Back in Gold

Hudson River sunset, spring
Golden Brown, texture like sun

This blog was down all day as I have one of the “cheap hosts.” That’s all I’ll say about it except that I’m glad it’s back as I was wanting to blog all day– except now that I had to be uppity with the tech support and I’m not going to blog about that, I’ve lost the essay steam.

I saw Teenage Jesus and the Jerks last week and Lydia Lunch blew my mind. I hung out with her and Cesar in New Orleans for a day or two in the early 90s. At that time, Lydia was a retired no wave punk and a poet. Holy hell. She hated New York then and I really don’t think there are words to describe what she feels about New York now.

I went to the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island. It was fun but the buttloads of tourists, the millions of muscle cars and classic cars, the billions of digital camera shot putt clicks, have placed it on a new plane. Development is coming. I want them to tear down the block on Beach Blvd with all the furniture stores and put the shopping mall there. Keep most of the cool Coney.

My nephew is in Ghana and my brother sent some emails that have been coming back. Almost half of one letter was about his iPod and how he could recharge it.

I can feel a more substantial blog with many links and feigned outrage coming soon…

Streets of San Francisco

Stanyan St., SF

Succulent, SF

Todd Barker
Todd and his whirly

Here are some shots from San Francisco. It’s a cool town. Todd is one of the few people I know who will oblige me when I say, “Let’s play fake jazz!” He’ll even say stuff like, “Make it faker!” I’ll have some color shots up soon.

I enjoyed this interview with Tom Waits.

How many celebrities would even allow this to happen?

Musical Peeps: Kato, Bowman, and Mollica

Eric Roeser, Urge Overkill
Eric Roeser, Urge Overkill

Nash Kato, Urge Overkill
Nash Kato and um, Brian Quast of Urge Overkill

Taking good pictures of bands is hard! You have to take a million shots especially if you’re not used to your new camera. Then, if you’re taking millions of pictures, you must put on your photo editor cap and get the axe out. These Urge Overkill shots are bad but it’s to illustrate that I’ve been overwhelmed with gigabytes of photos and travel and music. I’m going through the San Francisco photos and I’ll post some when I’m good and ready but this post is about the music I saw in New York the past few weeks.

Opening for UO was Los Angeles band Suffrajett. Great lead singer blah blah. I feel funny saying something significant as I haven’t listened to their music enough although I’ve played a few tracks at the Ding Dong.

It’s a shame Urge Overkill never had the big breakthrough they deserve as they’re a perfect guitar blend of garage, glam, punk, and classic rock. While it’s great they’re back together and recording again, they’re a little past their prime to ever really get there looking as craggy as I do. They played around three new songs along with the classics at the Bowery Ballroom a few weeks ago and they’re good. Fingers crossed for the new rekkid when it’s time. Shame on them for being one of those bands that refuse to play their big hit because they’re sick of it. (Incidentally, Neil Diamond played a show at The Bitter End a couple weeks ago. See, why can’t the Ding Dong Lounge get The Melvins?)

Deborah BowmanOne of my first acquaintances at the Ding Dong Lounge was Deborah Bowman. She’ll get mad at me for saying this but the regulars live for the times she gets on the bar with a hula hoop. She’d been touring on a cruise ship around South America and elsewhere doing her cabaret show of Broadway tunes and she finally put one out there for her New York friends up at the Gatehouse at City College. Deb has an amazing voice, charismatic stage poise, candor and showmanship. She’s poised for stardom.

In my neighborhood, there’s an amazing little institution called the Bloomingdale House of Music which offers low-cost music lessons to Manhattan kids. They’ve been adding great jazz musicians to their faculty and a friend and I caught a recital by Mark Mollica. (pictured: Drummer Ted Poor and bassist Ike Sturm.) Mark’s set was unusual in that he took a handful of rock songs and rearranged them jazz stylee with very impressive results. If you’re familiar with The Bad Plus‘s take on some rock standards, this is nothing new. This is the way to turn kids onto jazz and new music in general. Jazz purists who snub their noses at this practice are full of shite.

The Next Feminist Platform

A fountain in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Riding a fish is funner than birthing one.

Feminism isn’t a topic I’ll post about much but I find the idea of Orgasmic Birth fascinating. Any wedge that puts a dent in the conventional Biblican wisdom, here specifically Genesis 3:16 –(“…I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…”) — now that’s a good kick in the pants. Further irony lies in OB’s strong foundation in new age type spirituality and things like water birth, yoga, meditation, the “spiritual diet,” and ye, even Robert Bly stylee Male Energy. Contrast that with the criticism of Islamic attitudes towards women (not uncalled for) and you can see a clear modern-day evolutionary arc of human spirituality. Any anthropologists out there wanna discuss this?

I’ll almost be surprised if ABC follows through with broadcasting a special about this on 20/20 on May 16. If they do, it’s because of the sexy title and you know they’re going to have a C-section specialist crowing that a C-section is the safest, most pain-free way to have a baby and how could there be anything better than Modern American Medicine? Snort.

On a tangential note, just now, Martha Nussbaum was on Bill Moyers’ show talking about “Freedom of Conscience” and how the right doesn’t get it. This OB thing is going to be heavily ridiculed by the establishment thought police.

(Full disclosure: My upstairs neighbor, who I respect very much, is a doula specializing in water birth and also a talented birth photographer. And I read Feministing once in a while. I suppose that makes me a sensitive new age terrorist.)

Celebrity Endorsements
Obama sports a much vaster and cooler list of celebrity endorsements than Clinton does. Huffpo rightly puts this stuff in their Entertainment section but why not also list McCain’s celeb endorsements? Maybe because he’s only got four although I’d wager conservatives consume more celebrity gossip than others do.