Monday, October 13, 2008

Beyond the Palin (She Do the Police in Different Voices)/Axolotl!

OY VEY--Bill Kristol ("Blue Persuasion") is at it again, boys and girls...

Not content to have activated Sarah P (a lifesize Chatty Cathy doll if ever there was one) by pulling her string, puppet master-like, in his "exclusive" interview last week in the pages of the Times, encouraging her to take up thy staff and spew her litany of smear-by-association anti-Obama canards both in his column and live on the road, where she was observed shamefully whipping up the redneck Republican rabble into lynch-mob overdrive ("Kill him!" "Traitor!" "Off with his head!" "Not one of us!") with frothings about Obama, William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright--no, not content with his community organizing, Little Billy has now seen the error of his ways, as Obama's poll numbers continue to soar...

And thus yesterday in his Op-Ed column, Billy Boy recanted (sort of)--

Realizing that baiting Obama with the rabble's curse hadn't diminished our next President's standing one iota, may indeed have had the opposite effect, Cowabunga-low Bill now urges both McCain and Palin to lay off their junior Westbrook Peglering schtick (the inimitable Frank Rich got it so right in his column last Sunday...By urging both them both to finish out their days on the campaign trail in Happy Warrior Mode (hopefully on their way to the Happy Hunting Ground), Kristol would have them substituting the Politics of Ecstasy for the Politics of the Pigsty...

Ya boo--mighty White a' ya, Bill!!

(and I don't mean Theodore)...

"Gobble Gobble/We Accept You/One of Us!/ One of Us!"
-- initiation song from Tod Browning's "Freaks", 1932

"I am a member of the rabble in good standing"
--Westbrook Pegler

"Offend one--and you offend them all!"
--prologue to Tod Browning's "Freaks", 1932

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member"
--Groucho Marx, telegram to the Friar's Club of Beverly Hills, as quoted in "Groucho and Me", 1959

Axolotl!

I had no sooner returned from my recent sojourn south of the border down Mexico way with Spanish poet Bruno Galindo when I was startled in the midst of my morning sesame bagel nosh (a sesame bagel shmeared with generous lashings of butter and Marmite--try it, you might like it!) by an article in the same-said Times, concerning the near extinction of the indigenous Mexican salamander, the mythic axolotl, from the waterways of our fair neighbor to the South,

Axolotl!!

(Shake and shake the ketchup bottle/first none comes out/then Axolotl)...

As an inveterate reader of Mad magazine in my chequered-demon youth, axolotl is definitely a word to conjure with (along with fershlugginer, Arthur...and potrzebie)...

Sorry to say, no axolotls were spotted on this trip...

Although the main gig at the poetry festival I performed at last Saturday night in Mexico City (Poesia En Voz Alta '08) was held in a large tent on a leafy waterway abutting the stately Casa del Lago manse...so if an axolotl was lurking in the shoals, he or she did not make themselves manifest...

Bruno Galindo and Gary Lucas, Poesia en Voz Alta '08 Festival, Casa Del Lago, Mexico City, 10/11/08

Gary shakes some action at Poesia en Voz Alta '08 Festival, Casa Del Lago, Mexico City, 10/11/08

Sombra Hombre, Gary Lucas and Bruno Galindo, Poesia en Voz Alta '08 Festival, Casa Del Lago, Mexico City, 10/11/08

click to enlarge

In any case, in the midst of special fx-grade thunder and lightning and rain pouring down so hard it got picked up by the mics onstage, providing a mad-patter percussive patina under our music-and-spoken-word alchemy , Bruno and I performed before a sold-out, incredibly enthusiastic crowd last Saturday night (this particular festival REALLY knew how to promote an event right...in fact most of my second day in Mexico was spent in interviews with the national dailies...plus we did a live appearance crosstown on Radio Reactor...you can read some of our press here, from El Universal, Excelsior, Milenio, and left-political magazine Emmeequis)...

