Thursday, December 31, 2009


I've been living the lushlife recently..

switching the playlist with my best of the decade mix. Hopefully most of the songs will play for you.

(note - creating a lala account takes about five minutes, and the service is far superior to and cheaper than itunes. Plus you can listen to the songs I put in the media player thingy to the right.)

edit - Lala is being shut down; I'll be looking for different way to post music on this blog

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Season's Greetings

It's about time I updated this thing...

Here's a wintery poem to warm your hearts, from the medieval Japanese poet Izumi Shikibu:

It is the time of rain and snow 
I spend sleepless nights 
And watch the frost 
Frail as your love 
Gathers in the dawn.
Fun fact: Salvatore Sciarrino, a prominent Italian composer, wrote da gelo a gelo (frost to frost), based on a year's worth of Shikibu's poetry. Apparently, BFM in Geneva put on the opera last season, so keep your eyes peeled for a stateside production.
Props to Marco Brianza for the link. Check out his work!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Straight from Cape Town, S. Africa - BLK JKS just released their first full length.  You can find the streaming version here.

I've been loving their single "Lakeside" ever since it drifted down to me from the Seattle airwaves.  The band is currently touring; check them out if you can.  Enjoy the precious remaining weeks of summer!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tonight's prayer

O Karma, Dharma, pudding and pie,
gimme a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will, & wit,
purity, probity, pluck, & grit.
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind,
gimme great abs & a steel-trap mind,
and forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice-
these litle blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise:
make the bad people good-
and the good people nice;
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think.

-Philip Appleman

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dickinson on a summer evening

Lightly stepped a yellow star
To its loftty place,
Loosed the Moon her silver hat
From her lustral face.
All of evening softly lit
As an astral hall-
"Father," I observed to Heaven,
"You are punctual."


You left me, sweet, two legacies, -
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of;

You left me boundaries of pain
Capacious as the sea,
Between eternity and time,
Your consciousness and me

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Hundred Houses

Kevin Bauman's collection of 100 abandoned Detroit homes is a sobering homage to the casualties of economic downturn. I love this quote by 2 Modern Design Talk:
“His photographs of these once elegant houses are like stoic portraits of aging aristocrats struggling vainly to keep up a proud face in the face of their inevitable decline.”

While that description (which oddly reminds me of Time Regained) might not reflect the disposition of the homes' former tenants, there is an strange beauty to these forgotten structures. A few look like the monster house; others seem like they could still shelter a family - except for boards in the windows and the graffiti on the doors.

In the face of the current economic crisis, it's a reminder that hard times are nothing new. I hope Obama's next stimulus package can fix the roof over Detroit's head.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bikes, beats, sunshine, violas...

My plans for the next few days:  

Monthly critical mass ride through downtown!  This Friday, around 5 pm.

Anni Rossi will be making an appearance in Evanston at the Lakeshore art fair.  Sat @ 5pm

Also on Saturday, Chicago prog-metalheads Yakuza will be tearing it up at the Beat Kitchen.  Late show - 10pm, 21+

Saturday, July 25, 2009

William and Sly

I don't like to eavesdrop, but it always irks me when non-gamers talk about videogames. Your kids may spend all their time playing Halo, but that doesn't mean that all games are "just about shooting and killing things."

The artistic aspects of videogames are often completely eclipsed by the desensitizing, gratuitously violent, misogynistic, and addictive, time-consuming nature of most popular titles. Video games can be a pretty base form of entertainment; some of the most advanced, intricate worlds ever created are basically elaborate skinner boxes.

But those who think video games are all blood and guts should check out this little gem. Find more inventive, often non-violent goodness at the indiegames blog

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Harry Potter

Found a leaked version of the movie on the internet.  Save yourself the $8.50.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
there are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.

-Fleur Adcock

Friday, July 17, 2009

Eating Guitars

For that lazy bunch of people who are now bitching about Pitchfork tickets, remember that Cymbals Eat Guitars will be playing across the street on Saturday night.  

The club should be easy to find, as it will likely explode into brilliant rays of sunshine and stardust once the band takes the stage.  

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Fellow Minnesotan/Chicagoan Anni Rossi is touring with Micachu over in the East Coast and Canada.  I saw her play at Schuba's the other night - I'm always amazed at how perfectly her viola playing works with her voice (or vice versa).

She'll be back in town in August

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Japan vs dolphins

Just saw this trailer.  I'll be on the street team in Chicago for the premiere. 

Why can't they slaughter Hello Kittys instead?  

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Japanese Asparagus

Just got this from the Melt-Banana Q+A:

Q: Best Soup?

A: Asparagus.  Asparagus has a strange Japanese name.

Hell yes!  :)


It's been a very Japanese week for me. Don't know why; for some reason I've watched about 5 anime movies, studied Japanese architecture/gardens, and listened to my entire collection of Japanese music

Here's one by Takemitsu that works well for a hazy summer afternoon:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Magnificent Marimba

My good friend Matt Coley will be playing two solo marimba sets this Thursday at Uncommon Ground in Devon.  Info:

1401 W. Devon Ave.
$20 suggested donation
7 pm doors/8:30 music

Check him out - one of the top three* marimbists in the world!

*Third place, world marimba competition in Stuttgaard, Germany 2008

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Poem for the day:

if i have made,my lady,intricate
imperfect various things chiefly which wrong
your eyes(frailer than most deep dreams are frail)
songs less firm than your body's whitest song
upon my mind-if i have failed to snare
the glance too shy-if through my singing slips
the very skillful strangeness of your smile
the keen primeval silence of your hair

-let the world say "his most wise music stole
nothing from death"-
                                      you only will create
(who are so perfectly alive)my shame:
lady through whose profound and fragile lips
the sweet small clumsy feet of April came

into the ragged meadow of my soul

-e.e. cummings

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Other News

I'm also out of toothpaste.


It's hard to describe Julie Mehretu's work to people, but I think my art teacher got it today when she said "it's like someone's blueprints were rolled together then exploded."

A palimpsest is a page that has been scraped off and used again.  A number of historical documents have been unearthed behind someone else's scribblings (I remember watching some Discovery Channel thing about the Archimedes Palimpsest.  He had the foundations of integral calculus some 2000 years before Newton, but some monk thought that the weekly parish newsletter was more important).  

Not too long ago, I saw ICE perform Palimpsest for chamber ensemble by Iannis Xenakis. Over the course of the piece, seemingly incongruous rhythmic materials are layered, one on top of another, fading and reappearing as the work goes on.  At times, the piano soloist must play 4 distinct tempi simultaneously.  

The impression I get from Mehretu's work is similar, but what I like most about her (and Xenakis, actually), is the combination of both methodical processes and an improvisatory sort of expressionism - the formal and the organic.  It's a sensory overload at first, and it's work that I could stare at for hours without discovering all of its dimensions (kind of like one of my other favorite artists).