Monday, December 17, 2007

Jesus Just Left Chicago But How The Hell He Got Out Of Here Is Anybody's Guess.

So if you've been paying any attention at all, you may have noticed that DJ Satisfaction Pony has taken a sabbatical and hasn't updated 'PositivelyPonyfied' since August 28th of 2007. You're reading this now, and because you are I feel profoundly grateful and morally obliged to mail you a $15 dollar gift card from Borders. Email to me your name and address and I'll do just that (offer expires December 31, 2007). This is just my way of tapping the mic 'checkcheckcheck'.

What have I been up to since those endless late summer, lung-searing dancehall days of Brooklyn race-hate and waiting for something to give? Well, I've moved to Chicago and I have to say, it's the best decision I've made thus far in my 42 years. I've never been so relieved to get the fuck out of dodge. You know, I'm all for racial healing but as long as there are blue-black West Indian reggae toasters barking orders to bash gays through bullhorns on the stinking streets of Crown Heights on through the wee hours of the morning, I'm just gonna remove myself from the debate and watch the back and forth go down from a safe distance. I've never heard the word 'faggot' tossed around so carelessly, ever...and I grew up in the fertile crescent of chromosomal impairment for chrissake. Chicago so far has proven itself the perfect place to lick my wounds, gradually get over it and work toward a certain positivity again.

So I've been digging in. Chicago is mostly gray and cold as a well-digger's ass but folks here are nice as pie and there seems to be a prevailing feeling of unlimited possibility. I think Chicago is giving birth to a great renaissance. Young folk are moving in from all corners of the planet and construction in most neighborhoods is off the hook. The apartment I share with my partner in crime here in Lincoln Park is 1500 sq. feet of wonderfulness. It has an airy northwoods cabin feel what with all the rehabbed wood and century-old fixtures. There are 17 huge windows. That's new for me, because I'm so used to living in darkness like an sightless albino mole. I'm thinking we two have scored the deal of the century, no lie. We'll be here awhile.

Chicago's public transport has bungled many an outing for me, however. Today, for example, I journeyed out-of-doors (I'm currently unemployed, thus housebound), intending to take the Belmont bus to the Jewel-Osco mart on Ashland in Hamlin Park to scare up some groceries. This is a trip I've taken once before but today I overshot my destination by a couple miles and wound up on the far side of a river I've never crossed. It took me an hour to backtrack and by the time I reached the store I was windburned, cussing and caked with snow (snow-clearance is scattershot in this town, apparently). And then I spent too much of my budgeted one-hundred bucks and had to forgo a taxicab (not that there were any within hailing's distance) and walk twenty-some blocks burdened with plastic bags full of crap. Poor me.

Chicago is nothing like New York City in that cabs aren't always idling at the curb, ready and waiting for you...shit, even in Brooklyn you can hail a taxihack in locations as far-flung as you can't...oh well. I'd rather be here then there anyhow.

I've been listening to quite a lot of new music...Radiohead's 'In Rainbows' is simple, romantic and unshakeable like an extended siren-song, Joe Henry's 'Civilians' is 'Time Out Of Mind' Dylanesque and noir-ishly atmospheric, Okkervil River's 'The Stage Names' is all over the map and alternately fun and depressing, Jens Lekman's carnivalesque 'Night Falls Over Kortedala' is an appropriately woozy soundtrack for drinking shots of dirty vodka, Mary J. Blige's headphone-pleasing 80's throwback 'Growing Pains' is nutritiously dancey...but probably the album of the year as far as I'm concerned is Mavis Staples' 'We'll Never Turn Back'. Finally, my favorite voice is blessed with a production that suits her. Mavis testifies way down in a murky 'Exile'-era Stonesy mix that graces her set of civil rights anthems with a haunted gravitas, a razor-sharp sense of prison-break terror that's utterly contemporary, and an inviting bluesy warmth. You gotta check it out if you care about the history and the future of soul music at all. Or especially if you found the 2003 doc "The Weather Underground" as creepy/inspiring as I did: Mavis Staples' 'We'll Never Turn Back' is for you.

I've finally found a link to iTunes' inexplicably buried Celebrity Playlist feature on the iTunes Store page and quite frankly I'm tickled pink. Celebrity Playlists aren't even a secret pleasure for me, mostly because I'm one of those guys who shamelessly scans cd collections when invited to a new person's apartment, just so I can sketch hasty character profiles so as to not be unpleasantly surprised by a left-field personality quirk somewhere down the road apiece...

