Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
(Cover of Daniel Krogh's 1983 underground classic that inspired Curry's book)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
After a seemingly endless wait since learning about this tour, we arrived at the venue (The Best Buy Theater in Times Square) and were escorted to the sound board area where we watched the band do a sound check and perform 3 songs. Afterwards, about 24 other V.I.P. ticket holders were escorted to a private room where we were given tour t-shirts, a DVD, and a laminate guest pass. A few minutes later Gary walked into the room and spent a good 10-15 minutes talking and taking pictures with EACH person in the room (he told me his family may be moving to California soon). That a singer would take this much time for his fans right before a big gig is beyond cool.
After this surreal experience, we were let into the theater a few mins before the "regular" crowd, so my wife, daughter and myself were right in the first row. Opening band BOOM BOOM SATELLITES from Tokyo, Japan did a great set of techno/metal originals, and cult faves RASPUTINA did an interesting (albeit a bit long) set of cello-fueled tunes.
NUMAN's set opened with the instumental RANDOM, then they went into the entire PLEASURE PRINCIPAL album, barely missing a note. The only thing missed from the album was the use of the clap-trap, a digital percussion instrument used to create the famous "robo-smash" sound heard in most of the songs on this album, although the drummer did substitute the splash cymbal for it during CARS, M.E. and CONVERSATION. One of the 3 keyboardists also had a sound similar to it, but there's still no substitute for the clap-trap.
After the 1979 classics, Numan slid his keyboards out of the way and dove into his recent goth-metal originals such as HALO, JAGGED, and the show-stopper, HAUNTED. They also did the classics I DIE: YOU DIE and an amazing version of DOWN IN THE PARK. The 2 encores were ARE FRIENDS ELECTRIC? and A PRAYER FOR THE UNBORN, a track I was never too crazy about until seeing Numan's latest band just KILL it live.
Besides meeting the man himself, hearing CONVERSATION and ENGINEERS performed live was a dream come true for me; I was also surprised that ENGINEERS sounded just like the album, considering its strange marching drum beat and obscure background sounds.
Hopefully Gary will play the states more often if and when he moves here.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
NEW WORLD MONKEYS (2009 Three Rivers Press / 292 pp. / tp)
After reading about this in a 2009 issue of Writer's Digest magazine, I was lured in by the quirky premise: but thanks to my heavy reading schedule, I missed the original hardcover release. The trade edition came out this past September, and I'm glad I finally had the chance to check out Mauro's highly-praised debut novel.
Duncan and Lily have been married 5 years. Already on the verge of separation, Lily decides to spend the summer at an inherited Victorian home in the small upstate town of Osterhagen in order to work on her dissertation. Duncan--recently put in charge of a make-him or break-him ad campaign--plans to visit on the weekends but remain in the city during the week to get the job done.
The tale takes a strange turn right from the get-go when our couple run over a wild boar on their ride upstate. Stuck under the front of their Saab, Lily puts the boar out of its misery with a tire iron when Duncan hesitates to do so. They place the animal in a nearby ditch, and shortly after settling in the new home they learn the boar was actually the town's mascot...and that it has a jealous owner.
While Duncan puts together a controversial ad campaign in the city (he attempts to sell blue jeans using a Vietnam theme and two porn-looking asian models), Lily begins her studies at the Osterhagen library, only to be distracted by a peeping Tom named Lloyd. Fascinated by his techniques, she actually befriends him and begins to join him on excursions. The relationship between these two is the highlight of the novel.
Duncan's growing paranoia about his wife deepens when he attempts to start a gardening project in their new backyard, only to unearth human bones they learn belonged to Lily's great grandfather's nanny: the couple become obsessed with pieceing together the skeleton as well as the story behind it: all the while they're trying to keep their secret of killing the boar under cover, the boar's owner's annoying poodle starts to show up in their back yard, digging around their bone find. Eventually, Duncan takes care of the poodle in an attempt to make up for his mishandling of the boar situation.
With some serious small-town tension that brings several classic horror stories to mind, nearly endless dark and sarcastic humor, and three of the richest characters I've had the pleasure of reading in many moons, NEW WORLD MONKEYS is a love story that's anything but sappy; Mauro cleverly uses odd relationships, unusual situations, and rich symbolism (as well as Lily's past) to study a couple on an uncertain course. The final chapter is a surreal, beautiful end note that had me longing for more.
Even if literary novels aren't your thing, NEW WORLD MONKEYS is a best bet if you're seeking something truly out of the ordinary. I'll most certainly be reading this one again.
(Cover of the 2009 hardcover edition)