Today's proof that it's almost statistically impossible (12%) to be a band and not be playing a festival in Chicago in the next three months:
World Party reunites and plays their first American date in 7 years at Taste of Chicago on July 8th
Also, in case you, like Bexxy Smith, are rollin' in to town this weekend--AMERICAS FIRST AND ONLY LATINO HARDCORE FEST KICKS OFF ON FRIDAY! I'm there! I'm totes pitting it up for for the fantastical radical feminist/queer/all-female/latina-fronted hardcore band Condenada! They are local and they do a Big Boys cover. Also: Sin Orden! They were the best thing about Chicago Hardcore Fest last year. Lets all go! Latino hardcore is the Southside's secret export: it's the house that Crudos built!
Southkore Fest is this Friday and Saturday, June2nd-3rd.
Doors will open at 8pm and music will start PROMPTLY at 9pm. Show up at 8 to get in in time to see the first bands. They are all worth seeing. This show is All-Ages , 21+ to drink. This is the first ever all Latino punk fest in the US. All ages, DIY, no corporate sponsorship of any kind.
Friday Night Lineup:
Pesadilla Social (all female punk from the south side of Chicago),
I Attack (x members of -Los Crudos),
La Armada Roja (From La Repupublica Dominicana),
Los Sobrios Emputados (from Wyoming),
Huasipungo (from New York via Colombia and Peru),
Juventud Crasa (Puerto Rico),
Tras de Nada
Saturday Night Lineup:
Condenada (All female band),
En La Olla (New York via Mexico and Colombia, x-members of Massacre 68)
Ruido (East Los Angeles),
Tropiezo (Puerto Rico),
Outraged (Watsonville California)
Also on Saturday there will be a screening of "Beyond the Screams"(US Latino Punk documentary by Martin Sorrondeguy former member of Los Crudos and currently in Limp Wrist), "Skin Deep"(Women's Health documentary), and "Land Belongs to Those Who Work It" (A film by the EZLN). This is a FREE event (donations encouraged for the space-Meztli) and will be at Meztli Gallery-556 W. 18th St. from 1pm to 4pm.
Tickets available at www.southkorerecords.com
From Mrs. Betty Bowers xtian parody blog -- a delightful review of The DaVinci Code movie-- a review I wish I had written:
cue Tom Hanks middle-part
Sophie Neveu, the love interest with said Smart Car, is played by Audrey Tautou, who had elfish charm and Hanks' haircut in Amélie. Poor Audrey, a full 20 years Hanks' junior and thereby slightly older than Hanks in Hollywood years, is left with the thankless task of bedding such an unsightly man, simply because her grandfather, Jacques Saunière, has more puzzles to solve than Vanna White. Indeed, when not participating in ritualistic sex orgies in response to postings on the Normandy Craig's List, the French Jacques Saunière is writing clues to his French granddaughter in English. Like that could happen. In behavior more typically French, in a wildly over-the-top gesture, he flags his most important cryptic clue with his naked body. An American would have used a Post-It.
Something to take your mind off the fact that orig. line up Rollins Band is reformed and touring with X: a story of DC people actually moving on:The band Georgie James.
John Davis, formerly of Q and Not U (or Corm, if yr old and eem) has a new band! They are going on tour! Their songs are about singing pretty in tune and handclaps. The lady of the band cops Beth Orton complete with the accent, but when they duet you don't knowtix. "More Lights" is like Richard & Linda Thompson doing a Ted Leo song--only for the grown n' sexy--punx wild on pianos and box wine maturities, ghost of Madam's Organ in their aortal flows.
Nora and Al brought fake teeth to the party.
JR's mugged-eye is healing up nice. Last night, we took him to see Mission Impossible 3. I would of rather watched Tom Cruise dig up Shari Lewis corpse, eat it, then have a forty minute conversation with Lambchop about Scientology then see that movie again.
Once the raw BBQ cleared out, nerd time could begin. Matt whipped us by double. Miles got a triple word score on "adz". Cindy told us stories about how people call her at the front desk of the hotel and beg her to come up to their rooms and keep them company.
We played until it was dark.
Imagine a time, an era, in this American country, where a poet could be on the cover of a magazine. It's a strange thought. Look at that weird eye of his. People with a stray eye are never on the cover of anything anymore; it's a shame. The left eye is accusing, the right one believes in the good of man and loves you from the start.
Carl Sandburg had the same exact haircut from the time he was old enough to have a haircut til the time he was dead.
Carl Sandburg was invoked and refamoused a bit last years because he came to Sufjan in a dream, in a dream in a song that many people liked and asked "are you writing from the heart?". Maybe spectral-Sandburg was being protective, like a father, whether Sufjan was worthy the city-as-a-muse. Seems about right a line of questioning for him; in the introduction to Harvest Poems 1910-1960, Mark Van Doren says Sandburg can be boiled down to those final lines of "Grass": What place is this? / Where are we now?. Tuff rhetoricals seem to be his forte.
I'm still just getting familiar, 57 pages in, but the getting is easy.
So we all love a wild girl keeping a hold
On a dream she wants
There is an entire summer in that line!
The first time I heard Desmond Dekker, I was 16. Cali played me "The Israelites" for me and I remember exactly what he said: "If I had a voice like that, I wouldn't even bother talking--I'd only sing."
more Tel Aviv. People keep asking, and my answer is--Israel felt safer than Boston.
In Jaffa, I met Batman. He was wearing ladies Isotoners.
She was dissapointed in him. Loving young Russian sailors is tough.
Bedouins. Their houses are often made out of materials most people in America would identify as trash. One had a satellite dish on the top, though.
And sometimes it looked just like what you imagined it would.
Freedom From Fest has now become the more enticingly named End Times Fest. Mayor Daley, the best named band in Chicago is playing, as are Magik markers, who are 1/3rd local. It goes during the same time as the Vice-curated Intonation Fest, which I am curious to see how that goes off, since, like, in NY or maybe LA, it's a given that cool kids are as down for rock as they are hip hop, and that if you like Erase Errata you probably like Ghostface too. Chicago's indigenous hip hop scene is micro as is, and like everything else about this city, scenes are segregated. I am curious to see if hip hop headz will come out, or if it'll just be Guided By Voices mega-fans mass-exodusing to the churro carts during Devin The Dude. Either way, denizens of Chi-Boogie, Mnpls is 406 miles away and Radon, Nate Denvers Neck and Times New Viking are waiting for you there--hopefully we might get some tour route spillage and get those folks down here some. It'd be nice if the 312 could get something a little more righteously redonkuliss than whats currently on the slate--Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Fest, Intonation Fest, Touch N Go Birthday Fest. The final BlackOut! fest started last night; it may be the only fest in Chicago this year where you can enjoy seeing bands that are only marginally popular. For example Mind Controls, Mark Sultan's other band, are genius ("Take a message / cos I'm on my deathbed") and hardly have a fanbase! Fuck those big festivals, with their wristbands and sidestages! Go see an obnoxious unpopular band and see them indoors! It's not a real show if you can bring a lawnchair!
Cliche words and phrases from artist bios that have made thier way into music writing, and in turn make record reviews read like the menu at Jamba Juice:
a decidedly _______ blend
Video for "Fight Rebel Sun" a posse-cut from the names of Israeli underground hip hop -- it's good for context. Sagol59, who anchors the second verse, is grandfather of Israeli hip-hop (he started making records in 1999, the scene is nascent) and based on everything I heard, the best MC going. Here is his myspace page. Note the song re: Old Jeruz/Tel Aviv scene beef. Quite a bit of the other hip hop I heard in Israel sounded like Sublime; reggae party fusion seems to pass as hip hop most of the time.
Also, amidst mad-googling, found this: a five-minute trailer for Slingshot a documentary about the Arab hip hop scene in Israel and Palestine.
By way of Miles' post on the schaudenfreude of the Ghostface interview --the best-worst-best-again Ghostface Q&A c/o Nathan Rabin at The Onion. I almost feel sorry for him, but not really. I once saw Nathan Rabin on Check, Please--our PBS' resturant review show--his demeanor did little to dismiss the Buddy Bradley stereotype of crits and record nerds.
Th'article about the time I went to Wisconsin and was revolted by their thriftstores is available for the reading in this week's Reader.
Remember back when this blog was about music? Yeah, me too. In special tribute to back in the day here is my freestyle on some new Rock-Music releases and a song you can't live with out:
The new The Walkmen record comes out today. I remember when Bows & Arrows came out, 2004-summer and Miles and I were DJ-ing at a shooshy bar that shoulda known better, we played "The Rat" twice in a row, and even the girls with the highlights screamed. "The Rat" was all the Strokesian coke glamour rubbed with the rage of Over The Edge-era The Wipers. Taut dialectic of decadence and applied fury. This new record, it sounds like they are desperate to get as far away from any possible Strokes comparisons as they can. So they dressed up like mariachi's and the kid is mewling like Dylan. So basically, it's their Sandanista.
Thursday has a new album that came out earlier this month. Geoff Rickley is our #1 unknown feminist icon, high on Hooks, Dworkin, Said and a Bono-sized wish for music's redemptive powers--he kicks the corpse of Warped-Emo in it's rotten guts, yells "psyche!" then pens an anti-rape anthem (or 10) in order to alienate his fanbase and save whomever remains. Don't front like you don't have room for such righteousness; it's half-mil budget musik, so there is no TRY in liking it--it just goes greasy down the gullet. I saw them about 11 times in the last two years and every time they gave me chills, and you know me-- I live to hate power-eem.
It's not out yet, but, the best record of the year that I know about is the new Erase Errata. Perhaps you saw them when they had that dude singing, or you are wondering if EE can still step after the departure of skronk-wonderlady, Sara Jaffe, but you will not have to wonder past July. Best record of the year, best record they've made. Jenny's newbie guitar steez = the shredding of a shitty Mexican Fender while Ellie and Bianca turn the party out. There is a moment of proggy channeling amongst deep punking, and, inchoately--dancing! The most charged/funny polemics by way of the Bay Area since, oh, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables.
Last afternoon, I began a 19-hour sleep, a jet lagged coma-kiss. Every dream played the same song, it was a song I heard just yesterday, courtesy JR, who with jawns like these earns his best-friend keep. You should write these details down and then proceed to your nearest legal-download portal, because it is worth 99 cents; it's worth at least $4. Which is about 16 shekels and change. You can thank me later:
Edwin Birdsong- "Cola Bottle Baby"
Perhaps you been humping to this song since late '79, but even if you do not know it, you know it--Daft Punk built "Harder Better Faster Stronger" on a sample of it.
I think Pete Macia is one of the best half-working writers going. Maybe he is more than half working, but none the less, he's pounding the ground like a bucking frontloader. While I was away, he posted this post about Diplo, MIA, where they are and where they been, the macro and micro--the politics of dancing with zingy bon mots. It's just good and thats good enough. Also, note the link to the Diplo podcast. You will care, trust.
My ass drags in the universe I know too much
and not enough
"mescaline" -A. Ginsberg-1959
Notice the shushing girl is a ringer for Emily The Strange. It means goth girls have to be quiet.
B'hai Gardens & Temple in Haifa.
As our Tel Aviv to Newark plane landed at 4: 55am, a small group in the back of the plane started singing "America The Beautiful"--which was met with groans and eyerolls from the row I was in and hissing-shushing from the Hassidim seated near the Patriots. The shushes were met with a loud little speech about how this land blah blah four wars blah blah freedom blah blah from a man of a certain age. Patriotism can be so fucking embarrassing.
Nonetheless, I am home.
I just got back from interviewing Asaf Hanuka and Etgar Keret, whose work together and seperately I admire in a way I rarely admire anyone, and it was mortifying. They, naturally, were so natural and dazzling and intellectual and funny I hardly had to ask any questions, which is good, since I did not have my questions. Since our junket was running an hour late, was 25 minutes out of the city talking to a gold medalist windsurfer, I got dropped off straight from the beach to Etgars house. I had on clothes, but I was also wearing a wet bikini and had a fresh sun burn, sand all over my head, no batteries for my tape recorder. So we go to the store and I realize I also did not have my wallet, so he bought my batteries for me. I could not have been more pathetic and/or mortified and Etgar and Asaf could not have been more gracious. Humbled by my amatuerity in front of my heroes... I think Etgar felt sorry for me. I did too.
