Alessandra Stanley drops the bomb on the red carpet crew, drops the bomb, drops the bomb. She correctly identifies a dire lack of Cherity. Fuck all these “meet the Queen” gowns. They’re movies. Movies have feathers in them. And mirrors. Ask Laura Mulvey, whut.
In general, the Oscars™ are like a bicycle chain going around; the show might go faster or slower but it will not turn into a rocketship or a fork. What I enjoyed: “The Incredibles” getting some dap, Chris Rock’s Bush-as-Gap-employee riff, and the Carson clips. How cool and calm was his gangsta lean? How good was the line about President Carter working for your safe release after 145 days of the Oscars? His “new faces on the old faces” line did all the snarkwork Robin Williams’ dried ham sandwich never will.
Jorge Drexler’s acceptance song was sweet, cool and dignified. And he, like, sang. How did he sing? Wouldn’t you be having reflux and seeing spots?
UPDATE: Breaking bilingual beef! (Scroll down.)
Why is Missy being so cruel to those poor kids on her TV show? What is with that retarded mobster lollipop? Missy "TV" Elliott comes across like Dame Dash and Tony Robbins sewn together at the nuts and wearing lip gloss.
Hot 97 is caning a song and I don't know what it is. It sounds very Dipset, with a heavy beat like "Crunk Music" or "More Gangsta Music," one of those end-of-free-market-capitalism symphony beats. Someone says "monster music" at the top, several times, and the MC in the first verse rhymes "tees" and "trees," but I don't think it's "Monster Music" from the first Juelz album. Maybe it's some Part 2 new shit. I know—it will turn out to be "Rapper's Delight" or something. Yes.net isn't helping!
To further enhance the feeling of time travel being produced this week by the aggregate impact of VH1's Hip Hop Honors, Jeff Chang, Martha Cooper, and Ego Trip's Race-o-Rama, here is a collection of old school party flyers. (Thanks to Mike McGonigal for the link.)
MF Doom says lots of things to Hua. I am sorry that I don't see both of them more often.
"Hi. Did anyone leave a big stack of photos of various dogs (in Virginia?) on the 21st floor?"
Let’s all drive into the funset singing Brian Wilson songs or or Paxil ads or whatever it is that he writes.
“What did you say?”
“Those are the words that I say when I am surprised.”
[Meals, baths, days, nights.]
“Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad! We can jump up and down and run around. I saw the mean lady get into a limousine and she had a big suitcase. She’s gone!”
“Hey, Sasha. Yeah, we definitely patterned “Bucky Done Gun” after the Deise Tigrona track, and cleared it down in Rio directly (or XL did something with it—not sure on the specifics). But we replayed the horns I chopped so as not to give all the publishing to the man who made the Rocky theme song (Bill Conti, “Gonna Fly Now”). It’s more of an homage to the original version, and the drums are from this Miami bass record that’s the basis for about 85 percent of carioca funk tracks.
I understand that people have issues with me representing funk music, something I wasn’t looking to do and something I’m not really capable of. It ain’t like I’m capitalizing on anything besides a lack of DJs these days trying to play something new and danceable. I’m just lucky that I get to play this stuff for a large, perceptive crowd that few people besides the cats in Rio get to (even though its always at the end of the night). But I do it cause I love it, not because its cool or making me rich. Remember: I bought a ticket to Rio just to buy mix CDs over a year ago because I didn’t know how else to get them.”
You can read about dude who's been shot one million times and has no home, or dude who has been shot nine times—GET THE WORD OUT FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T KEEP IT A SECRET NINE TIMES HE WAS SHOT NINE TIME HOW DID HE SURVIVE MRS. JACKSON IT IS A MEDICAL MARKETING MIRAKLE OMG I AM IN THE RANGE DIPPING PAST STRAWBERRY'S DO YOU WANT ME TO GET YOU A HAT—and has a very big house and lots of "Baccardi" (copy desk, holler).
Norman Cook: Cor, I don't even remember my records! Here—take a Stoli pen and pencil set. I have tons of them.
Daft Punk: What, ze lame 'aff-made track wiz Q-Tip?
Chemicals: Is that who that is?
