collisionwork: (star trek)
One of those times of great busyness interspersed with periods of waiting is upon me again. This includes my performance in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, where I am onstage for 3 scenes of the 11-scene play, and in fact only "onstage" for one of those (in the other two, I am off to the side of the stage, facing away from the audience into a video camera as my face is projected out on "vidphone" screens for the audience/other actors to see -- and one of those is a quick two lines).

I don't mind; it's an enjoyable show to be around, I like my main scene a lot, and it's something to do, though I feel a bit more distant than I'd like from being TD at The Brick right now -- the Target Margin people have needed my help a few times now, and I've had to handle everything by cel, text, and/or proxy, as problems always seem to come up at The Brick during times when I am stuck on Androids, and not in the downtime around it. Luckily, the Brick problems have been handled fine right now, but not without stress.

On shows like Androids where I will have to spend a lot of time offstage (especially as right now when we are in a long LONG stop/start difficult tech period), I try to find a quiet, dim, solitary location somewhere where I can huddle between working moments and concentrate or relax (or both). As with my own Summer shows this year, the set for Androids is so huge and takes over so much of the space that there is not much in the way of "backstage" - there's space, but if you stay in almost any one place, you're going to be in the way of a projector, a camera, or someone's quick change/quick cross.

I could go to the dressing room for the actors between my scenes, but those scenes are a bit clustered together, and I'd rather not leave the space if I can help it while my performance is in progress (also, the dressing room is bright, white, and not very relaxing). So I've staked out an odd location, lying down on the wooden entrance ramp behind the set by the door to the theatre where the audience will enter. It's a little odd, but I'm used to it and don't care -- I've gotten used to cramming myself in whatever space I can backstage to maintain calm and distance during shows (I've spent the downtime during a few shows in coffinlike spaces below the stage platforms). Though, as often, my desired relaxation/meditative state is mistaken for exhaustion/sleepiness by others in the cast & crew -- it's not, usually, I just prefer quiet around the work as much as I can get it. Which isn't often.

While relaxing backstage, I've been studying Mac Wellman's beautiful monologue Terminal Hip, a "spiritual history of America through the medium of Bad Language," which I am hoping to have memorized and be able to perform for this coming August. If I get a page down every two weeks, I should have it memorized by May, which would be essential if I'm going to try and do the 40-minute-or-so thing as my only acting work onstage this coming year, as I'd like.

This might seem not a major memorizing problem, but Mac's monologue is an abstracted form of English (not at all "gibberish" as one annoying reviewer I found online called it), so it's almost 20 pages of lines like these (the opening lines, which I'm copying from memory, I think correctly):

Strange the Y all bent up and dented.
Blew the who to tragic eightball.
Eightball trumpet earwax and so forth.
Pure chew, loud thump, and release pin.
Grabity gotta nail him too sure.


And so on for 20 pages. So it's a difficult learn. I know what most of it means, at least to me (not literally, but emotionally and through-line-ly), so if I keep that in mind and get the rhythms into my muscle memory it seems to stay in there. I have most of the first page down already. Once we start actually running the show with the proper light cues however I probably won't be able to see to read through most of the show, so I'll just lie down and concentrate on what I already know during those times. So this is a nice quiet meditative thing to do as I lie on my itchy wooden ramp.

And, while I'm not regular enough here to continue to make this a "Friday Random Ten," here's the next in a random-day Random Ten, from the "unheard" playlist on the iPod:

1. "Crimson And Clover" - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Love Rock N' Roll
2. "I Get Wild/Wild Gravity" - Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues
3. "Key To My Heart" - The Coasters (as The Robins) - I Must Be Dreamin'
4. "Girl God" - Redd Kross - Show World
5. "Why Do Girls Love Horses" - Adam Ant - B-Side Babies
6. "Un'avventura" - Wilson Pickett - download
7. "Direct Action Briefing" - 999 - 999
8. "Treat Her Right" - Otis Redding - The Soul Album
9. "Friends" - Gary Numan & Tubeway Army - Tubeway Army
10. "North Winds Blowing" - Stranglers - Aural Sculpture

Here's a the full video playlist of the above (minus the Robins track, which you can see if you watch this on YouTube rather than here):



Now, after a long lazy day of getting myself together here, I am late to clean up and get to the theatre. Grrr. On my way . . .

collisionwork: (goya)
And we continue that part of the year where every week is the same as the last with slightly more progression and I have so little to update each week except that the projects are all moving forward. And never as fast as I'd like them to, but whatever, they get done. So the weekly updates here will be a tad boring unless I feel like getting back to writing about recent viewing or whatever.

Actually, we haven't HAD any recent viewing in our home, as our lovely big 35" old Sony Trinitron monitor just suddenly went {BLIP} one day about ten days ago or so, shut down, and refuses to turn on again. I have another big Sony TV over at The Brick I could bring home and plug in (as well as the 13" 1973 Sony Trinitron I still have that STILL has a great picture!), but I haven't felt a great need to watch anything recently. I have a LOT of music I've acquired and not listened to -- about 16 days worth -- so I've been spending time as I write getting to know the things in my iTunes that I don't know as yet. A good thing.

The next big actual event -- other than the benefit party for Untitled Theater Co. #61 tonight at Bohemian National Hall after the performance of Rudolf II -- is the first reading of Devils on Sunday with a cast of 20 taking the parts of the ultimate cast of 28. Well, maybe I'll finally find out if the script works or not as it stands.

I am still hoping to play the central role of Grandier in the final production, which may be crazy -- it's a big part in a show that will be more than enough for me to handle as director/designer/producer, but if it's not me, I'll have to audition for someone new, as I'm just not happy with the idea of anyone I know in the part. The reading on Sunday is also for me to see if I am as fully comfortable in the role as I think. At the same time, I am frankly not in good enough physical shape to play the part right now. I've been dieting and working out, and have, thankfully, begun to see results, but it may not be enough. I'll have to decide in late April for sure if I think I can do it or not.

At first, the diet was effective, but lacking some of what I obviously needed, nutritionally, so I became a bit woozy, lethargic, and lightheaded, but with some adjustments I'm in fine shape now -- although I still would rather be hunkered down at home writing than going out, but I'm forcing myself to do that more and more so I don't become some kind of stir-crazy hermit.

And, as always, from the iPod, a Random Ten out of 25,452 in there, with associated YouTube links:

1. "Ghosts" - Strawbs - The Very Best of Strawbs: Halcyon Days (The A&M Years)
2. "Que Sera Sera" - Pink Martini - Rare On Air Vol 5, KCRW Morning Becomes Electric 1998-99
3. "Camarillo Brillo" - Frank Zappa - Overnite Sensation
4. "Rock, Sound & Vision" - Go Home Productions - GHP Complete - CD15 Trashed-The Ultimate Bootleg Rejection
5. "Faithless" - Scritti Politti - Early
6. "Dr. Fucker M.D. (Musical Deviant)" - The Cramps - Fiends of Dope Island
7. "Every Day I Feel Depressed" - Christopher Guest - The Best Of The National Lampoon Radio Hour
8. "Our Prayer/Gee" - Brian Wilson - Smile
9. "The Leaping Nuns' Chorus" - Peter Cook & Dudley Moore - Orphaned Film Songs
10. "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena" - The John Buzon Trio - Inferno!

No good cat photos this week, but here's a couple of videos I found and liked.

Ann-Margret may never have actually done an ad for Patio diet soda, but she sure did a weird-ass one for Canada Dry:


I've watched the classic clip of Roy Head doing "Treat Her Right" on Shindig QUITE a few times, and shared it before here, I'm sure. It's a HELL of a performance.

Here's another video of Roy doing the same song (lipsyncing the studio version this time) on another show, Action, from around the same time. It starts out a lot more contained, as he's on a much smaller stage, but with his hands free, he's able to do a lot more with them, so it starts as an interesting, smaller version. Then you realize there's a LOT more space in front of the stage as he decides to fill it. Nice.


Roy's still touring and still singing this song, but he doesn't dance all that much anymore -- the man is nearly 70, and I get the impression that if he can't do it the way he used to, he's not going to do some half-assed approximation. He can still belt it, though.

Oh, man, daylight savings is screwing me up -- didn't realize how late it had gotten. I have to move. The benefit tonight is meant to seem like a 17th-Century costume ball given by Rudolf II, and I literally have nothing to wear that works for this. Berit has suggested that I show up in my most raggedy, moth-eaten clothes and be a plague-ridden peasant that has crashed the party, so I may try that out . . .

collisionwork: (angry cat)
I have a friend coming by to hang out this afternoon/evening, Berit & I have just finished doing the bare minimum of cleaning required to get our cave passable for humans to enter (at least, one who is an understanding friend) and I now must leap in the shower.

But first, quickly, the standard Friday bag. I'll try and be back later with more info on the status of The Brick, the August shows, and my work with David Finkelstein (in short, all goes well). Plus maybe a few more words on The Wooster Group's show -- the first show I've seen of that august company, and I quite enjoyed myself.

But for now, here's 10 randomly from the 25,326 in the iPod as of today, with links so you can enjoy them, where available:

1. "The Monochrome Set (I Presume)" - The Monochrome Set - Strange Boutique
2. "Arabian Knights" - Siouxsie & The Banshees - Once Upon A Time: The Singles
3. "Echo" - The Mekons - The Mekons Rock'N'Roll
4. "Waltz In Orbit" - Ray Cathode (aka George Martin) - Single 7"
5. "Love > Building On Fire (live 1983)" - Talking Heads - 08-03-83 Saratoga Performing Arts Center
6. "Waiting for the Man" - David Bowie - Pierrot in Turquoise
7. "Bike Ride To The Moon" - The Dukes Of Stratosphear - Chips From The Chocolate Fireball
8. "The Girls Want To Be With The Girls" - Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings And Food
9. "Pressure Drop" - The Clash - Super Black Market Clash
10. "Camel Back" - A.B. Skhy - Funky16Corners Blog

And we're also dealing right now with Moni being in the post-surgery kitty Cone of Silence . . .

Moni in Coney

Unfortunately, as opposed to when Hooker was in one for his ear surgery (as he is a somewhat smarter cat), Moni doesn't really have the brainpower to "get used" to the cone, so this may be a long week of us dealing with her bonking into things and getting stuck on things (and trying constantly to "back out" of the cone and hitting invisible walls she doesn't understand).

At least she's happy to get soft food twice a day while she's in it (to go with her medication) though she makes a massive mess of trying to eat it in the cone.

Hooker seems to feel her pain . . .

Hooker Feels Moni's Pain

Okay, off to rush to have an enjoyable, relaxing day . . .

Shots

Apr. 16th, 2009 09:01 am
collisionwork: (Big Gun)
Here are a few somewhat random videos seen recently that I wanted to share . . .

The Firesign Theatre (well, three of them - this was during a period without David Ossman) does the J-Men Forever treatment again on an old movie serial, transforming some of the Commando Cody epic Radar Men from the Moon into "The Last Handgun on Earth":



Continuing the "gun" theme, an animated flash video by David Lynch for a new instrumental by Moby, "Shot In the Back of the Head":



Continuing the "animation" theme, an early piece of animation by The Church of the SubGenius' Rev. Ivan Stang back when he was still Douglas St. Clair Smith, "Reproduction Cycle Among Unicellular Life Forms Under the Rocks Of Mars" (very influential on me when I was doing some clay animation at NYU):



And on the "Art School" theme, Father Guido Sarducci explains why YOU should become an artist in this promo for the San Francisco Art Institute:



And on the . . . uh, I dunno . . . "jobs" theme, maybe (I'm stretchin' it here to make the conceit work, I know), here's a German film about safety in the workplace, containing that fine sense of German humor we all know so well. Some places list this film as a "parody" of instructional safety films, which it somewhat is (it's more one made with humor and to be over-the-top), but it's actually used in classes and workplaces -- please meet "Staplerfahrer Klaus" (that is "Forklift Driver Klaus") on his first day of work:



And just jumping themes completely, here are two videos of cute cats, one a tough little kitten, the second, a cat just back from the vet and still coping with being sedated:




collisionwork: (Default)
So I'd heard about people "remixing" -- really, sampling, multi-tracking, and editing -- other peoples' YouTube clips into new songs, but wasn't that interested in following up and looking for some examples.

Silly me. I dig the mashups, why not this?

