Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hwy 32

I went out and ripped Leonard Cohen, his manager wasnt the only one. You know, I saw him at a Dolls show in the 70s, and all he said was hello. So why not? Anyway Picasso said it was good to steal. Below is my 2009 April 3 minute opus Roll Cadillac Roll; it drips Leonard. It came to me the 1st Sunday after  Easter when Thomas doubts. I was in a little park square when I saw the bird [mentioned], and was in fact, shortly thereafter on the phone to Jeff DeMark [who was honing his homage to Rock LaPatina.] So here it us.. you will find it as an embeddable video below .. a bit biblical..if I have hit luck. Anyhoo, it's outthere now. the original rag is here.

I was hard pressed  and fallen
The doors were locked and bolted
When the dove it up and pointed to the heart of Jesus pierced
And change came over me
Like wind through a tree
And I went out on 32 hwy with its crows
Roll Cadillac roll
Roll Cadillac roll

Tom the Revelator Revisited

RadioWeblogMorgueClipping. Originally ran Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Tom the RevelatorI guess I have a shoolboy's affection for St John. Our deepest ties were forged in school. He is my patron saint. John was a writer. So am I.
John and I are tied by duress. On Halloween, at St John Nepomuk's [a Bohemian John] in Racine, the First Graders had to dress as their saints, a project my mother womanfully threw herself into. She made a robe out of a bed sheet, and I was St John, with trepidation, sent off to the school bus stop.
There, and worse later on the bus, I endured the taunts of the kids - even the bus driver made fun of me. My classmates on the main more wisely waited until they got to school to don their saint-man garb. Oh how I suffered.
Anyway John the Revelator is hip just now. Thanks to Jack White of the White Stripes. He has revived in his road show the spiritual "Who's that writing? John the Revelator" Taken probably from Son House [the Rube Wadell's revived the number as well a couple of years ago] it tells an episodic bible story in which the act of writing is enthroned spiritually, and John is the writer hero.
Unfortunately the John the revelator revival is nuanced by a bestselling tome known as Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels. Pagels' book concentrates in a way on the Gospel of Thomas, which has been lumped in the Gnostic Gospel Dead See Scroll bin, which, long ago, was refused entry to the formal gospel pantheon of Matthew, Mark, Luke and old John. [As always with these things there is some dispute: to wit: that John the Evangelist the late gospel writer was the same person as  John the Revelator the even later Revelations writer.]
John's Gospel was written much later than those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke [the Synoptics] , and it has always seemed more wedded to theory and less to story. Pagel extends the argument by citing specific differences between John and Thomas, suggesting that John's was more of a work of theory intended to counter theory implied by Thomas.
There is a beauty in Thomas, for Church Fathers some of it was thought a dangerous beauty. Like John of the Cross he enjoyed a popularity in the '50s and '60s [an interview with Dennis Hopper was where I first heard about this stuff, it hadn't come up at St John Nepomuk's.] The most moving passage Pagel cites is:
"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
Rimbaud, even, might say 'amen'. This inward-looking 'within' stuff didn't sit to well with the Pops, who didn't want the religion to emanate from too many distinct selves. I think most of us however could see some truth in this passage, something we've seen in ourselves, historical personages, street people. Thomas had a thing going on .. and I am a little sad that John's work is seen in apposition to this.
[I picked up Beyond Belief at the Massachusetts Bible Society bookstore on Bromfield street. This place is a real treasure. Bromfield street buildings still evoke the old Republic Boston of Poe, Holmes, James [excuse the waxing]. It's near Old City Hall, Pi Alley. The store itself is totally dedicated to the Word with a capital "W". Pretty somber. One time, all book stores had more of this flavor.]
Pagel's "Beyond Belief" at amazon 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Before going on the road, Jack Kerouac was a gridiron - 10.23.89 - SI Vault

Before going on the road, Jack Kerouac was a gridiron - 10.23.89 - SI Vault

C: wrote: June 1988~ Lowell MA My son Jake is three months old. We've just returned from my dad Samuel Estrada, sr.'s memorial in southern California. I. was 37 years old
The photo taken by Jack is in Jack Kerouac Park in front of one of several black granite stones imprinted with J.K.'s prose.
We've been only able to return once or twice in 25 years. I wonder what the granitie pieces are like now?

