Monday, February 28, 2005

If you're around your webdio, I'll be on KSPC 2-3 pst, Wed.. Nothing special, just filling in.


If we were allowed to miss anything, this would be sad.


Attended ethics lecture by Steven Darwall, one of the editors of an anthology I'm using; his line is that empathy (somehow distinguished from sympathy by requiring a second-person standpoint) is necessary for respect, and hence for a dignity-based ethics. Wants an emo Kantianism, in essence. Describing Aretha Franklin as "another Michigan moral philosopher" (he's at Ann Arbor), he attempted to illustrate his distinction with the difference between "Respect" and "Think," and by playing the performance of the latter from The Blues Brothers; the DVD didn't work.

Mixed feelings about this manner of proceeding; and about the philosophical content as well.


Confession: I don't use the iPod that much. I tend to forget to charge it. In any case, The Band's "Up At Cripple Creek" came on as I was exercising today, at the Hollywood Y in which the photos for the cover of The Basement Tapes were shot. Benefit/anniversary concert in April.

Rest of meme: Can "Mushroom," some Trollin Withdrawal song that I must have gotten from Vanderslice and which is actually as bad as most indie-rock is alleged to be, Go4 "I Found That Essence Rare," EC "You Belong To Me" (tym demo), Urinals "Surfin' with the Shah," Dizzee "Round We Go," Band (the froggy bass? clav? worked with DR), OutKast "God (Interlude)."

Rich with meaning.


As to songs played in controlled environments: Last night, grocery store, "Weird Science" and WKRP In Cincinnati themes. Neither quite as bad as Garrison Keillor singing "Forever Young" with a women's college choir, encountered in the car this weekend.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Something I've been circling around: The 2-3 mos. I took off from this blog, the first long gap since I let its existence get around, changed my attitude. On returning, I realized that it had been freeing not to weigh in on every rock-crit meta-debate that came around. Ex: Nostalgia-as-heroin, KS's NYT "rockism" piece. Not that I couldn't have found much too much to say about the latter: EMP screeners came this close to reading a proposal called "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been A Rockist?" But not feeling the need to impose myself, to hear my own voice -- just fine.

So, I'm going to stop apologizing for the personal tone I take here, and for the fact that most trains of thought initiated in this venue will not be followed out. If you're still inclined to visit, you're more than welcome; but we're all very busy, I realize. This was begun half as diary, half as place to put stuff -- a file -- and in this fashion, it will continue, for a while.


The personal committment required to master a discipline tends to invest its practitioners with the conviction that it is foundational. Philosophy, mathematics, physics, certainly; but also psychology, cog. sci., sociology. The only obvious exceptions would be what are sometimes called the "special" natural sciences, e.g. geology. Related tendency of critics to argue (no, assume) that either history or the au courant, according to their preference for and expertise for the other pole, is not worth their attention.

How often do you say yourself: I don't know anything about X, and in some sense should? (Not with self-loathing, but with perspective.) How often do you admit it to others -- can you admit it in your work, yet keep working? Or would not believing that you've got what needs to be known/known about in lockdown already be a weakness (or a ineffectual relativism in disguise)?

(This is an abstraction from my annoyance at the tone of many blogs.)


Against this, pleased to see Third Factory recording his observations a bit more fully. (How does the inframince/thin differ conceptually from the subliminal? I tried to write some infrathin imagery into a song about Stammheim prison, but I can't remember why I thought there was a relationship, never found a hook, and was ripping off Luke Haines anyway.) (And, strangely, I was singing "Zip" on the street the other day myself -- and just suggested to theater blogger Maya that Pal Joey would be a decent musical to revive cheaply.)


Behrle : Foetry :: this defunct magic* blog; this forum.

*As in prestidigitation, legerdemain, conjuring. Something I haven't talked about here -- last month, after doing a few card tricks for friends and family for the first time in a long while, I've gotten back into this old interest. It was a matter of time: Where I used to recite lyrics to myself to get to sleep, I had recently begun doing routines I used to know in my head. I've been down the street to Hollywood Magic a couple of times since, and bought a couple of recent books of card material (which aren't cheap but seem less outlandishly priced than when I was a kid). To change comparisons, some aesthetic (I should say, methodological) distinctions about magic map onto musical ones : Sleight-of-hand ; tracking live in a room :: trick deck ; Pro Tools. I do prefer working with a borrowed deck -- producing an offhand miracle appeals to me more than an obviously prepared one, though the effect may be similar in each case. Nothing up my sleeve.

