Monday, March 22, 2010

Pres Died on the Ides of March/While the Wolf Man Flies Above Politics

Lester Young, the President, died March 15, 1959, in New York City
Foto by tgw, "Is That Jesus Coming Back?", New York City, 2006
Amidst the Chinese "Young Fine Underage" Porn Scams and Phishes Is the Flower of The Growler, thewomantrumpetplayer
Most Growler fans are ashamed for their names to appear in our lush comments section. One, however, isn't, the lady we've dubbed thewomantrumpetplayer. She boldly comments where others dare to go--and her comments are the over-the-rainbow down-to-earth kind of reflections we here at the Growler are so glad to mirror out to whomever reads what few thin-clad comments we get on this blogsite (in the blog alley we reside).

Like this morning when we downloaded the Growler dashboard, there were 8 comments waiting to be sent through our purgatory department--6 were from, 1) our friend the Chinese Young Underage 'Round the World Pleasure Thai Girls Video King (now we think he's probably a Russian), 2) the guy who wants us to look at "filthy" pictures of his ex-girlfriend, 3, 4) our new commenters: two on-line casinos, and (5, 6) two "emergency" comments from "I know you interest in making lot of money, I know I do. I know you itching interest in how work...."--and finally 7, 8) two from thewomantrumpetplayer.

Let the old Wolf/Man be honest with you. I heartily howl my likes for this woman. If all women were...but then I've never met her--I don't know if she's real anymore than she knows I'm not real. I could have passed her in the street last year or so, though in New York City who knows who you pass in the streets--like I once lived in the same block as Kurt Vonnegut and I passed him every day for months not knowing who he was until I'm walking with a friend one day and he goes, "Oh, man, look, there's Kurt Vonnegut." "That guy there...'Hey, my man, how's it goin'?'" My greeting going to the man I saw every day but who I didn't know was Kurt Vonnegut. "Damn, man, you know Kurt Vonnegut?" my friend exclaimed impressed by my greeting this man who until my friend told me who he was...I think I've pointed you in the right direction. I'm drifting into what I'm mentally considering a Hegelian way of writing. Trust me, if I hadn't have had (come on, you've gotta love that use of the American language..."hadn't have had") a GOOD professor of Government in a college law course I would have never been able on my own to figure out most of what Hegel wrote, though he was not as complicated to me as say Kierkegaard or the worst: KANT. I can't KANT. Where's the reality in KANT (I pronounce it "Can't")? Where's terra firma?

Back to the main road: Hegelian writing is writing that backs up upon itself and then tries again to do whatever its intentions were of doing from the first sentence. Let's see, an example: "Sid Cramp approached the front door to his little treasured overpriced bungalow in the Upburg Heights section of the greener outskirts of Flushing Falls, a city built off the sweating backs of slave laborers, slavery being a salvation in those distant founding days. The skies roiled black at times in those times that led to the founding of Flushing Falls on the Pinatocktock River, once a glorious Atlantis in the hilly woods of an eastern state, an original state, a Patriot state, a state stolen from the indigenous Pinatocktock Native Americans then called Indians...." Are you dizzy enough by now? That may be the purpose of Hegelian writing: to make the reader dizzy. To make the reader's eyes water and mind go berserk trying to keep up with the story as it backs up upon itself, backing blindly in some cases, backing over its own children perhaps as it backs blindly back into its background to reemerge as a reason for telling the story in the first place. Wow, even I'm dizzy after writing that! (And, Scott Fitzgerald, old buddy, I use an exclamation point because I am laughing at my own joke, the joke that is me--perhaps I'd be better as a Joker than a Wolf/Man...the wolf in me in growling a warning to the Joker in me!).

An Hegelian thought just hit me: isn't it wonderful how as a writer I can claim F. Scott Fitzgerald as an old buddy.

But the facts seem to be, thewomantrumpetplayer must have been all around me once in my past life, in my 20th-Century '70s life.

[Mr. Ed: I interrupt the Wolf Man's circular writing adventure to say that thewomantrumpetplayer is right in disputing the Wolf Man's saying Isaac Newton deduced that parallel lines never meet: this relating to Wolfie's Debbie Harry-attributed rather poetic theory of certain people being born on parallel lines, running along with each other side by side either aware or unaware of each other but similar enough in ambition, direction, and experience that they may eventually meet but that sadly like the theory of parallel lines never meeting they can never become ONE, as in a Unit, and must always remain TWO, alike in so many ways but then not alike in enough so that they can never be ONE.

