Art: Jeffrey Schrier [detail]
Tony Coulter here, with a modest collection of oddballness for your eyeballs and earballs.
And now: tee up!
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Art: Jeffrey Schrier [detail]
Tony Coulter here, with a modest collection of oddballness for your eyeballs and earballs.
And now: tee up!
Today's post is of an album I picked up recently in a Salvation Army Thrift Store. The album contains the 19 minute soundtrack for a sex education filmstrip produced by Concordia. Each side has the same presentation, one with audible "beeps" one with inaudible tones, with the individual sides geared towards the use of two different filmstrip machines. This is the inaudible tone side. Let's all learn together.
Back in May, I said I’d be doing a monthly series on the films of Ken Russell. Of course, I’m far too flaky to stay true to my word, and have difficulty adhering to self-imposed strictures. Perhaps bi-monthly? Whither and thither my attention may wander…
In that previous post on KR's classic The Devils (1970), user ‘Vic’ responded rather unfavorably to my effusions with the following: “Ken Russell is like all the other English decadent director satirists… One lazy lousy satiric layup after another.” It was certainly effective in momentarily checking my aesthetic tumescence, but in hindsight, I find myself puzzled at some of the language chosen. Mostly because I don’t consider Russell’s films to be primarily satiric—or perhaps only satiric in the Rabelaisian sense, where common stereotypes and codes of decorum are pushed to their breaking point, and one frequently loses sight of the object of satire in the nihilistic absurdity of events. (Russell once considered adapting Rabelais for the screen; truly a frightening prospect.) Satire in the more conventional sense of “parody,” “sarcasm,” “ridicule,” does not seem too prevalent in Russell’s work until the 1980s, beginning with Altered States—and this mostly because it is obvious that the director has no respect for his material, a typically padded script by Paddy Chayefsky. While one could call the director any number of epithets, “lazy” is not one that comes to mind; for even in these films of decline, Russell will still “pile on the virtuosity,” in Michael Dempsey’s phrase, for lack of anything better to do with his efforts. One cannot fault the Englishman his showmanship.
Yet, I would readily concede that of all Russell’s films made about classical composers, Lisztomania (1975) may indeed be the most pointless and the most cruelly parodic. A far cry from his tasteful if unconventional work on Elgar and Debussy for the British TV show Monitor (1959-1965), or even from the meticulously choreographed hysteria of Tchaikovsky in The Music Lovers (1970), Lisztomania is a film still reeling from the psychedelic excesses of Tommy (1975). Indeed, it is notorious for again featuring The Who’s Roger Daltrey in a leading role as Hungary’s original ladykiller. Anthology Film Archives is showing Lisztomania twice this week as part of their expansive “Anti-Biopics” series, once on Wednesday (July 14) and an encore on Saturday (July 17). You could perhaps see a much more respectable work by, say, Rossellini or Straub-Huillet, but make sure to catch Russell’s film if you like your haute cuisine tempered by Froot Loops. A Region 2 DVD is available, but from what I understand, the quality is rather poor; and, as it sells for $30+ on Amazon, one would be better off seeing Anthology’s 35 mm print for the modest cost of $9 per ticket.
Technorati Tags: Anthology Film Archives, Anti-Biopics, Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, David Puttnam, Fantasia International Film Festival, FIona Lewis, Ken Russell, Liszt, Lisztomania, Marie D'agoult, Paul Nicholas, Richard Wagner, Rick Wakeman, Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman
Photo: Chia Yin Hsu
Tony Coulter here, re-back to share some discoveries and uncoveries. The sounds, per always, were recently obtained; the images have been hanging around a little longer. Several of said images are genteelly smutty in a vintage men's-magazine kind of way; NSIYLIAC, perhaps (Not Safe If You Live In A Convent). The photo above, by the way, is of a seafood restaurant's window display, and was snapped during a recent trip to Astoria, OR. Let me not forget to say thanks to both Archie Patterson and Thom Jones for some of the sounds.
Onward, my friends, onward....
The other night, myself and a few friends; artist Hakumei Kusanagi (artwork here), Mad Man John, and the Geisha of Gore (read her column on the Cinema Knife Fight site), went to the Japan Society event thinking we were only going to see Mutant Girls Squad as part of the NY Asian Film Fest. I was unaware that two of the movies' three directors were to be in attendance, and the Geisha of Gore greeted me at the door with her copy of the promo poster for Mutant Girls Squad signed by both of them, as well as her DVD insert for Tokyo Gore Police signed by Yoshihiro Nishimura (which was his directorial debut). Her grin split her face in half as if she was Ichi the Killer. I knew it would be a good night.
