Wednesday, November 30, 2005

ANDERSON COOPER ODE


Another day another dollar there is so much news to tell
Tie your tie Anderson Cooper a complete circle knot Gordion knot
You are the potent poison in the blowdart
Look in the mirror
You are the virile cat that bites the hand that feeds
Them oh them Anderson Cooper, Weep for them for they know not
What they know What they think is simply a kelpie's spell

ANDERSON COOPER (FIRST QUESTION)

What can I, a heir to an heiress, do for them that bake like turkeys in causatum of radiowaves
Dumb and filthy? I have money, looks, sure (this much we know and must admit openly), but Do what must I do?

GOD

You must ask questions. Ask questions. Demand accountability. Look handsome and suave. Question. Look handsome.

JESUS (whispers in God's ear)

It helps to be sexually ambiguous.

WHALES

(float to the top of the waves blowing salt sea water high in the sky)

ANDERSON COOPER (Second Question)

Okay? Okay. K.

STARS

(fall from the heavens)

Another day another dollar there is so much news to tell
Tie your tie Anderson Cooper a complete circle knot Gordion knot
You are the potent poison in the blowdart
Look in the mirror
You are the virile cat that bites the hand that feeds
Them oh them Anderson Cooper, Weep for them for they know not
What they know What they think is simply a kelpie's spell
Poor Xenakis












The caricature artist at the official website of the greatest classical label around goes a little hard on the late Iannis Xenakis. It is only this young man's opinion, but Xenakis did not have the beak of a Red-Tailed Hawk. And also, let's be kind to the great Greek . He got part of his face shot off in World War Two for Christos' sake!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

John Ashbery Loves Peaches and Herb












From an interview with the great poet:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

INTERVIEWER:I’ve noticed in your writing that you’ve often seemed to use very strict forms with strict rhymes, because of the artificiality and the accidents that tend to come out of that. I think in your latest book, A Wave, the third poem which is called ‘The Songs We Know Best’ has a very strong — is it a-a-b-b — rhyme scheme.

John Ashbery:That’s a kind of an exception, though. It’s a somewhat doggerel kind of rhyme which might well have been a forgotten memory of the Cravan translation. It was actually written to go to the tune of a popular song that got in my head and which I couldn’t exorcize in any other way — ‘Reunited’ — do you know that song?

I: No, I don’t.

JA: It’s kind of a slow, soul, disco-like song that was popular about five years ago.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At this point the interviewer goes on to his next question while Ashbery silently regrets giving that answer as the interview will surely be published, and read by human beings.

The Most Depressing Things Ever














-A quiet drive home from a Monster Truck rally with your family in the dead of winter in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
-Having a cold while waiting for a bus in Jack the Ripper's London
-Failing at suicide in Jack the Ripper's London (with cold)
-A date with 19th century pessimist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer to a White Castle and "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer".
-The Gallup poll taken recently that showed 45% of Americans believe "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so".
-Watching animals die
-The Minnesota Timberwolves' Wally Szczerbiak
-Being me 6 years ago and driving to school Mid-January in a cold car to high school in the dark morning
-The movie "I Stand Alone"
-The Fox show "Stacked"/Cancellation of Fox show "Arrested Development
-Northeast Minneapolis
-Being dumped in Chisinau, Moldova (the poorest country in Eastern Europe)
-Sitting in a trailer park Biffy listening to Arnold Schoenberg's "Moses und Aron" with crappy headphones
-Having to throw away that dress you bought for Senior Prom because you were shot and killed by those kids at Columbine
-Depression
-Eating stale Funyuns off of a plastic dinner plates with paintings of starving children by Egon Schiele

Any others I'm forgetting?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Charles Wuorinen Disses Me

















It's not every day that I get my ass handed to me by a great American contemporary composer, so I strangely enjoyed getting an e-mail from Charles Wuorinen that politely bitch slapped me.

