Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What I've learned from over a year-and-a-half of being on Facebook.

A simple list in no particular order:
1. Facebook is great for reconnecting with people you've lost touch with over the decades.
Results can be wonderful--or sometimes quite bittersweet.
2. Some people friend others on Facebook for sincere reasons; others do it to rack
up their numbers-of-friends (just like in real life).  Glad that Mark Zuckerberg hasn't thought
of Frequent Friending Benefits quite yet.
3. If you had only a slight acquaintanceship with certain people in the normal world, it won't be
any different after you've friended them on Facebook.  Be prepared to post something to someone's wall/page and receive no response whatsoever (exception: when you're posting something complimentary about them).
4. Facebook is something I highly recommend for finding groups for just about anything one may be interested in.
5. As film critic/writer Karina Longworth said in a highly readable article in the recent issue of L.A. WEEKLY, Facebook is a place where your data is given to corporate advertisers to harvest.  Be aware of that when joining so you can control what you choose to share.
6. One person posting links can be another person's "spam."  I found that out (rather bluntly) earlier this year when I was unfriended by an Orange County poet.  But the other person could have easily skipped over the links he didn't want to read.
7. As with the real world, you won't please all the people all the time on Facebook.  Don't stress out
over it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The surviving Doors and Jim Morrison's family issue letter on Morrison's posthumous Florida pardon.


Footnote: I was an extra on Oliver Stone's THE DOORS for a couple of occasions in early 1990.  On one of those occasions, the Miami concert where Morrison was accused of exposing himself was re-created at the Olympic Auditorium in Downtown Los Angeles.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Completion of the Tough Love trilogy.

Final round of excerpts:
i have some suggestions.. and i am willing to give ideas to you for help..but you have to stop trying to convince me to follow your belief structure when it comes to other artists.. especially artists that i have a strong history with and respect for. I am not interested in hearing your opinion of my friends and how rotten they are for treating you so badly.(especially when i do not believe that to be the actual case).. i am more interested in hearing your opinion of you...your opinion of others is clear, okay .. i get it.. can we move on now?

am honest here Terry.. my respect for you has ONLY to do with your previous support, and your obvious regard for my opinion.. my respect for your work as a poet or a spoken word artist has not happened yet.. and you really will need to prove yourself to me for that to happen. I will not accept the "well i have been doing it for a long time" approach.. that does not cut it with me.. there are many many bad poets out there. many many more bad ones than good ones.. standing out and being heard takes power.. power takes discipline.. discipline takes work.. work takes time.. time takes life.. life is full of sacrifice.. My time is has value.. my girlfriend is actually mad at me for spending so much time on YOU this weekend.. so i have sacrificed time with her and caused ripples in my relationship in order to simply try to speak some honest sense to you.. i hope you appreciate it... Are you willing to make sacrifices to get what you want? if not, then you may as well quit.

so.. again.. i offer my consultation and am willing to TRY to help give you suggestions that might give you the ability to reach for your desires of achievement and what you want as success in this silly "scene" ... but i need to have you understand that i will not tolerate close minded angry finger pointing.. he said / she said is a waste of creative time.. on this planet we are here to GO.. do you want to GO.. or do you want to stay..?

Leak of tough love from ex-SoCal poet Part 2.

(Contextual note: When I wrote the person I'm excerpting from below, part of what I was hoping for was some advice as to how best to hybridize myself as a poetry/spoken word mixture--advice which I received in part.  But some of this verged into what I termed rifle-butt-to-the-head territory)

instead of working on your style, meter, words, and verbal skills. ..to me i find your "poor me" approach to be distracting and a cop out keeping you away from actually pursuing your dream. You are poisoning your own water supply.. drinking the water.. and then being upset when you get sick from the water you drank. ..gosh i hope that metaphor was understandable.

Terry.. i like you.. and i think that others like you too (or they used to anyways).. but they do not like your approach.. and well, perhaps its time to take a new approach.. that is really all i am saying.. the actions you have been practicing are obviously not working and are keeping you from reaching your optimum desired achievements... there is a way to change your reality and enhance it to better suit your WILL and the goals you have for your creative output.. but there is also the way you seem to be headed .. which is one of stagnation and repetitive disappointment. .. Your approach has made you into someone that others do not want to befriend, or support.. because you take things very personally.. you ARE a bit too sensitive.. and YOU cause situations that are uncomfortable and bordering on high school drama.... and it causes people to shy away. This perception OF you.. and your own perception of how you are perceived is in need of change.. ..without adjusting this and taking REAL attempts at working out these issues.. your desire and what you want, to be respected as someone who is part of the scene, will always be out of your grasp.

Monday, December 20, 2010

BEST WORST MOVIE: The perils of making a documentary about delusion and its byproducts.


BEST WORST MOVIE is a mixture of documentary and mockumentary about a film called TROLL 2 (full disclosure: I've never seen the latter).  Michael Stephenson,a child actor in TROLL 2, set out to document the film's lingering aftermath as a so-bad-it's-classic object of cult attention from young hipsters.  (Probably the grandfather of BEST WORST MOVIE is then-film writer Michael Medved crowning Edward D. Wood, Jr. as Worst Director and PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE as Worst Film in THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARDS three decades ago).