I thought it would be prudent to use the rest room before the action started, and I got sidetracked in the Japan Society's ladies room. Each stall had it's own device (see photo below) with many bidet settings - including an underseat dryer! I could have taken in all the selections, but wanted to take in everything that was going on outside of the bathroom, so ran back out to the action, the presentation was about to begin!
Yoshihiro Nishimura and Noboru Iguchi introduced the film with an interpreter, and Subway Cinema's Marc Walcow; the presentation was fun and whimsical; the two directors seemed genuinely thrilled to be there in a demented childlike way. They gave out prizes to the crowd and a bit of background on the film: "He likes asses; you'll see a lot of asses and a lot of things coming out of them", and of course the deep meaning in the meeting of the 3 directors minds "we all got together and got drunk and wrote the movie"... Also on the scene was Masanori Mimoto of Alien vs Ninja, screened earlier that day.
Last Friday I caught Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me on its opening night @ IFC. (Rather than recapitulate a press release, the reader is referred here for a synopsis—it’s as good as any other.) As someone who greatly enjoyed the Jim Thompson novel, I was looking forward to it with a mixture of curiosity and unease. It didn’t disappoint on the latter front; I felt more uncomfortable sitting next to my fellow theatergoers than I have at a movie since Irreversible. Along with Noe’s film, The Killer Inside Me is likely to be remembered as one of the most violent and offensive works of the past decade, a new entry in the growing trend that Hoberman recently called ‘the new realism’: movies of unrelenting brutality that take the human body as their playground, shocking the viewer out of his or her spectacle-benumbed complacency by systematically abusing and destroying the one realm of screen space he or she still identifies with. I recall an anecdote told by Nagisa Oshima after he observed the behavior of audiences at early screenings of his art-porno classic In the Realm of the Senses. When Sada severs Kichizo’s genitals following a fatal bout of erotic asphyxiation, the director noticed several of the men in attendance clutching their own groins in order to shield themselves from further violence.
Thompson’s book lends itself wonderfully to the screen in some ways, yet in other regards it continues to elude proper adaptation. I have often felt that of all genres, the crime novel was destined to find a home in Hollywood; in a beautiful marriage, cinema found pulp and pulp found the cinema. As a fairly literalist medium, movies have a special affinity for the kind of spare, ‘hardboiled’ prose invented by Hammett and Chandler and kept alive in Thompson’s writing. Characters are sketched in brief, vivid strokes, their language and physiognomy all but determining the course of action they follow in a way quite similar to the typage of actors found in realms as diverse as Eisenstein and Hawks (ie., policemen are burly, thieves are wiry). Even the origins of Thompson’s novel resemble the production values of the Hollywood assembly line: The Killer Inside Me grew out of a synopsis the author chose from a batch of story ideas penned by editors at Lion Books and presented to him by literary agent Arnold Hano in 1952.
Of course, the problem with bringing text to screen is the inherent danger of overliteralizing the material. There is something haunting about “Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller v” that is simply lost when we look at Humphrey Bogart: a sense of imaginative absurdity, impossibility, abstraction that a real face can never truly match.
Similarly, when sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) beats in the face of a prostitute (Jessica Alba) until her visage is little more than an amalgam of fleshy patches protruding through streaks of blood, her cheek collapsing under the pressure of a gloved fist, something is lost in the transition from Thompson’s much more evocative phraseology: “I backed her against the wall, slugging, and it was like pounding a pumpkin. Hard, then everything giving away at once… I brought an uppercut up from the floor. There was a sharp cr-aack! and her whole body shot upward, and came down in a heap.” What is lost is the sheer cartoonish play of language—in the absence of truly graphic violence, the reader is forced to imagine just what a face-turned-pumpkin might look like, a body which crosses the threshold from animate object to rag doll in the briefest of moments.
Technorati Tags: Burt Kennedy, Casey Affleck, Dashiell Hammett, Elias Koteas, Gaspar Noe, IFC, Irreversible, Jessica Alba, Jim Thompson, John Carradine, Kate Hudson, Michael Winterbottom, Nagisa Oshima, Ned Beatty, Stacy Keach, The Killer Inside Me
Tony Coulter here, speaking to you from the ever-receding past (Wednesday evening to be exact). As happens ever other week, I've laid out before you an assortment of sounds recently found, and of sights that have been with me a little longer -- for me, sight moves slower than sound.
