Tuesday, December 21, 2004

a good thing

I've decided that I have been complaining entirely too much in this blog, and in my life. So here's something that makes me smile- the play Brandy and I have been concocting will be done by New Years. I'm taking volunteers to read it and give feedback- any takers? Happy Holidays to everyone, and much love.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

work rant

Work is stressing me out. What I thought would be a nice part-time job has turned into an unofficial full-time clusterfuck. I won't bore you with all of the details, but basically:

1) The box office manager is leaving in two weeks and I can't blame her. No one knows how the ticket system is set up, and there will be no forseeable time for her to train anyone fully, as we have a very popular show up right now, with its own set of difficulties. I'm afraid they are suspecting I (or my lovely co-worker, hired the same day as I) will step into her job, which includes nights and weekends.

2) Besides helping out in the box office and learning payroll and accounts payable, I have been handed the task of researching, fixing, and placating a list of subscribers whose subscriptions and method of payments have been lost in the ether, and are understandably pissed off. Fun times.

3) The development director is also leaving in two weeks, and I don't think anybody really knows how she has organized her office, or the extent of the work she does. She has been there 3 years or so and knows everyone in the community. Hard to fill her shoes, and her shoes fill our bank accounts.

4) Within the new two weeks I am supposed to help change over our accounting system software, which will include re-entering every single employee and vendor file, and all of our accounts and other fianancial info.

5)The two people who seem to think that everything will work out fine (read: they are either blissfully ignorant, or far more insane than they actually appear) are (recently) married to one another. And they are both born in the Year of The Monkey. Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

Suffice it to say, I am a wreck. I thought I had some kind of kidney infection, because of a strange pain I have in my back, etc. and got on antibiotics for it. Now they aren't seeming to work and I wonder if it is actually a pinched nerve. Either way, I blame the theatre. I look back on the days when I used to work as a volunteer board memeber for a non-profit theatre, as well as work full-time in sales. Sure I was busy, and it could be stressful. Some times I resented the fact thet all of my creativity was going into other people's productions. But I could shelve that, considering I also put up my own productions there, too, and had the opportunity to design, to act, to direct, to mentor, to....make art.

And now, I suppose I am still helping to make art, but I am not using any of my creativity in it. All of these niggling details just suck, but they are teaching me alot about how to set things up in a theatre. I am going to grit my teeth and deal with it for as long as I can. Thank god I have a play to work on right now, and maybe the fact that I am not using my imagination during the daytime makes me all the more apt to use it in my writing.

Deep breath......

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

look what i can do

My honey showed me how to put links on my blogsie. Actually, he did it all, and I watched. But anyway, now I can show you a nice lady who found me in this strange land: Tammy You should look up her art gallery, and check it out! Also, the regular band of misfits are now included under my "Blogsies" list. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

frenchfrydippedinvodka-yeah!

The following discussion has been reconstructed from several e-mails. MM is the source of this fascinating topic. TM is yours truly, and ML is known as the Tater Tot Queen of Ohio. Feel free to contribute your thoughts on this fascinating topic in your comments.

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MM: I have a very important thing I need your insight on concerning rock
and the western world. It has been said that France has never produced
a great rock band. You and I may have discussed this in the past. I
continue to ponder this deep question and need your guidance and
mentorship in my ruminations-- some things have come up:


TM: Ok, I’ll do my best.

ML: Always keep in mind that everyone else in the world has some sort of inferiority complex when it comes to France. Everything France has done is ignored and what they haven't done (or seem not to have done) is made fun of. Not that I'm some sort of rabid francophile, I'm just trying to throw out some perspective on the situation.

A. can Sterolab be considered French?

TM: Their label is UK. But that could just be a cover, considering the whole stigma with France and popular music and all. I'd probably do the same, if I were French and trying to make music.

ML:You know, I think they're from Quebec or Montreal, so that depends on yr view. They'd probably say yep, we're french, but the rest of the world would say give it up, yr canadian. Can we consider them french for this argument? Sure, fine by me!

A1. if so, Sterolab is great but, as great as the Beatles or U2 or
Sonic Youth or the Velvet Underground or The Stone Roses? Eh...? There
are doubts.


TM:Yeah, they are cool as all get out, but they're not tremendously accessible. I think, in most cases, to rock one needs to be understood by a larger audience. For instance, Bobby Conn often rocks out, but for such a select audience, that he and the Glass Gypsies cannot technically be construed as "rockers." I think.

ML:Hmmm, that's a good argument. In my opinion, there are several types ofrock music": Beatles rock (pop rock), Rolling Stones rock(blues-influenced pop rock), Black Sabbath rock (blues-influenced "heavy"rock), and Velvet Underground rock (avant-garde "noise" rock). In order of rocking (with the first rocking the least and last rocking the most), I'd rate them as Velvet Underground, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath. Sure, there are plenty of times that these all morph, and the lines aren't super clean, but in general, that's how I look at the world of "rock". So to answer, I'd say that Stereolab is a great band in the VelvetUnderground/Beatles rock morphed line that really makes quality music(inventive, interesting, creative, and melodical), but that no, they'renot as good as the above 4. They haven't altered the face of rock music in the same way as the above 4.

