Friday, May 30, 2008

Backwoods Barbie

Growing up in North Carolina, my musical taste was very much shaped by that of my parents. By the age of 7, my top 5 list consisted of Elvis Presley, REO Speedwagon, Bon Jovi, Rod Stewart, and the one and only Dolly Parton.  I don't remember the first time I fell in love with Dolly, but I do remember always feeling the ache in my heart as she would tell of her life growing up as a poor girl in the familiar Blue Ridge mountains on Coat of Many Colors, imagining the the devilish emerald eyes that stared out of the face of Jolene, and fantasizing that one day I would be strong and sassy enough to kick my chauvinistic boss's ass (who would look just like Dabney Coleman, of course), and wear my hair in a blonde bouffant. 

Dolly's was also the second concert I ever attended at the very mature age of 8( The first being Bon Jovi--NEW JERSEY Tour 1988, baby! Yeah!) Seated in the lawn section of the the enormous amphitheatre in Charlotte, NC (Right down the road from the race track, nah mean?), I could barely see Dolly's tiny frame, but her hair and cleavage gleamed like top of the Chrysler building. A slow drizzle began to fall from the sky, hinting at the downpour that would soon arrive. Being only 8, it would be years before my first wet t-shirt contest, so we decided to run for cover. Luckily, the venue was nice enough to welcome all who could fit under the shelter into the VIP seats, and I was sitting just 10 rows from my hero chugging Courvoisier (Okay, Shirley Temples, whatever)! After the show, I remember standing outside peering through a fence that I was sure separated me from Dolly's sequinned glory. I tried to visualize myself getting my t-shirt signed by the lady, as if it would make it come true. It never did.

I'm still pretty excited about her new album though, and here's the review I wrote for it that can be found in this month's BUST.

DOLLY PARTON- Backwoods Barbie
"People always comin' up to me askin,' 'Dolly what's your secret? Your attitude just seems so good. How do you keep it?'" rings the first inspirational notes off Backwoods Barbie, Dolly Parton's first release off her newly formed independent label, Dolly Records. Gracing the cover pin-up style, elegantly lounging in the back of a classic pink pickup truck, decked in full Dolly get up (Platinum wig, double F's, animal print top, and a smile like a ray of sunshine.), the spunky country queen delivers an answer to that question with a handful of self-penned gospel soul-yankers, and touching twangy tunes. Never a simple gal, Dolly kicks her cowboy boots up with a glitzy fiddle-burning bluegrass cover of the Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy," and a church-choir backed version of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears." The production of Backwoods Barbie may be slightly top-heavy, but so is Dolly and we like her that way.

Always one of my favorite comediennes, here are some of my fave Dolly quotes:

"Now the majors are what they used to think I was: History." Regarding major labels.

"There's two kinds of mountain women: the kind that get married and have a bunch of kids, and the kind that stay single and have a bunch of kids!"

"Someone told me I should run for president. I said, don't you think that we've had enough boobs in the White House?"

"I wanted to be the first woman to burn her bra, but it would have taken the fire department four days to put it out."

"You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap!"

Cheesesteak Out!

fung wahhh?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Operation Mind Control

My dad is a prosthetist-orthotist and a couple of friends sent me an interesting article yesterday about some new advances being made in prosthetic technology.

Two monkeys with tiny sensors in their brains have learned to control a mechanical arm with just their thoughts, using it to reach for and grab food and even to adjust for the size and stickiness of morsels when necessary, scientists reported on Wednesday.

The report, released online by the journal Nature, is the most striking demonstration to date of brain-machine interface technology. Scientists expect that technology will eventually allow people with spinal cord injuries and other paralyzing conditions to gain more control over their lives.

The full article is here with an amazing video! Monkeys Think, Moving Artificial Arm as Own

A grid in the monkey’s brain carried signals from 100 neurons for the mechanical arm to grab and carry snacks to the mouth.

My father has never made anything as progressive as the mind-control technology, but he has made myoelectric arms, which allows patients to contract or flex a muscle sending a small electrical signal called an EMG that causes the artificial hand to move. With the new mind control technology, they are one step closer to even easier movement for amputees (even though I find controlling stuff with your mind kinda creepy!)

Myoelectric Arms: It's Electrifying!

And just for kicks, below is a video of Cafecita the Llama, a llama that my pops made a leg prosthesis for. He'd never made one for an animal before, but this was a special case. Cafecita would have had to be euthanized without her new leg, but now she's alive and healthy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wit' or Wit' Out You

As Memorial Day is a day to remember U.S. troops who have perished in battle, I figured what better way to celebrate it but to travel to Philadelphia, the home of our Liberty Bell and Declaration of Independence!

