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Sunday, December 27, 2009

It Was A Pleasure Then

Life is fraught with decisions, and the decisions I had to face was whether to go to the Suzi Quatro party at The Tropicana, which was invitation only, or the Zolar X party at Rodney's English Disco, which wasn't. As long as you had five dollars you could get in, but I didn't have five dollars to swing around on a weeknight. There was the third option, of course. Rumor had it that Roxy Music were staying at The Continental Hyatt House to do promotional stuff and we could always just hang out there. It didn't cost anything and maybe I can meet Bryan Ferry in the lobby. Wouldn't that be great? Well, it wasn't. Fifty other kids had the exact same idea as me. Advancing closer and closer to the enormous lobby of the Continental Hyatt House on the Sunset Strip with its gigantic windows I could see tons of glitter kids hoping to run into my hero.

My ankles were aching from supporting my tall teenage body on three inch brass platform heels and sparkly copper vinyl shoes. They made my back ache too, but as they said, style before comfort. I walked through the automatic doors to the entrance and saw my friend Randy from the English Disco. "Hey!"

"Hay is for whores", I quipped.
"Hey, whore, are you here to see Alex Harvey?" Randy asked in his striped satin thunderbolt suit. He thought it made him look like Marc Bolan.
"The Sensational Alex Harvey Band are here, too?"
"Yeah, who are you here to see?"
"Roxy Music. I wanna see Bryan Ferry. Maybe I can get his autograph".
"Well, good luck. He hasn't left his hotel suite all day. He's probably giving a million interviews. Hey, nice threads. When did you get these?" he rubbed my jacket between his fingers. I was wearing a brand new green velvet jacket with extra-wide lapels with matching elephant flares.
"Last week. I bought it from a boutique on Third that just closed down".
"I got mine from Granny's".
"Granny's is nice if you can afford it. Hey, is that?"

A very thin girl with huge black pigtails led a very stoned, emaciated platinum blonde boy wearing a black leather jacket with a leopard on the back, just like the one on the back cover of Iggy & The Stooges' "Raw Power". Under his jacket was a t-shirt of Iggy Pop's face. "Jimmy, gimme a smoke. Is Steve Marriott staying here? Ah, fuck it", whined the girl.
"Yeah, it's him", Randy whispered. "And he's got his favorite shirt on in case he forgets who he is".
"Jesus", I gurgled. At the sound of that the platinum blonde boy stopped, stared at me, and then craned his head around the lobby making sure everybody recognized him.

"Well, I guess this beats the Suzi Quatro party, anyway", I turned away from Iggy.
"Suzi Quatro? That dyke?"
"She's not a dyke. I think she's doing her guitar player".
"That fat guy? Bullshit, she's a dyke. She wears leather pants and sneakers. Dyke!"
I wasn't going to let anybody tell me my favorite girl singer was a dyke, so I changed the subject. "So what's so great about The Sensation Alex Harvey Band?"
"Dude, didn't you hear? They opened for Styx at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. They did they whole 'Vambo Rools OK' number on stage with the brick wall and it was far-out. And then Styx goes on and half the audience walked out of the place. Styx couldn't follow Alex Harvey".
"Well, I don't know, I can't follow a band with a mime who plays guitar. I'd rather rock out to a dyke".

A tall skinny kid walked by with a David Bowie haircut and a traumatically chewed up, pocked mark face with a feathered boa around his neck. It was Chuckie Starr, who Randy knew well.
"Hey, Chuckie, what are you doing here? I figured you'd be at the Suzi Quatro party at The Tropicana", Randy asked.
"Security's too tight to get in. Bryan Ferry's here tonight. I'm going to see Lori later at the Zolar X party. Are you going?" Chuckie said as he craned his head around the room looking for someone more fabulous than us.
"Oh, sure, Darling", Randy lied. Chuckie didn't even hear him; he recognized someone and ran towards them, shrieking.

"Are you going to get Sweet tickets at the Civic on Saturday?"
"Yeah, what time does the box office open?"
"Twelve thirty", Randy's face brightened as he saw a distant figure walk quickly towards the hotel coffee shop. "Alex Harvey! I gotta get his autograph!" Randy ran towards the coffee shop with Chuckie Star following and even Iggy and his date following from the rear. Ah, this is a waste of my time, I thought.
I trudged out to the sidewalk into the Sunset Blvd night, looking up at the lit-up palm trees reaching for the sky. A man who resembled a tall palm tree looked at me. It was Kim Fowley.

