Thursday, June 28, 2007

so long, farewell, our feet are saying good night

we're going away for a while (some of us - everybody but me actually - are already gone), so here's the last posting for the next week and a half or so . . .

excerpts from Liquidation by Imre Kertesz (a.k.a. the last book I ever read):

"What he wanted to say was: He floated like a phantom albatross of unspotted whiteness on the ice gray ocean. But he conceded that he had no way of justifying the simile. He had been reading Moby Dick the previous evening, before falling asleep."

" . . . a person becomes a literary editor, and later a publisher's reader, out of error in the first place. In any event, literature is the trap that captures him. To be more precise, reading: reading as a narcotic which pleasantly blurs the merciless outlines of the life that holds sway over us. It started, perhaps, somewhere in university - with university friendships, in the course of those mammoth, deep, and meaningless conversations that stretch far into the night. A friend suddenly publishes a poem. Prior to that he had happened to hand it over for you to read, and you had dropped some great profundity regarding one of the couplets. In times, people get into the habit of regularly asking your opinion. You bustle self-importantly along corriders, a sheaf of other people's manuscripts pinned under your arm. A fastidiousness of some kind evolves within you, some kind of mental hygiene that is deemed infallible taste. The word gets around that you 'have a bent for literature,' as they say, and in the end you believe it yourself. You become editor of the university magazine."

"While I was listening to my wife - I recall it precisely - my attention was increasingly focused on her upper lip, that harmoniously arched, slightly short upper lip with which I had originally fallen in love, and I mused on what an absurd thing love is after all, that a person's entire frail life is founded on such absurdities. One fine day, we wake up with a stranger in the bedroom, I thought to myself, and never again do we find our way back to ourselves: Our impossible life is determined by chance, lust, and the whim of a moment, I thought to myself.
Our son in the meantime has grown up; his ambitious mother steered him toward the computerized future, and during our increasingly sporadic encounters I regretfully conclude that I have little to discuss with a computer expert, even though he may be on the brink of an extraordinary future; and if I'm not mistaken, my son likewise shows a certain reserve toward a father who is living the life of those now redundant intellectuals, as a literary editor in a city where, bit by bit, there is no longer any call for literature, let alone editors . . . "

Monday, June 25, 2007

wilco and the hungarians

for almost 24 hours it looked like I'd be snapping photos of Wilco either tonight (Hammerstein) or tomorrow (Warsaw).

so I departed from the shores of New Jersey (I was leaving anyway, but it was a long, late night journey up the Garden State Parkway), leaving behind Hungarian fiction (last book read: Imre Kertesz' Fatelessness) and language tapes (transferred to the iPod (I'm attempting to obtain knowledge through osmosis (kinda) - playing the tapes but paying absolutely no attention just to see what'll stick; thus far I believe I can pronounce the Hungarian word for "beer" but precious little else)), but bringing with me a well-earned sunburn (yes dear, I'm moisturizing).

but first there was the morning commute: the ride to the train station, the train ride into Newark, the transfer, the train ride into New York, the E train up to 53rd and Madison.
which is precisely enough time to listen to Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Being There (both discs).
I wanted to be prepared, you know.

but Deb Bernardini says no press passes (at least for tomorrow night - don't know what the hell happened with tonight's show) so while I'll be travelling to Brooklyn on the morrow, I'll have no Tweedy, no Sansone (hey Pat) in my viewfinder.
(other shows I won't be attending on Tuesday include Ryan Adams at the Hiro Ballroom and Sinead O'Connor at Joe's Pub)

damn, I was so very, very ready.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

happy anniversary to me

actually to us.

yes, it's not only the first day of summer but the fifth anniversary of our Carl Schurz Park nuptials.

and many, many more.

the piece on Corey Smith is finally (I've been working on it since the first of May) up at Riverfront Times. and I'm good with it, though it would've been great to have, say, triple the word count for this one as Corey's a big subject (he's currently fallen to number two among unsigned country artists on MySpace) and there's lots more to say.

