Thursday, January 31, 2008

No-No to Juno

I hate to say it, but I am really not feeling Juno. It just didn’t do anything for me. In fact, it kind of irritated me. I didn’t hate it. But let me just say that a certain Mr. Wes Anderson has a whole lot of super-contrived quirk to answer for. All that plinky plonky new folk faux-awkward alterna-music. Yeesh. At least they used Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking With You” to show how it was actually done back when it was authentic. (N.B. for a far better use of that song, see Morvern Callar, which is an awesome movie. I fucking love Samantha Moton.) Juno struck me as a bad pastiche of the aforementioned Wes Anderson (the plinky plonky contrived alterna-music), a Daniel Clowes movie (comic book elements in the art direction), those fucking irritating Judd Apatow movies (conservative misogynistic morals dressed up as hip and young and cool – of which the pubic hair views in Knocked Up are the most offensive aspect, as opposed to the monogamy/chastity aspect of 40-Year old Virgin and the Papa Don’t Preach baby-keeping aspect of Knocked Up), and Dawson’s Creek.(sassy smart-talking teenagers – and there was a baby-keeping arc in Dawson’s Creek as well…featuring Heath Ledger’s similarly baby-keeping girlfriend, Michelle Williams…whoah, it’s all tied up with a neat little bow…).

I have no clue why Juno was nominated for Best Picture, nor why Ellen Page was nominated for Best Actress. She is super fucking annoying and from interviews I have seen/read, she wasn’t acting at all – they cast her because she was the exact personality they wanted. Plus, I hate to say it but I am sick of Michael Cera – um, Michael, there’s a call for you – it’s Range, because so far you have none. Yeah, he’s charming and shuffly and nerdy and awkward but he’s still playing George Michael. Sick of it.

I did like certain things about it – I liked Juno’s parents (JK Simmons is so awesome in everything. It’s a testament to his acting ability that I am able to forget Vern Schillinger - the white supremacist psycho Simmons played in Oz – and find him totally believable as a typical suburban dad) and I liked Jason Bateman (as usual) and Jennifer Garner (first time I ever said that). I thought their story arc was very realistic and not something you often see. I liked how I was tricked into thinking Jason’s character was cool and Jennifer’s was an uptight bitch, only to wind up feeling the total opposite (well, not that he became an uptight bitch…you know what I mean though). I felt like the audience was able to totally feel the same emotions Juno was feeling towards them as those emotions changed. I like it when you’re able to realize things simultaneously with the character, as opposed to the filmmakers lazily relying on the suspense created by you knowing something the character doesn’t no – i.e. there is no “No, Juno – he’s a dick!! He’s a dick!! Why can’t you see it??”

I also think that Jason’s character finding nostalgia for his youth through Juno is a good analogy for the film as a whole. I have this theory that all the people from about 30-50 who grew up when a freak was still a freak and a jock was still popular are now feeling like they want to go back and experience the acceptance – if not predominance - of the freak in today’s youth. Latching on to a movie like Juno makes people feel good about themselves, like they have some cool cred they did not get in high school because they were too busy being conformist. Does that make any sense?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

For the fulfillment of New Year's resolutions

For the fulfillment of New Year's resolutions, I need this.

Here's how it works: When you're having, let's call it "a moment," you slide off the cap (ever so carefully so as not to disturb the existing pent-up vengeful fumes) and very quickly stuff your new anger on top.

It's a Jonathan Adler apothecary jar, by the way

Anyway, rage reduction is clearly on the agenda for yours truly in 2008.

Other resolutions:
- Be more decisive! And less wishy washy! (Be The Decider!)
- Possibly start think about quitting smoking. Or maybe cutting back? Need to think about this one a little longer...
- Ask my cat, Mimi, if she might consider bullying me a little less.
- Eat less dairy.

RIP Dennis Kucinich

Crazy couple of news days, people! Trader fraud, Gazan breach, Yahoo layoffs... Add to the mix some late breaking news from the Times Caucus blog. The elfin Dennis Kucinich is set to "transition out" of the presidential race beginning sometime next week! You all might remember that Den-Den was my candidate of choice last election so I have a certain soft (read: laughable, demented, or just plain weird) spot for the guy. I wasn't planning to vote for the man this time around (more on this later). But I can still feel a tiny little tear ever so slowly trickling down my cheek.

We could use Den-Den's drop out as an opportunity to talk about the dearth of presidential candidates who espouse liberal policies or to examine how the mainstream media squashes the "little guy" or even the pretty woman/subpar male combo endemic to American society. (Men: it's 2008. Time to start grooming, okay?)

