Wednesday, September 9, 2015
One of the best French things to take from my trip, I actually picked up in a fab flat in Chelsea. Ever on the pulse of things, Hugh & Fred hooked me up with this little gem burning up the French art landscape. Christine and The Queens are giving us infectious French pop with a little early-stage Michael Jackson style in a mix of performance, art videos, drawings and photography. The video for Christine or Tilted, the English version, is one of the coolest videos I've seen in ages.
Oh! Would that I could pull of Christine's (real name Héloïse) tomboy look! Good god, I love a loafer! Perhaps I should dig mine out of whatever abyss they've made their way to. Or, perhaps instead, I shall just practice her dance moves and jam out in my new prius with a seven year old. It's kid-approved!
More from my trip that isn't music soon. I promise.
In the meantime, check out more of Christine & The Queens here.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Rare thunderstorms in LA are ushering me to Britain today.
My itinerary-- a year in the making-- has me feeling a bit shot out of a cannon, but is entirely my own doing. I haven't been back to Scotland since the day I got on the bus in that last wind down to the end. I had that taste of London on the way back from Africa, and I'll admit I still associate the place with the only thing in my life I've ever felt like I failed at. I cried on the circle in. I have felt and still feel a rough letting go of that place and the life I saw for myself there.
It becomes more complicated the more entrenched I get in my LA life; the more I love it.
As I cross over anniversaries and milestones, unremarked upon, the more I am having to redefine myself against the hardline definitions I had of myself earlier in my life. I can say to myself now--- you've been away from New York as long as you were ever there. Why do you still consider yourself a New Yorker? You don't really miss it, you only miss Europe. But LA...
I still feel torn about my intent. My intent to live as one or many of the incarnations of myself.
I'm scared of falling out of my life here by being gone so long. I'm scared of missing an opportunity that I've painstakingly built a foundation for here.
I'm scared it's still not enough time to be in any of the places I'm going to settle into the rhythm. Scared it's not enough time to catch back that magic of my life there. I'm scared that the way I was there will be at odds with the way I am now and I won't be able to reconcile them. I'm scared my practice will fall off and I won't chant because of time, and mindset, and my friends' hard disbelief in Buddhism.
But CHVRCHES has got my back. Giving us all a new song to sing me to Scotland. And a new album this September 25 -- Every Open Eye.
And I'm going to give it my best go to report to whatever readers are left here. I can't guarantee I'll be able to. I can't guarantee I'll have anything or anything worthwhile to say. But if I do, I'll be here. Hope to see you.
Onward. To the East and to the North. To London, Edinburgh, Bamff, Skye, Uist, Geneva, Provence, Lugano and everywhere in between, to Dublin, to Clare and back again.
Monday, February 2, 2015
I've been working on this "short" story for a year. Even in the Accra airport, I began to write this down in notebooks, along with the almost overwhelming amount of emotional and physical information I had taken in over the two weeks.
I can't share everything with you here. But I did want to give you a little taste.
Just for context, here's the blurb:
Somewhere between rekindling a trans-atlantic romance and calling it quits for good, a couple tries a new locale on holiday in Ghana’s Cape Coast. At an isolated nature reserve, an eccentric Dutch couple reveals more than anyone bargained for about our biological evolution when we choose to stay together.
And here is the text! A nice non-emotional, yet meatier middle chunk of
Forty-five minutes later, they were still in the car on the way to the monkey reserve that was “right up the road.”
Casey had underestimated how big Ghana was. Almost everything they said was "close" ended up being an hour drive at least. Maybe it was all the extra police stops you had to make. Every few miles, the police in navy and light blue camo (She couldn’t quite see the point in that particular camo) would pull over every car and inspect. Gordon would warn her each time to hide any electronics. (“They’ll take it. They’ll find a reason to take it.”)
Or maybe everything took so long because-- with the exception of the George W. Bush Expressway, ironically enough, both “The Best Road in All of Africa,” but also simply the best road in all of Africa-- the roads were all so bad.
In LA, the roads always failed at the edges. In Ghana, every road seemed to have huge, craggy chunks pulled up in the middle that had to be sharply swerved around—a kind of alien asphalt phlegm that Ghana kept trying to cough up. The center literally would not hold.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Every now and again, something is so weird and delightful, I feel like it was put on Earth just especially for us to know we are loved and everything's going to be ok. Even if, like the new movie, Frank, it features probably the best working actor today, Michael Fassbender, and I'm not married to him.
