The future started here: Peter Cook in Bedazzled (1967), the secret inspiration of everything from Ziggy Stardust (compare Cook’s suit to the one Bowie wore on the TOTP “Starman”) to Ian Curtis.
YOU FILL ME WITH INERTIA
Rowzzer Rowzzer, Rowsdower
Bowszer Bowszer, Bowzdower
Zappidby Zabbity, Zowsdower
Bippity Biddity, Rowsdower
Rosdower. Killed yr father.
For my review today — just one element of something very live wire, alive, and indeed fierce.
I’d heard a bit about Mykki Blanco randomly through ILX but it was this excellent profile last month that really made me go “Wait, I need to pay attention.” Michael Quattlebaum Jr. speaks of his alter ego the same way other performers speak of theirs, simultaneously in and out of character, aware of its construction. To quote a chunk of it:
While Mykki Blanco may be female, she is not always a girl. She can be a glamazon in a bandage dress or a tomboy goth in combat boots and black lipstick. Intellectually and aesthetically, Quattlebaum’s persona has more in common with Kurt Cobain wearing a dress onstage than it does with RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“In all my press releases, I make them use the word ‘her,’” Quattlebaum explains. “Even if you’re looking at a picture of Mykki Blanco shirtless in baggy pants, you are going to say ‘her,’ because language doesn’t mean anything.”
Quattlebaum isn’t interested in traditional activism. He says he hates the word “queer”—”I use it only because it exists”—and the field of queer studies along with it. “I have a lot of problems with the academic queer community because it’s a community that exists completely removed from reality,” he says. “Those kids who are selling their bodies on the West Side Highway, on Christopher Street, they don’t even know what the fuck queer theory is.”
That’s part of a larger overview and discussion, and if some or all of this intrigues or challenges or both, then do read the whole thing. To my mind, this challenge of connection is something that in my own (extremely limited, from-a-position-of-implied-power racially/sexually) way I have attempted to address. And may well constantly fail it; I always must go through a process of learning. It never stopped with the degree, any degree, and I hope it never does.
With that as prologue: the first single from the new EP, Betty Rubble: The Initiation has appeared, namely the more or less title track itself minus the Flintstones reference. I’ve had a chance to hear the whole and in its own kaleidoscopic fashion it’s absolutely compelling — look and listen for it next week. As a selection from it, “The Initiation” grabs attention from the start with the rasped directness of “Hell is chilly, MOTHERFUCKER” and then plays on assumptions and constructions from there — hitting Latin phrases like an invocation from something both formalized and ritualistic in a high church and a collapsing-new-buildings sense.
The easy assumption could be Catholic guilt if you like, but keep the quote above about language in mind — if “Carpe diem” is the only phrase that may immediately resonant in terms of its functioning as a loanphrase in English, the question is how much does the exact meaning of the whole have to resonate. When the shift to a mix of English, Spanish and more happens, fluidity is constant, underscored by the staccato scraping sound, a skittering high pitched rustling and bold electronic punches through the mix. On its own it’s compelling; part of the whole, another twist in an eight song overview.
So yeah, I could go on. I have. But engage directly yourself, and twist the results, let them twist you, whatever you choose.
“Language doesn’t mean anything,” in this context, is getting tattooed on my soul.
Holy smokes, has it really been 20 years since the “Hateball” tour with Peter Bagge & Dan Clowes? Our old pal Devlin Thompson of Bizarro Wuxtry in Athens, GA shares memories and photos of their stop there.
Clowes had hair?
We Love Quimby’s! You Should Too!
1854 W. North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
Monday - Thursday: 12pm - 9pm
Friday: 12pm - 10pm
Saturday: 11am - 10pm
Sunday: 12pm - 7pm
Quimby’s is an independently owned bookstore that sells independently-published and small press books, comics, zines and ephemera. We favor the unusual, the aberrant, the saucy and the lowbrow.
Home Away From Home.
Chris Ware’s cover for the New Yorker celebrating Mother’s Day. Excellent!
Oh, jesus christ, this is beautiful.
[Peanuts, September 18, 1994]
Best Week Ever was fun while it lasted. here is to hoping for a repeat.