Saturday, June 26, 2010

Play That Country Meowsic, White Boy

If you wore a concert T-shirt back in the day, it usually meant you went to the concert or at least knew the band and could name, say, 3 of their songs.

But things have changed, and that’s why I didn’t hesitate when I purchased a “Love that COUNTRY MEOWSIC” T-shirt, featuring an image just like the one above, on my recent trip to Nashville. I told everyone it was meant to be “ironic,” but who am I kidding? As some of you know, shamefully bad cat puns come naturally to me, so this is probably what I should be wearing every day. Not just, uh, today.

What to listen to when the bottle lets you down
Glen Campbell, Rhinestone Cowboy

Dillard & Clark, Through the Morning, Through the Night
Holy cannoli, is this song beautiful! (Clark means Gene, as in the former Byrdman.)

Hank Williams, Jr., Tennessee Stud
The song’s way hokey, but a good example of how some country songs are like little epic poems. “The Tennessee stud’s green eyes turned blue, ‘cause he was dreaming of his sweetheart, too…” (FYI, the Tennessee stud’s sweetheart is the Tennessee mare.) The comments on this vid are hysterical, too. Well, a little bit funny at first but ultimately disturbing.

P.S. When I searched for an image of the shirt, I came upon a picture of Vampire Weekend-leader Ezra wearing the exact same one I have.

It was posted on a fan forum, collecting comments about how cool he/it/he-wearing-it is, i.e.:

Definately, that shirt is a chic magnet and Ezra wearing it is beyond words. only thing i can say is gaaawww. only thing better than ezra wearign that shirt is ezra not wearing any shirt at all. *wink wink*

Of course, now I’m fascinated by the fine line between “chic” magnet and geek magnet. What if Ezra were wearing an I Heart MJ shirt…

…or this?

P.S.S. I don’t know much about Vampire Weekend, but my friend Holly at The Song In My Head Today does.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Double Vision

When I first met Festivus, the black kitty I’ve been fostering in my office since last week, I immediately fell in love with his big old head, carved of night and panther-wide. His face a river, broad and deep, flowing and rippling with catthoughts and catfeelings…

Aha! He reminded me of the beast in Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bete, as portrayed by Jean Marais, above.

Totally catty, right? It’s one of my all-time favorite films, but for some reason thinking about it makes me profoundly sad. I don’t know if I can explain it, but I just walked into the living room as America’s Funniest Home Videos was playing a clip of some kid with a piece of spaghetti shooting out of his nose and, as the canned laughter and clapping by people-told-when-to-clap faded, I thought, “That is the exact opposite of Beauty and the Beast.” Which is OK—it’s not a judgment, really, just a fear… I hope people don’t laugh at Cocteau’s beautiful poem-film and think it “quaint,” or that we’re way past a candelabra held by a disembodied arm, in a pearly swirly palace in a black-and-white world of mirrors and magic and mist...

Ruh roh, sounds like a Cocteau Twins song! Eggs and Their Shells. Shallow Then Halo. The Spangle Maker. And those beautiful 4AD sleeves, making me want to buy a rock tumbler so everything hard could be soft, and wear clothes the color of mold and moss.

Thinking about the Cocteau Twins makes me melancholy, too. I did a Wikipedia search and then found myself watching a video of Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops, and wishing I hadn’t. Oh, it was all beautiful, but I much preferred thinking that the songs were sung and played by tiny redheaded fairies in a woodland clearing, or at least a flock of twittering sparrows or, heck, a pair of squirrels. To think they actually toured (and that I could have seen them but clearly didn’t want to break the spell), and that there’s even a genre for their music—dream pop. Eeek. And though I pretended not to know their species, I did know that they weren’t really twins but rather a trio. The voice? Elizabeth Fraser.

Oh, well. It’ll be OK. It’s just that there aren’t any good reality shows on TV right now, which is one of my main sources of truth and beauty these days. (Not my fault, I swear—my growing-up music was 80s music, so I’m used to that sort of “difficult beauty” you have to really look hard for, but can find in RuPaul’s Drag Race, Sober House and From G’s to Gents if you try.)

I just really, really, really miss thinking that life is more like a poem than a Facebook status.

