BLOG THIS! Highly Suspect Wisdom for the Widely Disinterested Masses
Today In Fat Celluloid #2: As mentioned previously, I've decided to post some images I made between 1987-91, during the time that I was certain I would go on to be a filmmaker/photographer. For various reasons, both obvious and obscure, neither of those things happened. All the images in this series were shot on 35mm film with a Canon AE-1, using natural light. They were hand-developed and printed. The prints have been digitized in order to share them this way, but none have been digitally enhanced. Today's Fat Celluloid is called "She Walks The Line."
Today In Fat Celluloid #1: I've decided to post some images I made between 1987-91, during the time that I was certain I would go on to be a filmmaker/photographer. For various reasons, both obvious and obscure, neither of those things happened. All the images in this series were shot on 35mm film with a Canon AE-1, using natural light. They were hand-developed and printed, first in a collegiate darkroom and then later in the tiny darkroom (converted closet) in the apartment on Guerrero Street I shared with my then-girlfriend (not happy about the loss of sweater-hanging space) in San Francisco. I used an ancient Beseler enlarger, thrift store bins, and suspect chemistry, but it worked. The prints have been digitized in order to share them this way, but none have been digitally enhanced. Today's Fat Celluloid is called "H & A Day-Drinking In The Upstairs Apartment."
Found this Polaroid in a box a while back. I'm going to say this is circa 1983, or 9th grade, during the depth of my Zeppelin obsession. I was so proud of those albums and played them incessantly, washing dishes at Liugi's Pizza for $3.25 an hour after school to acquire them. Liugi, for what it's worth, always tried to short me at the end of the night, apparently under the impression that I was so sodden with bleach, fettuccini scraps, and rank marinara that I was unable to calculate 5 x 3.25 in my head. As revenge for being corrected, he often paid me in quarters. Eventually I was able to save up for that (truly horrible) SoundDesign rack component system, the pride of the electronics department at Caldor, which included built-in cassette, 8-track, and equalizer. The best thing about the equalizer was that no matter how you configured the sliders, the output always sounded exactly the same. No need to even get into speaker quality (lengths of yarn stapled from amp to empty Pro Keds shoeboxes would have sounded better). Even so, not having to share my dad's system down in the family room was pure liberation. In a sudden burst of Mao-esque cultural awakening, no doubt due to insights gained from a particularly affecting episode of Eight Is Enough, my sister was suddenly allowed to get a phone jack in her room, while I was permitted a stereo. For me it was like the doors of the Gulag being kicked off their hinges and sprinting through the high Siberian wheat in dirty clogs, humming "Jesus Just Left Chicago" at top volume. If you're wondering what other records were there in my burgeoning collection, I have a near-photographic memory: Sabbath, Hendrix, Traffic, ELO, Neil Young, Aerosmith, Janis, Jethro Turd, Kinks, Yes, Beatles, the first three Van Halen, Scorpions, Pyromania, Stones. Plus a bunch of off-brand rock no one has ever heard of that I inherited from my uncle; Sky Saxon, Ten Years After, The Flock, Genya Ravan, Gun, Sugarloaf, Canned Heat, Ram Jam, Moby Grape, Al Kooper Super Session. Plus my latest acquisitions, the first few tentative forays into a whole new world that would soon slap me by the bass clef and box my Cum On Feel The Noize ears, changing everything forever: early Police, Talking Heads, Adam Ant, Brian Eno, Violent Femmes, Tubeway Army, Chrome, Zappa, Velvet Underground. Not a single one of those records (except Chrome) survived my First Big Purge a few years later, traded in for a handful of Punk/Hardcore, which in turn did not survive the Second Big Purge as I transitioned into jazz, but those early Zeppelins served me well. Until they didn't anymore.
*I had every single album, so not sure why Zeppelin II isn't pictured in the array. Probably on the turntable.
**The fact that I grew up in a small, dark room with brown carpet and plaid wallpaper should explain a lot.
Yes, like every other 9 yr old boy in America, I was deeply, helplessly in love with Diana Rigg. The flared-eyed concentration. The pouty-lipped determination. The Mod Squad ironed hair and wooden steering wheel and velvet driving gloves. But mainly the nose, which cleaved the air before her like the prow of an Icebreaker forcing its way through the Northwest Passage. Sure, there was "The Avengers," and all the various delights it offered, including the simple linguistic pleasure of the name "Emma Peel." I also really loved her as Clytemnestra in the TV movie of "Oresteia" that I watched with my father on our green and yellow plaid couch, or Portia in 1970's "Julius Caesar." She was great in the bitterly acidic "The Hospital" opposite the acidulous George C. Scott. She was wasted as "Tracy" in one of the weaker Bonds, "On Her Majesty's Secret Blah Blah Blah," and although it could be said that all women in all Bond films were mere bikini-garland, from Ursula Andress to Denise Richards, Diana rose above them, despite the script, out of sheer self-possession alone. But my favorite role of hers might well be in "Theater of Blood," where she wore a white turtleneck and huge bouffant of Maria Conchita Alonso from Total Recall hair piled up on top of her head the entire film, too busy outrunning the axe of a blood-lusting Vincent Price to hit the salon and straighten that action back into the accepted and comforting Peel style.
RIP Diana, already missed.
Oh, like the reality of the virus, where it came from, where China is, the link between vaccines and autism, the way in which the stock market has little or no effect on the actual economy, who Karl Marx was and what he really wrote, what deficits really mean, the history of the Civil Rights movement, the War On Christmas, the origins of the slave trade, where Columbus actually landed (wasn't America!), the true and ugly nature of the Pilgrims, Fred Hampton, Papal conspiracy theories, the origins of Mormanism, Opus Dei, Bill Barr and Clarence Thomas' affiliation with Opus Dei, Robert Mercer and/or Cambridge Analytica, Gerrymandering, redlining, Shirley Chisholm, John Lincoln Rockwell, Trickle Down economics, Alan Greenspan's involvement in Ayn Rand's sex cult, Newt Gigrich's Contract With (against) America, Clinton's crime bill, Jeffrey Epstein's plane, Trump on Jeffrey Epstein's plane, Joan Quigley's influence over Ronald Reagan, Fawn Hall, George W. Bush being a male cheerleader at Yale, George W. Bush not being a Texan at all, Trump's grandfather being an immigrant, their last name being Drumf at the time, Grossvater Drumf being a white immigrant so it's cool, Trump's father being a low-level bagman for the mob, Roy Cohn, the Mark Burnett tapes, Deutschebank, vast money laundering through multiple hotel properties and golf resorts by unnamed persons, Devin Nunes' cow-suing, how buying non-HPBA plastic is a scam, the floating trash island in the North Pacific being the size of Texas, nurdles, Scaramucci, the reason for carrying Tiki Torches, where the phrase "shining city on a hill" really comes from, the ricotta-spine of Lyndsey Graham, climate change and/or climate death, defunding police, the constitutionality of the usage of executive orders, deliberately killing the post office in order to privatize it, handing out those privatization contracts to wealthy donors, where all the bees are going, the forty-two credible women claiming sexual assault, sun spots, losers and suckers, Filet O' Fish, Birtherism, Kamala-ism, Pence and the Rapture, not one glacier left, Kubrick's faked moonwalk, but mainly, the moist, reptilian, and utterly rapacious gaze of Jarred Kushner and the way in which I am quite sure, if left alone in a room together, he would eat my spleen.
Time to refresh wikileaks. Or maybe that's wikipedia.
Is it just my imagination, or does this guy seem like a complete knob? And what is so best-selling about that "iconic" jacket, which looks like every other vaguely denim-ish jacket in a vaguely not-black color ever made? And why is he holding a can of what purports to be some artisanal small batch IPA brewed with fresh, clear mountain water that was no doubt actually mass produced beneath a YMCA in Camden? And why does his hair look like he just spent the last six hours standing directly behind the fan of a swamp boat somewhere deep in the Everglades? And why is he simultaneously wearing both black Chuck Taylors and what is clearly a twenty-thousand dollar watch? And did he borrow his mustache, at a very attractive per-hour rate, from TV's Tom Selleck, star of the highly underrated Magnum P.I.? And what is he staring off so balefully into the distance at? Some redneck tailgate before the Rapture kicks off? A squadron of Nazi attack dirigibles coming in for yet another strafing run? A charging caribou that just gored half the French photography team? Will the fey crook of his other hand and clear attempt to appeal to the crucial 19-29 Gender Fluidity market calm the snorting beast? Finally, don't you hate the name "Huckberry" for a clothing company? It conjures notes of Twain, buttery fingers with no napkins, marmalade, and bad harmonica. It sounds like the worst song on an album of terrible Mumford&Sons songs. It sounds like a misused ampersand. They keep putting this goddamn ad in my feed and for some reason it whispers to me, tells me that our culture is dead, thoroughly flatlined, crushed by a tsunami of ill-considered branding and the immorality of Indonesian labor. It tells me such culture as we have left will not, in fact, be revived like hipster Lazarus by a $280 waxed, flannel-lined trucker jacket now on sale plus get an extra 10% off by using code RONJEREMYSTACHE at checkout. Have you ever met a real trucker who wouldn't just shrug and calmly take a beating from twelve other truckers behind a Dairy Queen for just wearing the thing? But hey, as long as we're being brutally honest here, I am forced to admit that the main problem is the degree to which I'm secretly terrified, given the deep and evil Zuckerberg analytics, about what the endless repetition of this ad in my feed ultimately says about me.
Hey, I was reminded by my boy Mike Nesi and his very hip fam that it's been a long time since I posted this, and especially that it's now more relevant than ever. We've raised (unless something deeply weird happens in the coming months) over $700 for the Biden campaign. That's way more than it sounds, since the site prints and ships the shirts, and therefore keeps most of the profits. But you still get this killer Trump/Putin shirt, and at the same time toss some cash toward ANYONE BUT TRUMP. Link to order here. Every single penny from the sales will be donated (Go Val Demings!)
"Donald Trump is a seditious puppet, a mob money launderer sent by his Russian overlords to wreck democracy. This shirt was created as a fundraiser by Greg Olear (author of "Dirty Rubles", @gregolear) and Sean Beaudoin ("Welcome Thieves", @seanbeaudoin). Every single penny raised will be donated to the campaign of whoever runs against Trump in 2020. It's closer than you think. Buy one now and be part of the solution! Also, we chose the highest quality material. Who needs to man the barricades in an itchy, ill-fitting shirt?
Hint: gaze deeply into the skull's eyes.
Cool Stuff from Dan Wickett at Wayne State U:
National Short Story Month--2016 was the year I started really trying to track the short story collections being published. Through many avenues I found out about at least 220 that were published during that calendar year and amassed 106 of those titles. They are (well, minus the Dzanc titles) shelved together, so this was much less a random pull from the shelves: Bull by Kathy Anderson; both Coulrophobia & Fata Morgan, and The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street by Jacob M Appel; You Are Having a Good Time by Amie Barrodale; Swallowed by the Cold by Jensen Beach; We Show What We Have Learned by Clare Beams; Welcome Thieves by Sean Beaudoin; A Tree or a Person or a Wall by Matt Bell; Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett; The Expense of a View by Polly Buckingham; Transitory by Tobias Carroll; Pretend I'm Your Friend by MB Caschetta; Blood by Matthew Cheney; Letters from Dinosaurs by Leland Cheuk; Wild Things by Jaimee Wriston Colbert; Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins; Know the Mother by Desiree Cooper; and When Watched by Leopoldina Core.
Hey, my boy Greg Olear, who has, no joke, become a legit Twitter superstar (100,000 people read his last within 48 hrs) with a relentless and essential critique of the Trump presidency, has launched PREVAIL. It's a site on Substack that allows him to stretch out beyond the confines of threads and 280 characters. How the dude finds the time, let alone the intellectual/emotional stability to write multiple smart, incisive, and damning articles about everything from cow-suing (yes, that's a thing) Devin Nunes to Russian Mob Money every week is beyond me. You can subscribe for free, or buy a premium subscription to help Greg fund the enterprise, which her runs entirely out of pocket. Either way, PREVAIL will continue unabated, out of a mix of fury and pure patriotism. As a bit of respite, he's started posting "Sunday Pages", a chance to get away from Trump and the pandemic for a day, in which a novel excerpt or snippet of literature is run on the site Today one of mine is up, a short story from "Welcome Thieves." Check it out.