When Captain America Throws His Mighty Panty Shield

15 Nov

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America – it sucks.

And believe it or not, you only have Captain America to blame.

You have him to blame for Donald Jackass Trump. Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. The Mandalay Bay shooter.  Kim Jong Un’s tinkertoy pea shooters. Russia collusion. Big fat fucking hairy slob Harvey Weinstein going down on you to lick your pussy and Kevin Spacey sneakingly manuevering himself in a crowded Shakespearean theater to grab your genitals.

All of it.

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Fucking. Captain. America’s. Fault!!

Some of you reading who mostly are here for the Harry Perzigian or the Yes Logs may or may not be familiar with the plot lines of the latest big mega event crossover that Marvel concocted in order to bring in new readers and to jack up the prices of all their titles while insulting the integrity and the wallets of die-hards long time fans who just happen to be fascist supporters of Trump.

The premise of the perplexing, but yet best selling mini-series is, to borrow a sentence or two from the Wikipedia’s entry:

The storyline deals with Hydra’s takeover of the Marvel Universe after Captain America is revealed to be one of their agents ever since the sentient Cosmic Cube Kobik affected his memories upon Red Skull ‘s clone using her powers on him. This causes the rest of the superheroes to join forces and rebel against their former leader and friend to prevent the world from falling under Hydra’s control.”

As the mini-series was getting underway, certain unruly people were going fucking ballistic on website comment sections while social media was having a meltdown going so far as to be calling for writer (and at one time, a city of Cincinnati councilman) Nick Spencer’s ballsack to be dangling off a lance, because the similarities of prominent Nazism making their longtime encore performance in the USA since the mid 1940’s was becoming all undeniable substantial in today’s ugly side of everyday existence all because of the inexperienced orangutan was a ‘breath of fresh air’ to the political establishment.

That is, if you enjoy the aroma of monkey shit in the morning.

Why do these totalitarian cattle have anything to fear when a mirror is held to their faces? Was it because they had their little feelings hurt when a black guy finally had a swing at bat of running our country  – THAT only pleasant alternative left to quell that near decade of racist thinking was to put a 70 year old babyman with no political demeanor or experience to be put in charge?

Whatever the fucking reason – NOBODY wants tradition messed with, nor allusions that a beloved hero of comics and movies to be depicted as a dirty dealing double agent standing at the beck and call of some foreign government barking orders for him to commit treason against his home country.

But that’s exactly what we have today IN REALITY: jerk-offs, including the 70 year old reality television show guy with ZERO POLITICAL EXPERIENCE and three fucking business bankruptcies to his fake name getting spiffs from foreign enablers to hoist his own business interests.

But how can you condense it all down to a mini time out?

280 character Twitter rants? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

The reason why I don’t have a twitter account to my name is because I require UNLIMITED CHARACTER rants.

However the slime trail of social incorrectness is increasingly exponentially. People with no knowledge of fucking anything consider themselves to be experts of EVERYTHING. All of a sudden, your certificate of brain surgery rewarded to you from Phoenix University gives you immediate carte blanche to tell someone who’s worked probably a decade or so in achieving a master’s degree from a higher university of that self same  caliber to tell SOMEONE TO GO FUCK THEMSELVES ON A FACEBOOK POST over how their stupid gorilla of a candidate who couldn’t fucking peel a banana or throw shit without help of his own kids, let alone understand a goddamn single thing about the Bill of Rights or the US Constitution has to relearn the alphabet in order to spell his own signature on a new law to be passed.

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And the merriness seems to have spread to other industries as well, including my own industry which is the entertainment industry.  I constantly monitor a website called deadline.com for updated entertainment news. I have it up all the time at work while I’m prepping up residual checks for entertainment professionals constantly being refreshing it. Regardless of whether or not, we have a pretend awful reality show personality pretending to be siting on the throne, there’s really no reason for journalists and columnists that dominate the website to keep feeding us junk on politics when all you want to know what is the latest multimillion dollar movie deal is being made with major comic book properties being turned to life  – but they keep getting posted and thus it opens the floodgates of the comments section being monitored and ambushed by Drudge Report denizens knee deep in Flyoverville shit while throwing a Papa John Pizza party airstream trailer parks who think they know more about the entertainment industry than a actual someone who’s been working in it for the past fucking twenty years bitching and whining over why Tim Allen didn’t get invited.

That’s the clown mentality of this nation, folks. All of sudden, everyone’s a fucking expert except for the guy who puts himself through the actual 8 – 12 hour workday experience. You could go as far as Harry Knowles, the creator of Ain’t It Cool News, when shitheads from rural Texas once gather around  to dictate to you what is or what not should be a trendy Hollywood genre picture and make unsubstantiated threats to studio executives  if their dream production doesn’t stop from suffering in development hell for another day.

But I’m going all in different directions, why waste any more breath on another orange hairy pawed crotch grabbing sexual harasser?

I’ve been through the wringer. More than a decade or so I almost nearly had my entertainment industry career cut short back while I was temping for Warner Bros when a female ‘rival temp colleague’ also competing for my job to become permanent thought of a clever scheme of cheating her way to the finish line.

Her name was Jennifer Somebody. She came highly recommended to my department – IF my rival was sent over from a employment agency that was running a strip joint on the side. From day one when she first arrived, roughly a few months after I’d already been briefed and situated of what my job in the MIS – Script Services job would entail ( I was placed in charge of taking care of invoices for studio services and travel & expenses), she came roaring in cracking wise of sexual innuendos towards me probably because she believed that I was the youngest guy in the department who could probably withstand a few major blue ball false alarms.

Since she lived somewhere in Canoga Park and my house in Sherman Oaks was on her way, she offered me a lift home in her car and throughout the trip, she did nothing but whine about how it was her birthday the next day and nobody cared. Being nice about it and telling her that I was moonlighting as a independent comic book writer and publisher on the side  (having just published my first real professional looking product, The Deposit Man & the Great Gate of Mortality Act 1 through Brenner Printing out in Texas), I volunteered to make sure I got her a gift for tomorrow to help celebrate..

Until she quickly darted her face in my direction and said remotely, “Yeah? Are you going to give me sex?

I couldn’t believe that I just heard that.

I looked at her shocked and really tried to downplay my game face going all red  (because she was a hot looking blonde. NOT that I wouldn’t have minded), ‘no of course not. I just met you today. I MEANT I’ve got a new book printed and I was going to sign a copy for you.’

So I brought into work, my three warped wares that were so far done in collaboration with artist Larry Nadolsky to give her and soon enough, she became my lunch partner at work and usually during our trips down to the local Del Taco, she would indulge me with stories and pieces of her past which usually ended up with the happily ever after ending of her waking up in a jail cell from blacking out the night before: which translated to this: she used to work at strip joints to make ends meet by sucking dick and getting fucked up the ass – BUT on the plus side, she made sure her data entry and Excel skills remained satisfactory in all the office pools that she had thrown her name in.

HOWEVER tit for tat, my gentlemanly approach to savior-faire was really no different than hers. I admitted to her of places that I’d like go test my G string bang theory.  I once lived in a gorgeous house in Sherman Oaks owned by a cast member from the original Wizard of Oz film and I lived to flaunt it by inviting one night stands and girls off the internet to that house, and I guess what she was slowly getting pissed off with me about was my asking her opinion on what certain call girls to recommend looking for in the back pages of the LA Weekly (that’s a weekly alternative newspaper distributed free in the city of Los Angeles).

I don’t know if I insulted her by telling her flat out that ‘you’re my work colleague, so there’s no way I would want to get together with you socially- because – (to drive in the nail of the final coffin of our working relationship) that’s how my stepdad and mother met – AT work. And I grew up hating that motherfucker who came in and married my mother who thought he earned the right to order me around and tell me what to do.’

So after I told her my personal vehemence towards office romances, those lunch outings we took together came to an immediate halt.

One day, we were both called in by my boss and were told to go down to the main lot and take a series of assessments that they needed in case we were lucky enough to obtain permanent employment. We were selected to join a few other candidates who were also applying at various departments

I don’t know where it all went wrong. Even though there were eight of us cramped in that one tiny room at a warehouse building sequestered a few blocks from the Burbank Airport, we sat on opposite sides of the room barely talking to each other until the boss asked if it was ok if I rode down with her.  All I said to her as I got in the passenger side of her car was (I’ve should’ve just taken the local bus down to the lot) this compliment, ‘hey you look as if you’ve been working out. Your thighs look real muscular.’  She just gave me that sneer again.

Maybe she’s just having a shit day, OR she’s just repulsed for me to be all up in her personal space.  But, I thought of something that might cheer her up.

My knowledge of the studio.

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So after the testing took place on the lot right in the very same building where I had my one week orientation of testing to be eligible to work for the MIS Studio and Script Service Department right before the tragic events of 9/11 happened, I remember that Laramie Street, the make shift western era town where many Warner Bros classic westerns were filmed, including the classic Maverick television series that starred James Garner was in preparation to be bulldozed down. This was technically Jennifer’s real first visit to the lot- she’s never gone past the HR building on Alameda and Olive. So I told her, ‘Jennifer, we got to check this out, this perfect replica of a wild west town. They’re going to wreck it down next week and build new office bungalows in its’ place, We gotta say goodbye to it.’

She was very reluctant to go, but I playfully tugged on her arm to motion her to follow me. So I showed her the sights, going over to a horse barn, a hotel and saloon, and a sheriff station with all the props being prepared to be packed away. Just before Jennifer came aboard, my department came down for a barbeque one afternoon. I felt bad if Jennifer didn’t get to experience a part of this studio’s history that was being wiped from existence.

But she wasn’t really impressed. So we drove back and didn’t say a word for the rest of the way.

