Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), is best known for a short movement in his Romeo & Juliette ballet suite, which I do have but was never that taken by. I have a double cd collection of The 5 Piano Concertos. As well as an 8.8 hr mp3 collection that includes his Complete Piano Sonatas, Complete Symphonies, & the Ballet Suites: The Buffoon, Love For Three Oranges, Waltz Suite, Romeo & Juliette.

 

At one time I had the Piano Sonatas as a MHS box set & an lp of one of the concertos. I upgraded to the Sonatas mp3 & found a double cd set of the Piano Concertos. I love piano music & Prokofiev straddles the gap between romantic & modern nicely. Not as lushly melodramatic as Tchaikovsky the concertos are excellent, the sonatas are emotional, lyrical but with a more mathematic sense of structure – not as florid as Chopin.

The Symphonies, which I have as mp3, become more modern & sweeping like Shostakovich but not as dissonant. Like many Russian composers Prokofiev makes use of stirring Russian folks songs that us delightful, somewhat patriotic & satisfying. If you are unfamiliar start with the piano concertos.

 

One thing I enjoy about many of many eastern European composers is the use of their folk melodies to create amazing, emotionally commanding music that even without being from there myself I am filled with a sense of losing & nostalgia. I have found little North American classical music does that to me. Is there an epic, sweeping symphony based on, say, Native American musical themes?

Green

“Apples bin Irish peace.”

“Yes. Go on.”

“I can’t think of anything more.”

Dr. Clarke put down his pen. “I see.”

“Is that a problem?”

“I don’t know. You tell me?”

“I wish I could think of more. Really. Sometimes my mind just goes blank … or so many things flash that I can’t grab them all. Don’t know which ones to say and as I start saying them the others darken. Disappear. Blank. I’m left with a blank.”

“That can happen. Try to relax. Green?”

“Peace. Did I say that already? I’m so afraid of repeating myself that I can’t think of anything to say. Nothing comes to me. I want to go.”

“You can leave anytime. If you want to get well you have to try harder.”

“I don’t see how this helps.”

“It helps me to find patterns of thinking. What does peace mean to you?”

“Peace? I’ve never thought about peace. Really. I guess it means like gardens and butterflies. Quiet. No, maybe some birds singing. Yeah and kittens chasing the butterflies around. Yeah, that’s what peace means to me.’

“That’s a postcard picture of peace but go deeper than a picture.”

“Peace isn’t perfection, is it? that’s what you want to me say isn’t it. Peace is impossible, it only exists in my imagination not in the world out there. There is no peace. Never ever going to be peace. Peace would be boring as fuck anyway. You know that, don’t you? Impossible.”

“Take a breath. That’s not what I mean but peace has a cost. In your picture who mows the lawn? Who plants the flowers? Peace isn’t an abstract thing.”

“I’m never going to get well, am I”

“Ready for the next word?”

“Yes.”

“Family.”

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January
Thursday January 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

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

La La La

The La’s were part of the new wave English wave from the 80’s. Similar to The Stone Roses, their style is a folksy rock with pleasant vocals & good song writing. One track was used by some clothing company which kept them in the public eye for awhile. Sweet music. Reminds me of The Byrds, early Jefferson Airplane.

 

Less sweet & definitely rock is Quebec’s Eric LaPointe. I have stand-alones Obsession, Invitez Les Vautours & as mp3: Le ciel de mes combats. I used to watch French Kiss on MuchMusic & his first couple of videos were hot – him shirtless, waist deep in water – mmm. His music is aggressive almost metal blues rock. His voice is emotive, at some quite raw & harsh.

 

Another French group is Laymen Twaist. I have stand-alone of Funkadelique. A continental French band that is the total tonal opposite of LaPointe. This cd is bouncy, funky, psychedelic & fun. The engineering is astonishing & when it comes up in my play rotation I usually play it twice & it always gets my hips moving. Definitely worth seeking out to broaden your musical horizons.

