Burned By The Sun........

Music. Life. Los Angeles.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I Suck
It's been nearly a month since I've updated. I feel bad. I'm a shitty blogger. But I'm an okay english student, and that's what has to matter right now. I am currently enrolled in four literature classes, two of which are upper division (it's not a good idea to change your major three times, because what happens is you have to squish all your essential classes into your last three semesters). I have like, 600 pages to read this weekend (out of Paine's Common Sense, Upton Sinclair's Oil!, and Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues) and a paper due Tuesday (on Common Sense). And a concert (Secret Machines) to go to Monday night.

I've literally done nothing but read, write papers, and go to the occasional show for this past month. Here are some highlights of that:

Scissor Sisters at the Wiltern, Jan 31: If you get a chance to see these guys, go. It's a wacky good time, and you'll never see so many people dance at a show (and dress in drag and wear feather boas!). It was fun until they did their cover of "Comfortably Numb". At that time, two (not just one...two!) disco balls dropped from the ceiling and things went from fun to awesome (the song sounded amazing. I attempted to dance, even though I can't). For the final number, "Music Is the Victim" the band was rocking out and dancing with some guy hula hooping and a drag queen named Candyass, who at the end of the song draped a gay pride flag over the lead singer's neck like he won the gay olympics or something. It was great.

Jonathan Richman at King King, Feb 11: I had never seen him before, and I never would have guessed that someone just singing and playing a classical guitar with drums could put on such a great show. I think the best/funniest thing about him is that he provides his own running commentary on his performance (usually in a funny voice). During a song he'll make comments like, "Oh, this is the spooky guitar part", (after playing a chorus over and over) "This song is so overdue", "This isn't even a song! It's just dancing!" (he does a lot of dancing). He did this extended version of "Let Her Go Into the Darkness" (one of the songs he did for the movie There's Something About Mary) where he imitated this guy calling his ex-girlfriend to try to get her back, and then he imitated the girlfriend yelling at him and calling him a controlling bastard. And then he took the narrator role again and said, "I knew he was gonna do that. I told him not to." He then went on to do the same argument in three different languages. It was one of the funniest things I've ever heard in my life.

Some of the better books I've read for class:

Books About L.A.:

The Bus, by Steve Abee
Whether or not you'll like this book depends on how you feel about stuff like beat poetry and stream-of-consciousness writing. Basically, this guy takes the Santa Monica Boulevard bus all the way out to Santa Monica to pick up his car. Along the way, he comments on the surroundings, the people he sees, and tells about his own memories about the streets he passes, and ponders his own place in today's society. It's hard to explain, but I really liked it. And it's a good look at the real L.A., the place where people live, as opposed to the stuff you see in movies.

Twilight, by Anna Deavere Smith
I was very young and lived in Michigan at the time of the L.A. riots in 1992, so I knew absolutely nothing about it. Until I read this book. The author went out and interviewed something like 400 people about what they thought about the riots, where they were and what they did at the time. About 40 of those made it into the book. So basically you have 40 very different perspectives (everybody from South Central gang members to Korean shopkeepers whose stores were looted to Beverly Hills TV executives) on the riots and racial issues in Los Angeles. A fascinating read.

Other Stuff

Genesis, by Eduardo Galeano
So Christopher Columbus landed in the new world, killed a few Indians, sent some gold and food exports back, people started coming to the new world to settle and then it grew into what it is today. That's pretty much what's taught in history class. Galeano's book also looks at the history of the Americas, but in a radically different way. The book opens with the creation myths of different native peoples before Columbus' arrival, and then after the arrival, history is told through a series of fragments (most a half a page or less) from the perspectives of different people. It looks at the monarchs of Europe to the rulers of the Aztecs and Incas, the captains of the ships that sailed after Columbus, the natives who became slaves, and the monks who tried to help those natives. And tons more.

The poetry of Langston Hughes
It's great stuff. And some of the poems would make killer blues lyrics.

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