Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DVD NEW RELEASES: free 'n easy

Recently I was contracted to write plot synopses for upcoming DVD releases. Due to the rush and excitement of the holidays, I was unable to preview each selection. Still, after years of movie-going, I find that it is rather easy to dial in, and with a surprising degree of accuracy.

So here are some releases that will be coming your way after the holidays. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.


CHELSEA ON THE ROCKS: Follow the adventures of Chelsea, that lovable li’l scamp probably from Manhattan, who gets into piles of mischief, mostly when she is walking on rocks somewhere in Scotland or something.

CRAZY FOR CARS: Documents the stories of twelve different people who were diagnosed obsessive-compulsive personality disorder due to their deep and abiding affection for cars. Filmed at the historic Sommerville Asylum in Belmont, Massachusetts, this documentary includes historic footage of Sylvia Plath, Rick James and James Taylor all looking depressed and sad and staring out the windows at cars rushing by.

PLANET HULK: The Hulk awakens one balmy summer day to discover that he is living on a planet. Chaos ensues.

THE BEST OF LIBERACE Vol. 1 & 2: The director’s cut. Includes legendary ‘behind the scenes’ sequences of Liberace shopping for hosiery, walking in gardens that are filled with peonies, and at Boston Garden, watching Gorilla Monsoon trying to gouge out the eyes of Haystacks Calhoun, whereupon Haystacks Calhoun gets angry and does mean things to him and takes away his horseshoe, much to the delight of Liberace who claps a lot.

WHEN SOLDIERS CRY: Sad but true story that tracks the lives of four of our boys in uniform who see terrible things and then act like pussies.

BLACK DYNAMITE: Starring Mike White

GOOD HAIR: There is great hair, and there is bad hair, and then, somewhere in between, there is good hair. Narrated by Sandra Bullock.

MEJOR ES QUE BARIELA NO SE MUERA: Si, es mejor, es much mejor. Gabriela, ¡Por favor! ¡No se Muera! En colores, con cerca de subtítulos.

SCOOBY-DOO: ABRACADABRA-DOO: The madcap adventures of that big brown dog and his lovable friends, the guy with the peach fuzz and that girl with the glasses, as they delve into the dark side.


BELLYDANCE SUPERSTARS: 3D Volume 1: The title says it all. Narrated and starring Alec Baldwin with cameo appearances by Telly Savalas, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Mickey Rooney. Filmed in Sensurround, Dolby sound.

HEART IS A DRUM MACHINE: Although unrated, the mature subject matter is recommended for adult audiences only. Narrated by Quentin Tarantino.

MARTHA SPEAKS: MARTHA SAYS IT WITH FLOWERS: From the fragile Azalea to the lasting affection of the Zinnia, no one says “Flower! Flower!”quite like Martha, (Flower!) who is, I am assuming, Martha Stewart, (Flower!) who in this 5 minute single take documentary adores saying the names of almost every flower you can imagine, and some that you actually rarely do, like, for example, the Zinnia, (Flower!) which symbolizes lasting affection. And Oh! the Xeranthemum* (Flower!) 

*symbolizes immortality, like Odin, the one-eyed all-father of Asgard of the Nine Worlds.

PREVENTION: FLAT BELLY WORKOUT EXPRESS BELLY BLAST: The 70’s Bachelor Party Righteous Boner-Packing Poontang-Lovin’ Bodacious Boinkers Ball Sex Sinsation! Bring your buds! 


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


"Who is the greatest poet writing today?"

Well, they don't really ask me that, but sometimes I go up to people and say, "Do you know who the greatest poet writing today is?" And usually they say either "No. Who is it?" or "Olen pahoillani, en puhu Englanti" if I am in Finland or "Robert Frost" if I am speaking to an elderly gent. But when I do come upon the No Who Is It? type I say quite simply:

"It is David Kirby."


Crispy Flotilla

or: David Kirby on suurin runoilija kirjoittaa tänään, again, when I am in Finland*

*Please don't be impressed. I am never really in Finland.


Last night I sat and stared at Lana Cantrell's 1969 album THE SIXTH OF LANA. It's such a great title and such a great look. I thought: if only I could somehow bring in JMW Turner, that delightful 18th century English landscaper painter of whale ships and man overboards, then I could somehow marry the two off and Lana Cantrell could not only go whaling but would also be Lana Turner.

The problem, as you might have guessed, is that I had no idea who did the photography for the Lana Cantrell album, THE SIXTH OF LANA.

Enter, the internet!

Now, thanks to a delightful little site called, I not only know that some guy named Skrebneski photographed the very Lana Cantrell for THE SIXTH OF LANA, but also that Corky McCoy did the cover art for Miles Davis' ON THE CORNER.

And there's more! Look it:

Album Catalog

1. Beck Mellow Gold 1994 art direction/design: Robert Fisher. photos: Ross Harris & John Skalickey. Last Man After Nuclear War built by Eddie.

2. Johnny Winter Saints & Sinners 1974 cover design: John Berg and Karen Lee Grant. photo: Bill Metz.

3. Basement Jaxx Remedy 1999 CD cover includes impossible to scan foil lettering.

4. Porter Wagoner The Carroll County Accident1969.

5. Fergie The Dutchess 2006 photos: Ellen Von Unwerth. package design/illustration: Julian Peploe.

6. Bryan Ferry As Time Goes By 1999

7. Future Sounds of London Lifeforms 1994 art: Future Sounds of London.

8. The Beatles Hey Jude 1970

9. Marv Herzog Marv Herzog's World of Polkas & Waltzes

10. St. Etienne Fox Base Alpha 1991 sleeve design: Anthony Sweeney. photos: Joe Dilworth. Girl with sign: Celina Nash.

11. REM Reckoning 1984 art: Howard Finster.

12. Regular 2003 oil painting by John F. Kieltyka from the series "Master of None". This Seattle singer/songwriter was my old painting teacher at Univ. of Colorado.

13. REM Automatic For the People art & design: Tom Recchion, Michael Stipe. computer imaging: Cecil Juanarena, Insight Communications. photos: Anton Corbijn & Frederick Nilsen.

14. Lou Reed Street Hassle 1978.

15. Radiohead Kid A 2000 art: Stanley Donwood and Tchock. Radiohead font: Buro Bestruct of Bern Switzerland. NOTE: I think that "Bestruct" is a typo.

16. Radiohead OK Computer 1997 pics: Stanley Donwood & the White Chocolate Farm/the Whole Hog.

17. Radiohead The Bends 1995 Stanley Donwood & the White Chocolate Farm/Green Ink.

18. Portishead 1997 design: Sarah Sherley-Price. photos: Marc Bessant.

19. Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon 1973 photos: Tony May and Strom Thorgerson. NOTE: in the mid 1980s I met a guy at a record show who bragged about paying $300 or so for this LP that had the spectrum colors reversed.

20. Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite and Piano Concert No. 1

21. Papa M Live from a Shark Cage 1999 photo by Valery Yakushev from a wall in the "Park of Culture" subway station in Moscow.

22. Pavement Spit on a Stranger1999

23. Orb Orblivion 1997 cover: Madark, London and LX.

24. Beth Orton Trailer Park1996 photos: Ellen Nolan. design: Negativespace.

25. Orb UFOrb 1992 orl orb design featuring Phil Wollenholme's pixel-pip fantasy.

26. Flaming Lips At War with the Mystics 2006 design/layout: George Salisbury (who is particle?). painting possibly by Wayne Coyne.

27. Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots 2002 design/layout: George Salisbury (who is particle?).

28. Flaming Lips The Soft Bulletin 1999 design/layout: George Salisbury (who is particle?).

29. Air Talkie Walkie 2004 art: Richard Prince/Aaron Klein at Ultimate Image NYC. photo: Claude Gassian.

30. Gary Numan The Pleasure Principle 1979.

31. Analog Cabin

32. The Aquabats The Fury of the Aquabats 1997 artwork by Parker Jacobs. layout & design: Jim Spizzirri & Parker Jacobs.

33. Amitabh Bachchan Gold Collection

34. The Gentle Waves Swansong for You 2000 photo: Stuart Murdoch (that guy from Belle & Sebastian). Sleeve by Divine Inc.

