Monday, May 25, 2009

Click for great pictures from San Francisco's Carnaval parade. Did I go there? No, I hung out here, but the pictures are great. I'm glad I live here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tippy, at long last, considered

Kenneth Rexroth said that an artist is either self indulgent or generous.

So, I saw Tippy Canoe a couple of weeks ago. She was performing with another heroine of the ukulele, Madame Pamita. I had a real good time and I said some nice things about Tippy. She said some nice things back. She even let me play her beautiful Pohaku Ukulele. It was a real love fest!

My comment that really seemed to please Tippy was that she made me want to do art, to play music. There's something about Tippy as a performer that makes me want to form a band. I couldn't really explain it to myself until I read a comment from her press clippings. Someone from SF Gate described her as, "earnestly pretty".

Earnest and pretty aren't usually words that I would put together. Tippy is certainly pretty. Truth is there is a certain earnest charm to the way she puts her songs across.

See, I stopped going out to see live music for a while there. There were a lot of reasons having to do with me, my problems, alcohol, pathological shyness. I was getting old too. I felt out of place in a room of young hell raisers.

The real problem was aspiring rock stars. I got sick and tired of paying to see people who were desperate for the love, or at least the attention, of a room full of strangers. Some of them were talented, and that helped, but plenty of them brought nothing more than a desperate, creepy need. I got plenty burnt out on people whose entire performance consisted of, "Lookitmelookitmelookitmelookitme",

Lewis Mumford said that the stages of maturity in an artist are,

1.) Look at me

2.) Look what I did

3.) I have something to share with you

4.) I have something to give you

Here's what I liked about Tippy. She has come to believe in what she does. She wants you to listen, but she also wants you to dance. She wants to give you something and she wants it to take you. Here's where "earnestly pretty" comes in. The night I saw her, she looked out at her little audience and she really hoped that we "got it".

I'll repeat what I said in my earlier post. Tippy's CD is a lovely little art nouveau package. It's a pleasure to look at and a pleasure to listen to. Buy it here.

Mass Transmissions- Tippy Canoe and The Paddlemen

Have you ever wondered why God made the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex with such tiny forelegs? They allowed T Rex to play the ukulele. The most convincing proof of intelligent design I've heard.

I'm back online with some misgivings. During my few internet free days I had more free time than I have had in years. Things got done effortlessly and I almost got enough sleep. I'm looking to cut way, way back on the internet. If you are one of the the two or three people who have blogs and read this thing, no fear, I will continue to follow your adventures.

Once again, it's Sunday and I don't feel like going to church. I am, however concerned about the fate of your eternal soul. Towards the salvation of your eternal soul, I present the following:

First, Jesus is friends with artsy, gay, New York City heroin addicts.

Jesus- The Velvet Underground (buy)

Second, Jesus is drinking in the back of the bus.

Get Right With Jesus- The Yayhoos (buy)

So look, am I serious about this Jesus stuff? It's like this, yes I am entirely serious, but no, you don't have to take me seriously. I am absolutely for sure that Jesus hangs out with artsy, gay New York City heroin addicts and guys who drink in the back of the bus.

Do me a favor Jesus, take your empties with you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I'm going to try and take a little break from the internet. Give the brain a rest, don'tchaknow. Here's two songs about tired brains.

I've always disliked Hank Williams Junior. This isn't my favorite Yayhoos song, but it does include the words, "Somewhere in Colorado/ There's a chunk of Junior's brain", which makes it my favorite song about Hank Junior's damaged brains.

Monkey With a Gun- The Yayhoos (buy)

This is one of the first "real" punk songs I ever heard. I mean, it was independently released and it didn't get played on the radio, unlike, say, Elvis Costello, who was considered punk at the time. Elvis wrote some good songs but he never screamed "Jackie! Hold onto his brains!"

November 22cnd, 1963- Destroy All Monsters (buy)

Click Here for a fabulous history of Destroy All Monsters.

I'll be back this weekend with an appreciation of Tippy Canoe, some thoughts on Madame Pamita and a consideration of where exactly Joey Shithead fits into all of this.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This woman looks disturbingly like my mom, circa 1960-65. She had a ukulele, but it did not have the Arthur Godfrey automatic chord button device.