(Warning about the above links -- magic humor has about as much general appeal as, well, academic/poetry humor.)


And I forgot to ask Jordan how the Go4 were. Jordan, how were the Go4? (Since I have no principled anti-reunion stand, I think I'd see them if I had an opportunity other than Coachella, but this thing in the Pareles article about re-recording their old songs with "better equipment" -- how can that not turn out badly?) (No, I have a stand, which is to decide on a case-by-case basis.)


De Palma's Body Double: I must have seen this once, because much of it seemed familiar, but I had completely blocked the porn-set set-piece set to "Relax," complete with Holly Johnson. Otherwise, I don't quite see what the director thought he was adding to Vertigo, other than stage blood, tits, and winking. Deservedly forgotten lead actor Craig Wasson is Guttenbergesque in his blandness.


Recently heard, on separate occasions, Bob Welch's "Ebony Eyes" and Atlanta Rhythm Section's "Imaginary Lover." Had to ask someone who each was by, but could sing along with a dismaying proportion of both.


One problem with arguments against self-ownership (Cohen, Attas) which aim to block the move, via Lockean labor arguments, to external property (Nozick) by cutting it off at the root: It isn't obvious that a conception of self-ownership needs to include all the 'sticks' in the 'bundle' of rights often associated with property; most significantly, rights to transfer one's property rights to another, and to waste or destroy it if one chooses. Locke himself denies that we have such privliges under "natural law" (I think he thinks it's conceptually impossible to sell oneself into slavery, as does Mill) but he still takes himself to be defending the idea of a property right "in oneself," which might well be a weaker subset of the modern 'bundle.' (In any case, the argument from self-ownership to external property is a mess.)


Come back.

Not here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Third wettest L.A. season on record, and counting.


Perry Mason: "Do you recognize this?"
Witness: "Why yes, it's...my monkey scarf."


You Can't Take It With You (1938, Frank Capra). I wish I thought Lionel Barrymore's libertarian was meant by the actor or director to be insufferable, but I doubt it. (By the original playwrights, Kaufman & Hart, possibly.) Edward Arnold is practically the only real life in this "warmly humanist" claptrap -- even Mischa Auer oversells it.


"The problem of understanding why our attitude toward bullshit is generally more benign than our attitude toward lying is an important one, which I shall leave as an exercise for the reader."

-- Harry Frankfurt, On Bullshit (Princeton U.P., 2005)


I must have looked dazed in the 76 station minimart this evening. 60 yr-old (he told me) Armenian cashier: "Sometimes it is too difficult to choose, because always there is something new." (It might have been "every minute.")


Helped out at KSPC by interviewing one Thomas Venker, editor of the German music magazine Intro in advance of a small symposium this afternoon (which I couldn't attend). He used the phrase "socialized by indie-rock" more than once in explaining his perspective, though we also touched on European hip-hop and his electronica label onitor. Also learned that Adam Green of Moldy Peaches is even bigger than, e.g. Conor O. in Germany, appearing on "TV my parents would watch."


Everything else I did today was a waste of time (I only teach Tue. and Thurs.); didn't even get the chance to find out if I'd work or procrastinate, b/c of completely external matters. Saving graces of awful driving experiences, Mon./Wed.: Ornette, This Is Our Music, Disc One of an industry-only 4 disc set of Bacharach hits (mostly overlapping with the Rhino BB box, of course), KSPC jazz DJ doing a Harold Arlen tribute this a.m., inc. a great Kenny Burrell "That Old Black Magic."


"Pop groups tell us to love syllables"

--Lisa Robertson The Weather, if I'm remembering it right. If not, I'll change it when I get the book out of my car.

