Saturday, February 26, 2011

Song of the Day: "All of the Lights"

Blah blah blah Kanye West is a genius. I know you're tired of hearing that shit from me. Hey look, Rihanna is guest vocalist on a rapper's song. Why that almost never... what, my dog has fur! When did that happen.

All that being said, West's recent album is fucking brilliant, and this track, with a lovely new orchestrated intro, is somewhat out of place on it. It's one of the few (possibly only) tracks that aren't first person from Kanye the man.

Oh, and don't watch the video if you are prone to seizures. (Now I've made you want to watch the video, haven't I? What if I said "watching this video every day will help reduce plaque build up"... would you?)

Song: "All of the Lights"
Artist: Kanye West/Rihanna/Kid Cudi

Friday, February 25, 2011

The kids enjoy a lazy afternoon

Yin and Yang have a nap.

Song of the Day: "Silverlake"

I started this post around 6:30, lamenting the fact that I had JUST MISSED the 6:00 a.m. early flight (I got to the gate at 5:40) and started to settle in for my 3 hour wait when they started to call for the 7:00 flight to Portland. Apparently I was so determined to get home on the earlier flight I got myself to SFO super early. Which worked out, but there was a period of time where I stressed myself out and used the "word" fuck on Twitter a few times. Sorry rest of humanity... my bad.

Which brings us to Azure Ray, a dream pop band originally from Athens but now settled in the thriving Omaha music scene. No really, there's a thriving Omaha music scene. Actually that joke might have been funny a decade ago, but it's been thriving for some time now and I'm almost ashamed to have typed it. But not so much that I actually removed it.

And somehow Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse and Dancing Hoods (rest in peace dude) may have had some involvement. You might want to look that up yourself because I'm about to take a nap (I've been up since 4:00).

Song: "Silverlake"
Artist: Azure Ray

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"They don't even have barbecues"

My new girlfriend. She's been haunting my dreams since I saw her this morning on the local San Francisco news. I love it all, the hair, the make-up, the voice. There's only one thing I can't abide: Christmas decorations still up on February 24. And this isn't isolated to the Bay Area... my next door neighbor in Portland still has a Christmas wreath up. Shudder.

Everything about my trip is interesting, really

I will explain them all later, but that lady needs to get the Christmas wreath off her front door. It's almost March.

Sears Fine Food, it's great if you don't have a wait

I don't know what aspect of Sears Fine Food called out to Leland and made it a brunch destination during one of our trips to San Francisco, a million years ago. My vague recollection was that it was a mid-century diner type place (a cliché, but one I enjoy). You can read my colorful recap here. (and see pictures of the very hunky Andy Butler) here. (wrong post)

It's around the block from my hotel, so my coworker and I headed there this morning. It's much more like a classic dinner club than anything else. Dark woods, tall booths, marble counters, etc.
The bar at that place that we tried to go that time, years ago.

I had one of their signature breakfast items. It doesn't suck.
That was a waste of fruit.
And for no clear reason, I got a special treat: a Sears Fine Food doubloon or token or something. My coworker did not. With my luck, it's filled with Chinese cadmium or lead and will eventually cause health problems. But that's not why I'll give it to Leland for his birthday (although he owes me a birthday brunch and we're talking like 5 months now...).
Hooray, another "thing" for my collection!
And so concludes the years-long tale of Sears Fine Food. Let us never speak of it again.

Wait here, I have gone to get help

I am in San Francisco for a couple of days for business. Here's some of the stuff in and near my hotel:
Is it art? Is it advertising? Could it be both?
The above was the store front of an art gallery in this building [UPDATE: It IS Art Deco, it's Neo-Mayan Art Deco (here)]:
Is it Deco? Or is it too ornate for Deco?
Here's the view from my 14th floor hotel room:

And here are some views inside the room--this new aesthetic is apparently the new standard in business hotels. I am prepared to find this look dated, in like 18 months.
The crap ON the bed is mine and not part of the look.

Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms
So the most interesting part of my entire trek, thus far, has been that gravity is taking its revenge on me. 1 coffee got spilled TWICE, then my phone got knocked out of my hand and sent tumbling over in the air like something in a Jerry Lewis movie, and then my company credit card fell into a black hole under the hotel front desk. 2 different people with flashlights had to dig around feverishly looking for the card. Here's what they found before they found my card (by the way, my card was caught in the ethernet and monitor cables):
I believe I just helped the hotel recover 70 lost pens.
We will do Sears Fine Food later.