I had e-mailed him asking him about his religious beliefs, as I am currently writing something on him for a music class. I mentioned being a "devout member of the atheist church", to which he slyly replied:

Since I think music is a model of reality and since I regard my work as a form of worship (of that reality), religious commitment follows naturally. But I think there are many paths to the
Divine.
Atheism: You are right, you must be far more devout than I am to believe in it. And of course young people are immortal, so do not have to worry overthe future obliteration of their selves.
Good luck to you,
Charles Wuorinen

I'm sure he's joking, as the rest of the e-mail was very kind and thoughful (he even is going to find a dub of a recent concert recording of his new piano concerto), but still it reminded me of the anecdote about Bartok and Debussy (from anecdotage.com):

"Legendary teacher Isidore Philipp offered to introduce the young Hungarian composer Bela Bartok to Camille Saint-Saens, at that time a great celebrity. Bartok declined. Philipp then offered him Charles-Marie Wider. Bartok again declined. 'Well, if you won't meet them, who is there that you would like to know?' 'Debussy,' said Bartok. 'But he is a horrid man,' said Philipp. 'He hates everybody and will certainly be rude to you. Do you want to be insulted by Debussy?' 'Yes,' said Bartok."

So all in all, a great day.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Boards of Canada: Music Has the Right to Children











I am currently listening to this wonderful and rightly lauded album from last year, by the great electric Scotsmen who are known as Boards of Canada. A many sided diamond, all synth blips, obscure samples from 70s educational TV and funky beated atmosphere. But the depth of the atmosphere is astounding, and it would take years to figure out every single thing you hear on a particular track.
The wikipedia entry I linked to mentions a prediliction for subliminal messaging and symbols in the music, including some that refer to David Koresh. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen. I for one have not drawn up any plans to assassinate Janet Reno in the last couple minutes. I have only been bathing in the milky starshine of the music.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Meeting at Night













I.

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

II.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

-Robert Browning
God Bless You "Rich King's Breakfast Nook"

My bestest friend and super-rapper Chaz has found the greatest reviewer in the history of Amazon.com:

Rich King's Breakfast Nook

He reviews mostly rap albums, corndogs and shorts, and seems to have an obsession with David Hasslehoff, coverbands, his romantic prowess and 90s sports stars. Whatever he does however he does it brilliantly. Here's one review of John Fogerty's "Centerfield" album:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2 of 13 people found the following review helpful:

You got the Heidi Heidi Hiiiiiigh, May 31, 2005
I'm a huge John Fogerty fan and a huge baseball fan. You put the two together and you have something pretty special. Fogerty's voice is like nails on a chalkboard, but that's what makes him cool. He can't sing, but his effort just amazes you, the listener. I play slow pitch softball and I'm not going to lie, I'm awfully good at it. I usually am on base, scoring runs and leading our team to victory. Want to know my secret? There are two things I do. One, I'm a natural athlete and everything comes easy to me. Baseball, Basketball, Horseshoe pitching, dating, Bowling, you name it and I'm probably better at it than you are. Second, I listen to Centerfield by Fogerty before every game. It inspires me to be even better than my usual self. We have a game tonight and I'll probably go 4-4 with several game changing plays. I'm just an exceptional person and athlete. Fogerty is the straw that stirs the drink. Sometimes I'll sing Centerfield while at bat just to taunt the opposing pitcher and show how easy the game is for me.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

His review of an album by the Pogues has this wonderful title: "More than just a bunch of pretty faces."

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Bad Plus Blog Good
























A band that makes this Minneapolis native proud to be a Minneapolis native, The Bad Plus blow the bejezzuz off the sucka live, make wonderful albums and seem to be all-around exceedingly bright and friendly. Their new album "Suspicious Activity" is great despite Sony's attempt to infect it with Lars Ulrich-inspired "Fucking Stop Stealing Our Music, Dude" technology. The band is infamous for their covers, but their own songs are the real show-stealers, whether they be steady-solid-steely bassist Reid Anderson's grandiose and bittersweet odes, or cat-like pianist Ethan Iverson (the real "Answer" in my opinion) and his abstract and ingeniously knotty puzzles. If I don't see "Prehensile Dream" or "Cheney Pinata" in a future edition of the 'Real Book', I'm'a bust some heads.
This Bad Plus fan however was dissapointed to see it didn't include supra-virtuoso drummer Dave King's (who combines coordination and power of Elvin Jones, the rhythmic sense of Brian Blade and the flexibility of an Australian Cubozoa jelly-fish) breath-takingly funky and beautiful "Three Flames", which when performed at a concert of theirs at the Guthrie Theater here in Minneapolis a while back gave me chills. It is a small, personal qualm, as the album is a true winner and each man writes a mean tune.

