Thursday, October 01, 2015

Endtroducing Will Marsh

Not too many moons ago, Sarah and Dorothy and Sam and Peter and I knew the thrill of having the singer-songwriter, Will Marsh in the house for a few days. Quietly social, keenly observant, and wittily bemused he was, especially when we put a question to him, but all of this took on a very different hue when he consented to open for Bulb in the basement that is the Bank Gallery. He does that thing—Aimee Mann does it, as does Beck—where he goes vulnerable to the point of self-deprecation to the point of funny to the point of liberating for everyone paying attention. I got some words of explanation out of him later on: “It's a long-held belief of mine that some mode of desperation is at the heart of all great rock music.”

            There was an exceedingly fantastic item on hand, The Berlin Etc. EP, at the time, and I’m very pleased to offer up a signal flare for a full-length situation at this time. Wander over thisaway to spy the lyrical campaign in which he explains himself. And I believe you might find him at least persuasive as we have. Get in on the act. It’s a win for everyone. Cast your vote today.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Simply Tuesday

Lou Reed once observed of Laurie Anderson that, in a better age, people would be building statues in her honor. This marked one of those rare instances in which, it seemed to me, I knew exactly how Brother Lou felt.
The above recording is just about twenty years old, and it represents a time when Sarah was entering what Joni Mitchell refers to as the star-maker machinery behind the popular songs. She didn't stay there for long, but we still run into people who've paid her heed over the years and said so. One such person is Emily P. Freeman whose blog Chatting At the Sky is drawn from Sarah's song "Tuesday." Today marks the release of her latest, Simply Tuesday, and it seemed fitting to celebrate it accordingly.
Sarah, in the meantime, is still at it with all manner of work that affords delight--much of it completely free--yonder over here. Feel free to take a gander.
And deep thanks, Emily, for noticing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

We Built This City On Rock and Roll

Dear Everyone.
This is a meandering word, a whisper campaign, and a hodge-podge of announcements intended to catch up all interested parties in various goings-on especially if you're one for whom Facebook and Twitter and Instagram are forms of Antichrist.
To begin, I have a new book set to appear early next year. You're looking at the cover. As was the case with the previous three, it's possible that it might rearrange the mental furniture of many a reader. I'm hoping it will.
Dorothy and I also journeyed to Bonnaroo together and chronicled the experience. Our witness can be received here. This particular piece can be meaningfully read alongside my thoughts on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly and a Tom Waits' song on Father's Day.
While I have your attention, I invite you to take in this meditation which includes one of my most treasured stories and a recent attempt to bring Martin Luther King Jr., Peter Case, and Doctor Stephen Strange into conversation with one another.
And...I believe that's it for now.
Thank you for your time and attention.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reality Scarecrows

Take stock of those around you and you will hear them talk in precise terms about themselves and their surroundings, which would seem to point to them having ideas on the matter. But start to analyze those ideas and you will find that they hardly reflect in any way the reality to which they appear to refer, and if you go deeper you will discover that there is not even an attempt to adjust the ideas to this reality. Quite the contrary: through these notions the individual is trying to cut off any personal vision of reality, of his own very life. For life is at the start a chaos in which one is lost. The individual suspects this, but he is frightened at finding himself face to face with this terrible reality, and tries to cover it with a certain fantasy, where everything is clear. It does not worry him that his ideas are not true, he uses them as trenches for the defense of his existence, as scarecrows to frighten away reality.

José Ortega Y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Most Biblical Question Ever Posed By Sitting President of These United States

"Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law?"
This strikes me as the most righteous (biblical, prophetic, Jewish, Christian, evangelical, choose your own affirming adjective) question ever posed by a sitting POTUS. I welcome other nominations. Thank you, John Lamb, for calling it to my attention. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

You Can't Step In the Same Art Twice

Like a wise child whose imagination has somehow survived the pressure of popular conceptions of adulthood, Andy Harding is one of those rare people who's uniquely committed to devoting his adult energy to art, to feeling fascinated and doing something about it. What's more, he knows how to talk about what he's up to, how to invite people in, and how to keep us laughing even as we try to see the world more truly and soberly and beautifully, which is to say, artfully. He's at it this weekend at the Tinney, and you'll be degrading your own genius if you can go but don't. Here's the word on the amazing man's latest The Cygnus Loop (Cygnus, incidentally, is a northern constellation chilling out along the Milky Way. It's all Latinized Greek for Swan):
Andy Harding's work engages in a dialogue between materials and concepts. His process entails drawing, coloring, cutting, shaping, and layering disparate materials into harmonious compositions to explore the dynamic cycle of order and entropy that bears witness to both the emergence of form and its dissolution in the multifaceted processes that make up the natural world. Harding's finished pieces call to mind scientific diagrams, natural forms, and even abstracted figures in their wriggling, writhing shapes. Living beings, materials, ideas, and forces all occupy distinct positions in the grand web of relations, yet nothing is static. In essence, this work is a reflection or a meditation on both the interrelatedness and the unique singularity of all things.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Celebrating Our John Sharp

Today at Centennial Park, friends and family will gather to celebrate the life, the work, and the world-expanding neighborliness of my cousin, John Sharp. In all that he was up to, John schooled everyone and anyone nearby in the work of being righteous stewards of our own enthusiasms. Whether he was describing food, a sound, Dungeons and Dragons, James Blish, a film, a musician, or a neighborhood, he was always inviting us—challenging us--to love people, pleasure, and place more than we feel we’re allowed to under the tyranny of what’s “normal.” If there arose a convention or custom that stands in the way of someone professing or getting animated about what they’re into, John would calmly destroy it with wit and magnanimity. Even his intellectual analysis—and I can’t think of anyone more positively intellectual than John—was a form of love. A few weeks ago, as he both celebrated and critiqued the things that happen on Facebook, he blurted out a quip that betrayed his effortless range: “I wanted George Jetson and I got George Orwell!” As ever, he was looking hard for anything that might aid or obstruct the work of people being good to each other. And in a whirlwind of curation involving books, music, toys, and ideas, he was hell-bent on keeping the things he loved in circulation AS GIFTS. He knew (and artfully demonstrated) that this is how the work of waking up to ourselves gets done. His life was a feat of attentiveness. May we live up to the gift he insisted on being in all he was up to. Love, prayers, gratefulness, and telepathic good vibrations to Terry Sharp, Judith Sharp, and Sarah Sharp Reynierson. Thank you for showing us what it’s all about, John. We miss you badly.