gwynnega: (Default)
I am hennaing my hair on a pleasant June afternoon (following a quintessentially June-gloomy morning). I'm listening to the new reissue of 2 Steps From the Middle Ages by Game Theory. It contains one of my favorite Game Theory songs, "Room for One More, Honey," which to my mind features one of the most hauntingly beautiful vocal arrangements ever recorded.

Now, four years after Scott Miller's death, all of Game Theory's albums are finally in print again (along with a slew of bonus tracks). As always, I wish Scott Miller were here to see it.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I thought this was coming out in 2017, but here is my poem "The Last Word" (an homage to Colin Clive) in the winter issue of Kaleidotrope.

It feels good to see the year out with the publication of a monster movie poem, despite the dread of Looming Trump.

Also, it is Patti Smith's 70th birthday. I am deeply grateful for Patti's continued presence in the world. Seeing her perform at the Hollywood Bowl in October (so long ago, it seems!) with Lyman was one of the highlights of my year.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair on an unseasonably warm Los Angeles November afternoon.

I keep composing blog posts in my head about the election and all its possible horrible ramifications, but I seem to have too much to say to say any of it at the moment. Yesterday I got my hair cut, and everyone at the salon (me included) was talking about the awfulness of the election. Then I went to the Iliad Bookstore, and the owner was talking with customers about the international implications of the election. As they wound up their chat, the owner said, "I was doing okay, but then you started talking." I know what he meant. At least I got to see the bookstore's two cats snoozing peacefully on top of cardboard boxes, and I bought Boris Karloff and His Films by Paul M. Jensen (1974).

I keep thinking of appropriate music for the moment--songs like "Save the Country" by Laura Nyro and "People Have the Power" by Patti Smith. But the music that seems to help me the most right now is Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band (1970) and Yoko's live version of "Don't Worry Kyoko" from Sometime in New York City (1972). I've tended to prefer Yoko's more melodic work, but now it's her screaming that resonates.

gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair a day early, as tomorrow we're supposed to have a storm (after a few weeks of bone-dry, unseasonably warm weather). Since the last time we had a big storm, my power went out, I figured it would be best to get Henna Day over with ahead of time, just in case. I hope the power stays on this time.

Later I will get back to reading Elena Ferrante's The Story of a New Name, which I am loving.

(Also, I am still obsessed with Hamilton.)
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
Things I thought about last night while trying to sleep after learning about David Bowie's death:

I remember how electrifying "Suffragette City" sounded the first time I heard it as a kid--and it never did become old hat or unthrilling. I had my long-time favorites (Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory), but I listened to him a ton while I was writing the Jo book and got into albums I'd largely dismissed, like Young Americans and his album of sixties covers, PinUps. Recently I was on a Heroes and Scary Monsters kick. There was always more to hear in his music--and there still is, even though he's gone.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is the final Henna Day of 2015, as the year rockets towards its conclusion. It's a chilly day (by LA standards), so I've had to crank the heat to offset the cold, wet henna on my head.

Here, have a Hanukkah song by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.

gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Scott Miller died a year ago today. I didn't find out until two days later, and my response was, "I can't believe it." I can scarcely believe it a year later. He was only fifty-three. (His cause of death has never been disclosed online--in an attempt, I believe, to protect his two young children from ghoulishness--though he was open about his struggles with depression.)

I knew Scott only slightly. I saw his band the Loud Family play a few times between 1995-2000. I interviewed him over the phone for the Bay Area New Times in 1998. It was the rock interview I was most pleased (and overawed) to get to do. He was unassuming and humorous, as well as vastly intelligent. Much later, we were Facebook friends. (Unbelievably, both my Facebook friends named Scott are now dead. Today I find myself imagining Scott Miller and poet Scott Wannberg arguing about music and books in heaven.) [Edited to add: It occurs to me now that I do have a living Facebook friend named Scott! But he goes under a different name on Facebook, which is why I forgot.]

Scott Miller's music meant, and means, so much to me, as does his book about pop music, Music: What Happened? Today hurts, as I knew it would.

gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate. I've been having a lovely holiday break, which began last week with a visit from Sofia Samatar, in town to read from A Stranger in Olondria at Betalevel in Chinatown.

Tonight I'm going to my mom's for lamb dinner. Then I'll come home and watch new Who.

Here, have a Christmas song by my friend Stew.

gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, on a pleasantly warm LA December day. I have a neck ache, but the cool henna on my head seems to be helping.

Apparently I haven't posted on LJ since last Henna Day. Last time, Doris Lessing had just died, and now it's Peter O'Toole, who I adored.

Last night I went to a lovely holiday party at Carolyn and Dave's house. Their cat Nora dealt fairly well with her house being full of people.

Here is a link to a gorgeous song about infinity that my friend Steve Gregoropoulos wrote and performed:

gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, on a wonderfully non-sweltering day in Los Angeles. We're even supposed to have some actual autumnal weather later this week.

