lolaraincoat: (leap!)
This will be of special interest to Justin Timberlake fans, but it's kind of brilliant even if you've never heard of him. Click here. NSFW by the way, but only a little bit.


Otherwise, as some of you know, I have been at home a lot lately recuperating from an annoying but absolutely not-life-threatening illness, and waiting around for the next medical thing to happen. This has led to a certain amount of messing around on YouTube. I recommend looking up vids of HBCU marching bands if you ever feel glum at all or in any way not optimistic about the human condition. There's no one perfect one to show you all, but try googling around for Jacksonville's marching band, and also Howard U.'s homecoming parades.



.....
lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
I just got back from the funeral procession, and then the funeral, for Jack Layton. It was kind of amazing. )

Living here in this orderly and sometimes red-tape-ridden city, I often wish for more of what Mexico City has – that sense of desmadre, the feeling that everything is going to tilt over into chaos at any second (but not always in a bad way.) It was so good to be reminded that Toronto can rise to the occasion once in a while, that we too can improvise celebrations of death and life, and make meaning out of disaster.


...
lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
Nothing I could say about Amy Winehouse hasn't been said already, and better than I could say it. But her death put me in mind of Marilyn Hacker's elegy for Janis Joplin, which on re-reading is not any good at all, but does have one stanza that still has something good going on in it, so here is that one stanza:

From 'Elegy' )
lolaraincoat: (leap!)
I am supposed to be getting a replacement computer from Spork very soon. I have been in the state of supposed to be getting a replacement computer for some months now. There has already been the ritual grovel at the IT office, and a lengthy discussion of voice recognition software. There has been no communication from the IT office at all, though, for about six weeks. Time for more grovelling, probably.

Meanwhile, this computer on which I am now typing, which is my own and not Spork's, and is elderly but has a newish hard drive, is not getting any younger. It has taken to crashing, but only the screen crashes; sounds continue to come out. Today this happened in the middle of a YouTube video of Chumbawumba playing Tubthumping at Glastonbury, which I had clicked on by mistake. Tubthumping continued to play from the speakers for some minutes even after I had closed the computer, and when I turned the computer back on, it had deleted four Word files I had been working on. I blame the anarchists. Seriously, I had better go grovel some more at the IT office.

Also on YouTube today I learned that at some point in the last presidential administration, Billy Bragg had rewritten most of "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward" in ways that I found unfortunate. Not much rhymes with Rumsfeld, it turns out. So.

Yesterday in the parking lot of the Staples where I park when I am going to the acupuncturist, I found a couple of cds - a compilation of music from New Orleans, and some random Christian rock. I was going to play them, but now I'm wondering if they were put there by anarchists, to crash my computer. What? It could happen!

I am very gradually getting better from my shoulder injury (a combination of bursitis, tendonitis, torn muscle, frayed muscle, and arthritis in both shoulder joints and the elbow, aren't you sorry you asked? martial artists, don't spend too much time with the punching bag, the end) but still taking a lot of drugs, which make me loopy and unable to work well some of the time, so I am on sick leave, which leaves me lots of time for random poking around on YouTube for Billy Bragg videos. But also! I have been reading. And so I say:

Everybody should go read The City & the City right away. And then tell me what you think! I loved it immoderately, much more even than I loved the Perdido Street trilogy, which I loved, but maybe that's just the drugs talking?

Also, [personal profile] twotoedsloth sent me a link to an article from this journal, which looks pretty interesting for you fan studies people out there - http://www.participations.org/index.htm -
in that it seems to position its contents as empirically based in opposition to the overly abstract cinema studies and fan studies schools. Which is to say that there's a whole scholarly wank out there of which I have been unaware up to now. But they seem to agree with me that there are no spectators, as in flesh and blood people watching a movie, in the spectatorship literature and that this is a bad thing, so ... well, anyway, potentially interesting journal, is all.

I've been too crippled to do much gardening this year, but the tomatoes are doing all right anyway. I put them in pots instead of in the ground, so far fewer problems with blight, but we are getting fewer of them so far and they're smaller. Tigerella tomatoes are my new favorite, though.

Hey! I updated my LJ/DW! Whoo!
lolaraincoat: (Brooklyn Bridge)
So I have been meaning to write up my Deep Thoughts about our trip last month to western Crete, Athens, and Istanbul - thoughts about nationalisms and histories, continuities and discontinuties in uses of the material remains of the past, grilled fish, 19th c. archeology as the ruination of ruins, the spiritual uses of beauty, the ways in which physics conferences differ from history conferences, the fabulous generosity of Islamic architecture, "Europe" as a category of analysis, and the globalization of weeds - but I can see that's not going to happen. Instead, here, look at the nice pictures. )
lolaraincoat: (tomato)
So Fishwhistle and I went to hear this concert last Sunday because really who can resist music about modernist architecture? Plus also a really good excuse to visit the Polish Combatants Hall, which was both swampy and glorious. But the second act - Allen Bloor, a.k.a. Knurl - turned out to consist of extremely well-amplified concrete blocks being thumped against each other or scraped against a table, and it was indescribably, unimaginably, unbearably loud. No, louder than that. NO, SERIOUSLY, LOUDER. We lasted through about three-quarters of it, then fled. It was sublime (no, it was!) but wow, it was too much for me.