Even though I'm not married to Fassy, Frank is still a sign of hope. And we can all bask in his perfection, even minus that big blush-worthy grin, and with the addition of a huge papier-mache/fiberglass head. I've never really noticed what a physical actor he is before. Or how goofy. Even in interviews. But he is. The head changes the focus.
The head's not the only bonus though. We also get the man who could soothe the world with his reassuring gaze, Domhnall Gleeson, and the always awesome Maggie Gyllenhaal (I'm watching her in The Honourable Woman right now as well!) Even bigger bonus: movie's about a band.
I don't want to make this all about actors, though. At the end of the day, Frank is the kind of tone piece that rarely comes around. One I look forward to always. Cult-y within an inch of its life, but its very niche-ness justifies its existence.
I'm not normally excited about films. But this one gives me a little hope that there's still a reason to keep making them and not just switch over completely to television.
Frank, inspired by musician Chris Sievey, and directed by Lenny Abrahamson, opens in select markets Aug 16th and nationwide Aug 29th.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Scott Hutchison lives in LA now. Did you know that? Why does this feel so important? Maybe because I actually think he's the wittiest person alive. Or because, like me, he feels in a kind of limbo between isolated, overcast coastlines and sunny hills. Somewhere between Hollywood and Hollyrood.
His new project, Owl John-- which he says he hopes will appeal to people "who hate Frightened Rabbit"-- is my favorite album of the year. Of course, I don't hate FR. I would love any project of Scott's.
The last month or so has been testing the seams of the life I've sewn together here. They were always loose stitches and I wasn't sure the center would hold a few of those days. I have asked Los Angeles to be kind. And the world in general. I've felt sad about a lot, in a way I haven't done in a while. As you may have noticed, I haven't been writing much.
Luckily for me (and for you) Scott has been writing for me.
Get Owl John. It's out now.
PS- Scott, now that you're here, let's be friends. For realz.
Such a villainous grace
Oh I don't know what you've done to your face
Some nights I can't figure out quite where your heart is
Oh Los Angeles, be kind
No more trouble or red lights
I can learn to love you in good time
Oh Los Angeles, be kind
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
You're in luck. You still have time to get your tickets to Haviland Stillwell's SPARK album release show tonight at Rockwell Table & Stage (Bonus: Harbor Party is after!)
I was lucky enough to sit in on the band rehearsal Sunday evening and everyone was really just picking up what she was puttin' down. Even songs they had never run before sounded great and everyone looked like they were having so so much fun. I know I was.
There will be rapping, there will be ascendence, there will be rock fists. There will even be Ashley Reed having the time of her effing life on the cajon. She's got cajones, ladies and gents!
Check out Haviland and these fine musicians TONIGHT at 8PM
1714 Vermont Ave
Anthony Starble, keys+vocals
Ashley Reed, vocals+cajon
Tim Young, guitar
Tim moose, bass
Greg Sadler, drums
Jack of Co. Z - fierce flows
Thursday, July 3, 2014
So you’re out on your Yacht again and you’re decked out in your anchor print scarf, boat shoes and khaki shorts. All your friends are there and it’s a beautiful day but there’s something missing. Where’s the music? What soundtrack will get this party started? Enter Harbor Party: the band committed to bringing the party from the mainland to the ocean. They play all the songs you want to listen to on your Yacht - The Doobies, the Eagles, Michael McDonald, Loggins and Messina, Hall and Oates. If it’s yacht worthy, they’ll play it. And they’ll play it good.
If you're a long time reader of this blog, you may recognize the captain of the yacht rock movement, Mr. Landon Beard. We've worked together on every show I've ever done and hung out all over the world. Love the dude. You may also remember some late night drunken Michael McDonald impersonations on instagram. Basically, he's a natural at the smooth sailing jams defined as yacht rock.
Yacht Rock: Another name for the adult-contemporary musical movement in the late 1970's and the early 1980's. It was defined mostly by its smooth sound. Popular Yacht Rockers include: Kenny Loggins, the Doobie Brothers, and Steely Dan. — Urban Dictionary definition
It's such a good time, the thing is catching on. In just three weeks, they've gotten featured on California public radio and increased their following from about 10 the first night to a solid 70-100 people. At 10 PM on a TUESDAY.
