Sunday, July 31, 2011


The Mountain Goats, All Eternals Deck
3 hours of breakdance music at Battle Royale III, Flips & Fitness, Baton Rouge, LA
Kick Ass
Exit Through the Gift Shop

Brigitte Fontaine, Est
Britney Spears, "I Wanna Go"
Dave Eggers, Zeitoun

  • It's like we just discovered that we have Netflix streaming and its wealth of timesuck BBC crime dramas and HBO off-hours movies.
  • I've fallen asleep twice through Exit Through the Gift Shop as well as the Season 1, episode 3 of Sherlock I am ignoring right now to type this. Sherlock is brilliant for this particular sort of media enjoyment, a contemporary upgrade with a lot of reliance on smartphone culture, though I'm waiting for a crucial plot point where our cocksure fop genius' battery gives out because he leaves his charger back on Baker Street. Exit - I'm not sure I buy it, the story of Banksy being subverted into being a story about the obsessive film-maker. I mean, the whole of Banksy is manipulation of intention and authorship and carefully channeled public effect. I'm half-convinced that Banksy is not a thing unto itself but a campaign for something else, or maybe even an objective-free campaign. I feel a little it's a set-up. I do like the art, especially the post-Katrina stuff he did in New Orleans, whatever or whosever it is, which I suppose is the important part.
  • I have been humming the chorus of "I Wanna Go" ever since Bravo start using it for their default eveining bumper music. The digitized tessellation of such a banal impulse, I-I-I-I-Wa-na-na-na-go-go-go-go (something unintelligible) to-night, is a sharp an encapsulation of the Britney Thing, all trajectory without a starting point (well, the Mickey Mouse Club; perhaps the two black round ears can be read as a (0,0) coordinate on all axes) or a fixed endpoint and I wanna go to. Who doesn't want to hitch a ride on a comet's tail?
  • I was sent to cover a breakdancing competition on Saturday - a statement that says a lot, I think - and I consiered it a lark largely justified by the fee and my getting to try a taqueria on that side of town. I walked out 4 hours later convinced that I don't know how to use my body at all - it's like when there's a TV genius detective who has a mutation that allows him to use more than 20% of their brain or something. His thought processes manifest as lots of overlays of the person calculating pi to the 100th digit, Leonardo's Vitruvian Man spinning his arms and legs like windmills/sped-up clocks/cosmic orbits/electrons/everything. Like that, but for breakdancing. The event was sweet and generally inspiring. People care about things that no one cares about and it's not the things that bear fruit, it's the caring. I am aware of how dopey that sounds, but I mean it.
  • The episode of Sherlock I am presently half-watching revolves somehow around the golem myth, the slave-monster made of clay brought to life with G-d's name scratched into his chest. Sherlock and Watson are in quite a pickle! I won't ruin it for you, but the moral is never underestimate the leverage of underestimation. Or, I think so at least. I wasn't really watching.

Friday, July 29, 2011

the lava-hot core of the planet

The sky mimics the pool mimicking the lightning bolt between AC and DC.

AC/DC, "Hell's Bells"
Lydia Davis, Break it Down (as contained in The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis)
Joshua Bell, Voice of the Violin
  • God, Louie is good TV. How do you tell the real story that is not enough of a "story" because it is more like a dream? That's how. Plus, it weirds me out that hot Pamela on that show is Bobby Hill. That range covers the entire Platonic spectrum, from the clouds to the dirt.

  • Reading Lydia Davis because the few people not going on and on about Louie CK are going on and on about her. I see why. I don't know if the stories in Break it Down are of consistent quality; at points it reads like a highly attenuated blog, but, like a great blog, there are these glistening moments of clarity, maybe even a clarity the author did not intend to reveal or know was revealed, but the author is caught up in the revealing and we get caught up in the being revealed to.

  • When I hear "Hell's Bells" at the pool, I picture the water teeming with sharks. When I hear "Creep" at the pool, I try to not make eye contact with the lifeguards. When I hear "Money For Nothing" at the pool, I wait 7 1/2 minutes for the song to start and then when it does it's just that one chorus pretty much over and over, lasting longer than did the MTV Sting wanted to so damn bad. When I hear "Radar Love" at the pool, I delight a little in how much a friend of mine hates that song so much. When I hear "Rolling in the Deep" at the pool, I think, didn't I just hear "Rolling in the Deep" a minute ago.

