wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

"And just like the river, I've been running ever since.." - S. Cooke


I heard a story on NPR this morning about a young kid getting busted in Philadelpia for singing in the park after nine p.m. Scott Simon, the host of the program, introduces the kid, he tells his story (not much of a story - he was singing in the park!) and he asks the kid to sing the song that got him in the hoosegow. It was Sam Cooke's song, "A Change is Gonna Come." Undoubtably one of the greatest songs ever written - beautiful, powerful, hearfelt. Cooke's version takes my breath away everytime I hear it (and I've heard it many times). So, I'm sipping a little "turkish brew" sitting listening to the radio, and this kid starts singing. He's got a beautiful voice, an echo of Cooke's, and well, I can't help it, it just comes over me in a flash and the tears just pour out. I guess maybe I really am a softy at heart. There's such beauty and sadness in that lyric, that melody. And well, there's hope too. And really, that's the clincher. Even in the middle of the pain, the darkness, the hardness, there's a shining hope that won't die. A young kid, singing a song of change, of hope, a song written long ago and he brings it alive, the fire, the flame, the passion lives. Not a bad way to begin a day, to live a life.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Please Call Me President Dick Head!

I don't know how I can say this more eloquently, so I'll just go with the direct approach. Please read Professor Juan Cole (an expert on all things Middle East) today if you want to know why it's so painfully obvious our Fearless Leader is a clueless asshole...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Look Out, You've Been Spooked!


Yesterday the CIA did a document dump of info called "the family jewels." Supposedly, it details some of the really, really bad shit this agency has done in it's storied past (in this case we're talking the 1960's and 70's) in the name of freedom. The dump is the result of a Freedom of Information request. Not sure if we're seeing everything (most likely not - there's nothing on their hit on JFK!) and supposedly much of the juiciest stuff is "redacted." But there is stuff about assasination, torture, kidnapping, domestic spying, mind control, and drug experiments on unsuspecting citizens. So in order to fight evil (since most of this stuff is from the "cold war" years in this case "evil" means commies, dirty hippies, student leftists, peaceniks - that means you too Mr. Lennon - I mean come on what kind of commie shit you talking? "Give peace a chance?" Balderdash!) the CIA had to "take the gloves off" and well, "muss their hair a little."

There was a program called, yes, I kid you not, "CHAOS." CIA agents grew their hair long and infiltrated the hippie communes, and the peace rallies - they were probably the same dudes who shunned pot and swilled martinis and shagged the chicks, fondled guns and called for revolution by any means.

There's also a little tidbit about Sam Giancana (Chicago Mobster - ended up with a bullet in the head on his garage floor - just before he was to testify about the JFK hit - yes the same Giancana that shared a shag with JFK - a woman by the name of Judith Exner) who the CIA was employing in it's effort to whack Fidel Castro. There was a whole contingent of pissed off Mobsters who got kicked out of Havana when Fidel came down from the mountains and well, the CIA reached out to said Mobsters for a little assassin assistance. Now whether this then became a classic "blowback" situation, who knows? But the failed Bay of Pigs invasion left a whole bunch of CIA and Mob guys pissed off at JFK and dudes like Johnny Roselli and yes, Lee Harvey Oswald (ex-marine) who both spent time in Cuba, later surfaced (Roselli and Jack Ruby were friends) after a big event came down in Dallas in 1963.

So anyway I guess Giancana ended up sharing other girls too - did he have some kind of problem? There's a story about Giancana (remember he was working for spooks at the same time he was tending to his own Mob business - he was a made man!) asking the CIA to put Dan Rowan (yes, that Dan Rowan - he was later the straight man, the guy with the pipe on that TV show Rowan & Martin - "sock it to me!") under survelliance, because he was shagging Giancana's other girlfriend Phyllis McGuire. What a fucking tangled web! So we got our spooks running around Vegas, trying to catch Dan Rowan in el flagrante delicto (or as Bill Murray used to put it in the "mayonnaise stage") and all for the glory and honor of the Motherland! I mean shit, don't you just have to Love Big Brother?!?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Ramachandran Ding Dong!