We went back and researched where the Wolf Man got all of this: from his antihero Lester Bang's "coffee table" book Blondie. In it Bangs talks about the Blondie LP Parallel Lines and that the title refers to a lyric Debby Harry was writing but which she never completed. Bangs said that in those lyrics--which were printed in the album's insert--Debby was singing about words never meaning what you wanted them to mean, words just standing alone as words and never meeting with the other words, each word being alone with itself. Nowhere do either Lester Bangs or Debby Harry attribute the parallel-lines-never-meeting deduction to Isaac Newton. The Wolf Man perhaps is simply admitting his ignorance of that side of science--remember one of Sociology's biggest dilemma's is proving it's a natural science, which means proving they know what they're talking about--it's an encyclopedic science, a science that evaluates errors as well as corrections and their effect on society. The Wolf Man can also defend his erroneous statements by claiming he is simply a fictional character in this fictional blog--that all NEWS is history by the time you read about it--and by the time NEWS is history, it has become full of lies and over-stated truths and chocked full of adages and well-meaning quotes and mathematical progressions and musical denotations! I'm getting carried away. I'm not allowed any thing but an editorial voice in this revamping of history! WHICH IS ALL THIS IS! If they can rewrite history in Texas, why can't we rewrite history here at the Growler? I'm being hauled away by my own eloquence.]

The 1970s in New York City were the best. You can trust me on that. The city was free feeling and loose and integrating and mingling and bustling and beaming and brimming over with music, theater, art, thought, protest, revolutionary speeches and actions, journalism, the New York Times Review of Books, the New Yorker still a New Yorker-run and aimed-at-New Yorkers magazine--and in the street there were mimes, high-wire walkers, puppet shows, street theater, street musicians of all venues, jugglers, magicians, people who stood motionless for hours wearing some sort of weird costume. We had the Theater of the Absurd and John Cage-Gordon Mumau-Merce Cunningham combining to form a unit of speech, dance, and music. And a lot of these new-leader artists were working out of a place in the Village called Westbeth, a building some patron of the arts had made available as a building of arts rehearsal studios and spaces and cheap living spaces in the upper floors--even studios for rent down in the basement under the pipes and shit. And old Mr. Ballachine was still alive and producing his "charming" works at the New York City Ballet. Jerome Kern was still with us. Steven Sondheim was just coming on the scene and his pal Lennie Bernstein was conducting the New York Philharmonic in EXCITING classical music concerts in first Carnegie Hall, the perfect hall for Classical music really, and then in the newly constructed (but badly acoustically engineered to the point they had to totally rebuild the auditorium's acoustics) Avery Fisher Hall. And there was jazz all over the city. And there was a new form of American White rock coming on the scene called Punk Rock--it even brought Iggy Pop to NYC. CBGB's was still flourishing in its true decadent way. And Alvin Ailey had just started his Harlem Dance School. Tennessee Williams was still alive and living in the Elysee Hotel and hanging in that hotel's Monkey Bar. (Williams died in the Elysee in 1983. One of his current "boyfriends" at the time made up a story that Williams had choked on an eyedrops bottle cap he always, it was said, put in his mouth while he put the eyedrops in his eyes. Later it was admitted he had died due to an intolerance to Seconal.)

And the Village Voice was still a Village lefty and cool tabloid-type newspaper (started by Norman Mailer way back in the 60s). And the Voice gave us the investigative reporting of Jack Newfield, the photography of Fred McDarrah, the jazz criticisms of Nat Hentoff, long raving or praising letters to the editor, and the oncoming big rock critics like Dave Marsh and Robert Christgau. Ellen Willis was in the Voice a lot. And always a piece by Jill Johnston on dance, though she seldom stayed on dance and went off on her own street-level fantasy binges that turned out to be a deepest kind of dance reviewing since to Jill all of life was just one big dance. And good old Andy Sarris wrote film criticism in the Voice that only he really understood.

And Charlotte Moorman was still alive and putting on the New York Avant-Garde Festival at Shea Stadium every year with her husband the weird Nam June Park whose passion was using television as art. And Charlotte played her cello in the nude or topless--her breasts keeping time in dance to her cello playing--a beautiful sight really regardless of how you judged Charlotte's cello playing or the music she was playing.

The old East Village Other was still publishing--with way-out articles by Gregory Battcock and Gregory Corso and Herbert Hunke and the Hippy Doctor who taught us all about venereal diseases and what cocaine was doing to the lining of our noses or what to do should you experience a heroin overdose. The Other reporting the other side of the Greenwich Village scene, which by the 70s was where the established did their thing; the East Village was where the antiestablishmenters (the nonconformists) did their thing. The Village had Washington Square Park; the East Village had Tomkins Square Park.

