first thought of the city, despite the many newer images of it imprinted on my memory. Here is the call for proposals. Do not be scared--you can grasp the concepts of these exciting topics!
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
“Ain’t That a Shame”: Loving Music in the Shadow of Doubt
The 2006 Experience Music Project Pop Conference
Seattle, WA, April 27-30, 2006
What forces are at work when we like something we “shouldn't”? What role does shame, either shame succumbed to or shame resisted, play in the pleasure we as fans and interpreters take from the music we love? Is loving music passionately (collecting it, critiquing it, fashioning one’s identity around it) itself becoming a guilty pleasure, i.e. something increasingly rare and in need of explanation, something self-indulgent or questionable? To what extent do these issues reveal hierarchies of taste, transformed subjectivities, the effect of politics on culture, or other lines of contestation permeating popular music?
For this year’s Pop Conference, we invite papers, panels, or other presentations on these topics. Related questions include but are not limited to:
--In what terms do “guilty pleasures” operate beyond the U.S. experience? How do different genres define the inappropriate?
--Who are the performers, the issues and the hidden pleasures, that you have wanted to write about but never dared, or who you loved and then forsook?
--What happens when you center your focus on “minor” histories?
--How do the desires for novelty and permanence, diaspora and roots, or for that matter extremity and conformity, play out against each other in music?
--Can we think in less whiggish and salutary ways about pop and progress, or how music functions in dark times?
--Does doubt affect the creation of musical works, and not only reception? What guilty pleasure do performers feel about their own social impact?
--How does technology and futurist rhetoric affect distinctions in pop fashion between the sublime and the ridiculous?
--What are the connections between pop shame and “passing”: sexual, racing, class, nationality?
The EMP Pop Conference first convened in Spring 2002 and is now entering its fifth year. The goal has always been to bring academics, writers, artists, fans, and other participants into an all-too-rare common discussion. Most presentations are of the 20 minute panel talk variety, but unorthodox suggestions are our favorite kind and we can support a wide range of technological experimentation. Previous year’s conferences have resulted in the anthology This is Pop (Harvard, 2004), the current special issue of Popular Music (“Magic Moments”), and a second anthology that is under preparation. This year’s program committee includes Drew Daniel (Matmos), writer Jessica Hopper, Jason King (New York University), Michaelangelo Matos (Seattle Weekly), Ann Powers (Blender), David Sanjek (BMI), Philip Schuyler (University of Washington), and Karen Tongson (University of Southern California).
Proposals should be no more than 250 words, should be accompanied by a brief bio and full contact information, and are due January 16, 2006. Proposals are judged by liveliness of prose as much as pertinence of topic. Email them, as well as any questions about the conference, the theme, your topic, or the application process, to organizer Eric Weisbard at
I saw 11 or just four people today and they said "I been looking for Hit it or Quit it and have not found it! I read on yr blog that it is out." You wanna know where you can find it? My house, tomorrow. Not sure what time, but the tracking info says that 1209 copies are showing the fuck up to my porch.
Speaking of zine distro: It's all true, IPA, who own Big Top, like the six major alt-magazine stockists that went down before them (since 1999 or so), has given notice to it's magazines that it cannot pay them what they are owed, and does not know when it can. IPA/BT are the primary distributor for Venus, Punk Planet, Tikkun, Bitch, Color Lines, Heeb, Herbivore, MRR, National Socialist Review, Curve, LiP, Wax Poetics, Giant Robot, In These Times, Index, Tablist, Clamor, Anthem, Murder Dog, Mother Jones and the exciting sounding but heretofore unknown to me Biblical Archaelogy Review, amongst about 40 others. Who knows if this will force some of these titles to go on hiatus or whether another distro will spring up and take folks in.
Also, it's currently bottom of the 8th inning, and lets keep in mind what Mayor Daley said on the radio today, to Sox fans about keeping it in check, regarding celebrating if the Astros get beat-- "Don't go kill anyone." He knows his southside.
