Wednesday, March 30, 2016

quote unquote

there is no forcing the muse, but sometimes a state of earnest solicitation may help.

--giuseppe ungaretti
There is no forcing the muse, but sometimes a state of earnest solicitation may help - See more at:
'There is no forcing the muse, but sometimes a state of earnest solicitation may help.'
Giuseppe Ungaretti
- See more at:
'There is no forcing the muse, but sometimes a state of earnest solicitation may help.'
Giuseppe Ungaretti
- See more at:

Monday, March 28, 2016

death is unavoidable and yet still there are persons, artists of life, we think will live forever

thus it was jim harrison for me

i was on a low media diet this past weekend a whole lot of inner stress brought on by my own stupidity and carelessness was at the forefront of my mind so when i did log on to the net it was only to answer and write a few emails and watch a bit of youtube

so when i opened the paper and saw the obit for jim harrison i was shocked  i shouldn't have been the poet/novelist was in his late 70s he smoked like a chimney and drank like verlaine

and yet he was this writer who lived life in stereo he ate life it is evident in everything he wrote

i am a great admirer of all of his writing when anna and i were dating she gave me harrison's collected non-fiction, just before dark, as a birthday present i carried that book everywhere at school at work i wore the book out of its binding

jim harrison was a poet first and foremost and when we are young we seek those writers who have traced a life most suitable for our own designs i wrote to jim harrison in 1994 a fan letter i was an undergrad idiot poet who spent more time in the stacks at the library then in my classes i read everything i could get my hands on a habit that has not abated

to my surprise harrison wrote back a short handwritten letter i have it beside me right now in 1994 i was 27 and didn't know anyone who loved poetry as i did i felt alone by writing to harrison i was attempting what all young writers deserve validation of our vocation/obsession in a community of souls where words mean life

we don't live forever even our words won't live forever but while we live we can read write love teach and preserve the necessities of creation jim harrison was a large man with huge appetite when i read him i want to get drunk sit zazen take a long walk hug my loves particularly anna and nick eat a good meal and write poems until i can no longer speak for the end shall only be death

Sunday, March 27, 2016

i wanna be adored, muthafuckas!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

twister [1996]

every damn time i ran across this flick on TV i watch it.  sue me.  i saw this movie on its first run at the sac 6 drive-ins.  where else would you see a pic about an estranged husband and wife tornado hunters, played by helen hunt and bill paxton, along with their rag tag team, as they assail the american midwest in search of mega twister in the pursuit of 'science' but at the drive in.

perfect b-movie fair.  director jan de bont asked van halen to score the soundtrack.  van halen does a credible job at keep the energy up.  but then if de bont scored this movie with a wurlitzer organ viewers would still thrill at ginormous twisters, flying cows and the destruction of scores of villages and homes.  oh, the very handsome cary elwes plays a rival tornado hunter who is only in the business 'for the money', and because he is sponsored by a corporation his team has the coolest, slickest equipment and vehicles money can buy.

anti-corporate corporations.  you heard that right.  for this film is a summer box office fling.  the actors, including the late philip seymor hoffman in what might be his first onscreen appearance, ham it up.  the director ratches up the destruction.  the writers give us enough goofy scenarios to satisfy the most jaded of disaster movie aficionados.  and tho the chemistry between hunt and paxton sucks we don't care because shit is exploding onscreen in a big way.

fucking movie still holds up after all these years.  i watch it now more as comedy than action film.  sure there are those aforementioned flying cows however there is still the preposterous conjectures of being fortunate enough to chase mega twister after mega twister because the characters are engaged in 'research.'  oh, there is a personal adage as well for a dinner scene delineates the categories of tornado giving the highest rating a five and calling it 'the finger of god.'  when one character asks the tornado hunters if they've experienced that 'finger of god' the table goes silent and paxton says, only one of us.  de bont turns his camera to hunt who has just taken a shower.  hint: tornadoes kill and cause damage and goddammit it is personal.

ah yeah.  it's goddam personal.  unlike this movie.  for this is one of the biggest block busters ever to grace our movie screens.  and yet still, this film rocks.  dumb as hell and good as shit too. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

underworld [2003]

i've been listening a bit to the heavy metal/goth band type o negative and got obsessed with the song 'wolf moon' [freakin' love the singer, pete steele's, voice] and a fan-made video using scenes from this 2003 starring kate beckinsale.  when i noticed this pic is available on netflix i said, what the hell, and gave it a shot.