35. Groove Armada Vertigo 2001 sleeve & art direction: ZiP Design.

36. Lauren Hill The Miseducation of Lauren Hill 1998 art direction: Lauren Hill & Erwin Gorostiza.

37. Kenny G Gravity1985 "Kenny G" logo designed by Tony Gable at Gablegraphics, Seattle, WA. art director: Donn Davenport. photo by: Gary Gross. design: Howard Fritzson. stylist: Hui Wang. hair and makeup: Gui Vrabl. clothing: In Wear/Martinique; Henry Lehr.

38. Björk Homogenic 1997 art direction: Alexander McQueen. photography: Nick Knight.

39. David Byrne uh-oh 1992 design: M&Co. painting: Brian Dewan from a sketch by David Byrne.

40. Röyksopp Melody A.M. 2001 cover photo: Sølve Sunsbø. design: Tom Hingston Studio.

41. Björk Vespertine 2001 sleeve: Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin and M/M . Please note the Leda/swan stuff going on.

42. Björk Post 1995 cover design: Design By Me Company. photography: Stephane Sadnaoui. Björk's jacket by Hussein Chalaya.

43. Millie Jackson Get It Out'cha System 1978 design: Bob Heimall (AGI). Millie Jackson photo: Nima. other photography: Eric Meola.

44. Los Cisnes La Llave

45. Sweet Country Livin'. art: Jeremy Havens (photo from magazine over color copy test print).

46. Land of the Loops Multi-Family Garage Sale single 1996 cover art: Alan Sutherland.

47. Missing persons Rhyme and Reason 1984. hair: Tracy Hill, Doug Powell. photography: Helmut Newton. art direction and design: Larry Vigon.

48. Built to Spill Keep It like a Secret 1999 art direction & design: Tae Won Yo.

49. Cake Fashion Nugget 1996 designed: John McCrea (the lead singer), Mark Kornweibel, and Audry Marie at Pine Scented Designs (Sacramento, Calif.).

50. Camera Obscura Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi sleeve design & layout: Anne MacClean. cover star: Fiona Morrison.

51. Claudine 1967

52. Crystal Gayle When I Dream 1978 photo: Claude Mougin. art direction: Bill Burks. TRIVIA: Crystal Gayle (not her whole name) is a sister to some one else on this list. Who???

53. Controlled Bleeding The Poisoner 1997.

54. U2 War 1983 boy photograph: Ian Finlay. design: Design RX.

55. Dr. Octagon 1996 cover artwork: Pushead. "Dr. Octagon says: Stay in school and don't do drugs."

56. The Harder They Come Soundtrack 1973 sleeve designed: CCS Associates. cover drawing: ? Bryant.

57. The Billy Cobham-George Duke Band "Live" on Tour in Europe 1976 cover illustration: Jim Warren.

58. De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising 1989

59. Herb Alpert's Tiajuana Brass Whipped Cream and Other Delights album designed by Peter Whorf Graphics.

60. Liza Minnelli The Singer 1973 photo: Alan Pappe. art direction: Ron Coro.

61. Lipps Inc. Mouth to Mouth 1980 art direction & design: Michael Kevin Lee/Gribbett! illustration: Jan Kovaleski & Michael Kevin Lee.

62. Steely Dan Aja 1977 art direction: Oz Studios. designed by: Patricia Matsui and Geoff western. cover photo: Hideki Fujii.

63. Devo New Traditionalists 1981

64. Simple Minds Life In a Day 1982.

65. Albert Ayler Love Cry 1968 photography: Charles Stewart. graphic design: Dan Serrano, David Gibb, Andy Ruggirello, Scott Johnson, & Sonny Mediana.

