NPR on Nymphoto via Matt Olson.
I have been reading this one poem almost every day, not just because it is good and funny and true but also because it jump starts my empathy. I'm not a naturally... gentle with other people type. Babies, kids, animals, the infirm and elderly, but other adults, not always. Mostly just that line "Sometimes we are asked to get good at something we have no talent for" makes me want to treat the whole world as gentle as a baby. I made JR read it whilst I cut his hair the other day. He was wearing a trash bag. The line about "Bruce never played the lightswitch again" made him crack up, too.
So, here is Tony Hoagland's poem Self Improvement for your edification.
And now, now is time for the disco, because the reason you live in a big city is so you can go see brilliance like this.
New movie from my fave feminist director. ANTICHRIST looks awesome, the tags ("cabin, scary") are promising enough, though the part in the preview with Charlotte Gainsbourg slamming her head repeatedly on the porcelain toilet rim insures that this is more than your usual turns-out-your-cabin/marriage-is-actually-Hell-with-a-capital-h film; she's got boils, DaFoe is giving us his creepiest since Bobby Peru's little teeth.
A bit by bit review of Harry Smiths Anthology--scroll halfway through the Mississippi John Hurt entry currently up and you will hit a compilation of 60 "Frankie" variations on the Frankie & Johnny murder ballad from Tin Pan Alley up to Elvis.
Chicago folks--my dear friend David Scott Stone is looking for a show/party/yard/anything to jump on after his collab-date with Lucky Dragons next week. 5/6 or 5/7? Holler at me and I will pass you his way. He plays the modular synth and his sets are only about 10 minutes long.
It's too warm to fire up the oven today, but this is on the immediate-future to do list: buddy-from-the-olden-days Steve Gdula posted a recipe for Frosted Orange Cadamom Cake with Saffron Glaze over on Warmest Room In The House.
and secondly, sors if this blog is all links-a-million this week, I am all writed out from the last few deadlines I had to meet. Meanwhile, my Buraka Som Sistema story from today's Tribune; post-colonialism discourse up in Sam Zell's pages, y'all.
It is here! Finally! Alas! Huzzah etc.! The Huggybear/Bikini Kill tribute 12" I did the cover and a liner for; me and Quitty did the liners. His is like 7 times longer than mine. There are only 300 of this record on the Teardrops label, so act fast! Here are the funny cover pics shot at an angle. Morgan and Kate on the front, Timmy Kinsella and JR Nelson nearly nude on the flip. The original art direction I got for this was "maybe a rainbow vagina or something?"; glad we didn't go with that.
The AP reports: "A federal judge told ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday to forget about starring in a reality TV show in the Costa Rican jungle and focus instead on the corruption charges that could send him to prison for years.
''I don't think this defendant fully understands and I don't think he could understand ... the position he finds himself in,'' U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said in denying the impeached and indicted former governor permission to leave the country."
Though I don't expect the city council to do much or reverse a deal that is racking up ticket revenue--hearings are being called about the meter deal, which is better than nothing. Chicago's bustedness is something I have always appreciated, if not occasionally loved; things here are dirty and old, progress is slow if it comes at all. You can rely on these things, but getting ganked at the meter is insult to injury.
Starting tomo NPR is streaming the new St. Vincent album, which is quite nice, I woke up with that line from "Actor" playing in my brain, the line where she sings "I think I love you / I think you're mad" but because of how she enunciates "mad" (like she is fronting a vaguely British new romantic band whose album is a retelling of Madame Bovary) you know she means mad-crazy not mad-pissed.
Here is the trailer for the This Am. Life live show this week
that you can see in 400-some movie theatres in America and I think one in Canada. Me and my sister saw it here last night, Matt did really well, it was dramatic and musical, it was a delight. I was so proud. I can't stop thinking that this week he will appear "via satellite". His visage will go in and out of a satellite. I keep imagining a ray like a little noodle shooting through the sky. Come Friday, someone I love will have been reconstituted and delivered through an orbiting contraption.
Perry Farrell sings Osch Shalom on the Chabad Telethon, link courtesy Eye Rocket. Sadly, this is not included on the Janes boxset DVD, secondly, I like that his yarmulke is matchy matchy with his silver blouse.