It is then important that you check out their enjoyable and sharp blog for news, pictures and what music/movies/books these jazz polymaths are enjoying.

I'd like to say at this moment that I have also, through some cosmic coincidince, been behind Dave King in the line at "Cheapos" in Uptown over a hundred times, and yes, he could totally beat me up or beat me in a Gene Krupa-off.
Me vs. Conservative Columnist/Activist Devvy Kidd

















I take a perverted pleasure in reading right-wing journalism and commentary, a child who can't stop poking a dead raccoon in the forest with a stick. None cures my sadistic jonesin' quite like the columnists and news at WorldNetDaily.com. World Net Daily, created by the preposterously stupid and unpleasant Joseph Farah, a man who looks like a 80s minor league baseball player( Joseph Farah) and writes column after column of the most hateful, ignorant and silly nonsense ever. A born-again Christian who thinks the Bush Administration is "too liberal" and even wrote an article titled "Why I Believe in Creation" which is hopefully just a great piece of post-modern irony:

The evolutionists insist the dinosaurs lived millions and millions of years ago and became extinct long before man walked the planet.

I don't believe that for a minute. I don't believe there is a shred of scientific evidence to suggest it. I am 100 percent certain man and dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time. In fact, I'm not at all sure dinosaurs are even extinct!

Think of all the world's legends about dragons. Look at those images. What were those folks seeing? They were clearly seeing dinosaurs. You can see them etched in cave drawings. You can see them in ancient literature. You can see them described in the Bible. You can see them in virtually every culture in every corner of the world.

Did the human race have a collective common nightmare? Or did these people actually see dragons? I believe they saw dragons – what we now call dinosaurs.

After reading the above paragraph, I want you to take a brief moment to ponder this fact: This man runs a hugely popular website that is linked to millions of people every day by Matt Drudge, who runs one of the most popular news sites in the world. He's a featured columnist on Drudge's website. This man lives and breathes and has a radio show and a wife and children. This man makes more money than you.
These people run this country now. They have tremendous power. They are no longer the crazy guys at the back of the bus who smell crunchy.


Farah is wonderful for a laugh, but that's about it. One of my favorite columnists on World Net Daily is Vox Day, a self-described "novelist", "Christian libertarian", "member of SFWA" (Science Fiction Writers Association-Quite presigious I'm sure), "Mensa", and the "Southern Baptist church". The cynic in me would question the validity of the IQ test at this junction, as it is not mathematically possible to be a member of Mensa and believe in the Rapture. Still, Mr. Day is no sweet, friendly Christian. He's instead the author of smirking little pieces that attempt to shock and awe with their "clever" word play and contrarian opinions, such as "Why Women's Rights Are Wrong" (Whaaaaaa?! SHOCK-ING!) and "Homeschool or Die!". (Or as I would name it, "Homeschool or Let Your Children Be Taught by Educated Human Beings Who Aren't Your Redneck Mom")

The aforementioned piece on Women's Rights starts with this paragraph which will give you a hint of this techno-age quasi-intellectual bat-shit crazy social Darwinist Christian bullshitter's style:


The greatest media scribe of these latter days, Bill Simmons, is known for a certain pithy mantra. "The lesson, as always: Women ruin everything." While one does not usually expect to find deep sociological truths in the sports pages, so great has been the degradation of the acerbic art once known as the editorial, so filled with fear are the vanilla-minded commentators, that one finds more veracity on a single page of ESPN than in opinion pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal combined.

Day, who started out on World Net Daily writing columns of computer tips and gradually drifted into opinion, is the total embodiment of that one guy we all know in high school who spent a little too much time alone in his room on the computer and reading Tolkein and Ayn Rand; the one who bothers you with articulately versed but semi-insane rants on "Nuking all the arabs" and why the right to gun ownership is the most important issue that has ever faced the world. You know he seems pretty damn smart, but something isn't quite clicking in his head; too much time thinking about the wrong things. In short: a total prick.