66. Roxy Music Country Life 1974 photo: Eric Bowman. fashion: Anthony Price. design: Nicholas de Ville. art direction: Bryan Ferry.

67. Bonnie "Prince" Billy Lie Down in the Light 2008 cover drawing: Joanne Oldham. layout: Dan Osborn.

68. Stefon Harris Black Action Figure 1999 creative direction: Gordon H Jee. art direction & design: Greenberg Kingsley/NYC. photography:Robert Fleischauer/LaMoine.

69. Ornette Coleman Something Else!!!! 1958 .

70. Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come 1959 cover photo: William Claxton. cover design: Marvin Israel.

71. John Coltrane Lush Life 1957 cover: Esmond Edwards.

72. John Coltrane Blue Train 1957 cover design: Reid Miles. photo: Francis Wolff.

73. Miles Davis On the Corner 1972 cover art: Corky McCoy.

74. Shu-bi-dau

75. Dianne Reeves Bridges 1999 creative director: Gordon H Jee. art director/designer: Jessica Novod. photographer: Deborah Feingold. makeup stylist: Eric Spearman.

76. Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 Look Around

77. The Cars Candy-O 1979 cover concept: David Robinson. cover painting: Alberto Vargas.

78. Sonny Rollins Saxaphone Colossus 1956 cover photo/design: Hannan.

79. Ricky Skaggs Don't Cheat in Our Hometown 1983 photography: Jim McGuire.

80. Daniel Johnston Yip/Jump Music 1983 cover drawing: Daniel Johnston.

81. Miles Davis In Concert 1973 cover art: Corky McCoy.

82. Aric Lavie Sings 1980.

83. Kraftwerk Trans-Europe Express 1977 NOTE: readers of Jerome may be interested to know that the man on the left looks almost exactly like "The Aristocrat" character in the "The Office Gossip" (2004).

84. Kraftwerk The Man-Machine album concept + production: Ralf Hutter + Florian Schneider. photo: Günter Fröhling.

85. Land of the Loops Bundle of Joy 1996 cover: Alan Sutherland.

86. Bobbie Gentry Fancy 1967

87. Chick Corea The Leprechaun 1975. illustration: Dave Palladini. direction and design: Peter Corriston A. G. I.

88. Los Lobos This Time 1999 art direction:John & Jeri Heiden for SMOG and Louie Perez.

89. Sade love deluxe 1992 photo: Albert Watson. design: Peter Brawne. production: Quest Typesetting.

90. St. Etienne Tiger Bay 1994 photo: either Paul Kelly or Aude Prier.

91. Laurie Anderson Big Science 1982.

92. Bob Welch Three Hearts 1979 art direction & design: Vignon, Nahas, Vignon. photos: Oliver Ferrand, Neal Preston, Sam Emerson. NOTE: title printed in metallic gold, and that did not scan well.

93. June Christy The Misty Miss Christy 1955

94. St. Etienne Good Humor 1998 photos: Paul Kelly. design: Phantom Industries. note: The little essay that can be found on this groups CD booklet is by Douglas Coupland, authour of Generation X.

95. Stereolab Emperor Tomato Ketchup 1996 sleeve: Trouble with assistance from Frank & Bettina (Richards).

96. Paul Hardcastle Rain Forest 1985 album cover concept: Billy Russell. photo compiled and composed: Mike Emmett. art direction: Dick Smith.

97. Gitti und Erica Zwei Mädchen zum Verlieben 1980.

98. Cameo Cameosis 1980 art direction: Phyllis Chotin. design: Stephen Lumel/Gribbitt! photography: Berard Vidal. Illustration:Leo McIntire.

99. A Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders 1993 photos: Heeds by TAR. woamn: Carol Weinber. design: ZombArt JK.

100. 311 Music 1993 art direction & design: Deborah Norcross. cover illustration: Eric Stotic. cover logo: Henk Elenga.

