29 August 2016
Last month we spent a couple of days in Seattle with Danice+Mason to see Peter Gabriel+Sting in concert for their Rock Paper Scissors tour. This came a week after my Big Two Day B-day Celebration first at Terminal West to see ATL Collective do Are You Experienced, then at the wonderful La Grotta for my birthday proper with Lisa+Bob. Seattle was a drunk impulse commitment a month or so before since Danice+Mason love Sting and Lisa+I love Peter. We had seen him almost four years ago in Chicago performing the So album et al. so we were due for another experience. Go West!
Lisa was up north for some company training the first half of the week, and so I met her Wed 20 Jul at ATL late afternoon and then our flight had to abort seconds before actually taking off. Some luggage door wasn't closed correctly. Ugh. We didn't make it to SeaTac until ~11 that night and then wine and cheese in the tinytiny room we ended up sharing with D+M. Still, didn't get to sleep until ~2 local time so 6 (?!) home time. No need to adjust since we return on the Fri nite red-eye to be back home for an important Sat nite event (J+S gettin' hitched). Two full days!
Thu 21 Jul
Start with the breakfast of champions at The 5 Point Cafe. It's like The Vortex inside but more... authentic? Classic breakfast and beer and solid tunes on the jukebox then on to Paul Allen's EMP Museum for music and geekness. The museum had several shows perfectly tailored for me. First was the exhibit on horror films with several original manuscripts and video exhibits on many films including Argento's Suspiria and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Eli Roth's insights in the latter's manifestation of Vietnam veterans' anguish was compelling). Then to the science fiction exhibit that contained: the model for the Jupiter spacecraft from 2001, Leeloo Multipass's orange rubber jumpsuit thing from The Fifth Element, and an original painting from a 50s sci-fi pulf novel that was so fascinating and trashy. As much as I would love to, I really don't need to start collecting paintings like that, just for my own financial security. Two floors of a Star Trek exhibit that included information on every TV show, the animated series, and movies with the original crew, the next generation, and the reboot. Favorites were the tattered, original bridge and the original outfit for the Gorn. Neat! Onto a smaller exhibit covering Hendrix concerts abroad, complementing our ATL Collective concert a week prior; an exhibit on the history of the electric guitar (with the guitar Townsend used to write Tommy); and finally a fantasy exhibit. Phew.
Alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929.
The EMP Museum undulates next to the steadfast monorail.
Monorail to Pike Place Market where no fish was purchased (or caught, at least by us) but much beef jerky was. Meander the area for drinks and DJ Shadow remixes at the tiny Cloudburst Brewing. It was very much like the tiny local breweries we went to in Portland Maine back in 2013. On to Some Random Bar for late-lunch-early-dinner with an old friend of Mason's.
I hear these things are awfully loud...
The brew bar.
Post food+drink, we wandered over to Key Arena for the PG+S concert, stopping on the way to take pics through their office windows of KEXP's vinyl stacks a dozen or so feet high. I kinda regret that we didn't have time for a record store run while in town. The concert started with the thoughtful, psychological Gabriel piece "The Rhythm of the Heat" and followed by Sting's moody romance "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You". They felt to me perfectly characteristic of the differences between the two songwriters--but then we get the social commentary of "Invisible Sun" and the two become nicely complementary. Best moment was Sting bemoaning the troubles in the UK (Brexit had just stunned the world) by singing the opening verse to "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" (ending at the line "...selling England by the pound.") and then "Message in a Bottle". Bleak yet peppy. He then chastised us for laughing with him at his country's fate, hinting at That Donald Trump Kerfuffle. Surprise guest Eddie Vetter came out decked in Seattle slouch-wear for "Red Rain" but was horribly underused. It was, however, very nice to hear the older Gabriel tunes. The full set list, via Wikipedia:
- "The Rhythm of the Heat"
- "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You"
- "No Self Control"
- "Invisible Sun"
- "Games Without Frontiers"
- "Shock the Monkey"
- "Secret World"
- "Driven to Tears"
- "Red Rain"
- "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" (snippet)
- "Message in a Bottle"
- "Darkness" or "San Jacinto"
- "Walking in Your Footsteps"
- "Kiss That Frog"
- "Don't Give Up"
- "The Hounds of Winter"
- "Big Time"
- "Englishman in New York"
- "Solsbury Hill"
- "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
- "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"
- "Roxanne" (with "Ain't No Sunshine" snippet)
- "Love Can Heal"
- "Desert Rose"
- "In Your Eyes"
- "Every Breath You Take"
Spock and lizard not shown.
