Tuesday, October 22, 2013

5-Star review (unsolicited by me) of HOLLYWOOD POETRY: 2001-2013

Reprinted from Amazon.com--with the author going under pseudonym of "High Expectations":

Hilarious! ... Classic McCarty

I first encountered Terry McCarty's poetry at one of his performances in the late 1990s in Los Angeles. I've been a fan ever since. This collection of McCarty's poetry takes me back to those days, when the open-mic poetry scene in LA was populated by some of the city's brightest writers, McCarty included. Back then, new writers crowded the podiums alongside accomplished writers each week at the many coffee shops and independent bookstores in the Southern California area. Some writers amused. Some writers provoked. Everyone seemed to feel as though they were a part of something essential, and they were. Terry McCarty was one of the writers who made that scene possible. He was always part of the biggest and best shows.

Although the scene is still there, I'm sad to say it's not nearly as big as it used to be. Most of the independent bookstores have long since disappeared, and some of the better coffee shop venues are gone too. But, many of the best writers, like McCarty, remain dedicated to their craft and can still be seen performing in the Southern California area, same as they did back in the day.

"Hollywood Poetry: 2001-2013," reads like the fad never faded. It is some of McCarty's best work yet, a classic portrait of the entertainment industry, and SoCal culture, as only McCarty can portray. To call McCarty's wit "wry" is appropriate, but it also does his work a small injustice as the word "wry" suggests to some a mean-spirited mocking-type humor and I find nothing mean-spirited about McCarty's work. His humor is delightfully dry, painfully honest, judiciously nonjudgemental (mostly), and just plain hilarious. He leads you to conclusions in his special way. He makes me laugh every time. McCarty's voice is so rich in each piece that you can almost hear that lugubrious delivery that is his signature.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who appreciates the voice of witty poets, as well as to anyone in and around the entertainment industry. Chances are you've seen the same things McCarty has seen, although maybe not quiet the same way, until now.

If you self-publish, prepare for tradition-should-rule negativity.

Noticed this article in my e-mail box from POETS AND WRITERS magazine about self-publishing, done in a glass-half-full manner: http://www.pw.org/content/selfpublishing_perspectives

And here is a commenter with a differing view:
eyeswideopen says...
The only thing true about this article by these 3 interviewees is when they say self-publishing is here to stay. Other than that, there's quite a bit of hypocrisy and misinformation being thrown about.
If self-publishers are bringing in millions, it's news to the millions who have self-published. It's actually the self-publishing industry that has grown up around self-publishers making the millions: Cover artists, fly-by-night editors, author services charging exhorbitant rates, only to have these books languish, known only to friends and family, never to be seen by strangers. Sockpuppet reviews. Dismal Amazon ratings. Haranguing of friends and family on Facebook to buy/review whether they've read the book or not "just drop me a 5".
I'll continue to trust the gatekeepers to continue publishing authors I like, books I like, and I'll depend on word of mouth from trusted friends, none of who have ever recommended a self-published book. 
Now, why not do an interview about the real truth of self-publishing? About how only a very few sell even in the hundreds. Look at the dismal Amazon ratings of self-published books, pick a few and then interview THEM. That's where you'll find your millions.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Observing the art form of mid-budget Hollywood remakes.

This afternoon, I saw Kimberly Peirce's (BOYS DON'T CRY, STOP LOSS) remake of Stephen King's CARRIE--the definitive version was made in 1976 by Brian De Palma, with a star making lead performance by Sissy Spacek,

When the preview trailers were playing, I saw other remakes to come in early 2014.  ABOUT LAST NIGHT (based on a David Mamet play titled SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO and a 1986 Rob Lowe/Demi Moore yuppie romance smoothed out from the apparently darker and more cynical play) has been moved from Chicago to L.A. and seems to be mostly a vehicle for super hot comic Kevin Hart in the role once played by Jim Belushi.

And then there was the trailer for ENDLESS LOVE, a remake of Franco Zeffirelli's 1981 teen sex drama with Brooke Shields (a film which is half-forgotten now and not as successful as Shields' previous teen sex drama THE BLUE LAGOON).  In the new version, Brooke Shields' role is taken by Gabriella Wilde--who plays Amy Irving's old role of well-meaning teenager Sue Snell in the remake of CARRIE.

