Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Obit watch: April 22, 2016.

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Your Prince obit round-up: NYT. Star-Tribune. LAT coverage. WP.

“Poor Lonely Computer: Prince’s Misunderstood Relationship With The Internet” from NPR.

I feel much the same way about Prince as I did about Bowie. I wouldn’t call myself a fan, I never saw him live, but thinking back on it, he turned out a lot of music I like. “1999”. “Little Red Corvette”. “When Doves Cry”. “Let’s Go Crazy”. And every now and then, I’ve been known to spontaneously start singing “She wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a second-hand store…” much to the annoyance of my cow-orkers.

And I didn’t realize it until yesterday, but he actually wrote “Manic Monday”.

Also among the dead, according to the A/V Club: Richard Lyons, co-founder of Negativland.

I was working when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray…

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Prince is dead.

The A/V Club is on this like flies over a cow’s head in a Damien Hirst installation.

Full obit roundup tomorrow for two reasons: I want to wait for the dust to settle, and I need that long to figure out how to put this:

into a blog post.

Random notes: April 11, 2016.

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Statesman writer subscribes to LootCrate so he can get a box of pop-culture crap delivered to him every month.
Statesman writer discovers that he really doesn’t like getting a box of pop-culture crap delivered to him every month.
Stateman writer decides, not just to quietly cancel his LootCrate subscription and move on with his life, but to publish a “breakup letter” in his newspaper.

Editors. Where are the editors?

Obit watch: Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, chief medical examiner of New York City from 1989 to 2013.

In 2001, when two jetliners commandeered by terrorists struck the World Trade Center, Dr. Hirsch and six aides rushed downtown to establish a temporary morgue.
When the North Tower collapsed, two aides were severely injured. Dr. Hirsch, thrown to the ground, broke all of his ribs. His cuts sutured by a medical team, he returned to the examiner’s squat brick headquarters at First Avenue and 30th Street, coated in a ghostlike gray soot.

Begun, the “Hamilton” backlash has.

Quote of the day:

“I can recognize a nipple from 600 yards in the background behind a leaf at this point.”

Take the money. Leave the box.

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Apropos of nothing in particular, a short musical interlude:

Obit watch: April 7, 2016.

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

The Merle Haggard round-up: NYT. LAT. WP. A/V Club. South Texas Pistolero.

I feel like a musical interlude.

(more…)

Obit watch: April 6, 2016.

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Merle Haggard has died.

Expect a longer roundup tomorrow.

Random notes: March 23, 2016.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Let’s play a little game: fill in the blank in this headline. (No fair peeking.)

New York Police Increase Patrols Around 20 Clubs to Combat [Blank] Violence

Did you say “gun”? Bzzzzzt! Sorry. Understandable, but wrong. We were looking for “knife”. “Knife”.

Police officials said on Tuesday that they would increase enforcement around 20 bars and clubs in New York City with a disproportionate share of the stabbings and slashings that have resulted in a surge in knife violence this year.

I just like pointing out the use of “knife violence” here.

And speaking of things I just want to point out:

The plan called for establishing a site where people could legally shoot heroin — something that does not exist anywhere in the United States.

“There’s never been a paper bag for drugs…until now.”

Sourdough starter!

Some people name their starters: William Butler Yeast, Herman, Sarah, Sky Pilot, Ms. Tippity, Eleanor, Roxanne.

I have to admit, “William Butler Yeast” is clever.

The latest additions to the National Recording Registry came out today.

A few random notes:

  • You can find the W.H. Stepp version of “Bonaparte’s Retreat” on YouTube if you want to compare and contrast to Copland.
  • I rather like the note on Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, putting it into the context of 1938.
  • I want to hear those two “Destination Freedom” episodes. I haven’t had a chance to go looking for them yet.
  • Dixie McCall for the win!
  • Yeah, I can accept both versions of “Mack the Knife”. You know who did a really good version of that song? Sting, believe it or not, with Dominc Muldowney on the Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill album, which does not appear to be available digitally.
  • As everyone knows, I am not a basketball fan, but I do acknowledge the significance of Wilt Chamberlain.
  • Damn, “Mama Tried” is a great song.
  • I have to agree Carlin belongs on this list, if for no other reason than the legal significance of the “Seven Dirty Words” routine.
  • “I Will Survive” is a good song, but I prefer the Cake version. (I also prefer girls with a short skirt and a long jacket.)
  • One of my coworkers and I have been joking back and forth about how metal I am. This is how metal I am: I’ve never heard “Master of Puppets”. Perhaps I need to fix that.

