a new low in topical enlightenment

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Issue #58 (August 11, 2010)

In the Snowy Range, Wyoming

Photo by Joe Carducci

Is That a Baguette In Your Pants?
(Or Are You Just Happy To See Us?)

By Carolyn Heinze

If there are feather boas and feathery-fake eyelashes and gloopy-gloppy gobs of globs and glitter and gloss…and sequins and sparkles and tassels and tiaras and teased-to-be-bigger-than-life hair . . . I’m there. Totally.

No, don’t worry, non, ne vous inquiétez pas — French cinéma has not just come out with a re-make of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. And sadly, in Tournée (that’s ‘On Tour,’ en américain), there’s not one single-solitary-shimmery drag queen. There is that American guy dressed up as Louis XIV, however, and he does dance around while kinda-sorta deep-throating a baguette. And that kind of rocks in its own doughy-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside kind of way. So there’s that.

Then there’s that scene where that girl blows up that giant balloon for that routine where she pulls it over her neck and then her shoulders and then her chest and then her breasts and then her belly and belly button and bum and bottom parts and then she dances around inside of it? With the lights and the music and the scenery and the nakedness and heels, it’s really pretty amazingly cool. I wonder: Do you think that could be done with a condom? Helluva trick on a first date!

No, this isn’t the Crazy Horse . . . or the Lido or Chez Michou or the Paradis Latin or the Moulin Rouge. And thank Dieu for that; we sure as hell wouldn’t want Nicole Kidman standing around in the wings. Because Tournée is sexy, in its own sexy-smart-celebratory kind of way, and we all know that when it comes to Sexy, Nicole Kidman is like bleach-scented disinfectant. When it comes to Sexy, we all know Nicole Kidman has the appeal of a salad. You know – as we all do – the un-sexy bleach-flavored one with Nicole Kidman starring in it. Made mainly-mostly-only of lettuce.

(By the way, are they running that awful Schweppes ad over there on the other side of the Big Pond?) (The un-sexy one with Nicole Kidman starring in it?) (You know, where she’s all pale-white and colonial and there’s Indians from India all dancing, let’s-worship-the-bleached-white-girl-colonial-style, around?) (Not to be politically incorrect or anything — you know me — and I’m sure not into violence against women — you know me — but doesn’t that ad just make you want to slap her?) (Or at least toss her around?) (Like a salad?) (One made mainly-mostly-only of lettuce?) (Iceberg lettuce?)

BTW, you know who is sexy? Mathieu Almaric. The director of Tournée. (He’s the lead actor, too.) It’s his first film. (Not as Actor, but as Director AND Actor.) He’s not classically sexy – whatever that means – but he’s still really got it goin’ on. In that French-fitted-suit sexy-smoky-smoking Frenchman kind of way. (Kinda like Serge Gainsbourg before Jane Birkin ditched him and he got into those awful denim shirts.) And you know what else? Mathieu Almaric, in his little French-fitted-suit smoky-Frenchman way, openly admits – openly – that the bulk (la majorité, la plupart, la grande dose) of his sexuality was formed by John Hughes films. Like The Breakfast Club. Back in the day. And he still manages to be sexy, which is something, you gotta admit. I mean, I don’t know how he does it! Most of my adolescent-age fashion sense was formed by John Hughes films – well, mainly-mostly Pretty In Pink – and while I like to think I was pretty (in pink) funky, I don’t think I was pulling off Sexy. Certainly not with a capital ‘S.’ No, non, surtout pas, I don’t think I was. So bravo, Mathieu! Way to go, Sexy!!

Oh, and by the way, here’s what Tournée is all about:

Like Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Tournée adopts a documentary feel. Unlike Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Tournée is not a documentary. Like Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Tournée is a road-movie, as in an on-the-road movie. Unlike Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Tournée isn’t about flying V’s or Spandex or poodle hair or even feathered hair or even heavy metal hair, even if some of the sensibilities are the same. It’s about burlesque, le néoburlesque, imported directly from America into France, as in with American actors but funded by the French. It’s all twisty and tinsely and twirly and tassely, with girls named Dirty Martini and Kitten On The Keys and Julie and Mimi le Miou. (Well actually, it’s ‘Le Meaux’ over here, which I don’t quite understand because the girls kept pronouncing it ‘Miou’ and furthermore Meaux is the name of a further-than-farther far-off Parisian suburb that nobody thinks is terribly fab.) Like Anvil! The Story of Anvil, in Tournée they definitely run into problems on the road. Unlike Anvil! The Story of Anvil, in Tournée there’s boobs.

In both films – quelle surprise !! – nobody gets a gig in Paris. Nobody ever gets a gig in Paris.

The real story is that Tournée incorporates a lot of the great things about French cinema. As in everything is not painstakingly, painfully, pain-inducingly, pain-in-the-assedly explained. Like you know how in some of those American films, directly imported from America into the U.S. of A. and funded by Hollywood with distribution in France, how the dialogue goes something like this?

