People seem to understand the appeal I find in nineteen fifties drive-in movies. It's all about the camp aspect. The same people, however, tend to be miffed about my obsession with nineteen seventies television animation. How can I stand it? How can I sit through multiple episodes of this shit? Don't I know it's horrible? It's bad, of course, but the camp aspect is entertaining as hell. Getting drunk along with it helps too. This 1972 ditty features a very unlikely cross over. Wonder Woman meets The Brady Kids. It just don't get any worse, folks.
A lot of comedy groups have flung open the mind's ramparts over the years and many have coerced this writer's style and approach but few like the Firesign Theater and littler still like the mad fresh improvisation done on their live radio programs in 1970 and '71.
From an April post: Festival time for WFMU once again and this time a little further than a
jaunt into the autumnal Catskills. Thanks to kind invitation and plane
tickets courtesy of Primavera Sound, WFMU is hopping the pond over to Barcelona, Spain for live broadcasts from the prestigious festival at the Parc del Fòrum onMay 28th, 29th, and 30th!
We'll be packing our remote gear (and 3D glasses for Gaudi building
viewing) and parking it alongside the Mediterranean for three days of
multiple-stage broadcasts of some sure-to-be stellar FMU-friendly live
sets. The schedule exact set-time broadcasts for us have not been
finalized, but take a gander at some of the fest's heavy participants here.
We're unbelievably stoked to be invited as American radio ambassadors
for these shows; the lineup is dizzying, and again, totally perfect for
WFMU and its freeform-lovin' listenership. Super thanks to our pal
Jaime Casas for helping to get the ball rolling, and all the cool peops
at the fest we're looking forward to working with!
Updates! WFMU is here, the weather is ridiculously incredible. We survived the post-Barcelona victory over Manchester United street carnage last night, and we're starting our broadcast from Spain today around 4:30 PM Eastern time, going until 7:00, then reconvening 8:00 PM through 11:00PM. During that time we''ll be shuttling between the ATP, Rayban, Estrella, Pitchfork, and Rockdelux stages (yeah, it's a big ass festival) and you're likely to hear the Magik Markers, Bats,Spectrum, Vaselines,the Jesus Lizard, Jay Reatard, and Wooden Shjips! Maybe more as permissions are still being finalized. Some of these may spill into our Day 2 broadcast if time doesn't allow. WFMU will be on its Facebook and Twitter pages too to try to give you a rundown of exact start times and what you can expect during the evenings.
Saturday, the 30th: Day three from 3:00 PM Eastern until midnight. Perhaps airing some of the sets we were unable to get to from Thursday or Friday? But playing on assorted stages that day are Jeremy Jay, Th' Faith Healers,Oneida,Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti,Deerhunter.Once again, this is all subject to change, but to the best of our knowledge you'll be hearing these sets on these particular days, and we'll do our gosh darndest to keep you up to date online. As usual, we'll also be looking into archiving as much of this as we can ala our ATP and SXSW shows, and get some up on the Free Music Archive too (artist-approval-pending)! Tune in, send us good vibes to keep us fueled for our all-nighters in Barcelona!
Give the Drummer Some's 10 Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere (see Comments, below, for helpful info about downloading)
Warmest regards go out this week to the Miner's all-time musical hero and guru Yusef Lateef, who has just been awarded—along with seven others—a Jazz Masters Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. The recognition carries with it a one-time grant of $25,000 which is no small perk for any working musician, let alone a vital improviser, composer and educator, who's career is now stretching into its seventh decade.
There are no Yusef Lateef discs among this week's offerings, but there are many dozens of astounding recordings of his to seek out. (The Miner recommends "Yusef Lateef's Nigeria," "Psychicemotus" and "Yusef's Mood: The Complete 1957 Sessions" to start.)
Eunice got the school bus driver to let her off a couple of stops before home and made her way out of the land of lawn and shrub to the other side of the tracks where the hep cats dwelt. The squares who called themselves "Mom" and "Dad" just couldn't fathom how an eight year old could be fluent in the language of cool and solid. "Doc Pop's Jazz Shop" was a dive, no bout a-doubt it, but the heart in the place soared and flowed as smoothly and fluidly as the smoke and the smell of stale beer inside.
Nobody remembers when Two-Note Jackson took over from Doc Pop. Two-Note just always seemed to be elbow-deep in the bar as far back as anyone could remember. He played a mean tenor sax but, as his name suggested, he only knew two notes. He smiled as Eunice walked through the door, nodding to the house band, who jumped to attention as quick as a quartet of hop-heads could.
