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November 16, 2009

I take you seriously, Erlend

I feel most movies I see don’t take me seriously. It’s like they think I’m 16 or something. Or they don’t realize that I’m sitting in a movie theater and there’s nothing else going on. They don’t need to fight for my attention. They got my attention. They can be comfortable, it’s fine.

Pitchfork: Guest Lists: Kings of Convenience

October 8, 2009

whatever happened to Max?

Well, he’s unmarried. He still lives with his mother. He’s in therapy, and it doesn’t look like he’ll ever get out of therapy. And he didn’t go into literature.

nycgo / An Interview with Maurice Sendak

June 27, 2009

Why couldn’t a pop song also contain an enormous, barn-burning guitar solo? Why couldn’t a dance hit verge on Afropop? Why did a creamy ballad about human nature have to sound like humans were singing it? Pop has in no way exhausted all the questions he and Quincy posed.

Michael Died Today: Sasha Frere-Jones: Online Only: The New Yorker

June 25, 2009

This is where everyone I knew first saw the moonwalk, and if you weren’t there or didn’t watch it or maybe weren’t a kid at the time, you cannot imagine what a big deal it was. I was in middle school, and I think we all tried it. You can hear the crowd scream when he does it here — it’s not a scream of recognition, like it would be when he did it later. It’s a scream of shock.

NPR: Michael Jackson: The Moment That Made Him The King Of Pop

January 6, 2009

obama's chart

You mentioned our President Elect. What do you see in his chart?

He’s got Aquarius rising, and in this coming year, Jupiter and Neptune and Chiron (a comet that in astrology charts symbolizes a deep wound and efforts to heal that wound) are all going to be passing over and around his ascendant, which is, I think, a sign of tremendous vitality and the ability to lead in ways that instigate vitality. It’s tricky, because the presence of Neptune says that whatever work he does has to have a spiritual angle. It can’t just be practical. It can’t just be materialistic. It has to have some invocation of people’s spiritual nature, and as you probably know, although he doesn’t advertise it in the same way Bush does, Obama is a deeply religious person. And I think that’s among the most interesting challenges. How does he do that? How does he play to the people’s spiritual longings at the same time that he is re-inventing the economic system?

Astrologer Rob Brezsny in the San Francisco Chronicle.

December 23, 2008

reclaiming the body

Think of the well-meaning ecological designer at a green architecture firm, for instance. How can this person begin to think creatively outside the box, when he wakes each day to the digital pulse of an alarm clock, sits for eight hours a day in a cubicle, within a square building, staring into a squarish monitor? If there is music playing in the background of this scene, chances are it is in 4/4 time—yet another box. His body experiences nothing but the box, and in this box, it becomes very difficult for him to experience that flow of creativity and innovation which science itself has recognized to be the basis for evolution and change. We’ve known for decades that it isn’t hip to be square, now we must make sure that we design a way out of the box.

I really enjoyed NalaWalla’s “Reclaiming the Body: The Bodybased Arts as Center of the ‘New Village’” (PDF). Lots to think about here.

November 14, 2008

new hiphop mix from CPI

After 2005, I thought, there’s just not a lot of good hip hop, but this mix is four years in the making and there’s a lot of great stuff in here. I searched for the least misogynistic tracks, but couldn’t resist putting in a few just for their innovative beats.

Dharma Arts profiles my favorite digital DJ, CPI. You can download all 195 minutes of City Hearts Aimed Skyward at thetastates.com.

November 13, 2008

who doesn't watch "Watchmen"?

I find film in its modern form to be quite bullying. It spoon-feeds us, which has the effect of watering down our collective cultural imagination. It is as if we are freshly hatched birds looking up with our mouths open waiting for Hollywood to feed us more regurgitated worms.

Alan Moore Will Be ‘Spitting Venom All Over’ Watchmen | The Underwire from Wired.com

September 30, 2008

our current crisis

As we know, lax composition practices since the advent of modernism led to irresponsible poets and irresponsible readers. Simply put, too many poets composed works they could not justify. We are seeing the impact on poetry, with a massive loss of confidence on the part of readers. What began as a subprime poetry problem on essentially unregulated poetry websites has spread to other, more stable, literary magazines and presses and contributed to excess poetry inventories that have pushed down the value of responsible poems.

Poet Charles Bernstein, speaking at an event marking the release of Best American Poetry 2008.

August 24, 2008

Kerouac was a blogger

  • Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
  • The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
  • Write in recollection and amazement for yourself

Kerouac was a blogger.

July 23, 2008

dave hickey interview

Sometimes I get desperately depressed because I’m not cute anymore, or because I haven’t done what I said I would, but otherwise I’m OK. If I can get up, make coffee, look at the sunshine on the wall—hey. I don’t need a blow job before noon. I’m OK. And I think that most artists and writers—most of the ones that I know—are o-kay. They like to go into their studios, they like to see their friends, they like to chase girls or boys or whatever they chase. They were OK when they were a nobody, and now they’re OK when they’re somebody.

Dave Hickey, interviewed in The Believer. I’m reading his collection of essays, Air Guitar, right now, and I’m loving it. He’ll make you look at Vegas, Liberace and Norman Rockwell (among other things) in totally new ways.

July 19, 2008

Watchmen Movie

WATCHMEN MOVIE

‘nuff said?

May 15, 2008

Dear Edie

I have a lot of things to teach you now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night.

A Letter From Jack | Edie Kerouac Parker

"At this point in my life, I find myself obsessed with alternate paths I could’ve taken."

I show up in a town and call up my friends, and I’m like, “Guys, we gotta go out. Let’s hang out, I haven’t seen you in forever.” And their response is “Yeah, well, our baby needs to be going to sleep and I can’t be out all hours of the night anymore. It’s time to move on in our lives into another phase; we can’t live in this perpetual adolescence forever.”

Paste Magazine :: The Meaning of Life by Ben Gibbard.

April 28, 2008

radio lab

I got into storytelling very much through music, not through journalism. I was never good as a pure composer, but doing it in the service of storytelling somehow makes it so much easier. When you’ve got hours and hours of raw tape, it becomes a compositional exercise. To figure out what the story is, you try to approach it in terms of sound and texture. With musical composition, you want certain parts to be dense and others to be sparse. You’re thinking in terms of syncopation, beats, and rhythms. It’s very gestural, and it applies almost exactly to storytelling. Sometimes, you feel like a story is too regular, too metronomic. You can change a story’s “time signature,” so to speak, by creating little surprises and altering the rhythms on a micro level.

Jad Abumrad of Radio Lab talks with Boldtype.

April 24, 2008

i love brits

IDLER: Titles are important to you.

HIRST: I think they just come out of an urge for naming, it’s like naming your fucking baby. It’s like, you’re called Tom, and you can never separate that from you.

IDLER: Why do so many people do things which they call “Untitled”?

HIRST: It’s a big responsibility. You have to do what you’ve already done in the work in a verbal way, and if you’re a visual artist there’s not really any reason to do it. [picks nose, displays result]

IDLER: Nose-picking is a also great pleasure.

HIRST: Oh yeah. Anything you can do with your hands and feet. Great. Arse picking.

IDLER: Do you pick your arse?

HIRST: Er … I’ve messed about with it?

The Idler’s Tom Hodgkinson interviews artist Damien Hirst.

March 24, 2008

borges on philosophy

A Conversation with Jorge Luis Borges

…I think that, returning to philosophy, that we are not enriched by its solutions, as these solutions are doubtful, they are arbitrary, and philosophy does enrich us by demonstrating that the world is more mysterious than we thought.

(This is always how I feel after watching Waking Life.)

February 15, 2008

a cruel and shallow money-trench

The name is a genteel hangover from another era, reeking of civility and respect, of Ahmet Ertegun in a spun-silk suit leafing through some sheet music with Ray Charles. The reality was somewhat different: a generation of twentysomethings blasted to the gills on cocaine, tearing around the world trying not to lose their jobs by doing something crazy. Like actually signing a band.

John Niven in the London Times on life as an A&R man in the '90s. Via The Contrarian.

"digging Ayler's violent squawks and celebratory cadences"

As a country singer approached a microphone near home plate to sing the national anthem, our jaws slackened as [Albert] Ayler’s sax purred the plaintive opening notes of “Spirits Rejoice,” which quickly becomes a tight, triumphant military-style march before disintegrating into crushing trumpet bleats by Albert’s brother Don. On the silent screen gigantic flags were unfurled, pyrotechnics exploded, a military flyover happened and Americans rejoiced while Ayler’s band evoked twin towers of war—pageantry and battle—masterfully, if psychotically.

An Ayler in My House

January 28, 2008

the blurring of high and low culture

January 17, 2008

a dc story

What else can I tell you?
Today, a homeless man climbed into the sky.
And there, he warmed the city.
We felt it through the metal hulls of buses
but, ignorant of the origin,
missed a chance to marvel.