101. Sniff 'n' the Tears The Game's Up 1980. cover painting: Paul Roberts. design: Phil Smee.

102. Volume All*Star Self-connected/Twice-elected cover art: Jim Winters.

103. Lipps, Inc. Designer Music 1981 package coordination: Joan Marlow. art direction and design: Bob Carroll/Gribbitt! illustration: Jeff Wack. cover photography: Robert Whitman. wardrobe: Sonia Kashuk.

104. Weezer 1994 photo: Peter Gowland. design: Karl Koch. art direction: Michael Golob.

105. Dwight Yoakum A Long Way Home 1998 photographs of Dwight: Randee St. Nicholas. art direction: Dwight Yoakum & Linda Cobb. design: Linda Cobb.

106. Dwight Yoakum Tomrrow's Sounds Today 2000 art direction: Dwight Yoakum & Tracy Veal. design: Antony Neely at Tracy Veal Design. photographer: Annalisa.

107. Laibach Sympathy for the Devil 1988 sleeve layout: Slim Smith.

108. Lily Allen Alright, Still 2007

109. Belle and Sebastian Lazy Line Painter Jane

110. Belle and Sebastian The Boy with the Arab Strap

111. Belle and Sebastian Tigermilk 1996

112. Belle and Sebastian Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant design: Andrew Symington.

113. Marvin Gaye What's Going On 1971 art direction: Curtis McNair. graphic supervision: Tom Schlesinger. photo: Hendin.

114. Stanley Clarke School Days 1976. illustration: Robert Giusti. art direction: Bob Defrin/Lynn Breslin. "Also, special thanks to L. Ron Hubbard for being an inspiration to me."

115. Weather Reprt Heavy Weather 1977 illustration: Lou Beach. design: Nancy Donald. photography: Keith Williamson.

116. Van Morrison Saint Dominic's Preview 1972 photo: Michael Maggid.

117. M.I.A. Kala 2007 artwork: M.I.A. additional graphics: Carri Mundane & Steve Loveridge. M.I.A.'s photo: Janette Beckman.

118. Van Morrison Astral Weeks 1968 photo: Joel Brodsky. art director: Ed Thrasher.

119. Modest Mouse Building Nothing Out of Something drawings: Joey Bullock. layout: (Chris )Takino/Saaed.

120. Oasis Standing on the Shoulders of Giants 2000 photo: Andrew MacPherson. art direction: Simon Halfon & Noel Gallagher.

121. Oasis Definately Maybe 1994 photos: Michael Spencer Jones. sleeve concept, design, & art direction: Brian Cannon for Microdot.

122. Oasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory 1995 "A microdot sleeve;" designed & directed: Brian Cannon. assisted by Matthew Sankey. photos: Michael Spencer Jones. photos star: Sean Rowley.

123. Gershon Kingsley Music to Moog By NOTE: Gershon Kingsley's discography on his website shows the BACK of this album, not this image of shifty eyes, guilty looks, and sliced up nipples.

124. Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn Lead Me On 1973

125. Roxy Music Stranded1974 cover concept: Bryan Ferry. cover design: Nicholas de Ville. photo: Karl Stoeker. cover girl make up: Pierre Laroche. fasion: Anthony Price. artwork: Bob Bowkett at CSS.

126. Miles Davis Big Fun

127. Herbie Mann Push Push1971 photo: Joel Brodsky. album design: Paula Bisacca.

128. Laibach Opus Dei 1987 design: Laibach Kunst. layout: Slim Smith.

129. Captain Sinbad The Seven Voyages of Captain Sinbad 1982 cover: Tony McDermott.

130. Scientist Encounters Pac Man 1982 cover: Tony McDermott.

131. The Modern Jazz Quartet Plastic Dreams 1971 cover art & album design: Stanislaw Zagorski.

132. Neil Young Trans 1982 front cover art: Barry Jackson.

133. Hires Magyar Enekesek

134. Loretta Lynn You're Lookin' At Country 1971

135. Mad Professor Escape From the Asylum of Dub-Dub Me Crazy 4 1983 cover: Michael & Tony McDermott. NOTE: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are in the Dub Asylum.

