Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Rebel Spell - upcoming punk show of note

Still my favourite young poltical punk band, Vancouver's the Rebel Spell has a show coming up at the Cobalt, May 23rd... give a listen to their songs (that's their Myspace Link) and tell me there ain't somethin' special about'em...

Albert Hofmann passes on at 102: it is not dying

Without this guy, what would your life have been like? I mean, sure, there are other ways to explore the outer reaches - but it's pretty interesting to think just how much has come into this world, good and bad, due to one man.

(There's a thread on the Nomeanswhatever forum where you can share your "without Albert Hoffman, I never would have..." stories, btw).

The Wire Online

Various artists who contributed to, or were mentioned in, the Wire article have song samples for download on the Wire's site! Up now! Check it out!

Monday, April 28, 2008

John Lurie: A Fine Example of Art

The most fun you're likely to ever have with an art book: John Lurie: A Fine Example of Art collects over 80 of John Lurie's recent paintings - from the cartoonish to the painterly - in oversized hardcover form. They're nicely reproduced - the book looks lovely - and, though it's hardly an aesthetic consideration, is a damn good deal; with my iRewards card at Chapters, I paid less than $50 for it, after taxes! (At this juncture, you have to order it in, but it only takes about a week). See more of John's art here, and look for my interview with him, dealing with his illness, his art, his frustrations with the art world, and, yes, online poker, in the current issue of subTerrain (which also bosts a Lurie painting on the cover). By the way, the title of the piece on the front of the book is "First You Blow Us, Then We'll Let You Go."

Friday, April 25, 2008

(Half of) No Fun at Chapters: an informal chat with David M.

People know that David M. of No Fun does a monthly gig at Chapters on Robson, right? Commuting from Surrey, he’s been in charge of the magazine department there for years, and has been doing solo acoustic shows in-store, from 1 to 3pm, on the third Saturday of every month for about six of those years, with little or no fanfare (are No Fun fans not fond of Chapters? Could this be the explanation? I certainly haven’t gone, but mostly because I’m too lazy to do the math to figure out when said gig happens, exactly). Always a figure of underground fame in Vancouver, he described Chapters as “a new underground” to me on the phone, tho' apparently, he was having a very No Fun oriented shift when I called (I was not the first person to go "David? As in David M.?" when he answered the phone, apparently). In fact, I’d been calling to see if the new Wire was in the store yet - it ain’t - and ended up chatting about music with him, asking him those pressing No Fun-related questions that have lingered in my mind, like, why does the band - which has been around for 20-some years and put out several cassette recordings and such - not have CDs for sale?

“We’re the group without CDs,” he explained, with typically deadpan humour, before translating into bad French (“le group sans CDs,” or something like that). “A glut of good stuff [such as CDs] is still a glut,” he opined, and No Fun doesn’t want to contribute to it; he told me about a CD he released in a run of one, giving the copy to a single fan, under the name of David M’s Ironic Acronym - saying that, tho’ people may not be able to buy No Fun CDs at Red Cat and Scratch, at least “the one guy who has [that one CD] is pleased.”

I cannot argue with such logic. But will he provide me a CD burn of 1894, my favourite No Fun cassette of yore? (The one with “Be Like Us,” “Work, Drink, Fuck, Die,” and, if memory serves, “Paisley Brainbolts of the Mind” on it. I can live without “I’m Not Taking Suzy to the Be-in,” tho’ I’d probably pick up Snivel, too, were it, say, available on CD.) Mr. M is noncommittal on this question: “maybe.” I get around to it again, and he stands firm: maybe.

When he found out that I was a Vancouver writer - hence my search for the Wire piece - and that, indeed, I was at the Vancouver Complication gig, where No Fun performed in duo form, he asked if I’d written the review of it that he’d seen run in the Big Takeover, reprinted (apparently) from some local mag. It took him describing the review to me - which he called “the best No Fun review ever” - for me to realize that indeed it was not mine: “the guy said he went out to his car to get something and when he came back he found out that he had missed No Fun, ‘but he heard they were really good!’” David gave a little chuckle. That gig was in fact one of only three No Fun gigs I've seen - I saw No Fun at Christmas at the Railway, years ago; I saw them open for Robyn Hitchcock even further back, at the Town Pump; and I caught the Complication mini-set. I'm primed to see No Fun play again.

And so: the next David M. gig at Chapters will be on May 17th, and, David reports, he may also do something special for Mothers’ Day. This time, I’ve got the date fixed in my head, and I’m going to be there.

He may have an 1894 for me, after all.

(Post-script: You can apparently download "Be Like Us" for free at Download.com, btw. I wonder if No Fun have a Myspace?).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fake Jazz - Josh Stevenson, The Sorrow and the Pity, Jazzfest

Photos by Femke van Delft

Hm! Those interested in checking out Fake Jazz Wednesdays (if'n you haven't already) should definitely bear April 30th in mind. Josh Stevenson, formerly of Jackie-O Motherfucker, currently of BCVCO, and head of the Cast Exotic imprint will be doing his Magnetic Ring thing there (which I have yet to actually see and am quite excited about); Dave Chokroun, meanwhile - the pic at the top - will be leading the Sorrow and the Pity, with Darren Williams - a spastic Minutemen-meets-Albert-Ayler poltico-poetic blustering shitstorm of punk/jazz playfulness that sees Dave step away from the bass and get back behind the drumkit. (Dave and I talk a bit about the project here - and fuck, the songs on the Myspace page are GREAT! Dig "The Ape Man!"). I'm told saxophonist Williams may take a hiatus from th' scene for awhile, for reasons I forget, so there may not be many other chances to see these guys soonish... Also on the bill are trippy drone psychedelia artists Ascend, Vipers! and Set Sail to Sea, whose Myspace account I cannot find.
By the by, both Josh and Dave are featured prominently in my Wire piece; the photos above are outtakes from Femke van Delft, and happen to be shots we submitted to the Wire that, to the best of my knowledge, they did not use.

Oh: Coastal Jazz announced it's jazzfest lineup today - The Thing is coming back! Yaaah! (and with Ken Vandermark, too!).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Three New Magazines with My Stuff in Them

In recent months, I have laboured long, friends, on a couple of different pieces on musician/ actor/ painter John Lurie, whose work, humour, and sense of style I have drawn inspiration and joy from for years. (Go listen to the Marvin Pontiac samples on the Strange and Beautiful site, if you don't know what I'm talkin' about). subTerrain picked up the first major article to be drawn from my interviews with John - which deals with his illness, his paintings, his frustrations with the art world and the music industry, and his new book, John Lurie: A Fine Example of Art (which is a delightful item indeed)... and it has a west coast tie in, which I'll leave y'all to discover. Anyhow: looks like it's coming out this week!
Note: the image on the left may not reflect the final cover, as I lifted it from a launch invite they sent me, but it'll give you some idea what to look for! The painting is Of Course Animals Have Souls, by Lurie; you can view it and more of John's work here.

Also exciting to me is that the new issue of the Wire is out, which features my one-page Global Ear report on the local avant-garde music scene. Drawn up from interviews with Josh Stevenson, Heather Jean McDermid, Dave Chokroun, Dan Kibke, and J. P. Carter, it also manages to pack in about as much Olympics-dread as I could fit into a 1000-word survey of new music. Subscribers already have it, but stores may not be getting it for a few days yet. At some point - I assume soon - samples of some of the bands discussed (like, say, Ejaculation Death Rattle, or Sistrenatus, or the Her Jazz Noise Collective, or - whoever gets it together to send them sound files) will be appearing on the Wire's site.

It's always nerve-wracking when new people are publishing my writing, truth be known - kind of like leaving your baby with strangers: you never quite know if they're going to chop off its feet, or subject it to Satanic Ritual Abuse, or somefin'. It might go to explain why I feel half-ill tonight, tho' generally speaking, I've overtaxed myself these last few months (in part, due to these very articles!). I can see why most folks come home from work, thwack on the television, and open a beer...

Thankfully, there is less worry to be had re: Bixobal, the third issue of which is out, featuring my enormous interview with Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders. It's the third piece I've done with Eric and I have no reason to think it'll be any less positive an experience than the No Neck Blues Band thing (issue 1) or the Phil Minton article (issue 2). This one you're gonna have to hunt for, tho' I gather Scratch sometimes gets in copies. There's routinely stuff by the Bishop brothers of the former Sun City Girls, and all sorts of cool outside/experimental music articles and reviews. THIS is where my heart really is, musically speaking - and check out the pic on the cover, by Climax Golden Twins' Rob Millis, of a record store in India:
Anyhow, anyone wanting to congratulate me on the subTerrain piece (or fans of John Lurie's) might wanna come down to Cafe Montmartre at 7PM tomorrow night (ie., Wednesday) for the magazine launch. I may or may not be reading/playing a portion of my Lurie interview, but I will definitely have John's new book in tow, and I'm told that Sandy Bone will be providing musical entertainment...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Minimalist Jug Band, Petunia, et alia at Slickety Jim's, April 18

The Minimalist Jug Band, Al Mader, foreground, seated; Petunia, background, performin'

All photos by Femke van Delft

You know the Salvation Army down by Zulu Records? You ever shop the used CD rack there? I have. Discs too scratchy for Zulu sometimes get ditched there, and occasionally I’ve scored cool books or vinyl, too (Monocerous by Evan Parker for a buck!). Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I was lookin’ thru their CDs, thinkin’ hm, this 7 Seconds CD is kinda TOO-too scratchy, and this Dog Faced Hermans CD actually doesn’t have any disc inside it - but hey, look, there’s a disc by Petunia (that's the official site; hear his songs here, or check Petunia's Myspace here).

Petunia gets passionate

Now: Petunia’s name has come up around me mostly in the course of my interviews - two, now - with Al Mader, aka the Minimalist Jug Band (yes, you’re right - I incorporated a bit of the first one into the second, and yes, there is a sentence-level glitch in the Nerve article, which I tend to black out with felt pens when sharing the print copy around. My editor was so used to my impeccable prose that he got lax, I guess!) Both o’their most recent CDs - Petunia’s City of Life, or: Hayride to Hell, and Al’s Thrift Stories - featured the same song, “My Gal” by Petunia yoked to Mader’s “Love isn’t Blue,” making the most of their mutual guest appearances. Fun idea, but I’d never really seen him live before or spent time on him as a solo phenomenon, and while I’m gradually being seduced to the glories of country music - the roundabout way, through oldtimey and Eugene Chadbourne covers, and the like, or, say, by Rich Hope and his Blue Rich Rangers - whom I heartily exhort any fans of the form to come see at the Railway on the 29th - I did not know that I was ready to buy a CD by anyone who yodels and appears on his CD art in a cowboy hat, however good Al told me he was. So even at $2.99, having considered it, even having carried it around the thrift store with me while I browsed, I ultimately put it back on the shelf.

Ah, penance. This weekend I paid $20 for that selfsame CD at Slickety Jim’s Chat’n’Chew, where Petunia performed alongside the Minimalist Jug Band and some guy from Abbotsford named Cam Twyford, whom I had not heard before. At first the young Mr. Twyford’s acoustic strumming seemed a tad too maudlin and hippie-sincere, with a song, say, about how raindrops dream of the clouds when they fall, but must drown in collective puddles to survive once they reach earth; a bit of a “Earnestness Yecch” factor overwhelmed the endearing aspects of some images (“we’re all magical, tragical mixed-up grasshoppers,” say), which was unfortunate. I started to warm to him when he started singing about the importance of fertilizer - well, poo, really - to gardening and the seed cycle, and by his final songs - one with the memorable couplet, which I do not at all understand, “We are the memory stealers/ We’ll amputate your feelers” - I was enjoying him quite a bit (tho’ poo came up again in his final set - “thank God for plumbing/ it takes your poo away” - which seemed an odd aesthetic choice; who would want to be pegged as “the guy who sings about poo?”). Cam DID give a plug to The Skinny, which apparently has a review of the Minimalist Jug Band’s most recent CD in their 2nd, current issue. While he wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I would bet he’s one o’ the better singer-songwriter-folkie types that Abbotsford has produced.

