Thanks to all who said Movement 2011, aka Detroit’s techno music festival, would be worth the visit. It was. Totally. Excellent people watching, set to the persistent thumpa-thumpa-thumpa of electronica. Let’s not talk, today, about whether it qualifies as “music” or not. Clearly it is. The musicianship consists of weaving these aural tapestries. If you’re accustomed to going to a show where you pay attention to the stage, where there is a clearly identifiable performer playing an instrument or singing or whatever, it can be a little weird, granted. So, is that Poindexter standing behind the sound board the Space Time Continuum, or just their sound guy? The answer to that question is, who gives a fig, because you didn’t go to see them. You went to see this:
This is a version of a common look for girls. The synthetic-fur leg warmers are called “fluffies.” The colors are day-glo, presumably for the black-light possibilities. The semi-nudity? Well, it was everywhere:
This doesn’t bug me, for the most part, which is to say, “as long as it’s not my daughter.” We’re only young once; as Nora Ephron tells young women today, “If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini and don’t take it off until you’re 34.” It’s the juxtapositions that unsettle, all this slutwear and stripper gear worn with pacifiers and Oscar the Grouch backpacks. I guess that’s the point. To unsettle. To greedily accept the gifts of adulthood (sex) while clinging to those of childhood (pacifiers, Oscar the Grouch), all while wearing leg warmers made of cheap acrylic.
Then there were these people:
Such fun folks. We went on Saturday. I wish we’d seen Fatboy Slim, but he was the Monday headliner, and Monday it was 90 degrees, and my appreciation of almost everything would have changed under those conditions. For one thing, I’m sure the fluffies would have been left at home. Monday was the day to go sailing, and we did. The farther you got from shore, the more the stifling temperatures were left behind, and it was one pleasant way to pass an afternoon, especially when you knew that the morning’s work was waiting for you when you got back, i.e., red potato salad with caraway, a strawberry-rhubarb pie and some beef tenderloin marinating in sesame oil and soy sauce, ready to skewer and grill with some red pepper, onions and mushrooms. A good ending to a long, fine weekend.
Which had some fine reading, as well. A few links to sample:
From the WashPost, a profile of the oldest competitive female bodybuilder. She’s 74. Check the photos; they’re pretty amazing. The question for me, though, is this: Is looking like that worth eating the way she does, i.e., on chicken breasts, green beans and (gag) egg whites? Worth thinking about, over the next piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie.
Via Roy, a New Yorker profile of the recently departed Gil Scott-Heron, who died last week. I don’t know how I missed this the first time around (last year), a portrait of the artist as a crackhead.
While you’re noodling around at the New Yorker, you might also enjoy Atul Gawande’s commencement address at Harvard Medical School last week.
For those of you reading this back in my native state, the Sports Illustrated package on the sins of St. Tressel. I read it with mixed feelings; thankful I really don’t care about this stuff, and yet, there’s a certain head-shaking mood that pervades it all. Can we do away with college football programs entirely? Or set it up as some sort of minor-league, self-supporting adjunct to higher education (yes, I know it already is) and drop the charade that this has anything to do with college?
EDIT: Oh! Almost forgot! David Von Drehle, aka the Master of Disaster, has filed again, this time setting the standard for the best twister story, ever. Absolutely worth your time, particularly in light of this particularly dumb post from Jeff Jarvis, suggesting articles are now “luxuries” when someone like Brian Stelter has already wandered through Joplin posting to Twitter. Read and compare, tell me which one you prefer. I’m on Team Von Drehle.
OK, another hot one on tap, and I have lots to do. Hitting the ground, running and sweating. Starts now.
Moe99 said on May 31, 2011 at 9:05 am
Reading you from pre-op getting ready for my vocal cord implant. Imagine not being able to talk for a week!
A. Riley said on May 31, 2011 at 9:37 am
Good luck, Moe!
The Master of Disaster Time story — whew. Vivid purple. But I guess stories like Joplin can’t really be anything but purple.
del said on May 31, 2011 at 9:48 am
Well let us talk to you Moe. Good luck. Let your posts do your talking.
