Sunday, October 30, 2005


If you haven't heard it yet, hold your breath and you will. I was reading the hype on Madonna's new track "Hung up" for about a week before I finally heard it, and while I agree that it's a great and wonderfully danceable track in the best tradition of Madonna music, I think descriptions of it as the second coming are vastly overblown. What's most striking on this track is how heavily it borrows from the brilliant productions of Giorgio Moroder--most particularly the inimitable soundtrack to the film "Midnight Express," and even "I feel love" which he produced for Donna Summer. There's also an ABBA-esque quality to the vocals. Don't get me wrong - this is gorgeous stuff put together in a new and pleasing way, but it's still a re-hash. The ready accessibility of "Hung Up" will probably save this cd from the obscurity of Madonna's previous effort, but it's no "Hey Ya," "Clocks" or "Feel Good, Inc." and it will probably not be remembered even as Madonna's best work. "Hung up" may be as brilliant as "Ray of Light" but the former's heavy dependence on derivations of earlier hits make it less memorable as an independent stroke of genius.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Amarillo: Every state should have one!
Eccentric gazillionaire Stanly Marsh III has sponsored several sprawling kooky art installations in and around Amarillo Texas including Floating Mesa, Cadillac Ranch and a giant portable pool table. For my money, though, none of these is remotely as compelling as his loopy street signs dotted about the city in random fashion festooning the yards and alleyways of local neighborhoods. I met someone from Amarillo today, and I asked about these signs, and he said when someone wants one of the signs in their yard, they call up Marsh and his oompa-loompas arrive about 3 in the morning and erect a sign, but you have no way of choosing or divining what will be planted in your yard when you wake up the next day. Once I saw a sign with Jessica Rabbit, one with a message to Luke from his father Darth, and one simply reading "UP." My favorite, though was this: "Abilene is one of the 5 wickedest cities of modern and ancient times." Naturally. I thought - Babylon, Sodom, Gomorrah, Bangkok, Abilene. Makes sense. It was hilarious to think what kind of wonky energy and bizarre Amarillo/Abilene rivalry could have inspired that. Wish the oompa-loompas came to Dallas - I'd like one of my own...

Friday, October 21, 2005

When I was in high school, my father would drive me to my music teacher's house for my weekly lesson and the most direct route took us through an area of town where women were obviously hooking on the street. Once a sistah crossed the street right in front of our vehicle at a stop light, and she was wearing the most insanely tight jeans you've ever seen. My father said "if you put a razor near that, there'd be hind-end all over the place." He has a way with words, my pa.

My brother-in-law was studying architecture in school a few years ago, and was driving around the rather tony neighborhoods around Dallas' White Rock Lake looking at some great new houses, when an interesting thing occurred. He was driving along slowly, windows down, when he noticed a fracas in one of the yards-- several black people were yelling and gesturing wildly at him. To paraphrase, the essence of their harangue was "ain't you never seen black folks with a nice house before?" He was taken aback at the bizarre outburst. We were discussing the fabulous new rock houses in that same neighborhood and he remembered that event and told me about it. I realized which house it was, because a girlfriend of mine lived right around the corner. The house belongs to Erikah Badu. I remembered this story when I was driving down that street after visiting an art gallery last week. There were boxes and personal items all over the driveway of said house, and either someone was being thowed out, a yard sale was about to occur, or someone put a razor near a full-to-bursting storage room.