Indie Proverbs

Saw “A Serious Man” about a month ago and “The Box” last night. The gist of both stories being, basically, humans are fallible but Karma will still get us in the end…heavy underlying religious themes in both. What is with the sudden rash of indie film moral quandry mongering? Actually really enjoyed both films. When I saw “A Serious Man,” it was in a theater and the audience erupted in nervous laughter at the ending. It was much like that line in “A Day In the Life.” A crowd of people turned away…

La Loteria…

I’ve just randomly discovered that those eerie images one sees on Downtown area folkart matchbooks and wooden ladder games does indeed have a history…You know, the images of “The Mermaid” and “El Diablo” and “El Corazon?” The official name is Loteria and it’s yet another example of wild and uncultivated mythology echoing Appalachian English Folk Songs or the African pantheons in Santeria

Loteria is one among many semi-ancient traditions still alive in Mexico by way of long journeys through history, migration and traditional lore. It is part Tarot, part “bingo” game and part esoteric mystery cult. The cards are the symbolic answers to riddles or rather the question to each answer, like a Jeapordy game hosted by the Sphynx…

A guide to Loteria Riddles
“The Blanket of the Poor” equals The Sun
“He that sang to St. Peter will not return to sing again” is The Rooster

There’s not a lot out on the web re the deeper meaning of all this, but being who I am I am of course about to go all Robert Graves on it and traverse the wilds of the electronic frontier to delve into the history and meaning of it all. Armchair Mythologists of the world unite and take over…


Currently listening :
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
By Neutral Milk Hotel
Release date: 1998-02-10


I am inexplicably queasy this morning. End of summer migraine weirdness. It is a Monday in August of a year in which our cultural and societal debt is being referred to third party collections and our planet is on the verge of being repossessed by the forces of nature. It’s a scary time to be alive, I guess. Yet somehow we persist. Maybe out of a desire to see what happens next. How can we possibly get ourselves out of this mess. Tune in next week to see…

Detritus: Giant sucking noise that is poverty edition…

As most of you well know, from recent or current experience, poverty sucks! Because once you’re down, my loves, they keep kicking you, is pretty much how it goes, or whatever. Things that suck the most:

1)The people who are most patient with you and therefore most deserving will invariably get paid last and latest because you are forced to deal first with those who threaten to sue you, take your kids away, cut off your utilities, etc.

2)It’s more expensive to be poor than middle class. Duh, that’s how they keep you there. Raise your hands all ye who in the past year have run out of gas due to only filling the tank $5 at a time or had your phone service shut off or gathered enough spare change from around your house for a dollar burger at McDonalds only to come up three cents short. Bonus points if you still have a checking account and have had your entire paycheck eaten by bank fees or have had to go to the emergency room due to lack of health insurance lately. There is an undeclared tax on poverty and once you’re down it’s all but impossible not to stay there.

3)People who are not in your boat can be judgemental pricks, like poverty needs to be punished or something. Favorite examples of this are the following:

“You go out too much. I bet you could save a lot of money by not going out.”

In actuality, I go “out” only every couple of weeks or so and never pay more than about $3 – $6 to get in. I don’t drink when I’m there. I don’t rent movies the rest of the week. I don’t buy beer. I don’t spend any money on grooming products beyond $1 bottles of shampoo and toothpaste, I spend maybe $20 or so per year on clothes at thrift stores and that’s it. Don’t begrudge me my small entertainments because you think all poor people should suffer or all things worth doing involve drinking/vast expenditures of cash.

“You need to drop your cable because poor people can’t afford cable”

My boyfriend has cable. He now lives in my home and pays for the cable here that he would have had elsewhere. He is not responsible for my bills and has in spite of this has helped me out a great deal monetarily, in addition to helping me squeak by each month with his share of the rent and other bills. I’m not going to respond to his help by demanding that he drop his cable and give me the money for it. Ditto anyone who demands I settle outstanding amounts owed by “just borrowing the money from him” like he’s the bank of my misfortune and like he hasn’t already put off his dog’s $1600 operation to keep me from going without groceries ot child care money. And double fuck you bonus points to anyone who suggested putting the dog to sleep and then borrowing the money(more than one person, I shite you not.)

“If you just budget wisely, you’ll have money.”

Hmmm…nothing divided by seven days a week still equals…nothing. I’m not fucking frittering the funds away, I never made them in the first place. I am poor because I was fucking living hand to mouth and then got divorced and have to support myself and half the expenses of my kids on clerical wages and deal with the stupid ass financial disasters I inherited upon the breakup. Let he who is without sin cast the first aspersion and tell me how I can cut my expenses by cutting out my $6 a month entertainment budget.

“Please call back 1-800-unlastnamedcollectionserf at extension 456897 regarding a very important business matter.”
Yeah, I’m so right on that. Like you could ruin my credit worse. Get the fuck in line for gettng blood out of this particular turnip.

I just have to pray that it will get better. Happy with my job, my relationship and my kids. Make enough to pay my basic bills except what I owe retroactively. Not as likely to off myself as previously. Nor as likely to lose my sanity. Just got to make it through this last little bout of fuckedness. Karma will catch up to me someday, right?

