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Monday, July 7, 2008

Stevie Wonder at the Shoreline Amphitheatre - July 5, 2008

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 4:00 AM


After a near-decade hiatus from touring, Stevie Wonder rolled into the Bay Area for the second time in under a year, this time bringing his acclaimed A Wonder Summer’s Night to Mountain View. While not as life-affirming as last August’s powerhouse performance in Concord (where I actually got choked up only a few seconds into opener “Love’s In Need Of Love Today”), Saturday’s show proved the eighth wonder of the world is still the most solid, enjoyable, cross-generational, and most worth-the-expensive-ass-ticket-price of any of the nostalgia acts in rock n’ roll.

The lawn section (especially at the mammoth, impersonal Shoreline Amphitheatre) is mostly good for spying the latest in lawn chair innovations and observing territorialism in its most fascinating and primal form. Yet our spot behind the new “Family Zone” offered heartwarming views of families enjoying Fourth of July weekend, all possessing the distinctive Stevie Wonder concertgoer vibe: warm smiles, interracial beauty and irie vibes to spare. The lawn itself was packed in way I’ve not seen since Radiohead’s Kid A/Amnesiac showcase in 2001.

Even without an opener, not many around us seemed to mind when the legend appeared nearly an hour after the 7:30 “show time”, with the entire audience rising to their feet in a benevolent ovation. Flanked by his backup singer daughter Iesha and very young son (who later played his own drum kit beside the large band), Wonder again began the show with a few words, this time dedicating the show to Bill Graham as well as his late mother (whose passing was the reason for his decision to tour again) before expressing excitement over Obama’s candidacy.“Don’t just talk about [unity], be about it,” he told the crowd, before asking, “Now, y’all want to hear some music?” After we counted it off at the man’s behest, he was off and running with a pitch-perfect rendition of “As If You Read My Mind”, complete with his killer harmonica solo. Then followed three more numbers from this classic 1980 album Hotter Than July, a dark-horse candidate for Wonder’s best record ever. Much like last year’s concert bookends from Songs In The Key Of Life (The aforementioned “Love’s In Need…” and the extended closer “Another Star”), the opening July suite was a testament to the “album rock” format mostly because the tunes sounded amazingly just like the album versions.

And so went the rest of the show, with Wonder astounding the capacity crowd with faithful yet tastefully nuanced classics, from quintessential summer ballad “Knocks Me Off My Feet” to the rousing funk of “Living For The City” and “I Wish”. Most impressive throughout the night was his virtually un-aged voice, which belied his 40+ years of performing. Despite a little audible strain during “Visions”, Wonder went headfirst into each high or low note, not hiding in a different keys like many other performing legends. You got the sense that Wonder had never smoked a cigarette in his life, when he repeatedly delved into his vocal acrobatics, each time met with thousands of rapturous howls.

Though only six songs into his set, the tediousness of the extended band introduction jam at the end of “Higher Ground” was actually outshined by Wonder’s generosity as a performer and impeccable judgment as jazz-style, improvisational bandleader. Each of the band members, including three percussionists, was a virtuoso, receiving just as much excited praise from the crowd. Although the large band allowed little more than three curtains onstage, the simple light show was the perfect complement to the performers, who were the real attractions. They were all on point, enough so that he could switch up the set list on a dime. “I like catching them off guard,” he told us, as he teased the band with different keyboard licks before settling into the groove for “Creepin.”

This made all the more appropriate an electrifying version of “Sir Duke” (Wonder's tribute to Duke Ellington), which was buoyed by the new horn section (a gigantic improvement over last year’s synthesized opening strains). The new additions also made possible a barn-burning “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, easily the show’s highlight for me.

After the decent new song “Keep Fooling Yourself, Baby Girl”, the family theme of the night reached its zenith with his daughter Iesha’s “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life”, a well-received effort that couldn’t help but pale in comparison to her dad’s SANGIN’. This segued into an abridged “Isn’t She Lovely,” the song her birth inspired, which incited another crowd sing-along. The run-through didn’t quite match the poignancy of Wonder’s emotional tears from last year’s show, but the authenticity of each moment was outstanding.

Compounding his technical astuteness, Wonder was a hell of a showman, urging the crowd’s participation throughout the night, most effective in the crowd’s “aaaahhhhhhh” replicating the recorded intro to “Did I Hear You Say You Love Me”. The genius warded off request-screaming hecklers (“Hey. Shut it up. This is my house.”), joshed the lovers in the crowd (“How many of y’all have made love to a Stevie Wonder song? I want some payback!”), and told humorous anecdotes about trying to chase his young son with a disciplinary belt. “You missed me!” he said gleefully in a feigned child’s voice. This joke made me feel better about my own tasteless quips while waiting for him earlier. (“Can’t he read the clock? What, is he blind or something?”).

While certainly shorter than last year’s extravaganza at Concord (due to the tardiness?), Saturday’s two-hour-plus show seemed to satisfy everyone in attendance, from the young funk fans to the full families in search of the ultimate summer evening serenade. Wonder and his band showed such fervor for live performance – and its inherent fluidity – that it makes every other vet seem like they’re phoning it in. The next time Paul McCartney and the Stones roll through town with their perfectly timed multimedia shows, we’ll know something better is possible.

Stevie Wonder plays the Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord this Tuesday. Tickets are still available...Just go, for Christ’s sake!---David Sason


~Set list:

As If You Read My Mind

Master Blaster (Jammin')

Did I Hear You Say You Love Me

All I Do

Knocks Me Off My Feet

Higher Ground


Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing


Livin’ for the City

Golden Lady


Keep Fooling Yourself, Baby Girl (new song)

I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life (sung by daughter Iesha)

Isn’t She Lovely

Ribbon in the Sky


My Cheri Amour

Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)

Sir Duke

I Wish

Do I Do

I Just Called to Say I Love You

For Once in My Life

Uptight (Everything’s Alright)


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Futura Bold Oblique

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Haight & Shrader, San Francisco:

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

R.E.M. Play College, Rock

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 4:00 AM

R.E.M., Modest Mouse and The National – Greek Theatre, UC Berkeley, Saturday, May 31, 2008


One of the season’s most impressive tour lineups–R.E.M., Modest Mouse and The National–made its way through UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre last weekend with two packed shows that could’ve been billed as “Three Generations of College Rock.”

Brooklyn wonders The National kicked off the festivities Saturday while still light out but amid a chilly wind that befitted their moody compositions. It was clear from the over-3/4-full house they drew that last year’s Boxer album extended far beyond critics’ best-of lists, with the piano intro to “Fake Empire” immediately drawing rapturous cheers. Despite singer Matt Berninger’s awkward, reserved stage persona – even turning his back on the crowd at points like one of the Reid brothers – his rich Cohen-esque baritone mixed well with his band’s swaying drama, especially compelling in the crescendo of “Baby, We’ll Be Fine” off 2005’s Alligator. Surely many saw a young Michael Stipe in Berninger’s persevering charisma. And having made the most of a crummy slot, The National’s well-deserved standing ovation suggested many new converts.


Although a major draw in its own right, Modest Mouse went over less well with the crowd, in part due to their unvaried setlist, almost seamless in its nonstop pace and tedious, near-identical backbeats. The odd song choices didn’t help either (“Dance Hall”? Really?). Despite two percussionists, an accordion/box organ player, and banjo helmed by singer/guitarist Isaac Brock, the latter's convulsive performance overshadowed all sounds and sights, with bodily jerks and a halting, often unsettling vocal style (think Frank Costanza from Seinfeld). With Brock playing most leads, new member and guitar legend Johnny Marr was sadly underused, offering only a few of his classic licks in set closer “Spitting Venom”. Oh, well. Marr is probably enjoying such a low-profile gig, if only for some refuge from the endless reunion-with-Morrissey questions.


