Category Archives: La Dolce Vita

DVD Pick: “Old Joy” (2006)

Since Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Will Oldham) has a great new album out (Beware) and is on the current cover of my favorite music magazine (Wire), I decided to finally get around to watching this movie.  Well, plus there is that whole beef with Wes Anderson*.  Old Joy is a simple meditation on growing up and growing apart that I guarantee will make you book a camping trip as soon as possible.

*And he does have a point.  I agree that American cinema has a tendency to use pop music as a crutch that the great European directors don’t seem as likely to rely upon.  That’s a different post though.


Last Week’s Party Pics








Nina Simone – “Ain’t Got No…I’ve Got Life”

This one is by request of my dear friend Aaron…

Here is Nina Simone, one of the most transcendent voices to ever cast her hymns into the atmosphere, singing “Ain’t Got No…I’ve Got Life”:


A Year in (Brief) Review

2008 went down as one of the better years in my quarter century of existence, fortunately full of more highs than lows, even if I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to conquer (Mt. Everest, Great American Novel, nirvana, fountain of youth, a basic understanding of quantum physic moonwalking—a science I’ll develop in 2009, I promise).  I got to try my hand at DJing a couple of times (thanks to Will and Nick’s equipment and charitable sharing of stage), saw Radiohead twice, lived a lifetime in the course of a few Chicago daze and nights, took part in countless impromptu dance parties, witnessed my friends make incredible music and art, spent my first full year outside of a classroom finally able to devote free time to re-educating myself, survived eleven months of weekend boozing and another month of palatable sobriety, and made cacophonous noise with friends under a starry sky in a place properly called Happyland.  I also was dumped by my girlfriend somewhere within all of that, but the fact that I was too busy having a rapturous time to get nostalgically down says something about the power of living in the now. 


If LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” was the soundtrack to 2007, what was the noise of THIS year?  If I had to hang 365 days worth of feeling on less than five minutes of funk (the groovy rather than the mopey kind) I guess it would be Cut Copy’s “Strangers in the Wind”, especially the latter half of that song, when the dreams of a year are compressed and phased and shot through with enough endless onward hope to catapult me into another 8,760 hours.  Unlike “All My Friends”, “Strangers in the Wind” was not my favorite song released during the year (I’m not sure I even have one), but like “All My Friends” it was able to capture the mood of 12 months.  Five years ago a part of me questioned whether I’d burn out before I made it to my silver anniversary.  I’m pretty confident that I can easily handle the next 25.  Thank you to everyone who helped make the past year a great one.  These moments passing will be there indeed.


Blondie – Rapture

Blake and I just finished watching Downtown 81, the “lost” (and “found”) No Wave film starring Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Before that I drank a tall glass of refreshing water at our BRAND NEW Santa Fe Steak Emporium (not what it is really called, but I wish), accessorized with ice cubes and a real plastic straw, while he and Laura sipped on buzz drinks with fancy country names.  Santa Fe is a classy joint because you can throw peanuts on the concrete floor like true southern folk while watching the rodeo on giant flat screen boob tubes, surrounded by men in tight cowboy jeans, under the watchful dead eyes of decapitated animal carcasses on the wall.  It’s like eating/drinking in a well-staffed barn/morgue.  I’m too plumb tuckered out to write about either cultural experience in depth, but here’s the video to Blondie’s “Rapture”, featuring a cameo by Basquiat standing in for Fab Five Freddy. 


Robert Wyatt – Shipbuilding (Old Grey Whistle Test)

When the thermometer dips, it often becomes necessary to wrap oneself in the warm melancholy of Robert Wyatt:

Every Time That We Walk the Streets

A Clockwork Orange

I admit that I feel an odd form of consumer’s guilt whenever I go to Papa Gjorgio’s.  To say that it is Ada’s best place to consume calories would be quite the local culinary understatement.  It just seems almost culturally inappropriate for a town like this to have a place with a satisfying wine list and where cheese fries and a side of ranch dressing is an impossibility.  Wednesday night I enjoyed a couple hours in the restaurant’s reassuringly intimate Martini Bar with several of my close “buds”.  Though I have been m.i.a. for a few weeks, this became a weekly pilgrimage sometime during my final semester of college.  This is our Wednesday night fellowship.  In place of potluck casserole, Blake and I mutually masticated our margarita pizza, and casual conversation about “The Whitest Kids U Know” skit-lifting from MTV’s “The State” replaced weepy diatribes against the dangers of inter-religion dating.  Sipping on a Will-prepared drink, I listened to Dave D. recount his Radio Shack Story of the Day.  This consisted of a senile lady shopper leaving poo poo in places not designated a toilet bowl and left me wondering what kind of paycheck would balance out selling coaxial cable to potty untrained customers.  Mental answer: medical school amounts.  Will comes to the table to announce that he will indeed be opening the upcoming All These Teepees show as his dance music alter-ego DJ Tanner.  And I end the night reminded of why I find it so hard to leave this home of twenty-four years.