So here's my roundup for the year.
Best Live Shows - Trentemoller at Neumo's, Seattle - Its hard to put into words the electric energy of this show. Just an all around great night and a Monday to boot.
Booka Shade at Mezzanine, San Francisco - My only wish for this show was that it was about 2 hours longer, but seriously, these guys proved why they are international superstars.
INLAND EMPIRE - Once again, David Lynch blew my mind. He creates moody works that are inexplicable and demand viewing. Therefore, I won't try to explain it.
No Country for Old Men - The most accomplished work of the Coens. Still behind The Big Lebowski in terms of all-time favorites, but a nearly perfect film. During Tommy Lee Jones' final monologue, all of the events of the film shifted in my head and all of a sudden, I was thinking about the existential dilemma. Whoa. Heavy.
Eastern Promises - It took me a long time to see it, but it was well worth the wait. A heavy, dark film that still holds that crunchy, organic Cronenberg feel. Plus, a super-hot bath house fight scene featuring a nude Viggo Mortensen.
Zodiac - This movie haunted me. I can still picture the close-up of the college student's face as the Zodiac killer forces her onto her stomach and then stabs her. More mature than all of Fincher's previous work. I really liked how the investigator's obsession became the focal point of the final third of the film.
I didn't read any. I did listen to American Fascists, God is Not Great, The God Delusion, and No Country for Old Men. I started The Prestige (probably in 2006) and I've only got a couple pages left. Maybe I'll get around to it. What else . . . oh, I read the Buffy comic. God I suck.
And Best Music -
The best mix this year has to go to Sean Wolcott for his DJ Set 2. There are so many killer tracks on there and so many kitschy tracks on there. Everyone who came over to my house had to listen to Male Stripper and Ultimate Warlord.
I don't think I bought any albums, really, just tracks.
Man, an odd year indeed.
For a fellow blogger's take on the whole bloody thing, I direct you to ReelFanatic.
I think another reason I can't get around to seeing it (besides my lingering illness), is the new cast recording for Company. I love Company. It is, in my ears, one of the most satisfying scores ever written. And while I adore the original Broadway recording, especially the amazing Elaine Strich's "Ladies Who Lunch," the new Broadway cast recording featuring Raul Esparza and Barbara Walsh is grown-up and excellent. The flat out exuberance of the opening number is tempered by intentionally calling out some disonance. Bobby's friends no longer merely want him to "Stop by on [his] way home," there is a creepy neediness that has infected them that completely justifies his yelling, "Stop" before the show-stopping final number, "Being Alive."
So I was looking for a video clip somewhere online of "Another Hundred People," and I stumbled across this one with the amazingly talented Marcy Harriel. I saw Marcie play Mimi in Rent in 1997 (three times). She was great. This song is considered a signature song, and she capably adds her powerful, well-phrased voice to the list of only a few who can claim it as theirs.
The story of a woman who continually gets letters from her dead husband--how could you not cry? Temper the maudlin with sitcom patter and pratfalls, and you're guaranteed to play misty for me. I mean, I still cry at Steel Magnolias.
My eye rolls and accompanying "gah" will probably irritate those around me, but I'm going anyway.
Oh yeah. And Gerard Butler and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are in it. And I guess Gerard does some silly striptease down to his boxers. So, really, what's not to like? Sure, I've seen him in a loincloth, but this should be the type of cringeworthy that makes for a nice wank once its released on video.
After the show, we talked briefly with Marcus/Ursula Android. He indicated that Dina might be getting too big for this little town. That would be a real shame. We also talked about his final show at Pony (which bumped poor Terry).
And now the news that the Showbox has been purchased by AEG Live out of Los Angeles and the Crocodile Cafe has closed its doors.
And, of course, the Re-Bar is still for sale--Carla can't seem to dump that place.
Five years ago, I went out at least three nights a week. Now, going out one night puts a strain on my schedule. I'm more excited about my foam matress topper than I am about Alex Smoke coming town.
I think I've fleetingly mentioned that next year will be very boring for me.
I'll take the time to elaborate.
