Posts Tagged ‘Henry Rollins’

False Intimacy

May 5, 2009

I have been thinking about the above topic for awhile. False Intimacy, as a topic for this blog, came to me while watching a band I liked. I was shooting video of them performing (unasked). I was thinking one of the band members was cute. I couldn’t catch his eye though. (The problem with liking shoegaze bands!) Later, I actually spoke with one of the band members, when I bought their CD. Then I sent email to the band thanking them for the show, via myspace, and got a personal reply back, from the member who sold me the CD. (I checked, as their names and instruments played were on their myspace account.) And despite myspace labelling everyone I choose to mutually connect with on the site being labelled my friends, I am clear that very few of my “friends” there are actually my real life friends.

So, there’s everyone taking pictures and videotaping everything, blogging, twittering, and generally getting their viewpoint out into the world, and if anyone is interested in knowing exactly what that experience is, if it is out there in the blogosphere, it is findable.

Everyone, –from bands, to actors, to prestigious organizations, neighborhood bars, the kid down the street, to the family pet,– can get their viewpoint out into the world. Everyone who chooses to, is branding themselves. They are presenting a public face to the world. This may or may not be the complete picture. Chances are very good that it is not the complete picture. I censor my thoughts, don’t write those thoughts that perhaps might not be wise, might not be true, might be hurtful… In person, I probably would never say them either, so the self-censoring is who I am. But what you don’t see is that facial expression, body language or hair flip that might give me away, without a word being said. Good and bad censored thoughts.

So doesn’t all that is available out in the blogosphere create a sense of knowing someone or a group, when really, that doesn’t exist? That sense that you know someone, just because you read their written thoughts, listen to the music they like, watch the videos they watch? Even if you email them directly, have several email correspondences? That really does not qualify them as a friend. Maybe, at most, an acquaintance.

Before the internet was as powerful a tool as it is today, there was television and the print media for branding celebrities. Even back then, I noticed when I met the random celebrity, I found myself tongue-tied, trying hard to back pedal and remember what I knew for fact about them, versus what I had heard as rumor. I would try to recall my sources of information, assess which ones were reliable. I would try to come up with something as innocuous and neutral as possible to say, if I even got the chance. Also, I realized that not everyone in celebrity-dom wanted to be treated like a celebrity. So if I acted as if I knew nothing about them, perhaps they would appreciate the fact I did not pretend to be their friend just for having information about them. That they were human too, just like me, and wanted to be treated like anyone else. But then again, they might be offended if I seemed to not know who they were.

Needless to say, this did not happen very often, so the conundrum often went unresolved, as the moment passed.

But now with rss feeds of blogs, twitter, facebook, myspace and youtube, and the advent of cell phones perfect to interface with all these things, we have instant access to one another’s public face. To everyone else’s brand. Real or imagined. I can keep tabs on ex-boyfriends if I so choose to, if they have a public cyberface. I can keep tabs on imagined future boyfriends. I can create any type of relationship with all these other cyber-personaes I choose to. In my head.

But does it actually mean I know the other person(s)?

I don’t think so.

Let me look at it another way. My definition of a friend is someone that I know that I can give a call to and talk with, potentially get together and meet with. There are some people I don’t know where they live, have never been to their house, and some other people that live far far away from me and thus it is unlikely I will be meeting with anytime soon. However, I still consider some of those people my friends. Friends I have a history with. We used to do things together. We used to go to the same school or worked at the same place. Perhaps we volunteered together, or camped next to one another. We have a shared culture of some sort. That’s my definition of friends.

So where does that leave the public cyber-faces of others? I would put them in the category of acquaintances. They are people I know of, I may have met, but have I actually had a conversation with? Okay, email chats could count in that category, agreed. Are they someone I might call to grab a coffee with? Do I even have their phone number? Some people hand out phone numbers as if being in the most people’s phone directories is a prize to be won. Other people never give out their real email address.

I have run into the problems false intimacy and the ease of access to information is these days, asking someone if a number I looked up through the white pages on the internet was their home phone number. (Formula: Full name+name of city resided in=phone number if publically listed.) It freaked them out. Why? It was extremely public information. Whether the city was next door, or in a country around the world, it makes no difference these days. I managed to do the exact same thing back in high school, using the local phone book to figure out someone’s address. Public information, people.  Someone else, a real friend, actually figured out within two blocks where I had moved to, just from the comments I had made about my neighborhood in a previous blog. But he’s like that, always taking as a challenge anything to do with clues. If he were a stalker, I would be somewhat frightened.  

We want to be public. We want to be known. And we want to connect. But when does it cross from being someone you know of, to someone you actually interact with?

