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Pavilion Digest: July 2007

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:59 am
by admin
The following posts contain Art Deco Dining Pavilion messages for the month of July 2007.

SICKO

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:59 am
by Larry Forrest
Name: Larry Forrest
Source: unca20070808.htm
I saw SICKO on Friday. It's a masterpiece. You will laugh, you will cry, but most of all you will be ANGRY. I think the real genius of Michael Moore (and I feel a bit odd calling a fat guy in a baseball cap a genius) is that he puts a human face on statistics. To hear that 18,000 Americans die every year because they cannot get the necessary health care is disturbing; however, to hear the tearful testimony of a woman whose husband died because their insurance company would not approve an "experimental" treatment, is an emotional haymaker.

Not since JAWS have I seen an audience so masterfully manipulated--and I mean "manipulated" in the best sense of the term. Normally, I'm a "Just-the-facts-ma'am" kind of guy: give me the facts and the figures, minus the emotional spin, and I'll make up my mind, thank you very much. Watching SICKO, however, I realized that there are some issues we SHOULD be emotional about; and that to omit the emotions is to neglect an important part of the equation.

Unless one has a heart of stone, it is impossible NOT to get emotional at the sight of mentally and physically ill people being dumped on skid row in LA; at the story of a mother whose year-and-a-half old daughter died because she was refused care at a hospital, due to insurance company restrictions; and at the woes suffered by people who volunteered to help after 9/11 in New York City, and have been refused treatment by the government.

(A digression: The government pocketbook, which snaps shut in the faces of these noble volunteers, opens wide in the presence of sales reps for Halliburton. Gee, wonder why?)

Whatever one may say of Michael Moore, this much is certain: he is an iconoclast. And, regarding his documentarian style, I think the comment of another iconoclast, H.L. Mencken, applies: "One horselaugh is worth ten-thousand syllogisms." One more relevant quip: "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" as written by Paddy Chayefsky and shouted by Peter Finch/Howard Beale.

See SICKO and get angry.




The Unraveling Thread

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:03 am
by Moderator
Name: Steve Barber
Source: unca20070808.htm
(Apologies for the length of this post)

I have mentioned, ad nauseum perhaps, that my wife is a performer. And that her gigs take us from one end of what television executives would refer to as the Los Angeles SMSA to the other. They may be anything from large corporate events on the lawn of some resort hotel in Laguna or automotive showrooms in Santa Monica, to public performances at trendy nightclubs (Martini Blues or the Coach House) or small local venues like our favorite restaurant, Long Beach's Four Olives Cafe. I am the roady for the smaller gigs, setting up and breaking down the gear (the size of which depends heavily on the size of the venue, and at the bigger things we have a professional sound guy who she brings in. However. at all of those events I am welcome to pull up a chair and enjoy the party.

(Wait for it. There's a solid Ellison connection here. Just gimme time for a proper framing.)

There are other gigs she plays, usually at private residences, that -- to me -- require that I make myself scarce. Sitting at someone's house, or at the private hall in some ritzy hotel -- usually for four or five hours -- is uncomfortable for me. I feel very much like a crasher and while I'm well socialized (really, I am) and more than capable of "working a room", it's niot appropriate to do so at a private affair.

Which brings me to last night. A couple of months ago a woman we've never met, but who who considers herself a "major fan" of Cris' music, contacted my wife through her website asking if, for the woman's 40th birthday, Cris would consider playing a few sets. The woman, by the way, is extraordinarily nice, enthusiastic and polite. (This isn't one of THOSE stories.) They talked by phone, and agreed that Cris and two musicians would plays for 'x' hours at her house, blah, blah, blah. It would require our "small" music system, and we could set up in the back yard by the pool.

(No, the pool doesn't feature in this tale either. Give me time.)

Oh. I forgot to mention. This particular gig was north of LA in a town called Stevenson Ranch, which is a couple of miles from the Magic Mountain Theme Park. Roughly sixty miles from our house. Too far for me to set up and go home, but too long a gig for me to use my dvd player without destroying the car battery in the process. So, dinner and a movie for me. (Unfortunately, the only film playing in a usable showtime was "Knocked Up". Cris told me show would have my head if I were to see "Ratatouille" or "Die Hard".)(And no, this isn't about the movie either.)

The movie ended around ten pm, and since the gig had been scheduled to end at 10:30 I headed back towards the house. Halfway there my cellphone rings. It's Cris. The client has asked for them to play overtime -- nice money, and it certainly means they're enjoying the music. It's good, and I'm a good sport about it, but as I hang up I realize I'm in a bedroom community that rolls up the streets at Ten. Finally, I manage to find a Chili's Restaurant where I can park my backside for at least a ha;f hour or so. (Don't hate me. It was a port in a storm. Well. A light rain.)(Hold on. Almost there.)