Before the tell-and-show commences, let me just thank Cozmic Eddie, occasional guest-host of KPSU's Psychedelic Renaissance, for the loan of two of the audio oddities found below.
And now ... dig in!
Last week Apple became the technology company with the most bajillions of dollars, knocking Microsoft out of the #1 spot and making Steve Jobs the iMan. But it turns out that the iProduct comes with an iAgenda - and it totally sucks.
I have a Macbook and I have an iPhone. I also love iTunes, it is probably my favorite piece of software in the world, and I love their podcast store - it has been awesome to see my WFMU show featured on their front page. BUT, this week, the love affair is over. Here is what happened: my show has become another unintended consequence of Steve Jobs' War on Porn.
The latest episode is called "Kicking Against the Pricks." The phrase comes from the Bible, it means "rebellion against authority." And just as it is for one of the characters in my show, this rebellion is futile. Here is what the show title looks like on iTunes:
It doesn't bother me that Steve Jobs doesn't like Porn, but if he is serious about making his world free from Porn - then I think he has to pony up some of those bajillions of dollars and hire some good old fashioned bible thumping human censors - because his computer censors can't do the job without f••king up. Here is another example: a recent episode from the WNYC Science show Radiolab
My friend and WNYC Colleague Ellen Horne, the executive producer at Radiolab, says the staff was more amazed than horrified when Apple censored the word SPERM. Plus she adds that the *** makes it sort of like a "fun adventure to figure out what the show is even about." I wish I could be as amused. But I am not, if this is the iWorld, I don't want to live in it! And just so you know, the Chinese Government uses the "freedom from porn" line to justify what it does too. Maybe Steve Jobs will realize the futility of censorship on his own, but perhaps a list of unintended consequences will be more effective. If you have more examples - add them in the comments.
"...Nay, these were the most beautiful women of the world; the whole world, not just the world of today, but the world since time began and the world as long as time shall run.
Nor were the wild animals on display at the circus any less sensational than were the girls. Not elephants or tigers of hyenas or monkeys or polar bears or hippopotami, anyone and everyone had seen such as these time after time. The sight of an African lion was as banal today as that of an airplane. But here were animals no man had ever seen before; beasts fierce beyond all dreams of ferocity; serpents cunning beyond all comprehension of guile; hybrids strange beyond all nightmare of fantasy."
Charles G. Finney / The Circus of Dr. Lao
Well, those two California native ladies are still traveling abroad in 1983, and I'm back with the sequel to last week's posting - side two of the 90 minute letter we were working on; a scatalogical, sarcastic, sexy and swinging romp across foreign shores.I believe they're still in their pensione in Greece with the British girls when we rejoin them...
Tony Coulter here (there? somewhere?) with another cluster of things to listen to and to look at. No theme this time: just some recent audio purchases, and a bunch of images unpacked from moving boxes. Those images, including the one above, were clipped by moi so long ago I mostly no longer remember where they came from. If you know, do tell, and I will give credit where credit's due.
And now, dear reader's finger, please slide on through to the other side....
One film at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival that no one seems to be talking about is Joann Sfar’s Gainsbourg, Je t'Aime... Moi Non Plus. Perhaps Gainsbourg’s popularity (as well as that of his ye-ye contemporaries) is not as de jure as it used to be. Once a cultural heavyweight on par with Kerouac and Fellini, his piano bar melodies, crooning voice and light jazz arrangements may no longer appeal to a generation whose purview doesn’t extend far beyond Paw Tracks and DFA Records. I personally can’t recall the last time I pulled out my France Gall or Jacqueline Taieb for stereo play. But, then again, I don’t find Godard’s first decade of filmmaking nearly as charmant as I did in my first year of college.
I was happily surprised by Gainsbourg, Je t’Aime (previously called by the much more pretentious title of Gainsbourg: Vie héroïque), particularly because of the maturity with which it handles such an immature subject. After all, this is the man who said he wanted to fuck Whitney Houston on live television. There are plenty of dirty jokes—from the young Gainsbourg expounding his own facility in drawing “pussy hairs” to the BBW fable of “L’Hippopodame” (“The springs creak under the hippopodame…”)—but the filmmakers give us the impression of ascending to the songwriter’s intellectual milieu rather than lowering ourselves to it.
