Arts Roundup: “Stewart Lupton and Hoots of Recognition” Edition
Good morning! We launched a new Web site today, which perhaps you didn't notice since you read my roundups in RSS, thus denying me valuable impressions. (Actually, I have no idea if that's how it works. Someone enlighten me!)
The South by Southwest postmortem! Certainly its own form, not quite a cottage industry. I have been reading a lot of these! The AV Club Austin has a heartbreaking one that you shouldn't skip, as it concerns D.C.'s Stewart Lupton, the Childballads and former Jonathan Fire*Eater singer whose early career burned bright but hit stumble after stumble since. At Brightest Young Things' all-day showcase at South by Southwest, Lupton performed as the beatin's, his recent cowboy-ditty project with artist Carole Greenwood. Take it away, AV Club's Sean O'Neal:
Here was the sum total of Lupton’s SXSW set: a wracked, overlong, three-minutes-plus explanation for why Lupton’s partner in The Beatin’s, Carol Greenwood (sic), couldn’t make the show, which was greeted by massive waves of indifference from the audience. An even longer, even more awkward acknowledgment of Alex Chilton’s death, followed by Lupton reading the lyrics to an entire Big Star song off of his cell phone. An achingly slow cover of Dean Martin’s “My Rifle, My Pony, And Me,” where Lupton’s face contorted and strained theatrically over every syllable, utterly draining the song of any meaning beyond being a pretentious performance piece. A long, uncomfortable, five-minute-plus story about the last time he was here with Jonathan Fire*Eater (no hoots of recognition, save a quiet one from me) 10 years ago, and how even though they weren’t even talking to each other at the time, he couldn’t have imagined better compatriots to share that experience with, followed by Lupton proclaiming that today he couldn’t imagine a better 10-year anniversary capper to that gig than the show he was playing right then.
It goes on for a while in that vein. Incredibly, Lupton responded in the comments and apologized:
That review was pretty dead on. Actually, it was incredibly accurate. You were right, point for point . it was not fun. it was not "in the zone." i talked too much and felt zero inner reverence or sense of presence. i shoulda stayed home and finished my own damn record. but i conceded to take part in something that my heart was just not in. I went South because i didn't follow my True North. My gut. Thanks for reminding me of that. Sorry i let you down. Somethin in me wanted to break somethin...if I would'a listened to that voice , you might've caught a hot 15 minutes. Instead, i caved. to expectations. not yours. and not mine. but they there .
The stress and confusion clouded the airwaves to a point of inscrutability. and i was not under any influence whatsoever but the extreme pressure to represent this side project i produced over the summer (The Beatin's- A Little Give And Take, i think you would actually really like it. ) that had not even managed to rehearse once. So there i was, under/overwhelmed, furious at myself for not listening to my gut and for suffering fools. Sometimes i want to tear it all down. I just wanna thank you airing it all out. Time to get back to work. I can hear my gut now. I wouldn't throw in the towel yet, and i'm a betting man. Stick around, things are just startin to get interesting again right about now.
O'Neill responded to Lupton's comment: "Don't worry, Stewart. I don't think I'll ever give up on you. It's good to hear you won't give up on you either."
Arlington Cinema 'N' Draft House has a solid double feature tonight of films with questionable racial attitudes: Invictus, in which rugby heals the wounds of apartheid, and The Blind Side, which the Village Voice accused of peddling "the most insidious kind of racism, one in which whiteys are virtuous saviors, coming to the rescue of African-Americans who become superfluous in narratives that are supposed to be about them."
This song has been my jam for the last week or so.
The Last Supper made you fat.