Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Deefeecult for you. Easy for me."

I've been sick for the past week with the Lurgi.  Or is it the Spon Plague?  Can't tell anymore with all the mutations.  Added radiation levels here in Kalifornia, plus the usual blend of petroleum and pesticide car wash...this, that is the hallmark of Central Services California.  Breathe deep as the Moodies would say.  Going off track again.  Anyway, sick, like most of the other dismal occupants of this Tex-Mex Valley of Sickness, as the Chumash Indians called the area...and this was well BEFORE the oil wells and pesticides and radioactive dirt from the John Wayne film "The Mongol."  "It's Hell, I say."  The young think it's only sinus problems.  The elders know it's Certain Death!  But I digress...

Having a cold is no fun, except for one thing: it changes my voice and I can sound like obscure character actors.  Suddenly Orson Welles is easy.  Or John Houston or Sidney Greenstreet.  David Suchet...a breeze.  A touch of bronchitis or throat cancer and it sounds like a lifetime of cigars and Johnnie Walker Red.  Is that George Zucco on the phone telling former fascist-mafiosa boss to stick fist up rectal plumbing?  Who can be sure?  It's just a fever dream.

So is this topic my love of mimicry?  Not sure.  I do truly understand the Peter Sellers approach to acting: the voice came first.  It's a radio thing.  The Ear is just slightly ahead of the Eye.  Working in tandem, but it is a trade off.  For myself, this is a delight but more likely a pain in the ass for all of my friends.  Going to the movies with me is no fun (besides my inability to not comment during the film regarding some trivial criticism or useless piece of esoterica); the worst bit is the after-effect.  The mimic's curse.  If we have watched a Michael Caine film, I will be unable to not stop sounding like him (I am actually writing these words in Sir Michael's broken cockney style...thank God you can't hear it. If I attempted to write it out, the previous sentences would have been filled with pauses, hyphens and a ton of dots...), for at least a half an hour after the viewing.  This is the usual problem with most British films.  Peter O'Toole, David Warner, the Pythons.  Lately I bore my friends with my Jason Statham ("Don't touch the f..king car").  I don't need pneumonia to do that one.

While British are the easiest for me (as noted earlier, I got my first job in radio pretending to be English), other Europeans can possess my soul like a bad Benny Hinn Revival ("Did someone touch me?").  Germans are a curse.  I know.  I am one.  I am sure my wife is tired of my Armin Mueller-Stahl impressions.  This Munchen actor from the Fassbinder school always seems to end every sentence with the question, "yes?" "So Kafka, they followed you, yes?"  Since my wife loves the band Yes, I can torment her in the wee hours of the morning by asking in the Armin-ean tones, "So, Kafka, you like the band Yes, yes?"  This might be considered a union of vaudeville and waterboarding, but to me it is a form of art that may have amused Torquemada.

Just as Sellers and Milligan could easily become Hindu Abbott and Costellos on the Goon Show, I find myself absorbing all the inflections of the films I watch.  I live in a heavily populated area of Mexican-Americans, yet seem to keep my parody level low.  Except for occasional bursts of Telemundo, telenovela announcer-type proclamations or bad Sabado Gigante buffoonery, my mimicry is more subdued and in awe to the "mucho fuego" quality of the steamy Salma Hayek or Paz Vega.

I miss watching Animal Nocturno on Friday nights from Mexico City.  Ricardo Rocha and (hubba-hubba!) Patricia Llaca were the closest to a pure, multi-cultural, Hispanic program I have ever seen.  Like Jack Paar with Frida Kahlo.  My wife even became a believer when old Space Pirate Radio friend Tony Levin appeared on the show, unexpectedly, with his band and did more songs live than would have ever been seen on U.S. television.  Late night Mexican TV at its best, rather than Escandalo TV (you have to be kidding) or El Gordo y Flaca.  If I was less hetero, it would be re-runs of Viviana a la Media Noche.  But I see I've gone off the tracks here once more.  "Hola, las Pulgas!"

So what have we learned here?  Not much, really.  Chevy Chase, on his ill-fated late night talk show, was criticized for making a reference to Senor Wences.  Don't make references to something your audience is probably too young to know.  Keep it current.  Don't be smart.  This MAY be less fashionable, but f..k that noise.  Hip is cool.  And young is very cool.  I wish I had your energy.  But stupid play that game their way and you will be used and abused.  Which is what they want.  Dumb it down.  We can USE you.  We understand.  Au contraire, mes amis.  Keep it oblique as long as it is still true to what you believe.  If they don't get the reference, that's their problem.

