Sunday, December 31, 2006

8-word poem

Another year,
Another dollar—
Not really

Saturday, December 30, 2006

8-word poem

It is
All about
More or less.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

8-word poem

The bottom line:
It's at the bottom,

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

8-word poem

Happy Holidays!
Happy New Year!
See Ya!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


for Steve Roberts

Quitting time, and not a moment
too soon! All the best tables
are taken, and wobbly as hell.
Matchbooks work okay, but
sugar packets are sweeter.
When the rickety makes you
seethe, you'll want sweet. Trust
me on this one. Just this one.

Monday, December 25, 2006

8-word poem

'Tis the season
To hang onto
Your sanity.

iTuneage - recent baker's dozen

1. "Rough Boys" - Pete Townshend
2. "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall" - Bob Dylan with George Harrison and Leon Russell
3. "Sinnerman" - Nina Simone
4. "Day of the Eagle" - Robin Trower
5. "I'm Lost" - X
6. "We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together" - The Velvet Underground
7. "Trouble Man" - Marvin Gaye
8. "Never Let You Go" - The Five Discs
9. "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad" - Derek & The Dominos
10. "Nausea" - Beck
11. "Aye Co'lorado" - Genya Ravan with Lou Reed
12. "Clubland" - Elvis Costello
13. "Love on Death Row" - Chris Spedding

Sunday, December 24, 2006

8-word poem

I am so
Goddamn sick
Of Christmas,

Saturday, December 23, 2006

8-word poem

How do you
Speak to
You don't.

Friday, December 22, 2006

8-word poem

God bless us,
Even all those

Thursday, December 21, 2006

8-word poem

Is a certainty;
Only a hope.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

8-word poem

She declined—
To meet me
In heaven.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

8-word poem

Miss USA
Gets a second
How unrealistic!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Farewell, Flintstone's Father

Oh, to be able to pose in a picture such as this with a complete and total lack of irony....

Random Observations on BERLIN - St. Ann's Warehouse 12/15/06

Seeing Steve Hunter once again backing up Lou Reed was incredible. As mentioned in previous posts, Hunter's guitar playing was key to my interest in learning the instrument. Plus, being long aware of Reed's dismissal of Rock N Roll Animal as a piece of commercial pap, I felt like I was witnessing a unique musical reconciliation.

Bob Ezrin looked like an actual conductor as he led the band with authoritative gestures. The lab coat with "Berlin" written down the back was odd, though.

I loved watching members of The Brooklyn Youth Chorus bopping to the music on their risers during "Caroline Says I." Couldn't help wondering if anyone explained Berlin's plot to them beforehand.

"Caroline Says II" was sad and moving, with Reed's vocal striking an apt but rare note of sympathy.

"Sad Song" was really sad and beautiful. I always wondered what combination of instruments was involved in the opening. Turns out it is flute and clarinet.

Weird seeing a fit Asian guy in front of St. Ann's Warehouse and thinking: "Could that be Lou's martial arts trainer?" Followed quickly by: "Nah!" Then seeing the same guy sitting next to Laurie Anderson and realizing: "Yeah, that's him alright."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh What a Feeling

I take back every negative thing I've in recent years said about Lou Reed.

Last night at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn we witnessed the second-ever on-stage performance of Lou Reed's Berlin. Flanked by a host of guest musicians to flesh out the lovely and intricate arrangements of the original album, Reed was in command from note one. It was astonishing to see the rocker who always sought artistry to finally - and without pretention - achieve his goal in spades.

Curiously, the only celebrities in attendance were Lou's muse, Laurie Anderson, and his Tai Chi instructor. Which is fitting, as all attention deserved to be directed at the stage.

After a morose introduction by artist Julian Schnabel (who "directed" this version of Berlin), the curtain swept back to reveal the ensemble. The most noteworthy members included two of the original album's participants: guitarist Steve Hunter (who would cement his reputation for all time on the ensuing tour, which resulted in the live document, Rock N Roll Animal), and producer Bob Ezrin (whose other credits include Alice Cooper, KISS, Pink Floyd), who conducted in a white lab coat.

All the musicians, however, were top flight, and it was an impeccable sense of collaboration that made the presentation a stunning success. The florid embroidery of the album's horn, woodwind, string and vocal charts (members of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus contributed!) were replicated beautifully, bringing larger than life emotion to the songs. Much has been made over the years about Berlin being a depressing excursion into the underworld of humanity; it is, in fact, a sad story, but one that packs a massive narrative punch.

After idolizing Lou Reed for years since the mid-1970s (yes, despite the insanity of Metal Machine Music, Take No Prisoners, et al.), I found myself growing increasingly disappointed with his recent work and mindset. Gone forever, it seemed, was the understated attitude and cool, in favor of a self-aggrandizing bathos (though some might argue that self-aggrandizing bathos has always been part of the Lou Reed experience). I had begun to wonder if my appreciation of his work had landed me inevitably in the middle of the conflict that defines being a Lou Reed fan: to love him is to hate him, to adore him is to be abused by him.