This is from an article in yesterday's NYTimes Science Times (what a really great read!)...

"Or as V. S. Ramachandran, a brain scientist at the University of California, San Diego, put it in an interview, there may be soul in the sense of “the universal spirit of the cosmos,” but the soul as it is usually spoken of, “an immaterial spirit that occupies individual brains and that only evolved in humans — all that is complete nonsense.” Belief in that kind of soul “is basically superstition,” he said."

Wow, I couldn't have put it any better myself. I mean I think it's been on the tip of my tongue, but I just haven't been able to verbalize it. And well, it certainly rings true with John Hegelin's rap at Maharishi University about the Unified Field. And so, when I look up at the stars and I think "those are my brothers," maybe I'm not such a lunatic.

There's also an interesting article on EVODEVO, which sounds like a new evolution of an old eighties band ("We are not men, we are EVODEVO!"). Plus there's an article telling us that we are no different than the rest of the animal kingdom. If we have souls (see above) all the other animals do too (this made the Lovely Carla so happy to hear- this has been one of her themes for a long time!). The feelings and emotions and moral reasonings we think are so special, that we think make us different, all have a physical basis that we share with all living things on this little old planet...take that you arrogant, homo-sapien-centric, hubristic mob!

Also there was a tantalizing comment attributed to Francis Crick (he of the DNA double-helix) that we might be refuse from an alien invasion. The long chain, the incredible flowering of the diverse life on the Blue Planet may have started from some junk bacteria blasted out in to space by some kind of advanced space beings. Hmmm, I think I'll have another cup of coffee and mull that one over for awhile! Maybe we have this incredible wanderlust because ecoded somewhere deeply in our DNA, we know that this is not our ancestral home, no...we are refugees from another planet, another people far, far, away! "E.T. go home!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

America Full of Hot Air!


I start my morning brewing up a pot of coffee, firing up the computer and logging in. My morning portal is Yahoo and so, I always see the top news stories as per the gremlins at the Yahoo news desk. Yesterday I saw a story headlined: "Giant Penguins Roamed Peru." I didn't read it, but I loved the thought of mad, giant penguins rampaging in Lima. This morning I read the headline: "Heat from Earth's Core Keeps North America Afloat." And well doesn't this just confirm something you suspected all along?

Monday, June 25, 2007

What Would Imelda Marcos Say?



I bought some new running shoes a couple days ago, I trekked all the way downtown to the Maginificent Mile (what a tourist haven) and the Nike store and laid down some serious cash for shoes. I know it's crazy - $160 for a pair of running shoes. I'm also kind of skeptical of Nike as a company. The shoes are made in China and I wonder how much cash actually goes to the people who did the sewing, cutting and putting together. I don't know if I'm part of a problem or part of a solution (shit I'd be willing to pay even more if it means better wages and conditions for the workers - WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!). I mean "always the best price" means slave labor forever right?! But, anyway, I am happy with these new shoes.

I'm not recommending these shoes (Nike Air Max 360), I mean there's probably better shoes out there, maybe there's better deals. But damn, I lucked into a great pair, (I mean you are literally running on air), and well, for a runner, it's like digging up the rosetta stone or something. These are great running shoes. I had another pair that I ran into the dirt and when a shoe starts to wear down on me (it takes a year or less) I have to ditch them, or otherwise I start coming up lame. I mean, buying slave labor shoes is lame, but a tired shoe wreaks havoc on my body (is it the shoe or is it the man?), and well I don't think of running shoes as a luxury but as a necessity. Is that a lame rationale or what?

Of course, the Long Emergency is around the corner and well, these shoe aren't gonna do me a lot of good when the major shit goes down. Not long ago, the Lovely Carla asked me, "when are you going to stop running?" Somehow I don't think she meant just the literal act of it. My reply, "I'm not going to." Now obviously, this is beyond my control. I see myself running through fields of poppies forever!

