Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Brace for Impact
I'm back into heavy travel mode and very challenging work for the next three months. It's not a complaint about my work, just the challenge of finding money in the current environment.
Leaving Bow with her English nanny this morning was difficult, but I take comfort in knowing that she will be in the best possible care.
Despite all the travel and destinations in my many years, descent into two airports -- Chicago and Denver -- typically stress me out the most. I usually know the forecast before I fly and those five letters WINDY did not relieve any stress for this trip, and the ride down was true to leaving most people on the flight either screaming or green faced. And it seems to be a 12 months a year thing for coming into Denver.
I made it, there are remnants of last weeks snow and more coming (twice) before I leave. At least going back up is usually easier than coming down.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Mr. Pinky to You
Friendatella was telling me about Pinky Lee the other night, and I had heard about him but had never seen an actual episode. It's pretty obvious he hates the kids as much as they are scared of him. However, those are some very talented dogs in the second half of this clip.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Three strikes on the side of my Nepali meditation bowl at the beginning and end of each day help me take my mind off this stuff. I am so sick of its fluidity and attempts to define lives. We are all more than this, much more. Ben Franklin wants his image on kites and stoves, not this.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Tuesday on a Friday
I've not seen this since it was released in 1980, so I was pleased to track down Serial, one of Tuesday Weld's late career films. Tuesday, as many may know, is one of my all time favorites and greatly overlooked in my opinion. I don't hold down high expectations for coming back to this flick nearly 30 years later, but it's an interesting view of my hometown through the hazy lens of the past.
Take Me Back, Take Me Way Back
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Drugs, Anita and Legos
Having watched Milk several times now, I can't help wondering if there are history repeating parallels beyond Proposition 6/Proposition 8. Has anyone thought of Anita Bryant recently, or have we assumed she is completely defanged and living harmlessly in obscurity? Not according to this investigation by Gossip Boy.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy her 1979 opus Drugs Are Like That. It's really worth watching not just the opening above but also part 2 and the riveting part 3 finale. The surreal influences can be seen right off with the opening shower of drugs/Legos echoing the opening credits for Douglas Sirk's version of Imitation of Life. The child actors were clearly schooled by master class leader Edith Massey at the JWSDA (John Waters School of Dramatic Arts). There is an overarching sense of dread and clear a message that something wonderful might turn out to be horrible, or something that seems horrible might turn out to be great. Basically, the take away message is that no matter what you do in life you'll probably get screwed over. The overall aesthetic, however, most reminds me of Elevator Girls in Bondage, right down to the sound effects, acting, make-up, sets and Legos. And Anita and Rumi's portrayal of Maxine seem to be twins separated at birth.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Turn Left for Eternity
Who knew that hanging out with a few thousand dead people could be so much fun? Today I spent the morning and early afternoon with fellow blogger Jim of The Blue Elephant in Oakland. He's encouraged me for some time to join him for a tour of the Mountain View Cemetery. Like Manhattan and Boston, San Francisco has little room for the dead, so many are buried in Colma to our south, but many of the grander names such as Crocker, Bechtel, Fillmore, Merritt can be found at Mountain View.
With pitch perfect weather heralding the first day of spring, death was the last thing on my mind, but it was a reminder of how the dead are with us on days like today. The memories of lives once lived are filled not with sadness but a wonderful sense of providence.
Keeping on our theme, we took a tour of The Chapel of the Chimes next door, with a few rooms designed by Julia Morgan of Hearst Castle Fame. Thanks, Jim, for making an introduction to such a great local treasure. It will be on my itinerary when out-of-towners come to see me.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Hold the Map Close to Your Face
The JuJune Institute has been posting notices about their Time Camera all over the Mission these days, inviting us to go to their website. In this day when the web is supposedly killing all forms of print media, I am pleased to know that a chartreuse piece of paper stapled to a PG&E poll can increase traffic to a website. I've not bought my Time Camera yet, but I hope get one in time for Easter to capture images of dodo birds frolicking in Mission Dolores Park as children search for their colorfully dyed eggs.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
We'll Miss Her
She was always under-rated in my book, and perhaps her 1988 portrayal of my favorite kooky San Francisco heiress was my favorite of her many roles. There have been three other people indirectly connected to me who also died this week under freaky and sudden circumstances. Goodbye, Natasha, you won't be forgotten.
Labels: Natasha Richardson
We're Heading Home
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Junk Thief Spotlights Emerging Talent
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Taking Back the Exclamation
Some bad movies are so memorable I am sure that I have seen them even though I have, even after I finally see them for the first time. Case in point is Boom (alternately known as Boom! which I finally saw last night). It confirms a long-standing theory I have had that back in the late 1960s, there was a movement within the studios to save a big budget movie in trouble by adding an exclamation point to the title. Cases in point: Star! (1968), Hello, Dolly! (1969) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) I think the main reason that last one failed is the stacatto nature of the punctuation that should have been a crescendo of tora. Tora! TORA!!!!!
I've not seen any back story on it, but apparently Boom (as it is credited in the opening titles and some early posters must have gained the exclamation point after test screening. Some marketing genius must have recognized that no one would pay to see a movie called Boom, but they would come in droves to see one called Boom!
