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Archive for the ‘Allergies’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DAVID CROSBY & THE LIGHTHOUSE BAND-Tiny Desk #876 (August 7, 2019).

I had more or less assumed that David Crosby was done with music.  He seemed more of a punchline than anything else lately.  He hadn’t put out much in the way of music in the last decade or so.  But the new Lighthouse album was getting some positive reviews.

It seems odd that he’s never been on a Tiny Desk before, but then again, he hasn’t done much lately to warrant it.  Nevertheless, here he and his band are.

Moments before the first note at the Tiny Desk, David Crosby needed the mics rearranged: He asked that his microphone be positioned evenly with the rest of his band mates, rather than in front of them, explaining that while his name is the one on the marquee, The Lighthouse Band has no hierarchy.

That band is an inter-generational ensemble, featuring Snarky Puppy bandleader and bassist Michael League, as well as guitarist Becca Stevens and keyboardist Michelle Willis, both accomplished singers and songwriters in their own right. They all first came together while the members were collaboratively writing and recording for Crosby’s 2016 album Lighthouse. Everybody sings in this band, trading lead vocals for harmonies and vice-versa in just about every combination.

The Lighthouse Band sounds fantastic and Crosby really does take a back seat to the younger musicians.

“What Are Their Names” is a political song sung in a capella style.  It is short and smart

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand
What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I’d like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask

Crosby sings lead on “Looks In Their Eyes.”  His voice still sounds pretty good–although he’s not pushing too hard.  Becca Stevens has a wonderful high voice.

Before “Other Half Rule” Crosby says that this is a song about asking women to take over the world–you couldn’t possibly do any worse.  Michael League sings lead (his voice is much better than Crosby’s).  Becca and Michelle sing the second verse and sound terrific together.  The design of this song is very CSN&Y and you can certainly hear their voices in the harmonies.  I also really like the part where Becca plays a lead riff on the electric 12-string in between strums from Michael.

Then they play the classic “Woodstock” with a new arrangement but still wonderful harmonies.  This is a fantastic song in any version and this version is pretty great.

[READ: August 2019] Snotgirl Vol. 1

I loved Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim books.  The whole story was funny and the artwork was great.

This series is written by O’Malley, so it has a lot of the really funny moments like Scott Pilgrim did.  But it is drawn by leslie Hung, so the style is very different.

Hung’s drawing style is quite pretty, which befits the character-a fashion blogger.  Now, Scott Pilgim took O’Malley’s style and made the humor exaggerated.  Hung’s more pretty style is a contrast to O’Malley’s content.  It kind of works, although it almost deemphasizes the humor.

So what we have is a story about a vapid LA fashion blogger and, honestly, its not that interesting.  Scott Pilgrim was a loser, but his story was funny and interesting.  But Lottie might be too vapid to be interesting. Lottie’s biggest problem is that she has allergies (hence Snotgirl).

Is it possible to build a story around that?  Possibly not.

It starts with O’Malley’s humor as he introduces the characters.  Each woman gets a tag:

Lottie Person; Fashion Blogger; Style: effortlessly chic; Age: 25 3/4

Then her two best friends:
Megan Foster “Normgirl”; Style: boring, normie; Age 23? 27? don’t care
Misty Sutton “Cutegirl” Fashion blogger; Style: too cute; Age ???

She has to give everyone a nickname because she can’t keep anyone straight otherwise.

Then we see the first crisis of Lottie’s life.  Her ex-boyfriend Sunny Day is now dating her former intern, Charlene.  Charlene is younger, but thankfully not cuter.

While Lottie is freaking out about this she meets a pretty woman, Caroline, who orders the same weird coffee as her.  Lottie calls her “Coolgirl.”  Coolgirl knows of Lottie and follows her blog.  Coolgirl is an aspiring fashion blogger herself (good grief how many are there?).

Coolgirl is so cool, she forgot her phone and she’s living her life anyway.  Who does that?

Lottie goes to her allergist, but it’s a new fellow, a hot young guy who gives her a new experimental drug.

That night she meets Coolgirl at the bar (Lottie doesn’t normally go out). She has an allergy attack and runs to the restroom to hide her snot and take her new pills.  But Coolgirl barges in on her to se that she’s okay.  She laughs and calls Lottie “Snottie.”  Lottie seems to black out and when she wakes up, Coolgirl is dead on the floor.

But the next day (Lottie has no memory of getting home) there is no word of a dead girl anywhere in the news.  She;s pretty freaked out until her new intern, Esther Dumont (Style: my intern; Age unpaid) arrives to make all of Lottie’s problems go away.  [It’s staggering to think that Lottie would have an intern].

Lottie goes out for coffee with her “friends,” the haters club.  Charlene works at this coffee shop.  [I love that Charlene looks like Heather my favorite character from AP Bio, although this is from 2017, so its clearly a coincidence].  Charlene puts Lottie milk in her coffee (Lottie is lactose intolerant, of course) and that’s the last straw.

Then there’s a new character introduced, a detective.  His name is John Cho (no relation to the beloved actor).  Hes 27, and rising star with the LAPD. Now that he’s been made a detective he can unleash his greatest skill: Fashion!  This is such a wonderful O’Malley joke and delivery, that I wish it paid off more.  Cho is a huge fan of Lottie’s blog and believes her to be perfect in real life.  Their paths will cross later.

Later that night at a party Charlene and Sunny Day are there. Charlene is wearing one of Lottie’s old dresses (Esther the intern sold it to her).  Lottie gets right in her face and yells “Take everything. Take my dress, take Sunny, you’re nothing but a stalker and worse than that, you’re a fake!”

But when Charlene says she saw Lotte go into the bathroom with the pretty girl and she knows what Lottie did, well Lottie can’t deal and she pushes Charlene into the pool.

And yet just as things seem their worst, Lottie gets a text from Cool girl.  She is at the party too.  She’s not dead.

On New Year’s Eve, Lottie goes out.  Charlene is there and she drunkenly pulls up her dress at Lottie and says, “I’m wearing your panties!”  There is a buzz around the room until Lottie has to tell everyone that they are not hers, she designed them.

Moments later, Lottie is talking to Charlene on the roof.  Charlene is in tears and Lottie feels like she wants to help this crazy girl.  But as the new year chimes in Coolgirl sees the two of them and jealously pushes Charlene off the roof.

What kind of story is this?

I found this book really hard to read.  Not because of the text girl speak (although that was annoying) but because the characters are so unpleasant and dull.  The first few chapters were meant as exposition I guess, but they were expository of characters that were hard to distinguish and seem ultimately irrelevant.

And again, the concept that Lottie’s biggest concern is allergies is hard to imagine as the basis for a story.

I’m not dying to read the other two books, but I want to give O’Malley the benefit of the doubt.

 

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