Epic snap from the Old Grey Lady for the child of Weathermen's new book:
He goes on to emote, in the same paragraph, about how she had known “shame and betrayal,” “sorrow and loss,” “wealth and pride.” It goes on: “She knew what despair was,” “she knew what gratitude meant.” Please make it stop."
Miles wrote about the Bazan show last week. I don't think, in 2009, anyone's going to write a more gloriously devastating song than "In Stitches", which closes Curse Your Branches. It's a breaking-up-with-god song, it's like the eviscerating inverse of say Dylan's most confident "I Shall Be Released" with the bitter nostalgia of Van's "Beside You"--but with an air of fuck you indignation--that ends like so:
When Job asked you the question
You responded "Who are you
to challenge your creator"
Well if that one part is true
it makes you sound defensive
Like you have not thought it through
enough to have an answer
Or you might have
bit off more than you could chew
It's like the emotional nuke at the end of a bare-all record about the fallout from Bazan's skepticism.
Some clean up:
Nora playing drums with ye younge Bird Names, denim onesie suit, barefoot, hitting the toms with a tambourine, huge smile, snaking fake foliage and an animal tail under the ride. Every facet awesome.
Moussouri. However it is spelled, I drove in it.
Catch up in the parking lot.
Backstage. Wish someone would post card-mounted thoughts for the week round here.
Hold Steady show at the FFM at Calvin emboldened by Franz playing THE GIANT PIPE ORGAN WITH TWO STORY PIPES THAT WAS LOCATED BEHIND THE STAGE. It was as loud as the amplified band. How fortuitous!
Dr. West and Lupe Fiasco. I have thought about their conversation everyday since. Mostly I think about when Dr. West asks Lupe about what he hopes his legacy to be and he said something like: if I have at any point lead people astray, I would rather not be remembered at all. I gasped at the humility.
Bazan house show. Courage in motion in a lie-free zone. Heavy.
And after the Bazan show, theres the afterparty. Every time I walk into El Taco Veloz after 10 pm on a weekend night, some unexpected bizerk display of music is going off, this time it was the most killer 10 pc. Mariachi band that was so loud we couldn't even talk over them.
I have to say, I am really in the thrall of David Dark's work right now. Or maybe enthralled, as I think "thrall" is more like "clutches", and this is more a stunned hungry wow. I am plowing through this new book in order to get to his previous stuff, but took a time out for a lissen as well: here is his workshop from FFM in downloadable/streamable form--he reads a little from his book and then goes deep on Blake, Marx, global consumerism as the only true world religion, The Road and Radiohead and Arcade Fire and perversion, as well as the prophetic tradition within episodes of South Park.
Here is my conversation with David Bazan; I think it came out pretty good, esp. from David's answers in the second half about how the Battle of Seattle and 9/11 politicized Pedro the Lion lyrics. Matthew Carillo-Vincent's "Don't Let Me Explode" Negotiating Masculinity and Ethics in The Hold Steady's Separation Sunday, was a paper I liked quite a bit, and Erin Keane's more straight read about Hold Steady and grace and Micah Lott's Mountain Goats paper which "examines the “logic of eschatology” in Darnielle’s song-writing, paying special attention to themes of suffering, justice and hope"--he really pops open Darnielles themes.
Lissen, Flossie: the This American Life LIVE! show is coming up at a theatre near to you, and second showings have been added now too, and a fun time will be had by all, but ALSO! ALSO! Matt Clark, as in my Matt, seen here modeling a "Got Consent?" button on his apron,
will be playing guitar with Joss Wheedon in/on that same-same show! So proud! Watch for him!
For full effect, hit play here unless techno-throb is not suitable for work.
When your best friend says he's never been to a rave, what is there to do but take him to the closest approximation you can get list for, which in this case was the Crookers / Deadmau5 show at Congress last night. Crookers was perfunctory party stunts, Deadmau5 was the real ish, the people watching was unparalleled.
JR on the right, dude in Justice costume on the left. Despite the startled look on his face, it must be stated JR DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE.
Can you blame him?
Ringing in Easter morning with 4,000 hard-rolling glowstick gnawing strangers while the girl in front of you removes her tights very, very, very slowly and then holds them up to the pulsing lights, stretching and examining them above her head while she gets a backrub from two shirtless dudes at the same time...it's like living in a Hold Steady song.
