26 May 2009

Spotlights ain't nuthin but jive

Brett Eugene Ralph, a man who, in his expatriate Louisvillian days, was one of the biggest reasons I ever got around to reading The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You (one of my favorite books and easily my favorite in the broad "epic poem" field), has just had a book of his poems published. I've read a handful of Brett's poems in the past and they are well worth seeking out. Here's a sample (perhaps familiar to those that were down with the letters S J B and B around the turn of the century) lifted from his page at Sarabande Books:


When I saw Charity dancing
alone in the farmhouse kitchen—
eyes closed, lips parted, held aloft
in one hand half a mango,
a gigantic butcher knife
clutched in the other—I froze
at the screen door as I always do
when I come across someone praying.

All night I had been hitting
on the daughter of a tiny woman
orphaned by Hiroshima.
Grandparents had been lost, and the mother
would soon be dead though no one knew
if it was the blast or the facility
she retired next to in Utah

This was the kind of bitter irony
that made you want to burn the flag—
even if it was against the law, even
on the Fourth of July on property owned
by a Republican state senator.
Which is precisely what would happen
later, after we'd drunk the wine.

Hey, he said in one of those voices
unique to fraternity members
high on nitrous oxide,Anybody want a drink
of hundred-year-old Romanian wine?
Before we could answer, he had produced
from one of the pockets of his wheelchair
wine he meted out, so help me God,
from a Mrs. Butterworth's bottle.

By the time that bottle made its way
around the bonfire, I was drunk
on kimonos wed to atom bombs
and motherless children left to cultivate
an excruciating beauty,
drunk on crippled tipplers
scarcely larger than dolls.

Like the wine my father fashioned
out of blackberries, out of plums,
it was very sweet and very strong
and it wouldn't have taken much to turn
Mrs. Butterworth upside down
until her skirts fell and I'd forgotten
that the cloud above Nagasaki rhymes
with the flag we raised on the moon.

As I watched Charity dance, I rested
my brow against the rusty screen
and that knife and mango might have been
a bottle and a beating heart,
a bomb and a burned up baby doll,
a flag and whatever comes to mind
when you read the word forgiveness.

Closing my eyes, I extended my tongue
and pressed it firm against the pattern:
I tasted yesterday's rain,
the carcasses of moths,
broken glances, tears,
the smoke of not-so-distant fires—
all those desperate gestures
we collect and call the seasons.

-Brett Eugene Ralph

Dope, dope stuff. The book is called Black Sabbatical. Get a copy direct from the publisher here.

Ralph was also a part of the awesomely named Rising Shotgun in the late 90's where he crooned this, the greatest David Allan Coe cover ever set to wax:

Spotlight - Rising Shotgun

21 May 2009


Stevie kills a kit:

What an awkward 6 minutes for that drummer.

20 May 2009

it's just a wafer thin mint, sir

The New York Times recently featured an article about The Story of Stuff -- a 20 minute video by activist/lecturer/bleeding-heart commie Annie Leonard that outlines the long-term effects of our recklessly consumptive culture. Apparently, it's become quite the "sleeper hit" in schools around the nation--no doubt due to it's simple approach and kid friendly animation. That does not, however, mean it's just for kids--everyone should check it out.

The question remains, though: should one buy the DVD offered on the website? It seems a somewhat strange offering when one considers the content, no?

That being said, here's a petroleum-free version for those of you that haven't already seen it:

This paraphrased quote from Victor Lebow has been batting around my head since I first watched the video:

Makes me reconsider just how great a metaphor Mr Creosote is.

19 May 2009

the rules are simple: no glass. no violence.

6:66pm - Lauralee
8:00pm - Sport n Woodies
9:00pm - Deb Wessler
10:00pm - Mike Brown and the Sneakies
11:00pm - Last Frontier
12:00am - Bac 'Cuntry Bruthers All Night Dragtime Review
1:00am - The Simpletones
2:00am - Jeff Kanzler

1:00pm - Gil Rodriguez
2:00pm - Hooty
3:00pm - Trapper Creek String Band
4:20pm - Gangly Moose
5:00pm - Sahrandipty
6:00pm - Turnagain Bornagains
7:00pm - New Cut Road
8:00pm - Carl Hoffman & Northern River
9:00pm - No Compromise
10:00pm - Fiddlehead Red
11:00pm - Girl Haggard
12:00m - Down Home Easy
1:00am - Spenard Satans Old Timey Clubhouse Band
2:00am - Sean Tracy

2:00pm - 10 Angry Whites
3:00pm - Jimmy Jazz
4:00pm - Dirty Uke
5:00pm - Oldenweiser
6:00pm - Scurvies
7:00pm - Da Ak Luv Foundation
8:00pm - Opossum in a Sack
10:00pm - Hog Haeven
11:00pm - Outlaw Angels

15 May 2009

says it all


Soggy Britches?

It's Bike To Work Day and of course our weather takes a turn for the shitty . . .

