June 30, 2008

I drink my liquor from the palm
of a child who spoke in tongues
and smelt like sun

Benjamin C. Tankersley, Arlington Mud Puddle

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

9. Grover Norquist

So let's see: Scary radical Muslim? Fail. Scary radical Christian? Fail. Country club elitist? Fail. Typical politician? Fail. Uncompromising partisan? Fail. Looks like the GOP has only got one place left to go...
John McCain has been trying hard of late to link Barack Obama with Jimmy Carter in the public consciousness, hoping that the "ineffectual" label that many voters affix to the former president will prove transferable.

But Grover Norquist -- the conservative activist who specializes in promoting an anti-tax agenda and, more generally, revels in the role of agent provocateur -- is offering a different comparison.

Norquist dropped by The Times' Washington bureau today and, as part of his negative critique of Obama's liberal stances on economic issues and other matters, he termed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee "John Kerry with a tan."
That's right folks - he's not just John Kerry, he's John Kerry with a tan.

* Homemade Obama bumper sticker in Texas.

* Get ready for the mother-of-all hissy fits.

* "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." -- Thomas Jefferson

June 27, 2008

Grip-force the vials and strip the locks
Smash the set & slash the beds
And when it looks like a wifes' ex-plot
We'll cover all the rugs with cheap perfume

Kenneth Patchen

"And When Freedom Is Achieved"
-- by Kenneth Patchen

You have used a word
Which means nothing.
You have given a word
The power to send men to death.
Men are not free who are sent to die.
Only those who send them are 'free.'
You should have freedom stuffed down your fat throats.

Language Barrier
-- by Klipschutz

The language of our elders is a barrier to some.

The River Words can dam up at the source.

Can freeze. Then melt in funny turns of phrase.

Sometimes only ooze and ahs get through.

A fortunate son can sing “Fortunate Son”

As a joke but screw up almost every line.

A tongue can overflow too.

Like a toilet at a mixer, at a hazing.

(This can last eight years; dude, that’s tons of potpourri.)

Or, it can flow in a clear stream into the sea of humanity.

O the language that I love is a big bad wolf to some.
John Fogerty did not die for our sins, but he spent twenty five years
in litigation.

Chess Match Ends in Fight
-- by David Hernandez

As one opponent calling out checkmate
an hour past midnight could crack a man

already broken and bring allegations
from his tongue, violence to his veins,

bring him to rise and hip-knock the table
so the legs screech, so the pieces quiver

and topple, the bishop a salt shaker
kissed by an elbow, bring him to blows,

to blows, to blows, to grasp the winner
and propel him through plate glass

as if a baptism in geometric water,
so the glass rains and dazzles the floor,

so he emerges from the window stunned,
lacerated, to bring blood and the lilac

breath of night, men with stars pinned
to their chests, handcuffs jiggling,

so one’s booked, the other’s stitched,
the coarse thread lacing up the lesions,

as and so and to bring this to this,
we will be there with our brooms.

June 26, 2008

the sun highlights the lack in each

Helen Levitt, New York, 1945

* Q&A with Will Oldham. excerpt:

Q: I have listened to and enjoyed a lot of your music; why do you not sing your melodies? is there a precedent for this somewhere that i am unaware of?

A: this is an interesting question. guessing that you mean why do the live melodies differ from the recorded melodies, well it’s just what happens when a song gets sung under different circumstances, at a different time of day, with different musicians, in a different key...there are restrictions of rhythm and lyric, and the melody can change, so to make the singing something specific to the instant in which it is occuring...?

Q: you seem to like drinking. do you view this as a positive thing in your life? how's it working out for you?

A: it has treated us very well of late; there are times when it is revolting and weakening, both physically and morally. sometimes there is no drinking, sometimes a little, and someitmes a lot. it is something not entered into lightly or negligently, at the best of times.
Q: Do you ever have any doubts about what you say lyric wise?

A: when singing, it is not our job to have doubts. it is our job to sing. when writing, the doubts get wrought out.
Q: Do you smoke weed?

A: yes we do sometimes.

Q: What do you think of Lars Von Triers oeuvre?

A: we are not partial to the school of thought that puts a group of movies or records under the classification of an individual. so...we liked BREAKING THE WAVES and THE IDIOTS, but not for any of the same reasons. We will probably not see DOGVILLE.
Q: More broadly, have you ever met or wanted to work with those whose work you admired or has possibly influenced you? Or do you prefer to keep your distance?

A: not being much of a hypothetical thinker, the distance is fine. most heroes visit in our dreams, and that is good. of course it is a thrill to meet Raymond Pettibon, Black and Pink Nasty, Leonard Cohen, Mira and Christina Billotte, Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Evans, Johnny Cash, Lydia Lunch. even better that it happens in conjunction with our actions.
Q: Which song took the longest to write?

A: maybe "Sheep" or "Hard Life"

Q: Shortest?

A: "Lost Blues" or "Marriage"
Q: Silver Palace?

A: is eternal.

Q: Any chance of you wearing Bali dancing pants and a "save the baby humans" tee?

A: if you send them, they will be worn. where can I get swimming trunks that are short shorts?
Q: But missing your show made me wonder about your setlist. If the Bush
reelection campaign called and demanded a 5-song set (one of which had to be a cover, Rumsfeld was insistent on that) for a fund-raising dinner that'd be attended by all the GOP hard-hitters, what 5 songs would you choose?

A: We wouldn’t play that gig. If we did, the cover would be "Open Arms" by Journey.

* Marc Masters' No Wave book featured in Book Notes at Largehearted Boy.

* "Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit." -- W. Somerset Maugham

June 25, 2008

Everybody's saying that music is love, everybody's saying it's love

Marlene Dumas, The Woman of Algiers, 2001

The Colors Are Off This Season
-- by Sarah Hannah

I don't want any more of this mumble—
Orange fireside hues,
Fading sun, autumnal tumble,
Stricken, inimitable—Rose.

I want Pink, unthinking, true.
Foam pink, cream and coddle,
Miniskirt, Lolita, pompom, tutu,
Milkshake. Pink without the mottle

Or the dying fall. Pink adored, a thrall
So pale it's practically white.
A tinted room beneath a gable—
Ice pink, powder, feather-light—

Untried corner of the treble.
I want the lift, not the lower.
Bloodless pink stalled at girl,
No weight, no care, no hour.