Okay, in all seriousness, Memorial Day has become more a day of beer blasts and hot dog roasts to many, and Philly is the home of my roommate's parents who offered us a free place to stay and a stocked fridge. Either way, I had a pretty great weekend.

The BF, my roommate, roommate's GF, and I all headed to the City of Brotherly Shove with dreams of Cheesesteaks and a general change of scenery. I shot over a 100 photos, which I don't necessarily remember taking, and are being developed as I type this, so they may or may not be posted in the future.

While in Philly, we visited the one-of-a-kind Mütter Museum, which features an amazing exhibition of medical oddities. On display were torturous-looking medical tools (Ladies, if you thought the gyno was bad now, you should check out some of the stuff on display at this place!), some downright gruesome specimens of diseased body parts, as well as a whole section of conjoined twin wonderment. As a kid, I always loved Ripley's Believe It or Not and the like, so I couldn't get enough of this stuff-- and since the entire museum is part of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, there is no question about the believability of these anomalies!

Conjoined twin child skeleton.

Collection of eye injuries and diseases.

Enlarged colon, broken neck, various skull injuries, et cetera...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Falling (WAY) Down

Wow. NYLON is really starting to embarrass me, and Scarlett Johansson is making even more of a laughing stock of herself. What does Tom Waits have to say about her musical blasphemy??!

She's hot. Yes. She's a mediocre actress. Okay. But for the love of Tom Waits' toasted lungs, PLEASE PUT DOWN THE MIC!! I mean, I know she is comfortable in front of the camera, but did we really need THREE (un, deux&trois) videos for the single off "her" new album. And now a magazine cover with her welding a guitar!! At least, she is doing what she knows how to do best-- Looking sorta sexy sorta straddling it, rather than sorta playing the thing.

As for the the other bands on the cover:
Courtney Love-FREAK SHOW
Beth Ditto- LOVE The Gossip. Don't LIVE the lifestyle of The Gossip.
Kim Gordon- Free Kitten just released a new album after 10 years. Didja hear??!
Spiritualized- The new album is pretty good. Sounds like everything else he's done. I'll always love Jason Spaceman.
Duffy, Santogold- Don't Care, Don't Care
The Virgins- Listening to them is as boring as being one.
The Breeders- New album sorta sucks sadly, but check 'em out on tour with Lincoln Hawk!
We Are Scientists- I like these guys sometimes.
Ladytron and the Vines- Welcome back from 2001.
Portishead- Welcome back from 1991. Okay, 1997.
Missy and Lil Mama- Nylon is an equal opportunity music reviewer.

Samuel L Jackson's Got Nothing on Asia

My friend, Shea has recently been shipped to Taipei to be a glamorous fashion model.

Aww, isn't she cute? You can read all about her adventure on her blog:

She hasn't been there long, but one of the things she notes most is the culture shock she has felt, and the frequency that words, mannerisms, etc are lost in translation. After reading a couple of her entries to the BF last night, he pointed me in the direction of this hilarious site:

Of course, the "Adult Engrish" category is the funniest

Personal Jesus/Nasty Bitch- Same dif!

NAMBLA t-shirt?

That bear is a liar. She was practically begging for it. Should have seen what she was wearing.

Why is Shaggy even dating her? What a loser!

I really hope this is an ad for an energy drink!

At least he has friends! fucking pastels.

Do they at least have that (fucking) waterless hand sanitizer?

I mean, I'd suck at writing Chinese, Japanese, etc characters too, but WHAT is this obsession with English words on t-shirts-- and dirty ones at that?!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Magnetic Fields 4-EVA.

Elizabeth took a jog down memory lane while showcasing her chaotic refrigerator door the other day, which made me laugh, because my roommates are always cursing me for my own cluttered cooler. My own memories aren't the only ones that are kept on that door, but those of others as we have kept every postcard, magnet, coupon, crumbly love note, etc. I used to find weird stuff in the street and stick it up there, but that just got too insane and I had to get a little more selective. Unfortunately, my camera battery was dying when I took this photo and obviously this was an urgent issue, so I couldn't wait for it to charge. Long story long-- Um Sorry for the blurriness of the pic. Oh well. 

