Friday, September 30, 2011

We're all friends around here

Cushman Electric Truck

XTC, Apple Venus Volume One
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One
alva noto, summvrs
Wilco, The Whole Love
The Jayhawks, Mockingbird Time
Thee Headcoats Sect, Ready Sect Go!

  • I quite enjoy how Snapseed allowed me to lend that Cushman electric truck a buttery sheen. It's like a   Wayne Thiebauld/John Chamberlain collaboration The truck is up at Ragusa Automotive if you are interested. The guy saw me taking a photo through the fence of his lot and caught up with me two blocks down the street asking to make him an offer, so he's looking to deal.
  • The October 2011 issue of Country Roads might be one of the best issues ever, but perhaps I'm biased. I have pieces about how New Orleans drank its way through Prohibition and about the best donut shop kolaches in town.

    In that same issue, my friend Frank McMains has a story about chasing meteor showers. BTW, check out this amazing lightning shot on his blog. The guy can take a damn picture.

    Another friend, Sam Irwin, breaks down Le Tournoi, the annual jousting competition they have in the little town of Ville Platte, LA. Ruth Laney interviews Johnny Palazzotto, both friends, about blues musician Slim Harpo.

    And if my social/professional web wasn't tangled enough, my boss at the day job and his wife has a piece in the magazine about a little museum dedicated to vanished town.  We're all friends around here.

  • 10% into the library's OverDrive ebook (they do Kindle books now!(#excitedaboutthelibrary (#nerd))) of it, Ready Player One is spot on: not-too-distant future social dystopia where reality sucks so bad it is abandoned whenever possible for something between SecondLife and the Web that corporations are poised to ruin for everyone. AND, and, the framework of the action is both transparently and slyly modeled on Adventure for the Atari 2600. Hits me right where I lived, live and will live.
  • Here is a Flash version of Adventure designed by Scott Pehnke, just in case you need to kiss your day goodbye. All I need now is a pitcher of Kool-aid and this

    Check out the butter well! The lid to a Parkay tub snaps right onto that ridge at the top.

    and about two hours before my mom pulls in the driveway and my sister and I rush to the kitchen to make it seem like we were in the process of making dinner to feel that warm glow of adolescence.
  • OK, I did not know that chamber-glitch artist alva noto is also German sculptor Carsten Nicolai. I have been independently flattened by the work of both and now shattered by the combination.

    the experimental nature of carsten nicolai's work often results in his exhibitions seeming to be like scientific laboratories where various calculations and tests with partly open results are performed. from here.

    alva noto + Ruichi Sakamoto, "By This River"

Thursday, September 29, 2011


The Wilson $100,000 dollar bill, from here. If I had one, I'd cut each of you a square.

I just hit 100,000 alltime pageviews!* Thank you, web crawling robots and people who will click on anything presented to them! You did the bulk of the work!

What's my secret?  I just keep livin'. IN HD!

To those of you who actually read this thing, day in and day out like oxen yoked to a sakia wheel, helping to mill culture down into bullet points, I don't know how you do it. Your contributions do not go unnoticed! Thanks!

*according to the internal Blogger stats meter. Google Analytics tells a slightly less exciting story, but who wants to listen to a less exciting story? Don't kill my buzz!

drama filters

Strausbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Marc Albrecht cond., Christiane Iven, Soprano, Berg: 3 Orchester Stucke, 7 Altenberg Lieder, 7 Fruhe Lieder
Helmut Lachenmann, Musique Concrète
Jody Redhage, Of Minutiae and Memory
Wilco, The Whole Love

  • I just scrolled down and saw the grunge and drama filters in Snapseed. They turn the lowliest bus window snapshot into an Eastern European folk tale. Above: "The Whale That Ate Bratislava".
  • I'm tempted to make a Facebook page for "the flying boat explosion scene in Face/Off" just so I may, in a contemporary manner, express how much I like it .

  • And while I'm on the subject of movies: you may think Tom Hanks is a hack long past his prime, that Jonathan Safran Foer is an over-sentimental, precious lit-schmo, that Nico Muhly is large on Sonic the Hedgehog persona and short on compositional prowess... one could make an argument for any or all of the above, but all those factors conspiring to make a hyper-manipulative Hollywood-ass movie out of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close already sounds so perfect I wanna cry a little. I love that book. More than even Facebook can convey.

    I assume Tom 'n' Sandra are the parents who largely exist (in the book anyway) as vacuums through which Oskar's comet streaks. The fact that Oskar will be played by a kid that won some landmark prize on Jeopardy seems even perfecter.
  • Just to keep the hi/low culture friction going: a moment with Workaholics

  • Dude, I don't know if any of you human/robot readers actively follow through on the linking of obtuse music, but Helmut Lachermann is out there by even my standards. Salut Für Caudwell is like a junkyard fight scene in the acoustic room at Guitar Center. Salut!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a unicorn appearing on the roof of a Hooters

Kreayshawn, from here.