Cam Twyford

Twyford’s songs alternated with those by Petunia and Al throughout the night. Performing in front of a “David Lynch red curtain” - Femke joked that she expected a dwarf to appear, and Petunia in particular, impeccably dressed and neatly groomed, looked like he could have stepped out of a country bar in Lost Highway - the two men provided a very interesting counterpoint to each other. Petunia presents as a professional cowboy performer with a long history behind him, singing in a rich, twangy, perfectly-controlled voice about how crickets were calling in the Canadian night, doing a rendition of “Blue Christmas” - as if he knew that unseasonal snow would soon start falling - and doing a terrific, passionate take of my favourite song on the new disc, “Mercy” - a sort of dark rockabilly tune with an upbeat tempo and pleasantly anguished lyrics. His patter was well-organized and perfectly delivered, and his humour - as he joked about busking in London, say, before singing a song about that city - tended to a dry, wry wit.

The Minimalist Jug Band looks to the heavens for inspiration

Tho’ Petunia did have a goofy li’l ragtime-type horn that he blew into to accompany himself at times, he came nowhere near the impassioned faux-nuttiness of Al’s performance, which tended to be a little prop-heavy that night: he had a Smarties box on a coathanger that fit around his neck where Petunia actually had an instrument; and he made a little self-assaultive gag of sawing through some wrapping material that he’d tied into his longish hair while riffing on “Take the Ribbon from My Hair,” or whatever song that was. As always, his humour was kinda self-deprecating (by request, he did “I’m a Lousy Lay” and other favourites like “Problems in a Box” - Femke was laughing aloud for that one, which she hadn’t heard before - and “Making Myself Sick.”) One treat was a new song he did about a trip to Iceland, where “people don’t die except by suicide;” he jokingly riffed on how miserable the environment was, and how at home he felt there (“I wish I’d never come here/ and I wish that I could stay...This place is miraculous. This place is ridiculous. I guess that’s true of all of us.” I’m not entirely sure I scribbled down the lyrics correctly, but the song was delightful. Probably a couple of years until it appears on CD, alas.

Andrew Burden by Femke van Delft

And if that doesn’t seem like enough for your money (which was basically by donation, tho’ most people also ate or had a beer; I recommend the turkey sandwhich - named a Dove in Your Hand, I think, or maybe a Bird in Your Bush, for reasons our cute, pleasant waitress could not explain), after Al and Petunia and Cam had all done a couple of sets, an enormous, nose-pierced, cowboy-hatted fellow named, I think, Andrew Burden (of the Golden Wedding Band) also did one song - a country blues number that was interspersed with impassioned Screamin’ Jay Hawkins-ish scats, which he roared with a gusto that made the short hairs at the back of my neck tingle and caused the ghost of Dave van Ronk to bend an ear towards the proceedings. I gather Slickety Jim’s (on Main at Broadway, btw) will be having more such events in the future. I heartily recommend checking them out, 'specially if Petunia is curating...

By the way, Al: much as I appreciate the fact that the first two - and now, doubtlessly, three - links that appear when anyone searches for you are articles written by me, you really oughta at least get a Myspace page, or Facebook, or SOMEthin'! You don't wanna be left out in the cold!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Next Step in Elephant Art

I've seen paintings done by elephants before - naive art meets abstract expressionism meets Wild Kingdom. Sometimes they're pleasing to look at, but there is little evidence of anything approaching serious artistic choice. There was a book a few years ago, detailing how two Russian artists established a preserve for (if I recall) retired tourism elephants in Thailand, where the former beasts of burden could try their trunks at less taxing tourist-pleasing and income-generating pastimes. The art is no more interesting than in, say, Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics; squiggles, dabs, splashes - nothing very controlled, but the idea is oddly pleasing - less objectionable, say, than a dancing bear.

