Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's Raining Today (again)

With the forecast of the past few and next days, Scott Walker's words are once again very fitting:

It's raining today

and I'm just about to forget the train window girl

That wonderful day we met

She smiles through the smoke from my cigarette
It's raining today
But once there was summer and you And dark little rooms
And sleep in late afternoons

Those moments descend on my windowpane

I've hung around here too long
Listenin' to the old landlady's hard-luck stories
You out of me me out of you

We go like lovers
To replace the empty space
Repeat our dreams to someone new
It's raining today

And I watch the cellophane streets

No hang-ups for me
'Cause hang-ups need company
The street corner girl's a cold trembling leaf
It's raining today
It's raining today

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Morning View - Candies' Caged Child

Before the founding family of the St. Francis Fountain, visible out the bay window of many a JunkThief video at 24th and York, sold it a few years back, they had a small candy business next door to the restaurant. The new owners wisely streamlined the business and now sell vintage bubble gum with Dallas, Charlies Angels and other '70s and '80s TV themes. Since then the former candy space has been refurbished into a store with women's underwear (Ew, gross, I know) on display in the window. Occasionally they will sprinkle in a bit of humor such as the caged baby above.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Morning View - Million Fishes Gallery

Since opening a little over three years ago, Million Fishes Gallery at 23rd & Bryant is located in one of the most interesting structures in the neighborhood. Its artist collective sounds like a much more interesting version of those dreary reality TV shows. But instead of whining and sitting around to find out who will endure the boredom to win a million dollars, they actual do something creative and interesting together.

Junk Thief might have enjoyed such a collective in younger days but has always felt work should be shared only when finished and is best built with isolation and alienation. Thus, the building looks so deliciously bleak and brooding on this rainy morn.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, George

Happy 84th birthday to George Birimisa whose celebration I attended today in the Castro. Since 1999, I have attended his Intergenerational Writing Workshop which got me back to writing something other than press releases, promotional magazine articles and grant proposals.

Though the main focus of the class is prose, there probably would not have been this JunkThief spot or JunkThief TV. I've wandered away from the group fromtime to time but appreciate knowing that it's always a home to come back to.

George is an inspiring and incredible spirit that has taken many roads to where he is today. Recently, he co-edited the book Return to Caffe Cino that chronicles early avant garde and queer theater that he was a part of in 1960s. In addition to one of his plays, it includes the works of several other trailblazing writers of the era

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Down the Street from Grey Gardens (almost)

As exposure to all things Grey Gardens is moving from saturation point to overkill, I was intrigued to hear Little Edie make passing mention of one of her brothers who lived in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and began wondering how many degrees of separation there might be from Junk Thief. As it turns out, about four to five blocks. The brother, Phelan Beale, died in 1993, as evidenced in the obituary below. As I prepare to dismantle my own version of Grey Gardens, Lazy Acres, next month, I could not help but be intrigued to know that Little Edie and I might have passed on Rockwell Avenue 14 years ago. (Junk Thief milestone note: This represents post #200 of our site as we near the six month mark.)

From The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK), on 1 July 1993

Deceased Name: Phelan Beale Jr.

BEALE Phelan, Jr., 73, died June 26 in Oklahoma City. He was born on June 16, 1920 in New York City to Phelan Beale, Sr., and Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale. He grew up in East Hampton, Long Island. He attended Westminster School for Boys in Simsbury, Connecticut and studied journalism at Columbia University. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 and sent to Camp Gruber in Oklahoma. He served in World War II in the Pacific theater of operations and participated in the battles of Saipan and Okinawa, where he was wounded in action. He was decorated with two bronze battle stars and a purple heart. He married Rosella Ramsey in Tulsa, Oklahoma on December 26, 1942. Mr. Beale had 30 years service with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and consulted on unemployment compensation law following his retirement. He was also an American Kennel Club licensed dog judge and toured the U.S. judging obedience trials. He was an accomplished speaker and writer. He delivered speeches to numerous organizations on a variety of subjects, and wrote magazine and newspaper articles. He also won hundreds of writing contests. He appeared in television commercials for MCI Communications. He liked to fish in Galveston, Texas. He remained active writing, speaking and judging dogs until his death. He is survived by his widow, Rosella Beale, Oklahoma City; daughter, Michelle Beale, Houston; sister, Edith Beale, Miami Beach; and brother, Bouvier Beale, Glen Cove, Long Island. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 2 at Bill Merritt Memorial Chapel, Bethany. Burial will be at Forest Park Cemetery East in Houston. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the 50th Street Church of Christ, 6035 N.W. 50th, Oklahoma City, 73122 or the Gulf Coast Conservation Association, 4801 Woodway, Suite 220 West, Houston, 77056.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Scott Walker Culture Show

Since we in the US will have to wait a while for 30th Century Man, this 10 and a half minute piece on Scott comes close to meeting our need for all things Scott. And even Alison Goldfrapp gives an endorsement.

