Friday, January 29, 2010

Awake for 43 hours

I've been awake for 43 hours.  Everything is a melty marshmellow mushmouth sunday.  The cats are speaking Special English.  It would all be pretty great if it weren't so terrible. I guess that's true of a lot of things.  But here, since you're up with me, here's an animation test I've just rendered:

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Week of Rockumentaries

It started off a week ago last Saturday. Sarah and I watched Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Sort of a heavy metal rags-to-slightly nicer rags story. It was life-affirming, in a lunkheaded kind of way. Then this Saturday we watched 30 Century Man, the story of the amazing Scott Walker, reclusive 60's crooner turned experimental enfant terrible. This one amazed me, as I had only heard of Scott Walker through Kirk. But he was hugely influential, as it turns out.

Then last night, I couldn't sleep, so I watched (thanks to the magic of Netflix streaming) You're Gonna Miss Me, detailing the life and harrowing times of Roky Erickson, the brainchild behind the 13th Floor Elevators (pioneers of garage psychedelia, complete with a jug player!). This one gave me nightmares. It was more a portrait of a family shattered by mental illness than anything else. But now I totally want to start playing the electric jug.

The Annual 4'33"

Kind of the opposite of math rock, despite the numbers in the title...

Every year I teach this Music & Philosophy class, and I perform John Cage's 4'33".  (This year I played it on a cheap kid's keyboard.)  Then we talk about it.  Today's discussion was particularly lively. 
Here's an mp3 of the performance.

We also listened to some Christopher DeLaurenti stuff, including one of his intermission pieces, which is great.

Sometimes teaching is fun.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Music math is hard!

Check it out, math-pop fans! Jose Bold explains some of his compositional figures on LineOut (the Stranger's music blog).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shaping new space

So here's what we were doing when David did what he did that day. Up until last weekend, we've been making our songstuffs and doing our mindjams in a practice space neighboring another space where a band of friendly but possibly deaf older dudes has been trying to learn a thundering version of Purple Haze, probably since the song was new. So it was time to move into a space more conducive to working, thinking, hearing ourselves work and think, and especially not hearing labored classic rock (and the occasional comically lonesome trombone lesson).

Sometimes the universe gets it right, or we create the abundance in our lives, or shit just lines up in a lucky way: a friend of ours with a huge shop (and a band of his own) offered us a rent-share deal we couldn't refuse.

And so we found ourselves in a luxuriously large scene shop with three problems to solve: concrete is bad for feet, sawdust is bad for gear, and cold air is a drag. Witness the solutions as documented by my telephone:

First, we assemble a drop-ceiling/grid...

...which we suspend from the shop ceiling and cover in "clear" plastic.
(This was when David got on the wrong end of a staple gun.)

We hoist the structure up about 9 feet and begin laying floor.
(Hello, walls.)

Basil pauses to invite the viewer to feast his or her eyes on the majesty of a room within a room.

Hey look! Rob's back with some foam and a measuring tape.

A finished floor holding eight relieved knees under four fatigued faces

Suddenly: artmusikspace!

And with that, we have run out of excuses for not finishing West. We even have extra room to move around and stage our unstageable ideas! Access to dangerous power tools for building impossible shapes! And two whole electrical outlets to power it all! Let's remember to turn off that space heater after practice, dudes.

Thanks to Jason and Jed and Bandylegs Johnson for sharing, and to Dubtrain Pete for the floor concept. Let's all get together for beers and hugs soon.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Song a Day 2009

So, it's a new year. I know, right?

Last year I made 365 pieces of music, one for each day of the year. I've posted a few of them on this blog. Some of them even wandered their way into the "A" oeuvre. Now you can listen to the song I made one year ago today (and for the rest of the year) on my Song a Day blog. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and if you're not careful, you might just learn something.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dirty Dancing: A Review

[What? Shut up! If it has music -- and especially if it has dancing -- then it’s pertinent to this website.]

Now I always knew that this movie was a dance movie, on account of the title. But what I didn’t know until tonight was that it’s also an abortion movie. Its basically Mad Hot Ballroom meets The Cider House Rules. The movie features a pre-nose-job Jennifer Grey as Baby, a rich teen whose family is vacationing at a resort where Johnny (played by the recently deceased Patrick Swayze) is a dance instructor. Johnny teaches Baby how to dance so she can cover for another dancer who needs to get a botched abortion. In the process Baby falls for Johnny and they copulate. He gets fired for it but comes back in the end for a feel good dance party and Baby does a lift.

There were a lot of good dancers (Swayze included), but none of the dancing was good. However, some of the people in the movie could fold themselves in half backwards, with the fold point being in the middle of the back. That’s creepy, but probably helpful in certain situations.

I was surprised when Patrick Swayze suddenly said, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” I knew it was a pop-culture reference, but I guess I’d forgotten it was from this movie. Then I was bugging my wife, “Waitaminute – what does that mean? Was she put in a corner earlier in the movie and I missed it? Is that code for something?”

I found myself thinking: Do these kinds of resorts still exist? I also found myself thinking: I wish I’d gotten to go to Camp Waskowitz. All the 6th graders at Valley View went to Camp Waskowitz, but we moved away in 5th grade, so I never got to go.

In doing my research for this review, I found out that not only was there a sequel (Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights), but a remake of the original is in the works for 2011. The question is, who should play Johnny & Baby?

Here’s some suggestions to get you started:

Harrison Ford & Mena Suvari
Harrison Ford & The Octomom
Eddie Murphy & Eddie Murphy
Patrick Swayze (CG)& Audrey Hepburn (CG)
Alec Guinness (CG) & the blue alien cat-lady from Avatar (real)

Also, the sweet corn chowder from Nana’s Soup House in Fremont is fucking fantastic. I bought a whole tanker of it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Winterfest 2009

Thanks to all those who came out to see our shows!