Thursday, April 28, 2005

Some Links

Z called me yesterday.

Z: What's up with your blog?
Me: What do you mean?
Z: You haven't updated it since Tuesday.

Of course, I'm thinking, "holy shit, he's right," instead of "wait a minute, that was only three days ago," so clearly I have a problem.

So shut up Z, here are your links, which you've probably read already.

Humanizing Cabbies: How often do we think about the lives of the people who shuttle us around the city? The only person I know who seems to give a damn is Jess, who manages to talk their ears off whenever we go from the city back to Astoria.

This is a few years old, but let's give it up for Special K.

Stevie Wonder has delayed his newest album, A Time 2 Love, for the third time. Stevie is truly flaky. This doesn't phase me that much, as the majority of Stevie's songs post-1980 have been pretty mediocre. While his newest single "So What The Fuss" is getting moderate airplay, it doesn't do anything for me. But I did find a stream of one of the other songs off the new album entitled "Positivity," and I dig it. Listen to it here. (via Best Buy's page)

Let's hear it for idiots who can't get their stories straight. We saw these guys on the Today Show a few mornings ago. They were funny, and relatively cocky. Haha, now you're in jail.

Went to an audition today. Ran into Ben, who I haven't seen in at least two years. He looks good.

My birthday is in two weeks. Any of these will do.

Too much (clap clap) time on my hands...

And now I must go back to work.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Salt Testing

Worth one's salt: From fleur de sel to kosher, which salt is best?

Jessica, this article was written for you!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Songs Ruined by Pop Culture

I don't know if that's an appropriate title, but bear with me.

"Transatlanticism" by Death Cab For Cutie just came on my iPod. I really, really like this song. A lot. It's so beautiful.

It was used on an episode of Six Feet Under last season in a scene where Claire and her art-school pals all took a bunch of drugs and sang the song's key line - "I need you so much closer" - to each other before descending into a presumed orgy.

It ruined the song for me. This message that I perceived to be very quiet, close and personal suddenly was tainted by the image of a bunch of kids warbling the line, too hopped up to perceive anything real and true. Is that fair? Probably not. I have no idea what Ben Gibbard meant when he wrote or sang the song, and the point of art is that it's subjective - it can be beautiful in so many different ways to a million different people. But either way, the Six Feet Under interpretation was not one that resonated with me; and now, when I get to that point in the song, I picture that scene, and the song is ruined.

On another note, whenever I hear the drum break in "Rock And Roll" by Zeppelin, I think of Cadillacs. (But this never happens to me with Who songs, for some reason.)

What songs have been ruined for you by TV, the movies, pop culture in general?

Friday, April 22, 2005


This is one of the best interviews I've watched in a while. This guy is my hero.

Rogers Cadenhead, Popesquatter, with Katie Couric on The Today Show (from waxy)

Thursday, April 21, 2005


NY Times Article: The Little Company That Could

Thought #1: Well, shit, my company does everything this company does, and has been doing it for 12 years. Why were these guys singled out?

Thought #2: There are probably hundreds of people right now also thinking Thought #1.

I'm happy that they're getting the publicity, but I'm still insanely jealous.

Tales of LeBron and Townshend

Wow, Mark Bechtel is a Who fan. And a really nerdy Who fan at that. Nice!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Why Trent Reznor rocks...

...and I don't even like Nine Inch Nails!

Article from NIN Offers new single in GarageBand format

"What I'm giving you in this file is the actual multi-track audio session for 'the hand that feeds' in GarageBand format," Reznor explains. "This is the entire thing bounced over from the actual Pro Tools session we recorded it into. I imported and converted the tracks into AppleLoop format so the size would be reasonable and the tempo flexible...Drag the file over to your hard disk and double click it. Hit the space bar. Listen. Change the tempo. Add new loops. Chop up the vocals. Turn me into a woman. Replay the guitar. Anything you'd like."

Now THAT'S cool. I've always wanted to see an artist do this: give up the multitracks, allowing people to create their own personally definitive versions of songs/albums. Specifically, I've always hoped that one day, Pet Sounds will be released in this format - allowing us to take all those instruments that Brian Wilson snuck in there and bring them wherever we want in the mix.

