Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Previously: Aside from sounding like the double feature of a Beverly Hills police booking session, I had no idea what the hell she was thinking of. Three Men and a Warrant, maybe. But this? I was really starting to hate bus travel.

And now: I had no stomach for this. Between Ginger’s and Kippy’s attempt at becoming a topic on TMZ, I had a notion to trash every theatre I came across. Maybe the lack of a showcase for their delusions would send them a message that no one was interested, least of all me. But of course, I was wrong again.

Unbelievably, Sling Blade – The Musical found a backer in some former cultural czar, one Zoltan Kovach, from a small country located in the previously Soviet bloc. Turns out Zoltan, a former musician among other things, was a big Billy Bob Thornton fan and thought the musical version would bring new life to the story and Billy Bob’s career. Great, a showbiz type filled with altruism. Yup, we’re in a downward slide towards theatrical mediocrity. And old Z was giving it one more huge shove further into the abyss. I’m sure it’ll be on Netflix before too long. I never saw that one coming.

5107654694_e599b2051d Zoltan performing one of his renowned 22 hour drum solos with his punk-groove band, Snot.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ginger gets a call from her agent, yes, she had an agent! Didn’t see that one coming either. This agent must have absolutely no eye for talent much less one for gender. It appears Ginger was so convincing, to him at least, that he thought he could score some points with the “lady” by finding a producer for this abomination. Seems these three actors were dying to do a film together, but short of making The Expendables: Part 11, nothing was out there for them. Until this producer showed up. Wait for it, wait for it… yes! It’s Zoltan! Talk about a hat trick. What are the chances? About the same as running into Ginger on this friggin’ bus!

6858007097_e7153c5f90 The Expendables – Part 11 tryouts.

Ginger is my brother,  er, sorry, sister, after all. And I do feel a very small sense of familial responsibility for her. Very small. But I don’t want to see her get hurt, so I pull out my iPad and do a little research on Zoltan Kovach. Seems like Zoltan is everything he says he is…and more. Of course! Why wouldn’t he be?

Mr. K’s past is quite a colorful one punctuated by numerous stints in various gulags. I could hardly wait to see his sticker-festooned luggage, “I saw Solzhenitzin!” and the like. Good times, good times. His crimes, or as he was later to describe them as youthful indiscretions (youthful? he was 70 at least!), included but were not limited to faux vodka, bogus Kroger cards (really?), artificial caviar, and the management of the ill-fated Yugo Racing Team. Not to mention his dubious websites promising anything from a veritable fountain of youth to build your own spacecraft. He was anything if not ambitious. Too bad he was a lying, thieving crook…and those were his good traits.

4670256250_fed0d8e2b5One of the Racing Yugo’s in a familiar pit stop.

On the other hand, and you always had to watch out for this as it seems Zoltan’s hands were predisposed to wandering onto one’s body parts and/or into their pockets, he did have one or two redeeming qualities.

The first, well the only redeeming quality, was his ability to score the best Kazakstan weed. It was probably its influence that made these “artistic” endeavors seem worthwhile. What the hell else could it be?

Previously: It wasn’t going to be pretty. And that was before his scholarship idea.

And now: Not pretty at all. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of anything Billy Bob, Thornton or other wise. That’s probably why I like Angelina. She got out when she saw the handwriting on her arms. But, getting back to the issue at hand – a musical of Sling Blade? Really? I’m still asking myself that. I can only hope that this too eventually will be stillborn and quickly forgotten. Kippy can be like a dog with a bone though. Who knows how long this insanity will continue? And then I ask myself, does it really matter? If not that, then something else. And sure enough, here it comes. The scholarship idea.

It seems like Kippy was watching an inordinate amount of crap TV, you know like American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance?, and my favorite, America’s Got Herpes. Kippy penguins over to me and offers in his best clandestine stage whisper, “Fog, you’re going to love this.”

4040171378_362068b127 Yeah, that American Idol.

No, I-am-not-going-to-love-this! No, not at all.

But he persists. “Do you ever watch that program, American Idol?

No, I insist.

“Sure you do. I know you like to look at all the girls. Old ones. young ones, skinny ones…”

“Yeah, yeah. Stop already.” He did have a point, but I wasn’t going there; restraining orders and all that. “OK, Kippy, what’s up?”

