June 27, 2004

Artifacts


Over the last three days or so, I have sifted through my entire life.

I found many artifacts of my earlier bohemian performance poet days.

I found many poems, written by others as well as by me. The poem below isn't good, but it does mostly express what I'm feeling now.

This is one of my earliest poems judging from the typewriter copy I found. This piece is therefore about 15 years old. I'm usually pretty good at dating them but this one had no such documentation. The only problem is the line that says, "Why I really don't want to go back."

I want to go back. It's just taken me 20 years to get ready.

ROOTS IN THE PRAIRIE

Back home.
Kansas.
I think about home
often.
The rolling plains.
The tractors, combines, and pick-up trucks.
The suffocatingly muggy hot summers.
The windblown icebox winters.

My boyhood.
Living on the farm.
Riding the schoolbus.
The redbrick elementary institution of learning,
Being the fat kid.

My adolescence.
Peers with circles on their hip pockets
from Skoal cans.
Friday night football games.
Getting stoned on deserted country roads,
Being the over achiever.
Being lonely.
Feeling isolated.
Detached from the rest of the world.
Longing to bridge the separation.

My hometown.
Small and insignificant.
(As seen through my eyes.)
The courthouse square.
The railroad traces
cutting through town.

That place.

That existence.

They seem
so distant, so very far away,
so long ago, ancient.
Another planet.
Another lifetime.

I need to go back there,
see it again.

Old classmates still live there.
Some live the very same day
over and over and over...
Yeah,
I see it as a pretty boring place.
That's why I left.
Why I really don't want to go back.

Yet,
I must.

That place is the basis
of what I am how.

I need to reconnect with it.

There is a part of me
that is still there.

I need to be whole again.


Posted by Wayne at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2004

Wiki's and Cooler Searches

I wondered what a wiki was so I went to the wikipedia.

What better place to find out about wikis? Actually, I had a pretty clear concept of what a wiki was (doesn't that sound cute? say those last four words quickly.), I just wanted to know how to pronounce it. Due to "wiki"'s similarity in character makeup to the abbreviation "wifi", I thought that wiki possibly rhymed with wifi (which rhymes with hi-fi), rather than the natural pronunciation associated with the isolated "i" -- that is, isolated from other vowels. This is generally the "short" sound.

Vivisimo is a way cool search engine. Vivisimo clusters results by topic. Dedicated Googlers: give this one a try. You can even find out what a wiki was.

Posted by Wayne at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2004

Dirty Pretty Things

Spoilers below!

London is the setting for this tale, but all of the characters are immigrants, except for one bloke with a quickly passing part at the end. The hero, Okwe, is from Nigeria; Senay, the chick/damsel-in-distress is from Lebanon; the doorman is from Russia, the villain is from Spain, and the confidant is from London, but looks like he's from Seoul.

They are mostly all employed at a posh London hotel -- illegally. Immigration violations are the least of the illicit activity going on in this hotel, but I won't spoil it that much. This is a really good story about human beings trying to survive in a hostile world, and to what lengths they will go to do that. Dirty Pretty Things is really well done -- a definite thumbs up. It was up for and won many awards.

This film reminded me of The Shawshank Redemption. They are similar in their stories of despair and injustice with endings that are just too good to be true. Dirty Pretty Things does not do this on the fairy tale scale of the Tim Robbins film, but the end makes you go, "Yeah!" And the hero whom you've come to love due to his angelic virtuosity and selflessness, gets away to where he wants to go.

I had a hard time getting a movie watched with all our state-changing activity. In fact, I had to spread the viewing between Friday night and Saturday morning. Once we get moved I intend to find the DVD and get Lucy to watch it. This was the last day of my Movielink download. I can't believe that we've had the Return of the King DVD for almost two weeks and have yet to watch it.

Posted by Wayne at 12:57 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2004

Madstone Albuquerque, R.I.P.

Tis a remorseful day in Albuquerque.

