Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Try Something Gnu

After reading this New Yorker article about Chat Roulette, I had a brilliant idea. My most brilliantest idea ever. More amazing than peanut butter donuts. More stupendous than Green Cheese. More insane than toilets made of rose petals. We should have a Night of Trying New Things.

Because there's always stuff you hear about and want to try but never get around to or are afraid to do alone or don't have the Jaws of Life for. Like Chat Roulette. Or zorbing.

So here's a rundown of things we tried:

Turkish nutella - Delicious! Mixing white and milk chocolate for a taste sensation.

Yorkie chocolate bar - This is, apparently, not for "girls." However, when ladies ate them, they didn't turn into frogs or worse. Eh.

Pocky's Mens Bitter - More dude-centric food. What's with this trend? Pocky strawberry is way better.

Some crazy Chinese liquor - Soooo strong and kind of gross.

A durian - This southeast asian fruit smells as horrible as they say. Like sweat socks that have grown mold for a few years. We chopped it up outside so it wouldn’t pervade the house. The taste? Pretty awful. Hard not to smell at the same time.

The reissue of Exile on Main Street - The new songs are okay, nothing super exciting. According to this article, the songs aren't even necessarily from the French recording sessions or from 1969. And Mick re-recorded a bunch of the vocals. And I have no idea what this writer is talking about when he says the new "Loving Cup" is their best song ever. Sounds Stoned in all the worst ways.

Chat Roulette - Was hoping we'd get to see something like this guy. But really it was just penis, penis, penis, giggling teen, penis, penis. Both April and I had penis nightmares that night.

Miracle Fruit Tablets - These are awesome! You let one dissolve on your tongue and then everything bitter tastes sweet. Grapefruits are amazing, beer is super smooth, even durian tastes alright.

Oh yeah, and the orgy room was a big hit.

Here's some stuff people suggested for next time:

Salvia divinorum
pistachio-milk gelatin
sub-prime mortgage applications

Friday, February 19, 2010

Noise Pop Cometh

So Noise Pop is next week, and because people have started asking me what they should go see, I decided to draft my Suggestion List (TM).

**Oh, I booked pretty much all of the fest, so if I don't mention something it doesn't mean it isn't good. Just not my ultimate favorites.

Here's what the markings mean:

* I will be here! Come step on my foot or kick me in the shins or pour coffee down my throat!

++ One of a kind performance. May never be seen again. Ever.

SO: Advance tix sold out. There'll be some available at the door on the day of.

Tuesday, February 23

* Opening Night Party: Har Mar Superstar at Bender's, starting at 5 pm. Not only is this show free, but you get to drink for free. All night! Okay, maybe this doesn't have as much of a draw as it used to, but still, how about you can get a free shirt that says "Be Stupid!" on it? See, to get in you have to go to Diesel, get a shirt, sign up, and then wear the shirt to the show. Two hundred people in Be Stupid t-shirts! That's more than three kinds of stupid

*++ Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band at the Fox, later that night. Not sure how much moaning the 77-year-old will do, but she'll be backed by son Sean, Cornelius, and Yuka Honda, so it should be interesting, at least.

Wednesday, February 24

* Free Energy at Rickshaw Stop, 2nd band. Woo hoo! Free Energy used to be several guys in Hockey Night, who we put on a TKS disc years ago. They still sound a bit like Pavement, only now they've gorged on Thin Lizzy and T.Rex and Weezer, with production by DFA. Anthem rock! Probably the band I'm most excited to see this week. Also: the Splinters do the post-punk thing quite well too.

** Best Coast, The Sandwitches, Young Prisms at Du Nord. The headliner's decent but wow, what great support! Best Coast is girl-group shitgaze, the Sandwitches are like the Shaggs but good, and Young Prisms are My Bloody Manchester.

++ The Ghost of a Saber-Toothed Tiger at the Indy. Sean Lennon, his hot girlfriend, and Cornelius playing hushed sexy pop. Also: Lennon doing improv thing with Greg from Deerhoof.

