Tag Archives: music

AEWCH 90: Amanda Palmer + Conner Habib + Everyone. We are all here for each other.

12 Nov
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Friends,
What an honor to go deep into the ways we are all connected with rock star, writer, TED Talker, and activist Amanda Palmer. Amanda is known for many things – her music, her band The Dresden Dolls, her book The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help which was kicked off by her TED talk, “The art of asking” – but all of her accomplishments stress a spirit of giving and vulnerability.
We start with me recounting an event from the week before, when I intervened and stopped a man from committing suicide, and from there, we talk about the many, many ways in which we are all here for each other. This is an episode compassion, which means “to suffer with.” It’s about the jobs that artists have in our world, about the ways we close ourselves off from connection, about art and motherhood, about mutualism in animals, and more.
And yes, we both cry.
I’m so proud to share this episode, friends, and I hope it brings light to you.
Do contribute to Amanda’s patreon. Amanda has done so much for artists, particularly by laying the foundation for grassroots and associative economies.

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Amanda, here’s a spotify playlist I’ve made of 10 songs by Amanda (and her band the Dresden Dolls) that I love. Amanda is married to world-renowned fantasy author, Neil Gaiman, and they record an entire event together (it’s great). And here’s a great (and mulled over on my show) Amanda appearance on Tim Ferris’s podcast.
• Here’s my little twitter tribute (in thread form) to Lynn Margulis. Stay tuned to future episodes for more on Lynn and her work.
• Amanda and I interacted for the first time when she was kind enough to repost my exclusive blog post of a speech by Tilda Swinton about art and light. The speech is stunning, and I was lucky enough to get it from Tilda’s friend, author William Middleton.
• Unfortunately, Tatsuo Motokawa’s classic article, “Sushi Science and Hamburger Science” is behind a paywall, but it’s worth reading.
• Here’s travel writer Pico Iyer’s TED Talk, “What ping-pong taught me about life“.
• If you’d like to read a bit on occult theories of how music works, check out AEWCH 45 with occult musician Ben Chasny, and also read The Harmony of the Human Body: Musical Principles in Human Physiology by Armin Husemann.
• Read Amanda’s poem for the brother of the Boston Marathon bomber “A Poem For Dzhokhar

