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Friday, April 29, 2005

Sleater Kinney

the US of A's best live rock band will be hitting the 9:30 club on June be announced.

tonight friday april 29 at the black cat: a rare live performance by new york popsters IVY!!!!!!!!!! boy this picture is blurry..excuse excuse..

Thursday, April 28, 2005

New Order- Factus 12 "Power Corruption and Lies"

old order

people sometimes ask me what i'm listening to and they want something new... but i'm going back.. new order's "power corruption and lies".. their 1983 album really holds up well.. i remember as a kid first seeing the wonderful cover - a fantin latour painting- in a rolling stone issue that came out sometime in late 1989 and picked the top 100 albums of the 80s... if i remember correctly it came in something like 90.. anyways..eventually in college i picked it up and really enjoyed it and still do... new order's new album just came out.. i downloaded it a few months ago.. its called "waiting for the siren's call".. it just doesn't seem to hit me like their other stuff...

"power corruption and lies" - the lp- includes three out and out classics: "your silent face" with its flowing kraftwerkian synths, "age of consent", and "leave me alone".. the cd appended the contemporanous mega smash "blue monday" and its instrumental twin "the beach"... of course, as an album, the LP is superior..its always dicey when you start adding songs...

"power corruption and lies" marks the point where new order fully becomes "new order" and leaves joy division behind....their first record, "movement", was a stilted effort to continue in the vein of joy division sans ian curtis. the problem of course was not only that ian curtis had hanged himself but also that even if he had stayed alive he would have moved forward..this can be seen clearly in comparing some of his last songs such as "love will tear us apart" which were absorbing synths and dance rhythms... anyways after the failure of "movement" new order released an ep which included their first bonafide masterpiece all of their own: "temptation" (moby just covers this on his new album "hotel")...after this there was no looking back.. classic album after classic album...great dance 12 inch after 12 inch rolled off these guys...from 1982 to 1989 these guys were as hot as it gets...if you don't believe me check out "power lies", "low life", "brotherhood" and "technique" and their 12 inch singles compilation which is almost another double album to itself "substance"...

i find it difficult to translate what exactly makes new order NEW ORDER....there's a couple of characteristics to the band that are interesting...

1. class.. everything is classy about these guys.. look at the cover art.. its usually peter saville artwork... my impression is that saville is a graphics arts designer and photographer.. anyhow, most new order artwork is his....and generally it holds up quite well ... whats also refreshing about it, and if i were in a band i would do the same, is that new order avoids the traditional pitfall of emblazoning their ugly mugs all over their work... how tired and boring is it to buy an album by a band and see their faces on it?. truly uncreative...

2. new order is a true pioneer in merging dance synths with traditional bass/guitar rock.. in melding technologies if you will.. most bands you hear are one or the other but new order has a plethora of songs combining racous guitar , and butt thumping bass (more on that later) with synthesizers/sequencers/drum machines and just about every other modern innovation they can get their hand on.. i remember reading in the aforementioned rolling stone review of Power Corruption and Lies how they recorded the album just after receving their new rolland synthesizers and basically they were learning how to play them on that record.. well, since that time new order has recorded more rock oriented albums such as "brotherhood" and say 2001's "get ready" and more dance/synth affairs such as "low life" and the dance masterwork "technique" which to my mind is still one of the alltime high points in dance music...

3. a distinguishing feature of new order has to be their man in black peter hook...i don't know too much about the mechanics of playing bass guitar but he plays it like some gunslinger in a mid 1960s spaghetti western makes those ennio morricone songs come alive... i'm sure some would tell me that he's simply coming at bass from the john ox entwistle of the who school of rock but to me on any number of songs it sounds different.. its very agressive bass ... its bass leading the charge if you will with the guitar at times complementing the bass and not the other more traditional way... there's some video i think included on the substance new order vidoes compilation dvd/vhs thingie which shows peter hook on his bass and he is JAMMING buddy... its bass as a lead guitar...

4. though i have yet to see it in pring that bernard sumner aka bernard albrecht aka bernard morris brings home the bacon both on the guitar and vocals and even lyrics department... the man gets little credit for it but i think he's doing a lot of things right .. perhaps it has to do with him coming at it from a different angle as he never expected to sing... on the early new order flop album following ian curtis' death its hard to tell if its bernard or peter hook singing. i think for a while they were both giving it a shot....and on that album bernard is definetly trying to sound like the model ian.. but subsequently he started singing in his own inimitable fashion...

though most critical writing on new order fails to echo my sentiments i always see new order as being the next link in the line of alternative music emanating from the velvets (there are plenty of signs from the heavily distortive rewritten cover of "sister ray" on the 1988 live bbc concert to naming their record imprint "factory" after andy warhol, etc.)to kraftwerk through david bowie (i'm thinking "low" here) and i see them, taking into account their joy division incarnation, as the most important band of the past 25 years... lately there is a bevy of new bands - the interpols of the world- worshipping at the altar of joy division with one hand while laying their hands on as much joy division moves, style, and chordage as they can with the other.. i would be somewhat surprised if in a few years its not new order thats being aped...although perhaps new order's innovations and contributions to music are already everywhere but its like nobody can tell cause its everything.. if that makes any sense... i think iggy pop was getting at this in his tribute piece to bo diddley where he wrote (rolling stone april 15, 2004): "i think bo and chuck berry have suffered the trivialization of people who are covered too much. their influence is everywhere, but their personal careers could use a boost.."...

(to be revised)

Oh no!: Washington Nationals sink to .500 ball!

thats right.. our new baseball team.. our very quickly beloved "NATS" have been stinking up the joint these past two weeks.. i think at one point they were 8 wins and 4 losses but are now 11 and 11.. you do the math cause i never been too good with the numbers racket but i'll tell you one thing: it ain't pretty..

the sad part is the NATS are actually a pretty good team..first of all: they happen to play in the most competitive division in baseball right now.. the teams are currently separated by one or two wins.. anyone can take this..

the pitching has been real good..with one exception i had the painful 'pleasure' of seeing live at my first nats game.. a clown named horgan who has since been demoted to playing minor league ball after accumulating an earned run average on the stratospheric order.. this horgan feller gave up something like 5 runs to the florida marlins putting the nats out of contention in the game (it was like 5-0 when he came in and he kept giving up doubles and singles and this and that and tit for tat and next thing you know it was 10-0...)... well he did it again a few games later and then was demoted

which brings me to my next point: frank robinson's managing of the pitchers has raised this baseball fan's eyebrows..... last night nats starter esteban loaiza struggled to get out of the 8th inning...instead of putting in a reliever robinson sends him out again and loaiza gives up a homer to the first batter he faces in the top of the 9th.. would not be so bad except that it was a 0-0 game! obviously loaiza was tired and then gave up two more hits... not to take anything away from loaiza's great 8 innings but he should have never taken the mound in the 9th... robinson seems to be the anti tony "where's my phone to the bullpen" larussa.. he leaves pitchers in too long.... i've seen this happen in a few games here and there..

anyhow with the exception of horgan and a few instances of pitchers being left in there too long the pitching has been very good..

but the hitting has been the problem.... with the exception of a few games where everyone hits (when it rains it pours and when its dry...) the NATS lineup has been anemic at the plate... far too many games with no runs scored.... although vidro, castilla, guillen and wilkerson are solid bats in the top of the lineup the bottom has far too many names who lack the hitting punch of mendoza....we're talking batters who can't even make the mendoza line (over 200 average).. batters like the rookie ryan church, the shortstop christian guzman in particular has been terrible, terrel sledge though much as my friend howard likes his name just can't hit for squat, the catcher schneider and on and on... far too many dead bats...