Thursday, February 25

++ The Dodos w/ Magik*Magik Orchestra at the Palace of Fine Arts. Saw a preview of this at MOMA, and it was freaking beautiful. Full on orchestra filling out the experimental-folk of the Dodos. Like Sufjan Stevens without all the twee lyrics.

* Zee Avi at Rickshaw Stop. Adorable pixie singer from Borneo, with a voice like Jolie Holland. Also: Sleeper might be 2nd band Leslie & the Badgers, an LA country combo that could be TNBT.

Friday, February 26

*Bay Bridged Happy Hour with Hunx & His Punx, Weekend. Hunx plays adorable 50s-ish garage, and Weekend is sexy Joy Divisiony goodness. And you can be in bed by 9!

*SO Magic Wands w/ Atlas Sound, Geographer at Great American. Atlas and Geographer are cool and spacy and all, but local duo Magic Wands brings the heat. The next Kills perhaps?

SO Rainbow Arabia with Four Tet at Indy. Like an LA version of MIA, with more Arabic samples.

Wallpaper and the Limousines at Slim's. This is a big smile on the face. Good times for the dancing.

Saturday, February 27

* PEE at Du Nord. Want to relive the days when indie-rock wasn't on a major label (as much)? Welcome to the '90s, when herky-jerky combined cute and muscle for all sorts of confusion and noise. When are Tiger Trap reuniting?

++ Thao & Mirah at Swedish. Two awesome local singer/songwriters collaborating for the first time! Such pretty singing. Also: opener Carletta Sue Kay is a guy in drag with a piano. It's better than it sounds.

*Black Prairie, Trainwreck Riders, Birds Fled From Me at Rickshaw. BP is three members of the Decemberists playing bluegrass, spaghetti westernish country, and proggy pop - 1st time in CA! TWR rock in a country way, Birds is Rachel from Sleepy Sun doing spooky folk-psych.

Sunday, February 28

* Visqueen with Dizzy Balloon at Bottom, matinee show. I loves the nerdy pop of DB, but Visqueen is the truest to the original Noise Pop sound. Big guitars, muscular girly vocals, thumping drums. Yum.

*SO Edward Sharpe & Magnetic Zeros at Bimbos. Looking forward to the big-time hippie rock. Thinking of taking off my shoes. Plus: Northern Key is pretty gorgeous.

Oh, and here's a tiny hamburger, just because.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Couples Are Crazy

At the end of last year, I read this article in the NY Times Sunday Book Review about how the new literary lions (cubs?) can't write about sex like the old literary lions. Dave Eggers writes about cuddling, whereas Philip Roth wrote about having sex with a plate of chicken livers. (Okay, ew. But hilarious, right?)

Well, one of the older books they mentioned was John Updike's Couples. I'd tried once, many years ago, to read Rabbit Run, because my dad had recommended it. Never got very far, but I figured I'd give Couples a try. After all, that Updike guy was a national treasure. And a Red Sox fan.

Turns out the book is pretty awesome. Not only does it take place in Eastern Massachusetts, but it's dirty as hell and fascinating much the same way that Mad Men is. It was published in 1968 but takes places in 1963, which should tell you all you need to know about what will happen.

There's a bunch of upper- and lower-middle class couples roaming around Tarbox, having sex or trying to have sex with each other's husbands and wives. It's pretty graphic -- check this out: "She would give herself to him in slavish postures, as if witnessing in her mouth or between her breasts the tripped unclotting thump of his ejaculation made it her own." Wow! Unclotting thump!

But there's also plenty else going on. I just love a writer who can come up with stuff like this: "I remember lovemaking as an exploration of a sadness so deep people must go in pairs, one cannot go alone."

One thing that I think is dated is how much people think about death in the book. Maybe it was the whole Cold War/Atomic bomb hanging over your head thing. But to have sex to stave off death? Come on! The French have it right -- sex IS death. Le petit morte.

