Monday, June 30, 2008

Things I'd Like to See More Of

A person walking/biking/crawling/slithering through NYC has a lot to choose from when it comes to street entertainment: the innumerable aged Asian gentlemen willing to serenade you with their aged Asian instruments; the random blonde chick with a boom box (yes, an actual boom box), a microphone, and leg warmers on the L train platform at 6th Avenue who will happily dance to and lip sync an old school Madonna song for you; and of course, the various hip hop acrobats, chicks with guitars, hula hoopers, drum circles, and smack-talking homeless folks spread throughout the city that want nothing more than to amuse the public with their antics. But you know what I’d like to see more of?

That’s right. Sci-fi nerds with microphones reading Philip K. Dick aloud on the Williamsburg Bridge. On my way home on Saturday night, I was lucky enough to witness a live reading of Valis, Dick's supposedly semiautobiographical novel of Armogeddon, faith-busting, and Gnostic belief. Or something. Anyway, my dreams that night were profoundly paranoid and I have this guy to thank.

You don't see this kind of thing often enough

Remember: Just because you're paranoid
doesn't mean people aren't plotting against you.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Camera Phone Will Not Be Denied: Ladytron at Terminal 5

All those kids half my age at the Ladytron show at Terminal 5 last night who couldn’t go five seconds without taking a high resolution photo with their fancy nice cameras? I hate them.

There was one boy, not a day over 16, who was simultaneously taking a picture, talking into his cell phone, and swinging his arm around in the “rock on” fashion that, I guess, kids do these days. How did he do all that at once? Did he have three arms? Can he not just watch and dance without overcommitting himself? Then I saw that he had huge holes in his ears that had been plugged up with giant black stoppers/earrings. His poor earlobes were swinging about like string cheese. I thought, “Tim, just let him have his fun. He’s clearly suffering.”

Thankfully, my camera phone won’t be denied, even in the presence of teenagers. Herewith, forsooth, and ergo, I present to you a selection of quality photographs from the show. The guys in the hoodies are opening band Datarock.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Scenes of Our Lives: 9 to 5

Dolly Parton, the President of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, recently played here at Radio City Music Hall, and I missed it because I was getting my annual nose job. Obviously, I was very sad, because God knows how long Dolly's gonna keep teasing that wig. I was able to console myself, though, with my DVD of 9 to 5, the Sexist, Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical, Bigot Edition. This is the third best movie ever made, and there are plenty of scenes to choose from, but my choice for number 1 scene is the one where Doralee tears Mr. Hart a new one. (This one is second only to the one where, during a strategizing session about what to do about Mr. Hart, who they've kidnapped, Doralee suggests "Well, I say we hire a couple a wranglers to go upstairs and beat the shit out of him.") The video above includes both. Your welcome.

Also, see below for photo evidence of me being in very close proximity to Ms. President, separated only by a sheet of glass and a million other fans standing out in front of the Best Buy on 5th Ave a few years ago.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This Week in Not Supporting the Troops: Vandalism

There are many ways to not support the troops. You could not put a yellow ribbon on your car. You could not vote Republican. Or, if you want to follow the lead of some cheeky vandal in the Lower East Side, you could deface a poster promoting the new HBO miniseries Generation Kill, a poster featuring the giant face of a soldier wearing sunglasses. And, if you really want to not support the troops, you could deface it with a cock and hairy balls.

And if, in addition to not supporting the troops, you want to not support the way your momma raised you, you could scrawl the word “herpes” on the soldier’s forehead.

Why do New York City’s youth hate America for its freedom so much?

This is so disrespectful.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Olympic Swimming's Sartorial Nosedive

There's been a horrific development in the world of Olympic swimming. Speedo, the swimwear company that can usually be relied upon to provide skimpy male suits that allow for optimal display of supple male flesh, has introduced the Speedo LZR Racer suit, a kind of state-of-the-art bodysuit that is credited with helping its wearers to set 38 new world records since its introduction in February.

This is disgusting news, obviously. The LZR Racer, which hides the human body under a tedious layer of dark, sexless spandex or whatever is set to become the new standard swimsuit for Olympians. According to Speedo's website, the suit is made of "a fabric designed to mimic the denticles of the world's fastest aquatic creature the shark." Yeah, and when was the last time you thought to yourself, "wow, that shark is hot! I'd hit that." It's been a while, right?

These new bodysuits might be good news for swimmers in their pursuit of Olympic gold, like Michael Phelps, whose nipples should by law be on display at all times. But it is a soul-crushing development for spectators of the event. These new suits are all spandex and no sex appeal; they magically turn whatever dude is wearing them into a Ken Doll eunuch. What is this sport coming to? In 2012 will Phelps be wearing a rubber priest's smock? Is that where we're headed?

Phelps in happier times

Phelps strapped into the LZR Racer, which
makes him faster in the water, but also pale,
sad, and less interesting.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Jukebox: Camera Obscura

It's Friday, it's June, it's the first official day of summer, and Cindy McCain has ice blue eyes that emit freezing gamma rays with the power to go through your medicine cabinet while you're sleeping. In other words, it's time for a feel good tune with some gay dancing and melodic yearning! Enter Camera Obscura and their poptastic gem "Hey Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken." Enjoy it now, before Cindy takes all your prescription drugs away!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

See Tim Review: The Strangers

The new horror movie The Strangers starring Liv Tyler has kind of scared the motherf**king shit out of me. Tyler stars as an appletini-sipping tomb raiding space alien from Israel who turns green when she's angry and really just wants to cut hair (or a beautiful woman who's just turned down her boyfriend's marriage proposal and must spend the rest of the movie trying not to get hacked to death--I don't know, I was watching through my damn fingers).

This movie has forever changed the way I think about people in spooky kabuki masks showing up at 4 in the morning and knocking on my door asking for some bitch named Tamara. (F**k Tamara, man. F**k her.) It used to not bother me. Now I sit up at night just waiting for that knock. That booming, angry, horrible knock.

I also never want to hear a Joanna Newsom or Wilco song again. Their music portends twisted and excruciating murder games, and I'll have none of it.

Worst of all, thanks to this movie I've now realized the evil intent of one of my most prized souvenirs from my last visit to Japan a few years ago. Yes, it's a mask that I thoughtfully bought for my boyfriend at the cheap Asian market on Omotesando Dori in Harajuku and it sits balefully on my bathroom wall, just waiting to pounce. Its painted on smile hides an unimaginable evil that seeks to ruin my showers for the rest of my life, the end.

The Japanese mask on my bathroom wall has just
figured out a great new way to murder me.

What Does Ashton Kutcher Do In This Nikon D60 Commercial That Couldn't Be Done By a Monkey?

Ashton Kutcher is handsome. Sure. He looks good in a suit. Yes. Even a light gray suit. Ok. BUT. What does he do in this new Niko D60 commercial that, in all honesty, couldn't be accomplished by a trained monkey? He looks at his camera. He takes photos. He gives the thumbs up. He knocks over a bunch of champaign glasses. He--ugh--says "Boo Yah." All skills that can be easily acquired by any workaday primate. So why does Nikon insist on spending good money on a uselessly hot slab of meat like Kutcher?

You know, there are some really handsome monkeys out there that need jobs.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Today in Growing Old Gracefully, Sincerity Edition: Siouxsie Sioux

Can you kids keep it down? Aunt Siouxsie's trying to pose.

Siouxsie Sioux is my fairy godmother, and I never would have made it through high school without her. The black patent leather shoes she shined for me using her very own ice cold breath were the hit of my senior prom. I’ve had trouble understanding in recent years why she hasn’t been crowned Empress of the World yet—hell, I’d even settle for a major American magazine doing a profile of her; she has been in the music industry and leading men around by the dog collar for 30 f**king years now, after all—but, alas, she hasn’t. Because what the world really needs is another article on Amy Winehouse. Whatever, she’s 50 now and looks like Amy Winehouse’s younger sister. That is, she looks freaking awesome.

Don't you want to just put Siouxsie on a
plate and sop her up with a biscuit?

Even when she was in her 20s and 30s, Siouxsie always seemed like your crazy old aunt that practiced voodoo and was always rattling on about the Arabian Nights, ragdolls, salamander kings, bad photography, and Jayne Mansfield. (You have an aunt like that, right?) As such, 50 seems the most natural age for her. If you haven’t gotten her album Mantaray yet, put down that shitty and lyrically clunky Alanis Morissette album and get thee to a record shop immediately.

Until then, watch Siouxsie get all Sally O’Mally with the high kicks in the video for “Here Comes That Day.”

Friday, June 13, 2008

Crazy Old Coot of the Day: Gore Vidal

God bless Gore Vidal; he hates everyone. And he's got the most incredible stockpile of personal and political insults of any 82-year-old I know. Certainly if you've been as nauseous as I have over the past 8 years, you've no doubt found solace in Vidal's recent diatribes against the "Bush-Cheney junta," Dreaming War and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace in which he laments the state of the "United States of Amnesia." So bitter!

