Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Music of Harry Partch (1968)

Harry Partch - outsider composer, musical instrument inventor, recycled-art pioneer, hobo, carpenter, writer, curmudgeon, hyper-nonconformist, tonality wizard.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Source: Blaxipad, who has a really interesting YouTube channel, featuring a Partch performance (also from 1968) entitled Delusions of the Fury. Must be seen and heard to be believed!

While you're roaming around the interesting confines of Blaxipad's channel, be sure to check out "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen," a 1964 documentary about one of the most interesting Canadians ever.

- Harry Partch Information Center
- Wiki.
- "The Outsider - The Story of Harry Partch" - BBC documentary.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jon Stewart Hits Another Fish in a Barrel

Thank you Jon Stewart for being right on target. I'm so SICK of hearing about the Swine Flu and how it's going to wipe out the entire human race. Should we wash our hands and stay in if we get the flu?--yes, as always. Should the media add to our depression, woe and sense of doom with this story? I'll let Stewart answer that one.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Snoutbreak '09 - The Last 100 Days
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Monday, April 27, 2009

The World of Jim Henson (1994)

Toddsfins has posted this documentary on Jim Henson (in nine parts). When I was a wee girl, Jim Henson's career was my inspiration. If he could make a living being a puppeteer, I knew anything was possible. And maybe childhood and adulthood could intersect in interesting, funny ways...

Part 1

The NW Film Center has scheduled an entire month's worth of screenings from Jim Henson's legacy (bless them), starting May 2nd. Check out the schedule. There's lots of historic footage and some lectures by former co-worker and puppeteer Dave Goelz (The Great Gonzo and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew!). And of course "The Muppet Movie" and "Great Muppet Caper," the mondo-bizarro "Dark Crystal" and everyone's favorite Henson cult film, "Labyrinth."

"Labyrinth" 1986 - David Bowie IS the Goblin King. Accept no substitutions.

"The Dark Crystal" 1982 - Henson firing on all his crazy-creative guns here.

Beaker sings Feelings on The Muppet Show, mid-70s madness. Animal was always my drumming inspiration.

The beloved Harry Belafonte appearance, performing Turn the World Around.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is Coming!

That's not State-wide, or Nation-wide, but WORLD-wide, people. My friend Michelle updated me on this planetary event: Sunday, April 26 is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.

What is a pinhole camera? It can be almost any container (oatmeal box, Spam can, station wagon, even a digital camera) that you make light-tight that can hold a piece of film or photographic paper, that you expose with a pinhole. The results depend on the subject matter and the exposure but the one common denominator is wonderful depth-of-field. You can sometimes see for miles and miles with a pinhole print.

Photojojo has a far-reaching pinhole-camera primer with lots of samples of prints, homemade camera tutorials, and other helpful links. And Corbis has created some amazing (and probably complicated) PDFs of pinhole camera plans for you to print and put together.

In all my years of crafty endeavors I've NEVER made or shot anything with a pinhole camera. Shocking! Part of it is laziness. The cameras are very uncomplicated until it's time to load the film, then there's a lot of tweaking, tugging, taping and adjusting. No thanks. But the rest is gravy. I'd love to experiment with the form and see what happens. People are forgetting the thrill of getting the photos back from a roll of prints and seeing what happened. There was always a bit of mystery about photography, even with a professional shoot.

Bring some mystery to your life with pinhole photography. Or like me, don't bother because it's too time-consuming. Life is mysterious enough...

- Photo source:
- Flickr Pinhole Photography Group.
- The Best 15 Pinhole Shots from Flicker EVER!!

Source: Craftzine (and Michelle--thanks!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Prince Video - OMG!

It's impossible to find Prince videos on the Web. Well, maybe I haven't dedicated my entire life to the search, but I'm telling you, he makes sure those things are taken down almost instantly. When did Prince get so shy? Or is he the ultimate control freak? (Answer: yes.)

Anyway, here he is on the Ellen Degeneres Show, doing Crimson and Clover with his cool girl-rocker band. I like his new math-lab partner look. Note: as I was trying to post this, my computer not only froze up, but made this sputtering sound, like, "Uh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh!" I blame the long arm of Prince, who I theorize is reaching across the Internet in search of his video image to yank off the air as soon as possible.

So quickly people! Watch this, for its time is limited. I give it a few hours, if that. And when it's gone, well, we'll only have our memories...

