Monday, March 22, 2010

"wild things in captivity"

by D. H. Lawrence

Wild things in captivity
while they keep their own wild purity
won't breed, they mope, they die.

All men are in captivity,
active with captive activity,
and the best won't breed, though they don't know why.

The great cage of our domesticity
kills sex in a man, the simplicity
of desire is distorted and twisted awry.

And so, with bitter perversity,
gritting against the great adversity,
the young ones copulate, hate it, and want to cry.

Sex is a state of grace.
In a cage it can't take place.
Break the cage then, start in and try.

(I was profoundly touched by this poem many years ago, but had forgotten the author and title. A friend of mine found it for me last night, as its words are especially resonant in my life now. It seemed far too cliched to think it had been written by Lawrence, but it was.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

marx brothers movie guide

Watching all their films, i had a hidden desire. I was hoping DUCK SOUP wouldn't get my highest accolades, because "conventional wisdom" picks that as the best, and a part of me rankles when i align with conventional wisdom. The verdict? SOUP is as great as anything they did - cain't be denied. I'd pick A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, though. Picking a "best" is silly subjectiveness, of course. I found BIG STORE profoundly lacking...yet when i saw it as a youth, perhaps my first marx film, it may have been the funniest thing i'd ever seen. Am i more discerning now? Perhaps. But it's possible there's someone out there who's about to see GO WEST for the first time, and maybe sixty years from now she'll still swear it's the funniest thing ever. And she'll be right. My own little marx dream is that all the bits edited out of the films because of the 1930 hayes censorship code, will be found.
THE COCOANUTS ** 1929
A bit slow, but charming from a "first-film" standpoint. It contains the classic "Why a duck?" scene.
ANIMAL CRACKERS **** 1930
Yay!!! Jump with joy! Or jump on joy, if you're feeling lucky! Or jump on her sister faith, if you're feeling religious! If you're lucky, she'll feel religious too! This film just plasters a goofy smile on you, so that your face hurts afterwards. Give these boys good lines, and there's no one better. George kaufman gave 'em great lines. One morning, i shot an elephant in my pajamas.
MONKEY BUSINESS **** 1931
Again, it would be hard to overstate the writer's importance...this time, those duties were brilliantly led by s.j. perelman. Margaret dumont is gone, but the luminous thelma todd almost outgrouchos groucho.
HORSE FEATHERS **** 1932
Oh professor, you're so full of whimsy. It slows down the teeniest bit at the end, but the richness elsewhere is undeniable. All four brothers performing a version of the song "Everyone Says I Love You", is unique (and uniquely delightful) in marx history. Does anyone have a line on why harpo chases girls, but reserves his true love for horses?
DUCK SOUP **** 1933
As frenetic anarchy goes, this was the high point. Why have one groucho, when you can have three? Does anyone have a tally on how many uniforms he wore in the final scene? Margaret is back, the piano/harp solos and thelma are sadly gone, but this final Paramount release proves that there was no absolute formula for their brilliance.
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA **** 1935
Comedic perfection. Not every four-star film can boast one iconic scene, let alone the two contained here: the stateroom and the contract. After DUCK SOUP, their career was nearly shelved and zeppo dropped out (though he was, by some accounts, the funniest brother offstage). They signed with MGM, and did their first collaboration with "genius" irving thalberg. This film marks a major change in style, as their new producer moved them from slapdash anarchy to sentimental friend of the underdog (though they had championed underdog lovers a bit before). If you want to make the point that their previous work demeaned women, i can't disagree. The harp/piano solos are gratefully back, and sam wood proves that a director need not have a pedigree in comedy or get along with his stars, to create a masterpiece. Sig ruman points his beard beautifully. Some complain that the grand production numbers and allan jones/kitty carlyle subplot slow down the story, and that the feel-good vibe is a flaccid substitute for a blanket indictment of society. I fancy a good blanket indictment as much as the next gal, but i disagree. A seamless film.
A DAY AT THE RACES *** 1937
Irving thalberg died midway through production, and it shows. Harpo was also injured. Maureen o'sullivan shines, allan jones is fine, and there are inspired moments, (tootsie fruitsy ice cream and a jaw-dropping ballet by vivien fay), but the film ultimately fails to rise above a general lethargy.
ROOM SERVICE * 1938
The budget was shoestring, which needn't have been fatal if the writing were up to par, but it weren't - zip and zing are nowhere to be found. Plus no piano, no harp, and no margaret. The brothers were only as good as their material.
AT THE CIRCUS **** 1939
Loveable, inventive, and inspired fun from start to finish. The harp, piano, and margaret are back! Plus "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady", and a priceless quip at the expense of the hayes code.
GO WEST *** 1940
What fun. How they managed to do an indian village scene in 1940, without being demeaning, is quite a trick.
THE BIG STORE ** 1941
Enjoyable, but that's faint praise. The stunts are ambitious and rewarding, but aside from quips, verbal humor is in short supply.
A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA ** 1946
This film just floats along, never bogging down...and always a step short of magic. The most likable non-winner you'll ever meet.
LOVE HAPPY **** 1949
Perhaps it was partly the knowledge that this was their final one, but i had a feeling of sweet happiness throughout the entire film. The brothers seemed more relaxed than ever before. No other marx picture has this much heart, due largely to the park scene with harpo and maggie, in which we see his home for the first time. Because of the unrushed pace, he's more real than ever...without losing one bit of his magic. He's what we all might be, if we weren't so dragged down by life. Happy just being happy, and making others happy. I suppose it's no coincidence that this was the only time a marx had a screenwriting credit...story by harpo (and probably also no coincidence that his character's name is simply "harpo"). The slower pace has only one drawback, it makes maggie's simpering, reliant-on-her-man quality a little hard to stomach. Ah, well. Groucho gets off another priceless zing at the expense of the hayes code, and the then-unknown marilyn munroe's appearance is unforgettable. The brothers do many of their scenes alone, and never all three together. But it's magic, so who are we to complain?