So I grab my book and go in. ANGRY CANDY. Written by Mr. Harlan J. Ellison. I haven't picked up ANGRY CANDY for a few years, and had recently gotten this copy (hardback) at the Penny Lane event a month ago.

To refresh your memories, the introduction of the book -- THE WIND TOOK YOUR ANSWER AWAY -- deals with the subject of death. Not just death as it impacts us all, but death for those people who have left a legacy, a contribution to the betterment of us all. The years leading up to 1988 were rough ones on our patron (much as have been the last few, I might note). Many friends gone in a short period of time. Harlan goes through a series of events which shook him to his very soul, and tells it as only he can.

He mentions, in one particular passage, the loss of Theodore Sturgeon. In it, Harlan must call the now-dead-itself Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, where he encounters a young fool who doesn't recognize Sturgeon's name. This is too much for our host and he does his thing and leaves the kid something to think about.

Oh. One other point of note: a few pages earlier -- to re-refresh your memories -- Harlan mentions that each collection of his works has a unifying thread that, in many ways, just assembles itself. (Getting to the meat of the post here.)

As I am reading this piece, it strikes me that -- on this night of a brilliant full moon, sixty miles from my house -- the evening itself had a common thread. A fortieth birthday. A film about an unwanted (initially) pregnancy. The book ANGRY CANDY.

And as I'm sitting in my little booth in Chili's reading an introduction on the subject of death and how fleeting fame can be, I overhear a conversation at the table behind me. A Thirty-ish manager with a male voice is sitting, going over little restauranty things with what sounds like a late-teenish young woman. Over the Muzak comes the 'Handle With Care' by the Traveling Wilburys. Also coincidentally released in 1988, which I did not know until this morning.

The manager absently mentions he "loves this song."

There's a pause. "I've never heard it. Who does it?" comes the reply.

"The Traveling Wilburys. With Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison."

"Never heard of 'em."

"Really?" You can feel the surprise. It's palpable, even through the booth seat. "How about George Harrison or Bob Dylan? They're in the band too."

"I think maybe....?"

"Harrison. The Beatles?"

"Oh, gosh, THEM I've heard of! Didn't know he was still alive...."

At this point I closed my copy of Angry Candy, closed the introduction dealing with death and the loss of a legacy which should be oh-so-important, signaled for the check, and left to collect my wife at the fortieth birthday party. The last thing I hear from the conversation behind me is the 30-ish manager's voice.

"God. I feel so old..."




Michael Moore and emotions

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:55 pm
by KOS
Name: KOS
Source: unca20070808.htm
Sicko might be a great film, but Michael Moore is just a slick purveyor of sarcasm and anger masquerading as righteousness. He's a hypocritical exploiter of his own workers, stealing credits and appropriating as his own the work of others.

"Other than that, how did you like the play Mrs. Lincoln?"

Populism in a baseball cap, sitting in the backseat of a limo on the way to his Manhattan penthouse while his kids go to private schools on the East Side.

And yes, I do believe in walking the walk while talking the talk, and calling those who don't the spade they are,

Ah, but his heart is in the right place.

But it's so human to love the manipulator. We all love to be twisted by those who can play the music. Those who can play the pretzel logic songs of the heart love to see the crowd dance to the melody.

But it's stilll a mugs game, and you're a fool to whistle to the tune and think you will never have to pay the piper.

Cults of personality always lead to the same thing: blind worship and the surrender of your own moral faculties.

KOS

On Michael Moore

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 3:37 pm
by T
Name: T
Source: unca20070808.htm
First of all, I bet there are lots of "geniuses" who are overweight and who wear ballcaps.

Second, I don't believe I have surrendered my "moral faculties" because I am a huge fan of Michael Moore's work
over and out,

Tim


On Michael Moore

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 3:37 pm
by Tim Lowe
Name: Tim Lowe
Source: unca20070808.htm
First of all, I bet there are lots of "geniuses" who are overweight and who wear ballcaps.

Second, I don't believe I have surrendered my "moral faculties" because I am a huge fan of Michael Moore's work
over and out,

Tim


Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:42 pm
by Alan Coil
Name: Alan Coil
Source: unca20070808.htm
"and I feel a bit odd calling a fat guy in a baseball cap a genius"

Harlan has been known to wear a baseball cap, I do believe.



Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 5:03 pm
by robochrist
Name: Rob
Source: unca20070808.htm
KOS,

"Michael Moore is just a slick purveyor of sarcasm and anger masquerading as righteousness."

In short, you're implying he doesn't really believe or believe IN his own arguments; his films belie his true convictions. Moore doesn't REALLY give a shit.

I'm taking you to task. Back your statement with some facts. PROVE what you just said.

Because I think your comment is utter bullshit.

