Tuesday, July 31, 2012

RIP Gore Vidal; From MYRA BRECKINRIDGE: Mae West- Hard to Handle

Gore Vidal, author, raconteur, provocateur and occasional candidate for public office, passed away today (July 31st).  Though Vidal disliked Michael Sarne's film version of MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, it is a colossal old-Hollywood-meets-counterculture guilty pleasure of sorts.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The low point of NBC's Summer Olympics coverage so far.

As long as large audiences are uncomplaining about NBC/Universal's time-shift, slice-and-dice 2012 Summer Olympics coverage, it can be stated with certainty that more of the same bland, sexually exploitative (the teen women gymnasts, for one example),  jingoistic, age-flattering-filtered-shots-of-Bob Costas coverage is on tap for Winter 2014 and Summer 2016.

But here's the absolute theater-of-cruelty low as seen on last night's telecast:
Gymnast Jordyn Wieber failed to be one of the two USA team members to make the individual all-around, losing to Aly Raisman.  So how does NBC/Universal handle this?  I'll yield the podium to Salon.com writer Willa Paskin: "...the absolutely brutal, exploitative two-shot of Raisman talking to a reporter with a despondent Wieber in the background..."

Friday, July 27, 2012


Monarchy still means a lot
To so many of us here in PoetryLand
Honor the same names, same faces
Of those who haven't moved away
Or changed their addresses
To the Great Reading Room in the Sky
Stardust is bestowed on just a few
The bar of belonging is set very high
Except when it isn't
Just be quiet and wait for a turn
That may never come
For reasons you'll never be allowed to know
We must show the kind of humility
Towards our anointed elders and youngers
That singer Julius LaRosa allegedly
Failed to show to Arthur Godfrey
Sixty years past
It was vitally important at the time
And made all the front pages
When Julie was cast out
Of the TV kingdom called TALENT SCOUTS
But Julie and Arthur were drowned
In the sea of Posterity--
Something that the glittering poets
Of Today know
Will never happen to them.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Re the annual Newer Poets reading--a modest proposal.

Full disclosure up front: for a handful of years, I volunteered time and money to make possible the printing and delivery of postcards for the Los Angeles Poetry Festival's Newer Poets reading--organized by Suzanne Lummis.  And I was glad to be of help to Suzanne, so whatever comments I make below aren't meant as ingratitude.

I recently noticed this description of the Newer Poets reading held last night at the Los Angeles Public Library's Downtown location:
"The seventeenth annual newer poets program is guest-curated by three acclaimed poets: Eloise Klein Healy, Arktoi Press; Suzanne Lummis, Los Angeles Poetry Festival; and Gail Wronsky, professor, Loyola Marymount University and member, Glass Table Collective."

You'll notice that Beyond Baroque--which was a guest-curator in past years--is missing from the above statement.  This oversight surprised me; perhaps the honored Venice poetry/arts institution will again be invited to nominate poets in 2013.

But perhaps it's time for me to offer unsolicited (and likely to be unheeded) advice about the Newer Poets reading as it proceeds through the 2010s.  It should be split in two--first with a totally Newer Poets reading honoring those literary-ambitious bards who have, say, less than ten years of existence in what is known as "the poetry community"; then, an Honored Poets reading saluting talented veterans who haven't always received the spotlight so generously (and often frequently) aimed at a handful of others in the LA/OC areas.  And one of the two readings could be held at a venue other than the LAPL deemed prestigious enough by the Los Angeles Poetry Festival organizers. 

Sometimes, poets who have spent up to decades in the trenches of writing/submitting/reading/MFAing may feel a bit spiritually diminished by being suddenly labeled "Newer Poets" akin to musicians/actors suddenly being called "overnight successes" by the mainstream media.  Ergo, the division into two categories.

Feel free to use the comments section to agree/disagree with what I wrote above.

Warner Bros. moves GANGSTER SQUAD to a 2013 release date.

Apparently extra time is needed
not only to cut out the machine-guns-in-movie-theater scene, but also to get cast/crew together to shoot additional scenes:

Friday, July 20, 2012

James Holmes and Wayne LaPierre: Time for the NRA to take gun control seriously.

At this writing, it looks like the usual sensitivity-driven response to the horrific rampage of James Holmes in Aurora, Coloarado will take place: both major Presidential candidates will express their empathy with the victims; Warner Bros. is pulling THE DARK KNIGHT RISES TV ads--plus the trailer for GANGSTER SQUAD, which includes a machine-gunning-in-movie-theater scene derivative of a portion of the climax of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (UPDATE 7/23/12: The movie theater scene from GANGSTER SQUAD will be removed, prompting some additional filming before its September 7 release date); theater chains will increase security for safety of opening weekend patrons; calls for gun control will increase; politicians will do absolutely nothing to offend Wayne LaPierre and the National Rifle Association.

But perhaps in a small way, it's time to have a left-and-right-meet-at-center compromise on gun control.  People from both major political parties must sit down with Mr. LaPierre and his lobbying legions and convince him that--at the very least--the Clinton-era ban on assault weapons needs to be reinstated, as well as closing the infamous loophole making it too easy to buy weapons at gun shows without background checks.  If the NRA continues to be unyielding on protecting every kind of gun ownership, then, essentially, it's in passive collusion with James Holmes' crimes of last night--including the brutal shooting of children.

This isn't "taking away the guns" of responsible, everyday nonpsychopathic gun owners--who don't need or want assault rifles.  It's a necessary action to prevent future tragedies of this scale--something that both conservatives and liberals/progressives should find common ground on.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Had a good poetry week.

