Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"25"

2006
-by george michael
An interesting question has been popping around my head. If Americans were to be polled on whom they consider more depraved, George Michael or Michael Jackson, how do you think those numbers would go? I wonder whether they might be very revealing of how bizarre our values are.
I've been a fan of George in a way that's contrary to popular trends. I was a mild fan when he made it big, and as his popularity has waned, my appreciation has steadily waxed. Moreso than any pop star i can think of, he has experienced profound artistic growth as his star dims. His lush, intricate melodies and arrangements...the humor and honesty in his lyrics...he is often both brilliant and inspired.
Our society's views on homosexuality have had an interesting affect on his career. What do you suppose his career might look like had he started out a self-acclaimed homosexual, and then one fateful day was busted in a heterosexual police sting? Scandalous! And if he then proceeded to deal ever more openly in his music with his long-hidden lust for women?
"Brilliant and inspired" are words true of almost all the new songs on his new collection, 25. I was a little put out that he was releasing a new "best of" at all, as it wasn't so long ago that the last one came out. There should be a far more strict statute of limitations on hits packages in the music industry. Or any statute at all. But there were holes in LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, so i was game to see what George had to offer. Well, he addressed some holes, and created new ones. Big yabbity-hoos for leaving out his most annoying song, "Monkey", and also "Hard Day". Bully for giving more play to Wham! selections (though we didn't need the original "Freedom"). But how he could have a retrospective without "I Want Your Sex" is mind-boggling, and "Star People '97" and "The Edge of Heaven" are also sadly absent. In fact, the entire "I Want Your Sex" suite would have been a shining choice. As i'm veering close to nit-picking, just one more comment. How on earth was it decided to have every track from his most recent album included in this collection? This is so unprecedentedly bizarre that one has to speculate about a drunken wager. Or maybe he wanted to be the only artist who has ever put every track of an album on an anthology? But even for THRILLER that would be a strange choice, and after the five or so brilliant tracks from PATIENCE, it ain't no THRILLER. He even uses "Through" as the final cut on this collection. George, it seems just the tiniest bit insincere to end two consecutive releases with the very same declaration of being done with the music business. Couldn't you have at least done the re-mix "Really Through"?
But i kvetch. It's a lovely collection, and the new stuff is as good as anything he's ever done.

climax blues band

I found a little memory this month. A little piece of me.
A recording. A song that played on the radio during my youth. A song that faded from public consciousness as soon as it left its modest place on the charts. A song none of you remember, by a band none of you know.
"I Love You", by the Climax Blues Band.
Why do certain songs touch us, while a million others do not? Why did this song burrow into my spirit, and make me happy every time i heard it? When the song was on the radio, and for many years after, I couldn't have told you the first thing about the band, nor name a single album or other song. Was it their only hit single? I still don't know.
I was too young to buy music back then. But in the years that followed, i would always keep the song title and band name stored in a little corner of my mind as i wandered through discount bins in countless music stores, or searched the music offerings in countless garage sales. Oh, once i was all grown up, i could have used my adult resources to find it of course, but i'm patient about these things. Some things shouldn't come too easily. A decade ago my search came to fruition, when i found the vinyl single. But then i traded in my record player, and the search resumed. I found a Climax Blues Band cd a year or two ago, but the music store wanted an exhorbitant price, so again i waited. And finally, in a $2.99 bin, i found the song again.
Why does it make me happy? Why is every beat, every phrase, every harmony ingrained in my being? I don't know.
The song is a little tiny piece of who i am.
It makes me smile.
That's enough for me.

just me

While we're on the subject of poems i haven't been able to write, here's another: "Just Me" (and if i may interject a reflection, i'm fairly convinced that most poetry collections by a single author should be entitled "I Wrote One Great Thing, and Now You Jerkholes Get To Read This Other Shit").
"Just Me" is to be about how i wish to be loved for myself. It has been said that men care about a woman's looks, and women care about a man's potential as a provider. In a qualified, non-essential way, there is truth in that. One of the several reasons i've always been happy to be relatively pauperish is because that's the condition i want to be in if someone falls in love with me. If someone were to fall in love with me after i became well-off, it would be harder to trust that person's motives. I'd rather not have to deal with that. This is particularly resonant lately, because i can feel a part of me moving toward a life path that involves more money (Father or Mother, if you say a word you'll get smacked in the kisser).
I'm stripped down to the bones. Who can hang?
So get jumping, women of the world. The truest man you'll ever know is here, emotionally wide open. Perfect and poor. Loving and loyal. Steadfast and sunny. Flatulent and funny.
Hello, women?
Hello?
Is this thing on?

