Springy

Blooming on Schermerhorn Street

I could be wrong, but I think someone went and told the plants in my neighborhood that Spring is icumen in. I’ll go on record as thinking this is a good idea.

Last night’s reading of U Suck! at Rockwood Music Hall went pretty well. It was a first airing of the piece, so nothing got etched in stone, but I had a good time and so did Jess, who came down to defend the good name of the Lower East Side. Pierre seemed pretty amused by the whole thing. Given that he mostly hates plays and only comes out because I’m in them now and then, that passes for entertainment.

For my part, there’s something in me that loves a chance to bellow out inappropriate epithets in public (“you fucking dildoic morons!”) without getting kicked out of the bar. Not sure what it is, but it smells like bacon. It looks like we’ll have a chance to do the show again and refine some points, and since the cast and the piece are both fun I’m hoping it keeps on going until it’s time to stop.

Ken the Publican’s Mom was in attendance, and suggested that perhaps I had cursed a little much. I favored hanging out at Rockwood for the post-show Festivities, but that would have involved hollering through the sets of the musicians up next, which is fucking dildoic moron rude. We were wedged into a booth at nearby One and One and had a raft of drinks on the table before they told us that the kitchen there was closed for renovations, or lack of interest, I didn’t catch which; hours later I had the tripod out and was taking low-light night pictures of passing cars on Allen Street. It was that kind of night.

Posted in General Musings |

Abroad in Blogville

The blogosphere, or the blogularity, or the blogiverse, or the blog-what-have-you, is a big place. It has some pretty tricky corners. Some of it pisses me off, some of it makes me shake my head and roll my eyes, and some of it makes me sit right up and notice. For instance, I never expected to see these words in this order in one place:

Gotta start stripping this week which, for some strange reason, I’m actually looking forward to. It’s been so many years since I’ve done the pole thing. Should be an interesting experience since I’m much older and much wiser now. I’ll be keeping up to date on that. Living for my demonic kittens, Cthulhu and Diamanda, enjoying my alone time immensely, and getting back to my magick in a big way.

Cthulhu and Diamanda! I love it. “Ia,” I say, “Ia!”

Posted in General Musings |

Lady of the Rings

Miss Saturn, Revolutionary, hosting Hulapalooza at Galapagos

There is something ineffable about Miss Saturn. Actress, comedienne, dancer, and clown, she hula-hoops her way through New York’s Burlesque Revival — Saturn, rings, got it, right? — always leaving a dash of titillating mayhem in her wake. Now, we’re talking about a quick, pretty, funny, clever girl who spends public time doing tricks with hula hoops in scanty, clingy outfits, so there’s a what’s-not-to-love element to consider: because what’s not to love? She’s got all that, and abs that bear some pondering. But the Mysteries of Saturn run deeper still.

The Wikipedia tells us that, according to the Roman poet and astrologer Manilius, Saturn is sad, morose and cold, and presides over the left leg. Apparently Manilius wasn’t much of a hand with a hula-hoop, but I guess he knew his left legs all right. I prefer Miss Saturn’s self-imposed tag: she signs her emails “Revolutionary.”

Tomorrow night I’m doing a reading of a new play, U Suck! by Mark Adamsbaum. It’s based on transcripts of the not-so-titillating mayhem that rolls out in on-line chat room forums, and judging from our rehearsal the other day it zips by in a frenzied, humorous flash. Blogger buddy Tony Hightower of Evil Twin Theory is also in the cast. If you find yourself in the East Village around New York’s best new venue, Rockwood Music Hall, come and join us.

U Suck! – by Mark Adamsbaum
“Funny, profane and venomous!”
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 – 7:00 p.m. – FREE!
Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street
(just south of East Houston & First Avenue)

Rockwood Music Hall usually has Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout at the bar, and on Wednesdays the bar also features Danielle (who, among other things, does my hair). Remind me to stay away from that bar part until we’re done with the reading.

Posted in About Last Night |

Opportunistic Climatology (Making Lemonade)

Wouldn’t it be awesome if right after the first glorious day of spring, a day of shedding sun and ecstatic warm rambling, we had a Monday when highs were in the 50′s followed by a frigid night with temps in the 30′s? Wouldn’t that be great?

Hey!

Posted in General Musings |

Pressletyzing

SXSW Festivals logo

These last few weeks I’ve been an occasional blogger, and by “occasional” I mean mostly not at all. That had a lot to do with an annual writing deadline.