Monday, February 21, 2005

I'm told that there's been some trouble loading (or just scrolling down in) this blog lately, possibly a result of adding the counter code, and possibly only in IE. I've tried to do something about it, but if anyone having trouble would take a sec and tell me (email link at right)?

Better, mood-wise, but only somewhat. Overextended -- already, again. I don't think I truly suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder. It isn't the short days that get me, but the grey, the rain*, the sense that the sky is a low ceiling. Still, some full-spectrum bulbs couldn't hurt.

*And the shitty L.A. driving it causes.

Enjoyed the shows this weekend; playing in both Pedro (ocean smell, standard-issue boho coffeehouse on old-downtown Gallery Row, nearby mariscos joint*) and Sierra Madre (another smallish downtown, Arcadia-adjacent, always get there after everything except the bar is closed so I can't tell you much about what goes on) feel very different (better) than playing in Los Angeles proper. Rob's readings were engaging, esp. the scene about a conspiracy theorist's plan to sell dehydrated meat; his Hacks are much-improved by a new drummer (Ron Sloan from long-ago Long Beach band Don't Mean Maybe). I finally realized that the songs were reminding me of The Silos, was very surprised when Rob hadn't heard of them. Bassist Gayle Fornataro turns out to be a Buffalo critical theory Ph.D. who did her diss. on Iragaray -- Bernstein and Federman were on her committee. Really didn't expect to be having a conversation about Cavell this particular evening.

The Urinals are dead solid, and in their current incarnation have an amazing knack for seemingly simple songs that aren't so simple on examination. What Is Real and What Is Not? is easily in the same weight class as ONoffON, and there are three good new songs in the set written since then. In S.M., they closed with a translation of "I'm A Bug" into Mandarin; don't know why, but it worked. Folks were nice about my sets, and Kyle sounded good, but I can tell I'm rusty.

Spoke to a fellow in his late forties who described his experiences in a corporate band. Apparently he and a partner worked for a firm that made dialysis equipment; they would give professional presentations at medical conventions during the day, and play Jackson Browne and Jimmy Buffet covers at the evening mixer. "200 nurses -- if you can't get something going at that gig, forget it."

*And marquee going of at the old Warner Grand Theater for the premiere of We Jam Econo, a new Minutemen documentary. Sadly, it's this coming Friday, and I'm fairly committed to seeing the Hold Steady.

Speaking of neurochemistry: Halfway through Alice Flaherty's The Midnight Disease, on hypergraphia, writer's block, and like matters. Poppish sciency-artsy books are not my bag, because they're usually reactionary; I loathed Jourdain's Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy, and any New Formalist who uses the term "hard-wired" deserves to be slapped. This isn't quite like that, perhaps b/c it's not really about the explanation or evaluation of what makes valuable writing valuable in some sort of positivistic terms, but a review of a set of possibly incompatible perspectives on process (Jakobson and Christopher Dewdney are both invoked). Many interesting factual tidbits, e.g. aphasia became easier to study after the Franco-Prussian War b/c rifle bullets produced smaller brain lesions than musket balls. Modestly recommended, if you have the time.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Typing this sentence instead of posting about the diverse forms of negativity coursing through me. Which would shame me and embarrass you.

You think I haven't noticed that I tell you what books I've acquired, but then never mention reading them?

Dialectic of complaint and apology.

Fat and hungry, like a good American.

Just a taste. Trust me.

Hey, like I said, come to the shows!!

[Update: For the first time that I know of, I heard/saw Linkin Park's "Somewhere I Belong," last night; the word "negativity" is prominently placed therein. Not exactly a good sign.]

Hmm, I want the stats, but not the on-site counter...will figure this out.

