Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Waking Up From History?
But before I get into that, I want to add that Obama last night did what I have been waiting to see a Democratic candidate do: took the time to lay out a case for liberal economic policy. It's something that has frustrated me for years. But it's more and more clear that this guy just knows what he's doing. No, I don't think he's some kind of liberal messiah. Hell, he's already pissed me off with his cave on the FISA bill. But I guess I'm really sick of this attitude I hear from a lot of people that they are just above politics. "They're all liars." Or "I won't vote for the lesser of two evils." It's an attitude that has more to do with making yourself look cool and independent than with the political reality. And of course, it's the attitude I had eight years ago, when I cast my vote for Ralph Nader.
I was pretty dissatisfied with Bill Clinton's administration. I was a radical liberal, and it frustrated me that Clinton leaned so far right, to my mind. He started out well, lifting the "gag rule" on doctors, trying to lift the ban on gays in the military (which ended up in a wishy-washy compromise), trying to pass some sort of universal health care bill (which ended up in such a disaster that it probably set the cause back several years, although under the circumstances it's hard to say). After that, he pretty much laid low, kept the economy on track, and ran as unconrtovercial an administration as possible (which didn't keep Republicans from declaring war on him, of course). I felt like the liberals in the Democratic party weren't being listened to, and until we made a stand we wouldn't be. So we would vote for Nader, cost Al Gore the election, and in 4 years, have a much more liberal candidate.
Remember two things. First, Al Gore was not running as the guy we know from An Inconvenient Truth. He was a boring, middle of the road Democrat who never mentioned the environment. Second, Bush was also running as a moderate. He would be a "compassionate conservative." He was "a uniter, not a divider." It's not like the other choice was Pat Buchannan or someone. I didn't agree with his philosophy, but he didn't seem like he'd be a disaster, either.
I even remember trying to give the guy a chance once he got elected. I hated the tax cuts, but hey, it was what he ran on. Can't really expect any different. Then 9/11 happened. And America went a bit crazy. And the next thing we know, we're in Iraq. And you know, I wasn't in favor of Iraq, but I do recall being further to the right than most liberals I knew on the issue. I didn't think there was anything morally wrong with invading Iraq, it just seemed like a bad idea. And I assumed that Hussein probably did have WMD's. Mostly, by this time, I was getting sick of George W. Bush. It wasn't that invading Iraq seemed like a horrible thing to do, it was the fact that this guy who had barely won the election (and lost the popular vote), after campaigning on being a uniter, was running the most active, go-it-alone administration in recent history. What the hell gave him the right?
Well, by 2004, it was obvious that Iraq had been a disastrous decision, and that we had been lied to in order to get us to go along with it. The choice seemed clear: Bush had to be fired. But he wasn't. I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out what happened on November 4, 2004. I know John Kerry ran a horrible campaign. He never attacked Bush's incompetence, he was way to long-winded and wishy washy, and I suppose a lot of people just thought he seemed too much like the Rich Snob from some 80's comedy. But still...Bush should have been fired. This should have been obvious. A dead opossum from the side of the road would be a better pick than Bush. Maybe the rest of the country was still a little crazy from 9/11. By the next year, after Katrina, most Americans had come over to our side, but it was too late.
And this is why, I think, so many liberals still don't believe Obama's going to win. They say it's because they're afraid of voter supression, or hacked voting machines, but the real issue is that we just honestly don't know how the fuck he won last time. It's a mystery to us, and probably always will be. And the thing is, he actually got worse! It's almost funny how bad a president he's been, this bizarre funhouse nightmare. But no matter how far down you go, there always seems to be another floor below you. President Palin. A charicature of a charicature.
