Thursday, January 29, 2009

Singalong, little doggie....

Michael Martin Murphy leads a sing along at the Elko Convention Center.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fall madly in love with the earth's fickle ways...

Meet Paul Zarzyski...

This year, Zarzyski's poem, "Putting the Rodeo Try Into Cowboy Poetry" is emblazoned on the front windows of the Western Folklife Center in Elko. Zarzyski writes mostly in free verse, and has been shaking things up at the festival (in a good way) for 23 years. Traditional cowboy poetry is written in rhyming couplets....

To rhyme or not to rhyme...that is the question.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Welcome to Elko...

I'm at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, for the rest of the week. Last night, John Dofflemeyer read a few poems. These cowboys love their hats and neckerchiefs, their way of life, the American West, and anything having to do with the open range.

Oh, and they love their horses too. Here's John Dofflemeyer's poem about his old bay horse:


At 28 he sleeps standing, head heavy
in September sun, inches from
its shadow. He cannot hear me

for the sounds in his dreams:
the sudden crack of manzanita
or the chorus of bawling calves -

and men. I see the faces gone,
shake hands again and ride within
the old horizons on the edges

of our eyes - and grins. We were
the band that ran these hills
with cows. We were the hands

and proud to hold the wild within
these dark shadows, come alive
as he shrinks into the ground.

Space travel...

I drove 480 miles from Las Vegas to Elko yesterday evening. Steered my little metallic green Hyundai through rain and snow, north up 93 through Pioche and Ely and then to Interstate 80 and Wells. I'm learning to use a new camera...

Navigating by the stars at night.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obsequious Purple & Clairvoyant Playlist 1-22-09

Craig Childs trying to eat my brain...he always tries to do that when we get together...and those teeth were made to open a skull cavity...

OPC Playlist for January 22, 2009. Stream it live Thursdays, 8-10am Mountain Time, here.

Theme Music: Beau Hunks, "Birdlife in the Bronx", Celebration on the Planet Mars
Oren Lavie, "Her Morning Elegance", The Opposite Side of the Sea
Radiohead, "Dollars & Cents", Amnesiac
Andrew Bird, "Privateer", Noble Beast
Beck, "Soldier Jane", The Information
Phileas, "Welcome", Spoken Word
4 Bonjour's Parties, "Magpie Will Peck A Hole In My Plaster Cast", Pilgrims Drift Down...
William Orbit, "Humming Chorus", Hello Waveforms
Bon Iver, "Woods", unreleased EP
Radiohead, "Let Down", OK Computer
Elbow, "Starlings", The Seldom Seen Kid
Andrew Bird, "ouo", Noble Beast
Andrew Bird, "Not A Robot, But A Ghost", Noble Beast
Lemon Jelly, "Nice Weather For Duck", Lost Horizons
Mike Doughty, "Ways And Means", Rockity Roll
Sigur Ros w/ Dr Joseph Lowery's Benediction (full benediction here)
Mike Doughty, "Fort Hood", Golden Delicious
Feist, "Sealion Woman", The Reminder
Jamie Lidell, "Multiply", Mulitply
Dana Bryant, "Heavy Mellow", Wishing From The Top
Marc Broussard, "Yes We Can, Can", S.O.S Save Our Soul
Zero 7, "Salt Water Sound", Simple Things
Nina Simone, "Feeling Good", Verve Remixed
Beck, "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime", Eternal Sunshine...
Mike Doughty, "I Wrote A Song About Your Car", Golden Delicious
Animal Collective, "My Girls", Merriweather Post Pavilion
Chatter box w/ "Baby Elephant Waltz" Upstairs At Larry's

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More time travel...

Legend has it that Bessie Smith didn't need a microphone when she performed...that, even with a large ensemble of players, you could hear her voice clearly. Anywhere in the room. Even outside of the building where she was singing on the street. A big voice.

At least that's what Bobby Lounge told me, when I interviewed him for an npr story several years ago. Eccentric, reclusive, Bobby Lounge is worth his own blog post (at least one...)

But that will come in the future. For now, climb into this little Bessie Smith time machine (a youtube video) with its own anti-climactic, supa-highway weirdness. The machine: just a single shot of a record spinning....

When you get tired of looking, close your eyes and listen to the power of Bessie Smith's voice slicing from the distant past into your ear drums, taking you back...

Bessie Smith. A voice that cut through wax, walls and thick slabs of decadetime.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My favorite moments of this morning's ceremony...

God of our weary years

God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us
thus far along the way
Thou who has by thy might
let us into the light
keep us forever in the path we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places our god
where we met thee
Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world,
we forget thee...

There were so many fine moments to watch. It's wonderful to have a president, once again, who has a way with words. Obama's speech was great, of course... (A wise friend of mine places it third in the pantheon of great inaugural speeches).

But it was Dr. Joseph Lowery's benediction that got me. Lowry words were eloquent and wise and funny and well-wrought. I love his old, leathery voice, and his choice of opening words from James Weldon Johnson.