"Gentlemen," Eunice greeted them politely, for she was always polite, "wind it up, motherfuckers."
Randall Hank "Bocephus" Williams served time early on for sins uncommitted. His father, the greatest country performer the world had ever known, rolled seven on the way to a gig, leaving his three year old son a dubious legacy to repair. Forced to perform at dog and pony shows, Little Hank lived in his father's shadow, trod in his father's footsteps and out-cliched every horrible cliche connected with vicariously living someone else's life before hitting puberty. With the help of stage mother Audrey, Junior charmed the nostalgia-crazed Nash Vegas hicks with his Hank Williams Mini-Me act. When he wasn't wailing about that lonesome ol' whistle, Junior recorded duets with Connie Francis and slogged through M-G-M's syrupy back catalog of misses and non-hits.
In the early seventies Junior finally broke away from the never ending Hank Sr. dark ride. One too many sorry ass Luke the Drifter, Jr. LPs had taken its toll on the weary singer and Randall was ready to change up horses. He fired his band and then fired his mother and started recording songs that didn't suck nearly as bad. He happily fit right in with the burgeoning outlaw country freaks that were dotting the musical landscape. Seeking inspiration in the boozy excesses of his old man, Hank partied like it was 1975 (it was), recorded more albums, grew a beard and then left it on the side of a mountain along with the rest of his face during a drunken camping trip. Resourceful surgeons created a new face with skin from his buttocks and Ol' Assface soldiered on.
After years of trolling in search of the elusive whatsit (and perhaps spurred on by his 600 foot tumble down Mt. Ajax), Bocephus recast himself as the go-to buffoon of Redneck Royalty--a dumb-ass Don Quixote whose various moronic misdeeds are still legendary in their scope. Hank cultivated a sexist, Everclear-swiggin', cocaine-snortin', hard-livin', a-ready-for-some-footballin', NASCAR-loving persona, working his hick shtick like a 90 foot Ray Stevens character come to life. Hank's latest nut-jobbed transgression centers on his intention to run for the U.S. Senate against Tennessee Republican incumbent Bob Corker in 2012.
This is a picture of the bathroom at the ICA in Philadelphia. It's not my favorite image from my visit there this past weekend, it is the only picture I could take unnoticed. I tried to slyly sneak some shots in the Sun Ra exhibit, but the damn bleep of my digital camera gave me away instantly. It's an attractive bathroom, covered in wallpaper made up of vintage fashion ads. And while you are visiting this luscious WC, do check out the Sun Ra show upstairs. Last Sunday was the 85th birthday of Marshall Allen, leader of the Arkestra and May 22nd was the 95th anniversary of Sun Ra's arrival on Earth.
Sun Ra and his Arkestra lived In Germantown, on the edge of Philadelphia, for over 35 years, until his death in 1993. When I heard that the ICA was planning a Sun Ra show, I assumed it would be based on images and album art from his Philadelphia days. The title of the show,Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn and Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground 1954-58 tells a different story.
The show is lent from the collection of the Hyde Park Art Center, in Chicago, and shines a light on a formative time for Sun Ra. The preponderance of free spirited and radical philosophies embraced by black creative communities in post-war Chicago created the Sun Ra Arkestra we know today; an expression of musical experimentation, cosmic philosophies, and cultural reconfiguring. Predating the punk DIY scene by decades Sun Ra formed his own record company, El Saturn records. In addition to living communally in Philadelphia, Sun Ra and the Arkestra designed and printed many of their record covers and sold them at gigs.
The gallery's presentation of album covers and artwork is made more compelling by the screening of several films, photos, and collections of Sun Ra's unreleased music. On July 1 the mighty Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen takes the stage. July 15th a documentary made by British DJ Don Letts, Sun Ra: Brother from Another Planet will be shown. July 8 John Szwed, Author of Space is the Place lectures. Check out the ICA's website for more events.
I don't know much about PFC Gerald J. Walker, except what it says on the plaque (at left), which is installed over a doorway in the weight room of the Hoboken YMCA. Next month he would have turned 60. He died at 20, in uniform.
Because of the memorial's placement, everyone who stops in for a workout is reminded of Gerard Walker's sacrifice. Amid the Cybex machines, barbell racks, and treadmills, it's a haunting memento.
The Y is closed for Memorial Day, but the plaque is on duty.