Source: ONTD

Thursday is Garbage Day

EVERY day is Earth Day around here and until there's viable inter-planetary travel, that's what we face for the rest of our lives. So I thought I'd pay tribute to the unsung heroes of Earth: the trash collectors.

Acting as my film producer, Jackson requested that we film all three of our trash trucks. He discovered a few years ago that there's a sizable amount of trash-truck videos on YouTube. When he realized that our film camera could be used for shooting more than his birthdays and T-ball practices, he enlisted my help in obtaining his dream: to be one of those YouTube contributors.

The fruits of our labor: several videos dedicated to our Waste Connections pick-up team. When you think about it, garbage trucks are pretty cool. It's the hydraulic arms--efficient engineering marvels. Perhaps if our beleaguered auto industry could find a way to utilize a hydraulic arm system in American cars, our economy could "pick up" a little (so to speak).

Picking up the trash--yay!

Picking up the weeds (every other week) for compost--whoo!

Don't forget the recyclables--go planet Earth!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New! Celebrity Products for You and Yours

Phew! I've been so busy! And I'm thrilled to report the fruits of my labor. Starting soon: a brand new crop of celebrity-endorsed products, designed by moi, to fulfill your wildest consumer dreams. (And dreams they will remain until I get all the legalities squared away.) But while I'm on the horn, hammering out the copyright deals with my lawyer, please feel free to salivate over our latest collection of life-enhancing celebrity products.

Zac Efron has really come into his own. And what better way to celebrate his stratospheric fame-trajectory than with our new line of Zac Efron Soaps. Smooth, emollient, goes on like buttah. You'll love washing up every day with Zac Efron! (Don't worry--it's only SOAP.) Order it by the dozen. Your largest body organ will thank you!
Zac Efron Soap

Poseidon Adventure SwimwearThe recession is going full-throttle and we've all got money worries, but one thing is certain: bathing-suit weather is upon us! What will you do? Go forth toward the water in our latest line of Poseidon Adventure swimwear, of course! Be the envy of all your film-buff swimmer friends and ante up your hipster-cred with Poseidon Adventure Swimwear, courtesy of CWW.

The Poseidon Adventure is a beloved 70s-era disaster epic with an half-doomed all-star cast that still resonates today. That's why we feature it in classic tank-suit form. Choose from Upside-down Ship's Logo, Shelley Winters, or our latest style, Ernest Borgnine.

Garofalo Work-At-Home-Wear
You're looking for work but there's no jobs to be found! What's a responsible adult to do? Make up your own job! And what better place to do it than in your own home? Saves on commuter costs too. But wait a minute, just because you're working from home doesn't mean you can't "dress for work." Introducing our latest creation: work-at-home-wear, and our inspiration comes from the ultimate working girl: Janeane Garofalo!

Janeane's work-at-home style is cottony, comfy and above all, wrinkly. You don't want to waste precious home-office moments ironing clothes. We've included a sturdy line of cushy socks and work slippers to complete your ensemble. Take a moment to appreciate our work-at-home muse and then get to work! And if you should happen to venture outside in your Garofalo Work-At-Home-Wear, we salute you!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pixies to see you through

Oh my, I haven't had any time to myself this week! To ruminate, to dwell on stuff, to regurgitate it all here. And that's...OK because there'll always be another Pixies video on YouTube for high entertainment value. Here's a performance from 1989 on the BBC. Look at how young they are. I still love these arty weirdos.

Monkey Gone to Heaven - probably my fave Pixies song--definitely in the top-two anyway.

I can't help it. Here's Gigantic, live from the same era.

Who's up for some Caribou?

Hey - still awesome. This is the easiest post ever. Thanks Pixies!

Saturday, April 18 is something called Record Store Day, which sounds like an idea a record-store owner thought up. Anyway, visit your local, independent record store (if you still have any) and buy a record, or a CD, or something else tangible. Record-store culture thanks you.

Jackpot Records in Portland will have some in-store performances and Voodoo donuts available! Records, free live music, and donuts - that is so Portland.

My Life as a Homework Assignment

I've been busy on the computer, but not blogging, because someone is actually paying me to be busy on the computer. Sorry, blog--it's the back seat for you. I'll be back very shortly, as usual. Meanwhile, enjoy Jackson's homework assignment--writing sentences with specified words on a weekly basis, illustrated "with details," as he puts it. This week, the words are "or" and "had" and my drums are featured prominently.

