Monday, July 28, 2008

movies, movies, music, movies, music, movies and aimee mann

thanks to Netflix, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library and HBO On Demand, over an extended weekend (which is no comment at all on relative workload) we watched Enchanted (cute, and I love New York settings, but the stress points really showed in the ending), Fantasia (I really thought I had seen it before, but now I know that I've seen at least 95% of it (that sucker's l-o-o-o-ng)), 27 Dresses (what with Hairspray and Enchanted earlier we could've been sponsoring a James Marsden Film Festival) and American Psycho (now I've read the book and seen the movie (at least it's on massive sale here) and don't have to do either again).

we also false-started on I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (even if the last hour was twice as good as the first half-hour it wouldn't have been worth finishing) and of course The Simpsons Movie, in Spanish, is on again.

new (at least to me) music to listen to: Al Green's Everything's OK, Grinderman, Cat Stevens' Mona Bone Jakon, Willie and Wynton's Two Men with the Blues (I wonder how good this could've been in the studio with some more adventurous material), Paul Weller's 22 Dreams, Rodney Crowell's upcoming Sex & Gasoline, Liam Finn's I'll Be Lightning and Damien Jurado's upcoming Caught In The Trees.

and my conversation with Aimee Mann (one I enjoyed) is now up at

Friday, July 25, 2008

reading The Road

"The weather lifted and the cold and they came at last into the broad lowland river valley, the pieced farmland still visible, everything dead to the root along the barren bottomlands. They trucked on along the blacktop. Tall clapboard houses. Machinerolled metal roofs. A log barn in a field with an advertisement in faded ten-foot letters across the roofslope. See Rock City."

- Cormac McCarthy

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

now click this

seriously. do it now.

if rationalize you must, call it the most affordable present you've ever bought yourself: the oddly titled (imagine that) 49:00, a 43 minute, 55 second download from Paul Westerberg for a mere 49 cents.

seriously. do it. now.

Monday, July 21, 2008

concert news both far and wide

though nothing quite as far as Yemen (see below).

this isn't really what I do here, extensions to the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss and Liz Phair tours seemed newsworthy enough to merit mention.

Phair will, of course, reprise, from start to finish and in order, her recently reissued Exile in Guyville in Philly, DC and Boston on August 27, 28 & 29 respectively (reviews from her previous performances in San Francisco and New York gave major charm points; Chicago not so much). and tickets go on sale this Wednesday for all three shows.

Mr. Plant, Ms. Krauss and company (including T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller) have added another half dozen shows or show, all west of the Mississippi, to those few already rescheduled (I believe St. Louis is now being recorded for a DVD release). reviews here have been positive across the board and tickets, like those for Liz's re-issue shows, have gone quickly (though at about four times the price as revisiting Ms. Phair).

and Laurie Anderson (my interview with her just posted this morning) is finishing her domestic Homeland dates with five nights, starting tomorrow, at Lincoln Center. tickets are still available.

more Plant/Krauss reading . . .

more Liz Phair reading . . .

last book I ever read: Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Soderberg (a/k/a the book that Peter, Bjorn and John member Peter Moren has read at least twice). took me a while, but the novel deserves its classic designation irregardless (is that a word? I've never known) of geographic distinctions.

the book Robert Plant has read at least twice: Yemen: The Unknown Arabia by Tim Mackintosh-Smith (it's on my list)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

sundown on siren

I'm tired, I look it,
my spouse is in New Jersey,
and I don't feel so good myself.

but I did ride the Cyclone for the first time (the highlight of my day).

Friday, July 18, 2008

siren festival, siren festival, more, more, more

a tribute to Andrea True, the homeliest former porn star to ever find disco success (how'd you like that as an epitaph?).

so how is The Dark Knight? I feel asleep halfway through Batman Begins (only $5.99 for the Widescreen Edition?) last night. and though so far it sounds like it was written by a committee of university philosophy professors, that's really more of a comment on my relative tiredness than movie quality (although we've still got an hour to go).