The Sequoia String Quartet, Benjamin Britten: String Quartet No. 2 / John Crawford: String Quartet No. 2 / Paul Chihara: Sequioa & Ellington Fantasy
Rene Leibowitz, Anton Webern: Concerto for Nine Instruments, Op. 24, Piano Variations Op. 24; Four Songs, Op. 12; Quartet Op. 22

  • In this week's Record Crate blog for 225: new albums by Wilco, So Percussion; RAIN and Wanda Jackson in concert.
  • Thanks to these weird daily blasts of a ~1000 readers that started about month ago, my little blog is going to hit 100,000 pageviews any day now. I'm gonna start looking into incorporating more robot humor, should that be the audience. Nothing against robots; I wanted to be one as a child, so I'm happy to at least provide some sort of entertainment for them.
  • I think string quartets are maybe the the most human means of musical expression: manageable social scale, simple enough to be self-regulating, enough sonic real estate to let everybody display their wonder (there is a reason the modern rock quartet of two guitars, bass and drums follows this same general model). It is also as close as we get musically to robot precision.

    "String Quartet No. 2 in C major" Benjamin Britten - Sage Quartet
  • I don't know what to make of Chihara's Ellington Fantasy. I mean, I hesitate to say it's nice enough, given the fervent love people have with Ellington's music. It is nice enough. But sing-song, whereas Chihara's other string music I've heard has a misty, dream-logic take on melodiousness that is my favorite kind of art music. Lose me in your dream cloud, don't take me for a ride I feel I've been on already.
  • With Webern, you feel like he doesn't even know where he's going.

    Webern: "Concerto For Nine Instruments" Op. 24

    That's what I find so appealing the other day (and always) about Cage's Concerto for Prepared Piano; the piano is the only thing prepared for what's gonna happen.

    One of my favorite things about the free Spotify is the sudden burst of the ads, the non-sequitirs that spiral therefrom. Like Kreayshawn gettin' all up with her Popsicle in the middle of Webern's mouse-furtive Concerto for Nine Instruments had a singular sort of juxta-beauty. It was like seeing a unicorn appearing on the roof of a Hooters. There, that should bring in 2000 readers. All demographics covered.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Nice earholes!"

R.E.M., Automatic for the People
David Essex, Rock On
Cocteau Twins, Four-Calendar Cafe
Prefab Sprout, Protest Songs
Lost Bayou Ramblers and Gordon Gano, "Bastille"

  • "Nice earholes!" said my beautiful wife upon seeing this gecko picture.

  • I got the new Facebook to work. I can already hearing the beating of breasts about this free thing that is weirdly not behaving exactly how we want, but I like it. The world is an organically choreographed monkey trapeze show anyway; the new Facebook is just a way to watch the monkeys go, to flatten the non-Euclidian state of reality for your hapless linear understanding.

  • The calculus behind the dubby remix of Lost Bayou Ramblers' "Bastille" (GIVERS at the cont-rols) is the limit as x approaches no-longer-Cajun without crossing the "why?" axis. See what I did there? Math jokes!

  • The R.E.M. Smackdown was a lot of fun, even with some phoneline issues. Thanks WNYC! I look forward to my next opportunity to put forth an unpopular opinion about popular music.

  • I had something else but Fringe is on. New season! on demand! Peter doesn't exist because he fell in a wormhole or something! Plus the extra quantum reality character looks just like the cashier at Zoe's Kitchen like an hour ago! Or is it at the same time, but different space-time? Why am I shouting?!

Monday, September 26, 2011

with whom they were all a lover

Losing my religion; finding it in a driveway around the corner.

Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
Ryan Adams, Ashes and Fire (streaming at NPR) and Easy Tiger
Fleetwood Mac, Tusk
R.E.M., Up and Around the Sun
Nico, Avance
Serge Gainsbourg
, Indifférente
Various artists, Allons Boire Un Coup: A Collection of Cajun and Creole Drinking Songs

  • I'm going to be a guest on WNYC's Soundcheck Tuesday afternoon (1pm CST/2pm EST) for the R.E.M. break-up smackdown, ostensibly to speak ill of the dead.
  • The idea of speaking ill of the dead permeates my trouble with Ian McEwan's Amsterdam, a book I am enjoying while reading but feeling nonplussed about the second I step away from the text. It's about a consortium of men dealing with the passing of a vivacious, free-spirited woman, with whom they were all a lover. No one can say a bad thing about the gal though she seems like she might have been fun but also a bit of a pain in the ass. People are never clear cut in life, why should they be expected to be so out of life? Why is that our tendency to make them so? Is it because the closest we get to understanding is "calling it" ? I'm waiting for Amsterdam to coalesce, make a pearl from this grain of sand or another.
  • Like Ryan Adams? Is he really that puzzling? I mean, I've too played the erratic card with reviewing him, but generally, I find that an attractive feature in an artist. I don't know how many artists to whom I've said form my critical armchair: you know, you can do anything now, so why do you choose to still do that same thing? Has anyone ever asked Fleetwood Mac that question? I've never asked Ryan Adams that question. Ashes and Fire is slow and pretty and complete sounding like he sounds when he does his thing. No one in my adult lifetime has made a better record than Heartbreaker and I still love Easy Tiger. GUITAR SOLO!

    Ryan Adams, "Halloweenhead"
  • So, this thing about Sly Stone living in his van is true? I mean, if any big star ever invited the wrath of causality upon himself, it is arguably Sly Stone, crazy is as crazy does, but it's still a bummer. Stone is likely a hard cat to love in toto, but who isn't. We all have moments where the world should love us, surrounded by other moments where hopefully some runoff of that love will sustain us in the shadows until we again become lovable, or recede into memory where we aren't afforded the opportunity to fuck things up.

