- March 2011 -

Other Fein Messes
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1st Record/1st Concert

The first record I was aware of (but I didn't purchase it; it may have floated into our house from my uncle Moishe's jukebox - he had hep clientele at his drugstore in downtown Kansas City) was the Little Richard two-sided smash ‘Long Tall Sally’ b/w ‘Slippin and Slidin.’  I think the first piano run on ‘Slippin and Slidin’ was the first "by ear" piano part I ever played along with. When that 78 finally inevitably cracked, I felt a pang of loss. Mysteriously, we also had several Sun 78s and 45s, including "Tennessee Flattop Box" by Johnny Cash. And that famous Elvis 33 with pink lettering on the cover.

First record purchased was “Transistor Sister” by Boom Boom Cannon, for that harmonica sound and the witty internal rhyme scheme. Very Gerard Manley Hopkinsesque.
That came full circle when Sha co-billed with Freddy at a recent Glendale Car Show and he performed the tune, which he rarely did, because his baby sister, to whom he introduced me backstage and who inspired the song itself, was at the gig.

First rock concert was 1965, Hermans Hermits and The Animals at the Kansas City War Memorial. At the time I worshipped the voice of Eric Burdon (met him at Dar Magreb in the late 70's; shared some herbal with him at an
HOG convention gig in central Michigan in the late  90's where he was Sha's opening act) and of course keyboard funkmeister Alan Price.  Also Chas Chandler on bass, who left the Animals to manage Hendrix, whom Sha opened to Monday morning at Woodstock.

As for other live shows, downtown Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium pretty much produced shows only for black patrons, and in my senior h.s. year a girl I'd been wooing since 5th grade finally allowed me to take her to one. This was 1965 or 1966. We saw two of her favorite artists, so although they weren't my first shows I did see both James Brown and Jackie Wilson. Jackie was the most impressive. He really worked the women in the audience and they were right there for him. James was just completely explosive, the tempos runaway, and he excited everyone. But Jackie was also athletic, doing his splits, and when he'd get into the romantic mode with "Doggin' Around" women were five-deep around the entire stage just screaming.  We sat in the loge where we were less conspicuous - impossible actually because we were virtually the only white faces in the joint.

A few years later I’d be heading down to the Apollo to see James, and blues shows with T-Bone Walker opening to Bobby Blue Bland opening to BB King after I’d moved to NY to attend Columbia College. Columbia is where Gregg Geller dubbed me Screamin Scott, and George Leonard and the campus glee club formed Sha Na Na, which 42 years later  is still rocking hard worldwide.

Screamin’ Scott Simon never stops rockin’ with Sha Na Na, Chuck E. Weiss, the annual Elvis show and wherever fine music is heard.

Another Fein Mess
A.F. Stone’s Monthly
March 2011

There Go The Nelsons

The death of David Nelson marked the end of American tv’s first family. I have the slimmest connection to the boys.

When I worked at the unemployment office in N. Hollywood in 1976, David was in line and I said “Sorry about your pop.” I imagine he was used to boneheads walking up to him like they were his friend. He said Thanks. We weren’t close.

In 1985 or so I met the daughter of Will Thornbury. Will’s presence on the tv show was phantomical. He was referred to in fence-talk between Ozzie and Thorny, but never seen. Thorny’s place really was next door. Will said that in the late 1950s their dead-end side-street was jammed with teenagers cruising til curfew.

Will was on my show when I had Big Jay McNeely on for the first time. Will attended many early-50s rock & roll shows here in Los Angeles, the birthplace of rock & roll, and saw Big Jay many times. He was a jazz deejay and annotator so he probably made as much money as I did. His daughter, my friend Syd, just married a gal in England. She’s a terrific funny person.

Rick I never met 1, but I was close to Pat Woodward and Ricky Intveld, two band members who died with him on the plane. In 1973 I reviewed his Roxy performance unfavorably - his singer-songwriter stuff just laid there. That earned me a call from his publicist saying simply “Thanks a LOT.” His hit “Garden Party” was about his frustration with just singing oldies (Is he mentioned in the “Troubadours” film? He should be. His late-60’s country stuff influenced a lot of people) and though it was a strong stand he later changed his tune.