Following the current logic of mainstream films made by Hollywood studios, I'm expecting GabriellaWilde to appear soon in a remake of THE BLUE LAGOON.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Why Senator Ted Cruz will stay on the nation's radar a bit longer.

Yes, Ted Cruz makes Joseph McCarthy look like William F. Buckley, Jr.  But he hits a gigantic nerve with feel-don't-think conservatives across the USA.

Witness these comments on Cruz' Facebook page (commenters' names redacted):
Good that they have a Senator who understands the Constitution and the gravity of the current state of affairs.
Please don't crumble! You are all we have!!
Ted Cruz for president!
Illegal Immigration, and Obamacare, this is not the country of my youth. STAND YOUR GROUND or we are ruined

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sheryl Crow's awful makenice with country radio: FEELS LIKE HOME.

Once upon a time in the early 1980s, the cult R-&-B artist Swamp Dogg (aka Jerry Williams) released an album with the title I'M NOT SELLING OUT, I'M BUYING IN.

Over three decades later, here's Sheryl Crow, cut loose from A&M/Universal (despite a generally good run of albums with that label) and desperate for a career revival.  So, why not humiliate herself by trying to compete with Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, the one-foot-out-the-country-door Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert--voila, the Warner Brothers release FEELS LIKE HOME.

Here are some examples for your listening displeasure:
EASY (YouTube video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST7btkkoaNU

GIVE IT TO ME (YouTube audio) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIlf_CqDVPw

And the song which made me turn off FEELS LIKE HOME, the craptastic
WE OUGHTA BE DRINKIN' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh5MS_7RDcQ

YEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!  Country Music in the Shade of Beige!

Saturday, October 5, 2013


If it wasn't you
riding wrecking ball
licking sledgehammer
twisting on ground
people would search hard
for someone else
to throw stones at
to keep practicing
notions of rocksolid
moral superiority
Mario Lopez smiles
as he implies to Channel 4 News
that nothing Sinead O'Connor says
about Miley Cyrus
is valid
because two decades ago
she tore up the picture
of a former Pope
who will be a Saint
next year
some things you do
when you're young
or younger
will never be forgiven
it's not like Miley
is Madonna or Lady Gaga
or Courtney Love
with some ideas
brought to the table
and marinated in
Pop Culture Sauce
it's just selling
and superselling
and Product
and publicists
and MTV
and record execs
saying how do we make Miley
bigger than Britney
and Christina
that's what matters
the Miley article
contains a tidbit
on how Billy Ray Cyrus
fathered two children
with two different women
Billy Ray chose to marry Miley's mother
wondering if
Billy Ray's other child
has a well-adjusted life
or gets depressed over how he/she
lost the Superstar Lottery

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Poet Julia Stein gets Murrayed.

"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."--Elmore Leonard

But in the world of poetry, some people (particularly reviewers who wish to culturally shape their communities) prefer writing that sounds like writing.

Here are two excerpts from G. Murray Thomas' review of Julia Stein's book WHAT WERE THEY LIKE?

But too often the poems acquire their power through flat statements, rather than poetic language. This is especially true in the final lines with which she closes many of her poems. Too often they end with a line which punches the gut without engaging the imagination. “A cruise missile left her/ paralyzed on half of her body.” (“I Wanted to Believe”); “I ask Congress to stop the destruction of this city.” (“Do I look like a Sumerian goddess”); “she wants to send money to stop the war” (“My Mama Remembers”).

What Were They Like? delivers a powerful anti-war message. Stein succeeds in her goal of showing the lives of average people swept up in the horror of war. But I’m sad to say it rarely rises to the level of great poetry in the process. Regular readers of my reviews know I like my poetry open-ended. I like to discover meaning in the poems I read, not be slapped in the face with it. Poetry is such a perfect format for expressing ambiguity that, to be honest, I feel cheated when a poet does less with it.

The full review can be read at http://www.poetix.net