It takes a brave artist to do this. You have to accept that your creation may not be always seen as the definitive creation. You have to let go of your baby and let people take it where they want it to go. But ultimately, I think all it does is generate more respect for the artist - and also helps build a strong fanbase.

Speaking of concerts...

Going to see Amy Ray tonight. I'm a touch apprehensive. Last time, I waited on line for about 3 hours, and was the only guy in the first ten rows. (I was, of course, front row, hugging the monitor.) It's actually the only concert situation I've been in where I really felt like I was just in the wrong place. But I love Amy bigtime, so off I go.

As much as I want to see certain bands, it just doesn't seem worth it sometimes. Read this excellent blog entry about Beck's secret show at Hiro last week, which combines pictures with some of the ridiculous ticket requests/pleas on Craigslist. I feel like there are very few concerts that are worth this much effort to me. As much as I pretend to be indie-yuppie, I'm just not.

Who we are



This is fun! (Thanks Mike for the link.)

EDIT: Jess says she's actually this:

ME: What's with all the clothes?
HER: I was cold.

Tommy Emmanuel, CGP

This is Tommy Emmanuel. Playing drums. On his guitar.

Mike, my dad and I went to see Tommy last night at BB King's. I hate BB King's. If you want a good seat, you need to get there three hours beforehand, and you have to buy dinner. As Mike put it, they go out of their way to make sure your experience is wholly unpleasant. But Tommy doesn't play NY often, and this was the only place to see him. So off we went.

I first heard about Tommy from my dad, of all people. He saw him on Sierra Center Stage on one of our local PBS channels, and called me immediately. I caught him doing some of the percussion above, as well as other blues, jazz and acoustic rock tunes. I was mesmerized. The minute I found out he was doing a NY gig, I knew I had to go.

There are very few words to describe what we saw. A master of fingerpicking, a beautiful instrumentalist, and an amazing showman with absolutely no pretention. He has a style all his own, acts like a complete goofball on stage, and welcomes everybody with open arms.

If he ever plays in your area, whether you're a guitarist or not, if you just enjoy good, fun instrumental music, SEE HIM.

You can see a clip of him on the above Sierra Center Stage website. Or better yet, come over to my apartment, we'll get a pizza and we'll watch his solo live DVD. (God, that sounds dorky. I don't care. This guy is unreal.)

EDIT: You can also listen/watch him in the Woodsongs Archive (top right corner).

Important links:

Tommy's tour dates: he's playing everywhere but NYC, pretty much.
Purchase the beautiful instrumental album "Only" on iTunes or Amazon
Purchase his new album "Endless Road" on iTunes or Amazon
AND A STEAL: Purchase "The Great Tommy Emmanuel" 3-CD set on Amazon for $18.99 - my dad paid $40 for this last night!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Talk About Drama...

This is one of those things that will probably only be fascinating to me:

New York Magazine Article: Christina Applegate - Off-Again, On-Again Star of Sweet Charity

I've been following this story for months as it's unfolded. The full back-story is in this article. I'm really interested in seeing how this all turns out. (Tonight is her first preview.) I saw some video footage of her rehearsing the show a while back, and while she's certainly not the strongest dancer or singer, she's adorable, and damn, she's working really hard. I have a bad feeling that she's going to get torn apart by the Times come May. You can tell her heart is in the right place, but I just don't know if that's enough to ensure a successful production.

Friday, April 15, 2005

7.4% rate of explicit content

"Straight Outta Compton, Explicit Only Version"

The link is safe for work. The not. Damn funny, though.

Go A-Rod!

A sports post? Yeah, I can't explain it either.

A-Rod Saves Boy From Being Hit By Truck

What an excellent article, if you like articles clearly submitted by publicists! Gotta love Jeter's comment at the end.

And of course, the only thing I could think of was this scene from Homer At The Bat:

Jose Canseco is walking down the street when he passes a burning house. The woman outside pleads for him to rescue her baby. Being the kind, generous soul that he is, Jose rushes into the burning house and emerges with the child. She then hears her cat, and Jose rescues it as well. She hears her player piano. Jose pulls up his collar and heads back in again.