    You wanna think, it's a sweet van.
  • This post is kinda bumming me out. I didn't mean for it to. I'm having a great day leading into a great week and even enjoying those mid-2000's R.E.M. records more than I intended to. The Nico on Avance is not the Velvet Underground one but I was all you know, what the hell, let it play, y'all. Let the music play, like Shannon told us to do! I love everybody today and wish them the best!

    Shannon, "Let the Music Play"

Sunday, September 25, 2011


  • I love moonflowers. Ipomoea alba.

  • The fact that they just pop out one night while no one is looking and fill the air with perfume while no one is smelling and the get the hell out before the people show up and ruin everything with their stupid admiration. People, the moonflowers sneer. Look at what they do to the roses.

  • These were perched up in a wire strung up over a party, hoping we'd be so absorbed in our boring human absorptions to ignore them so they could summon the affections of some kind of cool moon moth or something. Whatever they do up there. Leave us alone, we just got this one night.

  • There were a lot of absorptive conversations and a fire and this great pork chili made with 30 peppers and some fresh homemade warm sauerkraut (Dude!) and tequila and this stuff

    so the moonflowers were well guarded from our attention.

  • In fact, we were on our way out when one of the papery blooms fell to the ground and Maya was all, Dad! Moonflowers! And the moonflowers probably sighed, Shit, knowing their jig was up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

mirror ball

Home: Halloween
Teddy's Juke Joint: mirror ball, Jack and Coke setup, Teddy, Oscar "Harpo" Davis
Home: butterfly, cypress vine, hummingbird
House of God Ministries: chicken plate

Friday, September 23, 2011

testier post

Laura Marling, A Creature I Don't Know
R.E.M., New Adventures in Hi-Fi
David Bowie, Aladdin Sane
Milagres, Glowing Mouth
Wild Flag, Wild Flag
Disappears, Lux
The Fall, The Infotainment Scan
Lotus Plaza, The Floodlight Collective

Atlas Sound, Bedroom Databank 3 (from the Atlas Sound blog)

  • I turned the above cloudy day into the End Times with Snapseed. So fun, this sort of power! Little did my fellow bus riders realize the power I was wielding with each little finger swipe. Where's the button for adding locusts?
  • Visits to the blog have shot through the roof! Hi, everybody! It is a bit of a blow to my writerly ego that "test post" is one of the most popular things I've ever done, but I'm not one to argue with the numbers. But why that one? Is it a post-irony thing? I don't get it. If I write a testier post about "test post", will it bridge the meta-hungry new readers and my old minscule audience, creating a super-audience? Will you all then say in unison, "Thank you, People's Poet!" ?

    Bokko! Only time and Blogger stats will tell.
  • An ad on Spotify worked! I clicked and am listening to Milagres' new album and liking it. I was gonna say I'm not "liking" it in a  Facebook kinda way but I'm not sure that's even a valid statement anymore so I'll do what the robots tell me* and move on. I think I shared it... I dunno, it's on there now. Imagine if Pandora set up a concession stand in that little corner of the Spotify screen. Imagine what we'd click on then!
  • I'm being half-sarcastic about all this. There is a convergence feeling about the way these goofy networks are overlaying our actual lives that I'm into. The scramble to understand them has an eschatological sheen to it, a get right with Jesus 'fore it's too late thing. I'm sure someone is out there mapping every new Facebook interface change onto Revelations and tweeting/sharing/posting/liking/plussing it. It's exhilarating to scramble for the Rapture.
  • Here I am spreading the good word to my friend Chip's class.

    To my fellow Wisdom Conveyors of Today: doing your thing via iPad + projector makes you feel like you are doing a TED talk. You are a genius from the future, even when you are just putting a little spin on a Slate article using a drawing program your kid downloaded. F U T U R E !
* Spotify is not gonna make me listen to Pearl Jam, no matter how many times Eddie Vetter says in his self-effacing soundbite, "it's not gonna happen..." I see what you're doing there!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Art of Vision


Last night:
Los Campesinos!, Romance is Boring
Cyril Vetter, Dirtdobber Blues

The Flaming Lips, "I Found a Star on the Ground" (via Blurt and Slow Nerve Action's SoundCloud)

  • Frank is right; Snapseed is a boss iPad photo editor. I thought original of the above was a pretty good shot until I started seeing what else it could look like. Imagine if I embraced subtlety as a creative dictate!
  • Making a public note to myself to settle down and see things as they are.
  • I might be too close to Dirtdobber Blues to give it an objective review: my class is doing an digital marketing plan for it, same publisher as my forthcoming book, I know personally some of the people in the book, and my house is down the street from one of the locations in which shoulda-been Louisiana singer-songwriter Butch Hornsby's troubled yet charmed life plays out. I can say the people and places I know are depicted accurately, and that Butch, who I didn't know, comes vividly alive.

    Butch thrives in accelerated glory time, when the world seemingly stands still while he drunkenly destroys/builds the mythic presence that sustains him when he downshifts into human time, where the pound of flesh gets collected. Similarly, Vetter's prose is the most lucid in the glory days, though at points during the quiet years, you can almost hear the tree frogs in the yard.