At what point do we become friends in cyberspace? When does it move from a false intimacy to a true intimacy?

I don’t have an answer, I’m just asking. Like my fondness for Henry Rollins and talking about it, I am very clear that at this point, never having spoken or even interacted with him, all I have is a sense of false intimacy. At this point, it is only one way. He talks, he performs, I listen. Me and many other people listen. I am not alone in the listening. I am probably not alone in the slight crush department. Even if he were to know about it, if it continued to be a one way interaction, it is still not real, other than I am a fan. That is the only label one can put to it.

Mr. Rollins Spinning at KCRW's Radioactive

Mr. Rollins Spinning at KCRW's Radioactive

Coachella – Last Words

April 25, 2009

So, due to the forgotten ticket on Saturday of the fest, I was well on time and parked and at the gates to see Henry Rollins’ spoken word set, but had to turn around and get the ticket again, finding it sitting on my dresser, just where I had left it. And I was back in time, just for it to be over.

But thanks to youtube, I was able to catch most of it, in its short 45 minute glory.

Henry Rollins Part 1:

Henry Rollins Part 2:

Henry Rollins Part 3:

Henry Rollins Part 4:

As close as you and I will be there…

So, missed the highlight of my Saturday. Oh well. Like I said before, I only had myself to blame for my mishaps, I could still enjoy the rest of my day. Thank goodness his was a popular item to tape.

So on Sunday, there was Shepard Faireyscheduled in the Sahara tent. I didn’t really know what to expect, but he came out to do a dj set. However, there were technical difficulties, and he had to fill the time somehow. Apologies for the video, I wasn’t expecting to record it, so had to get up from sitting on the ground. So first he was talking about a friend of his, Shawn Mortensen, who recently committed suicide that he was dedicating his set to, and then due to the technical problems, gave out free somethings to some interesting feedback,

and then he moved into an impromptu Q&A, after someone announced it was their birthday and Shepard was acknowledging how everyone has one of those, yay!

Basically, the simple message that both Henry Rollins and Shepard Fairey had to say were think for yourself, and do your own investigating of the truth, and don’t be afraid to express it, in whatever way you feel. Express your freedom of speech. And both of them credited listening to punk music as the catalyst that got them started. So YES! to the power of music!

What’s funny, is that before the iconic Obama poster, I actually had gone to see Shepard Fairey’s work at a gallery on La Brea a couple years back, and had thought then, oh! this is the guy that does Andre the Giant has a Posse and those Obey signs all over the place. Whether he actually puts them up or others do, using his images, he certainly has gotten his images out in the public eye. Fast forward to now, and the whole world is familiar with his images now. Talk about not being afraid to express oneself.

Just Little Bits

April 24, 2009

Yes, I am back from Coachella.

Yes, I have more to say about it. And will, sometime in the future. But I have many hours of uploading video onto YouTube and figuring out how to edit it before that happens.

So in the meantime, I have the following to mention for this weekend:

Since the Coachella music fest moved up two weeks on the calendar, for once in the past few years I can actually go to Los Angeles Times Festival of Books over at the UCLA campus.  I have been to it before, and it really is a fabulous event. It is a wonder to see so many famous writers and novelists all in one place, and various vendors related to the book trade (or not!) exhibiting in one space. Although a free event, parking is expensive at $9, so public transit is strongly encouraged. The Wilshire Metro bus will get you down the street from UCLA’s front entrance and in the heart of Westwood. Then a shuttle bus will get you in. And the complicated part, the part really worth attending for, are the panels and speakers. Always wanted to see some of the greats of science fiction? Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg, Harry Harrison and Joe Haldeman will all be speaking on Saturday in the Ackerman Grand Ballroom. And Kate DiCamillo, author of children’s books Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux and The Tiger Rising, all of which I have read as a result of my tutoring gig, will be speaking that same day in Moore 100. These wonderful free lectures of numerous authors, poets and published commentators are what make this book event so special, more than just a book exhibit hall. However, you need tickets to get to see these actual events. That’s the tricky part, and takes planning. If this is last minute, chances are great that who you want to see has already “sold out.” Better luck next time. But, if your interests are for someone a little less well known, chances are better you still have time to get a ticket and enjoy their presentation.

Also, LA Weekly, the local alternative newspaper, is sponsoring an event called LA Weekly LA Weekend. Now free, it will offer various djs, musicians, movies and events taking place at the (Ricardo) Montalban Theater in Hollywood. Including Henry Rollins doing a dj set tonight. I am not a Henry stalker. Honest. He just keeps showing up at the cool things I go to, thus proving he’s pretty awesome and cool himself. Or that I am? Again, public transit will handily get you there, on the Metro Red Line to the Hollywood & Vine stop.

