Dusty's Cultural Curiosities

Viva le Dean!

christgau.jpgThe Village Voice’s new management crossed a line that I shall never forgive. When they fired the Dean of American Rock Critics, Robert Christgau (photo: E.J. Carr) back in September, I stopped reading the weekly. Until Lester Bangs’s untimely death so many years ago, they were the yin and yang of rock criticism. Bangs was always the visceral, edgy writer, and Mr. Christgau the cryptic, cerebral scholar. As they offered up their craft, they helped to define unique rock criticism voices and set very lofty levels of professionalism that few rock critics after them ever scaled. (Well, those who actually began their writing careers in the late 70s onward. Legs McNeil had it going on for a short time.) Few young voices have impacted and inspired a young music-hungry generation to go out and explore fresh terra firma. Read more »

Unqueering the Deal

allisonburnett.jpgThree years ago I published my first novel. Set in 1984 Manhattan, Christopher tells the story of a young man struggling to revive his hope and idealism after they have been trampled to death by his unfaithful actress-wife.

What sets the novel apart from the hundreds of other adulterous-actress survival yarns published each year is that it is narrated by Christopher's next-door neighbor – a fat, balding, middle-aged, erudite, chemically imbalanced, alcoholic gay man named B.K. Troop.

Fuelled by thwarted lust for his hopelessly straight neighbor, B.K. narrates both Christopher's outer and inner life – a point of view that B.K. immodestly dubs the "first-person virtually omniscient." Read more »

Content Is King!

3amigosIt's difficult for me to recommend very many podcasts and video blogs, as I don't really have time due to the extraordinary commitment to this site. But lately I've made a concerted effort to check out some of the quirkier and more interesting original programming offered in this digital domain. These are not content-dumped TV series from the Big Networks and Cable outfits. None of them are spectacularly highbrow and one of them is purposely lowbrow, yet all of them are very creative. They could really only exist and flourish on the web. Sure, a few of them could migrate to other arenas, but then they'd be selling their souls to the man. When you create your own programming bubble, you are the gatekeeper. Long live the DIY indie spirit. Without digressing further, these are worthy additions to your bookmark tab.

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Fall Ball

wickerman.jpgSchool's in session, summer is officially over, and I've got another stack of CDs and DVDs balanced precariously on the corner of my desk that will crush me when it's accidentally tipped.

Something's been bothering me this past week: Bob Dylan is one of my favorite singer/songwriters -- I own nearly 90% of his catalogue -- but is Modern Times really a Rolling Stone (and other periodicals) 5-star worthy CD? I dig his elder statesman roots-rock/Americana vibe, the production and mix are top-notch, his band is one of the best touring bands he's ever assembled, and his singing and playing are inspired, but the songs? Read more »

Dark Side of the Rainbow

DarkSideOfTheRainbow.jpgI'm away on holiday, taking in the spectacle of Glacier National Park and the clean air of big sky country. It's truly invigorating out here. I would recommend it to any one who needs to recharge their batteries and get in touch with the natural world. But being a slave to technology and having access to a magnificent 5.1 surround professional theater system in the private home I'm staying at, I couldn't resist a little pop culture to waste an evening.

I had knowingly packed a secret DVD for my iBook G4 to watch on the plane, but got distracted reading Jonathan Lethem's tremendous Bob Dylan interview in the new Rolling Stone. (Lethem's one of my favorite American writers and someone I hope to podcast interview quite soon.) The other day my friend Tony O. gave me a DVD copy of Dark Side of the Rainbow. Read more »

Where Do The Children Play?

richard_mcgrawWhy do we post vidcasts on artists or musicians that might not be known by the general public?

Why would we waste precious time filming an artist sitting in his/her apartment or a musician playing on the subway? And then spend countless hours editing and posting it to our site?

And why would we ask potential sponsors to be a part of that play? Well, that's one of the cool things about our site and why we started it. Culture Catch can and will continue to showcase the high-profile folks, but we'll also help boost the careers of the artists who need a platform. Read more »

Do It Clean

reddoor2.jpg

I'm honored to be a founding member of a Chelsea-based art collective called Emergency Arts.

What is it?

Imagine Arcosanti meets "free" Art Commune (working out of a generously donated, rent-free space) in an enormous building in the West 20s with a "secret" red door entrance. EA was masterminded by Melody Weir and her friend, the building's landlord. Not just as workspaces for the artists, but also common areas to curate shows and share our mission statement and ethos. Each artist is building out his/her own space with found or recycled objects. These spaces will function as work and gallery spaces to curate shows, etc. Many important art and media people are now starting to come in and out of the space and it will afford both the artists and the curious a synergy of uncompromised vitality and awareness. Read more »

Throw Back The Little Ones!

