Monday, December 31, 2012

"Have a Gorilla."

I quit smoking tobacco in 1974 and am very glad I did.  But if I did smoke, folks, it would be one of these.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"But I thought every little boy wanted an electric train for Christmas."

Ah, there's nothing like the holidays to make one philosophical regarding the nature of religion.  The chill of the Winter's Night while the penitent walks barefooted on the abbey stones (Abbey Stones! That's my FAVOURITE album by The Rolling Merseys).  I personally love the long nights.  But then I am part vampire.  Buried in unconsecrated ground, night time has ALWAYS been the right time for me.  Contemplative.  Away from the daylight madness of money minded men.  So it seems this time of year brings all faiths together in a cacophony of conflicted goodwill.  All, I think, originally based on a fear of the dark and cold.

The Pagan Winter Solstice is flooded with an intense display of Christmas Lights, mostly on tract houses.  G.E. loves the month of December.  I believe a person can be extremely religious without being a fanatic.  A fanatic at best.  A fraud at worst.  Televangelists fall into this group.  Benny Un-Hinnged and Paul Couch Potato Head.  Why these folks haven't been driven into the sea off Costa Mesa is beyond me, except for the obvious...they have SO MUCH MONEY given by YOU, DEAR SAINTS!  We are buying our way into Heaven, which is NOW dear saints, not later.  Later Heaven is for YOU, our patrons.  Now Heaven is for us.  Like my watch?  My clothes?  Keep calling, keep pledging.  We need that satellite station over Ghana.  Heaven on Earth for Us now.  Heaven in Heaven for You later.  40 phone lines available.

My hair is longer today than probably anytime in my follicle filled life.  People who see me ask how long am I going to let it grow.  Replies include that it is for job reasons.  I am moonlighting to play Jesus in your front lawn manger.  "But the Christ Child is just a baby," most reply.  Well, not in my version.  Like Scorsese, my Messiah avoids crucifixion, marries late in life after wild bachelor adventures, follows the Northern Star, moves to suburbia, gets out of public life.  Keeps miracles minor, or at least low key.  Doesn't get out as much.  Too old for strenuous exercise.

Misses the Philistine Hurling.  Fifty yards from the Temple.  Pity.  Back and hernia problems.  Otherwise, there would be less televangelists.
 
Fed up to here with the disciples.  Always re-writing gospels to give themselves a bigger part in the story.  It's hard to have friends when you are the Light.  Attracts moths, makes one threadbare.  Should have Googled Judas before letting him sell my ideas.  And PETER!  Quit with the re-invention.  Enough with this I PAID ALL THE RENT crap.  Who had his own place and invited the poor pilgrim kicked out by his parents to share the living room sofa?  GET REAL.  Stop being the Pope.  There's a reason why some are left on the Road to Calvary.  Real memory.  It's like working with Replicants.  Jeez!  Cheese Louise!  No wonder HE gave up the ministry.
 
Jesus has left the building.  That's why the Account Executives and General Managers he has working in "His Name" are so oily.  No quality filters.  If you've failed at every profession, preaching is always available.  Why do so many people in prison find this as an option?  Or else Law.  No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.
 
But enough sarcasm.  Let us consider the positive aspects of the cloistered life.  As I said, I do cherish the contemplative channels of the clerics.  Shall we retire to the library?  Alexandrian, Vatican or the one Casanova cared for in later years.  It doesn't matter.  These are all places of worship.  I think I miss book stores more than Sunday school.
 
Well, when the annointing is more the annoying...don't lose Faith, Dear Saints.  Also don't lose your sense of Touch. And For God's Sake, don't lose your sense of Humour.  Remember the Motto: Jehovah's Wit, This Is.  Constant Occupation: Jester to the Divine.  The Gods may be two-faced.  But my favourite mask is comedy.
 
A Smile and a Song to you all. Best Wishes for this Time of the Season! And now, on to the next bit :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Zero for Conduct."

Time (Way) Out Restaurant Guide: The Alfred Jarry Fruit Juice Bar.  Try the Pear Ubu.
 
Mallardlapelaphobia: Fear of ducks wearing double breasted suits.
 
Droopatoupaphobia: Fear of going impotent while wearing a hair piece.
 
Gustav Flaubert's original erotic manuscript: Madame Ovaries.
 
Jim Varney as Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Ernest.
 
Favourite Cocktail at the Ballets Russes: A Nijinsky and tonic.
 
Books on Audio: Das Kapital read by Gary Sinise.
 
Midgeafridgeaphobia: Fear of a member of Ultravox living in your freezer.
 
Bankawankaphobia: Fear of self-pleasuring in a savings institution.
 
General Franco, Jesus Franco, James Franco, Franco Nero and Franco American spaghetti have little in common.
 
Ray Bradbury's rejected ad campaign for FTD Floral Delivery: Something Wilted This Way Comes.
 
Hugo Weaving, so now Minnie Driver.
 
The father of Italian/Chinese opera was Puccini Chin Chin.  His most famous work, La Testicala, was a ball.  Noted for The Broom Sequence in Act II.  His widow prevented his family and children from inheriting royalties from his works.  "Not by the Heirs of my Puccini Chin Chin," she exclaimed in a Milanese court.  A scandal at the time.
 
Actor Robert Preston used to play the ukulele during his Army days on Armed Forces Radio.  He was introduced as "Sargeant Preston of the Uke on..."
 
Dwarfamorphawharfaphobia: Fear of midgets suddenly appearing at the end of a pier.
 
Scubatubaphobia: Fear of submerged brass bands.
 
Freudian Slips: Definition of Bi-polar...Sleeping with the Eskimo Wife AND the Eskimo husband.

Monday, December 17, 2012

"The Story of Ho-Ho-Ho!"

From Our Chateau to Yours:
 
Have a Wonderful Winter Solstice.  Wishing You the Best of Magick.
 
All of us in Pagan Place.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"My pink half of the drainpipe."

My pet doctor scared me when he diagnosed surgery for my lizard.  He told me I needed a reptile operation.
 
In Prague, the most popular breakfast cereal is Rice Czechs.
 
Christopher Lee as Dracula sings MacArthur Park: "Someone left the cape out in the rain."
 
Sir Michael's favourite game is Back Gambon.

EMO Music for the Elderly: Belle and Sebastian Cabot.
 
Rip Torn while John Hurt.
 
Peter Greenaway's Aborted Medical Film: Alcohol Damage...The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Liver.
 
Peter Greenaway's Aborted Medical Film: Eye Surgery...The Draughtsman's Contacts.
 
In 1984, Big Brother smoked Winstons.  Lawrence of Arabia smoked Camels.  Mrs. Santa Claus smoked Virginia Slims.  The Witchfinder General smoked Salems.  The Prime Minister smoked Parliament. Luciano smoked Luckys.  Two Stooges, Larry and Moe smoked L & Ms.  The Duke smoked Marlboros.  The Lord smoked Chesterfields.  New England fishermen smoked salmon.
 
Chinese bear trainers are often seen begging for money.   Many of them are panda handlers.
 
Updated Product Placement: ChITI ChITI BANgK BANgK.
 
Federico Fellini's cheesiest movie: La Dolce Velveeta.
 
Italy's Biggest Adult Female Star: VaGina Lollobrigida.
 
The most relaxed Producer in Hollywood was Darryl F. Xanax.
 
Pygmalion in China by George Bernard Rickshaw.
 
Studies show that people who work in bus or train stations have a higher risk for illness.   I think it's terminal.
 
Sherlock Holmes had a secret fetish and revealed it whenever he shouted, "The game's afoot!"  If physically excited, in inner circles, this was referred to as having a "Rathboner."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"You know my name (look up the number)."

Mickey Mouse Wears Gloves: So he won't leave fingerprints.
 
Mickey Mouse Wears Gloves: So he doesn't get nicotine stains.
 
Mickey Mouse Wears Gloves: To hide the gang tattoos.
 
Mickey Mouse Wears Gloves: To search for drugs on other toons.
 
Mickey Mouse Wears Gloves: Has phobia when shaking hands of Jews, homosexuals, commies, hippies and women of an easy nature.
 
Mickey Mouse Wears Gloves: To hide wedding ring from first marriage.  Minnie musn't know!
 
Mickey Mouse Wears Gloves: To cover up nervous sweat, lingering odors and that stickiness from habits not outgrown.
 
Lucasland: Goofy and Jar Jar Binks are related.
 
Failure in Translation: Dutch listeners think Carly Simon is saying, "I had dreams, they were clogs in my coffee."
 
Mickey Mafiosa will be played by Al Topocino.
 
The Angina Monologues: In the Early Sixties, hearts would flutter at the sight of Burlesque Queen, Chesty Pains.
 
Dingyland: Two attractions will be combined.   Alice in Wonderland will become the Mad Hatterhorn Ride.
 
EuroDingyland: The monorail plays Stereolab.
 
Ian Anderson rejected concept album of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Thick as a Kubrick.
 
Unfinished screenplay about women who refused sex with Stanley: Thighs Wide Shut.
 
Updated Product Placement: Ma & Pa Skittles.
 
Stephen King on Acid Again: Miniature Golf Course built over graveyard. Putt Cemetery.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"I travel alone."


Hello fellow travelers.  Groucho Marx has been quoted and misquoted saying, "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member."  I think I sympathise with the contradiction.  How does the individual accept group activities?
As a young fanboy, I joined a number of clubs, hanging out with sci-fi writers and horror movie makers.  The Count Dracula Society and The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society were the two earliest.  LASFS has an online membership list and I see my name with the date March 5, 1964 as the time I joined and paid my fee.  As they love to say, some members are dead, but Death Does Not Release You from being a LASFS member.  Oh, dear!

Being a part of some arcane organization has an appeal when young.  It sets you apart, yet you are in a collective.  Equality, yet competitiveness, under the cloak of conformity.  This is more obvious in the less arcane groups of membership, like the Scouts, the Military and Century 21 Realtors.  I joined the Burroughs Bibliophiles, considered the Baker Street Irregulars, was a part of the American Peter Cushing Fan Club and finally joined the Goon Show Society.
 
I was never in Skull and Bones, but I did partake in college thespian groups.  At least in those clubs, new members were not burned or urinated on.  Not on purpose, anyway.  Only the occasional accident at tipsy cast parties.

My Father, bless him, was not the most comfortable man around darker complexion individuals but dropped out of the Elks Club in the Fifties because he thought they were a bunch of racist plantation owners.  Orange County.  That was a country club in itself.

Which leads me to my feelings on unions: in theory, yes; in practice (at least in my own experience), no.  I've been in three unions during my career journey and the events were not pleasant.  The worst was AFTRA, whose bookkeeping department in the Eighties was the worst I'd ever encountered.  Dues would be sent, yet letters would arrive saying payment overdue.  I've kept to this day the cancelled check for the final amount I was told had never arrived.  Never resolved.  Like something out of the film Brazil.  A major part of turning my back on "the Industry."  I dropped out.  Bureaucrats.  A foster home for ineptitude.

Now this intense cynicism doesn't mean that I've abandoned my Utopian goals.   No To Sirree!  With Love!  On the contrary.  It just reinforces my wariness of group activities.  Individual Ideals Expressed in the Collective Model.

"I'm sorry, Senator.  What was your question again?"

Oh, beside the groups I first mentioned?  Democrat.  PETA member for 2 years.  I still have my U.N.C.L.E. card(s).  That's about it.

So if you want to be in an Activist Organization, but are afraid of Counter-Productive Subversive Infiltration, it's probably best if YOU and just YOU, are the ONLY MEMBER!


(And you don't have to remember the Secret Handshake either. You can do it by yourself :) )

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"You make me nervous."

Did everyone think Noel was a Coward?
 
English Regurgitation meets Class Distinction with Nasal Sensitivity: "Upchuck. Downwind."
 
Barbie, She-Wolf of the S.S. with her Aryan boyfriend, Klaus.
 
Anyone remember Tad Hungover, teen heartthrob of the late Fifties?  Starred with Sandra Drain in the hormone-drenched soap opera about early hair loss, "A Summer Piece."  Emulated him on occasion.  How many times have I been a Tad Hungover?
 
My mistake.  It was Troy Helenov in that film.
 
David Lynch does "A Midsummer's Night Dream." "Twin Pucks."
 
David Lynch career slip due to typographical error: "Mulholland Drivel."
 
David Lynch meets Alan Stivell: "Wild at Harp." (Stivell in Drivel?)
 
David Lynch directs Arnold Schwarzenegger in Monkees movie: "Eraserhead Eraser Head."
 
David Lynch remakes "The Bad News Bears."   "Inland Umpire."
 
Jean-luc Godard does "The Little Rascals."   "Alfalfa Ville." (*giggles*)
 
Nicolas Roeg does "Ghostbusters."   "Bad Slimming: A Sensual Gobsession."
 
The Who record the little known songs of Sacher Masoch: "Odds & Sade's."
 
Pink Floyd's football song:  "A Soccerful of Secrets."
 
Pink Floyd recorded another song besides "One of These Days" inspired by Doctor Who.   It was about a companion who wished to travel back in time and become a back-up pop singer.  "The Billie Piper at the Gates of Tony Orlando & Dawn."
 
Syd Barrett's ode to marathon runners: "The Madcap Laps."
 
Robin Williamson for Del Monte: The Incredible String Beans.
 
(Now maybe this would be a good time to head on out to the Snack Bar and pick up one of those Pepito's Cheese Gophers.  You know, Pepito, in the early morning, drives out in his truck, and while those gophers are out crossing the road, doing their morning constitution...SIDESWIPES those little guys.   And while those little fellas are laying by the side of the road, dazed and confused...)  ***UPDATE*** Thanks to the SUPERB work of PETA, I am SO HAPPY and ELATED to inform long time listeners that Pepito and his insensitive operation have been PUT OUT OF BUSINESS!  No more will you hear of...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Is my face on straight?"

Did an English teacher ever teach Kelsey grammar?

My wife likes Rush, big time. She dislikes Big Time Rush.

Jeremy Irons while Ben Folds.

If Lauren Bacall married Sophia Loren, would she be Lauren Loren?   And could we get Lauren Hutton for a menage a trout?   Too fishy?

If you dig classical ballet, check out Mexico City's answer to Rudolph Nureyev: Tutu Juan.  He's performing in Surf City.  Why?  "Because I'm going to Surf City where it's Tutu Juan..."

D.H. Lawrence and T. E. Lawrence get together for Lady Chatterley of Arabia.

Will The Hunger Gams have legs?

Jacques Tati meets Chris Karrer: A Mon Oncle Duul.

Jacques Tati meets Robert Vaughn: The Mon from Oncle.

Jacques Tati meets Logan's Run: M. Hulot's Hologram.

M. Hulot's Holiday directed by Russ Meyer: Jacques Titti.

Jacques Tati in the Tardis: Doctor Hulot.

Roy Orbison in Blow-Up: Michaelangelo Antoni Only the Lonely.

Did Mel ever draw a Blanc?

I'm into a retro steam punk vibe.  I pierced my nose with a conductor's punch.

Qupe is the Chumash word for poppy.  Tupe is the Chumash word for hair replacement.

Method acting vs. intuitive acting.  It can be argued that Uggie the Dog in The Artist is a better actor than Al Pacino.  Certainly less high-strung, and house broken as well.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"I think initially, it got attention to the subject."


End of daze.  Crazy days lately.  Being a wanted host for some, a ghost for others.  Talking with old friends, seeing old faces, stepping in new feces.   Lots of nostalgia.  Sifting through the archives of oblivion, as Roy Harper might say.

Listened to the first hour of a Space Pirate Radio show from over a decade ago and got caught up in the opening collage of sound.  Continuing on from the last entry, I am amazed at how the program evolved, especially the conceptual idea that the show was "pirating" the "normal" broadcast that came before it.  As a lover of old radio drama and Mad Magazine surrealism of breaking the frame of the comic strip panel, this is what I attempted to do in sound.  I owe a debt to Orson Welles and The War of the Worlds, as well as The Goon Show for the desire to play with "the fourth wall."  Firesign Theatre too, but I paid back my debt there.

When Space Pirate Radio first started, the Firesign Family disliked the show, primarily the shocking new electronic music and sounds from Europe.  This and mixed with my theatric experiments.  "Don't be too avant-garde," said Tiny Ossman to then hubby David on their Sunday morning show, Easy Street.  "Will I sound like the all night disc jockey?" David asks.  "You mean the show, One Man's Garbage?"  Tiny replies, stoney snickers in the early Sunday morning microphones.  Having been friends with Tiny and David, and as I have written several times before, without them, I wouldn't have approached KTYD with the idea for Space Pirate Radio...well, I thought it was funny.  Who in the station's youthful audience would get the pun on old time radio show One Man's Family?  But the sting was there.

When David Ossman was being interviewed by the college newspaper at his home, I was present.  "We want to start a new show," the male students said.  "What should we call it?"  David shot a glance at me and replied, "Make sure it has RADIO in the title."  Radio Free Oz, of course being the Firesign's initial show, created by the late Peter Bergman.  David was critical of Space Pirate Radio.  He said to me once, "I hear Firesign rhythms in Space Pirate Radio."  Being a Smart Ass and confident in what I was doing, I replied, "I hear Goon Show rhythms in Firesign."  Still, the group considered me The Seeker, playing Gas Music from Jupiter.

When the Los Angeles Times did a feature on Space Pirate Radio in the Sunday Calendar Section, David congratulated me and I think the Pat Morita/Ralph Macchio aspect of our friendship ended. *giggles*

But I digress... The opening collage.

