Sunday, March 24, 2013

What you would not want to happen if you play Jesus in church


3/24/13 22:02 Home

Thoughts of portraying Jesus in church – greeted by the congregation Hosana.  Waving and standing in the center.  Where was Ali when I needed her, home taking care of Bella who has a cough.  There I was, front and center, the costume was made for a shorter man, so my knees showed and even Reverend Diane snickered when she first saw me in the vestibule.  I knew I was in trouble.  But it was worse I had to take off my sneakers.  Thank God I clipped my toe nails last week. But the nail on the left big toe is hideous after so much abuse from the basketball games.  And there is the tattoo on my left calf and my scar when I burned my right leg and had a skin graft.  There were hoots and whistles I lifted the fabric a little higher and laughter erupted.  This is entertainment at it's worst.  But what was the most distracting for me and for those looking closely at my acting - the fabric molded a curious tent right above my crotch.  In front of everyone... the holy of holiest - appeared to be aroused.  I tried to move and make it go away, but nothing helped. I said my lines and blessed a blind man and swore someone would betray me, but I wanted to crawl away.  Then it was over - I was off - say thank you to Jesus.  Tom gave me a high five and I received some reluctant good jobs from some parishioners who saw me afterwards.   Some eyed me with disgust... 

We had a pancake breakfast at church…Emma and I ate to ourselves…afterwards I went for a walk down to the beach to get my thoughts together.  I saw some men with metal detection devices, waving them over the ground and wearing head sets.  One of them waved to me.  It was a little chilly, but I took these pictures.    


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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Richard Hell Doesn't Like Punk?


3/16/13 10:18 Home


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyqmt8G5BiI
Richard Hell autobiography has been published, I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp which is on Harper Collins.  He was in Huntington's Book Revue for a signing.  Arriving about twenty minutes early last night I was dismayed by sparse audience.  There may have been six of us.  The others were older than me, discussing their children in their twenties, divorces and lives they’re living outside of the book store.  One man had a Long Island Duck’s jacket and brought an album to get signed.  You like punk?  Maybe you need a little background of the man?  Richard Hell was a staple in the New York punk scene in the late seventies to the early eighties.  He has the reputation of being the person to influence the punk fashion style of the Sex Pistols.  He was in Television, The Heartbreakers (Not Tom Petty’s band) and Richard Hell and the Voidoids.  His story is different, running away from private school in Delaware, getting arrested in Alabama after setting fire to a field (because he wanted to see it burn) and eventually arriving into New York where he wanted to make a name for himself as a poet.  The fact he is alive is a miracle since the book will depict his struggles with drugs and eventual retirement from music back in 1984.  I am not familiar with his music as I should be, so I checked YouTube and watched the Blank Generation.  I will see if I can link it to this entry.  If not, do yourself a favor, it’s a good clip and has excellent audio and visual that was shot at CBGB’s.  Hell is the man who helped build the stage at CB’s and made an appeal to the owner of the venue to recruit other bands to play there like Patti Smith and her band, as well as Blondie and Talking Heads.  So I wanted to hear him read and describe the book in some detail.  I was disappointed.  Hell was late for the signing, close to twenty minutes, “They picked me up late.”  By the time he arrived there was a decent showing, around thirty bodies of various ages and identities.  But he seemed less prepared than what I would expect for a reading.  For most readings and/or signings, the writer will share some stories of the book and make the reader want to read it.  It only makes sense.   They may actually read from the book, but did not. So when Hell was introduced and walked up to the microphone he seemed nervous and awkward.  His voice was sort of muffled maybe the influence of the southern drawl he may had.  He said, “I should describe the book, but I’ve never done that.”  Instead he referred to a recent interview.  The journalist did not want to ask him the typical question.  Richard thought this was different - the reporter cared what questions he was asking.  “Why did you write the book now?  It came time to write another book.  I regard myself as a novelist, I’ve been out of music for thirty years and I wanted to be a professional writer.  Finish one book and start the next.  It’s truly my vocation.  For fiction, I’m not very good at the plot.  I need a strategy.  For instance my first novel is a road novel.  The characters travel across the country.  It has momentum.  I didn’t have to conjure up a story.   My second novel, Godlike is based on a pre-existing story in history.  A couple of poet s from the 19th century, so I took advantage of their interesting story and set them in New York City in the seventies.  I never thought I’d do an autobiography.  It’s easier to write fiction.  With fiction, you don’t have the constraint of describing things, following something that actually happened….when you hit your forties you assess who you are and what you’ve been through and get a handle on it.  I could work through that problem or question by writing about it.  My purpose is to write a good book.  The point is to write well.  It’s almost incidental what the story is.  Richard said his writing style is clear and concise.  Hell is also a voracious reader, has an extensive poetry collection which is described and referenced some of his favorites writers like Raymond Chandler and an obscure British writer (hope to get the name) as well as William S. Bourrough’s later novels (not the cut and paste works)…the audience was allotted a few minutes for a Q&A and had some good questions.  I was curious if he wrote his autobiography after reading Patti Smith’s very popular book, Just Kids.  A woman asked this.  He said he was afraid of the comparison, but her book was a memoir.   A memoir can be a book about having a disease like cancer or having a relationship, like Patti and Robert’s love.   What was surprising was Richard’s taste for music.  “I don’t listen to punk music.  I’d listen to rockabilly or something else for entertainment.”  He discussed how long it took for punk to gain popularity, more than twenty years.  He did not see any royalty checks till years after his albums were released and what was a shocker, The Ramones who are a legend today did not have the status back then, they toured constantly and were frowned upon back then.  After waiting a few minutes to get my book signed - the line was fairly short, I got up to the table and took my picture as he signed my book and CD.  I asked him, “Why did you quit music?”  He glanced away from the book and looked up and said, “You have to read the book.”  I’m curious what he has to write about Johnny Thunders who was influenced so many, played in the NY Dolls as well as The Heartbreakers.   Another guitarist, Robert Quine who I met before a Lou Reed concert at Stony Brook back in the late eighties.  I was told Quine was a legend and I remember how he was down to earth, a gentleman who was short and bald with dark glasses and smiled from embarrassment when I was told he was a legend.  Both men are dead, but were important friends in Richard’s life and have most of the space within the book…

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Friday, March 1, 2013

The Who and Elvis Costello play for charity at MSG theatre






3/01/13 10:13 Home

I took the day off since I knew I would not be in the right frame of mind to drag my ass out of bed and make it into work.  On a few hours of sleep, I was up early anyway.  I can use more rest but want to share some highlights from last night.  It was the first time in years I hung out with Jim Marcino.   There was a period in our lives when I’d consider him a close friend, but with his marriage and both of us having children, we drifted apart.  Please cue in the violins.  Jim and I saw The Who at the garden back in 2002.  It was one of their first shows after their incredible and historic performance they had at the 9/11 concert months before.  The energy in the garden that night was heightened to a peak that is tough to repeat.  In the past Jim and I have seen Ringo Starr’s All Star Band as well as the Old 97’s, but music and sports are stables of our conversations.  Hanging out with him last night brought back warm memories of why I like and respect him for the man is he and the life he is leading.  His life revolves around his children.  Everything he does is for his family.  Jim doesn’t hold back - he tells you what’s on his mind and it can be brutally frank.   Eric met us outside the entrance to the theatre.  It is a small venue compared to the garden where the Rangers played last night.  We saw their intoxicated obese fans on the train heading into the game with their $400 dollar jerseys and shorts on although it’s still winter and they are men.  I love their passion.  They clutch onto the blue shirts as if their lives depended on it.   Back to the show….Elvis Costello and The Impostors opened.  It was the first time for us seeing the legend.  Now, just a second as I digress to the ancient past; sleeping in tents in Dan Madigan’s back yard, say 1978 and hearing Pump It UP on the radio and thinking this song is powerful.  I loved it.  But never have seen a single performance.  Elvis came out and high fived some fans in front of the stage and cranked out his hits.  What’s so funny about Peace Love and Understanding, Radio Radio, Pump It UP.  Allison,   Everyday, I write the Book.  Each song smacked into the next, no holding back for the green Costello with his thick black glasses and white wired head set looking like a freaked out Irish alien from outer space.  His band was incredible.  This is one act I would love to see again instead of an opener, although New York loves the Costello alien.  Watching the Detectives….Elvis can play the guitars with the best of them.   This was the third time seeing The Who.  The second I described earlier, but the first was at Shea Stadium.  The Clash opened up and I was excited for seeing two of my favorite bands.  I stood in the outfield at Shea thinking of all of the players whose cleats ripped up the grass which was covered with a plastic sheet.  This was the same place The Beatles played and as I normally do, I made my way as close as possible to the stage. Paid for it days later; with ringing ears, and permanent hearing damage to my right ear.  I did the same last night when The Who was on.  Our seats were in the way back, although there is not a bad seat in the house.   I walked down steps and was about to set foot on the lower level just yards from the stage when I was stopped.  Told the usher I just want to take one picture…you can take it there.  From where I was and I should have been content till I saw another sneaking expert slip in and got in close to the stage. Bastard!  There was some commotion and it was my opportunity.  I made my way in.  Then even closer when two ushers were talking and I walked past them and got in in front of the stage.   The Who played a couple of songs off Quadrophenia  since they are on tour playing the whole album as well as a best of set.  Love Reign over me, Pin Ball Wizard, The Kids Are Alright, Who Are You.  Baba O Reilly, You Better You Bet! Were some of the highlights from their set.  Pete had more energy than I recall the last time we saw him as the garden, he was leaner and bounced around windmills of course and played the whole set with electric guitars.  Roger was in great shape and swung the microphone like no one else can.  His voice was shaky at times but what can you expect for someone who is nearing seventy.  Last night’s concert was a benefit for Teen Cancer Fund.  Both bands played for free.  Roger was eloquent as he described the hurdles teens encounter with cancer research and the extreme struggles for the health care providers who have a high burn out rate.   And just before the clock struck 11 PM, the show was over since Pete explained - we don’t want to pay the union anything more than what we need to!  Good night.

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