so if these NATS don't obtain one more solid bat its safe to say they ain't going very far...whats distressing about this is that the team is pretty good but is just missing a bit of pop....however, because the team is still owned by major league baseball and the process of finding an owner has dragged on its doubtful any personnel decisions will be made before the trading deadline sometime following the allstar game (mid june me thinks).... therefore, its highly doubtful much of anything will happen.. meanwhile livan hernandez, loaiza and patterson are three of the best pitchers going so far this season.. however, with minimal run support its hard to see them doing much of anything...

lastly, the crowds at RFK so far have not been too impressive.. they seem to be sinking to an average of 25,000 per home game... those ain't the numbers i would have expected for a new franchise... not sure whats going on...

still..goes without saying..great to have baseball in the nation's capital!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Translation of Joaquin Sabina's "Y Nos Dieron Las Diez" as performed by Maria Jimenez

And it gave us 10
(J. Sabina)

It was in a village with sea
One night following a concert
You ruled behind the counter of the only bar we saw open
“sing me a song to my ears and I get you a cubata” (i.e., cubata= cuba libre drink)
“with one condition: that you leave me open the balcony of your feline eyes”
That night, crazy to know the secrets of your bedroom, I sang my entire repertoire accompanied by the dawn

The bar's clients took off one by one
You left to close
I told myself “careful, boy, you’re falling in love”
Then it all happened suddenly
Your finger drew a heart on my back and my hand corresponded underneath your skirt
On the way to the hostel we kissed at every street light
It was a village with sea
I wanted to sleep with you and you did not want to sleep alone

And it gave us 10 and 11 ..12..1…2…and 3…
And naked the moon found us that evening

We said goodbye…hope we see each other again; summer ended…fall lasted what winter takes to arrive and once again chance took me to your town, and at the end of the concert I looked for your face amongst the people and did not find anyone who would tell me half a word about you..
It looked as if destiny was playing a twisted joke on me

There was no one behind the bar of the other summer
And in place of your bar I found a branch of the Bank Hispano Americano
Your memory I avenged tossing stones against the windows
“I know I did not dream it” I protested as the municipal police handcuffed me
In my statement I said I had had three drinks
And I began this song in the room where that time I removed your clothes

And it gave us 10 and 11…12..1…2…3.
And naked the moon found us that evening..

this is just an absolutely fabulous record- "donde mas duele- maria jimenez canta por sabina"- which came out in mid 2002 and was being played everywhere you went in buenos aires at the time.... nouveaux flamenco singer maria jimenez performs 12 joaquin sabina compositions in tasteful flamenco arrangements.. never tire of listening to this one.. highly recommended and currently available through't be available long so pick it up now!..

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Joaquin Sabina's 19 dias y 500 Noches (19 days and 500 nights)

and this is my humble translation of Joaquin Sabina's "19 Dias y 500 Noches" ("19 days and 500 nights") the title track from the wonderful 1999 album of the same name:

19 Days and 500 Nights

Our thing lasted as long as two “fish” (“ice cubes”) in a whisky on the rocks
Instead of pretending or striking me with a glass of jealousy, she laughed
I quickly saw myself, as nobody’s dog, barking at heaven’s door
She left me a toilet kit full of insults, honey on the lips and frost in the hair
My lovers were right in that before the bad one was me with one exception:
This time I wanted to want to love her and she didn’t.

So she left, and left me her heart in my bones and me on my knees
From the taxi, and committing an excess, she threw me two kisses.. one per cheek..
And I returned to the damnation of the drawer without her clothes and the perdition of the bars of drinks, cinderellas of payment and street corners, the sophisticated Laina, paying the bills of people without souls who lose their cool with cocaine, driving myself crazy, wasting “la bolsa” and life, and slowly I began to give up on her.. and even though in order not to depress her with flowers, not to pester her with my stories of cold sheets and empty bedrooms, in order not to buy her with jewelry, or be a puppet who goes on a pilgrimage with the brotherhood of Saint Reproach, so much I loved her, that I took 19 days and 500 nights to learn how to forget her.

She said hello and goodbye and the slamming door sounded like a question mark..I suspect that this way, through forgetting, Cupid avenged himself on me.
I don’t ask for forgiveness..for what? She’ll forgive me becase she does not care. She always had her forehead very tall, her tongue very long and her skirt very short..
She abandonded me like one abandons old shoes, destroyed my eyeglasses, removed from the mirror her living portrait, and I was so bold on the alleyways of gambling and wine that yesterday the porter kicked me out of the casino at Torrelodones.

What a great pity..i would deny the Saintly Sacrament at the very moment she sent it to me and even though in order not to depress Maria with flowers, not to pester her with my stories of cold sheets and empty bedrooms, in order not to buy her with jewelry, or be a puppet who goes on a pilgrimage with the brotherhood of Saint Reproach, so much I loved her, that I took 19 days and 500 nights to learn how to forget her…

and I returned..

the original spanish lyrics of

19 Dias y 500 Noches

Lo nuestro duró
lo que duran dos peces de hielo
en un güisqui on the rocks,
en vez de fingir,
o, estrellarme una copa de celos,
le dio por reír.
De pronto me vi,
como un perro de nadie,
ladrando, a las puertas del cielo.
Me dejó un neceser con agravios,
la miel en los labios
y escarcha en el pelo.
Tenían razón
mis amantes
en eso de que, antes,
el malo era yo,
con una excepción:
esta vez,
yo quería quererla querer
y ella no.
Así que se fue,
me dejó el corazón
en los huesos
y yo de rodillas.
Desde el taxi,
y, haciendo un exceso,
me tiró dos besos...
uno por mejilla.
Y regresé
a la maldición
del cajón sin su ropa,
a la perdición
de los bares de copas,
a las cenicientas
de saldo y esquina,
y, por esas ventas
del fino Laina,
pagando las cuentas
de gente sin alma
que pierde la calma
con la cocaína,
volviéndome loco,
la bolsa y la vida
la fui, poco a poco,
dando por perdida.
Y eso que yo,
paro no agobiar con
flores a María,
para no asediarla
con mi antología
de sábanas frías
y alcobas vacías,
para no comprarla
con bisutería,
ni ser el fantoche
que va, en romería,
con la cofradía
del Santo Reproche,
tanto la quería,
que, tardé, en aprender
a olvidarla, diecinueve días
y quinientas noches.
Dijo hola y adiós,
y, el portazo, sonó
como un signo de interrogación,
sospecho que, así,
se vengaba, a través del olvido,
Cupido de mi.
No pido perdón,
¿para qué? si me va a perdonar
porque ya no le importa...
siempre tuvo la frente muy alta,
la lengua muy larga
y la falda muy corta.
Me abandonó,
como se abandonan
los zapatos viejos,
destrozó el cristal
de mis gafas de lejos,
sacó del espejo
su vivo retrato,
y, fui, tan torero,
por los callejones
del juego y el vino,
que, ayer, el portero,
me echó del casino
de Torrelodones.
Qué pena tan grande,
negaría el Santo Sacramento,
en el mismo momento
que ella me lo mande.
Y eso que yo,
paro no agobiar con
flores a María,
para no asediarla
con mi antología
de sábanas frías
y alcobas vacías,
para no comprarla
con bisutería,
ni ser el fantoche
que va, en romería,
con la cofradía
del Santo Reproche,
tanto la quería,
que, tardé, en aprender
a olvidarla, diecinueve días
y quinientas noches.
Y regresé...etc

Allright!! A very current picture of Joaquin Sabina looking good, at a festival in Mexico City on April 23 2005, reading from Don Quijote by Cervantes to commemorate its 500th anniversary.

