OK, I like Christmas music. I shouldn’t have to apologize for it. Well, some of it.
An author once said that the reason he writes books is because he has questions, not answers. Every year I put together a mix of Christmas-related music here, and it is my own attempt to address the question “where can I find good Christmas music that I’m not going get bludgeoned with everywhere else, but that isn’t just different for different’s sake?” So I’m at it again. As per usual, there’s every type of music on here – cheeky mashups, golden-era chestnuts, juicy soul, pine-scented Americana, gluten-free desserts, firesafe lighting strings, vintage stockings, I don’t even know where this list is going. Just enjoy it. You can listen to it here and/or download it from SoundCloud.
And… just because I was feeling it, I decided to make another mix with all of the songs that I liked, but that were too snoozy, and would have killed the vibe of the previous one. Yeah, another! But its quieter. It’s pretty nice. I have to admit something: I tested this mix on animals. I totally did. Defenseless bunnies and rescue monkeys and a turtle. No worries: they freaking loved it. So I think I’m in good shape, legally. It’s here also. Enjoy!
I was already a fan of Fela Soul, Amerigo Gazaway’s full album mashup of Fela Kuti and De La Soul tunes, so when he asked me to do the cover for Yasiin Gaye, the second volume of his project mashing up the music of Mos Def and Marvin Gaye, it took me a hot second to mull it over before saying yes.
The record has something of a backstory. Gazaway’s previous release, Bizarre Tribe, which set the vocals from The Pharcyde over the music of A Tribe Called Quest, met a quick internet death. It was effectively shut down by Sony, who cited copyright infringement despite the fact that Gazaway wasn’t actually sampling ATCQ – he was sampling the same jazz and funk recordings that the Tribe had sampled for their recordings. Big fat irony, right? (For a fantastic documentary on the evolution of the fair use exception in regard to art in general and remix/mashup music in particular, watch RIP: A Remix Manifesto, which features Girl Talk.)
So, this new release felt like it had a mission, like it was part of a thrill ride, or more to the point, a chase. And that was reflected in the imagery that we chose. This was an initial contender:
but in the end we chose to make it an airplane or a spaceship, because that seemed to fit better. And it wasn’t going to be so much of an action scene, but more of a conceptual journey, with Gazaway piloting Yasiin Bey and Marvin Gaye to new heights as they confabbed about their new venture.
and after a few drafts it came together nicely.
For the reverse side click here to finish reading this post
Cash For Your Warhol and I thought this sign needed a little rearranging. Just a little. A car load? Detergent? Get it?
Where did the last two weeks go?
Oh yeah – now I remember. I was in Austria, along with Matthew Diffee and Paul Noth. We were asked to come host a symposium in Wels with a bunch of other very talented cartoonists from Austria and Germany, and so we did, after one of us was – ahem – detained by the Swiss police over passport issues.
On the way there, we did our Fisticuffs! show in Linz, Austria, as part of the Next Comic Festival at the university.
And although the battle was fierce, we all lived. (Which is true, but we also suffered head wounds from getting kicked by a large cartoon boot).
So we moved on to our symposium in Wels. It was an honor, but also somewhat intimidating, to be “teaching” to people who were pretty accomplished in their own right.
Luckily, there was no awkwardness whatsoever. I think we all appreciated everybody else’s talents and it became a big, goofy hangout session, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, we had the theatre at the Medien Kultur Haus booked click here to finish reading this post
In lieu of separate lists, here is a meta-list of the things I enjoyed the most this year (besides Art Basel, which I just wrote about a few days ago), in no particular order.
1. The skittish, slackerish, stream-of-consciousness Ninetiesish punk of Parquet Courts.
2. The graphic stories of Allie Brosh. She portrays herself as some kind of monster who is a crudely amateurish artist. She is neither.
3. This deliciously eye-popping piece of street art from Tristan Eaton in Little Italy, NYC.
click here to see full list
I’ve never been to Burning Man, but my cartoon in this week’s New Yorker asks whether the festival has turned from a small countercultural freakfest into a corporate theme park of an event, as cited by this New York Times article from last year. Then again, all of these events are starting to feel the same, as the below pictures from this year’s Goldman Sachs annual board meeting show.