I saw a clip over at [livejournal.com profile] flyswatter's place this morning and was blown away.

It's from a man in Israel who calls himself "Kutiman," and his work is produced under the name or label or whatever "Thru-You."

Again, he takes samples of other peoples' YouTube videos, usually of a solo person playing one instrument, and repeats fragments and multitracks them to make new songs. This first one features 22 videos from all around the world. He starts with just a few . . . but it gets a lot bigger.

This is "The Mother of All Funk Chords":


It looks like this was a specific 7-track "project" by Kutiman, and he has created an end-of-project video showing himself, his work space and equipment, and thanking the viewers and participants:


You can see the other videos over in Kutiman's library at You Tube, of course, but what the hell, I've included all of them below in the cut, for the ease of those interested in more. Your interest may vary, cut-to-cut -- there are different styles and mixes here -- but I find all of them worth watching.

5 More Thru-Yous from Kutiman )



One last one in the main body though, my favorite.

Here's a young woman from Washington, DC who sings and shares her own very personal and heartfelt a capella original songs on her YouTube channel, and, thanks to Kutiman, is now backed up by 7 instruments (and two sets of wind chimes) from across the USA (with flute from Japan and synth from Australia).

Here's "Just a Lady":


Thank YOU, Kutiman . . . and all who were sampled . . .

collisionwork: (music listening)
More video posting . . . Talking Heads edition . . .

A point from an LJ friend led once again to spending too much time with old clips of the Heads. For some reason, there seems to be more interesting live footage of them from their early days available on YouTube than any of my other favorite bands (except maybe Roxy Music at times when their clips aren't being vanished).

Today's focus was the 1978 Heads live -- one album out, another about to come out, three years of playing live behind them, 26 (Byrne) to 29 (Harrison) years old, knowing EXACTLY what they want to do and FOCUSED.

I used to be especially fond of the even earlier, almost acoustic, mainly 3-piece Heads, or the final immense Big Band Heads and tended to ignore the '78-79 era (and the More Songs About Buildings and Food album), but that time may have been the best for the Heads as a unified statement, rich and undiluted.

From that year, in England, on The Old Grey Whistle Test, doing "Psycho Killer":


Two songs in the sunshine - "Warning Sign" and "Pulled Up" - from Sproul Plaza, Berkeley, CA:




Finally, courtesy of that point by [livejournal.com profile] imomus, a 12-song set in its entirety (brief pauses between songs as it loads), gloriously recorded on appropriately stark Sony Portapak video, from My Father's Place, Roslyn, NY, May 10, 1978 (and if this is indeed the complete set as advertised, it must be one of the 3 or 4 occasions on which the Heads didn't play "Psycho Killer" at a gig, though Tina flirts with the bass line a few times between songs):


Enjoy.

collisionwork: (scary)
Places come and go, small theatres and clubs open and close. Things move or vanish. Whatever, it happens.

It's when the ATTITUDE that went with a certain time and place and space going away vanishes that the problems happen. We all get old (we hope), and don't necessarily want to go out slamdancing anymore. But is the alternative to fall into Bobo tastefulness?

From an article in the Times on the closing of the great alternative music club, The Knitting Factory (which, yes, will be reopening soon in Williamsburg, but I'm not too sure how that will work out . . .):

No club seems to close without another sprouting up in its place, and Wednesday night was also the opening of City Winery, an elegant but cozy new performance space opened by Michael Dorf, who founded the Knitting Factory. (He left the company in 2003.)

City Winery, on Varick Street in the South Village, is the Knitting Factory’s opposite. Instead of a warren of cramped, dank rooms, it is a spacious 21,000 square feet with table seating for 350 and walls of wood and exposed brick. The opening-night entertainment was Joan Osborne, who sang bluesy soft-rock and wore a crimson gown. Upcoming shows include Boz Scaggs, Steve Earle and Philip Glass.

Mr. Dorf says the space is intended for music fans who have outgrown the dive-bar phase and want an elegant night out. Grapes are brought in, crushed and fermented on premises, and a membership program gives customers their own barrel in the basement. Clients include Lou Reed.

Kerianne Flynn, 41, who lives nearby in TriBeCa, said she signed up her husband, James, for a barrel for his birthday.

“There’s really nothing this sophisticated in the city,” Ms. Flynn said, “where you can see live music and have great wine, great food and be with grown-ups.”



Joan Osborne. Bluesy soft-rock. Crimson gown. Boz Scaggs. Steve Earle. Philip Glass. Elegant night out. Membership program. Crushed and fermented on premises. Barrel in the basement. Lou Reed. TriBeCa.

I like many, maybe even most, of these things, and I don't mean or want to fetishize "cramped, dank rooms," but the sheer fucking TASTEFULNESS of this "City Winery" thing makes Tonstant Wistener wanna fwow up.

Or at least somehow rig things so that sometime -- preferably maybe with Lou and Laurie enjoying the fine fine superfine fermented product of their personal barrel -- and a talented, sensitive-with-an-edge singer/songwriter at the piano onstage (accompanied on acoustic bass) -- through the I'm-sure top-of-the-line acoustically perfect and dynamically balanced sound system, the live music is suddenly replaced by the sound of Metal Machine Music. At top volume.

Of course, that work has achieved it's own form of Tasteful Respect. And almost sounds quaint today. Maybe "Surfin' Bird," instead? Nah, too "ironic." Beastie Boys? Le Tigre? Song-Poem music? The Spice Girls doing "Wannabe?" Rickrolling is over now - what could be the "rickroll" for this kinda crowd?

And a happy new year to you and yours . . .

collisionwork: (Selector)
My friend Sean Rockoff sent me a link to a recent performance by The Damned on the Craig Ferguson show that I hadn't seen.

He remarked on lead singer Dave Vanian, who once "looked like what all the current crop of vampire-kiddies don't even know they're aspiring to -- an undead Elvis. The coolest thing to ever walk the earth, again."

And if you don't know what that look was, here's The Damned lip-syncing to their classic track "Video Nasty" on The Young Ones in 1984:


Sean remarked that Vanian is now a dead ringer for classic Hollywood character actor Lionel Atwill.

Well, damned if he isn't!