Then, something unexpected occurred.
Our bus driver turned around
in his seat—we were at a stoplight—
and offered wise counsel.
His tone was grave,
but his regard light.
And he said,
Casting a shadow is effortless.
But the real work is in the upkeep.

thin curly wood shavings used for packing or stuffing?

This collection of Stan Lee Tribute Artwork repeatedly takes my breath away.

November 20, 2007

Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes on selling out

In the art industry, it’s extremely difficult to be successful without turning yourself into a cartoon. Even Hunter S. Thompson knew this. God knows Duchamp and Warhol knew it. Some artists are turned into cartoons and others do it themselves. I prefer to do it myself. At least then I can control how my cock is photographed.

stereogum: Of Montreal Talk T-Mobile: "Selling Out Isn’t Possible" by Kevin Barnes (or, as my kids would say, “Bar-NEZ”).

October 22, 2007

White Noise Supremacists

Took me a long time to find it out, but those words are lethal, man, and you shouldn’t just go slinging them around for effect. If you’re black or Jewish or Latin or gay those little vernacular epithets are bullets that riddle your guts and then fester and burn there, like torture-flak hailing on you wherever you go.

A classic piece of rock criticism, Lester Bangs’ 1979 “White Noise Supremacists” takes punk to task for “acting like racism is real hip and cool.” To read the essay, download the PDF from Lester’s Legacy under “Lester reprints online.”

October 12, 2007

In Rainbows album art

Flickr: The In Rainbows Album Art Competition Pool

October 5, 2007

David Brooks On the Road

This is a spiritual story, written by an American Catholic who loved the disillusioned sadness of life just as much as youthful exuberance.

What makes this book an American masterpiece is how beautifully Kerouac blends the two. To claim otherwise just perpetuates the 50-year misinterpretation of this American confession.

New York Times’ letters to the editor regarding an October 4 David Brooks column.

what "beat" means

I love that Kerouac and company picked up the notion of Beat from Herbert Huncke, a Times Square hustler and writer who had picked up the phrase from carnies, small-time crooks, and jazz musicians in Chicago and who used the word to describe the “beaten” condition of worn-out travelers for whom home was the road.

Paperback Writer: October in the Railroad Earth

pinhole photography

randomWalks: Justin Quinnell’s bath, as seen by his tongue

This picture is making the rounds again, and prints are for sale on Quinnell’s site as well. I might pick one up.

September 19, 2007

The 'Road' much traveled

I read it in the decade of Dylan and the Beatles, and in its boozy, self-conscious, priapic posturing it seemed a boy’s book, as it does to this day. Its central conceit, Sal’s adoration of Dean, means that if you don’t dig Dean, the book is lost on you, and, frankly, Dean is very hard to dig if you’re a woman. — Marianne Wiggins

Some people remember being blown away by “On the Road” when they were young but then find that it doesn’t stand up to mature scrutiny. My experience has been completely different. It gets better and better—the heartbreak more pronounced—with every rereading. — Geoff Dyer

The LA Times asked thirty writers about the significance of On the Road: The ‘Road’ much traveled.

September 3, 2007

wnyc's john cage celebration

New York's WNYC is celebrating the birthday of John Cage (9/5) with 24 hours and 33 minutes of special programming, carried both on its HD Radio channel and online. "24:33 features rare audio drawn from the WNYC archives over the past 40 + years, including live performances and interviews with Cage — as well as Cage tributes, commentary, and performances by some of the most influential musicians of our time."

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones. -- John Cage

the howling brightness of our once common vision


no friend will wander down
no one arriving brown from Mexico
from the sunfields of California, bearing pot
they are scattered now, dead or silent
or blasted to madness
by the howling brightness of our once common vision

Inscrutable Muses: The Women of the Beat Generation. Miss-Vintage.com

August 30, 2007

happy year of rumi

It’s mostly [Rumi’s] romantic and spiritual poems that have captured English-speaking fans. (He’s quite popular on the wedding circuit these days.)

Washington Post: “Rumi’s Time Has Come (Again).” Previously on rW: Rumi’s “A Community of the Spirit.”

August 15, 2007

Colossal Cave Adventure

Digital Humanities Quarterly: Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther’s Original "Adventure" in Code and in Kentucky

“Section 2 of this article is a formal examination of Crowther’s original source code files, offering, for the first time, a clear understanding of Crowther’s innovative blend of simulation and fantasy, as well as a better appreciation of the creative contributions of Woods. Section 3 compares the game to maps of the cave site, presents photographs of an excursion to Colossal Cave, and offers testimony from experienced cavers. These key sources – the code and the cave, analyzed here for the first time – establish that Crowther’s original was not only faithful to the geography of the real Colossal Cave, but was also a fantasy remediation of that site.”

August 11, 2007

We will! We will Spock you!

Struggle. He had a Vulcan father and a human mother — so there’s great logic and deep emotion and a great struggle between the two poles. That’s a great gift to hand an actor. It’s a struggle we all go through.

Leonard Nimoy, on Spock’s internal life. ”Star Trek” exclusive: The Spocks speak! | Star Trek | The Q&A | Movies | Entertainment Weekly | 2

August 6, 2007

song

Bob Marlow’s Weekender Music: “Thoughts Are Leaves”

james tate

Do you know anything about [lemurs]? They’re just fabulous. They’re the most wonderful primates imaginable. They’re only in Madagascar and they’re endangered like most things, you know. The people cut down forests, killing them because they have superstitions about them because they have these long fingers that they point and the natives think that means [you’re] going to die, if they point at you. But [they’re] very, very gentle creatures. They constantly hug each other. They have these long, long tails. Anyway, no, I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. I’m a normal person who happens to like animals a lot. I don’t want to get too self-conscious about how they get in my poems because that’ll, you know, stop me.

Interview with James Tate, by Mike Magee.

Some poems by James Tate:

July 26, 2007

VIOLENT FEMMES Band Info

The Femmes were eating dinner at Doyle’s Seafood in Sydney. Ritchie ate a live lobster served sashimi style. When Gano saw the arms of the lobster waving around while Ritchie munched the raw flesh he called a taxi and went back to the hotel. The next day Gano announced he was becoming a vegetarian and has never eaten meat since then.

VIOLENT FEMMES Band Info is full of tales seemingly too good to be true.

July 24, 2007

Nearly Totally Unspoilt

I just finished reading Book 7 and am now back online.

apophenia: processing Harry Potter

July 22, 2007

smith on mcewan

“Apparently,” said my friend knowledgeably, as we watched McEwan swing his new wife around the dance floor, “he only writes fifteen words a day.” This was an unfortunate piece of information to give an aspiring writer. I was terribly susceptible to the power of example. If I heard Borges ran three miles every morning and did a headstand in a bucket of water before sitting down to write, I felt I must try this myself. The specter of the fifteen-word limit stayed with me a long time. Three years later I remember writing White Teeth and thinking that all my problems stemmed from the excess of words I felt compelled to write each day. Fifteen words a day! Why can’t you write just fifteen words a day?

From Zadie Smith's intro to her interview with Ian McEwan (excerpt), in The Believer.

July 20, 2007

I've been honestly kind of freaking out about the spoilers this week.

I’ve been honestly kind of freaking out about the spoilers this week.

Eager for Harry and ‘The Hallows’ - washingtonpost.com

randomwalks/dj: David’s reblog is one of the only sites I can think of which I trust not to spoil my weekend.

July 18, 2007

harry potter and the agony of anticipation

Trying to schedule your sequestration this weekend so the end of Harry Potter isn’t spoiled for you? Me too. Let’s see. The book will be 784 pages, and I read about 300 words per minute. (How Many Words-Per-Minute Do You Read?) Now if I had a copy of one of the Harry Potter hardcovers handy, I’d count a few pages to get a figure for words per page. Anybody got a good guess?

June 21, 2007

"holy moly," original manuscript of On the Road is "whole different book"

The long and winding ‘Road’

Here’s the published version: “My aunt once said the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness.”

In the scroll, the section runs four times longer and wraps with: “If these men stop the machine and come home - and get on their knees - and ask for forgiveness - and the women bless them - peace will suddenly descend on the earth with a great silence like the inherent silence of the Apocalypse.”

“Holy moly, man,” said Canary. “That’s a whole different book.”

May 27, 2007

Paul Simon wins the first Gershwin Price from LOC

J Freedom du Lac (what a sweet name!): He Is a Rock - washingtonpost.com

Surely, Stevie Wonder is on the short list for the next Gershwin Prize. Yes?

April 3, 2007

welcome back arthur

Apr 2, 2007 10:04 PM
Subject ARTHUR RESULT OVERTURNED
Body: Sweethearts of the rodeo,

Arthur has been recalled to life.

I bought Laris’s 50 percent interest in the magazine thanks to the efforts of family and friends.

Now I own 100% and am moving forward with all Arthur activities as quickly as possible.