MY

• There’s a great book by Walter Kendrick about how the ruins of ancient Pompei turned into porn called The Secret Museum: Pornography in Modern Culture.
• I have yet to listen to Madison Young‘s podcast, but it is SO on the list now.
• A great self help book that I think can help anyone who wants some help is How to Be an Adult: A Handbook for Psychological and Spiritual Integration by David Richo.
• Amanda was reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast and I recommend his book Eating Animals.
• The Roisin that Amanda mentions is Roisin Ingle, who created The Women’s Podcast.
• Actually, the Brian O’Connor episode came out just before this one! It’s AEWCH 89!
• Read Sophie Lewis‘s (dream guest for the show!) Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family for a truly challenging examination of motherhood, pregnancy, and work.
• I wrote about my mother’s death in my essay, “When You’re Sick You’ll Wait For The Answer But None Will Come
• I talk more about detachment and sex work on AEWCH 44 with writers Kelly Link and Jordy Rosenberg.
I’ll leave you here with the lyrics from Amanda’s beautiful song, “A Mother’s Confession” which is on the spotify playlist I made of Amanda’s music.
Our son is four months old his name is Anthony or Ash for short
And he’s too small to do things by himself
We were in LA over Christmas in a rental and we jury-rigged a place
To change his diapers on a shelf
I was peeing in the bathroom and had left him for a second
‘Cause I thought he couldn’t move and he was safe
As I came out I saw him falling in slow motion to the floor
It was probably the worst moment of my life
And then I accidentally stole a thing of chapstick from the safeway
I didn’t see it ’til I got out to the car
I would have usually returned it but I was overwhelmed
And late to take the baby to my cousins which was far away
In my defense, I’d bought like $87 worth of groceries
And the chapstick was a $1.99
I know it wasn’t the right thing to use
My newborn child as an excuse
But it felt like a good reason at the time
And as I pulled out of the parking lot I cried
And as I pulled onto the highway I said right
At least the baby didn’t die right?
At least the baby didn’t die
And then we went to Sarasota
To see Neil’s cousin Helen
For her birthday she just turned ninety-nine
We were also there for Sidney
Who was ninety-four two days before
But he was sick, so mostly it was Ash and Helen time
She survived the Warsaw ghetto
And she always says I love you”
When she sees you ’cause she knows you never know
She’d worked for months while I was pregnant
On a gorgeous handmade blanket
Her almost-hundred-year-old hands crocheting every row
I’d been emailing her pictures of the baby and the blanket
Every day since she had sent it in the mail
But they were of one that someone else had knitted
She was really nice about it
Then I went and shoplifted a pair of ugly sunglasses
From Goodwill (they were on my head
I’d tried them on and left them there)
But that’s not really bad compared to
When we left the baby in the car
At least he wasn’t in there very long
And not directly in the sun
And thank god no-one walking by happened to notice what we’d done
I’m even scared to put these lyrics in a song
But
Everything is relative and everyone’s related
I can’t do that much right now
But take care of this baby
I figure everything’s technically all right
If at least this baby doesn’t die
And then I took a plane to Washington alone
So we could visit Jason Webley who’s his godfather
He’s playing the accordion
I couldn’t wait to see him and share tales of our disasters
Over dinners in his houseboat when I saw I’d lost my passport
So I got a rush appointment at the place where you replace them
And I drove the baby in and on the way I got a speeding ticket
When the cop came to the window I was shaking and I said “I’m sorry”
But you couldn’t hear me that’s how loud the sound of screaming was
Cause he was hungry and I think that I was speeding
Cause I panic when I hear him cry
My god what kind of a mother am i
And as I pulled out of the breakdown lane I cried
And as I pulled out on the highway I said right
At least the baby didn’t die right?
At least the baby didn’t die”
While I was waiting for my passport I was hungry so
I twittered for a coffee in the neighborhood
And there I saw a woman who was sitting at the bar
And it was noon and she was drinking
And she called across the diner to me How old is your baby?”
And she smiled at us nursing
And she said she had a daughter who was grown
And then she paused
And said she also had a son
And when I’d paid and was about to leave
I picked him up and crossed the room and touched her sleeve
I said, Hey, this baby wanted to say hi”
And she held him tight and she started to cry
And I’m sorry that this story’s gotten long
And that everybody’s crying in this song
And then I got back in the car I turned the radio and heater on
And sat there with the baby in the back
And they were talking about Syria and climate change and ISIS
And the candidates’ positions on Iraq
I feel so useless in this universe
I know I could be doing worse
I’m trying hard to stay at peace inside
I know it’s hard to be a parent
But this mess is so gigantic
i wonder if I should have had a child
And as I pulled out of the parking lot I cried
And as I pulled out on the highway I said
right
At least the baby didn’t die
At least the baby didn’t die
EVERYBODY:
At least the baby didn’t die!! right?!
At least the baby didn’t die!!
(i may not make it to the passport place on time!)
At least the baby didn’t die
(and they might revoke my license for a while!!)
At least the baby didn’t die
(and I might get caught for retroactive theft!!)
At least the baby didn’t die
(and I might get turned into the DSS!)
But at least the baby didn’t die
Until next time, friends,
XO
CH
Amanda

photo by Michael Murchie

A socialism of the heart: Billy Bragg on Against Everyone With Conner Habib!

6 Aug
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Friends,
What an amazing conversation with music legend, political rock star, and one of my heroes, Billy Bragg.
Billy really needs no introduction, but in case you’ve missed his decades-spanning career in music, I’ve made a long spotify playlist of some of my favorite Billy Bragg songs for you here. Billy’s music has always held a special place in my heart and my activism, and his new book, The Three Dimensions of Freedom which focuses on his thoughtful versions of liberty, equality, and accountability, has only amplified my admiration for him. It’s a great book that you can read in a couple hours, and will enliven your sense of history and motivate you. Go get it.
We talk about
  • why the language of Marxism no longer works, and why we need a language of compassion
  • how to tend to individualism ethically, and how to have agency
  • how the alt-right and atheist bros and Brexit all arise from a sense of meaninglessness
  • how Billy’s model relates to the traditional tripartite motto of Liberty! Equality! Fraternity! and why he replaced “fraternity” with “accountability”
  • how holding some asshole accountable on twitter relates to accountability for political leaders
  • why Morrissey is a dick (not in the episode, but at Billy’s shows, he’s been calling Boris Johnson “Borrissey”)
  • the problem with “freedom of speech”
  • why concerns about no-platforming are ridiculous
  • why Flat Earthers have a point (not really, but sort of!)
  • gay slaps in the face (listen for Billy’s gasp, it’s great)
  • shifting fields of culture and what is acceptable and unacceptable
  • how one of his albums was deeply personal for me and wove into a time of abuse
BBPromo
(Also, isn’t Billy a total Daddy now?)
XO
CH

The occult power of music: Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance) on Against Everyone with Conner Habib!

18 Oct
AGAINST EVERYONE with CONNER HABIB 45: BEN CHASY (SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE) or OCCULT VIBRATIONS

AGAINST EVERYONE is fully funded by Patreon. Please support the show and contribute to my mission to bring deep but accessible conversations to the world, and you’ll also get great stuff. Signing up is easy, and contributions start at as little as a dollar per month.

