Dawidoff__NicholasExplain the term “Collision Low Crosser.”

Football has its own language. This defensive term describes players, usually linebackers, making legal contact with potential pass receivers crossing the field within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Beyond five yards, collisioning someone is a penalty. Since football is a game of precise timing and geometry, the point is to disrupt the pass route by diverting the receiver. The real inspiration of the phrase is how instantly it evokes the most basic elements of the game—speed, aggression, the interplay between space and time, plans that likely won’t come to fruition, how there’s always someone out there waiting to ruin your life. I like terms that imply a fresh, strange world existing within a world that seemed previously understood. Full Metal Jacket; Zero Dark Thirty; Collision Low Crossers.

41

A summary of I Fear the Black Hat’s conclusions about Chevy Chase: an arrogant, assholish monster of medium talent who consciously risks nothing and refuses to take himself seriously. 

I suppose I do sort of describe him in that way in the book, yeah.  Although I wouldn’t say I’m not a fan.  I fucking loved the first three seasons of Community.

haaron1343

So your Baptist preaching Bible College professor father totally flips out over your purchase of the soundtrack to Pretty Woman.

Totally.

die4From the press release:

Celebrated journalist, TV personality, and award-winning author Touré investigates one of the most enigmatic and fascinating figures in contemporary American culture: PRINCE

Drawing on new research and enlivened by Touré’s unique pop-cultural fluency, “I Would Die 4 U” relies on surprising and in-depth interviews with Prince’s band members, former girlfriends, musicologists, and even Bible scholars to deconstruct the artist’s life and work.

Prince’s baby boomer status allowed him to play a wise older brother to the latchkey kids of generation X.  Defying traditional categories of race, gender, and sexuality, he nonetheless presents a very traditional conception of religion and God in his music.  He was an MTV megastar and a religious evangelist, using images of sex and profanity to invite us into a musical conversation about the healing power of God.  By demystifying the man and his music, “I Would Die 4 U” shows us how Prince defined a generation.

Prince deconstruction?  Musicologists and Bible scholars?  I’ve been waiting to talk to Touré all my life…

JMB CoverAt two in the morning I am summoned to a blacked-out room in the back of a second-story clothes store.  Fashion show posters are tacked to the walls, newspapers scattered on a desk.  An emerald lamp glows from a low shelf filled with books on photography and art.

Propped in the corner of the floor sits a long-limbed woman, older but chic, with the face of a Nagel and the body of a Degas dancer.  She’s wearing party clothes, a black dress and half kicked-off heels and her makeup is runny and smudged, like a paint fight between Picasso and Salvador Dali.

I’m standing in the door with the hallway lights behind me, black Stetson and the lambskin coat, hair down to my waist.

“Come in,” she says. “You look fabulous.”

So, I’m sitting here on my swing reading Devangelical

It’s too cold!

 

No, I’m inside.

You have a swing inside your house?

 

Yeah.  I always wanted one. 

Like a playground swing?

Last I spoke with Ms. Annie we talked about loving Jesus, Keith Richards and Winnie the Pooh.  And she told me that yes, sigh, she’d wash Dick Cheney’s feet in Heaven.  (Cheney has been unavailable for comment thus far.)  Anne was kind enough to speak with me again about her new book, a slim wonder titled Help, Thanks, Wow, that features this line, the finest Christian writing I’ve read in a very long time:

“This is the message of the Book of Job: Any snappy explanation of suffering you come up with will be horseshit.”

Right now, today — what’s your Help, Thanks, Wow?

My alarm failed at 5:45 am and at 6:30 the driver was ringing my doorbell and I was in my Ethel Mertz jammies, and – made a cup of coffee, fed the animals, dressed, found Help, Thanks, Wow, got to car, started off.  Then driver didn’t have address of radio station an hour away and my internet is out but went home, back inside, found address, and now safely in car, with coffee, talking to you, and NO traffic.  So all three prayers swirling together– Help!  Thanks!  Wow.

Read Part I here.  Part II there.

JMB:  KISS and Mötley Crüe are touring together this year, when’s the last time you went to a show?

CK:  I’ve seen KISS tons of times, the Crüe maybe a handful.  They really vary in quality.  Some shows Vince doesn’t seem very interested to be there.  I saw one show where Tommy was clearly trying to illustrate how unhappy he was to be forced to tour.  KISS always play hard and they always deliver.  I’ve never seen a bad KISS show.

In Part I we discussed KISS’ Love Gun Tour as first man on the moon, Paul Stanley’s sackfuls of cash, Frankenstein Dynasty, and psychoanalysis and personality theory as it pertains to the downfall/saving grace of Coca-Cola KISS.  Read it here.

I just finished writing a book filled with suicide, psychosis and the elusive meaning of life.  I turned it in and spent three solid weeks lying on my living floor, watching old metal videos and trying to untangle my brain.

My writer sort-of-mentor friend called while Judas Priest was ripping through “Diamonds & Rust”.

“Did you know that for at least one night in Memphis, K.K. Downing was the King of Rock and Roll?” I said when I picked up the phone.

“What?” she said.

“Never mind,” I told her, stabbing the TV mute.

 

 

Dothan, Alabama.

I love Dothan.  I’ve got family – got kin down there.

 

I grew up in the South too, listening to those same old black gospel records as you. Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, Mahalia Jackson.  I used to sing that high part on “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” (attempts chorus.) Um, that was before my voice dropped.

Those records are incredible.

 

So, I learned something about interviews from your new book. 

Oh yeah?

 

 

HOW TO RIDE AN ELEVATOR

Several years ago when the relationship I assumed was both nearly perfect and my last turned out to be neither and ended car-off-cliff style, I experienced an unexpected and profound personal awakening.

This awakening arrived convincingly disguised as the most miserable and debilitating period of my life; a life which would now be trimmed short from the disease of ruination.

So complete was this state of psychological collapse, it even followed me into elevators.

I get nervous sometimes.

Anne Lamott, she’s a big reason I write. A big influence for a lot of us. Bird by Bird? She wrote that.

I’ve got her phone number in my hand. The publicist said she’d just be getting off a plane. Flying sucks.

Theoretically, I should be good at interviews. I’ve got a Masters in Psych with quite a bit of experience in active listening and cross-examination.  Problem is, even though I’ve done tons of interviews by this point, whenever I talk to someone I really love, I turn into a thirteen-year old girl.

But maybe that’s what makes a good interviewer. Neil Strauss, the guy who wrote The Dirt and a most excellent book on the art of the interview, Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead, says you shouldn’t try to be so cool, to go with real emotion, lighten up and just connect as one flawed human to another. My old Rabbi friend says you should never waste a chance to show appreciation for the good things a person has sown into your life. Then, there’s a quote from Anne herself: Flounder as a spiritual act.

Man, I don’t know. Here goes.

(ringing…)

Introduction

I was driving a 32-foot U-Haul truck from New York City to Tennessee with my heavy metal-loving buddy Juke.

We made the trip mostly by night. I’ve always been of a mind that road trips are meant for staring out the window while listening to songs like “Turn the Page,” for ruminating on life, death and all the miles behind and ahead and for having the sort of meditative conversations you’d never have in the day-to-day world.

I

We mad fly; we
Dream dry; we
Scribble drunk; we
Fake the funk; we
Keeps it real; we
Sly conceal; we
Royal hall; we
Southern drawl; we
Bleed tears; we
Clink cheers; we
Fling curves; we
Gnaw nerves; we
Break it down; we
Class clown; we
Write raw; we
Down by law.