--BRENDAN (eyes racing up and down Ashley’s new silicon set): Ashley, you know how the way I’ve been looking at you for the entire movie the way a dog looks at a raw piece of meat? Well, that’s because there’s like supposed to be this unspoken kind of inner dialogue-y sexual tension between us. Ya know?

--ASHLEY (eyes vacantly staring somewhere in the direction of Brendan’s eyes): Oh Brendan, my inner dialogue is telling me the same thing, too…

--BRENDAN (raising his voice to be heard over the soaring violins): So, uh, wanna go to bed?

--ASHLEY (rips her clothes off, violins soar louder but not loud enough to drown out the moaning)

In Tournée there’s none of that. No, in Tournée there’s real actual inner dialogue and real actual innuendo and no actual outer dialogue before they actually jump into bed. And when they’re out of bed? (Or the public restroom stall?) During the outer-dialogue parts? Talking? Well, it’s natural and improvised and poignant and sweet. With a charming mélange of French and English, sometimes largely well-spoken, sometimes largely not . . . just like at a Parisian party.

Like Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Tournée is pretty damn great. (Unlike, say, Anvil the band.) But determining greatness is subjective, bien entendu. So before you make your choice – Anvil or Tournée – you may want to ask yourself: Do I prefer feather boas or feathered hair? And just where, exactly, do I stand on boobs?

[Photo by DB]

I shot the Sex Pistols photo at one of the very last UK gigs the band were to play before heading off to the states to implode & self-destruct. 

They held a very special place in my heart, as I came of age at the exact moment of their creative output. Sadly my feelings have considerably changed towards them. I spent a frustrating year & three months trying to get permission to simply show a few Pistols stickers in my book about artists who've made stickers & their impact of them on us: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap.

After many failed attempts at contacting Jamie Reid, the artist who created the original images, I tried getting in touch with Glen Matlock the bands’ original bassist who I'd been friendly with in '78. Again, no reply. As a last resort, I reached out to John Lydon via his LA management who informed me that Live Nation now owned the rights. Shocked at first, but upon reflection, this was the same band who had not spoken to each other in years and allegedly reunited to do their 1st reunion tour for a million dollars apiece.

Since learning that the rights were now controlled by Live Nation, I did start to notice a massive flood of the market of Jamie Reid's images on all manner of cheesy products.

So, after receiving the request, Live Nation asked how much I was willing to pay. I explained that none of the hundreds of contributors had asked for, or were getting any money, as this was an art and cultural history book. They did not seem to care and I was told to resend the proposal (again).

After a few more months of not hearing anything, my frustration turned to anger, with a "I'll show them!" feeling. It is quite a phenomena to watch a band that stirred social revolution with their music and given those stickers away for free in 1977 become part of the sort of corporate empire they had seemingly fought against during their early rise to fame. Ultimately, I decided it would be a far more interesting substitute to include a black page bearing the words “Sex Pistols stickers: permission denied by Live Nation.”

When I told my publisher of my idea, they were adamant that I couldn't do that! as they were working on doing a Pistols book themselves & did not need me pissing-off Live Nation. I was told to sit tight & they would work on getting the clearance, which did happen. (with the strict stipulation that Jamie Reid's name was not credited, nice people huh?)

I'm not exactly sure what the point of my writing this is. I've never liked it when fans turn on artists or bands for "selling out" simply because they are now successful & make lots of money. This felt much more than that though. The photo has never seen the light of day before this post and is published for the 1st time in Stuck-Up Piece of Crap.


From the Northwest Desk of Joe Carducci…

It was seasonably muggy in Portland but as I haven’t lived there since we moved Systematic Record Distribution to Berkeley in 1979, I forgot how summer works here. I’m now calibrated to a high desert summer. But the Tribute concert for David Lightbourne was a labor intensive affair so didn’t get to walk around in the northwest-side-and-downtown environs I once trod with David. He had a show on KBOO (“David Lightbourne’s Rock ‘n Roll House Party” -- titled after Art Linkletter’s early, enduring TV program) and I got mine thru his ministrations. We also worked together at the Cinema 21. But David’s brother, Michael, lives well south of there and I had to put time in on David’s primo collection of twenties/thirties blues-oldtimey albums, merely damn fine collection of fifties/sixties folk-blues albums, and pretty decent collection of everything else until about 1970 or so. After that its all Koerner Ray & Glover, or Hurley or Clamtones or Rounders continuations.

I got about half of Dave’s albums categorized and alphabetized last week. Have to do the rest another time. While I did that there were rehearsals going on in Michael’s front room as David’s friends from Cambridge and Wyoming worked out their tunes for Saturday. In the lead-up to the Saturday event itself I revisited KBOO’s punk program and we did a live interview and music program for David. Links to those are below. I also wedged in meetings with two old friends, Archie Patterson and Randy Jahnson. Archie founded the Eurock fanzine in 1973 and he dropped his 700-page doorstop of a Eurock anthology on me which happy to say includes my Sadistic Mika Band album roundup from 1978. We caught up on our separate moves up and down the west coast over the years and I answered the inevitable question, Whyoming? Archie had the insane record collection because he was once upon a time the only person in America interested in German psychedelia. But it's gone, he sold it, put down your crowbars you’ll find nothing but a happy couple in the house now.

