YES LOG SUPPLEMENTAL Late 2016 SIDE A: As Another ARW Mystery Closes…

30 Nov

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I can imagine Chris Squire projecting in an astral voice inside Jon Anderson’s head saying:

“You’re bloody at it again. Didn’t you learn anything the first time with ABWH?”

Apparently not.

If you’re in the mood for nostalgia circa 1989, then ARW  (Anderson, Rabin, & Wakeman) will indeed fill the void left over waiting for that second ABWH (Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, & Howe) album that will never arrive.

Not THAT these legendary musical stalwarts have any new material to display, but the combination of merging two different Yes camps into one as was attempted in the last Union tour back in 1991 was only half the battle. And if you remember, public opinion historically stated: too much progressive rock chefs were left to spoil the broth. Two guitar players, two keyboard players, and two drummers fought for ego supremacy, and therefore the experiment went all disheveled and the result of it all accumulated into another long-winded hiatus, until the West Coast faction of the band would return with 1994’s Talk.

Now in 2016 we now find ourselves condensed to one representative from the classic seventies era and one from the so-called ‘modern era’ of the eighties, you get to hear arrangements that are more concise rather than jumbled together by eight egomaniacal fighting for his solo to push the faders up on the soundboard. It’s a treat to hear Rick Wakeman’s interpretations of the 90125 and Big Generator era as much as it is to hear Rabin put his spin on some very few Yes classics such as “Perpetual Change” and “Awaken“.

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Who could ever imagine that Rick Wakeman and Trevor Rabin could work so well together? But then again, the evidence was always there since they both collaborated on a song for Rick’s 1999 sequel to “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” aptly titled “Return to the Centre of the Earth” on a song entitled ‘Never is a Long, Long Time.”, but to go full-out on reimagining some of the classic Yes material from the each of their respective eras and amalgamate it into one cohesive unit? Well, that is the magic of ARW.

Only problem is, there was no time to assemble or preview any new material. as all the three have done is contribute bits and pieces of song ideas which according to Anderson, ‘sound unique’ and Rabin has concurred that rather than frustrate themselves into learning to performing new material, rearranging the old material to sound fresh and topical was top priority. And definitely truer words were never spoken, as witnessed on the evening of November 19th as I sojourned northeast from my usual stomping grounds of Los Angeles (unfortunately their show booked for the Orpheum was on a ‘school night’ aka work day) to a fun weekend of reuniting with the only Parsippany NJ High School Alumni member that I only speak with to this day, Michael Zullo and I were instantly stupefied in awe at their appearance at the Pearl Theater located within the casino cavernous confines of The Palms.

The seventies to eighties kept flipping back and forth like calling a coin heads or tails, as the set was constantly unpredictable (unless you peeked online at the set list early), as Trevor gave his guitar twist on several numbers I never heard him perform before such as “Perpetual Change” or the hallmark “Awaken“, but it was Wakeman who really outshone on the 80’s Rabin material, especially on “Hold On“, “Changes” and bringing the house down with a dazzling synthesizer solo tacked on to the tail end of  “Rhythm of Love” that expanded a little above and beyond the Brian Love/Beach Boys homage.

Joining as side members were bassist Lee Pomeroy who gave it his all for a tribute to the late great Chris Squire on “Long Distance Runaround/The Fish” and drummer Lou Molino III, longtime friend of Rabin and former member of another Yes offshoot band, Yoso with Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye was equally impressive.

Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman perform at Hard Rock Live held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The only real non-Yes song performed that evening was the tear inducing “The Meeting” a duet between Anderson and Wakeman that originally closed the first half of the only ABWH album. I had brought a date with me of whom I’ve been friends with on facebook for six years and I had just happen to have glanced to her in the seat next to me during this performance to be delighted to see tears of happiness well up in her eyes.

There’s always a first time for every thing and exposing someone generally a decade younger or two to something you’ve grown up to is perhaps the most gratifying thing in ones’ way. It’s a way of passing the baton as I’m sure it was the way it was with Chris mentoring Billy to take hold of the Yes reins before the inevitable caught up with him. At the end of the show, I outlined to my date, a basic history and discography of the band of where she could find the songs that she enjoyed, EVEN revealing to her that the new leader of the official Yes Camp back in LA, Billy Sherwood was born and raised up in Las Vegas and comes from a long line of legendary local Las Vegas Strip performers. My date was particularly impressed and remarked about how a singer such as Jon Anderson, rocking it out at the age of 72 can still sound and look so youthful and appear vibrant.

Now, if I happen to post this on November 30th, please note that if you’re in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, ARW, An Evening of Yes Music and More will be appearing at The Grove in Anaheim on December 2nd that ends the US portion of the 2016 tour. When I got back to LA that weekend from Las Vegas, KABC AM radio host Peter Tilden (also a television writer, most recently on an episode of The Simpsons) was talking heavily about the band while announcing that he giving away tickets for the Anaheim, referred to them as ‘the real deal’ and ‘that you can’t beat seeing the original singer, Jon Anderson up on stage’ which is great praise indeed, but then he went on to refer to the current band with Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, and Alan White and labeled them as a bunch of imposters.

Which is absolutely not true at all.

There’s been a lot of back and forth on social media of some harsh backlash on whether Yes should just disband completely because anchorman Chris Squire passed away and the spark is gone of showcasing any new material and variations on the album series has left considerable voids in the hearts of the diehards.

Remember what happened the last time Yes released a new album called “Heaven & Earth“:

The fucking audience didn’t want to hear it. The tour two years back in support of it only yielded two songs while the rest of the show bookended entire album performances of “Close to the Edge” & “Fragile“.

So as I was listening to Peter berate the current line-up on AM radio of all formats to stand upon a soapbox, I was reminded of a social media controversy that ignited on Prog Magazine’s facebook page a few months back by a Dom Lawson, who’s usually a stanch supporter of everything that Yes releases as evident by his own website Tales From the Edge or on the band’s main website itself (and I believe he’s written a few books on the band too).

But now that time has somewhat passed since Squire’s shift off the mortal coil, Lawson has been given both camps a tremendous shellacking and here are some italicized bits and pieces to paraphrase:

The problem is that the current Yes lineup (after the passing of Squire)  comprises no one’s idea of a classic or even particularly credible formation for the band. Steve Howe’s presence ensures that the whole thing isn’t a dishonest farce, but even he isn’t an original member. Surely the last nail in the coffin for the notion that this is actually Yes, rather than a well-intended tribute by ‘Steve Howe and pals’.

Yes, this band have had an absolutely insane number of lineup changes and purposeful reinventions over the last 40 years or so, but Squire was omnipresent and his absence has forced Yes into uncharted territory. They’re gamely keeping the flag flying onstage, but is there any real enthusiasm for this lineup to make new music? It seems unlikely.”

Well, let’s be clear on one time: There was a long hiatus of non-activity in Squire’s homestretch. If we all remember correctly, There was hardly any new material belted out by Yes for an ENTIRE DECADE between 2001’s Magnification & 2011’s Fly From Here, other than a greatest hits collection featuring a EP disc of new acoustic renditions of Fragile era songs and one new Dylanesque song entitled “Show Me” which unfortunately served as Jon Anderson’s swan song to the band, AND a live box set. The now Sherwood led band has been in this sort of ‘album series limbo’ ever since the last few tours with Anderson, pausing only to promote the heck out of “Fly From Here” was released with Huey Lewis look-a-like Benoit David on vocals and Oliver Wakeman taking on daddy’s role back in 2010-2011. During that interval of non writing activity, IF there was any new material being written, Squire would usually hand it off to Billy Sherwood for an outside album pow wow get together with some other prog greats willing to collaborate on a giant concept album or sending them off as e-mail files to Steve Hackett for a solo album project or the duo that they formed as Squackett.

Yes are unequivocally on the home straight at this point. It would be unfair to begrudge these musicians a steady income, of course, but does it need to be earned under a banner that no longer seems appropriate.

Meanwhile, Yes fans are readying themselves for the launch of ARW, a much-anticipated collaboration between Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman. Keen observers of the band’s frantic revolving personnel door will know that this trio did perform together on the Union tour in 1990, but that they have never joined forces on a Yes studio project. As a result, the new(ish) band’s claims to be “the definitive Yes lineup” are nothing short of ludicrous, and yet it’s hard to deny that by most sensible reckoning, any band featuring the man who sang on every one of Yes’ most revered records and the keyboard maestro that most diehards regard as the Yes ivory-tinkler – not to mention a quintessential prog icon – is going to effortlessly, and rightly, overshadow the rabble of hired hands and stand-ins currently performing under the Yes banner.

I don’t remember reading anywhere about ARW as referred to being the ‘definitive Yes line-up’ but I do have memories of whether I heard either Anderson or Squire usher their thoughts for the future for the band whether it be on the Yesspeak DVD from a decade back or the Yesstory 1991 VHS tape that Yes is the kind of band that would forge on with new members and offspring, of whomever wants to take over the mantle and wasn’t Oliver Wakeman, the youngest son of Rick who stepped up to the high-rise multi-keyboard plate to try to prove himself worthy of his musical inheritance?

Well, maybe the rest of the band were underwhelmed in the long run with Oliver, BUT AT LEAST, a  spawn generated by a revered band member actually ACHIEVED a writing credit (“Into the Storm” on the “Fly From Here” album)  amongst the pantheon of greatness.

When and if Sherwood ever gets the current line-up to develop new material, Sherwood will be at the helm and I’m sure with Howe on his side showing no signs of slowing down, writing wise that is, he’ll make the Squire legacy proud.

