Friday, November 30, 2007

Random bits I've been mulling over the last couple of days, for your perusal...

Square America: a gallery of vintage snapshots and vernacular photography -- particularly rocking my socks are "The Party" and "Catch of the Day."

This is a brilliant treasure trove of the cultural landscape of the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. This is also why I love poring through old boxes of photographs at the second-hand shop, and why I lament the fact that I don't have a handy little pocket dimension in a dusty box on my shelf where I can store all the things I love but don't have room for in my studio apartment, and thus do not collect.


Aw, hell no, Facebook. I knew you were more evil than MySpace. Y'all can track my online surfing, sure, but publicize my ebay addiction to two-headed donkey porn to all 3,000 of my "friends?!" Is there no sanctity left in the internets?

I guess I'll just have to buy my Talking Head Vibrator at the local toy shop then. This is a vibe that you can load up with mp3 voice tracks -- with names like "French Boy," "Tony Gets Tough," and "Bergen the German Mountain Man" -- and then play while you do your thing. It also has a record function. Creeptastic.


The Folgers intern who came up with this hopefully got a cubicle near the windows for it.


Real vs fake: which tree is greener?

Suck the life out of my childhood memories vs. be a responsible consumer: which direction will my mind go after I read this article?

NP: Ministry vs. Lady Sovereign, 'Love Me or Hate Me Every Day'

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Already released in the UK, but not until January in the States, this is a book I might actually buy rather than drone on here about whether anyone thinks it's good or if it's just rubbish. I'll tell you why.

Paul Morley -- besides being from Manchester and following Joy Division as a fan and journalist for NME during the 1978-1983 explosion of post-punk -- is apparently a kickass writer. He's also apparently of the mind that something intensely magical was happening with music in the UK at this time, something that caused a shift in the lives of a whole generation. Discovering Joy Division as a 14-year-old, 8 years after the death of Ian Curtis, I felt a tremendous shift in my own life too. That is powerful music. I really don't think I'd be the same person today had I never heard Unknown Pleasures.

Oh, and how it pours when it rains: also out in early 2008 (in the UK, and hopefully across the pond as well) is the Jon Savage film titled, simply, Joy Division. With new interviews with surviving Joy Division members Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner, and Stephen Morris, as well as loads of live footage, I am intrigued to hear it described by Peter Hook as "the perfect answer to Control."

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Just in case you didn't already know this: Neil Gaiman is the man.

This is just about the sweetest thing ever. Be sure to look at the pics.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bay Area poetry reading to benefit poet Will Alexander as he undergoes treatment for cancer:

Saturday December 1, 2007
7:30 PM, Timken Lecture Hall
California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco

Confirmed readers include:

Nate Mackey
Juliana Spahr
Taylor Brady
Lyn Hejinian
Andrew Joron
Tisa Bryant
Adam Cornford
D.S. Marriott

$10-up donations
Hosted by David Buuck and Small Press Traffic

You can also send donations directly to Will:

Will Alexander
400 South Lafayette Park Place, #307
Los Angeles, CA 90057


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Going on holiday y'all. I'll be gone for a few days into the land of sketchy internet connections. Hope to come back with some sweet foothill Fall color to share.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, Americans! And to all y'all non-Americans -- may you also eat, drink, and be thankful and merry as well.

What a good time to reflect on and appreciate all of the wonderful things about life, and also to remember to give generously of ourselves to our fellow human beings.

See you in a few!

NP: Tom Petty, 'American Girl'

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For ma T: sweet jeebus, it's Free Pac-Man!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007


Also, through the end of November, 50 percent of sales of Will's book through Pavement Saw Press, Above the Human Nerve Domain, will benefit Will directly.

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My three days off...

