and just like that... my longest blogging caesura yet. reasons are myriad, but for one thing, i've just returned from a few days in my hometown of K.C. i'd like to extend warm thanks to my family (mom, dad, Caro and the dogs) and friends (Jeff, Chris, Laura, Laura and Erin) for a wonderful time.
the unlikely theme song for the weekend was "Dance Tonight," the leadoff track on the new Paul McCartney album, "Memory Almost Full." i guess the best way i can describe my reaction to this song is "creeped out." the disc was in my mom's car and i wanted to sample it. as "Dance Tonight" began playing, i was kind of shocked at its blandness, not to mention the fact that the voice is basically unrecognizable as Paul McCartney.
it's like this strummy bouncy repetitive breezy bit: "Everybody gonna dance tonight / Everybody gonna dance tonight / Everybody gonna dance around tonight" and so forth. it's really funny reading along w/ the lyrics. i guess it's infectious in a really basic way, but what really gets to me is the little turnaround where he goes "You can come over to my place if you want to...." it's like he just sorta slips that in there, i.e., "hey, everybody's having a great time; we're all dancing; i'm Sir Paul; isn't this fun and whimsical? ... and by the way, do you want to shag?" ewwww... i'm sure this is not meant as a sexual thing, but by god does it register that way.
combine that line with the intensely aggravating promo pics that Starbucks has plastered everywhere (has anyone noticed that in the shot above, McCartney is essentially sporting his version of Zoolander's Blue Steel face?) and you've got one annoying product. hear the song in question for yourself at this link. maybe it's saying something that i'm claiming to despise this track, but i keep returning to it, but i honestly think the simplicity combined with the innuendo makes for an unintentionally hilarious piece of music. i don't know what it is; it just makes me giggle.
three other things:
--> Laal and i have moved on to Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly" and i'm totally into it. love the post-Beatnik jive talk especially, e.g., "Life... is only heavy and none else; there is only the one trip, all heavy. Heavy that leads to the grave. For everyone and everything." dig it!
--> i'm the last one to say so, but the Boredoms 77Boadrum thing was pretty excellent. i won't even bother w/ linkage b/c everyone and their mother has weighed in on this thing. a true event indeed.
--> a nice appearance by William T. Vollmann, in conjunction w/ the Whitney's "Summer of Love" exhibit. L and i had just finished "Poor People," and then lo and behold the dude rolls into town as part of a mini panel discussion on photography and violence, also featuring Richard Drew, who took the famous "Falling Man" pics of the guy plummeting from the WTC on 9/11.
a very thought-provoking and successful event, methinks. the main thing that was driven home was the difference in the two men's approaches: Drew, an AP photographer, essentially portrayed himself as an apolitical shutterbug, i.e., he just does the best job he can at capturing the history that's unfolding around him at any time, whether that's a party celebrating the new "Harry Potter" or the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Vollmann on the other hand repeatedly expressed his interest in "helping" via his prose and pictures. he goes places and documents events with the explicit goal of making things better. (he claimed that he probably wouldn't go to Iraq if asked b/c there would be nothing he could do to help, i.e., everyone already knows it's a shit show.)
Drew got into some hobby-horsing at times, complaining about his more controversial pictures not being picked up by certain news outlets and proudly declaiming that he's never turned down an assignment. but Vollmann was remarkably modest and unpretentious.
Vollmann gave real insight into his character when he talked about how when two of his colleagues were shot through the head while sitting in a car w/ him in Sarajevo, his immediate reaction was to photograph them and then begin taking notes on the experience. craziness.
what a humble guy though. he's just sort of the quintessential subjective journalist; recording experiences we hope we'll never have but are intensely curious about. apparently the next book he's readying is one about riding the rails; he also mentioned another one about Japanese Noh theater. can't wait for either.
some really pretentious questions were lobbed up, but one response Vollmann gave during Q&A is worth repeating. asked who his literary influences are, he said (i'm paraphrasing): "i've been inspired over the years by great stylists such as Lautreamont, Denny Lo Quiche [note: that's my transcription of what i think i heard. i have no idea who this author is. anyone know a writer with a name that sounds vaguely like that?] and Hawthorne." even without that Denny fellow, you've still gotta love the juxtaposition of the French Surrealist Lautreamont (among other things, he wrote about a dude that copulates w/ a shark) and the dude who wrote "The Scarlet Letter." anyway, awesome to see Bill in the flesh, sporting a shirt that said "TALK IS CHEAP" in big letters, no less...