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Washtenaw Flaneurade
21 July 2005
What's Wrong With Sandwiches? (Art Fair, Volume One)
Now Playing: The Impressions--"Keep On Pushing"
"Like, there's nothing to eat in our house at all. We actually have to eat sandwiches!!!" I overheard this from a pair of young ladies while buying a Coke at Subway on Main last night before showing up for my shift at the Planned Parenthood booth. Try as I might, I'll never, ever be able to replicate the frisson of horror with which she said "sandwiches."

I guess it wouldn't be much of an Ann Arbor blog if I didn't mention my experiences at Art Fair (we all have them, even if we're only trying to avoid the thing). I've described it a little before, but nothing can quite do justice to the truth. Most medium-sized cities seem to have an art fair of their own--Baton Rouge has the "Fest-for-All," for example, but the "Ann Arbor Street Art Fair"--do they put "street" in the title to make it seem cooler, as with "cool" in "Cool Cities"?--has a national reputation I don't quite understand (although when I think that, back home, Paul Rodrigue made a million fucking dollars or whatever painting blue dogs, it makes a lot more sense).

I don't really have to understand it, since all I have to do is sit in a booth and tell people about "contraceptive equity."

One of the good things about Ann Arbor is that you never, ever have to worry about looking weird--or stupid, for that matter, for instance, if you're carrying an umbrella on a partly cloudy day.* I consulted the weather reports, though, and was "rewarded" when the heavens opened later that evening. I'd rather not think about the probable smugness of my expression. It turned out that I was the only one there for an hour, but people showed enough interest--the mammoth jar of condoms is always an attention-getter.

People are usually pretty friendly--giggling teenagers grabbing for fistfuls of condoms, pairs of mothers and daughters, just random passersby... I always wonder what would happen if someone tried to mess with us--"what's a man doin' in a Planned Parenthood booth?" That'd be a good one, since I could answer "if you were one, you'd be in here, too." My interlocutor would have to be male for it to work, but I think it's still cute. Or "do you love your wife/girlfriend/partner?" I like that one.

Nobody messed with me, it turns out. I went home and remembered I had the Buffy musical episode, "Once More With Feeling," on tape, and watched Amber Benson singing "You Make Me Complete" to Alyson Hannigan, and... I'd better stop now.

And now I find that London's been bombed again. Phhh. Off to see if everyone's okay...

*At least, I hope that's true.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 4:43 PM EDT
Updated: 21 July 2005 4:51 PM EDT
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20 July 2005
Fortuna, You Degenerate Wanton! (Relics From The Print Age)
Now Playing: Sergei Prokofiev--"Lieutenant Kije Suite: The Birth of Kije"
I think I'm on a kick where I get off on insulting various minor Greco-Roman deities, even if I have to crib my jabs from A Confederacy of Dunces and Ignatius Reilly's Big Chief tablets. I braved a long, hard day Tuesday, and went straight home, even though there was a last-minute show at the Madison featuring the divine Kelly Caldwell. I figure if I'm not going to be good company around people, I won't go out. Simple as that.

I found my journal while cleaning my room. I stopped writing in it once I started this blog, only to record a particularly horrendous nightmare on 17 May. Most of it's pretty depressing, the kind of stuff I really wouldn't allow here. One really wouldn't picture such things inside, especially with the quote I put on the front from the classic 1967 Dean Martin "Matt Helm" vehicle The Ambushers:

"Matt, have you ever seen a flying saucer?"
"Is that your way of offering me a drink?"

It's not all doom and gloom, though. Some highlights:

1 Sep. 2003: "Chad, the misanthropic bartender at Don Carlos, just showed up outside our apartment, helping our upstairs neighbor, Lamotte, with... something. I wonder how long it'll be before rumors of my apparent affair with Sean start flying around that accursed place."

15 Sep. 2003: "For some considerable time I woke up with weird bruises on my upper thighs, and curious, inexplicable scratches on my arms. I used to wonder if succubi came to visit me while I slept, beating the shit out of my and calling it 'love.'"

