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Rave Ups:  It Still Moves by Amanda Petrusich

Rave Ups: It Still Moves by Amanda Petrusich

By in Blog on June 26, 2012

Published by Faber & Faber in 2008, It Still Moves is one part road trip dairy, one part cultural study, and one part musicological thesis.  The author Amanda Petrusich a contributing writer for Pitchfork.com and tons of other music publications.  She has also written one other book:  Pink Moon (about the classic Nick Drake album of the same name) as a part of the 33 1/3 series by Continuum Books.  I found her writing to be well thought out, organized, and meticulously researched.  She uses a well planned road trip to a string of important musical destinations as a vehicle to parcel the more historical/factual info in as a story.   The travel portion of the book does come off as a little forced at times, as she very obviously tried to make the best of a few of the less than inspirational experiences at a few of the featured locations.  Overall the book does a wonderful job at delivering a full/wide view of American Music, hitting all the cornerstones of what “Americana” is thought of, including The Blues, Country, Folk, and the more recent interpretations and combinations of the those styles. The book is composed of 17 parts including an introduction and epilogue. Here is a rough guide to what they cover: Intro – Just that, acts to identify what the book is going to try to accomplish which is mainly to discover just what “Americana” is. Chapter 1 – Examination of the American Highway, and how that relates to American music. Chapter 2 – Focuses on the history of the Blues kicked off with a visit to Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee. Chapter 3 – Sam Phillips, Sun Records, and the birth of Rock N Roll also in Memphis. Chapter 4 – Elvis Presley and his impact on popular music with a visit to Graceland. Chapter 5 – Further examination of the Blues through travels to Clarksdale Mississippi. Chapter 6 – Country music by way of Nashville Tennessee. Chapter 7 – Alternative Country Chapter 8 – Continued travels through Virginia and Kentucky. Chapter 9 – Minstrel shows and early radio. Chapter 10 – Appalachian folk music, The Carter Family, and early Country music. Chapter 11 – Americana by way of Cracker Barrel. Chapter 12 – John Lomax, Leadbelly, Moses Asch, and Folkways Records. Chapter 13 – Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music and Smithsonian Folkways. Chapter 14 – Woody Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, and the Folk revival of the 1960s. Chapter 15 – Independent Folk. Epilogue – Continued ruminations on the definition of Americana. The driving question here is “What is Americana?”, which I think is an important one to ask.   Although I’m not sure the book fully answers it, then again I’m not sure any book can or should try.  Americana, at least when it relates to music, is just one of those terms that is too complicated to define.  Whenever you are trying to precisely define a label that is used as a shortcut to describe an art form you inevitably will get your self into trouble.  It is a journal full of pitfalls, contradictions,  and personal opinion.  Although I personally often fall back on the genre/sub-genre/style labels in my writing, I try not to be restrictive with my labels when setting something in stone.  Take Neil Young for instance, can you really say he is strictly a “country-rock” artist?  If you do, you are completely omitting all of his work that does not exactly fit into that label.  I prefer to keep it simple and classify things in general terms like Pop/Rock. Just for fun here is a link to the Webster Dictionary definition of Americana. I would also like to offer a playlist of music that is directly mentioned in the book or inspired by the books subject. Originally Pubished at:

PHG Reviews

PHG Reviews

By David Bird in Blog on May 27, 2012

I haven't been doing a lot of reviews lately, but I have posted a couple on my tumblr account, Power Grace Honor. The first was for Courtney Crumrin Vol. 1: The Night Things - Special Edition and the second for World’s Finest #1. I hope to have one up for the Fable's trade, Cinderella: Fables Are Forever soon.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

PHG Reviews

PHG Reviews

By David Bird in Blog on May 27, 2012

I haven't been doing a lot of reviews lately, but I have posted a couple on my tumblr account, Power Grace Honor. The first was for Courtney Crumrin Vol. 1: The Night Things - Special Edition and the second for World’s Finest #1. I hope to have one up for the Fable's trade, Cinderella: Fables Are Forever soon.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

PHG Reviews

PHG Reviews

By David Bird in Blog on May 27, 2012

I haven't been doing a lot of reviews lately, but I have posted a couple on my tumblr account, Power Grace Honor. The first was for Courtney Crumrin Vol. 1: The Night Things - Special Edition and the second for World’s Finest #1. I hope to have one up for the Fable's trade, Cinderella: Fables Are Forever soon.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Nemesis v. Archenemy

Nemesis v. Archenemy

By David Bird in Blog on May 22, 2012

I watched the first episode of the BBC's Sherlock series this week (actually I watched the first two, but the second isn't relevant to this post) and I was reminded of an article by Chuck Klosterman, The Importance of Being Hated. In it he contrasts a nemesis with an archenemy: RECOGNIZING YOUR NEMESIS •At some point in the past, this person was (arguably) your best friend. •You have punched this person in the face. •If invited, you would go to this person's wedding and give him a spice rack, but you would secretly hope that his marriage ends in a bitter, public divorce. •People who barely know both of you assume you are close friends; people who know both of you intimately suspect that you profoundly dislike each other. •If your archenemy tried to kill you, this person would attempt to stop him. RECOGNIZING YOUR ARCHENEMY •Every time you talk to this person, you lie. •If you meet someone who has the same first name as this person, you immediately like him less. •The satisfaction you feel from your own success pales in comparison to the despair you feel at this person's triumphs, even if those triumphs are completely unrelated to your life. •If this person slept with your girlfriend, she would never be attractive to you again. •Even if this person's girlfriend was a hateful bitch, you would sleep with her out of spite.Apparently you need both if you're going to be anything in this world. BTW, If you've never read any Klosterman, you're really missing out. Check him out now.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Nemesis v. Archenemy

Nemesis v. Archenemy

By David Bird in Blog on May 22, 2012

I watched the first episode of the BBC's Sherlock series this week (actually I watched the first two, but the second isn't relevant to this post) and I was reminded of an article by Chuck Klosterman, The Importance of Being Hated. In it he contrasts a nemesis with an archenemy: RECOGNIZING YOUR NEMESIS •At some point in the past, this person was (arguably) your best friend. •You have punched this person in the face. •If invited, you would go to this person's wedding and give him a spice rack, but you would secretly hope that his marriage ends in a bitter, public divorce. •People who barely know both of you assume you are close friends; people who know both of you intimately suspect that you profoundly dislike each other. •If your archenemy tried to kill you, this person would attempt to stop him. RECOGNIZING YOUR ARCHENEMY •Every time you talk to this person, you lie. •If you meet someone who has the same first name as this person, you immediately like him less. •The satisfaction you feel from your own success pales in comparison to the despair you feel at this person's triumphs, even if those triumphs are completely unrelated to your life. •If this person slept with your girlfriend, she would never be attractive to you again. •Even if this person's girlfriend was a hateful bitch, you would sleep with her out of spite.Apparently you need both if you're going to be anything in this world. BTW, If you've never read any Klosterman, you're really missing out. Check him out now.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Count Down To Official White Status

Count Down To Official White Status

By David Bird in Blog on May 18, 2012

It's official! The number of white births in America has fallen below fifty percent, with the Latino population continuing to make large gains in US demographics. As a Canadian, I have to ask, aren't Latinos white people too? America is the only country in world where Latin Americans are sectioned off into their own little 'racial' group instead of being considered another European ethnicity. Historically, there is some precedence. My father's family came from Ireland. Even though the Irish are a nation so pale that many risk bursting into flame whenever they go into direct sunlight, it is only in the last century that Americans included them amongst the white races. The problem was religion. The US has always been proud of its religious diversity, but the reality is that the diversity was one of Reformation churches. If you weren't Protestant, you weren't welcome. Now you might reply that it is silly to consider religion in determining race, but that's because of the success non-Protestants have had in gaining acceptance. It is silly to include religion in defining race now, it wasn't then. The definition of race has changed. Following the Irish, many others have found acceptance, particularly the 'Latin' and Meditarrean nations. The Italians, the Greeks. But not the Spanish. Maybe the proximity of Latin America weighs on the discussion, making Latinos an Other that is right here, rather than way over there in the 'Old Country'? I don't know, but I do know that when faced with the rise of 'non-white' groups in the past, America has reacted, not by embracing multi-culturalism, but by redefining what it means to be white. I predict it'll happen again. Yes, there are some Latinos that are black, there are even some that are Asian, but most are white. America will simply be recognizing something that every other nation already sees.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Count Down To Official White Status

Count Down To Official White Status

By David Bird in Blog on May 18, 2012

It's official! The number of white births in America has fallen below fifty percent, with the Latino population continuing to make large gains in US demographics. As a Canadian, I have to ask, aren't Latinos white people too? America is the only country in world where Latin Americans are sectioned off into their own little 'racial' group instead of being considered another European ethnicity. Historically, there is some precedence. My father's family came from Ireland. Even though the Irish are a nation so pale that many risk bursting into flame whenever they go into direct sunlight, it is only in the last century that Americans included them amongst the white races. The problem was religion. The US has always been proud of its religious diversity, but the reality is that the diversity was one of Reformation churches. If you weren't Protestant, you weren't welcome. Now you might reply that it is silly to consider religion in determining race, but that's because of the success non-Protestants have had in gaining acceptance. It is silly to include religion in defining race now, it wasn't then. The definition of race has changed. Following the Irish, many others have found acceptance, particularly the 'Latin' and Meditarrean nations. The Italians, the Greeks. But not the Spanish. Maybe the proximity of Latin America weighs on the discussion, making Latinos an Other that is right here, rather than way over there in the 'Old Country'? I don't know, but I do know that when faced with the rise of 'non-white' groups in the past, America has reacted, not by embracing multi-culturalism, but by redefining what it means to be white. I predict it'll happen again. Yes, there are some Latinos that are black, there are even some that are Asian, but most are white. America will simply be recognizing something that every other nation already sees.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Count Down To Official White Status

Count Down To Official White Status

By David Bird in Blog on May 18, 2012

It's official! The number of white births in America has fallen below fifty percent, with the Latino population continuing to make large gains in US demographics. As a Canadian, I have to ask, aren't Latinos white people too? America is the only country in world where Latin Americans are sectioned off into their own little 'racial' group instead of being considered another European ethnicity. Historically, there is some precedence. My father's family came from Ireland. Even though the Irish are a nation so pale that many risk bursting into flame whenever they go into direct sunlight, it is only in the last century that Americans included them amongst the white races. The problem was religion. The US has always been proud of its religious diversity, but the reality is that the diversity was one of Reformation churches. If you weren't Protestant, you weren't welcome. Now you might reply that it is silly to consider religion in determining race, but that's because of the success non-Protestants have had in gaining acceptance. It is silly to include religion in defining race now, it wasn't then. The definition of race has changed. Following the Irish, many others have found acceptance, particularly the 'Latin' and Meditarrean nations. The Italians, the Greeks. But not the Spanish. Maybe the proximity of Latin America weighs on the discussion, making Latinos an Other that is right here, rather than way over there in the 'Old Country'? I don't know, but I do know that when faced with the rise of 'non-white' groups in the past, America has reacted, not by embracing multi-culturalism, but by redefining what it means to be white. I predict it'll happen again. Yes, there are some Latinos that are black, there are even some that are Asian, but most are white. America will simply be recognizing something that every other nation already sees.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Power Honor Grace

Power Honor Grace

By David Bird in Blog on May 1, 2012

I've a new Tumblr account, Power Honor Grace, which concentrates on female comics characters. Today I've posted a review of the new hardcover edition of Ted Naifeh's Courtney Crumrin: The Night Things, but there's lots to check out. Enjoy!Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Power Honor Grace

Power Honor Grace

By David Bird in Blog on May 1, 2012

I've a new Tumblr account, Power Honor Grace, which concentrates on female comics characters. Today I've posted a review of the new hardcover edition of Ted Naifeh's Courtney Crumrin: The Night Things, but there's lots to check out. Enjoy!Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Power Honor Grace

Power Honor Grace

By David Bird in Blog on May 1, 2012

I've a new Tumblr account, Power Honor Grace, which concentrates on female comics characters. Today I've posted a review of the new hardcover edition of Ted Naifeh's Courtney Crumrin: The Night Things, but there's lots to check out. Enjoy!Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Lying With Statistics: The Fat Wars

Lying With Statistics: The Fat Wars

By David Bird in Blog on March 28, 2012

Everyone seems to do it, even normal people. And by 'normal' I mean fat, overweight, the obese. Pick whatever term you like. A favourite tactic in the 'fat wars' is to attack fashion models as being too skinny. They're freaks! They're anorexic! Some people want laws passed. These cultural browbeatings always seem to target women and, while women complain about that in theory, in practice they are often at the forefront, smacking these skinny girls for all its worth.I came across an example recently at Salon.com. The article isn't new, but the site likes to draw attention to older pieces in its sidebar. Entitled "Naked models offer a body image reality check," it draws attention to another article, found in Plus Model magazine. There we are told that twenty years ago models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Now they weigh a whopping 23 percent less. The freaks! The author of the article, Mary Elizabeth Williams, does draw attention to the lack of sources for these statistics and to rising obesity rates, but on the whole seems to validate the point being made by Plus Model.But how exactly would rising obesity rates factor in? Over the past twenty years the average American woman's weight has gone from 140 pounds to 160 pounds. A pound a year. If models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman twenty years ago, then the average model weighed 128.8 pounds. If she weighs 23 percent less than the average woman today, she weights 123.2 pounds. That means models do weigh less now-assuming Plus Model's stats are true-but only 5.6 pounds less. Put that way its hardly something to get hysterical over. You'd think.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Lying With Statistics: The Fat Wars

Lying With Statistics: The Fat Wars

By David Bird in Blog on March 28, 2012

Everyone seems to do it, even normal people. And by 'normal' I mean fat, overweight, the obese. Pick whatever term you like. A favourite tactic in the 'fat wars' is to attack fashion models as being too skinny. They're freaks! They're anorexic! Some people want laws passed. These cultural browbeatings always seem to target women and, while women complain about that in theory, in practice they are often at the forefront, smacking these skinny girls for all its worth.I came across an example recently at Salon.com. The article isn't new, but the site likes to draw attention to older pieces in its sidebar. Entitled "Naked models offer a body image reality check," it draws attention to another article, found in Plus Model magazine. There we are told that twenty years ago models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Now they weigh a whopping 23 percent less. The freaks! The author of the article, Mary Elizabeth Williams, does draw attention to the lack of sources for these statistics and to rising obesity rates, but on the whole seems to validate the point being made by Plus Model.But how exactly would rising obesity rates factor in? Over the past twenty years the average American woman's weight has gone from 140 pounds to 160 pounds. A pound a year. If models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman twenty years ago, then the average model weighed 128.8 pounds. If she weighs 23 percent less than the average woman today, she weights 123.2 pounds. That means models do weigh less now-assuming Plus Model's stats are true-but only 5.6 pounds less. Put that way its hardly something to get hysterical over. You'd think.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

Lying With Statistics: The Fat Wars

Lying With Statistics: The Fat Wars

By David Bird in Blog on March 28, 2012

Everyone seems to do it, even normal people. And by 'normal' I mean fat, overweight, the obese. Pick whatever term you like. A favourite tactic in the 'fat wars' is to attack fashion models as being too skinny. They're freaks! They're anorexic! Some people want laws passed. These cultural browbeatings always seem to target women and, while women complain about that in theory, in practice they are often at the forefront, smacking these skinny girls for all its worth.I came across an example recently at Salon.com. The article isn't new, but the site likes to draw attention to older pieces in its sidebar. Entitled "Naked models offer a body image reality check," it draws attention to another article, found in Plus Model magazine. There we are told that twenty years ago models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Now they weigh a whopping 23 percent less. The freaks! The author of the article, Mary Elizabeth Williams, does draw attention to the lack of sources for these statistics and to rising obesity rates, but on the whole seems to validate the point being made by Plus Model.But how exactly would rising obesity rates factor in? Over the past twenty years the average American woman's weight has gone from 140 pounds to 160 pounds. A pound a year. If models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman twenty years ago, then the average model weighed 128.8 pounds. If she weighs 23 percent less than the average woman today, she weights 123.2 pounds. That means models do weigh less now-assuming Plus Model's stats are true-but only 5.6 pounds less. Put that way its hardly something to get hysterical over. You'd think.Originally Pubished at: David Bird

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