Friday, April 23, 2010

RANT


I am one of those people who should be disallowed from browsing the internet.

Problems arise when I set of following some random string and the next thing you know I am reading comments about whatever topic and I find myself angry and frustrated.

Perhaps that’s why blogging is a good thing -I can post a comment that might even be read instead of being the 1,789th response to some moronic drivel written by a pseudo-expert or worse a Washington D C politician who obviously has never heard of a thesaurus, spell check or logic.

Obviously like any media the best investment of your valuable money making space is the exposition of the “controversial viewpoint”.

I hope that’s what drives these various single sided offerings that are supposed to pass as “news”.

So long as Rush Limbaugh, Dr Laura, MSNBC and FOX are considered experts rather than commentators ANYTHING will pass as hard news rather than a jaded opinion.

Some would probably say that my opinions are equally jaded but I am writing what amounts to a diary or journal that just happens to be available for others to read- while most of the comments that show up on this blog from readers are within the range of sanity and good taste there is the occasional bizarre graffiti like post that leaves me gobsmacked as to what the relevance is when compared to the post about which it was written.

Many of these comments are in Chinese.

Did you know you can translate such comments thanks to Google? True thing…

You set the Google translator for Chinese to English cut and paste the characters into the Chinese side and voila you will know how you have been lauded or dissed…often quite humorously since the translations are literal but only resemble English grammar is a very loose manner.

The other day I stumbled on some discussion of gay marriage (actually divorce) and the state of TEXAS-well really…had I any sense at all I should have run in the opposite direction with all haste rather than starting to read the comments which followed the “story” about a Lesbian couple, married in Massachusetts who were involved in adoption woes leading to stress and arguments-marital strife and subsequently Divorce.

This story would have been non-news except for three points:

1. It is about Lesbians/Gay Marriage-a hot button issue
2. It involved TEXAS
3. Apparently TEXANS think there are no Gay people in Texas (they have obviously never been to Dallas, Houston, Abilene or Austen)

The basic outline is lesbian couple married in Mass attempts to get a divorce in Tex-denied…

That’s pretty much it except the judge inadvertently by hearing the case and denying the divorce gave de facto government recognition to a state of marriage that is not recognized in Texas.

It may surprise some that I am not a fan of Gay Marriage---before you stir the tar and gather feathers let me expand this stance a bit.

What I am for is marriages of a civil type for any combination of two humans of legal age and consent that equally protect and recognize the rights of the partners and offer them all the same covenants of a “Church Wedding” under the law.

Under the separation of Church and State this would be the ONLY logical way to do things because how does any divine entity have anything to do with income taxes, community property and other such banal issues that arise from deciding to get “hitched”.

Doesn’t!

Only the government is involved and hence only the government should be required via equal rights and pursuit of happiness to recognize these civil unions.

That’s it-there is no further discussion about marriage, church, God et all…those the state has put together let no man put asunder!

The Bible, Koran, Dianetics or any other religious tome has no impact on the workings of the state-it’s disallowed by the same constitution that supports the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.

If we don’t do something soon to separate the state from religion we are going to have very ‘busy’ money since we will need to add Allah, Buddha and possibly space aliens to the “In-we trust” business.

Leave MARRIAGE to the church (and those companies who put together peanut butter and chocolate or other various combinations that no one seems offended by when labeled as marriages) and leave civil unions to the rest of us.

One neither exceeding nor diminishing in the face of the other.

Eventually we hope that people will get over the Leviticus laws of the Bible which are expressly labeled as laws for the JEWISH people not the rest of us heathens.
OR in lieu of this I would like to go on record as being exempt from prosecution for stoning to death anyone wearing cotton-poly blends since that’s allowed under Leviticus along with many other juicy bits like selling one’s sister…do you see how ridiculous this all is?

We allow people (many of the MORMONS and radical Christians) to use the Levitican laws to support their hate speak about a range of topics without questioning HOW they can do that.

The result is the opposite camp has “de-Christmasized” public schools and parks, killed the Easter Bunny and now wants the entire Thanksgiving-Christmas-Channukah season referred to as THE WINTER HOLIDAYS…it’s a double edged sword, cuts both ways.
So what is the solution?

I say civilization, but then we’re so very far from civilized its makes that “fall back” position impossible so TOLERANCE must suffice.

We must find a way to learn to peacefully tolerate each other.

I find it easier to turn Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura OFF than take high blood pressure medicine.

I sincerely don’t think that giving spousal rights to gays, lesbians and even pre-op transsexuals is going to destroy the glory of modern society and lead to the decline of civilization---we need to be civil first in order to decline.

In a world where religious leaders are free to dictate public policy and freely speak as if church doctrine has the right to rule ALL people’s lives, where the rules of a few change the rights of many (and trust me MUSLIMS are already demanding separate and individual rights based on the religious beliefs) unless you’d like to wake up in a theocracy we had all better start supporting HUMAN rights and freedoms.
All of this is no different than my stand on abortion-I’m against it but I support the woman’s right to govern her own body so long as the government doesn’t pay for it.

Similarly I say that people have the right to love and legally join with whomever they choose and it’s none of my business (nor anyone else’s) so long as the law is equally protecting ALL citizens equally-and don’t start with the rights of the unborn I am against late term abortions.

With so much to be worried about on this little planet we need to prioritize and STOP being distracted by the smoke and mirrors experts who have attacked ART, THEATRE, HUMAN RIGHTS, FREE SPEECH and just about anything else that keeps us from pulling back the curtain and finding out who really IS back there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

GLITTER IN THE AIR


P!NK

No Typo-that’s how her name is stylized…

PINK such a suggestive name full of soft, warm, lips, nipples, hidden parts…skin, soft pink skin.

I had no idea who she was other than another random singer, one of many that I don’t pay any attention to…Brittany, Christina, Pink…who cares?

Then, completely via synchronicity I happened to see her performance on the
Grammy Awards
and I had to know more about this ethereal creature of such amazing grace and style.

The song she sang “Glitter In The Air” spoke to me far beyond many of today’s pop Divas stream of mediocrity.

I started asking questions of my various pop musically inclined friends and once again by synchronicity I happened upon one of those cable channels that I didn’t even know I had access to and there she was live from Australia-P!NK and her FUNHOUSE concert.

So much more than Madonna, with more substance than CHER but evoking both and in some way surpassing them and making her own road of spectacle and adding her personal brand of mystery along the way.

She seems tougher, gritty, roadhouse beautiful in her barely there costumes and tattoos.

The hard lines of her impossible white hair playing against the softness of her features made hard and beautiful by careful painting and sculpting yet she never has that “Drag Queen Glam” thing she is more showgirl than caricature and more woman than (I’m sure) some can handle.

Presented as a program her, music-she IS the song writer and is credited with the concept of her concert-speaks of longing, loneliness, sadness and love.

You believe it when she says “It used to be a fun house but now it’s full of evil clowns” and she is about to tear it down.

There is an editorial edge to her manic attack on “SO WHAT?” a song to her ex husband (?) that says “I’m still a Rock Star, I got my rock moves and I don’t need you…” and as she dances and cavorts, swings on trapeze and floats, dripping wet hanging from pink silk all the while managing to sing and hang onto the microphone we see her heart exposed but healing in the waves of love from the fans.

Her Grammy performance elicited a spontaneous standing ovation from an audience of the jaded and cynical-they usually only stand up for age or bravery…on this occasion they were up because there was nothing less that they could do for a woman with the guts to drop her gown and while singing turn into a human sprinkler…blessing the audience with the crystal droplets showering down from the lofty heights where she and her angelic trio hovered doing their perfect routine and then landing perfectly on her stiletto heels only to magically vanish as befits such an angelic vision.

If you don’t know her take a look at P!NK-she is art and poetry combined with fine theatre-a rare combination indeed.

Her funhouse album is available in PG and R rated formats and the concert is available on DVD or Blu Ray.

"Glitter In The Air"

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Closed your eyes and trusted, just trusted?
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, "I just don't care"?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg
The sun before the burn
The thunder before the lightning
The breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
You're whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table
The walk before the run
The breath before the kiss
And the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee,
Calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight?
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself will it ever get better than tonight?
Tonight
Lyrics by P!NK

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I want to tell you about an artist-a photographer named GREG FRIEDLER.

I had never come across his work until I happened to watch a SHOWTIME doc called “STRIPPED” a somewhat oppressive view of his work on his latest NAKED book-LAS VEGAS.

Back some years there were the coffee table tomes New York Nude and L A Nude all glossy and cautiously turned out for a time when having such a thing on the designer glass surface next to your mauve leather sectional made you hip and cool.

Greg is an artist for a grittier loft style art lover.

“STRIPPED” somehow allows the viewer to share a sense of how Vegas can make you a little crazy.

I had done an art show there some years back for a couple of weeks-one of those juried mall things where the show people would come by and buy a piece and then try to return it before you left town but AFTER it had made its splash or crash dive at their cold salmon supper.

Dill sauce and David Copperfield, that girl from SPLASH couldn’t come…

By the end of it all I had gained was about 20 lbs and a terrible cold from all that dirty change pouring out of the slots---all I wanted was to go home to California and regain my stability.

ANYWHERE to get away from Las Vegas.

Vegas is like that-a city to go to and get away from...I feel the same about Chicago.

What Greg Friedler does is stare down a camera at the world while it stands for him NAKED and lets him see all the folds and carnival canvas oddity of the thing without making a judgment.