He kept at the new-song thing til the 80s when he went back to being what he wanted in the first place - another Carl Perkins. Rick of the 80s was on the oldies circuit alternating his hits with great rockabilly, to the delight of his old audience and the new rockabillies he was courting.

Rick’s sons The Nelsons were a terrific folk rock band whose songs were admired by many people. But they didn’t catch on. Maybe the long blonde hair made them appear too “teen” for the real-music market. It’s easy for me to make these judgments, sitting here.

Last connection is that Joel Selvin 2, my friend, wrote a book about Ricky which earned him, like me with that publicist, Al Kooper’s lifelong enmity.

1 But I know someone who did! In the mid 1970s Todd Everett, whose name often shimmers on these virtual pages, interviewed him and got him to say “Hi, this is Rick Nelson. Todd’s not here, so leave a message” on his tape recorder.
The estimable Everett got many like that from Michael Jackson, Clint Eastwood and others during that early period of answering-machines til it ‘caught on’ and stars started clamming up.

2 Joel will be signing his new book “Smartass” at Book Soup in Hollywood March 31st.

I Get Around

Feb 4 I saw Ronee Blakley’s new movie “1 Blood, ” which stars her daughter Sarah, at a screening on Wilshire Blvd. Ronee wrote and directed and produced it. Sarah is very impressive, as is the fact that Ronee did the whole thing with volunteers on half-a-shoestring budget. Good acting, a stunning plot, it is being considered by several major companies. It has a cameo by her ex-husband Wim Wenders ... Feb 6 drove down to San Diego to see the final performance of Candye Kane’s musical play, ‘The Toughest Woman Alive.’ It is a powerful autobiographical epic that spans growing up in East LA, working in the porn industry, her philosophy, relationships and music career. She is a stunning actress, too ... Feb 7 the reliably-wonderful Ronnie Mack Barn Dance at Joe’s American Bar & Grill in Burbank was a gathering of the clan not unlike the annual Elvis show, which Ronnie co-hosts with me. A raft of reliable regulars supplied rockin’ sounds, topped off by the raucous Groovy Rednecks ... Feb 9 had lunch with Steve Kalinich (ka-LIN-itch), Beach Boy songwriter and associate and world-traveling poet. I hadn’t sat with him since 2008 when he guested on my antepenultimate tv show. We made a pact that he appear on another one in 2012 (a podcast) ... Feb 11 went to the Egyptian Theater to see the Beatles’ first American concert which, like the mummies represented in the walkway, was exhumed for public viewing, in the film’s case after only 47 years. Domenic Priore, with Ron Furmanek and Alan Boyd, was host of the screening, which added a second show after the first sold out. This concert was last seen in 1964 on closed-circuit tv to (paying) teenagers around the U.S. (The Moptops performed in a boxing ring because the ‘broadcast’ system - over telephone lines! was normally used for pay-per-view boxing. We also saw the opening acts, pre-taped in Hollywood, with Lesley Gore singing to a noticeably uninterested audience of teenage girls awaiting the next performers, the Beach Boys. Also shown was the Beatles’ Shindig appearance, with commentary from the night’s guest, Shindigger Jimmy O’Neill. It was a very informative and enjoyable evening. (The event was not ... entirely ... like a Star Wars event, but the line for the men’s room was ten times that for the women’s) ... Feb 15 went to the Grand Ole Echo special show featuring Susan James and her new CD. She made quite a splash. Also performing were Evie Sands, I See Hawks, Old Californio, Tony Gilkyson Kip Boardman, Anny Celsi, Double Naught Spy Car, Quarter After, Cosmo Topper and Rachel Dean & Boyce Wayt ... Feb 19 saw Chuck E. Weiss again at the Piano Bar in Hollywood. Screamin’ Scott Simon subbed on keyboards and tore up the place, as did Tony ‘Hound Dog’ Gilkyson on guitar ... Feb 23 I saw the Broadway musical ‘Rock of Ages’ for the second time, at the Pantages Theater. First time was 4 years ago when it was in development. It does not bear deep scrutiny, it is simply a laugh riot for its targeted audience who leapt and cheered as each 80’s metal-ballad emerged in the thin and unnecesary plot. High point for me was the opening with David Cloverdale of Whitesnake, on rear projection, announcing there would be no flash photography, pictured holding an 80’s Polaroid camera. Next he was shown holding a mid-80’s ‘brick’ phone for the ‘no cell phones’ announcement. Finally “And if you’re wearing one of those blue things in your ear - you look like a dick!” brought the house down. Not a highbrow show, just fun for all. 0