Oh man, what a great episode. Go out and get Simpsons Season 3 on DVD right now.

Great First Paragraph

The reasons to avoid "House of D," David Duchovny's earnest, unwatchable coming-of-age drama, can best be summarized in a simple declarative sentence. Robin Williams plays a retarded janitor.

NY Times Review: "The House of D"

I wonder if maybe Robin and Cuba had a little talk on the set of "What Dreams May Come":

Cuba: I have a few movies coming up after this.
Robin: Yeah? Like what?
Cuba: A few I did strictly for the money, but I have this other one that's going to guarantee me an Oscar.
Robin: Why?
Cuba: I'm playing a retarded guy.
Robin: So? I don't think that's necessarily a guarantee.
Cuba: Two words, my friend: prosthetic teeth.
Robin: Hmmm....

Thanks to Z - excellent suggestion on the third pic.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bohemian Rhapsomash

Unbelievably cool. And I can only recognize maybe three or four of the songs that are part of their BoRhap mashup.

Last year, the Kleptones released "A Night at the Hip-Hopera," which was a ridiculously brilliant mashup of Queen tunes (both well-known and obscure) and hip-hop tunes (both well-known and obscure). Being a huge Queen fan, it was great to hear how deep they went into the catalogue, but apart from that, I wound up discovering some really great rap/hip-hop tracks, like 8-Point Agenda by Herbaliser w/Latryx (which fits so well with "I'm Going Slightly Mad").

As expected, the retarded record companies issued a cease-and-desist - when will they learn that projects like this only stimulate more interest and do not limit current sales? - but the album is still available if you'd like to download it. Check Waxy's list of mirrors here, and check out all the insane research he and others have done to identify all the samples, from Kelis to Britney to Iggy to Bueller.

My favorite tracks are See (because of KRS-One), Bite (because who doesn't love ODB?), Break (because for the first time ever, I actually understood all the lyrics to Shake Your Rump), and the one I mentioned above, Plan (before I heard the original, I thought they were actually rapping that fast - turns out it's sped up).

By the way, I've heard other rumblings about this Queen cover album. Here's what I found thus far.

Flaming Lips "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Gavin Degraw "We Are The Champions"
Jason Mraz "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy"
Josh Kelley "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
Joss Stone "Under Pressure"
Los Lobos "Sleepin On The Sidewalk
"Nickelback "We Will Rock You"
Rooney "Death On Two Legs"
Sum41 "Killer Queen"
Shinedown "Tie Your Mother Down"

Other acts unconfirmed but in line to contribute are Godsmack, POD, Queens Of The Stone Age and Harry Connick Jr (Fat Bottomed Girls).

Harry Connick Jr? FAT BOTTOMED GIRLS?? I'll reserve judgment. But regardless, the fact that Nickelback is on this thing does not bode well.

PS I lied about the end of the music nerd talk.

Jack On The Rise

Article from Business Week: Invasion of the Robo-DJs

The rules guiding a Jack-formatted station are simple: Unlike a typical radio station, which regularly plays 300 or 400 hits of a particular genre, programmers on Jack stations select 700 to 1,000 songs of completely different genres. Then, they sequence them to create what radio programmers call "train wrecks" -- Billy Idol will follow Bob Marley, Elvis after Guns N' Roses, and so on. And Jack stations often (but not always) use a smart-alecky recorded voice, rather than a live DJ, to make short quips between songs.

This is a step in the right direction. But it's not the solution I'm looking for.

One of the biggest problems with radio today, and you can thank Clinton for this, is the fact that all the mom-and-pop stations have been purchased by heavy hitters such as Clear Channel and Infinity. Eager to make the biggest buck, they stick to tightly-wound playlists, eliminating any creative input. I think the emergence of the XM and Sirius satellite radio companies, and their increasing popularity, has convinced at least a few people that maybe consumers do want a little variety in what they listen to on the FM dial.