So a week goes by and we resume our natural working colleague ways.

Then one day, I’m unexpectedly called into my boss’ office who happens to be a gorgeous blonde in her own right, and she says to me: “Jennifer says that on the way to your assessments a couple of weeks back, that you squeezed her thigh in the car.”

I defiantly flat out told her, ‘no fucking way. I don’t hit on women in the workplace. That’s not my scene. She’s making things up. If anything, when she first started here, SHE MADE passes at me and had stopped talking to me when I rebuked her advances.”

My supervisors – who were both women, backed me up. They’ve grown to known me as a respectful subordinate who respected his bounds. I was thrilled to be working for Warner Bros. It’s always been one of lifelong goals. The only time, I’ve gotten in trouble with them was when I wandered away from a lunch date with them on the Ranch to hang out on the set with the actresses of the Batman spin-off show the Birds of Prey that only lasted for a half of season and they saw me get a hug from actress Ashley Scott who played the role of The Huntress.

Not longer than a few days fly by, IT WAS exactly on a Thursday. Me and a co-worker are having a ‘death pool’ bet on what celebrity was going to croak next. We were taking bets on how long it would take Bob Hope to die. A week? A month? A half a year maybe?

Jennifer wanted to play too. She injected herself into the conversation that was occurring across the room from her. Since the whole ‘joke bet’ was my idea, I just rudely shot back at her (because I was fucking pissed that she concocted that whole ‘squeezing my thigh’ story to my boss) – “ I WASN’T TALKING TO YOU!!

Jennifer freaking snapped in front of everyone in the room and started giving me the middle finger while yelling FUCK YOU over and over to me

Me being the undisputed gift of defection. My response to that was:

Honey, don’t embarrass yourself in front of everyone in this room by showing off your IQ score, ok??’

Gorgeous blonde boss came running into the room, baffled by what had just happened and wonder WHY the reason she was rapidly charging out of the building, crying her eyes out.

My boss looks to me and says to me: “ you know, you two are like oil and water’ before she went following Jennifer.

But Jennifer never came back. She got in her car and immediately sped out of the parking lot and later that afternoon, her agency called and said that she no longer wanted to work at Warner Bros.

After a year had gone by and the dust had settled,  In February of 2003, I was hired by Warner Bros and I lasted there for another two and a half years before I was laid off and half my department was dismantled and sent to India.

But let me tell you, if my name were DC editor Eddie Berzanga and that incident occurred on my watch in this day of 2017, I would’ve been drummed out and told to pack my shit up immediately.

There will be more to discuss in a couple of weeks.

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BUT know this: at the end of Secret Empire, Cap’s friends didn’t lose hope of abandoning him and helped crush the Cosmic Cube that was making Captain America getting his Hitler jollies of turning the United States into a racist fascist country – everything nearly magically turns back to the normal Marvel Universe that we usually know and love or abhor when they put loser concepts such as Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD back into television production..

However, in real life when a poser admits on tape that what women really enjoyed is to have their gine-gines grabbed and THEN is still elected president of the United States.

That’s not fucking normal.

 

 

 

 

 

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How I Spent My Last King Crimson Summer Vacation.

30 Oct

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I lost my notes on what was going to be an attempt of mine writing something of social value, like I used to do in the golden days of editorialized pages of the Comics Buyer’s Guide. It was to be my middle age viewpoint of what patriotism (or lack thereof) means to me, the anti climate of Hollywood, and so on and so forth as seen through the eyes of a recent CAPTAIN AMERICA comic book – so in the meantime, AS I ATTEMPT TO RESEMBLE THOSE SCATTERED NOTES IN THE WIND TUNNEL OF MY MIND, I think on the side, I really want the time to clear out the inventory of my old DPRP concert reviews with a little sweetening of the new hope of what’s ahead for one of my all time favorite prog heavy rock bands – or perhaps THE progenitor of my all time favorite PROG HEAVY ROCK BANDS.

For the past three times I’ve been to the Greek Theater. It’s always been Yes, Yes, more Yes + Toto, – so the fourth wall time is the charm to finally check out someone else magnificent under the stars. When I heard the announcement from Peter Tilden, a local talk show host and television writer, that King Crimson was doing a fifth anniversary retrospective tour of their entire studio discography – it was probably something that I would bite me on the wonder nads lust of my teenage upbringing if I hadn’t made the effort to see this tour.

Sadly, Roger Waters was playing his massive solo tour in support of his latest studio opus that very same night at the Los Angeles Staple Center on that early summer June evening.  I already saw Roger Waters live at the San Diego Sports Arena when he was busy touting his RADIO KAOS and he wasn’t close to filling up half that place back in 1987.

So it was very heavy regret that I  had to say – FUCK HIM. I was never a Pink Floyd loyalist like some of the kids I went to high school with. King Crimson was a unique band for me to follow back in high school BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE SEEMED TO LIKE THEM like I did. In the case of Roger ‘s  first new studio album, Is This The Life You Really Want? in nearly 25 years, give or take that crappy opera he released a decade or so back, none of his schtick seems hardly relevant these days. It’s a case of too little too late. With the exception of a few anti-Trump songs and the regurgitated Animal themes, Waters barely makes a spectacle with the same old same old Pink Floyd songs that you’ve already performed on his previous over wrought Wall soirees.

King Crimson, on the other hand brings us continuing hope for the progressive rock future. Their latest line-up, a blend of the old faces with the new faces. Robert Fripp and Tony Levin have been at the forefront of every tour I’ve attended. Their last tour was the first one I’ve ever seen without Adrian Belew being the front and center stage commander. This time leading King Crimson 7.0 is vocalist Jakko Jakszyk (The Tangent), joined by extra hands on drummer Jeremy Stacey (The Lemon Tree) playing the part of Jamie Muir, along with drummer and synthesizer/mellotron player Bill Reiflin (REM). Also newish to the fold is ex-Porcupine Tree drummer extraordinaire Gavin Harrison (my first tour seeing him in action) joining newly reappointed saxophone and flutist Mel Collins after a seriously absent forty-year plus sabbatical.

The 2017 US Radical Action tour (featuring the Double Quartet Formation) that is now winding up is the concert I’ve always dreamed about attending back in high school. It was a beginner’s guide to all the gems you’ve always wanted to hear performed live with nearly incarnation of the band represented. “Cirkus” from 1970’s Lizard album was one of the leading jawdroppers that Fripp pulled from out of his hat and the title track from the following album Islands released in 1971, was nearly enough to bring me to tears (I was thinking of an old female myspace gal pal from the U.K. by the name of Miss Lady Bee during this performance of how she wrote to me expressing Robert Fripp, can without a doubt, can exhibit a deep-rooted romantic side). Another bombastic surprise was the opening encore performance of Fripp’s very famous collaboration with David Bowie called “Heroes”. Believe me, a lot of people in the audience didn’t see that coming, but me being a hard-core follower, had purchased the live EP sampler before heading in half expected it.  Also new songs from a forthcoming album (I hope) were premiered, but silly me didn’t bring his smartphone notepad to write down the titles in fear that Fripp’s security goons would confiscate it. People who dared to take iPhone photos during the performance either got ejected from their seats (depending on how drunk or dope infused belligerent they were) or were publicly embarrassed by wandering EG Record interns. You were only allowed to take photos of  the band. after the performance was finished. The band didn’t rely on fancy pyrotechnics, laser beam light shows, or projected movie screens with the exception of the performance of “Red” which was when the stage was bathed in crimson light.

I got a feeling that the reason Fripp was so lenient in the elastic stretch of covering nearly all eras of past King Crimson line ups was probably the need to see the catalogue preserved for future generations to come and give it a fresh perspective. Robert Fripp is pushing 71 (for some reason I thought he was in his mid-seventies), he’s not going to be around forever so younger members such as Gavin Harrison and Jakko Jakszyk can keep the momentum going. Already in a span of a year, we lost both founding member Greg Lake and mid-seventies master of stage ceremonies John Wetton. It seems King Crimson doesn’t have much luck in the longevity of bass players with the exception of Tony Levin, Wetton and Lake also join the bass player and vocalist Boz Burrell if 1971’s Islands in the tone death department. Of course, Boz was more fondly remembered as the bass player of Bad Company.

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Where I came in was when I was growing up in the New York era of the delicious hot platter trio servings of Discipline, Beat, & Three of a Perfect Pair – a rare era of a time I felt I belonged to a musical pulse not often shared or understood by fellow Parsippany High School underlings who couldn’t past an old Led Zeppelin album or the current 3 chord wonders of the latest AC/DC record. King Crimson was not exactly a household word on the West Coast – at least as far as Adrian Belew was concerned – he was mainly a guy who came and went on a few of Frank Zappa records Nope, Belew belonged to the East Coast vibe. Fellow New Yorkers and people such as me who would run to see him play mostly on those Hell Kitchen area Pier 23 nights only seem to get him. However,  Bill Bruford was the main draw that led me to this iteration of band after listening to that classic album trio of The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to The Edge and followed his breadcrumb trail to another classic rock album of Lark’s Tongue in Aspic, Starless & Bible Black, and Red. So hearing his jazz rock roots flourish on his solo albums and his immersion into polyrhythms and electronic drums was the awakening of a new era for a hybrid reincarnated British prog/New York Alternative rock band. Knowing of Tony Levin through his work on numerous Peter Gabriel solo albums was the icing of the cake.

Those were great concerts out on the Pier shared drunkenly with the Zullo brothers were memories to be forever cherished with the outings with the boys. King Crimson is not a take a girl out to a concert band, because listening to King Crimson requires intense and direct attention paid to musicianship, plus despite Bruford’s shaking one booty’s to playing an electronic Simmons drum kit while standing with his back to the audience, there’s really nothing much for a chick to shake her ass to.