Well, there's very exciting news for us who can't get enough of the man who once described Reagan as "a triumph of the embalmer's art" and who dismissed Truman Capote as "a full-fledged housewife from Kansas with all the prejudices": this Sunday the New York Times Magazine will have an interview with the pissed off old codger in which he'll not only reiterate how dumb the President is but will also drop the bomb that his father was even dumberer. And he'll question McCain's status as a war hero and make a snarky aside about Obama. No one is safe!

Editor and Publisher has a preview.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jukebox: "Alone" by Heart (1987)

Has there ever been a more desperately in love woman on the face of the Earth than Heart's Ann Wilson? The woman is beside herself with yearning and it is killing her. She's sitting in the dark listening to the ticking of the clock and wearing a black veil, for God's sake. And who is this schmuck that refuses to answer his phone, leaving our Ann to wonder whether she'll once again be forced to face another night alone on the balcony, her heart brimming with pain and solitude, with only her sister Nancy's exploding piano to keep her company?

You know, til now, Ann had always been fine on her own. But then she met this guy and he turned her world upside down. Worse, he keeps bringing his friends on his dinner dates with her, so she's never even had an opportunity to tell him how she feels. Every time she tries to corner him at the salad bar, he pretends that he doesn't hear her. How can you not hear Ann Wilson when she's singing at you?!

Yes, this song is about flakey men and the angelic voiced women that they string along. I hear you, Ann. I've been there, God knows. And, as much as I love sister Nancy (can't count the ways), I do think it's a little insensitive of her to continually hump and writhe against her guitar while her sister stands beside her in such turmoil. But she certainly redeems herself with one of the loveliest guitar solos of the 80s. And the video ends on a positive note: the ladies standing together looking at each other as if to say, "We're gonna get through this."

And of course they did. There were more power ballads to write.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Desperate John McCain Trying to Steal Commie Posterchildren ABBA Away from the Liberals

Ancient and endangered polar bear John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for President, is shamelessly trying to woo pissed off Hillary supporters by stealing away ABBA—the greatest and best dressed pop band in the history of the world—from the godless liberal Marxists who rightfully own them.

This is beyond the pale. Abba is from Sweden, the land of high taxes, universal healthcare, moral relativism, and government subsidized sequins--in other words, they are liberal and Satanic to their very cores and should not be reduced to appearing on John McCain's Website for the Elderly and Memory Impaired. ABBA are staunch believers in overreaching government, child pornography in schools, and affirmative action--all classic liberal commie Marxist-Leninist hobby horses. In other words, they're better than this.

I encourage my readers to write angry, scathing letters to the McCain campaign and demand that they immediately yank the video from their website and put in its place "Orinoco Flow" by Enya. Hurry up!

Also--Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Frida need to immediately contact their American lawyers and right this wrong. Their legacy is at stake.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back Up from Down Yonder

I'm back from the inferno that was Tennille, Georgia, and I've brought some live bait back with me (as well as a ton of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches). There's extra bait, so if anyone needs any, the spillover will go to the reader who suggests the most creative use for it. See below for an adorable photo of my grandma looking matriarchal and full-on pink at her 90th birthday party.

You can't even tell that as I was taking this, Grandma Ruby
was chiding me about the state of my facial hair.
"That don't look no good," were her exact words, I think.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Goin' Down

I'm a-headin' on down to Georgia this mornin' for my grandma's 90th birthday. gonna be ridin' shotgun in the Devil's pickup truck, in the back seat my trusty viola, Satan's own stringed instrument. Gonna play "Old Rugged Cross" for Grandma Ruby at the party, at which point the Devil will hit turbo and leave me depending on the kindness of strangers for a ride back. He hates that song.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Today in Growing Old Gracefully: Boy George

The headline in Britain's Daily Mail a few months ago said it all:

Boy George: 'I didn't chain a male escort to a wall'.

Listen, George, I believe you, really. I'm a fan. My boyfriend and I both read your memoir Take It Like a Man and we never read the same memoirs. But, you know, if you find yourself in a situation where you must make a public statement denying that you chained a prostitute to a wall in your plush London home, it doesn't really matter if it's true, does it? I haven't done that yet either, but nobody's asked me. In court.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Historic: Michelle Obama's Husband One Step Closer to Becoming America's Next President

Last night's clinching (love that word) of the Democratic nomination by Michelle Obama's husband is historic for so many reasons. Most importantly, though, it marks the first time that I have ever wanted to see a Democratic presidential nominee naked.

