Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Until Werner Weiss updates Yesterland (how long has it been, like two years?), I'll just have to make due with a glimpse of Fantasyland in 1974.
In the ongoing effort to shove my mix disc, "it's a groovy day", down the collective throats of scrubbles readers, I've created a couple of liner notes pages with fun facts about each song. For the three people who would care, check it out - it's got photos and everything!
A lively British article explains how, over there, the obituaries became the hippest section in the paper.
Monday, April 29, 2002
Vintage Infocom games that are playable online, via Bradlands. Gawd, how many hours did I spend at the family Commodore 64 trying to solve Suspended? I never did finish that game.
Saturday, April 27, 2002
Mini reviews of Burn Baby Burn and other mixes I've received lately follow. I must say that these BBB participants utilized the summer theme really well. Now I feel guilty about completely ditching said theme and just sending out the Spring mix that I was working on at the time. As soon as the temps go past 110, I'll be in the mood to make a more appropriate mix.
... and the living is easy (Patrick) - Eclectic, baby! This one goes from swing to calypso to cornball '70s pop without losing its effervescence. Patrick gets bonus points for putting a breathtaking photo on the cover/label (an endless azure sea). Kool Kut: "You're the One that I Want" Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta
Girls of Summer (Duane) - Duane runs an all '80s internet radio site, so I knew what to expect. His enjoyable mix errs toward that decade's delicious obscurities. Sure, everybody's heard a-ha's "Take On Me", but what about the (even better, IMHO) follow-up "The Sun Always Shines on TV"? KK: "Dear God" Midge Ure
Hot Summer Night (Ron) - Hot is right. Ron has a knack for picking '80s songs that are especially nostalgic of that decade for me. This one has a sensual "night" theme. Remember "Into the Night," a.k.a. "If I Could Fly"? KK: "Twilight" Electric Light Orchestra
Lazy Summer Sundays (Jillian) - To me, Jillian's disc says "summer" the most: an hour plus of exquisite, well-chosen folk and jazz that go down like a cool glass of lemonade. KK: "Folk Song" The Sundays (duh!)
Liza's Wedding (Bill) I dig this. Campy tunes about love and marriage from Broadway performers, past and present. Even Liza wih a Z herself gets into the act. Fun! KK: "There's Gotta Be Something Better than This" Sweet Charity OCR
One of These Things (Aldo) In response to a Sesame Street post I made last month, Aldo sent a custom mix of number-, letter- and school-related songs - complete with the Count on the cover. How could anyone not love something like that? Heavy on the rare remixes, too. KK:"I Got My Education (radio remix)" Uncanny Alliance
Pucker Up! (Chris) Chris' disc simulates a night of hot and sweaty clubhopping, no doubt in the life of a certain weblogger who lives in downtown Phoenix's finest historic distric. First half is party-hearty dance, second half is a mellow "chill out" program. Neat idea. KK: "Last Goodbye" Jeff Buckley
Spring Break 2002 (Max) I guess hanging out with teenagers all the time has its advantages. Without Max, I would never know what the kids are into these days. Slick, uptempo mix includes some fantastic retro disco-ish tunes. KK: "When You're Looking Like That" Westlife
A Summer Wasting (Diana) - This one opens with the one-two punch of Alice Cooper and Belle & Sebastian, and never lets up from there. Sweet. KK: my favorite Smiths song ever, ever, ever.
Friday, April 26, 2002
Happy birthday to Bill - you're the National Gallery, you're Garbo's salary, you're cellophane!
Chris pointed me to 5inch, purveyor of hip preprinted CDRs and other goodies. On a similar note, the funky Vinyl Killer (via Slatch) has to been seen to be believed.
It's interesting to note the changes since Rogert Ebert wrote Not Being There, on how the film industry was catering to TV viewers, for the Atlantic Monthly in 1980. 22 years on, the theatergoing experience has gotten more television-like, with smaller screens and a compromised picture and sound quality. On the other hand, televisions have become more sophisticated. And Mr. Ebert has since embraced home video - first Laserdiscs, then DVD - even if he still likely feels that movies are best experienced in the theater. I would love to read what he thinks in a follow-up piece.
