Monday, August 18, 2014

New poem: AND I AM TELLING YOU I'M NOT GOING TO FERGUSON.

The President triangulates:
Midterms
I don't want to rock the boat
Midterms
I'm already sending the Attorney General
Midterms
My presence in Ferguson
makes white bigots more bigoted
Midterms
It's a local situation there
Midterms
I don't want to risk showing anger
Midterms
I can't risk being seen as strident
in criticizing white policemen
for treating all young black men
as potential criminals
Midterms
I imagine myself going to
Michael Brown's funeral
and having someone on Fox News
compare me to
Tom Bradley criticizing
the verdicts for the LAPD cops
at the Simi Valley trial
for the beating of Rodney King
in 1992
Midterms
Let's all support
My Brother's Keeper program
and turn the page on this episode
Midterms
Polls
Midterms

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FREE ASSOCIATING ON ROBIN WILLIAMS AND DEPRESSION.

Observation on mental illness from GUARDIAN article on Robin Williams.

All illness is a great leveller, but none levels like mental illness. It remains the poor relation of medicine. Research is paltry. Therapies are halfhearted. Drugs are primitive. But addictive and depressive illness seems to probe deep into the relations between individuals and those around them. It is the crack in the window that can seem beyond mending. The sadness of the clown goes beyond irony. It is one of the great mysteries of life.

The above quote is from Simon Jenkins' GUARDIAN article on the death of Robin Williams:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-sadness-clown-addiction-mental-illness?CMP=fb_gu

Monday, August 11, 2014

Selected Robin Williams films, by category.

Surprised and saddened by the passing of Robin Williams.  For relative newcomers to his three-decade-plus filmography, here's a list of noteworthy theatrical and TV movies:
FAMILY ENTERTAINER: POPEYE (1980)--the Robert Altman musical with Harry Nilsson songs--esoteric but worth watching for Williams' rapport with co-stars Shelley Duvall and Ray Walston.
HOOK (1991)--as an adult Peter Pan in Steven Spielberg's  take on the James Barrie original.
MRS. DOUBTFIRE (1993)--a tremendous hit in its day; the divorced-dad-as-pretend-Nanny tale caused Williams' career to shift for a few years in the direction of "entertaining kids intelligently (then-wife and producing partner Marcia Garces)
COMEDY and DRAMEDY: Williams' prime period for these genres was in the 1980s:
MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON, THE SURVIVORS, THE BEST OF TIMES, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, DEAD POETS SOCIETY
ANIMATED VOICE-OVERS: The two most representative examples are ALADDIN and HAPPY FEET.
DRAMA: GOOD WILL HUNTING, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, SEIZE THE DAY (Fielder Cook's 1986 Saul Bellow adaptation for PBS--where Williams held his own with fine supporting performances from Jerry Stiller and Joseph Wiseman), THE NIGHT LISTENER, INSOMNIA, ONE HOUR PHOTO
INDEPENDENT FILMS: Haven't seen Bobcat Goldthwait's dark farce WORLD'S GREATEST DAD, but Williams received some of his best late-career reviews as the title character.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Henry Rollins explains Las Vegas in 2014 for you.

What I don’t understand is that, when you have the chance to build a place in the middle of nowhere so you can do what you want, this is apparently what you want — to eat at the same chain restaurants, to drink the same alcohol that you can get anywhere but with the added bonus of getting fleeced by professionals.

The above passage is from Henry Rollins' current LA WEEKLY column:
http://www.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/2014/08/07/henry-rollins-fake-city?showFullText=true


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Peter Frampton and cell-phone concert videos: a contrarian view.

Today, this bit of News Trivia went viral:
http://ultimateclassicrock.com/peter-frampton-throws-cell-phone/

I'm aware that the "fan" was obnoxious enough for Peter Frampton to put him on the Cannot Call cell phone plan.  And I'm also cognizant that Frampton and his management (and perhaps the venue) didn't want video taken at the concert.

But I think Peter Frampton shot himself in the metaphorical foot.

With the physical recording market becoming more niche and downloads giving way to pay-per-month music streaming services, artists need to make the bulk of their money on the road.

Though it may pain Frampton to look out into the audience and see cell phones instead of raised cigarette lighters (particularly in the post-FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE superstardom period of 1976-77), fan-shot concert videos are his best, cost-free-to-him, mode of advertising.

A typical YouTube user may see a snippet of a recent Frampton concert and buy a ticket for a future show.

And--who knows?  The fan may actually enjoy the show so much he/she forgets to take out his/her phone.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Playlist: TOM PETTY--THE BEST OF THE WARNER BROTHERS YEARS.

The best songs from the past two decades of Tom Petty/Heartbreakers/Mudcrutch studio albums in chronological order:
1. WILDFLOWERS
2. YOU DON'T KNOW HOW IT FEELS
3. YOU WRECK ME
4. IT'S GOOD TO BE KING
5. WALLS
6. ROOM AT THE TOP
7. FREE GIRL NOW
8. THE LAST DJ
9. MONEY BECOMES KING
10. SAVING GRACE
11. SCARE EASY (Mudcrutch)
12. CRYSTAL RIVER (Mudcrutch)
13. FIRST FLASH OF FREEDOM
14. U GET ME HIGH
15. RED RIVER
16. ALL YOU CAN CARRY
17. SINS OF MY YOUTH

Sunday, August 3, 2014

1967 vs 2014: Two film critics fight against two different "radical" films.

In 1967, there was NEW YORK TIMES film critic Bosley Crowther on Arthur Penn and Warren Beatty's gangster-genre-reshaping BONNIE AND CLYDE:
http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF173CE361BC4C52DFB266838C679EDE

Cut to this summer.  Kenneth Turan disliked Richard Linklater's filmed-over-12-years coming-of-age-genre-reshaping BOYHOOD (which I haven't seen yet).  Unlike Crowther with BONNIE AND CLYDE, Turan recused himself from reviewing BOYHOOD upon its release--waiting a few weeks to write this think piece which is a sort of I-feel-so-alone-and-marginalized-but-I'm-Right-damnit primal scream about the film, other film critics' excellent reviews of the film. director Linklater's career and Turan's own recent career at THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:
 http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-ca-boyhood-on-film-turan-20140803-story.html