Joaquin Sabina's "Con Dos Camas Vacias" ("With Two Empty Beds")

and here is a song Sabina adapted for Maria Jimenez who sings it on her record "Donde Mas Duele Maria Jimenez Canta Por Sabina" or "Where it hurts most Maria Jimenez Sings for Sabina"...this record came out in 2002 and is pretty darn cool... its flamenco versions of some great sabina tunes.. my understanding is sabina wrote "con dos camas vacias" specifically for this project..Sabina even sings a verse on this.. i've included the spanish lyrics first and then my translation..

Con Dos Camas Vacias

Ni yo bordo pañuelos, ni tu rompes contratos.
Ni yo mato por celos, ni tu mueres por mi.
Y antes de que me quieras como se quiere a un gato
me largo con cualquiera que se parezca a ti.
De par en par te abro las puertas que cierras.
Me cuentan que el olvido no te sienta tan mal.
La paz que has elegido es pero que mi guerra, lo que pudo haber sido, lo que nunca será.
Yo en cambio nunca supe ir a favor del viento, que muerde las esquinas de esta ciudad limpía.
Pobre aprendiz de brujo que escupe el firmamento, desde un hotel de lujo, con dos, con dos camas vacías.
¿Y quién hará tu trabajo debajo de mi falda?, la boca que era mia ¿de qué boca será?, el roto de tu ombligo ya no me da la espalda cuando pierdo contigo las ganas de ganar.
Como pago al contado, nunca me falta un beso.
Siempre que me confieso me doy la absolución.
Ya no cierro los bares ni hago tantos excesos, cada beso más triste, las canciones de amor.

Aunque nunca me callo, guardo un par de secretos, lo digo de hombre a hombre, de mujer a mujer.
Ni me caso con nadie, ni le pongo amuletos,por no tener no tengo ni edad de merecer.

Maldita sea la tinta que empapa mis papeles, maldita la tercera persona del plural, las uñas que se clavan ahí donde más duele, si se te corre el rimel cuando me haces llorar.

Con Dos Camas Vacias
With two empty beds

Now I don’t knit handkerchiefs, nor do you break contracts
Nor do i kill from jealousy, nor do you die for me

And before you love me like one loves a cat
I leave with anyone that looks like you

From time to time I open the doors you close
They tell me forgetting doesn’t suit you so bad

The peace you’ve chosen is worse than my war
What could have been..what will never be

I in turn never knew how to go with the wind
That bites the street corners of this impious town

Poor witches intern who spits at the heavens
From a luxury hotel with two empty beds

Who will do your work underneath my skirt?
The mouth that was mine who’s mouth will it be?

The break in your navel no longer turns its back on me
When I lose with you the desire to win

Since I pay cash I never lack a kiss
Whenever I confess myself I grant myself absolution

I no longer close down the bars or commit as many excesses
The love songs are sadder every time

I in turn never knew how to go with the wind
That bites the street corners of this impious town

Poor witches intern who spits at the heavens
From a luxury hotel with two empty beds

(Sabina Sings This Verse)
Although I never shut up I conceal a few secrets
I say it man to man woman to woman

I don’t marry anyone nor charm myself
Because I don’t have I don’t even have the age to deserve it

Who will do your work underneath my skirt
The mouth that was mine who’s mouth will it be

The break in your navel no longer turns its back on me
When I lose with you the desire to win

Damn the ink that soaks my paper
Damn the third person plural

The fingernails that nail there where it most hurts
If my mascara runs when you make me cry

Since I pay cash I never lack a kiss
Whenever I confess myself I grant myself absolution

I no longer close down the bars or commit as many excesses
The love songs are sadder every time

Joaquin Sabina's "La Cancion Mas Hermosa del Mundo" ("The World's Most Beautiful Song")

From 2002's "Dimelo en la Calle"..this song is simply majestic..i wish i could translate it but we're talking serious poetry here...still i will translate a few lines here and there where i compound matters the song is rather stream of consciousness and alliterative.. however, it lives up to its title..

La canción más hermosa del mundo
The most beautiful song in the world

Yo tenía un botón sin ojal, un gusano de seda,
I had a button without a buttonhole, a silkworm

medio par de zapatos de clown y un alma en almoneda,
half a pair of clown shoes, a soul in for sale

una hispano olivetti con caries, un tren con retraso,
a spanish olivetti (typewriter?) with decay, a train with delay

un carné del Atletic, una cara de culo de vaso,
u members ID card for Atletico de Madrid (Spanish soccer club), a cup ass face

un colegio de pago, un compás, una mesa camilla,
a private school, a compass, a stretcher table

una nuez, o bocado de Adán, menos una costilla,
a nut, a mouthful of Adam, minus a rib,

una bici diabética, un cúmulo, un cirro, un strato,
a diabetic "bici" , , a cirrhosis,

un camello del rey Baltasar, una gata sin gato,
a camel of King Bathazar, a female cat without a male cat

mi Annie Hall, mi Gioconda, mi Wendy, las damas primero,
my Annie Hall, my Gioconda, my Wendy, the ladies first,

mi Cantinflas, mi Bola de Nieve, mis tres Mosqueteros,
my Cantinflas, my Bola de Nieva, my three Musketeers,

mi Tintín, mi yo-yo, mi azulete, mi siete de copas,
my Tintin, my yo-yo, , my seven of clubs

el zaguán donde te desnudé sin quitarte la ropa.
the entryway where i undressed you without removing your clothes

Mi escondite, mi clave de sol, mi reloj de pulsera,
my hideout, my key of sun, my wrist watch

una lámpara de Alí Babá dentro de una chistera,
ali baba's lamp inside a top hat (?),

no sabía que la primavera duraba un segundo,
i didn't know spring lasted a second,

yo quería escribir la canción más hermosa del mundo.
i wanted to write the most beautiful song in the world.

Les presento a mi abuelo bastardo, a mi esposa soltera,
i present you my bastard grandfather, my single wife,

al padrino que me apadrinó en la legión extranjera,
the godfather who godfathered me in the foreign legion,

a mi hermano gemelo, patrón de la merca ambulante,
to my twin brother, boss of the peddled dope,

a Simbad el marino que tuvo un sobrino cantante,
to Sinbad the mariner who had a singing nephew,

al putón de mi prima Carlota y su perro salchicha,
to the whore of my cousin Carlotta and her dachshund dog,

a mi chupa de cota de mallas contra la desdicha,
to my coat of chain mail absorbing misfortune,

mariposas que cazan en sueños los niños con granos
butterflies that hunt pimpled children in dreams

cuando sueñan que abrazan a Venus de Milo sin manos.
when they dream they embrace Venus de Milo without hands.

Me libré de los tontos por ciento, del cuento del bisnes,
I freed myself of the fools of hundred, of the fairy tale of business,

dando clases en una academia de cantos de cisne,
giving classes in an academy of songs of powder puffs,

con Simón de Cirene hice un tour por el monte Calvario,
with Simon of Cirene i did a tour through the Mount Calvary,

¿qué harías tú si Adelita se fuera con un comisario?
what would you do if Adelita left with a police captain?

