Monday, April 30, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Best I'm Afraid I Must Tell You that I Told You So

I've come home tonight sweaty, deaf, and as content as can be because I spent the night getting shoved around (and shoving back) in a packed little club as a band played garage rock loud, fast, and completely out of control.  This, to me, is nearly as good as it gets.

The funny thing is the band playing the tiny club tonight was the Hives, a band who, in the worlds of Howlin Pelle Almqvist, typically play crowds of "Fifty thousand million people." [And if you're thinking, "Whatever, the Hives are so 2003." Let me tell you No, they are very 2013] How'd this happen?  I was just on the internet at the right time and my clicking finger was fast and sure.

Let me be quiet.  Let me show you the band taking the stage:

Let me show you the band during their first two numbers:

(after two songs I put my camera away to keep it from being destroyed and pulled it out again during the final number, when Pelle ordered us to create a runway for him through the center of the crowd.  He told us that he was going to try to run to the stage and that it was our job to crush him and keep him from getting there.  So we did.  We crushed him.)


It didn't seem right to start this post with the less exciting stuff from before the show, so I show it to you now.

Got a good place in line along with all the people who thought they were in line for the Wombats.  Sorry, folks.  This is the Hives line.  We're partying in the basement.

Certain familiar faces began to emerge.

The band showed up from pizza and made friendly before the show.  See this gentleman who is not a Hive? His name is Eric, he's the frontman from the New Bomb Turks, who I saw open for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones in 1993 at my very first concert, ever.  After the show I told him that story, I think we were both awful surprised to be talking about that show 19 years later.

In the club, waiting for the show.

Just trying to make you understand hall small the Webster Hall basement is.

You know you're doing something right when your roadie is a ninja.

Okay, go back up to the top of the post if you want to see what happened next.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best I Read This. And These.

Last week I finished Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon, a fictionalized account of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon and the line they made.  And by finishing Mason & Dixon, I've now read all of Pynchon's novels.  And that, to me, is a cool thing to be able to say.

Here's my briefest possible review of Pynchon's works with links to longer reviews:

The Ones I Love (Against the Day is my absolute favorite, the other three are tied for second):

The One I Easily Forget, but it was Fun:
The One I Cannot Recommend, No Matter How Famous it Is:
  • Gravity's Rainbow
The One I Just Did Not Care For, But I Still Hope Paul Thomas Anderson Adapts into a Movie:
But what else can I say about Mason & Dixon?  Let me say that it was good, that I did not read it as closely as I could have or should have, that if ever a book could have used hyperlinks it was this one—so much fictional data mixed with factual, a little extra research or knowledge would have gone a long way.  Thematically, I was struck by how just about all of Pynchon's novels take place before, or in the wake of, something historically significant.  Although Mason & Dixon is very much the story of the friendship of the two men, from their first assignment to track the Transit of Venus to the years after they made their line, it is also filled with anticipation for the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  It's interesting to me that Pynchon's novels never take place during the time of the action—even Gravity's Rainbow, taking place during World War II, hardly takes place in World War II.  I think there's some way to connect this with the Crying of Lot 49, which ends right before the titular auction, the moment where the mysterious agents of Tristero might finally be revealed.  In the very seconds before the solution to a mystery is revealed, can't we say this is when we least know what the solution is?  Confidence exists in distance from the answer, never is it more probable that you might be wrong than in the instant before the answer is revealed.

Also, if you're going to read Mason & Dixon yourself, you really should have this page-by-page summary handy.  I read it every night before bed, like checking the answers to math homework, to make sure I didn't miss anything from that day's reading.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Best You Can Buy My Great Grandma's House

Found out the other day (from my sister, who heard from my grandma) that my great-grandmother's house is up for sale.  No one in the family has owned it since either the 90s or early 00s, but seeing the house's fancy website full of professional super wide angle photos brings back a lot of memories.  Aside from the outside being a different color and the floors and some of the kitchen being new, it's the same old place.  Lots of little details bringing back lots of little memories, I spent a lot of time in this house from age 2 to 8 with plenty of visits after.

Front of the house.  Never used this door much, we usually came in through the back.

