check out mccrary's response to silliman's recent review of the selected poems of ed dorn before the poet pulls the plug on his blog.
Really Bad Movies
a bard's eye view of love, life and psychotronic cinema
Thursday, March 29, 2007
from richard hansen:
A benefit for frank andrick
Monday April 2, 2007
HQ: Headquarters for the Arts
1719 25th Street
(25th & R Streets)
Doors open at 6
Hosted by Edie Lambert
With readings by
Mario Ellis Hill
With music by
Frank Andrick has devoted his life to helping other people,
from teaching poetry to troubled teenagers to promoting the
arts across our community. Now, Frank needs our help. He
was diagnosed with a range of serious health conditions
in August 2006 and at the same time learned that a paperwork
error had wiped out his Medi-Cal benefits. On April 2nd,
friends will gather to help frank with his medical expenses.
A Sac-Franciscan experimental mythologist whose work spans
poetry, prose, and tale telling. Frank Andrick is the producer
and host of the "Pomo Literati" a two hour spoken word program
broadcast on KUSF. It features live reading performances,
contemporary recordings, and archival rarities from pre-beat to
post modern. Published in the Poems-For-All Series, and Rattlesnake
Press, he authored Soluna a collection of poetry and prose and is
working on Mandorla. He also co-hosts "Poetry Unplugged @ Luna's"
an open mic/featured reading series, the peoples choice for Best
Open Mic venue as per the Sacramento News & Review. frank is
currently editing a collection of works by inspirational women
entitled 'La Musee' de Muse', 'The Museum of Muses'. Interpolating
sound, visual, and performing arts is life for frank. He believes
"there is more space inside of us than we'll ever find outside of
He is inspired by fire, images, dreams, tarot cards, the Knights
Templar, the Surreal, the Symbol, the eternal & the unknown.
- - -
is a thief
by frank andrick
be a poet
entails more than
the writing of poems.
It demands a commitment
to live and die with great style
and an even greater sadness.
To wake up each morning
with the fever raging,
and to know that it can never
be extinguished except by
and yet to be convinced that this suffering,
this sensitivity carries its own unique
I want to be
of an unapprehended
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
we are now into day 2 of our kitchen remodel. i'm sitting here in the living room typing as the entry to the kitchen is covered over in clear plastic and the walls have been stripped to studs. while the backroom is also being remodeled a little with a new door cut in while the rest of the room is used for storage. needless to say, man! the fridge is in the dining room and our microwave, along with a stack of paperplates, a couple of forks and knives, 2 coffee cups, a sippy cup and a bottle is in our bedroom. in other words, we are cramped up!
just picked up the disc of children of men after work today and 1 of the features is a commentary by slavoj zizek, which i have now watched twice. along with watching the movie again. this is the film that has haunted me for the past few months. the one in which i cannot stop thinking about. i daresay that it is a masterpiece. a lot of ambient sound used in the movie, but what strikes me is the motif of ringing ears. when theo [clive owen] is in immediate danger the sound mutes and there is a persistent low metallic ringing on the soundtrack, much like the ringing one would here after a rock concert, or loud explosion. in turn that ringing is a metaphor for the droning violence and speeded up entropy of the dying world.
although the film ends on a slightly positive note, we never forget that in spite of hope humankind still will fuck things up. i won't add any spoilers here if you've not seen the film, but i will tell you near the end there is an epiphanic moment almost, a splendid calm is displayed in the background and foreground of the picture. things stop, and we are allowed to glimpse the miraculous. for a very brief moment at least. then, sudden violence. it is in this scene that displays cuaron's genius. for here the director's action is grounded in cold hard reality. perhaps cuaron is a pragmatist tippled with pessimism, which is personified in theo's character. until he meets kee, that is. then theo loses his despair, strengthens his hope and begins to work toward a kind of pragmatic faith in his mission to save kee and her child.
zizek points out that cuaron's vision is always in the background of the world he created here in this movie. what is simultaneously comforting and frightening is that the world of the movie is also the state we live in. we know it and live in it now. nothing is strange, in cuaron's movie, whether it be technology, religious ideation and action, or the dreadful turns of politics. cuaron created a film both prescient and visionary.
it is this that i say that this might be the most important film of the past dozen years or so.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
anybody remember the intro to the show below?
when for fuck's sake will the entire
series be released on disc!
Thursday, March 22, 2007
director walter hill crafted what i think is 1 of the finest action/adventure films of the 1970s, the warriors. by the 1980s hill was churning out all kinds of product including what must be one of the more bizarre entries to combine action with rock&roll: streets of fire.
i don't know what to say except that this film has haunted me thru all these years. the story is this: diane lane is a rock icon who was the ex-lover of michael pare [earlier he had starred as the rimbaud-influenced singer eddie in eddie and the cruisers] where lane is kidnapped and held hostage by the sociopathic willem dafoe who is the leader of a notorious biker gang that includes lee ving [formerly of the great punk band fear].
pare enlists the help of a soldier, played by amy madigan, to rescue lane from dafoe's evil clutches. oh yes, rick moranis is lane's sleazy manager, and the bartender of the town's only saloon is none other than bill paxton. in other words, the film is a mess. and yet, this is a stellar cast. dafoe is delicious as the cycle-riding, leather wearing, sicko. lane is as lovely then as she is now. madigan plays against type and proves she is an outstanding actor.
now throw in that streets is a musical and the sets look like they were fashioned out of the spare parts of a cannery and you have a pretty good film. hill keeps the pace fast, and dialogue is kept to a minimum. the movie i guess was meant to be viewed as a nascent music video, much like miami vice was on tv at the time. except that the music sucks for the most part but for the single 'i can dream about you' which is still on rotation on soft rock fm stations in the u.s.
and that lane cannot hold a stage like a rock star. she lacks that je ne se qua of say shirley manson of garbage or even mick of the stones. no matter. she has charisma to carry the role. pare looks and sounds like a meathead, which is perfect for his part in the film. he grunts rather than speaks; that again fits his character to the nth degree.
i just called the movie pretty good. and i guess it is considering i've not seen it in years. yet i still remember it, and can quote lines from the film. hill did something with the look of the film, much like ridley scott did with blade runner. hill set the film in the past, gave it a neo-1950s look with duck-ass haircuts and the wild one a la brando leathers and motorcycles. in essence the filmmaker created an almost a mythic, timeless era. perhaps that is why i like the film. i dunno. below is the trailer. judge for yrself.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
dissertations could be written, careers can be built, studying the work of director john carpenter. in the '80s alone he crafted not 1 but 2 masterpieces. the thing and escape from new york are on the surface adventure/sci-fi/horror stories, but peel the skin back a little and you find some seriously subversive shit: cold-war paranoia, distrust of gov't systems, entropy in full swing and so on.
it is interesting to note that carpenter enlisted kurt russell for both those films as the anti-hero. what with russell's aplomb and matinee-idol good looks he would seem an unlikely choice as snake plisken in escape or as the drunken helicopter pilot who rises up to battle a deadly, shapeshifting creature in thing.
but it's just that aplomb, a swagger on the screen and a glint of either good or evil in his eye, that carries forward such characters to the bitter end. perhaps it's just the chutzpah that attracted tarantino to russell in the 1st place. tarantino's portion of the forthcoming grindhouse is a film titled death proof with russell as the bad-guy lead called stuntman mike. looks pretty bad-ass to me. and i'm literally salivating to see this film.
back on point. i started this ramble talking about carpenter. the great filmmaker has never gotten his due. a few weeks ago i caught starman which features jeff bridges and karen allen. the gist is that bridges as the eponymous creature is visiting earth, takes the form of allen's dead husband, while both fall in love with each other as the u.s. gov't is in pursuit of the alien. bridges character is a bit over-goofy. but allen's tough sweetness carries the film. she is magnificent. in the end carpenter's film becomes simply a believable love story. no mean feat, that. not a masterpiece, it lacks the anarchic nihilism of his best movies. but even so, carpenter should be given a billion dollars to make whatever types of films he wants to make on the strength of starman alone.
a list of my favorite movies from the 1980s would have at least 4 of carpenter films. that is no small praise.
