Sunday, January 07, 2007

Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance

Writing this now ensconced south of the Mission District in old San Francisky where I left my heart/just got in from new yawk ("didja valk or did ya flew?", pace Eugene Levy's great SCTV character Sid Dithers), staying in a lovely house near Castro Street belonging to old friends Mark and Carolyn Plakias who relocated last year from the West Village to this fair city...Mark was with me at Yale, in fact we met and bonded for life in Howard Felperin's Lit X Class which also boasted my pals Bill Moseley and Jeff Bewkes as fellow non-linear-thinking Yalie classmates...I love the X Factor in just about anything (xxx)...and that class was no x-ception, boasting a great required reading list ("Ulysses" was on the jour de carte) and a stellar lineup of stylish junior faculty lecturers including the great Marjorie Garber who went on to write taboo-breaking tomes on bisexuality in literature, cross-dressing, and other gender-bending topical treatises, she gave a lecture during the course of that course on Pauline Reage's "Histoire d'O" viewed as a transgressive religious parable, wotta gal/great course/stellar curriculum, anyway Mark was a stone skinny hipster who loved Beefheart, free jazz in general, and carried the inevitable pack of Camels rolled up in the sleeve of his tee-shirt beatnik stylee (speaking of da beats, made homage to Ferlinghetti's great City Lights Books in North Beach today where my Catholic mystic friend Francis Xavier McCarthy used to work, also Re/Search publisher/editor Vale with whom I was in a band with along with his girlfriend Vermillion Sands for a minute in 1977 before she ran off with Rat Scabies of The Damned, this was during the 4 months or so I was living in Pacific Heights here with Ling after leaving Taiwan, during which time we tied the bloodknot...but that's another story) and noticed a Museum of Beat relics and marginalia across the street from this great bookstore, coupla doors down from the Condor where the great Carol Doda more or less put topless dancing on the map in the mid-sixties, eventually flashing her immense pneumatic charms in the pages of Playboy)...anyway Mark is now a bigshot working for France Telecom, and so they relocated him and his wife Carolyn (former fashion photographer) out here and man what a cool crib, they've made me feel quite at home :-)

I'm ostensibly out here to play Wednesday night at the Great American Music Hall (where I remember seeing a young Billy Ficca bashing the skins with Television in '77) for the Macworld Convention, a special event hosted by my pal Dusty Wright of (check my website homepage to click on a podcast Dusty conducted/produced about my music recently)...also to see Jerry Harrison and work in his studio in Sausalito on mixes for our upcoming live CD/DVD for Mighty Quinn...also to reunite with some old old friends living in the Bay Area...

Gods and Monsters live at the Bowery Poetry Club NYC 1/5/07

photos by Eva Apple | click to enlarge

Had a great gig the night before I left NYC with Gods and Monsters at the Bowery Poetry Club on Friday night, joint was PACKED (getting the "Nightlife" Pick of the Week in The New Yorker last week definitely didn't hurt attendance), graced by the presence of another old Yale friend, former femme rockcrit turned English prof the lovely Debra Rae Cohen with hubby in tow...also radiant Carolina Atlasovich, my dear friend Richard Porton, and Pakistani pistolera Shaista...and a surprise pop-in from Paris of high fashion/art-photographer Mark Lyon and his super beautiful wife Laura Brunelliere, another great photographer who took the shots of me that grace both the front and back covers of my retrospective album "Level the Playing Field"...Mark gifted me with a big new art-book of his photos and is involved in an upcoming show of his work at MOMA...another nice surprise was my childhood friend Bruce Waltuck and his son in the audience, haven't seen Bruce for a couple years he was one of my oldest friends in my elementary school days (and a mean guitarist himsself)...finally got home around 2am and was so wired and adrenalized from the gig (Billy was REALLY good that night, as were Ernie and Jason) that I failed to catch any sleep whatsoever just lay there in bed vibrating and buzzing until 5:30am when I had to get up and pack for a 6:30am departure to haven't had much sleep per usual but am ever so glad to be here now, beautiful crystalline bay area blue skies warm temperatures and clean air for the last 2 days, we went to the Alameda Jumble Sale Flea Market in Oakland today and found some great old books including Fellini's shooting script for "Juliet of the Spirits", now about to chow down on some excellent tri-tip barbecue (a San Francisco treat) courtesy of Mark who is an amazing chef...