epiphany by ejaculation

Yesterday, i was walking along the street, slowly overtaking a woman. She put her arm out to toss a cigarette butt. She glanced behind, and saw that she was about to throw it at me. Laughing, she told me she'd only had to do that once, to always be careful. People who toss their butts on the ground make me a bit ashamed of our country. I often good-naturedly say "civic pride" to offenders. I bit my tongue though, and we chatted for the next 100 feet, until she bumped into someone she knew, and i had a turn to make. If she hadn't met that friend, might i have skipped my turn? It would have been a bizarre thing to do, because i'd already uncovered what felt like eleven points of incompatibility.
What can you learn in 100 feet? She had a thirteen year-old daughter who bemoaned the non-presence of spring and couldn't appreciate that we'd been having a rainstorm, not a snowstorm. She was in college, aiming on being in the FBI and living in Virginia. She was black, and had hair that was unnatural...long and straight. It may have been a wig or extensions, and seemed out of synch with the fact that she didn't wear makeup. I liked her energy though, and based on that plus her body (perhaps athletic, with nice breasts), was having a sexual response.
I try to treat any single mother with an especially non-cavalier attitude, romantically. And i hate to say that i have a tiny bias against law enforcement types, but i do. It's unreasonable, of course, but not entirely...it seems that about once a year, some story or video comes out making the NYPD look like the most barbaric kind of thugs, or political pawns.
So let's see...smoker, fake hair, cop, child...it doesn't add up to "Pounce, rob!", is all i'm saying.
Yet for the rest of the day, i had sweet, lurid fantasies about her. I tailored them around the fact that we didn't seem to have much compatibility, but they ended up in carnal overdrive. I imagined saying to her, "I don't date, but how would you like to watch a movie together, and maybe rub each other's backs if we feel so inclined?" If she asked why i didn't date, i'd tell her i was impotent (which i jokingly thought might be a sane and fun way to approach all women, within a few years). Take the sexual tension away, yet find some way to touch her nakedly. In my fantasy, we'd become buddies, talking and cuddling, and at the end of the night i'd always give her the most tender massage...oil, skin, sensuality...eventually her desires would overwhelm her.
So much of my current headspace seems tied in to sex. My wounded spirit feels like an ever-seeking, devouring beast. My thoughts about making a baby, my feeling almost betrayed by having always been a "nice" guy...it adds up to feeling more sexualized, almost without respite.
I actually had a tiny window of respite yesterday though, which pointed up how unrelenting my drive has been. It was after i masturbated. In my taoist practice, i have orgasms without ejaculating, and ejaculate maybe once a year, just for the sake of doing so. I decided to do so yesterday. As soon as i did, it felt like a veil had been lifted. I felt unbothered by sex in any way. I felt the LUDICROUSNESS of my desire for children. Utter insanity. I saw how i had the most amazing life...a state of happiness that probably few humans ever achieve. Totally free to live and love and write, and play and swim and climb, and act and produce plays, and explore literature and cinema...free to come, free to go, to Boulder or to Baghdad, who knows? And i'm not one of those who say that the best sex you can have is with yourself, but in terms of cultivating an orgasm, i can't say they don't have a point.
Let's not make too much of this "epiphany-by-ejaculation", of course...i think my moment of clarity was far more psychological than physical.
But it was a fascinating moment.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

