Sunday, March 27, 2005

Just finished a brief comment on a Rafael LeClerq's "The Aesthetic Peculiarity of Multi-Functional Artefacts," which I head up to Monterey to read at an American Soc. of Aesthetics conference on Wed., saving money but not time by driving; the highlight looks to be several papers Thurs. on conceptual art, which I'd maybe capitalize in other contexts. Then right back for a phil. lang. conf. in honor of my undergrad. prof. Jay Atlas' 60th birthday over the weekend. (So, no guarantee that I'll post again in the next week -- really would like to say something less bland about Joe, but time's at a premium again.)

And on the other side of that, the Cinematheque's annual film noir festival starts over the weekend; I'll start hitting these from Sunday on, even if it interferes with pressing responsibilities and my sleep cycle.


A group music blog that's new to me, on the 'hoedown' number(s) from various musicals. (I actually like "Shipoopi" (the correct spelling) though once in high school I listened to and OCR The Music Man multiple times on the same day, and woke up with a terrible Buddy Hackett earworm; some of Hammerstein's own exertions in this direction -- "This Was a Real Nice Clambake" from Carousel are, it's true, the worst numbers in his best shows, though I have a soft spot for "The Farmer and The Cowhand" from Oklahoma!, for its very inanity.)


Hit-count artificially swelled by searches on Z1zek/H0un1e; can't see what most of those interested would stick around for, so that part of previous entry is now deleted. One does get more hits on her w/ an alternate spelling; looks like the couple have collaborated on at least one thus-far-untranslated book.


Magic Markers do sound interesting, by the way -- will keep ears open.

Saturday, March 26, 2005



Read Edmund White's The Flaneur, in some ways a quick job, but the sources are interesting, there are lovely passages, and the insistent focus on various marginal communities (which he argues are not so marginal to contemporary Paris) is admirable for what might have been a much shallower book. (Contrast with A.M. Homes' entry in a similar writers-and-cities series, Los Angeles: People, Places, and the Castle on the Hill, maybe one of the worst books I've read in the last decade -- largely a love letter to the Chateau Marmont.)

Also reading Ron Padgett's Joe, which arrived in the mail while I was gone; for some reason, I skipped from the early life to the very touching chapters on Brainard's illness and death (strange to have heard Elmslie reading from Bare Bones just days ago). Now I'm going back to the middle, just coming to Schuyler's breakdowns. One ends up impressed and possibly influenced by the pursuit of clarity, on the part of both author and subject; and moved by the depth and constancy of their friendship.

Seem to have mislaid The Piano Teacher, which I was 1/2-way through and -- enjoying? Not exactly.


Meant to see a screening of Klute last night, partly because Bree's mother got her name from Jane Fonda's character (which, given that the latter is an at-risk prostitue, is curious), and partly b/c I just got the Criterion DVD of Tout va bien, inc. Letter To Jane. But I'll have to rent it, b/c Ida were in town an playing an early (8:30) show at The Echo. Always pretty, but I admit that I like them best when there's something more; also a looser set than I associate with them, much banter/indecision about the set list. Dan Littleton said it was the best time they've had playing in L.A.; since I've seen them try to get it over in front of talky crowds here (and have done so myself), I can see why.


Sam Frank, responding to my glib complaints about the Voice's noise-scene article, makes it all sound more appealing than the original piece managed to:

Not worth dismissing out of hand. Yes, it is pretty white (but what recent rock-related music has been less white?). But it's gender balanced (well, at least 2:1). And as determinedly international as electronic music. Also, fiercely local, and not dependent on big cities for its scenemaking. And near omniverous w/r/t music history--while it omits the well-made song, it has ears for almost everything else, analoguous to Forced Exposure at the end of its run but friendlier to stuff with beats and to metal proper and to classic rock so-called.

Also, while a lot of No Fun was "just noise" (sometimes to its detriment), I think something that makes room for Peter from Open City, Chris Corsano, and other improviser-improvisers, and puts them next to musicians with more naive/ecstatic/cathartic approaches (not all of them just blasting), can't be so quickly pigeonholed. It is hookless, true, but it has its own sophisticated methods of audience engagement--a whole range of them. It's music that more or less demands to be experienced live. And that turns its albums into interesting objects--usually just chopped-and-screwed records of jams,
no great claims made for their status-as-album. Often gussied up as objects--hand-painted, lathe-cut on cardboard or some other crappy material, and so on. Limited editions and quantity enough such that you can't own even a fraction of everything, nor should you feel pressed to. Hermetic--possibly, but I wouldn't count it as a bad thing that half the people at No Fun are making their own music at home. That's one ideal of punk brought home to roost, no? You should have
seen the trading community set up in the basement. I bought a bootleg of Wavelength and a CD-R of some cracked Baltimore bluesman.

