Saturday, January 22, 2011


Right outside Los Angeles
it's hot as hell,
and my phone doesn't work-
It's poison - but it tastes
like cotton candy to me.

it's a proverb.
it's a session.
When the whole wide world
goes mad.

She was dressed -
in a tight red skirt
and a striped blouse.
her heels were high,
satin covered
and she smelled of
rich floral perfume.

it's a poem
it's a pageant
it's a monologue
just for you.

Her breasts played peek-a-boo and
reminded me of
inflated balloons and
chocolate bunnies at Easter.
Her round firm ass spoke to me in Spanish.
I told her I didn't understand.
She just laughed.
Her legs were smoothed flesh-
stretched to the max-
covering flexed muscles;
their length -
far beyond the miles I'd walked to get here.

"Slide me that banana." She said.
And then peeled it slowly
reminding me of Warhol's
Velvet Underground art.
She said "I can't stand listening to funk!"
"But I can't stand you even more!"

That's terrible.
Take a last look around.
see what is-
see what ain't-
know the difference &
know the truth.

advice - my vice:
this time around
I ash my stash...
medical and primeval.
this time around
it's chronic, ill and
out of bounds;
the reason that i wrote this song.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Floor : Beatnik Dancing

Chirie Dautel contacted me and expressed that she wanted to dance while I read poetry. This sounded fun, so we decided to go with a sort-of 'beatnik' theme. I chose to *read* the poem instead or 'perform' it - as the 'real' poets do at their poet gatherings. This also left the stage with more room for Chirie to express herself. She chose the black mock turtleneck as her nod to the 60s beatnik movement. As always at The Floor, Walter Davis led the band which featured Ricardo Hambra on the bongos.

Thanks always to Walter, Carolina and Sascha.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Love Your Enemies

Microdisney. One of my favorite bands of all time, they had a song called Love Your Enemies.

Microdisney's message was always delivered in an indelible sarcasm with much British (errr.... Irish) sensibilities. It didn't always make sense to an ernest lad from Van Nuys, CA, but I was attracted by their album "We Hate You South African Bastards", and their other album "Everybody Is Fantastic". They re-released the "...South African Bastards" record on CD, changing the title to "Love Your Enemies".

Microdisney were Irish, which may or may not be relevant.
I have no idea where their name Microdisney came from. After
much googling I turned up nothing. I doubt they were a big enough blip on the radar for the Disney™ corp to come after them, and had they, I'm sure Cathal Coughlan and Sean O'Hagan (The Lennon/McCartney of Microdisney) would have had something to say, as they often did, about corporate greed and socio-political unrest. Cathal went on to form the band Fatima
Mansions (check their fierce tracks Only Losers Take The Bus and feel the whoop-ass in their politically difficult to pronounce Blues For Ceausescu) and Sean formed the High Llamas. Pretty obscure stuff for sure, but despite Microdisney releasing 4 or 5 albums it's the 2 pictured that are a permanent and necessary pat of my music collection. Later songs like Town to Town, Horse Overboard, Singer's Hampstead Home, Give Me All Your Clothes and Birthday Girl were all great- if not blatantly uncommercial - especially in the mid to late 80s when they were their most productive - and radio was exploding with synthesizer-based bands like Human League, Simple Minds and Thompson Twins. Microdisney weren't anti-synth, but they were pro-song writing and made their noise by any means necessary often playing the inside of a piano, an off-key guitar or an old drum machine. But their lyrics were what attracyed me. High And Dry features the opening lines : "Why'd you have to leave me for some Albanian gambler on the Beirut train?/When I'd finished laughing, /I celebrated with a glass of hate. /You got dreams and I've got demons."

Love Your Enemies :
Why don’t you love your enemies?
Why don’t you give them everything?
Why don’t you get down on your knees?
Adore your enemies
Fuck em all
Only fools
Fucking idiots
Fucking idiots
All my friends – I mean you
All my friends – God afraid
And they dance in the streets in the hot afternoons
And they spat at our backs and they kicked us away
To live in the dark, live in the park
This is the reason why we were born
And his head is aching
Why don’t you put your eyes up? And his God is waiting
Why don’t you put the light up?
Give them everything
Give them everything
Give them everything
Give them everything
And this is all I’ll ever be
And this is all
I’ll ever be
We lay in your bed in the hot afternoons
And we argued about how little money we had
Life in the dark
Life in the cold
This is the reason why we were born
Our own language
Our own lot
Our own fears
And our own Gods
Our freedom and the right to do
As we please with the likes of you
And I try to laugh at them
And they smack me on the face
And they push us through the fields
Saying “Love your enemies”
Give them everything
Give them everything
It’s too late –
Ha Ha
God begins to call
And this is all we’ll ever be
And this is all they’ll ever be
The elder upstands and the rebellion is well
And it fills them with joy just to see us this way
And taking each step just to take the next breath
And taking each breath just to take the next step
The sons going past as I swung from the trees
Take everything you own and make it into a neat pile
Set fire to it, burn it all
See what your love can do
Say “Oh look what my love did”
The power of love
The power of love
The power of love

Adventures in Burlesque

2 people I have become very fond of in my life are Walter and Carolina. I've known them both for a couple of years.
She's a burlesque dancer and he's a sax maniac. He put me onstage to read some of my poetry. I demured which is as unattractive as boasting. At least on me. Walter has continued to encourage my writing and performing.

The band at Eastside Luv : Bjørn, Asa and Walter

It's all about the Mariachis in Boyle Heights on a Saturday night. Carolina in the middle.
Mark, Carolina and Liinda.
Liinda, Guillermo, Daniel and Carolina!

At least once a month Walter and Carolina do this cool "four shows in one night" where they start at one venue, do 2 shows, then hustle to another venue for a set at midnight and finally returning back to the original location for the finale!
Carolina and Bjørn after an ESL gig.

This past weekend, I decided to travel with 'em. The two venues are approximately 6 miles apart. Walter does the driving. I initially met them at a rum bar in Hollywood packed full of pretty people. They serve Mojitos in punch bowls with ladels. The motif of the place is supposed to look like an authentic night spot in Cuba — it kinda looks like the beginning of the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride.

The second venue is a place I've been a lot and I always have a good time. Mostly East L.A. locals, dressed upscale and decidedly un-Hollywood, this is fast becoming one of my favorite places to go in all of L.A. It's lack of pretentiousness makes it cool in itself. The playlist is eclectic, with everything from classic 80s (Oingo Boingo, Depeche Mode) to soul oldies (James Brown, Northern Soul), 50s rock 'n roll and songs I've never heard in éspanol (but with lots of Morrisey in the mix!).

Walter's band at Eastside Luv is Asa and Bjørn, a couple of guys I have known for years and see many times a month (Asa plays drums at The Floor and with The Toledo Show, Bjørn plays bass at The Floor and plays in a variety of bands. He has played in many groups at Harvelle's. notably with Jessie Payo and Leroy Powell). This trio were the "Bongo Fury" band at Harvelle's supreme - but defunkt - show, a couple of years back (Victor Orlando played bongos and congas). This is where I met them all, as a regular patron of the Tuesday night burlesque revue, and where Walter would first put me onstage to read some poetry.

Molly and Carolina do Eastside Luv to a most appreciative audience.

Walter kicks ass at La Descarga with dancer Valerie Soto!!
Cheers to Liinda, Mark, Daniel, Alex, Guillermo & Charlie at ESL, little monster Molly D'Amour, and dancers Valerie Soto, Eva LaDare, Nina McNeely, Sascha Escandon and Molly's friend Graham (who had cool Keith Haring tattoos).
And as always, thanks to Walter and Carolina.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Love Music : 2010 top picks

The O'Jays are one of the greatest bands of all time. I dedicate this post to them and their song "I Love Music". Below is the famous Soul Train dance line with the O'Jays classic playing.

Here's my top ten picks for 2010:

1-Gil Scott-Heron-I'm New Here
A new album by my favorite artist? it's gotta be #1!! The guy's been in jail so that definitely was a major force in the creation of these songs. it's unlike anything he's done before. he told the press that it sounds different than his other albums because he didnt have a piano in jail. i think that says it all.

2-Black Dub (Daniel Lanois)-Black Dub
Daniel Lanois project featuring an eclectic group of musicians exploring some simple songs - and turning the arrangements inside out to make virtual symphonies of sound. Trixie Whitley is the lead singer on most of this.

3-VOP introducing Alfredo Rivera & DJK-Black Maya Voodoo
I met Alfredo at Harvelle's the night Esperanza Spalding sat in. I took a photograph of them standing next to each other mid-jam. His CD is fresh yet familiar and one of my favorite listens of the year. The only straight jazz CD on this list.

4-Ray LaMontagne-God Willin' And The Creek Don't Rise
Ray can write songs - no one can doubt that, but this collection is so solid and consistent, it really caught my attention from the first time I heard it. I love the title track - Rzez says the pedal steel riff is too similar to 'Wichita Lineman' - but to me it eases my mind.

5-Goo Goo Dolls-Something For The Rest Of Us
Speaking of Rzez - I always look forward to a new one by GGD and this one is no exception. The title track is big and awesome and infinetly enjoyable. Easily the best song I heard all year. (Check out this live video from NYE in OK*) I played the single "Home" so many times, my neighbor knows the words to it! "As I Am", "Sweetest Lie" and "Still Your Song" remain in heavy rotation.

6-Vintage Trouble-The Bomb Shelter Sessions
Vintage Trouble is the discovery of the year. This band is poised for stardom. 4 lads who rock g/b/d and Ty Taylor on vocals. Ty is one of the greatest singers I've seen/heard. They play soul music but with the masculine 'rawk' of Nalle Colt on guitar making a musical statement louder than your conventional soul. And they have songs!! There's not a bad one on this disc.

7-Bryan Ferry-Olympia
Ha! One of my other all-time faves. Bryan does what he does and beautifully interprets "Song To The Siren". It's always after a lush affair- when the party's over - and you're blissfully tired like you just met the love of your life or conversely - sad and depressed as the realization of the end of the affair sinks in.

8-Chali 2na-Fish Market pt.2
I don't know what happened to hip-hop. But this is the real deal. Chali 2na (aka The verbal
Herman Munster!!) is still one of the coolest voices in rap. This is a party!!

9-Peter Gabriel-Scratch My Back
I probably listened to this one more than anything else this past year. I can't explain it. i haven't enjoyed Peter Gabriel since the early 80s, but here was a body of work that was a like a gallery showing of PG's fave artists. I am amazingly glad I rediscovered him.

10-VA-Mick Karn Tribute-A Show Of Love Respect & Grace
We lost Mick earlier this month.
Mick was a completely unique performer.

He played bass in the most bizarre staccato way.
He would glide around the stage
effortlessly in an age where most
guys in
bands stood there sullen and still.
He was famous for playing with the group Japan (video
and later
Dali's Car.
His solo records were all delicate balances of pop and art.
This album was a fund raiser to help Mick with
medical expenses
related to his cancer battle.

Here's 5 more Favorites from last year:

Brian Eno-Small Craft On A Milk Sea
I have been listening to Eno since high school and have always dug what he's created, this one is no exception. It's musical art, it's very subjective. It's Brian Eno.

Kandace Lindsey-Acoustic Fire
Great singer/songwriter I discovered playing at Harvelle's. Poised for stardom.

Janelle Monae-The Arch Android
Janelle's been rockin' it for a few years now, and this album is vast and experimental but also features the song of the year "Tightrope". An extremely original artist.

Paul Weller-Wake Up The Nation
Paul revisits a more aggressive time and has a blast doing so. I'm a fan so I dig it.

Kanye West-My.Beautiful.Dark.Twisted.Fantasy
I have no idea what this is, but it's almost like a Malcolm McLaren compilation album. There's opera and ballet and hip-hop and some guitars and drums and it's a lot of fun. Kanye is sumthin' else!!

Top 5 Favorite Songs:
Goo Goo Dolls-Something For The Rest Of Us (aka Nightmares & Dreams)*

Black Dub/Daniel Lanois-The Birth Of BellaVista Nights**

*Goo Goo Dolls 'Something For The Rest Of Us'
live New Year's Eve Thackerville, OK
Happy 2011 Dolls!

**Daniel Lanois making pretty music :
The Birth of Bellavista Nights (video only)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


you shut off the sun and
stole the color away.
now the sky is less than bright.
your world looks vivid—
mine is discarded shades of ambient grays.

gone are those times of
tumultuous blue/black and distracting red/black.
no more green grass or bluegrass or
white puffs smudging the winter sunset's
plucked tangerines and abusive reds.