Friday, April 21, 2006

Typerotica ... Um, Wow.

Now, you would think The Virtual Typewriter Museum would be a little bit of a snooze. I mean, I love typewriters as much as the next guy, but come on

Well, I was wrong.

Turns out there was a lot more going on that just stenography and a little light clerical. There was some down and dirty going on back in the day behind the old Underwood. And this is the tame stuff. Wowza!

If more museums were like this, we wouldn't need topless bars.

There's even a book about sex and typewriters! That kind of research is almost -- almost -- enough to make me go back to grad school.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Some Last Words About Buck

I was thinking about Buck Owens today. I’ve been meaning to write something about him since he died recently, but my thoughts hadn’t come together yet. I still don’t know that they have, but I figured I’d take a shot anyway.

The music of Buck Owens was about sheer exuberance – you can’t listen to his music and not smile. It’s like the old CCR song about sitting on the back porch and listening to Buck Owens. The sound of his guitar generates an emotional response.

It’s too bad that most people will only remember him for Hee-Haw, a magnificent piece of pop culture cheese that seems almost surreal looking back on it. The man was a guitar virtuoso who managed to blend many opposing musical tangents of the 1960s into the Bakersfield Sound, a sound as American and relevant as bee-bop.

When you compare him to Johnny Cash, another mega-entertainer of his generation, they may have shared the genre but their art was substantially different. JR Cash was more of a poet fueled by anger and pills and it’s easy to trace an arc of redemption through his life and music. Buck isn’t quite so complicated. He was more of a pure entertainer and was more of a Horatio Alger story of a poor boy making good. He just wanted to put on a good show and make a little scratch.

Perhaps a more apt comparison would be Merle Haggard. Both Buck and Merle were products of the Dust Bowl and the Okie migration, but where Merle would continue to dwell on this in his music, Buck just kept steaming forward with good-time Honky-Tonk music. The music of Buck Owens wasn’t about rage or introspection, it was the great American postwar music of laughter and forgetting.

Maybe the lack of deeper themes will keep Buck from assuming his rightful place in the pantheon of country music gods. Now maybe he’s not a poet the way Johnny and Merle are, but if you listen to the bridge of Foolin’ Round, you will hear a caliber of American poetry that would humble Walt Whitman.

Godspeed, Buck. We’ll miss you.

Monday, April 10, 2006

We Are All Little Before Him

I have a new hero. His name is Eric Harshbarger and not only does he do cool Lego Skylines of Fort Worth (pictured above), he does Lego sculptures of Milhouse Van Houten, Dean Cain, and Conan O'Brien. Check him out!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Thinking of Walt Whitman

April is National Poetry Month and I am looking for a poem for my daughter to read at her elementary school poetry slam. And I stumbled on a poem by that grand old man of American poetry, Walt Whitman. It's totally not appropriate for the occasion but thought provoking nonetheless, especially the end:

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
What do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprouts show there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward. . . .and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Walker Evans Wannabe

I'm giving it my best shot here. I took this in Marfa last summer.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I Like This One The Best

Abbey Road
Originally uploaded by Digger Digger Dogstar.
It has a cool Paint By Numbers quality.

All You Need Is ... Legos?

Not quite as cool as the Lego Aircraft Carrier, but cool nonetheless.

Come Fly With Me

The ring-a-ding spirit of old time Vegas is alive and well in Dallas thanks to one Mr. Ricki Derek. Ricki and his 15-piece band launched their first attempt to channel the spirit of the Copa at last Saturday night's Supper Club and they were successful -- mostly.

Ricki is an unbelieveably charismatic performer who doesn't possess a voice as rich as Ol' Blue Eyes but his stage presence establishes him as the real deal. He nailed it Saturday when he covered my favorite Bobby Darin song, More. He has star-power and makes you believe he could hang with Frank and Dino. And his band was as dead-on as any of the Nelson Riddle orchestras from the Capitol Records years. And although he stuck with a vintage set on Saturday, he's not above a loungy cover of The Doors' People Are Strange or The Church's Under The Milky Way.

All this was hosted at Victoria Hall next to Tucker Restaurant. The place gets its name because it is housed in an old Tucker dealership, but thankfully it's not an automotive-themed TGIFriday's monstrosity, its tastefully done with lots of wine bottles and wood paneling. I suspect the food is pretty good, but the meals didn't reflect it at the Supper Club. Food was lukewarm, hors d'oeurves were MIA, the servers surly. And the band overwhelmed the space and conversation was hard to come by. Ricki's six-piece outfit would have done fine. And I would have preferred to eat first, then see the show.

I'm hoping they get the bugs worked out because this is an idea whose time has come.