Every year I come back from the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin happy, inspired, discombobulated, and beat, but usually I’ve written up my daily reviews and thoughts for Music Dish on the fly, day by day. There was limited access to computers in the Press Suite this year, and so I decided to write up my coverage once I came back home. And that’s where I’ve been since then.

The SXSW 2005 articles are finally up and published: huzzah. I’ve written five pieces, one for each main day of the festivities. They’re all on the Music Dish front page for now (left-hand column), and for future reference here are the direct links.

  • Tuesday, March 15: We arrive. Charlie Robison at the BMI dinner, and the 10th annual Swollen Circus at Hole in the Wall with The Silos, Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three, Spottiswoode and his Enemies, and Paul the Girl.
  • Wednesday, March 16: Everyone else arrives, so we go have lunch. Hitchhike, Nizlopi, Housewife; the amazing Pilots have a hissy at the sound guy, and Willard Grant Conspiracy does not. Tift Merritt is cute but doesn’t move me. Elvis Costello is not so cute, but damn.
  • Thursday, March 17: Robert Plant, Mavis Staples, Roky Erickson in the day session. It’s just weird. The Austin Theremonic Orchestra, Slaid Cleaves, Jorane, Joy Zipper, Tracy Bonham, and the glorious Kathleen Edwards by night.
  • Friday, March 18: Shawn Fanning, who was once nicknamed “Napster,” talks tech. Andy Hersey, Ericson Holt, and Tegan & Sara liven up the afternoon; when dark falls we have Trish Murphy, Eileen Rose, Halestorm, and The Lascivious Biddies. I have crushes great and small on several band members here. Don’t tell.
  • Saturday, March 19: Erykah Badu is super in her interview. Before and after a pouring afternoon rain we squeeze in Ann Vriend, The Grip Weeds, Amy Rigby (plus Hazel), and an elemental song by Steve Wynn. To close things out it’s Tina Schlieske (of Tina & the B-Sides), Stephen Clair, Dash Rip Rock, Edith Frost, Pure Reason Revolution, and very favorites Cruiserweight, who put the old saw that “it’s only fun until someone gets hurt” to the test. As it turns out, it’s also fun after someone gets hurt. Just messier, is all.
Posted in Music Theory |

Zipper Slices

Ethan Lipton at E-Z Tuesday
Zero Boy at E-Z Tuesday
Rachelle Garniez at E-Z Tuesday

Yesterday was the first Tuesday in April, so our very own Ethan Lipton was co-hosting his E-Z Tuesdays monthly revue with Zero Boy, New York’s local vocal acrobat supreme. Their monthly guest was Rachelle Garniez, who is so lovely she can make a guy rethink the accordion as a proper instrument.

The last few installations of E-Z Tuesdays were held at the Belt Theatre next door, but apparently the Belt is about to become a steak house or something, which means that’s all she wrote so far as that goes. The show moved this month to the Zipper Theater, a gorgeous space with careful pools of light and shabby Charlie-the-tramp afterthought walls. Ethan and his Orchestra (which, to date, generally runs anywhere between zero and four people) were touching and hilarious, and Zero Boy had one of his finer sets. It’s all captured in images here for your viewing pleasure: safe for work, washed in night’s shades, and fun to look at.

If you haven’t tasted Ethan’s music yet, it’s probably time, don’t you think? That link will bring you to his CD Baby page, where you can sample his sounds from the menu on the left (no charge, all legal). He’s got a listening page on his site with more tunes too. Hear them, share them, trade them with your friends. G’wan, we don’t mind.

Posted in About Last Night, Music Theory |

Almost Famous

Elvis Costello: Not Angry Anymore. Photo © 2005 Linus Gelber

It’s a SXSW Wednesday in Austin, and I’m standing off at the side of the ample stage at Buffalo Billiards shooting a couple of pictures of Sonya Kitchell, an acousticky girl from Ashfield, Massachusetts, who makes me a little nervous because after a drink or two I would never guess that she’s 15. Your Honor. Honest. I thought she said 50. I’ll go peacefully.

The side of the stage is favored by photographers because it relieves the big-microphone-in-the-middle-of-her-face problem and lets you mix up your angles some. It’s also favored by famous people, because mostly nobody is looking over there and you can often get out quickly if you start over there and you’re famous (“Sorry sir, there’s no backstage access.” “I’m Henry Kissinger, get out of my way.” “Right. Exit door at the back, watch the loading dock”).