Happy Birthday Michelle Shocked

She's put together a nice array of music over the last few decades, but I'm going to make this quick. I need to go have breakfast at Sears Fine Foods (I tried to eat there once with Leland, years ago, during a long wandering through the tenderloin and around Union Square in concentric circles which prompted my proclamation of "do you even know where the fuck we are going," "an hour wait for breakfast?!" and "it's just fucking breakfast, I think I can get eggs anywhere" [after which we ate at, let's say, the Burger King across from our hotel]... years later it's around the corner from my hotel, so OMFG this better be good [and if another wait, there's a Starbucks across the street--they NEVER have a wait]).
"I heard the screams of the dying dark
Through the sweet green icing of MacArthur Park"
Anyway, let's start with "Come a Long Way," a tribute to the geographic and cultural expanse that is Los Angeles County. LA County has over 10 million residents, 88 cities, and every topography from beach to desert to mountain to forest to tranny hookers (who I used to get to walk past on my way to work--those were always an interesting 3 blocks). I'm pretty happy I didn't buy a house there, and the Spanish lyric in this song "Pescado mojado me encontre" translates to something like "I found a wet fish" and is considered confusing by many (not just me).

"Your love, love, love/Don't keep me satisfied"
Here's some gratuitous beefcake: her response to Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love."

"We're gonna give 'em that watermelon when they starts yellin'"
Her Kind Hearted Woman album of folk blues is fantastic, but I can't find anything readily available to post. So look for it, and here's a song that got used in a commercial that hints at the promise.

"Looking back and asking myself /'What the hell'd you let them break your spirit for?'
You know, their lives ran in circles so small/Ah, they thought they'd seen it all
And they could not make a place for a girl who'd seen the ocean"
It took writing this post for me to realize how much 3 of her songs about places have infiltrated my life. It was impossible for me to drive I-20 out of Dallas toward Tyler and into Louisiana without hearing "Memories of East Texas" in my head (or, very likely, on a road trip mix tape I'd prepared for that trip). Here's some random dude doing a cover.

"I walked across that burning bridge"
Chris, Sonya and I concluded our quest to visit all 50 states with Alaska. I don't think I sang "Anchorage" too too much while we were there, but who knows.

Shocked hasn't won any Grammys but I think she's picked up a nomination or two. And her musical career is worth reviewing for anyone who wants a recording contract (here).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "My House"

I was going to post another Kanye song, but apparently it's been pulled from youtube for "health reasons." So I'm going with Hercules & Love Affair, a band that I know of, kinda, in as much as I've seen this picture.
Andy Butler of Hercules & Love Affair shown for no clear reason
The song has this trippy echo effect that makes me think I'm hearing it at a club. And he must totally work out, right?

Song: "My House"
Artist: Hercules & Love Affair

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

George Takei... in a role that will surprise you

George Takei/David Wu
Coming soon to Showtime, Wu There it Is!, the true story of Oregon's craziest, furriest Congressman!

Now I know why the Portland Mercury endorsed Wu in 2010.

I feel like they need to work this outfit into the movie, which will allow Takei to sing The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like" ("I got my cat moves/That so upset them").

We need to get Takei some Emmy love!

"Tell him I'm coming!"

It's Peter Fonda's birthday, and while I was tempted to write about Ulee's Gold (as it's also Patricia Richardson's birthday), I find myself much more enthusiastic about The Limey. It's a wonderful 1999 homage to late 60s/early 70s British crime dramas like Get Carter, and for director Steven Soderbergh, it's the grittier yang to the quirky yin of his Out of Sight.

In addition to Fonda, the movie stars Terrance Stamp, Leslie Ann Warren and Luis Guzman, and has a cameo from Joe Dallesandro. Hey, for no reason related to this movie, here's a picture of Dallesandro from back in the day
A cropped photo of Joe Dallesandro
You know, for as many times as I've just typed "Dallesandro" you would think he's important to the movie. Let me know if you want that picture uncropped... (hey, the popularity of Scott Caan has been a big boost to my blogger ego, so let's see if we can get to over 500 visits per day).

Oh, you know what, here's the trailer.

If you enjoy revenge movies (Sonya), this is a good rental (or borrow from your public library). Terrance Stamp is much better than he seems in the trailer and way better than in Priscilla (he's great in the acting scenes, but so obviously uncomfortable in the drag numbers that it's nearly unwatchable).

Peter Fonda, happy birthday, dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Do You Need Someone"

I've heard this song twice this week (before this morning). The first time it sounded totally 80s, and frustrated me that I couldn't figure out how Kate Bush sang chorus on a Kraftwerk song and I went 20+ years not knowing about it. (It's Beth Ditto from The Gossip, from her solo EP.)

