I’m at a meaty NSF/DHS conference on the regulatory challenges of ‘autonomous’ machines. (The scare quotes reflect the consensus that this is a contested term.)
The seriousness of the event has not stopped participants from noting that it’s Roy Batty’s birthday today (Blade Runner, in case you don’t get the reference).
The Miami New Times 15 Best Miami Songs of 2015 were all new to me. Alas, I can only recommend #6, LunchMoney Lewis, “Bills”.
Part of my disconnect with the rest of the New Times list could be down to my failings: I don’t have much patience for techno, and my tastes in rap are somewhat classic. People more into contemporary rap may find several things to like on the New Times list. I wanted to like #10. Poorgrrrl, “Super Rude (co-prod. by ILLA, feat. Jenee),” just for the energy, and especially thought I ought to like #13. Virgo, “ISS” which is sort of similar to things I actually do like … but I didn’t.
One smothered cheer for #15 on the list, Basside, “QLCL (Birthday Sex and Cheap Champagne)”. It’s crude, rude, and shot like a high school project, but the New Times review of it as “the most Miami thing we’ve ever seen” is less far off the mark than one might wish.
At this rate I may have to revise my estimation of Pitbull.
(More LunchMoney Lewis: Mama & WhipIt; WhipIt is the most hit-like but also the blandest.)
Sleeper by Jo Walton at Tor.com crams in themes about dystopian spying, virtuality, how we create our pasts and our futures, and identity. All in just a few words.
When I grow up, I’d be happy to write something Jo Walton feels is worth re-reading.
Gablesstage is running a special for students on Wednesday – $10 tickets to its 8pm performance of “Mothers and Sons” by Terrence NcNally. I saw the show this weekend and it’s good. Not the very best they’ve ever done (which is a very high bar) — the script is a little preachy in a couple of places — but very well acted, especially by Angie Radosh. Well worth seeing at full price, not to mention the discounted $30 on Wednesday, and at $10 for students it’s a steal.
Apparently the special Wednesday performance is to make up for Friday’s being cancelled for Yom Kippur. So, take a break! We’re lucky to have such a fine theater in our neighborhood. Gablesstage is located in the Biltmore Hotel, although the actual entrance is around the side on the NE corner of the hotel. Skip the valet at the main entrance: Self-park for free in the main lot, then it’s a very short walk.
Still very relevant today, Laurie Anderson’s Only an Expert (2010):
Warning: There are some pretty ugly, violent, and horrible images in this video. Brought to you by experts.
I tend to like covers of songs that change or interpret it in some way, and tend not to like to covers that redo a song much in the way of the original. And I don’t mind a little weirdness if it makes you see a song in a new way.
Thus, for example, I’ve enjoyed some strange and wonderful covers of Eleanor Rigby (although many attempts are certainly very weird, and others intentionally awful), but didn’t much like Elton John’s very popular cover of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, which I thought was too much like the original without adding anything or even being as good.
These are just tendencies. I’ve loved a number of covers of Al Green’s stunning Take Me to The River. I’m still not sure whether I prefer the original, the Talking Heads’ version, or Bryan Ferry’s even-more strangled-pop cool version. I think I heard the Talking Heads version first, but they each have something great.
All this is preamble and possibly apology for my enthusiasm for this cover of Lorde’s Royals. I like the original — I like the whole album — and I’m prepared to argue that one of the measures of great pop today is that it spawns great covers. Well, as far as I’m concerned, case closed. (Spotted via Crooked Timber; At the risk of undermining myself, I will add I was underwhelmed by the also CT-endorsed Royals cover by Mayer Hawthorne.)
Care to share your favorite cover?
The internets are going nuts over this stunning video remake of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.
It’s a visually stunning video, a fun idea, the law prof discussion about the copyright implications of creating a derivative work in space have been loads of fun … but I still can’t help but think that Commander Hadfield’s revisions (made for understandable reasons) took out the sting that made the original song so great back in the early ’70s when they just didn’t play stuff like that on the radio.
But wait. It seems that the canonical version isn’t even the original! In hunting for the version I of the song I knew, I found this subtly weird, and in one place [circa 2:26] quite awful, version that is apparently part of an original 1969 video. I’ll stick with the ’70s version, thank you.