Sunday, July 27, 2003
Save room for pie dept.

More updates from the far dim corners of history's freezer

I forgot to mention there was even a garlic movie

And an interview update on Captain Milkshake

(which was competing against art house darling Zabriskie Point, that John Fahey called "a long and really terrible skin flick" while others involved with the film who were at the Westwood preview admitted, "When it was over, there wasn't a person who left that was looking anyone else in the eye. It was the most embarrassing thing that I'd ever been to. Everybody just slunk away." Footnote to history: I didn't see it at the preview, remember, it was shown in Berkeley, too.

"The journalism senior was tired of getting no response for freelance jobs at music magazines, so she started a company she can write for whenever she wants."

Pursuing the Stars ("time is a valuable asset")
Saturday, July 26, 2003
Why we're always open to surprise and enchantment on the internet

ticketstubs: tales of the ephemeral based on the flotsam of life

"Ticket stubs are everywhere, one of the many receipts in our daily lives -- but we all save some from time to time. The Ticketstub project is a place where you can upload scanned images of your saved stubs, and tell a story about that night, that concert, that movie, what happened on that date; basically, ask yourself why you saved the stub as a reminder."

(via scribble scribble scribble)
Recently departed music critic remembered by words (last quote is a remark about someone's gams)
This gives a peek into the world of concert promoters these days, but it remains to be seen if there really is life after Clear Channel.

My life as a critic

"Oscar Wilde talked about criticism as the truest form of autobiography. If you do it honestly, what you write often reveals as much about the writer as about the subject, and the job becomes a very public form of personal growth and exploration.

"I blush to think of some of the pronouncements of that callow son of the 1960s. But then, I blush still when I run up against the daily evidence of how little I know and how much remains to be learned. Blush, then feel that old thrill of anticipation at what fresh experience in the creative world might bring: what Robert Hughes famously called the shock of the new."

Policing pop dept.

You may have overlooked this one 'til now.
Folk singer comments on somebody's gams and loses performance contract Banned at Borders

A glimpse into the ongoing world at Mr. Ernie K-Doe's Mother-in-Law Lounge

(registration may be required, but it's worth it)
Friday, July 25, 2003
Trumpets and drums and drums and trumpets it's time for ...

"Yea! Another list!

"So why be bothered with links to female bloggers? The point to this initial exercise was that most lists that include issue-focused bloggers (those blogging about, say, politics) don't include women, so we wanted to feature recommended blogs that maybe aren't getting the attention they deserve. Or maybe they are and we just like them a whole lot, too."

Go on, guess who linked to flaskaland ... can't guess?
Ms magazine!

(p.s. I have to tell you this link in particular made my husband say he was especially proud of me.)

And why not? I have a long proud history as a woman. Why, I even bought an early edition of Our Bodies, Our Selves, and as even that simple act is related to music, I can mention this here. I first came across that book wa-a-a-ay back when it was published on brown newsprint and stapled together, when the cover price was lower than any other magazine of the time so that almost any woman could afford a copy -- 35 cents.

Moving about the often dangerous politically charged atmosphere of Berkeley of that era, when anything not "normal" or "usual" was deemed "suspicious", "underground", or "radical", where you sometimes had the feeling people were peering over your shoulder to take a surreptitious peek and keeping track of what you were reading, and sometimes paranoia was as thick as the tear gas ...

Having driven across country with an innocent-looking heavy carton or two in the trunk, travelling sometimes under the cover of benign and cooling darkness, crossing state lines guided only by an interstate highway map and a single-minded vision, moving unharmed through blockades and speed traps manned by local gendarmie, when even a velvet dress or a frizzy curl warranted suspicion enough to stop, search, and harrass ...

In plain daylight on Telegraph Avenue, disguised that day as a simple street vendor, and veiled by night by yet another a secret identity and assumed stage name was .... the nightclub piano player who went on to win a book deal for a group called then the Boston Women's Health Collective.