Frente al cabo de poca esperanza arrié mi bandera,
In front of the cape of little hope i lowered my flag,

si me pierdo de vista esperadme en la lista de espera,
if i get lost from your sight wait for me in the waiting list,

heredé una botella de ron de un clochard moribundo,
i inherited a bottle of rum from a moribund tramp,

olvidé la lección a la vuelta de un coma profundo.
i forgot the lesson on my return from a deep coma,

Nunca pude cantar de un tirón
i could never sing all at one time

la canción de las babas del mar, del relámpago en vena,
the song of the sea's foam, of lightning inspiration

de las lágrimas para llorar cuando valga la pena,
of the tears to be cried when its worth it,

de la página encinta en el vientre de un bloc trotamundos,
of the pregnant page in the womb of a globetrotting writing pad,

de la gota de tinta en el himno de los iracundos.
of the drop of ink in the hymn of the irate,

Yo quería escribir la canción más hermosa del mundo.
I wanted to write the most beautiful song in the world.

Joaquin Sabina circa 1999

Joaquin Sabina's last album. The marvelous 2002 release "Dimelo en la Calle" ("Tell me on the Street").. the cover may allude to the cancer that affected him prior to the cd's release.

The return of Joaquin Sabina?

Spanish poet, songwriter and singer Joaquin Sabina (pictured above in 1999) is currently in Mexico for the II Festival de la Palabra (II Festival of the Word- guessing a festival related to literature). He confessed that a battle with cancer three years ago had adversely affected his vocal chords and made him "retired" as far as live concerts (dang! just in time for me NOT to be able to see him!)..according to Sabina his new record, soon to be released, will be titled "Numeros Rojos" ("Red Numbers")..Sabina's illness has also given him time to put together a few books..

For those unfamiliar with Joaquin Sabina he is known throughout the spanish speaking world as perhaps the greatest singer songwriter of his generation. For some odd reason he is largely uknown in the United States even amongst its large hispanic population. Yet in countries like Argentina Sabina's songs are everywhere. Amazon lists some of his albums and I highly recommend "Dimelo en la Calle", "19 Dias y 500 Noches" and the double live album "Nos sobran los motivos". To my mind as of his last album he was the finest living singer songwriter in any language (yes, even Bob Dylan).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Now Playing

Queen's third album Sheer Heart Attack (LP Elektra 7E-1026) released in November or December of 1974...this is Queen's first masterwork and shows them coming into their own.. it was soon followed by A Night at the Opera which conquered the world..even the United States which did not know what to make of Queen- as evinced by the ridiculous contemporaneous review of Sheer Heart Attack in Rolling Stone comparing their use of background vocals to Uriah Heep (huh?) and claiming Queen failed to reach the heights of their first LP (come on it has Killer Queen!)- succumbed: Sheer Heart Attack made it to number 12 on the US charts...

The hits were Killer Queen and Now I'm Here.. the album is the first trademark Queen classic lp (the word eclectic comes to mind) with ballads, rockers bordering on heavy metal (Stone Cold Crazy subsequently covered to great fanfare by Metallica), even campy country rock (Bring Back that Leroy Brown with May on ukelele-banjo) and vocal showcases (my favorite song on the album In the Lap of the Gods directly pointing in the direction of Bohemian Rhapsody)...This album tones down slightly the fairy tale imagery so prevalent in the first two records although Lily of the Valley lyrically ties to Seven Seas of Rhye from the first album..Now I'm Here written by Brian May pays tribute to his and everyone's hero Chuck Berry!.. the rocked up ending includes Berry like guitar and Freddie yelling "Go Go Go Little Queenie wooohhh" (Chuck Berry wrote Little Queenie)...

The engraving of "10-17-74" is on the runoff grooves of this copy of the LP and a shoddy black and white poster with lyrics was addition, per the picture, a dog apparently chewed off one of the corners!..

most people don't realize that Brian May wrote and sang many Queen songs: four written on this one and a cowrite on the heavy Stone Cold Crazy which sounds like a May song but is the first song the four band members wrote together, and that drummer Roger Taylor usually contributed a song or two as did bassist John Deacon...Killer Queen which features one of Freddie Mercury's superb lyrics: "She keeps Moet et Chandon In her pretty cabinet 'Let them eat cake' she says Just like Marie Antoinette"..Great stuff which does not often get the due it deserves!...

todd rundgren interview

some interesting thoughts on the state of music in the modern world can be found at popmatters' interview here

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Condie: "I can't believe this guy... he actually expects me to..."

"Listen Condolezza, forget about Chechnya...lets get down to brass tacks.."

Vladimir Putin and Condolezza Rice met today in Moscow... the expressions on Putin's face- per usual- S C A R Y.. here he is giving his best "I'd like to take you and......." look

quote of the week

"I have never seen him drunk....I like to see every man drunk. A man does not exist until he is drunk...I love getting drunk. Right from the start it is the best feeling."

Ernest Hemingway

source: unpublished documents dated October/November 1923 published in Carlos Baker's 1969 biography Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story

ecuador's president lucio guiterrez has been stripped of his authority by the national congress and fled from the presidential palace via helicopter (reminiscent of argentina's de la rua in late december 2001)..this follows the ecuadorean armed forces' withdrawal of backing for the president and comes after days of unrest on the streets of Quito as segments of the population protested and demanded his resignation (picture- i daresay- conveys the elevated tenor of the political discussion)...ecuador, in this way, will eventually count with another president who if local "custom" means anything will surely meet the same ignominous end... we presciently reported on gutierrez' recent controversial decision- largely seen to have precipitated the denouement- to pack the supreme court (of course with majority approval by the same congress that now conveniently strips him of authority and washes its hands) and remarked on ecuador, like much of the region, being a banana republic..

Vice President Daniel Scioli representing Argentina with class, dignity, and aplomb at Pope John Paul II's recent funeral procession at the Vatican in Rome. Why not do a little tourism on the side? take a few pictures for the scrapbook?: "Protocol? Hey I'm just here as Argentina's official representative since President Kirchner is too disinterested to attend...Protocol? What's that? Thank GOD I got a second row seat"!.. que clase que categoria...

filmfest dc

a little late on this..but still a few more days of films left.. check it out at the official site here

the miles davis film showing tonight (20) and tomorrow (21) at the regal in chinatown at 9 pm looks interesting.. a miles live in 1970 at the isle of wight 38 minute live improv is the backbone of the movie..

Thursday, April 14, 2005

ah..ok one last one for the road

nothing spells C-L-A-S-S-Y quite like south america's libertadores soccer cup...

honestly , forced to choose between europe's champions league and the libertadores cup sometimes one prefers listening to the backstreet boys or drinking tequila... less painful....

the sad story can be found here

HIATUS NOW REALLY KICKED IN! aka tough all over

never mind the bollocks or the johnnie johnson post for that matter..we really are on hiatus... don't ask for posts because i can't go for that no can do...

Johnnie B. Goode No Good No More..

Johnnie Johnson, pianist on Chuck Berry's early sides, and the man for whom Johnny B Goode was written has passed away.. much more to the man the myth the legend and you can get the story here

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

spring break! yaargh!