* * *

Well, if you're looking for something fun to do this evening, dry off and head out to the MTS Gallery:

Opening exhibition Friday, May 15

5 -7 PM

MTS Gallery

3142 Mountain View Drive

Catering by Tap Root Cafe

Music by Reverse/Retro

Participating Artists: Angela Ramirez, Chad Meyer, Craig Updegrove, Don Ricker,
Ed Mighell, Fred Jenkins, Garry Kaulitz, Gretchen Sagan, Hana Clinton,
Jen Joliff, Kala Spaan, Kassi Grunder, Kate McPhereson, Kerby McGhee,
Mark Gould, Metis Riley, Nancy Laurel, Paul Tornow, Rachel Lim, Rachel Nore,
Rhonda Horton, Rod Gonzalez, Shara Dorris.

14 May 2009

required reading?

Holy shit! This looks Shat-tastic:

It's the first ShatnerCon with William Shatner as the guest of honor! But after a failed terrorist attack by Campbellians, a crazy terrorist cult that worships Bruce Campbell, all of the characters ever played by William Shatner are suddenly sucked into our world. Their mission: hunt down and destroy the real William Shatner.

Buy here.


11 May 2009

Life Inc.

Arthur Magazine columnist and host of WFMU's Media Squat, Douglas Rushkoff, is posting excerpts from his upcoming book, Life Inc. over at BoingBoing (where he is guesting) and at his own site dedicated to the book.

From Rushkoff's website:

Life Incorporated: How the World Became a Corporation and How To Take It Back.
Coming from RandomHouse US and UK, Summer 2009Pre-Order Now.

Read Excerpts

This didn’t just happen.

In Life Inc., award-winning writer, documentary filmmaker, and scholar Douglas Rushkoff traces how corporations went from a convenient legal fiction to the dominant fact of contemporary life. Indeed as Rushkoff shows, most Americans have so willingly adopted the values of corporations that they’re no longer even aware of it.

This fascinating journey reveals the roots of our debacle, from the late Middle Ages to today. From the founding of the chartered monopoly to the branding of the self; from the invention of central currency to the privatization of banking; from the birth of the modern, self-interested individual to his exploitation through the false ideal of the single-family home; from the Victorian Great Exhibition to the solipsism of MySpace; the corporation has infiltrated all aspects of our daily lives. Life Inc. exposes why we see our homes as investments rather than places to live, our 401k plans as the ultimate measure of success, and the Internet as just another place to do business.

Most of all, Life Inc. shows how the current financial crisis is actually an opportunity to reverse this 600-year-old trend, and to begin to create, invest and transact directly rather than outsourcing all this activity to institutions that exist solely for their own sakes.

Corporatism didn’t evolve naturally. The landscape on which we are living - the operating system on which we are now running our social software - was invented by people, sold to us as a better way of life, supported by myths, and ultimately allowed to develop into a self-sustaining reality. It is a map that has replaced the territory.

Rushkoff illuminates both how we’ve become disconnected from our world, and how we can reconnect to our towns, to the value we can create, and mostly, to one another. As the speculative economy collapses under its own weight, Life Inc. shows us how to build a real and human-scaled society to take its place.

In Life Inc, Douglas Rushkoff presents the unnerving, unbelievable, but ultimately undeniable proof that our world has been overtaken by an absolutely artificial economy.

He shows how our most fundamental assumptions about money and commerce are actually false ones - artifacts of a 400-year-old plan by a waning aristocracy to maintain control of Western Europe. Although the architects of this corporatism have long since passed on, we still live in a landscape defined by their plans and have internalized their values as our own.

Taking on some of the biggest assumptions of our age, this is a book filled with dangerous ideas and rather unspeakable heresies:
•Money is not a part of nature, to be studied by a science like economics, but an invention with a specific purpose.
•Centralized currency is just one kind of money - one not intended to promote transactions but to promote the accumulation of capital by the wealthy.
•Banking is our society’s biggest industry, and debt is our biggest product.
•Corporations were never intended to promote commerce, but to prevent it.
•The development of chartered corporations and centralized currency caused the plague; the economic devastation ended Europe’s most prosperous centuries, and led to the deaths of half of its population.
•The more money we make, the more debt we have actually created.

Most importantly, Rushkoff shows how this moment of financial crisis is actually an opportunity to reinstate commerce and communities based in creating value for one another, rather than continuing to extract it for the benefit of institutions that no longer exist.

Here's a short film that outlines the basic concept of the book:

09 May 2009

bring north the black swan

Bert Jansch, founder of 60's/70's Scottish folkers Pentangle and inspiration for folks such as Neil Young, Nick Drake, and, quite controversially, Jimmy Page, is touring North America this summer and, amazingly, has Anchorage listed among his stops.

