Tag Archives: nostalgia

Margaret Cho’s Blog Post ‘Lost’: my thoughts

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 I just got through reading the latest post on Margaret Cho’s Blog, It is at margaretcho.com. The post is titled ‘Lost” and it is just her thoughts about people who are missing, lost, and how that makes her feel. She mentions ‘In Search Of..” the old Leonard Nimoy series on creepy things, including people who are lost. I’m not conveying the feeling of that post very well. You really need to read it. Margaret Cho is one of the most honest individuals I have ever encountered. She is beautiful, and powerful. She served as the inspiration for this blog. I wanted to produce a blog as brutally honest and wonderful as hers. She is generally thought of as a comedian who focuses on gay, lesbian, transgender issues. But there is a lot more to Margaret Cho than that. I hope that she realizes that herself, because as I read her blog it seems as though she hasn’t come to terms with herself and her incredible power and ability to influence others. She just wants to be an ordinary person leading an ordinary life. That fact alone sets her apart from a lot of people involved in show business. When I first became aware of her by watching her on youTube back in November I was mesmerized and kind of fell in love with her. That infatuation has since cooled down, although she can still touch my heart and does frequently. I fell in love with her truth telling, her vulnerability, her fearlessness. Yes, she is both, therein lies much of the fascination. So check out her blog! If you like me, you will like her, I guarantee it! I have no idea if she is aware of this blog, but I often leave comments on her blog. Perhaps someday I will meet her. I guess you could say I am a bit starstruck, except she isn’t (according to her) a star. So I guess I am personstruck. Oh! and I almost forgot! She’s funny too!

Now I’d like to add my bit to what she wrote. There are people, a lot of people, actually more people than I care to think about, that are lost. Forget the milk carton kids, that is just the tip of the iceberg. It is shocking how many people are unaccounted for in this vast forsaken world. Where are they? They may be dead, or living a different sort of life under different names. They could be sex slaves, or something even more horrible could have been their fate. Who knows? Although I am quite visible, not at all difficult to find, I nevertheless feel lost. How many people really know that I am here. They get a glimpse, nothing more. I am a ghost. So much of me is lost. My hold upon my nearly empty shell is tenuous at best. A few people know my mind, my emotions, and perhaps a slight hint of my soul. But it is temporary. Seventy years or so is only a moment, one flash of light within an ocean of eternal darkness. That is lost. That is what lost means to me. Margaret Cho was right to feel scared as she contemplates the lost, for it is terrifying true. We are all lost to a degree, separated from each other and our world by something we feel but cannot understand. But it does seem to be of our own making, this lostness. The literally lost serve as a metaphor for our unbearable loneliness. Elvis Presley once said he felt lonely even in the middle of a crowd. It’s that kind of lonely street upon which we all dwell. I can understand why this affected Margaret Cho so much. She wants to love everyone in a direct physical, overpowering way and is stymied by this loneliness. Now there are those who would describe this lostness as our unbearably painful separation from God, but I don’t feel qualified to offer an opinion about that. I prefer to stick to my own experience, than to philosophize with my keyboard. In my own experience I am plagued by ghosts. I see them in my dreams and sometimes they appear suddenly and shock me into lucidity. The past is lost, and this is where these ghosts dwell. As I grow older an entire world is lost to me, and becomes a poignant memory. Lost? Ask any elderly person about lost. Ask the mentally ill about lost. They know lost. They have lived lost. While I am frightened by lostness, I am also drawn into it. This is the essence of my nostalgia for a time before I was born. I would have loved to have been practicing magick with Aleister Crowley or painting with William Waterhouse. I’d have had a grand old time with Mark Twain. When contemplating the past, the distant past, like that of ancient Greece or Rome, I can be overwhelmed by what has been lost, and filled with a deep sadness. Lost is an inexhaustible subject for it’s depths lie beyond our reach. We can only shine our feeble torch into this abyss and report our meager findings.

In my comments on her post, I told Margaret that I was listening to a very powerful piece of music by Leyland Kirby entitled “Don’t Sleep I Am Not What I Seem, I Am A Quiet Storm” (which I have been listening to while writing this post as well). It captures perfectly the feeling of lostness, that unbearable loneliness. If I succeed in finding it on youTube I will include it here. I haven’t figured out how or if I can post a song from my iTunes library. If you don’t find it here, look for the album “Sadly, the Future Is No Longer What It Was” by Leyland Kirby. This post by Cho came at just the right time for me, for I had been feeling particularly lost today. I still have no job, although I have an interview Monday. I feel adrift on the sea of the unknown. My thoughts are of long ago. I posted about the pre-Raphaelites and Oscar Wilde. I feel at home in their world. They certainly understood what it meant to be lost. I have also passed into and out of an entirely imaginary relationship and am at a loss where to take this story now that the romance is no longer really there. I am haunted by my own creations. Margaret Cho however is very real. I hope she continues to produce thought provoking pieces for her blog for many more years. A part of me is frightened for her. I don’t want anything to ever happen to such a talented woman. Not that I think she is in danger, I’m just feeling unsettled in general and this spills over into how I feel about people I care about. Lost. Unsettled. Plagued by Ghosts. Sadly, the Future Is Not What It Was.

Moon Girl

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Moon Girl was a Golden Age comic from the forties. It has become a bit of a cult classic. It began as an adventure comic, then morphed into more of a romance, then finally with Moon Girl #5 it morphed into a horror comic, setting the trend which became EC’s trademark genre. It was published by EC Comics, and has since fallen into public domain. Don’t you just love those little blue hot pants with the crescent moon on the side? In 2010 she re-emerged as a comiXology series. But it is the classic Moon Girl that I want to blog about.  Her basic premise is actually quite lame. A moon rock gives her superhuman powers, and her real name? Claire Lune of course! It is unclear who created her. but it may have been Maxwell Gaines the founder of EC Comics. She made her debut shortly before his death in a boating accident. The better known, Bill Gaines, his son, inherited EC Comics, and also helped found Mad Magazine.

She was roughly modeled after Wonder Woman. Gardner Fox, who normally wrote for DC Comics, was her primary writer. Her primary artist was Sheldon Moldoff, who also had worked for DC. She was a princess from Samarkand, and would never marry a man who could not defeat her in battle. She served as a powerful role model for girls who had a bit of a gothic side. This is primarily because of her last comic, “The Corpse With Will Power” which paved the way for EC’s horror comics. Her primary nemesis was Satana depicted below.

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Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

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Rossetti: Proserpine

 The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of painters, poets, and critics formed in 1848. They wished to restore art and literature to a more spiritual form of expression, instead of the rather formal constraints of academic art. Certain simple conventions prevailed in art beginning with Raphael. There was a tendency to avoid ostentation or excessive realism in any form. The Pre-Raphaelite wanted to return to a style that sought to depict nature as accurately as possible with extreme detail, realism, and spectacular color. All of this was in the service of a more spiritual result. They were in the vanguard of the Romantic movement in the arts. The Brotherhood didn’t last that long, by the end of the 1860’s they had more or less gone their separate ways, but their work inspired the later Symbolists and eventually the Decadence movement. The primary artists within the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Daniel Gabriel Rossetti. What I really like about these artists are how they depict the female form. They conveyed the magical quality of a woman’s face. There is a rich sensuality to their works due to the hyperrealism (my term. they were HD before the term existed). and vivid use of beautiful sexy colors. Beauty and sex are so closely related it is hard to separate the two. Sex is the desire to become one with the beautiful beloved, to merge together forming a new, uniquely beautiful and sexy being, and on it goes. From my perspective, art can serve a magical purpose, allowing the viewer to access parts of his or her self in ways not possible in any other way. Besides, it is awkward and rude to stare at a beautiful woman, however a painting of a beautiful woman can be stared at with delight, with no ill consequences. Alas, in some respects, all realistic art is pornographic. This is why realistic art was banned in the middle ages. I used to think they just didn’t have the skills, but no, the simple unrealistic forms are deliberate. Notice Rossetti’s use of the pomegranite (at least, I think that is what she’s holding). An unconscious association is made with the vagina. In the world of the pre-Raphaelite and even more so, the Symbolists and Decadents, objects and settings are symbols of other things or ideas. The paintings are a way of pointing to experiences that cannot be shown or heard, the spiritual realm if you will. It appeals to both my spiritual and perverse imaginations. There are many artists which have been considered Pre-Raphaelite who actually painted much later, such as John William Waterhouse, Gustave Moreau, These painters often used ancient myths and medieval tales as source material. Carl Jung would have said they were giving form to the universal archetypes of the collective unconscious. Freud would have said these paintings were a way of giving expression to their overflowing libido. They could both be right. All I know is that I can stare at these paintings for hours, lost in a reverie. For me, the experience is akin to the transformation of the senses which takes place when you fall in love. Everything becomes transformed, there is a special quality to the light, and the colors are magnificent when you are in love. I think that experience lies at the heart of pre-Raphaelite paintings. Then add a little Lord Byron, Shelley, or Yeats, and it is a veritable orgy of Romanticism. Perfect for young lovers!