On second review this previous paragraph could have been summed-up nicely by simply showing the man's picture. He looks exactly like you'd think he looks after reading his bile:

















I say this to Mr. Day:

You can pepper your columns with cute little logic, barnstorming 'kill-em-all' cynicism (a'la Dennis Miller and Ann Coulter) and fancy book-readin' words, but in the end Mr. Day (for I will refuse to use the name Vox unless we are talking the vintage guitar amps) you are only caking the most backwards ignorance and sinister anti-intellectualism with the make-up and lipstick of seeming 'well-read' intellect and 'seen it all' Enlightenment wisdom, like your whore of a mother who dressed hurself up real nice before she hit up the ol' rodeo with your dad's best friend Cody (who of course she was fucking) leaving you alone in your room to dilute yourself on science fiction novels and libertarian pamphlets between agonizingly shameful masturbations in the bathroom and vicious beatings from your Baptist minister dad who instilled in you the reverence for hard-cocks and Cruicified limbs.
(If this is Vox Day's lawyer, please send all charges of slander to my buisness e-mail: SeXyMaN92392@earthlink.net).

Anywho, World Net Daily provides not only a playground for religious conservative nuts like Farah and Rebecca Hagelin (Vice President of the Heritage Foundation and author of millions of books such as "Protecting Your Children from Rot" and "Rot and Your Children: How to Protect Them in a Morally Bankrupt Age"), but self-righteous and demonic "constitutionalists" as Day and Devvy Kidd

Kidd's columns are all written from the perspective of one who knows the Last Judgement is only a day away, and yet, are all strangely boring. Invariably they sing the same tune: the liberals and moderate Republicans are destroying the constitution and forcing the government down your throat, a UN-led one-world government with President Bin-Laden is coming soon, those curious parts of the population with vaginas (other than Kidd) are stupid, etc.

While reading one column after the nomination of John Roberts recently, I was struck by a phrase in the first paragraph, and I decided to e-mail her. Here's the paragraph in question:

John Roberts should not be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Roberts, a Catholic, who did pro bono work in the landmark Romer v. Evans ruling demonstrates he has bought into the propaganda that sodomites are "born that way" and somehow entitled to special rights. There isn't a scintilla of scientific evidence to support this well-sold myth – those who engage in the toxic practice of sodomy do so by choice.

Hmm. Now I love the good ol' slave-ownin' foundin-fathers as the next American, but how does one work a total DISS to homosexuals and anal sex in a staggeringly dull screed on the Supreme Court and it's relationship to the Federal Government? It's just sorta strange. She could have just as well written this:

John Roberts should not be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Roberts, a Catholic, who did pro bono work in the landmark Brown vs. The Board of Education,demonstrates he has bought into the propaganda that nigger children are "human" and somehow entitled to be educated. There isn't a scintilla of scientific evidence to support this well-sold myth – those who engage in the toxic practice of blackness are anything like us Nordic blue-eyed children of the enchanting forests of Nuremburg where are blood-fathers ruled and prospered!

I decided to call out this "strict-constitutionalist" on her bizarre detour into the unconstitutional act of hating gay people. So, like any good thinking man, I decided to ask her to clarify in an e-mail:

"Dear Devvy Kidd,
I'm all into the consitution and stuff and I think James Madison is the ABSOLUTE FUCKING SHIT! I was wondering though, why all the hatred for gay people and anal sex (I will refuse to use your word 'sodomy', as it completely fucking retarded and evil)?
I refer you to this article on the science of sexual-orientation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation.

Also I will refer you to this picture of a very cute Otter:
http://www.snowgoosealaska.com/images/otter-home_small.jpg

It's just a hole for goddsakes. Freedom for all. Stick something in your hole if you wish (SAFELY of course!). It's what the U.S. of FUCKING A is ALL ABOUT!

Yours in Christ,
Patrick."