interference patterns, pt. 3

One of the reasons i'm skeptical of the Law of Attraction is that my own life is concrete proof that it doesn't work.
Okay, that thought only bounces into my head in moments of amused, ironic loneliness. The truth is more complex, contrary...even beautiful (or am i just saying that because i refuse to stop projecting beauty into the universe, even in the face of Attraction failure, because to do so would be the death of everything i am?).
At an early age, i embraced Attraction in psychological terms. I felt that the energy i manifested would attract like energy. Like-minded people. Start with the simple truth that a smile is contagious, and everything flows from there. I set out to be a Peter Pan, juicing the world with my easygoing, childlike eagerness. And in very humbling ways, i've succeeded. Personally, with adults and children, i've been at times one of the most hugged people in the world. Professionally, as actor and director, i've touched sublime levels of achievement. Platonically, i've had friends. Romantically, a fair number of the most attractive women i've known, have been interested in me.
I eventually entertained the thought that the Law of Attraction works on a level of universal consciousness. I maintained a healthy skepticism, but decided to approach it as if it were true...which was exactly how i'd been living anyway. I've experienced things that push the boundaries of "coincidence", but nothing yet that absolutely defies current science. I've been waiting for a tender love affair, to explore whether two who are "entangled" can manifest a subconscious connection, even at a distance.
At some point, i began to realize that Attraction, whether based in psychology or universal consciousness, is a complicated thing, because despite the fact that i've attracted love, the fullness of it has eluded me. Most of my best friends have lived far away, so i've never had the close circle i've dreamt of. Romantically, i've had my moments, but they've been few and far between. The dreams i've projected into the universe, to be loved and held everyday...i've lived much closer to the opposite end of that spectrum.
Intellectually, i know why my path might be a lonely one. Most people have no clue how to be present, in the living moment. If you have one foot in the past and one in the future, you've got nothing in the now (unless you use a cane). Most people are locked in behavioral cycles, unable to rise above "themself", so the odds of finding someone like me, free of that (mostly, anyway), are not great. Our society is manacled by psycho-sexual repression and Disney nonsense...we're ashamed of our bodies, and dream of being "rescued" or "completed". Our society only sanctions physical intimacy in the context of sexuality...which denies an amazing spectrum of physical love any two individuals (or three or four) might express.
In many ways, i'm one of the most humble people you'll ever meet. I'm a listener, and in personal interactions, i almost never give advice. I don't think there's an immortal, invisible boogey-person who thinks i'm more neat-o than atheists, Jews, or chimpanzees. But at a certain point, someone like me has to put down the temptation to false modesty, and be comfortable with one's own exceptionality. I think i've perhaps erred on the side of being too modest and unassuming, in my life. Oh, i've no skill in advanced mathematics, and i've never conquered Rubik's Cube. Are there really people who look at that thing, and "see" the solution? Hot damn, that's impressive. I have no specific brilliance, except possibly in literature or self-awareness...and movie trivia, i'm hell on movie trivia. All that aside, i know how vain and full of shit i can be...but that very awareness is also what separates me from the herd. I was hardly ever treated as the smartest kid in class, though maybe sometimes i was. When Mom told me, in seventh grade, that my Principal had made her promise to not tell me i had the highest IQ in the history of the school (or the district?), it didn't really affect me. Of course i remembered it, that's not the kind of thing one forgets...and i know it's had some effect on my life, but mostly, upon being told, my reaction was "Okay...that's fine".
The point of that semi-tangent isn't that "i'm so advanced, i'll never find my equal" (in truth, i've actually wanted to write about that "exceptionality" stuff for some time, but devoting an entire article to it felt a touch too self-indulgent). In practicality, it hasn't been hard to find people i feel basically on par with...although when i read personal ads, i do say to myself, "Jumping fucking Jehosaphat, is the average person THIS fucking stupid?" The point is that, okay, i'm exceptional, and so yes, need someone exceptional to love, and by the very definition of exceptionality, it will be harder for me to find that someone (or someones).
But long before i read about interference patterns in quantum theory, i understood how they might function in personal relationships. Humanity is still such a mass of conflicting desires, within us and between us, that if there is universal consciousness, the ability to manifest any specific reality is immeasurably hampered by the conflicting hurricane of desires and negativity all around us.
Mind you, i've always been testing myself, to make sure i wasn't full of shit, that my loneliness isn't something i've been attracting to myself all along. My best answer is that i'm 99% sure i don't...i don't sabotage my desire for happy intimacy and love. Of course, the difference between 98 and 99% is tiny, while the difference between 99 and 100% is somehow larger.
Enough for now...i have to go, i feel someone coming who has been searching for me her whole life. Or maybe some goofy friends. How's that for Attraction?

