Archive for November, 2007

evel knievel

Of all the pop culture icons of my youth, Evel Knievel was about the only one who stayed freshly cool in my mind for all these years.

He died today.

I have so many awesome memories of watching his stunts on tv with my parents, and somewhat awesome memories of all the injuries endured when a bunch of us tried to do small recreations of those stunts on our bikes. I didn’t just adore him; I wanted to be him. I envied his guts.

He was Elvis on a motorcycle.

Update: He died of natural causes. Go figure.

Because NOC mentioned it in the comments and I remember every boy on my block having one:

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Through Metafilter, I found this great page at post-punk, which provides links to tons of classic post punk videos.

Looking over the list, I can see I am still confused as to the difference between new wave and post punk. I thought originally that new wave grew out of post-punk and post punk was sort of a precursor to industrial music with punk undertones. But this site lists bands like The Alarm, The Human League and Shrieback, who I always heard as new wave. And then it lists bands like The Damned and Wire, and I think of both as punk.

Seeing U2 and the Jam leads me to scratch my head because they were around so early; shouldn’t post-punk be after punk sort of waned? Unless, of course, the people defining post-punk are those who think that punk lived and died in the late 70’s.

So we go to AllMusic for a defintion:

After the punk revolution of 1977, a number of bands inspired by the d.i.y. spirit and raw sound of punk were formed. However, instead of replicating the sound of the Sex Pistols, many of these bands forged into more experimental territory, taking cues from a range of artists and styles, such as Roxy Music, David Bowie (especially Low, Heroes and Lodger), disco, dub and Krautrock.

The result was Post-Punk, a more adventurous and arty form of punk, no less angry or political but often more musically complex and diverse. Many of these groups — like Joy Division or the Cure — created dark, synthesizer-oriented soundscapes while others– like Orange Juice or XTC — had a lighter guitar-based musical approach but their lyrics and music were off-kilter and often subverted traditional pop/rock song structures. Post-punk eventually developed into alternative pop/rock in the ’80s.

So post punk is post punk beginnings, not post punk in general. Got it?

This is why I hate defining things into genres. I can’t see Nick Cave, The Cure, Lydia Lunch and Front 242 all being lumped into the same genre.

If one wants to be really anal about genres and sub-genres, there are all sorts of labels you could come up with for the punk/post-punk/new wave scene. Some artists can fall into all categories, while some only fit in one.

For instance, you could take a timeline and plot the following bands: Television, New York Dolls, Elvis Costello, Husker Du, XTC, Human League, Duran Duran, OMD, Love and Rockets, Depeche Mode, Orange Juice, Joy Division, Killing Joke, Split Enz, Culture Club, The Jam, Madness and Squeeze. There is no way you could define them all using the three specific labels previously mentioned. The only thing they have in common is that they all sprung from the same movement.

If this were a visual chart that started after the so-called punk revolution (again, that point figured primarily by people who, in their minds, are still living in 1977), there would be branches leading off in every direction, with little notations stating things like dark new wave, gothic punk, pop punk, mainstream new wave, synth pop, ska-punk, and breaking off the punk further into NY Hardcore and DC and California genres, etc. And then you could go from there and make a case for new wave leading to techno leading to industrial and so on and so on.

The bottom line here is that music and all its genres are not only incestuous, they are pretty arbitrary as well. One person’s punk is another person’s pop (see, Blink 182), while one person’s new wave is another person’s radio-driven pop (see, Culture Club).

Does any of this really matter in the long run? Is it going to make or break my life if The Damned are forever labeled as punk or post punk? No. I’m still going to enjoy the hell out of them. All three of the mentioned genres – new wave, punk and post punk – played such a huge role in my defining years (let’s call them 16 until, oh, NOW [punk rockers never grow up]) that if I had to listen to one genre for the rest of my life, I’d beg the genre gods to let me swoop those three up and call them one entity. I’d gladly give up my love for speed metal in that exchange.

My idea just now was to make a definitive, perfect playlist of new wave/punk/post punk to take to the proverbial desert island with me, but, my god, that would be HUGE. I’d have to include about a thousand new wave songs that I danced to in dingy clubs on Long Island (Q-Feel, The Motors, Haircut 100…) and all post punk songs I listened to in the dark of my bedroom while contemplating a career as a suicidal poet (Joy Division, The Stranglers, Bauhaus….) and then go back and grab all the Black Flag and the punk from that era (Circle Jerks, The Germs…)and all the other punk (MDC, Minor Threat, Angry Samoans, H20….) and everything else crammed into these genres (Nick Cave, The Pixies, Front 242, Sparks….) making a playlist like that would eat up my entire iPod and then some. But damn, would I be happy forever.