The first show of January 27th, 1974 didn't have a produced, theatrical opening as such.  It was just the opening chaos of Hawkwind and Earth Calling from Space Ritual, with me saying "For the next six hours, you are going to hear the weirdest music you have ever heard."  After the initial show, I used the sound of the station being interupted by radio static and my alien invasion/klaatu like voice.  It was Elton John's Honkey Cat that was being pushed off the "normal" broadcast.  I loved the radio static and it was fun spinning the AM dial while recording the snippets of real radio shows.  The magic show/Senor Wences sport of it was trying to catch the RIGHT snippets and then spin the dial to another random set of words or music, to get a surreal collage of ironies and multiple meanings.  I call them Triple Entendres and when possessed, it felt like a wireless ouija board.

Relistening to the show from 2002, I was aware that the radio collage I had been using was created in 1985 after I had left KTYD.  It was recorded one afternoon in the KTMS studios of the old Santa Barbara News-Press building.  Sitting in the vacant music director's office, I popped a cassette in the aircheck machine, tuned the AM and started spinning the dial.  Everything recorded came from that one sitting.  No edits.  It seemed dreamlike.  Talk show dialog, commercials, Spanish language station, music, ethereal voices.  It felt like a trip through the airwaves via the Beatles' Revolution Number 9.  Combined with the opening musical bed of the week, I was ready to get working!

This is probably a good time to mention all the opening music, heard under the theatrics, greetings and information.  Over the years, fans and listeners have asked, "What was the opening theme music?"  Well, through the years a lot was covered.

Early '70s shows played a lot of Tangerine Dream. Atem, Zeit, Phaedra and Rubycon.   Every early Klaus Schulze album was used.   Ash Ra Tempel has lasted through the nearly 30 years, especially Inventions For Electric Guitar.   Cosmic Jokers was a long term intro. Schulze's Body Love LPs, Volume One particularly, was a mainstay.   David Sylvian and Holger Czukay's Plight and Premonition was long standing.  In the mid to late '80s Jonn Serrie was heard as well as Steve Roach.  But probably the most eccentric opening theme was Haruomi Hosano's Cochin Moon Japanese LP.  This one was a particular favourite, almost unclassifiable.  I can still hear the sounds of what seemed to be gargling piranha fish, dancing to Myron Floren. Priceless.

"Listen! Whatever I tell you...Go the other way!"   *giggles*

Friday, September 28, 2012

"It's just a phase I'm going through."

Before my September month fades away completely, I wanted to share two more delightful art renderings from my dear friend, David Fontana.  Birthday gifts from my magical amici of time and space, place and music.  A companion to many of the muses, this I can attest to.

Lately, with all the Virgo energy (good and bad) and the slide into Libra balance, I have been putting my little steamed noodles on the Page of Twits.  And, I must admit, have been enjoying the Cosmic Giggle.  But David's art, particularly the first, is the only interpretation so far of the nearly forgotten arcane audio alchemy that was Space Pirate Radio: the phasing of two (or three!) vinyl records of the same artist...at the same time.

Let me expand on the subject. ("OH DEAR, Betty!  He's EXPANDING!")

There is a certain nostalgia for the shows of Space Pirate Radio where I threw out all the rules of what a radio program should be bound to.  Now, in my mind, this WAS from day one, January 27th, 1974.  Or even May 1968, when I first went on the air.  But for this science course students, we will examine the period from June 1974 to 1985 when the world was still primarily analog.

It is SAFE TO SAY, that a certain Expanded Mental Consciousness contributed to a Doctor Frankenstein-like environment to, AHEM...tamper in God's Domaine.

Before half a year of Space Pirate Radio had passed, I stopped being a regular disc jockey with normal interruptions and back announcing of song titles.  I felt it was destroying the trip, even if I had "bed" music underneath (Tangerine Dream or Ash Ra Tempel), while I gave out the artist information.  This was a tough evolution because I wanted the listener to know the cool (or UN-cool) music I was playing, but I didn't want to interrupt the mix.  So as the shows developed, I wanted Guy Guden, Disc Jockey, to disappear after introductions at the beginning of the show and "have some fun" being Guy Guden, Space Pirate, or Nun of the Above...a collection of Multiple Personalities, or lack thereof, guiding you through the matmos of muzik of many lands that wasn't Monrovia, but maybe was.  The Hermes of Hi-Fi.  A Quicksilver Messenger Surplus of Foreign Sounds.  If you dug it, welcome aboard; if not, you have freedom of choice.  Turn the Dial.

But I digress...

The phases.

The "trippy" shows of Space Pirate Radio began in June of 1974, where single songs blended into multiple songs.  Themes began to develop.  Sound collages began to happen.  A television set in the old KTYD studios, high atop the 8th floor of the Granada Theatre building, became a new participant in the sound mixes.  While Amon Duul 2's Yeti was playing on the air, I was armed in a production studio with several 10 and a half minute tape carts, recording random dialog off the early TV channels, switching like a juggler, looking for snippets of sound that mixed and matched.  Turn the second dial up while recording and you were surfing echo...soft, smooth and haunted, or turned to full wipe-out!  Old horror films, cheesy Italian sci-fi flicks, el cheapo ads on channel 13.  This audio alchemy added up to sonic magic.  I can still hear dialog of echoed madness from films I have no idea what they were: "Drop!  Drop!  Drop now!" "We can't!  We're TOO loaded!"  "Don't tell anyone what we saw in the garden. They'll think we're insane."  And so forth.  Found dialog, psychic mixing, with no editing.  Pop these on the air while Dance of the Lemmings is still playing, or Second Hand or Seventh Wave or Tago Mago or Atem...WHEEE!!!  A wireless OUIJA BOARD was ON THE AIR.

The first experimental show, was drenched in George Harrison's Electronic Music, voices, gags and sound effects.  It initially scared some listeners, especially if they had been tripping.  But after continued weekly exposures, they became fully initiated and verbally enthusiastic for these new transmission progressions. "Too much?" "Too much."

"Now it begins."  FLASHBACK!

Okay, I now insert the memory of a mind altering moment that would affect the topic at hand.  Like my earlier discovery of the electronic music from Forbidden Planet in 1956...and the sight of that first intoxicated wine cover of Mad magazine in 1958...I had a third childhood pre-psychedelic moment in 1959 (although it felt earlier).  This was hearing for the first time, in our little home in Fullerton, a song called "The Big Hurt" by a lady named Toni Fisher.  WHAT THE HEAVENS WAS GOING ON?   I've read the description by one person who first heard the song and saw a jet overhead and has forever linked the moment.  I believe my mother was vacuuming the furniture when I first heard it.  That is my memory lock.  This song was sound being SUCKED through a vacuum machine.  Furniture music, indeed.  This song seems to have been the initial experiment, accidental some say, of phasing, or flanging, as it's technically called.  I knew neither term at the time, and not until after I was dabbling.  I just knew, buried in my subconscious, was the desire to fly and surf those sounds again.
 
2nd Phase.
 
I carried on regardless.  So this phasing thing: if you play one record and then you play a second copy of the same record at the same time, like tantric sex, something amazing will happen.  Prepare for chills because sound that is LINEAR will become VERTICAL and TUBULAR and...OH, MY GOD!!!  AURAL SEX!!! :) :) :)
 
3rd Phase. Cold shower after 3 laps 'round the field.
 
So I attempted to enhance the audio sound of all my favourite records if I had 2 copies of the disc. David Fontana has already posted his artistic interpretation on his blog, Scungilli Sings.  He cites Amon Duul 2 from Hijack as the moment he remembers.  I can't think of a favourite work I DIDN'T try to reshape.  Besides the obvious Heavy Hitters, I remember Alan Parsons' Tales of Mystery and Imagination ("System of Doctor Tarr & Professor Feather"), Manfed Mann's Earth Band's Glorified Magnified, Nektar's Remember the Future, and a Pink Floyd bootleg (yeah, I played them) of the Screaming Abdabs as standouts.  I even did Goon Shows and Environments lps (oceans were particularly cool).
 
Of course, sometimes it would all crash and burn.  Like a lover or two, this Menage a Turntable had to be spun correctly.  Which turntable was faster?  The slower one had to have the music ahead.  The faster coming up in tempo, changing the sound.  You had to hear, on air, live, which table was doing what.  This meant splitting the song in your head to differentiate the disc.  And like Jonathan Pryce in Hysteria, all the action is in the fingers :)  A bad poke and your two bars off the beat.
 
But when it was good, OH!!!...solid bliss.
 
In my lab, I tried to go further.  3 turntables.  I tried it with the same song recorded on six carts and two turntables.  Flat and muddled.  The best cross experiment was taking both the English language version and German import of Kraftwerk's Trans-Europa Express and playing them at the same time.  The music was EXACTLY the same and phased.  The dialogue, however, was a cacophony of Ralf Hutter singing and saying the same thing in Englischer and Deutsch.  It was like a Kafka Kocktail Party.
 
