February 28, 2004



I do not drink champagne, but I imagine it is as woozy as sister tracks “Lysine” (Max Tundra and Becky Jacobs, Domino, 2002) and “Hot ‘n’ Cold” (Basement Jaxx and Emily Oldfield, XL, 2003), on which beats pop clean apart like grapes on tongues. They’ve filled their pockets with a little pleasure, and a little science—which, any way you look at them, are themes entangled.

Posted by Julianne Shepherd at 03:52 PM | TrackBack



Is this real? Is this Chinese news agency flim-flam? Am I taking crazy pills?

Unrelated question of the day: "Why do you take those boring pictures of hydrants and stuff? Is it because you think they look like something else? Or is it just because you think they're colorful? I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just asking."

Posted by Sasha at 09:36 AM | TrackBack


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New shit up in the (vault). And if you don't visit Fluxblog every day, you're simply mad.

Posted by Sasha at 06:18 AM | TrackBack

February 27, 2004



All you have to say is animals that refuse to be cooked, and I am there.

Posted by Sasha at 08:03 PM | TrackBack


(Illustration: Liz Lee)

The faithful will recognize Jordin Isip from several Ui album covers. Ui album covers do not pay the bills. They don't even pay as much as Mother Jones. (They wouldn't even pay for a copy of Mother Jones.) So Jordin, who should have gotten the gig to design that watercolor play money, teaches an illustration class at Parsons. (You remember how the inner sleeve of In Through The Out Door would turn colors when the paper was moistened? For this reason, I often want to spit on my funny money. ) You should be so lucky, to have Jordin teach you. Agh. If his students are half as good as Liz Lee (see above), the show will be worth a MetroCard and then some.

Parsons Illustration Senior Thesis Exhibition
Opening: Wednesday, Feb. 25, 6 - 8pm

February 25 - March 5, 2004
Aronson Galleries, 66 Fifth Avenue
and Gallery at 2 West 13th Street
Mon-Fri 9 - 9, Sat-Sun 9 - 6
Exhibition closes at noon on final day.

Posted by Sasha at 04:31 PM | TrackBack

February 26, 2004


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(Photo: Elaine Didyk)

How many times have you said "They can't do that!" Or "How can they do that? This probably falls into the latter exclamation category. We didn't know the Treasury Department had the power to control published works, but they sure think they do.

Equally suprising, though not particularly important, is the fact that Masta Killa has finished his debut album, No Said Date. Took him ten years, but why rush? That's how you get Immobilarity, which no one wants to go through again. Only have six tracks but they sound good.

Posted by Sasha at 10:40 AM | TrackBack

February 24, 2004



Luc Sante:

The best neon sign of all time stood above a cuchifritos joint on 14th Street, just east of S. Klein's. It showed a man, dagger upraised, chasing a pig. When it blinked, the knife came down and the pig ran forward. Despite the obvious connection between stuck pigs and cuchifritos, I believe it was intended to illustrate Zeno's paradox. When circa '83 or so they leveled Klein's in preparation for building the uglificent (ugliose?) four-towered residential building there, I was all set to go in and offer to buy the sign (I could have raised, oh, about $27), but one day it was just gone.

Posted by Sasha at 09:38 PM | TrackBack



This very intelligent man from Canda is maybe the mayor or the doge or figurehead of whatever French system they have:

the south americans are not the only ones who think Ui to be great new york disco. i mean, fuck. who was making disco records in the early nineties, anyway? no one. so you remain firmly entrenched in the history of that music in my mind. unfortunately canada doesn't have its own rolling stone. don't sell yourself short, man.

Alex, a fan

Posted by Sasha at 08:37 PM | TrackBack


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I can barely fucking see.

I have two small cataracts in my left eye. They're bubbles, technically. (I think it is a rare and beautiful thing when the most specific word for something is the more prosaic.) Apparently, some people wouldn't even notice these bubbles, my doctor told me. (I like her very much but then I am disposed, unhealthily, to like doctors.) "You're very observant," she said. ("It's in my flipping EYEBALL," I thought.)

The reason I can't see is not my cataracts. I can't see because the doctor dilated my pupils with some kind of perfidious drops and the effect lasts much longer than she said it would. Even the traffic lights in the snowy dusk were too much. I went the the Liquor Store Bar, where nobody knows my name and the lights are low, and even that room felt bright. (They also serve liquor, which I did not know.)

I haven't yet read the substance of this Courtney Love review, but I enjoy formal constraints. Rules spice up the joint. Apparently, people don't like this. They don't like it when reviews are written as dialogue, or emails, or diary entries, or recipes, or Biblical parsings. People are known by other people across the world to be useless. It isn't rocket science, ladies. Throw on a boa and they'll still see your face.


Which brings me to three songs my iPod taught to me, as I dandled upon her luminous knee:

Talking Heads: "Drugs" [alternate] [uber yes]
Various artists: "Resilient 1.2" [fucking Harpo Chico Grouch mega yes]
Big Black: "Kerosene" [some play-this-at-my-funeral shit--top ten of rounded behind-style yesism and the song, no exaggeration, that I romanced my wife with]

When the machines are smarter, let the machines do the popcorn.

I am either listening to Pierre Boulez or La Bouche and I can't frigging see. Oh, use ears.

Final observation: Neon doesn't blink anymore. Was a time, neon was binary, a precusor of digital blood: on/off/. On/off, an echo of the electrical circuit itself. Now, merhcants generally buy bad imitations of TV screens when they want eye candy for the storefront. What little neon remains is static, throwing the line back to the 19th century. But I liked that interstitial neon phase where it was grasping to imitate the flicker of film, the dance of lightning, the movement of movement.

Posted by Sasha at 06:42 PM | TrackBack



Nick Catchdubs:

Octopus dude's tag is "Aloha." He is the proprietor of an art gallery accross the street from Alife on orchard. I'm no graf insider, but one of my friends works there stretching canvas.


I notice that alife, whatever that is, is selling three different Rikers Correctional Facility t-shirts. You know, when you're kicking it with your homies, studying for the bar, and you want to show everyone what a badass you've become, why not drop $35 on a t-shirt that reifies systematic disenfranchisement and brutal daily humiliation. That's fucking fresh!

There is always the chance that, by winning, hip-hop completely failed.

[I'd rather be having a gimlet and snapping on your piano scarf, but this shit just pops up everywhere I click.]


Posted by Sasha at 02:58 PM | TrackBack



with the video for N*E*R*D's "She Wants To Move"? Did a computer just eat 100 videos from the last 10 years and poop it out? (That makes it sound really interesting. It is not.) What is seems to be saying is "This beautiful woman is actually a red dog and we are red, too, and we will liberate her from that cologne model guy and then we will play in that same weird circular chapel where Robbie Williams tore his skin off and another woman will dance in the middle while we make the point that we are REAL MUSICIANS and we will also make it clear that Shae actually did some vocals on this song. And there's a red dog."

It doesn't help that the song is garbage.

Posted by Sasha at 01:13 PM | TrackBack



This guy has been working the octopus snipe for almost a year, maybe more, but he's gone into overdrive in the past few weeks. I thought he was trying too hard but now I'm kinda feeling the octopi. The addition of color helps.