click to zoom

Top Door- Top Left Clockwise: (1) Business Card from The Rebel Shop in Tabor City, NC on Hwy 74.  A man named Vernon Strickland owned it. Sold items such as rebel flag bikinis, bumper stickers that read "Keep on Klux'in'", flags bearing Waylon Jennings' huge head, and more Wrangler Daisy Duke shorts than you've ever seen. (2)Beasty Feast magnet that belonged to our old roommate, Kate. She had a sweet dog called, Scout, named after To Kill A Mockingbird.(3)Whole Foods coupon that I got from a party I actually attended IN WHOLE FOODS! There was a guy rapping freestyle and free food. It kinda sucked. (4) Postcard from roommate, Jacob from when he was in Scotland. There is a very realistic drawing of Nessy on the back. (5) "Bigger and Better In America" Postcard from my friend Brian when he was on tour. The back says "WE KILL FUCKING TURKEYS IN AMERICA. N. Mexico." (6) Friends Betsy and Justin from a special night in the basement of Tonic (Subtonic) RIP. (7)Postcard I found in the street somewhere. It says "East River 1987" on the back. (8)"What good comes from a day that starts with getting up?" Left by old roomie Kate. (9) "I AM HAPPY BECAUSE KATE LOVES ME AND I AM WONDERFUL" tape originally stuck on our friend Nick, but ended up on the fridge. (10) Announcement photo and letter for my friend, Yvette's amazing baby, Julian. He is 7 mos. old now. (10.5) Rolling Stones tongue from their last tour. (11) Paris postcard from Jacob when he was there. (12) Roommate Lindsay's Parsons senior show flyer (13) Postcard from Jacob's sister, Mara when she was backpacking in Spain all by her tiny self. (14) Polaroid of me, Jacob, and Katherine. I had a dislocated arm, hence the sling. Awesome times!!!! (15) Bday portrait I made for Jacob (16)Planet Hollywood magnet--not sure where it came from. (17) Vintage London postcard from Yvette when she was living there for a couple months about a million years ago. (18)Happy Holidays handmade card from Jackie (19) Photobooth photos all taken at Union Pool. Me, Jacob, and Katherine, Me and Jackie, Me and Kate (20) Postcard from Florida from Veronica.

Bottom Door- Same deal as above: (1) Cat drawing Jacob and I found on the street the other day in the west lower 50's. Amazing, right? (2) Scout's vet magnet. I miss that pup. (3) That clip usually holds bills. (4) "Pennsylvania Grand Canyon" postcard from Jacob's mom. She writes him weekly from Philly. Such a funny lady. (5) Ecuador postcard from Jacob's friend. (6) Dali's Lobster Telephone magnet from Mara (6) Another Pennsylvania postcard from Jacob's mom (7) "Eat Extra... If..." food chart by Katherine to remind us what foods to eat for every ailment. 

Extra little spanish magnets from Valerie, and I've had those word magnets since my freshman year at AppState. Kate left the palabras de espanol to help us with our spanish. 

OMG. I know I'm the only person that will ever read that again. How embarrassing.

Brew-skie for you-skie?

We are all well aware of the vices used by most of our recent Presidents (and potential ones.)


"I didn't inhale."

BUT how about our very first Commander-In-Chief? Looks like the first George W. liked to relax with a cold one every now and again (Of course, he had to make it himself.)

"To Make Small Beer." By George Washington.
From his 1757 notebook.

My friend has been working in the archives at the New York Public Library and sent me a copy of this beer recipe written by George Washington. See here:

This is only one of the cool things she has archived while working there, and much of this material is available for the public to see! Books. Check 'em out!

Thanks to Jacob for unearthing the C-Raisin's vid.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm proud to be an American, Where at least I can be on TV...

Mike Sacks has written for Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, The New Yorker, Time, McSweeney’s, Radar, MAD, New York Observer, Premiere, Believer, and Salon. He works on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair magazine.

aaaand he also likes to take pictures of funny and/or weird stuff on TV.

Thanks to my roommate for the chuckles.

Here's one of my own from Austin last summer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sex, Drugs, and Sub Pop

Sub Pop Records is turning 20, and while that's not even old enough to buy a cold Bud in the United States, it can be assumed that Sub Pop has seen its fair share of the foamy brew.

Best known for shedding light on Seattle's punk scene (and spawning a flannel frenzy with the "Grunge" movement) by signing Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden, owner Bruce Pavitt is celebrating by releasing a deluxe edition of Mudhoney's 1990 distortion-fest, Superfuzz Bigmuff, as well as their newest studio release, The Lucky Ones.

Raising the label from a small self-produced zine called Subterranean Pop as a broke college kid in the late 80's, Pavitt has created one of the most substantial staples of rock music history. Today Sub Pop represents ridiculously successful modern acts The Shins, The Postal Service, and most recently signed LA's experimental duo (and frequent Brooklyn live noisemakers) No Age, among many others.

