Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Not going to get anything more substantial done in the next hour or two, so I'm back.

Monday had me listening to NPR, and this next bit won't work unless I own up to patronizing a Starbuck's, on the Atwater Village/Glendale border, near some big box stores (with vast parking lots that are much more I.E. than L.A.) where I was searching unsuccesfully for an appropriate digital camera. So, Bree is patiently listening to my running commentary on the instore music -- their usual soft-alt mix, with a liberal sprinkling of Calexico-and-extended-family. (Count me in: I gather that portions of Tempted were in rotation in late 2003, though I never heard it and rec'd a miniscule royalty check 9 mos. later.) Sweet enough cover of "On the Front Porch," a Sherman Bros. tune introduced by Burl Ives in Disney's Summer Magic; and an offensively dull one of Bobby Fuller's "Let Her Dance." (Haven't been able to track down who performed either of these versions -- I know from experience that the barristas know nothing except that this is the disc sent by corporate this fortnight.)

Then comes "Up The Wolves" from The Sunset Tree, affording me the chance to review my electric-piano part with an immediate shock of alienation. (I have to interject here: The studio was in most-respects top flight, but their in-house Wurlitzer may have been the most unresponsive keyboard I have played since UHS jazz band. On the upside, Scott and John V. are to be thanked for checking my Steely Dan tendencies -- only bad, I hasten to add, b/c the styles beyond my technique.) Is it like this for, I don't know, Clem Snide's bass player? This is a particularly weird song to be paying attention to in a public space where no one else is: "It's gonna take you people years to recover from all of the damage." I don't know quite what I'm after here, really: just the strangeness of hearing even this insistent, lyrically and vocally harsh music (this is one of the less measured performances on the album) made a bit innocuous -- I'm just going by the fact that none of the patrons' heads exploded -- by volume and environment. And just the disconnect between being a part (however inessential) of a record that is making its way in the world rather nicely and my lack of identification as a "musician" as I go about my day, which is by now nearly complete.

(Addenda: Liz Clayton reports hearing John's voice emanating from another 'Buck's adjoining a Sears where she was buying pants for her boyfriend. My other recent MG-in-public experiences have been a touch more boho: Most of Tallahassee in Skylight Books on Vermont [where I'm not sure they'll give me a reading for AF], and "Love Love Love" in Nature Mart, the pleasantly old-school health-food store on Hillhurst [where Rael recently spotted k.d. lang buying in bulk], as part of an "Indie 103" Sun. eve. 'new music' show, directly between the Mekons' cover of "Heart of Stone" and Angels of Light. Listened for the back-announce, but I've forgotten what the guy said -- something about boomboxes, probably.)


Orthogonally, I wonder exactly what I was doing at the moment Ange was reading one of my poems (I had no idea!) at the Hat launch. Hmm, 7 p.m.-ish EST, 4-ish here -- yeah, I'd have been getting off the already choked 101 South to find a side-street route to Bree's.


Somewhere in between, vegetarian snack at India Sweets & Spices, Los Feliz branch, where I tried a canned ginger beer labelled "Fiery...Try it if you dare!" that completely failed to live up to its billing, and noted a large poster for Pillsbury's line of roti, naan and so forth -- tacked up in unseemly proximity to a sign reading "Religious Posters $3.99."

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