6 Oct. 2004: "I've decided to try and be as outwardly cheerful as possible on the streets of Ann Arbor. So many people rush around here stone-faced and/or chattering into celphones (presumably to make it more like 'play New York' than it already is) that they hardly ever say 'hi.' A poster on the 'Ann Arbor Is Overrated' forum, to which I've become addicted, mentioned the 'robotic' attitude of many citizens. Since it's apparently uncool in Ann Arbor to smile and nod or say 'hi' to people, I intend to start doing it as much as possible, if only to piss people off."

20 Oct. 2004: "I dread trying to alter the margins of my thesis this evening. I do't want to do it and I don't want to think about it, and I can't believe I'm being this much of a dweeb about it. Tiffany produced a magical moment today with the look on her face when told (by me) that Linda had promised to remind her about the exposed chicken in the kitchen the previous afternoon. If anyone ever actually reads this, I'd like to apologize beforehand for the intensity of this entry's narrative power."

31 Oct. 2004: "I just finished Zola's Therese Raquin in an hour and a half--it was that gripping. I can see the ancient vampire, so confident and supreme in his ancient ancestral dominions, confronting the work with a mounting sense of discomfort and disgust. Used to heroic lays, his fathomlessly cruel mind actually rebels against the tawdry crimes and self-justifications of Therese and Laurent. A good scene, to be written later." It still hasn't, by the way.

2 Nov. 2004: I'm actually not going to print this one, just to say that I got drunker and drunker as the night went on, perhaps sensing what would happen, and my writing became more and more illegible as a result, ending in a barely decipherable "please kill me."

3 Nov. 2004: "'Planet of the Apes' just came several steps closer to docudrama."

28 Nov. 2004: "I turned thirty while watching 'Yor, Hunter From The Future.' Thought one should know."

15 Dec. 2004: "I just finished the latest 'Entertainment Weekly', and there's an article on Ursula LeGuin, commenting on the upcoming 'Earthsea' miniseries. The picture accompanying the relevant blurb reads 'Die, you otherworldly skank!' Maybe that'll be my new email signature."

11 Jan. 2005: "Wilkins went missing this morning, as did half the rations and three-quarters of our sled-dogs. It was bad enough, being equidistant on this icecap from the Pole and from base in Palmer Land. This new occurrence, however, is a disaster, and the strange howls and ghostly voices drifting across the frozen wastes don't help me sleep better at night. Ellen, if you ever read this, remember that I tried to do my best for you and the children, and that I have never loved my country so much as I do now." Okay, that isn't really mine.

15 Feb. 2005: "I dreamed last night that Chris [Wieder, my best friend in college] and I attended a special premiere of a multimillion-dollar movie about golf at the invitation of Rod Stewart, who was present at both the showing and the gala afterparty. What the fuck was that about? Watch that actually happen to us."

There are others, one of my favorites being my partially drunken write-up of the No Fun Records showcase on 17 Oct. 2004, but these serve as a pretty good cross-section. I'd write about Art Fair a bit, but will hold that for later, save for the following observations:

(1) Every time I forget how much I hate it... I remember again.

(2) The "Jews for Jesus" seem considerably more aggressive than usual.

(3) The most frightening thing thus far: the horde outside Urban Outfitters at State and Liberty. Yeesh.

Sleep well, everyone. I won't.

P.S. Hey, it's "Moon Landing Day." I forgot about that.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 6:46 PM EDT
Updated: 20 July 2005 7:05 PM EDT
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18 July 2005
Making Victory Love
Now Playing: T. Rex--"Metal Guru"
Sometimes, never mind why, I come to think that I don't really have a right to do anything--anything fun, that is. It's like I automatically feel guilty about enjoying myself and I should repair to my room and start lashing myself with nettles or some such nonsense for having fun or thinking of having fun. I hate feeling like that, as can surely be imagined.

I didn't feel that way last night, though.

