yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Still looking for tasty things to eat?  Still looking for hand-crafted gifts for your friends, family, loved ones (bosses, secretaries, co-workers...)?

This Saturday, from 11am until 2pm, there will be a Holiday Market at the usual Clintonville Farmer's Market location.  For those of you who aren't regulars, that's roughly 3519 N. High St. (north of North Broadway, south of the Autozone).  It will feature local growers, artists, and crafters.

And as if all THAT wasn't enough, there's another draw: Minstrelry will be providing musical holiday cheer throughout the event!  So come out and see me, [livejournal.com profile] whisperwheel, [livejournal.com profile] knightvln, [livejournal.com profile] talyr, and [livejournal.com profile] merodi_no_yami as we run zanily through a fairly massive repertoire (much of it learned Tuesday night -- we rule!).

It looks like it will be a beautiful, crisp day.  (And now we have a place to sing all this wintry music we've been working on!)  Whee!!!
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
So, um... Richard Thompson's playing on the Kent Stage in (natch) Kent, OH this Sunday.  Tickets are still available, only $20.  I really really really want to go.  Does anybody want to go with me?  Show starts at 7pm, so I figure we'd leave C'bus a little after 4pm.  We'd be back somewhat late-ish, I imagine, but I don't have class until 3:30 on Mondays, so I could drive while others sleep.  And if any Clevelanders were desirous, it's a relatively short drive back from the Akron area for you.  Takers?  Anybody?  I want to go ahead and order the tix soon.  Better seats and all that.  So do let me know as soon as you can if you're interested.

Omigod so cool.

Apostrophe

Feb. 13th, 2007 05:37 pm
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Oh day of no classes! 
Oh brisk snap of freezing rain on window-pane! 
Oh mug of hot chocolate with liquor in it! 
Oh Johnny Cash! 
Oh poems of Cate Marvin!
Oh warmth of blankets and warmth of friends!
Oh purr of cat and knead of paws!
Oh joy of quiet stillness.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Just a couple of things stewing around in my head tonight.  The second one in particular shows the central tragedy of a liberal arts education: it gets harder and harder to enjoy things qua things.

-----------------------------

I think it's so interesting to see the marketing machine at work.  There's a musical artist I've really grown to enjoy, name of Corinne Bailey Rae.  She's a young woman from England, plays guitar and sings some of the silkiest, smokiest lite R&B, all with this lovely light lilt thanks to merry old England.  I first ran across her... 9 months ago or so?  It was through an ad on the All Music Guide that included an audio component, in this case the lead track off her self-titled album ("Like a Star").  I listened to other clips, decided I had to have it, and ordered it used from some 3rd-party Amazon seller; the album hadn't even been released in the States yet.  So a couple months went by, and I kept seeing her crop up.  First when her album was released in the US, then a couple of quick features in tv ads, you know, light marketing stuff.  And now finally, she was the featured musical artist on the in-show ep of Studio 60 during tonight's ep of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.  [Apologies to non-viewers, for whom that sentence may be confusing; there's this show-within-a-show thing that gets a bit tricky to enumerate.]  It's just fascinating to watch the machinery unfurl, is all.  Plus I think she's quite talented, so I'm glad to see Ms. Rae get so much exposure.

--------------------------------

I'm not sure if I can deal with Margaret Cho anymore.  It really pains me to say this, because that woman has made me nearly piss myself with laughter more times than I can count.  But it's her gay politics that are throwing me off.  Now, this will sound odd to anybody who has even a passing familiarity with Cho's work, because she's militantly gay-friendly.  She is a gay icon, folks.  But her brand of gay pride is just... ossified.  OK, this isn't making any sense, let me do it by way of an example.  In the last section of her show Revolution, which I was listening to as I washed a mountain of dishes tonight, she talks about how she would love to have a gay son.  And at one point, she makes this joke [light paraphrase, due to cloudy memory]: "And he would be a boy scout.  And he would teach the other boys how to light a fire with nothing but two sticks and a back-handed compliment."

First off, cards on the table: it's a funny line.  I laughed.  And hey, I'm all about gay boy scouts lighting fires with aptitude and whatever skills they bring to the table.  But it's also a really telling line, because it's rooted in a very particular, stylized conception of the Catty Gay Man.  Like most of the rest of her gay-based humor (and arguably the rest of her humor as well, but I'm not approaching that point here), it has recourse to a set of fixed stereotypes.  One could argue, of course, that this is the nature of the beast: in Anglo-American stand-up, much of the discourse is mediated by a certain caricatural lens that enables the comic to make broad statements out of particulars.  The excuse wears thin in Cho's case, however, because her purpose is not solely comedic; she also, in her own words, would like to start a liberal revolution of tolerance.  This means that she can't complacently expect her words to be evaluated only in the venue of comedy; they're subject to broader social pressure.

And in the light of the broader social pressure, it's not a beneficial discourse.  Rather than promoting a true equality, in which individuals would be free to express themselves in whatever manner they deemed fit, Cho ends up positing a system that defines a limited number of roles.  Instead of making a principled break from the constraints of society, she just ends up reinforcing a new orthodoxy.  And for those of us that aren't particularly enamored of the roles available in her system, it's no less restrictive than the old one she wishes to depose.

Backhanded compliment, indeed. 
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
So, I'm sitting here taking a quick break from the madness of packing and moving (about which: blah.  boo.  suck suck suck suck suck), and the Minstrels of Mayhem's take on "Captain Jack and the Mermaid" came on courtesy of the mp3 player.  As I've thought many times, Jack is really quite a dick.  "I've long loved a lady who lives on the land / but my life with the mermaid is ever so grand! / Won't you go to my lady and ask her for me, / can I marry this mermaid who lives in the sea?"  Seriously?  I mean, it's bad enough he's scamming on his lady, but to then ask her if it's OK if he dumps her for some moistened bint (that's a Python reference, there)... that's shitty.  On the other hand, the lady's obviously mentally defective, since she basically says "what choice do I have?  Of course!"  Your choice is to not even give his pruny ass the time of day, obviously.  Crazy woman.

And... this is all fictional.  Of course.  And yet I somehow seem to care.  My brain is going.

Tomorrow morning we set sail leave for the first leg of our trip, which will stop either in Nashville or in Cincy.  And thence to Columbus on Sunday!
yrmencyn: (Default)
Ye gods.  I am so out-of-date in the updating.  It's unforgivable, it really is.  So I guess you'll be getting random bullet points, because I know if I tried to do a full-fleshed narrative I'd be here 'til next week.  So in the order they first crop up in my brain:
List! )

And that about does it.
yrmencyn: (food)
<I was going to write mopey whininess here.  I've chosen not to.>

I had a good time this weekend, in Lafayette.  Of course, I started out with missing a turn en route to Andrea's because the traffic lights were laying on the ground, along with the street sign (I... dunno).  Instead I drove halfway to Morgan City!  I ended up in Delcambre!  I'm an ass!  But at least I got to Andrea's before God tried to renege on his rainbow-promise.*  I swear to God, the ocean was up in the sky for a while, and then suddenly reality took notice and said this wouldn't do.  We managed to brave the storm far enough to get to Café Havana City, which is in the middle of absolutely nowhere (sorry, Andrea, I know you disagree, but... seriously).  I cannot say enough nice things about the restaurant.  It was so amazingly delicious, the portions were quite generous, and the prices were most reasonable.  Who would have thought that you would find delicious, authentic (so far as I can tell) Cuban food in Lafayette, of all places.  If ever I end up in Lafayette with non-locals (or quite possibly with locals), I will drag them to this place.

