Category Archives: swag

Merry Christmas, Friends! Time to kick it weird-school.

santas-got-a-big-olde-bag-front.jpgHo ho ho, music lovers! Santa’s Got a Big Olde Bag, my 2007 Christmas compilation, is now yours for the asking.   And you need these sounds in your yule-life.

But don’t take my word for it! J. Freedom du Lac, esteemed Washington Post pop music critic, had this to say in the Dec. 18 edition of his wildly popular and influential “Freedom Rock” webchat:

Richmond, Va.: Hey, J. Free — what is your favorite Christmas record? One of my friends made me a mix CD this year, and I can’t get enough of Ben Folds’ “Bizarre Christmas Incident.” That song doesn’t get played on 24/7 Xmas radio.

J. Freedom du Lac: My new favorite? “Santa’s Got a Big Olde Bag: Yuletide Times Eclectic and Inexplicable,” compiled/curated by our very own Chris Klimek. He gave me a copy last night, at the Aimee Mann show. (You know, the one Michael Chertoff also attended. Who knew he was a Nelly McKay fan?!)The album is a wild, wild ride: It opens with audio from “Die Hard” (you know, where the limo driver is listening to “Christmas in Hollis”), then goes to the Bellrays/”Santa’s Got a Big Old Bag,” then Sufjan’s “Ding Dong! Death! (May Be Your Santa Claus),” then Marah’s “New York Is A Christmas Kind of Town” and (this is ripe) Arnold Schwarzenegger doing a workout video over “Warming Up” by Gladys and the Pips! LOL. And on and on it goes. Great stuff. You should sign up for Klimek’s CD-of-the-Year club.

There you have it, Friends — a ringing endorsement from a bona-fide expert.

Liner notes below!

VERILY, a manifesto.We all have our favorite versions of the traditional Christmas warhorses. Actually, recent research suggests that many listeners hate, hate these fucking things. I yield to no man in my abiding affection for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s 1975 performance of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” recorded live at C. W. Post College, and I only just came across a marvelous 1978 version of Keith Richards doing Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph” – it was released as single back then, Keef’s first. Then it went out of print.

No matter; you’ll find neither of them here. Tracks like that aren’t what this compilation is about. No, gentle listener! Here we turn our rapacious gaze mainly, albeit not exclusively, to seasonal melodies, films and ephemera that have not stood the proverbial test of time. Some of them haven’t been around long enough to take the test; some are too obscure even to have been summoned to the testing site; a few may have taken the test and flunked. All are glorious and honorable. Even Jingle All the Way, which puzzingly is remembered as an epic, cautionary failure, but which I submit to you is not even among the five worst films released in 1996. Freed from its distracting visuals, the film’s audio, tastefully excerpted here, reveals a surprising profundity and even grace.

2.5 TRACKS FOR EACH OF THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS! YOU CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO LISTEN!

Four Words About Sound Quality: All over the map. Much of this material I took from CD, manipulated in Apple Lossless Audio Format, and compressed only once, so it ought to sound stellar. Then there’s the stuff that was digitized from an ancient vinyl saucer and probably compressed two or three times before I got my hands on it. And plenty of stuff in between. I trust you will share my judgment that the content of the muddy-sounding tracks fairly demands their inclusion here, and forgive the pops, tics, crackle, and hiss. That’s the sound of authenticity you hear, Kids. – Mgmt.

Postcards: Dark Lords of the Pith

Arlington-based comix editor Jason Rodriguez’s new graphic anthology, Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened, is published today, along with my DCist review. If you’re free tonight, drop by Olsson’s in Dupont Circle at 7, where Jason will be signing and dicussing the book along with creators Matt Dembicki, Danielle Corsetto, and Robert Tinnell.

Here’s a page from Philip Hester’s “A Joyous Eastertide,” one of my favorite stories from the book.

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Muddy Buddies!

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Just back from Richmond for my second Muddy Buddy and my first since 2004. When my partner, the lovely Ms. Tracy Webb, had to drop out earlier this week, you didn’t need to have seen more than one Meg Ryan movie to know that Miss Crooks’s partner would bail, too, leaving the two of us to do the race together. We finished — well, we weren’t the last finishers in Heat 6 (coed, combined age 56-65). She’s an actor and director, dammit; not an athlete. And I’m proud of her.

Pretty lame swag at the race this year compared to when I did it in San Dimas, CA in ’04. Trail socks? Gee, thanks. But the race shirts were Under Armour’s moisture-wicking mofos (TM) this time. It’s nice to have a race shirt you can actually run in; when you sweat like I do, cotton doesn’t cut it. You gotta get something for that hefty race registration fee, especially when the official race photo costs — wait for it — $49.99 for a freaking download.

I bought the 8″x10″ print for “only” $23.98. I’ll replace the low-res proof in this post with a scan when it arrives.

THE NEXT DAY . . .

Another photo arrives. I had been puzzled by the fact that the three different claim codes we were given all linked to the same shot.

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The mud-coat makes us look kind of like the cast of the nude MacBeth.

AND THE DAY AFTER THAT . . .

Miss Crooks finds this one in the Muddy Buddy Gallery.

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