Norman: Don't worry! Memenory is an elephant! Here, have a smoothie.
Chemicals: Codswallop, Norman. You and your guest spots. Boosty Collins could sell a melted ice cube and you give him "The Joker." And then you do that "I feel disdain for my audience" crap with that cat video.
Norman: Cats and kittens. [Throwing up and speaking at the same time] I came to jam.
Daft Punk: Ha ha ha. I want him to DJ when I marry my Palm Pilot.
Chemicals: Hope you've saved up a bit of the Discovery loot. That new CD is shite, Jean-Paul. It sounds like you left the room halfway through each track.
Daft Punk: Take ze EEEEE out of your nose, heavy metal hippy. You do not even know if we were ever in ze room to begin with. Take some more acid, warmongerz!
Chemicals: You'd be nothing without Pierre Gondry!
Daft Punk: Suck my left diode. It takes two of you to be as ugly as one of me.
Chemicals: Oi! Berk!
Daft Punk: Bah! You are scared of EU like little girl who is seeing spidairz!
[Rumpus ensues, gentle dancefloor vibes flow.]
Responses to the weekend's kid culture:
Lunar New Year Chinese Folk Dance
PRO: Monkey King (go on, brush your earlobe off); lady with stereo umbrella feet skills; the army of destroyingly cute, pillow-toting kids overseen by the least mobile babysitter ever: a woman wearing a fifteen-foot-high purple dress/set.
CON: Already annoying Chinese music rendered in cell-phone resolution and played at military volume; usher who thought I was trying to tag on the walls. So not!
Postcards From Buster, Chicago episode
PRO: The charming and beautiful Farah takes us on a tour of her Chicago, with a tantalizing foray into Pakistani desserts.
CON: They need to make up their mind about Buster's dad: bunny or human?
Harry The Dirty Dog
PRO: Very enthusiastic performance by Harry
CON: Billionaire moms in angora body armor who think their shit don't stink. Please. I was not trying to take your seat, Carol. Helen. Whatever.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, (1968)
PRO: Dick Van Dyke, Lionel Jeffries, choreography, script, songs, car.
CON: That I can't watch it every day.
Verlaine on Rivington: Hanoi Lychee Martini x 3 = better than Nyquil.
Chingo Bling: might be half the things he says he is. And if tamales scare you, get over to mickboogie.com and stand in line for the Pretox mixtape. (Buy a second copy of The Commissioner while yr waiting.)
"Non-fiction is a yes, and fiction is a no."
"What are some things that are non-fiction?"
"People, animals, chairs, pumpkins. Now, some things that are fiction: witches. Witches are fiction. Ghosts, ghosts are fiction. Don't you want all of this food?"
[Long discussion of lettuce.]
"Even dragons are non-fiction. Is this scary music?"
April 21, 2008: “In Country,” Ashton Shepherd’s “Sounds So Good.”
January 7, 2008: “Instant Replay,” Miranda Lambert and Prodigy only.
September 24, 2007: “Corner Man,” Miles Davis’s “The Complete On The Corner Sessions.”
September 3, 2007: “Floor Show,” Dude N Nem, footwork, juke, dancing, hip-hop, YouTube.
July 2, 2007: "The Tender Trap," OutKast and UGK’s "Int’l Players Anthem."
April 23, 2007: "Production Effects," Timbaland's "Give It To Me" and Swizz Beatz's "It's Me, Bitches."
April 16, 2007: "The Shoniwa Show," The Noisettes' "What's The Time Mr. Wolf?"
March 26, 2007: "Hip Replacement," LCD Soundystem's "Sound of Silver."
February 5, 2007: "Paired Off," The Bird and The Bee.
January 8, 2007: "Instant Replay," Babyshambles, Sibylle Baier, Grizzly Bear, Julie Roberts, Trentemöller.
December 11, 2006: "And In The End," The Beatles' "Love."
October 30, 2006: "Top Down," Jay-Z's "Show Me What You Got."
September 25, 2006: "Crazy From Love," Beyonce's "B'Day."