See my coverage of Mudhoney and Sub Pop's bday on and tell 'em how awesome you think I am (Oh, and how great the label/band is too.):

(you didn't think i was gonna get through this without some self-promotion, didja?)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Neck My Back

Last summer my friend Matt and I went on a mini-roadtrip in North and South Carolinas.

Videos by Matt. Photos by me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bored? Do Something.


Blood on the Wall w/ Abigail Warchild and Lights

I've been listening to Blood on the Wall's recent release, Liferz constantly lately. Abigail Warchild produces sometimes heavy, sometimes jaunty tunes that you can always nod your head to, and the gals of Lights have been playing around town for the last couple of years. They are full of girly ethereal harmonies and summer breezy noodling guitar melodies lead by a VU-style thumping bass drum.



Kelso's Annual BBQ Sunday, May 18th 2pm-6pm FOOD by Brooklyn's own Fette Sau and Heartland Brewery of NYC - $10 suggested donation to The Gowanus Studio Space MUSIC and Kelso BEER - free ART by Gowanus Studio Space Artists invitation only - please rsvp to
Kelso Brewery 529 Waverly Avenue in Brooklyn Between Atlantic and Fulton take the G, A or C to Clinton Washington


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMay 18th 2008, at St. Mark's Church ( 2nd Avenue b/t 11th & 12th streets) in New York City, marks an evening where decades of experimental performers from around the world will gather to buoy the spirits of their friend, 2-year-old Myat Moondog Haggart.
Myat Moondog Haggart is a hilarious, pugnacious, beautiful and beloved child beset by health problems relating to his brain that are proving very difficult to diagnose. This event exists as a party for him as he begins what may be a difficult journey to health, and as an immeasurably helpful boost as his medical bills continue to mount. This is an event for punks, nerds, parents, perverts, students, children, priests, pagans, ravers: an event for everyone.
7PM sharp/ $20 donation entry fee
Confirmed acts include *Captain Sons and Daughters* (artist Kara Bohnenstiel and Drew McDowall of Coil), *Vito Acconci* (delivering a 'textual architecture' oration), *Scott Haggart and Lary Seven performing DISKONO 017* (announcing the rebirth and continuation of legendary Scottish Dada-anarcho record label DISKONO), *David Grubbs* (Squirrel Bait, Gastr Del Sol, myriad solo projects collaborations and critical works), *Backworld*(World Serpent, Current 93), *Little Annie*(CRASS, Coil, go-to chanteuse for 30 years plus), and DJs *J.G. Thirlwell* (Foetus, Steroid Maximus, Manorexia) and *Fabio Roberti* (WFMU).This bill forms a roster of incessant voyagers, passionate collaborators, true anarchists, and conscientious scholars. It is a festival-quality roster, and a rich, beautiful roster: please graze the Internet for a moment to see how deep these artists' creative roots run.
A door raffle and silent auction will take place on the sidelines: donations thus far include a package of Coil rarities, Vito Acconci artwork, Terry Richardson photography, Sebastian Mlynarski photography, Todd Fisher photography, Mae Fatto photography, Little Annie painting, Andrea Aimi painting, Shannon Lucy print, Cameron Michel collage, and many more. Melissa Rocha will present a puppet-filled animated short.Please distribute this release to all interested parties through all available channels.

Happy Quinceañera to BUST!

Hey! Go buy the new BUST!

Besides the fact that hilarious Amy Sedaris is on the cover, it's their 15th Anniversary issue, AND I wrote an article on Isabella Rossellini's crazy (yet informative) new short movies about bugs doing the nasty for it.

Check out GREEN PORNO in its entirety on the Sundance Channel's website.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Should I STAY or Should I GO!!

Since Gossip Girl is almost over, I must get in some commentary here. The season finale is next week! I feel like the show just started. Damn.

All I really have to say is:

1. I hope Dan gets oral herpes. How could he turn his back on Serena so quickly? WHAT A SNAKE!


No one even mentioned her during the whole episode, even though she wasn't at her dad's big errr "gig." Did I miss something? A murmur of her name? "Oh Jenny is off at Grandma's house in Queens?" Something??! Maybe they were too star struck by Lisa Loeb (DUDE, somebody must be struggling to make rent. I seriously hope they had her on suicide watch after singing that song for the 429734982397th time. Seeing her panties on her reality show was real enough for me. Seeing her cling to her last 15 seconds by playing the character of herself [a washed up 90's one hit wonder] is just too depressing. Please, don't stay, Lisa. GO. FAR AWAY!)

Man, I can't believe the season is almost over. I can't wait to hear S call G a 'manipulative little B' and scratch her eyes out.