Posts tagged "the yay"

Girls - “Lust for Life,” Album (2009)

I was just thinking that I wanted a pizza, which (naturally) I phrased to myself as “I wish I had a suntan/I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine.” Which meant that I had to go listen to this song. And it turns out I’d never seen this video before.

I love this video so much. It makes me so joyfully happy in the kind of way that’s caused by very precise button-pushing, as opposed to sober reactions to discrete elements of its construction. I think this might be what some people refer to as guilty pleasure, but fuck that: having your buttons pushed is as legit a form of pleasure as any.

#Lookatmefuckinghipster #thegirlstagonthispostisn’tinreferencetotheband


For the past couple of years I’ve been working on a novel about—my hometown, I was about to say, meaning Berkeley, California, where I’ve lived since the spring of 1997, where three of my four kids were born, where I wrote most of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and every book after that. But the new book—it’s called Telegraph Avenue—is actually set as fully in Oakland as in Berkeley. Each of those cities (Watson and Mycroft respectively to the showboating Holmes of San Francisco) has its own distinct character, or set of characteristics, its unique inheritance of grace and problems. Yet the line between them, a block and a half from my house, ambles. It blurs. At times it all but vanishes—or maybe, generalizing wildly, Oakland with its history of tough-mindedness and Berkeley with its mania for insight, together conspire to expose the arbitrariness of all such hand-drawn borderlines.

The real Telegraph Avenue runs straight as a steel cable, changing its nature more or less completely every ten blocks or so, from the medical-marijuana souks of Oaksterdam, past the former Lamp Post bar where Bobby Seale used to hang out (now called Interplay Center, where you can “unlock the wisdom of your body”), past Section 8 housing and the site of a founding settlement of the native Ohlone people at the corner of 51st Street, past the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library and Akwaba Braiding and a buttload of Ethiopian restaurants, ending in an august jangle at the gates of the Cal campus, and I guess that for a guy who likes hanging around the borderlands—between genres, cultures, musics, legacies, styles—the appeal of Telegraph lies in the way it reflects a local determination to find your path irrespective of boundary lines, picking up what you can, shaking off what you can, along the way.

Michael Chabon, “That’s Why I Came,” The Atlantic, January 10, 2011


In the Bay Area, gangsta rap is not all that serious, and serious rap is still really fun.

This is one of the most elegantly concise takes on Bay Area rap I’ve seen, and nicely reconciles the seemingly contradictory way someone like E-40 can talk about violence and crack-slanging while still remaining an utter goofball. This Complex feature, by Nation of Thizzlam's Willy Staley, is well worth your time.

In the Bay Area, gangsta rap is not all that serious, and serious rap is still really fun.

This is one of the most elegantly concise takes on Bay Area rap I’ve seen, and nicely reconciles the seemingly contradictory way someone like E-40 can talk about violence and crack-slanging while still remaining an utter goofball. This Complex feature, by Nation of Thizzlam's Willy Staley, is well worth your time.


theskyisballing:

The oldest color photo of San Francisco, taken in 1906 shortly after the earthquake.

theskyisballing:

The oldest color photo of San Francisco, taken in 1906 shortly after the earthquake.


EMA - California (Past Life Martyred Saints, 2011)

"Fuck California, you made me boring."

-Erika M. Anderson, “California,” Past Life Martyred Saints (2011)

I know a place where the grass is really greener.

-Katy Perry, “California Gurls,” Teenage Dream (2010)

I loved the way she said “L.A.”; I love the way everybody says “L.A.” on the Coast; it’s their one and only golden town when all is said and done.

-Sal Paradise in Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

"We’ve been on the run, driving in the sun."

-Phantom Planet, “California,” The Guest (2002)

"There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda … You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…”

-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

"Now you’ve corrupted us all with your sexuality, tried to tell us love was free."

-EMA, “California,” Past Life Martyred Saints (2011)

"Sun-kissed skin, so hot we’ll melt your popsicle."

