Arnott Archive Update

Some of my latest articles for Daily Nutmeg,

• on the Project Storefronts shop Plural Work/Shop.


• on the Vision Trail.


• on summer reading programs for New Haven children.


• on the New Haven Jazz Festival.


• and on various events happening in New Haven. and

Rock Gods #280: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Tyree Tears calls his “new” club Rent Party, because that’s what it has been for the last five years. Tyree, who has more friends in the scene than there are friendly people there to begin with, has been supporting his clubgoing lifestyle by having some of those pals play shows in his apartment, setting out a spread and some bottles, then splitting the door with the musicians.

When several acts mentioned that Tyree treated them better than several local bars did, and even started sending other bands his way, he saw the future. He held a week of back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back bookings, raised enough for a deposit on an abandoned loft at the corner of Mt. Cyllene and Epigoni Way, availed himself of some of the lawyers who drink at the Bullfinch.

So, how does the Bullfinch feel about all this? Great, just great. Who could foresee that?

Such a devoted scenester is Tyree Tears that he only wants his club to book shows on nights when nobody worthwhile is playing anywhere else in town. “Worthwhile” is of course loosely defined, but Tyree’s one of the best judges of worth the scene has seen in eons. First up, on Tuesday (expect a lot of shows on Tuesdays): The Copulating Snakes.

We check in later with notes on Rent Party’s décor and dress code. Tyree is prone to wearing priestess gowns, and promises to have a rack on hand so he can do several costume changes a night. He’s also vowed to hang many of his rare local LP and 45 covers on the walls as fine art.

“It’s my place,” Tyree proclaims. “Clean your ears and come on down!”

At the Bullfinch: Used to Thea’s and The Chennus, two of the wordiest bands around… Hamilton’s has He See Odd and Manto, rocking the overdone… At D’ollaire’s: An Evening With Polly Nice. Where she’s been, it’s not so nice…

Back in action

We made pizza for dinner Sunday tonight. We had fresh sweet peppers and eggplant from our farm friends to put on it.

Mabel and I debated how best to handle the eggplant. We didn’t want to add too much oil to the enterprise—olive oil already infused the sauce. So I proposed slicing the plant thinly and baking it in a pan coated with cooking spray.

This worked fine, with soft and juicy results. Until it was revealed that Mabel was hoping for “crispy” eggplant. We could have cooked the eggplant endlessly until it got all dried out, but we arrived at a better plan: breading. We simply poured bread crumbs into the pan. The soft eggplant sopped up the crumbs neatly, and before long had achieved the requisite crispiness.

We prepared four pizzas, a variety of ways. One of the eggplant ones was on a cast iron pan with a thin crust and conventional pizza sauce and mozz. The more artisanal one was on a pizza stone, with crushed fresh juicy tomatoes, the eggplant, and a thicker coating of mozzarella.


This is the pizza dough recipe I swear by, slightly revised from Linda McCartney’s World of Vegetarian Cooking, which was given to me as a gift  over a decade ago by former New Haven Advocate colleague Hank Hoffman:


1 cup hot water

2 teaspoons yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1 ½ cups white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

and a little salt.


You stir everything but the flour together, then add the flour. Knead it until transforms from doughy to sticky. Cover and let rise for an hour. Divide into parts —three parts if you have large round pizza pans, four or more parts if you’re using smaller pans or cookie sheets. At this point, preheat the oven to as high as your oven will go—500 degrees is great. Cover a table with flour, roll out the dough, cover it with sauce then cheese then toppings, bake for 15-20 minutes and succumb.

Living in New Haven, I naturally aspire to thin crust pizza. I don’t get bent out of shape about it—I simply roll the dough as thin as I possibly can, get the rest of the stuff on top of it before it can rise again, and hope for the thinnest.

Vote! It’s a primary responsibility.

You do know there’s a primary election August 14, right? That’s Tuesday, across the state. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In both the Democratic and Republican primaries for U.S. Senator from Connecticut, it’s a woman versus a man, and in both cases the man is called Chris. Chris Murphy, currently a Congressman, now wants to be a Senator; he’s running againt Susan Bysiewicz, who was once Secretary of the State of Connecticut and before this wanted to be Attorney General.

Republican-wise, it’s Chris Shays, a Connecticut congressman from 1987-2008, now running for the Senate. His primary opponent is Linda McMahon, who has never held office and ran unsuccessfully for Senate a couple of years ago.

The guy who’s held this Senate seat for a while, Joe Lieberman, ain’t running. The Democrat and Republican candidates who win Tuesday will campaign against each other until November.

I’m outside Troup School in New Haven today, meeting neighbors in my role of co-chair of the Democratic Town Committee for Ward 2. Not a lot of voting going on, to be sure, and it looks like rain.

Rock Gods #279: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

We’ve all witnessed what we swear must be “the longest drum solo in the history of the world.” But what about the bass?

“Bassy” (pronounced “Basie”) Biggs, who’s equally proficient on the stand-up acoustic, standard electric and modernistic stick varieties of the four-string instrument, held forth for seven hours Saturday at a downtown cathedral.

Occasionally a guest star would stride up and plug in a guitar, but mostly it was just basic Bassy. He allowed himself one five-minute break per hour, and he even covered those with tape loops of himself so that the music itself never actually stopped.

He went on and on, bumbumbumbumbum, deeming the daylong stint “no big deal. I’ve definitely had rehearsal days which were longer.”

The audience for this barely advertised endurance exposition was sparse, until the last hour when a group of well-wishers from the Bullfinch piled into the pews to chant “Bass-y! Bass-y! Bass-y!” Which inspired a whole range of fresh improvisations and a furious finale.

Biggs promises another round in future, with the same ground rule—no drums.


Dammit Tig, R.O.T.V. and Blame It on Cain at the Bullfinch. Don’t expect them to start playing until after midnight… Private party at Hamilton’s, and D’ollaire’s is dark. The evil bands win!

Ten Bum Tunes

My children are now of an age where the use of the word “bum” in a pop song does not immediately elicit hoots of inappropriate laughter. But it helps.


  1. “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” by Harry McClintock. The quintessential hobo anthem, a Depression-era classic that provides snappy answers to stupid questions such as “Why don’t you work as other men do?”


  1. “Hallelujah I’m a Bum Again by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers. A completely different song than the one above, much more melodic and lyrical and rather less funny and scruffy too. Popularized by Al Jolson in the 1933 film Hallelujah I’m a Bum, directed by Lewis Milestone from a script by Ben Hecht and S.N. Behrman.


  1. “The Bumblebee Tuna Song,” by Mephiskapheles. The catchy TV commercial was turned into an even more potent ska dance tune by a band which frequently visited New Haven’s Tune Inn club.


  1. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Some might say it goes “Duh Duh Duh Dum,” but truly it’s “Bum Bum Bum Bum.”


  1. The Dragnet Theme. The only constant for every rendition of this classic police procedural, whether on radio, TV, TV again, the Dan Ayckroyd/Tom Hanks comedy, or TV again.


  1. “I’m Just an Old Son of a Bum.” Obscure 1930s sheet music. A comic hobo ditty with umpteen verses, one of which goes:


A college fellow asked me once

If I had gone to Yale

I said “Could you repeat that please

Did you say ‘Yale’ or ‘jail’?!

I’m just an old son of a bum.

Just an old son of a bum.

Just an old son of a, just an old son of a,

Just an old son of a bum.


  1. “Son of a Bum,” Mel Tillis. Again, unrelated to the song of virtually the same title above.


  1. “The Bum Bum Song,” Tom Green. Aka “The Lonely Swedish,” this is the first bum song on this list to be about a rump, a posterior, a bottom. It was an extraordinarily popular song, with millions of (free) downloads, a #1 placement on MTV’s Total Request Live show in 1999, and a reference on Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady.”


  1. “The Bum Bum Song,” Blink-182. Again, no the same as the one above. But also about an ass. And even ruder, if such a thing is possible. Homophobic too.


  1. “The Beach Bum Song,” Bright Eyes. A token indie tune for the bum list.   Doesn’t use the word “bum” in the lyrics at all, just in the title. The main image is of a “postman sleeping in the sand.”

Arnott Archives Update

This week’s action:

My review of Tartuffe at Westport Country Playhouse is here.

My review of the Mission of Burma album Unsound is here.

My Gore Vidal obituary is here.


My follow-up story on the Replacements documentary screening and cover-band show at Café Nine July 27 is here.