Millais “Autumn Leaves” 1856

 Check out Proserpine by Rossetti above, do you see the hair? Rossetti could depict such rich, lush, hair better than anyone! You feel as though you could reach out and stroke her thick lovely hair. And the look within those dark eyes cannot be fully expressed. It depicts someone in deep thought, tinged with melancholy, and yet it is relatively subtle compared to the melodramatic style of the Symbolists. That is a useful distinction between the pre-Raphaelite and Symbolist. The Symbolist creates pure icons, divorced from that super realistic style of the pre-Raphaelite. The pre-Raphaelite uses nature itself to create that spiritual tipping point into blissful or perhaps mournful reverie. We have all had those pre-Raphaelite moments if you will, within our daily lives. Moments which are indelibly pressed into our consciousness. John Everett Millais, on the left, depicts what is for me an incredibly poignant scene, but not maudlin such as you might find in a Norman Rockwell print of the same kind of scene. Once again the effect is subtle but powerful. The light in this painting evokes autumn perfectly, and the expressions on the girl’s faces evoke a slight melancholy, but also pleasure. There is a hint of sadness even in the landscape. This is how autumn feels. Millais is a bit more conventional, not resorting to the hyper realism of Rossetti. You might say Millais preferred using more of a soft focus in his work. But I still can’t get over the exquisite use of color! One good thing about the internet age is the fact that you have entire art galleries at your fingertips. Of course it isn’t the same as having the paintings right in front of you, but at least you can access vast archives of paintings. I would encourage you to google these artists and see what you can find. Your computer monitor can serve as an imaginary light table bringing those paintings to life!

William Holman Hunt: Isabella and the pot of basil 1868

 Finally, for this post, I include one of the many wonderful paintings by William Holman Hunt. Look at the richness of detail and the sensual colors. It convinces me that ancient light was filled with delight. The face is a real face. This could easily be a HD digital photograph, the attention to strict realism is that good. Hunt’s women are voluptuous and invite lust as well as intellectual appreciation, Pre-Raphaelites delighted in the senses. They wanted us to see what they saw, touch what they touched, and feel what they felt. You feel as though you could reach out and hold that tablecloth in your hands! The pre-Raphaelites were not appreciated in their own time. They became very popular in the nineteen sixties drug culture because this kind of vivid realism and rich sensuality matches well the kind of languid eroticism produced by the ingestion of the best cannabis. I think the hippie subculture could also relate to the spirituality of these paintings. Spiritual eroticism! I suppose that could describe many of the pre-Raphaelite paintings. I will try to post more about the later Symbolist and Decadent schools of painting that owe a substantial debt to the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

In Praise of Starman

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An awesome Starman action figure I can't find anywhere

 STARMAN, The forgotten Super Hero

Remember the original DC Comics’ Starman? I’m not talking about his son, Jack, who had his own Starman comic in the nineties, and may still for all I know. I am concerned here with Ted Knight, the scientist who invented the gravity rod, which was replaced by the cosmic rod. He didn’t have any super powers, it was all in the rod. Did you hear that ladies? But, primarily, as a child, I just liked his costume. Even though the yellow star on the red costume seems a bit Communist to me now. I liked the Buck Rogers fin on his head. The artist, Jack Burnley gave Starman that noble sort of Prince Valiant look, which I liked. I didn’t care about the plot. He was fun to look at. But there are some interesting facts about Starman worth noting. Did you know that he was involved in the Manhattan Project which developed the atomic bomb? He was so distraught over what he had helped create that he suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for many years. Although Starman had his own comic briefly, he was chiefly seen as a member of the Justice Society of America, the original DC gathering of super heroes which fought the Nazis and Japan among other things. Once in a while, DC would bring back the Justice Society, until finally, in the twenty first century they have their own comic once again. Starman’s son, Jack, became the new Starman in the nineties, but he didn’t have the nifty costume. The plots were better, though, but then, comics in recent decades have been more for adults than children. So I thought I would share my love of an often forgotten DC superhero of the golden age. Here are three panels of Starman comics.

