wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Still Standing!" - Jake La Motta

I find that for my own sanity, (such as it is) that it's usually best to think moment to moment. To not look too far ahead or too far behind.

I mean, I do like to study history and read about people who lived long ago, in places lost in shadow, but usually I'm in the moment to moment of discovery and usually relating what I'm reading to my ever always now.

Still, human beings seem to have this weird propensity to count things. Days, years, decades. I must say that these last 10 years have been quite strange. Much of it is a blur. It's weird what we remember and what we forget.

I'm pretty sure we tend to forget the really important stuff. And what we remember is pretty sparse and lame. Oh yeah, that's my life we're talking about.

There was a lot of smoke and thunder. And people I know and love, died. Some things happened that can't be changed or erased. I guess that's how it works...

And well, finally, left in the corner of the ever present moment, "still standing!"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Importance of Being Oscar

"The soul is born old, but grows young.

That is the comedy of life.

The body is born young and grows old.

That is life's tragedy."

Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crazy Mixed Up Kids

You know, maybe there is a whole community of Gods.

Just like the Greeks imagined.

And maybe really they are just a bunch of crazy, mixed-up kids.

Kind of like high-school on steroids.

That would explain certain things.

Monday, December 28, 2009

"I've rolled in the dirt." - Tom Waits

This morning, while I brewed up a pot of coffee, Tom Waits' voice was riding the radio waves. He was hawking the latest Terry Gilliam movie in which he (Waits) plays the Devil. Talk about type-casting!

Of course, it sounds like a must-see film. Another Quixotic, snake-bit production from the over-heated cortex of Mr. Gilliam. Heath Ledger was to star but during production he drifted off into the sunset riding on 8 prescription drugs. Got to love our medicated mafia. Yee haw!

So Gilliam improvised a solution, multiple actors (including Jude Law and Johnny Depp) pitching in and finishing the film. This kind of stuff always happens to Terry Gilliam.

Anyway, here's my favorite line from Waits this morning: "A shadow of a shadow is light."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

World's Greatest Dad - Movie Magic

I totally agree with this little write-up about the soundtrack to Bobcat's "World's Greatest Dad."

One of the essential elements for me for an "all time favorite film" is the soundtrack. It's what can make a scene transcendent, indelible. It's what can get me to see a movie over and over.

And maybe my two favorite songs of this great soundtrack are "Love is Simple" and "Don't be Afraid You're Already Dead," by Akon/Family. Perfect marriage of image and sound. Now that's movie magic!

Don't need no stinking CGI! Just a great script, superb acting, committed work with absolute heart. Thank you Bobcat!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Genius of Bobcat Goldthwait

We had a nice Christmas day. We went to a Vietnamese place Pho Xe Tang -- Tank Noodle Restaurant on Broadway in Chicago. A really "authentic" place. A nice clean, well-lighted room. It was really bustling when we got there. The food was fresh - I had the Ginger Chicken. The menu is chock full of stuff. Loved it!

Then we watched a great little gem of a movie. It's called "World's Greatest Dad." It has to be one of the best movies released in 2009. I'm putting it on my all time favorites list which includes little movies like Rushmore, Donnie Darko, The Big Lebowski, 24 Hour Party People.

It doesn't sound very promising - Robin Williams playing a dad. But guess what? It's beautiful, very funny, and heartbreakingly sad. Probably not in that order. I mean it's both corrosively and endearingly funny. Robin Williams gives it all he's worth. You've never seen him give a better performance. The movie was written and directed by Bobcat Goldtwaith and I just love what he did - a fully realized vision.

A classic line from Goldthwait: "I am what I hate."

I have been told that I must seek out his other controversial movie "Shakes the Clown" which has been called “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.”

I figure it is a must see.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I Knew

My grip sort of loosens.

I can feel life sort of rushing out from between my fingers.

I have no desire to hold too tight.

This is a new development.

I observe myself and others.

It's like I'm watching life go on without me, although, I'm in it too.

There's a new disassociation, a disorientation.

It's neither agreeable nor disagreeable.

"Ever since I was a little ball of golden light, I knew what I wanted to be."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Little Pieces of Light

We showed a Black Forest highlight reel to a small group of folks last night.

A few minutes of color and flash.

