A Merry Christmas to you and yours. Or those you may rent. Or happen to have on Lay-a-Way. Or may be thinking of purchasing soon.
…or should we say “Kiss-mas”?
For years, I’ve been thinking about writing a series of short stories (or short films!) all with plots based strictly on band names, and while I may never get to them, I figured it best to throw the idea out there, and ask for a percentage of sales, should you be so inclined to tackle the idea yourself.
Consider that “Thurston Harris and the Sharps” could be the gripping tale of a germaphobe janitor working in the ER of a busy hospital in the inner city. Or “Butthole Surfers”, which has “animated feature” written all over it. Making a tapeworm appear personable may be a challenge for some animators, but we can always consult with Obama’s people for tips.
Mind you, there is a band named “Evil Edna’s Horror Toilet”, which is fucking brilliant (and we haven’t even mentioned their cover art for their EP “Too Much Gristle In The Blancmange”, which features a creature with very ambiguous genitalia, sparking the question as to which toilet it might use in the first place… which, in retrospect, may be just the horror of it all to begin with). I’m just going to leave that there. Along with “Midget Handjob”.
Although “Insane Clown Posse”, if written as a 1940’s serial would be awesome. They could hunt Nazis, and we could tie it in with “Adolf Hitler’s Nipples” (BETTER: A time-travel, space opera that crosses over into “Disco Tits”, “Jefferson Starship”, and finally “Frankie Goes to Hollywood”, the tale of a one of the posse who splits off all Lancelot-style, to become a third-rate actor who makes it big playing cadavers in true crime period works, only to have his career become the spark of a never-ending war, culminating in a three-hour Peter Jackson adaptation of the second paragraph of the story, which merely involves Frankie going to the store for deodorant… Having the whole thing (finally) wrap up in grand Arthurian style with it being revealed that Hitler is Frankie’s father, and a whole “father-kills-the-son-and-the-son-mortally-wounds-the-father” sort of tradgedy, but with a little Shakespearean twist involving an affair and many made-up words).
As fun as that would be, one that has me fascinated as a title is “Suburban Kids With Biblical Names”. OK, and “Son of Dork”, which my son could write. We’ll leave the easy ones, like “Supertramp”, “Buster Poindexter”, “Bronsky Beat” and “Ned’s Atomic Dustbin” for later. “Adam and the Ants”, while a great comic book title, may work even better as a side project of this side project; I could take a band, and follow it as they splinter-off, writing tales based upon the names of the new bands formed. Imagine “Bow Wow Wow” as a sort of William S. Burroughs tale (there would be a sort-of precedent here, seeing as Steely Dan is named after a marital aid in “Naked Lunch”, which really brings this idea full-circle). However, there is a guy who wrote stories based on Springsteen songs, but those work from, well, imagery already there, so this is off in a land all its own, and probably begging for a cease and desist or two.
…and don’t even get me started on the potential of “Chumbawumba”. Or “Sha-Na-Na”. Either of these in the style of Clive Barker would be fascinating.
As a fan of pushing the limits, and making the most of one’s talents, I have to admit that while I may not like shows such as “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent” or “The View”, there is something to be said about taking amateurs with little (and often misguided) vision and strapping them into a vehicle that could rocket them to fame, no matter how lacking they may be in the content department. Sit back and drink in the magic of going from a nobody to having YOUR OWN VEGAS SHOW! Your name in lights… tickets being sold at a deep discount at a kiosk outside of a hotel on the Strip where people stop abruptly to take photos on an overpass amongst the homeless. It’s what dreams are made of. Or at least the outer lying fringes of dreams… but with far more talking animals, strange indoor weather and a smell that you can’t quite put your finger on (and live in fear that you may have stepped in). And, should you recall my earlier dream of becoming a world-class Olympic Figure Skating Choreographer, well, this just builds toward that, my friends.
That said, in keeping the underlying “solo sex tape” theme from a prior post, let’s really stretch this out, and throw down a tribute to Liberace. After all, the man personifies the Vegas of old, so it just feels right. But as a traveling, one-man show that would one day find its way into a theater in Vegas, baby! We set things as a retro-looking piece, inspiring the glory days of that city in the desert, featuring Brian, Master of the Hands-Free Piano. A jaw-dropping spectacle that’s loads of fun for everyone. Can you see it? I can:
“He really works to put the ‘penis’ in ‘pianist’. Really an eye-full!”, raves Variety.
“Re-MEMBER your favorite classics as Brian tickles the ivories with his giggle stick!” —People Magazine
“A festival of testicles… and something else we weren’t sitting close enough to get a really good look at.” Entertainment Weekly
“It was all over so fast. And pretty much all over.” — Clarice Gimbalson, front row, center at the Harrisburg YMCA show
The show, in a nutshell: I take to the stage, riding atop one of the old Siegfried & Roy Tigers, decked-out in roller skates and having a gold-plated chicken on its head (at the matinee shows, we’ll have matching gold-plated chickens). The chorus will rise into an a cappella version of the “Axel F” theme from Beverly Hills Cop, and little custom Skittles, coated to look like Cialis will fall from the ceiling into the crowd. I’ll pound-out classics like “I’ll be Seeing You”, “The Beer Barrel Polka”, and “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing”, and putting my own spin on favorites with versions like “Begin the Big One”, “Everywhere My Love”, and “Spellbound Cockcerto”. We’ll use the intermission as a refractory period, and allow for a costume change (and a cleaning crew to, uh, do their thing). Come to think of it, if we can get Clorox on board, this will be great. Ponder, too, the sheer genius of having the theater lit by blacklight, and then incorporating a laser show… We could do a planetarium tour, and change-up the show with some Pink Floyd. This is going places.
Actually, I jumped the gun there. We save the cleaning crew for AFTER the finale, which would be a back-light and laser light spectacular! Sequins and ropey jets all aglow, the relentless pounding of the ivories, a triple-stacked set of grand pianos and a trampoline are but the beginning! Axl Rose will join me in a gut-wrenching duet of “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows”, on which we’ll have to write our own lyrics, but he’s good like that. We’ll drift into a medley, highlighted by my unique spins on classic with “Semen Mixer”, “Brian Rag” and the visual tour de force “El Cockbanchero”, finally closing it all with a reprise and disco remix of “I’ll Be Seeing You”… and a walk through the gift shop, thank you very much.
I want people to think of this as not only a tribute to the days gone by in showbiz, and not just a cross between Zumanity and a Gallagher show from the 1980’s, but a commentary on what people perceive as celebrity. It’s everything that you never imagined Vegas could be.
Ponder the genius of this being televised on New Year’s Eve, and the natural tie-in to the ball drop. Naturally, we’ll have to stage this someplace much warmer than Times Square, but sometimes we have to make concessions. Suck it, Seacrest.
As I’m sure that you know by now, the theatrical release of The Interview has been scrapped. This hits me hard, no simply because we have another telling tale of a lily-livered leader caving to some megalomaniacal fucking jerk-off, but because I will be denied the movie poster I was waiting for.
If you know me, you know that I love film, and movie posters even more. I love the art… GOOD art, anyway. Not these stinking, non-creative turds they pass off regularly featuring a low/back-lit photo of protagonist/antagonist in front of (INSERT MAJOR MOVIE SET PIECE HERE), surrounded by typography and copy obviously created by a seven year old with better things to do… but really good work, like that of Drew Struzan, or Boris Vallejo (I mean have you SEEN his National Lampoon’s Vacation artwork??!), John Alvin, the Hildebrandt brothers, Frank Frazetta, Saul Bass, and on and on. As a filmmaker trapped in the life and career of an illustrator, I live vicariously through this medium until I can one day make that leap. But I digress.
