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Real Life Soulmates Find Cartoon Bliss

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4, 2010 by alphabetfiend

StoryCorps » Danny & Annie.

“Smoke Bend” Dollar Bill Johnston (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Now it’s winter on the river, and a cold swift swollen tide meets a warm southern breeze from the gulf of memories.  

Every year, around the 9th of October, I fall into a funk. This blue mood is a complete mystery to me until the part of myself that’s been trying it’s best to keep the date from me will lag,  inevitably exhausted, and it will hit me. Oh! Right. That. The day that my father left this lousy place for good. The day that changed everything. The day that was so swollen with uncontainable sadness that even now, all these years later, it still will not be contained.    

      

I have another tough week in the spring. Another mysterious doom. “So?” Steffe’ll ask, pensively. “How are you? You always get down whenever y’know… me too. I miss him too.” And then it’ll hit me. Oh. Right. That. The week that our friend Paul had a heart attack in Florida, while shacked up with another poet on a houseboat.     

   

Souls have a secret calendar of agony.  

The Robot fades to black every year ’round labor day. The holiday serves as a hard-to-suppress reminder of the weekend his cousin/ little brother/best friend put a gun to his own temple. He was drunk and fighting with his girl friend, suddenly desolate, momentarily stupid. Maybe he meant to mash the trigger, maybe not. Those kind of over-wrought emotional moments can color the future with what is really just a temporary explosion of too too much. I keep a close eye on RB as the holiday nears. He wouldn’t do something so drastic but still, the date itself is a reminder of how hopelessness can swallow a grown folk whole.  

Like a snake eats an alligator.   

The gator goes down easier than you’d think.     

   

(Though I did see a story where a python tried to eat an alligator and the snake exploded… so that’s oddly comforting.)     

These last few days, I was hit by another mysterious gloom. It began with three days of insomnia — I was amped & aimless, annoyed with TV, avoiding the computer –followed by 15 hours of boulder-like sleep. It was a sleep-monster Saturday: ’round 4, Robo put me down like a toddler in need of nap; I reluctantly dozed off at the approach of 6; woke up at 3am to finish/post the gospel but mostly spent 2 hrs staring vacantly into space; then came Gospel!? We don’ need no stinkin’ gospel!; at 10am the Robot woke me with my favorite breakfast. I’m still annoyed and considering sending him back for reprogramming. It wasn’t until I finally got online that I ran smack dab into the Oh. Right. That.     

 Katrina.     

   

There, on the wordpress dash sat a letter from a reader/ friend, bummed about the anniversary of Katrina and wondering where-o-where was the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel? Ah. Arggghrr. (That’s an argh that becomes a grr.) In a split second of watery blinking, I decided to forsake my previously planned song in favor of another song which we played constantly in the wake of that fateful & fatal storm. Before too, but so so often after. This song has meant the world to myself and the loverman (why, he was just a little robot, maybe 8 or 9, when he first started reading The Times Picayune; wishing he could get into the city, good old Big Easy, to see Black Sabbath at City Park.)     

We played that record ragged. That album was our refuge in the storm. That smoking Piggie was a good gentleman friend to us. The song is “Smoke Bend.”  The album is The Gourds 2002 release “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig.”      

   

Yes, I know we’ve just done The Gourds recently but we’re talking about Katrina today and for me, there is only one Katrina song.     

 “Smoke Bend” by the Gourds with Dollar Bill Johnston.      

Dollar Bill Johnston joins The Gourds on stage

Dollar Bill is the father is the father of Gourd, Max Johnston (also of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo.)  Interestingly, Max’s sister and Dollar Bill’s daughter is singer/song-writer Michelle Shocked, who I love.       

        

They’re sandbaggin’ the levees     

They’re shovelin’ night and day     

It’s the year of ’27     

Gonna wash us all away     

 This song was not written about Katrina. Which in my mind, for my purposes, makes it better. Rather it’s about the ever-present worry that the levees might break and if so, then what?    

 The levee gonna bust     

On your side or mine     

A little dynamite on your side     

Help the river make its mind     

It’s about the day that you hope never comes. It’s about the risks we all take in life whether it’s living in the basin of New Orleans or loving even when you know know how much losing is gonna hurt.    

 Folks left that west bank town     

 Left it all behind     

 Start life on higher ground     

 Gonna get out just in time     

 I didn’t grow up in New Orleans, but I was worried by my own what-if’s.    