(COMING TOMORROW: NO MORE ARTICLES ON INTERFERENCE PATTERNS!)

Friday, March 12, 2010

interference patterns, pt. 2

Yikes!!! My membership in the R.E.L.* is under review. You yourself might wonder how a post like the last one could escape from me. Has the weight of being the only sane voice in this wilderness (or being, um, continually wrong) finally unhinged me, my brain gorging on foofery in response to the existential agony of life, and the fact that my back hasn't been rubbed in 219 days? Sit back and hear a tale, about a confluence of events...
1) I watched a movie. No, not bleeding STAR WARS! It was WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW!?, a bizarre pseudo-documentary about quantum mechanics bridging the schism between science and religion, and arguing for a theory of universal consciousness. It has Marlee Matlin and John Astin in it. I love Marlee. Marlee would never lie to me.
2) There have been strange moments in my life, like thinking of calling someone i hadn't thought of in years, only to receive a call from them first. People i trust tell strange tales too, of mind-reading with a loved one, or thinking they were having a heart attack the day their brother died of a chest wound, a continent away.
3) A couple years ago, someone i love very dearly sent me "The Secret". I couldn't get through the entire thing, but my love for this friend has been a sacred part of me for many years. I wanted there to be a seed of truth in "The Secret"...partly because i genuinely wanted it, and partly because of this friend. Perhaps in some way the last post, and this one and the next, are a continuing conversation with her.
4) I sometimes think about writers who claim that the source of their inspiration comes from outside themself, that they're just the vessel through which the words flow. A part of me has always dismissed that as masturbatory nonsense. But another part of me was intrigued...so that yesterday, i decided to just let my response to WHAT THE BLEEP flow through me, letting go of intellectual reservations. If there actually were something to this theory of universal consciousness, why not let it use me for a day? Perhaps i could come up with some idea, some little sentence, that might shift someone's perceptions for the better...make them think about being responsible for the well-being of the entire planet.
So what's the final word? Did i ride the gullible train, as many scientists and critics of the movie would insist? Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps i finally got some comeuppance for very loosely hinting that some religious folk, just one or two of them, might be gullible flaming idiots.
I can live with that...particularly as the aliens on Polyquatra-7 in the Dwingeloo 1 galaxy are whispering to me that it's okay.