(and from a separate email, after an uninteresting response from me):

I wasn't around for other waves of free stuff, except in recorded form and on paper in FE, etc., but I sense what's "new" now is: as with the rapproachement of punk and prog, formerly opposed tendencies are on the same bill or in the same band; more people, more women; less chin-scratching, more bringing the body into it--if only in occasional
moshing and in performances that know there's a crowd there and play specifically to and with that gap (prime example being Lightning Bolt playing on the floor, but there are plenty). In any case, the scene is very good about remembering noise history and inviting it onto the same bills as young stuff. There is no ageism whatsoever. A few more syntheses en route to absolute dorky spirit. And yet another if you place your other pole, as many do, at Sonic Youth, Magik Markers
(GREAT at No Fun--Peter said, and I agree, maybe the only time he'd ever seen someone effectively play guitar by physically attacking it--that is, linking the attack and the sound emitted into a unitary style), Drag City bands (including Newsom, Six Organs of Admittance, RTX), Young People, Animal Collective, Deerhoof--or another if you place it at contempo extreme metal (which I myself mostly don't, but many do)--or at contempo composed punk prog metal whatsit (Orthrelm,
Luttenbachers, Zs). And now we're almost back at what the better college radio stations are actually playing, and thus what indie rock (ha--college rock) de facto is. A lot of it still sucks, but the parameters are valid ones.

by way of brief response:

-- I was mostly complaining about the tone of the piece (which was appealingly dense, but also a little bit get-with-it-or-face-the-dustbin), not nec. the music; I've heard a good deal of earlier waves, esp. in my DJ role over the last 15 yrs., but not so much of the current crop. I always like some of what happens in this realm, though I'm usually more drawn to what I understand how to connect back to free jazz, and I have a hard time imagining a steady diet.
-- Probably, then, a good deal of my reaction is to how things seemed to go around 1994-5; lots of folks who had been in songish-bands (esp., not to put too fine a point on it, Pavement knockoffs) suddenly deciding they were above or beyond such retrograde modes of sound-organization, and suddenly turning sound-boy. I esp. associate this with the short-lived but influential zine Tuba Frenzy. So, yeah, knee-jerk.
-- And if the new sounds are less boy, great. Whiteness: Still a problem, on all sides.
-- Guess what I'm bored with is noise 'versus' songs. If Deerhoof, Young People, and J. Newsom are the more-structured end of this continuum, and have the same fans, cool, I like all of the above (and Open City for that matter); but this seems as much sociological/generational as anything.
-- I have to admit that I suspect I have been and still am more willing to do more of the work required to understand what some of these people are doing than many noise-centric folks would be willing to expend in understanding what someone like, frankly, me is doing (or would be if I played more than once every three months). There's a predeliction (and this I think was reflected in the original piece) toward supposing that the only reasons anyone would keep songs ('well-made' ones if you like) at the center of their work reduce to conservatism or ignorance. This, I deny; but I would be glad to be shown to be wrong about this asymmetry.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I know other people's vacations aren't interesting, but this will serve to remind me of some things I might want to come back to, if the oncoming pile-up of imminent activities abates. Will return to what normally passes for content here soon.

Wed 3/23

-- Labyrinth Books in the a.m.; noted down titles for an online order, decided there was no point in buying new and bulky books full-price.
-- new MOMA; ant-farm. I didn't think the effect of the new hanging would be as dramatic as all those Artforum essays suggested, but, yep, Water Lilies disappeared. Johns' Flag nowadays draws a bigger crowd than the Pollocks. I take with me: the Thomas Demand show, the Jeff Wall 'illustration' of the prologue to The Invisible Man, one small Vuillard.
-- back to the apt. to tune guitar, make sure I remembered the songs.
-- Million Poems Show: Listened to Jordan's monologue and Susan Wheeler's poems in her mothers' tongue from backstage, did my bit with a couple of fluffs, sat on the interview couch; my mic cut out every time I said the word "dissertation," then we got all Locus Solus on "lobster," "IP," "Perry Como" and a few others. Much gratitude to all who showed; all who went out for lychee-infused vodka afterwards (J-Shep poked her head in toward the end); and esp. Jordan and Susan. Actually, Gary (who I'm disappointed I wasn't introduced to) and Ange cover these portions of the evening better than I can. Bree, by the way, found it quite odd to meet people who 'know' her from her appearances here.
-- Since it was only 10:30 when that broke up, headed over to St. Marks. Of Capital and The Displaced of Capital, made sense; other things that aren't in front of me now; neither Graham Foust book...