Get on the boat with me. I promise you, it is not possible to have more fun on a Tuesday night.
Get $5 tix online or show up at the door!
(While you're at it, snag yourself some tix to our other Rockwell events-- Haviland! Comedy Night! Jagged Little Pill!)
Monday, June 30, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
During my nearly two year long quest for the perfect painting for my bedroom wall, I really really wanted to find a powerful female. Every time I was nearly there, something wasn't quite right. So, I ended up with The Skating Minister, which I love in every way except that it's not a powerful female (say, dressed in flowing tartan and on a horse) but is instead a whimsical in body, dour in face man.
Even though I didn't get my chick portrait, I can (and so can you) experience 500 years of female portraits in 3 minutes thanks to this lovely vid.
Even though it's all white ladies, (it is only Western Art) it's nice to think of all the diversity in beauty of women over the centuries.
Which is your favorite? I like the Sir Joshua Reynolds paintings-- esp. Jane Countess of Harrington, Vignee-Le Brun's self portrait and especially the Rubens painting-- A Lady In Waiting for Infanta Isabella. For the full list of portraits featured check out here.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Monday, June 23, 2014
On Saturday, McC and I did what seemed only right to do: We took the best Latte in America to get "The Best Latte in America." (according to the New York Times.)
It was a glorious day in Larchmont Village-- even though much of Hollywood was blocked off due to a parade, a high school graduation, palm tree pruning, and perhaps the Daytime Emmy's preshow. It was unclear. But when we finally made it to the adorable strand of shops, Latte was out in full force, making friends with every man, woman and child and cute-ing up the place royally.
He met his shaved pom twin, and like all doppelgangers, it was full hate coming from both sides (but mostly the other guy, because, let's face it, Latte is pretty secure in his cuteness.)
We decided we would have this almond-macadamia nut milk iced-latte no matter how much it cost. And we took bets on just how much we were going to throw down. When we walked in, my eye immediately went to a $13 beverage. "Thirteen dollars," I said out loud to McC. "That's gotta be it. I bet you that's it."
Luckily, that was a 5 shot extravaganza and the latte we desired only ran us six bucks each.
Of course, the drinks came in ball jars. And various other products ranged in price from expensive to very expensive, including a small ceramic tumbler that said go get em tiger and cost $43.
Okay, but was it the best latte in America, you want to know? I don't know because, while I have had many lattes in both America and abroad, I haven't had them all. But I'd say it was worth six bucks. And Latte thought so too. The first thing he did was try to steal a sip of McC's.
go get em tiger
230 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Happy Summer Solstice! It's the longest day of the year! And boy does it already feel like it! I spent so much time in traffic. And then in a semi-confrontation with a crazy nicotine addict who reminded me of my mom in a neighborhood Walgreens. But that's okay. I had lots of adventures with Latte and I plan on reporting them to you tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a jam for you while you swish yourself up for a summer solstice evening out on the town. (I hope.)
Seinabo Sey - "Hard Time."
Friday, June 20, 2014
What a long week. I'm real glad it's Friday. In two weeks, Iona will be here! In the meantime, I'm just really trying to get my ducks in a row across all facets. I'm tempted to mix a lot of metaphors here. Streamline spinning plates. Break some eggs to make omelets. What's that? Just give us the links? Okay, sounds good.
- One of San Fran's Painted Ladies sells for 900k under asking price. Where was I?
- Pal & fellow Vegas native Jillian Bell is having an utterly deserved amazing year.
- I love Silicon Valley. That is all.
- Molly Ringwald singing a jazz version of "Don't You Forget About Me" to me was definitely a high point for any 80s kid. See her again July 1 and July 15.
- One MINUTE parking in LA. A new LA parking low.
- Yes, he's a felon. But once he's out of prison, he should definitely be a model.
- Anyone tried this ALOHA stuff??
- Lots of mixed feelings about Chipotle's "disposable" literature.
- Cormac McCarthy's REJECTED Chipotle cup
- George Saunders on kindness.