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Speaking of developers of new materials, Jon Anderson has not been resting on his laurels. In addition to last year’s fantastic collaboration with legendary violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, for APB, Anderson also spent a good two years writing online with The Flower Kings maestro, Roine Stolt (who also tours as a member of Steve Hackett’s band) after bumping into each other on a progressive rock cruise. And from that fateful meeting, we are now pleased as progressive rock punch to have a masterful sounding new disc that is the perfect seasoned blend of The Flower Kings and the best of whatever solo workings that Jon Anderson has spent his entire career bringing us. There are echos of Jon’s earliest solo ventures such as Olias of Sunhillow, the South American and calypso exploration of Deseo, and most definitely some monumental Jon & Vangelis inspired beauty.

Anderson wrote the lyrics and sang the vocals from his San Luis Obispo California home and e-mailed them off to Stolt in Sweden where he was also joined in the studio by some FK alumni such as Jonas Reingold on bass & drummer Felix Lehrmann on drums, and flying in all the way over from New Jersey, 2001’s Magnification tour session keyboardist Tom Brislin, somewhat finding himself once again entrenched in the battle of Yes Camps.

tombrislin_keys Oh no, not this guy again!!

Honestly, it’s a wonderful album of brand new Anderson Yes inspired music, and I’m sure many die-hard Yes fans will come to regard it as official canon or a malformed bastard child be tossed away like “Heaven & Earth.”

This Yes Log is to be continued with a very, very, very, special Yes yuletide special edition of material pertaining to YES that you will NOT HAVE SEEN ANYWHERE ELSE. There will be two collaborators on the blog with me next week to present something that many of you may not have seen before. So on December 15th (ish) come with us once again to the YES WAY BACK MACHINE to 1994 for a surprise treat that I can hardly wait to show all of you.

 

 

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The Songs of Harry Perzigian

15 Nov

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November 15th probably would have been a milestone for the best friend I ever made in the Los Angeles area by the name of Harry Perzigian. If alive, he’d most likely be turning 60 or 61 this year.

Now I know that name comes with a ton of stigmata, since it was rumored that at one time he was a big time drug dealers to the ‘stars’ of Brentwood (hey, wanna know why Dean Cain & Linda Hamilton still look so young after all these years?)  that resulted in the suicide of Carroll O’ Connor’s son, Hugh Connor that sent Harry up the river to the LA City Jail for a couple of months. BUT I reiterate once more, that you can’t blame a quote unquote ‘drug dealer’ for the suicide death of someone, if that person wasn’t the one who put the fucking gun in his hand.

And since when does anyone try to pay a drug dealer with a personal check??

A lot of commenters came by to leave their unfounded vehemence for my best friend, even after his own death, AS IF THEY HAD A PERSONAL HORSE in the race. But don’t worry, you snarkers had already won.

The media doesn’t give a shit about Harry Perzigian self demise. Nor do they acknowledge that Harry was a truly gifted songwriter.

It’s a non-story. So why do complete unknown Hugh O’Connor fans  still, after twenty years beat themselves up over it? Harry was not the one who the gun in Hugh’s mouth. Hugh O’Connor was the one who put the gun in his own mouth, and Carroll O’Connor was just a shit bird of a father who could not own up to his own responsibility.

But for those who are interested and who regarded him as a generous kind person (Harry Perzigian fronted me a $1,000.00 loan for a lawyer to pitch my proposed 4 issue comic book event mini-series based on the Genesis album “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” to Genesis manager Tony Smith and keyboardist Tony Banks of which I generously paid him back for days before he died. The hundred dollar bills that the police found in his wallet on the day I found him choking on his blood and bile? I put them in there while he was on his deathbed) I offer in this special birthday celebratory entry, the very little unknown creative side focusing on the successful songs that Harry wrote and collaborated with over the years.

When Harry’s ex-girlfriends, friends, daughter, & grandsons flying in from Australia decided to hold a personal service after the family had their service for him out in Chicago, one of his ex’s and I embarked on the task of going through 50 tapes and CDs of Harry’s performances and songs that Harry had written & collaborated with over a thirty year period with a roster including  John Wetton, Bobby Kimball (formerly of Toto), Pretty Boy Floyd, & Quiet Riot’s Kevin DuBrow (who was once Harry’s roommate and according to Harry, would ‘jerk off’ from up to six to seven times a day in his shower. And the hair was fake too). Harry also struck up great friendships with two major musicians who are no longer with us: Emerson, Lake, & Powell and Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell & Foreigner touring keyboardist John Purdell who’s very first band was with Harry formed in Canoga Park.

Here was Harry’s biggest hit with the band Vixen.

Vixen was one of the first all girl heavy metal bands from the 1990 glam metal scene in Los Angeles, California. Most the band is still active today with the exception of founding member Jan Kuehnemund, who passed away in October 2013 of cancer (I don’t believe Harry ever knew of her passing). Harry’s song appeared on the band’s 1990 second album, “Rev It Up” and charted in the US at 71 and in the UK at 41. So I fail to understand why people who mercilessly troll my comments section deem Harry’s life as a failure when he once had a decent charting single that kept him in residuals for the rest of his life.

Go figure.

Bobby Kimball, former lead singer with Toto. also wrote a handful of songs with Harry in 1994 for his first solo album, Rise Up. In addition to their collaboration on the title track, the song “Paralyzed” was given the single treatment. Harry used to tell me that Bobby was one of his favorite ever celebs to hang out with, and was the life of the party at a lot of his Brentwood condominium super late night super soirees pounding out songs on his piano at crazy hours in the morning. Months before Harry’s passing, Harry and his roommate who moved in after me took a fucking sledgehammer to the piano because it became a financial headache for him to keep it properly tuned.

I was sad to see that piano go. It gave his living room such character, even if the keys were stuck and sounded out of tune.

 

Kevin Dubrow , singer of Quiet Riot & Pretty Boy Floyd teamed up with Harry to write “Slam Dunk” for the soundtrack of the movie “Switch” starring Ellen Barkin & Jimmy Smits in 1991. It appears as a bonus track on the CD and the song is played at the end credits of the movie. Harry always got a kick that even at the time of his death, that they were still playing the shit out of this movie on late night cable television and that a royalty check would KA-CHING its’ way into his mailbox each time it aired (which honestly was nothing to sneeze at. I had seen some of those checks and they didn’t amount to very much in the lower $100’s).

If I only had a chance to rewind my life a half decade or so, I’m sure, Harry would’ve experienced some kind of motivation or comeback of sorts to get himself out of the perpetual black cloud that he constantly found himself ducking under. IF I hadn’t given up on a long search for a third collaboration held strictly held between Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes and bassist/vocalist John Wetton for a third outing as companion band ICON, I think perhaps Harry would’ve been striving for a renewed purpose. Don’t get me wrong, he was still composing songs to the end (Even I helped with providing some mellotron patches on one) – but to have been sharing an album credit with one his favorite singer/songwriters of all time- JOHN  WETTON? would’ve made his freaking ego soar.

But it didn’t. Harry never knew that on the Icon 3 album that John Wetton and Geoff Downes released in 2009, a reworked a version of  one of Harry & John Wetton’s songs (also co-written by Curt Cuomo)  titled ” Sex, Power, & Money ” was recorded for Icon 3. I owned the first two albums by the duo, but after months after the third effort’s release, I never saw it arrive at my neighborhood Amoeba Records and I simply gave up the search for the album existed. It wasn’t until I got ahold of all if Harry’s demos from his family that I came across the tapes of three songs that Harry recorded with the Asia/King Crimson singer with the other two titles being “I Can Tell You” and “Back in Your Arms” (which is absolutely incredible), currently both procrastinating  and largely unused on a dusty Warner Chappell Music office shelf. I’ve been by some rabid fans on a John Wetton message board, that in the liner notes of the album, that ideas were accredited to Harry’s stage name, Harry Paress.

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And lastly, another highlight of Harry’s songwriting career was getting a demo of his rap/rock band The Puck Boys played on local Los Angeles station Pirate Radio of an ode to Los Angeles Kings goalie Kelly Hrudey in “Rudy’s on Duty Tonight” filmed on location in front of the LA Forum in Inglewood. The song instantly became an anthem for the team until Hrudey was either retired or no longer for playing for the team and was written in tribute to his incredible playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. This video was shot during the era when Harry was getting into scuffles with actor Ryan O’Neal over him messing around with his wife Farrah Fawcett-Majors which became major gossip on the cover of People Magazine. 

Coming up next: Possibly a new YES LOG installment in honor of the newly formed AWR offshoot band (Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, & Trevor Rabin) as a comic book mystery develops.

 

 

The Parsippany NJ Non Grata Picture Show

31 Oct

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This late month’s entry will speak more in pictures and not in words.

Last month, I made an impromptu visit to my childhood town of Parsippany, NJ incognito to visit my mom and my half-sister, Bernadette. Didn’t publicize it on social media or anything, because of the current political atmosphere that has made practically everyone insane of late. I stayed mainly closely to the vest of my mom’s house (which I didn’t grow up in), just venturing out to visit Morristown, Willowbrook Mall, Rockaway Mall and a few hours in New York while I was coming and going. The only friend I had planned to drop in on was the grandmother and aunt of actress some kid named Danika, whose mother, Linda I had occasionally dated a few times back in High School (all our dates were concerts. Six  altogether.) Danika just made her first major motion picture debut in Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back a couple of weeks ago this month after honing her chops on television shows such as Shameless & The Heroes Reborn mini-series that was televised on NBC last season. I was hoping to see one of the Freeman sisters I used to take as a substitute date when Linda couldn’t make it, but she was working somewhere in an office at Princeton

Parsippany was also home to Golden Globe winning actress Jane Krakowski, widely known for her roles on Ally McBeal and 30 Rock can now be seen as a supporting actress on the Emmy nominated series, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I didn’t interact with Jane too much as she was four grades behind me (I do remember seeing her in grade school) other than I once gave her a ride in my Ford Pinto during a blizzard seeing her struggling to walk in a snowdrift along Vail Road.

Other notable people besides me were mainly professional athletes, and I mainly don’t give a shit about professional athletes. Just show biz people.

A little Wikipedia background on Parsippany:

Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, commonly called simply Parsippany (/pɑːrˈsɪpəni/), is a township in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township’s population was 53,238, reflecting an increase of 2,589 (+5.1%) from the 50,649 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,171 (+4.5%) from the 48,478 counted in the 1990 Census.

The name Parsippany comes from the Lenape Native American sub-tribe, which comes from the word parsipanong, which means “the place where the river winds through the valley”. Parsippany-Troy Hills is the most populous municipality in Morris County. The name Troy Hills was changed from Troy, to avoid confusion of mail being sent erroneously to Troy, New York.

After the Wisconsin Glacier melted around 13,000 BC, half of Parsippany was filled with water as this was Lake Passaic. Around the area grasses grew, as the area was tundra and then turned into a taiga/boreal forest as the area warmed. Paleo-Indians moved in small groups into the area around 12,500 years ago, attracted by the diversity of plant and animal life. Native Americans settled into the area several thousand years ago, dwelling in the highlands and along the Rockaway River and the Whippany River, where they hunted and fished for the various game that lived in the area and migrated through the area in autumn. Paintings in a rock cave were found in the late 1970s in western Parsippany in the highlands.

From 1611 to 1614, the Dutch established the colony of New Netherland, which claimed territory between the 40th and 45th parallel north, a zone which included northern New Jersey. The Native Americans traded furs and food with the Dutch for various goods. In return the Dutch gave the Native Americans metal pots, knives, guns, axes, and blankets. Trading with the Native Americans occurred until 1643 when a series of wars broke out between the Dutch and Native Americans. There were hostile relations between the Dutch and Native Americans between 1643 and 1660. This prevented colonization by the Dutch of the Morris County region which was technically included in their claimed “New Netherland.”

On August 27, 1664, three English ships approached Fort Amsterdam and the fort was surrendered to the English. The English now controlled New Netherland and Morris County was now under control of the colony of New York. Relations with the Native Americans improved for a while.

Lake Hiawatha and Mount Tabor are neighborhoods with their own ZIP codes. In 2000, 55% of Parsippany residents had a 07054 ZIP code. In 2011, Parsippany residents could live in one of 12 ZIP codes. Until 2000, there was a 13th ZIP code within Parsippany, eliminated with changes at the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital.

Greystone Park Psychiatric Hotel was long accused of conducting unorthodox experiments on its’ patients, that it was briefly closed down impending an investigation. It’s rumored that many of the atrocities that had once occurred served as the basis for the anthology series, American Horror Story: Asylum.

Lake Hiawatha was once a popular wealthy hang out for East Coast celebrities such as Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Fatty Arbuckle, Groucho Marx and other nearby New Jersey talent when it was an exclusive resort. The lake was drained and became a golf course called Knoll Gardens.

So with that all out-of-the-way….

Despite the overwhelming discouraging eyesores of Trump/Pence campaign sign on every 10 or so lawns, there was at least some glimmer of hope with a few signs like the picture above for those who just want to be kept out of it altogether.

So, here in this first picture: the con was in way before DonaldDonny Fuck KnucklesTrump announced his running joke of running for President of the United States despite of having zero evidence of ever serving for office, ever, Unfortunately, the joke has gone too far. If elected, he will hold the record of being the most stupidest ignorant xenophobic asshole since George W. Bush to hold office. Expect the Trump brand to expand to street corner internment camps in your near future where you can hold conjugal visits with your favorite Muslim significant other. Anyway, this was something my mom found that was mailed out to my stepfather while he was still alive to possibly leech some cash from his already depleted pockets.

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One of the house duties of staying over for a week, was to make sure Bebe was walked and fed only dry food. My mom said if you feed this dog wet food, it will shit all over the place.

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My mom and my youngest nephew, Shea. My half-brother-in-law thought it would be cute to name all his sons after baseball players and stadiums. Cute. After all, my mom named me after her favorite movie stars Cary Grant and Tyrone Powers. Everybody has to have a gimmick. And to think they mocked Frank Zappa for what he named his kids. Hey, anything is better than Adolf or Osama, right?

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My half-sister Bernadette, who looks freakin’ amazing and in very spectacular shape of the age of 47.

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My half-sister and I probably haven’t posed for a photo together since she was a brownie and I was a cub scout in 1976.

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Doesn’t seem to have changed much since giving birth to her first son, Aldo.

Aldo, my nephew. Not to be confused with the Aldo that Trump named his illegitimate son that he had with Dr. Zira from the Planet of the Apes. I heard that Aldo became a very famous general on that parallel world.

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Our newest family member, Anna, who has come from Romania to rent a room from my mom to further her citizenship and to school herself in our American customs. She’s a very nice shy courteous girl and even though you can’t see it- AND you’re going to have to trust me on this: SHE has a very wonderful looking ass. If Donald Trump ever gets elected, he might unfortunately be able to get his hands on it. And that would be very devastating indeed. Bebe certainly likes her. Uh oh, those table scraps better not be wet food.

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Bebe sure likes that couch.

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My mother has proven herself to be very savvy with a laptop at the age of 74. Chances are that one day she’ll discover this blog on the internet. Chances are that ONCE she finds out about her picture being online she’ll kick my ass once  I show my face in New Jersey next year.

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I had these piggy banks since I was a kid. If my half-sister’s kids ever decide to go treasure hunting in my deceased step dad’s basement mancave, well, there’s treasure buried somewhere in that tomb. Those banks certainly got heavy to lift to the bank once they filled up.20160927_104922

A Dean Martin action figure once belonging to my step dad. It poses with plenty of martinis and then smacks your wife around while you’re not looking or at least seeing pink elephants yourself.

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Then there was that day when Bosco Bear got together with a duck and the duck had more wood than he did. If you would recall, I’ve mentioned several times on this blog that my grandfather, Harold Shannon was one of three baking ingredient chemists who developed the chocolate formula for BOSCO chocolate syrup. Each initial stands for the last name of the baking chemist involved and then Co for company and you have BOSCO. It doesn’t take a genius to crack the chocolate code.

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Me at a very young age.

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So, after six days, I decided I had it, so went up to hang out at Times Square where they spruce things up a bit. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg transformed the entire once traffic congested tourist area of Broadway theaters and shops into a huge mecca pedestrian plaza.

It appears that Bloomberg wants New York to emulate some sort of Southern California motif, as apparent by all the WEST COAST EATERIES that clog every crevice and every blog. I can see Jamba Juices, Yoshinoyas, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, LA Fitness, AND EVEN downright mimicking Hollywood’s own Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum & Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. EVEN GOING OUT OF THE WAY to put them next door to each other just…like…they…do…in…Hollywood.

What a bunch of mother fucker copycats.

Has New York lost their identity, that they have to copy off of someone else?

Where did all the fucking hookers go?

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At least some things don’t change. Inside Port Authority Bus Terminal where you can hop on a Lakeland Bus for the incredible low commuter price of $ 10 a fucking ticket, you can woo at The Commuters, a sculpture of three weary bus passengers and a clock salvaged from original terminal by George Segal, which was unveiled in the main ticket area in 1982.

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Or the 42nd Street Ballroom, a rolling ball sculpture by George Rhoads on the main floor of the North Wing, was installed in 1983 which never get dull looking at, IF the goddamn thing was turned on.20160927_133410

Back to Times Square. Seriously, does the Chamber of Commerce have any originality whatsoever? YOU can come over to Venice Beach and see painted up naked ladies ALL YEAR around. Now check this out: This Lena Dunham wannabe is scolding this dude for snapping her picture without tipping her, BUT I’m snapping her scolding this dude for not tipping her WHILE I’m not tipping any of them.

And before she realizes that the fix was in, I’m already two blocks down the street catching my breath after committing this dastardly deed.

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A couple of pictures of Danika’s grandmother during a visit to Rockaway Mall. Trying to help her figure out how to work a iphone 7, so she doesn’t miss a text from Moviefone to remind her when Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back starts to screen.

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Catching up on old times and was waiting to see if any other member of the Freeman clan  show up.  You’d think after thirty years of being away, more people would want to stop by to say hello.

Oh wait, that’s right- I’m supposed to be incognito here.

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Leaving on a jet plane. Flysoverville (aka Parsippany) is down there BENEATH MY HEEL somewhere.

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The morning I left to go back to Los Angeles, I made sure I shipped all of my Doc Savage paperbacks to my house, MANY that I have read since third grade in high school (fellow students accused me of being predictable whenever I handed in a book report) in anticipation of the Shane Black/Dwayne Johnson collaboration. For those who do not know my unbridled love of everything Doc Savage paperback related, harken yourself back to my imaginary world of The Action Figure of Solitude.20161003_204959

Next two blogs may be Yes Log related. Not sure yet so check back in another two weeks.

 

 

 

 

Marinating in the Roasted Marshmallow New Kingdom of the Mighty Marbled Cake Castle of Marillion

20 Oct

marillion_fear_promo0415Marillion is possibly my most favorite progressive band to emerge from the punk angst wreckage of the 1980’s.

And each time they release a new album, those who consider themselves part of the progressive rock community will consider it a major event.

