Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Delirious Insomniac 5th Annual Live Event

My band EaViL has reactivated to join this celebration:

[Celebrating the 5th year of The Delirious Insomniac Freeform Radio Show, Arvo has put together yet another live event with a line up of some of his favorite artists to reflect an extension of his radio show, on into the context of a performance venue. Surprises can be expected to occur. The first 5 paying customers will receive a copy of the CD compilation "Delirious Music For Delirious People," and the event is free for those who RSVP at rsvp@emptybottle.com with "Delirious Insomniac Live Event 9.22" in the subject header, along with their name.]

Friday, August 17, 2012

Laurie Allyn // Paradise


There is danger in the shadow of her smile. Between the dark corners exists a fine voice. My chanteuse takes me (well, lifts me really) to “Paradise.” This album makes me feel so wonderful and alive. Even in the torch songs, she embodies the feelings of being down in the dumps of love (“I'll Never Smile Again”). That flaming heartbreak is her own Great Chicago Fire. She empties her heart and fills mine. She can soar on Stella’s (heart) strings. The flawless arrangements are courtesy of too many top notch musicians to list. The piano intermezzo in “Surrey With The Fringe On Top” causes sensory overload. The ladies and gentlemen would gladly line up to be offered the passenger seat. This siren can swing with the best of them. The proof is in: “All I Need Is You” and “You're So Bad For Me.” When I was here before, I was seated amongst future bunnies and big shots. I was waiting for the lady of the hour. She stands so tall that the skyline scrapes at her high heeled shoes. “The Girl Can't Help It!” She’s prettier than the chandeliers. Those eyes more than sparkle with cascading clarity. The cocktail glasses clink and the crowd doesn’t stand a chance. The spotlight pops and optical shots won’t misfire. Oh! How my heart pounds seeing that evening gown. She slinks down before the microphone and the band secures their sheet music. With a coy smile, she announces: “Hello, I’m Laurie Allyn and tonight I’m going to sing for you.” She stomps on prairie and dunes singing into the blue light. I give her diamonds, fur coats and champagne for encores. The real gift is that I had a chance to share a toast with her in this life. In the flesh.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Charles Bernstein // A Nightmare On Elm Street

Every 80s baby knows what the first 5 seconds signify. Freddy is going to get you. It sounds like a heater hissing unexpectedly, ready to scald your shivering skin. Hair is standing at attention. Running and dreaming. It was a horrifying concept to be attacked in your dreams, but most of us have been. What a phenomenon Freddy was. There was a girl in my kindergarten class that insisted Freddy had chased her in an ice rink. He was the reason for the visible scratch marks on her body. She succeeded in scaring the shit out of the class. Everyone was out to scare. Scott, (my babysitter’s son) used me to fulfill that need. [ Sidenote  - The Babysitter (1980) is one of the many horror movies my mother and I would watch together. Coincidence?] He would turn off all of the lights and scare me. He also had a “Freddy glove.” He made false promises. He said if I let him he would give me his Grayskull Tower and ALL of his He-Man action figures. All he ever gave me was the crappy snake figure Tung Lashor. If you turned the dial on his back his tongue went in and out. “Terror In The Tub” proves you are safe nowhere.  “Fountain of Blood” brings the dance floor beats. “Run Nancy” is the perfect theme song for our hero. Horror gave us lady heroes like her (Heather Langenkamp), Lila Crane (Vera Miles) in Psycho and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in Halloween. The men had their thoughts limited to drinking and coming (at least in the 70s and 80s). The woman was the one with the strategy. Nancy went to set her traps and burn this motherfucker AGAIN.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Philip Glass // The Music of Candyman

“My how nothing changes /// different men in the same positions ///” - Lydia Lunch “Suicide Ocean”
(A 2001 flashback odyssey)

Everything about this film appealed to me. It was a horror movie set in Chicago! The “Ghetto Youth” very much reminded me of my classmates. I specifically remember watching this movie with my mom and dad. My dad and I got excited when Philip Glass’ name popped up in the credits. Around that time he had taken my sister and I to see him in concert. He performed a live score for Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et la BĂȘte. This was my first time at the Chicago Theatre.

FLASH FORWARD

I was thrilled to learn this CD existed. I had no computer service or working computer. I would go to the local library and shop and book flights on the computers there. There was a very mean librarian who was one with her stool. She was spilling over in every direction. That is where I placed my order. When it arrived it shot straight to the top of my chart. It spent many months there. I would often wonder things (“I Wonder U”).  What would happen if you open that “Music Box?” Would a swarm of bees attack? Can shards of mirror scrape? This is the soundtrack for the first two films, the GOOD ones.
 
This was my soundtrack to “Fall From Grace.” To plunge is more like it. That was my hobby then. I would go “Faster And Faster To Nowhere.”  That’s me riding a burning slope into the hellish recesses of (y)our mind.  My thoughts were trails of gasoline. I handed out one too many lighters. This wordless choir lets me fill in the blanks.  “Helen’s Theme” is beautiful, exquisite perfection. It still moves me every time and is the main theme that gets varied.