She Wants Revenge is playing tonight. I just noticed this. Not posted on their official website, but posted on their myspace account and in the LA Weekly postings. Of course, now I can’t find where I saw it, but remembered that it was at a venue named 740 in downtown. So here it is. Ah, at the former Globe Theatre. That’s where I have seen lines to get into the place, through the back alley entrance. That’s what’s up there. And free admittance before 10:30 pm. Good to know. Of course, in the time it took me to do all this finding, the online ticket sales went off, as of 4 pm, and tickets are now only available at the venue box office. Despite the venue saying tickets were available via Ticketmaster, I couldn’t find them listed there, and only at Wantickets.com. Maybe this was all just last minute scheduled, that’s why it’s seeming so spotty. I just was curious to know how much the tickets are, that’s all I wanted to know.

And finally, an event I know of, at a venue I went looking for in a previous post, only to find I was searching in the wrong part of the city, MONGRELS, a dance performance at the Unknown Theatre. In its final week of performances, tonight, Saturday and Sunday are all that remain of the Samantha Giron Dance Project‘s collaboration between original electronic music compositions and modern dance. Come on out and support Modern Dance! When was the last time you had the chance?

Henry Rollins – Again!

March 15, 2009

Oh My God! I am hyperventilating from excitement. Let me tell you why.

I was so thrilled the other day with an email I got from my local public broadcasting radio station, which so happens to also be the home of many DJs who also happen to be music supervisors on TV shows and movies. As in, their musical tastes have a wide range of influence, like it or not. And I am super excited because,

1) there is going to be a dance party featuring many of those djs, including HENRY ROLLINS, and 2) because the venue is within easy walking distance in a building I have been told used to be the place for many punk shows back in the day. A building that is not open to the public that often. I had wondered about that grand old building, when on my walks, so now I get to see inside it. And 3) I just bought my ticket, before the general public sale, because I support my local NPR station by being a member and members got in on the pre-sale today. OMG!

How thrilling!

Maybe I can finally meet Henry Rollins, tell him that I actually read books, not all of which are children’s books, that I love music, that I think he’s cool, that I think his passionate rants are sexy because it shows he cares and I honestly have no idea why he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and maybe we will hit it off and become an item. Maybe you will be hearing about us soon on the celebrity news. And I can even invite him back to my place, because it is just on the other side of MacArthur Park from the venue, no driving involved. How convenient is that for ease of seduction?…. What to wear, what to wear…. 

Hey, I can dream! ‘Til proven otherwise, I can dream any little fantasy I want….

Regardless, I expect to have a fun time, dancing to a bunch of djs I enjoy, all on the weekend before Coachella, to get my dance groove on!

Henry Rollins to Take to the Airwaves Again!

February 20, 2009

So today was major shopping day, and I was tootling about in my car (that I had to move today anyway because the street cleaners were coming!) when who should come on the air of my beloved KCRW‘s weekday morning show Morning Becomes Eclectic but Henry Rollins, to announce that he will be joining the djs at KCRW with his own show on Saturday nights from 6-8 pm. Returning, actually, since he once used to dj there years before. That alone is newsworthy, but the even better news is that his Saturday show will be available for the week following as a KCRW podcast, so those of you not in the Los Angeles area can too enjoy the voice, musical selections and commentary of Henry.

I love Henry. I have only attended one of his live shows, one of his spoken word tours, and have always enjoyed his stories and observations. I also used to catch his IFC show when I had access to cable and the best part I thought besides the interesting guests and live music, were his rants. I used to listen to his Harmony in My Head show on Indie 103.1, and like he said today, he is an Indie refugee, and has landed on his feet elsewhere, but still here in LA.

One of the things I love so much about Henry is his every-guyness. For one thing, he really doesn’t think he’s attractive (thus, in his believing he is not attractive, making himself attractive independently (and in addition) to his actual physical appearance). For another, he also is amazed that anyone thinks he’s famous or noteworthy. I may never have paid attention to him when he was a member of Black Flag, but I do at least remember the Henry Rollins Band, because I remember Henry most vividly in that video for Liar.

It’s Henry’s neck that has always fascinated me. I can easily imagine him portraying a Cardassian on Star Trek DS9. And on the IFC show, I was always fascinated by Henry’s single gray patch of hair. Okay, so his appearance fascinates me. Good thing I just listen to him on the radio, so none of that distracts me.

I am just thrilled that I can continue to follow him as he globetrots and observes, and dredges into the depths of vinyl. Hopefully he will be bringing Engineer X, who also has such diverse taste in music. I get my weekly dose of Henry again, hooray!