Why be asleep when you can watch a teenage girl wipe the energy off her boyfriends face? I cannot front on a 12-infinity minutes mix of Robin S "Show Me Love" at thunderous volumes. I cannot lie and say I do not love it.
That mist hanging above the crowd? A potent waft of acrid drug sweat and Axe body spray.
I wonder if they are a couple or maybe best friend roommates or maybe they are both waxing techs at a spa in Northbrook or something. They were using each other to balance.
Question, in case someone here knows: I'm find Martin Chalmers translation of Jelinek's Greed is stultifying at best, but mostly just unreadable--any suggestions of where else to start with her?
A little housekeeping: David Dark's book is kicking my ass. It really comes and gets you where you live. It's unsettling in it's questions but it's also a post-culture war balm--it's valuable for evaluating culture in general, perfectly timed to feed us questions about our role and relationship with capitalism. I read the first chapter and then started over, I was so awed.
You may, regular reader, be wondering what a secular jammer like yourself would want from a Christian critic, but 1.) it's the most radical thing I have read in ages, a paradigm shifting inspiration, a gutting justice-loving Apologetic 2.) it opens with a paraphrased quote from "When Doves Cry" and praises Patti Smith and Richard Pryor as prophetic voices--it's very of the world 3.) it's really fucking good 4.) If you grew up being saddled with a mean god, burdened by a religion that was not your own, there is a lot here for you. 5.) if you have felt exhausted and bullied by right-wing Christian propaganda anytime since Reagan took office, there is a lot here for you.
Technically, I can't "hate" Natalie Merchant any more than I can "hate" someone I pass on the freeway. We don't know each other; "hate" sounds as if she'd keyed my car, or groin, or placed a lien on my house. "I hate everything Natalie Merchant stands for" isn't accurate either. The woman has foolproofed herself by embracing most of the world's noble causes. The most precise thing I can say is that I hate having her music forced on me in public spaces, which is a diluted, wussy sort of statement, a mincing of words as bad as the worst Michael Stipe lyric.
"Of course, the apocalypse bubble is far more than $700b now. What is most vexing about DeLong having eventually understood this crucial element of the structural nature of the crisis is that he still shies from considering its historical implications. And though we have absolute faith that he makes his calculations with the welfare of real persons in mind, he arrives at mistaken conclusions because he is unable to locate the crisis systemically: as one driven by a dynamic that moves toward crisis with the same motion that immiserates the vast majority of its participants. And so he can only imagine what are essentially pro-cyclical solutions, and thus finally pro-misery as well."
At dinner last night with Annie and Alan they talked about their restless teenage days in the wilds of Dallas. Alan said he would walk down the street and think "No one cool will ever walk down the streets of Dallas. David Lee Roth will never walk down the street here. I need to leave." I don't know if David Lee Roth is cool enough to walk down the street in Chicago, but here Alan is. Annie's way out was "stalking Riot Grrrl through the internet". Imagine if Riot Grrrl had happened five years later--which was about the time when about 60-70% of the people I knew had email addresses. Being a committed girl-punk/fanzine-editor et. al in 1991 meant you went to the post office at least four times a week. Anyhow, given that someone hunting RG moral lore via message boards managed to catch the wave ex post facto, and took that as permission--the legacy of RG being that potent, thats what we wanted, that is the success. I think people--punx old enough to know--still look at RG as somehow a failure because the bubble burst--what 18 months in? (Revolution Summer was just a fast few months of reckoning, but we don't consider it a failure because all it gave us was Fugazi.) Or think that Bikini Kill was the principal artifact of RG's existence, and when that operation folded, and that was our God-is-Dead moment. At the time, it seemed like the end of an era, but at that point, the legacy wasn't even ours/theirs to carry, though it may have appeared to be symbolically; it's most valuable foment had yet to even touch down in hearts in Dallas or New Jersey yearning to be free: Fifth-waver 10th graders who took RG as permission writ large, and now are racking up shred-heavy discographies of their own. What RG was or wasn't, or how it went down, I don't think is as important as where it has landed, how it was romanced in the hands and hearts of far flung kids, how it's manifesting in our dialogues about gender.The ends are the issue, not the means. It found the people that needed it.
