Amoeblog

Trip to Hawai'i: Part 1

Posted by Job O Brother, July 7, 2011 01:10pm | Post a Comment

hula girl


Aloha, bitches! The boyfriend and I have just returned from a luxuriously lengthy leisure-time in Moku’āina o Hawai’i – specifically, the islands of Maui and Moloka’i. What will follow, over a course of weeks, is my travelogue. SPOILER ALERT: I survive to write this paragraph you’re reading.

hibiscus

Thursday. June 16, 2011.

Nothing makes me wistful for days gone by like traveling by plane. I’m old enough to remember a time when you could escape your reasonably comfortable seat for a small, smoking lounge and make small-talk with other passengers. Meals were included and expected, complimentary playing cards were practically forced on you, and bathrooms were more than one square inch larger than my skeleton.

Traveling by plane was a luxury, like taking a limo, pre-ordering a soufflé, or soaking in salt crystals made from blood diamonds. There was an implied dignity – it was something to look forward to: to be seated and be served.

airplane lounge
Before the terrorists won.

Cut to: me and my boyfriend frantically racing to gut our backpacks and pockets of anything shiny and throwing them in large, grey tubs – Will my lip balm set off the alarm? Better throw it in, just in case…; stripping ourselves of shoes and spectacles, praying to a God that doesn’t exist we aren’t targeted to be put through the x-ray, knowing we’d refuse and have to succumb to the most unfulfilling massage imaginable; finally making it to our gate to find the two flights before us have been delayed since dawn, so the terminal is as absolutely packed with weary bodies, looking like some alternative concentration camp where people actually gained weight.

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Remembering “The Big Man” Clarence Clemons (January 11, 1942 – June 18, 2011)

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 20, 2011 06:55pm | Post a Comment

Clarence Clemons, the blazing sax powerhouse behind Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, passed away Saturday, June 18th at the age of 69 after hospitalization for a stroke he suffered at his home in Singer Island, Florida.
 

Clarence Clemons


Clemons was an original member of Springsteen's E Street Band, tearing it up with The Boss for nearly four decades.  Throughout the years, Clemons also pursued other musical projects with luminaries such as Jackson Browne, Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison, Grateful Dead, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, and even Twisted Sister ("Be Chrool to Your Scuel"). Most recently, he had collaborated with Lady Gaga on the songs "Hair" and "The Edge of Glory" from Born This Way. Impressive, but of all his guest appearances, jamming with President Clinton at the inaugural ball in 1993 might be his most memorable collaboration.

Clemons & Clinton, saxing it up.


Clemons also had an active acting career, appearing in films as diverse as Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. His television cameos were no less varied, with appearances on Diff’rent Strokes, The Weird Al Show, and The Wire.

To honor the eclectic, larger-than-life genius of Clarence Clemons, here is a sampling of videos from his diverse and wonderful life: 

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out this week 5/17 & 5/23...det vackra livet...brendan perry...robin guthrie...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 27, 2011 01:49pm | Post a Comment
det vackra livet
I finally got a copy of the new album by Det Vackra Livet. It has actually only been out for a couple of weeks now but I have been dying to hear this album! I fell hard for the Mary Onettes a couple of years ago when they released their second album Islands in 2009. Things sure seem to happen in cycles. The last Mary Onettes album came out about the same time as the first Cold Cave album and another Morrissey compilation and now all 3 have releases this month again! Maybe Morrissey just releases too many albums...but I don't think there really could ever be enough. Some might say that the debut self titled Mary Onettes album from 2007 is even better than Islands, and I go back and forth on which I like better but they are both essential albums that you should own. The band is from Sweden, which is reason enough to fall in love with the Mary Onettes! I am telling you, I just love Sweden. They mix an 80s sort of Ultravox and Pet Shop Boys sound with maybe somedet vackra livet Sigur Ros and the twee sounds of Belle & Sebastian.

The two brothers from The Mary Onettes have just released a new album in their native tongue -- Philip and Henrik Ekstrom are now known as Det Vackra Livet for this new project. It has all of the elements that I love from The Mary Onettes, just without the English. This is beautiful stuff. I have been really loving this new album which was released on the same excellent label that released The Mary Onettes albums, Labrador... which of course has my name right in the middle of it, so of course I was going to love this label! They have put out some of my favorites over the last decade from artists like The Acid House Kings, who also just released a fantastic new album, as well as my favorites Radio Dept. and The Legends. And Pelle Carlberg! And Club 8 and The Sound of Arrows! This label can seriously do no wrong. They have been so consistently awesome that I really don't even understand how they do it. But I thank them for it. Please do yourself a favor and check out this new album from Det Vackra Livet. You will not regret it.

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According to "Weird Al" Yankovic, Lady GaGa Rejected his Parody of "Born This Way," but Lady GaGa Denies This

Posted by Billyjam, April 20, 2011 01:44pm | Post a Comment
      
"Weird Al" Yankovic's "Perform This Way" lyrics only version (2011)

The above parody of Lady GaGa's "Born This Way" ("Perform This Way"  by "Weird Al" Yankovic), which was uploaded to YouTube earlier today by "Weird Al" himself, will never officially/commercially be released because when the parody artist requested permission from Lady GaGa he was given a firm "NO." He was also given the runaround for several weeks after GaGa insisted he first supply the lyrics (which he did) and then insisted he supply the final recorded masters of the song (which he also did). Read the engaging full story on "Weird Al" Yankovic's blog under the entertaining title The GaGa Saga.

