Linkadelica


10 Reasons to Love So You Think You Can Dance
July 17, 2009, 4:08 am
Filed under: art, Music, Pop Culture, Uncategorized, World of Wonder

Because People Like Lists, oh yes they do.

  1. Cat Deeley is not only nice and pretty, but also endearingly whacky.  This is a rare and appealing combination.
  2. Where the hell else on American prime time TV can you hear Bollywood, Rufus Wainwright, and African drum music on the same program?  It’s almost enough to forgive the mostly uninspiring musical guests.
  3. The physicality of it all just might inspire you to get up off your chair and shake your booty.
  4. Phillip Chbeeb
  5. It is just jaw-droppingly astounding and spiritually elevating to see folks rise up to such challenging creative tasks as learning partnering, killing routines in styles other than their own, and having to pick a new partner’s name out of a hat in midseason.
  6. Creative synergy is the best thing in the world, so to see what happens when the dancers are inspired by the choreographers and each other and vice-versa, and etc. is sheer magic when it works and pure entertainment even when it doesn’t.
  7. I have so much respect for so hard these people must have to work their bodies and the risks they take.  What gets me every time are the flips, because, damn.  I’ll never do that.
  8. The audience always sounds genuinely pumped, as opposed to the prompter-generated arm-waving that is fairly routine on American Idol.  You know what I mean, not that the audiences on Idol are never genuinely pumped.  Just that when they are, you can tell the difference.  It’s nice, because it gets me excited too and I like that.
  9. Wade Robson, Genius.
  10. Being the deeply snarky soul I am, I never get tired of snickering at the self-conscious artiness and self-importance of Mia Michaels and Sonya Tayeh, and by that I mean their outfits.  And just who the hell does that Mia Michaels think she is?  Well, I never.

I blame Marianne S. for all this nonsense, because I sensed this show would be trouble for me and hence managed to avoid it until she kept dropping little teasers about how much more better it was than American Idol.  Three hours a week she has stolen from my life, much of it eked out in frustrating little snippets in the midst of domestic chaos such as my daughter managing to shatter my L’oreal nail polish whilst using it to weigh down the shower curtain on the windowsill (I guess I wasn’t worth it after all).  I could of course download the damn thing, but I would then miss out on the excitement (and by excitement I mean commercials) of the live broadcast.  And let’s face it, if you wait to download there is always the chance of encountering a spoiler.  Life is hard.

Janette for the win!

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The Future Has Arrived
May 5, 2009, 3:39 am
Filed under: Chicago, Music, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

I am heartened by the extent to which Leonard Cohen has been adopted as a beloved cultural icon by my generation, mainly because I think he is one of a divinely sanctioned few who have genuinely earned the title.  Although I had of course heard of him before that, I finally stumbled into his music in spring of 1992 in the midst of an emotional crisis.  His voice and melodies drew me in, but the words and their ever-changing shades of meaning are what have made Leonard Cohen’s songs so enduring.  A perfect example is “Democracy,” which is from 1992 but rings more true in my ears now than it did at the time:

It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
It’s here the family’s broken
and it’s here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It’s coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we’ll be making love again.
We’ll be going down so deep
the river’s going to weep,
and the mountain’s going to shout Amen!
It’s coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Of course we cannot be too self-congratulatory, because to hear this song also forces us to recognize that it has taken us seventeen years and a lot of harsh lessons to get to this point.

Not coincidentally, these last few years have also taught Leonard Cohen a few harsh lessons.   Everybody knows he wouldn’t be touring if he didn’t need the money, but that’s how it goes.  Wednesday will be my second time seeing him, as I was lucky enough to catch his Park West show in 1994 (not 1992, as I may have mistakenly written elsewhere).  We had seats near the front and this was his last U. S. tour with Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen, so I felt blessed and blissed indeed to be there.  I assumed it had been my one and only chance to see him, but now his fiscal misfortunes have compelled him to give things another whirl.  To see this show is an extravagance we can hardly afford, and I was initially baffled by the mad ticket frenzies that ensued when both Chicago shows went on sale.  Only since then have I really grasped that at least one more generation has wholeheartedly embraced his music since that 1994 tour, and for them it is not only their last chance to see him but also their first.

