Sunday, May 17, 2015


Winslow Homer: The Wittling Boy

If I leave the house today, I kind of feel like seeing a slow art movie.  I hope there is one in town.  Maybe something about a postman in rural Ukraine who wittles.  A lot of the footage wood feature wittling, or preparations for wittling, or procurement of supplies needed for wittling: a stool, a knife, a chunk of wood, a pack of cigarettes or a plug of tobacco, and if there is not a chair on the porch, a chair.

Television is so good, at this point, that I watch a lot more serial television than I do films.  They are easier to ritualize with dinner or bedtime or whatever.  We are currently watching Bloodline on Netflix, a show that seems to have come out along with Daredevil and House of Cards Season 3, but is better than both of those shows, though less hyped.  The screws are tightening and in some ways it is excruciating to watch but as a show about secrets in families, it is spot on. 

My buddy Mark Facebooked me a link that asks who should play Dave Robicheaux and Cletus Purcell in a potential James Lee Burke series.  I think that it should be Kyle Chandler from Bloodline/Friday Night Lights, and Domenick Lombardozzi (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Daredevil).  

It's still so weird to me that Tommy Lee Jones was cast as Robicheaux in a film that left out Cletus Purcell.  Tommy Lee Jones was great, but that is like a World Series with only one team.  How could that idea have flown for even one second?  Hollywood is strange.  Would my pitch fly for a film about a Ukrainian wittler?  

It may not be the Seine, and it may be somewhat of a sewer, but living just up the hill from Brush Creek and the campus of the Kaufmann Center is a Troostwood neighbhorhood bonus.  This is the view from the bridge on Troost, where we saw a heron amongst the geese.  The creek must be running high from the incredible storm last night.
Another bonus: you can't smell Gate's BBQ when walking in Paris.

My next show with SquidsKC:

Sunday, May 10, 2015


I've been on kind of a music fast lately, after we signed up for Audible.  A couple of good friends swear by Audible and I am now hooked as well.  On my daily drive I have listened to A Fifty Year Silence and The Invisible Bridge.   

I've listened to music every single day for at least 30 years and have absorbed a billion sounds.  The source of music is probably spoken stories, or maybe the source of spoken stories is music--who really knows.  Most of us like to be read to, I know that much.

Then the other night, after a month or six weeks of very little car/commute/walking music,  I was fixing dinner and put on Flip Your Wig on the bomber 70's receiver and turntable that our neighbor Susan gave us.  The sounds poured out like sparkly molten glass.  You can't post and re-post moments like that, they're personal, like breathing.

We also went and saw Billy Joel at the Sprint Center a week ago Friday and it was a fantastic show.  Our seats were essentially behind the stage but the sound was kickin' and all the hits got played plus a couple of deep album cuts.  52nd Street was the first album I got, and I used to sing both sides of it in the shower until the water got cold.  In an emotionally quirky midwestern home, nine year olds need news from the outside world, about club life and having a tab at Zanzibar.  Each song is a well-told story without being a mannered story song.  Song first, story second, tough as nails.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

SQUIDSKC @ miniBAr - FRIDAY 5/8/15

I'm looking forward to this show on Friday with Alex Alexander, Booji Schneider, and Steven Michael Tulipana aka SquidsKC. The other bands are great and share a like-minded approach to melody and mayhem. We go on first, which should be about 10:00, upstairs at miniBar, which has a kickin' new p.a. and many improvements including an ice swan that never melts and pinball machine that features hazelnuts in place of stainless pinballs and tilts everytime the toilets flush, which is why they call it the pinball whizzer. It is a great thing to play songs from different phases of my [cough] career with dear friends who can also play like maniacs. I wish my Oregon friends could see it.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Concave Man - demo

This came about in a unique way: just a single note keyboard pattern was the foundation for the whole thing; keyboard drumkit-sounds and layering and words coming along later. In the global scope of weird, this song is not that weird, but for me this is pretty far down the personal spectrum of weird.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


When we lived in Old Hyde Park, on Baltimore, we were pretty close to Westport and a lot of other things and I miss that, but we have some pretty good walks in Troostwood too.  My current favorite is up and over 51st through UMKC and down the hill past the little campus restaurant district and back up to Main, where I take a right and head down to the library.  We are actually close to a lot of things, it just takes a few more steps.  This walk takes you past The Peanut, Andre's, Osteria Il Centro, a small post office, and Spin Pizza.  The Plaza Library is a great destination.

On Saturdays or Sundays I like to stop at Crow Coffee on the way back and read whatever I have checked out or renewed.  Living life online so much of the time, I enjoy a good on-foot library book renewal.  Next I will be making my own pencils.  Yesterday I was reading James Lee Burke and a man sat down next to me and read Ross McDonald and drank his coffee.  We had a couple of the bases covered there and a small island of sidewalk cafe culture in a pro-automobile town that just gave Uber the boot. A couple of girlfriends chatted adjacent and one of them said "it's good to be vulnerable--sometimes." 

I'm not too hot on the mediterranean place down the way from Crow.  But the cumin red pepper beef at Tin Lin is really fine, and so is Pizza 51. 

There's an elegant display at the UMKC library on 51st and Rockhill, and I puzzle about how it's made.  At night it is backlit and a finely gradated map of the city glows from it.  I think it is some kind of finely cnc-punched perforated panel with a printed vinyl or acrylic or mesh banner underlayer on the back, but I'm not sure.

Back on our street I ran into the usual gaggle of kids on their bikes and improvised rolling devices.
They quizzed me on my book and why it didn't have pictures.  I said "well, you read the words and make up the pictures in your imagination."  One of them screwed up her face and then looked up at me and said "why do you have so many hairs in your nose?"

Sunday, April 12, 2015


I've been getting into graphic novels lately. These two I found up at Half Price Books in Westport: Unterzakhn by Leela Corman, and The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.


UPCOMING squidsKC shows:

Middle of The Map Fest (KCMO)
@The Riot Room Patio
Friday, April 24
SquidsKC@ 6:45

miniBAR (KCMO)
Friday, May 8
Cher UK