  • Also, reading those short stories Davis does, letting them blur by like a parade of self-doubt and marriage insecurities - it makes you want to write something. Or it makes me want to write something. I'm pointing to it, declaring to no one, See? That's what I want to do! I suspect that is the lava-hot core of the planet of love the hip kids have for her.

  • Sharks! They are everywhere! Swim smart, y'all!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

throw this computer out the window

Crab-stuffed fish at Portabello's last night. Slow as Christmas but they came through in the end. Jerri's Parmigiana crusted eggplant salad was the star of the table.

Jackie Mitoo, Drum Song
Alton Ellis, Mr. Soul of Jamaica
GIVERS, In Light
Can, Tago Mago
Wings, Back to the Egg
Ian Dury, Mr. Love Pants
Lou Reed, New York
  • Rinky-dink instrumental reggae is one of life's simplest pleasures. It could be piped in everywhere and I'd be happy. Muzak of Jah. Elevator music for passengers directed to On High. Whatever "irie" means.

    Jackie Mitoo, "Merry Go Round"

  • It took me a lot of maneuvering to get to Mr. Love Pants.

    Ian Dury, "Jack Shit George"

  • From the copyeditor: If this is OK, then we're finished! It was and we are!

  • I'm about to throw this computer out the window, and hope when I do, it hits another computer innocently walking by on the sidewalk, taking them both out.

  • I've probably said this before, but it bears repeating love the first line of this song:

    Caught between the twisted stars
    The plotted lines the faulty map
    That brought columbus to new york
  • Lou Reed, "Romeo Had Juliette". And I also love He’s thinking of his lonely room The sink that by his bed gives off a stink Then smells her perfume in his eyes And her voice was like a bell

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

a story about a dream about a movie about the author's life

Delmore Schwarz, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
Dance Moms
Alex V. Cook, Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky Tonks, and Dancehalls
The Black Crowes, Amorica
Sly & the Family Stone, There's a Riot Goin' On
Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.

Suicide, American Supreme
The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat
Jefferson Airplane, Volunteers
  • Finished the copyediting responses on my book last night with the nightmare that is Dance Moms rattling on in the background. That's the excuse I made for the TV still being on Lifetime this morning and I'm sticking to it.

  • I will concede to the general consensus that Delmore Schwartz's story "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" is a work of postmodern-before-we-called-it-postmodern genius - a story about a dream about a movie about the author's life, rife with lots of time/space hooks and the terror that is causality - but "Screeno", the tale that cabooses this story collection, similarly about the movies as a social experience and how delicately the boundaries in a shared social sphere must be maintained lest the bubble burst, deserves some love. Even though it ends weird.

  • Out of ideas. I put together a playlist of albums that have some sort of American flag on the cover; we'll see how that goes. According to this discussion, there is one on the back right corner of White Light/White Heat. I don't see it, but its reason enough to pull it out. To be honest, I'll probably only listen to "Downbound Train" off Born in the U.S.A. and wish it was the Smithereens version

    BitUSA is one of those omnipresent albums of my youth like Purple Rain that I can't listen to without instinctively reaching for the radio dial. "Family Affair" might be the best song ever no matter how many times I hear it.

  • My lil' preview of the August 11 Gillian Welch show in New Orleans is up in the current issue of OffBeat. Also in that issue is Brian Boyles' excellent account of when in 1986 Wynton Marsalis called Miles Davis out on some shit. On Miles' stage. Wynton's got a pair.

  • OK, I love stupid old "I'm Goin' Down" too. Maya just said, "This sounds a whole lot like Ringo."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Edouard Levé, Suicide
Adele, 21
Richard Buckner, Our Blood (streaming at NPR)
Delmore Schwartz, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
Kronos Quartet, Feldman: Piano & String Quartet
Kreutzer Quartet, Coates: String Quartet No. 9 - Sonata for Violin Solo - Lyric Suite

  • Lately, I'm finding more satisfaction with reviews over at Goodreads than on any of the other social media platforms. I'm on Google+; feel free to plus me or circle me or whatever it is, but I haven't been moved to really put myself out there yet. I'm not LinkedIn or Quora-ed or Formsprung in any appreciable degree. Come March when the new book comes out (launch date is looking like March 9 or 10, 2011) I'll get on the promotional edge of things. Until then, I did get loquacious on Suicide last night, if you are feeling deprived.

  • Re Adele: I've heard "Rolling in the Deep" at least three times every time I've been to the pool this summer and I'm still not sick of it. The whole of 21 is a little syrupy for me, but I could not get sick of "I'll Be Waiting" when it gets its turn.

