Jeremy Blake Presumed Dead

Posted by Miss Ess, July 27, 2007 01:14pm | Post a Comment
jeremy blake

I am extremely saddened to say that artist Jeremy Blake is presumed dead. 
[Update: his body was found & identified July 22.]

jeremy blake

He disappeared over a week ago, last seen walking into the ocean at Rockaway Beach.  An apparent suicide note, along with his shirt and wallet were found under the nearby boardwalk.

jeremy blakeAmong other places, like the Whitney Museum, Blake's work is featured on Beck's 4 different album covers for Sea Change.  It's also part of the film Punch Drunk Love.  Remember those hazy, colorful dissolves throughout that film and its titles?  That's Jeremy Blake's art. 

A couple of years ago I went to see an exhibition of his work at the San Francisco Modern Museum of Art.  I can't remember ever before making a point of going to see an exhibition by a contemporary artist.  I'm a big fan.  His pieces are very visceral and moving.

It is extremely tragic that he is gone, and so suddenly.  The backstory is truly bizarre:

A week or so before his assumed suicide, his girlfriend of 12 years took her life in their NYC apartment.  The article I read in the LA Times says that the couple's behavior had become erratic and that they were increasingly paranoid that Scientologists were stalking them. ( ! )

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Etta James Hospitalized

Posted by Miss Ess, July 26, 2007 08:55pm | Post a Comment
etta james at last

Etta James has been hospitalized.

She is having some kind of complications from abdominal surgery she had last month. 

She's 69 years old, which still sounds young to me! 

Miss Etta James indisputably has one of the great voices of all time.   Here she is performing "Only Time Will Tell."

I just learned that Etta lived in San Francisco in the 50s.  Pretty awesome to imagine her here, kicking around our city. 

She's still a touring artist and apparently had to cancel dates due to her hospitalization.  Hopefully she'll be back out on the road before long.

Apocalypse Now: The I-POD

Posted by Miss Ess, July 26, 2007 07:28pm | Post a Comment
i-pod apple

It was my birthday this weekend and I got one of these new-fangled devices: The I POD.  I know I am super late on this, but hey I grew up in a household that only got rid of its wood-paneled answering machine within the last 5 years, so I have always been more than a little slow on these things, ask anyone.  Despite the existence of this blog, I am not a huge fan of technology. 

So, the I Pod. 

I drive a car that's from 1993.  It has its original stereo, a tape deck.  At the suggestion ofhonda civic other more technologically inclined folks in my life, I've tried getting CDs to play in there with the whole tape-to-CD Walkman contraption, to no avail.  I resigned myself to listening to tapes and the radio, and had given up hope on anything else.  When it was suggested to me to try an I Pod, I scoffed in said suggestor's face.  I didn't even want to give it a go.  But I was eventually convinced and to my amazement, the suggestor's  I Pod WORKED....I realized I could listen to ANYTHING I WANTED IN MY CAR!  But I STILL didn't want to cave and get an I Pod.  Technology, you see.  It scares me.  Like I said, I just am not a fan.  Too complicated.

record player vinylAlso, I am kind of old skool in general.  I like to play records.  I consider records a superior way to "take" my  music.  It sounds the best.  I know that sounds maybe snobby, but I truly believe it.  I like to see artwork.  I like to see liner notes.  I like to feel and smell and see all of it together....I guess what I am saying is that at its best music is a sensual experience for me.  The idea of this little computer holding all of that seems kind of cold and most definitely uninviting.

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I Am Mist, You Are Steam, We Are Clouds...We Are Drifting Away

Posted by Miss Ess, July 20, 2007 05:47pm | Post a Comment
I just read that rock photographer Autumn DeWilde is going to be putting out a book of Elliott Smith photos in November.  She's an LA based photographer that took many of the pics of Elliott toward the end of his career.

elliott smith autumn dewilde

The book is going to come with a CD of songs from a performance at Largo.  Here's a tracklisting:

'Between the Bars'
'Clouds' (Quasi)
'All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down' ( Hank Williams Jr.)

God, "Clouds" is one of my favorite songs ever.  It was written by Sam Coomes, one of Elliott's best friends.  Elliott always had the most impeccable taste in covers. 

elliott smithLargo is a club in LA that Elliott started showing up at right after he moved there in the late 90s.  Jon Brion still performs there every Friday night.  There are many stories of Elliott drinking at the bar, then being coaxed up onstage, sometimes with Jon, sometimes with whomever was performing that night, and taking requests, jumping from instrument to instrument effortlessly, covering Beatles and metal songs.  I still want to go!

Autumn DeWilde also came to my attention through Elliott when she took the promo and album shots for Elliott's album Figure 8.  Now she takes pics for bands like the Foo Fighters and White Stripes.  Big time.

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I've Got Trouble...Female Trouble

Posted by Miss Ess, July 20, 2007 01:15pm | Post a Comment
Look, I had never seen Female Trouble before last weekend at Midnight Mass.  I know, I know, and I am trying to make up for lost time here.
john waters divine female trouble
I am sure everyone has already spoken their piece and covered everything I would want to say about this movie, but if for some reason YOU still haven't seen it, what the hell are you waiting for?  It's genius, esp Divine's performance.
john waters
Unlike most of my pals, I am no John Waters expert. I have seen about 4 of his films before and mostly enjoyed them. At times I have felt the same way about John Waters movies that I feel about punk rock: I greatly respect and appreciate the aesthetic and message of the work but sometimes find the overall experience abrasive. Other times I find it exhilarating. What I am trying to say here is that I think John Waters is a total genius and think his ideas are dead on, but sometimes I find his movies or portions of his movies somewhat...harsh. Does that make any sense? 

In person, he's one of the sharpest, most intelligent and gracious people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and he is twisted in all the right ways. Who else would suggest a Sing Along screening of his favorite film of the year, United 93? Who else would insist that the fact that the 9/11 attack on the more vaginally shaped Pentagon building is largely ignored while the more phallic Twin Towers are focused on further proves America's sexism?

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