But seriously, after that fuck up, I don't think I'll ever say "I refuse to vote for the lesser evil" again. There is always a lesser evil. And it's usually the democrat. After 2004, I re-registered. I had been registered as an Independent (or actually, it was something like "decline to state"). After that election, I changed my affilliation to Democrat. What I was rejecting was the idea that your political party defines you, and that by rejecting political parties you are defining yourself as a non-conformist free-thinker. Who you vote for isn't a self-defining act of purity. It's a pragmatic choice between the options presented. If you want the Democratic Party to look more like Ralph Nader, work from inside it to make it so. Ditto if you want the Republican Party to look more like Ron Paul or whomever.
At the same time, in almost the opposite direction, Bush galvanized my loyalty to the Democratic Party. After 8 years of Bush, who can argue with Bill Clinton? He ran the country well, and part of that was probably his moderacy. It's going to be a hard process to back off from the radicalism that Bush injected me with, but I think it's important to remember that there is a legitimate disagreement between right and left on economic policy, and on foriegn policy. (I do think that running the country on debt, as Bush did, was an objectively bad policy, and I think we can agree that the Iraq war did not work out well.) Now, the anti-gay, anti-science, anti-choice crowd can fuck off, but on economics and foriegn policy, there's room for different views. I know what my views are, but I'm open to hearing others. After all, we have to share this country with people who hold very different views, and if we're going to end up with a compromise that everyone can live with, there needs to be a dialogue. Which maybe is why Obama will make a damn good president. And I really believe he will. He won't be anything like my ideal candidate, but he's the guy we need to...OMG! I just realized that the Cowboy's dialogue from the beginning of Lebowski is totally about Obama. "Sometimes there's a man...I won't say a hero, cuz what's a hero?...but sometimes there's a man who just fits in with his place and time." Yeah, that's exactly what I wanted to say.
(One more thought: I used to split with the Democrats on several key issues. I thought their attitude toward guns was rather hysterical, I was pro-death penalty, I generally like the idea of more local autonomy for schools, and I never liked the way they went after cigarette manufacturers. Well, the cigarette thing is over, so why worry about it, and even the liberals who still don't like guns have figured out that strict gun control is a losing issue that costs us too much political capital, and reading about The Innocence Project has pretty much reversed my take on the death penalty, and No Child Left Behind basically scrapped the GOP's allegience to local autonomy in education, at least as I understand it. So there's really not much holding me back from being a Democrat now.)
Monday, October 27, 2008
Punk Single of the Week: Raymond McCallister and his Orchestra
Raymond McCollister and his Orchestra w/Betty Coral - Chilli Dippin' Baby
OK, this one isn't punk, but it's cool as hell. Found this in a flea market in LaGrange, probably for a dime. Red vinyl, cool title, figured I'd pick it up. A nifty little piece of country swing. The B-side is a ballad called "Cryin' River," which isn't as cool, and is much more scratchy, so I just uploaded the A. Google tells me that the singer's name was Betty Coral, but I can't find much more information on it.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The Silent Movie Theater, 8pm, October 31:
Cinefamily Halloween Party
What better location for a Halloween throwdown than at a place with serious Hollywood Gothic history (just Google our name plus "Laurence Austin"). First, we all sit down and watch The Tingler, William Castle's weirdo masterpiece of gimmickry about a lobster-shaped creature which feeds on terror within the human body! Aside from being the first film to utilize LSD as a plot device, the original theatrical run was presented in "Percepto," whereby theater patrons were given electric shocks in their seat to simulate the monster's attack. The result, of course, was giddy insanity as Price's voice urges patrons to "scream for your lives!" Best of all, The Tingler features a major subplot based on the Silent Movie Theatre itself and its original owners, the Hamptons (Castle even used our space for exteriors). Feel a tingle up your spine as you watch this scenes from this classic set in the location you're sitting in...and maybe a tingle on your tuchas when we shock you Castle-style with real wired seats! Once the movie's over, we're gonna clear the couches, make a dance floor, and have a real monster mash! Vittles and libations! Costume prizes! Karaoke on the big screen! Halloween!
The Tingler Dir. William Castle, 1959, 35mm, 82 min.
Next, the best obituary for Rudy Ray Moore out there. There's video, mp3's of both comedy and Rythm and Blues, personal stories, and the best description of Dolemite! I've ever read:
I first watched Dolemite years ago and thought it was one of those hilarious so-bad-it-has-to-be-good films. But a few years experience and a bit more research has changed my mind. Sure, the film is a bit on the inept side, but it was made almost completely by amateurs on a shoe-string budget and, well, it's supposed to be a comedy. So if you just flow with Dolemite's own loose vibe, it is really a delight. Not only that, but it was one of the few blaxploitation films of the era to really be born, financed, and made for the community. Melvin Van Peebles' Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song was the groundbreaker, but Dolemite is like watching Jr. High school kids playing Sweetback in the back-yard - adding all the toilet humor and silly chop-socky action that was missing from the more serious film.
And this great story:
I didn't get much of a chance to show Rudy the Boston sights that day, because he was on a mission. The night before he had scoured the Boston phone book to find the best dollar store in town. "You have to find the one where everything really is a DOLLAR," he exclaimed loudly into my ear. "Everything else is just bull-shit". Why he would want to travel across country just to visit a Boston dollar store was beyond me, but I was happy to oblige. We spent an hour roaming the aisles of Family Dollar, with Rudy chatting up the customers, proclaiming soul brothers, and cooing over babies, while Napoleon grabbed some of the strangest items: twelve back scratchers, a bunch of canes, rubber toy snakes, and some horrible plastic jewelry. Afterwards, I left them back at the hotel to relax before the show.
One of the most impressive things I learned from Rudy Ray ("Just call me Dolemite, dammit") Moore was frugality. He came to Boston by flying into the cheaper Providence airport then taking the commuter train into town. He refused to order drinks at the restaurant, and instead asked for a glass of water and a plate of lemon slices, which he then mixed with a couple of sugar packets to make free homemade lemonaide. But best of all, was his merch table that night before his appearance. He not only had his new Dolemite DVDs, autographed photos, and CDs for sale - but there on the table was all the stuff from the dollar store! He had glued gems and rubber snakes to the back scratchers and canes and selling them as autographed Dolemite pimp gear for $15-$20. Genius! My Dolemite back scratcher still hangs in a place of prominence in my home.
God, that's great stuff. And there's several other stories just as good, so read the whole piece.
And this is the best paragraph I've yet read about Sarah Palin and/or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler:
Unsurprisingly, right wing pundits are taking the bait, and using Palin as a tool to bash feminism with, and frankly putting feminism up as a voting issue, as if you can just vote it out of existence by voting for McCain/Palin. I think, though, that these tactics are being deployed in a media environment where the concept of what a woman can be and what she can be motivated by has changed rapidly in just a few years. In the past, when right wingers carried on about harridan feminists who picked on sweet little right wing women who fulfill your fantasies, said feminists were also a fantasy---few had a real face or name to the public that would provide decent counter to the accusation. But now the evil feminists being accused of jealousy by Bill Bennett and others are women like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, who certainly can’t be accused of having such shallow motivations. And hell, those feminists are Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who’ve made Sarah Palin a massive target of their biting satire, and they can’t be accused of being dried up harridans who are taking out their own manless and childless frustrations on our political environment. Hell, one of the pleasures of seeing a very pregnant Poehler rip into Palin on “SNL” was that her body silently rebuked the accusations being peddled out on right wing talk radio day in and day out, that feminists are these inhuman beasts who hate Palin because she’s not in the avoid-motherhood-through-frequent-abortion club that many right wingers seem to believe in, despite the utter lack of evidence for such a club.