I have to say, if you're getting too old to be a young, cool, undead-Elvis punker, and want to keep your Gothic-horror image going, I'm not sure you could do better than the path Dave Vanian's decided to take. Here's the still-great Damned from a few months ago:



collisionwork: (Default)
Sometimes, a piece of video comes along that just needs to be shared.

I guess this has been around for a while, but if, like me, you've somehow missed it, you should have another chance.

Please enjoy this fine fine superfine cover by Mr. David Hasselhoff . . .



collisionwork: (vile foamy liquids)
One of my favorite bands of all time is The Mothers of Invention - the 1960s version of Frank Zappa's band, which flourished (creatively if not economically) from 1965-1969. I know Zappa hated his fans who, like me, preferred his "early stuff" to his later work, but what the fuck, it was yer best work Frankie.

The guys from Steely Dan agreed - when they were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, instead of giving a speech, they asked questions of the audience that seemed to be of importance to them, the first being, "Who was the original drummer for The Mothers of Invention?"

They got the correct answer from the crowd - the name and sobriquet of the man who played some tasty and difficult drums for Zappa at the start, keeping Zappa grounded in bar band rock while additional conservatory-trained percussionists (including Arthur Dyer Tripp and Billy Mundi) took on the more experimental parts, and who was the most iconic presence in the group apart from Zappa himself.

And now Jimmy Carl Black, The Indian of the Group, original drummer for The Mothers of Invention, has passed away on November 1.

Jimmy Carl is probably best known and loved for his portrayal of Burt, the Redneck, tormentor of The Mothers, in Zappa's film 200 Motels, from 1971. Here's his big musical number, "Lonesome Cowboy Burt," with a bit of the following scene with Theodore Bikel as Rance Muhammitz, who may or may not be The Devil (and while I thank the person who uploaded this, I can't believe they cut the scene one line short of the best punchline!):



(the next line, from Burt, is "You got many friends that call you Opal the Hot Little Bitch?")

Jimmy Carl, Indian of the Group, we will miss you.

In looking for that clip above, I found a whole bunch of excerpts from 200 Motels on YouTube (the film is long out of print on VHS and there's no DVD), so for those who haven't seen this mangled, difficult, deeply flawed, something-like-a-masterpiece, I've included the clips in the cut below. I'm glad to have them in postable form, but the quality is somewhat variable, sorry.

The film is the story of how touring in a rock and roll band can make you crazy, as The Mothers reach a new town, Centerville, just like all the other towns they've been in as they've stayed in 200 motels across America. The band is beginning to fragment - all of them beginning to hate playing Zappa's weird "comedy" music (which doesn't help them get any groupie action) and wanting to instead play some "heavy blues." They're also tired of Zappa secretly recording their conversations and then using it as material for his songs and for the movie he's writing (which is indeed where much of the dialogue comes from). Now, in Centerville, the band has reached the breaking point.

The film was shot on a large soundstage in England, on video, with a giant cartoony set representing the town and four groups of performers - The Mothers; actors; dancers; a symphony orchestra and choir - performing simultaneously in different areas of the stage.

They had less than a week and very little money to shoot it on, and only wound up filming a third of Zappa's dense script. Then, in the editing (for which two weeks were allowed), the story was made even less intelligible. There were outtakes, but the studio unfortunately decided to erase the master tapes to make a little money selling them back as blank stock(!).

However, what there is left is a collection of beautiful, bizarre parts that don't quite come together. I love it.

200 MOTELS - in the TOTALITY of its PAGAN SPLENDOR! )



collisionwork: (chiller)
Two incredibly lovely and cheer-inducing videos have shown up in various places in the last day. And, for some reason, both of them are French and involve the performance of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

And no, neither of them are the dancing prisoners video. That's from the Philippines.

(but if you haven't seen that one, it's HERE - more videos from the dancing prisoners can be found HERE)

No, these are two other videos that both demonstrate both a great and cool determination to complete a complex, pointless, and joyful task, and that Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is a great song that cuts through all kinds of bounds of nation and clique.

First, a gentleman who performs his cover version of the track:

François Macré performs 'Thriller' a cappella in 64 Tracks )



Meanwhile, at a French high school in Rouen (I would guess, from some of what we see, maybe a performing arts-centered one?), what looks to be the entire student body uses "Thriller" to create a pretty remarkable one-shot, lip-synced overview of their school and themselves:

Lip Dub IUT SRC Rouen 2008 - 'Thriller' )



Enjoy.

collisionwork: (red room)
Okay, so now that I DON'T have to be getting up at 6.00 am every morning, and I'm trying to relax, get more sleep, and be rested for actually performing the shows, why does my body decide to start getting me up earlier and earlier?

To wit, this morning, at 4.11 am?

And then, just NOT want to go back to sleep?

Well, maybe, like yesterday, I'll get back to sleep for a couple of hours in a little bit.

Yesterday was supposed to be the first double-header day for us in our trio of shows running in rep at The Brick, but only two people showed up for Spell, so we called the show. I hate doing this, no matter how many people are in the audience, but it's a hard show to go through for at least one performer, and when I put it to the cast, some didn't care one way or the other, and several did, in the way of "love the show, but don't want to go through it for two people." The audience was very cool with it and agreed to come back (to the point of saying we could keep their money and they'd definitely be back) and I told them I'd comp in a guest for each of them if them wanted to bring anyone else (Robert Honeywell did this when he called two performances of Greed and it was a nice thing to do).

We had a house for the evening's Everything Must Go, performance #2 - which is going okay, but needs to be more focused and tight in the non-musical number sequences. I wondered, when staging the numbers, if any would get applause afterwards, and was self-conscious about not staging any kind of "button" moments or holds after the numbers to account for any response. We got some clapping last night after "Dry Bones," but no where else, I think. Not sure if there should be clapping encouraged after the songs or not . . . My feeling is mostly "not," but it's always odd to end a big dance number and just . . . move on to talking. Of course, it's not really a musical, it's a play with dances, but it does share some characteristics with musicals -- Gyda Arber solved a structural problem early on by noting that Becky Byers' "I Wish" dance number (as its come to be known in musicals) was placed WAY too late in the show compared to where it would be in a musical, and moving it back fixed a lot of problems (and gave us a light, comedic scene right where we needed one).

Hope people show up today. It's damned depressing calling shows . . . It happens, and probably we'll wind up filling the house repeatedly at the end of the run, but I hate this period in a month's run where you just can't seem to get anyone in. Berit says the original shows are "hard sells." Yeah, probably. Some might say going up against FringeNYC might have something to do with it, but I did as well in Augusts 2005 and 2007 at the same time as The Fringe as I've done any other time - but there I had World Gone Wrong, and noir is an easy sell . . .

So now, here I am, wishing I had more sleep so I can relax before the demanding task of playing Harry Rosenfeld in Harry in Love at 4.00 pm. Maybe in a bit.

So I'm playing around with the iTunes as I reload The Brick's iPod shuffle with songs to play in between shows at The Clown Festival instead of the ones that were on there for The Film Festival. I took a look at the "Top 25 Most Played" playlist, as I do often to see - since we usually play the iTunes on random - what the random iTunes brain likes to play the most. I had thought of posting a list of these "most played" songs last week, but at that point, the list was full of all the songs from the shows that I had to play over and over as I arranged them on CDs and/or edited them into different forms, so it was rather un-random.

Berit must be playing it a lot, as all of those songs are now gone from the list - even Regina Spektor's "Back of a Truck," which has been in the top 5 for over a year since I went through a spate of playing it over and over and over a while back.

Which is how B & I both listen to music at times - we get fixated on one song and then play it over and over and over and over again, many MANY times in a row. Here for example is the list of the 24 most played on our iTunes at the moment (from out of 53,229 tracks), and I'm POSITIVE the top 4, maybe even 5, songs are up there from B playing them on repeat . . .

1. "Candidate (1973 alternate version) - David Bowie - Diamond Dogs - 42 plays
2. "Showtime" - Electric Six - I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master - 38 plays
3. "Carlotta Valdez" - Harvey Danger - Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone? - 32 plays
4. "New Killer Star" - David Bowie - Reality - 28 plays
5. "Cracked Actor" - David Bowie - Aladdin Sane - 25 plays
6. "Starman" - David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - 25 plays
7. "All Together" - The Beau Hunks - The Beau Hunks Play More Little Rascals Music - On to the Show! - 22 plays
8. "Black and White" - Bellevue Cadillac - Swing This, Baby! - 22 plays
9. "Think" - The Siegel-Schwall Band - ...Where We Walked - 22 plays
10. "Bells" - The Beau Hunks - The Beau Hunks Play "Little Rascals" Music - 21 plays
11. "Ah! 'Tis Love" - The Beau Hunks - The Beau Hunks Play "Little Rascals" Music - 21 plays
12. "Dog Song" - The Beau Hunks - The Beau Hunks Play "Little Rascals" Music - 21 plays
13. "Intermezzo" - The Beau Hunks - The Beau Hunks Play More Little Rascals Music - On to the Show! - 21 plays
14. "Life on Mars?" - David Bowie - Hunky Dory - 21 plays
15. "Beloved Movie Star (Billie Wilder Mix) - Stan Ridgway - Holiday in Dirt - 21 plays
16. "Experimental Film" - They Might Be Giants - The Spine - 21 plays
17. "Rajah" - The Beau Hunks - The Beau Hunks Play More Little Rascals Music - On to the Show! - 20 plays
18. "Dial 'O' for Bigelow" - Fred Lane - Car Radio Jerome - 20 plays
19. "Hollywood Swinging" - Kool & The Gang - Wild and Peaceful - 20 plays
20. "I Just Want to Be a Movie Star" - Lester Bangs & The Delinquents - Jook Savages On The Brazos - 20 plays
21. "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" - The Passions - Thirty Thousand Feet Over China - 20 plays
22. "Dinner and a Movie" - Phish - Junta - 20 plays
23. "Hollywood Cat" - Trig Williams - Wowsville! - 20 plays
24. "Love and Death (radio spot) - Woody Allen - 20 plays

Okay, so who's the favorite artist in this household?

No, not The Beau Hunks, those are actually all random. Our Beloved Mister Bowie, as usual, is all over this list.

"Carlotta Valdez" however is the song of the moment, and usually winds up being the first song played in the car on the way home from The Brick each night. It's a musical retelling of Hitchcock's Vertigo, and I've kept meaning to put the film on when we got home for a while. Finally did last night and stayed awake for about 2/3rds of it (not the first 2/3rds either, I was up and down the whole time). Good song - I don't know where the hell I got it from, but I should look into that band some more . . .

Okay, I'm off to deal with box office worker issues and go over Harry lines again before getting some more rest.

collisionwork: (chiller)
Damn, but I'm tired, and there's work to do.

Though writing work is not as difficult as some when tired.

This weekend, rehearsing and writing, writing and rehearsing. Shows look good. We did a runthrough of Harry in Love on Saturday that was damned good. Three of the six of us in the cast are off-book and only rarely needed prompts. Another was off-book for all but one scene, and the other two (which included me) seem to know most of the lines but still need the script as a security blanket. Rhythms good. Show ran 2 hours 17 minutes including 10-minute intermission. I think 5-8 minutes will come off that (some of the company think more will, but we're actually already pretty well bookin', even with some of us still looking at scripts).

Worked two scenes from Harry again yesterday, and got them to a really great manic level. We all felt really good about them when we were finished, kinda looking around for a moment after the run of the last scene like, "Damn, we did that RIGHT." It was interesting, because we actually weren't as precise as we need to be, but we got to a level of energy and character and rhythm that was dead on. So, we now need the precision of lines (in particular) on top of that.

Spell also continues. Still behind in script (on that and Everything Must Go), but there was enough to work in rehearsal yesterday (including working in new cast member Samantha Mason). Next rehearsal for Spell is Friday and I expect to have the full script done before that (two weeks before we open, nice way to cut it close, Hill). Tomorrow, back to Everything Must Go after a bit off (with the way the casts' schedules are working this month, that's how it goes - three or four days mainly on one show and then it goes away for a week or so).

Spell looking good, but some of what I planned didn't work and I had to come up with okay solutions. I like the show, but it's definitely not the show I had in my head while writing, and writing gets harder as I try to figure out if I'm writing the show that was in my head or the show that's appearing in rehearsals now (which is better, I think, but hard to get a grip on). Also, we've lost another cast member, and one even harder to recast due to specialized abilities and qualities needed. We're workin' on it.