My idea of Israel before I came was singular: land of Intifada-bombs and Charleton Heston in a caftan and a fake beard. The idea of going on a cultural junket with the express purpose of understanding Israeli culture outside of the conflict, the life inspite of terrorism and miltarism and walling off, seemed strange for many reasons; flaunting culture while people in Ramallah are starving, promoting Israeli pop while under nuclear threat from Iran-etc.--it seemed almost ridiculous. Perhaps because in America, as a media, and as a country, our bout with on-soil terrosim put us into a paralysis, a stasis: sole focus and motivation. American-mind made the most complicated idea to consider was the in spite of. 9/11 is still headline news in all medias five years after. Our in spite of makes us look like big babies. Israel is a warzone in comparison to Chicago; our wars are elsewhere, those wars roles in conciousness and our every day is modest at best in comparison how steeped in The Conflict every single thing is here. We are hanging mostly with journalists, students and diplomatic types thus far, Israeli and American Jews and some Arab Israelis--everything from centerists to extreme leftists. Invariably discussions always return to the same topic: they cannot ignore the conflict nor do they desire to, it defines Israeli life, but at the same time people strive to have a life during wartime. The people who brought us on this junket did so as an extention of that complicated/simple idea.
America is the dominant cultural force worldwide, so that even when we at our most terrorist/racist-nation ugliness ourselves, as a country, we are still not forced to sweat it. We too can live in spite of it, be untouched by it. Our in-spite-of is different; we can live in Omaha with satellite TV and consider ourselves informed and concerned citizens and never be impacted by what the rest of the world thinks of us, not even once, for the duration of our natural lives. We could actively cultivate a personal concern about it, be deeply aware of it--and never have to touch it, see it or answer for it as a person or as a citizenry; American priviledge at it's finest.
There are some parts of this that are incredibly difficult to get my head around.
Two more days then home.
Tomorrow is the Dead Sea.
A note, a little one: Now that jet lag is passing, the junket heats up. First two days it was pop stars, last two days journalists, walls, fences, the unfamous, heated talks. I have been here for five days I think and have only spent 8 US dollars. Last night stayed up interviewing a journalist; radical perspective shifts, new context and understanding of Israel, as baby state, comes everyday. There were parts of this junket that seemed... frivolous, almost, but now it feels important--it's not simply a matter of Israel trying to curate some good PR. Our idea of Israel, or rather, popular outside of Israel conception of what it is like here, with each passing day, is so distorted. Then sometimes, as we drive past the 30 foot wall, or the electrified security fence around Ramallah, I think it's not. There are guns everywhere, checkpoints occasionally, and even though there are still periodic bombings every few weeks, it seems ludicrious that my/our biggest concerns coming here were our safety. Saw some good bands, have gained six pounds from eating three ginourmous amazing meals a day, still no beach--desire to nap keeps winning. Heard call to prayer in Jerusalem while in the arab market and it was--I can't describe it. There is so much I can't describe, the ideas are still tiny zygotes. Prayed at the wall, cried next to other women praying and crying, who stuff tiny notes into the wall. This morning was the Holocaust museum; after I understood why Israel is so militarized--so nothing like that can happen to the Jews again. I'm not sure why I didn't quite understand that 'til now.
Our hosts are wonderful; the group feels like somewhere between a Real World episode and summer camp for the wasted, everyone is starting to be friends and I remember almost everyone's name most of the time.
Gaililee at dawn. That far hill is Syria.
Not pictured: "Don't worry America, Israel is behind you." with fighter jet.
women's section of the wall.
dude tending tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem.
Today turned into a mess. Best day yet, least like an intensive fld trip, but everyone aside from Aliyah and I were up until 4 am, or are rolling on one or two hours of drunk sleep, due to some holiday that involves teenagers making bonfires and humping on the beach. I won't name names, but there were hungover people who spent much of the day sleeping it off in the bus as we tooled around Haifa; there was some rumoured barfing; another just kept drinking. By the end of the day, on average 3-4 people were falling asleep everytime we sat down on our kabbala-history walking tour. Most merciless junket ever. Now, 22 minutes for a nap before another 5 hours of obligations.