I never expected a response of course and just hoped she'd at least read it. But literally HOURS later a unwrapped present, bright red bow and all, lay unwrapped in my Gmail basket (My notes in bold):

"I caught your mail before it went into the auto responder (ed. -The editor believes that this is the thing that Ms. Kidd uses to sand her vagina shavings over a portrait of Thomas Jefferson. Again-BELIEVES...), I usually don't respond to mail personally because I get an average of 15,000 per month. (ed.-Me too! I HATE junk mail!)

Anyway, it's not about religion, it's about science.

There is absolutely NO, ZIP, ZERO credible scientific proof of any kind
that humans are born queer. (ed.-I believe Ms. Kidd has made a small mistake here and actually meant to say "There is absolutely NO, ZIP, ZERO credible scientific proof of any kind to say that Medieval alchemy can cure headaches)

This is a chosen, filthy, toxic death style (ed.-As Metallica sings: "My life style is my death style") and does not qualify for any
constitutional rights. This issue has been argued into the ground but
unless and until there is scientific proof that such perverted behavior (ed.-How then Ms. Kidd then do you describe your bizarre use of that vagina sander, the Auto Responder? Is that not perverted?) is born and not chosen, the battle will go on as America melts down, the same as the Roman Empire. (ed.-In all fairness, I'd like to point out that myself and Ms. Kidd agree here that America will melt down as the Roman Empire, albeit for completely different reasons such as the exisitence of people like Devvy Kidd. One should also consult Edward Gibbons' "Fall of the Roman Empire" for a second opinion on the 'Rome fell because of buttsex' controversy)

However, you are entitled to your own opinion on the matter. (ed.-::SIGH:: THAANK YOU! What a relief!)

Now, I never impose my religion on anyone. I am a champion for folks to
worship as they choose or not choose. My writings over the past 16 years
reflect this position.

Have a nice life, sir. (ed.-THX BABE! LOL!)

Cordially,


Devvy"



I, dumbfounded could not think of how to respond.

So, naturally, I sent her a photo of a aborted fetus.

I got no response.

A Little Art Criticism























Jacques Claes really is the name of a Dutch painter. Let's take a brief look, if you will, at his origins. When Jacques was little his mother used to pale her face with vinegar, as she herself has admitted. Thus we can explain why the master's paintings have a varnished look. In Jacques' village, on Roofer Saint's Day, it used to be the custom that the roofers would let themselves fall from the rooftops without crushing the passersby. They also had to throw their ropes up from the sidewalk to the chimneys. A very picturesque setting, which certainly must have given our painter his taste for the picturesque.



-Max Jacob

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Charles Wuorinen's Golden Funk



















I've been listening non-stop to Charles Wuorinen's 20 minute orchestral piece, The Golden Dance (1986). A rhythmically winding piece which inhabits a sound world not unlike a more impressionistic serialist Stravinsky, of the Threni and Requiem Canticles.
It's a two part work based on (among other things) the mathematical ratio of the Golden Section (2:1) which the Greeks and Egyptians considered to be perfect-the whole's ratio to the first part is equal to the first's size to the second ; the first section is twice the length of the second, the quarter note is 72 in the first, 144 in the second etc...This concept has also inspired the scarily ahead-of-his time Satie and Mr. Bela Bartok.

For all this heady and intellectual punning the music is for a chubby chaser like myself, tons o' fun. Jazzy, funky, wonderfully orchestrated, intricate and rigorously structured and in a suprisingly accesible basically "atonal" idiom. Wuorinen seems to be writing not purely 'serially' here as row-related harmonic centers seem to give this work it's unity and comprehensibility (a'la Berg, Perle Dallapiccola et. al).
It's a play between mind (cerebral concepts) and body (the physicality of rhythm and the dance) in which one loses oneself entirely.

Listen to the whole thing here at the great Art of the States site. Stay away from his other piece there, Time's Encomium, one of those hopelessly dated and awkward electronic serialist pieces from the 50s and 60s that sound like a Sega Game-gear possessed by the wicked soul of Aleister Crowley.
But after you are all danced out from Golden..., cool your head with Morton Feldman's For Stefan Wolpe, hypnotic and haunting like a nap in a cool turquoise stream on the moon.