Randy directed those old music videos of the Minutemen and Black Flag that people are always amazed even exist when they see them. He also wrote the screenplay for The Doors (1991) and other films. He moved up here recently from Pasadena where he once told me he was out-of-the-Hollywood loop even there. So I guess the internet is dissolving the Hollywood game too. We met for a beer at another McMenamins monster salvage job. They aren’t bad for a ubiquitous hippie-era corporation but it is sad to see an classic Portland elementary school (Kennedy) turned into a playground for today’s Portland arteoisie. The walls are covered in Portland artists works except for the odd enlargements of old school portraits of various classes and faculty groupings -- they seem a different race of people. Everything now in Portland is somebody’s idea of green-and-improved and a man can’t even pump his own gas in Oregon. Randy is nevertheless doing a rewrite of my “Yeung Girl” script and it looks like it’ll get made.

The official artist for David Lightbourne’s Stop & Listen Boys, Maya Carducci, showed up with her family and so I spent time with them. Steve Weber’s ex-, Essie Weber, was seen prying Maya’s drawing off the wall of the White Eagle Saloon (McMenamins again), but the event was winding down and I hear she has a great Holy Modal Rounder poster archive so it's now in good company. You can see that drawing at NV56. Anyway Dave’s friend from Iowa-days in the early sixties, Tom Newman kicked things off with a spoken piece on David’s coming of age at Grinnell-and-thereafter, and the music started and never stopped. It went past the 2am closing time (I want the State of Oregon to know -- David-the-criminal to the end!). It was an exceptional evening of music with many notable figures from around the country’s music scenes from Oregon to Vermont. Lots of talking about David, lots of his old friends reconnecting after decades, lots of young folks blessing their lucky stars they crossed paths with Sleepy Dave Lightbourne, and everyone in the White Eagle was riveted by Michael Lightbourne’s set which began with “The Midnight Special”, theme song for the WFMT program of the same name which he and his brother secretly listened to every week and began them on their blues and folk paths. Each tune prompted a telling story told and Michael’s ballad, “Ode to Davy”, with its classic folk-song storyline kept everyone straining to hear every detail in the epic that was David.


The White Eagle Saloon, Saturday Aug. 7, 2010 -- Tribute to David Lightbourne.

David Dearborn (washboard) and Hugh Frederick (harmonica) of The Metropolitan Jug Band sit in with the How Long Jug Band (Marc Greenstein - stringbass, Arlo Leach - guitar/jug, Scott Neidig - banjo/kazoo). (photo by Michael Lightbourne)

Michael Lightbourne with Birgit Burke and Drew Nelson. (photo by Roger Straus)

Baby Gramps: left-to-right, Dave Reisch, Blownin' Joe, Jimmy Boyer, BG, Robin Remaily. (photo by Michael Lightbourne)

Al Rivers, Birgit Burke, Arthur Krim, Jane Pellouchoud. (photo by Michael Lightbourne)

David Dearborn, Drew Nelson, Hunter Robinson, Kevin Robinson. (photo by Michael Lightbourne)

Dave Reisch, Jimmy Boyer, Gary Sisco, Robin Remaily. (photo by Michael Lightbourne)

Table for one: David in the seventies, his jazzhorn, his mic, his chair, his washboard, his hat, his ashes. (photo by Michael Lightbourne)


KBOO FM has the ninety-minute David Lightbourne Radio Special (from Fri. Aug. 6) up in three parts; we tried to go chronologically and started with a recording of David playing “Brass Rails” at a Grinnell folk concert in 1962. We focused also on his Portland days in The Stumptown Slickers, The Metropolitan Jug Band, and as a free agent with The Holy Modal Rounders, and then wound up playing and discussing his last years in Wyoming with The Stop & Listen Boys.

Part One
• Part Two
• Part Three

And here’s the link to my appearance on KBOO’s punk program “Life During Wartime” where I played some records and talked to Erin and her menagerie about the olden Punk days in seventies Portland.


"A Visual Testament to David Lightbourne"
by Michael Hurley & Jeffrey Bowers

featuring David Lightbourne, Michael Hurley, Joe Carducci, Amy Annelle, Ralph White, Al Rivers, Peter Queal.

Michael Hurley said David was a great subject for his videocamera because he ignored it. Michael put some of the footage together for this short film, portions of which appear in Michael's feature dvd, American Boogie:

Part One
• Part Two


Thanks to Erin Yanke, Michael Lightbourne, Kathryn Frederick, Michael Hurley, and all the friends of David Lightbourne.

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• The New Vulgate
• Joe Carducci, Chris Collins, James Fotopoulos, Mike Vann Gray, David Lightbourne
• Copyright retained by the writer, artist, or photographer

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful news about Yeung Girl! Man, that's going to be great to see. Chalk one up for the good guys, I hope.