This video, however, stands out as something new to me - a clip of an elephant painting what seems to be, well, an elephant (whether it's to be understood as a self-portrait or a portrait of another elephant I can't really say, particularly since the animal likely has no idea what, exactly, it is doing - just producing lines as taught). Having looked into this a few years ago, I can attest that elephants were painting no such images back then; this is something wholly new. While the cheering tourists seem pretty gullible, it's still pretty remarkable to watch, and is already a Youtube favourite. I had no idea that the elephants could be trained to this extent - to produce actual likenesses.

For further research: a Thai website that sells elephant art; and a Snopes urban legend page on elephant art, with various further links. Also take a peek at eBay item 280217166008, an image of some flowers painted by an elephant, and compare it with 280217182162 - from the same seller in Thailand; the paintings are very nearly the same, showing the degree to which the elephant is just doing what it's been taught. One past auction (280215951756) by the same seller, vero389, shows a pair of elephants walking in the field, and fetched over $500 US - the priciest elephant art piece I've yet to see (is it the family theme, invoked by the fact that one elephant is slightly smaller, that accounts for the high price, or the simple fact that the paintings actually look like elephants?).
However neat all this may be, perhaps we should really understand these as actually being paintings by humans, with the elephant as simply a rather cumbersome medium? (ie, "Study of Flowers," by Phong Suc Tep; paper, watercolours, elephant). If you program your computer to produce a work of art, for instance - it's still YOU that is the artist.
How would vegans feel about elephant art, I wonder?
Post-script: ...and then there's the Thai Elephant Orchestra. Elephants playing theremin? Hmm...
Now, if people really want to wow the tourists - teach the elephants to make pizzas and serve beer. A full-service elephant restaurant, with elephant music, elephant art... a nice elephant massage... The possibilities are endless...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Last minute tickets: Hardstock, Daniel Johnston

Pssst - as of Tuesday night, Dale at Noize to Go (that cool little shop by A&B "colour me irrelevant" Sound) has a couple of Daniel Johnston tickets left, and a handful of Hardstock tickets. These gigs are selling out fast around town, thought I'd let y'all know where you can still get some.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Brotzmann and Haino

Sweet jeepers. You ever have those moments where - perhaps after a generous huff of cat pee (see a coupla posts ago) - you remember a CD you have that you've completely forgotten about, and absolutely need to put it on? Peter Brotzmann and Keiji Haino's Evolving Blush or Driving Original Sin, that's the CD of the night. It's a shame I get so locked into work that these "holy shit I NEED to hear that album NOW" moments only really happen when I've altered my state - otherwise, music just stays in the background while I wonder what work I have to do next. I agree with the reviewer linked above that Brotzmann and Haino are a bit of an odd pairing, but it's precisely the reality of that pairing that I needed to experience; I've gotten to know both men so much better musically since I bought this album - especially Brotzmann - that the very fact that they've recorded together is a cause for delight. I wonder if Brotzmann has ever collaborated with Eugene Chadbourne...?

Hey, Peter Brotzmann has a Myspace Page!

Hardstock Benefit tickets selling quickly!

The following is from a mass mailing that arrived in my inbox. A must-be-at gig, April 25th at the Commodore, featuring an amazing host of local musicians (the Pointed Sticks, the Furies, and I, Braineater are the selling points for me), going to benefit Scott Harding. Read on for more, or visit the Hardstock site. I'm told tickets are selling fast, so don't delay!

