We live, not feeling the country beneath us, our speech unheard beyond ten paces
Oh, how nice. I love it when my tax money is wasted, especially on things that are admittedly flawed, both in practice and philosophy.
I am so, so tired of placing band-aids on bigger problems (in this case, the epidemic lack of parental communication and engagement, and lack of formal realistic education about drug and alcohol use – shielding our nation’s children from reality) by trampling on privacy in the name of fixing society, and IMO setting us up for acceptance of this type of stuff on a greater scale. Where is the outrage? Where is the call for education, communication, and parent/child responsibility rather than simply defaulting to declaring one portion of the population's privacy invalid?
Maybe we can start testing randomly to see if teenagers have had sex over the weekend too, or eventually whether or not they support totalitarianism. Let’s come down on them so hard that they are deterred to ever do anything that allows them to be their own individuals and make their own responsible choices, since we fail so miserably as a culture in educating our citizens about being responsible about anything. Turn them out at 18 (ooh, still can’t drink legally, but the government says you’re old enough to kill for them) without ever learning anything about their own bodies, limits, characters. Yeah, fear and ignorance creates healthy citizens, especially in their formative years.
Yes, I know drinking under 21 years of age is illegal in the United States. Don’t get me started on that one. I’m working under another facet of this issue; namely, the acceptance of totalitarianism-lite in the guise of "protecting the children" or puppies and bunnies or whatever.
When I was in high school (ah, here it comes…), my parents never talked to me about drugs or alcohol, but they did drill into me the idea of personal responsibility. I’m sure they knew I drank and did myriad other things, but they also allowed me to have my own space, make my own decisions. Their expectations? Reasonable grades, that I work part-time and have an active social life, and that they knew generally where I was going, what I was doing, and who I was doing it with. Which meant talking. About MY life, and MY decisions and reasons for doing what I did. They didn’t always agree with my choices, but they trusted that bad decisions would bite me on the ass just hard enough to teach me a lesson and allow me to grow. And they demonstrated they were there for me to help me back up again if life bit a little too hard.
This is not to say I told them all the details about drinking in the woods at a party with friends. But I did tell them I was going to a party in the woods. Hmm, think they knew about the drinking part? Of course. But both of us knew the consequences of drinking at 16 at a party in the woods. I valued my driver’s license, my car, my freedom – all which might be taken away if I was caught by the fuzz, and maybe more than that if I drove drunk. I also valued myself, and my life – something my parents also drilled into me, as well as demonstrating that there were great things in life that destroying myself on alcohol or drugs would not help me achieve.
I remember attending a high school graduation party for a friend. His dad had a house on acreage surrounded by a forest and chain-link fence, and accessible only by dirt road. When you arrived, you gave your keys to his dad, and no one left in a vehicle until he had administered a test to see if you were okay to drive. If you weren’t okay to drive, you didn’t leave until you were, curfews be damned. But you had a place to stay until you sobered up, and he would call your parents if you needed it.
He sat on the front porch with a shotgun and watched movies while we had a grand time in the front yard with a bonfire, drinks, and a band. People who caused trouble were told to leave. People who drank too much were cut off. But there wasn’t much trouble at all, because there were expectations laid out from the beginning.
This was old hat for all of us folks who were friends with his son. We were used to partying in his son’s “room” – a cabin built near the back of the property. He’d come by every hour or so to check up on us, and laugh along with Beavis and Butthead on the TV or let us know if there were some chips or fresh brownies or whatever in the front house, but he stayed out of our way otherwise. Nice, huh? What teenager would want to fuck up that deal? Engagement. Expectation. An acceptance of the reality of being a teenager.
Damn, those are a good memories. I don’t plan on having kids, but good lord I hope that if I do, I can be as good a role model as my parents, and that guy with the 12-gauge.
When Trevor was at Mills, we became friends with a guy who I swear may end up being one of the greatest literary thinkers of our time. Michael was, and probably still is (haven't seen or talked to him for years since he went on to his doc work at Buffalo) one of the most intelligent, focused, and driven people I've ever known. And the man loves his lit (also introduced me to Guy Maddin and Kenneth Anger, for which I am forever grateful). His poetry was a split personality of gut and intellect, often careful (even sterile) but in a way that made you feel that good sort of hollow. Not a bad end-up for a former (self-described) jock from the sticks.