However, since the blog was published earlier today Lady GaGa jumped defend her case and denied that she had rejected the parody of her song. As reported by TMZ around noon today, "sources extremely close to the singer tell us, "There must have been a misunderstanding because [Gaga] is in no way trying to block the release of the parody..."She's busy touring and hasn't heard the song yet. Her manager hasn't had a chance to play it for her yet. She's a huge Weird Al fan." This TMZ report was news to Weird Al, who wrote a follow up blog, GaGa Update, that began with, "Well, this was been a strange day."

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Keeping Up Appearances: Lady Gaga Expresses Herself and the 53rd Grammy Awards

Posted by Charles Reece, February 13, 2011 11:33pm | Post a Comment

From the Lacanian perspective, what then is appearance at its most radical? Imagine a man having an affair about which his wife doesn't know, so when he is meeting his lover, he pretends to be on a business trip or something similar; after some time, he gathers the courage and tells the wife the truth that, when he is away, he is staying with his lover. However, at this point, when the front of happy marriage falls apart, the mistress breaks down and, out of sympathy with the abandoned wife, avoids meeting her lover. What should the husband do in order not to give his wife the wrong signal? How not to let her think that the fact that he is no longer so often on business trips means that he is returning to her? He has to fake the affair and leave home for a couple of days, generating the wrong impression that the affair is continuing, while, in reality, he is just staying with some friend. This is appearance at its purest: it occurs not when we put up a deceiving screen to conceal the transgression, but when we fake that there is a transgression to be concealed. In this precise sense, fantasy itself is for Lacan a semblance: it is not primarily the mask which conceals the Real beneath, but, rather, the fantasy of what is hidden behind the mask. So, for instance, the fundamental male fantasy of the woman is not her seductive appearance, but the idea that this dazzling appearance conceals some imponderable mystery.
-- Slavoj Žižek [emphasis mine here, but his below]

The internet is already aflutter with Lady Gaga's obvious appropriation of Madonna's "Express Yourself" for her new single, "Born This Way," which she performed tonight on the Grammys (in a style more or less like what you can see in the above video). In an interview with 60 Minutes before the show, she referred to herself as a sociologist of fame, "academic" in her research. This research doesn't seem to have taken her much further than Madonna, but her rediscovery of the latter's wheel of fortune contains a good deal of truth to it. After all, Madonna was a master at tweaking the mainstream, having it think that its boundaries were being transgressed while the status quo remained. Turning her concerts into self help seminars, Lady Gaga passes on the secrets of her success to her fans between songs: you can be anything you pretend to be as long as you wear a believable costume. Honesty here is a matter of being true to the mask one wears. There's no pretense that anything's underneath. When photographers want to shoot who she "really is," she replies that her appearance is who she really is. Her costumes mask the fact that there is nothing being hidden. So she's a good Lacanian:

In order to exemplify the structure of such redoubled deception, Lacan evoked the anecdote about the competition between Zeuxis and Parrhasios, two painters from the ancient Greece, about who will paint a more convincing illusion. First, Zeuxis produced such a realistic picture of grapes that birds were lured into picking at it to eat the grape. Next, Parrhasios won by painting on the wall of his room a curtain, so that Zeuxis, when Parrhasios showed him his painting, asked him: "OK, now please pull aside the veil and show me what you painted!" In Zeuxis's painting, the illusion was so convincing that image was taken for the real thing; in Parrhasios' painting, the illusion resided in the very notion that what we see in front of us is just a veil covering up the hidden truth. This is also how, for Lacan, feminine masquerade works: she wears a mask to make us react like Zeuxis in front of Parrhasios' painting - OK, put down the mask and show us what you really are!

Too bad she's not a better musician.

cee lo gwyneth paltrow muppets grammys

It's a bit like making notes from the underground when commenting on the Grammys, but I can't help thinking masks are about all that's left of popular music. I saw Usher's little white hope imitating Michael Jackson, a black Elton John singing with an emaciated Miss Piggy, and Muse ripping off Marilyn Manson. Then there were the tributes, which, to be kind, only served to remind me of the absence of those being celebrated: Norah Jones, John Mayer and Keith Urban trying to do Dolly Parton; Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston and some gals I didn't recognize trying to do Aretha Franklin; Mick Jagger trying to do Solomon Burke; and Bob Dylan trying to do Bob Dylan. And "country" has come to simply mean fatter than pop stars (Lady Antebellum), while "indy rock," uglier (Arcade Fire). As popular music has increasingly crossed class, genre, race, age and region -- has become music for anyone (at least, according to the Grammys) -- it's done so by being homogeneous sludge. It's easier to hear actual distinctions in electronic dance music. I'm not disagreeing with Lacan, just saying no one's good at painting believable curtains these days.
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