Man we had such a nice little party last night. I had a lovely time. My only regret is that I forgot to spice the black beans better for the tacos, and they tasted like plain black beans. Sophie and Mickey climbed into my pile of pelts this morning and we rapped for a while in there, then KW came up and was like “Get up and design me a tattoo of a little face.” I made this sheet of options for her and she picked row four number two—-
—-and then I spent the afternoon lying on the couch and listening to both discs of volume three of the Upsetters singles compilation, looking at the ceiling, and texting.
This second half of yesterday’s post does not reflect the conversation I had with James at the party about FUN HOME (he made some points about the drawings themselves that I haven’t fully digested; also he straight-up disagrees with all of my opinion of it below, hahaha), or the HI HAT set Jacob played, which was wonderful. Second show from this great, great band, bringing the “Providence mystery edge” hard.
3) COMICS I READ
Allison Bechdel’s autobio comic “Fun Home” on Zelda’s recommendation. Super steady drawing, capable but not aggressive or showy, but with these occasional detailed or compulsively rendered panels that made me go “oh whoa” in the good way. The story is perfectly paced, and draws on and refers to a life of reading that, when it works, works. I love it when people can do more than one thing with a high level of interest, skill and investment. Enjoyed reading this a lot!
Brecht Evens “The Wrong Place.” Pretty impulsively bought this at 8am after looking at a few screen caps on the comics comics blog, thinking, oh shit, this looks wonderful. Kinda bummed that it was not that wonderful to read! If this was a set of paintings in larger format without any story, maybe this would be something; some of the pages are killer, some of the character posing especially in the first sequence is well-observed and so right on. But as a narrative it’s fucked! Pretty juvenile treatment of pretty banal understandings of pretty typical ideas - male sexuality and friendship; shallowness vs. seductiveness of partying; group nighttime dynamics; very simple treatment of “kinds of living” and “kinds of desire.” Most troubling is the bizarro false dichotomy between “the boring guy with the job” and “the shallow guy who parties”? The treatments of courage, desirability, independence, self-worth, and even “what is cool” are all fucked too.
A critique came up at drawing day that this book was “made to be liked,” and I can get behind that. There’s nothing risky here, and the things that are good are good in this super obvious candy way (such that for example a guy might look at it for five seconds at 8am and be like, oh, that must rule), while the actual narrative/emotional/social content here is a real slowball, really leaning hard on the painting to carry it, or really assuming that its reader must be a completely unexperienced and socially illiterate teenager. But I mean, parts of it look great!
Chester Brown “Paying for It,” his autobio comic about 10+ years of visiting prostitutes. This book rules so hard. Completely maniacal drawing, hilariously/wildly reaching internal logic, good jokes. Courageous, real, and bald in the best possible ways. Whether or not “you agree with him” or this is a complete picture of the issues he’s putting forth re: prostitution is not the point at all here. Re: the above, this dude did not make this book so that people would like it, he made it because it is the real, true shit of his life, distilled into a funny, swaggering, inviting little book, and he invites you to hate him, hate his work, and disagree with everything he says in it. Aesthetics and content specifics aside, attention all fucking artists everywhere: Dare to make work this uncompromisingly true to yourself.
4) WEYES BLOOD, U.S. GIRLS, BLOOD HUFF
I saw three good shows in three different secret rooms this week.
WEYES BLOOD at Quince Street = Met Natalie in Philadelphia when she was 15, at which point she had already been on the path, and knew her for a while down there. Awesome to see her as a full-grown guitar witch 8 years later in a Providence basement, and she’s still just 23(?!) - girl is still at least 3 years ahead of people 10 years older than her and keeps getting better and better. Her record on EHSE is out.
BLOOD HUFF at Amherst Street = Bummed to not see a full FATHER FINGER set at this show, who’s looking good? but the band of geniuses BLOOD HUFF was just fine; Mickey threw her shoes and flipped out; lyrics about how nothing matters; crowd dancing and partying, insisting on an encore, Mickey sez, “I don’t even want to do this, I just want to go to bed.” Drank coffee upstairs with the full team present, then this classic scene turned out to be going on after the huff set was over =
U.S. GIRLS at Paragon = Dude, U.S. Girls has been one of the best live bands in North America re: solo singing along to tapes/electronics for at least two years now. This was an ultimate bummer set: She was all set to go but the PA speakers fried. Played out of an amp and it wasn’t loud enough/sounded like dog shit/energy was lost in the technical difficulties. Even so, the first song she played before everything burned out featured a total transformation: She went completely inside of her character so fast and RIPPED, and it sounded great. When the speakers went she still wanted to finish her set one way or the next; it’s fun to see somebody play who clearly loves to play, isn’t afraid of playing or fucking up, and goes for it. She seemed bummed on this set for sure, but man, the intimations of what she’s sounding like live right now were there, and I mean, damn dude. U.S. GIRLS: Keep coming back to Providence, I will go see you every time.