Posted by Sasha at 11:18 AM | TrackBack



Posted by Sasha at 11:13 AM | TrackBack


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Hi there! Thanks for coming. Take a look around. You won't like it, but you don't need to stay long. Do you hear that sound? There, there, outside, below your window. It's Nelly! He's calling to you! He wants to tell you how cool you are. He wants you to join his posse. Wait, he can't hear what you're saying. Open the window, so he can see you. That's him. Right there. (Yes, of course he's in disguise. He can't go around being Nelly for everyone.) He wants to talk to you. Open the window a little wider. Go out on the ledge. You can almost touch him. He's right there, just reach out and you'll be able to touch him. He looks just like a statue, with a Band-Aid stuck to his face. Wasn't he great in that "Girlfriend" remix? He really was, wasn't he? Just reach out a little farther--he wants to grab you and take you for a ride in his camosine, which really isn't all that camouflaged, because there isn't much underbrush and foliage on your block. But whatever. That's it--just reach out a little further. With both hands.


Posted by Sasha at 10:21 AM | TrackBack



When someone writes "yee haw rape" on a Cam'ron poster, we'll stop. When bloggers stop posting evil horseshit like this, we'll stop. When power relations like this are ancient history, we'll stop. When all the neo-con asshats and wink-wink C-listers understand that everyone is tied together, we'll stop.

Until then, it's on.

Posted by Sasha at 08:25 AM | TrackBack



How long till American arrests? A month? A year? Decade?

02-23-2004 14:51

MEXICO CITY (AP) - A family-based ring that lured girls and women into sex slavery in Mexico and in New York has been smashed with arrests on both sides of the border, Mexican officials said Monday.

The federal Interior Department said it coordinated federal agents who arrested six people in Mexico this month _ an operation linked to the January arrests of four other people in New York.

Authorities were hunting for at least six other people, some of them "highly dangerous," according to the official news release.

The department, which oversees security and immigration matters, said that the gang seduced or kidnapped girls and women aged 12 to 25, raped them and then forced them to work as prostitutes in the central Mexican cities of Puebla and Tenancingo.

Some were later taken to the United States and forced into prostitution there.

The department said the gang threatened to kill the victims or their relatives if they tried to escape.

The agency did not say how many women might have been victimized but it said girls were recruited or forced into the operation from at least nine Mexico cities, including Mexico City, Acapulco, Guadalajara and Puerto Escondido.

U.S. federal agents arrested four of the suspects in New York in January. They were identified as Josue Flores Carreto, Gerardo Flores Carreto, Eliu Carreto Fernandez and Daniel Perez Alonso.

The Mexican Interior Department said five women were rescued during that operation.

The mother of the Flores Carreto brothers, Consuelo Carreto Valencia, was arrested in Mexico in early February. Also captured were Maria de los Angeles Velasquez, Gustavo Carreto Valencia, Jose Manuel Martin del Campo, Crispin Ortiz Hernandez and Jose Antonio Espinosa Barreto.

Posted by Sasha at 08:20 AM | TrackBack

February 23, 2004



You think this whole blog thing is a gut, just because the only required reading is Julianne Shepherd? Sunshine, her science is like boullion. Let it steep for a few hours and you are SOUP. Now trying writing that paper, you wack little croutons.

(Did we say fuck The Fader today? Yet? No? Fucking the fucking piece of shit child porn merchants at The Fader. There.)

(The first listen is not the deepest, so I could be all wrong, but their new album suggests that The Cardigans have taken a wrong turn. I very much hope I am wrong.)

Posted by Sasha at 01:42 PM | TrackBack


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Dickhead Rhyme of the Day:

Red Café f/Le Midget Macher, “Fly As She Wanna Be: “My bitch dress like a waitress to serve me, nigga/Listen player, I ain’t paying a dime/The only thing I pay a pretty young thing is no mind/No lie, I’m the type of guy that’ll stick my knife in her American pie.”

J/CD sent me this lovely journal entry a few years ago. Now that it has pictures, it has pictures.

The shareef and I also recommend this book. When I first read Keywords in the late 1920s, it was a flashlight in the velvety dark. I wasn't sure if it was a skeleton key or a prize I had stolen. Two summers ago, the book was my nurse. When negotiations between my brain and my insomnia broke down, I would haul Williams into the bathroom with me. I never got back to sleep but the hours between 3 AM and 6 AM at least felt productive. If you slow down the frames and go one by one, you can see things.

Posted by Sasha at 10:57 AM | TrackBack

February 21, 2004



Glenn Kenny just emailed me the news that Matt Mahurin made a movie about Shopsin's called I Like Killing Flies. Looking for the movie led me to Low Culture's comprehensive Shopsin's post from a month or so ago. Why even try to be first?

Hey! Did you guys see the Super Bowl! Wasn't that weird?

Posted by Sasha at 04:55 PM | TrackBack

February 20, 2004


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While I am doing the Cabbage Patch to Edvard Grieg's Lyrische Stücke, as played by Emil Gilels, I will forward this note:

Pablo Strozza:

I have to tell you something about "Piñata" / "Piraña": I type the word good, but when I saw the Rolling Stone piece, I realized that the word program (that I have in Spanish) change the word, so it was the way appear in the paper...

Posted by Sasha at 10:25 AM | TrackBack



Need a quick protein fix? Then check ninja Keith Harris on Norah, and black belt Ben Ratliff on the exact same person. I am now going to lose my entire "readership" (please, no checks, only money orders) and admit that I like "Those Sweet Words." (Any song that asks me if I "had a hard time sleeping" goes directly into my Top 10.) It bears mentioning, in all the appropriate discussion of her boretronix and Teflon aesthetix, that girlfriend is fine like old Beaujolais wine. Sorry. I'm just saying. And I have seen, with my tired eyes, a subthread emerge: men of a certain age and/or disposition feel OK about crushing on Norahlee because she isn't as Titanically bootylicious as the Lucy Lius and Beyoncés. 8 or 18 million sold means two groups came to the register: women and older buyers. That doesn't mean sex is off the table.

To further fuck you up, I am going to crate dig a Norah track. (Sitemeter reports for Friday, February 20: 12 page views.) Soulseek or Kazaate or Aquire the other version of "Those Sweet Words." I don't know where it's from but it's bassier and sweeter.

If anyone finds my mind, wrap it in ice and send it back to me. Media mail is fine--no rush.

Posted by Sasha at 10:14 AM | TrackBack

February 19, 2004



Steve "Steinski" Stein:

I used to eat at Shopsin's all the time, for years. I started at the old location when all the kids were small, before they had the built-in booths. Truly the greatest restaurant ever.

I was eating there one evening with a friend, when a couple of obvious newbies wandered in the door. They looked around tentatively and took the table next to us.

Kate, the waitress at the time, came over with a menu and said in a fairly threatening tone, "The kitchen closes in 5 minutes, so you'd better make up your minds fast." She tossed the menu down and left.

The couple was bewildered at the brusque treatment and the size of the menu. The guy turned to me and asked "What's good here?"

Luxuriating in my insider status, I began to point at the menu with a sympatheic smile when Kate rushed back, grabbed the menu, and said loudly "The kitchen's closed!. No service! I'm sorry, but you'll have to leave."

She hustled the poor couple out, practically pushing them through the door. As they left, she came over to me pointing her finger and hissed "Don't EVER fucking do that again! They didn't belong here!" The busboy trailed after her and whispered to me "You're lucky Kenny didn't catch you. He don't like new customers."

Posted by Sasha at 05:53 PM | TrackBack


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Just back from Shopsin's General Store with a pocketful of "stolen" candy. (Customers are encouraged to "steal" candy from bins near the door on the way out.) It was my first visit since the shop moved. The new place on Carmine & Bedford isn't quite as packed with detritus and bad vibes as the old location on Bedford & Morton, but it's running on the same rails. Still a family affair: Kenny's daughter was my waitress and some unidentified siblings and grandkids (I think) were wandering about asking for spoons. The place is clean enough to look like the work of normal people but the gewgaws are accumulating nicely along the walls and shelving. The Miss Havisham-via-Sears vibe should be re-established in a year or so.