“Fog, I want to help the kids.” I hate to air dirty laundry, well no, not really, but that’s what got Kippy into trouble last time. No, it’s not what you think. He was just handing out strange treats at last year’s neighborhood Halloween party. Most people give out candy bars, Snickers, that kind of stuff, right? Not Kippy. He was handing out those little containers of faux coffee creamer, all flavors. For those kids he thought were too robust (his word, mine is fat), he was giving out packets of Splenda and Sweet ‘n’ Low. You see how some parents might get just a little bit upset? The cops came and told him that 1. he had to stop that; and 2. he had to be out of town on all subsequent Halloweens. He was a little bit crushed but then realized he could go to all the non-stop Rocky Horror Picture Shows he wanted to. And he didn’t have to buy anything for the sniveling little beggars. (Again his words.)

1517086501_336887effe Just one of the kids, I guess.

Sorry, that was too much but when I hear Kippy talking about kids I get a little worked up.  He continued. “Fog, look with all the cuts to school budgets, the music programs are getting tossed out. That’s not fair. We might miss the next musical genius, might be the next Brittany, er, Bieber. You know, what’s her, uh – his name? Never mind. My idea gets around those cuts. We won’t even need musical instruments anymore!”

Wait for it, wait for it, here it comes.

“Are you ready? This is so great. We’ll get the junior community college to start awarding acapella scholarships. Any kid with a voice can apply. Well, a good voice, we must have standards you know. Before long I can see this as a sort of farm club for Broadway!”

Why do I bother listening? Why do I hang around this place? Why? Why?

Previously: Good grief, I wish I had a blade so I could cut myself out of this joke. But, Kippy was serious.

And now: So Kippy really was serious about the Sling Blade musical idea. He went on and on about it for days. His ideas continued to careen between just plain silly to out-and-out, world-class, state-of-the-art, carbon fiber stupid. It was that monumental in its outrageousness. In keeping with that theme Kippy wanted to sign on John Mayer and Katy Perry for the music. Yes, this was getting completely out-of-hand in it’s ludicrousness. But then, Polly of all people steps in with an idea how they could do it on the cheap and reach a maximum audience. Polly? Really? Guess she ran out of Sterno.

4239946302_5b79b499d1     2608725369_14a8b377d7 Hey!…it could happen.

Polly, in one of her Sterno-induced, hallucinatory urban stumbles, wandered unknowingly into a cafe where they served caffeine libations exclusively. Being somewhat unaware of the proper protocols, she sat down at another’s table and started merrily hammering away on their unattended Mac. Before long, she was watching soft-core food porn and wondering where she’d be able to score some risotto. Not that she knew what it was, but it looked soft enough for her to eat, given her current dental condition. She was hooked, (yes, we all know how addictive a personality she has), and before long was tabbing back and forth and checking out every conceivable podcast she could find. But that, as all good things do, had to end. The computer’s owner returned and had Polly cruelly and emphatically reintroduced to the sidewalk. But not before she had the idea.

Polly as lucidly as possible shares her idea with us. “Put the friggin’ play on the www. interweb!” OK, so she didn’t fully understand the net, but it was a start. And we all had to admit there was more than a little merit to her idea. First of all, the production costs would be way cheaper. Score one for Polly. Secondly, we didn’t need union talent. Way to go again for Polly. Thirdly, and this is what attracted most of us, probably hardly anyone would see it sparing Kippy (and the rest of us) enormous embarrassment. Kippy loved the idea because he thought he’d be leading the vanguard in a whole new art form. It appears he didn’t know much more about the internet than Polly. We are not without mercy and decided not to tell Kippy he wasn’t the first, or second, or… you get the idea.

3823517383_2eb37048e5 This really shouldn’t be happening!

So, now Kippy is creating his list of investors, or “angels” as he calls them, to invest in this sure-fire theatrical hit. The rest of us all quickly pleaded financial hardships so Kippy could go hit up the unsuspecting yet hopeful “angels.” To quote Dante, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” It wasn’t going to be pretty. And that was before his scholarship idea.

Previously: Brilliant was right. In the same way a 15 watt light bulb is brilliant. This was not going to end well.

