Joni Mitchell is Not a “60s Folksinger”

Joni Mitchell is Not a “60s Folksinger”

[With attention turning toward Joni’s health, so too has a media shorthand that seeks to encapsulate an artist who has spent her life defying easy classification. But to call her a “60s Folksinger” is to ignore almost everything she’s done. New piece on CUEPOINT.] “If one more major media outlet refers to Joni Mitchell as a “60s Folksinger,” I am seriously going to lose. It.” — Julian Fleisher, via Facebook It took a second for me to register what my Facebook/actual friend had noticed — news outlets using shorthand to encapsulate someone who spent a life defying exactly that. I’m going to suppose that, to some extent, it can’t be helped, that people just don’t have enough time to see more than the easiest talking point. They have careers, lives, and a newsfeed that scrolls endlessly in both directions. “‘60s folksinger” is good enough for enough people. It’s all that people who don’t really care have time to care about. And in an age where the “power” of the sharing economy lies with the consumer and not the artist, perhaps Joni should count herself lucky to be remembered even for that one sliver of her output. But man, I wouldn’t say that to her face. She has been cantankerous with her legacy, scrapping biopics that smell shallow or expedient, eschewing stars who can’t yet hold a candle to the role they’re being lined up to play. Maybe some people are surprised by that — surely she knows the money she’s leaving on the table, right? The sales bump, the retrospectives and accolades she could fill her closets with? Read “Joni Mitchell is Not a ’60s...
Ground Rules for a Whisky Tasting

Ground Rules for a Whisky Tasting

With a head full of stones and a heart full of sand, I have returned from the Highland Park Record Club. The goal of this gathering was to establish that music and whisky are good friends, maybe even cousins: They both have dynamic personalities that unfold over time; they both are hard to do well; and both warrant repeat drink-listens. We were curated from the creative class and dispatched to a members-only basement where bookshelves swelled with thick hardcovers recounting retrospectives at the Whitney Museum. There were dark, overstuffed couches, and a gas fireplace with a thick glass pane in front of it that offered the dance of light with none of the extraneous by-product of actual fire. There were bowls of nuts with honey notes that whispered from the back of my palette, “How did you get invited here? You’re a fraud.” But I’m not a fraud, I whispered back to my nuts, within earshot of a vinyl technician who scratched garage rock into Plexiglas 45s on a vintage lathe. I am an aficionado, in that I have awakened next to empty bottles of Highland Park and hit play on recording equipment to hear a song that I couldn’t remember I even recorded. So. I’m a pro at this. It’s really something, to hear a song for the first time and know it’s you singing. It’s as close as I may get to inhabiting Keith Richard’s body. Scotch people, I report the following: Highland Park 12 remains a standard bearer, the one you’d hand the Olympic torch and let run down your gullet with trust, even pride; Highland...
Design Observer Podcast: “What Design Sounds Like”

Design Observer Podcast: “What Design Sounds Like”

In the new Design Observer podcast, The Observatory, Jessica Helfand and Michael Beirut discuss highlights from the “What Design Sounds Like” symposium. My contribution was “Dancing About Architecture” – the interplay between sound, architecture, composition and meaning. I spoke and spun J.S.Bach, AC/DC and FKA Twigs. I think it made sense. Other stories include: • It’s Nice That’s Rob Alderson on TED and Design Indaba • Roy Choi • Sindiso Khumalo • Interactive videos by Yoni Bloch: Like a Rolling Stone; Pretend to Be Happy • The Christmas party scene from Kramer vs. Kramer • CBC on Spocking the Canadian $5 bill Bonus: Check out Lena Dunham’s concept for a graphic design web series featuring Jessica and...
Appraising Amanda Palmer’s New Patreon Campaign

Appraising Amanda Palmer’s New Patreon Campaign

Read Appraising Amanda Palmer’s New Patreon Campaign on Cuepoint. Amanda Palmer is good people. No, she’s great people. She came to a songwriting class I taught at Yale, and opened her heart, mind and soul to my students. She tweeted to her fanbase and for one slice of a second, we trended on Twitter. (I did not get the screengrab. Dammit.) Now she’s got a Patreon campaign, and I think the experiment will prove fruitful for her. As I write, she’s up to $20k per piece of content after just one day. So. Fruitful. In short: Meet the future of the tip jar. Appraising Amanda Palmer’s New Patreon...
“What Design Sounds Like” – A Design Observer Symposium

“What Design Sounds Like” – A Design Observer Symposium

I’ll be doing this on Saturday. Amazing lineup. I’m honored to have been included. My contribution is “Dancing About Architecture” – the interplay between sound, architecture, composition and meaning. I’ll be talking, playing, and spinning J.S. Bach, AC/DC and FKA Twigs. Despite that, I’m fairly sure it will make sense. The SVA Theatre is located at 333 W. 23rd street, between 8th and 9th avenues. Directions can be found at svatheatre.com tix: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-design-sounds-like-tickets… Tweets at ‪#‎WDSL‬ For more about Design Observer:...
The Sometimes Platinum Window

The Sometimes Platinum Window

My experience auditioning for a record label. Dedicated to anyone who has done something weird. I reminded myself that there was no one to ask for permission. I could play solo, and write the words I needed to say. I could record, live tight, and strip my life to its essence, with its familiar silence and the weight of everything being exactly where I left it. I could go on without anyone, but I didn’t want to. What I wanted was a team. Everyone wants a team. Even dogs group together in the wild. https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-sometimes-platinum-window-43a71a2c24e8 This is the latest from “The Solo Show,” my ongoing collection of essays, playlists and stories. Check out the growing library and follow along here: https://medium.com/@mikeerrico   The Sometimes Platinum...
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