Excerpts from Electric Degeneration, Degenerate Press' semi-weekly e-zine, free and ad-free. A full episode contains sections for music reviews, upcoming events, blasphemy, classifieds, and anything else we feel like saying. If you'd like to subscribe just contact us.
You can surf the entire archive.
Get a beverage and a comfy chair, we've got some catching up to do!
The virus that got out to you with our return address is called SirCom, and apparently it's as big as the Love Bug, but even more evil. Wired has been covering the thing: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,45506,00.html And it looks like it's en route to Europe as well: http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/internet/07/25/sircom.virus/index.html
We're trying to figure out how it made it onto the subscriber list and prevent that from happening in the future. We may have to abandon our current list server and go with something crappy like a Yahoo group or some other service that does a better job of hiding the list recipients. Meanwhile, we've said it before and we'll say it again - Degenerate Press will NEVER send you an attachment. We've got a web page, anything we want you to see we'll post online and give you the address. Also, we almost never open attachments you send us. Sorry, but we don't know where you've been and it's usually not worth it just to see some funny picture of some girl doing the limbo without any panties, or some animation of somebody blowing up the Energizer bunny, or the latest round of jokes about how dumb we are down here in the south. Yeah, it's cute, but post it on a web site so we can go look at it at our leisure, and through the comparatively safer latex condom of a browser, instead of cluttering up my swollen hard drive and infecting my delicate software and files. Practice safe cyber, boys and girls!
One by one all the heroes of my youth are passing away. http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/07/20/gebelwilliams.obit/index.html
I'm happy to say I saw Gunther Gebel-Williams' last tour with Ringling Brothers. The things that man could do with animals were incredible. I'm also happy to say I no longer attend circuses that use animals. The conditions under which these creatures are forced to live are unnatural at best. But I'm sad to see him go. He was badass.
This report will appear on the web site soon, complete with photos, but for now you just have to use your imagination:
Friday we left work early to get on the road to Jackson, MS, with that damn song stuck in our heads the whole way.
"We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout..."
It's about a 6 hour drive to Jackson, but it's I-20 the whole way so you can easily do 80 mph or faster and get there in 5 1/2 hours or less. And it's an hour behind so we didn't arrive too late for dinner and drinks before looking for some fun. We checked in at the Day's Inn, since we didn't know anything fun and local. (In our cruise about town we stumbled across the Sun and Sand Motor Hotel in the heart of downtown with a big, retro sign out front and very 50's decor. It wasn't worth packing up and moving, but if you go to Jackson definitely make your reservations there.)
Other observations about Jackson - it has potential. There are several beautiful art deco buildings and some fantastic warehouses standing empty that would make fabulous clubs, restaurants, even condos - and you won't hear me use that phrase often, if ever again. But Jackson needs an infusion of money and people in a bad way. A good 20% of the town is boarded up and the looks on the locals' faces don't give a feeling of much hope that things are on the upswing. The historical district mentioned in some of the town propaganda looked like it had just weathered a major riot and was still waiting for people to move back in. But the block after block of burnt-out shotgun shacks and boarded up brick buildings are chocked with weeds, so apparently nobody is coming home any time soon. I was reminded of Cabbagetown during its bad days some 15 years ago.
But on the other hand, they have several fantastic museums, one of the most beautiful capitol buildings I've ever seen, some good food, and a small town charm clinging to the medium sized town. We dined at Hal and Mal's, a brew house restaurant and live music venue. Friday the music hall was booked for private parties, but the food was decent and the beer was good. I opted for a catfish po' boy. Degenerate SW just about screamed in delight when I pointed out fried pickles on the menu, so we started with a round of those. They're sliced dill pickles, battered and deep-fried. I wasn't impressed but apparently they were a big thing out in Texas where SW grew up. She followed that with a heaping plate of red beans, rice and sausage, more than we could eat even with me mopping up her leftovers, and that was only the half order. A full order would've taken up our whole table!
We asked around for a good post-dinner entertainment option and were pointed to George Street Grocery. It's not a grocery at all, at least not any more. It's little two story bar in the downtown area that caters to a college crowd. Unfortunately for them the schools were all out of session so the place was at least 1/3 empty. We found our way upstairs to the performance room and settled in for Lucero, the evening's band. Decent stuff, but it sounded a little too much like some 99X band who's name I couldn't even remember. Matchbox 182 and the Counting Crowfish or something. It wasn't bad, it just didn't stand out from the crowd.
Saturday we got up late and hunted for breakfast. We ended up at a little Greek place downtown, Lamar Restaurant, for ham and cheese omelets - not bad, but I was wishing it wasn't too early for some of the Greek fare on the menu. A large elderly Greek lady looked at me like I was crazy when I asked "Do you have baklava today?"
"Yes," she said, with a look that added "What are you, some kind of idiot, of course we have baklava today!?!"
She brought out a piece of baklava that must've weighed 5 pounds, all muscle. Dense, sticky, an absolute delight and if you ever get to Jackson you must pick up a piece. In fact, pick up three. You'll eat another on the way home and maybe that third piece will survive so you can bring it to me!
We made the circuit of museums we'd come to see, starting with the Majesty of Spain exhibit at The Mississippi Arts Pavillion (http://www.majestyofspain.com/), a one time one stop collection of stuff from various collections in Spain. It had gotten a lot of media attention and with our recent trip to Espana we were anxious to see it. It's good, but doesn't quite live up to the hype. You couldn't see this stuff in one stop anywhere, even in Espana, but some of the royal palace room recreations were a little hokey and unimpressive when taken out of context. On the other hand, they had several Goya paintings, a load of tapestry, various impressive religious artifacts, and even a 35' gilt gondola covered in cherubs and fish.
