ELEVEN WEIRD RECORD COVERS AND KNICK-KNACKS FROM THE VALUE VILLAGE IN ISSAQUAH, WA.!

It's an exciting day for me when a new thrift store opens in my general vicinity, for it means even more opportunities to find oddities to share with you! It was also exciting to see a tall, grey-haired gentleman playing with a broken white porcelain unicorn music box, giggling at its sad sounds. Anyway, here's 11 more fun things I found, so please to enjoy!

The Lady and The Tiger was a proposed Disney movie, but was scrapped when the treatment mentioned that the Tiger consumed his bride directly after their wedding, and the entire rest of the film featured him making jokes about his wife's flatulence-inducing gastrointestinal journey.



























POPTHOMOLOGY IS SEVEN YEARS OLD...SOMEBODY, CALL CNN! OR WATCH KIDDIE A-GO-GO FROM 1969!

February 28th provides me with the opportunity to to express how seriously happy and amazed and grateful I am that YOU, YES, YOU are reading this. Back on February 28, 2008, I started this blog with no plan other than to have a place to put some ideas and creative work that had been backlogged for many years. Whaddya know, up through the ground came a bubblin' crude, and we are both still here! That is something that pleases me so much, because if I have the opportunity to deliver to you something that makes you smile or laugh or think or cry or dance or get inspired, there's really nothing better. Well, OK OK OK, if I shut this mofo down and went into a lab and cured cancer, THAT would be better. But since I never took chemistry in school I guess you will have to settle for this. Thank you so much for spending part of your day with me, sharing posts with your friends, and sometimes even letting me know that you specially liked some. After seven years, it is still quite a thrill.

My little gift to you today is an episode of Chicago's "Kiddie A-Go-Go" children's dance program from 1969, in three parts. In 1969, I turned seven years old, so would have been around the same age as many of the kids you see in the video. Holy crap, that flips my wig. If I had lived a little closer to Chicago at that time, I would've BEGGED to have been on "Kiddie A-Go-Go." I guess I'll have to figure out how to produce "Golden Years A-Go-Go" now, so WATCH THIS SPACE!



























I MADE YOU SOME GET WELL CARDS (2015)


365-WORD MICROFICTION: "JUDY"

After ten years of thinking it each time I saw her face, finally, I said it to her. We didn’t really have the kind of relationship that was of this depth, but I said it anyway.

“Judy, I always have the feeling somehow that the world is breaking your heart.”

Her face dropped slightly in surprise, and she took her gaze away from mine to stare at something, or nothing.  An orange-y ray from the afternoon sun pierced through her wine glass, making a pretty light pattern on the table. A minute or two passed.

“Do you know that song, the old jazz one that goes, ‘Is that all there is?’” she quietly asked me, or somebody, or nobody.

“Yes,” I nodded, even though she still wasn’t looking at me. Another pause.

“Nothing is like how I thought it would be. Nothing is right. My life is going by and it will have meant nothing at all. I try to be grateful, and I am, I really am, but I feel like a failure.” Judy turned towards me, her face flat with exhaustion, eyes bright.

I watched a water droplet slide down my glass, and I traced its path with my finger. I sighed. I didn’t at all know what to say, until I knew exactly what to say, and it came tumbling out.

“In-between all the dreams and hopes and wishes and expectations that are put on us or that we make for ourselves…the gap between that and reality, is what being human is. It’s where all of us are all the time! All of us! That open field where possibility still exists, where we don’t know, good or bad, what our lives are going to be or what they will mean, because we can’t know. We balance the dreams and the boundaries, and this makes up our lives. It’s excruciating…and absolutely, crushingly beautiful. That struggle is what we are. It’s OK. It’s OK.”


She stared at me, and tears began to stream down her face. I began to loudly sing “Judy’s Turn To Cry,” and she laughed and I laughed until we were out of breath, not caring who, if anyone, saw us.


I MADE YOU TEN VALENTINE'S DAY CARDS (2015)


TEN PRESCRIPTION DRUGS I THINK SHOULD EXIST

MEDS.

AMIRITE?

ERR BUDDY ON DA MEDS.

Young, old, healthy, infirm, yes...it seems just about everyone in America is regularly taking some kind of medication, to the infinite delight of Big Pharma. Now don't get me wrong -- most meds are a magnificent benefit to living in Our Moderne Tymes. They can prevent Small Illness from becoming Big Illness, and Big Illness from becoming Actual Final Death. Hooray for Science! But are we an overmedicated society, too fast to pop pills for the slightest reason? Probably. Yet there are some conditions that remain unaddressed by the pharmaceutical industry, and so I have helpfully gone ahead here with my suggestions which should jumpstart their creation. Please to enjoy!


VIDEO: "SPEED METAL DOG"

Sometimes there is a video. Sometimes there is a song. Sometimes, the video and the song need to meet. Please to enjoy Speed Metal Dog!



Speed Metal Dog from Marianne Sp on Vimeo.


I MADE YOU A CHILDREN'S BOOK NOT FOR CHILDREN: "IS TED PARANOID?" (NSFW)


"ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!" -- PHOTOS & MORE FROM THE LAST BIG HURRAH AT CHOP SUEY, SEATTLE, WA. 1/18/15

It was coming, and we knew it was coming for months, but that didn't really make it any easier. The buyout, closing, and rebranding of one of the few remaining small clubs for Seattle's "musical misfit" community, Capitol Hill's Chop Suey, is a personal punch to the gut. Booker Jodi Ecklund worked her ass off to not only bring in awesome national and international bands to Chop's stage, but was and is a true champion of local music, multi-cultural awareness, and charity. All the punks, funks, queers, geeks, freaks, thrashers, bashers, moshers, paraders, and even geriatric suburban moms like me were welcomed with open arms, never judged, and always entertained. The shaggy old Chinese dragon hanging from the ceiling greeted you upon arrival, and didn't say anything if you left after a show covered in beer and sweat, smiling from ear to ear.

So be it. Change is here, and we will figure out a new home one way or another. But it was important to have one last big show honoring Jodi and all the good times we had together. "Another One Bites The Dust!" quickly sold out with a stellar and super-fun local lineup: Blood Drugs, Childbirth, Sashay, Chastity Belt, Deep Creep, Kithkin, Universe People, wimps, Pony Time, and Tacocat, with DJ Dave Hernandez keeping it all grooving between sets. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go -- a major illness has kept me on the low n' slow side for the last month, and has also affected my eyesight to where I can't drive nor take photographs (my peepers should be back to normal within a month, whew) -- but DAMMIT, I HAD TO BE THERE so got there for the last few hours of the event. Talk about a lovefest! Just about everyone I know in town was there, hugging, laughing, talking, dancing, moshing, and remembering. A few tears here and there, but the vibe was still so positive, and nearly every person left that night for the last time covered in beer and sweat, smiling from ear to ear.

My dear pal and fellow Wisconsinite Jerkaminski offered to photograph the show for me for most of the earlier hours, which was SO NICE and then got even nicer when I got there and she brought me SNACKS! I tell you, I'm one lucky punk. Bring it on, Clint Eastwood, bring it on. Please to enjoy her images right now!



YOU CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC: PHOTOS & A FOND FAREWELL TO SEATTLE'S CHOP SUEY

Do you know what the buyout of Capitol Hill's beloved music dive Chop Suey means to me and a whole lot of funky punky sorts? It may be hard to understand that in the context of some of the realities of the ol' joint, dark and dim with a weird layout and bathrooms that never smelled so great, hosting a lot of crazy-ass weirdos, bands and patrons alike. But if you are part of the Chop Suey community, you know -- another one of our dwindling musical "homes" is likely to be making some major changes. I'm not averse to change, mind you, but like in so many cities across the nation now, small alternative venues like Chop Suey are closing, replaced by luxury condos, big box stores, frou-frou gastropubs, or mindless EDM venues. Artists and musicians are struggling to live and work on negligible pay while seeing the character of their neighborhoods corporatized and diluted. I know this pattern is not new, I know all the creatives will eventually find and form new and supportive communities and/or rally to keep the scraps that remain, but it's at times quite disheartening.

