It’s been awhile. Most of the people who read this are probably aware that the reason that this page has laid dormant for so long is because my younger brother Chris was killed while walking to school on November 20th.

     For those of you who never saw this site until the accident, it’s gone through many transformations. There’s been the green design, the purple and yellow design, the yellow and green design, and now this one. The content has always been pretty pointless, though it’s been put together with a few different audiences in mind. At first, it was aimed at my high school friends who had gone away to different colleges, then through a few seperate stretches I subconciously did it for an audience of one (whether they knew it or not), and most recently I kept it up for myself and anyone else who might like the crap I like.

     When the accident first happened, I never thought I would do this again. In dealing with the shock of such a tragic loss, the desire to maintain an irreverrent website stubbornly focused on triviality – something I enjoyed doing – seemed very selfish to me. About two weeks later, when I finally went back to school (Only to be hit in the teeth with the fact that I’d missed the ‘important’ two weeks of the semester, and finals were less than a week away) and found myself in the computer lab mindlessly killing time, I decided that I would eventually start the website up again, but not until I’d written an essay of sorts on what happened, what I was going through, etc. I got about half a page into it before thoroughly convincing myself that it was far too soon to begin such an endeavor.

     So now here I am, serving up another heap of triviality, because I enjoy it, and because it plays a part in achieveing the closest approximation of my ‘normal’ life that I can muster now. I’ve redesigned the main part of the site pretty extensively (click here to tell me what you think and here to see the site as it was on November 20th). Today’s update features a bunch of things that people sent to me a long, long time ago and I’m just now getting around to putting them up. Dig in.

     In my last post before the accident, I asked if anyone had seen the Greg Dulli (Of Afghan Whigs fame) solo troupe the Twilight Singers when they did their live tour this past fall. Before I took down the page, I got a few replies. Here they are:

     Very bored at work. I saw the show in Chicago. It was really good. I’m obviously a Whigs fan and the show really didn’t compare to an actual Whigs show, mostly because the Whigs’ songs have more edge to them. But Dulli put on a good show nonetheless. To me, the highlight was when he did a piano solo at the end (apparently he always does this), and during a silent part of the song some guy (who sounded like Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds) yelled “Ah, you suck at piano you prick!” That made the whole room, including Dulli, crack up, and he had trouble finishing with a straight face! – Nathan Perry

     I saw them in LA. Went at least partially because I’m a big Howlin’ Maggie fan and I heard they were going to be the backup band. They weren’t. It was just Greg and Harold and a bunch of session hacks. I used to be a big Whigs fan, but it seems to me that Greg’s been writing the same song for about three albums now (Black Love, 1965 and Twilight). In fact there was one TS song whose verse is exactly the same as some recent vintage Whigs tune except for the words. I thought they were doing the Whigs tune until they hit the chorus.

     My favorite bits were those where Harold sang lead–I’d have rather he did another Howlin’ Maggie record. I liked the Whigs when their soul influences were just that: influences. Last time I saw them, it seemed they were trying to _be_ a soul band, and they’re not a great soul band. They were a great rock band and I wish they/Greg would realize it, but the Twilight Singers seems like a small move even further away from rock…but not enough different from the Whigs recent output to make me understand why this had to be a separate project.

     I left before the show ended, and I _never_ do that. They weren’t terrible (Greg’s singing was in particularly good form), but there was just no possibility of _combustion_ like when I saw the Whigs on the _Gentleman_ tour. It was very comfortable and pat. – Dan

     Next, a girl named Mariam sent in this Recap of a Broadcast / Sea and Cake show, also from the fall of 2000:

     So, Broadcast went on, and they were wonderful. The video in the back really added to the mood, although my friend said that he felt a bit distracted by it. The lead singers voice was absolutely beautiful. The music was really cool, airy and spacey and whatnot. It’s headphone music, really, if you know what I mean. But I’ll be checking them out, definitely.

     Then, of course, The Sea & Cake. I had been waiting *FOREVER* to see this show, I’m a huge, huge, huge fan. They played fantastically, exactly how I imagined it. They are so freakin’ talented. John looked like he was possessed while he was playing, it was cool. BUT, going along with what the other guy said, the crowd sucked! They kept talking, LOUDLY, during the whole show. There was a group of hippies who were talking really loudly until I had to politely ask them to stop. These Nader-ites were talking about the election, at the top of their voices, and in general people were just being fucking impolite. At one point, a woman yelled “Jesus Christ, people, SHUT UP!”. Amen to that, I thought. Also, this weird-ass groupie chick (I know, a TSAC groupie? WTF?) kept telling John to take his shirt off and she was also coming on to Sam, until he finally mouthed to her “I’m married”. It was so funny, really. She was also dancing really badly. Whatever. I got the feeling that like 50% of the people there were just bored and had nothing to do on a Friday night, so they decided to just hang out at the 9:30 Club. The show was really beautiful, they are so very talented and I am utterly thrilled that I got to see them live. True, the audience was rude and annoying, but I’m not gonna let them ruin the show for me. The Sea & Cake are such a great band, and they play so well, I hope that lots of people get turned on to them during this tour. Oh yeah, one more thing: Sam, Archer, Eric, and John have such beautiful smiles! They should really smile more often. There was this really funny moment when someone yelled “Hey Sam, let’s see a little smile!” and he smiled, and then they all started smiling. It was really cute.