First things first: Playing two shows with the mighty, mighty Urinals and the country-rocking Hacks this weekend. The occasion is the publication of The Hacks' frontman Rob Roberge's crime novel More Than They Can Chew. Saturday, at a coffee-house, I'll be solo; Sunday, at a bar, Kyle and I will be on the Long Stem Rant tip, as Daniel is in Rome. That will be louder. Details:

Saturday, February 19
399 W. 6th St., San Pedro, CA

ROB ROBERGE readsĀ 8:30pm
all ages -$5.00

Sunday, February 20
70 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA

everyone does their thing an hour later than Saturday
21 and over only - free admission


So, last Saturday: Got lost in my first attempt to make it Jeff Chang's reading/signing. I thought it would be easy enough to find something with an Echo Park Blvd. address, but I assumed it was in the portion that runs through Silver Lake, so I didn't take directions. Found myself near the restaruant at which Jordan Davis and his special friend Meghan had invited me to join them for dinner; so I went there, got their directions, and led them through a few freeways. Missed the reading/talking part, and had already mail-ordered a copy of the book, which means I'll be demanding his signature later on, when he reads at Eso Wan in March. Said hey, was asked for advice on staying healthy on tour (he's doing a remarkable number of events), could give little as I largely failed to take care of myself on 0pb jaunts. Had some guac, picked up Martha Cooper's Hip-Hop Files and the CS,WS mix-cd, which I'd call "edutaining" if that didn't sound like a slight.

Egon of Stone's Throw/Now Again was spinning in the bookstore's back room, which leads to the curious bit. Next evening, I tuned in to Pacific Drift, a new arts-magazine on KPCC. The host, Ben Adair, is working the Ira Glass/Dean Ulscher self-presentation a little too overtly, but the show seems genuinely good-hearted, and it's nice to hear something like this being produced locally. In any case: Sunday's show included a segment on Egon, which I think I knew about ahead of time. He's talking about the (mostly interracial) funk bands and records he's unearthed and re-released on the label; as a for instance, he recounts the tale of 'Lil Lavair & The Fabulous Jades, who hailed from San Bernardino [my ears prick up], released one single on Lennan Records, run out of Upland [my eyes widen] by one Leonard Wojtowicz, a polka enthusaist who saw something in the band. Here, my jaw drops: This would be "Polka Leonard," the gentleman with the too-thick-for-anything-but-community-radio accent who hosted KSPC's Sunday Morning "Polka Party" for decades. One of the station's most popular shows, with sponsorship from Cassaletti's Polka Palace out in Cucamonga, well before that town became "Rancho." I followed him on the air many times -- for some reason, I always recall an occasion on which he described (off-mic) his ne'er-do-well son as a "loadie."

Always pleased to learn that some of the unlikelist people may have a role, however small, in bringing the funk. Wish I'd known all this a day earlier -- would have had an excuse to talk to Egon, whose project I admire no end.

Sorry for the flabby prose; just wanted to get this down.


Oh, and the flooded remainder bookstore: Is this a So. Cal. thing, that every so often, some abandoned store or storefront suddenly becomes a Crown Liquidation Outlet, not bothering with carpet, decent lighting, or more than one employee in their quest to get rid of some print in its last stop before being pulped, and then disappears a few months later? I've seen this three times: Once near the Trader Joe's on Santa Monica, once near LAX, and now out in the Empire, on Monte Vista, in a cavernous ex-Price Club [post-Fedco/pre-Costco discount store] that they must be renting dirt cheap. I noticed it the day after a storm; the roof had leaked, plastic over about half of the long sawhorse-tables of outdated computer manuals and Marianne Williamson books-on-tape, puddles between, and dryers running. It was something like buying books in a subway tunnel. My fascination with these places is half provenance (how did this one small press book get mixed in with everything else?), half the saving-a-kitten impulse that is the only excuse for a third of my record collection. Single copies of A Wave (pb) and Being and Time (hc) sitting around, and one of that current novel with the upside-down dog on the cover, totally chewed up. Nearly went for the Moody/Steinke young-writers-on-religion anthology, settled on Sennettt & Cobb, The Hidden Injuries of Class (1972 social ethnography of working-class Boston) and what is outwardly a children's book on Margaret Thatcher, but which turns out to be solidly informative.


I have to register the 15 mins. or so that I saw of General Spanky, an Our Gang feature set during the civil war. Seemed to have that late-Marx Bros. structure of the comic stars being present to help along true love. I thought the Little Rascals lived in Brooklyn, not the Old South, but what do I know? Not worth mentioning but for the chase scenes in which Buckwheat makes repeated attempts to bop a Confederate soldier on the head with a log, finally succeeding when the latter (the solider, not the log) becomes entangled in a rope trap. Make of this what you will.


