Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Maya wrote:

"there's something i like about the crazy shit that
happens in this city. there's such a sense of "suck it up together" that i
like about times like this. seeing the throngs walking and hitch
hiking...it's kind of cool."

I totally agree. I started walking from my crib at 8:30 this morning,
headed toward the Williamsburg Bridge, and on my way a car with two women in
it called out to me, "Manhattan?" I said yeah and they said hop in, so I
did. Later we snagged another girl - making the total of four per car
necessary to enter the city - and had a great time talking and listening to
the news about the strike. Then, when they let me out, the driver,
Valiance, said if I wanted a ride tomorrow that she was picking up her
friend at 8am on the corner of Graham & Metro, right near where I live.

And it was funny, waiting in traffic to cross the bridge, to see all the
random collection of people in all the cars: black, white, Asian, Mexican,
doesn't matter at all. Everybody's a New Yorker and's gotta get to work!

Monday, December 19, 2005

December 16, 2005

Joe Levy & James Kaminsky
Rolling Stone
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104-0298

Dear Mr. Levy & Mr. Kaminsky,

My name is Hunter Slaton, and I’m writing today to apply for the music editorial assistant position I heard might soon be open at your magazine. Here’s why:

• I thought it odd that Zadie Smith was quoted in the recent feature on Jay-Z. However, I loved the bit where Jay-Z teases BeyoncĂ© about Houston not being ghetto.
• A couple years back, I really enjoyed the mock-serious piece on mascot assault.
• I know David Fricke by sight. (Not especially difficult, but still.)
• Tucked away, I have a few favorite issues of Rolling Stone, including the one with the cast of Seinfeld in Wizard of Oz get-up, and the one after 9/11, with Jann’s American flag pin on the cover.
• Two pieces I’ve been tempted to pitch: the annual IceStock rock concert at McMurdo Station, on Antarctica (where I worked last winter), and a camp-out/weekend-long show by Apollo Sunshine at their home outside of Boston.
• The piece David Foster Wallace wrote about the McCain campaign was brilliant and fearless.
• I keep an immaculate workspace, so Mr. Wenner’s desk inspections would pose no threat to me.
• Rolling Stone is the only US music magazine that covers the whole scene and everything in between, from American Idol to alt-country.

Herewith, please find a copy of my resume. I’ve worked in editorial at the Rough Guides for the past few years, but it’s always been a dream – as I hope is evidenced by the above – to work for Rolling Stone.

All the best,

Hunter R. Slaton

Monday, November 14, 2005

Watching TV last night I came across The Wizard of Oz, which was playing on TBS.

I remember back when I was a kid that The Wizard of Oz only came on once a year, and it was sort of a big deal. One year - the first I remember, actually - my mom, my dad, my brother and I were at Sears on some family errand, buying an appliance or something similar. And the Wizard of Oz was starting soon but we weren't finished with our errand so our mom started telling me and my brother the story of the movie, so that when we got home we'd be caught up to speed. We got home and parked ourselves (my brother and I) in front of the TV on the shag carpet, chins in hands, elbows on the carpet, in that way only little kids watching TV sit, and watched it. I don't remember watching much of the movie then, just mainly being at Sears with my family beforehand, and my mom beginning to tell us the story. Or maybe it was on TV at Sears and she told us what we were missing as we drove home, between TVs, between Sears and the house. Either way.

And so today The Wizard of Oz is still kind of a big signpost for me, an important thing. Same with the Grinch (which, coincidentally, was also on last night). I wonder if this is true for others of my rough age. And I wonder if it will remain true as the 2000s continue to tick far-too-quickly on by (what's weirder than being 26: it being 2006). Similarly, I wonder if, 50 years from now, we'll still be listening to Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra in scarred-wood bars, all the old ephemera of the Thirties and Forties bars still intact and resonant. I'd like to think so; I'd like to think that that music and time period are somehow special - and they must be: otherwise why should I, who lived nowhere near those decades, still feel some weird nostalgia when those tunes come on the juke at a bar and still feel some weird affinity for bars and places that feel like they existed then: McHale's Tavern, the tile bars, Peter Luger's, and so on and so forth.

"With the thoughts that I'd be thinking, I could be another Lincoln, if I only had a brain."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New York is full of lunatics. From the random person moaning/screaming in the subway to the guy who, when I pass him, mutters "I'm the best motherfucker there is," this city is really just one big raisin parade.

Still, though, I love it. New York will stress you the fuck out and also lift you up to the highest heights. The suburbs, however, in which I was this past weekend, will do neither. The suburbs are like tepid bathwater. Just kind of eh.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Anyone who's looking for something good to read should seek out (and it might involve some seeking) N+1 magazine, which is a newish literary/general interest magazine/journal published by some people out here in Brooklyn. It was featured in the Times Magazine several weeks back along with the Believer, which if you'll just direct your eyes to the right on this page, you'll see the link for. The Believer is of course fantastic, though lately it's been getting a bit extra-esoteric - to its detriment, I think. N+1, on the other hand, is still clever and entertaining and enlightening while maintaining its tie to reality and things that matter out in the real world, like dating, Radiohead, and independent film. Also probably more, but I'm not done with the issue yet. Their website is: www.nplusonemag.com. I don't know how to do hyperlinks, or I would.

Monday, October 31, 2005

That subject line's a line from the new New Pornographers album, called Twin Cinema. Great stuff. Also, is there any word for when, in writing, you say something like "the new New" or "that line's a line"? I'm curious. I learned a new word from Wikipedia the other day: snowclone. First of all it's just a great word, right up there with "pogonip," which is

a type of fog consisting of ice crystals suspended in the air. The name "pogonip" is an American Indian word meaning "white death". Pogonip only forms under the right conditions, the humidity has to be near 100% as the air temperature drops to below zero degrees Celsius, allowing ice crystals to form in the air. The ice crystals will then settle onto surfaces. Chiefly occuring in the American Southwest.

Anyway, though, "snowclone" means a phrase that recurs in various forms, like a template of sorts, but with the specific parts changed in each iteration. Wikipedia has it defined as "a cliche which can be used to generate variant phrases."

Now I just found the word was deleted from Wikipedia. But not from here!

Okay, moving on: Halloween. Anyone else think it's stupid? Perhaps I'm just a curmudgeon or too-serious or whatever, but the idea of dressing up in costumes and yadda-yadda has always (well, not when I was a kid, but c'mon) struck me as a little dumb. Plus maybe the thing that bugs me the most is that mostly Halloween just turns out to be an excuse for girls to wear, like, nothing, or come as a "Sexy [blank]" which is just sort of sad and dumb, I think. What, you can't be sexy the rest of the year? I dunno.

Another idea that strikes me as dumb: lastnightsparty.com. There was a big article in the Times about it this past Sunday and it just rings so hollow; it's the final Entertainment Tonight-ification of what should be a vibrant, meaningful underground culture (that's a cliche, I know). Also it's like the ultimate manifestation of Warhol's whole "in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" thing, which is totally vacuous and meaningless, like Friends or Will & Grace. (Sidenote: the photographer who does lastnightsparty, Merlin Bronques, always wears a wig and sunglasses, a la Warhol, so maybe he's more clued in to what's going on than he lets on.)

Hmm. Now for a street dog and some work.