Sorry for the interruption in service.

war is over

The papers will be incorporated into the artist’s Imagine Peace Tower, which will be installed later this year in Iceland. Ono was vague about the structure’s exact design and said it would be made of light.

Washington Post: Yoko Ono’s Peaceful Message Takes Root.

February 27, 2007

por por from ghana

Adopted by drivers of timber trucks working forest roads, the squeeze-bulb horns were first brought together with small percussion as a kind of ensemble noisemaking to insure protection to disabled vehicles after dark. As punctured tires—a frequent occurrence on forest roads—were pumped back to strength, driving mates surrounded the vehicles and banged out encouragement on ododompo finger bells and small square tamalin (from “tambourine”) frame drums while honking the por por horns to scare off dangerous animals. In time, the noise of warning transformed into a music, as the drivers layered short por por horn phrases onto the standard dawuro banana-leaf bell pulse patterns of distinct ethnic and national rhythms such as kpalongo, adowa, asafo, ogeh, and agbadza. Likewise, the up and down motion of pumping the punctured tires was turned into an enthusiastic dance of accompaniment.

The Afrofunk Music Forum brings our attention to Smithsonian Folkways’ Por Por: Honk Horn Music of Ghana.

slides at the tate

I launched myself down the enclosed corkscrew tube, feeling like a fish in a bowl as I peered through the tube’s clear plastic top at people staring at my descent. The welding along the structure’s joints painlessly whacked my back, adding another dimension to the feeling of plummeting through space. Twelve seconds later, after traveling a curving 182-foot route down the 43-foot drop, I was shot out of the slide and onto a black pad, exhilarated and out of breath.

London’s Tate Gallery is hosting five metal slides that sound like a heck of a lot of fun.

February 7, 2007

"I've got a tigress back at home" - Of Montreal

Of Montreal
Of Montreal
Uploaded by Malavagma.

leyink says:
I felt like I was watching all of the epic rock acts — Bowie, Sgt. Peppers Beatles, and some glam theatre troupe all smooshed onto the stage at Great America.

Intense. Awesome.


February 6, 2007

Naropa Kerouac Festival

“In celebration of the 50th anniversary of On the Road, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics will share news of Kerouac celebrations around the world, updates about the School’s own Kerouac Festival on June 30 and July 1, 2007 and perspectives of special guest bloggers.”

January 24, 2007

"the Japanese seem to care more about our music than we ourselves do"

Japan’s long been a music geek’s paradise, a Valhalla of reverent remasters of American and British albums that time and fashion have passed by in their native lands.

There’s a small but ardent underground economy among Americans in dummy addresses and e-mailed scans of Japanese iTunes Cards, picked up by friends in Tokyo convenience stores or openly sold online.

Slate Magazine: The insanely great songs Apple won’t let you hear, by Paul Collins.

January 3, 2007

Ys Ys Ys

The thing that I was experiencing and dwelling on the entire time is that there are so many things that are not OK and that will never be OK again. But there’s also so many things that are OK and good that sometimes it makes you crumple over with being alive. We are allowed such an insane depth of beauty and enjoyment in this lifetime.

MAGPIE » NEARER THE HEART OF THINGS: Erik Davis on Joanna Newsom, from Arthur No. 25/Winter 02006.

December 19, 2006

whole lotta love

Dave dropped the needle on the record, and the opening guitar/bass riff kicked us in the balls and poured motor oil on us and made us kiss the goat’s anus; then we got to the stop-time guitar solo and our eyes turned black and fell out, and we jumped off the overpass, and the color became sound, and the font became fury, and we microwaved the baby, and we saw Thor’s hammer forge Valhalla, and we are coming, we are coming, and it’s all for you Damian, hack splat, oh oh oh oh oh oh, - hey, I wonder whatever happened to Dave Marciano…

WFMU’s Scott W describes his first experience with Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

December 1, 2006

wowee

WFMU’s blog points to a one-of-a-kind Velvet Underground acetate up for bidding on eBay. Just 21 thou and a week to go — I could still have a crack at it.

October 23, 2006

the big blue turret

Houses Inspired By the Big Orange Splot Book

I was compelled to find this (which was inspired by this wonderful book in particular) after reading about this man who was inspired to add a turret to his house. It looks pretty kickass to me.

We have experienced a lot of intolerance and harassment, ranging from people making nuisance calls for inspections to materials being stolen to our vehicles repeatedly having fruit, yogurt, eggs, tomatoes, et cetera thrown on them, to broken truck windows to extension cords running from the temporary power being cut and stolen …

October 22, 2006

a community of the spirit

A Community of the Spirit

There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.

Open your hands,
if you want to be held.

Sit down in this circle.

Quit acting like a wolf, and feel
the shepherd’s love filling you.

At night, your beloved wanders.
Don’t accept consolations.

Close your mouth against food.
Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.

You moan, “She left me.” “He left me.”
Twenty more will come.

Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.

—Rumi
trans. Coleman Barks

October 9, 2006

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I do not know what “crozzled” means. Nor do I know what “kerfs” mean, or “grambeled” or “sleavings” or innumerable other words introduced into the narrative. I have a vague idea of what the word “claggy” means in the sentence sequence, “The gray and rotting teeth. Claggy with human flesh,” but I don’t want to think too much about it.

The end is nigh and woe is us (on The Road by Cormac McCarthy).

October 8, 2006

whitman in dc

Here’s a guide to where Walt Whitman hung out in Washington, D.C.

October 6, 2006

The Great Old Pumpkin, by John Aegard

The Great Old Pumpkin, by John Aegard

You must know, Doctor, that I did not choose to seek psychiatric help. I have no faith that I shall exit this room a healed man; I know now that I have been destined for the asylum since childhood. No mere conversation with you can steer me clear of that fate. That said, let us proceed with this court-compelled farce before my mad prattle provokes your crabbiness further.

As you are no doubt aware, I am the issue of solid Dutch stock — the prosperous Van Pelt family of St. Paul.

Bonus (while supplies last): It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

October 3, 2006

Fred Tomaselli

Artificial, immersive, theme-park reality was such a normal part of my everyday life that when I saw my first natural waterfall, I couldn’t believe it didn’t involve plumbing or electricity.

Waldemar Januszczak profiles Fred Tomaselli in The Times UK. See more of Fred Tomaselli’s work from an upcoming exhibition at the James Cohan Gallery in NYC.

September 29, 2006

Haircuts by Children

“In the future, every child will be given a pair of scissors and invited to shape our destinies.”—Haircuts by Children

September 22, 2006

Ornette Coleman

Right now, I’m trying to play the instrument, and I’m trying to write, without any restrictions of chord, keys, time, melody and harmony, but to resolve the idea eternally, where every person receives the same quality from it, without relating it to some person.

New York Times: Seeking the Mystical Inside the Music: Listening with Ornette Coleman.

September 18, 2006

hozomeen from desolation lookout

Hozomeen, Hozomeen, most beautiful mountain I ever seen

September 16, 2006

Anil explains Justin Timberlake

All you ever wanted to know about JT.... and more! - Threat Level Orange Julius

September 7, 2006

CDs are small

You do the best you can, you fight that technology in all kinds of ways, but I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past twenty years, really. You listen to these modern records, they’re atrocious, they have sound all over them. There’s no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like — static. Even these songs probably sounded ten times better in the studio when we recorded ‘em. CDs are small. There’s no stature to it. I remember when that Napster guy came up across, it was like, ‘Everybody’s gettin’ music for free.’ I was like, ‘Well, why not? It ain’t worth nothing anyway.’ “…

Rolling Stone: The Genius of Bob Dylan (excerpt)

August 27, 2006

alan moore's swamp thing

beatzo: How Alan Moore Changed My Life Part 1: Swamp Thing# 48

Part memoir, part “comics as literature”, this essay communicates both the genius of Alan Moore and the secret joys a teenage comic book fan was privy to in the 1980s.

August 15, 2006

he's alive -- and dead

"Stranger and Stranger: Why is George Bush Reading Camus?" (Slate)

July 30, 2006

painful leg injuries

Check out the Painful Leg Injuries podcast, "digital visual/audio artist, Bill Byrne. Conceptual, avant-garde noise, ambient sound art explorations. For fans of Fennesz, Nurse With Wound, William Basinski, Wolf Eyes, the Improvised Music from Japan players, Double Leopards, Harry Partch, et al." I'm enjoying "The Bill Byrne Elevenbilliontet" (MP3): "Recordings of street musicians, collaged together. For this episode I collected many field recordings I had of those lonely New York street corner hornsmen. Sax players mostly."

July 29, 2006

dc/nova music listings

Pat's District provides automatically compiling listings for clubs in Arlington, Va.; Alexandria, Va.; and Washington, D.C., among others. Wonderful. RSS?

July 24, 2006

STOP THE FEEDS! Unedited version of 'On the Road' to be published!