JR had a bulletproof smile at dinner. Grill of incandesense tween those bites. His illustrious Ozzie Guillen For Prez has turned the lights back on. Tonight, the SOX-stress was too great and he was too wracked, he said, to sit through the play by play. First time in his life time, he reminded me. So, instead we had dinner, hit the last showing of Capote, talked about conspiracies we believe in, casually (Did Oswald act alone? Is extreme weather a sign of impending doom? We did not discuss the conclusion I came to earlier this year, which is simply a thought that developed as my fundamental distrust of the gov't grew, and I am fearful it lumps me in with the Art Bell callers who believe that Hurricane Wilma is weather-control revenge enacted by the Chinese--but, I now think the moon landing was faked (am on the fence of whether Wellstone was mudered)-- I have crossed over.).
Still wrapping my head around the Joshua Tree's parched sprawl. Details TK.
Don't let me forget the stories about the Chee-toos. Stories about the white desert trash and their cheesy foodstuff understandings.
The desert was great as it has been portrayed to me by movies such as Ruben & Ed and Over The Edge. I saw the sky bigger than I have ever known it to be, and I liked the awe. I dreamt, the first night in the little cabin, of big-earred coyotes biting and fighting me-- they thought I was stealing their watermelons. They spoke English, the coyotes. If only all attacking animals could be so reasonable. The Joshua Tree National Park Literature devoted a full page to a cautionary, if heavy handed, tale: implied-but-not-detailed horror story about why not to give a peanut to the chipmunks (glucose!), and why it is a bad idea to let your four year old daughter wander unattended with a ham sandwich in her hand to the edge of a campsite, where, tragically, coyotes are encountered. Ham sandwich became hand sandwich, perhaps. They trail off, leaving you to imagine the worst. I imagined the girl bribed the English-speaking coyote with the sandwich and they saved her from a life of banality on the 29 Palms marine base camp, and instead she got to ride through the San Andreas fault on the backs of thin wild dogs. That's why they do not tell you what really happened. So you will not be jealous that you do not get to live in the sandy wilds, on the shore of the Sultan Sea.They keep it secret So that you will head back to yr golf spa and resort in Palm Springs and spend money and be none the wiser, eating lobster bisque for dinner and then dancing when the electric piano-led duo band does a samba version of "All of Me" from the poolside patio bandstand.
If you live in Illinois (30% of TLG reader, says Statcounter)--call or email yr reps TODAY 10/24 about The Juvenille Justice bill /click here for totes info and also add a PS re the all-kids health insurance initiative. It's effing mindbreaking that all the GOP folks are saying the guv'ner is "just trying to win votes", you know, proposing universal healthcare for children. Like "doing the right thing" is pandering. So email or call yr reps, it'll take you less than six minutes.
Still in the desert, more to come upon return to my CST time zone.
The Slits/Liz Phair reviessay is out. You gotta scroll down to "music" and it'll give you the PDF.
Oh, I am in Los Angeles, and I do not know whether it's the memory lanes I had to roll on today, or if it was the coffee on the Denver layover, or the long ums and senselessness of the KXLU DJ pledge drive begginessm, but my heart beat is unduly elastic feeling. Drum n' bass scroinging, like a pop-pop-pop. Coincidence is my caper, stupid fucking city with yr smoggy scrim: Hold Steady tonight, just found out. Tomorrow, introduce my boyfriend to my father, introductions all around, and then, then off to the desert for a nerd date that I wish would last into infinity, but is only for the weekend. Fuck urbanity, internet fighting and wireless communications-- lets hear it for donkey messengers, fire from slapped rocks and holding hands and never letting go ever.
Julianne Shepherd, and myself, in our first co-written item/essay/review -- on Suicide Girls and their new DVD . Will totally end all debates you have going re Burls Ives vs. Burlesque.
