Tag Archives: dance

favorite 2016 music

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SAS 2

Grief is a Mouse—
And chooses Wainscot in the Breast
For His Shy House—
And baffles quest—

Grief is a Thief—quick startled—
Pricks His Ear—report to hear
Of that Vast Dark—
That swept His Being—back—

Grief is a Juggler—boldest at the Play—
Lest if He flinch—the eye that way
Pounce on His Bruises—One—say—or Three—
Grief is a Gourmand—spare His luxury—

Best Grief is Tongueless—before He’ll tell—
Burn Him in the Public Square—
His Ashes—will
Possibly—if they refuse—How then know—
Since a Rack couldn’t coax a syllable—now.

IMG_6971 Continue reading

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Swan Lake

two hundred and something years before you assembled in the dust of your mother’s groin, the genius sabotaged your chance at creative survival by putting to paper centuries worth of lively, gay interpretations of the world around you, which now … Continue reading

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favorite singles of 2014

SINGLES
Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now — McFadden & Whitehead
All the Sun That Shines — Peaking Lights
Another Heartbreak— Peter Gordon
At Last I Am Free — Robert Wyatt
Blind — Frankie Knuckles
Coastin’ — Cities Aviv
Everybody Wants to Rule the World — Tears for Fears
Frontin’ — Pharell
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! — ABBA
Got to Give It Up — Marvin Gaye
Guitars, Cadillacs — Dwight Yoakam
Happy — Pharrell
High Hopes — Mawkus
I Ain’t Got Nobody (And Nobody Cares for Me) — Louis Prima
Jack — Breach
Life Is Something Special — New York Citi Peech Boys
Lord of the Dance — The Dubliners
Never Catch Me — Flying Lotus
One in a Million — Aaliyah
One Two — Sister Nancy
Rapture — Blondie
Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) — Diana Ross
Royals — Lorde
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Shake That — Eminem
Single Girl, Married Girl — The Haden Triplets
Situation — Yazoo
Spacer — Sheila & B. Devotion
Tell Me That I’m Dreaming — Was (Not Was)
Together — Disclosure

SOUNDTRACKS
American Beauty
Breaking Bad
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Godzilla: 50th Anniversary Edition — Akira Ifukube

CLASSICAL
blue danube
american in paris
appalachian spring
lux aeterna
also sprach Zarathustra
Má Vlast Continue reading

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honey, he’s a friend of mine

four Mexican beers down the hatch and not a single BART train left to catch.

on the long bus and walk home, stoned inspiration strikes my skull. it’s already 0300, but nothing can stop me. up and down the stairs, skulking through the hallways, dragging black monolith speakers, assembling the altar, feeding cables electricity, executing my addled genius silent as a mouse.

i jerk off and pass out.

in the morning, i check my phone in a bleary panic. 0900. i fall back asleep for a couple minutes and then check my phone again. 1100.

blended black tea dressed with a teaspoon of orange blossom honey and the slightest splash of half and half. that’s real fancy talk for a little drug called caffeine. my roommate partakes, and the music starts. breakfast consists of defrosted hash browns, fried eggs, and pork so good it must’ve come from the devil’s factory. Xanthe and i clink our mimosa flutes and chow down while watching Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise take turns playing Thalia and Melpomene.

Cameron arrives looking hungover or depressed or both. i think nothing of it. the music goes on, the champagne flows. Ted is dead.

i never met Ted. i hug Cameron. i hold him. i don’t know what to say. i never met Ted even though Cameron insisted a hundred times that it needed to happen. i don’t know what to say. i wait for Cameron to say something, but he is stunned. he is a cauldron of emotion. i turn the music down or let it stop or something. i don’t know what to do or say. there is nothing to do or say. we drink.

the music returns. Cameron requests a dirge, so i let Entrance sing them Grim Reaper Blues. but i’m left by myself, so i scream and jump and play air guitar oblivious to the fact and consequence of death. i am dust.