I got to the Madison House later than usual. I'd been taking a stroll through the Old West Side (I really don't know what possesses me to do these things) and lost track of time. I decided to forgo the alcohol this time, and didn't find it so much different. I chatted with Annie a bit and Sara a good deal, and finally got to introduce myself to Sari Brown in person, as we somehow ended up exchanging a few emails. And then the music...

These are out of order, as I want to deal with my favorite last. Chris Bathgate opened the country-bluegrass-folk barrage with an intricately delivered set of songs, both in instrumental and vocal terms. His voice went very well with his guitar, and both matched the songs. I was seated towards the front, so it was a much different experience taking in the tunes this time. Alexander Robins, Matt Jones, and Emily Hilliard concluded the evening, playing solo and with each other. They're all in some band whose name I didn't catch, and as Emily Hilliard is leaving for Vermont, they won't be playing together again, I suppose. That's a pity, as they're very, very good. I was enjoying Robins' guitar alone anyhow, but once Jones and Hilliard joined in, on banjo/mandolin and violin respectively (with appearances from Rob Hoff on the trumpet and some guy whose name I didn't catch on drums), the night began to turn into something out of a fairy tale, the soft lighting and mellowing temperature making everything fuzzy and indistinct. I think a glockenspiel showed up at some stage. By the time Hilliard was joined by friends for a very lovely female vocal, I wondered if I'd strayed into a dream sequence from some artsy rustic horror movie (and if there are any out there I should see, please let me know).*

In between... "There are the known and there are the unknown," and then there's "The Larry Brown Press Conference," the solo project of Ryan Balderas, one of the Casionauts. I should state that I'm rather biased towards Ryan anyway, as he was one of the first people I ever met at the Madison House shows, and we somehow got to talking that day about how awesome early Yes was (an opinion not so controversial nowadays as it used to be--I think--but still a little sketchy according to some). A very nice guy, and as it turns out, an excellent musician.

As he observed in his introduction, most of the evening's music was as I described it before. Most of the shows that have played there before have come from the same musical backgrounds, although I'm certainly not complaining--the Madison House backyard isn't really set up, aesthetically or otherwise, for GWAR cover bands (and if there are any out there that I "should" see, I won't believe you). He trundled out a keyboard, and I wondered how deep his love of Yes went, if we would maybe see an imagined finish to Rick Wakeman's ambitions to render King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table on ice skates (I never get tired of remembering that it actually happened). Ryan played alternately on the guitar and the keyboard, experiencing technical problems on the latter that only added to the experience (there were also planned dissonances, from what I could tell). His playing was a mixture of the virtuosic and the deliberately erratic--he had a good deal of atonal fun on that keyboard (and I had fun listening; it was almost as fascinating to watch). As promised, it was a considerable divergence from anything I'd ever seen at the Madison, with songs that really appealed to me--songs about zombies, tree farms, and Rowdy Roddy Piper movies (I tried to make a joke about Hell Comes To Frogtown (1988) which I hope he didn't take the wrong way). One made some very clever references to 1984, casting Winston and Julia, of all people, as protagonists of a romantic ballad. Doomed lovers, to be sure, but I certainly wouldn't have thought about putting them in a love song if I wrote music. The title of one of his songs was "What Does God Want With A Starship?", which made me wish I'd been drinking milk so I could have made it come out of my nose. Not only does the guy have the finesse to use a Star Trek quote as a song title, but he uses one from FIVE (1989)!!! Classic, and an experience I don't think I'll ever forget.

I don't think I'll have any fun this evening, but I wasn't planning on it anyway.

*And now, after perusing the photos from the Madison, I realize I seem to have mixed up Chris Bathgate and Matt Jones. Maybe I really should flog myself with nettles.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 5:27 PM EDT
Updated: 19 July 2005 4:10 PM EDT
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17 July 2005
There But For The Grace Of God
Now Playing: Rocket From The Tombs---"Sonic Reducer"
This weekend's been quite the roiler, I must say.

