Rockcrit and A-Mama Ann Powers thinks way too hard sometimes

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My (spiritual) Dad Just Lost His Job

If you're reading this, you probably know about what happened at the Village Voice today.

August 31, 2006

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

If this comes completely out of the blue, I apologize.It is now official--Village Voice Media fired me today, "for taste," which means (among other things) slightly sweeter severance. This despite the support of new music editor Rob Harvilla, who I like as a person and a writer. We both believed Ihad won myself some kind of niche as gray eminence. So I was surprised Tuesday when I was among the eight Voice employees (five editorial, three art) who were instructed to bring their union reps to a meeting with upper management today. But I certainly wasn't shocked--my approach to music coverage has never been much like that of the New Times papers.

Bless the union, my severance is substantial enough to give me time to figure out what I'm doing next. In fact, having finished all my freelance reviews yesterday, I don't have a single assignment pending. So, since I have no intention of giving uprock criticism, all reasonable offers entertained; my phone number is in the book, as they used to say when there were books.....

Bob Christgau

Obviously I'm sickened by this, sad for Bob and Carola and Nina. Beyond that, I'm freaked out for the profession, what's left of it. Yes, he will be okay, but come on, since when do we supposed stewards of the Fourth Estate treat one of our most eminent presences -- and a man still SO HARDWORKING, so hard-loving, at at time when it's would be perfectly normal to find some laurels and rest -- this way? I am thankful, VERY thankful, for my own job. I can't really go on about Bob's situation now. Just had to stop in here and share with you all, the darkness of dark days, indeed.

(Besides Bob, they let go Ed Park, LD Beghtol, Elizabeth Zimmer, all of whom I deeply respect, and and several others I don't know but who certainly didn't deserve to go this way.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

the smell

In Seattle, it was blackberries. In Berkeley, it was wild fennel. In Brooklyn, let's be honest, it was trash and pee. Everywhere I've lived there's been a defining smell. And now I know L.A.'s. It's this.

I finally got to take a walk in my new neighborhood.

Of course I was working while I did! Listening to the L.A.-centric Dave Navarro project, Panic Channel, which rocks in a very 120 Minutes kinda way. In fact, the lead singer used to be an MTV VJ. But it's Dave, so there are the arty tendencies. There's a really long song about a savior figure named Uncle Elijah! Still, the single sounds like Switchfoot. Whether you think that's a good or a bad thing depends on your view of soaring choruses and lighters (cell phones?) in the air.

But back to the walk. I drove up to the dogwalker and school's pass-through called Moon Canyon, strolled all the way up and down San Rafael past the Self Realization Fellowship (where middle-aged lovelies stroll about in long skirts) and Bebe's future school, yippee! Walked out on a vast plain where I could see all of downtown, and headed back, with a stop down Elyria street to look for the other end of Elyria Canyon. (I'd had an unfortunate encounter with poison oak earlier at our entrance to this overgrown "park." So far it seems to be under control thanks to hydrocortisone and perspicacious leg-washing.)

Then I scooted toward Crane, the other street I wanted to live on, and gazed at their lovely canyon views. But I still like ours, if not better, as much. After all, we can see glamorous downtown Glendale! And so for the first time in a while, I said, ah, that's why I wanted to live in this neighborhood. Getting out and into it makes all the difference.

ps if I were hip like my pal Daphne, I would have meant this smell. Oh well.