    The Kindle version begins each chapter with a link to a song (nice touch!); the paper book comes with a CD, both allowing the reader to tap into Butch's unique gifts as a songwriter, as a visual artist - his primitivist paintings and collages permeate the text as well. You get to know a guy you wish you'd known, which seems the highest compliment one can pay a biography. If you are a Bobby Charles, Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker type, you need some Butch Hornsby in your liquor cabinet.
    (x-posted to Goodreads and Amazon)
  • I just let the six-hour Flaming Lips song play away in my office all day, even when I wasn't in there. I feel it will activate the surfaces of my area in the manner of my pleasing. Leave its sparkle.

     The Flaming Lips - I Found a Star On the Ground [Part One of Three] by Slow•Nerve•Action 3
     The Flaming Lips - I Found a Star On the Ground [Part Two of Three] by Slow•Nerve•Action 2
     The Flaming Lips - I Found a Star On the Ground [Part Three of Three] by Slow•Nerve•Action
  • I once went to see Stan Brakhage's The Art of Vision, a six-hour deconstructive remake of his already long Dog Star Man. Only me and one other guy made it through the whole thing; I'm pretty sure Stan Brakhage himself was sitting up in the back row of the Anthology Film Archives theatre and even he left early. After the show, I shook the hand of the other guy and asked if he wanted to get a drink, thinking we'd just seen a thing only a handful of people had plus I was being a gregarious Southerner loose in New York City. He said he was going to ask the projectionist if he could watch it again.

    Stan Brakhage, Dog Star Man (Prelude) Imagine this but 6 hours long.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

excellent and excellently-titled

Supergroup dynamics at play.

Wilco, The Whole Love (streaming at NPR)
John Cale, The Academy in Peril
So Percussion, Mackey: It Is Time
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Berio/Xenakis /Turnage: Trombone Concertos Dedicated to Christian Lindberg
David Tudor and Ensemble Modern, John Cage's Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra
(on YouTube)
Yvar Mikhashoff, Yvar Mikhashoff's Incitaion to Desire
SuperHeavy, SuperHeavy

  • Along with the comments on Wilco's new album, I'm holding off my comments on So Percussion for the 225 Record Crate blog as well. I'm sure the suspense is killing you, but think about how excited you'll be when they finally get here next Wednesday. It's like being a week out from Christmas, the most anticipatory time of the year! Like Advent!. You can wear purple and sing "O antiphons" to bide your time.
  • This week's Record Crate discusses the Radio Bar, new music by Blitzen Trapper and Grace Jones and tonight's local performance by jazz master McCoy Tyner, whose 1970's music I summed up as

    if it can be summed up, is atomized, clouds of notes forming the melodies.

    Sounds like something I'd say. I also got a new picture! It's the same one as on here, but it's new over there! It's like when you have that second, less-exciting Christmas over at a relative's house after real Christmas!
  • There was a time when this was my favorite album.

    Below is not the same recording (Cagey sorts: Is there a difference between Concerto for Prepared Piano & Orchestra and ...& Chamber Orchestra?), which is important with Cage given all the chance operation stuff, but it puts the same kind of smoke in the room.

    It is in three parts (part 2 and 3), but really, it sounds not that different with all three parts going at once. Maybe more "eventful." The Slinky-laser zaps about a minute into part 3 go with everything.
  • The excellent label copy for the excellent and excellently-titled Yvar Mikhashoff's Incitaion to Desire:  Yvar was an internationally known virtuoso pianist, bon vivant and ballroom dancer who died of AIDS a few years ago. One of his obsessive passions in life was to commission tangos from living composers of all ilk. This collection is drawn from sessions we recorded near the end of his life, when his sight was failing but his playing was still brilliant. These short pieces are mostly played from memory and include some terrifically funny titles: "Fromage Dangereux", which is self explanatory, and the final "Thorn Torn Lips" which observes the condition of the gypsy dancer who was kissed before the rose in her mouth was removed.
  • OK, I don't usually bother to throw stuff under the bus from this comfy perch, but SuperHeavy is a supergroup involving Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Damien Marley,  Bollywood composer A.R. Raham, and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics. It's like a special music episode of The Love Boat where Captain Stubing steers the Pacific Princess into an iceberg and the guest stars wake up shipwrecked on Bad Idea Island, doomed to overcome their differences and cobble together a new kind of popular music to brighten their lost horizon and perhaps, learn from one another.

    SuperHeavy, "Miracle Worker"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Everything is groovy

Hurricane lily; clothesline

Cyril Vetter, Dirtdobber Blues
The Jam, All Mod Cons
The Electric Prunes, I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night and Underground
13th Floor Elevators, Easter Everywhere

  • The virtues of being well-connected: I decided I needed to bring my bike to work on the little rack on the bus and thankfully Hope the Grooviest Printmaker of All was at the stop to show me how to pull the bike rack down and pull up the wheel thing and so on. She's spent time in the Pacific Northwest and therefore her bike rack ability is instinctual. Otherwise I'd been left to fumble and cry like a feeble old man.
  • I've had a fiction idea rolling around, partially about the dark but funny period of someone I know and I'm conflicted. I'm compelled to say it should be non-fiction and do it clean, but I'm not sure the subject would participate nor would anyone want to read it that way. Some of the characters in the "faction" Dirtdobber Blues are people I know in real life, so I know it can be done, but I can also see the fine line one must walk. This might be a job for NaNoWriMo.
  • The Electric Prunes "I"

    reminds me of this groovy classic from Sesame Street

    which reminds me that I was lucky to have a 70's childhood.