P.S. Wondering why there are visions of George Costanza pole-dancing in your head?

Forgive me. They were no doubt triggered by the name Festivus, celebrated on December 23 in the land of Seinfeld.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Too Much Monkey Business

Jeff Koons has said there are no hidden meanings in his art. OK, then, so how come I didn’t get that his 1988 Michael Jackson and Bubbles, dubbed a “masterpiece” by Charlie Finch in artnet magazine, “entraps MJ in gold leaf like a metrosexual Midas and offers the chimp Bubbles as a witty child substitute?” “The total effect,” writes Finch, “is one of transcendent impotence, a brutal contradiction constantly underscored by the futility of Jackson’s crotch grabbing in performance and facial procedures under the surgeon’s knife.”

It’s not like I’m one of those people who gets all angry at the proverbial white canvas with a big red dot—my definitions of art and beauty are way more inclusive than they are exclusive—and it’s also not because I’m the kind of person who has the Michael Jackson Dress-Up Colorforms set (my favorite is his outfit from Beat It)...I just wouldn’t call this inspired. Actually I’d call it expired, its energy kind of going nowhere, though I do like the shiny fool’s-golden Franklin Mint aspect of it (get this $5.6 million sculpture for just 3 low payments of 19.99!). And if you can’t get your hands on one of the 3 identical sculptures Koons created, you can always purchase a t-shirt with the image on it. (I saw one on Etsy today! Geesh!)

Nah—screw the talk of Koons depicting childhood as a “lifeless signifier of death” (though that at least explains the piece's silent/gumball machine-esque nature) …what bugs me is he did a crappy job of depicting Bubbles! Either he needs to get some lessons from the sculptors at Franklin Mint or lose the speciesist notion that all chimps look the same. I ask you—does that look like a chimp who can moon walk and has drank tea with the mayor of Osaka?

For when you really feel like pant-hooting
Apeman, The Kinks

Ooooh! Could I get Ray’s big white fluffy jacket in 3 easy payments of $19.99?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Divining Rod

Rod was my first.

Concert, that is. I saw him on his Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? tour at Madison Square Garden, and even with my older sister for a chaperone, I’m surprised my parents let me go—I mean, this was a kid who wasn’t allowed to see a movie unless it was deemed “unobjectionable” by the Long Island Catholic newspaper. Had the editors got a load of Rod, all humping and bumping in his leather and spandex, no way would I have been standing there in my borrowed Candies heels (which I wound up ruining somehow—I can still see a greasy spot on the perforated beige leather) with my three fellow Most Holy Trinity schoolmates.

I don’t remember much of the concert, but I can still recall holding the album in my 5th-grader hands (Blondes Have More Fun!), and singing the song from whence the tour took its name—supposedly Rod’s answer to the Stones’ “Miss You”—with my classmates, screaming with laughter and having no idea if he was sexy or not, mainly because I didn’t have a working definition of sexy.

We were too young for Rod to be included on our “cute” radar (which likely targeted no male older than 15), but not too dull that we didn’t get his overall appeal. He was like one of those satin baseball jackets popular at the time, all fancy and slick and shiny, and certainly not as threatening—to young me, at least—as, say, Led Zeppelin. (I remember being unsettled and kind of frightened by “The Lemon Song,” and would always pick up the needle and plunk it down on the next track, the way, way more digestible “Thank You." ) Yes, I know, there’s a delicious irony—and something so sweet, too—in a bird-watching, sticker-collecting, genuflecting, funny-looking misfit of a little girl saving up to buy the even-then old Led Zeppelin II, isn’t there? Admittedly, I wasn't advanced enough to have made the Rod/Faces/Jeff Beck connection, though.

Anyway, thank you, Rod, for putting out (at the concert, people!) and for being a true showman. Bonus points for the meezer, too.

Supporting materials for getting your Rod on
Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? video
HA!! I found the squats particularly jarring, but overall a classic.

Everything you always wanted to know about Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?
Something about the layout of the page is very endearing. Is it the melon-and-tangerine freshness? Favorite bit: “This song was used in an animated TV commercial for Chips Ahoy! where a cartoon cookie sings.”