CV1_TNY_11_25_13Viva.inddSOUNDTRACK: PIXIES & “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-”I Bleed” (2009).

iblledYesterday I posted about “Weird Al”‘s new song “First World Problems” which parodies the Pixies’ style. I didn’t know that Al liked the Pixies, but he’s evidently quite a fan.  And the feeling is mutual. Here’s a video from 2009 of Al singing lead on the Pixies’ track “I Bleed.”

Al is totally passionate about the vocals.  The more professional looking video has an audio the mix is a little odd, as Al is so much louder than the band, that his intensity really sticks out, even though I’m sure the rest of the band was just as loud.  Indeed, there’s a fan video that is mixed better (which I have posted below, even though the more professional one has the welcoming introduction for Al).

I like that he starts with the spoken style (even if his spoken voice is not as menacing as Francis’).  And then when the actually rocking part kicks in, Al, keeps up just fine.

[READ: July 1, 1014] “Kilifi Creek”

This story starts out with an interesting technique–speaking about the main character in third person but with great insight and almost a judging attitude into her mindset: “It was a brand of imposition of which young people like Liana thought nothing showing up on an old couple’s doorstep, the home of friends of friends of friends….  mature adulthood–and the experience of being imposed upon herself–might have encouraged her to consider what showing up as an uninvited impecunious house guest would require of her hosts.”

Indeed, Liana is traveling around the world and has stopped at various people’s houses for free room and board for a week or so, all in the name of young exploration.  In most instances, she gives the lucky family a few days’ notice. And she felt she repaid the families not with money but with brightness and enthusiasm.

This particular family was on the Kenyan coast, their name: Henley.  “Regent Henley carried herself as if she used to be good-looking and her husband Beano (a ridiculous name for anyone so old) was a big game hunter.  They were wealthy by African standards and their native help often had little to do, Liana even considered that her arrival would give the help something to occupy themselves with.”

She was staying for six nights.  But rather than doing any major exploring, she spent most of her mornings writing things online to her friends, and most of her afternoons in a bikini, coming to and from the Kilifi Creek behind the Henley’s house. Continue Reading »

doomsdaySOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-”First World Problems” (2014).

fwp“First World Problems is what Al calls a style parody.  This is a parody of the Pixies.  I can kind of hear it (especially in the riffs), but his Black Francis voice is somehow off (he’s usually so spot on with his mimicking).  But as it is basically a Pixies song, it is loud and quite rocking.  And, better yet, it’s really funny.

I get a kick out of the expression “first world problems” because why should that make a problem any less invalid, and yet, Al’s first world problems are outstanding.

I couldn’t order off the breakfast menu, cause I slept in till two
Forgot my gardener’s name, I’ll have to ask him later
Tried to fast forward commercials, can’t – I’m watching live T.V
My barista didn’t even bother to make a design in the foam on the top of my vanilla latte

The opening bass and the female backing vocals are fantastic, and as always, guitarist Jay West gets their guitar sound perfectly.  The video doesn’t scream Pixies to me (although it is very very funny).  In fact at one point he looks more like Iggy Pop than anyone else (except with a shirt on), but that’s okay, it still makes me laugh a lot.  Who knew Al was a fan of the Pixies?

[READ: July 10, 2014] Day of Doom

This is the first book by David Baldacci that I have read.  Baldacci is typically an adult writer who I know is quite popular and prolific (he has done some kids books too).  I very much enjoyed the suspense and thrill of this book, but I have to say I feel like he really does not write very believably for his characters.  There is a romance that is played off quite flatly, there is an act of contrition which I don’t think anyone would believe, especially not a family member, and the bad guys are just so bad they are cartoonlike.

These characters have been through seventeen books now, so we know them pretty well, and I hated to see them get smoothed so much here.  I also didn’t care for the way Amy’s love dilemma was solved fairly easily for her.  And I was really surprised by the body count in this book.

Four major characters were killed by the end of the book.  It’s pretty brutal and really takes the series out of the realm of kids book and way into the realm of YA. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: July 21, 2014] Gogol Bordello

I 2014-07-21 21.03.53 first heard Gogol Bordello on a PBS music show (I assume it was Austin City Limits, but I can’t find any record of them being on the show).  I didn’t know anything about them, but I was really impressed by what I saw.  Since then I’ve bought a few records, and have enjoyed all of their appearances on NPR shows, but it was after watching the DVD that came with Live from Axis Mundi that I knew this was a band I wanted to see live.  So I was totally psyched that they were coming to the tiny Starland Ballroom.

