Monday, April 26, 2010


TREME is killing me.

Always, with something this good, you wonder if the pilot is a fluke and expect a dip the next week, and then when the second installment actually manages to up the ante, you stand back and crinkle up your brow and wait for it and really really hope, and, not to be believed, this one was so good that it actually thawed out my memories of what it was like when HBO was just hurling thunderbolts like clockwork every Sunday night, that unholy March '05 that gave us four new episodes each of CARNIVALE and DEADWOOD (and of course, though arguably a slight tangent here, you will all understand that I am compelled to also reference that bookend ramp-up to the home stretch of the premiere season of arguably the best serial narrative of all time).

[and, actually, come to think of it, just cause the new girl at the office asked last night, I'm suddenly realizing that I'd definitely chuck this particular month into the pile as favored contender for Personal Favorite Month, yes, 03/05, we had the last four episodes of CARNIVALE, the first four episodes of DEADWOOD Season Two, that crushing opening bit off the top of the Gem balcony to set the tone, never mind opening the damn month with NUMBERS before hanging out long and hard getting crushed by everything else for, yes, four long weeks before finally crashing back in with DEUS EX MACHINA on that fifth Wednesday, meaning of course there was the extra week of sequential sickness*, not even to mention that Mars Volta's second and my personal favorite album of theirs came out on the 1st, and, oh yes, Catherine gave me that Favorite Guitar of All Time of mine, for my 28th that one Friday there, and I guess I must have had three or four gigs with the old Blitzkrieg Quartet or Bruce Wayne Quintet, forget what I was calling it then, probably had the idea to change the name that month, obviously, but clearly quite a bit flooding in, though Her Majesty, as ever, renders absolute and definitive declarations just about moot.]

(and, shit, also finished the first draft of GRINGO that 7th of March, jammed out the entire 23-pg epilogue before dinner/DEADWOOD premiere/CARNIVALE 2.09. An impossible day.)

It is apparent that this is going to be one of those things where, trying to tumble back into the thread of the initial impetus, I just list every exchange of the episode one by one, whole ride came off like a Greatest Hits montage and it's the third damn episode, but the thing is the escalation. Dr. John. We are now dealing with a series in which the first three episodes have included Rebirth, Kermit, Elvis Costello, and now motherfucking Dr. John in the studio. How is it supposed to live up to this precedent? I mean, really, where can you go from here? Never even mind Lester & co going all Ladysmith Black Mombazo at the end there, and what happened next, which, you know, you can put that up there with anything else that's been done so far as How To Shut It Down, as far as episodic narratives, or hey really anything else you'd care to name, goes.

And Davis with John Goodman. Unreal. I realized that this role-I've-been-hoping-Zahn-would-nab-since-THAT THING YOU DO (but finding myself improbably emotionally invested in him getting, for all this time, like always checking in on him and saying, Nope or Good, but not yet, or what have you, but see, never understanding why it mattered to me that this guy, who's yeah, funny, but what's so important about him, of all people, maximizing his potential?) was my avatar maybe ten minutes before he mentioned that English degree from Goddard, so, well played and devastating synchronicity there all around, as it happened.

*and let's get into that down here, Morrison debuts the first issues of GUARDIAN and SHINING KNIGHT, Lee & Azzarello and Johns & Van Sciver and Kelly & Olivetti all finally bring it home, and that second issue of VIMINARAMA!, and The End of Waid & Ringo on FF and new issues of EXTREMIS and SECRET WAR somehow make it out and, ULTIMATES 2 and Y THE LAST MAN banging along, not to mention Bru & Epting only five issues into the CAP run that still just will not give up, and I think even my man David Mack with that fourth issue of KABUKI with THE SHY CREATURES, just such, such a time to be alive.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


(The timestamp is wrong, this was published at exactly 1:08 on a Saturday morning in Texas, torrents of rain pouring down)

