Wednesday, December 24, 2008

GOD DAMN IT.


Progress can kiss my ass.  

I was going to take my niece and nephew to the St. Pete Beach Amusement Center - yes, THE arcade zone on St. Pete Beach. The one that maintained in pristine condition all of our favorites from throughout the years.

You could still play Tron, Frogger, Crystal Castles, Tempest, and Donkey Kong. They had air hockey. They had skee-ball. They had pool, pinball machines, and weird pre-video game games that were so fucking cool they made my knees buckle just looking at them. Gone. All gone forever.  (And if Treasure Island Fun Center thinks for ONE SECOND that I am going to visit them in their new, "updated" location where fat children have pizza parties and scream and eat Laffy Taffy, they can KISS MY ASS.)

Observe:
When the Amusement Center opened on July 4, 1969, it had all the latest crazes in Florida vacation fun. Indoor miniature golf. Bowling. Ski Ball.

Founder Jerry Rodgers opened two other amusement centers in the area and pioneered indoor bumper cars, which rolled around with poles scraping the metal roof.

Sunburned kids would finish off a day at the beach with some air conditioning and button-pounding. They snacked on soda, junk food and ice cream. There were never tokens or quarters to worry about. Just an admission fee and hours of fun.

Before they moved to the area, Lenny Stamos and his grade-school-age son visited as tourists from New Jersey. Derrick Stamos sat on his dad's lap and drove a bumper car for the first time.

"It had the biggest collection of pinball machines I'd ever seen in my life," Derrick Stamos said.

In the 1980s, the cars gave way to the golden age of stand-up video games — Galaga, Asteroids and Pac Man.
read the rest of this gripping article here
Barefoot Mailman, Foxxxy's, Ollie-O's, Tracks, Piggy's Place. All of the cool shit, one zone after another, has been tainted. Even our beloved beaches, once lined with whispering pines and palms, have been desecrated by pink stucco abominations and fast-food chains to the point that you can't even see the fucking water.

One of the few remaining things that made me happy about coming to Florida is now dead. Everything I loved about this place has been razed and transformed into a craptacular strip mall. 

THEY HAD TRON, GOD DAMN IT.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't Know When I'll Be Back Again - The Sequel


Faithful followers of Marky Mae's foibles will remember fondly the trauma and horror Marky Mae went through last year when attempting to get from New York to Florida. It was akin to the tortures of the damned, an experience from which Marky Mae barely escaped with whatever sanity was left.

Sadly, due to economic concerns, Marky Mae was forced to fly Delta again this year. I can tell you one thing - I will never, EVER fly Delta again.

Picture it - I'm dreading getting to the airport due to recent snow storms that have backed travel up, but am told "things are fine," not only by all people who had been listening to weather reports, but also by Delta officials themselves. Heartened, I drop Nizzles off and prepare for my journey. I arrive at the airport, and aside from seeing a bunch of stupid cunts waddling around in full-length fur coats, things seem to be going swimmingly.

We board at the appropriate time - 6: 30 for a 7 pm flight. Wow, this may actually work out after all!, I thought to myself prematurely - because, apparently, Delta airlines is bent on never, EVER getting anyone to their destination in a timely or relaxing manner.

So we're sitting on the plane. It's been quite some time, and people are starting to act like jerks, as people are prone to do when placed in situations in which things don't go exactly the way they want them to. "What the hell's going on?" some brusk turd starts shrieking at one of the flight attendants. "I'm sorry sir, it's out of my hands," she responds. And really, how could it not be? Does this fuckmouth think that screaming at this already harried stewardess is going to make things any better?

Then it happens. The PA comes on and the obviously-gay "head attendant" lisps into the mic, "Excuse me, but we just have an update - yes, we're all here and ready to go, but there's no captain yet. He's on his way from Atlanta and we'll be off as soon as he lands."

Now, this raises a question - why would these ASSHOLES choose to cram us all onto a stuffy, horribly cramped plane if they KNEW that the captain wasn't there and they had no idea when we'd be taking off? We could very happily have waited in the terminal with access to food, bathrooms, phones, et cetera, but there we were trapped on that plane with increasing agitation and angst, unable to eat, drink, move.

It's 10:30 - yes, FOUR hours after we've been boarded, and the captain finally arrives. But wait! Now there's something wrong with the fucking lock on the door, and THAT has to be checked! Oh, and as soon as that's taken care of, we have to wait in line to be de-iced. 

An hour later, we're being de-iced, and that process involves spraying some hideous, viscous and I'm sure highly toxic chemical on the exterior of the plane. It takes about five minutes, and then we're on our way - but something strange is happening, because we've just turned back around and are heading back for the de-icing zone.

"Sorry, folks," the tardy captain states. "We're going to have to de-ice again. It wasn't snowing before, and now that it's started snowing, we're going to need the 'strong stuff.'" Now, why the hell wouldn't they have just used the 'strong stuff' in the first place? WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE DETERMINED TO STEAL FOUR HOURS OF MY LIFE?

I forgot to mention something. Throughout this entire ordeal, the most obnoxiously shrill and horrifyingly whiney baby ever to claw its way out of a uterus has been pitching a non-stop shrieking tantrum, its parents doing little to silence it. They walk the drooling foghorn up and down the aisle, bouncing it and saying things like, "It's all right, honey," and "Shhh." Clearly, none of these approaches is working, and by 9 I am ready to take that baby and hurl it into a running propellor.

