Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

Winter's-Tavern-Flyer

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and a fan of Romeo Void you should come out to Winter’s Tavern on June 20th to watch the incomparable Debora Iyall perform Romeo Void tunes as well as her beautiful solo work and a couple of surprise covers.  Also on the bill will be Shot in the Dark, my electro glam trio featuring Sunni McGarity on vocals and Falling Pauli Gray on guitar.  Girls with Guns finish up the night with super girl powered punk rock.  It’s a night of fierce female energy and firearms.  Don’t miss it!

 

A long time ago, 1996 or so, I wanted to be Kate Bush fronting Marillion; a winning combination certain to win the hearts and minds of middle America.  Unfortunately I had neither the voice of Kate Bush nor the enigmatic charm of Fish and so every project to which I brought this vision floundered for a bit, hemorrhaged drummers, and then died a slow, whiny death.  I’ve gotten over that now.  It took me almost 20 years but I have  finally come to realize I cannot sing and perhaps more importantly, prog really is the fine china of the music world- it should only be used on special occasions under certain circumstances.

Despite all this, I believe I came closest to my dream in this song.  Inspired by a binge of both watching and reading Dune,  “Little Death” is performed by a short lived band tentatively named , Make Way for Ducklings.   My poorly drawn husband is killing it on piano, and Glen Douglas  plays lead guitar;  I think Russel Pickett is on  bass, but that may also be a midi controlled keyboard bass.  The drums are programmed, because just like my vibrator, programmed drummers do exactly want I want them to do for exactly as long as I want them to do it, and don’t expect me to make a sandwich for them afterwards.

The video was filmed in Second Life in Forgotten City.

 

Welcome, Little Death

Black wings flutter in a flag of surrender

My dreams like vultures pick the corpse bare and fly off to another

Welcome, Little One

The world in your head is immense and you cross it with a step

Reluctance conquers and rules with innocence

She was never pretty, she was not the best,

She had expectations just like all the rest

She was not the brightest, she was never blessed

She held out for more, and ended up with less

Welcome, Little Fear

You sense your time has come, you jump the gun and march

on your own country

Compromise the borders and find

There’s nothing left of me

Welcome, Little Death

We always knew you’d come our sole excuse

and all forgiving friend

So kiss this demon dream goodnight

And let it end

She was never pretty, she was not the best

She had expectations just like all the rest

She was not the brightest, she was never blessed

She held out for more

And ended up with nothing

Unforgivable, the things we do sometimes

The posture we take in a room and the way we hold our eyes

The stares we never meet and the things we never say

We think we’re holding out but we’re giving it all away

 

 

So here it is, the second day of 2015. Last year around this time I was resolving not to tread down the well beaten path of self-improvement as New Year’s Resolution, but instead take a more noble and genteel resolve to learn a rather lengthy poem and in doing so become closer to art, beauty and poetry.   I had set my sights on memorizing the entirety of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot. I figured it would be difficult but not impossible. After all I had almost memorized all of the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” in fifth grade (almost).

Prufrock-1

I blazed through the first stanza within a week, worked my way through the second stanza, often mixing up “fog” and “smoke” (deciding the fog is a cat, therefore “rubs its back upon the window panes”, and smoke is a dog rubbing its “muzzle on the window panes”) and then I got to “And indeed there will be time . . .”

Time to learn the rest of this poem later in the great big year ahead of me. Yep.

Prufrock-2

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,

 

In my defense I did read through it from time to time and would often remember fleeting lines here or there, filtering my life in 2014 through the poem. For instance, while vacationing with my family this summer I retooled the opening to make it:

 

 

 

 

The Love Song of P. Anna Barr

Let us go then, you and me

When the evening is spread out like spilled coffee

Dribbling off a dirty fast food table

Let’s get through security, to certain departing gates

Though flight delays will make us wait

For restless nights in overpriced 3 star hotels

Family vacations that end in ridiculous arguments

Of unspecified intent

That lead you to an overwhelming question

Oh do not ask what is it

There’s a placard right there. Read something for a change!

