RARWRITER PUBLISHING GROUP PRESENTS

CREATIVE CULTURE JOURNAL

at www.RARWRITER.com      

--------------------"The best source on the web for what's real in arts and entertainment" ---------------------------

Volume 2-2016

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

ARTIST NEWS    THIS EDITION   ABOUT   MUSIC   MUSIC REVIEWS  BOOKS  CINEMA   FASHION   FINE ARTS  FEATURES   SERIES  MEDIA  ESSAY  RESOURCES  WRITTEN ARTS POETRY  CONTACT  ARCHIVES  MUSIC LINKS

                                 

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Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.

 

ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

ARTIST REVIEW

Lady Gaga Number One But No Bullet

Lady Gaga: Barometer in Horse Latitudes

By RAR

Lady Gaga was back on the top of the Billboard Charts this week with the release of her fourth album, Joanne. It was selling at a rate about half as strong as did her previous LP, which is no doubt a reflection of the waning interest levels in the public appetite for pop music. In an age when America is choosing between two cartoon characters to determine who should become the next President of the United States, the caricature that is Lady Gaga just doesn't have the legs it once did. Why order a new clown when clowns are everywhere you look these days?

Joanne is one of Lady Gaga's four birth certificate names, i.e., Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, and her return to herself in naming her new album seems of a piece with her search for an identity. Stefani Germanotta grew up in comfortable surroundings in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Her parents are both Internet and telecommunication professionals, and their two-income family created the kinds of kids that often come out of such environments, with financial cushioning against the rigors of common life. Stefani's sister went into fashion design, while Stefani did a couple years of music training at NYU before dropping out to work in bar bands. Her bands didn't produce any commercial success, but she did start writing songs, which brought her to the attention of music producer Rob Fusari. They became a couple and Fusari came up with the Lady Gaga name, which was inspired by Queen's "Radio Ga Ga".

Fusari's connections got Gaga signed to Def Jam records, which ended almost as soon as it began. She returned to the bosom of her family and spent some time recovering from disappointment by hanging out in the dance clubs. There she made the acquaintance of an entertainer calling herself "Lady Starlight", who became Stefani, aka Gaga's, mentor and Stefani appropriated her name and became "Lady Gaga".

Fusari sent some of the songs he had written with Stefani Gerrmanotta to Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records, and that provided the platform for Lady Gaga to become whatever it is she is. That has continued to change, not so much in a reinvention way ala Madonna, but in a sort "who am I and what am I doing here" kind've way ala James B. Stockdale. (You might want to Google that for context.) She got a job as a staff songwriter at Famous Music Publishing, associated with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and peddled songs to Britney Spears, New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and The Pussycat Dolls. You start to see where this was going, which from my perspective was that it was headed toward stupid Pop and public pandering.

Gaga met songwriter and producer RedOne, joined the roster of Cherrytree Records, an Interscope imprint established by producer and songwriter Martin Kierszenbaum, and started writing with Kierszenbaum. She was apparently too cool for school, by her description considered too "racy", "dance-oriented" and "underground" for the mainstream market. According to her Wikipedia entry, she was defiant, filled with self-belief: "My name is Lady Gaga, I've been on the music scene for years, and I'm telling you, this is what's next." None of that was true, of course, but it created a self-narrative that carried her into a hit record making career.

Gaga moved to Los Angeles, set up her "Haus of Gaga" - an Andy Warhol-type creative collective - and recorded her first Lady Gaga album, The Fame, in 2008. She followed with The Fame Monster, and later with Born This Way, Artpop, and a duet album with Tony Bennett. I love Tony Bennett like I loved my grandpa, but recording a duet album with him is a sure sign that your career has fallen apart. By 2015, Lady Gaga was as much a TV actress (American Horror Story) as she was a songstress, joking in a self-mocking skit on Saturday Night Live about her past as a top recording artist.

Certainly a big part of Lady Gaga's career inconsistencies have been baked in, because she was always an ill-defined cartoon character. Becoming a cartoon has always been a key aspect of becoming an entertainment icon. If you can't be caricatured in a recognizable way, you can't become famous. Lady Gaga does caricaturize well, but the cartoon that she conveys is mixed up with various forms of public pander, from championing LBGT outsiders to empowering women, to just being a set-piece performing artist. It hasn't added up to anything substantial or even particularly artistic. In her most recent incarnation, she has dropped the weird-fashion guise in favor of good old sluttiness, accessible to even her low income fan base. Portraying sex has been a part of all of her incarnations, which has been self-pigeon-holing, making her a tacky tribute to Madonna, who didn't need the help.

Lady Gaga has had "hits", including such forgettable entries as "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance". The weird thing about her is that she is really quite talented as a singer. She has real pipes, unfortunately undermined by execrable taste in music and fashion. She is a kind of professional fraud, like someone you would hire to portray Marilyn Monroe at a private party.

To this reviewer, Lady Gaga is the stomach-turning truth about all that has happened to Pop Music in the 21st Century. It isn't authentic, or new, or of any substance whatsoever. It is Madonna's act under a different name, and imitating that is a disheartening exercise in musical slumming. Still, Lady Gaga is one of the few acts these days whose products are supported with huge marketing budgets. Have you noticed all those ads this week for Joanne, the new album? That's how product gets sold, and enough marketing will guarantee a certain level of sales, even if all you are peddling is a George Foreman grill. That's all Lady Gaga is peddling, too, that is, just a musical appliance, a sonic decoration with some stylized visuals. None of it is going into the Great American Songbook, or even into our memory banks, nor is it designed to. It is toss-off, for-now kind of music, which is all we seem to get these days. Lady Gaga doesn't even seem fresh, or even very understanding of "the moment". That is truly disheartening to people like me, who wonder why, culturally, we have become this thing that Lady Gaga and most of the other 21st Century artists seem to represent.

Why isn't music important in the way that it used to be? Or is it that the audiences for music are just getting the product we expect and, on some level, deserve? After all, the vox populi gave us Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as presidential candidates. It may be that we just don't know what we should expect from either our political or our pop music representatives.

 
 
 
     
 
 

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  ARTIST NEWS    THIS EDITION   ABOUT   MUSIC   MUSIC REVIEWS  BOOKS  CINEMA   FASHION   FINE ARTS  FEATURES   SERIES  MEDIA  ESSAY  RESOURCES  WRITTEN ARTS POETRY  CONTACT  ARCHIVES  MUSIC LINKS

Copyright November, 2016 Rick Alan Rice (RARWRITER)