Thurs 3/24

--w/ Bree, ambled through ramble to see a stretch of the parade; small, tightlipped group of IRA vets.
--plan was to walk down 5th Ave. to The Neue Gallerie, see the collection, and sup at Cafe Sabarsky (see M. Perloff, The Vienna Paradox. I read the website too hastily; gallery closed Thurs., but cafe open, so mission half-accomplished. Chestnut soup, linzertorte; among Vienna Secession posters near the restroom was a 1913 (?) advertisement for "Cabaret Fliedermaus" designed by a young Fritz Lang.
--drink w/ the Dean and family. I'll sound like a jerk if I recap the conversation, so I won't.
--KE's Lingoland. It does take a while to get used to musical theater vocal conventions, but this was a well-considered attempt to put some of his more accessible material alongside difficult poetic texts. One of the interpreters was much too cutesy, but the author's own presence balanced it out. Look out for the upcoming OCR. Found out a bit later that Ashbery had read in town at 7, but it was too late to change our tix.

Fri 3/25

--Bree headed down to Philly to spend the day w/ mom, great-aunt, cousin.
--Met Ange and Steve for coffee; discussed Kant, ideology, tax law, machismo of the avant-garde.
--walked across Union Square to meet 3/4 of current line-up of Scene Is Now; Sue Garner (who now plays bass for them) walked by entirely by accident a moment before I arrived: "Oh, I missed the band meeting." Conducted interview in nearby Chinese restaruant; embarassed that I didn't know about Phil Dray's book.
-- had just enough time to walk over to Footlights, picking up a Harold Arlen centennial tribute and two industrial shows (vinyl sale); brief conversation at the counter with a man who knew, off the top of his head, who had written them.
-- walked on sunny side of st.; hit Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to 4; Acela to Philly; met Bree at the hotel; dinner w/ family.
-- reason for PA visit; Bree's cousin Alicia Rose has the lead in this production of A Constant Wife, a 1927 drawing-room comedy by Somerset Maugham that is not w/out some feminist bite; much talk of economic independence. Full house; Alicia gave a charming and physically detailed performance, reminding Bree a bit of Constance Bennett (which is high praise, from her). The mother was played by Nancy Dussault of Too Close For Comfort (and a great deal of stage and cabaret work); met her briefly in the green room after, but what do you say to Ted Knight's wife?

Sat 3/26

--got up before anyone else and went to the Philadelpha Museum of Art before breakfast. More satisfying, in a few ways, than MOMA -- better Cornells, for one thing. Spent some time in the Duchamp room; turned a corner and found myself in front of the Cy Twombly painting that's the cover of Often Capital; bought the newish typographical translation of MD's "White Box" notes (though I don't have the Green, which seems to be o.o.p.). Didn't bother with the Dali show (I think it was sold out anyway), but a video room in the modern galleries was playing Destino, a Dali/Disney collaboration that had been started in the '40s, abandoned, and completed in 2003; sort of fascinating in being the very definition of kitsch.
--brunch at Reading Terminal Market; Amish youth flipping huge blueberry pancakes.
--back on train w/ Bree and her mom; worked on proofs; back to NYC by 4.
--considered trying to make some of the free first-come-first-seated Sondheim marathon at Symphony Space; was told on phone to "expect to wait several hours"; gave it up.
--Wreckless Eric at KF, 7-ish; honestly, I don't know his records that well, and there's a bit more to him, dried-out nutter or not, than I expected. Ran into Ira and Georgia.

Sun 3/27

--only wet day of visit; picked up and brought back Sunday brunch (Murray's Sturgeon Shop, H&H Bagels) by way of expressing gratitude to hosts.
--listened and responded to a French conversation CD for about an hr.
--packed; got extra bag from hosts to cart home purchases; made arrangement to meet Bree at 92st Y at 8.
--back out to get Xerox made of finished proofs.
--attempted to go to Housing Works; closed at 3 for special event; made for Other Music instead; scored 2 more volumes of the scarce Ultra Girls ye-ye series & used copy of the first Soft Pink Truth disc.
--came back earlier than planned, but Bree had just left; found her in a restaruant across from Y; she'd first misremembered and gone to 72nd before figuring it out.
--Dorothy Fields centennial celebration, hosted by the author of a recent biography; not quite as good as I'd hoped (more hard-to-take Broadway voices, relatively few unfamiliar numbers) except for Julie Wilson (a highly dramatic "Remind Me") and some recently unearthed extra lyrics to "I Won't Dance." Felt like being at certain things in L.A., in that Bree and I were the youngest people there by a good 30 years.

Mon 3/28

--made arrangements to have proofs couriered back to Continuum.
--heard of Bobby Short's death in the taxi on the way to JFK; strange note to leave on; so grateful that we saw him in his second-to-last season at The Carlyle.
--on plane, read incredibly depression George Saunders story in Harper's, and Terry Eagleton's review of two recent books on the Enlightenment; watched bits of After The Sunset, which seems to have made a very rapid exit from theaters; listened (as I had done off and on through the week, on a cheap Discman I bought one of these mornings for the purpose) to Guero.
--picked up car at Bree's, drove home, looked at mail, wrote 3/4 of Beck review before time-change hit me; slept rather than driving out to Claremont the night before classes per usual.