I mean, I know I can't run away from all my problems, but hell, I can give it the old college try.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Ego-Maniac, the Hippie, the Rock God, Baby Big Bang*


Yesterday was a very fun (sometimes fun IS what it's cracked up to be - although for me it's usually when I'm engaged in the good work of the creative process, either music or theater) and productive day. I met with two other Telepaths and we worked on a new song called "What is the What." It's a really cool song, which we'll be posting soon. It's a rocker with a twist. We have some horns on it, and some Brian Wilson-style harmonies and mutliple guitars and well, we have a unique process at work (using home computers and Apple's free music program Garageband).

TPM our vocalist and primary song-writer comes up with a lyric, I come up with a chord progression, Big Bang our drummer adds drums and then the Rock Star Cory H. adds the musical magic. I mean he's an unbelievable musical force. With TPM and I looking over his shoulder yesterday, he whipped out a melodic, McCartney-style bass line, he added a couple of guitar flourishes and then some heavenly backup and harmony vocals. It was all flow, baby. I think once the final mix-down is complete it will be one of our finest tracks. It's "only rock and roll and I like it."

So, yes, it was a satisfying day. In the evening the Lovely Carla and I continued our supremely enriching and enjoyable ritutal of watching a great DVD and sharing an excellent bottle of wine. Last night the perfect combo was "Hustle & Flow," and a Paraiso Pinot Noir. Was it excellent? Well, as per the movie, "Is a pig's pussy pork?"

It is hard out here for pimp, but everyone's gotta to have a dream...

Yes, indeedy.

*The Who's nicknames were (Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy), these are Telepaths' nicknames (an ex-band-member tried to disparage us with these characterisations...I say wear them like medals!)...your humble servant dumps/sunny would be "the hippie!"

P.S. By the way, did you ever hear the OsMutantes? I discovered them a number of years back. I have their disc, "Everything is Possible." It's psychedelic Brazilian music with a dash of madness and Beatles melodicism and well thanks to David Byrne's Luka Bop label they are back in circulation. I'm listening this morning and it's just great music. You should search it out. You won't be disappointed!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Diamonds are Forever


Damien Hirst is in the news today, oh boy. It seems his diamond encrusted skull (how decadant is that little piece?) sold for big bucks at auction. I must admit I am an admirer of Mr. Hirst's artistic and promotional skills, which in today's world, seem to be required to get any kind of attention. It's his facsination with death that resonates with me. I'm in the same club. Maybe to some extent we all are, I mean, it's the one great mystery that we never seem to get to the bottom of, until we get to the bottom of it, if you know what I mean. I first heard about Hirst when it was all about his shark in formaldehyde. There was also the cow's head with a swarm of flies, and well, there's something Edgar Allen Poe-ish about this British bad boy, that well, puts me in the mind to do the Funky Chicken at the next Masque of the Red Death!

So I Googled and landed on Wikipedia and learned that Hirst used to insert a cigarette into the end of his penis when speaking with journalists. That's saying something right there don't you think? I guess it's one way to extend the enjoyment of smoking, but is it really wise care and feeding for the old penile member? Seems Hirst's mother is quite the character too. She once took his vinyl copy of the Sex Pistol's "Never Mind the Bollocks" melted it down and made a vase. Now that's not only valid music criticism, but she made something functional in the process. Way to go Mummy!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Goddess vs. the Fool


Well, today, I want to reflect on my on-going collaboration with my soul mate, my muse and my always "pushing the envelope," co-conspirator, the Lovely Carla. Let me set up a little dichotomy - Perfectionism/Go with the Flow. On that spectrum let's put the Lovely Carla strongly in the perfectionist camp, and let's put sunnyjimmy (no dumps included here) as a supreme practitioner of flow. When our collaboration in music, in theater, hell, in life too, is working at it's best, there's a true melding of these two strains that makes everything fly.

Sometimes this can be a frustrating process, but we've been through it together so many times now what with our plays, and lately our music, that we know there is a bigger game afoot, and well, we both benefit from the collaboration. I am a big advocate of the "group energy," of creating something bigger than one individual. I don't think it's a fluke that for instance some of the best music came from people who worked together, inspired each other and complemented each other too. Think Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards, Sonny & Cher, Steve & Edie, Martin & Lewis(?!).