We have this hanging in our foyer. From Lavinia's Hands:
beneath the sycamore drew crystal to the wood spun iron lungs affixed the trees breathe shade lisp addled haling open mouth, o wisp
But the poetry's not the point. He was such a wacky goof when I first met him. Like a gangly teenager, all full of wide-eyed wonder, and I mean that in the best way. We would tease him because he used to have an unflattering Jesus hairdo (I remember him thanking us after he cut it all off because of how much better he looked as secular Michael), and because he was so nervous about going under the ocean on the BART. And I thought it odd he wore multiple rubber bands on his very hairy wrists. Ouch. You know the kind -- purple, very small and tight, used to bind the organic broccoli at Berkeley Bowl so the clerks don't charge you for conventional.
Isn't it strange how these things run in cycles and just get watered down over time? Last night at Trevor's poetry reading, there was a fiction reader who read before him, and he was the poor man's version of Michael! His work, being slightly redolent of adolescence, gave him the air of Michael's goofy intensity (but not of his poetry). Then of course there was the Jesus hair and a goatee, and even the hairy wrists and the goddamn rubber bands. Very strange.
Hearing Trevor read last night, after a little bit of a haitus, I am again blown away as to why his manuscript has yet to be picked up. Well, I suppose I know part of the reason. You do have to get out there and pimp, and you also have to be immersing yourself in the poetic world rather than dipping a toe in every now and then.
Being that it is difficult for me to immerse myself fully into anything, as I hedge my bets on fun by participating willy-nilly in myriad other life interests (same as Trevor), I guess I only have time to do a little pimping of the manuscript.
And if this pimping results in a published manuscript, it does indeed make it easier for the Casual-T to apply for professorships, should he be so inclined if the opportunity presents itself, or librarianship doesn't pan out.
From the series The Morality of Puppets, from Trevor's manuscript Rarer and More Wonderful
Alarum! Punch tries to be the ghost of Hamlet’s father…
Froth bubbles around his lips and to be (or not) safe, a cleaver sticks out of his head.
“Where is my hat?” he asks the guards. “Without that I’m only a ghost of Shakespeare’s invention. Lucky for me this is a modernist rendition.”
Punch pulls the beanie right from the guard’s head, but forgets to take the head out! Like a “pop” Punch plucks the head, replaces it with his own. “Now my hat is red again, hooray!”
Punch faces his doppelganger
7 gears! 14 cogs! 28 wheels! 54 springs! Punch faces his double his duplicated automated fully sophisticated revenant. “Who is closer to God?” each demands! Two sets of eyes whirl, daring to be plucked. “I am the original Ethernaut!” Our puppet grinds— “I am perfect! I’ll kill the devil kill the pope, the hand that guides me is my fool!”
“Aber Ich kann spiele die Flöte Tanze den Foxtrot, Beat Kasporov! Ich lebe außerhalb Zeit! Gott ist Eine equation a mathematical emanation Und seine variables Sind nicht da!”
Punch does not think. His Mallet and Knife glorious monoglots dismantlers distress disorder dis-troy each piece toward oblivion!
“I have saved the world!” Red Punch ululates. “My dirge is heard in every person’s laugh. Even cartoons will sing my game. Will act nice and come kissing.”
How about that Coachella lineup, eh? Reformed Jesus and Mary Chain and Rage Against the Machine, Stephen Marley and Jr Gong, Interpol, DJ Shadow, The Decemberists, Gogol Bordello, The Rapture, Andrew Bird, Willie Nelson. Seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers before, and it’s not so much a draw, though I have never seen co-headliner Bjork. Still shaking my fist at missing The Sugarcubes, PIL, and New Order on tour together when I was 15 and carless.
I know a lot of folks heading out into the desert for Coachella this year, but I just can’t fathom spending all that money to fight the traffic, dust, heat, and teenagers to stand in a ginormous throng. I guess I’m finally old too, because even the siren’s call of sex, drugs, and rock and roll just doesn’t appeal when its 110, SoCal, and dirty. Isn’t that sad?
But there are peeps I would do it for. If I’d been more of an internet presence in early 2005, I would’ve seen Bauhaus, like my friend Andrea who dragged her husband from the other side of the country to see the giants onstage. But then they toured, so yippee! Hoping the same for Jesus and Mary Chain. And we all know what a madhouse it would have been if things were different and Morrissey hadn’t turned down 5 mil to reform The Smiths for Coachella. But, I think that’s about it. Oh, I’d go for Love and Rockets too, but I have a feeling they’d tour if they got back together (hell, they’re almost there anyway, just Bauhaus sans one diva), so I might take my chances there.