Later, at Y97, I tried phasing cds.  Wasn't satisfied with the outcome.  Digital Pause Repeat Breakup was interesting, but never as visceral as old school plates.  The tables at 2K0, Y97 and KCBX were clunky, noisy and unresponsive to digital (as in FINGERED this time) speed alterations.
 
While putting together this piece, I read up on various anecdotes regarding the history of phasing, or flanging, in the years of music.   Most refer to the practice coming from the slowing of the tape machines in the recording process.  I've found nothing so far about disc jockeys doing this live.  Yet, I know I wasn't the only one playing with the sound.   When Dave Heffner from Austin, TX joined KTYD a number of years after I had been there, I found him in the afternoon phasing Grateful Dead or Willie Nelson or some of his other favourites.  And he was a daytime jock.  None of this late night space cadet stuff.  So the process has been out there for quite awhile, I suspect.  The lab equipment varies depending on who is using it.  "It's all about the Sound, man.   All about the sound."
 
4th Phase.  Ah, those phases of the lunacy.  Grazi, Fontana di Luna.
 
Al Chemical was Jazzed to be Spinning the Wax.

"Mister Sound man. Bring me a dream"


"Now it begins."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"In my humble attempt to amuse your fiance, Mr. Harker, I was telling her some rather...grim tales of my far off country."

Part of my late night ritual on the Magic Cathode Folder is to check the daily birthdays on IMDB.  A constant source of reflection.  Who chooses that A-Dult Film Star Mona Mounds, seen in such epics as Pleasure My Blender, gets a higher number at 17, than character actor George Zucco at 44?  But I digress...

A short time ago, I saw it was the birthday of the late Fred Stuthman.  "WHO DAT?" you say, banjos strumming in the background.  Fred Stuthman was Jeepers' Keeper, just the coolest late night horror host on local Los Angeles TV.  The third and best host of KCOP-TV's Saturday night program, Jeepers' Creepers.  And my first job in the wonderful weird world of showbiz.

I have a fondness in my heart for horror movie hosts.  I entertain thoughts of ending my dubious careers doing one locally, but let's back up.

Every major city seemed to have at least one or two late night weekend horror movie hosts, starting in the Fifties.  Shock Theatre, Zacherley in New York.  Vampira in L.A.  Each local, non-network station would have a package deal with some studio for horror films, all ranging from the classic Universal monsters (KTLA, channel 5 in L.A.), to RKO (channel 9), to Allied Artists (channel 11) to bottom drawer Monogram (channel 13).  So 5 would have Shock Theatre, 9 would have Science Fiction Theatre, 11 would have Chiller and 13 would have Jeepers' Creepers.  To offset the lower quality of the movie offering, more entertainment from the ghoulish host was required.  This is why on Saturday evenings in the early Sixties, yours truly would watch Bela Lugosi in The Devil Bat at 10pm on channel 13.

Okay, it's 1964, and this little horror movie nut has moved from Fullerton, California to the virgin oak lined hills of Diamond Bar.  I've been making inroads to the worlds of horror, science fiction and fantasy movie making and literature, via The Count Dracula Society and the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.  Jeepers' Creepers runs these charming grade B to Z flicks like Bride of the Monster.  The current host has replaced the original character Jeepers, played by Bob Guy.  After a long run, he is followed by a rare female host since Vampira, called Ghoulita.  She is soon followed by Jeepers' Keeper, played by character actor Fred Stuthman.  I like this cat.  I decide I want to visit the set.  How do I do this?  Request an interview for my horror fanzine Vampire Castle.

I write the appropriate letter and Lauren Bacall, surprise, surprise...I get an invite to visit a taping at the KCOP-TV studios on La Brea Avenue in magic filled Hollywood.  I discover the shows are taped on Monday evenings around 7pm-7:30 or so, and can last till Midnight.  Whatever segments work are than intercut into the movie breaks for the following Saturday broadcast.  I'm there, man.

So after class on Mondays from dismal John A. Rowland High School, my folks, surprisingly, let me catch a bus from Fullerton into the horrific environs of Downtown LA (NOT the upscale place to be in 1964), catching another bus going up Wilshire Blvd. to ultimately transfer north on La Brea to the sacred studios.  Forget after school football.  This is MAGIC!

Note, I say Mondays in the plural.  This is because my one-off visit begets a regular invitation to the Monday night tapings.  Producer James Sullivan asks my opinion of the show and how I would improve it.  Can you imagine how a teenage horror fan felt about such a thing?  I suggested the horror elements be darker, more gothic.  And the comic moments drier, ironic or absurdist, in contrast to the theme of each week's movie offering.  This observation made me a part of the crew (non-union of course, really just a glorified intern, but to a 15-16 year old like myself, it was my Disneyland).  I really have to thank the producer Jim Sullivan for being so encouraging.  This was a wonderful time in Hollywood.  Doors were open and talented people accessible.  Things would change by the Eighties.

But back to Mondays, 1964:

Fred Stuthman was a theatrical actor.  A tall, thin, balding man, with high cheekbones and a Valentine Dyall type of voice.  When he put on the Phantom of the Opera style clothes, long black wig, hat and cape, he was quite a commanding figure.  A living, breathing Tales From the Crypt, Crypt Keeper image.  I think he relished the role.  He was very flamboyant in these shows.  Other roles he did, he would just disolve or fade into the part.  But at this time, he was the best damn horror host on TV, who also became a friend.

My third bus would arrive across the street from the channel 13 studios after 5pm and I would greet the studio guard.  Lloyd Thaxton would be doing his daily live dance and music program from one of the two major lower studio areas, which on some shows, was redressed into the the Jeepers' Creepers mausoleum set.  I'd head into the make-up room where Fred was transforming himself.  This was an amusing situation, as often or not, the musical guests on the Thaxton Show were waiting in that room as well.  I met Herman's Hermits that way.  In Santa Barbara in the Nineties, Peter Noone lived there as well and I asked him if he remembered being in that dressing room, waiting to go on telly while this man made himself up as monster. "That must have been '65 or '66, wasn't it?  You would have been 16, yes?"  Possibly.  The show lasted from 1962 to 1966.  I hung around for the last half.


So this Monday night excursion became a habit.  I even forsake some episodes of my favourite network show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E when it was in the Monday night time slot.  I felt a slight tinge of remorse seeing a glimpse of a new first season episode on a backstage monitor during taping.  Even the Jeepers' crew were UNCLE fans.  But more important work was to be done.  And thank the pagan gods, summer reruns were to begin, so I could be loyal to both obsessions.

I started creating props for the show.  A horror movie friend at the time made a large bat out of coathanger and black cloth.  This became a set piece.  I added a skull with candle.  There may be a foto enclosed of me setting match to prop as Fred prepares for camera.  I really loved the fog machine.  This technical device for the time, a brown art deco appliance, plugged in with heated Vaseline, ready to spray clouds of smoke...this set the mood.  I loved the smell of it, even though it probably wasn't healthy.  If a take flubbed, new layers of smoke were added.  If they wanted the mists to stay ground level, like a Wolf Man movie, a metal tray was applied to the front of the machine, filled with dry ice.  This kept the clouds from rising.  Pure magic!  The effect was complete.  We WERE in the graveyard.  Like walking into your favourite Universal horror film.


In an era where home recording was only dreamt of, I have no copies of these Saturday night broadcasts.  But I did have my own kinescopes.  I would turn off all lights in the den, open the lens of my Kodak 8mm motion picture camera to full, and film off the second black and white TV set on colour stock.  Except for the fluctuating vertical lines, this actually worked quite well.  I had a small audio tape recorder.  If the batteries were strong, it came out adequate.  If not, oh, dear!  Helium moments in performance playback.  I also took my trusty Kodak to the studio and got some lovely on air and behind the scenes stuff in colour.  Fred, Jim and the crew.  Cool moments.  Better than summer camp.

Ultimately Fred left the show and started a serious career.  He appeared in a lot of interesting stuff.  Check out his resume on IMDB.  He worked in what I believe is Clint Eastwood's best film, Escape from Alcatraz.  And with Patrick McGoohan.  And Fred Ward, whom I got to know in Santa Barbara.  He's back to the satanic in The Sentinel and quite exposed as well.  He worked with both Sophia Loren and O. J. Simpson in Firepower.  He was in Network.  I hope some day to catch up on his TV work I missed, like Lou Grant and WKRP in Cincinnati.

As for Jeepers' Creepers, after Fred left, producer Jim Sullivan took over the host role.  He became The Creeper, possibly the most horrific horror movie host to date.  He looked like he stepped out of an old E.C. horror comic.  Jethro Tull meets a Nightmare on Elm Street.  Half ghoul, half wino.  Daring, but doomed.  The show had come to its end.

Over a decade later, I reconnected with Fred Stuthman.  I tracked him down doing stage work at the Music Center.  He was living in Long Beach and we corresponded by letter.  Lots of memories and a wealth of showbiz stories to share.  I decided to drop in on him.

