Archive for the ‘Girls Like a Boy Who Plays Music’ Category

Goethe Month: Another sort of woman

July 23, 2010


She has a masculine spirit, and is another sort of woman from us housewives and seamstresses. She is great, steadfast, resolute. A majestic woman! I should dread to appear before her.

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Egmont. Act III, Scene 2.)

Oh, no, she is another sort and majestic.


The selection of screencaps of Immortal Beloved on the net we call inter is so shitty that I feel I have no choice but to remedy the dearth myself sooner than later. Look for it in the quite near future By Name

When the play Egmont debuted in 1787, Jam Master LVB, known to lesser mortals as “Beethoven,” was pretty danged impressed indeedy and, around 20 years later, set Egmont to music. No Big Deal. (except yes.)

Goethe Month: Theory of Colours, Day 7 — *fin*

July 22, 2010

The afore-promised celebrity criticisms of the Farbenlehre.


“Wake up, Dr. S — there is science afoot!” via.

Goethe delivered in full measure what was promised by the title of his excellent work: data toward a theory of colour. They are important, complete, and significant data, rich material for a future theory of colour. He has not, however, undertaken to furnish the theory itself … but really postulates it as a phenomenon, and merely tells us how it originates, not what it is.

(Arthur Schopenhauer, Über das Sehn und die Farben/On Vision and Colors. 1810.)

Which fact we have already seen well-defended by my b’loved Werner H. so I will not dwell on Schopenhauer’s criticism other than to say I generally like the things he has to say on just about any subject and agree with him here as usual.


“One of the most important works.”

(Wassily Kandinsky, qtd. in Rowley, Allison. “Kandinskii’s theory of colour and Olesha’s Envy.” Canadian Slavonic Papers. September-December 2002.)

A Russian artist and one of the famous Blue Four, Kandinsky is the father of abstract painting and was an instrumental theorist and professor for the Bauhaus before the National Socialists destroyed a bunch of their compositions. Kandinsky taught the most basic design courses at Bauhaus and used Goethe’s color wheel in his avant-garde art theory lectures. Also, note the hotness. Girls Like a Boy Who Reads [scathing criticisms of Nazis and protests against the public destruction of his art which eventually lead him to flee to Paris ahead of persecution by said Nazis]!


“Farbenkreis zur Symbolisierung des Menschlichen Geistes und Seelenlebens,” Goethe, 1809. This is the aforementioned color wheel that art rebel hottie Wassily Kandinsky would use in lecture.

Can you lend me the Theory of Colours for a few weeks? It is an important work. His last things are insipid.

(Ludwig van Beethoven, Conversation-book, 1820.)

Love how he goes from wanting to read Goethe because he considers his work important to “His last things are insipid.” Man, Beethoven had such an attitude.

He was such a crazy deaf grump by the time he died. Amazing and bittersweetly comical that a creative genius was also so churlish and curmudgeonly — like he genuinely made other peoples’ lives hard despite bringing beautiful music in to our world. The generosity of his composition and fame in the wide world is so jarring in juxtaposition with his infliction of discomfort and temper on the people close to him. The complexity intrigues me and also amuses me somehow but makes me sad too. That reminds me: I need to plan an Immortal Beloved Movie Moment.

Shit, now I’ve given over most of the last entry on Theory of Colours to talking about Beethoven. What can you do. Thoughts happen.

Fin!

Music Moment: Nobody Expects a Ukulele! Adorable Kate Micucci redux feat. William H. Macy

July 2, 2010

Nobody expects a ukulele! Kate Micucci and William H. Macy sing “It’s Time to Get Laid” in uke-strumming duet-y glory. I said goddamn, Kate “Gooch” Micucci — you are just too big a bowl of awesomesauce to even take in.


Brain asplosions.

The short, sexually encouraging video was intended to promote Bart Got A Room (Brian Hecker, 2008), in which both Kate and Mr. Macy were featured. The movie also stars Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm and the gorgeously spatterfaced and at-long-last-legal-to-ply-with-long-islands Alia “Maeby” Shawkat (ow!) from Arrested Development and Whip It. Previously, I featured Kate singing “Screw You” in a duet with Ted from Scrubs. The cute-as-a-button comic genius is one half of the singing comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates — and I’m glad to add that youtube is chockful of her videos — and she is such a brain-asplodingly adorable uke hero that I may have to give her her own category, soon!

Bonus picture of Alia Shawkat for, um, … Science.


I have just blinded you. With Science.

You’re welcome.

William Blake Month: Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: “The Tigers of Wrath”

June 23, 2010


Berlin, Germany

The quote comes from “Proverbs of Hell,” a chapter in William Blake’s gnostic text The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

The book has been interpreted as an anticipation of Freudian and Jungian models of the mind, illustrating a struggle between a repressive superego and an amoral id. It has also been interpreted as an anticipation of Nietzsche’s theories* about the difference between slave morality and master morality.

(the wiki)

*cf: in particular Nietzsche’s camel – lion – child model of human thought and behavior as outlined in Also sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen / Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None (1883-1885).

Portions of this post appeared originally on December 5, 2009.

Tevee time and Music Moment: Coupl’a’ Unlikely G’s — That Bald Sweaty Lawyer and The Girl He’s Sweet on, “Screw You.”

June 21, 2010

Nobody expects a ukulele!


Brain-asplodin’ cuteness.

God bless you, Ted. God bless you, Scrubs.

My sister-in-law and I used to have a running telephone gag where because of its glorious syndicated ubiquity — you could watch blocked hours at a time of it during the afternoon if you switched channels at the right half-hour — we would talk as though Scrubs were a new show of which we’d scarcely just now heard. It would go about like this:

“Helloooo! What are you doing?”

“Helloooo! I’m watching this situation comedy set in a hospital.”

“Really? What is it called?”

“Hmm. Docs or Duds or something.”

“Is it Scrubs, maybe?”

“Yes! Scrubs.”

“I’ve heard of that! That seems interesting.”

“It is! It’s even funny. Two of the doctors I think like each other.”

“Do you think they will ever get together, and then break up, and then do it over and over and over?”

“I have no idea — it’s a total mystery!”

“Gosh! I think I would like that. When can I catch it?”

“I’m not sure. It doesn’t seem like it’s on very often.”


Miss you, Christer. Muah. ♥




The Scrubs screencaps in this post come from fyeahscrubs! on the tumblr. When all the “Fuck yeah” tumblrs started, I was skeptical, but I find them increasingly great and this particular one has such awesome caps that I can go on there when I’m down and come out practically crying from laughing so hard. “You seem unhappy. I like that.” Thanks!

William Blake Month: Binding with briars my joys and desires

June 19, 2010


via

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.


In the ruins of St. Ebba’s Lunatic Asylum. Epsom, Surrey, England.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore,


Photographed by Ellen von Unwerth for her book Revenge.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

(William Blake, “The Garden of Love.”)