the final two pre-Siren Festival Siren interviews are up: Beth Murphy of Times New Viking (Columbus, Ohio) and Anna Spence of Annuals (Raleigh, North Carolina).
there. that ought to keep you busy for a while.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

gracias, senora de los bubies

the head is finally, if briefly, above water level after an impressively frantic work schedule (which I guess is a good thing seeing as how yesterday was the two-month anniversary of my departure from the bank) and numerous welcome out-of-town visitors.
in celebration I am not completely ignoring the programming on my new favorite channel, HBO-Latino (I figure to learn another language by osmosis, I guess). of course it's harder not to pay attention to The Simpsons Movie in Spanish than, say, King Ralph (you have your chance at The Simpsons Movie in Spanish tonight at 7 EST).

last movie I ever saw (in English while paying attention): Vantage Point. what a stinker. the previews were intriguing (that's my story and I'm sticking to it), but not unlike tennis the level of acting (even William Hurt and Forest Whitaker) sunk to the level of the least skilled player (I'm going to go with Dennis Quaid on this one, but screenwriter Barry Levy should be equally embarrassed about cashing a check)

the heavy workload has, at least, left plenty of material on the Internet to peruse. the Nashville Scene just reprinted a tweaked version of my Robert Plant feature (Mr. Plant and Ms. Krauss have recently announced extended tour dates, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Houston, Austin, Portland, Seattle and the Holy Trinity of California cities: San Francisco, Saratoga and Kelseyville - listing tour dates isn't really my thing, but this is a strong performance, well worth seeing, if you're nearby any of the aforementioned metropoli), and the has already posted long form Q and As with Janet Weiss of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and Victoria Legrand of Beach House so far this week. Beth Murphy of Times New Viking and Anna Spence of Annuals will make appearances in a similar location between now and the kickoff of Coney Island's Siren Festival just under 50 hours from now.

what I'm listening to (besides Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Beach House, Times New Viking and Annuals): Bowerbirds' Hymns for a Dark Horse, Wolf Parade's At Mount Zoomer, Brendan Canning's Something for All of Us..., The Dodos' Visiter, Film School's Hideout and Steinski's 1986-2003 double-disc retrospective What Does It All Mean?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

more mission of burma

I've been remiss. my Mission of Burma piece, my first ever for Detroit's Metro Times, went live right about 72 hours ago. but it's been a busy, busy time since. too busy to send kudos to former Baltimore Oriole and current Yankees broadcaster Ken Singleton for his excellent commentary during New York's make-up game on Thursday (imagine mentioning the Andy Warhol Museum during a baseball telecast), too busy to care that the new iPhones went on sale this morning and are having problems already (though not as great as the problems the stock market's currently facing (dropping below 11,000 on the Dow intra-day for the first time in two years)), too busy to celebrate (yet) the fact that our friend Rowbear Huffman is one of Baby Ruth's three finalists flying to New York with a chance to render "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" to millions over national television airwaves this coming Tuesday night.

the culprits? five interviews in the past three days (about two too many to truly excel at all): Victoria Legrand of Beach House, Janet Weiss of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Laurie Anderson, Robyn Hitchcock and Beth Murphy of Times New Viking. and three of those, plus at least two other pieces will run next week so it's going to be a busy weekend as well.

but it was actually fun to rediscover Mission of Burma. their Vs. show at the Bowery Ballroom was the best I've seen in some time, the guys were nice and accomodating, I enjoyed the research (including the viewing the film Not A Photograph on my laptop late one night courtesy of Netflix's "Watch Instantly" feature) and I'm happy with the piece.

last discs to arrive via snail mail: Akron/Family's Love Is Simple and the Watson Twins' Fire Songs.
but the only thing I'm really listening to outside of the required interview research (that list is way, way long): Kimberley Rew's lost (at least to me, at least for a while) classic, Bible of Bop.

last movie I ever saw (rather than just being "on"): Dan in Real Life (we liked it)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

last concert I ever saw: sonic youth

Battery Park
New York, NY
July 4, 2008

last concert I ever saw: crowd shots (before sonic youth)

Battery Park
New York, NY
July 4, 2008

last concert I ever saw: the feelies

Battery Park
New York, NY
July 4, 2008

last concert I ever saw: crowd shots (before the feelies)

Battery Park
New York, NY
July 4, 2008

jeez Louise . . . all-day tennis

set the alarm for 8:40 a.m. (yeah, it's a good life) in order to see the start of the Federer-Nadal final (first time I've ever set the alarm for a sporting event, I believe) and now 7 hours and 17 minutes later (three rain delays and 4 hours and 48 minutes worth of play) they're done with Nadal, after four Championship points, coming out as the new Wimbledon champ 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7.