And, the word is official. Hit it or Quit it in stores circa Wedsnesday. Or you can order it online . NY: ask for it at Bluestockings. Chicago: Ask for it at Quimbys. Or, better yet, ask for it at Reckless , as they still do not stock it. (That's what you get for making fun of Steve Albini in 1996, kids. You get "86'd from the scene."*)
(I was reminded the other night of the lineage of the popular Chicago vocabulon "86'd from the scene" -- a notorious local scenester, a cowboy-booted coke dealer, widely reputed as the dude in town who will get with yr ex-gf during her drunken rebounding spree, the man being referenced when you hear a boy yelling into his phone outside a bar "YOU FUCKED OUR DEALER?!" -- sooooo, that man, once, after being bitch slapped to the ground outside The Rainbo amidst a drunken fracas involving someone's girl, kicked the guy who hit/slapped him, and kicked him in the balls with a pointy-toed cowboy boot no less, and while the groin-kicked man lay writhing in pain on the ground, the bitch-slapped coke-dealer skeezball yells "YOU ARE 86'D FROM THE SCENE, MAN!" and runs back inside.)
BARR at Gilman. "Pro Anal Anti-Christ" = best curious punk tag of 2005.
Beware of mundane motivators says the buddhists.
Mike Taylors wrists. SF summer skyline.
My roommate washed her tips.
He hates it when I take his picture. I do it anyway.
Baby sis, home for a day between Hong Kong and Barcelona. She looks like a mermaid. She's not supposed to be so far away from me.
I forgot to link--I wrote about THE EX this week in City Pages which "secretly" references my two favorite The Ex songs and also, just for fun, M Scott Peck.
Brendan Fowler, progressive mind in motion, writes with a suggestion for those deeply disturbed by the employee bloje-a-thon of American Apparel. Alternative Apparel -- tiny company that manufactures on demand.
There are so many companies and record labels that are all about American Apparel, that tides changing might take a while, and for more options to present themselves--maybe this is time for you to start up some choice alternative. If you are willing to say peace out and not support American Apparel, it also very much might means saying peace out to buying say, The Mountain Goats t-shirts, and telling Mountain Goats, or Spoon, or Deerhoof, or Bun B or whomever, at the merch booth, that you would like to buy a shirt, but.... Because the band may not know whats up, and maybe they do not want to be down either. Casual awareness can build a concensus. Or maybe our re-directed t-shirt/sweat-pants/thong monies can build another business,one where manufacturing employees get 12-15$/hr & benefits AND retail and management employees do not get sexually harrassed. Right wing religous boycott campaigns remind us--throwing the weight of yr dollars around works. Are you willing to forgoe comfort-cottons and buy yr hoodies/dog's hoodies elsewhere in order to express yr feminist hope? Do it. Say yes. Stop buying yr dogs clothes from a mysogynist!
Talk of the town:
I resent being called "fall down drunk"!
Well you were wasted, and you fell, twice, dude.
Yeah, you stood up from the couch, fell, then stood up, said "GO SOX!" then stumbled into the door jamb.
He had had a revelation, while we were in Fargo, on mushrooms, that I was the one perfect one, and that we should get married. I fell asleep, but when I woke up, he had been up, high, the whole time, and proposed. He said he could make me happy.
I thought you guys were friends.
Had it ever gotten beyond that? Had you ever even gone to the boneyard with him?
No, we never even got to the gates of the boneyard.
Ooh, denied at the gates of the boneyard.
Ok, in the second to last graph, the phrase "chart-gunning loads"--in what sense do you means "loads"?
In the porno sense.
Yes, loads as in ejaculate. You think that "loads" will make it past top edit, or do we need to get technical?
I almost fell out of the apple tree twice on Saturday, mid-pickins handoff. I was balanced on the limbs, but I caught myself on a rope. It's a good thing that Ian did not catch me or break my fall below. He had a buck knife in his hand. Ian is Robin's beau, he is a poet. Robin says he is working on a poem about Mary Poppins right now. Robin sells umbrellas for a living. Together we picked apples.