Oh, and he happened to mention he would be performing at Coachella this year, too. On Saturday, April 18th, doing spoken word. I look forward to it, yet again.

And for those of you looking forward to Henry’s podcasts, the only bad news is that it doesn’t start until March 7th. Can you hold on until then?

R.I.P. Indie 103.1

February 9, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, my favorite local radio station went off the air. It was a total shock, and sort of not. They had been making recent changes in previous months, and not in a direction I was particularly thrilled with. The morning show had been hosted by Joe Escalante of the Vandals and he had been taken off the air recently, replaced by another DJ who had previously been a fill-in dj, or sidekick on other shows. No explanation, no mention of it. The Morning Show had Timothy Olyphant hamming it up to do the sports report, frequently just obviously reading the newspaper stats, but so enthusiastically! And David Lynch reported the weather, complete with odd Lynchian music in the background, a voice from some other world. Both busy people, they reported via phone from across the globe on Mr. Escalante’s show. I would hear them on my morning commute.

And at lunch time? From the hours of 12 to 2, I could catch Steve Jones do Jonesy’s Jukebox, as the former punk rocker of the Sex Pistols would randomly play tunes, sometimes improvising on his trusty guitar, ramble about things, interview bands, play new songs with a changing panel each Friday to rate them and just be himself.

I liked Indie, it was the only thing I listened to while driving about the city, and often I would come home and continue listening to the station. I could catch tunes I hadn’t heard for years from Aztec Camera, Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode and other moody atmospheric bands when driving home at night from something. Sometimes I would hear a song and listen to it to its end, not getting out of the car, just to hear who the band was, never having known before.

Or on the weekend mornings, I would hear bands from across the globe (Passport Approved), or take historical trips to the roots of rock and roll (Watusi Rodeo), visiting blues and country and roots and citing the influences on rock performers. The station was even sponsoring a local music night at one of the clubs up on the Sunset Strip to promote local bands. One of the recently added shows that I did enjoy was a weekly lucky listener after submitting a mix list, got to play their list for an hour on Tuesday nights. Henry Rollins even had a show, called Harmony in My Head, formerly on Tuesday nights that recently moved to Saturday nights, always a bad sign to go to a night that was bound to have its listeners doing other things than be tuned to the radio. Like seeing live bands perform!

And the station was generous to its DJs, as many of them were still performing, perhaps in part because of their shows. I heard an episode when Steve Jones talked with a former band mate about re-forming the Sex Pistols, and this last summer, they went on tour. Joe Escalante also went on tour with The Vandals, throughout my listening, to farther and farther tour stops. And the station let them, having substitute DJs cover their shows, or letting them pre-record when they could. It was fun, exciting, invigorating to hear these DJs have other lives besides their few hours on the airwaves. Other DJs were allowed to promote their own gigs around town. It seemed like a wonderfully supportive environment to music and musicians.

All in all, it was like a grown up version of a college radio station. Each show (for the most part) had a distinctive voice and ever-changing playlist, and if you liked what you heard, you would tune back again next week. There were some DJs and shows that seemed to be toeing the more corporate indie rock line, but usually I didn’t listen to those. The playlists were too short, promoting whatever flavor of the week needed to be pushed, even if the song had once had appeal, it would get overplayed. (Why I currently hate both Peter, Bjorn and John and all things MGMT.) And at most it was four hours before it would switch to something more distinctive. Just enough time to be working, and then in the car again to listen while on the way to someplace else.

And sure, like any small radio station, sometimes there were too few commercials for a break, and so you heard the same sponsors over and over. Bleh! But they also let you know about bands coming to town, tickets going on sale, and chances to win tickets to shows, even some that were already sold out, so well worth the listen.

As they went off the air, this was the message broadcast, between punk tunes. (Read the indented portion, bottom part of the post.)

Here was at least one comment on the death as reported by a former DJ.  

And this was the experience for me: So one day they were playing their normal thing, promoting specifically about their sponsorship of a new dance night at a new club come Friday, and the next day, there was a pre-recorded looping message rotating between punk tunes, and the third day, the songs and talk were all in Spanish. For the first time in over three years (the station had recently just celebrated its fifth anniversary) (What! So I’m slow on the uptake!), I actually had to scan the LA stations to hear what else was out there for my listening pleasure. I am still hopping between a few stations these days, wishing my CD player worked, but glad I don’t have an hour commute anymore from which radio saved my sanity. No road rage from me, thanks to Indie 103.

The station still exists in a manner of speaking, on the electronic waves of cyberspace, but what good does that do me when trapped in a car?