What are the celebs listening to? Let's check it out:

Dr. Doogie Howzer (of "How I Met Your Mother" fame): A fairly tasteful gay although his faves are a little alt.babydykelite: Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Kelly Clarkson's 'Beautiful Disaster' (live version only)...and he wishes he could karaoke Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin''. You and several thousand other wretchedly drunk softball lesbians, Neil Patrick. POTENTIAL FRIEND? Abso-fucking-lutely. I love this guy. If you can summon the cajones to manage those crowdpleasing Steve Perry high notes, you're a-ok by me.

Christy Turlington
: Look no further, for Christy Turlington is America's Most Smartest Model. Her playlist may exist only because she's spokesmodeling for some kind of model-outreach charity which benefits a whole portfolio of needful third-world countries ( but it's a pretty thoughtful set of covers she's thrown together here, which in turn makes me want to click on that damned no-fun link. Rufus Wainwright's cover of The Beatles' "Across The Universe", Smashing Pumpkins' warbly take on Stevie's "Landslide", Cat Power's masterful "Satisfaction (I Can't Get No)", M. Ward's tearjerking rethink of Bowie's "Let's Dance" and...Johnny & June Carter Cash's certain to be soul-stirring "Redemption Song"!!!...Christy Turlington should fuck all this charity nonsense and blog for! I kid, of course. POTENTIAL FRIEND? Only in my dreams, for she's simply too angelic and noble for the likes of a ricketty scalawag such as me. She's definitely crush material though.

And that link once again:

Adrien Brody on behalf of 'The Darjeeling Limited': Adrien Brody is giving us the hi-sign that he enjoys the mary jane reefer: Black Uhuru's "Puff She Puff", Morcheeba, Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here", "White Room" by Cream, Wu Tang. POTENTIAL FRIEND? Uh...sure, why not. Every single other human I've ever met huffs huge baggies full of schwag so what's one more pal who loses his billfold/cell/keys on a twice-daily basis?

Evander Holyfield: Holy crap. This playlist is the sexiest personal I've never had the good fortune to stumble across on eHarmony. I mean I'm pretty sure the former heavyweight champion of the world isn't gay (the word 'girl' functions as punctuation for Evander) but damn! what I wouldn't give to be this man's woman! Holy-slice is most definitely kicking it old school on the quiet storm tip and his annotated notes are...well...I hate to say it, but they're freaking adorable! I mean, if you're gonna drink Remy Red by yourself and craft a mix tape for your one and only, this is the shit. Check this shit out:

1. "Just The Way You Are", Barry White - He just wants to be loved for who he is, even though he's from the projects.

2. "Always And Forever", Heat Wave - He wishes high school lasted forever.

3. "Betcha By Golly Wow", The Stylistics - He used to dream about pretty girls but he felt insecure because he was from the ghetto.

4. "Baby I'm For Real", The Originals - He used to brag a lot and tell the girls that he was older than he was and they believed him. He regrets that.

5. "You Are Everything", The Stylistics - Had a crush on a girl who never knew he had a crush on her.

6. "You Turned My World Around", Barry White - "More of a fantasy" because he "never went with anybody" (!) Credibility is stretched here but a sweet sentiment nevertheless.

7. "Oh, Girl", The Chi-lites - More unrequited classroom love. Is this guy for real? For answer, see #4.

8. "Just To Be Close To You", The Commodores - Too insecure (wtf?) to ask the pretty girls to dance at high school hops, young Evander daydreamed and twiddled his thumbs in the bleachers...

9. "La La Means I Love You", The Del-fonics - Reminds him of the fortunate ones who were able to break free of their insecurities and express their love to pretty girls...

10. "Be My Girl", The Dramatics - Something about a talent show and pining away for that Special Pretty Girl...hey, wait...I'm starting to put this little puzzle together here...

11. "I'll Write A Song For You", Earth, Wind & Fire - ...more talent show Pretty Girl drama and a best friend who writes songs for pretty girls at talent shows...

12. "We Both Deserve Each Other", L.T.D. - Fear of rejection rears its ugly head no longer as Evander learns to be more creative courtesy of Jeffrey Osborne and this no-nonsense ode to lowered expectations.

13. "Yearning For Your Love", Gap Band - No one asked Evander Holyfield to the prom so he sat home alone, finding comfort in the soothing sounds of The Gap Band. Who will play Evander Holyfield in the Lifetime movie? I'm thinking either Forest Whitaker or that fired dude from 'Gray's Anatomy'.

Whew, I'm emotionally drained. More to come...