Lowell Sun Online - Unedited version of ‘On the Road’ to be published

Jack Kerouac’s landmark novel on the Beat Generation, On The Road, will be published in its unedited “original scroll version,” John Sampas said today.

The Lowell-based executor of Kerouac’s literary estate said he signed a contract Sunday with the New York-based publisher Viking/Penguin to publish the book. He hopes to have it out by the end of 2007.

Tuesday’s Lowell Sun will have the full edited story.

July 12, 2006

linklater audio interview

NPR : Richard Linklater, Directing 'Darkly' (Interviewed on Fresh Air, 10 July 2006)

June 13, 2006

jazz

Village Voice: pithy recording guides vis-a-vis Trane, Monk, Ra and others. Oh it just makes me want to drink some Woodford Reserve and listen to these guys for hours.

June 10, 2006

neruda in d.c.

It was June 1966, five years before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Neruda, a member of the Chilean Communist Party, was to speak at the IDB, but it was the height of the Cold War and anticommunist feeling ran deep among the bank's employees. The IDB president was forced to stand "in the doorway of the bank and, despite the protests and sirens, announced through a bullhorn that the ceremony would take place at the Hotel Mayflower." There, Castedo introduced the poet, and the reading was "a colossal success."

The Washington Post reports on the discovery of a long-lost recording of Pablo Neruda reading in Washington, D.C.

June 6, 2006

radio scratch

Check out Radio Scratch, a podcast of Lee "Scratch" Perry's tunes. Great stuff. (Again cribbed from Some Velvet Blog.)

June 1, 2006

dylan covers

Some Velvet Blog links to covers of Dylan tunes for the man's 65th. One is Conor Oberst, M. Ward and Jim James doing "Girl from the North Country."

May 31, 2006

new linklater flix

So if the dystopian Scanner equals something like Life plus Dick, what do you get when you drop that tab after having choked down an order of Fast Food's Schlosser-plus-Slacker?

"Ooh," says Linklater excitedly. "You get a pretty creepy vision of our country right now." The nation's other frightening Texan, 45 going on 24, is sitting poolside at his trés chic Cannes hotel, comfortably clad in last year's National League Championship jersey and chuckling at the thought of his two line drives to the center of the corporate American void. "Scanner," he says, "is set 'seven years from now,' but that really means right now—the post– 9-11 world of surveillance. It's tragic on an individual level, whereas Fast Food is the tragedy of a system or a mind-set."

Richard Linklater talks with The Village Voice about his forthcoming films, Fast Food Nation and A Scanner Darkly.

May 15, 2006

happiness measured out in miles

Studio Tricks. This one's fun. Okay, let's start with the guitar solo from "I'm Only Sleeping." It's obviously been reversed, but that's not the whole story. George actually played the actual solo backwards, and then they flipped the tape for the master, making it a forward sounding lead break, but with just enough backwards sound to fit perfectly in one of John's droniest songs.

Wonderful post listing great Beatles moments. The best part is that I can think of so many more. What a band.

oh shit man it's all comin' back

The Criterion Collection edition of Dazed and Confused is due in June. Wiley Wiggins has posted some pics of his advance copy — it looks fantastic.

May 3, 2006

book reviews

village voice > books > Daniel Pinchbeck's 2012: The Return of the Quetzalcoatl by Carla Blumenkranz

village voice > books > Book of Sketches; The Poem That Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later by Theo Schell-Lambert

the road to On The Road

Lowell Sun Online - Kerouac film bid brings crew 'On the Road' to Lowell

We are not starting with preconceived concept of what it should be. We are talking to people about what they think it should and should not be.

Walter Salles, director of Frances Ford Coppola's "On The Road," is filming a documentary "in search of the feature film."

March 31, 2006

I love this picture

The lyrics to the classic "Ca Plane Pour Moi," translated into English.

March 28, 2006

music's defeat?

Sitting at home with the window open, listening to the tree branches brush against each other outside and the occasional horn-honks of Flatbush Ave, bark of dog and squeal of child... this uncomposed ambience is my creativity engine lately.

From a comment on Click opera - Ubiquity is the abyss.

March 23, 2006

R. Crumb's Short History of America

A Short History of America in twelve panels by R. Crumb.

January 28, 2006

the ninja's lament

New York Times correction:

A film review in Weekend on Friday about "Le Pont des Arts" misspelled a word in the title of a Monteverdi madrigal that a character sings on a recording. It is "Lamento della ninfa," not "ninja."

January 6, 2006

man attacks fountain

A performance artist has again vandalized Fountain, the urinal Marcel Duchamp claimed as art in 1917. The same vandal urinated into the Fountain in 1993. Via the WFMU blog. Related: the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., opens a Dada retrospective Feb. 19.

December 19, 2005

come on guys

Reading groups, readings, breakdowns of book sales all tell the same story: when women stop reading, the novel will be dead.

Novelist Ian McEwan in The Guardian.

philip pullman

Pullman refined his own storytelling gifts orally, by recounting versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey to his middle-school students. He estimates that he's told each epic at least thirty times. Indeed, he once caused a scene in a restaurant when he was retelling the Odyssey to his son Tom, then about five years old. "Every time we went out to dinner, I’d tell it to him in serialized form while we waited for our food to come," he said. "I'd just gotten to the part where Odysseus has come back home in disguise as an old beggar. Penelope has taken Odysseus's old bow down and told the suitors that she'll marry whoever can string it. They all try, but none of them can do it. Then Odysseus picks it up, and he feels it all over — to make sure it's still good, which it is — and then in one move he strings it. Of course, we know what's going to happen next — he's going to use it to kill the suitors — but just before that he plucks it just once, to hear the tone. Tom was so taken with the tension of the moment that he bit a piece out of his water glass. The waitress, who was coming toward us with our food, saw him do it, and she was so startled that she dropped her tray. There was food everywhere! It was chaos."

Laura Miller on Philip Pullman in The New Yorker.

December 13, 2005

miranda july

Go here and listen to Miranda July's "Chinese Fruit."

December 9, 2005

how to read Zippy

I advise a 12-hour-a-day TV viewing regimen!!

Understanding Zippy (how to read the never intentionally obscure comic strip).

dean reed - who he

I was walking with my interpreter across Red Square where I was attending the Moscow International Film Festival when we came across a mob of people reaching for autographs.
"Who's that?" I asked.
"Dean Reed." replied my interpreter.
"Who's Dean Reed?"
"You don't know who Dean Reed is?! Why he's the most famous American in the whole world!"
Tom Hanks is planning to make a film about Dean Reed, AKA Red Elvis, the Colorado-born "love singer" who wowed Latin America and the Soviet bloc from the 60s to the 80s.

December 2, 2005

ketjak

UbuWeb Ethnopoetics: Ketjak -- The Ramayana Monkey Dance

Performed by more than 200 men seated in tight concentric circles around a small central space reserved for the chief protagonists, the ketjak (loosely called "Monkey Chant") was first recorded in Bali by David Lewiston and released by Nonesuch Records in 1969. As a spectacular and alternative performance mode, it has had a germinal influence on western performance and poetics since then.

November 7, 2005

Kerouac Wear: A beat generation mad trick?

A line of Kerouac clothing will hit stores soon, including dinner jackets. It is inspired by his sense of style, if not the jeans and khakis he actually wore.

Lowell Sun Online - Why is Kerouac on Lowell's back burner?

"Excuse me. Are those Kerouac™ jeans you're wearing?"

November 1, 2005

sweet Star Wars exegesis

Star Wars: Episodes I-VI - The greatest postmodern art film ever. By Aidan Wasley

Emperor Palpatine, the embodiment of the Dark Side, taunts the despairing Luke in Return of the Jedi, "Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design," and we are led to understand in Sith that it was Palpatine himself who set the entire plot in motion by manipulating the Force toward Anakin's virgin birth. Palpatine is the emblem of the artist as clockmaker or puppet master, the omniscient manipulator of his hapless characters for the purposes of a satisfying narrative payoff. At the end of Jedi, in a scene out of Pirandello or one of Ashbery's own plays, the characters assert their autonomy and kill their author.

August 12, 2005

how accidental and random life is

Think about these things, reader. Don't sigh and turn the page. Think that I have written them and you have read them, and the odds against either of us ever having existed are greater by far than one to all of the atoms in creation.

From Roger Ebert's review of Kieslowski's Red.

August 11, 2005

Jim Dale

"Sometimes, you're able to create a very distinct voice . . . from just the pace of their speech," Dale says, eyes twinkling, his voice drifting into the cadence of south London. "Did you know. That Michael Caine. Can only speak. In three words. At one time.

Giving Voice to Harry Potter

July 22, 2005

The Race That Shall Not Be Named

Poynter Online - Harry Potter And The Imbalance of Race

I'm sure she's a fine person. I'm saying she should stop writing as though white is normal and needs no identification, while every other race is so one-dimensional that a single word — black — sums up shade of skin, expression of eyes, length of nose, color of hair. She should describe my black friends with the same gifts of language that she uses on the white people.