Last night I met up with friends at the Story Tavern in Burbank to see the Johnny Come Latelys play Irish music. I ate shepherd's pie and sang along with "The Wild Rover."

Then when I got home I discovered my friend Lyman Chaffee (Listing Ship) had posted a video of himself singing my friend Carolyn Edwards' beautiful song "Lazy." So here it is.

gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I've been having a lovely long weekend, in spite of ridiculously hot and humid weather. (I can handle dry heat, but humid heat just does not work in Los Angeles!) The weather makes me feel like staying inside, but I'm planning to drive to Stories Bookstore this afternoon (though episode four of Orange Is the New Black is calling my name).

On Friday night I went to the Echo to see reunion sets by Velouria (dear friends of mine who comprised one of my favorite local bands in the '90s) and Popdefect. In the process I saw a ton of old friends and acquaintances. The club was too hot and too loud, but it was a lot of fun.

gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, in the midst of more annoyingly humid summer weather. The henna is cool on my head. I am longing for autumn.

On Friday night I had dinner with Carolyn at Taix and saw '20s/'30s/'40s jazz by the Silver Palm Trio.

Yesterday I took three bags of clothes and shoes to the Goodwill, then went to Skylight Books. I said hi to Franny, the bookstore cat, and bought new editions of Frank O'Hara's Meditations in an Emergency and Poems Retrieved. (I have O'Hara's massive hardcover collected poems, but I've been wanting more portable O'Hara books, and there are no O'Hara ebooks yet.) What with so many of L.A.'s independent bookstores now gone, I'm perpetually grateful that Skylight is thriving.

I've been working on the Jo book and a poem, and sending out submissions. I will do more of all this after I rinse out my hair.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
As a kid, I was very fond of Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell (the movie versions). Being Jewish, I found them weirdly fascinating. (I think I also had a comic book about Jesus at roughly the same time.)

Then a few years back I got into the original cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, partly because Murray Head (brother of Tony) sang the part of Judas--partly because I discovered it was a pretty nifty hard rock album.

Recently I learned my friend John Ramirez was putting together a one-time performance of the Jesus Christ Superstar songs at the Satellite (the nightclub formerly known as Spaceland, which is about five minutes from my apartment by car--I used to spend a lot of time there, but hadn't been there in years). Last night I went to the performance, and saw a lot of old friends, and danced. And wow, they did a great job with the music. (I wish the YouTube clips had better sound and picture quality.) Petra Haden (daughter of Charlie) = probably the best Mary Magdalene ever.

gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I've been tackling my pre-Wiscon to-do list. I'll have to get up at Stupid O'Clock on Thursday morning--it's almost not worth going to bed Wednesday night. Today I went to my mom's and we celebrated her birthday a bit early (since on the actual day I'll be packing for Wiscon) with pizza and a pear tart.


Re: last night's Doctor Who: spoiler )


I saw a couple of movies on TCM this weekend--one a somewhat silly but fun one from 1944 (Passport to Destiny) in which Elsa Lanchester decides to go to Germany to kill Hitler. Luckily for her, everyone in Germany speaks fluent English. Even the signs on the doors are in English!

The other film was something of a revelation: Autumn Leaves (1956). The capsule description said something about Joan Crawford marrying a psychopath (Cliff Robertson), and I figured I knew what I'd be getting...sort of a '50s version of one of those Lifetime movies, in which a charming cad woos Joan, then turns into Bluebeard or some such. That's what I kept expecting as I watched charming young Burt (Robertson) pursue cautious, older typist Millie (Crawford). After the wedding, when the ex-wife Burt never mentioned and the father he said was dead show up, I was sure I knew exactly where this was heading--and then the movie flipped the script. By the time Burt spectacularly cracks up, it's pretty clear why he's so broken, and no matter how terrifying he gets, he's no villain. The film's portrayal of mental illness is dated, but Robertson's performance is so nuanced, it transcends those limitations. If I'd known, I would've DVR'd the thing...I ended up buying the DVD the next day. (The film's on YouTube too.)


I finally finished (re)reading Scott Miller's Music: What Happened?. I was in no hurry to finish. For a taste of the book, here's Scott reading from it about William Shatner (!) and Ken Stringfellow, followed by his rendition of Stringfellow's gorgeous "Death of a City" (which has been earworming me for days).

gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
Today is Henna Day, on a pleasant cool afternoon following a spate of broiling weather complete with wildfires. I have a big list of things to do after I rinse out my hair, but I'm moving a bit slowly after an action-packed Saturday: getting my hair cut, going to Secret Headquarters for Free Comic Book Day and to the lovely Story Tavern to see my friends play Irish music.

Oh, and I loved last night's Doctor Who. May have to watch it again tonight.