Shannon. Lizz. Nico. Neko? Niko? Nico. Chris. Mark. Natalie. old friends, newer friends, lovers, sometime-lovers, one-time-lovers, all-time-lovers, all family, all drunk fucks.

my cousin hops on the decks and starts slinging cocaine funk delivered straight from the Rick James estate. it is 1980something, the snares reverberate, and disillusion is making itself incredibly comfortable. you can hear it in their voices. you can hear JoJo and Cheri and Candi and Maxi and Prince Rogers and Trent and Dave and Martin and Joshua and Charles, they all sound so coked up and dead. death. there’s that grim reaper again. where the fuck is Cameron? sobbing on the edge of my bed, locked up in my bedroom. on and off the phone. who is he talking to? margarita. big beer. drinking, so much drinking.

let the Golden Age begin. bleego hops on the decks and sonically programs artificial intelligence. it’s weird. on tv, Ziggy Stardust says good night mere moments before a bunch of space cadet apes wake up in the middle of bone-dry Africa. ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space.

how many pop culture references can i make before my writing becomes as worthless as the tobacco in a swisher sweet?

as the sun sets, i continue force-feeding everyone pop muzik, and then suddenly turn the music down low on a couple of whacked out loops to ask nobody in particular how long i could leave the loops loopingly looping looping looping looping looping looping looping looping until we all went crazy. somebody said something. something drinking something. and so i blast Kylie Minogue for a swan song.

power everything off! with tons of friends still partying, i say a thousand goodbyes and then fly away. best way to end a house party.

K to the Castro, two double illy espressos, and my love and i are back in the game. first up: dinner and drinks for her sister’s 21st birthday. Abigail rolls in wearing a sash like she’s in a beauty pageant and a face guaranteed to win it. radiant beauty of a birthday girl, she flutters around her long table of friends chatting about nothing and deflecting as many fireballs as she can.

sushi sake sushi sake sushi sake sushi sake sushi. that’s five sushi for every letter in the word “sushi” and four sake for every letter in the word “sake.” words words words words words.

the several hundred dollar bill settled, the crew bubbles around Kim “Abi” Kardashian as we make our way up Market toward extensive tracts of heavily eroded, uncultivable land with little vegetation. just kidding, we went to badlands. i withdrew $60 only to spend $50 instantly at the club on three entries (Abi, Natalie, me), three drinks (adios motherfucker for Abi and whiskey for Natalie and me), and then three more drinks (long island ice teas for the three of us). obviously we had not been drinking enough yet.

goodbye Castro, hello Cameron. he wanted love. Ted is dead. to Oakland then. goodbye Natalie. she storms off in a drunk, silent fit. i shrug.

down down Market.

stumbling drunk ass fuck into It’s Tops Coffee Shop, completely deserted except for the token pretty white girl waitress in her stupid 50s pink waitress dress. i drunkenly foam at the mouth some incoherence that amounts to “may i please just have a cup of coffee?” to which she responds by swinging ’round the counter and pouring out dregs of mud from both pitchers—the caffeinated and non caffeinated. in between drunken swallows, i murmur some philosophical question at her, but she’s tired and wants to go home, and that’s exactly how she answers. i understand, down the rest of the mud, and fly out the door.

down down Market.

i convince a cabbie to drive me to Civic Center so i can catch the last train east. so aware, so alive, i bolt out the doors onto 12th St. in Oakland, drunkenly rushing up the escalator and eating shit, scraping my stomach and foot (i discover later). i look around to see how embarrassed i should feel, but the lady behind me wears a face that says, “i’m just tired and want to go home,” so i shrug, pick myself up, and bolt anew. i race the two and whatever miles to Cameron’s house with cool Miles jazz billowing from the phone in my front pocket; i’m like a man on the run in a black & white French New Wave film from the 60s.

at the house, hugs and laughter and death and comfort and… guess what? more drinking! because, i must repeat myself, again, obviously: we had not been drinking enough. fernet and coke and tequila and non-vegetarian Chinese food and Courtney on guitar and sleep.

in the drunken haze of morning, i squeeze Courtney’s boob and immediately pull my hand back while apologizing. she laugh. i don’t feel too good about it. but then i wash a household of dishes and sweep the floor while Cameron details the stove. and when i fail to find a dustpan, i simply crouch down, scoop the pile of dust and kitchen debris with my hands, and throw it away. Cameron laughs, calling it the most humble thing he’s seen in years. i feel good about it.

a few moments later, we’re suspended like the helicopter string quartet between peace, humility, suffering, and passion.

“this is the worst one,” he says, “the worst death. i like nothing about this one.”

he wants to cry so badly but has already sobbed so much and the sobbing had solved nothing. i fight back laughter because the minute leading before we’d been saying some really silly, funny things and just roaring laughing. the giggles honor not even death. Continue reading

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my top ten albums of 2014

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Blacklisted — Neko Case
Chicago Transit Authority — Chicago
Chronological Calloway Vol. 1: The Early Years 1930-1934 — Cab Calloway
Do It Again — Röyksopp & Robyn
Dreaming of You — Selena
The Feast of the Broken Heart — Hercules & Love Affair
January 07003 | Bell Studies for the Clock of the Long Now — Brian Eno
Los Angeles 6/10 — Daedelus / Teebs
Lost in the Spectacle — York Factory Complaint
On the Water — Future Islands
Suicide — Suicide
World Psychedelic Classics, Vol. 4: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia: Nobody Can Live Forever — Tim Maia
Yellow mY skYcaptain — Paz Lenchantin Continue reading

