Pop Croons

I’ve been listening to a lot of Iggy Pop and the Stooges on my iPhone lately and this has reconfirmed for me that “Search and Destroy” from 1973’s Raw Power is at the very apex of great rock and roll songs. The lyrics (“I’m a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm/ I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb”) are pure poetry. I know that rock critics who say such things sound pretentious. Believe me, I know! But “Search and Destroy” is a morbidly beautiful little poem about the violence of lust, made darker and more desperate with its imagery borrowed from the Vietnam war. The sophisticated form, with its internal rhymes within the rhyming lines, is masterful. I think of Iggy in this period as continuously debauched; I don’t know if it’s true when he wrote. Whatever state he was in, this is inspired, yes, but also intensely focused–disciplined, even–poetry writing. Put together with the menacing music and performance of that music by the band, this is rock and roll of a very high order.

I bring up Iggy today because of this news report from Reuters about his new digital-release-only album Apres, comprised of old standards originally by Frank Sinatra, Serge Gainsbourg and Edith Piaf, for example. He had to go to Paris, he says, where he recorded his last album Préliminaires (2009), a collection of arty songs inspired by a novel of French enfant terrible Michel Houellebecq, because his American label (Virgin has produced his most recent titles) doesn’t know what to do with a crooning Iggy. “The American company would have preferred I do a rock album with popular punks,” Pop tells a news conference, presumably meaning bands like Green Day and Blink-182. Pop’s last rock and roll album, Skull Ring (2003), used just such a star-studded backing lineup.

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“Things You Should Know Before Trying to Run a Freakshow”


Do they have lectures like this in other cities? Or is this an “only in New York” thing?


A lecture by Dick Zigun founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow will reveal secret information gathered during 30 years of producing circus sideshows.

Cautionary information for those foolish enough to try and produce a freak show and humorous tales of triumph and horror learned from my three decades of attempting the same for those in the general public who have no intention of trying.

Topics to be covered include:
Tattooed Faced Junkies
Little People’s Big Egos
Dressing Room Excapades
Pickled Punks, Giant Killer Rats, Tattooed Dogs and The Law
Why you don’t want to own a big snakes but need one
Employees as slaves, rivals or thieves
Tents vs Buildings
Insurance and Payroll Taxes vs. Working Illegal
Burning Your Territory (not if you want to return the next season)
Good vs Bad Publicity
Etc etc etc

This is a 2 hour lecture followed by a one hour Q and A.

I wish I could go but I have a prior engagement. If anyone else wants to, tickets are $25-$50. Details are here

My Random International Film Festival

I went international with my movie-viewing this weekend. I viewed films, all made between 2001 and 2010, from Iran, France, Thailand and Korea. All of these are available to stream instantly on Netflix, and though, I have reservations about two of them, I recommend them all anyway.  Following are my caspule reviews: Continue reading