But, naturally, the mention of li'l Den-Den makes me think of UFOs, which makes me think of little green men, which makes me think of outer space, which makes me wonder: Will space travel ever be a reality for me and my fellow middle-class Americans? I'm no Lance Bass, but I sure would like the chance to take a ride on the Great Space Coaster. Enter kooky English bazillionaire airline/music mogul Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

An excerpt from the site
Virgin Galactic is the world's first spaceline. Giving you the groundbreaking opportunity to become one of the first ever non-professional astronauts. Virgin Galactic will own and operate its privately built spaceships, modelled on the remarkable, history-making SpaceShipOne.

Virgin's vast experience in aviation, adventure, luxury travel and cutting-edge design combined with the unique technology developed by Burt Rutan will ensure an unforgettable experience unlike any other available to mankind.

With safety at the forefront, our unique spacecraft is being designed at Rutan's base in Mojave, California alongside a concerted research and development programme.

"The deal with Mojave Aerospace Ventures is just the start of what we believe will be a new era in the history of mankind, one day making the affordable exploration of space by human beings a real possibility." - Richard Branson.

It is these spaceships that will allow affordable sub-orbital space tourism for the first time in the history of the universe.

The catch (in addition to the fact that this sci-fi shit is insane) is that Burt Rutan's precious SpaceShipTwo is still under development with no firm launch date in sight.

But that hasn't stopped Stephen Hawking, Victoria Principal, Philippe Starck, and other such suckas (I mean cultural icons) from signing on for a ride at $200k a pop. For those of us who are less financially well endowed, Branson says, "Even though the dollar isn't worth much anymore, US$200,000 is still too expensive for the majority of people. Within five years of launching, I would hope the price would come down fairly dramatically."

Keep your fingers crossed, kiddies. 'Twould be nice to spend some time in space before we completely destroy the planet and are forced to retreat to escape colonies on Mars.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Angry Squiggle

I can never find a picture of the Boynton cat with that squiggle that signifies anger over his head, but you know what I'm talking about. Here's a picture of him sans squiggle. He is at work, and it looks like his job sucks, so it's implausible to me that he is squiggle-less, but whatever. The point is that I have been avec squiggle for some time now. R2B2 and I stepped away from the blogosphere for the holidays, and then I became too enraged to do anything other than rant even less coherently than I do here, while R2 emerged from a cloud of similar rage to enter a new zen-like state which I am calling Post-Rage.

needless to say, the cause of both of our rages is politics. I'll let R2 handle the R2 Rage beat, but mine has been all about John Edwards. I am not going to go on and on about this because a) most of the three people who read this are already the lucky recipients of my rage-filled e-mails over the past month, and b) it's getting old - laughably, ludicrously old. the one benefit of the DefCon 5 level my rage has recenlty reached is that I no longer bother with reasoned arguments, so my rants have been getting shorter. The gist: I have grown increasingly unimpressed by Obama (whre's the beef, Reagan man?) and Clinton (why aren't you asking Obama where the beef is, lady?). I have grown increasingly impressed with Edwards. Bunches and I went to SC to go door to door for him, and we went to a rally here in Atlanta. We love him. Love him!!

There is a poll on The Nation's website which says a lot about how I'm feeling right now. Seems like there are a lot of people out there like me who feel that Clinton and Obama are a) nowhere near progressive enough and b) just what the right hopes to be facing come this fall. And it looks like, unlike Obama, they may actually have a workable strategy behind their "hope" - eg keep the one candidate who can beat them out of the mainstream media spotlight and effectively out of the race. It's no accident that Edwards - the candidate who refuses corporate and special interest donations and has stated his intention to break up this country's intelligent-discussion-sucking media hegemony - is the candidate getting the least attention (by FAR) from corporate-owned media (aka "the media").

Oh angry can I hold you at bay when the only coverage Edwards gets in the mainstream media is about how he let fucking Letterman ruffle his fucking hair????

RIP Ennis del Mar

So Ennis Del Mar is taking a dirt nap. Sucks. That was one of the best performances I have ever seen by an actor. I still break down in tears when I think of that amazing movie. Heath Bar was robbed of that Oscar (don't even get me started on Best Picture...) - PSH-Balanced was amazing as Capote, but it was an impersonation. When you take on a character who actually existed and whose tics and flourishes and cadence and mannerisms we all know, you may do it well but you're not creating anything. Heath Ledger created an authentically haunted human being from nothing but a few lines of fiction. He reached deep down into the darkest pit of hompohobia that lurks at the heart of every heterosexual man and used it to create an incredibly shattering and unforgettable character. I can think of few actors who have actually made me feel genuine emotional pain, as opoposed to merely sympathy. It actually hurt to watch him.