-Katy Perry, “California Gurls,” Teenage Dream (2010)

"Perry’s ouevre is nasty, sticky and a little bit stupid; it’s a kind of Hello Kitty-themed update on Carry On; fruit-scented lube on a rather imposing black dildo. It works perfectly because the American ideal of the teenager - wholesome and optimistic - is of course at odds with its reality of unprotected sex and casual drug use. Teenage Dream takes American Graffiti and drives it through the front window of Toys R Us. In an age where we wring our hands about sexualising teens/tweens, this former Christian Contemporary artist’s fetishising (remember, she’s marrying a noted sexaholic) of teenagerdom, the great American invention, is arguably more subversive than any of Lady Gaga’s meat dresses."

-Clem Bastow

"Everything that happens in California seems to get down our way, sooner or later."

-A Georgian police officer in Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

"Everything about Perry seems to hark back to some golden age of American triumph; she looks and dresses like she should be painted on the nose of a World War Two bomber, or an extra in an early-sixties beach movie, or framed as a piece of Pop Art. Her singles dominated much of this past summer, and the album that followed, Teenage Dream, made being young, drunk, and starry-eyed sound incredibly wholesome — as if Girls Gone Wild videos long ago joined baseball, apple pie, water parks, and early Mellencamp in the canon of Americana."

-Nitsuh Abebe

"…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

-The United States Declaration of Independence (1776)

"California not über-alles but as über-America: the country heading west in pursuit of happiness until it strands itself teetering at the end of the continent like Wile E. Coyote overrunning a cliff’s edge.”

-Me on Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” The Singles Jukebox, June 3, 2010

"I can see that blue room in Fargo, North Dakota with an American flag draped over a basement window. It’s a soldier’s room; got sent away. We stayed up for days in the summer on Merezine, and Ephedrine, and Benedryl, Dramamine, and Ketamine, and Nyquil, and Dextromethorpin, and Hydrobromide. And the light shining in through the window was golden, and the days stretched out as far as the horizon and you could see the dust float like sparkles in the air."

-Erika M. Anderson of Gowns, “Fargo,” Red State (2007)

"When you listen you can tell that it could have only been recorded in a shit-ass meat-packing city in the Midwest where people shoot crank mixed with grape Kool-Aid and the grocery checkers don’t even know what tofu is and all there is to do is get shit-faced at the bar and ask everyone how their kids are doing.”

-Erika M. Anderson on Red State, quoted in Mike Powell’s review of the album at Pitchfork.

"I’m sorry Stephen and Andrew that I ever left you; you never seen the ocean, you never been on a plane … What’s it like to be small town and gay?"

-EMA, “California,” Past Life Martyred Saints (2011)

"At the end of the continent."

-R.E.M. “I Remember California,” Green (1988)

"Crash and burn, all the stars explode tonight. How’d you get so desperate; how’d you stay alive?"

-Hole, “Malibu,” Celebrity Skin (1998)

"So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

"L.A. is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities."

-Sal Paradise in Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

“‘Cut their goddamn heads off,’ I said. ‘That’s what we’re doing in California.’”

-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

"You’re beautiful and dying."

-Hole, “Boys on the Radio,” Celebrity Skin (1998)

"Tombstone hand and a graveyard mind."

-Bo Diddley, “Who Do You Love” (1957)

"I’m just 22 … I don’t mind dying."

-Bo Diddley, “Who Do You Love” (1957) and EMA, “California,” Past Life Martyred Saints (2011)

"Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown."

-Lawrence Walsh, Chinatown (1974)


Time exposure photograph of planes departing from San Francisco International Airport. By Terence Chang.
Chang has some more of these at his Flickr, and they’re nice, but I like the way this one makes manifest the invisible lines tracing routes of intercity transportation, like highways transposed into the air.

Time exposure photograph of planes departing from San Francisco International Airport. By Terence Chang.

Chang has some more of these at his Flickr, and they’re nice, but I like the way this one makes manifest the invisible lines tracing routes of intercity transportation, like highways transposed into the air.


Green Day, “Homecoming,” American Idiot (2004)

I started fuckin’ runningJust as soon as my feet touched the ground.We’re back in the barrio,But to you and me that’s Jingletown.