  • Everything is groovy today!

  • Class was great, then I zipped across campus to do a guest lecture that i'd prepared on the iPad and it all worked like presentations, especially ones where you fly in and have zero setup time, never do. The students seemed into it, I was into it. I was less into my bike ride home when the water fountain by the park entrance wasn't working and I was about to barf up every poorly-thought-through plan in my life that led up to that very moment but I made the rest home and after a shower and some China 1 and Workaholics comin' on, s'all groovy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"a radical statement about the possibilities of heaviness"

A gecko displaced by the fall garden cull.

Last night:
Vic Chesnutt, At the Cut
Giant Sand, Swerve
Smoke, It's Smoke Time

This afternoon:
Vanilla Fudge, Vanilla Fudge
Wilco, The Whole Love (streaming at NPR)
Frank Black and the Catholics, Pistolero

  • I don't know I wholly agree with JFRARRAR's assessment of Vanilla Fudge on the Rhapsody site, but I'd love for any product of my creativity to one day been described as "a radical statement about the possibilities of heaviness".
  • I'm going to hold my comments on the new Wilco for the 225 blog except that at one point I thought, this sounds like a Seal record. I'll have it be known that two of my good friends from high school play in Seal's current band and were my musical influences to be cut up like a pizza, those two friends each have a bigger slice than Wilco does. So there's that.
  • Upon my announcing Vic Chesnutt's demise at the coffee shop like some breathless page from dispatched from a distant kingdom, a friend of mine replied, " I went to see Night of the Iguana with Vic Chesnutt." which sounds like something to have on one's cultural resume. I thought while listening to Giant Sand on the long, dark Interstate bridge across the Atchafalaya Swamp, I could do this! I want to do this! but of course I cannot nor will I. Giant Sand's Howe Gelb wants you to think these thoughts and then realize that's all they are, thoughts you have, while he turns similar thoughts of his directly into songs. I picture sausage grinder being used in his process, but I'm likely romanticizing. This song sounds great driving across a swamp in the dark.

    Giant Sand, "Angels at Night"
  • I remembered Jack Pendarvis describing in a article something Howe Gelb did as, "such a Howe Gelb thing to do" and then I remembered Jack mentioning Atlanta band Smoke to me once and I was all Smoke! and dialed them up. The first song title seemed like kismet!

    Smoke, "My Friend Jack"

    I realized I had the wrong Smoke. This happened once before with the Jody Grind, another band from that same conversation with Jack.
  • I turned off the wrong Smoke and started making up a Giant Sand-ish song about things falling. The song was pretty bad, but I like one bit about a cop who fell asleep at a donut shop counter with his gun about to fall out of his holster and thought Pistolero!  The second Frank and the Catholics album might just be the sharpest arrow in Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV's vast quiver! If I may mix up my weapon metaphors. Which I can. No matter what Howe Gelb or anybody says.

    Frank Black & the Catholics, "Western Star"

Swamp Blues Legends Reunion

Marquee of the Rice Theatre, Crowley, LA

Lazy Lester and Rudy Richard, "Scratch My Back"  One of the many Slim Harpo and Excello blues tunes given an expert rendering by the folks that recorded them just down the street. More videos below.

I got a last minute invite to the Swamp Blues Legends Reunion in Crowley, LA, at the Rice Theatre, right down the street from J.D, Miller's old studio where he recorded a lot of Swamp Blues, country, and rock 'n' roll from southwest Louisiana in the 1950's and 60's. A number of the original performers were on hand: Carol Fran (who stole the show like I expect she's stolen every show in her long storied career), Lazy Lester, Lil' Buck Senegal, Warren Storm, Rudy Richard (glad to see him up and about!), Jockey EtienneC.C. Adcock, Guitar Gable (who couldn't play because of his arthritis), James Johnson and more folks whose names escape me.

Warren Storm, Jockey Ettienne, Rudy Richard, Classie Ballou, Carol Fran, Lazy Lester
The full set of pics can be found here.

I suspect this show was an unofficial spin-off of sorts from the Ponderosa Stomp happening this weekend in New Orleans; a lot of these performers were on the bill. The five-hour show, including intermissions and a 30-minute film about J.D. Miller, had its own homespun charms. No alcohol or smoking was allowed in the theatre. It was a sit-down, popcorn and Sno-caps kind of affair. No dancing that I saw, but it seemed like everyone in the room knew someone on stage. I love that part about living here.

It's astounding, the reach J.D, Miller had in the music of the 50's and 60's. For instance, I'd forgotten that he wrote Kitty Wells' massive hit "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", which would be a career-definer for most music professionals; with Miller it was just a start. Someone needs to write a biography.

I also got a thing for sweet old Crowley.

I fell for Crowley when I did a Country Roads story about the Grand Opera House of the South, restored after it was discovered above the old general merchantile just down the block.

I gave HD video capabilities of my Canon PowerShot SX130 a whirl, and despite some synchronization issues (especially on the Classie Ballou clip) it performed like a champ. Love this camera.

Here's the show:

YouTube playlist of all the videos

Links to the individual videos:

Carol Fran, "Where Were You Last Night" in English and French

Carol Fran, "Money"

Classie Ballou, "Hey! Pardner" (some synchronization issues)

Rudy Richard & CC Adcock, "Ti-Na-Ni-Na-Nu"

Lazy Lester & Warren Storm "Rainin' My Heart"

Lazy Lester & Rudy Richard, "I'm a King Bee" (partial; my battery gave out a minute into it)

CC Adcock & James Johnson (Warren Storm on drums), "Shake Your Hips"

Guitar Gable, "Congo Mombo"

Special thanks to Becky Owens for putting this together and inviting me out!

