To honor the final year of my thirties as well as the recent publication of my constraint-based Faulkner-inspired memoir, AS I STAND LIVING, which chronicles the year I became a father, I’m going to document my various sources of media input each week: art, literature, music, movies, television, and so on. New updates every Monday until I turn forty (March 19, 2018).
Installation art by Sonia Kacem:
Mark Twain destroys James Fenimore Cooper in this brutal essay from 1895. “I beg to remind you that an author’s way of setting forth a matter is called his style, and that an author’s style is a main part of his equipment for business. The style of some authors has variety in it, but Cooper’s style is remarkable for the absence of this feature.”
Bonobo’s new album Migration. Self described as “electronic ambient electronic chill out downtempo electronica Brighton” via their Bandcamp. Their album Black Sands moves through some Southeast Asian inspirations, some club beats, etc.
Shane Blanchard’s video for “Drowsy” by Bane’s World remixes Edward Scissorhands so beautifully:
Poetry by John Rufo at Dreginald:
Dancing with the Stars. Feeling camaraderie with David Ross, the former baseball player with the Cubs, born exactly one year before me, March 19, 1977.
In the car, we have John Zorn’s 2009 abum O’o on repeat. According to wikipedia, “The title refers to the ʻōʻō of the Hawaiian Islands, the last living members of the now-extinct songbird family Mohoidae.” As a longtime fan of Zorn’s work, what impresses me most about this one comes down to the way it goes in so many different directions finding footing in the unlikeliest of places. Sometimes I wonder who we could even consider parallel to Zorn? Has he no match? I think of Zappa, mostly because of the sheer range of wild directions each of them explore. But thinking about the distance between this album and, say, his Naked City stuff compares to the distance between…I just Goggled “what two cities are furthest apart” but of course I should have written “farthest” apart.If you wander around that search for a minute you find that in fact no one seems to agree on these selections. Loads of other contenders for the title get acknowledged. At any rate, there’s a fairly sizable distance between this blissed out 2009 album we’re listening to in the car right now and my introduction to Zorn back in 1996 via the brilliant savagery of Torture Garden from his 1990 Naked City project. A coworker at the video store I worked at back then turned me on to a bunch of amazing weirdness from Zorn to Merzbow to Diamanda Galás to Lidia Lunch and so on. I wonder whatever happened to that guy?
Trudy Benson, a “talented abstract painter,” from Brooklyn:
New piece called “The Smoke is Thinning” from one of america’s finest sentence writers, Blake Butler, with one like this: “I had never thought of myself as wholly good or evil, which must mean I’m some of both, which means I didn’t know what to think about the war against anything not us, or any war at all ever for that matter, and what did what I thought matter to the coming outcome in the end?” As Shangela would say, “”halleloo.”
Venenum’s new album Trance of Death opens like an operatic dream. The swell toward the death metal pounding builds quick like a bunny. All of a sudden the metal explodes all over f.s.a.’s vocals. Lots of instrumental portions. Highs and lows. Thrashing and mellow drifting. Driving along Mulholland around the Santa Monica Mountains, looking down on Los Angeles around 2 AM, the twinkling neighborhoods, and then jump-cut to a motel room in Van Nuys on a 98 degree July afternoon, no air conditioning, and black trash bags taped over the windows to blacken out the world. Moments of such beauty and then moments of brutal savagery.
Evie Shockley’s new special edition of Evening Will Come called Power of|and|in Poetry.
Aja going up for elimination this week on Drag Race shocked me and Caitlin. We agreed, RuPaul picked Aja to lip sync against Kimora to ensure Kimora went home. Farrah Moan might have lost to Kimora, which is why she landed safe even though she merely wrapped a piece of fabric around her waist. Aja can work the lip sync, even if her make-up looks busted beyond repair. We’ve noticed RuPaul use this method before, though. Seems like Detox got called on to knock out a few girls in her season, by landing in the bottom two despite her sickening looks, because she killed everyone at lip syncing. If you wanted a particular girl to go home, put her against Detox and she’s sure to end up packing. Was the RoLaskaTox season my favorite of all? Probably. Next to All Stars 2, of course, where my favorite queen finally took the crown.
Although Westbrook annoys me, his achievement this season deserves recognition. Averaging a triple double, getting more than Oscar Robertson in a single season — although I believe Robertson actually averaged a triple double for his entire career, not just one season! Anyway, he’s from Los Angeles. So is Harden, the other legit MVP contender this year, and now Harden’s agent is the Lakers GM. Revised imaginary starting line-up next year: Lonzo Ball at point, Harden at shooting guard, Paul George at the three, Brandon Ingram at the four, and…wait for it…Larry Nance Jr. at center. Finals for sure.
Two NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts…
Amazing new issue of Plinth. That journal continues to smash homers. Work from Brian Evenson, Robert Kloss, Will Alexander, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Marie Schutt, Jamie Grefe, Jessie Janeshek, Pierre Abidi with assistance of The Institute for Erotic Vertigo, and Deborah Birch.
Annoyingly, the Lakers decided to finally start winning some games here at the end of the season, thereby losing at losing: given they’re meant to tank in order to secure a top-three draft pick position. What a mess. During the final home game of the season, playing the Timberwolves and winning at the buzzer, I saw a fan wearing a #2 Lonzo Ball jersey. Not gonna materialize if we win the last two games. The Suns only hold a one game advantage at present. Of course, we won’t win the last two games given the match-ups are against the Pelicans and then the Warriors. The last time Julius Randle went against Boogie, back in November, they got into it. As I recall, we kept double teaming him and he got super frustrated. Of course, he played for the Kings then and it’s much easier double teaming a guy when he’s not playing next to Anthony Davis. Wouldn’t be surprised if Davis and Cousins “rest,” though. Same with the starters for Oakland. So maybe we’ll win those, too. At any rate, the last two games of the season, Tuesday and Wednesday I think, promise to entertain.
This video of Mykki Blanco reciting “I want a dyke for president” by activist/artist Zoe Leonard in 1992 lands so many solids it’s unbelievable: