So it begins...

As some of you know, my wife is expecting. Getting close too, she has about 6 weeks left.

So this weekend I'm putting together some new baby furniture and while I'm toiling away with my Allen wrenches I notice that she slyly took down my 50th anniversary commemorative poster of The Third Man from the wall of the what is soon to be the baby room. Silent as the grave, she removed it from the spot it's been in since I moved in 5 years ago and tucked it behind an old bookshelf.

What are you doing?, I ask, genuinely wanting to know what she's doing.

Putting this away
, she says casually, as if removing Orson from his home is some acceptable thing to do.

Why move it at all?, I ask.

The baby won't like this scary picture looking at him, she says.

My son will not be frightened by classic works of cinema, I say. In fact, I'm hoping that poster will inspire him to appreciate the film making artform.

The baby won't like it, she concludes.

Are you saying that my son won't like Orson Welles?, I ask, feeling the room temperature rise a bit.

Larry, the baby won't care who Orson Welles is, she says definitively.

Orson Welles is a genius!, I declare.

Orson Welles is fat!, she retorts.

Stunned, and slightly wounded, I knew not what to say. How dare she imply that my son won't be a fan of the creative genius of the late, great Mr. Welles? Deflated, I left the room. Temporarily resigning Orson to his hidden fate.

Stay tuned. Divorce proceedings may be forthcoming.


the many moods of larrydigital, pt. 7

To download podcast: Click here.

As I've mentioned before, one of the reasons I started making my own podcasts was because of the overall lameness of terrestrial radio. I got tired of hearing the same 12 songs and hour and I wanted to offer something different. I think it's hard to find new music (either entirely brand new artists or just new to you) these days. For some reason, I'm slightly irritated by the fact that a lot of people only know certain songs from television commercials rather than from the albums where they're originally from. But I suppose that happens since radio airplay can be hard to come by these days and artists (or rather, record companies) are forced to explore other areas to get exposure for their music, both new and old.

My wife, who wasn't exposed to the same music I was when I was younger, is a good example of what I mean. I'll play a song in the car and she'll say, Oh that's that Toyota song. I'll say, No, that's Curtis Mayfield. Or she'll say, That's the Gap song. And I'll say, No, that's the O'Jays. These songs had long histories before they were co-opted by some faceless ad agency.

So imagine my dismay when mere minutes after I uploaded Episode 7, I turn on the television and hear a familiar sound coming from its speakers.... Marlena Shaw's "California Soul", from this very episode, was featured in some damn Dockers commercial. I know it's ridiculous but I was kind of upset by it. Almost like, Hey, I found this song first!

Sounds stupid, right? Right. I should just be happy that a great piece of work has been rescued from the brinks of obscurity and now people are enjoying it for the fantastic song that it is. But still....

I found this song before those lame ass Dockers hacks!

Episode 7: Don't Fight The Feeling Tracklist

1. "Funky Worm" by Ohio Players
2. larry's intro
3. "Bold, Soul Sister" by Ike & Tina Turner
4. "Hard Times" by Baby Huey & The Babysitters
5. larry's interlude #1
6. "California Soul" by Marlena Shaw
7. "Improve" by Darrow Fletcher
8. larry's interlude #2
9. "Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley" by Robert Palmer
10. "Beauty Queen" by Roxy Music
11. "Speak Like A Child" by The Style Council
12. larry's interlude #3
13. "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by the Scissor Sisters
14. "Feel Good Hit of the Fall" by !!!
15. larry's interlude #4
16. "Get Myself Into It" by The Rapture
17. "Dirty Harry (Schtung Chinese New Year Remix)" by Gorillaz
18. larry's interlude #5/outro
19. "Dr. Lee, PhD" by Beastie Boys

This month's theme song is "Superstition" by Yesterday's New Quintet.


TOYS! @ Gallery 1988

My good friend Ross Richie often says that the most awesome toy ever invented is a monkey with a backpack. Meaning that to a child, a monkey with a backpack action figure could offer an endless array of scenarios. The monkey could be heading to work, he could be going to school, or it could be a parachute, was he in the army? Or maybe it was a jetpack. The point of all of that is that the simplest item can inspire so many different ideas.

Earlier today, hat very idea was on full display at Gallery 1988 TOYS! exhibit. Originally, I thought that this was going to be a show celebrating the history of Hot Wheels or whatever but it turned out to be a "celebration" of the type of games and toys I had when I was a kid, not just Hot Wheels exclusively. The "pre-video game era" they called it.

Now, there was some really interesting stuff there, like Ben Walker's Gumby vs. The Robots and Danielle Rizzolo's The Confederate Armed 'HMS PLAYMOBIL' Engaged in Enemy Attack, Flying the Confederate Ensign and there was some stuff that I personally didn't enjoy all that much. Like gay biker My Little Pony. WHAT. Still, it was a pretty awesome show. It was cool to be reminded of toys that I hadn't thought about in years. Hungry Hungry Hippos, anyone? How about Madballs?

