so i was in a winery last night, on a very trendy strip of chicago that’s packed with restaurants from famous chefs, and i was there to see a singer-songwriter play a solo show with just his acoustic guitar. the concert tickets assigned you a specific seat in the venue, but not in rows; they were chairs at tables fanning out from the stage, where you would be served by a waiter before, after, and during the show. the friends i went with ordered a carafe of wine & it came in—i swear to god—an actual beaker (like, from a laboratory—with the mL markers up the side & everything). i ordered a can of beer, which was opened in front of me & poured into a very fancy chalice. we were seated less than 10′ from the singer’s microphone stand (and there were others even closer—right up to the edge of the stage, no more than 2′ from our troubador).
i tell you all that because it seems so unexpectedly bourgeois given who i went to that venue to see. i’ve been a fan of the old 97′s for years now, and this show was starring their frontman, rhett miller. i guess you could call them an alt-country band, but that somehow doesn’t do them justice (kinda like that label never really did uncle tupelo justice). in fact, even as a fan of their music, i don’t really know how to do them justice with words. this is no less true even when just talking about a single man, a mic, and his guitar. so i’m gonna need some a/v support on this post.
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most of the people you see in the picture above didn’t know each other a couple weeks before that shot was taken. two of the women were friends with each other. and one couple was married. the rest of us were strangers until we’d all landed in the kathmandu airport. that was really the first time i’d ever taken a trip like that. so i didn’t really know how good i had it. some of my fellow trekkers made an offhand remark about how on previous group trips, they hadn’t been so lucky, they hadn’t gotten along so well with every member of the group. i had nothing to compare it to, so i might’ve taken it a bit for granted that we’d gelled so quickly & awesomely. we really did have a great group.
i just found out a couple days ago that my friend, and the only other male from that trip, died last week. phillip had been in need of a liver transplant for many years, but medical complications kept him from getting one. coincidentally, the day after i learned of his passing, john richards (the morning radio show host at kexp) did his annual “mom” show, which happens every november 13. he started that show as a tribute to his own late mother, but it’s evolved into this kinda amazing experience where the community that john richards has built up over the years comes together to grieve for their own losses—to find comfort through music, and a connection to thousands of people they will literally never see or speak to. people email in stories & requests, and john reads some of them on the air (he admits that it takes him days to get through everything that people send in). that this is possible—and so incredibly moving—over the radio, in the 21st century, strikes me as nothing short of extraordinary. and wonderful. you can listen to yesterday’s morning show in it’s entirety through kexp’s streaming archive, and/or you can see the playlist of songs on their website.
phillip lived just outside seattle (where kexp is based), and he was a huge fan of music (not to mention, a musician himself). i don’t know if he ever heard john’s “mom” show, but i think he definitely would’ve approved. i didn’t get a chance to send john anything yesterday, so this one’s for you, phillip:
peter hook performs at the double door, 9/15/13 – photo © alejandra guerrero (http://www.alt-er-ego.com/)
i’ve long felt that “regret” is an incredibly powerful word, one not to be trotted out lightly. you can be disappointed that you sounded like an idiot, stumbling over your words, while trying to talk to your own personal hero, live in the flesh. you can even be ashamed at your lack of courage, quietly enduring disrespect only to silently berate everyone (including yourself) after the fact. but you can learn from those things & move on & become a better/worse/not-really-all-that-different person for it. regret, though. regret is like begging a genie from a magic lamp to let you go back & profoundly redirect the course of your life. regret is the thing you’d probably feel after suicide if you were still capable of feeling. regret you save for the heavy shit.
you regret not being honest about how you felt & telling that girl that, yes, of course, you loved her. you regret going through four years of college (and even more years after graduation), reading all those goddamn books and not making the cognitive leap that, hey, you’ve always been a pretty decent writer, and, well, maybe you should try writing something like all those books you love so fucking much.
so it might be a bit of a stretch to say, now, i regret assuming that some late night rock show would start well after the posted start time, like they always do—except for this time, when it didn’t. this time being when peter hook & the light brought their “movement/power, corruption & lies” tour to a tiny club in chicago at 11pm on a september sunday. it might be a stretch to say i regret not showing up until almost 11:30. but then again, maybe not such a huge leap after all.
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210 works selected from over 700 submissions.
Those numbers are a few of the ways Terrain, the visual arts/cultural extravaganza held in Spokane every October, describes itself. But to really get a sense of this incredible event, you’ll want to show up. You’ll want to meet some of the emerging young artists, experience the interactive art installations, view the incredible amount of talent housed in the region, hear some poems read, watch a film, dance your ass off.
Terrain is entering its 6th year, brought to fruition by the hard work of co-founders Ginger Ewing, Luke Baumgarten, and Patrick Kendrick. All three have full-time jobs, side projects, and their own art to concern themselves with, and yet every single year, they manage to put together an incredible, exciting, well-juried event that incorporates visual art, music, film, literary arts and more.
EWU MFA alumna Aileen Vaux will be reading her poetry during the event, and various other members of the literary arts community will be participating, attending, and marveling at what an amazing arts community Spokane has. Don’t miss it!
