Just in case you're interested, we've asked various members of our staff to contribute a little cultural tidbit/random thought/funny link...we're calling them "staff picks." Here's a list of what we're into this week and stay tuned for bi-weekly updates.
Online, I’ve been reading Brand New, which covers the world of corporate logo re-designs and its sister site Art of the Menu, which is about menu design. I have no idea why I enjoy these so much, but find them oddly compelling. http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/ and http://www.underconsideration.com/artofthemenu/
Offline: Faithful Ruslan by Georgi Vladimov from Melville House's excellent reprint series The Neversink Library. Utterly heartbreaking and engrossing so far... http://mhpbooks.com/book.php?id=543
There are hundreds of photography blogs devoted to creepy abandoned places, but no one does creepy and abandoned quite like the Japanese. They even have a word for it: Haikyo, literally “abandoned place.” http://www.haikyo.org/ . Years of neglect after periods of boom have lead to an incredible array of abandoned real estate developments, theme parks, hospitals and factories. One Haiyko photographer explains the mysterious ruins of the “Royal House” in a twisted and fascinating story here: http://gakuranman.com/the-royal-house-haikyo/.
Book: Madam Bovary – still reading it, and waiting for the big ‘thrill’ that is to be had while reading this modern novel
Movie: Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies – how the beginning of filmmaking affected these artists and their cubist movement. Interesting concept, but the movie got stale. Not sure if all those voiceovers would have been allowed, had Scorsese directed it….
I’m just starting Lev Grossman’s The Magician King, the follow-up to his brilliant The Magicians from a couple of years ago. Fantasy is a genre about which I know very little so I’m guessing that 90% of the references buried in these books fly right over my head – however, one of the best things for me about Grossman’s writing is that he finds it wonderfully difficult to resist a silly joke. In this new novel we’ve already had “Fillory Clinton” and there are dozens of fun, childish passages like this:
“Jesus Christ” was an expression the younger Fillorians had picked up from their new rulers. It was impossible to explain to them what it actually meant. They were convinced it was something dirty.
And here’s some linkage for you: Dan Kois, author of our excellent 33 1/3 volume on Iz, reviewed The Magician King for the NYT the other day:
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Watching old youtube clips from The Dukes of Hazzard featuring country musicians performing at The Boar's Nest to pay off trumped up speeding tickets from Boss Hogg's Celebrity Speedtrap. Enjoy! (Embedding has been disabled on several of these videos, unfortunately, but you can click through.)
The Oak Ridge Boys
Posted by John Mark at 10:45 AM
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
THE EDWARD MCKAY USED BOOKS & MORE ARTIST AND AUTHOR SERIES AT HOPSCOTCH 2011
Thursday, Sept. 8
Raleigh City Museum, 3–5 p.m.
Present the Past: Honoring and Outstripping Influences
Everyone has influences, from parental figures who shape your attitude to friends who influence your actions. This panel gathers artists who turn what they’ve learned from clear, identifiable forebears into something altogether different. William Tyler, for instance, is an acoustic guitarist who has clearly moved beyond the mold of John Fahey acolytes, while Jamie Stewart’s magpie tendencies in the band Xiu Xiu create a fascinating, fresh web of references and meanings. Today, they’ll talk about how they’ve gotten beyond the past.
Jamie Stewart (of Xiu Xiu)
Cheyenne Marie Mize
David Daniell (of Rhys Chatham Guitar Trio, San Agustin) Brian Corum (of Lonnie Walker)
Moderated by: Grayson Currin
Friday, Sept. 9
Raleigh City Museum, 3–5 p.m.
Simple Words: The Power of Narrative Songs
The number of ways you can write and then record a song are infinite. But some songwriters seem to find a way to tell us a story that, though it may be personal to them, feels personal to us, too. The Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood is among the best ever with these sorts of songs; he’ll join this panel of fellow standout writers and the head of a record label built on such traditions to talk about why narrative in music can be so very compelling.
Patterson Hood (of Drive-By Truckers)
Dolphus Ramseur (of Ramseur Records)
David Menconi (of The News & Observer)
Heather McEntire (of Mount Moriah, Bellafea)
James Jackson Toth (of Wooden Wand)
Ross Flournoy (of Apex Manor)
Moderated by: David Klein
Saturday, Sept. 10
Raleigh City Museum, 3–5 p.m.
The Bubble: The Limits of Pop Music
The Flaming Lips’ 1997 album, Zaireeka, consisted of four compact discs, each holding one stereo track for each of the eight songs on the album. In order for the album to be properly heard, these four discs had to be played simultaneously. Indeed, if any act in the past two decades has challenged what the notion of pop music might be, it’s The Flaming Lips. The band’s Wayne Coyne will be joined by Mark Richardson, the Editor in Chief of Pitchfork Media and the author of a recent book about Zaireeka. Others who have explored the core and fringes of pop, both as musicians and critics, will also speak.
Wayne Coyne (of The Flaming Lips)
Mark Richardson (Editor in Chief of Pitchfork Media and author of Zaireeka)
Peter Holsapple (of the dB’s and R.E.M.)
Sam Herring (of Future Islands)
David Tompkins (author of How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop, The Machine Speaks)
Moderated by: Brian Howe
Posted by John Mark at 9:55 AM
Thursday, August 04, 2011
We are proud to announce the release of "Early '70s Radio" by Kim Simpson. The title speaks volumes for the content and there's a bit about the book over on Continuum's Film and Media Studies Blog.
Kim Simpson explores the different formats that emerged from both a technical and a historical perspective, definitely Required reading for the radio enthusiast. Whoever thought the "pod cast" would replace the radio show was seriously disturbed.
Ohh and if you like radio, I mean really like radio, check out these two radio history-heavy 33 1/3rds.
John Dougan's "The Who's The Who Sell Out"
Bruce Eaton's "Big Star's Radio City"
Kim Simpson has a blog about the book which is quite mesmerizing. www.early70sradio.com
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
I once had a professor who tried to explain the frustration around translating Russian curses (or was it Hungarian? Or Czech?) into English, saying that for a native speaker on a real tear, each curse added to the string multiplies the previous curse exponentially and lays a foundation for the next, so in effect you have an insanely intricate and interconnected castle of curses being constructed around the speaker.
Courtesy of the WFMU blog, here is the music criticism equivalent to slavic cursing:
The Consumed Guide is a text composed from thousands of negative words and phrases assembled from 13, 090 reviews by Robert Christgau and turned into a single review.
Posted by John Mark at 1:11 PM