Kenny yelled at one couple that they were feeding french fries to their kids the wrong way. "I should call protective services!" My barbecued pork, cole slaw and cheddar cheese open-faced melt was yper yper bananas. Still a contender for G.R.O.A.T. (Check the "Rules" on the site above if you think they are on some kind of lightweight ish.) Actually being able to see into the restaurant from the street through actual windows is a bit disconcerting. The act of getting into the old restaurant felt missionary and contingent, like you wouldn't necessarily get in because you got in once before and the place you found wouldn't necessarily be the place you found the first time. (I guess that's a little more Phantom Tollbooth than Columbus. Or is it The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe? Nah, that's too Christian parable-y.) I was never personally ejected from the old spot, though I saw Kenny eject several large parties. (Nobody ever talked back.) His kids made fun of my Tide hat once, though. I look forward to watching fights over cell phones and seating.

Posted by Sasha at 03:39 PM | TrackBack

February 18, 2004

APRIL 25, 2004


Please join this March For Women.


Things I learned today from this Timbaland site:

Tiim is currently the most expensive producer in the game, topping Dre, charging up to $275,000.00 per track.

Sebastian of Beat Club is Tim's brother.

Thomas Crown (one of Timmy's many nicknames) was a millionaire mastermind.

Timbaland's favorite cereal is Frosted Flakes.

Over 100,000 Timbaland fans were surveyed and up to 60% of them are producers.

Timbaland's middle name starts with a "Z".

Tim hardly ever sleeps. If he sleeps, it's in the daytime.

Timbaland's favorite producer is Dr. Dre.

Tim doesn't do any drugs.

Tim still isn't used to having fans crazy about him.

Timbaland left a girl at the altar before.

Timothy Mosley is a biblical name.

Timbaland was shot by a stray bullet while working at Red Lobster as a teenager.

Posted by Sasha at 03:31 PM | TrackBack



You know what I like most about Argentina? The Argentinian version of Rolling Stone. Writers like Oscar Jalil and Pablo Strozza do not come along every day. They come along, like, whenever they have time. They had the vision to see that the first two Ui EPs (once they were compiled into a single, commercially available CD, solving the singular/plural problem) are one of the "100 Discos Esenciales De Nueva York." That this isn't even remotely true doesn't stop me from being giddy and proud that someone thinks so.

[Read list.]

You know, if the Fun Lovin' Criminals and Genesis and Anthrax are going to be on here, then we're going to drop the self-deprecation and sit right down where we belong. It's a good list: as well as the usuales suspectos, the list includes the Silver Apples, Richard Lloyd's Alchemy, two Madonna records (though not the debut? which was NY for a year) and Big Science. I also like a rule they allow themselves: albums made in New York by non-New Yorkers qualify. As a result, the list includes Caetano Veloso's Estrangeiro, The Mekons' Mekons...New York, and Nico's Chelsea Girl.

A "Canción NYC" is broken out for each album, the one song to rip if you're ripping only one. (CMJ used to do this, and Blender does this now, right?) For Remain In Light, the song chosen is "Crosseyed and Painless." For Ui's The 2-Sided EP, it's "Piñata," of course. That's a Spanish word. Except they print it as "Piraña." That means piranha, not big-papier-mâché-thing-you-hit-with-sticks. "Piñata" is the only Spanish word on the entire CD. Is that odd? Or what?

And they don't respect my hyphen, but I can't complain: This is the only time we will ever be on the same page (and with equally large artwork) as The Feelies, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and the Talking Heads. So they can pick the non-existent song "Azgorondo Pipula" and call me Felix Arroyo-Bumbershoot for all I care. All I know is motherfuckers in Buenos Aires are muy fresca.

(Thanks to Philip for sending me the magazine.)

Posted by Sasha at 12:50 PM | TrackBack



I am house, hear my funky dolphin roar. (Link courtesy of Matos.)

Posted by Sasha at 09:39 AM | TrackBack



Jessica Hopper:

I was over at a friend's house tonight, eating chocolate bread and watching basketball, talking about how Chicago is the sort of city, once you turn yrself over to it, it is yours forever back. Pulled Sandburg off the shelf, and got the same from him. (On the cover, his picture: so stern with that great, severe middle-part in his greasy mop!) Glad to see nothing at all has changed here since back when everyone shoveled coal for a living. "They tell me you are wicked and I believe them" might be the new greatest pick up line, if I ever become single again.

Carl Sandburg:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.

And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.

And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.

And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

Posted by Sasha at 08:13 AM | TrackBack

February 17, 2004



If you click on this, you have to promise to click on all the sublinks. Gerhart thinks he is writing about a Billy Joel song, but he is doing so much more. (Link courtesy of Keith.)

Posted by Sasha at 08:30 PM | TrackBack



Do you know what happens when the heat's been off for three days? Every part of the house gets cold. CD cases way in the back get cold. Do you know what happens when the oil company comes? Apparently nothing. Do you know what happens when the temperature drops to 55 in the house? The fire alarm goes off because of the variance. Do you know when the alarm goes off? At 5 AM. Do you know who it wakes up? Everybody.

Posted by Sasha at 11:43 AM | TrackBack


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Here is Hua on Tony Kushner's new work-in-progress.

Posted by Sasha at 10:53 AM | TrackBack

February 16, 2004


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You can't run for president, you can't go to the water park, you can't ride the subway. Note to Russian Tourist Board: start giving away those little Faberge eggs with every plane ticket.

Posted by Sasha at 09:44 PM | TrackBack



Anonynous Professor in America Somewhere:

"Why Linton Kwesi Johnson Had Rightful Concerns"

Below is the introduction to a paper I received this week from a student in my Freshman writing class. Remember that this student is enrolled at one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation.

"The type of rap music, chronologically or otherwise, most drastically determines the respective roles lyrics, and the music over which they are placed, will ultimately fulfill. This, for many, however, is a quintessential and omnipresent conflict within music. Linton Kwesi Johnson claimed that "there is always a danger of music dominating the words." When assessing this notion, one must consider the genre of rap, or music in general, that is in question. Chronological era, artistic intent, economic intent (earning power of the song itself), and the physical location of the recording all independently contribute to the capacities words and music satisfy. It is irresponsible to state that all lyrics and all beats can coexist successfully--they cannot. Lyrics and beats are two separate entities that must be reconciled harmoniously. Nevertheless, modern, less politicized, hip-hop rappers haven't the burden of conveying the often-complicated social messages of their predecessors, allowing the modern musical accompaniment to engage in more inconsistent beats and operations in general."

The best thing I can say about this is that it is spell-checked. This piece reminds me of the babelfish online translators: put something into English, translate in into Japanese, then Swedish, then back into English.

How can account for this atrocity? Is this a stupid boy? Is this a boy with better things to do than write a clear, organized paper for his sociology professor? Is this a willful boy, intent on self-sabotage? Or someone who has never been taught how to write, and by extension, how to think?

Perhaps the written word is so foreign to our tongue that to use it is to get lost in translation? Is this our high school English teacher's fault? Did she teach us that we should write in Joyce's voice (or, more likely, in Salinger's or Angelou's)? Do we know our best voice, and if we do, do we associate that with literary effectiveness?

Maybe "chronologically," "quintessential," and "omnipresent' are intellectual passkeys. The writer thought, "She'll read these big words and think I'm smart, and I'll get a good grade." As if intelligence and learning amounted to word-clothing: a prosthetic for the mind.

