Music for your Bacchanalia

A genuine bacchanalia needs the right music, music that evokes a sense of raw desire, truth in flesh, that kind of thing, not superficially bald renderings such as Madonna’s Like a Virgin or at your local electric zoo. maxresdefaultDance party music is often predictable, denying the subtlety of the bacchanalia, the potential for a slow build, heightening the tension, a move to the side, and then incrementally back toward inevitable release.

Some alternate bacchanalia soundtracks to consider:

4. Uah (Mouse on Mars)dance party

Stripped down, dream-like, this music moves between slumber and fever.

3. Supplication (Grateful Dead)

mud festivalJazz meets psychedelia, spiraling toward electric understanding..

2. Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix)

voodooTowering worlds climb and collide, fade into the distance, resurrected, flying again, impossibly so.

1. Heavenly Music at Half Speed (Fripp & Eno)

heavenly musicThe feeling of a vibrating whole reduced to a devastating note washing over, continuing without end. Something like that.

The Deadhead Shrug

“Ticket?” The conductor held out his hand.

The Deadhead moved the thin plastic bag to his other hand and absently dug into a pocket. “I had it, man.”

“I need your ticket.”

“Yeah.” The Deadhead’s scruffy beard and dirty jacket and pants stood out in rumpled contrast to the commuters on their way home to Connecticut. “I had it.”

“You’ll have to get off at the next stop.”

“I can’t do that, man.”

The conductor was perhaps reflecting on how such cases are handled in Scotland. “Ticket is $14.”

The Deadhead offered a crumpled dollar bill. “I have this, man.”

The conductor glared back. “Next stop.”

“Listen, man, I…” He held out his hands and raised his shoulders in a pathetic, slow motion shrug.

The conductor continued on through the car. “Tickets, please.”

The Deadhead stayed where he was, half hiding between cars, slumped in the corner, hoping the conductor wouldn’t come back. And he didn’t.

The Deadhead got off at his stop, Port Chester where there was a Phil Lesh concert, and adjusted his pants and CVS bag on the platform.

It struck me, as I walked past, how I’d seen this same character many times before, so often at Grateful Dead concerts, everything sweet and cool as long as they got what they wanted: free rides, food and tickets.

The issue was significant enough for Jerry Garcia to write Day Job, in which he preached to his followers: If you ask me, which I know you don’t/ I’d tell you to do what I know you won’t/ Keep your day job until your night job pays.jerry-garciaThe Deadheads never liked that song much, giving it that tell-tale Deadhead Shrug, ironically enough, the same shrug offered by The Dead’s management and promoter David Shapiro when only 10% of the people got tickets through the mail order while Ticketmaster, Stubhub, etc feasted on profits. “Sorry, man, hope to see you there.”

Oh well, there’s always the music.Lesh&Friends

“Fish in the Dark” & The Critics Love to Hate

The critics have spoken on Larry David’s Fish in the Dark.

The New York Times: …set postures, lines and deliveries, while throwaway humor has been exaggerated in ways that perversely shrink its impact.

The New Yorker: …sour-voiced schtick…a cynical manipulation of sentimentality and humor.DarkfishThe Wall Street Journal: (Larry David’s) playwriting debut, a poor and embarrassing excuse for the kind of Jewish humor that went out of fashion with Gertrude Berg, (is) bursting at the moldy seams with embalming fluid.

It’s not as if Larry David made any highfalutin’ claims. “I saw Nora Ephron’s play, Lucky Guy. I just thought, ‘That must be a really interesting thing to do.”54c16d2f10516d590a7b15ac_fish-in-the-dark-larry-david-broadway-vf02

The hate from New York’s papers is perhaps best summed up by the theater critic in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s BirdmanI’m gonna turn in the worst review anyone has ever read and I’m gonna close your play. Birdman-Michael-Keaton-Underwear-Times-Square-NYC-Film-Locations-43rd-Street-Times-Square-St.-James-Theatre-Hotel-Edison-Rum-House-3Would you like to know why? Because I hate you and everyone you represent. Entitled, selfish, spoiled children. Blissfully untrained, unversed and unprepared to even attempt real art. Handing each other awards for cartoons and pornography.

Luckily, the real-life critics aren’t having so much luck. Larry David’s play has broken box office records and been greeted by constant laughs and ovations every night. article-davidweb-0203Fish in the Dark, as Mr. David is not ashamed to say himself, is “pre-tty, pre-tty good.”

 

Overlooked Manhattan: Dubuffet’s “Group of Four Trees”

Chase Plaza, between William and Broad Streets in Downtown Manhattan, offers that rare trifecta: light, space and art. 20150308_094110Jean Dubuffet’s Group of Four Trees dominates the space. 20150308_093840Made of fiberglass, aluminum and steel, Jean Dubeffet’s work was erected in 1972 and stands four stories tall.20150308_094010 20150308_093910 20150308_094032The sculpture is one of the 14,000 works in Chase Manhattan’s private collection.*20150308_093759This being one of the few that the public can see.

(*According to Manhattan’s Downtown Alliance)

The Big, Bad Business of The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead create an environment like no other. 20130404-grateful-dead-1977-600x-1365096057It is a simple thing, marvelous and sweet, just music, but music to live in, breathless and divine at moments, raucous at others, insane in between, just music, music that never seems to end.
c22f469e79d5ff7255f96d7838c7e7c4.jpgYeah, I love The Grateful Dead. That’s why I wanted to go to the 50th Anniversary Shows in Chicago. That’s why I entered the mail order. UoMoO2HThat’s why, even after only 10% of the orders were fulfilled (not for me) in some sort of unpleasant insider deal with Ticketmaster, Stubhub, Ebay, etc, I tried again.

That’s why, even with tickets marked up as much as 1200% (yes, twelve thousand percent), I am still considering going to one of the nights. And that’s also why I’m questioning the whole thing…or to be more honest, why I’m so pissed off at the band right now. Mr. Fox Gone MadThis astronomical pricing indicate that there is a possibility of Jerry Garcia might show up when it’s going to be Trey Anastasio instead, a guitarist known for his obsessive Zappa-like changes, and on-stage shenanigans.trampolineThe ugly tenor established by the promoters of this event indicate that this show could even feature a bastardized setlist or two. And it could be real bad: Day Job – Big Boss Man – Money – Deal – Money Money – Might As Well – Sell Out.

The Dead do not have a good business history, messing up Grateful Dead Records and every big concert they staged; as Bob Weir admitted many years ago, “We always blow the big shows”.

DeadWoodIndeed, for this show of shows, how is that Deadheads will even get in…slider2…when the market for tickets has been cornered by Deadheads who have lost their way?24-guys-smoking-cigars-after-weddingThe band has never been known for empathy. Many anecdotes in Dennis McNally’s What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been focus on the band members’ personal indifference toward one another, including when drummer Bill Kreutzmann had to leave a tour to visit his gravely ill father, and only Bob Weir bothered to talk to him about it.

The musicians are known for their personal indulgences in sex, booze and drugs, and not much else…except of course for the music. GRK850614-02-FPIt is the music that is supposed to take us away from the scourge that is us, the burden of who we actually are, this detritus, our ugly state. And, yes, this music really can do that. It’s just that now The Dead are demanding a heavy price..and it isn’t just money. And yet…I still wanna go. How much is it again?