NOTE: I KNOW THE GOLDEN RATIO ISN'T 2:1. BUT WUORINEN CHANGED HIS WORK TO GIVE THAT BASIC FORM. CUT ME SOME SLACK, JACK.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Debate in Congress on Withdrawl in Iraq










"I refer to this letter I received this morning from a soldier who says the war is not going good."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter I recieved from a soldier who says withdrawing now would embolden the enemy."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter I recieved from a soldier who died in Iraq's mother who says her son's head was blown off. "
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter from a captain in Iraq who says we are making progress."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter I received from a soldier in Iraq who says we can't win."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter from a captain in Iraq who says we are making progress."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter I received from a soldier in Iraq who says we can't win."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter from a captain in Iraq who says we are making progress."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter I received from a soldier in Iraq who says we can't win."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter from a captain in Iraq who says we are making progress."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter I received from a soldier in Iraq who says we can't win."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter from a captain in Iraq who says we are making progress."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter I received from a soldier in Iraq who says we can't win."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter from a captain in Iraq who says we are making progress."
"I refer the gentlemen to this letter I received from a soldier in Iraq who says we can't win."

"If we leave Iraq now it will only make the terrorists stronger and ruin the morale of our men and women and combat."
"If we leave Iraq now it will only make the terrorists stronger and ruin the morale of our men and women and combat."
"If we leave Iraq now it will only make the terrorists stronger and ruin the morale of our men and women and combat."
"If we leave Iraq now it will only make the terrorists stronger and ruin the morale of our men and women and combat."
"If we leave Iraq now it will only make the terrorists stronger and ruin the morale of our men and women and combat."
"If we leave Iraq now it will only make the terrorists stronger and ruin the morale of our men and women and combat."
"If we leave Iraq now it will only make the terrorists stronger and ruin the morale of our men and women and combat."
"If we leave Iraq now it will only make the terrorists stronger and ruin the morale of our men and women and combat."

"Okay. We'll vote now. Nays? Lots. Yeas? Few. Nays win. See you tomorrow."
My Friend Chaz Kangas' Joke of the Day










What do you call a Republican who doesn't shower and has no girlfriend?

A libertarian.
Horrible Classical Album Covers Volume 2:
"Stravinsky in America"




















First of all, Michael Tilson Thomas sucks. He's a fine conductor, and this album has the best recording of Stravinsky's Agon, which is one of the greatest works of the 20th century, but he almost always puts himself on the cover looking like a jerk head*. Which I hate. As you should too. Jerkheads.
This cover has major problems, the most glaring being the entire cover itself, which is a major problem. This CD, a recording of Stravinsky's late works from when he lived in LA (1940) to his death in 1971, is not just a sunny and fun drive on Sunset Blvd. It has recordings of the solemn and austere Ode, the jagged and cubistic Concertino (for 12 instruments) and the absurdly complicated and violent Variations: Aldous Huxley in Memoriam, which is about as sunny as a day in hell. Of course it is balanced by his harmonization of the Star Stangled Banner (which actually got him arrested for 'tampering with national property'), and the light hearted Circus Polka and arrangement of "Happy Birthday" for conductor Pierre Monteux's 80th. BUT STILL! LOOK AT THAT COVER!
An album of some of the 20th century's greatest composer's most rarely heard pieces and the record company commissions the cover art from a caricature artist at Dodger stadium. Look at the caricatures! Stravinsky was a very small man, but NOT a pinhead. And look at his nose! He had a big nose and I know it's a caricature...but jeez. That nose is like anti-Semetic Nazi propaganda. It makes me cry.



* If you want to see a living and breathing nerdy jerkhead, I refer you to his Mahler recordings:












Here MTT (as he is embarassingly called in the embarrasing world of Classsical Music) ponders many things in his Gucci glasses/turtleneck combo: Money, wine, his porshe, his wife, his child's upcoming soccer game that he effeminately cheers at, a Bistro in North Beach he plans to check out. But not Mahler.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Poulenc on DVD

















I have a homosexual love and hate relationship with Francis Poulenc*. Well not hate. You can't hate Francis Poulenc's music unless you are, well, let's say Pierre Boulez or Theodore Adorno. But Boulez and Adorno are the kind of people that hate small animals and children too. "They are not powerful enough" Boulez might say. Adorno might criticize their lack of progressive aesthetic values...
"DORA THE EXPLORER!? Das ist NICHTEN KUNST! NICHTEN KUNST!"

or

"Liebe DAS CHEW TOY nachter AUSCHWITZ!???"**

....to which the child might cry and run to his or her mommy and the dog won't give a second thought.

