Top Chef is long done, but yet my Top Chef dreams still come. I competed in a TC finale in my sleep two nights ago, I prepared rainbow spaghetti, which was barely cooked some of it might have even been straws I pulled from a drawer. I realized also some were barely cooked, so I put them in my mouth to soften them up, like I do with William's organic baby cheerios. And then I topped it with a chocolate ganache. And then I waited, wondering "what have I done? This is not even food".
STORY OF MY LIFE.!
Trying to de-crunch spaghetti in my mouth.
Also, if spaghetti was purple or rainbow, I would make it more often.
In real life, it's best I not know how to make ganache, because it's doubtful I would make anything else if I did.
I am not sure if this dream is better than the dream I had where I had a giant carved relief on my headboard of 80's era-Willie Nelson. It had eyes that appeared to follow you around the room, ala Scooby Doo. How great would that be? It would be the greatest.
MEANWHILE. ACROSS TOWN.
Poly Styrene died. The only time I remember actually stealing personal property on purpose was taking an X-Ray Spex CD from a party when I was 15 or 16. My totally adult bandmate, who was perhaps 28, brought me to a punk rock grown ups party and this was next to the boom box and somehow I had never heard it and someone put it on and once I heard it I couldn't live without it, so I took it. I remember sitting on an all season porch in South Minneapolis with christmas lights and grandma style patio furniture and feeling like a child and slipping that CD into my bag feeling like it was too important not to take it, like I needed it more than they did, the grown ups, who had plenty of bands to mean something to them. I was a girl and actually angry, and so the X-Rey Spex, Poly Styrene, they were more rightfully mine. My childish reasoning still holds.
Los Angeles, playing itself, c 1965-70.
My review of the new, very fabulous Tune-Yards album was in/on The Daily today. Perhaps you read it over someone's shoulder during your commute? The iPad is very popular for such things I imagine. I saw someone using one out doors, an old person, once. The old people in my neighborhood do not use them outdoors. They mostly just walk to the store and back very slowly with only a carton of eggs in a plastic sack. The other people walking in my neighborhood are clergy and Eastern Bloc men of a certain age who favor track suits and uniformly, small, puffy dogs. I assume they are the Russian mob dudes that run the neighborhood, though perhaps they are just men with easy schedules who work at home like I do. The younger of the men leave a scent trail unlike anything I have known. Like an airplane chemtrail of cologne. Like someone is mixing Axe bodyspray and Cool Water in a 50 gallon drum and lighting it aflame nearby. My dear pal Kate says she finds this strangely alluring, the smell, mixed with the constant cigarette smoke and International Male dressing style of the men of the Ukranian Village. There is something really commanding and confident about it, I will give her that. It is like they are wearing 50 car air freshners around their necks; 48 labeled "MAN" and 2 labeled "Pine Tree".
Also, just as I was turning in my review of the Tune Yards record, I was perhaps realizing it's an opus about power, maybe more so than violence, but it's about violence and power and cops. It might be an entire record about powerlessness and being dehumanized by violence. I would really like to have an hour or so to chat with Merrill Garbus and trot out my theories. Not to pit girl genius against girl genius (such is the norm! we are only allowed one at a time if media memory serves correct) but given how MIA true believers twisted that last record up into a heartful polemic, I would have thought it was this record. Does that make sense? That record, for me, was a lot of baked/half-baked ideas, caustic and neon-NOW, and given the reaction to Maya's work, you'd think this was the kind of records she was making. But Merrill's work has some parallels, her cut and paste method, her intensity, but it's a different animal. Different kind of pop, different kind of theatre. And I love her singing voice, too. My favorite thing this year, most defs.
We are getting rid of many books, in part because some of the book shelves are going buh-bye, because it's uncool that our infant can roll UNDER them. Also, there are too many books, read and unread, haunting the house. I look at them and promise time I do not have, and then a little part of me flashes through my life from about age 27 onward, and through the part where I got wireless internet and I just see all manner of wasted time, time when I could of read a book that has sat here, unread for nigh seven years. Today I packed up more books to be sold, mercilessly evaluating. No, I doubt I will ever have the kind of time to read a 612 page book about the history of the music business side of hip hop. Goodbye copy of The Second Sex that I have sold and rebought at least twice without ever cracking it. Peace out all those Nick Tosches books I bought in a fit of excitement in like 2000 and never read. Communist Manifesto, academic examination of Antonioni films, ancient cheap paperback of Brave New World--all going.
A sense of relief is already starting, though initially it was all sort of foot-dragging what if. But then I got real talk tuesday about it and was like, having to admit if I really want to revisit the Anita Hill autobiography, it is readily available. Am I bad person that I don't want to read the book about the lives of Pioneer Women of the westward expansion? I have only opened it once but it was fucking depressing. Children dying of pox and your drunk husband's cart-driving getting a wagon wheel broken and living off dried meats. UGH. I would rather read the comments section on a NY Times story about sexism. Which is to say not at all.
I am keeping many of my books about movies but only keeping two about country music. I imagine it's because I have more fantasy-brain tied up in movies and if I had any country music related fantasies in my head, well, the 60 pages of the Tammy Wynette biography that I have read so far have disabused me of them entirely, and I am still mostly at the part where she has like 4 kids and is only 23 and has a no good husband who keeps her living in a dirtfloor shack and she sets out to improve her station in live as a beautician. SHE IS NOT EVEN A COUNTRY STAR YET AND IT"S HARROWING. I shudder at the old times. My grandma raised my oldest aunt in a garage-like house with a dirt floor while her new husband was off in the Army, and she was Catholic and got pregnant the first time she ever had sex. What did women do before strollers, if you had more children than you could sling to you? Maybe you did not care, since only recent times were children's gentle souls respected. Imagine being seven and going to work all day. The olden days were bullshit. Depressing books begone! Only dishy biographies and expensive art books might remain at the rate and severity of this purging, but if that's how it must be, it will be.
My essay on Lady Gaga, her real fakeness and her as white swan to Britney's black swan in this week's Nashville Scene. My editor said "would you like to write something on Gaga?" and I said "Yes." and he gave me a deadline and this is what I turned in and that was that. It's nice to have creative freedom--I am particularly proud of this one. I guess this the upshot of no one letting me write about Gaga until now, until we are ass deep in her cultural zietgeist, is that it gave me time to consider her.
ALSO: Would you like to buy my magical bookcase? It will make your books look fancy and keeps them very clean.
The science behind making your own yogurt, as well as the recipe. This is stupid easy. Plus, the start up costs are $6 approx. Yogurt on demand, plus it's not in plastic. Perhaps the best news I will get all day.
Interview with poet Bernadette Mayer is worth the long read even if you don't know her work. I didn't and I loved it and I got to the bottom and ordered a collection, new, so as to vote with my dollars. In the words of ESG: Sample credits don't pay her bills. Being an early influential feminist poet is probably not the money maker that being John Ashbery, or even John Ashbery's houseboy is.
I read the Tina Fey book in one sitting. One and a half sittings, and oh my, HOW I GIGGLED. I fell off the three books a month reading pact due to the psychic impact of the fucking Keith Richards book that made me hate him and the medium itself for a few weeks. But now, now this Tina Fey book, with it's large font and pithy feminist jokes has rebirthed me, joyously, unto the world of literacy! Huzzah! I recommend it with all my heart.
I am glad I do not have to do my reading on the bus, like Matt does en route to work, and have to stifle my laughs so as not to catch looks from the passengers on the #66 Hell Bus. Matt often comes home and recounts stories about like, a dude talking full volume into his cell about taking a woman he pimps to Victoria's Secret "to get her sex on". Or men trying to pick women up on the bus. Or women yelling a disgusting, obscenity-laced story animatedly in front of children. These common place in-public type situations are just a few of the numerous reasons I work at home.
My day is far more innocent. Just changing diapers and cursing the cats and taking the lives of ants at will, letting Ukranian nanas flirt with my son on our walks. William is tolerating our strolls, I think, mostly for the squirrels and birds. He crawls-crawls now, and this weekend even pulled himself up to standing. Dude wants to go on his own, not get pushed around in a wheeled seat with Sofie Le Giraffe as his lonely co-pilot.
I thought we would have more time until he was standing up and pulling all the records off the shelf. He is only 8.5 months. And lo, this morning I walked away for just a second, and upon my return, William had pulled a 7" from the shelf, removed all it's protective layers and was a-chomping upon the little records edge with all 2 and a half of his teeth. This will be the next several years of my life. Chasing a baby around the house, pulling shitty band promos out from his jaws.