May 12, 2005

on the subject of Phil Collins

The onset of one's 30s does not necessitate a blanket disregard of new music; that would be self-defeating and a bit weird. Indeed, this is a fecund time for what was once touchingly known as "indie", with Trail Of Dead, Art Brut, Bloc Party and the Rapture all doing fine things with the gifts the good Lord has bestowed upon them. Yet the appeal of such music is so intrinsically linked to youth - it's about possibility, about arrogance, about contempt for authority and middle-aged men in denim gilets - that to be really into it beyond one's 20s demonstrates a fundamental lack of self-awareness. It is, in other words, time to move on.

Guardian | ... But seriously

April 27, 2005

murakami

Hot dang! New Murakami story in the New Yorker, via Wood s lot.

April 22, 2005

Dinosaur Jr reunion

Holy Sh*t! Dinosaur Jr.?! | Ask MetaFilter

I remember reading an interview with Lou Barlow a few years back where he said his dream was to play on SNL and behead J Mascis with his guitar before killing himself live on TV.

songwriters need to dig themselves

One day I walked down Broadway in New York and where Broadway crosses 52nd street there's a drugstore that has a black, plate glass window. Very clearly you can see your reflection in it, if you are of the nature to seek out your reflection in drug store windows. So, anyway I look and Pow! there I am, so I was shocked, I hadn't seen myself in about a year. So I was you know, truth be told, I was digging myself for about 45 seconds, an intense dig. When this bird that was perched overhead, like total disregard for me, just, he defecated on me. I don't know if this has ever happened to you but if it has, you know that it is virtually impossible to maintain your cool under those circumstances. Right? And all I can think of, you know how thoughts raise through your mind in moments of crisis, all I can think of is "there goes a happy bird". And then I'm fantasizing, saying : 'can you imagine this bird, sort of floating above the city of New York for a week, looking for a place to land, like saving up.' Don't dig yourself.

Simon And Garfunkel Concerts or TV appearances with spoken introduction to the songs in RealAudio.

April 18, 2005

background: music

The Village Voice links to a handful of ambient and other unpop musical recordings.

April 17, 2005

hey jude

Wikipedia: The Beatles' "Hey Jude":

That the Beatles selected their first take as the master became even odder when Ken Scott, the engineer in charge, realised that John Lennon had shouted "fucking 'ell!" 2:58 into the song after messing up the backing vocal. Scott later explained, "I was told about it at the time but could never hear it. But once I had it pointed out I can't miss it now. I have a sneaking suspicion they knew all along, as it was a track that should have been pulled out in the mix."

This is quite audible if you listen for it. Only recently have I discovered that Wikipedia is a fantastic resource for music information and trivia.

April 12, 2005

robbins

It's part of Robbins' mythology that, in 1963, he tried acid for the first time. It was the early days of psychedelics and LSD was still legal. Robbins had coaxed a pharmacology professor into letting him try the drug. He told Rolling Stone magazine that the day of his first trip, July 16, was the most rewarding of his life. Robbins said that after dropping the acid, he sat in a chair for eight hours, not moving except to go to the bathroom. The next six months were, literally, a trip. He couldn't read or write, and he eventually quit his job as an art critic for the Seattle Times and moved to New York to better explore the depth and breadth of acid trips. A few years later he started writing his first novel.

It is quite possible, though frightening, to think that you, reader, are 16, 17 or even 18 and have not heard of Tom Robbins. This is alarming. You are passing the sweet spot in your fontanelles and time is limited. So we are here to help. When I was a young man my father handed me Another Roadside Attraction and thus whisked the veil off the markerboard of life.

We shall start drunk.randomwalks.com, on which it will only be possible to post when you are drunk (a Breathalyzer will allow entry). Also fathers.randomwalks.com, on which it will only be allowed to write about your father.

April 3, 2005

some bands' mothers

To me, The Smiths mean cheap hair gel, unwashed sheets, damp walls, badly ventilated gas fires and impossible expectations. A beautiful fury with everything, because it isn't you.

The Independent Online Edition > Some bands are bigger than others. "It seems entirely right to me that there should be a symposium - although academia needs The Smiths far more than The Smiths need academia."

April 2, 2005

greatness

Quite possibly, the best thing ever.

folkways online

When we saw the blossoming of the Internet, we thought, what if we could use this as a device for opening up the archives? People who don't usually have a voice can have a voice in a democratic, central way.

In June the Smithsonian Folkways label will launch Smithsonian Global Sound, reports The Washington Post, where it will sell songs from its huge collection of folk and international music for a dollar a pop. (Seems to be operational already.)

March 30, 2005

creeley

I learned from Tony Pierce that Robert Creeley died.

March 24, 2005

Where you been?

Pitchfork: Daily Music News: "J. Mascis and Lou Barlow will perform together under the Dinosaur Jr. name for the first time in 15 years."

March 15, 2005

today's poem

"A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island" by Frank O'Hara

March 14, 2005

save tonic

Save Tonic

julia vorontsova

Listen to the beautiful singing of Julia Vorontsova.

February 18, 2005

Arthur no. 15

Arthur Magazine issue 15 is available as a free pdf: Meditation as a subversive activity; Jessica Yu talks about her Henry Darger documentary; "Hotel and Farm" by Ben Katchor and a special feature with lots of other comics; new columnist Douglas Rushkoff; Ian Svenonius has a conversation with the Secret Service. Ok!

February 3, 2005

this one is for you

He was arguably the best breaking-news editor of his generation. He had incredibly sharp instincts about the real news angle of any story. He was a writer's editor as well and made substantial improvements to a story without changing the writer's voice or tampering with the style. Rather, he would get the writer to make the changes the story needed and then he would organize the rewritten prose logically so that it really flowed.

Remembering Lucien Carr

Lucien Carr was one of several fascinating real-life characters, like Neal Cassady, Carl Solomon, and Herbert Huncke, who became legendary through their association with the Beat writers. Lucien holds a special position here: he introduced Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs to each other.

Literary Kicks: Lucien Carr

January 30, 2005

one big gallows

"Brautigan moved to San Francisco, where he wrote his best-selling novel, Trout Fishing in America (1967). The back cover has only the word "Mayonnaise" in white letters on a solid red background. It's a tradition to flirt in coffee shops by showing someone the back cover from far away and then refusing to explain."

This sounds made-up. No one's ever done this to me before, so it must be a lie. Regardless, happy Richard Brautigan's birthday. Brautigan made a big dent in my mind when I discovered him as a lad. He gave me funny dreams for a while.

I'm trapped in a house with my parents and two little girls. Help!

January 28, 2005

theory of everything

Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything is a radio half-hour worth checking out. Episode 8 features a remarkable story told by a woman named Kara and an interview with Joe Davis, an artist who recorded women's vaginal contractions, translated them into radio signals and shot them into space.

January 19, 2005

moleskinerie: Writing Tips PDF

I printed my writer's tips on one side of a sheet of paper and a .pdf map of Middle Earth on the other. It is perhaps the single most useful piece of paper ever printed. I can mock my friends' extensive use of the passive voice and their barbarously bad use of adverbs and then diagram the battle of Minias Tirith with a single piece of paper.

moleskinerie: Writing Tips PDF

December 25, 2004

be as specific as possible

The first thing to do is carry a notebook and during quiet times or as the thought occurs to you, compile a list of anything that really interests you.

On Being a Photographer - Excerpt

December 17, 2004

kevin huizenga

Comics and Zines by Kevin Huizenga

December 16, 2004

the sound of trees

The Sound of Trees

I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

—Robert Frost

December 14, 2004

are you drinking with me jesus?

Jesus: With You Always, drawings by Larry Van Pelt depicting Jesus as the unseen companion of a truck driver, a fisherman, a French horn player and others. Via the monthly WFMU Blast of Hot Air, a reliable font of great links.

December 9, 2004

murakami

I feel like I'm walking in a deep forest, in the darkness of the underground. The older I become, the more closely I can look at the landscape of that world. I feel like I'm getting closer to the core, the center, but I don't know if I'm getting closer to a solution or not. I believe my readers feel the same way. It's not just me; it's very important for all of us. That's the purpose of fiction.

Haruki Murakami interviewed in the Japan Times, Dec. 2002.

December 8, 2004

catch ya later

The incident that sparked the lawsuit came last year in Huntsville, when Slater went to a woman's house to pick her up for their first -- and, as it turned out, last -- date.

"She got in the car," he recalls, "and she says, 'My mother gave me a hard time about going out with you. She wants to know if you're still a dope dealer.'"

The Washington Post profiles the three men suing Richard Linklater over the portrayal of their fictionalized doubles in the director's Dazed and Confused.

December 6, 2004

i heard it on npr

A new cookbook offers 50 variations on the grilled cheese sandwich and was featured on NPR. The author said cumin smells like "a desert at midnight." Also on NPR: Amos Oz, declaiming in his rumbly voice on Israel, his childhood and why he's a chauvinist for Hebrew.

