Wednesday, May 31, 2006

David J. Red Rocks. 5.30.2006.

pic: Danny Archibald

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I chucked my tee-vee in 2004, and as y'all may know, I have replaced one idiot box with another -- traded up from my late night Will and Grace marathons for the glories of the 'net. *lovingly strokes laptop* But since I've been staying at my sister's place this weekend with no DSL, my man and I have had the opportunity to get our fill of satellite tee-vee. Oh glorious Samurai Champloo in high res on a big screen tee-vee!

So, while I am at loathe to plug the supreme brainless lunacy known as Fuse TV, especially after the clueless interview one of their inept minions did with my favorite half of Bauhaus, bassgod David J and his brother, the sweet and lovely metronome known as Kevin Haskins, a while back, I do have to give a shudder and sighing guffaw to their show Pants Off Dance Off. Amateur stripping meets true confessions meets uninspiring video backdrop meets sad one-liner host who always looks like she needs another hit of crack just to manage her insipid next line. So bad it' bad as you think.

You know those shows that you are utterly mortified by, yet cannot seem to tear yourself away from, alternately cringing and chuckling at what passes for entertainment and what people are willing to do for 15 minutes of fame, only to suddenly feel dirty and sad and empty afterward, like you wasted a good portion of your life? Yep.

And since I feel awful for subjecting you the anything from Fuse TV, and sullying the names of David J and Kevin Haskins by proximity, I am going to end this post with the good news that not only did Bauhaus play two new songs at the first show of their summer tour ("Adrenaline" and "Endless Summer of the Damned"), from all accounts the first two shows have been nothing short of spectacular! Old fans and new both have unanimously said Bauhaus are on fire -- shows that are on par or better than back in the day. Fans of both NIN and Bauhaus are saying that Bauhaus is blowing NIN away. Can't wait for July!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I'm visiting my parents in my little hometown this weekend. Usually, there's not much draw here except for the outdoors, and of course, family. But on our way to eat delicious French brunch at the only place worth going to in whiskeytown, my sweetie and I stopped at a crazy yard sale at this majestic Victorian that I've admired since I was a child.

Sweet mamajama, there were clothes to be had! The clothes were from a woman who was a synchronized swimmer in Beverly Hills in the 30s and 40s, who was married to a lawyer, and after her husband had died she had a romance with Jimmy Stewart! Many vintage items from Saks, I Magnin, Neiman Marcus. Apparently she made clothes to sell at Neiman Marcus too, and there were many many fantastic items that were handmade, with gorgeous vintage fabric. She was like a size zero, so I couldn't buy a lot of the handmade stuff to wear, and I couldn't bring myself to buy it to tear apart for the fabric. I called my friend at Bees Knees Vintage to get their butts up there and buy the lot! I can't bear to see those gorgeous and history-rich pieces go to the graveyard that is the Salvation Army, or worse, the dump!

I walked away with a beautiful Enid Collins bejeweled bag (squee!! -- been wanting one since I was in high school and first started collecting handbags), a 1940's grey leather evening bag, 6 gorgeous pristine 50s cashmere sweaters, as well as two vintage crinolines and a bunch of fantastic vintage belts, for $29! Ahhhhhh! *sigh* I love clothes with so much history, I feel so great owning some of this woman's stuff! That yard sale was orgasmic. Then I had quiche and tea, and found out Bauhaus played two new songs at Sasquatch last night. LIFE IS GOOD!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Just got back from the reading for the reissue of Craig Thompson's beautiful and bittersweet graphic novel, Good-bye, Chunky Rice on Pantheon Books. Ah, Craig Thompson, Craig Thompson, Craig Thompson! This man is so talented -- a sincere and moving writer, a fantastic artist, and a real gem of a person.

I first met Craig at the Alternative Press Expo in 2003. He was just this one guy, sitting a big old uncrowded table by himself with his stack of the third printing of Good-bye, Chunky Rice through Top Shelf Comics. My husband and I had never heard of his work before, and not to be cheesy, but when we picked it up we knew it was something really magical. We bought it right then and there, and Craig was so happy to talk about the book and he seemed really genuinely stoked to have another person discover his graphic novel. Good-bye, Chunky Rice is still one of my favorite all-time reads, and an excellent, heartfelt story about love, and the pain and joy of this adventure called life.

Craig then released a memoir of sorts, Blankets, which is an almost 600 page graphic novel that loosely chronicles his childhood and teenage years living in a very religious household in a small farming community, and is also a very personal and frank story about first love. Beautiful!

