Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I Can Hear the Bones Creak

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect going into The Fall's show at the Varsity Theater Monday night. Having only started listening to them a couple years ago, and having been alternately regaled and warned about their live shows, I was prepared to be any of the following: underwhelmed, turned off, smitten by Mark E. Smith's seemingly irresistable sex appeal, or smushed by overly aggressive dancers. As it turned out, none of those four possibilities unfolded -- instead, I was amused, entertained, energized, and more than a little dance-happy, as my Fall-lovin' roommate Mark points out in his review.

Backed by his wife and three adorable young'uns, Smith ambled out on stage for the first song looking like a cross between a mini-Lurch and an 80-year-old man attending his wife's funeral. But let me tell you, he designed a perfect set list for a new (albeit well-informed) listener. The trio of "Theme from Sparta FC," "Mountain Energei," and "Wrong Place, Right Time" had me exercising my vocal chords and Achilles tendons. When the official set ended with "I Can Hear the Grass Grow," it felt like the certain high point of the night -- until the band launched into "Mr. Pharmacist" during the first encore. Yipes. The red shiver of excitement that coursed through the crowd was nearly visible. Sure, I didn't know either of the two songs in the second encore, but by that point it didn't matter since I was, well, not smitten, but certainly charmed by Mr. Smith. He and the kids managed to pull off a damn fine performance with no discernible arse-like behavior. One of my all-time favorite gigs. (And not just cause it was so fun watching Mark's excitement grow as the concert approached...though that was pretty happy-making too.)

P.S. Despite Mark's assertion, M.E.S. most definitely was not sporting a soul patch.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Return of Arkanoid

Let's play catch-up:
  • While the recent Drive-By Truckers show was pretty entertaining (particularly that humble lyrical genius Mike Cooley), the most exciting thing that happened all night was discovering that First Ave has Arkanoid! I played two disappointing games before walking off wistfully, remembering my brick-conquering days of yore.

  • As Mark reported earlier, I am extremely pleased that the interior of the new Central Libe does not take after the rather underwhelming exterior of the building. The pseudo-industrial look manages to be both utilitarian and homey, what with the cool niches and all: a fireplace, Teen Central, piano rooms and a kids section that welcomes you with mechanical fireflies (or were they dragonflies?). Not to mention the overwhelmingly magnificent mystery section, situated conveniently next to the DVDs -- where I spotted The Umbrellas of Cherbourg only to have it snatched from under my nose (sort of). Anyway, big thumbs up for the opening event and the building itself.

  • Thanks to the above library trip, I've been scarfing down books like they were chocolate covered pretzels. Especially graphic novels: Persepolis and Persepolis 2 were eloquent, touching memoirs of Marjane Satrapi's youth and adolescence in Iran and as an Iranian in Austria; Box Office Poison is pure addictive soap operatic trash, but I love it. Next on my list: Cara Black's second Aimée Leduc mystery, Murder in Belleville.

  • My Mom has a blog! She's so cool.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

She Is Still Woman

Helen Reddy was giving an interview this morning as part of publicity for her new autobiography. Asked during the interview about the current state of feminism in America, Reddy stated she was a little concerned with how "everything" was going right now. Code for: Bush and his cronies suck.