Let’s play Twister, let’s play Risk, and I’ll see you in Heaven if you make the list.

Hey Andy, did you hear about this one?

Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy, are you goofing on Elvis?

Hey baby, are you having fun?

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon,
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool…

Here’s a little agit for the never-believer, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Here’s a little ghost for the offering, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Here’s a truck stop instead of Saint Peter’s, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mister Andy Kaufman’s gone wrestling…

Again & Again & Again.

It’s time. Sylvia Plath vs Anne Sexton.

Both women were brilliant writers, “confessional poets” (the original oversharers, they’d probably both love Twitter if they were around today), and both suffered from severe mental illness, the kind that turns people into brilliant writers. When Sylvia killed herself in 1963, Anne felt like Sylvia was trying to steal the spotlight. The two women studied under male oversharer Robert Lowell in Boston. While Sylvia was educated at Smith College and was a Fulbright scholar; Anne was a model and spent a lot of her life in a mental hospital, where she was encouraged to write. Both women killed themselves by carbon monoxide poisoning, about 11 years apart leaving their children behind. Sylvia’s son commited suicide last year and Anne’s daughter wrote a book about her mother’s sexual abuse of her. They’re both Pulitzer Prize winners, Sylvia getting hers after she died; Anne getting hers in 1967.

sylvia at her typewriter

Lady Lazarus

by Sylvia Plath

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it——
A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot
A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.
Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?——
The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.
Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me
And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.
This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.
What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see
Them unwrap me hand and foot——
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies
These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,
Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.
The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut
As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.
It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.
It’s the theatrical
Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:
‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.
There is a charge
For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart——
It really goes.
And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood
Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.
I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby
That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.
Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——
A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.
Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
anne in her office[]
Again & Again & Again
You said the anger would come back
just as the love did. I have a black look I do not
like. It is a mask I try on.
I migrate toward it and its frog
sits on my lips and defecates.
It is old. It is also a pauper.
I have tried to keep it on a diet.
I give it no unction.There is a good look that I wear
like a blood clot. I have
sewn it over my left breast.
I have made a vocation of it.
Lust has taken plant in it
and I have placed you and your
child at its milk tip.

Oh the blackness is murderous
and the milk tip is brimming
and each machine is working
and I will kiss you when
I cut up one dozen new men
and you will die somewhat,
again and again.

I like Sylvia’s cutting, biting approach. For this round, she wins.

Moonage Daydreams.

It’s not exactly life on mars, but one of those weird little movies that I’m looking forward to this year is director Duncan Jones’ simply titled Moon.

Jones, by the way, is the son of David Bowie, a musician who is of course no stranger to space and it’s oddities. When I realized their connection, my mind immediately flashed to Bowie’s song, “Moonage Daydream,” which has to be one of the most alien love songs ever:

The film itself looks very interesting to me, like an art house sci fi piece set on the truly desolate lunar satellite. I was scanning the Wikipedia page on the film, and I liked Jones’ mention of the contrast between the mythic nature the moon holds for us while at the same time utterly lacking romance and beauty. It’s just pure desolation up there, and he cites the images that have come from Japan’s lunar orbiter, SELENE, when talking about it.

Here’s the trailer:

And the plot description from Wikipedia, if for some reason the trailer doesn’t picque your curiousity:

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is an employee contracted by the company Lunar to mine on the Moon the natural gas Helium 3, which could reverse Earth‘s energy crisis. Sam is stationed at the lunar base Sarang with only a robot named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey), but two weeks before completing his three-year assignment, he begins feeling out of place. An extraction goes wrong, and Sam suspects Lunar of trying to replace him as he realises someone else is on the Moon

Interesting stuff. The film also stars the truly lovely Kaya Scodelario, from one of my favorite shows (if you’ve never noticed from reading this blog), Skins.

I think you can see her very briefly in the trailer.

It reminds me of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine from a few years ago, but hopefully better. The thing about Sunshine was… you really wanted to like it. You didn’t want it to be a mash up of a lot of better films, but it kind of was. It had some beautiful imagery to it, but over all… I just don’t know if it worked. If it failed, it was certainly an interesting failure, but even still…

Let’s hope that the differences between Boyle’s film and Jones’ are night and day.

Players and slayers.

Two things:

1. We’re possibly in store for what is essentially a big screen reboot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, primarily because it doesn’t feature the creative mastery that is Joss Whedon. Or, one presumes, TV’s Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Though that does make one wonder: Kristy Swanson, where the fuck have you been hiding? But to a much, much less extent, the same question applies to you, Luke Perry.

2. Archie finally proposes to one of those tremendous ladies in his life. Ah, but which one? Betty or Veronica? Betty or Veronica? Betty or Veronica?

As you can see above, it’s Veronica.

I know, I know. You’re like, “But, what, huh?”

(Side note: Seriously, ladies? You can do anything in the world that you want, be anything that you want, and especially be with anyone. And you choose and choose to be defined by this dork Archie? I mean, I can’t respect anyone dating a guy named Jughead, for about a billion reasons (though they all start with the fact that he’s named Jughead), but even he seems to have more going on than Archie. Look, Betty and Veronica, this is all I’m going to say and then I’m gonna forever hold my tongue: Archie’s a fucking stain on your life, all right?)

I find both of those developments fascinating. The Archie thing is kind of built upon so much history between these continuing characters and it’s quite frankly a development that no one probably gives a shit about. I mean, first of all, hardcore Archie fans: Who the fuck are you people? Secondly, if you had woke up the other day and this marriage thing had never shown up, you’d still be sucking like normal, right? Right.

And the Buffy thing is just weird and stupid. Granted, Joss Whedon is busy with Dollhouse and Cabin In The Woods, and the Buffy comic book (season 8), but still. We must’ve crossed the threshold from one generation to another in the last few years with the frequency in which we reboot/restart things.

I’m not going to lie you here, but you scare me to death, Generation Reboot. Because my life is in your hands. I feel like Spock (Prime) in J. J. Abram’s Star Trek restart. I’m time traveled back to now to save the motherfucking universe from impending doom and the pre-rebooted Hulk, but everything’s different. Everyone’s younger, different, and slightly less charismatic. And I’m supposed to be okay with it. I’m not, but I should be. I have to be.

Bad Trailer.

Wow, they weren’t kidding when they said they were going to remake/reimagining Bad Lieutenant, were they? Here’s the trailer for Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans:

Not that I really cared all that much for the original, I did find it hilarious that Werner Herzog was doing this new take on it, and that he cast Nic Cage and Val Kilmer in it.  Then I saw the trailer and… and…

Just wow. You know? I feel like Nic Cage is going to start a whole new bizarre genre of bad remakes that are just wonderfully, brilliantly fucking ludicrously horrible. But amazingly so. And I just want to remind you that this man…

…has an Oscar. I bring that up just as reminder that clearly our Hollywood system just works.

And then, speaking of ridiculous bad trailers as a treat for you, I give you the preview for Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus:

Which stars Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo Lama, I should add. Don’t ask me how I came across this, but it looks wonderfully bad too. The kind of bad that is perfect in trailer form so you can laugh at it, but you’d never actually watch this movie (I hope). If you would, then you probably watch those Saturday night Sci Fi channel movies and you may just be a bit stupid, no offense.

And last, but not least (well, maybe it is), I have a little present just for our very own August Bravo. Enjoy it, August!

Miles After Midnight.

Miles Davis, besides being a fantastic musician, is a man of words. His music covered so much of what was there, unspoken, undefinable, but his words were sharp usually, brutal, and immediate. From him, we have probably the greatest advice you can get about music: “Don’t play what’s there. Play what’s not there.”

“If somebody told me I only had an hour to live, I’d spend it choking a white man. I’d do it nice and slow.”

-Miles, after an interview in which he had grown increasingly aggravated with continuous questions about race. I throw that one in just for you, Conrad.

“I’ve changed music four or five times. What have you done of any importance other than be white?”

-Miles Davis, at a reception he gone to that was honoring Ray Charles at the White House in 1987 and the above statement is his response to a lady of Washington society who was seated next to him when she asked him what he had done to be invited.

Miles Davis After Midnight by Robert Ashley. And:

The Miles Davis Quintet performing “‘Round Midnight” in Stockholm back in 1967:

Turn Down Service

I want to live in a hotel, just like Eloise, who lives in the Plaza and who is “not yet pretty but is already a person”.

Most people can’t wait to leave the hotel and go back to their beds. Having slept in very uncomfortable beds (and its inferior cousin, the futon) for many years, my favorite part of traveling is getting to sleep in a hotel bed. All hotel rooms smell the same, with their attempts to wipe the memories of the other people who were there away. When I first get to a hotel room, I like to find the bible, spread out all my stuff, get some ice and water and read the room service menu.

But it’s not just the rooms that turn me on. I also love hotel bars, a cross section of people who shouldn’t be in the same place, but are. And the lobbies! It’s like going into someone’s house and being allowed to sit in their living room. No one can bother you in a hotel lobby. You don’t have to buy anything or do anything. I’ve done some of my best writing (and freaking out) in hotel lobbies while sports silently plays somewhere and buttoned up waiters bring me water after water.

The Driskill Hotel in Austin is easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. It’s eerily out of place on Brazos street, which is full of bars, pedi-cabs and street sausage vendors. And then all of a sudden there’s this gorgeous Southern mansion right on the corner. Built in 1886, the Driskill is believed to be haunted by a few ghosts, including its namesake Colonel Driskill who likes to turn bathroom lights on and off.

Upscale hotel lobbies are a wonderful place to take refuge from bustling downtown centers. In San Francisco, I had two hotel lobbies I liked to loiter in: the Westin on 3rd and the sexiest place on earth, the St Regis Hotel. Typically I am an old school dork who likes everything to be either art-deco or pre-war, but the St Regis makes me happy in a way typically reserved for .. well, for almost nothing. The extremely expensive bar offers expertly made drinks served by waitresses in asexual black uniforms and top notch escort watching. Last but not certainly least, the touch activated fireplace is a fun way to freak out your date or make you feel like you are evading some kind of fire inspired death.

The hotel Abba in Amsterdam is so budget they only have twin beds. This leads to you almost falling in between them in the middle of a hash induced make out session. The other thing about budget European accomodation is you don’t get your own bathroom. We shared it with one other room, who luckily we never saw and who were apparently able to hold their space cakes. It was a huge bathroom with almost no ventilation and I spent about half an hour staring at the blue tiles in the shower after eating half a box of mushrooms. The window in our room faced a giant courtyard with different tiny Dutch apartments to look into, with a band of roving cats that would jump from balcony to balcony. That came in handy as well, when you’re stoned and need to look at something. I would recommend the Hotel Abba if you are traveling cheaply in Europe but really hate people (hostelling requires too much interaction).

I could write an entire book about hotels in Vegas (don’t dare me because I will). I love all the hotels on the Strip except for Imperial Palace, where no one should stay or enter, ever. For a group? The Venetian. For hot sex in the most comfortable bed you will ever sleep or roll around in? The Wynn. You want to drink out of a medieval chalice and watch brides drink 40s while wearing stonewashed cut offs and a cheap veil they bought at Claire’s? Excalibur. The hottest waitress uniforms are at Caesar’s Palace (togas). If you’re going to stay downtown because you have some kind of problem with things that are nice, the Golden Nugget, with a shark tank by the pool is white trash perfection. The pina colada they serve at the pool bar is spectacular and actually is kind of spicy. A mixologist after my pretentious little heart.

The worst hotel I stayed at was also in Amsterdam, in Vondelpark. The elevator smelled like there were a million dead rats in the wall and the TV that night would show one channel, which was playing the Demi Moore movie Striptease. I’m sure you can understand why I hold it as the worst hotel stay ever. The travelodge in San Jose was also a terrible place, but at some point I started to feel better and this happened:

Hotels are possibility and secrets and intrigue. It’s your pretend home so you can have a pretend self, too. Or it’s where you can finally be the person you’ve always wanted to be. You can eat in bed and not worry about cleaning it up. You can order porn and no one will know. Best of all, it’s one of the few places in life where it’s socially acceptable to tell everyone to stay the hell out of your room with a cute little sign to hang on the door. At worst, hotels are sad places where you will end up covered in your own vomit and tears. Whatever it is, it’s not the same old. It’s not the usual. You’ll have a story to tell. And sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for.

[All images belong to the author, except for the first, which belongs to Amazon]