But eventually, it was time to go from the restaurant, and then the fun started, as we braved the flooded streets to go to Sammi's birthday party.  My favorite part was on Ambassador Caffrey Pkwy, a 5 lane road (2+2+center), when every car on the road was trying to share the center turn lane, because it was the only one that looked safe to drive.  I was certain I was going to flood out my car a couple of times, but I was wrong (thank God).  Good times were had, and then after a particularly pointed game of Truth or Dare the night was through.

Before I left for Festival International today, I profited from the jambalaya Andrea's mom was making.  Mmmm.  Love.  Festival was quite enjoyable.  I didn't really have any agenda, I just wandered at random listening at various places.  Pictures on Flickr.  On point: there was a Peruvian band playing on a street corner, and I think they never took a break.  Seriously, they were ALWAYS playing.  This is a good thing, because honestly, if I had to choose one sort of music to listen to for the rest of my life, Peruvian folk music would be vying for top choice.  I do wish to note, though, that traditional music ensembles must be the chief export of Perú, because no matter where I go, no matter what the festival or community gathering, there is a Peruvian band.  Never fails.

Managed only to buy two CDs.  I was a good boy.  Came home listening to the one I bought of La Bottine Souriante (who were loads of fun).

I made my housing choice.  I'll let it rest unsaid publicly for right now to let the interested parties know first, but I'm glad to have made the choice.  One less thing hanging over my head.

*Note to heathens and lapsed Abrahamics: Great Flood.  God said "My bad." Put up a rainbow in the sky as a sign that he wouldn't do it again.  No, it doesn't make much sense.  Yes, we're aware.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Ach. My. God. I love music more than pretty much anything else in the world, I think. For the sake of not betraying myself, I'm going to sneakily include in this category "the music of language" so the word police don't eat me. I'm currently downloading five albums:

  1. The Fray -- How to Save a Life: OK, fine, network TV.  First I saw them in concert.  Then Grey's Anatomy featured "How to Save a Life" a couple weeks back, which, fine.  But then tonight Scrubs featured the same song, and it's in my head.  I MUST HAVE IT.

  2. +/- -- You Are Here: I like the one song +/- has on the Wicker Park soundtrack, and I like the samples I've heard.

  3. The Stills - Logic Will Break Your Heart: Pretty much the exact same thing as for +/-, really. Soundtracks are great fun.

  4. Arcade Fire - Funeral: Kate sent this to me a while back, but then it went away in the Great MP3 Player Disappearance of Ought-Five, and errant snippets of it pop into my head haphazardly.  Despite the fact that I was lukewarm on it at first listen, it really grew on me!

  5. Josh Joplin Group - Useful Music: Does anybody else remember back in, say, early 2000, when their song "Camera One" was some sort of "buzzworthy" song on MTV or some such?  No?  Well, I do, and it was a great song.  I've been meaning to buy the album for years, and I'm finally doing it.

So, I have this question for y'all.  Is anybody else looking to join up with eMusic?  Cause if you are, you should let me know.  If you join through me I get 50 free songs.  Not that there's any pressure to join or anything; I'm already doing quite well with my 90 songs/month, thank you.  Nevertheless, if you were thinking about it anyway, might as well spread the wealth around.  They've always got a free trial going; I think the current one's 25 free songs.  Rates are quite reasonable, at 40/$9.99/mo, 65/$14.99/mo, or 90/$19.99/mo, all without copying restriction or DRM.  Only caveat is that it's mostly non-mainstream, although it occasionally surprises me.  So, yeah.  FYI.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
So, eMusic has been very very very good to me today.  First off, on a whim I searched for Mark Dignam, an old favorite of mine ever since he shew up on a contemporary Celtic comp CD my grandparents got me back in the mid-90s.  Unfortunately, contemporary Celtic singer/songwriter being a bit of a niche audience, I was never able to get any of his albums -- until now, when a new release from 2005, Box Heart Man, popped up in the search!  Fantastic!  He's really fleshed out his sound, adding Hammond organ and percussion to his spare acoustic guitar and vocals. I'd still like to come up with some of his older stuff, but this makes me happy for the moment.

