Woodstock Degeneration

Fifty-two years ago Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play – actually it was fifty-two years ago this past weekend that Woodstock became a cultural milestone – or was the milestone forged when the film was released? Whatever it did happen & now it serves as a landmark marketed as a product safe for everyone – it’s no long revolutionary or even cautionary. The music itself is mainstream nostalgia.

I have some of the cd releases that get progressively more encompassing to the point where they now include every announcement from the stage – I’m waiting for a cd set devoted to the helicopters landing. I have in my music collection the original lps release plus the full sets by Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix. I’ve even searched out cds by bands that played but that didn’t get recorded – Quill anyone? The live music overall suffers from uneven sound quality & at times bad miking – Hendrix’s set lacks the horn section which is clearly on stage playing with him. It has been mixed right out.

I’ve seen the film, the sequel, the collected bit that didn’t make it to the first two. Currently watching, for the 2nd time: ‘Woodstock: Three days that defined a generation’, an American Experience documentary (one of many) of people recollections about the festival: residents of Woodstock, the organizers, attendees, even some of the performers. 

I’ve read about it, heard about it from people who claim to have been there. One thing that is clear is that peace love was almost entirely a white heterosexual moment. The only openly queer person to appear on stage was the poet Alan Ginsberg. All the cuddling kissing couples in crowd shots are male/female pairs. I guess being hippies was bad enough they didn’t want the burden of real sexual openness. They might be counterculture but they weren’t degenerates.

I mention this because of the importance of representation. Were there lgbtq people at Woodstock? There must have been but they have mostly been erased. Free love was clearly not to be tainted by politically messy same-sex crap. There is one exception, that I know of – Taking Woodstock a 2009 film about the Woodstock Festival, directed by Ang Lee, based on the memoir Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte. 

Did Woodstock define a generation? If it did it’s a very narrow definition & an even narrower generation. I heard about it in Cape Breton, I read about it in Rolling Stone, Time magazine. I may have seen some TV new coverage but there was no real political groundswell that lead to social change. Now it’s pledge fodder for PBS.

I’ll Scratch Yours

<>

it’s hard to accept 

that enough is never enough

I can scratch an itch

then minutes later 

need to scratch again

to get what I want 

leads to wanting more

if one-on-one is great 

a threesome is impossible to resist

<>

I’m a guy who can say no

but when I deny myself

I long to be praised

for not over indulging

on my way to sainthood 

when I want to gorge myself

the smug satisfaction of drawing a line

and sticking to it isn’t as rewarding 

as giving in one more time

<>

could be it that scratch

is not the solution to itch

should I try that zen approach

when the itch is ready 

the finger will appear

if only all it took was a finger

can I learn to live with that itch

for another cd another man in the sack

better car bigger house

whiter teeth faster downloads

snappier sneakers flashier T-shirts 

all calling  scratch me now

or forever regret all the opportunities 

missed by resisting

<>

even when I look away

I sense those glittering beacons

just out of reach

straining teasing demeaning me

till I’m on my knees

too weak to do anything 

except beg for some relief

<>

to live with hunger

goes against our get-it-now culture

admitting that I don’t really want to scratch

is met with disbelief

what’s wrong with me

I gotta get with the program

whatever the fuck that is

but how do I get rid of the itch

<>

isn’t there a way to feel free

be comfortable in my own skin

without the need to satisfy some urge

is this need to be free

just another in the long list of itches

<>

scratch my back

I’ll scratch yours

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Top Ten Lists List

Have you seen this FB challenge: ten albums that changed/ influenced my life – actually you can remove ‘album’ & replace it with books, movies, poems, paintings, sex partners (for those of us who are willing to admit they’ve had enough sex partners to pick ten from) & finally: ten lists that have changed my life.

I’ve been tagged on some of these but never play along. It’s not that I don’t have favourites or that there aren’t things that have changed my life. I’m just sure what ‘changed my life’ means anyway. It’s not as if I can name a movie, book etc that turned me gay – there have been some that have confirmed that fact but none that are responsible.