I went to the technofest yesterday and saw Fatboy Slim. Good time, people watching and all.
Randy said on May 31, 2011 at 9:51 am
Thanks for linking the commencement address, Nancy. I work in a totally different field, but I gained a lot of useful insight from that piece.
Deborah said on May 31, 2011 at 9:57 am
Moe, thinking of you, and no I can’t imagine it. Keep hanging in there.
coozledad said on May 31, 2011 at 9:59 am
The naked kids have got it right, but the goth look and summer are clearly incompatible. Covering yourself in black ink and straying out into the sun is something only a Mandan warrior could regard as relaxing.
Julie Robinson said on May 31, 2011 at 10:05 am
Those girls look like a wet dream version of a Lisa Frank poster.
Moe, I’m praying for a successful surgery and short recovery.
Summer arrived here on Sunday morning. It was still winter when we went into church, and full heat & humidity when we came out. It’s hard not to feel cheated by the lack of spring this year. But, we finally got the garden planted and installed our new rain barrel, so bring on the rain!
James Moehrke said on May 31, 2011 at 10:28 am
Summer has yet to arrive here in Northern California. I look outside where it’s gray and the forecast high is 68 today, and it’s almost June. As one of the Sacramento weather people tweeted the other day, “When did Memorial Day move to March?”
prospero said on May 31, 2011 at 10:29 am
Doing away with college football would do away with college sports, in general. No more college gymnastics, no more regattas in the spring, no softball college world series. College life, and the world, would be depleted. It’s clearly about revenue. And, in the long run, there have been many more crooked hoops coaches than football coaches. Tressel was just the colege football version of Newt Gingrich. Talked a bigtime morals and ethics game, cast blame at will, all the time a whited sepulchre.
ROGirl said on May 31, 2011 at 10:47 am
Apparently the pacifiers enhance the E (ecstasy) experience for electronica crowds.
Bill said on May 31, 2011 at 10:58 am
Our prayers, good thoughts and best wishes for a speedy recovery, Moe.
We also enjoyed our boat on the lake Sunday and Monday. Happy to be without snow to shovel.
LAMary said on May 31, 2011 at 11:24 am
Good thoughts being sent your way, Moe.
Nora Ephron is dead on. There’s plenty of good stuff after 36, but wear that bikini while you can, literally or metaphorically.
John G. Wallace said on May 31, 2011 at 12:06 pm
Moe, in your case the silence will be a loss for those around you. Godspeed.
I could think of many other people where a week of silence would only begin to diminish my headache. I’ve been deaf in one ear for about 7 months – that’s a good way to realish how much is said that isn’t worth hearing, and how many people can’t be alone with themselves in silence.
4dbirds said on May 31, 2011 at 12:09 pm
Best wishes Moe for a speedy recovery.
MichaelG said on May 31, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Good toughts and crossed fingers, Moe. It will be so cool when it works.
James M. So another Sacto guy here. You stole my thunder. I was all set to whine about the fifteen degree below normal days we have been having around here. Of course it will be pretty OK when normal highs reach the mid ninetys.
ROGirl, I had no idea about that E and pacifier business. I’m embarassed to admit that I don’t even know if you’re pulling my finger. Next I’ll be buying Easter Island gold over the phone from some silver tongued slickster.
Peter said on May 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm
Good luck to you, Moe.
I have to admit, if I had to choose between the two, I’d definitely want my kid at least a 100 yards from the lovely Goth couple. I don’t think anything good is coming out of that.
nancy said on May 31, 2011 at 12:19 pm
Ditto on all the above, Moe. Look at it as an opportunity to wander around with a pad and pencil on a string around your neck, scribbling instructions to all.
Who really thought the twister story was purple? I didn’t. If anything, I thought it was understated. Put Mitch Albom on a story like that, and I could show you some purple. I reread it for about the fourth time and figured out what I like best about it: the God’s-eye perspective. The attribution is so minimal as to be almost invisible. It’s just: This is what happened. Not, “‘This is what happened,’ said police.”
beb said on May 31, 2011 at 12:19 pm
In one of the Aaron Elkin books, I think Tiny Teeth, it was pointed out that ecstacy causes the user to grind their teeth. So the pacifier is used to cushion the teeth from all that grinding.