September 4, 2006: "They Love The Eighties," Nouvelle Vague, Grant-Lee Phillips, Susanna & the Magical Orchestra, Albert Kuvezin & Yat-Kha.
July 10, 2006: "Pet Sounds," Be Your Own Pet.
May 1, 2006: "High Marks," E-40's "My Ghetto Report Card."
April 24, 2006: "Moz Def," Morrissey's "Ringleader of the Tormentors."
April 10, 2006: "From A To Zé," Tom Zé's "Estudando o Pagode."
March 20, 2006: "Subtle Charms," Shrift's "Lost In A Moment."
March 6, 2006: "Singles Going Steady," James Blunt, Prince, Nelly.
February 13, 2006: "Monkeys Do," Arctic Monkeys' "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not."
January 9, 2006: "Going Back," Natasha Bedingfield, Clipse, DJ Koze, Bill Withers.
December 19, 2005: "The Snowman Cometh, Stayeth," Young Jeezy's "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101."
November 14, 2005: "Singles Going Steady," Green Day and Miranda Lambert.
October 24, 2005: "Great Scots," Franz Ferdinand's "You Could Have It So Much Better."
August 29, 2005: "Rockin' Robyn," Robyn's "Robyn."
August 22, 2005: "Fuzzy Thinking," Dungen's "Ta Det Lugnt."
July 25, 2005: "Closet Case," R. Kelly's "Trapped In The Closet."
June 27, 2005: "Rare Essence," Gang of Four's "Entertainment!"
June 13, 2005: "Warm Milk," Coldplay's "X&Y."
May 23, 2005: "Singles Going Steady," Missy, Annie, Kelly Clarkson.
May 9, 2005: "Drablands," Bruce Springsteen's "Devils & Dust."
May 2, 2005: "Mixed Blessings," Big Boi's "Got That Purp."
March 21, 2005: "Beck Is Back," Beck's "Guero."
March 7, 2005: "Rising Sun," MU's "Out of Breach (Manchester's Revenge)."
December 13, 2004: "Disco Retro," Cristina's "Doll in the Box" and "Sleep It Off."
October 18, 2004: "All About Ayler," Albert Ayler's "Holy Ghost."
Two songs into the Grammys™, and I am entertained. Queen Latifah being all bountiful and singing the actual word "gay" in an actual song! Green Day doing their bit to knock the redneck agenda with a song I have found no reason not to like. I think the whole real time approach is to get all snark on that ass, but only someone very young or very unrealistic would call this a bad time.
Ooh, Anthony Hamilton. What a fucking voice. Is that Mario? He's too tall. Alicia Keys may sound like the girl at Subway singing along to the radio (though not as good), but she is real purty.
[Apropos of nothing (I am stone sober and in my stocking-feet): God bless Dominic and John with fresh lime juice.]
Eew! Freaky green clay people being pressed into service for Mastercard! No wonder people get all crabby about TV. Oh, but monkeys are always funny. And look—Cedric the Entertainer accidentally made up a new dance. This is good. Latifah just said "chyurch." Now Bush can watch!
Reader Ken Bensinger saw our post about the gold leaf artist and sent us the below observation. (Maybe the word "perfect" was not the right word.)
"I don't think this story is an isolated incident. There are two other stories that ran in just the last week that exhibit strange stylistic brewings, literary tics and shivers I haven't really seen in the paper of record up till now.
After reading these and returning to the gold leaf story, I thought about the allegedly impaired grammar of the subject, Jerry Pagane. The web-based version of the story was accompanied by an audio slideshow, with Pagane talking about his work. You can hear that while it's quite clear that Pagane has hearing problems, he seems to have perfect English grammar. He speaks eloquently, in fact. Which makes <<"Have hairy ears," Mr. Simonds remembered Jerry saying. "Other kids don't have hairy ears. Want to be like other kids.">> one of the strangest paragraphs in recent New York Times history. What, exactly, is going on here? Who's pulling the wool over whose hairy reconstructed ears?
I live in Mexico City, by the way."
Don't rush into that whole hip-hop thing. It might not last.
"Do you like rhubarb?"
"I like it in a pie."
"No. No. I said, do you like rhubarb?"
"Like in the book? Raw? No."
