Thursday, August 11, 2016

Now Playing ABSOLUTELY FREE On You Tube: Erotic Euro Horror!

While I would never claim to be the toast of all social networking sites, far from it, I can claim to have a fairly robust following on old You Tube. I have a following of 5,500 faithful followers who want to be entertained by my posting of rare films unavailable on DVD or even on TV. Unfortunately, the brain police at You Tube have been pulling down many of my posts at an alarming rate, claiming that I have violated the laws of intellectual property.

What this means is that if James Toback can't make a cent off his wobbly 1983 suspense film Exposed then I cannot even post it for people who want to view it. Other films that provoked near-suspension included the noir classics Desert Fury and The Gangster as well as the Brigitte Bardot-Louis Malle potboiler A Very Private Affair.

Meanwhile, sites like Spotify and Pandora are doing more to rip off artists than my movie posts on YT. The priorities are getting dodgy. I've had so many of my posts pulled down that I've gotten leery about posting more movies. But I will persist. Besides, there's always Vimeo.

While all this drama is unfolding other Tubers are posting an exciting stream of classic erotic Eurohorror films. Many of these films have floundered on the VHS gray market for years, and now beautiful prints can be seen on YT. Unfortunately, half of them aren't in English, but hell, it's time to brush up on your high school French and Spanish!

Movies I have seen in their complete form in the past two months on You Tube:

1. The Female Vampire - Jess Franco starring the great Lina Romay
2. Shiver of the Vampires - Jean Rollin with a cool death metal soundtrack dubbed in, and it works
3. Kilink! - great Turkish series about a supervillain dressed like a skeleton
4. Lisa And The Devil - classic Mario Bava with Elke Sommer and a lollipop sucking Telly Savalas, as the devil
5. Evil Eye aka The Girl Who Knew Too Much - more Bava with a classic haunted house theme
6. Four Times That Night - Bava doing a bedroom sex farce with some real sex for a change
7. All The Colors of the Dark - psycho giallo starring Edwige Fenech
8. 99 Women - women in prison classic starring Edwige Fenech, Rosalba Neri, Luciana Paluzzi, and more
9. Virgin Among The Living Dead - more Jess Franco insanity with more nudity (not from him!)
10. The Nude Vampire - Jean Rollin with vampire laboratory rituals with animal masks and hoods! Creepy!

There's also lots of American exploitation in their complete form, like Russ Meyer's Cherry, Harry, and Raquel and Jack Hill's The Big Bird Cage. There's also tons of Laura Gemser sleaze to feast your eyes on. I also caught the Japanese film classic Onibaba. There's no limit to what you can catch on You Tube these days.

And just to compliment all the wild European horror films watched you can also catch an English TV documentary mini-series about the whole genre called Eurotika. Eurotika has segments devoted to the previously mentioned Jess Franco, Mario Bava, and Jean Rollin. It's pretty cool seeing starlets Brigitte Lahaie and the reclusive Pony Castel talking about their mentors.

Eurotika is almost touching in the way it celebrates freedom in sexual and artistic expression, eventually folding up towards the conservative early Eighties (the Moral majority-AIDS-Thatcher-Reagan years). But that's what makes these films so precious: just like the films from the silent era they show us a society that almost resemble aliens form another planet, a much, much freer planet.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Suspension

I drove west on Sunset, past the Playboy Mansion, past the legendary Jayne Mansfield estate, shooting like an arrow towards Bel Air, my target. As I drove further and further west the cars zooming around me were more and more expensive.

There were the occasional contractors and gardener’s pickups bravely chugging around me, but for the most part I was surrounded by the BMW, Mercedes and Lexus crews.

Every once in a while a Jaguar, Maserati or Rolls Royce would zoom by, and I would break out smiling, because these were the old school symbols of prosperity. I thought owning a BMW and Lexus to be bourgeois concepts of what it’s like to be rich.

“Right turn ahead", the GPS advised. I made a right at Mandeville Canyon Road, and drove up a winding road, lifting me higher and higher up the hills. I drove through rustic roads with jazzy, expensive homes tucked away.

"Your destination is ahead on the right", the GPS cooed, as I approached a huge set of imperial-looking golden gates ahead of me. I drove up to the security guard's kiosk to identify myself.