This Sunday, January 18th, fierce and fabulous booker Jodi Ecklund has put together one last bash to celebrate all the glorious times we've had at Chop Suey, "Another One Bites The Dust!" The show, which begins at 4PM with (very awesome) DJ Dave Hernandez, will feature the coolest, and MOST DAMN FUN local bands we have: Tacocat, Kithkin, wimps, Pony Time, Chastity Belt, Universe People, Deep Creep, Childbirth, Sashay, and Blood Drugs. If you have not purchased your tickets yet, STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW and GO HERE -- best ten bucks you'll ever spend, Seattle.



SIXTEEN MORE WEIRD RECORD COVERS FROM VALUE VILLAGE AND GOODWILL THRIFT STORES TO START OUT 2015!

Have you ever thought, "Gee, I wish I could have had a musical career -- that would have been super cool!" and kicked yourself for never following through with it? Here's something to cheer you up: you very well could have spent years of your life crafting your songs and image, secured a record contract, recorded what you felt was your life's master work, and then your album could have been discovered by me years later, discarded, dirty, and unloved, in a thrift store. Count your blessings, my friends. Please to enjoy this latest batch of weirdoes!

Well. Hmm. I...I...um...I am confused. Like, in every way possible. I have no answers, so just look.


PEOPLE TAKE PICTURES OF EACH OTHER: MY FAVORITE CONCERT PHOTOS THAT I TOOK IN 2014!

Do you know WHAT?

Taking live music photographs is REALLY FUN. Even when it's miserably hot, you have beer thrown all over you and your camera gear, get elbowed in the kidney, or have to face strobe lights that feel like a nuclear blast, grabbing images of fast-moving, ever-changing stage situations while grooving to great music is a professional and personal delight. I hope to continue doing it for a long time, and I hope you like that hope of mine.

For a variety of reasons, I did not shoot a large number of concerts this year (less than 40 different musical acts), but I genuinely enjoyed each and every one. From Seattle's pretty Volunteer Park to the big ol' Bumbershoot Festival, from my favorite funky glam club in Miami to my favorite funky punk club a few miles from my house, from brand-new bands to those that have more than 50 years in the biz, I had plenty of opportunities to ROCK OUT, always trying to bring you cool photographs and improve my skills each time I take another crack at capturing magic. My selections here only had only one factor: do I love it? Not "like," not "OK," not "is-this-a-big-band," not "these-are-my-pals" -- just "is this beautiful?" So, please to enjoy, and I will work very hard to get up and running for more in 2015! Thank you for looking at my work, which is also my joy.

FEBRUARY 2014

Tacocat, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA. 2/17/14

2S0A5729

COPPING THE ELECTRIC FEEL: AN AGING HIPSTER'S TAKE ON BASSNECTAR

This is Marianne's pal Dena, commandeering this space one more time to bend your ear about beats and bleeps and bloops because that's what I'm digging these days. I am delighted to inform you that Marianne is recuperating nicely from her recent health travails and will soon be filling this space with more bizarre thrift-shop finds and concert recaps. In the meantime, doesn't Bassnectar have pretty hair?
Image via WhiteRaverRafting
Reading my better half’s ruminations on hipness the other day, it struck me again how we both have always had our antennae out for that next jolt of musical inspiration or transcendence. Sometimes we have shared our thrills in dark, sweaty clubs and concert halls and sometimes we have found them separately, but the common thread is that we are both always searching for music that tickles our neurons in ways they haven’t been tickled before. I shall always remember 2014 as the year I fell out of love with Rufus Wainwright and heeded a magnetic pull to electronica, which is how I found myself at a Bassnectar show in Las Vegas on November 5, grooving to phat beatz with a bunch of kids who were young enough to be my offspring.