“Candyman Suite/ Face To Razor” is one of my pinned to the floor classics. Please – “Capture me crawling on bladed floor.” It was “Just a thought and a thought can be changed.” – Louise Hay “Return To Cabrini” is a sad visit home or some place you left behind. It’s familiar territory except this time you are ready. It’s time to do battle, fight the monster. It appears you’re winning, and gaining ground. Then there is a sequel! Part II is almost as good as part one. No sophomore slump. The songs for the sequel Candyman: Farewell to The Flesh are tracks 8-13.
 
The back story is almost a prequel. The family shame and secrets are exposed. The continuity in the music is great. “The Demise of Candyman is an appropriate funeral service.  I am writing to you – “I Am Stretched On Your Grave.” My stomach to yours and I feel great. The amygdala on overdrive calms down. “Reverend Walk” repeats the familiar theme. Now the entire process is voluntary.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Laurie Allyn // Paradise


I'm so pleased I will be interviewing Laurie Allyn about her album Paradise!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Peggy Lee // Sea Shells

I am writing a piece in appreciation of Peggy Lee's album Sea Shells. I hope to hear from her collaborator Stella Castellucci to expand upon it. Fingers crossed!

-- The interview is completed!


Diving Deep for Sea Shells - An interview with Miss Peggy Lee’s harpist Stella Castellucci... is slated to appear in Roctober #51. I thank Stella for her time and for sharing her memories of this remarkable album. I'm looking forward to the publication!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Excellent Progress in Music

This will be the sequel to Greatest Improvement in Dance. I am currently at work on finishing this.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Etta James - Music and Memories

When I awoke the morning of January 20, 2012, I was very tired. Still half asleep, I placed my iPod on the dock in the bathroom. I must have (accidentally) hit random and “Down on the Street” by Etta James came on. I have been marathoning her albums on my headphones and hadn’t gotten to this album yet (Come A Little Closer).

When I heard that sick bass line I already knew I had heard this song before. I also knew that it was Etta. This was my first time hearing the album version. The place where I first heard it was at her House of Blues concert on June 30, 2002. I had missed her previous show as I was not yet 21. I was working at the Art Institute and the receptionist bragged that she was going to the concert. I perked up as I was a huge fan, but it turned out she knew very little about her. I remember thinking she didn’t deserve to go. If I was just a little older I could go too. I had to look forward and I vowed to see her next time.

Somewhere around that time I had read her (aptly titled) autobiography Rage To Survive and picked up her compilation Love Songs. The one-two punch of these made me a devoted fan. The life that she had been through was very tough. Reading about her hardships and the way she overcame them was inspiring. In particular, the difficult and destructive relationship she had with her mother. I first knew of Etta from the Rolling Stone Women in Rock book. Most of my favorites of the time were in there and I read the whole thing. There was a chapter on Etta and Ruth Brown. Reading about them made me want to hear their music and voices.

It was announced that Etta would be returning for a Chicago show. Thankfully, it was a month after my required birthday. I bought two tickets and took my mother. The concert was one of the most special evenings we ever shared. She wouldn’t let me take her to dinner, insisting the show was enough. I was now an adult and out on my own. I was sorting a lot of things out in my mind and life. I wanted to have a good relationship with her. Moments like that make me wish I had a photographic or videographic memory.

Etta was announced, the curtain was drawn and there she was. She was wearing a sparkly pantsuit and was (to quote John Waters) “big, blonde and beautiful.” She was still donning that bad ass cat’s eye make-up. It seems she had some health issues as she was in a barber type chair the whole time. She still had that powerful voice! The one that sounds like it was going to disintegrate mics on some of her recordings. The show was way better than I expected. I could not believe I was even in her presence. Here was a woman who was recording and rocking in the 1950’s. A living legend that made great music! She recorded some of the most passionate love songs that have (still) ever been heard. It really is a shame that most might only know “At Last” (Obviously a beautiful song but this being her “one song” makes me not like it as much). I’m more into “Sunday Kind of Love” and “My Dearest Darling.” However, I cannot stand the idea of ANYbody else trying to sing it.

There was a poignant moment when she dedicated “Sugar On The Floor” to her recently departed “mother.” She said that it was her favorite song. It was very intense, sad and long(ing). I loved it. There was also a raunchy moment during “I’d Rather Go Blind.” She used the mic in a phallic gesture telling her man she missed his…
It was unexpected and quite surprised me!

The day she passed away I went to my mom’s office during my break to meet my new nephew. I forgot what context it was in, but I was being an ass and singing “I’d Rather Go Blind” (I was NOT making fun of the song). When I got back to my office, my boss gave me the news a little while later. He walked past my desk and said “Etta James died.” I wish I hadn’t known at that moment. It really upset me and made me sad. I started to cry. Etta was in my thoughts that day already. I knew she had been ill and suffering for a while. There was something supernatural about that song playing when I was getting ready that morning. I thank you Etta for that perfect night I will never forget. I still have and treasure my autographed CD.

If you are uninitiated / unconvinced, I highly recommend starting with The Chess Box.