Some things have unconsciously affected my tastes but this I only see in retrospect. Always wonder how, say, Hercules’s junk stayed under his tunic even when he was wrestling a lion – certainly had an affect 🙂 How it was that women would be naked for sex while the men often were fully clothed? No fly opens wide enough to actually fuck pleasurably. Stuff like that is where movies changed my life.

oh yes – 10 albums/musicians that influence my music tastes: 1. Stanley Black’s recording of Rhapsody in Blue; 2. Pizzicato 5; 3. Yes: Tales From Topographic Oceans; 3. John Coltrane: Blue Train & 4. A Love Divine; 5. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue, 6. Bitch’s Brew; 7. Beatles: Revolver & 8. Sgt. Pepper; 9. Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies; 10. Meco: Star Wars. Oh wait I forgot …. 

I have blogged here about many of my inspirations: writers, composers, painters. There’s a post in the archives of movies I watch over & over. There’s a difference between inspiration & pleasure. Not everything has to have some sort of emotional, creative weight to bring me joy. In fact nothing everything has to be ‘good’ either, it can be fun. I freely admit my shallowness 🙂

Or perhaps this list itch is a way if people exercising  some sort of control in a time when we fear the world is spinning out of control.

Confirmation

blood

my blood

sticky on my fingers

quick to cool 

iron on my tongue

red black thin

not enough to feel warmth

enough to know I have cut 

myself 

 

not where anyone can see it

I don’t cut for attention

no marks along my arms or wrists

no mesh of scars to explain 

to haunt me years later

 

I don’t remember how it started

was it to see some blood

or a need to make me hurt 

a grounding in shame

take that you stupid idiot

teach my body a lesson

teach my heart a song

let it sing that small drip refrain

 

I wash my hands when I’m done

watch the healing

then forget the ceremony

for hours 

for days

even for years 

before I am compelled once more

to feel my blood

sticky ripe between pale fingers

it smells the same

tastes the same

still comes as eagerly when called 

by the blade

as I evoke

a few confirming drops of my self

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Low Roar Faker

Coldplay opened the door for an endless series of introspective, soaring, soft-rock, shoe-gazer uplifting bands from everywhere. The sound is similar in the way the singer is miked & the music is engineered. Sweet, sometimes jangly guitars, touches of synth, burbles of electronica, strings & sensitive yearning lyrics.

From Iceland comes Low Roar. I have the self-titled Low Roar & 0 – I’m not sure if it is O or 0 though. Not that it matters. It is dreamy, shoe-gazer, electro folk. Relaxing. Out of Australia comes Chet Faker: Built On Glass. More of the same musically with perhaps a bit more energy & humour. Which is what one would expect with a name that parodies Chet Baker. I was hoping for some jazz in this Glass but there was none. From the UK comes Bear’s Den with Islands. Blindfold test & I cannot tell one from the other 🙂

Even before the emotive cool of Coldplay there was Brian Ferry. Perhaps more relaxed but a clear inspiration for many of these bands. In this mp3 compilation I have Avonmore. Gentle, soaring & sort of a sequel to his Avalon. No matter what he does it always sound like Roxy Music. No matter what Cold Play does it sounds like Cold Play.

To balance all this gentle pop I added Germany’s Einsturzende Neubauten: Ende neu Kleff. Electronica & homemade instruments this is a punchier version of Kraftwerk. One of their videos had been posted to Tumblr – it was hypnotic, propulsive & right up my ear alley. One lps was enough to satisfy & this is wild music but not too aggressive to listen to.

The same holds true for Underwater Noises. This is a globe hopping compilation of electronica all with some water element in the mix. I may have found this free on the Internet Archives site or perhaps Bandcamp. Finally is the soundtrack from Beasts of the Southern Wild. Evocative, comes rocking with Bayou funk this is a great soundtrack for a great movie.