On Feb 15 2008, Scott Harding was badly injured in a hit and run collision in NYC. He has no health insurance. He is a musician, artist and friend. 100% of the net proceeds from this show go to help him.
This benefit show, which features the cream of Vancouver musicians from the last 30 years, will take place April 25 at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC. Headlining is a super group we have created for the occasion called The Hard Ones, featuring (in alphabetical order) Barney Bentall, Doug Elliot, Paul Hyde, Colin James, Simon Kendall, Colin Nairne, Craig Northey, Pat Steward...and others; The Pointed Sticks; The Jazzmanian Devils; John Mann from Spirit of the West with his son; Bughouse 5; Hardrock Miners; the Furies; I Braineater; Go for 3, and the Mike Webster band. Doors open at 7:00 and Music starts at 7:30 sharp. Did we say that 100% of the net proceeds go to Scotty Hard? Why? Because he needs it, and we love him and he deserves it. Our number one goal is to raise money for him in this time of need.
Another goal is to honour the universal health care program we have in Canada, which helps to make us a civilized country. While Scott is a citizen of Canada, he has been living in the US for some time with a green card. As a musician, engineer, recording producer and artist, he is like so many other Americans who do not have health insurance. Barack Obama says there are 47 million of them. Which is a number that means nothing until you know someone personally who needs help, and can't afford to pay for it. This is why we have come together to help.
Another reason is the real sense of community and love and friendship that binds musicians in Vancouver. We call it Hardstock to honour the spirit of the individuals who came forward, and made changes to their busy schedules, and offered without ego and without thought of renumeration or thought of loss of possible renumeration, to come together and put on a show for one of our own.Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster, and will available Wednesday April 9. With 10 bands and many more guest musicians, this show will sell out very quickly. We have tried to keep the ticket price affordable for all, and recommend that you purchase what you need for yourself and friends as soon as they go on sale.In the coming days, I will profile the various musicians that will play, and the man himself Scotty Hard aka Scott Harding.
For more info, visit
There you will see many pictures and words of love from myself and the many friends of Scott.
Dennis Mills, promoter of Hardstock 08
aka Dense Milt

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Jenkem Vs Cheesing: More Fun from the Deviancy Amplification Spiral

Right, so - there's mention in this Mentors DVD review in the current issue of Razorcake of jenkem, which provoked me to read up. You really should click that link, which directs to the Wikipedia entry; it's most instructive. Jenkem is a quasi-mythical mixture of fermented human feces and urine that some children in highly impoverished areas MAY be huffing to get high. Recently there was a jenkem panic in the US, with the media asserting (based on scanty evidence) that jenkem use was widespread in the USA, which it simply is not. A fine example of deviancy amplification!

Well: there's a new episode of South Park online that seizes this fertile territory and runs with it. This will be funnier if you saw certain animated features of the 1980s. I certainly did... I'm really hoping they used the BOC's "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" in it (how do I type an umlaut onto the O in BOC, anyhow?).

And God, yes, there is work I should be doing tonight, rather than watching South Park, but I've been feeling so awful this last week that I'm allowing myself some needed time off today (which I guess the trip to Seattle yesterday was, too, tho' I was exhausted by the time I got home...). I think I have short circuited my migraine cycle, finally - I woke up this morning with a headache, took a vasoconstrictor, suffered for a couple of hours, bemoaning my lack of codeine... And then I remembered how I broke my last migraine cycle, a couple of years ago. I won't tell you my copin' mechanism, but - it isn't jenkem, that's for sure, and no cats are involved. And unlike the various expensive prescription meds I've explored, it actually works quite well, both as a painkiller and as a way of switching off the Migraine Program. (Or so it has done tonight).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Off to Seattle...

Photo by Dan Kibke

Well, I'm still getting migraines, and had to bail from the Noise Fest yesterday, having seen only about half an hour of the Tunnel Canary documentary (which seemed excellent! - funny that they talked to Tim Ray, impeccably dressed as always, about dandyism...!). Today - ambitious, but determined - I'm attempting to make it to Seattle for a Carla Bozulich "Evangelista" show at the Renedezvous and a New Model Army one at El Corazon. Much as I love Carla, it's the latter I'm really excited about - I've been dying to see the full band of the New Model Army since I was tantalized by their poorly attended acoustic "mini-tour," really a Justin Sullivan show, at the Cobalt a couple of years ago (though I've been a fan for much longer, since I saw their "No Rest" concert clip on Soundproof cable access back in the '80's, when I lived in Maple Ridge). Hopefully I won't be slumped against the back of the club, my hand over my right eye, moaning "Owww my head..."
The migraines were so bad yesterday I had to throw up the water I'd been drinking. You know you're not in a good way when you vomit WATER.
And on the off chance that a border guard is Googling me on the ride down - yes, this is the bearded guy in the passenger seat outside; hi! Blogs must really add an interesting dimension to your jobs. Mine will be the equivalent of a psychic cavity search - I get pretty intimate at times. If it makes a difference, I'm really just a huge New Model Army fan; and I really DON'T have any drugs on me, except some migraine meds that I have a prescription for, in sealed packages, which I'll happily show you. I would not be stupid enough to try to bring those OTHER kinda drugs across the border - especially when a New Model Army gig is at stake!
Oh: and my Dad wants me to get a 5lb block of mozzarella cheese, as long as it costs less than $3.50 a pound.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Stones of the World

