Amoeblog

(In which Job learns he is no chicken.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 10, 2008 03:17pm | Post a Comment

The view from my window. That store in the middle is Linda Thai - they have great food.

It’s a beautiful, autumn day in Hollywood. I’m sitting in my underwear at my open French doors which overlook my bustling community and writing this sentence. Well, I was. Now I’m writing this sentence.

Suddenly, I begin a new paragraph and with it, a faint sense of dread seeps in, because I realize I’m writing about writing, and there’s only so long that that is cute. It could quickly descend into obnoxiousness.

So I choose to focus on your face. Your sweet, shining face reading this blog entry. I can feel your eyes gaze on these words, and my heart grows warm. A little too warm. This is uncomfortable, actually.

I think I might be having a heart attack.

Which reminds me of that age-old question: What music would you like to be listening to when you’re experiencing myocardial infarction (or, as they call it on the East Coast, Hellmann’s)?

It’s a tricky question because you want something that will keep your spirits up as you endure the occlusion of your coronary artery following the rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, but you don’t want anything too loud and jarring when an unstable collection of lipids and macrophages ruptures the wall of your artery. Plus, it should be catchy. Anything that meanders like, say, late Scott Walker or Laura Nyro is going to annoy your nurses every time. Nurses hate Laura Nyro when they’re working. Also  they don’t like it when you call them “mommy”.

“My pain scale is a 5, Mommy,” is all you have to say and they’ll shoot you a look so cold you’d think you were in the E.R. for hypothermia. It doesn’t matter that you’re trying to make things more cozy and homey. Ask them “Why are you hurting me with that needle, Mommy?” and forget about it. No good pills for you. (This is different if the nurse is male, however, in which case they not only think it’s cute that you call them “mommy” but will often scribble their personal home phone number on your electrocardiogram.)

The results come back and you learn that it wasn’t a heart attack at all, rather, your heart just broke a little bit. It broke a little bit because California, the state you’re so proud of (normally) and which has for so long been on the cutting edge of liberty (normally) has decided to pass Proposition 8, which basically lets me know how the majority of voters think about my sexuality (abnormally).

The pain is compounded when you learn that the success of this measure was due in no small part to the Mormons and the African-American community. But I guess that’s to be expected, since neither group really knows or understands what it’s like to be an oppressed minority, right?

Um…
 

The new home of California politics: Salt Lake Temple, Utah

But this is a music blog, not the Huffington Post, so I’m going to separate myself from this issue which is HURTING ME SO VERY, VERY DEEPLY and concentrate on the music I’ve been listening to since Election Day, 2008.

Each selection appeals to me because it reminds me of people who have lived through harder times than myself. People who bore the brunt of tremendous injustice and still managed to create music ripe with dignity, intelligence, and unvanquished spirit. When I hear the selections below, I regain a sense of will and courage that must see me through until I am no longer an object of HATE simply because of who I choose to LOVE.

Nina Simone
Pirate Jenny
 


Paul Robeson Ol' Man River

(with alternate lyrics by Paul Robeson)



Ludwig Van Beethoven Symphony No. 3
conducted by Herbert Von Karajan



Milk Trailer - San Francisco's Own Gets His Biopic at Last

Posted by Miss Ess, September 3, 2008 04:20pm | Post a Comment
I'm so intrigued by the upcoming Harvey Milk biopic, Milk, shot in my neighborhood, directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn and James Franco. The trailer was finally released today and it kinda gave me a thrill-- I wasn't sure what to expect but it's looking to me from this little bit like they captured it pretty well. Here it is:


I'm hearing that the premiere will be Oct. 28th at the Castro Theater! I just may have to swing by...

Curse Of The Queerwolf

Posted by phil blankenship, September 2, 2008 10:16am | Post a Comment
 




 
RaeDon Home Video RD016

(In which we consider the mystical & tragic Judee Sill.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 29, 2008 12:25pm | Post a Comment

Last night I was mugged at gunpoint. The perpetrator not only made off with the $560.00 in cash that I was carrying (which I had intended to deposit today) but he knocked me down to the ground and kicked me hard enough that he left a nasty bruise in my ribs before he made his getaway on a magic, chocolate-colored Pegasus.

None of which is true, but it is a rather exciting way to begin this week’s blog entry, isn’t it? Except that, by lying to you, I have now risked alienating you emotionally, because you will now think twice about trusting what I tell you, even if it’s about how much I like that top you’re wearing and how to sets off the flecks of color in your shimmering eyes.

Speaking of violence and the romantic visage of your enduring beauty, I know some of you haven’t yet heeded my advice and investigated one of my most favorite balladeers of all time: Judee Sill.
 

Judee Sill conducts herself well.

Judee’s story is one of tragic darkness, from which sprung gorgeous and sage songwriting. She was the Billie Holiday of the “Laurel Canyon sound.”