The last time I saw Fred Stuthman, I didn't see him at all.  He was doing The Crucible at a small theatre in Hollywood.  I thought I would surprise him and come down from Santa Barbara, see the show.  When I got to the theatre on Ivar, a note was placed on the playbill: "Tonight's performance will be performed by Ford Rainey"  FORD RAINEY!  This marvelous character actor, who I had JUST HAPPENED to work with in 1973 in King Lear.  Is this incredible and bizarre or what?

With the utmost respect to Ford... I turned around and left.
 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"How are YOU?"

I take comedy very seriously.  With the recent dvd release of The Three Stooges, people ask my opinion of the film.  I haven't seen it.  They are then even more surprised when I tell them I never liked the original Stooges.  Not a fan.

I've never found stupid, funny.  Slapstick turned me off almost immediately as a child.  Pies in the face ended when I was five in Detroit, where Soupy Sales started.  Strange humour made me laugh, which is why I gravitated to Ernie Kovacs, Stan Freberg, Mad magazine, Senor Wences, Jonathan Winters, the early pre-Muppets on Jack Paar's Tonight Show and stuff on Steve Allen's programs.

Sight gags where people got hurt: Little Rascals, Stooges and massive chunks of Laurel and Hardy...I tuned out.  Visual humour that was surreal or sublime, like Jacques Tati.  Now, that got my attention.

As a kid, I loved humour and horror.  My Mercury in Libra, the two poles of my nature ("Two Poles walk into an appliance store...").  But I didn't like to mix the two.  Of course, looking back I can see I had a macabre sense of humour.  I enjoyed Gahan Wilson's horror cartoons in Playboy (the third h: hedonism) as well as Charles Addams' earlier ones.  Birthing Muppets were almost always monster driven, creature eating sketches.  Ernie Kovacs sight gags had a ton of carnage in them.  And wasn't Alfred Hitchcock always finding a laugh in death in the opens and closes of his show?  How droll!

And speaking of droll: even more amusing to my childlike attention than Hitchcock was the introductions by author Roald Dahl to a short-lived TV series called Way Out.  This program replaced an ill-fated game show with Jackie Gleason on Friday nights.  9:30 P.M.  Just before Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone.  Dahl's intros were like a Welsh psychedelic variation of Serling's.  Both smoked like fiends.  But while Serling came off as a standing, professorial Hugh Hefner, Dahl, full headed, sat in front of a TV monitor with his Medium Big Brother image repeated in the screen behind.  His gallows humour, more often than not, accentuated the deadliness of the female to the male, or how wives and husbands were always plotting to kill each other.  The show had a disembodied surrealism about it and included an all electronic score.  Very cool for Summer 1961.  I've revisited some of the shows on the U-Haul Cathode.  Try to see the ones with the original ads for L&M cigarettes.  Remember...the secret is Flavor Seal, plus the Miracle Filter.

Of the three hosts, Hitchcock, Serling and Dahl...I preferred el S & D.  Probably because they were writers first and foremost.  And so trippy.

Well, I've slided off topic again.  Humour.  Slapstick versus Slipstream.  I was going to mention how Jacques Tati in M. Hulot's Holiday predated and "inspired" Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards in the original Pink Panther.  Clouseau is Hulot, but with radio sound.  Even the coat and hat.  Edwards riffing on Mack Sennett, ends his film like Tati, with fireworks and chaos.

So American comedy is like being in the produce section, selecting tomatoes.  Pick and choose.  The Marx Brothers.  High brow/low brow.  Ripe gems or bruised fruit.  Take your pick.

More to come on this...

Otherwise...illustration for Blog de Jour (Steve McQueen and Catherine Deneuve have hot sticky sex in the afternoon as directed by Bunuel) is another obscure objet d'art by David Fontana.  It's yours trolly, enjoying the fine products of the fabulous Nippon Gin Company.  In this case, it's once again a nice glass of Rodan Light White Wine.  And sharing in the company are my two favourite tiny female Asian twins, spokesmidgets for Mothra Party Mixes.  Sing the theme: "Mozz Ue Rahhh...Party Mix.  Mozz Uh Rahhh...Party Mix."

Space Pirate Radio would never have lasted as long as it did if it wasn't for the faithful support of the Nippon Gin Company.  Do listeners recall when Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band did the first celebrity ad for Rodan Light White Wine?  "A cheeky, spiritual wine," he called it.

G3: "I understand Robin, that if anyone serves you any other wine than Rodan Light White Wine, in a rather delightful way you...sort of leave."

RW: (in a totally different French voice) "This wine, it has affected my personality...markedly."

One sip...and you too, will say...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Oh, I wonder, wonder..."

I was reading a review on the new collection of George Orwell diaries.  In it was the author's observation that he had an endless number of "serious" stories and ideas he wished to write about.  But instead, he enjoyed the small daily thoughts that became his journals.  This hit a note in my own little noodles.  I have BIG IDEAS and medium ideas that I'd love to share with you...but in the wee hours, I find the little giggles to be my favourite pain relievers.  Certainly I felt this way on the air.  And I had a lot more stamina then.  So...

I once dated a magazine collector who was psychotic.  She had issues.

"Don't crucify me," Tom said, crossly.

Aldous Huxley owned two dogs.  They were the labradors of perception.

I once dated a terrible photographer.  Nothing developed.

Cats are being body searched at airports.  All they find is Friskies.

Jean-Luc Godard won't discuss his New Wave films.  He's a little vague on the subject.

Italian women take care of their skin with Neutrogena Lollobrigida.

James Mason, Perry Mason and Mason Williams were all rumoured to be members of some sort of secret group.  I wonder what they called themselves.

Frank Herbert drove a dune buggy.  Edgar Allan Poe would have driven a gold VW.

I wonder if Yoda had cable on Dagobah.

Does James Bond read Q?  Or watch and order from QVC?

Percy Bysshe Shelley originally wrote Prometheus Unzipped. Changed it later.

Jacqueline Susann wanted to write about her affairs with Rudy Vallee and Roald Dahl. I wonder what became of the manuscript.

Can Teletubbies take baths or will they be electrocuted?

Every time I hear the theme to A Summer Place, it's almost a religious experience.  I wonder if the composer was a man of Faith?

Author Anne Rice discovered while living in the Bay Area that she is related to Mickey Rooney.  Well, Rice, a Rooney has always been the San Francisco treat.

Does this song ring a bell?  "Out of the night, when the full moon is bright.  Comes the Thing that's known as Zitzo.  He's BOLD and he's BRAVE.  And he's been to a RAVE.  The Z, the Mark of Zitzo."  Oh, those childhood memories.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"No cover charge. Your clothes get in free."

The photo is from my 1982 trip to Munich. I've been watching Mad Men Season 3 with Conrad Hilton portrayed and it reminded me of my stay at the Hilton in Germany.  It also made me consider the fact that if Paris Hilton had been conceived in Munich, she'd be Munchen Hilton.  I haven't seen the tape, but I think some others could be Munchen Hilton too.  Otherwise...

Honda is sponsoring the next tour of The Moody Blues.  It will be called "In Search of the Lost Accord."  Much better than Clearasil's proposed tour: "Days of Future Pussed."  ARGH, that would be awful.  Fortunately the acne skin company has decided to sponsor a Roaring Twenties Broadway musical instead. "Puttin' on the Zits."

This zombie craze has hit the works of D.H. Lawrence.  "Lady Chatterley's Liver."  (Served with a nice Chianti?)

The Fullerton Functional Furniture Warehouse introduced in 1961 the first coffee table ACTUALLY made out of compressed coffee beans.  "Anyone for coffee?" the hostess asked, before axing off a leg from the early American table piece, grinding it into the coffee maker.  "A Fine Coffee Table...An Even Finer Cup of Coffee" was their sales motto.  They stopped sales in 1963.

Nudist magazines in Braille are sought after collectibles.

Amzac is Prozac that hasn't made the big league.

"It's bigger in the inside."  Doctor Who trying to impress a girl he's just chatted up at the Paul Raymond Revue Bar.

How about Lucifer, the Morning Star, as a spokesperson for Life Alert?  "Help me! I've Fallen."

In New Guinea, the most popular show on cable is Mud Men.

New disco in Moscow: Doctor Zhiva A Go Go.

India remaking Bollywood version of Orson Welles classic.  Watch for The Third Mantra, the Adventures of Hari Lime.

Say the following ad tagline in a French accent: " I can't believe it's not butt hair."

If Yusuf Islam had become a Buddhist and married Chinese, he might now be known as Cat Chow.

Pete Townsend sells out the Who to Exxon-Mobil:  "Won't Get Fueled Again."

An original photo of Lee Harvey Oswald on sale on Ebay.  It's framed.

New disco in England based on Alfred Hitchcock: Vert A Go Go.

Mexican eye candy: Pez Vega.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Tell me Hilda, does all this frighten you? Does it make you feel insecure?"

