Monday, July 30, 2012

Vintage X-tal videos!

A special treat: we just posted two videos of X-tal from 1991 on YouTube. Produced by the band and put together by X-tal guitarist Jimmy Broustis and original Bedlam Rovers lead singer Lil' Mike, these were the only "official" videos made by the band in their lifespan. Unfortunately, their label at the time did not share the band's enthusiasm and these have remained underground until now. It's a time capsule!

X-TAL and their fellow travelers:
J Neo Marvin: Vocals and guitar
Jimmy Broustis: Guitar
Allison Moseley: Bass
Mick Freeman: Drums and vocals
Carrie Bradley: Violin on White Rat
Jeremy O'Doughaill: Mandolin on White Rat (not in video)
Mitzi Waltz: Ex-bassist (visible in a few shots in White Rat video)
Early D and Pat Thomas: Guest actors in White Rat video

Lil' Mike fills in some details:
wow...this video is legal drinking age! the original was made by Jimmy & I at Artists' Television Access on Valencia in a lil'' VHS dubbing room and we drove around collecting the footage on an 8mm video camera...then a buncha copies were dubbed in SF at some SOMA dubbing house by this was dubbed off a an old 2nd or 3rd generation VHS copy ... lotsa clips taken from extinct clubs...Mick's double drum shot ala Song Remains The Same was actually the mirror behind the stage at the ol' Oasis... the rehersal footage of course with the Bulimia Banquet graffiti was in the basement of the Chameleon...Earl & Pat Thomas clip was shot in my backyard on Harrison across from the ol' Army St projects, i think it was supposed to be Jamaica or Haiti or something...the last closing shot with Mitzi Waltz grabbin' the mic was onstage at the Kennel Club...

Where are the sober adults?

An analysis well worth reading, although those who need it the most will probably just get offended at being picked on by meanie liberals. As for the sober adults, I think most of them now constitute the right wing of the Democratic Party, which is yet another reason this country can't get anything worthwhile done.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Man Without Qualities

Excellent article in The Stranger about the strange, goofy man running for President this year.

Try watching a Romney speech sometime. "Robotic" isn't the right word, really. The man exhibits a peculiar discomfort badly covered by breathlessly fake enthusiasm. He's like a cross between Richie Rich and Willy Loman. You can just smell the flop sweat.

If the silos of money Republican donors are pouring into this campaign actually succeed in electing a candidate nobody likes, I will be surprised. I don't think even Citizens United can save his sorry ass. He makes George W. Bush seem poised and dignified in comparison.

Franken salutes Davis

Warning: You may need to fast forward a bit at the start to avoid hearing Joe Lieberman's hideous voice.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A subliterate bunch of guys

Since Mitt Romney made that wonderfully enlightened comment about how he (unlike that other guy whose father came from a more-recently-liberated former British colony than our own) truly understands our shared Anglo-Saxon heritage with the UK, I tried... best... find John's own original version of this Mountain Goats classic on YouTube...

...but to no avail.

And I had thought this song was relatively obscure! Gentlemen, I commend you all for your excellent taste.

Since the Mountain Goats' definitive version is nowhere to be found, here's something else that will put a chill up your spine:

Pissing off the right people (and others as well)

Phil Nugent writes a thought-provoking obit for Alexander Cockburn, including some delicious barbs aimed at also-departed former colleague and rival Christopher Hitchens. (The link to Cockburn's own obit for Hitchens is worth following, and I think he got it right, and I admit to having once been one of those anarcho-fanboys who bought that damned Mother Teresa book.)