"Do you like rhubarb with strawberry in it?"
"Do you like it with an eagle in it?"
"No. I meant no."
"Do you like it with mice in it?"
"Do you like it with oranges?"
"Well, that makes sense."
Not trying to salt Diplo, but his production for Maya's track, "Bucky Done Gun," on "Arular," jacks "Injeção" by Deise Tigrona (available on "Funk Carioca"). I haven't seen a final copy of Arular, so maybe this debt is acknowledged in the publishing.
"No, don't stand up. Crawl to your office. If you stand up, all the kisses will fall off. Can you do that? Yes. Do it."
Have The Soundtrack of Our Lives always been Oasis? Or is that new? I usually think I like TSOOL, possibly because of dude's righteous muu-muu faith, and then all of a sudden I'm wondering if I need more staples and how far it is to Banda Aceh. After watching the sprankling Definitely Maybe DVD, I have concluded that the wee and energetic Alan McGee was right—though not about House of Love—and Oasis are THEE SHIT, if only because THEY ARE THE AUDIENCE, like A. Partridge, and launched the first plat-a-bunch-of-times karaoke band to prove it. Plasticene! Coca Cola commercials! Vague, deracinated, immanent Lennonism! Blanket Blairnik boosterism!
Have you ever tried, while engaged in the act of eating Veggie Booty, to stop eating the Veggie Booty? That shit is pee-stream-cutoff-style impossible.
Can God hear me? I AM ON THE FRONT LINE.
I'm locked in. Help me. I'm cold.
I saw a play about an enormous pie. One of the actors, despite a convincing cat mask, seemed familiar.
If you are wavering, please buy “Pissed & Potless” and listen to “It’s A Cracker.” If this music doesn't make you scramble across the room to buy tickets, then I have done something wrong.
Our favorite French cat lover does not give many interviews, but when he does, it is worth noting, even if the interview in question is several years old.
James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut and a band of equally skilled jazz magicians have recorded “Gold Sounds,” an album of instrumental Pavement covers.
“Hey, your head is so warm.”
“My hair is an umbrella and a radiator for my head.”
[Discussion of Lemony Snicket.]
“The smell of hot dogs makes me want to throw up.”
“I’ve seen you eat hot dogs without throwing up.”
“Yes, I did throw up.”
“But that’s because you were sick. You just happened to eat a hot dog on the same day. It was false evidence.”
“Stop. You’re not a police officer.”
“You’ll like Katz’s.”
“I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you’re annoying me now.”
Read this article from Vibe by Elizabeth Méndez Berry.
(Written last summer.)
I did two things while writing this that I have not done before. I played the “Corporate Ghost” DVD on my laptop while writing. It only sort of worked. I also listened to the Sonic Youth “Mixtape,” a streaming audio source available on the SY home page. I had never previously listened to anyone’s streaming audio.
The first thing I noticed in this series of twenty-three videos is that there is lots of making out, most of it committed by teens. The second thing I noticed is that Sonic Youth are good scouts. This DVD contains pre-peak appearances by Todd Haynes, Kathleen Hanna, Chloe Sevigny, Sleater-Kinney, and some French guy I know I should know. Should you watch “Corporate Ghost,” you will also see good post-peak appearances by Kim Deal, Eszter Balint and Macauly Culkin (though his appearance in the “Sunday” video might have been a second pre-peak peak for him). The third thing I thought was that being old is not just a hideous descent into neurosis and chronic pain and misery (though it is that, holler!) but it is also like adding a wing to your house. You fuck with your life conceptually, physically sledgehammer it into a pylon of memories and then clap it all back together. What’s left is neither this nor that. Steam from old dumplings rises through the silt of new drywall and the stinky sealant surrounding the new photo of the old days. More relevant: The electricity for one part of the house is connected to the electricity for the other part of the house. If you fuck with any part of the house, the whole thing goes dark. So it’s a bit hard for me to say anything about Sonic Youth. There’s a Big Mac’s worth of Sonic Youth documents piled up in my headhouse and I can barely take one out without fifteen others floating to the floor.
I kerblabbed about this in a piece which the Chicago Reader, friend of technology, has not seen fit to archive for you, you with the portable processing unit. If you don’t like Sonic Youth, you probably won’t like the piece. And “liking’ Sonic Youth is exactly the thing I can’t tell you about. I listened to “Sonic Nurse” in the summer. I can think of reasons to reject it and the band as easily as I can figure out where my left turn signal is. (Quick, I tell you, I am quick like bird.) And I never do. I never take the album off and I never stop getting little flushes of placedness, a pleasure that the world around me can turn into a blown bubble just because I played a record. I never thought Kim was up to much in any department, Thurston’s losing some of his considerable charm and Lee’s pop foot is not so good no more. They’re still motherpopping Sonic Youth and I still live in their country.
The fourth thing I thought is that almost all of these videos suck. You can’t blame Geffen—the band commentary makes clear that either through inability to market as a team, or by dint of will or just because of luck, the band called its own shots. So you get Friend Videos, which are even worse than Friend Rock, and Band Videos, over which charity begs us to skip. The only one I would show to a normal person is the Mark Romanek video for “Little Trouble Girl,” which features Kim Deal in a green dress and an alien. Your video, should you finally make it, should have both Kim Deal in a green dress and an alien, because these things work on TV. And on the laptop.
But wait, I have forgotten to tell you about my favorite video, because I don’t think it's a Sonic Youth video. It is the video for “Bull in The Heather,” which features Kathleen Hanna. The video gives us flashbulb glimpses of Hanna, because that’s what post-90s editing does. This is good for Sonic Youth, in a temporary way, because more than a glimpse of Hanna would powerpuff them right off the screen. She doesn’t exude or ooze or bleed star power—she fires it left and right, like someone squeezing on an omnidrectional shoulder-mounted Now Gun. She is Lolita and Iggy in the same sweater, flirting with everyone (except Lee), rocking pigtails and outside panties, hopping and frugging and pinky-ring pimping you out of your mindset. She can dance, she can hold the camera’s gaze, and she can make you breathless for what she’ll do next. Sonic Youth can’t do any of that. At all. They never did. Watching Hanna actually rock—and this feeds my suspicion that Sonic Youth were never, God bless then, a rock band—I realize I’ve been fucking up the electricity in my head by trying to make Sonic Youth 87 or 93 connect with Me 04. Was Sonic Youth an actual thing I needed to carry, or just the point of convergence I stumbled upon, the gelatin medium for the drink I needed to drink before I could see level twelve? In 1979, I liked a band at my school called Pandemonium because they played “Jumping Jack Flash” in the fourth floor auditorium and I had never heard amplified music so they were my favorite band until I saw another one. Were Sonic Youth just my fifteenth Pandemonium?
I can’t judge any of this using my 1988 head, the one that grew like moss around the Daydream Nation cassette and helped produce a collaborative resonance between music and brain that, I still think, melted some things in my head. (This is bad and good: Some mechanisms are permanently burned into the most efficient position while others can no longer swivel and, because of this, I will miss things.) That time is gone. I have long since decamped to The Place Where One Must Rock More Reliably, because life changes and I don’t have any quiet beanbags upon which to recline with my sistren youths. I know this, though, back in the here and now: You are asking for some comparison trouble when you invite someone over to your rock house and it turns out you have invited Kathleen Hanna at her cherriest and fieriest, sexier in retardo sneakers than a putative burlesque outfit, dropping dance routines like a truck bumping down a mountain road and disbursing ripe mangoes at the shock of every pothole. She steals more than the video. She takes the moment, the baton, the crown, the mandate, all of it. You can hit stop at that point, unless you really love Sonic Youth. I really love Sonic Youth. I love them so much I, a grown ass man, put the free sticker from the “Corporate Ghost” DVD on my laptop, today, even though this is a patently stupid thing to do. That’s love for you.
Why do I have to interview these puds? Can't I interview you? Don't you have a band? When did you start? Do you like Laughing Cow cheese? Jim Jones or JR Writer? Analog or digital? Kanye or Jazze Pha? Britney or Christina? Decaf or Red Bull? Thank you!
An internet with more Julianne is a better internet.