 

Next up is John Layton’s Femmes Fatales – which is not in French 🙂 John is a Toronto folk singer/composer. I meet him at the Renaissance Cafe when I was doing the open stage circuit. Sweet, amusing, wry & romantic. The songs are gentle without being cloying. His voice is engaging & the engineering is clean.

Lookie Here

Hello my name is Lookie as in ‘lookie here.’ Cute eh?I thought so. I got to pick that name. I don’t tell this to everyone, but i need to talk. I’m not even sure you can hear me. I doubt if you can see me. I know when someone can see me. That’s one of my gifts. That and the fact that I’m not real. I’m Davey’s invisible friend. You know Davey. Yeah, too bad about him. Getting caught by the cops and all that. There wasn’t much I could do about that. I tried to warn him but he wasn’t seeing me anymore. He was too old for that sort thing. the awkward age when they they know it all and don’t even believe what they can see.

I’ve been Davy‘s invisible friend since he was three. He didn’t know me then though, he was too young to understand I guess. I never really understood how this friendship thing was supposed to work. I’d hang around his bed as he fell asleep hoping I could slip inot his dreams to plant the seed, as it were.  Sometimes he’d open his eyes and I swear he could see me but part me of knew he couldn’t. We invisibles don’t have form unless we feel seen. You know what I mean?

Not that Davey was in denial. How can you deny something you don’t know about, right. So I kept hovering around him. Following him to daycare. Standing by his nap rug. Playing tag with the kids there that did see me. Hoping and praying for the day he would sense he wasn’t alone. Which was hard because he was hardly ever along anyway. Those daycare kids were always around for him to hang out with. I had tried to be an invisible friend to one of them but he was one of a pair twins. So he didn’t need anyone. 

Davey was an only child so I knew he had greater need of me. But he practically the third twin. What’s an invisible supposed to do? I knew there was no rush for me to get a real friend but it had been many years since I had one. Can’t say how many. Time doesn’t have much meaning for me. When you only exist when someone sees you time doesn’t move. 

Davey didn’t see me till he nearly 11. That’s pretty old, by then kids have an idea of what is real and what is make believe. Not that I’m make believe but I can’t reveal much of me to anyone except my seer. If you know what I mean. The fact that you hear me at all means that you are open to someone who isn’t really real. But you can’t see me. Can you? No, if you could, I’d know.

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January
Thurs  January 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

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

Give Me An ‘L’

Adam Lambert almost won some TV singing contest a few years ago. The show traded on the fact that he was an out gay guy who sang pop rock, not disco or emotionally tender, sensitive romantic ballads. Sort of a male version of Pink. I have stand-alone: For Your Entertainment, which I bought at HMV for the track ‘Whataya Want From Me’ which is a perfect pop song. As mp3 I have The Original High (Deluxe Version), solid music but to be honest I can’t recall a song from it.

He was packaged as a gay glam-rock icon – mascara & such but that ran out of steam fast. It felt like his label didn’t know what to do with him & he resisted attempts to re-fashion him as anything but a rocker. He apparently refused to do an lp of disco covers just to capitalize on his ‘fame.’ He has stepped into Freddie Mercury’s sequins perform with Queen. Plus he can sing.

 

Keeping with the queers I have stand-alone k.d. lang and The Reclines: absolute torch & twang. I found this in a box of cast off cds a few years ago. I selected several from the box including this oen. I’ve always loved ‘pullin’ back the reins’ for her emotional openness. A transitional cd as she moved more to pop from country. What ever happened to her?

 

 

Another stand-alone Bettye LaVette’s Interpretations – The British Rock Songbook. I kept reading raves about this ‘come back’ lp & after listening (via YouTube) to her amazing take on The Who’s ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ picked it up at HMV. She has a fine emotive voice & the covers are reverential but she makes them her own as well. I also loved this ‘songbook’ concept as many of the songs she covers are classic 60’s/70’s pop.

another very rough draft from the, so far, unfinished Isle St. Nuit

The return to Halifax wasn’t as jarring as he’d expected. In fact the routine allowed him quickly to forget Montreal. The events there become more like one of the movies he would have seen at the festival. Dreamlike memory replaced his real experiences. That couldn’t have been him on his knees in a store door way sucking a cock while people walked past only a few feet away. That wasn’t something he would ever do. 