Anyway, I highly recommend the book -- especially because I want to talk about the end with someone.

In other news, have you seen the new Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck video? Holy crapolo, it's nuts!

Beck wrote all of the music and some of the lyrics for the disc, which has several tracks about her near-death experience. (Don't go skiing, ever, is the lesson here.)

I've been researching an article about French pop, so I've come across all sorts of cool '60s video, like this version of "Do the Locomotion" by Sylvie Vartan (did you know she was actually Hungarian?).

And also, wow, did things ever go wrong in France in the '70s. Check out Sylvie auditioning for ABBA … or Sha Na Na.

Um, and here's the ever-fascinating Francoiz Breut, with more people in strange animal masks. Must be a French thing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Three kinds of sleeveface

You know what time it is? It's time for another THREE KINDS OF STUPID dance party!

Yeah, we haven't done one of those in, like, a year. (Does anyone say "like" anymore? I just watched Wassup Rockers and they sure say "and then" a lot, but that came out years ago.) We're getting old. And busy. But we still know how to bring it. Or at least I think we do. I DJed a holiday party last week, and people seemed to be enjoying themselves (ie drinking and dancing badly but energetically). Too many Lady Gaga requests, but I guess that's to be expected these days. One guy even dressed like her -- to the undiscerning eye, aka me, he looked like a giant stalk of rhubarb.

So we've decided to make this TKS party special by also making it a Key Party.

I know, I know, key parties are soooo '70s. And creepy. Not this one. There'll be monkeys, donkeys, church keys, and many more keys for you to go home with. Who knows maybe you'll even meet that special someone (there have been 2 documented instances of future spouses meeting at TKS parties).

Like usual, there'll be a cool local band (Geographer) and a free cd. I got the idea for the cd cover from a book I scored over the holidays: Sleeveface.

Sleeveface became a big deal on Flickr ages ago, but people (ahem, us) are still discovering it. Really, I've just been too lazy to do it before now. And we didn't spend nearly as much time as some of these folks did.

Still, I highly recommend trying it. It's pretty dang fun.


Los TKS.

Mas TKS.

With Marlo in the middle.

So see you at Rickshaw Stop for TKS020 on Saturday, January 30. Oh yeah, and for you vinyl fetishists, I just got a copy of My Bloody Valentine's Things Left Behind on LP at Amoeba. It's a collection of several extremely rare EPs and some of my favorite noise-pop tunes ever.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year

I've been meaning to put something up here about the Rickshaw's annual Holiday Throwdown and, now that Fresh Pink's been so kind to share her photos of the eventful day, I can.
It started out with all of us biking aimlessly around the city in the rain. Here we're circling the roundabout for 5-6 times.

Unfortunately, it was too slippery and April took a horrible fall on some train tracks. She toughed out the rest of the day, but it later turned out she had a fractured elbow! What a trouper!

Gathering our (first) wounded warrior, we all jumped onto Caltrain and road to Millbrae, where we rode some more.

Finally, we arrived at our first destination ... go-karts!

Elly and Josh took first in the very long 15 minute session. Twenty-two laps! Um, for the faster people. Not to get all competitive. At least I didn't plow into Amy so hard that her safety harness flew off! (Wow, was she ever purple the next day, when we ran into her in the emergency room.) No wonder Megan's looking a little nervous.

Time for stage two, so get on the bus until we're in Palo Alto ... for badminton!

More bus action leads us to ... a mechanical bull ride! I was going to take a pass -- bad back, allergy to looking stupid -- but finally decided to hop on. And crazy enough, I lasted over a minute and beat the bull! Didn't get tossed, got to keep a hat. Boy howdy!

Megan was a trooper too, giving the bull a try. This might be my favorite pic of the day.

Finally, we took off towards the city, singing along to ELO and getting progressively drunker.

Thank god for the Mexican food.