  • I was rolling through the drizzle - not a Snoop Doggesque malaprop; it was lightly raining - cutting through Coates Hall after checking out Delmore Schwartz's In Dreams Begin Responsibilities from the library, prompted by a discussion at this weekend's pool party when I came across...


  • The kind from which Larry Tate would get his coffee. Or George Jetson. Or WOLFGANG PUCK. Besides the Mad Men wow factor of it, I'm particularly stoked because I think this might be the self-same coffee machine from twenty years ago where as a student, in the Era Before Coffeeshops, I'd get coffee when coming back from the computer labs. It was in this same spot, next to the pay phone I'd have to make a collect call from because I used my last quarters on coffee. It is still 60¢, a price so archaically low that it is not directly bloggable by modern keyboards for the lack of a ¢ key. I needed exact change; machines in the past didn't make change! I had to buy some Mentos from the union to get change, because people in the present don't make change either! It was worth the effort. In dreams begin responsibilities, or so the mad poet of Lou Reed's undergraduate years would offer. I shot footage!

    The controls feel like those of your pod at Space Mountain. The clamor in the background is a talking video Coke machine that plays that Drake Sprite commercial over and over, like a robot from the future coming to annoy us all to death. I'm waiting for the day a grumpy Intro to Philosophy prof from lecture hall around the corner smashes it into silence with the last wooden upright chair in the whole higher education system.

    The modern corrective to this gush of nostalgia: you don't get a lot of coffee for 60¢. Still, I'm so enamored with the old Coates hall coffee machine that I'm gonna listen to Gloria Coates bend time around a string quartet for the rest of the afternoon.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The apostrophes make it quick!

The sausage section inside the Poche's mini-mart inside Boutin's. It's like a turducken of Cajun food providers! That sells turducken!

Edouard Levé, Suicide
David Bowie, Scary Monsters
Echo & the Bunnymen, Ocean Rain
Amy Winehouse, Back to Black

Yes, The Yes Album
The Byrds, Fifth Dimension
Aldubáran, Glód
Lou Reed, The Blue Mask
Bruce Springsteen, Lucky Town

Tortoise, It's All Around You
Tommy Guerrero, Lifeboats and Follies
The Lounge Lizards, Voice of Chunk

Audience, The House on the Hill
Fitz & the Tantrums, Pickin' Up the Pieces
The Whitefield Brothers, Earthology

Finalizing book edits, so I'll make this quick:  mowin' the back yard, wonderin' how I never noticed the orchestra on Ocean Rain before, Amy Winehouse listenin', swimmin', grillin', hamburger eatin',boudin-in', Lou Reedin', Bruce Springsteenin', comic book academics outclassin' me as a nerd, story-tellin', prog rock-evangelizin', wafflin', coffee, mowin' the front yard, more hamburger eatin', Suicide, more swimmin', snoozin' through Breaking Bad, snoozin' through True Blood, snoozin' through Suicide, Raisin Bran CRUNCH!in', horse camp, editin', meetings, havin' lunch where there was a deli lunch counter for a different business inside the restaurant where you can get a plate lunch instead of what's on the restaurant's menu and really, who wouldn't automatically opt for a plate lunch even though it's a bit awkward with the waiter who is just filling your ice tea the whole time but I'm not a total asshole and therefore tippin' as if he did the whole thing himself, more editin', resistin' the urge to do some Mick Jagger prancin' around the office to Fitz & the Tantrums, editin'.

The apostrophes make it quick!

Friday, July 22, 2011


The butterfly habitat at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

White Stripes, White Blood Cells
The Who, Who Are You and Face Dances
Pavement, Terror Twilight
Crushed Stars, The Refracted Light of Crushed Stars
  • My buddy Dave wins the day with his story  "F.I.N.E." It breaks new ground in the description of bare feet in fiction. It drove me to the White Stripes and their dead leaves and dirty ground but truthfully, it's not that far of a drive. In the imagined garage rock band my daughter and I have, we play the crap out of "Dead Leaves" in that little corner of the farmer's market and then go into any AC/DC song then back in to "Fell in Love with a Girl" and a food fight of mixed greens and pricy tomatoes breaks out and then things get rull when the guy from the shrimp stand gets involved.
  • Terror Twilight is not The Pavement Album, the definer or the smart start for the novice, but it's really the only one I want to listen to anymore. It is a graceful bow-out for such an egregiously and preciously ungainly band. Same could be said for the Jones-era Who in Who Are You except the Who (whoever is the Who at any given moment) never quits. The Who is the dog forever stretching its tether tight, barking at just the right moment when you walk by the yard to give you a chill in your spine. Every time, even when you see them coming from down the street.
  • I generally love Face Dances. Does "The Quiet One" get the credit for inventing hair metal?
  • I totally love "Let My Love Open the Door." Pete Townshend's controversies might make this an inappropriate song for mine and Maya's imaginary farmers' market rock band.