Tue 3/29

--more rain in one day than in a New York week-plus.
--taught, finished review between classes (wish the piece had more of an argument, but then, I wish the album did); dinner w/ parents, told them most of what I've just told you; called my grandmother b/c she just had a mild fall; watched parts of Sondheim-programmed movies on TCM, and just about all of Out of the Fog a slightly pink forties number based on an early play by Irwin Shaw. "Naked, naked as a mule, and bankrupt!"

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Slint at Irving Plaza? No.
Whitehouse at The Hook in Brooklyn? Hell, no.
Free first-come-first-seated Sondheim marathon at Symphony Space? Sure, except I called the box office and was told there was told "expect to wait several hours."

Wreckless Eric at the KF Tap Room? See you there.

[Been to Philly & back since last post; Wed.-Sat. to be recapped later.]

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


--packed; imported several Beck CDs (but not watermarked copy #439 of Guero, 'courtesy' Interscope) and some Bloc Party to iPod for upcoming reviews
--got to LAX w/ over an hr. before boarding, read chunks of LA Times opinion section ("Los Angeles -- the whole of it -- needs a return to civic and social investment, the kind of investment we're making in Iraq." Worse, b/c I think the author, Jervey Tervalon, is well-meaning) and NYT, in particular (1) the piece on the hipster ex-Orthodox now evangelical not-your-mother's-celibacy-activist who wears cat's-eye glasses and, according to the reporter, can drop the name of Bourdieu (though in what context is not mentioned, this capacity being a mark of meta-distinction) and (2) the thing by Paul Muldoon's wife about his becoming first a basement guitarist and then an actual performer. Much fun at the expense of the professor/rock-star disconnect. For my part: Writing some songs with Waren Zevon is fine, and I liked that poem where Lloyd Cole was mentioned, but this "Rackett" thing, man, what are you telling us, that, really, in some way, you rose to where you are in terms of quality and yeah, distinction so you could spend your cultural capital living out the Dylan/Richards/etc. fantasy that's nagged at you since schooldays? You're a poet because the art form the power of which you really coveted was unavailable to you, for whatever reason? That's how it comes off -- and that's a shame.

Oh, and Paul, next time you're actually working on the page, here's a free end-rhyme in your manner: lyric/acrylic.

--on plane, read most of The Atlantic (DFW more substantial on talk-radio than he was on lobsters; sniffy bit on how Dave Eggers' use of metaphor), visited with Bree, did crosswords, ignored Finding Neverland completely. Is that 5 hours? Oh -- Everybody Loves Raymond. Listened to no Beck, failed to crack Elfriede Jelinek's The Piano Teacher, which I'd bought in the airport bookstore.*

(LAX has that improved-bookstore thing going in several terminals; the one at American (I can't remember the name) isn't as good as a couple of the others, but being trapped with a slightly better choice, well, it's still being trapped, isn't it, but it's not being trapped with Tom Clancy. But I wonder where your name shows up when you buy, say, The Farenheit 9/11 Reader, much less Nietzche in 90 Minutes in the airport.)

--Landed at JFK slightly before midnight, planned to economize via mass transit, weakly indulged in a town car (but cut a decent deal) to Bree's parents (they're not in for a couple of days) apt.



Breakfast/coffee in apt., TCM on as background [several newsroom/crusading reporter flicks today and the next, variously involving

1) Bette Davis & George Brent (Front Page Woman),
2) George Brent & nobody you've ever heard of (You Can't Escape Forever),
3) nobody you've ever heard of (The House Across The Street)
4) James Stewart, Claudette Colbert, Guy Kibbee (It's a Wonderful World)

(1) and (2) also involve Roscoe Karns, cast as in His Girl Friday; in both (2) and (3) various characters and eventually the male protagonist are feminized by being made to write the advice column ("Bewildered Hearts," my new band), (3) is the really curious item, no relation to (and several years before) IAW Life, as indebted to It Happened One Night as to The Front Page, with a self-cannibalizing Ben Hecht screenplay too dry and near-absurd to have done much business, as when a boy scout spies the principals in the bushes, and the next shot shows him writing in his notebook: "9:15 -- spotted desperado and poetess." And:

Stewart: "Were you followed?"
Kibbee: "I came in circles, like a hop-toad."