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Friends,

One of my favorite musicians, Ben Chasny (AKA Six Organs of Admittance) joins me on AEWCH to discuss the occult properties and relationships of tones, chords, and intervals. We don’t just discuss them, Ben plays them, and we see what happens; in particular we use Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on music (starting at 32:00) and the evolution of consciousness to lead us. Also, on the four occult bodies, feeling the music versus allowing music to grow out of itself, why we need to listen to and through the entire body, Billy Idol and Francoise Hardy, Deleuze and repetition in songs, Ben’s Hexadic system for composing, and why music makes us feel the way it makes us feel.

There are four (yes, four!) musical performances on this episode. Here are the songs and when they happen:

Journey Through Sankuan Pass: 59:20

Pilar: 1:18:10

Elk River: 1:20:30

Word for Two: 1:22:30

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Conner talks with one of his intellectual and artistic heroes: Cap’n Jazz & Joan of Arc frontman, Tim Kinsella. Music, the occult, creativity, disruption – all on AEWCH 43!

2 Oct

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Friends,

Joan of Arc, Cap’n Jazz, Owls, and Make Believe frontman Tim Kinsella has long been a source of creative inspiration for me. So it was such an honor to have him on the show, and a pleasure to talk with him. The conversation is wide-ranging, but also intense.

We talk about music, of course; but also the occult, how art happens to us and why, the merits of making audiences uncomfortable, why utopia motivates us, modernism and ghosts.

As always, the show notes are on my patreon, click here to go deeper into the stuff we talk about!

TKS

Gang of Youths meets Conner Habib to talk rock & roll and suicide.

29 May
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Friends,
Dave Le’aupepe is frontman of one of the biggest Australian bands of the moment, Gang of Youths. And we sat down during his US tour to discuss rock and roll, living a serious life, and depression. He also plays two songs, “Persevere” (20:23) and a cover of “Chelsea Hotel No 2” by Leonard Cohen.
Dave & Gang of Youths’s music is a hopeful melancholy; they present the darkness but don’t wallow in it.
On another note, this is the first time I talk at length about my own life with suicidal depression. How it has surged forward in my life and then receded, and why. I hope this episode is helpful to those also facing the challenge of depression.
On a lighter note, Dave broke my camera! We laugh about it in the episode, but if you’re watching, rather than listening, you’ll see a big difference in the image about halfway through. So, sorry about the image difference. But hey, you just get to feel closer to us.
Love.
CH

Conner and Mish Barber-Way from White Lung talk about screaming, abuse, and danger.

10 Nov

In AEWCH 13, I hang out with one of my favorite punks, Mish Barber-Way, singer/screamer of White Lung. White Lung is intense, loud, metal-meets-punk, and they’re truly awesome. (Rolling Stone named White Lung’s album, Deep Fantasy, one of the 40 Greatest Punk Albums of All Time.) So I made sure to ask Mish to play a couple songs, too, even though she’s used to playing MUCH much louder. There are acoustic versions of “Paradise” at  57:55 and “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette: 1:17:40

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Mish’s sordid, awesome past and present in the adult industry: 2:45
  • Who gets screwed up by being in porn and who does well and why?: 5:10
  • Strategies for public performances. Of all kinds.: 7:15
  • Radiating sexuality: 10:20
  • Our apocalypse survival strategies and the Amish at the end of the world: 13:15
  • How screaming gets you ignored in music, especially if you’re a woman, and why to do it anyway, and what Wilhelm Reich has to do with it: 23:00
  • Arousal and desire are not the same thing: 36:05
  • The missing language of gray area sexual encounters, and why we’re drawn to simple language, even though it doesn’t help us: 46:35
  • The complicated relationships that can frame assault: 51:05
  • Mish talks about White Lung’s song, “Paradise”: 54:40
  • Mish plays an acoustic version of “Paradise”: 57:55
  • Once you get what you want you can’t want it: 1:00:50
  • Why danger matters: 1:03:15
  • Mish plays “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette: 1:16:45

If you like the show, please support it on Patreon, where you can also find the show notes!

Habib Summer Update – Events, Writing, and Your Suggestions

17 Jul

showerHello, summer!  Lots happening. 

The biggest news is that I turned my book — re-titled The Sex Book: Myths, Positions, Taboos and Possibilities — into the publisher (Disinformation Books), so now all I have to do is wait for the edits and dive back in.  There’s this sort of negative space when you finish a book.  Like, what do I do now?

Happily, other people and assignments having been keeping me too busy to notice my postpartum angst.

***

Fighting AB1576

If you haven’t yet heard of the crazy human rights violation that is AB1576, let me introduce you.  AB1576 is a bill heading to the California State Senate, that would mandate condoms and testing for all porn performers and all porn shoots.  It sounds like a good idea at first, but when you look at it for just a wee bit longer, it starts to reveal itself as a terrible disaster – a disaster of policy and morals.