Cockburn was a smart, funny, provocative and sometimes just-plain-wrong curmudgeon, but always an essential read, and his old Press Clips column in the Village Voice was the unsung ancestor to all those snarky lefty news-deconstructing blogs I can't face the day without. Someone (I'm not holding my breath expecting the current Voice owners to do it) needs to compile those columns in book form.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

For those who are so sure...

an armed bystander would have "solved the problem"...
And yet I am led to understand that one person, who just happened to be carrying a piece would have calmly and with great presence of mind taken out the shooter just like he was Jason Bourne or whoever that guy is that Bruce Willis plays in those shitty Die Hard movies. Better yet, what if there were two or even three Jason Bourne-wannabes returning fire? Awesome! But how exactly would the brave hero in row thirty-two know that the guy in row twelve, who was also busy blasting away in the noise and the chaos, wasn’t James Holmes' wingman? Then the guy in row twenty-one sees the guy in thirty-two shooting at the guy in twelve and he has to make the decision which one is the bad guy … or maybe both. Then the police bust in and the whole thing looks like Reservoir Dogs but with more collateral damage.

You get the idea.
Yes, we do.

Mad Women (late to the party, we know)

We've been embarking on an intensified pop culture crash course here at Chez Ear Candle, catching up with every episode of Mad Men so far. At this point we're addicted. The show is packed with subtext and sociology, dealing with issues of misogyny, racism, addiction, class privilege, and more, in the context of an unexpectedly distant past. ("Unexpectedly" at least for people of a certain age: it's fascinating to see a portrait of a time you remember and realize how exotic and alien it looks from this temporal vantage point.) We get a view of the Sixties that avoids the usual cliches and raises the question, "how far have we come, really?"

All this plus great writing and acting, and complex characters who we feel for, even when they behave horribly.

Which brings us to this cool video from a couple years back. Hat tip to Amanda at Pandagon. Enjoy.

Mad Men: Set Me Free from Pop Culture Pirate on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July post

Disclaimer: Despite my undying love for Emma Goldman, I don't share the same cockeyed optimism that the elimination of all laws will make life better for everyone. In the real world, the rule of law is crucial to protect the powerless from the powerful, not to say that said rule of law is not often used for the opposite purpose. Other than that, yeah.

A New Declaration of Independence

By Emma Goldman

Published in Mother Earth, Vol. IV, no. 5, July 1909.

When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions.

The mere fact that these forces--inimical to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--are legalized by statute laws, sanctified by divine rights, and enforced by political power, in no way justifies their continued existence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings, irrespective of race, color, or sex, are born with the equal right to share at the table of life; that to secure this right, there must be established among men economic, social, and political freedom; we hold further that government exists but to maintain special privilege and property rights; that it coerces man into submission and therefore robs him of dignity, self-respect, and life.

The history of the American kings of capital and authority is the history of repeated crimes, injustice, oppression, outrage, and abuse, all aiming at the suppression of individual liberties and the exploitation of the people. A vast country, rich enough to supply all her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and corrupt politicians. Sturdy sons of America are forced to tramp the country in a fruitless search for bread, and many of her daughters are driven into the street, while thousands of tender children are daily sacrificed on the altar of Mammon. The reign of these kings is holding mankind in slavery, perpetuating poverty and disease, maintaining crime and corruption; it is fettering the spirit of liberty, throttling the voice of justice, and degrading and oppressing humanity. It is engaged in continual war and slaughter, devastating the country and destroying the best and finest qualities of man; it nurtures superstition and ignorance, sows prejudice and strife, and turns the human family into a camp of Ishmaelites.

We, therefore, the liberty-loving men and women, realizing the great injustice and brutality of this state of affairs, earnestly and boldly do hereby declare, That each and every individual is and ought to be free to own himself and to enjoy the full fruit of his labor; that man is absolved from all allegiance to the kings of authority and capital; that he has, by the very fact of his being, free access to the land and all means of production, and entire liberty of disposing of the fruits of his efforts; that each and every individual has the unquestionable and unabridgeable right of free and voluntary association with other equally sovereign individuals for economic, political, social, and all other purposes, and that to achieve this end man must emancipate himself from the sacredness of property, the respect for man-made law, the fear of the Church, the cowardice of public opinion, the stupid arrogance of national, racial, religious, and sex superiority, and from the narrow puritanical conception of human life. And for the support of this Declaration, and with a firm reliance on the harmonious blending of man's social and individual tendencies, the lovers of liberty joyfully consecrate their uncompromising devotion, their energy and intelligence, their solidarity and their lives.