[Now, I have to interrupt all this because Pretty In Pink is on in the background, and while I will hold my tongue about whether it belongs on this station, it is one of these movies where computers are used as a plot device -- Andrew McCarthy, hacks into some kind of terminal in the library to introduce himself to Molly R. -- but what appears on their screens, and how (he somehow calls up pixillated photos of her, and himself, immediately, in the midst of what appeared to be DOS -- bears no resemblance to anything you or I have done with computers. This happens constantly in the '80s and even '90s -- Basic Instinct has some ridiculous 'go see the computer whiz' scene, I think. Jon Cryer is the whole movie, anyway.]

--lunch w/Bree on B'Way somewhere between Union Square and 26th.
--visited Continuum, picked up new proofs to glance over, return before I leave town Mon.
--was supposed to meet Bree at an ornament shop we'd seen that turned out to be "exculsively to the trade," so stood outside reading The Piano Teacher until she arrived. Very much like Thomas Bernhard, both in use of repetition and loathing of the Austrian status quo. The mother would make a good celibacy advocate. Striking passages thus far:

"Vienna, the city of music! Only the things that have proven their worth will continue to do so in this city. its buttons are bursting from the fat white paunch of culture, which, like any drowned corpse that is not fished from the water, bloats up more and more."

"Many young people are driven to art, as in olden times. Most of them are driven by their parents, who know nothing about art -- only that it exists. And they're so delighted that it exists!"

(Makes me wonder if we can fit The Neue Gallerie in this trip.)

--The Strand. The Strand is not even that great in many respects, certainly not in poetry or philosophy, and yet:

Edmund White, The Flaneur
Kurt Weill On Stage, Foster Hirsch
Stewart and Wright, eds. Hume and Hume's Connexions
Judith Jarvis Thomson, Goodness and Advice
George Lipsitz, Time Passages in case I every actually decide to do something other than fly by the seat of my pants w/r/t cultural studies
G.E. Moore, Principia Ethica
Sam Lipsyte, Homeland

and from the $1 stalls --

Gregory Brunn, The Engllightened Despots
Michael Brodsky, Southernmost and other Stories. I've read four of his books Detour, Xman, Dyad, and the collection X in Paris, and own others. No one reviews him, and if I know anyone who's read him, it hasn't come up. Seriously -- does anyone read Michael Brodsky? I also wonder this about anything by Richard Powers (who I haven't read) after The Goldbug Variations, which some people swear by, but at least he gets reviews and some nice blurbs on the pb. I would not like to be a novelist.
Michael Gottlieb, Lost and Found which I own, like, and for a buck can afford to buy to give away

--Manhattan Diner, near the apt.

[in the now -- Annie Potts' closely resembling Suzanne Pleshette.]


Tue. (late start/slow day -- feel more guilty about this in NY than I would at home, though this was not meant to be a whirlwind, touristy 'vacation')

--in the a.m. before Bree felt like getting ready, graded 3 of the 6 papers I brought with me and went to that one bookstore practically across from Zabar's:

uncorr. page proof of John Latta, Breeze (hello, hotelpointer, if you made it down this far)
ditto, Peter Jay Shippy, Thieves' Latin (2003 Iowa foet, never heard of him but looked plausible on a flip, and trust me, the price was right)
Nada Gordon, V. Imp (funny in that I had meant to link to her mixed rev. of the Elmslie show)
Daniel M. Wegner, The Illusion of Conscious Will (just what it sounds like, from an experimental psych. rather than a phil/theory perspective; it's upsetting, this possibility that what we experience as the will has no causal juice whatever; Hume had about the same view, but does a lot of speaking with the vulgar, as do I.)

--some of the newspaper movies noted above
--back out w/ Bree, lunch at the Zabar's counter/corner room; knishes/fish chowder
--walked around the Upper West Side for an hr. or so, bought Bernarr MacMadden, Colds, Coughs, and Catarrh (1936, just what it sounds like) on the street for $1
--back to the apt., cleaned up some things online, finally wrote to some people I'd like to see in town, some of whom responded, eventually graded 3 more papers; thought about going to a reading (Jean Valentine/Rachel Zucker) at Labyrinth, but did not do so
--ordered in from a Greek place because it's cold out there, read more, made this list


One other thing I wanted to get down -- Somewhere, Eco describes semiotics as the study of (I think this is as I read it) "anything that can be used to lie." That is so cheap.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

X% inspiration, Y% perspiration, 100 - (X+Y)% self-promotion:

Rather than head to SXSW, I will be travelling NXNE next week to appear as the musical guest at THE MILLIONS POEMS SHOW, with Susan Wheeler and your host Jordan Davis. The date is Wed., March 13, the time is 6:30, the directions are here. I would love to see you.

Beyond that, I'll be in NYC from tomorrow until Sunday 3/20 -- going to Kenward Elmslie's Lingoland on Thursday, and there are one or two work-related matters to be taken care of, but the dance card is not entirely full, and I would be pleased to hear from friends and acquaintances who have time for a cup of coffee or something, whether you're coming to the show or not. I'll be online -- though I doubt I'll post more here until late in the week.