You see, I was looking forward to grabbing a 27×40-inch, double-sided hunk of poster-y goodness from the film. It embodied many things that I enjoy: Propaganda-style art, great color pop, spectacularly tongue-in-cheek typographical layout, and it would be a great replacement for the Army of Darkness piece that my wife hates. She obviously is lost on the genius of John Bolton’s work there. Whatever. I mean, it would have been a Guardians of the Galaxy poster (full theatrical release version, thank you), but those have gone crazy in price. Think of how great that poster would look as guests stop by for an…. wait for it… INTERVIEW on a podcast??!
Anyway, I had attempted to place the order weeks ago, knowing that prerelease posters have been hanging around since Summer, and wanting to beat the rush… but was met with “Order Delayed” messages. Apparently, these were the hot item. Good deal… I’m in no rush, I’ll wait. Now, you can’t find them, and all orders are suspended. This PRECEDING an “official” announcement regrading the film. Hmmm. Conspiracy? Another red herring? Just another deflection of your attention? You do the math.
(Don’t get me wrong, I could drop a few hundred on eBay for one now, but we decided that that was money best spent on food, clothing and toys from the less fortunate, and that has me feeling a lot better than hanging something on a wall.)
I mean, seriously. It’s a comedy. A genius premise, and certainly a grand stage for slapstick and subversive humor. But to make threats to people for showing it… or SEEING it?! What in the fuck, Chuck?! This nearly harkens (almost wrote “Harkins”, ha-ha!) back to my days in Catholic grammar school, when the Czar… I mean “Principal” had threatened us kids with disciplinary action, should we dare to go home and watch the TV movie The Day After (looking back on that, I now see that I understand far more about the Book of Revelation than the so-called “leader” at that school, and that her claims of nuclear armageddon ca.1983 was far off from what the book describes. It pays to know the mindset and capabilities of those in charge, I’ve found…), as we’d suddenly be faced with some sense of mortality, and then have to write an essay about how bad that can be. I compared mine to the fear of ABBA appearing on The Love Boat, and then having said ship become beached upon an iceberg, and the band playing on, as hundreds perished… the final soundtrack to their icy deaths being “Dancing Queen”. Oh, the horror. Looking back, those essays helped to shape who I am today. The joke is on YOU, sister! I’m drawing cars AND writing dirty words, and not living under a bridge… yet, I digress once more.
The poster. I will not be getting mine. “There will be no Christmas”, quoth the beast. Simply because of a “hacking” incident and some threat. If these guys were really looking out for peace, they’d have shut down any number of shitty movies, and let this one roll. Seriously. I STILL want a refund for my time having to sit through that steaming pile “The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of a Viable Screenplay” (should you have missed my feelings on THAT shit festival, scroll back a ways). I mean, if this were a publicity stunt, holy balls it would be great. But when you can’t even grab the poster? That’s either a sign that the marketing firm behind it all is absolutely inhuman brilliant and committed to detail, or that it’s the real deal, and we just sold out to bullies.
If these folks at Sony were REALLY interested in cyber security, they’d listen up. Hell, they’d have already done this, but let’s not split hairs. You can either implement this genius plan, or make a movie about it (and then scrap it when some freak sends a letter):
You grab the laptop from some porno addict, and you plug that hairy, sticky, probably-would-blind-you-and-burn-your-shadow-into-the-wall-if-placed-under-a-blacklight tool of debauchery into the network as your honey pot. Hacker logs on, and BAM! Enjoy your “free” trial and bajillion pop-ups, you fuck. Give me a shout for the rights and title ideas. The simplest of solutions often eludes us. I’m here to help. Hell, I’m always here, usually working, as I don’t golf or vacation much, and still have yet to receive reparations for the Polack jokes my people have suffered the ill effects from.
Mr. Rogan, I appeal to you thusly: Please sell me a poster from The Interview, as I’m having little luck in finding one on my own. No freebies or other nonsense, as there are much better outlets for charity… I simply want to celebrate the creativity you put into the film. My other options have wavered between a nice Hellboy first-run piece, or the iconic “The Thing”… but what I really wanted was my damned first choice, and I’m certain that you can empathize, much as I do with your situation. Wishing you only the best, sir.