I wanted to pick one video out of the above linked list to put here and was having a hard time deciding when I clicked on this one this flood of awesome memories from the greatest radio station that ever existed came back.


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art every day – 11/29/07

the creature from the black leather lagoon

Day 29 of Art Every Day

Title: the creature from the black leather lagoon

Song: The Cramps – Creature From The Black Leather Lagoon

It’s been a long, frustrating day where so many things went wrong, as if some monster were lurking behind me, laughing wreaking havoc with my life. By 4:00 I just wanted to invite the monster on board and tell him to have at it. I surrender.

Looking back, I can see that nothing majorly bad happened; nothing life threatening or job threatening, nothing that didn’t get solved within minutes. But when you have 75 little problems crop up one right after the other, it certainly feels like there’s a monster nipping at your heels.

I’m going to end this day by watching a good (I hope) hockey game. If the Islanders slay the Rangers (again), today’s monster is slayed as well.

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this is the day

There was a puddle of antifreeze under Todd’s car this morning.
The dryer broke. Died. Ended.
My car alarm went off at 7-11 this morning. My alarm thingie has been broken for about a month. I could not turn the alarm off, nor could I start the car. Call Todd, he’s in the shower, so not answering the seven phone calls in a row. I sit there and wonder what to do. Call my boss, tell her I’ll be late. Listen to the alarm slowly driving me crazy. Watch the people in the parking lot stare at me, including the guy with the quart of Miller who is digging through the garbage searching for gold among tossed lottery tickets. Todd finally calls, but my cell service goes out at that very second. I bang my head on the steering wheel. Some random guy comes along and says “put the key in the door lock.” I do that. The alarm goes off. The car starts. I almost kissed the guy, but said thanks instead. I pull out of the lot. Todd calls. I tell him what happened and I swear he’s laughing. 
Now I’m late for work and I’m starving. I pull out the Special K bar I bought at 7-11. This is my only breakfast. I bite into it and it’s like ten years old and tastes like brick. I spit it out, reach for my water which is, of course, not covered all the way and spills in the passenger seat all over my daughter’s High School Musical CD and I take great solace in that.
I get to work, only three minutes late thanks to some creative driving on my part. I down a 20 oz water as if it were vodka (and maybe wishing it was), take a look at the work on my desk and see that the first thing I have to deal with is someone else’s idiocy. The phone rings and I argue with a person who insists that his appearance ticket for his part in a bar fight is not a criminal matter. He actually says I AM NOT A CRIMINAL. I hang up and start laughing. Uncontrollable, giggling laughter, like someone just farted in church. It was either laugh or cry. It’s only 8am, I’m not going to let this day get the best of me yet.
I get an email from a friend (after telling her about my morning):  Yeesh. Did you  piss off God? Or worse, Santa?
As if my Catholic guilt wasn’t bad enough, now I have Santa guilt. I’m sure (hold on while I get my wooden cross) that everything that happened today was brought on by something I did wrong to someone somewhere along the line.
Did I mention today is day four of a very strict diet and day three of cutting my caffeine consumption by 80%?
Now is the time when I decide if today will go the way of teary-eyed martyrdom or five state killing spree. The nice thing is, Todd’s job has him headed for a nervous breakdown of his own. So we can go on a killing spree together. We’re romantic like that.
Now let’s take bets on what can happen next today.


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art every day – 11/28/107

But I got two olives and a couple of limes

Day 28 of Art Every Day

Title: “but I got two olives and a couple of limes”

Song: Reverend Horton Heat, Martini Time

A martini glass does not a martini make. Just because you use the proper glass does not mean you get to call any concoction your staff dreamed up while on acid a martini.

Nothing on this menu resembles a martini in any way, shape or form. They more resemble drinks that someone would be shot for ordering in any bar I frequented.

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random note to myself

Cuban shirts and a shotgun.

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art every day – 11/27/107

take your credit card to the liquor store

Day 27 of Art Every Day

Title: “Take your credit card to the liquor store”

Song: Guns n Roses, Night Train

For explanation of this one, please first read the post two down from this one.

So, I decided to send my five bucks to Axl Rose.

Content of letter:

Dear Axl,

There are a lot of musicians I could have sent this money to; people like Bob Mould or Henry Rollins or Robert Plant, whose music graced the mix tapes of my youth. But I figured out of all of them, you could probably use the money the most. Some day you will realize two things: 1) Slash was the heart of GnR, and 2) We all know that Chinese Democracy is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. When that happens, take this five bucks and buy a bottle of Night Train to see you through.

