Sunday, November 8, 2015

Victory Laps: Interview with Dan Kilian

Following the critical and commercial success of The Screaming Majority production of Waste Fraud and Abuse, writer / performer / director / producer Dan Kilian is returning to his first love, solo performance.  Okay, there was no critical acclaim of any kind, they didn’t make a cent, and Dan gets extremely anxious during his live shows, but there’s still some truth to the idea that this show Victory Laps IS a victory lap for Dan. At least that’s the sense I got while interviewing Dan at his Sunnyside home earlier this afternoon. Also, I am Dan and am interviewing myself. The following is an excerpt of the conversation. 

What do you expect to get out of this performance?

Well, I was hoping some of the young actors we cast in Waste Fraud and Abuse would come out and see me in a different format, and that they would have a lot of friends and that my little pyramid scheme would snowball into a massive fan base. Also hoped all those people who came to the play would have forgotten that they’d already blown a few hours of their life to me only recently, and want to come see me now. My other expectation is that none of that happens and that I play my songs for my beloved gift circle.

What do you find is the main difference between writing for a play and writing individual songs for public consumption?

When you write a song for a play, it goes into the play. When you write for public consumption it’s not always consumed. Also, you don’t have to write about some guy named Ron.

Will we ever see Waste Fraud and Abuse again?

If our upcoming fundraiser goes well, we’re hoping to put a revised version of the play on in a three weekend run at a theatrical venue in October next year.

What’s on the back of this sheet?*

An actual page from an earlier script to Waste Fraud and Abuse! A commemorative piece of history!

Are you a vainglorious bastard?

Am I not conducting an imaginary interview with myself?

Did you kill those women?

No! That was you!

You’re right. It was I. And you’ll never tell?

I’ll never tell! 

--Dan Kilian

* This was the program for the Victory Laps show, with this interview printed as described. Because of printer problems, there were only 5 or 6 programs printed, and they were not distributed. 

Prayer of Brief Eternal Life

Six Song Selection: Radio Lives

Monday, September 14, 2015

Going Dutch

Peter van der Donck
Some books are so good they can make you tedious. Russell Shorto’s The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America has made me into a bore. I’ll drone on about why we say “cookies” instead of “biscuits” and why Yonkers is called Yonkers. This book is chock-full of historical tidbits and trivia about the formative period of New England, which help its thesis go down. Shorto believes the democratic, inclusive spirit of the United States was born not with a bunch of theocratic Pilgrims, but with the Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam. 

The heart of this book, which lends credence and drama to that thesis, is the story of a legal battle, and a battle for control of the new colony, between two key figures. The idealistic Adriaen van der Donck wants more representation for the colony representatives, and the colony director Peter Stuyvesant wants to maintain his own central power, and have van der Donck put in shackles for treason. The conflict comes to a head back in the not-so-old country, the Netherlands—itself a rather modern construct in a time when feudal history determined most geography—in what was becoming a formative period of democratic nascence. The result of this legalistic and political wrangling almost birthed a more representative government in the New World—until yet another war broke out and ruined everything. Soon the English took over the colony and made it New York. Still, Shorto maintains, the key ingredients for a more inclusive and cosmopolitan United States had been baked into the mix.

Does Shorto repeat his theory about the spirit of tolerance a few too many times? Does the book occasionally get bogged down in too many historical details in some spots, and then get fuzzy in others? Do we hear about the guy who’s transcribing a mother lode of old Dutch documents too many times? Does my rhetorically asking these questions negate the need for an answer? 

Still, the writing is for the most part fluid and clear, making connections between seemingly disparate historical facts and building suspense. Also, there are those glorious tidbits, such as the cruel fate of Henry Hudson and the origin of coleslaw. To be clear, those are two different stories; Henry Hudson was not torn apart in a cabbage shredding machine.

There’s a popular TV show called Gotham, which lays out the story of young Bruce Wayne. The key to its enjoyment is savoring the slow reveal of bits of the origin story of Batman. The Island at the Center of the World is the origin story of the real Gotham, and with it, the real America. Our heroes wore white wigs and pantaloons instead of bat ears, but this is the story behind their story, and it’s a delight. 
 --Dan Kilian

Olde Tales of The Sea

The Rose Armonica



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Undeniable Better Crackerjack: Five Song Review

The Weeknd: "Can’t Feel My Face" Hey Weeknd! You've got two E's in the front, and none in the back. It's inconsistent. The song's consistent, though. It'll be a car commercial, a bar background, that song that's blasting past your window at two in the morning. A little too much Michael Jackson, but it's undeniable.

Amy Bezunartea:  "New Villain" Promising from the low ominous first note, live with sliding fingers on the strings creating a chiming effect. Worrying from the first breathy vocal. Is this another indie  chick seducing us with whispers and not much else? Bezunartea sidesteps the pitfalls, building a slow compelling melody, adding layers like Guyville era Liz Phair, her guitar a tolling gong reminiscent of EMA's Past Live Martyred Saints in it's minimalist build. The lyrics, smart and off-kilter, suggest a looser Courtney Barnett. She is a new villain. You might feel bad but she's better.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: "Multi-Love" Secretly more soulful than psychedelic (Check out his solo acoustic video) UMO's Ruban Nielson moans a song about some mystical girl over baroque piano and washed out guitars as spurts of drum patterns drop in and out. It's more psychedelic than soulful this time, but this act has established itself as crackerjack, something to love. 

Rabit: "Pandemic" Disturbing sonics, but I'm not getting much of a groove here. 
Deerhunter: "Snakeskin" I should like Deerhunter. They rock and they have restless creativity, good songs and band sounds great, but I never feel like I truly know these guys.  Maybe it's the vocal effects, but I never hear what this guy is feeling, just what he's singing. I should like it. 

--Dan Kilian

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bright Lights/Deep Shade: Messing Up A Beautiful Thing

Is She Perverted Like Me?
Alanis Morissette is having a moment! She gets the David Foster Wallace analysis via Jason Segel in The End of The Tour, and now she's just had a duet with Taylor Swift. If you've somehow forgotten who Alanis is, well, you ought to know. 

Serena Williams and Drake are back on again. Warning Serena! Drake's from the Canadian province of Siswatchthatman! Okay that's stupid, but damn it, there's a Canadian province joke in there somewhere. Watch that Manitoba or he'll be Gone-tario. Damn it! Tennis metaphor.

One Direction aren't splitting up, they're just taking a break. That's what my parents said. 

Steve O doesn't like SeaWorld. He feels like it's a prison for Orcas and dolphins, but now the Jackass star faces prison time himself for his protest stunt. 

Is Jake Gyllenhal off Susan Sarandon and onto Dakota Johnson? Or is it all just gossip? Senseless gossip? Maybe Gyllenrandon is still going strong. Maybe I'm ruining it by printing these rumors. Maybe people just like to eat in restaurants. I don't know. I hope I'm not messing up something beautiful.  

Those are the only things that have happened. 


--Dan Kilian

Celebrity Farts

Environmental Anniversary Proposal: Day-After-Earthday

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bright Lights/Deep Shade: Pop Goes The Princess

Iggy Azalea denies heroin addiction rumors. She says those marks on her hands aren't needle tracks, just cat scratch fever. Maybe the paparazzi confused her with Iggy Pop.

Somewhere there's a giant noseless clown who's upset.

Olivia Munn kicks some ass and Britney Spears shows some tail.

Kelly Osbourne was always the nice one on Fashion Police. She's not working so hard to say kind things about former co-host Giuliana Rancic. Call internal affairs! 

Ri Ri Rules
"Ri Ri rules" says Run The Jewels, getting all frank, see, in an interview with Banksy. 

Hey, it's hard to rhyme Bansky! So why did I do a rhyming news item? I don't know.

That's all that's happened. You're done!


--Dan Kilian

The Last Reality Show

James Bond's Bad Day