Riverdale Book Review

Andy Kim, the co-writer of “Sugar, Sugar” and the Neil Diamond of Canada, was part of an eclectic celebrity cast coaxed together by music producer Hal Willner a couple of weeks ago to mark the 60th anniversary of the first reading of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.” Kim—whose big solo hit was “Rock Me Gently” and who also made records as Baron Longfellow—was not singled out in news accounts of the show, though there are photographs of him sharing a mic with Kevin Drew (key collaborator on the new Andy Kim album It’s Decided), Courtney Love and Damon Fox. The event was a benefit for the David Lynch Foundation. Other performers included Nick Cave, Van Dyke Parks, Tim Robbins, Lucinda Williams, Beth Orton, Macy Gray, Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell, Will Forte, Davendra Banhart, Peaches, Petra Haden and Chloe Webb.

EZTV, “The Light.”

Sweet power pop that wouldn’t be out of place on a Yellow Pills or International Pop Overthrow comp, though it would stand out there for its deviation from pop form. Lyrics and guitars wind weirdly around each other, creating underrhythms and unpredictabilities. Catchy and quirky and low-key all at once. Love the laid-back poppers.

For Our Connecticut Readers: Cripple the Libraries and You Kill Connecticut’s Spirit

Dear Governor Malloy,
This is about the libraries. It’s shortsighted and reckless for you to be targeting them in your proposed budget cuts. By cutting support to established, well-running programs such as ConnectiCard, the Connecticut Library Consortium and various grant-funding streams, you will directly affect how Connecticut learns, grows and prospers.

Interlibrary loan programs are heavily used by students in need of expensive or hard-to-find textbooks. The grants you are looking to cut support programs that build stronger communities.

In difficult times, when many state services are at risk, libraries need to be strengthened, not challenged. You argue that libraries need to do more of their own fundraising, yet are proposing to cut important incentive funding programs already in place.

You support the growth of the technological industry in Connecticut yet are proposing to cut the libraries’ Computer Access Program, which is key to creating greater computer literacy in the state.

Libraries are our de facto community centers, especially in communities that can not afford to improve their existing meeting areas. Libraries provide a safe haven for those who wish to better themselves.

In the case of cities like New Haven (where I lived for 30 years), you would be willfully reversing immense growth that has been made through rebuilding and raising awareness about that city’s distinctive branch libraries. In the case of small towns like Bethany (where I recently moved with my family), you will be turning a tapped-in satellite system with access to countless books into a limited, restricted collection of a few thousand volumes. Bethany has only recently joined the LION consortium, and has always taken full advantage of the invaluable interlibrary loan system. Now, after exhibiting such pride and initiative in explaining these programs to the townsfolk, they may be thrust back into the dark ages of limited access to critical materials.

Libraries are symbols of an advanced civilization, a robust culture, an informed populace. They are where we meet and learn from each other.

The legislative manner in which you propose to make these cuts shows an utter lack of remorse or empathy for the struggles libraries face. You are proposing repeals of statutes which have worked smoothly for years and which create necessary paths for libraries to interact, build resources and work with the state government. You are proposing to cut programs which allow libraries to save millions through the investment of mere thousands. You are showing a disregard for intricate relationships which have been built bureaucratically and legislatively. To have to rebuild these important, well-running, highly important programs again, or to have libraries suspended in constant anxiety over the state support for these valuable programs—assuming they can even be restarted—will be time-consuming and demoralizing.

Instead of thinking of libraries, as you seem to, as boutiques whose inventories and services can be reduced during hard times, know them for what they are: the foundation of their communities. Weaken the libraries and you directly weaken the cities and state they serve.

Libraries are one of the most public faces of government. They are the best way to show that we are a strong, united Connecticut, concerned with educating and supporting citizens who want to know more and do more. Libraries are centers of civic engagement. Libraries are monuments to the self-motivation, self-education and self-esteem. They help people escape oppression and ignorance. Their importance can not be minimized.

Please reconsider the crippling effects that your proposals will have on Connecticut’s libraries. As governor, you have stressed your interest in better public education, in reducing the achievement and education gaps, and in building a stronger and more prosperous Connecticut. By cutting critical library services, you sure have a funny way of showing it.

Christopher Arnott
Bethany, CT

Rock Gods #377: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

The Boofulls decided to play a bus trip, a “booze bus” out in the boonies. About a dozen of us went along, at 20 per head for gas and such. Guess we got our money’s worth because we never left the bus. For over four hours. That possibility had never occurred to any of us.
A four hour tour. A four hour tour. Luckily there was a bathroom, and a bucket, aboard.
The Boofulls sat in their bus seats at the back, and played through mini practice amps, while the amazingly skilled professional bus driver drove down country roads into the dark night. The noise was overpowering. We’re sure that many farmers that night reported us as a UFO.
Next time someone comes up with the concept of a booze bus, we’ll be sure to remember to ask if the windows open.
Tonight: XII:XXXV at the Bullfinch, with IV new songs… “New Doo Nite” at Hamilton’s with Ken Duncan & the No Nuts and Peter Pann & The Greyhounds… $19 Fare and Making Tracks at D’Ollaire’s. Neither has a new album out or any discernible reason for touring…

Riverdale Book Review

Three Random “New Girls” at Riverdale HIgh School
• Lollypop Lane
• China Dawl (who, according to Veronica, “has a big ol’ mean boxer dog”)
• Alicia (recipient of flowers, which Archie honestly tells Veronica are “ForAlicia,” leading her to believe it’s a strain like Forsythia or something)

Scribblers Music Review

Avril Lavigne, “Fly.” The once-snarky girl who dissed the Sk8er Boi does an empowering anthem for the Special Olympics. Reminds me of when I met Debbie Gibson at the Special Olympics in New Haven in 1995. It’s where former teen idols go to help. Lavigne still has that yelpy voice and hardly seems to have aged a day.

Three Rocks, Three Strips, Three Cheers

We are enjoying an Ernie Bushmiller renaissance. His greatest creation, Nancy, has never left the comics pages since she was first introduced in 1933 as the precocious niece in a strip devoted to Fritzi Ritz. Five years later, Nancy had edge Aunt Fritzi into the background and the strip had been renamed for the child.

Bushmiller drew Nancy for nearly 50 years, but for over 30 years since then, Nancy has been done by writers and artists who haven’t quite shared her creator’s vision. Jerry Scott wrote excellent gags (and continues to in Zits and Baby Blues) and the Gilchrist brothers brought a certain glamor back to Nancy. But neither captured Bushmiller’s comic economy.

A year ago this month, GoComics.com, which has been running the current Nancy strip for as long as the site’s been active, added an abstract new strip called Random Acts of Nancy, made up of Bushmiller panels removed from their full-strip context and enhanced with bright colors or enhanced letraset dots.
Now GoComics has just added a THIRD daily Nancy strip: Classic Nancy, actual Bushmiller strips of yore, with a note saying what date each strip originally ran.
This is more Nancy than has existed in the universe at any time ever. It’s like global warming, only it’s millerbushing. A seismic shift in how we see the world.