Dear Diorama,!

March 4th!

Very excited!

Can’t wait!

Although as one of the organizers I suppose it would be unfair of me to make one of my own…

Dear Diorama,!

March 4th!

Very excited!

Can’t wait!

Although as one of the organizers I suppose it would be unfair of me to make one of my own…

One year later it’s funny.

One year ago Jason and I found ourselves in New Haven, where he was speaking on a panel at the IvyQ conference (for queers in the Ivy League, if that wasn’t clear). They paid for us to take a train down, so we left the car and decided to have a fun weekend in New Haven, a city which we’d never explored at all except for the occasional stop at the Ikea that’s right next to the highway.

And then the snow hit!

So many terrible things happened, not all of which were related to co-eds who self-identify as Yalies. (Although boy have I never liked Brown students so much. At one talk, a woman described moving from a rough childhood in Africa into an equally rough marriage in Nebraska; when one student’s phone started ringing he shooed her with his hands and announced that she should keep going.)

Then our train home got canceled three times, if not four times. The whole city shut down, except (thank God) the movie theater. Ira Sachs didn’t show up. Cynthia Nixon didn’t show up. Sarah Schulman didn’t show up.

The first night at our hotel all the guests, including most of the Cornell women’s basketball team, gathered in the closed restaurant to hang out and drink together. We made friends with a couple who had checked into a different hotel but whose car got stuck in front of ours as they were driving back from dinner; they didn’t make it. The hotel manager had food poisoning. The other hotel managers were all too far away to make it in. A TV news crew showed up but only because they too couldn’t drive back to wherever they were going. One man fell off his barstool. The lady basketball players took care of him; you could tell they were experienced in these things. Eventually the hotel staff brought him back to his room in a wheelchair.

Everything reached a crescendo when we went to bed and the fire alarm went off. Half asleep and more than half drunk everyone stumbled down six flights of stairs to the lobby, where water poured from the ceiling, into the restaurant and on the business center computers. We thought the roof had collapsed, but it was way more ridiculous than that: some guys were smoking something (presumably not cigarettes) in their room and when the smoke detector went off they decided to break the sprinkler. Three floors ended up flooded. According to Jasmine at the reception desk—everyone that works at that hotel deserved some kind of big bonus for that weekend—the guys fled into the blizzard, soaking wet and never to be seen again.

Some things:

1. micro-memoir! is returning! Two weeks from Tonight, February 20th, at the Providence Athenaeum (251 Benefit Street). It’s the only micro-memoir! of 2014 so please try to be there. As per usual we’ll be writing, editing, and reading aloud our life stories in under two hours. Hosted, as always, by Karen Donovan. The event begins at 5:30 but arrive early for refreshments.

2. I’m helping to plan Dear Diorama, an art contest for book lovers that will take place at the Rochambeau Library after hours on March 4. The rules are simple: create a scene, no larger than a shoebox, from a book that you have read. Dioramas will be judged by a panel of art critics and book lovers. After Dear Diorama is over, the scenes will move over to the gallery at Craftland (235 Westminster Street), where they will remain on public display. PLEASE RSVP BY FEBRUARY 25TH if you want to enter a diorama in the contest!

3. I’m managing Uruguay in the Pop World Cup. Vote for Dani Umpi!

4. I have a piece in the Providence Phoenix Valentine’s Day issue about being a secret/not actually secret gay porn blogger. So, there’s that.

Eurovision 1966, From Best To Worst:

1. Michèle Torr, “Ce soir je t’attendais” (Luxembourg)
2. Ann Christine, “Playboy” (Finland)
3. Raphael, “Yo soy aquél” (Spain)
4. Madalena Iglésias, “Ele e ela” (Portugal)
5. Tonia, “Un peu de poivre, un peu de sel” (Belgium)
6. Åse Kleveland, “Intet er nytt under solen” (Norway)
7. Udo Jürgens, “Merci, Chérie” (Austria)
8. Margot Eskens, “Die Zeiger der Uhr” (Germany)
9. Berta Ambrož, “Brez besed” (Yugoslavia)
10. Ulla Pia, “Stop - mens legen er go” (Denmark)
11. Dickie Rock, “Come Back to Stay” (Ireland)
12. Milly Scott, “Fernando en Filippo” (Netherlands)
13. Madeleine Pascal, “Ne vois-tu pas?” (Switzerland)
14. Tereza Kesovija, “Bien plus fort” (Monaco)
15. Lill Lindfors & Svante Thuresson, “Nygammal vals” (Sweden)
16. Domenico Modugno, “Dio, come ti amo” (Italy)
17. Dominique Walter, “Chez nous” (France)
18. Kenneth McKellar, “A Man Without Love”(United Kingdom)

A good year! Mostly. Although jeez were England and France bad. “Playboy” is one of my favorite Finnish pop songs, but the chorus of the Luxembourg song is just so insanely cheery it can’t not be my favorite.

“ I think the bigger point here is that the thing “everybody’s talking about” isn’t really being talked about by everybody. It’s being talked about by people you know. ”

Blackfish and the Weird Path To Popularity

Or, a point that I think needs to be made more often. (I still have no idea how to avoid thinkpieces about Looking, though.)

Chvrches are the first band I’d probably call myself an actual honest-to-goodness fan of since, what, The Kills circa five years ago? In the sense that I get excited about them covering other people’s songs at like corporate luncheons or whatever the hell would require them to be arranged in this formation.

Eurovision 1983, From Best To Worst:

1. Carola Häggkvist, “Främling” (Sweden)
2. Pas de Deux, “Rendez-vous” (Belgium)
3. Ofra Haza, “Hi” (חי) (Israel)
4. Ami Aspelund, “Fantasiaa” (Finland)
5. Gry Johansen, “Kloden drejer” (Denmark)
6. Sweet Dreams, “I’m Never Giving Up” (United Kingdom)
7. Westend, “Hurricane” (Austria)
8. Danijel, “Džuli” (Yugoslavia)
9. Riccardo Fogli, “Per Lucia” (Italy)
10. Jahn Teigen “Do Re Mi” (Norway)
11. Guy Bonnet, “Vivre” (France)
12. Mariella Farré, “Io così non ci sto” (Switzerland)
13. Stavros & Constantina, “I Agapi Akoma Zi” (Η αγάπη ακόμα ζει) (Cyprus)
14. Hoffmann & Hoffmann, “Rücksicht” (Germany)
15. Christie Stasinopoulos, “Mou Les” (Μου λες) (Greece)
16. Armando Gama, “Esta balada que te dou” (Portugal)
17. Bernadette, “Sing Me a Song” (Netherlands)
18. Remedios Amaya, “¿Quién maneja mi barca?” (Spain)
19. Çetin Alp & the Short Waves. “Opera” (Turkey)
20. Corinne Hermès, “Si la vie est cadeau” (Luxembourg)

One of the better years overall. I was partial to Belgium’s orchestral New Wave ladies and also to Ofra Haza, but ultimately Carola won me over the most in the first of her three Eurovision appearances. I don’t understand her outfit at all but that’s another story.

My least favorite song—worse than Spain’s really ethnic song and Turkey’s jokey opera number—won. I don’t know why.

Eurovision 1992, From Best To Worst:

