June 2005 Archives

midday convenience

| | Comments (2)

While I continue to catch up on stuff I need to write in order to get paid so I can get back to writing here: I am delighted to see that there is an entire site devoted to songs that modulate up half a step for their final chorus. With MP3 examples.

Highlight of my last few days: playing a stripped-down, simplified version of John Zorn's improv game Cobra, in a 27-piece group including Patti, Shayla, Shawna Gore, and a whole lot of people I didn't know. (I played electric uke, Patti played Stylophone, Shayla did vocal stuff, Shawna played drums, and my favorite instrument was a modified Atari 2600 that some guy brought. Also: guitars, vibraphone, oboe, electric organ, violin, etc.)

An illuminating history of the long-defunct site for which I wrote one of my favorite things I've ever written.

In response to this totally evil bit of total evilness: this long and slow-loading but brilliant piece of long, slow-loading brilliance. The Bowie/"Heroes" and Wire/154 ones made me howl out loud.

stamps: stickyback pictures

| | Comments (0)

Happy Bloomsday, everybuggy.

New York was one huge round of bloody marys and how's-your-fathers. LCD Soundsystem? Sharp but hoarse; the surprise of their being a real live band is only a surprise once, though they seem to have hollowed a workable home out of those songs. Liked hearing their Paperclip People cover, too; surprising and cool to hear that they have enough control to pull it off. (Heavily linked elsewhere but too good to ignore: Banana Nutrament's annotated transcription of "Losing My Edge.")

There was something really time-marking about this year's MoCCA Festival--it may have to do with the aforementioned whiplash about indie cartoonists adjusting to the "major label" publishing world's schedules, or maybe just how long significant comics projects take; as Charles Burns mentioned the weekend before, Black Hole took him ten years to finish. But the only thing that I was saying "omigod did you SEE THAT?!" about was Alexa Kitchen's how-to-draw-comics-the-Alexa-Kitchen way book--actually a blank book on which she'd drawn detailed instructions on the first eighty pages or so, including sections on e.g. color theory and facial expressions and background patterns. (For the benefit of those who haven't clicked on the link, I should point out that Alexa is seven years old.) She's the first person I've ever paid to commission a sketch from--$10 for a "fancy sketch." "Is there anything you want in your sketch?" she asked. How about putting a brick in it somewhere, I said. "Like the brick in Krazy Kat?" Exactly like the brick in Krazy Kat.

(Also enjoyed Matt Madden's forthcoming how-to-draw-comics-the-Raymond-Queneau-way book.)

A little depressed by: the first issue of Mome, Fantagraphics' new Granta-shaped anthology, which is a lot of things I've seen done to death already--foot-staring pseudoautobiographical lowlife miserablism (Jeffrey Brown is supposed to be a regular in this thing and his FIRST piece for it is the story-about-not-being-able-to-think-of-a-story? Jesus Q. Christ), a bunch of Martin Cendrada pseudo-retro pseudo-gag panels that are like a toothless variation on Ivan Brunetti, Anders Nilsen in his tossed-off/scribbly style rather than the detailed/mark-accretion style of Big Questions, etc. I like the Andrice Arp piece, though--it's very similar to her story in Scheherazade, but I wouldn't mind seeing a book's worth of stuff in that vein from her.

New piece up from last weekend's New York Times Book Review: a roundup of five recent thrillers.

adjusting the diamond gauge

| | Comments (1)

Hi, Salon readers (and other readers). It's been very quiet around here lately, I know, and for unexciting reasons. So let's just hit the highlights, shall we? Next time we can catch up for real.

*As regulars may have guessed, I just got linked from Salon, specifically a response to one of their questions in which I suggest asking Toby Keith for a favor. I also just started a new comics column there with a brief introduction to Steve Ditko. I only wish I could've included the Jaime Hernandez drawing of a stray dog lying under the huge piece of Ditkotech from Spider-Man #33.

*The new (music) issue of The Believer includes my rather long review of the Fall's Peel-sessions anthology.

*I'm in NYC right now, recuperating from Book Expo America this past weekend, and gearing up for next weekend's MoCCA festival. Comics news from Book Expo has been covered extensively elsewhere, so I won't say much about it here (short version: everybody's getting signed; comics publishers are getting whiplash adjusting to the long-range schedules of the book world; manga customers have finally developed functional crap detectors, but new manga publishers haven't noticed yet; librarians and book buyers desperately want more top-rank "literary" graphic novels right now this minute, but the damn things take forever to draw). And as for the non-comics galleys I'm most excited about: Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch is at the top of the pile, followed by the new Myla Goldberg novel and the memoir of a woman who cooked every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the space of a year.

*It took me about five months of gentle nagging from friends to read Bryan O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life. I will not be making that mistake again. The waiting, that is.

*Stone fruit are about to be in season. Soon they'll fill the delis with fragrant ripeness.