Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

The only reason I regretted not going to Bonaroo this year.

Want your mind blown? Check out their cover of “This Land is Your Land,” courtesy of WFMU.

Piangerò la Sorte Mia

Yiri Yiri Boum


In this context, pray interpret the word ‘artist’ in a very narrow sense, and the expression ‘man of the world’ in a very broad one. By ‘man of the world’, I mean a man of the whole world, a man who understands the world and the mysterious and legitimate reasons behind all its customs; by ‘artist’, I mean a specialist, a man tied to his palette like a serf to the soil. M. G. does not like being called an artist. Is he not justified to a small extent? He takes an interest in everything the world over, he wants to know, understand, assess everything that happens on the surface of our globe. [Link]

I discovered Gnonnas Pedro back in the fall, thanks to WFMU.

I love Ellie Covan.

Dixon Place

And you should love her too.

I read over on Colonnade Row that Dixon Place is moving to a larger space on Chrystie Street in October. I stumbled into Dixon Place back in the 80s, when it was Ellie Covan’s storefront apartment. There was the living room, which was filled with chairs and couches that looked like they had been pulled off the street. There was a bathroom in the rear, which Covan shared with the public. There was a bedroom that doubled as a dressing room. Oh, and there was a small kitchenette cut out of the living room, which served as a refreshment bar during intermission. (I remember juice mainly, but one night, when Nicky Paraiso was telling stories and singing Filipino songs, he cooked us all some — what’s Filipino for schnecken?) That was Dixon Place.

When Covan wasn’t at Dixon Place she was often over at P.S. 122. My vividest memory of her there was leading the Dixon Place Ukelele Ensemble, which I seem to recall performed routinely in their underwear, or less.

When they moved to the Bowery I went less often — I do remember Reno performing there, and her spotting me in the front row, and trying to remember how she knew me. (Answer: from Aggie’s). I seem to recall this was also Covan’s home, but it was bigger at least.

Dixon Place should not exist. Larger arts organizations with access to far greater resources fold all the time. Dixon Place has been sustained for over 20 years now through the love of Covan, by her love for her community and by the love they return, with interest. You can make donations on their website: please send them everything you have. Covan, as great a national treasure as we have, will know how to use it.

Jo Stafford Has Died

Rock Me, Sexy Jesus

Gossip Girl Ad

This is so crazy because I was just watching Gossip Girl and I was like: “Oh my god, no one has dinner at Butter!” But then you just called me and invited me to dinner at Butter! It’s totally out of control.

I guess Parents Television Council draws the line at gay-on-cougar sex.

Another video that’s making the rounds at work. A million billion years ago I saw John Kelly at P.S. 122 do a bump-and-grind rendition of “Ride On, King Jesus”; in blackface, no less. Here’s Kelly doing Joni Mitchell.

One More Reason to Love YouTube

The Boston Globe notes the opening night of Tanglewood with clips of past Troyens from YouTube. The last on the list (above) was Jessye Norman’s Met debut in 1983, in the role of Cassandra. Tatiana Troyanos was to sing Dido for the first half of the performances, and then they were to swap out. Troyanos never swapped, but called in sick instead.

I had a standing-room ticket for the first night Norman sang Dido. I had never done standing room before and had no idea what to expect. I found myself in the back of the orchestra in the middle of a particularly bitchy group of Julliard faculty who were there to see “their Jessye.” Standing room got even more crowded at the beginning of Act II, after Cassandra has committed suicide and Norman/Dido comes on stage — the soprano who filled in for Troyanos was appalling; even I, who have a tin ear, could tell she wasn’t hitting most of the notes.

I finally scored a seat at the beginning of Act V, sometime after midnight, but I spent that last act in the eighth row right on the center aisle. This was in the early days, before Norman had slimmed down, and she dominated even a stage as large as the Met’s. Despite her size Norman did not shy away from physical acting — this wasn’t a concert — and when she threw herself on the pyre at the end and belted out her final aria, well, it was a sight to be seen. The ovations were like nothing I had seen before or since. Every seat in the orchestra was still filled, and the balconies seemed packed as well. People flooded into the aisles, shouting, and in the rafters they stomped their feet and cheered. Confetti and flowers filled the air. Rock stars simply don’t have fans that compare to this.

Sun Ra Archestra (1990)

Boing Boing has a link to Conway Twitty and the Residents performing on NBC’s “Night Music.” “Night Music” was a strange and wonderful series. My favorite act: Sun Ra and his Arkestra (above).

In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven
There Were Men and Women

Robert AshleyJohn Barton Wolgamot could easily be mistaken for a fellow patient of Christopher Smart’s. in fact — at least according to Robert Ashley — he was the manager of the Little Carnegie in the 1970s and lived in a hotel on Broadway and 104th Street — apparently, another one of my neighbors. Wolgamot had self-published In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women in 1944. It begins:

In its very truly great manners of Ludwig van Beethoven very heroically the very cruelly ancestral death of Sara Powell Haardt had very ironically come amongst his very really grand men and women to Rafael Sabatini, George Ade, Margaret Storm Jameson, Ford Madox Hueffer, Jean-Jacques Bernard, Louis Bromfield, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche and Helen Brown Norden very titanically.

and continues on — one sentence per page, for 128 pages — until we read:

In its very truly great manners of Ludwig van Beethoven very heroically the very distinguishably Second Coming of Jesus Christ had very ironically come amongst his very really grand men and women to Gregorio Martínez Sierra, Franz Liszt, Oliver Hazard Perry La Farge II, Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin, Madison Julius Cawein, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Edgar Evertson Saltus, André Paul Guillaume Gide, John Van Alstyn Weaver, Richard Henry Stoddard, Walter Dumaux Edmonds, Katherine Anne Porter, Ernest Augustus Boyd, Émile Gaboriau, Felix Salten, Marcel Proust, Diego María Rivera and Gertrude Allain Mary McBrady very titanically.

In 1973 Ashley and Paul DeMarinis composed a setting of the piece for voice, Moog Synthesizer and control electronics. That piece can be heard online, thanks to UbuWeb.