And Joe Stumble has a lengthy look at the 80's New Jersey hardcore scene, complete with a nice, long podcast, that's well worth a read:
Back in the day, hardcore thought it was all about being “street” and “urban”. All of us hardcore kids were trying to prove how tough we were in our respective cities. Problem was, most of us were from the suburbs. Where punk was an urban phenomenon, usually centered around wealthier kids who were slumming it in the streets, hardcore was a suburban phenomenon. It was centered around middle class kids from the outlying boroughs. Take the Necros, for instance, they weren’t from Cleveland or even Toledo, they were from Maumee. Now I understand that this is a generalization and I’m sure plenty of readers can prove me wrong by pointing out that innner city scene full of working class kids and there were exceptions (Boston and NYC come to mind) but generally, hardcore was suburban.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Hillbilly Frankenstein, 1994
The clip has footage of Hillbilly Frankenstein performing "Pitchin' Woo" from Hypnotica, and "Raw Bone," which I believe was released as a 7" before they broke up. There's also a very brief bit of one of their best songs, "(You've Gone From) High Class to Trailer Trash," which was never released. My other favorite Athens act, Redneck GReece Deluxe, had written a similar song called something like "(You've Gone From) Blue Blood to White Trash." HF clearly ripped the whole concept off, but I think they came up with a stronger song. I wish it had been released in some form. I still have HF's amazing album Hypnotica posted here. Go'n git it!
Punk Single of the Week: We Can't Help It If We're From Florida
The whole thing (.rar file), artwork included.
A very important record for Florida hardcore, and actually one of the first punk records I ever bought (I think I got Kick Out the Jams the same day). 13 songs by five Florida bands crammed onto a 7".
First up is Hated Youth. This is the type of hardcore that was immensely popular, and that I hated: DRI, MDC, Ill Repute, The Clit Boys, all these bands that played really fast but had no songs, no style, nothing going for them but speed. Hated Youth are usually compared to DRI, but if you can tell the difference between the DRI sound and the MDC sound, you're doing better than me. But OK, having said all that, I have to admit that "Hardcore Rules" is a bit of a guilty pleasure. The bizarre intro ("My name. Is. God...FUCK YOU!"), the speed, the anthemic chorus:
No more cool
We need more
POETRY! The lyric sheet doesn't have any words for the verses, and I suspect he's just yelling "Watermelon cantelope, watermelon cantelope, watermelon cantelope, WATERMELON CANTELOPE!" This session actually produced 13 songs, which were finally released on a 7" by Burrito Records in 2000. Burrito also released a split LP of some later Hated Youth material with a live Roach Motel set on the flipside.
I remember that, when I wrote an article on local punk for the school newspaper, I included the factoid that Sector 4 were named one of the "up and coming trios" by Maximum Rock n Roll. I can't remember where I even got that from, but even in that weirdly specific category, I can't imagine how anyone thought there was anything special about "White House," a typical anti-Reagan hardcore song which was comped on Killed by Florida. "Plaid Spaceship" is about 5 seconds long. Every hardcore band had a song like that, and they all thought they were the cleverest motherfuckers on earth for doing it. The following year, Sector 4 released the Disc-lexia 7", so maybe there's some better stuff on that.
I kinda like Morbid Opera. They play a weird mixture of hardcore and garage rock with high-pitched female vocals and tinny production that somehow works for their particular sound. "Eat the Rich" has a nice, catchy riff, and "Polyester Pig" takes the squealing vocals to the limit (note the non-lyrics on the lyric sheet), but for some reason "White Flag" is the song that was comped on Killed by Florida. They put out another, much better single the following year called Jesus Loves You So Give Us Your Money, which has more of a garage rock sound.
Roach Motel were one of the biggest bands on the scene, and in fact were the ones that organized this single. They were a rowdy, hard drinkin' band, and their music was aggressive and funny at the same time. The three songs here are good, although their later records (especially Roach and Roll) were a bit better. "My Dog is into Anarchy" is the obvious standout, but I also love "Florida Reptile Land," a great tribute to those low-rent tourist traps that you see in the boondocks of inland Florida, that you're always afraid to go to because it might be some kind of Texas Chainsaw Massacre situation.