A2. Also, if Stereolab were qualified as great, arguably it is not so
because they _rock_ but because their music is pretty. So would it
really count?


TM: Nope. See above.

ML:Well, that's true. Since Stereolab doesn't fall into a seriously “rocking" category, I don't think they really count as a rocking band. Oh, and I'm counting "rocking" as generally being played with typical instruments (guitar, bass, drums), all of which are played with a lot of oomph. Makes you want to bang yr head, reaches some primal instinct, makes you want to grab the lead singer (or bassist, or guitarist, or drummer, whatever your pick is at that moment) and get down and dirty. That's rock in my book.Stereolab, while super awesome, does not make you want to do any of that. Sure, the girls are cutie pies, but they don't drive you insane with raw desire, ya know?

B. my new coworker Amanda noted that Italy has never produced a great
rock band either. (I countered that they produced Sophia Loren, which
is the equivalent, but she rightly pointed out that Ms Loren does not
and has never to our knowledge publicly strapped on a a guitar and
leather pants and produced the earsplitting sonic glory that comprises
"rock.")


TM:http://www.scaruffi.com/history/italian.html There are no Italian rockers of note, as demonstrated by this website. At least no one in the US knows about them. No one anywhere. I'd like to hear some Italian punk rock. It should be pretty hilarious- and probably really misogynistic. Whee!

ML:Although the Sophia Loren counter was a good one (that lady is so gorgeous and hot, nobody else even comes close. Well, except maybe Anjelica Huston, but she's gotten hotter as she's gotten older and Sophia has just stayed hot. But that's another topic for another day.) it's true that Italy doesn't really rock. Maybe France & Italy have spent so much attention to gorgeous art/architecture/etc that they haven't had time to rock?

B1. Concerning France and perhaps also Italy: could it be that there
is an inverse relationship between the rockingness of a country and
its food and wine quality? (for more discussion on this point see
section C, subsection 2)


TM:I think you’re on to something here.

ML:This is a great theory. In fact, I think there might be some truth to that. Rock doesn't make you want to drink fancy wine, it makes you want to drink whiskey right from the bottle. Or the flask you snuck into the show with you. (Ah the good old days!) Maybe we can say that the better your food, the less you need to seduce with rocking music?

C. Perhaps the real issue at hand is obscured by the perspective from
which it is considered. Maybe the pith of it is not so much which
European countries "cannot" rock, but rather, we could focus on the
disproportionality of the solid rocking in the US, the UK, and
Ireland. And, ok, occasionally Canada. What accounts for the
disproportionality?


TM:Perhaps it has something to do with genetics, or lifestyle. Or perchance vodka? More on potatoes and derivatives of them later.

ML:Again, I'm going to throw the food card. For example, Italy, France, and Spain have fucking awesome food and wine, but don't seem to rock. And The eastern block countries don't seem to have much good food or rock (vodka aside, of course, when was the last time you had a killer eastern block country meal or drink?), so maybe that adds to the theory.

C1. Concerning Canada: Some may argue that Alanis Morisette, Celine
Dion, and Bryan Adams negate any claim to Canadian Rockability, but
my own contention would be that America too would have its Rock
Quotient severely lowered if we were deducting points for unrocking
acts. We all know that America, for all its other flaws---and perhaps
because of those flaws--- rocks indubitably, and therefore I argue, a
system of measuring rockingness which deducts for de-meritorious
faux-rock is invalid in determining the rockingness, absolute or
relative, of a country.


TM:http://www.canadianbands.com/bios_1d.html Go here- the music is- something. So, Neil Young is from Canada, which is good. But he doesn't always rock. Same for The Bare Naked Ladies. Same for RUSH, although they did attempt to. I've thought about it for a minute, and I think that the artists you mention above really do negate much of Canada's rockworthiness- in my estimation. And when you add Anne Murray to the scales, the balance is forever tipped. While your theory would hold true if Canada had even a single undeniably rocking band ever come out of it, as far as I can tell, it hasn't. Oh, and- um-Supertramp. That's all I'm saying. But you should run this all past Leeann (our token Canadian friend, who does rock.)

ML:Celine Dion ruins all music, so I think it's perfectly okay to claim That she ruins Canada's claims on rock. I mean, I saw her cover AC/DC at some VH-1 show last year, and it was so un-rocking it hurt. How the hell can you make AC/DC not rock? Well, she did it. And with that, she took away any balls with which Canada had to rock. There you have it: Celine Dion castrated Canada.

C2. Considering the question from the perspective proposed above, one
notices certain cultural ties of western countries which seem,
consistently, to rock. Notably: the presence of the English language
as the dominant language, democracy and a roughly two-party system,
and a high incidence of beer over wine drinking. In addition, it seems
that the countries which rock most have abominable diets consisting
largely of fried, greasy, bland foods, and lots of potatoes.


