Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Re the Ugly Mug: it's all over for me.

"Regarding your request, Phil seriously considered it (which is a lot more
than he's done in the past), but ultimately had trouble accepting the
sincerity of your apology given your relatively recent negative comments
online about the reading and the Ugly Mug."--from an e-mail sent to me by Ben Trigg, Ugly Mug cohost.

Presuming this is one of the comments in question:

And, the apology I made (after some thought on the banishment and realizing I've done a bad job of expressing contrition) http://poetry-arts-confidential.blogspot.com/2011/04/annual-plea-for-forgiveness-re-ugly-mug.html

Also presuming this is another "negative" comment--though it's not about the reading and the Ugly Mug, though.  It merely takes issue with the DON'T BLAME THE UGLY MUG anthology introduction:

All I can do is stand by the apology; I feel better for having found the courage and humility to do it.  And, to close, here's an excerpt from the response e-mail I wrote to Ben (highlighting by me):
I was--and am still--sorry for my conduct of seven years ago. And I feel really sad about having my sincerity doubted--and getting told that my apologies aren't abject enough. It's been enough to cope with being mocked by whoever writes the "Terry McCarty's War Against Humanity" blog.

All three of you should be aware by now that I would never come back to the Ugly Mug only to be loud and disruptive to you and anyone else in attendance.

So, there you have it.  Nothing else to say, period.

New poem: LONDON POEM.

Took the Underground

from Holborn to Trafalgar Square

to see the stone lions

and the oversized ship-in-bottle--

plus the 2012 Olympics Countdown sign.

It was a clear and sunny day in London Town

as the busker in front of the National Gallery

sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah

almost as well as an Orange County poet/DJ once did.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another sign of local poetry times in SoCal.

Stop me if you've heard something akin to this one before in your local poetry community:
So there's this long-time poet/host that I have some respect for and I just noticed that he's been studying
with this poet from a city adjacent to Orange County.  And I've been guilty in the past of saying things the LBC poet didn't want to hear--and he responded with a pithy remark calling me a talentless witless friendless turd.

But the poet I respect is more skilled at accepting the local scene as it is and is certainly trying to make the best of what's around.  And maybe the LBC poet will publish him in an anthology someday.

Ideally, the poet I respect should get a book deal from the LBC poet.

But since I'm a talentless witless friendless turd (allegedly), I have no say in the matter.

Friday, May 27, 2011

RIP Jeff Conaway.


Jeff Conaway will be known for playing Kenickie in 1978's film version of the musical GREASE--plus his supporting role as Bobby on the classic late 70s/early 80s sitcom TAXI--and for his participation (and what could be called exploitation) in  the VH1 reality series CELEBRITY REHAB, ringmastered by Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Reporting from London.

I've been vacationing in London, GB, UK--which explains the silence of this blog for the past week.

There's been some rain here, plus sun and gorgeous weather as well.

Have seen the Cotswolds, Abbey Road studios, Blenheim Palace (where Churchill was born and Kenneth Branagh filmed some of HAMLET) and an ITV show called SING IF YOU CAN, which can best be described as obstacle-course karaoke (and the show that Chuck Barris never produced during his long TV career)

Noticing that English people still cling to their right to smoke in public; remembering that Joe Jackson (musician extraordinaire) has made a side career of complaining about what he regards as draconian NYC smoking bans.

A little bit of draconianism wouldn't hurt on this side of the pond.

That's all for now.  Looking forward to buying the new Lady Gaga and Blondie albums being released here today.

Friday, May 13, 2011


so I'm in a big big room
where music will be played
and there's an obnoxious someone
who thinks he's a defiant hero
clutching a fat cigar in his right hand

then he tilts his head back
and blows gray smoke
looking like car exhaust
into the upper Palladium atmosphere

I wonder if it's worth it 
to find one of the yellow-shirt security people
until I remember
that a security person
confiscated my friend's Tic-Tac container
because Mr. Security
thought the Tic-Tacs might be
smuggled-in drugs
that happen to be shaped like Tic-Tacs

and it's not worth it either
to confront Mr. Cigar
and knock his treasured smoke
from his right hand
since I know from experience
that hitting and being hit
isn't the right way
to solve problems

so I move away from the compromised air,
making sure that I stand behind
the tape separating audience
from Palladium walkways
as I hear loud chatter
and smell the more familiar concert aroma
of a freshly-lit joint

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Martin Scorsese on THE KING OF COMEDY.

Although Richard Schickel can be a rather hectoring old scold, his new book CONVERSATIONS WITH SCORSESE is a must-buy.

Of course, Martin Scorsese has participated in more than one interview book in his lifetime.  But he responds to Schickel's queries with a not-always-seen-in-the-past candor.

Take this selection of Scorsese quotes from the chapter on THE KING OF COMEDY (the 1983 classic about kidnapping your way onto the show business A-list) for example:
"I just thought we were making my movie, and everybody would wait on me--a complete megalomaniac."  [referring to the quite-long shoot]

"There is a part of it that's grotesque, you're right about that.  But I was trying to capture something.  As I was making the film, I realized that a part of me was in that story, and I was forced to confront it.  I look back now and I realize why I couldn't make KING OF COMEDY back in 1975 when De Niro first gave it to me.  I was too close to it.  I didn't understand it.  And I haven't seen it since I first made it.  It's too embarrasssing.....Not embarrassing.  It's--....very unsettling."

