Saturday, November 26, 2005

Zontar Deranged Carrot From Venus: It Conquered The World

Once in a generation a really important movie is made that redefines the craft of acting and the univeral magic that is cinema. This is not one of them.But Zontar:Thing From Venus, is still a very important part of movie history.The film was supposed to be a metaphor for Communism but we all know that if Communism could be as entertaining as a Roger Corman flick we'd all be wearin red.
The plot is simple:one of several remaining members of its race, an alien from Venus is guided to Earth by disgruntled scientist Tom Anderson, who tells it which humans it should attach mind control devices to. Among them is his old friend, fellow scientist Paul Nelson. Nelson, after killing a flying bat-thing which carries the device, finally persuades the paranoid Anderson that he's been wrong to ally himself with an alien bent on world domination. They hurriedly leave when they discover Tom's wife has picked up a rifle and gone to the alien's cave to try to kill it.

Memorable Quotes from
It Conquered the World (1956)
[Dr. Paul Nelson's closing observation about his misguided friend, Dr. Tom Anderson]
Paul Nelson: He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature... and because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned too late for himself that men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection... they find only death... fire... loss... disillusionment... the end of everything that's gone forward. Men have always sought an end to the toil and misery, but it can't be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from Man himself.
Dr. Tom Anderson: I made it possible for you to come here... I made you welcome to this Earth... You made it a charnel house.
Dr. Tom Anderson: I'll still need you even when there are no emotions.
Claire Anderson: [bitter] For a few dollars you can hire a woman who'll fulfill all your fetishes. And when you get tired of her you can run down to the employment agency and hire another.
Dr. Tom Anderson: He wants you on his side. Next to me, he wants you.
Paul Nelson: And you want me to condone this reign of terror? To swear allegiance to this monstrous king of yours? To kill my own soul and all within reach? Well, I won't, Anderson. I'll fight it 'til the last breath in my body. And I'll fight you, too, because you're part of it - the worst part. Because you belong to a living race, not a dying one. This is your land, your world. Your hands are human but your mind is enemy. You're a traitor, Anderson. The greatest traitor of all time. And you know why? Because you're not betraying part of mankind - you're betraying all of it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Night I Met Pete Townshend

This is a funny poem about meeting Pete at La Jolla Playhouse during the June 2001 benefit weekend .

Positively mod I was although I almost missed my flight
Eagerly went and spent gobs of money I shouldnt have
That night
Every song was punctuated by his verbal vim and verve
Really unsurprising that it all struck an astral nerve

Did I see that beautiful young face in a kiddy car
Evincing the public that he'd someday be a star
Nearer I saw a lovely young girl
Nobly stand
In shiny satin with an artful goblet in hand
So can eveyone see that the diamonds I wear

Bought at New Cross Boots though they still get the stares
Look at Arty power chords in his black Cardin shades
And Des's arm encircles my waist but(he's so not depraved)
Now get in there and give him your gift
Do I have to hunt Pete like a shark in the after hours drift?
Folks just want to jest- one gal wants an autograph on the chest
Okay I think where do I fit in, over by the bar, is that Bobby Pridden?
Robeson's bio is what I plan to pathetically give away
Distinguished with the most pretentious words I could ever say

The musical hero. The Alpha male, the Fabian Socialist who also sails
Okay so I circle this spirit because I had to just had to try
What if I never met him before I up and die?
Now the girl in satin has a crisp voice I knew
So many life times ago when in Essex I flew
Hearing it makes me suddenly brave
Enough to go and shake the hand of her knave
Now flash bulbs go off and the kids are alright
Did I tell you what a wonderful time I had that night,hey hey good rockin at midnight

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Blues Traveler: Some Light in The Darkness

Expecting a few hits and a chance to dance in black lace and jeans after an arduous work week Blues Traveler left my awesomely shocked.I had never heard their tunage extensively other than what KFOG plays (the new cd, Bastardos, and the hits). After last night at the singular San Francisco Fillmore, where I also had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the band after the show, I'm a convert to the Blues Traveler rave up jam cult.
Morever,this was the first time I'd ever heard the blues played without an overlay of dark sadness.Tireless drummer Brendan Hill later told me that any such observation was contingent on mood (apparently they can tear out the anguish should they choose to) Not to doubt this but they have a unique hopefulness in their music that their millions of fans worldwide resonate with and that I would be looking forward to at every gig now that I am a fan.
John Popper's voice,at once so clear, a tad combativly mocking and emotionally powerful stopped me in my tracks. In most rock bands the bass and drummer are married to each other. In BT it feels like the vocalist swaps the drummer for the bassist in an evening of precise musical polygamy! Popper just never loses a beat.He later maintained it was all in the "good gargle."
Neither did their 'new to the fold' bassist Tad Kincila, replacing Bobby Sheehan who died in 1999. Big shoes to fill from what die hard BT fans at the show told me. Tad happily sights John Entwistle as a primary influence so BT made a great choice. The secret weapon last night though was keyboardist Ken Wilson. Able to follow the band like clockwork but still leave that introspective mark that tweaks the audiences emotions. And despite the rythmic lightness, my emotions did start to tweak a bit.The extended jamming (done well) is rarity on stages today. As guitarist Chan Kinchla played his serpentine fret work for what seemed like a non-stop three hour set, John Popper started singing about something that sounded very sad and blue.
That weather vane of feelings inside me started to spin(my date asked me if I was alright) but before the tears popped out,the band sprang back into something uplifting,a unique blend of garage blues band gospel would be the best way to describe it.
Blues Traveler guys have known each other for over half their lives plus a stalwart group of support that has been with them through everything, thus their loyalty comes through in their music. No need to fear a 'Run Around' from these keepers, you'll get a truckload for what ails you. (Though that hit song sounded fantastic live and like any good band they played it twice to make sure everyone got their fill.)
But on a personal note it was being indoctrinated at The Fillmore that made my evening so perfect. Years go by and the vintage posters and incredible photos that encrust the walls like gems just get better and better. John Popper took time out during the set on more than one occasion to thank the late Bill Graham for creating such a gloriously storied venue.