Thursday, December 29, 2016
It's my Darling Wife who pulled me out of my forgotten childhood and immersed me in her Forever Young obsession with the Magical Kingdom in particular, and all other venues of theme parkdom in general. It is she who reignited the inner child in me with our visit to Universal Studios, as related here.
Quite simply, as child to adult, she has never stopped going to these cathedrals of awe. Knott's Berry Farm. Magic Mountain. Six Flags Over Fullerton.
I think she may have felt similar impressions with our 1994 trip to Las Vegas and Treasure Island, but we weren't married then, so I also think she felt I might fall into my bachelor ways and the temptations of Caesar's Palace. Not to worry. That paradigm has shifted. But I always felt an E Ticket madness for anyone who stayed at the gravity defying Luxor Hotel.
Again, not to worry. The Treasure Island Hotel was a setting for a concept idea I had (I am the Space Pirate, after all) and we were there to see MYSTERE, the Cirque du Soleil show, which I adored!). I never called for an Escort. And I never gambled, ever. Still haven't. Though we walked through casino after casino, I have still never pretended to be James Bond in Monaco, or played 21 or tried the slots. Our gambling fever? The wife and I ambled down to the kid's section and found a vintage Doctor Who pinball machine. We played that.
So back to Disneyland. Or Dingyland, as listeners of SPACE PIRATE RADIO know I've called it. Home of Mickey Mafiosa. And his top hoodlum pal, Brother Orchid. My audio satires from 1974 to 2002 have not been kind. And anyone who has heard the original Mickey M satire, first aired, than committed to disc on the SPACE PIRATE RADIO long player knows: There Will Be Anthropomorphic Blood.
So here's the deal: Loving Disneyland is like living with an abusive parent. Or a molester in the family. I say this only as an Observer. I'm lucky to have survived my family as they weren't as dysfunctional as the graded curve. My Mother was a bit of a tyrant. If anyone was the current definition of bi-polar, it was she, but in a softer focus Doris Day sort of way. Ironic, as my Mother's name IS Doris. And my older sister Kay, now Katherine, a Leo like my Mother, had a profound influence on me. My first musical influences came from Mother and Sister. Couple that with the all electronic and strange score to FORBIDDEN PLANET and the theremin in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. The primordial ooze is the musical mix that will become SPACE PIRATE RADIO. If my Father, Robert Guden had been a weaker man, I'm sure I would probably have been a homosexual. But thanks to the dynamic; a rare combination of familial alchemy, I am a ravenous heterosexual. Almost dangerously so, as some might attest. But that's another story. PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious. Well, that's another story, too.
So a semi-dysfunctional family is the perfect template for a semi-dysfunctional family theme park. Walt Disney. Genius? Or idea sucking vampyr? Of the old school. I'm not sure. All I know, is that he was borderline fascist, probably schizophrenic, definitely a snitch, an agent for J. Edgar Hoover, keeping an eye on Socialist leaning staff, a Jew hater. Salt of the Earth. Amerika's Finest.
A Janus. A lover of children. A hater of youth. And like Drumpf, someone who possibly had a Fueled of Dreams. Inspired by the cocoa leaf.
Like all of us Childers, Disneyland is a comfort zone of youth. But as the Intelligence grows, an awareness of Ulterior Motives comes into the picture. What is this thing called Power? Disney is an Empire, after all.
The Magic of Disney on the Glowing Cathode Tube...it drew us like lemmings to this Magical Place Incarnate, in Anaheim, just south of the railroad tracks and the remaining orange groves, of which this cursed county got its name, south of Fullerton, that magical place North, with hills beckoning from the flatlands. Let's go Daddy!
In Fullerton, on our house on Janet Place, my cool father would let us younglings climb up upon the dangerously shingled tract house roof and view the nightly fireworks display from this exalted kingdom. Nine PM.
After childhood visits with family, the teenage years, rebels without a cause, beatniks and ultimately hippies, would change the dynamic of "a day at the park." It got more confrontational. Lines were drawn. Unlike the Statue of Liberty, not all the huddled masses were welcome at the Shrine of Anaheim. Hell, they wouldn't let Nikita Khrushchev in. I bet Putin today owns stock and shares in many of Disney's hidden ventures. Someday, let me tell you about Hollywood Records and the Queen catalog. I'm not sure even Walt would be pleased. Walking in the newly developing Downtown Shopping area, the one built to compete with a successful Universal CityWalk, I'm sure Walt would be horrified and then thoroughly depressed.
So an irony begins, with Disney Security. A dress code is installed in those halcyon years. 1967, 1968, 1969. What started as my homage to the sartorial style of Illya Kuryakin, has now become a member of the little known Hullabaloos. Disney wonks refuse entrance to anyone who looks like they might be a member of Big Brother & The Holding Company. Don't want to freak out the tourists from Boise.
Of course all the Freaks want to go to the Park. Dropping acid and riding the Monsanto Shrinking Experience is High on the Franz (Liszt, that is). But not on the Matterhorn. The death rate on that ride is slowly approaching mini-Vietnam figures. No, No. We are talking the transcendent moments. Alice in Wonderland. Peter Pan. Most of Tomorrowland. And possibly the Tiki Room.
And as the time passes for those of us who were the children of the first wave of visitors to the park; the ones pulled in by the multiple magicks of the glowing cathode, the endless variety of dream images offered up by Uncle Walt...as time passes the experience is wrapped in ever changing layers of darkness. Like the feelings of Malevolence the very fairytale delivers. Something Lurks Within. What is behind the curtain? Or truly hidden under the tunnels that exist under the Main Streets and Park Walks. The box and foiled wrapping around the candied delights? The Men in the High Castle.
And now Disney has an army of Storm Troopers. You can't have TWO MAKERS. Lucas, like Poland, has been annexed. Or like Paris, is occupied. Lucasfilm is under Vichy control now.
This story is abridged. Like the day to day, year to year, decade to decade operation of this oddity nestled in Anna's Home, in Alternate Reich, Door Hinge County (Door Hinge being the only rhyme for Orange, as in Drumpf Orange. And would the newly created Orwellian word, "Alt-right", a softer substitute for neo-Nazi or fascist or racist, be easily substituted for "Walt-Right?").
So under unusual circumstances, I am in the Real Dingyland. Not the full park and not even the Dingy California Adventure. Those adventures await in Episodes 5 & 6 (or is it the prequels? I'm not quite sure. I think Doctor Who storylines might be creeping in here). No, I'm in the newly eminent domained Downtown Dingyland, or DTD. And the rampant Guden cynicism is absent or at least at bay, like it was at Universal Studios. Like the Major Maus, I am an agreeing lemming; enjoying the food, exploring the shops, buying stuff. "Gee Willikers, Pluto! I'm even in the Dingyland Starbucks!"
And tonight, with the woman I love, I will watch the fireworks in this wintery square. Not from a rooftop looking South in Fullerton. But from Within. Frodo at the Gates of Mordor.
Is a further exploration of the ever evolving Parks in the Cards?
Fan out. And Stay Tuned...
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Today is now Backwards In Time. You couldn't write a more mediocre science fiction television mini-series, than the one we are living through at this moment. Seriously. A parallel universe. Hack writing in the Age of Hacks. "You Hacksed For It! Time to meet this week's panel."
"But will any of this affect my internet service?" So many people not realizing that they are like those Lemmings they watched in Science or Sociology class. With the implanted wires in their brains. Running across the electrified grid to hit the switch on the other side. The one that will give them their amped injection of Switched On Bliss. What kind of crap did they make us watch in Junior High School? And speaking of crap, the current head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, compared those fed on media sources, similar to those individuals who have the obsession to eat shit. It has come to this, Folks. The Pope possibly aside, most people in charge are like that movie KING OF HEARTS, or Edgar Allan Poe's THE SYSTEM OF PROFESSOR TAR AND DOCTOR FEATHER. No one is competent enough to run this thing. The lesson of History: You will forget what it all meant, 'cause everyone else will. Really...don't bother with any current work ethic or set of rules or plans to follow. It will be changed. And all your effort will come to naught. History always repeats. Only the lighting changes. The Pro and Con is Constant. It's the same always, just the Décor and Language evolve or de-evolve. It's the Civil War, but with cell phones. Business as Unusual. News of the World Stage should be on ESPN. The Election as Super Bowl.
You will spot me in the forest, mon amis. Le Bois Noir. I will be wearing my black beret.
Saints Preserve Us!
And certainly other worldly Saints are needed now. "When I need shirts, I go to Solvang" (???). But when I need Saints, I visit the towns of their namesakes. Hell, and of Troy Donahue, I lived in one for 28 years; followed by a further 19 in another. Both female Saints, too (it is obvious I'm a Pagan Catholic; Cult of the Goddess, and all that).
So where is this going? What is it all leading up to? That I returned three times to my old home in Santa Barbara (Santa Barbaria for those in pain; Santa Babs for kids at the malt shoppe), for business and pleasure (and as an old alchemist, I try to make them one and the same).
"You must knock three times at the door, Charlotte."
Three recent visits to Santa Barbara, motivated by seeing concerts, but cosmically connecting with old friends and making new ones. Like in the heyday of SPACE PIRATE RADIO activity. The Switch Is On.
The first one was to see Ian Anderson, doing his concept operetta called JETHRO TULL. Legal pressures forcing the creative stimulus. Ian Anderson, still giving it the best he can. And at that Santa Barbara theatrical palace, the Arlington Theatre. (I could write a whole piece on this fabulous theatre, scene of so many special moments. Like the Granada and the Lobero. So much history.)
My Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull moments include shows at the Long Beach Arena (STORMWATCH tour with Bruford's U.K.). Los Angeles Sports Arena for BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST with opener David Coverdale's WHITESNAKE, which I was happy to miss because Chrysalis Records had screwed up the Guest List...ah, the days of privilege. More recent shows with the Little Lady at Thousand Oaks and San Luis Obispo (a Saint and a Bishop!).
Making this show extra special is hooking up with long time friends Paul Bergevin and dear, dear lost buddy Ryan Bates of the former Nippon ex-pat, now Steam Punk visionary. Who needs rejuvenating mud baths at La Costa or 29 Palms when long time Fellow Travelers are reunited? And the entering of spheres with extraordinary new friends like the incredible Hugh Mandeson. A man of many travels. An extraordinary evening. The nightglow smiles were bright.
And the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus were working with this Hermes, when the perfectly timed neutronic collision happened in front of the offices of my old employer, the Santa Barbara Independent, with another old employer, newsman John Palminteri, my wife by my side. "It's all in the timing."
I had recently done a MELTING WATCHTOWRE entry regarding the joyful news days working with John after I had left KTYD and joined KTMS, recently in drag as KKOO-FM or 2KO, but still your News Authority, KTMS-AM. Those were good days. John was a great boss; gave me complete control as Art & Entertainment Editor on the AM, while I did SPACE PIRATE RADIO, and two other air shifts on the FM. Time suspended in that moment, that meeting.
Back in the Re-Tardis, Jo. We shall return for another mind boggling time inversion moment, when our location is set for the SOhO Restaurant and Club, for the Farewell Tour of Chad & Jeremy. And less than a week after Ian Anderson.
Now Chad & Jeremy takes us right back to the beginning. The Swinging Sixties. Those marvelous Beatles era, long haired British duos. Two stood out. Peter & Gordon and Chad & Jeremy. Peter and Gordon benefited by the fact that red haired Peter Asher was the brother of actress Jane Asher, who being at the time Paul McCartney's girlfriend, meant access to Lennon & McCartney songs passed on. Chad & Jeremy had the task of making the music mostly themselves.
I related to Chad & Jeremy more in my Diamond Bar days. First, Chad Stuart bore a physical resemblance. Long, blonde hair and black horn rimmed glasses. And Jeremy Clyde, also an actor, resembled horror actor Peter Cushing, who in my Mad Gothic Romanticism, I often emulated. And they were psychedelic with a British sense of satire and whimsy. Their last three albums are must haves. DISTANT SHORES is their RUBBER SOUL. OF CABBAGES AND KINGS is their SARGEANT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. And the last album THE ARK is a concept album all its own. Columbia Records label mates The Firesign Theatre even join in on the later work.
In the Sixties I went to Anaheim's Melodyland Theatre to see Chad & Jeremy in their prime, open for Bobby Darin. Pretty surreal. So when my friend Paul told me they were doing a farewell tour and would perform at Santa Barbara's SOhO Restaurant, I was excited. Finally a chance to see again and say hello & goodbye to these cool cats of my early Bohemia. And in such an intimate environment.
After the cancelled show by the Alan Parsons Project in San Luis Obispo turned into a visit anyway, as previously described, we head back to the Other Sainted City to see John Cleese with Eric Idle, again in the hallowed halls of the Arlington Theatre. The last time we saw the former Python member was at the Lobero Theatre, following a showing of ...HOLY GRAIL. And of course yours truly has some subliminal film time, while watching Cleese, Idle, Jones, Chapman & Gilliam perform live in what will become MONTY PYTHON AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL.
One of the magical things about my long life in Santa Barbara, is the Architecture. In the town of Saints, these theatres are places of worship. Cathedrals of Art. And like an Altar Boy on my youth, to an Altered Boy in my teens, I gravitate back to these Green Rooms of Religious Contemplation. Thelonious Monk's Cells or Communion del Arte. BeBaptism and a Prayer Piano. A Curtain Calling. A Church Service has always been a Matinee Performance. Or a full blown Evening Event. To Sermon, With Love.
And whatever denomination you choose to attend, these Church Hall Theatres...Arlington, Granada, Riviera or Lobero, when the stage lights come on...it is the Sun of a Sunday Morning that shines through those stained glass windows.
And as the author of PYGMALION and SAINT JOAN once said, when asked about retiring: "What? And give up Shaw Business?"