I just came across this stunning index of Nashville black and whites while searching for a picture of Steve Earle to post in conjunction with my most recent radio show. (Terrifically, the picture of him that I found is quite old and has him lookin' all roadhouse-y about the edges -- a departure of some magnitude, especially if you've appreciated his recurring role as Walon on HBO's dramatic series The Wire.)
The photographs were taken by Jim Mcguire and are too good not to share, as this heart-stopper of Johnny Cash and Billy Graham handily demonstrates. (OK smartguy, if you'd been meeting them both at the same time, whose hand would you have shaken first?) Click here for the full index of McGuire's work, and here for the artist's bio.
On June 12th, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres while heavily under the influence of LSD. So sayeth his Wikipedia page, Ellis "had been visiting friends in Los Angeles and was still high when his girlfriend told him he had to pitch a game against the San Diego Padres that night. Ellis boarded a shuttle flight to the ballpark, took some amphetamines to mitigate the effects of the acid, and then threw a no-hitter despite not being able to feel the ball or clearly see the batter or catcher. According to Ellis, catcher Jerry May wore reflective tape on his fingers, which helped Ellis to see his target."
Mostly, so I can try to point my life in a direction that will let me achieve anything that's as heart-stoppingly amazing as this song by Big Blood.
Seriously. The haunting and otherworldly vibe of "Skin & Bones" makes me want to cry, die, and be re-born as Jesus Presley the Twelfth. I hope nothing really dreadful happens to me any time soon becaue I can easily see myself spending the rest of my life gazing out of a window in an old house, watching the rain, remembering how great everything was before the bad thing happened, and listening to this song play over and over again inside my head. Scott Williams and I both agree: Every time we watch this video, we're immediately compelled to watch it twice more out of sheer, dumbfounded headshock. Why can't everything be this good? Apparently, everything by Big Blood can. Take a listen to this. [Real Audio]. More on your new favorite band right here.
I have a lousy habit of attempting to view art exhibits on closing day, when there's a palpable sense that the gallery employees are mentally trying to shoo me out the door. My attempts are not always successful -- as it turns out, a lot of other locals suffer from the same affliction, and the winding line that snaked all the way through Grand Army Plaza three summers ago when I and two million of my neighbors tried to see the Basquiat show on closing day is testament to this reality. (The museum employees told me that the wait to get in would be about two hours, and I might have waited had I not been accompanied by a very pregnant lady at the time. Let me tell you something about very pregnant ladies: They do not wait on line for two hours for anything unless it is a plate of food.)
Anyway, I'm happy to report that no such winding lines were required to view Mike Nelson's "A Psychic Vacuum" installation on closing day (October 28th). Marking the second time in my life that I've had to sign a waiver before viewing an installation (the first was Richard Wilson's oil room at the Saatchi Gallery), Nelson's work, which was on display in the old Essex St. Market on the Lower East Side, comprised a labyrinthian network of rooms in both real and enhanced states of disrepair. A badly beaten darkroom, a long-unattended motel check in desk, and a derelict barroom punctuated by a busted cash register and singular stool were among the more memorable vistas of the five minute walkthrough. However, the real gasp-inducing drama was saved for the end, when I stepped through a cramped doorframe into a massive hangar-like space in which 30 foot piles of crystal-white sand were piled.
The overall vibe of the show serves as a poignant epitaph for a neighborhood that's poised to shed nearly all of the legacy and context associated with its celebrated history. I joked to my friends that the sand piles would probably become the foundation for the luxury condos sure to be going up in the old Market's lot.
Gentrification rhapsodies aside, "A Psychic Vacuum" made for a splendid afternoon on the first truly Autumnal day of the year. I apologize for not being on the ball earlier so that I might've helped you make it there in time to catch it in person, but follow the jump for some of my own hastily-snapped cellphone pix. There's also a slideshow of (better) images on the show's website, which will hopefully remain active even after de-installation.
This past Monday was my last regularly scheduled radio show. After a lot of dialog -- both internal and otherwise -- I decided that it was in everyone's best interest for me to take some time off. Between FMU and my past broadcast activities at WPRB and WRSU, I recently came to the shocking realization that I've been doing a weekly show for 15 years without any substantial hiatus. As such, I will be sitting out from FMU's regular rotation for the next 8-9 months, but still appearing in a fill-in capacity (I hope). The podcast will continue on as a weekly presence, and I have lofty ambitions of going back to my old archives and fixing up the ones without timestamps (everything prior to September of '03), as well as ridding the world of the butt-ugly layouts and color schemes that plagued my early forays into HTML. I expect to be posting around here a whole lot more frequently, too.
Of course, I felt that my last month of radio shows were pretty sub-par, so I'm pleased to announce that the last official spin in the DJ chair was the best time I've had in weeks, and hearing from people who had a lot of really nice things to say about the show made it even better. Although I'll always be perfectly happy doing radio for my own enjoyment, it's nice to be reminded that I'm not just screaming into the void. The playlist and archive for the last show are here.