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Archive for the ‘Minx’ Category

tokenSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Inactive” (2014).

alAs I mentioned, there are only four songs from Al’s new album that he didn’t make videos for.  The biggest surprise to me is that one of the songs is this parody of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (a song that, I’m not supposed to like but which I do).  Al’s parody is fantastic, but, given that it’s about being inactive (and is kind of gross) it would probably make for a very disturbing video.

The song begins sounding just like the original (of course) and we soon learn that the protagonist is, well, really inactive, (it makes me laugh that this song about inactivity is so upbeat and anthemic, although I think their “Woah oh ohs” are a bit more lethargic than the original.  I love how he spoofed the breathing-in section by saying he’s using his inhaler.

And then as with many of Al’s couch potato songs, this one gets into some funny details–he hates the show he’s watching but can’t reach the remote control, he’s growing cobwebs on his feet, etc.

The song ends “really inactive, not so attractive.”  It’s actually quite a depressing song, but strangely funny.  It’s also one of my favorite songs on a disc filled with favorites.

[READ: August 2, 2014] Token

Token was the final Minx book I read.  it was also coincidentally the final Minx book published.  I read it last because it was the hardest one to find (my library didn’t have it).  And that is a shame because it was easily the best book of the series.  I had complained earlier that there weren’t that many female authors in this series, so it was nice to see a female author and artist in this book.

Token is about Shira, a 15-year-old Jewish girl living in Miami Beach.  She is nerdy, she is overdeveloped (double D?) and yet unpopular.  The hot blonde girls make fun of her and she spends most of her time with her grandma and Aunt Minerva.  The popular girls even make a big point of disinviting her to their sweet 16s.  Shira’s 16th birthday is coming up, and it seems unlikely that she will have a big party at all.

Shira doesn’t mind all that much, because her dad is always kind to her and she and her old lady friends watch movies together and make her feel better about herself.   Although really that’s not a replacement for the kind of friends she wants.

Speaking of replacements. her father, a high-powered lawyer, has just started dating his secretary Linda (Shira’s mom is dead).  Shira and her dad have always been close, and she is suspicious of this new fling–she doesn’t understand the appeal of Linda (although Linda seems very nice).   Shira starts acting out a little which her father takes very badly.  But her father also starts breaking rules–encouraging Shira to eat an un-Kosher meal that Linda has made, for instance. (more…)

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kimie66SOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Inactive” (2014).

alAs I mentioned, there  are only four songs from Al’s new album that he didn’t make videos for.  The biggest surprise to me is that one of the songs is this parody of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (a song that, I’m not supposed to like but which I do).  Al’s parody is fantastic, but, given that it’s about being inactive (and is kind of gross) it would probably make for a very disturbing video.

The song begins sounding just like the original (of course) and we soon learn that the protagonist is, well, really inactive, (it makes me laugh that this song about inactivity is so upbeat and anthemic, although I think their “Woah oh ohs” are a bit more lethargic than the original.  I love how he spoofed the breathing-in section by saying he’s using his inhaler.

And then as with many of Al’s couch potato songs, this one gets into some funny details–he hates the show he’s watching but can’t reach the remote control, he’s growing cobwebs on his feet, etc.

The song ends “really inactive, not so attractive.”  It’s actually quite a depressing song, but strangely funny.  It’s also one of my favorite songs on a disc filled with favorites.

[READ: July 27, 2014] kimmie66

This book was written and drawn by Aaron Alexovich.  Alexovich drew the other Minx title Confessions of a Blabbermouth.  And his drawing style is much the same here–a little wild, a little crazy and, his virtual world is also convincingly different (much like the situation in Blabbermouth).

I wasn’t too keen on the story when it first opened.  It is set in the future (23rd century, we find out later) and is all about how most people spend their time in the virtual world, in specially created lairs that meet their desires.  This is a fairly old trope, although given that this book is 7 years old, it may not have been all that old at the time, so I’ll cut him some slack.  But anyhow, it starts off with all this jargon and such about 23rd century VR and whatnot.  And I was a little, well, uncompelled.  But then Alexovich brings in a human element and the story quickly grows very interesting.

So kimmie66 is not the main character exactly.  The main character is Telly, a young girl who spends most of her time in the virtual lair “Elysium” a kind of goth hangout (Alexovich’s style can most easily be labelled goth, even if that is a very simplified description).  Telly is pretty much herself in her virtual world–she looks pretty much exactly like her real life appearance.  This is uncommon, of course, since most people make their idealized selves online.  Like her friend nakokat (she amusingly points out, nako means cat, so her name is cat cat).  She loves nakokat, but doesn’t know anything about her in real life.  And then there’s her friend kimmie66 who has just sent Telly a suicide note.

