Tuesday, December 30, 2008

and the veep

"I don't have any idea."-- Dick Cheney, on why he has such low approval ratings

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

says it all

I truly believe this sums up W's presidency.

"So what?"
-- George W. Bush, after conceding that the U.S. invasion brought al-Qaeda to Iraq

Thursday, December 11, 2008

MPLS don't sing along the way they do at Glasto...


"It's not about you. It's not about me. It's not about Oasis--it's about the music... It's about the songs." That was from the infamous "Wibbling Rivalry" NME interview from over 10 years ago, and Noel's philosophy seems to still hold.


Last night the band came to the Target Center, the first time they've played here since 2001. Those songs are now more important to me and my life than they ever were before--then they were the three times I went along with my dad before last night. He was the big fan--I just wanted to see what Liam would do, for spectacle's sake, really.


So last night's show was really something special. Not that they're a great live band or anything like that. They really aren't exactly *passionate* musicians. But, Liam still seems like an angry, drunken man and Noel is cool and calm and stationary while he churns out incendiary guitar riffs and solos *meant* to reach thousands of people in a field. SO, a meager showing on a cold December night in Minneapolis maybe made them a bit more cranky than usual…Noel really did utter some mean, funny things about us living here in the frozen tundra. Like, "You are aware there's a place called California, right?" Fuck off, man. When you were seeing bands at little joints in Manchester, what would you have thought of a pompous rocker like yerself? Eh, mate? Ha. I love that fucker. Writes a mean rock song and says what he thinks. Just like a rocker should. Right on, man.


What still gets me, what I still can't really believe, is how the bros interact--er--I mean, *don't* interact AT ALL on stage. It's like the other one isn’t even there. They never acknowledge each other and they never even look at each other. But they are *right there* for each other when it comes to making the songs sound good. Noel fills in vocal gaps for Liam when he can't sustain a note (which is often) and Liam gives each song he sings that stamp of arrogance, angst and punk rock battiness that Noel still loves his band to have. For me, the greatest moments came when Noel sang lead on his own stellar songs. I love that man's voice and he couldn’t be more insecure about it. He thinks it's weak or some such shit. My comrades who joined me last night (Alicia, sugar doll, she is, Fitzy and my dad) also seemed to think that Noel was the one that stole the show, too, even though it's Liam out front and center, surrounded by his four (!?) monitors lifting his neck and sneering into the microphone, like a posturing teenager. Noel has the sweetest, most naturally melodic voice of rock, for me.


When he launched into "The Importance of Being Idle," I was transported to all the times I played that song when it rained, or when I was taking a walk, or meditating on life. For some reason, it took me by surprise, and it kept happening with all of the songs he sang lead on. That's when I realized that last night was the first time I saw Oasis and it *really* meant something to me. It affected me like my truly favorite music does. I think the Stone Roses made me understand Oasis in a new way. As resiststant as I used to be to likeing these pompus, Beatles-obsesses, stealers of riffs, lads from Manchester--I gotta admit the truth: they are one of my faves. Without them, there might not be any Arctic Monkeys, after all….

Friday, November 14, 2008

still struggling to find better and more words....but here's a beginning...

I have been in a perpetual state of amazement and happiness in the past week and half. Sure, part of it is being in love, but the most obvious (and shared) feeling of euphoria has come after learning that Barack Obama is our next *president*.

I now can completely identify with Michelle Obama's remarks when she said, "For the first time in my adult life I am *REALLY* proud of my country." Fucking a right. We did it. It happened. The world is a different place--that cannot be emphasized enough.

This is what we need, people. Realistic hope in a new beginning with a new leader who is a *smart*, skilled communicator. Those are actually the two most exciting things for me.

It has been WAY too long--I haven't written in a long while. It feels so damn good. We were on this extremely .... demanding (?) schedule before and after the election. Events surrounding and involving the historical election.

Most notably....BOB DYLAN at Northrop! To hear the old man play "Blowin' In the Wind" -- after just learning (with a room full of excited liberals, Dylanolgists, hippies, smartie-pants, students, et. al.) that Barack Obama was, indeed, our new prez was a level of overwhelming joy and amazement that is extremely hard to put into words. Maybe that's why I had been so shy to write about it. The heaviness (nothing to do with gravity, Marty, but the future is now) of the moment just caused me to sob with tears of joy. It was such a relief. Such a sense of *our* moment--anyone that wants positivity and peace to overcome negativity and war. Anyone that wants to try to strive to be better -- a "more perfect union" -- a more tolerant, progressive America.

It was for all of us. We're unstoppable, now. If that was possible...anything really is.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"I want Bob Dylan to tell me that Barack Obama is our next president"


Well, that's unlikely...cuz Bob doesn't like to talk too much... But I couldn't be more ecstatic to be able to see him to night at *OUR* alma mater. How fucking radical is that!?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

it's about time


This made me smile today. Just wish we could get 'em here. A great antidote to the garish anti-choice billboards and the asinine "messages from god" adverts we have to deal with here in the States.


London buses may advertise 'there's probably no God'


LONDON (AFP) — London's iconic red buses could be plastered with the slogan "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life," in an atheist advertising campaign responding to a set of Christian ads.

Comedy writer Ariane Sherine, 28, objected to the Christian adverts on some London buses, which carried an Internet address warning that people who rejected God were condemned to spend eternity in "torment in hell".

She sought five-pound (7.80-dollar, 6.25-euro) donations towards a "reassuring" counter-advertisement -- and received the backing of the British Humanist Association (BHA) and atheist campaigner Professor Richard Dawkins.

The campaign has already smashed its 5,500-pound target and the slogan is planned to hit the side of several London buses in January.

"We see so many posters advertising salvation through Jesus or threatening us with eternal damnation, that I feel sure that a bus advert like this will be welcomed as a breath of fresh air," said BHA chief executive Hanne Stinson.

Dawkins said: "This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think -- and thinking is anathema to religion."

A Church of England spokesman said: "We would defend the right of any group representing a religious or philosophical position to be able to promote that view through appropriate channels.
"However, Christian belief is not about worrying or not enjoying life.

"Quite the opposite -- our faith liberates us to put this life into a proper perspective."

A spokesman for Transport for London told AFP they had not received such an advertisement application and would wait to view it before deciding whether it met their advertising guidelines.
"No advertisement of this kind has been submitted to TfL at this time," he said.

"If approved, then it will appear on our network."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

1994 revistited

"I jump when you circle the cherry/I sing like a good canary/I come when called/I come, that's all."
~ "Canary," by Liz Phair, from the album Exile in Guyville.

Those words--especially those (defiant, sassy) last two have been ringing in my head ever since Saturday, the 4th. It won't let me escape. I keep seeing it and hearing it--how Liz Phair made me feel all inspired and nostalgic for my youth (but also totally accepting of the present and the future...whew.)

I am now 27 years old, about the same age Liz was when she released Exile. I realized that as I was tripping on remembering my 13-year-old self listening to this... I was dismissive the first time I heard Liz Phair. My friend Anna played her for me. It was her brother's CD--he went to fucking Harvard. (I think I had a prejudice against "College Rock," even though I was simultaneously getting into Beck at the time.) But I digress. I read Spin and Rolling Stone, so I knew who she was, but had never heard her. SO, Anna plays this record I had read all this buzz and I was...so underwhelmed. Her voice was...bad. It was ... boring. Then, Anna skipped to track number 14 and played me "Flower." It talked about a crush (I could relate, was in 7th grade, man) and it talked about blow jobs and fucking (on that, I couldn't relate--I could only imagine).
I was floored. I borrowed Exile. I couldn't get over the cover and the photos on the sleeve. I mean, you could see her nipple on the cover! It was very, very exciting for me--it was so different from all the rock I'd been listening to my whole life--all that...guy rock. (I still love it, though, and still feel like a 14-year-old guy sometimes.)

At 13, those super brave, smart and funny lyrics made a major impact on what I thought was possible in life (and sex and love and career, even). It did what no one thing or person could do: Liz Phair was living it and singing about it and I just ate it up. It made me want to be even stronger and less apologetic about being smart, tough and different. It made me realize that you can be sexy and intensely verbal about it. I loved that no one else we went to school with knew about it. It was a secret. I could listen to it and relate it to my own life and it could be totally mine, and mine alone. You weren't gonna hear Liz Phair singing about coming and fucking on KDWB, dude. (Well, at least not in 1994. heh.)