Realizing that we’re officially eight months into the Christmas season (for those of you going by the decorations on display in your local Lowes), I thought it best to take a moment and reflect on the wonderous joy that listening to Christmas music brings me. If by “wonderous joy”, one means that it breeds to sort of feeling “similar to slamming my privates in a car door over and over again”. Pa-rum-pa-pa-pum.
It’s not that I hate this season. Far from it. I love the temporary feeling of giving that people have for a few short days, or watching morons brag about how they gave a buck to the Salvation Army Santa that one time. I hate (yes, “HATE” may be a strong word, but it feels nearly anemic in this case) the blatant commercialism, and made-up bullshit that surrounds it all, and we’re not even going to delve into another made-up holiday here. That would be like discussing the existence of UFO’s, and then expecting people to follow along as we turned to Godzilla and the possibility of giant mechanized robots taking over Tokyo and that a logical defense would be to create a super-human using gamma rays via an old microwave oven during a lunar eclipse while listening to Blue Oyster Cult backward. You can only stretch belief so far, and in my opinion, it stops at the whole gamma ray/microwave/BOC backward/eclipse thing, still many, many steps from “Kwanzaa”. You might find a richer history in “Festivus”, which shares an eerily similar point of birth of that other one there. 1966-67 must have been a hotbed of holiday manufacture. Strangely enough, How the Grinch Stole Christmas was released in… 1966. A YULETIDE CONSPIRACY! And let’s not even dare venture to the 1967 Bob Hope Christmas Special, which featured “Miss World”, Madeleine Hartog Bell, which was an obviously biased contest, as no formal invitation was sent to Miss Godzilla, spurring the alternate dimension battle ending with, as we all know, the great Microwave-Gamma-Ray battle which would propel Blue Oyster Cult to fame across all known realities, plus two additional ones we don’t yet understand.
But I digress. It’s not even a hatred for Christmas music in general. It’s having to listen to it from October through, well, whenever the heck the next commercialized bullshit begins… Which is usually Valentine’s Day, and you can expect those cards to hit shelves on 26 December. And it’s one shitty remake after the next. How many different ways can you sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”? At last count, seventy-three million, with eleven million of those coming from Whitney Houston alone. And don’t even get me started on the bullshit “It’s a CLASSIC!” ear worms like “Wonderful Christmas Time” by McCartney. This pile of reindeer shit from the guy who penned “Paperback Writer”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Penny Lane”?! It’s nearly as annoying as “Last Christmas” by Wham!, or, well, anything else recorded after 1959. You can feel my pain, I’m certain. As a season of giving and all that, I hope that you’ll take time to give to those less fortunate, and continue that all year. And for you, in keeping with that theme from the start of the post, I’d like to make sure that you get a little Pussy this year. “Pussy with a CAPITAL ‘P’, Brian?!” you may be asking, “this must be high quality stuff! You shouldn’t have!” What can I say? I’m a giver.
And yes. “Pussy” was the name of one of the dogs in this masterpiece, which illustrates clearly just how terrible the music of the season can be. I would pay a lot to hear the studio out-takes from those sessions. “Come on Pussy! Louder!” It’s the Christmas music equivalent of watching your dog drag its ass across the carpet, yet, you’d probably stop this song long before yelling “STOP THAT!!” at poor Fido.
Thoughts on the whole “patina” thing:
It’s played. It’s over. Not everything is a “barn find”, kids. Do the fucking math. There aren’t nearly enough barns to house all of these “finds”. I mean, I understand that the term sounds better than “abandoned in a field”, or “yanked from the makeshift wrecking yard behind some guy’s trailer”, but let’s be honest here…. they all can’t be priceless wonders from a bygone era. A few have to be the pieces of shit they really are. That’s how life works. I mean, shit… I wanted to be the handsome, trendy designer who looks great with a $75 haircut and the collectible sneakers, but the reality is that I’m a homely motherfucker with a $7.95 haircut and whatever sneakers were on sale that week. But I make the most of it by creeping on people at the supermarket… I mean “being an upbeat kinda guy”.