The world driven insane by a band of metaphysical villains? I think this actually happened!

 


One Less Monkee

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Davey Jones is dead. He died of a heart attack. It is hard to imagine Davey Jones as anything other than young. I loved the Monkees. Daydream Believer still takes me back to the summer of 1967, when I was a kid. When everything was candy, comic books, and crushes on cute girls (which Daydream Believer captures perfectly). Those of you that really know about the Monkees realize there was far more to this band than met the eye. They were a pretty savvy bunch of guys. They made a movie in 1968 named ‘Head’ which included a Frank Zappa cameo. They satirized their teenage idol success. If only Justin Bieber could do the same! But the Monkees music was excellent pop, written in large part by Neil Diamond and other top notch songwriters. True, they weren’t the Beatles, but they didn’t try to be. They just wanted to be a fun band, and they played their roles with their tongues firmly lodged in their cheeks. The tv show was fun, too. Beatles fans at that time were a bit nostalgic for the early Beatles, when they were full of innocent fun. and the Monkees gave them that. Davey Jones had a sweetly comic quality, never really losing that baby face, even in his fifties. That time seems so long ago, and just yesterday, at the same time. I can imagine in my mind the fun that the Monkees would have had with that sentence. “Just yesterday?” “No, man, it was long ago!” “But he just said….” “It’s called a metaphor.” “No it isn’t!” “Well, it’s one of those literary devices!” “Devices?” “Well, nothing’s changed for us, we’re still the same, right Davey?” “Hey, where’s Davey?”

The songs drew from many sources. (not your) Stepping Stone could have been an Animals song. I’m a Believer is as strong a song as any Beatles song, and sounds like one. It was written by Neil Diamond. Daydream Believer sounds a lot like the Lovin’ Spoonful. There were a few more obscure songs which hold up fairly well. Michael Nesmith wrote many of the Monkee’s songs (he was the one with the wool cap), and he never really received the accolades he deserved. Johnny Cash was a big fan of Nesmith. ‘The Girl I Knew Somewhere’ and ‘Mary Mary’ were as good as the bigger hits. Although it wasn’t written by Nesmith, Last Train to Clarksville holds up really well as a country song, as well as pop. The Monkees specialty were well-crafted pop songs which are as much fun now as they were then.

This is yet another unwelcome reminder of how things change for us baby boomers. Our childhood heroes die of heart attacks reminding us of our own mortality. I guess that’s not very funny, huh?

Viggo Rasp or is it Fritz Mortensen?

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Viggo Mortensen seduces Louise Brooks, Wait! That can't be right!

Does anyone remember Fritz Rasp? He is that sinister other-worldly figure that haunts Metropolis, the sci-fi classic from the 1920’s. He also seduced Louise Brooks in Diary of a Lost Girl. At least, that is what we think we know. Actually, it is perfectly obvious to us that Fritz is Viggo Mortensen. How can this be? I think we need to ask Viggo a few questions to clarify the matter. Time travel? It’s hard to say. Maybe Fritz Rasp is Viggo’s grandpa? I am a fan of both actors, but this particular post focuses more on Fritz Rasp. Fritz captured a certain casual sadism pervasive in Weimar Germany. He seems to be this grotesque exaggeration of Aryan manhood, personifying the menacing  storm troopers which filled the streets at that time. He is deliciously creepy. Viggo Mortensen? He could certainly project a vicious manliness, but creepy? Not really. unless you count his performance in History of Violence. I am referring to the part of the film after he loses the nice family guy facade. That was creepy, but in a different way from Fritz Rasp. Even when Viggo is being a total bastard, you tend to root for him, but nobody roots for Fritz Rasp, except possibly Josef Goebbels.

I have seen the future and it is Fritz Rasp!!!

 

What to make of this bizarre resemblance, ja? Ist is a topic of much interest here in the Metropolis. Viggo ist ubermensch for your time, your reich. Very strong, ja! You must be proud of him! Such a fine Aryan, and a good actor as well!

Yeah, well, thanks Fritz.

I think.

Let’s see what other doppelgangers I can find! But take a look! They aren’t identical, but there is a distinct resemblance between the two actors.