All weekend was poems and poets. In the Didion book, in discussion with Ian, in discussion with JR and Ian and Robin and Miles about Frank O Hara and his death--I asked rhetorically and got no answer what must it feel like to run over a great poet, to kill a great poet with a dune buggy? ( or conversely, how is death, drunk under the wheel of an ATV? Sheesh). Robin and Ian and I sat outside a rotted-out corpse of a corn maze, picnicing on snacks, and I offered I never read poetry until 9/11, and for the next three years, it was all I read. Poems and magic realism. Normal books could not hold me, because context seemed to have shifted and I wanted radical love, peace, disgust, outrage and effluvial words for it. The breath-stealing lines: in Brooks' Bronzeville bit about the abortions, Nikki Giovanni's bomb drop of "I am not an easy woman to love", Ginsburg imploring America take your clothes off, 5 times through Panther and Lash, Wanda Coleman saying love is a pimp just the same, Ferlinghetti's "slopes of heaven". Slopes of heaven makes me think God lives in Tuscany.
Other than apples, the weekend was of revisions and remittance, and the reluctant humility involved in both. I bought a road bike, $40 from the collective, in leiu of getting a car--battling head on my relationship to conviences, battling my idea of what a car provides--it is a hard war, convience has all kindsa tricks. But what I know: In Chicago, a bike is faster than surface street cars, and so I am seeing what happens now, seeing what happens when I commit to becoming a non driver. because at a certain point, the question becomes If I am not living my hope and politics at my advanced age of 29, then what am I doing?
Addendum 10/28: post forthcoming, in regards to the 2 hour convo with Dov himself. Check back.
While we are on the topic (suicidegirls.com) of skeezy dudes using a using pro-sex/female-positive smoke screen on their business': It's about a week old item, but, more info is out on American Apparel owner/figurehead Dov Charney and the sexual harrassment suits from employees here , due to him being sued by an insurance company. The story from Jane Magazine referenced here , where he gets a bloje from an employee in front of the reporter, who, also, consentually, allowed him to masturbate in front of her eight times during the reporting of the story (wtf?). Multiple harrassment suits are currently on the table, all alledging that Charney created a sexually hostile work environment, exposed himself to employees, , gave employees gifts of sex-toys, used derogatory language/words for women, etc.,--see link below.
An article/interview w/ Charney from the August issue of The Jewish Journal :
"At the same time, Charney acknowledged in a series of interviews behavior that pushes the bounds of what is conventionally acceptable in a modern workplace. He speaks openly about having consensual sexual relationships at work, and claims that he is inspired to do better work when surrounded by women with whom he has relationships. More then that, he says his aggressiveness and his sexuality is the fount of his creativity — even the key to his success. "“I’m being demonized for being a human being,” Charney told a reporter. “It’s very simple.... This is 2005, sex is now part of the fashion industry. I admit I am passionate. I don’t think I go over the line. Sexuality and sexual words become part of the daily banter of work life in any free society.”"
Also, really great blog Pogo Princess about living feminist punk every day. Minneapolis represent.
When we are stumped with our Animal Collective disparagement we just go back to our research. Arvo Part Fratres goes deep in yr cellozone. Percussion that sounds like someone mashing a Dixie Cup with the flat of their palm. Is the sound of someone unwrapping a muffin part of the pc? Start yr day with some somber motherfucking tones, why not?
I was on public transport with a crazy-ma today. She complained to the entire bus that, her baby, age 6 months, kept drinking all her Sprite.
"What?!" she said, resentful, to the baby bobbling its wobble-head in the stroller. The baby, non-verbal, had no defense to her mother's accusations.
The mom explained to the jr high girls, whom she had just displaced from their seats, that the baby would not drink "the babyjuice" and just keeps drinking up all her Sprite. She then lifted her large strofoam cup and put the straw to the greedy mouth of her Sprite-loving babe. After the baby finished up the Sprite, the mother held the cup on display, and shook the cup, letting the ice be known. "See!" she said to no one in particular, evidencing the baby's utter lack of self control. The mother popped open the cup and chomped on the ice loudly with an open mouth, and then, turned and asked the baby sternly "Why won't you drink your babyjuice?" She then handed a lidded bottle of baby formula ("babyjuice") to the baby. The baby threw it to the floor. The mother looked up to the bus, for confirmation-- "See! She's got no common sense!"
