Friday, November 2, 2012

Days dwindling down

It's been a crazy week. The passing of a friend I truly admired - who could also be a royal pain in the toches (tukas) but whose intensity made the world a better place (and whose obituary reminded folks to vote in the US election on November 6th), the hurricane which spared my corner of the world this time, but destroyed much of the world I used to inhabit (Ocean City, NJ and lower Manhattan), work associated with the radio station, work associated with work (I'm not only retiring, I asked for a particular day off - so I'm back on the night shift during part of my last week), etc. So I've not much time today to post. I'll just let this clip speak my mind for today:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween

One of those bothersome poets noted that the best laid schemes "Gang aft agley".  I'd had many plans for a series of Halloween posts. In previous years I posted stills from my collection of Halloween Hollywood starlets, Victorian Halloween postcards, and I don't remember what else. I haven't had the time to look. This year time and events have played out in such a manner that my plans went agley.

I do love this season for any number of reasons. When I was - hmmm, I'm not sure how old I was, maybe six or seven, I went into hospital to have my tonsils out on Halloween Day. I dare say that had something to do with the crushed and maimed adult I became. My father designed his own house, into which we moved in August of 1959. It had a huge open basement. I can remember having at least one (but I think it was two) Halloween parties, complete with bobbing for apples in those big old tin basins that I haven't seen since those days. No one in my family asked me about my costume, and I was left to cobble together an outfit out of an old robe, a pillow case belly, and my great grandfather's cane. There is  a bit of 8mm home movie of that one, but I haven't had the time to find it - it will have to wait for another year, I suppose.

It had been my intention to have a post I would have called "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" which was going to focus on my love of the old fashioned Hollywood "horror" movies. Horror movies today are horrible, but in another way. I've greatly enjoyed things like "The Bride of Chucky" and a number of the other slasher/gore fests - which can be quite inventive and quite funny, depending. I do not care for the trend of the last decade or so of more or less realistic torture horror movies. No, real horror movies to me are those wonderful old creaky atmospheric gems like 'Frankenstein" et al. There is too much real horror in our world as it is.

My favorite is, and always has been, the 1931 Universal version of "Dracula" directed by Todd Browning. (Unless you give credence to the stories that Browning often didn't show up and that most of the direction was actually handled by his cameraman, the great Karl Freund. Freund photographed The silent era German classics The Golem, The Last Laugh, and Metropolis. He also directed the Boris Karloff version of The Mummy, the wonderful Mad Love, and - I Love Lucy!) So, I'd meant to write about the 1931 Dracula, and an encounter with a soap opera actor roommate of a friend of mine, who insisted that Dracula was a socialist expose of the ruling class living off the blood of the workers. From there I would have segued into the current political election here in the states.

I was trying to salvage the idea and actually working on a few frame grabs from Dracula when I got the email about Larry. (The friend who notified me didn't have my current phone number, which was just as well. I think it was easier reading the news). Back in the early days of radio free brattleboro, the two of us tried to plan elaborate radio Halloweens - unlicensed and pirate radio in those days considered it a special national holiday. I wish I had more time to work out this post, but I must get ready and leave for work.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Larry Bloch

Yesterday was a gray day. Around the time the sun was setting, around the time the light began to fade, Larry Bloch left us.

It's the next morning and still, everything I start to write seems to be inadequate, to come out wrong.

Larry created and ran the Wetlands Preserve, a famous rock club in New York City which featured social activism as part of its ethos. The club was just a couple of blocks from where I used to live, but it opened after I'd left NYC for Boston. But I was lucky - Larry Bloch moved here and I got the chance to know him. Better yet, I got the chance to call him my friend. He was a co-founder of both radio free brattleboro and WVEW-lp, which quite simply and honestly would not exist without him. He opened a store here devoted to clothing made from hemp - he called it "Save the Corporations from Themselves". It had a loft where he kept free copies of the U.S. Constitution, and literature on many local and local-world causes - it was known as the "Activist's Attic". In my mind's eye I can see him changing the community billboard he maintained outside the Common Ground. Larry was a major force for good. I wrote that last as "in this town", but deleted it on purpose. Larry touched lives around the world. And he made the world, and his local community, a better place.

To be continued,
when my heart is not so heavy.

As Larry would have said,
Enjoy the day.