So... well, if they've got Mark Dignam, maybe they will have gotten some of my other favorite celtic/folk/whatever artists since last I searched for them, right?  Oh they do.  The entire Shanachie and Green Linnet catalogs of both Silly Wizard and Andy M. Stewart, to be exact.  Happy happy happy boing boing!
yrmencyn: (Default)
I recently bought two CDs by a couple of artists that I really like: Jason Mraz and John Mayer.  Allow me, if I may, to review them.

Jason Mraz - Mr. A-Z
I want so desperately to like this album!  I've been a Mraz fan for a number of years now, since before he even released his first CD -- I heard a live performance and was caught by his great sense of fast-paced, syncopated wordsmithing.  So... first song, "Life is Wonderful."  It's a little insipid to my tastes, but I suppose what else can you expect from such a title.  "Wordplay", the current radio single, is a great song, solid Mraz, quite similar in style to "You and I Both" from Waiting for My Rocket to Come.  Then we move on to "Geek in the Pink", where we find Mraz taking his sarcastic geeky white-boy rapper bravado for a spin, to great effect: he's channeling a blaxploitation soundtrack on this one, all bumping synth-bass and Hammond organs.  "Did You Get My Message" isn't bad, and "Mr. Curiosity" is reasonably solid, but from then on it's a steady downhill, tapering off into a sort of insouciant background meh-music.  It's not bad, as such (well, actually "Bella Luna" was pretty low on my list, all clichés and ergh), it just doesn't sparkle.  And to be fair, his last album suffered some of the same tapering off problem, but at least it had "On Love, In Sadness" in the track 9 position, and that's one of the best songs I have heard, ever.  On a repeated listening I was a little more positive toward Mr. A-Z -- there's a great Latin-y vibe on one of those later songs (don't recall which), but really it's the sophomore (sophomoric?) slump effect going on there, combined with a seeming inability to write good lyrics anymore.

John Mayer Trio - Try!
This one, I got exactly what I wanted and expected.  A little bit of background: much as with Mraz, I've been a fan of John Mayer since before his major label debut.  And it has driven me to mad distraction when I here the almost homogenous cries of "Omg he thinks he's, like, Dave Matthews or something, hurrr, and he doesn't really have that much musical talent, hurrr" from critics.  Er?  Further background: Mayer started his musical career in Atlanta, where he was actually better known as a gifted guitarist than as a singer-songwriter (although people liked him on that level too).  When I first heard Mayer it was in a live recording from September '00, and I knew only his name.  I honestly thought he was at least 10 years older than he actually was at the time (22 going on 23), because his jazz-rock chops were so solid.  If you listen to the songs on his first major album, Room for Squares, they're all very well constructed, musically, and they don't all stick to the standard I-IV-V of modern pop/rock.  Heavier Things was a little bit of a letdown for me -- it was overproduced and a little pedestrian, musically -- but it still had some high points and earworms, like "Something's Missing" and "Wheel".  Try!, though... it's awesome.  Mayer teamed up with two very experienced musicians, a drummer and a bassist, and went on the road; this is a live recording from that tour.  It's awesome.  It sounds like 60s rock, a tight three-piece jamming out.  Maybe now I can finally stop hearing critics babble about his supposed lack of talent -- so the guy's good-looking and the girls love him, whaaaaa.  Learn to play lead guitar and they can love you to, then you can get the chip off your shoulder, jesus.  And while we're at it, the knee-jerk reactions against jam-rock (JM3 jam out a bit on this album, so it's cogent) are getting more than a bit passé: just as in EVERY OTHER FREAKING MUSICAL GENRE there is good and bad.  Learn to actually use a critical ear and live up to your self-appointed title, you bunch of unmitigatedly pretentious hacks.

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December 2009

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