Even as a small child, my attachment to my father was so enormous that I was haunted by his mortality. This what-if stayed with me through-out my life. In college, laying in bed one night, I tried to picture the cruel day and could imagine no future for myself beyond it. I saw myself in my messy closet, tucked in the fetal position, refusing to come out. Ever. By the time it happened for real, that closet was long gone, and I was living in Austin, but I could still find the fetal position.     

It must’ve been crazy growing up in New Orleans in the shadow of what if?    

 After all, that’s was the place I wished to be.     

   

I’m a corn-fed midwestern girl (by way of A! I! Ohio!) so I’m not native to the south. But I wanted to be, oh I wanted it so badly, always, and I think that counts for something. It always made sense, jived with my version of self. I’ve kinda secretly way-down-deep-in-me thought of myself as the Delta Lady, the epitome of southern eccentricity. When I was very young, probably too young to long for such obscenity, I’d listen to Joe Cocker’s “Delta Lady” and think “That’s me! There I am! Standing wet and naked in the garden.”     

   

So it’s no surprise that this secret self-appointed Delta Lady found herself a mint julep of a southern gentleman.     

The Robot’s often spoke of the hurricane parties people have while weathering out the storm. They drink hurricanes, play cards and hope like hell. His stories were always punctuated with “Oh, you’d love it. You especially would love it!” ??? 

A hurricane party?     

   

It did sound like something I’d adore — the enforced play, the mandatory leisure; the tendency towards hedonism or at least too many hurricanes; the chaotic familiarity of community and iffy festivity of gatherings; kids running wild, adults divulging secrets; all that human energy, all that snap crackle pop, and over-top — the bristling electricity of sky & fear.      

But after Katrina, I dunno… it sounds too… scary.      

Robotboy grew up in Mississippi, just outside of New Orleans, so his family was hit. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over the family home. It was scary and it was scary even for us, waiting to find out if everyone was okay. They were. They lost a roof and few 100 year trees, a prized pecan, but our people were all very lucky. But then they weren’t depending on the levees…       

    

“Smoke Bend” is about the day that we hope will never come, and yet we know it will, and still that changes nothing.     

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley     

  There’s poison in the air     

 There’s new dangers on the river     

 It’s so good to be from there      

    

We continue to love whatever it is we’re so afraid to lose. Once we’ve lost out, the love goes on. That’s another little something we can count on.     

{{MP3 17 – Part II – Smoke Bend}}   

Smoke bend 

CHORUS:

Now it’s winter on the river

And a cold swift swollen tide

Meets a warm southern breeze

From the gulf of memories

Missouri and clear Ohio

Give their currents to the tide

Now the river’s Louisiana’s

For the willow tree-lined ride

From cruel Angola down to Venice

Scatterin’ horseshoes everywhere

The river’s Louisiana’s

With no glory or bank to share

If the river had its way

The Atchafalaya’d be its home

Straighten out them horseshoes

Find another bank to roam

There’s cane fires up the bank

Of that horseshoe of Smoke Bend

The smoke was double thick

And the fog was rollin’ in

Tie your boat to a willow tree

Climb the bank so high

Above the blanket on the river

See every star in the sky

Smoke fog and family

Kept to that west bank town

Smoke and fog would burn and blow away

The folks they’d stay around

There was catfish with the Kingfish

And a culture spice gumbo

There’s coonass music playing

On a glowin’ radio

Klan and crackers on the side

At the Last Chance Cafe

Crawfish etouffee

Warm red river Beaujolais

CHORUS

They’re sandbaggin’ the levee

They’re shovelin’ night and day

It’s the year of ’27

Gonna wash us all away

The levee gonna bust

On your side or mine

A little dynamite on your side

Help the river make its mind

Folks left that west bank town

Left it all behind

Start life on higher ground

Gonna get out just in time

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley

There’s poison in the air

There’s new dangers on the river

It’s so good to be from there

CHORUS

**************************************

Stay ahead of the snake, y’all, don’t get swallowed up cause really that’s silly, a gator in the belly of a snake, c’mon? Even a python! C’mon! And it’s not safe for the snake either. So just lift yer snout outta the swamp n’ hum a little cajun tune or maybe that one about the river, who did that one? The potatoes? The parsnips? The Gourds! With Dollar Bill Johnston!   

 So whaddaya say, alkies, got a hankerin’ for hurricanes? Well, why’ont you whip us up a pitcher!     