Between the rocking and proofing some galleys, nothing more here until sometime next week. Hey, why not come to one of the shows?

Monday, February 14, 2005

"Memory is sabotage against the city's regime of speed."

-- D.J. Waldie

[Angelenos may be more inclined to read the whole than the rest of you.]

Cass McCombs' PREfection sounds something like a terribly recorded Interpol record with lyrics by a crazy person who thinks you know what he's talking about. I love it -- too bad I figured this out four days after he played here.

I could swear a woman behind me at the movie Thursday had one of these.

(self-reminder of what to post about when some work is done, prob. Wed. a.m..)

jordan/jeff chang/egon/polka leonard (!!)

flooded remainder bookstore

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Spent 1/2 hr. watching MTV "Hits" while Bree tried to decide on a filing technique for our now more or less co-joined collections of sheet music. (Xmas songs, pathetic ballads, Italian novelties....Where do you file "The Old Grey Mare"?) Never seen The Ashlee Simpson Show, don't care either way about the lipsynch; like the hook of "Pieces Of You," dislike the rest of the song and everything about her presentation, too many cutesy moves at the mic. Kelly Clarkson "Since You've Been Gone": Completely enjoyable teeny-rock, combination of 'can sing' w/ controlled feedback surpringly effective; verse better than chorus, points off for 'destructive' video. Lohan's "Rumors," oh, like heck you want to be left alone. Nelly/Tim McGraw duet: Well, I can manage to recall the chorus after one hearing, but otherwise, doesn't really go anywhere; point of the video is that these guys (who never appear in the frame together) are basically the same, fixing their do-rag/hat, pining over 'her' picture, signing autographs, pumping their own gas (?). I bet the drummer from Jet is really glad he found a job where he doesn't have to shave his neck to show up for work; even Bree notes, "Oh, they're trying to be like the bad Beatles." Couldn't get into the Ashanti song; switched to a few minutes of Walker, Texas Ranger, in the course of which Chuck Norris (or his body double) bested a black guy at kick-boxing and wrestling, then turned it off.

Enjoyed myself at Mtn. Goats show Thurs.; always weird for me to see the mix of worshipful strangers and people we've known for a decade or more. The "devil's work" song from the Transmissions To Horace CS -- haven't thought of that one for a while, nice choice. Overall, the set seemed the best of the last 3 or 4 I've seen. Ended up on stage for: Two songs from the upcoming one, an unrecorded Extra Glenns song, two with drummer from the openers (Radiation 4, a tense, unglamorous art-metal band from Diamond Bar, CA who John befriended on tour; the singer had Peter's ex as his high-school physics teacher). "Palmcorder" rocked, I will say even as one who helped it do so; my gtr started to cut out on "See America Right," but by then looseness prevailed anyway. Encore of NPB's "Houseguest" (John's idea, not mine); I ought to figure out how he gets people to respond to the lyrics so strongly. And a "Going to Georgia" with ex-bassist Rachel Ware, who hasn't been on stage w/ John in six or seven years, and w/ me I don't think ever. To state the obvious, playing (even half of) that kind of show is somewhat different than my daily life. 2nd billed band was, to everyone's surprise, a new power trio led by Jon Wahl of Clawhammer -- I couldn't tell if there were songs or not ('Hammer had some fine ones), but strong players, esp. this bassist Steve Reed who I've seen in a couple of bands; a monster, as they say.

Saw Billy Wilder's Five Graves To Cairo, w/ von Stroheim as Rommel, last night; second feature w/ The Grand Illusion, which I'd rented a couple mos. ago but dropped into the last fifteen mins. of to see the scene I used in the Farber piece. (You actually can tell Dalio from Gabin in the last shot, by the scarf.) Five Graves is entirely diverting but not entirely defensible; I think it's the first Wilder/Bracket screenplay, but it's closely based on a stage work, and Franchot Tone's speeches remain overwritten. Anne Baxter's French accent comes and goes; Italians are casually made fun of for their military uselessness and voluptuary tendencies, though I think you're ultimately supposed to prefer them to the Germans. As their general puts it: "Can a nation that belches understand a nation that sings?" Most interesting to me for a scene where Rommel uses salt-and-pepper shakers for an impromptu demonstration of military strategy, in essence the example that I used in my diss to think through the possibility of modes of representation not based on previously established convention (i.e. not language). If I ever grow up to teach exactly the courses I'd like to, this might get screened alongside The Crack-Up and Celine and Julie Go Boating.

