Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be devoted to opinions, observations, lists, articles and whatever else I feel like posting. Subjects will include music, human nature, politics, life in NYC, etc. If I paste someone else's writing up here, it is because the author said something way better than I ever could. By the way, I don't claim to be a particularly smart guy; I'm just a musician with some opinions. If you disagree with me, that's cool -- but then, you're probably wrong.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
i miss U jennylee
I don't know where you are right now but I miss you.
Wherever you are, I hope you're happy, and inspired, wild and still dreaming. But New York needs you.
I am floating around in a bizarre, whitewashed, zombie-fied New York City that has become the exclusive domain of boring rich people with no imagination or style. This place was once the natural habitat for creatures like you and me. But now? It belongs to the poachers.
I remember the days and nights when we would wander Manhattan together, looking like a glorious, technicolor eyesore. Everybody on the street loved you, from children to old folks -- because you were authentic and unfiltered, and you acted no differently toward them than you did toward me, your club-kid friends, or anyone else. You were unpredictable, colorful and real -- you were everything that was great about New York, personified.
Do you remember the nights at Coney Island High, Speeed and Mother, dancing together in a cloud of glitter, buzzing on cheap alcohol? Or the night we first met, at Squeezebox? Those parties are long gone now, and so, it seems, are the brilliant characters that made them crackle with creative life.
We collided ten years ago in a city of kindred spirits that was still our playground. That whole summer was one adventure after another; we were Sid and Nancy, or Bonnie and Clyde. And trouble followed us everywhere.
I was just walking through the intersection of 9th avenue and 14th street tonight. Back in the days when you and I held court in that neighborhood, the only people we'd see on a Saturday night were Click and Drag freaks and trannie hookers working that traffic island.
Now that place is a claustrophobic, swarming sea of cookie-cutter human automatons in shiny shirts, queueing up to buy rounds of $12 drinks at velvet rope lounges. The meatpacking district used to reek of meat; now it reeks of cologne, Ketel One and crisp benjamins shooting out of ATMs. Walking through there tonight, I felt like an animal that had escaped from the zoo.
Now it seems impossible that that neighborhood -- or the L.E.S. or Alphabet City -- was once a place where a human as brilliant and crazy as you might be found. But luckily for me it was, and I'm glad to have been there at the same time.
I miss u, Jennylee! You inspired me and made me use my imagination. Thank you for that. It makes me smile to know that you're still out there somewhere, beautiful and crazy, chewing up the scenery. But I wish you were here -- this place desperately needs some color, some character and some chaos.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Click the headline.
And if there's a single person left in this country who actually believes we're "winning" in Iraq, this story ought to turn you around.
If not, just keep pushing that noggin deeper into the proverbial sand, I guess.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
more from David Eggers, from the same interview that spawned the "keeping shit real" rant...
"I think criticism, more often than not, completely misses the point, yes. The critical impulse, demonstrated by the tone of many of your own questions, is to suspect, doubt, tear at, and to take something apart to see how it works. Which of course is completely the wrong thing to do to art. I used to tear books apart, and tear art exhibits apart - I was an art and book critic for a few years in San Francisco - but my urge to do that was born of bitterness and confusion and anger, not out of any real need to help or edify.
When we pick at and tear into artistic output of whatever kind, we really have to examine our motives for doing so. What is it about art that can make us so angry? Is it healthy to rip to shreds something created by an artist? I would posit, if I may, that that's not really a healthy impulse. Now, as far as I know, out of maybe 100 or so reviews that I've been made aware of, my own book has received only one negative example. That's pretty lucky, especially when you consider that Wallace, for example, has gotten pretty abused by some people, people who for the most part don't have the patience his work requires.
But criticism, for the most part, comes from the opposite place that book-enjoying should come from. To enjoy art one needs time, patience, and a generous heart, and criticism is done, by and large, by impatient people who have axes to grind. The worst sort of critics are (analogy coming) butterfly collectors - they chase something, ostensibly out of their search for beauty, then, once they get close, they catch that beautiful something, they kill it, they stick a pin through its abdomen, dissect it and label it. The whole process, I find, is not a happy or healthy one.
Someone with his or her own shit figured out, without any emotional problems or bitterness or envy, instead of killing that which he loves, will simply let the goddamn butterfly fly, and instead of capturing and killing it and sticking it in a box, will simply point to it - "Hey everyone, look at that beautiful thing" - hoping everyone else will see the beautiful thing he has seen.
Just as no one wants to grow up to be an IRS agent, no one should want to grow up to maliciously dissect books. Are there fair and helpful book critics? Yes, of course. But by and large, the only book reviews that should be trusted are by those who have themselves written books. And the more successful and honored the writer, the less likely that writer is to demolish another writer. Which is further proof that criticism comes from a dark and dank place. What kind of person seeks to bring down another? Doesn't a normal person, with his own life and goals and work to do, simply let others live? Yes. We all know that to be true."
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
This is a fantastic rant from writer Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and the founder of McSweeney's magazine.
The piece is sort of a long-form response to a question he was asked during an interview with Harvard Advocate. The Q, which dealt with the issue of "maintaining street cred", ended thusly:
"Are you taking any steps --- are there any steps to be taken -- to keep shit real?"
Anyone who who has ever cried "sellout" or criticized someone's art (that's basically all of us) should read it.
My good friend Keeta forwarded this to me a few years ago and I dug it up again today. Click the headline.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Ten years ago they were the bane of her (and Bill's) existence. But these days she's using them to advance her Obama smear campaign. Click the headline.