Being on a junket is profoundly strange. Back of the shuttle-van today, I overhead the closest real life proximity re-enactment of LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge", as a conversation between some of the dudes. I pressed my head against the window and looked into the Renaults zipping past; at Israeli moms with carseats, old men picking their noses, workers in trucks; wondering about living in the woods.
I have slept only four hours since a few days ago. We will not see anything they do not plan for us, the schedule is packed and precise. The beach is across the street; I have not been there yet because it's not on the itinerary. I ditched the indie rock show/showcase in order to wait for the internet to come back on, so I can work. Racism is mentioned in 4 of the 5 presentations we heard about music today; Becky the most beuatiful women I have ever seen in real life, the MTV VJ, who is a Yemenite jew got in an argument, raised voice argument with Eton after he said racism doesn't exist in Israel, between jews--I got it on tape, even. I am jet lagged and not in top form to ask questions, they come out fragged, I'm still shy infront of these strangers--but, no one seems to ask questions other than spellings--save for Carlo McCormick from Paper who, thankfully, plays the WTF card during the Q&As. I think everyone is tired.
Each meal is more food than I eat all day at home and fancy. Plied with food; it's an easy trick--I'm chubbing up.
Popular female singers wear a normal amount of clothes in their videos. It seemed shocking.
Stray cats everywhere, with long abyssianian necks. They are trolling for licks of your ice cream.
Landed in Tel Aviv 14 hours ago. We ride around in a Sprinter and a man talks to us through the little busses PA; Facts (census bits) and opinions (if all the immigrants left Tel Aviv, no Israelis would be unemployed). Tel Aviv is lovely, a little shabby--like it hasn't been repainted since Judas Iscariot lived up the block. It feels like a cross between Rome and the Jersey Shore. We were feted with a four course meal, ate with journalists, Etgar Keret, some financiers and the ambassador for Ministry of Culture and our tour guide, Eton Schwartz, who is a celebrity--he won a reality show here that is like The Apprentice called, I think, The Ambassador. He knows everything about everything--gossip about Kelly Clarkson's Israeli tour getting cancelled, achaelogical digs in Haffa, nudity on Israeli cable--you can tell why he won the show. He is a dead ringer for Al Burian's brother. I interviewed the ambassador-ambassador after dinner, used the radio equipment for the first time; I don't think I did very well, but it's all practice--it felt magical a little in spite of my ineptitude; plus, the dude is on CNN all the time and was a non-stop soundbite.
I fell asleep watching the Turkish evening news, where they showed several minutes of footage from a violent car accident, including a man pulled from behind the wheel with a jaws of life, they did a blur box over his most gaping wounds; it appeared he was impaled or squished--his organs and blood exiting out his ass. Then, they went to coverage of the judging of a baking contest; gelatin suspensions, whipped stuff covered in crackers, cakes stuck with the turkish flag. An old man with a feathered cap tasted them enthusuastically while the nana's rattled the ingredients. America would be a better place if the nightly news dealt with mortality--that when cars crash, people scream, heads crack on windshields and you will shoot blood like a geyser all over the the stretcher; the casualness of--the encounter of death, I guess--is perhaps natural to countries who war on their own soil. That's our American luxury--wrapping ourselves in life-myth; concerning ourselves with shopping because we feel entitled and immortal--our wars are far away.
I am awake five hours too early.
And can't get back to sleep.
I had too many saffron-treats at the tiny party last night and wound up having this dream:
Phil Collins and I are in a gynasium, we know each other socially but are not really pals. Phil is wearing a wrestlers leotard, but is a severe amputee, and the bottom half of his body is prostetic. He and I are both working on stories for This American Life, and he comes over to me, and asks me to say something into the microphone so he can test the levels. I know my friend Jane is going to be the one transcribing Phil's tape, so when he turns on the recorder, I start making all these over the top sex noises and say "Oh, yes, Fuck Me Phil Collins!" --I crack up and fall on the floor laughing. Phil, in turn, cries.