*Rational Empiricist League

(COMING IN PT. 3: MY LIFE AS CONCRETE REFUTATION OF THE LAW OF ATTRACTION!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

interference patterns, pt. 1

(WARNING: CURRENTLY UNVERIFIABLE PSEUDO-SCIENCE)

Humans are mostly water with an electrical charge. Electricity and water both operate on principles of wave transmission. If all energy in the universe is connected, then each human consciousness is connected to each other and to, well, everything. Two people who live in close proximity are constantly interacting on the energetic level. They eventually manifest similar energetic signatures...they become "entangled", able to perceive each other subconsciously. This connection is there even when the two are apart.
When wave transmissions come into contact, they can overlap to form a larger wave, cancel out to form nothing at all, or deflect off each other to make a more complex waveform...an interference pattern.
The Law of Attraction, dismissed by many scientists, states that thoughts affect things outside the mind, and that by focusing on a certain desire, you "attract" that reality to you (just as you can attract an unwanted reality). If the Law of Attraction works, it does so in a way that is misunderstood by its adherents, for they neglect the presence of interference patterns in the world of energy.
You can dream of living in that house on the hill...but if seventeen of your neighbors have the same dream for themselves, all those thoughts bouncing around will create a maze of reinforcements, cancellations, and interference patterns.
You can focus your purest concentration on getting the lover you desire...but that thought, once you set it free, may be bounced around by the thoughts of others who desire the same lover, to say nothing of the thoughts of that person themself. Your thought-manifestations are also subject to the network of people you are entangled with...your ex-lover or mother may have a very different romantic fate in mind for you. Attraction can work on an individual level, just not in a simplistic way. Each one of us is but one thread in a fabric of billions...to say nothing of the as many as 100 million other species with less-developed frontal lobes. Plus the conscious energy that's currently alive in other parts of the galaxy, and in the universe.
Think about the "collective soul" of the human race. How many people on this planet want love and peace to reign everywhere? A lot. But how many are distracted from strongly manifesting that dream inside them every day, because they're sidetracked by fear, jealousy, and insecurity...to say nothing of peachy human inventions like roving death squads and paparazzi? How many of us manifest love not only to our friends, but to those who hurt us, or reject us? Or to both Osama Bin Laden and George Bush? Give them both a mental hug.
The average person in this world is a mess, psychologically. So how could the state of humanity be anything other than messy?
In the grand scope of things, it's hard not to be amazed that we've come this far...that sharing and tolerance and non-violence have bloomed as much as they have, when superstition and ignorance still hold us in a choking grip of barbarism.
Seen in that light, it's hard not to burst with joy at where we're going, and the speed with which we're getting there.
Come to think of it, that's the kind of thought that's gotten us this far in the first place.