And the best is saved for last. Rat Cafeteria were sort of legendary because of how scarce the record of them was. These two songs are the only things they ever recorded (or at least the only stuff that was ever pressed), and every time they were supposed to play live, they'd either pass out drunk or get arrested before it was time for them to go on. While Roach Motel have a reputation as good-ol-boy juvenile delinquent types, Rat Caf's reputation (and rep is all I really have to go on) were as genuine menaces to society. Some of this might be The Power of Myth, but the songs sure do bear it out--two of the best pieces of ultra-agressive hardcore I've ever heard. The lyrics are scary. If Travis Bickle had a punk band, "Kill" is the song he would write. And "Tax Revolt sounds like it was written by Randy Weaver.
The Vulgar Boatmen - Monkey Jungle Breakdown
Just because I think it goes well with "Florida Reptile World," a tribute to Monkey Jungle from the Florida compilation The Land That Time Forgot. More info on the Florida scene can be found here, here and here.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Also, nothing to do with anything, but I like this kinda-glamorous headshot Sarah Vowell has been using.
Almost Louise Brookes-ish, right?
Monday, October 20, 2008
It's Weird Being 40
It's an awkward age, just like your tweens are awkward. I'll be describing someone as "an older guy," then I'll realize they're probably about my age. In fact, it's hard to figure out how old or young people are compared to me. I've started playing a game on the rare occasions I go out to a rock club, called Who Is Older Than Me? It's hard to figure out sometimes. Your whole point of reference is messed up. Is my self-image that inherently young?
Sometimes I have these weird, disorienting revelations. Like now, for instance, I was just thinking about that show 30 Someting. That was on when I was in college, and it was about baby boomers, and they were younger than I am now! What the fuck?
Rudy Ray Moore (1927-2008)
Standup comdedian, singer, actor, writer, and the embodiment of American Badassitude, Rudy Ray Moore has passed from this world. He is best know as the star of Dolemite!, the most ridiculous (or at least the most entertainingly ridiculous) movie to come out of the blaxploitation genre (although Moore, like many of the genre's stars, hated the term "blaxploitation," and thought it was the equivalent of "nigger"). Dolemite! has some of the best one-liners in the history of cinema. Well, actually, some of them end up being two or three liners, like "Fuck you, you born-insecure, rat soup eatin', junkyard MORTHERFUCKER!" Check out the amazingly funky drum break going on in the background of the above scene! Even funkier is the Hamburger Pimp's Theme. A couple years ago, I saw Moore introduce the film in person at the Egyptian. He walked into the room handing out red roses to all the girls in the theater! Anyway, during the Q&A, he told the story of casting the Hamburger Pimp. The guy they cast was not an actor, but an actual junky haning out on the street near where they were filming. You can probably guess how this story goes. He filmed half his scenes, then refused to continue unless they scored him some dope. So in the middle of filming, the director had to go score heroin for the guy!
Moore's comedy routines include "toasting" or "signifying"--the recital of storytelling poetry--and he carried these routines into the Dolemite films. Moore probably didn't write any of these routines. "The Signifyin' Monkey," which he recites in the film's climactic scene, can be found in similar forms in the early 20th century (oops, had to edit that--I said "this century." Come on, Chris, we're 8 years into a new one!), and can be traced back to African mythology.
the sequel, The Human Tornado, is even crazier, and more clearly a comedy, but I like the more deadpan humor of the original (just as I find the straight-faced Evil Dead funnier than it's slapstick sequel). The Avenging Disco Godfather and Petey Wheatstraw, The Devil's Son-in-Law, are also pretty funny. He made some more sequels to Dolemite in his later years, although I haven't watched any of them. He's also produced a pile of raunchy comedy albums and a few kickin' rhythm and blues records. Here's a good one, probably from the late 50's, courtesy of Rev. Frost:
Friday, October 17, 2008
If You Love America, Pay For It
This was filmed on my street, right in front of my house. It was a pain in the ass all day. The part that takes place on a palm tree-lined street in South Central or LBC or East L.A., is in fact Eagle Rock. This is the first time I've seen it. And now for your random political rant of the week...
