“Buddy Holly” in Many Loops

Today marks the launch of Many Loops, a fascinating new online publication obsessed with recursion. It includes “Buddy Holly,” which is a thing I wrote in 2018 about my nostalgia for Weezer’s 1994 video “Buddy Holly,” which was nostalgic for the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” which was nostalgic for the 1950s. It’s pretty much the most Joe O’Brien thing I’ve written to date.

This is something I’ve been writing called “Buddy Holly,” but it’s not really about the late preppy-nerdy rockabilly musician with the thick-framed glasses. It’s about a music video for a fuzzy-yet-sleek new wavy power-pop song called “Buddy Holly,” which isn’t really about the musician Buddy Holly either, it’s about how the song’s singer, Rivers Cuomo, resembles Buddy Holly.

This is something I’m writing in the year 2018, looking back affectionately and obsessively upon a music video I fell in love with when it first aired in 1994. Directed by eventual Oscar-winner Spike Jonze, the video features Weezer, a pop-rock band formed in the 1990s, playing their song “Buddy Holly” as if they were characters on Happy Days, a fondly-remembered sitcom from the 1970s that looked back warmly on American life in the 1950s.

This is about 2010s nostalgia for 1990s nostalgia for 1970s nostalgia for the 1950s. Nostalgia kinda like those Russian Nesting Dolls, or matryoshka.

[read the whole thing here]


So often I feel like I’m tightrope-walking above a gator-filled swamp while the world keeps chucking rotten watermelons at me, but these Flapperhouse readings make me feel all swaddled and warm. Like a birdhouse in my soul, you might say.

We’re having our 25th (!!!) one of these tomorrow night to launch our Fall issue, and there’ll be poetry & music & voodoo & telepathic football-playing dogs & on top of all that we’ll be raising funds to help immigrant families in need of legal assistance.

If you’ll be in the NYC area, feel free to swing by. I’ll be your little glowing friend, your blue canary in the outlet by the light switch, watching over you, filibustering vigilantly…


Join me & some very talented writers/performers tomorrow night (August 15) from 7-9 PM at Pacific Standard in Brooklyn as we dance with the faeries for a Mid-Summer Night’s reading!







Admission is FREE, and you can purchase print copies of the latest issue of FLAPPERHOUSE  for the special reading price of $5. Facebook event page here.

Weird Times: NYC Rocknroll & Other 9/11-Era Tunes

Been indulging nostalgic urges by reading Lizzy Goodman’s MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM, an oral history of NYC rocknroll in the 2000s. Which of course has been putting me in the mood to listen to this autobiographical Spotify playlist I made a few years ago called “Weird Times: ’01 – ’02,” all the music I surrounded myself with as a collegiate NYC rocknroll kid between 9/11 through the end of 2002, a surreal & unforgettable period I spent oscillating between madly exhilarated & madly depressed.

Obviously this playlist has a bunch of those NYC rockers– The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, Andrew WK (no Interpol, though; never really my bag). But there’s also lots of kick-ass non-NYC rock: The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, System of a Down, The Hives, The Donnas, Tenacious D, Weezer; plus plenty of wonderful non-rock: The Avalanches, OutKast, Eminem, Bjork (though alas, nothing from THE BLUEPRINT, because Jay-Z is still anti-Spotify at the moment).

Curious how most of these tracks were recorded before 9/11, but a lot of them still seem to anticipate some crazy, sinister, no-tomorrow times ahead. Or maybe that’s just hindsight-goggles talking. Either way, “Weird Times” is a pretty riveting collection of tunes if I do say so myself, even if it doesn’t necessarily transport *you* back to that year or so you spent stumbling around the East Village (and occasionally Brooklyn), finally able to legally drink and constantly on edge that the city around you would start exploding again so why not go to Brownie’s to watch some raucous sloppy-haired garage band while you get utterly obliterated?


Tonight I’m hosting FLAPPERHOUSE’s 21st Reading to celebrate the flight of our Spring 2018 issue. The show will be from 7-9 PM at Brooklyn’s Pacific Standard (82 Fourth Ave).


(& maybe more?…)

Admission is FREE, and you can buy print copies of FLAPPERHOUSE #17 for the special reading price of $5.

facebook event page here