Remorseful, because we didn't support the Madstone enough with our ticket dollars. However, an artsy fartsy 8-plex is up against it in this town. There simply aren't enough film freaks with enough disposable income to keep such a venture afloat.

I'll always remember a visit to the Madstone last fall. It was prime movie time Friday night. But after we got in I needed to recheck that the place was open. Lucy and I were almost the only people there. The showing we attended had us -- and two other viewers.

We saw a few nice flicks there: Girl with a Pearl Earring; The Triplets of Belleville; Battle of Shaker Heights; and Piņero a couple of years ago. Piñero was intense. I'd like to watch the dvd and comment on it here.

Albuquerque is obviously folding up in response to our move. Look for a Madstone in Lawrence, KS.

Posted by Wayne at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2004

Eric McFadden Trio at the Mineshaft Tavern in Madrid, NM

Dollar bills line the walls of the Mineshaft Tavern in Madrid. Freaks fill the dance floor. And that's the most dogs I've ever seen in one bar in one night, and I'm not referring to the women. The women are definitely not dogs.

The Eric McFadden Trio played up in Madrid last night, as they habitually do when they come through here. The bandmembers are basically from Albuquerque but they live in Seattle and San Francisco now. Tis a testament to the Mineshaft's charm that they always play there, and they don't charge a cover; they play for donations.

Dollar bills line the walls, and each dollar has something written on it in big bold felt-tip-marker letters. I remember an artistic rendering of the Texas A&M logo, hoseheads.com, various people's names, some very cryptic and mystical notations, and some just have a numeral on them. There's probably at least $300 on the walls. I haven't gotten the story on the dollar bills, and I probably never will. Lucy and I realized on the drive up there that last night's trip might be the last time we ever visit the Mineshaft in Madrid.

The Mineshaft has a special place in our history. About a year after Lucy and I got together, we decided to get married. At the time James of EMT was in a little band called Apricot Jam, and we wanted them to play at our wedding. Lucy and I met via a web page that I did for Apricot Jam back 8 years ago. So, it was around the end of July '97, AJam was playing at the Mineshaft, and we went up there to speak with the band about their schedule, so that we could adjust our wedding day to fit with an appearance. The Mineshaft was where we decided on our wedding day. That day we chose also turned out to be the day that Princess Diana was killed.

The most visually interesting aspect of a visit to the Mineshaft when EMT or anybody else plays, or when nobody plays, are the local denizens who show up for the gig. Madrid is completely removed from the time continuum in which the rest of us live. Visiting that place is like Alice's trip through the looking glass. I know I saw the Cheshire Cat last night. Or maybe it was the Cheshire Dog.

I think I counted five dogs. One thing that removes Madrid from reality, is that they have no government. There is literally no local law, and more importantly no local law enforcement officers. They seem to do okay. Perhaps this is a sterling example of anarchistic self-government. That bar has to produce fights. So I guess when one breaks out, they group together and settle it.

Madrid reflects one of the aspects of New Mexico life that I probably will miss. C'est la vie.

EMT was great. They always are. Especially up at the Mineshaft. The sound and the time is always so much better up there than it is at the Launchpad. I decided last night to not be the annoying-guy-with-the-digicam. You don't get photos, but I had a better time. This is all about me you know.

Posted by Wayne at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2004

Elaine Stritch At Liberty

"What has all this been about then, this existential problem in tights?"

Elaine asks this near the end of her stage bio, and it's an interesting question. HBO is showing a film version of the stage autobiography she did in 2002, and for which she won a Tony, the first of her 50+ year career.

I must confess that I had never heard of Elaine Stritch before the promos for this show. Apparently she never quite hit superstar status, and acted in some notable movies and a few TV shows, but most of her shit was on Broadway. I wondered why I was attracted to this show, given everything else that's going on in my life right now.

However, in answer to Elaine's question, "all this" has been about Elaine's performance career, and her personal life, which was mainly drinking. She confesses that she never once hit the stage without first having a drink.