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Crush on You

“sometimes you’re SO ANNOYING to talk to. it’s like having a conversation w Yoda.”

the best compliment i’ve received in awhile? maybe not.

yesterday i sat at my computer in the late morning, working on whatever, when my coworker Danielle walked up and handed me a brown paper bag. she said, “this is for ‘the guy w the luscious lock.'” she had a huge smile on her face and a cup of Philz coffee in her hand. inside the bag, i found a scone.

“dear god,” i said, “Torrey?” Danielle laughed in affirmation. christ… the girl had been working at the coffee shop for a long while, and we’d always been friendly, but this was too much! i have a girlfriend and she needs to know it right away. after freaking out for a bit, another coworker told me that he had already told her the all-important fact, so i could chill.

phew, sometimes compliments can be stressful.

earlier this week, i’d asked Meryl whether i was turning into a douchebag. my evidence basically came down to the every day increasing number of photos of me posing in sunglasses and next to disco balls, in addition to the fact that i now manage a facebook page 100% devoted to my dj persona. (christ, i almost feel like there’s a rule that anybody who uses the phrase “dj person” automatically qualifies as a douchebag.) in any case, Meryl assuaged my anxiety by saying that my very asking the question probably means that i’m okay.

this post perhaps argues otherwise.

after all, what’s more conceited than a ton of boasting immediately followed by self-deprecation? Continue reading

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A Love Supreme

songs i can play pretty well, songs i can play pretty terribly, and everything in between:

“Au Privave,” Charlie Parker
“Autumn Leaves”
“Blue Suede Shoes,” Carl Perkins
“Boogie Oogie Oogie,” A Taste of Honey
“The Chain,” Fleetwood Mac
“Desert in E Minor,” brendan & ronny
“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk
“Gloria,” Patti Smith
“I Want You,” The Troggs
“Isis,” Bob Dylan
“Jitterbug Punk,” rich & ronny
“Jitterbug Waltz,” Fats Waller
“Lateralus,” Tool
“A Love Supreme,” John Coltrane
“Root Down,” Jimmy Smith
“Stand By Me,”
“Toro”, ronny
“Twist and Shout”
“Whiplash,” The Shells
“Wing,” Patti Smith

seventeen songs. before the start of the year, i probably knew five… and all terribly.

yes, i am loving my bass and my bass lessons and my bass teacher’s recommendation to watch a video featuring Bootsy Collins. i love my bass and i love jazz and i love Ella and i love Billie. i love the way Rich just jumps on the drums, i love how Natalie lives in perfect patience, i love how Lucas plays guitar from the minute you enter to the minute you exit, i love how Andrew and Mark and Sean all spin different dance tunes though dance tunes they certainly are, i love how Dorothy summons demons through her long tall throat, i love, i love, i love.

i love a girl. i love “Sea Surface Full of Clouds.”

I

In that November off Tehuantepec,
The slopping of the sea grew still one night
And in the morning summer hued the deck

And made one think of rosy chocolate
And gilt umbrellas. Paradisal green
Gave suavity to the perplexed machine

Of ocean, which like limpid water lay.
Who, then, in that ambrosial latitude
Out of the light evolved the morning blooms,

Who, then, evolved the sea-blooms from the clouds
Diffusing balm in that Pacific calm?
C’était mon enfant, mon bijou, mon âme.

The sea-clouds whitened far below the calm
And moved, as blooms move, in the swimming green
And in its watery radiance, while the hue

Of heaven in an antique reflection rolled
Round those flotillas. And sometimes the sea
Poured brilliant iris on the glistening blue.

II

In that November off Tehuantepec
The slopping of the sea grew still one night.
At breakfast jelly yellow streaked the deck

And made one think of chop-house chocolate
And sham umbrellas. And a sham-like green
Capped summer-seeming on the tense machine

Of ocean, which in sinister flatness lay.
Who, then, beheld the rising of the clouds
That strode submerged in that malevolent sheen,

Who saw the mortal massives of the blooms
Of water moving on the water-floor?
C’était mon frère du ciel, ma vie, mon or.

The gongs rang loudly as the windy booms
Hoo-hooed it in the darkened ocean-blooms.
The gongs grew still. And then blue heaven spread

Its crystalline pendentives on the sea
And the macabre of the water-glooms
In an enormous undulation fled.