Now I will say that they were not as exciting here as in the video.  That is due to a couple of things.  The first is that the club in the video was much bigger, allowing them to do a lot more.  The second is that in the video they had direct access to the audience, unlike at Starland so lead singer Eugene Hutz was able to go into the crowd in the video, as were the two dancers (suspended aloft on giant bass drums).  In Starland, they all stayed on the stage (although they did move all over it) and the two dancers have been replaced by one who was excellent but did not climb onto a drum at all).

Comparisons aside, Gogol Bordello put on a pretty amazing show. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: July 21, 2014] Man Man

I wen2014-07-21 20.23.18t to the Starland Ballroom to see Gogol Bordello, but I was pretty excited that Man Man was opening.  I really only knew them from three things.  Their fairly popular (at least on WXPN) song “Head On [Hold On To Your Heart]” a synthy treacly delight (that really belies the bands manic energy) and “Paul’s Grotesque” a newer song (for XPN) that I didn’t actually realize was Man Man.  And, third, and most compelling, was their video for “Black Mission Goggle” live at Amoeba Records (which you can see at the bottom of the post).  In it they proved to be immensely silly and yet still quite talented.  And I love a band who can put on a show (which is why I wanted to see Gogol Bordello in the first place).

And Man Man did not disappoint.  The four piece came out on stage, with Brown Sugar, the bassist/Schatzaphone/percussionist/malletKAT player on the right side, Pow Pow, the drummer (whose kit was sideways), right in the middle and Shono Murphy the guitarist/trumpeter/percussionist on the left.  After playing an instrumental opening, Honus Honus, singer, keyboards and all around head honcho came out in a glorious cape, looking like Dave Grohl when he’s most possessed. Continue Reading »


sylvanOne of the fun things about doing these summer posts is finding appropriate music to each week’s write up. I like to find something related to what’s down below.  Last week it was an artist named Pale King.  This week it’s a band called Sylvanshine.

Sylvanshine is a cover band from Texas.  According to their web site, they play covers of Collective Soul, Van Halen, The Black Crowes and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I didn’t listen to any of their live tracks, but the excerpt of their version of The Toadies’ “Possum  Kingdom” is pretty spot on.

Learn all about them (or book them) at their website.

[READ: July 21, 2014] Pale Summer Week 2 (§10-§21)

Week two continues some of the characters’ lives and introduces us to them at the Service.  It also has a couple of very lengthy passages in which people spout their opinions about aspects of the country and the Service which are thoughtful and, frankly, very interesting and would work as good meme quotes, if you liked that sort of thing.


This is a two-paragraph chapter about bureaucracy “the only known parasite larger than the organism on which is subsists.”


A list of syndromes/symptoms associated with Examination Postings in excess of 36 months (ending with “unexplained bleeding”).


Leonard Stecyk is back in this short chapter.  He is an adult now. He is walking door to door to introduce himself to his presumably new neighbors, and to offer to the neighbors the Post Office’s 1979 National Zip Code Directory–”his smile so wide it almost looked like it hurt.”


An unnamed character is inflicted with nervous profuse sweating.  (This character will be identified later).  This chapter also has footnotes (as did the Author’s Foreword), although these footnotes are in the third person (as is the chapter).  Does this mean it is written by Dave Wallace too?  It is another thoroughly detailed chapter that I find very enjoyable to read even if it doesn’t advance the “story” much.


This chapter begins a series of interviews.  In §9, David Wallace talked about this as some of the data he reviewed for the book. The employees were asked questions for what was described as a documentary meant to humanize and demystify the Service, to help citizens understand how hard and important their job is.  This production belonged conceptually to DP Tate, although Leonard Stecyk did all the work.  There’s an intro reel that needs to be edited (or so they tell the interviewees).  And we learn that Toni Ware is employed here and is behind a window, watching the proceedings with some other employees.   This chapter reminds me of Brief Interviews as if that was a kind of set up for this.

Interviewees are given numbers:

Been here for three years and he sees that people who have been here for thirty or forty years have the look of a blind person (and he or she is very afraid of that).