The great thing about seeing Leonard Cohen perform live is that he knows he is no musican.  He does LC as no one else can, but he also surrounds himself with outstanding musicians who provide a sweetly melodic counterpoint to his time-gravelled tones.  This is why his live albums are uniformly excellent, despite my habitual disdain for the form.  Cohen frequently directs attention to his band during shows in a way that shows he knows how good they are, which makes the whole thing even more of a mutual appreciation society.  The positive energy flows in all directions at a Leonard Cohen show.  The audience appreciates both Leonard and the band, Leonard appreciates the band and the audience, and each band member plays as if they are thrilled to be there and know they have an integral role in the proceedings.  Cohen’s whole approach to performing speaks of a deep respect for the audience, right down to the email reminder I received today that he will take the stage promptly at 8:00.  I appreciate the care and preparation this reflects and will accordingly return this respect by being in my seat at the Chicago Theatre well before showtime on Wednesday May 6, ready to give my full attention to a man who has earned it several times over.

Here’s a clip of “Democracy” from his new live video, filmed in London in 2008.  Leonard may admittedly be a bit more grandfatherly than he was in 1994, but I’d still hit it:



My Electronic Parotidectomy
April 27, 2009, 6:03 pm
Filed under: blogging, Chicago, deafness, hearing disability, Music, Uncategorized

The arrogance of me, ever thinking I know what’s in store.  I was all set for May to be a packed month, as we have a village-wide garage sale here in Evergreen Park next weekend (Saturday May 2, Be There!), and then we have tickets for Leonard Cohen at the Chicago Theatre May 6.  On May 14 and 16 I had volunteered to help document events for Amy Krouse Rosenthal, the second of which would be Chicago’s Beckoning of Lovely event (details here, location TBA).  Later in the month I thought I might try liquidating more junque at the Peoria Flea Market.  Last Thursday when I walked into the Cancer Center I was thinking how glad I was to be in slightly better shape, wondering if I should take up running to fill in the time before the local swim club opens.   Being an old pro at these things, I figured I was in for a biopsy to make sure the funny little bump under my right earlobe was benign.  When I found out I was in for surgery regardless, I passed on the biopsy.  After what I’ve been through, why on earth would I want to get poked any more than I have to?

The good news is that my little bump is still probably benign, but the bad news is that I’m now rearranging what was already a busy schedule to accommodate a surgery (superficial parotidectomy)  that involves peeling back my facial skin and slicing off a mass that just happens to be inconveniently located in close proximity to my right facial nerve.   I have never really thought about my right facial nerve before but all of a sudden I am realizing it is something I would like to keep.  The world of us frequent patients is a surreal one in which even the good doctors toss out phrases like temporary facial paralysis and nerve monitors as if these are normal everyday things you pass every day on your way to the bus stop or throw in your shopping cart at the grocery store.   There may be a slight sunken area at the surgery site, but we’ll try and reconstruct as best we can. I take it all in, leave processing for later.   Overnight stay, general anesthesia, hearing aids out for the surgery.  More IVs, I’m sure.  I’ll need a CT-Scan, an EKG, referrals, plus my doctor’s clearance for the surgery.   More busywork, because clearly I do not already have enough to do.

One of the few fringe benefits of this news is that it gives me an excuse to complain about the abomination that is health insurance in this country.  You might think I don’t have much to complain about, as I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield and almost everything I need is covered.   Of course those without insurance are in much worse shape, and of course there is no valid reason why anyone in this country who needs medical assistance should not have it.  Do I even need to go there?

That large, glaring problem aside, it is so absurdly clear that our whole system of referrals is designed to minimize the expenditures of insurance companies at the expense of patients.  All my doctors are at one institution, Loyola.  When my oncologist refers me to the ENT guy that information goes into my record, just as it does when the ENT guy orders a CT-Scan.  A doctor in your system said I had to have this, what more damn hell kind of referral do I need? I am contemplating unexpected surgery, struggling to manage all the tests and coordinate everything that needs to be done without completely sacrificing events I’ve looked forward to for months, so obviously there is nothing better I could do with my time than to sit on hold with my doctor’s office so I can tell them information that could all be conveyed electronically between medical personnel without any need for my participation.

