Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mitt Romney explained in just a few lines.

Passage from Charles Blow's November 1st NEW YORK TIMES column "Liberty To Lie" highlighted by me:
Unfortunately, there is some evidence that facts and the people who check them don’t carry the same weight that they once did.
First, the right’s disinformation machine is, explicitly and implicitly, making the argument that facts (science, math, evidence) are fungible and have been co-opted by liberal eggheads. They have declared war on facts in response to what they claim is a liberal war on faith.
This is an utterly false and ridiculous argument, but it works on some people.

I'm presuming these people look the other way when Romney sputters/falters after being challenged (i.e. the third debate) because they hear his voice and badly want to believe the Third Coming of Ronald Reagan (George W. Bush being the Second Coming) is among them.


From the CD THE BEST OF TERRY McCARTY VOL. 1; produced by Jimmy Smith
at his home studio in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Forwarding information re American Cinematheque screenings in Santa Monica this week.

Reprinted from an e-mail by Hollywood's famed Larry Edmunds Bookstore:
WEDNESDAY,OCTOBER 31st @ 6:30 pm at the AERO THEATER in Santa Monica
>> JULIE ADAMS in person!
>> Spend Halloween with Julie Adams and your friends from Larry 
>> Edmunds Bookshop as we enjoy Ms. Adams and co-star Gillman in 
>> digitally restored 3-D in their finest pairing, "Creature From the 
>> Black Lagoon". Julie will also be signing copies of her wonderful 
>> autobiography, "The Lucky Southern Star" prior to the screening, 
>> and she'll be doing a Q & A after the screening. What better night 
>> than Halloween to head on over to the Black Lagoon ?  We'll have 
>> the book signing in the lobby at 6:30 and the film at 7:30 pm.
>> THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1st @ 6:45 pm at the AERO THEATER in Santa Monica
>> We'll barely have recovered from our trip to the Black Lagoon 
>> before we head back to the AERO for a night with the director of 
>> such films as "Platoon", "Wall Street", "Salvador", "Born On the 
>> 4th of July" and so many more. Oliver Stone's films have so often 
>> involved the history of our country his new 10 part mini- series 
>> "The Untold History of the United States" should come as no 
>> surprise. Mr. Stone and co-author Peter Kuznick will sign copies of 
>> the book of the same name in the lobby at 6:45 pm prior to a 
>> screening of 2 episodes of the upcoming mini-series followed by a 
>> discussion with Oliver Stone moderated by Robert Scheer. This is a 
>> free event with a suggested donation of $10 to support the American 
>> Cinematheque who puts on so many original and fantastic programs.
For information about the Aero:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Regarding Steven Spielberg during the run-up to LINCOLN's release.

Found this on Jeffrey Wells' HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE site's comments section (after a thread discussing Steven Spielberg being interviewed by Lesley Stahl on 60 MINUTES); it's a commenter named "cinefan" responding to a Wells remark (partially quoted):
"He's basically in love with the mystique of being a working journeyman -- a guy who loves to make movies in order to make more movies. He loves the joy of crafting more than the finality of art that comes from the heart. He is more enterprising than thoughtful or deep."
The funny thing is I agree with everything you say here but still love his films and him as a filmmaker. For me, he's simply a virtuoso filmmaker who makes entertaining and intelligent adult films (action and otherwise). No one has ever directed action sequences more elegantly or skillfully. If a Spielberg film lacks the philophical depth or complexity of, say, a Kubrick or Malick film, then so be it. Each filmmaker is unique and should not be denigrated based on the style of filmmaking he or she excels at.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Playlist to accompany Pete Townshend's autobiography WHO I AM.

I'm partway through reading Pete Townshend's long-awaited autobiography WHO I AM--and it made me think of a playlist of Townshend songs (both solo and Who recordings) compatible with the book:

English Boy
The Kids Are Alright
Pure And Easy
However Much I Booze
Empty Glass
And I Moved
Jools And Jim
A Little Is Enough
The Sea Refuses No River
Somebody Saved Me
Exquisitely Bored
Slit Skirts
You Better You Bet
Daily Records
Don't Let Go The Coat
A Friend Is A Friend
Cry If You Want

Friday, October 19, 2012


Reading my poem THE BIG ORANGE--recorded a decade ago by Jimmy Smith at his home studio
in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Clear-eyed, unsentimental endorsement of Barack Obama from Daniel Ellsberg.