The current President (Reagan) was elected on big defense spending an a massive tax cut–he’s not sure how this was supposed to work.  As for the Service, single men and women are transferred around to departments and locations where they are needed-it costs a lot more to move a family.  So he was in Utica and then Hanover, NH.  He then tells a joke about how you never tells anyone about where you work, you let them deduce from bits of information.

Using less sugar in a recipe produces a dry cake.  Don’t do that.

There are two types of people–the rebel and the solider (who believes in order and power and respects authority).  If you’re Type Two We Want You (that should be the Service’s slogan).  Tell the rebel to spit with the wind–it goes much farther.

Wants to write a play in which a man sits at a desk and nothing at all happens.  Until all the audience leaves and then the action starts.  But he could never decide on the action.

The job is not rocket science, it’s just that so many people don’t know what they are doing in the world–two-thirds of taxpayers think an exemption and a deduction are the same thing, or don’t know what a capital gain is.  Most of their work time is wasted dealing with people’s mistakes–you should see people’s handwriting.

“Tate is a moth at the arc lights of power. Pass it on.”

This is Kenneth “Type of Thing Ken” Hindle as mentioned in §9 FN 19.  David Wallace said that this was an accurate and valuable section.  Hindle says “type of thing” as a nervous tic.  And yet he is really on to something.  He is critical of Reagan’s proposal that lower taxes would spur investments: “two years in though, it’s fair to say the results contradicted the theory.” The Federal budget deficit was the greatest in history.  Hindle talks about the Three-Personed God of Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner for Systems and Chief Council. The Top spots in the Service organization, while the national office is known as Triple-Six (because of the address).
He says there is even a plan in place for taxation after a nuclear war called “Fiscal Planning for Chaos.”  He also talks about the Spackman Initiative, something which comes up throughout the book.  It was generated in 1969. The root was simple (and the current Administration likes simple) it was a backlash against complex social engineering of the Great Society.  Essentially–increasing the efficiency of the Service would increase revenues to the Treasury.  The tax gap (what was owed and what was actually paid) was 31 1/2 billion.  The paper said the gap was simply a matter of compliance–remedial misreporting which could be dealt with in a short term in three areas: Non-filing, Under-reporting and Underpayment.  Non-filing is Criminal.  Underpayment is handled through Collections and then there’s the Compliance Branch discrepancies.  This ultimately re-conceived the IRS as a business, which meant hiring 20% more workers (The Initiative).
There are two tendencies among the Service–decentralization from the 1952 mandate and the centralization of the 1960s. The 1980s is going back the other way, setting up regional instead of centralized offices which report to themselves.  But the key thing is which returns are most profitable to audit and how are these returns most efficiently to be found?

This is a lengthy detailed section.  It is kept amusing through the tic of “type of thing” and because on two occasions Ken asks if the interviewer is okay, which apparently he is not.

I have an unusually high tolerance for pain.

Dad used to mow the lawn in tiny sections to get the satisfaction of a job done many times over–his Service job is like that too–a small task every twenty minutes.

Referencing a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits in which a claustrophobic guy is put in solitary confinement so it gets worse and worse  It was called “Rules an Procedures”

“I don’t believe I have anything to say that isn’t in the code or Manual”

Mother called it being in a Stare.  His father would get like that–not daydreaming just staring–he finds himself doing it too. It frightens his children.  It’s tough here-are people doing their job or just caught in a stare?

A dog on a chain who, out of dignity, never went to the end of his chain.  He never felt compelled to choke himself.  He had a power to him.  This guy respected that dog.


Claude Sylvanshine has Random Fact Intuition.  This very funny chapter talks about RFI and how facts, utterly useless facts, pop into his head all the time–it is debilitating.  The examples are hilarious (tastes a Hostess cupcake, knows where it was made, knows who ran the machine that sprayed a light coating of chocolate frosting on top; knows that person’s weight, shoe size, bowling average).


Lane Dean is on a break.  He is listening to two older examiners. One is talking about going to Hank Bodnar’s house, the other is picking at a cyst on the inside of his wrist.  The locusts are noisy and if you thin of them as actually screaming it is unsettling. Lane Dean just wants to run around flapping his arms but he doesn’t dare.  Dean no longer needs a watch to know how long his breaks are.  The culmination of the Bodnar story is that they went to the screened in porch to eat to get away from the bugs.


The unnamed person always thought of Revenue men as small heroes and he or she always wanted to be one–the kind of person who is on the Clean Up Committee instead of playing in the band.


We learn that Glendenning is more agent-morale-oriented than the Pale King was.  Glendenning has instituted Desk Names: there’s a plate on your desk with a Desk Name–no obvious joke Desk Names like Phil Mypockets, just hard to pronounce names like Fusz, Traut, Schoewder–umlauts are always good, too.


This is a lengthy dialogue between three or four characters who appear to be stuck… in an elevator (I base that on one line, so it may be false). As with a lot of these lengthier sections, I found myself rather moved by the impassioned dialogue of these three (or four) characters.  And while I may not agree with everything that the main interlocutor (who appears to be Glenenning in the beginning) he makes a very compelling case for civic duty.

The section is all unattributed dialogue (except for one line).  As I mentioned, I calculate four people: DeWitt Glendenning, Stuart A. Nicholas, X, and a first person narrator.  There may be more, but without actually counting paragraphs and attributions (which I’m just not wiling to do although now that I mention it…no, I’ll let someone else do that) it’s not always clear who is speaking.

But in sum, this chapter’s point seems to be an argument for the reintroduction of civics as a field of study.  Civics: “the branch of political science that quote unquote concerns itself with citizenship and the rights and duties of US citizens” (131).

The chapter starts with an unnamed person (but I assume is Glendenning) expounding on civics and selfishness. It is an interesting look at a more or less Republican attitude before the Republican party hated the federal government.  Although it criticizes a liberal attitude, it seems to be more anti-libertarian.  He says that Americans infantilize ourselves—”we think of ourselves as citizens when it comes to our rights and privileges but not our responsibilities.  We abdicate our civic responsibilities to the government and expect the government in expect the government, in effect, to legislate morality…” (130). Which sounds very Republican until he gets to this part: “Corporations are getting better and better at seducing us into thinking the way they think—of profits as the telos and responsibility as something to be enshrined in symbol and evaded in reality. Cleverness as opposed to wisdom. Wanting and having instead of thinking and making” (131).

The easiest way to demonstrate what’s happening is to quote from salient paragraphs and attribute where possible:

Using the metaphor of the country as a lifeboat, you could eat everything on the boat while everyone is sleeping, but that’s not how it works.  Which is why you need to pay taxes for the good of everyone:   “The point is psychological—of course you want it all of course you want to keep every dime you make. But you don’t, you ante up because it’s how things have to be for the whole lifeboat” (131).

Naturally, the downfall for America was the 1960s, which “did a lot for raising people’s consciousness in a whole lot of areas, such as race and feminism… [but] becoming actually fashionable to protest a war opened the door to what’s going to bring us down as a country. The end of the democratic experiment” (132).

There are ample interesting arguments tossed back and forth, like that the founding fathers cared “more about the nation and the citizens than about themselves” (133).

“The government is the people, leaving aside various complications, but we split it off and pretend it’s not us; we pretend it’s some threatening Other bent on taking our freedoms, taking our money and redistributing it, legislating our morality…with the curious thing being that we hate it for appearing to usurp the very civic functions we’ve ceded to it” (135).

There is a sense of anti-corporations in the arguments as well.

“We do still think of ourselves as citizens in the sense of being beneficiaries—we’re actually conscious of our rights as American citizens and the nation’s responsibilities to us and ensuring we get our share of the American pie. We think of ourselves now as eaters of the pie instead of makers f the pie” (136).

“Corporations make the pie. They make it and we eat it…You can blame [our struggle to gratify our various appetites] on corporations and advertising surely…. But the whole dark genius of corporations is that they allow for individual reward with out individual obligation” (136).

The anti-corporate idea is eventually shot down: “It’s awfully easy to vilify corporations, X” (140).

X is a character who is introduced.  Others are casually introduced as well.  On page 134 someone says, “Doesn’t sound all that new or experimental to me, Mr Glendenning.”

At the top of 137 someone addresses: “You are a complete genius of irrelevancy, X. This isn’t a seminar. DeWitt’s trying to get at the heart of something here.”  (DeWitt being Glendenning’s first name).

Then at the top of 139, we have this interesting moment.  It’s the only place in the chapter in which we have a narrator: “’That example makes it a lot easier to see your point, Mr, Glendenning,’ I said.”  So who is the I?  It is unstated at this point.

On 146 we get another name “I think Stuart’s tracing the move from the production model of American democracy to something more like a consumption model.”

