Friday, October 29, 2010

Stock me up for the winter time!

This was yesterday's lunch at Louie's. Wrap your brain around the intersecting planes that is Fred's most exquisite club sandwich.

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Thee Psychick Bible: Thee Apocryphal Scriptures ov Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Thee Third Mind ov Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth
Caribou, Swim Remixes (via SoundCloud)
Mark Richard, Charity
The Fall, Middle Class Revolt and Bend Sinister and Reformation Post T.L.C.

Media announcements:
I love okra and tomatoes cooked down to almost a plasma consistency; the combination of slight vegetal bitterness in the okra and the tomato’s sweet-sourness is a killer pair, like Bonnie and Clyde, but it never dawned on me to introduce sausage into the mix. The sausage’s salt and grease elevated this old couple to some  kind of inventive, kinky threesome.  I'm into it, baby.
Today for lunch, I had the catfish plate from Calandro's for lunch as lovingly described in one of the most fun pieces I've done yet for Country Roads, "Five Days. Five Plate Lunches." as well as this mediation on 600 Franklin in Natchez and the nature of grown-folks bars. Also, my profile of Justin Townes Earle appears in the November 2010 issue of 225 Magazine, in prep for his Dec. 1 appearance at the Manship Theatre.
The cozy loneliness of 'One More Night in Brooklyn' cuts through you like a dripping faucet in the night until you finally get up with it.
Also, I got over my fears and cautiously dared to not like the new Brian Eno record up at outsideLeft.

It's one of their less-storied efforts, but I think the Fall's 1994 album Middle Class Revolt is aces. It has a resigned convulsivity that bears the exact weight as melancholy but has something more active to it. Like it is doing something about the fiend in the mirror besides smashing the glass.

The Fall, "You're Not Up To Much"

Their cover of the Other Half's "Mr. Pharmacist" is the greatest song in rock 'n' roll. Stock me up for the winter time!

The world's greatest video starring Ms. Brix Smith and Ms. Leigh Bowery

Thursday, October 28, 2010

a weakness for weakness

This was in the haunted house at the sorority row trick-or-treat last night. Kids threw hackey-sacks and knocked out the pumpkin's teeth and a guy in a purple genie costume/burkha crouched behind there set them upright as they fell. Not sure why the guy behind the pumpkin needed to be dressed up, since you couldn't see him when the teeth fell out. Maybe he just took to the veil.

Brian Eno, Small Craft on a Milk Sea (via NPR)
Moebius & Plank, EnRoute (Via ROOT BLOG)
The Foot Fist Way
David Foster Wallace, "The Boy"
(previously unpublished, via this tumblr)
Boyd Rice and Friends, Music, Martinis, and Misanthropy
Nurse With Wound, Drunk Old Man of the Mountains

Media announcement (inna Twitta stylee): Ramsey Lewis, Emily West, Webb Wilder, So. Culture on the Skids in BR ths wk + Voodoo/Blackpot info @225BatonRouge

I finally watched The Foot Fist Way last night and now everything I read, I read it as Tae-Kwon-Do instructor Fred Simmons. Like I was looking at IMDB comments and even "Was the above review useful to you?" read in his voice with that stare is perfect. More movies like this, please, and less movies that are like all those other movies. Which are shit.

An extra: I Help People Who Do Drugs from Fred Simmons and Craig Robin

I could never figure out Boyd Rice. Some claim he's a Nazi but I've seen him more as one of those brutal art types that deals in a more open sort of misanthropy. An Aleister Crowley nerd. He was one of those characters championed in the RE/SEARCH books that formed a big part of my art awakening in college, but somewhere in that time I bought a zine because he was on the the cover, and it turned out to be a white supremacist rag posing as an experimental music zine, which seemed like a terrible marketing strategy for both. It's like when I got into black metal and had to be in constant fear that I wasn't supporting actual monsters vs. people who liked to act like monsters and think about them too much. I remember a bunch of us really liked this album at the radio station, and I'd play this creepy late-night song on my creepy late-night music show.

Boyd Rice, "Disneyland Can Wait"

This came to mind because I got word a big ole Temple ov Psychick Youth book arrived and they were similarly on the cusp between art weirdos and scary weirdos and now I'm less impressionable and have a greater grasp on consequence and where mind control gets you, I'm not sure what to think. Back then, I drew the little three-pronged crosses all over my notebooks like I did the Ozzy logo on everything in jr. high.

I wrote a rather mean-spirited review of the new Brian Eno album, partly for humorous effect. partly because it isn't very good, mostly because I have other things I should be doing but I'm waffling on it. To whom am I being mean? What compels me to do so? These Crowley types are all about the strong > weak paradigm which is not where I'm at, aesthetically. Fred Simmons, Tae Kwon Do master, would berate me for this, but I like a little weakness. I have a weakness for weakness, I suppose. I suppose I should get back to work.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ric Ocasek's sunglasses

Wheels they turn and gears they grind. Via Boing Boing

Chicago Underground Trio, Chronicle
Alvin Curran, Animal Behavior
Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest
Cardiacs, various tracks
The Cars, The Cars
Camper Van Beethoven, Key Lime Pie

Media announcements: I review Nick Flynn's latest memoir The Ticking is the Bomb and the iPhone app version of Stephen Elliott's The Adderall Diaries at

There are no situations in which a song from the Cars' first album doesn't sound brilliant compared to whatever preceded it.