He is a handsome fellow, angst ridden and intense who can be a brooding storm one moment and then shine like sunrise over Caesar’s Palace the next-from New Orleans as an aside it doesn’t seem to affect his aesthetic much but then who knows-I have no intimate knowledge of the man I watched him on a documentary entice, cajole, demand and persuade…people…into showing themselves in all their vulnerable nakedness to his camera for the purpose of being finally in a book---one of a series----where he stands you next to yourself and without asking the question you answer it-I seem more comfortable NAKED.

I was immediately attracted and fascinated-I wanted in a way to sit down and talk to him at length about all that he did and what he didn’t do.

There is a segment where he communicates with a fellow who most of us would glance at-do one of those “Thank God it’s not me” double takes and then move on by forgetting before we had registered the entire event.

This happens to be a homeless gay man with somehow endearing Dumbo ears and a face familiar in all of its alien strangeness.

GF then does the unthinkable-he hugs the man with all the care and warmth that most of us lack when it comes to one of those “who know where it’s been” moments.

And I, weeping, then wondering why saw it and cataloged it and later chastised myself for even pausing to wonder-the man cares you can see it in his work…it’s right there…you talk about seeing and then you don’t bother to look.

And so goes the journey as he pursues the ultimate Elvis impersonator and finds a showgirl with a costume and transsexuals, female impersonators all sort of flavors for the Vegas buffet of humanity exposed and more than exposed laid bare…

I watched the doc several times-I ordered what of the series I could find and afford-

I prefer the black and white books over the color-that’s me-I am about shades of grey-sometimes colour, as much as I saturate my work with it, annoys me.

Greg just shoots-aims, sees and shoots-he knows the subtlety of nuance-you see it in the film when he is shooting his subjects-I have told people over and over about tension or lack of tension in the line of a hand or how a shadow caresses a hip bone-the slight turn to or away from viewer, eyes…so important eyes...they see, you see that they see…or not.

Much about living, life and the living dead in eyes…

What song is that from?

“Burned out ends of smoky days…”

Eyes are like that.

See, it doesn’t matter that they’re naked and yet it does, very much---he knows that…

Side by side with themselves on the slick pages of the books they know that-you can see it in the photos.

So it is with the homeless, aging, gay fellow, living with AIDS amidst the burned out, shuttered up leftovers of what was Las Vegas---another part of town where you know you haven’t been…no clanging, noisy, flashing lights slot machines here…boarded up, closed down, over, waiting desert dry and parched.

Sadly sweet, bitter sweet…another ending waiting to happen but caught forever before the last breath comes and lonely winds push the memory down the dusty streets to anywhere but here.

YET at the end of it all and having looked at his work, first hungrily and then slowly and carefully/cautiously---at the end of it there is hope and a wanting of more-because there is an honesty that we didn’t get from those first attempts by others at documenting naked people.

This is seeing on another level and like other artists similarly driven to express what they feel (visually or otherwise)-this work may not be appreciated fully until too late to have more of it.

Pity if true.

I got 3 of his paperback books from the NAKED series on AMAZON.COM

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NEW Phantom sequel in London and on CD


Interesting that few (especially critics and die hard Phantom fans) seem to like LOVE NEVER DIES-Andy Lloyd Weber’s sequel to Phantom that opened on London March 9 this year.

The 2 disc full score is available and may become a collector’s item since it is rumored that they are frantically reworking the show before it moves to the USA in 2011.

Originally scheduled to opening on Broadway in the fall of 2010-seems ALW is using his recent brush with prostate cancer as a reason to avoid the jet flights necessary to produce the American version.

The show is also scheduled for an Australian production as well.

UTube has some great clips and music videos from the show and some backstage stuff worth looking at.

The whole business takes place 10 years after the end of Phantom-and in Coney Island, New York to boot.

This gives ALW the chance to do a pastiche show and probably his most tuneful and singable score of all times.

Borrowing heavily from Danny Elfman, Puccini, himself and various historic sources it’s a lush score that wanders closer to Sunset Blvd than the Phantom's Paris Opera House.

Even listening to the two disc set one hears that there are lengthy symphonic sections that must accompany stage business and apparently according to reviews much of the shows is about projections and film clips that set the historic period and act as backups to huge art nouveau set pieces.

Madame Girey and her daughter Meg, Raoul and Christine all manage to come together in this soap opera and as the New York Times said-Even the title is a spoiler-obviously someone dies-I will not tell you who-oh by the way Christine has a 10 year old son tagging after her who is a very strange little boy-wait till you find out how THAT happened-and Raoul the handsome love interest is now a down on his luck drunk.

I think it’s worth a look and a listen-the Christine in this production is formerly the Little Mermaid from Disney’s Broadway production and has the unfortunate last name of Boggus.