I could go on about how Steven Wilson’s phenomenal work with enhancing the first 10 King Crimson studio albums in 5.1 surround sound extravaganza mind-blowing experiences (including alternative mixes of entire track lists) and how Jakko has taken on the mantle with 1995’s THRAK with hopefully 2000.s ConstruKction of Light and 2003’s Power to Believe to follow – but I think perhaps I had that era covered in a past Steven Wilson entry, but I must be leaving to post this entry and to leave you with a review of my 2003’s Power to Believe Tour.

BUT if you reading this right now: King Crimson appears tomorrow for a special staccato stab filled spooky Halloween night performance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, in downtown Newark NJ. Until then, I’ll see you in a matter of weeks.

Originally presented on http://www.dprp.net:

 

King Crimson
March 29th, 2003 – The Wiltern Theater, LA  California, USA
By Cary Coatney 

Rather than sitting home getting visually mauled by the pounding media coverage of Gulf War 2, I ventured outside into the real world to be sonically discharged by Trey Gunn’s fretless Warr guitar at King Crimson’s only Southern California appearance at the Los Angeles Wiltern Theatre. And all it took was a short hop and a skip via a bus and subway ride from the San Fernando Valley to be bathed in Fripptronic forgetfulness for approximately two hours. The band was on tour in support of their month-long newest release: The Power to Believe. The cover to the album lends itself to be construed as anti-war propaganda as it is adorned by two gas mask wearing soldiers positioned outside a hospital window while a nurse inside checks the vital signs of an infant sprawled out on an operating table as a regiment of troops marches outside. I’m sure it strictly wasn’t intentional on artist P.J. Cook’s part, nor the band’s decision to release the album two weeks before the madness of King George W II fully commenced, but nevertheless, its timing is strangely ominous.

Upon arriving at the majestic Wiltern, I go through the regular routine of picking out souvenir goodies such as t-shirts and program books that are offered at the usual extortionate prices. This year’s offering was an unexpected spin on the tour book trend, being that a small twenty page booklet chockful of Robert Fripp’s scintillating witticisms is accompanied with a CD chronicling excerpted interviews and press conferences (One reporter asks: Would you be willing to appear on the Howard Stern show? Fripp’s reply: I don’t think my buns are firm enough.) sprinkled with never before heard rarities from the Power to Believe sessions all neatly packaged in a DVD container all for the casual plundering of a hefty $40.00, just a little less than what I paid to get in the show.

After grabbing some wine from the bar, ushers were kindly waiting to escort me to my seat in the ‘K’ row (a bit ironic, isn’t it?), roughly thirteen rows from the orchestra pit so the seat wasn’t too shabby considering what I paid for the ticket. While being accompanied I couldn’t help notice that Robert Fripp was already on the stage setting off some ambient Roland Guitar synth-scudded soundscapes while all patrons were making themselves comfortable.

After Fripp sounded his last sustained note, there was a slight pause and then the rest of the members of the band joined on stage to launch into two opening numbers from 2000’s Construkction of Light album most notably that album’s opening track; Prozac Blues, which certainly felicitated the audience’s response.

Most of the selections this evening were culled from the last two releases, placing emphasis on the new Power to Believe release but a few gems from 1995’s Thrak managed to slip through the repertoire crack.

I couldn’t help but notice that Robert Fripp was constantly bathed in a luminous blue stagelight- I thought for a second that I made a wrong turn at the Las Vegas Luxor Hotel and was watching the Blue Man Group for the Geritol generation by mistake as Fripp hardly ever gets up from his stool when surrounded by rackmounted forts of electronic doodads.

What piqued my curiosity was Trey Gunn and this Warr guitar device that he is credited for playing. I found out on a website that the instrument was invented and named after a fireman out in California. It has 8 or 12 strings: mainly with 6 strings of the right hand part you play the melody and with the other 6 strings of the left hand part you play the bass line. When playing this instrument, you often use a tapping technique quite similar to what Tony Levin and others do with a Chapman stick. You can mute strings while playing with two hands, and muting pads or mittens are usually provided. You can add synthesizer effects and operate it on a battery pack through the control panels on the back of the body. You can do a lot of crazy stuff with the frets but hey, what do I know? I associate more with keyboard players anyway.

What really diverted my attention was Pat Mastelotto’s fluid drumming ( I mean, jeez what time signature does this guy operate on? ) especially in this evening’s rendition of Level Five during the crack of the cymbals section as he reached with his right hand to do these outrageous sneak attacks on toms, snares, and other electronic percussion doo hickeys. The other not too happy with what you have to be happy with diversion was these giant windsockets that suddenly inflated across the stage during One Time. Now, I don’t ever recall if the band signed any endorsement deals with Trojan or Lifestyles condoms or not, but there they were, foreboding and hovering menacingly throughout the remainder of the show.

And of course what is a King Crimson show without a few strict enforcement of rules? You can’t just get by without the no photography rule. I know that a friend of mine back in the land of Oz learned of this the hard way at a past King Crimson show that this is indeed a no laughing matter when he brought the show to a complete stop by snapping some personal glossies. But now in the twenty-first century, dear old Uncle Bobby has revised these rules with a new unconscionable twist: the no going to the bathroom during performance rule. If you’re feeling a little rush of the bladder floodgates coming on after a heavy consumption of Harp Lager, then my advice to you is to stand still and act like a dike. I, myself learned of this the hard way without seeing the signs posted on each aisle door telling everyone that there will be absolutely no flash cameras allowed and no ins or outs during a song’s performance. I felt a sudden need to use the restroom in the middle of Power to Believe II, so I wouldn’t be stuck in a long winding queue at the conclusion of the show. It winded up costing me the performance of my favorite track off the new album, Dangerous Curves. When the usher refused to open the door for me and some other patrons, the situation further exacerbated when Dangerous Curves segued into Lark’s Tongues in Aspic Part 4 as he still refused to open the door for us! We have to convince him that it was a new song they were starting, but I think it was a clever comment from another hardcore fan was the one that broke the ice; ‘Hey, I didn’t pay $60.00 just to sit out in the hall!’

Well, at least we got two encores for our inconvenience and it was at this point that the audience really began to cut loose after sitting adroitly for so long (there were a scattered few who sparked up and passed around their socks, telling by the aroma in the air, but unfortunately none of it made it my way) when they launched into Dinosaur. Even a male audience member stood up on his chair and loudly proclaimed his undying love for Robert Fripp that sort of got a chuckle from Adrian Belew. The second encore was one of my all time favorites of the title track from 1975’s Red.

In conclusion, I felt the musicianship was tighter than ever most than some bits and pieces registered highly on the ‘wow’ meter, but I had a sense that this elitist foray into what Fripp commonly refers to as ‘nuevo metal’ is too much pedestrian for my taste. To me, it somewhat alienates any connection to the older material something that Fripp obviously is content with. I realize that this is a different line up with a different background ( I mean, look, Pat Mastelotto ex-drummer of Mr. Mister? who would have thunk?) but with Belew still in activation, you would think Fripp would dug a few pieces out of the 81-84 trio of albums to at least satisfy some diehards. (harking back to my high school days) I remember hearing that Belew and Fripp were considering reviving Easy Money for an encore on this tour, but I guess it didn’t come to fruition.

 

Worming Your Way Into Kicking Some Serious Arrakis In Just Six Easy Novel Steps

17 Oct

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It’s a blog about Dune, in case all of you couldn’t figure it out.

Once upon a time, it was a science fiction novel I took out of the Lake Hiawatha Library back when I was in sixth grade that was written by Frank Herbert in 1965. This grand novel, considered at the time of its’ initial release took place on the desert planet of Arrakis and dealt with such complex themes such as religion, ecology, politics, and evolution before you’re eaten away by sandworms that dwell underneath the planet.. I re-read this novel and its’ two following sequels, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune in my junior year of high school and wrote a book report on it that garnered me a very impressive A in my English class. However, I lost interest in the whole shit and caboodle after the release of God Emperor of Dune in the summer of 1981. Tried reading Heretics of Dune after I moved to San Diego but it ended up being thrown in the trash. Once I mistook the release of Chapterhouse Dune as a roll of Charmin Bath tissue and that ended in my pile of ‘read and wipe’ as a companion reading to all the Jehovah Witness paraphernalia that used to be strewn across the lawn of my old place in Cardiff by the Sea, out in Northern San Diego County.

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On the same bathroom token, It was also a box office bomb during the holiday season of 1984, but yet I ending up seeing it two times in one day at a Loew’s Theater off on Times Square in New York as a way of saying ‘fuck you’ to critic Rex Reed. I believe “Dune” was the very last movie I saw before saying goodbye to New Jersey forever on a cross country bus trek across the US to California.

Despite my cockamamie impetuous definition of what I considered what was or what wasn’t in good taste, at least pertaining to this movie, of what was to be my first exposure to David Lynch (it took me a while to warm up to The Elephant Man, since I initially had no interest in seeing ‘art films’ while in high school) made me a lifelong fan of his work, especially Twin Peaks and was perhaps one of my main influences towards the creation of my comic book character, The Deposit Man.

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The movie also provided prominent career turns to actors such as Kyle MacLachlin as lead pending messiah and freedom fighter Paul Atreides or “Maud ‘dib” if you prefer, Future Starship Enterprise and top mutant professor Patrick Stewart as Garney Hallack, Virginia Madsen as the Princess, and a very young Alicia Witt as Paul’s sister, Alia.

Sean Young’s career? Not so much.

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I still have my copy of the comic book movie adaptation that Marvel Comics put out to promote the movie.