When I was in college, one of the fraternities encouraged brothers to include a particular word in every essay. I forget what word it was, but the memory makes me think this paper might be a prank. Like a university IA agent checking in to make sure I'm staying on my game.

Come to think of it, perhaps the big words, outrageous claims, and generalized feeling of style over substance is a function of our American relationship to size. Did our English teacher tell us that "bigger is better"? Many of my students associate grandiose claims with rhetorical effectiveness. As in, "ALL people do or say or think the following"...

I am sick of telling you that I do not want the large combo, even if it is only 50 cents more. I am sick of grading.

Posted by Sasha at 08:22 PM | TrackBack


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Adam Harrison-Friday:

Here is a 1998 article by John Simon on David Lehman and the New York School poets. It rips apart Lehman, though is as unkind to the poets he loves. Hope it adds to ongoing dialogue.


Bought a used copy of Ashbery's As We Know yesterday at Housing Works. Tucked into the front pages are a press release and a B&W glossy of Ashbery from the 'Stachic Age. It is the photo you see reproduced so often.

The heat's been off for three days but we don't care: we had a kid-free Valentine's weekend. It was bliss. Got to actually read the paper at Le Zinc. (Staff: lovely. Food: terrible.) We saw Fog of War. (Good website, worth clicking on.) I didn't like Morris' intrusive enhancements (numbers falling from the sky like bombs! cold, calculating numbers!) and I hate the lazy documentary trick of flashing stills to create "motion." And I hate Philip Glass when he is being The Score Composer Who Wears Out His Welcome Long Before He Grabs His Hat. (Here, it took an hour before the score bugged me. In The Hours, I was gripping the armrest within 16 bars.) Interviews with secondary characters would have helped, but Morris got this devil to speak. The movie's hook is a question: Does McNamara understand the consequences of his decisions? Can he really do the math? McNamara admits that "people die in war" and he even points to the abyss once or twice. "Is it moral just because we won?," he wonders, somewhat rhetorically. He won't answer the question. The discussion of the fire-bombing of Japan alone make the film required viewing. (This link is to one of the many pro-military accounts of the bombing and US "victory" online.)

If a huge fireball rolled across the United States, God would yawn and say "What took you so long?"

Blue Ribbon Bakery gets pricey in the entrees, so go for the steak tartare appetizer and you will see God for a reasonable price. Super-friendly staff.

Posted by Sasha at 01:47 PM | TrackBack

February 14, 2004


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The guests will be holding it down here for a while. (I will add some new poems to the (vault) in the next week or two.)

Alex Ross:

Let us pause to remember Leni Riefenstahl, who is probably destined to be left out of the Oscarcast's heartwearming applause-o-meter montage of freshly dead film notables. The source is the archive of the US Military Government in Germany, office of Film, Theater and Music Control, 1945.

“Among many stories being checked out is one that Leni Riefenstahl has been befriended by Colonel O’Neil of CIC, Kitzbuehl, who allowed her to continue cutting the film ‘Tiefland,’ on which she has been working for 4 1/2 years. He also apparently endorsed a proposal to show her Olympic film to troops. She was, of course, working as a personal producer for Hitler on this film. Mr. Sharin stopped work on ‘Tiefland,’ and impounded all of Riefenstahl’s film and equipment. She wept.”

Posted by Sasha at 02:38 PM | TrackBack

February 13, 2004


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Rob Sheffield:

"Oddly enough, the one time I ever got to meet Ashbery, we talked about George Michael. I’m not sure why. This was 1989, 11/15/89 to be exact, he was reading at Virginia, and a bunch of us were standing around trying to impress him by talking about poetry and he was bored out of his skull. He had just read “The Songs We Know Best,” and explained how it was inspired by hearing “Reunited” constantly on the radio, and I asked if he knew Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” which of course has the same melody as “Reunited.” He smiled very graciously and we chatted about George Michael and Wham! for less than a minute and he went back to not saying anything about anything and I was mortified and my friends were furious and I will go to my grave wondering why oh why did I spend my one allotted earthly moment in the presence of this great man talking about George Michael but I guess that’s the double dream of dipshit that I am."

Posted by Sasha at 11:34 AM | TrackBack

February 12, 2004


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Because our kids all go to school together, I've spent the last two afternoons in Washington Market Park with several parents, including Virva Hinnemo. I like her paintings.

Posted by Sasha at 06:46 PM | TrackBack


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Glenn Kenny:

"One of the many reasons to love John Ashbery is his part in bringing Raymond Roussel to the attention of English-speaking readers. The daffy Roussel thought he was going to be Victor Hugo, but ended up the spiritual godfather of the Oulipo group. Ashbery wrote a great essay on Roussel that appears as the intro to the Roussel compendium "How I Wrote Certain of My Books," published by Exact Change. Ashbery also wrote a foreword to the "less annoying" Mark Ford's critical biography "Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams." There's an entertaining essay by Ashbery recounting his Roussel researches in '50s Paris, which earned him the tag "that crazy American." Where Ashbery stands in relation to Roussel formally is a question I will probably never have the luxury of grappling with, but if you delve into Roussel just the littlest bit, you can see how fascinating/vexing it is."

Posted by Sasha at 06:23 PM | TrackBack

February 11, 2004



Jessica Hopper:

I hate to be the asshole, but is Warren Zevon getting the posthumous sympathy vote ("Accidentally Like a Martyr," indeed)? He is sticking out like my mom at a Brand New show in relation to the Pazz & Joppers, especially when he is tied for 36th place for single of the year with Dizzee and Ted Leo. Is this the "Sorry we forgot you...and then it was too late" vote normally saved for '60s R&B legends who are found destitute in a state home in Georgia? Or is Warren Zevon just takin' up the slot normally filled by Jackson Browne's latest album, a favorite of AARP dudes who normally write the Pop Life Column in secondary market dailies? Do not get me wrong, "Werewolves of London" is my jam."


I think it's the "Sorry you're dead" vote, which is not necessarily insincere. There is a line of thought that people should vote only for the records they really thought were "best," which is fine if fairly impossible to apply as a rule. How do you delineate? Is empathy less worthy a reaction than astonishment? I don't doubt that a lot of people listened to his album (is it really called The Wind? If so, he knew the headline he was suggesting) and felt some pretty strong shit. And if Zevon's placement moves some copies of his first three records, right on. Better those than Ted Leo's back catalog.

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Posted by Sasha at 06:56 AM | TrackBack

February 10, 2004


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Posted by Sasha at 03:43 PM | TrackBack


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Too much work to post heavily. I am am reaching for comfort music: upright bass, trashy drum samples, comprehensible rhymes. Listening to the Rhino House of Pain and Del best ofs, the two volumes of Hiero Oldies and the mostest amazingest The Document II from DJ Andy Smith. All of these are available from turntablelab.com, except maybe the Rhino comps.

Posted by Sasha at 10:26 AM | TrackBack


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Nicole Krauss's short story, "The Last Words On Earth."

Posted by Sasha at 08:09 AM | TrackBack

February 09, 2004



Luc Sante:

"If you don't know David Lehman's poetry, don't bother looking it up. You can imagine it, thoroughly. I've known him since college (he's older, but I guess he was in graduate school and still hanging around), and his destiny was written across his face even then. I knew without knowing that he'd end up three decades thence as an official, hat-wearing bien penseur. A generation earlier he would have edited the back of the book at the Saturday Review."