That said, I reckon he was a big old smackhead, and if you play with fire...I saw a recent interview with him and he was scratching all over his own arms in a manner most familiar. I think heroin is making another comeback. The "coke is it" craze of the past 10 years is over - there is a shortage of coke and it's super expensive and weak. Shitty 8 balls are going for like $175 right now. Meanwhile I keep seeing people with eyes that look like pools of oil, and there was that episode with Ariel Pink and the nodding off on stage, and check out Winehouse (if your eyes don't bleed from looking at her these days - now THERE'S someone it hurts to watch).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Assholes Don't Vote

I recently read that Cormac McCarthy does not vote because "poets don't vote." Basically, politics are for the rest of us morons - he has better things to think about, like denouements and tragic flaws and character motivation. I always knew this guy was a humorless old curmudgeon, but he had my respect as a writer. Well, that's over now. I looked into his biography, and of course, as I suspected, he grew up privileged and has never had to worry about a damn thing a day in his life - his father was a successful lawyer, so he had a good education and was able to apply for all sorts of grants and travel around the world studying literature. Sure, talent comes into play here, but I can guarantee he would feel very differently about being politically involved if he had to engage with the real world and struggle to get his voice heard as most writers do. His wealth and success have further enabled him to live as a Salinger-esque recluse for most of his life, so it's probably a good thing that he doesn't vote because he probably knows dick about what's going on out there. But I find it reprehensible that anyone - especially an educated person - would not get involved in politics at the most basic level by voting. I know most people don't, but most people are idiots. The fact that McCarthy's books are generally about how fucked up life is and how evil people are only makes it worse. His books clearly say that you can't expect much of people and we're all screwed, which is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy if you don't do anything to change the world. I find it so offensive when someone who has the chance to influence so many people to do the right thing is an asshole and acts like they are too good for politics, especially when their work is so blatantly polticial. Gerhard "These Paintings of Terrorists Aren't Political" Richter is another shining example of this type of reified assholery. Basically, these guys are leeching off of all the evil in the world, using it as subject matter and making us all think about it and then doing nothing to fix it. It basically amounts to exploitation, which, if you think about it, really takes away from the quality of their work. Fucking pricks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Love This

I was just listening to this song and felt like I should post the clip from the movie because it is so awesome. This is Bing & Frank "acting" drunk (I'm pretty sure they were really plastered) in The "Well Did You Evah" scene from "High Society." They probably trash-talked women (Frank) and Jews (Bing) between takes, but I really don't care because this whole movie is genius and a testament to the perennial awesomeness of Cole Porter.

Silly Cat Picture Starring Orangello

Separated at Birth: Mike Damone and Alex Van Halen

The selection of Alex Van Halen pictures is limted thanks to the serial camera-hogging of Diamond Dave and EVH, and most of the photos of Mike Damone (aka Robert Romanus) I could find are small, but trust me, they look alike. Everyone knows what Mike Damone looks like, anyway. At least I hope they do. If you don't please stay home from work today and watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Do it at least as a favor to Sean Penn, because the memory of his performance will be the only thing that stops you from serving his pompous ass a knuckle sandwich if you ever see him in real life. Asshole. Is that my ego in there?? IS IT?????

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Yet More Extremely Exciting Concert News

This is a good one. Van Halen, man!!!!! I mean, shit, Van Halen!!! The first time I ever bought an album with my own money, it was 1984. Not the year, the album. And the year too, I guess. I have been wanting to see Van Halen in theory ever since (I was 9 at the time), but it was never even really a fantasy because it seemed like such an impossibility. First of all, they broke up - that kind of puts a nail in the cofin. Then they got a new singer. Then they gotr another new singer. Occasionally, they tried to get their shit together and regroup, but Diamond Daveand Eddie just couldn't help themselves from morphing into Brian Wilson and Mike Love whenever they entered the same room. So I just figured it would never happen. Fast forward to 2007, when I hear that not only are they back together and touring, but they are all sober, in shape, getting alonmg, and rocking the fuck out. Oh, except for poor Michael Anthony, who is still trying to remove his Jack Daniels bottle bass guitar from his rectum, where it was placed by the rest of the band when they fired him so they could hire Eddie's teenage son. Nice to see they're still dicks!!! Okay, so moving on, the next fly in the ointment was the nonexistence of Atlanta or anywhere even close on the itinerary. Well, I guess they finished that rather brief itinerary and decided that they were so awesome that they would keep going. So now, on February 13, I will be in a primo seat at Phillips Arena watching VH with three of my closest friends and Russ Sr.

