Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:
Chris: I haven’t been online much this week, because I just moved and the wireless network at my new crib has been down for an agonizing span of time, but I couldn’t fail to mark the birthday of that all-time-great human once and again called Prince. Though his relationship with the Internet is a complicated one, I feel like he’d appreciate the spirit of this orgy-related scheme. If not, well, Michael DeForge drew a comic (also about the Internet (sorry, Prince)).
Margaux: The Toronto monthly lecture series Trampoline Hall (where people lecture on subjects where they are not professionally expert) has been going on for over 10 years. I was involved in it for many of those years, as was/is this blog’s Carl Wilson. I think I saw my other colleague, Chris Randle, take money at the door recently.
I went to the most recent show this past Monday night because Steve Kado was curating. I am a fan of Steve Kado’s performance work and mind and figured it would be a show I’d be interested in. Every month is curated by a different person. The show, hosted by my boyfriend Misha Glouberman, is always a good mix of stable and unstable. The structure of the show, designed by Misha and Sheila Heti, is always the same and the lecturers and curators and audience are always different. Misha does a brilliant job every time at creating a conversation with the lecturers and the whole room – and also at bringing the funny to the too-serious and finding the meaning in the too-funny (or the not-too-funny).
The show on Monday kind of floored me, which is pretty great for a show you’ve been watching for this long. I’ve been a bit slow to appreciate theatre, but the well-oiled machine of Trampoline Hall combined with the spontaneity of (always exactly) 130 people in the room reminded me of what a good old fashioned machine, that makes brand new things, looks like.
Steve’s show circled around epic adventures and time. The lectures by Guy Halpern, Amelia Erhardt and Chris Boni were a pleasure. Chris Boni stole the show (or made the show) with a confusingly dead-on abstract meditation on slow motion. At one point, in patiently describing a battle scene in the Iliad, Chris talked about the moment in the scene when you remember that you’re not the one looking up at the shining sword. Chris looked out to the audience and reminded us that that would be the moment when you remember it’s the hero’s hand that’s holding the shining sword, not your own. He said that that’s when your imagined body moves back to the other side and remembers it is only watching and not holding anything. That’s the kind of information you get from slowing down time.
This wonderful Mr. Rogers autotune collaboration between John D. Boswell and PBS basically sums up what I love about a good show and also sums up the art I’ve been working on this year. I guess that’s not surprising since I paid quite a lot of attention to Mr. Rogers once.
Speaking of civil liberties, one of the best pieces of music journalism recently revealed how people around the world are still losing those rights – or worse – simply because they are into heavy metal music. It sounds silly, at our distance from the Tipper Gore era, but if you’re in Poland, or Iraq, or many other places, it’s no joke. And keeping in mind the West Memphis Three, North Americans shouldn’t get too complacent about how easily our cultural tastes might suddenly be held in evidence against us.
I’m very excited about the release next week of the first album in 11 years by Rebecca Gates, former leader of one of my favourite bands ever, the Spinanes – you might remember my extended exegesis about their song “Hawaiian Baby” in the early days of Back to the World.
On a more personal note, this weekend is Twangfest, a country/alt-country/Americana/whateva festival in St. Louis, MO, that began as a gleam in the eye of an email listserv that was one of my formative Internet – and music-criticism – experiences. I first attended Twangfest 3, in 1999. I recall, to use the term loosely, some large part of it taking part in a ditch behind a hotel where there were dance lessons and many bottles of bourbon. The last time I was there, it was the tenth anniversary. Tonight it’s Twangfest 16, which makes me feel very, very old. And I wish I were there.
Among the many reasons is that headlining tonight is Wussy, the Ohio rock group Robert Christgau recently called the best band in America, making a strong case with which I am inclined to agree. Wussy is led by singer-songwriters Lisa Walker and Chuck Cleaver, the latter of whom fronted another one of my favourite bands ever, the Ass Ponys, in the ’90s (and played one of the most memorable Twangfest sets back then). So while I make a private toast to absent friends, please enjoy this joyful tune, “Yellow Cotton Dress,” dedicated to them all.