Excerpted from article written by Daniel Ellsberg for COMMON DREAMS:

The only way for progressives and Democrats to block Romney from office, at this date, is to persuade enough people in swing states to vote for Obama: not stay home, or vote for someone else. And that has to include, in those states, progressives and disillusioned liberals who are at this moment inclined not to vote at all or to vote for a third-party candidate (because like me they’ve been not just disappointed but disgusted and enraged by much of what Obama has done in the last four years and will probably keep doing).
They have to be persuaded to vote, and to vote in a battleground state for Obama not anyone else, despite the terrible flaws of the less-bad candidate, the incumbent. That’s not easy. As I see it, that’s precisely the “effort” Noam is referring to as worth expending right now to prevent the Republicans’ rise to power. And it will take progressives -- some of you reading this, I hope -- to make that effort of persuasion effectively.
The traditional third-party mantra, “There’s no significant difference between the major parties” amounts to saying: The Republicans are no worse, overall.” And that’s absurd. It constitutes shameless apologetics for the Republicans, however unintended. It’s crazily divorced from present reality.
It will take someone these disheartened progressives and liberals will listen to. Someone manifestly without illusions about the Democrats, someone who sees what they see when they look at the president these days: but who can also see through candidates Romney or Ryan on the split-screen, and keep their real, disastrous policies in focus.
It’s true that the differences between the major parties are not nearly as large as they and their candidates claim, let alone what we would want. It’s even fair to use Gore Vidal’s metaphor that they form two wings (“two right wings” as some have put it) of a single party, the Property or Plutocracy Party, or as Justin Raimondo says, the War Party.
Still, the political reality is that there are two distinguishable wings, and one is reliably even worse than the other, currently much worse overall. To be in denial or to act in neglect of that reality serves only the possibly imminent, yet presently avoidable, victory of the worse.
The traditional third-party mantra, “There’s no significant difference between the major parties” amounts to saying: The Republicans are no worse, overall.” And that’s absurd. It constitutes shameless apologetics for the Republicans, however unintended. It’s crazily divorced from present reality.
And it’s not at all harmless to be propagating that absurd falsehood. It has the effect of encouraging progressives even in battleground states to refrain from voting or to vote in a close election for someone other than Obama, and more importantly, to influence others to act likewise. That’s an effect that serves no one but the Republicans, and ultimately the 1%.
It’s not merely understandable, it’s entirely appropriate to be enraged at Barack Obama. As I am. He has often acted outrageously, not merely timidly or “disappointingly.” If impeachment were politically imaginable on constitutional grounds, he’s earned it (like George W. Bush, and many of his predecessors!) It is entirely human to want to punish him, not to “reward” him with another term or a vote that might be taken to express trust, hope or approval.
But rage is not generally conducive to clear thinking. And it often gets worked out against innocent victims, as would be the case here domestically, if refusals to vote for him resulted in Romney’s taking key battleground states that decide the outcome of this election.
To punish Obama in this particular way, on Election Day -- by depriving him of votes in swing states and hence of office in favor of Romney and Ryan -- would punish most of all the poor and marginal in society, and workers and middle class as well: not only in the U.S. but worldwide in terms of the economy (I believe the Republicans could still convert this recession to a Great Depression), the environment and climate change. It could well lead to war with Iran (which Obama has been creditably resisting, against pressure from within his own party). And it would spell, via Supreme Court appointments, the end of Roe v. Wade and of the occasional five to four decisions in favor of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The reelection of Barack Obama, in itself, is not going to bring serious progressive change, end militarism and empire, or restore the Constitution and the rule of law. That’s for us and the rest of the people to bring about after this election and in the rest of our lives -- through organizing, building movements and agitating.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another clear-eyed, unsentimental Presidential re-election endorsement.

