Tuesday, July 29, 2014


 fiftysomething man
 sits far away from the heat and drought
 reads the Twitter post
 from a young Wichita Falls Texas resident
 about how the city is now known
 for drinking recycled "pee water"
 while waiting for rain
 I thought Kevin Costner
 consuming his own body fluids
 would always be science fiction,
 muses the former Wichita Falls resident
 imagining a young man
 going to the Kemp Public Library
 for a few hours of air-conditioned refuge
 passing by the front door sign:
 it wasn't exactly this way
 when the fiftysomething man lived there
 long long before the abundance of heat
 and the lack of water
 and the tax base shrinking
 and the schools closing
 and the Grand Old Party politicians
 broadcasting and e-mailing
 messages of hate and fear
 plus appeals for campaign cash
 from the relative comfort of Austin
 seeding poisonous rain clouds
 that the city of Wichita Falls--
 whether you like it or not--
 can certainly do without
 as citizens wait and pray
 for the real thing to come along

Like drinking vinegar: the "I'm better than you" poem.

Here's Dian Sousa prefacing her poem by bemoaning a job that took her to Las Vegas and (oh, the horror) made her sell Hello Kitty purses:

Perhaps I'm a relative failure as a poet because I don't think I'm better than others.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Filmmaker Sophia Takal's nonreview of Woody Allen's latest film.

Southern California residents of a certain age might remember Hugh Bonar's brief reign as a hipster film reviewer at LA WEEKLY; Bonar's routine was to write about movies without actually writing  about the movie--essentially snark that assumed the audience colluded with the Bonar ethos that actual analysis of the movie wasn't necessary because (yuk, yuk) the movie's so lame, so bad, so not worth writing about seriously.

Here's filmmaker Sophia Takal's nonreview of Woody Allen's MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT, focusing briefly (as asides) on the film itself (already building consensus as a subpar follow up to last year's BLUE JASMINE): http://film.thetalkhouse.com/talks/sophia-takal-green-talks-woody-allens-magic-in-the-moonlight/?awesm=tlkh.se_q0K

In fairness to Ms. Takal, she avoids tying the film to references to the child molestation allegations against Allen in the 90s (in which he was not charged) recently revived by Dylan Farrow, her mother Mia Farrow and NEW YORK TIMES columnist Nicholas Kristof.

A.O. Scott did just that in his NYT review: http://nyti.ms/1jXqVcO

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The BlueInk review of HOLLYWOOD POETRY: 2001-2013.

A middling review from BlueInk, but at least it's from an outlet with no prior knowledge and/or preconceptions of me:
Hollywood Poetry: 2001-2013
Terry McCarty
Xlibris, 57 pages, $15.99, (paperback) $15.99, 9781479793822
(Reviewed: June 2014)
Terry McCarty’s Hollywood Poetry: 2001-2013 presents an interesting and original premise for a
collection of poems, as the work is “based on or inspired by [the author’s] experiences in the film
industry” as an extra and occasional stand-in for Hollywood stars.
McCarty’s poems are neither melodramatic in tone nor clichéd in description, evading two
common poetry pitfalls. However, these poems are also strikingly devoid of imagery, relying
almost exclusively on telling and summary details. For instance, in the opening poem “Clint
Eastwood in Italy,” the lines “I’m one day closer/ to my ultimate goal—stardom” appear twice.
While direct and explicit, the lines don’t engage the senses or paint a picture in the reader’s
mind. This pattern continues with similar statements, such as “I threw a lifetime of caution,
practicality/ and restraint to the wind./ I decided to become an actor—immediately” and “It was
one of those rare good days/ when I wasn’t worrying/ about who I should be/ and where my life
ought to be.” Such lines lack the prosody and imagination of more crafted work and read more
like jottings in a journal.
When more showing details are incorporated into these poems, the reader becomes instantly
more engaged. A strong example is: “AGNES MOOREHEAD IS GOD/ read the spray-paintedin-
black graffiti/ on a brick wall located at the back/ of a parking lot on Vine Street.” There are
also some formally innovative poems that fire the reader’s imagination, such as “Visiting Day,”
which makes good use of the second person, the “Botox Haiku,” and “Icarus’ Itinerary 2004
Version,” a retelling of the myth using the imperative form and drawing from the contemporary
Overall, this is promising material. The journalistic style of these poems allows for moments of
humor and insight. If the author can incorporate sensory details as well as a stronger
metaphorical dimension to balance the literal and documentary nature of these poems, his work
should have much appeal.
Also available as an ebook.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The dumping of SNOWPIERCER to limited theatrical/VOD release gets spun as a positive.

Longtime Hollywood employee/columnist Anne Thompson (with the aid of Tom  Brueggemann prints Harvey Weinstein's rationale for the release of Bong Joon-Ho's SNOWPIERCER (probably the best movie you haven't seen or made time to see this summer) as Gospel:

SNOWPIERCER isn't quirky/cute like Wes Anderson's GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, but it had enough commercial potential (even in its current Harvey-disdained version)--plus the currently-hot Chris Evans playing the lead--to warrant a maximum1000-screen theatrical release a la Fox Searchlight.

