April 2007 Archives

peacocks and polar bears

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The synth sound in the Art of Noise's "(do) DONNA (do)" is effectively the same one as the really great noise in Justin Timberlake's "My Love," it's taken me until now to figure out. "Let us say, for instance," my old teacher wrote, "there are but six things left to feel in the world, six things left to put your mouth on: Bliss & Loss--for two, Trembling & Compulsion--four, Desire & Disease--you see?" The moment in which I realized my thought-train was going seriously astray was when I looked at the mottled pink board, iron filings dusting its translucent dimples, and thought: "oh, I'm not allowed to use that."

Also, and much more coherently: new Sterling pictures!

wild and woolly semi-automatic truck bombing

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Spent this past weekend in Seattle at the Experience Music Project pop conference, giving my talk about Clydie King and seeing lots of other people's presentations. I always think, though, that the most fun and most interesting/useful parts of the conference happen in its interstices: not just the formal ones, like the Q&A discussions after presentations, but hanging out in the hallways of EMP with other people whose professional interests dovetail with my own, seeing old friends and meeting new ones (like the awesome Devon Powers), drinking at the Edgewater Hotel bar with the GirlGroup types, singing karaoke with half-drunk music critics (Rickey Wright did "Tumbling Dice" and I chimed in with a couple of the Clydie King lines), and so on. Okay, that last might not be professionally useful. Although it might.

I've started writing some reviews for Pitchfork--the first three, in reverse order, are the new Joanna Newsom, three Dolly Parton albums, and a Red Crayola reissue. Gotta say: two really nice things about reviewing for Pitchfork are that 1) I get to write without hypercompression of the kind some other venues require--as much as I enjoy writing super-tight, it's nice to uncramp my limbs sometimes--and 2) it feels really immediate, in a "part of the conversation" way. Too bad the farmer's market doesn't accept cultural capital.

My hair is now the least new wave it's been in years. Which is fine as a certain kind of thought experiment--do I project a more professional air, or is it just that my thought processes churn faster without the overheating problems caused by too much hair?--but I'll bet you a nickel I'll be scrabbling at the Clairol lightener box inside of a month.

In the Dept. of Things Douglas Wrote That Are in Print But Not Online: the 40th-anniversary issue of Rolling Stone includes a feature on "40 Songs that Changed the World" that I wrote (although it was the RS editors who picked 'em).

Several readers have been asking me what I've been listening to lately. The answer is "disturbingly little, aside from the above": I spent two weeks last month with my hearing significantly impaired (fortunately, those were weeks I was working on the book), and I'm still catching up on the stack of pleasure-listening that's been coming in. And I keep going back to that Gwigwi Mrwebi album that came out last year--a reissue on Honest Jon's of a perfect, frictionless late-'60s South African jazz-soul instrumental record that takes zero effort to nestle into and groove. More when I've got more to report.

blowing dust off the top surface

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I haven't forgotten your existence, dear lacunae reader, I just haven't been doing much that's blogworthy: went to Florida for five days with Lisa & Sterling, proofed the book, worked on a handful of writing projects. One of which is about to come to public fruition: this Friday, at the Experience Music Project's Pop Conference in Seattle, I'm giving a talk about Clydie King.

Really, though, my experience right now is so circumscribed that there's not much use in talking about it. I'm like a squirrel storing nuts, like an ant faking industriousness, like a bird assembling shiny things for potential future use. Things may heat up in a few weeks; we'll see.

Oh, there's a new mix CD: the Bookworms, Camberwell Now, M.I.A., Scritti Politti, Sylvia Hall, the Mountain Goats, Antibalas, Sir Richard Bishop, Martha Bass, France Gall, Wolter Wierbos, Honey Cone, the Human Hearts, Osaka Monaurail, Syreeta, OOIOO, the Huxtables, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Manning, Group Doueh, Bossanova, Gwigwi Mrwebi. The usual protocols for getting a copy apply.

since this worked at least twice before

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Quran Freeman: if you happen to be Googling your (former?) name and come across this, drop me a line!

Everyone else: by way of apology for the interruption, here are the Beatles (with new drummer Ringo Starr) tearing it up at the Cavern Club.

eat, y' so skinny

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haggadah slightly rewritten from the one I've been using the last two years

spring vegetable soup with matzo balls (the latter from a mix, I'm not proud, they come out fluffy that way)

mango-date haroset (very successful)

Ashkenazic haroset (the old standby)

Sephardic blood-orange and olive salad (to which I added dark brown heirloom tomatoes and watermelon radishes; Wendy did the prep on this one)

stuffed Savoy cabbage leaves with tomato-wine sauce (rather labor-intensive; glad to have done it once, not about to repeat the experiment)

kinpira gobo with nettles (not exactly a traditional Passover food, but hey, I had some burdock and some nettles around, what was I going to do? this, I think, was the unexpected hit of the evening--basically I just made straightforward kinpira gobo with burdock, carrots and rather a lot of ginger, plus 2 tsp. of chili paste, and then at the point where you let the burdock braise for 20 min. I added the nettles)

Moroccan beet salad (note to self for future iterations of this recipe: blanch the red onion for a minute before adding it so it doesn't overpower the sweetness of the beets with onion kapow)

Israeli eggplant salad

rhubarb and carrot tzimmes (sounded like a good idea, smelled a little odd when it was cooking, conveniently forgotten and left in fridge during meal)

nine wonderful guests