From 1978, y'all. We are still trying to catch up with  Ric Ocasek's sunglasses.

Some of this playlist was from last night, bleeding into today. Crunch time. It's kind of exciting to be involved in but boring as hell to talk about. I had to look up traipses just now, for spelling and meaning. I always have a fear that a word I like to use in things means the exact opposite of what I think it does. I don't know what else traipses could mean, traipsing even kinda makes the sound "traipses" when you traipse, but then I was wrong about erstwhile for ages.

Every time I put up one of those media announcements, I'm conflicted about how to reference a website, even though I should have it down pat by now, considering this is one. Do you say an article is at or in it? For magazines, it's always in them, but a website is more of a place, cognitively speaking, than a bound thing, though a place in real life has intrinsic boundaries; it has to or else everywhere is one big place. I usually say up at or up in because that's how I got it there, by uploading it, or sending it to someone else to upload it, but really, who cares how it got there besides the author and the editors? It's just there to everyone else.

Thanks, Steven, for pointing me to Cardiacs.

Camper van Beethoven, "Sweethearts." This is where I got the caption for the gear video. It took me a while to remember were it was from.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

tizzy over Ozzy

The now casting its recursive shadow on the now. Or something like that. I don't know; I'm tired.

Media Announcements: I am in such a tizzy over Ozzy that I failed to mention my profile of Joanna Newsom (she plays Tipitina's in New Orleans, LA, USA Nov. 13; Dear band I recently interviewed elsewhere that expressed interest in being her opening act: I tried.) in that same issue of OffBeat.

Ozzy Osbourne, Diary of a Madman
Motörhead, 1916
Luc Sante, Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York
It is a city and it is also a creature,a mentality, a disease, a threat, an electromagnet, a cheap stage set, an accident corridor. It is an implausible character, a  monstrous vortex of contradictions, an attraction-repulsion mechanism so extreme no one could have made it up.
- Luc Sante, Preface from Low Life

We are the system, we are the law
We are corruption, worm in the core
One of another, laugh 'til you cry
Faith unto death or a knife in your eye
- Motörhead, "Love Me Forever"

The Ozzy Osbourne T-Shirt

This story in the November issue of OffBeat about the guy in 7th grade who wore an Ozzy shirt every single day might be the best thing I've written. Hat's off to L. Steve Williams for the awesome accompanying art!

Almost to all the almosts

The new splash park by the new dog park at the new Forest Park, all in effect.

Gregory Isaacs, Soon Forward
Fat Freddy's Drop, Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW
Erykah Badu, New Amerikay Part 2: Return of the Ankh
D'Angelo, Voodoo 
Dwele, Some Kinda... 
Rasheem DeVaughn, The Love and War Masterpeace

Gregory Isaacs, lover man. RIP.

"Mr. Brown"

I'm neo-souling it through this grey Mondey. Much as I loved Part One, I can't find a foothold with New Amerykah, Part Two. It feels like a "personality record," a "let me do my thang" record, kinda like Prince has done since (pick your own Prince tipping point for you. Mine is Lovesexy)  and like Prince, Ms Badu's thang is a compelling one, perhaps more compelling than that art that comes from it anymore. Like Prince, I'd almost rather see either of them at the bank or the grocery store than in concert just because it would electrify the mundane. If only that translated to the standard exquisite production on their albums. Makes me almost glad D' Angelo has failed to make another album in a decade still reeling from his last one. Almost to all the almosts mentioned.

"Devil's Pie"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Never Forgottonia"

The butterfly butterflew the coop!

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
District 9
Starship Troopers
Nurse With Wound, Alice the Goon
Vincent Gallo, When
Tom McCarthy, C
Michael J. Trinklein, Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made it

You wanna know what's long? Anna Karenina is long. I'm reading the free Project Gutenberg version of it on my phone as a whelp-I'm-on-the-couch/bus/central lockup-I-might-as-well-read-something book and the way they do it there is that it downloads in chunks, like as you go. It keeps a running percentage (I'm at 8%, where a train backs over a station porter, severing the poor bastard in twain, just as Anna arrives in Moscow. Women have a way of doing that in this book.) but there is no heft of pages that lets me really know how I'm doing.

I'd totally forgotten how much I love Vincent Gallo's When album. That Vincent Gallo. He has trip-hop cred (should such a thing be possible), having performed in SAMO with Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Mudd Club back when everything was converging, and really, @vincent_gallo is my favorite celebrity. He acts so scintillatingly outrageous and weird that he comes around to charm from the other end.

"My Beautiful White Dog" and "Honey Bunny"

Nurse With Wound defies context.

"(I Don't Want To Have) Easy Listening Nightmares"

We made a pass at the bookstore after dining in the same Five Guys franchise as was Peter Berg, former Chicago Hope doctor and director of Friday Night Lights. He's here making a movie based on the game Battleship (sorta) featuring Liam Neeson and Rhianna. They are set to film part of it in the blues bar down the street. I know none of that makes sense, but it's true. Joe Jonas was recently spied canoodling with his ladyfriend, who has a bit part in the thing, at a terrible old-lady restaurant chain. We get minor sightings like this all the time; our town looks movie-generic and there are awesome tax incentives at play.