136. Scientist Scientist Wins the World Cup 1982 cover: Tony McDermott. NOTE: score: Scientist Jamaica-6, England-1.

137. The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour 1967 photos: John Kelly.

138. Falco 3 1985

139. Lana Cantrell The 6th of Lana 1969 photo: Skrebneski.

140. DRS Body to Body Boogie 1978 art direction: Stanley Hochstadt. design: Paula Swauger. graphics supervision: Lloyd Gelassen.

141. Bobbie Gentry Patchwork

142. Quartz 1978 cover design/illustration: J.N. Guariga. photography: P. Astrier.

143. New Order Technique 1989 cover: Peter Saville Associates & Trevor Key.

144. Glen Campbell Galveston

145. Heaven 17 Penthouse and Pavement 1981 packaging: B.E.F. cover painting: Ray Smith. TRIVIA: What great movie was the inspiration for the name "Heaven 17"? You'll find out eventually!

146. Heaven 17 The Luxury Gap 1982 cover concept and painting: Ray Smith.

147. The B-52's Wild Planet 1980 art direction: Robert Waldrop. photo: Lynn Goldsmith. hairdos: La Verne & Phyllis. makeup: Paul Bricker.

148. Roxy Music The First Roxy Music Album 1972

149. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967 cover: M C Productions and The Apple. staged by: Peter Blake and Jann Haworth. photo: Michael Cooper. wax figures: Madame Tussauds.

150. Poppys Septembre Noir, Decembre Blanc... 1974

God Bless the Internet.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

SATURDAY: a schreien

Today I discovered that schreierpfeife, a double reed medieval instrument, is a deviation from schreien (to cry or scream) in Italian, as in, for example: “Please! I beg of you!” The old Italian man shreiened, “Do not take my schreierpfeife!”

Today I decided, “If Lydia Davis says that Russell Edson is OK, then Russell Edson IS OK.”

Today I decided, “If Lydia Davis says that Buddy Ebsen is OK, then Buddy Ebsen is also OK.” Although as far as I know Lydia Davis has not said Buddy Ebsen is OK.

Today I discovered that Hugh Beaumont had a rather impressive hook shot even when he was old enough to play Ward Cleaver in LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and even when he was wearing double pleated pants which draped his form quite nicely, especially during the hook shot.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

THURSDAY: a verflucht

Today I watched STATE FAIR. It almost opens with IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING and I thought to myself ACH DU LIEBER HIMMEL this is going to be an amazing bunch of songs I don’t care if there is no plot at all just songs only to discover that the whole thing is pretty much is just no plot and one song and it is IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING it keeps popping up over and over everybody is singing it and just when you think it will stop the carousel ride comes by and VERFLUCHT! there’s no escape from IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING, nowhere to go nowhere to hide! It might as well be Spring! Although it is quite a terrific song I think it will now haunt my dreams which actually would be a relief from all the cockroach ones with those cliffs and jelly messes.


Sylvia Plath was 5’ 9” tall.

She looked up to Ted Hughes.

He was 6’ 6” tall.

Without a bicycle, Sylvia Plath felt like
she couldn’t have sex.

I don’t like to walk.

I like to ZOOM.

“You’re tall,” Sylvia Plath said, “I like that!”

And hunky.

Boys throw dirty snowballs at Sylvia Plath.

Sylvia Plath doesn’t know what to do when Morris is hypnotized stiff as a board, and falls down to the floor.


Wait. There’s that Ted.

Sylvia Plath bites his cheek, and blood runs down it.

That Ted! Ted kissed her neck.

Parties in England are dull.

It’s cold out.

It’s toasty inside.

Everything else, we already know.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Where could this possibly have come from?

At first I thought I had read: “I now play Champlain” which was nice, really. “Now I am playing Lake Champlain.” Of all the lakes I have ever heard of, Lake Champlain is the one that I have wanted to play the most. Why? Because it sounds so much like this: “Champagne” which, in French, is pronounced like this: Champagne. 

