. . . Of the Week (5-24-14)

Article of the Week

As serendipity would have it, I happened to be doing some research on Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch a few days ago in relation to my novel AL+ER.  The connection is a bit oblique, but AL+ER is in part about the history of pop and rock music, as the main protagonist is both a musician and an aficionado of a wide range of music.  And as it turns out, Sacher-Masoch is a distant relation of singer Marianne Faithfull.  His most famous contribution to literature was the story Venus in Furs.  Sacher-Masoch also gave rise to the sexual kink we call masochism, so-named after the second part of his hyphenated last name.  With the Marquis De Sade’s fetish, sadism (the flip side of the coin, so to speak), masochism is usually combined into the all-encompassing erotic pain fetish known as sadomasochism, or S&M.  I confess that I’ve never really understood this fetish; but, as long as no one is really getting hurt and everything is consensual, who am I judge?  But I have long found the historical figures behind the odder aspects of science and culture to be fascinating.  I have an obsession of sorts with such people–the weirdos, outsiders, unsung geniuses, et al of history, as I have a sort of kinship with them.  Yes, folks, I too am weird. 🙂

Anyway, someone in the WordPress network caught my last Of the Week post and gave it the thumbs up.  I make a point of visiting every blog/website (if one exists) of whoever ‘likes’ anything on my site and was thus led to the blog ArtLark and, fortuitously, to this  article:

Furs and Female Domination in Sacher-Masoch’s Writing

If you like art and cultural history, the quality of ArtLark’s articles is consistently excellent. They’re going in my blogroll, so you can find them there from here on out.

Album Cover of the Week

Our album cover this week is from Moon Taxi’s Running Wild.  I can tell you pretty much exactly how this beautiful cover design was created.  First, the base image is a photo of some kind of natural formation taken from above at great distance.  The designer may have tinkered with the colors a bit beforehand, but it looks to me like he or she used a feature in Photoshop called ‘Invert’, which renders colors into their compliments.  It’s a bit like a film negative, actually.  Anyway, the inner image is simply a slightly smaller version of the base image rotated 180 degrees, so that’s how you get that bordered look.

Moon Taxi - Running Wild (cover)
Moon Taxi – Running Wild (cover)

Song of the Week

Josh Ritter has become one of my favorite singer-songwriters largely on the strength of one album, So Runs the World Away.  Not that his other albums are bad, mind you; it’s just that that particular album is . . . effin’ . . . amazing.  My favorite track on the album tends to shift day to day, but probably the one that I return to the most is Another New World.  The fact that one of the most poignant and haunting love songs ever penned was for a ship (called the Annabel Lee, no less) is, in my opinion, the ultimate testament to Ritter’s strength as a songwriter.  That he counts Stephen King as a fan doesn’t hurt either.  King may have provided the biggest bump to Ritter’s ever-rising popularity, and in return the musician gave the horror author a gift in the form of The Remnant, a song that, although not specifically about The Dark Tower as far as I know, definitely channels the spirit of King’s magnum opus.

In fact, I would call So Runs the World Away one of the most literary albums ever produced, containing as it does the musical narrative hat trick of The Curse, The Remnant and Another New World, not to mention a fine contribution to the Stagger Lee mythos in the form of Folk Bloodbath.  So there are many great choices here, but I have to go with Another New World.  It’s a heartbreaking story-song about one of those early polar expeditions that goes tragically wrong, and a man’s love for the ship that carried him through it.  Try not to cry while listening to this, I dare you . . .

Josh Ritter – Another New World

Meme of the Week

The quote, although not identified as such, is from dream hampton.

Art of the Week

A sweet Art Deco poster by Georges Favre for Peugeot, now a famous car company but originally a manufacturer of bicycles and coffee grinders . . .

Georges Favre - Peugeot (1924)
Georges Favre – Peugeot (1924)

That wraps it up for this week.  Everyone have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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