That deal with a local Berkeley publisher soon resulted in a major distribution deal, and the book continues on, and has since been translated into 19 languages. Well, that's one version of the story, isn't it? Anyway, that's how I came across my first copy.

Coming soon, a special edition for the post-feminists: Our Bodies, and None of Your Business
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Now it can be cold dept.

Flaskaland's first anniversary came went sometime last week without me giving a shout out to the thousands of readers who've stopped by, or me baking a cake or celebrating in any way. Truthfully, that's because it's too damn hot here -- it's like a hundred and ten already by the time the sun comes up and who wants to do anything too physical (or mental or emotional) in this annual melt down we call summer.

Anyway, now you're in for a treat. But first, a history.

I used to dream not necessarily big dreams, but dreams -- That I would do something in some small way that contributed to something good that continued ever on. I'm fortunate because that has happened for me a number of times in my life, in a number of ways both great and small.

And some of these things are still ongoing and you can partake of these if you choose, even as far away as you are. This is why I love the internet.

OK, it's 110 degrees here and when I went to the supermarket, the clerk handed me a coupon good for $2 off admission for the garlic festival, now in its 25th year. Which reminded me ... Even though I've never attended the garlic festival (that seems as remote a possibility as Carnival in Rio) ...

Well, I have a soft spot in my heart for the garlic festival because I remember the early gathering momentum to start up the first garlic to-do. That was a movement that seemed at onset to have little chance of succeeding, despite an early vigorous push and a newsletter called Garlic Times and posters designed by David Goines. But I'll be darned if the movement didn't catch hold and genuinely spark public fancy.

I wanted to celebrate that success in some way, too. Because it was so very hot today, I looked around feverishly for my old battered copy of the Garlic Times, the one that published the recipe I sent in. You know, I couldn't find it and I know it was floating around the homestead just a few years ago. But today, alas, it's in hiding somewhere.

So ok, I mess up a little bit now and then and because of current events I forget to mention the birthday and lose the magazine I plan to quote from.

But thanks to the internet, not only is all's well that ends well -- we are genuinely saved and can celebrate our time here together:

Here it is, a gift to you my readers and to everyone in the world at large, Barbara's garlic ice cream
(yes, it's me -- a recipe as set down by me in my North Oakland basement kitchen back in 1977 and published in Garlic Times that year. To really be truthful, my original recipe used maraschino cherries, but the gastronomes experimented at the festival and their taste buds never lie, the tasters decided strawberries were a better match -- I'm telling the truth, just go look through the archives.)

You know what this means -- and not just that we keep vampires at bay (and yes, that is the royal we).

Monday, July 14, 2003
Writers rev their coherence engines to discuss general trends. An oldie, but one to keep in mind:

How to tell when your favorite band starts to suck

Some music just seems more heroic

The Ice Cream Man

"This type of music will not talk about bedroom love and beautiful women and all that gibberish. I want music that will address Africa's bread and butter issues," says Majongwe.

He rants: "Why should I sing about Love, When the land is soaked by the blood of the Innocent."

Have you noticed that almost no one in the US press admires anyone truly "heroic" anymore? Lately, we get stories and contemplations on writers who interact with Japanese books and discussions of intellectual ownership, rappers getting stabbed, and celebrity pieces.
Sunday, July 13, 2003
A Critical Difference

Anne Midgette explores the stereotypes of women in the audience and on the aisle.

Sunday listening in case you don't like what your neighbors are playing dept.

An online multi-media music experience extravaganza:

Glastonbury 2003 (via Nightclub Jitters via the indefatigable DJ Martian)

Everything you wanted to know about techno
Saturday, July 12, 2003
Celebrity pieces are taking on a mighty predictable tone and format these days in the homeland:

(Listen to the grass growing and the sound of lightweight corks bobbing)

Warning: The contents may be contradictory dept.

Blogs and other public media will necessarily bring their own sets of rules. For instance, I can push delete and erase this blog and it will eventually disappear from public memory.

The ethics of de-publishing

But the people who have read here may remember portions in spite of themselves. In arenas small and great, the truth will out, it always will.

