Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bet You Can't Top These Wedding Cake Toppers

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that wedding cake toppers are the most important part of a wedding reception, and the key signifier of a healthy, robust, and ageless marriage. If these figurines are not pleasing to the eye, it spells certain doom for the happy couple, for how could they recover from such an unseemly failure of presentation? Did you ever see the toppers on Kim Kardashian's cake? So tacky and, therefore, incredibly prophetic. And every wedding cake that Elizabeth Taylor ever had featured a plastic bride and groom flipping each other the bird. Remind me how things ended up for our Liz in the marriage department.

In short, these tiny simulacra have an important job to do, and the ones that our friend Rachel Roth, who is making our wedding cake, got from Etsy bode well for Jimmy and I, because they bear remarkable likenesses to our real selves. Jimmy's (left) is a dead ringer, for in real life, his head is perfectly round, and scientists use it to calibrate their instruments. I've always wished my head was rounder, and this figurine allows me to finally realize that dream, sort of. But it's most important for them to capture our essences, and I think these do. Is it sad that our essences can be captured in figurines that are no larger than five inches? Maybe. But in their defense, my essence can probably be captured in an item much smaller, so I'm feeling pretty flattered by the extra inches. Our cat Stella is pretty happy with her essence, though as always she wishes it was skinnier.

In conclusion, Jimmy and I have been together for 15 years. We met in North Carolina, our home state, and are now finally able to get married because we live in NYC (we actually married on February 13, and are celebrating on June 9) and Ye Olde Breeders of New Yorke have finally stopped being idiots about 21st century reality and are now graciously allowing us to do what we've been doing for a decade and a half, but now with health insurance benefits and such. Don't worry, though, North Carolina will get around to enshrining basic decency in its constitution next century, once it's done enshrining brazen idiocy. To paraphrase the late great Martin Luther King, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward us gaywads, eventually.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hell's Freezing Over Dept: Tune in Tokyo Makes the Kindle Top 10 List!

Folks, this great nation is just going to hell, is it not? I mean, look at this Kindle Top 10 List: The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy Bundle at #9 and then some depraved piece of idiocy like my book Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries charting even higher, at #8? Good Lord, save us from ourselves!

This is just insane. TiT was the Kindle Daily Deal yesterday, which is why it went Top 10--even making it as high as #5, according to Publishers Weekly--but today it is back at its regular price and as of a few minutes ago it's still at #10! At first I thought there must be some mistake, but Amazon robots don't make mistakes. They are all-knowing, like Stephen Hawking or Suzanne Somers. So it must be really happening. Also, here's something to look at:

I just had to place that there for posterity, because at one point yesterday I was #8 on the Kindle list!!

Just so you know, this will not change me in the slightest. I am the same boy who eats his chicken deep-fried and dipped in Nutella that you've known for however long you've known me.

Whose Classy-Person Vehicle Is Parked Outside Our Apartment?

Tim: Is it Beyonce's?

Jimmy: No, hers is pink and bedazzled. I think it's Tracy Morgan's.

Tim: That means Tina Fey's probably in it.

Jimmy: Nah, they don't hang out outside work.

Tim: Who do you think is in the VIP lounge?

Jimmy: You mean the VIP Crawl Space? Probably Paula Abdul and a bunch of fish tanks.

Tim: And Nutella. I bet they've got a big barrel of Nutella up in there.

Jimmy: Not for long if I know Paula.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

See Tim Review: Echoes and Rhymes by The Primitives

Both of my regular readers might recall that one of the bands I loved in high school back in the late '80s was the Primitives, a Coventry, England-based outfit led by vocalist Tracy Tracy and guitarist Paul Court. It wasn't just because I'm a sucker for leather-jacketed dudes with slicked-back hair rocking out while a classy  dame with moxie to burn cooed and snarled into the microphone. Nor was it merely because they had a lyric that went "Who's that boy with the turquoise head / walking 'round like he's still in bed?" It was also because they had the musical chops to back up their surface charms. The Primitives specialized in a wonderfully infectious style of guitar pop that was equal parts Blondie swagger, '60s girl group sweetness, and scuzzy, fuzzy, Jesus and Mary Chain–style chainsaw ruckus. Their self-released early singles, such as "Really Stupid," "Stop Killing Me," and "Thru the Flowers," put them on the map and got them a record deal with RCA. Morrissey was even seen around town/in the cemetery with a Primitives T-shirt on. 

You might know them for their most famous single, "Crash," which hit the Top 10 in the UK and was a big college radio hit in the US. The accompanying album Lovely was a classic pop masterpiece with ear worms galore, like "Buzz Buzz Buzz," "Run Baby Run," and "I'll Stick With You." It was a smash hit in Britain and a moderate success in the States that sadly has mostly gone unremembered in the intervening years. 

Their second record, Pure, was more polished and psychedelic, but still delivered the pop candy the band had become famous for. (Well, famous in England, which, in stateside parlance, is kind of like, I don't know, being really really big in Buffalo?) But by the time of its release, the Primitives had already reached their sell-by date with the British music press, which had already moved on to Madchester (to be replaced by shoegaze to be replaced by Nirvana) and was ready to get on to the gleefully vicious backlash that was due any UK band with the nerve to stick around for more than a few years, no matter how catchy their singles were. ("Tracy who?") Their glossy, sometimes treacly, but still fun-filled final album, Galore, wasn't even released in the US and sank like a stone in the UK. The band called it quits soon afterwards. 

In the past few years, a new generation of young hipsters have been taking their cues, wittingly or not, from the template set by the band. A direct line can be drawn between the Primitives and, for example, the Raveonettes, the Dum Dum Girls, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Best Coast, Frankie Rose, and Vivian Girls. It was the advent of this collection of acts that brought the Primitives name back into circulation a few years ago.