I don't know why but it made me happy to be part of a narrative in his writing life, even if it's required by the school district. We all could use some deadlines to help us write more...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Incredible Hair of the 80s

There's only one thing I miss about the 80s: no, not the pegged pants, not the clear-soled, multi-colored oxfords, not years of temp work or even the cocaine. It's the impossible hair that defied gravity; the more damaged the better.

We discussed our hair-care secrets throughout the 80s and we discussed them often: over dinner, on first dates, passing by one another on the street. Some of us cut our hair by hanging upside down over a garbage can. Others just kept bleaching until it stuck out from the skull quite naturally. Some kept using multi-colored dyes until their hair resembled half a box of crayons.

What were we driving at with this condominium-shaped hair? There was a recession then too. Jobs were available but they were shitty, low-paying jobs that led not to advancement, but to storage closets and drawers over-stuffed with forgotten files. We found ourselves mopping up bakeries after-hours, cleaning vomit in a bathroom at the Fillmore during a Cramps show, temping at dozens of law firms for eight dollars an hour. We didn't question this for about a decade. Then some of us went to law school. Those were desperate times.

Only our hair was free. Free to freak out the squares, defy all laws of physics and make us laugh. To create a new world of hair possibilities. I say: bring back the ginormous hair of yesteryear, and not a moment too soon! Some inspiration:

Kajagoogoo - Too Shy, live in Japan. In San Francisco, the Richmond District's Clement Street was home to two new-wave shops where neon-hued underwear, army rucksacks and bright red, very pointy-toed boots could be had for cheap. One store featured HUGE, I mean HUGE posters of Kajagoogoo all over the periphery of its walls. I didn't know what Kajagoogoo was (I had to boycott commercial radio for a while during the synth-pop years to preserve my sanity), but I was mesmerized by these guys. See if you are too.

Howard Jones - Things Can Only Get Better. Howard Jones wrote some catchy mofo shit. And as his success grew, his hair could only get bigger.

Thompson Twins - Doctor Doctor. I hated the Thompson Twins on sight. They were uber-serious and too poppy for my blood, but to this day, very memorable hair. And with time comes appreciation, for the hair.

Kid 'N Play - Rollin' with Kid 'N Play. No 80s hair post would be complete without Kid from Kid 'N Play. He committed to the concept of high-top hair on a admirable level. Hat's off to you, Kid.

Siouxsie and the Banshees - The Passenger. So punk-chic, they were intimidating, Siouxsie and the Banshees created a little world of dark pop stylings. I like Siouxsie's short hair here. I had a few similar-lengthed haircuts over the years but I could never get mine to stick up like this. My hair has its own ideas about what it's going to do on a daily basis and I gave in to its whims well before the 80s even hit the scene.

Cocteau Twins - Pink Orange Red. So sensitive, lovely, original and...hairy. Singer Liz Fraser made up her own language, and they played along to a reel-to-reel recorder, but they were slaves to the whims of hair fashion just the same.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Uptones Skank On

My favorite ska band, The Uptones (OK, truthfully, they're tied for first place with The Specials), were high school musical prodigies back in the 80s. But they're all grown up now and reformed (as of 2002). Here they entertain us with their excellent dance moves to the title song from their new CD, "Skankin Foolz Unite," which as one YouTube commenter succinctly put it, "is the shit." Indeed!

Get Out of My Way

Rude Boy

Not From Here

Bested by Pelicans

Ghost Town - The Specials' song destined to be covered for eternity.


Friday, April 10, 2009

April is National Poetry Month (again)

Has it been a year already? This time around I thought I'd write some original poetry featuring subjects that rarely are given the poetic treatment. It's OK to write poetry about this stuff because it raises it to a higher elevation in our consciousness and then our inner enlightenment can really shine. It sounds like a floor wax commercial! Which is an excellent start:

Floor Wax
The white, plastic, and heavy
non-recyclable jug sits
in the dark corner of the kitchen cupboard
covered in grime; alone, forgotten.
Left behind by the tenants of '99.
Before the vinyl floor was a lost cause.
Before the dirt became part of the pattern.
Do we dump you down the drain?
Take you to the transfer station
seventeen miles away?
I'll let you sit, a token representative
to the hope of sleek gloss and smooth foundation.
Live on, floor wax. Dream on
the possibilities
of a no-wax floor

Do not Google the word
Unless you want to see
many images
of leeches
And if you do,
the moment may
not be

Oh, Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax;
you fund Social Security and Medicare.
Are you tax or benefit?
Regressive, with no standard
deduction or personal
exemption deduction;
or progressive
as in the case
of lower average wages
receiving a larger benefit?
Where we stand on the matter
is no matter;
for you are as constant
as the aging process
and taxes.

