glass house

On Thursday night a friend of mine invited me out to see You Aren't My Mother play at The Glass House Gallery in Williamsburg. The Glass House Gallery is a pretty awesome ever-changing collage sculpture that you can walk around in which also hosts music and "art jams".
You Aren't My Mother
You Aren't My Mother sound a bit like Godspeed You Black Emperor! but with lyrics and without percussion (yet). I liked them quite a bit. I hate to simply sum them up like that because it seems dismissive and lazy, but there we are.

Prior to YAMM's set a couple of noise acts performed. First up was Harm Stryker (warning: myspace) who played for about ten to fifteen minutes. Two people twiddling with various pieces of electronic equipment feeding back into each other without discernable rhythm or melody. It was interesting but I just never get much of anything out of the experimental noise stuff. Dead Girls were up next. They were another duo, this time with one guy on a drums and another guy on noise equipment. Dead Girls' set held my interest more than Harm Stryker but was similarly chaotic. The drumming added elements that were sorta free jazzish and the phrase that popped into my head while they were playing was "it sounds like the end of the world".

I feel like an old man during noise band performances sometimes.

Supposedly next week's Seize Them! practice will feature our brand new bassist, a guy that René dug up. I'm excited. We have four weekends to teach him our songs before The Big Party in June. Also, it looks like we have a third new song with two more from Jeff coming down the road. After the new guy gets broken in I'll be back to recording The Album in earnest.



Hell Gate Bridge

I think I've found my favorite spot in Astoria Park. Sunday featured weather just about as close as possible to perfect and I sat out there for a few hours reading and listening to music.


come on people now

There are some interesting things happening.

I'm very excited by the recent surge in the Immigrant Rights movement (so called). This is a massive polity and, though it's probably insulting to consider all the participants as a monolith, I can only hope the energy gathers and results in a radical political shift for the whole country. Already there are frightening racist noises coming out of the Right, at least if Bill O'Reilly can be taken as exemplary, about how supporters of Immigrant Rights, "the real racists who want a color-based country", are seeking to destroy "what they call the white privileged Christian nation". Xenophobia is tapped for CRAZY mana.

Those of you not local to New York City might be unaware of this, but there's a growing push to give a vote in city elections to documented non-citizens who have been residents for at least six months. I fully support this. The borough of Queens, where I live, has one of the largest immigrant populations in the entire United States and they've come from all over the world. Africa, Asia, The Caribbean, Central and South America, India, The Middle East, Europe and elsewhere. Local elections can have more impact on a given person's quality of life than any other, state or federal, and New York City is quite possibly unique among US cities in the sheer amount of resources available to the city government. In our supposedly globalizing society, isn't citizenship more meaningfully defined by participation in a society rather than an accidental intersection of birth and cartography? Anyone who works and creates and hurts and struggles and cries and shouts with joy and falls into bed at night in New York City is a New Yorker, and can you think of anyone better to run the place?

France stands as an example again of a culture that has some actual political life to it, as massive nationwide demonstrations against the CPE have resulted in at least nominal concessions from the government. I see paralells to the Transit Worker's Union strike down here last December. From the point of view of those unconcerned with the condition of the laboring classes both actions can appear to be excessive noise from people in an already relatively privileged position. On face value the CPE is creating jobs for "youth" in France, so how could that be bad? The devilish compromise, of course, was to make effectively second-class citizens out of young laborers as an incentive for businesses to hire them. And if they become such, doesn't that become incentive to unload an older, expensive labor force in favor of a cheaper, more pliable one? Why shouldn't young workers enjoy the same rights that have been won for their elders? Much as with the TWU strike, the necessity lies in retaining the few rights and protections remaining after decades of successful worldwide assault by capital. It has been remarked that it's sad to see such public political energy exerted merely to retain the status quo.