  

Thank’s to Mike — fellow Austinite, who grew up in Chalmette — for documenting his own (from afar & helpless) vigil during the storm and subsequent obsession with the recovery of his homeland. See his story and more of his storm photos (like above.) 

Immerse yourself in gourdy goodness at the band’s sweet sight, complete with wood round rekerd playa.   

If you’re in love with “Smoke Bend” (and you should be) the song can be downloaded for 99 cents. A great song for the price of a candy bar. The album “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig” available on amazon.  If you’re not ready for the I couldn’t nor wouldn’t begin to suggest where future aid should be sent so I open comments to suggestions.  

*************************************************   

Today’s edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel is dedicated to everyone who saw Nola through that storm as well as to those who continue to be with her now. To those who lost lives, loved ones, homes, schools, churches, haunts. To those still healing and still helping in the aftermath.     

My heart aches for all of you, for your families wherever they may live, and for every one who had their heart mangled by that hurricane (even if “only” in an an empathic human way)  

Today was hard for people, people’s hearts are still hurting. Even those not directly affected by Katrina, even those hearts are clenched like angry fists. In a strange sad way, Katrina became a shared trauma, a throbbing dated ache that yearly seizes up. Katrina blew through our TV screens and flooded our family rooms. Which is not to diminish the unfathomable experience of being in New Orleans both during and after that storm; nor the losses borne by other areas hit by Katrina.

Today’s Secret Word is “Barfday”

Posted in Art Lover, Dork Alert, Goof & Glamour, I Heart Funny Fellas, In Celebration of the Absurd, Star F*#ker, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Top 2% of Coolest Mofos, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Happy Freakin’ Barfday, Peewee!

Hooray! It’s Peewee Herman’s birthday! Don’t know how old he is, don’t care. It hardly matters. Peewee’s oddly timeless.

I adore Peewee Herman and count him among the top 2 % coolest mofos (of the magical sort) on planet Earth.

I worship the H*Man. So I was damn sure gonna celebrate his birthday with sacred acts of tom-foolery. To keep my play pure, I’d —  of course! — avoid all adult responsibilities while evading mind-numbing normals.

I’d planned an ambitious day of play;  loll about on chatty chairs, ram things with my shiny pink bicycle. (A virtual valentine of a bike!) 

I was gonna cater to the id.

But I couldn’t let the day pass without wishing Herman a happy Barfday.

Barfday?

AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

I meant to say that! Barf barf barf day!

Happy Barfday, Mr. Peeee-weee… happy barfday to you.

Hope the day was good to you.

Hope the playhouse is over-flowing with cake, frosting, bows, balloons, jewels, cash, pills. And, of course, psychedelic butterflies with google eyes who’ll quickly morph — as needed — into bowties. So many dandy-fop bowties! In a neon rainbow of hues!

Hope Capt. Carl & Cowboy Curtis treated you to a tequila shot or two.

Hope Miss Yvonne spoiled you with a “gentleman’s choice” — whatever that means.

Hope your birthday (so far) has been really freakin’ cool.

Psst.

Today’s secret word is “barfday.”

********************************************

Yes, I was including wordpress among adult activities, what of it?

*The cubist Hermans are by Tommervick, whose modern take on cubism has reconfigured everyone from Elvis to Mr. Rogers. Spock too. I swear.

Happy Birthday, Ruby Slippers!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Robots, Movies & Movie Stars, Photography, Rock & Roll, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by alphabetfiend

A yellow brick road is today’s Google header — celebrating the 71st birthday of the landmark film “The Wizard of Oz!”

Happy birthday, Dorothy! And you, Lion! And you, Scarecrow! And of course, the Tinman!

And your little dog too.

Toto!

I think I can hear a heart beating from that box, Tinman. Unless it’s a bomb! I see a big butterscotch bow wrapped around a brain, Scarecrow. And for you, Lion, a lovely vial of courage serum. A little goes a long way! Don’t be a jackass! Dorothy? There’s a ticket to Kansas waiting at the airport. Tom Wolfe sez you can never go home again. Be forewarned, there’s probably a strip mall in Aunty Em’s corn field. So we got you a Pretenders album, so you can rock out to a song that this corn-fed midwestern gal (Holy Toledo!) has often enjoyed in a bittersweet kinda way.