Thursday, April 25, 2002
The person who runs the charming Axis of Aevil weblog posted a recipe for a jello aquarium. It involves blue Jello, fruit cocktail and candy fish. I have to try this!
Drawings by Florence Saville Berryman - a lovely window into the early 20th century. Via Travelers Diagram.
A fairly decent picture of me at a picnic excursion I had with the gang at work yesterday. This was at a farm/restaurant in South Phoenix. Some roosters ambled by our lunch table after we finished and we fed them leftovers. Somebody (not me) tossed them some chicken bits. Sick, I tell ya, sick!
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Yesterdayland interviews Quentin Tarantino, who prattles on entertainingly about the pop culture of his youth. Iím not surprised that he hated Scooby Doo. Scooby Doo was odd in that it was something kids watched all the time, even though nobody particularly liked it, since it was so stupid and formulaic. The only episodes I recall positively were the special guest star ones (Mama Cass seems to pop out) and the one set in an ice cream factory haunted by chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ghosts.
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot comes out today. Pitchfork gave it its highest rating. I doubt there's a music reviewer anywhere who'll willingly pan the disc, after what happened to them with their former label (the story is nicely capsulized in the Village Voice review). I'd buy it just for the lovely cover art - a photo of Chicago's fab Marina Towers, affectionately referred to by locals as the corn cobs.
Ha ha moment of the day: the domain of scrubbles.com has been purchased - by a carpet cleaning company! I noticed the name was no longer available last fall, and now an unfinished website resides there. Good luck to them (disclaimer: scrubbles.net does not endorse scrubbles.com). BTW, their splash page gives new meaning to the word "Flashturbation".
Monday, April 22, 2002
Some interior photos: at left is the corner of our living room. We love our George Nelson bubble lamps. The round one is new to the house, Christopher having purchased it at our favorite Glendale kitsch emporium at a great price. At right, a stylish magazine holder that C. just got today. The kinky combo of lucite and white leather is somewhat Hugh Hefner-ish, but it actually goes well with the rest of our furniture.
Not much else to report, except I watched the Enter the Dragon DVD tonight. Pretty cheezy movie, despite Bruce Lee's obvious charisma. Best was the option to watch with only Lalo Schifrin's funky score on the soundtrack, especially effective on the scene where badass Jim Kelly fights with the Evil Overlord in his office at the island complex. They break through a paper wall into the psychedelic den with giggly pot smoking women that Evil Overlord happens to have next door to his office. You had to be there.
Timeless Mail (thanks, Beth!). When you care enough to send the very best. After you're dead.
Sad. An important International Style home designed by Richard Neutra has been destroyed. Don't miss the slideshow with the article. It hurts to know all that impeccable California swank is gone.
Danny, the gay cutie from Real World New Orleans, talks about life with a Significant Other in the military. Nice guy, but comparing the secrecy in his relationship with Nazi Germany was a wee bit tasteless.
Saturday, April 20, 2002
A nicely organized links page is a thing of beauty.* I've been noticing them more lately, since I've been thinking of adding one to scrubbles - but the idea of building one from scratch is scary. My respect goes out to people who can put together one, since they seem like a logistical nightmare to maintain. Another good linkage example is London Lee, who has three links pages - favourite things, music and design - all of which are encyclopedic but quirky enough to reflect the maker's good taste. Jonno's links page is excellent for the same reasons. And the Ghost in the Machine weblog portal is simply astonishing.
*From Yip Yop, home to a nifty weblog and other whimsies. It's teriffic!!
Friday, April 19, 2002
Gael certainly must have had me in mind when she linked to a Brady Bunch collectibles page on PCJM. "Here's the story, of a lovely paddleball set ... "
The Village Voice has a long article on Henry Darger (which I honestly haven't finished), with a photo of the artist. He looks like the kind of man who would write an epic screed called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is known as The Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. See some of Darger's creepy drawings here.
My nomination for "best song to lip-synch around the house in your underwear to" - "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Diana Ross. Especially the long version.
Another interesting article, about how Frank Capra was ahead of his time in the depictions of journalists and the media in his movies.
A forthcoming Jellyfish box set? Excuse me while I drool.