Finally, at 12:30, we take off, but I can't sleep because the shithead in front of me is farting nonstop - a noxious blend of what appears to be compost, artificial strawberry and beef jerky keeps wafting back and assaulting my nose. Throughout the ENTIRE FLIGHT.

By 3, when we land, I am trembling with rage. Gas and babies and idiotic airline tactics to take us prisoner have taken their toll and I can barely speak as I wobble off the plane. It's the next day and I am still recovering.

Damn, I hate Delta Airlines. That's two - yes, two in a row - Christmases they have attempted to derail. Let's hope their plot isn't a complete success this year.


Friday, December 19, 2008

We'll Remember You Forever, Eddie.


My brother, ten years older than I am, had it made in the 70s. He got to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show when it was still "cutting edge" to throw crap and scream inexplicably at a movie screen. He got to see Pat Benatar in concert before she had succumbed to singing such drivel as "Papa's Roses". He got to do all that cool stuff kids in my generation made fun of for a decade and then embraced as miraculous and wonderful a decade later.

One of those things he got to experience firsthand was a little film by Mr. Brian De Palma called Phantom of the Paradise. Like Rocky Horror, Phantom of the Paradise was a midnight movie, popular with stoners and weirdoes in the mid-70s. My brother, being both, enjoyed the film quite a bit.

He had the soundtrack LP. I wasn't allowed to see the film, but I was obsessed with this record - in particular, the song "Old Souls" as sung by out dear friend Ms. Jessica Harper. My adoration of this song at such a young age was yet another in a long string of proofs that I was a future homosexual. It was haunting, sad, beautiful, and it made me cry every time I listened to it.

Years later, when I was in high school, my brother and I had a "film marathon" - he had a VCR, a luxury item in the mid-80s my parents had not yet splurged on. He rented Phantom of the Paradise along with Shock Treatment - the sequel to Rocky Horror - and Purple Rain. We had a long night ahead of us.

It has been said that Rocky Horror is "queen" of the midnight movies and Phantom of the Paradise is "king." Before The Rocky Horror Picture Show came along and stole its thunder, Phantom of the Paradise was one of the most popular friday-night cinematic destinations for thrill-seekers and perverts. The film was a bit of Phantom of the Opera (I bet you figured that out already) with a dash of Faust thrown in. Lots of action, sex, sleaze, drugs, and typical 70s perversion.

It also had an amazing soundtrack written by Mr. Paul Williams, one of the film's stars. (You may know Mr. Williams through his compositions for the Carpenters and The Muppet Movie - he is a musical genius).

I loved it the first time I saw it, and enjoy it more and more each time I see it. (Have you guessed by now that I'm going through my annual 1970s cult film frenzy?).

Here, for you, is the soundtrack to this delightful, campy and awesome film! Please promise to succumb wholeheartedly to the merriment.


Click here ->Phantom of the Paradise Original Soundtrack <- 

Track Listing:

1.   Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye - The Juicy Fruits
2.   Faust - Winslow Leach
3.   Upholstery - The Beach Bums
4.   Special to Me (Phoenix Audition Song) - Phoenix 
5.   Phantom's Theme - Paul Williams 
6.   Somebody Super Like You (Beef Construction Song)
       - The Un-Deads 
7.   Life at Last - Beef 
8.   Old Souls - Phoenix 
9.   Faust - Paul Williams 
10. The Hell of It - Paul Williams

If you enjoy cult films, as you certainly should, I would highly recommend checking this little number out. It's a good'n.

-

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas at the Movies.


Everyone's got a favorite Christmas movie.

Some hunker around the TV to watch that sappy bastard Jimmy Stewart extol the miracles of friendship in that bile-producing It's a Wonderful Life while others like to watch drunks, perverts and stuck-up agnostics duke it out over the true meaning of Christmas in Miracle on 34th Street


Now, don't get me wrong - I love both of those movies with all my heart and each render me a blubbering mass of sentimentality and schmaltz by their endings. But when it comes to the TRUE meaning of Christmas, there's only one film for me. Yes, you guessed it.

Female Trouble.

Our dear friend Dawn Davenport has in no uncertain terms announced to her delinquent friends that she'd better get cha-cha heels for Christmas or her parents are going to be sorry.  Now, since her parents are decent, God-fearing Christians, naturally they don't purchase those slutty pumps for their beloved daughter.

Watch the madness unfurl:




Fuck you both, you awful people! 
You're not my parents! 
I HATE YOU, 
I HATE THIS HOUSE 
AND I HATE CHRISTMAS!


The runner-up: Wild At Heart

Now, this film, by Mr. David Lynch, is one of my all-round favorite movies of all time for eternity, but it's also got a special Christmas glow to it. 

Observe:

Other holiday films that will warm the cockles of your hearts:

Silent Night, Deadly Night.

I first watched this movie with my great-aunt June, in her 70s, and a huge fan. When I told her I had never seen it, she said, "Ooh, I love that one! Let's watch it!" Fucked. Up. Family. That's all I can guess. I was 15 when this occurred. Naturally, I was immediately enamored of her - how many people in their 70s would actually GO OUT AND BUY this film?

