Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Agency....Our Podcast

The Americans

Oh my god I love this show...I watched first two seasons...they got Stagg involved so we are watching those juicy!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Not For The Faint Of Heart

I have a vague idea and it’s not easy to describe. So…the connection to HOLLYWOOD BABYLON and this movie….is for me, easier to describe when I add a recent book about Hollywood called FULL SERVICE. There is also a documentary that I recommend based on the book and it’s authour called SCOTTY AND THE SECRET LIFE OF HOLLYWOOD.
The book and doc recall a service station run by a former marine who was hit on by Walter Pidgeo. He went home with Pidgeon, they fooled around and this guy realized there was a need and a bare-bones structure he could enhance for hooking up gays, lesbians and movie stars who had to keep their sex life secret in order to work in the public.
For me the comparison of the forbidden dark side of HOLLYWOOD BABYLON and FULL SERVICE is that the audience is kept away from the personal lives (to sell movie tickets) and is also in denial. In denial in order to keep this sheen of glamour and the good life alive for many movies that depend and propagate this good life to the masses.
Sure a lot of people were open-minded about Roc Hudson. But even today how many people could handle that Sepncer Tracy and Kathern Hepburns scandal wasn’t that they had an affair while his wife and children lived down the street. It’s a scandal because they were each others beard, or cover for their sexuality as gays? I’m sure in my job with fairly conservative customers they would not believe it for a second. Their cover up was using a scandal to cover a different scandal. Quite brilliant. It’s like Hugh Grant getting “caught” having a blow job. Hey…after that no one said he was gay anymore. OUATIH Tarantino is creating an inversion. Everything is an inversion from a movie poster being turned on it’s side to make amural. To the hero wearing moccasins when really it was the bad guy Manson who wore moccasins, to Di Caprio playing a version of Pitt. That is just three but the most obvious one is the ending. And the title “once upon a time” in “hollywood” not LA. But hollywood.
HOLLYWOOD BABYLON was considered forbidden as it exposed the things that showed the ugly side of the business and lifestyle.
And Tarantino has done this with inversion and fantasy ad the genre of retro and period piece. He is saying something about our shock over Harvey Weinstein….and that this sort of squalor was always in Hollywood. Not just now and using the Manson murders to highlight how rosy did you think being in Hollywood was? There has always been sexual casting crunch, people trading their souls for work. This is why I compare THE CANYONS to this “hollywood expose” genre. Tarantino has invented a fresh way to present this genre of scandal, corruption and revealing it to the innocent masses.
Anyways just hoping other people will see this movie and it is so brilliant and wonderful
One thing I forgot to say is that of course IT IS HILARIOUS!!! It is so much fun and funny!

CORMAC McCARTHY: “It’s so strange; I never knew what happened to him. I saw Richard Gere in New Orleans one time, and I said, ‘What ever happened to Terry Malick?’ And he said, ‘Everybody asks me that.’ He said, ‘I have no idea.’ But later on I met Terry. And he just… he just decided that he didn’t want to live that life. Or so he told me. He just didn’t want to live the life. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the films. It’s just, if you could do it without living in Hollywood.”

Sunday, August 04, 2019


 AttendingPeter’s celebration of life was an honour for me. His family created such a beautiful set of still life to represent him and his passions. His daughter said I could share these pictures for people who were unable to attend. Above is a photo of Peter and his wife, he married his childhood sweetheart.  There is a close up of the books below. Cather in the Rye, Nietczche  On Morality, Bloof Meridian among them. You can click on the pics to see closer. A drawing of Cormac McCarhy is in the frame.

In the above photo are two special t shirts. One from from his sports team. The other shirt is a classic Grateful Dead bear motif in an Escher style building/staircase. His work friends brought his surveying equipment. 

