Robert Frank is Dead.

Frank created a book of photographs called The Americans back in the 50s. It’s a terrific book of strikingly straightforward and revealing images full of, um, Americans.
Jack Kerouac wrote the introduction to The Americans, an obvious choice at the moment On the Road ruled the world. Kerouac also wrote and narrated Frank’s first film, a shambling tale of New York City’s bohemian lives, called Pull My Daisy. You can view it here. Frank, of course, took the photos that made up the collagey cover of the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street.
Frank also made a tour documentary with the Stones at about the same time. It is called Cocksucker Blues and the Stones, who have said they thought the film was excellent, sued to keep it from being released because its explicit sex and drug scenes were too much even for them. A deal was reached that allowed Frank to show the movie five times a year provided he was in attendance. I remember one year leaving the Rolling Stone magazine Christmas party early to see the film at the Anthology Film Archives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. You can find the film in pieces on You Tube, from time to time. Frank clearly wasn’t policing the copyright, nor were the Stones, as evidenced by this music video that uses some of the film.
Frank also made some dramatic films that drew notice, though the only one I saw was a shambling road picture featuring a who’s who of cool rock dudes in the late 80s (I’m talking guys named Johansen, Waits and Strummer, plus Leon Redbone).
This is the trailer with French titles.
This seems to be the whole film with German titles.
Final bonus video with Frank’s Super 8 film of the Stones.

On Death and (Somebody Else) Dying


NOTE: Steve Moyer’s friends in the fantasy and baseball industries have begun a GoFundMe to help support his daughters, Harmony and Mary, who face college and adulthood without their pop. Please feel free to donate in honor of our friend. The link is GoFundMe Steve Moyer kid fund.

I have been trying to get my head around our friend and colleague Steve Moyer’s untimely passing last Thursday.

If you have followed my ramblings over the years, you know I have had a number of brushes with death myself, and that my own wife, child, and dog all left this plane within a year of one another between July of 2005 and April of 2006.

What these rather intense experiences seem to have made me, however, created a sort of paradox. On one hand, I accept the inevitability of our own human experience, understanding our time here is indeed finite and that there is no fairness within the amount of time we are granted here on earth.

Similarly, I can put it in a sort of detached-automatic mode, for lack of better verbiage, making certain the trash is taken out, that dinner is made, and that the appropriate persons are advised appropriately of the departure. 

Certainly, Steve was core to a lot of the fantasy industry, and having been colleagues for a quarter century I seem to be one of those who knew him the longest, and perhaps as well as anyone within our circle.

Still, it never occurred to me that Steve — hell, that any of us — would leave untimely, so soon. Further, I have had enough head butts with Steve that I was surprised to find myself at the center of coordinating updates about him, being the source for articles and news as well as disseminating funeral information.

I know I am not alone in banging egos with Steve, for as his fiance, Samantha Drennan — with whom I have unfortunately become friends under the worst of circumstances — acknowledged that Steve “argued with everyone about everything.” So I was happy Steve and I had a good clearing of the air last First Pitch, Arizona.

Furthermore, I was glad to help out during the couple of days subsequent to learning of Steve’s passing by sharing information and emailing so many who knew and cared about him. I helped my mate, Roto Expert’s Scott Engel gather information both for an article about Steve, and together we plotted a Hall of Fame Hour — one of the shows Scott hosts on FNTSY— on  Steve this coming Monday (listen from 7-8 PM, ET). I posted and commented on the Rock Remnants site that was Steve’s imagination, where Peter Kreutzer, Gene McCaffrey, and I made a musical home for our writing outside of fantasy sports.

The bulk of these activities occurred while I was still at spring training, usually one of my favorite trips of the year. For, in March, baseball is still fresh and optimistic, players are happy and mostly healthy, and drafts are gearing up.

Instead, within the throes of my “busy-ness” handling Steve things, I felt distracted. I was  disinterested in going to games and drafting and interviewing players. And, the truth was, I just wanted to go home and be with my family.

I did keep wondering, however: Why I was so ambivalent with respect to something I really enjoy?

Then it occurred to me that I was subconsciously being so busy detaching that I did not have to acknowledge how bummed I am. In discussions with several of the groups and leagues in which Steve and I both participate, I realized what an integral part of my life Steve was, and I guess vice versa.

And, that meant the bummed disinterested feelings I was trying to ignore were actually grief.

Life is such a silly ephemeral thing. So difficult to understand, let alone make reasonable. And yet it is wondrous and beautiful, for though in the end it takes us from one another, certainly prior to that life gives us the gift of one another.

It certainly is a shame, however, that we have forget to embrace this gift until that appreciation is no longer corporeal.

One of the bands that Steve and I shared a love for was the Small Faces, and perhaps their best-known song was “Itchycoo Park.” As a dog owner, and husband of an animal lover, I like to imagine The Rainbow Bridge in a sort of “Itchycoo Park” sense.

I hope I am right. I hope Steve is rocking out there, maybe with my son Joey and late wife Cathy, and our dogs Macaroni, Onyx, Jazzmine, and Mahina looking on. Miss ya Steve.

Time To Go Back In The Kadavar Water

I bought an album by German band Kadavar a couple years ago and liked it OK, but I found it a little too straight Sabbath rippy to hold my interest for more than a couple listens.

Classic Rock magazine told me tonight that their new album, Rough Times, is uncharted territory for them. This song has perhaps just enough pop sensibility to make the whole thing work better. I’m gonna give Rough Times a try.

The drummer’s eyes, the singer’s teeth, the hairbrush at the end. Intriguing!!!

The End of the Internet

You know how you’re going from place to place on the internet, and then you end up someplace and you have no idea how you got there? Tonight that happened to me, when I landed at clubdevo.com.

Devo would seem to be an internet savvy band, all techno and futuristic, even if that represents the devolution of humankind. But clubdevo.com is a wasteland. Only the Twitter feed is alive with content. You can check in here: http://www.clubdevo.com/

But better to check this:

 

Lester Bangs and the Delinquents, “I Just Want to Be a Movie Star”

Facebook friend Darren Viola posted some Christgau clips of 1977 live show previews of the B-52s and Fleshtones shows at Max’s, which are fun, but down in the comments was a link to this tune from 1980.

I didn’t know this one, which is great fun.

Listening to the whole album. Good!

Never Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Ramones asked them to sell t-shirts at CBGB because they were always there. The Mekons Jon Langford created a comic strip in Spin about them. She broke her leg in the 90s after being knocked to the floor in the mosh pit at an Oasis show. They say their bodies have aged, but they have not. They flew to Manchester England (England) five times last year to see shows and visit with their friends.

News got you down? This is inspiring.

This is the song Happy Mondays wrote about them. I was never a Happy Mondays fan.

Obit: June Foray (September 8, 1917, July 26, 2017)

June Foray certainly does not spring to mind as a name anyone would associate with music, let alone rock’n’roll; however, she was an integral part of the aging of the Boomer Generation.

June, who passed away a couple of days ago, just months shy of the Century Mark, was the voice of the following cartoon characters:

  • Rocket J Squirrel
  • Natasha
  • Granny on Looney Tunes (owner of Tweety)
  • Nell Fenwick
  • Witch Hazel
  • Daisy Duck
  • Mother Magoo
  • Betty Rubble
  • Cindy Lou Who (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
  • Jokey Smurf

And, a host of other voices, participating in a list of shows that is, to say the least, overwhelming.

I am indeed a huge fan of animation, dating back to the first Jay Ward show, Crusader Rabbit wherein at the age of six I got my first puns. Crusader Rabbit featured a two-headed dragon named “Arson/Sterno” which didn’t really mean anything to me. I knew what Arson was, but it was a cartoon. (There was also a villian named “Dudley Nightshade,” a pun I never got till I was a lot older!)

One evening my mother was having a cocktail party and she had a chafing dish that needed a Sterno can to keep the contents warm and I saw her prepare the dish, read the label and a light went off in my head (it might still be going off).

From that all the cartoons of my youth became the filter for my  viewing and reading and interpretation of literature and movies and TV, for it not only taught about puns, but also how characters define themselves, often by action and nameAdditionally, I got the author gets to play with characters and names and situations to emphasize things like irony, hypocrisy, and many other personality traits.

As I delved deeper into literature as an undergrad, then grad student, and learned that Charles Dickens, for example, was among the best at portraying his characters as round or flat, modifying their names in deed and action. So, I got that the Arson/Sterno tradition was pretty old, going back at least to Chaucer in the English language.

I still watch toons. I love Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers and Adult Swim in addition to old Looney Tunes because they still push art in areas where live action human stuff cannot go.

Are they important? Just listen…

RIP June, and I hope where you are is as much fun as the shit you created!

Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”

I do like my Spofity shuffle and mixes because they do indeed jumble eras and genres up, although the band in question here is one our friend, Kyle Elfrink, of Sirius/XM, another baseball/music junkie, turned me onto.

They would be the Japandroids. And, Kyle was right, for I like them having added a couple of their discs to my continually growing Playlist. Which means their stuff pops up out of nowhere, which is good fun.

This tune crushes it for me. You?