(COMING TOMORROW: THE EXCITING EXPLANATION FOR PT. 1!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Exodus 2-14

2:24
The Egyptians began dealing "shrewdly" with the Israelites before Moses was born. Yet it was only when Moses is grown up that the Lord remembered Its covenant with the people of Israel. It is not just that the Lord would wait through years of human suffering before honoring a covenant, nor is it possible that God, with presence and knowledge absolute, would have to "remember" something.
3:22
In commanding the Israelites to despoil the Egyptians, is God saying that two wrongs make a right? Is it credible to propose that God could be capable of commanding that a wrong, any wrong, be committed? Could God be capable of the kind of prevarication necessary to say that the end justifies the means?
4:21 - 14:17
The implications here are staggering. The Lord "hardened" Pharoah's heart, so he would refuse to let the Israelites go. The Lord told Moses that this was to increase the glory of the Lord, by creating happenings that would proclaim Its greatness throughout the world. Time and again, when Pharoah seemed willing to let the Israelites go, the Lord "hardened" his heart, so the Lord could then be "forced" to heap greater and greater sufferings upon the Egyptians. A minor point here is that these actions seem far more devious and manipulative than one could possibly credit to any kind of just being. Monumental suffering and death, in the name of holy self-aggrandizement? "Dig My ass, you little pissants...now watch Me crap a rainbow"? Of larger import, is what these verses say about free will. It cannot be said that Pharoah was using his free will; indeed, the opposite seems true. I'm not asserting or denying free will...intuitively, we seem free, yet unfree will might also "feel" free. But if Pharoah, and all the soldiers of Egypt, did not have free will, how could anyone ever know whether our decisions are our own, or simply the unsolicited intervention of "God"? The whole paradigm of salvation would crumble, for how can there be spiritual accountability without free will?? Perhaps i write these words entirely against my own will. The power of christ compels me!

Androcles and the Lion

THEATER 29
-fall 1990
Another part-time professor had come to West Chester that fall, Mark Cofta. Enthusiastic and intelligent, and quick with a laugh. He taught a smashing advanced acting class, with nearly all the senior students in it. It culminated in my final project with Lou and Stephanie and Deremigio, CHRISTMAS AT KIRKBY COTTAGE, a Dickensian piece we performed in Philips Library, for the university bigwigs. I was almost sentimental about the end of two eras with Lou. I'd hung out with Mark a bit, and when he asked me to audition for a play he was directing at the Hedgerow Theater, i was excited. It was by Shaw, one of those writers whose voluminous output i had devoured. The Hedgerow was a semi-professional theater south of Philadelphia, with a semi-prestigious history. Located in the woodsy, well-off town of Media, they employed a full-time troupe of ten actors who worked for room and board and $50 a week, and rounded out their casts with non-paid actors. ANDROCLES is the tale of a lion with a thorn in his paw, which Shaw molded into a humorous morality play about Christians and Romans and persecution. I was cast as the centurion, and the menagerie keeper. I quickly knew that these were smaller roles i would thrive in. The centurion in particular; playing a blowhard authority type wasn't something i'd done much, but i slid into the bullying role like it had been waiting for me. I captured both forceful and funny, and it felt so great. Mark put a good group together. David Zum Brunnen, the theater manager, played the mocking Lentulus. A tall, talented actor with not much brawn played the supreme warrior Ferrovius. We gave him an incredibly thick wooly vest, which bulked him up. Bob Tochick played the lion and Spintho, the cowardly Christian. A New York actor named Rob was cast as the gentle Androcles, and a sloth-like troupe member played the Emperor. Miles Chapman played the Captain, and he and i became buddies. The theater was an amazing space, a stone edifice which had been built at the turn of the century. The rafters and balconies were beautiful. There had been a devastating fire two years before, and ours was only the second play since they'd reopened. You could still find charred wood. Rehearsals went wonderfully, until Androcles dropped out, on the advice of his agent. Mark asked me to take over the role...which was kind of crushing, for i had been so in love with my characters. But a trooper must troop, so...Androcles became a great role. Sweet and gentle, willing to die if he must, but unwilling to kill. I had good chemistry with my bullying wife. Saving the Emperor's life, and then dancing off with the lion at the end, was such sweet joy. I was also the torchbearer of a piece of history. The previous Hedgerow Androcles had been famous early twentieth-century actor Jasper Dieter. There was a painting of him on the wall, and i had heard of him in college. It was a December run, so i was still at college during rehearsals and most of the performances. I would drive the twenty-minute trip nightly, in my diesel VW Rabbit (which had no heat). The theater was cold, too, and had one of those industrial jet-engine heaters. One night after rehearsal, my car wouldn't start. I was offered a ride, but in the mood for adventure, i decided to hoof it. Sixteen miles of fartliching, much of it through the countryside. At one point i began hearing a scary, recurring growl in the far distance, which grew as i approached. It sounded like a bull gator. I finally discovered that it was a metal grated bridge, which roared when a car crossed it. In another deserted stretch, i felt a presence following me. A strange blue light began to grow, from where i could not tell. It seemed to be following me, but then disappeared. I stopped at an Acme store a couple miles outside of West Chester, and accepted a ride from a buddy i ran into. The trip took almost three hours. It was the furthest i'd ever gone on foot. The production was very well-received, and when it closed, i knew i'd be working with Mark again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