Scott Walker - Nearing the Full Circle

There are a few performers for whom I am a completist -- Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Dinah Washington, Kurt Weill, Caetano Veloso, Velvet Underground, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Ennio Morricone, Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett, Erik Satie, David Bowie, Chico Buarque, Randy Crawford, Maria Callas, John Coltrane, Francoise Hardy, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, Vashit Bunyan, Cass Elliott, The Beatles, Claude Debussy. Those I've been pretty intentional about having their full library.

Then there are some that it's sort of crept up on me how much of their stuff I have and it embarrasses me -- Pet Shop Boys, Diana Krall, Harry Connick, Jr. Ute Lemper, Steely Dan (yes, I know, and I don't have some deep-rooted straight guy vein daring to creep out). But I am not lying when I say that I don't listen to them very often, though I do still have a weak spot for several tunes on
Aja and most of Gaucho. At least I can still claim to be living in a home completely free of Madonna, Whitney, Justin, Celine, Britney, Mariah, et. al. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

This past fall's release of Scott Walker's
The Drift encouraged me to try filling in the gaps. I've been intentional of not doing it all at once, though I've yet to find too much of Scott gets on my nerves. I especially love putting him on random play, so the stuff from 1967 and 1977 has The Drift wedged right in between. Trying to explain the evolution of Scott is really hard to explain without putting a diversity of his tunes or imagine Phil Spector producing Jack Jones singing the tunes of John Cage and you start getting an image of him. And, at the same time, he can sound like he's singing the work of any three of those artists without an ounce of influence from the others.

Today has been an overcast, pleasantly cool February day that was just right for the mood I've been in that called for just a little more Scott Walker in my life. Besides being matinee idol-modster appearing much of his life, he had a Valley of the Dolls-Imitation of Life theme song voice that you could see aunt Agnes and uncle Walter enjoying over martinees in a cocktail lounge that rotating as they peered out on the glittering new frontier. Then, just as the lyrics talk about how his heart wil break, he goes through a break down as the music does the same, his velvet baritone never completely breaking. And he's also sung about getting slapped on the ass like a queer on Next. How can you not love this guy!

So imagine my delight when I walked into the Virgin Megastore this evening to discover a two disc German import marked at $25.98 only to have it marked down to $6.98. Six-ninety-eight, I said to myself as I walked to the door, sure the buzzer would go off alerting the manager of a clerk's error. Heading up Stockton, I pulled out the receipt, and sure enough there it was on the receipt -- an actual bargain at the Virgin Megastore. There is a god afterall. Now I have Soctt singing the theme songs from movies that include The Sterile Cuckoo, The Fox and Mary Queen of Scots. The last one has to be the best, something called. This Way, Mary. Now I just have to wait for the screening of 30th Century Man once it makes it across the big pond.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Neurotic Like Me: Overheard at Paxton Gate

(At least 95% accurate recreation of conversation heard at Paxton Gate at 2:12 p.m., February 19, 2007.)

Customer 1: (Lifting lid of cast iron container) I agree that it's completely cool, but what would you do with it?

Customer 2: Use it for human remains, like after they've died.

Customer 1: Human remains? How would they fit? You'd have to buy a bunch of them and cut the person into bite size pieces.

Customer 2: After cremation. Like Anna Nicole. They did it with that 90-year-old husband of hers. Cremated dogs and humans leave about the same amount of ash.

Customer 1: Oh, I guess that's right. I don't have any cremation remains around the house, so I guess I'll pass on it. Are you sure that's what they're going to do with her? I thought she wa being buried.

Customer 2: Let's go over there, I think they're having a sale on mink skulls.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Never Underestimate the Power of Junk

San Francisco will surely never have a Wal-Mart, and while there will technically be one in New York via Queens, Manhattan, which most use to define New York would seem equally as unlikely. Though New York magazine did recently run a piece about Wal-Mart's failed attempts to become hip. No one goes to Wal-Mart to feel hip. You go there to get crap cheap. Garbage in, garbage out. This past season, of course, saw the reversal of foturne between Wal-Mart and Target that seemed to mirror the November elections. And, of course, while Target's logo is red and Wal-Mart's is blue, they are supposedly the counter opposite politically.

There is now the Smith and Hawken line there. I'm waiting for the Barney's Greatland merger.
I can get wistful at times remembering the likes of Venture, Woolco/Woolworth, Spartan Atlantic, Katz, Kress, and other mid-century mid-America big box discounters. That's why it's odd to have a Big Lots just a few blocks away that has the vibe of a zombie TG&Y store. It's certainly hit or miss. A few weeks back I picked up a DVD of The Late Show for $3.00, less than I could get on eBay or to rent. And it was not a cheapie transfer, with an extra of Lily Tomlin and the Doobie Brothers on the Dinah! show. So enthused by that venture I went back yesterday to find nothing I wanted to walk away with.

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Kay Thompson Through The Ages

Nothing builds traffic to a site like having a celebrity name in your searchable criteria. Amazingly, the three most viewed sections of this and my YouTube site are (in descending order) Jan Crouch, Kay Thompson and Cass Elliott.

I'm really over the Jan Crouch thing as well as Tammy Fay Bakker, and Anna Nicole Smith. But what a pleasure to discover this jewel.

The Prez Has Fallen & Can't Get Up!

I have usually considered Presidents' Day to be a BS holiday, and I go ahead and work, annoyed that the office is closed and I can't get mail. Am I weakening in my old age by taking the day off? Or at least part of it. I just answered about 20 work emails earlier this morning. I keep telling myself that I would not take it were it President's Day (suggesting honoring just the current one) and instead is Presidents' Day allowing us to honor some of the better ones or the ones we'd like to see. Who is your favorite president. Though not for his accomplishments, I was always partial to William Howard Taft. He was the fattest president, topping the scale at over 300 pounds and once getting stuck in the bathtub, requiring assistance of his staff to pry him out. I think he would have been a fun guy to be around, though I am sure they'd need to be strategic about where he sat on Air Force One.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Enough with Regular Guys

Oh, wow. Anderson Cooper managed to probe (sorry, I just couldn't resist that one) country crooner Kenny Chesney about rumors of his homosexuality on 60 Minutes Well, Kenny said flatly that he is not. Well, okay, fine whatever. And who better to dig deep into that issue than Anderson. I had never heard of Chesney until shortly before his brief marriage.

As a matter of fact, the first time I heard of him was in a gay bar that was playing a video where he was bragging about how he likes to strut around shoeless and shirtless. I thought it was a gay porn star aping cowboy pretensions but googled to find out that he was actually a recording professional. While that song had its appeal, the rest a pretty tepid tunes about, well, just regular guys doing regular kind of stuff.
According to Anderson Cooper, Chesney sell more concert tickets than Madonna. And if anyone would know about that, Andreson would.

Trying to decode the mystery of Chesney's appeal, Cooper speculated that it's because he's such a regular guy that folks can relate to from common experience. Like all Vanderbilt kin, I am sure Anderson also is an expert on that as well.
I'm always nervous when I hear about entertainers, especially hugely successful ones, being just regular guys. I know I don't want to go spend $40-100 to see some regular guy sing his heart out. Maybe that's because I'm not a regular guy, but I also want to get money money's worth and expect spectacle, artifice, art, for chrissakes. I'll admit that Chesney's body is probably a more viable reason to take interest in him than his body of work. But CBS managed to unveil what is under the hat of the man who so readily removes his shirt and shoes with the photo above. Particularly amusing was the quote with the photo on their site:

"Kenny Chesney is rarely seen without a cowboy hat or at least a baseball hat. Perhaps his receding hairline is the reason?"

Uh, yeah, perhaps. Ah, that Kenny, just a regular guy making a few million. Or wait, was that the guy from Geek Squad that installed my router a few months ago?

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Happy Pig Year - Y'all

Thursday, February 15, 2007


As the political question of the past week or so seems to be whether or not Obama is "black enough," leading one to wonder if the media has run short of enough creativity to come up with any real question, I am reminded of a little incident on my flight from Guatemala City to Houston on Sunday. Sitting next to a lovely 30ish South Asian bloke who spoke a Chicago-style English, he grew increasingly angry as the goateed flight attendant spoke to me in a Texas twang and to him in bumbling second grade Spanish. When, as he passed out immigration papers and mumbled to my seat-mate "Son Americano?" he got a reply of "Yeah, third generation, pal!" as a response. So, is it racist to even question Obama's "blackness" or roots in the true African American experience or to even suggest that he will be less worthy of a candidate seems to be a bit self-defeating. Is Hillary Clinton feminist enough? Probably not? Is John Edwards "southern enough?" Probably not, but we'll still get stuck with him as the likely running mate (as either first or second banana depending on how ready the Dems that the U.S. is even a slightly progressive candidate. Sadly, the chances of a moderately progressive candidate being a viable winner will hinge on when or if the "war" will "end." Under the terms it was declared, it will take a few more centuries to even think there could be a victory. And the U.S. would certianly not be the winner. To think that the lives of working class 18-35 year olds will be the collateral damage is the reality of the commodities this country is willing to use to play cards in the 21st century. If JunkThief tends to be glib at times, it is no doubt the numbness of the country he currently lives in. No wonder he considered ripping up his passport last week. And, yes, I am actually willing to get up enough energy to campaign for Obama if such a scenario is remotely possible.

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When the Future Kisses the Past

I have now managed to catch up with both of the DVD compilations of the films of James Broughton and the first volume of those of Kenneth Anger. Anger, I have known for at least 35 years, mostly for the Hollywood Babylon books and Lucifer Rising and Scorpio Rising. Broughton was more of a vaguely familiar reference, and I'd never seen any of his work. Both, it could be argued, are JunkThieves, Anger in particular, who had no problem of weaving together trashy pop (or porn) images with higher, classical art. (The Rabbit's Moon being the best case of that.) Broughton, on the other hand is at once the worst embodiment of trippy hippie new age nonsense and just plain, childlike nonsense. He's been called the person best qualified to carry on the torch of Walt Whitman, though his "poetry" is more a weird mix of Dr. Seuss, Mother Guess and Dr. Ruth. Some of it is so laugh-out-loud bad that you're not sure if Broughton is in on the joke as he narrates his films like some tripped out kindergarten teacher leading us through an exercise of removing our clothing and consuming Kool Aid last with some mysterious substance. There are both similarities and contradictions in both. Broughton has a lot of nudity but not that much outright sex; Anger has a lot of sex and sexuality but not that much nudity. Both, it also could be argued, are the reason YouTube and its 10 minute limit. Both are masters of the six to eight minute form, but they falter when they opt for longer, near feature length works. (Dreamwood in Broughton's case and Inauguration to the Pleasuredome when it comes to Anger.) If there is anyone out there still doing this type of film (though Anger, at 80 this year is still out there), I would argue that it is Guy Maddin. Though he managed to keep my attention through most of The Saddest Music in the World, the closest he has come to an outright feature with actual stars he too is best in the ten minute or less form. Fun as Music was with an actual narrative of sorts, Maddin seemed to but trying to mesh a dozen or so short films into one big one with so many diverse styles and references that they ultimately overwhelmed whatever narrative or emotional continuity there was beneath his many surfaces. No wonder that Heart of the World, at a mere six jam-packed minutes, is his masterpiece. For all the diverse references and images, it is a coherent, gripping narrative in which the future of the universe is at stake. No wonder that Junk Thief finds all three film makers to be inspiration for their ability to see the past in the future or the future in the past or seeing that the future is actually Narcissus staring back at its reflection, ultimatley realizing that they are one in the same. What has been is what will become. Oops, what, did I lift that line from Broughton?