- Everyone who ever did forensics with me in High School knows, I love me some "Say My Name." (Upon looking at the video again, I'm noticing Bey's 'stache.) Now, The Awl asks, "Is this the original 'Say My Name'?" Well, it doesn't have what I love about the song, but fair enough. Dark child nah nah.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Recently, Haviland took me to see Tune-yards (sorry, I won't do all that wacky styling of their name) at my favorite theatre in LA, The Fonda. Opening was a North Carolina duo whose album had only been released a few weeks beforehand. By the end of their 45 minute set, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso, had become one of my new favorite bands. I went home and bought that album immediately.
Electronic duos can have some trouble when it comes to creating a visually interesting presence on stage, but Nick and Amelia were having so much fun with each other, they succeeded in ways a lot of electronic groups don't. Maybe that's because they both have pretty extensive performance backgrounds in non-electronic music. Amelia was an accapela folk singer in a group called Mountain Man-- and that vocal background brings a nice rich folksy texture to Sylvan Esso stuff. Nick, meanwhile, was the bass player in another band I love, Megafaun.
The past fews weeks have been a crazy flurry of rushing from place to place, but I'm glad I've had this soundtrack to keep me happy. Favorites include "Coffee" (below), "HSKT" "Play It Right" and especially "Could I Be."
I had originally planned this post for last week, then Monday, then Tuesday, then yesterday. I was grouchy for being so busy, but now I'm glad I held off until today so I could also link you to this great NPR full concert from Washington, DC.
They're getting nearly universal praise and I can see why. Sylvan Esso, you are officially my flavor of June--- and perhaps a lot, lot longer.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
While Game of Thrones Season 4 is wrapping up tomorrow, it doesn't mean we can't keep the memes, riffs, and variations on the theme song going all summer long. Just enough to land us safely in Downton Season.
Here's the theme played by killer New Orleans band, Swamp Donkeys. Spoiler Alert: It's amazing. I also appreciated Vanity Fair for giving me the mental image of Tyrion Lannister passed out covered in beads at Mardi Gras. Kudos on that.
Next up, for the Scotland lovers out there aka The North, here's a title sequence featuring the beautiful topography of Edinburgh instead of Westeros. Calton Hill for the win! House Blair & House Grant Hollar!
Friday, June 13, 2014
It's 22 dollars. I definitely still bought it. (Jesus Saves. I Spend.) It's delicious and bright... (Orange marmalade, brown sugar, lime zest....) because Annie Clark is a goddess who is incapable of making a misstep. The title is a reference to her song "Bring Me Your Loves." Which I and the good people of Intelligentsia clearly do.
They also sell her album on vinyl there. If I didn't already own the record (on vinyl) I'd have bought that too.
More with the links though! And happy Friday!
- Speaking of coffee, apparently the best latte in America is in my neighborhood. I shall report back.
- Andrew Keenan-Bolger as a hobo clown. How are you so wonderful always? Also, how are you 29 already, sweet pal?
- People who don't want to be right (factually.) Boy am I NOT one of these people.
- Fox Cancels "I Wanna Marry Harry." Maybe there is hope for America.
- Guys, donate to Reading Rainbow. Because books are good and I don't want us to be so stupid.
- Portugal. Yum.
- This isn't what I'd do with 36 hours in Edinburgh, but I support any activities there.
- The honey moon and Friday the 13th.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Today is brought to you by classic Scottish painting, The Skating Minister, by Sir Henry Raeburn. I just bought an oil on canvas replica for my room. It's always been one of my favorites and I've been coveting an affordable, high quality replica for some time now.
I love the mix of the dreary and bright, buttoned up and playful. It's a pretty good example of the great Scottish paradox and why I love that place so much.
It was actually quite obscure until 1949, and since then it's become an icon of Scottish art for absolutely good reason. There's even a book written about the painting.
Henry Raeburn is one of Scotland's most beloved painters. In person, at the National Gallery in Edinburgh, it is so rich and texturous. It's full title is The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch. Walker was a minister in the Church of Scotland who lived during the height of Scotland's enlightenment period-- one of the most influential periods of human history. (In case you don't want to take my word for it, I highly recommend this book.) If I could have lived in any other era, I think it would be Scotland during the enlightenment. Oh, the ideas!
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Here's this book I've been dying waiting to read. The Rise & Fall of Great Powers came out today. I read The Imperfectionists while in that limbo waiting to go to Scotland and just felt warm and fuzzy and real. I've since heard Tom Rachman is an asshole, but I still think he's hot.