I really enjoyed Johnny Crap's Kickin' It Old Skool, mostly because I had one of those popcorn machines when I was a kid. It was my favorite toy, I loved that stupid thing. But my favorite piece was Keith Noordzy's Norm's One of the Little People. Very cool. A friend of mine said that Camilla D'Errico's Glow Friends was the best piece there but she's wrong. That one was just plain creepy.

I think the people working at Gallery 1988 got a little pissed because I was taking pictures of the art but fuck 'em. Besides myself, there was exactly zero other people attending the showing. At least when I was there. TOYS! at Gallery 1988 runs through April 25, 2008. Go check it out. It's free, cheap asses.


London Calling @ Beady Minces

I got a chance to head down to the Beady Minces Gallery in Venice for apart's London Calling exhibit today. I heard a lot of good stuff about this show so I'm glad I got a chance to check it out before it was over.

This exhibit featured a lot of international artists. I saw a lot of great stuff. I saw this great photography called "MPH 6" by John Counsell. Basically it was a shot of someone or something moving through a forest at high speed. Click here to check it out. Also pretty cool was a sculpture(?) by Dominic Allan called "Here's Looking at You Kid," essentially a mannequin of a little girl covered with like 30,000 plastic googly eyes. I noticed almost all the googly eyes were identical with slightly larger pairs placed randomly throughout. Weird. Luis Perez's "Classic Mini" painting (seriously, it's a painting) was pretty amazing as well. Check it out here.

But my absolute favorite was a massive wallhanger by Sean Alexander called Red. Basically it was a huge portrait of Michael Caine which was made of strips of wood textured.... paper? I guess. It was very cool. Turns out that without even knowing it, I was sort of familiar with Mr. Alexander's work. He’s the guy behind the album cover for Paul Weller's Illumination a few years back.

After Beady Minces, I was also able to make it down to West L.A. to see the Year of the Rat exhibit at GR2. Also very cool. I’d been meaning to check it out since it opened last month, I'd just been a little busy. But, I got down there and sure enough, they were partying like its 4706 up in there. GR2 is an interesting place. I suppose it's a store since they sell various items, such as my super useful Nyokki! Egg Pet Plant and stuffed flowers by Takashi Murakami but it's also a mini-gallery. They had some very interesting pieces. I absolutely loved this piece from Andrew Holder. This one was really cool too. Man, I really wish I had some additional wall space at home.

The London Calling exhibit runs from March 10 to April 6th (tomorrow). So much like the Giant Robot show I previously wrote about, if you’re only now hearing about London Calling, chances are you missed it. You snooze you lose again, suckas!

Year of the Rat runs at GR2 through April 16. Check it out!


On the Shelf

Sherlock Holmes: The Unauthorized Biography by Nick Rennison

I'm as interested in Sherlock Holmes as the next guy and while I've seen a couple of Basil Rathbone movies on cable, I'm not exactly what you'd call a Holmes afficiando. But I've always wanted to actual get into Arthur Conan Doyle's mythos. I just never knew where to start. I suppose I could just start "at the beginning" or whatever but series like this, with characters that have huge literary backgrounds, are always a little daunting to me. Part of me feels that I'd read the entire series to get a clear understanding of the character and usually that's a metric assload of material.

So when I heard about a new "biography" about Sherlock Holmes was being published, I knew that this what I was looking for. And sure enough, Nick Rennison does a great job of scouring Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories for personal info about Holmes and his male companion, Dr. Watson, and compiled them all into a nice little package. This book is a written in a style familiar to Sherlock Holmes fans ("Sherlockians"). It's written from the perspective that Holmes was an actual historical person and not a literary invention. Thus, history and fiction is mingled through the entire "biography."

Since I wasn't all that familiar with Holmes, I found it pretty interesting. I had no idea that the character of Sherlock's older brother Mycroft even existed until I read about him in Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series. Here, Mycroft is dealt with quite a bit and as the author shows, the older Holmes is just as formidable as his more famous younger brother.

Another thing that I found kind of interesting was Sherlock's fairly serious cocaine addiction. I'd always heard references to Holmes' penchant for coke but I never really thought about it. I've always known that in the late 19th century cocaine was mostly seen as a harmless stimulant, and viewed the way we view stuff like Red Bull or Rock Star energy drinks today, I guess. I suppose it was fairly commonplace then but today it may seem a little shocking. The author refers to The Sign of Four in which Dr. Watson describes Holmes, in one of his drug-induced fits, as having "sinewy forearms and wrist, all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks." Holmes himself explains his drug use away as something to kill time with between cases. Manic drug use can lead to uncanny reasoning abilities? Not a very elementary correlation, I'd say.

If you're unfamiliar with the Holmes mythos then this can be a very interesting book. The only problem that I had with it is that my knowledge of the Sherlock Holmes universe, as well as my knowledge of Victorian history, is spotty at best. So I'm having a tough time distinguishing between historical and fictional characters and events. But while that can be a bit bothersome (to me), it hardly detracts from this very entertaining read.