So having made reference to Senor Wences, I cancel my own show ("All right?").  Now there was an artist.  A Central European imitating a Spanish surrealist with a Portuguese head in a box.  You wouldn't have The Muppets or Star Wars or Yoda without him, mixing it up first.  But that's another topic.  Except I've cancelled my show...So,

Germans are fun to do.  I've mentioned this.  A glass or 2 of Moselle wine and I will do BOTH Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski ("Kinski vas a mad-man, a luna tick" ).  Herzog murdered Kinski.  Perry Mason could prove this.  "Dees leeves from the Columbian rainforest...Cook dem for tree minoots, a delicacy. Cook dem for tree minoots and ten seconds...a lethal poison...your live functions seas in a total state of shock."  Lots of laughs.  I played a crazed German doctor in Arsenic & Old Lace.  One word would get me in character: "gerschitzen."

That's right, folks.  Single words or small phrases can set you off in multi-personality dementia.  "Yumpin yart fanoot" is the Manchurian Candidate code for instant Swedish.  "Tony" or "Tone E" brings on an instant Charles Boyer.  "Torture" or "Tor Chure" will manifest into spontaneous Bela Lugosi.

(Speaking of multi-personalities...although I've never seen a single episode of The United States of Tara, I am happy to see that the writer dated the same girl I used to know.  Even down to the name.  A slight Vowel Movement.)

So what about that picture?  It's an exclusive shot of the new Doctor Who ("Bowties are cool.").  Oops, sorry, no, it's not.  And he wouldn't have made that sartorial comment if he had seen Matt Drudge.  Actually, pictured above is disturbed Ruskie poet Sergei Suitenpanz, companion of modern dance icon Isadora Duncan.  I'd love to tell you more, but I've been cancelled.  If I could, I would pour another glass of Rasputin, the Mad Wodka and begin my story as follows...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Pussies galore!"

As we near May Day, I approach my bi-polar obsession of Paganism and Socialism with a continued nod to my animal friends.  I think I prefer animals to most people.  They don't drive badly, join the NRA or watch Fox News.  Yes, Hitler had his did Bush.  Clinton had a cat.  Bravo!  Better a warlock to have his familiar, than a jackboot to have a Cheney or Rove.  Giggle here...otherwise, bite me.

(Speaking of bi-polar...I had a twit of a friend once write to someone, "you know I think Guden is bi-polar." I wrote back, "How dare you? I have never had a homosexual relationship with an eskimo."  Watch out my friend, those who re-write your history.  Suggest they invest in Fecal Wash, the eyewash for those with Cabeza del Bunghol.)  :)

Cats...I love them. It's the BASTard in me.  Tee-hee!

I love all creatures great and small.  Many animals in the Guden household.  But with only one dog that I can recall dearly, a lovely brown chihuahua that my sister had, I seem to remember the family as mainly a household of cats.

Our first cat was brought into the household by my sister Kay, now Katherine.  She had an interest in all things French (went to France before any of us left Orange County).  I think it was a white kitten.  Named it Pousoi.  A later kitten was named Pousette.  So a French thing started here.

After that, when we left Fullerton for Diamond Bar...cats were named Clouseau, Toulouse and Shadeau (or Shadoux, as this was a Franco-hallucinatory play on the Mad Magazine parody of The Shadow with the character called Lamont Shadowskiddeeboomboom....or so I remember).

Be careful what you name your animals.  Our cat Toulouse, named after the famous tiny French poster painter with the damaged legs, slept in the garage.  Accidentally, my father driving his car in, ran over the cat's legs, rendering him crippled like his namesake.  My wife and I had a cat named Nico, after the singer. Though not killed in a bicycle accident in Spain or a heroin overdose, poor Nico was hit by a car and dragged himself onto the driveway to die.  We were watching Veggietales when this happened.  Can't stomach them anymore.  Bob the Tomato is now in my BLT, minus the B. (Recently joined PETA.)  Loved the Cheeseburger song, but we can get past this.  Back to my Pagan's only a song.  One of the key members of Strawberry Alarm Clock ("incense & peppermint"...all those cool paisley psychedelic shirts...fuzz guitar, drone E organ) became a real estate mogul, redeveloping the vistas of Santa Barbara for high-end condos and businesses.  "Let US pave your paradise."  But I digress...