If you don't think grime is exploding fifteen ways to Sunday, I can't imagine what you do think.
I read two perfect things this week: A Times piece on one of the few remaining masters of gold leaf lettering, and a story called "The Peaches" by Dylan Thomas.
A few weeks ago, I appeared on this radio show for exactly two minutes. Until I spoke, hermano thought I was a lady.
Multiculturalism is funny!
Santa, also known as Joe Gross, has broken our brane with this link: John Bonham outtakes, all of them from “In Through The Out Door."
The non-XTC portion:
Nellie McKay would like you to know she also won three spelling bees in a row and can do The Mikado in French.
Best song involving decapitation and teeth-brushing: Richie Feelings’ “Dancing Class Part 2”
LPs dying to be classic, Chronic Town-like EPs: Phoenix's Alphabetical, and RJD2's Since We Last Spoke.
Spiderbait: Approach only when the lady sings, or when they are covering Ram Jam.
Best Elliott Smith substitute: Skating Club
Most necro Elliott Smith substitute: Earlimart
Continually rewarded for trading audiences, spouses: Rod Stewart
You thought Lil Jon was a lock until: "Drop It Like It's Hot"
Still not finding rappers: Timbaland
If it was all like this, I'd be a Tweedyist: “I Am a Wheel”
Tweet’s new album “It’s Me Again” is largely self-help&B. (Some Hot 97 DJ, picking up Missjones’s bad taste baton, compared Tweet’s suicidal thoughts and depression—which Tweet said were limited to a brief episode in 2000—to David Koresh’s self-immolation.) The bits with her daughter are cute, but we’d rather hear the single. You, me and the CIA will also have strong feelings about “Sports, Sex and Food,” which is on some “How To Keep Your Husband Happy 2005” shit. Is that the look you want to know better? Nope. You want the Meters sample.
On Saturday, I rode the downtown 6 with a UHO representative who was kinda Desert-Storm-pundit crossed with Mr. T. playing a tsunami aid worker. He harangued us for ten minutes, which is a long time in subway years. “If there was one thing you shoulda learned on 9/11, it’s that you’re here one second and then, the next minute, you’re gone. I was addicted to crack for twenty years and I threw those years away. As with the tsunami, you also should have been reminded also of your precious life and death. Anyone that wants a sandwich, I also give them a dollar. I don’t turn away. I challenge any of you to do what I do. I see some of you don’t agree with me. Well, asses come in all colors—red, white, black, Chinese, whatever. Yeah, birds of a feather do seem to talk together. I see you down there. What the hell. If you came to this country and you don’t like what you’re being offered, then get the hell out. And those who were born here and don’t contribute, you can take them the hell with you.”
That night, I was foolish enough to take the A to Jay Street, where I foolishly planned to catch the F. I waited with extreme foolishness for close to half an hour. A young man, no more than seventeen, came up and asked if the F was running. Based on nothing, I foolishly said yes. He wore all black and had a small diamond cross stud in his left ear. He spoke like someone who spends much of his time sitting in pews.
“I have to get to my cousin’s sweet sixteen,” he said, sounding more worried about his cousin than himself. Few kids his age feel empathy, much less express it. When the train came, he crossed himself and told me to have a good night. I loved him.
Today was a perfect storm of style. On the uptown 1, I sat across from an Eleanor Friedberger doppleganger reading a wrestling magazine and eating Starburst. Before the doors closed at Chambers Street, a Pimp™ from central casting jumped onto the train: black alligators, loose link watch, mudslide shades. He kept zuzjing his pants and looking for a ballpoint pen that he would stow back in his pants the moment he found it. To keep everything gully, I was carry a huge envelope of MRI films with the word “BRAIN” written across the side in big Sharpied caps. It is not often that I get to join the parade.
When I got off at 14th Street, I saw a teenage couple leaning against a wall in total teensex bodylock. The boy said “I’m not gonna refurbish you” before I moved out of earshot. The final act was at the pharmacy. A Korean girl who spoke no English was selling Lotto tickets to a guy spitting the following game: “Do you like scary movies? Do you like Hot 97? Do you know where the Subway is around here? The sandwich?”