"Hi, I'm Tracy Melton from Style Runners", I announced as I handed him my ID badge. "I'm delivering to Angela LaFlamme of 900 Robespierre Road".
"What are you delivering, sir?" The guard checked his clipboard.
"Two garment bags from Chloe", I smiled. "No Dior today".

"Okey doke", he muttered, and the arm lifted up along with the big storybook gates. Sometimes they phone the client in advance announcing your arrival and sometimes they don't.

As I drove through the contrast between the scrubby rustic roads and this gated property were like night and day. While the downward road looked unkempt and dry this estate looked highly manicured and well maintained, freshly watered and cut lawns with a massive fountain streaming its gigantic heart out as I drove by.

I wondered what a girl named Angela LaFlamme looked like. Would she have long, flowing blonde hair in a sun dress with a California Girl smile like Tuesday Weld? Will she offer me an ice cold lemonade as I handed her the garment bags filled with dresses she'll wear to a Hollywood party? The mind reeled.

I reached her house, which was fronted by a large driveway blocked by an enromous gate. I pulled to the curb and got out with the bags. When I got to the gate I saw about five teenage boys sitting on the steps ihn front of the house. They were hanging out and drinking out of red plastic cups.

"Hey", I called through the gate. "Is Angela LaFlamme here?"
One of the teenagers got up and walked over to the side of the gate and pushed a button. The gate opened up by creeping sideways slowly. He still had his cup in his hand.
"'Sup?" he asked.

"I've got a delivery for an Angela LaFlamme. Is she here?"
"PAUL! Something for your sister!" the kid yelled to someone sprawled on the front stairs.

The guy named Paul got up and slowly staggered towards me taking tiny sips from his cup.
"Hey, dude. She's not home. I'm her brother and I'll take her stuff", he breathed 100 proof whisky. You could practically see the fumes drifting out of his mouth.

"Good deal, but first you have to sign right here", I handed him my clipboard to which he signed in a the shakiest signature I've seen since an old man registered to vote.

All the boys looked loaded to beat the band. Mom and Dad and older Sis were gone so the boys were going to drink the hard stuff and barf it up later. Good times.

"Okay, good deal", I smiled as we traded off, me getting the clipboard and he the garment bags, hopefully not sprayed with teen vomit later on.
"Later".

I left the rich kids to their drinking as I drove off and quickly texted "DELIVERY MADE" to my dispatcher. He quickly responded with "Take a 30 minute lunch break".

I wasn't feeling very hungry so I drove down to West Hollywood to get the car washed. As I gave my order for the attendant I sat in my car watching all the different people there. It was funny.

There was a sharp guy with expensive sunglasses opened the trunk of his Lexus and pulled out a suitcase, a pair of sneakers and a ton of other unimportant junk. The attendants were trying to vacuum and clean out the front seats while this guy was endlessly fussing with all the crap he had packed in the trunk. He acted as if he didn't want to surrender his car to the attendants the way he hung on to his crap for dear life.

Then there was a very thin bossy woman in the next lane telling the attendants how to vacuum her Audi carpets and rinse her mats. She was really cracking the whip with her control freak antics. There she was, screaming at them at the top of her lungs.
"YOU NEED TO MOVE THE VACUUM UP AND DOWN, NOT SIDEWAYS, SEE? LET ME HAVE THAT THING FOR A SEC!"
"DON'T YOU GUYS HAVE A SABLE BRUSH? YOU CAN'T USE A HORSEHAIR BRUSH!!!"
People seem to think that if they yell they'll be better understood. They're not deaf, they just don't speak a lot of English. Waving and flapping her arms at them like some crazed bird. Stupid bitch.

As soon as I pulled up to have my coach cleaned I walked off to pay for the car wash. I strolled by 8 x 10 glossies of faded movie and TV stars with their autographs testifying to the marvelousness of the car wash. Many of them looked over the hill and unemployed.

"Best car wash in town. God bless!" A smarmy dude in thick sideburns holding a phone looking concerned.
"Gleaming and clean, sparkle plenty. I love it to death!" A cheap blonde in white plastic boots leaned in to the camera with her breasts leading the charge.

