photo by Elliot Erwitt. NYC. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 1988.
Listen to Elliot talk about photography and humor in an interview here.
1. Ill Wills // Shout Out Louds // Our Ill Wills, 2007
2. Plasticities // Andrew Bird // Armchair Apocrypha, 2007
3. This Year // The Mountain Goats // The Sunset Tree, 2005
4. You’re Kidding Aren’t You? // The Field Mice // Snowballs + Singles, 1989
5. Little Girl // Syndicate of Sound // single, 1966
6. Pristine Christine // The Sea Urchins // single, 1987
7. Life’s a Gas // T. Rex // Electric Warrior, 1971
8. Stone Rollin’ // Raphael Saadiq // Stone Rollin’, 2011
9. Whole Wild World // Wreckless Eric // single, 1977
10. The Best Part of Being With You // The Groove Farm // Rough Trade Shops – Indiepop 1, 1987
11. Walking with Jesus // Spacemen 3 // Sound of Confusion
12. That Great Love Sound // The Raveonettes // Chain Gang of Love
13. There Must be a Better Life // Biff Bang Pow! // single, 1984
14. Polar Bear // Ride // Nowhere, 1990
15. On Tape // The Pooh Sticks // Orgasm, 1988
16. Yes I Can’t // King Khan and the Shrines // Idle No More, 2013
17. Slow Walkin // The Babies // Our House on the Hill, 2012
18. Borrowed Time // Parquet Courts // Light Up Gold, 2012
19. Die Little Love // Xray Eyeballs // Crystal – single, 2012
20. Friendly Ghost // Harlem // Hippies, 2010
21. If You Wanna // The Vaccines // What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?, 2011
22. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards // Tame Impala // Lonerism
23. Frightened Face // The Everywheres // Insound Vinyl Mixtape, 2013
24. Come to the City // The War on Drugs // Slave Ambient, 2011
My good friend Andrea shared this video with me earlier this week and I’m pretty much in love with it. Marina Abramovic is a well-known performance artist (you might remember her cameo in Sex in the City) and the above is footage from her 2010 MoMA retrospective “The Artist is Present”.
In the seventies Marina and Ulay shared a fantastic love story — performing together out of the van they lived in and creating art inspired by their relationship as lovers. When the relationship had run it’s course in 1988, their separation was marked by The Great Wall Walk — a one-time only performance where they started at opposite ends of the Great Wall and walked towards each other. They met in the middle for one last hug, then disappeared from each others’ lives forever.
During the “The Artist is Present” Marina spent 60 seconds staring directly into the eyes of a series of strangers seated across from her. It was reportedly the largest exhibition of performance art in the museum’s history. This is what happened when, after decades apart, her former lover appeared across the table.
So beautiful. Thanks, Andrea.
Thank you to Cosmopolitan Magazine for featuring me in the July issue! I was happy to use the opportunity to promote one of my favorite new lines, Proud Mary, who practice fair trade with textile workers in developing countries. You can see that in the digital issue!
Here’s a fun little something: Criterion is streaming movies for free on Hulu! They’re calling it 101 Days of Summer, and It started on May 25th and goes through Labor Day. Each film is available for free on Hulu for 48 hours. The selections are a “mix of classic titles and brand-new uploads to Hulu”, a sample of which can be seen above. We’re on the edge of hitting the triple digits in Texas, so I’m ready to crank up the AC and watch some good movies. Maybe even a few bad movies. Whatever. As long as I’m inside with a cold glass of iced tea!
Just discovered the wonderful work of Kelly Reemsten via the Jealous Curator. I love the contradiction of the pretty dresses against the utilitarian tools… they seem to have an element of weaponry about them, don’t they? In any case, I think these paintings capture something real about how it feels to be a woman. I would love to add one of Kelly’s paintings to my collection someday!
