Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards and Joe Biden: past sins you're not supposed to pay attention to.

It's now being alleged that Elizabeth Edwards (in a sort of Lady Macbeth fashion) aided the coverup of John Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter--for the good of the Edwards campaign and apparently without thought of what would happen if this had become common knowledge in the hypothetical event of an Edwards candidacy.  And there's screams of anger from those who think Ms. Edwards should have her feet held to the fire regardless of her current struggle with cancer.  Here's an article posted on AOL: http://news.aol.com/article/edwards-wife-blasted-by-democrats/149213

With Joe Biden, there's been a great amount of whitewashing to spin him as a Wise Experienced Old Sage who will help guide Obama Skywalker and enable him to use The Force in the most effective bipartisan fashion.  Here's an article by David Greenberg on SLATE that discusses Biden's all-time greatest gaffe--plagiarizing a speech by British pol Neil Kinnock: http://www.slate.com/id/2198543/

And Biden put a cherry on top of this expedient, no-one-will-notice sundae by adapting Kinnock's life story as his very own.

Pay special attention to the picture of the younger Biden in the Greenberg piece.  It's not quite as convincing a depiction of contrition-in-public as that of Elliott Spitzer after his prostitution-related disgrace earlier this year.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

George Butch Jr. does the same old things in the same old ways.


And there are people who still think Little Butch is a misunderstood savior (I can't bring myself to read Fareed Zakaria's "What Bush Got Right" article in a recent NEWSWEEK) and mindlessly want to give the oil companies whatever the hell they want without any meaningful oversight.

[Update 9/2/08--Little Butch is still on his more-drilling crusade, but now tying it to Hurricane Gustav: http://news.aol.com/article/bush-renews-call-for-more-drilling/154929]

And Nancy Pelosi, tower of Jello (to steal a great line describing Bill Macy's TV writer character in MY FAVORITE YEAR), goes along because she just wants to stay in Washington and slurp up perks like truffles at a pig trough.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The John McCain "pick a running mate" game.

You're John McCain--less than magnetic on the stump, uncomfortable with the "John McCain" caricature your staff wants and, like Bob Dole in 1996, eager to win the Presidency after being run off the road by the Bush family.

There are four paths you can take in choosing a Vice President:

1. Choose someone little-known who won't upstage you.

2. Mike Huckabee--may win over older and/or rigidly conservative Religious Right folks.  But be prepared for blowback from choosing a creationist running mate.

3. Condi Rice--may rally diehards who believe Bush was a fair man made fun of by the Evil Media and will someday be vindicated.  But tabloid media may want to dig into Ms. Rice's private life--which may make Religious Right uncomfortable.

4. Mitt Romney--will win over the Old Money/Wall Street wing of the GOP, no doubt.  And he may even be palatable to Religious Right after downplaying his Mormon faith a la JFK doing the same with his Catholicism in 1960.   But can the Number One on the ticket live with being overshadowed by Number Two?

[Assuming choices like Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg (an admittedly left-field pick) are off your table.]

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama/Biden: why, why, why?

Yes, I'll still cast my ballot for Barack Obama in November because he's the more rational of the two main choices for President.  But I don't see how choosing uberhack Joe Biden (who, to be fair, can occasionally sound like he's actually read a position paper or two) can be spun as a positive decision--unless Obama and David Axelrod have a fantasy of Biden being a sort of Spiro Agnew-esque putdown machine on the campaign trail.

And Obama has given a bountiful gift to the Republicans--who can rehash Biden's various verbal missteps (remember the plagiarism from British pol Neil Kinnock's speech, for one thing) ad nauseum in radio/TV ads this week and next.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vice-Presidential picks for both sides.

Not that anyone will listen to me, but:

For John McCain, Jon Voight would be an ideal pick.  Voight's celebrity will distract from McCain's shortcomings on the stump.  And Voight can be assured of an audience ready to keep hearing his already-practiced "I was once a liberal but woke up" stump speech on shows like GLENN BECK, THE O'REILLY FACTOR, HANNITY AND COLMES and MORNING JOE.

For Barack Obama, Claire McCaskill would be an ideal pick.  She doesn't come with Hillary Clinton's negative baggage and would help to heal some of the wounds from last spring's long primary season.

Monday, August 18, 2008

RD Raindog Armstrong on the virtues of self-publishing.

There's a well-regarded literary poet in L.A. who is about to have a book published by a boutique "small press"--I'll go ahead and say it, Red Hen--and this event is being treated like the poet has never had a book in print before.

Awhile back, I wrote on a poetry listserve that self-publishing means you're often treated like the literary equivalent of Pinocchio--not a "real" poet and/or author because you haven't been "blessed" by someone with "taste."  That's not true, but it's an enduring myth with a lot of power in the SoCal community.

Here's a link to poet/publisher RD "Raindog" Armstrong discussing DIY publication: http://www.lummoxpress.com/journal/j003/index3.php

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pastor Rick Warren and Bill Maher: God deserves better friends and enemies.