Haha, in other musical news, my friend whom I may be seeing NIN with in Japan sent me what she asserts will be my one way ticket to becoming a rock and roll bitch for Trent Reznor (current rock and roll bitch level -- tepid bordering on cool, though I loved NIN as a high school student and Trent seems like a stand-up fellow). She said it’s one of his trademark things he does to the front row, and swears (facetiously...I think) that it was the best 1.65 seconds of her life. Yes, I’m talking about the most rock and roll thing in the world, mock ejaculation with a water bottle:
I find this so unappealing that I may just jump up on stage and attempt murder if he does that to me. But then again, never let it be said I'm not a gal up for adventure. And it might be really hot in that venue, in which case I suppose I can call him gentleman for relieving my discomfort.
*waits for comments about Trent’s “stand-up fellow”*
Today all I could think about after I got off work was blogging about all the happy little things that just make life NICE. But first a little weird with the happy. Please bear with me.
We had a two-hour, all-staff meeting today to talk about the new proprietary database we are bringing on (of which I will be administrator) that seeks to integrate 12 or 13 Excel spreadsheets and numerous paper forms currently used to store and analyze the two-thirds of our data not corralled in our donor database and Quickbooks (I know, this is probably BO-RING, but again, please bear with me here). Mind you, this is an organization that just began using computers two years ago, so I think a lot of us in the six-month-young administration team were expecting some resistance. It is a huge emotional and cultural change. I also felt somewhat unprepared to be a spokesperson and rah-rah for our pro bono database builder.
Visions of a nightmare meeting, we sit down to cookies and donuts, yada yada -- not only did I get concise and concrete feedback for tweaks needed to the new database, I left feeling like this is actually going to work with minimal drag, and that people are on board and ready to be flexible and make it work. So, happy day at work, feeling competent and valued, part of a work environment that is not just paying lip service to the term teamwork, and got to flex my noggin without exhausting my capabilities. A workday that was, in a word, perfect.
That's all happy, I know, but you need context for the weird.
Talked with Trevor before I left work, and he said he was watching The Descent and that he would fast forward through it so I wouldn't come home to a scary monster movie (so sweet). I said no worries, I'll just get on the laptop and face the other way so as not to watch.
After having a challenging but super day at work, and walking home feeling mentally "up," I sat down at home and did my online business, facing away from the desktop Mac where Trevor was watching the film.
I don't know if y'all seen The Descent, but in a nutshell it is an excruciating mess of auditory pain and suffering. I think if I had watched it, it would've been better, because listening to constant screams, moans of pain, crying, and predators/prey ripping flesh and shrieking, without visuals, subtly did a number on me. After the film was over, I suddenly felt very tired, needy, and nervous. I called my friend because I hadn't heard from her in a few days and IMO she's got potential for possible bossman freakout in her life right now, so I in turn freaked out a little when her phone just rang and rang (she's fine, just crazy busy training a new person before she quits in a week).
I am a Cancer, through and through, and I am fully aware of my ability to hone in on a vibe and take up the energy from it for better or for worse. But this really fascinated me today because it was just aural, and I wasn't really even paying attention to it, or so I thought. It just reinforced for me what is done to your mind, even subconsciously, when you are exposed to any kind of even low-level hum of negativity for a period of time, and how that can affect your conscious life. A little grr argh is healthy, for sure, but I guess it also made me think more about cultivating more compassion for people who are grring and arghing more than their fair share in life, even if they are grring and arghing at me.
Anyway, Trev and I went for a long walk to get Gordo burritos and decompress. And now that we've walked a few miles and talked out the mysteries of the universe and I have whole wheat bean and cheese goodness in my belly, here's the happy!
seeing my breath in the morning chill; seersucker striped pants and furry hood and snowboarding socks pulled up to my knees under it all; buying cookies from Betty's today for my coworkers and Michael sweetly stashing an extra of each one I ordered in the box; Linda bringing donuts for everyone too; emerald hummingbird darting around a pine tree on my walk home from work on Telegraph today; crescent moon on its back, a bright slice of silver watermelon in the black sky; in the shadow of his smile; the kid Trev sees at the bus stop everyday by his work who wears a Naruto headband without irony (he'll be the coolest boyfriend someday...); the Berkeley fuzz in the taco shop say please and thank you and are in great shape and look super hot and actually pay for their burritos (and we, incredulous, laugh at our shock and remember where we are from); Wikiality, or The Truthiness Encyclopedia; the hardest choice in life -- burnt caramel or candied ginger ice cream at Ici?