your body is a salad bar

Are we such simpering morons, so pathologically uncomfortable with honesty, so bound to judeo-christian psycho-sexual bullshit that we call non-malicious openness "crass", so unable to distinguish amusement with one's own quirks from ACTUAL RACISM, and so pathetically unable to focus on REAL PROBLEMS that we emotionally invest ourselves in finding a rock star's interviews "scandalous"?
Really?
Sigh.
I haven't even read the John Mayer articles, but from the highlights, i can only conclude that it would take a four year-old from a dysfunctional family to get upset.
I don't care 'bout that though...what i do care about is laughing. And i've been laughing at this video over and over and over:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ3FyFFDDiY&feature=email
Unless i'm very wrong, Mayer would find it brilliant, and buy the creators a drink.

Friday, March 5, 2010

"The Most Dangerous Game"

1932, directed by Pichel & Schoedsack

Wow. Absolutely, unequivically, wow. One of those films you can't stop watching, even if you had other plans. An early production of Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack (KING KONG), it's funny, diabolical, crisply acted and directed, and visually a feast. This creative duo are more remembered for their big honkin' monster-sized gorillas, but the world's most frightening ape is not the gorilla - it's the species you see when you look in the mirror. Fans of KONG will be fascinated, as it was shot during a KONG production delay, with much of the same cast and crew (and even some of the same sets). Based on a fantastic short story by Richard Connell, it's the tale of a Russian Count, one of the world's foremost hunters, who lives on an island and causes shipwrecks with false channel lights. He hunts the survivors. Fay Wray plays a level-headed survivor, and Robert Armstrong her drunkard brother. The Count is played with sinister brilliance by Leslie Banks. Castaway Joel McCrea, a hunter himself, gives the Count his first real challenge. The film de-glamorizes drinking and hunting, unlike many other movies and books of the time (i'm talking to you, Mr. Hemingway). The only underwhelming scene was the display of the Count's human trophies. It turns out they filmed more, but audiences were so put off that some left, so that section was edited. Here's hoping the lost footage is found. Either way, call Aunt Esther and the kids, and get the popcorn.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