Over the course of the next year, I am going to be on a very strict budget. I am not renewing my membership to the Henry or going to SIFF or the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. I will not go out to hear live music. I will not see a film in the theater. My diet will be as boring and monotonous as my days, but the silver lining/goal I've set to myself is saving nearly half of my gross income. It sounds ambitious, and I guess it is, but at this time next year, I want to be searching for my home, or at least well on my way to putting down 20% on a ridiculously priced Seattle area home.
Man, things do change.
I've had Scott's first novel in the sidebar for sometime but I just realized that I don't have Scott's blog listed in my Linkage section. That will be rectified shortly.
If you're a reader, then please take the time to pre-order Scott's book from Amazon now. His debut was wonderful, and his sophomore effort sounds equally as magnificent. Also take the time to swing by Scott's blog. You won't be disappointed.
Fischerspooner covered a song by Wire
who sang a song called Heartbeat
which is also the name of a song by Tahiti 80
who had one of their songs remixed by Swayzak who recorded a track with Kristy Hankshaw
who covered this song by Opus III
which is sampled in Orbital's Halcyon and On and On
which inevitably reminds me of Mindcircus by Way Out West
and I can't hear Mindcircus without thinking of Do It Now by Dubtribe Soundsystem.
I recently got to see a documentary about Mel and his seminal label. He was a pioneer in many respects--he opened one of the preeminent discos of the disco era and he donated a residence so that Gay Men's Health Crisis could have headquarters.
If people can dance together, they can live together.
So, first of all, fellow Seattlites, the film Juno will be screening at Pacific Place on December 11th. As with all screenings, I'd recommend showing up an hour or so early. Bring a book, a video game, whatever.
Would love to attend with some of you (lookin' your way Andrew, Bill, Keith, and Risa).
I alerted Keith over at ReelFanatic to the screening in Atlanta and he thoroughly enjoyed the film. You can read his review here.
Secondly, a couple of you have asked (and Phil commented) about the So You Think You Can Dance live show. It was Risa's birthday, we went with her sisters and had an amazing time. The kids were so athletic and danced so well. There were only a couple new numbers, but that's ok. There was no hustle, either, but I guess Neil and Sara's disco routine made up for that. I screamed "Everett" and "Take your shirt off!" I spilled red wine all over myself, a good time was had, indeed. To get an idea of the show, below are collected clips. Run them simultaneously for the best effect.
Finally, Risa and I were talking about Xanadu and how awesome it is. Here is a clip, via Tapeworthy of the lovely Kerry Butler and the radiant Cheyenne Jackson performing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
Milk well way You have taken care. It is Helen Keller's case, but it was
difficult to take the illumination of the thing which after all is details and
this person of the picture this time as for Helen Keller the judgement that went
down from Dentsu it is not used. Very much we applying the number of hands,
excuse it was not. In addition when something it is, we ask may.
[The excuse, in case you care, is that I had to stay awake until nearly 5pm today to wait on the maintenance guy to fix our bathroom fan. That's a whole 3 hours past my bedtime--my late, late bedtime even.]
I'm sure his set was great--now let's just hope that he can find a gig somewhere else soon, cuz I need to hear some old tracks blasted loud.
Any news on Pony re-opening somewhere else?
And, finally, after a long, long absence, OKDJ makes a tepid return to the 1's and 2's. (Or, to the MixMeister Pro, to be more precise.)
This is my latest mix and I just wanted to put it out there, to get back in the habit of making mixes. I think it falls below vols. 3, 7, 8, 9, & 10, but the more I listen to it, the more I like it.
OKDJ vol. 11
Violent Group (Disco Version) - Lindstrom
Goblin City (Holy Ghost! Disco Dub) - Panthers
Luna (Tadeo remix) - Dusty Kid
Read My Mind a capella - Metro Area
Read My Mind - Metro Area
Parage - Justus Kohncke
Hypnotic Tango - My Mine (Thanks again to Terry for his great blog that supplied this track)
He Not In - Chicken Lips
Bonafied Lovin (Jori Hulkkonnen Mix) - Chromeo
Oh Superman - M.A.N.D.Y. & Booka Shade
2 Fast 4 U - Lopazz
I hope you like it well enough.
Yes. Very annoying, and it happened to me today.
Still, it contains some of the film's beuatiful images (and some fool yammering on). Enjoy!
It is, in my mind, one of those perfect tracks. The strings sit far enough back that you only fleetingly think of disco. The lyrics are brilliant. I don't know why, but songs about infatuation have always resonated with me--from The Carpenter's "Superstar" to Sarach McLachlan's "Possession". Really, though, this song is about the absolutely perfect percussion (highlighted by the synth bassline), especially by the time we get to verse.
So, now that I've found like, 2 of the best music bloggers on the 'sphere (and Seattlites to boot), I'm offering it up to them. Maybe their ridiculously deep crates, virtual or otherwise, contains this song.
Sean, Terry, any ideas?
I'm so glad I have a good friend in New York who lets me stink up her pad for a couple days a year. It makes visiting New York so much more affordable. I can't imagine, for example, staying in New Jersey and bussing into the city every morning. That would be so gauche.
I flew in on JetBlue which is still my airline of choice. I left right after work and landed around 10:30 PM New York time. Each seat has their own DirecTV, so I watched 30 Rock and The Office as we landed. First night in the city consisted of a Schnack courtesy of Tennille's knowledge, and sleep courtesy of Tennille's aero bed.
My first full day in the city, I visited my company's office on 6th Ave. They were really nice and very modern. I spent about an hour talking to people with whom I had only ever corresponded via e-mail. Then I went shopping. Nowhere too exciting--just H&M. Seattle will finally have ours in the spring. Then I grabbed some lunch at Better Burger. The burger was good--not great what I really enjoyed was the flavored ketchups. They had a curry flavored one and my favorite, a cajun flavored one. Then I went back to Brooklyn for a disco nap.
That night Tennille's friends Keith and Neil met us for drinks and dinner. You can't go to the first bar we went to because that night was its final night. Plus, I don't remember the name. Ledi maybe. Anyway, then it was off for Indian food at the Brick Lane Curry House. I love me some Indian food. I better burn going in and coming out, if you catch my drift. This is the place to go for that kind of food, apparently. They have a Phaal that they make you give a verbal disclaimer freeing them from any physical or emotional damage. I was feeling dangerous, but I couldn't do it. Instead, I got a vindaloo that I wanted to be *spicy*. Instead it was tepid. That's ok, though, it was really good--as were the fried cauliflower appetizer things.
Keith and Neil couldn't hang, so Tennille and I headed to the Annex for Ruff Club. Upstairs they were playing dance music bangers and downstairs was all your favorite tracks from the 80's. I liked the vibe of the place. Or, more accurately, it was a Friday night and the people there weren't pissing me off.
Saturday was the big day. The day intended for drinking. And drink we did. I was supposed to meet Glenn at Toast, but I don't know how to ride the subway and after a couple missed attempts, we eventually met by Green Papaya way up north.
Glenn was almost entirely how I had imagined him. He took me to Beard Papa's where we had vanilla cream puffs and a savory one that had bacon and eggs. Delish. Then it was to Chickpea for our real lunch. Once again, delightful. Topics of conversation ranged from lasik eye surgery to Battlestar Galactica, New York to Hawaii. Glenn is just as affable as his blog would lead you to believe and I'm so glad he had time to waste with me.
We met up with Jeff, whom I had never met but frequently read, and Tennille at the Film Archive for the premiere of Skull and Bones. I thought the movie was really funny if not a little choppy. It follows in the long line of queer cinema from movies like Sins of the Fleshapoids to Hey, Happy! Lots of its subject matter is there to make your squirm, and you probably would be if you weren't laughing at the non-existent production values. Expect a more thorough review soon.
The four of us attended the after party at the Urge across the street. Jeff had me in stitches. Part of the conversation went like this:
Jeff: We met at a Lebanese restaurant.
Me: A lesbian restaurant? Really? I can't even imagine what they serve there.
Jeff: (waits a beat) Tacos.
Glenn had a party to attend so he had to leave, but the three of us remaining continued our drinking binge. Tom and Jerry's was the next stop. Tennille stole a rubber rat from the Halloween decorations. We played Candyland and we got a pizza from Two Boots. Damn, that was some good pizza.