MY CITY WAS GONE

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY CITY WAS GONE
THERE WAS NO TRAIN STATION
THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN
SOUTH HOWARD HAD DISAPPEARED
ALL MY FAVORITE PLACES
MY CITY HAD BEEN PULLED DOWN
REDUCED TO PARKING SPACES
A, O, WAY TO GO OHIO

WELL I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY FAMILY WAS GONE
I STOOD ON THE BACK PORCH
THERE WAS NOBODY HOME
I WAS STUNNED AND AMAZED
MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
SLOWLY SWIRLED PAST
LIKE THE WIND THROUGH THE TREES
A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY PRETTY COUNTRYSIDE
HAD BEEN PAVED DOWN THE MIDDLE
BY A GOVERNMENT THAT HAD NO PRIDE
THE FARMS OF OHIO
HAD BEEN REPLACED BY SHOPPING MALLS
AND MUZAK FILLED THE AIR
FROM SENECA TO CUYAHOGA FALLS
SAID, A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO!

But most importantly, I must wish The Ruby Slippers a happy birthday, being as they were my favorite character in all of Oz. Or they were until I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Before it was a blockbuster musical it was just a really great and lovely book. Wicked tells the story from the witch’s point of view, so gorgeously that I fell in absolute love with Elphaeba aka “Elphie” with her green skin and her yearning heart. Wicked is one of the sexiest most romantic love stories I’ve ever read. Crazy sexy! I still get the shivers just to think of Elphie and her loverman with the blue tattoos. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve read all of Maguire’s books and each one is a memorable joy.

Speaking of great Oz books, I recently bought a chunky tome by Graham Rawle that is outrageously illustrated with photographs of old toys and surreal beaded landscapes.

The book was a birthday treat for myself but then my baby niece, Thing 2, saw it up on the shelf — cover showing — and demanded to see it. I brought it down like a precious treasure and we very gently turned the pages. Thing 2 was enchanted and continues to be. She calls the lion a “GRR”

And she pointed to the tinman and exclaimed, “Robot!”

Thing 2 has a robot for an uncle so she knows all about robots. I didn’t correct her cause I’ve always thought the tinman was a robot too.

It’s a big birthday blow-out for childhood memories. Oz is 71 and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is 50. Google coulda celebrated Seuss instead with two green eggs as the double o’s.

The Rawle’s Oz (highly recommended by Thing 2) is available on amazon. So is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. And the Pretenders too!

TBA/Quintron & Miss Pussycat Holdover (Sunday PM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Dork Alert, I Heart Funny Fellas, I Heart Funny Femmes, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd, Music & Life & Sundays, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Mornin’ lovers… I bow my head before you, blue curls a blur of bedhead bedlam.  I am thunderstruck, drowsy….contrite.

Did you notice the PM in today’s title?

Ah. Blame it on the road, on the lure of the highway, on gas stations, on rainbows in oil puddles!  

Blame it on Hruskas (hybrid bakery/chevron) for making delectable yum-yums that had us rearranging our return date not once, not twice but three times. These suckers sell out fast and getting the really good stuff is some sort of competitive sport. Seriously! But oh it’s worth it. Egg sandwich — ooey gooey goodness — on fresh-baked croissant with a home-cut off-kilter slab of ham. And then there’s the cherry cream cheese kolaches that could maybe make a nympho nun cum.

Blame it on the baby with a sticky face, calling my name loud & clear from across the room; who later cried and cried until I untied my cupcake apron and offered up my lap as safe harbor. Blame it on the tears that dissolved into hiccups as I read about the pigeon who wanted a puppy but then met a real life slobbery pup and decided a walrus was a more practical choice.

Blame it on my own pups, let loose in the country, romping in the warm green Mississippi grass.

Blame it on Quintron & Miss Pussycat playing a Saturday night show in New Orleans in the old Shim Sham Club (you’ll always be Shim Sham to me xoxo.)

Blame it on Miss Pussycat’s puppets!

No.

Don’t frame the puppets.

Poor poor puppets.

Isn’t their lot quite a lot as it is?

It’s all the fault of rowdy pups & raucous thunderclaps which cause one pink-nosed pitbull to cower behind my protective legs.

Or maybe it’s the pelting rain and electric zigzags which keep knocking me offline?

OK. OK. Chalk it up to summery sloth.

I’m off to slumber, all sleepyhead fulla surprises.

Surprises?

The gospel — still in draft — is nearly written and the song is chosen but I’m not tellin’.