Been listening to so much wonderful of late, only just now discovering Tom Waits: Year One and onward, which, such a revelation those torch songs, brilliant instrumentation, of course MULE VARIATIONS came from tradition somewhere way back, it was just subjected to a steady quarter century of mutation by whiskey, then also been hitting those Berlin albums Bowie did with Eno (even the one that’s not, yah), but just finally right now sat down with my man Rufus Wainwright’s sixth studio album in the correct manner, meaning solo bottle of wine candlelight headphones, let the sentiment wash over, and am crushed at what has happened. More coherent reporting from the front lines later, though that’s a lie probably not, but just wanting to get on the record, way to do this is what I said before: candles, wine, headphones. Maybe some kind of aching yearn, too, but certainly not a BYO situation there, that business will take care of itself before too long.

All right, and that was supposed to be the flippant way to cut this short, but also apparently needing it on the record that, due to my man’s brilliance and let’s call it nakedness as a songwriter, lo these many years, multiplied by appreciation/adoration of his entire family (though mainly here factoring in Martha, because, come on, those are two serious albums)(particularly if one wades in by way of Rufus, expectations unavoidably influenced/bar set pretty high by same), but all right let’s all take a deep breath and just hear me say: these folks’ songs have let us into their lives, but let's be honest, it’s not like I have in any way even a 15% accurate vision of what Nuclear Family Life was like for Loudon, Kate, Rufus, Martha, etc, but I’m STILL AWARE of all these individuals, the small slices of themselves that they’ve cut open and bled out for us, and so can’t help but having constructed a working model of family life for them, with the extra wonderful weirdness factor that it all took place north of the border, which mainly Southpark has ruined for me, though I want to emphasize in the best possible way.

Simply: we get Loudon’s “Rufus Is A Tit Man,” so great in hindsight, obv, then jump to Rufus’s first album with Brion in ’98, such a precocious little 24 year old fellow, then that so archetypal “Dinner at Eight” story, such classic Greek shit between father and son, but then we step back, listen to the beautiful music put out by the entire family, it’s like the best kind of serial, call it a sitcom if you want, but I’d rather not, point is, that DFW exclusion principle, the spaces in between that we fill in for ourselves, we get these characters living in our heads but forego the laugh track or shitty writers or anything else, the only record that we have, the only means by which we might project and really reverse-engineer images of their lives is their one primal release, and yes I know, I kennit, circling and circling round the point with circumference seemingly remaining fixed, all I really wanted to say is I saw Rufus play half of this in November and the songs bowled me over, but I had no idea his mom was dying, and that development, scored by this, the soundtrack inspired by the tragedy WHILE IT WAS UNFOLDING, man and my God, devastate is the only verb that will do. Martha, the child, and dear, sweet Kate. The damn liner notes for RELEASE THE STARS. I’m so sorry that the pieces fell where they did, so so sorry, but am certainly richer for the Wainwrights having let me, all of us, into these slivers of their lives.

Richer and so grateful.

All of which to say, if it isn't already apparent, was just a mass of meltdown on the couch for tracks 3 and 12, splashing all around. That perfect, just almost perfectly crystallized though still somehow undefined ache.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I was fortunate enough to catch these guys opening for Sixteen Deluxe last month at the latter's first show in ten years. They are The Rawk. Logline that popped into my head during their set was, What If Gwen Stacy wandered into a Sixteen-D gig and said, "Oh, THAT'S how you do it," and proceeded to fill Carrie & Frenchie's very big shoes all by her lonesome?

Yah, it needs work.

But, go check out a killer video here.

And here's their MySpace, if anybody's even still over there. Free music!

Monday, April 12, 2010


It's been a while.

Since Lobster Night, I have become a father, received an MFA in Creative Writing, had flash fiction published in Word Riot, made it into a comic book anthology compiled by some folks on Warren Ellis's Whitechapel site, written a couple of songs, and raised all kinds of hell which has thankfully mostly not been documented (or even retained, hey).

L O S T is in its home stretch, you can read what I think about that here.
And here's a site for weekly comic book reviews.

So, basically, anything not involving Miller Li, L O S T, or comics will go up here.
Cue the What Else Is There? humor.