Tom Waits Love Songs

I’ve been working on my mix tape of Tom Waits love songs this week.

I have the goal of finishing it by Valentine’s Day, which is a tall order given that I have been working on this mix for over three years.

I first mentioned it back in January 2008 as I bemoaned the lack of love in my life…

“Tom, I believe, is a man unlike the typical man, with a thorough respect and understanding of that incomprehensible mental state called love.” read the rest of the post

In the post I reference his song San Diego Serenade, but neglect to include it. It’s a great song.

This song is definitely making it onto the mix.

Do you have a favorite Tom Waits love song I should make sure to consider?

Cats vs Crustacean

At a crab feed this past Friday, my aunt and I pocketed some extra crab to take home to Shawn and the Guster. I was a little concerned about them getting the meat out of the legs. Do cats eat crab in the wild? I bet they’re pretty hard to catch. I know Gus would run in fear from those intense claws.

When we got back we tortured Gus by making him wear the bib for a photo!

The next day when Shawn and Gus were both around, we videotaped giving them some hunks of crab. They didn’t give us a lot of a material, but I saw a blog the other day that posted a video of a cat grabbing its owner’s arm a million times. If that can go viral, maybe two cats nom nom noming (did I use that right?) on some crab will also be popular? Who knows. Continue Reading

A Lost Dream: Shit Be Gone

Once upon a time I lived with my sister Alexandra in an apartment building in the shape of a dome.

Where I met ShitBeGone

See??? You didn’t believe me, but it’s actually a dome. Google street view sure does come through in a pinch.

She was just coming back to the Bay Area from living in a cooperative warehouse space in Brooklyn.  It was a cool space; though haunted.  The ghosts danced away in the air above human heads all the way up the 40 foot ceilings just like in Magnetic Fields’ song Busby Berkeley Dreams. Continue Reading

Terminally Ambivalent Over Howl

We watched Howl last night, the feature film with John Hamm and James Franco about Allen Ginsberg’s controversial poem Howl.

It was okay. James Franco was a fairly convincing Ginsberg, and I thought his reading of Howl was pretty good though a fellow viewer felt it got off to a terrible start.

The movie was punctuated with animation illustrating the poem. The trouble with animating a poem, I realized as I watched, is that it takes a lot of interpretation to get to the point of turning a poem into images. Watching someone’s visual interpretation unfortunately detracts from one’s own experience of interpreting the poem.

The animation struck me as lacking a cohesive vision, though some parts were terribly beautiful and haunting. It was done by an animation house, and I felt that whoever was in charge of all the different animators was perhaps not providing strong enough leadership. The style kept morphing, and though that can be done well, in this case it really distracted from the overall experience. The animation of the poem would have been better as a prequel to the movie rather than being continually interrupted by live action.

On the bright side, the poem really got me appreciating one of my all-time favorite pieces of animation, the music video for Terminally Ambivalent Over You from the Real Tuesday Weld. Animated by Alex Budovsky whose work is continually inspiring, it is the perfect mix of awesome song and awesome animation.

Happy Birthday David Bowie

Yesterday was David Bowie’s birthday. My friend Andrea alerted me to the fact on Facebook, making me so happy (for the millionth time) to have the friends that I have and, it has to be said, social networking. I might never have known if it wasn’t for her! Now, of course, I have his birthday as a repeating event on my Google calendar so I’ll never miss it again.

2010 was a year of nothing but Bowie for me. That’s not true, of course, I listened to a lot of Willie Nelson, Roxy Music, Lee Hazelwood, Mountain Goats and Levon Helm (to name a few), but I really and truly spent the year submerged in David Bowie. I read about this life, his rise to stardom. As we listened to his album Last Dance last night, I realized that it’s more than just a love for his music that makes me love him.

It’s the drama that he so beautifully imparts in every word he says. It’s the way he stopped at nothing to be the success that he became. It’s the way he threw his drink in the face of social norms and wore make up. Men should totally be allowed to wear make up, in my opinion. Encouraged even. And he does it so beautifully, sometimes donning almost a costume, sometimes just the perfect amount of silver eye shadow. An inspiration.

It’s the sincerity of each line of every song. It’s the way he so beautifully and succinctly captures the joy and terror of real life, and emerges optimistic. It’s the way that even if his lyrics make no sense to me, the feeling does. The feeling always does. Yes, David Bowie, I think, yes.

Life Lessons: Skinny Jeans

Sidenote: I didn’t get the Jennings memo till I saw a sign in the window of a local shop and assumed it was a typo.  Who could be so silly as to make a giant sign with such a glaring error?  Well, I was the one making the error!

I went shopping one day last year with my roommate Ellen, who is so fit and stylish that it makes me jealous and proud all rolled into one little rum ball. She coerced me into buying my first pair of skinny jeans, a trend that I thought would accentuate my pear-shaped body and make me look utterly ridiculous.  Never mind that some of the curviest of my friends rock the skinny jeans all day long and I never think that their bottom halves look ridiculous.  That’s the way it is–as I’m sure you know.  Everyone else looks good, but I certainly don’t. The curse of modern-day women: body envy.

I put the skinny jeans on and I was terrified yet enamored.  They were tight but yet they smoothed my imperfections.  Ellen suggested I do some squats to move into them. That helped me feel at home. As the year progressed, I wore them more and more, but conservatively. I only had one pair, after all, and I needed them to last.

Tonight I was boogieing to some Fats Domino — a record we possess but which I’d never taken the time to listen to — and it was glorious.  Right when I was really moving, “RIIIIPPPPPP.”

That’s the peril of skinny jeans.  They rip when you boogie. I’ve also been informed that they can rip when you ride bikes too.

And now for your boogieing pleasure, Fats Domino, I’m Ready.

Pete Townsend on the cover of Who Are You

Will held up this album cover today and pointed out how hungover each band member looks.

Pete Townshend, especially, looks like he’s really suffering.

I, for one, am thankful that I do not feel that way today, and that I would have the good sense to refrain from such partying the night before a photo shoot*.

But what else can we expect from the man who woke up in a ditch, didn’t know who or where he was, and wrote a song about it?

*Or so I say….