Tuesday, January 27, 2009

24.99 Facts About Me

1. The money I didn't make in my earlier years was inversely proportional to the cool things I was doing

2. I shoot film in mid-century semi-vintage cameras. By the time I die I'll be shooting with an 8x10 view camera using very slow film.

3. I'm really glad I quit smoking. Everything. In 1981.

4. I've been riding bikes since I was 7 yrs old. The thrill never fades.

5. Garlic and cayenne are Nature's way of saying you're special

6. I hate looking for work

7. I don't believe in God, or any of the prophets. My religious notions reside between Haitian Voudou and Tibetan Buddhism

8. I have better friends now than I ever did before.

9. Other people do marriage way better than me.

10. I've got at least 5 good photo books in me. Getting them out is going to be the fun part.

11. Tango gave me a new viewpoint.

12. I need to travel more.

13. Espresso

14. 86% of the drivers in Los Angeles should be on bicycles—everyone would benefit.

15. My math grades in elementary school were "D-minus above grade level". That's a magnet school for you.

16. Red wine and single malt, but never together

17. Everyone in favor of the War in Iraq: it's your turn. Not so fun now, is it?

18. The statute of limitations on comedy never expires, and hunting season on highway signs never closes. "Caddyshack". Funny, huh?

19. Arabic, Indian, Persian music: good. Chinese music sets my teeth on edge

20. Bond movies are my kind of musical: fast cars, physical mayhem, guns-n-fireworks, and a couple of hotties before the final curtain— with a butt-floss plot to tie it all together.

21. My "Guy To-Do List": learn to stunt drive, shoot a .50 cal machine gun, operate a backhoe, sail a catamaran. I've already learned how to bake a cake, and gone to dance classes.

22. I like going to a neighborhood joint and having a good meal with my girlfriend who's the bomb. Glad I took the upgrade to girlfriend

23. Dinah Washington could teach plenty to today's vocalistas.

24. Get a photo exhibition at a hot gallery

24.99. Keeping my New Year's Resolution not to have sex with super- models.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I just pulled out of the CNN Inaugural vortex. Everything today has found me happier, more emotionally touched, proud, welling up, excited and moved in ways I never imagined for an inaugural. The events were bigger than the supporting players, voluntary or mandatory.

Rick Warren's touted presence and invocation bleated away in the thin winter air, while Dr Lowry's came, sat, and made themselves at home. W looked shrivelled and puny, which he already was, but was now without the props to sustain him. Obama stood tall, and spoke as an adult to a nation that had been spoonfed drivel and jabber these last eight years. And who can deny the delicious symbolism of Dick Cheney in a wheelchair; a final symbol of the cripple he's been, and inflicted on the nation.

Obama's inaugural speech was clean, tight, and gas-free. Thank Gawd—'bout time too. A nice backhand rebuke to the pasty-faced torture mendicants sitting in the departing seats was all good. The GOP leadership sat stonefaced, looking out at the hundreds of thousands of people who busted ass and wanted to be there, to see their dreams realized, and to bury these obstructionist, mealy-mouthed thieves who'd stood in their way.

The arrangement of "Air/Simple Things" was immaculately executed by Itzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill. It was an astonishing revelation that everything that John Williams isn't a hairy bloated thing. Of course Steven Speilberg was nowhere in the picture, which helps enormously. Aretha: missing the high notes but flat out gorgeous. Fortunately Bono wasn't there either. The poem wasnt bad, overcoming an early reading-circle start.

I'm a sucker for well-executed choreography. I was entranced by the The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps' minuet clip step, and if memory serves, they played "The World Turned Upside Down", which is what was played at the surrender ceremony at Battle Of Yorktown in 1781 when the British decided to quit the War. I queried Richard about this, but he didn't know. Word to RIchard, your PhD shoulda he'p'd me out on that. You was robbed. Ignoring my angst, the unit segued into "Yankee Doodle".

The Presidential party decamped for the White House. Seeing Obama in the Beast was a bit disheartening, but I took considerable pleasure in the energy of the crowds—exuberant, excited, engaged, ecstatic. The cars idled, then began the slow crawl.

Then, holy shit! Obama gets out, Michelle, Joe and Jill Biden jump out, and they practically bound up Pennsylvania Ave! The crowds began to panic in ecstasy! Yes, it referenced Jimmy Carter, but the energy was completely different, Michelle regal and radiant, Barack, having the best day ever, smiling and present. Joe was exuberant, and Jill flat-out hot in those spectacular boots and near-mini.

What a contrast to the sclerotic previous inaugural, which was Soviet in its regimentation, choreography, with spectators who passively waited the official word to cheer in the ticketed bleachers. Camera shots from that day show a line of bleachers going down Pennsylvania Ave, duly filled, and lifeless. George and Dick weren't taking any chances that anybody with a pulse would show up.

The rest of the parade was an American mix of high-school bands, military, with some important exceptions. I believe it was the Crow Indian delegation who led early, to remind people that the First Nations are that, they were here first. And the black beat came through in its most dynamic form in Urban 15, which was as close to a Carnival Samba Batucada outside of Mardi Gras; followed by a band from Kentucky, led by a Corvette and a musical offering of overwhelming white blandess. There was also a hilarious Doo-Dah Parade entrant in the "Lawn Rangers", a synchronized lawn-mower drill team.

Tomorrow will come soon enough with all of its burdens. Today was simply brilliant.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Zastava Smackdown

I was recently asked to source a quote. The screenplay mentioned is probably representative of the post-Tito Serbian Modernist genre, and modestly, I quote:

His face was side-lit from the blazing sun off the street. We were sitting inside, deep under the portico. Even the flies were somnolent in the afternoon heat. The barman indolently cleared a forgotten beer-glass from the counter, while idly watching the sun-beaten English girls across the square.

“So I’m turning 29. This Sunday. Oh well.”

He looked up over his glasses. The blend of irony and deadpan fatalism hung in the air like blue Gauloise fog.

-- “Zastava Smackdown” by Giovanni Nessuno, p 183. Rome, 1991.