47west63rd will be on hiatus for the entire week and will be back in bidness on april 20th.. please mark your calendars and check back as there is riveting material currently in pre-production..some hot button stories we will be covering:

is the rolling stones' "get yer ya yas out" the greatest rock'n'roll live album or what? minutes from a panel discussion held at the library of rock...

argentina: a systemically corrupt country doomed to enduring banana republic status? a new study undertaken in argentina seems to lend credence to this sad hypothesis..

the washington nationals: the beefaroni and full scoopage... at last check five victories and four losses including tough away series against perennial division heavyweights florida and atlanta.. THREE come from behind victories in the bottom of the 9th or extra innings!! and wasup with my homeboy jose "the guillotine" the words of michael sembello "he's a maniac maniac action lord".... a full report...

have the italian soccer tifosi "out-hooliganed" the english hooligans themselves? is there an inverse relationship between the blossoming exciting premier league and the drowsathonacious serie A? whats up with some italian soccer "fans" (lazio's following comes to mind) fascination with nazism?

a congratulatory post commemmorating brett wigdortz's recent nuptials to english BABErooney (amazing to check the new york times nuptials page in this past weekend's sunday paper and run smack dab into too long too lost amigo brett)..

whats with the name otto anyways? an expose of otto reich: 1) republican paper pusher bastard emeritus during bonzo and dubya presidencies 2) paid propagandist for overzealous cuban american community and 3) most recently and more to this point out of control "writer" of out and out false right wing story (april 11 national review: "the axis of evil..western hemisphere version")..reading this story blew my socks off and i hope to blow your drawers off too!...

full review of master cellist yo-yo ma's performance at the kennedy center this past monday (april 11)

and more..buah ha ha hahahaha

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

more on newly discovered live coltrane/monk

from this sunday's washington post reliable source:

The set includes "Evidence," "Monk's Mood," "Crepuscule With Nellie," "Nutty," and "Epistrophy." Appelbaum, who also has a jazz show on WPFW-FM, says "prospects look good" for the music's eventual commercial release. "We are optimistic that a record label will secure all necessary permissions and clearances to issue these performances." He added: "It's too good to sit on a shelf."

Monday, April 11, 2005

this was our local Shaw Junior High School Band at the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade this past Saturday (they are pictured here marching down Constitution Avenue) ...

just a gorgeous weekend here in washington dc.. and what timing! with the cherry blossoms in "peak" form and all...

Friday, April 08, 2005

President George W. Bush continues transparent effort to suck up to "religious"

"I think John Paul II will have a clear legacy of peace, compassion and a strong legacy of setting a clear moral tone," Bush told reporters on Air Force One as he flew from Rome to the United States just hours after the funeral. He said he wanted to amend his remarks to add the word "excellent."

apparently, however, it wasn't clear, strong or excellent enough for President Bush to avoid unilateral war with Iraq

"It was a strong legacy," the president said. "I wanted to make sure there was a proper adjective to the legacy he left behind, not just the word clear."

taken from here


i will never ever set foot in camden yards unless it is to watch the washington nationals spank the orioles in a world series!..

per this blogger's description to be found here angelos, with the support of the major league baseball mafia, has made it very difficult and expensive for nationals' fans to watch their games..

here i have reproduced the bloggers description:

I’ve been trying to do a piece on the state of our nations capital, and I’ve finally got enough material and motivation to do so. But ill still keep it brief, be cause that is how we do. Now DC is supposed to getting a baseball team, now they moved them down all fine and dandy but they didn’t have one minor detail in place, a TV deal. Because we all know tv + sports aren’t big in today’s society. So going down to the wire as the season starts the deal was reached, there will only be around 70 games shown in the DC area on the local UPN & FOX channels (owned by Rupert Murdoch). Why? Well because Mr. Oriole, the owner Peter Angelos straight up cock blocked it. He made it so that he had a bit under 100 Nats games air on his newly formed tv network and so he could make a profit (HE ph33rs the completion of the Nats). But here is the curveball, since this is completion to the cable giants Comcast’s own Comcast sportsnet there is no way in hell they will carry Angelo's network. So if you really want all the Nats games your only choice is DirectTV (Also owned by Rupert Murdoch).. Which surprise surprise will generate a monopoly of the DC market for Murdoch but it will put even more money back into Angelos' pocket. Ill go in say it, FUCK YOU PETER ANGELOS (No comment on Murdoch.. his son did start Rawkus :P). And Baseball isn’t even my favorite sport.

Antonio Carlos Jobim Family Sues for Royalties

here's the story

basically the jobim family is suing because after jobim's passing in 1993 the universal record company seems to have allocated all royalties on the jobim songs to a man who translated the lyrics of his songs to english...this is rather insane in itself: why would a record company decide that someone who merely translated lyrics should obtain royalties at the expense of the actual composer of the song?

but what is particularly ironic about this is that the article must be referring to norman gimbel who translated early jobim songs such as "girl from ipanema" and jobim absolutely detested the translations and felt they had done a great disservice to his music!!!!!!! talk about adding insult to injury!

Concert Review-Tori Amos Washington DC April 6, 2005

Tori Amos played to an absolutely sold out house at the Warner Theatre this past Wednesday April 6 as part of her solo tour of intimate venues promoting her recently released album "The Beekeeper"...

The crowd seemed to love the performance..wish I could say the same... Tori Amos is the type of performer that seems to go that extra mile to emphasize and accentuate the Goddess-Worshipper/Subject relationship... any performer that looks to put up walls instead of developing a more genuine and even relationship with her fans is going to make me wonder...responding to calls of "i love you tori" with "i know you do" reminds me of the great Ishtar track "Dangerous Business":

Telling the truth can be dangerous business.
Honest and popular don't go hand in hand.
If you admit that you can play the accordion,
No one'll hire you in a rock 'n' roll band.

Ms. Amos is doubtlessly skilled and talented with the piano -and keyboard, and organ and harmonium and whatever else she needed to prove she can play- and on a few songs played two pianos simultaneously by utilizing one hand and foot for the respective keys and pedals (try to picture that!)..tori amos delivered personal lyrics summoned from an all too well publicized difficult childhood growing up repressed a minister's daughter in the suburban hell hole of rockville maryland

however, i found myself invariably drifting during her songs... the piano playing seems superb, although a bit theatrical, and the singing top notch but i just don't need all that angst!... its just all a bit too for me...

in fairness to ms. amos her audience was delighted and got exactly what they wanted and expected, with the lone exception of an effective and patently obvious cover of "like a prayer"... unfortunately, when the extra cover song is the song that works houston me thinks we have a problem...the usual idolizers and worshippers left content and were overhead saying "thats the thing she is one of the few who can do a cover and actually do it better than the original...".. "oh really says I? you need to take off those headphones and get out a bit more!"...

lastly, tori! do your fans a favor and stop charging them $20 for measly programs and $35 for shirts... and do you really need to hawk all those other trinkets? the "shirt stand" resembles a stand at a persian bazaar!

Surprise: Bruce Springsteen Fails to Stand Up for Average American

Pains me to write these words but ticket prices for the Boss's upcoming solo acoustic "Devils and Dust" Tour are outrageous! In the case of the Washington DC area show in Fairfax, Virginia at the Patriot Center (George Mason University) on May 14 tickets went on sale earlier this morning priced at $78 and $88. This is absolutely insane in the membrain particularly given the venue size.. Although not RFK or Jack Kent Cooke Stadium with 70,000+ capacity the Patriot Center is not exactly intimate with between 7600 and 10000 seats!...(aside: it is disconcerting that the show is being promoted as "intimate"; intimate was the "Ghost of Tom Joad" Tour).. I caught Bob Dylan at the Patriot Center about two years ago and tickets were about $45..Tickets for a recent Bowie concert at the Patriot Center were on the order of $50... when you factor ticketmaster ticketbastard charges even the $78 tickets will be at least $85 for Sprinsgeen....The Boss better be planning to personally serenade each concertgoer!

