Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hey Goo, what's new?

(genuine Old West flavor, now with fewer brandings!)

Werner Herzog was on Fresh Air on Thursday and blew my mind talking about alienation and futility and the ecstasy of truth in art. I nodded so hard I got whiplash and the kittens stared at me. People have been comparing stuff to Safe for a long time, but Herzog's Grizzly Man is the real deal--Haynes' staring contest with loneliness and quixotic questing transplanted into the Alaskan forest. Herzog in this latest incarno also reminds me of Lars von Trier, only without the bloodlust for persecuted female protagonists. Which creeps me out.

Ladyfest is a-rockin' in Oly-town, right this second. See July 13th post for details & linkages.

Who would've thought the Sugarcubes were Iceland's late-80s college rock answer to Bloomsbury? If you love but sometimes have trouble remembering, as I do, exactly how the Duncan Grant/Clive Bell/Lytton Strachey side of that particular social dodecahedron mapped out, puzzle yr noodle with this one. Click, admire rare group pic, scroll for brainteaser bio.

Maria Raha's awesomely-named Cinderella's Big Score: Women of the Punk and Indie Underground came out way back in January but hasn't gotten too much publicity for some reason. Raha also had a piece in the old Seal Press anthology Young Wives' Tales (in spite of its alarming chick-lit jacket design, said anth was actually not so bad, and queer-inclusive, as I recall).

Inga Muscio's autobiography! Out! Now! Only it's not so much a true autobiography as it is Cunt: Part Deux zeroed in on race and revisionist history.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ethic of caring less

At work I am archiving photos & press re: the Puget Sound Women's Peace Camp, 1984-1986 (Seal Press did a book on said camp called We Are Ordinary Women), and it occurs to me that, as suspected but never confirmed, all contemporary hipster haircuts originate in 1984. Seriously, if you teleported some of these women out of the photos and into the offices of Troubleman, they'd have an EP out and be up on Cobra Snake within 10 minutes.

Leafing through the May 1984 issue of Off Our Backs, which is off-gassing like whoa after 20 years in storage in a deathly acidic box, it also occurs to me that I hate Carol Gilligan so much because, on some level, I think she might be mostly right. And I don't want her to be. All that generalizing just makes me hella nervous...I mean, it's one thing to have theories about different kinds of ethics, and to point out that some are about fairness and some are about inclusion. But when you start gendering them, it just gets so screwy so fast. If boys want to be fair/just, and girls want to be nice/inclusive, what do you do with the boys who want to be nice and the girls who want to be fair? Do they not count? As a theory it completely fails to deal with outliers--in fact, ignoring outliers is what makes it work, and since I like my feminism to be all about accomodating and recooping outliers, I have never been partial. Kate Bornstein would totes defend me here, I'm thinkin'.

The (2nd) Pitchfork Ryan Adams interview is real, real funny and so, so worth reading. It's how music interviews should be but almost never are: anecdotal, kinetic, specific--fulla conjecture & breeze-shooting & theorizing & fan-fessing, not, "On this album I wanted to do something different" and "It's important to me to always push myself musically." Best moment is "the Ryman" (Adams' name for himself...?) explaining how Pavement & Daydream Nation birthed emo.

I am taking care of two kittens for the next week. They don't seem too interested in my guitar, but they love my Latin dictionary, hiding under my bed, and sitting on my window ledge watching the cars go by. Right now they are sleeping like the kitty dead, limbs splayed, paws outstretched, motionless save for the rhythmic swells of tiny, furry ribcages.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Cherchez le context

I went on a pilgrimage today, like some kind of punk rock Wife of Bath. Only the Wife of Bath is already pretty punk rock to begin with. And I definitely haven't had five housbondes at chirche dore. And instead of going to Canterbury I went to Cleveland. But I totally could have worn a kirtle.

I took a bus and then a train and then a trolley to get to the closest movie theater in my area that is playing Me and You and Everyone We Know. The turnout was pretty robust considering the heavy competition from penguins and ballroom-dancing youths. I did an okay job of keeping the snob reflex in check, even when the woman behind me said to her companion, "This is her first film, you know." I did not overreact and turn around and point out, "Well actually, this is only her first full-length. Miranda July did not just emerge fully formed out of the seafoam of Sundance and Cannes. This movie, like her other art, has a context and a history and a resonance with things outside itself. It has a past and an evolution and a milieu and a long personal chronology of struggle and development and influence and all of that good stuff, so please get yr facts straight or go to KRS or EMP Live or something."

Meanwhile, back in the lady ghetto, Sarah Dougher has started a new record label and no one seems to care ('cept Neumu and Julianne Shepherd). It's releasing her new record--you know, the one that was supposed to be based on the Odyssey?--and Sara Jaffe's extra-Errata solo rocker, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

All tomorrow's boxsets

While I was reshelving my stuff in the pop vault after my show (an hour longer than usual b/c I was subbing) the next DJ, doing a Gravy Train!!! friends 'n influences theme, put on Annie (Me Plus One), and the metal director who was in the studio at the time asked,

"Hey, are you playing 80s?"
"No, actually, this is new. It just came out."
"Oh. ( a pause) Well, it sounds like the 80s, man."

Ah, Annie. Such is yr power.

