Tag Archives: Prince

Tea With Chris: Oh My God, They’re Killing Jan!

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: Out of every ignorant-white-dude-rap-writer moment some good may come: one prompted Julianne Escobedo Shepherd to reel off a veritable curriculum of critics from different backgrounds, old-school and new-school, many working outside the familiar journalistic venues.

Teen goth melodrama scored by Reversing Falls? I’m into it.

Carl: Some prankster friends of mine this week imagined what happened if a TEDx conference took place on the island where The Wicker Man was set. And then they simulated it in real time on Twitter. More than even the Twitter short-stories and other creative experiments I’ve seen there, this felt like it was in its native environment and breathing in the medium’s oxygen, via the collaborative creation of the illusion. (From what I can tell it didn’t set off any Orson Welles War of the World panics though.)

On a similar reality-or-simulation note, I wish I could be a member of this club. Or that anyone could have been a member of it. Up in the air, in beautiful balloons.

“America still had post-Mandingo dreams, no matter how it looked, which really weren’t getting met by Michael Jackson. I remember a lot of interviews when Prince started catching on where they asked people, ‘Why do you like Prince?,’ and they said, ‘Well, Michael Jackson’s cool, but Prince gives us more sex.’ ”: Questlove’s Prince master class.

Marie does Donny with a Steely Dan:

(Friend of B2TW Misha Glouberman commented: “I remember the 70’s. It was ALL LIKE THAT!”)

RIP Jason Molina.

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Tea With Chris: A Beautiful Turtle

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: Thanks to their cagey editorial policies, you can only find Hilton Als’ memoir “I Am Your Conscious, I Am Love: A Paean 2 Prince” online if you’re a Harper’s subscriber, which makes it less than ideal as tea. But, well, go buy a copy of the magazine, or just wait for the next Best Music Writing anthology, because Als has taken the most enigmatic of pop stars to be dearly personal. While reading it, I spent several minutes in wonder at the surreal precision of this sentence: “There was more silence, and as it unfolded, I took in his face, which had the exact shape, and large eyes, of a beautiful turtle.” And that doesn’t even reach the purple-bruised heart of Als’ essay, about blackness and queerness and anxiousness in America, about trying to be somebody’s Dorothy Parker when you can only really be their lover.

Eileen Myles cordially sons (uncles?) the retiring Philip Roth.

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Tea With Chris: Music Critic Politburo

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:

Margaux: This is hilarious – bad police sketches.

Carl: The Internet thing that made me happiest comes courtesy of friend and musical-poetic-philosophical-critical hero Franklin Bruno: an ear-and-body-melting DIY mashup of Terry Riley’s aleatory-minimalist classic “In C” and Marc Cerrone’s moaning-disco-cheese macksimilist classic “Love in C Minor.” I put it up on Facebook last weekend but since then, Hilobrow has posted it, but I also made an automated version on YouTubeDoubler. What no one else has mentioned, though, is that both pieces also have a Part 2 (Riley, Cerrone) so it’s possible to get all four parts going at once. Quadrophrenic!

Biggest loss among the world’s pulsing brains this week: Eric Hobsbawm.

Best mockery of sexist music coverage of the past three decades: The Stranger‘s “Men Who Rock!” edition.

Your self-help aide of the week: How to Get Started, with John Cage.

Chris: I have in fact heard a few of “the 20 best Prince songs you’ve never heard” (and dispute its contention that “Dance With the Devil” is the highlight of the Batman sessions, because, uh, “Electric Chair”?), but this list is still long on counterintuitive rarities and unfairly unreleased tracks, many sifted from the badlands that are his post-’80s discography.

“Oh yeah, I think of jazz. You can just make more jokes about ska.” There are lots of horns on the new Mountain Goats record, and my friend Brad Nelson talked to John Darnielle about that, along with its recording process in general.

I liked the provocative slyness of Joshua Clover’s piece about Kickstarter queen Amanda Palmer and her “accidental experiment with real communism,” partly because it led numerous Palmer superfans to believe that the author, facing years in prison for occupying a bank, must be invoking Brecht in the service of some new McCarthyism. The resulting comments, alternately sorrowful and threatening, are hilarious: “In fact, I fail to see how this isn’t libel?” “If you want to reinvent communism, that’s fine, but is a music criticism piece the place to start?” “Amanda Palmer makes a wonderful lightning rod, doesn’t she? By poking her head up, free of the music industry, handlers and marketers, not wrapped in cellophane for mass consumption… [&c]”

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Tea With Chris: Wikipedia Group Sex

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.

Carl: The Canadian government is starting an anti-terrorism unit in Alberta that smacks of the stinging taste of Cointelpro.

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.

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Tea With Chris: Purpled

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 tried to find an mp3 of this new Adiah track (see also: last year’s “Drumz,” summer in a low-fidelity Youtube clip) and all I got was Sarah McLachlan.

The Comics Journal published a number of tributes to Maurice Sendak, both textual and visual. I love Michael DeForge’s illustration:

As I discovered last weekend at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, DeForge is also working on an all-Prince comics zine, to be printed in purple ink on lavender paper. He’s made a companion Tumblr called Purplish, one song a day by Mr. Rogers Nelson or his Minneapolis courtiers.

Carl:It’s kind of amazing that “culture shock” was ever not a commonplace idea, but it turns out that it was developed from a casual term to an actual theory only in the 1950s – by a man who might have gotten the idea from his upbringing in a breakaway Finnish-Canadian communal cult (give or take a little free love) in British Columbia.

“Mumblecore” has to be the stupidest genre label that’s stuck in the past decade (except maybe “mommy porn”). Nevertheless I am exciting about going to see Joe Swanberg present some of his movies in person in Toronto this weekend.

Old-school mumblecore? John Ashbery reading in NYC in 1952, when he was not yet 25. But actually, scratch that: Turns out the younger Ashbery hadn’t yet developed the gently murmuring tone he reads in today. There’s definitely a “listen up!” in his tone. A “whaddya think of that?”

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Little Boxes #87: The Television Viewing Public

(from Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics #21, script by Todd Loren and art by Stuart Immonen, 1991)

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Tea With Chris: Got a Sexy New Dance, It’s Called the Bird

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: Lisa Hanawalt drew Prince! Or “Prince.”

This week’s announcement that the audiovisual archive of Alan Lomax is being digitized and will soon be available for streaming (only in part, but part of a vast whole) represents a heroic advance for cultural accessibility. On the same tip, less momentous but more danceable, someone uploaded an entire Shep Pettibone mastermix from 1983 onto Soundcloud.

Carl: I spent much of last weekend reading both Will Hermes’s Love Goes to Buildings on Fire and James Wolcott’s Lucking Out, two books about New York City culture in the 1970s, a permanent locus of fixation for me. I enjoyed them both, though I would have liked more authorial presence from Hermes and less from Wolcott (or perhaps just less of Pauline Kael’s presence). One of their pleasures, among all the insights and gossip, was to go digging for all the music mentioned – including this version of “Psycho Killer,” which features Arthur Russell on cello and conjures up a whole alternative-history scenario in which he joined the band and became their audio svengali instead of Brian Eno….

And here is a new video for one of Toronto’s best bands, fairly untouched by “buzz,” One Hundred Dollars:

There were many good things written this past month about Lana Del Rey (whose music I basically like, incidentally), and many horrible things (as Chris amply, righteously, smitingly documented this week), and you do not need to care, but I really liked the manner of Molly Lambert’s linking her case to Michelle Williams and Taylor Swift in this essay, as I so often admire what Molly Lambert writes – the way these three are twinned and twained and split by desire, being looked upon, expectation, the terrifying highs of loneliness.

Erin Macleod talked to me this week for a piece she did about Celine Dion conquering Jamaica, but she didn’t need to: She spotted everything on her own.

I want to post something to remember the artist Mike Kelley by, but his work, so full of tender-tough and naked-pretend feeling, makes me too happy for an occasion as glum as his early taking leave of this world. I will just hush up now.

Margaux: Several of my close friends (starting with thank you Julia Rosenberg and ending with thank you Sheila Heti) recommended a recent New Yorker article to me about how brainstorming doesn’t work. I think my friends liked it so much because the article was arguing that close proximity to collaborators and freedom with criticm proves to be much more fruitful environment for creating good, new ideas than does a nurturing and positive-only environment. I think everyone (in my slightly-unnuturing-but-wonderfully-humorous, incredibly-critical-but-enormously-helpful group of friends) was happy that the environment we have made for ourselves, by default, was getting a gold star.

It was written by Jonah Lehrer who wrote Proust was a Neuroscientist – a great read. I loved the New Yorker article too and loved especially the description of building 20. Building 20 was created quickly and cheaply to satisfy some temporary spacing needs for a department at M.I.T. An architecture firm designed the building in one afternoon. It was meant to be torn down eventually. Instead of being torn down right away, it continued to provide space for random departments in need. It became clear that it was one of the most fruitful buildings of the 20th century (or something) for surprising innovation in many different fields –  mostly because people thought nothing of tearing down walls or putting a hole through the ceiling (to accomodate a new and growing invention) or generally adjusting rooms to fit the individual needs of a person or a project or to accommodate a field a study that is ready for a major change.It was a fun article to read just as I was starting my first day as the artist in residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in a brand new wing designed very carefully by Frank Gehry. It was interesting to think about all the different ways to be rich as I was leaving (temporarily!) my neighborhood full of crappy and great make-shift studios and offices, and my critical, hilarious and helpful collaborators available for bumping into at every corner.

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