“ Dr. Hazel Bennett is a former heard of the Department of Library Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. She has written the definitive history of libraries in Jamaica entitled A History of Libraries in Jamaica, 1697-1987 (unpublished). ”

— i’m currently reading a book about Jamaican history. I’m not a fan of the writing style at all so I’m pretending I’m reading it for a class and doing a chapter every couple of days. I’m still at the beginning, but the most fascinating part thusfar has been the author bio on the back cover.

Queens of the Stone Age, “Better Living Through Chemistry”

I went to a very large high school and kept largely to myself, or at least to the people that I had classes with. At graduation I didn’t know a single person who sat in my row, even though we were seated alphabetically and that’s also how we were placed in homerooms back when we started ninth grade.

Also, as it happened, my name fell at the exact midpoint of the alphabet. People walked into graduation side by side, with A-L on the left and L-Z on the right. But there was an odd number of people in the class, so I walked in alone, last, and sat next to the aisle in the last possible row.

A few years later I saw Queens of the Stone Age for the first and (so far) only time. It was awesome! They were really good. This was when Songs For The Deaf came out. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead opened. I had a great time, even though I went alone, but actually someone from …AYWKUBTTOD was walking to the bar after their set and made some kind of snide remark about how I didn’t look like I was having any fun.

Anyway, tonight Queens of the Stone Age are playing on the very stage where I got my high school diploma. I find this odd! And also I kind of want to go, even though seeing them in a seated auditorium seems kind of weird and also the acoustics in there are awful. But I won’t go, because tickets are like seventy dollars, which I don’t have right now, anyway.

Sia is awful. So awful. Remember Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones”? Sia co-wrote it and sang the hook. In case you’ve forgotten, the hook went like this:  “Hey, I heard you were a wild one / OOOOooooOOOOOoooooOOOoohhh/ If I took you home, it’d be a home run. / Show me how you do.” Flo Rida might be a terrible lyricist but he comes off kind of well in comparison. And at least he knows how to pronounce vowel sounds.

Sia’s fans and critics alike tend to write about her primarily as if she is a Very Serious Songwriter. You know, like that time that she got Rihanna to earnestly sing the line “Palms rise to the universe as we, moonshine and molly, feel the warmth.” She also co-wrote “Perfume,” arguably the most ridiculous song in the entire Britney Spears oeuvre, and Sia’s also one of the six writers credited on Kylie Minogue’s recent single “Sexercise.”

Sia also sings her own songs! Like “Chandelier,” her first charting solo pop hit in this country. It’s currently #17 and rising on Billboard’s Hot 100. The verses are ambiguous but she’s telling interviewers that it’s an anti-drinking number. It could just as easily be a pro-drinking number, but it’s hard to tell, largely because she flat-out refuses to pronounce any syllables like a native English speaker. Then there’s the chorus, which sounds more or less like a yodeler being strangled only bigger. Subtlety is not Sia’s thing! The word chandelier is stretched to four syllables, and then six.

She told NPR recently that she wrote the song in under an hour and recorded the vocals in less than fifteen minutes. It’s not very catchy.

If Sia were just another terrible songwriter with a recording career that would be one thing! But she’s really earnest! So earnest. And people are buying into it! Someone at Fader yesterday wrote a piece on how Sia is “Changing the Landscape for Women in Pop” by refusing to perform publicly. There is a discussion of feminism, comparisons to The Knife, and so forth.

Now, I love the Knife, on conceptual as well as aural grounds. But, taste aside, there are a few key things that I think need to be remembered about Sia.

1. People’s personal lives are not necessarily related to their recorded output. Remember when Ke$ha went soul-searching in the Galapagos Islands before her last album? Did that make for more meaningful songs? Don’t get me wrong, I love “Die Young,” but no. No, it did not. So the ambivalent drunkenness in “Chandelier” needn’t be, and really shouldn’t be, in any way associated with the druggy years the writer spent getting over the death of her boyfriend.

2. Sia doesn’t appear in the video for “Chandelier” and instead a child reality television star appears in her place, dancing around in a nude body stocking while Sia repeats “1-2-3, 1-2-3, drink!” You could argue that Sia is making a point about something, I guess, and that this isn’t just her label’s way of catering to the Lifetime crowd. You could also argue that it’s creepy child exploitation! And not at all like The Knife, who put like twelve anonymous vocalists on stage at the same time.

3. Sia appeared on the cover of Billboard with a paper bag on her head. Sia’s marketing campaign for this album also largely involves paper bags on heads, and I’m pretty sure the ultimate decisions for what does and doesn’t happen on the cover of Billboard, an industry magazine, are made by, in no particular order: the photographer, the stylist, the art director, the publisher, somebody’s agent, an A&R person, and, I don’t know, probably like fifty other people. But let’s for the sake of argument say that the cover was Sia’s own choice, and some sort of subversive thing. But! Sia is not what music industry people might call traditionally pretty to begin with, and on top of that—and I only just learned this on Wikipedia—she has a degenerative thyroid disease, and so you could also argue that her physical “disappearance” is less a bold statement about the industry and more a sad commentary about how labels don’t think they can sell records by unattractive people. So it’s not really at all like, say, that time that Karen Dreijer accepted her Swedish Grammi award.

In other words, I’m really not looking forward to the inevitable period ten years from now when “Chandelier” becomes a standard at Walgreen’s.

Eurovision 1972, from Best to Worst

1.Päivi Paunu & Kim Floor, “Muistathan” (Finland)
2.Carlos Mendes, “A festa da vida” (Portugal)
3.Véronique Müller, “C’est la chanson de mon amour” (Switzerland)
4. Sandie Jones, “Ceol an Ghrá” (Ireland)
5. Helen and Joseph, “L-imħabba” (Malta)
6. Tereza Kesovija, “Muzika i ti” (Yugoslavia)
7. Mary Roos, “Nur die Liebe läßt uns leben” (Germany)
8. Vicky Leandros, “Après toi” (Luxembourg)
9. Jaime Morey, “Amanece” (Spain)
10. Betty Mars, “Comé-comédie” (France)
11. Family Four, “Härliga sommardag”     (Sweden)
12. Grethe Kausland and Benny Borg, “Småting” (Norway)
13. Nicola di Bari, “I giorni dell’arcobaleno” (Italy)
14.The New Seekers, “Beg, Steal or Borrow” (UK)
15. Milestones, “Falter im Wind” (Austria)
16. Sandra and Andres, “Als het om de liefde gaat” (Netherlands)
17. Serge & Christine Ghisoland, “À la folie ou pas du tout” (Belgium)
18. Anne-Marie Godart and Peter MacLane, “Comme on s’aime” (Monaco)

"Muisthatan" is one of my all-time favorites, but this was a really good year for almost everyone. And Ireland’s song was in Gaelic! And Malta’s was in Maltese! Goodob, everybody involved.

Midyear Favorites, Books Edition:
1. Ruth Ozeki, A Tale For The Time Being [Australian cover, pictured]2. Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived In The Castle3. Suzanne Rindell, The Other Typist4. Hilton Als, White Girls5. Erlend Loe, Naive. Super6. Fritz Peters, Finistere7. Bruce Da Silva, Cliff Walk8. Renata Adler, Speed Boat9. Yukio Mishima, Spring Snow10. Graham Greene, A Burnt Out Case11. Peter Orner, Last Car Over The Sagamore Bridge12.  Arnaldur Indriðason, Jar City13. Ayana Mathis, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie14. Ann Hood, The Ornithologist’s Guide To Life
I read Gabriel Roth’s The Unknowns over New Year’s so wasn’t sure whether to count it or not. Recurring themes on this list: buzzed-about books of the previous year, relatively recent reissues that people got super into, mysteries, Rhode Island, Japanese convents. Here’s my Goodreads profile, with not especially helpful reviews of each.

Midyear Favorites, Books Edition:

1. Ruth Ozeki, A Tale For The Time Being [Australian cover, pictured]
2. Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived In The Castle
3. Suzanne Rindell, The Other Typist
4. Hilton Als, White Girls
5. Erlend Loe, Naive. Super
6. Fritz Peters, Finistere
7. Bruce Da Silva, Cliff Walk
8. Renata Adler, Speed Boat
9. Yukio Mishima, Spring Snow
10. Graham Greene, A Burnt Out Case
11. Peter Orner, Last Car Over The Sagamore Bridge
12.  Arnaldur Indriðason, Jar City
13. Ayana Mathis, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
14. Ann Hood, The Ornithologist’s Guide To Life

I read Gabriel Roth’s The Unknowns over New Year’s so wasn’t sure whether to count it or not. Recurring themes on this list: buzzed-about books of the previous year, relatively recent reissues that people got super into, mysteries, Rhode Island, Japanese convents. Here’s my Goodreads profile, with not especially helpful reviews of each.

Midyear Top 40

1. Kali Mutsa, “Cumbia de Pichi”
2. Major Lazer, “Lose Yourself”
3. Yolanda Be Cool feat. SYF & Fritz Helder, “All That She Wants”
4. Sara Alina, “Die With This Life”
5. Juce, “Call You Out”
6. Usher, “Good Kisser”
7. Hidden Cameras, “Gay Goth Scene”
8. Royksopp & Robyn, “Monument”
9. Common Linnets, “Calm After The Storm”
10. Heartsrevolution, “Kiss”
11. Mariah Carey, “Thirsty”
12. Tube & Berger feat/ Juliet Sikora, “Come On Now (Set It Off)”
13. Tara Jane O’Neil, “The Lull The Going”
14. Quilt, “Tie Up The Tides”
15. Kyla La Grange, “The Knife”
16. Becky G, “Shower”
17. Enrique Iglesias, “Bailando”
18. Javiera Mena, “Espada”
19. Ty Dolla $ign, “Paranoid”
20. Damaged Bug feat. John Dwyer, “Eggs At Night”
21. Karin Park, “Shine”
22. Kimbra, “90s Music”
23. Four Phonica, “Sabotage”
24. The Dø, “Keep Your Lips Sealed”
25. K. Michelle, “Can’t Raise A Man”
26. Tove Lo, “Not On Drugs”
27. Tweens, “Bored In The City”
28. La Roux, “Let Me Down Gently”
29. Hospitality, “I Miss Your Bones”
30. Toni Braxton & Babyface, “Hurt You”
31. Sophie Ellis-Bextor, “Runaway Daydreamer”
32. Broken Bells, “After The Disco”
33. Lykke Li, “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone”
34. Gardens & Villa, “Colony Glen”
35. Desperate Journalist, “Kitten”
36. Nina Persson, “This Is Heavy Metal”
37. Lizzo, “Paris”
38. Umberto, “Temple Room”
39. Throwing Muses, “Clark’s Nutcracker”
40. Peter Morén, “Say My Name”

Runners-up:

Blonde Redhead, “No More Honey”
Charlotte Church, “Hood Shade”
Jamaica, “Hello Again”
Jamie XX, “Sleep Sound”
Austin Mahone, “Till I Find You”
Pontiak, “Innocence”
Real Estate, “Talking Backwards”
Sensible Soccers, “Nikopol”
September Girls, “Secret Lovers”
The Swiss, “Antiquities”

Also, I made a list of my 40 favorite LGBT-themed movies. It will take you 12 minutes to read, says Medium.

Also, I made a list of my 40 favorite LGBT-themed movies. It will take you 12 minutes to read, says Medium.

notaboutthebuildings:

This Thursday, join Not About The Buildings and the Providence Athenaeum for The Mummy-In, a reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Some Words With A Mummy.” Originally published in 1845, the story pokes fun at the 19th-century craze for all things Egyptian. What better way to celebrate the re-opening of the RISD Museum’s Egyptian galleries! We’ll take turns reading the story aloud and then we’ll head upstairs to visit Nesmin, the museum’s resident mummy, with RISD Museum Curator of Ancient Art Gina Borromeo and Emily Russo, Brown PhD candidate in Egyptology.
The Mummy-In is part of the RISD Museum’s monthly Design The Night series, which means that museum admission is also free for the evening.
The Mummy-InRISD Museum224 Benefit StreetThursday, June 19th6pm

notaboutthebuildings:

This Thursday, join Not About The Buildings and the Providence Athenaeum for The Mummy-In, a reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Some Words With A Mummy.” Originally published in 1845, the story pokes fun at the 19th-century craze for all things Egyptian. What better way to celebrate the re-opening of the RISD Museum’s Egyptian galleries! We’ll take turns reading the story aloud and then we’ll head upstairs to visit Nesmin, the museum’s resident mummy, with RISD Museum Curator of Ancient Art Gina Borromeo and Emily Russo, Brown PhD candidate in Egyptology.

The Mummy-In is part of the RISD Museum’s monthly Design The Night series, which means that museum admission is also free for the evening.

The Mummy-In
RISD Museum
224 Benefit Street
Thursday, June 19th
6pm

Songs I Played Tonight

On the off chance that you were wondering…

Beach House, Disaster In The Universe (Les Bons Vivants Remix)
Rockell, In A Dream
Giggles, Love Letter
Kat De Luna, Whine Up
Joao Brasil, Love Banana
Lady Saw, It’s Raining
Yolanda B Cool, All That She Wants

——-

Dani Umpi, Tres Pasos
Jellybean, The Mexican
Mr Manyao & H2, Goza Encondio
Aidonia, Pon Di Cocky
Extravagancia, Yendo De Frente
Culcha Candela, Von Allein
Pointer Sisters, Automatic
Seeed, Augenbling

_____

Rita Indiana, Hora De Volve
Kali Mutsa, Cumbia De Pichi
Gepe, En La Naturaleze (4-3-2-1)
Amara La Negra, Poron Pom Pom
Gypsyphonic Disco ft. Katey Red, Booty Poppin’
Javiera Mena, Espada
Pebbles, Girlfriend
Lil Suzy, Take Me In Your Arms
Heartsrevolution, Kiss
Spice, Hide & Do It
Ninjaman, Ninja Mi Ninja

Some Announcements

RIGHT NOW: The Great Checkout — Providence Community Library’s annual raffle of human experiences is drawing to a close! Whether you like whiskey, astronomy, gondola rides, ice cream, tracing your family history, giant puppets, or baking, there is something here for you and your family. Tickets are $25 each and if you buy two then you get a third for free. (Also, most of the prizes are meant to be shared… If $25 is too steep for you, get some friends to pitch in!)

6/10: LGBTQ Reception for Jorge Elorza — Jason and I are on the host committee for a reception for mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza, which takes place on Tuesday, 6/10 from 6-8pm at DeVille’s Cafe. That’s right: we’re actively supporting a mayoral candidate for the first time. (Also, if you’d like to see all six (for now) candidates for mayor, head to the Mayoral Forum at Wanskuck Library on Thursday, 6/12!)

6/19: The Mummy-In — The newly restored Egyptian room at the RISD Museum is reopening soon, and Not About The Buildings is teaming up with the Providence Athenaeum for The Mummy-In, an out-loud reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Unwrapping The Mummy.” This takes place at 6pm on Thursday, June 19th and then we’ll squeak our way upstairs to see the mummy in person. (PS: It’s a Gallery Night event and part of RISD Museum’s Design The Night programming, so museum admission is free.)

6/20-6/21: Mala Mala — Road trip! Headmaster is sponsoring two screenings of Mala Mala, a new documentary about Puerto Rican LGBTQ advocates. This is taking place as part of the Provincetown Film Festival, with screenings on Friday, 6/20, at 9:45pm and Saturday, 6/21, at 2:15pm.

6/25: A PawSox Game — Providence Community Library is hosting a Pawtucket Red Sox game. I haven’t actually seen the PawSox, or any baseball game at all for that matter, since I was about seventeen, but this might be fun! Especially if you are there! Tickets are only $8, half of which will be given directly to Providence Community Library, and I’ve got a bunch to sell so if you’re interested let me know and I’ll hold one (or more) for you.