Fri 22 Jul
Friday was our full on walking tour proper.
Start with the Space Needle. We had tried the day before (when it was sunny), but the wait time after you got through the line was 2 hours. Cut to the next day (when it was cloudy) and we got right through. Go and figure. Still, a great view and worth the look on the security guard's face when I checked my messenger bag + open bottle of wine with him. Afterwards, at the waterfront, we all used it to toast a successful trip before late-lunching at Elliott's Oyster House while we wait for our scheduled tour boat to take use around the bay. Tours seem like they should be gimmicky, yet I always enjoy learning whatever local history they provide. This one talked a lot about the architectural history of the Seattle skyline along with details about the massive container ships we passed by. We finished the our tour of the water with a few trips around the Seattle Great Wheel ferris wheel.
Space Needle Lisa is wistful
We traveled 2173 miles but all we got was this screencap
The rest of the day/evening was wandering through the alleyway with the gum wall. Wikipedia sez
It was named one of the top 5 germiest tourist attractions in 2009 and I can confirm that just standing next to it made me feel 50% more germy. More wandering down an alley plastered with crazy-wonderful stickers and posters, pre-dinner drinks at The Tasting Room, then dinner-dinner at Cafe Campagne for delicious French cuisine with another old friend of Mason's. We had a red-eye to catch after midnight, so we made sure not to stay too long and drink too much. Oops, in fact the opposite happened. No matter, it was the best way to end our Seattle fun. (One thing I learned is that recovery from red-eyes has a daily half life: each day after only gets you half way closer to restfulness again.)
Yes, that is all gum and yes, that is a penis made of gum
So many stickers
13 July 2016
Last month was full of the arts...
Music: Sat 4 Jun we went to see ATL Collective performing OK Computer at Terminal West. Notable was the harp showcased in several of the songs and the choir of eight or so accompanying. It was a good balance of authenticity and variation. Next Sat 11 Jun was the ASO season finale with Beethoven Symphony No. 7 and Brahms Symphony No. 2. Andre Watts was to have performed the Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto but canceled due to back problems. I have great guilt about not going as frequently as we used to (~10-15 shows a season), and this concert made me wish I'd act on that guilt. Next season!
Cinema: The week of the 12th started with The Lobster [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | 4/5 ] at Landmark. The Greek director, Lanthimos, made one of my favorite films, Dogtooth, and this was cut very much from the same weird. Next were two older "classic" films at the Plaza: Zardoz and Showgirls (which I had first seen only a year ago). Zardoz was... both horrible and smart-ish? It reminded me of The Man Who Fell to Earth with its mix of bad acting yet original ideas. I had seen Man Who Fell recently at Landmark and, in my post-research, got interested enough in the author Walter Tevis that I got two of his books: The Man Who Fell to Earth and Mockingbird. The latter depicts a future in which
robots rule over the drugged, illiterate humans. Cf. Bacigalupi's story "Pump Six" depicting a similar and similarly bleak future.
Theater: We lucked out finding out about a staged reading of James Joyce's Ulysses at Shakespeare Tavern on 15 Jun, performed by Aris. Years ago I got a couple hundred pages in the book and failed, so seeing this was a cheat but very rewarding. If they don't perform it again, it is worth seeking out elsewhere. The last speech by Molly Bloom was emotional and outstanding. Also lucky to hear about West Side Story at Cobb Energy Center on 26 Jun, performed by Atlanta Lyric Theatre. My first time seeing it live! There's such social relevance in this today--immigrants treated as troublemakers, poor people pitted against minorities, police abusing power, and an overloaded social net)--that it should be performed more frequently.
21 May 2016
On Saturday April 16th I went with Matt to Mojo in honor of the 9th annual Record Store Day. My intent was to just hang out, but soon found an excuse to join the fun (even without a turntable). When I got home I ordered the Audio Technica LP60 with USB.
- The Flaming Lips et al. - The Dark Side of the Moon
- Art Tatum - Masterpieces (2 LP)
- Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
- Star Trek Power Records #8158 Passage to Moauv/In Vino Veritas/The Crier in Emptiness
DSotM is a good re-interpretation that should get more attention. Not great, but entertaining. ItAOtS was purchased blindly simply because Neutral Milk Hotel always comes up on lists of Best Albums Ever and one of those lists was fresh in my head. It came with a digital download and has gotten heavy rotation so far. Really love "Two-Headed Boy" and the distorted (overdrive?) vocals. The Art Tatum (listed as "Masterpieces, Leonard Feather Series MCA2-4019, MCA, 1973" in his discography) is a nice complement to the two volume CD The Complete Capital Recordings I've had for forever. The Star Trek stories (good details here) I have not yet listened to because it's in such awful shape I'm terrified it's going to destroy my needle. Some major clean up will be required.