The hubby and I really got a good chance to talk with Craig this time around, as the reading was held at the hubby's work, Diesel Books. His honesty and warmth really shone through as he talked about his lean times while he worked on Blankets. I had no idea that when we first met him, he was scrounging for discarded food at Taco Bell and selling his comp copies of Good-bye, Chunky Rice to the used bookstore so that he could eat. Now he's in a pretty good spot, and it is just so refreshing to meet someone who is really doing such critically acclaimed work and is still so sweet and down to earth (and who gives excellent hugs!).

So, his success is so much more magnificent to behold, and I really have to get behind him and his lovely stories. If you haven't read these graphic novels, I highly recommend getting out there and at least picking up the reissue of Good-bye, Chunky Rice. And if you don't believe me about the beauty of this book, ask the brilliant author of the graphic novels, V For Vendetta and Watchmen, Alan Moore:

"Both funny and genuinely touching in turn, Craig Thompson's Good-bye, Chunky Rice is an affecting meditation upon friendship, loneliness, and loss, all delivered with a real feel for the musicality of the comic strip form. This work sings and dances, and you could do a lot worse than to sing and dance along with it. Highly recommended."

(read this and the next 5 pages of the story here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I love my hometown's police blotter. It runs the gamut from whiskeytown to bizarre to quaint and back to good old reliable whiskeytown. Some highlights today:

8:59 a.m. — Someone on the 800 block of Sequoia Circle reported that a woman with headphones was walking a Great Dane in and out of traffic while screaming irrationally.

5:34 p.m. — A caller said two men and two women were drinking in the park. He said one of the women hid a bottle of whiskey in her bra.

7:21 p.m. — A man on Black Oak Road said six to eight people were fighting with baseball bats near his residence.

7:58 p.m. — A man said someone broke a window out of his trailer. He wanted the "CSI Unit" sent out, but didn't know his own address.

12:55 a.m. — J*** S*****, [age], [address], arrested on suspicion of felony impersonating another person to pick up carpet behind [a carpet store]. She remained in custody this morning on $10,000 bail.

No coincidence that the blotter is always full of booze, brawls, and the batty. Last time I really went out drinking in my hometown, there was a barfight in the random little crap bar my man and I decided to quench our thirsty maws in. A barfight that started because two guys were going to go outside to fight and when the first guy turned around before leaving the bar, the second guy headbutted him and broke his nose. Blood sprayed everywhere. Suddenly, everyone was fighting, and I mean everyone, except for us. No exaggeration. My man and I sat tight, minding our own business, and kept drinking, because we thought it would be over in a flash. But the rolling masses of tweakers and drunks and rednecks and tweaker drunk rednecks made their way to our corner table, tipping it over as we swooped up our drinks (saved our beers!). Beer bottle in one hand, heavy glass candle holder (AKA what I will cave your skull in with if you touch me) in the other, overturned table in front of us, and only wall behind us, we stood fast and firm as the bartender yelled obscenities and sprayed anything that moved with sodawater from her magic wand.

Then, like it started, it was suddenly over. And everyone got up and went back to their tables and resumed their drinking. It was bizarre, even for this born and bred redneck-tweaker-town veteran. The cops, with a substation 2 blocks from the bar, showed up 15 minutes after it ended and took copious notes on the blood on the sidewalk and on the door. And after they left the guy who started it all sailed back through the length of the bar, middle fingers raised high in salute, and zipped through the front door with an angry mob chasing behind him.

As we were leaving, a guy who could only be described as Wade Garrett from Roadhouse:

sauntered, no limped (for real, yo), up to us and said, "This place used to be called the Blood Bucket in Gold Rush Days. Do you know why they used to call it the Blood Bucket?" "Um," we answered, "is it because there were a lot of fights and the blood could fill a bucket?"

Instead of telling you what he said, I'll just let you ruminate on what he could have said, mijo.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Oy, it was a weekend of art extravaganzas! Friday night the hubby and I took a pint or two in over at the Acme Bar in Berkeley to support our favorite local tattoo artist, David Moore from Truelove Tattoo, in his tattoo artwork show. Dave is a really cool guy, and his artwork, as well as his custom tattoos -- both of which you can see on his site -- are killer. From the moment you walk into his shop, you feel a really good energy, and a lot of that has to do with Dave's no bullshit attitude and the fact that he is just a really nice, hardworking guy who loves to make beautiful tattoos. The hubby's had most of his work done at Dave's shop, and I think I'll be going under the needle there as well in the near future.

Dave sold three pieces of work in the hour or so we were there, which he seemed very surprised by. He's just such a good guy, so both of us were really happy to see such a good turnout and see his artwork selling.

