Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guns and Other Dominations--The Master

Happy December 21, 2012. Are you dead yet? Zombie Mayans eating your guts?


Note on guns: My brother loved to play all sorts of gun games when we were kids. And sword fights. Roman soldiers. Cops and Robbers. All that.

I liked making the swords and daggers. We would whittle small lumber into weapons. Strap on belts. Run around and actually use the weapons…playing, of course. Careful not to stab. It was fun, sort of. I got bored. I did like running around, though.

My brother liked army toys, army men, especially, and eventually joined the Navy, though during his four years he mostly ran the ship store.  He saw no action. However, the destroyer he was on did have nuclear weapons.

The Navy was not as much fun for him as childhood games.

The amount of war-play that goes on with boys is huge. I saw it first hand. It is no wonder that when they grow up, boys (and girls) like to own guns, shoot guns, kill shit.

I believe the only answer is to change our culture. Instead of, “Bang, bang, you’re dead.”
How about, “Whoop, Whoop, I hit you with a corn cob?”

Couldn’t we somehow teach kids to use that eye-hand thing--the thing that makes you feel good when you HIT SOMEONE with a FAKE BULLET---into simple scoring? Like---It feels so good to hit a target? But more like a ball into a hoop? Or is this Bang-Bang-You’re-Dead thing simply hard wired?  I don’t know.


I love cults. I loved THE MASTER.  See it. It’s brilliant. It’s maddening. It’s incredibly unsettling. It’s agitating. It’s beautiful. This guy can make a movie. Paul Thomas Anderson. Joaquin Phoenix as the scoundrel-drunk and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the charismatic leader? What more could you want?

I love the ending. It is quiet…and it says it all.

Self-centered, made-up, circular reasoning never looked so beautiful. This movie is something else. I’d give Paul Thomas Anderson the BIG BALLS award. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blood from a Stoner

One more for the Season!

My good friend, Jeanne Dorsey, shot a movie. It's so beautiful. And has famous-type actors in it and she needs finishing money. I know! I know! Everyone wants money! If you are feeling generous, or are at all interested, take a click. It's so beautiful. And, you know, give. :)
May the Season find you...exactly as you intended.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Beginner's Mind

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the experts there are few." Zen Mind, Beginners Mind. "Always be a beginner."

Thanks MM.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Okay, Keep Your Amendment But Read it Slowly

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

I believe if one were to interpret this amendment, one must begin with the first subordinate clause, "A well regulated Militia,"

In order to well regulate the militia, it makes sense to keep all the guns within our militia. If people want to keep and bear arms, the best way to keep this well regulated is to have the militia hold onto a gun with your name on it. If you really want a gun in your house, well, a tiny lady Wesson should probably do the trick. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Recession?

Damn, that Batali is rich.  And fat.

The hot chocolate was so dense and intense...I had some sort of full body reaction to it. Not a good one.

And why the five dollar cookies? (I refused.)

What on EARTH is going on that we have all this dedicated space in Manhattan for shelves of cookies where each one is Five Dollars?

Stop the madness.

The place is beautiful, though. I just wish they would serve hot chocolate that wasn't 88% butterfat. Or whatever the hell was going on with it.

I'll go back. Maybe try the pasta.

Visiting with the One Percenters is hard on the gall bladder.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Before 2PM on Friday


Would you be so kind?

I am on the advisory board of VS, the best small theater in Los Angeles.  And I am advising you to send FIVE BUCKS before 2PM this Friday. (OR MORE)  But it doesn't take but a second to hand five bucks over to someone, right? With little or no thought.   Painless. 

VS. is SO CLOSE TO REACHING THEIR GOAL---THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ARE AT STAKE HERE!  Without a little push-over-the-edge, all those pledges could go pffffft.    

So click and give a pleasant electric shock to the new lighting board, the new seats, the refurbing. Please.

Theater!  It's often not-for-profit. And it needs your support. :)

Happy Holidays. All of them.

Monday, December 10, 2012

'Tis the Season

Today’s Blog is brought to you by Art, Theater and Murder.

As the economy gets more and more MadMax and we Rollerball around the planet trying to sell our own wares and trade in wampum and joy, I bring you these first two items:

HOLIDAY CARDS by MEGAN!  Buy some! She’s one of my oldest friends, from the 70’s. And her work is beautiful. Buy some holiday cards. Buy a pack of cards for presents for others. In other words, buy:

Now hear this—I am on the advisory board of this theater company. They are award winning. They are the best small theater in Los Angeles, I.M.H.O.  And, they need your support. Donate early and often. The Kickstarter runs out in a few days. Johnny Clark, the artistic director, is passionate, smart, talented and has a good head of hair. Click and give the love.

