Tag Archives: Music

B side Resurrection Sleeper

I was talking with a friend tonight and she asked me about all the screenplays I had written and it got me digging into my old writing and when that happens you find parts of your past still sticking on the page and when that happens, it’s like archeology and my digs usually have a soundtrack.  One of my early scripts involved a song I wanted to use by Edwyn Collins, the ex Orange Juice member who wrote a tune called ‘Keep on Burning.’  And then it made me think of 1995 when he released Gorgeous George and I was living in Iowa sort of peeling through the wreckage of what I call my ‘Screamers’ slick where my soul got turned inside out like the way old vacuum bags used to get cleaned because I had just finished grad school and was on core meltdown a lifetime in the making.

I would listen to his album over and over because when life has been a bit raw there’ s always an album to keep me afloat or tie the wreckage together to float and paddle to safety so I can recharge and rebuild. If you haven’t died a few times in life I think you’re missing out on some great potential tunes.  Listening to the songs again now it still pokes at something a little sore, a little cool and it makes me want to write a better script just to honor this song, I like it, I like his sound and make this latest comb for remaining wreckage on the sea bed floor something I can rock to or dance to or make love to with someone amphibious.

Edwyn Collins “Keep on Burning”

peace and diligence,

Rev 66 Peachnuts

Cinema and the beating 35mm human heart

As the Oscar’s get moving, I’ll be writing or practicing piano; I haven’t seen all of the best picture nominees or films with best actor/director nominees so watching them seems pointless. What does excite me every year are the Razzie nominees, which they announce the same day as the Oscars;

This year Adam Sandler with 12 nods including worst actor, actress, writer and producer, crushed the previous record for number of nominations (5, by Eddie Murphy) for a dingle year.  When Jack and Jill came out, living in New York and forced to be inundated with oversize posters where the human heads on them are sometimes five times the size of the real life version and airbrushed to the Alien Pudding Limit,  I could feel the Shame Radiation emanating from the tree corpse turned into the paper forced to be used for this poster. Usually I try to actually see something horrid before getting angry for having two hours sucked from my life like the machine from Princess Bride minus the charm and wit of that film.  For some reason, seeing this film even being released felt like a tipping point;  I’m not certain a film like this would even get suggested, let alone made, thirty years ago.

I don’t believe in good old days; I don’t believe in looking back unless the future has a rear view mirror. Glorifying the past is an epidemic of the human mind.  So I usually avoid saying film isn’t what it used to be or paved roads aren’t what they used to be or anal sex just wasn’t what it once was when Eisenhower was President, “There used to be good old fashioned quiet guilt and inner persecution.”

I will say, in film and maybe in other arts that the pendulum, the poor pendulum that used to swing back and forth in different directions but at the same general longitude of quality, is stuck on a piece of gum on a wall and hasn’t swung back towards the slower moving, calmer, soul-digging risky ventures of the 50’s-80’s;  I realize there’s a lot of forgettable film made in those times also but I can’t help but notice, when watching a film like Some Came Running  or Laura, the film noir classic,  my inner heart-art muscle gets that good ache, as it reminds me of what it means to grapple from moment to moment with the sensibilities of being a mature, sophisticated adult in a world that wants to dehumanize that at times. The actor in Laura whose name eludes me was so present and the director so trusting of that presence not much cutting back and forth and Law and Order camera bouncy bouncy was needed, making the seemingly sparse camera movements all the more meaningful and noticeable without being awkward. Am I making sense here?  When casually looking for a DP to film Frenemies a few months ago, most of the reels I saw were one, two or three second shots that bounced from one to the other like a frog on Snickers. I don’t know how to glean anything from two second shots spliced together; the other thing I noticed was eager over maneuvering for dramatic effect.  As one who is familiar with forcing, trying too hard in art over the years, I know the look.

The same with music;   sometimes I get the sense that music gets used to compensate for something not happening on the screen with/between/among the actors that should be;  it happens more often than I’d like.

For me it all comes down to the acting and trust; a few months ago when I was with this modeling/acting agency briefly one of their modeling agents, a very successful and candid fellow, said that thirty years ago actors were hired on talent and today it’s looks; I imagine he was riffing off the CW; I’m not so fatalistic but that’s not what you want to hear from someone supposed to be getting you auditions, especially when I don’t have Taylor Lautner Abduction abs.

The question becomes was there a Jack and Jill equivalent released by a major studio during the 1950’s, the same year they released On the Waterfront?  The pendulum that swings through the breadth of the human experience combined with the inner knowledge we now possess as we move through the 21st Century hopefully will create soul mad, exciting, Undertow Embracing, character and relationship saturated  grappling of our human experience; I love good films and what’s more important I love films that touch that Inner Gnaw and leave me like my muscles feel when I leave the gym, alive in the most profound way.

Here’s to the Good New Days.

Regifting a planet

My birthday’s coming on the 29th and that means my Solar Return; when I moved to New York nine years ago from San Francisco as a platter of plasma with ID, one of the first things I did was to find an astrology teacher so that I could not only figure out what the hell happened to me out in California but master the art of measuring the skies inside my soul so that senseless tragedies like what I endured need never occur again.

I studied two years intensely and over the years intermittently; I’m a triple Capricorn (sun moon and rising) with a gum wad of Scorpio planets; between the two I’m picked dry (or wet).  Every year I feel a little less Saturn (Capricorn’s ruling planet – the planet of anxiety, wisdom and late bloomers) and a little more Mars (Scorpio’s ruling planet –the planet of energy, war, competition, SEX, massive intensity): every year I can hear louder and louder pacing of symphonies waiting to be written; large engulfing projects that boil and then explode in spontaneous exotic and sexual floral arrangements; but you don’t fuck with these flowers; I have a saying with Scorpios that you don’t cross one; if you do, carry a basket around so you have somewhere to put your head when it gets lopped off;

We all have the same planets and same houses; it’s soul DNA, is astrology; it reminds me we all share the same ingredients;  and my chart is run by Saturn and Mars like two mob bosses fighting with each other and stalking other planets; Mars is starting to win the turf war; that’s why when I go to bed at times it’s just sort of a gesture, not really something that  leads to sleep;  in short, I am a fanatic (in the words of my teacher);

So every year I look at my Solar Return, an annual forecast we all have base don our Sun’s position; and this year is going to be one to burn holes in  The Secret, at least that’s the intent. Tonight where i take singing class (@BQCM) I saw a pianist and violist play several selections of modern composers, a couple I knew and a couple I didn’t. the violist, during one, snapped a string in an intense moment which I loved;  he was in fervor and during all of their pieces my mind turns on and I asked myself what I felt the greatest piece of American music ever written was and immediately I came back with George Gershwin’s  Rhapsody in Blue. Nothing else dropped by to claim the stake and I stick with that.  Of course Katy Perry’s Extraterrestrial is a close second;  something about being love addicted to an emotionally unresponsive alien makes me wonder if the feeder tube from American Soul to American Psyche needs a good cleaning;  I would not know the song if I wasn’t fond of conspiracy theories and watched the video for signs of Illuminati symbolism which one can turn into a drinking game or for me a chocolate game;  and every time I go into a thrift shop the song played;  I don’t know what’s going on with popular music;  I just think if I ever have a daughter and she came home singing lyrics about a love addicted girl who wants to be turned into a liquid drug so she could be shot into the veins of her boyfriend so he could shoot himself and bleed her all over his penis and then get orally pleasured by rabid sex starved aline monkeys or cause him to rectally bleed so she would know what it’s like to be eliminated while he’s having sex with her best friend whatever shit  I see hints of in some of these lyrics; I know I exaggerate but addiction is not something you want to peddle on teenage girls; that’s the sad flavor I get with some of these tunes when I energy scan;  black is black; 

I’m rambling with intent, on creating an exotic garden that reminds me what home smells like;  walls made of crushed petals, clay and shattered mirrors attached to certain reflections;

——–

‘Marry the emotional movement, Horatio, into the madness with the silliness and all the other spokes of the magic pinwheel; spokes of the magic pinwheel, dicing and slicing pieces of life into something such a mess it’s like sitting in a big pile of confusing confetti; a party that is life and every little piece matters and nothing is random; to the naked eye it looks like a piece of confetti; to the naked soul it’s Picasso.’

 

The words beat the music by a blinding headwind

I’ve always known I would write. In 4th grade and 6th grade I was chosen to go to Young Author’s Conference while living in Indiana; both stories were about orphan boys looking for homes; I’m adopted;  psych majors can ring me up for a last minute term paper on that one;  I have them printed already  $49.95 and I’ll commit typos so it looks authentic.

In 6th grade I wrote a story in class called ‘A Future Christmas’.  In this modern upgrade, Santa in the future, around 2030 I think, was stressed because his elves were on strike, Mrs. Claus had died the prior year from a stroke, he was a sugar junkie  drowning in pancakes and I think Rudolph was having some health issues.  Looking back, if my kid wrote that, I’d send him to Tommy’s Holiday Camp immediately or at least have a good cry and seek Buddhist intervention;  the story is laying around somewhere; I’ll transcribe it as it as profound and prophetic as the book of Exodus.

Over the years as I have cracked open again and again writing has always been there but over the last few years music has gained some turf in the inner life real estate of my soul.  I wish I was a lot better of a musician but we are where we are. I seem to want to do everything, like many artists;  I do know the first four titles of my my albums once I can get the music out of me without driving up sales of ear plugs in my building;  this is exciting and flips me back to the times of LP when album art covers were part of the music experience.  Itunes has put a big petrified poop on that. So now, on the pre dawn dusk before filming the promotional trailer for Frenemies, I want to compose the music.  And this is where I get amazed at how naive I can be in life; when I look around sometimes I feel the world is ten years ahead of me, like going through the excitement of recording a song; of making a living at acting; of expressing the wonderment of being in love like a five year old at Disney World; I like that as a person and artist because it keeps life fresh; keeps expression in its own flavor.  So with music I feel like a three year old who has just seen a puppy for the first time; I want to pull its tail and poke its butt; that’s me and music;  I am amusing combination of naivete and wisdom that when they grind, I end up running naked outside my apartment or similar such tremor.