From the foothills of the Canadian Rockies comes a call: Hit it or Quit it is scheduled for binding on October 17th. Which means, that THE MAGAZINE THAT JULIANNE AND I MADE* will be on the record store and zine store shelves by Halloween. Right now, the only folks I can confirm are distroing it are Insound.com and Revolver. Go to the record store, call and aks (in funny voices, preferably) several times in the next week if the new Hit it or Quit it is in. Consider it a personal favor to me.
(*WITH MILES, JR, MAIREAD CASE, BECKY SMITH, ADAM GNADE, MATOS, CALI, TREVOR KELLY, TEETER, JON C, JOAN HILLER, PETER MACIA, SEAN FENNESSEY, TOMAS PALERMO, SARA SHERR, MIA CLARKE, SARA JAFFE, AMY PHILLIPS, THE GHOST OF CHRIS RYAN, SB, MIKE TAYLOR AND 31 other people whose names I cannot remember at this time)
Stoked is one way to put it: I am now writing for the unfadeable Plan B, a fearless British mag-o-fanzine helmed by Everett True and Frances May Morgan, that has great art direction to boot. It is still kinda hard to find in the US most of the time, but it is so worth it the import pricing. I think most music magazines and the writing within them to be destructive, degenerative, that it's most regular notions are most frightening, it's like an avian bird flu of the mind. Like the I'll-bite-your-pussy guy , but in product on the page form. Plan B is one of the few exceptions.
And, we are pleased to announce, plus also too: The Suicide Girls DVD is tame and a touch boring, and as Julianne and I both agree: not unlike an episode of The Monkees but with full frontal nudity. The asian girl with the hula-hoop was my favorite part. She made up for the perdurable scenes of slow pans on Snow in a bowler hat, clomping like a lead footed spider, exaggeratedly tossing her stripey hand socks off with a real dramatic flair .
If you live in Chicago, and you get PBS (channel 11), Tuesday night at 10pm, there is a one hour documentary about Parliment Funkadelic: says the program guide "Find out how George Clinton, mastermind behind the band Parliament Funkadelic, expressed the cultural alienation of young African Americans, creating an alternate universe of "aliens" that brought the redemptive power of funk to a world sorely in need of a new point of view." It's a national premiere on the Independent Lens show, so maybe it's at yr house too.
Julianne and I are co writing a pc, on the Suicide Girls DVD. She has watched. I have not. Shit is due tomorrow. I have stalled for like, 5 weeks now. I know it is going to make me feel terrible. People have forewarned me. I stopped buying the SG's tagline of queer empowerment about 2 years in, and then just felt ambigous about it, until later, an ex introduced me to his bevy of SG model friends. Only one of them would ever look me in the eyes. They could look dudes in the eyes, they knew how to work within the male gaze. He had given me the outside directive that I could "save" them, have some posi impact and bring some bell hooks love ethic rehash to them, crest their fourth wave with some old fashioned 2nd and 3rd wave. You know yr in troouble when you engage my Joan of Arc complex. You know yr in for convoluted conunndrums when yr a Dworkinist hanging with a cutter who is makes a living on 'porn-powerment. I do not know, as a feminist, if it's the best thing for me to be strident about pornography and the women who are involved in it? The women i know who have been involved in all sex trades, legal and illegal, never did it because they were in a good place or because that was their first option--be it porn, hooking or stripping. But I want to resist further shaming of women doing it, because all womens struggles should be included under the umbrella of feminist struggle. Cutting off sex-work girls like some leprosied appendage is not an option, especially if it's just in order to tidy up our agendas.