A major event complete with expletives. For F.E.A.R. (F**k Everyone and Run), the eighteenth studio album is quite a major departure from its’ usually fan funded fare- and seeing how word of mouth is growing about the new album, that it’s now currently charting in the UK and most of Europe at number 4. Portions of the album were recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath, England.

No, none of the songs have nothing to do whatsoever with these guys from the Birdman & the Galaxy Trio cartoons. birdman_l08

No, INSTEAD it’s more like the long running UK (neo) progressive rock band formed in the late seventies/early eighties by poet/lyricist singer Fish (aka Derek W, Dick) and guitarist Steve Rothery, whose roster now includes bass player Pete Trewavas (who original singer Fish has claimed to me during backstage drunken meet and greets that he is supposed to be my long identical brother), long in the tooth drummer (ex-Focus & Steve Hackett) Ian Mosley, keyboard wizard Mark Kelly, joined by singer Steve Hogarth who prefers to be referred to as ‘H ‘ has proudly proclaimed this album to be their finest ‘protest’ album.

It’s an album balancing the long and short form of progressive and pop. Three multi-chapter epics mixed with three short and poignant beautiful numbers, the one particularly standing out is the brilliantly painting by number narrative titled “White Paper.” Opening major epic extravaganza “El Dorado” deals with the complexities of countries accepting refugees and the whole Brexit movement  while closing epic “The New Kings” tries to body sham evil corporate sharks who would be willing to sell and bankrupt nations all for the mighty euros. The band has lots to speak out about much in the similar vein of their previous album, “Sounds That Can’t Be Made” when that one opened with the seventeen minute rantfull doozy entitled “Gaza” offering their viewpoint on the horrible atrocities that occur within forever continuous Israel & Palestine conflict.

Not quite the cover of Rolling Stone, but I guess it will do.

Not quite the cover of Rolling Stone, but you can’t overlook a gift horse in the mouth..

As the same as I regard Yes as my diary into the world I grew up in and the shapes of events occurring around me, I regard Marillion as my guide to maturity. the third album with original singer Fish, “Misplaced Childhood’ is the soundtrack of my exodus to California and moving on from my failed attempt to make things right with Tamar, the love of my mid-eighties life who was the subject of my Yes’ 90125 blog entry. I’ve traveled great distances, and usually when I’m in an airplane or on a long car trip, there’s always a Marillion that needs popping in to help ease off some of the weary jaunts – BUT yet, I’m not one to go out and travel vast distance across continents to go to any of their gigs or their world renown “Marillion Weekends” that take place either in Europe or Canada.

Since Fish left the band to pursue a solo career after the equally successful fourth album, “Clutching at Straws“, Steve Hogarth formerly with How We Live & The Europeans came in to help redevelop the band’s sound and direction, giving the band some European pop influence from bands such as U2, the Cure, & Radiohead (they’ve covered “Fake Plastic Trees” on one of their live albums). This incarnation of the band has survived for the past twenty-seven years. I’m now going to go into a whole Wikipedia fueled jargon crème filled tangent about their history, but rather recounted the tours that I’ve been fortunate to have caught since the days I came back from sound engineering school in Chillicothe, Ohio when a couple of fellow Israeli student played a tape of them for me while smoking giant bowls of Turkish hash.

Once I got back to Parsippany, NJ, my former gal pal, Linda Freeman’s brother, Robert roused my jet lagged ass to Rockaway Mall to check out a very late showing of Monty Python’s Meaning of Life– and as we were buying tickets, I made a pit stop to a Harmony Hut record store and saw the debut album “Script for a Jester’s Tear” prominently displayed in the front window of the store, That debut album, along with a Tony Banks solo album entitled “The Fugitive” assured myself that I wasn’t get all that much sleep that night, because I got home from the movie, it was going to be a lingering date with my headphones.

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I’m proud to proclaim that I’ve seen nearly every American tour that they band has embarked upon with the SOLE exception of the “Misplaced Children” tour in 1986 that had me stranded in all places, Kansas City, which wasn’t on their tour itinerary. I missed out on the “Afraid of Sunlight” tour in 1995 because they only got to tour around the east coast. It’s only been a handful of tours considering since they broke ties with their main record company EMI, of which  were mainly crowd funded by the fans themselves. If you’re a contributor to helping with the expenses of recording  a new album or tour, your just reward is to be given an album credit, usually in a deluxe package edition.

I like to think, I’ve been lucky enough to have special west coast Marillion exclusives. In addition of attending every ex-lead singer Fish’s solo shows (which you technically need two days to recover from, because they are so fucking long with Fish giving a droning speech between each number), most notably a secret San Diego show for the 1992 Holidays in Eden tour, and perhaps one of the last times I stepped foot at the Sunset Blvd Tower Records location for a special acoustic version of Marillion songs performed by only three fifths of the group masquerading as the Los Marillos Trio. Portions of an interview I conducted with the band after the gig are reprinted here from my mothership blog http://www.purplepinupguru.blogspot.com

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So why all the admiration at this particular time? Well, let’s just say I’m simply getting myself psyched for their Los Angeles appearance this Saturday as part of the handful of USA dates this fall (other major cities include New York, Chicago (2 dates!!), San Francisco, Denver, & Boston.) in support of F.E.A.R.  Plus fall is a time when the major prog rock heavies love to tour. Established acts that I support are out in full force including Opeth, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson (who sold out here in LA), Steven Wilson, and the old meets new again newly formed AWR (Anderson, Wakeman, & Rabin), of which the latter I will be trying to see in Las Vegas.

It’s a shame that Marillion isn’t on the tip of the tongue for most general music aficionados as the only song to receive radio air play was the single “Kayleigh” (along with subsequent song “Lavender” that was tagged on to the end. It seemed that it was a song split in half to make two singles out of it), as a lot of the stuff penned by Hogarth would make great soundtrack music in the end credits of some current cinema offering), that probably served as the launching pad for most fans. If you’re a songwriter living in Los Angeles, most likely you’re a fan since many audience members who attend their shows are mostly made up of Los Angeles finest studious musicians and fellow tunesmiths who look upon them as inspiration in honing their craft.

Is Game of Thrones writer/creator George R.R, Martin a big fan? There was a character named Marillion played by Scottish actor Emun Elliot in the first season, but beyond that there isn’t much media mention of the band anywhere. Of course, a fantasy novel franchise, most notably the classic J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings franchise was the one that christened the Marillion name from the posthumous 1982 book “The Silmarillion”.

But I suppose that’s ok for the band who revels themselves as unfashionable and trendy as fuck. They love the anonymity of hardly being recognized on a public street corner as they more prone to stalk and troll their fans on social media rather than the other way around. I have two members of Marillion on my list of facebook pals, Pete Trewavas and Steve Rothery. Mark Kelly used to be around, but I think he had set up a fan page instead.

 

AND NOW Representing two local Los Angles live concert blogging experiences from 2004 – 2005.

One of my personal favorite efforts by the band during the 'aughts'. Funny, it was the the first and last time I ordered from Racket Records. Received the deluxe edition in the mail, all beat up and spine torn, When I opened the package at my office in Warner Bros: a freaking moth flew out of the box. A freaking moth survived the trip from the all the way from the UK!!

Marbles” Released in 2004. One of my personal favorite efforts by the band during the ‘aughts’. Funny, it was the first and last time I ordered from Racket Records. Received the deluxe edition in the mail, all beat up and spine torn, When I opened the package at my office in Warner Bros: a freaking moth flew out of the box. A freaking moth survived the trip from the all the way from the UK!!