anyway soooooo nice to be here!

and before I break for dinner here's a list of some of my favorite films of 2006, highly recommend you go see them if you get the chance:

1. Volver (Almodovar about my favorite director these days, Penelope Cruz rules)
2. 13 Tzametti (new Russian director's black and white French rural nightmare, rivalling the bleakest visions of Henri Clouzot)
3. Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville's harrowing film on the French resistance long overdue in the US)
4. Children of Men (Caroline's fave actor Clive Owen in compelling dystopian dangerous vision by way of one her favorite authors, PD James)
5. The Queen (very entertaining indeed, I've loved Helen Mirren ever since "The Long Good Friday")
6. Black Book (Paul Verhoeven's return to form, magnificent cast, heart-wrenching story)
7. My Summer of Love (was actually out the year before, but what the hey... great great film, on cable again recently, beautiful score by Alison Godfrapp and Will Gregory)
8. The Departed (terrific ensemble work with Nicholson, Damon and DiCaprio, finally convincing me that Leonardo DiCaprio is indeed a fantastic actor)
9. A Scanner Darkly (Robert Downey Jr. makes this film come alive, so bleak, so true)
10. The Good Shepard (right up there with "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold" as more or less telling it the way that it is...some major plot holes, and miscasting of Angelina Jolie, but found a restrained Matt Damon totally compelling, Skull and Bones sequences priceless, provocative script by "Munich" screenwriter Eric Roth--and was I the only one who actually liked "Munich"?)
Bonus: Rescue Dawn (just saw this at a screening, Werner Herzog's new film, not at all the mess the advance press has made out)

Music highlights? Playing in lovely Moscow and soulful Saint Petersburg last spring with Gods and Monsters with Ernie Billy Jason and Jerry and Carol Harrison, "all aboard for the night train!" from Saint Pete to Moscow...jamming electro-clash stylee in London and HyderaBAD, India, with DJ Cosmo and her crew (Romanian spa on the Black Sea was pretty cool too even though Cosmo got stranded in London due to security issues and missed it)... Joanna Newsom! new album "Ys" is really damn good, maybe the best I heard all year... but enjoyed her even more live solo without the strings at Pop Montreal this fall...Brazilian Girls the best I ever saw them this New Year's Eve at Irving Plaza, a glammed-out Sabina getting a bunch of blissed-out party people rushing the stage to semi-strip (one girl even did a Carol Doda) (for a moment)...the Roky Ericson documentary/live show at Pop Montreal, so engrossing/life-affirming, what a sensational comeback!...hanging with brilliant Sandy Pearlman and shpritzing wildly on a panel with him and Prof. Dan Levitin (nice NY Times writeup last week) at McGill University's "Future of Music" conference ...jamming with Czech legends the Plastic People at the Knitting Factory recently right after Vaclav Havel, Czech ambassador to the UN Martin Palous, and David Byrne came backstage full of cheer, good will and good words for Gods and Monsters...recording with Chris Cornell Chris Cornell Chris Cornell under the aegis of Steve Lillywhite Steve Lillywhite Steve Lillywhite in LA, cool runnings, big fun, played my ass off--what a great album project!...Fast 'N' Bulbous selling out the BimHuis in Amsterdam (listen to a broadcast on the internet in a couple weeks, check my website for details)...selling out the Rubin Museum here in NYC with "The Golem" last spring...appearing on Hans Flupsen's national Dutch tv show on VPRO with my guy lutist Jozef Van Wissem last fall (click on my website homepage for your viewing plaisir)...

so long... farewell... auf weidersehn goodbye (for now!)




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