Saturday, February 28, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I grabbed a four-top on the rail for us before Susanne arrived, and knowing that we would share the table with two strangers, I started scouting for amicable candidates. A couple who looked a little dazed but pleasant accepted my invitation. When we were all four seated we introduced each other and Susanne and I fell into a conversation. They were none too chatty. Our table-mates seemed to be on a different wavelength. Eventually we tried to draw them in and the husband told us this story. This was the first time they had been to the Iron Horse since the last time Kottke had played six years ago. They attended the show with their 15 year old daughter. On the way home from the gig, somewhere outside of Springfield on the highway, a trucker fell asleep at the wheel and plowed into them. The man received severe head trauma which triggered a stroke. The daughter was killed.
We were stunned. We realized that he was speaking in a slurred fashion. We asked them all kinds of questions, not knowing quite how to behave. They were entirely open to talking about it but every reference felt dangerous. What subjects would sadden them? We realized that they were permanently saddened. He must have felt some level of comfort with us to have brought it up at all. When Leo came onstage, we resumed our spectator roles. Susanne noted that the woman would smile and laugh at Kottke's banter but catch herself and adopt her default sullen visage. We winced when Leo went into a monologue about a stroke.
How can people enjoy music ever again after such a tragedy? I hope I never find out.
Monday, February 23, 2009
A. The dude comes screaming into the parking space and hits ice and consequently the pole or B. The dude looks over his shoulder to back out of the space, sees his opening, gives it the gas and BOOM he's in drive, not reverse.
In any case, he hits the pole and BOOM, the bottom of the pole ends up in the sidewalk looking like a post apocalyptic chunk of the Statue of Liberty that landed in Northampton.
This summer someone drove through the front window of Ultra Gal. It's time to lay streetcar tracks again like they had in the old days.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Above album from Scott Coar. Below is my contribution with bio.
Delphinium Hesperium (born Delphine Chunkley) has surprised everyone with her new collection, Thoughts On The Unthinking. Many artists feel tremendous pressure to really deliver on their 17th album and Hesperium has emerged with a winner. This may mark the beginning of a new musical and philosophical direction for the "exterminator's daughter." Following her departure three years back as lead singer of bagpipe reggae combo Jah Plaid, she released a solo acoustic synth-pop record produced by Brent Fumcho (Ironing Board, Blunt Stool) and proved that she had indeed been a key ingredient in JP. Her next three albums only cemented her place in the then newly burgeoning "Regurgitata" scene but after an epic bout with female pattern baldness and a nasty Febreze habit, she took a break from music and became a cross-county knitter, winning or placing in several 10K or longer races. She has foregone albums 5-16 and skipped directly to number 17 and it was well worth the wait. We look forward to her rumored collaboration with Robert Plant.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
#116 Black Music that Black People Don’t Listen to Anymore
#111 Pea Coats
#108 Appearing to Enjoy Classical Music
#102 Children’s Games as Adults
#88 Having Gay Friends
#85 The Wire
#67 Standing Still at Concerts (!)
#62 Knowing What’s Best for Poor People
#35 The Daily Show/Colbert Report
#25 David Sedaris
#22 Having Two Last Names
#14 Having Black Friends
You know, it's almost too easy to mock white people...American white people anyway. And as Kierkegaard, or more specifically his Judge Wilhelm persona suggests, a way out of this endless loop of seeking meaning and failing, or being exposed, is to choose despair. Give up. Aimee Mann did it. You can too! Stop trying so hard. Then you will achieve a more transparent self, free of hidden fears and regrets, able to escape from claustrophobic self-interest.
(Photo: Final frame of "Magnolia.")
Never mind Comcast and Verizon! Get online with this revolutionary product!
The Ghastly Handbag, straight out of Edward Gorey.
I picked up a bunch of old photos to use in my artwork. The baby pictures are always the creepiest. They're usually taken with some sort of big white cloth beneath them that dominates the photo and creates a ghostly effect. Why not just frame it more tightly?
An engaging poster for tonight's show at the Elevens. I have a request to make of all the people who do flyering downtown. Please don't put flyers in front of the papers in newspaper boxes. This is obnoxious and engenders disrespect. There's enough room for us to co-exist without covering each other up. I often take a few minutes to clean up a bulletin board and maybe you should too. If we all do a little maintenance it will be infectious. A fine example is in Main Street Cleaners. The people who flyered for the BID meeting...will you take the damn things down? They are an out-of-date blight on Main Street and they hurt your cause by example. Harumph.
Outside Masonic Street Laundry, beneath a strawberry, two dogs eagerly await a basket of warm, fluffy towels.
Jodi gave me this amazing book from the mid-19th century. What a generous gift!
Gustave Doré was an Alsacian artist who specialized in book illustrations. Born in Strasbourg, France, on January 6, 1832, he began his artistic career in Paris when he was only 15 years old. His drawings and illustrations were groundbreaking and very popular, although he never won the acclaim of the artistic elite in France. In his later years, he spent much time in London, where he also opened a very popular gallery. He died on January 23, 1883, at the age of 51.
Doré is probably most famous for his depictions of numerous scenes from the Bible, but he also produced illustrations for many other books, including Milton, Dante, La Fontaine, Don Quixote, Baron Munchhausen, etc. It looks like Edward Gorey must have drawn some inspiration from him, especially from a picture like "Hagar In The Wilderness," below. Barry Moser also has a copy of this book I bet.
Thanks again, Jodi. Gosh.
Jim tears through the latest issue of Bust magazine. (Photo and caption by Dave)
Below: The strings and the stats.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
HARVEY WASSERMAN WASHINGTON - February 16 -
Author of "Harvey Wasserman's History of the United States," Wasserman said today: "Washington inherited substantial riches from his wife Martha, the widow of Daniel Custis, a wealthy plantation owner who died when she was 26. She married George soon thereafter. He was (and is) often referred to as "the richest man in America," but this title is in dispute. He was an aggressive land speculator who, as a British and then an American officer, did not hesitate to personally profit from the conquests of Indian land. Tax records show he owned more than a hundred slaves in his most prosperous years. Though he began to reject the 'peculiar institution,' and stopped buying more in his later years, he was also capable of selling off slaves he didn't like or trust. At least two personal servants, Hercules and Oney Judge, ran away from his household. He freed a number of slaves when he died in 1799, pending Martha's death. She died in 1802 after burning the personal letters in her possession (though some survived, including one complaining that their marriage lacked 'fire between the sheets')."
Wasserman recently wrote the piece "Was George Washington a gay pot smoker?" He added: "The evidence is also clear that Washington, like many other American farmers, grew significant quantities of hemp. It was (and is) a profitable and reliable cash crop, easy to grow, with no extraordinary demands for cultivation, watering or fertilizing. As a hardy perennial, it needs no year-after-year replanting, pesticides or herbicides. In one of his meticulous agricultural journals, dated 1765, Washington notes his being late in separating the male hemp plants from the female. There is little reason to do that except to make the females ripe for smoking. As a hard-working farmer, Washington would certainly be stunned to hear that hemp is today illegal in the nation he helped found.
"As an exceedingly complex and contradictory character, the Father of Our Country remains a topic of endless controversy and fascination. The last word on his attitudes toward slavery, his farming techniques and the details of his marriage will certainly be debated for centuries to come."