(a piece from May 2007)

Sense of Absence

you’ve heard of phantom limb syndrome

well, I suffered phantom pubes

when I had them shaved for surgery

I didn’t realize how I relied on them

till they were gone

there was a constant sense of absence

as they grew back

reaching down in the morning

for a comforting little scratch

with no welcoming thatch of hair

for my fingers to work though

 

not that having them shaved

was much of a thing either

before it happened 

I had some worry about being aroused

an erotic shaving panorama

warm sudsy water

frothy white almond lather 

vanilla peppery smell

on the tip of an ultra soft brush

careful caressed on

hone stropped sharp blade

sliding through the soap

to leave me smooth as a baby

flesh tingling

 

it wasn’t a bit like that

a shoulder nudge at 5:30 a.m. 

‘here to shave you’

female was all I could tell

with light hitting my eyes

a spray bottle

like window cleaner

two cool antiseptic squirts

scrape scrape scrape

less than a minute

‘wipe off at the sink’

back in the bed 

a glance down

gone gone

my crowning glory gone

 

it lead me to wonder 

the why of pubic hair

certainly not ornamental

it can’t be one of those hormonal triggers

you know how girls 

flick their hair 

a come hither gesture

that is never done with pubes

not even in private

they don’t offer much

protective cover in case of emergency

they can be hard to get out of 

the teeth of a zipper

or of someone giving you a close inspection

 

phantom pubes

I could feel them

even when they weren’t there 

but at least that’s all that was removed
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James Dean and the Hayes

Isaac Hayes created one of the most amazing film soundtracks & reenergized soundtracks as more than background music when he released Shaft. Maybe not the first blaxploitation but still one of the best. It was such a success he then jumped into films as ab actor (& soundtrack writers) in Tough Guys & Truck Turner.

This is music that struts, that wraps you up in smoky sexuality, that adds stress to already tense scenes. Highly influential & I’ve heard echoes of his style in the soundtrack of films out of Japan, India & even porn. The Shaft lp is a great double release that sold millions, & still sells today. I picked it up 2nd hand decade ago then replaced it with mp3 version. While found it I also came across his sound tracks for Tough Guys & Truck Turner.

There were a couple of Shaft sequels: Shaft’s Big Score (Gordon Parks); Shaft in Africa (Johnny Pate) – that quote the original but that’s it. The rest of the music is funky enough but not Hayes 🙂 Rounding out this cd is Jack McDuff’s Sophisticated Funk – organ driven jazz than would fit in perfectly not he sound tracks of these movies.

Near by on the shelf is stand-alone – Ray Heindorf: Tribute to James Dean. Soundtrack music from East of Eden, Rebel Without A Cause, & Giant. The first two composed by Leonard Rosenman; the last by Dimitri Tiomkin. This is a a fine set of period soundtrack writing by two of best composers of the era. Heindorf was a noted film orchestra conductor. Not as funky as Hayes 🙂 but with nice elements of jazz here & there.

Different

There was something different about the room. A chair had been moved an inch from the corner. Yes, that was it. Or was it a different chair. 

I wasn’t sure but something had changed. The room was now warm & inviting. I wanted to linger there but knew I couldn’t. 

This was merely a chance to drop by and say hello. Hello in there, as the song says. How are things in there. How long has it been. Not that long. Long enough to know you’ve changed things around here. 

No you haven’t! It’s still the same it always has been. Well, sweeping does happen. You know how it is. Keep the place neat & tidy. Neat as pin & the mind still just as sharp as tack. 

But something looks different around here. More space? I can’t get over it. It’s like I have never been here before, you know. it all seems so fresh untouched. So perfect, with you bobbing around it like happy little neat freak. 

There is something different about you but I’m afraid to put my finger on it.


