You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The word banish'd

Each New Year's Eve Day for the last 35 years, Lake Superior State University has provided a great service by present a list of words that, by their estimation, must be banned immediately from all dialog, public and private. This year one of my suggestions ("too big to fail") is featured. This is my contribution, I feel, to making the world a better place.

Overall, LSSU's choices are sometimes predictable and always overdue: this year it's "tweeting," "friending," and my favorite, "Obamafication." (Actually, don't ban that one yet. Our work isn't done there).

But just you wait, "amazing." Next year. Next year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the hap-happiest season of all

Standard fare are Sheffield, England trio who deserve more renown than they have. Emma Kupa's songwriting puts a dry, postmodern spin on the kind of classic female singer-songwriter style influenced by Ani DiFranco. I don't know whether releasing a Christmas song will help them, but it couldn't hurt. So will the March release of their first full-length album on Bar/None.

"Tinsel Politics" is no Bing Crosby; Kupa's tone is that of someone who's scratching her head about why she's writing about Christmas to begin with. Among carefree mandolins and jingle bells (naturally) she waffles about where to spend Christmas Eve and harping on her partner about trivialities. By the time she gets around to adding "I don't even know why this is on my mind/I'm not even a Christian," she's probably come closer to capturing the peculiarities of 21st-century Gen-Y holiday angst than anything else you'll hear this December.

Mp3 - Standard Fare - Tinsel Politics

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cookie monster

One unsung benefit of the holiday office party, as it turns out, is finding out just who your co-workers actually are. (Yes, I know that sounds odd, but I work in a rather odd business). This past Sunday, I learned that one of these stealth ghosts happens to be the legendary Matt Timms, Brooklyn impresario of various Takedowns (chili, fondue and otherwise). The next one, concerning cookies, is on Sunday the 20th at The Bell House. Not that anything would keep me away from all-you-can-eat cookies, but in this impersonal city, it's always nice to have a personal connection with someone you only see once a year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Get wrecked

Indichik says:

UNY, who I've mentioned before here once in passing and am now going to go ahead and all-out pimp, is a vast collective of artists and writers celebrating and exploring all that lies beneath NYC waterways. I am part of them; my short story "The Last Days of the Princess Anne," about a steamship that sank off Rockaway in 1920 and the crew who remained aboard it for 10 days, was published in their online anthology, and you can go the site and read it now (if you so chose of course).

They've just announced a writing contest in connection with the American Folk Life Museum, so now you, my friends, providing you have the wherewithal to spin a story about a local shipwreck, real or fictional, can be a winner. Note that if you win the contest, you'll be reading alongside me at the Folk Art Museum on March 10, which let's face it, is reward enough.

The Underwater New York Shipwreck Story Contest:

In conjunction with the American Folk Art Museum

Sunken on the floors of NYC's waterways are no fewer than 170 lost and wrecked ships. Underwater New York invites you to dive in and mine the wreckage. Draw your inspiration from their gallery of shipwreck images and tell a story—fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry—that brings these ghost ships back to life in 3000 words or less. The winning story will be published in Underwater New York, and its author will have the chance to read at Underwater New York Free Music Friday: Shipwreck Stories at the American Folk Art Museum, on March 5, 2010.

  • Deadline for entries is February 12, 2010.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Fifth Annual PaperMag Nightlife Awards (yes, ChiChi lost, but who cares? Free bottle service!)

Amanda Lepore and Ladyfag present an award.

Mr. Mickey and Ladyfag.
Co-emcee and Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Michael Musto (he's much funnier in person than in his Voice column, which avoiding, for me, is practically a third part-time job).

The crew from Santos Party House, winning for the 87th year in a row.

The crowd up on the back of the sofa during The Drums' set.

Since ChiChi212 received a much-deserved People's Choice Nom for Best Nightlife Blog (it's one of those links over in the sidebar that you never look at, but includes the occasional item from me, like encounters with Ed Westwick that I would be too embarrassed to post here), I got a ticket to the show, which took place at the aptly-named M2 Ultralounge (formerly Mansion). It's quite large. This post is only a small, tantalizing slice of the freakishishness and various levels of fiercely bad taste on display, (two words: drag queens) but luckily retro-pop band The Drums (filling in for much-more-polished Ting Tings at the last minute) with their crew cuts and windbreakers looked like they ought to be hanging out at a malt shop somewhere in 1955, ended the night feeling less like the city's chrome-trimmed jungle and more like the vast wilds of Brooklyn; in other words, this Indichik felt right at home.

The recap over on the ChiChi212 site and the article have even more red-carpet photos, decadence and random celebrity sightings, including my editor Brittany getting all cute about presenter Taylor Hanson (yes, of those Hansons).

Mp3 - The Drums - Let's Go Surfing

A very prosperous loft party

With its high-energy, ska-influenced take on Southern indie rock, the Black Taxi live show is not to be missed. Plus, it's Meijin's birthday!

Mp3 - Black Taxi - Up Here for Thinking, Down Here for Dancing

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dave Eggers in the news

I hope that if today's release of the San Francisco Panorama, Dave Eggers' adventure in print journalism , accomplishes anything, it's to disabuse Dave Eggers of the notion that any one single person can save print journalism, and even if someone could, it will definitely not be Dave Eggers.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Espers @ The Bell House, 12/5/09

For a band based in Philly, an NYC visit by Espers is tragically rare, which explains why their show at The Bell House last night was so well-attended. Singer/guitarist Greg Weeks is an unapologetic, all-out hippie, complete with fringed buckskin belt-bag, moccasins, round glasses and bell-bottom trousers. The lightning rod of the band is singer Meg Baird (her first solo record, 2007's Dear Companion, would be a shoo-in if I was making a "Best of the Oughts" list, which I'm SO not). Her voice is instantly recognizable on every record she makes, and even though people like to compare it to Vashti Bunyan and Sandy Denny, she doesn't really sound like either of them. It's just that her style of singing doesn't have much of a context that current audiences can relate to. Which is sort of why it's great.

Much of Espers, in fact, is rooted in past styles that may or may not ever be relevant again. Their earlier recordings were more acoustic based and more or categorizable as freak-folk or freak-folk adjacent, but they've expanded. Their October release, Espers III, incorporates as much electric as it does acoustic (not to mention precise work from Vetiver drummer Otto Hauser) and achieves a kind of late-sixties psych-pop feel, reminsicent of Fairport Convention or even Fleetwood Mac. It's the type of music that you never really hear anymore, ever. It's too bad, too, because a couple of songs they played last night, like Tomorrow from 2005's The Weed Tree, "Children of Stone" from Espers II or "Caroline" from III, I could actually see being radio hits at a very, very specific point in musical time.

Mp3 - Espers - Caroline

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tonight: Help a brother out

I don't have health insurance anymore either, as I'm sure a lot you don't, so I'm, certainly sympathetic. And it's always nice when the Brooklyn music community come together to help out one of their own. Plus, I love the White Suns, and when are you going to get to see Genesis Breyer P-Orridge at Dea,th by Audio? Probably never.