So anyway, let me wipe the stars from my eyes to tell you I tried to read a part of Tom McCarthy's C and I felt like its prose was a logic puzzle; the kind that takes one longer to figure out than it is fun to figure out, but Lost States was a light wonder. It's about long forgotten and abandoned subdivisions of our nation. Its prose is airport magazine breezy, full of cheap jokes and somewhat unsound in it's purview; the West Florida Republic was included and that was not a temporary state or a secession but it's own country for 90 days.

BUT, it spoke of Forgottonia, a mildly successful secession gesture in the western potbelly of Illinois in the 70's born of a lack of highways in the region. It's not the most glorious cause for revolution but I lived there right at the navel of that potbelly while it was going on and I've never heard a peep of this before. C'mon! I'm ready to get a "Never Forgottonia" tattoo: a fist gripping a torn strip of I-72, the proposed Chicago-Kansas City conduit that only cuts throughout corn between Hannibal and Champaign, A million squealy teens can watch my tax dollars (or something) bring a Jonas Brother to my adopted home's worst sandwich place forever henceforth on the Internet and yet Forgottonia is forgotten-onia? There is a Facebook group at least.

I'm annoyed that I've never heard of Forgottonia, it being a so-so tale notwithstanding, mostly because it kills me when there are good stories right there on the ground. I've always enjoyed a good dungeon master who gets me through the maze and now want to be that dungeon master for others. I believe this is the OG classic D&D starter module I started with. The one with the keep; if memory serves, the fancy sword in the keep master's closet is cursed. I told Maya about the different kind of dice in D&D: 4-sided, 6-sided, 8, 10, 12, and 20-sided and she thought that sounded cool, and today she declared herself to be into sci-fi and fantasy, so ok. I could draw parallels among metamorphosis and science fiction and mythology and directors and Battleship and being cut in twain but I've led us both far enough astray by now. (Rolls d6) OK. To your south a cave opening leads to two tunnels about 10 meters in, one leading east, one west. Which do you choose?

Friday, October 22, 2010

hot chrysalis action

Check out this hot chrysalis action!

Wire, Pink Flag
Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll

I took the day off to work on other things, which says a lot about the gerbil-meet-wheel mechanics of my self-image, but it's fall break and the campus library is relatively mine. I even considered sneaking up into my office to work in secret but that would be the saddest secret possible.

For a minute, I lamented the quality of this phone cam in that the details of the metamorphosis happening on this day of miracles and wonder were obscured, but then metamorphosis is always a little obscured. If change was observable in real time even FoxNews would have to acquiesce to the factiness of evolution and science. As my ever astute wife said this morning: you don't believe science. You believe things that are mythologies or conjectures or most importantly, you believe the things you tell yourself in order to turn the world and align the channels of thought into the roads you desire. So I'm OK with this camera and its blurry take on the facts. It knows what it knows to its capacity to know it. At least its not trying to tell me otherwise just because it can't make a precise picture for me.

I'm so disappointed in Juan Williams, not because his political views are different from mine or even from how he started, or that he embraces stupid ignorances about Muslims or whoever and that he uses his station to express them; I know a lot of people who do that and think they are idiots in that regard but can accept them anyway; and I get that they think I am similarly politically an idiot when I say things like I wish Obama was more of a socialist and they accept me in cautious degrees. The part that disappoints me is how game-play-ey it all is. Juan Williams knew exactly what he was doing, and so did Fox and it was just gross. You can't just move toward the direction your heart calls of you anymore, your have to burn down your house and join the throngs that cheer the flames. Plus, I kinda liked Juan Williams. He seemed jaunty on Talk of the Nation and that jauntiness will be lost to the air. To me, his chrysalis is filled with shit and his new wings will be accordingly stained.

I'm bummed that this is what I want to talk about.

Early Wire is so good. Whittling sexy rock music down to the flintiness of fact, leaving just enough gristle on the bone to give us the part on which we all wanna gnaw.

Open your eyes,
think of a number,
don't get swept under
a number's a number

"Three Girl Rhumba"

I get that I mix up I and you and us a lot here, and that I do in general. I was thinking about how Art Brut refers to themselves as "Art Brut" on stage: "Ready, Art Brut?" and how I find it weirdly exciting.

"DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes"

It is not lost on me that I took the day off to do what I generally do anyway, and I accept that my self-image might just be a shadow that my real self casts when put into the light. I'm just glad when it comes out cool.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My healthy lunch transformed me into an embodiment of "space physics." I look a little like I'm trapped in an Atari cartidge.

The Vaselines, Enter the Vaselines
Go-Kart Mozart, Instant Wig-Wam and Igloo Mixture
Menahan Street Band, Make the Road by Walking 
Otis Redding, Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul

Jangling along: A whole Vaselines collection is a bit too much sweetness in one dose, like eating a fourth cupcake at a birthday party, but any one or two or three songs is the sun parting the clouds. Perhaps Nirvana should have done nothing but Vaselines songs.

"Molly's Lips"

Campus is completely empty today for fall Break, like Night of the Comet/Pompeii empty.

That, or go-karts

The adventure that is getting home. 1) In my three years working here, she is the only person I've ever seen on the stage at the Greek Amphitheatre; 2) I love the little notch in the R on the box for the fire extinguisher outside the bathroom where she toweled off after the...  3) Sprinklers! We missed our bus because of this and had to wait 20 min or so, but just as well because the air-conditioning on LSU's transit system is set to "deep freeze."