  • OK, now that I've listened to the whole thing, I might backtrack a little on Who Are You. "Trick of the Light" and "Guitar and Pen" are cracked-open geodes of rock glory and the title song is the kind of excess which with is paved the road to the palace of wisdom, even on the n-thousandth listen (see last night's Louie) but otherwise, there is little dignity to be found here. Roger Daltrey's brand of over-doing it vs. the lite-prog-ish numbers reminds me of the time some friends talked me into doing Tom Jones song at karaoke and there is no way to not belt out a Tom Jones song and so I did and it was uncomfortable for everyone - "Delilah" goes on a lot longer than you think - and it's why I don't do karaoke anymore. I got enough problems.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My safe word is "HIPPOS!"

From the bat bridge in Houston. You've been warned.

Bret Easton Ellis, Imperial Bedrooms
Drug Kingpin Hippos
Harper's Bizarre, Feelin' Groovy: The Best of Harper's Bizarre
R.E.M., Dead Letter Office/Chronic Town
Edouard Levé, Suicide
  • Drug Kingpin Hippos on Animal Planet is the reason that Ted Turner died for our sins and brought the light of cable television down from the mountains of the gods to us mortals. It's an hour-long documentary about the hippos that Pablo Escobar bought from Audubon Zoo in the 1970's (the zoo was pretty cash-strapped back then) to stock his private zoo at his Colombian compound Hacienda Nápoles. When Escobar died in 1993, the estate went in disrepair and the hippos ran feral, basically granting Colombia the largest hippo population outside of Africa.

    There is in Drug Kingpin Hippos plenty of raging, tusks-aflare hippo footage with which ones dreams may be haunted, and endless repeats of how hippos kill more humans each year than any other animal in Africa. Add into that a dumbed-down history of the War on Drugs and the fact that one hippo still terrorizes the swamps outside Medellin, "a living symbol of Escobar's lasting terror on the country." Did you know Hacienda Nápoles is a theme park now? Thank you, TV!

  • No amount of recreational sedatives can make Harper's Bizarre not sound ridiculous.

    Harper's Bizarre, "I Can Hear the Darkness" I want to hear this issuing from a crackling PA as I suffer a cotton candy headache on the carousel at Hacienda Nápoles.

  • I'm not sure if I enjoyed Imperial Bedrooms (reviewed up at the Goodreads) as much as I enjoyed the enjoyment of it, if that makes sense. Isn't that how the whole degradation fetish thing works anyway? I'm not sure. I am the least hedonistic person in the world that digs kinky literature.  Perusing the other reviews, I suppose I should be more appalled by the book than I am, but I had my college This Is Literature moment with Bataille, Burroughs, Genet and The Olympia Reader, about which one Goodreads commenter astutely remarks, Remember when "erotica" was more porny? Maybe that formative exposure to desensitized literary cruelty is why I find the fact that the cash strapped Audubon Zoo sold the world's most notorious criminal some hippos a delightful morsel of Truth. My soul is defiled with cartoon rot, it seems. My safe word is "HIPPOS!"

  • This one is a corker.

    Harper's Bizarre, "I Lost My Love Today"  I love when a sickly sweet band gets vaguely menacing. It's how I feel when I read trangressive fiction. This is also how the sinister algebra of Wes Anderson works.

  • Like nerd-era R.E.M. on their cover of Pylon's "Crazy." There is something about the existential crisis in "your head is shakin'/ cuz' your arms are shakin' / your feet are shakin' / cuz' the earth is shakin'"
    and "no / thing / can / HURT / YOU" that gives me a chill every time. We are pawns of the cosmos, invincible like Pablo Escobar riding three-wheelers around our menageries in our jungle compounds, burning $2 million in cash to keep our daughters warm, kings of the world, until we get eaten by our own swamp hippos. Crazy, y'all.

