Friday, January 20

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini

BC posted the announcement below of the poetry reading held tonight at Slim's in San Francisco. Jonathan is scheduled to read from a "translation of 'Pier Paolo Pasolini.'" I'm not sure if this is meant to be the recent Roman Poems by Pasolini, translated by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Francesca Valente (info here) and recently published by City Lights, or a personal project of Jonathan's.

Either way, Pasolini was a fascinating Italian artist, political poet, and filmmaker, and readers of this blog may be familiar with Patti Smith's references to him. (Patti Smith's website)

Senses of Cinema has a nice writeup on Pasolini

more here

and here

on his art

Pasolini on his final film, Salò

Tuesday, January 17

Monday, January 16

Hear This

An evening of spoken word --Friday January 20-- featuring Jonathan Richman, Barbara Becnel, Jello Biafra, Jack Hirschman, Daisy Zamora, Kevin Zeese, Todd Chretien and Matt Gonzalez. $12. 8:30 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St., San Francisco; (415) 255-0333,

Friday, January 13

the art of artlessness

One of my favorite singers is the punklike Jonathan Richman, who loves New England best. I like to say that he can’t really write lyrics, can hardly sing a note at all, and can’t play an instrument that well—yet he makes some of the best songs around. Somehow, the awkwardness of his songs, their sweet artlessness, makes them the best examples of art. And he can sing his classic “Roadrunner” any number of times, and it’s always a totally different song—either because he doesn’t have the concentration to repeat the song that same perfect way each time or because he has the imagination to keep trying for a greater song each time he croaks it.

read more at dbqp: visualizing poetics

Wednesday, January 11

spotlight on Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt ©2006 RB

Vic's blog

The prolific poet-artist Vic Chesnutt toured with Jonathan and Tommy in fall of 2005 to promote his new CD Ghetto Bellsand now is gearing up for a new tour with some different friends

Undertow Orchestra tour dates February-March 2006

Vic's bio from New West Records:

Vic was born in 1964 in Jacksonville, FL and was raised in Zebulon, GA. He loved music from an early age and, in fact, started writing songs when he was only five years old. He played trumpet in a high school cover band. As he got older and began buying records, his first favorites were Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and The Beatles. After a car accident in 1983 that left him partially paralyzed and the recuperation period that followed, Vic came to "a whole new understanding of music.” The first results were what he describes as “vacuous pop songs” But when he discovered a book called The Norton Anthology Of Modern Poetry (“its footnotes were eureka!”) Vic had, for the first time, what he describes as that “art feeling.” It was then that his songs began to take on adult form. In the middle 80s, Vic moved to Athens, GA to study English. He formed a group called The La Di Das and began playing the clubs around town. In 1988 he quit the band and started playing solo shows, including a summer-long residency at The 40 Watt. It was then that Michael Stipe saw Vic, repeatedly, and was moved to invite him into a recording studio. They recorded the songs that became his debut album, Little and Vic’s career effectively began. Vic has made 10 albums to date as well as 2 albums in collaboration with Widespread Panic under the name ‘Brute.’ He was the subject of a documentary in 1992 entitled Speed Racer directed by noted indie filmmaker Peter Sillen. In 1995 he had bit part in Billy Bob Thornton’s film Slingblade. In 1996, Columbia Records put together Sweet Relief II: Gravity Of The Situation - The Songs of Vic Chesnutt, a benefit album to assist musicians with medical and financial hardship. It featured Vic’s songs covered by the likes of Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins, Soul Asylum, Garbage & R.E.M. In 2000, The Georgia House Of Representatives passed a resolution, honoring Vic for his “off-beat musical genius and other purposes.” In 2001 he wrote and performed the music for Josiah Meigs and Me, a puppet play done at St. Anne’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. In January of 2004, Vic participated in the Randy Newman Tribute at UCLA’s Royce Hall along with Victoria Williams, Bill Frisell, Rip Torn and many others. In June of this year, he was invited to share the bill with Rickie Lee Jones for two concerts at the prestigious Century Of Song Festival in Essen, Germany. Over the last few years he has also been speaking on songwriting and creative writing at Berklee School Of Music, Brown University and The University Of Georgia. Vic continues to tour extensively all over the world and has shared stages with the likes of R.E.M., Laura Nyro, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, John Cale, Mo Tucker, The Jayhawks, Allen Toussaint, P.J. Harvey, Wilco, Billy Swan, Giant Sand, Calexico and The Sadies.

Bonus for reading all the way to the end of this post: a little Vic movie

Tuesday, January 10

on the road sing along

One place where everyone seems to listen to Jonathan is in the car. It just seems right in the dark while the world flashes by. Ken Napzok likes to sing along to "Someone I Care About" from The Modern Lovers:

Jonathan Richman might just be the master of laying down vocal tracks that any one on God’s green earth can sing to. This ode to wanting more then one night stands is served best when you’re tired of the romance game and speeding down the PCH trying to escape it all. With his nasal voice and oddly endearing flatness, Mr. Richman never fails to sooth my ‘heartbroken, straight laced, looking for true love’ soul. And as an added bonus they just don’t lay down driving guitar bits like this song’s any more.

read more

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