Television, Adventure  
The dB's, Stands for Decibels 
Let's Active, Big Plans for Everybody  
Go-Kart Mozart, Tearing Up the Album Chart

I had Adventure on yesterday but today am listening.
I was out stumbling in the rain staring at your lips so red
You said, "'Blah, blah, blah" you got a pillow stuck in your head"
How could I argue with a mirror
She looked at me. Yes, I hear her.
When I see the glory, I ain't gotta worry
She said, "There's a halo on that truck, won't you please get it for me?"
I said, "Of course my little swan, if ever and ever you adore me."
She got mad. She said, "you're too steep."
She put on her boxing gloves and went to sleep -
When I see the glory
I ain't got no worries

C'mon, that is gorgeous in any format or language!

Tom Verlaine performing "Glory" on Spanish TV, 1984

Footage of this deep sea octupus, via Boing Boing, should accompany all jangle guitar solos. That, or go-karts.

Go-Kart Mozart (featuring Lawrence of my beloved Felt), "Listening to Marmalade"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I once greatly irritated Colin Hay

Generic Art Solutions perform and explain their performances Spill and The Raft, as seen at the "Deja Vu All Over Again" show at the New Orleans Museum of art. More info here. Yay performance art!

Media announcement: Dust off your whiskey drink' shirt in this week's Record Crate for 225 starring the Myrtles, Frontier Ruckus, Elsah, American Aquarium, Colour Revolt, Pine Leaf Boys and so on.

Belle & Sebastian, Write About Love
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Felt, The Pictorial Jackson Review 
Television, Adventure

I'm set to do an phone interview here in a minute and had to go get batteries for my trusty Olympus WS-100 digital voice recorder which was thankfully in the pencil cup on my desk where I thought it was. I thought I'd found an iPhone app that used some dodgy overseas service to record phone calls while I'm talking - basically it tells the other person the call is being recorded in a garbled English accented robot voice before calling - but I've found it works the three times I try it out before the interview and then cluges up for the real deal. I once greatly irritated Colin Hay of Men at Work as he sat at a California rest stop awaiting my getting my shit together.

When I interviewed Ian MacKaye from Fugazi, the first thing he asked was if I had my recorder situation straight. I'm guessing the three other interviewers to which he lent his time that morning did not, and you don't want to piss off the nicest guy in punk rock. I just came across that recording along with 35 others that I am archiving off. One day I'll figure out how to do this recording interview thing so I don't sound like Grimace from the McDonald commericals (also wearing purple today) on "tape".

(interview transpires)

The interview went great. I would rather talk to old minor country players and aspiring rappers before any rock ingenue. The former has stories and tells them.

The new Belle & Sebastian has grown on me greatly over the month, though I keep waiting for that "ohhh, I see what you're doing" moment re: crapola hook lines like make me dance/I want to surrender. Anna Karenina is good y'all, but not in the dull romantic classics way it is generally portrayed. How come nobody ever talks about how funny the Russians are? I am but two teacups into the samovar of Great Russian Literature Nobody Reads Unless They Have To and they are both whipsmart Falstaff frolics. Like I think I've said before, all my favorite mad bumblers like Ignacius Reilly and Arturo Bandini are apparently cut from this cloth. Who knew? Like my painter buddy Ed was saying to me yesterday afternoon about how his daughter carries her fresh, shiny knowledge after her first half-semester of college: There is so much I don't know, and it's all out there to know.

I do know Felt was great little band. The great little band. I'd love to interview Lawrence from Felt. Lawrence, if your reading this, holla.

"Don't Die on My Doorstep"

rare political outburst

Pre-fab geodesic home salesman model, from here via my lovely and e-resourceful wife. I wonder if the real thing came in a giant case as well.

I wish the conservatives of the world would focus on what is really destroying the world (the need to turn the world into money) and leave the homosexuals out of their crosshairs. I wish they were truly focused on personal freedom like they say instead of just clearing the way for the rich. I wish everyone wasn't so vehemently stupid and gullible about religion. I wish people were more interested in building a better system in which we can thrive. I wish the Libertarians would convince me that they are not fiscal elitists and racists. I wish the Democrats had a spine and a dream. I wish the world didn't look to us as a model for societal behavior and instead looked toward a yet unreached possibility that will let us all be the horrible monsters we are called to be while allowing others to be their own separate monster. I wish I could not listen to the radio around election time because it brings out the absolute worst in people and then radiates that striving-for-the-worst out to everyone involved including me. I wish I didn't hate a bunch of idiots in politics, idiotic and hate-able as they may be, because I feel that I am co-opting their hate and reflecting it uselessly back at them. I wish the world did not make me feel like a hate mirror sometimes.

OK, I feel better with this rare political outburst having passed. I'm wearing a purple shirt in solidarity with Spirit Day. I also happen to have a rotation of three work shirts that are green, light purple and dark purple, so the odds are I am in flagrant solidarity 2/3 of the time, but on those green days, trust that I love y'all's gay asses as well. Now all that has been said, can I get back to to talking about records and lunch and eavesdropping on students' phone calls, please?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mr. Fantasy

Only known color photograph of the novelist, shot at his Yasnaya Polyana estate in 1908 by Prokudin-Gorskii, a pioneer of color photography. From Tolstoy's Wikipedia entry

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Robert Plant, Band of Joy
Colour Revolt, The Cradle
Malcolm Holcombe, Gamblin' House
Ramsay Midwood, Shootout at the OK Chinese Restaurant
Little Bob & the Lollipops, I Got Loaded
Traffic, Mr. Fantasy

I saw Malcolm Holcolmbe a few years back and he sat the whole show, bantering much about sitting on his couch in the "power spot" with remote in hand. He was astounding, finger on our every button, but man, look how good and weird he is when you take his chair away for bit. It is like he's stooped over, ducking from something. This song hits me like a 2x4 with "gonna see the Christmas lights."

