Dusty's Cultural Curiosities

Keep On Truckin'!

fife.jpgRecently one of my peers asked me who my favorite young guitarist was. Without hesitation I blurted out, "Why Derek Trucks, of course!" Having witnessed his slide guitar virtuosity on stage and on record with both the Derek Trucks Band and the Allman Brothers Band, pound for pound he is my favorite contemporary guitarist. I confess that I admire John Mayer as well, though he's often overlooked because of the infectious frothy pop that spills from his CDs. And jam-meister Robert Randolph is greased lightning on the pedal steel. But young Trucks is like a finely-tuned middleweight boxer at the height of his career. He mastery of his instrument, a Gibson SG, is staggering as he effortlessly tosses off ringing triplets and stinging leads both with a slide and without. Read more »

The End of Days

devilshalo.jpgI confess that I don't know much about the world of espionage and the myriad of spy thrillers that occupy this soggy terrain. (I enjoy the Bond movie franchise, and Patriot Games was cool.) When I was handed The Devil's Halo by Miami-based writer Chris Fox, yet to be released in the States, I thought, “I can't possibly slog through it.” It's not the kind of literature I'd hunt for in musty old book stores in old New York and devour on the bus or subway. Yet, once I started it, I couldn't put it down. It is the proverbial page tuner, as they say in the trades.

I don't how it stacks up next to work of John LeCarre or Tom Clancy, as I've never read either author, but it is well-written, clever, and has an over-abundant attention to detail that will leave your head spinning; from military facts and descriptions (jets, submarines, nuclear devices, satellites, guns, surveillance gadgets, etc.) to visually provocative geographic locations. Read more »

Gisele La Vita!

gisele.jpgRemember the scene when Marcello Mastroianni frolics with Anita Ekberg in the fountain in Fellini's La Dolce Vita? I had this premonition that I would reenact that scene NYC-style with über model Gisele in the fountains at The Plaza. Once she saw how charming and witty I am, she would be ready to be whisked away from the assembled paparazzi. And for me, even though I am happily married, it would be the struggle between truth and beauty, the cynicism of hedonism or lack of it, and the value that the West places on youth and maintaining a youthful appearance even into old age. (Truth be told, I am nearly old enough to be her father.)

Yes, the beauty of a woman can be intimidating. Not only for men, but women alike. Read more »

Dusty Does Austin!

dustycolorMy Rant from SXSW (South By Southwest) in Austin, TX.

Before I leave the comfort and sanity of my Upper West Side brownstone, I have spent weeks pondering the task at hand. Do I kick back and enjoy the music and excitement of discovering new artists to share with you readers and viewers of our content? Or do I further my business partner Richard's goal and convince all the hip marketing and sales people that will be exploiting their brands on the conference floor that they should be doing business with us? (Sure, why not.)

Read more »

Do The Worm

eraserhead.jpgEraserhead (Absurda/Subversive DVD) is the scariest movie I've ever seen. Period. I had an anxiety attack in the parking lot walking to my car one bleak, winter's night a few years back trying to comprehend the connection of Henry -- the movie's protagonist -- to my sad, bleak life in Akron, Ohio. With my college graduation looming that spring, I envisioned my own future marriage and "mutant" baby (urban legend claims it was created from an embalmed cow fetus) as quite a possible reality. That really fucked with my mind. No other way to put it when you're uncertain of your reality, that can be the scariest reality of all. According to director David Lynch, the fantasy/horror movie was heavily influenced by his time at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in the '60s surrounded by the urban decay of Philadelphia, a place -- he claims in the Q&A documentary portion of the new DVD -- where it was "sunny one day out of the year." Read more »

Fifedom

fife.jpgOne of our cultural icons passed away early this week. A man who invented a comedic acting style yet to be duplicated. The ultimate nervous nellie. His face and body language genius in space. So jittery and jumpy one minute, yet so poised and cocksure the next, he makes Larry David look fantastically wooden. I'm talking Officer Barney Fife, AKA Don Knotts, AKA The Incredible Mr. Limpet, once hailing from the land of Mayberry in the TV world of The Andy Griffith Show. Forget the fish lips of Mick Jagger, Don Knotts's were the original. His rubbery face could suggest a thousand different moods in the course of this half-hour episodic juggernaut. Read more »

Just Desserts

Music publicists are always emailing/calling me to ask about the various CDs they've sent, so I decided to assuage them, get my mojo workin', and set aside serious listening time this past holiday weekend to catch up on the growing mountain of CDs sittin' on my desk. Here are a few new releases I've actually found quite worthy. Whether you agree with me or not isn't the point, 'cuz I'm either going to add them to my ridiculously large archive of music or load them to my iPod and give them away to deserving family and friends, or perhaps even a few lucky readers. Beg me for them, I dare you. (Okay, first reader to email me wins the advance of the new Judith Owen CD.) Read more »