MARILLION

House of Blues, West Hollywood, Ca September 27, 2004
                                            An extremely biased review by Cary Coatney
Rather than sitting at home getting visually mauled by presidential debates between our future Commander- in- Chief John “Lurch”  Kerry and our resident chickenhawk in rehearsal with his pet ventriloquist – I decided to break away from Fantasyland and attend opening night of the long much heralded return of Marillion‘s first U.S. Tour in SEVEN years! ( and Mexico City doesn’t count!  Just my opinion on the tour dates listed on the back of my t-shirts ) and what a perfectly flawless evening  it was to be enjoyed by all;  except for a few caveats concerning the venue: Poor air circulation and bathroom valets who hustle you up for a dollar, otherwise you don’t get to wash and dry your hands properly after you’ve finished draining the dragon.
Okay enough exercising political rimshots and recycled first sentences (see my 2003 King Crimson @ the Wiltern review for details) and on with my unconditional dying love for anything Marillion.
I was hanging out with Under the Sun bass player Kurt Barabas throughout the show along with some of his friends who run the prog4you website just as John Weasley was finishing up hammering through an acoustic interpretation of Pink Floyd’s Run Like Hell. And that basically was my grand entrance, after a detour of unloading of heavy objects bulging from my grey 90 percent polyester and 10 percent spandex pants pocket due to a security patdown – Time was wasting and I immediately made a dash to the souvenir table in a panic that they would already be sold out of tour t-shirts. After all, it’s been seven years and my last ‘This Strange Engine’ tour t-shirt is a lot faded since. Anyway, Kurt told me that he is about half way through recording on the follow-up to their Magna Carta debut disc and is very optimistic that a much kinder and gentler label will be taking it off their hands soon. I was sorry to hear through his Prog4you friend that Starcastle bass player Gary Dale Strater had passed away. I haven’t been keeping up with the news of late- but my condolences go out to his family.
With that gaggle aside, I was pondering on some thoughts of the last time when I saw Marillion and if I had remembered correctly, the place was only half full from when they went into EMI-less oblivion and were forced to go it alone as agents of independent rock provocateurs in touring behind a fan based slush fund that enabled them to tour behind This Strange Engine. But now- look at this place! Where did all these people come from? Is the new album getting nationwide airplay on alternative stations? I mean, last time. Christine Holtz, who used to publish a prog rock newsletter called Music News Network managed to get me backstage for some hang out time- but there was no way I could smooth over those supersized combo meal security beef boys in yellow crew shirts, so I left a few copies of my newest comic book I printed with the girl behind the tour merchandise table that includes the Marbles advertisement on the back cover to give to the band after the show.  Still, I was in a constant flux of perplexity of how there came to be so many people at this gig who probably looks as if they never would in a million years pick up a Marillion disc. From what I was witnessing in my immediate environment, there were a handful of estrogenic seeking men paddling in a sea of too few good looking females who wanted nothing to do with them. Hmmm, maybe they came  to actually hear the music, instead of being picked up upon? I had already asked three girls if they had wanted to accompany me- but all the responses I could get from them was a resounding Marillion who?
Alright, so Monday night is not really a date night for some people and-
Uh oh, the curtain is going up….
It’s time for some Marbles action!
And there they were on stage, like long lost second or third removed cousins at a family reunion. Steve Hogarth sauntered up to the microphone garbed in some Brooks Brothers casual zoot suit as the ensemble led its’ way through the opening salvo of the thirteen and a half minute tongue ‘n cheek Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired ‘The Invisible Man’  tantalized by the use of Hogarth’s mimicry got the gears rolling on this abbreviated version of the Marbles showcase portion of the show.
And it was absolutely riveting. Nothing could be more simpler than that.
I miss the narrative of hand gestured storytelling in lyrics and H’s still struggles to keep the tired old tradition in place and this probably is the only one trait that both previous singing burly man, Fish and H have  in common – they act out the lyrics of the songs. Portions of the Invisible Man, along with ‘Neverland’ reminded me of those long cherished ‘Fugazi’ Fish days when Fish would be sitting down near Mosley’s drumkit during the middle of ‘Jigsaw’  and pretend  that the heel of his shoe was a gun chamber in which he would be loading imaginary bullets into before getting back to the  chorus and feign suicide.
In ‘Invisible Man’, H would be flaying his arms and screaming into the microphone around like a sociopath during the end of that song and spread his arms out if acting out a flying fantasy towards  the end of the J.M. Barrie’s homage to ‘Neverland’  (not really so much as an homage to the legend of Peter Pan, but rather to the legend of the man behind Peter Pan– ironic, that a motion picture called ‘Neverland’ starring Johnny Depp will be opening in cinemas soon that is based on the same subject).
In the instrumental department- I felt Peter Trewavas and Steve Rothery really stood out on their strings with the dreary jazz bits on ‘Angelina’. On certain rock out points,  Trewavas was acting as if he were twenty years younger now that his leg has healed. By the way he was jumping around on the stage, you wouldn’ t think that he was once in a serious car accident. H introduced Mark Kelly as keyboardist and master of special effects and Ian Mosley was in fine form, even when drum machines were the domineering component in songs such as “You’re Gone” or “This is the 21st Century“.
    Nearly all of the domestic release of Marbles was played in the first elongated portion of the show, including all the four part self- titled bookend pieces. I think all bands should follow this mantra whenever new material is concerned. Play it! Flaunt it!  But jeez, just don’t drag audiences through with endless stagnated repertoires!  This is why  loyalty to bands such as Yes or Moody Blues has waned because they rely so much on ancient history to comprise at least 90 percent of the show’s content and discard what they might have been working on for the past two years in the studio just to appease the fifty plus demographic who tunes in a classic rock radio station. I can almost telegraph an entire Moody Blues concert from an amphitheater away, because I’ve seen them for three or four tours in a row and with the exception of a few new songs tossed here and there in the set- they play the same group of songs in the exact same order! But on Marillion’s first tour in seven years- their set list was a sort of catch up with the American fans. In addition to Marbles, we also got a taste of what had gone on before demonstrated by some samples of Radiation, Marillion.com, and Anaraknophobia. Three full albums of material that has never been performed live in this country before. Man, I bet I was the only guy happy in the house that they didn’t do “Kayleigh” or “Garden Party” for the umpteenth time. “Invisible Man”, “Drilling Holes”, and “Neverland “got the best audience reception as far as the new stuff was concerned, although I’ve grown a better appreciation of hearing “Angelina and “Fantastic Place” live than I do on the record. I thought Kelly’s keyboards were really spot on the latter. Being towards the end of the bar, I thought it was a perfect position where I could be practically heckler-free, but wouldn’t you know there would be some boisterous and belligerent drunken female yelling at the top of her raspy lungs to play some old stuff.
Please- if you need to hear classic Marillion ‘oldies’ – go see Fish play.
After a 3 or 4 minute change of underpants break, as H so casually refer to due to the long transatlantic flight (wait, didn’t they say they had done a couple of gigs in Mexico City?) they were back on stage to dip in the Hogarth era bag and performed a cut from each album from Season’s End up to Anaroknophobia. “Quartz” was close to bringing down the house until upstaged by the final two songs of the night, “Cover My Eyes”“Easter” maybe because the spring chickens in the crowd who were probably out past their curfew were jamming to the dirty white boy Limp Bizkit inspired rapping that Hogarth was firing off in the middle of ‘Quartz.’
Still, the same girl behind me was beating her war drum for the old stuff. I mean, talk about suffering from head up your ass-itis.
It was then after this second outburst that pleasant thoughts of Fox News Conservative whipping boy Bill O’Reilly popped into my head. And that doesn’t really happen too often.
       (
( SHUT UPPPPPPPP YOU  (bleeping) OLD BIRD!!!)
Two encores followed. I was ecstatic that they played  “The Damage”, one of my favorite songs off the Deluxe version of Marbles and up course, all the die hard cheered the loudest when the double whammy of “Cover My Eyes” and “Easter” closed out the 2 plus hour show.
Funny, I didn’t hear the bitch behind me complain anymore. Must have fallen pissed behind the bar.
Anyway, Marillion – many happy returns – (to cop a phrase from an old Prisoner episode).
setlist:
Invisible Man
Marbles 1
You’re Gone
Angelina
Marbles 2
Don’t Hurt Yourself
Fantastic Place
Marbles 3
Drilling Holes
Marbles 4
Neverland
(3 minute change of underpants break)
Living the Big Lie
Quartz
Go!
Hey Jude (segues into:)
Three Minute Boy
Between You & Me
Encore # 1
This is the 21st Century
The Damage
Encore # 2
Cover My Eyes
Easter


Above are photos taken at an acoustic performance and signing at Tower Records on Sunset in October 2005. In last photo Left to right, Bass player Pete Trewavas, guitarist Steve Rothery and vocals & maracas, Steve Hogarth. Clown hovering over them with opened Marbles sleeves: Cary Coatney
 
Early on in September, I had the good fortune to attend a rare West Coast appearance of the Los Marillos Trio – which incidentally is the rallying cry of three fifths of the legendary British progressive band Marillion. Like other prog bands such as Asia and Yes who were recently experimenting in acoustic formats.
I was elated to hear some songs performed live of which he had never heard before such as Go from marillion.com and the Answering Machine from 1998’s Radiation album. Despite having an US cult comeback with last years’s release of Marbles, Marillion hadn’t been touring very much since their 1997 This Strange Engine tour because of low record sales and insatiable leaps to independent record labels who couldn’t afford to pay touring expenses. I got the full strings and electric piano outing at the Key Club in West Hollywood and on the very next day they did a store signing at the Tower Records a few blocks down the street.

 

A thirty minute set consisted of four songs: 80 Days from This Strange Engine Don’t Hurt Yourself (whoring for DVD sales of their last European concert tour) from Marbles, (which by all rights should be a staple hit played on every alternative rock station), Answering Machine from Radiation, Man of a Thousand Faces also from This Strange Engine and as a bonus encore per fan request: A Collection – a simple little obscure acoustic number that was a bonus track on Holidays In Eden.

Singer Steve Hogarth: (or if you prefer, H for short)

 

Cary Coatney Q: Did an image of Angelina Jolie sprout in your mind while writing the lyrics to Angelina off of Marbles?

 

A: No actually it was Margretina, a DJ on Cable radio. A billboard in London had her made her up look like a call girl. So we had to change name for legal purposes.

 

Steve Rothery:

 

Cary Coatney Q: Will you ever get around to do a follow up to Wishing Tree and that girl on the cover of Carnival of Souls looked very fetching. (Peter Trewavas pitches in: Oh yes, Hannah Stobart, definitely very fetching !)

 

A: Oh yeah, we would definitely like to get around to doing another one sometime in the near future. Hannah and I are currently writing material for the follow-up. And yes indeed Hannah is very fetching ( yeah, but the debut album was released around ten years ago – a lot can change to a woman’s looks in ten years).

 

(the second album, Ostara was finally released in 2009)

 

Bassist Pete Trewavas:

 

Cary Coatney Q: Just a compliment on your work on your side band Keno (available through Insideout Music). The guitar player John Mitchell (also of Arena) used to be a good friend and e-mail buddy. I once hung out with him and Matt Goodluck when Arena was visiting out here for a Prog Rock festival and we grew to be great e-mail pen pals ever since. It’s good to see him grow and mature into a fine musician We all went to Universal CityWalk after the gig.

 

A: Oh wow, you know Matt Goodluck?

 

Cary Coatney follow-up: I just said I did, didn’t I? Yes, Matt has retired from the music business and now works as an agriculture inspector for the city of Sidney, Australia. And he’s already bought his first house. Goddamn lucky bugger barely into his thirties.

 

All: Yeah, we all miss Matt Goodluck.

 

(Actually Matt these days is a lead singer for a Australian Pink Floyd Tribute band, Experience Floyd Pty, Ltd that is getting massive raves in his homeland.)