Wednesday, April 17, 2002
I've been very busy working on a deadline (a life care planning packet for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, because everybody wants a life care planning packet) at work today. Hearing my new Langley Schools Music Project CD during all that hectic work, however, made it much easier. Wow, what an amazing disc - charming in its sincerity; spooky in its sparse, clunky instrumentation. For those who haven't heard of it, Langley Schools is a collective of Canadian schoolchildren recorded in an echoey gym in the '70s. Under the creative guidance of Hans Fenger, they performed cheezy hits of the day such as "Mandy" and "Band on the Run" in a way the original artists never dreamed of.
Viewing the official Langley website today brought a smile. After the disc's unexpected success, several of the original kids have come out of the woodwork with memories. Apparently there was a reunion on VH1 and a second one is planned for Good Morning America. Also check out the fascinating story of how reissue producer (and odd music guru) Irwin Chusid came across this haunting music.
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
The Hip Surgery Encyclopedia aims to be a sort of All Music Guide for offbeat performers like Daniel Johnston. It definitely looks like a work in progress at this point, but still you can't fault a place that boasts complete discographies for both Sesame Street and the Muppets.
I'm a big fan of the supersaturated color photography that made David Levinthal famous in the '80s: enigmatic, large format prints of blurred plastic toy cowboys, horses, and indians. In the high-rise where I work, two Levinthals hang on the fifth floor, tucked away unappreciated in a corner. His more recent work, on display here, is more inconsistent. While the photos of Barbie dolls and blackface collectibles seem very contrived and commercial, he still has it with the Nazi, sex and Western (again) tableaus.
Via Boing Boing: reporter leaves nasty cards on SUVs (targeting the worst ones) that refer to the imagined size of the owner's pee-pee. Then she records the responses. Cruel, but funny.
Monday, April 15, 2002
After weeks of painstaking research by the scrubbles.net team, the It's a Groovy Day track listing has been posted at Art of the Mix. Does anybody want to trade? Let me know.
Salon Masterpiece: "Smells Like Teen Spirit" I remember how bizarre it was when Mennen introduced Teen Spirit deodorant. Did teen girls' armpits have special needs that had never been addressed by the deodorant industry before? Shortly afterward, in the fall of '91, there had been this heavy, catchy tune building a following on alternative radio (back when it didn't suck). I almost lost it when the DJ said it was called "Smells Like Teen Spirit". It felt like Nirvana was sharing a secret joke with me.
Impossibly cute: Library Cats Map, via MetaFilter. The most popular library cat name is "Dewey".
Saturday, April 13, 2002
Let Icons Be Icons: Hattie Carnegie - the latest in Hint magazine's swell series of vintage fashion designer profiles. According to the article, she was once (are you reading, Max?) the Martha Stewart of her day. Love the swank-but-tiny photos.
On a similar but not so similar note, Bill just sent me a copy of Me and Edith Head, a touching chapbook comic by Sara Ryan and Steve Lieben. Also included was this fabbo looking Liza Minelli-themed mix disc he assembled. Neato.
Friday, April 12, 2002
Who can find the lamest petition at PetitionOnline.com? For me it would be either Censorship and Female Nipples, or Bring My Little Pony Back to the U.S.
Thursday, April 11, 2002
Another rant about DVD package design. Sure, there are more important things in the world to complain about, but I hate when the entertainment industry dumbs down its offerings like this. The Ocean's 11 art shown with the article is an appalling example.
Dow Scrubbing Bubble, meet Valisone Cream Man. I used to visit Toy Museum often in my early days of internetting, and I'm happy to find this amazing collection of advertising premiums is still there and as cool as ever. I simply must have an RCA TV Joe plastic bank.
What I dying to know is what went into the creation of Valisone Cream Man.
"C'mon, Thompson, think. For such an effective product, we need something that will grab ya ... "
"I know, let's make it a person covered with disgusting, pus-filled sores!"
Ha! "I haven't seen this much senseless hipster carnage since the Great Sebadoh Fire Of '93."
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Reading Amy's weblog entry today where she mentions weird stuff that the previous occupants of her home left behind made me laugh out of empathy. Things left behind by the previous tenant of my house (besides the DOOR of DOOM, obviously) -
- One sleeper, plaid.
- One oversized metal spindle, once used as a table, with green tablecloth.