    R.E.M. "Crazy (live)"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My 7 Links

Maya's breakfast at the hotel in Houston. She's the one who should be blogging.

Drive-By Truckers, Go-Go Boots
Centro-Matic, Candidate Waltz
Low, C'mon

I was tagged by my friend Frank at Lemons and Beans, (tapped himself by Grantourismo / Trip Base ) to pick seven posts from the pile that fit the following descriptions.

Most Beautiful: something between a cockfight and a wizard standoff


My blog is lousy with lousy pictures from a lousy photographer but this offhand snap of someone walking beside me at Spanish Town Mardi Gras justified the monkey/typewriter/Shakespeare relationship I have with photography.

Most Popular: Boo Fries at Acme Oyster House, Baton Rouge

In the five years (really?) I've had this blog (I've had others, I add rakishly), the page count has really only blown up twice; most recently in a post about my friend Jeanne Leiby's passing and back in 2008 over a re-post of a review where I make mild fun of Bob Dylan. I am a fan of the tortoise over the hare and the top subject that brings people to my site outside of my own name consistently is "boo fries". I still haven't been back to Acme Oyster House, but maybe I should cash in on all the fame I am bringing to them, or at least to myself through them.

Most Controversial: Feeding the Monkey in My Soul

By far, the most (only) controversial thing I have ever said on the Internet is that I don't care for Steely Dan, so much so that a guy wanted to take me outside of Frank's bar one night and straighten me out and that WNYC had me on the air to discuss this most peculiar of dislikes. The producer told me I was the only critic they could find that would publicly talk against them, and really, I don't even hate the band like I once did. The exercise that I went through on a previous blog (this discussion has transcended the blog barrier, so contentious it is) in fact taught me, in a way, how to not hate but to channel distaste into something useful. It was a valuable experience and continues to be one.

I still hate Supertramp.

Most Helpful: When 50,000 Hippies Descended on Prairieville

This research-dump of info about the 1969 New Orleans Pop Festival, the massive pop festival that took place in Praireville two weeks after Woodstock, was useful to me - it turned into a 225 article for which I was paid - and to those whose hazy memories continue to trickle into focus a year later.

Most Surprising: 33 1/3 Update

I'm not sure there is a surprising post up in here; my blog is mostly a catalogging of what I listen to, read, eat, watch and think about, so in the manner that flying a plane is a million little corrections that keep you from crashing, is comprised of a million little surprises. The biggest surprise of it all is that blogging about songs on LiveJournal got me in with outsideleft which got me my first book which got me gigs writing for area magazines and made me a professional writer which got me inclusions in my favorite magazines on earth which got me a second book and who knows what's next. So thanks, blogging!

This one post where I made it to the semi-finals in getting a 33 1/3 book written was pretty cool and and more than a little surprising. I didn't make the final cut and I blame fellow blog traveler Scott from Pretty Goes With Pretty who I'm convinced edged me out with his book on Slint, but he's a good guy and it is a good book, so it's, as they say, all good.

Most Underrated: all I have

I'm not sure what this question is asking, or really how to answer it. My blog has a peculiar process-oriented focus and when the subject of reading my blog comes up in IRL conversation, most folks say "well... I don't read everything on there" like there would be any expectation that they would. I've toyed with titration of content, crowd-sourcing, even with doing some cursory copyediting on these posts but ultimately my Internet life is a lot like how I approached painting when I did that. I wanted my art to be a precipitate of my life, something that was spun from this one thread of humanity I have and in that sense, it's not too bad a weave. I ain't making jack off AdWords or selling any books but if space aliens were to emerge from the clouds and zap me into dust, I think you could almost reconstitute me from old blog posts.

So, what falls at the bottom of my sad Google Analytics breakdown? Yesterday's post with the Louis C.K. video. Admittedly not much of a post, but I thought the bullet-point poetry was sorta clever and c'mon, Louis C. K. is on fire. Surely more people care about him than they do "boo fries." Above is a different Louis C.K. video; maybe you'll like that better.

Most Proud Of: A Reverse Abecedary Poem for the Visceral Realists
your Xanadu washed vacant under torrents
stupid rain
quiet precipitation offering no meaning
like ketamine junkies in hallways
greedily, feverishly eating death
carrying bones around
I dunno, is blogging something to be proud of? What makes something the most noblest of blog posts? And if something is truly great and good, doesn't it transcend the grip of pride? Doesn't pride get you in the end? It's perhaps important to note that lions travel in prides and they are largely lazy, carrion-feeding blowhards that get undeserved credit for being kings of the jungle.