"What's happening?" he asked with his clear blue eyes burning into me.
"Iggy Pop's chasing after Alex Harvey in the coffee shop".
"Oh, is that all? Well, Arthur Lee's walking around Filthy McNasty's with a gun in his jacket. Can you beat that?"
"No, I guess I can't. Good night", I said. I didn't have wheels and the 91-S bus took forever to show up, so I walked from Sunset & La Cienega to my house on Pico & Robertson. Goodnight Hollywood, until next time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa Stuffs It

I'm not a big fan of Christmas gift guides any more than the next guy but I have a feeling this one will be fun because my suggestions may be a little off the beaten path. I'm just going to throw a few ideas your way in case you hit a hole in the road and ran out of some great gift ideas.

Lately I've been getting into the whole Japanese "pinky violence" genre of films where the violence is so outrageously stupid you can't help but laugh at the gushers of blood spraying out of every hole in somebody's body, and what better DVD to start off with than "Tokyo Gore Police" with killer hookers that have samurai swords for legs? It's like a Paul Verhoeven samurai film, and if that concept doesn't make you drool then you're reading the wrong blog. Once you've seen that masterpiece of plasma porn check out "The Machine Girl", no less over the top and demented.

Some aging idiot I ran into at a party whined about how music isn't good anymore. Obviously he didn't get "Winchester Mystery House" by The Hex Dispensers, "Form Follows Function" by The Hentchmen, "2" by Darker My Love or anything by Les Breastfeeders, those psychotic Montrealers. CDs are cheaper than ever now that they have to compete with nickel-and-dime downloads.

Books are more fun to read than ever, too, whether it's wild fiction like "Skunk" by Jason Courter, "Hex" by Maggie Estep, or "Freezer Burn" by the always dependable Joe Lansdale. If they like comics get them all five volumes of the Harvey Comics archives, each volume featuring a different character, like Richie Rich, Casper, and the terminally bratty lil' devil Hot Stuff. If your giftee has slightly older tastes buy them every compilation volume from "100 Bullets" now that the series wrapped last Autumn.

If your giftee isn't a culture vulture get them a belt buckle from Heavy Metal Belt Buckles http://heavymetalbuckles.com/index.html. Not only are the buckles crazy as hell but some have built-in booze flasks, a real penny-saver if you frequent those damn expensive $15 a beer night clubs. Some also have built-in iPod holders so if the intermission music at the club sucks you can plug in and listen to The Hex Dispensers or The Hentchmen. Yeah!

Men are going back to wearing bracelets, believe it or not. You don't have to be a smelly Israeli stereo salesman to wear a nice dressy bracelet anymore, guys. An average bracelet will set you back $15-20 and Overstock.com http://www.overstock.com/Jewelry-Watches/Mens-Bracelets/17505/subcat.html has even lower prices on them with a great selection. Stainless steel with black rubber is the big look these days.

One thing chicks love it's shoes, and the coolest shoemaker on the planet these days for men and women is John Fluevog (www.fluevog.com). He designs some sweet fuckin' kicks that sport a kind of glam meets psychedelic rock look and they're not too pricey, either. They're well made, comfortable, and Fluevog swears they're made by angels. All 8-year old kids from Ecuador look like angels, so he's not really lying.

But if doing a good deed is your idea of a swell holiday gift, buy your giftee a membership with an organization that could use the support; in my area it would be The American Cinematheque (http://www.americancinematheque.com), the Petersen Auto Museum (http://www.petersen.org), or even the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (http://www.lacma.org). You'll be making a nice gesture for these cool organizations and your giftee will benefit from it as well with free tickets and awesome souvenirs. And if all my suggestions suck, just buy them a tattoo.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stuff I Burned From TCM, Part 8

It’s funny and crazy and even wonderful that two films I originally planned for this blog, Jacques Demy’s “Model Shop” and William Castle’s “Zotz!” have been released within the past few weeks. I recommend you rent them both, they’re just great. Nevertheless there are still a few classics that need to be released just as quickly as those two, and here they are:

Dangerous Mission (1954): Horace McCoy and W.R. Burnett co-wrote this Technicolor noir about a woman (Piper Laurie) running off to Glacier National Park in Montana after witnessing a gangland murder in Manhattan . Vincent Price plays a hit man hired to murder her while he’s dating her, only Victor Mature throws the monkey wrench into the works by barging in on them with his greasy charm. The breathtaking location photography is reminiscent of “ Niagara ” making the action secondary to the beautiful location. Irwin Allen produced this film in the early Fifties and already had an eye for disaster, throwing a forest fire and not one, but two avalanches into the movie.

