At Saturday's off-the-record wake for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer I paid an undisclosed—off the record!—sum for a digital copy of the amazing P-I Yearbook, a collection of wonderful photos from the newspaper's past that delivers, on its second page, the beginnings of an answer to the age-old Slog question: Who was the P-I pisser?
Longtime readers will recall that in 2007, reports surfaced that a bunch of drunken P-I staffers had celebrated a Hearst court "victory" over the Seattle Times Company by renting a limo, pulling up to the Times headquarters, and watching as at least one of them pissed all over Frank Blethen's property. Longtime readers will also recall that as soon as we heard the piss reports we here at Slog headquarters demanded the security video and conducted a poll of the likeliest suspects.
We were never able to crack the case, but more recent readers may recall that additional clues surfaced this month when none other than Joel Connelly (pictured at right in a P-I Yearbook photo that I suspect will show up again on this blog) tried to claim on KUOW that the people of Slog had voted him Most Likely to Have Pissed on The Seattle Times—when the honor actually belongs to former P-I staffer Melanie McFarland.
This was suspicious behavior on the part of Connelly, certainly. Perhaps an unconscious guilty plea? But the new photographic evidence obtained from the P-I Yearbook suggests it wasn't him.
So questions remain. Or, really, one question remains. Click on the above piss image to enlarge it and tell us, 'o sharp-eyed citizens of Slog: Whose ass is that?
Slog tipper leek would like everyone to look over at the New York Times, where the always-great Errol Morris does a five-part investigation titled "Whose Father Was He?"
The soldier’s body was found near the center of Gettysburg with no identification — no regimental numbers on his cap, no corps badge on his jacket, no letters, no diary. Nothing save for an ambrotype (an early type of photograph popular in the late 1850s and 1860s) of three small children clutched in his hand. Within a few days the ambrotype came into the possession of Benjamin Schriver, a tavern keeper in the small town of Graeffenburg, about 13 miles west of Gettysburg. The details of how Schriver came into possession of the ambrotype have been lost to history. But the rest of the story survives, a story in which this photograph of three small children was used for both good and wicked purposes.
We're only on day two of the story, but it looks to be vintage Morris: It's about families, and images, and our relationships to images and families. It's also something ideally suited to blogs, with its heavy interrelation between written words and pictures. I hope more people start following Morris's lead and working on longer explorations like this. Part two is here. Many thanks to leek for sharing this with Slog.
Did you know that the house Republicans in Olympia are running a Twitter page? We didn't either, until a Slog tipper alerted us this afternoon that...
The state House GOP has a Twitter, but it would appear they haven't mastered the linking aspect of things yet. They put up a partial website link that you have to copy paste into a new window, but it doesn't take you to the House GOP site. No, it takes you to the Human Rights Campaign homepage. The first three letters in their non-link link are hrc, so I'm guessing there's some re-route at work. In any case, I find it hilarious that the House republicans are directing folks to the HRC.
While doesn't seem like much of a surprise that housing markets in places like Las Vegas and Phoenix—economies so dependent on extravagant vacations or retirement—are seeing the biggest drops, I'm curious as to why cities like Cleveland, Dallas and Denver aren't hit as hard. It does seem to have something to do with what the homes cost before prices started plummeting, but then again, I know jack shit about economics. What else is it about these cities' economies that makes their housing prices more resistant to the recession?
Either way, MKM Partners are predicting that the housing market will bottom out at some point this year.
According to numbers released Thursday, a 20-city average of home prices fell 2.8 percent in January, faster than the 2.6 percent drop recorded in December. Overall, the 20-city Case-Shiller index reported by Standard & Poor’s has fallen 19 percent in the past year and nearly 29 percent from its peak in 2006.
“The home price bubble has essentially vanished,” Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners, writes in an analysis of the Case-Shiller data.
He’s optimistic that a combination of lower prices and low interest rates is starting to lure buyers back to the market — and will eventually work off the current large inventory of homes for sale.
“This is a powerful combination that we believe will create a bottom in the housing market in 2009,” Mr. Darda predicts.
He reckons that once the for-sale inventory drops to a seven- or eight-month supply of homes — down from about 10 months today — an end to home-price declines will be near.
There are several tables and pretty graphs like the one at left (with Wordle accompaniment!), but the story is, I think, most interesting in how the internet has affected literary magazine editors. Briggs quotes Dave Clapper, publisher of the Seattle-based SmokeLong Quarterly, as saying that they are decidedly not a Seattle publication. There's also evidence that the internet is not as grand a publishing platform as people may believe:
From 2003 to 2008, 454 individual authors published 552 articles, including poems and stories. From March to September 2008, there were only 31 posts on Web site and forums related to the four magazines [that Briggs studied in depth]
It's worth checking out, although Issuu is the clumsiest platform for web publishing I've ever tried to use.
[Dearest empanada fans: If you commented on the previous empanada post, your recommendations have been added to the comments below. Please forgive us our double-postery.]
I was in Buenos Aires last year and am dying for the taste of their delicious empanadas. Could you kindly steer me towards the best in Capitol Hill and also the best in all of Seattle? It would be so much appreciated.
Well, Matt, over here Megan Seling states that she much enjoys the taste of the empanadas ("crispy, fat... $3.99 apiece") at Puerto Rican restaurant La Isla in Ballard. The empanadas of Mexican restaurant Agua Verde in the U District have been much admired (as, long ago but in fine style, here). Delicious empanadas have been obtained at the screaming-deal-of-a-happy-hour at downtown's posh Mediterranean restaurant Brasa (as described by me: "One pork empanada ($4.50) seems paltry... but the meat is so tender-honeyed good, the pastry so light and lightly fire-blistered, it's worth it"). The Salvadorean Bakery in White Center also has, if recollection serves, excellent empanadas. Spanish restaurant Bilbao in the U District has a different kind of empanada every day and is very much worth a try. Harvest Vine in the Madison Valley is beloved by many and sometimes has empanadas.
Thus is my local empanada intelligence exhausted—and, notably, with no empanada on Capitol Hill at all. Surely there is one?
Well, you could read the first eight chapters of Elmore Leonard's new novel, Road Dogs*.
Foley ate his macaroni and cheese staring at the mess of it on his tray while the skinhead hard-ons made their lazy remarks Foley would hear again and again for thirty years, from the Brotherhood, from the Mexican Mafia, from Nuestra Familia, from the black guys all ganged up; thirty years in a convict population careful not to dis anybody, but thinking he could stand up with the tray, have the tables looking at him and backhand it across bare skulls, show 'em he was as dumb as they were and get put in the box for sixty days.
The novel is a sequel to Out of Sight and stars Jack Foley, the character played by George Clooney in the movie version. I've got a lot of respect for Elmore Leonard. His novels are almost always a pleasant diversion on a lazy afternoon. They don't take long to read but they're entertaining and never insult the reader's intelligence. My favorite Leonard book was Tishimongo Blues, about a high-dive performer (he generally dives from an "eighty-foot-high platform into a tank with just nine feet of water")who gets wound up in a scam involving a Civil War reenactment group.
I was pleased to see former Leonard main character Maximum Bob get mentioned on the second page of this excerpt, too: Leonard's been working on building a cohesive universe for some time now, and it's always kind of a thrill to notice the crossovers.
* Of course, the problem with the Entertainment Weekly excerpt is that, for some reason, they've clipped the swears: s—-, p—-y, and f—-n' all make their appearances in the first three pages. Who are they afraid of offending? Longtime Elmore Leonard fans know their way around a swear, of course, but anyone who's going to be offended by a prisoner saying "pussy" isn't going to get too far into an Elmore Leonard story anyway. It seems arbitrary and ridiculous.
UPDATE: Gold Star Comment is Matt Fuckin' Hickey's:
I know I might catch hell for this, but I have to say this: Out of Sight is a terrific book, and the movie version is also fantastic. Sure, a few things were changed, but the wry sense of humor and shadowy, doomed romance are intact.
I know a lot of people hate Clooney (I don't) and/or Jennifer Lopez (I don't, really), but it's a really fun, smart movie that, sadly, almost nobody I know has seen. And if they have, it's because I made them.
Go rent it tonight.
I agree one hundred percent. It's a great movie.
That's the text of an email just sent by my guy Jake—who lives in fear of sneezing while driving—along with this Associated Press report.
Sneezing fit causes driver to crash into Ore. home.
Authorities said a sneezing fit caused 25-year-old Ramon Stephen Ayala to lose control of his vehicle Saturday and hit a home. Marion County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Kevin Schultz said Ayala sneezed as he headed toward an intersection around 1 a.m. When he stopped sneezing, he had run a stop sign and tried to hit the brakes. But it was too late. Ayala's 2001 Volkswagen Jetta crashed into a corner of a house. Schultz said a shower wall and bathtub were damaged, but no injuries were reported and Ayala was not cited.
Dear Jake: I'm sorry for making light of what is clearly a very real danger.
Apparently, comics that feature Obama are like printing money. That's the only explanation for comics publisher Devil's Due publishing two Obama comics in June. And these aren't just cameo appearances, like Obama popping in to visit Spider-Man. These are sci-fi comics with Obama as the star.
Drafted: 100 Days is about an Obama on an alternate Earth that's been devastated by an alien attack. Can he lead us against the alien menace? Wait, wait, though. Before you answer, here's the hook: On this Earth, Obama was rendered mute in a tragic accident! I bet he doesn't have any teleprompters, either.
And this is supposed to be an ongoing series:
BARACK THE BARBARIAN: QUEST FOR THE TREASURE OF STIMULI: Devil’s Due and Larry Hama (G.I. Joe, Wolverine) take political satire to a whole new level. Hama, a surprise hire to some, but not to those who truly know his tastes, will take a look at the current state of politics both past and present and isn’t afraid to point fun at Washinton’s [sic] sacred cows. In the distant future the story of Barack Obama has become a little… distorted. According to THE MADDOWIAN CHRONICLES he was the one destined to save the great republic of America and dethrone the overpaid despots of the time. Join Barack, Sorceress Hilaria, her demi-god trickster husband Biil, Overlord Boosh and Chainknee of the Elephant Kingdom. Who can the lone barbarian trust, if anyone?
Comics! They're not just for kids anymore!
The Association of American Publishers has released their final statement on 2008. Unsurprisingly, 2008 was not a good year for publishing. Publishers sales were down 2.8 percent over the year before.
highlowlights: Educational books for K-12 fell 4.4%. Mass Market paperbacks fell by 3%. Mail-order book clubs (like the Book-of-the-Month Club) had their sixth straight year of decline. Audio books dropped 21%. Religious books lost 7.6%.
Not every sector saw a drop. Higher education textbooks increased 2.7%. And while hardcover adult and children's books sales fell by about 13%, paperback books for kids increased by 6.4% and sales of paperbacks for adults grew by 3.6%. And the best news of all? Maybe not such good news for parts of the industry:
E-books continue to grow significantly, sales reached $113 million in 2008, up 68.4%
I knew I was forgetting something when I was putting together Today in DVD Releases. Also out on DVD today is Cthulhu, the locally produced horror movie.
But no matter what you think of the movie, it's still a big deal to have a made-in-Washington film released on DVD. And it is available on Netflix and at video stores near you starting today, so you can decide for yourself. Apologies to everyone who worked on Cthulhu for the totally unintentional snub.
UPDATE: Gold Star Comment goes to WA Film Lover, who says:
The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is another feature film, made in WA, that is also out on DVD right now. Unlike Cthulhu, though, it has recieved nothing but praise from critics and even a thumbs up from scifi geeks like Wil Wheaton. So why hasn't The Stranger covered this film? Let's try and promote a few WA movies that don't suck.
WAFL, I can't speak for everyone else, but I haven't covered the film because I have never heard of it. I saw a mockumentary called Gamers that was unexceptionally bad, but I now realize that it's a different movie. I just moved TG:DR to the top of my Netflix queue, though; thanks for suggesting it.
Well you just might be able to get into the show for FREE.
Frühjahrsmüdigkeit, to my great delight, is the German word for "spring fever."
a state of low energy and weariness experienced by many people in springtime
And not the good kind:
an increase in energy, vitality and particularly sexual appetite
Boo! Is there a German word for the good kind? Is it as good as Frühjahrsmüdigkeit? I love German.
Baby swamp rabbit photo (the kind that tried to eat Jimmy Carter!) courtesy Wikipedia.
Last week, Wired featured a profile about Klaus Teuber, best known for creating the board game Settlers of Catan. The feature—much like the game itself—is a fine introduction to the resurgent nerdy board game genre, which is apparently taking off as a "comfort food" entertainment choice while people are freaking out about their jobs (in spite of games like Catan typically retailing for $40+).
As a bonus, the article pretty much calls Monopoly the worst board game ever, and I'm amazed to think that other major publications haven't done so before:
It requires almost no strategy. The only meaningful question in the game is: To buy or not to buy? Most of its interminable three- to four-hour average playing time (length being another maddening trait) is spent waiting for other players to roll the dice, move their pieces, build hotels, and collect rent.
Have you seen modern Monopoly? Instead of using paper money, the game works with swipe cards and a digital money calculator. As if cheating wasn't bad enough when an evil older sibling manned the bank, now players can use this device to jack up their cash totals without any paper trail—the screen clears after transactions. Monopoly is now training the future Diebold techs of America.
The bulk of the article is probably old hat for most Sloggers—I've met a lot of people through Slog who love Catan (and love whooping me in it). But the feature gives me a good excuse to suggest that the next Slog Happy be filled with board and card games. Catan, Carcassone, Bohnanza, Power Grid, Dominion, Guillotine... if that list seems like gibberish, don't worry, cuz most of those have easy learning curves and aren't too competitive. What say you?
Nalgene, the company that fastens nuke-resistant water bottles to hippies, released a study today rating the most and least wasteful cities in America. According to a survey of 3,750 Americans' planet-murdering behaviors—leaving the lights on, letting the tap run, taking too damn long in the shower, and so forth—Atlanta was the worst and San Francisco was the best.
Atlanta residents (followed by Dallas and Indianapolis denizens) recycled the least, threw away the most, refused to reuse, and were reluctant to borrow books from the library. They also steered clear of local markets and loved disposable beverage containers. San Franciscans, on the other hand, won top ranks for drinking Burgundy from Nalgene bottles, refusing to shower, and composting their dead pets.
“One of the things that we’ve seen is that people are willing to have a less wasteful lifestyle if it is easy and convenient,” says Meghan Gargan, a company spokeswoman. She adds, “If it saves money, they are way more likely to do it.”
Seattle was ranked the county’s fourth least wasteful city, after New York and Portland. The rest of the report—which is clearly a Nalgene-bottle marketing campaign preying on our inferiority complex over the giantness of New York and quaintness of Portland, and our willingness to buy reusable bottles to avoid being ridiculed as “wasters”—is over here.
Tomorrow is the beginning of Script Frenzy, the write-a-screenplay-in-a-month challenge. Script Frenzy is nowhere near its sibling National Novel Writing Month in terms of popularity—it picks up about a tenth of the 100,000 or so novelists that participate in NaNoWriMo each year.
I was pleased to see that the Script Frenzy people have relaxed their rules a little bit: All participants have to do is produce 100 pages of some sort of script from April 1st to April 30th. Which means that you can now write a comic book script or a full-length play instead of a screenplay and still participate.
I can state from personal experience (two Script Frenzies and five NaNoWriMos) that Script Frenzy is a lot more fun than NaNoWriMo, and it's just about a perfect activity for April in Seattle: When the weather gets shitty and wintery and you're stuck inside against your will, you can funnel that energy into a script.
If you don't have Final
CutDraft or any of the other expensive screenwriting programs, you can download Celtx for free. It's a fairly intuitive program for Mac or PC that allows you to work in movies, plays, or comics. I use Celtx for most of my scripts, but I've also used and can recommend Scripped, which is like a Google Docs for screenplays. Scripped is particularly useful because you can work on your screenplay surreptitiously while at work. Because a screenplay might be your most realistic retirement plan in the New Depression.
UPDATE: Gold Star Comment is the very helpful PeterF, who offers up some inspiration:
Some great Screenwriting podcasts I subscribe to (available for free in iTunes):
On The Page: Screenwriting
Creative Screenwriting Magazine
KCRW's The Treatment
and also thanks to Skit McGrit for pointing out that I meant Final Draft, not Final Cut.
All hail Bebe Zahara Benet, the real-life African Queen who won top honors in the (awesome) first season of RuPaul's Drag Race. The image above is, of course, Bebe's Greg Gorman-shot ad for L.A. Eyeworks. (Here's RuPaul's L.A. Eyeworks classic.)
Still to come for the triumphant Bebe, as the WoW Report reports: $20,000 from Absolut vodka and MAC cosmetics, a fashion spread in Paper magazine, and a headlining gig on the Absolut Pride tour. (No word yet on other components of the tour, but last year's bill featured Cyndi Lauper, Joan Armatrading, and the B-52s, and was surprisingly awesome.)
Rudy, the Cuban gynecologist, freedomizes himself by selling used cars and trucks in North Carolina. Call me a sucker, but I'd buy an old Buick from him, just because he's him...
There's not a whole lot out on DVD today. The big release is Slumdog Millionaire. At the time of its release, Lindy West really liked it:
The film is exhilarating and gorgeous and contains the most sublime use of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" (not sick of it yet!) through which you've ever had the pleasure of whooshing. Little skinny-limbed boys navigate treachery and temptation and mountains of garbage, seas of garbage—their corner of Mumbai is all lurid colors and postapocalyptic beauty.
