Bill Callahan – Live at Sixth and I

Very excited that npr music shared a full length recording of Bill Callahan’s concert back on October 2nd.

It took place at the beautiful Sixth & I historical synagogue in Washington DC. I was there! And I loved this concert. So much I’m still spellbound weeks later as if I’d just been there.

Very happy I can keep my memory alive with this little keepsake. It was the first time I’ve seen him live in concert.

Bill Callahan’s music career dates back to the early 90s, but I discovered him just about two years ago with his album Apocalypse. I hope he’ll continue to make music for many years to come. Can’t wait to see him and his friends again. I also hope I’ll get to see the Apocalypse tour film one day!

Bill Callahan performed with Matt Kinsey on guitar, Jamie Zuverza on bass, and Adam Jones on drums a beautiful, nearly 2 hour lasting set with

  • The Sing
  • Javelin Unlanding
  • Sycamore
  • Spring
  • Small Plane
  • Drover
  • Seagull
  • Baby’s Breath
  • Ride My Arrow
  • Summer Painter
  • Please Send Me Someone To Love
  • America!
  • Winter Road
  • Rock-Bottom Riser
  • Say Valley Maker

But wait, there’s more Bill Callahan: A Window That Isn’t There: The Elusive Art of Bill Callahan is a great Pitchfork article by Mark Richardson. I enjoyed reading about his impressions meeting Bill Callahan, and learning a bit more about him.

The first time I saw Bill Callahan was not in concert, but when he introduced a movie at the Maryland Film Festival. I didn’t know anything about him, and I didn’t have the best first impression of him because he just seemed annoyed to be there.

Very much like Mark Richardson wrote: “He’s been known to comport himself as if he doesn’t want to be there, and he doesn’t necessarily have much to say.”

While this may not give the best first impression, it soon changed when I started to listen to his music. All was forgiven very soon. The concert chased away any last doubts I may have had. I enjoyed his music prior to the concert. But after the concert I knew that his music will follow me around for years to come.

Franz Kafka is 130

On the occasion of Franz Kafka’s 130th birthday (yesterday), here are two of my favorite short stories!

Rejection

Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

When I meet a pretty girl and beg her: ‘Be so good as to come with me,’ and she walks past without a word, this is what she means to say:

‘You are no Duke with a famous name, no broad American with a Red Indian figure, level, brooding eyes and a skin tempered by the air of the prairies and the rivers that flow through them, you have never journeyed to the seven seas and voyaged on them wherever they may be, I don’t know where. So why, pray, should a pretty girl like myself go with you?’

‘You forget that no automobile swings you through the street in long thrusts; I see no gentlemen escorting you in a close half-circle, pressing on your skirts from behind and murmuring blessings on your head; your breasts are well laced into your bodice, but your thighs and hips make up for that restraint; you are wearing a taffeta dress with a pleated skirt such as delighted all of us last autumn, and yet you smile – inviting mortal danger – from time to time.’

‘Yes, we’re both in the right, and to keep us from being irrevocably aware of it, hadn’t we better just go our separate ways home?’

On the Tram

Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

I stand on the end platform of the tram and am completely unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in my family. Not even casually could I indicate any claims that I might rightly advance in any direction. I have not even any defense to offer for standing on this platform, holding on to this strap, letting myself be carried along by this tram, nor for the people who give way to the tram or walk quietly along or stand gazing into shop windows. Nobody asks me to put up a defense, indeed, but that is irrelevant.

The tram approaches a stopping place and a girl takes up her position near the step, ready to alight. She is as distinct to me as if I had run my hands over her. She is dressed in black, the pleats of her skirt hang almost still, her blouse is tight and has a collar of white fine-meshed lace, her left hand is braced flat against the side of the tram, the umbrella in her right hand rests on the second top step. Her face is brown, her nose, slightly pinched at the sides, has a broad round tip. She has a lot of brown hair and stray little tendrils on the right temple. Her small ear is close-set, but since I am near her I can see the whole ridge of the whorl of her right ear and the shadow at the root of it.

At that point I asked myself: How is it that she is not amazed at herself, that she keeps her lips closed and makes no such remark?

More of Kafka’s short stories can be found at franzkafkastories.com.

Celephaïs

Hi and welcome to my new blog “Celephaïs”! This is the first post, and there’s not much to find here yet.

I’m going to use this place to collect essentially everything that doesn’t fall into the realm of work and studies. This may be random thoughts and dreams, hopes and fears, everything that leaves an impression in one way or another. Everything I want to keep around and not forget. It may be funny or sad, beautiful or ugly, personal or observational, right or wrong. Time will tell.

The site, by the way, is named after a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. Over 15 years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long!) I used the domain for a site that showcased my favorite artists, musicians, authors, and movies. The story has always been special to me, because it wasn’t about evil creatures, but an outsider who withdrew from the world around him, dreamed and wrote about his dreams. 15 years ago I connected with the protagonist and Lovecraft’s own biography, and who knows — maybe it hasn’t changed all that much. If you’re interested, here’s the opening…

In a dream Kuranes saw the city in the valley, and the seacoast beyond, and the snowy peak overlooking the sea, and the gaily painted galleys that sail out of the harbour toward distant regions where the sea meets the sky. In a dream it was also that he came by his name of Kuranes, for when awake he was called by another name.

Perhaps it was natural for him to dream a new name; for he was the last of his family, and alone among the indifferent millions of London, so there were not many to speak to him and to remind him who he had been. His money and lands were gone, and he did not care for the ways of the people about him, but preferred to dream and write of his dreams. What he wrote was laughed at by those to whom he showed it, so that after a time he kept his writings to himself, and finally ceased to write.

The more he withdrew from the world about him, the more wonderful became his dreams; and it would have been quite futile to try to describe them on paper. Kuranes was not modern, and did not think like others who wrote. Whilst they strove to strip from life its embroidered robes of myth and to show in naked ugliness the foul thing that is reality, Kuranes sought for beauty alone. When truth and experience failed to reveal it, he sought it in fancy and illusion, and found it on his very doorstep, amid the nebulous memories of childhood tales and dreams. [...]