One Art
-- Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

The Waking
-- by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

June 24, 2008

My brain it beams, it's here at all
And living, I must work
To make our lives here justified
And not let trouble lurk

Georges Braque, The Fruitdish, 1912

* Dennis Perrin says goodbye to George Carlin. excerpt:

"Another angry prophet is gone. Perhaps the last one, as far as my generation goes, anyway. Not that I'm as old as George Carlin -- don't rush me. But when I became comedically aware in my early teens, Carlin was laying it down, sporting long hair, beard, t-shirt and jeans, spreading the word in straight venues like 'The Mike Douglas Show,' seemingly relaxed yet deadly and precise. Carlin was a master of language and form. In my view, only Richard Pryor reached the same comedic heights. Lenny Bruce showed the way; Mort Sahl, while smart, was too reserved; Bill Hicks, as Barry Crimmins -- a first-rate satirist himself -- keeps reminding me, was just turning the same corner as Carlin and Pryor before cancer killed him. Chris Rock flirts with the vibe, but is too enmeshed in corporate showbiz to fully explore it. Maybe in time, whatever time's left.

"I once publicly embarrassed myself while defending Carlin. Marty Ingels, dying for some kind of exposure, decided to wage a press release jihad on Carlin's comedy, saying that it was too dark, too obscene, and wasn't family friendly. When the producer of a radio talk show in New York couldn't convince Carlin to engage Ingels, he asked me to do the honors, which I did rather aggressively. I ripped into Ingels, called him a washed-up comic who couldn't tie Carlin's shoes, and said that as far as I was concerned, Carlin was only warming up, that he would probably plunge deeper into the madness. Ingels flipped out, called me a miserable asshole, hung up, and then was coaxed back on where he and I traded jibes for the better part of an hour. It was a waste of time, and in a sense dishonored Carlin's genius. When Page Six of the New York Post mentioned our sparring, I felt even more ridiculous.

Still, it came from a good place. My respect for Carlin never wavered, and he's the only comic I've ever seen who could tell Americans how full of shit we are without joking it up. By the end, he simply expressed the truth, no frills attached. As Carlin himself put it:
"Don't confuse me with those who cling to hope. I enjoy describing things the way they are, I have no interest in how they 'ought to be.' And I certainly have no interest in fixing them. I sincerely believe that if you think there's a solution, you're part of the problem. My motto: Fuck Hope!

I am a personal optimist but a skeptic about all else. What may sound to some like anger is really nothing more than sympathetic contempt. I view my species with a combination of wonder and pity, and I root for its destruction. And please don't confuse my point of view with cynicism; the real cynics are the ones who tell you everything's gonna be all right.
"I can think of no better mindset for the Summer of Obama. You were one of the true greats, George. Farewell."

* Figure 2.6: amount of space required to transport the same number of passengers by car, bus or bicycle

* Strange Collections.

* "Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." -- ertrand Russell

June 23, 2008

and all around you
was beauty you could measure
against any beauty that there is

Alison Elizabeth Taylor, 29 Palms, 2007

* RIP George Carlin.

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

10. John McCain

"And finally, last week I noted that John McCain is a serious luddite - when asked by an interviewer whether he uses a Mac or a PC, he responded, 'Neither. I am, I am a, er, illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance that I can get.'

"Well it's a good job that Cindy is on board, because last week the John McCain Facebook page launched its debut application and there's now no doubt that come November McCain is going to snatch that youth vote right out from under Barack Obama's nose.

"After all, who wouldn't want to get a taste of John McCain's Campaign Cribs? The Campaign Cribs application gives you all kinds of exciting facts about the Straight Talk Express, such as:

* The Straight Talk Express has a shower that's never been used.

* Every member of McCain's advance team has to know how tall the Straight Talk Express is, so they don't get it stuck under a bridge.

* They store luggage underneath the Straight Talk Express, just like a regular bus.

* It has a 550 horsepower engine, just like a regular bus.

* The McCain campaign likes to "roll in style" so the Straight Talk Express has "eight tires sitting on 22 inch rims." Just like a regular bus.

"When you're done with the Campaign Cribs video, don't forget to check out McCain's newest Facebook application, Pork Invaders. No, it's not a title from the Straight Talk XXXpress DVD library, it's an exciting videogame where, according to CNN, players must...
...dodge incoming projectiles from flying pigs. If a user takes a hit from one of the application's pigs, the user loses one of the three lives granted at the beginning of the game. How do you kill the flying pigs? By shooting off vetoes. With each pig killed by a veto, users rack up millions of tax dollars as their score, and progress to the next level.
"You know what, I think I'll stick with Grand Theft Auto IV thanks."

* The Reciprocal Antagonist, a Silver Joos profile.

* "Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money." -- George Carlin

June 20, 2008

We contemplate eternity
Beneath the vast indifference of heaven

Cara Ober, Lies are Wishes in Disguise, 2007

Living the Chemical Life
-- by Chris Anderson

I have to admit that I don't care about the historical Jesus.
One way or the other.
I've always thought there were larger forces at work.
The sun and the wind. The sadness that comes in the afternoon.
Did you know that our bones are only 10 years old?
No matter how old we are, it's always the same.
Something to do with cells, I guess. With regeneration.
There are miracles like this all over the place,
in everybody's bloodstream, and that's alright with me.
Doris Day was once marooned on an island with another man.
Years went by and her husband, James Garner,
was about to marry another woman. Polly Bergen.
But then Doris came back and sang a lullaby to her kids,
then tucked them into bed. And they didn't even know who
she was.
I think that life is just like this.
Sometimes we are the stone and the Spirit is the river.
Sometimes we are the mountain and the Spirit is the rain.

-- by Barbara Crooker

The art of blurbing isn't hard to master.
Pick three quick phrases, fill them in with quotes,
so full of compliments, they're thick as plaster.

So what if all of this just seems like bluster?
Don't try to separate the sheep from goats.
The art of blurbing isn't hard to master.

"No ideal reader lets this book go past her."
Use adjectives like luminous but note
the compliments have strata, layers, plaster.

A clever tone, some irony for good measure
will cover up the fact that it's all bloat.
The art of blurbing isn't hard to master.

Your own true thoughts? They're open to conjecture.
Keep going, build your sentences by rote.
So slap those compliments sky high, go faster.

Just keep on going, like a telecaster
who believes in every word he ever wrote.
The art of blurbing is not hard to master,
the compliments so thick (it's cracked!) like plaster.

I Am Not Yours
-- by Sara Teasdale

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love -- put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

June 19, 2008

Now let me say I myself gave the order
To sleep and to search and to destroy

Ellouise Schoettler, Mirror Mirror

* From Harper's July 2008:

-- Average amount spent lobbying Congress last year each day it was in session: $16,279,069

-- Estimated total value of investments in major U.S. military contractors owned by members of Congress: $150,000,000

-- Average percentage by which a bar-smoking ban in a U.S. county increases the rate of drunk driving fatalities: 13

-- Chance that a Michigan state employee works for the corrections department: 1 in 3

-- Percentage of EPA scientists who say they have experienced political interference with their work: 60

* Six aging rockers who like grandmas.