And so a story with a moral: Tojo's teeth.

"It may seem unjust that a mediocre interpretation by a famous pianist can give as much pleasure as a fine performance by an unknown one, but, as I have said, what makes for success is the intensity of listening, the heightened attention awakened in the public."

(Charles Rosen essay, andante
via Arts Journal)
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Remember the lists craze? Some comments on why:

Top 10 Reasons Why Lists are the Hottest, Coolest, Most Sensational Trend in Pop Culture

All of which for some reason reminded me of this from Italo Calvino at cnwb (oh nuthin i was just thinkin out loud).

"Long novels written today are perhaps a contradiction: the dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of time each of which goes off along its own trajectory and immediately disappears. We can rediscover the continuity of time only in the novels of that period when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded, a period that lasted no more than a hundred years."

Italo Calvino, If On A Winter's Night A Traveller, pg.8

Summer reading dept.

Tricia Rose Gets Real: A divine convergence of deep context, historical backup and street cred.

"Tricia Rose is an author, a hip-hop scholar, a feminist and a prof at UCSC, but more importantly, she cuts to the chase on MTV charades, sexism and the 'unfettered whiteness' of being ... "

Sure, she wrote some books, but read what she has to say here about willful ignorance.

How radio survived

"It's a relief" to be able to run a radio station without the fear of it being closed down by the government since a new broadcasting law was passed last November.

Also, the "peace radio station". Where is this radio-broadcast paradise to be found?
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Czech out this sterling cultural treatise: "Making Music as a Political Act: or How the Velvet Underground Influenced the Velvet Revolution."

(Historic update: The promoter of one of the early "Velvet Underground concerts", a music critic himself, was thereafter unable to find work of any kind even outside of publishing, and freelanced by washing windows to eke out his living.)
Monday, July 07, 2003
Honky Tonk Angels

Honky Tonks, Hymns, & the Blues is a fine multi-media presentation that traces the hard lives of early women country singers like Patsy Montana (also claims to tell where the word "honky tonk" came from)

(via Charles Deemer, working writer)
Prison radio
Sunday, July 06, 2003
This person's pained and witty musings "Context is Everything" about his recent exposure to the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas ... you should read this linked article.

That reminded me of "The Great American Disaster", which was a world view owned by two American entrepreneurs who had just opened their whimsical place in London when I was visiting in 1971. That, too, was an early version of a theme restaurant located in an older Victorian-style frontage painted in a high-gloss acrylic patriotic red, white, and blue on the exterior. An expansive building, rumored to have been the site of a recently extinguished Rolls Royce showroom. They served hamburgers in an upscale setting and were written about in magazines like "Time Out". Their big publicity point was each that each meal was served with a glass of water with ice in it, "just like in American restaurants," as the press cooed. “Chips” were called “fries” on the menu, (not “French fries” as they were in America, as that may have been offputting to English diners of the era).

As the theme, there were large framed photos on the wall from famous Depression Era photographers. As unschooled as I was, I recognized a few of the oversized enlargements as images captured by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, whose work for the Farm Security Administration photographing and chronicling the hardships endured by tenant farmers during “the Dustbowl Years” was in the public domain in the Library of Congress. (Meaning you don’t have to pay for their exquisite photographic work, they’d each gotten something like gas money and $17 a week for this project and were damn glad they were working. In 1971, entrepreneurs didn’t have to pay now for the art, the government and people of the US had already paid for it, just fork out the cost of reproduction).

As James Agee’s “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” had long since fallen from print, and the
“Family of Man” likewise was relegated to a limited existence on the bookshelves in liberal
homes, I doubted many of the besatined English trendies snacking there knew much about the basic human heroism and endurance that these photographers were chronicling, unless they stopped to examine the photos, but the seats on the counter were turned away from the display. I felt they were missing an essential part of the trip. So while you didn’t actually see them you got to think about different Americans who had suffered and starved back in the 1930’s while you ate your overpriced hamburger in a trendy upscale restaurant in the major capital of a European country.