four and a half mile walk yesterday (almost to LaGuardia), while working in a visit to Cedars Meat House, and the big Sonic Youth/Feelies show (good pics coming) with a side ride on the Staten Island Ferry on the 4th.
lots of interviews and sundry other tasks in the week ahead.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

what's on television this Wednesday

some late night writing action until early this morning so by the time I was out of bed NBC had already started their Wimbledon broadcast with the expected butt-whupping of Ancic by Federer.

and since this was more background company than attention-getting, I missed the 1 o'clock turnaround and caught the first few minutes of an obvious repeat of "The Martha Stewart Show."

honestly, I've always loathed MS and only let go of the Martha Stewart as Antichrist theory when she was sent to prison (because, well, if she was the Antichrist she probably could've avoided prison). thusly, I have never seen her on her own television show.

so I did the figurative jaw drop when she asked the audience if they had had a good weekend just before launching into her own detailed recap. it seems whatever weekend it was (though it occurred during cold weather season) Martha took yet another tennis lesson with her Belgian instructor on her friend's nearby indoor tennis court and yet still managed to ride her horses at least twice, making mention of her "stable manager" and suggesting that everyone use their GPS devices to properly map out riding trails.

I mean, I can't remember seeing a less identifiable host, which is a bit odd considering her line of work. are we as consumers supposed to aspire to the level of her bath towels and cookbooks? kind of like lower middle class factory workers voting as if they hope to one day be Republican enough to take advantage of upper class tax breaks themselves? voting as if one day they might possess enough cash and/or negotiable securities that their son or daughter won't have to depend on military service in Iraq just to insure a steady paycheck?


then ESPN took over Wimbledon coverage at 1 Eastern and managed to show Rafael Nadal's short work of local fav Andy Murray.

more background for me.

but I may actually pay some attention to the four p.m. showing of 1938 Best Picture winner You Can't Take It With You on TCM.

read: some attention. I still have much transcribing (Aimee Mann interview last week, Possibly 4th Street sessions with Falcon and the Alabama 3 just yesterday) and photo editing to do.

free music alert: Podington Bear is giving away two full albums. and yes, it's very electronical (which seems to be the music most given away these days; draw your own conclusions) and yes, you have to fill out a form, but it's free. and with none of that nagging moral downside.

and though my own literary efforts for the short-term will be confined to several sessions much like the one in this morning's wee hours (and no, you can't read it anytime soon), my first baseball tome, Cup of Coffee, did receive a nice shout-out (next-to-last paragraph, if memory serves) in a CBS Sportsline piece on Scott McCaughey and Steve Wynn's Baseball Project album (out next Tuesday).

time to warm up for the movie.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

happy July

we're back from Nashville. my first trip since Americanitis (the first takes) was recorded and my beloved's first trip in "who has a calendar?"

we had a lovely visit (primarily ensconced at Will and Jess' new (to us) home), seeing a goodly number of longtime friends in a variety of settings: the Mercy Lounge, a backyard barbecue dinner party, an honest-to-goodness swimming pool (seriously, "who has a calendar" for that one?) . . .
and even got to take in a few new (to us) sights/sites: the Mercy Lounge, the honest-to-goodness swimming pool, the Vanderbilt University bookstore (their baseball hats - the exact one I wanted even - were like 40% off) and finally a long overdue visit to Grimey's (home to Metallica's last in-store performance).

this is the part where you're supposed to say, "but it's good to be home."
and I'm okay being home (I really am) but I wasn't in a hurry to leave.

(extremely unusual kudos to an airline here. we flew American, non-stop both ways, and not once did I come close to losing my temper, breathing heavily through my nose, watching my blood pressure rise. and it's seriously more a credit to them than any willpower on my part (just figured I should write it down so I'll remember that I actually have an answer next time someone asks, When's the last time you had a pleasant experience with an airline? we even watched Juno whilst in the air) even the TSA people were the nicest, friendliest, most competent government airline folk I've ever crossed paths with in New York City (though the TSA crew in Dayton, Ohio still holds the record for most pleasant experience going through security)