Thursday, September 25, 2008

Goes t'Show You What Uh Moon Can Do

Shock horror! Prescient science friction abounding:

"Somebodies leavin' peanuts on the curbins
For uh white elephant escaped from the zoo
With love"
--"Moonlight on Vermont", Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet)
from the album "Trout Mask Replica" (1969, Straight)

MEXICO CITY — A five-ton elephant escaped from a circus and wandered onto a busy highway, where it was hit by a bus and died on Tuesday.

State officials say bus driver Tomas Lopez, 49, also was killed and at least four passengers were hospitalized after the pre-dawn collision in Ecatepec, just north of Mexico City.

Mexico State police spokesman Juan Sanchez said the elephant escaped from its cage at the Circo Union, but he declined to give any other details. He said officials were investigating.

The state-funded Notimex news agency reported that the elephant named Indra escaped as its keeper arrived to feed it, knocking down a metal door that led to the street and wandering through two neighborhoods before trying to cross the highway.
--Fox, "Bus Crashes Into 5-Ton Escaped Elephant on Mexican Highway", 9/23/08

Janitors of lunacy had this to say, also:

"The president of Merrill Lynch raised a half-million for McCain before the company was sold last week for half its assumed value. But why do I bring this up? Why? You've heard all this before. So have I. I'm lighting out for the territories."
--from Garrison Keillor's "Moose on the Loose in Palin Country", International Herald Tribune, 9/17/08

"Merrill Lynch is Bullish on America"
--Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet)
Spoken through his horn during "Spitball Scalped Uh Baby", soprano sax/percussion duet with Ed Marimba (Art Tripp),
Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven Conn. 1/72

Leave it to fair and balanced Fox News (and me) to actually run a photo of the dead pachyderm (not such a groundbreaking precedent, actually--one of Young Tom Edison's early newsreels circa 1903 actually documented the death of a pachyderm via electrocution...then there was the dead elephant wrestled to earth by the Ymir--name taken from Norse mythology, not to be confused with the Arabic Emir--in Nathan Juran/Ray Harryhausen's 1957 "20 Million Miles to Earth")...but I digress!

According to Kurt Loder, whom I ran into last night co-hosting Dusty Wright's occasional film salon for (focus being a screening of one of Martin Scorsese's greatest yet mainly unsung achievements, namely his 1985 flick "After Hours"), all is not rebarbative rightwing nonsense (all the news that hints of mint) at Fox News these days, as the staff can now boast the presence of the estimable Michael Shore, late of CNN, MTV News, the Soho Weekly News etc.--a discerning rockcrit, and all around good guy, shoulda invited you to my "Beefheart Night at the Knit" Tribute, Mike, mea culpa mea culpa..

Life is An Obscure Hobo Bumming a Ride on the Omnibus of Art Dept.:

Speaking of "After Hours", Dusty and Kurt a'fore hours last night introduced a screening of this claustrophobic, paranoid black comedy set in darkest early 80's Soho as part of the ongoing film salon series held every few months at chic Italian Soho boutique Napapajiri...Caroline and I trucked on down to catch again this very special film chockablock with fun cameos by delightful cult actors such as dominatrix badgirl Linda Fiorentino, who was so great in "The Last Seduction"...the actual Cheech and Chong!...late toughguy Victor Argo (one of Israeli cult-director Amos Kollek's favorite repertory players, so good in Amos' "Fast Food, Fast Women") ...and Dick Miller--yes, that Dick Miller, one of the lights of the early AIP black and white Roger Corman opuses such as 1959's "A Bucket of Blood", also seen munching daffodils in Corman's original 1960 "The Little Shop of Horrors"...

"A Bucket of Blood"'s connection to "After Hours" is crucial, as a major plot point of the latter concerns mad sculptress Kiki Bridges (played by a very punked-out L. Fiorentino) who churns out both plaster bagel 'n cream cheese paperweights, as well as writhing humanoid sculptures--and her dalliance with dashing "After Hours" anti-hero Griffin Dunne, who eventually becomes a living sculpture himself, after being accidentally doused by an overhead shower of liquid plaster in the sub-basement of Club Berlin--a definite homage to "Bucket 'O Blood"'s majorly creaking plot contrivance (corpses immersed in plaster later exhibited as sculpture)--not that far afield actually from ancien Soho's nightlife penchant for displaying actual human beings as sculptural props, pace Area's shop-window tableaux vivants, all very Gilbert and George--plot thingy itself a gloss on the central MacGuffin of Michael Curtiz's 1933 "Mystery of the Wax Museum", later remade in '53 by Andre de Toth as "House of Wax"...

But why not see for yourself?

The entire "Bucket of Blood" is available for viewing here...and dig that opening beat poetry sequence, with saxophone obligato by a young Paul Horn, years/miles away from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine...

Also, while I'm at it, and in preparation for my upcoming Mexico City poetry and music gig with renowned Spanish word-slinger Bruno Galindo, feast yr eyes on this clip from Jack Arnold's 1958 "High School Confidential!", with Phillipa Fallon as a sexy beat poetess in a sequence which may well have given a 12 year old Patti Smith some, uh, pointers, set to the sizzling backbeat of Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester, "The Kid"), of all people!...wotta cast, too--amblin' Russ Tamblyn ("West Side Story", "Tom Thumb"), John Drew Barrymore, the fabulous Mamie Van Doren, Charles Chaplin Jr., Michael Landon ("Little House on the Prairie", Bonanza's Little Joe--who, as we all know, always gave it away), William Wellman, Jr., Mel Welles (Gravis Mushnik in "Little Shop of Horrors")--and of course, the one and only Jerry Lee Lewis ("Think about it!...")

Also noted: "After Hours" score by Howard "The Fly" Shore features major coppage of Blue Oyster Cult guitarist Don Roeser (Buck Dharma)'s triadic/tritonic guitar arpeggios from the transcendental instrumental break from Buck's anthemic "Don't Fear the Reaper", said appropriation occurring in the film's penultimate sequence wherein Dunne is chased through the streets of Soho by "tough titty"-talkin' Catherine O'Hara (Mary Margaret's sister), who rides herd in her Good Humor Truck egging on a mob of crazed Soho vigilantes to Get Griffin Done (having been coaxed into learning by heart this particular musical arabesque by Blue Oyster Cult producer/Svengali Sandy Pearlman for last year's Canadian Music Week seminar--which pitted me playing the song live against the Guitar Hero game recorded simulacrum of the tune-- I know whereof what I speak here)...

Ahhhhhh, "After Hours" (luscious, suicidal Roseanna Arquette to hapless nebbish Griffin Dunne: "But if you close/ the door/the night could last/ for evah")...

Lastly, final sequence of AH (Paul Hackett, the low level data-entry employee played by Dunne, staggers into his office at the crack of dawn covered with shards of broken plaster after enduring the worst all-nighter of his short life, sits at his desk in his forlorn cubicle, and as if on cue his computer lights up with an ominous personal message: "Good Morning, Paul") is definitely the primary inspiration for the opening sequence of the Wachowski Bros. 1999 goodie "The Matrix", wherein Keanu Reeves, similarly a low-level word processor working in a 1984-ish/"Brazil"ian-style cubicle, is suddenly greeted with cryptic computer messages addressed to his bad self...hey, Art begets Art begets Art (Tripp)...

Think I'll take a lunch break now with just-in-from-the-coast Larry Lasker (co-writer of "Awakenings", "True Believer"... and "War Games", starring a young Matthew Broderick, who told me what a big Beefheart fan he was back in 1982 when me and the guys were recording "Ice Cream for Crow" at Amigo Studios in North Hollywood)...

More about my recent European sojourns just a little after awhile...



ps It is my sad duty to report that my dear friend Jamie Cohen, who was so great reading at the "Beefheart Night at the Knit" Tribute to Don Van Vliet on April 9th, passed away at 3am on 9/11 in the arms of his girlfriend Donna Love...Jamie was a true American original who inspired so many who came into contact with him, we loved him dearly for his wit and musical acumen in a music biz sadly bereft of both...a formidable A&R man (check his credentials here), in recent years Jamie had retired from the LA music wars to Santa Fe by way of Austin where he was working on new media projects...Donna tells me he loved the fact that he was included in the CultureCatch "Beefheart Night" podcast, and he certainly gives a sensational reading of a very prolix tongue-twister of a Van Vliet poem...he will be missed.

Meanwhile, more videos have surfaced from "Beefheart Night at the Knit", including a super reading by Lee Ranaldo and an excellent reminiscence by the great Giorgio Gomelski, and are available for viewing here.

Also, there is a teaser track of "Woe-is-uh-me-Bop" from the upcoming Fast 'N Bulbous album "Waxed Oop (An impetuous stream bubbled up)" out Jan. '09 on Cuneiform available now on the jukebox at the Fast 'N Bulbous MySpace site.


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