TM:All true, all true. (But I still think genetics may be at play. After all, many Canadians are French, and have a hard time rocking.) I think perhaps grease, hops, potatoes, and vodka may have untold effect on our rockers. Perhaps it is a chain reaction. The 2 party system breeds complacency, which prohibits culinary experimentation. Bland food then causes whiteys to drink until they pass out. Upon awakening, only grease and more alcohol will take away the hangover. A sense of futility and frustration ensues, causing the need to rock. In other European countries, dinner is varied, celebrated, and late. There is no time or need to rock.

ML:This is an interesting argument. I think you might have something here. Maybe we can carry that theory even further and say that the more refined your food choices (wine, cheese, pastries), the less you need to rely on the primal instincts that rock drives out to seduce? Because pretty much everything boils down to sex: you join a band to get laid, and you serve a tasty meal to get laid. So maybe the better your food, the less you need music to reel 'em in.

Tifanie, I have never been to Europe, so, can you contribute any
insight from what you've experienced there? Also, is there any insight
to be gained by widening the scope of the analysis to non-western
countries which seem to rock, or are starting to show promising signs
of rock, such as Japan, Mexico, India, and the states formerly known
as the USSR? My hunch is that English will not much longer be the
language of rock and that there is no link between rockingess and the
language spoken by the populace (though spoken German, clearly unfit
for music of any kind, may be a possible anomaly or outlier. Also, it
seems to me that Germans do actually rock in spite of this fact).


TM:Well, there was no rocking going on in Italy or France. People like local electronic dance music, or the same American pop that pervades our airwaves over here. Pop saturation. There are a lot of local ballads, and a lot of electronic music in malls and elevators. They seem more willing to let genres rub shoulders with one another. I did not witness any French mullets, or other examples of music influenced fashion, except for hip-hop. Hip-hop is everywhere, along with baggy pants. French rap is funny. I know nothing of Mexican Rock, or states formerly know as the USSR rock. But I have a feeling that Russians could rock- potato factor- and the same for the Germans. Does strife = rock? Is rock only born of struggle? Maybe, but so was reggae. Hmm. African revolutionary music is still quite melodic and beautiful. This is obviously a cultural difference, because their music is very participatory, especially vocally. As for Japan, I have heard some kick ass rock, but a good deal of it is in English. I think that Japanese rock, and much of Japanese culture, is so heavily influenced by the states that English will continue to dominate in it. I think until Americans start learning other languages as often as people from other countries do, a lot of foreign rock will still be performed in English.

ML:From what I know, there are actually a lot of super-rock (type 4) bandsfrom Germany and the USSR areas. I think one of the only actual satanic metal bands in the world is from Germany (I can't remember their name, but I know they were banned from playing for a while because of some murders or something, it was pretty gross and bizarre), and I know that there's a metal band from the USSR area that's pretty big in some circles. Maybe warmer climates (Mexico, India) aren't as conducive to rock? And again, Mexican and Indian cuisine is fucking tasty, so that might further thegood-food-trumps-rock theory.

I am intrigued by the pervasiveness hops, potatoes, and grease in
countries which rock, coupled with the relatively low consumption of
alcoholic beverages derived from grapes... India and the former Soviet
states also consume a lot of potatoes, I believe. The Japanese eat
potatoes as well, though I am not sure they are a staple of the diet
there... do you think this "beer/vodka and fries/chips" idea is a
promising direction to explore? Vodka is derived from potatoes...


TM:I do think it hold promise. But I think there could be some kind of genetic thing going, too.

ML:Okay, so I think maybe the potato is the key! Potatoes = rock. There just isn't any other explanation. Of course, if we throw rap and hip-hop into the mix, what will we find? I'm not sure I have the concentration to think about that right now, but it's a good one to ponder.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

el mano

I was driving home a different way then I usually do, and it made me think of my friend Gabe, who is in Japan and who I miss lots. He and I had a talk once about how the first thing he likes to do when he moves somewhere is to drive absolutely everywhere to see how everything connects. While I think that is cool as hell, I am totally different. The way I expand into my environment is incremental, and on a need to know basis. My mental map of my location is sketchy at best, with a few fingers of knowledge jutting out from the palm of my homebase. Large black areas surround these points of experience, and I guess I like it that way. When I light up a few more points on the grid, it is good, but I enjoy the mystery of unknown possibilities. I am sure Gabe is mapping every nook and cranny in Japan that he can, and it makes me smile to think on it.

Speaking of hands, driving and smiling, I am not smiling about the fact that my friend Brandy had a stupid NM driver get airborne in her immediate vicinity, breaking bones in her right hand and wrist, not to mention totalling her vehicle. To break one's right hand is not good, especially for a journalist and my play writing partner, but I am glad she is not more seriously hurt. When she and I lived in NY state, she accidentally put that same hand through a window, and has scars in the same places she reinjured. I told her I think her hand is trying to save her life somehow. Please think warm thoughts for her quick recovery.