China is rumbling around a bit as well. China, much like the US, has a huge migrant labor pool (though the Chinese have enough dirt poor people within their own borders that they don't need to import any) working for pittance wages and living in squalid group housing in order to improve the lot of their family back home. As in the US, massive sectors of the economy rely on a flood of cheap laborers with no political rights. These people are not stupid. They have lived their entire lives under a government that preaches a flavor of Communism and the worth of The People, and the government's economic shift to State Capitalism after 1989 was radical enough to have caused, by now, cognitive dissonance in even the most undereducated field hand. There are tens of thousands of incidents every year in rural China featuring the people facing off against the government as economic disparities increase. If history teaches anyone anything it is that you ignore the the Chinese peasantry at your peril.

Tiananmen Che

If only there were some kind of technology that allowed all these groups of people to communicate and possibly organize to further common goals! Speaking of which I was thinking again about Yahoo and Google and Cisco and Microsoft and their recent activities aiding and abetting repression in China (and, as an aside, AT&T facilitating the NSA-related technical difficulties we are experiencing) and I think my attitude is now this: these companies are the epitome of a technocratic culture and, as such, made the decsion one would expect of a self-aggrandizing technocracy. What else did we really expect? After all Colombian Coca-Cola employees have a habit of turning up dead after agitating for improved conditions, so it's not like the tech companies are doing anything unique to their industry.

On the plus side? GENERALS ARE ALL "U=pwn3d, L@M3R" TO RUMSFELD. Right the hell on.

On the recommendation of a certain ninja (definitely NOT the kind that would be captured by ATF agents on the UGA campus) I picked up J Dilla's record "Donuts" and Madlib's Beat Konducta disc. Both are excellent. I have just now heard, on the Jaylib track "Strip Club", the use of a Jaco Pastorius sample that I've always wanted to do something with.


your name here and there and up there too

Graffiti Research Lab keeps on with the innovation and instruction with their LED Throwies and the extension thereof, the Night Writer project.

These folks are awesome and I hope I see more of their work around town.



I would direct all of you to Joshua Ellis' article/essay Dark Miracle recounting his trip to the Trinity site where the first atomic weapon was tested. It's a nice piece of writing and I pat myself on the back for donating some dollars to this exercise in netizen-funded journalism.

The success or failure of this particular model of independent media is as-yet undetermined, but experimentation is important so I encourage you to check it out.



The West Wing is coming to a close. I've usually enjoyed watching it, though I mostly lost interest after Aaron Sorkin left. This season grabbed my attention again what with it being (I believe) the last season, and also Election Time in both the paralell universe of the Bartlett Administration and that of our real world counterpart. A segment of America has been escaping into the idealized presidency of Jed Bartlett for many years now and it's not difficult to understand why.

Some, I suppose, might find it odd that America's beloved shadow President is, in his fictional-television world, far more 'reality based' than his consensus-reality counterpart is revealed to be on our reality-tv news.

Character arcs are resolving themselves in a satisfying manner, and so far I believe will be impressed by the handling of John Spencer's death. I also believe I will be rather bugged out by the incorporation of footage shot at the actor's actual funeral intended to be read as scenes from that of Leo McGarry.

And though it's difficult to write in a manner that doesn't clank occasionally, I appreciate their efforts in these final episodes to blaze through a summary education in how media is employed by government. The thorough argument-by-example of why massive voter turnout is vital in the '06 election is a welcome stab at public service. Finally, and most importantly, JOSH AND DONNA FINALLY DID IT OMG. Seriously.

The past weekend was spent experiencing bachelor entertainment in Las Vegas on behalf of my good friend Ethan Beigel. I would be curious to know on what he is credited as "Eithan Beigel" because, let me tell you, the man is not Irish. And not even fake Irish.

I would most likely choose not to stay at the Palmswarning: flash again. The rooms are fine and I'm told that the new tower is a very nice night's lodging indeed. But it's juuuust a little too far off the Strip for it to be reachable other than by taxi, and it is (for better or worse) the definitive MTV hotel/casino.

part of the show

hardly knew ye

Unfortunately, it appears the webcomic A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible has come to an end a mere two weeks after I first discovered it. The upside, I suppose, is that you can read the entirety of the back catalog in less than an hour.

Hopefully we'll see more out of those guys.

UPDATE: HA HA I've been fooled. April fooled. The comic is not over. Silly me.