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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Josef von Sternberg is problematic for throwing likeable people into hell in Shanghai Gesture.  That cast is cute.

Legend has it that the Shanghai Gesture is thumb-to-the-nose/pinky-to-the-recipient-of-it gesture...
(Let's add the texture to the harmless pause or gesture, that it's done when there was not one gives it gravitas and punch.  I bite my nails 'cause it's too much.)  

Shanghai's ancient history, accessible in the Town God Temple and Yu Garden, dates back to the 15th Century.
The European visitors who divided it into sectors arrived around 1850 and in 1945 Mao began the new people's era lurking behind the Japanese occupation in 1939?

The playwright of The Shanghai Gesture, John Colton, wrote it in the 1920's.  He also wrote the play Under Capricorn.  He also wrote the intertitles for White Sails in the South Seas.

Walter Huston was in the movie.  I still can't get over his recording of Lost in the Stars.   He also played a foreign occupier of old New York, Peter Stuyvesant.  

speech recognition

I'm in the car experimenting with voice recognition course there is traffic I'm going to pick up glasses how much longer can I speak. Well the answer is all that cock down on the speech recognition the glasses I'm getting our light and they are the glasses I've had for a long time I needed to replace the lenses because by playing on my scratch them. Well that was a little less successful by cleaning the glasses I scratch them and that's because they have some coding that I paid for I think to prevent them from reflecting in addition they have a coding for polarizing the light and darkening according to the amount of light and they are bifocals they are I guess gradually changing from from nearsighted to less nearsighted because as I get older my vision improves. I am entering the 59th street bridge lower roadway on it is many roads leading to Tulane so there is always traffic was you're on those two lanes going toward Manhattan you can get in pretty steadily rain is falling 2 on the bills call keys your team this is attributable to TLK more joking the name that is associated with Joe
Balancing the interests of the one among the many
Owner Occupied Realization
Coops favor owner occupants.   I'm just writing...  not as an authority... Some people write about that which they know.  We write about what we want to find out about... 

We shareholders may have a lease issued by a corporation but we own that corporation.  The coop is not our landlord.  We maintain our own places and when there are building issues we either directly pay for them or share their expense with all shareholders.

We have a reserve fund from which to draw for repairs, renovations and improvements funded by an underlying loan secured by the deeds to our two properties..

That loan functions as a hot potato which people who live here upon its maturity must face.

But all possessions have the quality of a hot potato.  We are but stewards of what we possess.....

Searching Street Views on Google Maps

That's right I'm at a deposition searching google maps for the location where the testifying pedestrian says she was crossing.  It was Elizabeth Street near its intersection with Canal.  She's saying she had to cross there, that the sidewalk was blocked by a ribbon attached from building to a dumpster.  That is new information to me.   So she's claiming she had to cross in the middle of the block (rather than at the Canal Street crosswalk) when the car hit her...

The google photo of the address listed on the police report shows me a dumpster with a ribbon blocking the sidewalk; it even shows people crossing the street there, and it documents the photo as being taken one month prior to the accident.

So thank you... I forget who told me... for the ctrl print screen paste into paint program save as .png or .jpg commands (this applies to windows/dos operating systems).  

This picture is impossible to find, though, if I search google maps by using its arrows to explore the area.  I have to enter the address; it is not even the address where the dumpster is.  

Google's street view photo composites are from different times (and they, the google programmers, are saving prior photos, too, dating back to 2009).  However, only this one photo shows the street dumpster and the ribbon blocking the sidewalk behind it from it to the building.

Anyway, it's saved.  Yes, I think it is evidence.     

He was in Labyrinth, too, yes?

This is The Next Day...
Oops, I still don't have the program in front of me.  There is a music director who also worked on The Next Day recordings.  He was at the synth last night.
As I try to reconcile the familiarity and beautiful completeness of the waif (meaning I didn't notice the focus but only appreciated the wonders of the women's poses last night), all I can say is, this marks the return (from nearby) of Hans Bellmer imagery.  Which waif is smaller?  Which has the bigger voice (obviously Ms. Caruso).   And finally, Are they (is poupee) real?  The entire cast is beautiful and there are great supplemental participants.  I suppose a third woman was also a character, part of a supplemental love story spoofed by the brother of the man from another planet...(Mr. Valentine.  It is Valentine's day... also a vision consistent with my own of Valentine's Day).
The sonic landscapes of all his songs are coming to mind now.  Immediate highlights include The Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud... as soon as I mention that, which sounds like an inspiration for the science fiction book by a Mr. Travis?   Well that goes back to the scholastic book source I know of by the fellow who wrote the disney live action witch mountain yes?  OK, Daniel Keys wrote about Jon in The Forgotten Door.   This is the source material I think underlies everyone and everything here.. x (This is completely wrong.  Alexander Key, who also wrote Escape to Witch Mountain, published The Forgotten Door in 1965.  Walter Tevis, who also wrote The Hustler, published The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1963.)
So Wild Eyed Boy... and the other great wild sonic landscape folk song is The Bewley Brothers.  A definitive statement of The Other brother.
There was a momentary projection of Mr. Newton by characters.  Basically all theatrical stops are pulled out for the occasion and, guess what, they work.
What you'll also hear is, and whenever someone says, I can't, yet want to, die... the definitive prior declamation of that statement is:
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

Also, it's hard to lose that bossa nova for The Man Who Sold the World.

Is David Jones blissfully separated from his manifestations?  Does anyone actually believe there is a transformation of a complete visionary artist, that this return of David Bowie is different from his other returns... there is continuity and consistency from the children recordings (?) to today.  

One thing I've consistently heard from him is... Project yourself on me.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Make Me a Miracle Man

Seeing Lazarus rise from the dead I enjoyed the many songs, some of which were unfamiliar, many of which come from The Next Day album, they all sound great, as you can imagine.  No texture is lost in the dense harmony.  The bold brash strokes of chordal movement are sounded precisely as composed.  It seems difficult to identify the levels of creativity (I'm thinking that many great musicians help create the textures of a Bowie song).  There is also the song structures, including all the young dudes, simply a verse pre-chorus and chorus, with asymmetrical repeats, built on a measure of three beats.   

The greatest compositional light appears with the progression of Life on Mars.  The achievement there remains for me off the charts.  I feel hope for the world when I hear the emotional impact of that great musical achievement.  As for other things, how can you fault the unbelievably nice and appealing cast?  The angst level is high, but they are up for it.  The techno level of the production is also off the charts, but that is incidental to the hodgepodge montage of material arising from the bizarrely devoted cast and the commitment they needed to satisfy director Nicholas Roeg.  It seems impossible to imagine actors achieving that intimacy with one another today (yet they must in the Lazurus production).  Perhaps some recent last gasp comedies have also done so.  
The confusion of commitment in the movie (the man who fell to earth) returned with greater confusion here.  “Hello Mary Lou goodbye love” is the song we hear to identify the impact Candy Clark had on the David Bowie character.  She was Mr. Roeg’s girlfriend as she threw herself at the alien.  She and Mr. Bowie are both too cute for words and then Rip Torn picks up the pieces after they tear themselves apart.  The alien forgets about his family mission when he embraces her.  I all too readily confuse her with Anita Palenberg in Performance.  My girlfriend at the time was attentive to the charms of both Ms. Palenberg and Mr. Jaggar and it was somewhat mysterious to me, although I felt grateful for the appeal they radiated for her.   She was basically as off the charts as they were in terms of insouciant beauty.  Her natural beauty image was better than theirs. 
So after Mr. Jaggar and before Art Garfunkel, David Bowie fell into the cinematographer’s world and he, Torn, Clark and Buck Henry, proved themselves worthy.  What I’m suggesting is that the movie became part of their life experience, they were so soaked in it.  And now Bowie is back with his own soundtrack.  I always feel it necessary to mention that John Philips provided the soundtrack for the movie because it accompanies a favorite cinematic continuity sequence from the failed rocket launch to the Icarus drop from the high rise to the rhumba of the wheeled food cart through the rubble into the hidden bedroom.  

Sam mentioned the bullet through the brain coming out through the townhouse onto the sidewalk as Mr. Jaggar takes his walk to the mob car.  There’s a woman soulfully screaming in the musical accompaniment there.  That’s another fun moment of cinematic continuity.

So now this is Bowie’s chance to express the surrealism others created for him from being inspired by him.  He already achieves great emotional intensity in his sometimes obscure lyric songs.   He’s given them a new place to live.  

Friday, November 06, 2015

This is a post that was in draft form since March, 2015....   here it is unchanged from that draft...
I'm sorting out thoughts on building matters.  Some apartments become stagnant because they have the best residential insulation New York City can provide, a rent stabilized lease.  It was the result of an emergency housing crisis in the 1920s.  (?)   It is a law applied and protected with a fervor bordering on the religious.  As with all affirmative actions, its forced effort also achieves opposite results.

Summary:   I'm protected.  I'm lucky.  It's a great deal.  I can't move!  Everything must stay as it is. I'm trapped.

