One of the ways we elicit wonder is by scrambling the self temporarily so that the world can seep in.
"I keep thinking about old astronauts. I mean the early-space-program guys, the 1960s-Apollo-program guys, the all-American nerds with rectangular haircuts. What a supremely weird group of normal people… You think of transcendence in that era as coming strictly through the counterculture, but this was a group of straight-up Eisenhower-legacy Air Force vets literally working to leave the Earth. And their imaginations were on fire with it, as how could they not be, but day to day it was mostly a matter of technical detail — getting the math right, testing every last ball bearing in the engine. They were engineers, not poets, at least right up to the moment when they actually found themselves in space."
"Maybe this is the way to think about Peyton Manning.."
"Partly I am fascinated by the problem of Manning’s inner life because he’s the precise opposite of the athletes I normally root for. I want madmen and poets and visionaries; he plays with no romance and no flair and with a degree of hyper-preparedness that seems to rule out inspiration."
A great read: grantland.com
Nathaniel Rateliff and the gang are releasing their new album. Yes.
As I do every day: I received an email from a Denver songwriter. He had an interesting name: Kramies. He said that he has a new EP coming out called ”The Wooden Heart” that was produced by Jason Lytle (Grandaddy) & Todd Tobias (Guided By Voices) and is being released by Australia’s Hidden Shoal Recordings.
Naturally I was curious.
Whoa. The songs are gorgeous. Reminds me of Beck and Calexico and the things I was listening to during a tremendously dark period in my life, about 9, 10 years ago.
Denver seems so small at times. But it’s things like this: getting an email from stunning songwriter that nearly nobody in town has heard of.
This is what I’ve always treasured most about running syntax and booking shows. This is one of my most favorite things to do in all the world: discovering local artists. The Physic Opera is a place where we can, once again, indulge.
Listen: Kramies, “Sea Otter”
In the morning light of Tuesday, February 9, Ad Coors put on a pair of flesh-colored, rimmed glasses, then slipped on gray flannel pants with his name embroidered on the inside of the waistband. He buttoned a green-checkered shirt, wrapped a tie around his neck, and fixed a clip, monogrammed “AC III,” on it. He placed a monogrammed penknife in his pocket, along with 43 cents. He said good-bye to Mary, then added a navy parka and a khaki cap, and opened the door.
His breath blew white in the morning air. Coors stepped into his company-owned green and white Travelall station wagon, switched on the radio, and made his way down the muddy, switchback driveway about 30 yards to the road below, en route to a morning meeting with his brothers. It was 7:55 a.m.
He turned north and headed into the morning chill toward the one-lane bridge over Turkey Creek. It was there that he saw a yellow vehicle blocking his path.
A great longread, read the full story, “Anatomy of a Murder” here: www.5280.com
We’re convinced Covenhoven is probably going to be one of the next big acts out of Denver. From one of our favorite local releases since Syntax’s inception, here’s a new video for the song that defined our summer.
We love You, Me & Apollo.
It is a common but overseen fact that music is fleeting. Passing. Momentary. It always was, since cave flutes.
Music has always been something that didn’t belong here. It’s ghostly. Built from bodies of spirits. An apparition made only by wo/men of means. It was always like a cathedral: a stone thing that helped us outlast our grasp toward the cloudy heavens. Like this paradoxical life, music is impermanent but somehow, enduring.
Then came technology and we bottled it. Held on to its invisible soul. Turned it into a commodity. Something disposable. Wrappers in garbage cans. Stickers on bathroom walls. Parental advisory tee-shirts.
We used to treasure that musical soul, relish the search and discovery of its lost ships. But today, the child with twenty dollars no longer rushes to the music store to procure the latest songs of love and devotion. No, this child now spends that money on other nameable luxuries, trashcan merchandise. At best, this child downloads his music. If a full album at all, the kid pulls it apart for singles and a series of cursory, lazy attempts to find what he likes. To make pea snap judgment in his ears.
Something about the joy is vacant from the kid’s face. Obsession is not in the eyes.
The idea of a full, cohesive album is dead. It’s so 1970s. That longing for afternoons alone, hovered over the record player, or tape deck, has been usurped by the idea of greed. Of more songs. Bigger singles. More explosions and obviousness. More as quantity, not voluptuous, nuanced content and a greater understanding of one’s self.
This is precisely why live music is so vitally important in our culture.
