February 2006 Archives
Do you like happy babies, specifically ours? Do you like bubbles? Do you like Krautrock? If you answered all three of those "yes," here's what you're doing for the next four minutes, courtesy of Lisa: clicky.
Oddly, as I typed that sentence, I was listening for the first time to "The Iron Dream," the last song from Die Trip Computer Die's new Die Like a Rock, which has a... very similar beat.
I've spent the last few days at New York Comic-Con. Yes, there were lines. Yes, it was fun. Most notable thing that happened: I got to read an advance galley of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, which is coming from Houghton Mifflin in June, and subsequently spent the rest of the weekend ranting to everyone I met about how good it is. Strong candidate for graphic novel of the year, I'm guessing, although I'm hoping the same for Lost Girls.
The Dolly Parton Hoot Night went decently--Lisa and I did two songs (me singing and playing uke, her playing clarinet): "She Never Met a Man (She Didn't Like)" and "Down from Dover." Technical difficulties, but whatever, we had fun. 17 acts, sold out, line extending out the door of Mississippi Pizza. I was one of I think two men on stage all night, not counting Splendora, the drag queen in the fabulous fringe-y Dolly dress. Or the woman in Porter Wagoner drag.
Album I am attempting to wrap my brain around: Sparks' Hello Young Lovers. I mean, I like it--I'm just baffled by it.
I have been reading really terrible superhero comics all weekend, particularly recent Green Lantern stuff. By "terrible" I don't mean "trashy and lightweight," I mean "pretentious and point-missing." Look: Green Lantern is a comic book about will made manifest in the world. There's a whole apparatus it built up in the '50s and '60s and '70s to reinforce its themes, about the structure within which efforts of will can operate--the brilliance of the GL Corps is that it suggested that collective organization can be more effective than free agency, & the Guardians of the Universe are a metaphor for philosopher-kings etc. And the "yellow flaw" is crucial as an indication that will alone doesn't do the trick in every circumstance. But for the past 15 years or more--especially in the post-Hal Jordan-goes-nuts period--Green Lantern has been partly about limitless power as an abstraction, and mostly about the science-fictional apparatus it's wrapped up in. People: that is NOT THE INTERESTING PART.
Fortunately, I think I may have found an appropriate outlet for my fuming irritation. Stay tuned.
Go read Maya Gurantz's excellent essay on the failures of The Vagina Monologues.
Unrelatedly: Yes, I succumbed to MySpace a while ago. But I'm linking it now because of my love of their "embed a song from somebody else's page" feature--right now I've got Mark Ronson's remarkable version of Radiohead's "Just," featuring the horn section from the Dap-Kings...
Where've I been so long? Oh, you know, out. In San Francisco this past weekend, covering WonderCon for Publishers Weekly, and not doing too much else there, besides hanging out with Maya and Ben and Robin a bit, and going with the former two to the Secret Café, a wonderful vegan restaurant that's open one night a month, by appointment only. I actually have a bit of a rant about 52, about which I should note that I'm ridiculously psyched, and the elephant in the room of the mainstream comics industry, but I'm going to wait until I'm not coughing every 20 seconds & can think a little straighter about it.
Other than that, it's all a blur--the only thing I can remember doing since the last thing I posted here was singing "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at karaoke. In early February.
Speaking of my attempts to sing: this Sunday, Lisa and I will be playing a couple of songs at Mississippi Pizza as part of Dolly Parton Hoot Night. It should be... interesting. I've been listening to a bunch of old Dolly records, and being impressed all over again by what an incredible singer she is. On the reissue of Just Because I'm a Woman that I picked up in San Francisco, there's a live version of "Just Because I'm a Woman" itself (from a 1970 show at a high school in Sevierville, Tennessee!) where she mutters "there's a lot of truth in this verse" right before the lines about "a man will take a good girl and ruin her reputation/But when he wants to marry, well, that's a different situation..." And then she sings the not-yet-recorded "Coat of Many Colors," and the high school trembles with cheers.
The record at which I've been staring with wide-eyed horror for the last week, though, is Florence Farmer's "Living Legend," one of the rarer original James Brown productions, released (in the same sense that one releases a felon) in 1969 or so. A two-part single, with a warbling big-band medley of J.B.'s standards behind Farmer simperingly reading... something that somebody wrote, gee I wonder who. A relatively brief excerpt from part 1:
I know I could never end this story
No matter how hard I tried
It could last forever and ever
Because when you're talking about a man like this
You're never reluctant to endeavor
We love you, James!
This man will never walk alone! We won't let him,
As long as there's a human race!
Because we have freedom of speech, you know,
To which he keeps a tremendous pace
Now I've seen so many artists
But none with so much finesse
No wonder all those girls holler
When they see the way he's dressed
He designs all his own clothes, you know
Did I forget to tell you this is Mr. James Brown?
The one and only James Brown?
James Brown has been around the world
Oh, at least a hundred times or more
And all of the people that he's met--his friends, his classmates, anybody, anywhere at any time--They've never been a bore
I can't even parse some of that.
Two links, one not mine, one mine. The first--not mine, although I can only wish--is Gene Weingarten's incredible piece from the Washington Post on The Great Zucchini, the best piece of narrative journalism I've read in forever. (It is also VERY VERY VERY long, be warned. But worth it. Thanks to Warren Ellis for the link.)
The other's my review at Salon of Jaime Hernandez's Ghost of Hoppers. Not officially up yet, as of this writing, but I won't tell if you won't.
And I don't think I'm gonna get into some of the discussions of the Pazz & Jop results going on--I mean, I have strong opinions, but I don't have a sharp enough stick to poke into the hornets' nests right now, or reflexes fast enough to swat them--but I will say that if I'd heard the Bro Zone compilation last year (instead of discovering it thanks to Shayla a couple of weeks ago), it would very likely have made my top 10 list for the year. The very rare compilation of bands I mostly don't know where I kept grabbing the sleeve and going "hey, what's this? I like this! A lot!" Five bucks plus two for postage; you know what to do.