Friday, August 28, 2009

We Live In Public trailer

Until today, I had never heard of Josh Harris. But in the very early cave-people days of the Internet, he was there, capturing volunteers on camera for public consumption in an underground bunker in Manhattan. And when he tired of that, he filmed his own relationship with his girlfriend and people commented on the goings-on via message board. Fun. Or horror story. Whichever, Ondi Timoner was there to capture thousands of hours of footage from these events and in her fashion, she's boiled down their essence in "We Live In Public."

You might remember Timoner's fabulous documentary, "Dig!" She's racked up two Grand Jury prizes at Sundance and is becoming my favorite fly-on-the-wall documentarian.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quick--before summer's over, listen to The Ventures

All my friends with kids are sending them off to school one by one this week. Jackson starts next week VERY early in the morning. I have to slip in some surf instrumentals before concentrating on all the lunches and homework and paperwork coming up. (And personal freedom for a few hours each day--personal freeeeeedom.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Laurel & Hardy your troubles away

The news has us going to hell in a hand basket every day of the week lately. There's no escape from the onslaught of murder, mayhem, medical malfeasance and pestilence. And don't forget all the relentless bitching and moaning going on while some people are trying to make things better. I won't even go into the attempted Bart strike that was narrowly averted, because ticket-takers and train operators were mad about not getting their usual OVERTIME pay. Poor BABIES!

I try to escape with comics, gossip and sometimes my family, but these are majorly fucked times and they call for drastic measures: Laurel & Hardy. When we were kids, our parents took us to the local pizza joint where it was dark, noisy and crowded. We sat in a cavernous room full of picnic tables and benches while endless loops of Laurel & Hardy, Three Stooges, and Little Rascals films played (from a projector!). As we picked at our iceberg lettuce and radish salads, waiting for our pizzas, we were in heaven. Or at least I was, staring up at the screen. That pizza place made me the person that I am today.

While I don't have a lot of pure Laurel & Hardy to share with you (a lot of mash-ups out there). I did find these clips, featuring the idiot geniuses of comedy. Try to see "Liberty," "The Music Box," and "Brats." They're all about chaos and mayhem, in a good way.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Haiku Movie Reviews

I know it’s been done (but not by me). I’ve seen some movies lately, so here are the reviews, in haiku, for you and you and you.

Funny People directed by Judd Apatow
You, Adam Sandler,
are dramatic and funny,
impressive even

The Earrings of Madame de… directed by Max Ophuls
The diamond earrings
of the shallow and repressed
merit intense gaze

Ponyo directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Ponyo is a fish
who wants to become human
The ocean pulsates

The Brothers Grimm directed by Terry Gilliam
The evil queen combs her hair

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired directed by Marina Zenovich
Polanski’s court case
was a media circus
and he’s still guilty

The Last King of Scotland directed by Kevin MacDonald
Playing a monster
Forest Whitaker lures us
down dark, ancient roads

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lombard Street Goes "Candyland"

Hey, it was Candyland's 60th anniversary today and to celebrate, Hasbro turned Lombard St. into a giant Candyland game. A bunch of kids got to play and meet Princess Frostine ("She's beautiful," Jackson once breathlessly sighed during a game).

It was only for today and only limited groups of children were allowed on board, heh. But what a memorable experience. I always liked when my dad drove us down this street when I was a kid. Imagine visiting the Peppermint Forest as well.

And check out the Annual Easter Big Wheel Race while you're at it. Lombard Street: it's swell!

Laughing Squid has photos.
Thanks to Brian for tipping me off on this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The 70s - one big summer vacation, apparently

Sly and The Family Stone - Hot Fun in the Summertime medley
This group was very much of its time and yet is timeless with pure genius. Technically, this song was released in 1969, but let us think of it as a 70s hit as well, since it was played throughout the next decade and beyond and shows no sign of stopping at this point.