For the full article and rationale behind why live music is so important, read it at our publication: www.denversyntax.com
A great short film about being a commercial creative. Great commentary for all artists.
Andrew Hoffman from his tumblr - stuffthatido:
…is my favorite coast
Alas, we struck a deal. Come November we’ll have our own music venue, eatery and art bar.
Syntax: Physic Opera is the physical manifestation of the Denver Syntax (www.denversyntax.com), our 10 year-old music, art and literary review. The publication has endured, showcasing hundreds upon hundreds of Colorado creatives.
Through its multitudes of events (i.e., The Living Room Series and A Moveable Feast, in particular) as well as talent buying duties at Meadowlark during its golden days, Syntax has successfully created a forum for local artists and musicians. To advocate for them. To watch them grow. And no, this isn’t a hippie commune, it’s the ethos that we culled from years of working with artists - seeing the good in them and hearing what it is that they need from a venue, from a talent buyer, the sound guy and what their goals are for their art.
The Physic Opera is a place for BLUE COLLAR CREATIVES. We want the working artist and musician to post-up, to sit back. Drink off our tap, eat from our pots. We will have daily specials for the working artisan: to provide a respite from their day or a sandwich to-go back with them to the studio or the den. Sit in a dark corner, or seek dialogues with other players, painters and writers.
Our food menu, created by Chef David Beckwith, is a blend of 19th century Denver fare - updated. Small plates, to share with friends. Clean. Straightforward. We want a full head and heart, not a bloated gut.
Our cocktails have been crafted by the worldy Charles Anderson and will riff off early Denver history, bringing together the old world of Snake Oil and Corn Punk with the new topography in mixology, with fresh herbs, as well as the finest local spirits and bitters of this burgeoning region.
Thursday through Saturday we will have our big productions: 3 and 4 band bills. Every night will have different entertainment: from storyteller evenings, to live jazz during and after supper, to a weekly talent show and of course. So pick your time, bring your date, share some plates of food before the lighted stage.
Here, everything is medicine.
And don’t forget: we have TONS OF PARKING. On the street and behind the building. You’ll never have to worry about finding a spot on our stretch, even when we’re packed.
Here’s what the Westword said: Westword Backbeat.
Dislike us on FaceSpace: https://www.facebook.com/physicopera
- Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
- Submissive to everything, open, listening
- Try never get drunk outside yr own house
- Be in love with yr life
- Something that you feel will find its own form
- Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
- Blow as deep as you want to blow
- Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
- The unspeakable visions of the individual
- No time for poetry but exactly what is
- Visionary tics shivering in the chest
- In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
- Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
- Like Proust be an old teahead of time
- Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
- The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
- Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
- Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
- Accept loss forever
- Believe in the holy contour of life
- Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
- Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
- Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
- No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
- Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
- Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
- In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
- Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
- You’re a Genius all the time
- Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
Of all the things that happened in our resurfacing at the Westword Showcase and the Underground Music Showcase this summer, the best was at a site that wasn’t a part of either. It was ancillary.
This is a clip from a great day (3 of the UMS) at the Meese compound which they refer to as The Banana Stand. Great sets. Free beer. A cool, July breeze. And, great pals all around. In the little that you can see around the stage it’s saturated not with just anybody, but with great and respected locals, like: Alaina from Tennis and Kitty Crimes Maria, for example. A. Tom Collins is the gent on the roof, holding the mic for the boys.
Events like this put one’s local music scene into perspective.
"Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you."
I have long held the notion that undergraduate degrees are for learning how to learn, how to think, how to assess, write, be a human. To this end, I think that everybody should be filling their lost early twenties with humanities courses.
There’s a great piece in the NY Times about the decline of students taking these humanities courses, in favor of degrees that will help them pay their student loans back quicker. Even the English majors, they too are losing that intricate part of our human self - the ability to communicate, to write, to think, clearly. With the technical specialization of their professors (which they are forced to do, to keep their positions unique), the fundamentals of the humanities are falling away:
"They can assemble strings of jargon and generate clots of ventriloquistic syntax. They can meta-metastasize any thematic or ideological notion they happen upon. And they get good grades for doing just that. But as for writing clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them — no.
"That kind of writing — clear, direct, humane — and the reading on which it is based are the very root of the humanities, a set of disciplines that is ultimately an attempt to examine and comprehend the cultural, social and historical activity of our species through the medium of language."
Here’s the full article: NY Times