He had taken up golf in the last few years. He played as a teen but had returned to take it up. His daughter began the celebration with many anecdotes and insights into his life. Then his brother spoke. They both made us feel joy with their stories. And they both portrayed his broad interests in life, beginning with a humble approach to his outstanding athletic abilities, to majoring in journalism in college, being a party animal, and reading one or two books a week his whole life, and his participation in an online forum about one of his favourite writers, Cormac McCarthy. Then a friend, Rick Wallach, got up and represented the outstanding contribution to Cormac McCarthy literary analysis by his participation on the McCarthy Siciety forum. Rick was able to frame Peters participation in such a way that friends and family could clearly understand. 

I thought this was such s good idea. 
Everyone wrote a love letter. 

I am sorry that I am in my phone and can’t fine tune this post because I accidentally published these photos twice. I’ll fix when I get home to my desktop.

This is one of the many human interest stories Peter wrote in the 1990s when he was the editor of a local publication.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Good Stuff, Good Man, R.I.P.

Peter presenting in Memphis conference for Cormac McCarthy, 2015.

 We lost a friend of ours this week. I've known him about 15 years a bookclub and forum focused on Cormac McCarthy. Peter was an absolute avid reader and investigator of many topics. Some of which included the Grateful Dead, morel mushrooms, golf, movies and popular culture, politics....and he was just a damn fine kind sweet person. He and his wife, a woman I adore and consider a friend too...put us up and collected quite a few of our paintings. I gave a painting I did of Cameron Diaz as a druid from the Counselor to him. He aways had an ear ready to listen to an idea and I felt a kindred spirit to him as I over wrote things...obsessed about things and was nervous at times...and yet...I also loved getting obsessed about things and letting ideas lead me...and Peter was an idea person too. I feel we had this obsessiveness and idea-compulsion in common. He was also a mans man and yet very vulnerable person. He made the most extraordinary connections between topics and concepts. He was also a pen pal of mine. He was ready to read something I might be working on and he would share what he was working on. We met online but we also had the chance to meet in real life too at a couple of Cormac McCarthy conferences.

I would love to share a little bit of the kind of thing he would email me...we often spoke about what was happening online in the McCarthy forum. "Your assessments seem spot on. I operate from fear too much and should just let it all hang out more often. I can take criticism pretty well depending on how I'm spoken to. It's interesting how things go on the Internet compared to a face-to-face chat or what have you. One thing I'm sure about it that I've always admired how you can go toe to toe with anyone when things heat up, but I also appreciate and have certainly noticed your more diplomatic, gentle side. Good mix that."

He was so kind like that. We both shared an insecurity of sorts and fear of rejection. Our emails sometimes said how we would be so afraid of being rejected by someone at the McCarthy forum...and it was so cool to share that sort of fear with him. We had both encountered some rejection from some of the people part, I think because we both would write so much...and be so obsessed. It was one of the things we had in common. In some ways he and I were very opposite sorts of people too. He so very often would read what someone said online, or in emails and say "good stuff." It was a classic thing he said. Often. And it felt so good when he would say it to me. He was terribly encouraging about things I was thinking about or exploring. And what I have come to learn this week is that is is YOU PETER WHO IS GOOD STUFF!!!!

I have been collecting footage of people I met online...and I have more of Peter, from Knoxville I think, but this short time clip is from Memphis. In Memphis I met Peter's wife for the first time and we really hit ift off. I am so sad for her....I feel sick about the whole thing and I am praying for her. I have also really enjoyed reading posts on Facebook by his friends and family. Everyone is shocked and so gutted. I feel so lost for words and just so sad.

It's so strange because in a  way Facebook has the feeling of an afterlife. I have found out that Peter was a man of faith from a  cousin of his. I was not really aware of that side of him...although I know he had a lot of inner strength from some of his life story. And he had gone to see ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD the day before Stagg and I went. And when I saw the movie I couldn't wait to go to the McCarthy forum to see if anyone else had seen it. I have obsessed over what he wrote about the movie on Fb and re-read it several times. And now...his Facebook page has the sense of eternity as people are posting tributes on it. So profound.

And here is the last post he made on Fb on Saturday: 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Portrayal Of End Of An Empire

 First impressions today...Our society has collapsed and this was it's last remaining days as the Empire of the world. As society's collapse art becomes more and more decadent. Did you know that? It's one of the first signs of collapse. Or change, as I prefer, or restoration which is even better. What is the major restorative narrative of our lives and world? Yes, Hamlet. We never have to read it or see it but everyone knows it. 