Saturday was The Hold Steady video. It is a good thing not all 100 people showed up because we had room for about 33 total. People later said they did not show because videos is waiting around for 12 hours to act fake excited in one minute spurts. Which might be true when you are on the set of Sum 41's "Spooge Patrol" shoot, but Hold Steady is punk band on punk budge. I got paid in a latte and a vegan muffin kind of budget. It was like a Hold Steady show, except it lasted 3 hours, and they played the same song 8 times all the way through and in between the extras and the band just knocked back beers and ate nuts from a can. They played and the first couple times, we faced one way on the set, then they played again and we faced the other way. It was not complicated and our enthusiasm was not fake because it was The Hold Steady and they were just playing along with the CD, and the realness was upon us. Miles and I got assigned to stand right in front of Craig the whole time, and so, natch we were flecked with spit.
Other hilites: Miles punched the air on the drum fill and lost his glasses to the floor. I held Craigs BlackBerry while he rocked/we rocked and sent horribly sappy emails to the rest of the band from his email account, detailing in florid language, just how special I thought our relationship was and how much I thought being in a band with them was a fun experience, dancing while doing so. It'd not a video until someone in it is on a handheld--I do not have cable, but I have seen a Jay-z video before and have learned about the signifiers from that.
Then there were other things: Chavas Tacos and it's well endowed bull sculpture, The MCA and Sarah Silverman's movie with the jokes that were so funny. Who knew rape jokes could be so hysterical? Not me.
I saw Miles play an accoustic show, and it was great. His lyrics gets stuck in my brain, and I was singing them all day on the bike. Just refrains. Miles has songs that have lines about Rainbo last call that drop bon mots like "And we all lie / for / a little / heeeaaaad"--The people who played after him were in stark contrast. The next performer had keyboard-piano and if I had to guess I would say his musical influences are The Capitol Steps and Smoosh. Lyrically, it was more like...Rufus Wainwright as a 14 yr old chess champion of ambigous sexual orientation. Oh, and he was dressed like he was about to play in the Masters golf tournament--pleatfronts, dirty white nurse Reeboks, too small womens sweater vest with argyles on it. The times he would sing "Baby" it was like... a formatting error... it was like that scene in 40 Year Old Virgin where Steve Carell is talking about how boobs feel like bags of sand because he doesn't know. If that dude w/ the piano has ever called anyone "Baby" in real life, other than an actual newborn, I would be plum shocked. And somehow, the next dude, he managed to be more wrongly-fangled than the Virgin Caddy. He started out with this delicate but very dramatic Skip Spence/Belle and Sebastian/Paddington Bear manchild in dapper hat... I thought I might be able to hang, but then came the chorus of his first song. He was trailing in and out with his voice, which was going from whispery to bedroom quiet to leaves twinkling in breeze loud. And then he sang: "We get lost /... on Lonely Street / We lose our ...irection" and then he repeats, what evens out to "We lose our erection" four times. I had to kick Miles to keep from falling out of my plastic lawn chair and giggling in juvenille hysterics as this man sang a heretofore unarticulated-sans-metaphor universal truth: Yes, we do get lost on lonely street. Yes, we do suffer soft-ons.
Re the last post about Slits/Phair -- more clarification and deeper splay of point coming in essay in next week's Chicago Reader, but for now, I unriddle like this re The Slits:
My contention is that primal and all the other words are often used to write off their genius. It's standard cliche used to abnegate what they were REALLY DOING (good band/goodrecords), and keeps them from ever being judged on their band-merits like everyone else, it's "primal"=basic=unevolved =below=child-works=not worthy of serious examination=not legitimate.