Apparently, even though this new book is weightier, he's still hot (according to the Washington Post) his "impish wit." And there's Wales.
For this and more summer reading, check this out.
Friday, June 6, 2014
With me, work is always feast or famine. I seem to always be starving and bored or prepping a gourmet meal on a runaway train. That's how I feel right now. So much going on! That's some strange universal law, right? Is there anyone who has solved for this?
In any case, have a great weekend! Stay cool like my man, Redford.
Links! Links! Links!
- I'd rather see "Malefiftycent" than "Maleficent"
- I look forward to watching Darren Aronofsky's HBO adaptation of Margaret Atwood.
- Thinking about London still actually makes me physically hurt inside.
- Spain's Magnolia Antic is lovely.
- A good example of why you need a good gaffer.
- I've spent a lot of time with interpretive dancers and I can't tell you, I've always had a hunch this was their inner inspiration.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
The Summer of 1939 is noted in the United Kingdom as one of the most beautiful and warm in modern history. It's called the Glorious '39 and it always seemed especially sweet considering it was the last honey-filled days before Fall would the beginning of devastating war for the next six years. Much of Europe, and England, would be leveled during World War II.
But before anyone knew the devastation to come, there was a summer of bliss. And this honeymoon of a young British couple through Lincolnshire, Durham, Norfolk and Yorkshire in August. The photos of Denys and Margaret Gardiner were thought to be lost until they were recently discovered by their grandson in an attic when Margaret died. They photos were taken by the couple's cousin, Eldred, who was an accomplished photographer. These color slides are a true rarity, preserving an England that was soon to disappear in many ways. On September 1, Hitler invaded Poland.
For more info, check out the original article.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
If there's anything I love more than historical satire, it's historical satire mixed with modern gossip! Obvi.
Oh, how I love Perez Hamilton, the nerdelightful spoof of Perez Hilton for Federalist times. Why am I such a sucker for these mashups? Remember Jane Austen's Fight Club? Downton Abbey with zombies? It's like I have a tapeworm for this kind of stuff.
Someone get me some help. Or some company. Join me in my silly amusement. Wanna watch a costume drama?
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Morgan Kibby makes me want to dye my hair dark and stop wearing a bra. Let my curves out or down, whichever way they want to go. Be freckled. Be soft. Be diaphanous. Keep my sailor's tongue. Live Morgan Kibby (or White Sea, as the show is actually billed) was one of the most genuinely surprising, thrilling evenings of music a jaded artist (or anyone else for that matter) could have.
She was the anchor in an evening I call the best accidental free concert ever.
You see, the lovely Miss Vinessa Shaw and I are big fans of Moses Sumney (more on that later). He was having a month-long residency of free concerts and Vinny and I had been trying to organize a time to go. Then, after 24 hours of driving down the coast of California with the mega-duo of Brian Kearney and Gretchen Schrafft (more on Big Sur and an Irishman's first dip in the Pacific soon) I felt like 1. I need to MOVE-- sway in a room with strangers and have nothing to do with my clutch or my car-- even with wide open spaces, with the idea of the Ocean. (Whoops! White Sea!) and 2. I'd love something free to do with my fellow poor-artist friends.
Thus, we all ended up at the "Moses Sumney Concert," where White Sea was his guest. And it was the best concert I've ever been to.
I'm not really sure I've ever seen a more exhilarating live performer than Morgan Kibby. It has all the drama and height of a Florence + The Machine Show, but with way more prowess, vocal precision and scale emanating from a much smaller operation.
But then, this isn't Morgan Kibby's first rodeo. She formerly front LA Band, The Romanovs (good name, ya'll!) IMO is the element that makes M83 the shit. She fucking wrote Midnight City. If I wrote that song, I'd retire.
But nope! That's not really an option for Morgan because of that set of pipes. You guys, in the room, that night, we all just looked at each other in awe. I am open to the awe of amazing singers. I am so often so humbled by the voices I get to hear and write for in my line of work. But I am spoiled by those voices and thus rarely floored by someone's ability.
I've been waiting for White Sea's first full album, In Cold Blood since that night. I wish I could tell you it lives up to the live concert, but it doesn't and in fact, it can't. That's not even the point. But it is wonderful, it is lyrically bold, it is my jam, and you should get it.