also, new photos up (animal collective) at last concert I ever saw.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

oops!

the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me not.
the White Stripes love me.
they love me . . . not.

yes, a very close (and ultimately disappointing) call indeed, sports fans.

late this afternoon (say, just before five) I get a call saying that, yes, holy moley, it appears there's a photo pass with my name on it to tonight's big rock show. and I'm a sucker for such summonses so I rush to Queens, don cool rock photographer clothes (not really - I don't have any and I'm not even sure if I know what they look like) and rush back into Manhattan to keep my previously scheduled dinner reservation at the Cowgirl. I order the catfish po' boy, which should be a sign that something's not quite right (I'm pretty much a chicken fried chicken man). no frozen strawberry margarita either. food comes (and not on a hero, but rather a hamburger bun - fresh, lightly toasted, but still a bit surprising), I take a bite, maybe two, and am no longer hungry. nerves. cramps. something. I feel like a victim of menopause. hot flashes, etc.

furthermore, we're unable to make Kim Richey's set at The Living Room. I feel bad as I'd talked to Kim earlier in the day (for the first time in years) and told her I would be there. I call again, just as her set is supposed to start (expecting voice mail, of course), to let her know we won't be there (let loose the passes or something) and she picks up. I feel like a big poo. like Mr. Hankey on steroids. she is completely understanding as Kim is want to be (buy her new album, Chinese Boxes, available on July 10). I continue to feel like a big poo.

we drop my brother and sister-in-law off at The Strand (because when my family visits New York they like to go to the Cowgirl and The Strand, and pretty much in that order) and proceed northwards toward Irving Plaza. there is quite a line waiting to get in as doors opened at 8 p.m. (it's about ten after). we're approached by several wannabe ticket holders, including one skinny kid who asks "press list?" hoping to snag an unused plus one. he offers his tickets to the Stripes show at MSG. rebuffed, he ups his offer to $200. we do our best to appear disinterested (didn't want to get his hopes up), which was actually no problem at all.

ah, but it seems there is but one ticket and one photo pass behind the sacred ticket counter and I am low man on the cool rock critic totem pole (deservedly so, I might add - even if I had the clothes). this has happened before. most recently at the Fall Out Boy show at Hammerstein. but given the high school skewed crowd, the ticket taker that night knew damn well (or thought he did) that I was just a pitiable shutterbug trying to do his job. "no ticket? no problem. just head down to the right hand side of the stage and they'll take you in." we don't even try that tonight.

we discuss. we're approached. we discuss. we change the topic. we go over to Union Square to purchase sodas, almost lose a cell phone, avail ourselves of the restroom facilities (second floor out of order) at the nearby Barnes and Noble as one of us is not getting in to the big rock show, and return to Irving Plaza.

the line has now flipflopped. all civilian ticketholders are safely inside enjoying (or not) the opening band while guest list and press folk (all the cool kids, really - some of whom have obviously been tipped off to the 10:40 Stripes starting time) circle the block, waiting to get their tickets at 10 p.m.

on my way to the subway I call the spouse to tell her I'm headed home and to shut the party down early.

the White Stripes love me.
they love me . . . not.

“reflections of . . .

the way life used to be”

(this week featuring music, screen and stage!)


Grey Gardens:

Good, but not great. I’m pretty much in agreeance with Ben Brantley’s March ’06 review in the Times that the performers outshine the book and the music.
Though I am seriously considering “getting the band back together” just to cover “Jerry Likes My Corn.”
For those who have invested multiple hours watching the Maysles brothers documentary, know that Mary Louise Wilson nails the voice of elderly Edith Beale perfectly.

Annie Hall in Bryant Park:

Lovely weather and scenery, but you pretty much have to be there by five to get a place on the lawn – which we did, but it left us in the far, far northeast corner. And the movie doesn’t start until 9 (actually they played a commercial for Nancy Drew followed by a Merry Melodies short before Annie Hall came on) and that far back at least, the sound sucks (bad echoes – the acid flashback of audio). I pretty much know all the dialogue, but that still wasn’t enough to approach enjoyment once the movie began.