* Washington Post's PostRock is half-way through a four part podcast interview of David Berman.

* "A person is a success if they get up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." -- Bob Dylan

June 18, 2008

Situations arise
because of the weather
And no kinds of love
are better than others

Kai Althoff, Winter, 2002

Three poems by Sarah Hannah:


Every so often I am dilated; the pupils
Swallow everything—a catchall soup,
Two cauldrons, stubborn in the bald glare

Of bathroom light. They are hunting sleep—
The sea grass, the blue cot rocking;
In sleep I am a Spanish dancer,

Awaiting my cue at the velvet curtain,
Now and then groping for the sash,
Or on horseback, abducted, thumping

Through pampas. I sleep too much;
I curl in at midday, sheepish,
In strange rooms. Clouds are hurrying by—

The walls, a wash of white; still my eyes
Are mazing through their dark gardens,
The great lamp shut, the crescents duplicating.

It is only a temporary state of affairs.
The sun boils behind the moon.


The first: domestic, tamped in pots,
Unloaded into wheelbarrows, fitted tight in plastic trays.
Her foliage is sweet: leaf hearts; her petals symmetrical and flat.
She bides inside your gate, keeps low and still,
Faints easily from lack of drink and too much sun,
Though on occasion, after dark, she might
Dare light your way along the primrose path
Of you-know-what. Summer’s end, her ribbed pods
Swell, implore you for release.
Best keep her locked and watered.

Her wild twin just won’t be bartered,
Won’t be packed in sixes, sold, dangled from a fence.
She grows tall and full of juice along the river, woods.
And those gem-like mouths—red and orange wrath,
And laughter—simply nod, refusing to take fright
At foxes, squall, or stomping deer. Alone
On no man’s land, she procreates at will,
Or wills wind or quill to pop her. Silver paths
Crisscross her leaves; it’s just a fancy maze
That leads back where you started. Touch her. Touch her nots.

The Disappointments of Photography

I was five years old, in a red and white patchwork.
Poised and grimacing with Olympian effort,
I flung a Slinky at the camera. Unblinking,
My father released the shutter,
One-hundredth of a second
Of light on a toy spring --
A pile of white line arching from my hand.
The silver rings had gone,
Long fallen. I hunt them now, on all fours,
Through every upright line on the lawn.
The past is a space between grasses, a channel in the loam.
Once I was luminous, I was clicked and shaking,
My skin a dry plate of open pores,
My dress brighter than Ektachrome.

June 17, 2008

What is not but could be if
What could appear in the morning mist
With all associated risk
What is not but could be if

Amadea Bailey, Philosopher

* Twofer Tuesday

Silver Jews (bonus edition): Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea out today!

--- Suffering Jukebox

--- My Pillow is the Threshold

--- Welcome to the House of the Bats

- related: additional silver Jews mp3's here.

* Stories by Chekov.

* "Display advertising and the movies, though they may dull the wits, certainly stimulate the eyes." -- John Dos Passos

June 16, 2008

What’s with all the handsome grandsons
In these rock band magazines

Jim Dine, Meadow Heart #1, 1971

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

7. John McCain and Fox News

"Fox News's third apology of the week came after John McCain participated in a special Fox News-sponsored 'town hall' meeting in New York City. According to the Huffington Post, the event was 'billed by the McCain campaign as a town hall with independent and Democratic voters.'

"Surprise! It wasn't. Plastic-faced anchor Shepard Smith had to make this correction immediately after the hour-long broadcast ended:

SMITH: 'I reported at the top of this hour that the campaign had told us at Fox News that the audience would be made up of Republicans, Democrats, and independents. We have now received a clarification from the campaign and I feel I should pass it along to you. The McCain campaign distributed tickets to supporters, Mayor Bloomberg, who of course is a registered Republican, and other independent groups.'

"Well done, Fox News. You just got duped by a guy who doesn't know what day of the week it is."

* In France, the debate the semicolon. excerpt:

"It is a debate you could only really have in a country that accords its intellectuals the kind of status other nations - to name no names - tend to reserve for footballers, footballers' wives or (if they're lucky) rock stars; a place where structuralists and relativists and postmodernists, rather than skulk shamefacedly in the shadows, get invited on to primetime TV; a culture in which even today it is considered entirely acceptable, indeed laudable, to state one's profession as 'thinker.'"

"That country is France, which is currently preoccupied with the fate of its ailing semicolon.

"Encouragingly, a Committee for the Defence of the Semicolon appeared on the web (only to disappear some days later, which cannot be a very good sign). Articles have been written in newspapers and magazines. The topic is being earnestly discussed on the radio. It was even the subject of an April Fool's joke on a leading internet news site, which claimed, perfectly plausibly, that President Nicolas Sarkozy had just decreed that to preserve the poor point-virgule from an untimely end, it must henceforth be used at least three times a page in all official correspondence."
"Michel Volkovitch, author, poet and translator, is another ardent defender. 'The point-virgule is precious when the subject matter is complex,' he says. 'For constructing a piece properly, distinguishing themes, sections and sub-sections - in short, for dissipating any haziness or imprecision of thought. It puts things in order, it clarifies. But it's precious, too, for adding a little softness, a little lightness; it can stop a sentence from touching the ground, from grinding to a halt; keeps it suspended, awake. It is a most upmarket punctuation mark.'

"Upmarket it may be; it will be hard work to save it. As the great grammarian Jacques Drillon concedes in his seminal Traité de la ponctuation française, it is almost certainly "the fear of using it incorrectly" that is contributing most to the point-virgule's demise. Not even a bold assertion from Alain Rey, perhaps France's most famous language expert and editor of the Robert dictionary, that good punctuation 'transcends the political divide' and is 'the symbol of a republic that reasons properly' may, in the end, protect the point-virgule from the inexorable march of Anglo-Saxon inelegance."

* Snippet of two Silver Jews playing candy jail at Radio EINS. [via fitted sweats.]

* "Drawing is not an exercise. Exercise is sitting on a stationary bicycle and going nowhere. Drawing is being on a bicycle and taking a journey." -- Jim Dine

June 13, 2008

remember all the people
that were heroes to ya
and remember all the people
you deceived

Jane Burns, Unexpecting You

The Mortgage Crisis Hits Home
-- by Klipschutz

June 4, 2008

LOS ANGELES - Ed McMahon, who for decades appeared as Johnny Carson’s sidekick on The Tonight Show, is fighting to avoid foreclosure on his multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills home, according to published reports.



Whenever I stayed up late, he was there,
chortling and feeding straight lines to JC,
needling the great man when necessary.

When Johnny joked about the price of milk at Ralph’s,
Ed chimed in with


That sort of thing.