Hysteria (1965): After being discharged from the psychiatric ward Robert Webber moves into an apartment where he hears a woman next door being knifed to death every night. The only problem is he's the only tenant on his floor. After doing a bit of research on the murder of his former neighbor he discovers she's a fashion model who's disappeared. His psychosis returns when he keeps seeing her appear on the street, and even has cocktails with her. The dead fashion model is played by Lelia Gordoni, who achieved movie infamy as the half-cast girl in John Cassavetes' film "Shadows". Another nutty Freddie Francis thriller, and one you shouldn't miss.

The Good Humor Man (1950): Jack Carson was always swell at comedy relief in movies like "Million Dollar Mermaid" and "Blues In The Night", but here he's taking center stage in a Jerry Lewis-styled slapstick romp that's very funny, playing your friendly neighborhood ice cream truck salesman. He finds himself implicated in dead blondes (Lola Albright) and shady crooks, and his rival for his love interest is none other than George "Superman" Reeves. Carson's very funny in this, and it's a shame he didn't do more silly comedies like this.

The Mind Reader (1933): Warren William plays a carnival mind reader who tries to go straight to win over Constance Cummings' affections, only he's at his coolest when he does the whole fake swami bit. Lots of creepy camera angles in this, and William is excellent, easily the best actor Warner's had before Cagney, Bogart and Robinson moved in. If you like creepy carnival movies this one will thrill you. Bogart's first wife Mayo Methot turns in an amazing three-minute suicide scene that'll chill your blood.

The Love-Ins (1967): Laughable psychedelic corn about a Timothy Leary type who becomes a sort of psych Mussolini, a little more convincing than Max Frost in "Wild In The Streets", but not by too much. There's a great scene where the Big Guru appears on "The Joe Pyne Show", a sort of Wally George of the Sixties. There's also a freak-out Alice In Wonderland naked go-go dance scene from Susan Oliver that she'd probably like to forget. Also starring James McArthur (Hawaii Five-O) who attempts to assassinate the Guru and Mark Goddard (Lost In Space) as a misguided follower.

Well, that's it for now. I think I'll have some more gems planned for the next TCM jamboree blog. There's no shortage of unreleased classics waiting to be discovered. By the way, Turner Classic Movies is still the greatest station around and always find new stuff to screen all the time. They're finally showing "Performance" on TV, forty years after its release. Can "A Clockwork Orange" be far behind?

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Cannery Bear

There’s a bar by the docks where all the torn up toys go, the ones you don’t want to run into in a dark alley. Discarded and long-forgotten toys like The Street Sharks go there for a few shots of rotgut, but this story isn’t about them. It’s about a mean, vicious teddy bear with most of the stuffing knocked out of him and one of his cute button eyes practically hanging out of its socket, and his name is Mister Butch. Mister Butch worked at the cannery down by the darkest corner in the pier, where most men fear to tread. If there’s one thing most bears love it’s fish, but Mr. Butch loved to eat the by-products of the fish instead, like the dead fish faces, the fish turds, the rotten roe and its birth sacs, their marine entrails, the slimier and skankier the more he loved it.

It was well after quitting time from work and as work days go it went pretty slowly, i.e. only three punch-ups with his co-workers. Not a satisfying way to make a living. He did manage to put food on the table for his loved ones, a decaying Topper doll named “Salty” with a dated Fifties beehive and her two twin daughters, the Barbie Bowling Tramps.

Mr. Butch was getting a buzz on after his fifth boilermaker. “This shit’s supposed to put fur on your chest, god-dammit”,he growled.