The guy in the third picture, on the right edge in the red t-shirt. His eyes may look closed but from the angle of his head, I’d say he was checking out the blonde passing by.
But seriously Nancy, are you sure that wasn’t a “Girls Gone wild” bus parked somewhere along there?
Julie Robinson said on May 31, 2011 at 12:52 pm
One of the insights our daughter gained as a result of several years of youth ministry work is that goths are frequently (okay, she says always) deeply wounded and use their clothing, dog collars, piercings & tattoos as a shield between themselves and the world. What think you, Jefftmmo?
nancy said on May 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm
I’ve long suspected that about goths, too, particularly with girls.
Bitter Scribe said on May 31, 2011 at 1:55 pm
I often get a little impatient with these “drop the charade” arguments about college football because it makes it sound like a full college scholarship is a pile of chopped liver. How many kids are eager, if not desperate, for a chance like that?
Hattie said on May 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm
Life in America everywhere stupid people doing stupid shit while the wars go on.
Rana said on May 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm
Good luck moe, and sympathies on the no-talking aspect of it. Perhaps this is the time to demand the gift of an iPad? 😉
What strikes me about the young fluorescent things is not so much the unclothed aspect of the young women but that their male counterparts seem to prefer baggy, over-sized clothing. It’s sexual dimorphism through clothing.
My husband (who posts here sometimes as Dan B) recalled this entertaining site: http://gothsinhotweather.blogspot.com It entails what the name says.
4dbirds said on May 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm
Almost every goth I’ve known and yes I’ve known a few, were cutters.
Sherri said on May 31, 2011 at 2:12 pm
The opening of the twister story was a little purplish, but the story wasn’t purple. It was also a heck of a story, unlike the collection of tweets, which were a combination of “look at this” and “look at me”. Hey, Stelter! I don’t care that your socks are wet! You went voluntarily into a disaster area. Don’t tell me about your wet socks!
Dexter said on May 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm
I have followed Gil Scott-Heron’s public life, what little was reported in the news anyway, since I first heard his “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, and now to the end.
Years would go by , and then, a little mention of his impact on society or something like that would appear in The New Yorker, deep in a story, and then one Sunday morning CBS did a feature on him, which was well done.
I really think only one of my friends and acquaintances even heard of the man, so I have been in very few discussions concerning his art. Still, since he and I are / were the same age, he being only six months my elder, and we saw the world unfold from the same timeframe vantage point, I am saddened to know he’s gone.
MaryRC said on May 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm
The twister story did a good job of finding people with stories to tell, and telling them. Tweets can’t compare with that. I’d rather hear about the family that rode out the storm crouching in an area the size of a dog house than the person who tweeted through it all. I thought the writer did a good job, too, of portraying the inexorability and indifference of nature.
Best wishes, Moe.
Judybusy said on May 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm
Moe, I hope surgery goes smoothly and you have your voice back quickly!
I used to be a lot more tolerant of outrageously attired youth. Now I see that and think “Look at me! Look at me! I have issues!” I’m totally turning into an old coot.
prospero said on May 31, 2011 at 4:32 pm
Anybody that thinks the tornado story is over the top in any way can’t have had much personal experience with twisters. Fact is, it’s nature at it’s limits for boggling minds, like lysergic acid or Thai sticks.
prospero said on May 31, 2011 at 4:51 pm
I’ve got Gil Scott-Heron albums. Need to buy a turntable to play them. My favorite: Whitey’s on the Moon. Mordant sarcasm. Saw him and his band once about 1976 at a legendary bar on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge MA called Jack’s. Very good show, and way back then, he didn’t seem cracked up. Best album is probably Winter in America, which, if anything, is truer now than when it was written.
I don’t really see the connection to rap that all the obit writers are jumping on. More like beat poetry and jazz.
Kirk said on May 31, 2011 at 6:04 pm
I liked his quote about the so-called rap connection that was repeated in several of the obits: “I don’t know if I can take the blame for it.”
