Liquid Sky, Digitized

Liquid Sky 9-22-18 at 10.52 AM

When I learned (thank you, Dale) that Liquid Sky is now streaming on a service I get, I immediately made time to watch it.

Released in 1982, some critics have said it was ahead of its time. I would put it about 5-years behind its time, having personally witnessed most of these themes, types, fashions, and behaviors in San Francisco in 1977. The aliens and disappearing bodies too? Yes! Well, no. I should not lie about being a witness to those, but I did meet people who said they had seen such things, while exploring secret caves deep inside Mt. Shasta, etc. Maybe it simply took more than five years to get the film made.

First time I saw it, during its theatrical run at Seattle’s Harvard Exit, I loved it and purchased the soundtrack LP at Tower Records on the Ave.

Second time I saw it, it was on VHS from Seattle’s Scarecrow Video. It looked and sounded so bad I wondered how I could have loved it the first time.

Now here it is streaming digitally, looking and sounding great, perhaps better than it did in its original theatrical presentation.

A few things to note:

The character Margaret always speaks the truth.

The film is full of vintage misogyny and vintage sexual violence mostly but not always perpetrated by vintage males (much too much like 2018, one could say).

It is true that people once smoked cigarettes, even in clubs. (A public health risk that so far the mob bosses have not threatened to revive.)

All the devices in the film are vintage now. Unlike 3-year-old Apple devices, none are completely obsolete. People now collect such devices. People do not need to use auto-tune to emote their joy when they get their hands on vintage Fairlight synths, and those analog rhythm machines and video effects devices.

At its heart, this is a film about how sex and drugs kill. Illegal opiates and amphetamines will never stop causing more damage than their legal equivalents prevent. The only sane solution is to de-stigmatize them and make it easier to keep the users safe and alive. Overdosing is wasteful and incarceration fails, regardless of what time periods you want to compare.

The moral of the story is: Stop counting on aliens to clean things up for us.




Gangly? Courtney Barnett is (as, say, St. Vincent is not). The way she plays guitar. The way she sings. The way she meanders, lop-sided, on stage (as in her performance at the 2018 Pitchfork Music Festival)

I picked up a Euro edition (with lyrics and lots of photos (and a tote bag!)) of her Tell Me How You Really Feel (released on Mt. St. Helens Day 2018). How could I resist an album whose opening song is Hopefulessness? How can I resist a guitarist who plays Fenders with no picks?

It took several years of hearing her work, mostly on KEXP, before I reached unmitigated fandom. Pundits tend to pick up on the grunge aspects of the shows with her band, but I hear more Liz Phair and Sleater-Kinney than Nirvana. I hear some traces of Tegan and Sara too (e.g., Need a Little Time).

She makes no effort to obscure her Australian enunciations while speaking or singing. She has no fear of the silence that goes with thinking things through. She’s a playful lyricist and an unpretentious musician, explaining away her riffs as self-taught and all sounding alike (which seems, respectively, irrelevant and untrue to me).

I am looking forward to seeing her at the Paramount in Seattle in October.

10 Years of YouTubing

November 27, 2006, I posted my first YouTube video, titled, We See Lights in the Sky <>, which was developed to go with a musical composition called Lola’s Emerald Necklace #2. Its huge video pixels cannot be entirely blamed on the state of video in 2006. At that time, uploading a >2 gigabyte file via consumer internet services was not always reliable, nor would YouTube have accepted such a large file from me. Plus, I liked the big pixels. They reminded me of live television from the ISS, which seemed apropos for this watery, foggy, jittery project. Now there are more than 50 videos in my channel, mostly documenting performances I witnessed. Continue reading

Never Too Soon for Trump Memorabilia

Driving from Seattle to the North Cascades last week, I saw few signs of the presidential elections, and most of them were in just one spot: a towering monument to Trumpism. There were a few other lone Trump and Hillary signs, and nearly as many Bernie signs still standing, but not as many as I expected for post-convention August.

On the return trip, while driving through rural Snohomish County, far ahead of me, I saw a beat-up grey Chevy pickup stop in the middle of my lane.

Continue reading