Friday, August 8, 2008

M.H.K.P.F.E.

MOST HILARIOUSLY KICKASS PARTY FLICKS EVER
---
SENIORS
(the spanish version)
-1978
By "party movie", i don't mean a movie which a group of partiers collectively watch. I mean the most bizarrely outrageous and silly movie to play as background noise and visuals at a gathering of people who are focused on other good-time interactions. The beauty of this one is the total irrelevance, nay absence, of plot (unless you're fluent in spanish, and even then i suspect that "dramatic structure" can only be applied to this film in the loosest of terms). It's about the college highjinks of a group of buddies, starring a young Dennis Quaid, and Priscilla Barnes of THREE'S COMPANY. Add to the general campiness the complete silliness and off-ness of the dubbed dialogue, and you have a formula for perfect non-interactive eye and ear candy. Let your mind and limbs wander to the naked Twister, the eight-player ping pong, or the discussion on Taoism and existentialism, and anytime your focus strays back to the screen, indulge in another two seconds or two minutes of laughter. Classic, just classic.

hero

How do you know a hero?
How will you be able to tell?
The David Crosby song "Hero" is an amazing song, one that touches me very deeply. David wrote it upon his release from jail after serving a prison drug sentence. The song is about shades of grey in concepts of right and wrong. It's about a human locked in a cage for behavior that hurt no one. The cover art for the single is an abstract painting of a valiant knight, shield and sword in hand. The knight's head is disproportionately teeny, however. The message is that many "heroes" must be blessed with limited intelligence. To be a hero, to fight the good fight, to commit yourself thoroughly to a sacred cause...often requires the ability to not see all sides of an issue.
The idea of being a hero has always been sacred to me. Of being and doing good, of championing truth, and the weak...to be and do these things, not for glory, but quietly...for me a hero simply does what must be done.
I'm a bit of a romantic. The idea of a brave soul doing a good deed which no one witnesses (or perhaps it only seemed unseen, but years later a single stray witness returns to save the life of the doomed hero...), such romantic notions are a huge part of who i am.
But being a hero of intelligence in a world as complex as the one we share...to have a far-reaching mind that strives to see all truths...and to have a mind that races ahead, dreaming of a better world, a better day...to be this kind of hero is sometimes to be no "hero" at all, in many people's eyes. For each of us can only process what a hero is through the limitations of our own tiny experience. And most minds are not far-reaching.
Will you have the eyes to know a hero when she or he walks across your path?
Will you have the courage and understanding to be a hero yourself, even if to do so opens you to ridicule or scorn from those you would help and lift up?
It was one of those great stories, that you can't put down at night...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