I’m not sure how it happened, but these days I find I spend a lot less time contemplating jangly guitar music on my headphones and a lot more time blasting Robyn and The Knife on my Road Rocker in the basement while I play with my hoops or fold laundry. I’m still a newcomer to the genre and I mostly know just a handful of songs that I’m obsessed with, but I need energy and melody and beat, or I am just not satisfied. I was torn when I saw Bassnectar was playing at Brooklyn Bowl on my last night in Las Vegas before I flew back to Chicago. For one thing, I was boarding my bus to the airport at 6:15 the next morning.  But goddamnit, for once I had the cash resources to see almost any show I wanted and what I wanted was a nonstandard Las Vegas experience. I wanted to see a show that was not the same every night, so I bought my ticket and set my controls for the heart of the Brooklyn Bowl.

I saw the doors opened quite early, so I thought I would saunter in late, sidle up to the bar for a drink, and blend into the crowd. Instead, the line snaked out the door and onto the Linq Plaza when I got there. Shortly thereafter, they moved the line forward and we all stood on the stairs for about an hour for reasons that remain unknown to me. Between that and the fact that they frisked me twice and confiscated my brand-new Lip Balm before I was finally admitted to the venue, I could have gotten really cranky. As it was my feet ached and my lips were getting paler and dryer by the moment, but I could not help reflecting that this was the nicest and most polite bunch of people with whom I had ever been trapped on a staircase. They all seemed so happy I was there with them and I was Dena and we were all seeing Bassnectar together that I tapped into the welcoming vibe and felt my anticipation building. Then Mr. Bassnectar started his set and my hair stood on end from the bass, and I knew I was in the right place.

I’m not here to write a detailed review of this show. That would be no fun for me and I do not have enough knowledge of Bassnectar’s music to do it justice. The only song I heard all night that I knew was his remix of “Hello” by Martin Solveig and Dragonette, a song I first heard when it popped up on Spotify and which I have played as compulsively as just about any other song I heard this year. By this point, I wasn’t sure if my hair was standing on end because the bass was so loud or because I was having a mystical experience. The kinetic visuals enhanced this sensation, from Lorin Ashton’s evident enjoyment as he bounced back and forth between two laptops and tossed his long, flowing hair with abandon to the wonderfully trippy video projections that covered not only the screen behind Bassnectar, but also the front of the DJ booth itself. And then there was the delightful candi-festooned crowd, full of exuberant movement and joy, splashing beer on me right and left and then apologizing sincerely every time. I felt pretty bad that I had to leave early to go back to my hotel and pack, but I knew I would do it again the next chance I got.

I’m an old fart on the far side of my fifties, but I’m not dead yet. Once upon a time I was the youngest person in the room when the Dolls played their last shows at Max’s Kansas City (with Blondie as opener and Wayne County in the DJ booth, no less), and now I’m one of a small handful of obvious geezers at the Bassnectar show, almost forty years later. This flip in perspective seems completely appropriate when I think about it. My neurons fire harder and I feel more alive and energized when I place myself in these highly charged situations. I don’t know if always keeping one eye open for new aesthetic kicks and settling only for music that makes my hair stand on end ever qualified me as a hipster, but I fully intend to keep sticking my finger in sockets until I finally short myself out.





GUEST POST: MY HIP(NESS) HURTS

Sometimes our goddamn earthly vessels decide to communicate that something is wrong by staging a massive shutdown that forces us to kick back and recalibrate, and so it is that Marianne has found herself bedridden for the nonce. I have no doubt she will be back in her batcave banging out blog posts before we know it, but in the meantime, please aim all your most potent healing gamma rays in your direction.  This is Marianne’s pal Dena, stepping in for just a few days to make sure all of ye faithful Popthomologists do not lack for new quality content to ponder. Since my own head is currently running on empty due to post-holiday work overwhelm, my lovely and talented spouse Bill Tarlin has stepped up to the plate with a few timely observations regarding life as an aging hipster. Cool, daddio. I would be amiss if I did not inform you that Mr. Tarlin is a legit writer of poetry of whom we are very proud. Check out his stuff here. Now, Quick! To the Batmobile!