Two of Jeff's friends met us there. Turns out, one of them writes a blog--and I read it on a regular basis. Hey George!
Tennille and I parted ways with the gays--they were headed to the Gay and Lesbian Center for a dance and we were headed to the village for pedicures. 'Cause isn't that what you do when you've had too much to drink?
Sarah, my pedicurist was amazing. She called me crazy multiple times and asked if I was sleepless in Seattle. Then as a special present to me, she painted hearts on my big toes. Check it.
A couple more bars and finally we headed back to Brooklyn to hear Keith spin a lovely set at Sputnik. We almost made it back to Tennille's but had to stop at Moonshine first. You remember Moonshine? Its where I was raped by bulldogs on my last visit. It provided our final drinks for the (ahem) early morning and we had late night bites delievered there.
I know we were drunk because there were tears.
So, the only thing we HAD to do the whole time was go to Xanadu on Sunday. Ah, a hungover matinee performace. I can't think of a better show to see while battling the urge to hurl and sweating out the previous day's drinking than Xanadu.
It was everything that I hope a musical is--funny, short (no intermission), sing-along-able, and starring an unbearably dreamy guy in cutoffs (and later satin hotpants). A little about Cheyenne Jackson, the hunky lead, he got his acting start right here in Seattle.
And if you think that you're above Xanadu, both The New Yorker and the New York Times loved it.
When I saw it, I kept thinking how Jimbo reacted to the show. Truthfully, I can't believe he liked it, but I'm glad he did.
After the show, we headed back to Brooklyn for a quiet night of recovery. Of course, as with most trips to New York, it wasn't complete until I randomly ran into an old friend. This time, it was Edward.
Don't my toes look pretty?
They're still painted like that and when I took my socks off at the gym the other day, I was mortified. I think everyone in the locker room noticed (how pretty I am).
I was disappointed that there weren't more house heads at the movie on Saturday night--maybe I didn't do a good enough job of publicizing it. Maybe more would have come if they had known that the much-loved Lady D was one of the interview subjects.
The film felt a bit schizophrenic,--walking the line between a promotional video for the label and a film about the early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York--but hearing some of the stories as told by the people who were there was pretty amazing.
Besides one quick snippet from a DJ at the Paradise Garage, the film glosses over the drug aspect of disco culture. I think that really does a disservice to re-creating the environment in which this music was born, but really the film is more interested in the chunks of vinyl put out on West End than it is in establishing the milieu of the disco scene. In this glossing over the drug aspect, the filmmakers also fail to tell the audience that Larry Levan died, essentially, from his drug addiction. Because the film bounces back and forth between Mel Cheren's charitable donations to Gay Men's Health Crisis and life at the Paradise Garage, it almost seems that Larry died of AIDS.
What this film does best is extol the virtues of the hugely influential label. Jellybean Benitez and Junior Vasquez both come off as narcissists--the former from his snobbery and "I was there" attitude, the latter in his story of how he felt that Larry passed the torch to him. The rest of the interviewees seem to have a genuine affection for the tracks. Judy Russell is used to hilarious comedic effect, only getting quick statements like, "That track was hot," and, let me tell you, she liked all the tracks--except Heartbeat.
One thing that the film really got me thinking about, and I really hope that someone out there can comment on this, was the Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park on July 12, 1979. Randy Jones, the cowboy from the Village People, makes the contention that the disco backlash was actually based in homophobia and racism. I would also like to add classism to that mix, but mainly the first two. It kinda blew my mind. I mean, I've seen footage from that night lots of times (including in the fine film The Last Days of Disco), but never did it occur to me that racism and homophobia could be the underpinnings of the rage from that night.
I, however, am only making it a point to see one film--The Godfather of Disco. Based on Mel Cheren's autobiography, My Life and the Paradise Garage: Keep on Dancin', the film's cast reads like a who's who of dance music--and it should; Mel's label, West End Records, defined the sound of disco with tracks like "Don't Make Me Wait," and "Is It All Over My Face."
I guess Mel lived a bit of a double life, but all of that came to an end as the age of HIV/AIDS devastated the world he created. Mel stepped firmly out of the closet to battle homophobia and the disease in the mid-80's.