Winston Willingham's RV TV

Winston Willingham, RV TV, Mixed media.

Black Francis, Svn Fngrs
Roxy Music, Viva Roxy Music and Roxy Music
Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
Cyril Vetter, Dirtdobber Blues

  • There were relative successes and failures at Ephemeral Gallery's Cool Jumbo, Holy Mess group show, the biggest of both being Winston Willingham's RV TV above. Sewn together from stuffed animals into a violent luxury of texture, it managed to compete favorably with an adjacent video art projection of a large breasted woman bouncing around at the beach. The mandate of contemporary art is to upstage the classics.

  • I still couldn't get a bead on it. Someone started to tell me the backstory about the stuffed animals and I wanted to plug my ears with a stray bit of fluff. If the story serves the art, the art needs to be the one telling it. Or at least the little wall card next to the art.

  • I wanted to ask the artist if he were familiar with Thornton Dial and either be excited that he was and ask why you wanna do him like that then? Or just continue my usual state of glum "nobody's ever heard of anything" complaint. Nobody wants either and everybody wanted to rub up in this piece.

  • I suppose if you can get a room full of art opening patrons to look away from themselves for a moment and long to roll in the art, you've succeeded in something. Maybe you didn't make them feel anything, a fool's errand most of the time, but you made them at least want to feel on something.

  • Last night I said if he'd cut it into a bear rug shape and displayed it on the floor it would seem more finished, but now that seems the kind of kitsch move he narrowly avoids making with it tempting your caress from the wall. So, yeah, enough pronouncements. Nice piece! Nice show!

Edited to add:
My picture above is darker and more sinister than Willingham's piece is in person. I couldn't quite Photoshop my dim pictures back into proper reproduction.

Edited further to add: I did talk to the artist briefly at the show, not about this work but an album of his I thought I reviewed years ago, and here it is

Friday, September 16, 2011

mutant pink strawberry


David Bowie, Space Oddity
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Scott Walker, Climate of Hunter

Queen, Hot Space
tUnE-YaRdS, W H O K I L L

Afrika Bambaataa, Death Mix Live
Broadcasts from The Radio Bar
Mad Professor, Beyond the Realms of Dub
Grace Jones, Hurricane Dub

Cyril Vetter, Dirtdobber Blues

  • My review of Angus Woodward's Americanization: Lessons in American Culture and Language: A Novela funny, postmodern (those two words are usually separated by more than a comma) satire fitted into the shell of a citizenship textbook, is up on the Oxford American website. Keep scrolling, it's there.
  • Man, I love David Bowie lately. It's partly because I'm forever trying to turn Maya onto something and Bowie is sticking, partly because Bowie's art is one of constant unveiling. It is Major Tom lost in space reentering orbits. It is how to use a swooning string section to such key effect that you don't even know it's there. It's crafting a song so good that even Vanilla Ice couldn't ruin it. Take a second to listen to "Under Pressure" empirically.

    Queen and David Bowie, "Under Pressure"
  • Sure, it's a primarily a Queen song from their least rock'n' roll record - in 1982, everything was Thriller or it was filler -  but when Bowie proclaims it our last dance/ourselves and we are but a few fingerclicks from the ensuing void from which this song springs, it's the last breathy gasp in the world.
  • Jerri took my author photo (above), the last thing needed for my book. It seems weird to say "finished," and maybe a jinx to say that I am. I accidentally pulled up the full size version on Flickr and each pore was like the seed of a mutant pink strawberry. Never look at your picture closeup. It's like looking at your blog stats; what you thought was your best feature gets overshadowed by something everyone else can't see around. I got my hair did by my girl Carla at Salon Dolce, should you find yourself looking shaggy and skulking around Beauregard Town.
  • I just had so many windows open and the weirdest tune coming from one of them. I kept shutting them trying to find it and the music still played until I found it beaming out of the Radio Bar, a new bar/online radio station thing soon to be open on my way home from work. If I were programming the station right now, and I suppose I could be if I wanted, I'd just play the Grace Jones Hurricane Dub record over and over until we are all made space oddity plazzzzma and become one with the void from which things spring. Have a great weekend!

    Grace Jones, "Devil Dub"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

become its own mountain

On the walk to school.

Grace Jones, Hurricane Dub
Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
Matthew Dear, Black City
Cerebral Ballzy, The Griptape, Vol. 2
Roots Manuva vs. Wrongtom, Duppy Writer
Aceyalone & the Lonely Ones, The Lonely Ones
Various Artists, ATP I'll Be Your Mirror USA Mixtape

  • It's been a busy couple of days.
  • I'm debating whether it is worth the labyrinthine Special Collections library process required to read LSU's remote storage copy of René Daumal's Mount Analogue. (hat tip to 50 Watts for introducing it to my world) I suspect the process would become its own mountain. I might find wisdom at the top. Or just another mountain.
  • Zadie Smith prefaces her Believer conversation with Ian McEwan with
      I have often thought Ian McEwan a writer as unlike me as it is possible to be.
    despite the fact that the first chapter of Amsterdam seemed Zadie Smith as hell, or maybe vice-sersa. The posturing of semi-ineffectual men-in-authority over a wild woman caged by unfortunate destiny, c'mon. Maybe that is just the Modern English Novel talking and she means something finer that I'm too coarsely American to detect.