From editorial "Four More" in the October 25th issue of THE NEW REPUBLIC:
"At times, Barack Obama has failed to appreciate the virulence of the modern Republican Party.  He has earnestly entered negotiations with adversaries interested in breaking his presidency, not splitting the difference.  It took him paninfully long to arrive at a realistic assessment of his foes.  But over the course of this campaign, he has emerged as a different kind of politician--a populist bruiser capable of skillfully and passionately assailing his opponents, while remaining indifferent to the hand-wringing of establishment opinion.  Perhaps this is a style better suited for the next four years, in which his primary task will be managing a fiscal crisis that his opponents will cynically exploit.  Having extended the safety net, he must now protect it.  Without a second term, the accomplishments of his first would evaporate.  This is not a poetic rallying cry, but there is human suffering to be minimized and a new foundation to defend."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jack McCarthy performs "Careful What You Ask For"

One of the legends of slam/performance poetry; happy to have encountered him and his wife Carol at certain times in the past when he came to SoCal.  Also remember seeing him in Seattle in 2006.

Monday, October 15, 2012

More wise long-ago postings from veteran L.A. poet.

Here's Bowerbird Intelligentleman again from about eight years ago, via a poetry listserve which (a long time ago and in a poetry era far away) used to let people comment freely, even though they (myself included) didn't always mind the majority definition of manners:

listserves are an "intelligentle" many-to-many communication,
because they enable discussion that can be full and thoughtful,
where many sides are able to speak to any and all of the issues,
but where any of the participants can opt out when they choose,
and all they have to do is use the "delete" key on their keyboard.
so any conflict isn't "in your face" unless you _want_ it to be...


but hey, don't interpret what i'm saying as "poets are not mean".
take it from me, poets can be _plenty_ vicious. _unspeakably._
and -- considering the size of the usual stakes -- unnecessarily.
but, like most backstabbing out in the real world, that happens
in secret, not right out in the open, like on the public listserves.
compared to that sneaky underhanded shit, what you see here is
mostly silly and laughable and childish...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A poetry community cliche which should be buried on land/at sea.

Here's the cliche:
If you're involved in poetry long enough, you'll hear Famous Local Poets talking about "bad" or "excruciating" open mike portions of readings--redeemed (maybe slightly) by "a few so-so poets" or (more likely when you hear this tale told) One Lone Excellent Poet That Made The Entire Miserable Experience Worthwhile.

Gee, what is it these days with the aspiring/perspiring literati and their open-air disdain for open mike poets?

Yes, there will always be open mikes with individual poets varying from awful to amateurish to promising to good to excellent.  Open mikes enable poets to learn the crafts of reading poetry in public and evaluating feedback on the quality of their work.

In bygone eras, a good to great open mike performance could lead to a host choosing a lucky poet for his/her first feature at a venue.

Nowadays, that doesn't occur as much since poetry hosts pride themselves on their "standards" so features tend to be already-established poets.  And the purpose for this is apparently to give the open-mikers an idea of what "standards" to aspire to (i.e. MFA study, workshops, private tutoring, fervent networking) to have a chance to be chosen to feature at some other lower-caste reading before you're considered for the reading with "standards." 

Problem is:
When there are fewer readings in a given area and the remaining readings tend to be artistically homogenous (i.e. repeated booking of a few select Names for features because they all have "standards"), open mike poets will have to get used to waiting a long time for The Big Break--with a higher risk of not being chosen by that venue's host(s) at all.

Before I finish this post, I'll offer another passage-of-time observation tangential to this post's topic:
There were readings in the L.A. area in the late 90s/early 00s that had a large, loyal following of poets who would read on the open mike (thinking particularly of the Poetic License series and the long-dead Midnight Special Bookstore in Santa Monica) week after week regardless of who the featured poet happened to be.

There were occasions where certain readings had all-open-mike-poets without features.  Sometimes, a decent-sized audience turned up--and other times, not as much because no feature was there as a Special Attraction.

The last time I went to a certain long-running venue I won't mention here, there was an all-open reading because no feature was booked that week.

And, consequently, none of the reading's regulars attended.

