A night with The Maine…

Growing up wont bring us down? A nice thought! You’re 31, I’m coming over…
Nothing makes you feel older than seeing a Maine show with hundreds of teenagers-short, barely dressed with their whole lives ahead of them.
My back aches…

Like We Did (Windows Down) is poignant when you’re 31-is this a good birthday song for this year?
“Stuff” begins to fall apart
I thought it wouldn’t happen to me because of my Peter Pan demeanor. Hmmmm….

Bass players with style are the coolest.

This comes across as a bad high school letter. The circle will be unbroken.

“Let’s run free and carry on, like we did when we were young”
I would have slept in my car for these guys for sure – when I was young.

But this is all evidence of how pop speaks.  Hearing Arizona’s own John Oh invoke Westerberg…I see the inter generational hope for our collective musical future.

Pop speaks to me too but it’s gonna have to shout. I’m getting old.

Oh Late 90s/Early 2000s Robbie Williams! How I love you!

Tonight was a late 90s/early 2000s Robbie Williams YouTube nostalgia trip. I have to say that he hasn’t done anything that I have been too interested in after Escapeology, but Robbie had more cred than most of the boy band guys turned solo artist. I was never into the boy band thing. (I HATED, NKOTB and would openly argue that Brian Adams was way cuter and more talented…) but RW worked for me.  I have a thing for charismatic cads. I cannot help myself.

I love this video. I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to post on Facebook due to the gruesome orgy at the end. I always thought he had a larger career in America ahead of him as an actor and an artist…

clouds.

It’s a strange time right now.  Feeling stuck between some great thing and some mediocre one that is quite comfortable.  You can definitely feel the unknown out there, but it’s a nice feeling especially for that girl who gets bored easily.  I have a lot to work on, but I find myself so often thinking that I’m not sure what to do next.  It’s especially difficult when it comes to inspiration – “I just don’t feel inspired to write now…”  I was asked to officiate my brother’s wedding and I’ve been working on writing up a little suggested ceremony.  I need a moment of perfect inspiration to create anything worth standing up in front of friends and family…especially given the gravity of the occasion.

On top of that, it’s cloudy today.  A brief moment in the long summer’s burning.  But it makes me feel drowsy and slow.  It’s a familar feeling.  I’m excited and scared and I feel that in my stomach.  I’m bored and sleepy – somehow simultaneously with the other feeling.  Not sure how that works but it creates a buzzing inside me that is frustrating and welcomed at once.  I think I’ve lived most of my life this way.

I tend to make it worse. I’ll latch on to some bizarre, unlikely to happen possibility and focus on that for an hour.  It passes the time, ensures the buzzing continues and makes me feel sick.

I wonder what’s next. And what comes after that.

“Tension makes your life worthwhile.” I suppose.

 

“I Read Good” Book Review: The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History

The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History

by Jim Walsh. 

In a new feature of this website, I will prove (with some doubt) that I know how to read.  I just finished Walsh’s oral history on The Replacements.  How exciting that we finally do have some Replacements content! I was excited to read it and it took me about a year to get my hands on a copy.  I have to say that considering the place that The Replacements hold in my heart, my technical knowledge of them was limited, even having stood in the First Ave at different times in my life.  Maybe that is the thing with being an underground band – but that’s really no excuse since my head is filled with pointless information about bands that hardly anyone has ever heard of outside of our little musical community.

Anyway!

When you read a book like this, the content and material presented is so wonderful but the format does seem to take center stage.  Walsh’s book, a collection of snippets, some new interviews, some clips culled from magazines, gives you a funny, poignant and interesting view into a conundrum of a band. Walsh’s book was very enjoyable, informative and, in it’s own way, a great primer on Replacements history without delving too far into the specifics.  I have read better oral histories, however.  The format is a blessing and a curse, no matter the subject matter.  Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson is a wonderful oral history.  (Although apparently Anita Thompson thinks it cast Hunter in a negative light, I found it to be fairly even. Apparently a lot of other people agree with her, but when reading about any these characters, you do expect some warts along the way.)  There are other viable comparisons between the two books, and I may get back to that.  Back to the problem of oral histories, they often come across as though you are sitting at breakfast with a bunch of people who went to a great party that you didn’t attend.  They can create a great snapshot, a Polaroid that gives you a better picture of the actualities, but you never really get the full story and you don’t leave feeling like you did anything more than listen in on a few friends telling stories.

One review on Amazon also complained that Walsh culled a lot of information from easily accessible articles and news sources, rather than rely on new interviews.  I agree that this is detrimental to the book overall.  Those snippets are important and they DO add a lot, especially given Paul & Tommy refused to be interviewed for the book.  However, the book is also very loosely organized into 5 chapters – only lightly chronological.  Walsh’s use of older interviews then becomes a continuity problem.  Publisher’s Weekly called it “ramshackle” and I think that’s an accurate assessment.  (I had to flip to the back of the book to check the footnotes to find out, “Did Paul say that in 2004 or 1988?” Sometimes it would be, I thought, pretty relevant to how it should be interpreted.  Checking footnotes does make me feel smart though!)

I might be slightly disappointed in the book, if I hadn’t recently discovered that Arizona’s own Bob Mehr is writing the definitive Replacements book.  This exciting news makes the oral history a welcomed complement to what I expect to be a more thorough analysis of the band.  Walsh’s history with the band and with the Minneapolis music scene is also a great benefit to the book and I think you do get some sort of puzzle to put together from the oral history format that can be really fun.  While some throw-away story of Paul flipping a craft services table, or Bob Stinson playing in a garbage can may not have made headline news in a regular book, oral histories provide that storytelling element, that straight rock biographies can sometimes lack. Oral histories also seem so relevant to music and the music scenes we all kick around in.  I mean, a lot of what I’ve learned about our scene here in Tempe stems from someone saying, “Oh…this one time….” We gossip, we tell tales, we spread them around.   It’s not just some story – but something that fosters the depth, and to some degree the legend of the Tempe scene.  (As I believe it does for all music communities.) It’s communal, in a way and that’s valuable, especially when you’re a kid from Des Moines who showed up 10 years too late.