Here's some vid of Bert playing "Black Waterside." Check it out and then go dust off your copy of Led Zeppelin and decide for yourself if Page was "influenced" or if he outright stole the arrangement:

Here's a run-down of his North American Tour schedule:

Fri 26 June Albuquerque, NM The Cooperage Sun 28 June Denver, CO Swallow Hill
Wed 1 July Portland, OR Doug Fir
Thur 2 July Seattle, WA Triple Door
Fri 3 July Vancouver, BC Richards on Richard’s
Sat 4 July Victoria, BC Conservatory of Music
Mon 6 July Anchorage, AK University of Alaska Wendy Williamson Auditorium
Wed 8 July Los Angeles, CA Largo
Fri 10 July Santa Cruz, CA Don Quixote’s
Sun 12 July San Francisco, CA Café Du Nord
Fri 31 July Portland, ME The Space
Mon 3 August Montreal, QC La Sala Rossa
Wed 5 August Toronto, ON Horseshoe TavernFri 7 August Pittsburgh, PA The Warhol
Sat 8 August Columbus, OH Wexner Arts
Mon 10 August Chicago, IL MartyrsWed 12 August Lexington, KY The Dame
Fri 14 August Asheville, NC Diane Wartham Theatre
Sun 16 August Charlottesville, VA The Southern
Wed 19 August Alexandria, VA Birchmere w/ Al Stewart
Thur 20 August New York, NY City Winery
Fri 21 August Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s

08 May 2009

dig that guitarron, hombre

I really dig this tune from Denton TX's Baptist Generals --particularly the use of the guitarron here. I'm okay with the fact that the marimba is inaudible as I don't think what homeboy is playing would fit the song all that well.

This track is from their 2003 album No Silver/No Gold--a fine release of mangled lo-fi goodness built around the percussive acoustic guitar playing and haunted vocals of Chris Flemmons (who I believe to be the only full-time General). Flemmons has the ear of a Pollard but where Uncle Bob probably spends his lubricated hours windmilling Townsend and karate kicking among mounds of empty Miller cans, Flemmons, it seems, spends his exorcising demons via four-track in what I imagine to be a basement lit by a single bare bulb.

07 May 2009

del can rab

(Vinyl installation image copped from MMMMound, the oddly specific knock-off of FFFFound that specializes in photos of things that can be piled--guns, drugs, money, rocks, etc)

* * *

Here's the opening track from Charles (ESP-Disk), the latest from Providence, RI's Barnacled:

Title - Barnacled

Check out their 16 Dec 08 live set from WFMU here and a video from the record release show that same night here:

06 May 2009

Bem, Ben Jor.

Though it was expected, I woke up to the unfortunate news that Dan Sullivan clenched the Mayoral run-off yesterday by a fairly hefty margin. My knee-jerk after reading about it and skimming a few pages of comments was to write something snide about the voting tendencies of my neighbors. Instead, I listened to a little Jorge Ben and focused on the positive (singular): at least I wouldn't have to look at his mug on all those campaign posters that littered my bike ride to work.

I'm always bothered by people that stick their image up all over the place (real estate agents most of all). I had a constant urge to sharpie Hitler 'staches on his billboards/campaign signs and had even gone so far as to plan out a route to take by bike in the middle of the night. Can't you see the ol' Adolf's mustache working well with Sullivan's comb-over?

Anyway, most of my frustration was soothed away with a strong cup of coffee and a couple spins of this Jorge Ben Jor tune that I've been feelin' lately. Here it is:

Take It Easy, My Brother Charles - Jorge Ben Jor

Now, if I only understood Portugese . . .

05 May 2009

Well, gee, Bert.

Here's a great cartoon from Mr Fish:


04 May 2009

fer fuck's sake! are these people serious?

NRA honors Sarah Failin' with an all white special edition assault rifle (model# KKK49):

What a fucking joke! This is not a hunting rifle. This is an assault weapon and, ironically enough for our self-righteous, anti-abortion christian guv, not very pro-life.


80 Blocks From Tiffany's (1979)

This comment found on IMDB sums it up better than I ever could:

"An intimate look at life on the streets for young teens gang members. Black and Latino teenagers of the South Bronx struggle to make it on the streets. This is Pre Hip - Hop, Pre Rap, and before Break Dancing took over the youth culture of the Bronx. It is right before the advent of Graffiti writers/bombers and Break Dance Crews that took off and became the new black culture a few years later. The film takes place in the summer of 1979. Shockingly realistic interviews with gang members of the infamous Savage Nomads and the Savage Skulls. Amazingly this authentic documentary does not contain any of the normal pitfalls that befuddle today's more exploitive investigative reports on gangs of the " 60mins." type. Filmmaker Gary Weis of SNL and "Ruddles" fame manages to let the kids speak for themselves. Most of the footage are real interviews. A few scenes are reannactments of stories as told by some of the younger street kids. A rare glimpse into late 70's New York towards the end of the infamous South Bronx Gangs. Anyone who is a fan of "The Warriors" would appreciate this film. The documentary shows many sides of the mainly Puerto Rican / Lation community of the South Bronx including. reformed gang members, current gang members, the police, and the community leaders who try and reach out to them. A film like this is simply unable to be made today!"

01 May 2009

fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today . . .

(Poster by Nick Dewar)

May is National Bike Month. If you haven't already, tune your shit up and hit the streets on 2 wheels.

The League of American Bicyclists has nationwide events listings here.

And remember:

(via The Saftey is Sexy Campaign)