Dear strangers writing me emails,
I appreciate that you are taking such care to craft me such pointed missives (&those haikus must have taken hours); I welcome this all, as discourse is the best--but, I must say this--addressing me as a bitch, a stupid bitch, a fucking cunt, a stupid cunt etc.--means I will not write you back. And those of you journalists, who feel called to rep for journalists everywhere when you call me an "idiot cunt", best blv I will not hesitate to print yr emails with yr name and your publication's signature footnoted at the bottom right here on this blog.
Meanwhile, just so the whole free world of the little tiny critical internet knows, I apologized to Merritt for my zealousness in branding him a racist, an apology which was recv'd quite graciously. I know admitting that you are wrong about something is against the bylaws blog wars/the internet/idiot cuntdom and all--hope yr not dissappointed in me breaking protocol, or take me apologizing to someone as a sign of eminent apocolypse--but surely, there is another good two or three ILM threads to be milked from this admission alone.
Today is the 25th anniversary of Nelson Algren's death. I feel like City on The Make is more this city-soul, with it's do-right whores and Division street devils and ghosts at last call, old world Poles mopping the sidewalk with someone's face, the poor at the fringes--is more, still, this city than hogbutcher to the world. In that Joan Didion interview I posted a link to last week where she talks about how there is a whole novel in one line of Henry James, I think the same of Algren. I am finishing the new John McPhee, the one about frieght lines, and that feeling of getting lost (wonderfully so) in these strings of jargon (he writes in the exclusive dialects of truckers and ship cap'ns)--until it's tangled, hallucinatory--there is that in Algren, too. All that misery under the streetlight halos, real people misfortune, drunk boxers in love with good-luck girls, "Ogden Avenue eyes,"--if you have not read your Algren, start today. Or soon. Neon Wilderness is like a Lifter Puller album, without Special K and late night runs to the ATM. You'll be rapt! Promise!
Walked down Chicago ave this morning, with my ol' pal JR, on our near daily constitutional, me looking like a cross-dressing boy scout, JR looking like king-hell brawler with his shiner, stiches and sleeveless bootleg Motley Crue shirt. The streets are mean, but we look even meaner.
Also of note: Array of Joni Mitchell on You Tube. Bless.
Joni and CSNY do "Helpless" at Wembly, 1974. Neil seems hateful behind his reflective shades, Joni's voice sounds like wind in the reeds, Stills rips a sick solo.
"Hejira" from Joni's Shadow & Light film, which the poster describes, quite comically as "joni mitchell is skating while jaco pastorius is playing": dude, it's a music video. Seven minutes of Joni dressed like a giant blackbird, ice-skating, interpretting "Hejira" while a Canadian Olympian in a mens leotard rolls on the ice. Joni's beret + ice dancing man + Pat Metheny's solo + Pastorious globular, fretless tones---the only way it could get more 1980-sophisticate is if they were skating on a frozen lake of red wine, armed with the severed-boner of Donald Fagen.
Joni and Johnny Cash duet "Long Black Veil" c. 1970 on his variety show. Joni's teeth like a garden gate, Cash is southern chilvalrous and flirts with her using hillbilly humor.
Carla Bozulich has made a new record entitled Evangelista. Listening to "Baby, That's The Creeps"-- a song that hits mid-album, and reminds me of how on the (new) liner notes of Patti Smith's Horses, someone wrote how there are really two parts of it, before "Birdland" and after. Before "Baby" it's fine strokes of tension, apprehension wrapped in see-saw howls and organic noise collage and cellos that hole out yr malaise (it's a natural for Constellation, former home of Godspeed You Black Emperor), when she comes out the otherside, it's the tenative calm that rises after something ferocious is gone, but roaming free.
In the nine and a half minute opener, she comes on like a tent-revival Diamanda, swinging her pain with such swagger, you'd think she had a patent on it. I always thought Geraldine Fibbers were just an excuse-slotting for that twang at the back of her voice; their urbane cowboy bit fenced her in I felt. There is something really merciful to hear Bozulich let loose dusky wails like she knows the truth--that there is no reason not to.