So, I have to get back to the writing of the shows now, but first, a bit of fun - I have a backlog of stuff to share. Here's some album covers from LP Cover Lover that I dug:

A Black Man Speaks from the Ghetto

Long Island Sound Polka

Pye Demo Disc

And inside the cut, NINE recent found videos of amusement for your dining and dancing pleasure:

Read more... )



Enjoy.

collisionwork: (welcome)
So, besides listening to songs titled after this day by X, Dave Alvin (well, the same song as the X one, in very different versions) and The Beach Boys, what else is there to do?

Well, I plan to spend most of it here indoors at home writing sections of my two plays that open in August.

One, Everything Must Go (Invisible Republic #2) is a follow up to Invisible Republic #1: That's What We're Here For (an american pageant), which was a look at how things may have not quite gone the way they should in the USA post-WWII, done as a trade-show patriotic revue. This new one is a dance-movement-speech-piece detailing a day in the life of an advertising agency, ultimately about selling and a country where everything has a price and the intrinsic value of anything is only equal to its market price.

The other show, Spell, is a cheery piece about a woman who regards herself an American patriot and has committed a terrible, murderous crime in, as she sees it, an act of revolution against a USA government that has become illegal and un-Constitutional and must be overthrown - she'd prefer a new Constitutional Convention, but feels that's even less likely than armed revolution.

So, appropriate work for this gloomy patriotic day, with the thunderheads coming in.

As should be noted and read this day, here are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Sheila O'Malley over at The Sheila Variations is always good for posts on American History, and I'm sure she'll have more today - she's already posted yesterday on John Adams' letter to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776, and today on July 4, 1826 (the day on which John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died).

In non-patriotic but glorious news for film buffs, a NEARLY-complete print of Fritz Lang's Metropolis has been FOUND! Over a quarter of the original cut of the film has been assumed lost forever for years, and now about 85% of that quarter has appeared in a newly discovered print.

The story is at GreenCine Daily.

In any case, no new cat pictures today, unfortunately, but along with the Friday Random Ten, I'll do another music-geek meme that appeared in a couple of blogs I read today:

Post a List of Your Favorite Albums of Every Year from the Year You Were Born to the Present.

Never thought of this list before, and I'm as list crazy as most music geeks (see: High Fidelity), so here's 40 years of the albums I prefer, behind a cut, because that's a long-enough list to want to hide (and I'm sure more than a few of you won't give a damn anyway). I list some runners-up as well, because it was nearly impossible to choose in some years - and there are plenty of top albums for me that aren't here, the "runners-up" are just for time when I really had to sit and choose between albums for the top spot. I also chose to limit this to "pop music" albums, so as not to wind up having to decide if I wanted to throw Einstein on the Beach or various albums by The Firesign Theatre into my mental competition.

40+ Albums of Some Quality )



Damn. If I'd have known how long making that list was going to take, I wouldn't have bothered starting . . . that took forEVER!

And back in the iPod, here's a Random 10 out of 26,130 tracks:

1. "Down In The Valley" - Johnny Cash - Legend
2. "Garner State Park Concert Spot - Houston TX" - radio promo, late '60s
3. "Big Business" - David Byrne - The Catherine Wheel
4. "This Land Is Your Land" - Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper - Root Hog or Die!
5. "Gonna Leave You Baby" - Sammy Lewis/Willie Johnson Combo - Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958 vol. 8
6. "Next In Line" - Johnny Cash - From the Vaults vol. 2
7. "You Can't Take It Away" - Tawney Reed - Backcombing
8. "New Special Squad" - Guido & Maruizio De Angelis - Beretta 70—Roaring Themes from Thrilling Italian Police Films
9. "Vacation in the Mountains" - The Cleftones - For Sentimental Reasons
10. "Girl in Tears" - Phluph - Phluph

Have a good 4th, friends . . . I'm now off, as always on this day, to watch 1776 again . . .

collisionwork: (vile foamy liquids)
Hiya, friends.

So there's a buildup of videos I've been finding and bookmarking at YouTube that I thought I'd share wit' you and yours. As I've been doing, these are all behind cuts for those whose browsers flip out if I drop a load of video on them all at once.

So to start, say hello to The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band with three videos:

"The Intro and The Outro," a classic track from Gorilla, which someone has helpfully annotated with images (later, Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzos would perform a more serious job of introducing instruments on Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells).

"Death Cab for Cutie," as performed on the pre-Monty Python kids' show from Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle (and others), Do Not Adjust Your Set (the Bonzos also did this song in The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour). There's another number after this featuring Idle and The Bonzos.

And the classic 1968 single, "I'm The Urban Spaceman," produced by Paul McCartney (and Gus Dudgeon) under a pseudonym -- in a strange coincidence, I was just idly thinking about maybe or maybe not posting these Bonzos videos earlier this morning, when I looked up and saw, in an entirely non-sequitur context, someone who had used Macca's fake name - "Apollo C. Vermouth" - as their own online handle, which decided me on making the post.

And yes, that IS actually Eric Clapton on ukulele! )



And here's a collection of videos from The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (now apparently just Blues Explosion). Always liked them, don't have enough by them (Berit had more than I did when we got together, mainly some fairly-rare import-only releases that she didn't even know were such).

The videos are for "Wail," "Bellbottoms," and "Talk About The Blues" - in the last the band members are played by Winona Ryder, Giovanni Ribisi, and John C. Reilly.

This is followed by the clip that made me look for the other videos - Jon Spencer demonstrating his theremin technique on a children's show - including some behavior that you wouldn't normally see in the context of a kids' show. I think (and hope that) he may have really broadened the minds of some young viewers here . . .

Mommy, what's that man doing to that theremin? )



And finally, for many years while we hung out in NYC, my good friend David LM Mcintyre would occasionally get into pointless arguments with other people (usually around 3am, after shows, in East Village bars) about a ridiculous, trivial little piece of pop-culture advertising ephemera from our youth (as us Gen-Xers can be so prone in doing). This was the origin and original design/characterization of The Grimace from the McDonald's commercials. How's that for Gen-X nostalgia?

David would insist to people that The Grimace was originally a villain, called The Evil Grimace, with six arms. Nobody ever agreed with him and thought he was making it up (I was the only person who would support him at all, as I remembered the multiple arms, but nothing else).