When Smokey Robinson hooked up with Trinity Broadcasting Network, he suggested an Evangelical movie project set in Motown Studios.  "The Last Christ of the Temptations" never went past first draft.

Syd Barrett as Jerry Lewis in "The Delicate LSDelinquent."  Likewise.

Everyone remembers Fats Domino and Chubby Checker.  But what ever happened to Porky Parcheesi and Hefty Scrabble?

I love the B Movie factories of the '30s and the '40s.  Does anyone remember MONOGAM Studios?  Their motto: "We only have ONE LEG to stand on."

The studio, too cheap to afford the East Side Kids or the Bowery Boys, introduced the ill-fated Skid Row Juveniles.  Also, unable to pay for Chinatown second unit work, the Mr. Wang of Alameda series was doomed to obscurity.

Citizen Kane to be remade with new product placement: RoseBudweiser.  Peter Gabriel will contribute title song: Sledhammer.

Del Monte sponsoring revival of musical "Hair."  "This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus."

An intoxicated Tom Jones exposed himself during a concert after changing the lyrics to "It's Not Hung Usual."

Hollywood Hidden Secrets: When long time partner Bob's Big Boy ran off with new lover Pillsbury Dough Boy, jilted lover Alky of Alka Seltzer, commited suicide by throwing himself in a glass of water.

Snow White originally had 10 Dwarfs.  Did Walt fire Nosey because he was too Jewish?  Humpy for his Vice Record?  And Limpy?  There would have only been 5 Dwarfs if Dopey hadn't been a supplier and Doc hadn't performed certain operations.  The first explains Happy and Sneezy's conditions.  Grumpy had piles, but Doc wouldn't perform the operation.  Records were destroyed.

They keep sending me mail about cremation services.  I burn them in the fireplace.

Shouldn't Abbe Lane have recorded Abbey Road?

Michael Caine was once approached to join Emerson, Lake and Harry Palmer.

Max Factor and the X Factor have nothing in common.  There is no foundation to this story.

Likewise, Bette Davis has never been romantically linked with Miles Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr., the Spencer Davis Group or the Davis Cup.  Where DO these stories come from?

Joan Crawford's alter ego was Broderick Crawford.  They were never photographed in the same room together.

Hermes was the Messenger of the Gods, not a fashion designer.  It was never his bag.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide."

Okay, Jo.  Here are some more rib ticklers.

Bob Fosse once considered doing the choreography of the works of Ayn Rand.  "Atlas Frugged" was the first concept.

Nipplelodian (the network for under-nourished, non-breast fed children) had proposed a series about a female child star jazz-funk group: The Jon Benet Ramsey Lewis Trio was quietly shelved.

In the sixties, Johnson & Johnson suggested a line of bath products inspired by The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  David McTallcum Powder only made it to the testing stage.

Likewise, in later years musician Peter Hammill asked Napoleon Solo to join his band, but sadly, Robert Vaughn der Graaf Generator never performed at the Roundhouse.

The planned collaboration of Jethro Tull and Yes never brought forth Thick as a Brick Relayer.

I would love to start a new town called Moderation.  Alcoholics could live there with respect.  They would never feel guilty saying, "I only drink in Moderation."

Likewise, in this town, I would name one street Not in Service.  This would make waiting for your correct bus more fun.

Robert Plant originally sang "Hey, hey, Mama.  When you move your groins.  It makes me glad you're from Des Moines."  Later, sober, this version of "Whole Lotta Lunch" was discarded.

Jimmy Page was asked to join a disbanded Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  Page-Turner is still a mystery.  But then, a good mystery should always be a Page-Turner.

Not many people know that Bob Dylan loved the mystery comedies of Nick and Nora Charles so much, he created "Ballad of a Thin Man."  An obsession with the lead actress inspired the song, "Loy, Lady, Loy."

If Bea Arthur had married William Holden, she would be Bea Holden.  If she had then made a film with The Thin Man's Myrna Loy, they would have been Loy and Bea Holden.  Or was that an Irish Vaudeville team?

Alka Salsa was briefly produced by the Miles Davis Laboratory.

Travel author Rick Steve's marriage ended when he accidentally sent a misspelled postcard from Amsterdam saying; "Wish you were her."

Gene Barry did not appear in the pilot episode of the sixties Saudi Arabian detective show, Burqa's Law.

The first concert merchandise ever sold was after a performance of Trois Gymnopedies, Paris.  The item was an Erik Satie shirt.

Where are the great porno performers of the '70s?  We know what happened to Johnny Trousersnake Disease.  But does anyone fondly recall Veronica Nose, Amber Grope, Bambi Steam, Desiree Humper and Vanessa del Groppo?  And the virile efforts of Jamie Odors and Herschel Sewage?  I miss those all night shows at the Screaming Beaver theatre. Downtown Los Angeles, at 5th and Hell.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Armin Mueller-Stahl, with his new wife Lesley and their adopted son Nick, are heading to a horse farm in Chatsworth to film a scene about Josef Stalin in a barn, when on the Ventura Freeway...guess what happens to the car's engine?

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Nothing less. The number 10 raised almost literally to the power of infinity."

If I hadn't seen the film Forbidden Planet in 1956 at the age of 7, possibly EIGHT, I doubt Space Pirate Radio would have ever come to exist.  Aside from the Existential discussion of the change of time, placement, divergence, effect and outcome, the simple fact was...this film BLEW THE CHILDLIKE MIND!  Hallucinogens in the chocolate milk and frosted flake(s).  It changed my world, like that Mad Magazine cover did 2 years later.

My mother took me to see it in a Southern California theatre after we had moved from Michigan.  She HATED it.  Space movies and science fiction scared her.  My dad LOVED sci-fi, so we buddied up for all of the later interstellar fare.  In my childhood, HE drove me to the first Count Dracula Society meetings.  WE went to Forrest J Ackerman's house to see his sci-fi collection.  I can still remember my father talking to Forry about the classic science fiction film, Things to Come.  Cool.

But back to Forbidden Planet.  This otherworldly interpretation of Shakespeare's The Tempest was a ground breaking sci-fi film.  I'll try to avoid an in-depth thesis.  The film had many levels to excite a young boy's mind, especially Anne Francis and her Sin-emascope legs and her pre-mini (or post-mini, since this is the future) mini-skirt/dress.  Hoo-Hah!

It was the sound of the thing.  The first all electronic soundtrack major motion picture.  Completely alien.  Not a recognizable human instrument in the whole mix.  We had the theremin in Day the Earth Stood Still. An alien amidst the human orchestra.  Very cool.  But this was complete.  Like when I first heard Tangerine Dream's Atem.  Pure space.  The film's composers were Louis and Bebe Barron.

So it would appear that film soundtrack music shaped my imagination.  Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake from Dracula, Max Steiner's complete score from 1933's King Kong, Bernard Herrmann's music from Journey to the Center of the Earth and especially Jason and the Argonauts and Mysterious Island.  Jazz from my Mother...Henry Mancini with Mr. Lucky, the crazy early sounds of Lenny Dee, Errol Garner.  My Sister with classical, ballet and the soundtrack to Spartacus.  I owned Percy Faith's theme from A Summer Place and Spike Jones' stuff as well as classical.  Plug that in with surf guitar, Lou Christie, Burt Bacharach, the British Invasion and lots of keyboards.  Mix with Monster Movie Marathons, Mad Magazine, lounge music and Eurotrash films and fashion.  The nucleus of Space Pirate Radio muzak is in the lab.

These things take time.  For some, a little slower than others.  38 plus years ago, I introduced Tangerine Dream on commercial radio, 8 floors above the Granada Theatre.  A month from now, what is now Tangerine Dream, will make its "Santa Barbara Debut" in the very same theatre below.

Oh, the irony.

It takes time for some of these fads to catch on.

(Will Gaston or the Phantom himself be in the balcony?)

Herbert Lom Chaney? More or less, B.S. Morbius, or less. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

"The total potential here, must be nothing less than astronomical!"

Before we get too far away from the moment, I hope readers noticed the masterful illustration for the April Fool's textless entry, "Be seeing you."  This was another incredible example of the artistic talents of long time friend and co-conspirator David Fontana.  The illustration was an unsolicited gift and boggled der mind with its many shades and layers.  Viewers have been unanimous in their praise.  David always gets it.  Luna di fontuna amazed me with his art, day one, in the early Seventies.  And nearly 40 years later, I still feel we are early art school buddies.  Give the man an Emmy.  Oh, wait...he already HAS ONE!  :)

So back to artists.  Art is a hammer, some pinko floyd type once said.  And Hammer made some artistic films. ("Huh?").  An excuse to wish Happy Birthdays this past week to Peter Cushing (would have been 99), Christopher Lee, as I write this, as well as non-Hummers Vincent Price, Frank Oz (there are 3 key Star Wars B-days, three in a row), Robert Morley (104) and Isadora Duncan (135).  "Let's Dance..."

But allons-y to le musee.


Since it is a week of memories, I thought I would flashback to the great and heady art days of the Space Pirate Radio poster contests. This is only part of the winning entry of artist-book maker Sandra Liddel.  The poster interpretation of Mike Merenbach's art is one of four table mats, enclosed in a boxed book case, that when opened, revealed a place setting with a saucerful of secrets.  Italian tablecloth a la Chef Bruno, fork and knife...AND custom made version of The Official Space Pirate Radio Decoder Ring (Moron this later).  TRULY a MASTERPIECE!  And to this day, one of my most cherished obscure objects of art in the SPR archive.  Mondo Salads!  My salutes to the artistes involved.


No sacrifice too great for art.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"...and you Capitalists will sell us the shovels."

May Day!  May Day!  May Day!  The Pole-ish Holiday.  Pagan Now, Don't Buy Later!  Hello Communerds!

Turn off Dancing with the Tsars! Let us Terpsicore with the Fox Trotsky!

And NO sacrifices here, except those of a personal nature.  As Gong sez, "Diana hunts, but NEVER kills."

It's May folks.  The month of permission.  The month of possibility.  Consider this folks: of all 12 months, only 3 have the cunning linguistic potential to escape their namesakes in English translation.  March is a command.  A drill.  And why not?  It used to be the first month of the year.  A call to war.  Mars, the God of Alpha Males, sweat, steroids and ESPN.  Get in line and Carry On!  August can be descriptive, but it still can't escape the Augustus Caesar namebrand.  Penis Envy with Julius: July.  These families.  Can't wait to see Tyler Perry's version of Julius Caesar.  Well, yes I can.  But back to the original TEN months of the year, which the Romans seem to have possibly broken.  It's all names and numbers. (How many of your friends are born under the sign of Intercalaris?)

But only May suggests...(hello Maia...rhymes with Gaia.  Juno hosts a good party.  Janus, a thespian.  Well balanced or two-faced?).

Yes, you MAY!  There is No You in front and definitely not a Not after.  Call me sexist, but I love a Goddess who says YES.

Dig me cats and kittens?

Permission Granted...

(This program, The Amletariat Hour ["struggling hard to become The Proletariat Hour"] was made possible by a generous Permission Grant from The Bank of Gauche... "Building your Future in an Abstract, Philosophical, even Hypothetical Way.")

and...

Fellow Travellers Insurance.  "What Have you Got to Lose?  You Don't Own it Anyway."

"Mr. Gorbachev...Tear down Ken Wahl!" (Ronald Reagan's often misquoted criticism of the old CBS program Wiseguy).

Mayday!  Mayday!  Mayday! (famous Distress Sign).  Coco Chanel!  Coco Chanel!  Coco Chanel! (famous Distress Designer).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Where am I?"

"In the Village."

Hello Surrealists.  Welcome Dadaists.  It's a Meet & Magritte.

Every day, if the fiber kicks in...I meet the New Number 2.  I've Resigned, myself to it.

You know my name.  Look up the number.

What's in a number?  You know Number 6.  Have you met Number 54?  He's the Music Arranger.  Has a Studio.  The House Band?  Why...The Village People, of course.  Number 8 is the DJ.  If you try to leave, your progress is halted by a floating disco ball.  Known as Raver.

Como?  Who is Number Juan?

Meanwhile...

On Perry Mason the other night, Season 6, Volume 2 (how CURIOUS!), the lawyer's client was a toothless prospector who couldn't afford the legal fee.  Perry took his false teeth.  He told secretary Della Street to make note of the retainer.

If Shirley Temple had married The Saint, would she have been Shirley Templar?

If the Girl from U.N.C.L.E. had married Austin Powers, would she also be known as Stephanie Powers Powers?

Did Ironside ever listen to Leadbelly?

Did the Streets of San Francisco ever clean up during sweeps?

How could Frankenstein produce a Son if he was Baron?

Have Gum, Will Chew.  Wire Pallidentures, San Francisco.

It's true what they said about Ed Sullivan.  He had "a Really Big Shew."  And anyone with "a Really Big Shew" had a Really Big Foot.

When the Italian Mouse replaced Jon Anderson in Yes, Tales from Topo Gigio Oceans was briefly rehearsed.

When Wayne and Shuster broke up, followed by Simon and Garfunkel...Simon and Shuster was also considered.  "Book them!"

Topo Gigio was once a member of the Rat Pack.

Senor Wences once tried to enter the fast food business with a brand of cole slaw only sold at Christmas.  It was called Good King Wences' Slaw.

Christopher Walken's first attempt in pop music was to join Missing Persons.  The song Walken in LA, has never seen the light of day.

The Shadow had the "power to cloud men's minds."  Did he also have the power to cloud Carly Simon's coffee?

Simon and "a Really Big Shew" stir.  It all makes perfect sense now, tee-hee.

"What do you want?"

Monday, February 13, 2012

"You mean an early clue to the new direction?"

More chatter to get people to distance from you:

Pixar films are going to animate classics from Russian literature.  First up: Tolstoy Story.

The candy favourite among masochists is S & M & Ms.

Among painters, the Impressionists are not my favourites.  None of them can do a decent Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson.

Comparing the S.S. to the C.I.A., I find Gestapo men (and women) were better dressed.

Fans of Sherlock Holmes with a fiber shortage are sometimes called the Baker Street Irregulars.

A curse of getting older is having more chins than a Chinese phonebook.

The Eskimos have only made one porno film.  It's called Deep Nose.

An early case of depression prompted suicide by slashing my wrists.  However an innate fear of razor blades made my attempt with a Lady Schick futile.

My parents dismissed my belief that I had been adopted.  Why then on the back of my birth certificate did it say "printed at Knott's Berry Farm?"

Porsche is considering a new off road vehicle: The Karl Land Rover.

When the Venus de Milo was sexually assaulted by a man in 1776, the charge was statutory rape.

Lord Byron was a private member of the Club Foot.

Have you read the new biography, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Vacuum?  It sucks.

Does Putin have a rasp?

Mickey Mouse always wears gloves so he never leaves prints.

Bugs Bunny was cinema's biggest transvestite.

If Joseph Cotten had married Slim Pickens...Well, you can see where that's going, can't you?

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Monday, February 6, 2012

"You don't see many of these nowadays, do you?"

Cocktail Conversation (and How to Put an End to It Immediately):

Did you see that picture of Mitt Romney and his family on the Sunday Parade Magazine?  I thought it was an ad for HBO's Big Love.

The estate of Aldous Huxley and Home Depot are promoting a new line of housing improvements.  First out are The Sliding Glass Partitions of Higher Consciousness and The Windows of Awareness.

I had a dream about you last night, but unfortunately I slept through most of it.

You haven't lived until you've heard Henry Kissinger's rendition of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side.

Zamfir was once a member of Joy Division.

Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit has been updated and is called No Off Ramp.

A new science fiction series about a world run by interior decorators is coming out.  It's called Planet of the Drapes.

How many angels can give head on a pin?

Slim Fast announces product that can turn thick bricks thin.

Typographical error turned silent film star great Lon Chaney into the Man of a Thousand Feces.

Huey Lewis recording song for toupee replacement company.  Title: I Want A New Rug.

Rejected pilot for spy series featuring Victorian foot fetishists. The Man from A.N.K.L.E.

When Ann Coulter drinks tomato juice, she looks like a thermometer.

The Blue Nun, Blue Man Group and the Smurfs have all dropped Blue Cheer.

Piers Morgan and Pierce Brosnan both have Pierced Nipples.

Carl Jung once said after trying absinthe..."If you are bi-sexual, psychopathic and schizophrenic, than you are a bi-psycho built for two."

A new coffee shop called Deja Vu was soon to open in Santa Barbara.  When asked if I was going, I replied, "No, I've already been there."

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Navigator to heaven."

"Could we get much higher?"

Eight floors and rising.  100th entry.  Space Pirate Radio anniversary time and I'm beginning to feel the alternating energy.  The Chinoise Vaudevillians, Yin and Yang.  Three shows daily.  3, 5 and 8pm.  "And give up Showbiz?"

But I digress...

Zounds!  By Zeus's mighty Gonads (Doctor Zeus, author of Groin Legs and Gams)!  Can we be nearing up to what would be Space Pirate Radio's 38th anniversary?  All in a blink of a thigh.

Well, here in the Home for Aged Surrealists, I have to say, with no false modesty (BLAZE!), after all this time, I'm pretty darned proud of the show.  Oh, sure, it was a misspent life, nothing lost there...but hey!  It lasted longer than most parties.  And I'm not embarrassed to admitting being the last one to leave.

Also, if we believe at least 53% of what's been written elsewhere, I wasn't the only person having a good time.  It seems everyone liked the music.  Most guests enjoyed the party jokes.  All attendees seemed very cordial and engaging with the host, at least while they were inside the building.  Outside may be a different story.  But then, it can be very different when you are outside.

