Saturday, July 03, 2004 at 10:45:47 (EDT)

Nosferatu Cat

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Friday, July 02, 2004 at 12:17:14 (EDT)

This is where your drunken journey ends
They say some 39 million people will travel more than 50 miles from home this weekend (New York NPR is calling it the biggest exodus from the city since 9/11). But I'm not going anywhere! I'll be in my backyard, with the grill a-burnin' and the whiskey a-flowin'. Wanna join me?

We're making actual ribs this time but there will be the usual assortment of other burned junk food too. People are encouraged to bring other chow or beer, or a pair of knee-cymbals. So this thing is scheduled to start at 9, but people keep giving me a hard time about this. Apparently 9PM is too late for a barbecue. But I thought New Yorkers always dined late, unless they were seeing a Broadway show. Anyway, if waiting til 9 will seriously throw off your timing, you can come earlier. We still need to run out and get some stuff but by this afternoon we'll be ready to go. You can come over and pick mulberries off the cat.

If you can't make it to this thing, I will be available for autographs either at the Al Duvall show on Saturday at Freddy's or at Prospect Park on July 4th, somewhere near the Picnic House thing. Past experience has proven that I will run into at least one person I know whom I haven't seen for years. Something about that space, maybe 50 yards in diameter, it's like a Bermuda Triangle for lost friends. But only on the 4th. I find that much more heartening than annoyingly loud fireworks or false patriotism.

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Thursday, July 01, 2004 at 11:33:29 (EDT)

Another busy day for the cut-out witch
So Freddy's double-booked the night last night, so a band showed up just when the Spelling Bee was about to get under way. I'm not sure why the band took precedence, they weren't listed on the calendar. In my experience, the guy who does booking is almost never in the bar during shows, leaving it to less-than-authoritative barr staff to handle discrepancies. For instance, I went to Don Hill's once because the ad in the Voice said Naked City would be playing. When we arrived, there was some kid of metal band playing to precisely nobody, so we asked the bartender if Naked City would indeed be performing. He said he'd check and then I spied him in the back, leafing through the same issue of the Voice I had seen. After finding the ad, he returned saying, "Yep, Naked City, here tonight." Of course, the opposite was true. So I'm not sure how the unannounced band convinced the bar to let them play over the spelling bee. But quite a few people turned out for the event, so should another one be scheduled (perhaps at a location more dedicated to the art of competitive spelling), I'm sure it will be well-attended.

Back to important subjects, like Cats in My Backyard. I keep trying to get some pictures of Mr Bones doing something other than just sitting in the back yard, but the only other thing he does is chase the other cats. He gave Freddie the Stray Cat a really hard time yesterday, resulting in a prolonged screech-fest.

Mr Bones has made himself the Backyard Checkpoint Charlie

Patio Panther

This looks so suburban

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004 at 12:56:08 (EDT)

Houses of the holy
Last night was Adrian's last night in town for a while, as he and his lady are spending the next two months in Europe. Must be nice. I attended the screening of the short comedy film he shot, one in a series of something like 15 short films whose collective theme was "Divine Intervention." The film he worked on, about a woman who was getting married to a Minion of Hell, was really funny, even though he had problems with how it was edited. Of the films we watched, his was by far the best. The other films ranged from tepidly humorous to downright offensive, namely the one that decided the Holocaust is great material for comedy. Yikes, that was bad. I did get to meet Jinners, whose blog is a really good resource for finding out about bands in the city. She somehow seems to be at every show, sort of like Jolly McFie, but not as creepy. She says tonight there shall be a good show at Rothko, with the Winter Pageant.

When we could take no more unfunny film work, we went to a swanky apartment in Brooklyn Heights where a friend of Adrian's is housesitting. It was full of knickknacks:

Adrian is working on a new band with some of the guys who were there last night. A couple of them are in another outfit called Nightmoves. They're reportedly really good, but when I googled the name, all that came up was a bunch of Bob Seger cover bands. I hope that's not what they do.