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And to Think It Happened at Target

Just when I said that I was glad that I would be able to spend Valentine's Day without the slightest hint of dating, relationships, being noticed, I had an amusing encounter yesterday evening. Coming back from the Peninsula I stopped at the Tanforan Target. I was really tempted to slip into the neighboring JC Penney because I thought I would get a nice nostalgia vibe. Don't know that I've been in a Penney's store since 1986 or so. But time was short, so I gathered my cleaning, paper and dental products and headed to the register. Passing the huge greeting card display, I could not help but be struck by the line of men picking up a Valentine for their sweetie along with dog chow and Draino. See what I mean about prefering to be alone. "Hey babe, got Fido the 20 pound bag of Purina this for you. Luv ya!" Standing in front of me at the register were to nicely dressed women of about 60 - 64 buying blank media and Altoids. Just a step below the ladies who lunch and definitely not women who'd shop at JC Penny. Talbot's sort of gals that would hang out with the women in my family. One of them mentioned getting a drink at the Starbuck's stall, and subliminal or not I got the same idea. Standing behind them in line again, one turned, eyed me up and down cocked her head and with a smile said, "Are you FOLLOWING us?" The fact that she let out a slight giggle certainly didn't suggest she was at all suggesting that I was a stalker. Maybe it was the business casual plus attire with the black cashmere blazer or natural highlights glistening under the hip discount chain lights that brought such a comment. Or maybe Phyllis (as will call her) got a flirtatious Valentine's Day wild hair. Actually, given the choice I'd rather be flirted with by a 60-something Talbot's gal from Hillsborough than some 40-something "bear" at the Eagle. And what a pleasure it was to just respond to such a comment with a civilized smile that prompted the same from her. And I was able to enjoy my latte alone as I drove home and put the cleaning products away in the pantry

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Eileen Barton - If I Knew You Were Comin I'd've Baked a Cake

Though not one for cakes and romance, I love this one. The Eddie Munster lookalike and the pots and pans painted onto the set are a special touch.

Two Down, Five Times, Next

In the spirit of Valentine's Day (I'd actually forgotten that it was coming until yesterday), I should mention that in the first six weeks of 2007 I have been on five dates with two different men and am happily with neither tonight. No anger against either, just not worth the effort of pursuing either further. Considering the fact that I've been out of town three of the first six weeks of this year, I guess that's a pretty active personal life compared to the past couple of years. All the same, I stil have no intent on seeking a soul mate, and if that's all the dating I have for the year, I am probably not going to complain. It diverts too much time from gardening and searching for good door knobs.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It Felt Different in '92

Remember the "Hillary for President" buttons during the 1992? It seemed so audacious and radical then. Now that it's a reality, it feels that we're living in chapter 28 of the Hatfield and McCoy saga. I wish I could be at least remotely ethusiastic about any of the 2008 couplings on the ballot, but none are terribly exciting at the moment. It could change, gain momentum, but I am yet to be convinced.


Junk Thief TV - Episode 15 (Guatemala - Part 2)

Part two takes us along the coast route from Atitlan to Antigua where young couples stroll and smooch on the main square.

Junk Thief TV - Episode 15 (Guatemala - Part 1)

JunkThief spent a week in Guatemala. Beneath its surgace of geographic and cultural richness lies great sadness and dread.

What I DIDN"T Miss

A week away from the U.S., and what news gripped the nation -- two fat guys ate a candy bar on the Super Bowl, Anna Nicole died, Gavin went into rehab, the Dixie Chicks were redeeemed. Geez, and people wonder why the world hates this country. Even stranger is that I have been asked more than once if I felt people in Guatemala were ignorant and cut off from the rest of the world. What was really spooky was that the first thing on TV when I was reuinted with TV in Guatemala City on Sunday was Geraldo doing some two hour special on "Anna Nicole: Death of a Tragic Beauty" as if it were some epic tale. I was pleased to find a French language news channel to make me feel I actually could find out what happened in the world while I was off the grid for a few days.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Back (Somewhat Regrettably) in the U.S.A.

After nine days in Guatemala with a group of type A business-types from the U.S.A., I am compelled now more than ever to tear up my passport and try for citizenship in Iceland or Canada. Although I had the surreal experience of having wireless at the posada on the shores of Lake Atitlan, I didn't have time to do any posts here. Most of my time was spend herding cats and writing a seven figure grant proposal.

But there should be a JunkThief TV episode coming soon with a few snippets of local colour and musings on the experience.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Getting with the Program

I gotta admit I was pretty late coming to the whole Sarah Silverman thing. Is it age that’s keeping me so out of synch with contemporary pop culture or has really deteriorated to the point of not caring or is it just a reflection of what a lousy country this has become.

First, I thought that besides an interview with Phyllis Diller (yep, it could be an age thing), that the Aristocrats was a witless and boring film. Silverman’s segment that had so much buzz was something that made no impact on me. I really hated Jesus Is Magic too. Not that it offended me as msuch as I kept waiting for humor. It never came – to me at least. And you could make the case that while Michael Richards goes in to rehab for making racist barbs, Ms. Silverman gets her own TV series.

But to ignore Silverman would be like turning off Iraq or Darfur headlines. Painful as it might be to watch, you have to admit that they are there.

So I came to the Sarah Silverman Program with considerable trepidation but was at least amused by the title. It’s pretty rare a series would be called a “program.” Stars usually have a “show” or “hour” and got to a “program” for recovery. I’ll have to admit that I found most of it, fecal jokes not withstanding, reasonably amusing. Perhaps because I tend to think a singularly obnoxious character is usually best put into a situation. For all its post-modern vibe, the show still uses pretty much the rusty framework of a sitcom with a circle of friends, albeit radically reworking it.

Somebody said that Silverman is not asking the audience to laugh at or with her but that she’s laughing at the audience. Perhaps. I’d add that I don’t think her style of humor is post-modern at all but more pre-modern of the old Catskills variety. It’s not completely unrelated that the album Jewface has recently been released and causing equally charged debate about whether it’s airing of ethnic stereotypes hurts or helps. The question, of course, is whether or not Silverman believes the words coming out of her mouth or she’s saying the things we all want to say but don’t have the nerve to say.

Unpleasant characters in sitcoms are not new, as has been pointed out in reviews that compare Silverman's show to a version of Seinfeld that makes that 1990s staple look like The Dick Van Dyke Show by comparison. To its credit there is never a big group hug, something that prevented WIll & Grace from turning out to be a better show than it was.

I don’t think it’s that simple. I don’t like being told what to think or say, but I also think many who blast political correctness are using that as an out to rude and cruel. Silverman, of course is playing a character who is mean and perky. That’s a bit harder riddle to solve.

There was an NPR piece this week on the life of Zora Neale Hurston and her difficult to place legacy in the Harlem Renaissance. Was it condescending for an educated African American woman to document the lives of those who lacked her exposure to higher art and learning? And where does Silverman fit into that. I don’t think she went to Sarah Lawrence of Smith but comes from a more pure showbiz background. Perhaps hers is a road that leads back to Phyllis Diller and she’ll end up starring in a remake of the Pruitts of Southampton.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Junk Thief TV - Episode 14 (Off to Lake Atitlan!)

Leaving on a jet plane -- I do know when I'll be back again. A few days before Valentine's Day if you must know. Meanwhile, the cat and the sitter will try to bond, and I head off for lake Atitlan. The Bush Tetras and Dinah Washington sing the send off tune.

Junk Thief TV - Episode 13 - Clara Bow in Hoopla

Much as I love Louise Brooks, even by her own admission, she was a natural, not an actress. Then there was dear Clara Bow, some of her best work forgotten or lost. For example, her final film "Hoopla" here from 1933, her swan song at 28. She was four years younger than Marlene Dietrich who would be on the big screen for another 56 years. Tragic.

Mayor Newsom -- This Is an Outrage!

No, not the petty little domestic battle. Whatever. Get over it. But the plan to enforce 3-4 days of "street cleaning" on the streets of the Mission is one city hall scandal that has me outraged. Unfortunately I will be in Mesoamerica when our block has it's chance to speak next week. But I doubt that this will be going down quietly. In other words, you will have to move your car literally every week night to make way for the streets to be "cleaned." Sure, right, they are going to scrub the streets sparkling clean every other day. Cushman drivers of the San Francisco: Watch your fat backs VERY carefully as you chalk the tires of this 'hood!


Is there really something afoot, or is it just me imagining it? For some reason, every item in the current issue of The New Yorker seems to be unusually relevant to me. It starts with the cover itself. I used to save every cover beginning as a pre-teen, framing some in my bedroom in fact in the early 1970s. But they might as well be brown wrappers these days. Something about this current issue took me back to my favorite issues of my early teens, always most fond of wintery images of the city with a twist of humor. Then the articles themselves all seemed to have a common thread in my life, from the pieces about composer Toru Takemistu and Ennio Morricone to contemporary cultural concerns ranging from Google to Sarah Silverman. Is the magazine actually changing or is it me? I've subscribed since 1969 at the age of 12, through ups and downs. It's one of those things like utilities that I don't even think about, I just pay the bill. But suddenly it seems unusually relevant again. Maybe it's just the pleasure of holding paper instead of a screen that grabs my attention.