Posted by Sasha at 10:57 PM | TrackBack



Jennifer Lena:

"1. Last night Timberlake's Grammy win (for "Cry Me a River") had him apologizing for Janet-gate ("this has been a hard week for us all" got unexpected laughs) and then claiming that it was "officially the greatest moment of my life." The combination of Timberlake's insincerity (that this was his greatest moment, since other events must be more great) and compulsion to repent the Super Bowl event echoes the Grammy's awards to Zevon & Vandeross. But being dead doesn't make your song better, nor does being hospitalized. So either Timberlake took a tip from the Grammy play book, or the reverse--both are insincere and apologetic.

2. Quentin, who are you kidding? No one.

3. Beyonce is Tina Turner in the opener, Sarah Vaughn for "Dangerously" and boring throughout.

4. If 50 Cent wants that Grammy so much, I challenge him to take on Evanescence in a cage battle. No guns, just knives. They could sing selections from West Side Story.

5. And OH MY GOD ANDRE...last night you changed the way I felt about 1. aliens, 2. indians, and 3. lime green."

Posted by Sasha at 01:16 PM | TrackBack


More on Ashbery/readings/poetry/the biz. Anyone else wanto to jump in, put on your shitkickers and kick some shit.

Jordan Davis:

"There's a whole minor literature waiting to be written on laughter at poetry readings. Some of the laughter is territorial, of course—"I am in this poet's clique and share his outlook"—and some is awkwardness a la the American moviegoing audience's reaction to the kid getting his brains splattered in the back of the car in Pulp Fiction, but there is a low-level chuckling I hear/participate in at a lot of poetry readings which the nearest I can figure is just registering small insights: startlings. It sure as hell isn't intended to indicate uproariousness."

Franklin Bruno:

"Re: Ashbery. First, an hour a week? Not a day? That makes me feel better. Second, and apologies for anything that is not new information, since you sounded like you were going on intuition, I will confirm or at least second it: Lehman is a yahoo and a hanger-on. Antitheory is, as you heard, his thing. The very title of The Last Avant-Garde is a dig at language poetry, as is the final chapter. That book has OK information, but makes the common mistake of ignoring women (Guest, later Notley and Mayer) involved in the (not-a-)School. Ten or more years ago, Lehman also wrote Signs of the Time a pop anti-semiotics-decon-pomo 'expose.' Much of the argument boils down to: DeMan wrote for a collaborationist paper, so fuck 'em all. I don't know his own poetry.

It's said that JA doesn't read academic criticism of his own poetry (I wouldn't either if I were him), but I think he affects a little know-nothingism in on-the-record conversation, again for self-protection, I guess. From what I understand, he'd just as well talk about '30s movies as anything else. The 'author' v. 'idea' bit sounds like someone's paraphrase of something he himself said in an interview, and later disavowed. I just looked in a couple of places for the reference, but I can't find it. But I did find this exchange in a recent interview w/ the less-annoying-than-Lehman Mark Ford (UK poet, strongly supported by JA, I've only glanced at his work):

MF: Did you like rock and roll? I know you once went to a Velvet Underground concert.

JA: That was just an accident -- it was because they were playing at the same time as Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls which I wanted to see. No, I've never had anything to do with rock and roll.

MF: Well, what about that song by Peaches and Cream, which 'inspired' "The Songs We Know Best" in -A Wave-? 'Reunited, dum-de-dum-de-dum...

JA: ...and it feels so good' -- and I'm afraid, dear, it was Peaches and Herb. They were more disco, I think."


Re: week vs. day. It was either unclear from context or it is too bad I didn't take notes. It could have been one hour a day but it really seemed like he meant per week.

Re: JA's gee whiz interface. I noticed it and figured it was part of who he is. I assume he foregrounds it at public events because it gives him a way to guard his cultural capital and not spend the evening breaking up fights. He has strong opinions and chooses to unload them carefully.

Posted by Sasha at 12:27 PM | TrackBack

February 07, 2004


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Last Wednesday, February 4, John Ashbery read at The New School.

Ashbery wore a blue sweater over a white button-up shirt. He is 76 and his hair is white. The mustache has been gone for years but I expected it to appear somehow. His eyes are bright and steady. There is a smile somewhere in his mouth, all the time. He was amused by the turnout. All the seats were filled and students sat and stood in the remaining space. It wasn't a large room.

David Lehman introduced Ashbery. He quoted an essay about Ashbery to get a laugh. Lehman's move was common in every sense: ridicule theory and jargon. The passage quoted was quoted to make fun of scare quotes: the writer said something about decisions made by Ashbery the "author" informing Ashbery the "idea." It was an ugly sentence but I instantly rushed to the author's defense in my head. Lehman reported that Lehman read this to Ashbery over the phone and Ashbery replied "Who is this wiseass?" Lehman reported that Lehman did a lot of things. We got at least one plug for Lehman's recent American Prose Poems anthology before Ashbery read.

Ashbery read the following poems from Chinese Whispers: "A Nice Presentation," "Disagreeable Glimpses," "Theme Park Days," "The Lightning Conductor" and "I Asked Mr. Dithers Was It Time Yet He Said No To Wait." He explained to the "younger" audience members that Mr. Dithers was Dagwood's eternally angry boss in the comic strip "Blondie." I didn't recognize the name, so I got to be younger for once. He then read new poems from MS. One was about how many interesting people there are in Newfoundland and another was a long prose poem. There was a great line about darkness wanting to take us down a peg. I don't know which poem it was in. It wasn't in the Newfoundland poem or the long prose poem.

David Lehman moderated the discussion. He asked most of the questions. In his introduction, he suggested that Chinese Whispers was about how metaphor is itself miscommunication, or that Chinese Whispers is somehow about miscommunication. I get itchy almost every time someone introduces a poet by explaining their work. I am not sure why, since I also get itchy when other people are uncomfortable with theory and criticism. My aversion to cocktail-sized crit has something to do with poetry's built-in comments box and the tendency, especially in 20 c. poetry, for poems to discuss what what they are up to while they are doing it. Maybe it was just that Lehman bugged le fuck out of me.

Lehman asked Ashbery how often he writes. Ashbery said one hour a week, tops. Ashbery quoted Gertrude Stein saying that writing for an hour is plenty. People laughed in that nervous way, as if it would be impolite not to. It was a funny comment but I found myself resisting Ashbery's humor and not for the last time. This is more because I dislike biddable listeners than because I have any distaste of Ashbery. I love Ashbery's humor. I am sure it is why I liked him when I discovered him, though I can't recover the moment I first read him. I have infinite trouble with people laughing at uncomfortable moments in movies and the overall drive to deal with emotion and thinking by laughing at the bits that don't digest immediately.

Lehman went on and on about the one hour of writing. Did you used to write more? No, Ashbery said. It once seemed like there were vast expanses of time but now it doesn't feel that way, so I probably work harder. Lehman continued: If you finish a poem in half an hour, do you keep writing? The crowd was laughing for the right reasons now, because the subject was over and yet Lehman couldn't see it. No, I rarely write more than one poem at a time, Ashbery said. Someone in the audience asked about revisions. I revise as I go, he said. If a poem isn't working, I'll jettison it and write something new.

Lehman asked about the prose poetry, whether writing it is a different process from writing verse. Ashbery said it's pretty easy. Verse poems are different because of how they are laid out on the page. The space leads you to think differently. He said poems are actually pretty easy, too. More laughter, including mine. Lehman asked another question about prose poems and Ashbery suggested that since Lehman edited this prose poetry book, maybe he should answer his own questions. Lehman held up the book and pointed out that the cover image was one of Ashbery's postcard collages, of which he said Ashbery has done "about 20." Ashbery said: I've done quite a few, actually. Then everyone agreed the image--a Western skyline with a superimposed girlie image--was pretty.

