Saturday, September 23, 2006

ALL THINGS GO

Well...
One Mark Miller (my new cool friend I all too often only see in the hallway at zee high school) blessed my butt by bequeathing upon me his extree Sufjan at the Ryman (9/11) ticket. And on the self-same day, the ever-wonderful Anne Coble performed a similar kindness on Sarah.
So we were there, many people apart, but both getting chills over the beauty of the whole thing. Sufjan riding the wave of a cool new way of being in the world (listen to "Chicago" over and over again and feel the buzz, procure Seven Swans and just try to not want the other albums).
My ego, as I understand it, is telling me to not get caught on the Sufjan bandwagon lest I look like a lemming ("Mustn't look like a lemming...Mustn't get seen getting mimetic"). But if I'm to be saved, as I understand being saved, I gotta leggo my ego....So...
Just plain marvelous and inspiring. Everything about it. The kind of nerd-cool (the audience, the band, Suf, all of it) that feels like it can't be co-opted...like you'll never see Sufjan in a photo looking serious with sunglasses...or if you do, you'll know that he knows it's wonderfully ridiculous. Incapable of much in the way of pose. The music was the thing. Everyone entering into it. Unself-conscious spectacle. Or open-handedly aware of its own self-consciousness, Dostoevskyan nervous giggle spectacle. Prince Myshkin...Alyosha Karamazov....Good for everyone present...
I witnessed many a former student (some of whom had proven--or at least seemed-- impenetrably resistant when I'd tried to foist flannery o'connor and all manner of strangeness upon them over the last 10 years) and here they were grooving hard and being undeniably engaged by sufjan's sounds and overall way of witness. It was getting through. Something felt undeniable about it all. What the Ryman's for...Cultivating a culture...Something's happening here and I don't what it is...
Here ends my spew.

Glad to be talking,
jdd

p.s. "America's Young Theologian" (to your right amid the linkage) might make you smile appreciatively.

9 comments:

Dan Morehead said...

Thanks for the linkage...and somewhere down the line we'll have sit and unwind the twine, see how tall the the sycamores climb (or in layman's speak: meet up).

Mike said...

glad you jumped on the band wagon. a friend of mine (who also introduced me to your book and sara's music) gave me a CD of swans.

i am glad you see a link between stevens and oconnor. grace and mercy amidst the ugly and dark.

i remember sitting with that friend listening to the song about gacey over and over and thinking "man that is F***** up and beautiful."

Brook said...

first there was Beck. that was bad enough. I've finally come around and made my peace with Beck and his music (thanks mostly to Sea Change). but now Sufjan?!? it's too much! He makes me want to poke my eyes out when he's soft-picking that banjo and whisper-singing for 15 minutes straight. That Gacey song IS really good, I'll admit. and there are moments. but mostly (like 90% mostly) he makes me want to run screaming... right up onto the stage to bash that banjo over his head.

jdaviddark said...

oh brook,
while i viewed it as my solemn, evangelical duty ti try and persuade you toward the block-rocking broadcasts of beck, your dismissal of the sufman feels somehow very in keeping with what i most value in you. your consistent contempt for the state of your sojourn and the sense in which you already occupy the disposition toward which sufjan's music (to my mind successfully) strains...i should've known...very early INXS comes to mind..."don't change for you...don't change a thing...for me"
thanks as ever for your countertestimony...honored to find you here...
what's the latest music you HAVE enjoyed (i know it isn't danielson)?
jdd

Brook said...

:lol:
no, it's not Danielson! (nor is it half-handed cloud...)
well let's see... last night I went to Built To Spill (didn't know much about them going in and came out a fan); Broken Social Scene's "You Forgot It In People" has probably done the most for me musically in the past couple years, as has Sigur Ros (and their lesser-known kin Do Make Say Think); I wish I could steer everyone who's into Suf and Danielson in the direction of Eels (or Flaming Lips for that matter), who seem to have an incredible amount of substance and direction (purpose)while still retaining that humorous craziness that everyone so loves in the afformentioned dislikes of mine...
I'll be 2nd row for Bob Dylan in about a month, and I can say I'll be enjoying that a whole lotta; Hem can sometimes bring me to my knees with their beauty in a way that's similar to OtR; Belle and Sebastian always has a place in my selection; The Notwist is a group I overheard at Xhedos one day that made me feel something akin to what I felt the first time I heard Broken Social Scene playing overhead - good indie catchyness; and the "music" of Bukowski is something new to me this year that I've really been enjoying despite (or possibly because of) it's gutterness (Tom Waits and Bono both pushed me in his direction after seeing "Born Into This" - great flick, highly recommended).

I think this is what's known as a hijack, so I'll not take up any more of YourSpace. Come up to Michigan sometime. Autumn is great around here...

jdaviddark said...

i can't imagine imagining any post of thine as a hijack. isn't that what these bloggy-wogs is for?
todd greene also recommends the eels' latest...._born into this_ is indeed wonderful and i feel like it sort of set me free in my understanding of all kinds of things. SO good.
is Xhedos in ferndale? do you know if sarah ever played there?
broken social scene...OK OK.
bob dylan...the world coheres (or doesn't cohere) that much more...
word up is the code word.
thankee,
jdd

Brook said...

Xhedos is indeed in Ferndale, and Sarah has indeed played there, and it was a great show (even though I was late coming from work and only caught the last half). she was talking about her new CD Notebook at the time, and I'm glad I didn't hold my breath, even though I still am sort of (please ask her to please release something soon so I can return to normal breathing soon).

I think a hijack is where you go off on a tangent that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. (in this case, sufjan). but I like hijacks anyway, they're good. glad you feel the same.

I'll p.s. my comments to sort of keep it on topic, just to clarify about beck... Sea Change got me into beck, but you're evangelicalizing on his behalf was the only reason I was even looking in his direction anymore. you kept my eyes and ears open (as your writing often does) in a direction it would otherwise have been closed off to. so thankEE for that!

even more on topic: My first experience with Sufjan was a horrible one - We had driven the 3 hours out to Grand Rapids to see Over the Rhine, which actually took 4 hours in rush hour, and we were a bit frazzled, and we stepped into the darkened theater, which was packed, and Sufji was the opener, and we were waiting for him to finish the song so we could try to find our seats without bothering others in the silent moment, and he never did finish the song (or so it seemed). he was doing that whisper-oversensetivity-guy singing thing while picking the banjo ever so lightly, and it literally went on for 15 minutes, and it was just too much. a limp-fish handshake was what I compared his performance to at the time...

bad first impressions aside, I gave him another chance (at Calvin oddly enough again) about a year or so later, and even in a much better mood and state of relaxation in an actual seat, it was the same thing. just couldn't take the ultra-soft touch of his performance.

I listened to 2 of his CDs and they start out sounding like I might like them (I can see why he's big in the indie scene). something about Flaming Lips and Beck and Eels kept me open minded to Sufjan, but, aside from a moment here or there (like John Wayne Gacey), it just starts sounding like Waiting For Guffman without the dry humor or irony. He is the play's director blowing in my ear, and I just want to slap him and yell at him to QUIT IT! He's like a really good plate of spghetti with extra anchovies mixed in the sauce. the sauce isn't supposed to have anchovies in the first place, and now there's extra, and yeah, the spghetti is really good if you can dig around and get to it, but I'd rather just get some that doesn't have any of that goofyness in it in the first place...

I think the drugs kicked in about 5 minutes ago, so I'll stop rambling now...

except to say that I also have one of these blog thingys if you're interested, but it's so new it's painful to read. will probably be painful for some time to come... Brookthoughts.blogspot.com.

Our friend Andrew has one too, and his is much better. go check it out at: http://www.mrhackman.blogspot.com/

glad to be chatting,
Brook

Brook said...

ps - have you ever seen The Cruise?
For some reason one of my first thoughts while watching it was that you and Sarah would love it.

jdaviddark said...

haven't seen the cruise, but i'll look into it.
you and andrew have some excellent bloggage going down.
thankee,
jdd