The movies too are a great example. Even with a strong director, movie-making is an incredible collective creative effort that melds sometimes hundreds of people. Any major motion picture you can name was made by an army of creative people dedicated to a vision. The process of inclusion, when it works, makes for a greater whole.

So anyway, I was struggling mightily with my latest piece. I mean I've been writing all kinds of scenes and monologues, but none of it really gelled. But yesterday the Lovely Carla made a suggestion that just blew the door wide open for me. Now I think of our latest piece in a totally new way, and well I think this changes everything. I'm not sure if I could have had the breakthrough without her input and well, it's so very cool. And well I love her for it. It's a real kick in the pants. And then the process begins again, how do we make the text come alive on stage and film (?) and the battle between the Perfectionist and the Flowmeister goes to the next round. There's a strange alchemey at work here...and it's amazing what comes out of it all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monkey in the Middle Clusterfuck

Two blog posts I must link to today. The first is from James Kunstler, (Mr. Long Emergency), on the grand, tragic dilemma our country faces. Iraq (the Middle East) vs. Oil (economic viability). Knustler's great theme is that we are in complete denial about our corrosive and fatal addiction to oil, the car culture, suburbia, and strip-mall land. And as he keeps telling us, there are no quick fixes...major life-style changes need to be adopted now, if we are to somehow lessen the catastrophe looming ahead.

Also his line about Iraq is heartbreaking and priceless - it's a "monkey in the middle clusterfuck" situation.

Then there's Andrew Sullivan's post about Bush and Abu Graib. I haven't read Seymour Hersh's latest article in the New Yorker yet, but excepts are devastating...no doubt Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield are war criminals. They have totaly degraded us as a country. They tortured in our name. We too are tainted by their horrific policies. Sullivan has been eloquent and persistent in exposing this terrible stain upon our country, our military, our leaders, and us too.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Good One

Yesterday, the Lovely Carla and I were like sharks, we were in constant motion, even at rest. Does that make sense? Well, we had a busy day, we rented a car, (a PT Cruiser) which was kind of fun, had a great stereo system and we cranked the music up loud (The White Stripes, Tom Verlaine) and matriculated through the busy streets of our thriving megalopolis.

First we headed to Invision for a Sanctuary meditation, which was all about coming home - back to the body. It was a beautiful start to the day, I went deep inside and felt totally restored and recharged.

Then it was off to a band rehearsal. We played our set with a new drummer who we want to bring into our little duo - The White Wolf & Sonic Princess. Sanjay (the drummer) is a great musician with a real nice touch, he usually plays jazz, but he quickly caught our vibe and well, the session was really amazing. I was alive and on-fire with good feeling. Some of our songs really sing with this new element. I hope it all works out.

Back home, there was a street fair, and I wandered over to listen to music. There was truly great little jazz group, The David Green Quartet that played a blistering set of superb jazz music under the viaduct. It was an un-godly hot afternoon and I had a cold ice latte, sat and let the huge sound of David Green's saxophone wash over me. The whole band was great, keyboard, acoustic bass, drums. Four musicians just letting the music transport them. They brought the little crowd right along with them.

Then it was a nice, home-cooked, pasta meal (she sings, writes songs, paints and cooks - the Lovely Carla truly does it all!), and then we called it a day. It was one of those long summer days that you wish would never end. I guess that's what we call a good one.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Think of that Pampered Heiress as Veal!


Mr. Long Emergency has a post about Paris Hilton's prison doings, and he wonders if it's a turning of the tide against the rich. We are wallowing in a decadant glorification of citizens of no merit - the two, most prominent examples being Hilton and The Donald. In many ways we are such an infantile culture. I do think we are all crazed by our mad, consumerist religion, and to see total Air-Heads flaunting their accumulation of obscene amounts of wealth is some kind of perverse horrorshow. It's all about the bling, baby!