     Then, a few people found their way to the magnolia secrets page and sent me some really good stuff:

     I haven’t seen much mention of the cinematic allusions in magnolia to other great films. As a kid, my two favorite films were Network and Close Encounters. I was shocked to find homage to both here: Jimmy Gators’ collapse on live television in front of a studio audience is a dead ringer for Howard Beale’s episodes in Network, even to the extent the camera pans up and over the collapsee in each case; and how many times in her career can Melinda Dillon (Close Encounters)cower in the corner clutching a terrified child while some supernatural event takes place outside? Of course, the timely parody/homage of Kubrick’s 2001 when Phil Parma realizes his mission segueing into Frank Mackey’s backlit muscle worship is worthy of mention.

      On the masonic front: I occasionally come across guys who are masons in my work as an attorney and, as a general rule, they’re either rather sad, socially inept, losers or creepy/sinister social climbers or both. I think many “serious masons” lament the loss of it’s original tenets of semiotic insight and mystical enlightment which have given way to boozing, carousing, and even corruption among membership. I think there is an undercurrent that most masons “just don’t get it” anymore and certainly don’t live by their oaths of self-improvement, loyalty to their families and positivism. Jimmy Gator is the poster child for this belief. He’s a mason (replies to Burt Jenning’s masonic greeting, “in my fucking sleep, Burt.”– it’s all rote memorization for him now.) and he’s a terrible, sick man ( molests his child, cheats on his wife, boozes to oblivion, deserves cancer, etc.) He is the failure of contemporary freeemasonry (and a prime reason why their membership is aging and shrinking.) Now, contrast this with Stanley Spector, the gameshow prodigy who spreads books in front of him to immerse himself in knowledge and insight and understanding (Note the big book “History of Freemasonry” in the top right corner of the table shown from above.) He is sweet and kindhearted and smart and unpretentious and, in the end, he’s the only one who “get’s it” when the frogs are falling (him smiling wistfully as the frogs shadows cascade behind him, “this is something that happens…”) He represents what freemasonry is supposed to teach us: pay attention, find the connections, derive meaning from the experiential world, love everyone, and you will be rewarded with unparalleled wisdom. So, my theory is that PTA means Magnolia to be both an indictment of the state of Freemasonry today as well as an endorsement of it’s underlying principles of spiritual improvement. Or maybe I’m just a conspiracy nut who’s full of shit.

Sincerely, Roy C. Lugershotter

     Not only are there 82’s everywhere, but there are actual pictures of Magnolias everywhere as well:

  • In the scene where Sydney Barringer’s mother shoots him through the window, the camera does a freeze frame of her with the gun. If you look in the left background, there is a painting of magnolias.
  • In the scene where Phil Parma tries to get ahold of Frank by calling the first number in what looks like Earl’s study, you can see a painting on the wall as the camera dollies into the room and to the right where Phil is sitting. I could be mistaken, but it looks like yet another painting of magnolias.
  • In the hotel room where Frank and Gwenovier are doing the interview, there are I believe to be two different framed photographs of magnolias.
  • Mim, one of the adult contestants in the game show, is wearing a brown dress with what appears to be covered in light magnolia prints.
  • In Jimmy Gator’s house, during his confession with his wife, there is another painting of a magnolia. When she gets up to leave, keep your eyes to right background. This one is probably the easiest to distinguish out of all the ones I’ve listed.

Have you noticed any of these? It may just be wishful sight, but I think these magnolias exist. Check it out and let me know what you think. – Paul Howie

     I don’t know if you know this about the DVD, but the DVD has something called an “easter egg” If you go(on the first disk) to the set-up section then go to color bars, and just leave the color bars running, you will get an about 5-7 minute long episode of all take-out clips and bloopers and stuff. It’s not that bad, but there is one VERY funny one. – Max

Finally, I leave you with some Smiths / Morrissey triviality:

Q. Didn’t someone hold up a radio station with a gun and demand Smiths songs?

A. Yes, five hours of Smiths songs, at a Denver radio station in 1987.

Does anyone have any more details?