When suddenly, I woke up from my dream of playing Champlain to realize it was really Champagne I was playing. Not playing with, which would be nice. Just playing. I had a dream about that. Skating across a river of Champagne. I was in New York state, and I was a very accomplished skater. I wore a turtleneck sweater. I was playing. Slowly I drifted into Canada. I became concerned. This is getting serious, which isn’t like playing at all. “Woe!” I stated. 

But the border was filled with fur trappers and there was no escape from, well, them. But I am not kidding, I do know how to skate. But how could I play Champagne if I was skating on Champagne on a lake, in New York state, Lake Champlain. Look at their eyes, they are like little red mouse eyes in the dark. I am not afraid; I am charmed. Je suis charmin, Champlain. There is a beautiful place that I don’t know. That’s where Lake Champlain is. I squeeze its irresistable softness between my hands. Lake, and it is with Champlain Champagne, that I often find comfort, served in tiny cups, clear as crystal, and exceedingly often. 

A final note: Champlain was named after one Samuel de Champlain, in celebration of his marriage to a young lady with three accent marks over her name. “How I play now, with Champlain” is what dear Hélène Boullé said. Which she would. Which makes me wonder: How now, could I play Boullé? No way, said Samuel, who always wanted to be called ‘José.’ Most might say: No way, as did Samuel, née, José. However, Hélène would oblige. Wrapped in fur, she approached him beguilingly and people fell into the ice. "Ah, José," she would say.  It was a jolly good marriage, although one never knows. 

Now I play.

Monday, December 14, 2009


“You can run but you can’t hide.”

It turned out that this wasn’t true.

I love the stories of James Tate. I love where they go. I don’t know where they go exactly, but that’s why I love

You, I said to Susan

And I love you, too, is what
the man said on the radio. He was

Talking about the old days, and vodka.
Too, I love you, Buddy, yet I am so very afraid

When I hear the sound of the scampering
of little claws in the cauldron–LOBSTER CLAWS

I say to myself, LOBSTERS
like giant, beautiful cockroaches, red

and infused with vodka: langusta, à la vodka,
which is beautiful, but the best part is lang–

gusta, the lobster, and the best part of langusta
is gusta: mucha gusta! To enjoy, to savor, as

long as you can–ask the cockroach if he has
any regrets–you know, a whole life can be filled with a carousel

of colors: a flood of pink and green and orange and yellow

sometimes the wall is blank

as snow, floating tin the bathtub,
dreaming about a wonderful trip

down a dark drain, it isn’t, really

a good dream

but it is a dream, still,

a dream

Sunday, December 13, 2009

SUNDAY: aw rooty and whoooo

Little Richard played piano on a Bachman Turner Overdrive record? And the song was called TAKE IT LIKE A MAN? Today I said to myself “How is this possible?”


Today I like the fact that Little Richard saw Sputnik in the sky and decided that it was a sign from God to stop playing pop music.


Today it was quiet after the movie. The stars shone brightly. The house was lonely. The refrigerator buzzed a little bit. people laughed outside the house and inside one house someone was taking a bath. When suddenly, out of nowhere, it was my birthday and the house was filled with small batch chocolates from bean to bar, 60-81% cacao and vodka wrapped in a coat of cocoa and caramel and kirsch and the floor was covered in straw. It was my favorite birthday ever! Except for my first.

Friday, December 11, 2009

DEATH IN THE TALKIES: Frank Borzage’s Liliom (1930)

It just gets weirder and weirder. Just when he is about to die, a train comes through his room and two funny looking guys, one with a mustache and both with little golden wings on their helmets, scoop him up from bed and take him on the train with them. Not to heaven–to some cloudy place with lots of fences–on yet another train! And clouds inside and outside this train, too! 

Everyone gets to sit in their prescribed Death Room–and he unfortunately gets to sit in the Suicide Room (because that was his schtick) where several characters are relaxing in the lounge compartment-dealy and chattering a lot about this and that and how they did it, all rather boring ways, too, like poison and window jumping, guns, etc. And THEY all have mustaches. I guess having a mustache makes you want to kill yourself. Also, big eyeballs.