It's something to think about the next time a Famous Local Poet gets overly pious/sonorous about "the poetry community" and looks down his/her nose on "excruciating" open-mike poetry segments.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Forwarding info about this weekend's Other Venice Film Festival in Venice CA

WHAT: The OTHER VENICE FILM FESTIVAL, dedicated to screening full-length, short, and animated films that embody the spirit, energy, and diversity of Venice, CA, returns for its ninth season, featuring more than 60 filmmakers and ten countries. [located at Beyond Baroque in Venice; for more information, click onto]

Venice, CA has always been an epicenter for LA artists and filmmakers who continue to pave the way toward expanding the language of underground, alternative cinema. The OTHER VENICE FILM FESTIVAL bridges the community of Venice and that of greater LA together in a wild, exciting, fun-filled weekend of movies and mayhem.


Opening Night Friday, October 12, 2012
Bree Walker Red Carpet Interviewer.
6:00 pm: Doors Open
live band performance by Natural Hi-Fi
8:00 pm
World premiere of "Ballad Of Danko Jones" Opening (short film)
Starring Elijah Wood, Ralph Macchio, Selma Blair, Lemmy Kimster, Jena Malone
Underbelly Blues (feature)
Starring Elizabeth Croydon, Seamus Reed, Marc Hatchell, Nathan Hurd; Tarantino Production
Followed by Q & A with the Filmmakers
10:00 pm
Opening Party with DJ Michael Stackhouse, live performance plus art, food & libations from the great chefs of Venice in Outdoor Patio.

Films in competition on Saturday, October 13, 2012
10:00 am Youth Short Film Section
2:00 pm World Premiere of No Body's Child; Troy: Naked Boys Behind Bars, Sing!; Chick Flick Spirit & Diversity Series (Alternative Film), plus award-winning short film, The Maiden and The Princess
4:30 pm World Premiere of Roadmap to Apartheid (Feature Film, Political Section)
6:30 pm World Premieres of Bring on the Mountain; rock documentary The Ballad of Danko Jones
9:00 pm Music Video Series: The Me, Albino Raindrops - World Premiere; plus live performance by Venice Rock Star, Stevie Starlight
Brendan Benson (Raconteurs) singer/songwriter toured the United States backed by musicians Brad Pemberton (The Pinkhearts, Ryan Adams), andJonathan Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies/Big Star. In addition to the music video series, Brendan Benson's LA Concert Film will be screening during the afterparty, which begins at 10pm.

**Note** Special 2Fer Tickets are available for $ 15.00 for the 6:30pm screening, which includes Bring Down The Mountain and the rock documentary, The Ballad of Danko Jones.

Closing day, Sunday October 14th, 2012
1:00 pm World Premiere of The Predator's Returns (Short), Warren Steven's Tribute Series
2:30 pm International Short Film Series
6:00 pm Trailer Park Jesus, Feature in competition
8:00 pm Outdoor screening: The Intercontinental Challenge is a documentary about the world's first attempted intercontinental flight between Africa and Europe over the North Atlantic Ocean by piloted jet-wing,
9:00 pm -10:00 pm: Abbot Awards & Closing Party - Hosted by Jill Jacobson
Live performance by local band SHIP OF THE RISING SUN.
Award ceremony and closing party is FREE for the public to attend.

Tickets are available through the Other Venice Film Festival website, or call 310.463-0275
Day of tickets will be sold at the door (based on availability)
Cost: $10 for single event ticket, for opening night screening and reception: $35 online, $40@Door
Abbot Awards on Sunday, October 14th: complimentary

Reuben De La Casas, Director of OVFF / Media Relations 310-806-2181
For more information and tickets, log onto
On your Mobile Phone

Thursday, October 11, 2012

GOP-believing friends/acquaintances from my youth grumbling about Biden debate laughter.

As with a week ago, I didn't witness more than a sliver of the televised debate.  So I can't make any informed commments at this time (though I read opinions from both sides of the ideological divide).

A lot of people who I grew up with in Electra, TX were carefully taught to support the Republican Party and its candidates.

And here is what one person [name withheld] who grew up in my hometown said publicly on Facebook regarding Joe Biden's laughter at Paul Ryan's debate comments:
 "...I think he thinks that if he laughs at what Paul Ryan is saying than the people will think that what Ryan is saying is nothing but a joke. Little does he realize that we the people have sense enough to realize that all he is showing is just how out of touch and rude he is."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tale of an evening that most featured poets have at one time or another.

From an e-mail I sent recently, with certain details redacted [partially to ensure universality of the underlying message of this post]:
[Featured reading at poetry venue] went poorly.... The worst part of the night for me was when one of the regulars came from [nearby reading] where [venue host] read as one of three winners; this regular mentioned that [Famous California Poet] had arranged for the poets to be paid $50 each since poets shouldn't have to read for free. But I read for free at [poetry venue] since no one wanted to buy my $3 chapbook.... I did what I could and the audience mostly didn't react.

Underlying message: We who are blessed to be chosen as poetry features have bad nights as well as good ones.  And my post is not intended as ingratitude--since the venue host and the substitutes that evening were courteous to me by e-mail and in-person; I feel as if I let them down because of the underenthusiasm of most of the audience. 

Analyzing the corpse of the evening: Either I didn't magnetize the room the way a Brendan Constantine or Jaimes Palacio often do, or that the poems I read (outside of an opening poem by Stephen Dunn) weren't considered "good enough" by most of the audience (and unworthy of a $3 souvenir chapbook).

An ironic and rather sad coincidence was what happened to the 10-minute spotlight feature after the break; he's a regular at the venue and offered books for free.

From what I could observe, no one accepted his generosity after the reading ended.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another poetry topic people shy away from: not buying poetry books/chapbooks.

I was reading Facebook the other day when someone I know who runs a small press (full disclosure: I've been published by him in the past) made a very truthful point; for all the people who have friended him, very few have bought books published by his press imprint.

And very few people "liked" or commented on his post.

Of course, this has to do with certain rules of poetry community omerta (silence).

Poets are tacitly forbidden to make general criticisms about the community (i.e. low attendance, not enough people buying books or chapbooks at poetry venues or on websites).  Apparently this is because people may recognize the limits of their own behavior/community participation and they might become uncomfortable--even if it's a generalized complaint with no one mentioned.

Also, poets are tacitly-to-explicitly forbidden to call out specific people on less than ideal behavior because the poetry community isn't seen as a strong redwood tree that can withstand occasional wear and tear, but (in these situations) as an oh-so-fragile twig where omerta is preferable to self-examination and/or admitting mistakes in public.  Because if you say something that's less than laudatory about someone, you hurt everyone--such is Poetry Logic.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Post to Forum section with irreverent take on Tim Burton.

Although I'm never inclined to entirely trust reviews of films I haven't seen myself, that review honestly doesn't surprise me. I've been seeing trailers for this in front of movies at the theatre for a heck of a long time now, but for whatever reason I haven't been able to get excited about it. Until recently, when a few additional (and mostly frenetic) scenes were added in, the trailer seemed to be geared to entice the audience mostly via amusement with the Frankenstein (or Bride of Frankenstein) references, rather than anything very unique.
The "old" Tim Burton--the one who directed "Vincent"--was all about ripping off Edward Gorey, and paying tribute to the twisted and ghastly.
Edward Scissorhands seemed to be the transitional film, where he first started turning into the "new" Tim Burton, who was all about pointing out how mean perfect people pick on poor misunderstood souls with pale complexions--And then he even pushed THAT aside to direct everything his fanboys and nostalgically clueless studios thought he "should" direct, which usually means campy, snickering love letters to easy pop-culture references everyone thinks they're clever for throwing about.

He hasn't done one of his "own" movies since Mars Attacks, and that was fiffteen years ago. By getting the chance to look back at his roots, now that post-Alice Disney throws money at him for belching, think he wanted to see whether he could still direct Beetlejuice, and from the reviews, think the answer we get is......."No." You can't go home again after Dark Shadows and Corpse Bride. 
(If I want late-80's/early-90's Tim, I'll just have to content myself with the "Aladdin" episode of Shelley Duvall's Fairytales.)