Kind of a butterfly glimpse of the theater work we've done over the last 10 years.

That's how it goes.

The smoke clears and you're left with little pieces of light.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hold That Tiger!



This cheery holiday card came to me via e-mail. Armed with a computer and Photoshop and the world is your oyster.

It's hard to not be totally amused by Tiger's predicament. To go from the perfect image of the determined, focused, hard-nosed golf pro to the ultimate "player" is kind of dizzying.

One minute you are the ultimate brand spokesman, the next you are some kind of global laughing-stock. It's hard to feel sorry for the guy and at the same time you fear for his sanity. He went from totally boring golfing dude, to some kind of Turbo-Casanova. Wow.

Now if his pretty wife actually did go after him with a nine-iron, well it's almost like an O. Henry story. And if she didn't, well can we just say she did?

Monday, December 21, 2009

An Empty Void...


The Lovely Carla and I worked on our little storefront space yesterday. It's been slow going, but we are making progress. Our goal, as per Papa Hemingway - "a clean, well-lighted place."

We put up curtains, we painted, we moved stuff around. Listened to tunes while we worked - The Flying Burrito Brothers, Marianne Faithful, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (their new disc of movie soundtrack music is moody and haunting!) and Neil Young.

We are working towards a little "art sanctuary." A little space where anything can happen. You must create a void to fill a void.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grease

"Ain't nothing any good without it has some grease on it." - Tina (former Annie Mae Bullock, of Brownsville, Tennessee) Turner

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Amazing Vibe of Love

The days are getting really short. Kind of go from a dim darkness to a dark darkness. And all the shades of gray in between.

In the midst of the gray, we have been showered with gifts and validation and love. By people we hardly know.

How odd. Living for days on end, on the kindness of strangers.

If feels good, unreal. Don't want to jinx it.

The repressed Catholic in me (after all these years still haven't totally throttled that beast) thinks we don't really deserve it.

There's a tinge of guilt. So absurd. Probably best to just ride the amazing vibe of love...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hard Lessons

The hardest lessons...

1. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward.

This seems absurd. The result is you end up in the same place right? I don't know, over time I have learned that sometimes you do have to go backwards to go forward. I guess it's sort of a Zen thing. Or maybe it's cuz the earth is round?

2. Sometimes you just have to show patience.

This drives me mad. I mean the clock is ticking. Not getting any younger. Time may be relative, but it stops for no man. I need shit to happen now! Still, sometimes patience is a virtue. No one said a virtuous life is a happy life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Microbes - Abbie Normal!

So according to the Medea Hypothesis life is it's own worst enemy.

Sort of has the ring of truth, don't cha think?

And paleontologist Peter Douglas Ward wants us to know that:

"Multicellular life, understood as a superorganism, is suicidal."

So all you superorganisms out there take note. If you've ever been to a bar late on a Saturday night, you know what he's talking about.

"Succeeding at suicide would return Earth to the microbial-dominated state that has been the norm for most of its history."

The Microbes shall inherit the earth! All hail the microbe!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life During Wartime

The boiler is working.

The radiators are radiating.

Steam is filling our apartment.

Outside is colder than, (as Tom Waits once said) "the ticket-taker's smile at the Ivar theater."

It's a battle of elements just to keep our bodies warm.

We survive as a result of a war.

And that's just one of a million tiny wars that make up a life.

Viva la resistance!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Snakes

The snakes are sleeping.

No, they are awake, but laying low.

They never sleep.

They lie in the grass, coiled like fists.

Ready to spring at any moment.

And those moments always come.

You think you can be-friend them.

But this is not the case at all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friends

Playing that Human Game is such a trip. Put a bunch of humans in a room together. Fill up the punch bowl with some unholy concoction and watch the room spin out.

"It's a party!"

"We're having fun!"

As I've said before, fun isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Still, being human is pretty much the only bet left. At this point all one can do is kind of play out the string and see what happens.

Still I'm glad I skipped the punch bowl and stuck to the red wine. The morning after, I find myself in a state of wonder, stuck with the usual questions.

"Why?" "What happened?" "What does it all mean?" "Where am I going?" "Why a Duck?!"