"Goin' Downtown"

This thing about young Axl Rose from the Paris Review is luminous. A low-wattage luminosity, perhaps, but still light-shedding. I'd forgotten his real name is/was Bill Bailey. I've never seen Ramsay Midwood live but I love his music so.

"Monster Truck"

I've listened to "I Got Loaded" a zillion times - its the one song every Louisiana band does, be it Cajun, blues, Zydeco, funk, country, whatever - and I rarely get past Little Bob's version on this CD I have, but I let it roll and this song has me a little spellbound. It sounds almost unfinished, like a last layer of polish was neglected and is all the better for it.

"Life Can Be Lonely"

On my walk, I overheard two great phone conversations:
Young man in sunglasses: Hello. (Pause, then imaptiently) Freedom. (Hangs up)

Young woman: It's funny how you wanna stand there and lie to my face, lie to my face, and you're all "Let it slide, baby. Let it slide."

The first one: freedom was uttered like it was a code word, like I expected a building to explode with this utterance. On further thought, it was probably a roommate calling after forgetting the password to the wi-fi. The second, he wasn't in fact standing there she in fact was not going to let it slide, baby. I like how things repeat in her world, even the indiscretions and excuses. Kinda like in Anna Karenina which I'm reading for the first time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Duchamp joke

There is a Duchamp joke that can be made about this blurry photo of a bride taking a tequila shot.

Curlew, A Beautiful Western Saddle
Morton Subotnick, Gestures; Touch; Sky Of Cloudless Sulphur 
William Basinski, Vivian & Ondine
Matthew Dear, Leave Luck to Heaven
Oval, O

I'm writing about rockabilly and have a loose rule of listening to something other than the thing while writing about a thing, to keep critical distance or something, though its really more like not wearing a band's concert shirt when going to see that band. A stupid rule, in other words. While I was getting my bloop and bleep on with Morton Subotnick...

...I heard this amazing music coming from the parking lot. Like blaring. It had a marching band beat and kind of car alarm sirens and a Dr. Dre undulating whine. Totally improbable music. I ran out to bear witness, thinking perhaps it was an actual marching band (it is football season) setting off car alarms but when I got there it was gone. It's probably a song everybody but me knows. Maybe it's music meant only to be heard from an open window. Maybe it's readymade music. Or maybe it was all in my head and was a sign that now is the moment when marching bands and DJ's need to merge and form an unstoppable Voltron of popular culture, one that will save us from the Republicans and Clear Channel and  the head-shaking olds and whatever else is stopping us from doing whatever it is we are being stopped from doing. By them.

This, by the Cramps, is a much better Duchamp joke.

The Tasso Triangle

View Larger Map
The Tasso Triangle - shaped not unlike the panties in your purse.

Saturday was enormous. 

Scenes from the LSU vs. McNeese tailgate: 1) the first kind of marinated pork; 2) the embarrassment of riches; 3) fajita meat from the Colombian butcher; 4) Guatemalan cross-cut ribs, mid-alchemy; 5) the other kind of marinated pork; 6) Maya and her buds hanging out on top of the van. 7) The start of the morning, before the tortillas were broken out.

Somewhere between that and what follows, I read Mark Leyner's short pieces collection Tooth Imprints on a Corn Dog. I read it back when Leyner was all the rage in the 90's, when David Foster Wallace was following on his coattails (Leyner wrote a wonderful remembrance of DFW in the Observer). TIOACD has aged well. The long bit about the endless sub-basements of Bergdorf Goodman is Catskills hack sci-fi at its best. Man, in 1990 or so I though Mark Leyner was the man. I wore out a book on tape copy of Et Tu, Brute, who my buddy Frank concurs is one of the funniest books ever. I like this one part where he removes his sweat-soaked thong at some outdoor event and the magnificence of his body is such that causes the birds to stop chirping and a torrent of shit rains from the trees. Of course, Leyner said it better. I requested that the library get it, per the suggestion of a librarian reader. Did you know you could do that? You can.  Libraries are magic!

Donnie & the Pooldoos, doing a rockabilly/Cajun thing to the barring and grilling masses at Beau's Garage in Opelousas. These guys are much better than the band name and gig implies.

(Above) A bride-to-be, at least I think a bride-to-be: she had a veil but also a sash so it might have been a birthday or she'd just been made Queen of some rural Louisiana agricultural product - doing a tequila shot as (below) Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie, the hardest working band in Acadiana, tore it up at Nick's in Eunice.

(Above) The mighty Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band embracing the disco side of zydeco at the Hot Spot in Church Point. Keith Frank has been a great resource to m: he's a big name that plays the most obscure little places and as he zeroes in on retirement, he lets the evolution of his zydeco roll unfettered. Just after letting the band tear through the staple "I Got Loaded" he re-took the stage (below) for a thump bass number featuring a pre-recorded auto-tune rap that got push-buttoned in at the break and took over the dancefloor. Strobe lights and lasers vs. disco zydeco (zydisco) in a near pitch dark country bar where you are the sole honky trying to not let your worst ignorant fears overtake you is a liminal part of your self-awareness.

I should also give a shout out to the Google Maps iPhone app. Directions and signage and the following thereof gets dicey out there between Church Point and Sunset when it's just you  and 1AM and the dashboard lights.

I kinda forget what I was listening to on this trip through the Tasso Triangle, but today, I'm southern Rocking it, ~1975 style. OK, Dixie Dregs are more progressive than they are Southern, but roll with me. Hold my beer while I do this shit.

Elvin Bishop, Juke Joint Jump 
Wet Willie, The Wetter the Better
The Dixie Dregs, Free Fall

Speaking of liminal, this Dixie Dregs number caught in the spider web separating pop and chamber music, "Northern Lights," is just lovely.

Friday, October 15, 2010

shutting one's door, opening one's window

The Pretty Things, Parachute and Emotions and S.F. Sorrow

It is an afternoon designed for shutting one's door, opening one's window and enjoying the Pretty Things.

I went with a co-worker to the Apple store over lunch to get his new iPad, and informed him he was a bastard and I hated him for getting one before me and I would seek my revenge. He took my wrath into account and got it anyway, so I licked my wounds by looking over the all-in-one, cinema-screened iMac's and they whispered the solution to me in dulcet tone and with sweetened breath. I'm not even a Mac person in practice because I have to do big boy Microsofty things on computers that you can't do on them, but they sure are nice. If say the Apple store wanted to get its grass roots blogger marketing on with some soul who spends all day talking about how great his devices are and look what I did with them, using the Internet as his own refrigerator magnet gallery. I'd be glad to accommodate. Like, if, you know.

I bet I could finish my book on such a technology. I could blog like a monster. The "magic trackpad" is the step forward in controls. It must be said that Apple computers or its subsidiaries or whatnot have NOT compensated me for this shameless display of want. Not yet anyway.

They should move the Vespa store and the Apple Store to my neighborhood in Mid-City and squeeze in maybe a bohemian used record/book store thingy between them. While I'm asking. Anyway, nice weather we're having.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

it's the weight of the world weighin' at us, darlin'

This is above the microwave at work. I don't know if I get all the juxtapositions, but I'm picking up some of what it's laying down, or at least cleaning up after using the microwave.

Joanna Newsom, Have One on Me (backwards)
Twin Killers, Lemon Heart Opera
Avey Tare, Down There

Reviews: Google Alerts is supposed to handle all this and nothing ever shows up so I never go to look, but look!
  • The Advocate was kind to my piece in the Oxford American about geodesic domes back in September.
  • The Stranger's Slog blog praised "a marvelous long poem about Buckminster Fuller (the stanzas are in the shape of geodesic domes)". 

I'm listening to  Have One On Me in reverse track order because otherwise I'll never really listen to those songs at the end of the three discs. I'm caught in this record's orbit even though it feels a bit like one enormous song broken up into eighteen enormous songs. I keep singing it's the weight of the world weighin' at us, darlin' even though I know the line in "Good Intentions Paving Company" really is all the way to the thing we've been playing at, darling, not because my misheard version is better but because it is the weight of the world weighing at us, all the time. I like the idea of weighing at as an action.

That "Still Life of Curves and Curls" song by locals Twin Killers is a corker. It's like being on a  fast horse being chased by others on fast horses.

Weight, or more correctly, mass is what causes orbits, right? More precisely, you need mass and orbits to get rotation and that causes weight, I think. I genuinely like listening to Animal Collective and their associated products/projects, but they are the most bloodless "sensation" to hit the Yoot Kultcha in a while. I used to think they sounded kinda phoned-in in a good way, but now it's like their answering machines are phoning each other.

That pelican picture gets weirder every time I look at it now. It weighs at me.

let me lay a some Jimmy Dean on you

Guy Clark and Vernon Thompson at the Red Dragon

Antony & the Johnsons, Swanlights and I am a Bird Now
Nick Flynn, The Ticking is the Bomb
Jimmy Dean, Big Bad John and Other Hits

What a great show! Guy Clark wedges right into the totally tedious Uses of Humor in Writing internal discussion I've been having with myself in that he is of the old country school, wielding a joke with the same ease as a Sunday School lesson and yet was enough of a country expat to transcend both. I would've caught some video but people started shifting in their couches up here in the VIP section and blocked my view. I was left with merely enjoying the show. My buddy Clarke (different from Guy Clark) is correct in declaring this the song of the night.

"Randall Knife"

Vernon Thompson, his guitar player stage left, offered a muted tempest counterpoint to Clark's honey dipped in bitter herbs but the real revelation of the night came during Vern's three-song mid-set set. He talked about the Chilean miners and then launched into a straight-up folk version of Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John." One of the worst songs of my childhood. I hated it almost as much as "Nashville Cats" and "Just an Old Fashioned Love Song." BUT, take away the choir and the pickaxe and Dean's aw-shucks-America out of it and corny-ass "Big Bad John" is a great song! Really. I'm surprised as anybody. Clark (again not my friend Clarke, but it would've been funny if he did it) took the stage after and said, "Vernon, I think Jimmy Dean oughta stick to making sausage." One wonders if somewhere in "Please Pass the Biscuits" lies a similar gleaming nugget of magical truth.