You gotta spend some time here, folks: Yoshida "Ruins" Tatsuya's photography of monoliths, megaliths, and a host of other liths beside. The site's in Japanese but the navigation is simple enough - click "Europe" or "Asia" or so forth in the top left and you'll be treated to a host of different big rocks, all with that magical quality that he brings to his photography - like the stones are posing for a portrait, and in a minute are going to go back to just being big rocks...

Feelin' better!

Just to let people know, the bronchitis is clearing up, I've got some migraine meds that work, and yes, the photo of me passed out, below, was STAGED. (I wasn't even ill when it was taken!) It was from a BCVCO gig a few weeks ago in the DTES; there was a bizarre long stairway, and I was joking that my friends were "posing funny" as they took photos of each other in this cool environs. To show them a proper and normal pose - I lay down on the steps, and Dan obliged me by taking a picture! (You'll see that I couldn't quite keep a smile off my face...).

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Hawk is Dying

This is an odd, small, but emotionally rich film, based on a novel by Harry Crews. Paul Giamatti plays a man, George Gattling, who is out of step with the world, whose dream is to tame a wild hawk; after a family tragedy, this becomes a singular obsession, which no one around him understands. Gattling's involvement in his own emotions and his weary contempt for the people around him speak of a streak of possibly adolescent, possibly macho romantic individualism in the source text, which the film does nothing to critique; but fuckit, I've got my own streak of possibly macho romantic individualism, and I found The Hawk is Dying moving and honest and fresh. Giamatti's performance is excellent - rougher than his usual range, enough so that he gets tagged as "self-indulgent" by some critics, but, well - critics are assholes, for the most part; this film is worth a look. Dismissed at Sundance, dumped direct to DVD in Canada, with a miserable 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, you can probably pick it up off the PV walls at Rogers for $9.99. You might hang onto it for a second viewing. I might, too.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Loves You

I'm still sick, I'm still not at work, and I need a long nap. Some amusements to tide people over:

1. The background of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the religion of Pastafarianism.

2. A new sculpture erected in the US of the same.

May you be touched by its noodly appendage.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

About to Collapse

(photo by Dan Kibke)

Back to St. Paul's at midnight last night, coughin' green along the way. I started choking on my phlegm when I lay down to try to sleep, and it was the last straw. Cops everywhere in the emergency ward - sounded like someone had freaked out. Thankfully, tho', the staff were a little less chilly - likely 'cos the guy who helped me out was a fey gay man who was having a fair bit of fun with my delirious babble (he practically made a little ballet out of taking my blood pressure and temperature).

The diagnosis: acute bronchitis. And finally, here come the antibiotics: two 250 mg caplets of Azithromycin, which is such a strong dose that by time I fulfill my scrip for the rest and get home, I have explosive diarrhea (which usually takes about a week's worth of decimated gut flora to arrive). Poor sleep, migraine on waking (still probably related to caffeine withdrawal), and more phlegm to spew: let it be said for once and all that diarrhea and coughing spasms are a VERY BAD COMBINATION. Then, alas, I have more errands I gotta run - including prepping for a sub for my afternoon class. I finally get home, fire off a few emails, feeling dizzy and delirious and slightly high from the stress of it all - I can't stop working, once I get like this, even tho' I sorely need to just crash. And then I chance upon the Wikipedia entry for pulmonary edema, which doesn't scare me until I get to the part about frequent urination as a symptom. I've been peeing every fifteen minutes, on some days of this illness.

Ah, well. At least it's being treated.

It's time to crash. Tonight's intended movie: The Gospel According to St. Matthew, by Pasolini. (Bought it along with Race with the Devil).

Acid Mothers on Friday.

Noise Fest on Saturday.

God, I hope I'm healthy.