Mama Was A Rock- Kay Adams and BR549 (buy)

I would highly recommend buying the Rig Rock Deluxe collection. Rene down at Sam's For Play Cafe gives me a kiss on the cheek every time we meet up because I burned her a copy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Tippy Canoe & The Paddlemen - "Mass Transmissions" (2009) from Skizz Cyzyk on Vimeo.

I got the nicest email from Tippy Canoe. I promise to write something about her soon. You can watch this while you wait.

Plot spoiler

I saw the new X men movie. Wolverine is Canadian.

Talent Is A Vampire- Bongwater (buy)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If I ever get around to it, I'm gonna change all of those imeem files into mp3 files. Yessiree. Tonight, however, I am hoping to change the sheets before I collapse across the bed. The good news: I still have a job. The bad news: I have to go to work. 

Big Bed Bug Blues- Tommy Settler (buy)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's Sunday. It's noon. I got up a while ago, thought it over and went back to bed. In lieu of religious services I would suggest meditating, or jumping up and down, to this Buddy Miller tune. I don't think Buddy found Jesus at the Azusa Street Revival but he found Him all the same. A virtual baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Buddy Miller- Don't Wait (Buy)

How did she know?

Annie Ross tells the story of my childhood. You too? Too cool.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Memento Mori

I'm in a gloomy mood today. I might be coming down with something or it might be that the weather is dismal. Either way, I'm tired and things refuse to come into focus. I've been trying to put together a little piece on Madame Pamita and her place in the context of California: the land where genuine mysticism, outright hucksterism and show biz meet and greet. All this inspired by a book and lecture by Erik Davis. I guess it will happen when it happens.

When I was about sixteen years old. I attended a reading by Allan Ginsberg. It wasn't just any reading either. He read to a rather small group of young people at the Paterson, New Jersey public library. Ginsberg was in town, visiting his father, Louis, when some local hippies managed to talk him into giving a reading for whoever they could scrounge up. Word went out on the radio and thirty or so kids showed up.

That reading changed my life but it changed it very slowly. I wasn't struck by lightning and thrown from my chariot. Somehow, Ginsberg, his writing, his Buddhism and the example of his life, kept coming back. Considered as an American literary figure he seems larger than life, and a bit ridiculous. Trailer dwelling bus drivers do not, as a rule, look to Allan Ginsberg for inspiration. The thing is, I sat at his feet. I bumped into him in the hallway. I know perfectly well that he was a human as me.

One of the great mistakes of my young life was falling for the academic shuck. The tragedy was compounded by the fact that I "have a learning disability". Which is a way of saying that I cannot learn anything by sitting in a room being mumbled at by someone who has made it his business to drain the life out of things. I am unable to attain the heights of academic rigor and for years I was deeply ashamed.

I know that there are brilliant minds out there, people who can jump through the hoops of academe and then use the institutions of higher learning to bring their insights to a public that thirsts for knowledge. The sad truth is that possibly as many as two out of eleven academics are cynical hacks. Professor, perhaps one of them is your colleague?

Coming from the outside, it now appears to me that academic criticism sets out to prove that:

1) Your favorite artist is not as good as you think he/she is

2) Their art does not mean what you think it means

3) It's all very derivative and not at all original

On top of that, there's the whole business of The Canon and what belongs in The Canon. The over all intent is to tell the lover of art that he/she is a fool, that life is a dreary business and the facts are the facts.

I felt foolish, but immensely relieved when I figured it out. Today, I am feeling old and tired. I know this house is not meant to stand forever. I also know that James Brown really did give more than any man could, that he really needed to be wrapped in a succession of capes and led from the stage, drained. I know that Jerry Lee Lewis really did arrive on the midnight train from Mars. I know that William Blake conversed with angels and poets of all ages. I know that he was tutored in engraving by the ghost of his brother. I know that Bill Wilson and Lodowick Muggleton were both touched by the hand of God and permitted to reveal great truths by His divine mercy. I know that Allan Ginsberg was a prophet whose mission was to reveal that divine mercy and that I was blessed to sit at his feet.

From time to time, I have to pause and explain the name of this blog. It is an allusion to Ed Sanders' mimeographed journal, "Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts". Ed really is the hardest working man in poe-business and when he is led from life's stage he will be wrapped in glory.

Ed Sanders- Song For Allan(buy)

Paterson as seen from The Great Falls. Notice the angels in the treetops.

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