Most Gainsbourg fans know that the sexual raconteur was born Lucien Ginsburg in 1928 and grew up in the midst of Nazi-occupied France. The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Gainsbourg was marked early on by the rampant anti-Semitism of his motherland, which served the dual purpose of forcing the young boy into hiding as well as providing a reflection for his own self-perceived ugliness. A struggling painter who earned his living playing Aznavour hits in nightclubs, Gainsbourg skyrocketed to fame when he began arranging hits for pop lolitas Gall and Françoise Hardy. Most remarkable is the way in which, like Yellowman in Jamaica or Lou Reed in the US, Gainsbourg managed to transform his own sense of physical inferiority and marginal status as juif into one of France’s most notorious sexual icons. The film does a wonderful job of chronicling Lucien’s mainstream breakthrough in tandem with his own string of amorous conquests. Marveling at the charisma of the musician and the transcendent quality of star power, one easily overlooks the hooked nose and protruding ears in favor of the fingers’ sensuous rapping on piano keys. Similar to Perrault’s “Riquet With the Tuft”, here is an exceedingly unattractive man illuminated by the beauty of the women who love him, while managing to impart something of his intelligence to all and sundry that occupy his bedsheets.
The director-screenwriter and his muse were clearly meant for each other. Sfar, a graphic novelist by training, brings a sense of cartoonish grotesquerie to the man whose “Comic Strip” featured Bardot gasping an ecstatic refrain of “Shebang! Pow! Blop! Whizz!” This lack of subtlety is immediately apparent following Lucien’s eager and cheeky visit to acquire his yellow star from Nazi headquarters. Walking home down gray cobbled streets, he passes a poster with the words THE JEW AND FRANCE emblazoned above a hideous caricature of the Semitic intruder. Soon this bloated, rat-like visage comes to life as an enormous displaced head that follows Lucien on two pairs of human legs. The boy and his stereotype dance together, seemingly without concern for the grave political implications embedded in the leering parade float.
Of course, a biopic like this can’t succeed without actors to bring the man and his cohorts alive. At 136 minutes it can feel slightly swollen, but the stagings of such classic songs as “Bonnie and Clyde”, “La Javanaise”, and the scandalous Jamaican version of “La Marsellaise” more than justify the running time. Eric Elmosnino’s Gainsbourg is miraculous, perfecting the singer’s proto-hipster swagger and mannerisms while smoking through enough cigarettes to induce lung cancer in a normal human being by age 25. Sometimes-nude model Laetitia Casta brings the Barbie doll bawdiness of Bardot to life, while the late Lucy Gordon (who committed suicide last year at age 28) imparts to the English femme and second wife Birkin the tragic fragility of “La Décadanse” and the post-coital purr of “Je t’Aime… Moi Non Plus.” After the corpulent Jew-rat gives way to a new figure, the wily Jew of Gainsbourg’s maturity, the film is haunted by Doug Jones in a role known only as “La Gueule” —aka The Mug, a towering facsimile of Gainsbourg (Gainsbarre?) replete with hideously exaggerated hands, ears, and nose in the Nosferatu style. (With any luck, Siegfried Kracauer will be sending us missives from beyond the grave.) The double, while an obvious and perhaps tasteless symbol of Gainsbourg’s inner demons, adds a much-needed element of surreal whimsy to this hyperliterate film. Like I’m Not There but far better, Sfar’s work forgoes the truth of biography in favor of the lie. Modern mythmaking of Gainsbourg’s variety needs—nay, demands—the vast horizon of cinema, or what Rivette aptly called “the infinite stage of the universe.”
Gainsbourg, Je t'Aime... Moi Non Plus is playing a few more times at the festival, once tonight (4/29) at 3:00 PM and tomorrow (4/30) at 6:00. Tickets may be sold out, but show up an hour early for rush and you're likely to be seated. Village East Cinema, 189 2nd Avenue, between 11th and 12th Streets.
