Obit: June Foray (September 8, 1917, July 26, 2017)

June Foray certainly does not spring to mind as a name anyone would associate with music, let alone rock’n’roll; however, she was an integral part of the aging of the Boomer Generation.

June, who passed away a couple of days ago, just months shy of the Century Mark, was the voice of the following cartoon characters:

  • Rocket J Squirrel
  • Natasha
  • Granny on Looney Tunes (owner of Tweety)
  • Nell Fenwick
  • Witch Hazel
  • Daisy Duck
  • Mother Magoo
  • Betty Rubble
  • Cindy Lou Who (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
  • Jokey Smurf

And, a host of other voices, participating in a list of shows that is, to say the least, overwhelming.

I am indeed a huge fan of animation, dating back to the first Jay Ward show, Crusader Rabbit wherein at the age of six I got my first puns. Crusader Rabbit featured a two-headed dragon named “Arson/Sterno” which didn’t really mean anything to me. I knew what Arson was, but it was a cartoon. (There was also a villian named “Dudley Nightshade,” a pun I never got till I was a lot older!)

One evening my mother was having a cocktail party and she had a chafing dish that needed a Sterno can to keep the contents warm and I saw her prepare the dish, read the label and a light went off in my head (it might still be going off).

From that all the cartoons of my youth became the filter for my  viewing and reading and interpretation of literature and movies and TV, for it not only taught about puns, but also how characters define themselves, often by action and nameAdditionally, I got the author gets to play with characters and names and situations to emphasize things like irony, hypocrisy, and many other personality traits.

As I delved deeper into literature as an undergrad, then grad student, and learned that Charles Dickens, for example, was among the best at portraying his characters as round or flat, modifying their names in deed and action. So, I got that the Arson/Sterno tradition was pretty old, going back at least to Chaucer in the English language.

I still watch toons. I love Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers and Adult Swim in addition to old Looney Tunes because they still push art in areas where live action human stuff cannot go.

Are they important? Just listen…

RIP June, and I hope where you are is as much fun as the shit you created!

Alice Cooper Connoisseur

Good story about Alice Cooper, fame hound, meeting Andy Warhol, fame hound, and buying one of Warhol’s Little Electric Chair silk screens.

Fast Forward 50 years and Alice discovers a multi-million dollar work of art in a tube, never having been displayed after he bought it for $2500.

Today Alice says it makes sense that he bought it, even though he doesn’t remember it, because he was in a fog of drink and drugs. Shep Gordon says it totally made sense for him to buy it, because his girlfriend liked it, the electric chair and all. And what a happy ending!

 

Dirty Projectors, Impregnable Question

I watched a movie which ended with this bit of romantic abstraction. About half way through I said, holy cow, that’s Dirty Projectors. And it was.

I’ve pitched Dirty Projectors before, a few years ago, and this song is from the same era.

This is art rock, totally. Can’t apologize for that, but it moves me. And I can’t apologize for that.

In Defense of the Elitist “X” Aimed at the Anti-Intellectuals: “When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch”

“I know this site favors smart, funny and sexy (and not even rock ‘n’ roll – a lot), but man, the feeling in my sizeable gut knows what it knows. If you don’t get it, I feel sorry for you.”-Steve Moyer

“They probably have about as much chance as Trump of getting elected.” (re: Bad Brains getting into the R&R HOF)-Steve Moyer

I think nothing better exemplifies the “battle” of the populists against the media and “educated” class as do these comments from my mate Steve, in defense of the Bad Brains, but at the same time decrying the likes of The Clash, The Ramones, and X, suggesting:

“…Clash, Ramones and X are minor leagues compared to the best the Bad Brains have to offer. Smart? Funny? Sexy? Who gives a shit when there’s a wasp in your drawers?”

Well, really. In politics, I find it interesting that the right–primarily those affiliated with the TEA Party, Sara Palin, and now Trump–decry the supposed left-wing media as elitists and snobs.

Well, like it or not, the bulk of members of the news industry are indeed college educated, and that means some years of classes with professors invoking things like library research and application of critical thinking. Depending upon, such a degree also often involves some kind of exposure to the humanities and arts, thus giving a college graduate a pretty good cross-referenced education that opens the assessment of new and potentially challenging situations.

In essence, this is considered job training, for college should train to complete assignments (projects), on-time, answering a specific question or questions, and coming to a reasoned and reference supported conclusion.

That means sentences like “Who gives a shit when there’s a wasp in your drawers?” become a sort of false equivalency. That is because, for one, I would never solicit any creature armed with a stinger inside my briefs in the first place, and believe me, I did not need to go to college to figure that out.

