I have reunited with my love, The Magnetic Fields, and come away from the event with my love renewed and amplified and electrified. Sigh. Drove 1,000 miles in 48 hours in order to catch them in Atlanta at the Woodruff Arts Center, picking up my sister and nephew on the way. We got stuck in really gross traffic (road work, accidents, rain), which made the trip into Atlanta, delivering my nephew to Grammy and getting ready take at least twice as long as it would’ve normally. But, we listened to “69 Love Songs,” “Get Lost,” and “The Charm of the Highway Strip” all the way from her house in Alabama to Atlanta (deliriously following a combination of MapQuest and sweetly surly Woodruff operator directions to the parking garage off of Peachtree Street (“JUST Peachtree Street, after you cross over West Peachtree Street…” – thank GAWD I grew up in Atlanta, thank GAWD I’m used to driving in a city) on 16th. The whole way, Me was blissfully “Not Mommy at the Moment,” throwing up her hands with her charming, pleased-to-be-out-even-if-we’re-not-there-yet smile. 🙂
Demonically exhausted and residually sick, I sat with Me in the 2nd row, to the left of the stage (if you’re facing it) and lapped up every sound, every second of the event. It’s the first time I’ve seen them live, after all. First, we watched Michael Hearst, their opening act, who was amusing and interesting and, best of all, a producer for Cassette from My Ex, which I discovered recently and adore. On the way back from dropping Me and the kid off, I got one of my typical “road trip brainstorms” for what, I realize now, is essentially Cassette from My Ex. Ooops. Good idea. ;”)
I was blissfully happy while The Magnetic Fields were playing and dismayed when they weren’t. They didn’t play either of my two utter favorites, but they did play some songs I hadn’t heard and some of the lovely familiar ones. Here’s a set list from a show earlier this year that was pretty similar (though, yes, different, so be warned).
One of my favorite moments was Stephin’s introduction to “California Girls,” “This is a song about media literacy. (decent length pause) And feminism.” He didn’t speak much, but was very funny when he did. It doesn’t matter what he says or sings, his voice is astounding. He’s one of the few people who embodies that saying, “he could read me the phone book,” which brings to mind “The Book of Love” lyrics, “I love it when you read to me and you can read me anything” and later, “I love it when you sing to me and you can sing me anything.” Really Stephin, those lyrics embody my feelings for your voice. On top of the “he could say/sing anything” sentiment is a ever-present thrill at how intelligent, witty and canny his lyrics and delivery are. I know I’m raving about Stephin Merritt and there are many other gorgeous vocals on their songs – Claudia Gonson and Shirley Simms. They deserve miles of appreciation for their vocals, it’s just that I don’t want to marry their voices like I want to marry Stephin’s. 🙂 Oh Stephin, you brilliant, funny, human Eyeore “Something bad will happen to them anyway,” he says about children on Good Day Atlanta, his persona underscoring the inanity of the newscaster’s. Priceless. I was amused, but not surprised, to read recently that ABBA is Stephin’s favorite band and whenever Shirley Simms sings, I have little flashes of Fleetwood Mac (in the best possible way). My other favorite moment was hearing “This Little Ukulele” for the first time. You can see it in Pt. 2 of this interview here (and here’s Pt. 1 for you, too).
In other things-I’m-interested-in, read this and watch the two SNL clips featuring Fey as Palin, Palin as Palin and a whole lot of can-you-name-what’s-wrong here. (Vising my parents’ home on my whirlwind Atlanta 48 hours, I was HORRIFIED to see my parents sandwiched in my McCain-Palin yard signs. There goes the cul-de-sac.)
Congrats to all the National Book Award Finalists, but especially E. Lockhart for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (via Publishers Lunch).
And: Oct 16 marks the 250th birth anniversary of Noah Webster (1758-1843), lexicographer extraordinaire, who compiled the American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), the first authoritative lexicon of American English.” The word of the day that day (via Wordsmith) was epeolatry, which is the worship of words. Hmmm. Maybe that’s my religion. I could really get into that. What would the appropriate church be? Perhaps Cheers, as everyone here is the loving-words type. Well everyone I talk to.
Did I say how good it is to be back? It feels like weeks and months since I got to lounge at Cheers. And whoa, somebody or other even made an appearance today, right on cue, all the way from NYC. Great timing SOO (as your nickname is anagrammed).
My coughing fit (yes, still coughing) is disturbing the others and I have a casserole dish full of Mamma Mia!’s world-famous, belly-infamous tuna casserole to enjoy. So, I now depart Cheers, stage right.