Let me just say that it is with great reluctance that I post the above picture. I really wanted a still of Diamond Dave being arrested in a towel and cowboy boots from the "Panama" video. That really happened! He's my main Jew. He does our people proud. And we need all the help we can get these days, when it seems like every prominent Jew I read about who isn't polluting the earth with subpar "entertianment" (eg Spielkatzengeffen) is another slimey mono-issue Israel-brainwashed neocon Iraq War architect coming out of the woodwork to justify himself. For shame!!!

However, it is with great enthusiasm that I post this, the video for "Hot for Teacher" - quite possibly one of the greatest vidoes ever made and my hands-down favorite VH song. It is a wonderful example of the Nerd Bullied by Rockin' Cool Kids subgenre of 80s videos (see: "Fight For Your Right to Party") (fyi, the genre is the Nerd genre - another key subgenre is the Nerd Transformed - see "She's Got Legs" or "Goody Two Shoes" or "Blinded Me with Science" - and note that the nerd being transformed is usually a lady who takes off her glasses and lets down her hair and becomes sexy). The best part of the video is the kid versions of each member. No., the best part is the little choreographed chorus line routine the band does - and which my friends and I are already practicing for the show. Thanks god I am second tallest so I get to be Alex Van Halen. Eddie is cool but being shorter means running a risk of being cast as Michael Anthony and we all know where that gets you. Alex Van Halen is a serious badass and an underrated drummer. Ever notice how he looks like....? Oh, is it time for a separated at birth???!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Fighting Bob II??

There are certain figures I learned about in high school from US History who I thought were really badass and who continue to stand out in my mind. One of these is Robert M. "Fighting Bob" La Follette. La Follette was governor of Wisconsin and served in the senate for 20 years, from 1905-1925. He ran for president in 1912 and 1924, winning 17% of the vote in 1924 as leader of his own Progressive party. This makes him the third most successful third party candidiate since the Civil War, behind only TR and Perot.

La Follette was definitely a little bit crazy, and the reception he recieved in 1912 was kind of like that being received by Kucinich and Gravel nowadays. But he said exactly what he thought and didn't take shit from anyone. His primary concerns were preserving civil liberties, stemming the tide of American imperialism, lessening the influence of big business on politics, limiting presidential powers in terms of declaring war, and protecting workers' rights. The magazine he founded, The Progressive, is still going strong. He was a leading campaigner for women's suffrage, child labor laws, social security, protection of freedom of speech, and the strengthening of unions.

Here are a couple of choice Fighting Bob quotes:

"In times of peace, the war party insists on making preparation for war. As soon as prepared for, it insists on making war."

"The underlying reason indeed why both parties have failed to take the people's side in the present crisis is that neither party can openly attack the real evils which are undermining representative government without convicting themselves of treachery to the voters during their recent tenure in office."

"Every nation has its war party. It is not the party of democracy. It is the party of autocracy. It seeks to dominate absolutely. It is commercial, imperialistic, ruthless. It tolerates no opposition. It is just as arrogant, just as despotic, in London, or in Washington, as in Berlin. The American Jingo is twin to the German Junker…. If there is no sufficient reason for war, the war party will make war on one pretext, then invent another."

"The purpose of this ridiculous campaign is to throw the country into a state of sheer terror, to change public opinion, to stifle criticism, and suppress discussion. People are being unlawfully arrested, thrown into jail, held incommunicado for days, only to be eventually discharged without ever having been taken into court, because they have committed no crime. But more than this, if every preparation for war can be made the excuse for destroying free speech and a free press and the right of the people to assemble together for peaceful discussion, then we may well despair of ever again finding ourselves for a long period in a state of peace. The destruction of rights now occurring will be pointed to then as precedents for a still further invasion of the rights of the citizen."

How fucking appropriate to today are these words? It's amazing. Do any of the present candidates remind me of Fighting Bob? We need a Fighting Bob II! I think John Edwards may be the closest, with this current revival of his angry populist trial lawyer persona, which I think is the Real Edwards, or maybe I just hope so...all I know is that anger is appropriate right now.

Russ's Collage du Who Knows What Jour

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ru-roh Raggy

You all know I love Wu-Tang Clan. Like, love love love top ten all time love-style loving. So it is with great excitement that I have been awaiting the December 11 release of their first album in YEARS, the 8 Diagrams. The other day I became tired of waiting and got my hands on some leaked tracks. I hate to say it, but so far I am underwhelmed. Who knows how close what I have is to the finished product, but it's kind of weak. There's a lot of R&B to it, which is what I tend to dislkie about most hip hop. If I want R &B, I'll listen to R&B. Basically I listend to the 8 or 9 tracks I have and swiftly ejected the CD and put the oure genius 36 Chambers in instead. I have this thing where I really don't like very loud music but I cannot play that CD loudly enough. I'm going to chalk the wishy-washy-ness of 8 Diagrams up to the death of Ol' Dirty Bastard. I think each member of the Clan has his own appeal and RZA is for sure a genius producer, but it was ODB who brought the crazy dangerous vibe. This is their first effort sans ODB and I think it's a testament to his memory more than anything else. I will update this early review once I have heard the official release. RIP ODB. Oh, and there's a picture of Method Man up there because he's so damn handsome and he was on The Wire, which makes him the coolest living Wu-Tang member.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My Increasingly Philistine Stomach