Then we went to Maggie's birthday in Boerum Hill. I met her last year but don't really know her at all, but I do so enjoy going to parties to which I was not invited. Anyway, I need to do some further research, but since she is a painter/illustrator, I suspect she is the same person whose artwork appear in the latest issue of the Brooklyn Review that I put together. Somehow this never occurred to me before. Makes me wonder how many other people I know who I think I don't know, but actually do know. Yeah.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004 at 12:11:10 (EDT)

I pick 'em clean
I forgot I took some pictures the other night at the Al Duvall show at Hank's Saloon. It's so lovely to have a camera so small I keep forgetting it exists. Anyway, Al played after these punk rock girls did a piercing set of acoustic punk rock (their drummer and/or bass player could not make the gig). While Al was playing a kazoo solo and Andy tapped on spittoon and a hamster wheel (that's a goat beanie baby inside it I think), I realized his music is wayyyy more Punk Rock than the previous act. The song tradition that comes out of the ramblin' vagabond is by definition below the sightline, so it can never be popular in a mainstream way. And of course the lyrics concern the mostly illegal (or at least immoral) activities of murderers, corrupt law officials, ether-inhaling dandies and women of ill repute. This material The Electric Eels would have appreciated. In fact, everything about his act is Punk Rock, except for the music. Which is sort of Punk Rock in the way it's not doing that whole 'Punk Rock' thing. This make sense, I assure you.

Hey, here's a guide to Hobo Signs & Symbols!

Note hamster wheel and ancient beer can

Who's that in the crowd?

Hobo songsters love their hooch








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Tuesday, June 29, 2004 at 14:04:46 (EDT)

Justice comes in spurts
So this court decided that the law on the books attempting to keep minors away from Internet porn is unconstitutional, from a free-speech point of view. Hooray! Porn for everyone! Now, far be it from me to cast aspersions on this decision, I'm all for it. But now it has me thinking: why is it the only issues that get put up on the Constitutional chopping-block are cases like this? I mean, stuff like pornography, tobacco advertising, the KKK, NAMBLA? Of course, the incendiary subject matter makes for increased public attention, but it's always these at-least-vaguely distasteful issues that go to trial to illustrate our First Amendment rights. Like when Larry Flynt was getting hauled into court all the time for obscenity. When he won he said, "If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you." True, but do these cases really help people with legitimate free-speech rights? I feel like I never hear about a person, in a wholly righteous position, getting shut down by the Establishment and using these more lurid precedents as the basis for fighting the Power. It's not that these cases shouldn't continue to go forward, it's that it's starting to feel like this is the only kind of victory we can hope to achieve.

I suppose I should look at these court decisions as evidence that free speech is alive and well in this country. But considering the tone of the political climate here in the past few years, more and more these slight victories feel like Bread & Circus. They throw us a bone about the trivial stuff, but meanwhile real personal freedom continues to be viewed with ever-increasing scrutiny. But hey, at least we can diddle the night away!

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Monday, June 28, 2004 at 14:37:29 (EDT)

A E I O U sometimes Y
I haven't been able to see Fahrenheit 9/11 yet, so nobody tell me how it ends! I'd like to see it this week, but things are already stacking up. Tuesday, there's a showing of the film "Divine Intervention" at Freight, which features some filming work by my pal A. Wednesday is the Spelling Bee at Freddy's, hosted by wealthy gadabout Josh Reynolds. For an entrance fee of $1, you can participate in the bee (bee? where did they get that? since when is a 'bee' a contest? spelling, my ass), and to the victor goes the spoils, that is, the pool. I'm not sure how this differs in legality to a back-room poker game, but if the cops want to bust it they won't have far to walk (the precinct is right across the street, folks!). Peppered throughout these events is our regular band practice, ever-more necessary since we're supposed to be recording again very soon. Which means I need to write some damn words to the new songs I wrote. I have one that seems to be about the psychology behind why people obsessively play the lottery at the liquor store on my corner ("You got to be in it, to win it!"). I need subject matter for the other ones. Perhaps I shall be inspired that our city just past another restriction on cigarettes, namely that all smokes sold here must now be 'self-extinguishing.' I know, I know, nobody wants to hear about how a lit cigarette burned down the Invalid's Orphanage, but how often does that really happen? The law won't make much difference to me, but it just seems like they're doing it because, like our former President, they can.

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Week of June 27 - July 3, 2004

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