…My So Called Performance Piece

Claire Danes dances?

Tonight I went to go see a new dance piece at PS 122 called “Christina Olson: American Model.” The show as conceived and choreographed by Tamar Rogoff for a student of hers that’s been studying with her for 15 months. Her name is Claire Danes. You may know her from such things as kissing Jordan Catalano in the boiler room.

Needless to say, it was quite interesting seeing an actor do a dance piece…but as the program and all the press pieces surrounding this show keep reminding us, Claire Danes is no stranger to dance, having studied as a child before being whisked away to evil TV Land.

According to the AP: “During her performance, Danes explores the life of Christina Olson, the woman depicted in Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World,” who suffered from a muscular deterioration that left her arms weak and her lower body paralyzed but who found ways to move relying only on her own strength.”

The entire show is performed by Danes in a black box theater, minimal soundtrack, and stage effects. It was interesting to watch, I enjoyed the performance…despite the fact that sometimes Danes got so close to me that I almost started giggling.

Another amusing footnote, fashion designer and Danes friend Zac Posen sat front row center during tonight’s performance. He brought along a bouquet of flowers to give to Danes after the show and beamed like a proud grandmother when she finished her performance.

Why Do Indie Rockers Make Bad Lovers?

…because they are always complaining about the 7 inches they don’t have.

I’ve forgotten who first told me that joke, but it’s one of my favorites.

Well lord knows why it’s taken Jack White until the end of the US tour to finally mention the 3-inch record player they’ve been selling at the shows. Yes that’s right, a record play that plays 3-inch records. I remember seeing it at the shows…I think it cost around 130 dollars at the merch table–which of course I didn’t have to spend on something I would almost never ever use. But it’s kinda cool…I guess. Just wonder why Jack’s mentioning it now. Have they gotten to the end of the tour and are now worried they’ve made too many of a big-ticket item and now he is trying to direct sales to the product? Sorry, I’ve been reading Freakenomics, I’m skeptical of everything right now…

UPDATE: The kids tell me that they just started selling them at Coney Island…hence why announcing the product now.

White Stripes Reach Out to the Public

White Stripes in MD

As you may already know by now, the White Stripes had last night’s concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD broadcast on NPR courtesy of All Songs Considered. Their hour and 38 minute set was pretty spectacular, featuring a variety of interesting song choices (old and new-ish) such as “Now Mary,” “Walking with a Ghost” (Tegan and Sara), “Lafayette Blues” (so awesome!), and “St James Infirmary Blues” fading into Blind Willie McTelll’s “Dyin’ Crapshooters Blues.”

Full setlist as follows:

Intro (Who’s A Big Baby) / Blue Orchid / Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground / I Think I Smell A Rat / Jolene (cover Dolly Parton) / My Doorbell / Cannon (riff) Lafayette Blues / Black Math / Passive Manipulation / Wasting My Time / Death Letter / Hotel Yorba / Rated X (cover Loretta Lynn) / Apple Blossom / The Denial Twist / I Want to the Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart / Red Rain/ Sister Do You Know My Name / We’re Going to Be Friends / Now Mary / In The Cold Cold Night / Walking With a Ghost (cover Tegan and Sara) / Cannon / I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (cover Burt Bacharach) / Ball and Biscuit / The Nurse ENCORE: The Hardest Button to Button / St James Infirmary Blues (fade into) Dyin’ Crapshooters Blues (cover Blind Willie Mctell) / Seven Nation Army / Boll Weevil

White Stripes Prove Worthy of World Domination

White Stripes Keyspan Park

White Stripes Keyspan Park

White Stripes Keyspan Park

White Stripes Keyspan Park

White Stripes Keyspan Park

Woops! Dropped one!

Jack and Meg take one final shot on the Polaroid

White Stripes Keyspan Park

THE SETLIST. Please fill in the blanks: When I Hear My Name / Blue Orchid / Party of Special Things to Do (Cover Captain Beefheart) / Lovesick (Cover of Bob Dylan) / My Doorbell / Cannon / Little Room / Passive Manipulation (with Jack singing!) / Dead Leaves / The Nurse / Sister Do You Know My Name / Death Letter / Grinnin’ In Your Face (Cover of Eddie “Son” House) / Hotel Yorba / Same Boy You’ve Always Known / I Smell a Rat / Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine ( ??? ) ENCORE: Denial Twist / Hardest Button to Button (intro only) / Red Rain / Hardest Button to Button / Ball and a Biscuit / Seven Nation Army / Screwdriver / Boll Weevil

Oh what a difference a day makes! The White Stripes second night at Coney Island’s Keyspan Park was absolutely phenomenal! Everything I thought that could have been improved on in last night’s performance was solved within the first 5 minutes of the Stripes coming on stage. First off, when Meg and Jack greeted the crowd, Jack held up a black Polaroid camera in his hand, and pointed it at himself, then took a picture. He proceeded to fling the shot deep into the crowd. (If you know anyone who caught one, please scan it and post it somewhere. Then e-mail me!) He continued doing this a few times. Already I could tell that this night was going to be good. First song was a blazing rendition of “When I Hear My Name.” I nearly started crying.

Some key points before I go to sleep:

Ms. Karen Elson was indeed in the audience tonight. Last night she was busy performing with Citizen’s Band, but tonight her schedule was free so she stood in the wings and bopped her head along to the music.

Jack was a lot more playful tonight. In addition to throwing around tons of Polaroid pictures of himself and Meg, he also took some time to make jokes like this one (between “Hotel Yorba” and “Same Boy You’ve Always Known”): “Meg had breakfast with Dennis Hopper today.” ::Crowd cheers:: “That’s not true.” ::Crowd laughs self-conciously:: At the start of the show he said something about children not being allowed to make noise, but then proceeded to tell the crowd that “you can cheer whenever you want.”

Did anyone else notice the mirror that sits on the right side of Jack’s grand piano? Some running theories of the purpose of the mirror: To see Meg, to check himself out, to check for broccoli in teeth…

The Greenhornes at Shout!

After the show ended around 11, my companions and I headed to Shout! at Bar 13 to catch The Greenhornes. The audience was sprinkled with notable musicians such as Brendan Benson, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the lady of the evening herself, Ms. Meg White.

I’m absolutely tired right now, but I’ll update later…

Pick My New Camera

As you may see from the White Stripes photos below, my camera has decided to stop zooming. I’ve had my little Nikon Coolpix 885 camera since 2001 and it has seen me through numerous shows and made a lot of the reporting you’ve seen here possible. But I think it’s time to move on to a new camera…except I don’t know the first thing about good digital cameras. So if you could leave your opinions as to what cameras are good (especially for low-light concert settings) I’d be much obliged. Here are some other things to consider: I like to be able to manual focus, I like black and white, I like quick shot-to-shot ability. If you’re currently using a camera you like a lot, please feel free to send along URLs or email me (newcamera @ themodernage.org) images you’ve taken with your camera. If there’s a camera out there that can minimize blurry shots taken by my shaky little hands, that’s also a plus.

White Stripes Hit Coney Island

White Stripes

Goodnight New York, we're here tomorrow

ANOTHER UPDATE: Spencer sent me something that is quite frightening. Read and be…alarmed.

Austin City Limits Day 2 Tracy Bonham stepped in for Tegan and Sara. She even did a little bit of “Walking With A Ghost” which she said she had learned from itunes this morning. On another song she inserted “Holla Back Girl” at the end ( older folks around me wondered just what the hell she was saying) and attempted Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” (old folks around me rejoiced).

Continue reading the orignal post…

The White Stripes hit Keyspan Park at Coney Island for the first time tonight. This is what they played:

Black Math / Blue Orchid / Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground / Passive Manipulation (short) / Jolene (cover of Dolly Parton) / My Doorbell / Cannon (w/ John the Revelator) / Screwdriver / Passive Manipulation / The Nurse / Forever for Her / Death Letter / Hotel Yorba / Hardest Button to Button / I Think I Smell a Rat (Where Jack included “This shit is bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s” line from Gwen Stefani‘s “Hollaback Girl” / Cover song (I think the lyrics were “I was walking with the ghost…”? Tegan and Sara?) / Ball and a Biscuit / Hello Operator / Union Forever ENCORE: I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet) / Red Rain / In the Cold, Cold Night / Let’s Shake Hands / We’re Going to Be Friends / Little Ghost / Ball and a Biscuit (extended) / Seven Nation Army / Boll Weevil

Once again the Stripes gave a great performance, although by my standards it seemed a bit tame. For some reason, I felt that Jack was being kind of reserved…there wasn’t much talking to the crowd, not many requests to get audience participation, and although there was some mild amount of jumping around, there wasn’t anything nearly as electrifying as some of the spasms I’ve seen in the past. Jack and Meg weren’t even really having intense stare downs…There was one moment during the show where Jack and Meg stopped playing for about 30 seconds and just had a staring contest. Jack seemed very polite, but I felt there was some fire lacking. It was as if he didn’t feel the need to win over the audience–and he probably didn’t. With all the screams of “I love you Jack! I love you Meg!” becoming standard at Stripes shows, it was clear that people would love anything that the band threw down.

They played a lot of new songs, but not with a lot of variation from how they are done on the album. Perhaps this is a result of the fact that they now can afford to cart around the actual equipment they recorded the album with–nothing more obvious an indicator than the full-sized black grand piano that sat on Jack’s side of the stage. But that still doesn’t answer the question as to why there were not really any tempo changes, few word changes, and not many splices of the new songs.

After thinking about it a little, I would say that tonight’s show was a prime example of how the Stripes have now become a truly popular band. The crowd feels different. (Well, people are still complaining they have to sit through Brendan Benson, so I guess it hasn’t changed that much.) In a way it felt like a “greatest hits” tour…They were delivering the songs that the audience wanted to hear, in the way they were familiar with hearing them. I must say, even when they did do older songs, like “Screwdriver,” I was surprised by the amount of younger kids who were singing along. A lot of people knew a lot of the songs…there was not a lot of “erm…hey, what’s this? Oooh! I really like it!” More “oooh! Hey this is that song I downloaded off the Internet!”

Don’t get me wrong, the Stripes gave a show worth going to, but it’s just kinda weird for me to see them play lots of songs from the more recent albums…I kinda miss them playing things like “I Fought Piranas” and people being caught off guard by things now and again. This is probably more a reflection of me getting to be a bitter old lady at the shows than anything the WS are doing. Well, every WS show is different, so who knows–maybe they’ll totally blow me away and make me cry tomorrow night. Second show is always better.


Ok, I’m getting a lot of feedback about this post seeming to be negative and snobby. Let me try to clarify. I know it’s going to sound like a lot of gobbly gook, so you must please excuse me because it’s very hard to explain:

I’m not mourning the fact that they are a popular band, I’m just saying the crowd dynamic is very different from what it has been in the past. Now people are going, not to hear some band that they kinda heard was good, but they are now going to a band whose music they already know very well. I’m just saying, I would have liked to have seen a lot more surprises, a lot more of “what the heck is that song?” moments. They’ve done so in the past with multiple cover songs…

Also in the past, people were “discovering” the band. It made the crowd feeling a lot more dynamic. There were lots of ppl who didn’t know any of the songs, and you could feel the tide turning from being a bunch of kids w/ their arms folded, to a bunch of kids who were bopping their heads to the music. As a big fan of the band you’re attending a concert for, it’s really kinda cool to see people make that progression from being apathetic to being totally enthusiastic.

The whole “the White Stripes are popular” thing is still relatively new…I don’t listen to the radio, so I’m not aware how popular they truly are. It’s always very surprising to me when I show up to a show and there are 30-year-old dudes wearing camouflage bandanas and gold chains around their neck, standing in the front row, jumping up and down. Or a buff dude in his late 20s with eyebrow piercings, standing by himself, literally freaking out–his body is shaking like he’s just been possessed by demons and he’s shouting “Oh my god, I can’t take it!”–and the band hasn’t even come out yet. It’s kinda surreal. I’m just. not. used. to. THAT. I don’t like it when I see older ladies with frizzy hair starting a fight with the security guards because she’s mad that they told her to get off some dude’s shoulders because it’s 1. unsafe and 2. obstructing everyone behind her. These parts of the concert cross-section are slightly alarming to me. If that makes me seem like a snob, I really don’t give a sh-t. Those people are frightening and make the concert experience a little weirder than expected.

I do however love seeing the eyes light up on the young kids who are dressed up like Jack and Meg circa The White Stripes when they recognize songs. That’s adorable.

I’m temporarily done trying to justify anything offensive I may have said in this show summary. I do want people to be excited about the WS. I just don’t want them to make my blood run cold in doing so. Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking to be challenged as an audience member. Like any relationship, you have to keep things fresh. Go ahead and draw your own conclusions.

Here are some highlights of the night:

The stage was decorated with all sorts of weird-looking nicknacks and red, white, and black-themed gear such as: wooden dolls, white plants, white seashell light fixtures at the front of the stage, two lightbulbs mounted on a block of wood that sat on Jack’s Steinway, red and black microphones, and Meg’s drumhead with the picture of the hand holding the white apple.

Meg wore a sexy see-through black lace top with a black bra and black leather pants. She wore her long black hair loose and it was slightly wavy. Jack wore a black hat, black shirt with white piping, black slacks, a red and white belt buckle (couldn’t make out what was on it), a red scarf, and red shoes. He sported a triangular chin goatee and thin mustache. His chin-length wavy black hair was parted in the middle.

Jack used his regular assortment of guitars, including the red and white electric AirLine with red and white striped Paul Frank strap, the acoustic guitar with it’s front face covered in brown paper, but there was one guitar I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It was an acoustic guitar with a dark brown face and I thought I saw some green-bluish markings on it toward the end of the frets.

When playing “The Nurse,” Jack took his spot behind the red and white marimba at the back of the stage. He made a show of playing the percussion instrument with flair–taking time to swirl around the marimba sticks in both his hands. Meg took to the cherry-red tympany sitting to the left of her drum kit during “Passive Manipulation.”

Right before the encores, Jack came out on stage and demanded the crowd cheer louder for him then walked back offstage. Meg stood momentarily on stage, almost like she was asking Jack, “Um…are we really going to have to get off and then come back on again?” before also leaving the stage. Jack came back on when the crowd cheered loud enough for him.

After “Red Rain,” Jack starting making weird noises into the mic, to which Meg started smiling. Jack asked, “Meg, why are you laughing? What’s so funny?” then proceeded to lead into “In the Cold, Cold Night.” As she marched up to the microphone with her shoulders hung low and a slightly smug look on her face, Meg had the body language of a naughty child who was called to the blackboard to solve a complicated math problem. It almost seemed as if making her sing alone was some kind of punishment for her giggling.

Catch some more photos over at Product Shop NYC, LRobin’s Photostream

Some old school Stripes photos: April 5, 2002, April 6, 2002, April 8, 2002, October 1, 2002

Ryan Adams: The Movie

Your Ryan Adams update: Next Tuesday marks the release of Ryan’s newest album, Jacksonville City Nights. As I already reported, some select stores will include a bonus DVD with your purchase of the album. Here in NYC only a few retailers are selling it: Manhattan: Other Music/ J&R/ Future Legend Brooklyn: Soundtracks. Don’t live in NYC? Check this list to see the nearest store near you carrying the special set.

Quantities are limited to 15,000 in the US & when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Also, many locations will be carrying the vinyl version of Jacksonville City Nights (lovingly pressed in Nashville, TN on 180 gram vinyl). The LP version features 4 tracks not available on CD: “A Kiss Before I Go (Demonstration Recording)”, “Jeane”, “I Still Miss Someone”, and “Always On My Mind”.

What Do Antony, Todd Haynes, and David Cross Have In Common?

Tokion Creativity Now

…besides all being openly gay men. What? David Cross isn’t gay? Oh well. Anyway, the real answer is that they will all be speakers at Tokion’s 3rd Annual Creativity Now Conference, which will be held the weekend of October 15-16 at Cooper Union. Other esteemed panelists joining Antony and Todd Haynes include Richard Prince, William Eggleston, Calvin Johnson, and Julie Verhoeven, among others.

Tickets available at Kim’s or online.