“The punk rock’ll kill you if the government don’t get you first…”)
-Rhett Miller of The Old 97s

So, I’m in the running for a door cashier gig at Club Congress…

Who would ever have guessed someday I’d have a job interview that included the question “How would you describe The Sweat Band to someone who’d never heard them?”
Or that I’d get a chance to interview with a real live Sand Ruby?
Oh, the glamourness of my life…

“The punk rock’ll kill you if the government don’t get you first…”
-Rhett Miller of The Old 97s

Days Of Thanks And Chaos…

About time I wrote something, I guess…
Friday limbo, was playing Nick Cave and Leadbelly and songs from an old lover. Day After Blues, wandering, newspaper brooding in the Dinosaur MacDonalds, bookstore lingering over hot chocoolate and idiot shoppers with my sweet little girls whov’e learned a Tom Waits song. Sarah sings it “remember the girl with the sun in her eyes and I’ll kiss you” then she blows a little kiss “and then I’ll be gone…” My punk rock little Maggie sings “and I’ll kiss you and then I’ll be sick!” and laughs riotously. Watched the movie “Seven” which I’d never managed to sit all the way through before and TOTALLY called the ending. Good movie, though. And then…

…Twas the Day After Thanksgiving and the liqour was flowing, the bonfires raging, the music pouring out of the living room and it was to be expected and it was good. The stragglers left long after the first morning’s light and Jesse referred to the sunrise as “God’s morning boner.”Sang “In the Pines” and “Willing” and “Oldest Story In The World” and “I Don’t Want To Me A Soldier” and “Designs On You” and several Forkan originals of old and new and much Stones and Zeppelin and who and the strangest guitar blues rock Iggy Pop style multiphasic eighties pop song medly. Made some promises to learn and sing and practice songs for future reference and so I will. And the the lord hath spake and apparently was happy to see us that morning. Happy birthday Mike, another year you’re still alive which is more than some of us can say…

“Good manners and bad breath will bet you nowhere…”
-Elvis Costello

Things learned whilst researching a song, part 1…

From “Welcome To Leadbelly Homepage:

Huddie William Ledbetter was born on January 29, 1885 on the Jeter Plantation near Mooringsport, Louisiana. He was the only child of his parents Wesley and Sally. Huddie and his parents moved to Leigh, Texas when he was five and it was there that he became interested in music, encouraged by his uncle Terrell who bought Huddie his first musical instrument, an accordion.

It was some years later when Huddie picked up the guitar but by the age of 21 he had left home to wander around Texas and Louisiana trying to make his living as a musician. Over the next ten years Huddie wandered throughout the southwest eking out an existence by playing guitar when he could and working as a laborer when he had to.

Huddie Ledbetter was the world’s greatest cotton picker, railroad track liner, lover, and drinker as well as guitar player. This assertion came from no less an authority on the matter than Huddie himself. Since not everyone agreed with his opinion Huddie frequently found himself obliged to convince them. His convincing frequently landed him in jail.

In 1916 Huddie was in jail in Texas on assault charges when he escaped. He spent the next two years under the alias of Walter Boyd. But then after he killed a man in a fight he was convicted of murder and sentenced to thirty years of hard labor at Huntsville, Texas’ Shaw State Prison Farm. After seven years he was released after begging pardon from the governor with a song:

Please, Governor Neff, Be good ‘n’ kind
Have mercy on my great long time…
I don’t see to save my soul
If I don’t get a pardon, try me on a parole…
If I had you, Governor Neff, like you got me
I’d wake up in the mornin’ and I’d set you free

Pat Neff was convinced by the song and by Huddie’s assurances that he’d seen the error of his ways. Huddie left Huntsville a free man. But in 1930 he was arrested, tried, and convicted of attempted homicide.

It was in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in July 1933 that Huddie met folklorist John Lomax and his son Alan who were touring the south for the Library of Congress collecting unwritten ballads and folk songs using newly available recording technology. The Lomaxes had discovered that Southern prisons were among the best places to collect work songs, ballads, and spirituals but Leadbelly, as he now called himself, was a particular find.

Over the next few days the Lomaxes recorded hundreds of songs. When they returned in the summer of 1934 for more recordings Leadbelly told them of his pardon in Texas. As Allen Lomax tells it, “We agreed to make a record of his petition on the other side of one of his favorite ballads, ‘Goodnight Irene’. I took the record to Governor Allen on July 1. On August 1 Leadbelly got his pardon. On September 1 I was sitting in a hotel in Texas when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up and there was Leadbelly with his guitar, his knife, and a sugar bag packed with all his earthly belongings. He said, ‘Boss, you got me out of jail and now I’ve come to be your man'”

In 1935 Lomax took Leadbelly North where he became a sensation. Leadbelly remained Leadbelly. After hearing Cab Calloway sing in Harlem he announced that he could “beat that man singin’ every time”. His inclination toward violent resolution of conflicts, though mellowed, lead to threatening Lomax with a knife which effectively ended their friendship. Nevertheless by 1940 Leadbelly had become well known in the recording industry. Over the next 9 years Leadbelly’s fame and success continued to increase until he fell ill while on a European Tour. Tests revealed that he suffered from lateral sclerosis and he died on December 6, 1949.

(Adapted from the liner notes to “Leadbelly, Alabama Bound” by executive producer Billy Altman, on RCA Records.)