Every night my remedy for insomnia is to watch one one-hour show to help usher in the beauty of sleepytime. Sometimes my late night visual snack is of the more noble persuasion with something like John Adams, and other times it is of a baser delight in something like True Blood or Battlestar Galactica (modern day version of course).
Lately it has been with a show called Mad Men – a series that transports one back to 1959-1964 Manhattan in the world of big-shot advertising agencies.
Much of the show is a bit on the soap-opery side, but what it does do quite well is sink you in to the zeitgeist of that time. They make pains (sometimes too much) to portray that time and how it differs from today. [click to continue…]
I basically wrote former Doors drummer John Densmore off as a bit of a wanker because of his allegiance to a dead Morrison and his stonewalling of keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger and their twin desire to play Doors songs under some variation of ‘The Doors’ name. Like ‘The Doors of the 21st Century’ or something to that effect. He sued them and won. Why did he sue? Because Jim like, would not have been cool with it man… Why did he win? Probably because the judge was a huge Doors fan and Densmore bribed him with an old pair of Morrison’s undies if the decision went his way. Or something. [click to continue…]
If you know nothing of the Doors you must see this movie. If you know a little about them but don’t get what the fuss is/was about, you must see this movie. If you like them, love them or hate them you must see this movie.
I was not even a twinkle in Mr. Morrison’s eye when the Doors were born, but I was a kid when they had their first resurgence of popularity spurned by the bestselling book “No One Here Gets Out Alive” and a reissue of their greatest hits. They were everywhere in the eighties. Jim Morrison had been dead for years but stoner kids talked about Jim being in hiding and waiting for the right time for his mojo to rise. “No One Here Gets Out Alive” was a must read for any good stoner and rock fan. The largely horrific music of the eighties (Police, U2 and a few others aside, of course) and god forsaken trends like break dancing caused lonely rock lovers to retreat to the past and yearn for a new musical/cultural explosion.
It was a place called the “Discafe” in San Diego; a hip little spot where one could go and check out CD’s- as in the library type check out – and listen to them on bolted down CD players while you did your homework and drank your Café. Get it – ‘Disc-Café’. A novel idea allowing you to listen to CD’s without the hassle of lugging those God-forsaken Walkmans around. Last long? Um, no. Quaint while it lasted though. The place later turned into the ‘Zanzibar’ and then a bank or something uncool.
So my band (dryve) got asked to play a gig opening for some lone singer dude named Jeff Buckley. Supposedly he was a national act that had some buzz going on. So we were hip to that –always were to any artist that was doing more than playing their local scene. [click to continue…]
“Why the Marines?” I asked my uncle as I sized him up in his funky maroon jumpsuit he always wore.
“Because they were the toughest”.
“Hmmph”. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get much actually. I was eleven. My uncle was seventy-something. And a war hero. Who fought on Iwo Jima. And Guadalcanal. And Okinawa. And little did I know, fought for my ability to happily fight my way to the next level of Donkey Kong without a care in the world.
I had no idea.
For some reason I can’t quite remember, I felt compelled to drill my uncle about his military background that day. It was probably just an impulse to stave off the intense boredom that usually surrounded a weekend at my grandparent’s house.
“Did you ever shoot anybody”?
Oh yeah? That’s it? Like, “Did you ever drive a Mustang?” Or, “Have you ever had the flu?” How could you be so matter of fact about shooting somebody?
“Really? Didn’t you feel bad about it?”
“No!!” He said with laughter at my naiveté. “They were trying to shoot me!!”
Simple. Profound. And frightfully true. It was either him or the other guy. Us or them. And they started it. Thank God there were people like my uncle around who helped finish it.
Happy Memorial Day.
For a glimpse into the nightmare my uncle endured check out ‘The Pacific” on HBO. (Or bittorrent. Or ninjavideo.net –but I didn’t tell you that).
For my list of Top Ten War Movies you must see click here.