Dusty's Cultural Curiosities

The Future Is Unwritten

joe_strummer.jpgJoe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
Director: Julian Temple

A few months ago I was casually listening to a Clash concert at Wolfgang’sVault.com while working on this site. Joe Strummer’s voice rose out of the speakers, imploring a screaming crowd: “You people here are still murdering these guys, I don’t know if you understand what I’m saying, but you’re crushing these guys…” I suddenly realized I was at that show. And the memory of that evening slowly started to bubble to the surface... Read more »

Memories From a Faded Era

dandelion.jpgCatherine James has lived eight lives in 57 short years and her Dandelion: Memoir of a Free Spirit (St. Martin's Press) devastates with emotional sabotages that seem so outrageous that you swear you must be reading fiction. I read the advance copy in one sitting, blown away by the poignancy and ease with which Miss James shares her years of perilous plight. The abuse she suffers at the hands of her Hollywood femme fatale mother Diana reads like Mommy Dearest meets Piper Laurie’s character in the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie. Chapter after chapter she is left pummeled by another emotional battering from someone close to her. Even when she’s able to finally run away from tortuous reality, which is one of her early blessings, she encounters emotional hardships that rival any I’ve read or seen in film. Read more »

Jumping The Dead Shark!

dead_shark.jpgCharge less, sell more.

Seems like a simple solution for both the music industry and film/TV industry looking to regurgitate content into the digital domain.

Yet, I just read that NBC doesn't want to renew its iTunes deal with Apple because they want to increase the costs of the content. Apple doesn't. Stalemate for now.

Forget that P2P is on the rise because media conglomerates charge too much to begin with. Read more »

Hunks of Burning Love: Best of Summer '07 Listening Guide

burning_man.jpgWe've had such tremendous responses to our Essential Prog Rock List and our Summer of '67 list that I decided to add my own two cents. As many of you prepare to escape the August heat and head out on your summer holidays (or prepare for Burning Man), here's some tasty road music for your iPods and other digital mobile music devices. Age and wisdom have a way of separating the bona fide artist from the once beautiful but withered pop star. And lately some of my favorite rock artists below have released solo albums worthy of their past triumphs from decades ago. An artist like Elvis Costello might be cut from similar cloth and has certainly maintained the most successful of career arcs -- sales -- and tour-wise, but the artists listed below have released some very vital music worthy of your consumption. All have maintained their own brand integrity and artistic merit, too, through touring and releasing new music on small boutique labels. Read more »

Wedged: A Camper's Tale

camp.jpgRemember your first sleep-away camp experience? Was it traumatic? Did you feel abandoned by your parents? Or perhaps you felt liberated. Remember the camp songs? The awakening of your soul? I remember how naive I was about my own sexuality. The following short story is based on my first camp experience. The names and characters have been changed to protect the guilty.


The eleven-year old boy cracked an eyelid in the diffused moonlit cabin. He took a deep breath. The sweet aroma of pine trees danced in his nose. And the chorus of a thousand crickets accompanied faint singing and the pulse of mattress springs in the bunk bed above him. Read more »

Summer in the City - RatDog at Summerstage

Elvis once said: "Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can't help but move to it." And if you ever witnessed a Dead show, or have caught Bob Weir's outrageously tight outfit RatDog, a viable and mighty fine alternative to the Grateful Dead (RIP) and all other jam bands criss-crossing America, then you know how prescient that Elvis Presley quote was so many years earlier. You will definitely be moved. I was fortunate enough to catch more than a few Dead shows in days gone by and I can honestly say that, unless you were stone drunk (or too stoned), once the music began you'd find you feet tapping, your head bobbing, and pretty soon your limbs akimbo in some white boy shuffle that only Deadheads have perfected. The deliciously eclectic RatDog possesses all of that and more. Read more »

Death Is Not The End

tony_soprano.jpg"It was the only way he could have ended it. Possibly the best example of pop culture since The White Album by the Beatles." So claimed our literary editor Ken Krimstein. And yes, the blogs are buzzing today, most folks proclaiming how "awful" the final episode of this much beloved HBO series was for them personally.