Absurd as all of this may be, we are conditioned to do it because of course we don’t want to pay those bills.  I was reminded of this recently when I got a bill for well over $20000 and realized I had forgotten to call in the referral for my quarterly Zoladex injection.   I’ve been getting this injection every three months for a few years now and my primary care physician obviously approves of this or she would not have signed off on umpteen referrals.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield knows very well these injections are a regular part of my follow-up  treatment for breast cancer and they could easily confirm this, but they reject the claim and I get billed.   The primary concern here should be what is necessary for my treatment, not whether I remember to jump through the correct sequence of hoops, but a bill for $2500 is the kind of Gotcha! I can’t argue with, so I’m on the phone again.

The more I research this surgery, the more I understand I will not know what I am up against until it’s over.  Having placed myself in the hands of capable surgeons and anesthesiologists a few times too many, I don’t fret about the surgery itself.   I find the best way to go into these things is to collaborate as much as possible with the people who are kindly trying to save my sorry ass.  There inevitably will be some negotiations over hearing aids, more daunting this time because my surgery will be above my neck and involve my right ear.  Put that together with the likelihood of some facial paralysis on my right side and you have the makings of a communication fiasco, but I’ll find a way to make my needs known even if I have to wink in Morse code.

Speaking of winking or the inability to do same, my biggest concern about recovery is that some people find themselves unable to close the eye on the surgery side for some time after the operation.  I am not so nervous about drooping or talking funny as I am about having my vision interfered with, particularly with a hearing disadvantage.  I am also upset that I’ll have to keep the sun off my scar, as I’ve been so looking forward to swimming as one of the few fringe benefits of summer.  There are just so many variables, so many things that are undetermined until I am on the other side of this surgery, but at least there will be vicodin.

Some folks near and dear to me expressed surprise that I would delay this extravaganza, but I am bound and determined to have that Leonard Cohen show under my belt before I go under the knife.  Lenny and I, we have both taken a few bumps and bruises along the path to enlightenment, but we still keep seeking and singing because the alternative is unthinkable.  If by some chance I have cancer, I’ve been there and done that and I’m still here disturbing the shit five years later.  I could theoretically have cancer and a Leonard Cohen show or cancer and no Leonard Cohen show, so which of those sounds better?  Duh.

I may not be here much or I may feel the need to post more than usual, but either way I’m thinking I’ll be fine.  The sweet selfishness of this space dictates that it will be here if I need it and will wait patiently if I’m out of commission, but I always scuttle back to my lair because it feels like home.  Feel free to send good thoughts, because I’ll need a few.  If you have an irresistible compulsion to send chocolate I won’t object, but I think I need the good vibes more.  The best thing about having thus far survived breast cancer and chemo is that almost everything else seems like a walk in the park by comparison.  I may be as patched-up as my daughter’s teddy bear, with odd seams and depressions everywhere you look, but we both persevere, because we have a purpose.



To All My Frieeeends

Back in the days before Mickey Rourke’s face got really scary he made a great movie called Barfly, directed by Barbet Schroeder.  My favorite scene is the one where Henry Chinaski (standing in for Charles Bukowski) buys round after round of drinks for his friends:

I would like to do the same, but my friends are all spread out and it’s hard to get them in one place.  I have fantasies of throwing a big party and flying them in from all over the world for a gathering like the one in the movie, in which case I can only hope I have two men fighting over me like Henry did the ladies.  I am feeling even more celebratory than usual this year, because my friends have been up to all kinds of creative mischief.  Everywhere I look, they are blogging, publishing books and spooksmodeling, recording, touring, making videos, and just generally doing all kinds of cool stuff.  Needless to say, I am impressed, inspired and delighted to be hooked up with such a bunch of groovy go-getters.  Since for now we cannot all raise a glass together, this post will have to do and will at least not leave us indisposed and toothless in the morning.  Feel free to get smashed and wake up in a stranger’s bed tomorrow morning if it puts you in the spirit, but don’t tell your wife or dentist it was my idea.

nora_full_03

First and arguably foremost simply because there are votes involved, Nora O’Sullivan is one of thirteen contestants vying to be Fangoria’s 2010 Spooksmodel.  She will be flying to Los Angeles for their big Weekend of Horrors from April 17-19, so if you helped vote her there on my behest, I thank you.  But we aren’t quite done, because now she’s in it for the win.   I need you to CLICKY HERE and cast your vote, which in this case requires you to register with your email address.  After that, they will send you an email, you confirm, and you’re all done.  If you want to be extra-kind, you can send the link on to a few friends and ask them to do the same.  Voting ends at midnight Friday April 17, so don’t wait forever.