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February 2020 Recap

My TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 383! Many days topping 40 hits & some as high as 60. Adding the Sunday photo post has worked & has bumps dup hits & added new followers. Picture Perfecting progressing slowly but surely – with 10,500 words posted so far with about 170,000 more to go. Getting back to these characters is making me ready for their next mystery.

Started to follow this excellent WordPress blog: https://freetripdownlhopmusicblog.wordpress.com. The blog started to follow me. I don’t always follow back mind you  (sorry Dog Training Tips). I like listening to this curated blog that gives me fun, new sounds, a few of which I have purchased. It is perfect for me (or anyone who might enjoy a range of trip-hop, jazzy instruments from around the world – sometimes folksy fun too).

My Tumblr is at 260 followers. It would be more but I block follows by hetero buxom babes & drug slammers (shooting up). Twitter is at 222 followers. I’m following 85 tweeters though many of those are on mute 🙂 I can only take so much political angst & queer outrage.

Watched Louis Malle’s ‘Au revoir les enfants’ (1987). This is an amazing movie. Set in a Catholic boys’ school during WW2. The priests ‘hide’ some Jewish boys from the Nazi’s. Emotionally resonant, real, & brilliant work out of the leads. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see yet another movie in a boys boarding school. Bullying, class conscious struggle etc but this transcended all that quickly – though some of that does happen. Highly recommended.

My feature at The Secret Handshake went very well. Review of show: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-47j  , video of show: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-44f  I can’t say that I miss performing in this context through. $ in the bank is always welcome though. Hot Damn! is coming up March 5 so I hope to have a couple of new pieces for that open stage. Which reminds me I have booked my flights & hotel for Capturing Fire 2020’s 10th anniversary at the end of June. I will be missing Toronto Pride. Best of all I’ll be celebrating my birthday there. You can wish me well via my paypal link 🙂

https://capfireslam.org

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January 2020 Recap



So far this year the TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 382 followers! Several as a result of my recent Secret Handshake feature & some as a result of my Sunday photo blogs. The top 3 change places often but I’m still amazed to see Bangladesh & Kenya are still in the top 10 is a surprise. Kyrgyzstan! Mexico! My Tumblr following is at 258. Twitter 218 followers.

Picture Perfect – 3,400 words blogged to far with only 183,000 words to go 🙂 Editing has been good, so far, mainly typos – except for expect sort of stuff. Also now knowing where the story is going I have been tweaking to fill things in that I didn’t know first time around – i.e. Daniel’s RCMP history. No chapter titles for this one. I am creating a fresh graphic for each section though.

Hot Damn! & Shanty Tramp both went very well. Hot had a full house as did Shanty. I enjoyed the Shanty set a lot though I did edit as I read & dropped a few  of the pieces I had planned to do. Getting paid is always a good thing too. I haven’t been in Kensington Market for some time & was dismayed a the number of boarded up shops but happy to see no Starbucks has moved it, yet.

Watched an amazing movie The Hourglass Sanatorium – a 1973 Polish film directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has – similar to his earlier film The Saragossa Manuscript – Hourglass is rich with mind-bending surrealism, stunning images, a near total lack of narrative logic & a stunning soundtrack (not available on cd 😦 ). Inspired & inspiring. Not that I’m on a Slavic kick but I am rereading Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Tales & Graphite. This is heart-breaking gulag literature – that draws me into this world with insights & a bracing dash of black humour – highly recommended.

 

Coming up is – well not much until the Stratford season starts. I’m still waiting fo the Capturing Fire dates to be set. I’ll be hosting, moderating a panel there on Keeping The Fire Burning – Fire celebrates 10 years & many of the participants have been writing for decades. What keeps us creating because it certainly isn’t the $ or the hunger for slam points. I plan to be there unless US security panics & closes its borders to anyone who has ever looked at a Middle Easterner on the street or had Chinese take out.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

LCD Underworld Legend

LCD Soundsystem produces almost hypnotic, multilayered pop-electronica. I have cds of the first double, Sound of Silver, 45:33, & This Is Happening. I could play all the cds in a row & not really be able to tell one from the other – which is a good thing. Consistently listenable music though that is great for typing to, also fine sex throb. Much like jazz song titles are arbitrary in relation to the music (much like the relationship to my photos to actual content of a blog post.)