She relates a revealing story about a comedian colleague of hers who was waiting to go on stage with his usual drink in his hand. He sees a fellow performer who is also waiting but does not have a drink. The first guy asks the second where his drink is. The second guy says he doesn't have one because he quit. The first guy says what? You're going out there alone?

I've always noticed how addictives seem to speak of their addictions and treat them like a spouse or a companion. Elaine says that she doesn't want to go out there alone either.

She was married for 10 years to a British actor, who apparently died of carcinoma. Her description of his death was certainly a very sad moment. However she is at least as mournful when she describes the day she stopped drinking.

Stritch's story is rich, funny, and tragically fascinating. The film is not just the stage show. It includes rehearsal footage, scenes of her backstage before the show, and some hotel footage from when she did her gig in London.

Elaine's honesty makes this worth the watch. Check it out.

Posted by Wayne at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)

June 08, 2004

American Wedding

There are times when all I want is a dumb movie containing dumb things to laugh at. At this moment of transition in my life I do not need arthouse intellectualism nor long twisted tales of suspense. And when it comes to dumb but wet-your-pants funny movies, the American Pie franchise has advanced the artform. I laughed my ass off several times during this film, and gagged pretty hard for about five minutes during the "chocolate truffle" scene. They really drug that one out.

In reference to Stiffler and the truffle, as has been well-documented, in the three movies of this series, Stiffler has swallowed semen in American Pie, been pissed on in American Pie 2, and eaten shit in American Wedding. He's the human punchline of these three 90-minute juvenile dirty jokes.

American Wedding does have some filler (mainly that strange dance scene in the Chicago gay bar) but it holds up pretty damn well for a second sequel. The addition of Fred Willard to the cast adds a little, but Eugene Levy has advanced to my list of favorite actors. Between these flicks and the work he does in Christopher Guest's movies, he has shown me as much as anybody on screen. He's not just good he's great.

The featured face in this film though is January Jones. She is absolutely adorable as the sister of the bride. She's gonna get lots of attention from casting directors.

Of the characters in the AP set though, my favorite is still Finch, or "Finchy" as Stiffler's Mom calls him. I love Finch. I AM Finch. If I were a character in American Pie I would be Finch. He can at least act like he's intelligent.

Of the three films, I think AP2 is the funniest, and has the best T & A, so is therefore the best film overall. (C'mon, that's all they're trying for here.) However, I liked how they ended up the story in American Wedding, allowing Stiffler to be a hero, even though he's still a douchebag.

But has the story ended? If I recall correctly this one made another pile of cash, so what's next? American Baby? American Divorce? Stiffler's Wedding? Finch Bones Stiffler's Mom Again?

If another one comes out, I'll be watching. I will forever defend my right to enjoy movies that are on the low end of the intellectual scale. I've watched all three of the AP flicks via Movielink. I continue to grow more accustomed to watching films on the computer.

Posted by Wayne at 01:10 AM | Comments (1)

June 07, 2004

A Poet Dies

In an entry from about three weeks ago, I used a poem by Jim Carroll from his Fear of Dreaming book. That poem is on page 55. If you take that times two, on page 110, you find this piece.

A Poet Dies

l.

Those who die in my dreams have taught me well of the modern world; I have taken from them an everlasting nobility. And they die always in the past, where the wooden frames of windows are too thick for my hands to grip. I hold on above the streets and watch them, unseen from within. A young poet has died overnight in his chained bed. His face is shaded blue with sweet asphixiation; his eyes have left their sockets and roll back and forth across the shivering floorboards, as if gravity were upset for the absurdity of his death. His lips are black and thick like a painted whore. The lymph stones are sinking beneath his throat. It is all too much for the bearded doctor, who wipes the condensation from his eyeglasses and draws a stunning white hood from his bag to cover the poet's head. He hands the certificate of death to the hotel owner and the chamber girl to sign. I hear the young girl, who alone is saddened by the beautiful dead man beside her, tell the doctor that she is able to write, but has no name. He takes the certificate from her trembling hand with impatience and marks it with an X beneath the hotel owner's signature. A sheet is raised over the hooded body and the three withdraw from the room. I can hear the doctor's laughter trailing down the hallway. I look down once more to the floor, where the poet's eyes have come to rest along a thin dull carpet. They are fixed on me, blue and clean.