In this day and age of my fifty plus years, Sting’s performance as the Feyd Rathua, evil cousin underling to the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Kenneth McMillan RIP) dancing his ballet death song like a preening carnation flower is still what flashes through my mind whenever I eat Gouda cheese mixed in with my scrambled eggs and then taking a walk out into the cool crisp autumn air, only to make it to a couple of blocks and start heaving it all back out via a throat full of phlegm onto the cracked sidewalks and streets of the San Fernando Valley.

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Sy fy once revived the novel as a mini-series that proved to be more faithful to the book source, but with embellishments but cheap Italian soundstages and green screens were still no help – and to even put even further desert heat to fire – It was produced by The Hallmark Channel of all lowly people. And the combination mini-series adaptation of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were just plain forgettable with the exception of William Hurt’s turn at bat at playing the role the Duke Leto Atreides. Although the rights were required by Sy fy to adapt all of Herbert’s six novels, the last three novel were thankfully not adapted for television,

Recently I was in a Barnes and Nobles and I happened to see a marked half down blu ray edition of Lynch’s Dune, but another item alongside it caught my mélange specked eye –

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A documentary on the making of the aborted 1975 Dune movie that supposedly was to be directed by Chilean born French director Alejandro Jodorowsky before the project proved to be too costly and life threatening to film. Dino de Laurenttiis later came swooping in like a vulture and snatched the rights as if they were discarded carrion that  became the regurgitated mess that was released in time for Christmas of 1984.

Jodorowsky’s reputation carried a lot of clout – not only was he a fabled director and general practitioner of cinema verite (although sex with female midgets while on their periods was a little difficult for me to stomach in his latest autobiographical study of Endless Poetry ) and actor, but he is the absolute genesis behind the graphic novel series, The Incal and the creator of Metal Hurlant – which translated in American is commonly referred as Heavy Metal Magazine.

Unfortunately someone snagged it up from the rack that saddled next to the marked down Dune blu ray – but I shall resume the hunt for it at some point.

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A few weeks ago, I happen to catch a screening of Blade Runner 2049 directed by Denis Villeneuve who is also French. His previous credits include last year’s complex Arrival and the drug running poetic drama Sicario. Ridley Scott, producer of the sequel made the right choice for Villeneuve to direct this mesmerizing sequel of gasp in wonderment of thought provoking futurist science fiction thriller with a breathtaking twist. I was told by a fellow co-worker before the screen grew dark that Villeneuve is the contender in developing a new series of Dune movies.

And when the lights came up and the praise came rushing to my body in determining that Blade Runner 2049 could be one of the movies this year to lead the charge to the 2018 Academy Awards,  I immediately came to the conclusion and ease within myself : if there is anyone out there who could bring justice to the original Frank Herbert novels – IT’S DEFINITELY THIS FUCKING GUY.

There will always be more ground to cover when it comes to the planet Arrakis and the call of the spice (and hey, is that the B-52’sYour Own Private Duncan Idaho” I hear you playing in the background?)- but for now, we must take our leave – BUT as a bonus surprise I found in the great Cary W. Coatney Conservatory Library – the original document of my ELEVENTH GRADE BOOK REPORT for English class on the book Dune. It’s been translated from Coatneyspeak for you below. Here are pics of the actual pages.

 

Dune

By

Frank Herbert

   Dune is a another name for the desert planet Arrakis occupied by the nomadic tribe called the Freemen who worship water as a God and roam the deserts in Stillsuits which recycles body moisture. Dune is also where huge sandworms roam and produce the planet’s only natural resource called ‘melange’. This product mainly is used as a drug for long life and some of it is used to see into the future.

   Mainly the book focuses on its’ central character Paul Atreides who is the son of the late Duke Leto Atreides who is killed by his rival the Harkonnens and the CHOAM companies who run the majority of the spice (mélange) factories. The Duke happened to be the ruler of the planet Arrakis. After war broke out, Paul was forced to flee into the desert with his pregnant mother, the Lady Jessica. She was a member of the organization of religious priestess called the Bene Gesserit which was related to the study of mental arts and mind control. Paul himself had received some of his mother’s training and became the the highest rank in producing himself to be the Kwisatz Haderach, the Messiah of the Future.

   Paul made his way into the desert to become a member of the Freman Tribe where he learns to ride sandworms and assimilate to their culture. He is nicknamed “Muad Dib”, meaning a kangaroo mouse in the desert. This pledge gives Paul time to think of a strategy against the Harkonnen nobels and their Emperor Imperial. Paul also takes part in a ritual in which he takes a massive dose of drugs which enables him to foresee the full vision of the future as well as Alia, his new born sister who knows everything about her mother while she was in her womb.

   In time Paul becomes leader of the Fremen Tribe side by side with his comrades Stilgar and Chani who later bores Paul’s first son. Paul gave his fellow tribesmen a mission of mercy: seize his palace back and the city of Anakeen from the grip of Harkonnens and rule this planet from a throne. But Paul has a need for a mission for himself: to change the climate of this planet and bring water to the land with his renown powers.

   Reunited with an old friend thought dead, Gurney Hallock joins forces with Paul and his own army. They make their onslaught against the Harkonnens and their Emperor. During the battle, Alia is captured and Paul’s infant son is slain. Paul imposes a treaty, knowing he is the rightful heir to be the Duke and the city of Anakeen is turned into a power base of a star empire and later sends the Emperor to a prison planet while he marries his daughter, the Princess Iralan, but keeps her as a consort, so he can still be loyal to Chani.

   I think this book is one of the best written in this century because mixing religion, politics, ecology with science fiction is a rare and creative subject to deal with. I like stories with struggles for power, usurping thrones, long epics, etc; (Jeez I wonder why I’m not even reading any of the Game of Thrones books these days), but mostly I like the ways that the characters are handled in the book. You can imagine movie actors playing their parts and Paul is a unique character to identify with. I reread this book because I heard it was going to be made into a movie. If it is, it should be one of the best movies ever made. Of course, with a big budget you many never know, it could also turn out to be a big flop.

Cary Coatney – April 5, 1981.

Credit Mani Yarosh for the inspiration of coming up with this blog after seeing a photo of her reading a paperback copy of Dune Messiah in a empty café on her Twitter page. It’s nice to see generations share good stories that I grew up reading. My oldest niece was once assigned to read Watchmen in her high school – perhaps a retrospective needs to be jotted down about that graphic novel as well.

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” MUAD’ DIB!!”

 

 

 

Tossing Out Last Summer’s TV Super Hero Show Dinner Leftovers

26 Sep

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Have to make this bi-weekly offering short and sweet. Had a family member on my half-sister’s side of the family in Las Vegas pass away last Monday morning so I can’t expand on my preview of this fall’s comic book related genre shows as much as I would want to do.

However as a treat, I can afford you some episode titles from my database at work to tide you over until mid-October’s pulse pounding entry.

Gotham started things off last Thursday on their new night to make room on Mondays for the next Fox Marvel X-Men related shows seeing as how Legion hit all their target demos for FX. The major baddie as evidently seen on last week’s episode seems to be focused on Jonathan Crane aka The Scarecrow as Bruce embarks on a path to become a masked avenger (although the concept of naming himself Batman is a tad bit too premature much like Clark Kent first became the entity dubbed by the public as The Blur before naming himself Superman in Smallville) to take on Ra’s Al Ghul and the Court of Owls.

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Gotham Season 4

4 -1 Pax Peguina (September 21st FOX)

4-2 The Fear Reaper

4- 3 They Who Hide Behind Masks

4-4 The Demon’s Head

Unfortunately, I was one of the doofuses who got sucker punched into becoming all excited to see the premiere of the first two episodes of Marvel’s first big giant misfire into a epic major broadcast television mini-series event.

This series is so bad, that DESPITE the stupendous breathtaking IMAX camera work showcasing the entire beautiful state of Hawaii, you’ll feel so soiled that you’d immediately wish that one of Kim Jong Un’s handy dandy patented Hydrogen bombs will purge the rotten pineapple stink right out of you.

The cast sucks. There’s absolutely no chemistry between the cast members and there’s no research on how their characters should interact with each other in the comics. Gorgon doesn’t speak ghetto. There’s absolutely no martial art work displayed by Karnak until the end of episode two and even that is sloppy of Agents of SHIELD standards. The special effects of Medusa’s hair in this horrible piss poor piece of shit adaptation loosely  based on writer James Robinson and artist Jae Lee’s 1998 mini-series makes the 1994 Roger Corman’s version of the Fantastic Four movie look like a John Dykstra spectacular masterpiece. They knew the effects weren’t working, so they simply had Maximus chop off Medusa’s hair in the second episode to save any further embarrassment to the SFX department.

After you watch this you know immediately got to wonder what kind of carrot did they  dangle under Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon’s nose (Maximus) to make him participate in such a laughing joke? And alas, poor Anson Mount fresh off the Chinese railroad of Hell on Wheels, propped up in the lead as Black Bolt doesn’t have a single goddamn line of dialogue throughout. I won’t have to tune in until the third episode to find out the outcome of BB’s Honolulu jail house dilemma. Question is, will I even care? And I’ll tell you something else; after this mini-series, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD takes its’ slot over with the fifth season.  I guarantee with the low ratings this televised tragedy is generating ,you’re going to be witnessing the death knell of that series as well.

Marvel’s comic book formula just doesn’t translate well to ABC broadcast television. Netflix is where it’s at, man.

But props certainly go out to Lockjaw. It’s nice when a CGI giant dog actor can still get work five years after John Carter supposedly ruined his career.

And here’s to add insult to further fanboy genre misery – ALL the titles for each episode is lifted from every Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Fantastic Four comic book that guest starred the Inhumans.

 

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Marvel’s The Inhumans (September 29th ABC)

001 Behold the Inhumans

002 Those Who Would Destroy Us

003 Divide and Conquer

004 Make Way for Medusa

005 Something Inhuman This Way Comes

006 The Gentleman’s Name is Gorgon

007 Havoc in the Hidden Land

008 …And Finally, Black Bolt

Marvel teaming up with Fox for The Gifted will probably have better luck than ABC. Reviews for this show so far have been stellar. I didn’t know much about it until I watched the trailer a few weeks ago and found out that the X-Men team in this series is led by Thunderbird and Polaris. Fingers crossed that with Stephen Moyer’s involvement on this show that hopefully Anna Paquin might drop by and revive her Rogue character. Guess you got to tune in and find out.

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Marvel’s The Gifted (October 2nd FOX)

1-1 Exposed

1 -2 rX

1- 3 Exodus

1-4 Boxed In

1-5 Got Your Six

1- 6 Quick Fix

Lucifer comes back for a devilishly fun third season with Tom Welling coming out of Smallville mothballs as a new supporting cast member.

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Lucifer Season 3 (October 2nd FOX)

3 -1 They’re Back, Aren’t They

3-2 The One with The Baby Carrot

3-3 What Would Lucifer Do?

3-4 Welcome Back Charlotte Richards

3-5 Chloe Does Lucifer

3 -6 The Sinnerman

3- 7 The Sin Bin

3 -8 All About Her

The Greg Berlanti CW led version of the DC Universe in its’ four related shows, Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow will be joined with a reluctant fifth sibling called Black Lightning at the start of next year. The four super hero alumni shows all start the same week in October. The 4 part Thanksgiving epic extravaganza event “Crisis on Earth X” starts immediately right after the holiday.

The exciting addition to Supergirl this season will be the introduction of the Legion of Super Heroes, which definitely could work as a show concept in its own right once one of these shows is put to pasture giving its’ natural teen age soap opera appeal. But personally, I want to Berlanti to develop a show around the concept of Justice League Dark so that actor Matt Ryan can get his old job back as John Constantine who would be leading fellow dark leaguers such as Zatanna, the Phantom Stranger or Deadman to help solve occult and supernatural related mysteries week after week

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Supergirl Season 3 (October 9th The CW)

3 -1 The Girl of Steel

3 -2 Triggers

3 -3 Far From the Tree

3 -4 The Faithful

3- 5 Damage

3-6 Midvale

3 -7 Wake Up

3 -8 Greater Foes

I don’t know much with what’s going on with the new season of The Flash other than I was reading that they had cast someone to recur as the Elongated Man.

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The Flash Season 4 (October 10 The CW)

4 -1 The Flash Reborn

4 – 2 Mixed Signals

4 – 3 Luck Be A Lady

4 – 4 Elongated Journey into the Night

4 – 5 Girls Night Out

4 – 6 When Harry Met Harry

4 – 7 Therefore I Am

Legends of Tomorrow’s new season I hear is going to expand their cast with live version guest star appearances of Jack Kirby beloved 1970’s characters such as Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth and possibly OMAC, the One Man Army.

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Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 (October 10 The CW)

3 – 1 Aruba-Con

3 – 2 Freakshow

3 – 3 Zari

3 – 4 Phone Home

3 – 5 Return of the Mack

3 – 6 Helen Hunt

3 – 7 Welcome to the Jungle

3 – 8 Greater Menace (Part 4 of Crisis on Earth X)

In Arrow’s sixth season I hear that Deathstroke is coming back, along with Katie Cassidy as the Black Canary and a good actor that I used to bump into at my neighboring work area’s Starbucks‘ named Kirk Acevado  (Oz, Kingdom, Twelve Monkeys) is portraying handicapped marital arts instructor Richard Dragon. (Does that mean that Vic Sage aka The Question isn’t far behind in becoming a supporting cast member?)

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Arrow Season 6 (October 12 The CW)

6 – 1 Fallout

6 – 2 Tribute

6 – 3 Next of Kin

6 – 4 Reversal

6 – 5 Deathstroke Returns

6 – 6 Promise Kept

6 – 7 Thanksgiving

Black Lightning is the new kid on the block. It’s going to be a different type of super hero show in where the lead character is supposedly retired, but his daughters want to pick up the mantle from where he left off and become superheroes themselves.

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Black Lightning Season 1

1 – 1 Dark Matter of My Brain

1 – 2 The Morning After

1 – 3 The Apple Falls

1 – 4 Jagged Little Pill

1 – 5 Aches and Pains

1 – 6 Vengeance

1 – 7 The New Normal

Runaways is a try out to see if Marvel can work their streaming series magic on other platforms other than Netflix. Seeing as how Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale practically swept up the Emmy carpet leaving rest of the big streaming big boys to hang out to dry, perhaps Marvel’s gamble will pay off for them too. Plus geek nerdy boys and girls have been practically been begging for Buffy the Vampire Slayer alumni James Marsters to be involved with something comic book related and in here, he appears as one of the Runaways parents turned super villain – which is a occurring theme throughout the series. Super powered kids who run away from home because their all their parents are super villains.

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Runaways ( November 21st Hulu)

1- 1 Reunion

1 – 2 Rewind

I don’t understand the fuck is all the secrecy in the drop date of Netflix’s Marvel’s The Punisher. It’s fucking Thanksgiving weekend or early December. It’s disheartening to hear that Marvel’s The Defenders did not hold up to par to its’ expectations to be the streaming service highest Marvel related rated series. However, this one is guaranteed to shoot through the roof. Jon Bernthal practically shits, eats, and breathes The Punisher.

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Marvel’s The Punisher ( November 17 Netflix)

1- 1 3 AM

1 – 2 Two Dead Men

1 – 3 Kandahar

1 – 4 Resupply

1 – 5 Gunner

1 – 6 The Judas Goat

1 – 7 Crosshairs

1 – 8 Cold Steel

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1 – 10 Virtue of the Vicious

1 – 11 Danger Close

1 – 12 Home

1 – 13 Memento Mori

I know absolutely nothing that it’s premiering on TNT and that it features Adam Strange in a supporting role and revolves around Kal El’s swashbuckling scientist grandfather.

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Krypton (Early 2018 Syfy Channel)

1 – 1 Pilot

1 – 2 House of El

1 – 3 The Rankless Initiative

1 – 4 The Word of Rao

The second season of Riverside ought to garner a lot of attention due to the character of Sabrina will featured in a couple of episodes and possibly spun off into her own series. Recently, lead actor KJ Apa got into a car accident due to over exhaustion on the set that had the Screen Actor’s Guild flying immediately to investigate the working conditions on the set. Practically half the season’s episodes have already been shot over last summer.  Slow it down guys and be safe.

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Riverdale (October 11th, The CW)

2- 1 A Kiss Before Dying

2- 2 Nighthawks

2 – 3 The Watcher in the Woods

2 – 4 The Town That Dreaded Sundown

2- 5 When A Stranger Calls

2 – 6 Death Proof

2 – 7 Tales From the Darkside

2 – 8 House of the Devil

2 – 9 Silent Night, Deadly Night

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The Walking Dead – there are no episode titles released yet with the exception of Season 8 opener “Mercy” which debuts October 22nd on AMC.

I will be researching more data into the streaming service performances of Marvel’s The Defenders on Netflix and The Tick which premiered on Amazon Prime last month. Expect to see that when I do the November sweeps analysis.

Apparently with the addition of last summer’s Preacher Season 2, season 2 of Wynonna Earp, and Fear the Walking Dead’s third season. It looks as if the Comic Book genre shows are a nearly year around event. See you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Parsippany Persona Non Grata Picture Show Part II: Leap Frogging Over Lake Hiawatha

19 Sep

 

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Recently I took a week off from my usual Los Angeles cluster fuck based shenanigans to cause a week full of east coast cluster fuck based shenanigans at my old childhood hangout in Lake Hiawatha, NJ – which occurring to Wikipedia is a “unincorporated” community in Parsippany, NJ. It has his own fire department, library, post office with its’ own zip code – but nada on its’ own mayor. police department, community funding, and zero signs of a Whole Foods or Jamba Juice anywhere (which is how I love my California franchises – STUCK in CALIFORNIA). Nope, all those amenities are made possible through the kindly community auspices of Parsippany.

There’s a whole township within a township that finally acknowledges that it’s a part of Parsippany Troy-Hills. Lake Hiawatha, once regaled as the premier vacation spot back in the early 20th century in all of Northern New Jersey had its’ swamp drained to make room for a new community. But as 1920’s and 1930’s roared, the once vacation resort to such early rising New York radio stars such as Fatty Arbuckle & Fred Allen was excavated and drained out and sold off as chunks for as little as $98 for two 25 by 50 foot lots. However property became hard to sell because of frequent flooding from the Rockaway River, so dikes had to be installed, along with levies and pumps.

I’m sure it was pretty much shit and giggles after when Hurricane Irene dropped down in 2011.

Whatever remains of the good ole’ vacation spots was pretty transformed into the Knoll Country Club where my stepfather did most of his hanging out when he wasn’t bartending. According to an old New York Times article I read online, The adjacent newly reconstructed 154 unit Knoll Manor condominiums along North Beverwyck Road is supposedly the largest in the area with units selling for inbetween $150 – 180 grand (must be that beautiful Jersey City Reservoir view I’ve been hearing about). Personally on that NY Times factoid I call bullshit, because my Vail Gardens apartment where I spent most of my childhood had about 271 residents. I should know, I delivered the Pennysaver, the Today weekly newspapers from Wayne, and the Morristown Daily Record to nearly all those tenants (and to those in the neighboring Lakeview Gardens)

When I was a kid, we weren’t living within walking distance of Lake Hiawatha – we lived on the diving line between Route 46 and Interstate 287 which was the border of Lake Parsippany (and it was a real lake too!) , so it was usually a pile up in the car on weekends to do errands at the post office, drop my half sister off at dance school, and me either wasting a Saturday morning and afternoon out at little mom and pop record stores, book stores, grabbing an Italian submarine sandwich at Don’s, or picking up my weekly fix of Marvel Comics at Gould’s Stationers. My mom and stepfather couldn’t get used to the new diverse cultures ramping up their presence at my old Vail Gardens apartment complex and later found a house within earshot of Lake Hiawatha in the late 1990’s, but it still zoned as Parsippany.

As a teenager in high school, usually after all my paper routes were all done, I’d sneak a ride on my ten-speed bike to hang out with my friends, the Zullo clan: brothers Mike, Joe, and Mark at their uncle’s bent out of shape decrepit falling apart house in which their uncle made them sleep in a tool shed on Minnehaha Blvd. Thankfully, as that crappy house sunk further into a shithole, the two older brothers moved to Los Angeles and younger Mark moved into a house in Cedar Knolls with his mom and sister.

So here I am some thirty old years hitchhiking down memory lanes looking for something positive to say about my mostly east coast upbringing. Still, I wished I lived out my teenage years in Southern California, but as we walk along scenic North Beverwyck (oh yeah, Ventura Boulevard has nothing on you), I bet we can find some interesting pontificating golden nuggets to reminisce about.

This is the second Parsippany Persona non-grata picture show I posted within a year. The reason why I call them Persona non-Grata picture shows because I don’t want the majority of assholes I went to high school with to know I’m in town because they’re marble mouth Trump supporters. Not that it matters anyway, I’ve always had a derisive past with most of the people I went to school. As a child of divorced parents since before I turned a year old, I’ve always been resentful of my dad moving out west and never allowing me to live part-time or never getting to meet my half sister and half brother until I was way into my twenties. Instead I was ridiculed and smacked around by a egomaniacal stepfather. Once I was back from spending a good enough time in Southern Californian before enrolling in high school (and not successful in seeking out those of my namesake), I already had the California gene imbued inside me. I was a west coast alien trapped in a east coast world. That’s why I gravitated towards few people in my youth such as Michael and Joe Zullo (and for intents and purposes, Linda Freeman too) because I knew that they all had California ties.

Hey, so here’s your host, namely me.

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I had to use stock photography  because on the day I took this walking tour, it was 85 stinking degrees out and my hair was sticking to the point where it looked like a sweaty patch of something closely resembling a Cousin It prop from the old 1960’s classic Addams’ Family show.  Humidity sucks in the middle of August in the tri-state area and since my mom had no pool in her backyard – it became fucking insufferable and miserable.

This is Lake Hiawatha school. I attended 1st grade here because of overcrowding at my usual elementary school at Northvail School which was only a hop and a skip away. The left photo is the front of the school and the one on the right is the back of the school where I entered to go to my class room.  I can walk here from my mom’s house through a wooded path in the back.  A neighbor of mine, a Miss McNay at the old Vail Gardens apartment I used to live at was a first grade teacher there, but I wasn’t one of her students. I had to take a bus to get there and on the way to another apartment complex, Dartmouth Village was where we picked up another Northvail school refugee, a James Vigilante, who grew up to become a heavy decorated marine and the county treasurer for the town of Parsippany. Sadly I heard he had passed away a few years back.

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Towne Tavern, now here’s where all the nameless losers such as Frank Dyer and Joe Ratz who turned out to be major nemesis on my facebook page are still stuck in Parsippany, NJ performing in crappy AC/DC cover bands that management allows go up on stage and publicly embarrass themselves. It used to be called The Tally Ho. It’s been upgraded since then to accommodate more happy go luckless affable losers who have nowhere else to go after graduating Parsippany High School.

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This used to be Gould’s Stationers before the US Post Office took over the entire building. Gould’s was the go to place if you wanted all the hot Marvel Comic books in the day before direct marketing came and conquered a lot of the North Jersey newsstand business in distributing. To me, Gould’s was the grade school snot nosed kid comic book paradise. They displayed them on wall racks and were a lot more appetizing than going to Baldwin Hills Stationers. In my high school years, I was making trips to Morristown to the Superhero Store or Fat Moose Comics in the Cedar Knolls Mall for my weekly fix.

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North Beverwcyk Blvd used to boast of how many pizzerias can you eat at on one street corner within a radius of eight blocks. There used to be around ten at any given time, but other culinary delights have arrived with Indian, Mid-Eastern, and Mexican to push the others out of the way. From what I hear, this is one of the last remaining four standing pizzerias that my mom says that is best.

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Lake Hiawatha can still lay claim that it has a very big fire station for such a small town and comes equipped with a very loud siren that we usually refer as the ‘five o’clock whistle (so loud, that I could hear it as far as my old place near Route 46).

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China City Restaurant. Hopefully their eggrolls are still tasty and greasy. One bite into a giant size eggroll out one end and grease comes splattering out like projectile vomit out through the other. They’re great for sharing. Sorry, I have no recollection concerning the joyous effects of the Kung Pao.

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This building used to be known as Morelli’s Primo Italian Restaurant, supposedly the best Italian food restaurant and pizzeria in the entire town of Parsippany. Now it’s a funeral home. The owner passed away in 2001. The owner wife’s sold the joint and went to work in her daughter’s hair salon until she died three years ago.  The day I was there, apparently one of Parsippany’s finest had passed away as there was a motor blockade of flashing fire trucks and police cars. My best friends at the time Mike and Joe Zullo used to work there and they would get free pies to bring to their house down Minnehaha Blvd, Ironically, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer had once dined there en route in their limousines to their Madison Square Garden date of their 1977 Works tour and signed autographs from their back seats. Looking back on recent events, perhaps Keith Emerson and Greg Lake never truly left.

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This place was heaven for my often inebriated step-father. All the Schlitz beer cases you can carry out the door, even on a Sunday when most places were closed back then. My stepdad usually picked up two to sustain him for those heavy football weekends that I didn’t want to watch with him but was usually forced to. All I remember from those time was the constant passing in and out on the couch and waking up to yell at me to tell him the score.

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The only redeemable quality of living to ripe old age in Lake Hiawatha, NJ. Owner Steve Conti is going on 25 years and every time I visit I come in say hello and show or tell him whatever project or Deposit Man book I have just printed,  he’s just too cool of a guy to wasting life retailing in a nowhere town such as Parsippany.  He’s a very knowledgeable guy in keeping up with the retailer trends. We had a conversation about how all this Marvel’s obsession with gender bending and diversity is hurting the industry and doesn’t give a frig about how many Doctor Who photo cover incentives that Titan books needs to sell to get customers in stores. Steve works on his own independent comic book when his is not operating his store. HOWEVER this is what gnaws about this whole scenario- you wait and open a comic book specialty store near my mom’s house ten years after I move out to California? Genius plan.

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Steve Conti’s small press book, Action Figure Kingdom. He has written, drawn, and self published ten or so issues of this series.

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Here’s a little known fact: not many people ever caught on to the notion that Dr. Stephen Strange keeps a summer home in Lake Hiawatha, NJ.

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The Lake Hiawatha Library is still here. For as long as I can remember, I checked out many Doc Savage paperbacks (Fortress of Solitude and Resurrection Day being in the forefront of my memory) Once checked out a cassette tape of Yes’ Going For the One back when I was thirteen and remembering not being very impressed with it – but yet when the fall of 1978 rolled along I was like the first one at the record store to pick up that late summer’s Tormato, MOST likely influenced by the previous summer spent in Laguna Beach, California locked in my aunt Megan’s cottage listening endlessly to Tales and Topographic Oceans and Relayer tokening on her neighbor’s roaches. Evidentally Going for the One grew on me in my developing high school years. Science fiction books by authors such as Robert Heinlein, Robert Silverberg, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Ray Bradbury were also consumed from here.

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This place cracks me up. This used to be my bank where I used to have thousands and thousands of dollars stored (of which my stepdad would break into, forge my mom’s signature and take out a few bucks to bet on ponies at the Meadowland race track) that my grandfather had put away for college PLUS money I had saved up from my many paper routes. I remember when this place was first built heralding the age of the 1970’s modern art deco design. But now the place looks stupid and outdated and is dire need of remodeling.

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Before I get to the gathering of family, I was fortunate enough to stick to the original plan of checking out Anathema’s gig held at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre in the Chelsea district (for nostalgia’s sake, rather than taking the subway, I walked all the entire way from New York’s Port Authority to the venue – because when I was a teenager, I USED TO WALK everywhere in Manhattan rather than take the stinky subway) in support of their newest album, The Optimist. There were no west coast dates planned, so I didn’t want to miss out on the celebration, having not seen them since 2012 at Los Angeles’s El Rey Theater in support of “Weather Systems”. A band hailing from Big Bear, California opened up named Silver Snakes.

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The Gramercy Theater has been around since 1937 and has been refurbished by Live Nation who is headquartered in Hollywood, California. They also took over management of the Irving Plaza too. This is my first ever visit of the venue.

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Songwriter/lead vocalist and guitarist Vincent Cavanagh

I took lots of photos of the band and even some videos of songs they performed from the new album including new single “Can’t Let Go” and “Endless Ways” – but silly me, I’ve been unsuccessful in uploading it to here and to my facebook page. So I guess we’re all fucked once again because of my wi-fi tech ineptitude.

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Female co-lead vocalist Lee Douglas. I previously wrote about Lee and Anathema in these pair of  blog entries focusing on my current favorite female lead vocalists on Kscope Music and a profile and overview of the new album here.