My first forays into the business of adult creativity were as a structuralist poet and while I recognize the one thing of less real use to the world than a blogger is a structuralist poet, I'm happy I can pull it out when the moment calls. Plus, that post was one of those trapeze-act numbers where I go all about the tent and wind up at the same platform, and I like when I can do that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

all I have

Louis C.K., Ice Cream

Bret Easton Ellis, Imperial Bedrooms
Breaking Bad
Braniac, Electro Shock for President
Au Ras Au Ras, Au Ras Au Ras
Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Autumn Kaleidoscope Got Changed
Charlemagne Palestine & Simone Forti, Illuminations
Zoltan Jeney, OM (these last two courtesy of the cornucopia of ROOT BLOG)
  •  I had
  •  some things I wanted to say
  •  but
  •  now all I have is:
  • OM is the most willfully irritating minimalist music I've ever heard, and it pretty much wiped my slate clean.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bastille Day

Barnett Newman, Be I. Not my photo; the guards at the Menil Collection are on their game.

  • I was walking by the library at lunch, behind one of those college guys that look like they just got here from the awkwardest parts of junior high. There was a totally cute girl walking next to him, flipping her hair, "So, how do you know all this stuff?" I assume they'd just left class. He looked straight ahead and went, "Uh, take notes and pay attention to the lectures?" She giggled, "Oh, OK..." and veered off with him glancing at his phone.
  • I finished Let The Great World Spin. It is flawed and wonderful and reviewed in full at the Goodreads. I'm reading Bret Easton Ellis' Imperial Bedrooms and enjoying the relative simplicity of a book with one narrator as shallow as a cocaine mirror after my nth multi-narrative monster in a row.
  • I had parallels and parables from my Video Game Design class to add to this, but I'm kinda tired of talking bout them, and plus they are right now figuring things out and even collaborating without my exclusive direction, so I will let them be.
  • Somebody on The Twitter suggested that New Orleans start celebrating Bastile Day with at least the same gusto with which they do Cinco de Mayo, the day that Santa Claus comes from the bad restaurant down the street with a sack full of margaritas. I added the part from Santa on.
  • Somehow, this post has taken nearly a week to compose. We went to Houston this weekend to museum it up and not be in Baton Rouge for one goddamn minute. The surrealist stuff up at the Menil Collection is a balm to my spirit, though I find I'm less and less charmed by the Rothko Chapel with each visit after a rather significant peak about 20 years ago. The Cy Twombly Museum though glows with a continuously radiating heat untouched by his recent passing. It is The Art with him, and why he's a favorite. Even sweet old Voice in the Menil and the breathtaking grace of that little stick dragging though the illusion of thick wet paint - seriously, I think I double my knowledge about how art works every time I see one of Jasper Johns's pieces in the flesh - is a different animal from those massive Twombly canvases scribbled upon with the Magic Scrawl of Antiquity.
  • Here's my dilemma: I just don't care for Barnett Newman, though I recognize there is something in there that, if I can just get to it, will be similarly illuminating. I was trying to groove on Be I, a sizable red square bisected by a thin white line and I thought I got it. I want that line to be thinner, a fissure implied in paint like Johns' smear and it isn't; it's a line. I want the red to be clouds, subconscious, a manifestation of Thinking About Red like all those Rothko's there are about brown and black and sunlight, and it isn't, it is flat-ass red. And then I noticed that the line doesn't go all the way through; there is a little chink in the white right at the top and right at the bottom. I thought about when you are messing about with pixel graphics like my campers were all week, using the fill tool to flood an area with red. If there is some little hole in the line, the fill color rushes through and fills everything and I thought "aha!" it's about holes in the supposed absolute. It's about one part of your life bleeding into the next because no matter how pronounced our seperative concepts are, they are still flimsy. We want to fill students with knowledge, children with determination, weekend getaways with merriment, build boundaries between here and there - we saw two people we knew from Baton Rouge sitting outside our hotel in Houston as we drove off for dinner - and well, it doesn't really work. Everything bleeds all over everything. BUT, I still can't give that to Newman; his red is just red, his line just a line. maybe just not a particularly great line. I'm trying to fill his little areas with the red in my bucket and it flows through like nothing is there. Storm the gates and find the fortress empty.
Edited to add: the discussion continues to unpack itself at le roman-fleuve de la femme folette.