[Schickel mentions a scene where the receptionist to Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) isn't letting aspiring comic/talk-show host Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) "past the gates"]

Scorsese: "It was so sad.  The poor guy wants to get in there.  He can't get past her.  He tries to make himself likable and yet there's all this extraordinary violence and hostility in him.  I can articulate all that now.  I couldn't articulate it then."

Schickel: "I can imagine why it was very difficult for you to do."

Scorsese: "Oh, it was awful for me, as I said."

Monday, May 9, 2011

More on the poetry community many people are happy with/publicly uncomplaining about.

From an e-mail I sent to someone in the LA/OC poetry community:
.....I do feel that much of the criticism I engage in has validity and it shouldn't be regarded as "he's not good enough to be one of us, so he's just acting out."

Thought that Victor's Ugly Mug anthology [introduction] laid bare a lot of what's wrong with poetry communities--the cliques, "stars", "heavyweights" etc.

Yet, if I write about how that hurts rather than helps poets and poetry, I'm regarded as seditious.

Sometimes, people/institutions have to be discussed in less than glowing ways. Otherwise, the notion of "poetry community" becomes rather hollow and blinkered.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What is an acceptable response to criticism you don't like?

Recently, I had some backchannel exchanges with a long-time veteran of the poetry community.  He chided me for taking criticism personally and brought out the time-honored "if you dish it out, you have to take it" statement.
True, but it's hard to "take it" when people resort to calling me a "turd" and saying that my death cannot happen soon enough.

Certainly, bullying doesn't end with childhood and adolescence.

And the above comments ("constructive criticism" perhaps?) were made by people who are regarded by some as class acts (one a poetry publisher/slam veteran and the other arguably a creator of the "elevated" community that now exists).

I think of a comment I once read about how people can be vicious to each other when the stakes are low (in the case of poetry, it often amounts merely to gaining prestige in your area, with national/international recognition out of reach for the most part).

Here's to all the people driving home tonight from whatever readings or literary events they've been to--all tying themselves into knots because they're worrying about having blown their chance to impress that special someone who might elevate whatever lowly status they think they have.

I know it gets better--it's been both better and worse for me at various times in the past.

One just has to hang on each time until the longed-for state of "better" arrives.

Painted-pink donkeys, anonymous websites and me.

I can remember last summer when a poetry promoter/producer/poet and I discussed the Terry McCarty's War Against Humanity blog (something I refer to with grim tongue-in-cheek as my "nonfan club") at an Orange County poetry venue.

He offered to have someone with computer knowledge find out the identity of the anonymous WAH blogger.  Unfortunately, this never occurred.

More recently, I discussed this with someone else of high standing in the SoCal poetry community--and I was advised to get an attorney to send a letter to Wordpress (what the anonymous person uses to send his missives from).  I've thought of this--but can imagine Wordpress replying that nothing can be done because the blogger hasn't made actionable threats, just dropped loads of snark followed by links to specific posts of mine.

So, at this time, I feel a lot like the painted-pink donkey tethered last week on a busy street in Century City CA by the trendy Pink Taco restaurant.

But in that case, there's at least a name and a face linked to that offensive fiasco--Harry Morton, former playmate of Lindsay Lohan from the middle of the last decade.

The WAH blogger still hides--and won't be honorable enough to put his name on his blog and opinions.

On this blog, whether you like what I say or not, you know I take responsibility for it.

And this state of affairs proves that the SoCal poetry community isn't as much about poetry and community as it claims it is.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Re last night's episode of THE OFFICE and the poetry community.

Regardless of what you may think of last night's episode of THE OFFICE, (which ended Will Ferrell's four-episode arc as Deangelo Vickers), it had its moments as an illustration of who's in/who's out office politics. 

And the following line spoken by Kevin certainly applies to our poetry community:
“Your boy, Kevin Malone, is in the inner circle…which doesn’t exist.”

Here's the response from my nonfan club:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden is dead. What happens now re Obama and his Presidency?

In the aftermath of Al Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden's death yesterday, people are now high-fiving and pronouncing the re-election of President Barack Obama as inevitable.

Don't get too overconfident.

It was just a few days ago that Obama went on national television to announce (in effect) that he had been rolled by Republican sort-of-Presidential-candidate/real estate mogul/"reality" TV tough-guy Donald Trump.
So Obama wasted his time (and the nation's) to produce his full certificate of live birth in Hawaii to engage with the nonsensical (and racist) "birther" movement.

However, this much can be said about Barack Obama: he can address the nation at times as if they were a bunch of grown-ups not constantly engorging on trivia.  And, in certain matters of national security, he can act decisively--as witnessed by the demise of bin Laden (like Saddam, a villain once allied with and enabled by America).

In terms of what Obama plans to do with the huge temporary bump in popularity, it's anyone's guess.

One thing Obama should do is forcefully declare an end to the post-9/11 era by having Khalid Sheikh Mohammad tried in a civilian court.  The carried-over-from-Bush policies of ignoring inconvenient passages in the Constitution "because it's wartime" must stop.

Also, Obama could quit demonizing the "left" and too-often meekly deferring to Wall Street and well-heeled corporate contributors to both parties.

In effect, I'm saying this: if Barack Obama can finally rid the world of a Most Wanted terror figure, then he should find (to use an old political cliche) "the fire in his belly" to combat the kind of domestic financial terrorism (against the everyday working class the Democratic Party used to care about) wielded by the likes of Paul Ryan.