Television in Central Park:

I am, of course, aware that it is terribly impolitic to slag Robert Christgau (dean of all rock critics) in any way, shape, or form, but it was nevertheless quite amusing to see The Dean hurriedly scramble towards the underside of a picnic table (leaving his wife standing in the drizzle beside Rolling Stone executive editor Joe Levy) when the rains came during Apples in Stereo’s set (dude seems to have more aqua issues than the Wicked Witch of the West). I kept imagining the headline “Apples Play While Christgau Cowers” but I don’t expect I’ll be seeing such.
So on to “the review”:
With the right drugs, the sound of openers Dragons of Zynth might be described as funk, and Apples in Stereo rendered a pleasant, power pop (if long) middle set. And then the rains stopped and Television took the stage.
The absence of Richard Lloyd was most palpable (he had previously proclaimed on his website that the Summerstage show would be his last with Television), and Tom Verlaine was quite caustic about it, apologizing that the band’s “regular guitarist” was hospitalized and so wouldn’t be with them. In fact, not until replacement Jimmy Ripp approached the center mic to wish a speedy recovery was Lloyd even mentioned by name. And folks such as I who are most steeped in the Adventure/Marquee Moon era were likely further disappointed when only three songs (not counting the completely reworked and chorusless “Prove It”) from those two albums (“Venus de Milo,” “Glory” and the afternoon closer “Marquee Moon”) got played.
But it was Television (or at least three-quarters of Television) and it was free so . . .

Other stuffs in the mirrored past: my first round of golf in the last 13 years. I currently possess both soreness and a golf tan (sunburned left arm and pale hand from wearing the golf glove).

In case you live under a rock: The White Stripes’ Icky Thump was released today (alas, I will not be attending tonight’s “secret” show at Irving Plaza (bitch moan piss grumble grumble))

Things to do this coming Saturday night (if you’re not making your third consecutive weekend jaunt to the Garden State): The Silos and Ian Hunter at Highline Ballroom or Glenn Mercer and Wild Carnation at Maxwell’s (yes, I know Hoboken’s in New Jersey, but I will be much further south)

Currently reading (or at least carried along in my backpack the past several days):
Victor Sebestyen's Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (so far, so good)

And Kings of Leon pics are up at last concert I ever saw (with Animal Collective and Television soon to follow).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

like a freakin' rollercoaster, I tell you

(sorry, it appears that the various Sopranos episodes I've been watching on A & E has affected my speech)

a reversal of fortune seems to be in the (currently cool) New York night air.
the Yankees won again tonight (7-2 over the Diamondbacks) to make it eight in a row and the Mets are losing, again, which'll make it five in a row on the downside if the LA's lead holds (Dodgers up 6-1 in the seventh - Rafael Furcal has two triples) and I believe it will.

but no assemblage has experienced life's little ups and downs this week quite like Journey.
on Sunday night, their single "Don't Stop" was used as the soundtrack of the final scene of the final episode of The Sopranos, gaining the band more attention than they've had in twenty years. then two days later the group announced that they had parted ways with Jeff Scott Soto.
one might reasonably ask, huh?
me too.
but it seems that Jeff Scott Soto had been Journey's lead singer for the last not quite ten months (who knew?).
the group also announced that they will take off the remainder of the year "to spend time with their families, write new songs and map out plans for 2008."
I'm sure they'll be missed somewhere.

much more importantly, happy birthday wishes to my niece Emily (today, June 14) and my cousin Tommy (tomorrow, June 15).

free stuff: a Village Voice feature on former Feelies frontman Glenn Mercer and a preview of the Great Lake Swimmers for Phoenix New Times (I also took the photograph for the Kings of Leon review in the Voice).