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Daniel Cavanagh bassist/songwriter/vocalist- Note: Daniel will be releasing his first solo record. Monochrome in mid-October on the mighty K-Scope Music Label. The first single, The Exorcist is up on youtube now.

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The band in depth defying action. Just before posting, I’ve learned that the band won for album of the year for “The Optimist” a few nights ago. Congrats to a job well done. I don’t doubt that they’ll be back for a encore visit throughout the US sometime next year with stopovers in cities all along the West Coast.

Here is the official video for the single “Can’t Let Go”. This ought be a toptapping extravaganza experience for some of you. It was all shot along the great freeways of Southern California.

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Of course, if you’re staying at my mom’s house, choirs are inevitable – NO matter if you’re still pushing 53. One inescapable gig that must be performed is walking Bebe the Dog. Bebe is up to 9 years of existing as a quad ped on our mortal plane of existence. She’ll perhaps takse a shit one day, sometimes if you’re lucky, up to four times, if you luck out and run out of garbage bags to pick up after her and allow her to just shit on a neighbor – it’s probably in your best interest to run like hell before someone sees you.

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Anna’s stays at my mom’s house as a roommate, student, and sometimes assists my mom with cooking  Anna is from Romania and has gotten a lot better with her reading and speaking English since I last saw her.

Not to mention a great swagger as you’re watching her walk up the stairs in yoga pants.

I told her next time if I come out, I’ll shop to bring her all the best trinkets in Hollywood.

Or least the ones I find in a local souvenir shop for a couple of bucks here and there

Speaking of shopping….

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My mom went shopping at the local Rockaway Mall for one of her grandkids’ birthday. I got a brand new belt out of it, since my belt suffered a mishap of late, it’s no longer able to sustain my girlish 34 waist girth that somehow has snapped up another two inches to 36.

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My half sister Bernadette is approaching the half century mark and she looks a hell of a lot healthier and more fit than some of the girls I currently drool at jogging up and down the bike path along Venice Beach. My mom says she goes out on a two mile run every freaking morning without fail.

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No, Daniel Cavanagh didn’t mistakenly join us for dinner. Here is my brother-in-law on the East Coast, Peter. The great gazoo of Bernadette’s clan. Unknown to Peter he doesn’t know authors several pro Trump e-books. No wonder he’s usually strapped for cash these days. No one pays money to read that nonsense.

The young cubs on top are nephews Ty and Shea (the later of whom I’m busy researching a good agent on the east coast to help represent him in commercial acting and modeling gigs), are named after a famous baseball player and a stadium out in Queens where I hear this wacky team of lady guys who call themselves the Mets play. On the bottom is my niece Blaise and big nephew Aldo, whose recent graduation from school we were celebrating. These pictures were taken at some Japanese steak house along Route 46 in Denville NJ.

That’s it for the my east coast clan.

Next week, TV Fall season begins and there’s a shitload of comic book super hero shows to shuffle through and preview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Old Rusty Iron Giant Movie Review Dug Up From 1999

31 Aug

 

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What a crap week, I’ve had. First off, this last Sunday I was selecting photos originally meant for this week’s posting, which would’ve focused on my recent sojourn back to Parsippany New Jersey to hang out a few days with my mom, my half sister Bernadette and her tribe, my night seeing Anathema perform at the Gramercy Theater in New York City and a walk through memory lane down in Lake Hiawatha, NJ – then I came down with a fucking cold that knocked me out of work for two days. So I had no time to write out the way of how I was going to navigate you through the pictures, I sadly also had to miss Yes with special guests Carl Palmer and Todd Rundgren playing last Tuesday night at the Microsoft Theater here in LA. Hopefully I’ll gather the strength in time to check the IMAX presentation of the Inhumans this Labor Day Weekend. So in the meantime, here’s a little trip down my memory lane of movies in 1999- the Iron Giant portion was printed in Comics Buyer’s Guide, the rest of the meandering missive about other movies was jettisoned, but through the magic of my Yahoo mail account Draft section is restored in its; pristine glory is seen here for the first time in all its’ unedited glory.

Now in 2017, The Red Turtle is now the animated movie that currently tugs at my heartstrings – but that shall be another analysis for another time. I recently watched The Iron Giant on blu ray, and it still holds spectacularly after eighteen years since its’ debut.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the summer blockbusters sucking my wallet dry. Boy, we haven’t had that Coatney lad comment on any movies in a long, long while, maybe that’s because nobody been inviting him to any advance screenings lately ! Studios: If you want ass kissing reviews of your films- you gotta send me passes. I’m in Hollywood, man !

      So far, it has been a mostly impressionable turnout for the heat wave of Hollywood escapism. The only dud that I can ascertain is the preposterous premise of an African- American secret government agent raised by Apaches in the Wild Wild West besides being boggled down by a nonsense script with Tim Burton/ Batman borrowed motifs. Will Smith and Barry Schonfield would have more creditability if they went for an adaption of The Man of U.N.C.L.E. The after screening party in Westwood had better production values.
    Star Wars: Episode One- The Phantom Menace–  appealing eye candy as it was, lacked the heart and the panache of the first trilogy and only had one choked up scene of when Anakin Skywalker leaves his mom on that slave camp promising to come back for her. And hey, if you browsed at the back cover of the soundtrack, you would have found out what happens in the end of the movie- you didn’t even need to bother with Harry Knowles’ Ain’t- It- Cool- News website– the record industry had done it for you.
  Tarzan was nearly as close as a perfect animated movie that almost made me choke on my sissy-eyed tears. I don’t know if it was Disney’s almost faithful adaptation of the Burrough’s classic, the stupendous breathtaking animation, or Phil Collins being a total sold out, distancing himself even  further away from his  former bandmates, Genesis. Then again, I’m probably the only sane individual alive who thinks the new singer in Genesis is better than Collins. But I’m not here to spout about Phil.
  South Park was the number one booger flick to flick, with hilarity abound to land you in the pyscho ward. Brilliant, but crudely animated. I can’t wait to own it on video.
  However,  some little number  I caught last Sunday night usurped the crown hands down. The film is titled, The Iron Giant, and it’s not a knock-off of Gigantor or Big Guy and Rusty, the Boy Robot. But- it is a definite must see. It’s a new animated film from those sometime geniuses from Warner Bros;( see my comments on Wild Wild West above ) who I would drop and give twenty licks on a toilet seat for have finally created the ultimate film that every comic book aficionado should  immediately run out and see . Go ahead. Move it. Right now. I’ll wait. It should be out by the time you read this. I’ll just kick back here with a Mickey’s Big Mouth and read the works of Daudet ( Hmmm, I wonder what Tarantino is up to now ? )  until you get back. I only want to see if your jaw actually hangs off your knees. Told you, it wasn’t Gigantor.
    Okay,  Let’s talk a little about the Iron Giant- and I’ll have to say if you want to see a summer animated film without breaking into a song and dance, leaves you with an optimistic gut reaction of the human condition without the lingering antacid aftertaste and yet still manges to prove itself to be all ages safe ( even though it’s still rated PG-13- but in the goofy Phantom, Menace kind of way )  and  less acerbic than those others mentioned above- then this is the film to beat, hands down.
    Warner Bros has struck gold with the Iron Giant, almost making us forget the bad taste left from earlier efforts of Quest for Camelot and The King and I. They jumped on the Disney Snowball Express and found themselves hurled off the speeding train. All they had simply do is invent their own genre- look back at the success of what they’ve been doing in television animation with Batman, Superman, and Animaniacs and expand. What Disney ( with the sole  exception of Tarzan ) lack and what Warner Bros gains is solid clear and concise storytelling without being jerked  into a silly musical setting. It is in the running of an animated film that exits the extinguishing  years  of the twentieth-century with a tingley feeling.
    The Iron Giant takes most of its elements  from a story based on the book, the Iron Man  by british poet laureate Ted Hughes which incidentally, was also the basis of a concept album and a stage musical done by Pete Townshend (which premiered in La Jolla, Ca) with various guest performers a decade ago  So, it’s  more than a inky-dink coincidence that Townshend serves as one of the executive producers on this film.
    The Iron Giant takes on dimension like a Will Eisner graphic novel come to life. Characters that run the gamut of the three demensional reign of emotion and verbally expressive in rapid fire sequences. And even if you’re a Will Eisner fan- you owe it to yourself just for the nod of acknowledgment that is a paid tribute to the grand master of graphic novels during the first half of the film along combined with a certain homage to a neverending defender of truth, justice, and the American Way.
    Brad Bird, ( partnered with Tim McCanlies ) is a practiced alumni of the Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Dog animated shows adapted Hughes’ children’s book to the screen. Whereas the lamented Hughes’  version has a little boy simply befriending a giant rising from the ocean; Bird has opt to spin a 1957 cold war twist in Maine.  The robot, who is nothing more than a weapon with a soul drops in from outer space and is rescued from a certain power plant overload by a fatherless and imaginative boy named Hogarth Hughes ( maybe an intentional amalgam between Burne Hogarth and Ted Hughes ? ) who has to hide the iron giant from the trivial horrors of governmental forced paranoia and townsfolk fear.
  It has been said that the inspirations for the character design came from the voices themselves. Jennifer Aniston plays Hogarth’s waitress mother, Annie. young stage performer, Eli Marienthal, portrays an eccentric Hogarth, Christopher MacDonald gives a chilling performance as the hunt them down, seek and destroy government investigator, Kent Mensky, who infiltrates Hogarth’s secret by moving in as a boarder in Annie’s house. Harry Connick Jr. delivers a nostalgic tribute to all beatniks everywhere as the junk artist/ espresso enthusiast, Dean McCopper. And of course, with mechanical voice enhancements as the beaver…whoops, I meant to say.. the Iron Giant is Vin Diesel.
    Memorable moments include detachment of metal limbs that can reassemble itself on to its’ host. One amusing scene has Hogarth trying to conceal the presence of a runaway robot hand running rampant through the house from his unsuspecting mother. The Iron Giant doing cannonballs and munching on compacted cars in a junkyard. The ending does kind of intense for the under 7 ‘s in the house when the Iron Giant runs amok and realizes what his true purpose for his existence is for- but it all resolves peacefully and everyone will be happy, cheering and clapping for its undearing charisma by the time you’re ready to leave the theater.
  Go see The Iron Giant- you’ll hate yourself in the morning if you don’t.
  And for the Vertigo or alternative crowd who enjoy the catheterization of a mind numbing psychosis fix like the force of a blunt object to the head, there is
The Blair Witch Project. A low budget mockumentary guaranteed to make your psycho analyst happy after you book a month of appointments with him. Read the Oni comic. Run, Lola, Run ought to appeal to the sensibilities of those who enjoyed Grant Morrison’s Kill Your Boyfriend. Both films should be playing at your local movie art-house, unless you’re stuck living in Nebraska.