 

AND SO, ON A TOTALLY UNRELATED NOTE:

 

For those reading this blog on the weekend of Oct 21st. Do me a favor and be sure to check out my former Parsippany High School best gal pal Linda Freeman (now Yarosh)’s daughter, Danika Yarosh in her spectacular feature film debut in Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back. She plays a mysterious teen age girl who may or may not have a link to Jack Reacher’s past. Reviews have been mostly stellar so far and most critics agree that its’ way better than the first one.

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Lost Again in the Ghetto of Beautiful Things

30 Sep

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Good thing I keep a large archive.

Representing one of my back page editorials to my own Deposit Man comic books.

Why does it take me so bloody fucking long to put out one single goddamn comic book?

I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately, since my very obscure release of The Deposit Man Survival Guide to the Afterlife.

And the only answer I can come up with is:

We were all too fucking lazy stuffing our porcelain pristine pusses and straining our bowels to give birth to a perfect shit two hours later.

Laziness, that’s all. Just pure unfettered laziness.

And in the notoriously wicked summer of 2002, we’d didn’t have to like to think that we shared this dystopian paradise with the likes of a despot accused of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, a whacked out republican president anxious to press the nullifying button, and a British prime minister who is under the disillusion that he more Texan than Anna Nicole Smith. Mix and shake well with cold calculating pre meditating child killers, and pedophile priests with stiffies towards Kathy Lee Gifford’s satan spawned offspring  and we have a brew to leisurely sip on more potent than some apple martinis on rudimentary beach in Rosario as we slumped our heads in a stupor of imaginary deadlines.

But that’s not how it really went down.

A lot of shit has changed since I last released a Deposit Man book. December of 2001, to be exact. Short after I released the DM SG to the A, I’ve lost a good friend and former roommate, gotten into squabbles with some associates in New York, particularly one inker who imagined himself to be such a prestige editor and claimed I stole the publication rights of the character from him (and since I can’t name names in public for the eventuality or a slander suit all you have to do is compare last issue credits to this issue’s credits to find who the  culprit is. Shouldn’t be too hard. My last publisher had to bail on the book due to other work commitments and the fact that he couldn’t deal with the above mentioned individual on the east coast who posed a danger in sabotaging his website.

This left us all in quite the genital warted pickle.

As time passed, what I found more aggravating was that the quality on my last book looked like shit. And I only had myself to blame, even though I felt it was the best thing I ever wrote in my life and I had a lot of fun putting it together. But there were problems that plagued me about the over all package one being that the cover was supposed to be shaded in yellow, and it came out as a cheap photocopied fiasco. My printer simply screwed up downloading it from the zip disk. And I’m not one for computer jargon  explanations so please, don’t fucking ask.

So the time has come to redo everything from scratch. That means a making myself a nuisance once again in print, get myself situated on the web, and send out the obligatory “this is not really spam, but just to let you know I’m still alive” e-mails. If I ever get around to it.

However this time the transition should be easier to follow, now that I’ve got some noticable talent assisting me.

I’d like to welcome aboard Saint Sparky courtesy of Zen Art Farms, Alan’s a big guy and has quite a resume of experience under his belt. And a what big belt that is, too. He’s done design work for Sony and has designed covers, edited, and maintained websites for various creators and has been a long associate of Claypool Comics during the time of trade show crisis.

Now on to the business at hand without any further skid marked interruption:

My column, No Deposit, No Return is my usual sounding board when the US Postal service has nothing else better to do than to cock tease me in thinking I’ve got an incredulous fan base and bundles of perfumed pink envelopes to shift through. So if you want to prove them wrong, send in your cajoling complaints, jubilus gift wrapped pipe bomb packages, or just simply feel free to sign me up for 12 CDs for a penny plus shipping & handling shit like that happens to me all the time. As long the male half of the audience each sends me a 8 x 10 glossy Polaroid of their mommies in uncompromising positions I think we can do business.

What I want to touch on is the subject of these child killing pariahs who are making things ugly for you and me in today’s society.

I once entertained the idea of having kids of my own, but all those dreams were quickly dashed out the car door window doing 95 in a 35 zone. What would be the point when one of these sick fucks is lurking around in your septic tank to snatch your kids.

And the media turkey vultures are no better as to sensationalize these reports, these abductions only increased before of the repetitious exposure on the eleven o’clock that only goes to serve as a challenge to the latest in a long line of sick fucks who think they can waltz in and usurp the crown of what the last walking cloister bag swallowing fuck was capable of.

You see, child abductions have always been going on they actually do happen every day in every part of the world it’s just it’s nothing more than a public spectacle that media puts a spin on. And the more we sensationalize it, the more the challenge it is for these dingbats to get up the audacious nerve to top the other one’s Michelangelo.

You have heard of birds who flock together? Well as on the day of me jotting this down, there was a lunkheaded police chief in Maryland who got on the horn to tell the residents of the Washington DC suburb areas to go about your usual business as if these rooftop snipers didn’t exist. So go ahead, take your kids to the shopping mall, take them to their soccer games, take them out for ice cream, whatever the fuck have you, and DON’T WORRY- because we have the situation under control and these individuals will be apprehended as sure as shit in time before you can say: Junior, I’d like you to meet Sniper Joe. Sniper Joe is your very best friend and he’s going to take your hand and lead you to very nice mortuary across the street, you know just like the one you see on Six Feet Under? and let you take a nap.

So, what was the first thing I heard on the news come Monday morning before work? BAM! Thirteen year old comes home from school with new air hole in his head. This wouldn’t have happened if we just stop obsessing over all these tawdry media innuendos. If we stopped broadcasting the same fucking sound bite over and over reiterating, not to panic about your children, that same perpetrator is going to tune in the six or eleven o’clock to see how his masterpiece was received by the public and all he sees is ploy to think that his work is going unappreciated and that’s right, you had to bring in the subject heading ‘ Hey Kids ‘, well that little bit is going to send him jonzing over the edge and the challenge is raised as to hey, why not?
You’re entitled, Take em all out no matter how big or small and let your favorite drive in deity sort them all out.

Why we as a nation are so spellbinded by it?

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While at comic con, two girls in Lancaster, Ca abducted- one white, one black..

I can’t help children out, unless I’m a registered sex offender. Single, almost forty, sign me up now.

I’d like to believe that we’re all stuck in the same ghetto a ghetto of beautiful things- but one tends to get lost in this mire of chaotic deteriorating thinly veiled by a flimsy puppet and his mockery of a true presidential leadership.

 

O’ Great Master of Streaming, For I am Not Worthy Part II

16 Sep

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I decided to make this lead up blog to the Emmys weekend a two-parter. Since a great portion of this year’s nominees originated on stream services such as Crackle, Hulu, Netflix, & Amazon Prime, I thought I’d share with you all my modern viewing habits via these streaming services. This easily takes up a lot of time just researching the shows in general and trying to come up with some clever quip or two. Like I stated in part one, this subject was running too long, so it had to clip it in half so I could make my personal goal to post at least two blogs a month. In the first part, I examined and pretty much laid out the reasons why I’m not a Netflix & Chill binge serial rapist and how I rather savor certain series, either available via streaming or dvd sets instead of consuming all any given season episodes of Game of Thrones in one painful bedsore sitting. I also gave examples of how binge watching can lead to serious health risks if not taken in moderation.

With Emmy voting season, comes the onslaught of obtaining as many screeners as possible – an example of what I’m talking about in demonstrated in the pic I took above.

The only shows that I’m willing to double down – EVEN as much as triple down or quadruple down on a one episode on any given weekend are though of the Marvel Comics and ABC Networks persuasion. These shows include Daredevil & Jessica Jones soon to be joined by Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders.

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The reason why these are the exception to the rule is because Marvel has all of a sudden become the topic of water cooler trailer talk. People in surrounding offices and cubicles of where I work now KNOW better to talk in whispers when I’m around when it comes to the Marvel/Netflix series, so I try to consume at least a quarter of the episodes on any weekend spread across a month because they should be treated as SPECIAL EVENTS. The faster I get through them, the sooner my co-workers can talk about them within earshot

But all other Netflix,Amazon Prime, or Hulu  offerings, I only regulate myself to one episode per week. They make up for the gap of not having premium channels in the house as my departed best friend, Harry Perizigian once had in his house- WHICH were all of them (and that bill of his was usually $250 per month) including the Encore channels. Plus more people are ‘cutting the cord’ and defecting their loyalty from their cable companies, because cable companies can’t seem to get it in their noggin, that people want their subscription service: A LA CARTE rather than paying for bundle packages. Heck, here in Los AngelesLA Dodgers fans got their catcher mitts up their ass so bothered that the only way you could watch their games on TV was to be a Time Warner subscriber and they were going to stage a revolution because next year’s season is supposed to be long time announcer Vin Scully’s last season before retiring- but finally a local station KTLA has stepped in to broadcast Vin Scully’s last year behind the mic. HOWEVER, if those games interfere with my CW programming of Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow, I’m going to be mightily pissed off. So fuck you Dodger fans.

Shows that I can only handle of one per week as of this August in the year 2016:

Every Friday night I do a three hour block:

The Last Panthers (hulu) – one thing I’ll say about hulu before being forced to pay for it, is that they have a very impressive library of foreign crime dramas – especially shows such as Spiral and Braquo that are imported from France. I would consider this a third one with the exception that it’s also Serbian. One trepidation about approaching this diamond heist thriller that takes place in Belgium and the south of France that the events that transpire in the opening episode almost echoes the same real life horror terrorist attack that occurred a few months back along the beaches of Nice. It originally aired earlier this year on the Sundance channel and it stars John Hurt and Samantha Morton. The title song from newly dearly departed David Bowie’s final album “Blackstar” serves as the opening theme.