With no less than three distinct phases in their 28-year career – and fan bases to match – headliners R.E.M. had a lot of varied, multigenerational people to please that night. But the veteran band pulled it off with loose, energetic selections from each of their 15 records except 1986’s Lifes Rich Pageant. Highlights for everyone seemed to be the new songs from the caustic, instantly singalong-ready Accelerate, whose breakneck “Horse to Water” opened the show. Scaled down to a five-piece for the first time since the late 1980s, the band’s setup led to more potent, slightly rawer takes on each song, from 1982’s “Wolves, Lower” to 2001’s “Imitation of Life”, giving each the guitar-based flourishes of their first decade.

Like at the Georgia group's last show here – back in 2004 on the eve of another presidential election – Michael Stipe was in great spirits and relished being in such a liberal town. “Congratulations,” he told the crowd of California's recent gay marriage ruling, before replying to calls for the gay singer’s relocation. “I don’t want to move to California; but I’m sure it’ll move slowly eastward.”


This time around, though, Stipe had someaggressive political songs to accompany his left wing rhetoric, with urgent fight songs like “Living Well is the Best Revenge” and “Man-Sized Wreath” inspiring empowerment much better than Around the Sun’s somber, shell-shocked laments (although the poorly aged “Final Straw” still reared its head). A highlight for many was the vitriolic, still-venomous anti-Republican rant “Ignoreland” from 1992’s Automatic for the People, debuting live on this tour with disturbingly renewed relevance. Accentuating every performance was a tasteful video setup behind the band, with multiple jigsaw screens creating video edits of band shots and other stimuli similar to their recent videos.

Despite their catalogue’s eclecticism within just guitar sounds, R.E.M. ran the risk of making the same mistake as Modest Mouse, but busted out the bouncy piano-driven “Electrolite”, which delighted the crowd with a welcome change of pace, and later the gorgeous “Find the River”. The most poignant moment, though, came with the regretful Kurt Cobain tribute “Let Me In”, performed acoustically downstage right, with members facing each other in a circle of supportive, empathetic musicianship.


And the slow songs pretty much ended there, which more than anything harkened back to their glorious I.R.S. days. I’ve been seeing R.E.M. since 1995 and never before have seen bassist/pianist Mike Mills stand up for such extended periods. But the ubiquitous “throwback” comments about this period are misleading, since Accelerate doesn't really sound like any of their other records. R.E.M. in 2008 is derivative of their hey day chiefly in terms of spirit and onstage abandon. While Saturday showed each member of the band more sprightly than in recent years – even perennially chill guitarist Peter Buck – the stage leaps and running around were kept to a minimum, perfectly dignified for 50-somethings.

With a few charming false starts (it was only the tour's third show, after all), Mills' playful ribbing of the nonsensical "West of the Fields" lyrics, repeated allusions to their decidedly uncool age ("This song is from the year 1064" / "off our 75th album"), and Stipe's verbose, scatterbrain anecdotes, R.E.M. appeared shockingly devoid of any rock-star mystique – which in itself is an impressive feat for any Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.


If any group came close to not getting their money’s worth, it was those looking for the big radio hits, who were offered only a peppy “What’s the Frequency Kenneth”, the still-formidable “The One I Love”, and closer “Man on the Moon”, which still retains its magical, anthemic sheen. But when Peter Buck’s mandolin strings broke a few bars into a perfunctory run-through of the tedious “Losing My Religion”, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who smiled in glee. Of course a replacement was brought out promptly, so no such luck. Making it worse was Mike Mills' genuine enjoyment while mouthing along “I thought that I heard you laughing…”. Guess that song’s not going anywhere.

The show was a real treat for older fans and those who’ve done their homework, with “old shit” galore throughout the night, beginning with “Little America” at the show’s start and culminating in the encore with back-to-back Fables“Driver 8” and “Life and How to Live It.” The general consensus is right: the band's renewed excitement translates well to its audience, most of whom stayed on their feet the entire two-hour show. Hopefully, R.E.M. can keep this feeling going for a few more years.