mirror

I woke up from a dream this morning feeling...tawdry. Pathetically common.
Usually i can count on my dreams to be flights of fancy. Sometimes i can spot a connection to my waking life, but often i can't, and happily, i don't even bother.
But this dream, how...mundane. Ugh. It couldn't have been a more perfect mirror of my life, right now.
In my real life, i'm attracted to an Indian woman. She and her family have been in the states for a year. They are strong of accent and steeped in their native culture. I'm not sure whether she and i have anything in common other than attraction and a light spirit. And i have reason to believe that her male relatives don't like me, as they can see the attraction between me and her. In my reckless fantasies, i've dreamt of having babies with this woman.
In my real life, i'm searching for a room to rent. I looked into a local commune, and decided against it, because i'd still need to work full time to pay rent, in addition to devoting a big chunk of time to communal work. I feared my writing would suffer.
In the dream, i've met a beautiful black woman. She's a bit of a hippie peace child like me, and very serene. I'm smitten. She invites me to live at her free love commune. I adore the idea. I'm going to a family get-together, and invite her along. She asks whether she can bring her older sister, who also lives in the commune. I say "Of course". Her sister is friendly, but she seems more pragmatist than idealist, and has a harder edge. She's also buxom, not my type physically. But i'm friendly. We arrive at the picnic, at a large mobile home near a little lake. Many members of my Mom's family are there. We all chat and interact. The sister starts to tell me how all the members of the commune are trying to have children, and she suddenly questions whether i'll be able to pay the rent. I assure her i'll be able to, but my mind is now full of doubts. Suddenly, i see the sister has brought one of the commune babies. He's just an infant, and she has him perched on top of an easy chair. I'm alarmed that she doesn't care that he could fall off. His proportions are all wrong, he's only a foot long, yet shaped like a grownup. I suddenly know that the commune is wrong for me. My family announces that they're going to Aunt Margo's, and they leave me alone with the sisters. The older sister says she wants to try me, and beckons me into one of the bedrooms. Unsure how to extricate myself from the situation, i go along, and i think we have sex. I come out, and my family is returning! They were just picking up Aunt Margo, to bring her back for the big meal. Everybody sits, and the older sister is chatting away with my Uncle Tom, as thick as thieves.
I wake up.
And no, i have no Aunt Margo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

biological crock!

When the vicissitudes of life leave you wounded and raw, you find yourself inclined to abandon niceties and logic. The more attracted i am to a woman these days, the more reckless i feel, willing to ignore contraception...almost like some sort of biological clock, seeking to spread my seed (not that i'm the embodiment of of self-indulgent hedonism yet...of the four women i've been intimate with in the past two years, i held back with two of them out of concern for their feelings). But i'm learning that "biological clock" probably means very different things to different people.
Would i like to be held and rubbed every day of my life? With a hurt that i can feel in my bones, yes.
What more likely way than creating a mommy?
But do i want a child? A part of me does...a part of that may be selfish however, as having offspring seems the surest way to guarantee a self-perpetuating stock of loving intimates (or maybe your snot-nosed kid kills you in a patricidal rage...could go either way). My own parents are reasonably enlightened, yet they both believe that children owe parents automatic love and loyalty...a belief that points up the possibility that having children in this society is far more about selfishness than most would admit.
Is this reckless feeling also a tiny bit because i don't look like i'm twenty anymore? Maybe.
And is there perhaps the teensiest bit of my psyche that wants to put myself in an ill-advised situation likely to distract me from my creativity, in order to punish the women who chose to walk away from my love? That my being in a bad place might make them feel guilty...and also make them feel unattractive if the woman i impregnate is rather young? Double revenge! And might this all be a form of "punishing" society too, by throwing my life away?
Maybe not. Perhaps it's just a simple case of more general self-destructiveness. But those other thoughts are the broken places where your mind can go, in times of darkness.
A part of all this may be bona fide hormonal activity, too.
But it's mostly just feral, raw woundedness. Wanting to find some woman and unhinge her senses, giving her the most reality-melting sex of her life...making her cry from desire, and the need to have my sperm inside her.
It's the challenge of making a woman feel as feral as i, perhaps.
Reason to create a baby? Of course not.
But i never promised this trip down Psyche Lane would be Currier & Ives.
So why "Biological Crock"? Because "biological clock" can be an excuse that covers a multitude of bullshit? Yes.
But that's not the real reason.
The real reason is because i can't resist bad puns and goofing on funny accents.
Coincidentally, if some shadow agency wants to train an agent to ensnare me in a web of sexuality so profound that i give over my baby juice and divert my attention from saving the world (and self-involvement and cheesy sci fi) to messy diapers, they'd be well-advised to hire an asian woman. We all have our weaknesses. In my case, a bald, athletic asian woman who adores STAR TREK.
Just so you know.