Who would want to do that with someone who looked like he did, anyway. There was a sense of something gone, though part of him knew there wouldn’t be any more phone calls, emails from Kevin, no more flying off to rendezvous in various places around the country for furtive hotel sex between screenings, he would miss that. But even that Mike became less and less like him as well.

His past was turning into a dull film with random spots of uncomfortable porn. Kevin must have felt sorry for him to let it go so long. 

Mike couldn’t recall if Kevin every really seemed to enjoy their sex as much he had been with his new partner that day in the woods. Had Kevin ever shivered like that, even taken him with such relish, pumped his ass so joyously. 

Mike once again found himself feeling that men only allowed him to touch them for their own gratification. They probably weren’t even queer, just needing to get off, get taken care of and any one would do, in the dark. Yes, in the very dark dark.

Well Mike wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore. It was time to go back to being celibate. that wouldn’t be so hard. Kevin was his only sex contact since they first met. One was all he needed. All he deserved; not that he even deserved that. An opportunity given and then taken away. Never to be offered again, by anyone.

Xavier was more dream not meant to last. Those few days were a blur. The empty hotel room. On his hands and knees with Pierre scouring the fibres of the carpet like a queer CSI team. 

What a scene that would make  in some comedy. the Bumbling homos hunting down the man who ate and ran. Such a tried pattern. Yet he fell for it.

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

January
Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

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

Gaga Plus

As an almost card-carrying queer I do have some music bought solely to maintain my queer status, which is why I have Kylie Minogue’s Fever on the shelf. The music is well produced dance music. Nothing with real personality & good as background sex music. One cd was enough for me. She is quite popular though & her live shows get raves.

Near by on the shelf is another card-carrying queer qualifier: Lady Gaga. I have stand-alones The Fame; Monster; The Remixes. Tucked away on various mp3 collections is Born This Way; Joanne. This is dance music of a different order (than Kylie) – stunning production & engineering, astonishing videos & politically challenging (something dance music isn’t supposed to be.) Plus I have her excellent duets with Tony Bennet. Also the soundtrack from ‘A Star is Born.’

Much like Madonna, Lady Gaga’s persona is very fluid always with a strong awareness of audience. Each collection has standout tracks, plus cds of remixes to spread the magic. Like many she gets more respect when she sticks to the dance music. Her more personal & more subdued Joanne was not as warmly received by the market. Then came the Academy Award. Lady Gaga can sing as she proved with Tony Bennett.

Joanne leads a mp3 collection that includes some old school dance by LTD: Hits, Classics (Boogie Wonderland); Bizarre Inc.: Energique (I’m Gonna Get You).  I remember these two groups from my disco days. I’m not sure if Bizarre Inc. was nothing more than a studio production. Some prog-soul by The Undisputed Truth: The Best of, Face To Face. This is in the Sly Stone vein of soul but more experimental – they do an amazing Ball of Confusion.

Too add some modern I have Solange: A Seat at the Table – which is also experimental soul/pop – the lp title should tip you off there is some political underpinnings 🙂  Frank Ocean is a rapper/soul singer who came out & I figured I should have at least something by him – Blonde: well produced but vocals get buried & after several listening I can’t name a song. Finally another by an out singer: Jordan Smith’s Something Beautiful – he has one of those angelic, slightly hurt voices that makes everything sound wistful & emotionally compelling.

from Isle de Nuit

“What do you mean – you’re leaving?”

“Jacques there’s nothing more I can do. The Montreal police don’t need me for their investigation. I have a job in Halifax to get back to. I can’t afford to be here.”

“Don’t you need to know what happened to Xavier?”

