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

Killdozer

I read a review of Killdozer’s Little Baby Buntin’ & was intrigued enough to pick up the cassette. The band isn’t quite grind core but is relentlessly metal with blistering crude sexually loaded lyrics & spoken sections. I love it when they come up in my playing rotation. I ‘up-graded’ to mp3 eventually & add their  God Hears the Pleas of the Innocent. It extends their sound. The band has humour & the lp covers are a delight.

Similar to them is Gay Bykers on Acid. I have Drill Your Own Hole, and Stewed To The Gills. These are songs about tension, the crush of popular culture. Excellent samples layered with guitar, thudding drums, sardonic lyrics delivered with insinuating gusto. Another band I discovered after reading a review. Plus couldn’t resist their name or that title. Another that started as a cassette then upgraded.

With them is the much more pop Aerosmith’s Pump. This was the huge comeback for the band & is a great lp of hits, muscular driving, heterosexist songs about love, drugs & being masculine.  More of the same out of Little Caesar. I have their First; & Redemption. This is metal music with abs, it is so muscular & writhing. I love their Motown covers.

Finally on this mainly metal mp3 cd is the soundtrack from The Return of the Living Dead. Metal that veers into rock-a-billy, tracks that are glam-rock with a sprinkling of actual dialogue from the film. The film is excellent, the music is superb. I had an lp to cassette transfer at one time, then opted to upgrade to mp3 version, which also had bonus tracks. Fun music that lives without the movie.

The Smell of Money

I heard the shower start. 

“You still want to join me?” Juan stepped out of the room naked and smiling.

“In a minute.”

He went back in.

I picked up his clothes from the floor, felt the weight of his wallet in his jacket and took it out, flipped it open to his i.d. 

‘Juan Pietro Cardosa’ 

He had given me his real name. Not quite as young as he claimed, But we all do that. Several twenties, fifties, even a couple of hundreds. I’d be nervous carrying that much cash around. Credit cards all with the same Cardoso name. I fingered the cash, became aroused, pulled out a twenty and put the wallet back. There was no rush like that quick little hit from someone you might care for. Better than money in the bank is money from someone else’s wallet. 

I rubbed the twenty around my balls. The feel of, not so hard, but cold cash made me harder. I stepped into the bedroom, stuck the twenty in a box in the bottom drawer of the dresser in a box with other recent cash deposits. 

I stepped into the shower. He had picked the woodsy body wash that Gary liked so much.

“Nice choice.” I slid around him, belly rubbing his back, then his rubbing mine, erections teasing cracks of asses, belly to belly. Hot water and slick with soap. The woodsy vanilla being rewritten as Juan’s scent. 

Kissing, drying, & laughing we pushed each other to the floor, onto the bed.

He nosed my pubes a moment then stopped. “You smell like money. I love that smell.”

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

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

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

Bloody Footprints

Bloody Footprints

the movie opens

on a busy sidewalk

someone with a knife

stabs a stranger

keeps on going

while the victim collapses

remember the knife

the flash of it

the thrust

blood blood blood

 

people stepping in it

as they step over the body

on their important way

bloody footprints

quickly splotching the sidewalk

as the camera

pulls up up

the police arrive

the credits roll

over the expanding trail

of bloody footprints

 

steps lead to smart shops

to offices

into elevators

down marble corridors

over carpets in hotel hallways

cafe floors

washroom stalls

 

blood gets on hands

trying to clean shoes

the fingerprints on mirrors

coffee cups

documents

dried flakes fall between 

keyboard keys

smear smart phones

traces tracked undetected through 

airport screening machines

splotches on luggage

the blood travels around the world

 

the sidewalk

with the outline of the body

is a pool of blood

after crime scene photos have been taken

after cellphone photos have hit the net

city workers come to clean it up

 

the camera looks for the stabber

pushing through crowds

roving over heads shoulders

no faces

hands washing

blood pooling in sinks

almost dripping down the walls

of apartments

seeping out of TV screens

 

bloody footprints

lead up to a door

the bell rings

you reach to open the door

the closing credits roll

Much like Psycho Zombies in the Rain this piece is very cinematic – in fact it includes camera angles 🙂 The opening is one that I saw decades ago in a movie about a serial killer, I think. My memory of the plot is rather vague of what happens after the victim collapses other than people annoyed & reacting as if the victim was drunk not dead.

The rest is inspired by CSI, when I used to watch the show, by how they followed clues to unexpected locations. The poem is a list poem of various places this blood could have been tracked to. I realize it probably wouldn’t stay on shoes long enough to get where I take it, or that it would stay wet enough either but this is poetry not a text dealing with blood spatter theory.

Each of the bloodied locations would get its own screen time while the audience sorts through the clues to figure out which ones are relevant because narrative logic dictates that some of these locations must pertain to the identity of the killer. This is one the frequent plot ploys on many detective shows – too many clues to sort through.

I like the overhead camera view of the corpse with all these foot prints leading away from it. Prints made by people oblivious or perhaps indifferent to the body, to the crime & later miffed by having to clean the blood off their shoes.

 

The ending is a riff on surprise endings where the narrator turns out to be the killer – it is a bit of a cliche mind you but I couldn’t resist. Here it is ambiguous – has the killer come to your door or have the bloody footsteps lead the police to your door? Either way you’ll get what you deserve 🙂



Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Backstory

Backstory

 

during a total eclipse of the sun

a plunging comet

caused a power surge

that burned out the electronic

safe guards at the nuclear plant

near the asylum

built on an ancient native

sacred temple

where blood sacrifices

had opened a portal to another dimension

releasing a radioactive

cloud creature

that was struck by lightening

on Friday the 13th

exactly 101 years after

the town had vanquished

the minions of the blood sucking

mistress of the the enchanted forest

where the outcast

son of the the dethroned ruler

was cutting the 13th head of the dragon

to get power from

Slyggothora

that would return him to the throne

made of the sacred bones

of the creature found

the the smouldering remains

of that craft that fell from the sky

during the ceremony of virgin sacrifice

on the spot

where the comet created

a fold in the time-space continuum

setting off a war between

the robotic androids

and the last of the human species

that hadn’t been infected

the psychosis inducing virus

spread by ants

that had eaten the leaves

of the mutated plants

grown from seeds 

found in a urn

in a long lost burial chamber

by a fourteen-year-old

mixed-sex clone



Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

The Glory of Godzilla

TCM has picked Godzilla as its monster of the month for October & have been showing 4 or 5 films from the cannon every Friday. Unlike past monsters of the month Godzilla has been produced solely by Toho studios. Dracula, Frankenstein etc have been produced by various studies so there’s a lack of cohesion in those picture.

Not that Godzilla has a story arc but the creature has looked pretty much the same with its oversized rubber suit, staggering walk & roar. Various performers have brought nuanced various on their monsters. Godzilla is noted for his lack of nuance 🙂 That goes for the man in the suit to the actual actors in the films. These aren’t Kurosawa, though I wonder how he would have treated Godzilla – Toshiro Mifune could be pretty scary without the rubber suit.

I have been loving these films & seeing them subtitled, as opposed to dubbed, gives them more oomph. They are from a recent Criterion boxset that covers the oeuvre from 1954 to 1975. Plus TCM has added the ‘stand-alone’ backstory films of Rodan & Mothra. So they have been restored from original Japanese releases & have new subtitles theatre more accurate. All of them had been reconstituted at one time for the American market & as a result some of humour & political stances were lost in translation.

I’m also loving Ben Mankiewicz’s introduction to the pictures as he tries to treat them with scholarly insight. Let’s face it Kill All Monsters isn’t Throne of Blood.

I’m seeing many of these pictures for the first time though I have seen Mothra repeatedly – the Christian symbolism is surprising. I do have the 1954 original in both the Japanese version & the American remix with Raymond Burr seamlessly inserted into it. The American version removes all mentions of the atomic bomb being dropped on Japan. Radioactivity plays a role in many of the films – as it did in American creature features on the time.

Of the ones I’ve seen so far my favorite has been 1966’s ‘Ebirah, Horror of the Deep.’ It has a fun teenage dance contest I watched a few times before going on with the film. A bit of James Bond, a bit of beach party, & a great sea creature. Son of Godzilla was amusing but there was no Mrs. Godzilla – not that I’m expecting a documentary about reptile reproduction. 