favorite movies

Not to be confused with the 100 GREATEST MOVIES, this is just what i likes. Of course, being as dead sexy discerning as i am, there is considerable overlap.
100 FAVORITE MOVIES
1) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
2) Star Wars
3) This Is Spinal Tap
4) The Princess Bride
5) How the Grinch Stole Christmas
6) Tootsie
7) Young Frankenstein
8) Ishtar
9) A Night at the Opera
10) Patton
11) The Empire Strikes Back
12) Twelve Angry Men
13) Airplane!
14) The Full Monty
15) Animal House
16) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
17) Best in Show
18) Notting Hill
19) It’s a Wonderful Life
20) sex, lies, and videotape
21) The Jazz Singer (Neil Diamond)
22) Victor/Victoria
23) The Jungle Book
24) The Naked Gun
25) American Beauty
26) The Muppet Movie
27) Airplane2
28) Jaws
29) Shakespeare in Love
30) The Big Chill
31) Dangerous Liaisons
32) Tombstone
33) My Dinner with Andre
34) 10
35) The Terminator
36) Das Boot
37) Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
38) The Beastmaster
39) Jesus Christ Superstar
40) Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
41) M*A*S*H
42) Duck Soup
43) The Birdcage
44) Blazing Saddles
45) Battlestar Galactica
46) Star Trek: Insurrection
47) Maverick
48) Labyrinth
49) The Meaning of Life
50) Tribute
51) Savannah Smiles
52) Mumford
53) The Unbelievable Truth
54) Defending Your Life
55) MST: The Movie
56) Last Tango in Paris
57) Deliverance
58) As Good as It Gets
59) Bill Cosby: Himself
60) Top Secret!
61) A Mighty Wind
62) y tu Mama tambien
63) Aliens
64) Reservoir Dogs
65) The Wall
66) Pulp Fiction
67) Star Trek: First Contact
68) Duets
69) The Rutles
70) Schindler’s List
71) Raiders of the Lost Ark
72) The Return of the Pink Panther
73) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
74) Bulworth
75) The Matrix
76) The Lover
77) The Fugitive
78) The Phantom Menace
79) The Life of Brian
80) Un Moment d’Egarement
81) Bull Durham
82) The American President
83) Witness
84) The Name of the Rose
85) Glengarry Glen Ross
86) Galaxy Quest
87) Kentucky Fried Movie
88) Predator
89) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
90) Team America: World Police
91) Dave
92) Your Friends and Neighbors
93) The Man With No Face
94) Waiting For Guffman
95) Blame It on Rio
96) Sex and Lucia
97) Jerry Maguire
98) Romance
99) Fight Club
100) Irreversible

Saturday, August 2, 2008

tabooted!

I put up a post a couple days ago entitled "happy birthday". Don't look for it. It was about a taboo subject, and i deleted it, the only time i've ever done such a thing. Two friends read it, one who is somewhat mainstream, and the other a raging free spirit. The first friend found the post disturbing, and the free spirit opined that talking about such things so openly is an invitation to trouble.
Welcome to self-censorshipville.
If someone had asked, i might have guessed that 100 people would be alienated by the piece, 15 would applaud, and 1 or 2 lives might even be changed.
I have the tendency to plunge headfirst where more cautious heads pause. Though i consider myself the best kind of libertine, i haven't lived a life of sordid behavior...indeed, a fly on the wall might even describe me in the opposite terms (long ago i sadly accepted that i'll never be one of history's great philosophers, as i don't drink, and that seems to be quite the prerequisite).
Humans engage in taboo behavior all the time. And then we don't talk about it. I come along, hellfire determined to bring our hypocrisies and truths into the light of day. In doing so, i open myself up to the kind of crucifixion that most taboo-breakers avoid. Once or twice i've even opened myself up to being misunderstood in the worst kind of way. Perhaps there is an element of self-destruction in all of us, and this is where mine lies? Or perhaps...there is simply nothing in the world that fills me with greater dread than the thought of coming to the end of life, and being told, "You knew what was needed, but you lacked the courage".
Or maybe i just need a smart woman, to pull me back from the brink sometimes. Any de beauvoirs out there?
If you read the post, and would like to have it again, let me know. I don't want it to die...a part of me is pondering going back, making it less personal, and expanding it.
Underpinning the piece was the message that we do not live in an enlightened time. Kant made clear the difference between an age of enlightenment, and an enlightened time. Be proud of the strides humanity is making. But we are not out of the dark ages, and hard-won strides can disappear in the blink of an eye.
Each and every one of us will live and die in an era of profound psycho-sexual repression.
Keep moving forward. The goal is a world so beautiful that words fail me. And the only way there, as herr kant said, is to have the courage to use your understanding.

(on September 8th, "happy birthday" was re-posted - http://nakedmeadow.blogspot.com/2008/09/happy-birthday.html)