Hands across the aether, Poesia en Voz Alta '08 Festival, Casa Del Lago, Mexico City, 10/11/08

Gary runs the voodoo down for national Mexican TV, Poesia en Voz Alta '08 Festival, Casa Del Lago, Mexico City, 10/11/08

Blurring Boundaries, Poesia en Voz Alta '08 Festival, Casa Del Lago, Mexico City, 10/11/08

Mexico City Poster Boys Lucas and Galindo

photos by Jesus Quintero | click to enlarge

This was my first time in Mexico City, and I totally fell in love with the place, the people, the sights, the sounds...and the food, omigod, 3 count them 3 tacos al pastor (pork shavings and pineapple in a soft taco) available for a buck fifty at various roadside attractions, and on and on...truly a Blade Runner megalopolis on a human scale, surprisingly verdant beyond belief despite the palpable air pollution, it combined for me (in a way) the best aspects of Tokyo and Paris...

After being picked up at the aeroporta by the lovely Lola Alfonso I was ensconced in a super-cool old art-deco hotel, the Imperial in the Reforma district of central Mexico City--just down the road apiece from Cafe La Habana in La Zona Rosa, a 24 hour non-stop cafeteria with fantastic huevos rancheros and fried plantain breakfasts, friendly waiters, and dripping ambiance (Che and Fidel are apocryphally rumored to have plotted the Cuban Revolution there)...

I arrived in Mexico City on Thursday Oct. 2nd coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Oct. 2nd massacre of students and social reformists which took place in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, a few weeks before the Mexican Olympics...and there was an enormous protest march and demonstration taking place in the late afternoon out on the 12 kilometer long Paseo de la Reforma running in front of my hotel, massed battalions of left, socialist, and communist demonstrators (lots of young people and youth groups) chanting and singing, I took to the streets to observe, climbing up on one of the sculptured plinths in the center of the avenue along with many of the press photographers covering the march, and was profoundly stirred by the emotional heat generated by the marchers, whose procession seemed to stretch on to infinity (Paseo de la Reforma is LONG), carrying banners mourning "los olvidados" (the forgotten ones, as in the Bunuel film of the same name); "los desaparecidos"--the "disappeared"--as in Argentina's Dirty War)...when you think of 1968 in a world-historical sense one flashes here in the US on the MLK and RFK assassinations and the Chicago DNC police riot...in France of course it's the student uprising at the Sorbonne and elsewhere, the Situationists, and the general strike...in Latin America one encounters an endless spiral of repressive governmental clampdowns that went on and on and on...

Spent one afternoon visiting the actual Plaza de las Tres Culturas (festooned with protest banners left over from Oct. 2nd, you could see where rooftop government snipers picked off protesters in '68 from high atop the roof of the Catholic Church that dominates the plaza)...checking out the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadelupe (one of the world's largest Catholic Centers, sporting the definitive painting of the Virgin of Guadelupe--notice how she appears to be treading on a devil's head)...and ended up in the Teotihuacán Aztec Ruins, now a designated World Heritage site, where I strolled along the Avenue of the Dead, checked out the Citadel housing the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, and (very gingerly) climbed the myriad steps to the summit of both the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, film at 11...

Gary in front of the Pyramid of the Moon, Aztec Ruins, Teohuatican, Mexico, 10/06/08

Gary on the summit of the Pyramid of the Moon, overlooking the Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacan, Mexico, 10/6/08

Gary on top of the ritual dolmen in front of the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan, Mexico, 10/6/08

click to enlarge

Another bright midnight, another blinding downpour...wended my way in a taxi in the hammering rain up some very treacherous slopes with the lovely Mercedes Ferrer, a supremely gifted Spanish singer/songwriter...took us about an hour to creep slowly skywards up a mountain while we chatted about this and that in the back seat of a taxi, while our intrepid driver kept narrowly swerving to avoid the oncoming rush of traffic, finally alighted on the summit of a misty mountain hopping with a stunning view of Mexico City, wherein resides Mercedes' producer, a Sony Mexico recording artist with a comfortable home studio, I unfurled my National steel and poured honey and silver over 2 tracks for her forthcoming album...