I sat down by the outdoor patio along everyone else. Everyone stared at their cell phones with rapt attention. I had nothing to look at; she made her feelings clear. She never wanted to see me again.

I was no longer on a pedestal so there was nothing to admire about me any more. She behaved as if all the times we spent together never happened. It was like a bad dream come true.

After I picked up my clean car I got the call to go to Natural Pooch and pick up a huge foiled bag of organic dog food. The name of the delivery was Aries Wind.

When I saw the name Aries Wind I assumed that perhaps he was a rock star, especially since the address was on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. I pulled over and did a quick Google search on Aries Wind.

Aries Wind was a woman, not a man, and not a rock star, but a New Age motivational speaker. She looked very muscular and wore very little makeup. Every image of her on Google showed her hugging some major movie star or studio executive.

There were tons of testimonials from celebrities about how Aries Wind changed their lives and what a powerful speaker she was. Wow. I was going to deliver a big parcel of organic dog food to her home.

The GPS advised me that I was getting nearer to this woman's house. I wondered how inspirational this woman would be on receiving her dog food, and what kind of a dog would she have, anyway? What kind of a dog would a sagacious guru own, a German Shepherd - powerful and bold, or a Cocker Spaniel - neurotic, like her rich followers?

I arrived at her home and pulled the big foiled package out of my trunk. I carried it up to a very modern house with a beautiful, dark Japanese garden in front, with a tiny red pagoda to complete the Eastern effect.Several mounted clusters of wind chimes tinkled peacefully in my ears.

The foil package weighed heavier and heavier on me. My arms started aching from holding it up. The entrance way was flanked by closed circuit cameras on all corners of the doorway. I rang the bell.

A dog barked wildly in the distance, probably the mutt that this food was meant for. How it violated the tranquil music of the wind chimes. No answer. I rang the bell again. Dead silence.

As I was about to turn away to leave a little speaker crackled by the front door.
"Yes, what can I do for you?" A cold, metallic voice crackled. It was a woman's voice, sounding very curt and dry.
"Oh, hi. I'm from Style Runners. Your dog food is here", I announced into the speaker.

"Oh, just leave it by the door. No one is here to pick up the package". Liar.

Some motivational speaker. Can't even be bothered to go to the door and sign for things. I laughed at her hiding behind a speaker. If this was the way she dealt with people then good luck to all the boobs who bought her brand of carny bullshit.

I drove slowly down the winding road of Laurel Canyon when a red Mustang with tinted windows turned out behind a corner. It began tailgating me down the hill and kept gunning its engine like an angry, grunting old man. There was a loud, booming bass frequency that rattled and shook the windows of my car.

Not getting what he wanted right away he flickered his high beams behind me. My rear view caught some of his piercing white light, burning into my corneas.The red Mustang behaved like a mechanical schoolyard bully.

Unable to tolerate my slow driving he finally jammed into the opposing lane and then cut me off by a few inches. I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting him, making everything in my car fly across the front seat onto the floor. He honked his horn angrily, and then gunned it and quickly peeled out.

I pulled over to a safe shoulder and took a deep breath. Does this life look interesting to you?

Friday, July 8, 2016

IRON CURTAIN BABY Out Now!

Iron Curtain Baby is a collection of short stories by Andy Seven (Every Good Boy Dies First, Crash Walker) combining fictionalized memoirs of his adolescent years growing up in the early Seventies. The stories range from his memoirs of the glam rock era to growing up as a Jewish seminary student to the early days of the Hollywood punk scene. Interspersed are wild sketches of hardboiled crime stories set in the Thirties and Fifties.

Highlights include Apartment 217, a short memoir about the legendary Hollywood punk building Canterbury Arms; It Was A Pleasure Then, a story about kids hanging out on the Sunset Strip in the Golden Age of Glam; God’s Little Darkroom, a tale about born-again Orthodox Jews, The Later Prophets, a piece about bureaucratic Armageddon; and many tales of the dreary workaday world in stories like Bubblegum and Garbage, Butcher Boy, and The Rack Jobbers.

Included are sample chapters from novels published (Crash Walker, Every Bitch for Himself) as well as novels not yet published (Red Coffee, Hot Wire My Heart). Iron Curtain Baby is truly a sweeping collage of fantasies and experiences as only Andy Seven can tell them.