I went to Brandon's party last night, having prepared a sort of scone-biscuit hybrid which I think everyone agreed should be called biscones.* I got a little drunk this time, which I hadn't really the night before. For some reason, I got all surly and withdrawn halfway through the night and left after having made an ass of myself on the dance floor.

While trudging home, I came upon a guy passed out in a very bad way in the street, which... I don't know. I flagged some passers-by and we got a cop, so they got him to the hospital. Watching other people just walking by and making fun of us... I was surly and withdrawn before, and by that point, I became thoroughly dissatisfied with just about everything.

Today was better. Cinema Guild showed The Purple Plain (1954), a long, grueling movie about pilots in 1945 Burma. The movie actually wasn't that great, but it did serve as yet another helpful case study in the sheer coolness of Gregory Peck. On my way home, I noticed a VHS sale at Campus Video, and discovered to my joy that they were selling every single VHS title in the store for $2.00 a pop. I came away with The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and Shaun of the Dead (2004). No matter how bad things look, they always look better after Shaun. What a great movie.

Apparently, I resemble a "happy muppet" while dancing. I love this description.

*As in bi-SCON-ays. "Ciao bella! Biscones!" Try to imagine Marcello Mastroianni saying it.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 5:48 PM EDT
Updated: 17 July 2005 5:52 PM EDT
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16 July 2005
Terpsichore, You Punk-Ass Bitch
Now Playing: a ringing in my ears (see below), thankfully on its last legs
I arrived home yesterday, after posting "Deluge of Peas", after what I described as a "Happy Hour Meltdown", with the full intention of passing out. The Dirtbombs were playing the Blind Pig, and I had planned to go see "So Long, Differently Thinking Persons" at the Dreamland Theater. I hated to miss either, but I have rarely felt as done in as I did yesterday evening at about seven. Eight to nine saw a little nap at my house, and I woke, figured "what the hell?" and went to see the Dirtbombs.

This town can obviously grow tiresome, but strolling about, watching people on a Friday night, is usually very enjoyable, at least for me. Before going to the Pig, I also indulged in a favorite pre-show pastime, wandering the dimly-lit streets of the Old West Side, safeguarded from the industrial urban horrors of downtown Ann Arbor only by a ribbon-thin set of railway track. You never can tell what's going on in those pretty little houses, some of them, as on the rather secluded "Murray Avenue"--if that is its real name--painted all in different colors. The mind runs riot, especially on dark, humid summer nights. Former sixties radicals, aching for righteous vengeance, breeding colossal killer marmots bred for combat and fed on human flesh, exacting bloody payment for the ecological damage our species has wrought on our fragile little planet? I doubt it, but it would certainly break the monotony.

The Scars and 25 Suaves (from Adrian! I don't know what that means, but apparently it's important!) opened for the Dirtbombs. I arrived in the middle of the Scars' set, and eventually found Brandon and Annie seated towards the front, where I'd never been. In a weird coincidence, I'd run into each of them separately earlier in the day, walking along Liberty Street (and found that I'd actually seen Annie--very good, too--in a short play at the Blackbird Theatre about a woman with a creepy painting and creepier former uncle). The scene had many familiar features--lots of people in straw cowboy hats, and the drunk girl who occasionally asks me what I'm reading*. It happened this time in the hallway connecting the upstairs with the 8-Ball, where she loudly asked a nearby reader of The Ann Arbor Paper for her horoscope--Cancer, in case you were curious.

