Thursday, July 30, 2009

Post-post, post

Post move, post volunteering for All Points West and post getting my bills in order, I will take a DJ class in Manhattan. Now that I have mastered (I use that word lightly) the art of rock climbing, I want to master the art of spinning (in hand form, not talking about gyms here).

Current Party Shuffle mix: Modest Mouse's "Horn Intro" into Modest Mouse's "Bukowski," both feat. on Good News For People Who Love Bad News.

New blanketing

Check out badass Spencer Tweedy's blog, created by 13-year-old son of Wilco's frontman, Jeff Tweedy.

Thank you, SPIN.
Do you ever think about where the first time was that you 'heard' or 'heard of' a band?

Today, I'm dedicating this post to Postal Service and Qdoba.
I remember sitting in the Mexican semi-fast food joint on Washington Street in Hoboken and being told of, then searching for, Ben Gibbard's eclectic and one-time-only band.

Thank you, Party Shuffle, for turning to "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" and thus initiating this post.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

neither here nor there

As I'm sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops in NYC, reading a newly purchased book, neither here nor there, and I have the urge to type one of the passages that literally made me laugh out loud, quite loudly.  I love when a book does that - and Bill Bryson never lets me down.  

I recall about a year ago writing about another one of his books on this blog, and I recall it being equally as funny.  Bryson is my favorite travel writer, consistently sarcastic, brutally honest, and stereotypically hilarious.  I'll just get to it...

On Paris....

"Katz was in a tetchy frame of mind throughout most of our stay in Paris.  He was convinced everything was out to get him.  On the morning of our second day, we were strolling down the Champs-Elysees when a bird shit on his head.  'Did you know,' I asked a block or two later, 'that a bird shit on your head?'

Instinctively, Katz put a hand to his head, looked at it in horror, and with only a mumbled 'Wait here,' walked with ramrod stiffness in the direction of our hotel.  When he reappeared twenty minutes later, he smelled overpoweringly of Brut aftershave and his hair was plastered down like a third-rate Spanish gigolo's, but he appeared to have regained his composure.  'I'm ready now,' he announced.

Almost immediately another bird shit on his head.  Only this time it really shit.  I don't want to get too graphic, in case you're snacking or anything, but if you can imagine a pot of yogurt upended onto his scalp, I think you'll get the picture.  It was running down the sides of his head and everything.  'Gosh, Steve, that was one sick bird,' I observed helpfully.

Katz was literally speechless.  Without a word he turned and walked stiffly back to the hotel, ignoring the turning heads of passersby.  He was gone for nearly an hour.  When at last he returned, he was wearing a poncho with the hood up.  'Just don't say a word,' he warned me and strode past.  He never really warmed to Paris after that."

Bill Bryson, neither here nor there

Maybe I find this so funny because when I was in France I thought everyone was out to get me, poison me, shit on me (well, a bird actually did shit on me in Normandie), and it's the relateable sense of individual travelers that lures me in.  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Did you rub my lamp?

I used to know this whole scene by heart when I was about 7 years old. I would trot into my grandma's school, grabbing the teachers attention by sitting on the counter and pretending to make dreams come true:

Loves esp around 5:45

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Bonnaroo feels so long ago - but here's a funny video to bring me right back:

Maybe it feels like forevs because we have two pictures to prove we were there. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Look for me!

 Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
Fall 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Point of light

"Space Walk" Lemon Jelly

" 'Verified.' 
'I'm moving outside.'
'Okay, I'm letting go.'
'Copy that.' "

Friday, July 10, 2009

NYC Dance Happenings- Umbilical Brothers

It's been quite some time since I've written about the modern dance scene in Manhattan proper.  Post Trey McIntyre Project and Philadanco at the Joyce, and Broadway Bares at the Roseland Ballroom, it's time to do some catching up with dance chit chat. 

Thursday evening, the Umbilical Brothers, a monozygotic duet from Sydney, Australia, shared the stage in Speedmouse - a whirlwind of stimulation, caricatured humor, and whimsical nonsense.  David Collins (the one with curly hair) and Shane Dundas (the one without curly hair) addressed the audience like we were old friends, taking free liberty to express their ultimate purpose, admission of intimidation, and lack of "transitions" (more on that later).  As writers, directors and performers, the Brothers immediately honed in on making us aware of their silly flaws, only to reiterate their non-flawed transitional nature in every skit they created.  The Umbilical Brothers stand true to their organic physical title - Dundas squirms his mouth to make the most questionable animated sounds.  Clicking, clacking, grunting or yelping with his inner cheeks and teeth, Collins is the yin to Dundas' yang, the movement to his noise.  Limber and poised, Collins' free-strength abandon is met with outstanding balance, focus and a smile comparable to Heath Ledger.   

The Umbilical Brothers place themselves in their own world - controlled by a remote, which happens to be in the hand of their Roadie.  Roadie, a physically sarcastic stagehand, is hidden underneath a felt mask and an over sized pink and yellow polka dot clown costume throughout the entire production.  Roadie's hand grasps the average contraption with all the amenities a normal remote possesses; however, the remote's not so remote purpose is to demonstrate choreographic composition through labels [on/off, stop, play, pause, mute, rewind, porn] onto Dave and Shane.  Thus, the Brothers stutter when there's a 'ga ga glitch', turn their skulls like molasses when slow motion becomes activated, and squawk in gibberish when being fast-forwarded.  

As Speedmouse switches channels on our literal television experience, Collins and Dundas mutate into velociraptors, javelin experts, ping pong champions, German commentators, Arnold Schwarzenegger posers ('get out'), babysitters, and puppeteers.  Their skits are acts Willy Wonka would approve of.  Immersed in the accuracy of their target in media or society, Dundas and Collins take their humor seriously.  Their bodies are able to mold and bend like clay, taking on any shape they aim to mimic.  As dinosaurs, the Brothers could have been in Jurassic Park - arching their backs and squishing their necks backwards while making growling noises that could have startled a scientist.  On a different [foreign] channel, Collins claps and wobbles through a series of Yoga poses that Dundas dictates in an hypnosis-like German documentary accent.  Collins' poise and ability to transfigure his body from standing to crouching is something to be admired.  Can the two Aussie's be categorized as modern dance?  Most likely not, but their ability to refrain from categorization within comedic performance art speaks for itself.  

It's important to note that though the Umbilical Brothers emphasized their trouble with transitions, it's hard for me to remember them actually doing it.  Steady and sure of their consistent timing (choreographically, audibly, and comedically), Dundas and Shane probably paid the most attention to their transitions, as they hardly stayed in one place too long. The transitions actually enabled a fast-paced flip book whatjusthappenedicantevenrememberwhatiwitnessed tasting, with a side of giggles.  

The Umibilical Brothers are performing at the Joyce until July 11.  
Check out the duo's hilarious encore below

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Motion Occupies Music: Michael J. Fox


I want to try to keep writing for you.  As you already know it is hard for me to put things into works.  I often have to close my eyes, and just let the words try to flow through my fingertips.   It doesn’t always work.  It’s like choking on my own thoughts.

I thought of a great phrase yesterday, and I have already forgotten it.  I am sorry I did not write it down.  I hope you keep writing.  I hope you may be the keeper of many good memories.

Here is the Michael J Fox experience:

'Always Looking Up', his book based on optimism.

ABC produced a one-hour mini documentary loosely based on the theme of his book.

I was simply asked to mix the show.

As many people my age, I grew up with MJF, remembering him as a smart alec young man on Family Ties to Back to the Future.  Here was an amazing young actor with a sharp mind and sense of humor.  He had it all going on.  Then the news came of his diagnosis with Parkinson Disease.

This struck a chord, we are about the same age.  How does this happen to someone so vibrant, so young?

I was happy to be asked to participate on the production of this show.  I met MJF briefly as we had to record some narration lines.  Because of the extreme deadline we were facing I had the studio preset and ready to role as soon as Michael was ready to record.  There was a slight hitch due to a communication gap, and I was somewhat taken aback as to how this particular concern was not thought of or addressed prior to recording.  Michael’s Parkinson’s is accompanied with uncontrollable movement.  Therefore, when in a recording booth, this movement is unfortunately picked up by the microphone.  I had not been made aware of his preference to sit on a stool.  Had I known that I would have found one that did not squeak.  A total snafu on our end.   But the professionalism of Michael and the production team, including great editors enabled us to continue unencumbered by a squeaky stool.  I was not thrilled, but happy that the performance was captured without upsetting the talent or affecting the outcome of the production.

What stood out the most was how incredibly smart and down to earth he was.  Above and beyond all, was his optimism.  After working with him and working on the show, and meeting he and his wife at the post gathering, I came away with the feeling that I should never waste time on looking back, but spend more time looking forward, and looking up.  Keeping the good things in mind and pushing away the negative.  I doesn’t always come easy, but I will tell you that right now, as I am writing these words to you, it is working for me.

MJF is a fine example of a person who is not giving up on life.  One who seems to embrace each and every moment.   A man who is proactive in finding a cure for the disease that has so affected his life and that of those who surround him with profound love and support.

Once again, I have been lucky to come into contact, however briefly, with a special talent.  One of many who have inspired me throughout the years. 