In closing, Morgan Kibby, be my friend. If you get a call from Kade's cell phone, it's just me and I've stolen his phone so I can talk to you. Don't freak out.
In Cold Blood
New album out now via Crush Music/SONGS on iTunes for $7.99 or
listen to it on Spotify
Not my favorite song on the album, but the video is gorge.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Sorry guys. Been real swamped. And also really buried in anger and articles about Elliot Rodger. I'm gonna spare you from any of those links. And while I was doing all that, it Juned all over the place. Oye.
- I really appreciate that the scale was presented in Jon Hamms. Also, Fassbender. Just happening here. What's good for the goose, objectifiers.
- This fantastic lady featured on access hollywood
- Selling DFW's private correspondence... ooooh, all my issues!!
- The Wonder Years Reunion! (!!!)
- These "Abortion Barbie" attack ads against Wendy Davis are DISGUSTING.
- Oh, Maya. You will be missed. I love these moments of you and Dave Chappelle.
- A co-worker of mine from a previous life in children's television. Avoid that irony, Jordan Rathus!
- Vivian Maier and Difficult Women
- Why John Waters stopped making movies
- I'll be using pippit from now on. You should try too!
- And here's your dreamy, musical meditation for Monday. A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Just sit with that. Anyone who's ever experienced the rare beauty that is a sunny day in Scotland can tell you, there's nothing like it.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
For the video, she wanted to keep it simple and easy to do. Just the idea of a modern muse. We used water (because we had it) and lights and Hav's natural je ne sais quoi.
Haviland had been raving about the photographer who did her most recent set of headshots, Elliot London, and I was excited a finally got to meet him on this shoot. I quickly learned he's just my kind of creative dude: casual, innovative, and creative as hell. Just jimmy-rig it until it works. That's my motto. And the stuff he got was SO beautiful! Doesn't Hav look so preeeeety? I can't wait to see how it turns out!!
I can't really tell you how proud I am of her for this album and all the work she put into it. She's a mover!
Get Muse on her album here!
**Disclaimer: Boss the Chihuahua isn't actually in the video. His fee was too high. So he just supervised.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Ever since I came back to the US, I've been pretty paranoid about what I eat. I have a pretty serious problem with the way America farms, raises, and grows its food. I think most of us are pretty familiar with a lot of those problems. But aside from pesticides, chemicals, and hormones, there's this other aspect which I've been worried about for a while.
Remember in elementary school science, when we learned about soil nutrients, crop rotation, and seven year cycles of fallow earth? (I do. Largely because I am frequently using it as a metaphor for creativity. Also because I regularly help a fourth grade boy with his homework.)
The new book I'm reading talks about the future of food-- from the failures and missteps of the farm to table movement to how farmers and chefs can work together change the public image of certain foods. Foods can be and are just as trendy as anything else. Sometimes just to the benefit of big agri-business (like the terrible terrible soy trend. Processed soy jacks with your estrogen levels.) but also for real health. Did you eat kale three years ago? Or quinoa? Or ramps? No. You do now because chefs got creative and made delicious recipes with those ingredients.
Dan Barber, author of the The Third Plate is the executive chef of Blue Hill in Manhattan. I haven't had the pleasure of eating there-- alas, the price tag is outrageous...more on that later-- but I've heard nothing but good things about the quality and flavor.
From the book's review in The Wall Street Journal:
Yet after reading Mr. Barber's compelling book, "The Third Plate," I realize the problem may be with my conditioning: I associate value with top-of-the-food-chain proteins like tuna and beef. But the truth is, it takes 13 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef, and the Bluefin tuna is almost depleted. Ours is a food culture based on the expectation of immoderate consumption, and that's just not sustainable. Mr. Barber's solution is no less than an overhaul of American cuisine, so that the value of an ingredient is based on flavor, not folly.Let's go back to price. Part of how we can bring down some of the cost of flavorful, nutrient-rich foods is by giving new light to the crops that farmer's plant in between the main crop. If those farmers can make the same amount of money on mustard greens or buckwheat or milkweed that they can on wheat, they do better and then we can do better. And there's incentive for other farmers to return to this way of farming before industrialized farming manipulated the ecosystem into oblivion. I mean, sure, it's important to produce enough. So much of how we farm is a reactionary product of The Dust Bowl, The Irish Potato Famine and other plague of locusts style crop failures. But at some point, you have to ask, is my all-you-can eat more important than the flavor and nutrition of what I eat? And then no wonder we're fat. We have to keep eating and eating to get less flavor and less nutrition. It's hard to stay aware of all this all the time, but you gotta try, right?