For a full expression of why you should oppose AB1576, as well as how it intersects with the LGBT community, here’s my article about the bill for Slate, and below is an excerpt.

To fight AB1576 isn’t to argue against HIV testing for individuals, but against state-mandated testing. State-mandated testing is an HIV test without consent, in the sense that a performer would be forced to have one to work. AB1576 states that not getting an HIV test coincident with a porn production, even a small-scale one featuring you and your partner, would be a crime. This would be true even if two men who had already tested positive HIV wanted to make porn together. They would have to get tested every 14 days. Furthermore, two HIV+ men would have to wear condoms in all productions, since the bill does not distinguish who should wear condoms based on status. Whatever your feelings about two men with HIV having unprotected sex, they certainly don’t need testing every 14 days, and we now know that men with undetectable viral loads do not transmit HIV. If that’s not enough to disturb you, the bill would also criminalize two long-term monogamous partners making their own porn. They’d have to test for the production and wear condoms as well.

I’ve also been interviewed several times about it.  For DailyDot on how safer conditions for performers require more than some overreaching bill, Tits And Sass along with Jiz Lee on the fallout of the bill and its potential for harm , Vice, and more.

To take action opposing AB1576, click here.  Then when you see me, tell me you did it, and I’ll give you a huge hug for your help.

***

Writing

One of my favorite pieces to write in the past few months was my essay on the 1980s straight porn film, Debbie Goes To College for Nerve.com.  Nerve asked me to write a piece about something from pop culture that shaped my sexuality.  Maybe it’s a little obvious, but porn shaped my sexuality, especially straight porn, since that was all that was available.

DGTCHere’s an excerpt:

When I was young, I didn’t understand why I fixated on the blowjob scenes so much. It must be because I want some college girl to do that to me, I thought (wrongly, of course). Most gay guys my age have had this experience: we watched straight porn because it was what we had access to, and what we presumed we wanted to watch. But really, I’m not sure what’s more confusing: gay guys watching straight porn or straight guys watching it. I mean there are naked men in it. How do straight men cope with watching men have sex with women?  There are all these dicks. Guys fucking. Butt cheeks. The mystery of straight porn is that it can’t ever really be straight.

I continue to contribute, albeit sporadically, sex and relationship advice to Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger’s blog.  Since Patti and I often have totally divergent views on sex and relationships, writing my column, Free Sex, has been fun.  Here are two entries, one on something I call “desire etiquette” and another on why you should let go of the concept of “forever.”

vanpeltI also wrote my first piece on music! It’s an interview with a short article – I talk to my friend Chris Leo (brother of Ted Leo, power pop superstar and Aimee Man’s bandmate in The Both) about his 1990s post-punk band, The Van Pelt.  That era of music holds a special place for me and the formation of my values and aesthetics, so it was awesome to sit down with Chris and talk about it.

***

More Blog – What Do You Think?

Speaking of venturing out, I’m going to be posting more often on this blog, which means my blog is going to get a little more, um, bloggy.  Since I’m selling most of my longer form writing at this point, I want to funnel some of my less refined and more casual thinking into this space.  I can’t keep up with the one-post-a-day thing, but since I’m intending to do more here, I’d love to know what you’d like to hear more about?  I’m open to any suggestions regarding form or content.  Interviews? Images?  Musings? Quotes?  Tumblr-style curation?  Etc.

Comment below or send an email with ideas to connerhabibsocial at gmail

***

Media

Straight GuysI’m featured in the documentary Straight Guys, which is all about gay-for-pay performers.  Don’t worry, I’m not straight (and how
dare you think that even for a second!), but I have worked with lots of men who identify as heterosexual.  The film also features my pal, porn hotty Bravo Delta, and the gay (“gay”?) studio Chaos Men.  Here’s the trailer, which is just a little NSFW.

GQ France gave me a little shout out, which I think is pretty awesome.  And that led to me a quick flurry of me appearing in French media.  Here’s an extensive review of my work on the French blog, Pop and Films.

Finally, I’m one of 80 interviews in the book, Around the World in 80 Gay Porn Stars.  Always nice to be between the covers with 79 other fellas.  It’s edited by Jimi Goninan and Paul Travers, and you can buy the ebook here.

***

Events

I’ll be appearing at Catalyst Con in Los Angeles in September as an opening keynote speaker!  

Catalyst Con is the country’s big sex-worker/sex-positivity/sex-education/sexual liberation conference.  I’m honored to be a part of this event.  To register, go to the Catalyst Con site.  Then come hang out with me and a bunch of people who know a lot about sex.  Sound like fun, doesn’t it?  Catalyst Con 2014 is September 11-14.  Click here for more info.

If you want to bring me to your school or non-academic organization to speak, click here for more info.

Okay, that’s all for now!

Love,

CH