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August 2003

The Great Blackout of Aught-Three

The Great Blackout of Aught-Three, as experienced by me:

Scenes from the Exodus

Happy Anniversary to Me

Crap! I forgot my own anniversary! August 5 was the official Fourth Anniversary of my career as a blogger. That is to say, it was the first time I posted online with a proper blogging tool I had been writing for my own web site for a couple of years even prior to that. (Does anyone even remember Rumpus Room anymore?) Four years later and I still have to occasionally apologize to Jonno for my off-the-cuff, easily misinterpreted observation. Yes, the valuable lessons about watching what one says came early here at UltraSparky.

The traditional fourth anniversary gift is fruit or flowers (I really should have thought of this last August and tried to cash in then), but the acceptable modern equivalent is appliances. Although I suppose for internet personalities, it's always the same.

Junk Drawer

I’ve been menaing to write more about the many exciting or at least mildly amusing things going on lately, but it's been hard to gather the will to sit and concentrate on the blogging thing. Here are a bunch of quick links that I’ve been meaning to pepper throughout a series of scintillating posts...

The Junk Drawer


I saw one of the best show's I’ve caught in ages last Friday night: the Loser's Lounge tribute to Devo. Brilliant, on all levels. Not only did it really capture the flavor and the impact of the material performed, but did so in a way that was totally fresh and original, rather than just a sycophantic rehashing of someone else's work. I bought their bootleg CDs of their Bowie and Elvis Costello shows, and am more convinced than ever that the Devo show wasn't a fluke: these guys (and it's a core band with dozens of guest singers, so it's not like a regular band) are not only supremely talented, but they're more interested in really immersing themselves into the music they play to get to the heart of it, rather than just trot out some old pop hits as a gimmick. (Which is what I was expecting them to do when I bought the tickets. I love being wrong when the end result is so much better.)

The show was typical of what I love about entertainment in New York (I say "in New York" because it's something I’ve never been able to come across anywhere else): rather than being just a rock show, or just a theatrical performance, or just one thing or another, the event itself crossed all these boundaries. They played heartfelt covers of New Wave songs, but also incorporated country, punk, and experimental electronic music. They played homemade synthesizers and traditional instruments. They featured a variety of singers and performers. They wore costumes. They immersed themselves in a kind of simulacrum of the music to which they paid tribute. MInd you this was all just for a $15 concert ticket, not an exorbitant theater seat.

And I seem to find genre-bending stuff like this all the time here: Kiki & Herb, The Three Terrors, the Qwe're Music Fest, and on and on and on. I’ve gotten too hooked on these blends of pop, rock, drag, performance art, burlesque, and cabaret to get much out of a band just playing its songs, or some drag queen just miming along to a record, or someone just standing up on stage doing some schtick. There are simply too many alternatives out there that are more ambitious and more affecting.

Wig in a Box

This article about a non-profit funeral home and its relation to larger commercial funeral businesses is a must-read for anyone else who's gotten sucked into Six Feet Under and the ongoing business problems of poor little Fisher & Sons.

California, Here They Come


I LOVE NYSchwarzenegger? Coleman? Flynt? And is it true that Angelyne is running? And the Democrats are refusing to run anyone as a show of support for Gray Davis? Am I the only one who's happier than ever that I don't live in freakin' California? This is swiftly becoming an even greater mockery of the democratic electoral system than the last presidential election was.

Perhaps the scariest part of all is that Larry Flynt seems to be the best candidate of the bunch. If nothing else, he's the most likely to put the state back in the black. Maybe he can use "Back in Black" as his campaign theme. If nothing else it would be a cute pun to use an AC/DC song, considering it was the whole eletricity debacle (Enron's fault, by the way, more than the governor's) that destroyed the credibility of the state government.

Can't we get Aaron or Reese to run instead? You know, smart guys with some sense of the political workings of the state and experience working within the system? Schwarzenegger? Oh, please. Does a credible candidate announce his plans on Leno by making Terminator jokes? Even Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, and Ronald Reagan had more dignity than that when they ran for office.

I think we should all pool our resources and set up shelters for bloggers who need to flee California before this gets any worse. Or maybe than can all just hole up with Diane Feinstein in her Aspen house until it all blows over.

And the Democrats don't want another Democrat to enter the race? that’s just fucking ridiculous. Look, I don't think the recall is fair or sane, but frankly it seems like it's going to happen. Without Democrats on the ballot as backup in case Davis is recalled, they're effectively handing the state over to someone who'd have even less statewide support than Davis himself. Because that’s how it works: in the event of a recall, the winner of the replacement election doesn't need a majority, only more votes than any other candidate. So, for instance, if only 49% of Californians want to keep Gray in office, then the potential 10% who want to to vote for Gary Coleman because they think it's funny will decide the elction? Is a contingency plan such a bad idea?

I am so East Coast right now.

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