More of the same, otherwise. Still writing bits and pieces of Objects and trying to find it. Reading library books for inspiration (the big Bernard Shaw play-reading fest is being held off until I'm in Maine, though). Making sure all will be well at The Brick while gone and getting things to the catsitter. Working on memorizing Terminal Hip. Was snowed in enough to have to stock up on supplies and spend a couple of days hunkered down here, with a bit of cabin fever (oddly, this is what we go to Maine for, but I don't get stir-crazy up there when not going out of the house; here, I get antsy).
Not much otherwise -- a great screening of David Finkelstein and Mike Kuchar videos last Sunday, with a huge house and great party afterward at Medicine Show. I'd seen 2 of the 4 videos before, and the other two -- David's adaptation of Shelley and Mike's piece starring David -- were especially outstanding.
I read the biography of the fascinating musician/performer Peter Ivers, which was full of interesting stories and information, and yet kept seeming to fall short of the full story -- there's something odd about a bio about someone who was murdered, and which focuses in no small part on the mystery around his death, that never once mentions the actual method of how he was killed. Not that I want a morbid fixation on it, but it just seems odd by its total absence (though there is almost a feeling that the book was written for the friends who knew and loved him, and who didn't need or want to be reminded of what had happened to him), as does the strange lack of real in-depth discussion of Ivers' few released albums. What is there in the book, however, is engrossing.
I also read a biography of Janis Joplin with wildly varied reactions. The author was good at addressing Joplin in the greater context of female rock/blues vocalists, tells Joplin's story without much of an agenda, and obviously she is to some extent a "fan," but her attitude was very much that of someone who doesn't really know or "get" rock or blues, and her view is mostly about placing Joplin in a societal/academic framework rather than an artistic one. She's very VERY good at carefully delineating how much Joplin's rep both during and after her lifetime has been continually downgraded through sexism, more than I had ever been aware (let alone the patronizing tone, especially from English critics, accorded a female white blues singer, which I did know about), but she doesn't let Janis off the hook for her missteps - in particular trying to move from primarily singing blues, at which she was better than first rate, to soul, at which she was good, but not really top-drawer. In main, the author is great with the subject as a woman and as a career, but never comes close to understanding her voice or music except from the most cold, technical point-of-view.
Also, right at the top of the book, she repeats the most scurrilous, undying false story about Elvis Presley (and an apocryphal racist remark of his) with a footnote saying she believes it, that Elvis never denied it, and trying to drag Greil Marcus into agreeing with her about its truth. The whole thing was debunked by Jet magazine as false in 1957 for chrissakes, including an outright denial from Elvis, and yet the story still lives on, especially in academia, for some reason -- probably because of some kind of snobbery that causes the attitude, as it was expressed to Marcus by a book editor when he tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent some equally untrue and racist words from being put, in print, in the mouth of Sam Phillips, that "in rock and roll, the vulgar is always closest to the truth."
So . . . I was a hair peeved at the book right from the start.
And now, for a better taste, out of 2,475 songs in the "unplayed" playlist in the iPod, a Random Ten for the week:
1. "The Family And The Fishing Net" - Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 4 (aka Security)
2. "Unwind Yourself" - Marva Whitney - It's My Thing
3. "The Wicked Messenger" - Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding (2010 Mono Version)
4. "Independent Woman" - Jackie Brenston & The Delta Cats - Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958 vol. 1
5. "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" - R.E.M. - Monster
6. "Shoplifting" - The Slits - Rough Trade Shops: Post Punk 01
7. "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" - Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart - Those Classic Golden Years 13
8. "Bucket T" - Jan & Dean - Hot Rod Heaven Vol. 1
9. "Good Rockin' Tonight" - Elvis Presley - The Complete Sun Singles: Volume 1
10. "L.S.D." - Manfred Mann - Mann Made
And the video playlist for he above (or as close as I could get):
Well, if we're lucky, we'll be pulling out for Maine sometime soon . . . but luck hasn't been with us this week all that much.