RIP Bowie, The Scoop on My Year-End Mix, & A Video Series Launch

How's your January been, friends?

Like everyone else with a brain and a heart and ears, I've been mourning the death of David Bowie.

I don't have much by way of a unique Bowie conversion narrative. I'm of that unnameable generation smooshed between Gen X and the Millennials who had the first stirrings of sexual awareness thanks to repeated viewings of Labyrinth; as a Wes Anderson fan, I delighted in Seu Jorge's Bowie covers used throughout The Life Aquatic; my favorite album of his is Low, mostly because I first took the time to sit down and get to know it after I'd been obsessively listening to Tim Hecker's Harmony in Ultaviolet, which enabled me to better appreciate that chilly, glacial back half of the album.

It's not much of a story; I can't cite the albums chapter and verse; I never saw him perform live; I guess if pressed I'd say my favorite era, at least aesthetically, is the Thin White Duke, just because I tend to have strong feelings about skinny guys in immaculately tailored suits.

That said, the news of his death hit me harder than expected. Brian and I had been listening to Blackstar on repeat all that weekend. We'd raced to the Reckless Records on Broadway here in Chicago just before they closed on the Friday night of its release to buy it. "We're closing soon," the clerk called to us from the desk when we walked in. "We just need the new Bowie album!" I shouted across the room to him, almost frantically. "No problem," he immediately assented, softened. He said he hadn't had a chance to listen to it yet, that he hoped to soon, maybe on Sunday.

I put the Blackstar CD case on my at-home altar before I left for work on that Monday morning and spent the rest of the day posting Bowie ephemera on my Tumblr and refreshing Facebook to watch all my friends' remembrances pour in. As my pal Gene and I said to each other later that week, we'd never seen anything like it on social media, that unanimous outpouring of grief, shock, gratitude, and celebration.

What's new on the blog

On Queen of Peaches, I go long dissecting how I put together my year-end mix for 2015:

"So I would read or hear a lot of declarations about something being amazing, or something being horrible, and I learned to tap into that style of evaluation, thinking that, eventually, I would learn how to project that same amount of absolute confidence and conviction in my writing. I aped it as best I could, but, it never really led me where I actually wanted to go—which was straight into the heart of the joy of the HOW of the thing. I didn’t want to know WHY it was good or bad; I wanted to know how it came to be, how it came to sound the way it did, who made it and where all that creative energy and inspiration was coming from."

Click here to read more!

And if you haven't had a chance to hear the mix yet, you can stream it on 8tracks by clicking here.

Musically, Brian and I had the great good fortune to play a duo set as the special guests at Second Date with Dylan and Andrew. We all came together to sing "Heroes" at the end of the show. It was basically everything I ever want out of live music--intimacy, spontaneity, generosity. I feel so lucky to have befriended this talented crew! Please do yourself a favor and check out Andrew's band's newest EP, For Tonight, and Dylan's latest, Hate Me.

I mentioned to Brian a couple weeks ago that he should start a Tumblr strictly dedicated to recordings of people covering "I'm Waiting for the Man," and as soon as it came out of my mouth, I was like, damn, I'm totally stealing my own idea and using it for my newsletter instead. So, here's the inaugural entry, of who else but David Bowie cranking it out in rehearsal, visibly cracking himself up throughout. Enjoy! I've got soooo many other great ones already bookmarked for future newsletters. Stay tuned!

What's that? You're still looking for more to read and more to watch? Lucky for you, I've started stashing fun links over on my "recommendations" page in Pocket. Click here to check out some stuff I've enjoyed recently on music and magic and perfume.

Stay warm! Be good to yourselves and to each other!