Mr. Barber uses the metaphor of the plate—as in plates of food—to describe three stages of modern eating habits and the agriculture that has supported them. The first plate contains a 7-ounce corn-fed steak and a small vegetable side, say, carrots, produced by industrialized agriculture as it developed over the course of the 20th century. On the second plate, where we are today with the farm-to-table movement, the steak is free-range, the carrots organically grown. But the two aren't that different. The future, Mr. Barber suggests, is the third plate: a carrot dish flavored with a sauce made from a secondary cut like beef shank.
The third plate sounds a lot like the way my Italian grandmother used to cook on her subsistence farm. Her tradition called for managing the land. Soil health, seed diversity, crop rotation and diverse animal husbandry kept the farm fruitful and also produced delicious, healthy food. There was modesty to her cooking: The family primarily ate vegetables and killed one pig a year that had been fed on table leavings. There was no deprivation. We've replaced this model with industrialized farming and fishing, and we aren't eating well. We feed.
Check out the book, and Dan Barber on NPR. I listened to a much longer version of this interview and I wish I could find it. This is the closest I could find. Scroll to the bottom.
FYI: I'm probably buying this book as a gift for everyone I know for holidays for the next year.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
CONCEIVED IN TWO DISPARATE WORLDS: THE ISLAND OF MULL ON THE WEST COAST OF SCOTLAND AND IN LOS ANGELES ON THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES. MAYBE THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT THESE PLACES HAVE MET. MAYBE NOT. OWL JOHN IS ABOUT WHAT CAN BE FOUND IN BOTH OF THESE STRANGE WORLDS. IT'S ABOUT FINDING A BIT OF FREEDOM IN AN ANXIOUS, ROTTING BRAIN. IT IS ABOUT BEING AN ALIEN MAN. IT IS ABOUT LOSING YOUR WITS COMPLETELY THEN TRYING DESPERATELY TO FIND THEM AGAIN.
The conjunction where Scotland meets Los Angeles is not a new intersection for me. It's every day. But I'm glad there's a mind as articulate as Scott Hutchison out there to explore it and express it. I'm happy and always seeking to find "a bit of freedom in an anxious mind."
Scott apparently has so much going on in that head of his, he had to have a while additional band and persona for it. Enter Owl John. And apparently:
John is a homeless.
John is a priest.
John is a witness.
John is a beast.
John is a weirdo.
John is a thief.
John is a wino.
I look forward to the entirety of this album and hope it's released soon. Until then, I'll listen to "Hate Music" and wait.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Hi there. It's me. Remember me, dear void? I don't want to make a lot of excuses or anything. I just want to lay it on you and proceed without any promises. I'll start with the links. Because it feels like the easiest way to resume without tucking my blog tail between my legs. Just think of all the links I've been sitting on these months telling myself I'd share them with you. Ah, velleity. Alas, most of them have evaporated from my memory. Anyhoo.
-My life is embodied in THIS article right now. I am the bespoke series lady.
-Amy Poehler's Smart Girls is looking for contributors. They're basically the best. Wish I had the energy for any additional free writing work. If I did, I'd be all over this bitch.
-We know this. But it's always good to reiterate.
-Africa. And Britain. Together. Weirdly. Giraffe Castle.
- A weekend getaway to Edinburgh. Sigh.
-The Great Whiskey Shortage. We drink more than they can make. Thankfully, it's not the single malt Scottish whisky that is my own personal jam.
- Did I already share this? I don't care. I'm doing it again. Anastasia takes a selfie.
- Don and Peggy dancing to "My Way" is one of my favorite TV moments ever.
I can't keep white shirts nice, I ruin computers in three years no matter what, and my manicure never dries before I mess it up-- ever-- but here's my pinterest if you're interested. I look pretty with it there. I think. There's this too. It's a lot of other people's dogs and kids.
I love you like XO.