Kimmie66 is the daughter of the founder of the TenSys, a company that makes “Minisoft” look puny.  And Telly doesn’t know if kimmie66 has really killed herself or not, but it seems that kimmie66 or someone like her is appearing in all of the different virtual lairs–something that is forbidden.  And she seems rather ghostly in all of them.  What is going on?

She calls in the help of Coil, a guy who hangs out in her brother’s lair (a scary place where half the people’s avatars are creepy ghosts)  A word on the lairs–although they were kind of simplistic in terms of content, i really liked them, especially this clown one.  It was weird and funny.  Coil thinks that kimmie66 is just playing–a poor rich girl–until he realizes that something bigger is going on.  Something that could threaten all of the lairs.

It is only when Telly meets kimmie66’s real life mom, the founder of Tensys, that she learns exactly what is going on, and it’s pretty intense.

This story proved to be far more interesting and thoughtful than I imagined from the beginning, and I really enjoyed the end did not reject technology but it did suggest that there was more to life than VR.  And again, tha drawing style complimented it perfectly (and was pretty cool looking).

 

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ny4SOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“My Own Eyes” (2014).

myownThere are only four songs from Al’s new album that he didn’t make videos for.  This song really didn’t grab me right away the way the other ones did.  I have learned that it is a style parody of the Foo Fighters.  I kind of see it, but I feel like it doesn’t quite convey the Foo Fighters well enough.

There’s something odd about the verses as well.  Like maybe there’s too many words?  Or maybe because he’s singing them so fast they are hard to parse?  The chorus is really great and catchy, as Foo Fighters songs are, but this is probably my least favorite song on the disc.  Of course that’s surprising since I usually like his heavier songs.

But if he plays it live, the chorus will totally rock, so that’s alright too.

[READ: July 14, 2014] The New York Four

This was probably my least favorite of all the Minx books so far.  And the reason was actually a combination of the  story and the art that I didn’t like so much.  I have been intrigued by how many stories about girls there are which are written by boys.  Not that they can’t write them, but I’m surprised there weren’t more women writers in this series.  Of course, I didn’t much care for Burnout either, so gender knows no bounds.

This story is set in New York City.  Our main protagonist is Riley.  Riley lives in Brooklyn but has just started going to NYU.  Her sister was a wild child who left the family and went out on her own.  This has made her parents very protective of Riley, and she rather resents that (she was ten when her sister took off though, so she doesn’t really remember her).

The first double spread page is an example of why I didn’t like the art so much.  Over a wonderfully drawn intersection of Broadway and Houston Street we get this superimposed kinda cartoony but not quite image of Riley coming up the subway stairs.  She looks green screened in, and I find it very distracting.  Indeed all of the characters seem too big for the page, which was probably intentional, but which I just don’t like. (more…)

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burnoutSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Mission Statement” (2014).

missionThis was the final video pre-release from “Weird Al”‘s new album.  I’m not sure why he didn’t make videos for the other four songs, but whatever.

Man, do I love this song.  This is a style parody of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young, I guess).  It’s not exactly meant to be “Suite Judy Blue Eyes,” but that’s probably the biggest touchstone, especially after the middle and end parts kick in.  Aside from the music (and harmonies) being perfectly spot on what is so genius about this song is the lyrics.

The lyrics themselves are four and a half minutes of corporate mission statements.  I have been involved in two companies’ creation of mission statements, and while non has been as ponderous and jargony as this one (I haven’t actually tried to parse if there is actually anything being said at all here).  But to throw this corporate nonsense as a CSN&Y song is just outstanding.  If the hippies every sold out, this is what they would have made.  And it is stellar.  I hope he plays this live, because I can’t imagine how hard it would be to memorize these lyrics since they don’t actually say anything, but are actual English words.

I love the idea of CSN&Y harmonzing “monetize our assets.”

The video is a hand drawn (you can see the hand) hippie cartoon.  It’s funny and spot on to the theme of the song.

[READ: July 15, 2014] Burnout

This was one of my least favorite Minx books in the short series.  I was poisoned against it right from the start because I don’t particularly care for stories about, well, about divorced mothers getting mixed up with trashy/drunken men who abuse their sons and intimidate the divorced mom’s daughters.   I don’t know how common a trope that is, but this felt pretty story-of-the-week right from the get go.

Danni and her mom are moving to Elkridge, Oregon (pop. 460) to move in with her mom’s boyfriend.  As in all stories where the new boyfriend is a jerk, he’s a jerk right from the start (even yelling at her adorable dog) and the mom tries to convince Danni that he’s not so bad.  The one unexpected thing is that she is forced to share a room with the guy’s son.  (Given their ages, I wouldn’t think the mom would like that).

So the son is hot (in a Danzig sorta way) and has things up all over his room about the environmentalists who are waging war against the loggers.  He also has a locked chest full of stuff (inexplicably right in the center of the room).  That first night he sneaks out the window (on a grappling hook). Did any reader not see that he was doing anti-logging things?  Why can’t characters put two and tow together?  Anyhow, this part of the plot was interesting (even if it could have been handled better) and I was really surprised to have the story turn into a kind of discussion vis a vis the rights of loggers vs the rights of environmentalists. (more…)

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balabSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Lame Claim to Fame” (2014).

lameclaimThis track is a parody of Southern Culture on the Skids, a band I don’t really care about.  So yes that whole southern rock whoo hoo style is not my thing.  So, for this one, I have to go for the lyrics, which are very funny.

This is all about name droppers, and he gives some great examples of people who throw names around to seem impressive.

Once I’m pretty sure Mr. Jonah Hill Was in the very next bathroom stall

My sister used to take piano lessons From the second cousin of Ralph Nader

Well guess what, my birthday and Kim Kardashian’s Are exactly the same

I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy Who know a guy who knows a guy who know Kevin Bacon

I don’t mean to brag but Paul Giamatti’s plumber knows me by name

This is the kind of song that, while I don’t like it musically, will grow on me, and will probably be a lot of fun live.

The video for this one, on the other hand, is pretty fantastic.  It is done in a kind of a paper stop-motion style, with the named-dropped celebrity faces cut out and doing all manner of things.  I usually prefer the Al videos in which he is in them, but this one is really stellar.

[READ: July 19, 2014] Confessions of a Blabbermouth

This book was written by Mike and his daughter Louise Carey.  Louise was 15 at the time and also wrote a column for The London Metropolitan Archive called “Diary of a London School Girl.”  And that makes sense because one of the characters in this story writes a column for a London paper about what it’s like to be a teenager.

But she is not the main character.  The main character is Tasha, an angry, volatile (and very funny) teenager who writes a blog called Blabbermouth.  The blog is where she reveals everything about herself and what’s on her mind.  And what’s on her mind right now is that her mom is dating a new guy named Jed.  And she figures that Jed will be like every other guy her mom has dated–annoying, stupid and paternal.  When she meets him for that first fateful dinner, he proves to be just that.  He’s also utterly uncool calling the blog a “blag” and subtly (and not) telling her that her lifestyle is not a good one.  He even comes into her room after she leaves the dinner table and basically tells her that she had better shape up and be more like his own daughter.

His own daughter, Chloe, is new to Tasha’s class.  Tasha wants to give her a chance, but she proves to be snooty, snotty and rude, especially when she reveals that she writes the column for the paper.  This column also gets her a gig at the yearbook, where Tasha is the student editor.  Chloe won’t play by any of Tasha’s rules, since she is a famous published author.  Obviously this goes right onto Blabbermouth. (more…)

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lilySOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Sports Song” (2014).

sportsNot every Al song is genius.  This original song parodies marching band anthems.  In this case, it comes down to Our team is great.  You Suck.

The music is top notch (the video shows a marching band, and I wonder if they used one for the song).  And lyrically it’s pretty funny (with Al explaining in great detail how their sports team is going to beat the other.

It’s the kind of song that would be fun to sing along with (and I’ll bet it will be a hoot live), but I ‘m not too crazy about my kids singing “You Suck,” so we differ a little on family friendly there (yup, I’m a prude).  As long as it doesn’t replace “Harvey the Wonder Hamster.”

He should have saved this for a Sunday release.

[READ: July 11, 2014] Good as Lily

I’ve enjoyed Derek Kirk Kim’s books quite a bit, so I was delighted to see that he had one with Minx as well.  I have to admit I was a little disappointed with Jesse Hamm’s art because the cover (done by Kim) is just so magnificent (I really like Kim’s style clearly).  Hamm’s work on the other hand is more comic strip than full characters.  That isn’t bad, and actually works well by the end of the story, but it’s quite difference from the sensuous cover art.

So, anyhow this story is about Grace Kwon.  She has just turned 18 and her friends (including her best friend Jeremy) are throwing a big bash in the park.  Things turn out weird when a lady with an ice cream cart gives them a piñata instead of ice cream.  The piñata turns out to be fun at first but it is revealed to have some kind of weird magical powers (of course).  After it lands on Grace’s head as she’s walking home she encounters three other versions of herself–a young six-year-old Grace who only wants to eat, a super-hot 28-year-old version of herself and an old granny-aged version who only smokes and watches TV.  And they all become Grace’s responsibility. (more…)

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jiloveSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Handy” (2014).

handyI had never heard of this song until I heard that it was going to be parodied on Al’s new album.  (I have since heard that it is the song of the summer, so I am clearly living under a rock).  I listened to it a few days ago and hated it.  I couldn’t believe how much it is not a song.  It’s not even a verse, it’s a simple riff repeated over and over–even into the chorus.  By definition, the song should be catchy since if you hear the same four notes over and over for 3 minutes it will get stuck in your head.  Clearly, the selling point is her weird vocal delivery, but that’s more gimmicky than anything else–she doesn’t even have a vocal melody. I don’t get it.

So how did Al turn that not-a-song into this delight of home repair?  I’d say it’s because he actually sings the lines (in his funny delivery) and that his lyrics are interesting (and very funny).  I feel like he turned that idea of a song into an actual song.  And, since I believe his version is faster and shorter, it just feels better overall.

I love how much he throws into the song–he sure knows his handy man speak.  I also like the way he uses the “do dat do dat/screw dat screw dat” lines to his own purpose.  He really breathes life into the “song of the summer,” and in the fall when Iggy Azalea is in the one hit wonder bin, I’ll still be saying I’m so handy”

This video is not on YouTube yet, but you can watch it at Al’s site.

[READ: July 6, 2014] The Plain Janes.

I enjoyed The Plain Janes and this is the sequel.  The problem for me (and I suppose anyone who waits almost exactly 7 years to read the sequel is that there was no recap, even minor, of what went on in the first book.  So that made it a little had to get up to speed.  I mean, I remembered the basic story, but couldn’t remember at all the details.

I guess the story was simple enough, but I had forgotten about John Doe and that Jane’s family left Metro City after a bomb scare.  Regardless, it is a year later and P.L.A.I.N. the art collective is still active and the Janes are still together.

The John Doe from the first story is Miroslav and Jane is writing to him regularly.  Miroslav is an artist as well and he and his girlfriend have been applying for grants (and getting them) to create their one art.  Jane feels that her own group’s art stunts are not big or important enough.  However, the town, especially the Police Chief thinks that P.L.A.I.N. are a gang and he is looking to arrest them (I don’t think the book ever reminds us what P.L.A.I.N. stands form which is kind of a shame too as I can’t remember).

Jane has a new interest close to home as well.  Damon.  I don’t recall if he was in book one, but it sounds like he took the fall for her during a recent art prank.

We also see that there is tension among the Janes.  Theater Jane is pining for a theater boy named Rhys, although since he is far away, she doesn’t hear from him much (but she sure does talk about him a lot).  Jock Jane decides to ask a basketball player out, so she marches over and tells him that they are dating now.  And he agrees (she also can’t stop talking about him).  Science Jane is too shy to ask Melvin out (but keeps talking about him).  The gay boy (whose name I don’t think was given ) is pining for there to be another gay person in the school.

There’s also some drama at home.  There was an anthrax scare and Jane’s mom’s friend was killed by it (she worked at the post office).  This has put Jane’s mom over the edge and she refuses to go outside at all now.  So Jane’s dad is doing everything in his power to make her go outside, including sleeping in a tent.

Then the unthinkable happens P.L.A.I.N. are caught doing an art installation and are sent to do community service.

But what if Jane can actually get a grant like Miroslav?  Can she legally make an artistic change in the community  The arts council has ever given money to a high schooler before, and what could she possibly do that would impress them?

The end of the book is satisfying in many ways, although as with a lot of love stories, the love part doesn’t really make a lot of sense

I was once again mixed on the art.  I like a lot of it, but there were some choices that I didn’t love–sometimes the characters looked really cartoony and sometimes they didn’t, so I wasn’t exactly sure what look he was going for was.  It was clear that these were choices and not flaws, so it was just a matter of my not liking his choices.

Castellucci has a great sense of these characters, i think I’d prefer them in a more fleshed out scenario–maybe a series of novels where each character gets  more time to explore herself.

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waterSOUNDTRACK: TRACY SILVERMAN-Tiny Desk Concert #368 (June 28, 2014).

Ttracyracy Silverman is an electronic violinist. In addition to playing the violin, he uses loops to build his sound (I love how many people are using loops these days).  Not only that, he has created his own violin–a six string with frets on the three low strings.  (It’s also shaped more like a guitar than a violin). He gets an incredible breadth of sound out of it (and he is an amazing violinist as well).

He plays three tracks. The first is “Matisse: La Danse,” which really shows off the breadth of his instrument and the effects that he uses.

The second piece he introduces by saying how much he loves listening to NPR and composer BJ Liederman.  So for the second song, which he calls “Sonata No. 4, Opus 37 “All Notes Considered”” he uses pieces of the themes from All Things Considered and Morning Edition.  It’s at once familiar and new, and it’s quite pretty.  He then takes a video of the studio for his Facebook feed.

The final song “Axis And Orbits/Mojo Perpetuo” opens with a trippy pizzicato section, which sounds echoey and almost underwater.  As that section loops, he plays slow, long bowed notes that seems to bring you into outer space.  By the end, after some interesting scratchy guitar-like sounds, he moves into a much faster solo section which really shows of his chops.

I’d never heard of Silverman before but I was pretty impressed with his technique and technology.  It’s a pretty wild ride of music–such diversity and unexpected sounds our of a simple (or not) violin.

[READ: July 5, 2014] Water Baby

I recognized the art from Ross Campbell immediately.  He writes and draws Wet Moon and I find his style (he draws women who are very powerful and very sexual) arresting and confrontational.  This book almost seems like it doesn’t belong at Minx, which tended to skew a little younger.  Even though these girls prove to be younger than I thought, their dress (or lack of—there’s a lot of underwear and tight shirts) is quite risqué (although it proves to be less explicit that Wet Moon).

The story itself was rather unexpected as well.  Brody is a surfer girl. She has cool punky hair and a rocking bod.  But in the first few pages, she is out on the water when she is attacked by a shark and loses a leg.  When she wakes up her best friend Louisa is there, taking care of her.  Since Brody’s mom is working full time, she asks if she can stay with Louisa —the answer is yes, and Louisa becomes an essential part of Brody’s life.  Many of Campbell’s stories focus on the young people, rather than the parents.

Brody soon learns to use a prosthetic leg (and crutches when necessary), but she can’t stop dreaming about the shark (which gets bigger in her dreams and sometimes has legs or comes through walls—it’s pretty terrifying).

Brody gets a call from Jake, and old boyfriend.  Brody hates Jake now and even says she’s off of boys for good.  But he shows up anyhow—he’s blond and hot and maybe a little stupid.  Stupid or not he is a total mooch and he asks to crash with them for a few days.  Jake is clearly crushing on Brody, but he is also making moves on Louisa (who has bigger boobs and tighter shirts).  He even brings a third girl over to fool around with (which freaks out everyone else in the house). But it’s not until the girls wake up one morning to see that Jake has thrown up all over their house that they evict him—which means an immediate drive to Rochester NY. (more…)

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regifterSOUNDTRACK: CONOR OBERST-Tiny Desk Concert #367 (June 23, 2014).

conoI’ve never been a fan of Conor Oberst (or any of his many bands). I really don’t like his voice, which I admit sounds sometimes like Paul Westerberg, but I’d just rather listen to Paul Westerberg. But one nice thing about watching the Tiny Desk Concerts is that it gets you to focus on a band for fifteen minutes to really see an artist perform.

I still don’t really like Oberst’s voice, but I like his song construction and he seems like a very nice guy. On this current tour, Dawes is his backing band and for the Tiny Desk Concert Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith from Dawes accompany him. And I think they really help the songs grow.

“Time Forget “ is certainly a catchy song and when Dawes kicks in it sounds really good. “Double Life” features a little too much of just Oberst (his voice is really quite wavery at times here—he says it’s early to be singing), but the parts with Dawes are fuller and meatier. “Zigzagging Towards the Light” has very weird backing vocals from the Goldsmiths–I find them unsettling almost like ghosts.   Although Oberst’s voice sounds better here and by the end the song they come together very nicely. “Artifact #1” is a nice collaborative song (I feel like Dawes’ contribution makes the song really shine).

As the show ends, Oberst presents to Bob Boilen an even Tinier Desk which is very funny, and Oberst says he regrets wearing the heavy coat (which does look uncomfortable).