Instead, SNOWPIERCER director Bong Joon-Ho was punished by The Weinstein Company for not delivering a shorter cut of the film.  Thus, a limited theatrical release followed two weeks later by a "leaked" Video On Demand release from the TWC-Radius partnership.

Contrast this with something that occurred a year ago: Wong Kar-Wai's martial-arts epic THE GRANDMASTER was trimmed down from its original version and received a fairly wide TWC theatrical release without being dumped or going directly to VOD.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome (again) to Hollywood.

[UPDATE: The above blog entry was inspired by reading THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD on Facebook.  I made the following comment there: I don't think this should be spun as a positive. Essentially, Harvey dumped a movie to show up its director who didn't want it cut.

Anne Thompson's reply:
 I'd put it another way--obviously Harvey is putting his best spin on things-- but he took the chance of sacrificing potential theatrical upside and market share bragging rights--in order to experiment on this commercial VOD model. And he lacked confidence in the theatrical potential based on real market factors. He may have underestimated the theatrical potential of the movie, but the differential isn't that great, given the marketing spend for theatrical.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A few James Garner films/TV movies worth seeking out.

Separating this list into various genres:





Mysteries: MARLOWE, THEY ONLY KILL THEIR MASTERS, TWILIGHT (1998, directed by Robert Benton)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

David Orr, NEW YORK TIMES literary critic, on James Franco, Poet.

Here's Mr. Orr's review of Mr. Franco's book of poems titled DIRECTING HERBERT WHITE:

And here's a relevant (at least to me) passage from the review:
"...the annoyance this collection will inspire is rooted in a deeper anxiety: The attention commanded by James Franco’s poetry has everything to do with “James Franco” and almost nothing to do with poetry. And that cultural wealth is not transferable. Attention withheld from Franco’s poems will not instantly devolve upon some worthy but obscure poet; it will go to another actor, or singer, or commercial nonfiction writer, or memoirist — or even to James Franco in his novel-writing incarnation. Poetry is the weak sister of its sibling arts, alternately ignored and swaddled like a 19th-century invalid, and that will change only by means of a long, tedious and possibly futile effort at persuasion. Perhaps it’s a blessing to have James Franco on one’s side in that struggle."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kyle Buchanan on the continuing under-representation of women in big Hollywood movies.

From Kyle Buchanan's article for NEW YORK magazine's VULTURE subsite:
. ..More often than not, women are an afterthought in our wannabe blockbusters, an endemic problem that Hollywood still doesn’t know how to handle.

Look, for example, at Sony, which is headed by the very savvy Amy Pascal. Last May,
Pascal gave a revealing interview to Forbes about how poorly Hollywood treats its top actresses. Stars like Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock “probably get paid the same as their male counterparts,” Pascal acknowledged, but “the problem is the averages, because there are not enough parts for women to star in and get paid. So when you look at the total amount women make as compared to men, it's paltry … it’s sort of a wholesale change that needs to happen.” Pascal vowed to lead that change, and promised to hire more female directors, too. “I think it is my responsibility, because I love movies about women,” she said.

How has she done since? Well, just look at Sony’s upcoming slate:
Of the 21 movies that Sony has dated over the next two years, not one has a female director, and only one of them gives an actress top billing. (That would be this weekend's Cameron Diaz comedy Sex Tape; even Annie, out this Christmas, bills Jamie Foxx before the Oscar-nominated young actress who plays the film's title character, Quvenzhané Wallis.) If that’s what it looks like when a female studio head leads a charge for diversity, it says a whole lot about how entrenched Hollywood’s attitudes toward women really are.

The complete article is here: http://www.vulture.com/2014/07/summer-blockbusters-female-problem-planet-apes.html

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Unmemorable music of 2014 (to date).

In no specific order:
1. Chrissie Hynde--STOCKHOLM: One good single ("Dark Sunglasses") and the rest is Adult Contemporary mush, with Hynde inexplicably teaming with Peter Bjorn and John (who had one good single a few years back that received play on GREY'S ANATOMY) instead of male and female peers who would inspire her to raise the artistic game.  If you want quality non-Pretenders Chrissie, buy the album she made with JP and The Fairground Boys titled FIDELITY!
2. Roddy Frame--SEVEN DIALS: Rather drowsy I'm-a-morose-pensive-grown-up music with occasional pop hooks.  Doesn't make me want to further listen to Frame's post-Aztec Camera solo career.
3. The Babys--I'LL HAVE SOME OF THAT: Contains what might be the most tacky-and-sexist (woman clothed, but bending over in a manner that will please the ad agency that does the women-as-stupid-comedic-foils Jack In The Box commercials) CD label you'll see this year.  No John Waite and Jonathan Cain, but two original members remain in this reincarnation concocting mediocre "new" product to sell.  Nothing approaching the band's 70s-era AM-radio catchiness.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Memorable music of 2014 (to date).