The last "band" I was a creative partner in was called Megafuxx: the Touchmaster Infiniti and I, about oh, four years ago. We played three shows, on our laptops, we were on a Lumpen comp once I think too. We made songs for dancing to and a rejected Dis Plan remix, all of them delightfully fardled; the source materials will help you place the exact summer they were made during. Samples of air raid sirens, reclaimed from the province of "rave", building a song around found audio of US Troops blowing up a mosque, the song that our rollerskating team almost won Laptronica with-- being in a computer band was way more fun than being in a punk band! Gratefully, embarrassingly, The Touchmaster takes us in the wayback machine via Myspace.
If an effort to do something more productive with my day than sob intermittently, I read three issues of the New Yorker and then promptly cut off all my hair and I now sport a femme version of this popular cut:
It should take a minimum of about 18 months to return to the length it was when I awoke this morning, disgusted by mine own vanity and palpable concern about whether it was poofy ; I decided, as a liberated woman of a third wave and a first world, "poof" is no longer going to be a valid concern.
I have gotten the transcript of the Stephin Merritt panel I walked out on, and apparently missed Merritt qualifying his thoughts on Song of The South with the following:
Stephin: Well, one great song. The rest of it is terrible, actually.
So, I retract my earlier statements about what I took as his appreciation of the cartoon and am sorry whatever grief that has caused him.
It is a rotten thing to do, to pick favorites, but I have some. Many. But in particular, Al and Nora. Them both, right now, have hair so wild. Nora has a perm gone wrong-right and Al has grown his Prince Valiant euro-skier ' doo out and he looks like Manson. So much so, it is the first thing people point out. Not me, but that's only because he looks like Al to me at all times. I also like them as individuals and as a couple, for their personalities and friendship as well. This would be a hard city for me if I did not see them as much as I do. Al and Nora and I walked to the Ice House for a comic-art influenced movie curated mini festival that also included, regrettably, some, well, I think you could call it improv theatre. Many of the works, short films and animations were ironic. I felt a little gipped on my $4 paid at the door until they showed a movie by the woman who I think is the best unknown comix-drawer in my known universe, Lilli Carre. There was a short animated, non ironic, very sweet film of hers where a dog digs up a bone and a woman looks at the sky, grows a star for a tooth that rings like a bell when it sparkles and stares at the moon on a little hill. She stares at the moon until she is skeletal and her head bounces down the hill and the sound effect for that was the clucking-clicking sound you make when you suction your tongue to your mouth's roof. I would pay $4 just to see that little movie again.
Lilli Carre lowdown: you can buy her comix mailorder through Quimby's link to the right, but you can also browse a sample of them here. I really love the way she draws hair and grass. She makes them look warm, like you could mush into them easily. When the little character says "Tomorrow I will mow you" to the grass, that is also my favorite part. 100 Favorites, At All Times.
Today, a tone of desperation in the Statcounter Search Terms which lead some one to this bloggerita, via Google: Where can I find my secret unicorn friends for ever? Suggestion: Look on Myspace.
Also, in greatness today, Jeff Johnson, recently liberated from the editorial caste at Jane, posts hard about Ann Murray and Helen Reddy. I thought Helen Reddy was a joke, until I dj'd the Veteran Feminists of America conference, and when I played "I am woman" a roomful of 65 y.o.+ women stood up and joined hands and sang it, then demanded I play it again. What will be the song we one day do that to? Maybe "Steppin to the AM" by 3rd Bass? Or maybe "Don't Give A Shit" by D.O.? (You can do the chorus with the burping-solo part. I can't burp on command.)
Also, I am driving up to Minneapolis on Monday, if someone needs a ride or if you want to come with, let me know. I have to see the Kiki Smith exhibit at the Walker. And my family, too, just in case Iran blows up Israel while I am there next week.
monkee on the roof
Do you need a file cabinet? It's painted baby blue and orange, comes with free magnets. How about some 1950's light fixtures? A wooden school chair with a dinosaur I painted on it? 60 lbs of glass mosaicing tiles and supplies? An old wooden chair or two?
Email me today or tonight for dibs and I will tell you where you can pick them up later this week. Free is ok, but if you are able to barter the following: helping me move a bed frame nine blocks in your van or about an hours worth of access with a paper shredder, I am that much more partial to your appeal.
Drew Daniel wrote a letter, I think to the Voice, and emailed me a copy as well about my comments about Stephin Merritt on this blog. Here is his letter, along with a clarification.
