Saturday, September 29, 2007

JTTV - Season 2, Episode 6 - Ladron de Basura

For those that don't watch Univision regularly, here is the promo for my Spanish language version of this channel.

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Saturday in My Neighborhood

Although the store itself has been closed for quite some time, the sign remains and has tempted me to either nab it or buy the building.
I have no idea what these creations in the storefront/gallery near the 24th/Mission BART stop are, but they have held my fascination for quite a while.

This ongoing public art project on utility boxes and other banal objects tries to document life in the Mission.
And an example of the real thing. Summer afternoons are often marked by the pleasant sound of the little bells.
Precita Eyes, the organization promoting, preserving and preparing our murals is marking its third decade.
La Victoria is the largest panaderia in the neighborhood and has staff sweeter than their treats. It's been a while since I've seen the big yellow cat that guards all those pastries after hours.
This Magical Mystery Tour bus was parked outside Galeria de la Raza this evening, perhaps bringing the poets performing there.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vanilla Pride - The Ultimate Rebellion.

In a matter of hours, San Francisco will host its most irrelevant, boring, outdated event – the Folsom Street Fair. While we now have a viable alternative opportunity during Pride Week thanks to the increasingly popular Gay Shame, unfortunately there is not a local Folsom Street Fair alternate. We desperately need one. That’s why tomorrow night I’m puttin’ on my Dockers and heading to Kansas City for the fifth annual Blandfest, the nation’s definitive vanilla-appreciation event. This year promises to top 2006’s landmark event in Dubuque when they dedicated the glorious Mullet Wing at the Hairdo Hall of Fame and the Alberto VO5s put on a kick ass concert.

This year the event will include a reunion of Hootie and the Blowfish, an Up With People retrospective and two simultaneous cinematic galas – the Tom Hanks Film Festival in Country Club Plaza and the Sandra Bullock Film Festival at Crown Center.

The Alberto V05s rock the house at Blandfest 2006

As a true renegade and rebel, Junk Thief would much rather be at this edgy event in Kansas City instead of the tedious gathering in SOMA. I mean, how many times do you need to see a 68-year-old guy show off his pierced scrotum while a group of onlookers gape with the dogged orthodoxy of a bevy of elderly Rotarians from Toledo going through their weekly rituals? What’s that, oh right, that 68-year-old guy with the pierced scrotum actually is a Rotarian from Toledo.

So indulge me to once more give my take on the Folsom Street Fair. In 1962 it would have been fiercely renegade and shocking. By 1970 it would have reached a stage of still being mildly edgy but bordering on mainstream assimilation. By 1989 it had attained near retro relevance of paying homage to a long lost age. By 2002 and the post dot-com bust, it had attained the hollow pathos of a group of mourners continuing to put on a funeral years after the corpse was permanently planted six feet under. In 2007 it is, in a word, pathetic.

Mind you, I have no problems with sex, kink, innovation, freedom, self-expression and individualism, none of which will be on display at this event. It's just a bunch of technology and rituals. If I want that I'll head over to Best Buy and blow the one cute member of the Geek Squad. Perhaps it comes down to what I consider to be the major differences between creativity and sexual innovation in California and the East and Europe. As with many things, California seems to be obsessed with technology and not content or concept. As anyone can tell from the sloppy design of this site and inept editing of Junk Thief TV, I’m much more a concept and content sort of guy. Sure we all need our share of technology, but it’s not what I want curled up next to me at night.

So that’s why I’ll avoid the lame rituals on Folsom Street this weekend and opt for the Big Vanilla in Kansas City. It’s a good reminder that vanilla is too often misnamed as a non-flavor while the foul, fecal stuff called chocolate is revered as something holy. In its pure form, vanilla is neither bland nor white. And while an excess of chocolate will give you zits, a big gut and a headache, too much pure vanilla will give you a glorious, giddy high. But, of course, Vanilla Pride should not be repeated. As with any true, renegade act, it should be committed once and allowed to sear itself into our memory. To repeat it would turn it into ultimately banality, something the Folsom Street Fair organizers should have realized 25 years ago. And don't even get me started on body "art"!

UPDATE: News flash from Omaha, home of the Alberto V05s. The reason the above photo of the 5s has only four men is because Ralph Burnside, their counter tenor, has left the group and will be running a spanking booth at Folsom Street Fair. Obviously, this was horrifying for the group, but they've persevered and reformed as a quartet named the Blandies.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

$800 Billion Peaceniks

The decades of persecution in Burma are no laughing matter, but two outrageously contradictory news items today are. As the White House pushes for what is nearing a cost of $800 billion war in Iraq, they are expressing supposed compassion for the oppressed in Burma. I can't help but wonder how long Bush has known the name of Aung San Suu Kyi or asked if he should call the nation Myanmar or Burma. (For the record, most of those who've been oppressed prefer the historical name of Burma since they consider Myanmar to be little more than an invented name of military junta. I also love to hear Bush say "yoontah".) Driving home from SFO and hearing Condoleezza Rice speaking on the radio about her concern for people who were simply exercising free speech and demonstrating to end war and violence, it was hard not to chuckle. They tried that in another country without success and the White House wasn't very sympathetic.