Friday, October 4
5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Music City Building, 1011 W. First Avenue, Spokane, WA
i used to think my all-time favorite cover version of “ring of fire” was the decidedly punk offering from social distortion (though honorable runner-up mention certainly goes to what eric burdon & the animals recorded). turns out, though, my actual favorite cover was from another artist entirely: johnny cash.
what? you didn’t know it wasn’t his song? yeah, actually i didn’t either until a few weeks ago. this is the true story of what i learned about the 50-year-old tune “ring of fire”:
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We shouldn’t have to say that the arts are important; we shouldn’t have to defend them. Earlier today, I read an article about how the CIA funded Abstract Expressionists during the Cold War, because that artistic movement, level of creativity, intellectual freedom was something a rigid communist regime could never have. Just think of that: art is cultural power. Look at how Japan has maintained soft power through its cultural exports the past twenty years. Arts are a sphere of influence as powerful as natural resources and technology.
“A bill approved by the House of Representative’s committee on appropriations would cut funding for a number of cultural organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts, whose budget would be slashed to $75 million for the 2014 fiscal year, a 49% decrease from the agency’s funding for 2013 before the budget sequester.
The proposed NEA cuts are part of an across-the-board reduction in federal spending that was put forward this week by the committee, which is led by Republican Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky. The bill calls for an overall federal spending cut of 19%.” -David Ng, LA Times
The National Endowment for the Arts funds dance, design, folk & traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, multidisciplinary, museums, music, musical theater, opera, presenting, theater, and visual arts. Give them more funding and we could be a powerhouse of culture.
So take a minute and tell your congressperson to stand behind the arts. It’s easier than ever with this link.
Walking through the National Gallery‘s exhibit on the Ballets Russes, which employed artists such as Léon Bakst, Natalia Goncharova, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Giorgio de Chirico to design sets and costumes (Coco Chanel also designed some costumes), composers Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, and Erik Satie for the scores, and choreographers included Mikhail Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska, and George Balanchine, revolutionizing ballet at the time (making it more Russian while making it more Avant-garde)—walking through these costumes and video clips of performances, I was reminded of the Leningrad Cowboys.
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Check out this cool design project, where a designer hand-lettered the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, similar to the infamous video clip/music video precursor featuring Dylan holding up cards with the lyrics on them, as written by himself, Allen Ginsberg and others.
The designer/artist Leandro Senna says of the project:
Inspired by Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ video, where he flips cards with the lyrics as the song plays, I decided to recreate those cards with handmade type. I ended up doing all the lyrics, and not just some of the words, as Dylan did.
There are 66 cards done in one month during my spare time using only pencil, black tint pens and brushes. The challenge was not to use the computer, no retouching was allowed. Getting a letter wrong meant starting the page over. There are some intentional misspellings and puns on the original song video, so I tried to keep that in a certain way.
Here’s the link to see closeup photos of each individual card, and here’s the link to see the video of these cards flipped through with the song overlaid. Which cards are your favorites?
And of course, if you need a fix, here’s the original video clip with Dylan.
No word yet on the sex of the Kanyashian baby, or if Kim plans to dress it in outfits as ugly as this one.
Photo credit: Denise Truscello/WireImage.com
Powered by the momentum of two recent, critically acclaimed albums, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne, his collaborative album with Jay-Z, the notorious Kanye West has not rested, and is set to release his latest compilation any day now. If you follow those in the know (read: me) on Twitter, you’ll already have been introduced to some of the leaked lyrics, many of which focus on his impending fatherhood. (In case you’ve been living under a rock, ’Ye and Kim Kardashian are expecting a baby in July.)
Rumors that the new album is titled Her Beautiful Dark Twisted Fetus are unconfirmed, and insiders say it’s more likely that West will go with the title No Work for a Child, a take-off of his infectious hit single (with Jay-Z) “No Church in the Wild.” Indeed, the first lyrics we received were from the new title track, which opens the album with these ambiguous lines: “Lil’ babies with their moms / What’s a mom to a kid? / What’s a kid to applaud? / What’s applause to a non-performer, who don’t perform for anyone? / Will he make it out alive? Alright, alright, no work for a child.”
The structure of these lyrics will sound familiar to any fan of “No Church in the Wild,” and the new song certainly relies heavily on its predecessor, with a few notable exceptions. Soft bongos have replaced the throbbing drums that were the signature of the original, and the opening lines, performed by Frank Ocean on the original track, are, curiously, performed by famed children’s singer Raffi. What West is actually getting at in these opening lines is up for grabs, though it may suggest a certain pressure on his newborn child to perform, only to remind himself (alright, alright) that children can’t be put under the same expectations as megastar rap-gods like himself.
The maturity of these opening lines is almost as impressive as what comes next. Read more »
Jimmy Kimmel, bless his heart, has curated another hilariously awkward snapshot of disturbing human behavior. Following video stunts like asking parents to videotape their children’s reactions to being told their Halloween candy was eaten by Mom & Dad overnight (the kids go apeshit) and then asking parents to “prank” their kids with terrible Christmas gifts, he’s done it again. In the clip below, Kimmel’s show sent a crew to the Coachella music festival to ask attendees their opinions about obscure bands with ridiculous names. The catch? The bands don’t exist– they made ‘em up. So we get to watch ridiculously tanned college kids dressed as hippies wax poetic about how these made up bands are soooo awesome. They’re led to the cliff, of course, but man, do they jump right off. I like the dig at the prevailing know-it-all culture of music lovers, but I also think that this experiment could be staged in all sorts of ways, on all sorts of topics. Seems to me that if you stick a microphone and camera in someone’s face and talk to them as if they’re an expert, they’ll act like an expert, no matter what. And if you don’t believe me, please enjoy watching these Coachella attendees lie their asses off about how much they love those made-up indie bands, speaking with complete confidence and enthusiasm… about bands they’ve never heard about because they don’t exist.
Here’s the link to the Hulu clip and NPR writeup.