Yesterday the song frustrated me because it sounded so familiar (having heard it the day before, no doubt). Clark tells me my lack of short-term memory is particularly fun when I turn from my computer and tell him about something that was on the news like 10 minutes earlier while he was in the room.

I miss you, memory... come home please!

The song takes a while to engage, by the way, so give it a full listen before deciding if you like it.

Song: "Do You Need Someone"
Artist: Beth Ditto

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No... just, no

Wow, my local FOX affiliate is blowing the lid off middle school so-called "Glee" clubs.

Oh, in other pathetic FOX-related news, the new "hit comedy" Traffic Light has received glowing reviews. Glowing! From the Wall Street Journal AND the New York Post. Which means 2 newspapers owned by the guy that also owns the network said really nice things about a show on that guy's network. OMG what a really fortunate coincidence.

Wait, is that what's called "synergy"? America, fuck yeah!

In this case it already WAS art

Portlandia is annoying. Fred Armisen is annoying. The show could have/should have been called Brooklynia. "In Portland you can just put a bird on something and call it art." WTF?

But they have a site that cornifies site, except with this bird... as in:
I put a bird on my blog, but it was already art.

I think the cornified site is better:
Sparkly version of my blog

Ever have one of those days?

" a geriatric hippie"

So last year I did a birthday shout out to 2-time Oscar nominee Julie Walters. If you still haven't watch Educating Rita, what is your problem? Also, people need to get to work on a musical adaptation. It will charm Broadway. It will. Bebe Neuwirth, call me. Or Laura Bell Bundy. We can cast across a range of ages!

In the comments from last year's birthday post, this SPAM in Chinese... I think it has something to do with "sex" (see if you can figure out how I guessed that):

Here's Educating Rita.

"And as for fortune, and as for fame..."

It's Tony winner Lea Salonga's birthday. I sometimes use her in punchlines as she's a fairly obscure but very talented Broadway performer and singer. And even though she has the audacity to be, gasp, from the Philippines (it helps if you've seen Julie Brown's parody of Truth or Dare and say to yourself "pa-HILL-ih-peens"), she's broken barriers on Broadway. And, AND, the singing voices of Princess Jasmine, Pochahontas and Mulan's grandmother.

She's a regular Marni Nixon, and now that you know who that is too, it's like I need even more obscure names for punchlines. Here she tackles the most iconic song from Evita.... get it girl!

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Marni Nixon

She is The Voice of Hollywood. She provided ghost vocals for iconic musicals like The King & I, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady. Hey, here's an efficient clip of her career:

Here she is tackling "A Spoonful of Sugar" from a sing-along record of Mary Poppins (Sir Julie Andrews needs no ghost voice). The idea of this song is quaint, what with all products containing 8 ounces of high fructose corn syrup in lieu of sugar.

Despite all her fantastic work, Nixon has no EGOT credentials... yet. There's still time, people.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "The Words That Maketh Murder"

I don't know where Polly Jean Harvey ends and PJ Harvey begins. I think that latter is a band, but lately... maybe not? (CUE: Lengthy and not particularly clear explanation from Eric at the end of which I will be forced to ask AGAIN, "so is 'PJ Harvey' a band or not?")

I liked her 2009 collaboration with John Parish, and Parish appears on a few tracks of the new PJH album, Let England Shake (in fact, that's him playing trombone here). Eric's such a huge anglophile (it's got "England" in the title) and PJ Harvey fan, that I will be surprised if he doesn't pick up the disk this week. I'll report back when he does.

Song: "The Words That Maketh Murder"
Artist: PJ Harvey

Monday, February 21, 2011

Alligator OR underwater panther?

This, the Alligator Effigy Mound is in Granville, OH (details here).
Something in Granville, OH

I think I can do this job

(h/t J-rod)

The National Weather Service forecast for this week in Western Oregon:
Something may or may not happen. Indeed.

Wonder if I can get away with that in my piecharts.
People may like your product... it is also possible that they may not.

"We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession"

The taut quasi-nihilistic thoughts of birthday boy (and future boyfriend) Chuck Palahniuk from Fight Club, my second favorite of his books.

"You either have it, or you've had it"

Tony and 6-time Emmy winner Tyne Daly (plus 10 more Emmy nominations, show some respect) has a birthday today. She tore up the role of Mama Rose in Gypsy 20+ years ago. How do you like those egg rolls?

Happy Birthday Mary Chapin Carpenter

5 Grammys, and she helped Lucinda win her first Grammy. Let's just dig into the music.

I was confused by this song at first, since I thought Joan Baez wrote it. In fact, MCC did, as you hear here.