I wrote a letter to the LATimes about the 2-24 review which found fault with everything. It was boiler-plate rock-crit attitude. I may have hurt the writer’s feelings, but nobody reads letters to the editor and whatever harm I did pales compared to the damage he did to the show’s cast, producers, writers etc. Writing sticks. Maybe I carped because it aped a similar review from 2006 and made me wonder when crits are ever going to grow up and relax.

Feb 8 Rocking Scoundrels at the Barn Dance

Eddie Baytos takes a stand

Crown City Bombers

Karling Abbeygate, up from Fullerton.

Feb 15, Cosmo Topper w Nelson Bragg at the Grand Ole Echo

Susan James makes her mark.

Tony Gilkyson on the git-box, Kip Boardman on ivories.

I sit one out with Ronee Blakley.

Feb 9 Steve Kalinich signs a book for me.

A million CVS stores, no spell-checker.

Bonus: Todd Everett, Gary Stewart, Art Fein and Palomino owner Tommy Thomas. 1976

Dead Man’s Shoes

That’s the title of a song by Chuck E. Weiss. It’s soon debuting on an album, his command certain after singing it for 30 years. I never asked about the song’s origin, but my bet is that someone asked him where he got a cool article of 40s clothing and the answer was “from a dead man,” meaning at a used-clothing shop.

Today old-clothing is chic, but it’s not widespread. Not like the pre-Atomic age when suits were sold in pawn shops. 3 I began patronizing thrift stores for clothes in the 1970s, snapping up many cool things I admired when I was a kid. Always cheap 4 until the 80s when the 50s caught on. I was Eustace Presley! Now when I look at photos from those days I never say “Where is that girl?” I say “Where is that shirt?”

But some people felt eerie about used clothes, and I was one of them. I wore them, but with reservations that were purely personal: my mother’s’ admonition “You don’t know where it’s BEEN.” That was overturned only when a lightbulb went off in my head and I responded to her in Heaven, “Have you ever eaten at a restaurant?”

3 In ‘Last Holiday,’ the 1953 film, a tailor sells Alec Guinness a fine suit of clothing once owned by a rich man. It was an ordinary transaction.

4 I think the rag-rendering plant in Santa Ana still sells clothes that thrift stores have discarded for a dollar a bag.

Lyrics ...

In ‘Hooray For Hollywood’, one of the ways to strike it rich is “do like Papa Dionne, get your name in neon.” (The quints also figure, figuratively and climactically, in “The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek”) ... Of course in ‘Easter Parade’ there’s ‘You’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.” That was a printing process, brown and white, that enabled newspapers to print photo sections cheaply on Sundays. In my lifetime I saw photo pages under the heading “Roto” ... back to songs everyone knows, Sonny Burgess’s “We Wanna Boogie” on Sun opens “I jumped in my flivver, took my baby to town.” Flivver! I saw that in the ancient Hardy Boy books. Also, on Carl Perkins’ 1955 pre-”Shoes” song “Movie Magg” he sweetly sings “climb aboard old Becky’s back and we’ll ride to the picture show.” On horseback 5... Seeing Lesley Gore sing “It’s My Party” on videotape I heard “oh what a birthday surprise.” I always thought it was “oh what a perfect surprise,” which is cynical, more adult ... John Lennon singing ‘Money’ says it “can’t get everything, itsu,” apparently couldn’t make out “It’s true.” (And don’t let’s forget Bob Dylan hearing “I get high” for “I can’t hide” on ‘IWHYH’) ... In February, L.A.’s mayor Villaragosa listed Billie Holiday’s‘Strange Fruit’ 6 as one of his favorite songs because it’s “so beautiful.” Somebody tell him it’s about lynched bodies hanging from a tree (in Indiana. not Mississippi) in 1930...