One of the characters is  ayes man, seeming to reiterate and provide similar example or clichés to “help” the main speaker.  Not sure who the sycophant is.

The discussion covers the 14th Amendment, the 13th Amendemnt, and de Tocqueville.

At some point. X complains that this whole conversation is dull, to which the reply is

“Sometimes what’s important is dull. Sometimes it’s work. Sometimes the important things aren’t works of art for your entertainment, X” (138).

This sentence could almost be the kind of thesis for why this book exists–dull things can be very important.

There’s also this gem: “It’s more like I want a law to keep you from gas-guzzling and seeing that Wild Bunch, but not me” (142).

As the section draws to an end they also criticize the Reagan-Bush ticket (or Bush-Reagan ticket) for attacking the IRS.

“This is good for the Service? Another politician trying to score points by trashing the tax system?”

“Not to mention his hike-defense spending rhetoric. How are you going to lower marginal rates and increase defense spending?”

“Stuart’s saying it’s good for the Service because lowering marginal rates but increasing spending can happen only if collection of tax is made more efficient.”
“Meaning the reins are off. Meaning the Service’s quotas go up”  (148).

By making the Service tougher and more like the bad guys, it will make citizens hate the Service more, which is what Reagan ultimately needs for reelection. The Rebel Outsider President:

In other words we’ll have for a President a symbolic Rebel against his own power whose election was underwritten by inhuman soulless profit-machines whose takeover of America civic and spiritual life will convince Americans that rebellion against the soulless inhumanity of corporate life will consist in buying products from corporations that do the best job or representing corporate life as empty and soulless.  We’ll have a tyranny of conformist nonconformity presided over by a symbolic outsider whose very election depended on our deep conviction that his persona is utter bullshit (149).

Not far off from the truth.

In terms of them being trapped in an elevator, there’s two comments that stand out.  On 143 someone asks, “Anybody got the time? How long we been in here, three hours?”  That could be anywhere, but it seems more likely involuntary when on 145 someone asks, “Is Mr. Glendenning even awake?” “He looks awful pale.”

So there’s a lot in this chapter, which is interesting and compelling but which likely doesn’t advance the “plot” all that much.


Toni Ware has moved in two houses down from Lotwis with two large dogs.  She replied to his entreaties by saying that if anything happened to her dogs, she would blame him.


A brief interview with a  taxpayer who clearly has lied about his report–the Service Employee (unspecified) has talked to one of this taxpayer’s “employees” who is actually in an Assisted Living Center (and cannot speak).

§ § § § § § § § § § § §

I enjoyed this section of reading a lot as well.  The longer sections (like 19) are wonderfully thought out, and, while confusing as to who is saying what, the whole tone is one of basic agreement so the principals aren’t that significant.  There are several brief, amusing sections.  And we also see that some of the characters will be followed from childhood through to adulthood, like Leonard Stecyk and Lane Dean and Toni Ware.  And there’s a lot of details about the Service itself which is also very interesting, even if the jobs themselves are not.

lilySOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-”Sports Song” (2014).

sportsNot every Al song is genius.  This original song parodies marching band anthems.  In this case, it comes down to Our team is great.  You Suck.

The music is top notch (the video shows a marching band, and I wonder if they used one for the song).  And lyrically it’s pretty funny (with Al explaining in great detail how their sports team is going to beat the other.

It’s the kind of song that would be fun to sing along with (and I’ll bet it will be a hoot live), but I ‘m not too crazy about my kids singing “You Suck,” so we differ a little on family friendly there (yup, I’m a prude).  As long as it doesn’t replace “Harvey the Wonder Hamster.”

He should have saved this for a Sunday release.

[READ: July 11, 2014] Good as Lily

I’ve enjoyed Derek Kirk Kim’s books quite a bit, so I was delighted to see that he had one with Minx as well.  I have to admit I was a little disappointed with Jesse Hamm’s art because the cover (done by Kim) is just so magnificent (I really like Kim’s style clearly).  Hamm’s work on the other hand is more comic strip than full characters.  That isn’t bad, and actually works well by the end of the story, but it’s quite difference from the sensuous cover art.