Binding with briars my joys and desires.

Who will take your dreams away?

Music Moment: There’s no tomorrow — The Mighty Hannibal, “Hymn No. 5”

June 16, 2010

If you skip the Music Moments normally … don’t skip this one. Banned from the airwaves and all-but-lost to obscurity, this song is one of the best Vietnam tell-it-like-it-is protest songs and one of the greatest soul singles I have heard in recent memory, period.

The Mighty Hannibal — “Hymn No. 5”


I wrote my baby from Vietnam
and this is what I said,

“I want to see you
(You know that)
I want to see you
I want to see you
(Yes I do, now)
Yes, I do.


via northern soul in the u.k.

“Sleeping in these foxholes
Hungry and cold
I had a dream last night

I dreamed I saw you
(You know that I)
I dreamed I saw you
(Yes, I did, yeah)
I dreamed I saw you
(Yeah, I want to say that I)
(I dreamed, a dream)
Yes, I did.”


I want somebody
to tell my mother
And go down yonder in Georgia
and tell my father
that I’m way over here
crawling in these trench-holes,
covered with blood,
but one thing that I know:


There’s no tomorrow,
There’s no tomorrow,
There’s no tomorrow —
they’ll bury me.


I want everybody
in the sound of my voice this evening
to help me sing this hymn number five.

I want you to moan one time.
(humming chorus)


Sometimes I wonder,
I wonder what was it that I did?
I tried to be a good father,
I did the best that I could.
And I wonder, who’s going to take care of my kids?
I’m a long way from home, children.

But I want the world to know
the one thing that I did.
I’m gone for good.


via American Ethnography: Vietnam Zippos.

“Hymn No. 5” was banned from stateside radio-play lickety-split for its “controversial” lyrics. I searched high and low on the internet for those incendiary, heartfelt lyrics, but no go. So, fuck you, censorious witchhunt world of the late 60’s and paranoid early 70’s played out across this present world wide web, because I’m not as lazy as you suppose — I’m typing them out myself. (see above.)


The protest in ’71. The largest of its kind.

From the infinitely worthy Soul Shack:

The Mighty Hannibal is one of those Soul artists that is wrongfully obscure. The world of popular music is filled with myth building, myths sometimes becoming truth, facts obscured. A handful of people these days remember Hannibal. The kind of people who like to hang out in dusty record shops, swap endless amounts of stories and usually useless little facts about obscure and forgotten Soul singers that are God’s gift only in our minds.

(“Platters That Matter: Hymn No. 5.” January 9, 2008.)


from photographer Declan McCullagh, “A dilapidated section of Hue’s citadel, site of major Vietnam War battle involving U.S. Marines and U.S. Army calvary regiments, slowly being rebuilt.”

Hannibal’s “Hymn No. 5” is in my opinion an exception. It is one of those few obscure Soul records that should be saved from forgetfulness. “Hymn No. 5” is both a record of rare beauty and relevance.

(Ibid.)



With the war in Iraq still taking young lives on a daily basis I feel it is important that art like this is remembered. It is through art that we understand the true atrocities of war. If we left it up to our politicians war would be narrowed down to one-liners and personal interest. The news may gives us the facts, photographers may give us the images, but art gives us the personal implications. A song like “Hymn No 5” allows us to feel what war means, allows us to forget the bullshit of the politicians, the confusing statistics scientists use, transcend the daily cold news and actually feel what war does to people. Art allows us to experience the very human consequence of war.

(Ibid.)

Quoted in full because I could not have articulated it as well. A thousand thanks.

The Mighty Hannibal was initially active in the West Coast soul scene, working with Johnny Otis (“Willie and the Hand Jive,” “Harlem Nocturne”) and Johnny “Guitar” Watson (“Gangster of Love”) before launching his own less-than-widely-known but well-appreciated solo career. Born James Timothy Shaw, the Mighty Hannibal grew up with his folks Corrie Bell and James Henry Shaw in Atlanta, GA and then eventually wung his way West. (Can we put a permanent ban on calling it “Hotlanta?” Can that be done?)


Vernon Jordan.

I mention Mr. Shaw’s family as a roundabout and oblique way of announcing that we are coming up on twenty-three years since the overdose/drowning death of AIDS-stricken early porn-and-free-speech crusader Althea Flynt. (Seems random. Bear with me because everything is related and everything is falling apart.) The Mighty Hannibal’s first cousin, the famous lawyer, civil rights crusader, and all-around controversial dude Vernon Jordan (pictured above) has a common bond with Althea’s husband, never-once-controversial-a-day-of-his-life-wink-wink, the paraplegic and litigious Hustler mastermind, Mr. Larry Flynt (pictured below): they have both survived assassination efforts by murderous racist fuckface Joseph Paul Franklin.

For the record, Franklin —and hell, no, I am not throwing up a link to his attention-seeking, Aryan Nations-loving, hopefully-daily-reamed-out butthole; if you want to know more, wiki his sick ass — has never been tried for either of their attempted murders, though he has confessed. He currently sits on Death Row in Missouri, a sentence for which he thanked his jury, assuring them that if they had not condemned him, he would only escape and keep killing in the name of race wars. Also he was a big fan of the Beltway Snipers, who took their cues from his methodology. He was probably pretty surprised when they turned out to be of a heritage he thought was going to Hell. In his face. So, yeah, that dickhead’s on Death Row now. Uh, good? I guess? Not sure that killing him is the solution, although I understand it will satisfy a need for vengeance (which they’ll call “closure” and I deeply understand why because of some of my own shit but it still sits uneasy with me) on the part of his victims’ families. But still. What the good Lord makes of all that is anyone’s guess.


You are all like, why is this a picture of Larry and Althea Flynt and not of Joseph Paul Franklin, and I am all like, “Because I don’t support pathological interest in killers. How about focusing on the people whose lives they interrupted? Go somewhere else if that’s what you want, you stupid, sick fuck, and I hope you never endure the type of loss it will apparently take to snap you out of your ignorant murderer-worshiping, celebrity-and-violence-driven stupor.” If you’re offended by all that, then PLEASE feel free never to return to this journal.

When you stack Franklin’s heinous crimes — which I am not happy to have even touched upon in this entry but I did want to bring the fact of Mr. Jordan’s and Mr. Shaw’s blood relationship to your attention as they are both forthright guys who are serious about civil rights and speaking the truth no matter how ugly it is — up against the subject of this song, hate piled upon hate … it is difficult to even understand where the good can come from on this earth. There is evil in the big picture just as much as the devil is in the details. Genocide and crime and blood and war on one another, which can only be against God’s plan? ought they must be?, stalk every continent. There’s no tomorrow.

Yikes. In reviewing this, I guess it seems that foul mood of earlier today has not yet passed. Super-sorry. Kickass song, though, right? And again, please do scope out the awesome Soul Shack.

