It’s fall, and around these parts that means the October Friends of the Library Book Sale. It’s where I was last weekend instead of writing this. I always find a treasure there. Always. And it’s probably one of the few places I’ll buy a dead tree book–not because I have anything against dead tree books. We just don’t have the space, and ebooks are the only way I can practically read in the interstices of an otherwise busy life.
I usually focus on two sections before I start wandering around the place: the science-fiction/fantasy section and the literary short story section, which is where I scored what I discovered was the inaugural issue of the lit mag NOON, edited by Dianne Williams and Christine Schutt. Then, I’ll wander around the other sections and finish off at the CDs. The big score here was a recording from Return to Forever’s 2008 RETURNS tour, the first album from this classic jazz fusion band in over 30 years. I remember freaking out when I first saw the YouTube videos of the Montreux part of the tour. They didn’t lose a step, that’s for sure!
I picked up a copy of the HEAVY METAL soundtrack as a lark, and the interaction I had with the older volunteer who sold it to me made it totally worth the price. She goes, “Great soundtrack! Blue Öyster Cult… I was actually listening to them before I came here today.” Rock on, auntie!
There are two other conditions where I’ll buy a dead-tree book: (a) When I want something that’s only offered in that format and (b) I want it right the fuck now and don’t care if it’ll end up in an ebook later on. That doesn’t happen very often and when it does, I tend to forget when I pre-order them. So this week I got, not one, but two pleasant surprises from past me.
I guess if I go another month between Weeknotes, we’ll know why.
New school yacht rock meets old school yacht rock!
How could I not love Benny Sings’ vibe? Dutch guy putting a modern spin on Yacht Rock, singing like Barry Gibb on lo-fi tracks? Yes please. I got a couple of his albums, and that was before I knew he was hanging out with bands like Free Nationals. If he’s hip enough for them, he’s hip enough for me.
And to top it off, to get a hold of a Christopher Cross demo to put it on the B-side? :chef’s kiss:
Thrust exists in that blurry, liminal space between jazz, funk, soul, and R&B.
I finally pulled the trigger on the whole catalog of Wilbur Niles and the band Thrust. Much like the journal GAMUT, here’s another thing from my childhood that I didn’t know existed at the time.
I love the story here: In the late ’70s a musician from Akron and his girlfriend puts out an album that quickly goes out of print but gets continuously sampled over the years, becoming a white whale for collectors everywhere. Meanwhile, he and his band just keep putting out music. Music that’s really up my alley, at least in my adult life.
More than that though, I dig the obvious Northeast Ohio roots…
Wanna know more?
I was digging into my Rust Belt roots a bit and stumbled onto this absolute treasure trove!
The Gamut : A Journal of Ideas and Information was published from 1980 to 1992 by Cleveland State University in the fall, winter, and spring/summer of each year. It contains articles and creative works by writers and artists of Northern Ohio about topics of interest to readers of this region.
GAMUT was not on my radar in those days, even though it and my life co-existed in the 216 at the same time. But if something this eclectic came out these days, I’d be all over it. It’s topics really do run the–well, you know. There’s stuff on history, art, law, politics, urban infrastructure, psychology. Whole issues devoted to special topics like books and publishing, UFOs, even science-fiction analysis and reviews — this material, even from a historical perspective, has me thrilled!
Best of all: articles and comics from Harvey Pekar? C’mon!!
Much like Mac Miller, trumpeter jaimie branch was a musician whose name I’d heard but whose music I never got around to listening to until after her passing a little over a year ago.
Luckily, there seems to be a lot of stuff out there to go through. Keep flying, jaimie!
The other day, I mentioned that some time ago I found the complete series of IN SEARCH OF… featuring Leonard Nimoy on DVD at a reuse store for $5. Before the kung-fu movies on cable I enjoyed in my ‘tween years, these were the kinds of UHF weekend shows that caught my fancy.
I hear the background music of wah-wah guitars and Moog synths, see the washed out video quality, and I’m taken back in time to those grainy films shown on the best 8mm projectors my Catholic grade school could buy two decades prior, when John XXIII was the Pope.
Anyway, there was always a disclaimer that came after a brief teaser at the start of each episode…
This series presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The producer’s purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones to the mysteries we will examine.
Of course, there are tons of shows in this vein these days, mostly on cable channels that purport to be all about History and Discovery. Only, they don’t seem to bother with the disclaimers much, at least not matter-of-fact disclaimers. When they do, they’re delivered with a wink and a nod. There’s something about it that seems, strangely, like innocence lost.