In no specific order:
1. Nina Persson (of The Cardigans): ANIMAL HEART
2. Talking Heads: PERFORMANCE (from FM broadcast of live appearance at The Berklee Performing Arts Center in Boston MA August 24, 1979)
3. Wilko Johnson (of Dr. Feelgood) and Roger Daltrey: GOING BACK HOME
5. Natalie Merchant: NATALIE MERCHANT
6. REM: UNPLUGGED 1991, 2001
8. Neil Young: A LETTER HOME (produced by Jack White)
9. Otis Redding: THE KING OF SOUL (boxset, available on Spotify)
12. Rod Stewart: LIVE 1976-1998: TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT (boxset)
14. The Beatles: THE U.S. ALBUMS (reissued boxset)
15. Aimee Mann and Ted Leo: THE BOTH

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A supplement to the Roger Ebert documentary LIFE ITSELF.

Yes, the LIFE ITSELF documentary film of film critic/author Roger Ebert's life and work (getting both theatrical and cable TV On Demand releases) is as good as the reviews say it is.

But, in the apparent need to keep the running time around two hours, some things and/or people are unexplained or under-discussed.  Here's a list.

1. HOWIE MOVSHOVITZ: a critic friend of Ebert's interviewed in LIFE ITSELF.  Movshovitz was a film critic for the now-defunct Colorado newspaper RockyMountain News and has reviewed for Colorado Public Radio.  Here's a sample review of his for the reissue of Max Ophuls' LOLA MONTES: http://www.rialtopictures.com/images_9/lola_colradio.html

2.  JONATHAN ROSENBAUM: former critic for the alternative newspaper Chicago Reader and film historian (DISCOVERING ORSON WELLES).   For a sampling of Rosenbaum's film writing, his website is: http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net

3.  About half of LIFE ITSELF concerns the long-running teaming of Ebert with Chicago Tribune film critic Gene Siskel.  For a comprehensive look at their partnership/rivalry, read the e-book ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY: THE ORAL HISTORY OF SISKEL AND EBERT by Josh Schollmeyer.

4.  RICHARD ROEPER: Ebert's post-Siskel TV partner (presumably chosen both for being telegenic and younger) is not mentioned in the film.  Perhaps Roeper may appear in a DVD release extra.

5. RUSS MEYER--the soft-porn provocateur is dealt with in a sort of handle-this-with-a-pair-of-tongs fashion in LIFE ITSELF.  After BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, Ebert did more screenwriting for Meyer.  Ebert contributed the original story for 1976's UP!  using the pseudonym  "Reinhold Timme". And the script (under nom de plume R. Hyde) for 1979's BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS.  In 1977, Ebert and Meyer began work on a later-abandoned film starring The Sex Pistols with the title WHO KILLED BAMBI?

6. PAULINE KAEL: the famed NEW YORKER film critic (mostly between 1968-1991) was a friend and champion of Ebert.  And, like Ebert, she would engage in the practice of being friendly with  directors and not recusing from reviewing their films (Kael being known for being pals with Robert Altman and Sam Peckinpah).

If you'd like a "Best Of Roger Ebert" compilation book, try this:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Regarding deceased poets and the need to keep their work alive.

Several poets have passed away during the sixteen years I have been involved in poetry (including francEyE, Jack Shafer, Erica Erdman, Wanda Coleman, Scott Wannberg, Donn Deedon--and, most recently, Steve Baratta).

A few years back, when I was in the throes of feuding with Victor Infante over withering comments he made to me on my work, I didn't appreciate the essential wisdom of what he was saying about how certain poets are plunged into artistic oblivion after their deaths.

Here's an excerpt from a blog post (mainly on Charles Bukowski) he wrote five years ago; this concerns francEyE:
Lately, it seems, I've been in the midst of a lot of efforts to maintain the legacies of writers whom I've known, whether it's FrancEye, or Ted Walker, whose work never made it to the United States in a large way, despite being well-published in England, or any of the number of slammers who've died whose work I feel is in danger of disappearing, such as Ken Hunt and Angela Boyce. To say I'm concerned is an understatement, because frankly, despite the old adage that poets only become famous after they're dead, it's extremely difficult to sort poems out when the poet's not alive -- most frequently, you're dealing with the poets' families, who most likely have inherited the rights to the writing and know little about publishing, and that can be difficult and awkward.

Am I being alarmist? Perhaps, but I've been to a lot of poets' funerals, so I sincerely doubt it. The fact is, I sincerely believe there is a large number of poems created by the poets that have traveled through and around slam that are not just good, but are truly important, and I want someone to be able to read those poems 50, 100 years from now. It shouldn't have to be a treasure hunt.

Marlon Brando on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW in 1973.

It's now ten years after the passing of Marlon Brando. Here's a clip from Brando's 1973 appearance on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW; Brando talks about how lying is a form of acting.