Friday, July 23, 2004


Well, shit: my well-oiled plan to see both Runaway Planet and Madonna over a two day period (hearkening back to the RP/Air binge) has crumbled beneath its own wieght.  Viva variety.

Billy, the aforementioned (only?) heterosexual die-hard Madonna fan has been insisting that we leave today on our drive to Atlanta for the past week or so, and today he's become downright bratty about it.  Granted, I'd lied to him about some work deadline that would force us to leave early tomorrow morning, but he doesn't/didn't know that; from his perspective, he's actually bullied me out of earning money today so that we can depart with time to spare.  Time to spare is a luxury that I can't afford, as there are simply too many things that I want to do at any given point to "leave early."  I'd rather push it, packing in as much as possible in the shortest amount of time available, and, besides, rushing is fun, like a race, pressing one's luck against the clock, against circumstance...

...but not against one another.  For the sake of civility and happiness on our sixteen hours of asphalt and rest stops, I've finally yielded to Billy's will.

Hence, I must give mad props to Runaway Planet as I wish them a very good show tonight, delivered from churches and libraries, returned finally to the bars and barflies who so dearly love them.   Swing a pitcher or six in my stead (as I'm sure my freshly twenty-four year old representative tonight will be doing much the same).  Any locals ought to go in for a visit.

DC people: is there a venue for blugrass, traditional or modernized, which I can pressure this band to visit?  Oh, and buy their CD (when, of course, they finally release it).

Knock on wood, folks, that our drive is without flat tires, police intervention, etc.  Expect a hysterical full report when we've recovered.

Infinite wishes of calm and fortune to dear Amber and her ova this weekend in DC.  May the harvesting sound like little chiming cash registers!

(And check out the little Little Rock webcam on the sidebar: today it's focused on the almost-complete Clinton Presidential Library.)


Thursday, July 22, 2004


Today is my Friday.

Why, you ask?  Oh, nothing major... just a quick trip to Atlanta to see Madonna.

Madonna is my Achilles' heel, my beloved hubris, my stereotype-solidifying passion that has been with me since I received my first 37-key Casio keyboard at age four.  Sure, I'll admit it, the last album sucked, but Erotica and Bedtime Stories more than fill the void left by my deflated expectations.  I'll also admit that the cost of admission to a Madonna show is absurdly overvalued, so much so that I never would have shelled out the dollar to go to this show had dear Billy (perhaps the only heterosexual ICON-subscribing Madonna fanatic) not bought them before asking if I was willing to go along.

Admissions of witholdings aside, I also can't wait to see this show, mostly because I'm going to get out of it exactly what I want: our dear material girl signing "Like a Virgin" from the eleventh fucking row!  I also hear that she'll be performing shit from her canon of culturally foundational classics such as "Burning Up," "Vogue," and "Into the Groove," so, friends, expect hysterical answering machine messages of me shouting "I'm not the same, I have no shame, I'm on FIE-YAHHH!"

And, sorry dearest Madonna, I'll give money to watch you perform, but $95 for a shirtFuck off.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Daily Show applause 

Oh, John Stewart, how thou dost make me tingle.  Formerly I spoke horribly about Comedy Central's Daily Show; it was funny, sure, but it seemed like nothing more than simple pandering to the popular distaste for politics.  The pre-Stewart version fit a format much more closely connected with inaugural host Carig Kilborn's late night talkshow, with celebrity guests and the five questions bit and whatnot.  When Stewart arrived, the show awkwardly bumbled around a bit before slowly realizing the appeal of an all-out political lampoon, complete with blazers, ties, powersuits and fiercely-groomed commentators.  Stewart became an anchor,  and, at the helm of the last members of Gen X as well as the newer, even more cynical and ignorant batch of youths (of which I count myself a member) , the endeavor gained a sharp focus, uniformaly skewering all parties worth insulting while maintaining a logical are of encouraging awareness.  I've written before about Noam Chomsky's poorly explored distaste for the Daily Show and other politically-themed comedy routines, which he asserts pander to the apathetically-informed as actual news.  He referenced some study (singular, mind you, a study, the title or date of which he could not recall) that found 18-24 year-olds identifying such programs as their "preferred method of televised news information delivery."  Without seeing the survey I can't be certain of my response, but I can certainly say that, among televised news programs, none of them draws me to the screen like the Daily Show.  I'm not making policy decisions from the material, mind you, but, and how ironic is this, Stewart's interviewees are given more candid access to a viewing audience than they have ever been given on any syndicated news network, including CNN (and I firmly assert that if CNN is your news outlet of choice on anything other than simple reportage of data, your editoriol slant is probably hideously malformed and underdeveloped).  Watch this little clip of op-ed as delivered by Stewart; in asserting the banality of popular political information and the ease with which televisionas a medium creates public opinion, his views are far from unique--however, in sampling from the media outlets themselves, Stewart and his showmates are singlehandedly forcing the 18 to 24 market sector to recognize that information is inherently imperfect and intended to persuade, even unconsciously, one's devotions.  Rip it up, Stewart, for I want it on the historical record that your politically-focused, pop media deconstructionist show was wildly popular among my demographic.