The following contains spoilers if you have not seen OUATIH I suggest waiting till you do.

Who could imagine that Pitt getting in his car and just driving would take my breath away. If you love cars you will love this movie. Just the cars alone were heavenly. But the wind in characters hair as they cruise streets in a way it’s hard to believe anyone does anymore. Do you ever just get in your car to drive and look at a view? I do. I always have and it's how i was brought up. Let’s go for a drive. I did not expect I would cry in this movie but I did. I cried in part because of this collapse of a time when everyone watched the same tv shows, saw the same movies, everyone read books and everyone did it at about the same exact time. (which is portrayed in a  really creepy controlling scene, yet so original it makes the creepiness worth it!)

I also felt a bittersweet cry at women walking around dressed cute, while being powerful enough to give the finger to powerful, rotten men. I thought looking at Sharon Tate as her own person through her wn perceptions was such a brilliant concept…I wish I had thought of it. Tarantino gives us yet another female empowering movie which will be one of his legacies. He knows women and he writes them brilliantly. He lets us know he sees us and hears us. Thank you Quentin Tarantino.

I felt bittersweet tears at the end of the emire. Movie I would compare this to is one I’ve tried to encourage all of you to view THE CANYONS starring Lindsay Lohan, directed by Shroeder and written by Bret Easton Ellis. If Tarantino has it a peer it is Ellis. They both capture the last days of an empire beautifully and it’s smarminess and it’s hope.

There are some profound connections in OUATIH. 

The mural of Jack Nicolson
The casting of Cass Eliot, music by Mamas and Papas,
Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate
The Playboy Mansion
The Manson Family

What do all of these have in common? The confusing and tragic status of women in USA and especially the arts portrayed by the film insdustry. If anyone needs to reassure me of his role around women it Tarantino as all of his movies previous to this one were produced by Weinstein who raped at least two of Tarantino’s good friends. So I wanted to know what was this movie going to look like? Well, it had honourable male roles playing buddies. And it had allusions to one of the worst stories that marked the end of the USA as an Empire. Jack Nicolson set up Polanski with the young girl. Mansons killed Polanski’s wife. The Mamas and Papas had a band member that groomed his daughter to be raped and have sex with him for ten years. And as much as I am fascinated by the Playboy Mansion…it’s like ouch for status of women in so many ways. Nevermind the famous Playboy bunny murder Dorthy Stratton. The Hollywood Babylon just keeps on.

And then there was the camera. It seemed to sit at waist level most of the movie. Deliciously focusing on cocktails, dogs faces, the lower half of everyones body. The camera angle sitting at waist height made the human body monumental as opposed to figurative only. Ad then the feet. We all know Tarantino seems to love feet. And we had a lot of bare toes. Watching tv. Resting on dashboards, pressed up against glass of windshield. Then a sign that made me laugh out loud “truck lane 500 feet.”

We are going to see this again tomorrow and I’ll try to find some other impressions. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, 50/10. Better than 10/10.

 I like this still because it shows the cocktails. There were a lot of close ups of cocktails in the movie. Leonardo Di Caprio said that his character would have benefitted by not drinking as it blocked him seeing how great his life was. I also like how this photo shows how much Pitt looks like Robert Redford. These two have made the newest version of the sexiest male casting since Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
 I loved this tv show. And I believe there is a lot of the vibe of this tv show in the movie. In Esquire Magazine Tarantio and Pitt said they loved this tv show and along with Bret Easton Elilis (in his non0fiction WHITE) they all three mirrored my now biography. We all experienced learning about suicide from this tv show when one of the actors killed himself. I was shocked to learn that was an option as a child...that that existed!
Here is a post on The Canyons here:

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fun Food Crafting

We had a craft workshop at The Buddhist Temple Of Chicago  Saturday morning. We had so much fun making 3D Gelatin Flower Art.