III

In that November off Tehuantepec,
The slopping of the sea grew still one night
And a pale silver patterned on the deck

And made one think of porcelain chocolate
And pied umbrellas. An uncertain green,
Piano-polished, held the tranced machine

Of ocean, as a prelude holds and holds,
Who, seeing silver petals of white blooms
Unfolding in the water, feeling sure

Of the milk within the saltiest spurge, heard, then,
The sea unfolding in the sunken clouds?
Oh! C’était mon extase et mon amour.

So deeply sunken were they that the shrouds,
The shrouding shadows, made the petals black
Until the rolling heaven made them blue,

A blue beyond the rainy hyacinth,
And smiting the crevasses of the leaves
Deluged the ocean with a sapphire blue.

IV

In that November off Tehuantepec
The night-long slopping of the sea grew still.
A mallow morning dozed upon the deck

And made one think of musky chocolate
And frail umbrellas. A too-fluent green
Suggested malice in the dry machine

Of ocean, pondering dank stratagem.
Who then beheld the figures of the clouds
Like blooms secluded in the thick marine?

Like blooms? Like damasks that were shaken off
From the loosed girdles in the spangling must.
C’était ma foi, la nonchalance divine.

The nakedness would rise and suddenly turn
Salt masks of beard and mouths of bellowing,
Would—But more suddenly the heaven rolled

Its bluest sea-clouds in the thinking green,
And the nakedness became the broadest blooms,
Mile-mallows that a mallow sun cajoled.

V

In that November off Tehuantepec
Night stilled the slopping of the sea.
The day came, bowing and voluble, upon the deck,

Good clown… One thought of Chinese chocolate
And large umbrellas. And a motley green
Followed the drift of the obese machine

Of ocean, perfected in indolence.
What pistache one, ingenious and droll,
Beheld the sovereign clouds as jugglery

And the sea as turquoise-turbaned Sambo, neat
At tossing saucers—cloudy-conjuring sea?
C’était mon esprit bâtard, l’ignominie.

The sovereign clouds came clustering. The conch
Of loyal conjuration trumped. The wind
Of green blooms turning crisped the motley hue

To clearing opalescence. Then the sea
And heaven rolled as one and from the two
Came fresh transfigurings of freshest blue.

i’m… down w Wallace Stevens, though i can’t say i love him.

oh jesus, but Nile Rodgers. i can definitely say i love him. i saw him and his band, Chic, perform at Outside Lands on the very same stage in the very same meadow where i’d seen Beck, M. Ward, and Devendra Banhart play in 2009. Nile killed by a mile. and that’s saying quite a bit since i loved all three of those shows in 2009. like, really really loved. but what can top…

9475712977_127ce768f6_b

this man’s guitar.

holy shit from the very first second to the very last, this was a performance. first of all, the man just walks out on stage to make sure his guitar and monitors sound right and everything. just casually walks up, dressed in pure snow white w black dreads hanging low, and starts working. the band joins him, and they start playing some ambient funk noise. this eventually descends into a deep crashing tremor, as the two female vocalists walk out to join the rest of the band. then the party starts.

they play Chic, they play Diana Ross, they play David Bowie, they play Sister Sledge, they play Sugarhill Gang, they play Chic. and then, when they’re all done, they put down their instruments and lead everyone into a “Get Lucky” dance party. album version.

be still, my lucky heart. Continue reading

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tote

but how is an idea conceived? here’s one example.

for many months, for over a year, i biked to work every single day.

a few months ago, i moved further out, so i resigned myself to taking muni. this wasn’t so bad. after all, i could read and read and read and read to my heart’s content, and i did.

then last thursday, the official 2013 bike to work day in SF, i took the opportunity to bust out my bike. it wasn’t actually that bad. slight downhill on the way over and more than a slight uphill on the way back, the total riding time came out to a little over an hour. it was a beautiful day.

after that, i decided that it wouldn’t be so bad to bike to work once a week. without picking any day in particular, i actually followed through this past monday morning. i’d heard from someone else that it’d be the warmest day of the week which, even though i don’t put much faith in the bay area’s meteorologists, gave me a place to start my new weekly tradition.

yesterday morning, due to the unprecedented release of a new Daft Punk studio album in my conscious, adult life, i reserved my muni commute for Random Access Memories. later, my coworker gave me a ride home. these two instances combined meant reading was put off for another day, but no matter. today, over the course of there and back again, i flew through all five acts of Oscar Wilde’s blank verse drama called The Duchess of Padua.