Sometimes I worry, well, it's pretty low grade on my list of worries about his future, so maybe it's more like "a lite anxiety" about being funny. To him. Right now it is so easy to goof around and entertain him--all it takes is making a honk when he grabs my nose and giving him a little stainless steel bowl to play with, or one of his own socks and he is just delighted. I know that soon enough he will be a fickle toddler and be over old tricks like the honking and the shiny bowl and the sock. And then he will be a teenager boy and smell like cold cuts like all boys that age do and we will have to have frank talks about why not to do drugs. I AM ALREADY WORRIED ABOUT IT AND IT'S AT LEAST 12 YEARS AWAY. His feet are only like 3 or 4 inches long and I am worried about gateway drugs. This is the nature of parenting, I blv, in a nutshell*.
(* for every parent except Keith Richards, the guy in Georgia that tattooed his 3 year old with a "DB" for Daddy's Boy while in a blackout and the lady with the Kangaroo baby (see previous entry)).
This is totally what parenthood seemed like to me when I was 24, how this story is to me now. Kind of strange and sad but also super cute. Some thoughts:
Do sweatpants really protect a kangaroo from germs?
Putting a tie on a brain injured animal seems fairly dangerous.
If the city council is giving that much of a shit about this depressed ladies therapy animal, some one needs to go wilding, burn down some portapotties or something, give them some real problems and leave her alone. Doesn't Oklahoma have a concealed carry law on the books? These people should be worried about wingnuts with guns, not a woman given purpose by changing a kangaroos diaper.
Also, if you are in Grand Rapids this weekend, I am teaching a Music Criticism workshop at the Festival of Faith and Music at Calvin College, if you have no plans or are enticed by the Matisyahu show.
I keep thinking about Ben Weasel and his canceled Weaselfest. I feel bad for the guy. Yes, he lost it and jumped off stage and punched a woman who was antagonizing him, and her rescuer friend, and punching someone is never okay, even if they spit on you. Punching women is not ok, fighting people who are smaller than you is not okay. But Weasel is not Chris Brown, and he's not a serial assaulter of women. He's someone who fucked up and fucked up publicly. Reading his tweets from before the incident, dude really did not want to play SXSW and was agonizing over being there and it appears that being heckled just pushed him and he did something regrettable. It wasn't premeditated.
If he had punched a guy or two or even punched five dudes, we might be thinking more of him. If he punched a dude that heckled him we would say that the guy had it coming. We might dismiss Weasel as a macho freak or loose cannon. If anything other than what happened happened, no one would be reporting on it weeks later.
Weasel's mistake may have effectively ended his career, a punishment that doesn't fit his crime. His band quitting is one thing, bands pulling out of his festival and being very careful to distance themselves from him in print and professionally is their prerogative. To me, all this reaction might make sense or seem reasonable if this same scene didn't routinely and historically turn a blind eye to rape, assault and similar sketchiness perpetrated by dudes in bands.
Your indie rap crew can run a train on a girl too drunk to stand in an alley behind a venue and be welcomed back to that same venue on the next tour. You can beat up your girlfriend and not kicked out of the Shins for another year. You can do almost anything you like on a festival tour and have it hushed up. You can have a reputation for sexual assault and when your label decides to be the one to say the buck stops here and refuses at the last minute to ship your record, the existing copies of the record become collectors items. I know multiple stories, told to me first hand, from Chicago girls who were raped while passed out at parties by Chicago musicians--musicians who continued to work and have unimpeded careers long after these things happened or word got around. And this shit happens everywhere.
But those things didn't get caught on video and posted on YouTube. And those people in those bands are perhaps less disposable than Ben Weasel 25 years into his career. And those things are written off as a personal matter even when someone else witnessed it, and accepted as a rumor by everyone whose business depends on that band to put some money in their pocket, and everyone ignores a rep and goes along to get along.
Until all these bands, labels, anonymous commenters and 10-percenters expend the same outrage over sexual assaults that they do over Ben Weasel and his regrettable actions, but it's just a sanctimonius kabuki, making a big show of nothing but their double standards.
SLATE ARTICLE ON WHY BETTY DUKE'S FILING A CLASS ACTION SUIT ON BEHALF OF EVERY WOMAN WHO HAS EVER WORKED AT WAL-MART (THAT INCLUDES MO TUCKER!) IS THE MOST oops caps lock case that the Supreme Court will hear this year
My friend Joe Gross, who lives in Austin sez Deskonocidos are the best hardcore en espanol band in town. I might have to agree. Skaterock guitars. Feel it.