I’m not going to lie. I dragged myself out the door to this taping after a long week of work, mostly out of duty and respect for names I grew up hearing. I did not know it would be it one of the best shows of my life. I did not know that Emmylou would bring me to tears, that both she and Rodney Crowell are two of the finest songwriters in country music, and that they’d be backed up by the tightest honky tonk road band I’ve ever seen. “Thanks for letting us come out here and play y’all some country music. Some real country music,” she announced, with her mane of white hair and trademark smile flashing under the hot stage lights. Turns out that “real” country music is a little bit like mainlining whiskey (which may account for the soggy state of my commemorative program.) In any case, it was the kind of show you didn’t want to end — when you realize how special it is while it’s actually happening. And this is why I go to concerts. A lot of concerts. In hopes that one out of fifty is like this. Maybe you only get a few. But you can live off those moments for a long time.
Emmylou is still impossibly pretty, so let’s get that out of the way first. And she’s done something I’ve never seen a woman do before — used the aging of her voice to her own artistic advantage. She’s breathier now, wiser, more road-worn. And when she’s telling you a story — say, about Pancho – she gives you no choice but to believe her. Over forty years of experience have turned both Emmylou and Rodney into the great living masters of ballad delivery. They tell many stories, but it’s undeniably the best when they’re telling their own. Two back-to-back songs, about halfway through the set, were the two I can’t stop thinking about: The first was Emmylou’s “Red Dirt Girl” chronicling the hard knock life of a girl from Harris’ home state of Alabama. And the second was Crowell’s semi-autobiographical story of abuse and salvation, “Rock O My Soul”. They came as a one-two punch straight to the gut, and pretty much knocked the wind out of me. I’ve yet to recover.
But there were happier stories, too — mostly shared by Emmylou and Roger between songs. Like how lead guitarist Jedd Hughes spent his youth practicing guitar in a garage in the 50-person town of Quorn, Australia (I swear to you, people, that is the only way you get that good. I have never seen anyone shred a Telecaster like this guy does.) And the fact that drummer Jerry Roe is a third generation ACL performer. His grandfather was Jerry Reed and his father, Dave Roe, was the bassist in Johnny Cash’s band. She dedicated “San Antonio Rose” to the much beloved Texan songwriter who penned the tune, Susanna Clark (Guy’s wife). Anyways, it felt like being introduced to this larger family or network — the artists and songwriters who make up this sort of great quilt of Americana music. And just knowing that Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and The Band were very much a part of that quilt, too, well… it just doesn’t get much cooler than that. Friday night we heard songs by Townes, Roger Miller, Matraca Berg, Kris Kristofferson, and Gram Parsons in addition to songs by Harris and Crowell. It was, in the words of ACL producer Leslie Nichols, “a set list to end all set lists.”
And did I mention that the band kicked ass? There’s just something about a brushed drum behind smooth pedal steel… throw a smoking hot telecaster in the mix, and that’s a guaranteed good time. Which brings me back full circle to what Emmylou calls “real” country music — and to me that means traditional country instruments backing songs crafted with integrity about American life. If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to real country music performed by seasoned musicians, then please do yourself a favor and tune in to this taping when Season 39 airs. I know I will.
Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! And welcome back to whatever kind of reality you’re in now. After our own short hiatus, Mick is back on the air with “Ain’t That Pretty at All”, a collection of songs that are… well, exactly that. On his fifth installment, Mick explores the depths of Ugly with tracks from The Troggs to Sabbath. Low-fi garage sounds, raw vocals, or lyrics that are just plain pissed mark each of these songs with a glorious touch of hate. Which supports a kind of a running theory I’ve had for a long time: that some of the best punk songs of all time aren’t really “punk” at all, but instead by bands like AC/DC (Problem Child? Hello?!) Anyways, really stoked for this latest collection. Particularly because it includes a track by John Cale, whom I’ve been curious about for a while. Also, because I have absolutely not been listening to enough Warren Zevon… like, ever. I’m totally captivated by the Pylon song (How was that recorded in 1980? It sounds so, so nineties to me…) and want to listen to that whole album now. Also really like track 4 by Gang of Four. And just in case you’re not completely ready to riot, Mick closes it out with a song from AC/DC’s sixth album, Highway to Hell. Which also reminds me that we still need to settle our old college dispute about whether or not the band is actually Satanic… Dude, they’re not.