And of course, these questions turn out to be my bosom buddies, my life-long best friends. They never fail me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Adapt, and Die a Little Later"

As they say, "adapt, or die." Of course, what they mean, "adapt, and die a little later." Or as the Lizard King once put it, "No one gets out of here alive."

And I guess that can be sort of depressing, or or sort of liberating, depending on the quality of the brew, the curvature of the earth, and whether it's a good hair day or not.

So a sub-zero day doesn't mean huddling on the floor of your apartment praying for Spring.

No it's means, bringing out the heavy artillery: one pair of long-johns, two pairs of socks, three pairs of gloves, the dead man's boots, two sweaters, one long wool scarf, a pair of shades, and a fluffy, almost impossibly silly hat.

Almost makes the day livable. Whatever it takes, baby!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Big Freeze

The Big Freeze has descended upon the Heartland.

There's probably a lesson in the experience.

Don't know what it could be.

As Yoko Ono once sang," Give me something that's not cold, cold, cold."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Song Writing

After hearing some of our music, someone suggested that the Lovely Carla and I should teach people how to write songs. I think they meant it as a compliment. This is exactly the kind of thing I recoil from (or should I say, this is exactly the kind of thing from which I recoil?).

I know songs are crafted things. Some songs are formulaic. Some notes and chords naturally go together.

You can study great songs (for instance get a Beatles chord book), and see how chords and notes and melody and harmony work together.

But for me song writing is kind of like...

imagining new cloud formations

drawing circles in a pond

catching smoke rings

riding a sunbeam

It is like another branch of magic. Too much thought and analysis of the process can kill it. And misses the actual thing entirely.

It's kind of like you can dissect a cat and catalogue all it's parts and then put it back together, but then you are left with a dead cat. I think what I love about music is like that too. The dissecting and cataloguing is one way to study, but then you are left with bits and pieces that don't really add up to that ineffable beauty and mystery of a perfectly realized song.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Surviving the Onslaught

L.A. was sunny and 70's every day.

Back to Chicago means the deep freeze. Snow, cold temps, no sunshine, just big gloomy clouds.

Still, it is home. Don't need a compass to tell me where I am.

And maybe there's something to be said for braving the elements and powering through?

Sort of like you get a sense of accomplishment just by surviving the onslaught?

It's an illusory way to live.

We pretend that just by living, not succumbing to the gloom, we have found some kind of measure of success.

Every tiny win is a win...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sweet Hand Job

As they say, "necessity is the Mother of Invention." And I think they really got that one right. And of course the definitive Mother of Invention, the Mother of all Mothers was Frank Zappa. And if he didn't exist, (or if he hadn't existed - goodbye sweet and sweaty Frank!), we would have had to invent him.

Now what's sort of funny and true about our insanely inventive consumer paradise is that much time and effort is spent on convincing us that really superfluous stuff is really, totally necessary.

And of course, most of it is total crap - mostly now made in China. Still, we are inundated with dazzling, relentless messages that without said crap, our lives are completely meaningless and full of misery.

I mean, our lives may be meaningless and full of misery, but probably not because we don't own even more superfluous (I love that word!) crap. So a lot of what life is about, is finding out what is necessary, and what is not. Most of what is necessary can not be purchased at your local mini-mall. And most of our insanely inventive consumer paradise is just a sweet hand job!

We are left with necessity, and it is a hard-headed Mother. And when one is confronted by that hard-headed Mother all one can do is invent like a mofo!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Brew

Too many days in a row of the same brew is not a good thing.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

No Failure Like Success... - B. Dylan

We did our Toys for Tots rock show last night. We were the openers, which was great. Turned out there was pretty much a full house. Our new drummer is so grounded and professional, he brought a whole new solid foundation to our sound.

We didn't realize this was really a missing ingredient for us. Sometimes you don't know what you're missing until you're not missing it.

I played my beat-up old Hohner guitar. It's like an old pair of boots. I probably take it for granted. But it's a monster of an acoustic guitar, solid and resonant. I can really get a nice percussive sound out of it.

The Lovely Carla sang like an angel. There is a new sound gelling, and it's exciting.

We raised money, and loads of toys for the kids. The night was a complete success. Sometimes things actually do work out.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Zing and Zest

Last night we had one of those magical sessions. We played music with a new drummer. He has an old 60's vintage kit. He is a professional, totally grounded individual. Such a contrast to the Lovely Carla and I. And maybe the magic is in blending such different energies?