And now: Little did any of us towering intellects know that we would soon be needing a mouthpiece sooner than later and not just for resisting arrest.

Pops was down with the lawyer idea. He thought it might bring some here-to-fore needed class the pizzeria sorely lacked. F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, and Johnny Cochran could not have brought class to this place, but, hey, I’ve crushed enough of Pops’ dreams to say anything about it. So, unbelievably, the resisting arrest scam was working. Look, it’s New Jersey, anything is possible here. And things were quiet. No PETA protests, Doris Day was happy with her new dogs, Pops was selling pizza and juris medicine in the back. It was too quiet. But we take our gifts where we get ’em.

6327151234_bd3c0dbf8a Not the caliber of lawyer at O’Shea’s.

Now that all that was humming along nicely, the drama reduced to a low, barely-discernible moan, I could go visit O’Shea’s and watch Ahmed polish his new glass, and finally indulge in one of his falafels. Life was good. Yeah, for the moment. I know I told you about O’Shea’s before, but it does have the best falafel in town. Town being Newark. Newark is out there, hanging on in the dark by its fingernails to the border, right across the river from New York City wishing it wasn’t in New Jersey. It had pretensions once, but now it’s come to grips with itself. It even at one time had its own theatre district. Now why you ask am I mentioning that? Well, what remains of the old and decrepit theatre crowd of hangers-on and former wannabees like to come into O’Shea’s and reminisce over their falafels and gin and tonics. It’s a strange crowd. It’s like watching outtakes from the old Mel Brooks movie, The Producers. Usually, it’s a harmless and almost amusing group of farts. Usually.

Tonight, we’re about to experience an out-of-body event, but I’m not sure whose body. One of the old-timers, named Kippy Sewell, creeps up to the bar next to me and signals Ahmed to join us. Us? I’m just sitting there nursing my falafel. I didn’t ask to join this but it looks like I’m into it.

“Hehnnn… Ahmed. C’mere.” hisses Kippy. Hissing is about all Kippy can manage after Tranks and Barry shook him down, literally, for an unpaid debt of some forgotten nature. “Ahmed, c’mere.”

Ahmed is deep into polishing the glass and doesn’t want to be bothered especially by the likes of Kippy. But Kippy is that rare bird seldom found in O’Shea’s – he pays his tab, so Ahmed reluctantly wanders over, but not before slowly straightening every bottle on the shelf behind him. “OK, Kippy, whadisit? I got glasses to polish.”

“Ahmed, you’re going to love this. You too Fog. But you’ve got to keep it on the down low.” You gotta give Kippy this – he speaks really well, enunciating each word as if in a Shakespearean play, only with hissing sibilance. You can take the boy out of the theatre, but… well, you know the rest.

Neither Ahmed or I are particularly interested in this, but boredom seeps in quickly at O’Shea’s so we listen. “What is it this time, Kippy?”

“I’ve just come across the most unique and original script of a play that I’ve seen in a long time. It is guaranteed to bring live theatre musicals back to the top. I’m looking for backers and you two need to get in on the ground floor. You’ll get rich!”

8318342482_5eb31fdb56 Yeah, it is a Broadway musical, but it looks more like the PETA protest.

Ahmed looks around and realizes there are more bottles that need straightening and departs for his shelves, leaving me with Kippy. I have to decide whether to make an excuse and leave, not finishing my falafel. Nope, can’t do THAT. So, I stay and listen to what Kippy believes will make us all rich. Looking back, I realize I can get a falafel pretty much anytime, but too late.

“Fog, do you go to the movies? Do you like movies? Musicals? Dance numbers?” Kippy says. “This is important.”

“No, Kippy, not really. The last movie I saw didn’t have sound.” I really didn’t want to indulge him, so sarcasm was my only refuge.

“Fog, I know that’s not true. I remember seeing you removing Polly from a Dana Delaney film festival. So there.” he hehnned triumphantly.

“OK, Kippy, shoot. I can’t hide the truth from you any longer.”

“Fog,” he always starts each query with your name. “Remember that actress with the big lips, Angela… what was it? Not Lansbury. No, no. Angelina, Yes, yes, Angelina… Jolie. That’s her. remember her? She was married to that weird guy who tattooed her name on himself. Well he made a movie that I’ll never forget.”