this movie runs a little over two hours.  i don't know why.  the director, len wiseman, crafted some damn good battle scenes between the vampires and the lycans.  they have been at war for over a 1000 years.  the vampires have nearly killed off the lycans [werewolves, natch] and selene [kate beckinsale] is such a 'death dealer' a vampire soldier tasked to exterminate the last of the werewolves.  that's the plot's macguffin because i kept thinking wouldn't behoove both groups to band and work together?  i mean, if you are an immortal species wouldn't you thrill at the knowledge of another immortal species?  wouldn't you want to band together because both tribes are so rare and special?

but no.  they want to kill each other off.  they claim they are not human but they act so much like humanity.  oh well.  see selene falls in love with a human, michael corvin, who is a special genetic carrier that the lycans want for themselves.  what is michael's secret?  doesn't matter for the engine that drives this film is the action set pieces.

and oh, those set pieces are spectacular.  i'm not a huge admirer of kate beckinsale.  she's been in many movies.  most of her films, and her onscreen personae, i find, are fairly flat performances.  but this character, selene, is her hamlet.  she shines in black leather tights.  she is beautiful, strong, intelligent and hyper-cool.  but then again i have a thing for strong, intelligent women.  fuck me side-saddle.

good enough.  the movie turned into a franchise with the fifth film set for release later this year.  at a little over two hours this film never flagged and delivered first-rate fist pumping thrills.  and one more thing, selene is the hero of this movie but everyone else, with the exception of michael, are relatively despicable characters.  that's refreshing.  a movie of werewolves and vampires shooting at each with high caliber weapons is a movie for the 21st century.  and those weapons!  the lycans develop bullets filled with sunlight.  you gotta see that to believe it!  and the vampires put silver nitrate in their shells for their friends the werewolves.  horror cinema rarely gets so inventive!

ha ha!  like the cartoon character said, now i've seen everything.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

melancholia [2011]

a deeply depressed young woman has her wedding on the night of the discovery of a rogue planet called melancholia set on a collision course with earth.  the young woman, justine, is played by the luminous kirsten dunst.  her sister, claire, is played by charlotte gainsbourg.  this is a tale of two sisters at the end of the earth.

do i lose my film critic card when i say this is the first lars von trier movie i've seen?  the first half of his flick, shot mainly with hand-held cameras, is about justine and her illness justine is not an easy person to like.  in fact, this movie is filled with unlikable characters.  the pace is slow which is meant to emphasize life in an english manor house where the wedding ceremony is held.  justine falls deeper into the well of despair until i could barely stand her.

the second half picks up steam.  it is about claire and her life in the english manor house.  she is a mother to a young son and is married to the filthy rich john played by keifer sutherland.  john is an amateur scientist and is confident that melancholia will pass by earth with little ill effect.

justine knows differently.  she says so to claire.  justine just 'knows things' like the knowledge we are alone in the universe, and the number of beans in a bottle used for a guess the number of beans in a wedding party contest.  justine is correct about the latter.  is she right about the former?

as melancholia gets closer to earth justine's depression marries the catastrophe of earthly destruction.  she becomes calmer, more self-assured.  claire begins to freak out.  who would blame claire.  john abandons his family by suicide when he calculates the rogue planet will collide with earth.

the two sisters love and hate each other.  justine's depression is so severe she can barely walk and bathe herself.  claire's devotion to justine is matched by justine's scorn for claire's fear of death for herself and her son.   von trier composes some beautiful images.  justine nude bath by the light of melancholia at night.  the opening scene of birds falling from the sky as justine raises her hands with lightning shooting from her fingers.  but the tone of the film was so freaking quiet and grim i had to punch myself awake.

another thing.  von trier gets the science so wrong in this movie.  there was a large lake beside the manor.  when melancholia drew closer to earth i expected to see the lake broiled in huge waves from the rogue planet's gravity.  also, the earth's crust would crack open with major volcanic activity.  earth might be knocked from orbit when melancholia did its first flyby.  we would be long dead before the planet hit.  if melancholia got so close as to 'take a little of our atmosphere' the gravitational forces would be so severe life would be snuffed out even if melancholia missed the earth.

i had to remind myself, 'it's only a movie, only a movie' and give in to the storytelling.  which is okay.  both justine and claire, and their family, are quite unlikable people.  i suppose that is lar von trier's point, because in the words of justine, 'life on earth is evil'.  maybe.  justine said something that i totally agree with, 'the universe won't miss us.'  but that knowledge doesn't give me despair.  it feels me with light for life is brief but charged with the meanings we make.  life is valued not for its permanence but for its evanescence.  perhaps that is justine's message after all.   