Do you ever read a poem and think ENOUGH WITH THE MOON ALREADY! I wonder is that what makes you a poet—the interest or ability to write about the moon? To candidly behold the moon is central qualification? Does everyone pay that much attention to it? Am I missing out on this more than most because I work at home and don’t hit the bars? Do poets walk around face tilted skyward in the dark going “Oh you! The many things you are like!” I never look at it and think there is anything more to be written about it, anything yet to be transcribed about how it behaves or reminds me of some other non-nature, non-planet thing or my feelings, it is not a distraction from a divorce I have not had. Maybe by watching where I go I am missing all the shit is reflecting on to? The moon in the poem is like a signifier, it’s a telegram to tell us—in case we are stupid—though if we have read 4 poems before we know, like when Jane Fonda chain smokes in the nun movie about the virgin birth, we know she’s had an abortion.
I was reading the new issue of The Hat, which is much less ironic funny than last one, more disjointed words and natural world (I am sure these is a formal school, I do not know it's name when none of the words match up, I am like a grandpa=("I only know what I like")). Is that another sign of the death of irony? Less jokes, more moon? Maggie Nelson's excerpt from Bluets was enough to make me order it, though I know she has written about the moon before. Women blinding themselves in desire, Millet-isms and dropping naked desire in analysis blots whatever moon work exists out.
Interviews and audio from the FFM festival, including Craig Finn talking about returning to Catholicism, Dr. Cornel West interviewing Lupe and Dr. Wests keynote. The West v. Lupe and the second half of the interview with Craig are two of the top best things I saw. You can also get them as podcasts on iTunes.
Where is the place (book store or library) that I should do a book event at in Minneapolis and Seattle? Keep in mind that my book is for girls 10-16, not poetry-reading hipsters--needs to be a place appropriate for young women, i.e. there is not a huge fetish porn comic book section, they carry books for younger readers.
I will post about the Calvin College festival thinger, the Dave Bazan secret house show, the Dan Higgs show, the Hold Steady show, the Cornell West/Lupe Fiasco show, and everything else that populated the weekend soon. I am still thinking on it. Parsing. Also, I have no uploaded all the pictures yet. I haven't been abusing my time well. Goofing around before a slaughter of deadlines.
Andrew Beaujon, who you may know from co-founding Teenbeat/playing in the Eggs/editing Washington City Paper fame, shoots a flaming arrow into the breast of "new" "journalism" "solutions". SNAP! DOUBLE HUNDRED SNAP!
Via Andy Mulkerin, Paul Anka's "You're Having My Baby". "Seed" just isn't a word you hear much in pop songs these days, along with the idea that not having an abortion is a way to show someone how much you love them.
The Mae Shi's Christian Bale tribute "R U Professional".
Leaving for this festival, so if you know the good skate spots in Ann Arbor, speak up. I heard tell of some "amazing pudding". You know yr on a dry Christian campus when amazing pudding isn't a euphemism for something illicit.
FACT: every half punk straight girl has been gifted a copy of Bukowski's Women by a dude who she liked during high school . And though initially touched by this gift, soon realized how greatly we were not understood if he thought this might be a good gift, and that realization was soon followed by another that in fact this gift was not about us at all. Ironically, a book about a grode old drunk vomiting onto women he hates while he's fucking them only served to re-enforce to budding teen riot girls that the grown-up world was as hatefully imbalanced as the Bikini Kill demo made it out to be.
Knock three times softly if this is your story too.
Times real estate section features a nasty new construction townhouse, inexplicably describes Uk. Village as theatre and gallery filled. I wonder what theatres they are talking about? Do they mean City North 14, the best place to see a movie while people yell at their children? Because I think technically, that's Logan Square. Galleries? Rotofugi and that place on Western that I think is a guys house that always has fake Keene style paintings of girls in sexy outfits (which also kind of describes Rotofugi). Does two of something make a filled? There are 3x more Ukranian dentists in this neighborhood than galleries. I think maybe "now filled with drugstores, old man bars and a steady parade of the elderly exiting Orthodox churches very slowly" or "now filled with empty townhouses, a couple now-trendy one-time coke bars and grocery stores where everything is pickled that'll make your hair stink like brine even if yr only in there one minute."