Now when you realize that we are on some kind of environmental bubble, when you realize that many citizens of the planet live on less than a dollar a day, and many are just struggling to for the basics (food, shelter, clothing) just to survive, you gotta marvel at the audacity of the wealthy's total lack of humility and discretion. We all live on this continuum, and just by being here, in good old USA, we are already members of an economic elite.

So, can we just use up all the planet's resources without regard for the long term? Can we continue to live in the bubble of unsustainability? Can we continue to use the Trumps and the Hiltons as our trophy gods of commerce?

If things turn, if the heartland gets restless, will we all start turning on each other? Will our politics and our social intercourse continue to get harder and meaner? Will we load up on barbecue sauce and start firing up the grill? Will we go hunting in the hills of Bel Air? Will cannibalism make a comeback? When the oil runs out, when the economy crumbles, when the seas rise and the food grows scarce, will we finally, inevitably EAT THE RICH?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cacaphony of Anarchy


"The Cult of the Amateur"...that's the name of a new book by a guy named Andrew Keen. Seems he's not a fan of the latest incarnation of the internet: YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia. I think he called it (I heard him on NPR this morning) a cacaphony of the amateur. I do love the phrase, although I at first mis-heard it, for a moment I thought he said, "cacaphony of anarchy." Which actually appeals to me. Yes, I do think we have constructed our own digital "tower of Babel," although, it's more like a river, a sea, a sunset of Babel.

It's seems Keen is keen on the old MSM the world of editors, gatekeepers, record labels, etc. He tells us that now it's the world of amateurs who rule and they do not merit their new found power. It was not a very compelling presentation. I mean, I love the "nay-sayers," the "devil's advocates," but come on, where's the ripping new argument? Where's the compelling evidence?

Here's Lawrence Lessig on the book. It's safe to say Lessig is not impressed by Keen, I put Lessig in the pro-Babel-ite camp. I guess I'm in this category too. I don't think we need the "authority" of the MSM to make sense of the world for us. I do think the Internet is a great reflection of the madness of our world and culture. It's not a dumbing down, it's a mirror. You can choose to look for the stupid, the silly, the cynical, the mis-guided, the trite. You can wallow in the mis-information, but there's beauty and the sublime and the wonder too. There's great intelligence, insight to be found. You just need to do a little digging. You have to wade through the shit to get to the gold. Isn't that the same with the NYT, network programming, (in fact, just take one look at network programming on TV vs. the internet - the experts vs. the amatuers...I think it's hard to make the case that the experts are enhancing our culture and the amatuers of destroying it) and the latest slate of films and cds at the multi-plex and record store?

We do live in Babel...it is a land of a grandly mad cacaphony...welcome to the monkey house.

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall..."


The Lovely Carla and I ventured out to Uncommon Ground last night. We met at the Addison el stop (Addison & Clark), the home of Wrigley Field. There's nothing like being totally stone-sober, navigating the streets after an afternoon baseball game on a hot summer day. It seemed everyone was totally blitzed out, blind drunk. It was a silly carnival of sport's crowd victims. The sports bars that ring the playing field were filled with the mad, raucous vibe of people over-medicated on hops and malts. It was kind of fun and funny to watch the human carnival in all it's crazy ridiculousness. It also explains the attraction of baseball for many of these folks. Baseball is such a slow, (dare I say), boring game, I think for many souls it's really just an excuse to imbibe prodigious quanitities of cheap, American beer.

It's not like I haven't been in that particular zone myself. I remember stacking empty cups one upon another, and verbally harrassing Mr. Charlie Hustle himself one blistering hot summer afternoon, oh so long ago. So, I do speak from some personal experience. But it's been a long, long time, and well Mr. Hustle still isn't in the Hall of Fame and well maybe that is some kind of justice. There was a time when I wore a baseball uniform, but hell, that was Little League, and really I topped out in about 7th grade.

So we went to Uncommon Ground for a great meal and to listen to some music. We actually scored an upcoming a gig to play there in a couple of months and well, we were doing our homework. What a great place. And the music was excellent. I especially liked this group, Rue Royal. Two people who create a joyful noise.