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Stranger Things (Netflix) is from the horror meristems The Duffer Brothers. The show has become such a critical darling that it’s quickly been renewed for a second season, which is tremendous news for Wynona Rider that she can finally afford to buy new clothes again, instead walking out of Sak’s 5th Avenue with the tags still on them. The series is a wonderful homage to the late seventies and early eighties cheesy low budget sci-fi and horror flicks that you used to double or triple down with on your VCR’s and just happens to take itself seriously with all the background character drama that comes attached to it. Think of it as Dark Shadows for the millennials.

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Orange is the New Black (Netflix). I’m now wrapping up the fourth season and it’s been the most riveting one yet. I was nearly to tears on the next to last episode in which features the shocking demise of an endearing character in the most unexpected of ways.

This is a show that definitely delivers more bang for your buck if you’re a subscriber. Each character that comes and exits the show usually leaves a lasting impression and are so deliciously multi-layered and dimensional such as Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba) Red, (Kate Mulgrew), and Tiffany Doggitt (Taryn Manning).  Even supporting cast members have intriguing character studies, specially that of Lori Petty, of whose fate remain unknown since I’ve watch the finale yet.

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I encountered actress Lori Petty from this show at last Sunday’s Los Angeles Comic Book & Science Fiction Convention where she was set up at a table, filling in for Arrow actress, Katie Cassidy who unfortunately called in sick. I happened to ask about her character Lolly Whitehall, whose back story is unusual as a disproven humbled journalist who is forced out in the streets due to circumstances beyond her control and loses all sense of her mental faculties and pushes a shopping cart each morning to serve up her special brew of coffee to other homeless people such as herself until harassed and beaten up by the local police. The flashback ordeal of her story reminded me of a mentally ill woman by the name of Mary Mitchell who pushed a shopping cart near the Miracle Mile district who was doing nothing of minding her own business until she was encountered by police officers and was killed by them when she allegedly charged at them brandishing a rusty screwdriver. Witness said different and that sparked outrage from the citizens, but then these days, it doesn’t take much for the LAPD to enrage the community these days. Ms. Petty didn’t really get what I was referring to and wanted to know if I had twenty bucks for an autograph.

That’s ok – because I doubt Katie Cassidy could answer it either.

Approximately at the end of May when Emmy screener fervor is full swing, some streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime opted NOT to send screeners in roping award love – instead they sent out codes to academy voters to enjoy a three month trial of their service featuring shows that they felt were Emmy worthy. I until the end of this month, so I started watching an episode per week of three of their dramas, Hand of God, Bosch, and Man in the High Castle which is based on the Phillip K. Dick novel that ponders the possibility of what would’ve happened if the United States had not won World War II and if Harry Turtledove would’ve been forced to roam the earth without being properly potty trained.

I got through Man in the High Castle ok, since I had watched the first two episodes last Thanksgiving when Amazon Prime offered them up as a free preview. But the other two, NOT so lucky. Since Bosch & Hand of God (starring Ron Perlman in a not so good role as a demented judge haunted by visions of angels & demons) did not pass the Emmy nomination smell test- they got clipped off the private screener site with only 3 episodes left of each show for me to watch. I really fucking loved Bosch and wanted to recommend Lance Riddick as a contender for a supporting actor role.

So, in this instance, my laid back easy, quick not to binge method – failed me and now I suppose I will be forced to pay $ 13.99 per month like any other schmoe (I’m going to have to since they will be premiering The Tick sometime soon.)

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On Saturdays, I make no omission that I’m rabid animation cartoon watcher. I’m in my fifties now, and I can’t get up at the crack of dawn to watch them early with a bowl of Quisp cereal like I used to – SO now I save them for nighttime!!

Have my cartoon watching now takes place streaming. Fox Sundays such as the Simpsons, Family Guy, & the ever chaotic fun of Bob’s Burgers with the soon to be joined Son of Zorn, along with South Park make good use of hulu subscription. In the past, I’ve also successfully streamed all episodes of Rocky & Bullwinkle for good three years back when I didn’t have to pay for it.

A few animated shows now make the price of Netflix worthwhile and I can think of two examples off the top of my head.

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Voltron Defender of the Universe (DreamWorks/Netflix)  Recently I went eyeball to eyeball with a King Kong animated series which probably I’m the only fan of. When I logged on to my account, I happened to catch the ad for this in my recommendation cue. It’s produced by some of the writers and directors behind The Last Airbender and its’ follow-up The Legend of Korra, (Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery, & Tim Hedrick)   and since I’ve loved their work so much that I followed them to this glorious remake – even though I wasn’t exactly a big fan of the original. It’s a little choppy in some places and maybe as less fluid as Korra, but entertaining nonetheless. I’m sure the characters will grow in time for me, even though I can’t tell the difference between three muscle heads that comprise three/fifths of the Lion’s team.  Word has recently come out supposedly at the last TCA outing that the show has been renewed for a second season to begin streaming at the end of this year.

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Bojack Horseman (Netflix) is probably the best animated series that no one is really watching other than a handful of entertainment industry elitists other than myself. That’s usually love to cajole on the message boards of entertainment industry news websites such as Deadline: Hollywood. or Variety. It’s a series about a once popular sitcom horse actor (Will Arnett) down on his horseshoe luck and his determination to get back on the saddle with the sometime unintentional inebriated help of his no rent paying housemate Todd (voiced by the Path & Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul), his cat agent Princess Carolyn (Stranger With Candy’s Amy Sedaris) & journalist and author of his biography Diane (Alison Brie). The series is engaging filled at both the same time with rapier wit, unique awkward situations and heart laced dialogue (a lot of heart) , that in all intents and purposes serves as the best ever renaissance treatment of anthropomorphism I’ve ever witnessed since I read all those Omaha: The Cat Dancer graphic novels a couple of decades ago . I dare anyone to sample the fourth episode of the current third season and not be affected by its’ sheer masterful brilliance.

One Punch Man (hulu) is another anime show introduced to me through the auspices of Free Comic Book Day which was the same manner in which I found Attack on Titan to pique my curiosity. Although lighter in tone than the gobbling flesh eating giants of AoT, it still carries some of stigmata of grotesqueness, when the underestimated low powered super hero, Saitama manages to practically kill or maim his enemies or invading monsters by the sheer force of….one punch. I watched the original versions with subtitles and kitty cats. A dubbed version has recently been airing on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. Perhaps mass appeal can help Viz Media to renew it for a second season.

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Thunderbirds Go! (amazon prime) – is an updated version of the classic Gerry Anderson animated series produced by ITV entertainment with CGI effects provided by Weta Workshop. The series has been recently been renewed for another 26 episodes to also premiere by the end of this year. I heard of a DVD set being released of the first season, so I may hold off my idea of subscribing to Amazon Prime until I learn more about it.

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Kulipari: An Army of Frogs is literally a brand new show that just debuted over Labor Day Weekend featuring the voices of Cree Summer, Jess Harnell, Keith David, Lorraine Newman and Mark Hamill and is based on a young adult novel series co-created by ex-NFL Baltimore Ravens defense end Trevor Pryce.

And here I thought athletes had too much cauliflower between their ears, because I thought the premiere episode was pretty good. My attention was first drawn to it at the Red 5 Comics booth (the first publishers of Atomic Robo before defecting to IDW Publishing) down at San Diego Comic Con International  when they were showing a trailer for it. It was impressive enough for me to recall the booth attendant selling point to circle the date on my event calendar and I never seemed to have forgotten it. Sadly, so far, there isn’t much fanfare being rolled out for it.

Also debuting shortly is a new eight episode series of Tarzan & Jane in their tantalizing pubescent teen age adventures provided by 41 Entertainment.

Sunday is a combination of DVD sets, screeners, and streaming. Trying to cram in as much as I can before the Emmys so I can root for them with the knowledge that I’ve seen as much as I can to make a qualified and informative vote.

Chronicles of Shannara (MTV) based on the series of novels by Terry Brooks is not going to win anything. Neither is it nominated for anything of particular. But it should be noted that it’s a low rent version of Lord of the Rings even down to the remote filming location shots of New Zealand created specifically for the zesty teen angst appeal of most MTV video watching zombie. Some of the creature effects are good and appears that the only adults in the room are those played by Manu Bennett (perhaps the only New Zealand native in the cast), James Remar, and John RhysDavies. I do recall preferring to read of a book of the series called the Sword of Shannara when a copy of Lord of The Rings was offered to me by a military couple who used to pay me for a babysitting gig I held in Laguna Beach back in 1978.While watching some scenes in the series does succeed in giving me some familiar de ja vu’ type of vibe.

Outsiders (Sony/WGN) should be successful to filling that Sons of Anarchy sized hole left in your heart after that show died its’ own natural death since it has alum actor Ryan Hurst has a giant meaty sized role in it and motorcycles have now been replaced with Mountain Bikes. The series is beautifully shot in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, and it usually helps a great deal in not having it shot on a soundstage in Los Angeles since the lead star of the show, David Morse hardly likes to leave his residence out Pennsylvania.

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People vs. O.J. Simpson (FX) keeps its’ authenticity by actually filming the mini-series on location in Brentwood. One of the memorable things about once being Harry Perzigian’s roommate was the little tour he gave me of Brentwood that tied in to this grisly murder scene of twenty years back. The Italian restaurant, Mezzaluna where Ron Goldman once worked as a waiter is now a Peet’s Coffee Shop (located across the street from Soup Plantation – a great pricey soup & salad bar franchise located only in the ritzy parts of Los Angeles of which I recognized in the first episode). I’ve walked past Nicole Simpson’s condo plenty of times as it was on its’ way to a Ralph’s located on Wilshire Blvd, and the street that I’ve lived on: Barrington Avenue was where the White Bronco chase began.