Dip your cup into the deep wells of democracy and take a long, cool drink:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This explains a few things...

After the valley, the mountaintop...

The urgency of now, and then.

I've seen this footage in black and white. I like it in color. Happy MLK day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Seeing things....

I see robotic monkeys making crops circles...

The words come from a Mocky song, "Seeing Things", which I love more than most other people.....Every time I play it for someone else, I get a quizzical, confused, or slightly pitying expression in return. When I play it for myself, I'm sure my face doesn't register anything other than pure satisfaction

...I see Will Smith for president in 20-24....

And...well....the images above drifted through the transom mid-afternoon today~a grid of intergalactic tattoos, each like the signature markings on a butterfly.

...I see clones takin' over like they did before...

Sounds. Glyphs. Together, they are conquering the world. The change we need? Well, it's the change we've asked know, "dogs saved humans for the last ten milleniums....'cause in the ten before that we was ruled by aliens...."

So, there you are. Happy hieroglyphic Friday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I hope so too...

The Grey Lady wants your hopes and dreams...or at least one of them....

I worked with the New York Times on a project called, "I hope so too", that asked citizens from across the country to pick a top priority for the Obama Administration:

"If you had to pick one thing that Obama should focus on, what would it be?"

Check it out here.

I was in Los Angeles at the time, and sent in ~20 interviews. NYT drew from a pool of 14 states worth of interviews. I think it's surprising that the top issue was not the economy. Also surprising is that among the hundreds of "hopes", all of them were boiled down to a finitude of 29. I would have thought that there would be more variety. Does that mean we're too herd-bound to think outside the box? Or does it mean that the things we face are so urgent that people are more focused than normal?

You can add your hopes to the mix in the comments fact NYT asks that you include hopes that aren't included in the matrix of 29. You can also vote for your favorite hope.

Obsequious, Purple & Clairvoyant Show Playlist 1-15-09

The medium is the message...

On Thursday mornings, I'm a DJ in at a community station in Western Colorado. The Obsequious Purple and Clairvoyant show.....a veritable cornucopia of sonic sweetmeats and treats. OPC streams live, Thursdays 8-10am (mountain time) of KVNF-Mountain Grown Community Radio. You can listen here.

Obsequious Purple Clairvoyant Playlist for 1-15-09
Theme Music (The Beaux Hunks, "Birdlife in the Bronx"-A Celebration on the Planet Mars)
Bon Iver, "Skinny Love"-For Emma, Forever Ago
M Ward, "Blake's View"-Hold Time
Andrew Bird, "Anonanimal"-Noble Beast
LemonJelly, "The Bath"-LemonJelly.KY
Bird and the Bee, "Polite Dance Song"-Rayguns Are Not Just the Future
Andrew Bird, "Nomenclature"-Noble Beast
Bon Iver, "Woods"-Unreleased EP
Derek Trucks, "Already Free"-Already Free
Dan Bern, "Eva"-Fleeting Days
M Ward, "Stars of Leo"-Hold Time
Breeders, "Rise"-Mountain Battles
Gomez, "Notice"-How We Operate
Lemon Jelly, "The Staunton Lick"-LemonJelly.KY
M Ward, "Shaingra La"-Hold Time
Andrew Bird, "Not A Robot But a Ghost"-Noble Beast
Animal Collective, "My Girls"-Merriweather Post Pavilion
The Bird and The Bee, "My Love Diamond"-Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future
Lemon Jelly, "Nothing"-LemonJelly.KY
Radiohead, "Sit down. Stand Up."-Hail to the Theif
Radiohead, "I Might Be Wrong"-Amnesiac
Animal Collective, "Brother Sport"-Merriweather Post Pavilion
Tom Ze, "Ogodo, Ano 2000"-The Hips of Tradition
Herb Albert, "Green Onions"-Whipped Cream and Other Delights ReWhipped
Andrew Bird, "Natural Disaster"-Noble Beast

Listen to the new M Ward album Hold Time, here. Release date is February 20, 2009.
Listen to new Bon Iver EP here. Should be released next week.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What this country needs...

You may have heard Ant Neely's music while watching television (if you do that kind of thing...) Six Feet Under, Boston Legal, Las Vegas. Neely also writes songs, and he released an album late late year called Not Fit For Human Consumption, using audio from the prelinger archives, an amazing resources for all kinds of archival stuff. He took sounds and voice from old films reels and set them to music...

I like a number of the songs on this album....and even better: Neely released the album under a creative commons license, which means that he encourages people to share the music and remix it into new creative forms. You can download the album for free at his website, and donate what you think it's worth too.

Here's a video remix of some of the archival footage used on the album. It's an interesting, low-budg experiment. Slightly creepy footage. The well-scrubbed beatnik is former a mousketeer, Jimmy Dodd. I love the half-man/half-woman dancers at the end. Definitely worth a look while you download Neely's album.