I flashed on the idea that each of us carries a certain vibration. It's unique to us, like a strand of DNA, like a fingerprint. Now really I think Pete Townsend from the Who actually wrote a song about this very same topic. Sometimes the vibration is clear and beautiful and resonant. Sometimes the vibration is soggy and bloated and medicated. It's our instrument. We will do with it what we will.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sympathy for the Devil


Last night the Lovely Carla and I cracked open a nice bottle of Buena Vista, a Pinot Noir from Sonoma and watched (I never saw it before) Peter Cook (he wrote it) and Dudley Moore's "Bedazzled." It was directed by Stanley Donen, and it is a superb movie, I highly recommend it for your next DVD experience. It was made in 1967, right at the peak of the swinging London scene, and it captures a little of that bright, confusing and dazzling time.

The story is a variation on the Faust story, and well, isn't that the story of our lives? How many of us are willing to "sell our souls" - it's a little shabby thing, isn't it (that is if it really exists) for fame, fortune, sex, drugs, rock & roll? Peter Cook is a revelation, he plays George Spiggot, the latest incarnation of Lucifer the fallen Angel of Light. He teases and torments little Dudley Moore, a short order cook, shy and inarticulate. Raquel Welch makes a cameo appearance as Lust - she is in all her curvaceous, vacuous glory.

Much mayhem and hilarity ensues. The convergence of three glasses of wine, and Cook and More in nun's habits had me laughing so hard, tears were streaming down my cheeks. Ecstasy! But the movie really resonates too in metaphysical banter about god and evil and well, Peter Cook never became as well known as Mr. Moore ("10," & "Arthur"), but he's an absolute treasure. His performance as Spiggot is one for the ages. To know that he also wrote the script puts one in complete awe.

By the way, another great work on the Faust theme is this play by Mickle Maher founder of Theater Oobleck. I saw it in it's original run with Maher in the lead role and it still ranks as one of the greatest theatrical performances I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. I own a copy of the play, I read it once in awhile to remind myself how brilliant one expertly performed monologue can be. It's really that good.

Obviously, that dude Goethe was onto something. And well, Milton really took to the task too. We do have sympathy for the devil, in fact, sometimes this old world seems like the playground where old Lucifer just gets to have a field day. That other dude (or dudette) seems to have high-tailed it to another realm. Who needs the insufferable piety, the harp music, the holier than thou attitude!?

Without even thinking, I loaded up some cds this morning, listening to music while I sip coffee and blog, and I put this disc by the White Stripes in the mix. Get behind me, indeed! As Jack White has remarked, this line can be interpreted at least two ways - "get away from me satan," or "come on, join my team!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"I'll be in my basement room, with a needle and a spoon..." - Dead Flowers (Jagger & Richards)


I am convinced we are all just chemical cocktails. Or, I mean, there is a chemistry involved in the most basic and fundamental aspects of who and what we are. It's the balance of the chemistry that determines whether we are bright and chipper or low and dumpy. Maybe this is not news, I mean the pharmacuetical industry has worked overtime to convince us that everything, every ailment, every waking state, known to humanity can be medicated. I'm a big skeptic of the medical industry. Just like any of our modern marvels, it's all about the money, and well, there's the "pusher man," and then there's the "pusher industry" and just because it's now all so much more legitimate, what with the medical degrees and white lab coats and layers of management, come on man, it's the same damn thing! Hook your client on the stuff and well, keep that money flowing, baby!

All my favorite drugs have been recreational ones and at least with the recreational drugs well we are looking for some kind of trascendance or numbing, or maybe a good laugh and a case of the munchies. At this point in my journey I'm reaching for the coffee more than just about anything else. So yes, I'm constantly ginning up my system with massive quantities of caffiene and I'm sure I pay the price somewhere down the line. So yesterday, I was higher than a kite, I mean, everything was clicking, beautiful day, great run on the lakefront, my business opportunities were multiplying like bunnies, I mean, everything was sweet and rosy.

This morning, well, there's the inevitable arc, right? So high as a kite yesterday means this morning I'm dragging on the floor. There's an inevitably at work here, it's in the chemistry and well, so if I have to brew up another pot to get me back to that state of ecstasy, I mean, who's gonna stop me? And if I feature a picture of a french press coffee pot, is that so bad, is it really like a heroin addict showing off his needle and spoon?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Prisoner Redux

You wake up one morning and you realize...it's summer. It's a revelation. "Summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the streets, boy!" I guess that's one way to spend the time. For some reason Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, "Damn the Torpedoes!" was playing in my head as I ran along the lakefront this morning. For me it is a summer album. "You don't have to live like a refugee!" Indeed.

So, I've been living on the vibe of "the prisoner." A couple of days back I had a very significant dream and it is still resonating with me. I realize that I have always had empathy for the prisoners - of the heart, the king, the state, of fear, of the mind. All of my plays have been about prisoners of one kind or another. I always seem to have a huge resevoir of empathy for those in gulags, in secret CIA locations, the abomination of Guantanmo. I have the guilt of a prisoner. I'm not sure what I've done, I may be falsely accused, but there's a secret fear that I am being punished, and I deserve the punishment too. I am human, that is my punishment!

I think this is a false picture, and when I saw it a few days ago, plainly, clearly, without illusion, it made me laugh out loud. It is certainly a picture that I need to "blow up." And well, maybe it's this summer, in the fading number of summers that I have at my disposal, where I will finally bury the prisoner.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Prisoner


Jack Kerouac once wrote a book called "Book of Dreams." The title says it all. I've never read it, usually if someone starts a conversation with, "I had this dream last night..." I just sort of nod off. So, anyway, my dreams are often these incomprehensible mis-mashes, a manic, cross-genre goulash of scenes and images - scattered shards of stuff that rarely makes sense to me. I guess this is also how I sometimes look at the world around me, and it's also reflected in the pieces that my theater group, Black Forest, has done in the last ten years or so.

Sometimes though, I do get clear messages. I dream of about Ike and Tina Turner and I wake up and write the scene down. That scene will premiere at the Abbie Hoffman Died for Your Sins Fest this August. Last night, I had a dream that came to me loud and clear. There's no interpretation necessary. Just describing it says it all:

I was at a family gathering, all my primary relatives living and dead were there. They were in the living room, waiting for me. I entered dressed all in black. Black shoes, black pants, black shirt, a black cape and head piece too. I looked like a mad cossack. A dark monk. A ninja. I announced in a loud and grand voice: "I am the Prisoner!" I bowed and then I started a weird, ritualistic and somewhat stilted dance. I did something with my chakras. I mean, I made some motions with my hands and I passed them over all my chakras as if I was arranging or re-arranging them. I did this for about five minutes. My family looked at me in stunned silence. This was not a planned event.

I finished up and then bowed deeply. I then announced: "I learned this all from Sister Mary Aquanata." Now just a note: Sister Mary Aquanata was my third grade teacher. She was the classic "penguin" a hard-ass nun who more than anyone impressed upon me what the Catholic church was all about. For me it was primarily a revelation that guilt was tatooed on my heart, my soul, and there was no way to erase it, I mean, Jesus was up on that bleeding cross because of my lies, my sins, my impure thoughts...plus since I was left-handed, my loyalties to the devil were already evident.

So, anyway, just before I left the living room, I annouced that I would be back for the next family gathering to perform once more. My father protested, he said, "But there's a basketball game to watch." I replied, "I will perform at half-time!"

SCENE!

By the way, awhile back I discovered this wine at the local Whole Foods. It was the label (pictured above), that clinched it for me. It's a powerful, wonderful wine. I highly recommend it. The first sip and my body was flooded with good feeling. The Lovely Carla and I had a very memorable evening sharing a bottle and watching old episodes of Twin Peaks. Now that's what I call therapy!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Maybe We Should Make Him President!

Paris is back in the slammer...there must be a movie script in the works, don't you think? "Heiress in Chains?" I also read about some poor African American kid who got sentenced to 10 years down in Georgia for having "consensual oral sex." He was 17 and the girl was 15 at the time.