I was just reading in Vanity Fair an except from a book by Tony Curtis (which is lol-hilarious, in a really cool, throw-back way). The bit is about Curtis and his brief affair with Marilyn Monroe, way back in 1948 (!) when MM was looking to snag a contract. He describes her when he first met her: she was a redhead then, and she spoke in a perfectly "normal" voice. That is, this was pre-affectation MM. That comment made me think of Phair's voice and why it resonates with me so deeply. Her authenticity.

When I got into Exile, I realized what made her voice so great, and that was its lack of pretense and its utter accessibility. She is the one and only voice I have ever heard that I can *fully relate to.* That is, I can comfortably sing along with every word and it's totally in my range. It fits me. It's deep and smooth and a bit wry. Her words are ones that I use, or wish I could come up with, anyway... It's a bit of that "everyman/woman" thing that Paul Westerberg always had (has) going for him...And, I know he's got Phair issues, but I still can't help place Ike Reilly and Liz together in that same lyrical arena. Both write those witty verbose narratives and have a great, playful way with tired old phrases and cliches. Phair, too, laces her observations and opinions with humor and irreverence. She always sounded like someone who was at the party, flirting, getting what she set out for, but also remaining fully cognizant--making mental notes about the ridiculous social behavior she witnessed and participated in, too.


Later, when I discovered bootlegs and acquired the Holy Grail (the original Girly Sound recordings that she taped in her bedroom in her parents' Chicago home) I heard even more raw, basic versions of the songs knew and loved and I discovered great ones that never got released. One of those songs is a fast little ditty called "Can't Get Out of What I'm Into." Oh yeah. There's a great, tough song called "Beg Me," where she asks (commands?) her lover to "make like a woman and beg me," and the last punch of a line, "I don't see what difference it makes/if I'm a man or a woman," says it so simply, but it's what the whole damn Madonna (that is, being in control of your own life, music, destiny and sexuality) thing is all about. On those recordings, she subtly (through raunch and sass, of course) points out the hypocrisies and silly expectations we all have regarding gender and sex. She comes off a little angry about the bullshit, a little bemused, and very sure of herself. It's all that, and it's fucking *catchy* and even downright, fucking funny. And the sad realization I had at the show the other night, was --I can't think of ANY other female artists who have made that kind of impact (the keeping the sex and losing the sexism kind) on culture or...me, for that matter...since Liz Phair. Thank gawd she's still going.


I feel so lucky she came here! Check the Exile revisited mini-tour:
8/27 in Philadelphia at the Theater of the Living Arts
8/28 in Washington, DC at the 9:30 Club
8/29 in Boston at The Paradise
8/30 in Boston at The Paradise
10/4 in Minneapolis at First Ave
10/5 in LA at Troubadour
10/7 in Seattle at Showbox


Damn, it was sweet to hear each and every one of those important songs. The first ALBUM as a whole I was ever head-over-heels in love with. Phair looked like she was loving it too. She was so smiley and affable and confident and sexy and crowd-loving. In her own way, she makes us all feel like we've known her for years.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

pop and politics


...has been my life for the past week, or year, or two, or...four?

But it has never been as overwhelming or intense or amazing as it has been this past week (well, Vote For Change stands ALONE...so, yeah).

This summer has been so full, and I haven't taken the time to write and that's a goddamn shame, really. I wish I would've documented more of it.

The past two weeks have been especially intense. Of course it kicked off with the one thing I look forward to more than ANYTHING else...the State Fair. Damn, it was good. I think I went 4 times, total. We saw Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and Trampled by Turtles at the Leinie's Bandshell (for muthfunkin' FREE, baby). And, I have to tell you...Sharon Jones put on one the best fucking SHOWS I have ever seen in my 26 years of seeing shows.

She has it all and she does it all. Rock-em, sock-em music by the Dap-Kings fueling her powerful, soulful, bee-u-ti-full voice, she COMMANDS that stage like the former prison guard she is. And the groove is so good, and she's so in it, she shakes it and dances up a storm, getting white hipster kids (Hairspray came to mind more than once, as it did at First Ave, the last time I saw her). I was so lifted by her sass and her shakin' ass, I couldn't stop moving (despite the fact that we were stuck in the middle of some very stiff, unmoving, Midwestern-types. humph.)

My dad joined us for Trampled by Turtles' show, and he tripped out on the old-school homage of it all and was impressed by the energy they churned out. They pumped it out so hard that Dave Simonett actually said his wrist was getting a bit sore. I had never heard him utter such a thing! Despite the fact that they ALWAYS grind down hard on those stringed instruments with fierce intensity. Hey, man. This was the Fucking State Fair. They gave it their all.

Speaking of giving it yer all....I've been giving it my all to counter the Republican invasion into our fair, Blue state. Fitzy and I have been involved as much as possible (I even took a day of work off, fer chrissakes. hehe.)Check out Fitzy's fantastic pics from the march here.


Marching from the Capitol, joining peaceful protesters--including babies, grandmas, veterans, and....hockey moms was one of the most surreal and fascinating acts I've ever participated in. The menacing and intimidating police/National Guard presence was downright scary in some ways. I had never seen anything like it in my life. I smiled at each face I could see (most were sporting that chic Darth Vader look, so you really couldn't connect.) Fitzy and I flashed the peace sign as we marched by, and not a single incident of violence or upset occurred on our path. Of course, we heard and read what everyone else saw...and it's a fucking shame that those thousands who were peaceful were not as represented as those few who were agitators.


The Take Back Labor Day show was dynamite, the highlight for me was Atmosphere who played exactly the right tone. Slug and his mighty and verbose flow of words put a smile on my face and washed away the tension I had been carrying in my neck and shoulders after we had been walking the streets of St Paul for nearly four hours.


The Ripple Effect, on the second of September was a joyful celebration of resistance against the RNC as well. Matisyahu set a peaceful tone at the beginning of the day, only to be shaken up by Dead Prez who felt the need to call MN "the sticks" and prodded the crowd to chant "riot." Not a very fucking smart idea, considering the area was surrounded by police in riot gear and dozens of cops-on-bikes.


I witnessed some hippie-punks get hassled by some boys in blue. They were smoking...sitting by a tree and I saw two cops approach one young man with a back pack on. They calmly exchanged words. But then I saw the cop forcefully take the bag off of his back. He put rubber gloves on and proceeded to search his bag. All the while, a crowd gathered around the action and they were chanting "NO CONSENT! NO CONSENT!" The cops did the smart thing and just bolted. Peace resumed....We left after Michael Frant's wonderful, positive, inspirational set of music. After we left, Tom Morello and his gang of bandmates came, intending on taking the stage, only to be told by the cops that they were too late and their permit had expired at 7. Thing was, it wasn't 7 yet.



I was lucky to hear the story from the mouth of Tom Morello, as he accompanied his old schoolmate, Ike Reilly, to the Happening that was going down at the Parkway Theater on Chicago Ave. It was "Wake Up World," a Lizz Winstead creation that gave us that much-needed comic relief we all needed to wash away the RNC Blues. Billy Bragg gave a powerful, funny and touching performance, with just his guitar and amp, his words and his full, captivating voice (like always). Following that we got to Hoot it up with Jim Walsh, Ike, Morello, Eliza Blue and Jennifer Markey.


Again, it was powerful, profound and just the antidote we were all so thirsty for. Highlights for me: Braggy's "Street Fighting Man," Morello's flawless, blood & fist pumpin (acoustic!) "Guerilla Radio",Ike's "Put a Little Love in It." Markey is fantastic balladeer, in the spirit of Lucinda Williams, she crafts ditties that tell tales of burning down Minneapolis, shooting down lovers who have done her wrong, and she does it all with a sense of humor and lightness to counter the macabre. Blue added her strong voice and beautiful banjo and fiddle to the mix, softening even the most testosterone-fuled offerings from Walsh, Reilly, Bragg and Morello.


I am proud of these Twin Cities, what they've endured and what they brought to the table as a counter-offer to the shitstorm of the RNC.


I <3>

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

been a long time....it's been THREE YEARS

On July 27th, I will have been writing on ("on"? is that right?) this blog for 3 years.

Holy hell.

I wish I had been more diligent about writing more--and I promise to, as I enter my fourth year of being a resident in the self-indulgent world of bloggage.

It's been a while since I've written at all. But, it's been a rockin-good summer so far, and that's always the way it should be.

things to write about...(someday!?)

*Wall-E and The Dark Knight (the best movies I've seen in a while)

*Our amazing trip to Rothbury, MI (felt like Glasto, a few times...)

*P-Funk at 10K. Hasn't happened yet. Will be groovin' and shakin' it hardcore on Thursday night. Mmm-hmm.

can't

hardly

wait.

***

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

his wishes

(click to enlarge)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fucking fascinating (or, yep, that's right, repeat after me: Obama embraced Christianity as a young man, and is still holding on strong)

June 27, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor

Your Brain Lies to You

By SAM WANG and SANDRA AAMODT
FALSE beliefs are everywhere. Eighteen percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth, one poll has found. Thus it seems slightly less egregious that, according to another poll, 10 percent of us think that Senator Barack Obama, a Christian, is instead a Muslim. The Obama campaign has created a Web site to dispel misinformation. But this effort may be more difficult than it seems, thanks to the quirky way in which our brains store memories — and mislead us along the way.

The brain does not simply gather and stockpile information as a computer’s hard drive does. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain about the size and shape of a fat man’s curled pinkie finger. But the information does not rest there. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned. For example, you know that the capital of California is Sacramento, but you probably don’t remember how you learned it.

This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget whether a statement is true. Even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true.
With time, this misremembering only gets worse. A false statement from a noncredible source that is at first not believed can gain credibility during the months it takes to reprocess memories from short-term hippocampal storage to longer-term cortical storage. As the source is forgotten, the message and its implications gain strength. This could explain why, during the 2004 presidential campaign, it took some weeks for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Senator John Kerry to have an effect on his standing in the polls.

Even if they do not understand the neuroscience behind source amnesia, campaign strategists can exploit it to spread misinformation. They know that if their message is initially memorable, its impression will persist long after it is debunked. In repeating a falsehood, someone may back it up with an opening line like “I think I read somewhere” or even with a reference to a specific source.

In one study, a group of Stanford students was exposed repeatedly to an unsubstantiated claim taken from a Web site that Coca-Cola is an effective paint thinner. Students who read the statement five times were nearly one-third more likely than those who read it only twice to attribute it to Consumer Reports (rather than The National Enquirer, their other choice), giving it a gloss of credibility.

Adding to this innate tendency to mold information we recall is the way our brains fit facts into established mental frameworks. We tend to remember news that accords with our worldview, and discount statements that contradict it.

In another Stanford study, 48 students, half of whom said they favored capital punishment and half of whom said they opposed it, were presented with two pieces of evidence, one supporting and one contradicting the claim that capital punishment deters crime. Both groups were more convinced by the evidence that supported their initial position.

Psychologists have suggested that legends propagate by striking an emotional chord. In the same way, ideas can spread by emotional selection, rather than by their factual merits, encouraging the persistence of falsehoods about Coke — or about a presidential candidate.
Journalists and campaign workers may think they are acting to counter misinformation by pointing out that it is not true. But by repeating a false rumor, they may inadvertently make it stronger. In its concerted effort to “stop the smears,” the Obama campaign may want to keep this in mind. Rather than emphasize that Mr. Obama is not a Muslim, for instance, it may be more effective to stress that he embraced Christianity as a young man.

Consumers of news, for their part, are prone to selectively accept and remember statements that reinforce beliefs they already hold. In a replication of the study of students’ impressions of evidence about the death penalty, researchers found that even when subjects were given a specific instruction to be objective, they were still inclined to reject evidence that disagreed with their beliefs.

In the same study, however, when subjects were asked to imagine their reaction if the evidence had pointed to the opposite conclusion, they were more open-minded to information that contradicted their beliefs. Apparently, it pays for consumers of controversial news to take a moment and consider that the opposite interpretation may be true.

In 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the Supreme Court wrote that “the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” Holmes erroneously assumed that ideas are more likely to spread if they are honest. Our brains do not naturally obey this admirable dictum, but by better understanding the mechanisms of memory perhaps we can move closer to Holmes’s ideal.

Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, are the authors of “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jerry's tribute in the Times

From the New York Times today........

June 24, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor
Dying Is Hard. Comedy Is Harder.

By JERRY SEINFELD
THE honest truth is, for a comedian, even death is just a premise to make jokes about. I know this because I was on the phone with George Carlin nine days ago and we were making some death jokes. We were talking about Tim Russert and Bo Diddley and George said: “I feel safe for a while. There will probably be a break before they come after the next one. I always like to fly on an airline right after they’ve had a crash. It improves your odds.”

I called him to compliment him on his most recent special on HBO. Seventy years old and he cranks out another hour of great new stuff. He was in a hotel room in Las Vegas getting ready for his show. He was a monster.

You could certainly say that George downright invented modern American stand-up comedy in many ways. Every comedian does a little George. I couldn’t even count the number of times I’ve been standing around with some comedians and someone talks about some idea for a joke and another comedian would say, “Carlin does it.” I’ve heard it my whole career: “Carlin does it,” “Carlin already did it,” “Carlin did it eight years ago.”

And he didn’t just “do” it. He worked over an idea like a diamond cutter with facets and angles and refractions of light. He made you sorry you ever thought you wanted to be a comedian. He was like a train hobo with a chicken bone. When he was done there was nothing left for anybody.

But his brilliance fathered dozens of great comedians. I personally never cared about “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” or “FM & AM.” To me, everything he did just had this gleaming wonderful precision and originality.

I became obsessed with him in the ’60s. As a kid it seemed like the whole world was funny because of George Carlin. His performing voice, even laced with profanity, always sounded as if he were trying to amuse a child. It was like the naughtiest, most fun grown-up you ever met was reading you a bedtime story.

I know George didn’t believe in heaven or hell. Like death, they were just more comedy premises. And it just makes me even sadder to think that when I reach my own end, whatever tumbling cataclysmic vortex of existence I’m spinning through, in that moment I will still have to think, “Carlin already did it.”

Jerry Seinfeld is a writer and a comedian.






Monday, June 23, 2008

too fucked up for words


1937-2008

I am gonna miss you like crazy. You were and ALWAYS will be one of the biggest influences on my life, my brain and my use of the English language.

I fucking love you, you wonderful Irish fucker.


My first exposure (beyond the early t.v. clips I saw as a child--and didn't "get"...yet) to Carlin’s wit was through my high school sociology teacher. How fitting. He was one of the coolest teachers I ever had (obviously) and he actually read passages of Carlin’s book, “Brain Droppings” aloud in class. How fucking cool is that? After that, it was all over for me. I was addicted. I bought and obsessively listened to “You Are All Diseased,” and made my friends listen to it my freshman year of college.

It was his rants on religion ("The biggest bullshit story of all time.") were, of course, the words I treasured most. Articulate, funny-as-fuck-all, and TRUE. There was nothing like it, I had never heard all my (non)beliefs uttered so elequantly...and to a responsive--no, make that ERUPTIVE audience to boot! could it be? others also thought religion was a laughable, destructive crock of shit?

It was downright enlightening.

I was lucky enough to have seen him with my dad my freshman year, in 1999 and just a couple years ago with my man Fitzy.

Some good quotes from the obits today:




Sums it up well: “It’s his lifelong affection for language and passion for truth that continue to fuel his performances,” a critic observed of the
comedian when he was in his mid-60s.

And

Although some criticized parts of his later work as too contentious, Mr. Carlin defended the
material, insisting that his comedy had always been driven by an intolerance for the shortcomings of humanity and society. “Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”

Still, when pushed to explain the
pessimism and overt spleen that had crept into his act, he quickly reaffirmed the zeal that inspired his lists of complaints and grievances. “I don’t have pet
peeves,” he said, correcting the interviewer. And with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he added, “I have major, psychotic hatreds.”

And, most potent:

"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition," Carlin told the AP in a 2004 interview. "There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert, dead at 58


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25145431/

I am in shock. This is definitely one of the most affected I've felt by a well-known person's death in a LONG while....

I can't fathom who would be next in line to do Meet The Press. It seems sacrilegious that anyone else would actually do the job. Unfathomable.

Who else is as brilliant, enthusiastic, well-spoken, hard-hitting and *objective* as the man who grilled the likes of Cheney, Clinton, Bush and Rice (just to name a few)??

Just last week, after Obama grabbed the nom, I teared up (with joy) watching Russert talk about the wonderful, historic moment that *we* had witnessed at the Xcel Center the night before. I said to James, "Is there anyone more appreciatively excited than Tim Russert?" About Obama's achievement, but also about the election, period.

R.I.P., Tim, you wonderful Irish Catholic man that I admired so. Your passion is unmatched and you will be sorely missed by the world of (REAL) journalism.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May of '08 Mix Made for Me

behold,

1. Love Child >> The Supremes
2. Sweet Child O' Mine >> Guns N' Roses
3. Breakaway >> Kelly Clarkson
4. Higher And Higher >> Jackie Wilson
5. Higher Love >> Steve Winwood
6. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next>> Manic Street Preachers
7. Let's Dance >> David Bowie
8. Bastards Of Young >> The Replacements
9. When You're Young >> The Jam
10. Billie Jean >> Michael Jackson
11. Heartbeat >> Madonna

Fun with iPod word search? Yes. Guilty. But! I also had a plan, a vison, even... I got treated to Love Child followed by G'n'R's Sweet Child (on shuffle) and thought I needed to make a mix that kicked it off just like that. That idea, of course had me thinking about youth. And my youth was filled with Madonna and Michael Jackson. Well, Madonna has been in my ears hypertime, so I put one of my most played, and most enjoyed songs of late on there.

And, well, Breakaway comes from it still gnawing at my brain since re-watching S.F.U...The Jam song makes me think of E Beth and gets me excited that she's moving BACK TO MPLS, muthfucka! And the High and the Higher are songs that I have loved and have been (actively, I swear) in my head since I was 8 years old.

I am digging Spring, my new bike (circa 1968, actually...give it up for RIOTS at the Convention-style!!!) and my seasonal music shift. Life is bright.

Dig it!


to all you haters,

I completely, whole-heartedly, know why you hate American Idol. I really questioned my choice to watch it this year, too.

But, since my friends got a get-together a'goin' (with MEALS!) it makes it more fun to sit through the shit.

And now, IT'S OVER!

and although I couldn't give a rat's ass about which fucking David won (they are both LAME) last night's finale actually threw me a bone. A smokin' hot, sexy, powerful TALENTED piece of musical MEAT, really...

My two faves from this season, doin' a *classic* that I've always loved (the Alex Chilton version and the Joe Cocker version, which they do the latter of.) Missed them. They shoulda been in the final two. Watch the Hot Aussie, Michael Johns and the Sexy Irish, Carly Smithson sing blue-eyed soul with actual *passion* (totally lacking in the season after they left--WAY too early!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008

who wants to go with me!?

Madge.

Chicago.

October 26th--it's a Sunday, Funday....

Beautiful fall weather road trippin'!

Wow. To be excited about October is a trippy feeling.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hard Candy hits my ears! And I LOVE it.


New record is in my hot lil' hands! This time it’s really an album, too. With breaks in between totally different-sounding songs!

And, I really mean it. A NEW sound is all over this thing. Which, has always been Madonna’s strongest skill: finding the hottest, most exciting, most modern sound to dance to out there and making those creators her collaborators. This time she’s “gone American” for the first time since pre-Ray of Light era. It’s more U.S.-clubby than she’s been in years. It actually took me a while to warm up to that sound (as opposed to her Anglophile ways of recent years). But, it’s Madge and she (as ALWAYS) makes it her own and makes it *quality*. They are the kind of dance tracks that take you by surprise—in a Beck/Dust Brothers sort of way, even.

Drugs and music and exercise and love and lust make you *forget about your problems* (she told us on the last album—straight up!) She brings that message home--and hard-- on this disc. To borrow from one of the best Six Feet Under philosophies—it cuts out the STATIC in your brain. Static, like the steady, ever-present *buzz* in your head—a stream of thoughts and nagging questions and anxieties that distract us every day from the moment we get up to the thought filled-moments after our head hits the pillow at night. That abandoning-worry vibe runs beautifully throughout these uplifting dance ditties. Songs of total Ambition Seminar from Madge 101, songs of mega ego, spiced with jealousy…. Sex songs are even back. Mmmm, and she still sounds hot and frisky after all these years.

Although Madge is not without (musical) sin …pretty much ever, for me…(well, the mid 90’s were a bit muddled, weren’t they??) she really has remained constant and damn strong in making music to get down to and get joyful to. She has never gone off and done sumthin’ stupid like make a record totally out of character that ya couldn't dance to. (OK, except for that ballad album crap and Evita…and Erotica—sort of.) This is just riding that road even higher. I take great comfort in that. Even though she's a bit of a dictator mogul, self-absorbed in every way, she still finds the heart and the time to get inspired and keep writing songs. Songs that don't disappoint.

She is hell-bent on getting her listeners to shake away their doldrums. From “Everybody,” her first real single—a call/cry for every-fucking-body to get up and dance and do your thang, to “Heartbeat” on the new record, a love letter to the joy of dancing. In fact, the whole of Hard Candy is a (yet another) love letter to shakin’ it. And, on my favorite track so far, “Give it 2 Me,” (yeah, Madge is now doing that Prince thing. Heh.) she calls for you to get up off of your ass and be as ambitious as the Lady Madge. Be like me, she suggests—“Give me a bass line and I’ll shake it/give me a record and I’ll break it.” it’s fucking great. Energizing and inspiring like the best music should be.
*WARNING*: there is the worst little blemish on this fantastic song, and it's a DAMN shame. A break from the song that has her chanting "get stupid, get stupid" in that really, really lame Gwen Stefani-way. I like Gwen, but that annoying, sing-songy bullshit (is it supposed to be annyong on purpose??) really brings me down.

It’s stuff like this that affects me in the most mood-lifting way. It’s a formula that Oasis and Bruce both use and it’s never-failing.
I will have more to report soon....I haven't even listened to it twice all the way through yet. Damn.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How Bush got elected twice.....? I think.


Fucking American Fucking Idol, man.

It really sucked watching it last night. I kinda wanna quit, cuz it's painful now. The songs are so shitty and the people left really suck.

The only two people I actually liked are gone. The hot Aussie, Michael Johns, who had a band, The Rising (!!!) that was signed to Madge's Maverick label (!!!!)is gone. He fucking rocked, and was easy on the eyes. Now, our fave Irish Lass, Carly, who loved Heart and could belt it almost as good as Ann, is gonesville and it really makes me hate the people that must vote. (that goes for this and prior presidential elections, methinks.) Oy.

(((Of all the lil' coincidences: We watched a Six Feet Under after seeing Carly get the boot, that referenced A.I. in the most on-point way possible. Brenda went ranting about her fucked up marriage problems and her co-worker asked if they could instead talk about American Idol. Brenda didn't watch--yeah, yeah, yeah, I didn't used to, either and I have LOADS of friends who wouldn't be caught dead, yada yada. But I can relate. It's all I've got sometimes--to talk about, that is. At my work, that is. And sometimes that kinda fluff beats the hell outta real life. Ya dig?)))

It was Andrew Lloyd Webber night (so awesome)and Carly did "Superstar" (see lyrics below) and I couldn't have been happier. That was prolly my favorite "old-song-discovered" in my early child hood (were talkin' 9 or 10, here.) Andrew Lloyd Webber is actually one of my all-time faves. One of the most clear, joyful musical memories of my childhood involved ritualistically listening to a cassette tape of A.L.W.'s "greatest hits"--if you can even call it that. I would walk around our apartment building (I had a very vivid imagination and would go on "adventures," discovering new nooks and crannies on each floor) with a fat (by today's iPod standards) YELLOW Sony Walkman. It was my favorite toy.

Here were the contents of that lovely "hits" package: (Thank you, Amazon! Seeing the original cover really brought me back!)

1. Phantom Of The Opera
2. Take That Look Off Your Face
3. All I Ask Of You
4. Don't Cry For Me Argentina
5. Magical Mr. Mistoffeles
6. Variations 1-4
7. Superstar
8. Memory
9. Starlight Express
10. Tell Me On A Sunday
11. The Music Of The Night
12. Another Suitcase In Another Hall
13. I Don't Know How To Love Him
14. Pie Jesu

But, "Superstar" has to take the fucking cake!

I mean, dig these fucking words:

VOICE OF JUDAS

Every time I look at you I don't understand
Why you let the things you did get so out of hand.
You'd have managed better if you'd had it planned.
Why'd you choose such a backward time in such a strange land?
If you'd come today you could have reached a whole nation.
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication.

Don't you get me wrong
I only want to know
CHOIR
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Who are you? What have you sacrificed?
Jesus Christ Superstar, Do you think you're what they say you are?

VOICE OF JUDAS

Tell me what you think about your friends at the top
Who'd you think besides yourself's the pick of the crop?
Buddha, was he where it's at? Is he where you are?
Could Mohammed move a mountain, or was that just PR?
Did you mean to die like that? Was that a mistake, or
Did you know your messy death would be a record breaker?
Don't you get me wrong. I only want to know.

CHOIR

Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Who are you? What have you sacrificed?
Jesus Christ Superstar, Do you think you're what they say you are?(Repeat)


I mean. Shit. The New York Times said it was too controversial for the run-of-the-mill Idol watcher (read: super religious and conservative. like a big chunk of the U.S. of A.)and *that's* why it killed her off, in the end. I mean, it must be...she was just too damn GOOD and lovable to entertain any other theory...well, maybe tatts? but, that's insane...maybe it's both. And maybe I should never try to figure out the minds of Americans. Word.

When I was a kid and was so into this song, I thought it was fucking righteous! It rocked and it was so soulful--Murray Head sings the shit out of it--soul powerhouse. It seemed like such an indictment of Jesus (well, it is sung by Judas, after all.) The best line is that "Could Mohammed move a mountain, or was that just PR?" Back at that young age, I had it in my head that "P.R." was basically "B.S." like, advertising/public relations = bullshit. Which, now at my old age is still the way I perceive it.

Also, the "Did you mean to die like that? Was that a mistake, or
Did you know your messy death would be a record breaker?" was one of the coolest things for my young ears, too. Not being raised with too much religious indoctrination, I was always (still am) fascinated and repulsed by the whole "Passion" thing--the fetishization of Jesus's death. It's some creepy, heavy shit, that's for sure.

SO, all that being said, I guess it's no wonder America couldn't handle the sassy, soulful, strong Irish Carly singing about Jey-zus. That kind of singing about him, anyway. And, that explains why I'm broken-hearted about it too--she had the chutzpah to sing it and sing it hard.

Fare thee well, Lass, you will be better off outta that Hell Hole of awful Karaoke Land. See you on the flip side.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

overheard in the ladies' at the Cabooze, MPLS last night

Drunk Chick (clearly not 21) #1: "I totally lost my [h]earring!!"

D.C. (C. N. 21) #2: "Ohmygawd! What does it look like!?"

D.C. (C. N. 21) #1: "No! [frustrated, drunken giggles] my HEARING! I lost my friggin' HEARING!"

D.C. (C.N. 21) #2: "I heard you! I just don't remember what they look like!"

Oy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

yes. (claro que si)

from Bruce's web site......www.brucespringsteen.net

Dear Friends and Fans:
LIke most of you, I've been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest.
He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where "...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone."
At the moment, critics have tried to diminish Senator Obama through the exaggeration of certain of his comments and relationships. While these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man's life and vision, so well described in his excellent book, Dreams From My Father, often in order to distract us from discussing the real issues: war and peace, the fight for economic and racial justice, reaffirming our Constitution, and the protection and enhancement of our environment.
After the terrible damage done over the past eight years, a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans.
Over here on E Street, we're proud to support Obama for President.
Bruce Springsteen

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

facinating

Surprising Political Endorsements By U.S. Troops
American Soldiers Speak Out About Their Presidential Endorsements

By MARTHA RADDATZ

April 7, 2008—
ABC's Martha Raddatz asked American soldiers in Iraq what issues are most important to them when looking at the presidential candidates.
Though the military is not supposed to engage in partisan political activity, these soldiers spoke out about their personal endorsements, and their opinions are likely to matter. In 2004, 73 percent of the U.S. military voted for a presidential candidate, and officials believe it may be even higher this time around.
PFC Jeremy Slate said he supported Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., because of his stated intention to pull out of Iraq right away.
"That would be nice," Slate said, "I'd like to be home, yea."
SFC Patricia Keller also expressed support for Obama, citing his representation for change.
Spc. Patrick Nicholls from Eggawam, Mass., pointed out that many soldiers on the frontlines frequently think about their families back home.
"We think about how our families are doing back home. That's a major concern, like how the economy is doing, also as well as where we're going to be in the future. Because really, truly, what we consider we're doing, we're doing a valuable job, we want to make sure that the efforts we make are appreciated."
He suggested he was too engaged in Iraq to keep up with politics back home. "I haven't really been following it too much since we've been over here, ma'am," he told Raddatz. "So, don't really know which issues are too important to me right now. ... I don't know who's running, ma'am."
Lt. Leah Wicks said that, tied into concerns about her family's welfare, were concerns about the economy, "where we're going to be in the future."
Only moments before speaking with ABC News, the troops had been listening to Vice President Dick Cheney give a rousing speech, but it didn't change their political preference.
Spc. Imus Loto said he supported Obama. "It will be something different. But he's out there and he'll probably support us a lot more."
By support, Loto meant pulling out troops. "Pull me out, too." he said.
Though the military is generally a more conservative group, soldiers like Sgt. Justin Sarbaum are just as eager for a pull-out as the Democratic candidates. Sarbaum said he wondered which presidential candidate would be able to better the U.S. relationship with rogue nations, such as Iran, so that soldiers are not sent off to another war.
"Iran is obviously a big issue," Sarbaum said, "Here in Iraq for my third time; starting another war right now  is it really necessary?"
Sgt. Cory Messingham from Lewisville, Texas, said he wasn't following the race, but he was concerned about candidates' paying attention to the emotional toll that the war has taken on soldiers.
"My biggest issue is support for the military, military funding and our deployments, not having long deployments anymore. Because [the] majority of us are doing ...15-month deployments. So, it's tough on the soldiers and tough on the soldiers' families. Those are really my biggest issues."
1st Sgt. David Logan said, "I am leaning toward Hillary. I think that we should have a gradual drawdown."
Though the soldiers have been living in Iraq, they listen closely to the candidates on issues far beyond the wars they are fighting.
"Education back in the states is one of my main concerns," Spc. Matthew Durkin said.
Economy and environment were on Staff Sgt. Derek Dion's mind. "Things like gas prices, and look at the environment and what we're going to leave our children."
Spc. Joseph Lindsesdt, who is from Alaska, said he was watching for consistency of the candidates' views. "The steadiness of the candidate, whether they've changed their views, constantly, over time, or with political wind, as I like to put it."
To that end, Lindsesdt's pick is Obama. "The fact that he's followed his views, regardless of what they have been [sic] and whether I've agreed with them or not, sometimes. But he's been steady the entire way."
When asked if he was concerned about criticism that Obama had less political experience than some of the other candidates, the battle-weary soldier replied, "No, I think being a decent leader doesn't have to do anything with experience much."

JUNG HWA SONG contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Monday, March 24, 2008

X welcomes us back to the States

(could anything look more sexxxy and dangerous as that...? I really don't think so. one the best band names eva....)


Pretty fucking sweet to come back from Ireland and see the legendary American (Wessssiiiide) poetic punk rock-a-billy rockers that I love and admire so much. AT the goddamn Cabooze, to boot! Such a strange but wonderful place to see X. My first (!) time. Whoa. I got to see John Doe at the 400 Bar on a press pass ( I had just phone-interviewed him that day) and it was, by far, one of the coolest journalistic experiences I ever had. He was so damn down-to-earth and easy to talk to. I was positively giddy.

here's the link to that interview with him...

They sounded incredible. Exene Cervenka and John (heartthrob) Doe had that amazing chemistry, still. So one-of-a-kind, that egalitarian, totally feminist vibe. Billy Zoom, looking a helluva lot older than the rest of 'em (cuz he is), was incendiary on that rock-a-billy guitar, dipping the neck of it into the crowd and holding firm ground with a power stance to beat the band. John *still* looks like that ragamuffin, skinny and lanky puppy like he always has...big ol' grin on his face fer most of the time. Exene looked severe and modest in her long burning-witch-at-the-stake-like black dress. She sounded divine. I gained a new appreciation for her on Saturday night. I loved watching her play to he crowd of sweaty, smiling pit po-go-ers that TOTALLY looked like they crawled straight outta 1979. She got nice and close to their faces and held some of their hands. It was kinda touching, really. X really did create a totally unique kind of punk atmosphere, if ya ask me. Socially political, passionate, a lil' touchy-feely, sexual, sensual music that transcends the violent nihilistic attitude that pervades most people's idea of what punk was and can be.

I got to witness what they were all about in only the way that live music can provide. I feel fucking lucky.

John and Exene are equals up there, harmonizing that truly unique soulful, punked out wail-drone that I will always be in love with. It sounded so vibrant, so urgent--I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. Those prose/poetry-style lyrics still sting and engage me...

When they sang "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline" I got crazy chills. That song has always made me tear up and clench my fists. Musically, it kicks it into a frenzied Chuck Berry-mode, then the story unfolds and the vocals of Exene and John are downright mournful.

Dig those haunting words:

he bought a sterilized hypo to shoot a sex machine drug
he got 24 hours to shoot all Paulines between the legs
he'll throw 96 tears thru 24 hours
sexed once every hour
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)
l.a. bus doors open
kicking both doors open
when it rested on 6th street
that's when he drug a girl inside
he was spreading her legs
and didn't understand dying
she was still awake
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)
when he was waking up beside the bed he found clumps of hair
the last Pauline wouldn't cooperate
she wasn't what you'd call living really
but she was still awake
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)

One of the most amazing "punk" songs ever, if ya ask me. (it's that "she was still awwaaaaaake" that always gnaws at my heart) I will never forget seeing an interview with John Doe when I was a kid. He described how kids at shows ended up pumping their fists, violently, mindlessly to that disturbing chorus. He said they "don't perform that song anymore" because these kids didn't even understand that it was an anti-rape song. (Can't help but think of the Reagan exploitation of Bruce, of course....) Course, that interview was probably over 15 years old, but I was still pleasantly surprised to hear 'em do it. It is such a powerful and awesome song.

And then, this was weird...Fitzy and I are watching (well, re-watching, for me) Six Feet Under right now and we're at the episode where Lisa leaves for a trip to Santa Cruz. Nate and Maya are chillin' and Nate is bopping her around to the sounds of....bamp-bamp-bamp-bamp- BAMP...“She-he-he, had to leave...Los Angeles.” X! In SFU! Such a totally fitting song for the scene and the story, too. It's like a way, way, WAY cooler version of the whole John Travolta and baby (voiced by Bruce Willis) doing their "Walking On Sunshine" number. sigh.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"it always comes back to the music"


Lady Madonna looked downright chuffed. Eyes wet, she seemed genuinely humbled and honored to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her speech was slightly stiff (never really found her actor/public speaking voice or flow after all these years…everything else BUT that, it seems.) But it was downright *moving." I actually thought the Stoic One might actually cry a little at a few points. One in particular was a great combo of part hurt-resurfaced, part fuck-you and part absolute gratitude: "The ones that said I was talentless, that I was chubby, that I couldn't sing, that I was a one-hit wonder. They pushed me to be better, and I am grateful for their resistance."

Justin Timberlake did a *weak* job of inducting her (gawd I was pissed when I heard he was doing it. I prayed for David Bowie--hoping the RRHF would do a Bruce U2 thing and let him induct her after she did it for him). And yeah, I know he just worked with her on her new record, and I know he's the best hot young thing out there, so they say...I just can't get into him. He just doesn't do it fer me. Ho-hum. He really did suck for the most part, with jokes that fell flat and silly sexual innuendos that seemed out of place. He had a few choice lines, though and kicked off the speech with those infamous quotes from those hater-journalists that slammed Madge in her early days. (Choice lines like, "she won't last six months" and the uber-infamous: she sounds like "Minnie Mouse on helium.") A great way to kick off an ode to a 25 year carreer. Still, I thought it was a shame not to have a goddamn woman do it at least. I mean, if you couldn't have Bowie do it, have Liz fucking Phair, or even friggin' MIA...or simply a woman (ANY woman) in rock that was touched by her existence. Cuz, face it, she shook it *all* up, and every woman that's come after her in the pop/rock/punk/dance world has Madge to thank for paving the way. All hail the muthafucking Queen.


Iggy and the Stooges (hey, there's Mike Watt!) were...fucking rad. They blasted though (my ultimate fave song of hers, "Burnin' Up" and the great "Ray Of Light," as a sweetly smiling Madge looked on. I still feel conflicted about that whole decision...kinda left wondering what her intentions were. I hope it was a fuck-you to the RRHF, cuz the Stooges were nominated, but didn't get in...Heh--Fitzy had a great (Simpsons, more...) line, "Maybe they just did it to freak out the squares," referring to the re-dick buttoned-down, industry-types that are all stiffly sitting in their chairs as Iggy writhes and licks his lips, all serpent-like. It was a cool Michigan-family move, and the punk of Madonna was certainly represented...fuck, it was really cool. haha. Iggy singing "Burnin' Up" was just so damn fitting, it could've been a Stooges song, fer chrissakes. I just woulda loved to have seen her up there with him, I guess. Whew--that would have been hot.


One of the most surreal moments of TV/pop culture spectating/icons colliding came when the camera followed Iggy and the boys off stage. We followed them through the kitchen, Goodfellas-style, down a hall, and to the voice of Madonna, saying, "Iggy! That was great!" Camera crew, on-lookers, et al surrounded them as photogs snapped shots of the sinewy punk prince and the lovely, snow-white Queen...it was trippy and awkward and...really sweet and real. I loved it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Madge perfor--er, wait...that's IGGY POP!!!!!!

That's right. Lady Madge gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Sham tonight and she will not be performing.

Iggy fucking Pop and the Stooges will be in her place.

More on this ....next post.

Also: I am going to Ireland in a few days---I hope to gawd I will be able to access this beast when I'm in ova thar.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

feeling old, feeling young

Tonight I will see the Hives and the Donnas at First Ave (a last minute decision, a righteous, much-needed school-night-rock). I have lost track of both bands in the last few years, but still love both very much.

I remember, vividly, seeing the Donnas for the first time (and the second, actually--very soon after the first...). It was at First Ave, of course, and me and Emily saw 'em and rocked our young hearts out. She was on leave (like, a week off) from the Marines and I remember running into her older, awesome punk-rock sister in the bathroom and, for the first time, First Ave seemed smaller, more accessible and I place I felt like I really belonged. It was starting to be a place where people knew me, and I would see cool older sisters smoking in the bathroom...actually, it was kinda like high school. But, Ramones-style, of course.

After those two times, I think I saw the Donnas at least three more times. Every time, their set was stronger and the lead singer gained more and more confidence. I was mesmerized, each time, by the sexy lead guitarist with the hair in her face. She was utterly committed to the rock and could give a half a shit if people thought she was hot. This, of course, made her hotter. This is when I made the observation that not only she, but me and E-Beth seemed to feel, and sometimes act, more like 14-year-old boys than the young adult woman that the calenders said we were. Still stands to this day, duuuude.

I was in college and writing for the Daily (gawd, Paul sez it was SIX years ago. dang.) when I first saw The Hives at First Ave. I remember it being ridiculously fun. Pele said something about wanting to make out with all of us, but later told us all to go fuck ourselves, but it was in his precious, broken English, a punk-rock sentiment, but somehow made sweet with his voice, so everyone laughed. The intensity exploded from the stage, Pele had the Mick thing, he had the Iggy thing and I wondered if it felt like this to see the Stooges...

I need this tonight, cuz it's been kind of a barren winter for shows (as ALWAYS in frosty MN) so, fuck....in the words of Rancid, let's go.

Monday, February 18, 2008

sneak peek!!


Giddyup!!!

(but not til April....fer chissakes.)



From RollingStone.com


Madonna has managed to keep most details about her still-untitled follow-up to 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor (due April 29th) under wraps, but Rolling Stone got an early listen to five tracks today and some behind-the-scenes info from producer Nate “Danja” Hills.
Fans who worried that Madonna might be losing inspiration as she approaches fifty need not be concerned. The new album takes a few steps away from the hyper-polished future disco of Confessions toward a more urban-oriented, thumpy funk, featuring production by Timbaland and Pharrell, as well as collaborations with Justin Timberlake. Danja says he worked on the album in London, and that Madonna indicated “she just wanted uptempo, dance, club [sounds] and everything to have a hip-hop underlining.” He adds that Madonna was easy-going and frequently in the studio putting in long hours alongside himself, Timbaland and Timberlake: “She would come in and sit in her chair in the corner and just vibe with us.”


The record’s first single is “4 Minutes to Save the World,” the track Timbaland partially debuted during a Philadelphia Christmas concert in December. “4 Minutes” has a bit of a marching band aesthetic as blasting brass play a scale-like riff, a hard, clanging beat enters and Madonna sings that the “road to heaven is paved with good intentions.” Timberlake and Madonna trade verses, and he appears on the chorus, doing his best Michael Jackson impression while quickly crooning, “We’ve only got four minutes to save the world.” The track ends after a brief breakdown where everything drops out but one of Tim’s signature Bhangra beats, some stabs of brass and Madonna’s urgent tick-tock’s. It’s a loud, busy, energetic track that is apparently getting an equally adventurous video: As previously reported, the clip (which is still being completed) is directed by hot French duo Jonas & François (Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.”). Timbaland makes an appearance, and Madonna and Timberlake play superheroes tackling physical obstacles. The clip features choreography by Jamie King, who worked on Madonna’s Confessions, Re-Invention and Drowned World tours as well as her video for Confessions‘ “Sorry.”


The Pharrell-produced “Candy Store” opens with a big beat and Madonna’s invitation to “Come on in to my store, I got candy galore.” The track is pretty bare on the verses, but there’s a flash of brassy soul on the chorus when harmonies join Madonna singing, “I’ll be your one stop (one stop) candy shop.” The track is punctuated with throbbing breaks filled with hypnotic synths, and Pharrell jumps on the mike for a brief rhyme.


The most lyrical of the five songs is “Miles Away,” a wistful tune about a long-distance relationship with a melody that resembles Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, an album Danja says Madonna admired. “We would come up with a track and him and Madonna would come and do lyrics and melody together,” Danja explains. The song opens with a quickly strummed acoustic guitar, then a stuttering beat drops in and the track slowly swells until it’s filled with atmospheric synths. “You always seem to have the biggest heart when we’re 6,000 miles apart,” Madonna sings grandly, lamenting, “I guess we’re at our best when we’re miles away.” The song has a more airy aesthetic compared to the heavy beats on other tracks, which reflects its more emotional lyrics.


The track that sounds most like a more urban, edgy continuation of Confessions is the excellent “Give It to Me,” which bumps along to a thick synth tone Danja employed on Britney Spears’ Blackout. It’s an aggressive, clubby track with a raw, house-y beat that’s ripe for remixing, and Madonna sings, “When the lights go down and there’s no one left I can go on and on.” It ends after a fast, killer breakdown where she chants “Get stupid” over a xylophone chime as the beat builds into a frenzy and she proclaims, “Give it to me / No one’s gonna stop me now.”


The dance floor theme returns again on “Heartbeat,” which boasts a thumping hip-hop beat with a sandpaper shuffle and twinkling Eighties-reminiscent synths. Madonna opens up her voice more, singing, “Can’t you see when I dance I feel free / Which makes me feel like the only one the light shines on.” The song features a brief rap breakdown that recalls Nelly Furtado’s chanty “Promiscuous” (”See my booty get down,” Madonna speak-sings), but returns to its clubby roots in the end.


Caryn Ganz

Thursday, February 14, 2008

special happy valentine's day post...OR song for the lovers...OR how inspiring it is to dig a pop song nowadays


Usually, sadly, I am never moved or touched by new pop music. So much of it is saccharine, trite, cliché, or just musically annoying. I know, I must sound like a crotchety old woman. But, something has been tugging at my heart strings, and I think it's musically brilliant and it's crazy infectious. "No One" by Alicia Keys has been etched in my mind for a lil' while now--the Grammys gave it an extra push into my brain's crevices.

It's one of the only pop-you-can-see-the-video-on-MTV songs in my life (yes, that's right) that I immediately felt touched by. I have always loved Alicia Keys, her spectacular voice, her brilliant talent and (real) musicianship, her “story” (raised by single mom in Hell’s Kitchen in NY) and, unavoidably, her sexy, drop-dead-gorgeousness. But I haven’t always liked her songs. For the most part, they’re forgettable and slightly generic. There are exceptions of course, hell, I couldn’t say I was a fan if I didn’t admit that.

But, it’s this “new” Alicia Keys that’s got me all revved up. I first read about her recent life-changing experiences (big things like: litigious endeavors with her management, a solo trip to Egypt for several months and making more of a commitment to the love in her life) and her admitting that it’s definitely affected her songwriting and even her voice.

I feel so removed and literary, but I *read* about her “new voice” before I’d even heard it and I didn’t even hear the goddamn song, “No One” until roughly a month ago. (The rest of the world was rocking this song for months, I now hear. Heh.) turns out, what I read was right on the money.

Her voice on “No One” sounds absouluelty glorious, but there’s this slight edge of rawness, a bit of roughness. Makes me think of John Lennon on “Twist and Shout.” One of his best vocals (in my opinion) but his voice was virtually shot. It was at the very end of a very long recording session and his vocal chords were almost fried. But, fuck, it sounds intense and sexy and like the raw rock that I can only fantasize about, existing in the early days at the Cavern. Sigh. That’s what’s going on in Alicia’s voice too, but it’s more imbued with the meaning from the song. It’s balls-out *passion* and it’s intense and it sounds like she’s been through hell. Maybe all cried-out, even. It’s so emotive that she does sound like she’s matured beyond something. And the song builds and so does her voice. It's the sound a very stong, smart woman decaring her love and making sure to tell all the skeptics to fuck off. It's feisty. It's gutsy and I adore it.

When I hear it, it’s so close to my heart—those lyrics to a long-time lover:

No One

By Alicia Keys

I just want you close
Where you can stay forever
You can be sure
That it will only get better
You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don't worry 'cuz
Everythings gonna be alright
People keep talking
They can say what they like
But all I know is everything's gonna be alright

No one no one no one
Can get in the way of what I'm feeling
No one no one no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you
You you
Can get in the way of what I feel for you

When the rain is pouring down
And my heart is hurting
You will always be around
This I know for certain

You and me together
Through the days and nights

I don't worry cause
Everythings gonna be alright
People keep talking
They can say what they like
But all I know is everything's gonna be alright

No one no one no one
Can get in the way of what I'm feeling
No one no one no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you
You you
Can get in the way of what I feel

I know some people search the world
To find something like what we have
I know people will try
Try to divide
Something so real
So till the end of time
I'm telling you that

No one no one no one
Can get in the way of what I'm feeling
No one no one no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you
Oh oh oh...


Sure, it's a bit repetitive (so many great pop songs are), but it's like a mantra of love, baby. And there’s this fabulous beat and strange and wonderful organ/keyboard sounds that heave in and out…it’s a fucking masterpiece of a pop song and it brings home how lucky I feel to be able to relate to such a declaration of love.

Happy V day, Fitzy. You know what I feel for you…(just wish I could sing like Alicia Keys…now I know exactly why Bobby Z was so desperate to find her.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

music

Does anybody remember the music?


hehe, I have been too hyped-up over politics and news of late. It's almost eclipsed my unhealthy obsession with entertainment and pop culture! The horror.

Winter kinda sucks the life outta all those thingsIcan'tgetoutof...

This weekend brought the stunning and powerful "Persepolis" and the Grammys! (Back in the saddle, again)

The Grammys were actually rad this year! Don't care about the winners and all that bullshit, but the performances were GREAT and it was *packed*! Well, done, you Out-of-Touchers! (Herbie Hancock does Joni Mitchell!? WTF! haha)

"Persepolis" is something I've been waiting for …for a long time. I read the graphic novels years ago and totally fell in love with Marjane Satrapi and her story. (To brief you on that, if you don't know what I'm talking about...Satrapi, Iranian, was born and raised in a progressive (communist/socialist) household where friends and family came for sanctuary after being imprisoned or persecuted by the violent Islamic Revolution that was exploding around them at the time. And Marjane is a spiritual rebel, punk feminist, and Marx-loving intellect in her own right.)

The novel and movie adaptation version of Lil' Marjane conjures up childhood memories so vividly and warmly--I had always hoped, as a child, that I *vowed* to 'remember what everything was like' so that when I grew older, I'd know how to treat a kid, cuz I'd remember what the world is like when you're young (never speak condescendingly to children was the first commandment...) Marjane really nailed it in her books and on screen. At first, when she is quite young, she engages in lucid conversations and (sometimes angry) debates with god. It's so endearing and real. Again, it makes me think of me as a young one, involved in my own world--thoughts about the universe and reality and religion swirling in my head--trying to make sense of it all.

One of my favorite scenes to see come to life from the book shows a young Marjane walking down the street lined with men in dark coats selling bootleg tapes and records. She ignores the Michael Jackson, the ABBA, but then hears "Iron Maiden" and her eyes widen. Although it's nearly impossible for me to imagine what it would be like to grow up in such a controlled, prohibited state of existence, Satrapi is deft at making her entire story utterly relatable. When we get to see her engage in one of the most universal (for those who dig music, I guess) cathartic episodes, it struck me deep. She is disheartened by the chaos around her, and retreats to her room to *rock* out to the screams of Iron Maiden. Her rage, sadness and rebellion spill out and are released as she pumps her fist, squeezes her eyes shut and thrashes to the Rawk. It made me tear up and grin with empathy and joy.

She is profoundly affected by all the war, death, oppression that surrounds her, but she is also (somewhat) in her bubble of childhood and rebellion--this leads to confusing times ahead.

On screen, Marjane's persona is precious and precocious as a wee lass (cutest lil' French girl voice EVER!), and then evolving into a young woman, she becomes more confused and frustrated about her identity. Being sent to school in Vienna and then ultimately ending up in France--she is exotic and alluring to the punks and the commies, and "vile" to prejudiced others. She struggles with depression and *life*. She feels guilt because her family is enduring Iran's turmoil and she can be free to be a young student, far removed, in Europe. The movie is true to the tone (funny, absurd, touching) that the book held. It also brings to life the books' simple (black and white) beauty that Satrapi created so masterfully.

sigh. I don't wanna go overboard on plot----I just must say that Things Are Getting Better In Our World. This movie makes me realize it...and of course, looming over that is this moment of improbable politics. Yes, a black man and a woman are vying for the nom, and that is fucking incredible and inspiring …and it's so about time! As J Mo and Catu both say, how great is it to disagree and even argue about who we support, look at our choices! How freeing! How wonderful!
With similar awe, I marveled at and took time to appreciate that this movie was even made. It's in the art houses, sure, but it is fucking nominated for an Oscar, goddammit! Adapted from a graphic novel, about a young, rebellious Iranian woman who loves Iron Maiden and Kim Wilde ("We're the kids in America, whoa-oh" didn't make it into the film, but damn, I loved that in the book. ha!) Where's the "audience" for that!? But, people are digging it, man.

Things are changing...I feel it.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

hehe


the Repubs would *LOVE* to have Hil be the nom!

you know that, right? They're hoping and praying to sweet Jeebus that she gets it. Why? Because they know that there are people (sometimes ignorant, sometimes bitter people...mostly) out there who shudder at the tone of her voice and at the sight of her face. It brings up bad memories for some. Others say "She's just not made for public leadership. It's very unnatural for her." People that are just going to give up and *not* vote for the DFL, cuz it's her. Of course, not me. But I have heard the statements made and I partly understand. There is so much baggage, so much of her persona has been (unjustly, for the most part) maligned to represent a blind ambition for power (like her hubby) that excludes genuine concern for public service. She is fiercely polarizing, and again, the Repubs are just waiting to trounce her in the General.

Read this for mo better about it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"service vs. selfishness"

This rocks.

January 29, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

The Kennedy Mystique

By DAVID BROOKS

Something fundamental has shifted in the Democratic Party.

Last week there was the widespread revulsion at the Clintons’ toxic attempts to ghettoize Barack Obama. In private and occasionally in public, leading Democrats lost patience with the hyperpartisan style of politics — the distortion of facts, the demonizing of foes, the secret admiration for brass-knuckle brawling and the ever-present assumption that it’s necessary to pollute the public sphere to win. All the suppressed suspicions of Clintonian narcissism came back to the fore. Are these people really serving the larger cause of the Democratic Party, or are they using the party as a vehicle for themselves?

And then Monday, something equally astonishing happened. A throng of Kennedys came to the Bender Arena at American University in Washington to endorse Obama. Caroline Kennedy evoked her father. Senator Edward Kennedy’s slightly hunched form carried with it the recent history of the Democratic Party.

The Kennedy endorsements will help among working-class Democrats, Catholics and the millions of Americans who have followed Caroline’s path to maturity. Furthermore, here was Senator Kennedy, the consummate legislative craftsman, vouching for the fact that Obama is ready to be president on Day One.

But the event was striking for another reason, having to do with the confluence of themes and generations. The Kennedys and Obama hit the same contrasts again and again in their speeches: the high road versus the low road; inspiration versus calculation; future versus the past; and most of all, service versus selfishness.

“With Barack Obama, we will turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion,” Senator Kennedy declared. “With Barack Obama, there is a new national leader who has given America a different kind of campaign — a campaign not just about himself, but about all of us,” he said.

The Clintons started this fight, and in his grand and graceful way, Kennedy returned the volley with added speed.

Kennedy went on to talk about the 1960s. But he didn’t talk much about the late-60s, when Bill and Hillary came to political activism. He talked about the early-60s, and the idealism of the generation that had seen World War II, the idealism of the generation that marched in jacket and ties, the idealism of a generation whose activism was relatively unmarked by drug use and self-indulgence.

Then, in the speech’s most striking passage, he set Bill Clinton afloat on the receding tide of memory. “There was another time,” Kennedy said, “when another young candidate was running for president and challenging America to cross a New Frontier.” But, he continued, another former Democratic president, Harry Truman, said he should have patience. He said he lacked experience. John Kennedy replied: “The world is changing. The old ways will not do!”

The audience at American University roared. It was mostly young people, and to them, the Clintons are as old as the Trumans were in 1960. And in the students’ rapture for Kennedy’s message, you began to see the folding over of generations, the service generation of John and Robert Kennedy united with the service generation of the One Campaign. The grandparents and children united against the parents.

How could the septuagenarian Kennedy cast the younger Clintons into the past? He could do it because he evoked the New Frontier, which again seems fresh. He could do it because he himself has come to live a life of service.

After his callow youth, Kennedy came to realize that life would not give him the chance to be president. But life did ask him to be a senator, and he has embraced that role and served that institution with more distinction than anyone else now living — as any of his colleagues, Republican or Democrat, will tell you. And he could do it because culture really does have rhythms. The respect for institutions that was prevalent during the early ’60s is prevalent with the young again today. The earnest industriousness that was common then is back today. The awareness that we are not self-made individualists, free to be you and me, but emerge as parts of networks, webs and communities; that awareness is back again today.

Sept. 11th really did leave a residue — an unconsummated desire for sacrifice and service. The old Clintonian style of politics clashes with that desire. When Sidney Blumenthal expresses the Clinton creed by telling George Packer of The New Yorker, “It’s not a question of transcending partisanship. It’s a question of fulfilling it,” that clashes with the desire as well.

It’s not clear how far this altered public mood will carry Obama in this election. But there was something important and memorable about the way the 75-year-old Kennedy communed and bonded with a rapturous crowd half a century his junior.

The old guy stole the show.