"Jingletown" sounds so fictitiously named that I hadn’t realized until now that it’s a real neighborhood in Oakland. And this after earlier in the song Billie Joe makes reference to a “facility on East 12th Street” — which is just nearby, it turns out. 
I’m maybe thinking about adding a brief two day visit to San Francisco to my coming US wanderings; I’ve finally found the town intriguing after it having been for so long a bit of a void in terms of my American knowledge. (I mean: hippies, Kerouac, Green Day, Jawbreaker, the Transamerica Pyramid, Nancy Pelosi, tech companies, UC Berkeley, E-40, Mac Dre, hyphy, Castro, the Zodiac killer, expensive real estate — it’s a longish list but it doesn’t really resolve into a coherent whole. Perhaps that’s because San Francisco, like New Orleans, is a city that can’t be understood at all through its skyline?)
Anyway, maybe I’ll take a couple days to drive up Highway 1 from LA to SF before flying to Seattle.

Green Day, “Homecoming,” American Idiot (2004)

I started fuckin’ running
Just as soon as my feet touched the ground.
We’re back in the barrio,
But to you and me that’s Jingletown.

"Jingletown" sounds so fictitiously named that I hadn’t realized until now that it’s a real neighborhood in Oakland. And this after earlier in the song Billie Joe makes reference to a “facility on East 12th Street” — which is just nearby, it turns out. 

I’m maybe thinking about adding a brief two day visit to San Francisco to my coming US wanderings; I’ve finally found the town intriguing after it having been for so long a bit of a void in terms of my American knowledge. (I mean: hippies, Kerouac, Green Day, Jawbreaker, the Transamerica Pyramid, Nancy Pelosi, tech companies, UC Berkeley, E-40, Mac Dre, hyphy, Castro, the Zodiac killer, expensive real estate — it’s a longish list but it doesn’t really resolve into a coherent whole. Perhaps that’s because San Francisco, like New Orleans, is a city that can’t be understood at all through its skyline?)

Anyway, maybe I’ll take a couple days to drive up Highway 1 from LA to SF before flying to Seattle.


Persia ft. Daddies Plastik, “Google Google Apps Apps” (2013)

the20000:

beatonna:

niaking:

If you live in the Bay, and are not choosing to be willfully ignorant, you probably already know that gentrification is a huge problem here. San Francisco’s proximity to Silicon Valley has attracted a lot of techie-type young professionals who are pushing out SF’s previous residents, especially those that are low income people of color. Those displaced are often moving to the East Bay, pushing the East Bay’s low-income residents of color out into far-flung suburbs with little of the resources the “inner-city” provides, such as public transit. Nothing I’ve said so far is anything that hasn’t already been said over and over again.

Resistance to gentrification takes many forms. Some, like Causa Justa and the Right to the City Alliance organize against evictions and foreclosures. Others, like local Barry Jenkins, make thoughtful films like Medicine for Melancholy, a love letter to the city of San Francisco lamenting the fact that many people of color can no longer afford to live there. And then you have Miss Persia and Daddie$ Pla$tik.

When I first saw Miss Persia and Daddie$ Pla$tik perform at Marga Gomez’s Comedy Bodega at Esta Noche in the Mission, I knew immediately I was witnessing something amazing. As someone who wrote my undergraduate thesis on the power of queer and trans people of color’s performance art, I recognized the performance of “Google Apps” as protest art, the likes of which I had never seen before. Even as I watched the performance, I didn’t feel like my mind was open enough to fully comprehend what I was witnessing. Which is why I’m really glad they made a video.

Though the slowly atrophying academic part of my brain is tempted to do a close reading, I will not interpret every line for you. That would be like reading a choose-your-own-adventure book where all your adventures are already chosen for you. I will say that I disagree with the interpretation of the video/song’s message as xenophobic. It’s pretty clear to me that Miss Persia and Daddie$ Pla$tik don’t want to be white, they just want to be able to stay in their homes.