Oh great. He’s made a few. Which one and why? “OK, I’ll bite..which one?”

“Fog, you know the one. The one where he mumbles all the time.. Hmgnnhh. Right. Well, this script is marvelous. It’s a musical version of Sling Blade!”

2788022437_7cf29e2035 Hey, he does sing. Maybe it could work!

Good grief, I wish I had a blade so I could cut myself out of this joke. But, Kippy was serious.

Spinal Tap is one of the funniest films ever made. Period. End of discussion. Bruce and I agree on this wholeheartedly. Rarely does a film come around that so entirely embraces and then redefines the medium that all others which follow are merely rehashes of someone else’s idea of art. Feh, we say to the poseurs, Feh! Filled with clever bon mots and stingingly pointed one liners, Spinal Tap has almost as many quotable lines as Shakespeare. It is that good.

One of the lines that stands out is when Nigel Tufnel is describing his new amp as being more powerful than all other previously manufactured amps, “This one goes to eleven.” Yes it does, yes it does. It is one better, one stronger, one louder. Who could ask for anything more? Why, we do. If that simple but brilliant thought process could be applied to anything, we could quickly improve the world’s condition quickly without having to come up with a single creative idea on our own, thus putting us out of business. Thinking that hard is, well, hard. There isn’t that much Tylenol in the world to cope with the myriad headaches created by such effort.

This one indeed goes to 11!

So it is with that in mind, we have applied a similar yet equally effective adjustment to the literary 21st century equivalent of Spinal Tap, and that’s Fifty Shades of Grey. Coming just in time for holiday gift giving is our new book, Fifty-One Shades of Grey. Figuratively speaking, this book goes to 11. It is better, it is stronger, and it is certainly louder. If 50 is good, then 51 must better, right? Damn straight it is!

And like the group Spinal Tap’s music, ours too is completely derivative. No new ideas, just more of the same warmed-over, groin-grinding, bodice-busting, beach-season reading pulp guaranteed to titillate or at the very least offend. After all, art exists to shock. If you liked 50, you’re gonna love 51! Or so says the new advertising campaign to be launched next week.

Now it would be easy to just build on what 50 has created. If that many people liked it, how hard could it be? After all since the reading level in this country is so low, we must make certain it can’t have many poly-syllabic words. (Bruce so loves using that word. He thinks it makes him sound professorial. Personally, I think it makes him sound effete, but who I am to deny him his small pleasures?)

Wait until you read 51!

We have made a concerted effort though to create something mildly different though. Were we to have actually read 50, we feel like we would have been plagiarizing it and that is just too much work. Everything about 51 is our concept of what 50 is, could have been, and maybe will be when it grows up. So without further fanfare, here is an excerpt from our upcoming novel and its already planned sequels. So, ladies, get the kids to bed; send the husband out to find the latest drug-induced flavor of Ben and Jerry’s, get the bottle of Pinot Grigio out of the fridge and pour yourself the first of many glasses, and turn the fan on. It’s going to get warm in here.

Excerpt: “My name is Steele. Ms. Steele to you. I’m here to see Mr. Grey or whatever he’s calling himself these days.”

His assistant was not thrilled with the tone I’d taken so pre-emptorily. She was probably used to being the cheese around here. Well, I was about to curdle her 51 ways until Sunday.

“Mr. Grey is not in,” she hissed.

Hissing back, I let my voice claw her pretty, little, vacant head, “Don’t give me any of that crap. His new car is in his spot and I saw his door close as I came in. Are you going to get out of my way or am I going to have run over you?” She was no longer the cheese now.

After a longish stare fight, Steele’s door opened and out walked the man. He was not what I expected. He had the look of an emaciated Eastern European left too long in a dank, cheap night club without any Stoli available. Deprivation’ll do that to you. “Ahh, you must be Ms. Steele, Anastasia. I’ve been expecting you. Come in.” Looking at his seething assistant, he told her it was alright and that she could go back to her day-trading.

“So Ms. Steele, have you brought the package? Is it complete?”

I gave him the once over, well the twice-over. For someone with a prison pallor, he commanded attention with his smoldering dark eyes, his short hair, and his Christian Bale “Mechanic” look. I liked it. I leaned over his desk and slowly, enticingly opened what he was so in need of and expecting. “Yes, they’re right here. Would you like to taste them?”

“No, that’s not necessary, thank you. I ordered six boxes of Thin Mints, four Samoas, and two Peanut Butters. I trust they are all there?”

End of excerpt.

Hooked? No doubt. Good, huh? No, not really but then neither is 50 Shades of Grey. But, ours is one larger.

We are bloggers. There…we’ve said it and admitted it. It’s been known that the first step to recovery is to admit you are not well, or addicted, or some such malady from which you never knew you suffered. Sounds like self-flagellation for which we would much rather have a willing partner.

The Patron Saint of Blogging/Pin-up Queen/Blogger’s Centerfold.

One must learn the underlying factors that contribute to blogging. Until they are discerned, one must face that a life filled with half thoughts, incomplete sentences, bad grammar, crappy art, excess time, poor spelling, gratuitous foul language (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and the realization that the usual self-aggrandizement that comes with publicizing one’s own persona is a life bereft of any true meaning. And your diet will consist  of anything salty/sweet, caffeinated beverages, take-out food that comes in boxes both cardboard and styrofoam….because nothing else will matter!

The Blogger’s Aspirational Goal.

Yes, that’s right; it is a meaningless life. However, you can be helped. But again as we stated earlier, you must admit your failings. It starts now. This is an intervention! STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD. NOW! NO, WE MEAN IT!

The world does not want to see the “cute” pictures of your children, pets, vacations, cars, boy/girl friends, whatever. The world wants even less to read what you feel you have to say, really. Why did you even think you have something meaningful to say? Truthfully, we don’t either, but since we are attempting to explain everything, this is as good a place as any to start. CLEAR ALL YOUR BOOKMARKS. THEY WILL BE DEAD TO YOU AND MEAN NOTHING TO YOU FROM NOW ON!

Now, of course you’re thinking to yourself that who are they (The Two Bruces) to tell us what and how to do it when they obviously are so guilty of what they portray as evil. Oh, yes. We know. We’ve been down that sordid road, barely surviving the clutches of this horrendous affliction. But we are Bruces. We know these things. And you should listen to us.

YOU, THERE. YES, YOU! TAKE YOUR HAND AWAY FROM THE MOUSE! YOU DON’T GET OFF SO EASY!

As we were saying, it’s an affliction but curable. And since you’ve admitted it, you are now on the long road to recovery. It won’t be easy; it won’t be brief. (This ain’t no party, no CBGB’s, this ain’t no messing around!) We hope you like herb tea because caffeine is now out of the question. No more Starbucks for you! Think Celestial Seasonings offerings. No more junk food either. This is the bed you created for yourself and we aim to help you get into a new, psychic Tempurpedic. It will be difficult, but ultimately worth it. AND FOR GOD SAKES,  NO MORE ONLINE SHOPPING! DO YOU REALLY NEED ANOTHER PAIR OF INFLATABLE TOOTHBRUSHES?

Going forward,we just have thi6te–=s – damn mouse! Bruce, can you fix this #&^%(*@ thing!?

While we openly admit our preternatural dislike of our first names, we find that most people really like Bruces, as well they should. Go to any astrological chart, dig deep enough and you’ll find the traits that garner the most respect are those associated with a Bruce. You scoff? Possibly, but not for much longer.

The world is undoubtedly a far better place because of Bruce. Not just any Bruce, but all Bruces with the exception of those who might call themselves Brucie Ray, Joe Bob Bruce, John Wayne Brucie, – you know the kind: missing some teeth, dreadful tattoos, and bound to be arrested for some heinous crime against humanity. No, that hardly ever happens with a Bruce.

Bruces are known throughout history for their valor, intelligence, uncommon good looks, impeccable taste in all things cultural and spiritual, kindness, generosity, peacefulness, compassion, and (you can ask any Bruce’s wife about this) their virility. It’s true!

Think about all the Bruces you know or are familiar with. Throughout history and culture, there is usually a Bruce leading the vanguard of the next wave of positive change. You scoff again? Read on doubter!

Here are some of the Bruces that come immediately to mind with just a soupcon of their achievements following. You of course can add your own as you most certainly will.

Bruce Springsteen – just for making New Jersey cool qualifies him for free drinks at the local bar.

Bruce Lee – showed us that Bruces are as tough as the next guy. Maybe even tougher! If you don’t believe this, were he still alive, he’d kick your butt! Get with the program, dude!

Bruce Willis – the uber Bruce, ’nuff said.

Robert the Bruce – Bruce as a pronoun. What could be better? Read your Scottish history, this ain’t school!

Bruce Vilanch – this might be a reach, but he has helped a lot of people in Hollywood so that counts.

Bruce Boxleitner – showed us that in all Bruces, as well as some other men, aging well is a natural. With the exception of the previous mentioned Bruce. we don’t know what happened.

Bruce Campbell – the most famous unknown B-movie actor who shows us that anonymity is its own strength. In keeping with his anonymity, there will be no picture here.

Bruce – the shark in the first “Jaws”movie –  message here: you just don’t mess around with a Bruce.

Bruce Wayne – the Bruce with the most issues including a penchant for latex clothing, but he’s a do-gooder at heart.

Bruce Dern – just on principle. He’s the father of actress Laura Dern, but for the life of us we can’t figure who is more famous.

Lenny Bruce – Made it semi-OK to say F*** almost all the time.

Bruce Hornsby – pianist and sometime Grateful Dead member. That alone qualifies him for the name Bruce.

Bruce McGill – as D-Day from “Animal House”

So reader whose name unfortunately is not Bruce, this is only a partial list. But we hope it gives you a start on the road to new respect for those named Bruce. We do so much for you, all we ask is that you don’t ever call us Brucie. That will make us mad and you don’t want to see us get mad.

Kevin Spacey? How the hell did he get in here? Secretly wants to be a Bruce too.

Alcohol can make you do things you would never consider when sober or at least not under the influence of some mid-altering substance and that includes love.

However, and this is a very big however, is that when under the influence (UTI for this discussion, although in looking at it, that is the same acronym for urinary tract infection – an equally uncomfortable state of being) country music starts to make sense. All the heartbreak, the missing dogs,  stolen guns, and blown-up pickup trucks are real. The wife/girlfriend/lover/best friend/partner, whatever are all real as well.

This is what heartbreak looks like.

This is something with which we can all identify. C’mon – you know you agree. The music even sounds good and meaningful. Ehh, maybe there was too much to drink after all.

The truth, however distorted by alcohol (or love for that matter) is there. Through the substance induced haze, one can find real meaning in this music. We’re on the road to hell now! All that remains now is to start using chewing tobacco (“just a little pinch between the cheek and the gums” the ad says)… a thought that at this stage is not without some charms, but none that be explained without any amount of lucidity.

Heartbreak, deceit, perfidy, (Class, today is being brought to you by the word perfidy), all have meaning and truth at this time. If a child were to be born tonight, it undoubtedly would be named Garth or Shania.

What then when sober, is the attraction of country music? Twanging steel guitars (perfected when young on back porches and pickup truck beds ); nasally singers (not from the Bronx); and rampant testosterone, flowing from amplifiers pleading, begging for some sort of low-rent salvation, and finally the love of a good “NASCAR” woman are just a few of the many the elements of this “art-form.” And don’t forget, there is also a don’t-get-in-my-face attitude as well. Independence is important here.

Don’t get in my face, y’hear? (Courtesy Guanabee)

“In vino veritas.” In Drambuie veritas! In beer veritas, we say! Drink enough and the truth shall appear. And it will set you free. Or some such semblance thereof. But, is this behavior true? Only to the extent it removes whatever moral boundaries we set to prevent us from acting like total fools. Karaoke is an example of this. Do not drink and think you sound like Billy Joel. Oh, you’ll drive like him alright, but you will not sound like him. Ever. And Christie Brinkley will never, ever go out with you. Hell, the Dixie Chicks won’t go out with you either!

So, sober up and be grateful that you couldn’t order anything from Amazon while in this state. The last thing you need is the Greatest Hits of the Oak Ridge Boys. Because quite frankly, they won’t go out with you either!

They really won’t go out with you. (Courtesy The Boot)