I think most people really liked it, but many people didn't think it was worthy of the Best Picture Oscar. I like to think Danny Boyle's Oscar for directing was actually for Sunshine, just a couple years late.
In other major studio releases, Marley & Me and Seven Pounds are out on DVD today. Charles did not like Will Smith's drama-with-a-(reportedly)-dumb-twist:
But to those who do watch Seven Pounds and see its shocking "revelation," I want to offer this reading or decoding of its narrative: The movie is about the death of the black male.
Two critically lauded foreign films are out today. Tell No One was loved by Jon Frosch
This has been a particularly crappy summer movie season, so it's no surprise that critics are rolling out the hosannas for young French actor-director Guillaume Canet's Tell No One. But this time, they're at least somewhat justified: Canet's adaptation of an American mystery novel by Harlan Coben is more atmospheric, smartly paced, and affecting than any homegrown version would have been.
and Charles Mudede says "It’s a fun movie from start to finish." I really enjoyed Timecrimes, the Spanish time-travel thriller, when it came to SIFF last year. I hear they're doing an American remake of this, so watch this version before Tom Cruise (or whoever) fucks it up.
What I'm most excited for is the release of Ricky Gervais: Out of England, his HBO stand-up comedy special. I love Ricky Gervais so much, I even watched last year's Ghost Dentist, or what the fuck ever that awful movie about the dentist who could see ghosts was called.
Other releases include The IT Crowd: Season 1, Hope & Faith: Season 1, and The Butterfly Effect 3: Ashton-Free Since 2005.
A good, complete list of DVD releases can be found here.
Slog tipper Will in Seattle points out this press release for anyone who might be inspired to make Lenin-themed poetry:
Having moved to Fremont, very near the Lenin statue, it has come to my
attention that we’re lacking something significant— a Lenin poem! A
poem in brass, a verse to lift and root Lenin. No time to waste!
Emma Lazarus saw the Statue of Liberty as a beacon to the world. When
you look at the Fremont Lenin, what do you see? In conjunction with
nothing in particular, I am requesting commemorative poems for the
Lenin statue. I’ll put the winning poem on a plaque and the (best of
the) rest in a chapbook. I’ll “publicly pour” copies of the chapbook
onto the statue on July 4th 2009.
This isn’t a call. This is a challenge. Write the Lenin poem. The
statue may go, but the poem will stay. All ages, languages and genres
accepted, but plaque-sized please, brass ain’t cheap. If in another
language, provide an English translation. No previously published
works. Send your poems on or before 1 April 2009. If by e-mail, send
here with the subject line “The Lenin Poems.”
Need I remind you that tomorrow is April 1st? If you have a great Communist sestina lurking inside you, tonight is the night to unleash it on the world. Thanks to Will in Seattle for the tip.
In the "The Revenge of Karl Marx," Christopher Hitchens says something that all Marxist have known since the rise of neoliberalism: Marx is still relevant. In fact, David Harvey even argues that the central ideas in his most important book, Das Kapital, are more relevant now than in Marx's own time (the 1870s).
And now for the most important paragraph in Hitchens' short article:
As I write this, every newspaper informs me of frantic efforts by merchants to unload onto the consumer, at almost any price, the vast surplus of unsold commodities that have accumulated since the credit crisis began to take hold. The phrase crisis of over-production, which I learned so many long winters ago in “agitational” meetings, recurs to my mind. On other pages, I learn that the pride of American capitalism has seized up and begun to rust, and that automobiles may cease even to be made in Detroit as a consequence of insane speculation in worthless paper “derivatives.” Did I not once read somewhere about the bitter struggle between finance capital and industrial capital? The lines of jobless and hungry begin to lengthen, and what more potent image of those lines do we possess than that of the “reserve army” of the unemployed—capital’s finest weapon in beating down the minimum wage and increasing the hours of the working week? A disturbance in a remote corner of the world market leads to chaos and panic at the very center of the system (and these symptoms are given a multiplier effect when the pangs begin at the center itself), and John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, doughty champions of capitalism at The Economist, admit straightforwardly in their book on the advantages of globalization that Marx, “as a prophet of the ‘universal interdependence of nations,’ as he called globalization … can still seem startlingly relevant … His description of globalization remains as sharp today as it was 150 years ago.” The falling rate of profit, the tendency to monopoly … how wrong could that old reading-room attendant have been?