Last weekend, after meeting up with Lisa and the gang for lunch, they went back to Shaky Knees and I Vespa-ed over to L5P to go to Criminal Records. On the way, Wax n Facts intervened with memories of visits driving in from West Georgia College in Carrollton and purchasing my first Sonic Youth album blindly just to see what all the fuss was. Listening to Daydream Nation for the first time was as powerful as reading Gravity's Rainbow for the first time.
- J Dilla - Ruff Draft
- Kool Keith - Love & Danger
- Savages - Silence Yourself
- Savages - Fuckers, Dream Baby Dream
- Herbie Nichols - The Third World
I've had a long time nagging need to dig into classic hip hop (inspired in part by the Reddit discussion What are Masterpiece Rap Albums?) and this made for a good opportunity. I knew Kool Keith from Dr. Octagonecologyst and had heard of J Dilla but never listened to his stuff. Still absorbing both albums (well, four albums with a total of seven sides), but J Dilla seems to have more of a groove and KK more abstraction and complex rapping. The Savages purchases came from Lisa and Matt raving about them from Friday's festival. Chick punk band whose performance blew everyone away. I was expecting updated Bikini Kill but got more of an updated abrasiveness of Lydia Lunch. Great lyrics. Would love to see them live some day. Like everyone else, I have the Herbie Nichols complete Blue Note recordings on CD (comprising The Prophetic Herbie Nichols Vol. 1, The Prophetic Herbie Nichols Vol. 2, and Herbie Nichols Trio; his first three albums), and this 2 LP set is the same in album form. I think of him, inelegantly, as a Thelonious Monk but with impeccable technique.
Sunday tickets for Shaky Knees with the hardcore concert-goers. My only reason for being there was to see the closers: a reunited At The Drive In!!1! Line up until then was Ought (Canadian post-rock that reminded me of The Lapse), Atlas Genius (a little too poppy for my taste), Frightened Rabbit (fun!), Eagles of Death Metal (so much fun!), Nothing (very young emo/punks), Explosions in the Sky (moody with a hint of rock), and then ATDI. Damn they were good. Have put Relationship of Command back in heavy rotation since then.
Send transmission from the one armed scissor
5 May 2016
I've encountered over the last few weeks several centrist and liberal people who have, after once denouncing him as a dangerous embarrassment, come to argue that Trump As President would merely be ineffectual and harmless. Concern gives way to a contrarian acceptance. It's a reversal that feeds the Trump support late in the game, and one I hadn't anticipated.
There are, I suspect, several impulses at play here. One is the hope that your original concern was either exaggerated or over-generalized. And in fact there has been a lot of rhetoric surrounding Trump criticism that started at the superlative and increased from there. Once you run through all manner of labeling him most vulgar, most ineloquent, or basest, there comes a point where you hope that few people are That Bad and question if someone That Bad could really get This Far. Thus, fallacies be damned, since he got This Far he's not That Bad. Another impulse is, possibly, the simple desire to contradict the global concern that is being voiced. The entirety of Republican politicians dislike Trump (albeit less than they dislike Cruz) and so such absolute polarity must be countered with a balance or equivalence, false or not. It's a natural impulse to consider the opposite when one opinion is prevalent. Rutting around for a counter-debate angle is intellectually healthy, even if the results are sophistry.
And coming from the once anti-Trump contingent, these weak approvals of his vulgarity-as-performance-defense reinforce and at times echo those defenses of his defenders. The mincing, contrarian crowd are indiscernible from those who support Trump because he "tells it like it is" and "isn't afraid to be brutally honest" at one moment and deflect that "he was just joking" at the next. This is the same approach that makes Bill O'Reilly respected and the same that produces "because I just don't trust her" as an thoughtful explanation.
12 April 2016
Recent posting of Alarm Will Sound performing "Revolution 9" live with no recorded sounds:
I had, coincidentally, relistened to The White Album a month or so ago right before George Martin died and loved rehearing this. The AWS performance reminded me of when I went to the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville in 2010 and saw Bang on a Can All Stars perform Brian Eno's Music For Airports. Highly recommended.