So, for that reason, I'm really happy to see that stations are starting to open up their playlists. But the "train wreck" concept, enacted by essentially hitting the "random" button on their computer, isn't necessary. The great influential radio stations of the 1970s did this every single day, except these "train wrecks" were conceived and implemented by disc jockeys (albeit extremely stoned disc jockeys), This is what made radio an art. I'm specifically talking about 102.7 WNEW here, which is now such a joke that I can't even bring myself to talk about it.

It still exists, although it's getting harder and harder to find. I'll once again pimp Radio Paradise, although you can also find it on WFUV, specifically during Mixed Bag with Pete Fornatale and Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight. In LA, Nic Harcourt's doing it with Sounds Eclectic.

Okay, no more music-nerd talk from me, otherwise the three of you that read this are never going to come back. Just two things. One, this is a great book. Two, this is a great sentence:

"We're not going to be constricted by radio rules," says Peter Smyth, CEO of Greater Media, which owns 19 radio stations and debuted its first Jack station, Ben-FM, on Mar. 22 in Philadelphia.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

On the iPod April 2005

this is not a picture of amy

Stuff getting play all this month:

Amy Ray - Prom (Download "Driver Education" here and feel free to come with me, Jess and Jen to see her at the Bowery Ballroom next Tuesday)
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (Download "Banquet" here)
K-os - Joyful Rebellion (Stream "The Love Song" here or watch "Crabbuckit" here)
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (Download the awesome "I Predict A Riot" here)
Out Hud - Let Us Never Speak Of It Again (download "2005 A Face Odyssey from Stereogum here)
Stars - Set Yourself On Fire (hear "Reunion" as you log onto their website)
Stereophonics - Language. Sex. Violence. Other? (Go to their website, go to "Media" and listen to "Dakota," as it rocks)
Squeeze - Greatest Hits (yup!)
The Postal Service - Give Up (Download "Such Great Heights" here)
The Soundtrack of our Lives - Origin Vol. 1 (Can't find a track to download, but listen to the 30-second sample of "Trancendental Suicide" on iTunes here)

No word on whether I'm becoming an indie-yuppie but it's not looking good.

All Amazon links give a commission to Radio Paradise if you decide to purchase.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Abuse of power

Disgusting. (Although the 91% figure does give me some relief.)

But what happens to Officer Wohl now? Is he held accountable for his statements?

The Understudy Article on John Hillner

I've auditioned for a few understudy roles before, but I've never gotten one, and I've never quite understood how they work. I know that they're always supposed to be available for the lead actor(s) should anybody fall ill or become unable to perform the show, but I've never understood what it's like, psychologically as an actor, to be an understudy.

The job of understudy is one of the toughest in the business. It usually means you prepare like crazy for a moment that doesn't happen, or happens so seldom that you can't create something as rich, connected and involved as you or you fellow actors would like.

The story in here about Hillner going on for Daniel Davis with absolutely zero rehearsals under his belt is the kind of thing I have nightmares about.

Monday, April 11, 2005

This is weird, and now there is a witness maybe.

NY Times Article: The Man Date

I was at a bar on Saturday night after my show, and I don't know how it came up, but my director started telling me about an article in the Times about The Man Date. I didn't even know exactly what the article was about but my first thought was "I have to go tell Z* about this." Then Z sent me the link this morning.

Z, of course, is my best friend, and also happens to be a homosexual.

Just kidding. He's not my best friend. But we have gone on plenty of Man Dates.

In any case, this article was interesting, although just about every quote from a guy irritated me, especially the comment from Mr. Kim, who was worried that (gasp) someone might have seen him OUT WITH A GUY! People need to get over their fears - or at least figure out what's going on inside that causes them to have them in the first place.

I will admit I did have one of these weird moments recently. Z and I went to Angel's on 61st, and the table seemed a little cozy. I think I even commented that all the table was missing was a romantic candle. But it wasn't a big deal. We ate, talked, and had sex in the bathroom. Typical night.

The final part of the article caught my eye:

All men, however, agree that one rule of guy-meets-guy time is inviolable: if a woman enters the picture, a man can drop his buddies, last minute, no questions asked. A romantic date always trumps a man date.

Huh? What about "bros before hoes?" "Whoever smelt it, dealt it?" Or whatever that phrase was?

