Monday, December 31, 2007

In My Neighborhood - The Sugar Shack

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

JTTV - Season 2, Episode 11 - Molene Jackson Plans New Year's Spectacular at Caeser's in Las Vegas

After her triumph last year playing Radio City Music Hall, my dear friend show biz legend Molene Jackson plans to play Caeser's in Vegas this year. Tickets are fetching $5,000 and up.

Although long a dedicated feminist, Mo caught a lot of flak for the lyrics in this featured tune. However, as our close friend Angela Davis said in coming to her defense, even the best lyrics of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday contain similar sentiments and embody women's struggle with white male oppression. On top of that, how can you knock a gal that can pick up a zither and make it sound just like a banjo!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

The Story of Junk, Er, I Mean, Stuff

Although in theory I agree with the rants of Reverend Billy, I ultimately find him to be a bit to, well, preachy.

However, I'm thrilled to see that Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff is now reaching a wider audience. I've heard her speak a few times and find her to be straight forward, not condescending and able to present these facts in a clear straightforward manner. It's as if she's a human version of the Pinky Show!

In a way she's sort of the shadow side of what lies beneath Junk Thief, that there's too much stuff/junk filling our lives that are the symptoms of a system in crises.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

R.I.P., Tatiana

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More Melies Than N.A.S.A.

Just curious, do any of my Philly-based or -rooted blogrollers have any of Sally's discs? I grew up watching Miss Fran in Storyland who had doctorate and was a tad too ivory tower. Sally looks like a cousin of the Del Rubios.

UPDATE: As Sally would say: "Good luck and lollipops!"

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Interactive Monday Assignment: Watch, Disconnect

Hello my dear ones. Watch, laugh, enjoy your egg nog and yule logs not blogs, come back soon!

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This Cat Will Shall Not Be Moved

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the annual display of cats up for adoption in the windows of the Union Square Macy's. I'm reminded of why I love cats as this one refuses to pay any attention to the attention hungry brat pounding the window. I actually can like kids too, but not this one.

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Christmas Eve Around the Mission & the Junkplex

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Have Yourself a Very Weimar Weinachten

Am I the only one that caught the airing of the Rise and Fall of Mahagonny last night? Having long given up on any innovation coming from PBS, I do give a tip of the fedora to them for airing it at the peak of the gooey holiday specials. It was no surprise that Audra McDonald was brilliant and brought heart to a cartoon role, but at times she reminded me of Condi Rice -- a woman who whores herself to an evil empire in order to feed herself.=. Brecht's epic theater seems increasingly shrill and arch with the passage of time, but who can fault this production for melding together references to the Third Reich and Las Vegas. Mahagonny has long been a metaphor for many American boomtowns -- LA itself, Houston, Silicon Valley -- and echoes Kafka's Amerika.

This was a perfect finale to a year that brought us superb reissues of both Berlin Alexanderplatz and Threepenny Opera. I am humming Mortitat as I write this. " her slumbers/Mackie, how much did you charge?"

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

JTTV - Season 2, Episode 10 - Ready for the Solstice

Melies, mosaics and me. Does it make sense to you? If so, then perhaps you should be worried. We present this as a preparation for the coming Winter Solstice, a bit of light as the longest night approaches.

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More Melies, One Century On

I just can't seem to get enough of George Melies these days. In recognition of its centennial, I post perhaps my favorite of all of his films: The Eclipse - The Romance of the Moon and the Sun. Is it the first same sex romantic story ever committed to film? I'm not sure. But when the sun gets behind the moon, the expression on the face of the lunar star is, well, captivating.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Interactive Monday: What's Your Host Up To?

There's no getting around it. Your host, Junk Thief, can be a bit of an odd little character. That's why we've made him the subject of this week's Interactive Monday. Captured here in a candid pose, we see Junk Thief on a typical evening in his pied-a-tier in San Francisco's Mission District.

Your assignment: Try to describe what this little elf is up to or what you think brought him to this particular pose.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Mark of the Thieves

Too often, too much is made about how I am so "different" from the rest of my family. Though I respect their privacy by not talking to much about them here (or am so self obsessed that I don't want to share the limelight), I was pleased to receive a box from my sister and her family yesterday. As usual, there was a "open when you get the shipment" bag that was a seasonal creation. Here is her creation for the season, typical of her fondness for quilting, primitives, animals and...well, a sort of Junk Thief sense of humor. When she was a newlywed, she pulled a wretched couch from a creek and had it completely rebuilt and recovered at easily three times the cost of a new couch simply because it had the perfect lines. She finally parted with it this summer, a good 35 years on. I don't plan to part with the pillow anytime soon.

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There Goes the Neighborhood

If you told me even six months ago that I would be living two blocks away from a Sunset magazine Idea House, I would have said you were insane. Yet, there it is, the very place I derided as a "gaudy modern" in the opening episode of this season of Junk Thief TV.

Wasn't it just a couple of months ago that there was a shooting in front of my house? Time to trade in the ten-year-0ld Saturn for a Range Rover.

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Today in My 'Hood

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

What's Been Burning in My Disco Kitchen

From time to time Junk Thief will compile some tunes from his stash of rarities -- so rare K-Tel has never even heard of them -- and shares them with his inner circle. He'd hoped to have his latest epic eight-disc extravaganza DJ'd by the legendary Vivian Valvoom (a real person, though that's not his real name) before Christmas, but he's cutting it close. This one is just about finished (expect yours just in time to warm up those drab and chilly Ogreville New Year's bashes Ms. Jill). Since Junk Thief doesn't know just who would be interested, drop him a line and your address if you'd like a copy. No throbbing techno or electro beats here. Expect sassy Linda Clifford proto-femisist struts, Philly dance beats, Taka Boom (To Hell With Him, anyone?) Vicki Sue Robinson, Undisputed Truth, France Joli, Melba Moore and a lot of the symphonic cheese of the likes of Alec R. Costandinos. And absolutely zero Madonna or Diana Ross. Oh, and two, count 'em two, songs from gay porn/Edge of Night star Dennis Parker.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Reach for the Skies

The Kite Runner was already pretty high on my list of holiday movies, but then seeing this interview today with Khalid Abdalla on Charlie Rose bumped it up a few notches. That face, that voice! That's pretty close to perfection in my book. I must admit to getting a little jealous, though, seeing him get married to woman. What a waste! Most of my comments here probably rile Christian conservatives, now I've offended an entirely new demgraphic.

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If I Can Overlook Oprah, He May Have Just Won Me Over

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Merry Méliès

I've long been a fan of the film sof Georges Méliès, but he has figured unusually prominent in my psyche this year. Perhaps all the dreamy swirls of Gaudi in Barcelona from a century earlier and the Centennial of such Méliès classics as The Dream of the Opium Eater, The Eclipse and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea have added to it. Like other cinematic pioneers from Griffith to Welles, he spent the last decades of his life in obscurity and near squalor.

Thus Brian Selnick's "children's" book The Invention of Hugo Cabret is proving to be a perfect holiday season read. Its 500+ pages are made up of nearly 300 pages of illustrations, yet it is less a graphic novel or Harry Potteresque fantasy as it is a more lyrical Doctrow treatment of history and redemption of an overlooked artist.

Fittingly, I added another volume of Méliès films to my library this week yet have yet to come across a print of the The Dream of the Opium Eater which has long intrigued me. The San Francisco Silent Film festival featured a number of his century old works this summer, yet they have yet to share this one. There is always hope.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top of My List

Okay, I know it's been going through many of my readers' heads. What, oh, what do you give Junk Thief for the holidays this year? I know that finding the right gift for the king of all junk is not an easy task, so I am pleased to give you a tip. This little beauty is just what I want.

It's so state-of-the-art, so sleek, so...20th Century. I called Best Buy, and they seem to have run out of them. However, I suggest stopping by the soon to be defunct CompUSA. This seems just the sort of thing you'd find at that place.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Interactive Monday Assignment (A Day Late)

Sorry for the delay, but it was a busy Monday.

We all heard about the big Oprah (or is it Oprah!) endorsement of Obama.

I ran into Oprah's friend Gayle at the Best Buy in Colma (cemetery capital of northern California) last night, and she said that Dinah Shore is also endorsing Obama. Apparently there is a huge push to get endorsements from other dead celebrities. Although dead people still can't legally vote (except in North Dakota and Mississippi), there is no law against them making endorsements.

Thus, here is your assignment. Who do you think these dead people would vote for if they were alive?
  • Groucho Marx
  • Karl Marx
  • Eva Gabor
  • Tammy Wynette
  • Dora Hall
  • Totie Fields
  • Rudolph Nuryev
  • Elvis
  • Jackie Coogan
  • Charo (Oops, even if she's not dead she can't vote in the U.S.)
  • Thelma Ritter
  • Papa John Creech
  • John C. Holmes
  • Roebuck Staples
  • Arthur Treacher
  • Wendy O Williams
  • Wilfrid White-Hyde
  • Barry Goldwater
  • Jerry Falwell
  • Amanda "Kitty" Blake
Bonus question: Who was Benji's favorite First Pet?

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Jamiroquai You Say? No Way!

I've always loved the campy performances of Vincent Price and the bizarrely macho-homoerotic flicks of Samuel Fuller. House of Bamboo is a great piece of evidence, if only for its wacky production aesthetic. However, I never knew that Fuller and Price once collaborated on the gloriously wacko The Baron of Arizona, a little known film of more than half a century ago about an equally obscure tidbit of lore of wild west self-deluded aristocracy equal to Emperor Norton.

At first it seems a tad odd to see Price in a Western, but he's soon hanging out at a monastery, and then off to Paris and Madrid, making me long to be back in the madre españa in outfits that make his turn in Laura seem outright butch. Oh, the floral waist coats, glam bauble adorned hats, scarves and lace cuffs!

My only complaint with the usually thorough Criterion is that there aren't any extras or director commentary in this volume of the set of early Fuller films. But it's worth checking out, if only for the gloriously arch dialogue. A few samples:

Narrator: But the Baron would not see the Contessa that night as he said. He had other plans. He was ready to come out in the open!

The Baron: Aren’t you happy to see me?

Sophia: I can’t see you for the tears.

The Baron (First in a scene with the Contessa and then with Sophia): I have been with many women before, but with you I am…afraid!

Sophia: I loved you from that first time you gave me a second piece of candy.

I will have to remember this lines the next time I am back in Arizona or, better yet, Spain and can claim my royal heritage.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Oh, Boogers

In theory, the transition from fall to winter is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately, I can almost predict more precisely than i can the approach of Chanukah when my sinuses will go into seasonal shock. I've been fighting it since last Friday and endured it through turbulent flights to and from Jackson and Denver. Thus, my creative prowess have been diminished of late. I hope to be back to 100% soon. Now at about 68% compared to 28% at the same point last week.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

JTTV - Season 2, Episode 9 - The Holiday Spectacular

Hard as it may be to believe, just a year ago Junk Thief TV went live on YouTube. Thanks for watching, all the great comments and support. Did you miss that kick off last year? You can check it out here.

And now we're thrilled to celebrate our first year and the holidays with a star-studded, action-packed musical spectacular. You think Sweeney Todd is about revenge? Wait 'til you see our show!

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Holiday Party Shot #2: As We Prepare for More...

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What We've Been Watching This Week

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Holiday Party Shot: Eggnog Break with Junk Thief's Editorial Team

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Bigger Than The Boys in the Band

One of the interesting revelations from Mitt Romney's speech today was the discovery that we live in a land that is filled with a "symphony of religions." Shown here is a member of the percussion section.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

The Marriott-Manilow Massacre

Why would anyone pay $10 for ethernet in their room when wireless is free in the lobby of the Marriott, in this case Littleton, Colorado? Answer: They've been playing the same Barry Manilow CD since I first logged on at 7 a.m. and going strong at 8:38 p.m. M.S.T. Granted I've not been here all day to see if they decided to provide some other torture such as Amy Grant or Toby Keith doing their yuletide greetings. Not that I've checked recently, but isn't Manilow Jewish?

UPDATE: Tuesday a.m. and I'm about to head of to "the Springs" and am checking email before hitting the 25. They're playing Bob Marley which doesn't seem to be resonating with the direct marketing convention participants and business men in tight Wranglers and Stetsons. Damn, but they're intent to get that $9.99 from people's rooms. I have the lobby to myself, and the cute Czech business men sitting across from me yesterday babbling into their cell phones seem to have left.

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INTERACTIVE MONDAY: Let's All Raise Our Voices in Song

Good morning class. You did so well with your assignment last week, and Professor Junk Thief is very proud of his students. It's not too late if you didn't participate or if you just want to see the outstanding work from last week's students which is here.

You did so well with your short stories that were moving, engaging and amusing. Now as we enter the advent/Kwanzaa/Channakuh season, it's time to start stirring the egg nog and standing outside our neighbors' windows and belting out such classics as "Dancing Around My Kwanzaa Bush". But don't you sometimes get tired of those old standbys like "The Twelve Days of Ramadan" and "Here Comes Channakuh Harry"?

Why don't we have some fund and bring some new cheer to the season by composing our own lyrics to bring a new verve to the season. Feel free to have blank verse, sonnets, rap, or whatever pleases you. Don't be ashamed to write new lyrics to a familiar melody or come up with your own beats. To get you started, here are three --- count 'em three -- pieces of photographic inspiration that you can use for the cover of your 45 r.p.m. single for your holiday tune. Write about any of the three as you please, or weave a sassy ditty converging all three.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

This Just in: Junk Thief in Jackson, Wyoming

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