December 4, 2004

silver

. . . [T]hough Thompson has been cagey about a new Pixies CD the past few months, on the phone from Chicago he is unequivocal: "We are talking three college funds! There is going to be another Pixies album. I'm going to have to find the songs somewhere. I guess I'll have to write them."

This article nearly made me feel guilty about seeing this moneygrubber and his associates. But I'll sure as hell be there Tuesday.

December 1, 2004

things you shouldn't understand

On the occasion of the DVD release of "Pee Wee’s Playhouse," PEE WEE HERMAN — who hasn’t been heard from since 1991 — joins Elvis Mitchell, host of the nationally syndicated public radio program, The Treatment for a special broadcast,* *Monday, December 6th, 2:30 to 3 pm on 89.9 KCRW and KCRW.com*.

You heard it here first. Find the stream at KCRW.com.

November 26, 2004

everything seems to be up in the air at this time

At a truck stop outside of Boise, Lenny (our soundman) incorrectly identified a poisonous mushroom as the mildly psychedelic Liberty Cap. The entire road crew and half of The Whitespots (our opening band) are in the hospital tonight having their stomachs pumped. The only person left to run our sound was Les, and he kept turning us down (or even off) so he could talk to the waitresses.

63 Days on the Road: A Band's Own Story by Camper Van Beethoven's David Lowery.

November 21, 2004

hip hop in the holy land

"He's an MC, I'm MC. We're all doing music. If we're Arabs - if we're Jews - that doesn't matter."
Hip Hop in the Holy Land.

pincus and the pig

Listening to the Something Jewish programme this afternoon on the best radio station in the galaxy, Resonance FM, I heard a snippet of the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra performing together with Maurice Sendak in a reworking of Sergei Prokofiev's work for children, Peter and the Wolf, now called Pincus and the Pig. Wonderful entertainment for all children everywhere under the age of 95, as one of the presenters pointed out. There's a slideshow here, so listen, darlings, and enjoy.

November 18, 2004

My favourite strip

This is my favourite strip on randomWalks. It has the water tower (which I consider the unofficial icon of rW), the building where go vegan and I used to work on (the one with the radio towers), the World Trade Center (in shadow) and my old basil plant, a gift from my friend Sarah.

November 15, 2004

alice munro

Reading Munro puts me in that state of quiet reflection in which I think about my own life: about the decisions I've made, the things I've done and haven't done, the kind of person I am, the prospect of death. She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion. For as long as I'm immersed in a Munro story, I am according to an entirely make-believe character the kind of solemn respect and quiet rooting interest that I accord myself in my better moments as a human being.

Jonathan Franzen writes a fun review of Alice Munro's latest book, Runaway. Playfully meta, avoids getting heavy and overdone.

October 26, 2004

john peel is dead

John Peel is dead.

Now I feel like I can write something about this. Massive respect to John Peel. A dude. He could pronounce Llwybr Llaethog. He sobbed on air the day after Hillsborough (football stadium disaster in which 96 Liverpool FC fans died), the most honest thing I have ever heard on radio. He ran the Festive 50 every year, jotting up all the votes in a big ledger. I'm blown away by the tributes people have paid him on MetaFilter and at Radio 1, my God, he changed so many people's lives. He played records at the wrong speed. He dedicated requests to schoolkids, myself among them. Time to get the old tapes out - Peel seems to go hand in hand with cassettes, and vinyl - and play the John Peel Sweet Eating Game.

October 20, 2004

seven up

Michael Apted's Seven Up documentary series, which has followed 14 British men and women from youth to adulthood, has been released in full on DVD. Apted is preparing to shoot 49 Up next year.

October 10, 2004

early kerouac

Despite the reputation for self-indulgence that continues to cling to him, Kerouac was a reflective, vigilant artist who constantly, and consciously, strove to overcome his limitations -- the chief one being, as he saw it, his own self-critical temperament. ''I'm going to discover a way,'' he wrote, casting forward to ''On the Road'' while he was completing ''The Town and the City,'' ''of preserving the big rushing tremendousness in me and in all poets.'' One could call the effect he was after ''willed spontaneity.'' Verbal diarrhea it was not.

The journals show him evolving toward his ideal almost by the month. Released from his monastic labors in his mother's kitchen, the ascetic, introverted Kerouac took an abrasive dust bath in the real world and emerged a broader, stronger artist, who combined a mind for the transcendental with a feeling for the particular. ''But at the fireworks at Denver U. Stadium great crowds had been waiting since twilight, sleepy children and all; yet no sooner did the shots begin in the sky than these unhappy people trailed home before the show ended, as though they were too unhappy to see what they had waited for.'' This piercing sketch and others like it -- of a sandlot neighborhood baseball game, of a day spent riding horses in Colorado -- are the work of a soul that has settled into a body after floating free in the cosmos for too long.

NYT review of Windblown World, a new collection of Jack Kerouac's early journals.

October 7, 2004

and odd beauty

. . . [O]n the menu in the Café Imperial today is a $72 dish called Saturnin's Bowl, which consists of nothing but five dozen day-old jelly doughnuts -- doughnuts which the purchaser of Saturnin's Bowl is free to throw at his or her fellow café patrons.

Studio 360's Kurt Andersen muses about "beautiful oddness".

October 2, 2004

in painted cars

The scene shows fewer tumbrils
but more maimed citizens
in painted cars
and they have strange license plates
and engines
that devour America

from In Goya's greatest scenes we seem to see, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

September 26, 2004

cassavetes and some dude

Two from the NYT Arts: "John Cassavetes, Laughing Last" and "The Man Who Was Raised by a Movie Camera", about an intriguing new documentary.

September 24, 2004

flickR

The FlickR Community keeps on growing. It's awesome, it reminds me of the first few months of Typepad, with people taking a few small extensions to an otherwise oversaturated medium (in this case moblogging) and going in completely new directions.

Bertrands' Lemon Pie recipe is a great example. And if I may say so, I enjoyed the short run of "name this plant."

With that in mind, I introduce Flickr: Photos tagged with name this frame. The idea is that you take a picture of a movie screen or your TV, and people guess what movie it is. I've waggled my first over at hello.

September 16, 2004

johnny ramone

Mr. Ramone's guitar style was basically sui generis, though he did not use those words to describe it; it was "pure, white rock 'n' roll, with no blues influence," he once said. "I wanted our sound to be as original as possible. I stopped listening to everything."

New York Times: Johnny Ramone, Signal Guitarist for the Ramones, Dies at 55

September 13, 2004

ted kooser

Have you ever been to London? Paris?

No. No. I like to be moving on the ground on my own schedule, looking at what's around me. Being in a plane is like being pushed from one place to another through a tight metal tube.

As poet laureate, don't you think you should be better acquainted with European poetry?

Think of all the European poetry I could have read if we hadn't spent all this time on this interview.

NYT Magazine: Questions for Ted Kooser, recently named poet laureate of the United States.

September 5, 2004

Bring Back rW Books

Bookslut | An Interview with Michelle Tea

If you were to teach a college course in literature, what would you require your students to read?

Well, absolutely Eileen Myles. Diane di Prima, her life as well as her work. I would make them read Darcey Steinke's Jesus Saves, just to traumatize them a bit with reality. Let's throw in Dorothy Allison as well. Let's have the course be the female experience in literature. Contemporary female experience. Well, white contemporary female experience. But I want more than that anyway. Herculine Barbin: being the recently discovered memoirs of a nineteenth century french hermaphrodite. So incredible. Stephen Elliot's A Life Without Consequences, about growing up a ward of the state of Chicago, in and out of group homes, on the street. The Race Traitor anthology which challenges notions of whiteness and was sort of mind-blowing for me, having been raised in a very racist environment and constantly searching for new ways to unlearn and to understand that experience. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar for sure and why not some poems too. I would teach the poetry also of Meliza Banales. Donna Allegra's Witness to the League of Blond Hip Hop Dancers. Kathryn Harrison's Thicker Than Water. The scraps of text in the art of Raymond Pettibone. The surreal erotica of Ian Philips. Marci Blackman's Po Man's Child. Dodie Bellamy. ArieI Gore's teen memoir Atlas of the Human Heart. I guess I would throw in Nickel and Dimed, for all my problems with that book. We would talk about the problems. And The Outsiders, of course. Doesn't that sound like the best class?

Yes.

August 31, 2004

Mark Romanek's Music Videos

Mark Romanek directs music videos. His website is a great example of the web providing supplementary and explanatory material to more traditional forms of media. His music videos are all online in quicktime and you can read original treatments and see on set photographs. Romanek directed the video for Jay-Z's 99 Problems this year and the video for Johnny Cash covering NIN's Hurt in 2003.