“Yeah sure but we’ve done what we can, right. Who to question? Xavier made sure his trail was cold before he left. He must have known that all along. He had it planned so he could make this clean get away. I hope it was worth what this must have cost him.” Mark picked up his suitcase. Not much heavier than when he had arrived. He’d decided not to bring much of the film crap with him. He’d been tempted to get rid of the tee he’d been wearing when he met V but after a few washing it wouldn’t hold any memory. 

“I’ll keep in touch.’ He reached out to shake hands with Jacques. 

Jacques pulled him into a bear hug. He squirmed remembering what had happened between them at the hotel the other day. At a glance he could tell that Jacques was remembering it too.

“I didn’t mind.”’ Jacques half smiled.

“I know.’ He avoided Jacques’ kiss. “But this isn’t what I need. Another long distance relationship.”

Jacques sighed. “I know.”

“Maybe under other circumstances.”

“Right! When you aren’t still pining for the invisible man. Now that’s truly a long distance relationship.”

“I will keep in touch though. If you ever want to come to Halifax I have a spare room you can use.”

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

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

Not Picture Perfect Endings

Two of the ‘drama’ series on TV that I enjoyed this fall have come to an end for this season. American Horror Story: 1984; Castle Rock: Season Two. I’m pretty sure AHS will return for another season but am not sure about Castle Rock. I enjoyed being immersed in the bloody, gooey worlds that each of them created but while AHS paid brilliant homage to summer camp slasher mayhem, Castle Rock failed to deliver much more than atmosphere.

 

 

The only tease that AHS failed to deliver was an appearance by Billy Idol – the season was an interesting mash up of summer camp & Groundhog Day. Killed ‘campers’ returned to life very time they were killed – each resurrection slowly taught them important life lessons: accepting that you are dead eases the pain of being dead etc. Revenge is a distraction not a solution. 

Castle Rock: Season Two turned out to be all window-dressing for an essentially empty store. The premise of Annie Wilkes (Misery) backstory was promising but got lost & nearly drowned in the goo. Lizzie Caplan’s Annie was so clearly unbalanced from the get go that her drug addled journey was more boring that revelatory. She spent so much of the time covered in blood or mud I felt sorry for make up & continuity. If she ever forgot a line all she had to say is ‘Where is my daughter’ or “I’m protecting you from the dirty-bird world’ & it would have been fine.

 

The window dressing included Somali immigrants, most of whom disappeared after a few camera shots established them. Not even the goo people were interested in them. Joy & Chance flirt – sweet teen-age lesbians but nothing develops. Chance sure does handle a gun well though but we were spared her backstory in favour of the goo people. The window dressing of racial conflict, sexual diversity are dangled then given no substance.

 

Pop’s redemption story as ho-hum, Annie’s descent into madness was a forgone conclusion. Many episodes were so uneven they felt like different writers, directors were working on different shows with the same setting & then the show runners stitched the parts together. They gave us an ending that didn’t make up for the mess of missed opportunities that preceded it. The best part of the show was Fan Critical’s Castle Rock podcast commentary, they were much kinder to the show than I was. Season Two gets two blueberries. Fan Critical gets five.

Watching how the narrative elements in each series are structured is a great lesson though. They make me aware of maintaining enough logic that one’s readers/viewers understand what is going on even if they don’t know why. Don’t make backstory more compelling than the main story: Joy’s birth story & how it played out was the most interesting part of Castle Rock.

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The King Kinks and the KLF

The Kinks were part of the first great British invasion that followed on the heels of the Beatles. Tight, punchy pop songs like You Really Got Me established them as a cut above many of the other invaders but they never achieved the popularity of more commercial groups like the Dave Clarke Five. I have their first lp (with bonus tracks) tucked away in an mp3 collection. 

The lp I owned when I lived in Cape Breton was Face to Face. This remains my favourite. The production  was influenced by Sgt. Pepper. The songs have sound effects & other studio tricks, all of which work. Like all their material they are sardonically romanic, socially sharp & flower power trippy. Chipper with touches of English Music hall. My favourite track ‘Rainy Day In June.’

I never did become a fan though. I did love ‘Lola’as one of the first pop songs that was about sexual diversity. I had the cassette of ‘Lola Verses Powerman’ but the sound quality was iffy – the song cycle is about the music industry & has sharp comments, that remains are today. I finally upgraded it to a stand-alone CD & guess what the iffy sound quality remains 😦 I guess it was engineered that way.

I also have 2cd set Kinks Kronikles which is a sort of hits compilation which satisfied my need for their later work. I enjoy the Kinks when they come up in my play rotation. The Face to Face cd has a slew of bonus tracks. 

On the shelf near the Kinks is movie soundtrack of The King & I. This was one of my mother’s favourites & remains one of mine too. Brenner does his own singing, Marnie Nixon dubbed Kerr. I love all of these songs. This cd has the re-constructed Uncle Tom ballet which was not on the lp. Sweet.

Finally on this bit of the shelf is The KLF: Justified & Ancient featuring Miss Tammy Wynette – an ep of different versions. I love this when it hit the discos & takes me back to the early 90’s in a good way. One of the most surreal mash-ups of country & dance music ever & it works.

Killer Joy

Devon squinted his eyes, dropped his voice to a growl. 

“Not, Hey Mark do you want to be killed, strangled, mutilated and left butt naked in the back seat of a ’58 Plymouth.”

“Nothing like that.” 

My cell phone rang and rang.

“Aren’t you going to answer it.”

“It can go to voice mail.’

“You are really afraid.” Devon sort of laughed.

“You aren’t taking this seriously are you. Or do you know more than you are letting on. You do, don’t you, you fucking asshole.”

Devon’s smile got bigger as he back away from me. 

“No! No! Honest. It’s weird to see you sort of panic like this. You are usually so calm.”

“If this is some set up I’ll never speak to you again. This isn’t funny.”

Devon tried to keep a straight face.

I checked my voice mail. 

“It’s Dave. He wants to know what’s keeping us.” I called Dave back.

“Hey Dave we’re on our way … A little delay getting the car parked.  Yeah Devon is with me. we should be there in about five minutes.” I shut the cell phone.

“Was it him?” Devon asked.

“Him what?”

“That called you. Did the voice sound like Dave’s?”

Devon’s cell rang. He answered it. He dropped it the ground.

“What!” I asked.

“He said – Mark wants to kill you.”

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

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 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! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington 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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King Kooba and Friends

For a time, at the turn of the century, I was picking up British music magazines that had cd samplers. It was a great way of finding new music. This was where I first heard Coldplay before they exploded. The problem was, then, that finding this music beyond the sampler was nearly impossible. Things change. I can use YouTube to check out new stuff. Or use iTunes to sample. 

 

One magazine I like was Revolution. On their Dec. 2000 sampler was a track by King Kooba that I loved but finding the cd was impossible. I went into HMV, Sams etc & asked & no one ever heard of the band, whatever. Now, thanks to iTunes I have King Kooba’s Nufoundfunk, Indian Summer as part of an mp3 collection. Kooba is an electronica DJ duo from UK – the tracks are samples plus ‘new’ music. Often full of yearning & always emotive & transporting. Check them out.

 

Also in this collection are Giorgio Moroder’s Knights in White Satin, From Here To Eternity – old school disco by a grandmaster engineer, writer. Knights is a bit cheesy but fun, Eternity is great background sex music. The retro vibe in this collection continues with Bjork’s Debut – Venus as a Boy is a great song. I enjoy the lp but I’ve never become a Bjork fan. Also retro is OMC (Otara Millionaires Club): How Bizarre. Out of New Zealand this is a band I’d never heard of before until someone posted OMC video in my tumblr feed. Fun dance music.

A bit more modern is St. Vincent. I kept reading about her, so downloaded: David Byrne & St. Vincent: Love This Giant – modern Talking Heads & interesting. Also her self titled St. Vincent. Both are solid pop lps but nothing really grabbed me. I do enjoy them when I hear them. I can hear OMG’s hit in my head but nothing by St. Vincent comes to mind.