The photo of past is yours truly with Fu (after Fu Manchu), the white Siamese and I believe, the yet to be ill-fated Toulouse.  It might be Shadoux or Shadeau.  I'm not sure.  I'm turning into Reagan: "I'm sorry... I can't recall.  Too many micro-waves from the G.E. All-Electric Home.  Plus radio.  I don't recall signing the contra orders.  I was under anaesthesia and my V.P. was in charge.  Hey, do you remember Death Valley Days and the 20 Mule team?  Boraxo soap sponsored that show and sometimes the team only had 17 Mules.  What do you think was in the soap?  We learned a lot from the Germans.  I'm sorry...I'm getting sleepy now, Mommy.  Bedtime for Bonzo."

When I got married and moved into a house...well the cat commune really begins. I am the L. Ron Hubbard of cat cults.  Care to be mEow E-Metered?  Claro, el Gato?  Tee-hee!

Seriously, though.  My wife and her family were cat lovers.  There were several cats when I arrived, but sadly all of them have passed on.  You may have already seen the posted foto of Emma in my rant on radio General Managers.  The children of Malcolm and Nico and Glenda and sister Kinski (they were a VERY CLOSE family and aptly named) are still here but one, thank the Gods of old.  I quietly call them the Brothers Karamazov, but Grime and Punishment could also fit for literary punsters.  Six cats in all, and two outsiders who visit, have a meal and carry on their journey.

But wait, I haven't told you about our Easter Bunny that arrived near All Hallow's Eve.  And the colourful parrots that out-sing Carmen Miranda.  And the ancient, all knowing turtles, smaller cousins of those on Ascension Island.  And the generations of possums, related to our dear Pogo.  And the soulful raccoons, almost the size of small kangaroos, who will eat out of your hand.  And...

But first, let's watch our favourite pet quiz show, "What's My feLine?"  Brought to you by CAT, a tonic.  The healthy drink that leaves you refreshed AND stationary.  Now let's introduce you to the paw-nel...I mean, kennel.  "That star of stage and screen and litter box..."

Friday, April 1, 2011

"I am a very foolish fond old man."

In less cataclysmic times than today...or so it seemed, to those of us cloaked in audacious youthful energy...there was extra amount of elbow room to be outrageous.  Our daily life could be performance art.  And certain holidays gave us that chance to be outre.  All Hallows was the obvious selection.  But for some of us Tarot Card obsessed funsters, April First was the Day of Choice.

Tiny entry here.  I think I have spoken before on how, on April 1, we loved to giggle up.  On KTYD we turned the station into a screaming Top 40 station--the antithesis of the freeform FM we had become.  I was the Real Don Robot, my parody of old LA based KHJ radio, "Boss Radio."

In print, the Santa Barbara News & Review became a parody of the local daily rag, "Not the News-Press."  I remember telling the Editor of Night Light that I wanted to print my article on my visit to the The Man From U.N.C.L.E. set, and we should do an April Fools parody of the paper.  He nixed both ideas.  So I went to the alternate paper.  They did the parody AND placed my U.N.C.L.E. story as the cover article...sorry, but as Cal Worthington used to say, "just let me have first chance at the deal." 

The best April Fools party was at Zelos.  The Space Pirate Radio 12th Anniversary poster party was a huge success for the club.  So, I proposed an April Fools Party which was, fortunately, even more successful.  Those were lucky moments.  The Space Pirate Radio Poster Event was a huge success, but you could get in. For some unexplained reason, the April Fools celebration was packed beyond legal capacity.  A big success for the club and a pride-filled moment for yours truly...that being Foolish in a business world could maybe work.

Printed herewith is the fake Zelo menu I wrote for the occasion.  The Blessing or Curse with all my comic writing is that it has to make me giggle first.  If I am certifiable or living in an alternate universe (both real and possible explanations), this could be a problem.  But I think I am a tough critic (Virgo, the Critic, remember) and I always try with the multi-dimensional joke: one level for this experienced individual; another for the multi-lingual, well travelled, historically drenched and philosophically gob smacked alien in polite society.  Another blog sometimes...

(Wasn't The Blog the 1958 sci-fi debut of Steve McQueen?)  Despite the feelings of some, if I have to chose ONLY ONE job description on my South American passport over all others (writer, actor, disc jockey, artist, director, pornographer, fungus), I would choose satirist.

A Foolish First of April to you all.