It might be one thing if Orange County megapastor Rick Warren wanted to have an ecumenical conversation on faith and values and invite clerics from various religions--or even a private sitdown with the two Presidential candidates.  But to read that Warren spent some of yesterday basically inflating his ego ("I CAN SUMMON BARACK OBAMA AND JOHN McCAIN AND THEY WILL APPEAR BEFORE ME!!!) and mainstream recognition value by imitating last year's CNN "values" interview program (hosted by Soledad "gosh and golly" O'Brien) is disconcerting.  And, like Soledad, Warren asked a variation of "what's your favorite worst sin": http://news.aol.com/elections/article/mccain-and-obama-cite-moral-failures/135340?icid=200100397x1207606354x1200393589

In other religious news, Bill Maher's likely-to-be-smirky mockreligionumentary RELIGULOUS is getting an out-of-town tryout at the Laemmle multiplex in conservative Claremont, California.  Maybe Bill, director Larry Charles and distributor Lionsgate are trying to figure out how to manufacture some controversy for the film, which is about a month and a half away from its official release (this could mean some dumb, transparent tactic like hiring background actors from a nonunion agency to play outraged Christians for a fake-amateur YouTube video).  Here's a link to the Laemmle site: http://laemmle.com/viewtheatre.php?thid=17

Update (8/19/08): RELIGULOUS is playing in Claremont, as well as in the NYC area, for Academy Awards Documentary Feature qualification purposes.  Thanks to Jeffrey Wells for revealing this in HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE: http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/2008/08/suburban_bookin.php


Friday, August 15, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

James Franco: Real and Reel Poet/Writer!

From a recent GQ profile of newly-minted superstar (currently on view in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS) James Franco--also a recent grad of UCLA:

franco alternates between talking about his present academic and creative life with gusto and pulling in the reins, fearful of how such talk may come across. When I ask him what he is proud of that he has done so far, he seems incredulous that I might mean any of his movies and instead offers, “I got a poetry honorable mention at UCLA,” but when I try to ask him more about the poetry, he seems to shiver a little and is unwilling to elaborate. He knows how these things can seem. “It just sounds like, ‘Oh, the actor’s doing poetry,’ ” he demurs. “In that sense, it seems ridiculous to me. But I’m taking it as seriously as I can. I’m not calling up some cafĂ© and saying, ‘Hey! I’m James Franco, I’m going to read the poetry I wrote about my motorcycle.’ I mean, I’m working with real poets. I’m doing it in as serious a way as I can.”

The full article (where Franco, among other topics, discusses his Ben Affleck period of taking Movie Star roles in films such as FLYBOYS--not as bad a film as Franco makes it sound) can be found at: http://men.style.com/gq/features/full?id=content_7397

And here's this factoid from Cinemablend.com:

James Franco has already won accolades for playing an icon of an earlier decade, when he starred as James Dean in a TV biopic about the troubled actor. But now he's tackling an even tougher real-life character, and one who doesn't exactly immediately make you think of Franco. The star of the upcoming Pineapple Express told MTV Movies that he'll play Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Howl, a documentary that nonetheless will feature Franco in re-enactments as a young Ginsberg.

"I’m gonna play the young Allen Ginsberg, the days before he went bald and gained weight. The early Howl days," Franco told them. Now, the picture you see above is how we normally think of Ginsberg-- covered in facial hair, and a bit on the portly side. But check out the image here, of Ginsberg at a younger age when he actually wrote Howl, the landmark poem that made him famous. You can kind of see the resemblance, right?

Howl is known for being a tough, raw poem, but Franco claims he's read it many times, so at least he knows what he's up against. He's always been an actor to willingly take challenges, so it's exciting to see him sticking with a dramatic role like this one even with Pineapple Express about to reveal him as a bona fide comedian. OK, so the Ginsberg role will be a re-enactment within a documentary--- not exactly big enough for an Oscar nod. But you know with Franco in the part, you'll pay attention anyway.

And finally, here's a link to an essay called "Intense Emotional Experience" Franco wrote that was accepted by UCLA's WESTWIND writers' magazine for the Winter 2008 issue: http://www2.humnet.ucla.edu/westwind/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26&Itemid=31

Monday, August 11, 2008

Latest random notes--ROLLING STONE, John Edwards, etc.

1. Let's start out with a NEW YORK TIMES article from Richard Perez-Pena regarding ROLLING STONE changing to a sort of ESQUIRE/GQ average-size glued-binding format from the oversized one used for most of the mag's 41-year history:


Don't worry.  Mr. Wenner and his minions will ensure that future issues will contain half-naked cover photos of Katy Perry and other pop starlets--plus the obligatory Random Notes references to Billy Joel (whether or not anything interesting is happening to him--part of the apparent bargain made around 1982 when Joel's aspiring-to-seriousness album THE NYLON CURTAIN was released).

2. Time for a Larry King-esque random note: Do you think that anyone at Universal who may have seen the new version of BRIDESHEAD REVISITED has gazed upon Ben Whishaw's son-of-Anthony-Perkins appearance (in the role of Sebastian Flyte) without thinking "let's make a PSYCHO reboot"?

3. Does anyone think John Edwards can reboot his political career after the timing of Rielle Hunter's refusal to determine her child's exact father?  I don't think Edwards can put the genie back into the bottle and get the mainstream media to walk away; hell, I think the bottle has shattered into a million little pieces (sorry).

Here's a link to a NEW YORK OBSERVER roundup of articles about Edwards and the media coverage of the affair: http://www.observer.com/2008/media/monday-morning-john-edwards-rielle-hunter-round

Plus here's another OBSERVER piece by Steve Kornacki called "The End of John Edwards": http://www.observer.com/2008/politics/end-john-edwards

Update (8/15/08): Here's Elizabeth Edwards' attempt through surrogates to control her story (apparently political ambition has been airbrushed out for the PEOPLE audience): http://news.aol.com/article/edwards-affair-left-wife-difficult/132807?icid=200100397x1207720257x1200415474

4. Can anyone talk about the death of musician/actor Isaac Hayes without mentioning Scientology?

5. Can anyone talk about John McCain without denigrating the elderly in general and McCain's age in particular?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A plug for my reading Friday, August 15th at Santa Monica's Rapp Saloon.

Here's an e-plug for my reading about 20-25 minutes of poetry next Friday (August 15th):

terry mccarty
the first annual farewell tour
in SANTA MONICA, california
AT 8:30 P.M.
From EAST BAY EXPRESS, October 3-9, 2007:
He's worked in major motion pictures as a stand-in for Joe Pesci and Wallace Shawn.  But then Terry McCarty started writing poetry with a sociopolitical edge.....
Recent chapbooks include BORN TO WALK, INSUFFICIENT GRAVITAS and YELLOW TREE RED SKY.  Another chapbook, part of RD Armstrong's Little Red Book series, will be published later this year.
The Rapp Saloon is located at
Hostelling International Building
(next to Buca de Beppo restaurant)
1436 2nd St in Santa Monica
(between Santa Monica Blvd. and Broadway).



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More YouTube fun.

Here's CNN's Anderson Cooper with Kelly Ripa on LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/regis-and-kelly-anderson-cooper-is-amazing/2141130014?icid=200100397x1207280608x1200378752

Somehow I don't think Brian Williams would stoop to discuss reality shows when being interviewed.

For those who don't watch E! and are curious about the post-VIEW career of the incredible Debbie Matenopoulos, here she is interviewing Robert Downey, Jr. on his role in TROPIC THUNDER (as well as gushing over Downey's late-blooming superstardom): http://worldofwonder.net/archives/2008/Aug/05/painfultowatch_video_of_the_day.wow

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

NEW YORK OBSERVER: Bill Clinton dishes it out, but can't take it.

Here's an article from THE NEW YORK OBSERVER that examines lion-in-winter Bill Clinton, who still feels enraged from being on the losing end of last spring's primaries: http://www.observer.com/2008/politics/whats-bill-clinton-so-mad-about

Pay special attention to how candidate Bill treated rival Paul Tsongas in 1992.

Friday, August 1, 2008

More random notes.

1. David Zucker, formerly of the ZAZ team that gave filmgoers AIRPLANE, POLICE SQUAD and TOP SECRET in years gone by (in today's pop culture, anything released before 1983 is usually considered irrelevant), has, like Ron Silver, become a born-again right-winger.  Therefore, Zucker has finished a comedy called AN AMERICAN CAROL to share his hard-right beliefs with a presumably-large audience.  Actors include Kelsey Grammer as General George S. Patton (I'm not making this up), Jon Voight (another ex-progressive) as George Washington and Kevin (brother of Chris) Farley as "Michael Malone"--easy guess as to which documentary filmmaker/provocateur is being parodied.

Jeffrey Ressner of the website POLITICO gives the full details:  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/11959.html

2. There's a lot of easy snark over Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton's dumb and sort-of-homophobic remark about Lindsay Lohan "going gay" re Bratton's opposition to ex-LA Police Protective Leaguer and now-Councilman Dennis Zine wanting laws to curb disruptive paparazzi feeding frenzies on celebrities.  But underneath the surface is a sort of psychodrama of warring LAPD cultures: Zine is one of those ex-hardline cops who probably would've liked to have been Chief himself and, since Bratton is an ex-New Yorker, Zine is throwing one of those "keep outsiders from controlling the LAPD" conniption fits which last occurred bigtime when the short-termed Willie Williams occupied the Chief's chair.

3. Update (8/2/08): 
Here's an inadvertent visual commentary on celebrity aging.  Witness a 50ish Kevin Bacon trying to remain relatively youthful and looking like Dana Carvey and an 83-year-old Tony Curtis (sans wig) looking like late-career Jackie Coogan around the time of Coogan's playing Uncle Fester on THE ADDAMS FAMILY:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1dIppZrDcM from an episode of THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW on BBC America.