Of course, Reed forewarned of this very concern years ago:

Gimmie gimmie gimmie some good times
Gimmie gimmie gimmie some pain
No matter how ugly you are
You know, to me it all looks the same.

Last night's performance was a really good time. Following Berlin, Reed and band reappeared to play my all-time fave Lou song, "Sweet Jane" (with Hunter ferociously replicating his Rock N Roll Animal solos), "Candy Says," and "Rock Minuet."

Even The Raven is forgiven.

(Bottom photo by MsAPhillips)

Friday, December 15, 2006

8-word poem

Refrain from
Having heroes;
They will
Frequently disappoint.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Decades after its ignominious debut, Lou Reed's Berlin will finally be performed on stage in its entirety. We are lucky ticket holders for Friday night's performance, which is shaping up to be an extravaganza of epic proportions.

There is an amazing amount of hype surrounding this event, and one need look no further than the involvement of Bob Ezrin (the original album's producer) and lead guitarist Steve Hunter (he of "Intro to 'Sweet Jane'" fame!) to confirm it is deserved.

Diehard fans will recall that Reed flirted with the idea of presenting this notoriously despair-inducing song cycle on stage way back in 1979! I personally witnessed a couple of shows at the now-defunct Bottom Line wherein most of the album was played in spectacular fashion by Reed and his backup ensemble, the Everyman Band. Marty Fogel (on horns) and Chuck Hammer (Roland guitar synthesizer) credibly reproduced the album's intricate orchestrations.

The idea of finally hearing Berlin rendered with a real orchestra, choir and original guitarist Hunter is awe-inspiring, to say the least. I must somehow resist the urge to scalp my tickets, which could easily fetch a couple of hundred bucks apiece, according to some preliminary Craigslist investigation.

The New York Times weighs in on this historic moment in Reed's enigmatic career.

8-word poem

There's plenty
Of room
In the
Dog house.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

8-word poem

That's pretty much
The story.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

8-word poem

Only when asked
Should one
Offer an opinion.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Mulholland Drive
Look like
"Everybody Loves Raymond."

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I owe
My soul
To the company

Saturday, December 09, 2006

8-word poem

Thre are more
In heaven and

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What would life be like if it never changed? Installment 3

More thoughts on my Top Ten Life-Changing Albums. Thanks to Eek for beginning the thread that led me to this list.

(Note: Italics indicate my initial response to Eek's challenge; the rest constitutes my further thoughts on the subject).

3. Destiny Street, Richard Hell & The Voidoids. Woefully underrated (especially compared to Blank Generation), but to my mind it features some of Robert Quine’s finest guitar work (as well as a song entitled “The Kid With the Replaceable Head”).

It took five years for the Voidoids, possibly the most literate of all punk bands, to record their second album. While many dismiss it as inferior, to my mind it holds its own not only with its predecessor, but with the finest landmark albums of the punk era.

Fusing the mania of the Ramones with the intelligence of Talking Heads, adding a sprinkle of Stones swagger and the sonic mayhem of The Velvet Underground, Richard Hell & The Voidoids was a wholly unique concoction. This album features a reconstituted band, with Fred Maher and Naux replacing Mark Bell and Ivan Julian, respectively.

Continually threatening to upstage Hell (but refraining from doing so out of sheer decency, it seems) original Voidoid Robert Quine is given free rein with his guitar. Shrieking feedback, distortion, chiming chords, backwards loops, Roy Buchanan-style harmonics: you name, it's here, and all of it with the unfailing good taste that Quine brought to every project he was a part of.

It didn't hurt that Hell was occasionally MIA from the recording studio on some jag or other; Quine used the hours judiciously to create a truly original guitar album. Dispensing with the 20-minute solos of a Clapton or Page, Quine uses the guitar as one would an electric can opener: with direct and focused purpose to cut through to the good stuff. It doesn't hurt that some of his guitar tones actually mimic those of an electric can opener as amplified by a Fender Twin on 11.

Along with the afore-mentioned "The Kid With the Replaceable Head," standout tunes include the raucous "Downtown at Dawn" and the wondrously beautiful meditation on life, death and everything in between, "Time."


The best lack
All conviction;
The worst,

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

8-word poem

This is how
It begins:
Are you ready?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

8-word poem

Thus spake
Moe Howard:
"These figures
Stagger me!"

Monday, December 04, 2006

8-word poem

Meaning only
Has value
For the well-meaning

Sunday, December 03, 2006

8-word poem

My aching
Tells my
Broken heart:

Saturday, December 02, 2006

8-word poem

Just when
You thought
You had hit


Friday, December 01, 2006

8-word poem

A foot soldier
And never
A foot.

No surprises here

I'm a friggin' New Yawkuh. Thanks to Eek! for pointing this out.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
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North Central
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