Over the years (1985 - 2005) I have collected some 50 odd tracks, out takes, demos, radio sessions +numerous songs that were recorded in between albums.
Starting now, we shall be streaming three of these tracks every month with one free download available at www.myspace.com/davidjonline. Along with the music we shall also be posting unpublished photos dating from the time of the recordings + original lyrics. I shall also write a few lines about each track including details regarding the musicians.
Now to do some rummaging, it's dusty up there!
David J 2007
(Okay, so this happened a couple of weeks ago. But with David scheduling shows and getting out there and generally being his busy bee little self, I have a ton to talk about -- so I felt like I had to wait on the squee so y'all weren't spent in like 2 days with my plethora of J musings. Spent yet?)
So, the first three unreleased tracks are just superb. One that he's currently streaming at his site, 'The Shadow,' is the kind of unreleased song I hear and think, "thank god this is seeing the light of day." Bewitching and hungry, with rich, vivid lyrics and stark instrumentation, it would do well as the soundtrack to a Cormac McCarthy novel. Here's what Dave says about it:
The Shadow (1985)
I wrote this in the upstairs room at Woodbine Studio in Leamington Spa when we were recording the Love and Rockets album 'Express'. I could faintly hear Daniel in the studio below, recording his parts to the acoustic version of 'All In My Mind' and this provided a sort of atmospheric back drop.
Hoping that this taste is a fishing expedition for a possible outtakes and rarities album. Fingers crossed.
Good lord I'm getting excited about seeing David J's Cabaret Oscuro at Cafe du Nord on Valentine's Day. Never before have I seen this manifestation of David J-ness, and at a small club t'boot. My only disappointment is that his regular cellist, Joyce Rooks, will not be playing this particular show (check out her MySpace, she has some block rockin' beats herself).
Oy, I guess I am also sad that David will be not be selling presale copies of his new Devil's Muse disc at this show, but at the Los Angeles show the following week. Goo.
But, no matter, because not only will I be seeing Cab Os on Valentine's Day with my sweetie, I will be meeting a friend from David's message board, a fan coming all the way from Holland to visit his girlfriend (also a David J fan), and see David play. I've only just met Rene last year online, so it is really cool that I will see him in the flesh, considering I wasn't planning a trip to Holland in the next few years or anything.
This is what a badass David J fan Rene is: the man has taken some of the best live photos from the audience I have ever seen of David onstage, and some incredible video footage as well. Below is a vid he took of David playing bass for Bauhaus' 'Stigmata Martyr.' So simple, but this bassline is the backbone that defines this onslaught of a song, and David OWNS it. And damn it if he doesn't look so fucking cool in the process. He should -- he's had over 25 years to practice this song.
David J with Bauhaus, Utrecht, Holland (at Tivoli), 8.10.2006, by Rene. Or, quite simply, "why I play bass." This was one of the first songs I learned! You may get a crick in your neck, but it's worth it.
Can't forget the flashing Can't forget the smashing The sending and the bending The ampisphere re-entry You gotta have the time Got a letter in your mind Gotta heart injection That you got yourself a line
Flipping through Bust magazine's "Love Issue" today and came across an interview with one of my favorite rock and roll women, Kim Gordon, and her husband Thurston Moore, about their over 20 years together as partners in both life and Sonic Youth.
Over 20 years. Very rare for couples in rock and roll, and especially couples who work together. Hell, very rare for all us regular folk too. Why is that?
BUST: Do you believe there's any fate or design at work when a couple that really seems meant to be gets together?
Kim: Well, this guy who did our astrology chart said we were soul mates, but I don't know. I think before you meet someone who you are going to be with as a life partner, you have to know what you're going to do with your life and be working at it before it will work.