The Scars were pretty good, of the late-sixties influenced school that shows up so often at the Pig, and to be honest, I wasn't expecting much from the hilariously abusive 25 Suaves ("I can't fucking heeeear you! I mean, you may have forked over ten bucks to hear one band, and we're not it, and as a result, you may think you deserve a certain amount of deference from us, but I don't fucking caaaaaare!!!"). By their third song, though, I moved into the middle of the floor and started dancing. It seemed to happen gradually, although I don't think it looked that way to others. I'd gotten down a little the last time the Avatars played, but this was different. I was never a headbanger, not in high school or college, but... it just felt right, and I continued to thrash my merry way through the Dirtbombs' set, where I ended up in the "primo" tympanum-shredding corner next to Brandon and Annie. The Dirtbombs were magnificent, particularly during a cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and my personal favorite, "Motor City Baby." It felt fantastic, and I haven't danced so hard since... hell, probably since Baton Rouge, and that was almost six years ago. My joints are pretty sore this morning, my head hurts (and not from booze), but it was so worth it.

This morning was quite something, too. I lay awake for about an hour listening to the rain with the windows open, and then came the thunder, during which I made my way to the library. I felt a weird feeling of exhilaration pass over me, as did the rolling thunder, varying its pattern from orthodox booms to sudden clumps that sounded like movie versions of shellblasts during the First World War. Watching the lightning in the distance made me feel alive yet curiously placid in a way I've never felt before.

*John Le Carre, The Honourable Schoolboy (1977). The second volume in the "Smiley Trilogy," this follows Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), and sees George Smiley try to repair British intelligence and get revenge on Karla, his Soviet counterpart, after the discovery of the high-placed "mole in the ministry" (now I can't separate John Le Carre from the Dukes of Stratosphear) at the conclusion of Tinker. It's pretty good so far, and I'm becoming quite the Le Carre devotee. People have mentioned elsewhere how his novels really aren't "spy novels" as such but cutting class analyses of an empire in decline. I fucking love those. This one's set largely in Hong Kong, and it's going very well so far. Smiley's one of my favorite literary characters, a successful attempt to recreate the "faceless bureaucrat" as a novelistic hero. If given the chance, check out Alec Guinness' rendition of Smiley in the 1978 British miniseries (it must have been a breath of fresh air for him, coming right after Star Wars--and no, I haven't seen the new one yet).

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 10:23 AM EDT
Updated: 16 July 2005 10:51 AM EDT
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15 July 2005
Deluge of Peas
I had a very, very, very long and irritating day at work today. Never mind why, but by the end I was lurching around the kitchen like Paul Rudd in Wet Hot American Summer. I'm very, very happy that the week is finally over. And then I realize that Art Fair is next week. Hrmph.

And if I hear anyone ever use the word "utilize" in place of "use" again, I'll... well, I don't know what I'll do, but it'll make banging my head into the cabinet door look like child's play.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 4:16 PM EDT
Updated: 15 July 2005 4:18 PM EDT
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11 July 2005
Dance, My Pagan Whore, Dance!
Sunday: a mix of the blah and the blessed.

We worked our asses off at the restaurant putting together 200 lunchbox kits for "Huron Valley Days" (like this town doesn't have enough festivals already) at Gallup Park. I learned today that only 40 were sold, which is pretty irritating.

Cinema Guild showed the first film version of Graham Greene's The Quiet American (1958) with Michael Redgrave as Fowler, the self-pitying, cartoonishly world-weary British journalist, and Audie Murphy (very good, I thought) as Alden Pyle (not mentioned by name in the movie), the title character. Greene's one of my favorite writers, but sometimes I wonder why. His main characters are generally pretty wretched articles awash in booze and self-pity. Maybe I see myself in them at times, but I think it comes down more to the mystique he manages to weave around his locations, even wartime London in The End of the Affair. The Quiet American was set in Vietnam during the closing years of the First Indochina War (1946-54), and was one of Greene's most quintessentially anti-American pieces. I'd seen Philip Noyce's recent 2002 movie with Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser, and contrary to expectations, the older version, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, stacked up pretty well against it. Murphy (better known, perhaps, as the most decorated U.S. soldier of the Second World War) I've always thought a little underrated--he was also very good in John Huston's The Red Badge of Courage (1951). Redgrave I'd only seen in major roles in The Lady Vanishes (1938), Dead of Night (1945), and The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1962) (all fantastic movies; the first two are in my top 100). This was the first time I'd seen him really carry a movie, and he was first-class as the sometimes admirable, sometimes loathsome Fowler.

