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King Missile III

Anyone 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, call 432-6572.

Paul Alan Rosen

Though 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.

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