While waiting for the bus home yesterday afternoon, Maya and I walked over to the field where the Golden Band from Tigerland practices. Last week or so, we watched them do a rather amazing version of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face." Not kidding; it was really good. She has it in her head (Maya, not Lady Gaga, though I don't pretend to speak for her) that tuba is for her, though would prefer a sousaphone because its easier to carry. It just hit me that the band director barking the same orders over and over, over the beat, echoing off the apartments behind the field were a woman, reasonably driven mad by this every afternoon, was screaming out her front door, sounded a little dirty old Andre Williams' version of "Please Pass the Biscuits."

I love a video of a record player.

Right before that, I think somebody on Facebook discovered Antony & the Johnsons for the first time. They are one of the best things out of the last ten years.  

"For Today I am a Boy"

No further transcendence was revealed on the rest of his greatest hits package, but let me lay a little Jimmy Dean on you regarding international relations. As Paul Harvey would've said were he still here to guide us: good day!

"Dear Ivan"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

possibly remembering the wrong sky gondola

The sky and trees and a car star as "pink lightning"

Badly Drawn Boy, It's What I'm Thinking Pt. 1: Photographing Snowflakes 
Nick Flynn, The Ticking is the Bomb 
Jack & Bobby

Media Announcement: 27-channel sound systems, minimalists against cancer, Caribou and Guy Clark are featured in this week's Record Crate for 225.

I am being inundated this morning with things I had and people I know.

Like this from here via this. I am pretty sure we had a copy of this very phonebook around the house in 1980. We lived in Carthage, IL., in an apartment only a few blocks from the jail where Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith was shot. Quincy was the nearest big town, and my mom would take us on occasion to Ming's Tea Room, the only Chinese restaurant I remember being around in that tender age of America. She'd pretend to know what all the Chinese characters on the wall meant and I'd eat egg drop soup every time.  There was/is some kind of park thing called Quinsippi Island out in the river that I believe one reached by treacherous sky gondola. The only reference I can find to such a thing in Quincy is an Italian restaurant named La Gondola.

 There was a sky gondola left over from the '84 World's Fair in New Orleans for a while, so it's possible I'm conflating. More discrete than that a balloon in a tree is the charm of possibly remembering the wrong sky gondola.

Then this from them via here. Tom Waits recorded a new vinyl 78 (why not go shellac, though, if you're going there?) with the Preservation Jazz Hall band of whom I know a couple of members that were on the session, and you can get it in a deluxe package with its own special 78 record player.Not well enough for them to slide me one, I suppose, though I'm open to getting to know people better. I have a closet shelf full of 78's that need a player, preferably one that I don't have to buy myself. The 78 is in an edition of 504, the New Orleans area code, eerily connecting this to the whole phone book thing,

Nick Flynn is good y'all. And so is Badly Drawn Boy, though I wanna steal his hat and Jonathan Franzen's glasses and become a king of all media like Rush Limbaugh used to say he was.. Also good is Jack and Bobby, a disregarded  show from the WB about a kid that will be president one day, like a Wonder Years set in now with future follow through. It is schlocky a bit, but all the main characters are at least a little bit terrible and selfish and the writers have a great sense of piecemealing story tension together.

Dwindling devoted readers, thanks for reading. To steal a line from Magnetic Fields, I only keep this heap for you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh, well.

The world is but a tangent to my haircut.

Pedro the Lion, It's Hard to Find a Friend
Damien Jurado, Water Ave S
Vic Chesnutt, Drunk 
Badly Drawn Boy, It's What I'm Thinking Pt. 1: Photographing Snowflakes

I forget about ol' Pedro the Lion, mostly because they are so boring, but the good kind of indie rock boring, listless couch boring that is like peanut butter on the dense grainy bread of activity. The finest bread alone does not  a sandwich make. I heard a college radio show the other day where a precious, boring girl was playing song after song of precious, boring navel-gazer indie rock instead of the yippee-let's-dance-everybody boring music the station usually plays and it was so great and perfect. I wanted to send her and her roommates a pizza. This was my super huge favorite song in the world for a month in 2001.

"When They Really Get To Know You, They Will Run"

Ditto for Damien Jurado.

"Halo Friendly"

I started out wanting to post that I was taking a break from posting here because of general workload issues, but we see how that went. I wish I had a copy of Will Oldham's Joya handy to play right now. That is a gorgeously boring record. But hey! Badly Drawn Boy has a new record! He's totally boring and tedious with his perfect, fussy songcraft! It's part one of a trilogy! Right on!

Vic Chesnutt was, however, never boring. Upon his demise, I told a friend that moved in circles with him in Athens. She said, "Man, I went to see Night of the Iguana with Vic Chesnutt!" and started laughing. I too move in the right circles. I wish I'd been smart and brought a video camera when Vic played 10 songs to all 10 of us that showed up at the Spanish Moon two Halloween's ago, when he did a song he said Jeff Mangum ran over to his house and said "I wrote this but you gotta do it" and he did and it was both of them and something more. Oh, well. Here's DBT's Patterson Hood doing my favorite song off Drunk.