Happy to report that I had a not-bad-actually-good week where poetry is concerned.  Received a good review for my latest chapbook INTERLOPER; the book was not submitted for review and the reviewer is a person who I've had occasional differences with in the past--but on other occasions, she's been supportive with good comments/advice and I'm glad to have received a review that didn't question why I write poetry: http://alkhemiapoetica.blogspot.com/2012/07/terry-mccartys-interloper-new-poems.html

Also, I took part in the Last Bookstore's SPARRING WITH BEATNIK GHOSTS reading earlier today.  The reading series takes place periodically in Northern and Southern California and is organized by Daniel Yaryan; today's host was Mike Sonksen, best known to the SoCal poetry community by his moniker Mike The Poet.

Frank Mundo wrote an article in advance of today's Spar:

Hoping more good weeks in poetry are ahead of me--and will put in time and work to make them possible.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New poem: IT'S 2012, ISN'T IT?

my wife and I
are in a mountain tourist town
where a souvenir store
displays a cartoon T-shirt
with a stick-figure man
listening to a stick-figure woman
yelling at him in the first panel
the second panel
has stick-figure man
pushing stick-figure woman
off of a cliffside
with the caption PROBLEM SOLVED
we don't buy anything
from that store

Peter O'Toole retires from acting.

I haven't seen Peter Medak's THE RULING CLASS, widely considered a triumph for Peter O'Toole. But here's a random list of O'Toole films I have seen--some are classic, others aren't, but all are worth watching for what he contributed in terms of talent and craft: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, LORD JIM, WHAT'S NEW, PUSSYCAT?, BECKET, THE LION IN WINTER, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, MURPHY'S WAR, THE STUNT MAN, MY FAVORITE YEAR, CREATOR, CLUB PARADISE, LASSIE, VENUS.

Explaining poetry-as-literature to outsiders: one person's definition of the Pushcart Prize.

"It’s difficult to articulate just how important the Pushcart Prize has become to poets today. One doesn’t even have to win it. Just being nominated can be a huge boost for a writer, at least in the short term. In discussing the prospect of Radius ceasing to submit to the Pushcart, I’ve had writers tell me how much the nomination gave them fuel for their next project, or how receiving their first nomination helped give them the confidence to move on with their work. That’s no small thing. If the Pushcart can have that sort of impact on talented writers even by its proximity, then there must be something to it. Even if pursuing the Prize is Quixotic. There’s something indelible in that moment, and that’s something worthy of respect".--Victor Infante, from his RADIUS article about continuing to forward poets for Pushcart Prize nominations even in the face of a Pushcart majordomo looking down on online poetry zine submissions

Monday, July 9, 2012

Victor Infante will not climb off the Pushcart.

Apparently, the Pushcart Prize people are a bit huffy about online poetry publications highlighting "instant" poems and--as a pushback--reaffirming their belief that good writing takes "time."  Consequently, some of these online poetry zines aren't willing to submit entries for Pushcart honors.

Yielding the floor to Victor Infante (ex-OC, current New England) articulating where he stands on the issue (hint: read my post title): http://ocvictor.livejournal.com/931484.html

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

RIP Andy Griffith.

Didn't get to meet Andy Griffith, but during my nine years of doing background (extra) work, I remember being part of at least one episode of MATLOCK. Besides the legendary THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, I would recommend the 1975 old Hollywood comedy/drama HEARTS OF THE WEST, Elia Kazan's 1957 A FACE IN THE CROWD and the 1983 TV-movie MURDER IN COWETA COUNTY (paired with co-star Johnny Cash) as examples of what Griffith could do as an actor outside of the reassuring Andy Taylor/Ben Matlock image. And, within that image, Griffith had a late-career triumph in the comedy/drama WAITRESS, from a few years back.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Some random opinions following today's news about Anderson Cooper.

1. Regardless of timing, it's commendable that CNN's Anderson Cooper decided to join his lesser-known colleague Don Lemon (who came out awhile ago) and declare himself proudly gay in both his public and private lives.
2. The irony remains that Cooper works for an organization (Time Warner) which still is a prime mover in keeping certain gay celebrities tightly closeted--and publishing "he/she is straight with his/her supposedly-straight lover/spouse" fantasies for their print/web readership.
3. No comment about the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce (of which a settlement has now been reached--announced Monday July 9th), except to say that it's interesting that it shares the same news cycle as Anderson Cooper's coming-out e-mail to THE ATLANTIC's Andrew Sullivan.
4. Regarding Number 3, it's safe to say that most closeted thespians will remain that way (as Time Warner's ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY recently mentioned in a cover story, male celebs who are out aren't likely to be cast in straight romantic mainstream movies--or, likely, superhero/fantasy/action franchises, reinforcing a decades-old casting prejudice of the motion picture business)--unless they're outed or choose to out themselves late in their careers when their better days as money-earners in the Industry are behind them.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Deciphering NBC Newsdude Steve Capus' Ann Cuury statement.

"So morning television is HDTV and Ann Curry should have been comfortable doing fluff pieces. And, believe me, our highly-paid consultants tell us that fluff holds onto more eyeballs than serious news in the morning. It's not the first time we've stooped to conquer viewers over six decades of TODAY. Remember the chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs and Willard Scott dressing in drag as Carmen Miranda? We just do that shtick more frequently these days. And besides, Ann--like Meredith--just didn't have the Katie Couric zip. That's why we're rolling dice that Savannah Guthrie can turn the world on with her smile, just like Mary Tyler Moore. Seriously, are you naive enough to think we'd pin the blame for our ratings decline on Matt Lauer?"