[READ: July 5, 2014] Re-gifters

This was an interesting story about a young girl, Jen Dickson, who has two things going on in her life: lust for a boy and an upcoming Hapkido competition.

Jen (real name Dik Seong Jen, but Koreans put the first name last so it becomes Jen Dickson or Dixie as her friends call her) is excellent at Hapkido—she is intense and channels her anger and energy into her Ki.  At least she was until she fell for classmate Adam.  Now suddenly Adam is all she can think about and her Ki has gone out the window. Sadly for her, not only doesn’t Adam know she exists, she wasn’t even invited to his birthday party—and everyone was invited to his party.  Jen’s best friend Avril helps her out through most of this—they’re in hapkido class together and hang out all the time.   Avril describes Jen’s personality as spiky.

Jens’ family is not rich, but they value Hapkdio as a traditional sport, so they are willing to pay for her lessons, especially since she is so good.  Her mom makes jewelry and sells it at a local market. One day, when delivering the jewelery she is harassed and called all kinds of racist names by some street thugs. Surprisingly, one of them, Dillinger, comes to her rescue, telling his boys not to pick on the little girl. He sends her running (even though she was about ready to fight). While at the store she sees a beautiful Hwarang Warrior figure. It costs $199, and there’s no way she can afford it.

These stories converge in a painfully obvious way. There is an upcoming Hapkido competition. The entry is $100, so her father gives her the money. Then, it turns out that her invitation to Adam’s party was put in the wrong locker at school. She thinks the warrior would make a great present for Adam, so she uses that tournament money and her own money to buy this $200 item (gasp!). (more…)

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 emikoSOUNDTRACK: DIANE CLUCK-Tiny Desk Concert #343 (March 17, 2014).

cluckI know of Diane Cluck only from one song that was played on an NPR show.  I really liked it (it’s called “Sara” and she plays it third here). Cluck has an unusual yet very compelling voice and a guitar style that is simple yet also unusual.

“Trophies” has a kind of Joni Mitchell feel to it–the whole thing feels kind of sixties, although not in the way she sings or plays, there’s just something about it that skews sixties–perhaps its the unusual vocal melodies in the verses?

For “Grandma Say,” Cluck switches to the piano and plays a bouncey but dark song with a fantastic vocal delivery and rather funny (but meaningful) lines.  For “Sara,” Diane puts some bells on her boots.  And when asked where she got them she sheepishly admits the truth.  “Sara” sounds as good live as it did on record–Cluck’s voice is just as compelling in this setting.

I really enjoyed this brief set.  And I was really struck by Cluck’s appearance.  She is quiet tall and extremely thin, and she seems even more stretched out by her tall hair and long neck.  And yet she seems to be putting no effort into anything that she’s doing.  She makes for as mysterious a figure as you might expect from these songs.   I was as captivated by watching her as I was listening to her.

[READ: June 26, 2014] Emiko Superstar

As part of this recent influx of graphic novels, I also scored Emiko Superstar.  This title looked familiar from the Minx sampler that I have, so I was excited to read it.

The story is by Mariko Tamaki and is about a young Japanese-American girl named Emily.  We meet her family right away–her father is a big burly American guy and her mom is a demure Japanese woman.  She is named for her grandmother Emiko, who was a vivacious and fun dancer (although Emily’s mother now frowns on dancing and public fun).  As might be expected, Emily is a quiet, nerdy girl, hanging around with the nerdiest kids in school.

She doesn’t really mind being a nerd until before one summer break, when all the other nerds plan to go to a convention that will help them land great jobs.  Emily doesn’t know when nerd meant being a corporate sellout, and she refuses to go.  Rather, she decides to stay around town and get a crummy job at a coffee shop.  But after one regrettable (or not) incident, she realizes she may be unemployed for the rest of the summer.

Her mother will have none of that, and finds her a job babysitting most days during the summer.   The family she babysits for seem pretty perfect.  The husband is an athletic happy, loud guy who is proud of his life, his wife, his kid and his house.  The wife is much quieter and seems a bit embarrassed by her husband, but otherwise seems reasonably content with her son and her life.  And there’s the baby, who is drooly but pretty easy to deal with.

One day at the mall, Emily sees a wild-looking girl dancing around, making a racket and advertizing a place called The Factory, where the freaks all go.  Before being dragged away by security, she throws flyers out into the crowd and Emily grabs one.  And Emily feels an electric shock in her body at the thought of going to this place. (more…)

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