not free (but still worthy) stuff: check out the Amazon Grocery link below. free shipping (okay, maybe there is something free here) with a $25 order.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

trying to play ketchup


not that anyone asked (actually a couple people have asked), but I don't, as a rule (breakable, I suppose, but nothing yet), blog about the day job, the stock market, works in progress (such as the upcoming but way, way in the future Tusk book). nor do I, as a rule, blog when I'm really, really busy or feeling poorly. the latter pair have been ongoing for what feels like quite some time.

and not that anyone asked (actually several people (pain in my tuckus) have, if not asked, then suggested) but I have a doctor's appointment Friday (thank you very much). and while I can't imagine anything of interest will occur, it is fair game (as far as subject matter - see above) for blogging.

today's entry title spurred from something I overheard last Thursday - significantly and importantly the final day of the month. for it was on the last day of the month that a neighbor realized she had missed cinco de mayo (mandatory pronunciation key: lettuce, tomato and mayo).
it rather tickled me.
and I'm quite looking forward to cinco de mustard.

also last Thursday: a follow-up interview with Corey Smith for an upcoming Riverfront Times piece (still have transcribing to do there).

Friday: caught the MoMA members preview of the Richard Serra exhibition that opened this past Sunday. took several hundred photos at the Animal Collective show at the South Street Seaport which, I believe, was the official opening of this year's River to River Festival. a slideshow of sorts (don't worry - it won't consist of more than twenty shots at the outside) should post soon to the Voice blog.

Saturday and Sunday: a follow-up interview with former Feelies frontman Glenn Mercer for a longish piece that'll run in the Voice next week (probably - still waiting on the edited copy for possible rewrites/changes). freaked a bit that the camera downloading was slower than molasses in December (trite, I know, but it actually got uttered this weekend), then went into the city to purchase a SanDisk Reader/Writer. well worth not only the money but the trip to and from Manhattan. watched Kinsey (eh - I liked Laura Linney but either Kinsey or Liam Neeson (or both) became exponentially annoying as the movie progressed) and Shut Up & Sing (give it four out of five) among other video type programming. wrote, transcribed, wrote, transcribed. the Sunday morning project took place in Sunnyside this week.

Monday: felt particularly bad. turned in the Mercer piece. napped repetitively. skipped the Gramercy Theater show by one of the non-Trey Phish solo guys (Page?). of course, I am not and never have been a fan of anything remotely connected to jam bands. life's too damn short.

Tuesday: felt reasonably bad. turned in a Great Lake Swimmers preview (a day late - sorry Niki) to Phoenix. went to Victor's across the street from Roseland before shooting the first three Kings of Leon songs for someone else's review that'll run in the Voice next week.

Wednesday: still felt reasonably bad. missed Marianne Faithfull at the Kaye Theater, Great Lake Swimmers at Joe's Pub, Dinosaur Jr at Irving Plaza and Los Straitjackets with Big Sandy (very nice guys all) at the Bowery Ballroom. but did venture out to Cobble Hill in Brooklyn to catch the end of Kelly Willis' video shoot, then interviewed her for a short time for a piece way, way in the future. we're not finished yet so a follow-up's to come.
(and today's photo entry is a close approximation of what a manager and publicists would look like if they conversed in the back of Sam's Restaurant at the tail end of a video shoot while crew members were packing up to go home)

future episodes: a personal analysis of Happy Meal price in Manhattan versus Queens (the answer may surprise you!). and hopefully this isn't too much of a tease, but we're still missing figures five and six from the Shrek 3 Happy Meal set. somebody help me. we have plenty of Donkeys (figure three) to give.

currently (like right this damn minute) listening to: John Doe's A Year In The Wilderness.

recent pubs: the largish Hiromi piece is online at the Voice and Phoenix New Times was kind enough to reprint a version of the Lindsey Buckingham piece that first ran in LA Weekly way back when (Lindsey's on tour again).

I'm going to bed now. don't you dare try to stop me.