30-Day Trial Software
Today my code was so bitchin'
A Web site for hire I was stichin'
Unfortunately for me
My software's not free
My trial-version is up and it's ditchin'

Relive the moments:
It's National Poetry Month So Follow Your Muse, 2008
Hot Damn! It's National Poetry Month, 2007

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thru-you 01 - 03 by Kutiman

Kutiman mixed a bunch of YouTube instructional videos into some great collaborations. Clever fellow! He links to all the individual musicians' videos on his YouTube pages.

Thru-you 01 - Mother of All Funk Chords

Thru-you 02 - This Is What It Became

Thru-you 03 - I'm New

There's more on his profile page. They're wonderful.
Thru-you Web site.
Interview with Ophir "Kutiman" Kutiel by Sasha Frere-Jones in The New Yorker.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Nicolas Cage Action-Hero Wednesday

Movie critics scratch their collective heads over the career of Nicolas Cage. Wasn't he the Oscar-winner in that "Leaving Las Vegas" suicidal drunk-guy film? Didn't he have a fairly admirable background, playing the edgy, emotionally unbalanced romantic-lead guy who didn't fit the usual romantic-lead guy mold? (Pounding fist onto a handy flat surface.) He's a Coppola, dammit!

I say: never underestimate the Coppolas with all their creative aplomb, for causing complete confusion at their every turn. For example, Nicolas' father, August Coppola, was the Dean of Creative Arts at SFSU where I was an undergrad. His sole contribution to the department, as far as I can tell, was to decree a windowless storage area off a dark hallway as the Casablanca Room. It was completely decorated as if it were a set from the movie--a place for creatives to meet and discuss important artistic matters among the (fake) palm fronds. I can understand his architectural desperation. The Creative Arts building was the most depressing army-barrack-like structure on the entire campus. He must have despaired for us State-school students and our hideous surroundings.

But back to Cage. Why all the crapola movies, despite a work background filled to the tippy-top with so many high-end artistic ideals? One theory: he's a workaholic. He's in his mid-40s and he's made, or is making, up to 61 films. That's a lot. They can't ALL be good, or even half-good. Another idea: as he gets older (and balder) he seems to be constantly gravitating toward the physical roles. Maybe he wants to prove himself in some way. He was kind of a nerdy leading man in his youth (that nasal voice he used in "Peggy Sue Got Married"!--I'll never forgive him for that).

Final theory: like many of us, he likes making and spending money, and has a particular penchant for multimillion dollar estates and castles, but when you're making $20 million per film, that's not such a big deal, I guess. Although he did just reportedly sell his German castle, due to the recession, so the money-making theory is plausible.

There may be no explaining the career of Nicolas Cage. I'll just let him do the talking:
I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion. - Nicolas Cage

"The Rock" (1996) In this, Cage's first big-budget action film, co-star Sean Connery got to wear the wig. I think Nicolas made a note of that. This San Francisco-based thrill ride started him on the long, lucrative road of action. And why not? It's got a cable car explosion, for crissakes.

"Con Air" (1997) - "He's a U.S. Ranger, highly decorated. He's defending his wife--got in a drunken brawl--and he killed a guy. Could have happened to you or me." So begins the saga of Cameron Poe. The first of a series of action films where Cage would wear a (very long) wig. I think this is where his action-hero addiction really kicked into high gear.

"Lord of War" (2005) - Cage plays an amoral international arms dealer. This film was officially endorsed by Amnesty International for featuring weapons trafficking. The action film as educational tool is a rare thing.

"The Wicker Man" (2006) - A laughable remake of the 1973 movie and late-night-TV cult staple directed by Robin Hardy. I think he was on a castle-buying junket when he made this.

"Ghost Rider" (2006) - Cast as the devil's bounty hunter, Cage played a comic-book character with a fiery skull-head. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

"Bangkok Dangerous" (2008) - YouTube commenters insist this is a great film. They might be right. But I think the stupid title cancels out any inkling of greatness. Plus the wig. I mean, LOOK at his wig! I haven't seen any of these movies, by the way. They're not marketed to me.