It also perpetuates the stereotype of women being "instinctual" (not cerebral) et al. -- ie.--they're possessed by this animal nature (they are agressive), they are wild (they do not care), that they are diletanttes (not serious/real musicians)--and of course they are sexualized to no end, and of course there is the speculative judgement on WHERE AND WHAT IS THEIR DESIRE? Girl Musician Careerists can be forgiven if they have chops, if they are serious and they do not acknowledge or engage our gaze--but the loamy idea behind the Slits legacy-- is that their genius was never their doing: It was the dumb luck of Ari's step dad being Johnny Rotten, or that Viv dated Joe Strummer, that they wrong great songs-SONGS CALLED CLASSIC IN THE PUNK CANNON MIND YOU--and we are always reminded that it is "inspite of their inabilities". We cannot credit their genius, we can empower the animus, it always remained qualified by "the fact" that they "could not play". And I am not trying to be revisionist, but they issued their albums 3 and almost 6 years in to their band hood, songs blazing. They were playing! They were playing the whole time! They were like anyone else: They went to a Patti Smith gig and were inspired and said "me too!" -- and started the the process of becoming a band from there--like anyone! But for girls and women, then and now (unless we're talking Michelle Branch pap), there is still the barrier of qualification, of hooks jumped and status quo achieved, legitimacy and heirarchies. (Journalists then and journalists now are on the same wagon.)-- We still assign "AUDACITY" and these other wretched words to the discourse on the works female artists, making them and other women ever-aware of the cultural edicts that strips them of toll-free permission.
There are some words and ideas in here still forming, in this non-theory--and I feel like there is this thing I can almost tell you, but the right words for it are not exactly known yet. (I say non-theory not to discredit of say this a inexact anything. It is just that it is this weird grey thing that hems you in, and it's hard to get it's shape. You have lived with it your whole life, and it's more like an electric dog fence than anything you have the recipe on. Like Betty called it: a mystique. Unpacking the patriarchy is sometimes, really, on some Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Old Clock shit.)
I know it's "cliche" for me, really, here on October 5th? 7th? in the year of our lord 2005, to write another word about sexism and the plight of women in rock. But, really, if you want cliche, if you want strife of the girl band writ larger than a Times Square billboard, if you want to feel resigned and fuck it to the truth about rock critical patriarchy , I suggest you do what I have done: Spend a few days reasearching and reading everything written about The Slits (76-81), and then peruse The Collected Press Kit of Liz Phair , which should rank somewhere around Plath, as far as depressing reads.
Does there exist, ever, an accounting of the Slits where they are not made out to sound like feral animals--accidental, instinctual, primal, "emotional" and wild wild wild? Where their genius is abnegated by their beginnerhood--even five years in? Even in spite of those BBC sessions that burn cleaner than a gas fire.
And oh, Liz. Details and GQ down to Mp3 blogs and CMJ, they loved you as the blowjob queen in 1993, but, at 38, they find it unbecoming of someone of your advanced age. That hint of tit on the Exile cover, you lunging, mouth open and hungry--yr candor was applaudable. But now, though you appear topless and half-shirted with less frequency than yr now-peer, Sheryl Crow, you are, in short order "desperate" (sexually and for sales). You went beyond the pale and made apparent: You know what we like and you gave it to us, you posed with glossed lips and made us think you wanted it, but that last record you made clear--you knew exactly what you were doing the whole time and that you understood the transaction at hand-- which destroys the fantasy, when you seemingly exploit us back.
Liz Phair's press kit evidences, in the plainest of daylight examinations, once and for all that the fantasy and economic structure that are inherant to stripclubs are pervasive outside of rooms with gold poles.
Listen up kittens: I got room for like 12 more people for this Hold Steady video. Shooting starts noon this Saturday, goes for the afternoon or so. Location is downtownish, kinda by the Oprah studio, and will be accessable by 90/94, The Green Line and the Ashland bus, not far from the Amtrack/downtown train depot either, if yr coming from out of town. If you have emailed already, you will get a notice later today with exact directions, instructions and everything. If you still want in, please email me asap with yr RSVP. It's going to be really fun, but I think you know that already.
Another comment, from Margaret in DC " They are the worst. Last spring, I saw CocoRosie at the Black Cat backstage (in DC) play to me and 4 sad middle aged men. I guess the only thing sadder than the audience was the fact that 2 white canadians in fun fair paint were mimicing dead blues singers while playing the kazoo (poorly) and all I could keep thinking was this is sooo sooo gross. Wait, I know something sadder, how rude they were after the show. Nope, still something sadder, that people actually think that they are good."
The hate. Coming to a simmering boil. On the internet. Brought to you, as ever, by TLG
From my pal Cali, through the phone: "I was just about to call you and comment that I could not agree more. I hate Coco Rosie, and if I wanted to hear white people say "n****r", I'd be listening to Skrewdriver."
Fish that out of Devendra's beard and smoke it.
Before, anyone, anyone at all, spakes about Coco Rosie again, lets put some basics on the table:
1. Wearing a drawn-on moustache does not make a band "gender bending"
2. Imitating Billie Holliday does not make a band "jazzy"
3. White people using the n-word in song, does not make them "old timey" -- it makes them racist. (The exception to that being in the context of concept records taking down the South.)
4. The summed musical power of Coco Rosie could light a 15-watt decorator bulb, maybe.
5. If you find that Coco Rosie is "indescribable", "indescribably original" may we suggest you go with Terry Sawyer's description from last week's East Bay Express: "Coco Rosie sounds like Poltergeist's Carol Anne holding a Fisher-Price tent revival"
Oh man, I enjoy a quality roasting of a rock-crit .
Julianne puts our weekend in a headlock. The world is small, and so are we. Right now she is riding the miniature train through the living room of my mansion, we're having a great time.
And yes, JR is the best--his Hunter S is only second to his Martin Mull. But the Hunter-lettres gonzo was entirely outdone by the SPIN alt-90's rekkid guide, in which Eric Weisbard gave a Terence Trent D'arby album a 9 (memo: "Will Bang for Crossanwich" has been supplanted by "Neither Fish Nor Flesh Por Vida"--how does that hindsight taste?) The old SPIN record guides will make you feel all of yr thousand years: fiery Terri Sutton's 1200 words on say, every record Howe Gelb ever played on in the eighties, zesty analysis of the potential of early Team Dresch singles, to the redonk-firethousand-blintzes of, say, Charles Aaron's mid-Dre digression into the genius the man put into the Michel'le record, with it feministy posi-tones. You will have flashback to waking from yr baby-days, back in the cave in Lascaux when reading it. Totes "Good Ol' Days", pre OTM on ILM or 8.8 on Pfork stakes.
On the hey-hey:JR insists he's going to be updating his blog "soon" , so watch the skies.
Julianne just fell asleep midsentence. Her hand is on her head like how metal dudes hold chalices on the cover of records, but her pinky is suspended about 1/4th of an inch from her eyelid. I am wondering if maybe I should fold her finger up under her hand so she does not poke her eye out, ala Angry Samoans "Lights Out", while she sleeps.
Today we rode so much bikes, and I am pretty sure I am showing her a mild time for big city options, but if I lived in New York, I'd need a break from that thrice-speeded-up pace of it all, the hard traffic, the subway's rumble and the weltering whelm, ya?
Come to a place of paved prairie and we'll spend all day in the bike lane, and resolve that city-borne angst. Chicago barely cares.
Tonight at the party, a local band-of-the-scene dude told us about how in 1991, he found a human bone, a bag of bloody clothes and some license 25 yr old liscence plates in his back yard, buried and he threw them away, because it was 1991 and cops did not care then and neither did he.
Seriously, it's fucking casj.
A quick note before we retire for the evening: Can anyone in New York verify the chain-reaction puking incident at the Merzbow show ? Scroll down for details on the six person barf domino-effect. I saw this same thing happen in the parking lot of Old Country Buffet once, in 1997, between Punk Planet-publisher Dan Sinker , half the 90 Day Men, Har Mar Sean and his brother, some dudes from Traluma. Maybe me. The nineties were so long ago, and all I have is a picture of Sinker sweaty and wiping spreckles of barf off his glasses as proof.