    Coming off like either writer is not a bad thing, by the way.
  • Aceyalone comes off awesome, as does Ms. Treasure Davis in this ri-cheer.

    Aceyalone, "Can't Hold Back" feat. Treasure Davis
  • There is another copy of Mount Analogue sitting at another library to which I ostensibly have borrowing rights, but I believe I owe fines. I can't log in to see. The question is: do I go through the shuffle of paperwork and endure the restrictions (I'd have to read it under watch in a reading room) to read the free copy, go across town and pay my fines to get it from the less complicated institution, or just buy the damn thing outright? In terms of work-hours, option three is the bargain. I think this might be a question of politics. Do I just choose to own it because it is easier than sharing? Is it time or money, or the mix of both, that is the big hurdle to my not reading right now? Should I own, rent, or just use the thing? Or forget it existed?

    If it was available for Kindle, we'd probably not even be having this discussion, presuming you are still listening. Is this a discussion if you, dear reader, have smartly stopped reading at this point? Also, I wonder if actually reading the book will provoke as much thought as have the potentialities around acquiring the book. Is there a difference between acquisition and having? I think I'm at the foothills of a media theory. I'm going to title the resulting book about the experience Climbing Mount Analogue: What is a Book and How Do We Read One. You can forget I said anything and then congratulate me via Facebook after hearing me talking about it on Fresh Air. Yep, it'll be sweet. Wait, where did you go? Hello?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

a riding lawnmower on the moon

Country music legend George Jones received a special visitor on Christmas Day when fellow recording artist Ronnie McDowell showed up at his home in Franklin, Tenn., bearing the gift of a portrait --commissioned by George's wife, Nancy -- depicting his DUI arrest while operating a riding lawn mower. From here.

George Jones, The Bradley Barn Sessions

  • We should put a riding lawnmower on the moon to commemorate George Jones surviving being George Jones for 80 years!

    Drive-By Truckers, "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues"
  • I've been playing with the stats part of the new Blogger and this old post suggesting that George Jones and Irma Thomas get together has gotten more play than I previously realized, so here it is.
  • I saw old No-Show Jones that Thursday night. His pipes were shot and his band did most of the heavy lifting. It was a run through the numbers; the real George Jones in the room, not the old man in the windbreaker or the wife-beating drunken nightmare, was the one projected into the stale air of the River Center by the audience clinging to that amorphous thing classic country music now represents.
  • The Bradley Sessions is a good place to go. Jones and Ricky Skaggs and Keith Richards and even Tammy showed up in Owen Bradley's barn during a thunderstorm and made it happen. the reviews complain that it's too clean, but George Jones is generally smooth as whiskey spilled 'cross and Ethan Allen table.

    George Jones & Keith Richards, "Say It's Not You"

    Not from that session, but this is my all-time favorite George Jones tune. Best appearance of Elvis and Fred Flintstone in the same song.

    George Jones, "The King is Gone"
  • This is the second DBT video I've sent out this morning. Happy birthday, Lisa and to all the other Lisas out there.

    Drive-By Truckers, "Lisa's Birthday"
Edited to add: Speaking of the moon, look at that dirty old moon from last night.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My life is a rainbow on fire!


Orange Juice, Rip It Up, Texas Fever
The Pastels, Mobile Safari
[The] Magnetic Fields, Holiday
The National, High Violet
Slowdive, Pygmalion
This Mortal Coil, Filigree and Shadow
Rain Tree Crow, Rain Tree Crow

  • The key to navigating modernity is knowing your cocktail. Maya's is pomegranate with brownie chunks, sour gummy bears and "mango drops" from Pinkberry. I am open to frozen yogurt sponsorship of these pages, by the way.
  • I had a dream the alarm app on my iPad wasn't going off because I hadn't set it right, so I woke up in the dream to check it and then woke up in real life. And a minute late the alarm went off. My life is a rainbow on fire!
  • Similarly, I when I got to work, I dumped out the latte that had been sitting on my desk since Friday in the office bathroom sink and it was brown and curd-y and splattered everywhere and the sink wouldn't drain. It looked exactly like someone had done - I had done - the most horrible thing a person could do in the sink at the bathroom at the office. I was certain someone was going to walk in and see it and we'd have a Larry David moment while I tried to explain it off, when the sink gurgled and started draining. Spit spot!
  • Is there a "the" in Magnetic Fields? I replied to a question (possibly from a robot) that "I truly wish I was well-heeled enough in spellcasting to answer." I am into what this day is asking of me.

    [The] Magnetic Fields, "Strange Powers"
  • I haven't listened to that last National album since it came out and Bret Easton Ellis reminded me how good they are again.  The infinitude of my day! I won't even go into how we couldn't find a table at the Union for lunch. Not one! Just swoon along with the dour indie baritones.

    The National, "Lemonworld"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

in the sphere of loving


XTC, Oranges and Lemons

Nick Lowe, Labour of Lust
Pere Ubu, Dub Housing
The Rolling Stones, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out: The Rolling Stones in Concert
  • I heard Jesus gave the "all-clear" that you can stop hating Muslims now.