If Springsteen decided to play an actual intimate venue such as the Warner Theatre or Constitution Hall -venues with capacity around 3000 and superior acoustics- perhaps he could have justified exorbitant ticket prices but for Bruce who talks and sings about average working Americans to charge more than $80 per ticket begs a difficult unpleasant question... Furthermore, the "Devils and Dust" tour will be a solo acoustic show lacking large concert staging costs that accrue when the E Street Band is in tow...

I love Bruce Sprinsteen like a brother, and I take note of limits placed in order to discourage scalping: 1) 2 ticket maximum per individual and 2) tickets for the better seats can only be used by the buyer who must present ID at the show, but on this one Bruce you goofed!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

cool bob dylan story..

this is definetly worth reading.. check here

Kraftwerk LP 1C 064-82 306

Kraftwerk's 1977 LP. Pictured here is the original german release titled "Trans Europa Express".. unlike its more common international counterpart "Trans Europe Express" the lyrics are in German. Afrika Bambaata sampled the title track for their monster hit and first electro song 1982's "Planet Rock"

Kraftwerk will be in Washington DC on May 30 and 31!

May's concert to die for: KRAFTWERK!!!!!!!!

unbelievable! techno/synthesizer/electro/modern rock/keyboard/trance/dance pioneers Kraftwerk, one of the most influential bands in the history of music, are coming to the 9:30 Club in Washington DC on May 30 and May 31... 9:30 club shows as of late have been selling out quickly and consistently so these tickets must be snapped up... Kraftwerk rarely gets out of Germany... a ton of music wouldn't exist without these innovators... much music from the late 1970s and early 1980s that ended up influencing entire generations of musicians is hard to envision without these german krautrockers... for example, David Bowie's pioneering "Station to Station" released in 1976 (the title track is definetly a rip on "Autobahn".. instead of car and highway noises Bowie uses trains..) - its open to debate wether Kraftwerk returned the "favor" with the train themed "Trans Europa Express" in 1977- and the so called Eno triology (my favorite Bowie album "Low"), or Joy Division ("Love will tear us apart") and their successor New Order (the entire "Power Corruption and Lies" album revolves around kraftwerkian synths..)..New Order's lead singer and guitarist Bernard Sumner went so far as to recruit Kraftwerk's Karl Bartos for his 1990s side project the aptly named Electronic..of course, early 80s synth bands such as depeche mode and erasure owe a big dept to krafwerk (vince clarke was critical to both)... Depeche Mode should pay Kraftwerk royalties on their first few albums..

lest i give the impression kraftwerk is only about synths, kraftwerk's early albums "autobahn" and "trance europe express" (a concept album about europe) explored an emerging "european" identity on the title tracks and "europe endless"

the all music guide sums up their reach:

During the mid-'70s, Germany's Kraftwerk established the sonic blueprint followed by an extraordinary number of artists in the decades to come. From the British new romantic movement to hip-hop to techno, the group's self-described "robot pop" — hypnotically minimal, obliquely rhythmic music performed solely via electronic means — resonates in virtually every new development to impact the contemporary pop scene of the late- 20th century, and as pioneers of the electronic music form, their enduring influence cannot be overstated.

check out wikipedia's entry on kraftwerk here

Anyhow, this is exciting- the story from the Pitchfork Media site:

Kraftwerk Announce Tour of U.S., Europe

Rob Kleckner reports:
Kraftwerk have announced a brief U.S. tour beginning next month. In what will be their first U.S. appearances since a stop in Miami last November, the tour will begin in Washington D.C. on May 30. There will be six dates in the U.S., followed by a longer tour throughout Europe, including a number of the major European festivals. Something about seeing Kraftwerk at a place called the Kalemegdan Fortress sounds incredibly awesome-- or frightening. Either way, here's the schedule:

05-30 Washington, D.C. - 9:30 Club
05-31 Washington, D.C. - 9:30 Club
06-01 New York, NY - Hammerstein
06-02 Detroit, MI - State Theatre
06-04 Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre
06-06 Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
06-11 Venice, Italy - Biennale Palagalileo
06-13 Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro - Kalemegdan Fortress
06-14 Sofia, Bulgaria - Palace of Culture
06-16 Skopje, Macedonia - Skopsko Lizgaliste
06-17 Thessaloniki, Greece - Theatro Gis
06-18 Athens, Greece - Lycabettus
06-20 Istanbul, Turkey - Rock Istanbul festival
06-30 Werchter, Belgium - Rock Werchter festival
07-03 Belfort, France - Eurockeennes
07-04 Montreux, France - Montreux Jazz Festival

* Pitchfork Review: Kraftwerk: Tour de France Soundtracks
* Kraftwerk:

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

more on total creamer of discovery..

from the AP hot off the wires:

The library also announced Tuesday the discovery of 55 minutes of tape made by Thelonious Monk's jazz quartet, including tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, in Carnegie Hall. The concert was not commercially recorded. It was found by Larry Appelbaum, the library's jazz specialist and acting head of its magnetic recording lab, when he was making digital recordings of tapes recorded by the Voice of America in 1957 for broadcast abroad.

Can you imagine Mr. Appelbaum's joy?! The man has done all jazz lovers a great service and in one fell swoop justified his salary (assuming this is released and pronto! its been waiting 47 years for release!).. as far as i know there aren't that many live recordings of Monk with Coltrane (Coltrane played with Monk for only a few months- largely at the Five Spot Club- before returning to Miles Davis' first great quintet from which he had been banished due to problems with drugs- a habit he completely kicked btw)..the only live recordings are pretty poor ones at the Five Spot per this review of the Thelonious Monk Box Set: The Complete Blue Note Recordings listed at here and reviewed thusly:

Yes, the sound quality on the live set with Coltrane is poor, but a complaint about that is meaningless. The gig was recorded on a cheap tape deck with no professional quality or intent, and the set is what it is, a find, never intended as a record. But the music comes through all the same, better to be with it than without it.

well if the voice of america recorded this at carnegie hall i think its safe to say this will have been a professional job and will far and away eclipse previously known recordings which are essentially caveman era bootlegs..

the web site found here describes this interesting period in more detail but i liberally reproduce below:

Over 1956 and into 1957 this group (Wolff Note: first great Miles Quintet) released an amazing string of recordings-Walkin', Relaxing, Steaming, and Cooking-that demonstrated the band's complete mastery of the musical language of jazz at that time. It is hardly surprising that both Davis and Coltrane sought new places to go after this group, because it seemed there was nothing for them to do within the confines of hard bop but to continue to repeat the perfection they had attained. Coltrane managed to break his drug habit while playing with Miles, but he relapsed and continued to drink a lot as well. Finally, Davis, feeling that the music was suffering (and perhaps motivated, too, by concern for Coltrane's welfare) asked Trane to leave the group. Davis moved on to make his seminal recordings with arranger Gil Evans while Trane did what he had always done-return to home base in Philadelphia and take whatever gigs were available.

Something happened, though, in 1957, something that can only be characterized as a type of epiphany or spiritual awakening. If you read William James' Varieties of Religious Experience you can see all the signs of a personal epiphany in Coltrane's description of what occurred:

"During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD."