It's killing me that I have to come back the day of the Nightingales show -- still holding out hope for an instore.


Quickly. Saw Peter Medak's The Krays last night, starring Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet and his brother Martin as the '50s spiffiest English working-class hoodlums/mama's boys. At the Q&A, one learned that the director of, most famously, The Ruling Class and [...] Joe Egg is a Hungarian emigre who watched the Soviets take his dad away at gunpoint. Strangely, he's also a neighbor of Bree's parents in WeHo; we shook hands at their New Year's Eve party, but I didn't have a lot to say, being largely unfamiliar with what could be fairly called his varied career. The Krays, for its part, is quite dark, controlled, and allusive -- I saw bits of Mean Streets, the British cycle of gangster films Wollen has written about, and the film version of Noel Coward's The Happy Breed (in the domestic setting). The screenwriters seemed to be trying to make some kind of connection between the homefront experience of WWII and the rise of organized crime in its aftermath, but this was obscure.

In other Spandau Ballet related news: I haven't even cracked the cellophane, but I was entirely unable to resist the conceit of 12"/80s (Family Recordings), a 3-disc set of just what the title indicates: The extended mixes of a decade's worth of (mostly U.K.) pop singles, from "A Forest" to Curiosity Killed The Cat's "Down To Earth." (And, of course, Scritti Politti's "Wood Beez," one of the few tracks I already own; I actually bought this comp in preference to the early SP reissue.) I'm looking forward to revisiting the cases where this treatment seemed especially beside the point of the band given the treatment: Aztec Camera's "Walk Out To Winter," The Jam's "Precious." SB are represented by "To Cut A Long Story Short," somewhat in advance of "True" and U.S. 1.5-hit-wonderhood.


The music-toy mentioned last week is the "Symphony Painter" software for Fischer Price's "Color Pixter"; according to Time (I went back to the barbershop), the brainchild of M.I.T. Media Lab researcher Tod Machover. Next step: Find one.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Terrible Idea dept.: All-blogger band called Top Referrers.


found, 3/7

1) The Bohdi Tree, free shelf:

Typescript of "THE FORM": AS TRANSFORMATIONAL PROCESS; A Phenomenological Sketching -- Dissertation for Ph.D. in Counseling from The University for Humanistic Studies, San Diego, 1979.

2) On top of recycling canister, residential street, West Hollywood:

File folder containing documents relating to the "disposition of those literary and film properties ('Properties') as described in Exhibit 'A'), apparently related to a divorce settlement, dated Jan. 15, 1988. These include (verbatim passages from documents, authors' names withheld):

"Pepper in the Blood," a literary published work of fiction
"Wille Brown, a Biography," a published literary work of non-fiction
"Honor Clean," an original screenplay
"What We Do For Love, 100 Years of Trying to Get It Right," an unpublished literary work of nonfiction, authored jointly by [divoricing parties]
"Clothing Optional," an unpublished literary work of fiction

Also enclosed, signed copies of deal memos and book option agreements related to some of the above.


I thought xgau didn't read blogs. (See comment #34.)


When Teddy Met Kelly.

When a Complete Stranger Met "Houseguest".


To whoever is googling "going to georgia tablature": The tab-drawing software is down, but -- G. D. C.

In related news, the first rule of getting an advance of The Sunset Tree is, you know the meme. Possibly the The Escape of the MG canon (without the sestinas). Possibly not.


"If you have no comrades, then neither this little book nor anything else can help you."

Robert Paul Wolff, 1988 preface to In Defense of Anarchism

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

kspc 8-10

ulytau -- adai (rough guide to ctrl asia)
the ex -- the pie
gogol bordello -- balkanization of amerikanization
wives -- we came out like tigers

devotchka -- queen of the surface streets
game theory -- kenneth, what's the frequency/not because you can (for dan rather)
matmos -- on and on (split 7" -- gladys knight 'cover,' not stephen bishop)
little tempo -- chase your choice (new dub, hard to tell where from)
eternals -- space dance hall (from 'rawar style' -- hadn't seen this one)

burning spear -- rocking time (heartbeat reissue)
the electric indian -- keem-o-sabe (old UA 7", yr. unk.)
character -- lakeview annex
richard buckner -- charmers
cass mccombs -- sacred heart
david ivar -- these arms of mine (herman dune guy, otis redding song)
elisabeth cotton -- mama, nobody's here but the baby
bobby bare jr. -- motel time again (johnny paycheck tribute)

the evens -- blessed not lucky (ian & amy!)
the nightingales -- parrafin brain
the orphans -- you're so vain (not a cover, too bad)
the kassettes -- poems (riverside, all gals, heartening)
angeles drake -- the next sharp slope

machine -- there but for the grace of god go I (thank you, rael)
dj rels -- sao paolo (aka madlib)
gold chains & sue cie -- multifear
the juan macclean -- dance hall modulator dub

bill coady -- i'm back to collect (1973, from some random 80s comp on epic)
issac hayes -- i stand accused (the long one; people need to hear this)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Steve: If no one's broken the news, I'm afraid it's possible that you have "Big Rock Candy Mountain" in your head because, wittingly or no, you have been exposed to the current Burger King campaign, speaking of need, demand, desire.