Poulenc is light as a breeze but never vapid. Sure his music ain't Beethoven, or even Milhaud, but it's pretty damn melodic and smart. Les Mamelles de Tirésias I will defend till I die, or at least into a vegetative state, as it's hard to defend surreal French comic opera bouffes from the 1940s when all you can do it urinate and drool. Sure after a while the four square rhythms and bar one meet the first half of the melody, bar two say goodbye to the last half of the melody patterning is tiring. The piano and ballet music is generally solid and enjoyable. The songs are generally great. The religious music is pretty if a tad limp (Ask your girlfriend: she'll tell ya! AY00000000!).

Martin Cooper's oft-quoted Poulenc appraisal I think does the composer fine, Texas-y justice:

A musical clown of the first order, a brilliant musical mimic and an adroit craftsman who pieces together the most heterogeneous collection of musical styles to form an unmistakably personal style of his own.

I was very excited then to see le clown's elongated and rough visage on a cover of a new EMI Classic Archive DVD:



***














Alas, it is not available yet in the states but I made sure to order it cheaply from Canada, along with some Diabetes medication for my grandmother. It seems to be a great quality collection and a very good dvd at that:

Flute Sonata (Jean-Pierre Rampal, Francis Poulenc)

La Voix Humaine (Denise Duval)

Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Denise Duval)

La Courte Paille (excerpts) (Denise Duval, Francis Poulenc) 26/02/61 Paris

Concerto for two pianos and orchestra 01/12/62 RTF, Paris

(Francis Poulenc, Jacques Février, Orchestre National de la RTF/Georges Prêtre)

Serenade (Maurice Gendron, Christian Ivaldi) 19/02/63 Paris

Flute Sonata (Jean-Pierre Rampal, Robert Veyron-Lacroix) 16/04/63, Paris

Pastourelle, Toccata (Gabriel Tacchino) 27/08/63 Paris

Trois Mouvements perpetuels (Jacques Février) 27/06/54 Paris

Excerpts:

Banalités, Chansons villageoises, Chansons gaillardes 27/06/54 Paris

(Gabriel Bacquier, Jacques Février)

Concerto for organ, strings and timpani 23/03/68 ORTF, Paris

(Jean-Jacques Grunenwald, Orchestre Philharmonique de l’ORTF, Georges Prêtre)

Total Time: 115.15

Seems like a gay old time.****





*Francis Poulenc was homosexual. Being an open minded bleeding heart liberal secular humanist doesn't mean I can't make the stray gay joke.

**I cannot speak German. Thus these jokes might not totally work. Such are the trials I endure for my art.

***I never, unlike many blogs, credit where I get the pictures or quotes from as I write enough essays with bibliographies at school. Also: A) No one reads this site. B) There are many things I care about and crediting some crappy picture or quote is not one of them.

****Another gay joke.
Life is Easy!




























I'm back baby. Three sweet words you've eagerly awaited for these cold, empty days of the 11th month of the Julian Calendar. And am I going to deliver now that my internet absence (for I have not been away from my regular life-which I live daily for most of the year) is no more? You bet your sweet bippy!

I received my new and empty harddrive in the mail today and ripped it open like Big Lurch at a chest convention. It shined silvery and true and I slid it smartly into my Dell laptop.
As the screen went black a single tear, blue and no less true, slid down my cheek. But as the screen remained blank for several more minutes I realized that one can't expect the computer to partition it's drivers and utilities and format itself!

A call was in order. And to Dell my dialing digits went. As my phone remained on hold I got a chance to indulge my love for David Sanborn. I thought to myself "Ahhh David Sanborn. Truly Bird reincarnated. Could life get any better? Hmmm....Yes! This afternoon could only get better if.... I got to talk to an amiable Indian immigrant for an hour."
And sure enough....
"Hello this is Dinesh welcome to Dell can I get your Express Service Code?"
SACRED BULL'S EYE!