There is a feeling I get when I hear a West End track. Its hard to explain, and I've had this conversation with a couple people before. Its like being nostalgic for something that you've never experienced--and kind of holding this idyllic model in your mind and allowing that fantasy to supplant whatever actual reality is there. So I'm looking forward to this film giving me more context for these amazing, genre-defining tracks. You should go, too.
Here's the trailer:
And, just for fun, a track that Tim Curry sings (maybe even wrote) about the legendary Paradise Garage. And, even better, Loose Joints "Is It All Over My Face."
I think last year set the bar too high. (See here.)
I was not blown away by anyone's set. There wasn't a night that I had to be pried off the dance floor. Call it old age, but truthfully I felt that the acts were sub-par, and the whole festival could have been a lot tighter.
Thursday night, I waited in line for 20 minutes after going to the front to see if it was will call or to purchase, apparently it was both. So when I got to the front, I gave the ticket girl my name and she asked if I was on the TicketsWest list or the club list. "I don't know," I told her, "I bought a festival pass."
"Oh," she said, "You'll have to go to the Artificial Limb Company. That's where you get your festival wristband." Super. Six blocks away and I was already missing some of Simian Mobile Disco's set. So all the adrenaline and anticipation that had been building in the cab ride and waiting in line hearing the fat bass escape from the club quickly turned to irritation.
Have you ever noticed when you're excited about something, and then something else postpones the payoff, that your irritation is amplified? Yeah. Well, at least my anger propelled me up the street quicklier.
As I left the Artificial Limb Company with my bracelet, I ran into Donte and Svetlana. Their presence reinvigorated my adrenaline. So I arrived to hear the last half hour or so of Simian Mobile Disco's set--although they did play one of my least favorite songs to hear out, Laid Back's "Ride the White Horse." Their set was fun and party oriented. I danced a ton. I got really, really sweaty.
By the time Switch took the stage, I had already resigned myself to heading in to work. So I stood by the sidelines and enjoyed what he was playing. It wasn't nearly as ass-heavy as Simian Mobile Disco, and from what I could tell, the tracks were all his own, but it was decent.
Friday night I camped at Chop Suey for Jacob London and DJ Heather. I thought both sets were good. Jacob London took a techier approach than I was expecting and Heather brought her well-branded sound.
Saturday was Jerry Abstract, Robert Babicz, 3 Channels and Speedy J. We left before Speedy J even took the stage. Babicz set was mind numbing. He rode the effects processor like a hippie--a hippe in a Venom t-shirt. 3 Channels had not one, but two technical difficulties that stopped the party dead in its tracks. After two other nights of dancing, I just couldn't hang for Speedy J.
My other issue was with the "VIP" room for Neumo's. Where is it? Upstairs? In Moe's bar? These are the sorts of things that I paid for with my 4 day pass, but I didn't even get an email to tell me where things were or how to access them. I would really liked to have heard Jeff Samuel's set, but I didn't know how to find him.
I will tell you that next year I won't be buying a pass. I'll be cherry picking the acts I want to see and I won't make myself exhausted. I hope next year they bring some better acts.
Sean Horton, the guy who runs DecFest, is bringing Trentemoller here on October 8th. I'm sure his show will be far and away better than all the acts at this year's Decibel Fest.
"Get a new bag" has been on my to do list for a very, very long time.
I've had the same Gap messenger for at least five years. It is old and and the plastic in the ID case is warped and the old girl just needs to be put down. I haven't been holding onto it for any reason other than I haven't been able to find something I like--and there's no way in hell I'm spending more than a hundred bones on a new one.
Sure, there's a couple Tumis that are ok (and way too expensive). I even considered an Armani Exchange tote. This morning, I found a Puma bag that I liked well enough, so I placed it in the virtual cart and at the bottom of the screen was thumbnail for the Oxio Freedomer.
Finally after literally years of nearly buying something, I made the commitment. She's a beauty--and well under the hundred buck limit.
Shot a cover for our upcoming folk album.
Seems like it would be right up Andrew and Bill's respective alleys.
50% off denim sounds good.
Still, its on Sunday and I'm hiking on Saturday with Earl, so chances are I'll skip it.
If you go, though, please let me know how it is.
