Sunday, June 20, 2010

Make Homosexuals Marry. (Especially If One of Them Is Mike White.)

It actually makes me really happy that the (Pre-Kiss vs. Hug) Cameron & Mitchell Strategy I described earlier—more snappily dubbed "Make Homosexuals Marry" by those leading the charge—is being put to widespread use. Because long-term, life-melding commitment—especially marriage, regardless of gender—is known to have a negative effect on any couple's rampant fun & passion; it's actually counterproductive for those who fear The Big Bad Gay Lifestyle to oppose such unions between same sex couples. I mean, sure, it's a weird, roundabout way to make a point, but it definitely works for me—especially in this video. (Especially because I love Mike White.)

Today's Headphone Fodder:

Earlier tonight, I trekked up to the world's nosebleediest seats at Boston's House of Blues (seriously: back row, third floor of a very vertical venue) in order to see Evelyn Evelyn, the conjoined twin sister singer-songwriters who caused some internet brouhaha (sp?) with their potentially ableist backstory. After the main act (& a brief intermission), Jason Webley did a two-song "set," followed by Amanda Palmer, who performed some lengthy monologues on the State of Her Awesome Life / Being an Artist / Being Back in Boston, with the occasional musical interlude.

Though I was so not into the way Amanda handled a lot of the backlash against the Evelyns (regardless of the fact that some of the nay-saying could seem overreactive to those not feeling it for themselves), I actually did end up enjoying the twins' performance. The standout of the night was, of course, the song I'd seen live over two years ago, before this concept was actually a Thing, with conjoined dress et. al.: the song called You Only Want Me 'Cause You Want My Sister, which is infectious & clever & includes a Heathers reference. Also, they do a super-acoustic (that damn ukulele...) cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart—which, though one is like to cringe when looking through an ableist lens, is actually really great.

Still, I walked away from the night unsatisfied—more than just oxygen-deprived from the altitude: I wanted (want, will want; every tense) more Webley. That man is such a force of nature, brilliant songwriter, wildly talented performer—&, for the record, he was such a friggin' gentleman about the whole "Ableism Ableism" kerfuffle. I admire & adore him & his music to the utmost of utmosts, &, though I desperately wished for more, I was so very happy that he performed two of my favorites: There's Not a Step We Can Take That Does Not Bring Us Closer, with its customary violins vs. trombones audience standoff, & Last Song, which he dedicated to his recently deceased grandmother. (RIP, forever & on.)

There were, in fact, two more Webley songs performed later in the night: one, the fun-but-simple Drinking Song as a group encore; the other, a duet with Amanda of perhaps my very favorite (tied with those already mentioned—& Ways to Love. & Dance While the Sky Crashes Down. & Map. Eleven Saints. Days With You. This is a hopeless game.):

Yes, this is our big-text, official Song of the Day—mostly because I love it, a lot, but it's also catapulted above the rest because I'm a little peeved at how Amanda has so co-opted it. It's not that she ruins the song, per se; I suppose it does suit her theatricality & piano stylings. I just... It's Jason's song! & it's not like he's such a famous, established band as Radiohead; I really wish they could let the song get by on its own (read: his) merits. Now, it's nigh impossible to find a version of it that isn't somehow Palmerized.


  1. You were there? I was there!

    I thought it was a fantastic show. There certainly was less of Jason than of the others, but his was my least favorite of the four sets. Sxip's was bizarre and crazy and made me very curious about his pedal setup (I managed to get a look and talk to him about it later). Evelyn Evelyn's and Jason's were both fun, but I found E.E.'s the more musically interesting, somehow.

    I do agree that he handled the backlash against Evelyn Evelyn quite elegantly, though (and I can't say I've read everything there is to read on the topic, and I haven't perused as thoroughly as I might in other circumstances) I don't really have any problems with Amanda's own response here.