It’s a good one and it’s my gift to give — I know how some of you are with your google! You’d google Santa right off his sleigh if you could.

No, no, come back later and let me give you a belated gift. Oh, I’m giddy!

 

But I want it to be perfect and so I’ll wait… for a less-cloudy sky and a less-foggy mind.

In the meantime, for your patience, here’s a crazy wonderful surreal treat from Quintron & Miss Pussycat: “Mardi Gras in the Center of the Earth.”

More surprises? Clue: “Blue”… Look for it! (Any guesses?)

She Danced Herself Right Out The Womb

Posted in Goof & Glamour, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by alphabetfiend

I danced myself out of the womb, is it strange to dance so soon? I danced myself out of the womb.

I spent too much money on an itty-bitty “oversized” pair of movie-star sunglasses with candy colored polka dots. For my niece. She’s a baby. Does a baby need pricey glam-girl shades? Well…why yes, she does indeed.

I tried to put them back three times but couldn’t do it. The glasses matched the “Hooray! It’s spring!” outfit I’d painstakingly chosen: outrageous floral “skinny jeans” & cute tee with iridescent writing. The glasses were the perfect accessory for this “sweet punk” look — one very similar to outfits I’ve worn — and those big ol’ shades made it all the more me-ish.

She HAS to have ’em, I told myself as I ponied up the cash.

Baby oh Baby! Was I ever right!

Thing 1 (mama niece) takes excellent care of the glasses and Thing 2 looks insanely cute in them so the money wasn’t wasted. In fact, they were worth every cent! Cause this video of her gettin’ down while sporting her movie-star sunglasses is so cute it KILLS. The only thing that would make it better is if she were dancing to Bolan’s “Cosmic Dancer.”

Cosmic Dancer

I was dancing when I was twelve
I was dancing when I was aaah
I danced myself right out the womb
Is it strange to dance so soon
I danced myself right out the womb

I was dancing when I was eight
Is it strange to dance so late
I danced myself into the tomb
Is it strange to dance so soon
I danced myself into the tomb

Is it wrong to understand
The fear that dwells inside a man
What’s it like to be a loon
I liken it to a balloon

I danced myself out of the womb
Is it strange to dance so soon
I danced myself into the tomb
But when again once more

I danced myself out of the womb
Is it strange to dance so soon
I danced myself out of the womb.

*Marc Bolan/T-Rex

Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, Lipstick Shamaness, Music & Life & Sundays, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by alphabetfiend

This weekend — shadowy due to the solar eclipse perhaps? — has been morbid and over-wrought and thus Devo’s Fresh really wasn’t gonna hit the spot.

 

Due to the ache of the last couple days — Nightmares, Roadside Tragedy and other Ick — I really don’t have my usual Goof-given gratitude and all-around zest for life. And yet I do. You bet I do. It’s just that I’m all too aware of how easily that life can end in a split-second convergence of circumstance, timing and (bad) luck. 

Okay, fine, I’ve got gratitude and zest, sure, but no words. My eyes are red and my sockets are dry from too many tears. Every tear I shed took one word with it and now there’s no words left.

Rather than “Fresh” by Devo, I’ve chosen the blues classic “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Actually, I was too spent even for the making of choices, but after I read my last post aloud to RB, he suggested I do “Death…” as it’s one of my all-time heart-wrenching favorites and unfortunately apt. Of course! “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” indeed.

“Death Don’t have No Mercy,” originally done by Reverend Gary Davis, has been covered many times by everyone from The Grateful Dead to, more recently, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. I’m especially partial to the version by the late great, John Martyn. Martyn did the song in the late 90’s, covering a Portishead song on the same album. (The song was Glorybox, the album was The Church With One Bell.)

I first fell in love with “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” when Martyn did it and so I was hoping to share his version with you but no luck. Nevermind.  The song is amazing, period, and both of the following versions are great. That said, I urge you to check out Martyn’s version, should you take to these. 

I often promise a less-wordy week than usual and then pull words like handkerchiefs from a magician’s pocket but not this week. I mean it. Seriously. I’m shutting up now. (If you crave the usual Sunday A.M. chatter, check out that last sad post.)

And now, the genius Reverend Gary Davis.

And now, my beloved Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy

Y’ know death don’t have no mercy in this land
Death don’t have no mercy in this land, in this land
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long
Look in bed this morning, children find your mother gone.

