can’t seem to find the right valentine’s message for your paramour? I’m sure stella marrs can help. check out her beautiful postcards and start bombarding the object of your affection with these romantic messages. stella’s work has gotten more political these days — no other artist has taken on health concerns and environmental issues and presented the argument against harmful chemicals in home and personal products in such a clear cut and effective way (stop using them unless you want cancer, that’s the gist) — but as you can see on her website she covers all of life’s big subjects.
postcards: stella marrs
the brit awards. how silly are they? I hear that even the nominees have to pay like £750 to get in! is that a scam or what? no wonder no one wants to go. well, the silliest thing about it this year is the international female category where we have beyonce, pink, xtina aguilera and nelly effing frittata up against none other than our very own charlene “cat power” marshall! hoo boy. does this mean grammys and oscars are next for miss chan? the thing is, back when I worked at time out new york in 1995, we did a story on hot local acts to watch and I chose cat power. I interviewed her (I may have been the first non-fanzine to do so) and I mentioned that she’d recently opened for liz phair at town hall and she had blown liz phair away. then I got a letter from some angry reader who told me I was full of shit and that cat power was terrible at that town hall show, everyone could see that! I guess we can wait until cat power becomes the first lady of chanel, until she appears in a wong kar-wei film, until she conquers all to admit that she might be one to watch. (this post is for that reader (and for gerard, who really “discovered” her), natch.)
photograph: gail o’hara for chickfactor
that’s right, gang (especially you new yorkers!) the lovely ms phoebe bluesky summersquash is starring in a play in new york city! the girl has multiple talents and loads of acting experience — I believe she was even one of the famous ‘silvermen’ in sarah silverman’s backing band and she was also the slacker cartoon voice on some mtv hit show!
the play is called savage in limbo (written by john patrick shanley, directed by jocelyn burrows)
also starring jocelyn burrows, erin cross, brant cunningham + andres monroy
february 14, 15, 16 and 17 @ 8pm, at the michael weller theatre, 311 west 43 st, suite 602, between eighth and ninth aves
tickets $18; for reservations call (845) 551-1199
here’s what they say: ‘a tragicomedy in one act, it’s a romp in the bronx at a bar where everyone is 32 and going nowhere not so fast. featuring a virgin with a pack of cards, an oversexed and under appreciated hothead, a barkeep with a santa suit, a failed nun and a handsome italian hot shot looking for ugly girls. you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but most of all you’ll be glad you’re not stuck in their situation…or are you?’
so grab your anti-valentine’s day party date and go.
I was lucky enough to go see m ward (who I can say I totally adore as the comfort food music of choice these days, oh I really do) and portastatic (aka mac) at the town hall on 26 january 2007 in new york. it was on a superfreezing evening and our feet froze all night long, but oh was it all worth it. portastatic played a go-betweens classic and also one of our fave tracks “I wanna know girls” and margaret white the subtle sidewoman pulled out all kinds of instruments and made it all sound super for a duo.
I have to admit I had only just seen m ward one time, opening for mlle neko rochelle case at london’s lovely koko, so it was glorious to have him play a proper set, mostly alone. he needed a haircut (but he’s still pretty foxy), and he slumps around and he only looks mean the way he does in photos some of the time — the rest of the time he makes funny (not smily) faces. I know some people say he appeals to the deadhead noodle dancing crowd (oh what an awful thing to say) or he is only for the ladies but I know this just isn’t true. he may be getting a little too slick (going on the road with norah jones I hear) and I hope he doesn’t get so full of himself that he may burst, but man oh man he’s a good thing happening right now, not like these mediocre pansies flooding the streets of my current place of residence. go m ward. that daniel johnston cover is about the best thing I’ve seen in years…. (but why was conor oberst on the stage with him looking rather pale and ill?)
I hope someone at moma and the national portrait gallery is paying attention to his amazing body of work. oh and his other art ain’t bad neither!
photograph: tae won yu (natch!)
they get no respect in this town, their hometown of london, but we still think they’re one of the best local bands around. they debuted some new songs from their forthcoming album at st giles church smack in center of london last weekend, that’s the album that’s out 8 may with a tour sure to follow, strings by louis philippe, recorded in nashville TN by mark nevers, mixed at bark studio with brian o’shaughnessy. alasdair “al” maclean is practically a member of our family so we forced him to answer some questions for a silly mini-interview. do read on please…
what was it like recording in nashville?
we flew there from new york at the end of a 6-week tour, which had culminated in everyone going on the rampage in an almost unprecedented way, to the point of me getting the horrors and swearing never to leave my front door again, so it was good to recuperate mentally and physically. the main thing I remember from the sessions is watching a lot of watching ‘touche turtle’ in the back room and living in a little travel tavern, where however banal and hungover we were the staff considered us the most charming and intelligent people they had ever met, just because of our accents. I had comparatively little to do with the way this record was arranged and recorded and I think it worked out better as a result.
what’s it like working with louis philippe? Is he like a headmaster? I imagine he makes you do takes over and over.
on the contrary he’s very laid back and pleasant. If it isn’t working he’ll just move on, come back to it later. when you try to sing in key and you can’t, a headmasterly approach only makes things worse. and he’s full of ideas, it’s great just to watch him spin.
what’s the album called? what does the cover look like?
it’s called god save the clientele and the cover is a collage of painted, coloured card that I made over the course of three days lying on the floor with a paintbrush, it depicts owls, rabbits, leaves etc. all coming together in a mysterious sort of conflagration under a moon made of gold leaf.
how does it fit in with your other albums? is this your tribute to the monkees? or what?
everything we’ve ever released is a tribute to the monkees. I don’t understand why people sneer at the monkees, for me they’re the greatest band of all time. if I could be a tenth of what the monkees were I’d die happy. does that answer your question? probably not, so i’ll add that this album is happier, poppier, funnier, faster and slower, simpler and yet infinitely more complex and recorded with a sound that is truly magical. and yet there’s a strange undertow, this feeling of total failure.
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photograph: gail o’hara
button sculpture + photo by pam berry.
thanks to saint etienne for having a holly-jolly turntable café xmas party at the queen elizabeth hall this year. the highlight was surely sitting with my pals travis and peter while we watched the dave cawley jazz trio play vince guaraldi’s amazing xmas music from the charlie brown christmas show. they even had the show playing on the big screen! there was also some bad tv and a festive holiday set from the band itself. it is so nice to see the massive queen elizabeth hall lobby being put to such good use.
smart chickfactor readers surely know the name pam berry since she is the cofounding editor of this pop zine, but more importantly she is an angel-voiced legend in the world of indie. her london-based folk duo the pines that she plays in with the purple-jumper-sporting lloyd cole enthusiast/james joyce lecturer joe brooker has just released a collection of material that it would be very hard to collect in their original format. available from cali indie label matinee, it’s been a while is a joy to hear, so get one already!
we were very sad to hear about the murder of the actress, director and writer adrienne shelly, who of course starred in all those early hal hartley films (which were also the best hal hartley films). the late 80s / early 90s gulf war era was pretty grim but those films were like a magical elixir. I especially liked her as maria in trust.