In the room the children come and go fighting over who gets to play Nintendo

 

When I first read this poem in my teens I felt a strong bond with its voice, but as I worked through it as a 46 year old woman I became very aware of how masculine it is.

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I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

I’m definitely not Prince Hamlet, but in an entirely different way than the narrator implies.   A great deal of Prufrock involves the narrator attempting to unravel the mysteries of women. Being a woman, I haven’t had much cause to unravel the mysteries of myself (that’s why I have a therapist), or men for that matter as their voices and viewpoints are everywhere. I learned early on to identify with male protagonists in movies and literature, and my love of this poem is a perfect example of this. However, as a middle aged woman I feel I have less latitude in identifying with men, or perhaps less inclination. I’m probably just making excuses for myself, but it ultimately colored my enthusiasm for the poem and at times I considered searching for a poem of equal epic proportions by a female author.   Obviously my feminist impulse was not great enough to move me to action.

 

When November finally rolled around and it occurred to me I was not going to fulfill my resolution, I panicked. I tried cramming, but the holiday season was already creeping into my schedule. Both of the bands I play in had shows scheduled, my family had a road trip on the books, and immediately after the road trip I flew to New York City to catch Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Michael C. Hall. Who needs Prufrock when you can have Dexter in drag?

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I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker

And I have heard the eternal Customer Service rep take my call and snicker

“Sorry, your warranty has expired. I can sell you a refurbished moment of greatness if you like”

“No thanks. I’ll get used to the flickering. “

~ Love Song of P. Anna Barr

 

In short, my lofty goal of learning this poem absolutely failed. Perhaps I should have resolved to gain and lose the same 5 pounds in a 3 months cycle over the course of the year. I probably could have done that (heck I think I did do that. Can these resolution things be retroactive?)

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I grow old, I grow old

I shall wear the bottoms of my cargo pants rolled

Do I dare to eat gluten? Should I be dairy-free?

May I sip a glass of wine when dining with friends

In recovery?

I have heard the mermaids singing each to each

Those amphibious bitches have never once given me the time of day

Chambers by the sea

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Shut the f@#& up, you scaly tarts!

 

For 2015 I resolve to read more, write more, drink less and see every new Tom Hiddleston movie in the theater. I’ll let you know how that works out.

To get my New Year off to a happy start, here is Tom Hiddleston reciting the first part of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. (For the record, I can recite slightly more than he does here!)

 

As the fall television line up makes its debut,  it’s time to be grateful for the creative and original stories represented on the small screen.   Without networks taking chances on new premises and characters we would be stuck watching the same old bad television I was subjected to as a child. Of course they would probably have to be updated a bit and so, in case the networks do run out of original ideas, I offer this:

Horrible Reboots of Bad TV Shows

(That should never happen)

my_mother_the_car_logo

My Mother the Car

Original Bad Premise (as explained by Wikipedia)

The show follows the exploits of attorney David Crabtree (played by Jerry Van Dyke), who, while shopping at a used car lot for a station wagon to serve as a second family car, instead purchases a dilapidated 1928 “Porter” touring car. Crabtree heard the car call his name in a woman’s voice, which later turned out to be that of his deceased mother, Gladys (voiced by Ann Sothern). The car, a valuable antique, is a reincarnation of his mother who talks (only to Crabtree) through the car’s radio. The dial light flashed in sync with “Mother’s” voice. In an effort to get his family to accept the old, tired car, Crabtree brings it to a custom body shop for a full restoration. The car was originally coveted by a collector named Captain Manzini even before its restoration, but Crabtree purchases and restores the car before Manzini can acquire it. For the rest of the series, Crabtree is pursued by the avaricious Captain Manzini, who is determined to acquire the valuable automobile by hook or crook.

 

The Horrible Reboot –

My Mother the Smart Phonemy-mother-the-smart-phone

Follow the exploits of programmer Diane Crabtree, who while trying to create a new smartphone OS, discovers the personal assistant portion of her prototype has stopped being functional and instead criticizes her requests and offers a lot of unsolicited advice.   The voice also sounds very familiar. When the phone, without any prompting, asks Diane “You’re not really going to wear that outside, are you?”, Diane puts it all together and realizes her smart phone prototype is the reincarnation of her deceased mother, Gladys. The ensuing argument between Crabtree and her mother/phone is overheard by a competitor; the rival programmer is blown away by the intricacies of the AI and vows to steal the prototype to reverse-engineer it.