Ashbery said the prose poems suggest dreams or read like dreams. He cited the work of Max Jacob, Rimbaud and Baudelaire as influential. He said people don't think of Baudelaire as a prose poet but he was. Ashbery translated Jacob's The Dice Cup in the 1970s, but it is out of print. Someone asked if Ashbery had written poetry in French. Ashbery said Yes, and he had translated it back into English as an experiment, to see if it still sounded like him. He said it did, so he gave up on writing in French. Ashbery is funny. I can't blame anyone for laughing.

One of the poems read from MS was the product of a Bard class Ashbery teaches. Ashbery uses a series of astrological indicators and variables--colors, metals and objects related to each sign--as instigators. His astro poem was good, though I can't remember it. He said he is good at rooting out the "Ashberyisms" in his students.

Ashbery said he writes on a manual typewriter. Someone asked about writing during travel. Ashbery said he likes to see what he's seeing while he travels and rarely writes on the road. He is often "running around" in various cities and doesn't write when he is doing this running around. He has a house in upstate New York. His favorite place to write is New York. He said his work depends on the vernacular and being removed from the hugger mugger of the language of commercial life (my paraphrase, not his words) makes writing in other countries sometimes difficult.

There were several questions about the New York School. This gave David Lehman another chance to talk about David Lehman. Lehman's book The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of The New York School of Poets is about Ashbery, Koch, Schuyler and O'Hara. (Frank O'Hara's sister was in the audience.) Ashbery said what almost everyone says about schools they are included in: We didn't make up the name. He admitted that it was helpful that people generally know who you were talking about when you say "The New York School." He said they wrote for each other in the early days because nobody else cared. His first apartment was on the same block as the New School, 12th between 5th and 6th. It was $100 a month and he had to share with someone because he couldn't afford to pay the rent by himself.

Ashbery told the story about how he found poetry. When he was in high school, he wrote an essay for a competition sponsored by Time magazine. He won and was allowed to choose one of four books as a prize. He didn't want any of them, but one of Louis Untermeyer's poetry anthologies seemed "closer to my interests," so he chose it. That is how he found poetry. Someone mentioned that Untermeyer often included himself in his anthologies, which led Ashebry to read cummings' famous Untermeyer dis rhyme:

"mr u will not be missed who as an anthologist sold the many on the few not excluding mr u"

Ashbery also mentioned that Oscar Williams also included himself in his anthologies, sometimes quite generously. He mentioned that either Williams' wife or Untermeyer's wife (Jean Starr Untermeyer) was the better poet of the couple, but I can't recall which.

Surrealism came up, I forget how. Ashbery said that American surrealism was largely bad imitations of French surrealism. After the war, people wanted "meaning" and Philip Larkin and Robert Lowell became big. He described them as very "serious and sour." That isn't a good way to describe either, though it suggests the larger change in taste, which was the point of his remarks.

There was a discussion of some 40s poets who Ashbery wants to anthologize or otherwise promote. I didn't recognize the names and can't help with this one.

Lehman mentioned that Ashbery once said he wanted to put the film There's Something About Mary in a time capsule. He said yes, it's a very beautiful and funny film and not as gross as the other Farrelly Brother movies. He said he liked Stuck On You, which he described as being about two "conjoined brothers, one of whom is a football player." "One of whom" is the funniest thing I heard all night, but I suppose credit should go to the Farrellys for that.

Someone asked which contemporary poets he likes. Ashbery mentioned Joseph Donahue, Michael Burkard (here's a Burkard poem called "Unappreciated Butterfly") and Fanny Howe, who I love. Lehman said that Ashbery listens to music while he writes. What is he listening to now? Ashbery said Giacinto Scelsi. Ashbery pointed out that most of Scelsi's music was performed and recorded after his death. He said he also listens to Couperin and Rameau.

There were many attractive people at the reading. Poets have both pants and shirts in unusual prints. This I like.

I did not ask questions or cough or kick over over any wine glasses, so I felt my contribution to the event was positive.

Afterwards, I went down to NYU to hear Andy Greenwald talk about his book Nothing Feels Good. It is a book about emo rock bands, including Thursday, The Get-Up Kids and Dashboard Confessional. The crowd was young, almost entirely. Andy was very fluid and articulate, summarizing chapters, telling stories and providing theme digests: online diaries, the lack of a mainstream smash emo band, Chris Carraba's endless touring and ensuing mental instability, the lack of women in emo bands, etc. Afterwards, almost every single person in the auditorium lined up to talk to Andy and have their book signed. It was impressive.

My previous attempts to pin down the nature of emo by referencing punk and hardcore bands have all come up blank. Kids always say No, no, no you don't get it. Chris Ryan reminded me that Jimmy Iovine said Carraba will be the next James Taylor, which is exactly why I couldn't get a bead on this stuff by using Husker Du and Drive Like Jehu as entry points. Emo is sensitive bedroom stuff writ loud, like plugged-in AC folk music. Girl, I hurt so bad, hold my hand. Andy played a tape of people singing along with a Carraba song. I love hearing people sing along. I've never been able to remember a single song by any of these bands, especially Dashboard Confessional.

Then I went out to dinner and had a very excellent drink: the Horse's Neck. Have one now. I said it was related to a mojito, emotionally, but the bartender disagreed.

Posted by Sasha at 07:16 AM | TrackBack

February 06, 2004



Hello. What's up? How are you feeling?

Posted by Sasha at 09:37 PM | TrackBack



There is a town I know. When I go, that's where I'll go.

Terry Hall is the mayor and Missy is the sheriff. You hear Prince's "Pussy Control" when you're on hold with the DMV. Pretty Girls Makes Graves owns all the bodegas. Sunset starts at 2 PM and lasts until 2 AM. Condoms, coffee and vodka are free. Ghostface Killah tends bar at The Rusty Toothpick. He makes a wicked Horse's Neck and will drive you home in his hovercraft if you get too saucy. Nils Bernstein works the door and Julianne Shepherd is the DJ. The town newspaper is free but only comes out once every three months. Every house has a yard and every yard has a dangerous gas-powered flame burning in an urn. When you buy over $400 worth of groceries, you get a free copy of Masterdon Committee's "Funkbox Party." Every Memorial Day, Jack Black reads from Paradise Lost and does an apple bob with Tara Sloane from Joydrop. Bill T. Jones has a talk show on Channel 1 and the work week lasts for only two days. Everybody shares electricity from a generator powered by all the children between the ages of five and ten who run on a treadmill every day from three to five PM. (Depending on the kids' witching hours, it could also be from four to six, but they all sleep peacefully after this.) There are no automobiles. Bumper cars are given free to anyone who can prove to the sheriff that he or she is not an irresponsible, oblivious fanny. There is a forest where people can smoke. It is not particularly near anything but it is fairly pleasant and as long as everyone carries their own ashtray, it won't burn to the ground. People who Google Nelly's "Tip Drill" video are forced to do 20 hours of park maintenance. Nobody says "It's all good." Barring inclement weather, a movie is projected in the main square every night. Dancing is mandatory in all bars. Every Christmas, Neil Tennant and Spoonie Gee light a huge jukebox in front of Town Hall which plays nothing but James Brown for a week.

Feel free to add on.

Posted by Sasha at 08:56 PM | TrackBack

February 05, 2004


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Jennifer Lena with today's link:

The Swipe Toolkit can help you find out how much of you is stuck to the magnet:

"The SWIPE Toolkit is a collection of web-based tools that sheds light on personal data collection and usage practices in the United States. The tools demonstrate the value of personal information on the open market and enable people to access information encoded on a driver's license or stored in some of the many commercial data warehouses."

Posted by Sasha at 03:26 PM | TrackBack

February 04, 2004



Yesterday was Alvar Aalto's birthday.

Posted by Sasha at 02:06 PM | TrackBack



Jennifer Lena writes:

"Urban Pioneer Project.

Capitulation to the profit motive (aka thinly veiled hegemonic control by Media Corp TM), or infrastructure of a modern social movement?"

Posted by Sasha at 01:33 PM | TrackBack


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Doppleganger alerts: Dead ringer for Imre Lakatos at the deli this morning. Dude digging a hole near Washington Market Park looked exactly like Mark King from Level 42. Almost positive I saw Terry Eagleton walking his ferret on Church Street. Saw a woman who looked exactly like Reno sitting on a stoop, holding a dog and smoking. (That one may be real.)

Posted by Sasha at 10:47 AM | TrackBack

February 03, 2004


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If you are out and about Wednesday night, come to The New School. I will be there to hear John Ashbery read and talk. Here are the details:

Wednesday, February 4, 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5.
The New School will present a reading and discussion with John Ashbery, author of Your Name Here. David Lehman will moderate.

Posted by Sasha at 08:50 PM | TrackBack



That dis was for the daily readers. Free, for the streets. The photo stays. An hallucination of Havana, found right here on Walker.

Posted by Sasha at 06:43 PM | TrackBack



As they are not of general interest and out of step with the dominant discourse here at Blabutron 3000, the poems will get their own little link onna right hand side. This page will be updated periodically and without announcement. I will probably post whatever I have of my scrawny MS right now and be done with it. Let the poppers pop and the breakers break. And the posters post. (As a bonus for time-killers, I will replace the poems I extract with special buried posts in the archive.)

Posted by Sasha at 06:30 PM | TrackBack


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Andy Bey's new CD, American Song, was playing in one room and the kids were watching Rolie Polie Olie in another. That accounted for a certain kind of din, but there was audio I couldn't place. A woman was singing a slow rendition of Chet Baker's "There's A Lull In My Life." The sound wasn't coming from the CD, Real Audio hadn't popped up in Safari to promotize me and there was no-one singing diegetically on the TV. I couldn't find the music, and it was getting louder. I opened the door to the apartment stairwell and there was a woman, right there, singing as she ascended to the fifth floor. It was Jane, who lives in the back of Pete and Kristi's apartment upstairs. She's not the techno party rat photographer nor is she the shut-in smoking fiend. She is Jane. We chatted--turns out she's a singer/actress. It was nice/great. She can really sing.

Posted by Sasha at 03:39 PM | TrackBack


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The only problem with getting a gold tooth is the part where you don't actually get to keep the gold tooth, because when it was installed it hurt more than you expected and fell out, into your food, and this happened because the gold crown was adhering, valiantly, to a bit of molar that turned out to be cracked so all the root canal malarkey was a huge waste of time and money because the tooth was subsequently removed, entirely, and there is, not surprisingly and not yet, no effective market in used gold crowns. Gold, yes. Teeth, no, not as long as the tooth-bearer is alive.

Posted by Sasha at 03:27 PM | TrackBack


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"Ah, that's far enough. We'll finish cutting it in half next week."

Posted by Sasha at 03:18 PM | TrackBack


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My Friend Put Me On, Subsection: Warring Employers:

Hip-hop guys like to be unpleasant and "shoot" people and record revolting sex skits. If "skills" are "in effect" and the beats are "dope," I can be distracted. (Luckily for Rap-A-Lot records, self-delusion must have clinical efficacy only for the length of the song in question. [Has anyone pointed out that fancy-pants organic nuts and berries hip-hop doesn't violate the four-minute song rule any more often than mersh hip-hop does? I mean, thank God. Who the fuck would want 20 minutes of Blackalicious? It isn't gonna be like Joe Budden doing "10 Mins," is it? Oh, God, a little hobbit is gonna email me now about some "great" 15-minute Mikah-9 answering machine message. Argh. Bracket?] Paren?)

The following people cannot distract us from their ghastly and stupid subject matter: The Bravehearts' new album, We Can Make You Nostalgic For Mel Gibson, is listenable only for the few minutes when producers Jungle and L.E.S. sample the Jungle Brothers' "The Promo," which The Bravetards still manage to ruin. There is a skit involving both forced sex and gunplay which would be vile if it wasn't so badly written and recorded. For all I know, The Braidedfarts are making sandwiches and using a nail gun improperly in the skit. I can only hope. "B Train" is OK because the beat is a passable "Grindin'" imitation and the song is over quickly. (I am entering "Intro" as the worst intro ever in hip-hop history.)

The Bravehearts are lapped only by the Young Gunz in the sexual violence Olympics. Since they're all still teenagers, this says something super-fucked about the current cultural waterline. Not new, just worse.

Memphis Bleek comes off slightly better on his new straight-to-dollar-bin album, My Name Is Unbelievably Stupid, because his boss is nice enough to rap on his dumb records ("I advance myself and pay myself back/Huh, you gotta love that") and Armadale Vodka makes enough profit to pay for Just Blaze's mortgage. Probably terrified that Kanye West will get all of his gigs, Blaze raps on the album's best track, "Just Blaze, Bleek and Free." It helps to be friends with Freeway, who improves anything he gets near with his magical mouth. Jay's "Murder Marcyville" reappears here as "Murda Murda" with Memphis re-rapping..the...hook (sorry, nodded off) and a new little keyb hook, though the beat remains the same.

And in the third corner of our cube, the Bobby Digital presents Northstar. For Corpo Paymasters, the sticker "Bobby Digital Presents" ranks just below "Contains Traces of Lead and Phen Phen" in commercial appeal. Silly corporate clowns can't recognize the real! After his decent 2003 album, Birth of A Prince, RZA has blessed us with a CD worth the $3.99 Kim's will charge for each of the 18 copies sitting in the Used section. Words you did not expect to read: Armand Van Helden produced two of the tracks. Four tracks produced by RZA, two by Mathematics and one by DR Period. The reason to buy the record, which sucks, is "Duckie," a nice throwback produced by Mathematics. I actually hate this record, too, but it felt like the rhetorical moment to shift gears. Just go to Fluxblog and download "Duckie," because these cockhammers don't really need to be encouraged. Somewhere, an auto body shop is waiting for two new employees.

The Bleek probably has four or five decent tunes, all told. I suppose that's "blazing" in 2004 math.

Breaking news: go run and get the soundtrack from Barbershop 2, rip Sleepy Brown and Outkast's "I Can't Wait" and the retardedly great remix of Mya's "Fallen" and listen to them endlessly. The Floetry and Mos Def song is pretty good, too. Other than that, you get a good Clipse beat with a bad Clipse rhyme, terrible G-Unit and a song by D-12, which is code for "Put This CD Down and Walk Away." Sounds like more d/l action for you and your soulseeking, acquisitive self.

Inspirational verse: Andre 3000: "I'm in the Southern states, you know, where all the pimps be dressing all boogie and carrying ugly cups./And yes, you're getting booed if your shit do not get down/and yes, you're getting sued by women who didn't get up out they seat on the bus/and feet shouldn't rust, and beat is a must and we shouldn't lust but we do./I'm laughing at the calendars and clocks,/ascot to match the socks./What's in your speakerbox?/(Pink and blue.)/You're lollygagging, you're slow-poking,/you got me open,/your'e playing with me./Darling, I''m not a toy./As if Anita Baker brings the joy, you're kinda the Tyner, meaning the real McCoy./I can't wait."

Posted by Sasha at 02:43 PM | TrackBack


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Do rock critics recline in the shade of their own homemade family trees? Ask the bear in the woods, god.

Keith Harris swings the censer over at Useful Noise.

Up next: New Order is to Tony Wilson as John Milton is to Oliver Cromwell.

Posted by Sasha at 12:42 PM | TrackBack



Any time a Swedish snowboard champion releases an album named after Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous house, we will be there. It may be three months after the official release date, but we will be there nonetheless. For you.

The video for "Lady Stardust" suggests two things: 1) This album doesn't have a song as good as "Driving One Of Your Cars." 2) Lisa decided to switch age demos. Fewer power chords. More forgiving, loose-fitting clothes. More star imagery. We have yet to receive the album, so don't blame us if it is very un-x-treme.

Posted by Sasha at 12:22 PM | TrackBack



Franklin Bruno:

"Since you asked, here's what I wrote to Jordan Davis on the subject, plus a bit more.


Your classic : indie :: Catholic : Protestant analogy is very rich, though I don't know about all your specific spinoffs, and 'indie' probably has a narrower connotation for me. (Tracy Chapman?) What it made me think is that the underlying beliefs and goals of both denominations are the same, but that indie wants to get at whatever transcendence is available without (a) high ritual (b) the permission of Church (i.e. music industry) authority, the aim being to put the means of salvation into the hands of the people. Also:

massive tour = Papal visit
LA/NY record company = Vatican
arena = cathedral
vocal/instrumental chops = Latin
rock stars = priests
studio gloss = illustrated manuscripts
bad contracts = tithing

get-in-the-van = itinerant preaching
indie label = storefont church
basement/crappy club = Quaker meeting room
lack of vocal/instrumental chops = vernacular
band indistinguishable from audience = lay ministry
4-tracking = cheaply printed Bibles (for home study)
support-your-local-scene = community service

So maybe Sasha's right, and the difference between punk and indie-rock is the difference between Protestanism in general and its Puritan strain. This is hardly a new charge, but it's usually just meant as a comment on sexual repression. (And maybe attitude toward 'selling out': I saw Goody Westerberg with the Devil!) Of course, each term of both binaries are concerned with sexual frustration, but the first term channels it into other forms of sensuality, while the other attempts complete denial. All this makes grunge (Soundgarden/STP, not Nirvana) = the Counter-Reformation. (And this whole parlor game is totally rockist.)

Me, I'm either some sort of Unitarian, or a liberation theologist -- The Mekons are the latter, explicitly so on "The Olde Trip To Jerusalem." But I'd rather be a Gnostic, or a Neo-Platonist heretic like my forbearer Giordano Bruno. And Sasha, as I already told him, is an apostate, secretly sneaking back on occasion to say the rosary = play "How The West Was Won."

Posted by Sasha at 08:27 AM | TrackBack

February 02, 2004



Joshua Clover comments on one of my previous posts re Landesman:

"If we're calling bullshit on America, let's not point too urgently at "above and beyond the law" -- profit-taking criminals seem to be a fairly consistent worldwide phenomenon. I think it's a lot more important how America sets the conditions for commercial sex trade inside and within its laws. They got burros and pimps everywhere. What lots of countries don't have is, basically, NAFTA and its variations. NAFTA has thousands of impacts, even if you just look specifically at labor conditions at the US/Mexican border. One of them is the horrific wave of murders of Mexican women in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua since NAFTA's onset. Another is a labor market that totally depends on paying workers in devalued currencies -- the exportation of immiseration that is America's great historical invention in "world systems." One effect of that is that the urge to find ways to make a buck rather than a peso for a work-unit skyrockets. This effectively guarantees an influx of unskilled and undocumented workers, who have no legal recourse once they cross the river. Combine this with a systemic sexism (on both sides of the border) which just plain cares less what happens to women, and it's boom times for the sex trade. This is just one example of ways that the *legal* organization of our country provides for such outrages. We should all worry about the villains we folks mostly never meet. But if we supported Bill Clinton, engineer of GATT/NAFTA, we shouldn't feel too proud of, say, thinking the current president is a dick. So (a) being on the side of the law has no moral authority here, and (b) changing lawmakers within current structures won't make a difference. Believing in the law, or the lawmakers offered us as choices, is a defensive delusion here; change won't happen at that level; we're complicit, among other ways, in every moment that we imagine sex slavery and rape culture can be dissolved without massive, deep shifts in social organization. It's gonna take a riot, and then another, and then..."

Posted by Sasha at 08:36 PM | TrackBack



Elvis turns out to be our gateway celebrity. Who do we see on the way to school this morning? Eric Bogosian parking his Montero Sport at the corner of West Broadway and Worth. That's who.

Davin Kolderup writes: "The real Beatles don't actualy do the voices of the Beatles in 'Yellow Submarine.' They're mostly British TV actors."

True! From this article: "There had been discussions about using the Beatles to do the voice track, but since it was impossible to get all four together for recording sessions, professional voice artists were used instead. Coates says none of the Beatles were pleased with the voices chosen to represent them, but they all loved the rest of the film. Apparently the press wasn't told that voice artists had been used to do the Beatles' voices as Variety (July 24, 1968) announced to the world that, "The Beatles' voices are instantly recognizable as their own." The film's credits simply list Paul Angels, John Clive, Dick Emery, Geoff Hughes and Lance Percival as "voices" without saying which parts each person performed. A published report says Clive did the voice of John, Hughes did Paul, Peter Batten did George and Angels voiced Ringo."

Posted by Sasha at 09:38 AM | TrackBack

February 01, 2004



We never get to celebritize!

We also never go to spots this nice, but tonight we got to rock the corpo plastic at Nobu, which deserves whatever retarded rep it has. Food was bananas. How did we get in? Apparently the Super Bowl happened today and nobody eats sushi when that's going on. Adorable.

So who's eating edamame at the table across from us? Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Moby and five other filler people. Fine. Here's the upgrade: For reasons unbeknownst to audience members, Elvis, Diana and Moby decided to rock Post-Its on their foreheads for close to an hour. Don't know what was written on them but I am sure it was delightfully relevant to something. I did not send Elvis a drink, despite wanting to desperately. 1981: Palladium: me, turning 14, Elvis touring on Trust. Squeeze opened.

Posted by Sasha at 11:02 PM | TrackBack


jersey barrier.jpg

Got that tripod, y'all. For this, we hug the Lady. And for the best birthday card ever, we hug the child.

Watched Yellow Submarine with the boys, who had never seen it.

"That's not a cyclops. It's got two eyes."

"Well, then it must be a bicyclops."


"Go Glove, point. And having pointed, pounce!"


"I haven't laughed so much since Pompeii."

The Beatles speak so quietly. Ringo is easily the best. John is unexpectedly flat. George is expectedly quiet. Paul is unexpectedly deep-voiced.

Older. Interesting round of questions at the party last night: How old do you feel? Mentally? Emotionally? Physically? No median answer.

Psychic update, which could have been issued at any point in the last two years: I cannot get it up for details and repeated iterations. I have no diminution in feeling for pop music--I could name 100 songs right now that I'd scale an oily, bad-smelling obstruction to hear. And those 100 may have grown in potency for me: some pieces are like back-up engines or sofas now. But the passable imitations, endless commentaries, rough drafts, ephemera, bad revivals, deep hagiographies? I could care less.

This is nothing but good.

A long, chatty music post soon.


Posted by Sasha at 09:34 AM | TrackBack