I took Kim's words to mean that loving yourself and being alright with your life makes it easier and more natural for you to give what needs to be given to another human being who is your partner. It only makes sense. It's funny, because it sounds selfish; indeed, I think upon first glance a lot of the things Kim and Thurston said in the interview might sound selfish to some people. But it's true -- to make things work you have to be in a good spot with yourself first. You can't give if you're spent already, and a true loving partnership is about giving of yourself and knowing in turn what you need from the other person.
Observing someone recently also in the rock and roll business, whom I respect immensely, interact so intimately and seamlessly with his self-professed soul mate has got this on my mind. It is cool to feel that comforting, subtle, yet powerful, and blissfully right energy from a partnership, and knowing it is there because of those two souls, together.
Some may call me a hopeless romantic, but I say I am living the proof -- I'm a complete believer in soul mates. It's not to say that you can't enjoy other people and their company and have a good time, and even fall in love, but I do think there are mystical things afoot, things we cannot understand but must just give ourselves up to. Fate. I think there is some one for every one who just fits perfectly.
So, about my lack of sympathy (13 percent! C'mon! It's not that bad!) for lamers and haters and Peters and such -- I am gently reminded (thank you, kind soul) that I am looking to this year to deepen my sense of community and explore the tenets of Buddhism a little more in depth. That means letting lamers and haters and Peters and things like that pass over me and through me (thank you, Frank Herbert).
Speaking of, I joined the Oakland Y today. Talk about community. I was so impressed with just how welcoming and lovely everyone was, from the membership coordinator, to the "ambassador" who took me on a tour, to the half-nekkid ladies in the locker room who stopped to show me the way through its labyrinth to the pool area. They have so many different community partnership programs too -- CPR and first aid certification, rowing partnerships with the folks who row in the morning on Lake Merritt, and special exercise programs for senior citizens which includes a weekly social. I was so impressed I think I may volunteer when I get situated.
Yippee too to Rebecca, who will sell her condo this week, give a two week notice to her job, and begin her odyssey from Florida to Pennsylvania for family time, then off to Europe for the NIN tour, and then back to Phoenix for a new and exciting life on the Westside, yo. And if all works out, she is going to Japan in May for NIN, and I may go with her!
She's never been to Nihon. She loves to shop and get out there and go crazy (of which, we know, Nihon is Mecca). We may meet for the first time in Tokyo. I've never actually met someone in person who is also a David J otaku. Loads of girly fun, squee, and possible eye-roll sprain for Trevor are nigh!
And finally, speaking of Nihon, my friend Todd (who may be the only person who loves gyoza more than me) is going at the end of January for a Sake Professional Course. All the way to Japan, for a course on fermented rice, you say? Yes! Todd is gearing up to open an izakaya (holy smokes, is everything under the sun on Wikipedia?) and sake bar in San Francisco soon, and the man is taking some time to not only chill in the country of half of his origin, but become an even bigger sake badass. So excited for him! Even though he still refuses to put me in his carry on.
You scored as Old-school Goth. You are an old-school goth. Forget Tina and Rogue, your idols are still Siouxsie and Peter and Fat Bob, and black lipstick and white powder is still the way to go.
Was there any doubt? Heehee, except for the Peter part. Damn, that man still has a great voice, but how he makes me cringe when he opens his mouth otherwise. Since the mighty Bau got back together I have steadily been losing respect for that overblown little man, his on and offstage antics, and his carrying on about how everyone sucks who dares question him. Soooooo saaaad.
...maybe it's just a general lack of sympathy. For lamers. ;P
And speaking of wasting time clicking links and looking for cool shit on insane cultural phenomena like GooTube: even though Saturday Night Live has its sucky months (or years), I still could spend all day clicking links in the SNL Wiki.
BTW, I love you Will Forte. You have been added to my man-harem to have my man-harem babies.
A border city that has long watched illegal immigrants pass through on their way to low-wage jobs up north is increasingly welcoming a very different kind of arrival: wealthy Mexicans seeking refuge from kidnappings and other violence.
"I feel a sense of relief as soon as I cross the border," [said] Lorena Flores, in the living room of their sparsely furnished home, which the couple bought for $585,000. (emphasis mine)
We want your property taxes and your cheap labor, Mexicans, but not your stinking currency! Go spend that money at home! And while we're at it, why do you come here and make money and then send it back to Mexico instead of spending it here and boosting our.....? Uh, er, nevermind.