Meanwhile, Crabtree is dismayed to find her prototype is just as dysfunctional as her relationship with her mother;   because even though she is the phone, Gladys confounded by technology, cannot figure out how to make herself work.

 

The Mothers-in-Law

mother in law_Original bad premise (synopsis from IMDB)

Roger and Kaye live next door to Eve and Herb. Eve and Herb’s daughter Suzie marries Roger and Kaye’s son, Jerry. This forces the families to be a bit closer than they would prefer, particularly since Jerry and Suzie live in the garage.

The Horrible Reboot –

The Mothers-In-Law Apartment

Mohters-in-law-apartmentRoger and Kaye have been lifelong neighbors to Eve and Herb. Eve and Herb’s son, Steve, marries Roger and Kaye’s son, Jerry. This forces the families to be a bit closer than they would prefer, particularly since the housing boom in San Francisco has caused Roger and Kaye and Eve and Herb to lose their apartments and now they must share the single in-law apartment in Steve and Jerry’s Noe Valley Victorian.

 

My Favorite Martian

Original bad premise (synopsis from Wikipedia)My_Favorite_Martian_title

A human-looking extraterrestrial in a one-man spaceship crash-lands near Los Angeles. The ship’s pilot is, in fact, an anthropologist from Mars and is now stranded on Earth. Tim O’Hara, a young newspaper reporter for The Los Angeles Sun, is on his way home from Edwards Air Force Base (where he had gone to report on the flight of the X-15) back to Los Angeles when he spots the spaceship coming down. The X-15 nearly hit the martian’s spaceship and caused it to crash.

Tim takes the Martian in as his roommate and passes him off as his Uncle Martin

The Horrible Reboot –

My Favorite MartinezMy-favorite-martinez

When Carlos Martinez, a young journalist for the LA Times, has his Uncle Ramon move in with him, his landlady suspects Ramon is an undocumented immigrant. Little does she know how right she is. Ramon is an illegal alien – from Mars.

On his way home from covering a story on SpaceX’s latest launch, Carlos encounters Ramon’s downed craft, which has been damaged by space junk in Earth’s orbit. Ramon moves in with Carlos while he repairs his space ship.   Staying one step ahead of Elon Musk, NASA and US Immigration, Ramon keeps up a snarky commentary on humanity’s foibles, including how easy it is to mess with the Mars Rover and the misguided notion that all humanoid extraterrestrials are blue, green or Caucasian.

 

Gilligan’s Island

The Premise

The Horrible Reboot

Gilligan’s Server

Skip and Gil invite five random people to check out their new Minecraft server. Everything is going well until they discover they can’t log off. Also none of their mods work. Even worse, the five random users turn out to be noobs who ask the same inane questions over and over again in chat. Hilarity ensues.Gilligan's-server-title

 

 

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only loversjpgI spent Saturday afternoon at The Opera Plaza Cinema watching Only Lovers Left Alive, exactly where I had wanted to see the movie when I first heard about it. While the film does have a very 90’s feel – Jarmusch, vampires, Tilda Swinton, a soundtrack of moody, heavy guitar, it did not allow me to time warp back to 1995 as I had hoped: Indie Movie  Time Machine. You can travel back in time, but only while the movie is playing. No, I didn’t get that experience.   Instead I felt anchored to my present reality, one in which I’m rather busy with my family and new music and the slightest attempt at starting my own business. It’s nice to be so connected to my current life, but I do enjoy getting lost in a good movie and I’m afraid this one just wasn’t powerful enough to make that happen.

When it was over, my fellow film goers agreed it was visually beautiful, but slow-paced, with moments of dry humor. It seemed to me that seventy percent of the main characters’ dialogue consisted of historical and scientific facts, a constant reminder of the ages and information the vampires had witnessed and absorbed in their long lives.

