A Very Good Week: Tumbleweaves, Vampire Weekend, and Celine Dion

I’ve been very lazy this week. Actually, I’ve been quite busy, but I’ve been lazy in the blogosphere. I guess I realized that sitting alone in my apartment blogging is not the best way to say Fuck You to Winter. So I got off my ass and got outside to do stuff! If you get bored or don’t want to read this much, just click the links. I swear you’ll enjoy them!


Last Wednesday I went to the Chinatown/L.E.S. has-been bar Happy Endings to see my favorite music critic, the gloriously awkward (and Canadian!) Carl Wilson read from his new book Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste. The latest book from the esoteric 33 1/3 music book series from Continuum, Wilson’s pocket-sized exploration of the Québécoise power ballad phenomenon Celine Dion (yes, CELINE FUCKING DION!) is the ultimate exploration of the cultural power of bad music, one from a “recovering music snob.”Check out this marvelous book and also Amanda Stern’s very cool reading series if you can. She is not, as New York magazine reported, actually engaged to Sufjan Stevens.

(A side note: Wednesday marked a high point in my life, for I was at Happy Endings not drunk, not after midnight, and I actually used the bathroom for legal purposes. This IS adulthood, folks!)


Thursday night, despite the extreme cold, my girl Sarah and I found the best deal on Smith Street in Brooklyn: Pacifico where you can get a quesadilla the size of your head for under 8 bucks and a fucking pitcher of sangria for 11! Sarah and I left teetering out the door thanks to that super strong, very sweet, and oh so easy to guzzle Sangria. Also Pacifico is down the street from a great local bar Boat, which is, coincidentally, owned by the same people who own my neighborhood bar Buttermilk in South Slope.


Friday I did nothing. Oh wait, not nothing…I hung out with my mom! Parents are people too! I introduced my mom to The Flight of the Concords. My mom (who is amazing, let me preface) may love Jesus and John McCain but she could not resist the allure of Bret, Jemaine, Murray and Mel’s deadpan humor.


Saturday I hit up a Septa train and got my ass to Philly to visit one of the top five people living in the whole fucking state of PA (and that’s counting my parents), my beloved Claire. Claire brought me to Vox Populi, a small gallery in a great warehouse building not far from the convention center. The show that was up was “Fact or Fiction”; that afternoon we were treated to a talk by one of the curators of the show, Geir Haraldseth.

One of the highlights of this very clever and surprisingly down-to-earth show was a computer screen. Not just a screen, but a “viewing” of Wikiality: The Truthiness Encyclopedia for Colbert’s heros, featuring 8,903,025 articles “in American.” This website from Stephen Colbert (swooooon!) is a highly functional satire of Wikipedia. Don’t go to Wikiality at work because you’ll never go back to doing actual work again. You’ll just keep Wikialiting (can that be a verb if Wikipediying is now a verb?) all day long. It’s addictive. But you don’t have to feel bad because it’s actually an intellectual exercise. Don’t believe me? Read what the curators of “Fact and Fiction” have to say: The selection of works in Fact or Friction responds to the new found potential for absurdity in the way we learn about current events and consider historical ones. The producers of these works don’t hold back in the formation of their commentaries, and in the end create perspectives that might possibly contend with the fiction distributed by mainstream news and other purveyors of facts.

Sunday 1/27/08

Speaking of the absurd, well, when we left Claire’s apartment in the late morning, brunch-bound, we found a new phenomenon on the tree in front of her building. It was a piece of someone’s weave that had become stuck to the bottom of the tree–what her boyfriend Jacob (one of my favorite friend boyfriends, by the way) has cleverly deemed “Tumbleweave”:


Poignant, yes?

Later we ventured to North Philly/Fishtown, which used to be no man’s land (no man without gun, at least) about five years ago, but has recently been colonized by artists and hipster-y Born Again Christians. Speaking of Christians, I was able to purchase a copy of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis for two dollars at Germ. This tiny bookstore, right next to the Christians’ thrift store, specializes in “books that address difficult social topics; books that don’t cater to the lockstep mentality of the current counterculture; and books that reveal who our true masters are: The UFO Overlords.” Christians and paranoid alien lovers coincide on Frankford Ave, along with the crackheads who still live there. What a beautiful place my home city is!


So, last night, this Wednesday, I went to see THE MOST IMPORTANT BAND EVER (thank you Pitchfork!): the barely-out-of-college Vampire Weekend. I heard buzz about Vampire Weekend last fall, started listening to the “leaked” album in December and loved it. World music? Adorable/bratty Columbia undergrads? For those who know me, these are two things I adore. 

Little did I know that on Monday (1/28), day of official release date for their self titled LP, THE WORLD OF MUSIC WOULD CHANGE FOREVER. First there came that 8.8 Pitchfork review. Then came, hours later, more internet speculation (Are they evil? What is an Oxford comma? Is this the future of rock n’ roll?). So, if you haven’t heard, Vampire Weekend is the new Strokes. Or the new Walkmen. Or the new Spoon. Or the new Paul Simon or the Talking Heads. The new Led Zeppelin? Ok, I made this one up. But yeah sexy Ren Faire Rock! (That’s for you Claire).

Ok, so I gave Josh, of Better Chatter blog and my friend-companion to the show, the blogging rights for the second sold out show at Bowery. So go visit Better Chatter at some point. But I will say one thing about the show: While waiting for my coat, I heard one 20-year-old say to another “I really hope I’m not hung-over for lab at 8:00 am. Lab? Oh yeah, damn those pre-reqs! 


2 responses to “A Very Good Week: Tumbleweaves, Vampire Weekend, and Celine Dion

  1. What a great week! Fuck you, winter, indeed.

  2. Thanks for the endorsement!

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