Thursday, March 17, 2016

memories of tower books pt. 4

i could lose myself in the stacks and make discovery upon discovery for example i had no idea things like tijauna bibles existed until i pulled a compilation of old tijuana bibles in the sexuality section it blew my mind forgive me they were so goofy and raunchy

Saturday, March 12, 2016

memories of tower books pt. 3

i would get lost in the stacks or in the periodicals for tower had the most exhaustive selection of periodicals this side of heaven i went to school there you name it no matter how obscure you could find it at tower once i saw william t vollman at tower on broaday i recognized him immediately he had this kind of swagger as he paid for his purchases a certain streetwise bookish cool that is hard to describe but easy to see in person but then there was so much to see at tower that i soon lost sight of vollman and i disappeared in the back of the store to lose myself in the newest photography and art books 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

memories of tower books pt. 2

he was an odd looking dude i noticed him as soon as he entered the store long black hair black shirt black pants black jacket white pancake makeup with black eyeliner a thirty-something goth i figured we were about the same age when i was listening to black flag he was probably stoned to the bauhaus i forgot about him for a while thumbing thru the lit journals but when i returned the paris review back to its place in the periodicals my sinuses flared against a major stink i thought something funky must've gotten on the pages of one of the journals and is now on my hands i started walking toward the bathroom to wash my hands when i saw him again sidled up to an older couple as they looked at travel mags his makeup was creased with grime his black hair was tied in a greasy knot that funk beamed off him and irradiated the locality a loner who gave up on hygiene and prowled the long nights at the only store in the world that was open to midnight everyday

memories of tower books pt. 1

my friend and i just taken a hit of blotter acid we drove over to tower books on watt ave waiting for it to kick in nothing happened i felt plain and stupid and out 10 bucks the weather was fine and the people watching was like always interesting i remember my friend was fascinated by gun magazines so he stood in that section of periodicals flipping thru those glossies devoted to firepower while i traipsed among the stacks not looking for anything in particular but content on this aimless saturday night to drift from one thing to another


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

the bucket list

why oh why does the list have to be some extraordinary act or event like climbing mt. everest or participating in an orgy or jogging across antarctica is it not hard enough to get up out of bed each morning greet the face in the mirror and rise to meet the day i say it is more than enough to be a good citizen poet father son husband lover brother sister mother daughter and everything inbetween as for my bucket list are writ three words i love you and i shall do my best to take that action everywhere in our world

Monday, March 07, 2016

from the notebooks

in our hyper-competitive world where everyone strives to be noticed, unique, and different would it not be radical to insist on the ordinary, and practice a trust in plainness; if everyone is seeking to reach the top, would it not be saner to draw inward and proclaim your radical simplicity.   

Friday, March 04, 2016

lust for life [1956]

i went thru a phase, quite common to young creative types, that worshiped certain artists.  the more tormented the artist the better.  i loved vincent van gogh when i was a pup.  i wanted to be him.  intense, focused, electric.  i read the letters, looked at the paintings, read biographies and watched movies such as this one by filmmaker vincente minnelli and george cukor.

but when i first saw this flick i didn't care for kirk douglas' portrayal of the suffering painter.  i didn't care for irving stone's novel either, the source of this pic.  but i read it and i watched this film and tho i admire douglas work in other movies somehow his vincent was painted too broadly for my tastes.

now i've changed my mind.  anna and i watched this movie a couple nights ago and i loved douglas' vincent.  i long thought van gogh was a troubled soul but was a good man.  the evidence of his goodness is in vincent's letters.  kirk douglas plays vincent as a good person who suffers at a pitch that would make ol' job cry uncle.

furthermore, anthony quinn plays the asshole paul gauguin and it is his presence that really makes the screen sizzle.  the two actors, quinn and douglas, together is magic.  i don't like gauguin.  he really was an asshole.  his paintings are good, yes, but he ain't the star and focus of this movie.  vincent van gogh is.  and rather than make vincnent into a saint minnelli had the decency to concentrate on the paintings, as in the act of painting and also the finished work.  plus the french landscape under minnelli's gaze lights up like a vincent van gogh painting.

i did a little research on this movie and found that kirk douglas was so convincing as vincent van gogh there were old timers in arles who thought the painter had been brought back from the dead when they saw douglas as vincent.  moreover, the title of this movie, lust for life, is so appropriate for its subject and anyone who chooses a creative life, however we define creative and life.  but the lust part i take to mean to embrace life wholly without fear and without reservation.

grab hold of life and give it a big squeeze and do your work.  carpefuckingdiem.  this movie, in color, blazes with life.  douglas is magnificent as vincent van gogh and treats us, the audience, to a complicated, loving human being we created some of the most dynamic paintings the world as ever seen.  lust for fucking life, brothers and sisters.