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 5:34 pm
by shagin
Name: shagin
Source: unca20070808.htm
Rob,

Nothing in KOS's remark even remotely implied the thoughts or opinions you're trying to foist on him. KOS didn't claim that Moore did not believe in said causes, he didn't even claim that the causes themselves weren't worthy. I believe his remark was geared more towards the means of how such causes were presented and how the public might respond. Does your challenge have more to do with what was said, or the fact that he came out against Moore's style?

KOS can speak for himself quite well, thank you, and I'll let him do just that. I can't find anything disagreeable about his post.


S.

More Moore

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 5:40 pm
by Greg Hurd
Name: Greg Hurd
Source: unca20070808.htm
I hate to get on board defending Michael Moore in such a biased forum, but the ploy "He's a hypocritical exploiter of his own workers, stealing credits and appropriating as his own the work of others." was used after the TV Nation days by some whiners who found themselves out of a job after the plug was pulled on the show and hasn't been used since that I know of. Just seems to be the same bullshit regugitated by the Internet. If you stick around for the credits there are dozens of people who are named, and they're not all named Michael Moore. He puts the stuff out and he becomes the target by either the right wing conspiracy or the left wing hypocrisy.

After "Bowling for Columbine" did so well a local reporter who knew Moore in Flint did a hit piece and recounted Moore's days of living in of a hovel, smoking dope and spouting revolution. And he did go on forever about the smoking dope/scoring dope scenario. That piece ran here, Traverse City, Detroit and Flint. Not that it made much of an impact. Moore was in his early thirties at that point in the article and hardly riding in limos. The short stint at Mother Jones did not make him much cash either. He did bust his ass along the way and saw much of what is wrong in our country and does seem to have a conscious about reporting it. Flint may not have the allure of Compton and East LA, but there are still some shitty areas. If I had not been reading Moore's stuff since 1982, I might jump on this particular hay wagon.


By the way, has anyone checked out Zack de la Rocha's stock portfolio?

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:57 pm
by Anthony Ravenscroft
Name: Tony Ravenscroft
Source: unca20070808.htm
I'm ducking the Michael Moore thing entirely, because the journalist in me doesn't like how he's bent more than a few facts to tell a story, & the storyteller in me utterly admires how the truths he gets across are greater than the damaged (& smaller?) truths he's damaged to get there.

Today, NPR did a nice, all-too-short overview of _Bladerunner_, interviewing some of the primary actors (Hauer & Olmos specifically) as to what they took from the experience.

Last year, when some board or other asked, "What film moment made you cry?" I readily said, "Roy Batty's 'like tears in rain' monologue."

And those media bastards played it again, the last lines at least, & I sat there & cried.

Possibly the only lines I wish Ellison'd written. Certainly the pinnacle of Hauer's eloquence.

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:00 pm
by BrianSiano
Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20070808.htm
There's a lot to dislike about Michael Moore. But face facts, friends; _Sicko_ addresses an important and appalling issue, and Moore does it with wit, style, and undeniable power. Sure, bitch about his use of melodrama, his self-promotion, and all of the "fallacies' lovingly compiled by corporate flacks who've been paid very, very well to take down Moore.

He's nailed this issue more effectively than anyone else. He is our most effective muckraker and hellraiser, and despite some misgivings, I'll take him with all his faults.

And you should all be very, very suspicious of the people denouncing him.


Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:09 pm
by Paul Mounts
Name: Paul Mounts
Source: unca20070808.htm
Steve,

I know the feeling. Yesterday I picked up The Beatles Anthology on DVD, replacing my old laserdisc edition, and the early-20s clerk at Best Buy shrugged and said, "The Beatles. Huh. I've never heard an entire Beatles song"

Really? not even "Yesterday" or "Something"?

"Never heard of those."

I'm 43 and felt 90.

RE: The Unraveling Thread

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:11 pm
by Daniel Peretti
Name: Dan Peretti
Source: unca20070808.htm
Steve,

I found your post a good read. The thing is, the problem has been thoroughly diagnosed. Call it cultural amnesia, ignorance, or what have you. It's certainly a disconcerting phenomenon. But what's to be done about it? Perhaps a naive question, but I don't really have an answer.

I was particularly disturbed by the girl's comment George Harrison. It's almost as if she wouldn't listen to someone's music once that person's dead.

Dan

re: the Beatles, etc., and another way of looking at things.

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:44 pm
by DTS
Name: DTS
Source: unca20070808.htm
PAUL: Personally, I can't figure out why the clerk's comments would make you feel old. What they should make you feel is privileged to be smart enough that you seek out worthwhile music (or books, or art, or whatever). After all, _I_ listen to various types of music from the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s -- not to mention classical music from centuries well before the 20th -- and I'm certainly much younger than the folks who were around when any of the tunes I listen to might've been popular. What you should've said to the clerk was, "Your loss," and then continued about your day with the knowledge that most human beings can't even be led to water, let alone encouraged to drink it.

Cheerily,
DTS