Kanye and Me

by Peter Rojas

Kanye WestHad a close encounter with Kanye West at Barney's this evening. He played it cool and pretended not to recognize me. Still way better than sharing an elevator with Denise Richards and Richie Sambora on my way to a meeting with Sonos at the Trump International last week. That was a little freaky.

Lansing-Dreiden at the Starbucks Salon

by Peter Rojas

Lansing-DreidenI don't normally spend much time at Starbucks -- despite living a block away from one, I hardly ever go, mainly because I hardly ever drink coffee -- but I got sucked into going to one this evening with a free performance by Lansing-Dreiden at the Starbucks Salon on Greene St. here in Manhattan. The Starbucks Salon is a "pop-up" coffeeshop that'll only be there for a few weeks (replacing the pop-up Uniqlo shop that was there for a few months earlier this year), and they're doing their damndest to pull in the young urbanites with a ridiculously full schedule of free shows, readings, and performances. Apparently, it's working.

Note to self

by Peter Rojas

headset.jpgNote to self: wearing a USB headset on TV might seem like a good idea at the time, but it's really, really not.

This is Boston, not L.A.

by Peter Rojas

ThisIsBostonNotLA1.jpgLooks like Ryan and I are headed to Boston next month for a conference, and you know that means: Engadget Reader Meetup! We're still on the hunt for a venue, so if you have access to a space, or know of anything suitable (we're expecting between 300 and 500 people), please drop me a line.

There is only one Nation of Ulysses

by Peter Rojas

IanS.jpgIan Svenonius brought his irreverent irreverence to the Bluestockings bookstore on Monday evening. I’m not sure I’d actually go see him perform these days – those last couple mAKE uP records were already on the tired side – but it was hard to resist the prospect of a reading from his new book, The Psychic Soviet. (Especially since the reading was a mere two blocks away from my apartment).

MU1.jpgRather than actually read from the book, Ian spent about an hour or so expounding on his pseudo-(conspiracy) theories about the connections between rock music and the Cold War. The neo-Debordian in me loved it, but should anyone who wasn’t a fan of NOU or the mAKE uP really care?

Ian’s the master of projecting an aura of self-seriousness, but after years of making a career out of both declaiming and mining nostalgia it’s almost as if he’s become little more than an object of nostalgia himself. Even setting aside any debate about his bands’ musical merits (some songs hold up, some don’t), as the guiding force behind Nation of Ulysses and the mAKE uP, Ian had an underappreciated influence on the style, taste, and sensibility of an entire sub-culture of kids, myself included. Ian’s sounds, clothes, and oblique references pointed towards the parts of Sixties culture that you didn’t hear about much ten or fifteen years ago. Digging Godard, the Situationist International, and Arthur Lee might seem like obvious moves these days, but at the time they were revelations.

NOU1.jpg The Psychic Soviet encapsulates what he’s all about (and really has always been about): a revolutionary stance disguised as an ironic take on revolutionary stances. And maybe that’s why it makes sense for the former Sassiest Boy in America to be writing books rather than songs; rock music is so overwhelmed by the sort of retroness he pioneered that a shift in medium was almost inevitable.

[And now I remember why I decided not to go on and get a PhD.]