The days are over when God walked with men,
But Love, which is His image, holds His place.
When a man loves a woman, then he knows
God’s secret, and the secret of the world. (III)

it was astounding.

the hundreds of words of the day sank under my skin while i danced around my house to the Postal Service, did the dishes, and practiced some bass. eventually the bass made me feel hungry, so i decided to make the most decadent breakfast ever: fried way too much bacon for one person, threw sliced mushrooms in the leftover grease (then removed them), and toasted bread w white cheddar cheese while frying a couple eggs in the grease. finally, lay down some spinach on the open-face bread’s melted cheese, bacon on the spinach, mushrooms on the bacon, and eggs on the mushrooms. divine.

a little too divine perhaps. after all, i’m getting to be 25. should a man be eating so much bacon and cheese and grease that his cheeks are full while he’s sticking further strips and bits inside? maybe. but maybe i should be trying to counterbalance it a little bit too. why not a bike ride tomorrow?

indeed, it would solve one other problem… my reading too fast. sometimes when you read six plays in a row, they sort of run together instead of really seeping in. i tried to counterbalance this by trading off genres with other genres (drama >> philosophy >> fiction >> etc) but that honestly wasn’t that effective. they’re all just words and words are weary.

so, the idea: bike in between every finished work. Continue reading

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orange?

exactly a month ago, on the 21st day of the third month of this year, i jotted down some quick notes for what would later be a complete blog post or poem:

vernal equinox

red wine

inch wide deep fried tacos full of chicken and love

too deep, still good

a lazy j

green tea for me, chamomile for her

death

i had spent the night before, on the date of the vernal equinox, with a little lover of mine. as we often do, we drank wine and enjoyed each other’s company in one of the most ancient activities: cooking and eating. she did most of the cooking, i did most of the eating. it was a beautiful, beautiful night, like so many others we spend together.

a month later, and the universe seems so different and so much the same. so different because the reality of a new Daft Punk album (itself exactly one month away) became so much more real with the official release of “Get Lucky.” so much the same because i’m still fueling my dance parties w Daft Punk. so different because “the perfect situation” has come to a head. so much the same because i don’t think it’s gone to my head.

my roommates and i (with special guests Micah and Allison) threw a party on friday. a crazy fucking party.

photo(1)

as far as i’m aware, this is the only photo of Micah and me that exists from the night. sums it up well.

leading up to the party, i thought about the party a lot. one, i doubted city people’s abilities to mobilize and get their asses out to a house situated in a residential neighborhood so far south i sometimes think i’m back home in daly city. two, i doubted digital people’s abilities to remember a party, unannounced on facebook, would actually be taking place.

fuck a doubt.

by happy hour, Micah and Allison were smoking and playing cards in the open garage. Cameron and i were upstairs causing a electric guitar drum racket. Chris and Brendan came over next, adding to the noise. fuck the noise, i said, so i started playing King Crimson. then James Brown. then Madonna. then some disco gold… but it may have been premature. 10 going on 15 people were sitting in a circle in the living room playing king’s cup, and i, the only one abstaining, was also the only one dancing. so i switched to the Clash. that’s when my entire family walked in… mom, dad, and the brothers. they mixed right into the party, actually successfully disbanding the stupid drinking game and turning it into a real hangout. my dad gifted my a bunch of bottles of liquor from the house, most of them near empty. (beggars can’t be choosers.) my mom throws a frozen lasagna into the oven. (i never see it again.) more and more people keep filing in. i find myself on the couch talking to Nick, and the subject of “Get Lucky” arises. we are thenceforth fucked, we decide to play it immediately. (in my mind, “immediately” starts at the end of the currently playing record.) Grayson walks up the stairs and i’m all smiles, telling him he’s arrived at just the right moment… if that Clash record will just finish. it finishes, and the first play of “Get Lucky” goes around. by the end of the night, taking into account the back-to-back plays around 0400, we probably listened to it six times. nobody ever complained… no, everybody just danced w glee. who complains when a classic song gets played again? i weave through Daft Punk’s older, deeper tracks, Michael Jackson, disco, disco, disco… and start feeling famished, mentally. Arianna subtly suggests taking over the djing and i happily oblige. always trust a girl who goes topless at parties. at one point, high and happy in the hallway, surrounded by strangers, i start melting into the walls ecstatic about the Motown (Diana Ross!) dance party happening in my living room, happening completely without my ever having touched the play button for that particular track. there ain’t nothing like curation. i can’t take it all in. too many beautiful faces. too many brilliant minds. so much long hair, so much style, so many glimmering, so many wild. squeeze me to sleep, so pleased. Continue reading

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