Americuh, pleeeeeeease make this woman our next First Lady. She already has the hair. What more convincing do you need?!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

See Tim Review: Ladytron's Velocifero!!

Ladytron, just off the assembly line in 2000

Anyone who knows me will tell you, I've always been a sucker for a band in uniform. It's one of the main reasons why Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is my favorite Beatles album, even though I've never really listened to it. It's why I love the Pointer Sisters. It's why Prince and his Revolution really struck a chord. Add to the uniform the mimicry of robots, and I'm totally sold (Kraftwerk, Devo--front of the line). So when the four members of Ladytron emerged in 2000 wearing matching black cargo suits of the future, playing analog synths, and displaying the emotional unavailability of Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner, I was theirs for the taking.

Two manmachines (Daniel Hunt, Reuben Wu). Two fembots (Mira Aroyo, Helen Marnie). An Asian. A Bulgarian. Based in Liverpool. With a moniker that sounds like a futuristic pleasure device. What more could you want from a band?

Well, okay, music. But the ‘tron had that covered. Their first two albums, 604 and Light and Magic, were awash in cold synths and even colder ennui. Take this lyric from “Discotraxx”:

I know her, used to follow everywhere we’d go
And it’s so sweet, now she’s sleeping with a boy I know
The boy I know knows a pretty girl in every town
And the way they look, they were made to let each other down.

Dang, that’s cold. I like it. It was this lyrical bite that gave Ladytron, whose music was by and large quite beautiful, a below-the-belt kick.

Mira and Helen at the dog park in the off-world colony of Zambartylfyork

But it was on the band’s third album Witching Hour that their android hearts began to pump real blood, causing their waxy exoskeletons to allow a blush of passion to cross their sad, sad faces. Or something. Anyway, the album oozed fever, disharmony, and regret. It was their Disintegration, their Violator, their Juju, the album on which all of their strengths coalesced into one solid, ginormous cinematic opus. The sly humor was still there (“If I give you sugar will you give me/Something elusive and temporary?”), but only in short, sharp bursts. On Witching Hour the band was really going for it, simultaneously shoegazing and cloudbusting. But I should stop before I go over the top. So, what about new album Velocifero?

The band being attacked by deadly space squids on the cover of their new album

It’s Velocifegreat! Sure, there’s nothing new here, but I’m perfectly willing to let them rest on their laurels for a while. They’re tired! The band may no longer adhere to their original dress code, but thankfully the reliably melodic and expansive music makes up for the band’s disappointing lack of sartorial discipline. New single “Ghosts” creeps up on you (sorry, but it does), “I’m Not Scared” is sweetly spooky, “Burning Up” is a siren’s lament. So much drama. So much. Sadly, there aren’t too many laughs to be enjoyed this go round. But at least there’s lots of Bulgarian (“Black Cat,” “Kletva”). Well, not lots, but a good amount. Definitely more than Kraftwerk or Devo ever brought.

So there you are: Velocifero. One small step for Ladytron, one giant leap in the air for me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Yes We Can't

Holy wow. Ken Layne, the editor of Wonkette, really lays it out there this morning in a post about the 2008 campaign on AOL news. (AOL has news?) He really achieves the impossible by making Ron Paul supporters look relatively cogent and reasonable. Money quote:

As America loses its long-held leadership of the world and the entire U.S. Economy literally dies and the smart money has long since moved to developing countries and wages stagnate and crushing debt hangs over everything and Americans are dumber, fatter, sicker and poorer than anyone in the modern world, the 2008 campaign was basically 24-month-long indictment of the United States as an easily manipulated nation of bigoted half-wits who will, as always, get nothing from whoever wins the White House.

Why is Ken Layne with the terrorists?

Been and Gone: Harvey Korman, RIP

Sketch comedy great Harvey Korman has died at the age of 81, and respect must be paid. He was a regular cast member of Carol Burnett and Friends and, most importantly, he was a major part of my childhood. Korman is best known for being unable to keep a straight face during his sketches with Tim Conway. But not in an irritating, self-satisfied way like Jimmy Fallon on SNL. Korman really couldn't help himself, and watching him try not to laugh became a regular part of any sketch he and Conway were in. And I swear that Korman's portrayal of Yiddish grandmother Mother Marcus is the reason that, even though I'm a gay, I love big boobs so much.

Below, perhaps Korman's best role, that of Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles.