Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

Today is January 31, and the way I see this date, it’s 31 days of failure. Since January 1, I have worked on a novel that is based on the life of actor James Franciscus who starred in the 1950’s TV show “Naked City.” I know nothing of his private life, but his face over the years stayed with me, as if it was glued into by brain. It is his face that I first think of when awake in the mornings. Mind you it is no longer a nightmare, but something about his features gives me comfort.

I’ve been formatting the narrative every day since the first. At first, I based a narration from one of the many “Naked City” episodes. Which by the way is a fantastic show. Mostly filmed on location, one sees New York City as if it was shot by Weegee. There is one episode where he shoots a criminal, but feels really bad about it. It was the first time that in his career as a cop, where he had to shoot someone. Even though it was a life and death situation, if he didn’t shoot the guy, he would have got shot. But still, he couldn’t erase the feeling of dread due to the actions of the thug as well as his response to the creep. I thought of this narrative on a regular basis and I was trying to write my own version of the story, but it always came out bland and pointless. It was at this time I wondered if I had the talents to become a writer, and actually if I had the talent to write a novel. 

The insecurity that swelled up inside me was almost too much. Once I get that nagging feeling I immediately try to make of something else. Usually I put on the vinyl copy of “Diamond Head” by Phil Manzanera who is also the guitarist for Roxy Music. From 1972 to maybe 1976, this was a band that couldn’t do wrong -either as a group or as solo artists. I always looked up to Bryan Ferry and company as a platform of excellence. But for my taste, Manzanera never let me down. He and Johnny Rotten are probably the two music figures that I admire the most. When I tried to be a visual artist, I did an oil portrait of Manzanera and Rotten sitting on a park bench in Echo Park by the man-made lake. The painting struck me as pretentious so I never finished it, which of course caused anxiety and depression. I then thought of making a statue, in sort of Robert Graham style, of both of them, standing tall and shaking hands. It would have become a commentary on the nature or relationship between prog/glam and punk rock. But this as well, failed, due that I don’t have any talent in making sculptures.

My novel I’m writing is slowly killing me. It looks as though I am so focused on Franciscus for no real reason. Now I have the fear that readers will think i 'm putting this character in for no reason, and perhaps they’re right. Writers make terrible decisions, and readers are always right. They can smell a phony writer or artist a mile away.

What makes this current ‘failure’ the worst, is that I left my job of 25 years to write this novel. I reckoned that if I did something so drastic as to cut my line to economic security, it will somehow make me a better writer, or in a sense to put out or shut up. Now I feel that the public will expect me to shut up.

I pretty much stay in the house, just to focus on the writing, but at times I feel I need to go out and sort of see the world in a fresh light. I took the 92 bus to Spring Street, and hung out at The Last Bookstore. I wanted to buy some records there, but regardless of the fact that the prices were inexpensive, I felt I shouldn’t spend any money right now. I left the store and headed towards Broadway, where I come upon a bar/restaurant called Les Noces du Figaro. It was happy hour, and I thought. Wow I need a glass of wine. I went in, and there were not that many people there, which is the way I like a bar. I ordered a glass of wine, which came to $4. For whatever reason, I thought that this was the best $4 investment I made since the first of this month.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fascinating Article/Essay on Boris Vian's "I Spit On Your Graves"

Jacob Mikanowski wrote a fascinating essay/article on Boris Vian's (Vernon Sullivan) "I Spit On Your Graves and literature that deals with the duality of identity.   Read it here:

A Great Review of Boris Vian's "Red Grass"
A great review of Boris Vian's magnificent "Red Grass" published by TamTam Books. Translated by Paul Knobloch and designed by Mark Holley

January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014

There is at the very least a 40 years difference between us in our age. Yet Justin Bieber and I are tight pals.  We met because I heard through various circles that he was looking for a lyricist, and I’ve been working on songs for the last 30 years or so.  People think it’s an odd partnership, but history proves this wrong, specifically when you think of the French pop songwriter Jacques Dutronc and his much older lyricist Jacques Lanzmann.  It’s a good combination to have youth, but with the words coming from an older guy.  

Time-to-time, Justin and I hang out, just for inspiration, and also to share our common love for the good life.  What the both of us share, besides making art, is having a good time.  Whenever I go to his pad in “The Oaks” which is a gated community in Calabasas, we like to chill by the swimming pool, and then invite some of his friends over the house to party a bit.  The evening starts by watching films.  Justin is a bit of a film buff and he has a great admiration for films made by Robert Bresson. 

 “Pickpocket” seems to be his favorite Bresson film, and we often had gone to shopping centers such as the Beverly Center, ,  approximately around dusk, and we love to attract a crowd around him, where we, to our best ability, try to pickpocket the fans that surround him.  Justin actually has excellent hand coordination and while he talks to a fan, and here, the important part of the technique, starring directly in her eyes, while at the same time his fingers go over her purse and lifts stuff out of the bag.  I would usually be directly behind him, and just pick up the goods by making my coat pocket accessible to him for dropping off her goods. 

Doing this was a complete turn-on for us, and I think got our juices going for songwriting sessions.   For a while now, I have worked on a song with Justin called “Stealing Your Love Away.” Due to our various backgrounds, it is a tough song to write.  I’ve been in and out of love so many times in my life, and Justin only had one real love that didn’t turn out terrific.  I believe her name was Selena, and man was she a looker and a half!  

Justin used to show me some footage off his I-Phone, but just a quick glance.  Man what a tease!   Usually she was posing either naked or half-naked, and I have to admit it was a turn-on of sorts.  That in the nutshell is the beauty of our relationship.  We can share intimate items that are only between us.  Justin is really a gorgeous guy.  

We often are out driving, without a purpose or plan.  For instance, all of a sudden he wants to get in a car and go.  Go where?  Who gives a shit, just go man!  We usually drive to a remote area, mostly in the countryside, which is the beauty of living in Southern California.  One never is a long way from the ocean or the forest.   I get in the passenger side (I don’t drive) and with Justin behind the wheel it is a dance in motion.  There is something so beautiful with Justin’s face when it is matched with his yellow Lamborghini.  I often was of the view that I was watching myself and him in a movie.  I’m screaming for dear life, and he is laughing like an insane person.  He held his foot on the gas petal, going faster.  Eventually he turns off the headlights and all in front of us is pure darkness.  We speed towards the scenic space of nothing. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

I try to look at the everyday as a positive day, but at night I have dreams that pretty much expose my anxiety.  Claudine, who used to be my manager and eventually boss, was in the habit of being a sign of comfort and support, but that was till she arranged for me to leave my occupation that I had for the last twenty-five years or so.  

Claudine first came to the store ten years ago looking for a job, and when I saw her I prayed that she would get it.  Not due to her working habits, which at that time, I didn’t know hay from the horse if she was skilled in any fashion, but owning that she was a great beauty.  Attractive people always make the work place a more enjoyable experience, for the customer as well as for the co-worker as well.  

Right off the bat she was hired as a manager, and it seemed that she had this special knack to get along with everyone.  She was one of those who would always invite you into her back office if you have a problem or a concern.  Everyone at work loved her.  It was during this time that I started to have dreams about her.  For whatever reasons my dreams at night were anxiety driven, but if there was one person that consistently showed up, it was her, and that made everything OK.  

When you work together with someone, especially in retail you have to watch everyone’s back.  It’s very important that all on the sales floor are on the same page, which is total devotion to the customer, but also moral support to your fellow employee and boss.  Claudine was the type of person to be sensitive to her employees’ concerns.  I remember on my birthday, which to be honest, is a day of embarrassment, she got me a biography of W.C. Fields, my favorite comic actor.  I was a little bit of a film nerd, and occasionally when work was slow, I would argue the merits of Fields comedy skills against Charlie Chaplin.   A total time-waster of course, but it was one of those conversations that made the day go faster.  

By the policy of the store, each employee must have a review, where they are judged by their work, getting a raise issue, health insurance issues, and so forth.  On one level, it was sort of a joke, because the store couldn’t afford to give raises, due that the store was always in-between total disaster and just getting by.  Nevertheless, it was nice to spend time with Claudine regarding my job.  Often one feels nervous, but she had that knack to make one comfortable in such meetings.  Every meeting we had, she told me that I was doing a fantastic job, that the staff has nothing but praise for me, and I was a solid credit for the store.  Like her, I had the talent to walk into the sales floor and make everyone happy.  I was good with fellow employees and regular customers loved me.   It was super nice that she recognized my talents in this very specific field of work. 

Not the final meeting, but the one before that, I noticed an ugly doll was placed on one of her office chairs.  I asked her what it was, and she mentioned she just got it in the mail and addressed to her, and she doesn’t know what to do with it.  At a closer inspection, it seemed to be a voodoo doll.  I told her to throw it away, but she said she can’t. It was obvious that this was bothering her, and finally I said to her, “I’m going to take it with me, and I’ll take care of it.” At this point she was concerned that I will throw it in the trash.  I said I wouldn’t do that.   So as my shift ended I took the doll with me. 

On the Metro bus line 2, I was on Sunset.  The bus itself wasn’t crowded, and when no one was looking I took the doll out of my tote bag and placed it on my seat, right before I got off on Sunset and Parkman.  As I watched the bus pull away, I thought to myself that was that. 

Our relationship remained on track, but about a month before our next scheduled review, she started to send me memos concerned about my work.  They struck me as odd, because nothing has changed, with respect to how I do my job, and I was not getting any complaints from either staff or customers.  One day she called me to the back office and told me that my manager and some of the staff were upset in how I was doing some of the work.  I was shocked to hear this because normally I get along perfectly well with them, and sometimes we go out to have a drink after the store closes.  I told her this, but she said to me that they didn’t want to tell this to me because it was too awkward for them to get involved.  I felt bad about all of this, and I actually approached some of the staff as well as the shift manager in question.  When I mentioned this, she told me “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I can tell how she stated this that she wasn’t lying, she was totally clueless when I approached her. 

A few weeks later, when I had my official review with Claudine she mentioned this to me again. I told her that i talked to various staff people, and they had no problems with me at all.  She said that is not the situation, and they didn’t want to tell me face-to-face.  I didn’t believe her.  She then went on to say maybe I am not suitable for this type of work, which was unbelievable because I have been employed here for twenty-five years, and my previous review was fantastic.   When I checked out of the meeting, I knew my days were pretty much over at work.   The meeting was on a Friday, and by next Monday I resigned from the job.   It was that evening when my dreams of her became more hostile and disturbing.  Yet, I like to think changes are always for the best, so perhaps it was time for me to move on. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014

For the past year five years I have been working on a memoir, and now re-reading it, who cares? I can't imagine a reader caring, and I don't even care. The fact that I just completed 54,000 words on the day I was born is... well egotistical. To sit at my desk in front of a computer or two, for six hours a day, to just focus on only me, and how "me' is so important to..."me," is really too much. Not to sound egotistical I tried to write about people around me, that actually made "me" a better or interesting person. But after studying the facts, and looking at various photo albums, I came to the conclusion that "me" is not really that interesting.

The opening sentence to the memoir "The world changed when Tosh was born on August 25, 1954, " strikes me a bit strong. But it took me around five years, and I know this because I kept a detailed journal basically focusing on my feelings. Eventually I got to the next sentence. Once I got there, I found myself that I couldn't stop writing. Page after page came by, in a manner of an Orson Welles montage. But alas, the writing and subject was and is shit.

I stopped writing, and basically listened to a lot of Robert Wyatt records. His voice convey a comfort zone for me that no other singer can bring to me. Often I like to watch silent Ernst Lubitsch films with Wyatt as its soundtrack. It shouldn't work, but it works for me. I came to the conclusion that this memoir doesn't work as a piece of literature. But maybe as an art object or art piece?

The manuscript as of now, which again, focuses pretty much on the day I was born, runs to 104 typed pages. I decided to print out the manuscript, put each page in a decorative picture frame (can get it at the local drug store cheaply) and sign each paper. The work can only be sold separately, and I will charge $150 for each framed page. This will come to around $15,600, but I am not sure about the expenses of typing paper and the frames. Maybe it should be a tad more expensive?

The project is already a pain-in-the-neck, due that I have to go to various CVS outlets to purchase 104 picture frames. For a minute I was thinking maybe I should get custom made frames? But the work inside those frames are shit, so why purchase something more expensive for shit?

I finally gather all the cheap shitty frames, and spent a day and a half putting each page of the manuscript within these frames. I decided the best thing to do was have an exhibition at my house, so I had to remove works by Marcel Broodthaers, Jackson Pollock and Alice Neel off my walls to replace them with my crap. 

To decorate the living room where the exhibition took place, I added flower arrangements by Hiroshi Teshigahara around the room. He is my local floweriest but often a pain-in-the-ass to deal with. With him it is all about the aesthetic, and sometimes it's a bit much for me.

I didn't want to waste time with riffraff, so I put a sign on my front door that admission is $150 and with that you get a free piece of artwork from yours truly. Which of course is a page of my manuscript not that nicely framed. Nevertheless business was terrible, and now I have this inventory on my wall that reminds me consistently of my failure.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

 I met her at  Book Soup where I used to work, and she was in the poetry section looking up Decadent poets.  Of course, by now, all of them dead. Nevertheless I wanted to speak to her, but it is always an awkward period of time in trying to talk to a total stranger.  I knew a bit of poetry and actually wrote a book of poems "The Plum In Mr. Blum's Pudding."   Sadly the book is out-of-print, and Book Soup didn't have any in stock.  A perfect tool for a meeting, no?

She was holding the Zone edition of "The Decadent Reader and comparing it with another anthology "The Libertine Reader."  Both excellent by the way.   After she was studying both editions, I told her to go for the Decadent anthology.  She looked at me, and I just kept on talking.

"I was exactly at the same place, and I had to make a choice between the two books.  I chose 'Decadent Reader" and haven't regret that choice to this day."

It was the ice-breaker that I was looking for, and she commented that she was going to follow my recommendation.   I found the book that I was looking for, and ironically enough by the same publisher of the Decadent book, "Masochism," which is by Gilles Deleuze and it includes the short novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch called "Venus In Furs."

As we left the store together, I introduce myself, and that was that.  Later that evening I got a message through Facebook from Fanny, asking me if I remember her, even though it was just hours before our meeting.  "Of course."  I located her page on Facebook and requested that she become a friend.  By the next morning she accepted my request, and we have been chatting on a regular everyday level.

Fanny was always seductive, and quite playful with respect to her conversations with me online.  We never actually talked about meeting each other physically, till she brought up the subject.  She told me to go to Mohawk Bend on Sunset Blvd that evening.  The odd thing is that Fanny mentioned that she was on a date that night, but wanted me to sit as close as possible to their table.  Me being me, said "sure."

She gave me a specific time to show up, which was something crazy like 8:15 PM.  I followed her directions, and found her sitting in a small table in the back with her date.  There was an empty table in front of that table, and where I was sitting I was facing her, but behind her date's back. She told me through Facebook that I wasn't to approach her or talk to her at all.  Just basically have my dinner or drink, but stay close to the table as much as possible.  As luck had it, because it was busy that night, I found the perfect table at the perfect amount of distance from their table.

I never did anything like this before, and I had to admit to myself that I was turned on by the whole thing.  Once in a while she would acknowledge my presence with a glance here or there, but obviously her date didn't know what was happening.  She then brought out from her purse a copy of "The Decadent Reader" and showed it to her date.  At this point both of them were holding hands.  By their physical presence I had to presume that they have had intimate moments together.  I can see that I was being drawn in by her to sort of join this intimacy between them.   It made me feel uncomfortable as well as intrigued by how this evening was turning out.

After their meal, she got up with her purse to what I presume was the bathroom.   After five minutes or so, her gentleman friend also got up and sort of wandered towards the same direction.  What I noticed about ten minutes later was the waitress showing up at their now abandoned table and being visually upset.  It seemed that both left the restaurant without paying their bill.  I felt bad about the waitress, who to be honest was quite beautiful, and I offered to pay their bill.   After going back and forth on this, they accepted my money and that was that.

When I got home later that evening, I received a message from her just saying "thank you for the dinner."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Beyond Baroque Literary Art Center's Film Festival (curated by Tosh Berman)

Being a poetry/fiction mad obsessed man, I pretty much hung out at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice California.  This was in 1991/1992.  Benjamin Weissman was the program director for literary readings, and he brought incredible talent to the center.  I asked him and the Director at the time if I could show films there.  Or maybe Benjamin asked me?  Nevertheless they said 'yes,' but I had to raise funds to purchase a pair of 16mm film projectors. With a little sweat, good luck, and kindness of a few backers, we got the equipment we needed.  All minimal, but nevertheless we could project 16mm films onto to a stand up screen.  Very old school.

With the help of Lun*na Menoh, and a couple of projectionists, but mostly with Relah Eckstein, we did a show.  One of the first ideas I had was to bring Buster Keaton in a more adventuresome  light.  Famous at the time of course, but still I felt people were looking at him as just as a slapstick clown.  In my eyes he was the ultimate 20th Century man.  I decided to put him on a program with Luis Bunuel films.  It was a perfect fit.

Alice Guy-Blaché and Lois Weber were pioneering filmmakers from the teens and Twenties.  Alice Guy was a major producer who ran a film studio in France.  The films she made were charming and funny.  The American Lois Weber's films dealt with the politics of its day.  When you think of it now quite daring for her time. 

Another program focusing on the works of pioneering women filmmakers. Here I focused on Weber and Guy but also Leni Reienstahl, and got a  nasty letter for showing her on this program.  

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Very interesting double-bill of classic kid novels but versions made in the teens.  "The Wizard of Oz " was actually directed by the book's author L. Frank Baum. 

Early Rene Clair films that were at the time very hard to see.  Remember this was the time of VHS, and a lot of these films didn't make it to the cross over.  "Crazy Ray" was a very funny Clair film. It was about a ray that could stop time, therefore everything is frozen.  Lighthearted yet had serious overtones.  Perfect match.

This was the only time where I actually had the filmmaker showing his films.  Harun Farocki is a German filmmaker, theorist, and writer.  The work was fascinating, and I was very lucky to get him to do this.   The Goethe Institute was very helpful with respect to this program.

At the time I was crazy about Peter Greenaway.  He was the only filmmaker at that time that drove people batty.  I never have been in an audience where someone's work really pissed people off.  These short films he made before he became big, were charming, funny, and hypnotic. 

What a wonderful night.  I showed all the classic Joseph Cornell films, but also a woman came by early with a film reel under her arm.  She told me that Cornell made this film for her, and she never saw it.  So the film has never been projected or shown to anyone.  It was a 'wow.'  But a secret 'wow' because no one, including me was expecting someone to bring such a treasure to our little place.

More Cornell!  Also films by Bruce Conner.  A nice combination because both used found footage in their work.  

To me there was something subversive of showing a silent Oscar Wilde related films.  A man known for his words, yet we had silent versions of two of his major works.  "Lady Windermere's Fans" and the legendary "Salome."  Both films by the way were excellent.  A sold-out audience where no one was under 70 years old.  And all men!

Odd enough "Band of Outsiders" was not shown that much in Los Angeles at the time.  Nor was it on VHS.  This and a Godard short "All The Boys Called Patrick" was a magical night.  Dancing in the aisles!

It is amazing but right now I can look at the right side of the desk and see my French, British, and American edition of Louis Feuillade's "Fantomas" on DVD.  In 1991, the film was a total mystery and no one, and I mean no one was aware of this piece work.  The film is six 1 hour episodes in total. What I did was show Chapter 2, each episode was a separate and complete narrative - and it was an amazing film.  Without a doubt one of my all-time favorite films. 

The great and kind of tragic Edgar Ulmer.  Odd enough "Detour" was not available on VHS at the time.  So here was the perfect marriage of a film with no budget shown in an organization that barely had a budget.  Kind of sad, but beautiful at the same time.

January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014

As an older and much more mature man than I was some years ago, I am almost embarrassed how I acted in front of women with my two friends Roger Vadim and Eddie Barclay.  What we three had in common was drinks, music, literature, and...women.   When the three of us got together a certain madness took over, that wouldn't happen if we were separated from each other.  Thinking back now, it is scary.

There was a beautiful girl, whose name has stayed with me for many years now.  Jenny Colon, whose name I like to think is more of  a grammar issue than a body function, used to go out with a common friend of ours, Gérard.  Or we should say he wanted to have her as a girlfriend.  She sort of played with him in a rather cruel way, and when the three of got together we became obsessed with seducing her.  While we were sitting at the Taboo club, drinking what I think was our third bottle of wine, we thought of a plan to invite Gérard and Jenny to my apartment that wasn't too far away from the club.

I remember the three of us had an argument what records we should be playing on my turntable. Eddie thought of Jacques Brel, but I wanted something more ambient sounding - we finally all agree on Fripp and Eno's "Evening Star" album.  It was my theory that the pacing of the music was perfect for sex.  It was quiet, but there were points in the music where there was a subtle amount of intensity building up, which to my experience was perfect while having intercourse with a woman.  Once we agreed, and all three of us spent time cleaning and testing the sound of the recording, we cleaned up the apartment.

First things first was that we got rid of the chairs and tables.  There would be only two choices here.  Either standing up or laying on the floor or the bed, which was the only furniture in the room.  It was small, there was this room, a small kitchen and toilet with a very small shower.

Gérard showed up with a bottle of wine, but as he entered us three looked behind him to see where Jenny was.  I actually immediately left the apartment and went down the flight of winding stairs to see if she may be on the first floor for some reason.  When I came back up, Gérard was in tears, saying that he and Jenny had an argument before leaving his place.  The three of us looked at each other, and we just without saying a word, left the apartment, leaving Gérard alone with the bed and his bottle of wine.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

January 25, 2014

January 25, 2014

Whenever I hear Felix Mendelssohn's "The Wedding March" it makes me a tad sad. I had a girlfriend in my 20's and her name was Nellie Bly. I say 'was' because I am not sure if she is still alive or not. Nellie and I were going to get married, and I insisted that we must have "The Wedding March" as the 'song' for the wedding. She suggested that we find the best recording of the song, but the romantic in me wanted a full live orchestra for the wedding. This of course was way beyond our budget. Yet, we put off the wedding till we can save enough money for such an orchestra. This, in my point of view, was a major mistake on my part.

The longer we wait, the longer it seemed impossible to get married. I think the reason why I wanted to marry Nellie besides loving her of course, was that I wanted to contain her. At her very core, besides being a great beauty, she was an adventurer. What broke off our engagement was that she wanted to go around the world in 72 days, like her literary idol Jules Verne. She made it very clear to me that she wanted to take this trip alone. 

I was scared and turned-on thinking of her traveling by herself in such a manner. Our sex life at this point just got nasty instead of loving. Afterwards I would find tears in my eyes, and I would turn away from her, because I didn't want her to see me in such a state. But even through the tears, it somewhat added a sense of drama to our love making. 

The two music artists we liked to listen to in our heated moment of passion was Sleepy John Estes and Antônio Antonio Carlos Jobim. For some, music gets in the way of the love making, but for me and her, we needed a specific soundtrack, and as our physical passion got stronger, we noticed that we consistently broke or chipped the actual vinyl during our 'session.'

One day she just left me. I didn't know where she went, and no one seemed to know either. One day I got a phone call, with the great help of the Oriental Telephone Company, which strange enough was an American company that sold the first telephones to Asia. Nevertheless she told me that she was enjoying her trip around the world, and also our relationship is over. She didn't say this out of being mean, but it was her nature to do something like this. I could be hurt or bitter, but in fact it made me love her more.

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014

When I was working at Book Soup I ran across this beautiful woman, who looked familiar to me, but I just couldn't place her face with a name or location or even time.   Someone in the store yelled out "Tosh!" and both of us turned our heads toward the voice at the same time.  The woman was Natassja Kinski, and we both looked at each other and laughed.   She told me her nick-name is "Tosh," and she asked my name.  I told her my name is Natassja.  She looked at me and we both laughed.

She was looking for a book of poems by Caresse Crosby, which sadly we didn't have on the shelf at the time. I often felt like an abandoned book on a shelf, because I knew my time was about to end here, and I wanted to ask her out for coffee if she had time.  But alas, she left the store before I could find courage to ask her.  Later that night I went to Amoeba to purchase the DVD's  "Paris, Texas" and "Cat People"  I found both copies under her name.  Amoeba gave her films their own section in the store.  On the bin card someone cut out her face and attached it to the card.  It made me sad because I feel that this will be the closest I will get to "Tosh."

When I got home, after a long journey on Line 2, I started to watch "Paris, Texas," and I too found myself in sympathy with the leading character who became lost for some mysterious reason, maybe due for his love for "Tosh."   It was there, that I realized that one's idea of a person can be even more satisfying than knowing that person.  I became quite content to have these two DVD's and one is playing in front of me right now.  Towards the end of the film, when she makes an appearance, I turned down the sound and put on a Klaus Nomi record called "The Cold Song."  The beautiful melody and performance of that song matched up perfectly with the image of Natassja.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Laziness in the Fertile Valley" by Albert Cossery

New Directions ISBN: 978-0-08112-1874-0

I'm not a man that has a lot of heroes, but if I was going to choose one hero, it would be Albert Cossery.  A wrier who is devoted to watching pretty girls from cafes and being lazy.  With those two high-standard activities, this is a writer I will follow from heaven to hell. "Laziness in the Fertile Valley" is another one of his masterpieces that deals with a set of characters who prefer to do nothing when 'something' appears and shows its ugly heard.  What we have here is a family of men, who one, the older brother prefers and does only a great deal of sleeping.  Waking up for the occasional meal, and then back to bed.  The younger brother, foolishly has a desire to go out of the house and find work, and the Dad, is busy arranging a marriage, but has to deal with some rather old guy's specific problems.

Cossery, Egyptian born, but lived most of his adult life in Paris cafes - mostly all located in the St. Germain des Prés section of Paris, is a writer who according to Anna Della Subin in her informative afterword enclosed in this book, came from a family of lazy people.  His grandfather, for instance, refused to leave his bedroom.  For me this is a much desired lifestyle.  There is a tinge of jealousy when I read Cossery's novels, but alas, the enjoyment I get from them is a sense of bliss.

January 23, 2014

January 23, 2014

I woke up early this morning to go to the Broome Street General Store to meet my friend Albert Cossery, for coffee, who just finished a remarkable novel "Laziness in the Fertile Valley."  He just got back from visiting another common pal of ours, Boris, who is an engineer, but works at a paper manufacturing plant, doing something technical.  Both of them has this long-term on-going game of playing Frisbee.  Boris and a friend of his Walter it seemed invented this flying disc, and eventually sold the rights to it to Wham-O.

Albert and I, as we sipped our coffees thought of the other great Wham-O toy products like the Hula-Hoop, and my personal favorite Slip n' Slide.  It is basically a large strip of plastic filled with water, and what you do is you jump on it forward and you'll slide to the other side.  It is perfect for Los Angeles hot weather, but be warned, don't do it near a staircase.  What happened to me was I jumped on and then fell a flight of stairs to a very dry and hot piece of pavement.

It is very rare for two adults to have such a long friendship, but Albert and I share a great deal of common passions.  Both of us are huge fans of the films of Sergei Eisenstein.  We had a passionate argument that lasted for hours regarding Eisenstein.  Albert insisted that Randolph Scott got his start in "Ivan The Terrible."  I told him that is so wrong that it makes a wrong into a right.  We almost came to blows but we changed our mind and instead we ordered another round of coffee.

But since Eisenstein films' were silent, I would show him my 16mm print of "Battleship Potemkin" with an additional soundtrack by Django Reinhardt.  For whatever reason the hot jazz music fits in perfectly with people getting smashed and destroyed in this film.  What became a horror show turned into a really funny slapstick film.

Both Albert and I are big fans of Eisenstein's book "The Film Sense" which is about the idea of 'montage' in film.  But in reality that can be used in an almost everyday occurrence. I can't remember the film's title, but the one starring Jeanne Moreau, where she walks around, what I think is Paris, with cool Jazz music.  If one put in a symphony in that soundtrack, it would have changed the mood.  Maybe even destroy that scene?

As I said goodbye to Albert, and watch him walk away from the coffee shop, I thought 'it is so nice to have such a great friend.'

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

I couldn't sleep last night so I got up and watched "The Man Who Laughs" starring Conrad Veidt. It was broadcasted on the local KTLA station, and normally my TV set seems to be attached to Channel 5. Call me sentimental,but I just can't watch any station except KTLA. It meant so much to me as a youngster. I am pretty sure I witnessed the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald on this station. It was the first time I became aware of someone actually getting shot and dying, compared to watching Westerns on Saturday mornings where bad guys got shot, but mostly just shooting the gun out of their hands. So the fact that someone got shot, and not only they died, but also Oswald didn't have a gun in his hand when he got shot was just simply odd to me. 

Sometimes KTLA would broadcast a D.W. Griffith film, but for some reason it was hard for me to watch a silent film on a TV set. In a movie theater no problem. Especially when they have an organist on the bill. Actually the first time I saw a Griffith film was in Tokyo with Mie Yanashita on the piano. "Broken Blossoms" was the film, and Ms. Yanashita's music score to the film was very touching and beautiful. 

This morning, after I dressed I went to Amoeba Music to try to locate some piano or organ silent movie music. There was some titles there, but I really wanted something that would fit the mood of either "Broken Blossoms" or "The Man Who Laughs." After almost a hour in their soundtrack section I couldn't find what I was looking for. But that's life in the nutshell. You try to force a 'taste' on oneself, instead of letting it naturally go to you. I should have looked for the music with no thought to my head. 

Nevertheless I found myself in the Associates/Billy Mackenzie vinyl section in the other large room at the store. The late (and much missed) Billy always reminded me of Lord Byron, and if Byron was alive now, no doubt he would be a lead singer in some Sunset Strip band. Or maybe work in an used clothing boutique in Echo Park. 

When I got home I felt a depression upon me. Before the dark cloud takes over, I usually can fight it off by reading the poems and writings by Francis Picabia. But this time it didn't do the work, so I put on Malcolm McLaren's "Paris" album which didn't exactly cheered me up, but made the pain seem like a dream.

Will The Real Mr Sellers Please Stand Up (1969)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

Trying to find an vintage Christian Dior dress for a woman I care greatly for is very very difficult.  For the past year or so I have been working on my first novel "The Power of Sympathy or The Triumph of Nature," which is about the dangers of seduction.  To celebrate my good feelings towards the novel, I felt a great need to find a beautiful gift for my muse.

She was a friend of a friend and I met her at a British Pub in Santa Monica, where they have an annual get together in the memory of Benny Hill.  I couldn't keep my eyes off her, she was much younger than me, well, most women I knew were much younger, but nevertheless I have the touch of genius, when it comes to promoting people or certain ideas.  I am often called the Colonel Tom Parker of the West Coast.  When I was introduced to her by that friend's friend, I found out she was interested in writing. I think what made our relationship ticked was she was very much into the writings by Blaise Cendrars, a French poet and novelist.  i never met a girl who even heard of this great writer.  

She's a great beauty, in many ways she reminds me of a younger Peggy Lee, very deep voice, and very hard for me to look at anyone else in a room full of beauties.  Even then I matched her with something elegant and beautiful like a Dior dress.  I don't know if it's the novel I am writing or just me being silly at an older age, but I just can't get enough of her.

I tried to get Jeff Koons to do a portrait of the both of us together, either in painting or sculpture, because I felt it was important to document our relationship in such a manner.  But two things, I couldn't get Koons, and she didn't want me to do that.  Surely she can't reject an original Dior!

Keep in mind that there is nothing physical between us, except that I do have a need to document her beauty in some form or fashion.  Dior struck me as a man who can see beauty objectively and I like to think that I am that way as well.  A friend of mind found a boutique in Paris, that sold vintage clothing, focusing on Dior, and I purchased the dress without even seeing a picture of it. Once it arrived I invited her over for lunch, and presented her with the dress.  She was in a combination of shock and embarrassment.  Which I found was so adorable.  She insisted that she couldn't take such a present, but already, I had a dressmaker there to measure her size, so we can alter the dress to her Peggy Lee like figure.

A few weeks later she came by and tried on the dress.  She looked incredible.  Almost like another woman.  This time she told me that there was no way in heaven or hell that she could accept this dress, and I being the gentleman, said I understand.  Although I didn't understand.  Nevertheless I do have the dress, and I purchased a mannequin and now that dress and mannequin is in my writing room slash office.  Whenever I look at it I get a sense of purpose or power to finish my novel.