Thursday, May 31, 2007

My third piece for Esquire is here:

The Soul Singer in the Shadows

She was Miles Davis' second wife with a killer set of pipes and attitude to spare. For the first time in decades, Betty Davis talks about walking away from the business.

By Litsa Dremousis

5/31/2007, 10:01 AM

If you listen for it, it's there.
The faint hint of a growl, like a Bengal tiger rising from a nap. "It doesn't matter," she says when asked if she prefers to be called "Betty" or "Ms. Davis" and the voice is unmistakably that of the legendary funk songstress, the woman who roared "I said if I'm in luck/ I just might get picked up" at the start of her self-titled debut, Betty Davis, thirty-four years ago.

Light in the Attic Records has just re-issued Davis' first two discs, Betty Davis and 1974's They Say I'm Different, Molotov cocktails of sticky sex and unchained rhythmic propulsion. To support the re-releases, she agrees to what is only her seventh interview in the past three decades, conducted by phone from her home in Pittsburgh. She is engaged but reticent, politely and frequently answering questions with the fewest words possible. When asked if her epoch-defining years sometimes feel as if they happened to someone else, her reply is a single snare drum kick with zero elaboration: "Yes."


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Too fucking tired to concoct a witty headline using the word "filter":

My review of the Betty Davis reissues, Betty Davis and They Say I'm Different, is in the current print issue of Filter and online now:

I interviewed Annie Stela in the fall and it ran in Filter's Winter '07 print issue. It went online earlier this week:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Best Sitemeter discovery ever:

Someone in Hsinying, Taiwan landed here tonight after Googling
"pull your shit together".

Intelligence and stupidity crop up everywhere, so you can't assume the Justice Department is...

...idiot-free, any more than you can assume the guy who rang up my organic tomato soup yesterday doesn't have Proust tucked in his messenger bag. (The latter is entirely possible: it's one of the things I like most about Seattle.)

That said, isn't there some sort of bar you have to clear, some nominal I.Q. requirement, that precludes the Justice Department hiring someone whose legal reasoning skills amount to:

"I know I crossed the line. But I didn't mean to."

Perhaps Monica Goodling's next job should involve a doodle pad and colored pens.

From Reuters:

[Sidenote: Yes, editor friends, I know there should be question mark outside the above quotation marks. It's ineffective in this context.]

Monday, May 21, 2007

Damned near perfect:

  • Mary J. Blige's vocals on "One" with U2
  • Fuji apples with Adam's Peanut Butter (creamy)
  • Traipsing through Washington Square Park when it's 72 degrees and sunny
  • Grabbing cashew chicken at Ballet 3 p.m. on a weekday when it's practically empty, accompanied by the new issue of Vanity Fair
  • Each item of clothing in which Ava Gardner was ever photographed
  • Adrian Lester's performance in Primary Colors
  • Patricia Bosworth's biography of Diane Arbus
  • Sinatra's Live in '57
  • Red Mill onion rings
  • Hemingway's depiction of friendship, love and rivalry among writers in A Moveable Feast
  • Reading Betty and Veronica comic books in the backyard as a kid
  • The birdnest in the tree near my front door
  • Aveda tangerine oil
  • Vincent Longo lipstain
  • That night

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm in the pre-move excavation process...

...and finding all sorts of ephemera accrued over the years. Thought I'd share this one:

From Mr. Eggers' June 2004 Spin Magazine column:

"So my question: Is there some genetic strain that runs through the Newsom family that makes them courageous, and even a little crazy? And is there any doubt that the two traits must always coexist? You never find courage without a touch of madness, and to live with madness in any quantity you must be strong as an ox."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Because this one seems pertinent tonight:

"Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile I caught hell for."--Chief Justice Earl Warren

Monday, May 07, 2007

Elizabetha Regina, Head of the Commonwealth, Lord High Admiral, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Deliverer of Cockpunches

I have nothing but disdain for liberals who believe hating George Bush is the same as articulating and embracing a cogent ideology. (I was at a party recently where the assembled basically stated that the U.S. had done nothing good in the past 50 years. Ignoring, of course, that this is merely an inversion of right-wing principles.)

That said, I think the current administration is corrupt and hubristic and venal. From the mangled execution of the Iraq war to NIH policy that classifies women in their menstruating years as "pre-pregnant" to the president's illogical tax cuts to the absence of habeus corpus after several years for Guantanamo detainees to the still-shocking fallout from Katrina to the Alberto Gonzales hearings to ignoring the science of climate change (and this, obviously, is an abbreviated list), the W. years have been, in many ways, an umitigated disaster.

Which is why it is my sincerest hope that, at tonight's White House dinner in her honor, Queen Elizabeth cock-punches George Bush with the full force of Zeus. Really, who better to pull this off than Britain's venerated monarch? Her own security detail, who probably view Bush as an uncouth and lobotomized ruffian, are unlikely to stop her. And what can the Secret Service do? Throw her to the parquet floor? Taze her? Abscond with her hat? She's the freaking Queen. Plus, she's 81 years old and unlikely to return to D.C. soon. It doesn't matter if she's crossed off Camp David's guest list. And with anti-U.S. sentiment at an all-time high in England, this presents a unique opportunity for Her Majesty to bolster favor among the Brits.

And if she nutmegs Cheney, I'll walk the Corgis for a year.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


1) Patton Oswalt's upcoming Werewolves and Lollipops is funnier than dog crap on your sister-in-law's Puma and smarter than a Richie Cunningham science project.

Order here:

2) The more someone purports to be enlightened, the more she or he will be a complete fucking douche nozzle when it comes to understanding chronic illness.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007