Nick Gilder - Hot Child in the City
Gosh, remember Nick Gilder? I had forgotten too. But I'll always remember this song, which was on the radio constantly when it was released in 1978.

Walter Egan - Hot Summer Nights
I concede, Walter Egan was responsible for some of the catchiest tunes of the 70s. Some might call them "ear worms," but I don't mind when one of his tunes gets lodged in my head and I can't escape from it for a few days. Must be that soothing countenance he wears so casually, like a shiny, satin, big-collared shirt.

Mungo Jerry - In The Summertime
I have nothing to add other than: Mungo Jerry for the win!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mama Cass Monday Monday

Sammy Davis, Jr. & Mama Cass Dig Rock & Roll Music and you will too. It was 1969 and we were feelin' groovy.

(Thanks Sher)

Every time I read anything about the L.A. music scene of the 60s, Cass Elliot is a central figure. She really "mothered" musical talent and, being a natural collaborator, brought a lot of talented people together. Tom Yaz created this dance mix of Make Your Own Kind of Music. Appropriate lighting and recreational substances will make this the hit of your next party.

Monday Monday with those incredible Mamas & Papas harmonies.

Today I have to register Jackson for school. Vacation ends in two weeks. It is indeed, Monday Monday.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sally Cruikshank - psychedelic goddess, 1980

I finally get to see what Sally Cruikshank looks like (30 years ago). Her animated wonder-films of the 70s helped form the weirdo that I am today.

You can see most of her films on her YouTube channel at laughingsal, including her work on Sesame Street, and her classic indie short, "Quasi at the Quackadero."

Oh What a Fabulous Party

Island of Emotion (from Sesame Street)

Night Owl

- DVD of most all her work available at Fun on Mars.
- Sally Cruikshank blog.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Mission - the one-hour photo essay

We visited my friend Joseph in San Francisco on Sunday and for dinner we decided to head over to the Mission for delicious tacos. One thing I can say about Oregon: not too many delicious tacos to be had there.

But tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and all the rest are quite in abundance in the Mission. In fact, it took us over fifteen minutes to figure out which taqueria to dine at. Joseph's friend Arturo decided for us and I did not disagree: La Taqueria on Mission and 25th. I used to go there when I was a teen and it's still delicious, pleasant and delicious. It's basically the same as I remember it from 35, 25, 10, you name it, years ago, even though it used to be run by a different family until an intense legal battle gave it back to its original family, who kept it the same. That's some rich taqueria history.

I was only in the area for a brief time so here's a photo-essay of what I saw over the course of an hour in a one-block area (Keith had us walk down the street so he could get tostadas to go from his favorite taqueria, El Farolito).

This truck pulled up while we were eating. Everything about this image screams at you: HELLO! I AM IN THE MISSION DISTRICT NOW! JUST THOUGHT YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW!

I really liked the embellishments on this lady's jean pockets. Aren't they mesmerizing?

Best thing about the Mission besides the food and murals: the store windows. This is your one-stop store for all your First Communion and Quinceanera party-supply needs.

I think this doll deserves a close-up.

Yes, the cousins will all be coming. There will be refreshments and card games and Communion remembrance gifts to be kept for many years. Everything about my first Communion was completely baffling to me, from the white dress and veil, to the gifts, to the fact that we never went to church EXCEPT for my first Communion. Yet my mom had an 8x10 portrait of me, wearing the regalia, propped up on the piano for YEARS, so that all my protestant friends could ask every time they came over, "Did you get MARRIED when you were in second grade, Lisa?" I couldn't even explain to them what I was doing dressed like that. That's cult-like behavior, all right.

Here's a wonderful bird I met while walking back to the car. His name is Pooh Bear and he said, "HELLO HELLO HELLO" to me, multiple times.

He's a charmer all right.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ode to John Hughes, Film Director

Midwestern parodist
with roots in
National Lampoon

Acid wit
Big feelings

Geeks conquer all
and learn valuable
often merry in scope.

And dancing--
always with the dancing.

I, your target demographic
laugh and forehead-slap
with all that teen-age
melo-drama and fervent emotion

You got to me
got to us
and went out on a high note
(despite Curly Sue)
leaving us so very soon.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pink Panther Free-for-all

I got Jackson the first disc of the Pink Panther cartoon series (thank you, Netflix). It's important for children to get their daily allotment of laughter and educational TV isn't doing it for us. Why must educational animation be so earnest? There's some exceptions, of course, but what a snore-fest for us adult care-takers. We can only learn so much about getting along and how to spell before we need to watch someone slam into a wall and bounce back, unscathed. It's important to our well-being, dammit. Don't ask me why.

Jackson just announced that he's laughed so hard, his tummy hurts. What a legacy for creator Friz Freleng.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

What next, Sarah Palin?

She's over! It's dunzo! So say the naysayers who said, "No, no, never!" to Sarah Palin. But just because she quit being the governor of Alaska doesn't mean she can't make a difference. There's tons for Sarah Palin to do. She's the go-to gal who gets it done, maverically. So put on your thinkin' caps and let's get to speculatin'.

I'd like to see her put her obvious charisma to work by bringing back the rave scene of the early 90s. It's due for a revival and I can see her being the consummate show-woman, hiring the best DJs and most talented light-show technicians, supplying subliminal messages to today's about-to-turn-18-youth. And there's lots of available warehouse spaces, thanks to the recession.

Maybe if you're lucky, you'll get one of these secret invites and if you can decipher the contents: you get to go to the dance. Stuff those supplements in your backpack and I'll see you in the smart-drink lounge or the chill room, whichever I stumble upon first.

Palin Rave Invitation

There's nothing like a graduation commencement speech. For sheer boredom! At my graduation, a girl sitting behind me talked on her cell phone during the entire commencement, being given by a lady astronaut. I couldn't decide if I should focus on the phone conversation, which was basically: I'm at graduation. Right now! That's right. I'm graduating at this moment! Or the astronaut, who let us know we could strive to be anyone we chose to be (very meaningful to us film-school grads). And so I was doubly annoyed and bored--slam-dunk, SFSU.

But Sarah Palin is a born commencement speaker and I defy you to find anyone more annoying or boring to send you on your way in today's career landmine of opportunities.

A visit to the Palin Fictional Quote Generator will give you a taste of what you're in for with a very special commencement with Sarah Palin.

And as Ronald Reagan believed that whether that is part of the solution or not back and forth.

Some decisions that have been made poorly, working with existing allies - they want freedom.

We don't have to second-guess obsessive partisanship at a crisis time like this.

We can't afford to lose powerful nation to look at that as more opportunity.

Thank you, graduates. Due to budget cuts, please return your mortar boards to the registrar on your way out of the auditorium so that we may use them for next year's commencement.

Nobody loves comedy jokes like Sarah Palin. She's been working on a routine for open mic night in a classy joint near you. Let's listen in, shall we?

So I noticed that everyone looks so clean-cut and American in this audience. Raise your hand if you're a true American from a small town. Good for you, sir. And what is your name? Rusty? Well, Rusty, I'm just so pleased to have you in my audience tonight! Let's give it up for Rusty everyone [applause].

And Rusty, who did you vote for in the last election? What? Well, he's not from this country you know. He's from somewhere over the border, like Africa. Of course, I'm from over the border too--the Canadian border, but only if you're traveling by car. Your American-made car, of course. And not any ol' cash-for-clunker or what-have you!

So did you know that our president, who you voted for, Rusty, you naughty man, did you know his middle name is HUSSEIN? What's up with that? Can you believe our president has such a crazy, crazy name? Call me naive, but isn't that just a little bit far-fetched and FOREIGN to the concept of presidential electional processes? What? Oh my time is up ladies and gentlemen. You've been a lovely audience. Even you, Rusty. I'll be here until 2012. Thank you and g'night!