I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land,
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land, in this land, yeah!

Whoa! come to your house, y’ know he don’t stay long,
Y’ look in bed this morning,
Children you find that your brothers and sisters are gone.
I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.

Death will go in any family in this land.
Death will go in any family in this land.
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long.
Look in the bed on the morning, children find that your family’s gone.

****************************

Death don’t have no mercy, but sometimes Death’ll take a raincheck, as was the case with the man who fell nearly 500 feet off a cliff and lived to respect the hell outta Senor Death. So keep hoping and keep loving, my mutant mystics, until that day when Death comes calling.

See you next week for another Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

Goof willing.

Happy Birthday, Frida!

Posted in Art & Culture, Art Lover, Goof & Glamour, Livin' La Vida Frida, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Today, on google, I was surprised to see Frida’s face. Was what Frida Kahlo doing on Google?, I wondered.

So I googled it.

I typed in “frida kahlo birthday???” and sure enough, it’s Frida’s 103 birthday this July 6, 2010. Frida was born in the sign of cancer and, like myself, on the auspicious sixth day of the month. (Mine is June 6.)

I love Frida Kahlo. I’ve loved her since I was a child. (My mother, also a painter, looks eerily like Frida.)

It’s interesting how she’s gaining a new kind of notoriety, what with Salma Hayek’s film Frida and now a Google tribute. I went to carnivale, just a few years ago, dressed as Frida. I piled a whole bouquet of flowers onto my head with braided loops and penciled my eyebrows together. I wore a velvet skirt w/tulle layers and a fringed shawl. I wrapped a tangle of faux barbed wire & bird around my neck. I stuck Diego’s face onto my forehead with eyelash glue. But the best part, by far — covering  my nipples — were the weirdest pasties EVER: big “EYES” with sequin irises and black plastic lashes.

"Diego and Me" by Frida Kahlo (Frida was married to famous mexican muralist, Diego Rivera)

My carnivale get-up — “Fleshpot Frida” — was surreal and beautiful and creepy. So Frida! The people who got it loved it, absolutely, but I was shocked at how many people had no idea who Frida Kahlo was, what she did or how she changed the art world. Frida Kahlo had always been akin to a catholic Saint in our home: Saint Frida!

It’s no wonder I love Vicki Berndt’s St. Frida painting! If I had an extra $1500 I’d snap that sucker up cause it’s still available for purchase and it’s so worth the money. (Berndt’s paintings are usually bought in a blink of an eye. If Frida were more well known, St. Frida would be sold by now.)

"Tree of Hope" by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a surrealist who painted deeply personal almost religious paintings, often depicting physical & emotional pain in a gory realistic way.

No one had ever painted PAIN like that before.

But amidst all the pain was glorious joy, prolific creativity and a profound insight into life and love.

Like Frida, I live with chronic physical pain, but I also have a frida-esque joy and gusto for life. I’m reading Role Models by John Waters and so I’ve been asking myself “Who are my role models? Who are those people who have influenced or inspired or helped me to live my life on my own odd terms?” Kahlo is definitely a role model. She’s a hero of mine for many reasons.

When she was hurting, she painted in bed and when she was able, she danced her ass off.

I totally get that.

When people try to force me to “take it easy” during my good times or to get outta bed on bad days, I just tell ’em to fuck off already cause I’m livin’ la vida Frida.

Livin’ la vida, Frida, bitches!

***Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo. I love you. Thank you. For everything.***

“Cinderella” Dies at 81

Posted in Cinema & Filmmaking, Fame & Celebrity, Movies & Movie Stars, Mythos, Romance, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by alphabetfiend

OK, don’t freak out — Cinderella didn’t die because Cinderella shall live forever in Technicolor.

Ilene Woods died at 81. Ilene Woods was the voice — speaking & singing — of Cinderella in the Disney classic.

Woods was just 18 when Walt cast her as Cinderella, beating out 400 hopefuls for the coveted part. The fellas who wrote the lyrics for the feature film were friends of Ilene Woods — songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston — and so Woods sang in the demos that were submitted to Disney. Walt liked what he heard and gave Woods the part. How exciting that must’ve been!

I wanna be a cartoon!

I wanna end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.

