Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tom Waits Quote

"You really can't be too concerned with what people think of you. You're on your own adventure of growth and discovery. Like Charles Bukowski said, 'People think I'm down on Fifth and Main at the Blarney Stone, throwing back shooters and smoking a cigar, but really I'm up on the top floor of the health club with a towel in my lap, watching Johnny Carson.' So, it's not always good to be where people think you are, especially if you subscribe to it as well ... which is easily done, because then you don't have to figure out who you are, you just ask somebody else."

-- Tom Waits to Barney Hoskyns, 24 April 1985

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Self!" by Deep Cotton

(c) 2006 Rina S. Prussin

Here are the song lyrics to a very terrific song ... song called "Self!" by Deep Cotton ... it's the first song on the compilation for this month's edition of the magazine The Believer ... the Music Issue ...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Getting ridiculous!
I'm getting ridiculous!
Always feel like I'm ...
playing games and I ...
losing all the time
Maybe it's just my mind

Guitar says to me:
Extra points if you refuse to take your medication.
Extra points if you're black and dance whiter
... Or if you're white and talk blacker
_ [unintelligible words] if your own girlfriend thinks you're game
You think she's right

Get right down to the game right now This fool is dying, don't forget it Get right down to the game right now This fool is dying, don't forget it

Who will help me with the mirror?
Who will help me with the beat?

Dad, there are maggots in there
Dad, there's maggots in there

Get right down to the game right now This fool is dying, don't forget it Get right down to the game right now This fool is dying, don't forget it

Dad, there are maggots in there
Dad, there's maggots ...

Get right down to the game right now This fool is dying, don't forget it Get right down to the game right now This fool is dying, don't forget it

Extra points if your shadow has a [unintelligible words] for a transfer
Extra points if the lyrics have just stopped making sense.
Extra points if you wonder where all those grey hairs came from

Raise your hand if dancing is your therapy
Extra points if you thought this game was going to end differently now
with two children, a house, and an electric car
Raise your hand if you'd like to buy a new body
... Or a little more timing
Extra points if you do not know how to put your heart back together
Raise your hand if it all sounds like science fiction and
it's just your life
And if you have memories for sale,
see the ushers in the yellow suits
They can help you now

-- Deep Cotton

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I wish I could upload the file!!! It is such a good song ... the beat, their voices, the instruments. The underlying subject is very serious but the music and beat makes it *sound* fun and lighthearted. This song reminds me of The Talking Heads ... that balance of very serious subject matter but sounds fun ... the lyrics ("... stop making sense" are the most obvious ones) and the instruments. If any of you subscribe to The Believer and listen to this song ... let me know what you think -- leave a comment.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Anton Chekhov's The Duel: Mini Mini Review

After hiking at Lake Laguinitas today, I went to see Anton Chekhov's The Duel. Yes, that's the correct name of the movie. It is based on an Anton Chekhov novella. I'd read Mick Lasalle's review in today's paper and that made me want to see it.

Here's my review: It was good but not great. Some of the writing was stilted. The acting was uneven in the three main actors. The cinematography was wonderful. The music was *exquisite*. (Unlike the music in Inception which was like a hammer to the head!)

If you want to read the review written by The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick Lasalle, go here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Inception: Updated Mini Mini Review

No, my last review just didn't get it right... there was something missing ... let me try it again:

Boys go bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang. Girl watches. Lots of explosions and loud music. Great special effects. But I was bored often.


from today's edition of The Writer's Almanac ... to me this is a very dramatic story ... pay particular attention to the last paragraph ...

It was on this day in 1875 that the largest recorded swarm of locusts in American history descended upon the Great Plains. An estimated 3.5 trillion locusts made up the swarm. It was about 1,800 miles long and 110 miles wide, ranging from Canada down to Texas.

Swarms would occur once every seven to 12 years, emerging from river valleys in the Rocky Mountains and sweeping east across much of the country. The size of the swarms tended to grow when there was less rain, and in 1873, the American West began to go through one of its driest periods on record.

The land was still relatively dry on this day in 1875 when farmers just east of the Rocky Mountains began to see a cloud approaching from the west. Some farmers noticed the distinctive color of the cloud, glinting around the edges where the locust wings caught the light of the sun.

People there that day said that the locusts descended like a driving snow in winter, covering everything in their path. Some people described the sound of the swarm landing as like thunder or a train. The locusts blanketed the ground, nearly a foot deep. Trees bent over with the weight of the insects, and large tree limbs broke off under the pressure.

They ate nearly every living piece of vegetation in their path, as well as harnesses on horses, the bark of trees, curtains, and clothing hung on laundry lines. They gnawed on fence posts and railings, and they especially loved the handles of farm tools, which were left behind polished, as if by fine sandpaper. Some farmers tried to scare away the locusts by running into the swarm, and they had their clothes eaten right off their bodies.

In the wake of the swarm, settlers on half a million square miles of the West faced starvation. Similar locust swarms occurred in the following years, and farmers became desperate. But by the mid-1880s, the rains had returned, and the swarms died down. Most scientists predicted that the locusts would return with the next drought. Mysteriously, they did not. Within a few decades they were believed to be extinct. For most of the 20th century, no one knew what had happened to the locusts, but recent evidence suggests that the cultivation of the land on the Great Plains changed the geography so much so quickly that the Rocky Mountain locust was unable to adapt. The last two live specimens of the Rocky Mountain locust were collected in 1902, and those specimens are now stored at the Smithsonian Institution.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Inception: Mini mini review

Boys go bang bang bang bang bang bang. Lots of explosions and loud music. Great special effects. But I was bored often.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

When You're Strange: Mini Review

The other night I watched When You're Strange -- the documentary about The Doors written and directed by Tom DiCillo. DiCillo wrote and directed one of my favorite films: Living in Oblivion, which I highly recommend. I used to be a big fan of The Doors. Still am but just don't listen to them that often. So, I was really looking forward to this documentary. It also got good reviews. But, folks, I was disappointed in this one. If you want a walk down memory lane -- and only that -- you'll be happy. I wanted more. Joan Rivers said in today's Parade magazine: "I hate documentaries that tell you nothing about the person." I go further: "I hate documentaries that tell you nothing new about the person." And that's this movie.

Oh, it's enjoyable. But sometimes a little precious, sometimes choppy -- the transitions aren't smooth.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

John Waters' Art Exhibit: RUSH

I went to see John Waters’ art exhibition today at the Rena Bransten Gallery on Geary Street in San Francisco. It's called RUSH. The exhibit closes on July 10. Try to go see it. It's worth your while.

I’ll talk about my favorite pieces in a minute. Right now I want to focus on several of his pieces which were collages of photos taken from images on TV. I really liked many of them. The show is smallish so there aren’t that many of any one style. But you do get a sense of how he's using these -- and he definitely inspired me.

You walk into the gallery and there’s a beautiful collage of TV photos of Johnny Mathis. I loved that one very much.

I was drawn to these because I have taken photos from the TV for years. And they're really difficult to do because you get all kinds of distortions. One of my earliest ones was a photo of Elsa Lancaster as the Bride of Frankenstein -- she has just waken up from death and is all twitchy. I took the photo before she sees her lover-to-be and lets out a blood-curdling scream. Lancaster is in profile with dark lipstick, slightly bulging eyes, and that wavy hair -- she looks gorgeous!

[got this from the internet ... unknown photographer]

I took a silk screening class -- oh, this must be 1981 or 1982 -- and made a silk screen of this image. If you want to see a clip of the Bride coming to life on You Tube -- it's very trippy: Click here.

Tonight I made a crude version of my simulation of what John Waters did with his TV photos. It’s a photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Ice Man in Batman and Robin. I took these photos a couple of years ago.

Originally, I created a post card with one of Arnie's faces and text next to it that is a quote from Arnie: “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.” Actual quote, by the way.

Back to Waters ... John Waters also puts words very effectively between photos in the collage. I’m not sure if the words are photos taken from TV images or not.

And, of course, his humor is a big presence in many of the pieces. Maybe I should rephrase that ... his SICK humor is a big presence. For example, he has a collage of 12 or more photos of Audrey Hepburn ... in her elegant outfits and hats -- with hickeys all over her prominent neck. And, you guessed it, the last two photos are from The Nun’s Story.

Okay, here were the other ones that I really liked:
  • TV photos, about 6 of them - each photo shows the progression of someone opening a folded piece of paper ... about photo #3 you can read what the paper says: Lezzie ... so the last three photos the word Lezzie is completely visible. So simple. But it says so much. To me anyway.
  • Close up of a dog whose eyes are blazing with fury.
  • “Undertaker” - Collage of photos of various celebrities in movies where they are lying in a casket. The word “Undertaker” is in the collage several times.
  • A photo of a painting of John Waters -- at least I think it's a painting -- John Waters at about 11 years old ... the photo includes the frame. And the same wood is used to frame this photo of the painting! (He is so nutty-funny.) But the funny part is that he must have retouched the photo because this little young Johnny Waters has a pencil-thin mustache. (Love that mustache!)
  • A parody of those SMILE Foundation ads where you see photos of a lot of kids with cleft palates -- his version is a collage of photos of celebrities (retouched) so that all of them have cleft palates.
  • A collage of bums (booties) -- most of the photos are of TV photos being projected onto bare bums. Quite good. And erotic.
See my earlier post about attending the City Arts & Lectures event: John Waters in conversation with Kevin Berger.

Happy Birthday, Ringo!

Collection Alain Weill

Ringo Starr in a 1967 portrait by Richard Avedon.

Ringo -- thanks for all the fun and music over the years. You made my teenage years much more interesting.

Ringo turns 70 today. Yep, 70. Some younguns, smirking just a little, have commented on me wearing my Bob Marley T shirt and I just look them straight in the eyes and tell them that Marley was four years older than me so what's so weird about me being a fan?

For more details about Ringo's birthday and how he's gonna celebrate, see this article in the NYTimes. You just need to register, but it's free. Here's an excerpt from that article:

Q. You’re using the occasion of your birthday to give a message back to your fans.

A. Yes, I want to spread the word that at noon, wherever you are — in New York, in L.A., in Paris, in London — I just pray that you’ll put your fingers up and say, “Peace and love.” I did it two years ago, it was the first time, and I did it out of Chicago because I was on tour. This year, we’re playing Radio City, so we’re doing it in New York. In Japan there were little get-togethers and it went worldwide, so that was great.

Peace and Love, y'all!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse - Warning Adults!

I'm writing this not for the tweens and teens that will be going to see this but the poor adults that will schlep into the theater with them because they read the reviews saying that this installment was so so so much better. It is not. The writing is abominable. And, if the writing's bad ... it's really hard to act well under those conditions, so the acting is pretty bad too. My adult friend and I went with my two teenage daughters and we found ourselves laughing uproariously at the wrong moments ... and, of course, embarrassed my daughters. C'est la vie. That's the life (and responsibility) of a parent -- to embarrass their children from time to time.

If you need to accompany your children to see this movie, go on a day when you need a nap. Unfortunately, I was well-rested when I saw it so I couldn't snooze. Years ago, I remember when we went to see The Cat in the Hat or Home on the Range (real stinkers) ... boy, did I get a good nap in!

p.s. I'm one of the adults that thought the first Twilight movie was pretty good.