I arrived at the Madison House for the show and it seemed deserted, although people started to trickle in later. I felt much less awkward than I had at the last two shows, and had a very pleasant evening. The lineup Brandon assembled was a little unorthodox that Sunday, as several of the musicians didn't show until late and one of the featured performers, Bob Cameron, had a standup act centered around the ten signs the world is unfair (very, very funny). "Mr. Josh" Tillinghast, with whom I had a pleasant conversation on the porch, was probably the main standout, as I'd never heard him before. He played with two members of the Great Lakes Myth Society (I believe they were Greg McIntosh and Timothy Monger) and blew us all away. I asked him a profoundly stupid question (as you all surely know, they really do exist) along the lines of "what kind of music do you play?" and the answer seems to be a twisted sort of country-folk that had me laughing, thinking, and being all wistful at the same time. Jason Voss and a superb accompanist on the xylophone (I wish I remembered his name) came before, I think (I'm getting these all out of order)--I'd forgotten what a superb instrument the latter could be, played properly. "Riles" from Milwaukee delivered an introspective set of heartbreak and longing, one of which I think every show is required to have. The last to go on was Eliza Godfrey, who'd played before in accompaniment to Emily Powers during the first show. I'd heard someone describe her as being similar to Kelly Caldwell, but I thought there was as much of Sari Brown there, hitting high notes and an appealing vocal dissonance with a decided enthusiasm--much less country, somewhat more rock and roll (I'm very, very sorry to have said that, but it's actually a pretty good way to describe it). I was much chattier this time than I had been; I'm starting to miss the days when I was awkward and withdrawn. Okay, maybe I'm still awkward. Anyway, I met a couple of new people--Becca, who's been to all the shows and was very friendly (and baked an excellent batch of vegan cookies for the occasion), and Sara, who I recognized as one of our occasional customers from the restaurant. Hrmph. It's not sucking so much to live here anymore, but I'm sure that won't last long.

I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, and I intend to rectify that tonight.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 4:23 PM EDT
Updated: 11 July 2005 4:39 PM EDT
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9 July 2005
Yolk Separation Mastery
I have got to remember not to go into Grizzly Peak Brewing Company again.

In lighter news, I successfully baked off eight cheddar-parmesan scones yesterday evening (while knocking off a six-pack of PBR--it had been a long week). They taste pretty good, and the texture's terrific. I already ate two. Unfortunately, the achievement seems to come with its own psychological tortures. I had a nightmare last night where two acne-faced punks were trying to steal my new scones. "It's in the bag! Get his bag!" It'll probably take me all day to recover from that one. Thankfully, it's looking to shape into a beautiful day.

I heard the new Sleater-Kinney album, The Woods, last night, too. It'll probably take me a couple of listens, but the foreboding I felt after listening to One Beat has partially dissipated. It's not that One Beat was bad, but it definitely wasn't Dig Me Out or The Hot Rock. Neither is The Woods, of course, but it rocks harder than anything else I've been hearing lately, and it's still the divine Tucker-Brownstein-Weiss magic at work (especially Brownstein, although Janet gets incredibly savage with the skins on this one, from the first second of the first track).

Finally, I spent a grueling Thursday at work, as several online chums from the British Horror Films board live in London. Going through baking and whatnot and not knowing what happened to them is something I definitely don't want to do again, so here's hoping.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 10:29 AM EDT
Updated: 9 July 2005 11:09 AM EDT
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3 July 2005
Every Star Is A Setting Sun
I don't write about politics very often in this blog, mainly because other people do it so much better. Whenever the Fourth of July rolls around, though, I get to thinking about what it means to be an American, like my mind holds second-grade essay contests every year.