Then Iggy Pop was on Fresh Air, hawking A Million in Prizes, and I Wanna Be Your Dog sounded so contemporary it was scary. Like it was written and recorded this morning. Iggy/Jim is so ironic and smart. I had a hunch b/c of Coffee & Cigarettes, but seriously, he used the word "inchoate." He wheedled in a falsetto, "Oh, I must go, I've just cut myself with glass! Do buy my greatest hits!" What did he talk about? Oh, you know--tribal behavior and its possible application to rock shows, Anglo-Saxon country clubism, Nico's sex tips, Balinese gamelan--the usual.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ladyfest Oly II

Apparently someone is asleep at the Pogo Princess newsdesk, because I did not find out until this morning that Olympia is doing another Ladyfest this month, July 28-31. Scheduled performers include everyone I love, their mom, and their mom's mom. Potential wkshoppers, be aware of the fact that, in order to participate in Dame Darcy's doll-making workshop, you need to bring with you "at least 2, ideally 4" toaster ovens. A poor lady's Melora Creager she is not.

Despite the fact that I can totes not go, I am pleased nonetheless to be alerted to the existence not only of Tobi Vail's new band, but of an Oly trio called Mind Your Pig Latoya, surely the greatest hickster chic band name since the Be Good Tanyas.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mean G/girls

Why is trying to move to Chicago, for me, always like trying to run through an invisible brick wall? The Live in Chi-Town Plan 2005, much like its late predecessor, LiCTP 2003, has blown up into a big fiery ball of death, thanks to my ex-housemates-to-be and their seventh gradeian ditching of yrs truly. No amount of dancing into furniture to the Cold Cold Hearts/Call the Doctor/Rid of Me is going to take away the punched-in-the-gut awfulness of it all.

While I'm trying to figure out what the hell to do now, please read this awesome Marxist-feminist analysis of Mean Girls, mean girls, straight girls who make out w/ each other, and the late capitalist networks that enable them. B/c of recent personal experience, meanness btw. girls isn't feeling mythic right now so much as terribly, terribly real, but it still makes hella sense.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The quality of mercy is not Chicago

Supermarket Sweep-style road tripping to a huge city to find a place to live in 6 hrs. is easy! Just pack the following to protect yrself along the way:

-The Color Purple, convenient travel-size mini-hardback edition
-Dvorak Serenades for strings, ops. 22 & 24
-Venus zine no. 24
-16 homemade mint chocolate chip cookies

I'll race you to Chi-town! First one back alive gets to shower!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I am not a rock promoter

The phone rang today while I was cleaning up the studio after my radio show. I remembered to say, "WOBC" and was greeted with,

"Hello, this is the Beachland Ballroom. How are you?"

Because I don't do much telephone-answering of this kind, this was a really, really surreal thing to hear--sort of like, "Hi, this is Mount Rushmore, what's up?" Or, "This is universal healthcare, how's it hanging?" It was even weirder b/c I love the Beachland so much. The lady didn't want anything that complicated, she was just confirming contact info or something, but I totally freaked out, forgot all but a handful of nouns & verbs and had to run off to get the station manager. I guess I'm really not cut out for music promotion. Cary IMed while I was DJing, though, and we had a nice talk. I am going to send her a postcard while she is still over yonder in Berkeley-town.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

All the things that burn in hell are fashionable

There is nothing quite like spontaneously blowing off yr late-afternoon commitments to bake chocolate chip cookies. I used dark brown sugar and mint chocolate chips even though my recipe warned that this could only end in biblical-style wailing with a high likelihood of teeth-gnashing, garment-rending and the tearing of hair. But now they’s done and they tastes six kinds of awesome. So take that, Nestle. I only used yr chips b/c they were a gift, anyway. Death to the Corporate Cookie Ogre, etc.

Updates. This weekend I am going to Chicago. Please pray, everyone, that I do not get overwhelmed and emotionally ass-wonked in the manner of three months ago. Yesterday I took off on my bike like Miss Gulch reborn, jury-rigged rear metal basket crashing and bouncing all the way to the field in front of Splash Zone, where they do the fireworks show. These f-works are the best ever, DC pride be damned. While watching I developed a complicated theory about how this event is Oberlin’s pyrotechnic equivalent of a Sleater-Kinney show (something about precious semi-annual community bonding, transcendence, awe, and faith in humanity restored) but now I can’t articulate it too well.

My jobs continue to be ridiculous squared. Job #1 involves disassembling scrapbooks, reading The National Enquirer and listening to novels on cassette. Job #2 requires me to look at huge amounts of ancient Greek & Roman porn and to take notes such as, “men courting boys; satyrs; hermaphrodites; orgies; man fellating woman; terracotta plate w/ 69.”

I have heard three excellent records recently, two new, one not: Electrelane, “Axes.” The Books, “Lost & Safe.” The Need, “The Need Is Dead.” Axes is like this really amazing love affair between a guitar and a piano. They meet, they get together despite cynical, phobic naysayers (“A guitar and a piano?! On a dance-pop album? That never works!”); they consummate their love in track 4, are led astray by a nefarious saxophone in track 6, and finally break up in track 8. Who says this is supposed to be dance-pop? Lost & Safe is so good I don’t want to talk about it. And The Need Is Dead is THE NEED. Enough said, really.

***Track 4 of Axes is called “If Not Now, When?” Track 9 of Lost & Safe is called “If Not Now, Whenever.” Huh.

Friday, July 01, 2005

July will keep us together

Dear World re: my last post--I apologize. Me and You and Everyone We Know will do just fine. I suddenly got it when my dad told me on the phone that he wanted to see it. It was a fantastic moment of cross-generational detente & goodwill, almost as unexpected and lovely as having yr elderly next-door neighbor drop by and ask, "Pardon me, do you happen to have a copy of Girl Germs #2?"