As of this weekend, I have a new favorite restaurant: QuikTrip. For those of you who don't know, QuikTrip is a chain of service stations/minimarts. I generally try to get my gas there since it's usually a few cents cheaper than the other dudes, but I never really go inside. You pay at the pump, so why would you? However, the other day I ventured in as Ed gassed up while we were out driving around the sticks looking for a fucking couch for like the 17th weekend in a row. I figured I would get a bag of chips or something. However, in my giggly and hungry state (you try driving around Acworth, GA looking at couches for 4 hours while stone cold sober), I was drawn to the prepared foods section - a huge long table of those hot rolling metal rods on which sat various cripsy delights, and a wall of drink machines. They seriously had 15 kinds of soda on tap. About 7 minutes later and a mere $6 lighter, I emerged with three taquitos (2 chicken and one beef), a corn dog, and an HORCHATA SMOOTHIE, which was really more of a slurpee. This last item is seriously one of the most exciting things to happen to me in a long time. God bless the 800,000 illegal Cebntral Americans in Georgia who, despite a constant attempt by everyone but me to drive them out, have established themselves so much here that the QT has a special smoothie just for them. I LOVE horchata. To have it in giant slurpee form was almost too much for me to bear. So exotic and yet so mundane at the same time!!! Truly a symbol of the melting pot that is America. Horchata smoothies and taquitos and corn dogs rotating side by side (with egg rolls, but who wants those, R2?) - to quote John Cougar Concntrationcamp (a fellow John Edwards supporter, FYI): Ain't that America?

As if this new obsession weren't enough, I also discovered that I like Krystal. Krsytal is like White Castle down here - I have to say it's more like White Castle's poor hick cousin, with smaller, greyer, squarer, and altogether more frightening burgers. I have long protested any suggestion of going to Krystal, but the other night after the Black Lips show I had to take two hungry squawking drunks there and I tasted a burger and that was pretty much that. I also tasted this tiny little perfect chilli cheese dog and then that really was that, done, stick a fork in me and call me Krystal. I was back there again at 11:30 Saturday night, giggly and hungry and having just watched Spies Like Us (which I now own, awesome!).

White Castle is still better, by the way.

Badass Political Posters

I love a good badass political poster. It's a true art form. There isn't enough politics in fine art these days, so it's nice to see the tradition of politically engaged creative expression is alive and well. The above-depicted posters being carried by pissed-off Palestinians are seriously badass and I would like to see more. How to google "Palestinian protest posters" without winding up in a naked pyramid at Gitmo with Cheney giving me noogies and indian burns?

By the way, these particular Palestinians are pissed because Israel is now allowing bids to build homes on disputed land in East Jerusalem. Give me fucking strength. I want to be a good Jew and support Israel but they really make it hard. I mean, WHY??? Is it manadatory to take three huge steps back every time the peace process shuffles forward one millimeter? I guess so.

Anyway, returning to happeier topics: political posters. Some of my favorites are those from the May 1968 student protests in France. Here are a few choice ones. Check out that awesome rat!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Follow-Up Report on Sophia and The Black Lips

First things first: Sophia is basically fine. She has to stay on her antibiotics for three weeks which means I have to spend approximately 45 minutes each evening tricking her into taking a pill. I have resorted to constructing a sort of layer cake made out of layers of wet cat food, crushed cat pill, Healthy Choice honey baked turkey breast, repeat layers. But of course I would rather do this every night for the rest of my life than have Sophia be sick. I'm posting a picture of Orangello with Sophia since he has been thoroughly neglected this week and is such a good boy. Look at them. They are so fucking cute.

Moving on: Black Lips show. The opening bands, The Selmanaires, Snowden, and Deerhunter ranged from dire to occasionally tolerable. Selmanaires pretty much had the market cornered as far as dire goes. Oh so dire. They are really popular on the local scene here and I'm damned if I can figure it out. Oh well, hopefully their mojo will continue to extend no further than the metro Atlanta area and none of you will have to speculate about this with me. Black Lips pretty much rocked. A lot of their songs sound the same but they sound great and it's a good same. Not everyone can be Ariel Pink and the Black Lips are fucking awesome for what they are - a retro garage punk band. Those are a dime a dozen these days and Black Lips stand out in the pack. They are tight and charismatic and they pound it out with major rock n' roll gusto, old school, which is important. They are HAVING FUN and don't look like a bunch of dorks who you want to give wedgies too. I am fantatsizing that's how they feel about the other 3 bands on the bill. They are cool, cool dudes who you want to party with.

