Our final chickfactor 30 party in London was an afternoon Hangover Lounge affair at the Betsey Trotwood and had kind of a chill vibe that was welcome after two nights at the packed Lexington! Marlody is a new signing on Rob and Amelia’s Skep Wax label and her moody, intimate songs were quiet and poignant at a time when finally coming together after so long was so needed. Her music was a reminder that we all need to share our stories. The Catenary Wires are of course pop legends: Amelia Fletcher, Rob Pursey, Ian Button and Andy Lewis. They played stellar songs from their latest, Birling Gap, which you should snap up if you haven’t got it, and even thrilled the audience with a Heavenly song, “Cool Guitar Boy,” in advance of their couple of Bush Hall shows next spring, which was so so fun.
London is a place I was lucky to call home for half a decade and I miss it like crazy. chickfactor’s cofounder Pam Berry has lived there since the late ’90s and I love being able to go back and see people at these events in these places that miraculously are still open. I wish we could do it every year! Thanks again to the musicians, bands, venues, Paul Kelly for backline wrangling, the sound people, Hangover Lounge, Tae Won Yu, the folks who put me and others up, the documenters, readers, fans, friends, strangers, and pop lovers who make up this incredible community.
Tonight from the stage, Morgan from the Umbrellas said that her face was hurting from smiling so much and we could all relate! The London CF30 shows were like a big loveliest full of fantastic pop music! The show kicked off tonight with the Bay Area pop group Seablite, making their London debut in the most stylish and melodious way!
Birdie played next and our hearts melted because they are so damn charming and just effortlessly generate classic-sounding pop music that could have come from the 1960s. Their set list is below, but we know how lucky we are to have heard a few Dolly Mixture songs on Friday during Rachel’s set and some on Saturday with Birdie! Unbelievable joy.
The final act tonight was the Bay Area Slumberland band The Umbrellas, who are so young and yet so good at making classic but fresh indie pop in the best possible way. Such energy! Such positivity! If there were any justice in the world, we would take these shows on the road and fill the world with joy and melody! I’m sure these US bands will be back soon, but for now London + California = love.
Just a note: In case you wondered why the shows started so early and they had no real breaks between bands, it’s because the Lexington has another dance party event that starts roughly an hour after our thing ended. We left a time cushion between our show and theirs because our experience at CF25 was a bit difficult to deal with, the Pastels could hardly load out or relax and have a post-show beer before the late-night dance party people rushed the room.
(Personally, I was perched on a bench in the back because I had recently rolled my ankle and couldn’t manage the pain being on my feet all night or I would have been dancing like a dervish right up front as per usual! I was on so much paracetamol that I felt I couldn’t drink much cider, and I was a bit limited in my movements as host! But it was pretty crazy to see three of my former coworkers from SPIN magazine in the house! Daisy and Sarah, shoutouts to you for being so fun. )
Thanks again to all the bands who played and all the fans who came from afar and the Lexington. Special thanks to Gaylord Fields and Rachel Love (to whom I apologize for my grumpiness) for helping me wrangle the right lager and snacks from the local Tesco. The overall vibe this weekend was very much a lovefest, a total all-hands-on-deck, walking around the neighborhood and running into each other funfest with some of the greatest people. MC Gaylord did an amazing job of waxing loudly and lovingly about the bands to get everyone’s attention back to the stage. Many thanks to Paul Kelly and the Betsey Trotwood for wrangling the backline for the whole weekend. Thanks to the Hangover Lounge gents—Tim, John, Ben and Steve—for handling merch and being the generally wonderful humans that they are.
chickfactor anniversary parties are sometimes characterized as events where we bring bands back from retirement or as total nostagia-fests. While it is true that they are basically the best kind of friend reunion, this year’s London shows had little to do with nostalgia (though there was a wee Dolly Mixture vibe and a Heavenly song!). Our three-day festival featured five bands that were just interviewed in our latest issue, chickfactor 19 (Sacred Paws, Rachel Love and three Bay Area pop bands mentioned below), and two bands whose members (Paul Kelly and Debsey Wykes and the Catenary Wires) have been interviewed on our site in mostly recent times. The Lexington shows also featured three bands making their London debut: Seablite, Artsick and The Umbrellas flew across the world to play in London!
Tonight I was dead excited to see Sacred Paws for the first time, and they did not disappoint! (They toured the U.S. a while back but only the East Coast and I was West Coast then.) Rachel Aggs’ dance moves are a joy to watch and the whole band generates goodness. Their sound is rooted in the ESG-influenced past, but completely fresh and modern. We are so grateful they came down from Glasgow to play!
It was also amazing to see Rachel Love solo for the first time! She brought her kids and their friends to play many of the wonderful songs from her 2021 solo album that deserved more attention. We heard a few Dolly Mixture songs during Rachel’s set (“Down The Line,” “Miss Candy Twist,” “How Come You’re Such a Hit With the Boys, Jane?”), some with Debsey Wykes as a guest! Unbelievable joy. Plus, tonight was the first time Artsick has ever played in London and they were killing it with fizzy pop punk energy!
Thanks to the bands who played and traveled from afar, MC Gaylord Fields, the fans who came out, the Lexington, the soundpeople and especially the Betsey Trotwood and Paul Kelly for sorting out the backline for the whole weekend. Tonight was epic!
Night three at Union Pool was a blast! I was so excited to be seeing ARTSICK for the first time, and it was a NYC/East Coast debut for both them and SEABLITE! Both bands gave it everything and the crowd loved it. NYC’s JEANINES (now more of a Western Mass. combo I believe) and GARY OLSON (with a bit of LADYBUG TRANSISTOR!) brought it too! It was a magical night of old friends, fantastic music and general stardust. Thanks to DJ Sukhdev Sandhu, MC Gaylord Fields, Tae Won Yu for the gorgeous posters and graphics, our wonderful sound person Beck and the folks at Union Pool, along with everyone who played, came out and enjoyed the night! See more of Dean Keim’s photos here.
our second event in New York was at the Chashama space in Brooklyn where Steve Keene was having an exhibition. As the editor of the Steve Keene Art Book, I was sad to miss a number of book launch events earlier in 2022, so I was happy to put on this event with the book’s producer and SK documenter Dan Efram. Many of the pieces on the wall were from his or other private collections, so they were not all for sale (sadly!) Christina Zafiris, who worked in the marketing department at Matador Records when the label did a series of “Pavement Trees” made by SK, wrote about the experience of doing those in the book, and asked me to edit her essay for the book, which led to me editing the whole book. Another contributor to the book, Sam Brumbaugh, interviewed Bridget St. John for chickfactor 12 back in the late ’90s. (Read his essay from the book here!) Our love for Bridget’s music led to us having her play at many of our big festivals over the years in both New York and London. We named one of our festivals at Bush Hall in London “Mon Gala Papillons” (it takes its name from a photograph by Jacques Lartigue), which inspired Bridget to write a song of the same title! We love Bridget. (Photos: Gail O’Hara)
When I arrived in NYC in early October, the remnants of Hurricane Ian were still turning the city into a nasty soupy mess. I visited Eric Fischer at the Frying Pan pier complex a few days before our event there, and the wind and waves were violently shooting up through the dock. But on Oct. 6, the weather and party gods shined on us and gave us a completely perfect NY evening. Luckily Eric, who pretty much built much of the pier complex and has been involved with running and maintaining the ships for decades, is the hardest working person in showbiz and pushed me to try to hammer out every detail before the event. We had special gold wristbands, a fancy ‘chickfactor’ cocktail ready as a special for the event, and even a special vegan menu. Eric’s wife, Christina, procured our giant inflatable CF30 letters. Josh “Other Music” Madell helped me wrangle my least favorite part of setting up shows: PA and backline. Our sound person Mike Yesenosky usually works with the Magnetic Fields, so we were very lucky to have him tonight!
When Beatrix Madell, the 14-year-old who formed a band called Girl Scout Handbook for our CF30 NY party on the Frying Pan, asked her mom (longtime CF contributor Dawn Sutter Madell) what makes a song a chickfactor song, Dawn told her it would have to be a song “Gail likes.” But it’s clear that, between the folks who contribute to, read, support, and sell the zine and the folks who play at and attend our events, there is a community of like-minded folks out there that like similar tunes!
Girl Scout Handbook, a group of 12- to 14-year-olds from Brooklyn, took the stage right as fireworks were going off out in the Hudson River. Helicopters were swooping into the pier next to ours as well. GSH’s set was made up of covers chosen specifically for the event: The Zombies, Heavenly, the Spinanes, Lois, B&S and it was amazing! So great! They only practiced four times and already got written up in the New Yorker! Watching their proud parents watch them was so heart-warming. What a way to start the show!
Next up was DUMP, Brooklyn’s James McNew, who slayed the crowd with his solo set of classics from his repertoire and ace covers. The Jim Ruiz Set, as they often do, came all the way from the Twin Cities to make us swoon to their easy listening pop gems. And the Aluminum Group also flew in from Detroit and Chicago to show the world why it needs to listen to their fab new album. DJs Gaylord Fields and Stephin Merritt helped us keep things humming in between. Artist Kevin Alvir was offering quick portraits on demand, and the Aluminum Group brought a boutique’s worth of fun merch and handmade garlands. It was such a great night full of all kinds of people from different generations enjoying the venue, the music and each other’s company. Thanks to everyone who played, came to the event, and helped out (especially Eric and Christina, Josh and Dawn, and Y-Mike!)
1. Rochester, New York’s abandoned subway tunnels 2. Versus / Jawbox live performance at Le Poisson Rouge, July 21 — New York, NY 3. Katherine Small Gallery book shop — Somerville, Massachusetts 4. Death Records 5. Mickie’s Dairy Bar — Madison, Wisconsin 6. Garbage Plate at Schaller’s Drive-In — Rochester, New York 7. Gerard Unger — Life in Letters (book) 8. Folke Rabe — What?? (LP) 9. Theodore Shapiro — Severance (soundtrack album) 10. Severance (television program)
Ten Delightful Books of 2022 (or late 2021): Re-Sisters, Cosey Fanny Tutti Shy, Mary Rodgers This Time Tomorrow, Emma Straub Lookin’ for Lawrence, Lawrence The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, David Graeber and David Wengrow Instant: The Story of Polaroid, Christopher Bonanos A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders Essays Two, Lydia Davis Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries 1918–1938 and 1938–1943
Cate Le Bon Bowery Ballroom 2/9 Kim Gordon Webster Hall 3/18/22 L’Rain BAM 3/30/22 Waxahatchee George’s Majestic Lounge 4/19/22 Linda Lindas Mercury Lounge 5/1/22 Sharon Van Etten Union Pool 5/7/22 Circuit Des Yeux Greenwood Cemetery 6/7/22 Phoebe Bridgers Prospect Park 6/15 Bikini Kill Pier 17 7/9/22 Soul Glo Knockdown Center 7/10/22 Wild Hearts tour Berkeley GreekTheatre 7/31/22 Porridge Radio Bowery Ballroom 9/24/22 Broken Social Scene (esp w Tracey Ullman and Meryl Streep) Webster Hall 10/17/22 Girl Scout Handbook/Dump/Jim Ruiz/Aluminum Group Chickfactor 30 Frying Pan 10/6/22 Nnamdi Baby’s Alright 10/30/22 Wet Leg Music Hall Of Williamsburg 12/17/22 Horsegirl/Yo La Tengo Bowery Ballroom 12/22/22
Nancy Novotny: Top Ten Reasons I Adored My Trip To Finland (Sept. 16-Oct. 2, 2022)
1. Seeing Richard Dawson & Circle perform (most of) their collaborative LP, Henki, live at a Psych Fest in Tampere. 2. Seeing Lau Nau perform live at an intimate venue in Helsinki. Also finally working up the courage to chat with her after the show. 3. Charity Shops & Flea Markets in Helsinki, Tampere, Rovaniemi & various small towns in Northern Finland. Holy crap, they’re great! 4. The Moomin Museum in Tampere. 5. My day trip to Tallinn, especially shopping for gorgeous/weird Soviet-era books and other treasures. And the Puppet Museum! 6. The beautiful, colorful autumn leaves. 7. Long drink! (Usually grapefruit soda & gin, sold in supermarkets & at bars. Helsinki Long Drink by the Helsinki Distilling Company was my clear favorite.) 8. Seeing reindeer along the road in Northern Finland. Also NOT seeing any reindeer roadkill. 9. Vintage shops in Helsinki. Special shouts out to Mekkomania (for vintage dresses by Marimekko, Vuokko, Pia & Paula, etc.), Lanterna Magica (for vintage photographs, ephemera & books), and Caratia (for vintage Finnish jewelry, especially mid-century silver and bronze design pieces). 10. Being able to watch Moomin cartoons on TV every night. Also seeing Moomin merch for sale literally everywhere.
Nancy is a musician, a karaoke queen, a DJ who does a show called Turtles Have Short Legs on XRAY FM, Portland, OR, and a CF contributor.
Nothing to do with 2022 I’m afraid… Top Ten Beatles Songs
1. Yes It Is 2. We Can Work It Out 3. Paperback Writer 4. Every Little Thing 5. Strawberry Fields Forever 6. Ticket To Ride 7. If I Needed Someone 8. There’s A Place 9. Fool On The Hill 10. Can’t Buy Me Love
Gail O’Hara (chickfactor / Enchanté Records)
Phone Voice, Cradle Tape Reds, Pinks & Purples, Summer at Land’s End & They Only Wanted Your Soul Horsegirl, Versions of Modern Performance Marisa Anderson, Still, Here Alvvays, Blue Rev Flinch, Enough Is Enough Aoife Nessa Frances, Protector Say Sue Me, The Last Thing Left Nina Nastasia, Riderless Horse Sinaïve, Super 45 t. Lande Hekt, House Without a View Jeanines, Don’t Wait for a Sign Artsick, Fingers Crossed Bill Callahan, YTI⅃AƎЯ Dot Dash, Madman in the Rain The Jazz Butcher (RIP), The Highest in the Land Seablite, “Breadcrumbs” The Umbrellas, “Write it in the Sky”
Old and fresh: Mimi Roman, First of the Brooklyn Cowgirls Joyce with Mauricio Maestro, Natureza Tia Blake & Her Folk Group, Folk Songs & Ballads Dotti Holmberg, Sometimes Happy Times Norma Tanega, I’m the Sky: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964–1971
Sukhdev Sandhu (writer, professor, CF contributor!)
House of Edgertor. Every week a lifetime ago, when she was writing reviews for the Other Music newsletter, Robin Edgerton introduced me to treasure after treasure (Pauline Oliveros, Pascal Comelade, Tricatel and Millle Plateaux labels). Still a brilliant researcher and writer, these days she discovers glorious, distinctive apparel, sleuths its backstories, sometimes fixes minor blemishes. Then she offers it to the world. Really she’s a philanthropist.
Monorail Music. It’s 20 years old! Starting things – a club, a shop. a magazine – is easy. Plunging in, all hands together, the thrill of the news, our gang forever. Keeping things going is a lot harder. Holding on, moving forward, unchanging and changing at the same time. Glasgow’s Monorail does it – and how. As Stephen Pastel writes in a lovely ‘2022 Staff Favourites’ Risograph booklet, “Twenty down, twenty to come.”
Norwegian Seamen’s Church. It’s been there, on East 52nd Street in Manhattan, for years. Still, it feels like a secret. Spare, light-suffused, a place that feels like a retreat from the world. It offers free waffles with lingonberry jam. Free coffee too. The basement has an art gallery. Everyone who works there has an open face, the gift of easy friendship.
Kommuna Lux. My favourite music venue – KuBa (short for Kulturbahnhof) in Donaueschingen – is a cafe/ bar located on a railway platform in Germany’s Black Forest. Performances are often punctuated by the sound of incoming trains. This July, Kommuna Lux came to town to play what they called Klezmer, Odessa and Gangsta Folk. Think The Men They Couldn’t Hang. The all-age crowd, many of whom hadn’t been to a show in the last couple of years, didn’t – couldn’t – forget the terrible news headlines in the Ukraine. But they also whooped, jigged, knocked back Fürstenberg beer. That felt like its own kind of connection.
CARA. Its full name is the Center for Art, Research and Alliances; it’s on West 13th Street in Manhattan; it opened this summer. It has ceilings high enough to let you dream, light enough to think you may be floating, and Emmy Catedral who curates its public programs and is responsible for its dizzying bookshop, is a genius.
The Economist Christmas double issue. Page for page, it’s probably the best value magazine in the world. This year’s had articles on the myth of the holy cow, cricket’s increasing ascendancy over baseball, the future for the Baduy peoples in Kanekes (they’re a bit like the Amish of Indonesia), how the nitrogen cycle has shaped the world, a brilliant article on whether Tang poetry can survive translation. All that and a beautiful obituary of Daniel Brush, the private, almost hermet-like goldsmith in New York.
Sue Nixon, Homophone Dictionary. What a delightful book. Before she died at the age of 96 about three years ago, Sue Nixon, a former schoolteacher, decided to compile a book of homophones. She’d loved them all her life and had used them in class to teach her young pupils. They read like poems, lullabies, Molly Drake songs. According to her granddaughter Sarah, “Luckily the book was printed before she died: she was lying in bed, with her eyes closed but was able to hold a physical copy and commented on how thick and heavy it was.”
Air-India’s Maharaja: Advertising Gone Rogue. Air India had a mascot called ‘The Rogue’. He had a babu belly, a twangy moustache, and was endearing on the eye. He featured on any number of posters from 1946 through to the early 1970s – swapping turban for a beret and selling ‘naughty’ pictures of himself in Paris, dressed down as a Playgirl bunny in New York, donning monks’ garb in Rome. Poster House’s show devoted to Umesh Rao’s none-more charming creation was my favourite show of the year.
Paddington Railway Club. London’s black cab drivers deny it exists. But it does – and how.
Dovas, Cafe Giffi, Ronnells Antikvariat, Folkets Kebab, Herr Judit, Runstenen Wooden Horse Museum, Teater Tribunalen, Vintage Violence, Bacchus Antik, Cafe Tranan, Kurt Svensson Konsthandel, Kvarnen, Konstnarsbaren: Stockholm is such a lovely lovely city.
As always: Constantin Veis, ‘Memory-La’; Musette, ‘Datum’; Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, ‘Dr. Buzzard’s Original “Savannah” Band’; Swing Out Sister, ‘Breakout’. But also: Wechsel Garland & World Service, ‘The Isle’; F.S. Blumm, ‘Summer Kling’; Plantar, ‘Forest, Sea, Harmony’; Penguins & Martingales, ‘What Might Have Been’.
Thomas Andrew – a certain smile/My Vinyl Underground
Top 10 things I wish were (still) in Philly now that I’m back:
1. the Snow Fairies (Neal come home)
2. Lil baby’s ice cream (vegan strawberry pink peppercorn was my whole damn heart, they are very sorely missed)
3. Red Square Records (i mean they left pretty much months after I first arrived in 2001, but still)
4. Spaceboy records (I owe John and Chris from that shop so much for the person I am today)
5. All my new friends from Portland! (This is why visits exist)
6. Brian from Pizza Brain, the shop still exists but Brian was the heart. (He does make Washington state that much cooler now though.)
7. A Popfest (who knows what may come though)
8. The Hollywood Theater/Movie Madness (one of the hardest things to leave behind in Portland, I’m hopeful to find something similar out here)
9. More damn pinball (I was spoiled for Pinball in Portland. Nowhere can compare)
10. Lilys (I mean there are enough former members in town to fill a small neighborhood, but to have Kurt here playing music on the reg would make my damn heart/brain explode with joy)
Evelyn Hurley (Cotton Candy) This past year, I watched and rewatched some movies from the ’80s, here are my highlights!
Room With a View This movie came out when I was a freshman in high school, but I don’t think I actually saw it until it came out on video a few years later. I have to say, I really loved it then, and I really loved it again on this revisit! As a 14 year old, I think I imagined myself in the Helena Bonham Carter character role, but on this recent viewing I found myself absolutely smitten with the Judi Dench and Maggie Smith characters, who are absolute delights to watch! The movie is romance in action, and the scenery, plot, costumes, and acting are pure magic. Grade: A+++
Witness Another blockbuster from 1985, Witness was a movie I might have actually seen in the theater, and since Harrison Ford was such a huge movie star, I’m sure the theater must have been absolutely packed. On my rewatch, I was amazed at how really good the film is; the plot is thrilling, and the acting is top notch, especially the beautiful Kelly McGillis. The city elements of the story are scary, dark, and thrilling, which is in stark contrast with the Amish elements in this film, which are bright and clean. The noir twist in the film is riveting, but my favorite surprise are the quick scenes with Patti LuPone who plays Harrison Ford’s sister, she’s so great. Grade: A+
Broadcast News I never saw this movie when it came out in 1987, but I remember everyone loving it. The tv commercials for it were constantly showing, and I liked the scene where Joan Cusack nearly runs into the pulled out file drawer but ducks under just in time. Unfortunately, the movie is nothing like this clip, and in my opinion and in the opinion everyone who was watching it with me, it’s a terrible, terrible, movie. Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks epitomize the annoying characteristics of yuppies from the ’80s; self indulgent, self absorbed, and conceited. William Hurt is supposed to be a dummy who gets ahead in the broadcast world solely based on his looks, but in all honestly, he’s the only likable person in the movie, and seems pretty good at his job. I can’t tell you how it ended because we turned it off and absolutely wished we had never seen any of it. Grade: F-
Body Heat This 1981 film also stars William Hurt, but I actually finished this movie. It’s also another neo-noir film, staring Hurt and the amazing Kathleen Turner, and while it was very good it wasn’t as good as Witness. Grade: B
Here’s to 2023, and all the movies that we watch!
Rachel Blumberg (Arch Cape)
Top Ten Favorite Shows I Played in 2022 in no particular order:
1. Agnes Varda Forever live film score collaboration with Kathy Foster – Holocene, PDX 2. Field Drums with Lunchbox – The Golden Bull, Oakland, CA 3. Arch Cape at the Arts Week Residency, Sou’Wester, Seaview, WA 4. Califone with BCMC, Judson and Moore Distillery, Chicago, IL 5. Encouragement Friendship Band w/Anis Mogiani & Laura Gibson – Mississippi Studios, PDX 6. Tara Jane O’Neil at Family Reunion Summer Fest – Kelley Point Park, PDX 6. Califone with Little Mazarn – Mississippi Studios 7. Old Unconscious with Fronjentress – The Fixin’ To, PDX 8. Linsday Clark with Michael Hurley and Luke Wyland – The Old Church, PDX 9. Field Drums with Party Witch and Desir – Mississippi Studio, PDX 10. Califone – Vickers Theater, Three Oaks, Michigan
Top Ten Favorite Native Plants in 2022
1. Thimbleberry 2. Douglas Spirea 3. Douglas Aster 4.Huckleberry 5. Sword Fern 6. Piggyback Plant 7. Wild Ginger 8. Osoberry 9. Vine Maple 10. Snowberry
Top Ten Dogs I Petted in 2022
1. Stella Bean, my sweetest heart, rest in peace. 2. Bella, my sister’s dog 3. Sal, Sam Farrel’s dog 4. Caramel and Ace, Rob and Melissa Jones’s dogs 5. Rankin, Vanessa Renwick’s dog 6. Dylan, Sheri Hood’s dog 7. Gladys, Scotty McCaughey and Mary Winzig’s dog 8. Sparky and Zoey, my dad and Phillipa’s (his lady friend) dog 9. Dizzy, Janet Weiss’s dog, and Rooster, the dog she is fostering 10. Sugar, our neighbor’s dog
Top Ten Shows I saw in 2022, in no particular order, and I doubt I am remembering them all…
1. Belle and Sebastian, Roseland 2. Slumberland Showcase, The Doug Fir 3. Cate Le Bon, The Wonder Ballroom 4. Yo La Tengo, The Wonder Ballroom 5. Quasi, Pdx Pop Now Fest 6. Ural Thomas and The Pain, The Good Foot 7. Lonnie Holley, Hollywood Theater 8. Magnetic Fields, Aladdin Theater 9. Horsegirl, Polaris Hall 10. Pavement, Edgefield
Christina Riley / Artsick Chickfactor 30 NY and London Oakland Weekender 2022 Glasgow Breaks from social media Rock and Roll Vegan Donut bar in Monterey White Lotus season 2 on HBO Simon Guild guitar pedals Meditation Chickfactor 19 issue, and shirt designed by Jen Sbragia Buzzcocks tribute compilation cassette for Oakland Weekender 2022
BONUS: -Pop sockets for saving my phone from the swiper on a bike in London, haha!
Bridget St John my list: a collection of some of the meaningful/impactful/grateful and awe inspiring experiences of 2022
Nicola Walker – magnetic irresistible UK actor
The Split – I could make the whole list revolve around her and the other extraordinary actors she works with…
Colin Farrell & Jamie Lee Curtis Actors on Actors
Brady’s Irish Ground Coffee / Celtic Blend
Banshee’s of Inishereen
every Adirondack sunset
the caeser’s salad at Da Umberto in NYC
Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
WNYC – especially The Brian Lehrer Show & Fresh Air
Hampstead – with Brendan Gleeson & Diane
the daily, weekly, monthly endless resilience strength tenacity and spirit of the Ukrainian people
Jennifer O’Connor / musician, owner of Kiam Records and Main Street Beat Lizzo – Special (Atlantic) Flock – Flock (Strut) Mabe Fratti – Se Ve Desde Aqui (Tin Angel) Beach House – Once Twice Melody (Sub Pop) Megan Thee Stallion – Traumazine (300 Entertainment) They Hate Change – Finally, New (Jagjaguwar) Harry Styles – Harry’s House (Columbia) Cass McCombs – Heartland (Anti) Sudan Archives – Natural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw) Madonna – Finally Enough Love (Rhino/Warner)
Daniel Handler’s favorite books this year: Kathryn Davis, Aurelia Aurelia Fadhil al-Azzawi, Fadhil al-Azzawi’s Beautiful Creatures Jakuta Alikavazovic translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman, Night as it Falls Chen Chen, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced An Emergency Fanny Howe, London-rose/beauty will save the world Hiromi Ito, translated by Jeffrey Angles, Wild Grass On the Riverbank Geoffrey Nutter, Giant Moth Perishes Carl Phillips, Then The War Keiler Roberts, The Joy of Quitting Peter Rock, Passersthrough Kathleen Scanlan, Kick The Latch
Jim Ruiz and Emily Ruiz from Jim Ruiz Set
9 T.V. series from the ’60s that got us through the pandemic and beyond. 1. Danger Man (a.k.a. Secret Agent Man) 2. Gidget 3. The Saint 4. Batman 5. Hawaii 5-0 6. Mission Impossible 7. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 8. The Girl from U.N.C.L.E 9. Mannix
Lyle Hysen (Bank Robber Music and Royal Arctic Institute)
Mike Baggetta / Jim Keltner / Mike Watt (Big Ego) Everywhen We Go Dezron Douglas – Atalaya (International Anthem) Hermanos Gutiérrez – El Bueno Y El Malo (Easy Eye Sound) Hammered Hulls – Careening (Dischord) Horse Lords- Comradely Objects (Rvng Intl). Julian Lage – View With A Room (Blue Note) Beth Orton – Weather Alive (Partisan) Jeff Parker – Mondays at The Enfield Tennis Academy (Eremite Records) Romero –Turn It On – (Cool Death) Stella – Up and away (Sub-Pop)
Travis Elborough In no particular order – I ended up listening to quite a few things on cassette this year, one consequence of spending 10 days in bed with Covid in April with only my walkman to hand for audio entertainment, and probably als0 vinyl pressing plant backlogs but here’s some stuff that hit my ears this year. – baker’s top 10 at 11
Artist/Album Loop – Sonacy Kemper Norton – Rife (cassette) Opal X – Twister (cassette) Telefis – a Dó (cassette) Blue Spectre – Silver Screen Cosey Fanni Tutti – Delia Derbyshire soundtrack album Andrew Poppy – Jelly Robyn Hitchcock – Shuttlemania (cassette and LP) The Advisory Circle – Full Circle Xopher Davidson – Lux Perpetua Nkisi – NDOMBALA (A Journey to Avebury)
Ed Mazzucco (Shelflife Records / Tears Run Rings) 1. Billow Observatory – Stareside 2. RxGibbs – Eternal 3. Motifs – Remember A Stranger 4. Life On Venus – Homewards 5. Martin Courtney – Magic Sign 6. Marine Eyes – Chamomile 7. Humdrum – Superbloom 8. Foliage – Can’t Go Anywhere 9. Jeanines – Don’t Wait For A Sign 10. Korine – Mt. Airy
Julie Underwood (CF contributor!) 1. Beyoncé – Renaissance 2. Wet Leg – Wet Leg 3. Alvvays – Blue Rev 4. Alex G – God Save The Animals 5. Angel Olsen – Big Time 6. The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field 7. Plains – I Walked With You A Ways 8. Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow 9. Sasami – Squeeze 10. Yard Act – The Overload
Kendall Meade (Mascott, CF contributor)
Songs on repeat 2022 “San Francisco” Bonny Doon “Problem With It” and “Abeline” Plains “Mistakes” Sharon Van Etten “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” Weyes Blood “Anti Hero” Taylor Swift “Daylight” Harry Styles
Beatrix Madell (Girl Scout Handbook) My top ten songs of all time from the members of Boygenius: 1) “Night Shift,” Lucy Dacus 2) “Chelsea,” Phoebe Bridgers 3) “I Know the End,” Phoebe Bridgers 4) “Hot and Heavy,” Lucy Dacus 5) “Waiting Room,” Phoebe Bridgers 6) “Timefighter,” Lucy Dacus 7) “Graceland Too,” Phoebe Bridgers 8) “Me and My Dog,” Boygenius 9) “Song in E,” Julien Baker 10) “Punisher,” Phoebe Bridgers
Some Stars of 2022 Both Welcome and Unwelcome
Excellent books that are also mysteries: The Book of the Most Precious Substance by Sara Gran The Violin Conspiracy: a novel by Brendan Slocumb Vera Kelly: Lost and Found by Rosalie Knecht The Second Cut by Louise Welch The Verifiers by Jane Pek The Maid by Nita Prose Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia. P. Manansala The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill Confidence by Denise Mina
despair over Ukraine (et al)
Podsies: my ability to tolerate current news became I guess you’d say…refracted (?) i.e. bearable only by hearing it through other countries’ news like The Rest is Politics, or through the lens of a specific frame like the art world, The Week in Art or The Art Angle (scammers too). Gave esotericism a twirl with The Secret History of Western Esotericism, yikes, I do not have any idea what Earl Fountainelle was talking about much of the time, but interesting all the same. Also enjoyed for different moods and needs: Shedunnit, Art Law Podcast, The Witch Wave, The Read, Bad Gays, Don’t Ask Tig, The Bald and the Beautiful, My Favorite Murder.
Scottish Rite Masonic Museum, Salem Witch Board Museum (Ouija boards)
what is the word where you don’t want to mention anything for fear of forgetting something, i.e. some standout 2022 shows: id m theft able outdoor show in Elfland, Paulownia at Waterworks.
tried to figure out what to do about mortality
reading play aloud – The Mousetrap on a writing retreat – very fun, recommend
Desus and Mero breakup. All right, sad, but I console myself: a) performers-writers-artists need to grow and sometimes that means change b) think of all they gave us
finally watched Lord of the Rings for details of that experience read here
Brittney Griner WTF and thank god
if nothing else may I please recommend @archaeologyart on the instagrammo
Rob Pursey (The Catenary Wires, Skep Wax Records, Swansea Sound, Heavenly, etc.) After a long pandemic period of not going out I made a list of ten places I liked to visit and was very very happy to re-visit.
1. Rye Church Tower. You have to pay, but not very much, to climb up to the top of this beautiful old building. Narrow stone corridors, creaking wooden staircases, and then you climb a rickety ladder right next to the huge church bells – try to not to do this at midday – and then you’re out onto the tower roof through a trapezium-shaped wooden door. You get to admire the aerial view of this perfect hill-town and of the marshes and Dungeness in the distance. 2. The Betsey Trotwood, London. One of those venues that had to fight for survival during the pandemic. A warm, sanctuary of music. Always has friends in it. 3. Larkins Ale House, Cranbrook. A tiny purveyor of local ale. Very hospitable. On the first Sunday we went in, they asked if we wanted a free snack and handed over a plateful of them, like a free meal really. The beer is perfect. 4. Fairfield Church. A peculiar, isolated survivor on the Kent Marsh and now a place where we are able to put on Skep Arts events. No water, no electricity, no light. Beautifully basic. 5. The Oast, Rainham. Another lovely little venue where our friends at Careful Now Promotions somehow manage to book the best indie bands, every month. 6. The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea. An art gallery, a cafe, a great record shop (Music’s Not Dead), all housed in one of the most beautiful Twentieth Century public buildings, right by the sea. 7. Nutmeg Cafe, Tenterden. Best local coffee, friendly staff, dangerous pastries. 8. The Ellen Terry Theatre, Smallhythe. Another place that became a Skep Arts venue this year. A thatched barn, converted into a theatre by a Suffragette group in the early Twentieth Century. I don’t think there is anywhere else like this in the world. 9. London Bridge Station. I am still awestruck by the roof and the pillars of this huge building. It’s worth going to London just to see it. 10. The Chinese Supermarket in Hastings. Everything you need is here – all kinds of noodles, of rice, of spices. And home-made bao buns in the steamer by the check-out.
Joe Brooker (Pines / Foxgloves / CF contributor) 2022 Top 10
1 / Close-Up I’d long known of Shoreditch’s Close-Up Film Centre, but only in 2022 did I actually pay for membership and start watching films here: Bergman’s Persona for the first time, Godard’s Le Mépris for at least the sixth, Spanish films of the 1970s, in the little cinema where film abruptly starts as a light in the darkness. I love the array of thousands of DVDs to browse any time. The place reminds me a little of the Poetry Café, which I once knew as another oasis of culture.
2 / Chloe Under-the-radar BBC drama about identity and imposture, memory and teen friendship, social climbing and social media, all refreshingly based in the West Country.
3 / Ride As a student in Norwich I missed seeing Ride though they played only a few hundred yards away from me. Now by contrast I travel a hundred miles back to Norwich to see them play their debut LP Nowhere. Some of the audience are younger than I was then. The music is marvellous and fresh, but above all I just love the idea of seeing Ride in Norwich.
4 / Bordando el manto terrestre In the vast last room of Tate Modern’s Surrealism Beyond Borders exhibition I’m stunned to encounter Remedios Varo’s triptych of paintings Bordando el manto terrestre / Embroidering the Earth’s Crust (1961). I’ve read about this painting, looked at reproductions, so many times that I feel a rare awe before the original painting, with its size, texture and detail. In the same year, I might say something similar of Manet’s Un bar aux Folies Bergère (1882), which I’m taken aback to find in the Courtauld.
5 / Isokon Building Hampstead is a storied place but not well known to this South Londoner. A friend shows me around it: mile after mile of avenues green with trees, well-preserved housing, modernist outliers. Down a side street, flowering suburbia like Tolkien’s Hobbiton, I see for the first time the art deco Lawn Road Flats, known as the Isokon Building. Cherished by the many lovers of modern architecture, it’s spectacular: pure white, curved, its stairwell magnificent; an ocean liner.
6 / Sandymount Strand James Joyce’s Ulysses was published in 1922, and set in Dublin on 16th June. On 16th June 2022, a Joycean friend leads me out to Sandymount Strand, to retrace the steps of Stephen Dedalus in the novel’s third episode, as evening falls instead of the book’s morning. Almost alone amid the vast space we step across wet mud, puddles, treacherous ground, as a calm dusk slowly dims all around us. Finally we must take off our shoes and socks to paddle across streams, maybe similar ones to those that Dedalus feared would sweep him away with the tide.