“Do you think it was written that way out of sarcasm or irony?” asked one of the women in our group. “I mean they were such snobs. Was he  making a point about snobbery?” I’ll go with that. Perhaps the point is that the thinking-man’s vampire will become turgid, not with blood but knowledge that, while impressive, can become just as much a crutch as violence or melodrama when used so extensively.   Or perhaps I’m the real snob here. . . But then, Tom Hiddleston.

Meanwhile, back in my everyday life, I’m excited to be part of KnightressM1’s upcoming show at the Milk Bar in San Francisco on June 5th. Violinist/vocalist Emily Palen is the creative force behind KnightressM1, and she is one of those rare people with a direct connection to the music god(dess).   I first saw and heard Emily at The Red Devil Lounge with the band, Dolorata and she has since gone on to play and record with many groups in the Bay Area as well as the Foo Fighters. The music I’m helping her bring to the stage is more electronica influenced than the music she regularly performs with her power trio. It’s beautiful and compelling and I was immediately drawn to it. It’s also subtly complex and nuanced. It is definitely challenging me in regards to knowledge of my gear, Ableton Live, as well as my musicianship.

Here’s a song we will be performing on June 5th.  Enjoy!

 

 

I was almost over it, I swear.  The onslaught of press for Thor:The Dark World had subsided and I’d all but forgotten the plot of War Horse (okay, that’s not  true because the title gives it away:  it’s about war and a horse!)  With the impending holidays providing motivation to get my house in shape for visiting relatives, I was back to reality and feeling confident that my Loki/Tom Hiddleston phase was quickly becoming a thing of the past. Soon it would be just an awkward memory of that time . . . that dark, dark time when I found myself simultaneously checking airfare to London, searching StubHub UK for jacked up Coriolanus tickets, all while calculating how much I could “borrow” from my children’s college fund.

“Sorry kids, I know I promised to fund a few semesters of community college, but mommy had a little bit of a  – Shakespeare problem a few years back . . .”   That was a reality check.

Also, there were no tickets available.

So I moved on.  I was doing really well until my poorly drawn husband, whom I left for Loki a few blog entries back, surprised me with an early Christmas gift.

christmas loki

Yes – it was a life size cardboard cutout of the Norse- God- turned-Marvel- Comics- villain, Loki.

Wow.

Why?!?!? Was this an act of love and support for my mania or a twisted payback for my ill-conceived, poorly rendered comic?   Was he trying to tell me something?  What was I supposed to do with this? More importantly, where would I hide it when the in-laws came to visit?

I put it downstairs in the family room/music studio where it freaked out my kids while they played video games.  My youngest thought he saw it move and both boys felt like they were being watched. The first evening I went downstairs to practice music I turned on the light, turned around and nearly screamed at the stranger lurking in the corner. Loki, you trickster, stop . . .  just standing there!

I had to find something else to do with Loki.  If he were real what would I want from a mischievous Norse god?

Dishes.  I’d want him to do my dishes and maybe even tidy up the kitchen a bit.  After all, there’s nothing sexier than a man working in the kitchen and his brother was easily domesticated.

Thor domesticated

Not only did he serve the breakfast, but you know he was going to clean up afterwards while Jane sipped coffee and worked more on her looney toons astrophysics thing.

Would it kill you to at least create the illusion that  my kitchen wasn't so cluttered?

Would it kill you to at least create the illusion that my kitchen wasn’t so cluttered?

Doesn’t really work.

Maybe some role play?

stormtrooper

“I’m Loki Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you, although I’m not feeling inclined to do so right at this moment.”

Nah.  It’s a little creepy and probably involves more copyright headaches than it’s worth.

Finally, here we are, alone at last in the boudoir.  Loki, quit smirking.  You know why we’re here.

bedroom 1

laundryThat’s right, I need to fold this laundry.

Bonus scene!

bathroom

I’ve faithfully recreated the Asgard prison set in my bathroom. Awesome!

While it’s true that I could have written out and addressed all of my holiday cards in the time it took  to complete this little photo-journal, I will say it did yield one good result. I finally figured out how I will hide Loki when the in-laws arrive.

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Happy Holidays!