Then on Sunday, the book release party for Bay Poetics, the gigantic Bay Area poetry anthology that my sweetie-pie was asked to contribute work to, was had at numero uno Oakland art space 21 Grand. Great fun, with a monstrous turnout and much love to be had. I've blogged about this anthology before, so in lieu of my review, I'm going to bunk out and let poet Ron Silliman do the honors. He really sums up this mammoth and beautiful book, as well as the kudos to the task of editing it, quite well.

BTW, speak of the devil, next weekend is the annual art benefit for 21 Grand. This is a much anticipated event around these parts, especially for poor art appreciators like me and mine. Dozens of local artists donate work to 21 Grand that will in turn be sold for under $100, and all proceeds benefit this fantastic multiuse art space. From erotic electronica to poetry readings to art shows to maximum rock and roll, this space has been a fixture for us, and their support and love for Oakland has made them the linchpin for the Oakland art scene. If you're around these parts, give 'em some love on June 2nd at 7 pm (sharp -- the artwork flies out of there!), or go to their website and donate a few bills.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Oh, this is very funny. This reworked trailer for the Shining is hysterical. Thanks to Wil's blog for the heads up.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I've got a terrible head cold, which is making me grumpy, but whoa, I forgot to say -- I found twenty bucks on the sidewalk today. Sweet mamajama! Almost better than when Trevor and I moved back from Japan and were jobless and broke and only eating soup and found an intact twelve pack of beer in the Albertson's parking lot at 1 am. Oh, how the memory still makes me giddy.

And since I'm sick, today I ate a ton of vegetabley goodness and drank a gallon of water. That means that twenty can pay for pizza and pints at The 'Splitter tonight. Beer and pizza pie, bad (for head cold), but good for soul.
Holy smokes!

Now, don't laugh. This is sooooo badass. I just saw this today in my friendly neighborhood bookshop, Diesel Books, and I laughed at first too (BTW, check out the Casual-T's Recommended Reading for some bitchin' picks). But damn, the guy featured on the cover who wrote this book is AMAZING. Shi Yan Ming is a Shaolin monk living in New York who gives classes in kung-fu in his loft. He is 45 years old, and he has a magnificent body. Oh, the flexibility! Oh, the fantastic glutes! He can bite his toes, yo!

In addition to demonstrating a Shaolin workout, this book has a lot of Buddhist teachings of the sort that you could get in a semi-decent kung-fu film -- things like communing with yourself and with others, and being a good person -- but he also chimes in with some feel-good body image mantras (do not start a new endeavor, like a workout, by saying you are fat; remember you are fine the way you are, and that you are just polishing yourself). But this book isn't about enlightenment in 28 days. Neither is it about learning to kick ass the Shaolin way in less than a month. It does illustrate a step by step way to get to a Shaolin ass-kicking body in 10-30 minutes a day, with step by step instructions modeled by some serious eye candy. Yes!

Damn, I'm getting this. While I feel pretty good now, I fear that without this kind of intervention, I will become a creaky unmuscled 40-something in a decade or so. Ack! A decade to 40-something. Can't time stop right now?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My friend Jon Stich is not only a kickass human being/bookselling god with the quirkiest selection of t-shirtery on this planet, but a mighty fine artist as well. Currently on his website he is showing what can only be described as political porn portraiture. Here's a taste of one of my favorite subhuman pin-ups:

Jon does some really top-notch work. And he's from La Canada in SoCal, which means he has suffered for his art. From what Jon says about La Canada there are probably no worse places in SoCal other than the IE (sorry Bartletts!) or Bakersfield (no apologies -- everyone I know from there says it sucks). I never knew how to pronounce La Canada until recently, when Jon told me how. Which I felt bad about, until Jon told me that he used to get out of country residency forms regularly when he was in college in California. LOL, I'm not that bad.

By the way, did I tell y'all that I finally got a turntable? I have been searching for a proper one, and decent speakers, for months (after moronically selling my old one when I moved to Japan -- while keeping my vinyl, duh...). I really wanted to get a late 1970s or early 80s model, but I really wasn't ready to drop enough for two tickets to Japan at The Soundwell, as badass as they are. So yesterday, my honey-pie was surfing Craigslist and found a post for a "record player with speakers" for $60. In Mountain View. He calls and the guy is like, yeah sure, it plays perfect. Nothing wrong with it.

Now, I am a big old suspicious skeptic. I wasn't about to drive to Mountain View (a sweaty 45 minutes on the worst freeway in California, the 880, and then a crawl through the joy that is the endless downtown Peninsula ) for a "perfect" record player for $60. But lured by my man's insistence that this guy sounded really nice, and the promise of a trip to the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz should it be bunk, I acquiesced.

So, we drove to Mountain View. Go to this guy's house, and we find a pristine, yet behemoth, SoundDesign system circa 1985 with turntable, amplifier, and tape deck encased in a ginormous "wood grain vinyl veneer" fibreboard box with a glass cabinet. It was the size of an efficiency apartment refrigerator! Oh, and ginormous speakers. For $60. The guy bought the system new after he moved out of his parents' house 20 years ago, and he said he pretty much just used the tape deck and the radio. It was no Sony, but there was no way we were going to pass it up.

I don't know how we fit it all in our little Civic, but we managed. When we got home, we pulled all the components out of the narsty fibreboard shell, chucked the shell, and set up the guts in the far side of our studio. Cranked that sucker only up to 3 and did a hallway check -- yep, Trevor could hear In Fear of Fear and make out David J's bass and Peter Murphy's voice in the hallways below and above our apartment. Oh beautiful ginormous speakers! Oh lovely equalizer! But So, until we move into a house again, it looks like we're keeping the dial at 2 or lower.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Today (okay, well, since its now the a.m., yesterday) was my honey's birthday. We both took the day off, slept in, made french toast, took a long walk around our neighborhood under a beautiful blue sky, and went to all the places he loves to go to. Comic books, shiny things, fish tacos -- they were all had in abundance. So nice to spend a whole day together without pesky interruptions (like work!) and worries like chores or bills.

So many many Tauruses! And birthdays on the same day even. My man's coworker, his coworker's girlfriend's roommate, our old friend Joseph: all of their birthdays are on May 11. Why so many Tauruses? My theory swirls around all those summer weddings. Our friend Alison also swears by New Year's drunkenness as the reason for so many September babies. Makes sense to me.

We just got back from going out with friends in San Francisco to celebrate the Casual-T in a more social arena. We had the most delectable Indian food at Dosa. Did you know India made great wines? Me neither. We had Sula Vineyards chenin blanc -- probably the best accompaniment for the spicy flavors of Southern Indian cuisine ever. Highly recommended.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My sweetie-pie, shorn clean of his winter beard for many a month now, is bored. And so he's taunting me by shaving his 2 days of growth into strange porkchop shadows that scowl at me in a very threatening manner every time I look at his sweet face. He said that if I had facial hair, I would do the same thing. Well, if I do someday, you're in for the time of your life, honey.

The Casual-T is not a "porkchop man." I repeat, NOT a porkchop man. He is delicious clean-shaven, but still presentable "a little scruffy," or "vestige of soul patch," or even "Morrissey 'burns." Porkchops are for credit card hippies in $300 vintage Levis, or sandwiches, or applesauce, or that one guy. Not my monkey! Oh woe.

NP: The new Neko Case album, "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood." I love Neko Case. Her voice is so rich, her lyrics, gorgeous, and her melodies so bittersweet. Everything I have of hers is lovely lovely. Saudade.

Margaret vs. Pauline

Everything's so easy for Pauline
Everything's so easy for Pauline
Ancient strings set feet a light to speed to her such mild grace
No monument of tacky gold
They smoothed her hair with cinnamon waves
And they placed an ingot in her breast to burn cool and collected
Fate holds her firm in its cradle and then rolls her for a tender pause to savor
Everything's so easy for Pauline

Girl with the parking lot eyes
Margaret is the fragments of a name
Her bravery is mistaken for the thrashing in the lake
Of the make-believe monster whose picture was faked
Margaret is the fragments of a name
Her love pours like a fountain
Her love steams like rage
Her jaw aches from wanting and she's sick from chlorine
But she'll never be as clean
As the cool side of satin, Pauline

Two girls ride the blue line
Two girls walk down the same street
One left her sweater sittin' on the train
The other lost three fingers at the cannery
Everything's so easy for Pauline


Even the sleeve artwork is magnificent.

Listen to "Star Witness" here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oh rapturous joy! I have graduated from blog monkey to blog chimp. I have learned how to provide links so that one does not have to copy and paste the glorious web addresses I include in my posts. Much thanks to bunny, who is not a chimp but a high internet goddess, for helping me make my little blogosphere a little easier to navigate.

I am running through my old posts today in order to pretty them up for y'all, so if you were really too busy to copy and paste one of my links in the past, it'll all be tidy now. I know it was the copying and pasting that kept you away -- not because you weren't interested.

I'm the only one in the world who doesn't mind copying and pasting, and who also doesn't use keyboard shortcuts, but, shhhhhh. My world is (now completely interactive with) your world...