We ran through our set for our Toys for Tots show tonight at the Heartland Cafe. We're on the bill with three other bands. This will be the first show with our new drummer and I hope we can bring it like we did last night. Suddenly tunes that we've played for awhile found a new zing and zest.

We all felt the adrenaline rush. There's something about a group all working together in the moment. It's like we've kicked open a new door to a new sound. We've never sounded tighter. The songs have never sounded better. Now the question is, can we do it all in a foreign place in front of a crowd?

We will find out...

Friday, December 04, 2009

"I guess when they said Tiger was working with his putter, they were talking about something else."

I don't know why I find the Tiger Woods thing fascinating. I think it's because I'm in awe of the Monster Media Machine. It is an amazing, multi-headed, never-sleeping beast. One that Tiger has ridden to enormous fame and fortune.

And if Tiger rides the Tiger, well, that Tiger can turn on a dime. One minute you are feeding on the spoils of victory, the next you are the meal.

The Monster that feeds you also eats you up and spits you out. It is an insatiable beast. Doesn't care about anything but being fed. Tiger wants his privacy, which is totally understandable. But the private Tiger and the public Tiger merged into one being, many dollars and many years ago, and that Tiger is just more fodder for the jaws and belly of the Machine.

The main lesson I draw from the whole thing? Sometimes it is best to keep your putter in your pants! Although, I understand this is easier said than done.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Orwellian Tragedy

Zero Hedge kind of sums up my feelings about Barack Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

"Nobel 'Peace' Prize winner Obama escalates war in Afghanistan in act of Orwellian tragedy."

Of course, even though I voted for the guy, he never called me for my advice. Still, if he would have asked, I would have said, "Don't fucking do it!"

I do think the dude has good intentions. But of course the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I'd hate to see another promising U.S. President go down in flames trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube of another cluster-fuck.

Oh well, I realize our biggest export is guns, and boots, and tanks, and bombs. Maybe there's something wrong with that?!?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Post L.A. - Pure Vibe!

Back home. It was all smooth sailing yesterday. We cabbed, and bused, and planed. As we waited to board the plane yesterday, I got a call from the booker at the Rainbow. They actually want us to come back and do a show! Surprise.

I guess our Open Mic thing went better than we thought. Now that's a kick in the pants! Not sure, but I think we're gonna plan another L.A. trip and play the Rainbow! Look out L.A.

Anyway, it's great to be back home with my coffee maker, my own bed, my own private little world. Still what an amazing trip. It is very humbling to realize that we have some great friends - generous, kind, brilliant, beautiful.

Not sure what we've done to deserve all the love and attention. But one thing I learned on the trip, I can just let it all go! No guilt, no pain. Just pure vibe. I wonder how long that will last?!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

L.A. Diary - Day Seven

Our trip took a decided David Lynchian turn yesterday. We went to the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Blvd. for the Monday night Open Mic.

It was quite the experience. The Open Mic is upstairs, sort of looks like a ship's galley. Kind of a hostile room filled with the Monday night regulars - comics and musicians. Not too funny. The air of desperation kind of hung over the room like a black cloud.

We were definitely outsiders. The young comic before us was doing a harsh Don Rickles type schtick and he did a riff on our name - WhiteWolfSonicPrincess.

I did admire his ability to improvise a bit in the moment, but the vibe was not welcoming. Still we gave it our best, did two songs and tried to fill the room with our sound. We got a polite round of applause from the hard core group. Not exactly satisfying, but we met the challenge and survived to tell the tale.

After doing our two songs we left the Rainbow and waited for a bus across from the Roxy. There was a total carnival scene in front of the Roxy: rock and rollas, wise guys and good fellas, skin-heads, bikers, hot mamas, incredibly large tattooed women, incredibly thin girls balancing on impossible spiked heels, there was "Golden Shoes Guy," and "Falling Down Pants Guy," and yes, even a dwarf.

It was all so L.A. surreal. And the bus trip back home was a freak-show carnival ride too. Bus people anywhere are such a very special crowd.

Our last night in L.A.: Memorable.

Another travel day today. Shuffling from one compartment to another. Soon back to the Chicago reality. Wonder what's in store?

Blog Archive