I mean, come on, you poor folks born too late to have lived through the 70s in New York City, you missed the best of a collective American homegrown talent in all fields--Mr. John was still making hats just off Broadway in the millinery district (I haven't checked in a while, but I think the old Millinery Synagogue has been demolished and replaced by a GNC Health Food Store) and Ralph Lauren was just starting out changing the fashion world, bringing The Bronx "Polo" fashions to the world (kids way back yonder wore polo shirts--pullovers--I wore them as a kid and I know Ralph did, too)--Ralph Lauren Polo shirts--with Ralph's logo on all his clothes. These guys all coming into fashion on the heels of the Lacoste Crocodile-logoed tennis shirts that were designed by the French tennis star based on the tennis shirts he wore to win the French Open one year or something like that. And there was Bill Blass was putting his BB logo all over his clothes. And over in Brooklyn the Jordache jeans people put their logo on the backs of their jeans outdoing Levis with their huge tacky rearing horse--but oh my God how young people went for Jordache jeans and brought jeans over into the fashionable wear category and sent the price of them zooming up from $3.98 a pair to $100 a pair and higher when the jean fashion companies started coming up like giant mushrooms fed energy from a nuclear-power-plant radiation leak.

Edward Albee came along about this time, too. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf the meaning of how parallel aligned human beings can never meet. Sandy Dennis who starred in the movie version of Albee's play at the time was married to Gerry Mulligan the jazz saxophonist--a day when jazzmen were respected enough they could marry movie stars. Miles Davis got Cecily Tyson--she couldn't resist the JAZZ. But then though we of the jazz affected don't like to admit it but jazz originally meant "to fuck correctly"--like the jockey rode the race horse--once down the middle and then from side-to-side, which in jazz music means once through the theme and then jazzing from side-to-side. Like Duke Ellington once commented about the difference between the ways Black and White people kept time. White people, Duke said, kept time moving their heads up and down--vertically. Black people, he said, kept time moving their heads from side to side--horizontally. There's a big difference. The heart beats--like the finest handmade watches used to tick-tock--from side to side--check your pulse--your heart is tick-tocking side to side. The perfect 4/4 tempo is that based on the heartbeat--72 beats per minute--and you can swing pretty heavy and yet keep your heartbeat cool and steady. That's why Duke also said it was easier to play way-up tempo tunes than it was to play slow tunes. Ray Charles used to have drummer auditions and he'd get them ready and then he'd count off--1..................................(and) 2..................................(and) 3..................................(and)4.................... One drummer commented he'd never known a beat could be counted off so slow. The secret to keeping the beat for Ray Charles was to watch his left foot--when he counted off...he counted with his left foot and kept the time the rest of the tune with that left foot.

The most interesting people from all over the USA came here to escape the mad wild-warmongering attitudes of the Silent Majority and Middle America. These were the Tricky Dick Nixon and Jimmy "Mr. Peanut" Carter years--those few years of crazy peace as the end of the Vietnam War and after the Civil Rights Bill was passed and put into legal effect--we were tired from the marches, from the shouting, from being shot at, from being arrested, from being harassed by J. Edgar "Crossdresser" Hoover and the CIA, a joke of an intelligence agency--more the Central Idiocy Agency--like sending Castro a box of exploding cigars--DUMB. Or like sending Eldridge Cleaver and Tim Leary to some kind of lobotomizing facility we had in Northern Africa--Morocco I think. (NOTE: the US government (actually We the People) has a strange relationship with Morocco. Morocco's one of the Muslim countries where we send the Muslim-terrorist suspects to be tortured; ironically, we also use Syria as one of these torture stations. Notice how we're not after Syria anymore. They seem to be acceptable Arabs to us now. Iran has now replaced Syria as the big bugaboo out to wipe out Israel. Of course, you understand why we use Muslim nations to torture? Torture is not illegal in their culture.)

All of this leading up to my saying that I am currently flying so high above the corruption of our political system its clowns and shammers and scammers no longer amuse me. I'm above it all both physically (I'm too old to be conscripted into the future army of children soldiers) and mentally (I'm now too intellectually adapt--I mean I see right through illusions and allusions).

And then I backed over myself.

for The Daily Growler

1 comment:

Marybeth said...

"The Flower of the Growler"! That's so touching. You are SWEET, you old growly thing. I hope you did see me on the street in mid-town Manhattan. I was all around your landmarks last June. I recognized all kinds of buildings from your photos, including the Irish ones.

Saint Patrick's Day, by the way, is also Rudolph Nureyev's birthday. He was born on the trans-Siberian railway as it sped past the Lake Baikal in the frozen, barren, vastness of Siberia. A dramatic start to a dramatic life. His father was a political instructor in Stalin's Soviet Army and Rudolph DEFECTED! -- for ART, the art of ballet! What courage! His father was horrified and disowned him. In fact, all through his childhood, Rudolph was beaten up by his father every time he was caught dancing. His passion for dancing was fired in one hell of a crucible.

Nureyev was a Muslim Tartar, a Mongol, hailing from the same race as Genghis Khan, and he conquered the world with the same ferocity as Genghis Khan, only with dance instead of war. He opened the eyes of the world to ballet. I love him. He is one of my heros and I celebrated St. Patrick's Day (St. Rudolph Day) by taking a ballet class (not unusual, I take ballet class almost every day) in my forest green leotard.