Mining Gold

young.jpgA day before it opened, I had the good fortune of catching a private screening of Jonathan Demme's concert film Neil Young: Heart of Gold. As I sat there waiting with five other people for the movie to begin, I pondered the difficulty of effectively capturing then transferring a live concert to the silver screen (and then DVD) and how few have succeeded -- Martin Scorsese's documentary about The Band's final concert in the The Last Waltz, Woodstock, Festival Express (which is really more about the train's journey across Canada and the musicians jamming on that drug-and-booze fueled trip then the actual concert clips), and interestingly enough Mr. Demme's ode to the Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense, and his more recent Storefront Hitchcock, featuring Robyn Hitchcock in solo performance. Read more »

Stone Me

superbowl.jpgI'm curious how you felt about the Rolling Stones playing halftime during Super Bowl XL yesterday. What do they have to do with American football, Motown, or anything American other than making money off of football fans foolish enough to pay the exorbitant fees for the privilege of watching their live shows in arenas across the US of A? Why didn't we see a Motown Revue during halftime with the biggest and best of R&B and Rap -- no Kid Rock, no Eminem, no George Clinton and P-Funk? No Iggy Pop, no Bob Seger, no MC5, no Ted Nugent? Read more »

Chop Chop!

Kung Fu HustleKung Fu Hustle Directed by Stephen Chow (DVD)

I don't really care how the Oscars shake out for the movies released in 2005 'cuz pound for pound, fist for fist, Kung Fu Hustle was my favorite movie of year. Palms down! Directed, conceived and starring Stephen Chow, this ultimately redemptive action-adventure comedic yarn deserves the Golden Buddha of Enlightenment statue for its cleverness and rapid-fire eye-popping action. Read more »

Influencing The Influencers

UEpro.jpgMacWorld Expo 2006 ended last Friday in San Francisco and it was quite apparent that 2006 will be the year of iPod accessories. With only 42 million sold last year, there’s still a big ol’ world out there for Mr. Jobs and his dynamic brand to influence peddle and there are plenty of manufactures who want to protect your iPod, or integrate it into your home, boat, car, and even alarm clock. Apart from the wonderfully received podcast symposium that Culture Catch hosted and Apple’s MacBook Pro powered by a dual-core Intel engine (that’s a future column-worthy article), there were so many vendors with iPod accessories (headphones, home and automobile docking stations, integrated speaker systems, etc.) that I know I probably missed some very crucial items (accessories, software, hardware, games, etc.). If you’re reading this and that is the case please let me know. Read more »

Love - Forty

Match PointDo not spend a single minute considering going to see the dramatically dull Match Point. It's Woody Allen for Dummies by Woody Allen. It’s one A-plot and no anything else-plots, so as not to confuse anyone (possibly and especially him and his obviously depleted sensibility).

There are direct lifts of dialogue from Crimes & Misdemeanors, no foolin'. For example:

"You mean if I won't leave my wife, you'll go to her and tell her..." Read more »

Wear Your Love Like Heaven...

Weed TreeIn the week since posting my favorite CDs of 2005, I received many emails from friends and colleagues arguing the merits of some discs I erroneously omitted -- North Mississippi All Stars' Electric Blue Watermelon, Ryan Adam's Cold Roses, Nickel Creek's Why Should the Fire Die?, Matt Pond PA's Several Arrows Later, Architecture in Helsinki's In Case We Die, Mark Eitzel's Candy Ass, Queens of the Stone Age's Lullabies to Paralyze, Antony & the Johnsons' I Am a Bird Now, Devendra Banhart's Cripple Crow, even the Stones' A Bigger Bang. Some of them, I simply forgot. Read more »

Sweet 16

clap.jpgTasty Tunes From 2005! Holiday time. Stocking stuffers, grab bags, gifts for friends, bosses, family members, and yourself. Year-end lists. Whatever. It's time for my assessment of new music from the past year. And though I haven't heard everything, from my vantage it was a bumper crop year for new music -- although if you listened to terrestrial radio, you might think otherwise. Some of it was from major labels. Go figure. But with the proliferation of MP3 players, why even bother with radio? I've had a grand time cobbling together set lists for my son's grade school parties, summer BBQs, NYC dinner soirees, and my yearly CD compilation for friends and relatives. In no particular order, my favorites released in 2005: Read more »

Imagine All The People...

lennon.jpgKen Krimstein -- our literary review editor -- suggested we post our remembrances of the day John Lennon was murdered and what it meant to you. It occurred to me that for the Baby Boomers and 'Tweener generation it was truly "the day the music died," the day our innocence was shattered and the new reality showed us that the 60's Utopian ideology would never, ever deliver.

Twenty-five years ago, I was watching Monday Night Football with my father in Akron, OH when Howard Cosell broke the story. I was shattered. My dad looked at me and couldn't understand why I was so upset. Read more »

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