I did some brief things at Cocke Hall and went from there to the Bakery to do some more on the sign. I'm on the home stretch with it now. It is really becoming a work of art and I'm getting rave reviews from impartial observers.
I discussed the travails of Slackjaw's website with Sean Epstein, one of those among the Bakery's sexy counter girls who is actually and obviously a boy. Sean is the manager for Slackjaw, it turns out. Bakery employees have a dizzying array of night jobs. Slackjaw, by the way, is a sort of "alternative" band in Charlottesville. My punk rock friends all look down their noses at Slackjaw, partly out of jealousy, I suppose. But the one time I heard Slackjaw on the Downtown Mall in the Summer of 1994, I liked them okay. True, they're Pearl Jamesque. But there's nothing really wrong with that. It beats the hell out of Gwateful Dead revivals, whiteboy blues, reggae and any of a large number of dull musical movements. I told Sean about the free web site opportunities available at Tripod, Angelfire and Geocities. He'd never heard of this and was thankful for the information. The old Slackjaw host server no longer exists, see. He wants a domain name too, though, and that WILL cost him money. But in this day and age of the search engine, who needs a domain name?
I purchased two CDs today. One was Bad Religion's 1994 album Stranger Than Fiction, used, for $6 and the other was a random Nubian Arab pop CD featuring the voice of Mohamed Mounir, used, for $7. (You want a link? You asked for it.) The Bad Religion CD has "21st Century Digital Boy" which must also be on an older album since I have very fond memories of it 1991/1992 when I was falling in love with Christin (she's a Virgo, for you who care). She used to say that the line "I don't know how to read but I've got a lot of toys" reminded her of her own spoiled and emotionally cold childhood under the shadow of her wealthy father and alcoholic mother. This album lacks some of the edge and monotony of older Bad Religion CDs, though it still makes for a good example of post-hardcore melodic "alternative." I find the crafty poetry of the lyrics to not be off-putting despite their overtly political messages. They're so damn well-sung that my usual aversion to political ranting in lyrics is put on hold. The only annoyance is the presence of Rancid's vocalist helping out with the singing on "Television." Well, as for the Nubian Arab music, it was an experiment and when will I learn? It's got good parts (the singing), but the instrumentation is cheesy synthesizer shit. Someone has been dumping cheap keyboards all over the third world where the worst of the 80s sound has become the latest thing! What I want from Arab music is simple folk instrumentation. The less evidence of western contamination, the better.
Jessika Flint of Malvernia is still alive, you may be interested in knowing. I finally sent her some e-mail for the first time since Dec. 20th and she responded the same day from Malvern where her mother now has a new Macintosh. Jessika had been doing something wrong in Hotmail and letters she'd attempted to send had been lost to the digital graveyard in the sky (theological question for religious nuts: is there a heaven for lost data...all those ideas are really JUST LOST when a document cannot be retrieved?). She says she has lots of stuff to discuss with me, but she's waiting to make sure the communication channels really work. I've noticed that my anger at her has dwindled away to nothing. But it hasn't been replaced with fondness, just sort of a pleasant nostalgic feeling.
I rode my bicycle to the Downtown Mall so I would be there later when the first Friday of the month art opening madness began. I wanted to be there early to see how crazy things would be in this anomalous January weather. The temperatures were in the seventies and the sun shone down. I actually felt somewhat hot once I'd pushed my pedals all the necessary times to get to the mall.
As it happens, without Big Fun movements on the mall, things are kind of quiet. The mall rats all look different these days. There's a new crop and the old ones have moved on to bigger and better things that require less wasted time.
The Mudhouse computer wasn't in such great shape; its ISDN connection was moribund. As I overheard Patrick Reed saying, it wasn't good advertising for Cornerstone Networks, Comet's competitor.
The first art opening I went to was at the McGuffey Art Palace on 2nd Street. The place was packed with all of Charlottesville's somewhat older cultural arbiters and pretenders. They were dressed immaculately and knew how to fake interest in any and all things artistic. Never was this made so clear to me as when I saw them all gathered silently to listen to a youngish artist lecture about his multiple crude renditions of heads and shoulders on little limp unstretched canvases. Some of the images had necks. Others didn't. To my eye, they were laughable hacks, hardly worthy of even satirical appreciation. But all these finely dressed middle aged paragons of culture had gathered to nod and scowl in deepest thought as the artist spoke of his swindle. I have to give the artist credit; there was a smirk lingering behind his earnestness that indicated to me that he was mocking his audience just as much as they were feining interest.
Some of Anne-Marie Craig's larger wire sculptures were exceptional at bozART, where she is January's featured artist.
A form of impressionism prevailed at Gallery Neo, as did large amounts of vino. As bad as things get at Neo sometimes, tonight it seemed folksy and unpretentious in comparison to McGuffey.
There I ran across first Phil the Rogue Ginini and then the Aquarius team of Matthew Hart, his on-again-off-again-GIRLFRIEND Leah, and Deya. I was just then in the midst of composing bad poetry because, despite coming completely unprepared and uninspired, I discovered that I was on the program to recite poetry at Nikolai's art opening tonight (which was to be at the Downtown Mall Higher Grounds).
Nikolai's opening featured his overwrought but excellent paintings and rather sparse attendance. Raphæl was the first bit of entertainment, with guitar and singing. Then came a bleach blond singer/songwriter. Then it was Nikolai himself on electric guitar with his own somewhat Guided by Voices sound. I'm starting to recognize his songs. To finish out the evening came Jessika's friend from Belmont, Dave, along with his post-classic rock and roll band. The eats were good, and the vino lasted awhile. Leah was "really feeling her oats" tonight, as Matthew Hart put it; she stole a bottle of vino from Gallery Neo and had to be told to settle down at the Higher Grounds opening. My poetry sucked, but I performed it with all due chutzpah.
As we headed to McGuffey parking lot to secure more vino, we were pursued by some belligerent little boys that Matthew kept riling up. Patrick Reed's folks stopped me on the corner of 2nd and Market and asked me to remove the Patrick Reed stuff from my Glossary. "But it's art!" I protested. They're in denial that their precious little child is the biggest dork in Charlottesville. About this time I headed home for a pre-work nap.
So at Comet I made a nice little page about what a hero Patrick Reed is in my "Spins" section and submitted it to AltaVista. Hopefully this will appease the Reeds, who are very nice and all but who have never been particularly known for their sense of humour or irony.