Obit watch: March 17, 2016.

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Frank Sinatra Jr.

Later that year Frank Jr.’s name was in headlines nationwide when he was kidnapped at gunpoint from a casino in Nevada. He was freed, unharmed, a little more than two days later, after his father paid $240,000 in ransom.

Three men, Barry Worthington Keenan, Joseph Clyde Amsler and John William Irwin, were convicted of the kidnapping, despite defense lawyers’ claim that it had been a publicity stunt. “The criminals invented a story that the whole thing was phony,” Mr. Sinatra said in an interview with The Guardian in 2012. “That was the stigma put on me.”

Apparently, Barry Keenan was involved in a project to build a casino in downtown Austin? How did I miss that?

Imagine a rotting Elvis shopping for fresh fruit…

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Today’s Statesman ran an AP article on the decline of Elvis mania in Las Vegas. I think this is the original.

Low attendance numbers were also to blame when the Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil show at the Aria casino-hotel was cancelled in 2012 after a two-year run. That’s a much shorter shelf life than most of its sister shows. The longest-running one, Myste’re, started on the Strip more than two decades ago.

It’s left the Strip’s largest casino operator, MGM Resorts International, without any Elvis-themed shows, attractions or weddings. Rival Caesars Entertainment Corporation still hosts tribute acts and weddings, but a spokeswoman said few of those getting hitched ever choose the official Elvis packages.

Elvis impersonator Ted Payne, 54 said business has slowed dramatically since he started taking photos with tourists for tips just six years ago.

“When I first started out, I wouldn’t get out of a bed unless I (could) make at least $150,” he said. “Now, these days, $50 is a great day.”

Others say the market was oversaturated by Elvis impersonators for so long that the appeal burned itself out here, even as Elvis’ reach grows internationally.

I have no joke here, I just like saying “oversaturated by Elvis impersonators”.

First Liberace, now Elvis. Is there no sense of history in Vegas?

(Subject line hattip.)

Obit watch: March 13, 2016.

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

I actually didn’t find out Keith Emerson was dead until I sat down to dinner last night and started browsing while I waited for Lawrence. A/V Club. Lawrence. NYT.

Sunny Balzano, owner and bartender of Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn, died Thursday night. I mention this here, not because of Mr. Balzano’s prominence, but because this is a really, really good obituary for a neighborhood “character” (for want of a better word): it is the kind of thing that the paper of record, when it does it, does it well.

Obit watch: March 9, 2016.

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

I have to note this one: Kathryn Popper has passed away at the age of 100.

Ms. Popper had a very small, almost microscopic, role in “Citizen Kane“: she appears as a photographer at the very end of the movie, and has two lines.

According to the NYT, she was the last surviving person to have appeared in the film: Jean Forward Baker, who dubbed Susan Alexander’s voice, is still alive.

Her first visit to New York was with Welles to promote “Citizen Kane.” She moved to the city a year later, befriended many celebrities, wrote a hibachi cookbook and never left.

I’m guessing this is the cookbook?

Also among the dead: George Martin, noted record producer, perhaps most famous for his work producing an overrated mediocre band with a few toe-tappers.

You know, I never thought of it that way…

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

The explosion of local bands around the world tends to track rising living standards and Internet use. Making loud music is expensive: You need electric guitars, amplifiers, speakers, music venues and more leisure time.

“When economic development happens, metal scenes appear. They’re like mushrooms after the rain,” says Roy Doron, an African history professor at Winston-Salem State University.

I think he’s got a point.

And now I’ll wait for Mike the Musicologist to jump all over me.

(One criticism I anticipate that he might make: it isn’t just metal that corresponds to economic development. Which is a valid point. Generally economic development = more leisure time = more time to make music for fun and profit, as well as more places to do so. It’s hard to make music, be it metal, punk, rock, soul, or folk, if you’re spending all your time sunup to sundown trying to scratch a bare subsistence living out of the earth. I think what the author is trying to say, though, is that it takes more resources to support a metal band than it does two folksingers with acoustic guitars in a coffee house.)