*name changed. Now you have no clue who it is.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Finnegan's Takes

Some really beautiful photos taken of NYC and elsewhere by one of my college professors. Jerry taught me how not to piss in my pants every time I approached any Shakespearean text. Before I left town, we had a chance to work together in The Winter's Tale. We catch up every so often when he's in New York. Haven't seen him in a while.

Finnegan's Takes: Photography, City and Country

Treat Your Mother Right.

I can't believe this is real:

Mr. T Urges You To Treat Your Mother Right

(Windows Media Player required)

Other Mr.T related fun at Mr. T's Be Somebody, Or Be Somebody's Fool website.

God bless the Internets.

Jowling Gusterrhoids

I somehow wound up on the Guster website for the first time in many months today, only to find that they've been recording a new album - and, as usual, Brian, their drummer/percussionist, is journaling throught the process.

Guster's Studio Journal

Brian has done many journals before, both in the studio and on the road, and I think they're fucking hysterical, regardless of whether you know the band or not. (Actually, now that I've actually met all four of them and had actual conversations, I'd argue that they're funnier in writing.)

Anyhow, there are a number of funny journal entries in here - too many to mention specifically - but I found myself laughing out loud at a number of them. Recommended reading for additional reasons:

- I think Joe, their newest member, is fascinating. His solo album is on my "gotta get" list. I like reading how much he's been integrated into the band, and how his musical sensibilities (as well as recording/cooking techniques) have influenced the other three, who have been buddies since forever.

- I appreciate Brian's honesty in how they craft tracks, and as you follow their progress from January onward, you really do feel like you're in the studio with them.

- Last, but not least, jowlers. JOWLERS! This is so disturbing. And yet I feel like I have to try it. Anybody familiar with my "sneeze photos" will know what I mean. (For those who haven't seen them, this is an irritating thing I do way too often - I turn the camera on myself and pretend like I'm about to sneeze, then snap the photo.)

I thought about posting the abovementioned pictures, then thought the better of it.

ABCDEFCookie Monster

25 Sesame Street Memories

There are only a few memories here that I don't have stored somewhere in my brain. There are a few I completely forgot about until reading this article, like Billy Joe Jive and his dog Meatbone. But many awesome memories, and an excellent writeup.

My only criticism with this article is that they don't attribute "Pinball Number Count" to the Pointer Sisters. I didn't know it was them until I bought Songs From The Street, which, by the way, is a pretty good boxset until you get to Hootie singing "Hold My Hand" (with one of the other members singing WAY off-key harmonies) to Elmo, and Goo Goo Dolls singing "Slide" to the tune of "Pride"...also with Elmo. Come to think of it, I guess it's Elmo's fault. Fuckin' Elmo. Also, I wish they had a link to a video of the ABCDEFCookie Monster clip, as Mike and I tend to talk about it way more than is healthy.

I haven't checked out anything on this website before, but I think I'll bookmark it. Make sure you check out the link after memory #4.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I'm dying here

Article: Above the Trendy, the Down and Out

I have always been interested in the history of Manhattan - what the streets used to look like, the cars on the roads, the people that lived in the places where we now spend $11 on an appletini. While I take comfort in the easygoing landlord who has no intention to boot these folks, there's still a sadness to the lives these men lead. The thought of Bob still looking for Kathleen Clark is heartbreaking.

Perfect Timing!

Aw, crap.

First Post

A quick explanation of why I'm doing this.

First of all, I don't intend for this to be a personal diary or journal. The purpose of this blog is just to collect the articles, stories and websites I wind up viewing from day-to-day - the ones I find interesting and often wind up e-mailing to many of you. I want to have them in a central location so that, web permitting, I can go back and review them from time to time. I might comment on them, I might not - I find that most of the time, they stand on their own, and I don't need to add anything to what has already been presented.

Most of the articles will have been shamelessly stolen from other blogs. I'm not swift enough to find them all on my own. Most will probably come from Kottke (like everybody else in the universe) and Andrew (ditto). So this site is primarily self-serving - but if you're bored, feel free to hang out, read an article, comment, whatever. I'd be happy to hear from you.