    Anyhow, Amanda's set was my favorite. The stupid bits of banter, the "it's so good to be back in Boston" stuff, and all the other little speeches felt like completely natural ramblings to me, not interruptions between songs, and they made her set such a friendly one. After the somewhat strained distant feeling of the sisters' set, it was refreshing to see her come out and completely trash the Fourth Wall (Do people use that term in talking about musical performance, or just theater? You know what I mean, anyhow...) that she'd set up earlier.

    Covers: I loved Love Will Tear Us Apart. The sparse arrangement worked really well, I thought, and as I said elsewhere, I don't often think that about her ukulele covers. Her piano cover of High and Dry, however, was absolutely the highlight of the night for me. So fucking beautiful. It gave me chills.

  2. Whoah! Small world. I probably didn't see you because I was, as previously stated, in the Siberia of seating.

    As to Amanda's response: the main problem I have with even that blog post (though that is where she fares best in all this, I think) is that, in what is supposed to be a conciliatory, "here's my point of view" statement, she began with "Jesus." The tone of exasperation at even being criticized ("People love to judge," etc.), especially when dealing with such controversial material, prevents me from taking her seriously. In fact, the best part of her post is a direct quote from Jason's, only the "I" has been changed to "we." I would also recommend checking out the (awkwardly linked) "the way Amanda Handled" above. It's pretty icky.

    Sxip is awesome. Hearing his music on the massive House of Blues speakers was such a treat.

    As to Jason's set: I think that he is best when in his element—when 1) not relegated to playing only two songs (which was ridiculous, seeing as he is half of that band, just as much as Amanda is), 2) in a smaller venue, where there aren't huge pockets of space for sound to fade away into & the closest person isn't 30 feet away (or, for that matter, the farthest about a billion). I've seen him five times at this point, I believe, & every other time was at a teeny, tiny venue—like the Lilypad or Café 939. He started out as a street performer, so a lot of what's great about his music—the best showcase for his ingenuity—is in a close-&-personal scenario, in which you can really experience how he turns all of his instruments & his own body into percussion, how he is so able to work off of & inspire his audience.

    [ HILARITY: In that link for Café 939, you can actually see me & Mika enjoying the stylings of Humanwine! Mika is the one in the green-blue wig; I am the big-nosed blur to her right. ]

    Oh, & as to Amanda's monologuing: it only really bothers me because it meant that Jason had a nonexistent set, just so she could prove to us how very interested we all are in the details of her life. (I, personally, am not, & would have preferred more music. Not no talking, just less.)

  3. Sorry about your seating. We got pretty lucky, really, seating-wise. We were in the standing-around-outside-the-railings-of-the-main-floor section, but pretty close up along the left side.

    That transcript certainly does make me uncomfortable. I do have to mention, though, that I think that the fact that the construing of the end of the transcript by that blogger into "the panel compares disabled feminists to Osama" is complete bullshit. It's been struck through, but it's still there, and the fact that it was ever there doesn't give me what you'd call a great deal of confidence in the unbiased nature of that post.
    I guess this is where I am with the whole controversy, more or less: Amanda's absolutely handled it sloppily, but I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt here, based on her generally seeming to be a pretty reasonable and good person.

    I'd have bought Sxip's CD if I had money with which to do so. That was so, so cool. I love that sort of let's-take-these-things-and-make-them-do-shit-they-were-never-meant-to-do approach to music.

    Now that you point it out, I could totally see his music being way more enjoyable in a more personal, immediate context. He felt to me like a street performer trying to fill a room too big for him by being louder.
    Also: I hope I never again hear accordion that loudly. 'Twasn't meant to be.

    I see you!
    Funny story: I played at the Lilypad maybe a month ago at the end of this jazz thing I did, and that is one strange room-a sort of hole in the wall with ornamental sculptures of hands everywhere and a crumbling little cramped stage. Have you been? I imagine it'd be a wonderful place to see someone like him.

    Fair enough. It didn't particularly bother me because I was pretty much ready for Jason to be done when he finished, but that does make sense.