You can see from the pic that Nora is lovely and vivacious, but what you cannot see is that she is a talented makeup artist, smart and friendly and industrious as all get out.  Once upon a time I was afraid of teenagers, but thanks to Nora and a few others of her ilk, I am cured.  I would like to see her win this contest, because so many teenagers are out there huffing, tipping cows and getting pregnant while this fine, upstanding citizen who is active in her local zombie community goes unrewarded.   End this madness with your vote and win my eternal gratitude.  Thanks!!

Nora isn’t the only O’Sullivan who’s been busy, though, as her dad Joe was recently published in the Spring 2009 issue of Farmhouse Magazine.  His story, My Day With Antonia, not only appears on the Farmhouse Web site, but also appears in the actual print publication.  I’ve known Joe for about 25 years, but not until he started blogging at the Sprawling Ramshackle Compound did I discover what a damn fine writer he is.   Joe also had a (very) short story published on Six Sentences.  Called Every Rose’s Thorn, it actually garnered more comments and ratings than Neil LaBute’s submission!  It is good to have friends, no doubt about it, and Joe gathers them more effortlessly than anyone I’ve ever known.  I’m intrigued to see what else he’ll come up with, as he keeps surprising me.

marianne

Another friend of mine currently experiencing a creative renaissance is the lovely and talented Marianne S., who not only posts something on her blog Diarrhea Island EVERY SINGLE FLIPPING DAY and has been doing so for over a year, but also has recorded two musical numbers (one original and one Led Zep cover) and made YouTube videos for them.  All of this while parenting not one but THREE kids ranging from six to seventeen.   Her secret weapons are naps, caffeine, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope.  No, not that last one.

Marianne’s first recording and video was If I Were Zooey Deschanel, a tuneful and gigglesome lo-fi macbook recording.  It impressed me quite a bit that my friend had written a song, recorded it, and made a video.  iMovie may be relatively intuitive to use, but GarageBand is a bitch and I miserably failed when I tried to use it for a class assignment.  Hats off to Marianne, because she not only managed to accomplish all these things, but she did them well enough that I looked forward to seeing what frothy creative efforts she might whip up next.  I done embedded it already, but if you missed it, by all means do click on the link above.

A little-known fact is that if you do a YouTube search for “marianne fish,” your top result will be this obscure gem:

Marianne’s rousing, Kinks-driven take on “Gimme That Fish” followed close on the heels of “Zooey Deschanel,” so close that I was shocked–shocked, I tell you–when soon after she released an mp3 cover of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.”  This techno version featured layered vocals that sounded like they took a lot of work to create.  I was impressed enough at this point, but then M followed right up with a video that knocked my socks off.  Now my little tootsies are cold, and it is all her fault, but I will forgive her because this is officially funny stuff:

Moving down the Pacific coastline a few miles, we find my old friend Jon Ginoli has been busy as well.  He has been talking about his book for years and it is finally out!  Called Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division, it is currently available from Amazon at a discounted price of $11.53 and is worth every penny.

deflowered-206x300

Jon has referred to Deflowered as being probably the only book he will ever write.  He may or may not be correct about that, but for sure he is the only one who could tell this story.   I will have more to say about this book later, but I have enjoyed not only learning more about the bits I missed (including more than a few naughty ones), but also being able to line up Jon’s experiences with what I was doing at a given time.  Since in my case this involved school, work, and baby, the split-screen would show vastly different experiences on either side.  Vive la difference, I say, because Jon has some very entertaining stories to tell.

The quality I have always admired most about Jon is the DIY-drive and tenacity that not only gestated and built Pansy Division to a point where they had both the chops and reputation to tour with Green Day, but also has kept the band alive through many changes and upheavals.   Continuing in this vein, he has quit his job of ten years and embarked on a massive book tour, which continues through May and beyond.  Please go see him and buy a few books, and if you mention you heard about about his presentation here at Linkadelica, he might feel obligated to buy me lunch!  Yee-haw!!

If by some chance you are in the Chicago area, Jon will be here this week and has three separate appearances scheduled.  The first will be tomorrow, Tuesday April 7, at Homolatte.  Homolatte is a Big Chicks/Tweet, at 5024 N. Sheridan, and admission is free!  They do pass the hat for the performers, so I suggest you do throw in a few bucks.  This self-described bi-monthly all-ages queer music and spoken-word series recently was given accolades as one of Chicago’s Best by the Chicago Reader, so I’m guessing they’ll be packed for Jon.  If you want to see him play an acoustic set as well as reading from the book, this is probably the appearance you should attend.  Wednesday April 8 he’ll be at Quimby’s, a venue I am proud to say I suggested and at which I’ll be in attendance.  I defy anyone to walk out of that place without spending money.  For those who will be in or around Lincoln Park that day, Jon also reads at Borders at 2817 N. Clark Street on Thursday April 9.

That’s not all for Jon, who also has a new Pansy Division album out called That’s So Gay.  It’s their first in six years and I would have heard it by now if it was on eMusic.  I have high hopes, as thus far the band has just kept getting better as they’ve matured.  Pansy Division are also rumored to be touring later this year, although dates have yet to be announced.

I could not in all fairness refer to Amy Krouse Rosenthal as my friend, but I would be amiss if I didn’t say a few words here about her book tour and The Beckoning of Lovely.  Most of what you need to know can be found on this site, which will be relaunched soon with a thematic look and feel.  The short version of a long story is that Amy wants to make a feature film about all things lovely and toward that end has solicited several hundred submissions and enlisted a few hundred strangers to collaborate on the final product.  See, I told you it was hard to explain.  Amy has been traveling around the country making appearances on her book tour and also doing official Beckoning of Lovely gatherings, some of which may appear in the film.  She is also looking for opening acts, although I don’t know which dates have already been filled.  The Chicago Beckoning of Lovely event is scheduled for Saturday May 15 from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, although the location has yet to be announced.

I am honored to be working on the Beckoning of Lovely project, as I was one of eleven people chosen to serve on the Chicago-Based Panel of Supremely Excellent Judges.  Although my actual judging duties are over, I will be helping to document the above event and at least one other Chicago-area appearance.  I am also looking forward to more loveliness later this year, about which I shall remain mum for the time being.  I also participated in Simultaneous Mass Existence and would like to do more things of this nature, so we’ll see what comes of that.

I don’t know what else you should expect from me this year, but I do have a few surprises up my sleeve.  One of the best things about having busy friends is that it challenges and inspires me to get off my duff and do things, although I don’t think I’ll be recording any music soon.  I feel energized that all these good things are happening to my friends in the year 2009, a year in which I shall turn 50 on 09-09-1959 and on which my only offspring turns 09.  You can expect me to launch a small but amusing project of my own on my birthday, but in the meantime I’ll keep beckoning the lovely, blogging here and posting at my tumblelog, Herr Machine, and hawking the usual fab assortment of books and t-shirts in my eBay store.

One of the benefits of getting older is that I can now appreciate exactly how lucky I am to have such a creative and productive group of friends.  Many of us have been late bloomers or are currently experiencing a creative renaissance of some sort, which is the most life-affirming way I know to respond to the inevitability of that final taxi for which there can only be one destination.  They should hurry up and find a way to reverse the aging process so we can all just keep getting better until we are so awesome it is sick, because, well, because it would be far preferable to the alternative.  I never cease to be amazed at the things my friends and I are capable of accomplishing, thank goodness.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I cannot wait to find out what comes next.  I hereby raise my glass to all my friends, with an extra shot for Marianne S. on her birthday.



Knee-Deep in the Goo-Goo Muck
April 1, 2009, 4:39 am
Filed under: Jon Ginoli, Music, Pansy Division, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

Funny thing, I talked myself out of including any Cramps in my contributions to the latest installment of the Green Monkey Music Project (well it was the latest installment, but I guess I’m so woefully behind in posting this there’s now a newer one, so I am lame).  It’s called The Lenten Mix, aka You Know This Shit’s Not Good For You, and it was the proud brainchild of the inimitable Bubs at the Sprawling Ramshackle Compound.  The Green Monkey Music Project is a Splotchy enterprise, and that is good.  Anyway, I told myself I didn’t need to make myself personally responsible because someone else would surely include a Cramps song.  Turns out they didn’t, but if anything the Cramps are the patron saints of this endeavor.   Although not my favorite band, they played the devil’s music and they blowed it up real good.  This one’s for you, Mr. Interior.

I’ve had So What by the Anti-Nowhere League on my iTunes forever, but I had to google the lyrics to confirm it was every bit as offensive as I thought and then some.   A representative verse follows, but don’t say I didn’t warn you:

Well I’ve fucked a sheep
And I’ve fucked a goat
I’ve had my cock right down its throat
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

It would just be stupid and offensive to me if somebody came up to me on the street and said these words and by no means do I endorse bestiality, but to sing these words along with Animal is somehow strangely liberating:

Listening to Fear always made me feel a little dirty, but in a good way.  Lee Ving always seemed to have his shirt off, and he looked like he would smell of sweat and other manly fluids.  That and his blues voice made him seem like a real man to me, a slightly threatening real man who obviously must have a sense of humor.

leeving

Beef Bologna could easily be misconstrued as sexist, but there’s nothing particularly sexist about the notion of a woman who voraciously devours cock.  If anything this song is reductionist, but therein lies the appeal:

She don’t like salami, she don’t want pastrami
She don’t want a chicken, she don’t want a roast
She just wants her double dose of my

Beef, beef, beef, beef bologna

It reminds me of the old days when I used to scarf up raw hot dogs straight from the refrigerator.  Faintly repulsive, yet compulsively appealing

I am honored to be friends with someone whose accomplishments are worthy of inclusion on this list, namely Jon Ginoli of Pansy Division.  Like The Ramones, Pansy Division have recorded any number of songs that would fit on this list.  Unlike the Ramones, Pansy Division are the one band whose songs I am most likely to lurch up and skip on my iTunes when my daughter is about (I figure she is okay with the ones that go right over my head, like Alpine Skiing).   As the world’s #1 gay pop-punk band, Pansy Division’s most common subject matter is buttfucking, with cocksucking a close second.  There’s just no other way to say it, nor should there be. The danger of a song like He Whipped My Ass in Tennis (and many other Pansy Division songs) is that it is just so gosh-darn catchy:

To wit, as I was still in the process of compiling this list I walked to my eight-year-old daughter’s school to pick her up and it suddenly dawned on me I was bopping through the schoolyard, singing these words in my head:

So we whipped and fucked
And fucked and whipped
And whipped and fucked
And fucked and whipped
He whipped my ass in tennis
Then I fucked his ass in bed

Then we licked and sucked
And sucked and licked
And licked and sucked…alot of dick
He whipped my ass in tennis
Then I fucked his ass in bed

Context is everything, I guess.   As I’m bopping through the schoolyard, the incogruity strikes me and I suddenly feel naughty.  Other parents around me have no clue what kind of utter filth is in my mind, but I am grateful I remembered where I was and didn’t sing out loud.

As long as we are talking about Pansy Division, I should mention Jon Ginoli has a new book out called Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division.  He’s out and about pimping it on a huge book tour, so stop in and see him and buy the book, because I’m in it.  Pansy Division also have a new album out, called That’s So Gay, their first in several years.   My mother remembers Jon and wants me to have him sign a copy of his book for her, but I’m reading it now and I can guarantee that there are passages in there that would give her a heart attack.   Anything less would have been an emasculated version of the truth, so I’m glad Jon has stayed true to his prurient self.

I knew I would post a Ramones song here, but I had a terribly hard time choosing because there are so many that would qualify.  Like all of the bands here but Pansy Division in particular, the insidious thing about the Ramones is that their songs are so catchy.  If I had it to do again I might have chosen Beat on the Brat simply because violence is right up there with bestiality on the list of things I think are genuinely bad.  Add to that the implication that the “brat” who is the target of the singer’s violent intentions could be a child,  and you have on your hands a song that in theory should be unspeakable.  In theory.

I finally settled on I Wanna Be Well because it manages to glorify both nihilism and substance abuse in the same verse.   It’s one thing to sing about ingesting bug spray and hallucinogenics in the face of human devastation, quite another to be outright gleeful about it:

I want my lsd, golly gee, ddt, wowee!
Daddys broke holy smoke my futures bleak aint it neat?

Like So What, I like I Wanna Be Well because it makes me feel like I need a disclaimer.  This makes a perfect segue into Cherry Bomb by the Runaways, a song written from the perspective of a naughty underage girl and performed by actual underage girls.   I don’t know if the Runaways were actually doing the kinds of things they sang about or if those lyrics merely were a product of Kim Fowley’s mercenary tendencies, but let’s just say I hear them differently now as a mother than I did when I was seventeen:

Hey street boy what’s your style
Your dead end dreams dont make you smile
Ill give ya something to live for
Have ya, grab ya til you’re sore

Hello daddy, hello mom
I’m your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb
Hello world I’m your wild girl
Im your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb

Just in case you thought you might have misunderstood what this was all about, Runaways singer Cherie Currie awkwardly pranced around the stage in a pink corset, looking more like Ziggy Stardust in fishnets than the teen temptress she was most inappropriately  hyped as:

Of course you know and I know teenagers have sex, but what makes this song so wrong and yet so right is that it’s a veritable anthem for the practice and a BRILLIANT POP SINGLE.   Who cares what they are singing about, as long as it sounds good?  Actually that’s not even true, because a great part of the allure of the devil’s music has always been that it is bad for us.  A co-worker of mine once said of Danish black metal band Mercyful Fate “They’re so bad, they want to go to hell.”   I might go to hell for listening to these songs, but at least I won’t have died of boredom.

Nor did Lux Interior, who also didn’t die in vain.  In the name of all things good-bad but not evil, I leave you with a Naked Girl Falling Down the Stairs:

Foam at mouth.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Mom would not approve, but isn’t that the point?



A Matter of Gravest Importance
March 27, 2009, 2:07 am
Filed under: Music, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

nora_osullivan

I can remember little Nora O’Sullivan when she was just a wee sprite learning how to handle a firearm, and now she’s all grown up and in the running for the 2010 Fangoria Spooksmodel Contest and going to Throbbing Gristle shows with her dad.   I go even farther back with Fangoria, as I haven’t read it lately but was an avid fan in the early days of the zine.   Not just anyone can live up to the title of Spooksmodel, but I can say with great confidence that Nora is the nicest and most personable Queen of Darkness you’ll ever meet.  Even better, she has been passionately invested in the genre for almost as long as I’ve known her.   As a mother, I can only hope my own daughter grows up to be just as fine a zombie nurse as Nora.

Out of 36 contestants, 13 finalists will be invited to the Finals, at Fangoria’s Weeekend of Horrors in Los Angeles from April 17-19.  The 2010 Spooksmodel will be announced there and will receive all sorts of perks and rewards, including plenty of exposure for her dastardly doings.  Right now Nora is doing quite well in the competition, but I would consider it a personal favor if you would click here and vote for her.

In other news, I contributed 5 songs to the fabulous Splotchy’s Green Monkey Music Project via Bubs at the Sprawling Ramshackle Compound.  I’m woefully late in blogging about my choices because I’ve been bedeviled by the sleep demons lately, but I’m glad to have participated and I promise you’ll hear more from me about this real soon-like.



He’s Coming Now, He’s Coming to Reward Us
March 3, 2009, 4:30 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Internet Communities, Music, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

I still have a large stack of Beckoning of Lovely submissions to review today and don’t have as much time as I’d like to make this pretty, but I did want to share that four new Leonard Cohen dates were added yesterday including a second one for Chicago on May 6.  For the current list of dates and on-sale information, here’s the updated tour page.  This is just the public information, so if you want to know about fan presales and such, you’ll have to figure it out the same way I did.

I had quite an interesting day yesterday, with reverberations continuing into today.   I actually considered taking down yesterday’s post because I did not want to be misperceived as being angry or disrespectful towards LC, a man I respect and admire deeply.  Some folks on the LC fan forum perceived me as hostile because I dared to use the word “bullshit,” but I reiterated numerous times that I think le eau d’merde is emanating mostly from the Ticketmaster kiosk.  Folks accept and even endorse their practices because they are the status quo, but when I step in bullshit, I don’t whistle, look at the sky, and pretend I’m smelling roses.  I thought it sucked that there seemed to be no tickets left by the public sale date and I spoke up and said so just because I cared about it.  If I didn’t care about it, I sure wouldn’t have risked exposing myself to abuse and personal attacks from people who don’t know me.

I don’t feel entitled and I’m sure I won’t have a front-row seat for this show, because I can’t afford it.  But at least I now feel like I have a reasonable chance of going.  We have a good pair of binoculars, so I’m prepared.  I would like to thank everyone on the LC fan forum who has given me hints as to how to get my tickets, particularly the person who was kind enough to send me a private message when the new dates were announced.  I’ve got my monkey, but someone else will have to bring the plywood violin.