Saturday, July 29, 2006

I have been coveting the sumptuous handcrafted beads of San Diego area glass goddess, ceramicist, and cello-playing punk rock mama, Joyce Rooks, for quite some time, and recently picked up some of her beautiful black and white stamped beads for a bracelet I'm making. Believe me when I say her beads are some of the most gorgeous beads I have ever laid eyes upon. Stunning.

Joyce uses a technique called lampworking to make her beads. Her careful mixing of colored glass results in some very striking beads. They are exquisite, like little pieces of treasure or Willy Wonkaesque candy. It is no wonder that her beads go by names like "planetscape" and "spun sugar". I often find myself wanting to put them in my mouth, they are that delectable. And to add to their allure, when they arrived in my mailbox, it was like unwrapping something illicit and naughty.

You need these beads. You are worth it. Go get 'em.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

There is a band out of New York that I recently discovered that is just the bee’s knees right now for me, and they are so good I cannot keep them to myself. May I present to you, the Funeral Crashers.

So very Joy Division, with glimmers of Bauhaus, smidgens of Faith and the Muse, a pinch of Swans, and topped off with a splash of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin thrown in for good measure (haha, can you tell I heart Wikipedia?).

But while I can definitely hear these influences, at the same time, Funeral Crashers have their own sound, and are far less derivative and loads more talented than that god-awful bastardization rip-off of Joy Division, She Wants Revenge, who is currently enjoying tons of undeserved airplay. My only solace at this travesty is that somewhere Ian Curtis is laughing hysterically – at SWR; at me, for bitching; at Bernard Sumner’s “c’mon!” that he infects New Order’s cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart with; at the state of the music industry; at this abomination; at Hooky’s scary grandpa child molester look; at the fact I just paid over $30 for two of Joy Division’s shows from 1979 and 1980 on vinyl; or just in general.

My money’s on just a big old belly-laugh in general.

By the way, I’m putting this out here now so that y’all cannot laugh at me later – a little birdie told me that I may be forced to actually pay to listen to SWR soon. More later, sweets.

So, back to bands that should open for Bauhaus on their next tour. I’d put the Funeral Crashers up there with Interpol as far as Joy Divisionesque bands go – they are at least that good. They have an album coming out soon, and are playing clubs in the NYC area as I type. Check out their song Malediction here (and others on their website), support this kickass band by buying the record when it comes out, and get your booty out there to see their show if they're in your neighborhood. Sorted.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Oh lovely weekend in the town of my alma mater. Oh unthinkable 111 degree weather and crazy humidity that leaves a sheen of slick sweat on the tops of your wrists. Mmmmm, $3 Bloody Mary and $1 tofu dog at 1:30 am, riding a cruiser down the tree-lined streets, and $14 for Joy Division Live in Paris vinyl. Yay hiking down to the river, jumping into crystal clear, freezing cold water and then lying out on a hot rock while the hubby and old friend build dams in the rapids. Yay wearing a bikini! Yay going to get french fries and cold beer afterward, and then sitting up on the ridge and watching the sun sink into the endless treetops while so many many golden dragonflies are darting about in-between the trees and in the distance that one begins to understand the origins of fae folklore.

Yay good friend from high school getting out of the Air Force and renting a stunning 4 bedroom house with delicious air conditioning 2 blocks from the university and downtown, cheers for his invitation, and cheers to his open offer for us to come and do it again, anytime we like.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Oh snap! Remember my post about the little gay man in my heart? Today the hubby, upon hearing that I am cuckoo for SLO Brewing Company's Blueberry Ale, proclaimed that he thinks I am truly a big old fabulous queen. As if the gold sequins and stiletto obsession didn't clue him in. Bless his heart.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I read today that a court in The Netherlands refused to ban a political party whose sole goal is to lower the age of consent from 16 to 12.

The judge was quoted as saying, "Freedom of expression, freedom ... of association, including the freedom to set up a political party, can be seen as the basis for a democratic society...These freedoms give citizens the opportunity to, for example, use a political party to appeal for change to the constitution, law, or policy." I say bravo.

Pedophilia is a sickness, and one of the three men in the party is a convicted child molester. Repellent, no? So what are people afraid of? That if it's not banned people will suddenly sit up and decide it's okay to have sex with children? Please. Or do they think, like the opponents who brought it before the court, that children have the right to not be confronted with the party's platform? Why not take this opportunity to talk to your children about an issue that concerns them to a very large degree and that will not go away?

Most disturbing to me is that if they banned the party, what I think would be more likely to occur is that instead of letting our natural inclinations toward right and wrong, and the nurturing of our human need for debate and discourse, flourish, more and more people would need hand-holding just to decide between vanilla and chocolate ice cream. And soon after that you can forget about discussing anything intelligently that involves issues that require critical thinking. I am really getting tired of the dumbing down of society to the point where we aren't trusted to think and make choices for ourselves. We as a world are becoming so reactionary. By attempting to ban this, it is a blow to not only democracy, but to human intelligence.