Mostly, Stephenson focuses on TROLL 2 leading man George Hardy (best described as a mixture of KCET-TV's Huell Howser and cult character actor Charles Napier); Hardy's been a dentist for a number of years and, as the film has it, is happy to bathe in a reflected-glory-of-sorts status as TROLL 2 gets a number of screenings at hipster venues such as Austin's Alamo Drafthouse and L.A.'s Nuart Theatre.

Along ehe way, Stephenson makes some sidetrips into the sad present lives of TROLL 2 co-stars Robert Ormsby and Connie Young--these scenes tend to border on cruel exploitation for a mixture of cheap laughs/cheap pathos.

And, to pad out the film's running time, Hardy goes on unsuccessful jaunts to memorabilia shows in the UK and Texas (in the latter portion, he's made to appear like a clueless cross between Jethro Bodine and Paul Schrader's version of Bob Crane in AUTO-FOCUS).

For the climax, TROLL 2 is screened as an Alamo Drafthouse outdoor roadshow in a Utah town where its filming partially took place--giving the viewer more chances for yuks at the expense of director Claudio Fragasso (who, for better or worse, exudes lots of criticism-rolls-off-of-me self-confidence).

Except in a few minor instances, it's clear that Stephenson's not out to do the difficult work of true empathy with dreamers with ambitions that don't match with most notions of technical and/or thespian competence.  Instead, he wants to have things every possible way--fake laughs at others' expense and smirking distance from human misery--to name just two faults with BEST WORST MOVIE.

It's not that I'm a big fan of the ANVIL documentary either, but at least it bestows undeniable dignity on its missed-out-on-the-heavy-metal-brass-ring protagonists.

I don't think Michael Stephenson's aware of what the word "dignity" means.

Anis Shivani's Important Poets listing other Important Poets--no African-American poets.

Read Victor Infante's blog recently in search of poetry-related entries.  And, after skimming various musings on the DC Comics superhero family, I found he made a reference to this article:

Don't always agree with Victor (as evidenced by my archives), but he's spot on to mention the absence of African-American poets from this listing.

UPDATE 12/21/10: Take a look at the comments section; Avis Shivani responds to Victor:

Leaking out some meant-to-be-tough-love from poet I'm no longer in touch with.

Making this communique from earlier in the year public because it indicates how some in our poetry scene (and perhaps yours too) tend to react to complainers (guilty).  Human nature indeed.

Crying "poor me" all the time is boring and only hurts YOU. Once you have been branded, its hard to make it go away...its like an unwanted nickname, human nature and american social structure feeds that sorta bullying and as long as you keep playing the part, you will continue to be held in that regard... and believe me, from the folks that i [know in the SoCal poetry community].. most now, because of your attitude, consider you little more than comedic entertainment. Again.. im not saying these things to be HARSH.. im saying them to help you come to grips with the reality YOU have CREATED for yourself. no one else is responsible but you.. no one has the power to make the needed changes but YOU.. I am taking the time to attempt to help you realize that perhaps you are WRONG, and i do it out of respect for your support of my past endeavors and that i feel that for some reason (unknown to me) you have some regard for my opinion. Admitting being wrong is a trait that our culture really frowns upon, and being humble enough to admit when you have said or done something way outta line and stupid will gain more respect than anything else i know.

[SoCal poets' names redacted] and others you have issues with have traveled the country and the world and have performed their words for micro cultures of many different sizes and creeds.. their opinions hold merit, and should really be LISTENED to..sure they should be taken with a grain of salt, but they have experience and have learned things about the poetic experience that you have not, and their opinions hold keys and things to be learned..ignoring that is just stupidity. why would you NOT be interested in their opinions?? Poets as a general breed, are honest.. if they say something to you and you take offense to it.. its probably because you cannot handle criticism very well, and again this comes back to YOU.. not them. You are the one with the problem.. they do not have a problem, you do.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's all over now: the end of LARRY KING LIVE.

It's going to be easy to snark about the latter years of LARRY KING LIVE where Larry's tendencies to throw overdeferential-to-guests softballs, not ask follow-up questions and become disengaged in the proceedings caught up with him.

Better to focus on what LARRY KING LIVE meant to CNN upon its 1985 debut: a chance for the network to evolve beyond its just-straight-newcasts-around-the-clock original formula.

Perhaps the show was at its best in the latter 1980s.  I particularly remember 1987, when news events such as the Iran/Contra hearings and the Jim Bakker/Tammy Faye Bakker/Jessica Hahn/PTL scandals were front-page news.  And it made for lively viewing as participants in the above events would come onto Larry's show to spin things their way.  In those days, Larry was still actively engaged in conversation with guests.

Now, that's all been washed away by CNN; CNN is now run by the guy who helped turn HLN (Headline News)'s prime-time lineup into Tabloid Central.  And it will be interesting to see if Piers Morgan's UK tabloid approach can transfer to CNN as successfully as Larry King's talk radio format did.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The story behind the statement.