Once upon a time, I was convinced that one of my movie treatments -- The Bomb Family, about a family that hunkers down in a fall-out shelter bunker and is found years later to be way out of step with the current times -- was ripped off for the movie Blast from the Past (1999) starring Brendan Fraser. The thing that was most disturbing about the whole thing was that I'd pitched my idea to an old acquaintance of mine from my William Morris days who I knew from L.A. He was then one of the development folks at the same boutique studio that produced Blast. I had a detailed treatment and was certain he'd "greenlight" this amazing project once he convinced his colleagues they should option it. I could then start writing the script and the rest would be history. But alas, it never materialized, until it materialized a few years later with a different title and a slightly different story; oh, such a very slight difference. Read more »

We're (No.) One!

finger.gifSticky.

Viral swarming.

Influencing the influencers.

Smart culture for smart people.

Two inches wide, two miles deep. Read more »

Searchin' For Melody

ledout.jpg

What happened to Melody?

She got lost in the beat. Buried in the mix. Drums and bass and shit, pushed over some DJ’s back and she bumped her head. Knocked out. Got left for dead.

Musicians of all shapes and sizes stepped over her. Rappers and hip hoppers laughed at her. Bitch ain’t worth shit, they screamed. “Bitch ain’ worth shit…” they chanted in unison over and over again until they convinced themselves that this was a better Melody with bigger tits and a tighter pussy. Read more »

Summer Pleasures

wolfmother.jpgI've been misplaced, misconstrued, misinformed, and generally missing music cuz I've been shanghaied by movies, art, fiction, documentaries, and other smart culture around the Culture Catch website. My desk is overflowing with all manners of auditory stimulation, from both near and far. And I assure you, dear readers, as of late, I have plugged in my headphones to my daughter's Hello Kitty portable pink CD player and listened while I updated the site or typed out emails to potential podcast sponsors. I must confess that recently I'm very encouraged by the indie music scene. The winter's hibernation has spawned some engaging and dynamic music

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Terrain: Group Show - Kim Foster Gallery, NYC

outoftheloop.jpgFor those of us squashed into uncomfortably tight areas of space in New York City, we either loathe or appreciate the value of land, regardless how small or large our domiciles might actually be, or how grand we wishfully imagine them.

Kim Foster’s comfortably spacious Chelsea gallery affords twelve contemporary artists ample territory to define and display their own landscapes, one of the oldest themes in art. Micro or macro, small or large parcels. Land, vistas, plateaus; canyons of steel, even relief work that is indistinguishable from any vantage can all be called terrain. Read more »

The Overflowing Bosom of Life

supersize.jpgA nation of gluttons. You bet. If this is freedom, what exactly are we freeing ourselves from? We hoard goods and services like over-bloated squirrels, terrified that we'll never eat, shit, or love again. I don't know why we can't show some self-control. Why do we need to have more of everything, bigger and better, faster and louder? Why do we need to be so overwhelmed with having it all? Why can't we live within our means, within our budgets, within our income bracket? Have credit cards and greed made us an over-consuming batch of baboons? Will we all die in debt to credit card institutions? Will we die leaving behind so much pop culture crap that we won/t have any place to store it? All the museums will have millions of copies of "collectible" items that will be worth nothing. But perhaps the digital revolution is the best place to counter this trend. Read more »

Where Have All The Heroes Gone?

shedraws.jpgJoseph Campbell, in The Power of Myth, discussed the notion that mankind invents his own gods and goddesses, mythology, to seek our bliss, our quest for transcendental spiritual satisfaction.

As a young boy growing up in Akron, Ohio I had my own gods and goddesses, my own Roman and Greek mythology, to inspire hero worship.

My cultural heroes were the super-powered comic book characters that Stan Lee and his renegade Marvel comic book artists unleashed in the ‘60s. Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, Captain America, The Hulk, et al. Read more »

Broken Old Dolls

doll.jpgLast year my band chamber folk-rock quartet GIANTfingers played one of the many gigs we've played at my favorite venue in New York City, the Rockwood Musichall, a serious listeners room nestled on the Lower East Side. When one finishes a gig at said venue, you either take your conversation outside or prepare to listen to the next band. This particular evening the band after us was the quartet Doll Hospital fronted by singer-songwriter Heather Eatman. As I watched them set up, I couldn' help but notice they had a manic-looking vibraphonist (Nick Mancini), a tall ponytailed upright bassist (Jim Whitney), an alarming subtle-looking drummer (Andrew Burns), and a striking woman sporting a vintage red chapeau and a vintage archtop Gibson (Ms. Eatman). When they dropped into their first song, I was riveted. Read more »

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