But back inside, to the party.  The music was good, wasn't it?

One of the reasons I know this party was a success is the continuing number of attendees who ask me what was the song playing at a certain time of the festivities.  Since this Space Party Radio was an all-nighter, starting from early 1974 till mid 2002, people came and went at all hours.  I'm surprised the coat and hat check girls could keep up.

Early arrivals to the gathering heard strange new stuff, but later folks were exposed to the next progressions.  This DOES NOT mean that the first audios of '74-'79 were forsaken for the newer stuff.  On the contrary.  It was important to keep the mix alive and show how the early experimentations had influenced the next wave of musos.  Some party-poopers of '79 left the gig too early to observe this growth.  No loss.  They would try and tell you they catered the party in the first place.  How quickly one can forget who sent out the first invitations.

Anyway, it was my party and I thank all those who came.  Sometimes the music was too loud (Amon Duul 2 - Mozambique), too soft (Steve Roach - Quiet Music), too retro (Les Baxter - Carribean Moonlight), too odd (Faust - So Far), too comical (Bonzo Dog Band - Hello Mabel), too Japanese (Sadistic Mika Band - Mummy Doesn't Go to Parties Since Daddy Died), too Italian (Banco del Mutuo Soccorso - Io Sono Nato Libero), too classical (Third Ear Band - Alchemy), too French (Ange - Au-Dela du Delire), too folky (Fairport Convention - Matty Groves), too French folky (Malicorne - Le Bestiaire), too odd (Pink Floyd - Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast), too uptempo (Re-flex - The Politics of Dancing), too downtempo (Heldon - III).  Too too tootsie, goodbye!


"Could we get much lighter?"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"It's based on a novel by a man named Lear."

Thinking about Vaclav Havel's death on December 18th, 2011, reminded me of my first introduction to the man's work in 1968.

After being disillusioned with my senior year at John A. Rowland High School, Rowland Heights, California, this once enthusiastic, can't wait for college life misfit, arrived for duty at the humble Mount San Antonio College, in Walnut of the same state of the union, if not of the same state of mind.  It wasn't a bad campus.  It was just me.  I was tired from battles over dress code from gender confused principals and macho PE coaches.  Now in an environment that should have been nurturing, I felt numb.  I hated all the classes except English, Speech and Drama.

The Drama Department and Theatre were located in the front of the school, rather to the left (naturally), somewhat raised and landscaped.  This was my refuge. The Green Room was large (much larger than the closet that was Santa Barbara City College's).  Everyone smoked.  If you were an ACTOR, you smoked.  And the more ECCENTRIC your smoking choices, the better impression you made, darling!  French cigarettes, Egyptian cigarettes, English Ovals, coloured papers, Virginia Slims or Eves FOR THE BOYS!  Marlboro Menthols (hard to find at that time...you had to drive to a Safeway store in El Monte to get a carton), Mapletons (which had maple flavoured pipe tobacco in them--harsh, not for wimps or anyone who wished for normal breathing after consumption).

The Green Room.  A nice place to lounge and smoke and pose and probe.  A salon for suburban Gertrude Stein babies.  Not exactly the Algonquin Table.  More the Foot Stool.  But still, a bunker from the outer world.

Most of us were unaware at the time of how progressive the Mt. SAC Drama Department was.  I had fallen under the spell of the department during my senior year at high school.  Our drama department had been invited to see their production of Ondine.  I observed the various performers onstage and afterwards off.  Many of these 'older theatricals' would become dear friends the following year.  After that initial show, under the direction or production of Drama chief Carter Doran, the department would do works of Bertolt Brecht and Arthur Miller.

In high school, I foolishly thought myself the top thespian.  Always the lead, turning parts down.  But at SAC, I didn't get my pick at the parts.  I auditioned for Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, fully confident that my flawless English accent--the accent that got me a job on FM radio--would serve up either of the leads.  As Bluebottle would say, "Not a sausage."  Of course, I'm sure I was lazy, undisciplined and probably a smartass at the time, if not still...so.

My second audition for Carter Doran was more fortuitous.  He was excited to be bringing to the stage the West Coast Premiere of an obscure new Czech play called The Memorandum.

This new play was Havel's Franz Kafka meets Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows satire of a totalitarian corporate world, trying to instill a single, emotion free language, to the confusion of an Everyman employee.  It was Havel's rage against Communist interference and early Nazi echoes.

I wonder if Terry Gilliam read or saw this play before doing Brazil.

Carter Doran had decided on doing a somewhat gender bending interpretation of the work.  All the jackboot types were made to look like the current wave of dandy-clothed, neo-hipsters.  Long haired, lace wearing, lovers of lunch.  Armed with forks and knives.  The radical was the confused, drab looking common man of the Fifties variety.

The new, single language of the industrial future was called Ptydepe.  And I was it's instructor, Lear.  My Brian Jones-like haircut, John Lennon wire frame glasses and ease in a comfort for wearing lace sleeved shirts, got me the part.

Unfortunately, Carter Doran's enthusiasm for the play was considerably dampened when he discovered his West Coast premiere of the work was going to be eclipsed by a production opening sooner at LA City College.  I believe I may have discovered this information and had to break the news to him.  This also may have changed his interpretation as rehearsals continued.  Among the ironies, the LACC production was directed by Dr. Pope Freeman, the man who would later take the reins of Santa Barbara City College's drama department from Max Whittaker, and the Alhecama Players at the Lobero Theatre.

Carter Doran's production was a good one and I was happy to do a more progressive theatre work than the Kaufman & Hart plays I had done in high school and with the Diamond Bar Players.  Even though I wasn't fully aware at the time of Havel's dissident activities, the play's political tone moved me to my next involvement in Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade at Cal State Fullerton.

During this time, I got to know Carter Doran better than my first days at Mt. Anxiety College (as I called it on Space Pirate Radio, located not far from the Green Neon Motel).  He would be trumped a second time by Pope Freeman, after he applied for the position of SBCC's Drama Head.

Years after I had moved to Santa Barbara, I accidentally met him line at the Roxy Theatre where we were going to see the original Hollywood stage production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  We stayed in touch until his passing.  I liked him.  No disrespect to Pope Freeman, who I worked with quite a bit, pictured here before on Man of La Mancha and the TV show Crackers at Eight...but I wonder how the Santa Barbara Theatre scene would have been if Doran had been given the gig.

As to Vaclav Havel, I'm not sure.  A radical at the beginning.  Hated the oppressive Communist regime. Loved long haired Rock.  Hippie Radicals are loved in the West as long as they hate challengers to the free market.  Put them at Kent State or Occupy Wall Street...anarchy!  When  Havel came to the U.S. and met the Chairman of the Board: "God Bless...President Bush" or something very close, he rejoiced.  I cringed.  Trading in the KGB for the former head of the CIA.  Oh, my.

Havel smoked a lot.  Supposedly he died from this.  His hero, Frank Zappa, smoked a lot.  Supposedly he died from this also.

I quit smoking in 1974.  Don't hang around in Green Rooms anymore.  I do miss the furniture.  And quite a number of friends.

Still, just to be sure...check all credentials at the door.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"It's been real."

Friday the 13th, 2012.  I've been thinking a lot about this unlucky day for the past 2 weeks.  As I get in the frame of mind of Space Pirate Radio anniversary time, my mood has recently been nostalgic for the classic satire that inspired me.  In early 2011, I bought myself the Ernie Kovacs Collection; the six dvd collection of nearly lost, mostly never seen Kovacs comedy of Ernie's from the Fifties.  As a comedy innovator and surrealist, Ernie probably had the second closest impact on my hyper perceptive youth.  First would be Mad Magazine.  So as an influence on my mindset and later work, I would have to call this unit a collective.  The vision of Harvey Kurtzman, along with William Gaines and Al Feldstein.  The artists who had the cosmic effect of being psychedelicized without one realizing it:  Will Elder, Frank Kelly Freas, Wally Wood, Norman Mingo, Basil Wolverton, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis and Al Jaffee.  The writers.  Every electric bulb in the pack.

And that, on occasion, included Ernie Kovacs.  So back to the date at hand.  It boggles der mind that 50 years ago today, Ernie Kovacs was killed driving his Corvair into a pole on a wet Mulholland Drive after a late night poker party.  I remember seeing the photo in the Los Angeles newspaper, Ernie dead, crumpled out the driver's side.

A little too much for a kid still in Junior High.  All I knew was that this cigar smoking man with the moustache did the most insane things with sound and vision.  I lived for those monthly Ernie Kovacs specials on ABC-TV.  They came on late.  9:30pm or 10 on a weeknight, and I had to beg or plead to stay up.  I was hooked.  I had to hear Mack the Knife, see the oscilloscope and watch the magic lunacy.  The Fourth Wall fell down, literally...and Anything was Possible.

If I ever had any thoughts about entering the priesthood, watching Ernie Kovacs changed that forever.