Saturday, March 24, 2007

Six degrees of synchronicity

WHO IS THIS MAN and what is my connection to him?

Where to start?

1981: Hall and Oates release a song called “Private Eyes.” (Am I working Hall and Oates into every other post lately? I guess so, but only because they are tremendously important.)

This #1 single is the first Hall and Oates song I recall from childhood and would begin a lifetime of H&O addiction for me. One of the few non-original tunes the duo recorded, its writer was Warren Pash.

early '90s at Columbia College Chicago: I study music, one of my instructors being the acclaimed jazz musician and composer Bill Russo.

A couple years later as I became more politically aware, I hear of author, tax protestor, artist and musician Tupper Saussy. Eventually Saussy puts up a web site and I manage to get hold of his last book Rulers of Evil. (I still need to get Miracle on Main Street, although I've read later books along the same theme such as Edward Griffin's The Creature From Jekyll Island.)

I contact him by email, and in our correspondence, not only find I have many similarities with this person twice my age, but that he had studied under the same Bill Russo (years ago, at th School of Jazz in Massachussetts).

Last week: Saussy dies, just before the scheduled party for his new CD The Chocolate Orchid Piano Bar.

The producer?

Warren Pash.

IT'S THOSE KINDS OF  things that give me a kick. You know there are like souls out there, people whose existence seems to parallel your own, and it's always a thrill to run across one of them.

The important thing to say about Saussy, however, is that he was that rarest of individuals in our time: a true Renaissance man, a true talent, a true philosopher (which is different from one who merely academically studies philosophy), a true independent thinker and actor, a true member of "the Remnant" and -- if his own and others' testimony about him are honest -- a true follower of Christ.

I was sad to hear of his passing, because I wanted more Tupper Saussy books -- such as the one he was working on, Gods For the Godless, about the hidden deep-political and spiritual underpinnings of 9/11. At least there's plenty of his music around to enjoy.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I saw a fascinating Montel show about couples who are romantic, yet asexual. This is cool, since I go through some quite asexual periods myself (and in any case, even when feeling especially sexual, I usually can keep a leash on it). In addition, it's just my luck that I find myself attracted to women with similar, or even lower, drives. That's nice, because without the disorienting fog of sex looming omnipresently over every interaction, it's a lot easier to get to know and enjoy a person in depth. Maybe that's the way real soulmates get to know each other. In a culture that positions sex as the be-all and end-all, how many soulmates have found each other but prematurely ejected (pun intended) because the sex wasn't immediately there? How many couples have met, have clicked perfectly, have conversed for hours on end and had wonderful times together and felt undeniable bonds -- yet have ended up splitting because they weren't constantly wanting to rip each others' clothes off, and so became convinced that "something's wrong"? I've sort of made an informal study of creatives and the creative temperament lately, and I've noticed that while artists have a great reputation for libertinism, in reality I believe it's largely an attempt to live up to a stereotype. In practice, many of the artists and creative types I've known -- particularly the more solitary ones -- learn more toward "asexual" than "voracious satyr." That may be one of the reasons they drink and consume drugs more than the average population: to help unleash their normally dormant libidos. Coincidentally, just before clicking on the TV and coming across that Montell show, I had been thinking; How nice it'd be to not have to eat. There are so many other things to do .....

Monday, March 05, 2007

Revenge of the happy baby pigs

I'm intrigued by the idea of hipster parenting. (Like "alternadad" Neal Pollack, for example.) I wrote the following a couple of years ago, on an old blog that I never publicized. Here it is, only two years late.

MOMS RAWK. If you're not aware of the burgeoning "mommy rock" phenomenon, it encompasses groups such as the Motherlode Trio, the Mydols, Housewives on Prozac (well, it's rock 'n' roll -- you gotta have drugs), and of course, a festival called Momapalooza.

Not long ago Housewives and Momapalooza founder Joy Rose read an essay on NPR wherein she related her overnight transformation from SoHo punk rock queen with a gold record to . . . "happy baby pig" (her words, with emphasis on "baby" -- implying that making babies turns a woman into a pig). As the reality of motherhood set in, she quickly tired of the artist's life. Navigating the walk up four flights of stairs with kids, baby bag and toys in tow proved too challenging. So she and her "partner" (alternaterm for "husband") opted for -- gasp --


Denizens of insular urban bohemias think differently, to say the least. In some ways, for the better. But in that hothouse environment, there's also that contempt, even terror, for anything and everything perceived as bourgeois: a notion that the traditional family is for the dull, the bland, the conforming -- the people who go to megachurches and shop at Wal-Mart. Marriage ("partnership," whatever) is a transmitter of the patriarchal oppression virus. Children are not only unhip; they are a burden, a disease to be cured by the abortionist. In some circles these beliefs are held quite literally. Traces of these memes are evident in the self-punishing language Rose employs when relating her journey from moshing to mommying. She sounds sheepish and apologetic, as if to say: I'm really sorry ... I know I'm not supposed to enjoy this exploitative subjugation to an artificial gender role forced upon me by the Oppressive Rapist Patriarchy ... but dammit, I'm lovin' it!

It makes me sad that Rose spent so long steeped in a milieu where doing what nature made you to do makes you a "baby pig," but rejecting motherhood to satisfy ambitions often externally imposed by your subculture, and spending your time and money on yourself, makes you not an "anti-baby pig," but strong and progressive.

Yet even punk rock chicks like Rose continue to apostacize from the cult to obey the call of nature to do what they -- perhaps too obviously to need to point out -- are uniquely equipped to do. Rose had to give up her "me"-centered lifestyle, but didn't give up her love of rock 'n' roll -- at least not forever. She continues to rawk, even in the suburbs. (While moving to the burbs is a tradeoff, not all suburbs fit the stereotypes of blandness, homogeneity and cultural barrenness. And as things are today, a good suburb is a helluva lot better environment in which to raise kids than the big city.)

While I don't know all the details of Rose's rock career, I admire her tremendously for simply desiring to be a real mother. And I'm glad to see the new wave of mommy rock. It refutes the notion of a huge conflict of rock and roll vs. home and hearth, of fun vs. family, of art vs. adulthood. It shows that artistic expression is not exclusively the province of nihilistic, solipsistic singles in their teens or twentysomethings. The movement may inject some much-needed perspective into a scene that needs to be reminded from time to time that it actually is not the center of the universe. Definitely, it will inspire creativity, since rockers who are mommies automatically have a whole new world of material to draw from. And with little ones depending on them, they have even more reasons to change the world.

Knockered out

IN THE FEBRUARY 8 love-'n'-sex-themed issue of NewCity, “Marcy K” bared her soul and shared her small problem -- or rather, her two small problems, which must seem ever smaller compared to the pumped-up monstrosities being paraded around town.

Marcy writes of a recent experience at a club:

I was spending a good portion of the time wedged on a too-tight-to-move lounge space, getting knocked around by big breasts. … It seems to me that they are everywhere these days – and that single (and not-so-single) men in this city have it much too good … How did they spawn? How come all of a sudden it’s
become the industry standard to have glammed-up boobs in this city?
I began to notice the same phenomenon several years ago on the first warm day of spring. I was in the yuppie center of Chicago, Lincoln Park -- my first visit to that area in a couple of years probably -- and I marveled at the new epidemic. It was as if an “Instant Inflate” button had been pressed and everyone in the area had magically gained two sizes. They were bouncing around -- or more accurately, sort of gliding around -- everywhere, especially on a certain species of skinny twentysomething blonde commonly found jogging along the lakeshore or walking around the park toting their hamster-sized dogs. Sure, they catch your eye for a second. But then you realize you're looking at plastic, and you look away, in search of something real.