Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014



October 30, 2014

“Nobody picks on a strong man.” So maybe I was just asking for it.   I have always been ashamed of my body, even though I was skinny, I still had a tummy sticking out.  Even as a child, I can’t stand seeing myself without a shirt.  I notice that from my waist up, right to the chin area is my weakest part of the body - both aesthetically as well as in strength.  Everyday when I was in both junior and in High School, I faced shame on a daily basis, when I had to take a shower with the other boys.   The first thing I noticed is how physically strong my fellow male students were.  They ran faster, picked up things heavier without a thought, as well as being able to do push and pull-up’s without even thinking about it.  I, on the other hand, had to struggle doing even one push-up.  I remember the gym teacher and the other kids in my class, laughing at me almost on a regular basis.   My only escape was Saturday and Sunday, where I didn’t have to go to school.

One day I went to the beach in Venice, with a girl I really liked.  It was in the afternoon and the sun was really hot.  My skin is white, and usually I don’t spend any time in the outdoors, and of course my body shows the lack of natural sunlight as well as physical work.  My daily exercise is picking up a book and making a frown if I don’t like what I was reading.  On the other hand, my date that afternoon is or was a true beauty.  What now comes to mind is 37-23-38, which pretty much describes my interest in her at the time.  When we got to the beach, she was wearing a light plaid cotton dress.  As I set the blanket down on the sand, I took my pants off, which exposed my baggy swimming trunks.  She took off her dress, and she was wearing black bikini top and bottom.  I instantly felt an erection and I made sure to be laying on my stomach as fast as possible.  I fully don’t understand how one can avoid the inherent aspect of seeing women on the beach and not having, or controlling one’s erection.  As I was talking with her, I noticed all of a sudden my side of the blanket became shaded.  Obviously there was an object that made an appearance, and that object was blocking the direct sunlight.  As I looked up, I noticed a young man, very well-built and wearing black speedos, looking directly at her.   He then looked straight at me as he talked to my date.   He told her that he had a blanket and shade as well as a cooler of beer, and would she like to join him.  She said yes, and as I was trying to get up from my position, he took his foot and knocked me down. In fact, he kept his foot on my back.  She laughed, and got up, took her dress and went towards him.  He eventually removed his foot, but not before he kicked sand in my face.  “See ya later young man, ” he laughed.  In fact, both of them were laughing at me.

I made an effort to act cool, but I was so hurt.  But I didn’t leave right away, I stayed on my blanket like nothing happened.  When I got back later that afternoon, I became furious.  I kicked a chair across the room, and I even got madder, knowing how brave I am with resect to wooden objects.  It was at that moment that I noticed an ad in the back of a special DC comic book edition of “Bane, ” that ironically enough was on the chair that I just knocked over.  I looked at it closely, and I was taken by the image of a man with muscles, in conjunction with an image of a male who was skinny and pathetic looking.   The phrase “How Joe’s Body Brought Him Fame Instead of Shame” caused an emotional turn-around for me.  I had a stamp and $30 and mailed it to the address that was located in the ad.



I received a booklet and it explained that I didn’t need weights, but just exercise on a daily basis, and only for fifteen minutes per day. “15 minutes a day!  Give me just this and I’ll prove I can make you a new man.” The schedule appealed to me as well.   The author, Charles Atlas, mentioned he got inspired when he was at the zoo, and he saw a lion in the cage stretching.  He wrote: “Does this old gentleman (the lion) have any barbells, any exercisers? … And it came over me,… He’s been pitting one muscle against another! ”



Atlas’ “Dynamic Tension” program consists of twelve lessons and one final perpetual lesson.  Each lesson is fully illustrated with Atlas doing the exercise.   I did this for two weeks and already I saw some improvement.  About two weeks after the improvement, I went back to the beach, and I saw my “ex” as well as the guy who kicked sand in my face.  As I walked by his ‘area, ” I on purpose walked on his stomach.  He got up quickly, and glared at me.  I told him, “Oh I’m sorry, but you were laying down and I needed to go in that direction.” He said I could have easily went around him and his blanket. I said “yes, but I really didn’t want to do that, and I see no reason why I have to go “around” your blanket or your presence.” I then spitted in his eye, and told him to get a clearer view of me.  I then flexed my muscles in front of him, and made sure he saw my ass as well.  He backed down, and I felt great when he looked towards his feet, avoiding eye contact with me.  And she just smiled at me, with approving eyes.  I then walked on their blanket and kept going, towards the ocean.  I felt so strong, at that time, I wanted to jump into the ocean and swim to Japan.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29, 2014



October 29, 2014

There were many films shown on my flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles. I have a hard time sleeping, so instead I treat myself to a film orgy of sorts.  The flight has interesting film programming.  For instance, they had a tribute to Eddie Constantine, which I think was kind of obscure but really great at the same time.  I of course have seen “Alphaville,” but people forget his other films, such as “La môme vert-de-gris” and “Ça va harder.” It is a nine-hour flight, so I could watch those two films, but also they had the oddest programming ever on a plane: a Joseph Goebbels film retrospective.  They screened “The Eternal Jew” and “Jud Süß” (“Süss the Jew”) both of course being highly controversial films - and especially showing them in-flight.   The other odd film they showed was just footage of Akiko Kojima winning the Miss Universe crown in 1959.  That event took place in Long Beach, California.  A city that is not far off from my home in Los Angeles.



There was an uproar at the time, because many didn’t believe Kojima had measurements of 37-23-38 inches (94-58-96cm).  Some were convinced Kojima had undergone breast surgery, but she strongly denied taking such actions to win the Miss Universe contest.  She was also the first woman from Asia to win such a prize in the Miss Universe pageant.  The combination of watching the films and not being able to sleep had a profound effect on me.  Especially watching such a hateful film like “Süss the Jew.” Nevertheless I find myself back in Los Angeles, feeling woozy and not sure where my culture is heading.



La môme vert-de-gris” was the first Eddie Constantine film, that also featured a character that he was famous for, by the name of Lemmy Caution. It is said that his character always approached a beautiful woman with a glass of whisky in one hand and a cigarette in the other.   I had thought of myself in that mold, while dreaming away in front of my small screen on someone’s backseat.  In the end of the flight, I was for sure taken by Eddie’s approach to the detective life, but felt quite alienated by the Goebbels’ retrospective.  Nevertheless I find myself back in Los Angeles, feeling woozy and not sure where my culture is heading towards.  Perhaps it marks the end of one era, and the start of another.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pacific Standard Time starting October 30, 2014 (with post number 302)


Quick note. I'm leaving Tokyo and be in Los Angeles tomorrow. That means post number 302 will be up Pacific Standard Time (PST) around 11:00 A.M. and in the East 2:00, and in Asia 16 hours later. I want to thank everyone in Tokyo for making me feel like this is my real home. From the future, I go back to the drought, the harsh sunlight, and uncertain future. In other words, traveling back to the past. arigato Shimada and Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan  - Tosh Berman.

October 28, 2014



October 28, 2014

Before I start writing I have a slightly ambiguous feeling: happiness is a special excitement because unhappiness is always possible a moment later.” I pick up the pen, knowing I’m going to go down in that rabbit’s hole and god knows how I’ll get out of here.  Dead.   I’ll open my eyes and find myself in Soho London, and I’m sitting in a private member’s drinking club called “The Colony Room, ” not far from Francis Bacon’s table.  I have always been fearful about approaching his table, because that gentleman has a tongue.  A tongue that can strip the varnish off my soul, and therefore I would stand there naked.  Within seconds, he will know that I’m a fraud.   Most people I know would take a lifetime to sniff out my charlatan soul - but Francis, can smell deceit as if he was dining in a Bank of America board meeting.  Here in The Colony Room, I for sure stand out, compared to the regular clientele.  



The music they play here is mostly The Shadows, and I for one, always enjoy a good foot-tapper without hearing someone singing.  I briefly met Hank Marvin (the lead guitarist for The Shadows) here, and it seems he was friendly with Francis, but then again, a lot of people were… except me.  I'm a member of this drinking club, due not to money, but influence.  I bring customers who will eventually become long-term (financial) members of this club.  That, and that alone is the only reason why Francis Bacon will tolerate me.  As a favor to the master of the club, Muriel Belcher, Bacon kept his claws off my flesh and ego - but I can see through his eyes, to his very soul, that he would like to insult me in public.  I wear my vulnerability as one wears a coat in the winter season.  I don’t want to take it off for fear of being criticised by the master.  



Another lad who comes by here is Wayne Fontana, who had a band called The Mindbenders, and they had a hit “Game of Love.” Of all the citizens who land here, Wayne is the one I can chat with, and not being worried about my self.   Perhaps because he was even lower than me, in Bacon’s eyes.  Wayne tends to a nut job.  He once filed bankruptcy and somehow got himself arrested for pouring gasoline in a bailiff’s car, while the bailiff was still in his vehicle.  He had to serve some time in a nuthouse, but now it seems everything is OK.   Wayne is a reader, and he is aware of my books - especially the one I wrote on Sparks.   I think he is very interested in the thought that maybe I would be willing to write a book about him and his music career.  Which is so far from my interest at this point, but I never told him that.  I find it best that when one wants something from you, your duty is to be able to delay it as long as possible.  The best technique is not to say no, and allow a strong “maybe.” That way, they won’t give up on you, thinking you will come through in some fashion.  He just released a record, as single I think, called “Pamela Pamela.” I don’t like it. In fact no one in the club here likes it.  But I just acknowledge that he has that record, and I never comment on it. 



“Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.” I travel these parts of Soho, well, mostly at The Colony Room, and I know I need to keep my own time, my own world, and not claim this world for myself, because it is really not mine.  “If you asked me who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name.  For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be. ”




At that minute I looked around the bar, and I caught Francis’ eyes, and he looks at me with no thought or emotion behind it.  I knew at that point that this will be the last time that I’ll be here in the club.  So I headed for the stairs, and before I went down, I did a quick look around, and thought to myself “Goodbye.” 



Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014



October 27, 2014

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” The world I live in, can only be bearable if you are polite to others.  Politeness should be the rule of every home and structure, where you show consideration and encouragement to others.  One can express an opinion, but only if you state it with facts and present your idea in such a manner that won’t offend the other.   One can argue for an atrocity, but be kind to those who may disagree with you.  I may disagree with you, but I will with the last breath of my life, defend your right to say what you know.  On the other hand, if you don’t “know, ” then I have the right to shove my fist down your diseased throat.

“A gentleman does not boast about his junk.” If you are going to praise yourself, be careful in how you proceed in doing so.  One can’t take over a house with their work, because perhaps one’s work is not worth the space that is taken.  As one knows, space is limited.  We have to respect the limitations of actual footage and space in a room, as well as having a healthy respect for limits.  If one goes beyond the limit, then that can be regarded as bad manners.    In that case, I have the right to pour gasoline over your work, and throw in a match as one leaves that space.



“In popular houses where visitors like to go again and again, there is always a happy combination of some attention on the part of the hostess and the perfect freedom of the guests to occupy their time as they choose.” When I go to your home, as a guest, I expect politeness and kindness.  In return, I won’t slash your couch with a blade, or throw paint on the walls.  Nor will I tie up and torture your children.  I won’t rape your wife, or take the dog for a walk in the park, and only return with a leash.  I promise to be considerate when you show your pride in your work.  I won’t demean you and your time that you spent on making that piece of shit.

“The letter we all love to receive is one that carries so much of the writer’s personality that she seems to be sitting beside us, looking at us directly and talking just as she really would, could she have come on a magic carpet, instead of sending her proxy in ink-made characters on mere paper.” This I promise you my dear talentless friend, I’ll write about your failures as if it's honey directly from a bee.  This letter is unsigned, but you know who it is from.  Even though you’ll never admit it, because you can’t understand how one can hate so much, yet get so much pleasure from it. I’m a happy man, and I’m happy because you’re a total idiot.  Your failure is my whip cream on top of a chocolate milk shake.



“Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one another, you have etiquette.” And that is why I choose to destroy you. Inch-by-inch, and then yard-by-yard. I’ll make sure that you started off with nothing, given something, and then taken away - which will leave you with nothing.  I want to give you the taste of the greatest gratification, so I can remove that pleasure and watch you suffer.  You’re such a child.  Not the well-behaved intelligent sweet beautiful child, but totally the opposite.  You smell of and breed shit.  My version of porn is watching you approach failure again and again, and enjoying your frustration, fears and your need for therapy.   But the cherry on the top is when you even fail your therapy session.  The doctor gave up on you.  Your dog gave up on you.  Your worthlessness is my perfume.  My pleasure is your depression.  The angels on your shoulder are not what you think they are. When you walk, you walk alone.

Remember “we are making war for civilization, are we not? Very well, we are. Therefore, we eat in a civilized way.” and therefore you’ll never eat at our table.  Bye-bye my little useless piece of dishonorable shit.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 26, 2014



October 26, 2014

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” I knew if I waited, I’ll lose the opportunity.   The one thing I can’t afford right now is to lose that opportunity.  I see there was a beautiful girl on the street, and she’s wearing a short skirt, where you can see the top of her stockings and the bare thigh before the dress trim.  Some think that the most erotic woman is a naked one, but for me that one part of the leg being shown is truly the essence of eros.  The sweet science is not a boxing match, but the sight of such desire as one roams the streets of Shinjuku looking for an inexpensive meal.  And I can’t find the right restaurant, mostly due to my lack of Japanese, but clearly I can find my desire, because I will it to be done.   I just have to keep in mind that “every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” So I went up to her to strike up a conversation.



When I approached her, she was reading her cell phone.  I said “excuse me, I’m not from here, and I am looking for a place to have dinner.”  I said this in English, because one, I wanted to let her know that I’m of course a foreigner and was desperately looking for a place to eat, and two, not knowing if she speaks English or not, I would know right away by my direct question.  She answered me directly “what kind of food do you like.” I told her anything Japanese, but also it was the one type of food I know nothing about.   I suffer extreme shyness, but when I approach someone from another part of the world, or culture, I feel brave.  “Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind’s eye, and you will be drawn toward it.” With that helpful quote in mind, I continued: “If you have the time, can you lead me to a place and help me with the menu.” She said yes.  That was a surprise, and even though I first saw her as an object of my sexual needs, she suddenly became someone else.  A nice person.  A nice smiling person.  One of the things I like about Japanese people is that they don’t smile, unless they feel like smiling.  In the United States, especially Los Angeles, people smile at you all the time, even if they hate you.  But here in Japan, they don’t smile automatically, so once you do get the smile on their faces, you know it's genuine.



She started walking and I followed.  The streets were so crowded, and the neon was so bright, that the combination could make me lose her in the crowd. Nevertheless, being behind her, I focused my eyes on her thighs so not to lose her.  I think of the Jean Cocteau film “Orpheus” where the poet follows death through a maze.  It seemed that everyone was moving in slow motion, but she and I were moving in a regular fashion almost against the slow moving crowd.  For a moment, I was scared.  I didn’t know her, and she doesn’t know me. Yet here I’m following her to a destination knowing nothing of.  “We refuse to believe that which we don’t understand. ”



“When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity - regardless of what others may do - you are destined for greatness.” I just had to trust her, and think of her as a nice person, who by chance, also has lovely thighs.   But yes, when I walk through this sleepy city, I need to be open to new things, new possibilities, and in the night, everything looks so pretty.  I’m so tired to walk alone, and Shinjuku looks so pretty when you’re with someone.   She turns left to an alley, and I follow her up to a small staircase…

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 25, 2014



October 25, 2014

I was wandering around Iidabashi in Tokyo when I came upon a small movie theater.  They were showing “La Roue, ” which is a French silent film made in 1923.  It appears that they only show silent films in this theater, and the auditorium fits only six or seven people. I was the sole customer there.  You can hear the projector behind you, and as for sound, the projectionist actually hums various melodies through an ancient sound system in the theater.   The film is very long.  I lost count, but I think it lasted over nine hours, and I went there in the afternoon, and came out in the very late evening.  Yet, I couldn’t remove myself from my seat. I was struck by how odd it was to see this film here in Iidabashi, off a popular street, Kagurazaka-dori, that seems to lead to a Shinto shrine.



As I sat there, and losing track of time (and space) I was amazed with myself in that I could make a narrative out of this picture. The titles were all in French, a language that I don’t speak or read, and even that was odd since I was in Tokyo.   I was drawn here, due that it started to rain, and I wasn’t wearing proper clothing.  So for about ¥1000, I thought it was worth it, just to avoid the weather.  What appeared in front of my eyes changed my life forever.



It wasn’t the film itself, but more of my mental state, which to be honest, is not so good.  I’m on a track that is losing ground quickly. In fact, I even considered suicide.   But I haven’t the foggiest idea how one does that.  That point when you want to do it, yet I lack the proper skills in completing such a drastic act.  I even wrote a suicide note, and after finished writing it, I re-read it, and it made me laugh hysterically.  So, even that, I don’t really have the talent for the ‘death’ angle.   Iidabashi is a great neighborhood to wander, due to the shops and restaurants.   So many happy people here, maybe due that it’s Halloween and some are dressed in their favorite manga character.  My costume and role is someone in misery, but no one could tell my outfit whatsoever.  So yes, going into a movie theater with only that in my thoughts, send me to a world not of my making, but almost like Buster Keaton in “Sherlock Junior” I’m finding myself in the oddest landscapes, here in Tokyo.



After exiting the movie theater, I needed some food.  But no place was open. It was around 3 in the morning.  The subways and the JR train was closed down, so I walked towards the camel that runs through the area.  It is as at that point I thought I could throw myself into the water. I don’t swim, so I thought the combination of my lack of skills and nature itself will be perfectly compatible with each other.  Of course, I walked among the camel by practically falling down the hill to get there.   My initial thought, do I need stones to fill my pockets so I would be dragged down to the bottom of the canal?  I took my shoes off, and dipped my big toe in the water. It was cold!   Then I had the thought in my head of having my clothes wet, and how uncomfortable that would be as I’m drowning in the canal.  So I took my clothes off, and since I was in Tokyo, I decided to fold the clothing up very neatly.   There were no rocks around, just pavement.  Nevertheless I walked up to the canal and dived in. When I did that, I hit my head on the bottom, and immediately got up on my feet.  The water was just three feet.  It was cold as … I was about say hell, but that doesn’t seem appropriate for this sentence.   I got out, and put my clothes back on, and began to walk back to the movie theater.



The funny thing is I couldn’t find the theater.  It was gone! Then I started wondering if I somehow made this up in my sick mind.  More likely I couldn’t find it due to the combination of my despair and the winding streets of Iidabashi.  The amusing thing, at that very moment, I felt my life as being complete, and it didn’t matter if I killed myself or not.  What mattered to me is to find the film “La Roue” and somehow enter that world again.  But one can never go back home or their dream state.  We live only once, and the art of living is capturing that moment for one to come back to.   I did that, and now I can go on.

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24, 2014



October 24, 2014

I often dream of having an identical twin brother.  As a child I used to play in front of a full-length mirror and pretended that the image was my twin.  It wasn’t out of loneliness, but more fascinated with my image being reproduced, and therefore a double image of me.   And now as an adult, I still have the same fascination with my image - especially when I walk by a mirror or a reflection off a store window.  I never told anyone this, because this type of behavior is usually not looked upon as something healthy.  Nevertheless it is something important to me at the very core of my being.   The only twins I have ever met were two beautiful women, who often appear in numerous stage shows in Los Angeles and beyond.  I once showed up at a meet-and-greet, at a comic book store, where they were promoting a video they made.  I approached one believing it was the one that I knew quite well, but I was wrong, it was her sister.  She caught my mistake and told me that "you got the wrong girl here."  She was sweet about it, but I was embarrassed about my mistake. For some reason, I wanted to be above of such a common error, but I failed miserably.

I was bullied a lot of times in school, both in elementary and high school, and I try to imagine my twin brother there, fighting off the goons and saving me from disgrace, and knowing that he looked like me, I could feel stronger.   This of course was a fantasy, but as the punches and hair-pulling happened, I imagine this throughout my beating.  It made me feel better, and the thought of that image, I never cried.  No matter how hard they hit me, or yelled insults.   With my imagination, I felt stronger than them.  It is probably why I’m a writer.  It is probably why I’m obsessed with the Kray twins.



Reginald and Ronald were from East London, and they started off as amateur boxers, and I have read that they often boxed against each other.  One can wonder if when they threw a punch onto the other, were they thinking they are brothers, or was it a punch toward their self-image.  I can imagine throwing a punch at the mirror image of me, but I would just end up with a cut-up bloody hand.   But here, you are infecting pain on one another.  It must have been an intense boxing moment or two.  Later on, they became the twin kings of London’s crime world.   It has been reported that they could communicate without speaking to each other.   Whatever this is quite true or not, it seemed to cause fear among their henchmen as well as their enemies.



Around the same time, Paul and Barry Ryan were making an appearance in the music world.  Paul wrote the songs and him and Barry performed them.  To my ears they sound like a weaker version of The Walker Brothers, but nevertheless seeing Barry and Paul on the same stage or even in photographs, unnerved me.  I think due to the fantasy I had to become a singer.  I couldn’t carry a tune if my (or your) life depended on it.  But if I was a singer, I of course would want to have an identical twin brother on the stage with me.   To look at each other while singing appears to be heaven.  Nevertheless, I’m torn between the two twin brothers.  I imagine that the Krays met the Barry twins, but I just wonder what their reaction would be like?   They could go out socially, with Ronnie ganging up with Barry, and Paul can be with Reg.  That, I think, would cause a spontaneous disturbance whenever they enter a nightclub or restaurant.  But the truth in the matter, is that if I had a choice, I would prefer the Krays.



When I’m alone, I feel powerless.   Yet, with an identical image with me, floating around yours truly, can be enticing and I imagine one would feel more powerful.  The Krays are all about power.  It’s not money or even a life of riches, but more of a show, or a theater performance.   The Krays, even though they’re criminals, they are more of a performer than say the Ryan boys.  They had a good understanding of “theater, ” and what it means to the people outside and inside their social circle.  The fact that both of them were reportedly brutal, adds a certain amount of shine to their image.   So being alone, bullied, and often feeling stupid. The Krays are immensely important to me.   Reg, Tosh, and Ron having a night out.

TOSH BERMAN reads and discusses his book of poetry THE PLUM IN MR BLUM'S PUDDING, with special guest RUTH BERNSTEIN

TOSH BERMAN reads and discusses his book of poetry THE PLUM IN MR BLUM'S PUDDING, with special guest RUTH BERNSTEIN

The Plum in Mr Blum's Pudding (Penny Ante Editions)
“My hours of leisure I spent in reading the best authors, ancient and modern, being always provided with a good number of books; and when I was ashore, in observing the manners and dispositions of the people, as well as learning their language; wherein I had a great facility, by the strength of my memory.”

- Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels


The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding is Los Angeles native Tosh Berman’s first printed collection of poetry. In 1989, Berman left the United States behind, moving to Japan after learning his wife's (artist Lun*na Menoh) mother was ill in Kitakyushu. The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding was penned while both rapt and lost by this transition. Gracefully toiling between the quirky and earnest, these poems describe the liminal space of the foreigner caught between the strange and the familiar. The result is surreal and unclassifiable, a book of love poems overshadowed by isolation and underscored with curiosity and lust.

Originally published in 1990 by “Cole Swift & Sons” (Japan) as a small hardcover edition of two hundred copies, this new edition acts to preserve this work and features an introduction by art critic and curator Kristine McKenna and an afterword by Ruth Bernstein.

Tosh Berman is a publisher and writer. His press, TamTam Books, has published works by Boris Vian, Guy Debord, Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Mesrine, artist Lun*na Menoh, and Ron Mael & Russell Mael (Sparks). He is the author of Sparks-tastic: 21 Nights with Sparks in London. As the son of artist Wallace Berman, Tosh has delivered talks and various essays toward furthering his late father’s artistic legacy including his influential folio series, Semina (1955–1964). He resides in Los Angeles.
Ruth Bernstein lives in Highland Park where she writes postcards and collects books.
Event date: 
Friday, November 21, 2014 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los AngelesCA 90027

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014




October 23, 2014

When I was living in London in the late 1970s, I was invited to go to an “adult” party at Diana Dors house.  I haven’t the foggiest idea what “adult” party meant in Diana’s house, but of course, I was a very curious young man at the time.  I knew of her slightly, mostly that she was the British version of Jayne Mansfield, and that she made an album called “Swinging Dors, ” which at the time, I never heard.  Oddly enough, her arranger Wally Stott, also arranged the classic Scott Walker recordings of the 1960s.



While in London at that time, I went to a pub called “The Blind Begger” on Whitechappel Road. I didn’t know at the time, but the pub is a well known hangout for gangsters in the East London area. Ironically enough, it was also the original site which the Salvation Army started.   I went in by myself to have a quiet pint of Brown Ale, when I was approached by a gentleman by the name of Terry Denton, who started a conversation with me.  He was a bit tight (drunk) but mentioned that he was going to a party at Diana Dors house and he got a special invitation specifically from her.  He was told by her that he could bring another gentleman to the house that night.  Normally I would say no, but for some odd reason I was intrigued, and decided to take up his kind invitation.  I mentioned that I don’t know anyone in that world, and would it be still ok if I came with him to the party.  He said “no problem.” So off we went, and we found a taxi in the late night to take us to Berkshire, just outside of London.  



Once we arrived, I was surprised regarding the house, not knowing what to expect once I got there. From the outside, it looked like a quaint, but decent sized home.  Terry let himself in and I stood behind him.  He said to follow him in, and off I went into what I think was the living room.  There were approximately 30 people there, with maybe more than half, young girls.  They all look like starlets of some sort, but I wasn’t clear if they were in the entertainment world, or even woman who are professionals in the party world.  Terry immediately introduces me to a pair of sharp suited gentlemen, who strongly resembled each other.  One was called Ron, and the other I think, his name was Reg, or something like that.  I was later told by Terry that they are twin brothers.  Eventually I was introduced to Diana Dors herself. She was full-figured, had a beautiful face, although at the time, she looked well-lived, if you get my drift.



She threw her arms around me, and mentioned if I needed anything that I should help myself to whatever is out there.  The way she said that to me, I wasn’t sure if she was talking about drinks, or what look like drugs being passed around.  Or perhaps it was the woman there!   Terry took me by the arm to introduce me to a pretty brunette, whose name I can’t remember now.   When I shook her hand, Terry told her that “Tosh here is an American and he’s producing a film in London.” I gave a glance towards him, but he didn’t return the “look” back to me.  What I remember was her accent was really strong.  I could only make out every third for the fourth word from her lipsticked mouth.



Nevertheless I was really communicating with her, and Diana came from behind, and took both of our hands, and directed us to another room in the house.  Once there, I realized we were in a bedroom and there was a couple going at it like stranded dogs in a dog park.  I didn’t know what was happening… well I did.  But at the same time I didn’t. The couple got out of the bed, and went towards a full length mirror and he started fucking her against the mirror.   Meanwhile, my heavily accented lass took me by the side of the bed, where she sat down and started to unzip my pants.  She began to serve me a service, that I didn’t expect would happen three hours ago.  Afterwards after we finished, I lost her in the crowd at the party, and noticed another room where I can hear a film projector going. I went in, and it was Diana, Terry, and the twin brothers watching hard core porn film.  I realized that the setting of this film was the bedroom that I just left.  Obviously she had a camera hooked up, and more likely filmed me at the peak of my or “our” adventure.



I found myself back in my flat, in sort of a dazed state.  Terry was kind enough to organize a ride back to London with the twins.  They were polite, but I felt I shouldn’t say too much in their presence.  I also felt that I witnessed something that shouldn’t be repeated or reported in a public forum.   So let’s leave it at that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014



October 22, 2014

The love of my life is Boise.   I always felt nervous coming out in such a fashion, and then allowing myself to care about a man who in some circles, is not quite the perfect mate for an older man like me.  How much I must take stock in this when he makes comments like “Tosh is the greatest force for evil that has appeared in the World during the last 350 years.” Really?



What did I do to this poor boy?  I gave him some luxury necessaries, and most important, culture.   I can’t believe I spent seven years with him, and now I’m in ruin, and he has moved on to a marriage, like I was an experiment of some sort.  He’s the love that dare not speak its name.    I made copies of the letters I sent to him.  Those were better days, or were they?   I have consistently been at the entrance of happiness, but never actually went through the swinging doors. I have been foolish with my money, in fact “I fear I must leave; no money, no credit, and a heart of lead.”



I recently wrote to him, begging him to take me back.  Why I do this, I haven’t the foggiest idea.  Sometimes I wonder if I really loved or in love with him.  I think I like the idea of me falling in love with him.  That’s the big difference.  There were tell-tale signs that this wasn’t meant to be, from the very beginning.  Yet, I ignored all the warning signs, and jumped into the fire with both feet, and wearing gasoline as an overcoat to protect me from the coldness that’s life.



Not long ago, I saw him from a distance, and he has changed.  What was youthful, and looking at the world in such a bright light, now, his features are turning downward, like he doesn’t want to be recognized as the beautiful man that he once was.  Even that, I would take him back.  I wish I could understand the nature of love, and what nature has done to me.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014


October 21, 2014

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, and he blew up my world.  I had dreams every night for a whole year of obtaining the Nobel Prize for literature, and then… I didn’t get it.   I brought this up before, but I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has disturbed me.  I planned around my life on obtaining the prize, and the way I see it I should have won.   Day-after-day, I put words on a blank page, for the purpose of not entertaining you dear readers, but to convey to the judges of the Nobel Academy my importance to my field of interest - which of course is (or was) literature.  But now, and since I missed out on the award, I’m thinking of quitting literature and becoming a criminal.  And no, not a literary outlaw type of criminal, but a true one.  I will now devote myself to one purpose and that one purpose will be destruction. If I can’t build up my world, then I’ll tear everyone else’s pathetic dreams down.  If for not anything else, at least we will be placed on the same eye-to-eye level.


As Alfred once said “Home is where I work, and I work everywhere.” I’m needing to get to follow that advice to the “T” and we’re not talking about Texas. Whenever something goes boom in the night, I’m the face behind the t-made disaster, even if you can’t see my beautiful face among the smoke.  “Justice is to be found only in imagination.” Well, baby, I got a big head full of imagination!



