"The 21st century is a most confusing time when it comes to class. The virtual world has so much real estate, and we all can feel privileged roaming through it. But where our feet walk and our tired bodies rest, rents are increasing and wages are dropping. The government was shut down in a fight over health benefits. The deaths of Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride raise bitter debate over who can walk where, and what self-defense means. Whole regions of the country, like Northern California, are being transformed into private compounds for the super-rich.”
Well, that’s very pretty.
"Wald also noted that right now, with digital technology and its commercial avenues so unstable, musicians should be extra careful about documenting their careers. "What if someone 50 years from now would like to know what it was like for artists to negotiate a world in which, not that long ago, a MySpace page was considered cutting-edge? What if they want to understand the creative process of turntablists? Or understand the dynamics of local music scenes?"
These days, there’s a lot of attention to the fact that people constantly note their own activities on social media sites from Facebook to Instagram, and in the ersatz “archives” on their hard drives and cell phones. If there’s any bigger conversation happening about archiving, it leans toward the idea that this era is overly preserved. But ersatz rarely becomes permanent. As University of Washington professor and digital historian Sonnet Retman recently remarked in a discussion on the listserv, these days, obsolescence always seems to be one botched upgrade away:
"Thinking about printing things out and the physical file cabinet, at a recent digital humanities symposium on archiving, several librarians spoke about how the fetish of the digital and new technology often overlooks how rapidly digital degradation, erosion and obsolescence occurs — it’s all ephemeral, but the digital, particularly so. Not that we don’t know this from day-to-day experience; I just drove over my iPhone in my Volvo.’”
"Stoner realizes at the last that he found what he sought at the university not in books but in his love and study of them, not in some obscure scholarly Grail but in its pursuit. His life has not been squandered in mediocrity and obscurity; his undistinguished career has not been mulish labor but an act of devotion. He has been a priest of literature, and given himself as fully as he could to the thing he loved."
Satan’s curse = missing period (or ellipsis): “Such troubles will soon end…?!” Any punctuation is better than none. And there’s no end to Satan’s Curse. Not as long as you refuse to hire a copy editor. Also, can we talk about center justification and how it makes even the most apocalyptic of texts look like a Hallmark greeting card? I almost accidentally sent this to my grandmother on her birthday.
Sufjan’s copyediting posts warm my icy editorial heart.
In 1995, “That’s Just What You Are” hit the pop charts — from a young Aimee Mann’s sophomore album, I’m With Stupid, which I picked up at the recommendation of Seventeen magazine. Mann was 35; I was 12. The album has stood up pretty well over time, like many of my mid-90s Seventeen discoveries (Cibo Matto, Sleater Kinney — thanks, mystery Seventeen music editor!). Her black humor and melancholy punched me in the gut and I’ve been a fan ever since.
On Monday night, 18 years later, I finally saw her live at the Kent Stage with Ted Leo. It was emotional! I’ve invested a lot of time being an Aimee Mann fan. She didn’t disappoint. She has a new band, #BOTH, with Leo and they played several co-written songs from an upcoming album, but my favorites were from days of yore:
P.S. Check out Jon Hamm in an Aimee music video via the picture link.
I wrote a concert review to celebrate Columbus Day.
The Blow’s frontwoman Khaela Maricich started the show Sunday night at Cleveland’s Grog Shop bathed in just a little blue light and making a sound like the THX intro, which hushed the crowd for an a capella version of “You’re My Light.” (“See us lean into the night / hold your hand for balance and the dark on all sides / we can’t see how far it goes / illuminate a little space as we go towards what we don’t know.”) Maricich spoke softly about the Grog Shop’s resemblance to the void (good point) and how suited it was for making her brand of slightly unsettling sonic art.
Maricich’s bandmate since 2009, Melissa Dyne, worked sound and light from a second stage at the back of the room. On their website, The Blow describes this setup as “hugging the audience,” and writes that they intend to expose them to “the call and response of soundwaves, lightbeams, and psychic communications” between Dyne and Maricich. Maricich traveled back and forth from the main stage to Dyne’s second stage. During a small pause for apparent technical difficulty, the two gleefully encouraged us to riot.
Maricich has a strong presence, no doubt helped by her work as a performance artist. Several monologues were woven into the set last night — beat investigations, heavy breathing interludes, meditations on black holes. The combination of sweetness and existential weirdness reminded me of Miranda July’s work. (July has interviewed Maricich for The Believer.)
The women performed a sleepy, slowed-down version of 2007’s “True Affection” (Maricich wondered, “Is it like watching your song-friend drunk?”) and teased the audience with a brief metal-scream version of her other 2007 hit, “Parentheses.”
They performed a lot of material from their new self-titled album. The songs are simple and slight electro-pop nets managing to contain the clever and the heartfelt. Maricich would sing a sweet line dispassionately, then speak a snarky one under her breath and produce a guttural “uh huh.” It was a self-assured, odd, lovely performance. I wish more people had been there to see it.