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Agenda Bender
 
Saturday, June 12, 2004  

Tim Traveler, The Unstuck Comic


Ronald Middlename Reagan is dead at 93. America's 40th president, he rose from humble beginnings to Hollywood stardom, before entering politics. Nicknamed "The Gay Communigipper", he will be remembered for his charm and ease in front of a microphone, his passionate belief in small government on the largeish side, and his most famous quote:

Hey Mr. Gorbachev, you better tear down that wall, buddy. Pronto.

(I have a gimmick for a stand-up comic. He builds his whole act around old news and long-faded fads. Like he'll come out and start in with "What about those Ghostbusters? I ain't afraid of no ghosts either, but that Ray Parker Jr. sure gives me the heebie jeebies." Then it's on to the Margaret Truman jokes, and impersonations of a typical panel of guests from a 1971 Merv Griffin Show. Well, it would make me laugh. I think.)

12:47 PM

Friday, June 11, 2004
 

Wall of Saud


Phil Spector is apparently all mixed up in a plot to murder the Saudi Crown Prince. Some sort of mechanical royalty dispute, I'm guessing.

I just pray to god the Shirelles aren't implicated in any way. Or the Shariaelles, as they are known in Mecca and Medina.


1:36 AM

 

The Long Admire


Andrew Sullivan needs to stay in the house more. When he's in Washington DC, anyway. What, besides pleasant encounters in the Giant Supermarket, could be behind this trippy sentiment:

I've long admired Fred Barnes for his honesty as a reporter (and his general menschness as a human being).

Barnes, you'll recall, was behind one of last year's most dishonest stories, the smearing of the gay Episcopal bishop as an ecumenical groper and part-time porn purveyor, on the eve of the vote to approve his nomination. There was nothing surprising in this, since Barnes is at no pains to hide his disdain for gays whenever they trespass on the public square and he must stoop to comment.

General menschness as a human being is an unfortunate phrase per se, just fucking weird as a phrase per Fred.


12:53 AM

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
 

Goodbye, Porkpie Chops


I have lately been monomaniacally playing, playing and re-playing the final track off a CD by Gil Evans, Laurent Cugny and the Big Band Lumiere . It is Gil's arrangement of the Mingus standby Goodbye, Porkpie Hat. Mingus, like most jazz gods, usually annoys and bores me, but there are some great melodies on his records. This is probably the greatest, and Evans' arrangement of it washes off the jazz mud and shines it up to a dark, glossy finish. Porkpie reminds me, especially in this arrangement, of another 20th century instrumental masterpiece, Neal Hefti's theme for the Odd Couple. The same sweet and sour horns casually swinging the somber but lovely tune. These are the theme songs to my dream of Manhattan. Maybe my dream of the world.

The entire Big Band Lumiere record is good, Porkpie is just the best part. It would be the best part of any record.

Robert Quine, the guitarist for Richard Hell's band The Voidoids, has died of a heroin overdose in NYC, apparently despondent over his wife's death. Quine played on a lot of other records and in other bands but that first Voidoids record was another major obsession of mine in its day, and a thousand days afterward, so he gets his mention for that alone.

Ivan Julian doesn't get the credit he deserves for contributing to the guitar cataclysmics of that record and that band. My appreciation of Julian's talent is perhaps intensified by the fact that Ivan was tied with Television's Richard Lloyd for most beautiful bowery guitar boy ever.

Ivan and Quine were the most perfectly mismatched onstage couple in unpopular music. Quine looked like a bank teller on a happy hour bender accidentally strayed into the spotlight and Ivan like some Caravaggio kid fallen off the canvas onto the CBGB's stage. A Sal Mineo for our time.

Here's Ivan, tell me if I lie.

RIP it up, Mr. Quine. A laurel for your grave:

Robert Quine and Ivan Julian are the Agenda Bender guitar dudes of the year for 1977, the year of Blank Generation's release.



12:39 PM

Monday, June 07, 2004
 

Smarty J-Lo'z


So it really was a triple crown weekend.

Michael Ventre is in charge of low-hanging fruit ops at MSNBC. Another usurper of my rightful sceptre and throne:

Traditionalists who believe that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman no doubt are heartened today by the sudden announcement that Jennifer Lopez apparently walked down the aisle over the weekend for the third time. And no, I don’t mean she did it for the third time this weekeend...

2:25 AM