Super Harvest Moon

The multipane window adds to its, um, majesty. It's officially Autumn now, right?

NO I DID NOT BUY THEM QUIT ASKING ME

Last night. I bought less than $15 in fruits and vegetables, browsed the big CD/DVD wallets and pondered life with carpal tunnel.

Dinner at Ills

Carne y pasa muy bien. Monday.

Forced Perspective, I'll Teach You to Burn

Still shaking the cobwebs out after my summer vacation. Isn't this fellow clever, despite sitting in the wrong area at the end:

A dozen people just said "Oh Shit."

I had a fairly brief, fairly intense period of Ricola-mania, after which I quit and never used again. (See also: tobacco, morphine, New Comics Wednesdays.) But I'm sick and need something for my throat. I did buy them the night I took this photo (the 15th) mostly because they didn't have my beloved sugar-free Cherry cough drops. I got those the next day and I CAN QUIT ANY TIME I WANT GET OFF MY BACK ABOUT IT ALREADY

Dewey's first kill

It's a mystery that would baffle even an expert ailurophile like T.S. Eliot: Why do cats get extra rubby-lovey after they kill household vermin?

Every mouser I've encountered simply couldn't stop pacing back and forth in front of people, rubbing up to any and everyone who stands still as they inspect whatever was left of the dead mouse .... with extra feline attention given to any human's hand holding a camphone trained on its victim. It's an endless cycle: Cat headbutts the cameraman's hand, he tries again to get a clear photo in three, two, one-BONK, etc.

It can't be that these mousers are shy -- it's difficult to imagine any creature who shits in a sandbox and licks its ass clean being that bashful about its killer instincts. Perhaps the cats aren't 100% sure that the mice aren't friends of ours. Practical cats, indeed.

Welcome to Beautiful St. Johns

It's not always this overcast, honest. Taken yesterday.

Pineconeskin

The 16th.

The Summer of 2010, in a nutshell JPEG


Click For Larger, if you must.

Saturday Night At The Movies: RAPTURE

I've written before about the somewhat enigmatic French juvenile actress, Patricia Gozzi [b. April 12, 1950], who created a more enchanting body of cinematic work before turning 16 than most ingenues produce in their entire careers.

She is credited in just seven films with only two, maybe three, lead roles: In LES DIMANCHES DE VILLE D'AVRAY [aka SUNDAYS AND CYBELLE, arguably the first "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" film], she's an endearing, open-hearted 11-year-old orphan; Hardy Kruger co-headlines as a brooding, emotionally scarred bomber-pilot veteran who may or may not be a pedophile. In her final film to date, she was first-billed in something called LE GRABUGE [a.k.a. HUNG UP], of which I know nothing except that it would have been released when she was 22 or 23. Between those movies was the one that got me right between the eyes while watching Turner Classic Movies at some wee small hour at least 10-15 years ago and has haunted me even since: 1965's RAPTURE. Some nice fellow has uploaded a recording of the pan & scan print that gets aired on the Fox Movie Channel at 4:05AM once every five and three-quarters years, so here's the film in 11 parts:



If people recognize RAPTURE director John Guillermin's name at all, it's for THE TOWERING INFERNO and the '70s KING KONG remake, maybe for the campy SHAFT IN AFRICA -- which is a shame, since he seems to have had a long string of solid, fascinating films in the '60s; from the brutal 1960 Peter Sellers vehicle NEVER LET GO to 1966's WWI epic THE BLUE MAX to 1969's BRIDGE AT REMEGAN, which I remember as being quite honest while still compelling. Guillermin's highwater mark has to be this film, although a large of part of that is due to Patricia Gozzi's haunting acting.

Or is it her acting? I guess we can never really know if it was her dramatic skill that makes this performance so compelling or if it was casting kismet, or perhaps Gozzi had that motion-picture photogenic quality that Kenneth Tynan famously ascribed to Great Garbo; I'm paraphrasing from memory, but he essentially said that Garbo wasn't a great actress but could project her being onto celluloid in a way that produced great acting in the roles she played. It's something more active than "star presence" and deeper than mere charisma. As raw an actress as Gozzi was, she could tap into that vein at times.

The story goes that she stopped acting after getting married, had some children and lives a happy, very private life working as a French-English translator somewhere. Even that's rather Garbo-esque.