Wow, you know, every once in a while, things really just turn out pretty awesome, like this performance from A Camp that will air tonight on Sound and Safe. Four perfectly-rendered pop songs - including a cover of Eddie Noack's weird and wonderful "Psycho" - done by my favorite singer in the world, Nina Persson, with husband Nathan Larson (of Shudder to Think) on bass, and Niclas Frisk (of Atomic Swing) on guitar.
We got some really nice HD video of the songs - check out a preview here, for the song "Love Has Left the Room."
Thanks very much to Tim Smith and Jacqueline Castel for shooting the video.
Tune in tonight to hear all four songs and to see all four videos. Also keep an eye on the Free Music Archive for MP3s of the set.
A Camp kicks off a North American tour at Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night. Their new album Colonia is out now.
Motor/Mouth is an ongoing series about WFMU staffers and their vehicles. Say "Hello!" to Scott Williams (Thursdays, Noon - 3 PM Eastern time), WFMU's Volunteer Director. PSA Director and leader of the Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia.
1st car: Dad's old '84 Buick Skyhawk, 2-tone (brown & tan). Uber dadcar. This is the car with which I hit an off-duty cop on his way home from the caterer's to his daughter's first birthday party. Sausage-and-pepper grease all over his Malibu interior. My 17 years of inexperience left not a finger on his sympathies and he threw every book at his disposal at me. Fortunately the judge recognized the cop was on a vengeance kick and came up with a plan to keep me outta the pokey. Years later, I left this car parked, disabled, in a place I shouldn't have. Some authority mercifully removed it and didn't trouble me with the details.
Next: '81 Dodge Colt, gained for a buck at an estate sale. This fucker looked like the "B.O.B." robot from that "Black Hole" movie. I left it running while I ran into a donut shop in Lodi, NJ. Valuable lesson imparted by teenaged menace who took the opportunity I presented him (along with a small CD collection). The car was found in Newark, NJ several days later, completely totalled. The towing company and tow-yard each tried to extort a good chunk of change from me. I didn't fall for that shit.
And then: '78 Buick Skylark. This is the car I drove to my sweet new WFMU volunteering gig in the mid-90s; the one whose insurance policy I let lapse; the one that thus robbed me of my driver's license for awhile, offering far greater rewards than I realized at the time.
Then I bought a car with my girlfriend. 1989 VW Golf, beat to hell, purchased with cash at a White Castle parking lot in Journal Square. Man, I miss that car - what were we thinking, driving it non-stop to Tennessee in a rain-&-sleetstorm?? Well, my girlfriend became my wife, and I've still got her, and baby makes three; and now we've added another VW Golf to the family. This one's green, of 1995 vintage. We've had it for almost 4 years and hope it'll stick around awhile.
I have this strange kink in that I can never do anything without reading a book about it first. I suffer from "get it right first time" syndrome and it isn't pretty.
Now the thing about gardening, is that there are as many gardening books as there are gardeners, if not more when you consider how many star gardeners there are on the market. And, for a newbie that's really quite bewildering.
The problem is also compounded by books never quite giving me exactly what I need to know. Container books talk about flowers. Vegetable books detail allotments and smallholdings. Organic books assume that you own Kent.
I live in a city, in an apartment and I want to grow vegetables and herbs. Oh, and I'm poor. Where's my book?
Few bands revelled in the seedy underbelly of the American stripmall like Houston's Culturcide, a band fueled by the Boss' 80s bluejeans back pocket lint and grizzle from the bottom of a Burger King deep-fry tray; they were also purveyors of possibly the greatest holiday single ever, "Depressed Christmas" (MP3). Chelsea Whores is an exhibition by Mark Flood, an artist well-involved in that band's general orbit, running here in New York at the Zach Feuer Gallery (520 West 24th Street), from May 22 through July 10th and features his collage works and what he's termed "broken paintings" from 1979-2002 (though one recent review from Los Angeles states that all of the materials claiming to be decades old were actually made in the last two years). The refuse of American consciousness Flood chooses to deal with has included literal debris from Hurricane Ike, modified road or food service signs, and as we see left, lots of mutated iconography (one of my fave images he has made in the past has Annie Lennox on the Eurythmics' Touch LP cover being rearranged into garish Elephant Man-style paste-up). Great quote on Germany in NYC about the Chelsea Whores exhibit that makes me even more down with it: "His influence is comparable to that of the American artist Andy Warhol,
but whereas Warhol's work features talent, Flood unintentionally
devises a tedious formal vocabulary, layered with meaning and metaphor."