From my point of view this was first time we took Jake out. Opening of Kerouac Park in Lowell. I think the weather has been unkind to stone. I can read the stone I think: ... "although I also know everybody in the world's had his own troubles, you'll understand that my particular form of anguish came from being too sensitive to all the lunkheads I had to deal with just so I could get to be a high school football star, a college student pouring coffee and washing dishes and scrimmaging till dark and reading Homer's Iliad in three days all at the same time, and God help me, a WRITER whose very "success," far from being a happy triumph as of old, was the sign of doom Himself." Jake met Paul Tsongas at this event that was attended by Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti and Fr.Spike too.JV

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Monk's eye view of Ireland in the olden times - Happy St Patrick's Day!

The Viking Terro[Translated by Kuno Meyer]

Bitter is the wind tonight,
It tosses the ocean's white hair:
Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway
Coursing on the Irish Sea.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Roland Kirk: Up there somewhere

I would posit that this begins with Roland playing a Stylophone,  an early portable electronic synthesizer. Here he puts the backbeat in Bachrach.

For wierd somewhat unbeknownst reasons Rashaan Roland Kirk appeared as the last artist on the last Ed Sullian show...THIS IS NOT THAT [above he plays I say a lil prayer].. On the Sullivan show he played a version of the recent hit: My Cherie Amour.

“It was difficult to believe one’s eyes or ears when tuning in the show entirely by accident, not having heard of the booking. I caught Sullivan’s remark about staying tuned for Rahsaan Roland Kirk and his ‘classical jazz musicians,’” Leonard Feather wrote in Down Beat.

It was sure a surprise to me. A couple of my friends had some of his records. Steve Allen or Jack Paar might have had him on before. So I knew who was. The fact that he could play a nose flute and a sax more or less at the same time probably partially the reason he got on some of those tv shows. Show biz was still in sway.

But it sort of ended that day, when the Ed Sullivan show went away, but in what a way! Kirk pulled together  Roy Haynes, Charlie Mingus, and Archie Shepp to accompany him. From My Cherie Amore they strayed. Lit upon Mingus's Hatian Fight Dance. I saw this and was awed.

Once the sonic storm subsided, Ed Sullivan appeared looking pale and wooden, saying “Wonderful, wonderful! Let’s hear it for Ramsam Roland Kirk!” As the applause dwindled comedian Godfrey Cambridge sneaked up behind Sullivan and slipped an Afro wig over his head, proclaiming Ed “An Honorary Negro" ... 

Later, Kirk joked that he should not be blamed for Ed going off the air.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New York, Just Like I Pictured It!

James Wolcott's memoir: Lucking Out. He is humble enough to point out his great luck. That should not cover the fact that he achieved great things as a writer in New York in the '70s and thereafter, and he saved enough brain cells to remember it pretty well for this memoir. He arrives from Maryland in the great city with a letter of reference from Norman Mailer. Coming to the city with hope of a literary life. Some hungry days, but he throws himself and is mixing with the strange New York crowd of the day. A story a tad Dickensian (with cynical urbanity all around, he remains as tender as Copperfield) , but this time with the backdrop of the Nixon era. Arriving as he does in 1972, he enters New York City at a particularly portent time. (Think of that Stevie Wonder number where the guy full of hope gets off at Port Authority, only to immediately be arrested and sent to Attica forever.) New York in 1972 - still relatively cheap, never more dangerous, (one day that year 24 people were killed - someone was murdered the equivalent of every hour, I was there (saw a guy just out of jail singing "On Broadway" walking lower Broadway one Sunday morning) , and that is what I recall), so full of news and newspapers, and a string of inventive movies. Seedy it was and infused with the great disease of such a civilization - decadence, pinnacled in the form of Warhol's Factory. Punk was to happen, but at this point it was something else, the New York Dolls. At the Mercer Art Center. Wolcott was there, and his memory serves well. As a writer he has often been capable of marvelous turns of phrase. In Lucking Out we get great passages, ironic and humorous, and great story telling. As I said, I was there, well near anyway, for a while, so especially do I credit Wolcott for this achievement.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Reading: Kerouac in Orlando

Little known but Kerouack had a home in Orlando. On hard ground under a dome of cypress trees
After On the Road. Before the Deluge. About the time He’d hit some money. (Linking here to earlier text version of this. Above is new version, slightly updated.0

From the vaults Oct 11 2009

Joe McCarthy

Preparing the brown bags
At the Manawaw Cashway
Smiling Irish to
The old Wisconsin ladies

Joe McCarthy in 1929
Put on his charm and fanfaronade
To wangle out of here
To college to get away ...

New senator from Texas Ted Cruz is disarmingly like McCarthy...with hair.

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Oppy at Harvard

“The Great golem we have made against our enemies is our culture, our bomb culture-its logic, its faith, its vision.” -- E.I.  Doctorow  ...