An Evening With Jandek

Posted Posted in music, portland

Spooky music? You think you like spooky music? You ain’t heard spooky music until you’ve spent an evening with a six foot blonde moaning to a discordant guitar. He’s self-pressed some 40-odd records, most of them mentioning suicide, European jewels, and/or janitors.

It was great- there was a lot of Jazz/Skronk flavored “jamming” with local hero Sam Coomes and drummer Emil Amos. Jandek asked the audience that if they wanted to leave, to please do so between songs, so there was this herding phenomena when songs ended after ten or fifteen minutes.

He was everything I thought that a middle-aged outsider musician could be, and more. Songs about love, depression, and the speed at which his friend Eddie the Wino can down a bottle of Wild Irish Rose.

He helped me solve a lot of problems I have when trying to sing and play guitar at the same time. His solution is: when he is singing, the guitar hangs limply around his neck. When he is done singing, he plays his guitar some more.

The Jandek-loving masses wandered out of the theatre in a daze two hours later. I really did feel hypnotized. He was totally un-charismatic, but in a hilarious way. No chitchat, very little acknowledgement of the audience. At the end he got a standing ovation (mostly in stunned amazement) while he packed up his own guitar and got his lyrics sheet and walked out the door.
For a weirdo ex-Texan, seeing Jandek perform was a little like seeing the tooth fairy.

If A Double-Decker Bus

Posted Posted in artsy fartsy, music, portland


  Spouse had an exciting Johnny Marr sighting last week at his place of work: He was purchasing an XTC record.

Today was even more exciting when Spouse was driving down a major street and stopped short at a door swung open on a red Mustang, and found that he had almost killed Johnny Marr, the king of jangly, layered guitar. I’m really glad he didn’t.

Post 2: I’ve decided I’m going to keep all my nerdy Marr sightings here.  In the Spring of 2009, I got a call that Johnny Marr was at Nike, visiting shoe overlord Parker Green.  I was so excited, I hid in a cubicle and took very bad pictures with my phone.  He was travelling with his kids, who also got shoes, and as he walked out (towered by his children) a woman asked “Who’s that?  Is that the Jonas’ brother’s dad?”  Yes, that’s who it is.  It’s funny working somewhere that Kobe Bryant and Lebron and Michael Jordan regularly show up, but I don’t care until Johnny Marr appears, and then nobody else pays notice.

Dec 2010- I made plans for the Helium open mike with Stacey Hallal, picked up spouse at Crossroads records for dinner, and suddenly in walks the mushroom haircut of the Marr.  I froze like a rabbit in the path of a freight train.  I had to move away from him so that I would not start blathering smart-sounding dumb things about music.  He talked to Spouse about a record he was looking for, and that he had been working on soundtracks.  Spouse said, oh, how do you find that?  and Johnny said, well, you know I did the Inception soundtrack, and that went alright.

200 Rounds!

Posted Posted in portland

I guess the most important thing to know is that our neighborhood is still ‘in transition’, so when we were working in the front yard yesterday and Spouse found 200 rounds of illegal hollowpoint handgun ammunition stashed in our lavender bushes, we were not entirely surprised. We called the police, who were pretty casual about the ammo but who were glad to come pick it up, and who let us know that we might also be on the lookout for a gun, and not to touch it. It’s nice that they reminded us not to handle, or get fingerprints on, a strange gun. It’s all fun and games until someone gets shot!

NYC 2006

Posted Posted in comedy, portland, Virginia Jones

The spouse and I have just returned from a trip to NYC, celebrating the occasion of our fourth wedding anniversary. It’s not so impressive that we have been married four years so much that it’s been consecutive. I celebrated a lot of it by following him from record store to record store to record store.

A high point of the trip for me was seeing Alan Cumming, Cyndi Lauper, and Nellie McKay in the Threepenny Opera.  Alan played Mack the Knife as if he were a bisexual hustler. Nellie was fantastic as Lucy, and Cyndi looked mighty foxy in her Pirate Jenny hooker-wear. Costume design by Isaac Mizrahi, who is a hack. I could put rubber pants and a priest’s collar on a chorus member as well as anyone!

We had a great time attending a party for the Ron and Fez XM radio show, and we sat in on the show the following Tuesday. I really enjoyed it, and if I had not looked at the message boards afterwards I never would have realized that I am am unfunny hole.

Our only celebrity sighting this trip was Russell Simmons, enjoying a vegan brunch with an attractive young lady the day before his break with Kimora broke in the New York Post.

Beloved Spouse thinks he saw Karlheinz Stockhausen in Central Park, but it could have been Stockhausen syndrome.

Another feature of the trip was seeing the Munch exhibit at MOMA, which included a painting that was just discovered in 2004.

We enjoyed hanging out with our gracious hosts, and we got to see Stephin Merritt at his DJ night at the Beauty Bar, where we were showered with candy and girl-group hits, so it was really a nice time all around.

2000 Miles!

Posted Posted in bicycle, portland

It will be of great interest to no-one that I hit 2000 miles on the bike odometer this morning. That’s right, just like the Pretenders song. Or the Proclaimers song about walking 500 miles back and forth to your chick’s house, but if you played it twice. I’m not sure how big Scotland is, but I think that to do 500 miles you’d pretty much be limited to  walking around the edge of Scotland. All the way from Thurso to Dumfries is only 341 miles. Where does this chick live, anyway?

Anyway, I am glad to know that I could pedal from Portland back to my native land of Dallas in one hour a day, and that it would only take me seven months.

As long as we’re talking about my bike,  a vintage Trek 720, let me make some etiquette suggestions. If you wish to drive past a cyclist and scream something unintelligible that ends in “bitch”, you might want to check that you aren’t running into a traffic jam that will cause her to catch up with you in 15 seconds and spit gum in your passenger’s lap and ride off laughing.  Not that I would ever do that.

After a cyclist recently got clocked by a bus rider in our fair city of Roses, not only am I mostly not spitting gum at people, but I have put a bumper sticker on my bag that reads “Don’t Hit Me! I love you!”

Xmas family fun

Posted Posted in portland

I have survived hosting Christmas- it was my two sisters, their British boyfriends who are also brothers, their boyfriends’ parents, and my mother and my brother in my tiny house

The Trip There

It was. An. Adventure. Their dad wandered onto the tarmac while waiting for their flight out from Austin, and was detained for being a terrorist.  He claims that no-one told him he couldn’t go walking on the airstrip.  He also liked to kneel on the floor and splash himself with bath water instead of taking a shower, which has the overall effect of soaking the whole bathroom.  He is obsessed with Boddington’s pub ale and hot chocolate, but refuses to pay more than $1.50 for anything.

The Party

  We had a little party, and this was the first family party I have ever been to that went on past 3 AM. I went to bed at two to the sound of my future father-in-law swishing soy milk around in his Egg Nog (really Advocaat) bottle to get the last dregs of whiskey and milk out, and my sister Laura singing to the detuned piano on the back porch, and my spouse singing as Tom Waits in the front room.

Laura Ryan: Oh, I was playing that piano last night, it is sounding so creepy and awesome.
Me: Yes, I heard you.
Laura: You could hear that?
Me: It’s right outside my bedroom. There’s not, you know, any kind of soundproofing out on the patio. You’re just a drunk person singing outside.

I love family time.

(A month after they left, we discovered that the in-laws had opened a window in the guest room that then stayed open, just wafting heated air out into the yard)

Postscript

Postscript: the marriage ended in divorce, the father in law ended in death, but I still shiver thinking about this Christmas.