I have soundtrack music in my cd collection, also other music written by some those composers. I have two Godzilla action figures & at least 3 t-shirts. I guess I’m a bit of fan. Thanks to TCM I’m not shelling out the nearly $300 for the boxset though.

Arrgh – Godzilla

as a kid

I would often play at being Godzilla

stomping on my toys

kicking them over

breathing my fire breath on them

invulnerable powerful dangerous

enjoying that ants were sacred of me

as I grew up

I would pull on my Godzilla suit

when things weren’t going my way

emotionally swing out at people

stomping on their intentions

when they didn’t suit my expectations

 

I later found out that Godzilla

was a man in a rubber suit

a small Japanese man

actually men

because the suit didn’t breath properly

the actors would tire out   get sick

they couldn’t see well out of the eye holes

and have to lead to the set

pointed in the right direction

just like my loss of vision

when I pulled on my Godzilla suit

to strike out at life

refusing to let anyone 

lead me in the right direction

if the actor was in the suit too long

he’d break out in a rash

get too itchy to wear it

 

me I’d break out in rash decisions

end up with itchy resentments

that I’d take out on those around me

 

like those actors

no one knew who I was

as long as I wore the suit

every good villain has a motive

has something he wants

but it was never clear what Godzilla wanted

expect to be left the fuck alone

we never see Godzilla relaxing

beyond floating 

to the bottom of the sea to sleep

all of his energy was spent

battling the nuisances of a life 

he didn’t even want to be part of

of being a monster stuck in a normal world

that didn’t have a place for monsters

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

every Tuesday 2019

October

November
Thursday 7 – Hot Damn It’s Queer Slam! – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – 7 pm – featuring Wes Ryan.

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

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

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

Kharis 

Kharis 

 

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

 

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

 

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

 

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

 

decayed tissue 

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravel the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

This one was written October 2017 before I watched The Mummy (1959), then worked on the next day after I watched it. In the movie the resurrected Kharis sinks into a bottomless bog. He sees no wrong in what he has been done. His self-sacrifice is unquestioned while none of his victims acknowledges that the mummy may have any sense of self. Not that he gives anyone an opportunity to reason with him. He was ‘pushed along by an unquestioned past /by ritual expectations.’

The piece started with that image of bandages as a tissue of lies. The prime lie being the self-sacrifice lie ‘oh i’m fine’ which come out of ‘the weight of history.’  Culturally men are to keep their real emotions, except anger, under wraps. Questioning the history is to cast doubt on one’s real manhood. It is better to sacrifice than surrender.

It’s so easy for people to accept ‘i’m fine’ without questioning it. Kharis is a man sacrificed to protect the princess he loved. He is a type of zombie compelling by spiritual forces not by his own mind. Not questioning our male history makes many men into zombies fulfilling the prophecy of male stoicism.

I play with metaphorical bandage images through the piece twisting them round each other the way a mummy is wrapped to point where one no longer knows who is actually under those bandages. We never see the ‘naked’ man only his eyes through the slits – a sort of tunnel vision.

There are some direct references to the 1959 film as well – there is a ritual to resurrect Kharis, it is read from the book of life, he then hopes to resurrect the princess, his one true love. This hetero love is found in nearly every variation of The Mummy – of course the hero’s fiancee always looks like the dead princess etc. All caught in a powerful plot devise nearly as confining as the layers of wrappings.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

The Haunting 

Today horror is equated with gore and photogenic stumps interacting with CGI. If the ‘entity’ isn’t shown readers, viewers are disappointed. This resulted in endless bad creature costumes (how hilarious is Mothra as a creature). All too often the ‘entity’ was more important than the actual story & dialogue. In so many horror films all that changed were the actors & the entity. The story & dialogue were basically the same.

A fact I didn’t realize until I was an adult. Some of those films, books, hold up, others well, haven’t dated so well. The original Frankenstein film hasn’t been improved upon with better effects, better monster make up. None of text have added any real depth to the film. The actual Shelly novel is as much a philosophical treatise as it is a thriller. The creature is more intellectual than allowed in most of the film variations.