5 My favorite country song, period, is “Blackland Farmer” by Frankie Miller. Its tableau is magnificent, music perfect.

6 Abel Meeropol wrote the song in 1930 and sang it at ‘progressive’ rallies before giving it to Holiday in 1939. He and his wife adopted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s sons.

Lyrical Note

I have the 1966 sheet music for ‘Summer In The City’ and it says ""till I'm wheezin' like a bus stop". Of course, sheet music is notoriously inaccurate and also, wasn't it the LS who spoke of yellow Sun records from Nashville?

- Pete Frame, Scotland

Pete: Sebastian once, at least, claimed he sent away to a record store in Nashville for those Sun songs after hearing them on a Nashville radio station whose signal reached NY.
It sounds a little fishy, but ... did you ever hear “Noshville Katz” by the Lovin’ Cohens?

- Art Fein, USA


I’m a little late on this, but if you like Doug Sahm, check 50’s Cajun singer Link Davis. Their voices happen to be nearly identical ... Big Lots, the repetitive-named odds & ends store, has an Aretha soundalike intoning “Freedom, freedom, Big Lots, values” as if you are listening to “Think.” It fooled me ... I knew “The Longest Day” film pandered to kids when among the soldiers were Fabian, Paul Anka and Tommy Sands 7 but viewing it again on AMC (5 minutes of film, 5 minutes of commercials) recently I caught another ball tossed our way when John Wayne told someone to contact “Major Lance” ...

7 Released in late ‘62, the producers weren’t keeping tabs on the rapid changes in rock & roll. Fabe and Tommy were over, though Paul was still hitting. Dion would have been better, or Ricky Nelson or Bobby Darin - they hit til 1963. Hell, Sam Cooke would’ve been great too!

TV Jeebies

It’s easy to feel despair over tv commercials, but the one where seething cretins stick their heads out windows and scream “It’s my money and I want it now!” (for a financial-settlement loan company) reflects, and foments, the descent of civility too boldly ... On ‘The View’ (just passing by!) a gal was identified as “Scott Peterson’s Mistress.” Who tagged her with that? Two people who date or live together or are screwing are called boyfriend/girlfriend, at least since the 1970s. The Ayatollah would be pleased ... ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood,’ the only British tv series to air in America in the 1950s, is available on DVD. The 143 episodes sell for about $20, but the time you waste watching them can never be recovered. Richard James, who sang the show’s theme song (“Robin Hood riding through the glen”), made a fortune in the 1960s as the Beatles’ song-publisher.

Movies On TV

Bob Osbourne 8 is still the shining commentator of old films on Turner Classics 9 . But on the Fox movie channel they give us the president of Fox. What - is it a lifetime position? Who thinks this guy knows anything but what’s written for him on the teleprompter? Walt Disney could represent Disney for a lifetime, but this shmoe? 10 Gedouddamyface ... In ‘Safety Last,’ 1923, Harold Lloyd goes into a jewelry shop. A young clerk with prominent hooked nose eagerly shows him a tray of jewelry but is shoved aside by his short, skullcapped father. Both merchants rub their hands ancipating gelt. The father’s face, nearly covered by a beard, beams not unlike a darkie anticipating watermelon. After the purchase, Lloyd is happy, the card tells us, adding, lest we miss the point, “Thanks to Silverstein & Son.” What the heck is this? I thought the movie industry was run by Jews. Maybe the scene was shot for the German market. (The major movie companies would not make films critical of Nazi Germany til 1940 for fear of alienating a major income source, not unlike the jewelers caricatured by Lloyd.)

8 Osbourne, an MGM contract player in the early 1950s, turns 80 next year. He is holding up supernaturally, but doesn’t hit consonants very hard. Whatever he’s doing to preserve himelf, he should bottle it.

9 The Manciewicz scion gallops far in the distance.

10 In the 90s the AMC talker was George Clooney’s father 11. He was as good as Osbourne. But they replaced him with a pretty young boy who carried no authority, then the whole ‘station’ slid to ugliness, losing narration and gaining ads.

11 Or Rosemary Clooney’s brother, if you like.


Childrens Hospital in L.A. has “finally gone grammatical” (anno 2011) and is being changed to Children’s. (Ain’t no such thing as childrens!) ... A PBS thing about movie moguls said movies “uplift” the public, studios “outlay” the money and a guy said his studio-head father had “imagination, ambition, and aggression.” Must all words be reverse-hyrids? Would it kill them to say “lift up” or “lay out”? And I’m sure the guy’s pop was rife with aggression, but I think he meant aggressiveness ... The History Channel asks “Did Wrong Way Corrigan deliberately flaunt regulations?” Definitely not ... in “Unfaithfully Yours,” Rudy Valee, playing the same role as in “Palm Beach Story,” pronounces promulgate pro-MUL-gate, which I looked up in my 1961 dictionary and is correct, PROM-ul-gate identified as British ... I’ve noticed ‘restive’ slipping in for ‘restless.’ Sounds ginchier ... What does anyone under, oh, 50 make of a hed like the 3/2 LATimes jump “Musical is no carbon copy.” Carbon like Tacos al? ... Does anyone besides me use Appleworks, the successor to Clarisworks? It’s a Word Word Word Word World.


No one thinks Californians will vote to sustain tax increases when they expire. It’s a show-trial, but that’s what Brown has to do, open this idea to the voters before making all the highways toll roads and opening the DMV one day a week and firing forest rangers, highway cops and eliminating half of state services ... Taxing fatty food is pointless. The problem is our society. Kids don’t walk to school or play in fields or get up from the computer. They’re eating junk just like I did but they’re not running and jumping all day. It’s a dilemma. As a parent I wrung my hands over my inability to come up with athletic activities for my kid, but nobody ever tried to motivate me when I was a kid. I ran and jumped all day because there was nothing to watch on tv. If all that sedentary entertainment had been available I’d’ve weighed two tons.

Burying the Lede

Midway in 2-1 NYT coverage of a stoning in Afghanistan, Mollawi Abdullah, a religious elder, mourned that certain steps were not followed. “It is right to stone people” he says, but not “unjustly, with big, big stones.”

Hic Town

Inebriatess Jessica Gelt, in the 2-18 LATimes, lauded women bartenders like they arrived, like her, yesterday. A person “is credited” with spearheading the recent mixed-drink craze (!) and London, it is posited, was “the cocktail capital of the world” this past decade.

And who is THIS aimed at? -- “It's a skill she honed under the guidance of Manhattan cocktail maven Audrey Saunders at the Tar Pit (before Saunders departed), then at First & Hope, where she trained under Demarest and his partner, mixologist Marcos Tello, as part of the pair's cocktail consulting firm Tello Demarest Liquid Assets.” Shop talk for the sloshed set (and Jessie gets free drinks for life).

The Times Of L.A.

1-11-11, August Brown wrote that strippers at Crazy Girls don’t go naked, they wear “what Courtney Love does to visit her mailbox.” Pretty funny ... Front page 2-26 Calendar musing opens profoundly “So now we know,” then know-it-all Mary McNamara thunders that Charlie Sheen is guilty of all he’s charged. So important .... Tony Barboza writes 2-10 that it’s “out of harmony” for The Edge to sidestep environmental laws. A reach, but a noble one ... J. Boucher and J. Gelt are rattled by this year’s Grammy winners, substituting “the audience” and “some in the audience” for their own reactions, promising menacingly “there will be considerable debate.” (Jump hed: “Debate will rage.”) And what the hell are Grammy fashions? Big color pictures of people to whom glamor is peripheral, their beauty in their music. (The big winners were broadly from the country field but none wore potato sacks.) Real gone Ann Powers intoned that “Many top acts are now dogged by accusations of not being musical at all.” Just now? ... In the mandate to include quotes in all stories, two writers 2-17 got a patron at the 99 Cent Store to go on record saying stores should make sure nobody steals their credit card machines ... Jason Felch, 2-22 says an out-of-town artist “has a cunning knack for selling Angelenos the cutting edge of cool” Well, one Angeleno, if Felch is one. And Meghan Daum, a couple days later, wrote that she “defended” L.A. wanly to some NYers, but had to cave to the fact that everyone in LA has an Oscar party. With her on our side we’re gonna lose every argument ... on 9-4-10 Jori Finkel, possibly kin to J. Gelt, celebrates the distribution of beer at an art show. Since when does the art community fall for publicity seekers, Banksy? ... On 10-13-10 there was a front page Extra section two-photo banner story about a band performing music midday from a flatbed truck blocking three (!!) lanes of an L.A. freeway. Their irresponsibility is dwarfed by the Times giving them the publicity they craved, thus encouraging others ... I got a laugh out of the 1-23 Calendar “Underrated” designation of ‘Portlandia’ as if this crits’ darling is slagged somewhere. (The notion of Portland as “America’s Canada” balances the province north of Seattle’s frequent nickname, there, ‘British California’) .... G-Baum gets 75% of The Nation’s news space 2-1 to report that NY’s mayor sent NYers to Arizona to buy guns. News no one needs unless they’re angling to raise that mayor’s political profile. (“Gerry baby, it’s Mike. I need some ink”) ... 12-26-10. Teeny Susman gave us half The Nation’s news with the discovery of a bulletin board in Times Square. We who bow to NY thank you ... From what grouch farm sprang Paul Brownfield? His 2-27 review of a book about the Hollywood sign opened “The jaded native” - gee, who could that be? - and led to his question “Who thrills at the thought of schlepping out-of-town relatives into the hills for a close-up view?” Glad we’re not related. But it stirred my memory seeing old-timey cliches like “- think” thus-and-such, and that durable language-stain “glitz.”

Meet the NY Press

Michael Tortorello, in the 2-10 Home section article about a dust surge, writes that he imagined that dust “like the amount of sin or acne - must be a constant.” Pretty good ... Anthony Tommasini, 2-19, opens a front page Arts story “An opera about Anna Nicole Smith: the American sex symbol, Playboy model, laughable actress and fortune-hunting wife of a billionaire nearly 63 years her senior?” This is from the LATimes style book, Tony, and it stinks. And ‘62’ would have sufficed ... Brooks Barnes, 2-22, opines that the success of the seventh Harry Potter movie underscored “the magical powers of Warner Brothers marketing and distribution departments.” If ever a phrase came from a press release, this is it. (It may be true. Why else would people go to see a movie with a cast and heritage so slightly known?) ... Stern, but unfair, Stevie Holden,11-12-10, berates Lynda Carter for lacking “that elusive quality known as hip” (Stevie is its arbiter) with “a program dominated by songs from the 60s and 70s” (very unhip times!) moaning that her version of “Heat Wave” was “more like a march than a delirious cry of romantic exultation.” When I read Stephen Holden I hear Bob Hilburn but picture Percy Dovetonsils ... NYTimes must pay good. Two writers on 2-7 wrote that Ariana Huffington started her site with “a meager $1 million investment.” Chump change ... Feb 5, Alessandra Stanley wastes a quarter-page writing what tv news ‘commentators’ have been saying about Egypt’s unrest: Chris Matthews ridiculed Glenn Beck, Steve Doocy showed a clip of Matthews. Just the facts, m’am.

Strange Days

In Italy, 14 is the age of consent, and 18 the minimum for prostitution, which is legal. But when the Italian president called for a fully-vetted prostitute, a 17-year-old showed up
and HE was hauled into court!

If you must be 21 to fly an airplane and someone 20 flies you from L.A. to Bakersfield, are YOU arrested when the plane touches down?

I assume His Whoreliness is going to sue the agency that sent her. After all, if a restaurant serves you underripe cantaloupe you are the victim not the perp.

Crying Towels Supplied (for a fee)

A NYTimes 2-26 report cited Bank of America’s notice to its investors that it may have to pay hefty fines. The article notes that illegal foreclosures were done, documents signed unread, and when homeowners were served with erroneous foreclosures the bank made itself impossible to reach. But what dogs B of A is not guilt or sympathy, but effect on its balance sheet of “heightened regulatory scrutiny.”

The jump hed read “Mortage companies brace for damage to their bottom line.” But “some bank officials and regulators expressed skepticism” that the “hit” (nice gangster term) will exceed $20 billion.

In a newspaper where Charlie Sheen’s every move is shreyed about in high dudgeon, reporters Nelson D. Schwartz and Eric Dash tiptoed sensitively around the banks’ widespread criminality. Mustn’t offend!


Cracker Jacks’ deluxe $2.39 size offers the same prize as the $1.29 pack. Once they were metal objects, then plastic, now a decal or printed joke smaller than a matchbook. The prizes’ deterioration has oustripped my own 12 ... In 1986 a guest on my tv show said he’d written some questions for Jeapordy and was asked “Do you get less for the $50 ones?” ... Viva Towels, once offering 55 sheets on a standard roll, shrank it last year to 50 - or was it 48? No matter, it’s 44 now. The Big roll pack - ‘8 are as good as 12” - is true bec now the HUGE size is 60 sheets, just five more than the SMALL size 3 years ago. “Higher Price, Less Value, buy what we say.” First we burn the banks, then Kimberley-Clark.

12 After writing this I watched ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ in which George Peppard finds a metal ring - he gets it engraved - in a Cracker Jack box! 1962.

The LATimes Are Upon Us

The 2-12 LATimes 96-pt hed ‘Egypt Is Heard’ would be jingoistic if it was an American issue. The cheering is both excessive and premature. NY Times was not much better with “Egypt Exults As Youth Revolt Ends 3 Decades of Iron Grip.” Don’t cheer, we don’t know what it means yet.

Keep Your Guard Up

I needed a rental car for a Sunday, when rental places are closed, except the airport, where it’s $35 or $50 extra. I phoned the Enterprise 800 number and asked about their $9.99/day weekend rate. “Sorry but the one near you doesn’t offer that. Each outlet has its own policy.”

Darn it. So when he said something about $34.95 I said “I’ll take it!” thinking it wasn’t much more than the $29.97
bargain rate. Got there Friday at noon, did the body-damage walkaround, and the guy said “Alright, that’s $34.95 a day for 3 days” and I said “Hold on.” In my confusion (not unique these days) I said “I thought the $34.95 was for 3 days.” He stood stumped, and I said Don’t you have a weekend special?” “Well, you didn’t ask for it,” he said, and rewrote the order for $9.99 a day.

The corporate phone people do not want you to rent at the lower rate, so they lie to you. Shocking, I know.

The Future’s Here

* On a Stan Freberg radio show from 1957, he assembles a panel of experts (including Edna St. Louis Missouri) to argue the relative merits of Little Orphan Annie, Tarzan and Dick Tracy. Subject barbs are traded (“When’s Annie gonna wash that dress?”/”I’m sure she rinses it out every night!”).

* In ‘White Noise’ 13 , the Don DeLillo book, the two warring university departments are Hitler Studies and Elvis Studies.

Freberg’s and DeLillo’s farces are now facets of academia.

13 This book introduces the Airborne Toxic Event, now a band name.

The Social Network

I am on Facebook, but I don’t know why.
What does this mean? --

You have 1,063 new notifications

They’ve been piled up for some time.
Maybe one is a draft notice.

Comedian With Funny-Spelled Name

“People ask if that’s the name I was born with. I tell them nobody is born with a name.”

Kinda Cute

- A dog-care center in Oakland called Citizen Canine.

- A B-film documentary called “How Low Was My Budget”

Word Perfect

I am awed by former network newscaster Carole Simpson, interviewed 2-27 on CSPAN, not just because she interviewed Dr. Martin Luther King.

When she said that she had with her only a newspaper and a Diet Coke, I bolted upright at the time error.

But when she paused and said “Wait, it must have been a Tab” she won me forever.

- 57 -

Mark On The Move

I went to the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara to catch the double-bill of guitarist Bill Frisell and John Scofield's respective trios. Scofield began with Charlie Parker's "Wee" and included Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n' You" and Carla Bley's "Lawns" in the set. His solos were funky and swinging, and he got excellent support and solos from bassist Ben Street and drummer Bill Stewart. A new composition of his own "Simply Put" was a highlight and will be on his next album. Frisell's trio came out before Scofield left the stage, and a delicate 6-part "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" was the result, announcing that the evening was about to turn from jazz into something less identifiable. After intermission Frisell's unusual instrumental combination produced an ethereal audio sculpture with elements of folk, country, blues, jazz and classical music. Bill played guitar through numerous contraptions and pedals while Eyvind Kang on viola and drummer Rudy Royston had the kind of musical ESP that made their improvised high-wire act with Frisell a thing of rare beauty. They played "Beautiful Dreamer," "Tea for Two," "Goin' Out of My Head" and "Keep On the Sunnyside" as if they were mystical ceremonies.

A week later I was in London, where I found that all the record stores I used to frequent in Soho and Piccadilly are closed, as are most of the used book shops. Tte Chinatown around Leicester Square has expanded to the point where many of the Indian and Italian restaurants I used to eat at are now dim sum joints, the cheapest Underground ride is now $6, and movies cost $19. (I saw the new version of "Brighton Rock" which has been re-set to sixties "mods and rockers" riots, to no particular benefit. It was lousy on its own AND compared to the 1947 original. Although Helen Mirren and John Hurt have supporting roles, I doubt it will get an American release.)

I did enjoy hanging out in pubs with friends (including a visit to The Ship on Wardour Street, where Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend et. al. used to drink because the nearby Marquee Club didn't have a liquor license for many years) and finding Keith Richards' autobio for the equivalent of $5 in a surviving discount music/book outlet. But best of all was a jolly production of Richard Sheridan's 1775 play "The Rivals" at The Theatre Royal Haymarket, which proved conclusively that nothing has changed in comedy or human nature the last 226 years. In this play Mrs. Malaprop does her entertaining damage to the English language, as in "promise to forget this fellow – to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory" and "He is the very pineapple of politeness!"

From London I flew to New York to see the kiddies (aged 30 and 24) and also managed to hit some jazz clubs. Dizzy's in Columbus Circle featured pianist Benny Green in a tribute to Thelonious Monk. I was seated at a table with a college-age-ish couple obviously on a date, cocktail consumption well on its way. They introduced themselves as Maury and Margaret, and I said "Don't worry, I won't interfere." Maury replied "It's okay, she can be pretty boring." This attempted witticism engendered an immediate need to defend her, and my mouth engaged before my brain did. "Ah, that must mean that you're the boring one" I said. (Frank Sinatra said the only thing you're not allowed to do on a date is yawn.) Oops. I put my back to them and faced the stage. Then they talked loudly throughout the show, paying no attention to the music. I couldn't help overhear their desperate attempts to impress each other. It was painful. To avoid further and ruther interaction with them I didn't ask them to pipe down, but a guy at the next table did, several times, without much effect.

When the set was over I grabbed my coat and weaved away between tables, facing away from Maury and Margaret . On that route I noticed someone I hadn't seen in more than 30 years, the music and social critic Stanley Crouch, who in the seventies was a professor in Claremont and a regular customer at the Rhino Records store I ran. (I sat in on his jazz class once and heard a brilliant lecture on Miles Davis that I still recall well.) When he moved to New York in '78 (and subsequently became a best-selling author, essayist and gadfly) he sold a bunch of his jazz LPs to the store, which found their way into my collection where they still happily reside. I reintroduced myself and we had a nice chat, but I forget to ask him if he had any spare copies of his 1969 spoken word LP "Ain't No Ambulances For No Nigguhs Tonight" on the Flying Dutchman label, which has never been on CD. Might have to get that one on EBay after all.

-- Mark Leviton

(Mark’s sixties-themed radio show Pet Sounds can be heard alternate Wednesdays 10pm-Midnight PST on KVMR-FM 89.5 in the Sacramento area and streaming at www.kvmr.org )

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