Sunday, July 17, 2005

here i am, the quintessential blogger. i'm sitting here between the strewn sunday papers and the iced coffees at harvest in central square, dodging the flies and watching the crazy old lady remove and replace the cup in the trash can for the seventh time. as i'm sipping my tepid caffeine and typing on my little shiny toy, i couldn't be happier.

yesterday was interesting on many biological levels. nik did his darnednest to get up before noon (hee) so we could make an early start at attending the artbeat festival in davis square, a huge community summer arts thingy with handcrafted wares and endless stands of indian food. not to mention the activists. but it was a great turnout, good weather (where good == blazing hot), and lots of cover bands who tried their best to play in tune. family fun and lots of cute doggies -- you know, the usual outdoor fest. artbeat, with its true roots in somerville and strong representation by independent community businesses and artist, was a lot better than the generically artsy cambridge river fest in that respect. nak and i fingered lots of handmade bags (felted totes with birds on them were de rigeur of the DIY folks) and t-shirts with sad octopi on them. the somerville stitch 'n' bitch were in presence, and also some spinning going on with skeintily clad, which has an amusing logo of a dancing sheep wearing a frilled sweater. it was hard, even for me, to think of cute wool while sweating under the persistent sun. i didn't buy anything at the fest, but i definitely got a handle on how strong the indie community is. being a jewelry or bag designer must be so difficult -- one after another of original handiwork sort of looks the same after a while, ironically. within the mix of the afternoon, some articles i found rather amusing were the squiggly-tentacled crocheted squids (i screamed a bit) and necklaces made out of cubes of hematite that were satisfactorily pixel-like.

afterwards we went to qingdao garden to replenish. we've been there before, and niknak used to frequent the place a lot when he lived in north cambridge, but that meal turned out to be sort of anomalous. we got handmade pork and cabbage dumplings, squid with chili, and zhongqing chicken with chilies. everyone knows i'm a spice enthusiast, eating the most fiery stuff on the planet, blowing my nose with decorum. the last dish, the chicken, was piled with about a full cup of long red chili peppers, smoky with seeds intact. not too hot at first bite, but it was the kind of spicy heat that sustained and layered with time. my tummy seemed okay, but got worse and worse as we left to head back to the subway station. i have to apologize profusely to those who attended artbeat and went through the davis square T stop, but, yeah, i don't have to go into detail here, but i'm sorry for the mess. i napped away the rest of the afternoon.

then last night (bottle of pepto bismol on person) niknak and i went to check out the PlusOne concert at art interactive. a pleasant little saturday endeavour to check out the IDM + musique concrete scene in cambridge as well as check out this guy, patrick mcginley a.k.a murmer, from the UK. nak had heard of his radio show and was curious. as we went in, i noticed the complete random diversity of the crowd: indie kids, yuppie folks, old people (!). small cozy space, so we sat in front. mike bullock was first and it was the typical apple laptop + mixer + knobfest show. i kind of zoned out, but noticed when he started fiddling with his iPod. why the heck would he use an iPod when he has his laptop right there? it was a random mash of noise and rumbles and clinks, with some requisite ear-splitting siren-like wails coming in and out of the blaze. we popped in our earplugs (i bet we looked nerdy) as the volume went to extremes. at the end, he got this electric guitar and strummed it with questionable aplomb. yawns were seen throughout the set.

i feel remotely in touch with listening to IDM music, but i really don't get this kind of music performance, and it's a shame that it feels better to experience NOT LIVE than live. most of the IDM shows i've seen are kind of like this, with the laptop and the geekguy behind it and the audience sitting like limp fish. why can't the live performance be more than just that? some suggestions: increase the visual aspect. anything from projected colorful visualisations to veiled glimpses of what's going on on the laptop might be engaging. it's so hard to 'tell' from the audience perspective what exactly knob-turning or clicking on the laptop does, since the mapping always shifts. at least you know when a violinist's bow goes back and forth, say, the sound emanating from the instrument will respond in kind. niknak and i discussed the immense intellectual potential of program notes, or at least words from the artist about the music, to frame the piece and orient the listener. otherwise, experimental music can sound completely random and without course, even though the artist has a hidden agenda behind the blips and bleeps. i'm also kind of distraught about the complete lack of diversity in IDM artists... let's see, do you know any who are female? most of them are white, pasty, geeky men. not that there's anything wrong with white, pasty, geeky men, but the lack of other sorts of representation is kind of disappointing.

the murmer guy was relatively better in scope; he had a touch of performance art aspect to it, especially in the beginning. he had about 10-15 small violin-shaped tuners strewn about the space that played in tandem, their frequencies beaming and beating in dialogues with each other. one was even surprisingly taped beneath my seat; i was momentarily disconcerted when he approached and reached under my chair, but then i realised i had chosen the special seat. he also was more focused in his 'instrumentation' in the later parts of the set, just using a sampler, mixer, and this strange wiry electric thing which he played with a bow. very ambient, but a bit too much so at times. the set ended with a lonnnng extended french movie soundtrack dialogue with a rumble layered underneath. hoookay. it was better, but still rather confusing. is the point of this music not to understand? that seems so pretentious. in any case, i think we'll go back to some of the other Xgames concerts at art interactive, but it really is puzzling how these performers really get off with giving such wet-blanket performances.

hopefully next week's 'clash of the superheroes' concert at bill's bar will be a little more enlightening, or at least fun. details from boston phoenix: Playing video games to make music to play video games to - how Spacemen 3 of them! At tonight's Playstation geek-out "Clash of the Superheroes," contenders go head-to-head on Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Guilty Gear X2 #Reload - that is, if they can keep their Hulk on while a half-dozen glitch superstars set their laptops to annihilate | with IDM deity Keef Fullerton Whitman as Hrvatski and drillatronix jackhammerer Dev/Null + Aliens at Home + 2 Bit Vision + DMNZ + Square | Bill's Bar, 5 Lansdowne St, Boston | 9 pm | $7 | 617.421.9678.

we're going to see hrvatski (which we've played on sigtronica on occasion.) keef? his name is keith fullerton whitman. by the way, he was at the art interactive concert last night, helping out with the auxiliary laptop and being the scenester. :)

as knitting goes (it's been off and on lately, but still strong in spirit), i'm in the last stages for the charlotte sweater. completing the collar and seaming are on the agenda tonight. will dunk tonight for blocking... stay tuned for finished pictures! cross your fingers, it's my first full sweater ever. wish me luck.

the theresa sweater is getting cuter as i'm churning through the sleeves. thank goodness my niece is short! i almost wish i could knit sleeves lengthwise rather than widthwise, as the turning-of-work and occasional detangling two skeins of yarn seems to be the most time-consuming part of the process. does this procedure even exist?

i can't wait until i have a new FO! that means new yarn for me, right? the cabled riding jacket in loop-d-loop looks sweeter and sweeter. any recommendations for a heavy worsted (4 sts = 1" on 8 needles) wool blend that will take cables well and won't be too thick or heavy? the yarn in the pattern is mostly merino fine vermont wool, worsted. i'm contemplating rowanspun aran or debbie bliss aran tweed, but the andean silk on knitpicks is also a consideration.

things to look forward to: a visit from superdesigner diana this week and seeing friends again at the 21f gathering at parsons next week.

project in queue: sewn handbag using my db-db pixel vixen as lining. a girl's gotta be discreet.

1 Comments:

Blogger toshi said...

multiple mentions of powerbooks + ipod sighting == new hotness.

6:18 PM  

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