LCD owes a lot to the British dance/electronica duo  Underworld. I first heard Underworld on a CMJ completion cd – it was the track River of Dub – a deep bass throb with voice deep in the mix & I loved loved it. Finding the cd was another story though but I finally did. I have as stand-alone’s dubnobass, Dirty Mix, everything everything, Beaucoup Fish, a Hundred Days Off, Oblivion With Bells, barking, as mp3 Barbra, & a fun spoken-word ep with Iggy Pop.

 

 

Both LCD & Underworld make excellent moody writing music. Some tracks by both have shown up in movie soundtracks for tension or romantic interludes.

 

Back to L (& also great for romantic interludes) is John Legend. I have stand-alones: Get Lifted, once again, Evolver, Wake Up! (with the Roots). Sweet smooth soul music that almost drifts into easy listening. The albums flow nicely into one another. Some with disco flavours, others with hip-hop vibe. Legend has an old school vibe that, despite being so heteronormative, is so gentle one doesn’t mind. Plus he is easy on the eye 🙂

Report to the Electoral Steering Committee 

We wanted to sway the people. We want to convince them that they aren’t powerless voices. We have to get them out to the polls in the next election or they will lose the right to vote. That is one of the planks of the leading party – why give people the right to vote if they don’t want to use it. ‘Use or lose it’ is their slogan. All the people have to do is use it. It doesn’t matter which party they vote for as long as they voted. If we can get voter response up from the paltry 6% it was in the last election perhaps change can happen.

But the people didn’t care. They saw the election as being  less interesting than sports scores. Politicians were just self-protecting business men and the people were powerless to do do anything. Some brfied that no matter how loud they voiced their opinions no one was listening anyway. No one cared. Not even them. 

House after house we ran into the same apathy and hopelessness. The people were happy as long as they had food shelter and entertainment. Politics wasn’t entertaining enough. The drab tired supposed scandals of secret deals, slush fund theft bored them. They didn’t care about the sexual peccadillos of high ranking officials or how they used their power to cover up criminal activity, dunken car accidents. The people had seen it all on YouTube once and even there it wasn’t as compelling as movie star break downs in the washrooms of local designer outlet direct to the public malls. Now that got them going. Why couldn’t we get that star to run for office. That could hold some interest, maybe.

We must persist. It can’t be a lost cause. 

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

January

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Piston, Poulenc and Chopin

I have a couple of stand-alones by Walter Piston (1894 – 1976) Violin Concertos, Chamber Music that I picked up in 2004 at HMV. This was part of my musical education to see/hear was happening in modern classical music. I am familiar with other genres of non-mainstream – electronic, free jazz, prog rock. Walter Piston (an ideal porn name, if you ask me) is one of several respected American composers whom I had never heard of until I did a bit of research.The music, to me, not all that memorable. Technically challenging violin concertos are fine but I am not the audience  – this is music for musicians more than it is music for the general public. I don’t find myself drawn back to it as I am with Gershwin or Copeland.

Next on the shelf is an mp3 collections headed by Francis Poulenc. He is best know for his opera Dialogues des Carmélites (which I don’t have) but I had an lp of his Concerto champetre – a fun harpsichord concerto full of mood, percussive keyboard work & charm. I downloaded this version as part of a set of his orchestral suites which are engaging & almost impressionist.

So it made sense to add some Scriabin to this collection. So here is Le Poem de l’extase, Concerto for Piano, Le Poeme du Feu. This is brilliant, moody work that is lush, romantic & full of sonic intrigue. Not here, but which I have, are his piano sonatas that are also brilliant. Scriabin was gifted with synesthesia: seeing music as colours & beautiful colours at that. He was greatly influenced by Chopin.