  • Making an impromptu New Orleans visit is one of the things I really love about not living in New Orleans. I'm not sure I'd make the most of it if I did live there. The weather was magic, the pizza at Slice is right on the money and I don't know why I've never walked through Audubon Park before. I've been there, like, to go to the zoo or, well, maybe that is the only reason I've been there.


    I dig the stinky, crittery thicket that is Bird Island. I love wondering if the hippos Pablo Escobar bought off the financially strapped Audubon Zoo in the 1970's once menaced these fetid waters. I love the pale flowers of the city defying the onset of autumn with bikinis and beach towels. I love how New Orleans loves itself. Sometimes I get tired of how much New Orleans loves itself, getting in there with tweezers and a magnifying glass with its self-love, but today, I was loving its loving.

  • Nick Lowe, it must be said, is the best songwriter. Even when the song part isn't the best, the writing is.

    Nick Lowe, "Dose of You"

    Down there at the 2:30 mark, does he not say, "a heel made of high / a dress made of tight" ? Somebody make him poet laureate of wherever. But I digress.

  • How the crowd doesn't go apeshit after The sublime reading of "Sympathy For the Devil" on Ya-Ya's I'll never know. Could it be that they were exhausted by the preceding 45-minute deconstruction of "Midnight Rambler", watching a perfectly good song be vivisected and coldly inspected by Victorian scientists looking to scry the future in its entrails? Could it be that Keith Richards and his guitar had been replaced at that point of show by Wile E. Coyote manning an enormous Acme Electromagnet pulling in mailboxes and washing machines and battleships and Sputnik into Madison Square Garden?

    "Compressed Hare", 1961

    Or is that Mick Taylor at the controls? Or was it understood in 1969 that everything was cool ('cept for that overlong confusing war, wait a second...), the Rolling Stones roamed the Earth and didn't suck, so folks were harder to please? All I know is that it bent time so that I could shave off 30 minutes from my usual drive back from New Orleans. Love that. Circling in.

  • I think it was magnets. I woke up with an edge on me, and smoothed it down best I could. Maya asks to listen to Oranges and Lemons every time we're in the car - she loves XTC so much that she draws cartoons about them + plus she's becoming a sullen, unresponsive teenager so I'll take what I can get - and since I choose to spend this weird anniversary, about which none of us knows how to feel, in the sphere of loving, here is the only band in her world on the subject.

    XTC, "The Loving"

    All around the world,
    Every boy and every girl,
    Need the loving.
    The humble and the great,
    Even those we think we hate,
    Need the loving.

    Soldiers of the Queen,
    All the hard men that we've seen,
    Need the loving.
    Babies at the breast,
    Those in power and those suppressed,
    Need the loving.

    Let's face it you just can't hide,
    Your first taste'll send you reeling,
    Like a firework to which we're tied,
    Be prepared to go through your ceiling now.

    The loving's coming,
    The loving's more than just an ad man's vision.
    The loving's strumming,
    On your heart strings,
    So loud that you can't help but listen.

    Sailors on the seas,
    Or the clergy on their knees,
    Need the loving.
    All the rich and poor,
    Even those we fight at war,
    Need the loving.

    That thing that we need most of,
    That stuff we should try before we've died.
    Everyone is begging to be loved,
    With a free gift, a working heart inside.

    The loving's coming,
    The loving's advertised in all the papers.
    The loving's humming,
    Your favourite song,
    For once it won't annoy the neighbours.

    The loving, the loving.

    All round the world,
    Every boy and every girl,
    Need the loving.
    Cold-hearted or warm,
    Every single person born,
    Needs the loving.

    Way out there in space,
    Think we'll find that alien race,
    Needs the loving.
    And just to end the list,
    Everything that could exist,
    Needs the loving.

    The loving's coming!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"bacon sandwich"

You have to take a lot of blurry pictures of an abandoned feeder to get one discernible hummingbird.

XTC, Black Sea
Oingo Boingo, Nothing to Fear
David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
Badly Drawn Boy, The Hour of the Bewilderbeast
Denis Cooper, Train Dreams

  • The first tailgate of the season was a bust, but then I am merely a consumer of my buddy John's tailgating largess, and not remotely involved in what it takes to make it happen, so no complaints here. It was a gorgeous day to stroll around campus, traditional game day bacon sandwich or no. Plus, I got the front yard mowed and the hummingbirds were in full stuntshow display, buzzing my heads as I tried to keep the damn camera steady and learn photography on the fly. Still, none of that has the same ring as "bacon sandwich".

  • I just spent the last hour reading the non-sports facets of ESPN's Grantland webzine thing, and can only imagine how knocked out I'd be if I was into sports. The Chuck Klosterman interview with/profile of Oasis' Noel Gallagher is luminous and this Wright Thompson piece is the best thing written about mescal since Under The Volcano. Volcano has the edge of being one of the best things ever written period. So, anyway, Grantland. Great stuff.

  • Speaking of great, Denis Johnson's Train Dreams is so great that I''m going to stop blogging right now and go finish it ...

  • ... And so I did. I attempt to show the fireflies trapped in the jar that is this book over at Goodreads but trying to put in words how good a book it is, it's like using cheap perfume to describe the expensive stuff.

  • I just walked out under this very moon with my best girl to get a grocery bag full of chips and salsa.

Location:Baton Rouge,United States