As I stumbled with out of the Greek with the rest of the cattle, I heard a 20-something telling his friend: “When ‘Life and How to Live It’ came on, I looked around and no one else knew the song…” While nowhere near anyone’s “little secret” anymore, it seems that R.E.M. can still ignite a little harmless fan elitism.–Photos & review by David Sason

R.E.M. set list:

1. “Horse to Water”

2. “Little America”

3. “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”

4. “Ignoreland”

5. “Accelerate”

6. “Man-Sized Wreath”

7. “Imitation of Life”

8. “West of the Fields”

9. “Hollow Man”

10. “Wolves, Lower”

11. “Walk Unafraid”

12. “Houston”

13. “Electrolite”

14. “The One I Love”

15. “Final Straw”

16. “Find the River”

17. “Let Me In”

18. “Losing My Religion”

19. “Living Well Is the Best Revenge”

20. “Bad Day”

21. “Orange Crush”

22. “I’m Gonna DJ”


23. “Supernatural Superserious”

24. “Mr. Richards”

25. “Driver 8″

26. “Life and How to Live It”

27. “Man on the Moon”

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

I Lost Me To Meth Because I'm Gay

Posted By on Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 4:00 AM

I've seen this commercial four or five times now, and it still bothers me. Since when did meth become a "gay drug"? Since when did it become okay for PSAs to single out one group and align it and it alone with a drug that has, for years, been widely abused by everyone from all walks of life?

I first saw it on Bravo, which has been airing the totally awesome gay Levi's commercials. But then I saw it over and over again on NBC, and unlike the Levi's commercials, there's no straight counterpart. It's just for those self-destructive gays, apparently, who all go out and snort mountains of speed and lose their boyfriends and get HIV.

I know there's good intentions here, but imagine it in the context of ads for Bud Lite and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and it just plain sucks.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So Ya Wanna Be a Derby Girl?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 4:00 AM


colinmichaelphoto.comBefore investing in that first pair of fishnets or even learning how to skate, the first thing to do, of course, is to get a kick-ass roller derby name. Bohemian contributor Maully the Jackel (known more familiarly as Molly T. Jackel) researched the derby names in current use and got hooked on the puns and fun involved in renaming yourself as a tuff chick. For her April 16 cover story on the Sonoma County Roller Derby league, she amassed a long list of her faves. Alas, print restrictions. Hallelujah, the endless ream of the Web. Out of the 11,946 registered derby girls, here are some of her faves.

Abracastabya Palmetto — State Rollergirls

Amber Waves of Pain — Windy City Rollers

Angela Slamsbury — Gotham City Roller Girls

Apocalypse Frau — Capital City Roller Rebels

Ashley Thudd — MTL Roller Derby

Audrey Hipburn — Palmetto State Rollergirls

Aurora Gory Alice — Albany All Star Roller Derby

B. F. Skinnher — Hudson Valley Horrors

Babe Ruthless — Arizona Roller Derby

Bash-kin Robbins — Ohio Roller Girls

Barbie Got Back — Rockford Rage

Battlestar Kick Asstica — South Jersey Derby Girls

Betty Aim Fire — Emerald City Roller Girls

The Big Kapowski (Ref) — Tornado Alley Rollergirls

Big Trouble in Little Gina — Brewcity Bruisers

Bruise Lee Rat — City Rollergirls

Busty Rhymes — Palmetto State Rollergirls

Bitch Cassidy — Tucson Roller Derby

Buttersnatch Sundae — Maine Roller Derby


— North Star Roller Girls

Cassius Slay — Salt City Derby Girls

Grrrl Haggard — Humboldt Roller Derby's Redwood Rollers

Joan of Dark — Naptown Roller girls

MaHellYeah Jackson — Rockford Rage

Knuckleberry Finn — The Oly Rollers

Laverne N. Surly — Dutchland Rollers

Leave it to Cleavage — Sonoma County Roller Derby

Libido Loco — Chi*Town Sirens Roller Derby

Lola Piranha — Dixie Derby Girls

Lord of the Rink — River Valley Roller girls

Lucille Brawl — Texas Rollergirls

Mazel Tov Cocktail — Broward County Derby Girls

Meshuggah Walls — Emerald City Rolle rgirls

Osteo Ferocious — ManchVegas Rollergirls

Pee Wee Hurt’em — Arch Rival Roller Girls

Raquel Squelch— Derby City Roller Girls

Rinkwraith — Fox Cityz Foxz

Seven Year Bitch — Silicon Valley Roller Girls

Titty Titty Bang Bang — LA Derby Dolls

Weird Al Spankabitch — Nashville Rollergirls

What's your derby name?