That’s my conjecture, anyway.
There was a time when skipping Weeknotes for three weeks in a row would’ve been a source of shame and self-abnegation. I’m over that. Mostly. Life happens, yes — fam, dayjob, a couple days of feeling under the weather, not to mention general exhaustion.
I’ve been feeling like the dude in the picture in the next section.
IN THE WILD:
I saw this picking up a late lunch one day and say a very relatable dilemma. I mean, at a place that’s open 24 hours where you’re gonna have to get this done sometime (whatever this was), I guess broad daylight would work just as well as the middle of the night?
I feel you buddy, I really do.
Can’t keep track of what I’ve seen on which streaming service anymore, but it’s been a month of binge-watches.
- It’s been interesting watching GRIMM and BLEACH: THOUSAND-YEAR BLOOD WAR, what with all the random German getting thrown around.
- I finally had a chance to check out what all the fuss about RUSSIAN DOLL was about. I get it! I mean, I find Natasha Lyonne’s work enjoyable anyway. The part where her character describes herself as a cross between Andrew Dice Clay and Merida from BRAVE. I see Sam Kinison, myself.
- The highlight of my binging was DOCUMENTARY NOW. I missed it when it first came around, but when I saw the episode “Long Gone” being a take on Bruce Weber’s LET’S GET LOST, I regretted it. A send-up of CHEF’S TABLE with Jonathan Gold and David Chang doing cameos? A little Spalding Gray (-ish) thing? Where was this all my life?
- Awhile back I found the complete IN SEARCH OF… series from the ’70s featuring Leonard Nimoy on DVD for five bucks that I’ve been slowly going through. More reliving my youth, I guess.
I’ve been slacking lately. By slacking, I mean “not knocking out 2-3 books in a weekend.” But like a true book addict, that didn’t stop me from adding two new sci-fi novels from friends of mine, a short story anthology, and a couple of non-fiction books. Because, why not?
Hopefully it won’t be three more weeks, with life happening — the fam, dayjob, a couple days of feeling under the weather, general exhaustion — until the next post. But you know, all that happens when I do manage to keep this up weekly, so exactly what goes on in these fallow periods of mine? I’ve been trying to break that down and I don’t have anything close to an answer yet. Maybe I’ll have one next time.
USA Network’s Kung Fu Theater was as much of a Sunday ritual growing up as going to Mass. Weekend after blissful weekend of kung fu movies, and not all of which were The Classics, either. Probably, most of them weren’t. But one in particular stuck out to me and for nigh on 30 years I’ve been trying to find some trace of it. I’d long forgotten the title, I had no idea who starred in it, when it was made, or who made it. I just remembered the plot, in which a kung-fu master trains a bunch of reprobates for basically a suicide mission.
Googling it was pretty much useless, so I’d pretty much given up hope of ever seeing it again. And then, browsing through Prime Video at an ungodly hour the other night, I found it!!
The film is 1979’s KUNG-FU COMMANDOS aka INCREDIBLE KUNG FU MISSION. Kung-Fu Commandos does have the ring of familiarity. It was the era of G.I. Joe figures and movies like COMMANDO about, well, commandos.
It’s not every day you get to recapture a bit of your lost youth!
I had a couple of “vacation from the vacation” days but after that, this past week was all about getting back on track with daily life. I still haven’t gone through all the photos I took from Boston.
Okay, you know what? Let’s start there, then. I have just the thing, a metaphor for how I’m feeling — a little pressed.
IN THE WILD:
Yeah I feel you, buddy.
Anyway, one of the places we visited was the Salem Witch Museum, which starts off with “an immersive look into the events of 1692” using life-sized dioramas and narration that sounded like it was recorded in the late 1970s — kind of like the intro from Tales from the Darkside — to underscore the prejudice and injustice behind it all.
Yes, this is where I got that Margaret Hamilton photo I posted a couple weeks ago.
I haven’t gotten a lot of reading done, beyond poking away at Garielle Lutz’s complete story collection after finishing ESSAYS by Wallace Shawn, which I talked about the other day.
I did make a little movement on this front, though! There were a couple of calls for submissions that I noticed last week, so I put something together for one and am in the process of a new piece for another. Because, why work on the other things you have going right now, when you can just start new shit on the spot, right?
You know, I think that’s all I’ve had in me this week. Along the lines of stuff from the 1970s, maybe what I need now is to rebuild some Cognitive Salubrity…?