Evelyn McDonnell, Lauren Onkey, and Shelby Morrison. Photo courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives
Sam Cooke used to carry a small wooden ukulele with him on tour. As countless YouTube troubadours and Amanda Palmer have recently discovered, the four-stringed downsized guitars are sweet-sounding instruments that are easy to play and even easier to transport. I love the idea of the soul singer crooning “You Send Me” gently over plucked nylon strings, on a bus, in a hotel room, backstage before a show.
Sam Cooke’s ukulele
It’s an intimate image, an imagined moment of a deceased artist’s life that became partially real for me last weekend when I saw Cooke’s uke in the vault at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. It was one of many pieces of cultural history I got to witness, even touch, as exhibitions coordinator Shelby Morrison gave me a VIP tour of the climate-controlled room: Chrissie Hynde’s bicycle-club (not biker club) jacket, postcards from Patti Smith, the hat from Lady Gaga’s meat dress. On January 25, I spoke about the Runaways at the Hall of Fame’s Library and Archives (which is housed in a separate building from the museum). Yes, the boys club let the stone thrower in – more on that later. Continue reading
Amanda Fucking Palmer just made herself a million plus bucks for her new album. Who needs a record company? My full Los Angeles Times story here:
via Pop & Hiss – Pop music, Indie music, Grammys, Oscars, Music Awards, Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, best original song, best original score, film music, composers, Recording Academy – latimes.com.
During the last depression, they called them Hoovervilles. In this American autumn, we call them occupations. Amanda Palmer presciently released this photo tour of Occupy spaces yesterday afternoon, before New York’s mayor evicted Wall Street’s pioneers. She sings an old song about a previous generation of patriots, the Diggers. I still prefer Billy Bragg’s version, but AFP’s is well timed.
Amanda Palmer performs “The World Turned Upside Down” – YouTube.
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer kick-start their tour – latimes.com.
The paper made a mistake; the tour is not sold out. I’m trying to get out of trick or treating myself to see the Coraline author and Dresden Doll at the Wilshire Ebell.
Fifty-three years ago today Joan Jett was born into a June Cleaver world. Muscle-flexing ‘40s role model Rosie the Riveter had been sent back home from the factory, and new icons of femininity, like Doris Day, twirled in poodle skirts or, like Marilyn Monroe, shimmied in bathing suits.
Thankfully for Joan, by the time puberty began agitating her bones, sending her exploring the world, there were new idols to aspire to. Joan has told me in interviews that her first two inspirations were Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, and Suzi Quatro (it’s a point also made in Bad Reputation, the just-released, drippily written, but still interesting unauthorized biography of Jett). Both sheroes defied the hyper femininity of the Eisenhower Era, toying with tomboy masculinity — and exuding a sexy toughness to those of us who like our women on top. Quatro sang the Beatles’ “I Wanna Be Your Man” exuberantly, no postmodern need for irony. Liza was mesmerizing, transcendent. Eventually Joan would adopt Liza’s black tomboy cut and Suzi’s leather jacket — and become an adrogynous style icon of her own. Continue reading
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are the power couple of gothic coolness. I just interviewed them, and it was fascinating to discuss new media and creativity with these early adapters and independent thinkers. Plus Wisconsin Death Trip and love/work balances. LA Times article to come, prior to their Oct. 31 show in LA. Now how do I convince my son he should come see Neil and Amanda on Halloween instead of go trick or treating?