What else can I say about this video? It’s hilarious, it’s obscene, and it’s poignant. Though thousands more words are sure to be spent explaining and opining on the housing crisis in the Bay Area, perhaps none will do so more successfully or succinctly than “Moving to the East Bay/Living life the broke way/SF keep your money/F*** your money!”

Someone give a comedy performance award to the performer who delivers the line “I don’t know?”

Around 1:45 for voting members without time to spare.

If you watch this video you can see San Francisco’s problem, and it’s not gentrification, it’s that all of the shots of the urban landscape show low-rise buildings.

Rents are going up in San Francisco because it’s a really good place to live, and that means people will spend more of their money for the chance to live there. That sucks if you don’t have a lot of money!

Fortunately, there’s a solution: Build more San Francisco.

The city appears to be engaging in a wide array of overlapping efforts to subsidize/preserve a mostly fixed stock of “affordable” housing via rent control initiatives and strong tenant’s rights at SROs and largely ignoring the possibility of creating more housing. If you look at the city’s zoning map (PDF) you’ll see that the vast majority of San Francisco’s land mass is zoned for fairly rinky-dink structures including places that are along BART/Muni routes or clearly within walking/biking distance of the central business district.

[…]

There’s zero possibility for sprawl inside the city of San Francisco (it’s all built out), so you either build up or you just don’t build. And the preference, apparently, is to not build. That way you preserve the existing physical plant and handle “affordability” as a question of allocating an increasingly scarce resource. I’d say San Francisco is a nice place—great quality of life, strong tech sector, high wages—and it would be good to actually make it more plentiful. But that means building.

Like I said earlier this week, about a place that is in some ways similar to San Francisco — though rents are even higher — you can’t keep rich people out of your city. (Nor should you have the right to. People should be able to live wherever they like in a free country.) But you can stop them from pushing your rent up to a point where you can no longer afford to live there. And the way to do that is to increase density. 


You DO realize that Kanye West is the King of Chicago rap, right? You’re not going to bitch and moan about minor trivialities, right? “Oh, well he doesn’t live here anymore!” What are you, high? The conflict, the shit-talking, the willingness to speak his mind about damn near anything you can have an opinion on, the sense of humor, the transparent aspiration to do more and do it better. Hell, the man IS Chicago.

Ernest Wilkins, “The King of the City: The Best Rapper in 13 Hip-Hop Meccas,” Complex, August 28, 2013

This whole article is great. I also enjoy Jeff Weiss on L.A.:

With last October’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick achieved a unanimous municipal appeal unseen since 2Pac. A punk friend told me that he was all she listened to in her car—same with her hardcore friends. At the grocery store, a black woman in a head wrap and floral print dress overheard me talking about Kendrick’s verse on “Control.”

“I just love Kendrick,” she interrupted with the enthusiasm of someone who hadn’t liked a young rapper in a long time. “He’s so talented, but he’s so humble.”

Humble is the last word I’d use to describe someone who issued one of the most brazen West Coast proclamations since Snoop came through and crushed the buildings. But this contradiction illustrates the depth of Kendrick’s appeal. You rarely sense that you know him personally, but you feel like you understand and relate. His opinions are open to interpretation, but the characters and themes are clear and three-dimensional. Like 2Pac, Kendrick is a vessel for many to project their dreams, politics, and personality quirks.

And Willy Staley on E-40 and the Bay Area:

At he settles into middle age, at 46 years old, it might seem an odd time to crown Earl “E-40” Stevens the King of the Bay. But then again, Jerry Brown, the governor of California — a place more associated with youth and vigor than, say, Michigan — is 75. The parallels between 40’s career and Brown’s are worth pointing out. They were promising as youngsters, rising through the ranks of their respective establishments through pluck and verve. In the mid-aughts, both men—neither originally from Oakland — decided they would try to become that city’s mayor. Brown did so officially, and succeeded. E-40 tried to do it with stripped-down Lil Jon beats and failed, possibly deflating the whole ascendant Bay Area scene with it — but not before countless Volvos had rolled driverless down suburban blocks from Vallejo to Maine, much to the delight of a nation new to YouTube.