Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pavarotti can't sing worth a damn

Why is this guy so famous? He's the Tom Waits of Opera. If Tom Waits is weird music for normal people, Pavarotti is opera for Tom Waits. Caruso, Callas and Bjorlings cough up and wipe little, mucus-bleeding asymmetrical Pavarotti's onto stagehands in between set changes.

Why do people like him so much? He's Tom Waits, in that he's so popular. If Tom Waits is weird music for normal people, Pavarotti is opera for for those with Kenny G CDs. Your Carusos, Callases and Rosa Pensalles have shat out little asymmetrical turds that could sing opera better than Luciano. Or should I say, Loser-iano.

Why is this guy so famous? He's like Tom Waits--universally lauded in the mainstream, when the people doing the real stuff stay on the margins. Tom Waits is a marginal talent; people send him their CDRs of shit and he just copies what these weirdos do. Maybe that makes him a genius in the Andy Warhol vein. But compared to Luciano Pavarotti, he's a nobody. And that's what Tom Waits would like you to think; I'm Tom Waits and I'm just a nobody singing my weirdo faux-hobo boho oboe. Yes you can polish a turd, and that turd's name is "Nobody" Waits. But his name is also Luciano Pavarotti. Rotting sewage. But perhaps I'm being a little harsh. But in the glare of the mind-bleeding talents--your Carusos, your Callases, your Melchiors--it's just impossible to consider Pavarottie as anything but pure garbage. Shellac for the soul.

I bet Tom Waits listens to Pavarotti to learn how to sing. That I believe. But I don't know why anyone else would listen to either of them. I understand that they both have pipes. For a fake-weird man, Tom Waits gots pipes. And for a man who fills opera houses, maybe Pavarotti's got the greatest pipes of all. But they are both so awful--it seems to me that only true weirdos would listen to either of them. Not weird people, but people with weird souls. Pavarotti and Tom Waits are music for normal people with weird souls. And your real talents, your Carusos, your Callases, your Beniamino Giglis, your Giovanni Martinellis, your what have you's, that's for people with normal souls. Not normal souls, but...well for the real people. You know, what Keats talked about when he talked about the only real things being clouds and lines of Shakespeare. The real things are the things that deranged weirdos (asymmetrical beings with symmetrical souls) who send things to Tom Waits (who turns the asymmetrical artifacts symmetrical); and then Tom Waits re-interprets the things he hears on the CDRs that weirdos have sent him the same way Pat Boone reinterpreted Little Richard, or Keith Richards reinterpreted the blues. But I believe Keith Richard and Pat Boone. I think they believe in what they do. They can't help it. They have symmetrical souls. I don't believe in the idea of the soul. But I believe they have pure, symmetrical souls. Tom Waits is an actor--and a very, very good one--that's his soul's symmetry--he's an actor; Pavarotti too--he's a fantastic actor. Neither men are musicians, they are actors. So they are winning actors. Losing singers.

The question remains--why are they so beloved? Unquestionably loved. Showered in the respective currencies of their respective homelands. The love for them is a veritable typhoon of overpowering esteem that I find baffling, asymmetrical. For one, Pavarotti can't sing worth a damn. I don't make this statement lightly; I realize how esteemed he is. And second, I find Tom Waits uninteresting, symmetrical. What am I missing? I listen to a lot of music, but I'm no encyclopedia. And what is taste? My own taste differs from those others whom taste I admire--how can I account for this, and even value my own taste in music? I used to like Tom Waits. I used to think Pavarotti was an amazing singer. But I (think I) know a lot more about so-called 'weird' music and opera. I can posit idea of 'taste' and the notion that certain types of music 'speak' to my so-called 'soul,' and certain types don't. Kenny G and Pat Boone are objectively awful--yet they are professionals. They make handsome livings from the things they do and the things they do are music-related. Their music fulfills some sort of function in society. In Italy they have music piping in the restaurants and cafes (or what passes for cafes--coffee joints or stops, I would call them) and they have awful pop music infecting the air and the same is in the country I reside in now: by and large there is nothing but really the most awful music peeing into our ear canals constantly. People celebrate this urine-for-music by singing it in karaoke-style booths. If you throw alcohol into the mix, I can see the appeal (and have experienced it first hand. I like to sing Lou Reed's Perfect Day.) It's just silly fun. But the music is awful. Lou Reed can't sing, but nobody can't sing like him. It's all about soul. No. It's all about being true. And not having a weird soul. Having a weird soul is not the same as being weird. I don't think Tom Waits has a weird soul. I think everybody has a soul that is a little weird; this is the wonder, the splendor of human diversity of opinion, appearance, phenotype and genotype. And those with truly weird souls (people who try to be weird but are normal, or people who try to be normal, but are weird) are not weird. But the true weirdos, those who radiate weird from the core can't but help being weird, the weirdos who send their homemade sound collages and freak songs that they make to scream away the boredom and what have you to Tom Waits. This is the reality; these loser weirdos are the reality. When Pavarotti screams away he is screaming away nothingness. He is acting as if he is screaming away from some center that has no core--he's hollow, that's why he's so resonant! But the real tenors sing as if they have swallowed something and it can never be dislodged, but nonetheless they sing because it feels better when they are singing because the thing that is lodged within them--this asymmetry--gets shaken around and doesn't cause them so much pain in the meantime. Of course, they have to stop otherwise their lungs would explode. And it's a release. The mind rewards the body for cathartic release, with endorphins, or what have you. The singers get trained, and the climate they are trained in and brought up in no doubt have something to do with it all--be them weirdos or straights. Regardless, your Carusos, your Callases, your Montserrat Caball├ęs--they aren't singing from nothingness, they are singing something at the nothingness. The somebodies who have something are singing to the nobodies whom have nothing so we can have it too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Look closely at the left side of the picture. Where else would you see a picture of Tony Danza standing next to Werner Herzog than at Roger Ebert's blog?

Grab Bag

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sara is in Mongolia

She is blogging about it here.

Here's a link to pictures from the first time.

Crappy essay I wrote for a textbook at Yonsei

So crappy, I kind of like it. See if you can guess the topic. Use it for your classes:

Imagine immaculate, blue sky from horizon to horizon. Gleaming sky scrapers, smiling kids with boxes of caramel corn, stadiums, firey Tex-Mex, the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. And you’ll have plenty of room to move and mull and take it all in. What I’m describing is the modern, rustic, and cultural melting pot that is the New America. Welcome to Denver, the perfect home for the next World’s Fair.

A World’s Fair needs adequate infrastructure; in this area Denver delivers the goods. It has a huge convention center and a dizzying array of accommodations from the budget to luxurious. It has several state-of-the-art stadiums and a light-rail network that is the envy of the west. The clincher? The area known as Stapledon: This was the area of the former airport and is ripe for development; The hallowed name of Stapledon should live on through a New World’s Fair.

Denver is festooned with a populace of tremendous diversity. Denver has long been the home of an industrious Latino population that is redefining the New America. Enclaves of other ethnic populations such as Korean, Vietnamese and Russian also give the town an uncommon flavor. Denver embraces the new as it does the old: The old west pioneering spirit still remains. Visit the numerous museums dedicated to the old gold rushes. Denver or bust!

Perhaps the most compelling reason for holding a world’s fair in Denver is its astounding environs. The Rocky Mountains have been holding visitors in awe since the dawn of Native populations; new visitors to the world’s fair can find themselves enthralled in the majesty and beauty of this vast and dramatic mountain range. If hills aren’t your thing, the metropolitan area explodes out into the austere plains of the east. It should be said that though the Denver weather gods can be a tad fickle, the weather is generally quite good. It gets hot in the summer, but not overly so—with not too much rain. In winter, if there’s a snowstorm, chances are the sun will come out to melt it within a day or two.

I invite your committee to come to Denver and really experience the pleasures of this former pioneer town. Come taste the sundry delights of our ethnic cuisines; experience for yourself how livable and convenient the city is to visitors; and, finally, bear witness to the splendor of its dramatic terrain. One shouldn’t ask if Denver is ready for the world, rather is the world ready for Denver!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Import test number 2

Import test

A real werewolf

This bit of audio is quite amazing.

Coyle & Sharpe from

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Future Rappers and Plans for this blog

I don't have any specific plans. However, I think that I won't be posting much on it for awhile. This is for a variety of reasons. One reason is facebook. I've just been posting links on facebook. It's easier, and I get instant reactions. Another reason is that blogger doesn't work as well on my mac. I tried posting the other night and it was just frustrating. I have become sucked into this mode of instant gratification. So, if you want to keep up with my doings, you should add me as a friend on facebook. Start a profile on facebook if you don't have one. Everyone is on it now.

Speaking of instant gratification, Volume 2 of the Ero Gray produced Land of a Thousand Rappers has been released. "DADDY WARBUCK$" (Notice the dollar sign.) And best of all, it's totally free. (And totally strange...much more bizarre than the first one.) I haven't formed an opinion about this project yet, but I think this sort of bizarro freeform strangeness is good for hip hop. Also, the production is really interesting, it's definitely worth a listen. Here's the link. Or here's the direct link to

the download
. (instant gratification.) Psychedelic beats, and vocals like a psychedelic guitar solo.

Speaking of which, you NEED to buy Castanets City of Refuge, and it's companion volume Dub Refuge. I HIGHLY recommend them both. Castanets could be possibly categorized as "Freak Folk" or "Weird Folk." It's not really that weird though; it's just very space-shot and emanating with the desolation of the plains. City of Refuge is available on CD, but Dub Refuge is only available on vinyl and itunes. I just downloaded them a few days ago and I was mighty impressed. Now I'm going to copy and paste all of this onto a facebook post.