Haha, whatever. SFGate should have actually titled that first article about the pizza chain, "Why We'll Never Be Europe." Here's another reason.
I think that role models should be close to home, rather than people you don't know at all. That's why I'm so honest about everything that goes on in my life, 'cos I understand that there are young kids who look up to singers and people in the media as role models. But you don't really know anything about their lives. They don't talk about their weird sex habits and drug habits (laughs). Yet you idolize them. And when it eventually gets printed all over the papers, people become very disappointed. -- Lily Allen
Now, I don't know shite about Lily Allen except for what the media tells me. But I do know I live in a country that idolizes Tom and Paris and Britney and their excruciating lives, so hearing about someone like this Allen chick is pretty refreshing. Maybe it's a put-on, but if so, it's a damn good one.
You have to respect someone who can pull this off.
Not the cute little hat (well, actually, yes, the hat too), but the health care for all Californians dealio that Governor Schwarzenegger (still weirds me out to say that) is talking about.
Health care is such a huge issue in the States. We’re the most powerful, wealthy country in the world, and yet over 15 percent of Americans lack health insurance; in California, one of the most expensive states in the Union to eke out an existence, that number is closer to 21 percent. It’s outrageous, and shameful, and the situation is so dire that it requires no more band-aids, but a giant overhaul to the system.
A giant overhaul like this plan. Excuse the dramatic use of paragraph change, but I’m excited, yo!
I like the preliminaries of his plan. I like that it’s bold, and that it outlines concrete ideas within a flexible skeleton. It will require reality checks here and there (for example, a salary of $60,000/year for a family of four in a rural area of California is quite different than $60,000/year for a family of four in a metropolitan area – there should not be a one size fits all for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families eligibility), but I think it could really work. I like that doctors and hospitals pay a percentage of revenue into the plan. ‘Tis better than paying for a whole department to oversee collections on unpaid bills, and then still possibly not getting paid at all.
This is also great:
Require insurance companies and hospitals to use 85 percent of revenues from premium payments for patient care rather than profits and administrative costs.
So, Arnold, I can hardly believe it, but I finally approve of something you are doing. My only fears? Greed, people still stuck in the Cold War fear of the spectre of Socialism, and the “don't tread on me” mentality.
Greedy monkeys and paranoids, you get no love from me. But okay, okay, if you fall into the last category, I feel you, a little. But listen, there comes a time where we have to work together to make life better for everyone. Making a profit off the unfortunate is not a right, it's just horrible.
Now for something completely different...sweet mamajama!
Okay, so the Mark Kozelek disc is FANTASTIC. A must for any Kozelek fan, but a great introduction to him as well. Gorgeous.
Mark Kozelek, 'Moorestown' from Little Drummer Boy Live
I totally forgot to mention this, but come to find two different friends were at a new year's party in West Oakland on a major thoroughfare where at midnight the neighbors shot off multiple automatic assault rifles into the air. Repeatedly. For 20 minutes. And no cops ever showed up. Ah, Oakland, sweet Oakland...
Listened to the new Deerhoof album last night at my friend's place, which is scheduled for release on the 23rd. Different musically than other Deerhoof. Maybe a little less densely layered or orchestral and more immediately "melodic." In fact, if it hadn't been for Satomi Matsuzaki's vocals, I wouldn't have guessed. But it rocked!
At my friend's house there were actually people who hadn't seen my favorite all-occasion gift ever, and as such I have decided to be the millionth person since the end of December to post it in their blog. Do I get a prize?
I bought Mark Kozelek's new live CD, Little Drummer Boy Live today -- live tracks from all over the world and two unreleased tidbits! I am so excited to listen to it but I wrapped it up to give to my honey, and he's at work for a few more hours! Goo.
I have a feeling this is going on my greatest of 2006 list. It is nearly impossible to go wrong with Mark Kozelek. He's a guitar-picking master, and with his acoustic guitar and haunting voice he creates beautiful, ethereal tapestries of saudade. And everyone knows that's what I'm about, sweets.
Right then. So, as promised, my list of other great things in 2006 is supposed to be in this installment. But I don't have enough to list (aw, that sounds so sad), so I thought I'd just list a few random highlights. The best book I read released in 2006: The People's Act of Love, by James Meek. Best show I attended: a toss up between Neko Case and the Decemberists.