But, the sort of judgmental reaction to X, or the Ramones, as not Rock’n’Roll is as specious as Donald Trump saying he knows more about ISOL than do our Generals.

Surely music, and art, and apparently politics, are subjective, but, I do need to remind that out of gut reactions come the denial of Climate Change, the certainty that trying to control assault weapons means eliminating the Second Amendment, and that somehow simply killing all the terrorists will solve the issue (I actually heard this from a couple of conservatives just prior to the Iraq invasion).

Certainly, logic is both relative and subjective, but, virtually no one who is educated and understands research ascribes meaning to any such statements, meaning apparently going to college is important, but to a certain portion of the population, those exact motions and processes that helped us learn and make intelligent choices are actually crap.

Well, ok, then why even bother to learn? Or better, to all of you who decry us as elitists, if you are so much wiser, why go to a Doctor or Lawyer or educated professional if you really are so much smarter when push comes to shove?

My partner, Diane, has a friend Jean who is several hundred pounds overweight. Jean is a sort of prototypical Trump girl, thinking Donald just saying “I will make better deals” is all that is necessary to “fix” what is perceived as America’s terrible state of affairs when the reality is, things are actually pretty good.

Not that our country could not improve, or money and justice better meted out, but all-in-all our recovery from years worth of Bush has been pretty good. Not perfect, but not just on a solid path. However had McCain or Romney won the election we would never hear the end of what a great job they did rebuilding the stock market and reducing unemployment and at least pushing our GDP. (Gas prices are down too which is not even a presidential issue, but when prices went up in 2008, John McCain said in an ad, “Who can you thank for rising gas prices? Obama”).

But Jean suffers from Type-B diabetes, along with the requisite maladies that come with overeating and not exercising that fell people who suddenly find themselves in their 40’s, obese, with a failing body. Jean does go to the Doctor, and the Docs always say the first thing she needs to do is change her eating habits, lose some weight, and start, slowly, an exercise program.

Jean has seen at least four Doctors for the over the ten years I have known Diane, and every time Jean responds after seeing the physician, saying, “what does he know, I am older than he is?”

Well, this is like saying the media has a liberal bias (it isn’t, it is a researched and educated one) or that the Clash or Ramones are not rockers.

Or, more important, that smart and funny and sexy have no business in a form of art (hmm, but KISS can dress up in ridiculous costumes, because ideally their music is another hornet in our skivvies).

I can understand loving music, or even art because it is visceral. I mean, that is part of what makes Mapplethorpe, for example powerful because often his outrageous images haunt and that is what pushes our thoughts into “what is the meaning of things?” and that, at least to me, pushes towards understanding being part of a bigger universe that binds us.

But, really, how narrow-minded are our accusers? Or, how ironic is it that while knowledge is to be revered, just as readily it is to be dismissed when a certain portion of the population doesn’t buy in? Mind you, this is not new shit. Ask Copernicus about almost being burned at the stake for suggesting the earth rotates around the sun (did you know that Donald?). Ask Pasteur, who was vilified for suggesting disease was carried my micoro-organisms.

Just for fun, I am finishing with a fantastic cut from X’s brilliant-and-a-half Wild Gift, an album that made my essentials list. It is funny. It has teen angst. And well, if you don’t think it rocks, well then I guess you think the Chinese really did “invent” Climate Change.

Better, however, a bee in the bonnet than a wasp in your drawers.

Internet K-Hole Inspired Photo Essay

screenshot-2016-10-19-10-50-46Everybody who knows the Internet K-Hole says they love the Internet K-Hole. I’ve previously said it here and here.

Someone at Cuepoint has taken 32 pictures from the hole and matched them to lyrics from songs. Some are great lyrics, some match the photo, some seem a little random, but it’s all good.

Enjoy.

 

LINK: Alternative Rock Love Blueprint

screenshot-2016-10-08-12-16-03A design studio named Dorothy has released a survey of alt-rock music based on the schematic design of a transistor radio that came out in 1954, the year Bill Haley released Rock Around the Clock.

That’s a detail from a much larger image over to the left.

I’m not sure about the information included in the diagram. I mean why do the Ramones lead to Mink Deville lead to Talking Heads.

Why is Elvis Costello in smaller type than the Specials?

Why aren’t the White Stripes next to the Black Keys?

There are many of these questions, which seem to be answered rather randomly. That said, there is a broader logic as to time and place and style, and it’s good fun browsing using the magnification tool. h/t Herrick Goldman.