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Dinah Washington - Mad About The Boy

Much as I would love to see Dinah's story on the big screen, I hope it is in the form of a documentary not someone trying to mimic her. There was only one Dinah. The women in my family always said that with good posture and diction, there is no limit to what a woman can accomplish. Dinah's posture was not that remarkable, but never was diction equaled as it was in this tune. No wonder she hated Chet Baker!

Draaiorgel Grote Radio speelt Ja Zuster Nee Zuster

Since JunkThief TV has been inspired by the great Dutch musical Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster (Yes Nurse, No Nurse) it was a great thrill to see this huge mechanical no-man band playing tunes from that great film. Reminds me of the similar device mid-way in Renoir's 1939 epic "Rules of the Game."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tea, Tea -- TeaNY, TeaMe

Oh, has JunkThief mentioned his ever growing tea collection? For each bag he consumes, he replaces it with three new bags. Green tea, white tea, no tea too short or Oolong. Remember when people laughed when Moby launched TeaNY? Remember when people still could laugh at Moby? Moby, Moby, where is Moby now?

Isn't tea just so civilized? JunkThief grew up with grannies and aunts of the tea room set and still has an internal ding, ding bell that goes off in his head at precisely 4 p.m., as if he were living up to his decidedly Anglo-Saxon surname. (As those of the JunkThief inner circle know, he has an English surname by marriage four generations ago but not a drop of English blood in his veins; see today's earlier entry about his mixed race should you be so inclined).

Hardcore JunkThief fans know that he is one of the few people that have been to the teapot museum in Hong Kong TWICE and had breakfast in bed with a chap named Jeremy from Liverpool on trip #2. But that's another post on another topic.

Well, all of this was an excuse to brag about the recent bargain find JunkThief found of a cast iron tea pot in the basement of Soko Hardware, making it teapot #72 or #73 in JunkThief central. We'd really planned to do inventory in January, but the JunkThief elves were stranded in Denver during one of those huge snowstorms of the past two months. More importantly, JunkThief wanted cross-promote his Yelp parallel universe, including a glowing review of Soko Hardware.


Harry Pottery Barn – Enter the Naked Stallion?

Harry Pottery Barn nude in Equus? Was it my recent tributes to Patti Smith’s debut that inspired this teen male take on Ms. Godiva. (Go Diva, I always liked to call her.) I won't be heading to London right away for this one. Wait for it on cable...maybe.

Based on the photos I’ve seen thus far, I will have to say, “Ew, no thanks. I know Twinkies are 95% petroleum products.” I actually made it through about five minutes of a Harry Pottery Barn flick on a plane one time after downing half a glass of a merlot. I had the sound off, and I remember there was some battle with a tree or such.

Anyone who’s seen Jesus Camp could tell you that Harry Pottery Barn fans are damned already, be he boffing a horse or not. Harry, the good Christians of Missouri, inform us, is a warlock!

But is little Harry a stallion? Eh, don't think so. Luckily poor Barbaro didn't have to live to see such an insult to his species.

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Valley of the Galls - Up in Smoke!

I am one half French and take great pride in what I consider to be my many Gallic quirks. You'll never see me order Freedom Fries! However, when it comes to respiratory health, my hypochondriac, neurotically Jewish other half defiantly kicks in. So, hearing of the French smoking ban controversy only inspires a loud “About time!” yell from me and the urge to book that flight across the pond for April so I’d actually be able to smell the flowers and not the fecal stench of nicotine permeating the air.

As far as this being an assault on “the French character,” I can only say that I’ve never heard of Islamic head scarves causing lung cancer. So I’d argue for lifting that ban and fiercely enforcing this new one.

The French are supposedly one of the most hypochondriac cultures in the world, but maybe if they can kick the tobacco habit they wouldn’t have to take so many pills. I send my plea to my beloved Paris to abandon those stink sticks and send them back to where they belong: North Carolina.

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Junk Thief TV - Episode 12

Paris and Pacific noir merge as JunkThief, the eternal loner, roams the dark streets of his neighborhood. As always he is more content peering into the well lit window that beckon him with a world always barely out of touch...yet he keeps reaching ...