Sorry, Bauhaus, but your final show as support for NIN in a gigantic arena did not make the cut -- kickass 'Double Dare' notwithstanding. But chin-up -- your Fillmore headlining show in 2005 is still the best show I've ever been to.
2006 was great because: I went to Japan in cherry blossom season, a close relative began recovery from cancer, a friend survived a shooting that should've killed him, my man and I celebrated 15 years together, my man began teaching his martial art, I made a lot of really wonderful friends, both online and in the "real world," I began playing bass guitar, my sister got promoted, and I finally got a job I love that doesn't squeeze me dry. I also feel like I gained some new perspective this year. Hope to layer some more of that on thick again this year.
In that vein, I think I have more to write about when it comes to what I look forward to in 2007:
-- Yay for a Democratic Congress in 2007. And good god damn, we have our first female Speaker too, and she's from San Francisco, yo. First order of business? To give the one finger salute to lobbyists and DeLay and the years of Congressional corruption the American people felt powerless to do anything about, until the 110th Congress *happy dance*.
In traveling throughout California, I heard from people who simply wanted to believe their representative again
Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton (who ousted Richard "Dick" Pombo -- yay!)
I am hopeful, very very hopeful, that this is not just a placation but that Pelosi and the rest of the Dems will continue to clean up the mess this administration and years of Republican rule have wrought on the environment, corporate accountability, the poor (I could go on) and that they will especially put a stop to the funneling of money to Halliburton and Cheney's fat ass and get the hell out of Iraq. And PLEASE, Dems, keep your own crooked ways to a minimum. Please do run the "most ethical Congress in history." Please.
-- New work by David J. As if you're not sick to death hearing about it, I know, but David will finally be releasing the work he did for The Black Dahlia Movie. Take a listen on the Black Dahlia soundtrack page
BTW, David's bit at Trannyshack was fantastic, thanks for asking! I got to see one of my favorite Bauhaus songs, 'Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?' performed, and I got to meet David and chat a bit. Surprise -- he is just the bee's knees.
Be forewarned, I'm taking everyone who visits me in the Bay to Trannyshack, it rocks that hard. What is there not to love about fabulous trannies dancing around a cauldron lip-synching to Diamanda Galas? It can only be loved.
-- Oh, yeah, and I want to be excited about a new Bauhaus album in 2007, but it feels bleak.
-- Going to Japan in October. We've done Summer to death. Japan in the Spring is so last year. Winter is taken up with Christmas and New Year holidays and the financial aftermath. Japan in the Autumn 'tis! Whee!
-- A good friend I met online is moving to the Westside from Florida. We will meet in person in 2007! Another good friend I met online is getting married in 2007 -- his fourth year of being cancer-free!
-- Some good superhero movies. 2006 was hopeless. X-Men 3 hurt me. A lot. But Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman is making me crazy! I hope we see this is 2007. It is going to be incredible. I guess I am also looking forward to Spiderman 3, and I hear Hellboy 2 is in the works, and I may subject myself to the new Fantastic Four for the badassity of the Silver Surfer, but I am ultimately gunning for Whedon's good stuff. I am also really looking forward to The Dark Knight, scheduled for 2008, but I'm hoping for a rollback for release in 2007.
(Gah, just watched the FF trailer again, and the thought of paying $10 to watch their Johnny Storm "flame on" made me break out in hives. Looking forward to the Silver Surfer, but it looks like it'll be Silver Surfer on DVD.)
Ah, and not necessarily something for me to look forward to, but amusing nonetheless: yesterday Trevor and I were driving into San Francisco -- well, not actually driving into so much as inching along -- in a very slow-moving lane on the Bay Bridge. When we got to the front of the line to pay our ridiculous $4 toll, I saw what the holdup was about. We has chosen a lane with one of the fabled and rare "friendly" tolltakers. You know the ones -- they look at you without contempt and don't ignore your hello, and maybe, just maybe, crack a smile and say have a nice day? Yep. Anyway, ours was dispensing fortunes. After a preliminary check to make sure Trevor had made an honest woman out of me, our tollbooth oracle said that I will get pregnant this year and the child will be a boy.
Um, no, but thanks anyway!
If I had been by myself, I wonder if he would've granted me a lottery win or new car instead? D'oh!
Happy New Year! A big welcome to 2007. Bring it, baby!
So, as is customary in early January here in my headspace, I am compiling my lists of the highlights of the last year. In this installment, MUSIC.