Friday, July 8, 2011


April Hammock, Relics from an Alien Nation. Graphite.

There is a lot of great stuff on display this month at Baton Rouge Gallery, but I'm rather drawn (ahem) to this stonerific drawing by Ms. Hammock. It reminds me of Conrad (member of ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead) Keely's ball-point drawings, which in turn reminds me of filling high school notebooks with marginalia which is really all I want to do with my life.

Collum McCann, Let The Great World Spin
David Bowie, The Buddha of Suburbia
The Monochrome Set, Westminster Affair
Brian Eno, The BBC Sessions (thanks, ROOT BLOG)
David Bowie, Hunky Dory
Arab Strap, Monday at the Hug and Pint
  • Walking into the building this morning, I heard the roar of an airplane overhead and immediately started into "Back in the U.S.S.R." We might be reaching Beatles-saturation at our house. 
  • Last night at the pool I started going "Wonderful....Wonderful..." in response to something Maya said, fully convinced she would pick up on it because it was part of whatever song on Abbey Road that leads into "The End" but nope, it's "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" off Ziggy Stardust. I thought in vain hope, maybe I can get her to latch onto David Bowie, and then thought about the Awl's tidy force ranking of the Bowie records (I dunno, I'm kinda all about Hunky Dory) and then about how I've never listened to any of those "new" Bowie albums, like really, any after Never Let me Down which came out twenty-three years ago and then, O Lord, twenty-three years ago? Something that is over twenty years old is "new" to me now? Wonderful. So let's hear one of them new ones like The Buddha of Suburbia (eh, not bad, alternately soundtrack (which it is) and catchy hair-salon pop) which is only sixteen years old, which is probably the right age to go through one's Bowie phase. 
  • I'm not really given to age anxiety but I kinda don't want to run the numbers and find out Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil came out fifty years ago or something, or that Appetite for Destruction was first released on wax cylinder, available to homesteaders via Sears & Roebuck Co. stagecoach mailorder.
  • The Monochrome Set! The smartypants faction of the B-Sides left behind when the rest went on to become Adam & the Ants!

    The Monochrome Set, "Cast a Long Shadow"

  • Let the Great World Spin is mesmerizing, fabulous in its structure and detail, but is now the third fourth (forgot about Goon Squad) novel-in-stories-with-a-composite-yet-serial-protagonist-narrator-train-deal-going-on in a row I've read and, while it makes me want to write one myself now, I'm ready to read, like, you know, a story or some non-fiction, something that is just about something already. You post-structuralists get off my goddamn lawn! I wave my cane at you!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

you and your fellow teen wizards

  • I got totally choked up by that damned Grand Rapid, MI "American Pie" video. Thank God they didn't go all Lee Greenwood on me or I'd never recover.
  • I've been on it for an hour and already don't really care for Google+. Too clicky, too business-jargony and too much work for something I would use to avoid work to begin with. Google+ seems like something that would have come out of a webinar, or worse: something you fill out before joining an in-progress webinar. That's why I like the Cagean simplicity of Twitter: there is nothing there and I am following it and that is poetry as I need it. In Google+ feel like I am perpetually just updating my customer profile, which is what you are doing anyway on all the other sites, I suppose, but at least it seems fun when I do it there.
  • Also, I have yet to see anyone be funny on Google+ and humorlessness is the most sinister horseman of the new media platform Apocalypse.
  • The sad ecstasy of the meta-social media-o-sphere reminds me of how computer programming used to be so fun when it was just you and your fellow teen wizards that did it, all hopped up on pizza and 12-sided dice in suburban bedrooms, making your own Zork or whatever (I wrote my own 3-channel synthesizer on the Commodore 64. It used the paddle controllers from the Atari and basically sounded like a Theremin. Burrrrrrrroooooooooooeeeeeeeeeiippppppp! See? Awesomeness!) and when the business people got involved and suddenly there was money to be made, it got ruined. I will keep this in mind while teaching the Video Game Design camp again next week. 
  • The first rule of social media is: don't talk about social media. Second rule: don't reference Fight Club. Third rule: be funny. Fourth rule: firemen can always make you cry.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

let my heart come apace with cherubs

Slumming with the mermaid at Storyland.