How do we ride into the sunset? With custom made shirts, of course.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More about My Mustache

Why would someone walk around town for a month with facial hair that makes them look like a '70s porno star, a gay cop, or a child molester? For the kids, of course!

After watching the Mustache for Kids 'Stache Bash the last couple years at the Rickshaw, I decided to join the fun this year. The deal: you grow a from-scratch 'stache over the course of a month, and then you ask people to donate money in order to endure the embarrassment. All the cash goes to, which funnels money to teachers who need stuff for their classrooms. Very cool, right?

Here's my M4K page, and here's my donor page, where I've picked out a bunch of worthy classroom projects. I know no one's got any money these days, but if you've got anything stuck between the cushions of the couch, this would be a nice way to spend it. (A burrito is also a good use for that change.)

The Stache Bash is at the Rickshaw again this year, on Dec 17. See you there!

Here's the look at Day 13 of My Stache:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

mustaches and muggers

I was going to write about all the cool things happening this month -- an agent is interested in a rewrite of my YA novel, I'm almost finished with another YA NaNoWriMo 1st draft, I'm growing a mustache for kids*, and some other things I can't remember -- but instead I guess I'll tell you about almost getting mugged a few minutes ago.

What? Why are you writing this instead of talking to the police, you ask. Well, I got into my building and it's 12:37 a.m. and I don't want to have to wait for the cops to come and take a report that won't lead anywhere.

So here's how it happened:

It was a nice night so I decided to go for a walk. I used to do that all the time in San Francisco and even in Temescal. Seemed fine, I even left my wallet at home, just in case I got mugged (although I hear it's not good to not have something to give the nice muggers). It was nice and quiet up there above Park Blvd, where all the ritzy houses are. I got some good thinking done, stretched the legs, great, right? I did get a little nervous when walking across the bridge above the highway, remembering when H. got mugged years ago while walking over Geary Street at night, but there was no one out there and I figured I could always hop over the railing into the street, since there was little to no traffic. Plus, it feels so free standing over the freeway at night, the cars whizzing under you, all those people going places that you aren't (hmm).

Anyway, I got a little lost on the way back, but the houses were so nice and the streets so quiet that I didn't mind. Finally, I found 28th Street and that led to Park and I was almost home. But I figured I'd walk up 8th Ave instead of go down another block on Park until 7th Ave, since it would be a prettier view. Big mistake, apparently.

I was almost to my building when I saw a person walking towards me. I figured I would cross over, not really thinking much of it, since I was at the point to cross anyways. But then they started crossing over and I realized they were both wearing black hoodies. One of them pointed up and maybe said "spread out," and that's when I took off. Thankfully, I was heading downhill instead of going uphill or I would've been screwed. Out of my peripheral vision, I saw the one guy pull something out of his pocket and as I zipped by him he swung it at me.

I kept running but he was running right behind me, and it was impossible to tell how closely. I noticed there was a white new car double-parked in front of my building and I thought for a second that I should stop them for help. It's lucky I didn't since that was the getaway car.

As I got to Park, I couldn't hear the guy behind me anymore. But then I realized that what I'd been running to -- Dave's -- wasn't open anymore. Would I have to keep running until I got to Baggy's by the Bay or whatever it is called? Or would they jump in the car and come after me?

I pulled out my phone and dialed 911. And as I tried to tell them what had happened, I peaked up 7th Ave and saw that the car was coming down towards me. I thought about where I would run next. Could I make it back to my place, going uphill? I could never seem to get my keys out fast regularily, so now might be even harder. Should I hide?

Just then the car peeled out, turning up and away from me.

The police were very nice. The 911 caller was very expedient. My hands were shaking when I got inside the apartment.

Why live in a neighborhood where kids try to wack you on the head when you go for a walk?

In cheerier news, Dylan's got a new holiday video that seems inspired by spiked rum punch.

*Here's where you can donate for my mustache.