Also in the category of Art Experiences I Have Not Been Able to Tolerate Lately: we rented Eastern Promises, and the first two scenes just did me in. It was gorgeous and interesting and I couldn't watch any more.

And ... I have been in trying to work up a good segue here, but I got nothing, so, whatever. Mean to say, garden news:

More plants that never bloomed before are getting ready to bloom now: poppies! wisteria! this is so exciting that it inspired me to dig up another huge section of the front lawn this weekend. Now the dying hydrangas in the back are no longer strangled and hidden in darkness, but they might die anyway of tranplantation shock. I will water them diligently, and hope.

Also I have planted more types of tomatoes, due to greediness. Now we will have Black Krim and Purple Cherokee and German Gold and Rainbow and Zapotec Pink and Glamour and Lemon Boy and Green Zebra and Green Cherokee and Purple Zebra and Feuerwerke and Yellow Pear and probably some others that I forgot. If all these tomatoes could sing and dance they could form a Village People tribute band, with names like those.

...
lolaraincoat: (slow learner)
borrowed from mamadeb but seen all over, here's my album cover )

The rules of the game are:
1 - Go to Wikipedia's "random article" link, through here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/. The first random article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Random Quotations. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. (Or the last three, in my case.)

3 - Go to flickr's explore the last seven days. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. (I messed around with mine because its dimensions were all wrong and also I felt like it.)

4 - Go back to the Wikipedia Random Article feature. The first fifteen articles you get are the song titles of your CD.

Hee!


...
lolaraincoat: (movie camera)
But just in case anyone else is interested ...

You know how clarinet players fiddle endlessly with their reeds? This takes that obsession one step beyond. Or maybe two.

And you all know by now that Joss Whedon has a new series coming up on Fox in September, right? One whose premise is so creepily misogynistic that - well, my hopeful fantasy is that Whedon had to come up with something that would be horrible enough for Fox, and then he will brilliantly subvert it, right? Right?

Don't answer that.

But the cast is good (though of course the deathwatch for the non-white characters has already begun) and, well, it's Whedon - I'm determined to be hopeful. Here's the trailer, which has popped up all over my f'list but I believe the super-fabulous comm [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking had it first.

Wow, I'm posting a lot lately. Well, I have a lot of work to avoid.
lolaraincoat: (op art)
Nuit Blanche was both better and worse than it was last year. It wasn't a complete surprise, the way it was the first year. But it has become a civic holiday - and of course it has, as it involves staying up all night in the midst of a huge crowd, taking in avant-garde art and spending no money, in the company of beloved friends and attractive strangers - complete with happy greetings the day before: "Bonne Nuit Blanche!"

I kind of want to go to the one in Montreal in March.

Anyway, our night of art began with Vietnamese dinner in a jolly gang, which was served to us rather slowly, which made the more peckish among us all emo, which in turn led to the observation that all Smiths songs should have been about food. You know,

I am the son, and the heir,
of a hunger that is criminally vulgar ...
I am human and I want to be fed
just like anyone else does


or

I would go out tonight, but I haven't got a thing to eat

and

I wanted a snack, and then I had a snack
and heaven knows I'm miserable now


Well anyway it seemed very funny to us at the time.
lolaraincoat: (insane troll logic)
Herewith a genuine email just received by me:

oh Spork U., how are you so disfunctional? )
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Meanwhile, last night Fishwhistle performed in the orchestra of an experimental opera which was not so good, although it was better than all the other experimental operas I've seen this week probably. But it was so experimental that the singers only sang nonsense syllables, and also there were no program notes at all. (In fairness, Fishwhistle did warn me that the whole show was basically Spinal Tap Does Wagner, abbreviated - though that makes it sound way more fun than it actually was.) So I entertained myself by attempting to figure out what the show was all about, and took notes which I will place here behind the cut. )
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
And then I came home and discovered that the whole internet was full of zombies, which gave a pleasing circularity to the whole day.

Well, I'm going to go send a lot of emails now. Resend, that is. Grrrr. Argh.
lolaraincoat: (fossil 2)
Why are all the other iPods so elegant and the stupid new full-size iPod so very, very hideous? Why?

I wanted to spend my tax refund on a shiny new iPod -- the 80-gig kind that would have room for all the music currently jammed onto my hard drive instead of only about a third of it at a time -- even though my beautiful 6-gig mini works just fine and is pretty. But the new, 5th-generation iPods are even uglier than the full-size iPods used to be. They've now in two shades of gray, black and white at a time, rather than just white-and-chrome, which was bad enough. And the grays are in diagonal blocks, too, in some kind of misguided tribute to that retro '80s aesthetic. Couldn't they just sell them with preloaded Bananarama and Scritti Politti?*

Fuck it, I'm just going to donate my damn refund to Amnesty International then. Bastards.