Technorati Tags: Brigitte Bardot, Eric Elmosnino, France Gall, Francoise Hardy, Gainsbourg: Vie heroique, Jane Birkin, Je T'aime... Moi Non Plus, Joann Sfar, Laetitia Casta, Lucy Gordon, Serge Gainsbourg
I went to the Miroslav Tichy exhibit at International Center of Photography a few weeks ago, and then I went back again last Friday. (See Vinnie Smith’s earlier post here on Beware of the Blog.) Miroslav Tichy is an old Czech, born in Kyjov, Moravia, in 1926. He went to art school, and then stopped painting sometime in the late 1950s. He became very unkempt, dressed in rags, and started wandering around Kyjov with cameras he constructed out of garbage—shoe boxes, twine, lenses from broken eyeglasses. According to some of the local residents who were interviewed for a documentary on Tichy’s life, most people didn’t believe his cameras were real; those who did would call the police whenever he began “taking pictures”—mostly of women’s feet, legs, and butts. The police also hauled Tichy off to the local insane asylum whenever he showed up for the annual May Day parade, because they didn’t want the village weirdo spoiling their proper celebration.
The images Tichy made are pretty great, because his cameras
and his enlarger were made out of trash, and also because of Tichy’s obsession
with his subject matter. Last Friday I watched a couple looking at the first
few photos at the ICP exhibit; the young woman turned to her date and said, “He
sure liked booty, didn’t he?” Clearly he did, which is pretty obvious to anyone
who just looks at the pictures. But if you read the accompanying text for the
show, written by some curator, you will discover that these images are all
about esthetic choice as to how best to represent the experience of village
life, or some such nonsense. Instead of shooting interiors or church scenes,
Tichy chose to shoot at the local swimming pool for some esthetic reason or
other. The fact that there are usually not a lot of half-naked babes at the
church didn’t enter into it at all, apparently. But Tichy himself, in an
interview in the documentary film that’s showing in conjunction with the
exhibit, just goes on and on about sexuality, atoms screwing, dinosaurs doing
it—he doesn’t say a word about his “esthetic choices.” He does say, “To be famous, you have to be worse at something than
anyone else in the whole world.” So he’s not stupid.
The images Tichy made are pretty great, because his cameras and his enlarger were made out of trash, and also because of Tichy’s obsession with his subject matter. Last Friday I watched a couple looking at the first few photos at the ICP exhibit; the young woman turned to her date and said, “He sure liked booty, didn’t he?” Clearly he did, which is pretty obvious to anyone who just looks at the pictures. But if you read the accompanying text for the show, written by some curator, you will discover that these images are all about esthetic choice as to how best to represent the experience of village life, or some such nonsense. Instead of shooting interiors or church scenes, Tichy chose to shoot at the local swimming pool for some esthetic reason or other. The fact that there are usually not a lot of half-naked babes at the church didn’t enter into it at all, apparently. But Tichy himself, in an interview in the documentary film that’s showing in conjunction with the exhibit, just goes on and on about sexuality, atoms screwing, dinosaurs doing it—he doesn’t say a word about his “esthetic choices.” He does say, “To be famous, you have to be worse at something than anyone else in the whole world.” So he’s not stupid.
I don’t understand why we have to do the Henry Darger on
these guys. Nobody goes to all the trouble of making cameras out of trash
unless their passion forces them to
make those images. Why can’t people just look at the photos and appreciate them
for what they are? It doesn’t lessen the power of the photos to accept that the
photographer was the local creepy weirdo, or that any “esthetic choices” were
being made by his Little Miroslav.
I don’t understand why we have to do the Henry Darger on these guys. Nobody goes to all the trouble of making cameras out of trash unless their passion forces them to make those images. Why can’t people just look at the photos and appreciate them for what they are? It doesn’t lessen the power of the photos to accept that the photographer was the local creepy weirdo, or that any “esthetic choices” were being made by his Little Miroslav.
ICP show until May 9 (Friday is pay-what-you-wish after
ICP show until May 9 (Friday is pay-what-you-wish after 5:00).
Also illuminating: the “Problems” section on the offical website.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and may God bless.
Thanks for reading my blogpost this time, and may God bless.
This is a spoken word/comedy album I found (oddly enough) in a bin along with Terry Riley's In C and Cecil Taylor's 3 Phasis (all severely undervalued) at an antique mall in Binghamton, New York last year. When LPs are a dollar or less, and the source is a 10 minute jaunt from my apartment, I inevitably start buying in bulk. Lots of albums I know nothing about, which I generally buy because I like the title or the artwork. Gypsy Rose Lee Remembers Burlesque (StereODDITIES, 1962) was no exception. Recently, I was trying to weed out some of the duds from my collection, which meant listening to many things for the first time. I anticipated chucking this one but was more than pleasantly surprised. This is an excellent record with a rich history behind it--though for anyone who likes burlesque, the name Gypsy Rose Lee is certain to be old hat.