Lastly…this is a Facebook post of mine from today. Murder!

Strangely, one of my old friends from college and I were having lunch, eating tartines...mine was egg salad with capers...followed by an apple/almond tart when we witnessed all of this going down. Well, mostly witnessed the people witnessing it, followed by the police tape going up, etc. Merry Christmas, New York!

Not Fitting In

The Perks of Being a Wall Flower is a pretty good title…though my vote would have been to call it Mixed Tapes. Then maybe I would have skipped it?

As someone who has fit in and not fit in, in serious absolute value and in cramping quick sequence, I have to say this movie hit me hard. In fact, to rub my Matrix-like layered nose in it, even the independent company that made this film has included me and not included me at times in real life in their esteem for and understanding of me as a writer and as an actor and I them, as I introduced them at one point, underestimating their value, to a Japanese commercial producer with claims to financing I once worked for who, in turn, had felt accepted and rejected at many times in HIS life, working with Madonna and Brad Pitt, on and off and then off for good. (It was a weird lunch. Promises to connect again. Which never happened.)  In the end, I have fond memories of this film company for all their interesting work and our mutual respect. From the Japanese producer’s office, I cadged seven pairs of Brad Pitt’s pants from a commercial shoot, which all eventually had to be hemmed, but I can honestly say, not let out at the waist.

But I digress.

The movie was well acted. The girl from those Harry Potter movies is going to be a great adult actress star. Some call her Emily Watson. I call her a younger, sane Jennifer Jason Leigh. And this Logan Lerman…call me a racist bitch with no grace and a presumptive negativity, but where are all these gorgeous young Jews coming from?

They were both wonderful.

I wish I could say the mushy script wasn’t laughable. But maybe that was the point? That teenagers are overwrought and overly sentimental? I’m being generous here. I don’t think so.

I love that it took place in Pittsburgh, one of the great geologically interesting cities in the country…with those rivers coming together and the high bluffs. My high school girlfriend, long suffering with me as her ambivalent mate, went to college in Pittsburgh for only a semester. I drove out west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, late on a Friday night, through awful fog in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, with my sister to visit her. My sister went to visit a friend of hers in another nearby town. I stayed in my girlfriend’s dorm room and spent most of the weekend smoking cigarettes and truly, fully falling in love with Joni Mitchell as I turned the vinyl over and over again to listen to both sides of Court and Spark. It was the suspended chords and the sad lyrics. I think I was sad. I think my girlfriend was sad. Joni was certainly sad. All three of us wanted to be pop stars and only one of us succeeded.

Back to the creators of this movie. These are smart people. All of them. And stylish. And able. At the lunch I put together with my Japanese boss at some standard fancy Italian Beverly Hills eatery, I was all but forgotten as they sat there trading stories about this or that A-lister and others they had in common. But lucky for me, the very cool S.C. was right next to me (See, I withheld that information…why? Why do we wait to give certain information when we tell our stories? It’s so manipulative. Baah!) S.C. was the mule of their office and a big fan of mine and we got through it together, that Hollywood lunch that went nowhere. Our support never waned. She’s writing plays now. Go S.C.!

This movie made me remember how sad I was, on and off, from 14 to 20. How, at times, you were so elated and life was so incredible. And how at other times, you really thought you were going completely fucking crazy. And, at least for me, how you did go crazy at one point and then you just had to piece it back together. Just trying to hold on. To insist upon being part of the population even though you had no idea what that part was.

I’d say it is worth watching. As long as you can forgive the clunky storytelling. You do get ahead of it as it rolls by. But hey! You’re watching kids!

Perks.  Wallflowers. Spoiler Alert: What happened was_______________. Okay, I won’t spoil it. You’re smart. You’ll figure it out quickly enough yourself.

Not everything has to be amazing. Sometimes, if it’s messy, you get to focus on other great aspects. And maybe those aspects are more important, which they were, for me, the emotional ones.

Sometimes, something truly lived, is a much bigger experience than that which is turned into a movie. Shit. We all know that.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

O.C.D. and The New Yorker Pile

I admit that there is something wrong with me. When I was a friendless child, in order to give my life structure and also in order to have a relationship to something that was outside myself, I would come home from school and with a hit of joyful brain chemicals, grab the local paper, The Journal News, and read Ann Landers and the Comics, every day. For a period of about six months, because I had very little else to do and wanted to declare my allegiance to the only consistent friend I had, I would cut out the Peanuts cartoon, the short weekly black and white one. Then, I would put a small hole at the most left panel and string it onto a piece of black yarn. I was collecting them. Like ducks on a string. Some people had stuffed animals. Or imaginary friends. I had a compulsion.