A bulb-nosed six four ex-Marine,
all flesh and bearing up,
an Americanization of Jeeves
who always knew which end was up,

back when ‘obsequious’ was used in conversation
and dignity was earned in a suit every night
standing in front of a curtain
under the hot, bright lights,

he never bragged he’d flown
fighters planes in
the Second World War
and Korea.

His ancestors include
the Marquis d’Equilly
and Patrice MacMahon, duc de Magenta,
a Marshall of armies in France,
serving under Napoleon III.

At times he has claimed that mayonnaise was named for a forebear of his.

Now he’s 85, and hasn’t worked in 18 months
since he broke his neck,
and is $644K behind on payments
on $4.8 mil in mortgage loans.

Does Countrywide Financial Corp.
(which filed a default notice Feb. 28
with the L.A County Recorder)

even know who this man Is?

Who he’s not is a mere pitchman, leaning against Dick Clark,
on the payroll of the American Family Publishers’ sweepstakes.

In ahistorical years, friends and neighbors,
he’s as old the La Brea Tar Pits,
as superannuated as Bethlehem Steel,
as gone daddy gone as filet mignon
at The Brown Derby.

Patron Saint of Second Bananas! Friend of the working Clydesdale!

Will Countrywide toss him and his Pamela
out of their six-bedroom, five-bath house
in a hilltop gated community
overlooking Mulholland Drive?

Don’t touch that dial! (What dial?)

It’s been listed for sale for two years, at $6.25 mil.
According to the realtor,
being near Britney’s pad hasn’t helped.
"There were a hundred paparazzi" during one showing.

Fellas! Ladies! Show a little respect for a national treasure.

For crying out loud, he risked his life
for this country, and made us laugh
for more years than the Empire
might have left.

with thanks to the Associated Press and Wikipedia

The Poet's Occasional Alternative
-- by Grace Paley

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft a poem would have had some
distance to go days and weeks and
much crumpled paper
the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor
everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it many friends
will say why in the world did you
make only one

this does not happen with poems
because of unreportable
sadness I decided to
settle this morning for a re-
sponsive eatership I do not
want to wait a week a year a
generation for the right
consumer to come along

June 12, 2008

Situations get fucked up and turned around sooner or later
And I could be another fool or an exception to the rule
You tell me the morning after

André Zucca, Following Fashion, Jardin du Luxembourg, May 1942

* Prefix Magazine interviews David Berman. excerpt:

Q: Tell me something interesting about the new album.

Berman: The album exists on multiple levels. I’d say that there’s an interesting thread in the album about the year 1913. I also put together a collection of footnotes to the record that came out with the press kit. There are phrases from Emily Dickinson and Emerson that make it more outward looking than most of my other records. Cassie is also singing more on this album, so that adds another voice to the mix. I think my plan was to bring in more things from the outside and then fold them into these inward-looking songs. That’s kind of dry, isn’t it?

Q: It’s a good answer.

Berman: Can I try again? I think another interesting thing I’ve done with this record is put the chords in with the lyrics on the liner notes so that the songs are easy for almost anybody to play. I’m curious as to why musicians don’t do that more often. Why is that information separated from the listeners? It’s interesting, and it’s not common knowledge. People say most rock songs are three chords, but as a listener, my question was always which three chords I should use. As a musician that doesn’t read music, there was a gap that separated me from being able to interact with songs. I guess some people want to keep it mystifying.

Q: What will people learn from having this information?

Berman: I suppose they’ll learn that I used a limited amount of chords but went to a lot of trouble to develop the sixteen that I use on the album. I consciously tried to keep it simple. There are no bar chords or advanced techniques. What I’m doing is inviting anyone who lives with a guitar -- you know, maybe a roommate has one or something -- to play these songs.
Q: Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea was recorded mainly with members of your touring group. Is this the first record that you'd say you’ve recorded as a band?

Berman: I would say no in that I always bring the songs to the band. It’s a simple core structure, and people write their parts. However, we practiced more in preparation for this record, and we toured, so we’re definitely able to play more closely as a group. This group of musicians was gathered from the people in previous bands who payed the most attention. They’re good students of what I’ve been trying to do, and that makes the process so much easier.

As I get older, I find that I’m much less willing to put up with assholes. When you’re young, you’ll join an all-asshole band just to get out there and play music. I’m at the point now that I don’t have to do that. I’d like to keep this band together, but I won’t do that if I make another record. That would unbalance the process.

Q: How does having your partner involved in the band work?

Berman: She’s always been a musician, so it’s a natural thing for me to see her in that context. It’s been ten years and three albums, and she has had a job and not been around when I’m writing, so there’s not that much close working together. She was going to play bass on this record, which was new, but I didn’t show her the songs before any of the other guys. When we’re playing music, she’s a member of the band. It’s not an issue. On the road, the guys like to go out and Cassie and I like to do our thing, so it does make life easier that way.
Q: In addition to your music catalog, you’ve also experienced success with poetry. What is more like work for you, writing poetry or writing songs?

Berman: I guess since there’s some guitar playing involved, there’s a little more recreational aspect to writing a song. Anything I write requires five or ten days of mental commitment. It’s a matter of sitting down to write a poem or a song. The text doesn’t arrive unattached and then you assign it to a mode.

Q: Do different things inspire poems and songs?

Berman: Reading inspires all of my creative work. It could even be the dictionary. There’s that great quote that reading is like thinking with someone else’s mind. I’m a naturally curious person, so that speaks to me. I read everything. I study the Talmud and the Torah extensively. I like to read about country music and a lot of nineteenth-century essayists.

Q: Silver Jews has a long history. If someone is just getting into the band, where should they start?

Berman: I don’t know if I’d recommend that you start. I’d warn you away. If you’re persistent, though, I would say to start with the album I just wrote. I never expect someone to buy more than one.

Q: Would you license any of your songs?

Berman: No, I don’t think so. I’ve said this many, many times before. Licensing a song is wrong to the people who went out and purchased that record. They have a relationship with that song and should be able to choose how they interact with it. Having the song pushed in their face fifty extra times in incredibly unfair. If nothing else, hearing the song so many extra times will create a huge play imbalance within the album.

-- related: The evolution of the Silver Jews.

* VERY VERY exciting book news: Evan Dara, author of The Lost Scrapbook (published in 1995), has finally written a second novel The Easy Chain, published by aurora. Mine is on order.

* "Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae." -- Kurt Vonnegut

June 11, 2008

Dreams walking in broad daylight
Three hun-dred six-ty five de-grees

Sarah Pickering, Fire Scene, 2007

-- by Denis Johnson

i would like to be just an old man with my gin,
retireing even from these leaves into
my big, gradual silence beyond the wood
and it will be good,
wife, because i have pointed to you,
and you have become real. within

this darker stillness my eyes grow too wide.
it must be that seeing you in the trees
becoming softer than i ever dreamed
has made it all seem
a multitude of nonsense, all the seas,
the planets, all i wrote. i lied,

i swear to you i lied, becoming old and so
very drunk, when i did not lie to you.