This time in the Suicide Room telling Death Stories seems to go on forever, although it was only probably thirty seconds, still, too long, and finally, his name is called, and he is brought before–not God–no–but some mid-level type–a little too much like the love child of Don Ameche and David Niven to really be really impressive and bigger than life–and so Don/David Ameche/Niven what-have-you offers him a cigarette from a shiny silvery heaven cigarette case as he bestows upon him his ‘thoughts on life and responsibility’ while sitting comfortably on some kind of whitey marshmallow sofa and somehow, somehow, he is convinced to give Mr. Suicide another chance on earth, but not before ten years in ‘The Hot Place’ (his words, I would never have thought of that) after which he will be able to return to earth and see his child who was as yet unborn when he decided to stick a knife in his chest, which I understand is an extremely difficult thing to do–physically, I mean, (emotionally, who knows?) but then again, I really don’t know. Nor do I care to.

Luckily, this mid-level God agent Niven/Ameche guy thoughtfully gifts Hell-Bound Suicide Boy a pair of Smoke Glasses for the occasion, although I don’t know what that means or what you do with them–wear them I guess–and ten years pass by in a jiffy, ten years you don’t even get to see, which is odd, because in general they are not so skimpy and you see a lot of other things earlier, like his wife’s dress, which is rather sheer and nipple-friendly, yessir, and makes you wonder why anyone married to Mrs. Wife Sheer Dress/Well Defined Nipples would commit suicide or even think about it–I wouldn’t, but once he has done that and then his time in HP he is sweaty, of course, and he is anxious (very) to return to see his little girl and so he hops aboard train #3 or #4 it’s hard to say, very ready for a new life or whatever it is supposed to be from now on. 

Oh when will Gabriel blow his horn to signal the time is neigh for these from-now-on things? Well he, Gabriel, finally makes an appearance, and finally does do it, and for some reason Gabriel looks like David Ogden Stiers or maybe Burl Ives, I can’t decide, but somehow neither rather than both, but definitely not your classic Gabriel at all, but he is definitely dapper, dressed in a somewhat unexpected South of the Mason/Dixon White Formalwear, just like Colonel Sanders, no question about that, although can’t play the horn for beans! Some Gabriel. This heaven, I decided, is pretty low rent. Still, that doesn’t matter, cause he can hear the horn and gets back on Cloudy Train and returns (quite quickly, I am always confused by things that don’t take time) to see his little girl playing in the backyard of what was his house pre-death. She’s fairly cute, etc., and heavy on the normal. But after all the excitement he overplays his hand with her, naturally, being jittery with joy and lonely and salivating and sweaty, and the little girl, who seems to be a polite little girl (maybe a little too cute, if you want my opinion) says that she really has no wish to open the fence to someone so CREEPY AND WEIRD.  God, we have all been there, haven’t we? 

And of course this sort of thing just makes him more desperate, and then what follows naturally, creepier and weirder than ever. Until finally, with no hope left, he gives her sweet little absent daddy face a good slap–didn't see that one coming– and POOF! He disappears into the black and white heaven dust. Fini. Yet his daughter, nameless, unless you count “Darling” is surprisingly nonchalant about the POOF! Disappearing Creepy Weird Guy. And then a little, for some reason, philosophical–always nice. 

“Mother,” the little girl, whatever her name is, asks, “Have you ever had someone slap you on the face really hard, and it didn’t hurt at all? And it felt just like ... a kiss?” WHAT? I think, THE HELL? As I said, it just gets weirder and weirder. 

But not for them. Mother looks into the sky dreamily. And she gives it a big pause. 

“All the time,” she says to her daughter, now ten years and counting, who someday, eventually, Mother is going to have to name. I mean it. This girl needs to be called something. Anything. Daddyless Ten Year Old Girl won’t do. I am serious as a heart attack here. Hey. Let’s go.
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