Me, I'm ready to keep everything exactly as it is.  I am not one for change.  Everything is fine. It really is, but change is also good and fun and filled with hidden opportunity.

Anyway, I finally threw out the old couch and bought a new one.  Next thing I knew there was a bedbug outbreak in the building.  It's still a second hand alarm because, maybe tomorrow I will but, up to now, in all my ridiculous life I have never seen more than a picture of a bedbug.  

Do cockroaches really eat them?  We got rid of all the cockroaches... Did we need them?  We exterminated an entire civilization, it having no small degree of intelligence and sensitivity.

Should we get diatumacious earth?  Peppermint Oil?  Let's hand our problem over to The Professionals.

Anyway, landlords at least outwardly don't like maintaining rent stabilization.  I think there are tax breaks that go with compliance, but on a more specific level, there are ways to escape the law requiring the issuance of a rent stabilized lease, Coop conversion!   

Ultimately the landlord is delegating building management to the tenants, kind of like delegating prison management responsibility to the prisoners (asylum management to the inmates).  

However, because each kernel of earth ownership is a government protected monopoly that has somehow become the basis for all western civilization... you can not lose by buying in.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

What We Mock, We Be ... The Great Songwriting of Phil Ochs

I think we can safely say What we Mock, We Be.  This declaration follows from listening to a Phil Ochs disc I got when I joined others in helping Bob Fass celebrate Mr. Ochs birthday (December 19, 1940... I think I did this 10 years ago).

The disc's first song was the one I played, declaring on the authority of a gypsy fortune teller who told Phil, "you only are what you believe," that "The War Is Over!" Many innovative songs followed on the disc. The one with the most bite is "Cops of the World," a heartless, waltz anthem (I wrote something like it called "Living in Freedom") sung by the big boys. So, who is singing that song?  Is the singer ironic?  No.  Listen to him.  Believe him.  He is the song.  He's one of the big boys

There was another song glorifying the masculine man.  Without too much build-up I want to point out that the first person nature of these songs makes the singer that which he mocks.

If the listener is not in on his joke, and everyone in the 1960's folk singer audience was, then the singer is alone.  He's painted himself into his personified corner.  I shut off the collection when I reached When in Rome, before the hitchhiker attacked his ride-provider.  What a bleak dark ages battleground that is and the singer is turning on everyone.

My acknowledgment here, in addition to loving his beautiful voice, even as he struggled with it in later recordings, is that his songwriting is unique.  It inspires me (Although his career paralleled, it is independent of the unique inspiring songwriting of Bob Dylan.  They are two independent fonts of innovative composition.).  His melodies and harmonic movement are often groundbreaking and are somewhat untapped today.

The wild pianist, Lincoln Mayorga, helped create ambitious album productions.  It is amazing to find they are often almost as good as Phi Ochs just playing his guitar and singing solo.

So he's another great composer that we lost too soon, basically after 35 years....

Linda Draper helped reacquaint me with Phil Ochs some 10 years ago, but like some 45 years ago.. oh boy... Jil Johnson's older brothers must have introduced her to Phil's protest songs (his topical songs??) and she, when we were 13/14, introduced them to me.  (Yes we attended his Lincoln Center concert... wow, of course I can find the date here, it's April 23, 1974.)   She loved him, and she easily expanded my eternal affection for her to include him, something I am most grateful for, because incidentally, I am influenced and inspired and even in some ways cautioned by Phil Ochs.  He joins Frank Zappa as one of my heroes and their ventures into dangerland can be a lesson for us all.  It's not that we're not going there but we're going further and will live to tell

Oh, and at this time I am at last listening to his collection of songs.  The great discovery last night is the song, "The Confession."  How do we know? -- because he confessed...   (The devastating impact of this conclusion is also explored in Carl Dryer's movie, The Days of Wrath.)

It is September 20th, 2015... (My head is still spinning from concluding the amazing 6 performance run of FLOAT.)  This is how long it takes me to open my listening ... I would only listen to those chosen Phil Ochs tracks over, over and over again.   Pleasures of the Harbor, Crucifixion, The War Is Over, Small Circle of Friends and the dreaded When In Rome.

Still going strong is another groundbreaking folk-singer/songwriter who passionately sings lyrics that assume challenging first-person characterizations, David Bowie.  His various song personae are really quite fun... there's a guy in the tree singing "And the next day, and the next, and another day."

Like the fellow in When In Rome, Bowie's persona in "The Next Day," is singing from the dark ages too, I think...