Well, thanks to the modern conveniences of Wikipedia and YouTube, David could now prove to all that he was right (except it looks like four arms, not six), if he ever needed to again. Here's two examples.

And on top of those two pieces of early-70s televisualness included to give some of us a bit of a Proustian rush, there's also an animated report from the police chief of Leonardo, NJ on what is being done about the Mutaba Virus outbreak:

Now let's pay Sid & Marty Krofft $1 million for ripping them off . . . )



Enjoy.

collisionwork: (Big Gun)
Oh, yeah, there's stuff to share. A grab-bag. Lemme get rid of these things that are clogging up my blog reader, just sitting there, saved, mocking me, MOCKING me, I tell you . . .

(can you tell that I'm bored and nothing is coming to me as yet on the scripts I should be writing?)

First, I just saw on the TV that there's a National Geographic special coming up on the recently-unearthed scrapbooks of Karl Hoecker, adjutant to the commandant of Auschwitz - an amazing look into the heart of "the banality of evil." The New Yorker had an excellent article on the subject, which isn't online but there's an abstract HERE and a gallery of images from the scrapbook HERE.

This is certainly a fine, honorable, and serious subject for a TV special. It is, in some ways, nothing new (I've spent a lot of time and much of my work on the subject of how normal people do evil things), but more examples never hurt in getting this important idea across, which so many people try to ignore or reject.

However.

They have chosen one of the most unfortunate, badly-pitched titles for such a piece that I think they possibly could. I understand why they went with this title - the sentiment is appropriate - but I don't think they quite perceived how this would sound or read - I found out about this by hearing an announcer stentoriously read it at the end of a commercial and I cracked up, mistakenly thinking I had Comedy Central on or something and it was a joke - and right as I typed that sentence, they played the spot again and I broke up again.

See, they've titled the show:

NAZI SCRAPBOOKS FROM HELL

Again, I understand the title, but the effect of the combo of the words "Nazi" and "scrapbooks" (about as sweet and Norman Rockwell a word as I can think of) and the construction "FROM HELL" (for at least two decades now an appendage used on the end of innocent phrases in a parody of exploitation film hyperbole) is just NOT what the makers of the special were going for, I would imagine.

See, just then, right as I typed that last period, they ran the commercial AGAIN on the TV next to me, and I was all taken in and abashed and moved again until the title was read so, SO seriously, and then I lost my shit again. It doesn't get old, hearing one of "those voices" use the (sensitive, serious, sad) tone you do when you are, say, doing a promo for a Holocaust documentary and winding up with a title more appropriate for a Roger Corman film.

I get two images in my head - one is a cartoony image of some kind of Jim Henson's National Socialist Babies, with 'Lil Adolf 'n' Eva and Baby Goebbels and Goering and Himmler (with their faithful dog, Blondi) playing together and fighting over the glue sticks, crayons, rubber cement and sparkles as they make their scrapbooks of unbelievable monstrosities.

The other image is of sentient monster scrapbooks, dripping blood and ichor like in some EC comic book, wearing swastika armbands and wandering a suburban landscape, wreaking horror and havoc.

Maybe it's just me.

And speaking of "those voices," here's a video created for a Vegas industry gathering that features the unfamiliar faces of several of the most familiar voices in the USA:

IN A WORLD . . . )



Some links of interest:

io9 has a nice post about the 1970s toys The Micronauts, which I had and loved (I got a giant, almost complete set for Xmas of 1976) which led me to two other Micronauts sites that brought back great memories, MicroHeritage and The Micronauts Homepage.

These toys were the BEST - great figures, vehicles, and playsets - loads of fun - with lots of moving parts, including neat plastic missiles that really fired with some power. Unfortunately, some dumb kid shot one of those cool cool supercool missiles into his throat and choked, and wound up spoiling toys for all of us for years after, which weren't allowed to have neat shooting missiles like that anymore. Actually, I think they were still able to have them, but they had to make them bigger with foam tips, and then some stupider kid choked on one of THOSE from an original Battlestar Galactica Viper toy (very cool, but I never had one), and that was IT for neat shooting stuff. Jeez, we used to throw Jarts around each other and get set on fire by Estes model rocket engines, and it was FUN!

Stupid clumsy kids . . .

From PingMag, "The Tokyo-Based Magazine About 'Design and Making Things'," an interview with and great set of photos by Frederic Chaubin of Soviet architecture of the 70s and 80s - some amazing buildings here, like sets from SF movies.

From Neatorama, "Mathematician Michael S. Schneider saw a wave form of the well-known drum sequence known as the Amen Break. It’s a drum 5.2 second sequence performed by Gregory Cylvester Coleman of The Winstons and has been sampled and used by countless artists since it was recorded in the 60s. Schneider, seeing the waveform through the eyes of a math professor, recognized a pattern, a relationship called the Golden Ratio. So he began to analyze the drum sequence and its deeper meaning."

Here's two found images I grabbed recently from other websites that collect "neat stuff," but I forgot to put down what sites those were. Oh, well.

Tyler Cannon pulled off quite a feat. Nice job, kid.
Nice Job, Kid

And please remember to bow down before The Lizard King:
Bow Down Before the Lizard King

From LP Cover Lover, a jacket that suggests that the best way to demonstrate high fidelity is by recording a deranged bikini-clad model talking to her hand puppet:
Cook's Tour of High Fidelity

(and the sidebar . . . "Hunting thru Audioland with Gin and Chimera"? Wha?)

Dear god I WISH they would stop running that NAZI SCRAPBOOKS FROM HELL commercial every ten minutes or less on this channel - I guess the National Geographic channel (or, as they annoyingly call it in some promos, NatGeo - ugh) doesn't have a lot of sponsors, and there isn't anything else interesting on right now besides this (fascinating) show on a murderous chimpanzee.

Nice description of a movie from the onscreen channel guide for the Cable TV here, for Curse of the Fly (1965): "A mad scientist tries out a molecular disintegrator on people but cannot get the hang of it." Yeah, that can be a pain.

Here's a wonderfully classic sexist Folgers Instant Coffee ad:

Sometimes a candle ISN'T Just a Candle . . . )



Paul Anka smells like teen spirit . . .

A mul-LAT-to! An al-BI-no! A mos-QUIT-o! My lib-I-to! )



And if you haven't seen this one, which has been making the rounds, it's quite worth it . . .

CHARLIE ROSE by Samuel Beckett )



And I hope the weather is as beautiful where you are as it is here.

And pretty much everywhere, it's gonna be hot! )



Enjoy.

collisionwork: (welcome)
More videos (and especially song performance videos) have been showing up in my YouTube favorites lately. And since I've been seeing more performances I've wanted to save and watch again, I might as well include them here, too.

Now behind a cut for easier loading . . . )

(sorry if any of these wind up vanishing - they don't always wind up staying posted)

collisionwork: (welcome)
Good auditions today for Ambersons. Seeing more people tomorrow and on Tuesday. Now, home alone (with cats), enjoying downtime. Might as well clean out the bin of things I've been wanting to share . . .

First, the link to an article I enjoyed at Neatorama on the evolution of car logos.

Next, fun aboard the Starship Enterprise, as that 1960s view of the future is combined with another 60s icon to surprisingly appropriate effect . . .

Now behind a cut for easier loading . . . )



Enjoy.

collisionwork: (tired)
Long day today that involved a lot more slogging around in snow in a very heavy winter coat for long periods of time than I had anticipated (or certainly wanted).

It was, however, kinda pretty most of the time, even while I was sore and annoyed.

This is the second recent snow that has come down in big, puffy, soft flakes that blow attractively and collect softly. I think this has maybe happened only twice before (if that) in the nearly 7 years B & I have lived out here. Brooklyn doesn't quite always look as I think many of my family, friends, and other out-of-town readers may think it does.

It was lovely again on Avenue S when I went out to the Duane Reade on an errand this morning . . .
More Snow on S

And also on East 2nd Street . . .
Snow Down 2nd Street

But I was still not all that happy about walking around in the stuff . . .
IWH in Snow

I was cranky, but I thought the neighborhood looked nice from the subway platform . . .
Snow in Gravesend

And, zoning out on the F Train, I looked out and felt myself flying over Brooklyn. I hadn't tried out the video mode on the Xmas Camera yet, so I decided to do so and attempt to capture the flying feeling of zooming over McDonald Avenue . . .

Now behind a cut for easier loading . . . )



Once in Tribeca, I was sent off on an errand that wound up being, for the first part, a wild-goose chase as I walked up and down Broadway from Walker Street to 4th Street and back, finding one (pitiful) item out of six or seven needed. I was achy and unhappy, but a Broadway Snowman in Soho cheered me up . . .
Broadway Snowman

And once the show was up and running, and my box office duties were complete, I was able to leave Walkerspace and go home -- and as I hit Walker and Church, there was one of those views that bring back years and years of NYC memories, and songs, and feelings, and make me feel oh so good about living here sometimes . . .
Driving Me Backwards

Sometime in December of 1987, I went out and bought Brian Eno's albums Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain (by strategy). I hadn't heard any of the songs from either, but I was familiar with his following two "song" albums, so I thought I should get the first ones. I decided to listen to them for the first time while on an evening walk - I was trying to lose weight by walking at least 90 minutes an evening; I'd bring two CDs and my immense, heavy, early-model Sony Discman, walk away from my dorm for the length of one record and return with the other.

So I started up Warm Jets and started out from Washington Square South.

When I hit Canal Street and Broadway, walking West, "Driving Me Backwards" came on, and music and view came together suddenly in a perfect synthesis. It pretty much looked like the photo above, but more so - more steam, more mist, more shafts of light, more reflections. And that, with the insistent piano driving the slowly-grinding song, sparse but wide, seemed to connect the NYC I was now living in with all those images from the movies I had seen for years. Most of all, I felt like I had walked into Taxi Driver. Scary, but alive.

Then, the beautiful "On Some Faraway Beach" came on as I walked around some beautiful buildings in Tribeca, and the spell changed.

A couple of years later, I got Eno's book of lyrics (with paintings by Russell Mills), More Dark Than Shark (but one deadly fin), and he doesn't say much about "Driving Me Backward," but I was surprised to see he does say that when he saw the film Taxi Driver (the song predates the film by 2 years), he felt a kinship to this song in the film . . .

Ohohohohohohoh oh

Doo doo doo doo doo doo dah

I'll be there.

Oh driving me backwards

Kids like me

Gotta be crazy

Moving me forwards

You must think that I'm lazy

Meet my relations

All of them

Grinning like facepacks

Such sweet inspirations

Curl me up

A flag in an icecap

Now I've found a sweetheart

Treats me good just like an armchair

I try to think about nothing

Difficult

I'm most temperamental

I gave up my good living

Typical

I'm almost sentimental

Ah Luana's black reptiles

Sliding around

Make chemical choices

And she responds as expected

To the only sound

Hysterical voices

And you - you're driving me backwards

Kids like me have gotta be crazzzzzy i-i-i-i-i-i-i

Doo doo doo dodoo dodah I'll be there

collisionwork: (vile foamy liquids)
Slow day at home -- studying my lines for tomorrow, checking emails, stopping fights between the kitties.

And in the midst of it, discovering a band I'd only heard vaguely of, but didn't know they had some actual recorded output.

The band is The Del-Byzanteens, and they recorded a single, an EP, and an LP in the early 80s. I acquired the EP and LP today (which include the single), and they turned out to be really good. Also, I'd forgotten that the band included a not-yet-known filmmaker that I'm a big fan of.

The members of the band were Phil Kline (guitar, vocals), Philippe Hagen (bass), Dan Braun (percussion, drums), Josh Braun (drums, percussion), and . . . Jim Jarmusch (keyboards, vocals)!

And some of their song lyrics were written by Luc Sante.

Here's a video of them doing "My World Is Empty Without You," which also features John Lurie on saxophone:



Years later, Jim Jarmusch would appear on Lurie's wonderful nature program, Fishing With John. Here's an excerpt from that episode:



And if you haven't seen this next video someplace else yet (which seems unlikely) - here's Sarah Silverman's tribute to her boyfriend, Jimmy Kimmel, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of his show. I've never seen his show, and from what I've seen of him, not much a fan of his, but he seems to be a good sport. Which is good.

And I didn't know that there's a running gag on his show where he often ends it by saying, "Apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time."



Enjoy.

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