Yours Truly,

michele c.
long island, NY

P.S. I am giving it to you in change because that’s how bum wine should be bought.

(This is up on the Dear Rockers site now)

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dear musician that i ripped off….

I found this great site called Dear Rockers. Basically, it’s a place where you can get rock and roll karma by sending five bucks to a musician whose music you may have procured illegally. You write a short letter and take a picture of/scan the letter to be put up on the site.

I like that a lot of people are sending their money to artists from their youth (Honeymoon Suite?? I haven’t thought of them in years!), back from the days when we made cassette copies of our friends’ albums.

I already know who I want to send five bucks to, and I’m going to use it as my ‘art every day’ thing so I won’t say so until tonight. Just know that it’s going to be five dollars stuck firmly between tongue and cheek.

I really never feel guilty about downloading songs because if I like an album, I buy it outright. Should I be having residual guilt over all those mix tapes I made as a teenager? Should I be feeling remorse about copying albums onto cassette tapes? Maybe I should send more than one person five dollars. Or maybe I should just save the five bucks for myself and buy some more blank CDs on which to put my recently downloaded songs.

Like Chamillionaire needs my money, anyhow.

This looks like a fairly new site, so I’m all for helping this guy achieve his dream of clearing his conscience through cash. Anyone you would send five dollars to?

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i got your christmas cheer right here

It’s that time of year. That wonderful time when radio stations, stores and even well-meaning family members bombard you with Christmas songs. It starts on Thanksgiving Day and goes until about 6pm Christmas evening when Uncle Harry, drunk on eggnog, finally has a music meltdown and throws the stereo into the fireplace. The ensuing explosion marks the blissful end of holiday sing a longs.

Ok, I like the traditional Christmas music. It gets me in the mood. But by the time it gets to be five or so days before Christmas, I get tired of it. I’ll take the Frosty and Santa’s Coming to Town and Up on the Rooftop and all those kid like goofy songs. But most of the tunes bring out the Scrooge in me. Felice Navidad makes me stabby. That Christmas Shoes song makes me want to choke someone with a pair of cowboy boots. Have you ever heard Barbra Streisand’s version of Jingle Bells? It’s enough to make you turn Jewish. And the constant playing of these songs everywhere you go is enough to make you hate the season.

Which is why, every year, I compile a list of non-traditional Christmas songs. Whenever someone attacks me with Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, I have a counter-attack ready. When someone in my office wants to “lighten up the mood” by playing The Chipmunk Song over and over again, I have something to make her wish she never heard of Alvin.

I have my AntiChristmas Mix CD almost ready to go. I’ll add some songs on if you come up with any more.

King Diamond – No Presents for Christmas
Spinal Tap – Christmas With the Devil
Vandals – Christmastime For My Penis
Pennywise – Christmas in Hell
Captain Sensible – One Christmas Catalogue
Fear – Fuck Christmas
Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto
Zebrahead – I Hate Christmas
Wesley Willis – Merry Christmas
Wall Of Voodoo – Shouldn’t Have Given Him A Gun For Christmas
The Damned – There Ain’t No Sanity Claus
Pansy Division – Homo Christmas –
The Frogs – Here Comes Santa’s Pussy
Stiff Little Fingers – White Christmas
Hanoi Rocks Dead – By X-mas
Vandals – My First Xmas As A Woman (and you can really include the whole Vandals Oi to the World album here)
Blink 182 – I Won’t Be Home For Christmas
Eazy E – Merry Mothafuckin’ Xmas
Arrogant Worms – Santa’s Gonna Kick Your Ass
Ramones – Merry Christmas Baby (I Don’t Want to Fight)

And….Christmas in our house would not be complete with this special song, just for Todd:

A Patrick Swayze Christmas

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art every day – 11/26/107

my pain is self chosen

Day 26 of Art Every Day

Title: “my pain is self chosen”

Song: Mad Season, River of Deceit

Subject: Nephew, David (age 6 at the time photo was taken)

A far cry from what the song is really about but it does work here. He (my nephew) was creating quite a mood for himself in order to get people to notice that he was sad. Why was he sad? Because no one was following his intricate set of rules for a basketball game he made up. Six year olds are SO emo.

This is actually an old photo, taken back in August. I had no time to shoot anything today, nor any inclination/creative urge to do so once it hit 8:00. I decided to just rework some old photos and I liked the mood on this one enough to use it for tonight.

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