II.

Only for those who die am I naked in my dreams, and because he has died so young, my body outside his window is flawless and thin. Some men in finely cut suits in the streets below are upset by this. They scream up to me in German; they think it is important I know that they are lawyers. And they send some young boys at play, who thought me an angel, around the square to bring them the magistrate. I have no time for them, my eyes are riveted still to the floor. The dead poet's eyes are signaling me to a table directly beneath the window. I smash the glass with my jade rings and gather up his notebooks lying there. I place them secure on the sill beside me and look back. But the eyes have dissolved, there is nothing left but some shadows of heat rising from the carpet. Somehow the whole room has changed, and the knotted blood throbbing beneath the hood and sheet is stilled. But the lawyers beneath me are screaming louder, now they are flinging small stones and bits of jagged glass. I see blood across my bare ankles, but it does not sing. I'm driven beneath compassion for those of the past; these vile little fiends, with their stiff, perfect hair and their tattooed pricks, have let their poets die unknown in chained beds. Gravity knows the justice of my revenge, and comes to my aid. I dance on the ledge, with the notebooks of a dead poet between my legs. I wrap my naked body in some blinding foil, and the sun scatters off me in thin lines like wires whose heat slits the lawyers' eyes. Some grey fluid runs from the holes. They cup their ring-laden fingers to their faces and moan and stumble to the gutter to turn on their elbows in the scum pools. I balance like a dancer on the edge and piss on each of them eternal syphilis through the slits, before the cure has been given. I tighten the notebooks beneath my arms for my return, and look down. I will have no more from them ... I am of the future, and my power is great.

© Jim Carroll, 1993

I don't know that this poem references anything going on in my life. However, obviously a part of me must die for me to leave this place. I have been contemplating my "Leaving New Mexico..." essay. You'd think after 20 years I'd have a lot to say. But as of yet not much comes to mind. I've been listening to Pink Floyd a lot lately. Comfortably Numb [live version] is playing right now, and this describes my emotions regarding the move. I'm fine with it, and there is nothing to get freaky or sentimental about.

Posted by Wayne at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2004

Photos from the Road

Below are selected photographs from my recent road trip. Click for a larger version.




Posted by Wayne at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2004

Deadwood etc.

Through the outdated magic of videotape I finally caught up with last week's Sopranos and Deadwood episodes.

That was the funniest episode of Deadwood so far. I knew that "cocksucker" was the most common word in the collective script of the show, but gabezzus man, that word popped more times in that last installment than it did during the entire season up to that point. I love the chink's pronunciation. "Cocksucker" actually devolved to pronoun through Swearingen's use in trying to communicate with Woo.

But the most precious line was from the Honorable Mayor E.B. Farnum, "August commencement to my administration, standing stymied outside a saloon next to a degenerate tit-licker." The actor who plays E.B. should get an Emmy.

Everybody said the Sopranos episode was really good. And they were right. The best of the season. We all knew what was going to happen to Adriana. Anybody who is in that show, if they are ever in the same room with an FBI agent, and they know the FBI agent is an FBI agent, needs to get their will in order. She should've worn the wire. How could she think that Christopher would flip? Just because of another anti-Tony rant? Too much ecstacy I guess.

It was weird how they did the deed so dispassionately. Tony was really convincing on the phone. Silvio pulled the trigger with customary ruthless disdain. And Chris accepted her fate, not without a lot of pain, but well enough that he played his part. When these guys decide something needs done...

I like the name of the episode: Long Term Parking.

Posted by Wayne at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)