According to Wikipedia,
Gypsy Rose Lee was born Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Washington in 1911, although her mother later shaved three years off both of her daughters' ages. She was initially known by her middle name, Louise… Louise's singing and dancing talents were insufficient to sustain the act without [her sister] June. Eventually, it became apparent that Louise could make money in burlesque, which earned her legendary status as a classy and witty strip tease artist. Her innovations were an almost casual strip style, compared to the herky-jerky styles of most burlesque strippers (she emphasized the "tease" in "striptease") and she brought a sharp sense of humor into her act as well. She became as famous for her onstage wit as for her strip style, and—changing her stage name to Gypsy Rose Lee—she became one of the biggest stars of Minsky's Burlesque, where she performed for four years.Eventually she married up into the world of Hollywood, even fathering one of Otto Preminger's children. In films like Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937), Battle of Broadway (1938), Stage Door Canteen (1943), and Belle of the Yukon (1944), she acted alongside such venerable personae as Victor McLaglen, Randolph Scott, Tallulah Bankhead and Katherine Hepburn; and, in B-movie thrillers like the lurid Screaming Mimi (1958), opposite less respectable actors like Phil Carey and Anita Ekberg--still, at the age of 47, trying to belt out a rather painful-sounding "Put the Blame on Mame." She seems to have played exclusively either dancers or nightclub owners, often with jazz artists like Raymond Scott or Red Norvo providing the pulsating soundtracks. Owing to her literary reputation as the author of The G-String Murders and Mother Finds a Body, she portrayed herself as an intellectual among strippers, an attractive notion still being "fleshed" out today in books by Chris Kraus and the latest episodes of Desperate Housewives. Watch her rather tame appearance in Stage Door Canteen, as she lectures the audience on art and culture in a full Victorian gown while subtly removing stockings and garter.
After years of marginal status, Lee's memoirs of life in the biz were turned into the 1959 musical Gypsy, a Stephen Sondheim extravaganza with Ethel Merman playing the titular character [correction: playing Gypsy's mother]. As these things usually go, the stage show became a 1962 film with Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood; which leads me to think that this 1962 LP was most likely released in order to coincide with/capitalize off the renewed attention to Lee's autobiographical odyssey. A true, ahem, "no rags to riches story," as the clip above phrased it.
The lyrics are by Eli Basse and the music by Bobby Kroll; the whole thing is produced and directed by Fletcher Smith. Not that these names mean anything to me. The "adults-only" feel is similar to Belle Barth's records, though the producers are obviously having a lot more fun with the novelties of stereo technology. The liner notes say it all: "You'll find yourself once again surrounded by the unique atmosphere that's become part of Americana. Here in all their gaudy glory parade the Dolls of the Chorus, the baggy-pants Comics and the Sensational Strippers. Set to the authentic sounds of the bumpy burly-beat pit orchestra, such realism has been captured that you'll swear you see the magenta spots and smell the powder and paint... and even the salami sandwiches!" Though I'm not sure that the words "Americana" and "realism" should ever be included in the same breath without a tinge of irony. The album has plenty of great moments, even some sad ones--particularly on side B, as Gypsy laments the disappearance of burlesque by asking passersby on the street if they share her sentiments. Even the women are sad: "Pardon me madame, how do you feel about burlesque being closed up?" "I think it's disgraceful and I'm going to write a nasty letter to the mayor." "Why, madame?" "Well, since they closed the burlesque theaters I have no idea where my husband is every night."
Yellowman is pretty lovable; he’s one of the crudest, rudest, slackest vocalists of the 1980s, and despite releasing at least a dozen albums in 1982 alone, most of them are pretty good. However, I did start to think that 80 minutes of pure and unadulterated Yellowman might get tiresome for the unconvinced listener. So I began toying with the idea of breaking the mix up with other material that samples King Yellow, either dub mixes or hip-hop singles, or tracks that feature him as a guest. I was much aided in my search by www.whosampled.com, which, while not exhaustive, lists 7 borrowings for Zungguzungguguzungguzeng alone. I was happy to find Junior MAFIA’s rather humorous “Player’s Anthem” (video below), where Biggie's refrain paraphrases Yellow's vocalese melody, as well as K7’s Zunga Zeng. Nice & Smooth samples Yellow’s tune not once but twice, simply rapping over the same vocal loop from “Zung” on both Nice & Smooth and Dope on a Rope. (The last three tunes can be heard mixed together on a great wayneandwax post.)
More songs below the jump!...
Blind people are just like us: they have needs. Plus they are NOT just like us: They have no porno! There is already an amazing website that provides spoken-word descriptions of online porn for blind people, but it seems to be done by volunteers, some of whom are better—a lot better—than others. Here are some tips:
1. Don’t bother telling blind people what color things are, they haven’t ever seen colors so it’s not that helpful. More helpful is the nice young lady who points out that the woman in the video has natural breasts and a belly-button piercing (“so that’s kind of fancy”). 2. Do not crack up as you describe the sexxxy scenes. As one guy’s friend angrily points out, “They don’t wanna hear laughin’ when they’re jackin’ it!” So true.
The other thing that is maybe not so good about the free website is that they just use free teaser videos, so the scenes they describe are all only about 20 seconds long. [A digression: In the mid-’80s there were free phone numbers you could call to hear tape recordings of sexy ladies describing naughty things. I think they were supposed to encourage you to call for pay-for-it phone sex, but they were pretty awesome on their own, and they were all definitely longer than 30 seconds. More like a couple minutes, I think.]So, you know how WFMU is completely Listener-supported but last year we didn't raise enough money with our annual fund-raising Marathon and we had to do a shorter on-air fundraiser later on, and nobody really wants to do that? So my idea was that we could get some hot-sounding WFMU DJs, like Psue Braun or Bryce or William Berger, and have them record descriptions of some long porn scenes, and put them up on a website, and sell it to blind people who want some nice porn. I think we could definitely make some money that way for sure.
It's 1:40 PM on New Year's Eve, but this post will appear on New Year's morning. I am swamped with reviews, sitting in the living room where my ten year old twin brothers tug at each other's hair and scream "choo choo" while playing with newly-bought toy train sets. But in the interests of this post and to keep it timely, I must transport myself mentally to a better time and a better place. Tonight I'll be dining at the East Village's Mermaid Inn (the New Year's menu looks delectable), finally catching Almodovar's Broken Embraces at Sunshine Cinema, and dancing all night at the Old American Can Factory, usually host to perennial favorite Issue Project Room, but tonight featuring "local stars DJ Eleven, DJ Ayres, & Cosmo Baker of The Rub [, who] are famous for their funk, soul, r&b classics parties that bring out Brooklyn's finest." Which I would invite you to, but it sold out last night/this morning.
Whoops... still not thinking in the present tense of this post, which is New Year's Day. After my somewhat controversial post on Christmas, I do feel blessed to have two such important dates to my credit on which to blog. I would like to provide a smattering of music from my collection in the interests of narrating New Year's Eve into the morning, as I hope I am currently experiencing it -- tired, swathed in blankets, curled up in the arms of a loved one and with no intention of moving, except perhaps to retrieve hot chocolate and more blankets.
Perhaps you were like Raymond Scott and spent New Year's Eve in a Haunted House. More likely you were getting spifflicated like George Formby would have wanted you to, Letting the New Year In by making an utter fool of yourself. If you're politically inclined, your thoughts may be as confused as Bono's on New Year's Day, somehow shifting between simple love poetry and "the golden age, and gold is the reason for the wars we wage." Moving along...
You may have been struck by wishful thinking last night, with temperatures in New York near freezing and chances of frozen rain. Like Lou Christie, I wished it was just a little Summer Snow, or that, in the more forthright words of Elizabeth Mitchell, Winter's Come and Gone. Ay, that's the rub of New Year's--you have to watch the fireworks in the bitter cold. By 8 PM, after sundown, you were feeling what the Mississippi Sheiks call the Winter Time Blues. By 12 AM, you were Frozen By Blizzard Winds, much like the album by Kevin Drumm and Lasse Marhaug. When completely numbed by cold, with nothing left to lose but your circulation, you may have taken Graham Lambkin and Jason Lescalleet's advice to simply "Listen, the Snow is Falling".
Along with Meade Lux Lewis, today you will be doing the Hangover Boogie, because you Drank Up All the Wine Last Night with Sticks McGhee. You had to do something last night to keep warm! When you sober up, you'll be smart like Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening and become a Hot Chocolate Boy. For all the lovers out there, perhaps you will follow Yellowman's lead and indulge in a little Bedroom Mazurka (absolutely NSFW--Yellowman a the Lover Boy is slightly more innocent). The refrain to your thoughts will not be dissimilar to Go-Kart Mozart's, aka Lawrence Hayward's: "People like me, no, we're nothing like you, we'd rather stay at home, have a screw. Oh people like me, We're Selfish and Lazy and Greedy".
Happy New Year from yours truly.
Hey guys! What's up, well sheeeit man.
As people consume content in smaller pieces and the influences from which content-creators draw their inspiration become more varied and well-integrated into finished works, things have settled into different categories than they're usually put into.
When I wander out into the new, overflowing marketplaces of digital and physical content, I find myself chasing not a scene, genre, or production aesthetic. I find myself chasing EMOTION. BIG, shining, unmistakable emotion. Lindsey Buckingham might call it BIG LOVE. In a world full of the pulpy asscrap shit out of a million boring Macbooks, the only things that consistently rise to the top of the pile are the sentimental ones. They come from associations drawn in formative years, from tunes attached to specific occasions or great sound systems. Like: the first time someone slipped you some tongue, in the back of the car with the best stereo you've ever pumped to, all in front of shimmering fiery spectacle of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and you're pretty much there.
So here is the best shit from 2009, the stuff that cut into me the deepest, OK?
Click on the links below the titles to hear the songs as they appeared in my shows over the year.
Just in time for Halloween, I discovered my own grave today. Apparently I died in November 1918, age 31, and am buried in some little town in Pennsylvania. Sluggo and I are planning a road trip to go visit Dead Me very soon. If you'd like to find Dead You, then I recommend searching your own name at FindAGrave.com, one of my favorite websites. (My thanks to Find a Grave Member Beth for locating Dead Me, and to Patty Matthews for the photo of Nanticoke Cemetery.)
With a few notable exceptions (Stuart Gordon, Larry Cohen), my horror-auteur gods have been letting me down in recent years. Granted, artists like George A. Romero and Dario Argento are working with much bigger budgets, and greater public expectations than Jean Rollin has ever had to deal with, and maybe that, in and of itself, is partly the kiss of death for these comparative big shots.
Why do I consider myself a huge Rollin fan, yet I've never, until now, watched a film of his later than The Living Dead Girl (1982)? Maybe I didn't want to risk having the master of vampire chateaus, beguiling female malefactors, moody beach scenes and the darkly absurd shot down in my estimation. Boy was I wrong. It took the recommendation of WFMU / My Castle of Quiet super-listener Richard Ridden to coax me into taking a chance on Rollin's 2002 feature, Fiancée of Dracula, and I have nothing but good things to report.
First of all, it's amazing to me that the same, crumbling, ruined pier Rollin has been using as a location since the late 1960s has never been fixed up (perhaps that's French infrastructure for you), and in this film, he's used that craggy pier for one of his most compelling seaside visions ever. Secondly, the classic Rollin motif of grandfather clocks as a travel portal for the undead is employed here again, some 30 years after the director's phantasmagorical 1971 feature, Le frisson des vampires.
What other visual and conceptual delights fill out the body of Fiancée of Dracula? What say thee to a convent of mad nuns, who smoke pipes and cigars, don funnels and quote Jarry, and have a mean kick in the bargain? Or a salacious blonde ogress, who feeds on live infants? How about a mind-boggling scene—perhaps the best in the whole film—in which a nun, having been brutally slaughtered, suddenly rises up and carries around her own bleeding heart? All this and more, including a minor, but pivotal role, played by Rollin's long-time star, the lovely Brigitte Lahaie. I fear if I say too much, I will most certainly curb your surprise and pleasure in watching this film. It's enough to say that maestro Rollin has maintained the visual sense, absurdity, and moody, ethereal vibrations that have defined his filmmaking career from the very start.
Supposedly only sold through sex shops in Amsterdam during a short time at the end of the 60s, this is a truly bizarre psychedelic freak-out of an album. There isn't too much information about it out on the net, but apparently it is rumored that this was recorded by members of the popular Dutch rock band Sandy Coast. It is probably impossible to find the original vinyl, and I bet it would sell for a fortune if it ever popped up on eBay, but here are the MP3s, just in time for your next sex opera party.
Oh, and despite the title this is safe for your kids, your office, and the FCC, if you don't mind to expose them to the occasional heavy breathing, moaning, and screaming, plus a hefty dose of deranged psychedelia...