I’m trying to get a shot that ultimately won’t come out, and when I come up for air there’s a girl with a gotcha look gazing my way. “You look like Elvis Costello,” she says. Since Elvis is playing in a few hours over on the west side of town, it’s a reasonable guess. I’m flattered nine ways to Thursday and explain that I’m not actually Elvis, but I could be in a certain light; she wanders off.

A few hours later on the west side of town I’m down front for the other Elvis Costello. His two-hour show is spectacular. I do look like him; the first time that came up was around Punch the Clock, which was the post-raging-geek Elvis era.

But suddenly I wonder. Maybe what she actually meant was, “Hello. You’re old, fat, and losing your hair.”

Posted in General Musings, Music Theory |

Hello, Who Are You?

I fought a writing deadline all last week. Fighting a deadline is a bit like fighting a cold, but with fewer vitamins. It works pretty much like this:

  1. Figure out where the deadline is likely to be.
  2. Be somewhere else.

As you can see, I went to college.

The deadline ambushed me over the weekend at last, as deadlines will, and I’ve been dredging up everything I can remember about the SXSW Music Conference ever since and pouring it into paragraphs. “SXSW is a sly grin of a girl with sparkling sultry eyes who … whoops. Sorry. She wasn’t SXSW, she was a bass player. Start again. SXSW is a large music conference held every March in Austin which contains many bass players …” That sort of thing.

The long and the short of it is that I broke this morning at a quarter past 7 to snatch an hour’s sleep before laying on the final licks and finishing up at 9:30 a.m. I used to do this all the time, but if I’m not mistaken they made shorter days back in the ’80s.

I blur into the office an hour later, eyes wide shut. Fishing my space alien “I’m a Little Spacey Before Coffee” mug out of the kitchen cabinet I wonder what a nice Macallan wide-mouth whiskey glass is doing in there — or did I imagine it? No telling. As your attorney, I urge you not to believe anything you read here today without corroboration. I punch coffee into my mug and make it to my desk, vaguely vertical.

There’s a dark spot clinging to the inside of the mug, right at coffee level. It doesn’t appear to be swimming, but the jury isn’t in yet. “Hello,” I say in a friendly voice. “Who are you?”

Problem 1: I say this out loud. “Linus is talking to his coffee cup,” thinks my neighbor, taking evasive action. I can hear her panic.

Problem 2: For a second, I wonder if it’s going to answer. It seems plausible enough; I was mighty friendly.

I think tonight might be a sleeping night.

Posted in General Musings |

Wild Things

Much as I’d like to tell you that I was snatched by space aliens and bamfed off on a hyperspace tour of the seedy backwater planets in our wing of the universe, during which I did not have internet access and couldn’t update the blog, the truth is that I blame March.

It was like this, see. March came in like a lion. Then it clawed the furniture like a lion. Then it mauled around like a lion, took a rest like a lion, and decided to go out like a lion. So it’s been all over lions. And no, this sudden spate of 50° business on March 30th does not qualify for lamb status, April is the lamb, you don’t get to change your mind and suddenly be all lamby. You made your den, go lie in it.

We flew back from South by Southwest on the 21st, and catch-up kept me crunched for a few days. As soon as I had enough time to look around I realized I was sick (this is the Wile E. Coyote method of personal diagnosis, and it’s followed by a stretchy visual with a kind of “going” sound effect and ultimately a Linus-shaped impact hole at the bottom of winter’s cliff).

While we’re waiting for my brain to reboot, you can thumb through a little picture gallery of two of my favorite burlesque characters, Creamy Stevens and Little Brooklyn. Brooklyn and Creamy — yes, those are their real names — produce the terrific Starshine Burlesque show every Thursday in the East Village. The galleries are theoretically safe for work, if girls in lingerie are safe for where you work. Like at a circus, mebbe.

Posted in General Musings |

Take Me Out To The SXSW Ball Game

Amy Hammons hits a single

Kristy Krüger
And so it comes to pass, South by Southwest 2005 comes to a close with the traditional barbecue and softball game (Print Media routs Club Bookers 14 to 3) on this sunny Sunday afternoon. Linus will explore the barbecue issues in a later installment, when he has finished digesting his half cow, and there will be a series of music retrospectives in words and pictures in the next few days. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, here’s Kristy Krüger singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame before the last at bat.

Posted in About Last Night, Music Theory |