The only one is stopping me from doing what I have to do is Kogoro Akechi, who is considered to be the greatest detective in Japan, and perhaps the world.  He is a master of disguises, so I’m not sure who is around me.  He can even do gender switches. One moment you’re in bed with a beautiful woman, and you wake up in the morning with a male cop.  I get the impression that I’m being followed.  Especially when I’m walking around Shinjuku.  I often look at a window display and through the reflection, I see a presence looking at me, and when I turn around, he’s gone. This happens a lot.  I once received a letter from Akechi, mentioning that he was a fan of my writing. Even that, I suspect he is just buttering me up so he can nail me in the end.  I need to ensure the end doesn’t happen.



When I  step in a room, I make sure the keyhole is covered up.  He’s not into technology.  He likes to get his information from the old-fashioned way by looking through windows, keyholes, and occasionally reading one’s lips from a distance.  He’s a very trained individual.  Sort of like the shoe repair man, or plumber, he knows his trade well.  Without a doubt, he’s an enemy.  But an enemy I can totally respect.  He also has manners.  Unlike Alfred Nobel, who never delivers his promise.



Akechi and I share similar musical tastes.  I have been told through my record store connection that he has been purchasing albums by Don Byas, and I’m not sure if he is doing that to pick up more clues about yours truly, or he has a genuine love for Byas’ music.  I did see him once at a Cramps show.  Both of us were located in the front of the pit, right in front of Lux Interior, and we both got red wine spilled on us.  Lux had the bottle in his mouth, and he spitted out the bottle as well as the wine. Both of us were wearing white suits, and since we were dressed a like, we also had the same splatter of wine stains as well.

To be terrorized, yet committing terrorism, is basically my lifestyle now. I will wander the landscape, and yet, I must keep my eyes open for Kogoro Akechi, because like Bob Ford shooting Jesse James, I must be vigilant and on guard at all times.


Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014



October 20, 2014

The films I make are easily misunderstood.  “I move from realism to fantasy without the spectator ever noticing.” I drive a 1967 Rambler through the streets of Shimokitazawa, looking for landscapes to use for my films.  So far, I have made three movies, and all of them have been pretty much accepted by the film goer.  On the other hand, I don’t really care if they like them or not.  I know shit. I just want to have fun, you know. “I like to take risks. My films never follow the current trend.” Perhaps that is the reason why I lost my audience.



My current film project is to do a film based on Arthur Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell,” starring the musician Ivo Pogorelić.  It was a matter of entering Hell itself to get funding for the film, but due to the success of “Le Samourai,” I found backers from a small theater group in Shimokitazawa, who want to expand their theater into the cinema world.  Besides having a great looking star, Ivo is also going to supply the soundtrack, which will be mostly music by Chopin.  The producers (the theater people) want to change the title to “Unhappiness Was My God.” To me, it sounds a touch pretentious, mostly due that I like crime films, with their short to the point titles.  Some say poetry is cinema, but I find it to be more suitable for the pulp crime narrative.  So in my script I have changed Rimbaud’s poetic prose into hard-boiled dialogue. It should work, especially coming from Ivo’s mouth.

The beauty of this project is the fact that it will be my last film.  One reason why I’m attached to “A Season in Hell” is because it was Rimbaud’s last book.  Doing art is a bit like a slow death.  I can stall the mortal moment when the end comes, by doing more work, but I think having a small amount of films under my name, will serve my purpose, artistically and financially in the long (short) run.  “By being too sensitive I have wasted my life.” On the other hand, my “artistic” life is doing fine.  The more I personally suffer, the greater my work becomes.  It’s a double-edged sword, but I rather have good work than happiness anyway.



“In the morning I had a look so lost, a face so dead, that perhaps those whom I met did not see me.” It is hard to drive my Rambler on the streets of Shimokitazawa, due to the smallness of the roads here, which are more like alleys that lead to nowhere and one comes back to a full circle.   “A Season in Hell” (my version) is based on driving around here, and trying to look for a parking spot.  I can never find one, so I just continue to drive around and around. Ivo is going to play the driver as he recites key phrases from the Rimbaud book.  He will dress like a French gangster, and I’m also thinking of adding some prose from a David Goodis novel as well.  The juxtaposition of Rimbaud and Goodis’ text together can cause a certain amount of tension that will be good for the film.



I will mostly be shooting in the night, because I feel the material doesn’t work in the daylight.  I’m also putting this in my contract, that the film must be shown only at nighttime.  Even if the theater is dark, I want people to leave the theater and find darkness outside instead of daylight.  It’s important that everything works in unison.  My last film must be perfect.   There is no second act in a European’s life.  Once the film is finished, viewers can actually see my blood on the screen.  Due that it takes everything I have to make a film like “Unhappiness Was My God.” The only high I have in life is to watch the finished work, due to the fact “I never drink … wine. ”