These are both great videos, and they complement each other perfectly. They are both by quintessentially American artists who work in quintessentially American forms, but their music could not be more different. Both videos offer recapitulations of the artists path and the choices they have made. The video for Hurt suggests that Cash wouldn't change a thing, while the video for 99 Problems suggests how easily things could have ended differently for Jay-Z. And they both illustrate what music videos can do best: provide an alternate narration for a song, expose meanings you hadn't considered before, evoke new resonances.

August 30, 2004

adios, david segal

Segal is a fine writer with a distinct voice, but his coverage of the music beat was prickly at best, snarky at worst. Rather than inviting readers into the music world, he kept his distance and covered it from afar.

Asked to suggest a good example of his work, Segal sent a first-person story about his live appearance on stage playing guitar with his favorite group, Guided by Voices, in Philadelphia. It was about Segal, not the music.

The Washingtonian's Harry Jaffe on the Washington Post's Big Apple envy and its crummy-ass music coverage. Pop music critic David Segal leaves the beat soon for New York and I can only hope the Post hires someone who takes music more seriously, a la the excellent writers and critics at the New York Times. Segal covers pop music as if it were little more than a fashionable freak show -- which it may be at times, but it deserves far better than his snide, above-it-all jibing. Good riddance, moron.

August 17, 2004

aren't y'all cowboys from hollywood?

David Lowery tells Pitchfork that Camper Van Beethoven has a new album coming out in October. Lowery and guitarist Greg Lisher say the new album, titled New Roman Times, harks back to CVB's self-titled 1986 album. I can live with that.

July 13, 2004

it would be great to go through the streets with a green knife

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda would have been 100 yesterday. I wanted to raise a glass of Concha y Toro in his name, but instead settled for a California Sauvignon Blanc. But I did hear Ariel Dorfman read "Sexual Water" on NPR. And I guide you to "Walking Around", one of my favorite Neruda poems.

July 12, 2004

nyt on graphic novels

New York Times Magazine article on graphic novels. No pithy quote because I haven't read it yet. Seems to me the theme is perhaps three years past freshness date, but I anxiously await consumption.

June 15, 2004

ethiopiques

On NPR, Banning Eyre reviews Volumes 17 and 18 of Buda Musique's Ethiopiques series, a fantastic collection of Ethiopian music from the '60s to the present.

June 14, 2004

bloomsday

. . . and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

The Bloomsday centenary is Wednesday, and the Washington Post offers Michael Dirda, eloquent as always, on the legacy of Ulysses, as well as a guide to cracking the damn thing.

wilco book

Jeff Tweedy's struggle with music, the music business, his bandmates, his family and himself -- but mostly with music -- was the subject of a fine documentary by Sam Jones, ''I Am Trying to Break Your Heart'' (2002), and now it is the subject of Greg Kot's brisk and entertaining biography. Rarely has so much attention been paid to a musician who has never quite succeeded commercially, or in his own mind, or in the minds of his oft-perplexed fans. But Tweedy is worth it, for his failures as much as his successes, for the cloudy clarity of his work.

Joe Klein reviews Greg Kot's book about Wilco.

June 7, 2004

steve lacy

Steve Lacy, who hipped John Coltrane to the soprano sax and fused the music of Thelonious Monk with Dixieland, passed away Friday. He recently cut an album with trumpeter Dave Douglas that I'd like to pick up. I just learned about him a few weeks ago and I'm shocked to learn that he's already gone.

June 3, 2004

dickens

For nearly three months, I kept reading. Sometimes daily life intervened and I would fall behind, but most often I'd be ready for my next Dickens fix long before it showed up. I took to downloading the installments each week rather than waiting for the printed copies because, as third-class mail, their delivery dates were erratic. One night I came close to just grabbing a copy of the book and reading it straight through.

I didn't, though. I liked the idea of inhabiting Dickens's world for longer than such a binge would have allowed.

The Washington Post profiles Stanford University's Discovering Dickens project, which is turning the great novelist's epics back into serialized works, as they were originally published.

June 1, 2004

it's only rock and roll

It no longer makes commercial sense for oldies stations to play more than an occasional, token record from the 1950s because no one in radio's target audience remembers those songs from his or her youth. Increasingly, audience surveys show that those who listen to oldies stations don't want to hear much from the early '60s, either.

Marc Fisher explains why I no longer hear Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly on my local oldies station (which is owned by Clear Channel).

May 22, 2004

adam haslett

A year after my mother’s suicide I broke a promise to myself not to burden my father with worries of my own. I told him how unhappy I was at school, how lonely I felt. From the wing chair where he crouched in the evenings he asked, "What can I do?" The following afternoon, coming home from work the back way, he missed a stop sign. A van full of sheet glass going forty miles an hour hit the driver’s side of the Taurus. According to the policeman who knocked on the front door in tears, my father died with the first shattering impact. An aunt from Little Rock stayed for a week, cooking stews and Danish pastry. She said I could come and live with her in Arkansas. I told her I didn’t want to. As I had only a year and a half left of high school, we decided I could finish up where I was, and she arranged for me to live with a neighbor.

"The Beginnings of Grief," Adam Haslett (Barcelona Review)

May 21, 2004

ethiopian music

Ethiopian music works really well as jazz because rhythmically it is anchored in the wider African sense of polyrhythms, of 3 against 2 time, often expressed in 3/4 and 6/8 meters. Also, one of the most characteristic elements of Ethiopian traditional music are the particular pentatonic scales they employ, which for the Western ear range from familiar sounding to quite exotic. When these modes are used as the basis for harmony, you wind up with lots of the chords that are common in modern jazz. Because of the particular history of modern music in Ethiopia, there is a strong tradition of pop bands with big horn sections, and even a very unique and definite Ethiopian saxophone style. A man named Getachew Mekurya transposed a kind of war chant onto the tenor sax in the 50s and came up with a style that actually prefigures Albert Ayler's by a few years but shares a lot with his.

May 19, 2004

elvin jones

None of the images that the critics invoked to describe his playing -- volcano, thunderstorm, perpetual-motion machine -- quite did justice to the strength of his attack, the complexity of his ideas or the originality of his approach.

R.I.P. Elvin Jones, the great drummer known for his kinetic work with John Coltrane. He died yesterday, 76 years old.

May 11, 2004

becoming an apprentice elder

"Yes, I personally ended up in the Amazon," she says. "In my own mid-50s, I wanted to study plant medicine. In the Amazon I spent part of a year trying, three or four times, ayahuasca. When Kate relates the initial nausea, then the experiences, I have done this, too."

Star Telegram | Alice in wonderment. Alice Walker's new book includes an autobiographical account of her recent drug trips.

May 6, 2004

blah blah ginger

Yeah, I just heard. That's good. But I can't talk. I'm actually on deadline. . . . What can I say? I'm glad blah blah blah, garbage, garbage, blah blah. But I'm working.

How Seymour Hersh felt about his National Magazine Award. Ninety-nine percent of corporate press releases could read this way. (Sixty percent of my articles about them could as well.)

April 25, 2004

get your war on | page thirty-four

You think just because the words are garbled in his mouth, they're garbled in his mind?

stingy kids updates

Stingy Kids: A Poet for Queens.

April 16, 2004

Wilco: A Ghost Is Born

I'm beginning to think it's a movie that exists only in Francis's head

A pause that discourages in the development of the On the Road movie.

April 15, 2004

Religion in Movies

Matt Zoller Seitz takes a look at a recent run of movies and how they deal with themes of revenge and redemption:

Just as Cash's song was inspired by a dream, the new Dawn is one of many recent movies that seems to have been dreamed up by the industry. Recent history has seeped into movies, and manifested itself in powerful, if mostly oblique, ways. With some overlap, the movies tend to fit into one of two categories: revenge dramas and religious pictures.

The revenge dramas generally suggest one of two opposed conclusions: revenge is troubling but necessary (A Man Apart, Walking Tall, Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2) or a life-altering mistake (21 Grams, Mystic River). The religious movies aren't religious in the sense that they advocate a particular religious point of view or dramatize a religious story (though The Passion of the Christ does both). They're religious in the sense that they presuppose and invite a religious view of life. They assume there's a higher power and perhaps a hell. They assume that good and evil are not rhetorical abstractions, but words to describe real cosmic forces at war in the universe and inside each person.

Like dreams, these movies are coded, half-involuntary responses to a post-9/11 world, and the fears of war, religious unrest, mass death and spiritual reckoning the event hatched. The movies are not precise or even outwardly purposeful, and none deals specifically with politics. But they are still movie dreams that work through real anxieties.


originally posted by zagg

April 14, 2004

the slack album

The Slack Album is a mostly tongue-in-cheek project fusing Jay-Z's The Black Album to Pavement's classic lo-fi album Slanted and Enchanted, combining the songs track-by-track in order of the original album sequences. Some of the resultant music is hip-hop-ish; some is not.

April 12, 2004

my 23:5

"Laid on the anvils of the storysmiths, they shatter like glass at the first tap of the hammer."

