A few of my favorite things from the week that was:
Andrea Swensson, Alexa Jones, Stacy Schwartz and Jen Paulson, “Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say Obama” poster. Four of the most active young Minneapolis feminists/photographers/writers/ Bonnie Parker-lookalikes produce one of the coolest statements of the campaign season — a reworking of this anti-draft poster made by Joan Baez and her sisters in the ’60s. Pray tell what, exactly, it is that these ladies will be saying “yes” to next week remains to be seen, but speaking for Obama Boys everywhere, I’d do damn near anything to see an Obama Girls ’09 calendar.
Nick Spitzer, “Saints and Spirits” Oct. 24, “American Routes” on NPR. From the hoodoo voodoo blues of New Orleans and the gutbucket–folk from the outer swamplands of Louisiana came this report on how the dead and undead dance together in song. Turn it up, drive around, and all those Midwestern front-lawn gravestones and ghosts will rattle their bones.
Heiruspecs, “Get Up.” For two years Obama’s catchphrase has been “Hope,” which to these ears is now decidedly too passive for the times. “Dream” is more like it, as in “I have a dream,” and “Some men see things and ask why? I dream things that never were and ask why not?” This clip, by the ever-gnarly veteran St. Paul hip-hop outfit, looks like something out of Cuba circa 1958, and gets at the same thing. That is, the “get up” chorus is a reminder to grab your family-man gonads, pull yourself up by your cowboy boots, and ask not what your next president can do for you, but what you can do for the next unprecedented present.
Lucinda Williams (Oct. 23, First Avenue). “I’m not crazy, I’m just temperamental sometimes,” said Williams, after blowing a couple songs, forgetting lyrics, and generally reminding the rest of us gathered in the big watering hole downtown that craziness is in the eye of the fellow crazy one. “I was bawling like a baby,” said scribe PD Larson after the show, and who couldn’t relate? Some of us saw Lucinda play the Entry in 1987 with Tony Glover and Chris Osgood backing her, and this night, the melding of memories and the moment caused more than a few to miss old friends and lovers. Personal highlights: “Something About What Happens When We Talk,” “I Just Wanted to See You So Bad,” “Jailhouse Tears,” “Drunken Angel,” “Out of Touch,” and, speaking of crazy, an estrogen-fueled reading of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock ‘n’ Roll).” Gimme a cigarette.
Paul Hipp, “What’s The Word? Tinklenberg!” A Fran Tarkenton reference, an acknowledgement of Minnesota’s rich history as a free-thinking cultural-political mecca, and a call for the head of Michele Bachmann. What’s not to love?
John Fogerty, “Gunslinger.” The gunslinger who gave us “Fortunate Son” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” delivers again.
Carp 18, “Blue Highway.” Inspired by William Least Heat-Moon’s 1978 journey through America in a van, this 15-year-old tune is one of the best country songs ever uncorked from the Minnesota music factory. I heard it live the other night in the basement of a coffee shop in South Minneapolis, where Joe Fahey and his pals in the Bottom 40 www.myspace.com/thebottom40 sang it with a timelessness and tenderness that only hard-travelin’ men truly know. Hell if you can’t hear pickup truck wheels on a gravel road.
Emily Kissane, “Katherine Kersten Magnetic Poetry.” Kersten’s vilification of Al Franken as Satan last week is the funniest piece of right-wing propaganda I’ve ever read in that paper; this gem by local artist Kissane (below) is the funniest would-be letter-to-the-editor we’ll never see. As the world gets infinitely more interesting, inquiring minds wonder if the slow-mo Strib will change with the times and replace point-and-shoot Kersten with someone who actually has an original thought — like this guy.
Quote of the week:
Stand up with me.
No one would like
more than I to stay
on the pillow where your eyelids
try to shut out the world for me.
There too I would like
to let my blood sleep
surrounding your sweetness.
But stand up,
you, stand up,
but stand up with me
and let us go off together
to fight face to face
against the devil’s webs,
against the system that distributes hunger,
against organized misery.
and you, my star, next to me,
newborn from my own clay,
you will have found this hidden spring
and in the midst of the fire you will be
next to me,
with your wild eyes,
raising my flag.