with much younger siblings will recognize the type of unhinged
creativity represented by a song with the title “The Little
Sandwich That Got a Guilt Complex Because He Was the Sole
Survivor of a Horrible Bus Crash.” Kids are able to crank
out that kind of inspired unself-conscious surrealism by
the bucketful. By the time we become adults, however, most
of us grow out of that anarchic, inclusive approach to information.
Most of us develop filtering mechanisms and notions of appropriate
categorization. Most of us.
King Missile’s front poet, John S. Hall, an adult by any
chronological measure, just ain’t most of us. Those of you
familiar with Hall’s work in the earlier incarnations of
King Missile, feel free to nod knowingly and recall spoken-word
college radio hits of the ’90s like “Jesus Was Way Cool,”
“Take Stuff From Work,” and the big one, “Detachable Penis.”
Those of you who missed the Missile, take a moment to contemplate
the sheer lunacy implicit in titles like that of the aforementioned
sandwich ditty and “Bone China Boy,” which details the difficult
life of a boy made of bone china (“He’s not going to be
any good at sports/one wild pitch and his head is going
to break off, probably”), and “Gay/Not Gay,” which ruminates
on the sexual orientation of a man who appears on Jerry
Springer to declare his love for a hermaphrodite.
Hall’s newest version of the band, King Missile III (who
will appear at Valentine’s on Wednesday), continues on in
that tradition with the release of Failure. But there
have been changes. This time around, Hall has assembled
a band whose quirky styles mesh nicely with his own skewed
perspective, augmenting the compositions rather than just
backing them up. Notably, Hall’s now got famed session cellist
Jane Scarpantoni (if you’ve got a single pop or rock record
released in the last 15 years with a single track of cello
on it, it’s Scarpantoni), and the Blue Man Group’s zitherist
Bradford Reed, who is also the inventor of the Pencilina,
which is a kind of lap steel meets fretless bass meets koto
kind of thing.
King Missile III will play Valentine’s (17 New Scotland
Ave., Albany) on Wednesday (May 29). Local act Hyperbola
will open. Tickets for the 8 PM show are $10. For more information,
most descriptions of new books contain something along the
lines of plot synopsis and/or author-biographical info—which
we’ll get to—we’re going to begin a little differently.
We’d like to point to the bibliography of Paul Alan Rosen’s
new novel, The Poseidon Project, which the author
will read and sign at the Albany Public Library tonight
(Thursday) at 7 PM.
The fact that there is a bibliography to this work of fiction
is in itself slightly unusual, the specific entries even
more surprising: There’s Animal Models of Human Emotion
and Cognition and Expectancy Violations in Bottlenose
Dolphins and “Generalization of Visual Matching by a
Bottlenosed Dolphin,” from the Journal of Experimental
Psychology. Oh, and an article about the arrest of the
“mastermind of the world’s no. 1 drug cartel” from Time.
If dolphins and drug lords seem an unlikely combination
of elements for an adventure-espionage novel, keep in mind
the dictum, “Write what you know.” Rosen apparently did.
Rosen, who graduated from the University at Albany with
a psychology degree, notes that it was his own research
in dolphin self-recognition that inspired The Poseidon
Project, which tells the tale of Aaron Silver, a young
dolphin researcher who stumbles into a conspiracy involving
the U.S. Coast Guard, the CIA and, yes, a Colombian drug
lord. Aaron’s connections with the Israeli intelligence
agency, the Mossad, promise some protection, but his new
girlfriend “has some secrets that could get them both killed.”
(Surprised by the inclusion of the Mossad in the adventure,
we were gonna ask Rosen—who lived in Israel on two occasions—a
little more about the art-imitates-life thing. But he said
if he told us any more he’d have to kill us.)
Paul Alan Rosen will read and sign The Poseidon Project
at the Albany Public Library (161 Washington Ave., Albany)
tonight (Thursday) at 7 PM. The event is free, and refreshments
will be served. For more information, call 427-4300.