While I rejoice at the vintage cream Givenchy blouse I picked up at Goodwill's $2 clothing sale this weekend, I am much more pleased that I finally figured out how to wear that vintage belt I snagged at an estate sale last year (with some help from Donna Karan's proclivity for making awesome stretchy blackness):

Before Saturday night's fog, it was warm enough to booze on the roof:

Eric's winning card, post-his reading and pre-his flight home to Denver, in Apples to Apples, AKA "Chris and Scott are not the only ones who routinely get robbed":

And of course, Wookiee weiner:

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Johnette Napolitano, of Concrete Blonde fame, is currently touring, with one of my favorite folk, David J, as opening act. Check out her MySpace for samples of some fresh and always haunting vocalizations, as well as tourdates in your neck of North America, and see here for a small article in the San Francisco Chronicle on David J, heralding the Cafe du Nord show tomorrow.

Got all nostalgic when I was surfing Gootube for some footage of recent shows and found this, her current take on the Concrete Blonde classic, 'Joey,' from the 1990 release Bloodletting. Her voice still gives me goosebumps.

Here's the original video for 'Joey,' which not only got me hooked on Concrete Blonde and red velvet and powdering my face with baby powder, but also (surprise!) well on my way to high school goth-lite. Work those crimpers, Johnette!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wrong. So wrong.

You know, looking at this, I can't help but reiterate that we Asians are either really fun or totally batshit for the crazy. I can't tell anymore. Maybe it's that we're really batshit for making the crazy fun. Yeah. But regardless, there are definite toilet issues afoot across the board. It's in the blood.

NP: Echo and the Bunnymen, 'Do It Clean'

No pun intended, honest.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fantastic article on former Bad Seed, and Einstürzende Neubauten co-founder, Blixa Bargeld, who discusses the future of the music industry and Einstürzende Neubauten's rather unconventional new release.

Titled "Alles Wieder Offen" the new album was financed completely online by fans. Calling themselves the Supporters, the fans donated between 35 and 65 euros ($51-$95), which entitled them to exclusive editions of the CD, a DVD of the making of the album, access to live Webcasts of the band working in the studio and even the ability to instant message the musicians with feedback on the artistic direction of the recordings.

"I find it interesting that the new strategies of the music industry are quite obviously coming from the artists and not the record companies," says Bargeld, seated at the dining room table of his posh house in the Castro district, citing the recent choose-your-own-price-tag tactics of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. "Three or four more major acts doing this and ..."

Bargeld lets out the sound of a mock explosion, followed by a conniving grin ...

"A landslide effect will follow and this industry will, I believe, really crumble."

He's not kidding. This is the future of music, and it's working. I am giddy to witness this new era, and see artists I respect and admire at the forefront of this movement.

And Blixa Bargeld lives part-time in the Bay? Righteous.

NP: Einstürzende Neubauten, 'Weil Weil Weil' from Alles Wieder Offen

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Americans! Japanese-style sexy toilets are coming to a town near you. And at half the price!

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So it looks like Bauhaus, though currently dead, will be releasing a new album in March 2008 entitled Go Away White, on Cooking Vinyl.

Apologies to bassist David J, who told me at a solo show of his in February it is the greatest work they've ever done, but based on the two singles performed last year, I am not excited -- somewhat fearful, but not excited. I will, however, be excited if they tour, which despite what some say is always a possibility (especially when the money runs out) and I'll bet likely if some band members get over their respective diva, drug, and dawg difficulties.

But then this reunited Love and Rockets thing is happening too. Hmmmm. Is it so terrible for me to surmise an itty bitty spiteful link?

In any case, regarding new Bauhaus I remain, morbidly curious.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fearing Crime, Japanese Wear the Hiding Place

Japanese designer Aya Tsukioka's skirt can be flipped up to disguise the wearer as a vending machine. The urban camouflage option is supposed to make women feel safer in the sketchier parts of Tokyo.

Fascinating article, and such cool design concepts. I took her designs at first as merely something fun and Dadaesque -- which is still true -- but, as inconceiveable as it is to us Westerners, I think it is possible the fear of crime tip is actually the main selling point. This is the land of the air-conditioned necktie after all.

"These ideas might strike foreigners as far-fetched,” [Tsukioka said], "but in Japan, they can become reality."

More of her urban camouflage here.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There's been a lot of brouhaha over Radiohead releasing In Rainbows themselves with a "pay what you want" strategy -- with both artists and consumers weighing in on both sides of the spectrum of approval.