Getting back on track here, I simply want to point out that the patina thing is no longer really a step or two away from the rat rod thing; it’s merged into one big shit festival sort of thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the low-budget project scene. It’s where I come from, and will wind up once more when I scratch together enough coin to fund a low-budget project (see that? I’m lower than low-budget, and even I understand that there’s a line between doing what one can afford, and simply settling for garbage). It’s just that, well, not everything ages gracefully. Goldie Hawn, for instance. Yeah, she MAY HAVE BEEN something else many moons ago, but now, well… not with a stolen one. (speaking of stolen, uh, “units”, you’d be hard-pressed to imagine getting it to function well enough to even get the other party on board. I’d imagine that it’s be a lot of “just hold still while I…damn it!” and then you’d have to get a popsicle stick and some… oh, I get it now. You’d be better to drop the flowery language, and just say “No, not ever.”) For the ladies, picture your circa-1991 dream date with Val Kilmer. Back then, you’d have waited an eternity for it to happen. Yet, reality creeps in, and hands you present-day, aged and weathered Val, and while nostalgia may cloud a bit of judgement, you will no doubt begin to recognize a bit of Meatloaf in there, and that’s not really what you had signed on for, is it?
It’s like that with a patina vehicle. If you picked it up because it has a solid body that will allow for a “build-and-drive” scenario (which is fucking retarded if you ever actually plan on finishing it, as you’ll eat the budget in maintenance and repairs from daily abuse), well, good on you. But, if you’re fooling yourself into thinking that those rusty flanks and faded layers of poorly-applied “paint” are the pinnacle of style, I might suggest going home, because you’re drunk. How can I possibly support this opinion with fact? You’ve got a point… My argument may appear subjective at best. However, ask yourself just how many times you’ve gone to look at a potential project, and either written it off as “needing paint”, or tried to work a bargain because, well, it “needs paint”?
Precisely. And you’ll be the guy who gets his feelings hurt when asked “are you going to paint it?”
And this “faux-tuna”, fake rust and faded paint bullshit? I equate that whole “genre” with the “continuation” or “tribute” cars. The SS or COPO or R/T clones that are pushed in our faces year after year. They’re not worth the build cost, because, at the end of the day, they’re still a fake. And what’s the point of owning something that merely represents what you really want? It would be like dating a mannequin, simply because it appears feminine in form, and you’d like to date something that is also feminine in form. It’s wrong on so many levels. And do we really need another dick joke or double entendre in the form of “door art”? Yeah, “Brown Star Lounge, Plenty of Parking in Rear” is hilarious when you see it on three trucks at the same show. Grow the fuck up. I’m always surprised to find that the guy with that truck isn’t wearing a “Big Johnson” t-shirt from that Val Kilmer era.
That said, I ask simply for the following:
Stop calling every damned crusty pile of shit car or truck that you yanked from a ravine a “barn find”. Even if you find some rusty hulk of worthless rot in a barn, don’t praise it. Realize that, just maybe, some guy tried to hide it from view, and keep it from leeching into the ground water, in the hope that it would never fall into the pages of another third-rate magazine. Kinda like in “The Walking Dead”, where they lock the undead in a garage to keep them from harming society at large. Speaking of which, dear magazines, if your feature vehicles are setting the bar at bolt-on parts and no body/interior craftsmanship, you can thank yourselves for the lack of finished projects to feature in the future. It’s a vicious cycle.
Put some effort into your project. Yeah, not everyone is a painter or a stitch master. However, you learned the basics, right? With some practice, you were confident enough to embark on your own build. Apply that same sense to learning the rest. Be a renaissance man.
And for the love of all that is holy, please understand that smoothie wheels don’t make a statement other than “I’m just like that guy. And that other guy. And those fifteen guys over there”). And artillery wheels only look good on vehicles manufactured prior to the second World War.
In conclusion, reach for greatness, or simply keep scratching at the bottom. It’s your call.