Happy Birthday to Les Paul

9 Jun

Happy Birthday to Les Paul!

In honor of this innovator, master guitarist, and ultimate sound chaser, here’s one of my favorite videos of Les Paul and Mary Ford. The musicianship coupled with 1950s playfulness is a juxtaposition so distinctive of this time period in television. From Ford’s modest declaration of “I’ll try” to follow her husband’s lead to the slapstick reaction of Paul to his broken string, it’s so endearing you almost forget they are doing some serious playing behind those TV shenanigans.

When Toni Morrison speaks, listen

18 May

“I have a place that is mine.

That’s my work.

When I write, that’s mine.

It is free.

Nobody tells me what to do, and I wouldn’t listen if they did.

It’s all mine.

It’s my world. I have invented it. These are my people.

This is my language.

And now I’ve come to believe that everyone needs one of those places. It could be gardening.

You know…it’s just a place where it’s you and what you do.”

- Toni Morrison speaking to Oprah on life lessons at 80

The Pursuit of Mot

28 Apr

Mot is a Korean term that descibes the beauty within a person as demonstrated through their actions or art. This, at least, is how I understand it.

Giovanni Boldini

Mot cannot exist in the artificial. But it can manifest itself in the material: a painting, a photograph, a sculpture.

Giovanni Boldini

It is a pursuit in Korean culture to attain mot in one’s art, music, dance, and life.

Mary Timony

It is a character trait, both external and internal: benevolence, kindness, sacrifice.


To have mot is to bend to the natural flow of life and harness that spirit while creating.
isadora duncan
Isadora Duncan

It is the natural rhythm of your life, your soul, your art, your music, and even your daily responsibilities.

I first learned of Mot through the 1998 Autumn edition of Koreana, a quarterly magazine on Korean art and culture, and I’ve tried to keep this concept in mind ever since. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But the pursuit of mot, in itself, is actual pretty beautiful.

Shannon Wright at The Earl

23 Mar

Shannon Wright opened for Wild Flag at The Earl on March 12. As usual, she delivered a raw, intense performance. She doesn’t say much in between songs, but her music speaks pretty loudly for her. I’m a fan.

Shannon’s latest record is called Secret Blood. Get it. It’s good.

What the hell is KATATAK?

1 Mar

Do you remember the days when you had nothing better to do than sit around with your best friends and goof off? Back when you’d ride your bike or drive your crappy car that was always overheating over to your best friend’s house? Maybe scrape together enough change to get some Taco Bell, then get delirious off of too much Mountain Dew combined with major boredom.

That was about the time that my friends and I would start making up songs, plays, or weird-ass art. I’m not kidding. As teenagers, my cousin Ryan and I wrote a song called Deadalina Hung Herself based on Richard Hung Himself by D.I. and inspired by an old baby doll head we destroyed with all kinds of household items. Sure we were kind of violent but always with a sense of humor. That humor was largely missed by our parents, though, who pretty much thought we were nuts.

But, what better way to deal with the troubles of youth than with punk rock art?

I remember those days well, but I don’t miss them. I don’t miss the good ol’ days because I’m still living them. Not the exact same circumstances, and not the same angry youth mentality but definitely the same people and definitely the same spirit. I’m still very close to my childhood friends and because of this, we continue to bring out the silly, uninhibited side of each other. The side that most people squelch as soon as they get married and hit the suburbs.

But not us. Oh no.

We don’t live in the same cities anymore, but we make a regular effort to get together either in my town, their towns, or our hometown. And when we do get together a handful of times a year, magic happens.

What started as a joke, a whim, a slightly inebriated idea to make a video of us recreating the rap from Teen Witch has evolved into KATATAK.

So, what the hell is KATATAK?

We’re not sure yet. But we can’t seem to stop writing songs, and making videos, and we definitely can’t stop buying cat-themed clothing. So, we’re going to continue, at least until we run out of wardrobe changes.

Here’s the latest KATATAK creation, Scratch U.

I cannot stop listening to Birds of Avalon

1 Feb

I looked up a few of the bands playing the Savannah Stopover Fest March 9-12, and I found a little gem of a band called Birds of Avalon. So, now I want to go to this festival because I’ve never been to Savannah and this band is pretty fantastic. The fact that they have a great female guitarist – who plays lead (can I get an amen?) is an added bonus. Cheetie Kumar rules.

The band is made up of husband and wife Cheetie Kumar and Paul Siler (guitar), David Mueller (bass) and Scott Nurkin (drums). From what I can tell Craig Tilley is no longer the band’s vocalist. The band’s facebook page seems to have the most up-to-date information including the tour dates listed below.

Birds of Avalon tour dates

2/26/2011, Raleigh, NC, Kings Barcade

3/12/2011, Savannah, GA, The Wormhole – Savannah Stopover Festival

3/14/2011, New Orleans, LA, Circle Bar

3/15/2011, Houston, TX, Continental Club

03/18/2011, Austin, TX, Emo’s JR – Leafy Green/Thrill Jockey Showcase

03/21/2011, Little Rock, AR, Revolution Music Room

3/22/2011, Knoxville, TN, Pilot Light

Listen to some more stuff here.