by carl wilson

Bang a (Filipino) Gong: Press Gang


Quick but thrilling piece from the Times over the weekend about one of my favourite musicians, improvising percussionist Susie Ibarra and her (be still my heart) "Filipino gong electronica". And I assume y'all also saw the illuminating Daniel Johnston article? And the delightful one about the Wallace Shawn opera? And the scary one about the Johnny Cash "jukebox musical" that I somehow suspect won't be as dark and poetic as its creators think, once it makes Broadway?

Meanwhile, on Destroyer-watch (read on at your own risk!): Consider the Pitchfork review definitive proof that the horrible trend in Destroyer's Rubies reviews is that they are all about other reviews. Which is fucktarded. Too bad: If he'd started with the third paragraph perhaps someone might become interested in the music. (PS: He makes very good points about the singing.) Also, A Dangerous Woman Up to a Point is currently my favourite song, and Sick Priest just requires a few extra listens to be revealed as the funniest song and a great coda, so everyone is wrong about that, but everyone is right that Priest's Knees should not have made the cut. Anyway, it's getting to the point where all I want to do is argue for the richness of Dan's comedy, but the reviews are making it clear that lots of people don't share this sense of humour, and I honestly do not get how it's possible to enjoy it otherwise, and certainly to feel the sense of tragedy. Which is (?) maybe why folks feel it's all about some preoccupation with intellect?

Have I told you lately that I love you? Did I fail to mention there's a sword hanging above you?

Viewed over the weekend: Match Point, Capote, Brokeback Mountain: No, maybe and yes.

Beware of the great vowel shift!

| Posted by zoilus on Monday, February 20 at 03:43 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (12)



Did you watch Good Night and Good Luck yet? It's a gem, the writing and cinematography are spectacular. Still playing at the Cumberland in TO. And i agree on the maybe on Capote. Great acting, not the movie I was expecting to see.

Posted by curlybecs on February 21, 2006 02:30 PM



Chris - the prank-sabotage link on your name? Is NOT appreciated. We here at Zoilus spend way more money and time on spam-comments than you might imagine, which makes it not funny.

Posted by zoilus on February 21, 2006 04:20 AM



Couldn't get get the Ibarra-link to work, but found it anyway. And yes, she's a truly amazing musician. It was rumoured once that she stopped playing w/ Ware and Parker for far from amicable reasons. Which, if that is true, is sad because she did one hell of a job for the both of 'em.

Posted by Chris on February 20, 2006 06:47 PM



hey sheila - The usefulness of the Daniel Johnston article totally depends on what you came in with. I already knew a lot about him and what I wanted from it was that it clarify how he was being treated, ethically, by the people around him, which has been an ongoing concern, and I thought it went into good depth on that - and it also treated his ambitions more matter of factly and less mystically, that he's a man who decided to take on an art career rather than a madman who cannot help producing art, which is a refreshing change from a lot of press about him. But you're right, if you didn't know his art and music it wasn't very helpful at all - and it needed that context to raise it out of the gossip realm.

Posted by zoilus on February 20, 2006 06:23 PM



What did you find so illuminating about the Daniel Johnston article? I was upset that they made no case for his art. It seemed like it was written by a business reporter, not an arts reporter; just by someone interested primarily in his rising fame, dollar by dollar. Did the piece illuminate his music for you? How? I haven't heard any of his songs.

Posted by Sheila on February 20, 2006 06:18 PM



For the purposes of the article, self-deflating modernism = post-modernism in the present tense. The modernists I like best are the ones that poked fun at themselves, anyway (thus the layout of the site, which remains a gambit for the intrepid). And certainly not unfunny -- I actually had a pretty embarrassing laughing-out-loud-in-public incident with that "fucking maniac!" line. Just not comedy. The jokes aren't the point, but are what pans back from the point. Or something along those lines.

I think I also missed the point of Brokeback Mountain a little.(Did Michellle Williams look like that on Dawson's Creek?) While certainly daring for a mainstream movie, the ratio of male to female nudity is pretty standard. A "bone" thrown to the straight male audience? Woops.

Posted by AH on February 20, 2006 05:39 PM



AH - I don't think there's anything more complicated than humour. More to the point: In this case the complication *is* the humour! (It is also the pain.) I thought you gave some good examples of why ("the fucking maniac!" strum strum strum), but I couldn't figure out why (a) you ended up arguing it wasn't funny; and (b) you think self-deflating modernism and postmodernism are such distinctly different things. (If we need an anti-pomo argument, isn't it really more, "nobody cares"?)

Ryan - Basically, the sequencing is not so good.

Craig! - Like a baby.

Jody - I wouldn't go quite that far if only because Scarlett J. really is the sexy. But not as much as Michelle Williams. (Uh-oh, did I miss the point of Brokeback Mountain?)

Posted by zoilus on February 20, 2006 05:15 PM



(An abomination, too.)

Posted by Jody on February 20, 2006 05:01 PM



You're so right about Match Point. An abomniation.

Posted by Jody on February 20, 2006 05:00 PM



I've decided that I like A Dangerous Woman a whole hell of a lot, but really only as an individual track, on its own. I really *don't* like it in the greater context of the record. Placed where it is, it really just tires me.

Posted by Ryan on February 20, 2006 04:41 PM



I wasn't crazy about Capote, either, besides Hoffman's performance. Did Brokeback Mountain make you cry, too?

Posted by Craig! on February 20, 2006 04:30 PM



Though not a great fan of "Sick Priest" (my favourite is "Watercolours Into The Ocean," which I presume puts me in a minority) and actually quite pleasantly surprised by the Pitchfork review, I did note that the frequent complaints about Destroyer criticism sounding like "college papers" is a bit of a trick. I know it would stand up to college-paper-style writing, but I haven't seen much of it. So (possibly because I'm reading Christopher Ricks's book on Dylan, which is another story) I wrote one! Thesis: he's funnier than people think, but in a manner so clever that it becomes more complicated than humour. The comments so far on it show the almost baffling richness of the lyrics.

Posted by AH on February 20, 2006 04:13 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson