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Wednesday, Dec 12, 2007

I’m still ruminating over my insane need for musical variety. Once, when I was in high school, a friend’s girlfriend picked me up in her car to take me somewhere. I don’t remember where we were going—maybe a party or a teen dance night somewhere—but I’ll never forget what we listened to on the drive. She had filled both sides of a 90 minute cassette with the same song taped over and over again: “Burning Flame” by a band called Vitamin Z. Surprisingly enough, I had enough politeness in me then not to deride her choice of music, but I certainly complained vociferously about it later. I asked my friend who was dating her how he could stand it, but apparently he hadn’t even noticed. Hadn’t noticed? Back then it hadn’t occurred to me that there was much of anything else to notice about someone. (I suspect if I had my mind on other things besides music back then, I would have had fewer arguments and more girlfriends.)


At the time, I thought that girl was hopelessly narrow-minded, but since then I have often wondered if she was on to something. I even find myself envying her; she had the secret of being able to know her mind and be satisfied rather than be continually searching. She could find the joy in repetition that tends to elude me, that complacency of which consumerism may indeed train us to be suspicious. Consumerism seeks to instill in us repetitious routines that yield no satisfaction, merely hunger for more, for different.


I find that I am implacably restless in searching for new music, as if I stop discovering new songs, the emotions music evokes in me will also disappear. Of course, my actual experience with listening has proven to me that the music I know best and have listened to the most yields the richest emotional reactions, especially if the songs have become palimpsests of the things I was feeling each time I made a point of listening to them before. Though some songs become unfortunately encrusted with nostalgia, others remain alive and undepleted despite the freight of emotions they carry.


Nevertheless, I still have the fear that the music I know will somehow fail me and that I need to seek more, need to set aside time not for the music I already know can move me, but for the unsorted hodge podge I never cease gathering, hoping that something in that effluvia will inspire. It seems like a terrible waste, but for those unexpected moments when out of nowhere, a album track from some forgotten band delivers an unexpected spark, and it’s like falling in love all over again.


But I am waiting for the day when what I already know will be enough, when contentment won’t seem like a rumor, when I’ll turn inward with what I have and reap the harvest of all that effort of endless accumulation, when I’ll supplant the search for that spark with something deeper, with a feeling more like an eternal flame, I suppose.


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Wednesday, Dec 12, 2007

Prankster and free speech advocate, Professor Kembrew McLeod punked ex-president Bill Clinton at a campaign story for Hillary C yesterday.  Dressed as a robot, he demanded that he apologize for his misinformed comments about Sister Souljah of Public Enemy back in ‘92 when he was running for president.  For his trouble, McLoed got booed at the rally and tossed out by the Secret Service.  See the footage here.


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Wednesday, Dec 12, 2007
by PopMatters Staff
backpack-picnic

This week: What do mystical avatars and automobile posters have in common? Music videos, that’s what. Join Jefferson Splitstream in an episode that documents the emotional creation of the group and the sports car that brought them together.


Every week PopMatters will be offering an exclusive early look at a new episode of Backpack Picnic, an online sketch comedy show from ON Networks.


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Wednesday, Dec 12, 2007

Aaron Sorkin’s signature sharp, snappy dialogue and historically and pop-culturally adroit characters who can pull an educated pun out of thin air, lickety-split, is so much more fun than the conversations we have with most people in everyday, real life. Studio 60‘s lefty sensibility struggles in a period—that is, the present—when the socio-political culture has taken on a frightening hue of red. Among other things, a respectful bow to the artists who briefly walked the halls of the studio before, until succumbing (although not without a fight) to the bulldog bite of the McCarthy era, is given in some form in virtually every episode.  The modern-day equivalent faced by the Studio 60 staff, of course, involves dodging a hail of bullets shot from the Far Right. Naturally, any fan of Sorkin’s West Wing will want this in their collection. One episode serves as a stiff tonic for the all too stiff times we inhabit, these days.


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Wednesday, Dec 12, 2007
by Matthew A. Stern

The layout of Dreams to Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding makes for a disc that’s as much a heartfelt tribute as it is a documentary. Rather than delving a great deal into analysis of Otis’ place in the pop landscape, Otis’ career, starting with the Stax Records story is told through interviews with those close to him. Otis’ wife Zelma and his daughter are interviewed, as well as Steve Cropper of Booker T. and the MGs, horn player Wayne Jackson, and rarely filmed Stax Records founder Jim Stewart, in between footage of Otis’ classic live performances. Instead of pushing technical and conceptual boundaries like Hendrix, the boundaries Redding pushed were ones of feeling, the way he attacked simple love songs with furious soulful sincerity. It’s interesting to think, had Otis Redding lived, how he would have deepened and widened the intangible elements of popular music, its spirit and its soul.


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