Posted this on Facebook:

Will have poetry features in January and hopefully Februrary, then likely to go on hiatus and work on a revised version of an old chapbook. Thanks to the poets, living and dead, who made the SoCal scene a better place for the last dozen years.

The underneath of the statement:
Years ago, I had a health teacher in high school (a coach who looked like a cross between Peter Lorre and Patton Oswalt) lecturing our class about "survival of the fittest."
Years later, I had an accounting professor (last name Goode) who, when I asked for help on an assignment, said: "You haven't done a damned thing."  Meaning that I hadn't put in enough work struggling with the problem.

I guess I feel that I've done a bit of both in recent years with regards to poetry.  There could have been more work I could have put into what I've done.  And I'm not blessed with Darwinian (or even Jeff Probst/Mark Burnett) survival skills.

This year, I had the equivalent of rifle butts to the head from current and former SoCal community members.  All this helped to remind me that I have, in their collective opinion, a poor attitude, lack of reverence for certain community leaders and a writing ability lacking in such things as "imagery."

And recently, I've felt some light breezes of condescension from at least one current community leader.

But, enough politeness about adversity.  I'm hoping to get HOLLYWOOD POETRY's 10th anniversary edition out in 2011.

And I'm thankful to have discovered poets and poetry for all the occasional heartache and pain that's a byproduct.

One more post on John Lennon.

I bought the latest issue of ROLLING STONE, with the full text of Jonathan Cott's 1980 interview with John Lennon.

In the November, 1980 issue of ESQUIRE, Laurence Shames' "John Lennon, Where Are You?" was published.  The article, which bemoaned the business activities (and, to an extent, the previous life) of Lennon, could be described as inflaming the mental disorder of Mark Chapman:
Lennon didn't like Shames' take--and here's a portion of the response:
"That guy is the kind of person who used to be in love with you-you know, one of those people-and now hates you-a rejected lover.  I don't even know the asshole, but he spent his whole time looking for an illusion that he created of me, and then got upset because he couldn't find it."
A few lines later--"What they [referring to critics] want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean.  I'm not interested in being a dead f---ing hero...So forget 'em, forget 'em."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It was thirty years ago today: memories of before, during and after John Lennon's death.....

Around late summer/early fall of 1980, I remember being excited to read the Random Notes section of ROLLING STONE and discovering that John Lennon was ending his long (or so it seemed then) retirement to record a new album.

That album, DOUBLE FANTASY, appeared a couple of months later.  A DJ for the now-long-dead Top 40/AOR hybrid station KKQV-FM in Wichita Falls, TX played the album in its entirety--and pronounced it "Double Nightmare"; presumably, she didn't like John and Yoko forsaking activism for chronicling adventures in ordinary living.

And then, on the night of December 8, 1980, I came home from a foreign film appreciation class to find out that John Lennon had been murdered.

A few weeks before, Lennon gave an interview to NEWSWEEK.  He mentioned not wanting to be "Elvis Beatle" and made a chillingly prophetic comment: "The King is killed by his courtiers."

Days after Lennon's death, I remember reading a letter in the editorial section of a Wichita Falls newspaper.  It came from what I presumed was an elderly woman in Burkburnett.  She ranted that all four Beatles should have been shot.

Angered by this stupid, malevolent outburst, I quickly turned the page. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

A selection of articles about WikiLeaks.


From John Naughton's GUARDIAN column, linked to above:
"Our rulers have a choice to make: either they learn to live in a WikiLeakable world, with all that implies in terms of their future behaviour; or they shut down the internet. Over to them."

Mixed feelings about Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN.


Ed Gonzalez' review of BLACK SWAN is probably the most perceptive so far regarding its virtues and flaws.

My take on the film is that its a mixture of Val Lewton-esque psychological thriller capped by a final half-hour of Ken Russell-esque excess that even Russell would find over-the-top.  Suffice to say CGI-effects are wielded a la the comedian Gallagher performing his Sledge-O-Matic routine.  Obviously Darren Aronofsky thought the audience needed a heaping dose of literal-minded dramatization of madness.

Essentially, Natalie Portman's performance is Seven Degrees of Tremulousness followed by One Degree of Wearing Red Contact Lenses--with no real in-between (probably the way Aronofsky wanted the character to be played).

And it must be said that for all the filled-with-ominous-portent you-must-find-the-Black Swan-within talk from Vincent Cassel's ballet master (rooting for Cassel and Barbara Hershey to get Supporting Actor/Actress nominations this awards season--as well as Clint Mansell's score and Matthew Libatique's cinematography), BLACK SWAN is a film about two actresses (Portman and Mila Kunis) who steadfastly refuse to be fully naked on film even in non-gratuitous contexts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Steve Martin and 92nd Street Y interviewer think they're at NYC's MOMA.

It's probably petty and rather plebian of me to hamfistedly point out the irony of someone who, during much of his past two decades in commercial cinema, has made underachieving an art form (of sorts) so he can buy major works of Art.

But I'll do it anyway.