But we all know how record companies feel, and what I see as their latest ploy to highlight that 62 percent of fans paid nothing illustrates that they still don't get it.

I like the people at our record company, but the time is at hand when you have to ask why anyone needs one. And, yes, it probably would give us some perverse pleasure to say 'fuck you' to this decaying business model.

Thom Yorke, in Time

Everyone knows big bands like Radiohead make their money from touring and merchandise, not record sales. My understanding is that the record company, however, makes a killing off the artist from various rights to, and marketing, packaging, and distribution of, an album that will just get downloaded by many anyway.

What Radiohead did themselves is the kind of marketing that is gold, plus everything about this album is theirs to do with what they wish. I'm so excited to see where this goes, especially with everyone from copyright Nazis like Prince to more flexible artists like Bowie expressing interest.

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8-Limbed Girl Has Successful Surgery.

Looking at the pic, I am struck not only by how sweet this little girl looks, but at our bodies -- how strong and fail-safe equipped our systems really are, and how driven our bodies are for survival and continuation of species.

She absorbed her undeveloped twin in the womb! Not only is that an amazing, albeit obviously incomplete, bit of adaptation, but so fascinating because you can almost imagine from the pic just how it happened. Incredible.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I think I got almost all I need from this Guardian review of Michael Bracewell's Re-Make/Re-Model: Art, Pop, Fashion and the Making of Roxy Music 1953-1972.

Anyone read the book? It looked good, but it's been panned so badly.

Well, except for the bits about Brian Eno, who I like very much. Eno, it seems, was and continues to be the most genuinely and pleasingly odd, prolific, and creative of the bunch who birthed Roxy Music. At least among the reviews of the book, this seems unanimous -- even the little snippet in The Japan Times focused on him:

In contrast, Brian Eno's early life, surrounded by a menagerie of typically English eccentrics, is by far the most interesting part of the book. His interviews are peppered with witty observations and a sense of the absurd — at one point he explains how he taught himself to spontaneously vomit in order to avoid eating school meals, and as a result feels his life-forming memories were confined to the post-lunch period.


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Monday, November 05, 2007

No no no to iris-scanning, even if it's "for the children." Sure, the powers-that-be parade out the most vile scum as the reason why we need it. Of course. But come on! I know, it is surely not as scary as the unbelievable Proposition 69 (collection of DNA samples from all felons, and from others arrested for or charged with specified crimes). But it is more unfounded and reeks of band-aid tactics and ulterior motives.

Hey Alameda County, here's a thought: how about hire 300 more cops to patrol the streets of Oakland, starting with money voters approved years ago for just 60 new officers we have yet to see, so we actually have a force comparable to other cities of our size?

Until they can explain why they might reasonably need iris-scanning, create laws around its use, hire the humanpower to manage sex offenders closely and personally like they should (how about all those who don't register?), and change the laws so that they aren't lamely labeling both 17 year olds who have sex and people who get caught pissing in public as sex offenders, we'll talk. But I'll probably still say no, on the grounds that, hello, this does more to make regular folk victims of crooked people in power than it does to "protect the children!" Scanning my body without my permission, possibly even from a few yards away? And storing that easily manipulated data in a database run by government toadys who don't know their head from their ass? Yeah, nice.

And the comments on this one! "I would prefer the DNA and blood characteristics of every single person be banked;" "I have nothing to hide, and we sadly live in a world with a lot of bad people. Anything to keep my family safe is fine with me;" "...not to mention after all the horror stories I have heard from people I know who had their identity stolen, I would LOVE the bank to require me to submit to an iris scan before any transactions."

Good god. I need a European visa.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

One of myriad reasons I live in California, $1.25 tacos al pastor from a taco truck:

That's a Mexican Coke too, baby. My belly is singing.

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Just want to plug a wonderful musician who's been around for some time, but who I just really began listening to.

Go now to the MySpace of Jazz Butcher founder Pat Fish. Brilliant old stuff that stands the test of time, and brilliant new stuff that will do the same. Razor wit too.

The man also owns a bookshop in Northampton. That's the way to do it.

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