Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Homo hoe-down and calendar
May has shaped up to be the queerest month of recent memory, rippling with so many excellent and subversive new film, musical and literary offerings I'm starting to think the revolution homo-style really is going down in earnest (further evidence: I persuaded a 20-something dude at my bookstore to buy Mrs. Dalloway even after he asked nervously, "Isn't this a girly book?" I also pushed Funeral Rites but he left it sitting on the shelf--can't imagine why). Here's a recap of what's been rumbling in the underground this month, with a preview of queerities to come:
MATMOS, THE ROSE HAS TEETH IN THE MOUTH OF A BEAST [MATADOR]
Just when you thought they couldn't get any smarter, Matmos returns with a brainy concept record so queerly radical on the one hand and experimental, ambitious and ethereal on the other it makes Pansy Division sound like the 700 Club and the Books like Lawrence Welk. The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast (title snagged from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations) is the soul of punk distilled, frozen into cubes and traced against yr fevered brow. There's no gabba-gabba-hey guitar slap, drum snarl or feedback to speak of, but this is punk for the new millennium--decentered, denatured, reimagined, kindred to its '77 self only via lust for the unexplored and a proud refusal to steal an arm or an earlobe from the overpicked corpses of records past. Every track is a tribute to a beloved queer icon, inclusive of the obscure, the cultish, the vaguely-known and the fist-eatingly unheard of (hence "Steam and Sequins for Larry Levan," "Snails and Lasers for Patricia Highsmith").
"If I weren't gay, or she weren't a woman, I might consider attempting to ensnare her in the ugly web of a monogamous relationship."
Joey Comeau's flawed debut novel of queer guerrilla terrorism reads like just that--a flawed debut novel--but draws its confused, vengeful protagonist with adamantine sympathy and realism. Our hero may break into people's homes and punch innocent teenage girls in shopping malls, but he's profoundly conflicted about it. He also can't figure out for the life of him why, if gender is a construction, and monogamy unnatural, so many people find themselves stubbornly attracted to the brains and bodies of either men or women. You can read the first seven chapters here for free, but even better than Lockpick are A Softer World, Comeau's collaborative online art and writing project, and his fake cover letters asking potential employers for jobs.
Still soldiering on after Lynn Breedlove's 4/15 appearance and the penultimate Tracy + the Plastics show, Homocore has organized a hip-hop night for May 28th (7th Street Entry, 21+) with seven different artists from around the country. Don't hate on homohop. It's like the line dance they somehow never got around to teaching you in yr elementary school physical education class.
FLAMING FILM FESTIVAL
Minneapolis' own Flaming Film Festival begins this Thursday, May 25th. Skip the treacly hetero liberal-baiting of "All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise" but stay for "Is it Really So Strange?", William E. Jones' 2004 doc on Hispanic and Latino Morrissey fans. They're pairing it up with Jem Cohen's Elliott Smith short, and then afterwards local music-types are gonna do live Moz/Smiths/Smith covers. I dare you to go and not sigh expressively. Monday the 29th is the Music Video Showcase, and since the entire festival is hosted by Kill Rock Stars they'll be showing classic and newer vids from E. Smith as well as the SSION, Deerhoof, Sleater-Kinney, Hella and Xiu Xiu.
[Last-minute addenda: Carrie Brownstein in the NYT! Augusten Burroughs in Mpls! Hold him hostage in an elevator with yr loquacity & love--or at least qualms about the film version of Running With Scissors.]