So, anyhow this story is about Grace Kwon.  She has just turned 18 and her friends (including her best friend Jeremy) are throwing a big bash in the park.  Things turn out weird when a lady with an ice cream cart gives them a piñata instead of ice cream.  The piñata turns out to be fun at first but it is revealed to have some kind of weird magical powers (of course).  After it lands on Grace’s head as she’s walking home she encounters three other versions of herself–a young six-year-old Grace who only wants to eat, a super-hot 28-year-old version of herself and an old granny-aged version who only smokes and watches TV.  And they all become Grace’s responsibility. Continue Reading »

jiloveSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-”Handy” (2014).

handyI had never heard of this song until I heard that it was going to be parodied on Al’s new album.  (I have since heard that it is the song of the summer, so I am clearly living under a rock).  I listened to it a few days ago and hated it.  I couldn’t believe how much it is not a song.  It’s not even a verse, it’s a simple riff repeated over and over–even into the chorus.  By definition, the song should be catchy since if you hear the same four notes over and over for 3 minutes it will get stuck in your head.  Clearly, the selling point is her weird vocal delivery, but that’s more gimmicky than anything else–she doesn’t even have a vocal melody. I don’t get it.

So how did Al turn that not-a-song into this delight of home repair?  I’d say it’s because he actually sings the lines (in his funny delivery) and that his lyrics are interesting (and very funny).  I feel like he turned that idea of a song into an actual song.  And, since I believe his version is faster and shorter, it just feels better overall.

I love how much he throws into the song–he sure knows his handy man speak.  I also like the way he uses the “do dat do dat/screw dat screw dat” lines to his own purpose.  He really breathes life into the “song of the summer,” and in the fall when Iggy Azalea is in the one hit wonder bin, I’ll still be saying I’m so handy”

This video is not on YouTube yet, but you can watch it at Al’s site.

[READ: July 6, 2014] The Plain Janes.

I enjoyed The Plain Janes and this is the sequel.  The problem for me (and I suppose anyone who waits almost exactly 7 years to read the sequel is that there was no recap, even minor, of what went on in the first book.  So that made it a little had to get up to speed.  I mean, I remembered the basic story, but couldn’t remember at all the details.

I guess the story was simple enough, but I had forgotten about John Doe and that Jane’s family left Metro City after a bomb scare.  Regardless, it is a year later and P.L.A.I.N. the art collective is still active and the Janes are still together.

The John Doe from the first story is Miroslav and Jane is writing to him regularly.  Miroslav is an artist as well and he and his girlfriend have been applying for grants (and getting them) to create their one art.  Jane feels that her own group’s art stunts are not big or important enough.  However, the town, especially the Police Chief thinks that P.L.A.I.N. are a gang and he is looking to arrest them (I don’t think the book ever reminds us what P.L.A.I.N. stands form which is kind of a shame too as I can’t remember).

Jane has a new interest close to home as well.  Damon.  I don’t recall if he was in book one, but it sounds like he took the fall for her during a recent art prank.

We also see that there is tension among the Janes.  Theater Jane is pining for a theater boy named Rhys, although since he is far away, she doesn’t hear from him much (but she sure does talk about him a lot).  Jock Jane decides to ask a basketball player out, so she marches over and tells him that they are dating now.  And he agrees (she also can’t stop talking about him).  Science Jane is too shy to ask Melvin out (but keeps talking about him).  The gay boy (whose name I don’t think was given ) is pining for there to be another gay person in the school.

There’s also some drama at home.  There was an anthrax scare and Jane’s mom’s friend was killed by it (she worked at the post office).  This has put Jane’s mom over the edge and she refuses to go outside at all now.  So Jane’s dad is doing everything in his power to make her go outside, including sleeping in a tent.

Then the unthinkable happens P.L.A.I.N. are caught doing an art installation and are sent to do community service.

But what if Jane can actually get a grant like Miroslav?  Can she legally make an artistic change in the community  The arts council has ever given money to a high schooler before, and what could she possibly do that would impress them?

The end of the book is satisfying in many ways, although as with a lot of love stories, the love part doesn’t really make a lot of sense

I was once again mixed on the art.  I like a lot of it, but there were some choices that I didn’t love–sometimes the characters looked really cartoony and sometimes they didn’t, so I wasn’t exactly sure what look he was going for was.  It was clear that these were choices and not flaws, so it was just a matter of my not liking his choices.

Castellucci has a great sense of these characters, i think I’d prefer them in a more fleshed out scenario–maybe a series of novels where each character gets  more time to explore herself.


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