To Whom It May Concern-
I am writing to set the record straight with regards to Jessica Hopper's account of Stephin Merritt's comments at the EMP Pop Conference this year. I was also a panelist at the keynote in question and I take issue with Jessica Hopper's interpretation of what was a fun, witty, thoughtful, and at no times "racist" conversation. I have to say that in the past I have liked Jessica's writings on punk rock, emo and feminism, and I like her as a person too, so I was disappointed by her weird selective quotation / distortion of the evening on her blog. Here's the deal: we were asked about "happy songs" and Stephin brought up "Zipadeedoodah" as the only good song from "Song of the South", I countered with a claim that I preferred "Everybody's Got A Laughin' Place", we both said that it was nonetheless a horribly racist film, and the coversation moved on. Apparently, Jessica Hopper stuck around to hear Stephin praise "Zipadeedoodah"but "left for a smoke" just before the film itself was criticised, a disappearance whose timing I find pretty, uh, convenient given the polemical character of her response. That said, Stephin and co-panelist LD Beghtol weren't always speaking clearly into the mic, as we were all turning our heads to speak to each other, so it's also possible that some comments were muffled. But I heard every word that Stephin uttered, and at no point did he make a racist remark, and at no point did he endorse the racism of "Song of the South".
Later in the conversation, Stephin did make a point about performers of different races being treated differently by their audiences in terms of genre-based expectations about "authenticity". His gaffe at this point was that as an example of a black R+B singer he cited Celine Dion, which was (duhhhh) a factual error that people in the audience quickly corrected. Stephin shifted ground to Mariah Carey and the conversation continued. He balanced his dislike of the modern R+B singing style with plenty of praise of gospel singing and Aretha Franklin's gospel recordings in particular. Merritt is guilty of one thing: not liking Celine Dion. Given the "poptimist" position of some in the audience, and the general hipper-than-thou vibe of a gathering of professional music critics, Merritt's reference to Dion's singing was a red flag (lots of people at this event fall all over themselves to reclaim various pop stars who are widely critically reviled, etc.) I think it was just an honest mistake that popped in while talking about a kind of singing that he loathes, but at no point did Stephin make a racist remark. I hope that this helps to clarify things, and I hope that Hopper will either apologize or consider retracting her statements, as they defame Mr. Merritt without justification.
So here is my thought, which I meant to put in the original post, as the theme was touched upon during EMP enough, but didn't---What I thought about the digression about Song of The South, and yes, it is entirely possible that things were said that I was missing as people were talking to each other often instead of into the microphones, was to just plop out an "I love it all" re: Song of the South, and leave that, unexamined, to me is questionable, especially in the face of the eternal debate of Does liking a racist thing make you racist, or by liking it, are you complicit, post facto?. I tend to blv, in most cases, "yes". That was my read on it. I understand, it's not most people's reads of it, and no, when I was there, for the parts I saw, and I bailed about 60 seconds after he said he loved it all, that was enough for me... Merritt never said anything bad about black people, (though he did say some bad things about Celine Dion). He lbespoke his love of Song of The South.
Also very worth reading: comments on alla this from Jane Dark's Sugarhigh! about the playlist meme y otro.
" All those possibilities. All that perfectly reconciled style. It made me afraid to put words down." -- Joan Didion on reading Henry James, 1978
Fitted Sweats provides a link: Joan Didion interview from Paris review 1978. Reading the process of others make me realize how pathetic my own writing habits are; I write for deadlines. My attitude about my writing and my discipline around it are frought with fear, which often hobbles my ability to do anything with words but fluff this blog every day. Fear too twisted and elbaborate to consider, but I consider it anyhow. What helps is reading about "the process", or in the case of Bookworm, listening. Their interviews with authors, even ones I don't know, often feel like a grail. Subscribe to the podcast, you will not regret it for a second. The Octavia Butler interview was fascinating, I keep going back to it. Her voice is like a comely foghorn and her artistic and political reasonings are inspiring, to put it lightly. And even though I have found his work inpenetrable, the David Foster Wallace interview is also fascinating. DFW verges on getting in a tiff with the host when talking about his lobster book about the nature of writing. Total brain rub.