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Friday, April 4, 2008

We’re R.E.M. – Remember?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 4:00 AM


Most reviews of R.E.M.'s new album Accelerate either celebrate a rocking, political "return to form" or criticize a safe, self-conscious attempt to recapture the adoration of the masses a la U2. Both viewpoints have their merit, but in a purely aesthetic sense, the 34-minute album is truly enjoyable, especially following two near-slogging records. Around the Sun from 2004, and Reveal three years earlier, squandered the promise of the adventurous Up, which boasted a wounded yet shimmering perseverance after Bill Berry's departure. Accelerate thankfully presents not only Peter Buck's much-missed guitar crunch & bass virtuoso Mike Mills' invaluable backing vocals, but also Michael Stipe's most lucid political lyrics to date, especially poignant in the opening lines of post-Katrina-migration tale "Houston": "If the storm doesn't kill me, the government will."

What's most exciting for me about Accelerate is the opportunity for new fans to discover the band's rich discography, as I did myself following 1994's Monster, the band's first cathartic "back to rock" album. As Bryan Adams said, "Kids Wanna Rock", and I admit that only an album like Monster could've been my gateway to the band's more nuanced work, whether the Southern-gothic folk of Fables of the Reconstruction or the fragile majesty of Automatic for the People.

Let's be honest. The average teenage rock-radio listener is conditioned to want/need aggression of some sort (so much so that even Limp Bizkit had a successful career). Michael Stipe's sometimes painfully bare vocals catalyzed my appreciation in general for male vulnerability in pop music. It's hard to imagine the 14-year-old me digging Rufus Wainwright as much as I do today. Or anyone over 30.

To the new R.E.M. converts, enjoy. There's nothing like discovering a band with over 13 albums ready for excavation, allowing you to forego the usual frustrated longing for new material as a fan of younger artists. Soon, you too can hope and pray for live performances of your favorite decades-old rarities. To get you started, here are some of R.E.M.'s best album tracks (yes, even from their recent records):"Stumble" - Ahh, the power of the arpeggio...Chronic Town, 1982"9-9" - Surely written after they opened for Gang of Four.Murmur, 1983"Little America" - About the joys of being broke as hell and touring the country in a van.Reckoning, 1984"Life and How to Live It" - The best rock anthem that nobody knows.Fables of the Reconstruction, 1985"Just a Touch" -Referencing Patti Smith's version of "My Generation" and possibly dissing the Beatles.Lifes Rich Pageant, 1986"King of the Road" - Charming yet inebriated Roger Miller cover that foreshadowed the Hindu Love Gods album.Dead Letter Office, 1987"Strange" - This Wire cover tests your tolerance for Stipe's trademark whine.Document, 1987"You Are the Everything" - Bucks discovers something called a mandolin and Stipe finally relishes "the first-person".Green, 1988"Low" - A bizarrely catchy, experimental love song from an album full of them.Out of Time, 1991"Monty Got a Raw Deal" - About Montgomery Clift or witnessing a lynching...or both...or neither.Automatic for the People, 1992"I Took Your Name" - Stipe name-checks Iggy Pop in exchange for the Stooges riffs.Monster, 1994"The Wake-Up Bomb" - This glam-rock ode to a hangover is "Little America" 12 years and millions of sales later.New Adventures in Hi-Fi, 1996"Parakeet" - Perfectly captures the feeling of hesitation that reportedly plagued the recording sessions.Up, 1998"The Lifting" - Unfortunately, this rollicking opening track did not set the tone for the rest of the album.Reveal, 2001"I Wanted to Be Wrong" - It's a shame more people didn't hear this tender exploration of post-9/11 domestic confusion, but at least Bill Maher put it on his iPod.Around the Sun, 2004---David Sason R.E.M. plays UC Berkeley's Greek Theatre with Modest Mouse and The National on Saturday, May 31st. Tickets go on sale this Sunday at 10am.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