Which lead to adding Jan Lisiecki (1995) recording of Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1/2, from 2009. Yes, he was a prodigy but his playing is emotional & sensitive. There was/is some quibble about a performer so young tackling the classics. I have other recordings of these concertos & his take is excellent.

 

Finally in this collection is the Shutter Island soundtrack. This a soundtrack that doesn’t need the movie – Max Richter pieces are somber, eerie, almost spiritual & clearly inspired by Scriabin atonal work.  The classical pieces add to the sense of darkness. The movie itself is high-drama, dark & stormy night, psychobabble spookiness that needs a soundtrack to work.

Are You Ready

My nervous pacing was as clear to me now as if it was yesterday not a month ago, when I first hooked up with Devon. Double-checked to make sure the buzzer system was working and the lobby channel was on the TV so I could keep an eye for who was coming & going. I wasn’t sure what to expect even though I had seen his profile picture & the few others he had sent me. The lobby camera was crap for detail so I was never sure what purpose it served. Even though I was expecting him I jumped when the phone rang at his buzz. 

Devon was exactly what I would have wanted. Smelt good. Looked good in and out of his jeans and was eager to get out of them too. We even managed some conversation after the sex. I agreed to meeting him again and again. Now a month had passed and we were actually seeing each other not just hooking up. We’d worked out a routine where by he’d phone or text when he was a few minutes away. Tonight, for the first time, we were doing something outside, in the real world, where people would see us together.

My cell phone rang. I answered automatically.

“I’m in the lobby.”

“I’ll be right down.”

He was pacing when I got to the lobby. I reach out to kiss him when my cell rang again. I answered it.

“Are you ready to die?” A voice I nearly recognized.

“Excuse me?”

Dial tone. Unknown number.

“What was it?” Devon asked me.

“Wrong number.” I laughed. It had to be. Who would want to harm me?

On the sidewalk I looked around. Wasn’t this how that movie started? Was someone watching me from one of those windows, giggling as I looked around to see if someone was watching me from one of those windows? I put phone into my coat pocket. 

“Don’t forget where it is this time.” Devon mimed patting his pockets and then his shoes looking for a phone.

It rang again. I got it on the first ring.

“Are you ready to die?”

Dial tone before I had time to say anything. Unknown number.

“What is it?”

My face must have paled this time. The first time I wasn’t sure I heard what I heard. This time I was sure.

“Some guy asked me if I was ready to die.”

“Is that d-i-e or d-y-e? Sounds like some weird promo for a hair salon if you ask me.”

“Or a movie.”

“Seriously. Someone is calling you with death threats. Go to the police.”

“These are first & so far the only such threats I’ve ever received.”

“What does he say? I’m assuming it’s a he.”

“I am too but they are so brief I can’t really say for sure. He says ‘Are you ready to die.’ ”

“You know the voice.”

“No. It’s not like those heavy breathers in the movies. Not even threatening. Matter of fact. Are you ready for dinner. Let’s meet for coffee – sort of normal.”


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November Recap

 

 

In November TOpoet.ca  had many days with over 60 hits. USA tops the list with at the top of the hit list, 2nd place is Canada, with India regaining 3rd. Increases seen from Uk & Bangladesh, with Egypt & Germany coming on strong. The blog now has 364 followers (up from 298 at the start of the year). 252 Tumblr followers. Steady increase is best.

 

Finally finished this draft of Coal Dusters. It comes in at just under 138,000 words. Started preliminary work on Picture Perfect. You follow my progress on Tuesdays here. So far some reposts of my original NaNoWriMo posts when I was doing that first cookie dough draft back in 2014.

Finished the fascinating A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series by by David Kalat & continue to work through the recent TCM broadcast of the first generation of Godzilla films. The book is excellent not only as look at monster movies but also the racism of how USA distributors treated the films for American consumption. It is an exploration of exploitation, consumerism & bad dubbing. The films are mostly fun but some of them are idiotic, aimless, narratively senseless messes.

