Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Just saw the best punk movie I have ever seen. Como Ves? (What Do You Think?) was made in Mexico City in 1985. It is less of a narrative and more a bunch of vignettes that center around the thriving punk scene in the barrio interspersed with performances by a few bands.

Paul Leduc directed Como Ves? and also the 1986 Frida. While Como Ves? is worth watching for the time capsule of punk that it is, it also is really beautiful.

This is what the show space was like.

This is what the circle pits looked like:

Some local punks:

My favorite punk, with a GIANT scar

There are some really sexy parts, some pretty violent parts, but the one of the most outstanding scenes centers around the punks going to a drag show.  The Queen performing blew my mind. 

Towards the end of the movie, punks steal a cop car and hijack a plane to party on. There is a riot outside where everyone is dancing with babies, sitting on each other's shoulders, playing music and chanting "FUCKERS!"

 Here is CECILA TOUSSAINT playing during the hijacking.

Cecila Toussaint is a huge babe. She and my favorite punk have a great love scene where she tries to bite his ankle.

Here is another clip of her singing in the movie. Check those high notes! and her cool teeth!

 Facets put this movie out earlier this year. The quality of the movie and also the subtitles are horrible (a common problem with Facets' releases Hannah pointed out). But, nonetheless, Como Ves? offers a variety of compelling scenes and a peak into a less represented moment of punk culture. It has all the antiauthoritarian strike and strife of Over the Edge (and even the same half shirts Matt Dillon sports) but in a context that is not about suburban blandness and all male revolt. The barrio setting and the presence of hard labor informs the movie without making it overly didactic. Labor is not the focus of the movie and it is not absent either as is the case in many Hollywood movies. Women are agents in the petty crimes, the hijacking, and the music. Queerness isn't written out of the rebellion or the experience of coming of age.
Explicitly critical of classism, Como Ves? isn't about how hard it is to be poor. It's not the kind of movie about poverty where one member of an oppressed group achieves some uplift out of misery. The movie offers that classic slice-of-life of the neighborhood. It's like the trope of the apartment building's fourth wall falling and the guy in the showercap is revealed in the tub and everyone is caught in media res. There is an implicit argument through the composition of the vignettes about the fullness of life, the pettiness of circumstance, and the necessary escape of self-made fun. All that punk shit.

I'm still trying to work out my interpretation of the climactic scene where the the hijackers are put on TV and they just don't know what to say. The movie is called "Como Ves?" which is literally translated "as you see." It is used colloquially in a question to mean "what do you think?" There comes a moment when these kids who demanded to be heard are thrust in front of the cameras and  have nothing to say, no demands to the mass public. Then, after a panicked moment, they are taken over by the authorities. That is the best way to end a punk movie I can imagine -it is the tragic punk(and youth angst) parable. The movie is bookended by the longish single-shot scenes of two drunks hanging out in disused stacks of cement tubing that get a little too Waiting for Godot for me. But, that is probably the only thing that I would call a major flaw -where the movie tries something and fails. All the other imperfections seems to keep within the tone and even add to it. I just love it. If you don't have access to a video store as good as Lost Weekend or Plan 9 to rent the movie, you can still watch it and for free! It is available on youtube in 5 parts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


10 Rajendra Shyam, from Signature - Patterns in Gond Art (Tara Books)
I could look at this all day.

Signature - Patterns in Gond Art (Tara Books)  007

The Gond are from central India. Traditionally, they paint these ropey, bright figures on the walls. Now, these fantastic creatures are ending up on paper for sale in the West. They feature all the same animals I like: peacocks, snakes, dogs, tiny birds, anything with horns and antlers.  The way branching and fanning works with the geometric patterns is so impressive to me. And the color is just spectacular. I would like to just lay here in bed and think about snakes forming branches for birds and antlers burst with leaves, if someone would just come over to flip the "Rumors in Disguise" LP that I can't stop listening to.

Shellshag "Resilient Bastard"

Monday, November 15, 2010

VISION QUEST/the best song of all

Little Wheel Spin & Spin

The Crazy Horse West | Myspace Video

I know I have been posting a lot of videos lately- which I know I skip on other people's blogs. But, if you watch one video all long internetting day, watch this one of Buffy Sainte Marie singing "Little Wheel Spin and Spin" on that show RAINBOW QUEST (see below). I first heard this song when Dan Higgs covered it in a living room in Berkeley. It is so fantastically haunting in tone and in lyric.

Buffy Sainte Marie is just the best. She is a Canadian Cree who has spent most of her later years in Hawaii. She likes surfing and was married to Jack Nietzsche, who wrote fucking "Needles and Pins." Her son is named "Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild." She breastfed him on Sesame Street, see? Sainte Marie appeared frequently on Sesame Street after being "blacklisted" by Lyndon Johnson for her participation and support of Native uprising in the US. You can read all about it on her website

Here are some clips from her appearance on Sesame Street. It is hard to imagine some of the stuff was on TV. Or, to put it more precisely, it is striking how little there is of quiet and communicative television for children or anyone.

Here she introduces the MOUTHBOW, which is so impressive that she can sing and play at the same time. 

This is a scary song about the moon that also features on of my favorite editing overlay techniques.

The chant at the beginning of this is so cool. I also like the aesthetics of the street itself.

Sainte Marie has been making digital art from the early 80's on. Most of her work is this hyper-color digital psychedelic manipulation of photos. I get that it's overdone and really cheesy but I like it so much.

"Elder Brothers"


This is Wesakechak, the Cree mythological trickster. 

Sainte Marie is still making music. She won a Juno in 2009 for her latest record "Running for the Drum."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"My head is full of me"

"No Hole in My Head," Malvina Reynolds featuring Ramblin Jack Elliot and Pete Seeger.

Malvina Reynolds was a radical San Francisco native who made music until the day she died. Fantastically smart and willfully dedicated, she earned a doctorate in Romance Philology from UCBerkeley in 1939. She spent her life writing songs that gracefully blast the social order she opposed. Working in metaphor and synecdoche, songs like "Little Boxes" and the "New Restaurant" expose the ever encroaching shittiness of modern life. "Little Boxes," first made famous by Pete Seeger, is about the suburban sprawl and vapid, unsustainable architecture of the Daly City. It is now enjoying a resurgence since a Regina Spector's cover was used for the opening of Weeds.

"The New Restaurant"

All these videos are all from Pete Seeger's show called "RAINBOW QUEST." Shot all in black and white from 1965-66, Seeger had a bunch of folk legends sit around in the sound studio and play some tunes.  I don't really like Pete Seeger very much, but I really love "Rainbow Quest."

Here is he is covering one of Malvina's songs about San Francisco called "Seventy Miles." It's a protest song about the mistreatment of the bay.

What up driven lady radicals from the bay?!

Also, Susan Wengraf made a short documentary about Malvina in 1973. Has anyone seen it? Does anyone have it?

Friday, November 12, 2010


I cannot, simply cannot believe that I didn't know about this until two days ago. Featuring the likes of Peter Boyle and also the nice guy with the Wrangler at the end of Adventures in Babysitting, POOCHINSKI is maybe the best buddy-cop comedy concept. Like a ghostly Turner and Hootch or Oh Heavenly Dog with a raunchier, poorly made puppet Benji, watching Poochinski one can only wonder how anything like this ever got made  -let alone how it is its own genre. Also where did they find such perfect villains? I hope in the late 80's at the hight of TV crime dramas that there was a whole bunch of actors that only played sunglasses wearing villains who robbed in the daylight.

The only episode ever made is below (in three parts).
Note: the overly cinematic shots, the horrifying puppet, and weird romance with a widow subplot.


Thanks to Hannah for showing me this, the best thing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

can this camera

I was just trying to figure out how many flannels to put on before I go to see Let Me In for the second time (review forthcoming) and this is what I get bombarded with. I genuinely forget that these videos exist. And while I have a lot to say about the idea that the internet becoming a stockpile for a small but weird variety of media like this, I am mostly overwhelmed with shock when the internet suggests it to me. 

It's like how last night at the bar, this lady with nice glasses sent a dude with an old timey hat to ask me if I "hated" her because she thought I was giving her death stares. I wasn't. In fact, I was only looking at her because I liked her glasses! I had been told earlier in that same evening what an "honest face" I have -which I took as a particularly nice complement for what could be construed as an inability to prevent any insignificant passing thought from distorting my face. When the gentleman in the coal miner costume asked me if I had been giving her the stinkeye, I was shocked and could only reply "REALLY?" a lot of times before figuring out that it actually was hurting my feelings. "I try to be so nice!" and "I like her glasses! That's all!" was all I got out before the guy offered that he thought she was a crazy person.  He explained that his buddy was trying to hit on her and she wouldn't shut up about how I was looking at her so he was just trying to "put a cork in her ass" about it. While I like that phrase, I was still a little bent out of shape about the idea that I could unintentionally make someone feel bad like that. I feel like I try to put out good things into the world and more precisely to be friendly, but somehow the world gives me back felt hats putting corks in asses and bear attack videos when I am only trying to check the weather. I went over to smooth things over with girl who was still hanging out with those dudes who were international clothing importers or something. She acted like she didn't know what I was talking about. It got weird only to get weirder when the boss of the two guys asked my name. I told him and offered my hand for him to shake and he tried to fucking lick my hand. I pulled back my hand and said "no fucking way" and walked off. No one seemed to laugh or even take note.

To bring this all full circle back to internet videos, I am one drink at the Hemlock away from becoming the Winnebago Man.

Watch this documentary. It's a fair treatment of a brilliant and true wingnut that a bunch of dumbdumbs like but don't really appreciate. Jack Rebney is a fantastic figure who isn't all that angry. His friendship with Keith is so great as is his love for his dog, Buddha. There is a really touching scene where Keith brings Jack the single biggest windchime I have ever seen. It's also interesting that one of the things that drove Jack to his hermit status is the faltering of television news media, particularly the lack of candor and dignity available in that form. Plus, you get to see his cool wingnut lifestyle near Mt Shasta. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010


New tattoo? I think so. This is a photo of an acid blotter in an original rowboat wrapper. It's on display in a show of Mark McCloud's LSD collection at Ever Gold Gallery I would like to row a boat to today. I would like take a trip today in a rowboat. 


Yesterday, I called myself a postmodern Cathy. I just need larger speech bubbles to be able to fit "Split Subjecthooooods!" Rather than a chocolate obsession, it's rambling about locovore food angst. Insecurities dramatized on the internet rather than the dressing room.  My alienation might be different, but the sweat beads are just the same.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Giants won the World Series. Hannah and I got crushed in a stampede away from riot cops. It was worth it.

This version edits out the first part where Brian Wilson is told he is in violation of the "California Catch a Wave Statute." Watch it on this unembeddable link: SURF SQUAD