Image via Funnyjunk
The other day at work someone mentioned a local punk band that had gotten back together. I said, “Oh yeah, I saw them. They were on first that time Husker Du opened for the Dead Kennedys.” Suddenly all eyes were on me like I had witnessed the signing of the Magna Carta. Or as one flanneled hipster put it, “Dude, I wasn’t even born then.” 

On this side of 50 there are too many opportunities to say “Well back in my day…” and it’s probably only going to get worse. The funny thing is, it isn’t like saying I lived through the Great Depression and suffered the privations of 3 front-page wars. It’s more like, “Yeah, you got that Einst├╝rzende Neubauten tattoo 10 years ago but when I saw them play at EXIT, you were still in diapers.” 

When I was their age I didn’t want to relive another generation’s greatest hits. In my day sonny, I wanted the absolute fringes of novelty. It seemed to be a decades long wave of Now and I don’t know where the grey snuck in. And I suppose I was on the front lines of protests against the first Gulf War, though no one wants to hear about that. Its popthamology that is persistent. I saw REM when Michael Stipe had long hair. Really. 

I slipped off the pop wave years ago to explore alleys of ethnographic and avant-garde purity. You have to blaze your own trail. Oh, and Jazz. Every fart used-to-be hipster has their jazz. So I don’t have a clue whats on the radio now. (Is there still radio? Marianne will know.) But it’s satisfying to know that twenty-somethings take an interest in the soundtrack of my twenty-sometimes. Meanwhile David Bowie belongs in a museum now. Literally!!! We have tickets to see the exhibit next week.

That’s no coincidence. Lately I’ve wandered back out of the alleys and am revisiting the greatest hits of my prime. Much of my demographic is surely doing the same. Look for more and more relics of late-stage baby boomage to flood the high and low markets. Look for stadium acts to be franchised like Australian Pink Floyd. Weird mash-ups of Andrew Lloyd Weber and the Sex Pistols? Already happened.

One thing that is worrying about being an aging culture consumer is that we can keep winding the clock backwards until we are insufferable. Along with the music of my college days, I’m revisiting the comic books of my teens, the tv shows of my tweens (we didn’t have that word in the 70s) and so on back to infancy. Is that what getting old will be like? When I’m seventy will I be pulling the binky out of some grandkid’s maw and letting them know I teethed on rawhide? I hope so. Frighten the little ones so they’ll make a better world.

But as I was saying. Um. (I get the forgets sometime). Everything is being served back to us. It can be beautiful. A new mom we know posted after xmas about watching Adam West’s Batman for the first time. That show is now guaranteed another couple of generations of pop brilliance. We are in a golden moment where we have access to almost everything. (Except justice and peace?) The door may slam shut when the Barons figure out a better turn-style and raise the rent on our past. But until then I am privileged that I can google proof that my generation was cooler than yours. I was there when it stank of tobacco and originality. That gum you like is back in style. And the toys I desperately wanted when I was 5 years old had better commercials than any shite on the shelfs now.

PEOPLE LIKE LISTS: MY FAVORITE 15 ALBUMS* OF 2014!

In the midst of the general chaos that is my every December, it is a genuine pleasure to revisit the year in new music and spend a few hours going through all the wonderful album releases I have enjoyed in 2014, in part because this task also involves some spirited chair dancing and tasty eggnog. My selection parameters are these: the albums must be new music released in 2014 (but, hey, don't miss out on The Kinks 5-CD set  The Anthology 1964-1971), and that they must have contained songs that left a lasting impression and kept me singing, dancing, rocking, and thinking all year. I kept coming back to these albums for moremoremore, and invite you to discover them for yourselves if you have not already! Let's go!