Boom sort of reminds me of Eckhardt Tolle's The Power of Now. Tolle says that the book was written so that you could pick it up and read any two pages out of sequence and gain something from those few paragraphs. I think the same is true of Boom, and it's really hard to watch more than five minutes of it at a time. For example, the six or seven minutes of the Asian themed dinner party with Liz Noël Coward as the Witch of Capri is a brilliant, free-standing short play, and it's unfortunate with all that comes before and after it. Liz is offended that Coward sees her Kabuki gown and asks if they are having Chinese food, but she has no problems having sitar players provide the incongruent musical mood for the evening.
Boom is a sort of non-linear movie and probably makes more sense viewed in separate, short sittings and in no particular sequence. It also is sort of like tofu or eggplant in that it could be paired with just about anything -- the Mediterranean villa works nicely with the one in Contempt, the script is a shadow of Night of the Iguana, and like Bunny Lake Is Missing, it has Coward playing a witty old perv.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Good-bye Pupusas, Hello Borscht & Vodka
The Salvadoran electricians are about finished, having installed the
last light above, finally giving much needed illumination for the back garden should Bow and I decide to go out for a little midnight air.
Now the Russian plumbers are here for the bathroom redo, and it will look like the above shot for the next few days. And then we will have to negotiate with the tile man, and the wall man and...
I don't plan to get too spunky since these guys sort of look like a Moscow version of The Sopranos or Goodfellows. They promise it will look just like the shot on the right when they're finished.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
As Bernie Madoff Goes Off to Trial...
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I've Been Thinking...
...about making a movie (or staging a play) in which...
...runs into Juanita Castro...
...at Gimbels on Union Square in the dead heat of the summer of 1974 when the resignation of Richard Nixon is announced over the radio. What do you think they will talk about as they make eye contact while facing each other in the section selling platform shoes?
Discuss and post your suggestions here. Casting is now underway. All applicants will be considered.
Monday, March 09, 2009
See What It Can Do For You
What is your greatest fear? One of my closest friends in Park Slope (who just happened to be from Belgium which explains a lot) said that he had a fear of people with two first names. At the top of the list was Lisa Lisa, with or without the Cult Jam. Second was Tina Louise. Third was Rose Maire. I was never sure if it was Rose Marie or Rosemarie.
We've moved on from the era of two first names to three names, with the middle one not being a real middle name but either a second first name or a precursor last name. True middle names are accents not actual names. (Mine, for example is Lynn.) Bobby Lee Gentry is a perfect example of a nice progression of first, middle and last names. I think it was Jan Michael Vincent (Almost three first names, depending on your perspective) who got things on the wrong foot. Of course, we would then have our share of the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Tommy Lee Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh (Hello! Three first names), Mary-Louse Parker (Don't even get me started on hyphens), Haley Joel Osment (or was it Haley Kate Osmond, some fifth cousin of Donny and Marie?), Neil Patrick Harris and Edward James Olmos. It makes one long for the days of Nico, Brickhouse, Odetta and Lambchop. Singular names are so grounding. The Rock is not a singular name but a pretense. When I go by JunkThief, I fear it's a pretentious hybrid with that big capital T sitting in the middle like a shrink trying to reconcile a conflicted couple.
Do you know who was the first singularly name superstar? I really don't. I want to say Nazimova but I'm not sure.
UPDATE: Not that I want to get in an argument with The Angry Young Man, but based on this 2008 photo of Tina with Sylvia Miles, for a 75-year-old woman she does not look that "pathetic". Sylvia, of course, continues to amaze us with her eternally youthful and ageless beauty.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
While We Were Out
Sorry for the lack of recent entries, but it's been a busy week. Transformation of the JunkPlex is heading forward, and it seems that every day there is something new and another gasp at how many zeros there are in the check written to the latest contractor. Well, it's an investment as they say and it's not as if it's being blown on parties and bad movies.
Speaking of bad movies, over the weekend I collaborated with "Friendatella" and The Blue Elephant on a short video entry for the NY Artists Unlimited International Cringe Festival 2009. It's not completely top secret, but I'm keeping details a bit vague for now. If all goes well it will be screened at the festival in late July to early August. So another Eastern Time Zone meet up may be in the offing.
After the shoot, we stopped back at the JunkPlex to watch about half of 1965's Life of Juanita Castro, one of those early Andy Warhol films I'd always been vaguely aware of but don't think I'd ever seen. Like most of his films from that period, they are much more fascinating in concept than executition, which is probably the whole point. I'd also always been vaguely aware of Marie Menken, cast in the titular role. She and her husband were supposedly the basis for George and Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and I am now obsessed with this experimental film maker whose Glimpse of the Garden (1957) is supposedly her greatest work, and not what you'd expect to be film of a foul-mouthed, heavy drinking dame.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Beat to the Punch
Dang, just when I was going to make a video of Junk Thief rapping and strolling through the 'hood, here is Azeem doing the same thing. Love the guest cameo by Heather Fong.
All the same, on Friday I will be collaborating on a video collaboration to submit to the NY Artists' Cringe Festival. Top secret at the moment, but details to follow.
Thanks to Allan at Mission Mission for tipping me off on this.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Junk Thief Is Dreaming Jodhpur...
He's Just Not That Into Corbels
Were I to select a mate again, and at this juncture in life I think (hope?) that is very unlikely, a key requirement would be if not a passion at least a respect and tolerance for corbels. In general I like buildings to be clean in design and ornamentation. I make an exception with door knobs (the more grandiose the better) and corbels.
Satan in the Groin, is a site that features rather randy corbels and is a recently discovered pleasure. A day without corbels is like a night without a murky haze.