Silent Night, Deadly Night. Oh, the tragedies that befall our protagonist... his parents are murdered by a drunken Santa. His grandfather is a psycho. He gets stuck in an orphanage where nuns beat the crap out of him. He develops an unhealthy obsession with Santa Claus. He gets a job in a seasonal toy store, goes a little bonkers and starts chopping people the fuck up. What's not to like?



Christmas Evil.

Who could forget Christmas Evil? It's my all-time Super Hero Mr. John Waters' favorite Christmas movie. In fact, the new edition of the DVD has bonus commentary by Mr. Waters throughout.



The ending of this film is magical and awesome - one that will keep you and your friends mystified for decades. Ho-ho-ho!

I recommend that you purchase these DVDs posthaste. Each and every one of them. Then, get yourself a fat vat of wassail or comparable nectar of holiday cheer and light up that yule log. 

Sit back, relax, and bask in the filthy glow of the Christmas Holiday.

Dang, I love Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Kenneth Anger Christmas - Red, Blue and Green.

A few years ago, I went to see Dr. Kenneth Anger speak and present some newly-restored versions of his films at UCLA.  After the show, Dr. Anger took some questions from the audience. One, a tubby, sycophantic nerd, stood up and bleated, "Dr. Anger - I've seen all of your films and followed your works for the past several decades and I was wondering if you could potentially clear up a conundrum I've had all that time," in a nasal, "I've never left my parents' basement except to go to Radio Shack or the Comix Knoll" sort of voice. 


He continued - "In your brilliant film Fireworks, the protagonist ends up with an artificial Christmas tree on his head before waking up next to an electrically-charged gentleman of undisclosed origin.  I was wondering - what, exactly, is the significance of the Christmas tree to this film?"

Now Anger, at this time well into his 80s and clearly losing what little grasp on reality he ever had, took to the microphone to answer this geek's attempt at being cerebral.

"Christmas as a holiday actually predates Christianity," he started. "It was a pagan holiday in which druids performed human sacrifices. Chunks of human flesh were hung on the tree and then the birds came, carrying the little messages up." He paused. "It was much more beautiful than the perverted version of it we have today, don't you think?" Not really an answer to the acolyte's question, but who cares. 

My friend Chad, who had accompanied me, and I were trying so hard not to laugh at Anger's non-answer that we almost had to leave the auditorium.

* * *
My introduction to Dr. Kenneth Anger came at the Harley House - a big sort of "pervert commune" behind the Harley-Davidson dealership in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Lots of my best friends lived there and they had parties all the time, so I was pretty much a staple round those parts.

Now, on one particular evening, I had dropped quite a substantial amount of our good friend LSD (Give me a break. I was 20) and was lounging appropriately, when my friend Norn - who always always always always ALWAYS had some new and wonderful thing for everyone to see or hear - pulled a VHS tape out of his satchel full o' miracles and said, "put this in! we've got to watch this RIGHT NOW!" By then, most people who knew him had figured that it was best not to question his judgment in such situations, so the owner of the VCR followed Norn's orders.

I didn't know what was going to happen, but I knew it would be good. A logo appeared on the screen - "Puck Productions. What Fools These Mortals Be!" I liked it so far, and agreed with its sentiment. The screen went black, and then titles appeared - "A film by Anger." and "Rabbit's Moon." A gong chimed, and then a sped-up black-and-white tale that combined a Japanese myth of the rabbit in the moon with the famous characters Pierrot, Harlequin and Columbina unfolded before my dilated, hallucinating eyes. Was what I was witnessing real, or a product of the acid?

The film, accompanied by the addictive soundtrack song "It Came In the Night" by the band A Raincoat, burned itself into my brain. After it was over, I wanted to watch it again - but I think I was the only one who had done drugs that evening, and everyone else had different agendas. I finally saw it again, and it turned out it hadn't been the LSD - that movie really WAS that awesome.

I learned a lot about Dr. Anger - his fascination with Aleister Crowley, his relationship with Manson-associate Bobby Beausoleil, his books Hollywood Babylon I and II, his tempestuous stay with our dear friend Dr. Anton Szandor LaVey in the Black House, and his hatred of pretty much everyone in the world make him a very interesting fella, to put it mildly.

Over the years I managed to procure my own copies of Kenneth Anger's short films - Eaux D'artifice, Fireworks, Inauguration of the Pleasuredome, Invocation of my Demon Brother, Lucifer Rising, Puce Moment, Kustom Kar Kommandos, and yes, Rabbit's Moon.



Now, there was one Kenneth Anger film - Scorpio Rising - that I had actually been reading about for years and years. My hero and personal deity Mr. John Waters wrote in several essays of his adoration of the film, stating that he had run away from Baltimore to New York City just to see it. Another, lesser hero, Mr. Andy Warhol, loved the film and had it shown at one of his incarnations of The Factory. David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, and other prominent film nerds stated their reverence for the film, either outwardly or through their work.

There was just one problem - it wasn't available in the United States. Its soundtrack - which Anger had never bothered to acquire rights for - featured the likes of Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Martha Reeves, Ray Charles, and more. THIS was the Kenneth Anger movie I wanted to see. Its non-story followed the lives of several New York City bikers as they primped for a party and repaired their "hogs." Homoerotic, the film was banned in many places (you can see dingers for a split second, plus there is heavy anti-Christian imagery - but who can blame anyone for that?).

I despaired that I would ever get to see the film. Then, I went to New York City to visit several friends, and I discovered a bootleg copy of it in the Kim's Underground on the corner of, as Amy Sedaris puts it, "Faggot and Cocksucker Streets" (Bleecker and Christopher) in the Village. Let me tell you, I snatched that god damn thing up faster than a hobo picks up his Mad Dog 20/20. This was years ago.

The film didn't disappoint me. Its rock-n-roll soundtrack complemented the gorgeous and at times unsettling images in the film. Plus, there are two really cute siamese cats that yawn and lounge about. Who can beat that?

The Scorpio Rising Track List:

Ricky Nelson - "Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)"
Little Peggy March - "Wind-Up Doll"
The Angels - "My Boyfriend's Back"
Bobby Vinton - "Blue Velvet"
Elvis Presley - "(You're the) Devil in Disguise"
Ray Charles - "Hit The Road Jack"
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave"
The Crystals - "He's a Rebel"
Claudine Clark - "Party Lights"
Kris Jensen - "Torture"
Gene McDaniels - "Point Of No Return"
Little Peggy March - "I Will Follow Him"
Surfaris - "Wipe Out"

Download the Soundtrack, as compiled by me, right ->HERE.<- 

Now, the film is available on DVD. Our friends at Fantoma took YEARS to get the rights for the soundtrack and remaster the movie (along with the rest of Anger's oeuvre), releasing it in Volume II of The Films of Kenneth Anger.

If I were you, I'd buy both of them. They're good with or without the acid.

Ice For the Bachelor Set.

I don't know about you, but I have lots of stag parties. I invite lots of swingin' bachelors over, we watch nudist colony movies, play cards, smoke cigars, and drink lots and lots of cocktails.

And what better to keep those cocktails chilled than buxom Ice-Nudes?

For realz, I've never had a stag party, I don't care about tits, I don't smoke, and I certainly don't make cocktails. Somehow, though, these Ice-Nudes ended up in my possession.

Now, I've been given lots of things over the years. 


Starting in 1988, people saw me as a dumping ground for their kitsch and antique castaways, so I received vintage clothing, furniture, lamps, vinyl LPs, magazines, 70s porn, pulp books, cookbooks, fabric swatches, toys, gadgets, contraptions, accessories, stuff, and shoes.

For the most part, I can tell you exactly who gave me what, and why. The ruby red knee-high ashtray with bangly baubles hanging from it? Cori Blanton gave it to me - it belonged to her grandmother. "Don't ever let my mom find out," she said as she handed it to me. The ancient statue of Mary and at least one of the several Extreme Unction kits I have came from my friend Sabrina. The bedazzled "Oriental Landscape" lamp came from my oldest friend John. The list continues forever.

But these Ice-Nudes remain a mystery to me. One morning I woke up and there they were, gunboats a-pointin' right at me. Shazam! I love them - they represent everything I stand for. Trashy, tacky, dumb, and campy. 

I'd say they're from the early 60s, though I'm no expert, and I'm sure they were available by mail order through magazines such as "Oriental Massage Prison Journal," "He-Man Monthly," "Women of Mystery," "Sunshine and Joy Nudist Revue," and so forth. For the bachelor set. (In other words, dumbasses who never developed past a second-grade sense of humor.)

Ice-Nudes brand ice cube trays consist of a top and a bottom. The qualified bachelor fills the bottom tray with water, snaps the top portion in place, taps the air bubbles out of the holes in the mold, and pops these bitches in the freezer to firm up.

Observe:


Ice-Nudes after they've been taken out of the freezer.


Ice-Nudes coming out of the tray. Look at those fun bags!


And Presto

Nude Beauties 
a-bobbin' in a cool beverage. 

It's pretty amazing, 
the dumb shit humans think up. 


Don't you agree? 


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Your One Way Ticket to Midnight.


I am not sure what originally attracted me to the film Heavy Metal - was it the dusty, grimy copy of the magazine I found in my pot-smoking, MG-repairing uncle's junk heap of a backyard?

Eschewing the many issues of High Times that were in the same pile, I picked Heavy Metal up. This so-called "Fantasy" magazine was in actuality a "pump-it-out" magazine for pothead losers.

Flipping through its pages at the tender age of 9, I was assaulted by buxom, barely-clad beauties swinging ornate swords and fending off tigers, more buxom, barely-clad beauties exposing their nether-realms in various exotic locations, and finally, buxom, barely-clad beauties doing some sort of science-fictiony type businesses in which they were very willing and able to expose their breasts and asscheeks to anyone who wanted to take a gander.

Seeing as I wasn't and am not very interested in breasts, I don't think it was the barely-clad beauties. It was more likely the exotic locales. I'm a geek, and since Heavy Metal is a science fiction cartoon, naturally I was drawn to it. Also, since it was rated R, I felt as if I were doing something I shouldn't be doing - and that always adds to the fun.

Back in the early 80s, when cable television was still a bit of a novelty, I would stay up late on Friday nights and watch HBO. These evenings were generally reserved for "cult" or horror films - I learned all about Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers and Emmanuelle on this wonderful cable channel.

Of course, when it was announced one evening that Heavy Metal would be coming on, I writhed with excitement. And I was not let down. From the moment that vintage Corvette is released from the Space Shuttle to touch down on earth and peel out to Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal," this movie does NOT fuck around.

The Loc-Nar, a glowing green orb the astronaut driving the Corvette naively brings home for his daughter, is in actuality the very essence of evil. It kills the astronaut and then imprisons the little girl, deciding, as all ill-fated villains do, to boast and brag about its dastardly accomplishments instead of just taking fucking care of business.

So the Loc-Nar glows green and tells various tales of woe and misery that it has caused throughout the universe. Kingdoms have fallen, religious sects been overthrown, archaeologists murdered... all due to this little green asshole.

The Loc-Nar tale that scared the FUCK out of me when I was a child was the one with the fighter pilot who, after the Loc-Nar lands in his bomber, crash-lands on a deserted island that is actually a graveyard of dead pilots. They all come to life, in various levels of decomposition, and corner him. Fortunate for the young version of me, the scene ends before the pilot is ripped limb from limb, or whatever hideous fate befalls him.


Trembling with fear from that business, I was relieved and uplifted when our fearless leader Taarna the Terrakian shows up. Taarna never spoke a word, but if you've seen this movie, you know one thing - she wasn't taking no shit from nobody. That's right. She was summoned, she came, and she kicked all those asses up in there. I loved her then and I love her now.

Like most "cult" movies, this film is schlocky, dated and probably downright dumb - but I don't care. I still like to watch it every once in a while on a late night and revel in its thoroughly amazing soundtrack, its blatant sex and violence, and its 100% awesomeness.

"What's on this glorious soundtrack?" you may wonder. Well, here's Mr. Tracklist:

Heavy Metal Original Motion Picture Soundtrack:

1) "Heavy Metal" (Sammy Hagar) (3:50)
2) "Heartbeat" (Riggs) (4:20)
3) "Working in the Coal Mine" (Devo) (2:48)
4) "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" (Blue Öyster Cult) (4:48)
5) "Reach Out" (Cheap Trick) (3:35)
6) "Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride)" (Don Felder) (5:00)
7) "True Companion" (Donald Fagen) (5:02)
8) "Crazy (A Suitable Case for Treatment)" (Nazareth) (3:24)
9) "Radar Rider" (Riggs) (2:40)
10) "Open Arms" (Journey) (3:20)
11) "Queen Bee" (Grand Funk Railroad) (3:11)
12) "I Must Be Dreamin'" (Cheap Trick) (5:37)
13) "The Mob Rules" (Black Sabbath) (2:43)
14) "All of You" (Don Felder) (4:18)
15) "Prefabricated" (Trust) (2:59)
16) "Blue Lamp" (Stevie Nicks) (3:48)

You may sample its delights yourself by clicking HERE.

There was a sequel, Heavy Metal 2000, which I have never seen and probably never will. I'm pretty sure Heavy Metal, like Star Wars, is best seen for the first time when you're a kid - otherwise it may just seem cheesy.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Poppin' & Lockin'


Our friends Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus of Cannon Films brought us something very spectacular - very special - in 1984. They brought us a little film called Breakin'.

Any of y'all who know me realize by now that I am this film's strongest supporter, its most ardent acolyte. Anyone who challenges this film's integrity within a 500 yard radius of my being had better beware, because I will cut them the fuck up. The. Fuck. Up.

That's right.

I remember it very clearly. I was fat, androgynous, bowl-haircutted, socially retarded, covered in braces, and dressed in clothes they wouldn't even carry in JC Penney, but when I went to see this movie with my cousins in 1984, I decided right then and there that I wanted to be a "breaker." My cousins and I came up with breakin' names. And mine was... are you ready? DJ Ice.

Fuck you - I was a child.



I got those fat neon ghetto laces for my sneakers, the breakdance instructional book from the B. Dalton, and a big piece of square cardboard on which to practice my phat dance moves. I'm pretty sure I got through one half-hearted centipede before I decided I'd be better off watching Diff'rent Strokes and eating pudding pops.

That breakdancing was hard work.

Meanwhile, Turbo, Ozone and Kelly made it look so easy in Breakin'. I was and am thoroughly jealous of their abilities. Every time I watch it, I get a hankering to attempt that shit.

We're very fortunate that Breakin' and its equally stellar sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo were recently released on the DVD. In a box set, even!

Sadly, the soundtrack - and music is pretty crucial to this film - is out-of-print. It features a pre-thug Ice-T and Ms. Chaka Khan! Well, naturally, as a nerd, I had to procure a copy of this soundtrack and use my handy cd-recorder to transform it from vinyl to mp3 magic, and now I can share it with y'all.

Click -> here <- to download.

Breakin' Original Soundtrack

Track Listing:

"Breakin' ... There's No Stoppin' Us" by Ollie & Jerry – 4:34
"Freakshow on the Dance Floor" by Bar-Kays – 4:42
"Body Work" by Hot Streak – 4:22
"99 ½" by Carol Lynn Townes – 4:02
"Showdown" by Ollie & Jerry – 3:57
"Heart of the Beat" – 4:18
"Street People" by Fire Fox – 3:23
"Cut It" by Re Flex – 3:11
"Ain't Nobody" by Rufus & Chaka Khan – 4:41
"Reckless" by Ice T – 3:57


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fish and poi.


I don't even know what to say about this one.


Except this, of course - More Hawaii In Hi-Fi has brought me hours and hours and hours of utter and complete giddy joy. It is so ridiculously cheesy in almost every sense that a listener cannot help but feel uplifted.

My friend Emily found this in, of all places, the AV department's record collection at my college library. I think she had an innate ability to choose things that thoroughly and completely rock the house, because she grabbed this god damn thing and ran screaming with it all the way back to her room, where she proceeded to turn it into a legend.

We - my friends and I - built a culture around this album and, in particular, the track "Sheik of Araby." We had dance routines choreographed for it. We had mood lighting to accompany it. We had special Gin & Tonic events in which we gathered specifically to listen to it. Yes - that's how important this record became to us.

A little history of our treasured Leo Addeo, the man who brought us this classic LP, from our friends at Space Age Pop:
Addeo was one of RCA's key house arrangers for most of the 1950s and 1960s. An Italian American from Brooklyn, Addeo's specialty was Hawaiian music. He studied violin as a child, but switched to clarinet and saxophone in his teens when he noticed these instruments were in greater demand for local dance bands. He gradually moved from performing to arranging, working with Gene Krupa, Larry Clinton, and Frankie Carle.

Hugo Winterhalter hired Addeo as an orchestrator and brought him along when he moved to RCA in the early 1950s. Addeo was a steady producer for RCA, backing vocalists such as Vaughan Monroe and Don Cherry, arranging and conducting on numerous credited and uncredited instrumentals, and writing an occasional song. Addeo held down the marimba band corner for RCA's "Living" series, producing a respectable knock-off of Julius Wechter's Baja Marimba Band.
The Immortal Track List:

Click album title to download!


1) The Sheik Of Araby
2) Isle Of Paradise
3) Near You
4) Song Of India
5) Harbor Lights
6) Third Man Theme
7) Moon Of Manakoora
8) To You, Sweetheart, Aloha
9) Song Of The Islands
10) Red Sails In The Sunset



I assure you - this is one of the most powerful antidepressants around.

You will wonder at its power to transform you. No, to transport you - from the doldrums you're suffering through in today's wrecked society to a faraway land. A paradise of red lightbulbs, plastic vampire teeth, fish & poi, tiki glasses, paper umbrellas, vintage comic books, Tahitian Treat soda, the soothing sounds of waves crashing against a moondrenched shore...

And a sense that maybe everything is going to be okay after all.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness

Who recalls rain lamps like Mona here? I certainly do. I remember vividly a store in Tyrone Square Mall, right 'round the bend from JC Penney, that sold these and other tacky things like bowls of alabaster fruit and rattan furniture.  


When I was five, I waddled into that store and reached right up and touched the magic slime that dripped down the strand of fiber and created that eerily hypnotic effect of a Goddess bathed in a soothing rain. "Don't you touch that!" the nasty saleslady screamed at me, running over as if I had just attempted to steal her baby. 

She was too late; I had already totally touched that rain lamp. It was worth it, too. I had wanted to know what that crap dripping down around this lady was for SO long... I still remember the smell of that oil. Not unpleasant, not overpowering, just sort of hippie-ish. It was delightful. 

For years and years and years I tried to recreate in my head the feeling I got when looking at that rain lamp. I don't really know if I could ever put into words what that feeling was / is, but I do know a few people who had been searching for that elusive feeling as well - a mysterious sense of ease brought about by exotic music of times past. We found it together in a man named Walter Wanderley.
Walter Wanderley (12 May 1932 - 4 September 1986) was an organist and pianist, born in Recife, Brazil and best known for his lounge and bossa nova music.

Already famous in his native country by the late 1950's, he became an internationally renown star through his collaboration with the singer Astrud Gilberto and her husband, João Gilberto. During 1966-67, he recorded three notable albums on the Verve label with the Walter Wanderley Trio (consisting of Walter, Claudio Slon (drums) and Jose Marino (bass). These albums, "Rainforest", "Cheganca" (complete with gatefold sleeve) and Astrud Gilberto's "A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness" were produced in the United States by Creed Taylor, who initially brought the Trio to the U.S. to record. Wanderley's U.S. recording of "Summer Samba" reached #26 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1966.

(from Wikipedia.)
His style was like no other's. I was introduced to him through a Verve Bossa Nova compilation. The song - "Summer Samba." Astrud Gilberto was singing and Mr. Wanderley and his trio were providing the music.

Now, if you've ever heard this version - and I know a lot of you have - your first impression may be what mine was at the age of 20. "Holy shit, this music is cheesy," I said to myself. But I didn't turn it off. Instead, I wanted to get more - and right away. It started out with A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness, his collaboration with Astrud Gilberto. "Portuguese Washerwoman" is my favorite from that album. I could listen to it forever, I tell you. Forever.

After that one, I found what for YEARS I mistakenly thought was his only solo release - Rain Forest. It's all instrumental. It's all electronic organ. And it is all awesome. I cannot tell you the times this album has dragged me and others out of deep depression. You think I'm joking? Get a copy of that shit, put it on and tell me that you don't feel at least 78% better than you did just moments earlier. I told you so.

Meanwhile, last year I was scrounging through that record store Bleecker Bob's, avoiding its surly and bossy owner and fingering through the Bossa Nova vinyl, when I saw a Walter Wanderley lp - one I didn't have. Batucada was its name, and you're god damn right I snatched that shit up...

I ran home SCREAMING, expecting to be transformed yet again by Mr. Wanderley's magic fingers. Of course, the album was pure genius. I sent emails to my fellow Wanderley enthusiast friends. "Oh my Christ, you'll never believe what I just found," I typed. They were all, naturally, overjoyed by this discovery! And who wouldn't be!

It wouldn't end there - a quick search of our friend the internet revealed an entire catalog of albums I had never even dreamed existed. I attempted to get them all. I don't know if I did, but the ones I found - including Samba!, Kee-Ka-Roo, Cheganca, Moondreams, and When It Was Done certainly and impressively built upon what I had already considered to be a masterwork of Bossa Nova organ playing.

Most of these albums are out of print. They're available in used record stores, on eBay and other places. Some are going for a LOT of money. They're worth it, of course, but if you want to find out what Mr. Wanderley's like, you can listen to this'n here and hear for yourself:

Walter Wanderley: When It Was Done




Tracklist:
1. Open Your Arms (And Let Me Walk Right In)
2. Surfboard
3. Baiao Da Garoa
4. Reach Our For Me
5. Ole, Ole, Ola
6. Ponteio
7. When It Was Done
8. On My Mind
9. Just My Love And I
10. Capoeira
11. Truth In Peace

Would you just look at that album cover? That just about says it all. Amazing. I hope y'all enjoy it.

And if you're wondering why I'm putting all this music up - well, it's Christmas, y'all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Was Born Beneath the Dying Sun

I remember the first time I heard a song by Swans. It was "Saved." My friend Cathy, one of the Goth Goddesses on my college campus, was playing it in her room while I was visiting. I was instantly attracted to it - it was folksy, beautiful and uplifting, yet at the same time, earth-shatteringly depressing.

She made fun of me for liking it.

Apparently all the goths I knew at the time - and there were plenty - were required to purchase and immediately memorize anything Michael Gira released, even if they hated it. It was a rule of the subculture. So by listening to it while I was visiting her, Cathy was performing a sort of goth community service. (I must confess that after I got more deeply involved with their catalog, I understand completely the need to own and memorize everything they ever did up to that point.)

Even as the subculture elite made fun of me, I rushed out and purchased a copy of this maligned CD. Its Robert Mapplethorpe cover called to me as I entered the music store, and I happily succumbed to its magical visage as I carted it up to the cash register.

While my Swans-enthusiast friends suffered through The Burning World, I reveled in it. I thought it was gorgeous, start to finish (excluding Jarboe's dirge-like cover of "Can't Find My Way Home," which I could do without). I would, to the consternation of my pickier friends, play it constantly for the next several years.

Swans were for people who had graduated from The Smiths' playful self-loathing and wanted to get nestled down into some serious, deep-dark depression. M. Gira and his compatriot Jarboe were NOT fucking around when it came to misery.

From "Jane Mary, Cry One Tear"

I live in an empty house
There's no one there but memory and me
But I loved a woman once
One hundred years ago
For a while

When she left here she was filled hatred
And with a second child
Now I've heard nothing ever changes
But nothing I touch has stayed the same
Everything just turns to poison
That I have loved or made
So bury my children's children
In a deep and lonely grave
Anything is a cause for sorrow
That my mind or body has made.


Do you see what we're dealing with here? How could anyone NOT want to listen to it?!?

After I learned all there was to know about Swans, I realized that yes, The Burning World was a HUGE departure from their previous releases like Children of God - primarily industrial, grating, throbbing, aggressive, and malevolent.

I loved Children of God along with all of Swans' other releases that I had acquired, but The Burning World was and always will be my favorite. When I hear it, I recall some of the best memories of my life. My less stuck-up friends and I, we would all gather 'round in a klatch, Olympia beers in hand, and scream the lyrics to "God Damn the Sun" along with the CD. And we meant each and every word.



When their next album, White Light From the Mouth of Infinity was released, I went to see their promotional concert at Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia. I was amazed by Jarboe's defiant hatred of her audience - she would sulk out on stage, belt out her number, then shoot a glare at us as if she wanted to kill us. Then she'd turn her back to the crowd and hobble back to her corner of the stage, where she was doing who-knows-what between songs.

The audience was just as baffling. The place was packed, mostly by black-wearing Harbingers of Death (myself included), and they all acted so nonchalant and bored by the fact that they were there witnessing their idols live and in person right there on the stage. The smoked, they shot tired glances toward one another, they lingered in the back of the auditorium. No, they were not enthusiastic. No, they did not want to be alive. Yes, they were gracing Swans with their presence, and Swans should be happy about it.

My relationship with Swans fizzled out after Love of Life was released. I don't know if I was becoming less "teen-style" depressed, sick of hearing about other people's depression, or what. From time to time, though, I still listen to them. They're still great. You should listen, too.