- One audiocassette, the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge, sans cover and case.
- Two ashtrays - one glass, another ceramic beige with brown speckles and brown leaf silhouettes inside.
- One aluminum collapseable cup with bas relief sailboat decoration, possibly from the '50s.
- Assorted freebie matchbooks.
- (later on) Mass mailings from cigarette manufacturers and the Trinity Broadcast Network.
Instant bookmark Ė Detail and Pattern, a weblog. Each entry is a simple detail from a painting or design, linking to a large format image of the piece. Beautiful concept. Via Coudal Partners.
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
The Washington Post recently ran a great article on the Trading Spaces phenomenon (via TV Tattle). The author of the piece tries to find heavy sociological signifigance in something that, let's face it, is about seeing whether the participants will totally freak out and cry.
"A new daily section devoted to the wonderful vastness of pop culture and in all its endless forms: books, movies, concerts, DVDs, reissues, lists, etc." We Are The World looks like a promising addition to Pitchfork. Here's hoping it doesnít fall victim to the inconsistencies of Pitchfork's contributors, which range from great to passable to "penned by the best bud of the guitarist in the assistant copy editor's band" awful. I especially recommend Chris Dahlenís clear-eyed review of Da Capo Best Music Writing 2001.
Monday, April 08, 2002
New York Times obituary of Maria Felix, one of Mexico's most popular film goddesses. What a fascinating woman. Her official site appears to be packed with info, but it's all in Spanish. Now I want to see one of her peliculas.
I get a sugar rush just looking at this giant page of Wacky Packages (thanks, Boing Boing!). When I was about six, I festooned the boring, Colonial-style wooden dresser in my bedroom with a coupla packs worth of the stickers. I can distinctly remember three of them - Pound's, Hamel cigarettes, and Valveater - since they stayed on that dresser for as long as I had it, well into my teens.
Sunday, April 07, 2002
Well, we had beautiful weather last weekend. Too bad I spent most of the time inside watching TV. We had free pay channels on the satellite and I gorged myself on cheezy, stupid movies. I tried to make it through a Queer As Folk episode. This is the show about gay people who have gay sex and talk about their gayness in between eating gay food and working at their gay jobs. It sucks. It depicts gay people in the same way the average UPN sitcom mirrors the rich tapestry of African-American life.
After seeing two installments of Six Feet Under, however, I now know why everyone's raving. Wow, what an excellent show. And the gay stuff is handled much better than that stinky QAF. I'll have to rent the inevitable first season DVDs when they come out.
Saturday, April 06, 2002
I'm planning to build a website around some unsettling old photos C. bought while thrifting a few months back. This article (via Excitement Machine) is, coincidentally, about people posting found stuff on the internet, and the ethics of it. Very interesting.
One of the sites mentioned in the article is Found Art, where I found a picture of dead pigs having dinner. Mmm.
Friday, April 05, 2002
Ever the smart shopper, Christopher found some hip, floral patterned plastic dinnerware in a thrift store yesterday. The set of eight plates and a bowl is now listed on ebay. He only spent four bucks on them, and the lot is already up to $38. The designer, Stig Lindberg, is a Swede best known for his ceramics. You can find some of his work on the lovely Scandinavian Accents site.
Cory Turczyn strikes again - The Botton Five 'Complete Idiot' Books.
Oprah decided to discontinue her Book of the Month club (get a load of the lively Metafilter discussion on the topic). Bad news for the publishing industry - especially for novelists who like writing about women overcoming a painful, personal adversity in A) pre-Civil War America B) the Holocaust C) the '70s.
Thursday, April 04, 2002
Salon has a short but sweet appreciation of art director Richard Sylbert, who recently died. The subtle Deco interiors of Chinatown? The monochrome swankiness of the Robinson pad in The Graduate? Both his, and both brilliant.
I just love how the Village Voice has a monthly column devoted to sports uniforms. Sports uniforms! The latest installment is about changes in the new baseball season's offerings.
Bonnie Burton has a bl*g. As someone who enjoyed her stint as a guest bl*gger on boing boing, I'm happy to know that she started one of her own. As with the rest of her site, it's gobs of chewy pop culture goodness.