1. Trespassers in the Stereo Field // The American Analog Set // The Fun of Watching Fireworks, 1996
2. I Can’t Control Myself // The Troggs // Love is All Around, 1968
3. Shakin’ All Over // Johnny Kidd & The Pirates // Shakin’ All Over, 1971
4. Damaged Goods // Gang of Four // Entertainment!, 1979
5. Bel Air // Old 97′s // Wreck Your Life, 1995
6. Cool // Pylon // Gryate, 1980
7. Big Mouth Strikes Again // Treepeople // Something Vicious for Tomorrow, 1992
8. Unsatisfied // The Replacements // Let It Be, 1984
9. Ain’t That Pretty at All // Warren Zevon // The Envoy, 1982
10. Hazel Would // Starflyer 59 // Starflyer 59, 1994
11. Gun // John Cale // Fear, 1974
12. We’re Going Wrong // Cream // Disraeli Gears, 1967
13. Hand of Doom // Black Sabbath // Paranoid, 1970
14. Black Grease // The Black Angels // Passover, 2006
15. Cabin Fever // The Brian Jonestown Massacre // Take it From the Man, 1996
16. Hospital // Jonathan Richmond & The Modern Lovers // The Modern Lovers, 1976
17. Diamonds in the Mine // Leonard Cohen // Songs of Love and Hate, 1971
18. Night Prowler // AC/DC // Highway to Hell, 1979
*album art lovingly stolen from Raoul Hausmann
Today I woke up to discover Andy Spade’s latest project, Sleepy Jones. This concept makes me happy. A line of sleepwear inspired by the lifestyles of artists, musicians, writers, designers — and anyone else who knows that getting dressed is sometimes a hassle that gets in the way of art/life. The images above of a quiet, private, unplugged vacation really struck a chord with me. Doesn’t it look heavenly? I’m placing my first order today!
*title image by la porte rouge
In a whirlwind teenage romance, Harry and Monika escape the drab duties of their blue-collar jobs in Stockholm to live without rules on an isle of the archipelago. The two young lovers arrive on the island in Harry’s father’s boat, and the celebration that ensues is quite wonderful. If you’ve seen Wes Anderson’s latest creation (Moonrise Kindgdom) then you will certainly recognize a few moments of tribute to Summer With Monika. That’s where the similarities end, however, as our young Monika and Harry actually get to stay on their island for some time. Long enough, even, to start having the inevitable problems that happen when you decide to live on an island. (They run out of food, she gets pregnant, etc.) I don’t think it would be fair to reveal any more of the plot but let’s just say — as the title suggests — all seasons must come to an end.
The story is very engaging and the actors give superb performances. Harriett Andersson as Monika is particularly fascinating — we know, almost immediately, that she is untrustworthy. Bold, selfish, manipulative… and yet these same traits make us believe that she will survive — not only on the island but in society as well. In what I thought was the most poetic visual of the movie, Director Ingmar Bergman indulges in a lengthy shot of the headstrong, striving Monika wandering through the tall grasses of the island in search of food.
In the end the thing that struck me most about Summer With Monika is that movies like this were actually being made in 1953. This old Swedish film captures a certain intimacy, a real-life kind of sexuality between the characters that I’ve almost never seen in American movies, even today.
Without revealing too much about how things play out, I will say this: Part of me wants to judge Monika (who is, most definitely, a “bad girl”), but I’m also left admiring something about her… maybe her commitment to herself and instinct for survival. You’ll have to decide for yourself.