Be sure to check out Nic's upcoming films: "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans," "G-Force," and "Kick-Ass." I'm not making this up.

Disclosure: I have no ties to Nicolas Cage but we did cross paths once on Haight Street. He was getting out of his nice black car as his girlfriend entered Ambiance, an excellent dress shop (where I got my wedding dress, by the way). Our eyes locked for a second, simply due to geographical space and timing. My eyes silently said, "Whoa--you are Nicolas Cage." His eyes said back to me, "Yes, that is true." Then I said (with my eyes), "I will not disturb you. That would be awkward for both you and me." He faintly nodded and we went our separate ways.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Disneyland - A Rumination

Disneyland has it down. It's probably one of the most efficient operations on the planet and is a testament to humankind's ability to visualize a concept and turn it into an entertainment empire. From crowd and line control, to architectural absurdity, Disneyland COMMITS to its conceptions 1000%.

It is this commitment to fantasy and role play that brings its fans back over and over again (some get married there), and makes uptight intellectuals seethe with bitter fury at the commercialization of our childhood imaginations.

Seethe away. I won't join in the angry protest. I think Walt Disney, however flawed, was a genius and probably worshipped at the altar of imaginative capabilities, fantasies and outright craziness (within reason). As someone who visited the Magical Kingdom on several occasions as a very young child (we lived in North Hollywood for two years and took every family friend to the park whenever they visited, hence I went to Disneyland multiple times before age six), it has shaped me in unknowable, possibly unhealthy ways. And it is subconsciously a weird kind of home to me, one that's expanded over the years to epic proportions (requiring a multi-day pass to attempt and see it all).

Whether it's a romanticized version of the Golden Age of Piracy featuring drunken sea-faring criminals harmlessly shooting at your face as you smile and mentally sing along to "A Pirate's Life for Me," or an Autopia ride that exactly mimics the 605 freeway experience of driving to Anaheim to visit Disneyland (while avoiding I-5 and its clogged artery ways), Disneyland is all kinds of wrong. It's so wrong, it's right--just like an unbalanced idea about what's real and unreal all around us. In other words, it's creative.

It combines the completely artificial with beautiful, interesting landscapes, impossible architecture and professionally performed live music (most of it from the past). Everywhere you walk (or ride, or glide), there's something to amaze, wow and pleasure your senses. Even if you think it sucks, you can't help being impressed by the over-powering worldliness of it. I wish it had stayed in Anaheim, rather than reaching its tentacles around the world (did you know there's a Disneyland Hong Kong?). It would be so much better if it only existed on one place on Earth, making it that much more rare and weird.

But, it's part of the American way to build and expand, so look out for a Disneyland near you. Especially because the company doesn't care about animation anymore (just the distribution of it).

What's it like to go back to Disneyland as an adult? Well, I hope you like humanity because you'll see a lot of it there, much of it rather blank behind the eyes. As with any large crowd, there's going to be some dopiness, along with very obnoxious, large t-shirts and very tiny, frayed short-shorts. Over-sized baseball hats do not help.

You'll also see thousands of extremely cute kids. Happy, miserable, and zombie-tired. It's childhood on parade everywhere you turn. There are a variety of mouse-eared hats on display as well, which seem to make sense within the confines of the park, but are destined to a dusty life in a forgotten corner of a bookshelf for the next several years until finally going to the Goodwill.

The rides aren't the usual "thrill" per se, but there's lots to be freaked out about if you're under the age of seven. Enjoy!

And don't expect an abundance of political correctness, especially in Adventureland, which is not an apt depiction of the known world. Disneyland, rather than tear down the original Jungle Cruise ride, complete with head hunters and threatening natives, just makes it into a big joke, as in, this is LAME, but entertaining nonetheless. They're pretty much right about that.

Despite my terrible blunder in judgment, taking my seven-year-old on the Indiana Jones careening terror snake/spider/dark tunnel ride (and the subsequent nervous breakdown that followed), the trip was a success. I tried to gauge Jackson's impression of the park after our first exhausting day and he didn't really have all the words available. But eventually, as we made our way to Taco Bell for the first of many unsatisfying meals, he casually noted with a far-off look, "Disneyland is full of wonders, isn't it?"

That's a fine summary.