As said by British journalist Gary Younge, there is a huge difference between recognizing the Ku Klux Klan's right to march, and marching yourself.

(Yes, yes, I know some might think this flies in the face of my previous posts about art and my bitching about why artists don't use their more obvious political connotations in their art to make a political statement, in that people should be able to find their own meanings in art and not have it dictated for them. Okay, you got me. But just a little bit.)

NP: David J's first solo album after splitting from Bauhaus, Etiquette of Violence. One of the records that I will have buried with me, serious yo.

Uh-oh, now the words "pedophilia" "Ku Klux Klan" and "David J" will have a special little party together in Google's dark heart. Sorry Dave, but you've got to know it's funny too.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Oh god...regarding my last post about Marilyn Minter: I considered tying in attending Matthew Barney's film, Drawing Restraint 9 at the SF MOMA last week, and commenting on how Barney denies a political bent in the film, but how easily it could be used for the betterment of global sustainability as a political statement about Japan and their ridiculous insistence on whaling. Whatever, it is his prerogative. In any case, Mr. Barney is too fucking exhausting for me to comment on right now. But everytime I think about that film, I am overcome with vitriol and a sudden urge to placekick something, quite similarily to what he does relate the film to -- football. Meh.


This month's cover of Adbusters features the work of photographer and photorealist painter Marilyn Minter. Though she is renowned for her photography, unbelievably, this is enamel on metal. I know photorealism sometimes simply needs a projector and a photograph to create, and as such, is often looked down upon; however, her work takes photorealism to a new level, and is magnificent. To me, it is gorgeous and very evocative of fashion advertising -- but injected with the political and mysogynistic cruelty that is so often ignored by most.

However, I am confused by Ms. Minter.

First off, this piece of Minter’s was an excellent choice for this issue, and she did well to allow it's use. I was impressed with Adbusters' utilization of her depiction of a foot clad in a bejeweled Dior heel that is caked with filth, juxtaposed with the words “Who Owns the Word Terror?” So much said in a simple painting. The great pains we will take in the “first world” to protect our vile ideas behind beauty, and beauty commerce, and what we swallow as glamorous and beautiful because we are shielded from the suffering that creates it. And of course, hand in hand, how we as the first world are privileged to pick and choose what “terror” means according to our appetites. The death and suffering in an oil rich country whose occupation can provide us a foothold in the Middle East and ownership over possible future oil reserves, yes, terror. The death and suffering in the African blood diamond trade that provides us with cheaper diamonds, no, not terror.

But, even though many critics have swept that possible political untidiness under the rug in favor of focusing on the more vague and pedestrian “pleasures and dangers of glamour” and “cultural anxieties about sexuality and desire” (SF MOMA) in her work, or the sensuality and “tainted desire” of the paintings -- in the sense of fashion as seductive and lustfully “dirty” -- I was still shocked that Minter’s work was used for an ad campaign for high-end (read: $75,000 and above) jewelry.

I suppose contradictions is what is to be expected of an artist who gives vague statements about her work like this:

I'm trying to make an image of what it feels like to look. I want to make a fresh vision of something that's compelling; something that commands our attention; something that is so visually lush that you'll give it multiple readings adding your own history and traditions to the layered content. Some things make you feel transcended; others make you feel slimed. I'm constantly looking for that transcendent moment.

I understand “layered content” but I am at a loss when it seems that an artist wants to be everything for everybody. Is her work simply depicting the sadomasochistic “Versace” type of fashion iconography? Making a statement about (insert issue here -- globalization, feminism, capitalism…), or the tragedy behind consumerism and our ideals of beauty? Or a way to make easy money by avoiding these traps and branding these images to the consumer elite and, as is said in Fight Club, “selling their fat asses back to them?” Can it be all of these things, can it be fluid? Or does it need to be concrete if an artist is going to ride the groundswells that obviously contradict each other?

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I was talking with my friend yesterday, and hot damn her reggae and latin-spinning gem of a DJ boyfriend has offered to teach me how to spin and scratch records!

I have wanted to learn how to DJ for years, and despite having friends who do it, and living in the Bay where there are a plethora of classes to teach you how –- many of which are aimed at women -- I just never have gotten around to learning.

I can’t wait to try this out! And yes, you know it -- like the unhatched chicken counter that I am, I’m already dreaming of my very own decks.

So, anyhow, I'm in a great mood, after ranting yesterday. Here's my partial recipe for comfort and happiness today.

Cue up Avalon on the record player. Open a Murphy's Stout.

Mix and form into cakes:

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup saltine cracker crumbs
cayenne and black pepper to taste
1 and 1/2 cups crabmeat

Fry in:

2 tbsp oil

Garnish with:

lemon wedges
Tabasco sauce

Serve this crabcake goodness with homemade macaroni and cheese and spinach salad.

Leave the dishes for tomorrow and have a Black and Gold on the roof of your apartment building while you watch the sun sinking into the West.

Have a slice of homemade blackberry pie later, when you're reading a book. Bliss.

NP: Los Angeles, I'm Yours -- The Decemberists

Monday, July 10, 2006

I'm a little crankypants, and no, it's not because I just turned 32. I love being 32. But bear with me, I'm strangely melancholy, and it will show in my hideously long and drawn out post.

I took all of last week off from my excruciating, waste of time government job to celebrate my birthday. It was a birthday week to remember. My best girl moved to Vietnam on Tuesday. Y'all know that was stressful and sucked, especially getting all of her affairs in order and her stress and happiness and my stress and happiness, so....yeah. I spent many days sleeping in, cleaning my walk-in closet of its mountain of clothing, and generally futzing about doing nothing but drinking tea and eating anything I wanted. Spent a lot of time with my husband, which was grand because he's going back to school in August where he will hibernate from the non-school world until December. Had many different birthday dinners. Saw A Scanner Darkly, a movie starring not only Keanu Reeves but Winona Ryder and Robert Downey Jr -- people who make me itch. Surprisingly, no hives. Worthwhile flick. Must've been the Dick...

My birthday week culminated in seeing one of my all-time favorite bands, Bauhaus -- back together again for what I hear is beginning to be a more and more stressful long haul for them -- open for Nine Inch Nails on Saturday, in the horrible arena rock venue the Shoreline Amphitheatre. Last show of the tour, and it was just ho-hum, nothing explosive. My fault, mostly, because I was so excited and what happens invariably when you are expectant and excited about some place like the fucking Shoreline but that you are bound to be disappointed in something. My two cents: I think they were just tired of being on tour and glad to get it over with, and it didn't help the show for me that I was in the second tier hundreds of feet from the stage. Plus, I was really blown away by how cool Trent Reznor is about his fanbase -- doing meet and greets and tour diaries, etc. I've heard recently that a bunch of folks left the Bauhaus message board because they were sick of Bauhaus being unappreciative and ignorant of their old fans, and I think this headspace didn't help me when I inevitably compared the two bands' fan engagement.

But...I did meet a bunch of cool folks from my Bauhaus message board, which was quite nice, and got to see them perform Double Dare again, only this time they were "acting their reaction" and looking like they were pretty into DD and other songs, unlike their reunion tour last year where it was often quite sedate.

Okay, and because I have been, and am, forevermore a hopeless fangirl sucker and rock and roll bitch for the brothers Haskins, here's a little video of God in an Alcove from Irvine, from a better vantage point than I had at Shoreline. Damn if David J doesn't tear it up and kill me with that bass, yo. Kevin is a drumming machine (and patient fan-meeting good egg, too). And speaking of, David J is still pretty good to his fans with his little handwritten notes in CD packages you order from him, etc., and with meeting fans in the seemingly rare cases when he's up for it -- though I'd be willing to bet we may scare him to death and/or annoy the fuck out of him as well as make him feel good and help pay his bills. The circle of life.

So, of course you know this was coming too, inevitably I am feeling guilty for being a complaining bitch when there are people dying every day in Iraq and Darfur for nothing, and I go and get my ass in a fit because waaaaaaaah, Bauhaus doesn't acknowledge their fans very well (god, whatever, please, so asinine) and my job sucks and it's hell trying to find a new one (but at least I have a job) and my best friend moved out of the country (but I am fortunate enough to be able to email her whenever) and my husband will be out of commission for months (but I get his undivided attention now). And goddammit what freak feels melancholy about having more than one birthday dinner? I bet my friend is right -- it is the sun in Cancer fucking with me. Or, more likely, I suspect that tidy answer will just substitute for actually sorting out why I am crankypants about nothing.

Enough! Here's something that recently gave me joy:

Anyone who really knows me knows that in my heart I have a gay man struggling to burst forth and be fabulous. So this book has proved invaluable. I am learning how to say things like “All I carry in my purse is a tube of lipstick and a revolver” and “This place is giving me a rash” and “I need to buy things to maintain my interest in living” and “What animal died for this?” and “I thought she’d never leave” and “skintight gold lame” and “Get some therapy!” and "I admire your commitment to earth tones" and "What a tired old queen!" -- you know, the important things that I say every day in mere English — in 8 different languages. Plus, there's a pronunciation guide so that you can say it with the right bitchy inflection. Yeeeeeesssssssssssssss!

"Cara, in vacanza, ho bisogno solo di un bikini e di un abito da sera."

Upon reflection, so fitting, and what I need to remember.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Xiu Xiu's cover of Bauhaus' "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" is blowing my mind. Check it.