[See also Joe Hill's materialist anthem "The Preacher and the Slave", from whence the phrase "pie in the sky"; esp. cf. final verse with "BRCM."]

I dimly recall a Trix sub-campaign in which viewers were asked to vote on whether the Rabbit should be given the Trix, building up to a somewhat-hyped spot in which the results were announced: It was a landslide "yea." But the children nonetheless withheld the Trix with the usual tagline. My childhood response to this belies Hume's claims that justice is among the artifical virtues.

The webplayer for the station Jon was on last night is Mac-unfriendly; says so explicitly in their "help" section. Well, thanks. Not the case w/ KSPC, I'll be filling in again 8-10 p.m. pst tomorrow.


From a barely-digested press release dba as a "Staff Report" in today's Upland Daily Bulletin:

Calling all teens: Pharaoh's Lost Kingdom Adventure Park wants you!

On Friday, from 7 p.m. to midnight, Pharaoh's and Props Productions host the Jungle of Fire, a themed anti-alcohol/anti-drug dance event. The Jungle of Fire will feature rides, food entertainment, and educational workshops to promote clean, safe fun for agest 14 to 18.

A DJ will be spinning Top 40 and hip-hop music on a 20,000-watt system.  There will be special lighting and effects including lasers, fog and video screens, as well as a jungle. Additional entertainment will include performances by The Empire Movement, Negative Feedback, The Color Turning, Jasper Avenue, Nile and a fire dance.

Similar dance nights are planned the second Friday of each month with a different theme for each, said Sean Faustina, public relations director at Pharaoh's.

As horrible as this sounds, I am somehow gladdened by the idea that someone thinks it's a good idea to call a band The Color Turning. Mathy soft-emo, from a quick spin of their mp3s; couldn't tell if Christ was in the house. "Nile" is actually a pretty good name, but not easily searchable.


Reminds me of something I overheard in Pedro a couple weeks ago: "I like the idea of local music...."


From the same paper, today's Family Circus. Two groups of kids on the playground; Jeffy speaking: "We'll be the good guys and you be the insurgents."

I think I missed the one where "Not Me" surveys the wreckage of the WTC.



"In one experiment, one group of students at Simon Fraser University were given a Simon Fraser coffee mug and asked whether they would be willing to sell their mugs for prices ranging from $.25 to $9.25. Another group was asked to choose between getting a mug or the money for the same range of prices. Notice that the two groups are in equivalent choice situations up to the prior specification of ownership. Each is choosing between final states of having the money or having the mug. Nevertheless, the mediat reservation price of the owners was $7.12, while that for the choosers was $3.12."

Monday, March 07, 2005

Was just forwarded the following from Jon Langford, which I'm sure some visitors would like to know about. I assume we're talking Central Time, here:

Tonight (March 7th) between 10pm & midnite will be my debut as host of the Eclectic Company. It's a new show on WXRT (93.1 FM) Chicago that features me blathering on and playing anything that takes my fancy.

I'll be in the eclectic chair every other Monday playing stuff you'd never normally hear on the radio & dragging in interesting people to pick their favorite tunes and tell tall tales. Last week my rotating co-host Nick Tremulis talked to David Johannsen of The New York Dolls and I've got rock-writer Greil Marcus, fellow Mekon Sally Timms and Jon King of the Gang Of Four lined up as guests.

tune in on line @ wxrt

Friday, March 04, 2005

Scary words: "Your work on the proofs are now done." Better than, "Listen, Balzac-boy, that's it."


"Truth does not lead to fortune, and the populace grants neither ambassadorships, university chairs nor pensions."

--Rousseau, On The Social Contract (trans. Peter Gay)


If one argues that (for example) 'serious composition' should wither away if the paying audience is insufficien to support it, one ties value to the market; if one argues that it should be subsidized despite its unpopularity, one courts elitism. Third way?


aesthetician <---> philosophically informed critic <---> aesthete



Saw item in Time while waiting for haircut about software for some children's toy that allows you to draw soundwaves and hear them played back, sounded as though there were some cheapo Pro Tools/graphic notation possibilities here; cf. Pixelvision; forgot to note down name of product; note to self to find the issue.