Over the past five years, the gap between rich and poor has grown considerably, and we've had a walking human embarrassment in the White House who's manipulated our good intentions and lied us into a war that's made the war on terror more difficult to win. Closer to home, in Washtenaw County, self-styled "liberals" are trying to keep the poor, the working poor, and working people from having affordable housing and available jobs in the county's urban center simply so they can preserve some faded, failed-hippie dream of domesticity.

And yet I'm still proud of being American. I'm proud of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the fact that this country fought wars to end slavery (well, eventually, anyway) and fascism (after isolationist conservatives had done their best to keep us out for two years, but better late than never), and, among many other things, the music. I'm sorry to sound like Jack Lessenberry in the Metro Times right now, but it can't be helped. Not today.

I watched I Am Trying To Break Your Heart (2003) last night, and am still glowing to a certain extent. Filmed by Sam Jones (not to be confused with the actor who played the title role in Flash Gordon or the one-term Louisiana reform governor during the late 1940s), it looks at Wilco (vying for a number of years with Sleater-Kinney to be my favorite American rock band) and their struggle to put together Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), a album of glory and magic that I place alongside Pet Sounds, White Light/White Heat, and Born to Run as being close to perfect as possible. Watching Jeff Tweedy, Jay Bennett (despite his occasionally cringe-inducing arguments with the former and his eventual departure from the band), and the rest struggle with themselves and their idiotic record company to produce a masterpiece made me feel as patriotic as if I'd just voted. Truly awesome. The alternate version of the movie title song (the first song on the album) playing during the opening credits gave me goosebumps of a sort I hadn't felt in ages.

With that, I hope everyone, American or no, has a great Fourth of July tomorrow.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 12:21 PM EDT
Updated: 9 July 2005 2:07 PM EDT
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2 July 2005
Yiddish Breakfast
Well, leftover hamantaschen and rugelach left over from a funeral Tiffany catered on Thursday. They were still pretty good, though.

A long week comes to an end, to reveal three days off for me. Last night I went to see the Great Lakes Myth Society at the Blind Pig. The weather improved considerably, hovering between 50 and 75 Fahrenheit all evening--I walked home in my sweater. The show had some interesting surprises, too. There was an unexpected amount of human contact, as the cocktail server (if "The King of Beers" can be considered a "cocktail") Livy and Hailey, a library clerk who recognized me from... well, the library, came to ask what I was reading (Vanity Fair, which I finally finished this afternoon--highly recommended; deceptively Dickensian mawkishness drenched in acid). I actually got into a conversation with the latter, who plans to attend library school as well.

Opening for the GLMS were Starling Electric, a late-60s influenced band and the Singles... another late-60s influenced band. Most of the bands I like in the area are 60s-influenced, definitely my two faves, Saturday Looks Good To Me and the Avatars. I wonder sometimes whether rock music has hit some sort of creative ceiling, only able now to recycle various bits and pieces from its past into new forms. Of course, I guess the same can be said for any creative endeavor. C.S. Lewis, when talking about writing in "On Stories," pointed out that humans never think of anything genuinely new, only processing things they already know or perceiving and combining them into other constructs (the first time, so far as I know, that the word "constructs" has appeared in this blog, and hopefully the last).

The bands were pretty good, although the smoke used by Starling Electric made me think of bedrooms with towels stuffed under the doors and pot smoke filling the inside, a nice, healthy dose of early Yes on the stereo (not that that's a bad thing at all--I've come to be reunited with my own love of early Yes, the years before Rick Wakeman decided to become an Arthurian ice-skating impresario). The Singles were... jangly, that's the best way I can think of describing them. I didn't enjoy the "Gloms" as much as I thought I would--I think I was tired. As I'd been up since four in the morning that was certainly plausible. A weird mood came over me and I left about three-fourths of the way into their set. I don't understand why, either--some of the guitar work was the most intricate and accomplished I'd ever heard at the Pig (I don't play guitar, but it sure sounded intricate and accomplished to me).

I bought potatoes this morning. My life is a raging, churning torrent of anarchy.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 4:24 PM EDT
Updated: 2 July 2005 4:30 PM EDT
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