But then, after I had a pretty thick pile of these cartoons, my better sense took over, my sentiment waned and I thought, “Why the hell am I saving these? And why didn’t I cut this piece of yarn longer? This is never going to work. And even if this does work, what? Then I’m going to have these piles of cut out cartoon strips on black pieces of yarn? What am I going to do with them all? People will think I’m crazy. And what about the big colorful Sunday one? It won’t fit on this string. What a mess.”  And I threw them out and never collected anything else again.  Except for those buttons/pins like “Help Make Hillcrest Cleaner and Greener” and  “Nixon”   But about fifteen years ago, I gave all those to my nephew. I saved a few cool ones. I am definitely not a collector.

And though there is not really a collecting strain in me, or it was basically willed out of me, there is something even worse. A kind of efficiency mixed with cheapness that is, ultimately, something a little out of my control. If I buy something it must be used or I feel guilty I committed to the purchase. Not because I do not deserve the thing, but more because I have a cellular revulsion against waste. Plus, facing all truths, I am obsessive. So if there is something around that must be done, I feel compelled to do it. Age is lessening this urge since I am tiring out and already have committed to too many things. But I do face what so many others endure for so many different reasons. The scourge of the arriving New Yorkers.

I subscribe to the The New Yorker and the bitches pile up and the rule I made early on was, “When they get to more than five deep, I can throw out the whole lot.”  And I do.
Though when I lived in Los Angeles, they would end up in our personal recycling can and I would feel guilty--so maybe an hour later, okay ten minutes later, or three, I would go back to the blue can, pull them out and leaf through them and think, “Yeah, I really want to read these.”   And sometimes I would keep them, hoping I’d be on a long plane ride soon so I would have time to finish them up. But more often, I would toss them back in the can. A relief.  So I am able to compulsively keep the sharp rule of recycling unread piles of five that cuts through the murkier large compulsion of committing to a magazine subscription. But still, I do let them build up to at least that layer of five taunters. And they plague me. Stare at me. Dare me. The monsters. The life suckers. The all important beasts.

But today I realized something. Why wait until they build up to five? In fact, if the next one comes and I haven’t finished the one from the week before, why not SIMPLY TOSS THAT HORRIBLE TYRRANICAL OVERLY LONG ARTICLED BRAIN CONTROLLER into the DUMPER right at that moment, and treat it like the periodical that it is?

And so I am committing to that. Enough. I’m exhausted. Otherwise, how will I ever have the time to read any important books? Like Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants?  It is going to be such a better life from this day forward.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Central Park---North

The upper part of Central Park, this is where things get somewhat wilder and more natural.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

My Sweet Israel, My Lovely Palestine

When I was a wee person, we moved from Northern Westchester County, just outside of Peekskill, to Spring Valley NY.   When I went to school, we had the usual things like---felt, crayons, the alphabet. And eventually show and tell.

I think it was the Third Grade, so I was 8? And this girl, Jackie, with lots of freckles, got up and did a little report or something…on the wars in Israel.

I was blown away. The 1948 stuff. The 1967 big to-do. The Yom Kippur nasties. All of it. At 8, I sat there and I thought a few things:

  1. Jackie, you are so sweet and shy, why are you up there in front of the class talking about war?

  1. Jackie, your parents must have told you all about this.

  1. Jackie, you are only 8. Why are you identifying with this little country so far away where you don’t even live?

  1. Jackie, you seem excited about knowing all about these wars. Proud even. And this scares me. I didn’t know there were all these wars going on. Let’s wrap this up.

And since then, besides having a recurring dream that Jackie is in our beige family station wagon and she takes off her pants and for some reason she has a penis that she’s sort of proud of even though it’s rather vestigial and flops there useless obscuring her girl genitalia, I often think of Jackie whenever I see something in the newspaper about a war or skirmish going on in Israel.

I haven’t been 8 in a long time.

Not to be a glib bitch who’s pretending to be funny, but I’ve had enough hearing about these wars and I want them to end.

I was a kid during Vietnam and I was terrified of growing up and having to go to war. Everyone hates war (except those who don’t). No more war. Please.

I still can’t believe all those facts Jackie had at her fingertips. I was so overburdened by it then that ever since, I never read more than the first line of any news item about war in the Middle East. It’s too repetitive.