Thursday eve. after haircut; missed an aesthetics lecture (Dominic Lopes) that I had written down b/c I was watching Office Space in my...office; Fri.: planned to go to UCLA for David Chalmers talks (one Matrix-based), realized it wasn't until next Fri., watched Chabrol, The Flower of Evil, visited Bree at her mom's, came home to grade papers, became too despondent to get out of the house for Mizoguchi; Sat., woke up much too early, drove to an organic cafe on a part of Melrose I never visit to grade more papers, ran into Bree's family's friend Taylor, was invited to dinner party Sun.; waited for used annex of nearby metaphysical bookstore The Bohdi Tree* to open, picked up Fassbinder's interviews, Nicole Brossard, Daydream Mechanics (practically the only unexpected book of poetry in the section), Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, Peter Wollen, Readings and Writings (Verso, 1982 -- don't think I've ever seen this book before), visited Bree at sister's, took walk around neighborhood, attempted to find pencil sharpener in last remaining typewriter ribbon supply/repair shop in greater Los Angeles, did get out this time for Mizoguchi dbl. feature (first films of his I've seen -- in competition with another Japanese series at LACMA). Today will probably involve more grading, email cleanup, exotic meatloaves at Taylor's, Ross Lipman shorts at the behest of John Shaw, who did the soundtrack to one.

*Crowley on rare-book shelves; side of L.A. I rarely consider.


[Wanted to quote from Brian Skyrms' The Evolution of the Social Contract, but I must have left it at school. Watch this space.]


Somewhere along the line, Philip Kaufman's Quills (which didn't push the 'the mad are the sane' line quite as hard as I'd feared), and about 1/2 hr of Mrs. Skeffington (1944, Vincent Sherman [should look him up in Sarris]:

"Was our wedding on the front page?"
"No. It was in the business section."


Wish Kaiser Chiefs' "I Predict a Riot" was about 15% more exciting; like the chorus, lyrics, but there's something too-creamy about the production (similar to a sound I've settled for myself at times).


Rec'd a Sharpie'd CDR advance of upcoming Go-Betweens, Oceans Apart, which turned out to contain all of two songs, and then two more with silences and messed up indices, and then live versions of "People Say" and "The Wrong Road" from a bonus disc -- then got a proper advance later in the week, w/ no explanation. First impression is that the gap in invention between RF and GM contines to widen (in favor of the former). "Born to a family...a family of workers."

Meanwhile, I doubt I'll ever hear this.


Body-as-polis (Plato); polis-as-body (Rousseau) -- much depends on the direction of this metaphor.


"My God, it takes more to produce fascism than the contempt a clever young man feels for his sluggish cousin."

--Fassbinder, commenting on a Cahiers review of Chabrol's Les Cousins.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

playlist not-a-meme -- kspc 2-3

(coming out of previous show's rachmaninoff)

tracy & the plastics -- dawn feather
die montir bass -- berlin crime 1978 (gossip side proj.)
sir richard bishop -- rose secretions
guy clark -- the dark (he's not kidding)

julie covington -- dead weight (anna mcgarrigle song)
christine rosenvinge -- german heart
kristin mooney -- sally tomato (spouse of a fellow I know slightly as buckner's touring guitar/steel player; v. sam phillips)
syvlia telles & lucio alves -- telefone (1st gen. bossa)

scene is now -- mediocre wedding band (from non-mediocre new 'songbirds lie')
leo griffin -- black candle/big tongue buster (from 'stepping razor,' rare lee perry comp)
24k gold -- birth to earth (etiwanda label)
soft pink truth -- kitchen (one of the only radio-clean tracks)
passage -- poem to the hospital (ch: "play dead on the elevator")

red eyed legends -- a conquest
aztec camera -- just like gold (postcard '81)

"The psyche is divided and therefore political." Rae Armantrout, from this interview, which I hadn't seen. Obvious, but not in the tradition I'm trained in, so, helpful to be reminded.


But, an hour or two later:

"We have only just begun the argument for the conclusion that the life of rational agency -- the life held up as an ideal by the most prominent moral philosophers of our day -- is a life you won't be able to stand, and that there is a vastly preferable alternative. [...] But if a certain amount of disunity of agency is the precondition for and consequence of sustaining interest, and forestalling boredom, and if one can do no better than to identify oneself with the peering and curious part of the soul, then we should expect, rather, to turn up transcendental arguments for various sorts of disunified agency."

-- Elijah Millgram, "On Being Bored Out of Your Mind," Aristotelian Society Proceedings, 2004

(Translation: Very analytic venue, though Millgram is coming from an odd place, citing Bordieu against The Critique of Judgment. The view of mind put forward is explicitly anti-Aristotelian.)

What implications would this have for Bernard Williams' "integrity objection" to consequentialism?


Great ringtone piece, Sasha; I kind of get it now. Of course, I also forget to charge my phone.

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