Take-Two Tuesday — Music Moment: Grant Hart, “You’re the Reflection of the Moon on the Water” from new LP Hot Wax

June 8, 2010

Originally posted on November 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm. This song still WAILS. So good, seriously.

Grant Hart – You’re the Reflection of the Moon on the Water

Grant Hart is best known for his drumming and writing with Hüsker Dü and for co-founding Nova Mob. This track comes from his fourth solo album, Hot Wax, which came out October 6th. It’s awesome.


“Blonde” by abless on flickr.

Witchy and melodic and also super-strong, with this really wicked organ-and-rides vibe that makes it driving and Doors-y, the song is basically the same four verses repeated and I didn’t even notice until I typed out the lyrics. The music is so insistent that it just seemed natural. Hart has said that the lyrics are inspired by the Dalai Lama and the composition by Patti Smith; both influences are totally there. You’re going to love it! Listen!


You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
but you’re not the moon

You are the scent of the sea on the night wind


You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
but you’re not the sea

You are the shadows from the light of a fire
You are the shadows from the light of a fire
You are the shadows from the light of a fire
but you’re not the light

You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
but you’re not the rain

You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
but you’re not the moon

You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
but you’re not the sea

You are the shadows from the light of a fire
You are the shadows from the light of a fire
You are the shadows from the light of a fire
but you’re not the light


PSA: August is going to be Sharon Tate Month around here.* Did You Know? Pass it on.

You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
but you’re not the rain

Verses repeat a final time.


Also by abless on flickr.




*In a beautiful and upbeat, positive “respectful-celebration-of-her-life” way — not in a scummy, explotive, tragic “let’s-dwell-on-stupid-asshole-murderers-and-not-the-people-whose-lives-they-took” way, because I am fully fucking sick of that shenanigans overshadowing her beauty, talent, and sense of humor. (Sorry to drop massive f-bomb out of nowhere but there is just no call for how much horrifying b.s. people still bloodthirstily associate with her instead of letting her good deeds and fun performances stand on their own.) Call it Sharon Tate’s ACTUAL LIFE Awareness Month or something. Join me for that!

Movie Moment: A story in stills — I Tre volti della paura, aka The Three Faces of Fear, aka Black Sabbath

April 21, 2010

A touch of giallo and genuine fear in the rainy April. In honor of the upcoming thirtieth anniversary of his death, I declare this Mario Bava Movie Moment Week. He was a really terrific director of plenty of genres, though he is best known for his work in horror, with a good sense of fun AND fear, and a truly great gift for cinematic expression. His colors, lighting, and cinematographic choices are amazing. I look forward to highlighting some of my faves from him over the next seven days!


Bava big pimpin’! image via Thizz Face Disco right here on the wordpress.

Thought I’d start with I Tre volti della paura, aka The Three Faces of Fear, aka Black Sabbath (1963). It’s a story in stills edition, folks, so skip to the bottom if you don’t want spoilers!


(stills via proximity seamstress in the Nostalgia Party community on the lj. YOU ARE SO COOL!)

Arguably Bava’s masterpiece, Black Sabbath is broken in to three segments. I feel that each of the three segments explores a various type of terror: from the psychological, to the monstrous, to the uncanny. The only element of continuity between the three stories is a cinematic one: Boris Karloff, one of the kings of classic horror, comes out to introduce each segment in the version with which I’m familiar (though I’m told this is not the case with the original U.S. release), and plays a vampire in the second of the segments.

These screencaps are exclusively from what I’d term the strictly psychological thriller segment, “Part I: The Telephone,” a noirish story about wicked people with ulterior motives couched in deceit, coupled with the dramatic sexy violence and twists characteristic of giallo films. Set in Paris, the short is familiar pulp territory, with the titillating added thrill of bisexuality, but it’s shot with a Hitchcockian tension to the angles and edited with sustained, lingering frames interrupted by abrupt cuts that really ratchet up the anxiety level.

The story takes place in pretty much one location over a single evening, almost in real time, which contributes considerably — along with the short length of the segment — to a swiftly rising pitch in suspense.

This hot ticket is Rosy, played by mega-hottie Michèle Mercier. Rosy is a call girl whose boyfriend and former pimp, Frank, has just escaped from prison. As she testified against him in his trial, she’s understandably concerned after hearing the dramatic news of his escape that he is going to seek her out soon for reprisals.

(And you thought nervous girls getting all naked and wet was a trope that was invented for seventies slasher flicks. Silly you. Friday the 13th ain’t got nothin’ on Sgr. Bava!)

It seems Rosy’s concerns are well-placed, because she begins receiving mysterious, threatening phone messages from a gruff caller who says he is Frank and warns that he is coming to get her.

Rosy calls a girlfriend, Mary, to confide her fears. Over the course of the conversation, you realize, oh, snap! This is a girlfriend-girlfriend! And Rosy is now even hotter. A high-femme damsel in distress, she is relieved when her more strong, slightly domineering and weirdly “off” ex promises to hurry over to the apartment and help Rosy relax.


Mary’s “offness” is explained when she turns right back around and calls Rosy back, disguising her voice and pretending to be Frank — she is the one who’s been making the threatening phone calls that have Rosy so shaken up. Also, she is a very smart dresser, as you can see in the following still.

Look at you, girl! All a dominant and crafty lipstick sixties lesbian, all suited up and catty in your emerald green, all situated in the bed looking cosmopolitan with your little sherry glass — I said goddamn, Lidia Alfonso: haters to the left. She’s looking mighty good. That shit would sooo work on me.

Mary is just full of good counsel and reassurance for her frightened former lover. As an example, she suggests that Rosy put a carving knife under her pillow …

and take a nutritious, delicious tranquilizer. Those are two things that always go together really, really well, especially in a film called The Three Faces of Fear.

Man. The trustworthy Miss Mary’s lifestyle tips are practically gold. She should start a magazine. How to Put Your Ladytimes Lover in Serious Danger: Accessories and Cocktail Suggestions for the Scheming Butch on the Go!

To Mary’s credit, once Rosy drops off, Mary pens her a letter which explains her motivations (something we’ve been curious about, too, since making prank calls saying you plan to end your lover’s life is kind of a sketchy thing to do).

Mary writes that she had missed Rosy terribly since their breakup and, when she heard about Frank the scary pimp’s prison break, she decided to use the opportunity to invent a scenario where Frank was threatening to murder Rosy so that Rosy would call Mary for help. After being around Mary again, the plan went, Rosy would realize the mistake of their separation and invite her back in to her life. Mary’s sorry it had to be done in a deceitful and scary way (which it didn’t, actually — that kind of convolution is pretty much strictly the logical provenance of giallo), but she writes that she loves Rosy and hopes to make it up to her.

Stop — Boris Karloff time! (Please, Boris Karloff, don’t hurt ’em.) I have inserted this interruption completely out of sequence. I just really wanted to throw it out there. Back to the story. Are you ready for the twisty turn of the screw?

While Mary is busy writing her love letter to the tranqued out Rosy, a man steals in to the apartment, clearly intent on murder. It is Frank, the pimp, now a genuine threat even though thirty seconds ago we thought he was not! He didn’t call but he was actually coming all along.

Crap! Mary, with whom we have just become totally sympathetic due to her big reveal of being a lover not a murderer, does not hear him because she is wrapped up in her lovey-dovey explanatory note-writing, and Rosy is asleep in the arms of Prince Valium in the other room.

He grabs the silk stocking off of the chair where Rosy discarded it earlier before her steamy I’m-scared-so-I’ll-strip bath and subsequent frightened call to Mary.

He sees the back of Mary’s dark head and, oh, no!, without seeing her face, begins to strangle her with the stocking. He assumes she is Rosy, his intended target.

The muffled thumps of Mary and Frank’s struggle Rosy slept straight through, but her lover’s death rattle finally wakes Rosy.

Maybe some kind of sympatico mental thing. She knows she has just heard something bad. She realizes it was Frank and deduces that he killed Mary. She is frozen in fear, looking at his face.


Suddenly, Rosy remembers the knife that poor dead Mary suggested that she stash beneath the pillow back when we still half-thought Mary might end up using it on Rosy herself.

Rosy stabs Frank with the knife, killing him, then breaks down sobbing and freaking out and crying, surrounded by the corpses of people she used to have sex with. I assume someone found her and stopped her screaming eventually. In any case, that knife sure ended up being a danged good idea. Why did you say it wasn’t? Sheesh.


Bava at work.

Mario Bava said repeatedly that this was the best of all his directorial work, placing it even above the classic La Maschera del Demonio/The Mask of Satan/The Black Mask (it is in Italian horror directors’ contracts that all their movie titles have at least three crazy names. Did You Know?). The man — Quentin Tarantino — has cited the narrative structure of Black Sabbath as his inspiration for the disjointed cinematic discourse in Pulp Fiction.


Why did I choose the least-flattering picture of QT ever? Answer: So that he will look at it and think I’m the best he can do and we can get married.

Seeing this motion picture on its release in Great Britain also inspired one Mister Ozzy Osbourne and his associate, a Mister Geezer Butler to change the name of their heavy blues/rock ensemble Earth to the film’s U.K. title: “Black Sabbath.” Previous band names included Mythology and effing Polka Tuck (I have a really hard time with that), so you may thank Sgr. Bava for inspiring one of the badassicalest band names in the history of rock-and-or-roll*, chosen by a group that would go on to become the Greatest Metal Band of All Time. Grazie!





*The worst band names ever are “Green Jellÿ”** and “The Alan Parsons Project.” Documented fact.

The first instance is the most idiotic use of an umlaut in recorded human history, and the second name sounds like a public access show about whittling that you watch by accident in a hospital because the batteries in the clicker have died and the only magazine in the deserted waiting room is a copy of People featuring Kathie Lee Gifford. Which you have already read since arriving. Cover to cover. Twice. (“Former ‘Brady Bunch’ star’s new lease on life — thanks to gem meditation!” “Dr. Mehmet Oz lists the surprising holiday foods that you can load up on!”)


image via the smart and sexy towleroad on the typepad.

Agree with me that the second cover story on that phantom hospital waiting room’s phantom Kathie Lee issue of People is: “Plus — Mario López: Why hasn’t TV’s most eligible (and ripped!) bachelor found a lady?” Oh, such a head-scratcher. Poor Mario! Sigh. Just like Liberace.

**In Green Jellÿ’s defense, they actively set out from the moment of their inception to be literally the worst band ever, beginning with their name. To my knowledge, the Alan Parsons Project was titled in earnest and has no such excuse.

Music and Movie Moment: Forbidden Zone

March 31, 2010

Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo — Forbidden Zone (title song)

Forbidden Zone (Richard Elfman, 1980) starred the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, later to be renamed just Oingo Boingo, wild gypsy cult genius Susan Tyrell, Viva — Warhol’s Blue Movie Superstar, believed to be the first non-anonymous performer to have sex on screen — and Hervé Villechaize, better known as Tattoo (“Zee plane!”) on Fantasy Island, as the king of the Sixth Dimension. Also, award-winning composer Danny Elfman plays Satan.

It is a wonderful, unforgettable mess. It begins with a title card informing us that, while on a mission to retrieve some heroin from the basement of one of the vacant homes in the Los Angeles basin where he also makes his living as a slumlord, a pimp named Huckleberry accidentally discovered a portal to the Sixth Dimension, which, once he cleaned the drugs from, he then sold to the Hercules family, who are the main Earth-side characters in the film.

(The frog is named Bust Rod. Later, he has sex with a topless Princess. He is pretty fly for a frog. Think about it: when is the last time you banged a panties-only Princess? See? Fly.)

“Oey vey — the Yiddishe Charleston!” Gene Cunningham and Virginia Rose play Ma and Pa Hercules, although Cunningham is credited under his actual name only as playing the role of the pimp, Huckleberry Jones — for his role as Jones’ tenant, and pere to the Hercules clan, he is listed as Ugh Fudge Bwana.


Matthew Bright plays Squeezit, one of the film’s protagonists and classmate to Flash Hercules and the lovely and talented Miss Susan B. Hercules, aka “Frenchy.” Frenchy is arguably the lead character of Forbidden Zone, and her journey into the Sixth Dimension is the impetus for the majority of the film’s action. Oh, my stars and garters, could Squeezit possibly be a reference to masturbation?? Perish the thought. Bright also shares writing credits for the screenplay.


At the time the movie was filmed, Marie-Pascal Elfman (nee Saboff), who plays Frenchy, pictured above and below, was married to Richard Elfman. She is the mother of Bodhi Elfman, who is Jenna “Dharma” Elfman’s husband. Jenna and Bodhi met waiting on line to audition for a Sprite commercial.

Ms. Saboff Elfman served not only as the star of Forbidden Zone but was also responsible for the majority of the sets, which she designed and erected inside two separate sound stages. The Expressionist sets feature dice motifs, forced perspective, and stippling. They were mainly painted by hand on to paper which she then hung all around the sound stages, changing the backdrops as scenes required it.


Some examples of the animation sequences and production design. The design was heavily influenced by pre-WWII cartoons and the work of Max Fleischer and the Fleischer Brothers’ Studios, the best examples of whose animation you probably know being Betty Boop and Popeye. Together with a soundtrack that, besides original songs performed by Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and “the Kipper Kids,” featured music by Cab Calloway and Josephine Baker, the movie’s design and feel really harkened back to the 1930’s, despite dealing with weirdo modern wonderfully cultish themes.


The picture takes a dim view of a) Los Angeles and b) the sad state of public schools. Well-viewed, picture (well shone, Moon), but I think the movie’s overall Expressionist, 1930’s cartoonish artistic glory is really not intended as a plot-driven vehicle for social commentary so much as it is an endless parade of visuals that will stick with you for life. Any knowing send-ups of modern convention are virtually coincidental. The movie is like an acid trip through a Hollywood backlot. The number “Swingin’ Through the Alphabet,” from which the above screencap comes, was inspired by the Three Stooges short “Violent is the Word for Curly.”



…A respectful fan asked Mr. Elfman “What the fuck were you thinking?” Elfman replied that he was trying to capture on film the spontaneous creative energy of his legendary band “the Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo.” In the 70s they performed all kinds of crazy performance music theater, a kind of tripped out cabaret in L.A and NYC.

(“Review of Richard Elfman’s cult masterpiece FORBIDDEN ZONE in color!” MacDermot, Hal. 20 July 2009. Quiet Earth.)

“Frenchy” lands in the Sixth Dimension and King Fausto falls in love with her. This makes Queen Doris, played by Susan Tyrell, understandably upset. So she has Frenchy thrown in prison. Don’t you wish you could do that to people? “Send her to jail.” “Um, what’s the charge?” “She looked at him.” Very Red Queen and yet legitimately reasonable. As Psycho McJealouspants, proud holder of a degree in Flipping the Fuck Out (minor in Coming Unglued with special concentration in Keying Your Car) from Sex-Makes-Me-Crazy State University, I totally approve.


The animation was done by John Muto, who at the time was virtually an unknown. He has gone on to work on some of my favoritest movies, including Night of the Comet, Heart and Souls (I am a sucker for Robert Downey, Jr. every time), and Wilder Napalm (as a closet pyro, that movie is so hot to me).

For my money, one of the main reasons to watch is the Princess, here, but that’s just the type of predatory, untrustworthy, ulteriorally motivated person I am.

Outre freaky musicals are fun to watch and fascinating as cultural artifacts, yes, but can we not also agree that way cool as well are tiny blondes, and when they are topless, so much the nicer for us all?

I am unafraid to make that statement. I also like lemon meringue pie. I consider the preferences of equal harmlessness. Alert the media.


The insane “Kipper Brothers” [do] a mad musical number as boxers which involves punching themselves and blowing raspberries, and evolves into a Rumba sung by a fat kid with a Mr. Ed talking mule superimposed mouth effect, and the adorable Frenchy dancing with Mr. Bust Rod.

(MacDermot.)



Actor Hervé Villechaize was the only actor with a paid salary. (the wiki)

Getting paid to get yelled at by your ex-girlfriend is I guess better than having to do it for free, yes?


TW: The Kipper Kids, who, for those who don’t know, are notorious, diaper-wearing, soccer-hooligan, lip-farting performance artists.

RE: Yes. The Kipper Kids. You know, it’s Presley, Sinatra … the Kipper Kids. Great vocalists can do so much with a number.

(DiGiovanna.)



He wrote, directed, produced, choreographed and generally supervised all aspects of “The Forbidden Zone.” It took 21 days on a sound stage scattered over ten months – including a number of weeks in a garage with animator John Muto. Elfman’s wife, Marie-Pascale Elfman designed and painted the paper sets (with help from Villechaiz) and co-starred Elfmans 29-year-old brother, Danny (leader of a musical ensemble known as Oingo Boingo), wrote the striking music and played Satan.

(“The Man Behind ‘Forbidden Zone’.” Rense, Rip. August 18, 1982. L.A. Herald-Examiner.)



Chicken: You know the chickens are always ready to help you any way we can. But as you know…
Squeezit: What can chickens do?
Chicken: Precisely.

Squeezit thinks he is a chicken. It’s a problem a lot of boys have.



The cast includes Toshiro Baloney, The Kipper Kids, Viva and someone called Ugh Fudge-Bwana. “This is actually a phonetic spelling of his name, which is Swedish and difficult to pronounce,” explained Elfman. (Ibid.)


“Call it a bizarre comedy with music. If I could describe it better, I’d be a journalist,” said Elfman. He might be. Elfman is certainly documenting some aspects of modern American culture, however idiosyncratically. This movie does indeed defy more specific quantification. (An hour-long earlier version entitled “The Hercules Family” was refused by numerous distributors as “Being a threat to national security.”)

(Ibid.)

Oh, my god, Elfman fed that dude for the Herald-Examiner so many lies and half-truths. What a trip. It’s cracking me up.


After escaping the septic tank, Flash and Gramps come across a woman who tells them that she was once happily married to the king, until Doris stole the throne by seducing her, “even though she’s not my type.” The ex-queen has been sitting in her cell for 1,000 years, and has been writing a screenplay in order to keep her sanity.

(the wiki)



Tuscon Weekly: Aside from the Kipper Kids, the biggest star in the movie was Hervé Villechaize, who plays King Fausto. How did you get him?

Richard Elfman: Matthew Bright was his roommate. His ex-girlfriend was (Forbidden Zone co-star) Susan Tyrrell. Herve and Susan were already exes when the film was being shot, and periodically, they’d have tremendous fights. And it was comic/tragic, because she had a voice box from the Lincoln repertory, you could hear her from 2,000 yards away. And Herve had a small voice, so you could hear him squawking and hear her yelling.

(“Intestinal Fortitude.” DiGiovanna, James. March 31, 2005. Tuscon Weekly.)


The truly bizarre Forbidden Zone features among its wealth of surrealistic imagery the late Hervé Villechaize as the libidinous king of the sixth dimension; expressionistic production design that would drive Dr. Caligari to distraction; and Richard’s brother Danny, more recently the composer of virtually every modern film score you truly enjoy listening to repeatedly, as a Cab Calloway-fetishizing Satan – all of whom live in the basement, sort of, of the extended Hercules clan.

(“I Know That Voice.” Savlov, Marc. July 30, 2004. Austin Chronicle.)


Far different from the brother Danny-fronted Oingo Boingo of “Weird Science,” this multi-Elfmaned project (alongside Danny there’s Richard’s wife, Marie-Pascale Elfman, as heroine Frenchy) is a genuine curiosity, part vaudeville act, part borderline softcore raunch, and completely, utterly weird in the best sense of the word. (Ibid.)

Following the film’s color release on DVD from Fantoma and Legend Films, it was announced that a sequel was in the works. With an allegedly slated release date of 2010, Forbidden Zone II: Forbidden Galaxy has the following imdb summary, written by Richard Elfman himself.


Ma and Pa Kettle leave the depressed Dust Bowl with their kids, Stinky and Petunia, and drive their old jalopy down to Crenshaw in South-Central Los Angeles. Stinky is a hyper-active 12-year-old; Petunia is a lumbering 13-year-old; Ma is a corn-cob pipe-smoking inbred, and Pa is a craven, drunken carnival geek…with a bad disposition…even before his carnival job folded after the last dust storm. Together, they hope to find a better life in California. Unfortunately, the little shack they rent has a basement connected to the Sixth Dimension, ruled by a horny midget king who is growing an army of dead zombie babies…to take over Earth.

Coming soon to a theater near you?

Most stills courtesy Pilar Sama and you&me via the Nostalgia Party No. 2 community on the lj. Thanks!

Music Moment: The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year”

March 12, 2010

The Zombies – This Will Be Our Year

The warmth of your love
is like the warmth of the sun
and this will be our year
took a long time to come

I haven’t been writing much lately, not because I have nothing to say, but because I have had too much to say, and too little free time in which to say it. But thankfully I’ve had the chance to talk things over with good friends both in person and on the telephone this week, and that’s released a tremendous amount of pressure.

Don’t let go of my hand
now darkness has gone
And this will be our year
took a long time to come

Besides the counsel of Miss D, which is always uplifting, I also got to hang out with Panda Eraser, Mr. Kite, and the Mister earlier this week. Lady K called several times and I also got to talk to the o.g.b.d., who was again surprisingly encouraging, kind, and thoughtful. They all really helped me clarify the things that were on my mindgrapes and squeeze some goodness out of them.

And I won’t forget
the way you held me up when I was down
and I won’t forget the way you said,
“Darling, I love you,”
You gave me faith to go on

My grandmother has been staying with us. It was a move that was supposed to be a brief visit but is now most likely going to be as permanent as possible. While her physical health is still great, her mental decline is staggering. She had always had a sharp tongue, a quick mind; if I had ever dreaded her visits or had negative feelings about her in the past, it was because we had equal minds and could clash over things (especially her daughter, my mother, of whom I was defensive and felt she was too critical). That mercurial and impish figure of my youth is gone. My grandmother now is a million miles from the Dorothy that I thought would be living with me. I am so glad she’s here, and that I’m able to have with her even those few minutes of a time where she has drifted “in,” but the pain of the remainder of her waking hours, her confusion and fear, her redundancy and pacing, is sometimes breathtaking.

Now we’re there
and we’ve only just begun
This will be our year
took a long time to come

What I am now fearing even more than the pressure of her moments of anxiety and loss now is when a physical declination in her health sets in; when I and, when she’s free, my mother are no longer adequately equipped to provide for her physically. I hate to picture her completely unaware of her surroundings, somewhere where no one knows her. I know places like that are full of loving and compassionate people, but what scares me is the times when Grandma has enough on the ball to know that she is in an unfamiliar place, and expresses fear and the sense of being lost.

The warmth of your smile
smile for me, little one
and this will be our year
took a long time to come

She told me several days ago when I came in to get her ready in the morning that she’d woke from a nightmare and been up for several hours, reading, to settle her nerves. “Bethy,” she said, “I dreamt I flew home and I didn’t know a single soul that was in my house. It didn’t look like my house. Other people lived there, people that I had never seen. It was all completely strange to me.” She said the worst part was that then she woke up here, and she thought her dream had come true until she saw a picture of my daughter and I on her nightstand and remembered she was here for what she thinks is a visit. (Given her nightmare, I suspect part of her knows this visit could be permanent.) She concluded by saying, “I don’t mind telling you — I’ve never been so frightened in my life.”

That’s what I’m scared of. That’s why I feel like no matter how hard it is, or how hard it continues to get, I can’t let her go.

You don’t have to worry
All your worried days are gone
this will be our year
took a long time to come

And that’s why I value so greatly all the kind ears of my friendohs right now. I am so lucky to have a support system to whom I can slip away and bitch and moan and noise my anxieties. Whether it’s over sushi, pints, the phone, or wherever, thank god for them. I had thought last year was going to be the most challenging of my life, but this year is shaping up to build on the growing I did then (to put a positive spin on it, rather than say, “this year sucks too”).

And I won’t forget
the way you held me up when I was down
and I won’t forget the way you said,
“Darling, I love you”
You gave me faith to go on

One of the things I’ve been doing to keep Grandma from getting agitated and restless during the day, which is when she paces the house and starts to worry about her money, her belongings, how she is going to get a plane ticket home, etc, is I’ve begun taking her on little day trips and out to stores and such. Even to just window shop, because a) to be brutally frank she does not know the difference whether we buy something or not, and b) it is not as if either of us is made of money and she is happy to people watch.

Tonight, I’m taking her to a vintage-through-the-present hair show at Panda’s cosmetology school, and she seems to be looking forward to that, because she keeps asking me when it is; if they will be videotaped or live models; and whether we have the tickets already. (“7:00 pm,” “live,” and essentially “yes.”) So that’s hopefully going to go well!

Now we’re there
and we’ve only just begun
and this will be our year
took a long time to come

This Sunday, after church, the o.g.b.d. is taking kidlet and I to lunch, and then much later in the day he and I are going to what is probably the last theater in America showing Sherlock Holmes right now. I’m looking forward to seeing it one last time before it leaves theaters. He had expressed interest in it last week after surprising me by suggesting we catch a movie sometime together when my mother was free, to give me a break from caring for my grandmother and have a fun night out, but he said that he was pretty sure it was no longer showing in our area. So he was super-pumped and surprised when I talked to him today to confirm our lunch plans with kidlet and told him that I’d found a nearby second-run theater that was still showing it through this weekend. The way Robert Downey, Jr. plays Sherlock as very herky-jerky, pugilistic, intense, and accidentally brutally honest really, really, really reminds me of the o.g.b.d.; I wonder if he will notice it, himself. I’m not going to say anything and we’ll see if he brings it up first.


Anna Karina with Jean-Claud Brialy.

Yeah, we only just begun
yeah, this will be our year
took a long time to come.

I had talked with Panda about how I am persona non grata with all the women in his life, and, just by talking about it, I started feeling less horrible about it. As Panda pointed out, even if I don’t understand it and it hurts me, the bottom line is I can’t change someone else’s mind, and I’ve done my best. And we agreed, as I had done last weekend with the LBC and Miss D before the drag races, that probably his wife will come around, and she is only acting this way because she is still hurting from whatever chain of events lead to their split (I have not felt it was polite to pry into any specifics about that). I pray that will be the case, but it’s good to know all my girlfriends agree on this, too. So I’m hoping to have the opportunity to talk to him about these revelations, because I really feel like we are in this cool new place where we are a simple team again, in our queer and broken way.

All in all, I’ve had time to adjust to these new turns of events and I think I am going to pull through. And thank god for it.

Music Moment: Stevie Wonder, “Sir Duke”

March 8, 2010


From his album Songs in the Key of Life, Motown Records, 1976.

Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke


Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands


The king of all, Sir Duke (Ellington).

But just because a record has a groove
Don’t make it in the groove
But you can tell right away at letter A
When the people start to move


Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong LP sleeve.

They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people
They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people


Glenn Miller.

Music knows it is and always will
Be one of the things that life just won’t quit
But here are some of music’s pioneers
That time will not allow us to forget


Count Basie and Duke Ellington, recording circa 1950.

There’s Basie, Miller, Satchmo
And the king of all, Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella’s ringing out
There’s no way the band can lose


Miles Davis and John Coltrane are not named in this song, but they still belong.

You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people


Just Ella.

You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people


Count Basie performing “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people


Louis blows.

Can’t you feel it all over?
Come on let’s feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
Everybody — all over people


Original caption: “A number of the greatest jazz musicians in the world gathered last night 1/8/1971 at the Tropicana Htel in Las Vegas to pay tribute to the “grandaddy” of jazz, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Seventy years old and still going strong, Armstrong received a trophy topped by a silver trumpet mouthpiece from two other all-time greats, Ella Fitzgerald (L) and Duke Ellington (R).” (source)

Rolling Stone magazine ranked Stevie’s Songs in the Key of Life at no. 56 out of 500 on their Greatest Albums list in 2003. “Sir Duke” was released as a single for radio play in March of 77 and reached number one on the Billboard charts in May, where it stayed for three weeks.

Music Moment: The Beatles, “Rain”

January 19, 2010

The Beatles — Rain

Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life, some rain must fall. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Longfellow also said, “The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.” I’m trying very hard to internalize that message.


I took this. About a year ago. With my Diana F+. It was the first roll I shot with it, and almost all the rest turned out wretched.

This track by the Beatles was the B-side to “Paperback Writer.” It is noteworthy for being one of the first songs to use backward vocals. The final lines feature the first verse sung backward, with “Raiiiin” as a chorus over the top.


“I fell in love with an alien” by vampire_zombie on deviantart.

If the rain comes, they run and hide their heads.
They might as well be dead.
If the rain comes,
if the rain comes.


When the sun shines they slip into the shade
(When the sun shines down.)
And sip their lemonade.
(When the sun shines down.)
When the sun shines,
when the sun shines.


Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the world looks fine.


I can show you that when it starts to rain,
(When the Rain comes down.)
Everything's the same.
(When the Rain comes down.)
I can show you, I can show you.


Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the world looks fine.


Can you hear me, that when it rain and shines,
(When it rains and shines.)
It's just a state of mind?
(When it rains and shines.)


Can you hear me, can you hear me?
If the rain comes they run and hide their heads.


One of the other, like, three pictures that turned out.

sdaeh rieht edih dna nur yeht semoc niar eht fI.
(Rain)


niaR.
(Rain)
enihsnuS.


And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. (Gilbert K. Chesterton)


Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger.
(Saint Basil the Great)


I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet, so who am I to judge? (Douglas Adams)


It ain’t no use to grumble and complain;
It’s jest as cheap and easy to rejoice;
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
Why, rain’s my choice.
(James Whitcomb Riley)


Photographed by Nirrimi Hakanson on facebook, via ffffound.
I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies. (Eden Ahbez)


He covers the sky with clouds, he supplies the earth with rain,
and maketh the grass grow on the hills. (Psalms 147:8)


Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain. (Langston Hughes)

Looking for upsides. How about this? Shit week, yes, but hey, free car wash.

Hot Man Bein’ Hot of the Day: James Dean in action edition

January 10, 2010

Seems like you always see these iconic stills of the handsome and talented James Dean where he is very posed (to great effect, I’m not knocking that aspect), but the truth is he was one of those really energetic guys that can’t sit still. He always had to be moving around, even on set when he wasn’t the one before the cameras.

In fact, he got into photography and took dozens of pictures of his famous friends and coworkers while filming and even at parties — I think it was his way of turning the attention off himself because there is no way he could have stood the scrutiny otherwise. It was sort of a prop, but also a demonstration of his neverending interest in the world around him.

Above, camera-shenanigans with Sammy Davis, Jr. on the red carpet; Below, holding the camera and posing his sham girlfriend, Italian actress Pier Angeli. Pier married Vic Damone before her agreed-upon time was up of having to pretend to date the closeted Dean. Dean didn’t mind but the studios did. They had tried to get Natalie Wood first and she said no. She only did so after a short period of gristing the rumor mill to quiet the gossip columnists on the subject of Dean’s sexuality, but I have noted she mysteriously stopped going along with it, maybe getting to like him too well as a friend to participate in lies? dunno — not that she was above that cause she went on studio-sponsored dates with lots of dudes, e.g. Tab Hunter, to legitimize their “swinging-but-not-swinging-like-that-cause-we-are-manly-guys-as-is-evidenced-by-this-date-with-Ms.-Woods!” bachelor status; I have never heard exactly why she turned down their suggestion of long-terming it for fakes with James Dean. Anyway, so they found their Italian Natalie lookalike (I love Pier in her own right but I do not like that she supported that kind of repressive chicanery), but she didn’t end up going for it in the long run either, like I said, marrying Damone. This is a long caption and I feel like I should quit now. Sorry. I’m on Day-Quil. I think it’s strong stuff. (It’s been a long time since I used real drugs.)

So here are some pictures where I hope that sort of frantic, kinetic energy translates, even if the social situation constrained his mobility to crazy facial expressions.


All-time favorite picture via Nick Drake.

I’m a serious minded and intense little devil – terribly gauche and so tense that I don’t see how people can stay in the same room as me. I know I couldn’t tolerate myself. — James Dean


With Natalie on the set of Rebel Without a Cause, 1955.

They say you can’t get it on with a girl in a Porsche. That’s bullshit. If you don’t believe me, ask Natalie. (qtd in Against Death and Time, by Brock Yates.)

In a way, their halfhearted effort at the appearance of being in a relationship served Natalie just as well, because she was actually sleeping with director Nick Ray, who was 44 at the time, and it would have been a big scandal.


Trust and belief are two prime considerations. You must not allow yourself to be opinionated. You must say, “Wait. Let me see.” And above all, you must be honest with yourself.

Instead, Natalie and Elizabeth Taylor became two of his closest friends, and in the final analysis, that’s so much nicer and longer-lasting than sex partners.


Since I’m only 24 years old, guess I have as good an insight into this rising generation as any other young man my age. And I’ve discovered that most young men do not stand like ramrods or talk like Demosthenes. Therefore, when I do play a youth, such as in Warner Bros.’ Rebel Without A Cause, I try to imitate life.

Dig the sarcastically dutiful effort to mention the production company. Such the tongue-in-cheek fox.


Dancing in a straw hat with a cigarette in his mouth: via angelinaadoptme.

I’m playing the damn bongos and the world can go to hell.

Girls like a boy who reads!


False advertising?

No, I am not a homosexual. But, I’m also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.


I think the prime reason for living in this world is discovery.


Giving the thumbs up, about to take off in his ’55 Porsche Spyder 550, which he nicknamed “Little Bastard.” It was the car he was driving when he died.

There is no way to be truly great in this world. We are all impaled on the crook of conditioning. A fish that is in the water has no choice that he is. Genius would have it that we swim in sand. We are fish and we drown.

Movie and Music Moment: “It Feels Like Christmas,” The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

December 24, 2009

It’s in the singing of the street corner choir…

Music Moment: Magnetic Fields “Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing”

December 4, 2009

The other day Jan-Han, who is going through chemo and has mentioned how sick she is of being Brave Little Cancer Girl, brought up the quote, “It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Magnetic Fields – Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing

I think she hit the nail on the head of how to age into greater and greater love, your whole life. An attitude of patient acceptance and seeking of enjoyment in all things, natural and emotional. Abandoning expectations, not letting them poison your outlook and lead you to choose disappointment over delight. I think this is true of all the long-time together and happily-married couples I know. I think they have figured that out. How to dance together, in balance.

I am honestly not ready to continue thinking about it. It puts grace and hope in my heart, but it also makes me feel bittersweet and sad, and fearful for the future. But this song is just as beautiful and deceptively simple as that original idea, and it makes me feel the same as that train of thought did, so I will let it say the rest for me.

Dance with me my old friend
once before we go
Let’s pretend this song won’t end
and we never have to go home
and we’ll dance among the chandeliers

And nothing matters when we’re dancing
In tattered tatters you’re entrancing
Be we in Paris or in Lansing
nothing matters when we’re dancing
nothing matters when we’re dancing


You’ve never been more beautiful
your eyes like two full moons
As here in this poor old dance hall
among the dreadful tunes
the awful songs we don’t even hear…


by Ramiro Stahl on flickr

And nothing matters when we’re dancing
In tattered tatters you’re entrancing
Be we in Paris or in Lansing
nothing matters when we’re dancing
nothing matters when we’re dancing

Music Moment: “Sailor Jack,” by Grant Hart

November 27, 2009

Grant Hart – Sailor Jack


“Little Sailor 2” by queenofspiders on deviantart.com

A few weeks ago, I had spotlighted the song “You’re the Reflection of the Moon on the Water,” from the new LP Hot Wax, by former Hüsker Dü and Nova Mob rocker Grant Hart.

Well, I finally managed to force myself to stop playing that on repeat and move on to another track from the album. I don’t know about you, but I am completely the type of person who can listen to one song over and over virtually without tire, until I am done with it. Things just get in my blood.

It is just as cool and retro-sounding, with those same wonderful organs, driving rhythm, and layers of percussion, guitar, and vocals. It’s also every bit as ’70’s, Hollies-, Doors-, and southern rock-influenced as the other track I shared, with some Beach Boys thrown in for good measure. Totally awesome!


One of my fave photos of Bette Davis and I finally found it in glorious over-saturated technicolor!

He’s a silver nitrate shadow
on a field unbroken white
when his ship comes in to focus
see him in the sweet harbor light


Pretty sure this is Shalom Harlow

As a boy he went to wander
As a man he went to sea
Now when pirates come to plunder
he defeats them effortlessly

Sailor Jack
Sailor Jack
Sailor Jack
Sailor Jack

Honestly, I can’t understand nearly all the rest of the song, not contiguously enough to accurately transcribe any verse. Sorry. The album is too new for lyrics to be out on the net yet. Still an AWESOME song!!


“Sailor Girl” by basistka on deviantart.com

I will keep you posted on the rest of the tracks from this album as I get to them in their own time. And maybe, someday, I’ll come back to this entry and insert the proper lyrics to this song, cause I’m feeling very shoddy about that half-assed effort I’ve thrown down so far!

Movie Moment and Music Moment: Du Jour, “Backdoor Lover”

November 21, 2009

The band Du Jour from the brilliant 2001 satire Josie and the Pussycats (I’m not kidding, see it stat if you haven’t already) likes your back door.

This clip shows the entire opening sequence of the movie, including the scandalously hilarious number “Backdoor Lover,” and the set up for the rising action in the film. A truly great movie and a wickedly funny song, if you like parody and loathe pop cultural brainwshing, you will really enjoy this clip.

Also, as a bonus, this video is full of cute, funny boys being adorable. My favorite is Seth. “Hey, little girl, beauty secrets?” (flashes peace sign and makes kissy face.) Yay, I love this movie!!

Music Moment: “Another Believer,” by Rufus Wainwright

November 18, 2009

I have so much to say about Rufus and his amazing family (except for that bastard Loudon) that there is simply not time today. Instead, I want to focus on the joyful fun of this song, which was written for the soundtrack to Meet the Robinsons (2007).

Rufus Wainwright – Another Believer

It’s been a very, very long time since I kissed anyone, but I suspect it is like riding a bicycle. Not in that you never forget how, but in that you have to go for it or you will tip over and crash. I am not interested in testing that theory just yet, but it is good just to know there is love and romance thriving in the universe.


Hello, I got something to tell you
But it’s crazy, I got something to show you
So give me just one more chance, one more glance
And I will make of you another believer

Guess what?
You got more than you bargained
Ain’t it crazy?
You got more than you paid for
So give me just one more chance, one more glance
One more hand to hold

You’ve been on my mind, though it may seem I’m fooling
Wasting so much time, though it may seem I’m fooling

What are we gonna do?
What are we gonna do about it?

So then, that is all for the moment
Until next time, until then, do not worry
And give me just one more chance, one more glance
And I will make of you, yeah I’m gonna make of you another believer

You’ve been on my mind, though it may seem I’m fooling
Wasting so much time, thought it may seem I’m fooling

What are we gonna do?
What are we gonna do about it?

Hello, I got something to tell you
Hello, I got something to tell you
You’ve been on my mind, wasting so much time.


kisses are a better fate
than wisdom. — E.E. Cummings


The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender. — Emil Ludwig


Never a lip is curved with pain
That can’t be kissed into smile again. — Bret Harte


A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years. — Rupert Brooke


Ancient lovers believed a kiss would literally unite their souls, because the spirit was said to be carried in one’s breath. — Eve Glicksman


Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. — Albert Einstein

Music Moment: Peter and Gordon, “World Without Love”

November 15, 2009

Peter and Gordon – World Without Love


Please lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside, where I hide with my loneliness
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay
In a world without love

Birds sing out of tune
And rain clouds hide the moon
I’m OK, here I stay with my loneliness
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay
In a world without love

So I wait, and in a while
I will see my true love smile
She may come, I know not when
When she does, I’ll know
So baby until then

Lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside, where I hide with my loneliness
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay
In a world without love

(Please lock me away)
(And don't allow the day)
(Here inside, where I hide with my loneliness)
I don't care what they say, I won't stay
In a world without love

So I wait, and in a while
I will see my true love smile
She may come, I know not when
When she does, I’ll know
So baby until then

Lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside, where I hide with my loneliness
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay
In a world without love

I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay
In a world without love