Your Ass
-- by Lewis MacAdams Jr.

I study a deep, green painting
and dream of 'your ass'
I am sitting in this sidewalk cafe
trying to master
the lost music of Hank Johnson

Anything arbitrary is tough to choke down
a brown tin ashtray, black coffee
empty Greek cigarette pack

someone is here
he must have come down alone
wanting a drink of water

it is dangerous, he hoped
to write the new language
it is like a stringy westerner
from down the line
singing alone

the music of the country
doesn't 'flare'
it sidles up like need
and coughing

it's as if there were a cow pony
behind me
he cries and is saying
the only word
he knows in my language
'your ass'
and it was taught
by Hank Johnson

Even that
saving grace
is now gone
wandering through the crowded room
bowing, awarding
the correct change
so being swallowed
like the old west itself
and the obscenities and cold water
of Hank Johnson

used book store
-- by charles simic

lovers hold hands in never-opened novels.
the page with a recipe for cucumber soup is missing.
a dead man writes of his happy childhood on a farm,
of riding in a balloon over lake erie.

a sudden draft shuts his book in my hand.
while a philosopher asks how is it possible
to maintain the theologically orthodox doctrine
of eternal punishment of the damned?

let's see. there may be sand among the pages
of a travel guide to Egypt of even a dead flea
that once bit the ass of the mysterious Abigail
who scribbled her name teasingly with an eye pencil.

June 10, 2008

I see you gracefully swimming
with the country club women

Sharon Shapiro, It's not the heat, it's the humidity

* Slate wonders: Was oral sex always normal? excerpt:

"Two days ago, I wrote that oral sex was becoming destigmatized and normalized, thwarting parents who had hoped they could 'stick to the basics' in talking to their kids about sex. Many of you wrote back, dismissing my assumptions as prude, antiquated, and out of touch. You argued that oral sex has always been more basic and common than vaginal sex and that the idea of recent stigma against it is a myth.

"When I said 'basics,' I meant the facts of life from a parental perspective. In other words, procreation: teaching your daughter how babies are made, not how to go down on the kid next door. But let's set aside semantics and morals. Let's look at the data, starting with a review of the scholarly literature, published last year in the Journal of Sex Research by Wendy Chambers of the University of Georgia.

Historically, fellatio or cunnilingus, hereto referred to as oral sex, were perceived among heterosexual couples as not only more intimate than intercourse but also to be reserved for those who were married (Michael, Gagnon, Laumann, & Kolata, 1994). It took Kinsey's studies to reveal the greater prevalence of oral sex; though it was not until the 1970s that societal attitudes began to perceive it as acceptable for unmarried couples as well (Michael et al., 1994). Thus it is a historical reversal that oral sex has become more common than intercourse among heterosexual, White, and better educated samples as well as a precursor to intercourse (Billy & Tanfer, 1993; Michael et al., 1994; Prinstein, Meade, & Cohen, 2003; Schwartz, 1999). … [S]tudies indicated a rise in oral sex among adolescents (Newcomer & Udry, 1985), university students (Woody et al., 2000; Grunseit, Richters, Crawford, Song, & Kippax, 2005), and adults in general (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994).

"Let's recap the overall patterns: Oral sex was stigmatized. The stigma has faded. Oral sex is becoming more commonly reported, through some combination of increased activity and decreased stigma. Nevertheless, vaginal experience remains more universal, and vaginal sex is far more frequent. Furthermore, as we learned from the timing data in Wednesday's piece, teens aren't starting with a 'basic' oral stage followed by an 'advanced' vaginal stage. They're losing both kinds of virginity around the same time.

"So, this notion that everybody's been going down on everybody all along, and that nobody's been embarrassed or secretive about it, and that it's obviously elementary and vanilla, is baloney. Yes, oral sex is common, and strikingly so among adolescents. But that trend is a novelty, and a story."

* Pitchfork interviews Jason Pierce of Spiritualized. excerpt:

Pitchfork: How long have you known Harmony Korine?

JP: Only since I met him when he came to see me at the Daniel Johnston show. He came to see me and asked me if I'd get involved with some music for his film, Mister Lonely. He's not like an old friend. He became a friend, but he put me-- I think it was kind of a dumb move-- in a studio to make some music. And it was hugely liberating because I didn't have to front the music I was making. It was literally incidental music. It was incidental to his film, so I didn't have to stand by it and say, 'Look, this is my new project. This is where I am today. This is what I'm doing.' By being in the studio just working with sound like that, it just became...I was producing a lot of music, and-- somewhere during that process-- I decided to work on my own album in parallel to the film music. So the two kind of bled into each other. There are bits of my album in the film. There are bits of the film in my album. And the film gave the album an atmosphere, a sense of space that it was in, which it didn't have before. Before I became involved with Harmony, the album just sounded like 11 old songs that came after each other. The film kind of gave it this space that it sits in now, that makes it work.

Also, Harmony is like the craziest person I've ever met. He really is out there. And the enormity of his thing, his film, put my album in perspective for me. He's this crazy motherfucker who's taking on that, and all I've got to do is piece these last bits of the jigsaw together. It was fortuitous and kind of the best thing artistically for me, but also on a friendship thing, you know?
Pitchfork: What was your goal for the music for the film, in terms of sound, idea and even technique? Or did you not have one in mind?

JP: The music for the film? [pause] There's a question. I don't know. I can't remember. I think I was just in the studio on my own, so it wasn't like trying to construct anything. It wasn't like being with people and saying, 'This is what we're trying to achieve here.' I just sat with a piano or a drum or whatever and just made music. That's why it's hugely liberating to do that kind of stuff-- I'm trying to achieve this kind of thing.

Making a record's a real fight for me. I'm constantly fighting with this thing inside of me that says I should be sitting in a room with Matthew Shipp or I should have Han Bennink on drums or this song should be playing for the next 20 minutes in my head, not a silly little pop song. It's constant.

Things like 'Soul on Fire'-- I didn't want that on the album. When it's a pop song, I don't really want to do pop songs, but they exist and sort of come out by accident. I couldn't find anybody to back me up on that. I couldn't find anybody to say, 'Yeah, that's a good idea. Take ‘Soul on Fire' off the record.' With Harmony's thing, I was kind of free to do that, to say I'm going to make some music now that doesn't have to fit into anybody's criteria. They didn't really even have to fit the film.

The beautiful thing about Harmony is that he's constantly challenging what works in a film and what doesn't. Whether you love it or hate it or whatever, it's constantly in this place where it's not a comfortable place to be. It's not like 'Ahh, yeah, I understand that on the simplest of forms, or on the simplest of terms.' So it didn't matter, you know? If he took it, he could have it. If he didn't, it didn't matter. I was still making these pieces of music because it made sense. And maybe, in an odd way, they were more about what I'd been through than these old songs that sounded like they were about what I'd been through.
Pitchfork: Mixing has always been so important to Spiritualized records. You're infamous for struggling through that process over a long period of time. What were the particular challenges of mixing this one?

JP: A lot of those challenges are the same as every record: You have to find that space. My records don't mix in a conventional sense, like, 'Oh, here you go.' I don't mean they're unconventional records, but they just have to find a space. It's almost accidental. I tried everything with this one, and I don't mind going down paths that I kind of know aren't going to be the one that will work. But I might get a tiny little gem that I can carry into the next process. It's weird because, what I ended up with this record, I ended up mixing it with no studio effects. I ended where I was with Amazing Grace, where anything that was added to it in the mix stage just sounded like I'd applied some reverb to it or whatever. So all the reverbs in the sounds are the rooms that the tracks were recorded in.

That was the energy in it, and I was quite happy because that's what I'd been trying to talk about when I was working on those albums with William Parker and Evan Parker and Matthew Shipp [2003's Spring Heel Jack Live]. Those records are all about performance and just sticking a microphone into the performance and capturing it, not about trying to produce a record, you know? I kept saying I got sick of listening to people's productions, like people who had no ideas, no songs, nothing to say but could still con people's ears into thinking those songs were there by the application of production. I kind of wanted my record a little more honest than that: 'Well, this is us. We put a microphone on it. Here it is.'
Pitchfork: Particularly with Let It Come Down, you talked about the songs not necessarily being autobiographical, so it seems that writing outside of yourself has always been of interest. You mentioned before finally making this record about characters. Why haven't you tried that before?

JP: I think that you've just got to be honest, and sort of the greatest music is almost recorded by accident, coming out of people that are not doing it to make...There's always this talk of the industry of music and about selling records and whatever, but that ignores probably the majority of music that isn't about trying to sell itself, that isn't about being connected to any industry. There's a huge amount of music where someone just happened to have a tape recorder and turned it on or hit the red button while they were in the back of church or recording something in their front room. There's a huge amount of that music from America.

I've just got this thing that music has to be honest. So I never really wrote about characters, but this album was definitely about a group of people that were going to populate these songs, which I'd never done. 'The Waves Crash In' was called 'The Old Man Says Goodbye to His Daughter at the Gate,' and it was about exactly that. It was about an old man filled with pride and sadness that his daughter was old enough to leave home and go out into the world. His whole future was embedded in this person, like this lineage of time. 'Borrowed Your Gun' was that kind of sentiment as well, that the future is with children. The lines at the end of 'The Waves Crash In' were the girl's lines back to the father. He's like, 'Look, I'm really sad to see you go, but I'll try and be with you forever.' And the girl's throwing these lines back that are saying 'I know you think I'm staggering but lately I've been staggering,' with both senses of the word.

But, like I say, that may have been where I started with it, and I can still relate that story about that's what it's about. But it kind of isn't about that anymore. It became deeply about me and where I was. Now that it's finished and it's out there, even that's irrelevant. Maybe it's relevant for a couple of weeks while I talk about the album, but eventually the songs become about and for whoever's listening to them. I've said the line about Ray Charles a million times, but nobody listens to him singing 'I Can't Stop Loving Yo'" and wonders who Ray can't stop loving. They apply that to their own lives. That will happen with this.
Pitchfork:You keep mentioning the sort of American music where there just happened to be a microphone, where a recorder happened to preserve an authentic musical moment. People always talk about you buying the Stooges record as a teenager, but when did you first hear this sort of soul or folk or gospel music from America?

JP: A little later than that. The blues thing was slightly more mainstream. There were a lot of kids who were into rockabilly when I was a kid, when I was 16 or so, and listening to John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters and that kind of stuff.

The Staple Singers was probably the first gospel stuff I heard. I used to listen with Natty [Brooker, original drummer of Spaceman 3]. He taped a lot of radio shows, like Alexis Korner radio shows. The Staple Singers was somewhere in the middle of all that. The main reason was they just sounded alien. I think the track was "Tell Heaven," and it's just this long, extremely slow vocal thing. A lot of what people were playing as blues then was more like white blues bands. So [The Staples] immediately sounded alien, like it just dropped from the sky or something. Once you get an in, it's like anything. You want to hear more. 'Where did this come from?'

It still seems like it's endless. I found those Mississippi Records from Portland, and they've got whole catalogues and more of that stuff. You listen to like the Rev. Charlie Jackson, and you think 'Wow, where's this from?' It's some guy in Kentucky with an electric guitar playing this amazing stuff...and then there's a whole ton more of this kind of stuff. All of the George Mitchell stuff that Fat Possum just put out...It's this kind of thing that, but for the sort of luck of that person being there at that time and putting something down, this music almost wouldn't be here. But for that kind of accident, they're there, and there's more of it. It's beautiful stuff.

* Twofer Tuesday: Warren Zevon

-- from the excellent and energetic 1980 live album Stand in the Fire

-- Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger

-- The Sin

* "I believe the common denominator of the Universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility and murder." -- Werner Herzog

June 9, 2008

she was a no wave singer for a country act
working out of region ten

Elyce Abrams, Lapse, 2007

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

9. Daniel Pipes

"For the longest time, Republicans had a winning electoral strategy: simply tell everyone that a vote for the Democrats means that the terrorists will attack America. Unfortunately that strategy doesn't seem to be working any more. Despite the Republicans' best efforts, the voting public steadfastly refused to crap their pants in 2006 and booted the GOP out of the House and Senate.

"So what's next? They've got no ideas, they have a terrible record of failure, and their last best electoral strategy is a dud. Where do Republicans go from here?

"'Neo-con Daniel Pipes might have the answer. While discussing the possibility of an attack on Iran during an interview with National Review Online last week, he said:
What I suspect will be the case is, should the Democratic nominee win in November, President Bush will do something. And should it be Mr. McCain that wins, he'll punt, and let McCain decide what to do.'
"Or in other words, if you vote for Barack Obama this fall, hair-trigger George will lose his shit and start World War III.

"I'm not sure if that's exactly a winning message for the McSame campaign, but it might be all they have left."

* Nice photograph of Kurt Vonnegut sitting in a garden.

* An oral history of the Internet.