Influenced more by Johann Sebastian Bach than her 1970’s rock ‘n’ blow contemporaries, methodical composition such as fugue-structure, and over-dubbing of her own voice into chorale-style, inform her heart-wrenched post-hymns.

Her father and brother both died when she was a child, and her mother re-married to Kenneth Muse, an animator for one of my least favorite cartoons of all time, Tom & Jerry. (I mean really, the way that mouse antagonizes that poor cat, who very naturally fights back – both by his nature as a felis catus and in defense of Jerry’s cruelty – only to be downtrodden every time. What kind of message does that send to children? BE A BULLY. That’s what it tells ‘em. And then poor, sensitive, fat kids like me get the brunt of it. And all I ever wanted was to love and be loved. Is that so wrong?!)

[Insert sound of Job sobbing here]

Judee left her dysfunctional home (I imagine her stepfather probably lured her head into a mouse-hole and bopped her face with a mallet) and hit the road for a life of free-wheeling druggery and armed robbery. She developed an addiction to that precocious li’l drug we call heroin. In order to pay for the habit, she prostituted herself (which almost certainly prepared her for a life as a professional musician).

She honed her skills as a keyboard player while serving time in jail for fraudulent check writing, and, as she found herself with some soul to spare after kicking smack, she decided to write music.

She had early success selling compositions to other groups, such as The Turtles, who covered her song “Lady-O.”



She was signed by David Geffen, who was then developing his new Asylum Label, and toured as the opening act for Graham Nash and David Crosby. Her self-titled, debut album was produced by her ex-husband, Bob Harris (who also produced Joni Mitchell’s superb effort Ladies of the Canyon).

While critics gushed praise for her work, sales remained low and, after some snarky comments about Geffen and his sexual-orientation (he was not yet out of the closet), Judee was given the bum’s rush, after only producing two albums. (Don’t rush to assume she was homophobic, though, as she was known to fancy the ladies herself.)
 

EEEK!!! I just now experienced my first earthquake ever! That was some ride. Now I understand what all the hub-bub is about. A giant silver crucifix just fell off my shelf and knocked the } ] key out of my laptop. Anyway, friends and family outside LA, Fangs and I are fine, just a little shaken-up (har har har!).

Silver crucifixes are also apropos when pondering Judee Sill, who sports one on the cover of her debut album. She was deeply interested in the occult and Christian mysticism. Some people, considering her lyrics, assume she was Christian, as Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is a reoccurring theme, but her appreciation was esoteric, not dogmatic. (Though it is worth noting that she was baptized by Pat Boone in his swimming pool.)

"Don't worry - I'll save you!" Christian pop icon, Pat Boone

After losing her ties with Geffen, Judee rode a downward spiral into obscurity. Rumors circulated of her death. So much so, that when she actually did die in 1979 from a cocaine overdose, it surprised people. She had seemed to die twice.
 

Cover art painted by Judee

To our good fortune, in 2005, Water Records produced a two cd compilation of unreleased demos, studio recordings, and live video footage of Judee, titled “Dreams Come True.” Jim O’Rourke provided the mixing.)

Judee’s music holds a place so dear to my heart that, while I’ve often been tempted to blog about her, I’ve never felt up to the task. I simply can’t do justice to the ecstasy she evokes in me. (That’s also why you’ve never read any blogs by me regarding Scott Walker.)

Anyway, check her out if, y’know, you’re into gorgeous, haunting music that makes your heart ache and pierces your soul. Otherwise, check out some Warlock Pinchers. They’re fun.
 






EMPHASIS ON "CELEBRATION" AT 2008 SF LGBT PRIDE PARTY

Posted by Billyjam, July 2, 2008 03:00pm | Post a Comment
      

Not only was Sunday's incredibly fun, huge rave-scale 2008 San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration & Parade the best party of the year so far but it was also a landmark historic event: one that marked the California Supreme Court very recently making it legal (second to Massachusetts) for same-sex couples to marry. And this significant step forward (in a long uphill battle) for human rights clearly was prominently on the minds of the revelers who descended upon San Francisco this past weekend.

Sunday afternoon's giant celebration was essentially a really, really large wedding party since so many in attendance had just gotten hitched in the days leading up to the event. Included were the happy couple pictured left in front of City Hall where, they cheerfully informed me, they had gotten married two days before.

The first part of Sunday's mega-event was the long colorful parade that slowly snaked down Market and left onto Eighth Street, and along whose route Mayor Gavin Newsom got numerous ovations for his role in pushing the envelope in the same-sex marriage issue, starting four years ago shortly after he took office.

The parade was immediately followed by the "celebration" portion of the long fun afternoon. This giant party kicked into gear from the get-go and the energy didn't let up all day. The sprawling celebration extended for blocks in every direction and featured over twenty different stages in addition to countless spaces and booths that took over all the streets around the Civic Center area of downtown San Francisco.

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