Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Weird Scenes Inside the Free Room

Some interesting finds today.

The first is a CD called "Hotwalker" by Tom Russell. It's hard to explain, but it's a mix of music and narration that weaves a sort of patchwork tale about Beat-era America, and it includes readings from Bukowski, Kerouac, Lenny Bruce, and others. It would definitely be the perfect soundtrack for the next absinthe night at chez yours truly. "Little Jack Horton," one of the narrators, was a carny midget and drinking buddy of Bukowski's and he delivers a denouement that cracked me up so much I'll quote it in its entirety, even though it's not nearly as funny without his helium-voiced inflections:

This is Little Jack Horton. I'm just putting a coda or an end thing on this piece from my own thoughts in mind. America. I always it thought it was our America, as much as anybody else's, you know. Circus people and carnival freaks, prisoners and musicmakers, musicians, troubadours, minstrels, hobos, poets, and such. We can't let this goddam country go down to politicians and corporate madmen and college professors and media people, running it over and ruining it all. It's ours; it's our goddam country. We built the midway, didn't we? And we make the music that goes on the midway, from sea to shining goddam sea. You know, goddammit, Ronald Reagan dies recently and they fly the flag half-mast. Well, did they fly it half-mast for Ray Charles? Did they fly it half-mast for Johnny Cash? Declare a national holiday? Yet these people -- like, you know, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams -- these people moved and changed the daily lives of more people than these goddam politicians, who are just grifters and scum. We wouldn't even let them on the goddam midway. So let's now praise the real American heroes, the ones with the heart, soul, and character to change things for the good here. And leave the goddam politicians out of it, from sea to shining goddam sea. One nation under God, and Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Ray Charles, goddammit. Little Jack Horton, half-drunk on some very bad wine, saying, "So long, partner, and we'll see you on the midway!"
(Little Jack has since passed on.)

The other interesting, but anti-climactic in terms of this post, item is a DVD of a TV project by Krzysztof Kieslowski (of "Trois Couleurs" fame) called "The Decalogue." It's apparently 10 short films, each of which treats one of the commandments. (The DVD I snagged, unfortunately, is only the first three in the series.)