Saturday, March 11, 2017

Song of the Day: "Name for You"

I was going to post "Fantasy Island" from the new Shins album, then I heard it. And now I'm not.



Song: "Name for You"
Artist: The Shins

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Concrete Blonde and Thelma Schoonmaker, Dede Allen & Verna Fields

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Concrete Blonde hit the music scene in 1986 with their self-titled debut, one of a few actual rock albums with a female vocalist that year. They developed their sound and audience, earning a pretty solid "one hit wonder" single with "Joey" in 1990. When I saw Johnette Napolitano open for Paul Weller in 1997 she said she stopped playing the song for a while then decided to resume, reasoning that the song bought her mom a house.

Napolitano also gets bonus points for closing the band's 1989 show in Atlanta with an acapella version of "Words." I'm pretty sure most people at the show had no idea it was a Bee Gees song.



The women of this post aren't unique in the role of film editors on high profile movies--women have been editing film as early as Margaret Booth in 1915 and worked on classics like The Ten Commandments, Stagecoach, Lawrence of Arabia and Cleopatra. But these 3 editors represented a new generation of American film makers and their style influenced generations of directors who would follow.

Thelma Schoomaker is Martin Scorcese's film editor. While Scorcese was denied an Oscar win until 2007, Schoonmaker won 3 Oscars for work on his movies, beginning with Raging Bull (she was nominated before working with him; 6 of her 7 nominations and all 3 of her wins are for his films).



Dede Allen edited Bonnie and Clyde (the shoot out in the finale confused the studio executives who fired her from the film, but Warren Beatty kept her on paying her himself. Her other films include Dog Day Afternoon, Reds and The Breakfast Club (for reals, that's how I learned who she was, writing a paper on The Breakfast Club).



Verna Fields was a USC professor and editor who earned the name "Mother Cutter." She worked on the first films of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Peter Bogdanovich. She edited Jaws for fuck's sake.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: KoKo Taylor and Yuri Kochiyama

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

KoKo Taylor is the Queen of the Blues. Her flavor of blues is Chicago blues and electric blues. She played live music beginning in the late 50s and released her first record in 1965. She had one genuine hit record early on in her career, and then a life of touring and new music (there are worse ways to make a living). She influenced Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin and Susan Tedeschi, among others.



She is a lesser known name from the civil rights movement: a Japanese American spurred into activism after the internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. She joined Malcolm X's movement after meeting him at a protest and was with X when he was assassinated (she held him as he died). She worked for reparations for those interred after Pearl Harbor (awarded to survivors in 1988) and fought bigotry and profiling of Muslims, Middle Easterners and South Asians, viewing that is the same treatment her family endured.

She is said to have "complicated beliefs" and made some controversial statements. If she were a wealthy white male that would make her eligible to be President.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Carly Simon and 4 Little Girls

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

It would be easy to dismiss Simon as not being sufficiently rock and roll for the hall, but Paul Simon is in the hall. Twice. Paul Simon is no more rock and roll than Carly Simon. Period.

Her 40+ year career has created music that's embedded itself into our cultural zeitgeist, won an Oscar and taken on board the Space Shuttle Challenger. Tori Amos, Taylor Swift and Natalie Maines all cite her as an influence.

She has 21 Hot 100 singles and 24 Hot 200 albums, 2 Grammys and that Oscar (and Golden Globe).



On September 15, 1963, 15 sticks of dynamite exploded under the front steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Four girls were killed: Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Carol Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14). 20 more church goers were injured. No one was prosecuted for nearly 15 years.

The bombing, followed by the assassination of John Kennedy a few weeks later, are considered pivotal in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Quote of the Day: No Mo Muslims Edition

"Do you lock your front door at night? If so, don't complain about Trump's ban."

I read that weeks ago and something always bothered me about the logic. The metaphor was basically that Trump was locking our collective front door to keep us safe, but it seemed to lose track of some of the nuance (nuance is probably too soft a word) facts:

  • This act "locked out" people who had a right to come in. American citizens were denied the right to travel freely without being charged with a crime. That's denial of due process. Remember how everyone says they love the Constitution? Wouldn't it be fucking great if they'd remember the Constitution is more than the Second Amendment?
  • This act locked the front door while leaving the side door propped open. This is a metaphor for access bt people from countries that better met the definition of heightened concern stated by the Trump administration [basically they are more of a MUSLIM MUSLIM MUSLIM EXTREMIST threat based on historical acts of terrorisms and shit].

