Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sung Tongs: Animal Collective and Lonnie Holley at Symphony Hall, Atlanta, July 17, 2018

Last night, Panda Bear and Avey Tare of the Baltimore band Animal Collective performed their 2004 album Sung Tongs in its entirety at Atlanta's Symphony Hall. Georgia's own Lonnie Holley opened.  

The whole show was sublime and exquisite beyond words, so instead of talking about it, here are some pictures and videos that might better express the peculiar joys of the evening. 

By the way, I think the title Sung Tongs is a spoonerism on the words Tongue Songs.

With each LP, Animal Collective generally also release an EP of similar songs, and Sung Tongs was accompanied by Prospect Hummer, a collaboration with folk singer Vashti Bunyan.  After playing Sung Tongs all the way through, Panda and Avey played several more songs, including the title track Prospect Hummer and I Remember Learning How To Dive from the Prospect Hummer EP.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Call it what you will: incompetence, dereliction of duty, or outright treason, but the short-fingered vulgarian of a president has chosen to believe the words of a murderous, treacherous thug of a dictator over the unanimous opinion of the U.S. intelligence community, who have definitively concluded that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.  

It has been suggested that the orange one is a stooge for the Russians, while others suspect that former KGB Chief Putin may have been cultivating him for years now. “I’ve seen Russian intelligence manipulate many people over my professional career and I never would have thought that the US President would become one of the ones getting played by old KGB hands,” said Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas).

It's time that we as a country decide where and what are core values are, and then vote this November accordingly.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The people who were most American by birth, and who had the most to do with managing America, gave themselves a literature which had the least to say about the real phenomena of American life, most particularly the accelerated rate, the awful rate, of growth and anomaly through all of society. That sort of literature and that sort of attempt to explain America was left to the sons of immigrants who, if they were vigorous enough, and fortunate enough to be educated, now had the opportunity to see that America was a phenomenon never before described, indeed, never before visible in the record of history. There was something going on in American life which was either grand or horrible or both, but it was going on—at a dizzy rate—and the future glory or doom of the world was not necessarily divorced from it… 
- Norman Mailer, from Cannibals and Christians (1965)
MiloŇ° Forman, the Czech film director, lived and worked in the former Czechoslovakia until 1968, but once in America, made some of the most quintessential of American films, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Hair, Ragtime, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, and the Andy Kaufman bio-pic, Man in the Moon.  The point being we need immigrants to explain our country to ourselves.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Saturday, July 14, 2018

So sometime around midnight last evening, after some 102 hours of gameplay, I completed the main storyline of Assassin's Creed: Origins.

It was a very good game and I'd rank it right up there with the best of the role-playing games (RPGs).  It didn't have the outstanding story-telling of Witcher 3, but then again it doesn't have Andrzej Sapkowski novels to support it, but it was much more involved than a straight-up action game or shooter.  The graphics were outstanding and even breathtaking at times, the quests varied enough to not seem repetitive, the characters were interesting, and it even had educational value (I now know much more about Ptolemaic-Dynasty Egypt than I did before).  The game was produced by Ubisoft, the creators of Far Cry 4, and while the mechanics of the game were very similar to Far Cry, Ubisoft managed to smooth out the bugs and idiosyncrasies that made game-playing in Far Cry so unnecessarily frustrating.

It was my first Assassin's Creed game, so I was genuinely surprised by the whole Animus device (no spoilers - about the Animus I will say no more).  I'm told Origins is the best A.C. game, at least in a while, so I won't go back and play earlier versions, but I am intrigued about the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, which reportedly will continue the story from where Origins left off.

There's still plenty of gameplay available for me in the game - there are still a lot of side quests yet to be completed and the game allows you to switch and play as different characters to keep things interesting.  But I know from past experience with other games that playing the side quests without the main storyline to give things structure and flow will seem pointless after a few days and that soon I'll be searching for a new game to play.

Video games, with their complex, non-linear storylines, their action and excitement, first-person point-of-view, and compelling fantasy content, have taken over the role that cable t.v. used to have for me and that Netflix now has for many people, namely the predominant time-waster in life.  The 102 hours I played is roughly equivalent to two-and-a-half weeks of a full-time job, but I did this all in my spare time between last night and Memorial Day weekend. 

Final thought: I can't rank all the games that I've played the past couple years or so linearly, such as  No. 1 on down to No. x, but I can group them into the following categories:

God Tier:   The Witcher 3, Assassin's Creed: Origins
Patrician Tier:  Fallout 4, Skyrim
Okay Tier:  Fallout: New Vegas, Borderlands 2 
Pleb Tier: Far Cry 4, Minecraft 
Meh Tier:  Wolfenstein II, Everyone's Gone To The Rapture 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Dreaming of the Masters

As we recall, Don Cherry, if not the very first, at least made his first appearance near the beginning of this DOTM series.  He's back now because we were scrolling through YouTube looking for something else, and we came across this incredible performance from 1971 and just had to re-post it here immediately (literally, we just heard this for the first time mere minutes ago).  In this set, he channels everything from Dollar Brand/Abdullah Ibraham to his own Mu series of LPs, and even foreshadows the direction his music went during his mid-70s Brown Rice phase.

Great stuff, and to think this is what was being broadcast on French t.v. in the early 1970s! 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Dozen Reasons To Be Cheerful

  1. Donald Trump is still out of the country.

  2. Scott Pruitt is out at EPA.

  3. That racist Papa John's guy had to resign. 

  4. They got all those kids out of the cave.

  5. World Cup, because why not?

  6. The Red Sox' 3 1/2-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East.

  7. Better Call Saul Season 4 starts next month.

  8. Parquet Courts' Wide Awake - best LP of 2018 (so far).

  9. Anna von Hauswolff's Dead Magic - also the best LP of 2018 (so far).

  10. Jonathan Richman to play a four-night stand at The Middle East in Cambridge, Mass.

  11. Girl Scouts' Thin Mint cookies with ice cream.

  12. It's warm enough to be naked outdoors.