We followed that with an exhibit of Muslim Spain just up the block, definitely not worth the $7 admission. It was basically a series of photographs taken from books and illustrations of Moorish style, stuff that really has to be seen in person.
On the other hand, the Old Capitol museum was worth far more than the free admission, featuring a small exhibit of artifacts from Mississippi's Spanish past in one room, while the rest of the rooms were packed with exhibits from Mississippi's later history. Highly recommended, but give yourself plenty of time. We didn't realize how big the exhibits were and didn't even see the second floor before closing time.
We asked around for the best local bbq joint, only to find it closed. So we opted for one close to the hotel and got a decent plate of pork and some limp vegetables from Chimneyville Smokehouse.
A short rest and change of clothes later, we headed back out to Hal and Mal's for Web Wilder, a musician gracing the cover of their local arts paper Planet Weekly (they're online at www.planetweekly.com) The opening act, Cary Hudson and some guy who's name I couldn't catch, was a simple acoustic and bass duo doing singer/songwriter stuff that was 75% good, 25% awful. If he'd played 15 minutes less and been more selective about his set I'd probably be raving, but he threw a few songs in there that sounded like they were written by a lovelorn adolescent- awkward and dopey. The other tunes were excellent stuff so if he can find a producer to help him sift the good from the bad he could put together a strong recording.
We got a few more drinks and realized Jackson bartenders make 'em strong. Most of the crowd in Hal and Mal's and George St. Grocery were the Lite or Corona drinking set, so apparently if you've advanced to the liquor drinking stage the bartenders think you're ready to wash your Jackson blues away in a drunken haze. Which was where I'd have to be to really enjoy Web Wilder. He does a fair job with the material, but the material ain't that great. Very Hank Williams Jr. meets Jimmy Buffet kinda pop country, with the occasional nod to rockabilly. But I've seen so much good stuff at the Star Bar I no longer have a tolerance for the bad, or even mediocre. And the crowd was an older set who were really enjoying it, so we beat a retreat across the street to Martin's.
I was worried when I'd looked at the listing for tonight's music lineup at Martin's. "The Vamps" made me wonder if we weren't in store for a night of Mississippi's goth scene, a phrase alone that instills terror in me. But as soon as we walked in the door we knew we were in the right place. Martin's is the oasis in the Jackson night life desert. Cute girls at the bar, attentive bar tenders, and The Vamps turned out to be a mostly instrumental jazzy funky band with a killer horn section belting out fun and interesting covers of everything from The Beatles to classic Mississippi blues to old jazz with new twists. Eventually we'd ogled everyone in the back room where the band played, so we moved into the front room to ogle the set at the bar and wound up chatting with a random couple until around 2 AM. (After a few more stiff drinks at Martin's I practically had to pour SW into the truck.)
Sunday morning came too soon for our used and abused livers, but we checked out of the hotel, got some hangover helper at the Waffle House, and headed back to the museum tour. We hit the Dali exhibit at Mississippi Museum of Art (next door to the Arts Pavillion, regardless of what you may find in the map found in the hotel lobbies, which had at least 4 entries listed incorrectly) and were pleasantly surprised. They had two rooms full of Dali sculptures, stuff on loan from somewhere up in Memphis that I'd never seen before, some of it fabulous. A few lithographs and a single painting added to their collection of the surrealist works, but the sculptures were the high point of the show, if not the whole Spanish themed weekend. To add to that, the museum was also hosting "Thirty years of rock and roll", a collection of photos by Larry Hulst. "He saw everyone!" raved SW, cruising past wonderful pictures of Jimi, Janis, The Stones, Iggy, Bowie, KISS, AC/DC, Van Halen, and other big names from '68 or so all the way up to Lauren Hill. All the shots black and white, taken at concerts and most of them were excellent in every way. In another wing the gallery hosted an invitational show by various artists and several pieces in there impressed me as well.
And all this in a half-boarded-up town of some 200,000. Somebody there really knows how to hustle and bring in the culture! Now if only they could bring in the industry as well and keep the locals from fleeing the place, Jackson could be the next Atlanta. Then again, as I battle my way out though bumper-to-bumper traffic to pick up SW from work, cruising past yet another Post apartment/condo nightmare pushing the boundaries of urban sprawl yet another 20 miles out, maybe a few burnt out shotgun shacks and the occasional empty warehouse aren't so bad...
Degenerate ED headed to Africa for her honeymoon. If you want a sample of the trip check out their web site: http://www.geocities.com/davinhutchins
Due to the drive back Sunday afternoon we missed John Dunn's going away party at the Star Bar that evening, but rumor has it the Dragline reunion set was fine. In other local music news, Pete Knapp is leaving The Indicators after their show on August 4 as part of the Atlantis Music Conference. And Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery is going through some changes, including moving to Cabbagetown. Head to http://www.eyedrum.org and poke around for details.
In a previous episode you may have read about our idea for Stupid TV. In offline discussions we have decided to rename it "The Idiot Box" and have found content for our pilot episode: http://www.cnn.com/2001/TRAVEL/NEWS/07/24/australia.pattingsharks.ap/index.html What's shocking about this isn't how stupid these people are, it's that Australia WANTS TO MAKE LAWS TO PROTECT THEM FROM THEMSELVES. Does Australia WANT a population of morons that continue to reproduce, becoming more and more moronic with each generation??
Our preferred mode of communication with the masses: email@example.com
1191 Warfield St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Take me to Degenerate Press' home page!
There's no place like home... no place like home...
All content on this site is owned by Degenerate Press and cannot be used without our permission. We have lawyers for friends with nothing better to do than cause trouble (no kidding), so play nice. Copyright © 2001, All Rights Reserved