When I got my boobs & hips overnight, taking on a pronounced hour-glass shape of near fetishistic proportions, I was immediately hailed as “Betty Boop” by all the boys (much to my dad’s dismay.) The Boop thing continues to this day but before that, I was called “Cinderelli” by my father. If I felt the least bit put upon or taken for granted (as the oldest of six, I often had cause to feel grumbly) Dad would mercilessly tease me in sing-song, “Wash the dishes, Cinderelli! Fold the linens, Cinderelli! Sweep the hearth, Cinderelli! Serve us stew, Cinderelli!”

Only I had no mice or birds to make me gowns of cast away gewgaws. O woe! I want mice and birds! I want a perfectly drawn up-do. I want a pumpkin carriage.

I want GLASS SLIPPERS, the most dreamy and absurd accessory of all. As silly as the diamond-soled shoes that Paul Simon sang of, “People say she’s crazy, she got diamonds on the soles of her shoes, well that’s one way to lose these walking blues. Diamonds on the soles of her shoes!”

Yes, I wanna be the itty-bitty specimen of footly perfection that slips, effortlessly, into that magical high-heel.

It looks like Woods had a real-life pair of glass slippers! (She’s posing with the heels in the above photo.) Lucky lucky cartoon lady.

Ilene Woods said that the best part about playing Cinderella in the timeless classic was that her children (and her children’s children and so on) would be able to connect with her long after she parted.

I wonder if they’ve watched the film since her death on July 1st.

Maybe their hearts are still too raw for that.

Like Janet Jackson was, after Michael Jackson died, when the film “This Is It” was in theatres. Janet refused to see the film, citing her grief and a lack of readyness. Someday, she said, Not yet. Not now.

After my Dad died we continued to pay his cell bill, for months, because we couldn’t give up the comfort of that phone number. We’d call the number just to hear his voice on the message. It was kind of like pushing a big purple bruise, flinching, ouch, and then you push it again. When I finally decided to disconnect the phone, I checked his voicemail one last time and was astounded to find that calls had been pouring in, at all hours of the day and night, from family, friends, kids, cousins, nephews, even his dry-cleaner/tailor who had once turned the flag my dad stole from the post-office into a subversively patriotic shirt. It took me forever to listen to all the messages, as people spoke to him with desperate yearning.

How could you do this to me, Paul? asked one friend, You sonofabitch asshole cocksucker. Why’d you leave me here alone?

Losing a loved one is never easy. I can only imagine how hard it would be if your mother was CINDERELLA. Maybe it is too soon for Ilene’s family to cuddle on the couch and watch as Cinderella enchants Prince Charming. But someday they will and Woods is right, that film will be a gift that keeps on giving.

Bon Voyage, Cinder-Ilene! I hope you are traveling by coach. I hope the journey is magical and Technicolor and glorious. I hope you are wearing your glass slippers.

 

**For more info, see Animation Magazine.  **“I wanna end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard”  is from “You Can Call me Al,” yet another song by Paul Simon.

Louder Than A Bomb (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I heart hip hop, I Heart Holidays, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, punk rock, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2010 by alphabetfiend

They claim we’re products from the bottom of hell cause the black is back and it’s bound to sell. Picture us coolin’ out on the Fourth of July and if you heard we were celebratin’, that’s a world wide lie. — Public Enemy

Thanks for tuning in to this special Fourth of July Edition of the Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

‘Cause the D is for dangerous
You can come and get some of this
I teach and speak
So when its spoke, it’s no joke
The voice of choice
The place shakes with bass
Called one for the treble
The rhythm is the rebel

So many Sundays, the punk rock gospel has been about appreciating the beauty in life and not being a hater; having gratitude and gusto; forming questions and searching for answers. All good, all valid, but this week is different. This week is about noticing the disfunction (whether in friendships, family or government) and demanding more than disfunction. Speak up, sound the truth, use your voice to fight for what’s right. Make up your own mind regardless of outside pressure. This week I urge you to doubt when doubt is warranted.

This week’s punk rock gospel selection is “Louder Than A Bomb” by masters of dissent, Public Enemy.

Last week , in “Tryin To Make It Real Compared To What,” Les McCaan and Eddie Harris sang:

The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason

Damn. The more things change the more they stay the same. Lyrics written in the 1960’s ring true like they were written yesterday, or back when Bush was in office, or back when Bush’s daddy was in office. I wanted to address the redundancy of politics (and the resulting tragedy) in last Sunday’s Punk Rock Gospel (Tryin’ To Make It Real…) but a political rant hardly fit the emotional tenor of that post.

Still it stuck with me like a burr on a dog’s ball sack.