I think that is part of why this book holds up for me, despite some of the holes.  It feels so familiar.

I do believe that the book was a labor of love for Jim Walsh and I liked what he did, overall! Some of the stories are priceless.  You cringe, laugh, and tear up. I also loved that he included, not only comments from Minneapolis insiders, but also from people like me.  Just fans, who can’t believe their luck that they found an underground band so close to their hearts.

 

 

10 minutes

I hope this helps! It’s definitely indicative of my problem.

The Wimpy Way To Be Fearless: Just Do It For 10 Minutes!

 

Duh.

Protect & care for eachother.  How hard is this?  I can’t tell you how much I want to share this with some of the economically conservative people I know, who directly benefit from SERVICES (or COULD benefit from increased services,)  but still make those jabs.  Teaachers, especially!  (No, not my sister-in-law! :-))

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Radical Feminist Nuns – Simone Campbell
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Elitism in Creative Writing: I’m a Fraud, But At Least I’m A Populist Fraud

 

Recently, it was brought to my attention not only that my Masters Degree in Creative Writing at one of the top schools in the Asia Pacific Region was less valid than an MFA from a state school often considered a joke, but that literary non-fiction is not considered to be creative writing.  Is this just an accepted FACT or is it the expression of elitism in the arts field?

Elitism in Creative Writing departments at the higher education level doesn’t particularly shock me. Elitism in the actual creative pursuit still does. I know we’re all critics, and I know that our styles and interests color the way we view art. The way that editors, critics, and educator’s preferences infuse the concept of GOOD/BAD verse in poetry, what I most often encounter, still surprises me.

I get it–it has to be that way.  Otherwise, you have a bunch of simpletons running around thinking they are writers.  But what if that does happen?  As an English Teacher at a technical school, I valued being able to build up my students. Students who were told they weren’t good writers, students who hated to read and students who didn’t think they had anything to say were perfect candidates for a good ol’ Creative Writing Intervention.  You DO have a story to tell. Let’s work out how to tell it so it moves people.  I had some amazing writers in my classes, who were convinced they didn’t have the skills.  Any artistic pursuit is just one let down after another. I know in my writing, the cycle has been like this: Inspiration, Excitement, Progress, Rejection, Depression, TV, Clean the House…years pass…and the cycle starts again.  With little to keep the flame going, it’s easy to think any glimmer of positive feedback you’ve ever had was an cruel joke. During the day, I work in advertising – not by choice, it just happened–but working in advertising does make you aware that half of the challenge of success in getting your message out there is finding your audience. An audience that works for you, that has needs that you can fulfill.  Clearly, I have not found that audience yet and sifting through 8 million poetry journals with poems filled with imagery about birds and fields and strolls through the moors…Dear god, I probably never will.
Before you go assuming this is sour grapes, I can assure you, it IS.  The fact of the matter is although I love certain poetry, I don’t love all poetry. I love classical poets, and abhorr most current poetry even though my writing style is far from that of the classical poets.  I am not an English scholar.  There are things I like and things I find pretentious. I have a militant, almost ridiculous in it’s totality, hated for anything even remotely pretentious or upscale.  I love poets who speak truth and those who are able to present our real life stories better than we can. It doesn’t seem that these types of poets have a place in the poetry-elite. I have always been an outsider in that regard.  I never knew enough about English literature to carry an effective conversation on authors, even though I spent a majority of my education in English courses.  I love to read, and read voraciously when I was a kid, but now I find I don’t have time and my brain is full of everyday logistics and I can’t focus anymore.  I was the bookish kid, who was a great writer and communicator – now I’m not sure if I can do either of those things with basic profundity. (Confession: I had to look that up to make sure I was using it in the correct context.) I am a public fraud, but also in my own mind, as I still think I’m that eccentric writer when I’m really just one of those simpletons.

Regardless, back to the subject of elitism, the relationship between poetry and the expression of our real life stories I found in literary non-fiction and it’s relevant to how I write.  I was surprised to hear our local Creative Writing program doesn’t have a focus in non-fiction.  I believe this is a mistake.  The idea that we have to segregate our writers into neat buckets (poetry, fiction…and those, riff-raff journalists and non-fiction writers) seems to pigeonhole creativity.  I appreciate the need to have a focus, but there is a validity to at least recognizing the cross-over that exists between creative writing fields.

I was inspired to all of this blathering above because I have had a moment of firey desire to submit to some poetry journals.  To rekindle that feeling that I AM indeed a writer and that that part of my life isn’t gone. I was put off immediately by “POETRY: Poems in traditional and experimental styles but no light verse.”  It’s not that I wanted to submit light verse, but what if my experimental poetry fringes on the edge of light verse – perhaps I have included some humor.  Aww, we can’t have that, now can we?

Maybe I am the elitist after all.  I mean, I thought New Kids On the Block were stupid when everyone else liked them. That’s how I’ve rolled and perhaps it’s really just the same thing.

 

Bless the Interstate, they Don’t Know Where it Goes!

Two fabulous mid-90s articles on Dead Hot. Lots of good information. I <3 DHW.

Kentucky New Era- Dead Hot Workshop Follows Gin Blossoms’ Trail – Richard Ruelas

TAG’s Dead Hot Workshop Offers Eclectic ‘1001’ – David Sprague

 To happen overnight you have to fool people into liking you, and that’s not what we’ve ever been about.

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