The book is Bill Blundell's The Art and Craft of Feature Writing. It's essential reading for any journalist, established or would-be. In this sentence Blundell is referring to poorly thought-out story ideas that reporters often pursue only to find that they cannot be inflated into satisfying articles. I fear I am about to experience this phenomenon firsthand.

What about the funnies?

The New Yorker Profiles Aaron McGruder

There is, at first, something disappointing in this vision of America’s most radical cartoonist at work: slouched on the sofa, armed with a remote and TiVo, not a pencil or a drawing board—or even a snarl—in sight. McGruder is not yet thirty, and already he is jaded, content to settle for the kind of perfectly passable work he so often eviscerates others for. Or maybe this is the point: he is not yet thirty. He has aspirations to raise hell for a whole new audience, in a whole different way, and he is afraid of blowing the opportunity on a stupid youthful mistake.

With that in mind, he has decided to lay off Condoleezza Rice—seemingly a prime target these days, in the wake of Richard Clarke’s allegations—for the near future. ‘Having that show on the air just opens up a whole new realm in terms of power and influence,’ he said. ‘I want to say the things no one else can say, but it’s a tightrope walk. Up till now it has always paid off for me. I’m waiting for the moment when it will not pay off.’

[book] 23:5

Via leuschke.org:

  1. Grab the nearest book
  2. Open the book to page 23
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence [on your website] along with these instructions

From Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies? by Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D.:

When patients are kept on ventilators despite being dead, their hearts stop within hours to days.

April 9, 2004

CREAKY.TYPEPAD.COM IS UPDATING AGAIN

creak, creak, we're down south: 34 in 04: movie review catch-up

(restmyeyes alpha site)

April 8, 2004

brainsss

What is the fascination that many bloggers seem to have with zombie flicks?

iPalimpsest: The Blogger Zombie connection

April 7, 2004

blood and popcorn

P-Man's amusing, stop & smell the rose-colored glasses attitude is definitely contagious. Don't you remember when the simple triumphs and surprises of life gave you a kick? Aren't there things happening right now that give you a little pleasant satisfaction? Say, this Taco Bell seven-layer burrito is really good. Wow, it sure is nice to have a watch that's just right for me, and actually keeps pretty good time. Hey, I missed the bus, but the weather's fine, and I can smell the donuts baking in the shop across the street.

BLOOD & POPCORN doesn't just capture a time, but an attitude as well. It takes you back to those days when burning ambition wasn't too hot to handle, and the color of the grass on your side of the fence was coming along just fine.

This reviewer appreciated Perri Pagonis' Blood and Popcorn for many of the same reasons that Adam and I do. It concerns little more than a suburban nobody working a crappy retail job in a Northern Virginia mall and getting a girlfriend, but it will remind you how fun everyday life can be. Only the best works of Daniel Manus Pinkwater are as powerful.

April 6, 2004

afro asiatic allegories

Ms. Brown has mixed feelings about the ganguro phenomenon. "Being African-American, I'm flattered that our music and style is so influential," she said. "But I have to say that I find the ganguro obsession with blackness pretty weird, and a little offensive. My paintings come out of trying to make sense of this appropriation."

Ms. Brown's paintings do a little cultural sampling of their own. She takes 17th- and 18th-century Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints of geishas, bathhouse girls, samurai and Kabuki theater actors and gives them a radical makeover. The results are zany hybrids, from kimono-clad M.C.'s and gun-wielding gangsta rappers to sassy courtesans with darkened faces, dreadlocks and long painted nails. She calls them "Afro Asiatic allegories."

The New York Times on Iona Rozeal Brown, who revises Japanese woodblock prints to include hip-hop iconography.

March 17, 2004

hymn

Hymn

I know if I find you I will have to leave the earth
and go on out
   over the sea marshes and the brant in bays
and over the hills of tall hickory
and over the crater lakes and canyons
and on up through the spheres of diminishing air
past the blackset noctilucent clouds
           where one wants to stop and look
way past all the light diffusions and bombardments
up farther than the loss of sight
   into the unseasonal undifferentiated empty stark

And I know if I find you I will have to stay with the earth
inspecting with thin tools and ground eyes
trusting the microvilli sporangia and simplest
   coelenterates
and praying for a nerve cell
with all the soul of my chemical reactions
and going right on down where the eye sees only traces

You are everywhere partial and entire
You are on the inside of everything and on the outside

I walk down the path down the hill where the sweetgum
has begun to ooze spring sap at the cut
and I see how the bark cracks and winds like no other bark
chasmal to my ant-soul running up and down
and if I find you I must go out deep into your
   far resolutions
and if I find you I must stay here with the separate leaves

--A. R. Ammons

March 11, 2004

beautiful mushroom art

The main focus of my art is currently the exploration of the infinite ever-changing worlds contained within the subconscious mind. In Heaven and Hell Aldous Huxley wrote:
"Like the giraffe and the duckbilled platypus, the creatures inhabiting [the] remoter regions of the mind are exceedingly improbable. Nevertheless they exist, they are facts of observation; and as such, they cannot be ignored by anyone trying to understand the world in which he lives."
The worlds inside the mind are just as real as the world outside, but describing and documenting the inner worlds can only be done by using similes and symbols from the outside world. I see my work as symbolic representations of subconscious landscapes, creatures or events. Each work is a piece of an infinite puzzle representing my subconscious mind.
 

Visit psilocybin visions.

March 9, 2004

graphic witness

Each grim image is printed on thin paper rather than on a stiffer board that would better withstand a trip through the postal system. The image appears on the wrapper, and is simply titled 'Horthy'; an aged victim of extensive torture hangs from the descending Y; the artist's signature springs from the foot of this dead or dying man.

While searching for PhD-related information, I chanced upon Mihály Bíró's White Terror series over at Graphic Witness, an extraordinary archive of visual arts and social commentary, which includes Hugo Gellert's Marx's Kapital in lithograph, and many other gems.

March 8, 2004

keillor and bellow

... [T]he primary reason I am a Democrat is that they take the idea of justice seriously and justice is the sine qua non of our society. The simple idea of a social compact is required for civilised life. If you are in serious need I'll rally to your side, and you will do the same for me. That is the assumption that enables us to travel around the world and get outside our tribe: without it all life is brutal. And looking around, it is a tragedy that life is indeed brutal for a great many people in America today.

Garrison Keillor, in a lengthy profile in the Guardian. Also from the Guardian, Martin Amis on Saul Bellow, whose Henderson the Rain King I have just begun as my first book of Bellow's. I like this passage from the book:

...[C]ome to think of it, some of the very best [times] occurred during her pregnancy, when it was far advanced. Before we went to sleep, I would rub her belly with baby oil to counteract the stretch marks. Her nipples had turned from pink to glowing brown, and the children moved inside her belly and changed the round shape.

I rubbed lightly and with greatest care lest my big thick fingers do the slightest harm. And then before I put out the light I wiped my fingers on my hair and Lily and I kissed good night, and in the scent of the baby oil we went to sleep.

I don't know why, but I love "changed the round shape."

March 4, 2004

Kerouac in Florida

Chicago Tribune | Jack Kerouac in Orlando

I want people, especially young people, to embrace the idea of history in the suburbs. I call it suburban archaeology. This idea of Kerouac as the precursor of the hippies — he was Catholic, he was conservative, and he lived with his mother in the suburbs.

So says Bob Kealing, a reporter for WESH-TV and the author of a new book, Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends. Read an excerpt in Orlando Magazine.

April 4, 2003

There seems to be a tendency toward the good

Laurie Anderson and John Cage interview in Tricycle.

October 17, 2002

boondocks boosting

As to McGruder's being allowed to say the things he says only because he is black, it would probably be more accurate to say that he is able to see the things he sees because he is black.
The Chicago Tribune's Don Wycliff presents an insightful defense of Aaron McGruder's Boondocks.

September 11, 2002

I think it's wonderful that

I think it's wonderful that women can start playing characters with more than a couple of sides, some of them not pleasant. Audiences are not used to seeing characters like Hannah or Sophie, who are not trying to get us to fall in love with them. But why do we always have to fall in love with our leading ladies? Why can't we be just intrigued or puzzled or horrified or amused?

Actress Katrin Cartlidge, who starred in the Mike Leigh movies Naked and College Girls, passed away Saturday, 41 years old. (login: rwalks, pwd: walks)

September 4, 2002

Get drunk!

One should always be drunk. That's the one thing that matters. In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time, which breaks your shoulders, and crushes you to the ground, one should be drunk without ceasing.

But on what? On wine, on poetry or on virtue, as it suits you. But get drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the lonely gloom of your room, you wake up, the drunkenness already abated or completely gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that flies or groans or rolls or sings or speaks, ask everything what time it is; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock will answer: 'Time to get drunk. In order not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk. Get drunk ceaselessly. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as it suits you.'

by Charles Baudelaire.