Saturday, November 25, 2006

Check the Cool Wax

I'm giving you your Christmas presents early this year. Why wait until December 25th when you can have Marcia Brady, Liberace, Colonel Sanders, The Superfriends, and Telly Savalas (originally on vinyl) available for evaluation today? No thank you note is necessary. Only bandwidth is necessary.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Listen to Hyperopia

Lori Wray's current project, Hyperopia, has music posted at their MySpace site.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Aimee's Coffee House, December 2nd

Come to the Kansas City Voices poetry and prose reading at 7pm Saturday, December 2nd at Aimee's coffee house, 1025 Massachusetts street, Lawrence. Here's someone I heard (and saw) at last year's gig. She was good.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kenny and Company Revisited

Kenny and Company is a gem of a film, directed by Don Coscarelli, made and set in the 1970s (1976). It's a suburban romp through four days in an eleven year-old's life. I saw it on HBO in the late 70s and have always remembered it.

It's fairly episodic as it tracks Kenny and his pals Doug and Sherman as they skateboard, flirt with girls, pull pranks, and avoid the town bully. I related to the characters, I even had the same hairstyle as Doug did when I was a kid. I liked this movie a lot and then it disappeared. It vaporized after HBO ran it. Gone.

A couple years later I flipped through the dial late one night when I spied Doug on the screen again. Only this time Doug wasn't running from the town bully, he was running from the Tall Man. It was Phantasm. I knew of Phantasm from its iconic silver sphere, but I was blown away. I didn't know there was a connection between the two films. And yet, there was young Michael Baldwin, riding his bike down the street, as he and Dan McCann did in Kenny and Company. There were other actors from Kenny that showed up in Phantasm, most notably the incomparable Reggie Bannister.

Phantasm developed a following immediately and spawned three sequels but Kenny and Company was hard to find. There was no VHS release. I posted a comment about the film on IMDB in 2001 and for several years, I got the same query from strangers: Do you have a copy of this movie? I did not.

They finally released Kenny and Company on DVD in 2005 and I watched it last night. It held up well. Watch this movie if you like:
  • films about the 1970s
  • independent, small budget movies
  • Phantasm and want to see some of its cast in different roles

This film has "emotional glue". Emotional Glue is a Don Coscarelli term. It's what makes you care more about the characters, allows you connect with them, with thematic elements that transcend the plot. The scene in Phantasm that provides the glue is when Mike Baldwin follows his older brother everywhere on his bike because he doesn't want to lose him, even if his bro is just driving to the grocery store, he'd pedal like mad to keep tabs on him. Phantasm had a heart.

There's a sub-plot in Kenny that provides glue. Coscarelli did a masterful job of dealing with a common childhood situation: the death of the family pet. He pulled it off without shedding a tear. He allowed me to connect the emotional dots without hitting me over the head with it. The emotional glue scene in Kenny and Company is the 360 panoramic shot of the vet's office waiting room while Bob the dog goes to a happier place.

Am I raving? Heck yeah. Go rent Kenny and Company. One more thing - I loved the music too. Put it in your Netflix queue. Do it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Report from Sunday

25 people attended the reading last Sunday at the Kansas City Writer's Place. My palms were clammy but I managed to get through my story without too much trouble. Nobody fell asleep and they applauded when I finished. I think that meant they liked it (or maybe they were glad I was done). I read prose. The other six readers were poets. I enjoyed meeting Amy Fleury, Brian Daldorph, and Will Leathem. It was great to have my wife, parents, and grandma there too. There's another reading with a slightly different roster of contributors on Saturday, December 2nd, at Amy's Coffee House in Lawrence. My mom keeps calling it a coffee shop. Maybe Flo and Alice will be there to make tuna fish sandwiches. I'll be there, not reading, just listening. I like Lawrence, coffee, and the Kansas City Voices Magazine, now on sale at local K.C. booksellers.

Friday, November 10, 2006

R.I.P. - Sid Davis

Mental Hygiene film giant Sid Davis died. His films were more histrionic than Centron's brooding social fare. Check out the LA Times obituary.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Come See Me

I'll be part of a prose and poetry event at 3pm Sunday, November 12th at the Writer's Place, Kansas City, Missouri, reading my short story What Cotton Money Can't Buy. It appears in the annual Kansas City Voices periodical, available now in book stores around the KC area. Look for it by the register or in the magazine section.
Other contributors on the bill include: Amy Fleury, Kathleen Johnson, Alarie Tennille, Mary-Lane Kamberg, Brian Daldorph, Tim Todd and Will Leathem. Music by Nate Rogers.
Admission is a suggested five dollars (support the arts!).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Impossible Post Before Breakfast

I mentioned The Higgins Boys and Gruber (THBAG) in a previous post and to show you how obscure they remain; there are no video clips featuring them available on YouTube (yet).

Rich Hall was the early marquee name in the Comedy Channel lineup that featured THBAG, Rachel Sweet, Allan Havey, and Tommy Sledge, (the stand-up detective). Hall hosted Onion World, a weekly omnibus of various comedic elements and occasionally, live music. It wasn't a terrific series by any stretch. Hall wasn't very funny. I remember he took the show to Ireland for some segments. Why must one go to Ireland to find the funny? Seemed like he was milking his budget for a free trip. The program lasted a season or two and was unremarkable except for the appearance of one of my favorite bands.

Here's Big Dipper doing Impossible Thingson Onion World, from 1990.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Love Song of J. Frederick Flintstone

The Higgins Boys and Gruber performed this Eliot parody on their HBO comedy special circa 1991. The setup involved a beatnik poetry happening and Steve Higgins' reptilian cool interpretation was punctuated by bongo riffs. This transcript (from the font of unofficial knowledge, the Internet) may not be verbatim, but there's precious little information about THBAG so I'm running with it.

The Love Song of J. Frederick Flintstone
Let us go then, Barney and I
As the Bedrock sun is spread out against the sky
Like a Brontoburger laid out upon a table
And in the cave the women come on through
Speaking of the Great Gazoo
I am not Joe Rockhead nor was I meant to be
A stone quarry worker willing to bowl a frame or two
I grow old, I grow old
Shall I wear my saber-toothed tiger suit rolled?
Shall I prepare bronto ribs to eat? Power a car with my feet?
I hear Pebbles and Bam-Bam singing each to each
And in the cave the women came on through saying

Email Mashup: King Henry V vs. Anyone in the office for Thai food today?

This day is called the feast of Thai food:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Thai.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors,
And say 'To-morrow is Thai food day:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Thai food day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our dishes.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Llad Now Gapow, Pad Thai Noodle,
Yum Talay Salad, or Tabasco is no Sweet,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son.