UA 5, 1997

Posted By on Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 4:00 AM

It may not have been very glamorous, but the old UA 5 on Mendocino Avenue for many years was Santa Rosa's premier movie theater. From the first movie I ever saw there (Three Amigos, if memory serves) to the hog-wild, anarchistic Midnight Movies of 2001 (Blazing Saddles, A Clockwork Orange, I was always too drunk to remember any others), it seemed, to those of us who grew up in a certain era, that UA 5 would never, ever die. But in 2002 it finally did just that, closing its doors and leaving a sentimental collage of moviegoing memories in the dust.

But wait—hold the violins! Once again, the past is made present through YouTube. Behold Movie Juice, a documentary about the hopelessness of movie theater life, filmed on-site in 1997 at United Artists Cinema 5 in Santa Rosa. Ezra, the director, was a film student at SRJC at the time; this was one of his class projects. It's insightful, it's kinda sad, and it's funny as hell.

Most of the theater employees from this documentary are still around. Dustin does horror makeup for movies. Trevor draws and publishes comics. Gerry sells records. Josh is a pop culture professor. Joe runs an upholstery shop.

None of them still work at a movie theater.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Funny Games Indeed

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The employees at the Rialto were up to some shenanigans of their own tonight for the 9:30 showing of Funny Games, in which Naomi Watts and Tim Roth are tormented for a couple hours, mentally and physically, by two boys dressed in New England tennis attire—white sweaters, polo shirts, shorts, and gloves. I could go on and on about the film, but I won't give away too much, except to say that a golf ball plays a recurring role. And that all in all, watching Funny Games is a fairly agonizing experience, leaving the viewer 1) drained, and 2) totally horrified of the tennis guys.

Never ones to miss out on an excellent joke, Matt and Jeff at the Rialto got together and dressed the part completely tonight. White shorts, sweaters, polo shirts, gloves—almost the same hair, even, as the tennis guys. It was an exact, eerie resemblance.

And when the movie got out, they stood in the hallway directly outside, bouncing a golf ball, waiting to deliver a menacing "have a good night" to the utterly shellshocked exiting the theater.

I missed most people's reactions, but I'll tell you this: Matt and Jeff each had one of those fantastic "we don't get paid that much, but fuck it, we're having fun" grins on their faces.Funny Games ends its run on March 27. I can say with all honesty that it's better than the original.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Annie Leibovitz at the Legion of Honor

Posted By on Sun, Mar 23, 2008 at 4:00 AM

I wasn’t planning on stopping by the Annie Leibovitz exhibit at the Legion of Honor, A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005, but I’m glad I did, if only to now have the authority to say that I shouldn’t have. It’s a very personal collection, burdened with the weight of death, and though there might have been some emotional strength that went into its assemblage—at least in the many photos of her dying father, her dying lover, and the birth and growth of her two children—I was neither wowed by its artistic merit nor moved by its naked storytelling. The overtly “revealing” timbre of the exhibit, in fact, reminded me of Lauryn Hill’s indulgent Unplugged album, which is a total piece of “this is the real me” crap that no one ever wants to suffer through again.

Visitors gathered instead, shoulder-to-shoulder, in the exhibit’s sadistically narrow “celebrity hallway,” packed with hundreds of tiny prints and magazine pages of Leibovitz’s famous photos. Likewise, there was much crowding around larger photographs sprinkled throughout the exhibit; of the famously pregnant Demi Moore, of Johnny Cash on his porch, of Queen Elizabeth II without her crown. And there was surely lots of talk, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, around Leibovitz’s 2001 “Evil Empire” photograph of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Card and Tenet.

Many of these photos, and especially the gigantic landscape prints from Monument Park and Venice, are dazzling, and contain insightful and often sardonic descriptions by Leibovitz about her process (remarking on her portrait of Richard Avedon, she essentially says that Avedon knew how to take portraits correctly and that she still does not). But there’s an extreme sense of disconnect with the many, many personal photos, the banal explanations of which are like a very dull person’s slide-show commentary—“We went here. We did this.” The show’s accompanying $75.00, eight-pound book hopefully offers some more insight, but the choice of letting the viewer make up their own mind about these images is misguided.