Resisted Joanna Newsom for a while, but in vain; never quite imagined I'd hear a record that reminds me of both Victoria Williams and Peter Blegvad. (Yes, it all comes back to an '80s-'90s cosmology.) A few precious moments, like the one where she moans "Cassiopeia" several times, are exactly what one expects, but not many; most of the inelegance in the lyrics doesn't bother me in that she's usually trying to get something fairly complex across. Like the material better than the singing, but the harp is not a gimmick; in fact, the disc's main failing is that the those arrangements are so much better-realized than the piano/harpsichord numbers.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Giving up elevators for Lent.

Public trash receptacle, corner of 2nd and Indian Hill; soiled tube sock neatly folded over rim, next to (unsoiled) maxi-pad positioned like its twin.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Jennifer Moxley and Steve Evans have called their L.A. reading/talk on account of illness. Damn; get well soon. Some comfort to be taken in the remaining visitors to the city this weekend: The Mountain Goats, Jeff Chang, and Jordan Davis (he's only reading in S.D., unfortunately).

Also sucks that the L.A. event for this got cancelled. (I was supposed to help M. Zapruder wrangle some willing poets and band; the small room at the Hollywood KF withdrew the night; I was too busy to be involved in finding a new venue.) And that Valentine's Day is on a Monday, so I can't participate in the either the S.F. or D.C. events (same link, rollover the hearts for lineups), esp. the latter, which is probably the only time Jenny T. and Rod Smith (the poet, not the music writer) will share a bill.

Considered posting a list of everyone who voted for Nellie McKay (tied w/Rilo Kiley for 14th) but not for anything else relevantly connected to cabaret/standards/jazz vocals; if you don't recall why I would think this mildly amusing, you're better off. But, after looking at most but not all of the lists, it seems that would be nearly everyone who named it at all, so the project is redundant. (If I'd gone through w/ it, I'd have called votes for Keren Ann and/or Rufus Wainwright close enough, a vote for the [lower-placed than I'd have guessed, though I say this w/ no schadenfreude] i not close enough -- because plenty of people who care about Stephin don't 'know the territory' either -- but I was struggling with Scissor Sisters, though I counted only 3 overlaps.] Many are heavy on female singer-songwriters in other genres, esp. alt-country, but I can find just one critic, Ellis Widner, who is demonstrably concerned with the narrower genre at issue, naming Rebecca Martin (an album that I've thought about picking up and now will, on Maxjazz, which released the great Patti Wicks disc I voted for last year) and a solo effort by the Manhattan Transfer's Janis Siegel, which I'd say takes guts in this crowd.

As to my own ballot, if anyone cares enough to raise obvious questions: Liked Showtime, but couldn't pretend I didn't hear Boy in Da Corner until early 2005 , or that it didn't work on me harder and longer than the follow-up. And while I realize that picking "Dark of the Matinee" 'instead of' "Take Me Out" is idiosyncratic, I didn't mean it to be perverse.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Bought new tires; brake job next week. (It's like I'm daring you to keep coming here.)

(a) Seed packets with promos. When will it end? (b) Don't understand why DFA sends me CDs of their various singles (Juan MacLean, Black Leotard Front) but not the LCD album, which I'd be far more likely to 'place.'

Glad I saw SF/J's "hideous, self-indulgent whinge" before he deleted it. I though it actually raised some interesting questions about audience, the least of which would be, "Did Robert Benchley have to put up with this crap?" But, since it's gone, I won't go on about it. Also glad to hear word of the jazz-Pavement disc, which is indeed a stranger turn of events that the lite-classicalization of Elliot Smith. I enjoyed Cyrus Chestnut's first album Revelation a great deal, and saw him at the time; one would like to know what interest "Trigger Cut" holds for him. (I also note the album was recorded at the same studio as We Shall All Be Healed; I've played that piano!)

