Arts Roundup: Ordinary Life Is Pretty Complex Stuff Edition
Tuli Kupferberg, poet, co-founder of the Fugs, is dead. Harvey Pekar, grouch, legend of American indie comic books, is dead. If you belonged to a certain Greenwich Village milieu in the '60s and were an utter sad sack in the '70s, you can't be doing too well right now. I doubt the city of Cleveland is, either: The loss of Pekar is its second traumatic loss in a week. Arts Desk's Mike Rhode, who edited a book of Pekar interviews in 2008, will have a tribute on the blog this morning.
The goal, though, is to transpose that inner-conflict into compelling pop tunage — and that's exactly what doesn't happen here. She's pushing the envelope further into the unknown, but there isn't much to sing along to. Which is why the album's best songs are the tender, dreamy baubles that feel so dramatically out of place.
I like the Jessica Hopper's M.I.A. read in our sister paper, the Chicago Reader—"/\/\ /\ Y /\, officially out July 13, is like a transmission from the ultra now—an e-mailed camera-phone video compressed till it's cruddy and degenerated, a live-tweeting of capitalist culture's foreclosure proceedings on the tar-blotched shores of American apocalyptica. This is not pleasure pop—it's an allergic reaction to it, an involuntary spasm full of exploding, hissing, and banging, all uncomfortably close. " But I still think the record is nigh-unlistenable.
Fringe continues! Follow it on our unfuckwithable Fringe & Purge blog! It ends on July 25, but on July 26 the Taffety Punk Theatre Company has its own, quite fringey production: Its presenting the latest in its "Bootleg Shakespeare" series, The Noble Kinsmen, on July 26 at the Folger Library for free. The conceit? The actors won't rehearse until the day of.
Recent Taffety Punk collaborator Chad Clark helps organize the Story/Stereo series at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, and the program just received a National Endowment for the Arts grant. More on this later today.