I certainly never thought we'd hear from them again. Tracy Tracy, I figured, was surely now a designer of china doll lingerie living in the south of France. Paul Court was probably a hip high school band teacher in Brighton, and the drummer was... playing drums for scraps of food in Leicester Square? Maybe. Anyway, they were living their separate lives now, like Phil Collins and whoever that woman was who did that terrible duet with him back in 1985.

Fast forward to 2009, when the band members reunited under sad circumstances--the funeral of their original bassist Steve Dullaghan. This grief-tinged reunion led to the band deciding to make music together again. They did a small British tour and even did a one-off show in Brooklyn that I went to and wet myself over. They re-emerged last year with an excellent four-track EP, Never Kill a Secret, which featured their first new material in 21 years, and it was smashing. Now they've finally unleashed another full album, Echoes and Rhymes, and it's the best thing they've done since Lovely.

Echoes and Rhymes is an album of covers of obscure tracks from the '60s (a few from the '70s), but because most of these songs are unknown, this expertly performed, produced, and sequenced record feels, for all intents and purposes, like an album of Primitives originals. Single "Turn Off the Moon" was originally performed by Sue Lyon, who played the titular role of Lolita in Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film, when she was only 14. Tracy Tracy makes the song her own, though, as she does with other zippy tunes like "Move It On Over" (a LeGrand Mellon song), "Single Girl" (Sandy Posey), "Who Are You Trying to Fool?" (originally by Little Anne), and "Time Slips Away" (Shocking Blue). Following the band's tradition of Paul Court taking the lead on two songs per album, the guitarist breezily takes on Nico ("I'm Not Saying") and The She Trinity ("Wild Flower"). The songs have full, muscular arrangements (my favorite kind), and there is no filler. The band sounds cocked and freaking ready for it, and Tracy's vocals absolutely shimmer. Clocking in at a mere thirty-five minutes, it leaves you eager for another fabulous outing by this criminally underappreciated band.

TRACY, PAUL, COME TO NYC AGAIN! (And Paul, cut that hair.)

In conclusion, here is my favorite moment from the Primitives' Brooklyn show last year.

Full SeeTimBlog Primitives coverage here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm Already Tired of Killjoys Pissing on Obama's Gay Marriage Endorsement (Because F*ck Gawker)

I know people have to write things and get page views for a living, especially the twelve-year-old lackeys over at Nick Denton's Circle Jerk Factory, aka Gawker, so it's incumbent on them to have provocative, link-worthy opinions on everything from NYC media figures no one cares about to John Travolta's massage preferences to the latest side boob extravaganza. They are sometimes very insightful! But shitting on the POTUS for coming out for gay marriage but not doing it exactly as you wanted is just stupid, sorry.

I grew up in North Carolina, which, way before it was known for voting against the gays, was known for repeatedly and gleefully re-electing famous knuckle dragger Jesse Helms to the U.S. Senate. (We never voted him out--he retired and then died, the fucker.) When I was in high school, the thought of President Ronald Reagan declaring that gay people deserve to live/not die of AIDS, much less asserting that they should be able to have access to public institutions shared by the other 98 percent of the country, was a hilarious pipe dream. (Ha ha, pipe dream.) The idea of the President even having a pro-gay record to speak of (let's not forget the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, his recording of an "It Gets Better" video,  expanding same-sex benefits for families of folks working in the executive branch, the decision by his Justice Department to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, signing the hate-crimes act into law, lifting the travel/immigration ban for people living with HIV)? Even more hilarious. Which is why seeing a post entitled "Barack Obama's Bullshit Gay Marriage Announcement" on Gawker today is just so very irritating.

Sure, it would be great if Barry dispensed with the "state by state" rhetoric so beloved of Republicans. But guess what, children: Barry is the fucking President of the United Freaking States and he's up against a shit-ton of bollocks being thrown his way constantly forever by a certifiably insane right-wing who has been amazingly adept at not inspiring the electorate-at-large to tell it to just STFU with its constant stream of idiotic, schizophrenic claptrap. He came out with an eloquent defense of gay marriage that, guess what, probably a lot of folks--left, right, and center--can relate to: He knows gay people, knows their families, and at the end of the day just can no longer see the reason for them to be a separate category of people. Was it some sort political calculation? WHO CARES THIS IS A SPECIAL DAY DO NOT SPOIL IT YOU SNOT-NOSED BRATS. It's nice that a political calculation benefits the gays for once, GAH.

Can't we all just strip down, oil up, lay back, and suck in slowly the breathtaking poetry of Barry doing this on the same day that North Carolina decides to show its ass again, to the world, because fuck it? Really, this is the most amazing Day in Gay News since Margaret Thatcher came out as a trannie. (That wasn't just a dream of mine, right?)

In conclusion, I think it was this photo I sent to Barry and Michelle last night that really spurred him to do the right thing. How can you say 'no' to a cat this sad and a gay face this judgy?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bookshelf Bombshells Reviews Tune in Tokyo

Great news, everyone: The great ladies over at Bookshelf Bombshells have given Tune in Tokyo a fantastic review, and it's one of the funnest I've received. A really nice Monday surprise.

This is my new favorite Internet website, obviously.

Friday, May 4, 2012

three-fingered viola playing dept: simpleshapes at the rock shop, brooklyn

so, i know you are all wondering whether, in the wake of the horrific attack on my finger last week by a massive truck, i would be able to play simpleshapes' gig four days later. the answer is: kind of! i couldn't use my index finger at all so i had to do all my fingering (yes, fingering) with my other three digits, which was hard, gah.

the point is, i mostly played okay but i hit a few terrible notes, so just ignore those.My favorite part is when taylor asks the sound man if we should get off the stage. always expecting to be thrown off, that taylor...