The "I Stand Accused" recorded by Jerry Butler and many others is a distinct song from the one recorded by The Merseybeats/EC, but it is apparently not, as credited on some Butler reissues and unlike "Make It Easy On Yourself," a Bacharach/David song -- as might have been reported in my book at an earlier stage, like, before this weekend. Ah, can't wait to find out what I did miss.

M.I.A. was an intriguing presence Thurs. night, but the live presentation was vaguely disappointing -- or is part of the 'disposable' plank of her platform supposed to involve not really doing anything with the live format that any other rapper wouldn't? Fuller review in the Weekly next Thurs., probably nothing those who already know don't already know. (Side comments: Funny that she studied art at St. Martins' College, just like the interlocutor in "Common People," and that an ex-Pulper helped produce the album. And, I knew there had to be a feature out there called something like "Tamil tigress burning bright.")

Otherwise, the high point of the weekend was a quick Sat. a.m. trip with Bree up to the Friends of the Camarillo Library bookstore (no web-presence, but 642 Las Posas Road, 805-484-8935: I'd call for hours). Can't remember how I found out about it in the first place; not incredible, but you never know: Picked up a 50-cent cassette of Bill Withers' 1974 + 'Justments, a copy of Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State printed by "Foreign Languages Press, Peking" and containing a small stamp with the address of one Peggy Ann Hicks of Rancho Palos Verdes alongside a purple unicorn, and seven BBC Dr. Who annuals from the '70s and '80s for $3.50 each, some of which are apparently far more collectible than others.

Did spend some quality time with L. Robertson, The Weather today, but I'll wait 'til I'm done.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

I'll try to make your visit more worthwhile in the future -- I'm well aware that the intellectual/critical energy evident here has been pretty slim since my sort-of-'return' -- but right now I'll merely register the flat tire that just prevented me from making it to a 7 p.m. screening of A Star Is Born and call it a night.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Real quick:

Some of the time I might be free-reading in is currently eaten up by teaching two courses not in my AOC, but they're compressed into Tue-Thurs., and I am managing to poke my head out of the hole on the long weekends, now that the MS is in. More TV in my life than usual, as I'm staying out at my parents (near Pomona College) two-to-three nights a week; last night, watched The Arcade Fire sing flat on Conan. I believe it was the one about tunneling through the snow. Does NBC not give these people monitors? On the other hand, I'm exercising again; I don't really think about the fact that I'm wearing a shirt that reads "RUNT" in huge letters, an indie-era gift of ex-fanzine editor Lara Cohen, but it does draw comment at the Hollywood Y.

Seeing/reviewing M.I.A. tomorrow night; just rec'd and heard the album today -- kind of wild that the first moments are a chant based on the word "banana," as I'd just been listening to Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B on Sunday, on which the Neptunes-do-"Mickey" "Hollaback Girl" features the very same, as in, "The shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s." (Just add Joe King Carrasco, and you've got a radio set.) Also loving "Bubble Pop Electric," which I didn't know was one of the Andre 3000 collabs (this is still the Gwen disc I'm talking about) when I popped it into the car: Yes, "Johnny Are You Queer?" but also, I'm betting, D-Day's "Too Young to Date." Those The John Waite-ish semi-power-ballad "Cool" is strong as well, but the rest is pale by comparison; the song about Japanese designers (plus plugs for her own fashion line, hip-hop cross-platforming, I guess) is near-unlistenable, and when a second song references Vivienne Westwood, the first one becomes less winning. The other Andre track, the interracial romance joint with a boring title, is Princey-messy with a nice sloppy ending, and very -- as in too -- well-intentioned. But the three, by my count, highlights are high indeed.

The MOCA exhibit by the Winnipeg drawing collective Royal Art Lodge was a fine way to kill 90 mins Sunday, but it was hard for me not to reduce the aesthetic to Edward Gorey in the Martin Apartments, esp. as various subsets of the group also have 'bands,' don'tcha know. Not at all surprising that they've collaborated/shown with Dame Darcy.

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