It is a sad fact that The Burning World is out of print. If you want a copy, you can pay $218.18 for it on amazon.com.

Or you can click here.

Some Swans albums have been reissued. Many, to the detriment of the world, remain out of print. If you're lucky, you can find them - but most people who have them won't let them go. Listen and realize why.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh, the Seventies...

FREE TO BE... YOU AND ME

I am very glad I was a child when I was.

I can't imagine what it would have been like to be five in the early 80s, 90s, or - God forbid - now. The early 70s were perfect for children. Electric Company was busting a move, The Letter People, Captain Kangaroo and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood were all in full swing.

It was a darn good time to be alive - and children's education was just that - education. It wasn't a marketing ploy to sell plush toys, lunchboxes, videogames, chapstick, extra value meals, and sneakers.

Remember the book Free To Be... You and Me? It was, according to the cover, "a different kind of book for children and adults to enjoy together." It was also pretty radical for its time - probably for this time, even. The people who put this together weren't fucking around. Sexism, gender identity, consumer capitalism, and any other issue that might have turned children into materialistic, stuck-up jerks was addressed in this here book.

I'm sure kids today would hold their noses up at it and give it a big "P.U." - but the little creeps don't know what they're missing. This book molded my brain.

The Sunday School teacher at the Unitarian Universalist Church my parents dragged me to read it to all of us (Unitarians are Godless hippies, don't you know) and I remember particularly the "Ladies First" story by that pervert Shel Silverstein (I don't give a crap what ANY of you say - I HATE The Giving Tree) and being thoroughly petrified by it. Reading it today, I realize that the little snot got exactly what she deserved.

The book is filled with poems, songs, stories, art, and music that instill good leftist, socialist, tree-hugging values - you know, the ones that are so sorely lacking these days. Observe:

The Sun and the Moon

The Sun is filled with shining light
It blazes far and wide
The Moon reflects the sunlight back
But has no light inside.

I think I'd rather be the Sun
That shines so bold and bright
Than be the Moon, that only glows
With someone else's light


That sounds exactly like something Maude would have said to Harold.

Free To Be... You and Me was also a record, including the talents of stellar celebrities like Diana Ross, Marlo Thomas, Dick Cavett, Alan Alda, and even our dear Ms. Carol Channing. It's worth it just to hear Ms. Channing's rendition of the essay, "Housework."

You can hear it by clicking here.

Free To Be... You and Me - buy a copy of this book and force it on your children, whether they want to play their Wiis or not. They will grow beautifully and fortify the human race with peace, love and understanding. We're going to need it.

Thanks to N69N!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Euphoric Too.



Here is the long out-of-print This Mortal Coil ep first released in 1983 (not including "Song To the Siren," which is available on It'll End In Tears).

Click here: This Mortal Coil.

Contributions from:

  • Michael Conroy - Bass (Modern English)
  • Elizabeth Fraser - Voice (Cocteau Twins)
  • Robin Guthrie - Guitar (Cocteau Twins)
  • Gary McDowell - Guitar (Modern English)
  • Gordon Sharp - Voice (Cindytalk)
  • Martin Young - Keyboards (Colour Box)


  • Enjoy it - it is delightful.

    Euphoric.


    I've been on a This Mortal Coil bender for the past twenty-two years, ever since my friend Bernadette sent me It'll End In Tears and their initial self-titled ep in the mail. On vinyl, even.

    This Mortal Coil, 4AD's "house band," combined the efforts of such greats as Modern English, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Pixies, Throwing Muses, and many other talents and created something wonderful - and something that only lasted for three albums. Three albums is enough, though, because they border on perfection. They have been integral to my continued evolution. I owe them quite a bit and I'm pretty sure I've listened to them (at the very least) once a day since they were introduced to me.




    Their available albums:


  • Blood
  • Filigree & Shadow
  • It'll End In Tears

  • Blood is my favorite, start to finish. Some people whine that Blood is too "mainstream" (presumably due to the lack of Lisa Gerrard) or some such nonsense - but I can guarantee you that it is a joy. Tanya Donelly and Kim Deal's rendition of "You and Your Sister" is good enough, but add to that "Late Night," "I Am the Cosmos," and - well - everything else - and you've got a fantastic CD, one that I have pushed on people since it was released.

    If you're new to This Mortal Coil, I would suggest this - before dipping into this World of Wonders, please navigate yourself to the nearest Aveda Aesthetique and purchase a Euphoric Plant Pure-Fume Candle, get home as quickly as possible, light that thing and let its all-natural, ayurvedically-balanced beauty permeate your zone, then lie back, press play, and close your eyes. You will not regret it. You will witness your life changing.

    An Early Christmas Present.


    Our good friend Barack Obama has announced today that Hillary Rodham Clinton is his choice for Secretary of State.

    Not surprising, but still thoroughly and completely awesome. I love her and I love him. I hope they do their best to erase the jackassery we've all suffered through for the past eight years.

    "Hillary's appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances," Obama said at a news conference in Chicago, Illinois. "I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton is the right person to lead our State Department and to work with me in tackling this ambitious foreign policy agenda."
    Things are looking up round these parts.