Yes, the juxtaposition of the abrupt black screen as the final image of the series ending finale of The Sopranos, like Richard Hamilton's cover for the Beatles' White Album, forces users to conjure their own impressions of what is and what may never be. (We were all waiting anxiousily for a genius ending a la Mr. Alan Ball's award-winning Six Feet Under series finale, right? I know I was.) Read more »

Deep Sea Fishing with David Lynch

lynch_book.jpgThe Unified Field – the deepest level of transcendental bliss – far below the shallow waters of everyday life. This is where the biggest fish can be caught and where Mr. Lynch mines his creativity. And though he is catching big fish, his new book - Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (Tarcher/Penquin) - is packaged in short, neat chapters.

It’s as if he collected his thoughts randomly and then arranged them in linear order after the fact. Although, if you know anything about Mr. Lynch’s world, you know that linear is not part of the equation. Read more »

All You Need Is Cash

las_vegas.jpgDirty Disneyland.

The real Sin City.

A town without ballast.

Lost Wages, er, Las Vegas.

An effigy like this could only exist in America. Read more »

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be

arcade_fire.jpg“Affordable & portable.” I was having lunch with my friend Ed Bennett last week and we discussed the difficulties facing the music industry and the affect it has on new artists trying to gain footing in these increasingly slippery-slope days. He coined that very apt above-referenced phrase to describe the need to streamline a musician’s business approach.

I couldn’t agree more. In these days of dwindling CD sales, the death of retail record chains such as Tower, and the decline of the importance of labels (not all, but certainly many), musicians need to be aggressive marketing juggernauts. Read more »

Go Kat Go!

thegreatestBack from Austin and the South by Southwest crush and feeling a bit crispy around the edges. Sleep deprivation and too much good music can do that to a person. Had to sleep off my music hangover most of Monday, catch up with emails and paperwork on Tuesday, and get back to writing today. It was a wild ride for sure as Culture Catch hosted an ARTISTS SALON with amazing music every single night. In fact, we featured 26 bands from all over the world over four consecutive nights at the Canvas Bar & Gallery. There was so much variety and bona fide talent from act to act, I don't know where to begin. Certainly some of these folks will be making their way into video podcasts on our site, and probably some of them will be making their way into the larger pop culture fabric of our society. Read more »

Let The Sun Shine In

If you've grown weary of the winter weather, I've got the perfect antidote for your Nor'easter blues. And for all you alpine sports enthusiasts, the perfect audio stimulation to inspire your powdery day of boarding/skiing down a mountainside. Moreover, it even works wonders in the land of the sun. Might even lift you up beyond the smog.

Daniel Wylie is an earnest and prolific folk-rocker from Glasgow, Scotland. He enjoys wearing his heart on his sleeve, and that abets him in writing and recording near-perfect pop-rock tunes. Songs that slather on the optimism and self-replicating hooks. Read more »

Dancing Near the Sun!

enemies.jpgYes, I skied. I was in the mountains. Every morning my partner Richard and I would summon up the stamina to exercise for two hours or so. I do it in NYC, usually at the Central Park reservoir, but not from the summit of a Park City mountain top--9,000 feet closer to heaven. Walk from our Grand Summit Resort condo to the elevator to the second floor and then 20 yards to the gondola. Ride The Canyons gondola up the side of the mountain, grab another chairlift to the top and then carve our way down the mountainside, giggling like schoolboys again. The fresh air, the sun, the snow, the worries of global warming (lack of snow everywhere this year!), bills, podcasts to record, movies to see, all an afterthought for the next few hours. Read more »

Sexy In Time

ladolcevita.jpgRemember when you could put on an album to put you and your date in the mood? For me it might have been Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey, or Joni Mitchell’s Blue. Has sex become so co-opted in pop culture that we’ve lost our collective sensuality? From music videos to hardcore porn, television, the Internet, and DVDs, most, if not all forms of entertainment are flooded with bigger, better, harder sex with little sensuality and certainly very little romance. (And don’t get me started on love.) But is it good sex? Is it rich with passion and sensuality? Is it truly love-based, or just a facsimile of our collective Freudian desires? And what of romance? Read more »

Cream of The Crop

thegreatestHappy Holidays! When I set out to pick my favorite music from 2006 I probably left off some obviously worthy releases. But with all the digital music available and most record retailers selling the crud major labels force-feed them it can be tricky terrain to navigate. The list below is a distillation of two previous columns plus some late additions that I finally got around to reviewing. And it doesn't include much jazz or classical. I'll leave those reviews to editor Steve Holtje -- far more competent in those genres. Read more »

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