No John Payne, No Asia Gain

12 Aug
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A couple of weeks ago, I saw John Payne who used to play in THE ORIGINAL BAND Asia for a while until his notable contributions came to a crashing halt when original singer and bassist John Wetton got back together with original keyboardist Geoff Downes to resuscitate THE ORIGINAL BAND Asia to give it a second chance at life.
However it looked as if John Payne hadn’t recognized me when the few times we used to hang out fifteen or so year sago through the auspices of out mutual friend Christina Holtz, who used to published crapload of interviews with progressive rock dignitaries before internet and social media became the all around chic thing in a newsletter called the Music News Network.
When Wetton and the company went their separate ways after the disappointment in sales for the band’s third album, Payne was recruited by Downes before he could join Electric Light Orchestra to forge the band ahead for the next five studio albums (plus two albums of unreleased demos that were originally thought destroyed in a studio flood, a soundtrack for an interactive game, and a multitude of bootlegged live shows) in entirely new creative uncommercial direction that somewhat rubbed off on Wetton both socially and politically when the original guys got back together to record four albums from 2007 to 2014 on such songs as “Parallel Worlds”, “Holy War”, “Bury Me in Willow”&  “Nyctophobia” to sort up follow-up the somewhat political direction that Payne’s such as the 2004 title track to “Silent Nation” and “Free” from 2001’s previous album, Aura.

Payne brought a lot to the table to Asia on five fantastic albums, Aqua, Aria, Arena, Aura, and Silent Nation – the latter having broken the pattern of titles that begin and end with the letter A. On Aria, John Payne dedicated a song to his father called “Military Man” who served in the Royal Army. The above video is my personal favorite from the Aura album “Wherever You Are“. Payne and I once had a few drinks after a show they did at The Whisky a-Go-Go in West Hollywood and he confided in me that they lyrics were particularly tough for him to write because he was going through a lot of personal stuff and fending off demons. Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade joined Asia for their last two major US tours and you can see him in the video.
After his long stint in Asia, Payne teamed up with guitarist Guthrie Govan (formerly of Asia too) and drummer Jay Schellen (Circa) to form GPS. They recorded one album called Window to the Soul with Spock’s Beard Ryo Okumoto guest starring on keyboards. If any of the material from the album was performed, it was performed on any one of John’s John Payne’s Asia Featuring John Payne summer tours with Rocket Scientist keyboard wizard Erik Norlander. GPS’s label, InsideOut Music claims that GPS was contracted to deliver three albums, but the band was shortly dissolved after the release of it’s only single album. Last I heard, John Payne moved to Las Vegas to help produce a rock and rock styled rock musical called “Raiding the Rock Vault with a revolving door of a who’s who of rock and progressive rock legendary dignitaries (even Yes’ Jon Anderson stopped by for a stint) formerly at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. But after that show closed, he’s built a private studio in the Las Vegas area where he works on projects for him and close friends.
You can catch John touring as part of the Rockpack tour for the remainder of the summer along with former Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm and former Journey singer Steve Augeri, and former Toto lead singer Bobby Kimball. They’ll all be under the stars in Sandy Utah this upcoming August 18th.
A bonus treat: Here’s a review of two Border storre appearances in the Los Angeles area bakc in the fall of 2004.
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Hanging out with John Payne at a Spock’s Beard show somewhere in West Hollywood 2006.
ASIA AT THE BORDERS
 

By Cary Coatney

One of my favorite all time closet bands (the kind of band you don’t dare admit to liking past the age of forty due to the retaliation of mullet haircuts and parachute pants jokes) embarked on a two week tour of Border’s Books and Music stores all across the US that was both intimate and unique. I was fortunate enough to catch a couple of the shows due to that they were within a reasonable travel distance from my place of residence. Earlier this year, Yes did a familiar type of event at a Tower Records that was within a two block walking distance from my house, but there were some unforeseen circumstances that made that event a little bit too much of a media blitzkrieg with all the waiting on line to get a wristband, the mandatory cash or credit plunk down for a new CD and DVD, and wind up with nothing but perhaps a fifteen second chat with each member- but alas, with John Payne and Geoff Downes of Asia, you could have a sit down and chat about the weather, Quiznos oven baked sandwiches, or who they think is going to win the November US presidential election until they got bored with you and sent you away.

The first show in Westwood or the West Los Angeles area which took place on a Friday night, was surprisingly sparsely attended by as few as twenty-five fans (but they had a nice little stage to perform on) with a few lookee-loos here and there peeking over the coffee bar to ascertain who was responsible for all the racket as opposed to the smaller and more crowded coffee bar area that followed on the next night in my hometown of Sherman Oaks, Ca ( approximately more than sixty heads were counted). If I owned some wheels, I would probably would have followed them up the coast to Santa Barbera for the next afternoon show.

From what Geoff Downes sermon to the audience at some point during the performance, he stated that the purpose of this chummy little cozy get-together was not only to promote or make aware of the newly released Silent Nation album (on that fabulous Insideout Music label), but to sort of demonstrate or ruminate to attendees of what goes into a songwriting process. If one can follow along with the bare bone essentials of how all the ingredients fall in place into what goes into a song, the better in the appreciation of listening to it- at least that’s what I tried to rationalize from what Geoff was trying to say after they finished playing Wildest Dreams on nothing but a Korg Triton keyboard and a Spanish guitar before launching into the current single, ‘What About Love’ off the new album.

John Payne revealed a few secrets of what inspired him to write the new material. The lyrics to the new single, Long Way From Home reflected on John’s feelings on traveling abroad to record the new album from all the way from Wales to Burbank, California and the origin behind the title track from the new album dealt with a Howard Stern rant on the eroding of America’s civil liberties by evidence of the FCC crackdown of radio shock jocks across the nation that John just happened to be tuned into whilst between tour stops during the last time they were toured America (Janet Jackson’s much talked about wardrobe malfunction during last year’s Super Bowl halftime didn’t help matters either).

The little bits of monologue in between numbers wasn’t all that adroitly somber. Both Downes and Payne had some lighthearted moments as if they were channeling the spirits of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (or was it the Smother Brothers?) , especially when it came to telling amusing jokes & stories about Steve Howe since John Payne was fortunate enough to tour with the guitar legend when he first joined the band for the Aqua album. I never did quite get the punchline to the ‘how many Steve Howes does it take to screw in a guitar string? – are you sure you even want to be in the same room with them?’ John P also pondered on whether John Wetton was actually thinking of Steve Howe when he wrote the line in Wildest Dreams, ‘they recommended euthanasia for non-conformers everywhere.’ And the mystery still remains unsolved to this very day- did the hair band, Europe actually swipe Geoff Downes’ opening synth motif for ‘Only Time Will Tell’ for their hit single, “the Final Countdown’? Even Jon Anderson wasn’t immune from their schick- they made a playful jab on maestro Anderson’s Alzheimer antics based on accounts heard from their collaborator, Billy Sherwood on a couple of tracks of the new album about how Jon would keep getting his name confused with Bobby Sherman – leading to the dedication to him in ‘Ghost in the Mirror’, one of my favorite tracks off the new album.

For those crowd pleaser seeking late seventies retribution got their wish when Geoff did took off on his little medley of ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ from which I understand that Geoff will be performing with his one time Buggles partner Trevor Horn for a benefit in his honor sometime in England next month. The new material was just as well received as the old stalwart hits judging from the audience reaction. Hearing the striped down versions of ‘Wildest Dreams’ and ‘The Heat Goes On’ had my mind floating in orbit back to those nostalgic times of innocence of rigorous pain-in-the-ass piano instructors or heated moments when I would hide with my Asia and Alpha sheet music in between recitals of Bach or Mozart or transcription assignments for Music Theory classes back in high school just for a little dose of sanity – so it was fun to hear these ‘low carb’ versions over the course of the two nights and from what I could see from over Geoff’s shoulder, the visualization of seeing him displaying his chops up close and personal- there is indeed a lot of argumentative thought that goes into the execution of these simple ‘pop’ songs.

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It was a shame that drummer Chris Slade hasn’t mastered the skill of figuring out a map of the Los Angeles area yet- otherwise, I would’ve gotten three autographs on the new album for the price of two. I’ll be anxious for Geoff and John to be bringing the full band back for a ‘real’ album tour sometime in April of next year.

Setlist: (both nights, October 14 and 15, 2004)

Wildest Dreams
What About Love?
Long Way From Home
Heat Goes On
Silent Nation
Only Time Will Tell
Ghost in the Mirror
Video Killed the Radio Star
Heat of the Moment