Voodoo on it

New Orleans. 
Music festival.
Southern comfort food.
Pink and gold beads.
Halloween weekend. 

This is Voodoo Experience's 10th Anniversary, 
and who turns a reason away to celebrate?

Nominated twice by Pollstar for Music Festival of the Year, 
Voodoo Experience has brought over 1 million fans to the south, 
as well as over 450 artists to the stage.

Check out the map of the festival grounds

Who's in?
It's only 20 hrs and 15 mins from NYC.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A cappella

We laid there with a sense of bewilderment and enchantment.  Two immobile quads mushed together, forming lethargic shapes from an underneath point of view.  Time was an unknown fact, entry bracelets replaced watches and phones and burning neon.  The essential numbers - like a mother, father and brother - were silenced by the beauty between the trees.  Backs rested and massaged, we walked without purpose in a seemingly OK manor.  Front of calves were burnt, back of calves were cold.  Two-faced.  Pretty lights engulfed our heads and laughter spoke languages we couldn't remember.  Fireworks debated points of homeostasis and levels of crazy.  Two was easier than one, yeah way!  Spitting in straws.  Splitting.  Paper plates ignited with fury, the sparks caught our laughter and burned in the sounds of madness, happiness, lochness, and animated voice.  His ingeniously loud vibrato lured nomads out from behind shadows, looking to play, looking to wonder.  The wicked witch melted twelve times.  The green became even greener as technology played with fun.  We stared.  I stared for a while - maybe days - and it felt like Christmas.  Four o'clock chocolate donuts, gonuts.  Wayne O. got arrested and no one knew what to do with his sneakers or 10,000 claims.  His absence was filled with Savannah nights and her teddy bear husband.  All the ducks swam in the water, and woke up old legends from sleeping bags of warmth.  LCD Soundsystem started the last day with Bob and the mess felt normal, just as my dirty hands felt clean. 

It's like this: pretend you're a Google satellite.  Zoom in past the oceans, past the metropolis', past the highways, houses, pools, convention centers, past the trees, and focus on the little flicker of light.  That is a world, right around a campfire.  Soaking, brewing, heating - a full circle of bending minds and crooked smiles.  People are living within the tiniest dot on the biggest scale.  They decorate their dot with pink and green glow sticks, and maybe some empty cans.  Surrounded by thousands, do they ever look around?  Me?  I didn't find the need to, as our neighbors were mirror images.  Through the looking glass, we all screamed at peaks.  

See you next year Stickman. 

In tents

It's a great experience to go to bed in a tent listening to "All the ducks are swimming in the water fal da ral da ral da"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Going to bed with 15

"Everyone was there."  

"Oh you mean the desert.  Of course that's what you mean - the place where you desire, no?  Tell me about 'everyone'."

"Well, everyone at least that has been on my mind lately.  And yes, the desert.  Is it desired?  I can't be too confident about desire within the dry world both fake and real, but the dust formed wisps around us and rolled along the 20 mile stretch as silent as a bubble with the speed of a panther.  The stretch of desert was as far as my eyes could reach, and I have 20/20 vision you know.  I had never witnessed such an expansive line of flatness.  I remember thinking of the lyric 'cause every place I go, I'll take another place with me'.  The past was all present, and everyone, well my everyone, seemed confused."  

Thinking with a head tilt

"It was some sort of treasure hunt.  A wicked game.  They carried me home."

"Whose 'they'?"
"Two boys, I knew them both.  They carried what used to be my 16-year-old-self.  Limp and distraught, I came-to with minimum memory.  It was like the same experience on New Years when I came-to in a blanket with my hands choking a coffee mug.  One of the boys, my particular favorite, had lost a bright salmon and purple Nye sneaker.  He wasn't aware that he lost a shoe, or maybe he didn't care to notice.  I reminded him it was there, sticking out like a sore thumb amidst the linear brown paths. 

We pinpricked and molded our way through the crowd.  I recall encountering a mafia family in the living room - glued to the TV and silent.  There sofas were crimson while their still shadows vibrated on the dim walls.  Our presence was unknown.  It reminded me of Pleasantville."

Sits down in a quiet upper west side pre-war building.  There's dust on the bathroom floor and cream cheese stains on both desks.  The desks are adjacent to the window.  The window muffles sounds of construction workers and big machines.  Golden Jesus in three ways stares at the computer, and she never looks up.  Buddha is there too, as well as a solar calculator, blue post-its , a Brasilian magazine, and a blinking voicemail contraption. 

"So what happened next, where did you travel to?"

"I can't be too sure as I might be making it up.  All I know is that I went to bed contemplating solace and Wisconsin, and then I wound up in a desert and feeling wanted but still sick."