Monday, March 19, 2007
i've had to wear glasses since i was a kid. i'm myopic, which means i can't see shit at a distance. that's changed. over the weekend i bought this cool book and was trying to read some small print on one of the reprinted last turn-of-the-century holiday cards. albeit the print was very small i couldn't make it out. i took off my glasses, no help. i held it at arms length, which helped a little, but still couldn't read the letters. anna saw what i was doing and said, 'here; let me help you'. she picked up the book and said, 'copyright 1901'.
it gets worse. there are lofts being built all over the city. fancy, over-priced places where the fairly well-to-do like to hang their hats. a couple of weeks ago we were driving past one such group of lofts. 1 had a sign hanging from its balcony. i told anna, 'they need to get a bigger sign on that if they want people to read it'.
anna asked, 'you can't read that? it says "for rent"'.
now i can't see even read the computer screen or a book that is 12 inches from my face.
the advantage i have over people who have perfect sight is that i can choose to see the world 2 different ways. with my glasses everything is legible and relatively clear, everything all sharp angles and harsh colors. without them the world is soft, diffuse, broken into waves. if i wanna pretend i'm alone walking home from work, or sitting on the train, i can take off my glasses and not see anything clearly, thereby seeing nothing but the world in types of grey. if yr sitting across from some troglodyte on the train, taking off yr glasses is a distinct advantage over people who see clearly without the aid of a prescription.
but now, shit, i can't see this screen without my glasses. no advantage in that. besides, the perfect-sighted don't have to worry about having a 2-year-old ripping yr glasses from yr face as he laughs maniacally in wonderful boisterous jubilance. as you stumble about like the cyclops poked in the eye by a group of sailors led by a man called 'nobody'.
Friday, March 16, 2007
alex gildzen has named exactly what has happened here in east sac: pollen superburst. spring done sprung up on us and everything outside: cars, sidewalk, houses etc. etc. is coated in a thick layer of brown/yellow pollen. my allergies [everyone, almost everyone, who lives in the valley has what is termed euphemestically as 'hayfever'] been working at a pitch. i'm all scratchy throat, watery eyes, and am well-equipped with a badatidude that would make richard roundtree as shaft run for cover.
in other news, what are yr favorite words. i mean the sound of them. how they look on the page or screen. i don't mean definitions. i'm talking about sounds, feel, weight, heft as it were.
mine at the moment go like this:
when i was a kid it was:
i still love the sound of that word. there was - is - a tremendous pleasure in rolling it on the tongue.
i know you have favorites so c'mon. fess up.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
reading around blogland today i find jennifer bartlett hating rude people who litter in public
[i hate that too; also i hate people who spit on sidewalks or the street, leave chewing gum for others to sit or step in, whistlers who can't carry a tune and individuals who address others as chief, as in how's it going there, chief]
from ross priddle's blog
i find this cool poem by jwcurry
and this page from lee thorn's zine fuck! with poems by jon cone and thorn
* * *
okay; is art sourced in pain and created in the abject.
for me the source might be despair, the subjects depressing but the actions of writing/reading is pleasure. not the idiotic follow-yr-bliss sort of thing. but deep, lasting pleasure. the kind derived in the full knowledge that all this, all this shit, is temporary. and once we are dead we can never know it again.
reading/writing are then - not to sound edenic at all - but perhaps those processes i [we] use to [re]create and always discover the thrill of living and death.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
everytime i went to the local blockbuster all the copies of american hardcore were out. frustrating. so i bought a copy and watched it last night. tho i agree with most of the critics who call it a sprawling mess, when bad brains' song 'pay to cum' opened the film i felt almost 15 again.
but if a viewer who didn't give a shit about this particular strain of punk rock watched this documentary then that viewer would be bored by the film's lack of structure. and all those middle-aged punks mumbling a lot of fuck! it was like fucking, um, so like rollins like bashed this fucks head in.
scintillating. but that was punk rock, hardcore style: stupid, aggressive, loud, violent and unforgettable. unfortunately the director paul rachman never anchored his documentary in a bit of punk history, how hardcore derived from the more astringent, intellectual bands from nyc. if patti smith was a poet who sang like a deranged goddess on the lower east side, then keith morris formerly of black flag then later the circle jerks learned from smith and other bands like television and reduced the poetry to sloganeering at 300 beats per minute in l.a. in other words, the difference between 1970s punk rock and 1980s hardcore is this: smith sang; morris screamed.
and yet, hardcore cannot be so easily summed up. which is another frustration with rachman's film. tho he interviews many of the key bands and bandmembers, such as henry rollins [s.o.a. from dc; black flag from l.a.], jack grisham [t.s.o.l. from huntington beach], dez cadenza [black flag], hr and dr. know [bad brains who later kickstarted the hardcore scene in nyc], ian mckaye [minor threat from dc] and so on. but rachman never places those pivotal, and very different scenes and bands in any sort of context. the director brings up a little about straight edge, a movement founded by minor threat that advocated no drugs and no drinking. but why, or how this off-shoot of hardcore develops is not satisfactorily explored.
bad brains might indeed be the best of the best hardcore band ever. they are given almost top billing here. it's not insignificant to point out that the brains were black who played mostly to white kids. but that fact is glossed over too. mckaye is given kudos for talking about his song 'guilty of being white' but even mckaye, who is one of punk rock's most eloquent songwriters, never gets above a yeah man.
hardcore was filled with mute, inglorious miltons who picked up their instruments without knowing how to play and screamed out their frustrations about living in reagan/america. thus the music was raw, explosive and absolutely exhilarating. it might be difficult to imagine know what it was like to be 15 years old and hearing 'kill the poor' by the dead kennedys for the 1st time when all around was fleetwood mac, the stones and a shitload of crap held over from the hippie era. i'm not being nostalgic at all. i think kids nowadays are rebelling against the all-pervasive corporate structures of our world and making vital music. i hope so at any rate. but we are living in an age of spike tv, a channel that specializes in police chase videos, which in turn is sponsored by corporations. how to rebel against that?
rachman should be commended for making a documentary on a much-neglected part of music history. it is watchable with a killer soundtrack. rachman went far and wide to find his subjects. he interviewed bands i'd forgotten about, such as the big boys, the necros, dirty rotten imbeciles, die kreuzen and so on. there is a short on the photographer edward colver who chronicled the era on the disc. many of those photos i've not seen in over 20 years.
butt rachman's film is not the definitive history. rachman never explored the relationship ska music had with hardcore. many hardcore bands were also ska bands. nor did he open a vein with horror punk, such as bands like early t.s.o.l. and the misfits. nor did rachman mention how egalitarian, even if for a short while, punk was. there was no clear dividing line between audience, fan and band. often there were none of these division at all.
we still have to wait for that documentary.
mccrary's unleashed a new book. hit him up for one before they're all gone.
tell him richard sent ya.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
i don't know what kids think of the movie experience nowadays, and i mean kids as in elementary to high school age. but me, i think that sitting in a darkened theater as everyone around you periodically checks for cell-phone messages, and bearing thru an endless terminal of tv commercials before even the trailers begin, is becoming untenable. i don't mean to sound like a grumpy old man at all, it's just that if i wanted to see commercials i'd have saved myself $9.50 and watched tv at home.
the cell phone thing is well here to stay. i just shrug and hope the movie is loud enough to cover over my seatmates screaming into them. but really, if the film industry really do want to get more people out to the movies then for crissake bring back double-features and cartoons. intermission shorts and the like. make it an event, and not an ordeal to suffer thru.
nothing beats the magic of the cinema, esp. when you and the rest of the audience morph into 1 big collective eye. i go to the movies because i don't want to watch television. i wanna see a reality created however fancifully on a big screen and i want to forget i'm sitting in my seat.
today my brother and i went to see 300. we were supposed to see at at the imax, which is a think a 3-story screen, but the showings were all sold-out. so we settled for a conventional theater. i don't go the movies that often. for me it's an event. esp. so when the film is a comic-book retelling of the battle of thermopylae that i've been waiting to see for months now.
it was a decent sized audience. 2 out of 3 seemed to have a small rectangle of blue light hovering in their faces for the duration of the picture. and the ads before the film, god i almost walked out. but i stayed. and forget about the rest of the audience. and became my own big eyeball. and it was good.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
john tyson is one of my favorite poets. today he sent me some recent poems and asked if i could post them here. i'm happy to do just that.