At the end of it all, I can say two things. 1) I still really like Annie Liebovitz quite a lot, and 2) If I have to look at another photograph of Susan Sontag, I am going to throw up.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Crappy Little Pill--More Bad 13 Challenge

Posted By on Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 4:00 AM

 So I think I'd rather hear Xoshi Lubin's expertly assembled Bad 13 Challenge entry again than spend another second on fucking WordPress (why is it so crummy when other blogging platforms are so easy to use? Why am I punished for using a PC?) But maybe not. I don't think I could ever listen to that Yin Yang Twins song again. THE WORST by Xoshi Lubin

  1. Stomach Cramps-King Missile
  2. Prince of Arabia-The Toy Box
  3. Tell Me About the Forest (You Once Called Home)-Dead Can Dance
  4. You Oughta Know-Alanis Morissette
  5. I'll Make a Man Out of You-Donny Osmond & Chorus (from Mulan)
  6. What Went Wrong-The Moldy Peaches
  7. I Believe-Stephen Gately
  8. Disney's The Devil-Sexually Transmitted People
  9. Blitzkreig Bop-Rob Zombie
  10. Seconds-Le Tigre
  11. La La-Ashlee Simpson
  12. Wait (The Whisper Song)-Ying Yang Twins
  13. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now-The Smiths

Xoshi's brilliant plan of attack (or at least as I see it) was to zero in on pop songs by artists who take themselves way, way too seriously. So these are musicians who, generally, know what they are doing. But either an overinflated sense of self-importance or a purely shitty raw material (e.g. dumb lyrics) result in painful listening experiences. Xoshi was THIS CLOSE to winning.            Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know" is terrible simply for the way she sings "Will she go down on you in...a thea-ter?!!!" If I dumped a girl and then she sang this song as a way to get back at me, I'd feel very satisfied and justified in the dumping. Hey, I just read that Flea played bass on this song. Like that made a difference.            Jerry Goldsmith, Matthew Wilder, and David Zippel are responsible for writing "I'll Make a Man Out of You," and I think its insipid bones are largely responsible for its awfulness. Contemporary Disney animated musicals probably spread more anger than love. Donny Osmond sounds like a high school drama kid singing "I'll Make a Man Out of You". That's a compliment, in a way, but after having to sit through this song, I intend never to see Mulan.               Gabe Meline noted that the The Moldy Peaches' Kimya Dawson now had the #1 soundtrack in the country with Juno. Anyway, the terrible noise of "What Went Wrong" might have qualified as experimental music if it had been recorded, like, sixty years ago. I have an old home recording of me and my best friend playing Barbies in her basement that's edgier than this slop.            "The Sexually Transmitted People were from Santa Rosa!," Gabe Meline writes. "I saw their last show at the Phoenix in 2001. They were good and this song always made me laugh. They also had another tune called ‘Ishmael's Last Ride,' I believe. Peter Bonos, the trumpet player, now lives in Boston or Germany and makes avant-garde jazz music."               Rob Zombie makes movies now. I hope he continues to do so, and never again sets foot in a recording studio to inflict the high douchebaggery he inflicted upon the Ramones' "Blitzkreig Bop" upon any other song or person.               I hate Ashlee Simpson for getting a nose job, which I initially saw as a slap in the face of all big-nosed women, myself included. However, I have since come around, and I am glad this empty-headed bitch now shares no facial similarities with me. She's not good enough to have a big nose! The lyrics of "La La" really push it to new levels of terrible.               Yin Yang Twins' "Wait (The Whisper Song") is explicit without being in any way sexy, and therefore it is offensive. I'm trying to think of an offensive song that's good...like Body Count's "KKK Bitch", because it's at least clever and funny. But this is just uninspired bad pornography.               We decided that The Smiths, though self-important via Morrissey, are-even for Smiths-haters-not terrible enough to be one of the 13 baddest songs ever. In fact, after the physical and psychological torture of Xoshi's CD, "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" was refreshing and healing.

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