Wednesday, April 03, 2002
Compare mildly interesting theatrical poster designs with the often unmitigatingly crappy box art of the same movies on video. Add funny, snarky comments and you have DVD covers that stink! Home video boxes must be one notch below generic grocery store products in the graphic design hierarchy.
Rarely Seen Muppets, via Johnok. Apparently Rowlf is to the Muppets what Porky is to the Warner Bros. stable. You figure it out.
Busy, busy busy burning copies of the special scrubbles.net Spring mix disc for certain blogger-trading recipients, the two originators of said operation, and select others. I won't say anything about the track listing (it'll get posted later), except that it's definitely the audio equivalent of reading this very weblog. I almost subtitled the disc "Goofy Old European Divas/Cop Show Themes/Now Sound/Sunshine Pop and the Contemporary Artists Who Love Them".
Ten copies of the cover design were printed before discovering that the website's name is misspelled. Oh, well. It's my hope that those misprinted covers would someday be collectors items, not unlike those early copies of Meet the Baetles.
And how cool is it that Aldo Alvarez, Gay Celebrity made a mix disc especially for me? It looks fabulous, can't wait to hear it. Yours is coming, baby.
Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Did somebody ask about what music's been playing around here lately? Without futher ado ...
Sleeping on Roads, solo disc from Neil Halstead of Mojave 3, is wonderfully mellow headphones music. Halstead sometimes blatantly rips off other, older folkies (Drake, Dylan, Simon), but it's all done with such exquisite care and craftsmanship that I just get lost in the atmosphere. The 4AD site has a downloadable mp3 of the album's best track, "Two Stones in my Pocket".
After two months, I'm still constantly listening to Canto Morricone, Vol. 3: The 70s. It's an import collection of vintage Europop composed by the film score genius Ennio Morricone. Not for everybody's tastes, for sure, but I dig emotional female singers and this has plenty of 'em. Hearing it makes me want to enter "heavily orchestrated '70s Italian housewife pop with dramatic spoken-word interludes" into Audiogalaxy and see what comes up.
I recently bought a copy of Audio Learning Center's Friendships Often Fade Away simply because the band has a link to Scrubbles on their website. Clever, introspective guitar pop with a pronounced mid-'90s feel (I get strong "Weezer's first album" vibes off them). I especially enjoyed "Favorite", a rockin' song about how undeniably great certain rockin' songs can be.
ALSO I've been listening to lots of Astralwerks' recent output because the label has been sending review copies of their discs to me at the newspaper. You see, I've been on their mailing list since back when I was regularly reviewing CDs for the local entertainment rag (1998-2000). Back then, they wouldn't send review copies unless I specifically requested them. Now that I'm no longer an active music reviewer, ironically enough, they're sending me everything - The Chemical Brothers, Air, Playgroup, the excellent compilations Rarewerks 2 and My House in Montmartre, Craig Armstrong, etc. Should I ask them to stop? I say no because I always can write about it on Scrubbles. Besides, Astralwerks is a cool, cool label.
I used to be on Rhino's mailing list as well, but as soon as I told them I no longer was writing music reviews for the paper ("however, I do have this entertaining personal weblog which attracts 200+ readers a day"), they dropped me off the list.
Nifty listening: a '60s tomato sauce commercial (mp3 file) done as lovely Byrds-esque jangle pop, one of several cool old radio spots posted at Basic Hip's Digital Oddio.
Monday, April 01, 2002
Whatchamacallit, the J. D. Salinger of candy bars.
Awesome. Rocklopedia Fakebandica catalogs fake bands and singers in various movies and TV shows. Via the most excellent Travelers Diagram. Read on for the entry on one of my own faves:
Honeybees, The - The women of Gilligan's Island (Ginger, Mary Ann and Mrs. Howell) form this singing group in the hopes that visiting rock band The Mosquitoes will take them back with them to be their opening act. But they're too good and the Mosquitoes, feeling threatened, sneak off the island without them. They sing "You Need Me." From the September 29, 1967 episode, "Don't Bug the Mosquitoes."
Incidentally, Dawn Wells has noted that her Honeybees voice was dubbed by '60s songbird Jackie DeShannon. Natalie Schaefer and Tina Louise used their own singing voices.