Protestant Music, The Car
Vincent Gallo, When
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Strung Out in Heaven
Robyn Hitchcock, Jewels for Sophia
Richard Buckner, Since 
  • My fastest review turnaround ever on Protestant Music: saw CD-R on counter at coffee shop, immediately walked to office and listened/wrote review while emailing dude I was doing so, sent it in and then now linking back to it online. My coffee was still warm. It was like bending time to my will. Also in this week's Record Crate for 225:  Big Business, Greg Jacobs, WHYR.
  • An on-the-busy-side day at the office with spates of rage-corralling and goal-assessment + drizzly weather + one more cup of coffee than usual has put me right in a Seattle 1998 - Kansas City 2000 mood and with the exception of the aforementioned Protestant Music, the above was my soundtrack.
  • Robyn Hitchcock lays it all out in his spilt-jigsaw-in-the-day-room manner.

    Robyn Hitchcock, "Viva! Sea-Tac"

  •  If I could, I would add in Arab Strap's Elephant Shoe, but it's off the digital radar. Too bad; it is such an exquisite little cyanide capsule of a record.

    Arab Strap, "Cherubs".

    The building I worked in had this huge atrium with a massive bay of windows and a dramatic curving staircase, and I had a little pre-iPod mp3 player so glitchy it would take me most of the afternoon to load Elephant Shoe on it, and then once I did, I'd coat up and descend that staircase and take in the shock of falling snow and let my heart come apace with cherubs and trudge out into the cold for a while, sometimes just walk around the building but once this album took me on a two-hour hike through an ice storm, every little branch was a popsicle stick stuck into a test tube of ice, branches slicing right off the bodies of trees, cars skidding immediately out of their driver's coaxing - I saw one woman take her mittened hands off the wheel and shrug as she slid by. There was a little hippie coffee shop just out of reasonable walking distance and I'd go there and order the only cappuccino they'd make all day and read a book like a pre-forgiven coffee shop asshole and muse the air I breathed until I my own protestant inclinations would bubble up and I'd take on the snow and slump back up the stairs and at my desk be found.

  •  Oh, shit! "Drug Song for Paula!" This was the song! Still is!

    Arab Strap, "Drug Song For Paula"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

wilder shores of love

Maya in front of a Cy Twombly painting at the Tate Modern.

  • Metal Monday! Except it's Tuesday!
  • Scrawl the clouds red and release the wild birds from the doodling hand of the Creator, for Cy Twombly is dead
  • Really, Cy Twombly was one of those artists that I hated at first, thought was a total sham and then in the Houston gallery devoted to his work got Instant Understanding, and through that experience, more slowly, an understanding how art works. 
  • The key to which is that works is an active verb and you are the thing worked upon.
  • Tess Brunet and her Au Ras Au Ras project is not metal, but she's got roots in my hometown of Houma which lends its own metal cred.

Cy Twombly, Wilder Shores of Love, 1985.


This is the pin Madeline Albright wore when she met with Kim Jong-Il. The display card at the New Orleans Museum of Art, where Read My Pins: the Madeline Albright Collection is on display, delicately explains:
In no country are pins more crucial and less decorative than in North Korea. Every North Korean is required to wear an image of the country's founder. Absence of this badge of adoration is a sign of independent political thought and cause for severe punishment. On a  negotiating trip to Pyongyang, Albright dramatized her support for democratic values by wearing her American flag pin. Standing next to North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-Il, she wore heels to appear taller; so did he.
The Sopranos
Kevin Brockmeier, The Illumination
David Sanchez, Ninety Miles
Maya Beiser at TED
Todd Reynolds, Outerborough
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, Helpand Yellow Submarine
The Dukes of Stratosphear, Chips from the Chocolate Fireball
Collum McCann, Let the Great World Spin

The three-day weekend :


In order: a red-tailed hawk trying to fly off with a squirrel from my neighbor's yard after successfully staring down a housecat; I made a remark that in haute cuisine, beets are ovah, and it is time for rutabagas to have their moment in the sun, so my friend Kevin took up that challenge and put both in the July 3 crab boil. Rutabagas hold up with the spice and consistency but even I have to admit, the beets somehow assimilated the salty murk of the crab boil and made it something rather wow.; A carnival ride at Storyland behind the Museum in City Park. Say what you want about Lady Gaga - "Poker Face" remains a highly effective, all-purpose pop song on the one zillionth listen.; a very wet dog fetching a stick from a marina in the backest part of back Brusly.

Allen Ginsberg, "America", reposted from Andrew Sullivan

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956. 
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world. 
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument. 
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister. 
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke? 
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.

Prince, "America"