I mean, I know that's pushing the envelope but, man, doing 10 years for "eating pussy?" Am I reading that right? It's about him doing her, or is it her doing him? Whatever.

I think Richard Pryor used to do a routine about how Black men did not do the "dark and lonely work." Instead of the slammer, maybe they should be giving that dude a medal! It easy, fun and well you can do it too! I'm thinking we'd be a much better country...less stress, less violence with more oral sex all around. I'm just saying.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Flashlight


Steve Earle is one of those American-made characters...bigger than life. Of course he's in the music biz. Following in the footsteps of Cash, Dylan, Townes Van Zandt...anyway, he's a funny, colorful guy, writes some purty good songs too...so here's a couple of quotes I read this morning that kind of hit the mark.

First, about the songwriting & recording process (for some reason I can relate): "This is all about how far you want to shine a flashlight inside your own asshole."

And here he is on the wonders of the great big city (NYC): "I need to be able to walk out of my door and see a same-sex, bi-racial couple walking down the street holding hands. That makes me feel safe."

Monday, June 04, 2007

"God is a Concept, by Which We Measure Our Pain." - J. Lennon


My fascination with Iggy Pop continues. I've been reading this book and I must say it's a great read. The Iggy Pop phenomenon is actually only one side of the equation. There's another person named James Osterberg in the mix - a quiet, bookish, articulate dude from Michigan. Together they make up a real interesting character, someone Robert Louis Stevenson could have written about (oh yeah, I think he already covered it!).

Iggy is a cat who has had at least nine lives. Just when you think he's down for the count, he emerges again - not exactly unscathed, but somehow unbowed. Too many drugs, too many women, too much rock and roll. Iggy Pop endured more humiliation, more abuse and more invalidation than a normal man should endure. The only thing is, this man can never get enough.

Pop/Osterberg seems to have this incredible love hate relationship with fame and fortune. Just when you think Osterberg is on the verge of success via Iggy Pop, Iggy goes one bridge too far and the gods of destruction come down upon his head. Osterberg couldn't imagine success without Pop, but Pop doesn't play by anyone's rules. It all makes for a good story, a classic r&r myth.

I found the chapters dealing with Iggy's unique collaboration with David Bowie amazing and infinitely interesting. In many ways those two guys seemed so incompatible, but it turns out they were creative twins and they helped each other draw out some of their best work on both sides of the fence: "Lust for Life," "Low," "Heroes."

As some one else once said, "it's only rock and roll, and I like it." Iggy Pop is one of those strange rock and roll heroes. He's crude, primal, a supreme asshole, a rock and roll animal. He lives the life of a r&r god/demon so we don't have to. If he didn't exist, we'd have to invent him.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Maybe I'm Amazed Too


Yesterday morning I read this week's New Yorker article on Paul McCartney. This is a man who has been in my consciousness since that famous debut on Ed Sullivan, oh so long ago. McCartney is now approaching 65, which is some kind of milestone. I loved the article, eventhough it sort of made me sad and inspired me at the same time, it gives a little sense of what comprises a day or two in Sir Paul's daily existence, working on music in the studio, dealing with fans and the press, talking about the Beatles and Lennon and age and death and what the hell happened, and what's it all about.

Talking about the Beatles, McCartney says this: "What are the odds that those four guys would find each other?" It's one of those haunting questions. What was it about those four lads, in that particular moment? Could it have only been them? Life is like that - perfect, irrevocable - it almost seems like destiny. Maybe it is/was destiny. And well, all you can do is sit back and be amazed by the twists and turns of a life - yours and those you know.

The first year Lennon & McCartney wrote songs together (they were teenagers) they came up with 100 songs. Only two of them ("Love Me Do," and "One After 909") ever made it to vinyl. Now isn't that just fantastic? Two creative souls, driving each other, collaborating - and the music came out in waves. What a unique, beautiful thing to share.

You get the sense that McCartney himself is amazed by it all too. And yes, he's older and we are too...and well yes, it is amazing.

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