I'm always amazed at how few actors are actually cunning in the ways of the world. They have all the skills it takes to get ahead: good memories, advanced degrees, a desperate desire to please, few scruples or sexual inhibitions, skill at dissembling, the ability to pretend that they like—no, adore— people they can't stand, and (often) very good looks. They devote their whole lives to making people like them. They are articulate and well spoken. Why they can't use these skills to fashion some kind of living for themselves is one of the great mysteries. Why are so few actors able to play the role of successful people in their own lives?
Touche, Faze. (Dive into the whole MeFi thread here.)
Yesterday, Charles linked this great essay in The Atlantic about the economic crisis and some things that could be done to fix the mess. I read it last night on his recommendation and just wanted to link it again. And again. And again.
There is currently no shortage of writing about the economy, but clear-eyed pieces like this one (which analyzes the current situation in the U.S. from the perspective of a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund) are rare and worth reading whenever they come along. It was a doubly-interesting read for me because I'm currently working on a short piece for this week's Stranger about an upcoming nation-wide bank protest on April 11—with a local protest planned here in Seattle—that is using the theme: Nationalize. Reorganize. Decentralize.
If you read the Atlantic piece, by Simon Johnson, you will find that his advice is essentially just that.
The government must force the banks to acknowledge the scale of their problems. As the IMF understands (and as the U.S. government itself has insisted to multiple emerging-market countries in the past), the most direct way to do this is nationalization.
Of course, some people will complain about the “efficiency costs” of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail—a financial weapon of mass self-destruction—explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.
Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical—since we’ll want to sell the banks quickly—they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.
It's not the most catchy of rallying cries, this "Nationalize, Reorganize, Decentralize" business, but the fact that the current economic mess has been boiled down to a solutions-oriented rallying cry at all is another telling marker of this crazy financial moment. And it's a rallying cry that's getting some notice. Here's the planned nation-wide protests being discussed recently on PBS:
Interactive telecommunications researchers designed a soil-moisture sensor device that can allow a house plant to communicate with its owner. The device can send short messages to a mobile phone or, by using a service called Twitter, it can send short messages to the Internet. The messages can range from reminders to water the plant, a thank you or a warning that you over- or under-watered it. To communicate, probes in the soil emit electric waves. A voltage level based on the moisture content is sent through two wires to a circuit board that compares the optimum moisture level with the current one. A local network receives this data and allows the plant to send a message through the device.
(The story is not new.)
Or, rather, pop-punk rock opera—Green Day, along with director Michael Mayer, is turning American Idiot into a musical with Broadway ambitions.
Mayer's other Broadway credits: Thoroughly Modern Millie; 'night Mother; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Uncle Vanya; and Spring Awakening, for which he won a Tony.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Billie Joe Armstrong told the NYT—but it makes perfect sense. Mayer started listening to American Idiot while writing Spring Awakening and it shows. The musical is Southern California pop-punk about 19th-century German schoolkids and their feeling pent up about sex, school, religious parents, and abstinence eduction. Lots of angst and masturbation:
It's the bitch of living/With nothing but your hands/It's the bitch of living/As someone you can't stand.
It's the bitch of living/And living in your head/It's the bitch of living/And sensing God is dead.
“[American Idiot] was very much in my head all during that time,” Mr. Mayer said. “Sometimes I really would say things like, ‘Why can’t this have a groove like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”?’"
American Idiot almost sounds like a sequel to Spring Awakening—the kids have graduated and moved out of their parents' house, shifting the frustration of confinement to the disillusion of freedom:
Based on the narrative of the album, the musical charts the lives of a circle of 20-somethings from the burbs as they strike out down different paths. Some stay put in their hometown, while others move to the big city and get sucked into the cycle of rock and drugs, and still others get shipped out to Iraq. What unites them all is the search for redemption in a world filled with sham, angst and broken dreams.
Musical theater, at least, is figuring out how to get the kids all excited for world premieres.
Tomorrow morning, the first 100 people to visit any Cupcake Royale location (West Seattle, Madrona, or Ballard) will get a free baby cake of the new flavor of the month, Honey Peanut Brittle! (Read more about the new flavor in CR's blog.)
And, speaking of Cupcake Royale, they also just announced that they're adding the Salted Caramel Cupcake (which is a-maz-ing) to their daily selection. Hooray!
(Thanks for the delicious tip, CakeSpy!)