* "It ain't the heat; it's the humility." -- Yogi Berra

June 6, 2008

we can all go mad together that's what friends are for

Sarah Small

Orson Welles
-- by Richard Brautigan

Orson Welles does whisky commercials on
Japanese television. It's strange to see him
here on television in Tokyo, recommending that the
Japanese people buy G&G Nikka whisky.

I always watch him with total fascination.
Last night I drempt that I directed one of the
commercials. There were six black horses in the

The horses were arranged in such a position
that upon seeing them and Orson Welles
together, people would rush out of their homes
and buy G&G Nikka Whisky.

It was not an easy commercial to film. It
had to be perfect. It took many takes. Mr. Wells
was very patient with an understanding sense of

"Please, Mr. Welles," I would say. "Stand a
little closer to the horses."

He would smile and move a little closer
to the horse.

"how's this?"

"Just fine, Mr. Welles, perfect."

What a Pity, What a Shame
-- by Paul Beatty

went to hear marion williams
sing the gospel yesterday

she was singin so hard

I almost slipped up
and let jesus into my heart

-- by charles bukowski

one of Lorca's best lines
"agony, always
agony ..."

think of this when you
kill a
cockroach or
pick up a razor to

or awaken in the morning
face the

June 5, 2008

the pillow that I dream on
leads to some fantastic glory
Its the threshold of a world I can't ignore

Olafur Eliasson, Untitled (Iceland Series), 2004

* According to the SF Weekly, some ess eff jokesters want to 'honor' President Bush. excerpt:

"A furtive movement is gaining power in the political bowels of San Francisco. Motivated by left-leaning public opinion and gaseous presidential ineptitude, this mounting force threatens to slide onto the November ballot and, finally, blow wide open in January at the very moment George W. Bush leaves office."

"The so-called Presidential Memorial Commission, an informal city-based group of half a dozen left-leaning jokesters, has gathered more than 4,000 signatures since mid-April to rename a county sewage treatment facility the George W. Bush Sewage Center. The Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant is located beside Great Highway near the zoo, and processes up to 65 million gallons of treated water per day. If commission volunteers collect at least 7,200 valid signatures by July 8, the initiative will go on the November ballot. The initiative's proponents also hope to coordinate a citywide "synchronous flush" at the very moment the next U.S. president is sworn in.

"Passersby have responded enthusiastically to the commission petitioners, though a large proportion have apparently commented that, while Bush may stink to high heaven, he doesn't deserve memorial status of any sort after he leaves office. Hey, raw and treated sewage deserve better.

"'These people would like to forget he ever existed,' said T. Wayne Pickering, the commission's chairman, who can be found petitioning most Wednesday evenings at Market and Noe. 'But it's important that society remembers politicians as they ought to be remembered, not as [the politicians] choose to be remembered, since many politicians turn around and write their own glowing memoirs.'
"With the approach of the Haight Street Fair and Gay Pride weekend, Pickering and his pals expect to collect perhaps double the signatures required for balloting the initiative, at which point S.F. voters can decide whether to send the current head of state out of office and back to the ranch with a flush that will last for years."

* Rerun: Found in a Used Book:

In a copy of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin I purchased at the wonderful though now-defunct Vassar Book Sale, was the following correspondence between Bob Bernard and Mary Knell.

The note from Bob to Mary, written in pencil on the inner flap of the book, and dated July 12, 1971 reads:

"To Mary,

Our relationship began and ended with Pushkin. May his thought provide the foundation for a different and higher level of rebirth.

Bob ("The Babbling Idiot" or as Russell calls me "The Last Remaining Chaucerian Character") Bernard."

In an undated note, written in pen on 5x7 watermarked paper, Mary replied (emphasis in original):


Here are the things you sent -- I fail to understand why you sent them -- as far as I'm concerned I can see no future in any kind of a relationship between us -- I have no desire whatsoever to see, talk, or receive any materials through the mail from you. Although I appreciate the trouble you went to in regards to the thorazine, I never wanted any drugs from you in the first place.

We're two different kinds of people Bob -- so rather that launch into a tirade (which would be painful for both) concerning your self-importance, etc. I would rather leave things as they are.

I want nothing from you and I can't imagine what you could possibly want from me.

Mary Knell"

* 50 memorable movie star cars.

* "Misfortune was my god." -- Arthur Rimbaud

June 4, 2008

I don't see nothing new but I feel a lot of change

Mary Ellen Mark, Central Park, New York City, 1967

from The Ex-Bush Files
-- by Klipschutz

Scott McClellan apologized to Richard Clarke
for dissing his book without reading it,

now that Scott has a book of his own.
So how does it feel to be without a home,

an unknown unknown*, and face the music
for what you didn’t do? Those were the days.

Let it bleed. You made a fool of everyone.
Cold turkey. Now this: the total eclipse of the son.

But not before they cast you into outer darkness too.
Bring lawyers, guns and money. Some books on tape, ha! Boo!
*© Dylan/Rumsfeld

From Ed Sanders' Poem Biography of Allen Ginsberg:

The Farm

Huge stacks of mail
and the endless ring of the phone

helped make the bard want to get to silence

& he asked filmmaker Barbara Rubin
to look for a place in the country.

A big factor in wanting to get a country place
was to help Peter Orlovsky off methedrine
His condition had gotten more serious than
toothbrushing the cobbles of Avenue C
in a meth-addled thirst for cleanliness.

Peter, of course, was a poet of stature. I often think of
his graceful lines in Don Allen's New American Poetry
"... on a hill a butterfly
makes a cup that I drink from, walking over a bridge
of flowers."

Allen and Barbara Rubin had been occasional lovers
He made it with women more often
than commonly known
& she apparently had a passion to marry the bard
a passion she shared with but a few of her friends

She looked around Sharon Springs and Cherry Valley
surrounded by state forest
90 acres, run-down, no electricity

Allen bought it
& he and Barbara moved to the farm mid-March '68

In addition to helping Peter,
who came to the farm with his oft-hospitalized brother Julius
Ginsberg also had in mind getting Kerouac up there
to dry out his liver
Though Barbara Rubin soon drifted away from her dreams
of marriage with the bard
the farm remained a factor, a haven for poets & seekers
for the rest of A.G.'s life
through the 1990s

The Mailer Rule
(November 19, 1960)

Do not stab your wife
at the party
where you
are set to announce
your candidacy for mayor.

At the same unfortunate party
Ginsberg and Norman Podhoretz
--a famous beatbaiter--
had a famous at-the-time squabble
with Ginsberg calling P. a fuckhead
and P. calling G. an idiot.

June 3, 2008

Trumpets, violins, I hear them in the distance
And my skin emits a ray, but I think it's sad, it's much too bad
That our friends can't be with us today

Risaku Suzuki, Kumano, 1997

* From a 1977 interview of Patti Smith. excerpt:

CQ: Do your fans give you expensive gifts -- say, a half ounce of cocaine?