Now, in the wee hours of July 4th, I’m thinking about patriotism.

Have one doubt, they call it treason.

Ask one question and “the terrorists win.”

I get weary of the old refrain “If you don’t like it, leave.” (I’m so weary of it that I’m actually thinking about leaving. Life as an ex-pat may be just the thing.) A patriot is someone who loves their country and squawks when they see it headin’ off the rails, who believes in the freedom our forefathers fought for, who knows that freedom is not some hyped-up propaganda to be used against us by speech writers.

Never servin ’em well, ’cause I’m an un-Tom
It’s no secret at all
Cause I’m louder than a bomb

Today, as we celebrate the Fourth of July, on boats or in backyards, wearing flip-flops or setting off fire-crackers, flipping burgers or making vats of lemonade, let’s remember that part of loving this country is looking out for it. A patriot is someone who wants the very best for America, not just the same old same old status quo. Complacence and silence can be devastating. A human voice can be LOUDER THAN A BOMB. Don’t be afraid to light that fuse!

If speaking up makes you Public Enemy #1 then so be it. You’ll be in some fine company.

To hear “Louder Than A Bomb” as originally recorded on “It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” (without the distraction of live footage)play this sucker.

If you wanna see footage of Public Enemy performing “Louder Than A Bomb” live, here’s a pretty great version culled from many not so great versions (with bad sound, bad shots or both.)

Peace out, patriots. I have an American Flag cake to bake — whipped cream icing with blueberries as stars and strawberries as stripes. Yum. Let them eat cake! Thanks for tuning in this 4th of July. I hope Public Enemy has inspired.

Let your rhythm be the rebel!!!

Louder Than A Bomb

This style seems wild
Wait before you treat me like a stepchild
Let me tell you why they got me on file
‘Cause I give you what you lack
Come right and exact
Our status is the saddest
So I care where you at black
And at home I got a call from Tony Rome
The FBI was tappin’ my telephone
I never live alone
I never walk alone
My posses always ready and they’re waitin’ in my zone
Although I live the life that of a resident
But I be knowin’ the scheme that of the president
Tappin’ my phone whose crews abused
I stand accused of doing harm
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb
C’mon C’mon louder etc…

I am the rock hard trooper
To the bone, the bone, the bone
Full grown – consider me – stone
Once again and
I say it for you to know
The troop is always ready, I yell `geronimo’
Your CIA, you see I ain’t kiddin’
Both King and X they got ridda’ both
A story untold, true, but unknown
Professor Griff knows…
“I ain’t no toast”
And not the braggin’ or boastin’ and plus
It ain’t no secret why they’re tappin’ my phone, although
I can’t keep it a secret
So I decided to kick it, yo
And yes it weighs a ton
I say it once again
I’m called the enemy – I’ll never be a friend
Of those with closed minds, don’t know I’m rapid
The way that I rap it
Is makin’ ’em tap it, yeah
Never servin ’em well, ’cause I’m an un-Tom
It’s no secret at all
Cause I’m louder than a bomb

Cold holdin’ the load
The burden breakin’ the mold
I ain’t lyin’ denyin’, ’cause they’re checkin’ my code
Am I buggin’ ’cause they’re buggin’ my phone – for information
No tellin’ who’s sellin’ out – power buildin’ the nation so…
Joinin’ the set, the point blank target
Every brothers inside – so least not, you forget, no
Takin’ the blame is not a waste, here taste
A bit of the song so you can never be wrong
Just a bit of advice, ’cause we be payin’ the price
‘Cause every brother mans life
Is like swingin’ the dice, right?
Here it is, once again this is
The brother to brother
The Terminator, the cutter

Goin’ on an’ on – leave alone the grown
Get it straight in ’88, an’ I’ll troop it to demonstrate
The posse always ready – 98 at 98
My posse come quick, because my posse got velocity
Tappin’ my phone, they never leave me alone
I’m even lethal when I’m unarmed
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb

‘Cause the D is for dangerous
You can come and get some of this
I teach and speak
So when its spoke, it’s no joke
The voice of choice
The place shakes with bass
Called one for the treble
The rhythm is the rebel
Here’s a funky rhyme that they’re tappin’ on
Just thinkin’ I’m breakin’ the beats I’m rappin’ on
CIA FBI
All they tell us is lies
And when I say it they get alarmed
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb

*Atomic Tree available as a print.

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