Jolene said on May 31, 2011 at 6:06 pm
I don’t think we should pound on Stelter. His tweets were great in terms of instant reaction as he was moving through the city as soon after the storm as he could get there. As his article says, he also spent hours at two different McDonald’s stores–where there was both space and electricity–writing real stories that appeared in the next day’s NYT. It’s Jarvis who was making “an article is a luxury” point.
I’m not sure why he thinks we have to choose. Van Drehle’s article, it seems to me, has a much different thrust and purpose than a first-on-the-ground news report. It has immediacy, but its value is in its portrayal of the awesomeness of the storm–from the use of the “heat rise” idea with the hot air punching through the cool front (in Von Drehle’s piece, you can almost hear the sound) to the details that show how every last thing in our world–from enormous trucks to Barbie doll shoes–can be torn from its place, tossed into the air, and put down in an entirely new place, likely in an entirely new form.
Dexter said on May 31, 2011 at 6:17 pm
prospero you nailed it. My fave also. And Whitey On The Moon.
prospero said on May 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm
Dexter, In my opinion GS-H is a wonderful jazz singer. Tremendous phrasing, extremely soulful and expressive. The flute and keyboard arrangements by Brian Jackson are outstanding. Winter in America is pretty much a perfect song for these days:
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it’s hoping
Hoping for some rain
Jolene said on May 31, 2011 at 6:43 pm
Reading the SI story, I was surprised to see what small potatoes some of this NCAA cheating is. Exchanging t-shirts for tattoos doesn’t sound like much of an infraction. Of course, I know that was only part of the story, and things would be worse if there weren’t rules. There’s something similar to the sexual adventurism and predation we’ve been reading in this behavior–the willingness to flout the rules in pursuit of a thrill. Very weird.
The whole idea of boosterism is foreign to me. I can see being a sports fan, but the kind of fervor that would cause me to get involved in trying to influence outcomes (through recruiting infractions or whatever) is really beyond my conception.
nancy said on May 31, 2011 at 8:29 pm
FWIW, Jolene, I don’t think Stelter was the villain in that comparison. Obviously, every new piece of technology can tell at least some of the story, especially breaking news. My irritation is more with Jarvis, who can be such a troll in these discussions, I tend to tune him out entirely. I will remember that Von Drehle story a good long time. It was elegantly written, moving, emotional without being maudlin. If that’s a “luxury,” sign me up.
Jolene said on May 31, 2011 at 8:47 pm
Agree, Nancy. I tried to make that point re Jarvis, too, as there were some hits on Stelter here. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough.
Am not sure whether you read Stelter’s commentary before or after he updated it, but, in his update, he acknowledges the limitations of tweeting himself. Sometimes technology enthusiasts such as Jarvis seem to think no one will listen if they make a nuanced point rather than a black-and-white distinction or an overstated claims. Who knows? Maybe they’re right about that.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm
Julie, I can imagine exceptions, but I haven’t met them. The doubled problem is that they all can’t work the front desk at tattoo parlors, but they do, sort of.
There are different patterns to people who are simply heavily tattooed (more diversity than you might think), but Goths are more militantly self-policing and narrowly accepting than most fundamentalists.
Of course, my sense is that most *true* fundamentalists have a woundedness that they’re defending with their hostility to anything that’s not in their code book (not to be confused with the Bible), but that’s another conversation.
And we all have our wounds. Culture and family have lots to do with how we try to heal them, or how we keep re-opening them and leave them raw.
Crazycatlady said on May 31, 2011 at 11:12 pm
Sarah and I went to ‘Movement 2011’ on Monday. The sun was brutal and the heat was stifling. $3.00 bottles of cold water were a HOT commodity. The people watching was superb. And my daughter kindly pointed out a very few attendees that appeared to be older than me. I noted that I probably didn’t have enough tattoos to really blend in. The beats were so loud and fun. I felt young again…or deaf. Can’t tell.
roy edroso said on June 1, 2011 at 2:23 am
Thanks for the event coverage. Looks spectacular. Maybe you can get Joel Kotkin and Forbes up in there to talk about the Detroit comeback. Better yet, maybe I’ll move in.