The new Trump ban, same as the old Trump ban (in that it never banned travel from MUSLIM countries with Trump hotel properties) has been introduced.
“Unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege, especially when national security is at stake,”--John F. Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security
Yes it is. The right to travel freely cannot be abridged without due process. Fuck, John F. Kelly, it's in the fifth amendment.

They hate us for our freedoms that we're going to take away from you so you can have your freedom. This country is so fucking dumb.

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: The B-52s and Helen Thomas

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

There are a couple of seminal punk and new wave bands that I erroneously thought were already inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The B-52s is one of those bands.

I feel like the band shouldn't need much introduction, but perhaps that's from being alive during the last 40 years and/or listening to music during that time. The band, whose distinctive sound relies considerably on the vocals of both Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson (I point this out because Wilson took a break from the band and her absence was noticeable [which is a polite way of calling it bad]).

The B-52s changed their name from The B-52's in 2008 (probably to make Erin happy). 

They are considered the greatest party band in the world, and they're a reminder that there's a place in rock musical for whimsy. Not a big place, mind you, but that's okay. I've seen them four times now, and they're an act worth seeing live, before one of them breaks a hip.



Helen Thomas is a pioneer for women in journalism. She was an ass-kicking journalist who forced her way into the all boys club of the Washington press corps.
 "Thomas, a fixture in American politics, is outspoken, blunt, demanding, forceful and unrelenting. Not only does she command respect by the highest powers in the US, her reputation is known worldwide." When Cuban leader Fidel Castro was asked in the early 2000s what was the difference between democracy in Cuba and democracy in the United States, Castro reportedly replied, "I don't have to answer questions from Helen Thomas."--Wikipedia
At a time when most of the Washington press corps had become fucking stenographers for the Bush administration, Helen Thomas challenged their actions. She called Bush the "worst president in American history" but then she died before Trump's inauguration.

Thomas had the audacity to question anything Israel did and thus is an antisemitic monster who must be forgotten. Why were those stupid Palestinians even living in that country to begin with? They're the ones who're wrong, thinking they deserved to keep their homes and be treated with dignity... that's just crazy talk. Israel is the best because, Bible.




* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: X and Ada Lovelace

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

There are a couple of seminal punk and new wave bands that I erroneously thought were already inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. X is one of them (this is about X the band, and not Exene Cervenka as a solo artist because... come on).

Their sound matured, then evolved, from raw punk to punk to cow punk to rock to alternative melange. They lacked the consistency of sound of The Ramones and Fugazi (I'm willing to bet a series of A&R executives each had an idea about their sound), and the "rock out with your cock out" frat boy fan base of Red Hot Chili Peppers, but Rolling Stone ranked Los Angeles and Wild Gift on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time (OF. ALL. TIME.) and Pitchfork includes Los Angeles on their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. 

And lists are never wrong. 

If you look at the list of things that are never wrong, lists is #2 (I am #1).

Members of X are also sometimes members of The Knitters and also sometimes release solo albums and also sometimes are actors. John Doe was almost David Duchovny in X-Files, and is a musical theater enthusiast. Exene predicted this freaky thing in one of her songs.



Ada Lovelace is not a porn star. She is the product of a mother who did NOT want her daughter taking up after her father's line of business, and of a father who was fucking Byron. Lord fucking Byron. Lord Byron, fuck. 

Her mom, Anne Isabella Noel Byron, 11th Baroness Wentworth and Baroness Byron, insisted that her daughter learn science and math (and probably accounting) to keep her from the insanity and hedonism of poetry. The Byrons were not a happy couple.