“Butch, you got the furriest puss in town”, Buzz the bartender whined. Buzz was the ugliest vulture on the docks. He had only three feathers, all sprouting from his crown.
“You’re damned straight. Honey ain’t for bears, that piss is strictly for jellyfish”.

He scanned the room with a sneer. A fat hyena was passed out in a puddle of his drool at a nearby table. Furtively picking the wallet out of his pocket was a cheap ferret with a lip ring and an ill-fitting party dress.

“Jeez!” whistled Butch. “Who’s the tomato? She looks like a distressed goddess”.
Buzz frowned. “That’s Skrinkle. She’s crazy”.
Butch turned to her. “Hey, baby! Drop your cocks and grab your socks!”

Skrinkle quickly jammed the hyena’s wallet down her flat bra, which gave her the appearance of having an ample bosom. She walked up to the bar with the kind of smile that wouldn’t fool a priest. “Hiya, stud muffin!”

“Pick your poison and I’ll shower ya with piss”.
“An offer like that, how can a girl can resist?”
“What’s your handle? Mine’s Skrinkle, as in qwzrk, qutwee”.
“Sounds like fucking poetry. My name’s Mister Butch, Butch von Butch, a bastard so nice they named me twice”.
Skrinkle giggled. “I’ll have an Old-Fashioned, innkeeper”.
Buzz bristled. “I ain’t no innkeeper, I’m a fucking bartender”. He stormed off to fix her drink.
“Don’t mind him”, Butch’s one good eye got all misty, due to his glaucoma. “Did anybody ever tell you that you’ve got that movie star kinda look? You got that 'come on' kinda look".

Skrinkle giggled and bit her thumb, eying him fetchingly. She turned on her best baby voice. “You big, tough, hunk of stuff. Careful or I’ll steal your heart!” She wiggled nervously because the purloined wallet slipped down from her bra to her stomach. She now looked like a pregnant weasel.

“I believe ya. You look like you could steal anything! Those lips, those eyes. Are you a rock star?”
“I play bass. Tee hee”, she giggled in her weasely best. She picked up her drink.
“A girl who plays bass. I knew you were talented!”
“And I’m formally trained, too”, she sipped her Old-Fashioned and ripped out a loud belch.
“Imagine that, Toots, you’ve more than won my heart. Stick with me, baby, and you’ll be fartin’ through silk!” His head weaved, getting woozy from his boilermakers finally kicking in. “Drink up, Kiddo, there’s more where that come from…”
Skrinkle’s eyes bugged at his wallet. “You don’t know the half of it”.

Just as he was about to pass out a rusty clown toy, all thin and dented, stomped in, slamming the door and rousing Mr. Butch from his crash.

“Zingo!” Skrinkle plastered her brightest fake smile, feeling nervous.
“There you are, you bitch!” He raced over to her. “I tried to make a respectable woman out of you but you’ll never be nothing but a hoor!” He back handed her making her reel by a few feet.
“Now just a second, bitch”, Mr. Butch roared, “That’s my future fiancĂ©e you just decked, sucker”.
Zingo squinted his teeny painted clown eyes at him. “And who the fuck are you?”
“I’m Mister Butch, you clowny motherfucker, and don’t you forget it!”
Buzz slammed a baseball bat on the bar. “There’ll be no rough housing in my establishment, fellas. Take it somewhere else”.
“I’d rather take this”, Zingo grabbed the bat and bashed it into Mr. Butch’s face, the bat cracking in half. Butch just shook his head and roared. “Now it’s my turn!”

Butch grabbed Zingo by the throat and lifting his paw clawed open Zingo’s face, half the innards of his face sticking out of his tin head. He ripped off Zingo’s right leg, and not happy with enough of that damage, did what all angry men love to do. He pulled out his pierced bear penis and sodomized the poor tin clown.
“Nooooooo!” Zingo wailed with the half of his face that was still working.
“Take it, bitch!” Butchie growled. “Take it all, take it like a clown!” Jamming his scarred teddy bear member into the wailing tin toy. “Hah! Jailhouse justice!”

Buzz shook his head. “I knew you were gonna get lucky tonight, Butch, but not like this”.
“Look, Prince Albert in a clown’s can”, Butch’s flat back pushing his love gristle missile in.
“Awwwwww, Butch!”