1. Heart 2 Heart, “Nei eða já” (Iceland)
2. Marion Welter & Kontinent, “Sou fräi” (Luxembourg)
3. Dafna Dekel, “Ze Rak Sport” (זה רק ספורט) (Israel)
4. Dina, “Amor d’água fresca” (Portugal)
5. Kenny Lübcke & Lotte Nilsson, “Alt det som ingen ser” (Denmark)
6. Extra Nena, “Ljubim te pesmama” (Љубим те песмама) (Yugoslavia)
7. Cleopatra, “Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida” (Όλου του κόσμου η Ελπίδα) (Greece)
8. Humphrey Campbell, “Wijs me de weg” (Netherlands)
9. Merethe Trøan, “Visjoner” (Norway)
10. Daisy Auvray, “Mister Music Man” (Switzerland)
11. Mia Martini, “Rapsodia” (Italy)
12. Mary Spiteri, “Little Child” (Malta)
13. Evridiki, “Teriazoume” (Ταιριάζουμε) (Cyprus)
14. Michael Ball, “One Step Out of Time” (United Kingdom)
15. Pave Maijanen, “Yamma, yamma” (Finland)
16. Kali, “Monté la riviè” (France)
17. Morgane, “Nous, on veut des violons” (Beglium)
18. Serafín Zubiri, “Todo esto es la música” (Spain)
19. Linda Martin, “Why Me?” (Ireland)
20. Christer Björkman, “I morgon är en annan dag” (Sweden)
21. Wind, “Träume sind für alle da” (Germany)
22. Tony Wegas, “Zusammen geh’n” (Austria)
23. Aylin Vatankoş, “Yaz Bitti” (Turkey)

What an absolutely excruciating couple of hours. Terrible. Completely terrible.

Summer of 1999. Pearl Jam unleashes their cover of early sixties death drama “Last Kiss” on the world, and the world collectively responds by saying OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD. And nevertheless it became the most annoying hit of that summer. (Well, I mean that was also the summer of “Nookie”, but “Last Kiss” was a pop hit too and not just limited to alternative radio and well…)

Anyway, I really love everything French Canadian pop starlet Coeur de Pirate does, but this maybe a little less than other things that she’s done. Her covers album is… one of those covers albums where I really like the songs I didn’t know already and where I’m not so into the songs I do know already. Like, really, the “I know I know I know I know” parts of Ain’t No Sunshine are a little under- and/or over-thought. It’s all piano-y but it’s not exactly Cat Power’s The Covers Record,* is it?

I’m going to give this a bunch more chances before I dismiss it completely, though.

*(Firefox won’t let me italicize for some reason. I don’t have this problem in Safari.)

Eurovision 1995, From Best To Worst

1. Nathalie Santamaria, “Il me donne rendez-vous” (France)
2. Aud Wilken, “Fra Mols til Skagen” (Denmark)   
3. Anabel Conde, “Vuelve conmigo” (Spain)
4. Secret Garden, “Nocturne” (Norway)
5. Arzu Ece, “Sev” (Turkey)
6. Elina Konstantopoulou, “Pia Prosefhi” (Ποια προσευχή) (Greece)
7. Alexandros Panayi, “Sti Fotia” (Στη φωτιά)  (Cyprus)
8. Frédéric Etherlinck, “La voix est libre” (Belgium)
9. Justyna, “Sama” (Poland)
10. Eddie Friel, “Dreamin’” (Ireland)
11. Tó Cruz, “Baunilha e chocolate” (Portugal)
12. Jan Johansen, “Se på mig” (Sweden)
13. Davorin Popović “Dvadeset prvi vijek” (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
14. Darja Švajger, “Prisluhni mi” (Slovenia)
15. Magazin & Lidija, “Nostalgija” (Croatia)
16. Stella Jones, “Die Welt dreht sich verkehrt” (Austria)
17. Mike Spiteri, “Keep Me In Mind” (Malta)
18. Csaba Szigeti, “Új név a régi ház falán” (Hungary)
19. Bo Halldórsson, “Núna” (Iceland)
20. Philipp Kirkorov, “Kolibelnaya dlya vulkana” (Колыбельная для вулкана) (Russia)
21. Liora, “Amen” (Israel)
22. Stone & Stone, “Verliebt in Dich” (Germany)
23. Love City Groove, “Love City Groove” (United Kingdom)

Crappy year. Three decent songs out of twenty-three, though Norway (the winners) did cleverly sidestep the language barrier with a song that only had 24 seconds of singing. Of course 1995 was the throes of the Deep Forest / Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos / “House of Stone and Light” era, so it didn’t actually seem weird. 

It’s funny, how willing people were to be faux mystical in the mid-nineties.