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

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

Discernment

Discernment

I don’t like everyone

or everything

but I no longer waste energy

demonstrating my dislike

at one time it was 

a sort of performance piece 

to prove how superior I was

to what I disliked

it gave me a sense of self

defined by those opinions

 

as I aged

I saw that it made life easier

to stop scattering my energy 

on what I disliked

or even specific people

and focus that energy on 

keeping my mouth shut

so that even when asked

what do I think of so-and-so

I’d resist going into the litany

of someone else’s foibles

I’d say they can be difficult

and let it go at that

 

besides

I have more productive things to do

than talk about 

the egotistical ways of others

let’s talk about me

for a change

This was partially prompted by a discussion I had with a friend about how our likes change without us being aware of it. His example was Jerry Lewis – an actor we both found hilarious at one time but now makes him cringe to the point he can’t watch Lewis in anything. So when TCM showed The Bellhop, & The Nutty Professor I pvr-ed them both. Five minutes of each was more than enough to give me cringe spasms.

As hard as it is to believe I was once a mouthy, opinionated prick – as they say the less I knew the more judgemental my remarks became. I lost one drinking friend over a difference of opinions about something neither of us really cared about. Being critical was a proof on intelligence, of discernment. It wasn’t enough to dislike something one had to dismember it verbally. If you hurt someone’s feelings in the process – such was life.

 

I want to say I out-grew Jerry Lewis but that implies that those who love him aren’t as sophisticated or as mature as I am. Not that I expect to have a discussion about him ever again anyway but … there are often opportunities for me to venture opinions on popular trends, political situations that I usually take a pass on. I don’t have opinions I only have smart-assed one-liners.

 

I can’t pretend to be non-judgemental. I choose not to hang out with recreational drug users – I get tired of repeating what i said five minutes ago while they repeat what they said ten minutes ago every ten minutes. I also know that my likes or dislikes are often irrelevant anyway. When someone asked what I think I know they only me to agree with them or want to tell me what they think.

I love the way this piece ends with ‘me’ taking on the role of the one who wants to be talked about – I am never the one who ‘can be difficult’ 🙂
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

John Fowles

One of first really ‘adult’ books that made an impression on me was John Fowles ‘The Magus.’ I still have by original paperback copy of it – somewhat better & held together with duct tape. I’ve read it frequently & have been drawn in each time. It is underlined & in the front are page numbers of particular passages I marked so I can reread them without rereading the whole book.

I think I read ‘The Collector’ first though after the movie was released, I think. It is a more ‘conventional’ novel. I saw how an adaptation differs from the source. It, & the movie, were the basis for frequent sex fantasy of mine – only there would be two of us – me & another man – who were abducted & confined. After a time we would turn to each other for emotional, sexual comfort. Sometimes, in the fantasy, I would be the abductor too but the other man wouldn’t know this.

‘The Magus’ is quite different from ‘The Collector.’ More clearly philosophical & literate. The plot adds layers of mystery even as it is solved. In the end one is never really sure what motivates our protagonist or how he inveigles so many people to cooperate with the elaborate set up. Trust me it is a very elaborate maze that continues even when one is out of the maze. This is what inspires me about Fowles – his unwillingness to give the reader an explanation – a writer doesn’t have to solve things for the reader to leave them satisfied.

The movie is a disappointment. having seen it recently, thanks to TCM, it completely misses the mystic heart of the book.

I’ve also read ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman,’ ‘The Ebony Tower,’ & ‘Wormholes.’ ‘Woman’ was wordy 🙂 I didn’t get into the world he was creating & I it a job to read. I guess I wasn’t smart enough to appreciate him any more. ‘Tower’ is a collection of interconnected short stories & I did enjoy it more. The writer who sees the typed pages of the only copy of his latest opus destroyed by a burglar went to my heart. It was about this time I was tired of writers writing about writers – yeah I’ve heard write what you know about but please open a door to the world. So I lost interest in John Fowles as a writer but I still love ‘The Magus’ – when will Masterpiece Theatre do a production of it with Tom Hardy as Nicolas Urfe. Better yet: me & Tom Hardy held captive in some underground location.

Elbow

3

I stopped at telephone pole 

there were so many lost signs some days

I didn’t bother looking 

but a sign gabbed my eye 

larger than usual

the color quality was so commanding

I at first though it was for some movie

 

LOST

over a photo of a man’s arm hoisting a beer

brackets superimposed around the elbow

then under it –

REWARD

 

have you seen my elbow

last seen Saturday 

as I left Stoneman’s Pub

I’d had a few and passed out in my SUV

when I came to my elbow was gone

it had a good home

well treated never misused

never raised a fist in anger

never resisted hard work

enjoyed cradling my baby

her head now has no comforting strength to hold her

if you have seen my elbow 

or know of its where abouts

please please call me

 

then a fringe of phone numbers

the wind and damp had curled slightly

into a row of empty elbows

4

Jimmy and I jumped into the swimming pool at the same time for opposite sides. He swam like a seal and I was able to copy him. We darted around each other pretending to be pups. Our bodies slipping and sliding almost caressing. 

Jimmy was in two of my classes but we’d never spoken so I was surprized he’d be so friendly with me now.

The water became warmer. We lunged high then splashed down to wrap around each other like strands of spaghetti soft yielding then sticking to each other so easily. He was a giant tongue moving all over my body. 

He began to bite me along the arms. Small love bites. They tickled and I shuddered with the tingles they set off. He began to bite harder and harder. I couldn’t make him stop. He was no longer playful but a shark that ravaged my arm. He had me by the elbow to drag me off to feed his family.

I woke thrashing the air. I couldn’t feel my elbow. It was gone. I screamed

‘What’s wrong.’ My mother rushed into the room drying her hands on her apron. ‘What’s wrong.’

‘My … my elbow is gone.’ I held the stub of my arm up to her.

‘Don’t be so foolish.’ She pinched my arms. ‘Feel that?’

‘Ouch.”

‘If you can feel it, it might as well be there. Now, get a move on or you’ll be late for school.’

I couldn’t wait to get to school.

I couldn’t wait to get to school. Elbow or no elbow; today I’d finally say ‘Hi’ to Jimmy.

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

November TBA: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto
http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

https://www.facebook.com/TorontoGratitudeRoundup/

October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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