Patti: I've had ounces. And grass. But one time a guy sent me a letter. His name was Timothy -- no number or last name or nothin' -- and two $50 bills in it. Brand new, and I couldn't give 'em back. Free money.

CQ: Have you changed since you began making it?

Patti: I feel stronger. I feel like I've been doin' it all my life. It's still art, and I been doin' art since I was 4 years old. Rock 'n' roll has now entered the art spectrum. And because of that, I put the same energies into working within the context of rock 'n' roll as I did when I wanted to be a sculptor.

CQ: You mentioned that you've been on the road here and abroad. Does travel inspire you to create art?

Patti: O yeah, I been to Paris about 10 times. To get inspiration I got to a bunch of places -- to Jim Morrison's grave in Pere Lachaise, that's the first place I go. In fact, our first European tour was really cool because they had this white Aston- Martin or somethin' waitin' for me. You know, I don't get treated that way in America. In America I'm lucky if I get a station wagon. I'm just sayin' that I happened to be treated like a princess in Paris. So anyway, I had this white car and they said, where do you wanna go? And I said, to see Jim Morrison. So they took me to the graveyard in the big white car. I remember the first time I went, I was all by myself in the pouring rain. Really fucked up and the mud was splattering all over me. I was in this white car smoking a cigarette.

CQ: Just you and the chauffeur.

Patti: Yeah, me and him and a pair of dark glasses and a pack of cigarettes.

CQ: Do you smoke a lot?

Patti: I don't inhale so it doesn't hurt my lungs. I just like the look. really on top of it, I like that Jeanne Moreau woman-with-her-cigarette look. It's all for show. My own show.
CQ: But other rock stars had the technology going for them but couldn't channel the break into a new kind of energy.

Patti: I was lucky. I've never been real fucked up on drugs. I knew Janis real well. She was so fragile, so emotional, a lot like, say, my mother. I mean we're all emotional. But you can't let your emotions consume you. If you can't transcend that emotion, into work, then you can't do anything. I'm real emotional. I mean if I'm really fucked up and cryin' sittin' in a room . . .

CQ: And drugs and booze only make it worse.

Patti: I use drugs to work. I never use them to escape or for pleasure. I use people. If I'm real depressed, I have some real wonderful friends. When you turn to drugs, all you're doing is turning inside, anyway. When I'm in trouble or emotionally fucked up, I don't wanna come to me. I wanna go to somebody else. I don't wanna look in a mirror. I only use drugs for construction. It's like one of my architectural tools now. I don't go to a party and get all fucked up. Or sit in a hotel room all sad and messed up and take drugs.

CQ: But enough rock stars did use drugs as an escape. Now they're dead.

Patti: I'm not makin' a platform about it. I'm just sayin' for me, personally, I think drugs are sacred and should be used for work. That's what I believe in. Drugs have a real shamanistic value. I can handle drugs. I've never had a problem.

CQ: Some New York discos are getting pretty loose in terms of drug tolerance. Have you noticed?

Patti: I can't go. I'm a great dancer, I love to dance, but when I go to discotheques, people talk to me so much that I can't. It's like Edith Piaf. She was very religious but she didn't go to church, because everybody looked at her.

CQ: Judy Garland couldn't eat in a restaurant for the same reason. But are you that bothered?

Patti: Oh, I eat like an animal. I come from a big family. I'm used to bein' watched. Here's what I don't like: If I'm in a certain mood and I feel pissed off or crazy and I exude that, I want people to understand it. The only times I get pissed off are when I'm walkin' down the street and someone wants to talk. I say, "Look, just trust me. I'm fucked up now; I can't talk to you. I need you. Thank you believing in me but..." And when they keep right on botherin' me, I say finally, "Look -- I don't need ya. Go away. You don't understand. Don't buy my records!"

CQ: Do you think about equality for yourself?

Patti: No, I don't wanna be equal with anybody. I wanna be above equal. I don't think most people are equal to me. I'd like to communicate with everybody; I'd like to do something universal, I'd like to have the hit record of the world. But that's not the same as being equal. Women compete with women; it's not all men. When I was sellin' books at Scribner's there were stupid women that were older than me, and they got paid more just 'cause they were older. You can go on forever with that shit. So you fight. I don't think fighting is bad. People get too much of what they want and they loose the fight in them.

* RIP Bo Diddley, who in 1955 resided a stones throw from the current Dust Congress headquarters.

* "I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before." -- Robert Mapplethorpe

June 2, 2008

all must not be art
some art we must disintegrate

William DeBilzan, Behind the LInes

* Top ten conservative idoits. excerpt:

1. Scott McClellan's Former Friends

"Breaking news! Stop the presses! Man Who Spent Years Getting Paid To Tell Lies Stuns Nation By Telling Truth!

"Yes, former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has a new book out, a shocking tome which contains many earth-shattering revelations, such as:

* Karl Rove is dishonest!
* The Bush Administration lied America into war!
* You know all that stuff about weapons of mass destruction? It was just propaganda!
* George W. Bush is an incurious man!
* Hurricane Katrina was handled poorly!

"Unbelieveable, isn't it?

"Of course what's interesting about McClellan's book is not necessarily what's written inside - although I did enjoy the revelation that in his youth George W. Bush attended parties so wild he couldn't remember whether he did cocaine or not - but the person who did the writing. Former White House press secretaries are usually pretty loyal types, so the Bushies must have really ticked Scotty off to get this treatment.

"Fortunately the Bush Administration conducts regular war games which are designed to prepare for exactly this kind of political disaster scenario (unlike real disaster scenarios, which they ignore) and their rapid response operation swung smoothly into action. The advance team began by suggesting that McClellan had been abducted by alien bloggers, with Ari Fleischer saying 'Scott uses the very same words that the far-left uses,' and Karl Rove adding, 'it sounds like somebody else. It sounds like a left-wing blogger.'

"Dana Perino and Dan Bartlett continued this theme but also began to add subtle personal attacks - Perino called McClellan 'disgruntled' and said, 'We are puzzled. It is sad. This is not the Scott we knew.' Meanwhile Bartlett said 'It's almost like we're witnessing an out-of-body experience. We're hearing from a completely different person we didn't have any insight into,' before adding that the book was 'total crap.'

Finally, the clean-up crew arrived to simply hurl insults at McClellan. Former Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend announced that McClellan was, 'self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional,' and Bob Dole mopped up by calling him a 'miserable creature' and said 'your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.'

"So as you can see, McClellan is definitely telling the truth."

* Silver Jews perform What Is Not But Could Be If in London (from May 29, 2008).

* "The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses." -- Walter Benjamin