Culture vulture

Through a glass, darkly
It seems a bit pretentious even to me that my initial foray into this forum should follow the first heavy summer rainfall in recent memory. But there’s no arguing with reality, no matter how unlikely the circumstances. I suppose it’s just lucky for the area’s backyard gardeners that I wasn’t named Alice R. Snowy. But perhaps I lend too much credence to coincidence.

And speaking of coincidences, I don’t know how else to explain what guided my feet to the cozy and raucous confines of the Riff Raff bar last week, where it was a great pleasure to encounter my dear friend the Ultra Beautician, who was holding court to a select circle of admirers at a back table and hosting a going away party for another dear friend, the lovely and talented Lisa of Neo-Retro fame. Farewell, Lisa, we hardly knew ye, lately anyway.

Conversation at the Riff Raff was smothered beneath the sonic assault of a young band called [I think] C-Town. I could have sworn the song they were playing had the same bass line as one I heard from Vomit Launch in that same spot 10 or 15 years ago, but examining the earnest young faces of the musicians as they toiled noisily away to manifest their version of the zeitgeist all I could think was: The more things stay the same, the more they change. And that’s all to the good, I added, with just a dash of perhaps not fully justified optimism.

Those who forget the past are doomed to relive it, according to some genius whose name I’ve forgotten. But I think it’s equally important to remember that those who revere the past at the expense of the present or the future are just as doomed, not to mention a real drag on those of us who don’t happen to share their enthusiasm for stasis.

So I’ll soar the nocturnal streets while fragments of the past drift through my memory like bits of glitter wafting through a streetlight’s glow, but I’ll be looking at—and wondering about—what’s happening now and not worrying much about yesterday.

Oh, the humanity
One of the most heart-rending sights I’ve ever witnessed, and I realize this is a testament to the sheltered and charmed life I’ve led, occurred in a shopping mall.

A little boy about 4 years old saw an item in a toy store window that caught his fancy. His eyes lit up with wonder and joy at this vision and he asked politely if he could have the marvelous object."No, not today,” he was told by his adult overseer.

“But I’m being a good boy,” he replied hopefully and was again rebuffed.

The last I saw of him he was being led reluctantly down the mall, repeating more and more sorrowfully and loudly, “But I’m being a good boy.”

Good things past & present
1. Brian Eno’s Another Green World

2. Michael Morford’s column on

3. The Master Butcher’s Singing Club, by Louise Erdrich

4. Paradise Island rivalries