All of the stories in Iron Curtain Baby are presented in alphabetical order to dismiss any notions of topical preference, with the final mosaic of off-kilter subjects surprisingly culminating in the story titled “Where Do All The Wild Boys Go?” tying them all together. All in all, with Iron Curtain Baby, Andy Seven promises Outrage on Every Page!

Iron Curtain Baby is coming out on Friday, July 15 and will be available in eBook format on Amazon Kindle, iTunes and Book Baby. I'm currently offering free promo cards for the new book to anybody who wants some. All you have to do is PM me your mailing address and I'll send you a handful, no muss, no fuss. And it's absolutely free!

Amazon's taking advance orders right here:
https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Curtain-Baby-Andy…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

If you're an iPad queen like Daev Dave, here's the iTunes link:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/iron-curtain-baby/id1129576825?mt=11

Outrage On Every Page!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Sally Can't Dance" - Lou Reed (1974)

In 1973 Lou Reed followed up his most commercial release, Transformer, with his most ambitious album, Berlin. It was produced by Bob Ezrin, responsible for Alice Cooper’s most overambitious works School’s Out and Billion Dollar Babies. Like the two Cooper albums Berlin was overly serious and full of the overbearing weight of its self-importance. Whether this is attributable to Ezrin is open to debate. It seemed like Reed really put all his chips on Berlin and boasted at the time that it was the greatest thing he ever recorded in his lengthy and outrageous career.

Berlin lacked a hit single like a baseball pitcher lacked a right arm and quickly tanked. Reed, embittered by its failure, responded to its sad fate by assembling a top-notch stadium style heavy metal band performing Velvet Underground covers. It was so simultaneously brilliant and vindictive at the same time, with the great irony being that the resulting live album Rock & Roll Animal became his great selling album, even outdoing the legendary Transformer album. The double irony was that the guitarists, Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter had previously played with Alice Cooper (behind the curtain, covering for Glen Buxton).

Lou continued chasing a dollar by following up Rock & Roll Animal by recording Sally Can’t Dance, an album that showcased a more commercial Lou, something very New York and very Seventies. Although the album did respectably, many fans found it a bit of a sell-out. It was their loss, however, because I consider it one of his most decadent works.

Like a David Hockney painting, Sally Can’t Dance is a languid document of images of excess degenerating into lazy decadence. It’s far more reminiscent to my mind of the Seventies than any other work of his. I can almost remember every facet of West Hollywood in that era when I hear that album.

Sally Can’t Dance begins with Ride Sally Ride, a classic somber ballad by Reed that recalls earlier tunes like Femme Fatale, about a played-out party girl. “Sit yourself down, take off your pants, don’t you know this is a party”, Reed croons to a quiet piano and French horn. “Ooh, isn’t it nice? When your heart is made out of ice”. The song ends with a false joyous fanfare of disco horns and backup girl singers.

The next song Animal Language was a silly song about pets getting down and dirty with each other. I think Reed wrote this song just to piss off his most ardent purists by coming up with the silliest lyrics he could come up with. He succeeded with flying colors, as the gang from Creem Magazine shamed him for years for recording this silly song.

Baby Face and NY Stars are classic Reed songs about drugged out monsters walking all over each other and using everyone in their path. While Baby Face has a lazy Quaalude aura mirrored in its hypnotic electric piano riff, NY Stars counters with a furious, coked out irritability in the pounding rhythm and scratchy funk guitar. Reed sings NY Stars in a cold, vampiric voice laden with echo, “Remember, we’re very good at games”.

The second side of Sally Can’t Dance features more cold, echo Lou vocals on Kill Your Sons, his semi-autobiographic tale of being committed to Creedmore State Psychiatric Hospital by his parents. “All the drugs that we took sure were lots of fun, but when they shoot you up with thorazine and crystal smoke it makes you choke like a son of a gun”. All this institutionalized meds talk endeared Reed to William S. Burroughs. In Victor Bockris’ book With William Burroughs there are many accounts of Reed and Burroughs discussing psychotropic medications at great length.