I'm not being a cynical Dave Barry dick. The guy was sweeter than all get out and he was very helpful with something I have little ability: computers. If I hadn't called, my idea for installing Windows XP would surely have involved pouring Sierra Mist on the keyboard to "moisten up the internet wires."

So I'm back in Cyberspace and ready for action.

WHAT OF IT???????????????????/

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Life is Hard!


















MY HARDDRIVE STILL HASN'T ARRIVED

p.s.

sign you've just heard a poem by someone in high school:
your reponse is "wow...that's really good. just remember....if you ever need anyone to talk to though, please feel free to call me."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Harddrive Goes Soft

















My beloved laptop, full of pictures, music, movies and other various Earthly delights , has finally died. It was a slow death, my laptop's was, with a few false recoveries and apparent improvements, but it ended two days ago for good. The laptop itself works fine, but the harddrive is a goner and I must order a new one as fast as possible so I can begin again anew.
It is a little sad to lose all I held dear, and to have to do something else in the middle of the night other than talking to Chaz online and reading wikipedia and listening to music. In the meantime I've made good dents in Proust's "In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower", Umberto Eco's classic "The Name of the Rose", Alfred Jarry's novella "The Supermale" and Raymond Fearn's wonderful study "The Music of Luigi Dallapiccola". In addition to these I've also started "Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers, Who They Were and Why They Did it". As you may guess, it's a pure JOY from start to finish!
It will also be nice to get to start again so I may avoid the pitfalls that beset my previous harddrive: adware and spyware. For in the final weeks of my laptop's life, the popups and spyware/adware amount on my computer became nothing less than ridiculous. What sort of Meta-joke is the spyware and popups that ask you "Sick of ANNOYING Popups!??!? CLICK HERE!"?

So I am about to order a new one tonight and hopefully before the weekend is over have entered back into this realm.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bertrand Russell Quote of the Day














It is true that if we ever did stop to think about the cosmos we might find it uncomfortable. The sun may grow cold or blow up; the earth may lose its atmosphere and become uninhabitable. Life is a brief, small, and transitory phenomenon in an obscure corner, not at all the sort of thing that one would make a fuss about if one were not personally concerned. But it is monkish and futile- so scientific man will say- to dwell on such cold and unpractical thoughts. Let us get on with the job of fertilizing the desert, melting Arctic ice, and killing each other with perpetually improving technique. Some of our activities will do good, some harm, but all alike will show our power. And so, in this godless universe we shall become gods.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My Favorite Composers (an ongoing series moving through history chronologically like a mathematical bluebird flying through a grandfather clock)

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
















Rameau is not only a great composer but a great thinker, and when I have looked at his writings I am always blown away by his acute mind and sense of argument. To him, music was not only a passion but a science, and his theories on harmony are strangely ahead of their time; one often thinks of Busoni while reading them. Or if you are like me, Burger King.
The insights into the science of music and harmony seems to have given Rameau's music a freshness and vitality that is lacking in many of his contemporaries. There are jazzy ninths and sevenths abound, luminous counterpoint skillful in its clarity, unresolved dissonances (the end of the Overture to Naïs for example) that kills some of the wig-dust of baroque music. His orchestration is equally fresh, wonderfully imaginative and varied in color. The genres of opera that he mastered sometimes strain the listener in lesser composers' works (like his rival Lully); endless instrumental dances, long-lined recitative invariably ending in trills and apoggiaturas with the all to common IV to I harmonic releases all are problems he constantly poses interesting answers for. Everyone should own this dvd copy of his comic masterpiece Platée
(easily one of my favorite operas), and not just for the breakdancing frogs and Marc Minkowski's feathery conducting. AND-his harpsichord music is equally good and varied.
It's easy to see why Debussy and Ravel so admired Rameau. The sophistication of his harmony, easy-going melodicism, subtle rhythms and remarkably clear but intricate orchestration all were to influence composers for centuries to come no matter how different the music may sound.