"When I Ran Off and Left Her"

Monday, October 11, 2010

you're gonna wake up one morning as the sun greets the dawn

13th Floor Elevators, "You're Gonna Miss me"
Curtis Mayfield, "Move On Up" 
Nick Flynn, The Ticking is the Bomb
Paul Weller, Catch-Flame!
David Johansen, Here Comes the Night

"You're Gonna Miss Me" was on the radio once I got back through the sunbeams of the morning jaunt to school and before the drag to work and I got so much done yesterday I feel all Curtis Mayfield about the days before me. I think the teenagers of America are missing out on foisting their wild youth culture on the olds via the mas-media. Elvis on Ed Sullivan wouldn't happen now because the grown-ups have 100 other channels they can turn to telling them what they want to hear. It's a little sad. How will they shake their heads in disappointment at you if they never see you?

I met a guy this weekend that drunkenly announced "I'm gonna have my own TV show" and I almost told him "You are my hero" until I realized he meant he wants to have his own TV show. I was thinking it was in the works. I don't want a TV show, I don't even like TV all that much.* I liked having radio shows when I had them and have kicked around the idea until I kick it into that black hole where all my free time goes and I realize I'm just looking for some strange when I got the good stuff right in front of me.

Remember your dreams
are your only schemes
So keep on pushing
Take nothing less

This new Nick Flynn book is rivetingly written, and I'm thinking to review it along with The Adderall Diaries because they seem related; a similar story wrapped up in similar stories filtered through two different people. Isn't that how jokes work? Like there's no new funny on the world and it's all in the telling and that's what we really like?

*Except I do. I'll save my Cheeto's for you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the grease of the writing machine

The typewriter soloist for Leroy Anderson's The Typewriter, for orchestra (with typewriters) at the symphony field trip last week.

Joanna Newson, Have One on Me
Bill Callahan, Sometimes I Wish I Were an Eagle
Little Bob & the Lollipops, I Got Loaded
Solomon Burke, King of Rock 'n' Soul
Various Artists, Ranking Miss P Presents: Sweet Harmony

Nico Muhly, I Drink the Air Before Me
Gregory Haimovsky, Debussy: Works for Piano 

Above is the grease for the writing machine that I have been today. 4390 words and counting.

I like heresy


We tore out the creeping cypress vine and a frog hopped out and kept certain folks, all of us, actually, entertained for the better part of an hour. I like how it looks like its eyes are being pushed out for our amusement.

A wreath of vines

While I was up on the ladder trying to extract this bushy thing from the pergola and the power line without falling or being electrocuted, we were making fun of poor old John Lennon on what would have been his seventieth birthday. There was the breathy retellings of close encounters with The Beatle filling up NPR that morning - how ironic that he mentioned dying in your interview and then he did? Good old Ironic John, coming through with death so he can become a martyr. See? I'm horrible.  I was imagining instead the septuagenarian and his wife shilling for the Tea Party, staging a Tea-In with corny full page ads in Rolling Stone with him and Yoko sitting around a tiered setup of trifle, their faces cast in bored humorless stares,  holding teacups aloft, captioned Won't you join us for tea?

I don't really think he and Yoko would have done that, though who knows what politics would emerge in their dotage. If the Tea Partiers would get behind marijuana law reform and push to get us out of the war, and war in general, instead of just being desperate pawns for corporations that will sell them off for meat the second the fools let them make it legal to do so, maybe the sweethearts of the old rodeo would have signed up. Just saying, I like John and love Yoko but heresy is of great amusement to me. I appreciate a good liar and enjoy the warm glow generated by a hypocrite. I don't trust them or necessarily want them in charge of things, but they are fun to have around.

My buddy Steve Babcock going deep meta at the reading.

I like heresy because it pulls everything apart like a stoned person does an alarm clock, exhibiting the base human desire to see how things really work. The Word Storm reading Friday night was a great success; I think 5 out of the 7 short pieces I read were hits, which is better odds than old Ironic John had in his solo career, and he kinda invented The Hit. My friend Steve won the night, if there is anything to win, with his live deconstruction of a theoretical bad movie script inna pedagogical slam poet stylee. By the fourth iteration, we were groaning when he approached the podium, the "not more of this" that accompanies a group reading, but each time he pulled us off the ledge and had us in the palm of his animated hands. I need to do more readings. This was only my second one and it is instrumental in determining what works and what doesn't.

I imagine the realization duped Tea Partiers will one day have will look a little like this.

After the reading, my search for a celebratory beer found me with friends at a bachelor party at the karaoke half of a local Thai restaurant. This is the hell to which my heresy will one day bring me. I like this place because they have these great tables with those intricate cork-carved landscapes inset and covered in glass. The tables suck to eat at, for all the added bonus makes the lip of it too low for my fat American legs, but again, it's like heresy. Let's turn the tables on tables! See what happens! The devil always needs another advocate!

They got peanuts for while you wait, too.

Once the vine was torn away and the frog's patience worn thin, we noticed a balloon caught in the neighbor's tree. There is a discrete charm to such a thing like there is a discreet one of the bourgeoisie. I mention this for two reasons: 1) we went to the new Five Guys with the exact same excitement as everybody else in Baton Rouge did last night - a lady from the news was there eating with her family! I texted my wife! - while realizing that rallying around a new chain restaurant is about as Baton Rougeoisie as it gets and whatever, it was good, and 2) I had to look up the movie and then the difference between discrete and discreet, as well as hermeneutic to make sure it means what I think it does for an article I am going to write RIGHT NOW, lest I become the worst kind of karaoke-of-writing heretic imaginable. Imagine.