Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Darling, Come and Join Me"...

was Vampira's epistle to Jimmy, scribbled on a photo of her sitting over an open grave at Forest Lawn Cemetery in LA in the mid-50's and sent to James Dean, an enticement and a provocation to the recently-arrived-in-Hollywood protean young actor with a significant interest in the occult, who later reputedly dated her...

The original rare opening to the Vampira Show (1954)

Now the great Maila Nurmi has died at age 86, and Tim Lucas--the irrepressible polymath editor of Video Watchdog and author of "Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark", has written the best eulogy to the first ever television horror film host and the star of "Plan 9 from Outer Space" (and also, the absolute template for Elvira, who ripped her off shamelessly)--read Tim's posting of Friday Jan. 11th here--you might also cast an eye at Maila Nurmi's Wikipedia page...

I first met Tim Lucas (no relation--but another brother of the free spirit) at the Chiller Theater Convention out at the Jersey Meadowlands in 1993, where he and his wife Donna were chaperoning the incandescent Barbara Steele to a meet 'n greet with her fans, who were and are legion (and I am most assuredly one of them)...Tim recently did the commentary and helped compile a definitive Mario Bava DVD set for Anchor Bay, he is an erudite film and music brainiac and pop culture expert, and one of the trusted Knowledge Brothers, along with my friends Mitch Blank, Mitch Myers, Bob Strano, Richard Porton, Fred Perry, David Dalton, and Steve Beeber (there are more of course...you know who you are)...and his staggering new Mario Bava book, which weighs in at a hefty 12 pounds and 1128 pages of miniscule type, with a foreword by Martin Scorsese--the luscious hitherto unknown color stills from the great black and white fever dream "La Maschera del Demonio" (a/k/a "Black Sunday", 1960) alone make it worth the price of admission--even if it does cost more than a pretty penny ($260 in the US!)--also, you need a sturdy table in front of you to prop it up and peruse it, no lap-dancing with this baby--and you can order it online and at bavabook.com.
Also please check out http://www.bavabook.blogspot.com/ which reprints reviews of Tim's Bava tome (Dave Kehr gave Tim and his Bava scholarship a rave in the NY Times recently here--also check this out)...I recently spotted a copy of Tim's Mario Bava book prominently displayed in the window of the Cinema Store in London's Upper St. Martin's Lane, the best store for hard to find foreign and cult film DVDs and cinema-related books, stills and posters in London (Cine.Qua.Non at Staalstraat 14 in Amsterdam is another fantastic outpost/resource for cineastes)...go and seekest forthwith!

Another book worth tracking down and owning is Steven Lee Beeber's excellent compendium of insomniac tales and related artwork, "Awake! A Reader for the Sleepless" (Soft Skull Press)--not only will you find my black humoresque short story "Me and the Golem" in there (hint hint) but also fascinating entries from Charles Simic (the current US Poet Laureate), Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Ames, John Sayles, Lydia Lunch, Louise Bourgeois, one of the Suicide Girls, Lynne Tilman, and many others...Steve is the author of "The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's", a great writer, and a cool guy-- you can order his book from Amazon and also check out his very entertaining blog here...

Have to dash now as I'm leaving today for my beloved Amsterdam--playing the Dutch premiere of my "Sounds of the Surreal/Monsters from the Id" at the fabulous Paradiso (my 20th or 21st appearance there since performing with Captain Beefheart there in 1980--I've lost count!) on next Tuesday Jan. 22nd at 9pm...also am teaching a guitar masterclass and lecturing on the craft of songwriting at the Amsterdam Music Conservatorum this coming Monday at 11am...

and most significantly I am recording a commissioned solo guitar score for NPS, the Dutch National Radio, whose studios are located at the Dutch media enclave up in Hilversum--I will be accompanying the last known extended interview with Don Van Vliet a/k/a Captain Beefheart with my original music, an interview that was conducted in 1993 by my good friend the broadcasting journalist mover-and-shaker Co de Kloet, the go-to Beefheart and Zappa guy in the Netherlands...stay tuned dear readers...




Anonymous pard0e said...

Looking forward to the Beefheart interview soundtrack -- and Happy Birthday today to Don!

1/15/2008 3:48 PM  

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Let's Kick It Up a Notch--BAM!

Well here it is 2008 (when do we recuperate?)-- and intimations of glad tidings were in the air round midnight Friday morning when mirabile dictu, Bob Fass, legendary WBAI radio hostest with the mostest, delivered the news that Barack Obama had swept the Iowa caucuses to Peter Stampfel and myself, who were in the Pacifica Radio studios inner sanctum rickety sanctorum doing our Du-Tels thing to death to sacree the new year--and yea verily the fun quotient increaseth manifold upon said pronouncement from the Fass-master, hey I'll take any Democrat in the storm in the face of the full force Republican gale emanating from Washington for nigh on what seems an eternity, an ill wind that bloweth no good that has decimated the American landscape/robbed us of our good name in the world (one remembers doddering Maurice Stans, then finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, sweating on the hot seat during the Watergate hearings demanding of Senator Sam Ervin: "Give me back my good name!")...I like Hilary and John Edwards just fine, and would vote for them in a New York minute--but given my druthers would much prefer to see our ship of state commandeered by Obama (Bamalam! Obama has a vision! Bamalam! Obama has a dream!--good campaign theme song which I offer here now gratis to the DNC media spin doctors, who should import Spiderbait to provide the backing track and get Kelis to do the rap --Lukie looky yonder, Dylan had a parody of this Leadbelly field holler smack dab in the middle of "Tarantula", Nick Cave delivered a rocking version on his "Kicking Against the Pricks" album...it's an enduring classic of Americana, with proven rebel-rousing appeal)...

Peter and I followed the good news with a 3 hour set for Bob Fass that set our feet flying out on the street at 3:30am, watching the harbor lights twinkling over the Battery after an exhilarating nonstop banter and strum that merely touched the tip of our inexhaustible Du-Tels repertoire so carefully accumulated over many years of performance--I love playing with Peter--and in this age of digital empowerment, we are planning a surprise (or two or three) for later this year--stay tuned...

We did Bob's long running show "Radio Unnameable" ostensibly to plug the digital reissue of our stellar little album "No Knowledge of Music Required", which is now available for download over iTunes and most other digital portals worldwide through IODA, along with 6 other of my long out of print catalog albums (the links to order are on my homepage at garylucas.com)...also because he's a great guy, and a New Yawk countercultural beacon of sanity in the American Night...'sfunny about the history of this album, basically Peter and I came together as The Du-Tels in '94 because of a mutual admiration society thang (used to love hearing the Holy Modal Rounders played on WAER growing up in the 'Cuse--"floatin' around on a belladonna cloud" of lordly nightshade...nah just kidding...in fact once I got my wheels I installed a cassette recorder in my Camaro and used to drive around town picking up hitchhikers at random and would inflict the Rounders' first album on 'em just to watch their reaction...heard Peter sing a solo version of "Goldfinger" many years later at the old Knit and was hooked, again, and suggested we join forces, which he readily agreed to after salaaming me in the locker room of the Printing House for approaching him and general acoustic guitar prowess) and almost immediately went down to Nawlins to record the record with ace producer Mark Bingham (whose name was inadvertently dropped from the album credits in the hurly burly surrounding its rush release--sorry, Mark!)--then spent a year or two flogging it around downtown New York to the usual suspects (Zorn, Kramer, Dorf--all of whom had active labels at the time, and all of whom you'd think would have automatically "gotten" me and Peter)--but Noooooo...still, good taste is timeless--and in 2000 with the winds of change sweeping through 74 Leonard Street and environs we secured a deal with the reactivated Shimmy Disc/Knitting Factory label--and presto! The album came out in June that summer, and a rave review of our record in Rolling Stone with accompanying photo of little old us ensued almost immediately upon release, fame, glory and the sweat and grime of a million dimes followed...and now we're back--and that's a fact--so "haha, who's got the last laugh now?"

I should mention that right down the hall from Bob Fass at WBAI is Amy Goodman's office...the lovely and brainy host of "Democracy Now" was in fine form moderating a panel concerning "A Question of Impeachment", the Culture Project's ongoing Trial By Theater whose last performance I attended with Caroline and Steve and Ruth Hendel on Dec. 16th (Beethoven's birthday, for all you Schulz and Schroeder fans) at their theater on Mercer and Broome...Nation columnist John Nichols sparkled and shined as panel moderator, contributing witty, pointed and incisive commentary on the absolute necessity of impeachment sooner than later (Gore Vidal has hailed John as possessing "the sharpest sword" of any American giant-slayer)... also on the panel was the lovely and impressive author/ex-Yalie Naomi Wolf (celebrated feminist author of "The Beauty Myth", as well as her latest book "The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot", about America's ongoing slippery slide into neo-fascism, a book which she claimed has predictably been black-balled for review by most major publications stateside), alongside lovely and super-articulate Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyer's Guild...some of the most stimulating political discussion in years, their panel galvanized the crowd--together they made a very persuasive case about the need to be afraid, be very afraid, for the future of our country, and our collective overwhelming desire to vote the rascals out a'stirring in this fair land of ours...Jackson "These Days" Browne wrapped up the evening with some impassioned politically charged songs, and we walked out of the theatre chastened and provoked, made aware once more of the major imperative for change, now (BAMALAM! Obama has a mandate! BAMALAM! Obama has a plan!)(one hopes...)

Been awhile since the last posting due to the intervention of the holidays and magnitude of workload (hey I'm not complaining!), I took Caroline to London to visit her mother over xmas per usual and managed in the midst of holiday folderol to squeeze in a studio session with Colleen Murphy a/k/a DJ Cosmo, we just received an excellent rave from Kris Needs (who if I'm not mistaken took over the editorship of ZigZag magazine from the venerable Pete Frame some years ago) for our upcoming new Wild Rumpus EP "Purple Somersault" out on Bitches Brew first week in February, I myself laid down myriad crackerjack tracks (toy surprise in every track) for Colleen to slice and dice...hooked up with the lovely Yuliana Galitskaya and Some Bizzare label boss Stevo on xmas eve, ran down a bunch of new songs with Najma Akhtar, and hung with the Dark Poets (James Hunter and Sarah Hilliard) a few days later in preparation of the release of our album "Gary Lucas Vs. The Dark Poets--Beyond the Pale" March 23rd... check out our myspace site here.

Gary Lucas and The Dark Poets (James Hunter and Sarah Hilliard), London, 12/27/07

photos by Maria Zajdler | Click to enlarge

Did an interview and performance up at Gibson Guitars in the old Hit Factory studios on west 54th the day before taking off for London with French film director Jerome de Missolz, for a documentary entitled "WILD THING" that he's making for the French/German cultural channel ARTE in association with INA (the French National Film Archive), a film retracing the amazing journey of rock music, from its deepest roots to the hear and now, he was a totally cool guy, as was his lovely assistant--the documentary should be first broadcast this spring in France and Germany to an estimated audience of 6-7 million and then play the festival circuit...watch out strange kin people...




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