I am a lousy patient; I don’t like being under the weather;  I’m already moody as the surface of Mars dipped in the Atlantic Ocean so making me sick stretches my moods like taffy and everything gets exaggerated or shrunk according to where the virus sits in my blood stream; I have energy and yet I am forced to be idle. I watch TV. There’s a religious channel on my cable and every once in a while when flipping I see ‘Defending Life’ (which is about strategies for pro-lifers to push their agenda and bug the shit out of unsuspecting uteruses) and I get excited and switch to it because I mistake it for ‘Defending Your Life’, the Albert Brooks comedy from the 1990’s which I love. I fall for it every time; I may call Cablevision and have them block the channel. That and all news channels.  I have not been paying attention to the 2012 election cycle, which began in 2006 it seems, or 1914, depending on your point of view.  It seems, from quotes I read from some of the (Republican) candidates, we’re dealing with complete sociopaths and/or morons. Harrowing. Starting to feel sick again…

 

Lou Rawls and tender marinated genre-free notes

I’m listening to Lou Rawls Live and I sang one of the tunes tonight in jazz class called ‘St, James Infirmary.’  I’m trying to find my voice and, trusting my imagination that’s always shoplifting Picasso and electric cowboys, I love to cross genres or defeat genres or stuff them into an empty can of canned peaches and launch them into space. I have a bit of an allergy to genres and it’s year round.  When my screenplay was in development a couple of years ago with an indie film company, the man I was working with, after three drafts an seven months of effort, told me ‘We can’t decide if this (the script) is a romantic comedy or supernatural thriller.’  That’s one of those moments in life where my ego plays it back with me making a real scene when in reality I just nodded.  Today I was talking to my friend about how it’s taken me years to accept that I am a roving genric border buster…tear down those walls!…and I’ve never been totally sated performing in either comedy clubs or strictly theaters; there’s a nightclubtheatermadness neutral zone somewhere with the club buzz and the emotional heft and patience of theater.  In class tonight I keep searching and poking a bit outside the normal bounds to the Bowie Rim, the outer reaches of a supernatural musical galaxy where there is no black market because there is no white market and notes and riffs are swapped and moshed together and form stars with song and anything played backwards may sound even better.  When I sit and listen in those amazing moments when all of Brooklyn dials down and it’s almost cricket quiet I can hear, beyond the urban ringing in my ears, a sound of the stars, planets moving and objects colliding and twisting the blanket of energy they swirl inside.  Somewhere, so close now, are tunes.  I look forward this winter to stepping it up with my guitar Gladys and making sure I finally put a ring on her finger, so to speak and commit.

 

Junkyard for Sale

Today it feels like some old bones are waking up, some bones that are frozen are thawing, some that have been warm are burning and some are flitting away until it seems like there is more than one skeleton inside me; this generally is not a good time to be on the subway; it gets looks.  Not sexy looks.  Then again, on second thought, it does get looks.  Last night I laid in bed until 4:30 am awake as three people in a water polo match.  I know why too, which is good.  Not my pipes banging which they did but not like the awkward symphony I had last winter.  Heart matters and old things; all I know is that I remembered the title of my first music album the year that comes to pass.  It’s one of those nights where you have to stand toe to toe with what ails you and sift through your magic junkyard; people change and energy shifts and sometimes that is difficult and painful to accept.  Ah well. There’s a spice rack of joy somewhere to be emptied on hurts…today I saw a friend of mine playing cello in a Brooklyn Symphony concert. I like the conductor because he had the British accent and he actually spoke about Haydn’s arrangement of themes in number of measures and how unusual it was at five measures instead of the usual even number two or four or even eight.  I love that stuff.   They also played Brahms and I love Brahms because it expands the grandiosity of the color spectrum;  it’s easy to soar without a hangover afterwards.  My friend told me the piano player would get upset at himself in practice and even get vitriolic and I though Thank God!!!  Someone else who flips out at the piano like I did last night.  I am grappling with a Chopin Etude and have been for a while and when I sit down sometimes I can play every note and sometimes my hands move like they’ve been stuffed with novocaine. How similar to taking drugs; it’s all about your attitude ahead of time.  I have experience with both.   But to me I imagine Chopin sitting at a top of a million bowls of Colon Blow cereal (SNL commercial parody reference) looking down at me climbing and daring to not only master it but release it from mastery and recreate it.  That’s the dare.  Hear the notes between the music.

My dog is moaning for carrots, speaking of joyful addictions….