That description is from the liner notes of Coltrane's album A Love Supreme, which wasn't recorded and released until seven years after this event. Yet the intensity with which Coltrane musically conveys the experience is such that it could have happened yesterday. In any case, at this time Coltrane locked himself in a bedroom and consumed nothing but water for a period of several days (less than a week) and went cold turkey from heroin, not to mention alcohol, smoking, and sugar. He was almost completely successful at kicking all his bad habits-he did smoke tobacco from time to time-and from this point on began to develop ferociously as a musician as well as to take on a type of spiritual quest as well, constantly seeking something, though no one, perhaps not even Coltrane, could say just what he was seeking.


Coltrane was now ready to play seriously, but lacked a band of his own. Fortunately, he was tapped by Thelonious Monk to play an engagement at New York's Five Spot Club. The Thelonious Monk Quartet consisted of Monk, Coltrane, bassist Wilbur Ware, and drummer Shadow Wilson. Monk was already known for his Riverside albums, including Brilliant Corners, which he had recorded only the previous year, with none other than Sonny Rollins on tenor (one senses that Coltrane was afforded more than one opportunity by his early stylistic similarities to Rollins). Monk's music was harmonically complex and filled with melodic and rhythmic irregularities that were exactly what Coltrane needed to be playing at that time. The Five Spot gig turned out to be a lengthy one, lasting several months and further cementing Monk's formidable reputation. Those who came to hear Monk play were mostly serious jazz fans, and this gave Coltrane an audience that he didn't have to "play down to". Monk also taught Coltrane a lot about harmonic structure and chords, as Coltrane readily acknowledged: "I would talk to Monk about musical problems, and he would show me the answers by playing them on the piano. He gave me complete freedom in my playing, and no one ever did that before."

Often, Coltrane had to grapple with Monk's tunes on the bandstand without the benefit of supporting piano chords from Monk himself. For when Monk had finished soloing he would "stroll", performing a dervish dance around the bandstand, whirling, stomping his foot, and often conducting an imaginary orchestra. Iggy Termini, co-owner of The Five Spot, recalls:

"I remember Monk doing his dancing bit. But sometimes, after he was through dancing, he'd wander into the kitchen and start talking to the dishwasher about God knows what. Once in a while he'd fall asleep at the piano, and when it was time for him to come in again, he'd wake up and start playing, just like that."

The group didn't record much, but there is available an album of six tracks including "Monk's Mood", "Ruby My Dear", and "Nutty." They demonstrate that Coltrane was beginning to develop what Ira Gitler referred to as "sheets of sound", which is to say that notes were played so rapidly that they could only be heard as "shapes" rather than as individual notes. Coltrane had absorbed the harmonic changes wrought by bebop and was substituting two or more chord changes for every single chord change in the standards and other compositions he was playing. He needed to play more notes to keep up with these myriad chord substitutions, often playing at a rate of nearly a thousand notes a minute. At this point he wasn't always in control of what he was playing, but it did indicate what was to come.

When the engagement with Monk ended, Coltrane was able to return to Miles Davis' quintet

Larry Appelbaum, studio engineer at the Library of Congress, hold the newly discovered tape of a concert at Carnegie Hall November 28, 1957 featuring Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane... can't wait to get my hands on this puppy...(photo courtesy of the ubiquitous strangling AP- they are everywhere, they are the only ones there, they tell you what you should know, and don't you forget it)

Washington DC's very own Chuck Brown

Chuck Brown Go-Go

This past Saturday April 2 I was able to finally see longtime Washington DC music scene fixture Chuck Brown..the so-called "father of go-go".. go-go is considered washington dc's own contribution to music..i've wanted to check him out a for a long time.... he performed at the warner theatre and as part of the volunteer usher program i got to check it out...

never seen such a black show in my life!.. there must have been 10 white people in the crowd... out of i estimate approximately 1750-2000... refreshing to go to a predominantly black show....its so rare to interact with black people in this town... one funny note: when two of the first ladies walked in i told them "the gentleman at the foot of the second aisle will direct you to your seats...".. the woman turns to me and asks "the white guy?"... for some reason that cracked me up..

rarely have i seen a crowd as pumped up for a show... those in attendance where largely chuck brown devotees... singing and dancing along to most every word...there was a ton of energy...

i still don't get what the heck go-go is... from what i could tell its basically a mixture of blues-soul-rock'n'roll-jazz with the notable variant of bongos on which a klip-klop type rhythm is hammered out..still if you took away the bongos it sounds pretty much like soul music to me...even in dc when newspapers describe chuck brown they limit themselves to he is the "godfather of go-go" but they never describe what go-go is.. now if you ask 20 white people what go-go is they will tell you they don't know...

chuck brown is getting up there in years but like many musicians these days he seems to be in great shape... there is definetly a sort-a revolution going on as far as aging... old people no longer seem to act that old! i think i recently heard the phrase "60 is the new 40" and it sure seems true.. through a combination of improved health care, nutrition and exercise it seems that people aren't aging the way they used to in the US...(i take some personal comfort in this..)

chuck brown, from what i gather, played his classics including "bustin loose" and a song about money where he kept repeating mullah.....he began the show with a very bluesy "stormy monday" (the song with the "..eagle flies on friday but tuesday's just as bad.." line)..he also played a song with a "wind me up chuck" chorus for which his web site is named..

the concert promoter got the pricing wrong on this show..$46.50 for any ticket (in other words front row was $46.50 as was upper balcony).. well $46.50 is just too much for most people and this is why the show did not sell out....i think they would have been better off with at least a two tiered pricing system and balcony tickets at $29.99

the show had a sorta urban black party atmosphere... people drinking like fishes...definetly a good time..

here is the wikipedia entry on go-go

chuck brown's official site is here

an NPR story on chuck brown and go-go is here

an interesting article on chuck brown is here

for a history of go-go go here

an article on the violence that became part and parcel of the go go scene (and largely explains its inability to break out) here

Monday, April 04, 2005

Last thoughts on Karol Wojtyla

so much has, is and remains to be written about Pope John Paul II that i am a bit intimidated by the prospect of adding my voice to the din.... still..for some reason i feel compelled to say a few words from my humble vantage point...

Karol Wojtyla is the only Pope I have ever known... I was seven when he became Pope and I can remember no other...i remember from the beginning being aware that he was a more dynamic figure than traditional Popes....he had a more vibrant personality if you will...

it feels strange to me, as i'm sure to many (catholics and non-catholics), that he is gone for in a sense he was always there... when i think of all the changes that happened in the 26 years of his papacy it is remarkable how consistent Pope John Paul II remained...

it is very easy from the vantage point of the United States or the developed world to look down on Pope John Paul II as having been a backwards Pope refusing to adapt to a changing world but the reality is that the world is always changing and what would the Pope mean if he always changed along with it? large segments of the US roman catholic church seemingly believe that much like the US owns and controls the world the affairs of the catholic church ought to respond to their particular nuances in belief...this idea is reminiscent of england's king henry VIII who placed demands on the church and when they were not met precipitated the schism in christianity by setting up the anglican church.. the catholic church has existed for almost 2000 years through empire after empire and the US is a relative new kid on the block!.. the general US party line on Pope John Paul II has been that he was (how strange to write that word "was") quite conservative...