I'm still rereading Scott Miller's Music: What Happened?, which I can't recommend highly enough. Still nowhere near getting past his death, which seems to be true for many people who, like me, knew him slightly but know his music well.

gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
What did you just finish reading?
Love in Maine by "Connie Falconeri." This ended up being less fluffy than I'd expected, including a male protagonist with PTSD (and even better, love doesn't "cure" him--he goes into therapy). I liked this one enough to pre-order the sequel, which, to my amusement, is "written" by GH character Molly Lansing-Davis. I would still love to find out who's really writing these books.

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg [reread]. I had been planning to reread this for awhile--had downloaded a Kindle copy, because my childhood paperback is someplace at my mom's house. I hadn't read it since sometime in the 1970s, and I was amazed at how well I remembered certain lines and passages: "She touched her hands to her hair, giving it little pushes the way women do who have just come out of the beauty parlor. I hoped she was itchy." "So I decided instead to enjoy being odd. And I did." "'You are dismissed,' she said."

What are you reading now?
Still trying to get into A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet by Judy Grahn. Still bogged down in the childhood section, though it's beautifully written.

Scott Miller's Music: What Happened?. A wonderful year-by-year (1957-2011) countdown of Miller's favorite songs, with witty, thoughtful, and at times hilarious commentary. I had read the blog version of the book as he posted it, and I owned the book but hadn't gotten around to reading that version. When Miller died last week, I'd thought to read it, but discovered the font was awfully small, so I bought the e-book. Then I thought it might be too soon, too painful to read--I'm still very spun by his death. But today I started reading, and bits of it are making me laugh out loud: "I wonder can it possibly be fair to condemn an entire decade as a horrifying decline in every kind of musical competency, but nostalgia for the eighties baffles me. Eighties nostalgia has lowered my opinion of nostalgia." And other bits just delight me: "where I'm aware of what I used to like, which is the case most of my life, I force myself not to disown my ears of that period out of embarrassment. Your ears are always right, the embarrassment is always wrong. A five-year-old can identify good music far more infallibly than a fifteen-year-old, because the fifteen-year-old is listening almost exclusively for what his or her friends would be likely to approve of." Music streaming is more easily available now than it was when Miller wrote the blog, so I imagine I'll be doing a lot of listening to the songs he wrote about as I read.

What do you expect to read next?
Maybe Wild Seed by Octavia Butler? And I want to get back to the Assia biography.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
What did you just finish reading?
Seanan McGuire's Midnight Blue-Light Special. The InCryptid series hits its stride with this book. More than the first installment, this one really intrigued me with the larger saga of the Healy / Price families.

What are you reading now?
Back to reading the Assia biography. The section on World War II-era Israel fascinated me even aside from the Assia angle.

Love in Maine by "Connie Falconeri." I'm curious as to how this novel ended up being turned into a GH tie-in. (There was a storyline on the show in which teenage Molly wrote the book, Connie stole it and added the sex, but eventually, at the book party, she admitted Molly wrote it.) Aside from that angle, it's a fairly engaging romance novel.

A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet by Judy Grahn. I was tremendously excited to learn that Grahn, one of my favorite poets, had published a memoir. The book suffers from the Start in the Middle of Something Really Exciting--and Now Let's Talk About My Childhood I'm a bit bogged down at the moment, but I'm sure I'll love it when it gets going.

What do you expect to read next?
Still want to get to Marge Piercy's Sex Wars. Also, I want to reread Scott Miller's Music: What Happened? (which I've read in blog but not book form).
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I was about to write a Reading Wednesday post, but I just found out that Scott Miller (leader of Game Theory and the Loud Family) has died. His music has meant so much to me for so many years. I interviewed him once in the late '90s, but didn't know him well. I can't believe there won't be any more music from him.

gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, and the cold henna on my head is helping to soothe my headache. (I think the headache's due to our wildly shifting weather. On Friday it was rainy and maybe 58 degrees, now it's warmish and sunny, and it's supposed to be over 80 in a couple of days!) Trying to adjust to the time change. I will enjoy leaving the office when it's still light out, but I will not enjoy getting up tomorrow morning.

Friday night I went to Taix to see Rough Church and Bell Gardens, and had much fun. Since then I've been having a quiet weekend of writing / reading / DVDs. Oh, and on Friday I watched Suddenly (1954), with Frank Sinatra as a would-be assassin and Sterling Hayden as a sheriff trying to foil him, on TCM. I think [personal profile] sovay recommended it? Anyway, a terrific, tense film with great character work by Sinatra and Hayden.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, on a rather chilly day for Los Angeles (high temp in the mid-50s, I think?). The henna is cold on my head.

Friday night I went to Taix to see Extra and Superbean, saw a lot of friends, had much fun, and stayed out past 2 a.m. (which I don't do very often these days), and as a result was not firing on all cylinders yesterday. I did finish reading Heroines and started reading some other things, but I guess I will save that for Reading Wednesday.

(Note to lapsed GH viewers: Genie Francis returns to General Hospital tomorrow!)

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