Then again, this movie's magic might evaporate when you don't see it once in the middle of the night and then rely on your memory to not embelish and improve it as you think about the film a few times a week over the next decade or two. You tell me, did this movie and/or Gozzi's performance move you?

*******

ps. judging by the stills in this fine tribute video, maybe it's better that Gozzi's reputation rests on solely on SUNDAYS and RAPTURE; HUNG UP looks not-so-great, even by proto-exploitation-movie standards:



pps. Dear Criterion Collection,

I see that RAPTURE's Gozzi, Guillermin, male lead Dean Stockwell and screenwriter Stanley Mann are still alive; please interview as many of them as possible and/or record a commentary track for this film immediately. Thanks in advance.

yours in christ,
-- milo george

ppps. Dear Criterion Collection,

Hello again! While I'm at it: I see that SUNDAY's Gozzi, Krueger and writer/director Serge Bourguignon are still alive; please interview as many of them as possible and/or record a commentary track for this film immediately. Additional thanks in advance.

yours in christ, again,
-- milo george

Home Movies with the Zombies. Also, the power of editing.

Nothing majpr, just a curiously moving video cut to a great Zombies song:

Friday Night Fights: I Would Rather Watch a Crappy Print of This Cult Film Than Live Boxing Edition



A fight scene, technically speaking, from Alexis Kanner's KINGS AND DESPERATE MEN. Kanner was a solid character actor probably best known for playing the young rebel in THE PRISONER finale "Fall Out," and KINGS was clearly a labor of love for the second-time writer/producer/director/cinematographer/sound technician/editor as well as co-star with the mighty Patrick McGoohan. This one-man-band reportedly started imagining a hostage film in the late '60s, managed to pull a scenario with writer Edmund Ward, shot the film in 1977 and spent years editing it, with staggered debuts across Canada, France, the U.K. and finally the U.S. in 1989. A young Peter MacNeill [a staple of David Cronenberg's movies] and ex-Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's ex-wife Margaret co-star. It's that sort of movie.

*******

Dear Cinefamily,

Hi, hope all's well with you crazy kids down there. I know you're busy and all, but please track down prints of KINGS AND DESPERATE MEN and Kanner's earlier feature MAHONEY'S LAST STAND for a double feature ASAP. TIA.

best,
-- milo

St. Johns Park

Not the most scenic of parks when you ignore the bridge, but still very pleasant. Do harbor-based businesses take Mondays off or are the ironworks/machine shop/foundry businesses even worse off than Main Street's?

NEVER FORGET

Taken 9-11=10

Trying out a new gym

I had a guest pass for a week; I made it three daily visits before a presumable perfect storm of me not being exposed to germy people working at home, the gym's less than effective sanitation policies, a double whammy of me running 3-4 miles at the gym plus working out on top of the 3-mile roundtrip walk from/back home soaking wet on a few high-40/low-50 days and the colds that are already going around have knocked me on my ass. I don't know if I should blame the gym for this, but I'm still considering my options. At least the guy at the desk was totally cool and refreshingly honest about the semi-hidden $50 membership fee I would have to pay to join. Taken on the ninth.

The Most Delicious Thing Five Dollars Will Buy You In The Known Universe

El Burrito de Pescado por Taqeria Santa Cruz en Lombard St. Taken on the sixth.

Tuesday Morning Music Lesson: Trane Speaks!

Two interviews with John Coltrane in 1966:



No matter how many times I hear these interviews and recordings of Coltrane's voice, it still sounds nothing like what I imagined over the 20+ years between hearing THE BEST OF JOHN COLTRANE as a kid and hearing these clips recently. Now I wonder what Eric Dolphy's speaking voice sounded like.

Audiolink: Nominally Labor Day-related Edition

In thinking about how Labor Day commemorates all of the struggles for justice and fairness in the workplace as well as how the workplace remains the fundamental battleground for our civil rights, I find myself thinking about Norman Corwin.

A common criticism of Corwin's work is that his conviction as a social critic often eclipsed his skill as a dramatist, his radio plays often populated with concepts instead of characters but this is a willful misreading of what Corwin was out to achieve with his writing. It's like ignoring the majestic visuals of HOW THE WEST WAS WON [or perhaps the virtuoso acting in INHERIT THE WIND] just to take the filmmakers to task for not creating more realistic characters onto which the audience could project themselves. It's fitting that a man obsessed with democracy would create art on a scale determined entirely by each audience member; some can hear only voices in Corwin's plays, while others see the entirety of America.

Norman Corwin is alive and hopefully well, having celebrated his centennial last May 3rd. I've not seen this documentary yet, but the trailer does a fine job of selling the man's greatness:



MP3s of Corwin's radio work:
Columbia Workshop -- "Movie Primer" "Cromer" "Tel Aviv" "440530 Untitled" "Home for the Forth [sic]" "El Captain and the Corporal" "Unity Fair" "Daybreak"

Between Americans, as rebroadcast on the December 7, 1941 episode of THE GULF SCREEN GUILD THEATER. Orson Welles narrates with a wonderful mixture of his Important radio voice and just a little of his hometown Kenosha twang.

The Plot To Overthrow Christmas -- we all can only wish we could write something this clever and slyly subversive. Corwin does at least as much with words and sound as Dr. Seuss does with words and pictures.

One World Flight, Corwin's epic travelogue of his journey around the post-WWII world.

The Moat Farm Murder from THE MERCURY SUMMER THEATRE, a murderer's confession showcasing a gripping solo perfomance from Welles.

The Odyssey of Runyon Jones a charming social fantasy about a boy and his dog.

"On a Note of Triumph," Corwin's often stunning take on the end of WWII in Europe, broadcast May 8, 1945.

*******

Not a Corwin production, but an important turning point in his career involved his adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters' SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY, a poetic book of self-eulogies given by the deceased residents of an entire village. The radio legend goes that not only was Corwin's adaptation so brilliant it catapulted him from a small New York radio station into the upper echelons of CBS' coast-to-coast programming, it also moved Masters to tears. This is a Librivox recording of the book.

And, because we can't have enough of this guy, here's a recent, far-ranging hour-plus chat:

Dewey: Always Funny

He can be quite the pisspot, but this cat can be counted on to make me laugh. Taken last night.

I'm too lazy to not make a "Let There Be Sandy Nelson" headline

The other week*, I was thinking about what happens to amputated limbs -- are they simply discarded with the rest of a hospital's bio-hazardous waste? If one already owns a burial plot, can the limb be pre-buried before to wait for the rest of the person's body? Can you have your limb stuffed or pickled in formaldehyde and put on display in your living room? That would give your goddamn kids something to look at that's not the goddamn television or their goddamn cell phones, wouldn't it?

Anyway, I started thinking about how there are no notable one-armed/legged guitarists -- several are missing chunks of fingers, like Django Reinhardt, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath [technically Hound Dog Taylor lost a finger too, but he still had more than ten fingers even after he cut one off at a house party].

On the other .... hand .... there are two high-profile drummers missing limbs -- Def Leopard's Rick Allen lost his left arm in an accident and Sandy Nelson lost his right foot and part of the leg in a motorcycle crash.

I've occasionally wondered why Nelson [no relation to Ricky] hasn't been rediscovered and championed the way other surf-music godfathers like Dick Dale and the Ventures have -- while never the flashiest of show drummers, he's always had an unflaggingly appealing flow and groove with a subtly unorthodox style. Is it possible to make music so simple and yet be only appreciated as a musician's musician? Here's a playlist of his three Top 40 hits as a solo artist:



For my money, I think "Let There Be Drums" is better than "Teen Beat" or "Drums Are My Beat" but none of them are as groovacious as the "Casbah" single of a few years later:



As Daniel Trujillo's recent set of lessons/interviews indicate, Sandy Nelson is also an eccentrically compelling raconteur -- one who provides fascinating historical connective tissue between Jan & Dean, Phil Spector, Gene Vincent and the Beach Boys -- who undoubtedly has scores of amusing anecdotes from a session musician's POV about the Southern California music scene of the late '50s into the '70s. I could listen to this old coot drum and talk about music for hours:



* I'm still sidelined with hand damage from a sidewalk fall and numbness all over the upper-right side of my body from a pinched nerve. No applause, please.

New Comics Wednesday: The Beard shows us the Most Amazing Cigarette Trick

Bald Eagles should be drawing even more than he does, but these videos always hit the sweet spot between disturbing, boring and entertaining. Two thumbs up:



p.s. As I mentioned in this video's comments section, This is the last thing you see as you bleed out in the shallow grave you dug for yourself in this guy's basement.