August 8th, 2007

Electric Blue

Each night, on the porch of the house next to ours here in Middlesex Beach, DE, a ghostly apparition appears, glowing a lambent electric blue (not the sickly green of the crapcam photo below). . .  There is no mistaking that hazy silohuette, lit from within:

Back to us, the electric Buddha meditates on what is past, present, and yet to come. 

posted by PaulW
  • pgdf

Sixties Novels, Part 32

James Kirkwood, P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD!, Stein and Day, 1970

I almost didn't include this title. After all, how "unknown" could a book and writer be when the author was also responsible for one of the most famous Broadway productions of all time, A CHORUS LINE...? (And if you want to read a cautionary article about signing your life story away for a moment of fame, visit here:

Still, Kirkwood's name is hardly a household byword these days, even in literate circles. And this novel for a time did have genuine cult status, before becoming a play and ultimately a film. You can learn everything you need to know from his Wikipedia entry:

Off on a tangent, I'm proud to say that not once have I ever seen any performance by Steve Guttenberg, star of the film version of P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD!. Thank god his career seems almost over:

Of course, it all fell apart for Steve once Homer Simpson caused the dissolution of the secret society known as "the Stonecutters." For it was the Stonecutters who created the monster in the first place.

Get the scoop here:

Posted by Paul DiFi.

(no subject)

Spent the day working and going through my friend Robert Frazier's library of Itunes, coming across two great Cuban bands in the process, NG La Banda and Los Van Van...Los Van Van, in particular, were a welcome find, mainly because of their song, Muevete, which means "move it" as in the sense of "shake it." It is, perhaps, the single greatest dance tune ever written. One of my old bands performd an adequate cover of the song, and it never to failed to stir even the most reluctant audience. It was always weird -- a rock band performing a __son__ tune, getting white people (mostly) to dance, or attempt some semblance thereof. Many times from the stage it looked like a barnyard had been whipped onto a frenzy, like palsy had infected a strange bipedal herd, but neverheless they did their best to shake it. Anyway, for those among you who like salsa music, son is the shit and Muevete is one hell of a groove.

Which makes me wonder how Jennifer Lopez' and Marc Anthony's attempt to do a biopic of the great Latin singer, Hector LaVoe, is going to turn out. LaVoe was the best of the Puertoriqueno vocalists...I remember the first time I heard him on the radio. The song was El Dia de mi Suerte, and I stopped what I was doing and listenened, like I did the first time I heard Terry Reid and Hendrix and a couple of others. He was amazing...and I'm sure Marc Anthony is going to do the vocals and not use Hector's. Some of Hector's best work was done with Puerto Rican bandleader Willie Colon, with Yomo Toro on quinto (a midget guitar). If you ever happen across a Willie Colon album called The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, give it a listen.

Been hearing very good things about the Aussie film Noise, about a cop with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) who is sent to man a police van in a neighborhood where a number of ultraviolent crimes have recently occurred. The director, Mark Saville, is getting major praise from people whose judgments I tend to trust.

Then there's the tale of Vincent Ward, a director whom I thought was going to be one of the greats. His early film, the Navigators, won the Palm 'd'Or at Cannes, but shortly after that he was whisked off to Hwood, where he made a couple of films, notbably When Dreams May Come, a visually spectacular attempt to create the afterlife on film using the imagery of classical paintings, but ultimately a failure hamstrung by Robin Williams at his most saccharine. Now, returning to New Zealand to make his first film there in 15 years, River Queen, and given the services of the excellent Samantha Morton, he has created an affectless epic about the Maori's conflict with white settlers. Kiefer Sutherland roars around in the picture to no apparent purpose -- you just wonder what the hell Jack Bauer is doing in 19tth century NZ. It's very sad. Another career squandered.


Well, I'm back: from the island, from the con, from the family reunion, from the General Store, pretty much in that order and over the last few weeks. I'm going to try and post something VERY SERIOUS and IN DEPTH at some point soon, after I get a good night's sleep — been wanting to write about Nick Drake for a while, after having seen the two ND documentaries, so hope I can wrap my head around that in the next few days. I have a forthcoming piece on Salon as well as some other reviews of some cool new books I'm reading. I bought a book at the Raleigh-Durham airport, on the way home from Trinoc*con (which was great), the first noel I'e read for my own pleasure (i.e., not for review) in many many moons – Annie Dillard's The Maytrees. Haven't finished it yet but it reminds me of Laurie Colwin's Family Happiness crossed with James Salter's Light Years -- two of my alltime favorite novels. The Dillard has a bit more to chew on stylistically — she's not exactly a transparent writer, but she makes me stop and scribble quotes into my notebook, always a good sign.

Off now to watch the Graham Parsons documentary Fallen Angel. My Achilles heel (one of them) is doomed sensitive songwriters (cp Nick Drake). I never really got into Parsons' music — he always seems a bit like Townes van Zandt Lite, which made his early death all the more poignant — but I was captivated by the live clips I saw on Youtube recently, and I got the DVD so I could check him out. For anyone of you looking for something to feed your heads this evening, check this out —

Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye live in the studio, c/o Minnesota Public radio as part of Jerry Garcia's Birthday Week celebrations. They do a lovely version of "Grateful" and an acoustic "People Have the Power," as well as PS's Blakean tribute and some in-between chat.

Hope none of you got stuck in the NYC subway today --