Ennui, like Baby Face, is another bizarre cabaret ballad with Lou doing his finest crooning, but then there’s the title track Sally Can’t Dance, with its big disco horn section and girls oohing and aahing while Lou spits out hilarious lyrics like, “She was the first girl in my neighborhood to wear tie-dyed pants, LIKE SHE SHOULD. She was the first girl that I’ve ever seen that had flowers painted on her jeans”. Anyway, the punch line is that this once badass chick is now a drug-wrecked car crash. Lou goes further into East Village detail, like her rent-controlled apartment. It’s actually a very funny song.

The album ends with Billy, a great song about a childhood friend who was the model high school student and major source of envy, now returned from Vietnam with a major heroin habit. The lyrics and sharp and incredibly poignant, punctuated by Lou crooning over an acoustic guitar and a wailing saxophone. Like Sally, Billy is a study in drug-induced ruin, and who better to report on their downfall than Lou Reed.

There’s a great sense of loss and sadness to the album, inspired partially by the public’s inability to understand Reed and also by Reed’s refusal to fit in the music marketplace (he eventually conformed to every expectation made of him, but it wouldn‘t happen for another 20 years).

I think Sally Can’t Dance is a greater album than Berlin because in spite of all the decadence and ruin Reed manages to slip in enough deadpan humor all through the record – even in the tragic Billy Lou cracks, “Billy studied medicine while I studied foliage”. He couldn’t resist a joke here and there irregardless of the tragedy. I like that.

Sally Can’t Dance deserves a second look as a great Lou Reed album. Trashy, yes; funny, definitely; sad, absolutely, but also every bit as eloquent as a John Cheever short story. When a decadent rock album recalls great literature you need to give it a closer listen.

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

So what do you do when you see a band that looks absolutely amazing and holds tons of promise until they start playing and then you realize this might be the worst band you've ever heard? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Black Belles.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Kingdom of Blather

Just the other day I had to drop something off by the UCLA campus. So many young, beautiful people walking around. I couldn’t help but notice that all the students walking around were either talking into their cell phones or staring into them, scrolling for something, anything, oblivious to what was in front of them. It was weird, like horses with blinders on.

Did anyone even stop to look at the people and buildings around them? Were they so absorbed in their own little world did they forget to lookup and listen to the sounds of the street? The really sad part of it all is that some of these people are artists and musicians, and they’re deliberately shutting themselves off from all the sights and sounds around them. Like horses with blinders on, only horses are more observant.

You cannot produce great art if you’re blocking everything out of your sight, and likewise cannot produce great music if you’re blocking out the sounds of the street. Where are your reference points, your influences? You haven’t got any. It just won’t happen.

Summer means fun, which means more concert going than I have in a long time, tinnitus be damned. Judy Henske will be performing for the first time in years, so that’s pretty special, then there’s PJ Harvey and her ten-piece band (!), and then The Kills are playing in early September in support of their new album, Ash & Ice. They’ll be playing at The Wiltern, a theater I used to go to when they actually showed movies. I saw Willard there in 1971. I’ll also make my annual pilgrimage to Irwindale Raceway, which I go to once a year.

Summer also means a new Andy Seven book release, and this year will be no exception. I’ll provide more details in a few weeks. I’m pretty happy I’ve been able to release four books in four years without delay. I have a lot more stuff on the pipeline, so there’s no sign of my stopping anytime soon.

Next month marks my one year anniversary of being on Facebook. I’ve sold more books since getting on that site, but in all honesty I’m not much of a fan. Some of the people who have sent me friend requests are fans of my old bands from the past, so that’s pretty cool, but then there are all these strange people.

There’s that one guy from England who always posts shit about killing all Muslims and then sends me invitations to play some infantile computer game for him. What a nut. Then there’s the guy who always posts ugly psychedelic fractal images on my wall. Who cares.

And then there’s an endless line of clowns who refuse to accept that the punk era is over and there are new bands that are better than their old punk heroes. Nothing says “I’m old” more than obsessing over The Ramones or The Stooges. “We refuse to listen to dubstep; that’s not REAL music”. Yes, it is. Grow up.

Sometimes I think Facebook is like The Tower of Babel where everybody’s talking and no one’s listening, and it all crumbles into fighting because nobody can agree on anything. Suck on that, you trendy atheists.