However, the best thing about them is Jared Swilley - the bassist/sometime singer with a mustache. Now you KNOW I love good facial hair and it's so hard to find. You know I've been looking (looking, not buying!) for a mountain man with a beard and stache and long hair like George Harrison late 60s/early 70's. I've also been looking for anything even close to Chef from Apocalypse Now, who is the Holy Grail of hot mustache men (above, right, shortly after leaving the boat, which you should never do, and shortly before having his severed head dropped in Martin Sheen's lap). Jared Swilley (below) comes the closest of anyone I have seen.

He also throws in some young Donald Sutherland and - even better - a healthy sprinkle of David Thewlis in Naked (below - oh man that movie is so good. god love Mike Leigh. I don't think about him enough. Thewlis tore that role up and spat it out and it was beautiful and horrifying and do you know that Katrin Cartlidge died from some heart defect? Sad!).

Point being, I spent half of the show dancing like crazy and the other half staring at this guy's mustache in a pure state of rapture. I hate to say it, but I think if he shaves it, I will like them a lot less. Please don't shave it. I really hope he goes around like Ramathorn in Super Troopers (hot mustache on hot Indian comic genius - grrrrrrr), asking people "who wants a mustache ride?"
Finally, let me give it up bigamatime for Atlanta. When it comes to seeing shows, Atlanta kicks NYC's ass all the way to Fresno. If this were New York, I would have been lucky to even get a ticket because the show would have been at The Bowery Ballroom and Parker Posey and Sophia Coppola would have gotten themselves and all thier indie hipster celeb friends comped and eaten up half the tickets before they even went on sale. Then it would have been freezing and I would havr worn gloves, hat, scarf, coat and taken the subway and been detoured and delayed by weekend track work, and then would have waited in line foever to get in, forever again to check my coat, and then forever again to get it back, whereupon I would find that my scarf, hat, and one glove were all gone. And the ticket would have been twice as much. And there would have been nowhere to blaze a fatty. Hmmm. Let's see - last night I paid $15 for a ticket, got in my car at 7:15, picked up Kristy at 7:45, hung out, left her house at 8:15, arrived at the venue at 8:30, waltzed in comfortably dressed for the 50-ish degree weather with nothing to check, and smoked a joint twice. Next show on my calendar: MF Doom!!! Out of hiding!!! Crazier than a bag of angel dust!!!! December 13!! I bet Danger Mouse shows.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Black Lips Black Lips Black Lips!!!

I don't know what's going on lately, but there are a ton of good shows to see. Last week, Ariel Pink, and now tonight - The Black Lips!!!! For those who don't know, The Black Lips are one of very few truly awesome local bands here in Atlanta. More on my musings on the local music scne at another time, since I don't really have any time today to write due to being late which was due to Sophia being sick - well, symptom-free but showing bad stuff in her pee and needing blood work blah blah blah. Long story short, worrying, expensive, and stealing my lunch and other free time from me here at work.

Anyway, the most important thing to know about The Black Lips is that they are CRAZY, like crazier than Krazee Glue and Crazy Eddie and Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson all put together. They were banned for a long time from playing live anywhere in Atlanta, and in several NYC venues as well, and they only recently played their first post-ban show in Atlanta and that was at the Claremont Lounge, a famously seedy strip club where 200 pound women crush beer cans between their boobs, amongst other low-rent delights. Apparently their good bahvior on Letterman and at South by Southwest, and semi-good behavior at the Siren festival (they had a chicken running around on stage with them - his name is Popcorn - maybe he will be there tonight).

The point is I am excited. Here's the video for "Katrina". I'd like to put some live footage up instead but I can't really peruse it at work since they are naked/throwing up/a little of both in a lot of it. Keep your fingers crossed for nudity, barf, and, hopefully, Popcorn! And especially keep your fingers crossed that Sophia is okay.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Russ's Collage du Jour

Could This Ever Happen Again?