Bruno was a brilliant guide during my week in Mexico City, he lives in Madrid but has visited and performed in Mexico many times, so he took me to some cool places (such as the awesome Historic Center, and Plaza Garibaldi, sipping tequila while strolling mariachis perform right in your face was big fun)...at our concert we did an hour where I mashed-up burnished dark blues, skewed funk, 30's Chinese pop, and spacious electronic ambience with the word, the almighty word...played some new music on the steel near the end of the show, a lovely piece I wrote in Paris this year, Bruno improvised a poem so heartfelt it brought a tear while I was playing/auditing...and the crowd took us to its collective, uh, bosom...

And we did it again here in NYC last Sat. night Oct. 11th at the Bowery Poetry Club, before a nicely full house that included Perry Brandston, partners with the late DJ Adam Goldstone in the Departure Lounge Crew...and the lovely radiant electronica siren the great Vanessa Daou...(and we're doing it again tonight at the Gershwin Hotel)...

Our Casa del Lago show was filmed for a national Mexican television program so I should have a clip soon hopefully to post, I will post photos soon as well...the fans came out in droves (there are a sizable contingent of Beefheart fans in Mexico City), Phillip Johnston's brother Tom was there, as was Ruy Trueno and Catalina and Jesus Quintero and Pacho the major-domo from the Festival and so many cool people I met on this trip...

There was an incredible poetry slam at the Zinco Jazz Club the night before I left, with a crack young post-bop jazz combo wailing between sets of the very heated and protracted competition and where the energy being thrown-down from the young and attractive Mexican poets--seemed every other person in this wall to wall-peopled subterranean club was a poet!--was truly inspiring and remarkable (brought to life vivid reveries of the Visceral Realist Poets in Roberto Bolano's stunning novel "The Savage Detectives"--treat yourself to this magnificent book, one of the most memorable in years, read it back to back with Malcolm Lowry's "Under the Volcano" in late-summer--whew!)...such great energy, such a good night, I adore Mexico, it is something else, coolest new port of discovery for me since India...

and if McCain wins...and Katz's Deli on Houston Street goes out of business (my two benchmarks)--guess where you'll find me...


xxLove


Gary

Ps Night before I left I was invited to sit and be filmed and to wax poetic about my pal Nick Cave for a forthcoming series of 14 documentary films commissioned by Mute Records, each one concerning one particular album of Nick's vast Bad Seed output, I chose "Henry's Dream", but really it would be hard to pick a favorite (and I go way back in my enthusiasm for The Birthday Party's fabulous singles "Release the Bats" and "Nick the Stripper")...Nick and Warren Ellis have written music for the new BAM Production of Buchner's "Woyzeck" and I am going to try and attend--hey, Nick's my guy--though as good as it no doubt is, it will be facing mighty stiff competition from Alban Berg, whose opera "Wozzeck" I devoured/dissected in Beekman Cannon's "Opera as Drama in the 20th Century" seminar at Yale, where it burned itself into my brain--"Der Wasser is Blut!"...indeed...

PPS My sister Bonnie, an exceptionally gifted visual artist, has new work up in a cool new group show entitled "Wrestling Angels" on now until Nov. 1st at the ISCP Gallery at 1040 Metropolitan Avenue (corner of Morgan Ave. in Williamsburg, curated by Marion Callis...If you're in town I highly recommend checking Bonnie's work out, her art touches on psycho-sexual issues from a feminist perspective and are always rendered immaculately, either in her faux-innocent oil paintings--I used one for the cover of my album compilation "Operators are Standing By", you can see it here...the original title of the painting is "Girl with Big Shoes", and it really speaks to a loss of innocence in pursuit of one's goals (good metaphor for strivers everywhere)--or also her amazing labor-intensive assemblages utilizing small dolls, ribbons, wedding cake accouterments, frilly "feminine" things that hint at a very Freudian troubling of the waters of adolescence...the other artists in the show (Laura Elkins and Carol Peligian) are showing strong work there also...Go Now.

2 Comments:

Blogger Iria F. Crespo said...

Great photos and you are an excellent writer: true ... better than me! : )

Iria F. Crespo

11/13/2008 9:57 AM  
Blogger Iria F. Crespo said...

Sorry I'm stupid with my 2 comments hahaha Crazy Iria, I know, I know ...

11/13/2008 9:59 AM  

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