Also modern is Blood Orange (aka Devonté Hynes) out of the UK: Cupid Deluxe. Fine r’n’b with some electronica touch with a strong Steve Wonder feel. Finally in this collection, as a complete departure, is Toronto’s I Hate Todd: The Moves Pt. 1 which includes Zombie Love. This is one of the many bands with Nelson Sobral on guitar with & thus is excellent. Search them out too.

Apartment Living

“Have you lived here long?” Juan snuggled beside me on the sofa.

“You mean this apartment or …”

“We can start there.”

“Why this interest in how long I’ve been here.”

“It’s called making conversation.”

Juan wasn’t making conversation, I knew, but looking for context connection something more than the physical flash that drew us together.  I enjoyed being with him and wouldn’t mind having it go on indefinitely but at the same time didn’t really want an emotional mire to get in the way of that.

“I was born here. Grew up in the east end.”

“A native! That’s a rare beast in a city where everyone is from somewhere else.”

“I know. I do try to keep a low profile about that so as not scare the newcomers. And you?”

“An Alberta prairie boy. Not quite fresh of a farm but pretty close to it. Couldn’t wait to get from there to here. Been here about five years now.”

“Cordoso is certainly a prairie name.”

“Third generation. My grandparents immigrated from Peru.”

“To Alberta?”

“Alberta needed doctors.”

“I see.”

“You’ve been in this apartment quite a while to accumulate  all these things. My place is a bed and a computer, not even a dining nook. No time yet to really move in. I didn’t take the place expecting to be there this long, so keep putting off settling in.’

“That why we always end up here to hang out?”

“Always? Three dates so far. Hard to call that always. If you like prison cells we can go to my place. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Functional furniture only a bed …”

“The computer on a TV tray? Yeah, I know. Not even an xbox?”

“Not for me. I sleep, I wash, I get out of there.”

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

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

King Crimson

 

 

By King Crimson I have in my collection as stand-alones: In The Court of the Crimson King; Wake Of Poseidon; Lizard; Larks’ Tongues in Aspic. As mp3 I have the expanded In The Court of the Crimson King; Islands; Starless & Bible Black; Red. All hail the mellotron that dominates that first lp 🙂 Also, all hail the iconic cover art.

 

 

King Crimson crossed from quirky pop to progrock to experimental from track to track becoming progressively more experimental from lp to lp. Court starts with the harsh Schizoid Man and drifts into the hippy-dippy I Talk To The Wind. It never returns to that harsh sound. The band is similar (here)n at times to Moody Blues for overtly poetic lyrics. Also echos of Pink Floyd. But these groups cross-influenced each other.

 

I love ‘Cat Food’ (piano work stolen by David Bowie on Aladdin Sane). My favourite, of what I have, is ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspec.’ The engineering is astonishing & the lp holds together as a whole. A another favourite track is ‘Ladies on the Road’ from Islands which has one of the dirtiest sax solos by Mel Collins I’ve ever heard by anyone.

 

 

King Crimson band members were involved in other notable bands: Lake in Emerson, Lake & Palmer; McDonald in Foreigner; Burrell in Bad Company, and Wetton in U.K. and Asia. Robert Fripp & Adrian Belew influenced decades of keyboard & guitarist & appear on uncountable tracks by nearly everyone 🙂 from David Bowie to the Rolling Stones to Tina Turner.

More Than A Little Fun

“You know, I sort of like you.” Juan pulled me closer to him in the bed.

“I hear that happens.” I kissed him. This was always the point where I got sort of antsy. I liked him. He was articulate, fun in bed, had a decent job. “But we’ve known each other for, what? Less than a month.”

“Long enough to know this more than a little fun for me.” He rolled with his back to me.

“If we were the same age how would you feel?” I spooned him.

“Ten years isn’t such a big difference when you pass thirty. Unless it means something to you.”

“Nope.” I had a different age in each profile, so I was never sure how old I was supposed to be. None of them my real age, either. That I did know. Plus having looked in his wallet earlier I knew he hadn’t been honest about his age either. He was younger than he claimed to be. I drifted off before I could answer him

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – cancelled

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

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