I keep thinking about the exchange from the Biden-Palin debate, on the subject of whether paying taxes is patriotic. I'd just like conservatives to decide whether they love the government or hate it, to take some kind of consistent position on it. Are we capable of trusting the government with unlimited powers of surveilence, torture, extradition and pre-emptive war, or are we incapable of trusting the government to provide social programs like Medicare and WIC without devolving into a dictatorship within a generation?
That's what kills me about the taxes thing. If you voice disagreement with the decision to go to war, you're being unpatriotic--hell, you're a traitor. Why is it not considered unpatriotic to throw a tantrum when it's time to pay for that war?
Sometimes they'll come back with an argument about the American Revolution. The revolutionaries were patriots, and they were fighting against taxes. Wasn't the Boston Tea Party a big, patriotic tax revolt? There are some obvious problems with that (the primary objection was to "taxation without representation," and we have representation now), but yes, that matches up well with patriotism as the founding fathers understood it. But it has absolutely nothing to do with patriotism as it's generally described by the contemporary right wing, as an absolute love-it-or-leave-it support of the President and all his decisions (which of course wasn't the case when the President was Clinton, but don't get me started on that line). So they have this slippery definition of patriotism--it means different things from moment to moment, depending on what they want it to mean.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Punk Single of the Week: Dogbowl
This bizarre tune is a pretty good representative of my aesthetic values. I heard this song once on the radio back in the early 90's, and it stuck in my mind to the point where sometimes, 15 years later, I'd find myself singing it in my head. A couple months ago, I went to Amoeba Music to spend a gift certificate, and spent a half hour thumbing through their dollar singles bin, and lo and behold, there's that Dogbowl 45. And it sounds exactly like I remember. There seems to be no filter, no internal editing process, between the man's mind and the recording. It just comes straight from the subconscious. You can find the A-side on this anthology, the B-side (possibly a reference to X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes?) doesn't seem to be available anywhere. The artwork is a bit NSFW (it has doodled titties on it), so I only posted the back cover (which merely has a doodle of a guy with his eyes pulled out and "fuck" written on his leg, much more socially acceptable), but I posted the whole thing in the "artwork" file.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
The Republican Party's Transformation Into a Violent Mob
...and even more so in light of this post. And even funnier when you see a thread like this one on the Free Republic Forums:
The purpose of this thread is to help Freepers and lurkers decide upon what the best mode of self defense would be in the case of the breakdown in social order such as happened with the Rodney King riots.
This scenario is called the SHTF scenario, where the acronym stands for $#+ Hits The Fan. So this will be the SHTF gun thread for November 2008... Of course, gun ownership isn't for everyone. But it is the most accessible safety measure under our constitution, which is as our founding fathers intended. Recall where the police were when the Rodney King riots started: they left the scene for their own safety. If that were to happen in your neighborhood, what is your plan?
I find this pretty hilarious, not only because it reveals the ignorance of what exactly happened in '92 (pretty standard in conservative circles), but for the obvious reason that it's not Obama supporters that are looking like an angry mob of irrational goons. You can talk about Bill Ayres, but that shit was 40 years ago. In recent memory, domestic terrorists have mostly been from the far right: Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, Randall Terry. It's the far right that has militias, that has a history of violence, and that is being whipped up into a hysterical frenzy of hate. I'm not too worried living in L.A., but I know if I were still in Athens I'd be thinking about investing in better locks for my doors and maybe an extra handgun or something.
On an almost-seperate subject, is anyone else getting sick of hearing a political party spend all their time shitting on the half of the U.S. population that lives in cities? It ain't the Democrats that are being "elitist" here. Apparantly, people who live in cities aren't "real people" and don't have "values." Which, OK, we're all grown-ups here, let's talk about what this all really means. These are the people that are still mad about the period of time when Big City Values were being forced onto Small Town America. That time was from the mid-60's to the early 70's, right? And all these coded implications about how Obama "doesn't see America the way you and I do," and how we don't really know who he is (as opposed to Sarah Palin, who won't even give a press conference?), we all know what that stuff really means, right? I really don't like where all this is going.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Oh, hey, I forgot to include this on the randomness post: P-Kael in tha house!
Punk Single of the Week: Peace Corpse
Small Talk Death
Dead in a Pile of ChairsOne Way
Jocko Macho (Quincy Punks)
The song "Jocko Macho (Quincy Punks)" is an apocalyptic warning to the punk scene: get your shit together, or this scene is gonna die, and you'll just have to "go home and liten to Led Zeppelin." The beat is almost a rhumba, and they seem to be playing it a little faster than the singer is capable of singing. Jason used to own this single, and when I saw a copy in Confusion Records on a trip to Stuart sometime in the late 90's, I felt a twinge of nostalgia and bought it. When I mentioned it to Jason, he told me that he had sold his copy to John at Confusion Records, so I reckon it's the same copy. Anyway, "Jocko Macho" was the only song I could remember from it, but there are actually some other pretty cool songs on here. My favorite is "Small Talk Death," a song about how much it sucks to have to make small talk, which proves that there is no complaint so minor that a punk band couldn't write an angry protest song about it. "Small Talk Death" also has a great sound, a grungy swirl of wah-wah guitars that sounds like a precedent to later indie rock bands like Halo of Flies. "Dead in a Pile of Chairs" is pretty funny too, a literal description of the assassination of Anwar Sadat: "Anwar Sadat, where are you at?/Where are you at Mr. Anwar Sadat?"
Spittin' Wicked Randomness, Vol. XXVIII
TiVo ALERT: Over the last few years, I have become obsessed with the films of Jacques Tati. These low-key comedies are so stuffed with choreographed gags and visual puns that, by the time you get to his masterpiece Play Time, you're not sure where to look. There's something going on in every inch of the widescreen frame. Chaplin and Keaton are obvious influences (his movies generally have very little dialogue), but I think he must have also been familiar with Ernie Kovacs.Plus, Play Time, Mon Oncle and Trafic have some of the coolest examples of space-age design you've ever seen. Set your TiVo Thursday night, as TCM is showing a QUADRUPLE FEATURE of Tati's films: Jour de Fete (which I've never seen), M. Hulot's Holiday (a great end-of-the-summer film), Mon Oncle and Playtime (but sadly, no Trafic). As a bonus, this is followed by a Buster Keaton double feature! How great can life get?
Generation Z comin' through!
Aa a follow-up to their last great show documenting the economic apocalypse, This American Life has a new episode up entitled Another Frightening Show About the Economy. Give it a listen. It breaks down a lot of what's happening into language you can understand (although you'll still have to pay attention to keep up). It also makes me think that there is just an entirely too large portion of the economy that does nothing but...well, make money. Not making money by doing things, but just making money. It's pretty great food for thought, and I'll probably have a more in-depth post about it soon. Here's another good post on how we got into this mess.
Why did I not follow Ice Cube's solo career in the early 90's? This may have been one of my biggest mistakes of my life, possibly even bigger than abandoning De La Soul after 1991. I mean, I dug Straight Outa Compton and 100 Miles and Running (yes, I realize Cube isn't even on the latter), but I mostly thought of them as blaxploitation. And I know I heard Eazy E's first solo record, and was unimpressed, so I guess I let that color my view of Cube. I remember hearing "Today Was a Good Day" and "Check Yo Self", but those aren't really representative of his sound. And I guess I heard just enough repugnant shit ("What I oughta do is kick the bitch in the tummy") taken out of context to keep me away. Lord, what a fool I was! I checked The Predator out from the library, and...FUCK, I can't believe how good it is. I mean, probably in my top 5 hip hop albums of all time after half a dozen listens, tops. Now I need to check out Amerikkka's Most Wnated and Death Certificate.
There'll be another Punk Single up soon.