Listening to "Imagine"
From union 6
From the Comfort Of
For Amanda, Kelly, Noah & the rest of my family
Teeth against cinder
another night within
beyond barb wire
you all sleep, inside
i count breath.
Comfort of Imprisonment
forget the moon
jealous of height
another breath another trundle
forget the river
never without fully
another prayer another slip
some where in Milwaukee you sleep
my candle burns your shadow
water blesses turns torment back
never without thistle I scream
there's an article [probably have to register to read it] profiling local poet frank andrick. he's had some major health problems recently. richard hansen, co-owner of the book collector and publisher of poems-for-all and all around great guy, is hosting a benefit for andrick early next month.
richard says in the article, "If you take up the life of the poet in America, you are taking up the life of destitution and poverty". which reminds me of a recent post by jim mccrary recounting when he and his wife were robbed in mexico. they took everything except for mccrary's poems, which the thieves threw back at him. that's how poetry is valued in the world.
i'll post the definitive date when i know it. stop by and help support a good poet.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
normal night-night time for me is between midnight and 1 a.m. if i can get 5-7 hrs sleep i'm doing pretty good. last night nicholas was having bad dreams and woke up at 3:30 this morning. he fell asleep in my lap finally at 4:30 as i was watching videos on mtv. the result: 1 sleepy daddy.
it is one more beer and i don't hear you anymore. we've all gone crazy lately, said sir elton john once upone a time. it'll be any early night-night tonight.
as the kid said in that shitty m. night shamalamadingdong movie, i see double.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
i don't have the highest hopes for human civilization. not that i'm a nihilist but that it seems the lot of humankind is base brutality and mad sweeps by the few for power. the results are suffering, death, famine and disease. the programs i watched on the national geographic channel have haunted me all day. there were graphic images of torture, executions, battles, firefights etc. etc.
even so, i'm a pacifist by nature and actions. and i am an idiot optimist. i've quotes joseph brodsky before, as for human civilization we're fucked. but for the individual there always remains a chance.
fucked up and hopeful.
michael lally, a poet i don't know personally but from his blog and his poem 'my life' published in the outlaw bible of american poetry writes this searing defense of poetry, art and pleasure in our terrible times. adorno had it wrong. not only is poetry necessary, but required work. it is every person's right to creative expressions. to give that up would be an admission that human nature is nothing indeed but base, vile and it deserves extinction.
i don't say this as a guild man. but as a man who must live in this world, as horrible as it is. because i have, you have, we all have, a natural right to pleasure of the highest sort. poetry is that pleasure for me, but it could be anything for anyone else.
enough of the soapbox. read lally.
peace for us
Monday, March 05, 2007
the weekend couldn't be lovelier.
why i live in california:
1 reason is that the weather is early-spring, warm, sunny,
with just a hint of chill in the air. for now at least it is just that.
as i type i have the tv on to the national geographic channel
[watching documentaries on north korea, the rise and fall of saddam hussein,
and private security firms working in iraq]
while the window is open to the cool air
and the sound of running water from our fountain.
tom beckett tagged me with another meme who himself was tagged by jordan stempleman. this one regarding the influence of non-books. those things not placed on the screen or fitted between 2 covers. those are the things that might just matter the most to us as living creatures.
here are a few of mine.
the middle finger
the light in october in california
the smell of eucalyptus trees
finely-tuned bullshit detector
loud, distorted electric guitars
cold, abstracted synthesizers
sitting in a theater anticipating the start of the movie
cities at night
the smell of books
the sound of anna's voice
hot flour tortillas
the tang of excellent salsa
shit; i could go on and on.
back to you.
i tag kevin thurston, daniel f. bradley,
steve caratzas and cliff duffy.
and you too
Thursday, March 01, 2007
let me usher you into this by daniel f. bradley
feast yr eyes