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Parting Shots

A few final, random thoughts on Arizona:
  • Three days here, and I reiterate my scruffy but well scrubbed comment about the boys here. The only time I saw a tattoo was on a fat woman at Wal-Mart. (I know, I know. Lock me up, but I needed a watch battery and didn't have time to waste.) It really reminded me how I want to launch my campaign for a tattoo-free America by 2012. If I want to read in bed, I'll pick up Proust, not look at the ink on my man's ass.
  • Why, oh why, would old people want to retire to a place where it's over 90 degrees 90% of the year. I do love the high desert of Flagstaff, Prescott, etc. but Phoenix and Tucson are what I call hell. When I retire, I feel that I have earned my right to live someplace (likely Victoria) where it rarely gets above 60 degrees.
  • On top of that I would like to make it illegal for anyone over 55 to wear shorts in public. Most definitely myself included in that.
  • I am notoriously not attracted to blonds except for those that are a sub-category of those noted in bullet point number 1 and who seem to be in abundance in Arizona -- the aforementioned scruffy and scrubbed, light growth of beard, thinning to premature balding, lightly furry but not those hideous cotton candy forearms, lean but lightly defined, sweetly edgy and slight assertive. Perfection and grow like cacti on the highway here.
  • What's up with the "You came at a nice time of year. The weather's gonna be perfect today." It's 95 fucking degrees in Phoenix today! Sorry, there's no amount of air conditioning that can compensate for that.
  • Say what I may about those libertarian Republicans here, I commend them for providing free internet access at Sky Harbor allowing me to post this piece before I board my plane.

As if it weren't confusing enough that you take I-10 East to El Paso in order to go south to Tucson, all the exits through central Tucson where blocked for road construction with only one tiny sign saying you are supposed to use the access road as the freeway through the central part of the city. Being short on time for an appointment, I was screaming like a girl with rabies but did make it on time, albeit frazzled and cursing that I'd ordered a venti coffee 30 minutes earlier..
Doorway art. Don't ask.
Downtown has a lot of this and stumpy "highrise", sort of a large El Paso or tiny San Diego.

Ah, the start of a wonderful friendship. Any scowling barbs will be immediately deleted!!!!
A lot of this between Tucson and Phoenix. More than once I thought I was going from San Diego to Orange County and then remembered where I was.
I was pushing it to make it to the airport, so just managed to snap this campus shot just as a pack of scruffy-scrubbies scampered ou of my view.

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They Say It's My Birthday...

Thanks to everyone for the early and on time birthday messages. If I'm lucky my flight home will be delayed the currently reported 17 minutes and not more than that. Woo hoo, what a way to celebrate the big day.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Arizona Highways (as Seen by a Californian)

Lots of miles, lots meetings in less than 30 hours, but I couldn't keep my loyal readers in the lurch. So here's a rundown of Monday and Tuesday.
I have been getting around the state in a Chevy HHR. I'd never seen or heard of such a thing. Imagine a PT Cruiser with birth defects.


I spent Monday on a Hopi and Navajo reservation east of Tuba City. Fascinating visits to several villages where photography is not allowed, but I saw several sweat lodges and hogans. I did manage to snap these shots at the little known Coal Mine Canyon on the western edge of the reservation.

Near the San Francisco range south of Tuba City on route 89.

Huh, huh. I said beaver.
No jokes about the snarling. Having been there twice this year, I think Flagstaff (or Flag as locals call it) has one of the highest cute boy indexes of any college town in the west. Just scruffy enough to have an edge in a freshly scrubbed way. I was thinking about not actually seeing one of them as this one was shot.
Seeing me take self-snaps, an especially yummy boy kindly shot this one of me, but I wasn't so bold as to ask him to let me do the same. Anyway, you can see that he made me smile. I wanted to see if he could make me really smile, though.
Oh, the art.
Overall, I much prefer Flagstaff to Sedona, at least people-wise.

ROUTE 89A to Sedona
Embiggen to get the joke. It amused me for the 5 minutes waiting to pass a one lane road.

Scenery on the route.
Scenery with scowling Californian.
Did you know they have a lot of cacti in Arizona? The stay in Sedona was mercifully brief. Honestly, I'd love the place if it weren't for the locals and the tourists there.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

JTTV - Season 2, Episode 5 - Sbalzi de Amore (Love Rush)

Franco Nero called me on my cell as I was just finishing brunch this afternoon. He ran into Bryce Digdug on the Concorde (no, they're not completely gone, at least for the true jet set) on their way back from Ibiza. Franco said that there is a plan for a reunion of the cast of Sbalzi de Amore (Love Rush), that great TV series that we co-starred in with Ann Margret back in 1979-1980. It really is a shame that CBS turned it down, because it really broke a lot of ground.

One of the great revelations was the acting ability of Ruth Buzzi who played Cookie Mayhew, a single real estate broker who was having an affair with Big Buck Reilly, played by Cantinflas. The cliff hanger was when you were led to believe that she was the person that shot Hildegard Knef's character, Zaranda Reilly, Big Buck's wife. Did Zaranda die? Did Cookie take the rap? Oh, now we'll never know.

I ran into Ruth on State Street in Santa Barbara this summer, and she said she felt Cookie didn't do it, and that as the jilted single woman of "a certain age" she was vilified. I'm with Ruth all the way on that one.

Anyway, I've not been able to transfer all those PAL tapes to NTSC yet, but I was able to come across the original opening credits that I thought my readers might enjoy in the meantime. It wasn't until episode 8, the famed Christmas gala, that Ann started doing the opening sequence on a sling in front of Mount Rushmore.

By the Time I Get to Phoenix...

...I will probably have forgotten I took these on my little Autumn Equinox tour.Glad someone finally locked up that damned kid, it was always nothin' but trouble.
Actually not my mixing table but in the window of Triple Base Gallery.
We definitely need more iconic representations of him and less of Rigoberta and Frida. But any mention or photo of him gets the same ecstatic, one word response: "Cantinflas!"

This one was just painted this weekend.
Smart ass signs deserved their smart ass responses.
Wha? Huh? And my history teacher said it was John Wilkes Booth!
Is it just me, or could these two places pass as Pacific cousins to this house in New Orleans from Tugboat Dave's tour of his 'hood?

Someday, I just hope, I'll look up and see a pair of stilettos instead.

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