Monday, July 19, 2004

Pleix, &c 

I sometimes forget about the items I've got on the sidebar, but this constant oversight affords me the joy of rediscovery. 
Pleix films has been a favorite creative collective since I saw their brief piece Beauty Kit, a cute piece of slick animation techniques that grinningly supports significant social commentary. 
They had also done a promotional video for Plaid (on the track Itsu) to some very interesting ends.  Plaid, if you haven't ever listened to them, are run-of-the-mill electronic performers (sorry, boys, I mean that affectionately) whose work variously represents ambient, IDM, and house flavors (more aggressively and esoterically defined at allmusic.com as "heavily hybridized post-techno and obscurantist thematics" ... whatever). 
I'm always amazed at the freedom this kind of music gives video artists, providing a template of essentially abstract harmonics (with no lyrical content nor the narrative such inclusions allow) upon which these creative folk can let their minds run wild.  Chris Cunningham's brilliant work with Aphex Twin on both Come to Daddy and Windowlicker fall into the same category, so go seek out his work (available on DVD, if you're so inclined, where one can hear him admit that his favorite part of photography is the post-production).
Palm Pictures, the same people that made the Chris Cunningham DVD, also offer DVD versions of Matthew Barney's shitbrilliant Cremaster Cycle.  I can't decide if Cremaster is a maniacal œuvre of the grandeur of film in the era of high technology or just another Damien Hirst-esque parade of the excesses afforded to the modern succesful pop artist.  Even Hirst, whose approach to and opinion of art is usually obscuringly vain or even retardedly postmodern, has done some good work, like his Last Supper screen prints that parody the rise of pharmaceuticals and their subsequent influence on graphic design and contemporary tastes.  Who knows, just watch and be dazzled.
The latest piece to emerge from Pleix is a promotional video for Basement Jaxx's Cish Cash, featuring a scene strongly reminiscent of some Cremaster imagery.  I wonder, just what has been seen by whom?

24 part three 

Happy birthday Megan!  And now, the requisite unflattering photo... bwah ha ha!


Sunday, July 18, 2004

Posh digs on Lake Hamilton 

Long story short, Megan's pre-birthday weekend was a hoot, save for the wicked burns of course.  Her sister let us use her posh city-bound bungalow on Lake Hamilton Friday and Saturday.  I think we had been expecting something along the lines of a paneling-and-screen late fifties number, but it turned out to be a nicely-styled sort of rowhouse with a jacuzzi, upstairs balcony, monitors in every room, backyard docks, and a sixty inch television.  We shrieked like hyenas upon entering, then commenced to making love to the luxury (a process which mainly involved a drinking/smoking game invented while watching The Big Lebowski on the Hummer of t.v.'s). 
In our excitement we didn't turn on many lights, opting instead to run in and out of doors as we sought to quickly learn the layout of the place.  We regretted not using more lights later, for as the adrenaline wore off we noticed that we'd been tangling ourselves up in dozens of active webs maintained by spiders whose consistent diet of lake insects had brought them to to the healthy size of vienna sausages. 
We slept in the room upstairs because, come on, it has a balcony overlooking the lake, and I like being able to fall asleep watching lights flicker on the surface of big water. 
The morning brought cinnamon rolls (dig Megan cooking them while wearing a bikini) and leftover pizza from a rather upscale place in town called Pompeii, followed by an urgent rush to the backyard dock for sunshine-induced naps under a soundtrack of the Stones, Royksopp, and Portishead.  The waxing morning heat pushed us into the water around noon, but we had comfy floating mesh matresses, so soon enough we were both essentially asleep in the sun again, for who knows how long really.  It wasn't until about midway through the subsequent Scrabble game that we noticed the scorekepping pen and bag of letters were painfully hot to the touch.  This was seriously the first point of the day that I actually thought, "Hmm, we've been out here for a long time."  Getting out of the sun was a good idea.  Within minutes of being in the air-conditioned bliss, my opinion changed from "Oh, my face feels like I got a little sun" to "Holy shit, your back is maroon!"  I soothed myself by having the last frosty cold Shiner Bock in the cold-water-only shower I had before we left (I highly recommend drinking in the shower, by the way).
One of the least-attractive aspects of caucasian descent is the unusual sensitivity it confers to the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum.  My complaint can mean only one thing: holy shit, I'm sunburned beyond recognition.  What the hell were my ancestors doing that kept them, as far as I can tell, bathed in shade for nineteen hours of the day?  Those peat bogs and potato fields didn't cultivate themselves, right?  Low sun angle, you say?  Sure.  Climatic conditions ripe for constant cloud cover?  Yeah, that too.  I still can't understand how, just a few tens of degrees of latitude southward, bam, three hours of the summer sun does this.   Okay, granted, I did fall asleep on the dock.  A couple of times.  And once on a floating mesh recliner.  And, well, probably a few more times in various sunny spots.  And then we sat and played Scrabble, like idiots, under the noon sun.  I still blame my heritage. 
We came back to Little Rock for naps and errands, and met back up for drinks with the hotel girls at around nine p.m., just as the sun was mercifully setting.  Not quite in accordance with her birthday wishes expressed a week earlier, Megan made quick business of a couple of long islands and a mango martini.  Put that girl in a short skirt for promise, fill her with booze to soften inhibition, and sunburn her into disorientation and you've  got a veritable twenty-four year old (ah, not until tomorrow, that is) Carol Channing.  I felt like she needed to have a trumpet or something to dramatically punctuate her stories and filthy talk.  But, alas, Megan needs no trumpet.  On to our friend's apartment where I was pet sitting, we cooled out and cooled down while watching Kurosawa's Dreams.
We had planned on going to Greers Ferry Lake this afternoon, but it turns out that our burns are far worse today than yesterday (I accidentally scraped my red knuckles across a doorframe and felt an immediate gag reflex) so we opted to cower from the sun until we have healed.  Forget sunblock, I'm just going to start lathering up with housepaint or gilding myself with aluminum foil before I go swimming again.  I'm lying; I'll probably forget the sunscreen next time, too.


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