_________________________________
* Yes, I still love Scritti Politti. Shut up.
lolaraincoat: (leap!)
I know everyone in the universe has seen this already, but now that you have all this time on your hands, here it goes again.

Seriously, I think this is the best choreography on film since Jackie Chan was young middle-aged.
lolaraincoat: drawing of bear, standing (standing bear)
I only see TV on DVD or at the gym, so anyone interested is, no doubt, way ahead of me on this, but, well, anyway: tonight the TV at the gym was playing something called Dancing with the Stars, and one of the Stars who was, apparently, signed up for a Dancing competition was Joey Fantone from NSYNC. I only know him from an icon [livejournal.com profile] cathexys uses, but I recognized him. He was great! He was goofy and funny! And he seemed as straight as a man dancing on television can be, alas, but then isn't he the one that doesn't get slashed so much?

*********************

And then on the way home Fishwhistle was telling me about an article he'd read for his class on tonality, a formal analysis of certain Grateful Dead jams -- yes, yes, we don't need to mock because it pretty much mocks itself, doesn't it? -- and anyway Fishwhistle described the article as "etic." What does that mean? I asked him. It is, he revealed to me, the opposite of "emic." That is, when musicologists analyze only the formal aspects of music, in terms comprehensible to musicologists but not necessarily to the people who make or listen to the music normally, that is an etic analysis. But when musicologists try to convey something of the experiences and understandings of the people who make the music, or the fans of the music, that is an emic analysis.

So, two questions: Do people engaging in fan studies make this distinction between etic and emic? And if not, would it be useful to fan studies?
lolaraincoat: (home)
Spring is coming. I have proof. Yes, it's well below freezing out, and yes, most of the snow that fell on Friday night remains on the ground. But The Kids Who Say Motherfucker are once again roosting in the alley beside our house, trucker caps backwards on their buzzcut heads, looking as menacing as they possibly can be while bundled in puffy down jackets. They chirp out their profanities, slap hands, toss their cigarette butts into the street and spit on the sidewalk. We have entered the mating season of the neighborhood youth once again.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Friday night I went to a concert the various student percussion ensembles of The University with the Name That Rhymes with Spork -- the Brazilian escola de samba, the Korean drummers, the Malian dancer-and-drum group, the ensemble working on chanting and drumming from Ghana, the Afro-Cuban group. It was kind of amazing. The samba school was the best I've heard outside of Bahia. The others weren't quite that brilliant, or else my ear is less atuned to their styles of music. But still, they were awfully good: all the drumming and some of the dancing was at least at professional levels. I went with a couple of colleagues and their two kids, who are two and four years old; dancing with them and watching the kids roll around like puppies under everyone's feet was maybe the best part of the evening.

It reminded me, too, of what's so great about Spork U.: you know, we probably don't have enough serious classical string players on campus to make up a good string quartet, and we probably have a football team but I don't know that anyone has ever seen them play. But two dozen well-trained Korean drummers? Fifty gifted African percussionists? A huge, enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience for parade-style samba music? Sure, no problem; we've got that.

A great university can support all those things -- as salsa dance is not the natural enemy of string quartets -- but Spork doesn't have those kind of resources. What Spork U. does have is a truly amazing group of students. And sometimes that feels like enough.
lolaraincoat: (chick)
A sequence of linkages that began with the sad discovery that I can only download from Rhapsody while in the U.S., and continued through the not terribly informative webpage of a semi-obscure downtown-NY 1980s band, ended with my finding the blog of my ex-wife. It's a pretty good blog, actually. She's still super-adjectival and prone to pointless dissing of lesbians, but otherwise, okay. She's certainly far better as a blogger than as a life partner.

So that was my day. How are you?
lolaraincoat: drawing of skunk (skunk)
So I've spent most of the day moving back into my laptop with the nice new harddrive, and this led to updating software, including the iTunes software. That's how I discovered that one of the new! improved! features of iTunes turns out to be a neat little box beside the name of a few songs in my library, whose neat little red all-caps texts warns EXPLICIT. I just noticed it next to the Rufus Wainwright song "Gay Messiah." Prince, Bessie Smith and Funkadelic did not get boxed, which means -- I guess -- that you can be as dirty as you please as long as it's all couched in elaborate metaphor. Or that the people labelling the music figure that innocent youth don't listen to music recorded before 2003.

Yes, yes, I should be more offended by George Bush's comparison, in a speech today, between the Iraq war and the US war of independence. But if I was going to take umbrage at every idiotic remark anyone makes about the past, there would be no umbrage at all left for all the other historians.

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