"10,000 Miles" is used to maximum tear-jerking efficiency in Fly Away Home. The scenes in flight, shot by the wonderful Caleb Deschanel, are fantastic. And no, I'm not welling up now, just mind your own business.

Finally, as Lucinda Williams once said, "sometimes you have to believe you deserve to have it all."

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

"Call Peter and bring him round"

Dina Martina pays tribute to the great men (and women!) who have been Presidents of this great land (assuming you are American, if not, then replace "that" for "this").
  The President's Day Song by rebelagenda

Song of the Day: "Helplessness Blues"

New from Fleet Foxes. Happy Monday.

Song: "Helplessness Blues"
Artist: Fleet Foxes

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Notes on The Fighter

Holy crap I liked that movie. Add this to the list of movies I wanted to see, but didn't WANT to see, and ended up loving.

It's an interesting companion to The Town, but it's so much more real (even down to the teeth, thank you). If there were an Oscar for hair, the sisters' hair would totally merit attention. If I were producing the Oscars, you would see those women doing a production number.

I went into the movie expecting an Oscar win for Christian Bale (Best Supporting Actor) and a very likely win for Melissa Leo (Best Supporting Actress), although I found Amy Adams to be considerably stronger a contender than I expected. She rocked it. As did Bale and Leo. As did Wahlberg. In many other years, Wahlberg would surely have been a nominee for Best Actor. He will have to settle for being nominated for Best Picture (as 1 of the movie's 3 nominated Producers, Marky Mark earns his second Oscar nomination).

Respect to David O. Russell for directing a boxing movie that is so much more. He's made other movies that I adore (Flirting With Disaster, Three Kings), so I am giddy that he's earned his first Oscar nomination.

Editor Pamela Martin (another nominee) kept the movie crisp and the nominated Original Screenplay treads through treacly waters nicely. And yes I had tears in my eyes at the end but that was totally allergies. I am allergic to really good movies.

And yes, I fucking found White Snake inspirational. Take that, late 80s self. Oh, Tawny Kitaen, she's age-appropriate for Liam Neeson. She's crazy, but she's hot... crazy hot (too far?).

Happy Birthday Mike Leigh and Brenda Blethyn

1996's Secrets & Lies is fucking fantastic. It was the first time I'd seen Timothy Spall who has established himself as a solid character actor. Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Brenda Blethyn both picked up Oscar nominations (the movie picked up 5), but it was a year or really great roles for women, so Blethyn lost to Frances McDormand (Fargo), but could easily have lost to Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves) or Diane Keaton (Marvin's Room). Jean-Baptiste lost to Juliet Binoche (The English Patient) in the supporting category even though Binoche's role was more of a lead than the wooden Kristin Scott-Thomas (I've liked her in most everything except The English Patient).

Blethyn's gone on to another Oscar nomination and 2 Emmy nominations, but the work she does in this scene, when she figures out that Hortense really is the child she gave up for adoption, is fantastic. Blethyn plays to over-the-top a lot but there's a real fragility mixed into that here. And Mike Leigh wrote and directed her in it (probably should have mentioned that at some point, dude's a genius in his own right and has 7 Oscar nominations including 1 this year for Another Year).

Happy birthday dudes! Rock on!

"Aqua sea foam shame"

I used to drive myself crazy trying to figure out what birthday boy (and Grammy winner) Kurt Cobain was saying in "All Apologies": "I'll forsee some shame"? Nope, just gibberish, "aqua sea foam shame."

I have dubbed this color, that my company added to its corporate marketing materials, aqua sea foam shame, although it's really a steel sea foam shame or a steel sea foam pearl.
Aqua Sea Foam Shame?

Kurt Cobain decided to kill himself rather than stay alive with Courtney Love. Good times. Hopefully Bean is doing well as an emancipated minor.

"Ain't nothin' but a heartache"

Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys has a birthday today. I have never been able to pay attention to the lyrics of this song long enough to actually know what the fuck they are saying--it's that good.

And by good I mean well produced.

Also shut up.

I'm not sure which one is gay, and I'm pretty sure none of them is Justin Timberlake and OMG did Clark throw a fit when I decided to was bored at the club because a Justin song was just coming on. SIGH. They never once played Diddy Dirty Money and we were there almost an hour.

Song of the Day: "Lotus Flower"

New Radiohead. Hooray cloud. Or something.

And while the new album, Lotus Flower, will be out... eventually, here are some viral bastardizations of this video, already on the inter-tubez.

Thom Yorke "Single Ladies"

And Thom York Rick-Rolled.

Song: "Lotus Flower"
Artist: Radiohead