She ran with the science crowd (Michael Faraday, Charles Wheatstone, you know the types) and was friends with Charles "the father of computers" Babbage (seriously, if you do a search on "the father of computers" you will get Charles Babbage, and pictures of penises). She also translated an article on Babbage's Analytical Engine from Italian to English (a girl who could read and write BOTH Italians and English? she's a witch!!!) and made an elaborate series of notes and annotations which contain the first computer program. 

That's right, the first computer program predates the first computer.

Take that, males.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Marianne Faithfull and Corazon Aquino

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Hopefully you're paying attention to the footnote about gravitas that I've been including in these posts. Marianne Faithfull is rock & roll (she's #25 on VH1's"100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll" list), but she's less rock & roll music, more rock & roll lifestyle. She had a string of success in the 60s; left her husband of less than a year to live with Mick Jagger; co-wrote "Sister Morphine"; learned to enjoy drugs; probably inspired the songs "Sympathy for the Devil", "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Wild Horses"; possibly inspired the song "And Your Bird Can Sing"; then became a heroin addict, homeless and anorexic. 

By 1975 she'd gotten clean and resumed recording. She averages 3 or 4 albums each decade, although none of them big hits. Her biggest visibility is either her singing on Metallica's "The Memory Remains" or appearing as God on Absolutely Fabulous (two things that have almost no audience overlap whatsoever). 

She is the first person to say "fuck" in a movie produced by a major studio (oh yeah, she's also an actress), she was the first choice of the producers of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the role of Magenta, and she is Baroness Von Sacher-Masoch but eschews the title (she's Austrian royalty but says "fuck it": total rock & roll).

In 2002 she collaborated with a few contemporary musicians (Beck, Billy Corgan, Jon Brion). She wrote "Song for Nico" with Dave Stewart during that period. She identified with Nico but contrasts their careers as Nico suffering injustice while Faithfull was blessed with luck.



Speaking of rock & roll, Corazon Aquino was a "plain housewife" (her words) who, after her husband (an outspoken critic of Fedinand Marcos, who held power in the Philippines for more than 20 years) was assassinated. She ran for President against Macros in 1985. Marcos was declared the winner but allegations of voter fraud led led to civil unrest which led to the People Power Revolution (surprisingly this was NOT a Prince tribute band) which led to Marcos losing power and fleeing to the USA and to Corazon becoming President of the Philippines in 1986. She was the first female President in Asia and Time's Woman of the Year for 1986. Here's the first part of her historic speech before a joint session of the US Congress.



Bonus: my beloved Jan Hooks played Aquino on the SNL sketch "The Pat Stevens Show" with Nora Dunn.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Tracy Chapman and Henrietta Lacks

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Tracy Chapman's 1988 debut album is an example of the best and worst things record labels do for their acts. She wasn't discovered by a record label A&R person;  it was the kid of a music publishing company executive that helped her get signed to Elektra Records. Once signed to the label, it was difficult to line-up a producer for the album since the usual suspects were heavily focused on the popular pop and dance sounds of the time (this T'Pau and Nu Shooz and Expose); David Kershenbaum agreed to produce (making it his first project at Elektra, having been a VP of A&R at A&M before that) because he'd been looking for an acoustic record (since record labels only sign artists that sound like, or can be made to sound like, a current hit artist, he would have found a paucity of acoustic-oriented acts since labels were signing the next Whitney or Phil Collins or Expose). Despite the fact that the artist was relatively inexperienced, AND was Black and a woman, but was NOT an R&B-sounding woman, the album went platinum... 20 times platinum. Tracy Chapman is one of the first albums by a girl singer to reach Diamond status (10 million+ in sales).

Chapman won 4 Grammy awards (Best New Artist, Best Pop Female Vocalist for "Fast Car" and Best Contemporary Folk Album for Tracy Chapman; Best Rock Song for "Give Me One Reason"). Here's a song she wrote about the terrorist Nelson Mandela...



Henrietta Lacks died at age 31 from cervical cancer. Cells harvested from her tumor, taken without permission or acknowledgement, were cultured and used in scientific research (some of it for commercial purposes). The HeLa cells are "immortal" which is a thing cells can be. 

Scientists have grown more than 20 tons of her cells and there are over 10,000 patents based on the cells. Oprah is making a movie about all of this.  



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.