however, when younger, and having lived overseas, i can attest to the fact that the Pope was viewed as an innovator.. certainly by no means "liberal" but Pope John Paul II did adapt to the world and pioneered many facets of the roman catholic church.. the man- and he was a man like you and me- travelled to 137 countries..these trips were very important and served to bring the Vatican closer to the people it supposedly serves..the visits served to promote dialogue and an interchange of ideas between the various national churches and the Vatican... i remember his visit to argentina in 1987, the widespread excitement, and the million people that came out to hear him speak...

he was also a pioneer of sorts in trying to bridge gaps that had emerged between the different strands of christianity and also between roman catholicism and other faiths.. his work in this regard is quite important considering the centuries of infighting that occured... his most important legacy may be his work to heal the important wounds that have existed between catholis and jews since time immemoriam; let us face it: jews and catholics have not gotten along from the time of jesus... some of the catholic church's actions over the centuries with respect to jews have been abominable .. i am talking about, for example, authorizing and encouraging christians to kidnap jewish children from their families and convert them... and while we do not know the full details there has remained a pall over the catholic church with respect to its role during world war II (this is in no way to detract from the good work of many catholic priests during the war)... john paul II's work to heal this rift culminated in his visit to the holy land (modern day israel) when he became the first pope- as far as i know- to visit the land from which jesus came... i think this will live on forever as his greatest action... i am also moved thinking about all that it must have meant to him to be there; one of those feelings words are unable to communicate...

much attention is currently being focused in the american media on Pope john paul II's role in the collapse of communism... doubtlessly, the roman catholic church and soviet styled communism, with its denial of a role for religion, were antithetical and its not surprising they came into conflict... in a sense the US and Pope John Paul II saw eye to eye on the evil of communism but probably for somewhat different reasons... the Pope wished the people's of eastern europe be free to believe in God..

did i have widespread disagreements with the party line during the papacy of Karol?.. affirmative.. i find the catholic church's views on birth control absolutely stupefyingly backwards and frankly almost criminal (particularly in light of the AIDS epidemic).. to continue to refuse to educate the impoverished on birth control and in that manner contribute to the birthing of millions of children into a dismal life boggles my mind... i realize the Pope would seriously admonish me for the words I have written but i stand by them.. i realize he would ask me who am i to judge what is a life worth living... these are serious issues, however, that are deserving of greater reflection within the Vatican... when impoverished single mothers with 11 children in argentina- and all over the world- become pregnant yet again i have to wonder if there is not a better way... the church's view on homosexuality, on women as ministers, on celibacy for priests, and on abortion are all complicated issues...its very easy from the perspective of a man living in the year 2005 to conclude that the catholic church is an instrument of control over people's lives and that the church's decisions in these matters base themselves on extending or continuing this control...more children equals more subjects...

but fundamentally, in spite of these very important issues and concerns, i think Karol was a good and decent man.. he brought joy to hundreds of millions of persons..he fulfilled his duties as Pope ably.. he was the first pope of the telecommunications age and the air transportation age (in its full flowering).. and was able to use these human innovations to reach people in a way that had not been done before... it would have been all too easy for this mortal to in the wake of the assasination attempt on his life in 1981 retreat to the confines of the vatican...or to as the symptons of a strained health (with parkinson's and just about every other problem) manifested themselves- as evidenced by the increasing stoop in his posture, the shaking of his hands, the quivering of his voice- to have elected to pass on his duties... but in the catholic church there is no precedent for that and i think it would have been difficult for pope john paul II to justify taking such action.. after all, as long as God continued to be with him on this earth it would have been impossible for the servant to - in a sense - somewhat, turn his back on him...

of course innovations in science also presented the Pope with new challenges.. when he assumed the papacy the US landmark court decision legalizing abortion was only a few years old... issues of stem cell research are complicated ones that challenge the traditional values of the church.... one can understand how the Pope dealt with this issues based on the context within which he was operating... some see science and the roman catholic church as being fundamentally at odds.. i don't believe Karol helped resolve this..

it is very easy for me to say that i grew apart from the roman catholic church because of its "backwardness"..but who is to say..this is a very convenient line of reasoning...perhaps the real reason has something to do with my own weakness...perhaps not.. i am also reminded of the Pope's virulent reaction in the early 1980s against the ideas of liberation theology which flowered in latin america and served to in some sense politicize the catholic church in order- the idea went- resolve the issues of poverty, injustice and corruption which took an incredibly large toll on long suffering large segments of latin america... it is very easy for me to recoil at the Vatican's reigning in and elimination of liberation theology strands within the church.. these "revolutionary" priests after all are in a sense my heroes and i believe their actions are in line with those of jesus himself... but, again, being the leader of the world's largest religion is a complicated business and the roman catholic church does not owe its existence to conforming to my expectations...... doubtlessly, it saddens me that in latin america i identify the church with an elite/establishment largely responsible for the misery of its people...

complicated issues... and yet... i will remember Karol Wojtyla fondly...

Pope John Paul II at the White House with then US President Jimmy Carter (October 6, 1979). Added: what I love about this picture is that from looking at it one would think Jimmy Carter was visiting Pope John Paul II at his house; such is the power of the Pope that you can see by Jimmy Carter's mannerims that the US President, a spiritual man himself, is in awe..

Friday, April 01, 2005

alvaro alsogaray has passed on

argentine economist/politician "el ingeniero" (the engineer) alvaro alsogaray has died at the age of 91....he was the principal figure of the center-right (economic liberalism) in argentine politics during the second half of the past century..he served as argentine minister of economy in the late 1950s administration of democratically elected arturo frondizi.....he had a profound influence on me my interest in economics/public policy/development and was the first politician i actively supported in argentina's 1987 midterm elections and then in 1989 when he made a third-party run at the presidency.. when i was a teenager i believed that the problems of argentina could be solved by simply applying the correct or "right" economic policies... experience has taught me how naive i was.. but there remains something to be said for policy..its just not nearly enough..particularly in the case of argentina where culture repeatedly ends up trumping policy..

in fact during the 1989 campaign he published his plan for government "bases liberales para un programa de pais 1989-1995" (liberal guidelines for a national program) which I remember reading avidly (and which amazingly i see is still listed at's policies where very influenced by the austrian school and he always liked to link himself to these economists and to statesmen like the first post WWII german chancellor konrad adenauer who presided over the german reconstruction from a pile of rubble to a newly ascendant economic effect, i think he always aimed to try and accomplish the same for argentina but he was unable to inspire argentines to empower him...doubtlessly he was not nearly as good a politician as he was an economist......when menem took over power in 1989 he slowly co-opted alsogaray's program and in effect absorbed alsogaray's followers.. the only problem is that menem did not pay much heed to the need for limited non-instrusive government with effective political institutions...

alsogaray is associated by argentines with the ill results of the menem years... and let us not even talk about his daugther maria julia alsogaray who is widely viewed as some rasputin like evil witch.. he is unfairly maligned in argentina and has always been portrayed as a rather heartless fellow for sometimes saying things bluntly....he is perhaps most hated because when he was minister of economy in the late 50s he paid- i believe- retirees with government bonds owing to the fact the government had no money (and he did not want to do what every argentine govt has always done which is simply print more money leading to inflation which takes away from everyone).. some retirees sold their bonds quickly at a loss.. my understanding is that those that held on did allright but of course its quite contentious to give bonds to retirees... during this tenure as minister of economy he uttered the classic phrase about "we need to go through winter" (hay que pasar el invierno) meaning some tough choices had to be made.. basically, he earned the enmity of most argentines.

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