Also, there's a pre-party tonight at Havana. If you're interested in hearing Wesley Holmes play for free, email me and I'll shoot you the address you use to get on the list.
The game should be an on-going thing. Like "the Saturday night" thing or something. Next year is my year of "buckling down," and attempting to build up a chunk of money for a downpayment on a place. So having a long-standing, stay at home diversion could be an excellent way of passing the time. We'd also love to have a rotating cast of nerds come join us, so hit me up if you're interested.
I'm sure Charles would like it. Hell, I'm sure 88.4% of gay America will like it.
And, because it's been pushed back like 50 times and all I have is this picture to keep me going, here's my girlz, yo!
Go atheism! Rah rah rah!
In other news, Toobs will be up at Volunteer Park on Friday (assuming there's enough sunshine to power it).
And, finally, because I know you wonder about Alexyss Tylor (the audio on this is most definitely NSFW):
From easily the best blog I've come across in a long, long time. This made me smile for a while today. Thank you, Samim.
Speaking of the wunderkind, his new track "Heater" w/ a remix by Claude von Stroke (who will be returning to Decibel Festival this year) and a decent B-side is available for download now at Beatport. [Samples here.] Truthfully, I prefer the B-side. There's something too . . . German-y about the accordion and oompah-oompah bass of "Heater."
Now its bed time.
The lighting was amazing. There were light emitting diodes everywhere--and they were sparkly and pretty. I feel really sorry for the kids there that were on drugs. They are probably still seeing tracers today. Anyway, here's some short clips for ya!
The first Antonioni film I saw was Blowup. I liked its swingin' sixties vibe and getting to see a youthful Vanessa Redgrave was a delight. The irreverence for structure in the piece was what I really enjoyed--and of course the beautiful visuals.
I wasn't aware, however, that Antonioni really was a technician and a formidable auteur until I saw L'Avventura. Every shot is framed so perfectly--the tableaux, tracking shots, all of it is near-perfect. People in the background crawl mysteriously out of the person in the foreground's head. He quite literally implies that our desires and wishes are formed from our own minds, and he also questions how easily we can lose and forget those desires. The scenes on the volcanic island are unforgettable, and this was the first film that made me aware of architecture as texture and symbolism. L'Avventura is an incredible film that I highly recommend.
Bergman, for many of my generation, is an acquired taste. I know I only show my hillbilly sensibilities when I say that I've seen The Seventh Seal twice and it still has yet to make an impact on me. Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander are more my speed. They tell specific tales with universal themes and even though Bergman is asking the big questions, you get a believability and realism that just isn't around in his earlier works. Richard Corliss of Time magazine recently interviewed Woody Allen about Bergman (and Antonioni). [article]
Still, Bergman's influence will be felt for a long time. I hope it leads to more parodies like this French and Saunders piece.
Finally, I wanted to send my condolences to the friends and family of Jeremy Blake. Chances are you are familiar with Blake's work but don't know it. He was an artist for Rockstar Games, but more importantly, he was well-respected video artist. He did the video for Beck's Round the Bend which is consistent with his style of "time-based paintings". He also did the beautiful transitions in Punch Drunk Love. He was starting to show an interest in more narrative, documentary style productions before he took his own life. His girlfriend killed herself on July 7th. Ten days later, he went missing. His naked body washed ashore in New Jersey on Monday. There are some lingering mysteries surrounding his death. [blog post]
We will never know what kind of work he would have produced if he had lived as long as Antonioni and Bergman.
Here's a couple clips to give you an idea of his work--
So I'll give you a couple to make up for it.
Later today I hope to get the footage from the Daft Punk show up.
In the meantime, check out the Stranger's coverage.
Reviews (1, 2, 3)
While the concensus seems to be one of adulation, I tend to side more with the the #2 review. Bill and Phil were also nonplussed.
So no stories about dance class or the opening at the Henry on Friday or how much I hated Transformers.
This week is the final dance lesson, Hairspray, and Daft Punk.
I hope to get some video footage.
Oh, and I downloaded the free trial of Adobe Premiere Elements which is a marked improvement over that piece of shit disguised as a program called Windows Movie Maker.
See ya soon.