Haint Misbehavin’

It occurs to me that I should link here from time to time to the writs of a couple of fellows who weekly pour forth words round this dirt patch.

The first is Dan Cohen. His legend begins with the fact that he invented punk music, way back in 1961, down (naturally) in Los Angeles. Fronting a band called Charleston Grotto. danWhich quickly found itself banned from area venues, for offering songs like “Kill The Teacher.”

Though, truth be told, Cohen’s music is less like punk, than the Bernard Herrmann score to Vertigo . . . if Bernard had felt compelled to aurally illustrate “the true story of a visit to Hell after the subject loses his virginity to a gorgeous Laurel Canyon witch.” With a lyrical sensibility upbubbling lines like “iridescent rectums that resemble marine life.”

In recent years Cohen has released five more-or-less “solo” albums, some of which are even available at places like Amazon and iTunes. If one must have a comparison to a personage a sizable number of folks have actually heard of, try long-time Cohen companero Tom Waits.

Cohen also produces words without discernible sound, writing weekly for a little arts paper called the Synthesis. I hired him for this gig, back at the setting of the last millennium; I hope he gets paid these days more than I was able to offer him then. Though, things being what they are, I doubt it. Cohen’s most recent effort is fully representative of his oeuvre: he is, for No Sane Reason, stalked by an elderly woman, determinedly pursuing him from within a walker, a being Cohen fears may be a “haint” of his recently deceased mother.

Anthony Peyton Porter I did not hire, though I did help found the paper he today labors for. While he is by far the finest scribe in what we used to call “the treesheet,” his work unaccountably appears weekly in the very back of the paper, anthonybeyond even the legal notices and the ads for the Potemkin “medical-marijuana” dives and hormonally charged “gentleman’s clubs.”

We will here resist exploring the symbolism of the seating of this black man at the very back of the paper bus.

Like Cohen, Porter is multimedia: he first came to local attention with commentaries aired over the community radio station, KZFR. While immured in the land of snow, he had previously engaged in, as he puts it, “muttering on KFAI, Twin Cities Public Television, and Minnesota Public Radio.”

Porter has an enviable gift for delivering, in 400 words or so, insights that require others to wail away for 400,000. As in this exploration of the same-as-it-ever-was twinning ancient Rome and today.

And, like Cohen, Porter fearlessly plumbs the personal. As here. Wherein—another of his gifts—open to whatever the universe may present, he finds, amid great grief, telepathy.

Read these guys. Send them some love. And money.

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2 Responses to “Haint Misbehavin’”


  1. 1 alexadiaz27 March 9, 2013 at 2:56 am

    brava. knew of Mr. Porter through you, and will read Mr. Cohen.


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