The show is a trip to watch having lived close by to this part of Los Angeles history and the actors chosen for their respective parts are absolutely riveting in their roles, especially John Travolta as Robert Shapiro in where he finally gets to reveal his bald spot. Reflecting on David Schwimmer’s role as Robert Kardashian, it kind of makes me wonder: this is how the Kardashians got famous- because they were pals of OJ Simpson, therefore they were allowed to get a table at Chin Chin without making a reservation?

As of this writing, I’m only half through the series.

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Ray Donovan (Showtime) is a great premise four seasons strong about a former Boston mob punk (Liv Schreiber) making a new life for him and his family in Calabasas, California as a Hollywood fixer who covers up celebrity infidelities before they can become gigantic scandals or fodder for trash television until his father, con man Jon Voight (who is a real hoot to watch)  as his father complicates things for him upon his release from prison. Great cast and great easily recognizable Los Angeles locations make this a guilty pleasure. I have a special place in my usual cold black heart when a show that is based in Los Angeles ACTUALLY keeps its’ production in Los Angeles and doesn’t turn out to be a RUNAWAY PRODUCTION because of belt tightening tax breaks, unlike a show that pretends to be a poseur Los Angeles show such as FEAR THE WALKING DEAD   Hopefully by the time I run out of 3rd Season episodes to watch, the 4th will be released on dvd.

Marco Polo (Netflix) – is a stunning piece of foreign television making. It’s distributed by the Harvey Weinstein Company and is filmed mostly in Malaysia based on the classic piece of literature and its’a who’s who  all star cast of the finest actors of Asian and Latin descent including Michelle Yeoh, Rick Yune, Zhu Zhu, Joan Chen, Pierfrancesco Favino, with Benedict Wong (formerly in the movie The Martian and soon to be seen in the Dr. Strange movie as the ever faithful servant Wong)  as the grumpy but always loveable Kublai Khan, with Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy in the title role. No word as of if the show has been renewed for a third season.

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The Leftovers (HBO) lives up to the hype of what some critics claim to be a ‘masterclass’. This has to be one of the most thought provoking series I ever watched in my life. It’s a series that after careful viewing makes you want to be on guard for ones’ mortality.

The premise of which I will cheat with a Wikipedia definition (I’m running short on time here) goes a little like this:

In a global cataclysm, “The Sudden Departure,” 140 million people disappeared without a trace. Three years later, residents of Mapleton, N.Y., try to maintain equilibrium when the notion of “normal” no longer applies. Intense grief has divided families and turned faith to cynicism, paranoia and madness, leading some of the traumatized to join the Guilty Remnant, a cultlike group. Kevin Garvey, a beleaguered police chief, must keep peace between townspeople and the cult, a task made tougher with concern about his kids. His daughter alternates between apathy and rebellion, and his wayward son befriends a charismatic prophet. “The Leftovers” is based on the best-seller by Tom Perrotta, who is one of the series’ executive producers.
I’ve lent the two seasons to my sister in Las Vegas because the other show runner happens to be Damon Lindelof and this is his new baby since the conclusion of Lost. What’s spectacularly amazing about this show is how it revamp itself from season to season from its’ overall setting. The first season took place entirely in a small New England town bereft of tremendous loss to the second season that takes place in a small militia controlled Texas community that has never experience tremendous, so I’m pondering on what the third and final season will look like and how it will conclude, given that executive producer Perrotta is expanding upon the premise of his original novel beyond the book’s ending.

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American Horror Story (FX)’s cast of ensemble crazies are now led by Lady Gaga, particularly in the fifth season themed ‘Hotel’. Since it’s produced by the same group of guys behind Scream Queens & American Crime Story (and before that: Glee) which also features Emmy winning actress Sarah Paulson who flexed her caricature muscles as Marsha Clark, is a vampire in this incarnation. From what I’ve been hearing about the current season, American Horror Story: Roanoke, it’s a real confusing mish mash of the same actors doing body swaps and parodies nearly every eighties horror film you think of, but somehow I think the Duffer Brothers already tapped that well with Stranger Things.

Personally I don’t see what the big deal is with Lady Gaga. To this day, I have never heard a single song of hers, why she thinks she’s a cross pollination of David Bowie & Madonna, and she has a real unsettling looking face. Grant she can rock the body, but for the most part leaving this screener of halfway done and FOR last on my Sunday night gives me disturbing dreams that has stumbling in on to work looking very well UNRESTED the following morning

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I’m going to leave it here. The Emmys are coming this Sunday and I have log off to handicap my picks for all my social media darlings. Otherwise I would’ve droned on and on about Narcos, The Americans, Walking Dead, The Strain, Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, Frankie & Gracie, or Master of None.

Perhaps sometime during the November Sweeps.

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Bus promo for the upcoming third and final season of The Strain. Could also double as a very effective tool to ward off Trump supporters. I use it all the time in winning arguments on facebook.

 

 

A Day in 1998 with Art Speigelman

30 Aug

Too much on my plate to finish the second half of my ode to my a la carte streaming habits – plus I’m seeing Yes tonight performing one half of Tales From Topographic Oceans & Relayer in all its’ entirety at the Orpheum Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.

Another lost blog episode from my Comics Buyer’s Guide day. I have no idea why this one didn’t make the cut, but here it all doctored up and updated for today’s hipster evolution.

0,,16249873_303,00  Imagine yourself on an oasis of on the freeway with nothing between you for miles but surrounding mountains, coyotes, mansions and maybe Harlan Ellison’s house. I found myself last Sunday ( the 15th of November ) anxious to attend a lecture given at a tranquil Jewish foundation and museum that I’ve always passed by on the 405 but was never inclined to stop by and visit; ( and further down on the same freeway and nestled on even a higher mountain is the newly opened Getty Center that is only accessible by tram ).

If you’re looking for a little isolation in your comic art indulgence in a place where nobody knows or wants to know your name ( with the exception of those doing the lecturing ),then may I recommend to you the Cartoon Art Cultural Expression and Social Commentary series happening at the Skirball Cultural Center in a very remote area of Los Angeles during this month and the next few months co-sponsored by Comic Con International and the Comics Journal ? I admit I came on the series a little late in the game having missed the Jules Feiffer tribute a few weeks prior, but Art Spiegelman and his travelling lecture slide show Comics 101 made up for lost time.

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A warning sign to patrons to beware of the fact that ” cigarette smoke will be used as part of tonight’s performance ” did not deter from packing in the auditorium. But I didn’t see any reason necessary for the disclaimer; after all the Republicans did lose five seats  in the house so I don’t think our so-called conservative state of California were going to turn on him like a pack of rabid dogs if he decided to spark one up after a few of us paid $ 12.00 a piece to hear him speak ( $ 6.00 if you happened to be a member ). And that’s a small price to pay to breathe in second-hand smoke.

What the general public was treated to was a very informative insight in the history of a taken for granted art-form, and what I mean by the term ” general public ” is by my own personal observation; these people in attendance weren’t your regular run of the mill gathering of fanboys. None at all. Some I’ve noticed seem to be a higher or middle-income bracket, clean-cut high school and college students ( a few overheard in my row were in attendance for class credit ),and just practitioners or admirers of fine art in general. And of course, there were Art’s fans with their copies of Maus and Maus II in tow for autographs.

And who better to tutor the genesis of the comic strip form than Art Speigelman ? During the course of the two-hour lecture, he gave us a brief overview of his own exquisite career in the days of the underground, Garbage Pail Kids, to the debut of Raw and Maus; with a hint of future projects on the horizon such as a junior version of Raw and the revelation that he is writing an opera on the history of comics.

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Not to be mistaken for a pair of biographies on Donald Trump

  Much degree of different of historic importance were explored in Art’s slide show in addition to profound quips and commentary uttered between puffs of tar and nicotine. One such observation according to Mr. Speigelman was that people who do comics serve the purpose of producing transformative work as real artists do and the comics themselves are internally entwined with the history of paintings themselves using such illustrations  such as William Brown’s Stages of Cruelty and Rudolph Topfier as examples. Mr Spiegelman also offered an easy analogy as how comics serve our political ideology through Krazy Kat. Krazy Kat represents democracy because she is always forgiving, Ignatz represents anarchy because he is always clobbering Krazy Kat over the head with a brick, and Officer Pup would stand for fascism because he captures Ignatz every time he smacks Krazy Kat over the head with a brick and therefore is thrown into a cell constructed of brick. I simply the comparisons to be very in tune with the way our world revolves.

Mr.Speigelman shared with us the cogs of how the comic strip industry operates from what advantage point an individual would be positioned in the food chain as to if he or she would be better off trying to break in the comic strip syndicates rather than the comic book industry itself simply because the syndicates are known to pay better. Mr. Speigelman was also kind enough to let us in on a little trade secret about the comic book industry is a major Jewish American industry, created to be more popular than the garment industry and that EC Horror comics were probably the American Jewish response to the Holocaust.

And what partial wisdom did Mr.Speigelman reveal on the current state of the industry besides the comic book stores being nothing but a gathering of Rosicrucians on a Wednesday afternoon? Glad you asked. Mr.Speigelman articulately pointed out that there is a future for a graphic novel section in bookstores, but what the general public doesn’t understand that it takes an artist years to accumulate a piece of work to be collected in graphic novel format. A star is not indeed born overnight. Mr. Speigelman concluded his lecture by saying comic books need protection from libraries and museums in order to preserve into the next century.