Monday, November 30, 2009

Entry: Ghost-riding

Perhaps this blog relies overly much on the cracks that Wikipedia breaks in my white, middle-class perspective on the world. It happens all the freaking time, though! And like the Minister of Cliches once said, "Write what you know." And what I know is that I'm very prone to doubletakes, followed by exclaiming "People do that?!" in a shrill voice.

Take ghost riding the whip, for example:

...when a person puts a car with an automatic transmission in drive or allows it to idle and then the driver (and passengers) of a vehicle exit while it is still rolling and dance beside it or on the hood or roof.

Ghost riding is an activity that has been practiced in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years during what are called sydeshows. The popularization of ghost riding the whip is a byproduct of the popularity of Bay Area music and hyphy culture in general.

Now, I'm not personally familiar with hyphy culture, but it would seem to me that the majority of ghost-riders do not (a) ghost-ride golf carts, (b) ghost-ride at what appear to be summer camps, (c) wear yarmulkes. And yet, the Wiki article gives us this photo as illustration:

Don't make this more confusing for me than it already is, Wikipedia.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Entry: Andre the Giant Has a Posse

This kinda blew my mind. It was one of those instances where you see something, and you don't know what it is, and it turns out to be a random configuration of stuff that you already knew about. Although, if you know what molecules are, then pretty much everything falls into that category, but you're a smart group, I'm a lazy writer, you know what I mean.

So I had seen these stickers around in the public sphere, slapped to various large objects:

And I never paid them much mind. Until I stumbled upon the sticker's Wiki article! (Well, I didn't literally StumbleUpon the article, my friend and I were having a discussion about culture jamming and you don't care at all.)

Those stickers are a portrait of Andre the Giant (aka Fezzig from The Princess Bride), as created by Shepard Fairey (aka the guy who did the Obama "Hope" poster). And the "OBEY" is a reference to They Live (aka the movie with the guy with the crazy sunglasses). It's a crazy pop culture golem! My favorite kind of golem.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Entry: Lady Gaga

Hi there, cats and kittens, long time no see! I won't get into why this post is so late; it seems much more fun to leave you to your assumptions. (Hint: if you assumed "drunk in a gutter," you're on the right track!)

Speaking of assumptions: when you hear about how one pop star began her career (e.g. backup dancer, Mousketeer, relative of someone important), you start to assume that everyone in that profession had a similar start. And by "similar start," I mean "they're okay to look at and generally got very lucky." Which is why I was surprised to read this about Lady Gaga:

Playing piano by ear from the age of 4, she went on to write her first piano ballad at 13 and began performing at open mike nights by age 14. At age 17, she gained early admission to the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. There, she studied music and improved her songwriting skills by composing essays and analytical papers focusing on topics such as art, religion and socio-political order.
which is pretty much the last thing I ever expected to read in her Wiki article. It is comforting to know that at least one pop tart got famous through hard work and study. Or, studying until dropping out of school to pursue her career, but she's two years younger than me and has a number one album, so who made the right decision?

And honestly, being part of the New York art scene probably goes a long way to explain this:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Entry: List of Music Genome Project attributes

Prepared to lose an entire afternoon to this one, space cadets.

Like all cool kids, I utilize Pandora now and then to expand my musical horizons. Oftentimes, however, I go to look up the attributes of my stations and have no idea what the hell any of them mean. For instance, I'm apparently really super into "extensive vamping." And, until I turned to the Wik', I had no idea what that was. Basically, it means I'm a simpleminded twit who likes to hear the same thing repeated many, many times in the span of four minutes or so. Also recurring: "major key tonality" AND "minor key tonality." I'm such a fencesitter.

But perhaps your taste in music is overly specific, and you've wondered to yourself: what other musical attributes that I don't care for are floating around in the aether? Thanks Wiki. You've really outdone yourself this time.

Here are some highlights:

"Backbeat Hand Claps." Specifically hand claps. No drums, no footstomping.
"Blazin' Rappin'"/"Tight Lyrics". Perhaps my dorkiness is preventing me from understanding exactly what this term means, but doesn't that seem a little subjective for something calling itself a "Genome Project"?
"Lyrics with Heavy Erotic Content". Is there a subgenre of this that I don't know about? Don't get me wrong, I'm hip, I listen to Serge Gainsbourg... but I can't imagine not wanting to laugh my ass off at lyrics with heavy erotic content.
"Mystical Qualities". One of the backup singers is a unicorn, say.
"Sexist Lyrics". Okay, as a member of the group that usually gets the short end of the stick when it comes to sexism, I'm biased. But why the hell would someone actively seek this out as a quality of music?
"Use of Dirty-Sounding Organs". What, like a rectum?
"Vinyl Ambience". Just throwing it out there as a name for a drag queen act. Think about it, girls.

If anyone has any information as to which bands or songs embody the aforementioned, please let us know.