That was considered a “trendy” sort of twist to the English humor back then, the twisted turnabout being fair play, as millions of Americans had perceived the English as sooty-faced starving street urchins from the movie “Oliver”. I did not see a single solitary English rock star or a rock star's guitar in the whole time I was there eating my burger and fries.

But the burger joint’s entrepreneurs continued on and it’s obvious to say that place prospered, mutated, corporated, migrated, and those two boys eventually hit their stride with their new breed, “The Hard Rock Cafes” that are everywhere.

Well, these are stories from a past long gone, before “The Great American Disaster” changed its name and spread around the world as “The Hard Rock Cafes”. When I read "Context is Everything", I felt a little sad as everything now seems to be methodically and mercilessly stripped of context, even though I recognize we can bring some semblance of coherence through history or story. But, really, it seems to me that the world at large just seemed a little more coherent all on its own back in 1971, as I still think I understood the reason for the photos at the Great American Disaster. They were trying to be funny.
The peasants are acting like emperors.

(Here's a voice of indignation. There's an uncomfortable amount of truth in this, if dealing with practices of the past and a metro area. But please note: most record companies were never that generous with reviewers far from the media centers or even writers in general, and those least generous with writers and reviewers seem now to be the very same companies that will blanketly blame the writers for all the acres of promos in the bins -- well, those extra extra extra boxes of records records records, the ones marked as promo on the books didn't all go to the fellow record company executives, and they likely didn't all go to writers, so where do they go? Hint: Where would a record company get a sure result from their "promo" efforts? Because with a reviewer, there might not be a 100% guarantee.

You'll next likely wonder who might be the ones most guilty of the practice? Hint: They reveal themselves. To this day, even in the modern computer age, they provide promo copies in cheap plastic sleeves and no cover art. )

Book review on The People's Music.
Saturday, July 05, 2003
online music commentary = sometimes a nonstop freeflow on how everything glows

the BBC music memories project
online music commentary = sometimes a nonstop freeflow on how everything blows

1. self-proclaimed music criticism madrant

2. music

3. rants on music

There's plenty of crap to talk about and forever more. Gets a bit tiresome, yes, this form of self-expression.
the new money experience:

box store corporate in-house radio = soft rock classics, hard sell pitch

Timely topic. Just last week I was low on necessities and had to stop in at a K-Mart. Then because the building was heavily air-conditioned, I stalled and browsed. The sparsely filled aisles were serenaded by an in-house commercial from "Hello, K-Mart shoppers, I'm ... "

You know, I was so genuinely appalled .... I forget which one it was ... but it was one of the Brooks and Dunn duo talkin' intimately, down-home and cozy, tellin' about their new record, and invitin' the K-Mart shoppers to head on over to the CD racks to pick up their new album. And all without a trace of a Southern accent.

That really wasn't so much of a surprise, but how these soursops hang together on the same tree surely was. Within moments, the in-house radio began spinning the corporate selected set-list, which included "Bad Case of Lovin' You" (the famous version).

You know, the opening line "whew-ew-oh-oh, hot summer night ... " just sets the the tone and atmosphere in malls of the nowheresville farm belt everywhere, even up heah where the thermometer's stuck at 105 F in the daytime. "Hot buttered death, aisle twenny-five."

And I confess that I wasn't at all surprised to hear that tune, as Brooks and Dunn are known to be maganimous types (only charging their fans $15 to register at their petty yankee peddler site for the privilege of using the message board and buying everything and anything Brooks and Dunn from Brooks and Dunn, from their refrigerator magnets to their plastic beer mugs, even now offering crystal glassware to those fans who've developed more pretentious tastes for them new-fangled pretty drinks).

Those old boys are true to their school and they're likely to help fellas who are by nature just so down with them they don't likely even need to wear mullets in My-Linn, TN.

I know this, because that very "whew-ew-oh-oh, hot summer night ... " tune was pre-selected as a throng song for the local groups who are hired to play and warm up the crowds as the peeps head on in the clear channel venues for those big ol' Brooks and Dunn neon circuses and tailgate parties where you have to pay $4 for half a pint of water.

Yes, indeedy, the in-store music was playing and someone listened and heard. And I tell you, the sight of all those past-prime middle aged women shoppers, those thick waisted redneck ladies with cheap beauty school haircuts ... who even in these parts dress up in the middle of summer, wearing nylons with their white leather open-toe sandles, matching purple tank top and short shorts ensemble ... them rusted steel magnolias ...

... they're the fading-from-local-fame types, the outlines of whose once-upon-a-time racy rose tattoo nestled suggestively on the bust, just above the plunging lacy neckline, the colors and outlines of even their tattoos are becoming fainter as the years roll on .... those are the ones you think'll keep you in your three hundred dollar haircuts, five hundred dollar shoes, and your mansions in the French countryside, all right.

My, that whole experience just screamed "new marketing demographic!" for me.

Shoot, yeah, just get a few thousand of them particular boomers to buy your new record, or your old record, and you 'n yours'll be sitting pretty once again in your shiny new his 'n hers beemers.

Though Lord knows for certain I'm telling the truth to my readers -- those people wouldn't be seen anywhere near a mall like that, or shopping in a box store like that, or even have a single item from a store like that anywhere near them, not if their lives goddamn depended on it -- that's just part of their mystique. But they sure wouldn't mind having their products in WalMarts everywhere, because that's part of their mystique, too. My advice to you-all, read Molly, your phony-baloney Shiite Republican toast 'n crumpets is about to become unbuttered.

Friday, July 04, 2003
Music journo posts his thoughts on responsible music journalism:

"Music journalists need to remember that we're writing not for publicists, nor bands, nor concert promoters, and certainly not for record labels, but for our readers. And as long as you believe what you're doing is being honest with your readers about whatever your subject is, and as long as you're actually taking time to try to say something useful and thoughtful about that subject, you should never have to worry about what those other parties make of your work. It isn't that way, of course, thanks to tons of promo whores, a few spineless editors, and an array of magazines that live to stroke their advertisers, but that shouldn't change the way a good critic writes. All it should, and does, change is the way such writers are received by the industry they cover and many of the possible outlets for their work. That is, write honestly, do the right thing, and now and then you're gonna face a shitstorm, plus you're never gonna get work from the Entertainment Weeklies of the world (as if that were something any self-respecting writer could possibly want anyhow). It's a lousy price to pay, but it beats the hell out of betraying yourself and your readers."

(in the race to the moon, in the race to the moon ... much more than those provisos in the June 18 post at Moon Hoax, but it's still true today all these weeks later).

We'd be remiss in not reminding you that Vibe and Spin have completely revamped their online versions.

Check out Spin's world music recommendations under essential world music

(p.s. that "we" is the royal we, not the editorial one, and not in any way ironic.)

"Dub is not a genre! It is a state of mind, with funhouse mirror eyeballs, a drop floor, a love of the unknown, and the knowledge that if a philosophical truth really does exist, it can be found in the mysterious, malleable ether.

"It's been the soundtrack of a righteous and adventurous future as long as it's been around."

Independent press music critic waxes poetic on the history of Dub.

Thursday, July 03, 2003
More for the long weekend coming up in the U.S., here's the urban think tank.

Plenty of stuff to explore, but check out Davey D's history corner.
For the long weekend coming up in the U.S., here's an unbelievable online reading room of the original Mojo Navigator

(ancient fallen meteor debris found under the snowpack in Canada by rock and roll report via rockcritics daily)

I dare you to read the whole damn thing.
A music critic's bid for critical honesty: This is nowhere. When it comes to California, it's the myth that matters, not the music.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
All aboard the newly christened Budapest party boat.
(Disclaimer: I've heard Besh o droM's music, and they seriously kick.)

Great name, new venue, same old ship of fools; they'll have fun.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
From the land of a thousand dances, it's titled "One Nation Under a Groove":

Arthur Kempton's Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music

(Ok, it's a book review, that explains the abundance of colons; and registration may be required)
Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

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