October 2006 Archives
All equally important, you see.
1) Maya Gurantz has a rant about Thing in Theater that, if you have any particular fondness for any particular medium, you should go read. Three paragraphs from it:
Now that I think about it, Thing = RADIANT ENGAGEMENT THAT COMES FROM THE ARTIST'S DESIRE TO COMMUNICATE/INTERROGATE USING THE MEDIUM OF LIVE PERFORMANCE. Isn't that the bare-assed minimum we should be able to expect from theater? If a play can't even hit that, what's the goddamn point?
It isn't a genre problem. It's a problem throughout the American theater. I see it in the so-called "avant garde"/"experimental". I see it on Broadway, in the regional theaters, in the universities, in fringe fests and amphitheaters, in community-based theater, political theater, revivals, Shakespeare plays, musicals, performance art, "physical" theater, theater created with Viewpoints and Strassberg and Stanislavski and a hope and a prayer. A void of Thing. A huge gaping hole lack of Thing.
Yet, it has become so rare for a theater production to have Thing, that even when a play is flawed or intellectually lazy, or has an inconsistent script, or is politically meh, or makes artistic choices that I think aren't very interesting, I will forgive it. I will forgive all for Thing. Jesus, it has become a luxury to be able to even have that kind of conversation about a play.
You can redefine Thing for pop music or comics or whatever you like, and I might at some point. But yes; I don't think I have much time any more for stuff that's not radiantly engaged.
1) Seven Soldiers of Victory #1 is everything I wanted it to be. I think the whole Seven Soldiers project, as weirdly flawed as it is, is probably my favorite superhero comics work of the last 15 years or so. That's the two-line version; a much, much longer version is in the works, but if you want to read a kickass action-adventure story about human psychological and cultural evolution, go start with Volume 1 of the collections (SS #1 is actually the final installment; don't even think about starting there). It has Thing to spare.
1) DJ'ed last night for the first time in a while, at the hipster miniature-golf tournament/gallery show at Holocene, and had a blast. The DJs on before me were a very nice couple who impressed me some newish remix of Can's "I Want More"; I was followed by none other than Dave Allen. I love Portland. Brat that I am, I ended my set with "Damaged Miracle,", a Gang of 4/Coco mashup. Best response: lots of people shaking it to Dinosaur's "Kiss Me Again (Version)." Weirdest response: somebody telling me he thought Dunya Yusin's vocal on Byrne & Eno's "Regiment" sounded like Edie Brickell. Great response gone sour: the kickline that started for Sheena Easton's "Morning Train" accidentally kicking the table with the turntables on it...
1) I believe I mentioned a few weeks ago that Sharon Mesmer has a blog. Sharon Mesmer now has a newer blog.
I wouldn't have guessed that Toots and the Maytals covering Radiohead (QuickTime video) would be a good idea, but--no, wait a minute, yes I would have. Especially given the involvement of the Easy Star All-Stars. Video not so great; recording terrific.
A bunch of people have been writing to me in the last few days, wanting to sign up for National Solo Album Month. I am not going to be running it this year or future years--for various reasons, including some imminent deadlines, I can't do NaSoAlMo justice any more--but Todd Gehman has graciously offered to take over. Eventually nasoalmo.org will be working with his information, but in the meantime this year's signup info is at http://nasoalmo.pugetive.com/; if you have any questions, ask him, not me.
And if you want to see something awesome, I direct your attention to Sarah Oleksyk's short animation "Le Lapin Jaloux."
So this weekend, among other things, I read Lemony Snicket's The End. As Mr. Snicket so often does, he includes as little motifs several phrases that pay off near the end of the book. (No real spoilers here, don't worry.) One such phrase is "coastal shelf."
Coastal shelf. Coastal shelf. What do I associate that phrase with?, I thought.
Oh yes. That's what.
At a significant point in the plot, one character utters it in the context I was thinking of: the final stanza of Philip Larkin's "This Be the Verse." Unsurprisingly, the first two stanzas are not quoted, and the poet and title are not identified. Here's Stephen Burt on Larkin, including the entirety of the poem.
Lemony Snicket is an EVIL GENIUS.
Every so often I get a message from somebody who desperately wants a copy of "Obey the New Wave," the compilation of mostly obscuro British D.I.Y. and art-post-punk, circa 1980, that I put together as a premium for WFMU a few years ago. I usually tell them "train go sorry." Well, now WFMU's blog has posted the whole damn thing as MP3s to download, for the next week. Go get it NOW.
...but in the meantime, one of my favorite audioblogs, Destination Out, has posted this completely awesome beginner's guide to free jazz. If you've ever thought you might want to find out about this stuff but didn't know where to start, go and listen NOW. "Theme de Yoyo"! "Rated X"! More!
Sometime when I wasn't looking Slumberland Records updated their site with a whole lot of MP3s. Send them money, please. And if you need reasons why, they've got MP3s for Honeybunch's "Mine Your Own Business," Velocity Girl's "My Forgotten Favorite," the Lilys' "February Fourteenth," Sleepyhead's cover of "Salad Days," a whole lot of Aislers Set songs...