I’m not a ginormous music geek, as much as I aspire to it. Time and economic constraints always seem to get in the way. I did pick up a lot of music this year, but much of it was just so-so, not really worthy of slipping into a top ten next to the stuff that really made the grade. So, while there is no top ten for me for 2006, I can definitely eke out five albums that rocked my 2006 like a hurricane.
1. Xiu Xiu, The Air Force I had blogged about this when it was leaked, and I still feel the same way I did when I first heard this album. Legs apart my eyes lit up. The sky's gone out. This record is absolute brilliance. Both achingly visceral and cerebral, demanding, difficult, and pointed, and poisonous yet womblike -- Xiu Xiu takes the human condition and essentializes it into organic laptop rock that splits your mind open, like musical Butoh. Hands down, my favorite album of 2006.
Recommended by David J on his website. I was skeptical at first because of the indie darlingism that surrounded Beirut, but this 20 year old from New Mexico shut me up fast. Zach Condon is not breaking any new ground with the Eastern European gypsy meets Sufjan Stevens vocals and instrumentation, but Gulag Orkestar is just so sweet and wistful that I find myself queuing it up all the time and frequently placing the songs on mixes. Wonderful stuff.
Brother and sister team from Sweden. They had been around for a while before releasing this album, but I had never heard of them, ostensibly because their previous albums were just general bubblegum electro fare resembling Kylie Minogue. Silent Shout, named best album of 2006 by Pitchfork, changed that. Dark and brooding, with driving electronic beats propping up Karin Andersson’s freaky distorted vocals, it is classic techno turned on its head.
I have immense respect for Neko Case. Nevermind that her voice is a soaring wonder of aural bliss, and hearing it live for the first time brought tears to my eyes. She is a singing/songwriting goddess who sticks to her punk rock roots by working with small labels, and playing intimate venues with incredible musicians, all the while making music that speaks first to her experiences. She is all about the creative spark, her music, and her fans, not money or being a rockstar. She walks the walk. Fox Confessor… was the first studio album of Neko’s since 2002’s gorgeous Blacklisted. Lush, with a bleak lining, and full of vocal paintings and truths delivered in a voice like the sun on your back on a crisp winter day. She just gets better and better.
Neko Case, 'Star Witness' from Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
5. Matmos, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast
This record is incredible, if simply for the museum-like untouchable wow factor of its sampling symphonics. I almost didn’t put it in the tops, just because it’s not an album I listen to that often. Its aforementioned sampling makes it less than melodic and more an album to meditate on or zone out to. But it is so genius! My favorite, ‘Germs Burn for Darby Crash’ is an anxiety-ridden, intense song, much like how I imagine it was at an actual Germs show, or how it was to be Darby Crash. The story goes that Matmos’ Drew Daniel was burned by a cigarette wielded by one of the original Germs band members to produce one of the samples. That’s dedication to your craft. Or crazy. Or enough to get you into my tops for 2006!
So there you have it, my top 5 albums of 2006. There were others I liked that just didn’t make the tops, like Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, Easy Star All-Stars Radiodread, Sonic Youth’s Rather Ripped, and Thom Yorke's The Eraser, just to name a few. Good, but not Xiu Xiu and Neko good. And I really wanted to like TV on the Radio and The Decemberists offerings, but no stick. I haven’t bought Mission of Burma’s 2006 record or Melora Craeger’s (Rasputina) solo effort (released in early December) yet, so I can’t comment on those either, but who knows, maybe they will make my tops for 2006 after I hear them.
A final big yay for 2006 music though: I have to hand it to David J for reissuing Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh (with 5 previously unreleased tracks!), V for Vendetta (so I could actually have an official copy – before I got my vinyl!), and his retrospective from the defunct Glass label On Glass, in 2006. Glorious, timeless solo work from the early to mid-eighties, post Bauhaus and pre-Love and Rockets. Thanks Dave!
NorCali foothills, baby -- born and bred. I'm mysterious, yet so fresh and so clean clean, and darkly handsome, yet brightly colored. My blood-filled, flesh-covered friends think I'm an upright gal.
I'm haunted when the minutes drag...
I was lost in a valley of pleasure
I was lost in the infinite sea
I was lost and measure for measure
love spilled from the heart of me
I was lost and the cost
and the cost didn't matter to me
I was lost and the cost
was to be outside society