On my way out of town, I leave you with some sketches I sent out in rock poster mystery tubes quite some time ago. Some of these were my ideas and some of these were specific requests, and I have no recollection of which was which.
Altho the platypus with The Mountain Goats stuck in his head was probably me.
Earlier this year, right before the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide and Hole’s classic album Live Through This, Courtney Love said that she was reuniting with Melissa Auf Der Maur, Eric Erlandson, and Patty Schemel and that they were working on new material. A few weeks later, she tapered expectations by saying that, “We may have made out but there is no talk of marriage.” Now, in the middle of an extensive profile on the singer, she firmly ruled out a reunion tour with the band. While she’s still collaborating with Erlandson, she says, “I don’t want to get on the oldies circuit. I don’t need to do that for money. I want to put out music that is relevant today. [Being] one of the last chicks in a rock ‘n’ roll band is a weird place to be. It’s scary not to be selling out.” Check out the rest of the article for updates on the Kurt Cobain biopic, her new memoir, and that time she dated Edward Norton.
[caption id="attachment_7131" align="alignright" width="220"] Ben Larrison, Chicago "comedy person."[/caption]
Are you tired of CTA ads for Montana and Wisconsin? Or the ones soliciting research subjects for yet another mental illness project?
You can fund a Kickstarter project so Ben Larrison can "buy ad space ... so that I can put ridiculous stuff up in 100 CTA cars."
And what kind of silly stuff might this comedy writer have in mind? Well, this:
With our ads, we will be able to inject a little silliness, fun and absurdity into the everyday lives of hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans. And backers will get to vote on the potential ad copy, so you will have a voice in choosing what goes up in the L cars.
Some potential campaigns include:
Facts About Squirrels - Ads alerting the public to "facts" about squirrels. (Example 1: "FACT: You can't prove that squirrels aren't all plotting to sneak into our bedrooms and tickle us in our sleep. #SquirrelTruth." Example 2: "FACT: Statistically speaking, at least one 'person' on this train is actually 7 squirrels dressed up in human clothing. Can you spot him/her? #SquirrelTruth.")
...Vanessa? - Ads from someone pleading to "Vanessa" to take him back. (Example 1: "Vanessa, I'm not allergic to dogs anymore! Please come back." Example 2: "Vanessa, please take me back. I wear button down shirts now. It’s a good look for me, I think.")
Random Pictures of Goats - Ads featuring just pictures of goats, because goats are awesome/hilarious.
Whatever campaign we decide upon, the resulting ads will be silly, fun, and ridiculous. Let me know which one you like best!
And if you do throw some dollars at this wacky idea, you could get some wonderful premiums, such as:
Donate $15, and "I will write "[Your name] is awesome" on a piece of paper, and slip it into a RedEye newsstand box, so that a lucky morning commuter can learn of your greatness. Also includes listing on our website!"
Or, donate $150 or more, and "I will bake you fresh cookies, and deliver them to you in a Ronald McDonald costume while singing a '90s pop song of your choosing. Also includes listing on our website! (Reward delivery available in Chicago only. Note: McDonald's does not in any way endorse this project or reward.)"
Might be worth the investment just for the awesome premiums.
Oh, and Larrison says there is a risk the CTA may veto the "ridiculous" ads, but he thinks he's in the clear:
"The CTA has ultimate veto power over all ads that appear in its trains, so it could keep us from pursuing some of the ad copy we would ideally like to include. But I have discussed the matter with the CTA's advertising agency and read through the official CTA advertising policies, and I believe we should have no trouble with this project."
So, good luck with that Ben!
The last eight minutes of Esteban “Steve” Jordan at Austin City Limits, in 1978 or 1979. This is from an extended, uncut version of the TV episode that aired on PBS back in the day, which was edited to include time for a Little Joe y La Famlia set. So here you’ll see Jordan briefly talking before he plays “La Camelia” and “Squeeze Box Man”. I uploaded this yesterday since I don’t think this clip has ever been online before.
completely incredible music here - hang around for the whole eight minutes, it’s a real journey
In "Piano Phase", [Reich] has the two pianists begin by playing a rapid twelve-note melodic figure over and over again in unison (E4 F♯4 B4 C♯5 D5 F♯4 E4 C♯5 B4 F♯4 D5 C♯5). After a while, one of the pianists begins to play his part slightly faster than the other. When he is playing the second note of the figure at the same time the other pianist is playing the first note, the two pianists play at the same tempo again. They are therefore playing notes at exactly the same time, but they are not the same notes as they were at the start of the piece. The process is repeated, so that the second pianist plays the third note as the first pianist is playing the first, then the fourth, and so on until the process has gone full circle, and the two pianists are playing in perfect unison again." - Wikipedia
Here, the musical patterns are visualized by drawing two lines, one following each pianist. The sound is performed live in the browser with the Web Audio API, and drawn with HTML5 Canvas. [via]
As Bloomsday approaches, references to James Joyce in the more cerebral end of the media crop up with increasing frequency. Today, I stumbled (courtesy of The Irish Times) on a fascinating literary discovery — an unpublished Introduction to an edition of Joyce’s great collection of short stories, Dubliners written by Anthony Burgess who in addition to being an accomplished novelist, critic, composer and all-round polymath was one of my colleagues on the Observer Arts pages back in the 1980s.