7 / The Magnetic Fields Touching down in West London they play Quickies and representatives from most of their other records; songs I think I’ve never heard live, like ‘Love Goes Home To Paris In The Spring’ and ‘It’s Only Time’. The encore yields ‘100,000 Fireflies’. I don’t recall them sounding better, and the set list offers what now feels like one standard after another, a great American songbook of its own.
8 / Ross Macdonald Ross Macdonald is like Raymond Chandler twenty years on: still droll and tough, but private eye Lew Archer tours a changing California with meditative sympathy as well as pugilistic ability. I find that I can read one of his novels in a day, if I do nothing else. I could tell you the titles, but to a degree the novels are happily interchangeable, intricate permutations of recurring features: Archer’s police contacts and helpers, wealthy clients, runaway girls and boys, seedy trailer-park characters or desk clerks. I feel that I could read them forever; there are eighteen, but perhaps a sophisticated artificial intelligence could generate many more. Archer’s narrative voice is laconic, often very humorous, but also every couple of pages flashes into descriptive fire, a margin of writerly excess.
9 / Helen Saunders at the Courtauld She was a modernist painter (1885-1963), associated with the Vorticist movement of the 1910s. Typically enough, the work of the era’s women artists often became obscured, and curators have lately sought to reclaim them from history: in Saunders’ case, culminating in this one-room gathering of her work at the Courtauld Gallery. The retrieval is worthwhile. Saunders’ lines and strokes are clear and bold. She seems to draw and paint with conviction and native talent. Some of her pictures are figurative, showing a mother and child, a house, a canal. Some are much more abstract, imagined patterns and designs, but often with some resemblance to a real-world object or experience. She would merit a larger exhibition, of whatever work has survived the decades of neglect.
10 / The Cure I have loved The Cure for decades, from a distance; never seen them, and often had the impression that my last chance to see them had already passed. But when their lengthy European tour reaches Wembley Arena, at last I’m in the crowd: unusually early, standing as near the front as I can, waiting through a tedious support band. Before a bright picture of the turning Earth, Robert Smith tiptoes on to the stage like a child, peering shyly at the audience. They play numerous ‘new songs that will soon be old songs’, as Smith repeatedly says. They play relatively deep album cuts; few hits in the first two hours. The music is unblemished, the voice strong. Along the way, ‘Pictures of You’, ‘A Night Like This’, the extraordinary ‘Push’ which amazed me when I discovered it on vinyl aged 17. The final encore of rapid-fire bright hits Smith calls his ‘Sunday night disco’. I haven’t felt quite this way about a concert in a long time. Outside, snow is falling.
10. Central Park, Manhattan. I pretty much only come here now to run races or see concerts, which is a shame, because it is such a gem. Whatever you might want to do, it is here. I ran the last 10 miles of the NYC marathon a week before I ran the marathon, and the energy inside the park and at the finish line area was like no other I have ever felt. It gave me a sense of belonging in a city of millions.
9. Grant Park, Chicago. Seriously Chicago, how lucky are you to have this incredible park right smack in the middle of the Loop. The Bean, Buckingham Fountain, and Millennium Park all inside…I’m sure that is just scratching the surface.
8. Al Buehler Cross Country Trail, Durham, NC. I don’t know if this is technically a park, but it’s Duke University’s cross country course loop around a golf course and it’s my favorite place to run in Durham. The trail is shaded and in certain months you are running on pine needles. Lots of bird watching and great mushroom viewing. A word of warning, watch out below, snakes have been spotted.
7. Madison Square Park, Manhattan. My office is right next to this park, for which I am thankful. The flowers are incredible all year round. I love to eat lunch on a bench and people watch and just catch my breath there on the way to or from work.
6. Palace Park, Oslo. Lovely park surrounding the Royal Palace in Oslo. There is a Sculpture Park within, with sculptures made by Norwegian children, for children, and specially chosen by the princess. They show the sketches the children made next to the finished sculptures, it’s wild.
5. Volkspark, Friedrichshain, Berlin. Magical little park near Mitte in Berlin with lots of sculptures + paths.
4. Camel’s Back Park + Reserve, Boise. The landscape is so different out west. These hills and trails were quite steep and dramatic. Great views of the town of Boise below.
3. Stadtpark, Hamburg. Urban Park with huge lake in the middle, lovely bridges, great running paths. Bonus points for lots of water fountains and public bathrooms.
2. Frognerparken, Oslo. Drop dead gorgeous park that within it resides, Vigeland Sculpture Park. Vigeland has more than 200 sculptures by Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. Some are grand in scale.
1. Prospect Park, Brooklyn. My backyard park. It’s not a stretch to say I spend hundreds of hours here a year: running, walking, seeing concerts, bird watching, eating + drinking, just cutting through. You can get lost there, but it’s manageable size. I’ve lived here so long now, that pretty much every time I go to “the park”, I’ll run into someone I know. It keeps me sane.
Favorite shows I saw in 2022
Spoon, Baby’s All Right Brooklyn 8/23/22
MJ Lenderman @ the Pour House Raleigh, NC 9/9/22
Destroyer, Greenspan, Hamburg Germany 9/22/22
Weird Nightmare, Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn July 28, 2022
Wait a minute; 2022 is over? Because of COVID and working from home since early 2020, I’ve lost all track of time, and don’t even remember what happened this year in music, cinema and other culture.
1) RETROSPECTION. I have a playlist entitled “What’s so Good About New Music?” and it’s full of my favorite songs that fit the sole criteria of being released prior to 1997.
2022 gave us some Super Deluxe box sets that were worthy as memory lane fodder, as well as a history lesson for younger people who wonder why us olds STILL fan-girl for Blondie.
These are my top 3 “investment” records:
Blondie – Against the Odds (1974-1982): I have been a fan since before I even heard their music. As a devotee of New York Rocker, I learned about all the NYC underground bands that helped create punk rock, and Blondie just jumped out as worth watching. Once I did hear them, they fulfilled all my niche pleasures: girl group sounds, surf guitar, B-movie kitsch themes, a pretty voice with a gritty band. Because they were always easy on the eyes and ears, and then had themselves a huge crossover hit with a disco-tinged single (“Heart of Glass”), it is easy to forget how trailblazing Blondie was since their career seemed to follow an organic progression. That would be overlooking the one thing that gives them their punk bonafides. They’ve always made the music they wanted to make. I have very little critical distance, as drummer Clem Burke has been a friend since the 70s, however, if you want to read an excellent take on this box set, I urge you to read Caryn Rose’s piece for Pitchfork.
The Beatles – RevolverIn 1966, Revolver was my favorite of all the phenomenal music released that year (AM radio played singles from Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde; The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds; Donovan’s Sunshine Superman; Nancy Sinatra’s Boots; The Byrds’ 5D). Yes, my 8-year-old mind was blown. I was born at the right time for all this music to mold me and in retrospect, it was a life-saver, as I grew up in a conservative bubble in the otherwise super liberal, hippie Southern California. The Beatles made listening to my own music at home with the parents easy. “Eleanor Rigby” is beautiful regardless of your musical taste, so no one looked askance when I played the hypnotic “Tomorrow Never Knows” on repeat.
I am not a fan of the Super Deluxe Box set for any artist. In the case of Blondie, it was partly an opportunity to replace beat-up vinyl records, purchased in real time, AND the book of memories and photos. And for The Beatles, it was also about The Book full of beautiful photos that includes the essay by Paul McCartney. Except for the “Paperback Writer” demos, I’m not interested in the progress of any given song. In fact, when The Beach Boys epic Pet Sounds Sessions were released 25 years ago, I refused to buy it because I am only interested in what Brian Wilson wanted to present in 1966. I feel like an album is a snapshot of its time, and a snapshot of the decisions of the time. Full stop.
Revolver gives us a few demos of “Yellow Submarine,” which started as a sad narrative and it boggles my mind how it ended up as a weird ditty. Least liked track in 1966, and in 2022. But “Paperback Writer” (and demos) is a revelation. Rumors in 1977 were that Glen Matlock was fired from the Sex Pistols because he was a Beatles fan. Great PR from Malcolm McLaren, trying to draw the line between the established and the upstart musicians BUT I think those Matlock compositions owe more than a passing nod to the rhythm tracks and structure of “Paperback Writer” and punk rock is the better for it! The 2022 Remix/Remaster disc is the one I listen to. And I flip through the book.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Live at the Fillmore 1997 Now THIS is the kind of box set I can get behind. It satisfies on many levels. For me, it is highly personal. The band played a 20-night stand at San Francisco’s Fillmore in January and February 1997, and I attended 17 shows. No two were alike, and the document that is this box set cements memories for me. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were the world’s very best bar band, whether they were covering The Kinks, JJ Cale, The Ventures, or going deep into their own (at that point) 20+ year career catalog. If you were going to invest a sizable chunk of cash for a box set, it pays for itself to have a piece of history, which thanks to recording technology is no longer a fugitive moment. Was I imagining Roger McGuinn joining the band and playing the weirdo Byrds b-side “Drug Store Truck Driving Man” ? No. They did and they recorded it! As a live music document, this set is in the pantheon with The Band’s The Last Waltz, The Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya Yas Out, Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison, The Who’s Live at Leeds and Jimi Hendrix Live at Monterey. No lie.
2) PATTI SMITH & CARYN ROSE – The poet who punked me, the woman whose own interests mirrored mine and tied a bow on it and gave me the first feeling of cultural inclusion—Patti Smith—has, 45 years later, once again taken a center stage position in my year, thanks to the writer, Caryn Rose. Released in the Spring of 2022, WHY PATTI SMITH MATTERS by Caryn Rose is the first book about the female artist written by a woman. In the book, Caryn eschews all the hackneyed linear biographical takes that have been published before and examines and contextualizes Patti’s WORK and WORK ETHIC, and unlocks the secret to Patti’s enduring career—the connection between performer and audience. In another essay, her review of A BOOK OF DAYS for VULTURE, Caryn again unpacks Patti’s abilities as a creator to illustrate why the poet is so good at social media, specifically Instagram. For those of us who have been following along, it is once again about WORK and WORK ETHIC and a direct connection with her audience. I am recommending both Caryn’s book on Patti, and Patti’s BOOK OF DAYS. If like me, you were influenced by Patti and her work, you will feel validated and vindicated for your own work ethic.
3) AMY RIGBY’S DIARY on Substack as Diary of Amy Rigby. I am thrilled that a woman of my generation writes so succinctly, emotionally, and realistically about being in this generation. Representation is everything.
4) SOLITUDE I am spending 8 days of my holiday break staying in a hotel, alone, scanning negatives and slides for my upcoming (and overdue) photo books. I am writing this from there too. I recommend self-sequestering/vacationing to all. It was absolutely dead here Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but not THE SHINING dead/slow and creepy. I’ve been in my PJ’s for a few days and have done quite a bit of work. The “Do Not Disturb” sign has been on the door since I arrived. I have the blackout curtains drawn, and there is no clock here. This is my idea of a productive work week.
5) BOB DYLAN I traveled all over from NYC (late 2021) and across the South this year to see him. At one show, I saw Beck reprimanded by security for daring to bring out his cel phone, and also saw a fella in my row at the Chattanooga show get ejected for same. I’ve been a fan since I first heard “Positively Fourth Street” lo-fi blaring from my purse-sized Toshiba transistor radio as I played hopscotch in my driveway when I got home from the first day of school (I was 7). I was drawn to the snotty tone as he sang “You’ve got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend.” It was not like anything I had heard before. The personage he was complaining about in the song sounded like so many people about whom my father complained. My father was 20 years older than Dylan, and the lyric and its delivery illustrated better than any class lesson I ever had in poetry/literature about a writer making the personal universal. Bob was a young guy trying to get ahead in his career; my dad was an old guy at the top of his career, and me, a kid, also recognized this personality trait in people. Bob made me wise. And as an old geezer, he still entertains me.