Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kate Gale's Donald Trump moment.

If you're in the upper circles of Los Angeles literati, you hope your manuscript of poetry will be accepted by Kate Gale's Red Hen Press (I have a few Red Hen books in my library).

I've heard stories of hubris and hauteur--and there was that time when Kate got a bit over contemptuous about what type of poet doesn't qualify for the coveted Poet Laureate of Los Angeles position.

And then, in the context of a piece in THE HUFFINGTON POST on the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Ms. Gale graced a mostly progressive publication with a load of mean-spirited stereotypical drivel at the expense of minority and LGBT writers.  Oh how dare they complain about inclusiveness and complain at AWP, states Kate.

This encapsulates what occurs when the self-appointed Gatekeepers of Literature in Los Angeles choose to use their power to sneer, marginalize and gerrymander instead of promoting inclusion and diversity of voices.

And it's another rare chance to see this behavior displayed in public rather than exposed to Inner Circles of just a few like minds.

Here's Carolyn Kellogg's LOS ANGELES TIMES column--linking to Ms. Gale's original article and the clean-up-my-mess statement she later substituted for it:

UPDATED 8/29/15: Link to Kate Gale's second--more sincere--apology on her blog:

Blog commenter on today's gun violence tragedy.

Turning the floor over to HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE commenter "DukeSavoy" re today's killings of a TV reporter and camera person in Virginia:
Of course even the most restrictive gun control won't completely stop some criminals from getting guns some times. But reducing the torrent of handgun weapons to a meandering stream would cut down on the general pool of guns that are lost, stolen or purchased from shady sources willing to look the other way. By reducing that pool, black market hand guns become more expensive and thus harder to get. Hell, we pay some farmers not to farm, we can pay hand gun manufacturers to manufacture fewer weapons.

The title of the HE thread: Ain't That America?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

From 2005: POST-HURRICANE POEM about Katrina.


As Orwell said, “some people are more equal
than others”.

Kanye West found that out when NBC censored him
for speaking the “inappropriate” truth about
George W. Bush not caring about black people.
He found it out again when he performed a song
at another telethon and the microphone just happened
to malfunction for part of the first verse.

The people of New Orleans found that out when they
were left to fend for themselves for days,
in overcrowded shelters and praying to God that someone
would take them off the roofs of their flooded homes
before death arrived.

Those of us watching TV at home have found out
that hard-news lapdog Ted Koppel was willing
to put just about all of the blame for Louisiana’s misery on the Governor
and the New Orleans mayor and let the White House skate away
from the emasculation of FEMA and the cutting of funds to strengthen the levees.

But Ted got to be embedded with the troops in Iraq-
and he can’t dare be rude to the White House
and lose Access to power.

We’re also finding out that a state with a Republican governor
-my former home state of Texas-
doesn’t have difficulty getting a more rapid
Federal response to hurricane threats.
Of course we can’t risk losing the refineries.
The refineries are important;
all the rest is merely collateral damage.

And we’re now finding out that the people from Houston
and the rest of South Texas that can afford to drive are
coming home to check on their property-defying a
“voluntary” order to return in orderly fashion.

Presumably, Federal troops won’t make them return
to their previous temporary residences.

Last of all, we found out that some moral cretin
I won’t name here credited God with clearing what he
termed undesirable people from New Orleans.

Perhaps he wants New Orleans to be rebuilt
as a gentrified theme park with the poor replaced by
grossly underpaid guest workers from Mexico
on 6-month-only work visas
and no African Americans
unless they’re people like Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Larry Elder or Allen Keyes-
people who are eager to distance themselves from the poor
and suffering and say that the misery of the Underclass
is the sole fault of the Underclass.

Some people ARE more equal than others.

And global warming will be an important part
of the New World Order
determining who will live and who will die.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Quentin Tarantino explains other directors' authenticity (or lack thereof) for you.

In the midst of an interview with Friendly Journalist Lane Brown for NEW YORK magazine, Quentin Tarantino had this to say about David O. Russell's THE FIGHTER vs. Ben Affleck's THE TOWN:
What makes The Fighter something we’ll be talking about in 30 years?
Part of that is the explosion of David O. Russell’s talent, which had always been there but really coalesced in that movie. I think he’s the best actor’s director, along with myself, working in movies today. And The Fighter had impeccable casting. As an example, I really liked The Town, which also came out in 2010. It was a good crime film. However, next to The Fighter, it just couldn’t hold up, because everybody in The Town is beyond gorgeous. Ben Affleck is the one who gets away with it, because his Boston accent is so good. But the crook is absolutely gorgeous. The bank teller is absolutely gorgeous. The FBI guy is absolutely gorgeous. The town whore, Blake Lively, is absolutely gorgeous. Jeremy Renner is the least gorgeous guy, and he’s pretty fucking good-looking. Then, if you look at The Fighter,and you look at those sisters, they’re just so magnificent. When you seeDavid O. Russell cast those sisters,and you see Ben Affleck cast Blake Lively,
 you can’t compare the two movies. One just shows how phony the other is.
The full interview can be read at:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Latest updates on the new book, now titled ONE CORNER OF THE SKY.

ONE VERSION OF THE SKY is now ONE CORNER OF THE SKY--and is available to order via Amazon:

Poems include:
1. Prodigal Child
2. Albuqerque
3. Downtown Metropolis
4. Poem of Clubs
5. Texas Rain and its Aftermath
6. Oklahoma
7. You Get So Alone
8. Remembering Dallas
9. Charleston
10. RIP Dukes of Hazzard
11. Still Sad
12. No One Moves
13. Splintered
14. Not Quite Reconciled
15. Forgiveness
16. One Small Step
17. The View From 55

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

NEW YORK magazine's Frank Rich explains the continuing presence of Candidate Trump.

Alex Carp: The controversy following Donald Trump's comments about Megyn Kelly may have hurt him among some GOP insiders, but, according to post-debate polling, it hasn't cut into his popular appeal with Republican voters. Why not?
Frank Rich: The mystery of Trump’s hold on Republican voters is no mystery. As many, including me, have said, his xenophobia and misogyny have long been orthodoxy among the party’s base. Just look at the Fox News debate itself. Though Kelly called Trump out on his history of misogynistic insults, none of his nine opponents onstage took exception to his crude attack on Rosie O’Donnell or to the laughter and cheers it aroused from the audience. (The incident was an echo of that 2012 GOP debate where no one onstage dared chastise the audience for booing Stephen Hill, a gay serviceman in Iraq who asked the candidates a question about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell via video.) Nor did anyone onstage dissent when Scott Walker and Marco Rubio declared that women should be outlawed from seeking abortions even if their own lives are at stake. How glibly and eagerly they decreed capital punishment for women who have the ill fortune to end up in tragic, potentially fatal pregnancies.
The difference between Trump and his cohort is that he shouts his party’s ugliest views at the top of his lungs and without apology rather than sugarcoating them in Frank Luntz–tested euphemisms and code words. What the GOP Establishment wants is Trumpism — and Trump supporters — without the embarrassing spectacle of Trump himself. Now he has called their bluff and is holding the entire Republican Party hostage. The Establishment would like to blow him up so that he’ll stop giving up the game by calling attention to the extremist views and constituents in the GOP base, but every attempt to sideline him has backfired. Trump, meanwhile, retains the power to blow up the party’s 2016 hopes by coaxing his followers either to stay home on Election Day or to join him in some quixotic third-party sideshow. As my colleague Gabriel Sherman has reported, even Roger Ailes has had to retreat and seek peace with Trump once Trump threatened to boycott Fox News and deprive it of ratings oxygen in the wake of his battle with Kelly. By bringing Ailes to heel, Trump has made himself the most powerful figure in the conservative firmament right now — more powerful than Ailes’s own boss, Rupert Murdoch.
Every day brings another op-ed or quote from a Republican functionary trying to find the bright side. Somehow Trump, in the end, will be good for the other candidates because he makes them look more presidential. Or he will fade when the calendar hits Labor Day, or will somehow self-destruct. These premature obituaries appeared after Trump mocked John McCain’s war service, after Trump supposedly did poorly in the debate, and after he literally attacked Kelly below the belt. Yet Trump’s numbers kept going up. Now William Kristol’s Weekly Standard is reduced to hawking a poll from Rasmussen Reports showing a falloff in Trump’s Republican support. That’s true desperation. Rasmussen is the notorious polling outfit that last gave Republicans false hopes in 2012, when it presaged a Romney victory by calling six of nine battleground states wrong.

Link to Rich's column (including discussions of Sen. Charles Schumer and Caitlyn Jenner):

Mark Harris explains the current state of the superhero movie genre.

Author Mark Harris (PICTURES AT A REVOLUTION, FIVE CAME BACK) has some interesting comments on the Grantland site about superhero films--a genre still locked in by Hollywood, though shaken by the failure of Fox's FANTASTIC FOUR reboot.

Here's a key quote from Harris:
There is, I think, an increasing sense that every mark the comic-book genre is forced to hit — origin stories, Easter eggs, big-picture continuity, action beats, fan service, world-stakes battles, potential sequels, post-credit sequences — is obstructing them from being movies. It certainly seems to be keeping their makers (“architects” feels like a more accurate term than “creators”) from any sense of joy — directorial joy, cinematic joy, authorial joy, or even the obsessional joy that allowed Peter Jackson to commit himself to living in Middle-earth for 15 years or that has sent James Cameron off to whatever solar system in which he is currently purporting to make Avatar sequels. These comic-book movies are, first and foremost, assignments. Directors and writers try to get through them with their souls and spirits intact. They pat themselves down afterward, the way you do when you get off a roller coaster, to see if they’re still all there. Some end up less all there than others.

Link to the complete article:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Best Films I've seen in 2015 to date.

In no specific order:
1. AMY
19. MERU

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


What happened when vocalists comfortable with the Great American Songbook covered more "contemporary" pop/rock songs of the 50s/60s/70s and/or performed compositions joking about their discomfort with the New Music:
1. Perry Como--Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)
2. Frank Sinatra--Everybody's Twistin'
3. Nat King Cole--Send For Me
4. Dean Martin--Just Kiss Me
5. Nat King Cole--Mr. Cole Won't Rock And Roll
6. Mel Torme--My Little Red Book
7. Frank Sinatra--Mrs. Robinson
8. Tony Bennett--Something
9. Bing Crosby--Hey Jude
10. Peggy Lee--Everyday People
11. Julie London--Yummy Yummy Yummy
12. Mel Torme--Sunshine Superman
13. Jack Jones--Dixie Chicken
14. Perry Como--Beautiful Noise
15. Frank Sinatra--From The Bottom To The Top