I recently watched The Haunting – based on Shirley Jackson novel. I have seen this film several time but each time I see different elements. Also I watched it with a friend who has never seen it before. I also should add that I have read the novel more than once, read other work by Jackson & back in 1991 I directed a stage version – so I am familiar with it.

Horror, the supernatural, & to a degree gore, have been inspirations for me since I was a child. Having a cemetery, managed by my father, as a playground growing up certainly added to that interest. Oddly I never did become a goth. But I certainly loved monsters the Mummy, Wolfman, Dracula – these were the supernatural creatures. Creature from the Black Lagoon, Them, Godzilla – where environmental monsters thanks to toxic chemical, nuclear radiation.

The horror of The Haunting maybe man made: something that manifests from our personal inner turmoil, or from another’s inner turmoil seeking revenge, release, completion or to teach us a lesson as in A Christmas Carol. The Haunting sets the bar high & very few films have succeeded as it has. Jackson’s novel sketches in vague scientific speculation but leaves the rest up to us.

Later versions of movie parapsychology have added more equipment, better fx but no increase in the spook factor. I also find even Jackson relies too much on psychology to semi-explain things. Eleanor arrives already emotionally unbalance. The ambiguity of whether she looses touch with reality or has intact been absorbed by the spirits of the house is the spooky thrust of the story.

Without this film & this novel, we’d wouldn’t have an endless parade of novels about parapsychological investigators suffering for their research, or an endless parade of reality TV shows about parapsychologic investigators with bad hand-held cameras, whispering ‘did you hear that?’ in night vision lighting.
I would highly recommend both seeing the original The Haunting & reading Jackson’s novel ‘The Haunting Of Hill House.’ They complement each other. They also show how eerie chills can be created without monsters, cgi or dismemberment.

Maple Ridge Road

people told us

the abandoned Macintosh mansion

at the end of Maple Ridge Road

was haunted

but we didn’t believe them

so on the last full moon of October

Davey, Martin and me

we snuck into the house

and were never seen again

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

every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November
Thursday 7 – Hot Damn It’s Queer Slam! – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – 7 pm – featuring Wes Ryan.

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

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

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Psycho Zombies

Psycho Zombies in the Rain

it was raining ballerinas

you know

rain so heavy

each drop created a splash tutu

as it landed

on its one toe

to join the corps du puddle

a literal rain dance

 

wet ragged gene-mutated zombie

staggering down the street

skin stinking in the rain

crumbling for the lure of brains

grabs a light pole

flings aimless decaying arm

drops into the gutter

eyes washed but not cleaned

lightening strikes

the unlucky char

washed down the sewer drain

 

the rain not a sheet but a curtain

a shower curtain

lightening cuts through it

an electrified knife

stab stab after stab

screams drowned out by the rain

rain so heavy

we can’t see across the street

can’t see 

through the car window

wiper blades not cutting it

smearing rain like blood

on a steamy bathroom tile

There was a flurry of mash-up horror movies & books ie: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies; Abe Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. I have a friend who does a piece about Hollywood adding zombies to anything to make it more commercial. Try it by adding Zombie to any movie title: Beach Party Zombie Bingo – Zombie on A Hot Tin Roof – Three Zombies Outside Ebbing, Missouri – actually these three sound pretty interesting 🙂

The title of this piece is clearly a reference to Singing in the Rain. In particular the rain sequence with non-mutated Gene Kelly splashing in puddles, swinging from a lamp pole  at one point. Not that zombies are ever agile enough to dance & I’m not sure how they cope with rain either – being rotting corpses after all. The rules for zombies morphs from movie to movie. I’m not sure how long they live if they don’t eat brains.

As Kelly swings on the lamp the camera picks up on his huge eyes full of hope & love. Eyes so clear that have to be a special effect 🙂 I can see this moment so vividly. I imagine it as a limited edition lamp hmmm – get the Franklin Mint on the line. ‘unlucky char’ echoes one of the songs from the movie: lucky star.

The Psycho of the title comes from the sheets of rain which naturally bring to mind a couple of scenes in Hitchcock’s Psycho. Janet Leigh driving in the rain mashed up with her shower scene unprepared for the rain of stabbing. She’s not singing in the shower.

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