One Halloween when I was really young I was scared beyond consolation by a trick or treater that came to the door dressed as a Green Bean.  It had been a long night.

Right off the entry way there's this room, I'm sure the realtor will tell you it's a bedroom but I think we can all tell that it's Great Grandpa's office.  Picture a large desk, the scent of a great leaning and swiveling leather chair, a spring loaded address book, swords, tapestries, photographs and stones and you're beginning to see the most intriguing room my childhood knew.

The living room/dining room.  Learned a lot of Bible stories from Great Grandma in here, celebrated some of her birthdays and holidays at her long dining room table with all my unruly cousins once removed, played with porcelain figurines I shouldn't have, laid across a long and shiny couch, investigated the dragon chair, waited for my parents to come pick me up. 

A different angle.  I remember those glass etchings fondly, the mirror with the golden veins running through it.

The other dining room?  One time Kristen and I were sitting in here while Great Grandma was eating bread dipped in milk . . . she told us, as she ate, "this is called bread and milk."  Ate carrots here, other vegetables, too.

The kitchen.  Quite updated, the cabinets might be original.  This was a place where pink apple sauce and tapioca pudding were made.

There's this door from the kitchen to the living room/dining room.  The sort of thing you're not supposed to play with, the sort of thing that begs to be played with.

The rooms that haven't changed one bit at all?  The bathrooms.

The hallway, note the built in stereo system.

On one of my last visits to Grandma's house, just before starting college, I went through Great Grandma's records (lots of Burl Ives) and fiddled with it.

Backyard.  There used to be a fountain in the middle of that lawn.  And the lawn doesn't seem to be getting the upkeep it used to.  The grass is that sort of tight, nappy grass.  The sort that feels really good under bare feet.  The stone of the patio feels very good underfoot as well.  There's an Avocado tree back here, that's something the brochure doesn't tell you. 

Another thing the brochure doesn't tell you?  That the Father of the Bride house is across the street.

And here's the aforementioned back.  This is where you park when you visit Grandma's.  This is where you wonder if anyone has the key to the back gate.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Best Movie of the Spring!

I saw The Gang's All Here at the Film Forum Saturday night.  It was completely nuts.

It's a Busby Berkeley movie with Carmen Miranda in it.  I had never seen a Busby Berkeley movie or a Carmen Miranda movie, let alone a movie with the two of them combined.  Instead of trying to describe it myself, let me share some quotes from reviews of the movie (all stolen from the Film Forum website):

"SENSES BOGGLING! Time and again, you can’t believe what you’re witnessing" - Time Out New York

"Some sort of apotheosis in vulgarity" - Time Out London

"Utterly deranged!" - New York Magazine

"A TECHNICOLOR FREAK-OUT! Gang is the apotheosis of fruitiness." - Village Voice

"Like a male hairdresser’s acid trip"- the Film Guide

The Gang's All Here runs through Thursday night.  I 100% recommend it.  It is a four star film, in it's own  very special way.  I tapped my toes, I clapped at the end of numbers, I moaned at some jokes and laughed at others and in the end, I could not believe what I had just witnessed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Best Breakfast of Champions

Tuesday we had a donut party at work.  Since I live not too far away from the Doughnut Plant, it was my job to buy the donuts.  I had $70 to spend.  That was seventy five cents less than what two dozen donuts there cost.

But getting on the train with these donut boxes people treated me like I had a stroller.  Getting out of my way, giving me space, pregnant women were offering me their seats.  New Yorkers really respect an upscale donut.

24 donuts spit between 20 participants means lots of donuts cut into pieces.  My favorites?  Chocolate chocolate and the tres leches.

Oh, and for dessert?  Rodrigo brought Van Leeuwen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Best Rock n Roll Luck . . .

. . . continues.

First I got a Pulp ticket.  Then I got GA floor Radiohead tickets.  Then I saw Pulp.  Then I saw Pulp the next day from the fourth row.  And tonight I grabbed two tickets to see the Hives in the Webster Hall basement.

Every band I've needed to see that I haven't seen is suddenly lining up to be seen by me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Best Ferry Ride

A few Fridays ago, two, I believe, a large Staten Island Ferry Ride was organized.  I hadn't been on the thing since late 2004.  Return I did.