I've been working on collages all morning. It's a strange process because, although the end result is often funny, the images I'm working with are generally pretty fucked up. I mostly manage to stay pretty cool and detached and logical during the process - if I didn't I would never get anything done. You just can't burst into tears at every single photo and accomplish anything, you know? However, I am not a robot, and it's always interesting to see which images get to me on a given day and why. Today I have been looking at concentration camps, African civil wars, floods, Vietnam...the usual. Every once in a while I have stopped and thought a little bit more about certain photos, but this one is the first one that really got to me today. This photo was taken by Ed Clark and appeared in Life magazine on April 17, 1945 (my grandfather's 28th birthday, and, I believe, the last one he spent fighting in World War II). The picture has a cool story and here it is:

"In Warm Springs, Ga., 50 photographers and newsreel cameramen jostled for a shot as the hearse carrying Franklin D. Roosevelt's body headed to the train station.

Suddenly, Life magazine photographer Ed Clark heard the strains of "Goin' Home," a favorite song of FDR's, being played on the accordion. Turning, he saw Navy bandsman Graham Jackson playing the tune, his face showing anguish and tears streaming down his cheeks.

"I thought, 'My God! What a picture,' " Clark said. "I took three or four shots with my Leica, hoping that nobody else noticed."

No one did. Clark's exclusive photograph took up a full page in the April 17, 1945, issue of Life, which was devoted to Roosevelt's death. The picture came to symbolize a nation's grief."

The reason this picture made me stop working and start crying is because it made me think of how far we've come as a nation from that moment. The thought of all those people of different backgrounds coming together and being so upset for the death of George Bush is laughable. It would never happen. The question is, could it ever happen again with any president, or is this image a product of a more innocent, less fractured time? Would Bill Clinton's death spark this type of emotion? I don't know if anyone's could. I have only been really sad and emotional about one public figure's death - George Harrison. But the only time I have experienced shared emotion on the scale that this photo depicts is on September 11 and the few days following. Is that what it takes these days? Sadly, I think the answer is probably yes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Russ Senior is So Fucking Cool

Usually there are no names or faces on this blog but this is too cool to not post. Russ Senior has been attending Rock n Roll Fantsay Camp for a few years now -he's benn to LA, NYC, and now Vegas - and has become a true rock star. The man who once entertained Russ by hesitantly playing "Wish You Were Here" and "Fly By Night" over and over (and over) again on the guitar has evolved into a confident and extremely competent bass player with style and stage presence. He's also widened his appreciation of rock n roll in its many forms - no longer just classic and progressive - even enjoying a bass clinic with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth! But perhaps the most satisfying thing of all so far has been watching Russ Senior play "Paradise City" with Slash. I'll post a link to this when I'm back on my PC at work (damn you, Safari). It's so cool because I was fairly obsessed with Guns n Roses when I was about 12 years old. I made my fellow residents of Cabin Lakeside at Camp Keystone in Brevard, North Carolina dress up and perfrom "Welcome to the Jungle" at the summer camp talent show (I was Axl). I had cats named Axl and Izzy and a rabbit named Mr. Brownstone. So you can imagine how tickled I am by the above photo and why I need to break the unspoken blog rules and post it. Rock on, Russ Senior!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Among the Most Bizarre and Satsifying Things I Have Ever Seen

Okay, real quick, because I think I am the only person who cares. The Ariel Pink show was FUCKING OUT OF CONTROL. They played with Cass McCombs and did one set of Ariel stuff with Cass on stage with them and then a second set of Cass stuff with Ariel on stage. I guess the majority of the band was Ariel's usual band. First of all, he is seriously TINY. He looks like a tiny little pocket monkey. As in, he looks like a monkey and you could fit him in your pocket easily. I was expecting tall and lanky for some reason. Also he is very scrunched up and intenese and tense looking in the shoulders. He is cute though. REALLY greasy hair. The band were cool - the bassist looked exactly like Chainsaw from Summer School (what are eggs?) and one of the guitarists who was also the main tamborine dude looked more like Rod/Todd Flanders then any human being I have ever seen. Anyway so they finally get started and it's like this wall of sound, Phil Spector style, beautiful 60s jangly guitars, very Byrds and Beach Boys but also very disco and new wave but just super intense. Wall of sound is the best I can do. It was so weird because his stuff is so lo fi when you listen to the recordings but this was probably among the fullest, most beautiful sound I have ever heard. It seriously got inside of me and came out of my ears and nose. Bunches and my two friends who joined me, who ranged from skeptical to hadn;t ever heard of him, were all really impressed, so it wasn't just me and my weird Ariel Pink obsession. His voice is amazing. His pants kept falling down. Dude is definitely WEIRD but charming in a tiny greasy way. He seemed really different from his videos and interviews though.

So they played about 8 songs and then announced they were taking a break and having a drink and smoke and coming back out to play more. Well, they came back out and it was tte biggest about face I have ever witnessed, a total 180. It was chaos - totla disarray, amps getting blown out, and when they finally got a song underway, Ariel was standing there with his guitar while Cass was singing, and I guess he was supposed to sing too, but he just kind of scooted the guitar around so that he could rest his chin on it and nodded the fuck off. Seriously, I haven't seen anyone that smacked out since I woke myself up to catch my reflection in my knife at a dinner party at a Portugese restaurant in Newark in 1997 and thought "Damn, I gotta stop doing this shit. I 'm acting like Boy George at Live Aid!" (I did stop, fyi. A long time ago, so there.) Yeah, it was nuts. He fell asleep right there on stage. I felt like I had been magically transported back to the 90s. I mean, who the fuck is still doing heroin??? In 2007??? He managed to shake it off a little but it was obvious that things were only going to get worse and Cass was kind of dull after Ariel (okay, really dull but that is a hard act to follow). So 5 stars for the first half and 4 for the second, but the second set of stars is awarded according to different criteria, like being scarily fucked up.

Oh and the crowd was probably the weirdest I have ever seen. This shit made a Danielson Famile show seem like the American Music Awards.

Silly cat photo starring Mimi

Mimi had surgery last week! Here she is modeling her soft Elizabethan collar. She told me she'll save it for when she's finally fed up with Brooklyn and with me. She plans to run off and become a circus clown. I hate to lose her but she does seem suited to the carny lifestyle.

Eau de Brooklyn

Allow me to state the obvious. This is NOT what Brooklyn smells like, or at least not where I'm from. Try adding a little beef patty to the mix and you'd get a little closer.

A father-daughter duo created 'Eau de Brooklyn' fragrance line

BY DENISE ROMANO From today's Daily News:
He's a neurologist by day and a perfumer by night.

Emilio Oribe of Boerum Hill and his 10-year-old daughter, Catalina, began experimenting with scented oils in their basement as a fun project, coming up with a fresh scent they call "Eau de Brooklyn."

"I have always been fascinated with how scents bring back memories," Oribe, 52, said. "I started reading about it and set up shop to make some in the basement."

The Oribes made both memories and scents.

Father and daughter went through many different formulas until they came up with one they liked.

"It was refreshing and full of energy," he said, adding that the first form of Eau de Brooklyn was a soap, created two years ago; a spray perfume was released this summer.

"We live in Brooklyn and we love the place, so this is the best name for it," said Oribe, whose practice maintains offices in Manhattan and Queens. "It's uplifting and full of energy, just like the borough."

Eau de Brooklyn's fresh scent has notes of citrus and tea-bergamot. With the help of brother, Nicholas, 8, Catalina created the design on the packaging, using a photograph of flowers from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Even the family cat, Oliver, tested and approved of the smell by sleeping atop a stack of soaps.

"It was a lot of fun, we were lucky to do this," Oribe said, adding that the scents are now manufactured in New Jersey and people with disabilities do the packaging in Astoria.

Brooklyn News asked borough residents if the scent reminded them of home.

"They say trees grow in Brooklyn and it's got this natural smell. It smells like citrus and cinnamon," said Dwayne Walker, 20, of Crown Heights.

Yvonne Waldemar, a doctor from Brooklyn Heights, agreed.

"It reminds me of the Japanese section of the Botanic Garden," she said. "It's kind of like the Orient."

Desmond Eaddy, 26, of Williamsburg, liked its fresh smell.

"Some parts of Brooklyn smell nice and some don't," he said. "It makes me think of the farmer's market at Borough Hall or Prospect Park."

But there are always critics in the brassy borough, and Eau de Brooklyn had its share.

"It smells like the Gowanus Canal," said Joel Slatcher, 73, of Bensonhurst.

For a list of stores that carry Eau de Brooklyn, visit .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oscar the Grouch

It’s Tuesday morning, and again I find myself in a mood so foul that it makes Oscar the Grouch look like a fucking Teletubby. However, there is a lining in my day so silver as to blind me every time it catches the sun. Tonight is the Ariel Pink show!!!! Safe to say I am freaking out. Freaking out! This venue is so small it’s nuts. I have visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. The sugarplum vision is of getting there earlier and hanging out and meeting Ariel because I just know that he will be hanging out there doing god knows what, whatever it is that he does. All I know is that he’s such a weirdo and such a nerd that if I go by myself, which it is looking like may be the case, I won’t feel weird or awkward at all and will make friends with him. I’m considering burning a CD of my artwork and giving it to him and telling him to pick one and he can have it.

His sunny SoCal sounds are currently warming my day as I sit at my desk and experience the alienating drudgery of labor (and stick it to the man by writing this).

Ok so here’s Ariel sounding like the Beach Boys. Here’s Ariel sounding like Hall & Oates. Here’s Ariel being uncategorizably bizarre.

I think I may be a little in love with him.