There are fifteen stories in Dubliners, fourteen of which are memorable and one of which — “The Dead” is a masterpiece. It’s the story of a New Year’s Eve party in the Dublin home of a pair of cultivated, musical, bourgeois spinsters. It is, writes Burgess, “a convivial evening in the Irish manner, full of song, quadrilles, bottled beer and food”. The central characters in the story are the spinsters’ nephew, Gabriel Conroy, and his wife Gretta.
Burgess sees Gabriel as “a sort of James Joyce, though plumper and more complacent”.
He is a literary man, a college teacher, contributor of a bookish column to the Dublin Daily Express. He is Europeanised, unsympathetic to Ireland’s patriotic aspirations, conscious that his own culture is deeper and wider than that which surrounds him in provincial Dublin. He has married a girl of inferior education – “country cute” was his mother’s description of her – but he does not despise her.
Gretta is a quiet beauty, and Gabriel is a possessive husband. Because they live some way out of the city, they have booked a hotel room for the night. As they go to the hotel in the early hours, a wave of desire comes over him: the possessive wants to possess. But Gretta is distracted. Towards the close of the party the tenor Bartell D’Arcy had sung a song called The Lass of Aughrim, and she is thinking about the song. A young boy she once knew in Galway — and who had been in love with her — used to sing it. His name was Michael Furey, and he died tragically young.
Gabriel carelessly asks whether he died of consumption, but Gretta replies, “I think he died for me,” she replies, weeping.
This is how Joyce writes it:
“It was in the winter,” she said, “about the beginning of the winter which I was going to leave my grandmother’s and come up here to the convent. And he was ill at the time in his lodgings in Galway and wouldn’t be let out, and his people in Oughterard were written to. He was in decline, they said, or something like that. I never knew rightly”.
She paused for a moment, and sighed.
“Poor fellow,” she said. “He was very fond of me and he was such a gentle boy. We used to go out together, walking, you know, Gabriel, like the way they do in the country. He was going to study singing only for his health. He had a very good voice, poor Michael Furey.”
“Well; and then?” asked Gabriel.
“And then when it came to the time for me to leave Galway and come up to the convent he was much worse and I wouldn’t be let see him so I wrote him a letter saying I was going up to Dublin and would be back in the summer, and hoping he would be better then.”
She paused for a moment to get her voice under control, and then went on:
“Then the night before I left, I was in my grandmother’s house on Nun’s Island, packing up, and I heard gravel thrown up against the window. The window was so wet I couldn’t see, so I rad downstairs as I was and slipped out the back into the garden and there was the poor fellow at the end of the garden, shivering.”
“And did you not tell him to go back?” asked Gabriel?
“I implored him to go home at oncw and thold him he would get his death in the rain. But he said he did not want to live. I can see his eyes as well as well! He was standing at the end of the wall where there was a tree”.
“And did he go home?” asked Gabriel.
“Yes, he went home. And when I was only a week in the convent he died and he was buried in Oughterard where his people came from. O, the day I heard that, that he was dead!”
She stopped, choking with sobs, and, overcome by emotion, flung herself face downwards on the bed, sobbing in the quilt. Gabriel held her hand for a moment longer, irresolutely, and then, shy of intruding on her grief, let it fall gently and walked quietly to the window.
What follows is one of the most moving passages in the whole of Joyce’s work. It was beautifully captured in John Huston’s magnificent film adaptation of the story. This afternoon I found a clip of that closing scene.
Anthony Burgess thinks that this wonderful short story is the pivotal moment in Joyce’s development as an artist.
“The complex of emotions that now takes possession of Gabriel’s soul”, he writes,
requires more than the technique of realistic fiction for its expression. The Joyce we meet now is not the young chronicler of the earlier Dublin lives. We are in the presence of the author of Ulysses. As Gabriel analyses his tepid little soul, we see that his name and that of his long-dead rival have taken on a terrible significance: Gabriel the mild angel, Michael the passionate one; that dead boy, possessed of an insupportable love, was rightly called Furey.
Gabriel becomes aware of the world of the dead, into which the living pass. That world goes on with its own life, and its purpose is to qualify, literally to haunt, the world of those not yet gone. The living and the dead coexist and have strange traffic with each other. And there is a sense in which that, dead, Furey is more alive, through the passion that killed him, than the living Gabriel Conroy with his scraps of European culture and his intellectual superiority.
Meanwhile, in the all too tangible world of Dublin, the snow is coming down. More, it is, perhaps impossibly, “general all over Ireland”, and it serves Joyce’s symbolic intent more than a concern with meteorological plausibility. For “the snow is falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead”.
It is real snow, but it is also a metaphysical substance that unites humanity in time, not space. Space becomes itself a symbol. When Gabriel thinks of setting out on his “journey westward” he is to take not a train but a time machine. The west is where passion took place and a boy died for love: the graveyard where Michael Furey lies buried is, in a sense, a place of life.
“The Dead” is magic”, Burgess concludes, “whereas the preceding stories are merely literature”.