Speaking of surrealism in film I watched Pasolini’s amazing Teorema https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ starring Terrance Stamp as the Visitor. This is one of the finest allegorical, magic realism, neo-intellectual films I have seen. Funnier than expected, tragic, spiritual & at times a narratively senseless mess. The various characters’ musings on art, capitalism, sex & self-sacrifice are sweet & are as true now as they were when the film was made.  The power of sexuality is shown as both disruptive, freeing, spiritual powerful & necessary. Highly recommended for all you Avengers fans out there 🙂

December is a month where I make no real demands of my creative self. Decking the halls is enough work 🙂 I don’t resist the festive season but enter it in my own way. I will be doing some volunteer work at Women’s College Hospital as a ‘patient’ for first/second year medical students as they practice  things like blood-pressure, taking medical history with real people. I love the smell of med students in the morning 🙂

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Godzilla-a-Go-Go

I’ve just finished reading – A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series, a historical filmography book that analyzes the Godzilla series written by David Kalat. I queue jumped this to the top of my to-read-pile, putting aside one of the books I was already reading. I really enjoy books that put things into a larger cultural context & this books nearly delivers on that level.

It was great fun to read the background story of the financial vs art struggle of the monster. Kalat is a fan but gives balanced look at the weaknesses of the films. He also gives insight into how they were marketed in japan as oppose to how they were often reconstituted for the American market. The inept bad voice choice dubbing being the prime crime against Godzilla. I’ve always wonder why they can’t hire real actors to do this work – after all Disney uses well-know actors for their animation?

But Japanese films weren’t the only one to suffer hack dubbings – try watching any of the many Italian sword & sandal epics & one realizes bad dubbing was routine. The Italian movies often suffered the same reconstitution for the US market.

But I digress.

Kalat explores the soundtracks as well & often the film were stripped of their origin soundtracks for stock sound cues when released in the US. It is no wonder they often suffered critical drubbings. Seeing them now, thanks to TCM, I am happy to read subtitles & not be distracted by dubbing. The films are Japanese originals as well not that I have even seen the crappy US versions of may of these. They didn’t make it as far as Cape Breton.

I don’t take them as seriously as Kalat though. Much like Supermarionation, one always knows this is suitmation. The scale model work is impressive but never convincing. Some things can’t be scaled: water, fire but always love scenes were boats get capsized. Back projection work improved over the years but, Let’s face it, HD TV isn’t kind to back projection.

Kalat’s filmography ends in the early 2000’s. I would like to see many of the movies later movies but the Japanese versions are unavailable on DVD – i.e. Submerging Japan. I have seen the late 90’s ‘re-boot’ set in New York with Matthew Broderick as the scientist & despite many critical quibbles I really enjoyed it. The taxi chase scene is great & the Godzilla, although not the traditional one. was pretty good cgi. Fans want suitmation. 

Of the ones I’ve seen I’ve liked Godzilla vz Hedora (The Smog Monster) – pop art meets suitmation. The psychedelic music is wondrous, nightclub scenes are on point – who cares that Hedra, at points, looks more like melting candle. Also really enjoyed ‘Ebirah, Horror of the Deep.’ 

A great book beyond the Godzilla content for its insights into the American domination of the world film industry.

The Glory of Godzilla https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Tp 

Lock and Key

I don’t know

how many doors I’ve walk though

how many I’ve shut behind me

never to look back

how many keys I’ve had copied

how many I have lost

how many I have 

in a drawer rattling around

with forgotten doors to open

no way of finding their way home

had a book of photos of doors

doors around the world

some partially open 

some with a face peeking shyly out

most shut solid

barring me for seeing deeper

never saw a book of keys

they’re a deeper mystery for me

I have an idea where a door might lead

but a key

what lock does it match with

what could it unlock for me

the keys to the highway

the door to the unknown

could it open your heart

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet