Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Freudianily Surreal Small Screen Oddity

Watching the biopic Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story I couldn't help but freak my shit out a little bit watching Sherilyn Fenn (as Elizabeth Taylor) and Ray Wise (as Mike Todd) get lovey dovey alternating with going to fisticuffs, which until Mark Todd was killed in a plane crash they (Liz Taylor and Mark Todd) had a passionate marriage. The biopic was a Twin Peaks reunion, only MORE surreal. In Twin Peaks, Ray Wise played Sherilyn Fenn's father's attorney. And considering that there's all this weirdo daddy daughter stuff in Twin Peaks for multiple lady characters and their fathers, this seemed Freudianily creepy and poetic. It's possible that the significance of how surreal this is can maybe less impressive if you're less of a Peaks fan, but if you are, these images are super surreal. Although Fenn and Wise don't share an immense amount of screen time together in Twin Peaks, the fact that they're both is it makes these moments in the Liz Taylor biopic weird and awesome and kind of pop culture-y-mashy-uppy in a way that is always interesting to me.

Fenn (Taylor) & Wise (Todd) being lovey.

Fenn (Taylor) Wise (Todd) fisticuffs!
Peeled off by Debbie Reynolds (Judith Jones)!

...and back to lovey...

What I really wanted to find was Liz Taylor's reaction to Fenn playing her because she was still alive when the movie was made. I have seen the Lindsey Lohan Liz & Dick movie and was surprisingly touched by it. Yeah, yeah, kitsch kitsch rotten tomato and all that but whatever! I liked it. So sue me. I did see that there was another Liz Taylor biopic with Helena Bonham Carter on BBC4 from what looks like about a year-ish ago. I guess I will have to go watch that one too. It's not even like I'm a huge Liz Taylor fan though I do have an appreciation for her. I did read her book Liz Takes Off about weight loss, and let me tell you...the recipes are super gross! I only got it because I like a preposterous celeb autobio. But I liked all the memoir-y stuff in it. I have seen a number of her movies so I guess, well, I'm noticing that as I lay all this out, I'm realizing that I guess I kind of know a lot about her now. How did that happen? Oh I know! My sister-in-law did some video installation art performance thing where she appropriated pieces from a variety of Cleopatra performances from different movie versions of Cleopatra, including Taylor's. This got me on a Cleopatra roll, where I added a ton of Cleopatra movies to my Netflix queue (this was before Netflix was prominantly streaming) but since my queue is so long, by the time the movies got there it was like three million years later, and I was all, "Oh, I see I was going through that Cleopatra phase when I put these in my queue." Putting stuff in my Netflix queue was like this reverse gestating period, where I'd put something in the queue and then by the time I "had the baby" (ie: the DVDs arrived) it was like forgetting about a baby I "conceived" (as in, getting interested in the movie).

But really that is all neither here nor there. The most important thing, what I REALLY found awesome from the Sherilyn Fenn-Liz Taylor biopic was how amazing Fenn was. She played such a wide range of ages in the film, convincing as all of them and so compelling to watch.

Well, OK, actually, the most, most, most important thing about this particular biopic was that I could capture this particular screenshot of Ray Wise as Mark Todd looking suitably creepy with two dogs:

One chants out between two pooches, dogs walk with me!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Not Wanting to Wake the House Up Singing WHAM into My Computer And Then Run of the Risk of Everyone Thinking I Am Insane

I just spent an hour researching which christmas song to record for one of my friends who is collecting recordings of friends doing ridiculous holiday things, and I've decided to get a bad Google voice mail transcript of WHAM's Last Christmas, and then perform the bad transcript, karaoke style, with the instrumental of the song. So I had to not only find a good instrumental version of the song, but also listen to the original song over and over, because I don't know the song all that well other than the chorus. This also means more than just listening to the song over and over, but then also, watching the video over and over.

It was one of those videos that had a plotline (of sorts); it's about the band vacationing in the mountains with a bunch of friends, frolicking in the snow, and then George Michael occasionally looking moody at some woman in the group who clearly he has a history with (and she looks a little like Lara Flynn Boyle circa 1990).

Everybody else looks like they're having a grand old time with throwing snowballs and laughing, but he intermittently looks sad, where it wouldn't be such a stretch to see him kicking at a pebble and going, "Aw shucks." I think maybe Andrew Ridgeley is supposed to be dating George Michael's ex, or maybe it's just a case of George and the lady broke up but Andrew is still friends with her. I kind of got the impression George Michael is supposed to be dating the blond woman in the video that apparently has his same haircut. It wasn't until I watched the video 17,000 times that I realized that there's supposed to be flashbacks happening. In one flashback they're happily traipsing in the snow and falling on each other laughing.
In another clip he gives her a bedazzled brooch. (And then in the present, the next year, post-breakup, even though the two of them have an icy sexual tension and they're surrounded by other people, she's still wearing the bedazzled brooch!)
In another flashback, he jovially enters the dining room carrying a cake adorned with sparklers while everyone claps. But oh! Such happiness is long past! Surrounded by all these people, if only they truly understood how unhappy George Michael is! He puts up such a good front until those moments when none are watching and the facade must fall! Quelle malaise! A graveyard of memories! Fragments shored against his ruins!

Also, there's a gondola ride.

Anyway, the problem with this recording project, is that I need to speak the lyrics so that I can get the transcript fed back to me so I can use those lyrics as the ones to sing. But at this late hour, I don't want to wake the people I live with, especially by creepily whispering WHAM lyrics into a phone, which is essentially serenading a robot over a phone. At 1:15 in the morning. And then on top of that, then singing WHAM at my computer. At then 1:20 in the morning.

I guess this project is going to have to wait until sunrise.

What's extra hilarious is that one of my friends went to Cambodia and sent me a whole mess of Cambodian karaoke discs, and I think this song might be on it, so it's sort of ridiculous that I would have to go find an instrumental on-line. It's just that I couldn't figure out how to rip the audio off of that disc -- for some reason since there's some region code issue thing where it doesn't work on my computer, even though it does on our DVD player, but then, not on our actual karaoke player. OH THE HUMANITY. Yeah, so, you know, life is tough all round.

All of this is to say, I will probably record this sometime this week and I'll post it when I'm done.

In other news! I finished zine about hair a split zine I did with one of my friends, which I'm bringing to Quimby's tomorrow. It's called Be Hair Now. So that's where to get it! I'm toying with the idea of making an Etsy site for my zines, but the thing is also, that you can get most of zines from, so I don't know if it's worth it. Thoughts, people? E-mail me at CabooseZine(at)gmail(dot)com if you have thoughts about this. Or thoughts about Last Christmas. Specifically these lines from it that are sort of preposterous:

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart/A man under cover but you tore him apart

I expect a 375 word essay on these lyrics on my desk tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tapping In, Setting Up, Petting Small Animals

Reading David Lynch's Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, a few quotes really stand out for me:

"Little fish swim on the surface, but the big ones swim down below. If you can expand the container you're fishing in-your consciousness-you can catch bigger fish." (p. 27)

The fish of course, being the creative ideas. I like this idea very much. The book, among other things, is his testament to the awesomeness of transcendental meditation, one of the things he cites as being a major help in expanding his own consciousness, tapping into the unified field, etc etc etc, which I am such a sucker for. Anytime somebody starts talking about "tapping into" something, I'm immediately on board. "I want to be tapped in! How do I get tapped in? Who can tap me in here? How do I get a tap? Is there a deposit I need to put down on this tap?" I've done pretty much everything I can think of for tapping in to some sort of consciousness expansion, including but not limited to: yoga, biofeedback, books, music, a variety of substances, lights, sensory deprivation, dance, visualization, occulty-seance-oujia-boardy stuff, petting small soft animals, lucid dreaming, stuff with candles…the time has come to try meditation Maharishi Mahesh Yogi style, which is different than the kind of meditation I always did with yoga. Because I am always DOWN FOR TAPPING INTO SHIT. That SHIT be tappin'. So I'm attending a TM lecture on Sunday if you want to tap in with me, for my Chicago friends. Hilariously, I keep fusing TM in my head with TMJ.

"There's a safety in thinking in a diner. You can have your coffee or your milk shake, and you can go off into strange dark areas, and always come back to the safety of the diner." (p. 39)

That makes pretty much everything that happened in the RR Diner in Twin Peaks make sense. The woods = scary. The diner = safe. Plans are discussed, delicious coffee and pie is eaten, characters have respite from abusive people in their lives...I've always loved diners. Not so much for the food, although I do enjoy an egg white omlette from time to time. Mostly I like them because many are open deep into the night and I find this very comforting. If I can't sleep, I know there is always a diner open where there are people there too, awake in the middle of the night, a little refuge in the night. I love sitting in them with friends for hours, talking, and getting jacked up on coffee, or just being there alone working on something, where they don't mind if I hang out there for a while.

"Life is filled with abstractions, and the only way we make heads or tails of it is through intuition. Intuition is seeing the solution--seeing it, knowing it. It's emotion and intellect going together." (p. 45)

I've never before been able to come up with a satisfactory explanation of what intuition is. Appropriately, I've only ever been able to explain what it is, well, intuitively. That is to say, I've always described it the way that everybody describes it, which is "the feeling in your gut about a situation." And ironically (or maybe well, appropriately ironically [what?]) this never seemed like a very good explanation, although it is the best that I feel like I or anyone else could come with. Full disclosure though: it's not like I've ever actually sat down and did research on the actual definition of intuition. But emotion and intellect going together = intuition. Yup, that's it. Right there.

"And the idea just sits there and festers. Over time, it will go away. You didn't fulfill it--and that's just a heartache." (p. 125)

This quote was actually referring to the importance of having a place (a "setup") to go work on whatever the idea is, when you get the idea for the thing (whatever the thing is). This place should facilitate actually being able to get to working on the idea that you had. But what is more intriguing about this quote on a higher level, is that over time, an unworked on idea just sits and if it doesn't get tended to, it goes away. Like anything that's not tended to, it goes away or dies: plants, pets, gardens, relationships. This resonates with me; there was a semester I was in school that I made my schedule unreasonably packed with classes, because I was concerned with finishing by a certain date. Early on that term, I had a dream about wilting and dying plants. It wasn't until many weeks into the semester that I realized that the reason I had the dream was because I was not tending to the human and creative parts of my self and my life. Those were parts that needed tending, caring, relaxing, enjoying and nurturing. And then after many years of this habit of ignoring that vital life-force type of stuff in myself, I suffered from some crazy health issues. Untended to ideas, life force, creative endeavors, relationships -- when you suffocate that stuff, that good stuff that doesn't come to fruition, it festers and then goes away. And then what you're left with is health issues, remorse, heartache and whatever else happens to you when you make those decisions.

I invite you to join me in tapping in, setting up, tuning in or out and dropping by.