All things weird and wonderful, 16

3 02 2012

Joe's 5th Semi-Annual Beer Tasting Party!

I don’t even remember if I attended this event, but I loved the invite, by host/artist Kathy Radke.

At least, I think it’s Kathy Radke Rathke—I can’t remember if I got her name right. Anyway, she was a fucking amazing graphics artist for The Daily Cardinal, a small, blonde, impish woman on a graphics staff that was, hmm, yes I believe it was all men. She was the graphics editor for awhile, and the menfolk—I’m thinkin’ of John Kovalic and Mark Giaimo (on whom I had a huge crush, and who was so out of my league in every way), in particular—who liked to get chesty with one another and anyone else, all bowed before Kathy’s  fierce talent and sly dry wit.

Sly: yes, Kathy was sly. As political as the rest of us (the Cardinal, back in the day, always had a Marxist editor), she paid attention, and led with absurdity.

She was an inspiration.

One final memory: At my first Cardinal party Kathy’s younger sister and I got drunk and sang Shirley Bassey tunes, enjoying ourselves immensely crooning “GolllllllllllldddddddFINguh!”

So. I don’t know where Kathy is, but I hope she’s absurdly well.





I’d like to sing a song of great social and political import

26 01 2012

I missed her birthday.

Not that she’d know, given that she’s been dead for over forty years, but I used to know and celebrate the day Janis Joplin squalled her way into the world.

I think I’ve written this before, but what the hell: My friend K. and I taught this to a half-busful of Forensic [speech, not mortuary] Society high schoolers on our way back from some tournament or another. It was dark, the bus was old, the trip long. And if our high-volumed rasping pissed off the faculty adviser, all the better.

Janis was like that: the big personality you could hide behind.

I fell for Janis in high school, aping her in drink (Southern Comfort, when I could afford it) if in nothing else: I couldn’t sing like her, had no appetite for heroin, and was never as outrageous as I would have liked to have been.

Janis was too much, in every way. She was too loud, too drunk, too high, and way too sexy for someone who in no way fitted any conventional notions of sexiness.

You could see that, too, in those old photos and reels of her performing. She knows she’s performing when she sticks out her tongue or her chest or when she struts across the stage. She’s covering.

She never thought she was enough, but man, when she snugged that mic up beneath her lip, her voice spilled out and over her and everyone who heard her and then all her too-muchness was just as it should be. No cover, then.

There she is, in all her feathers, a few months before her death.

Of course, that she died was part of the fascination for my teenaged self—she suffered for her art!—but it was the fight in her, even more so, even if back then I could only valorize the suffering-unto-death, not that she suffered in the fight to stay alive.

I was listening to her recently, and came across a line I used to write on notebooks and bathroom stalls: Tomorrow never happens, man, it’s all the same fucking day, man.

Janis Joplin, absurdist. She would have been 69.





D’oh! (and you wonder why this is called ‘absurdbeats’)

24 10 2009

Arizona May Put State Prisons in Private Hands

Have these people not seen Robocop?

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For an Episcopal Parish, a Path to Catholicism

(link)

As an old colleague once said of Jews who profess the belief that Jesus was the Messiah: ‘Do you know what we call Jews for Jesus? Christians.’

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Yankees Claimed a Park; Children Got Bus Rides

Are you telling me a kabillionaire organization got better treatment than Bronx kids?

As Chrissie Hynde once said, ‘I’m stunned and amazed.’

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Rich Germans demand higher taxes

Tho’ further down in the story one participant in the pro-tax demonstration, a Mr. Vollmer, found it “really strange that so few people came”.