- December 2011 -

Other Fein Messes

Every Day I Have To Cry - Ike & Tina Turner

Poker Party Store

Buy Art's Stuff !

Another Fein Mess
AF Stone’s Monthly
December 2011

Elvis, Almost

The Elvis show this year starts at 4 pm, ends at 10 so people can get to work the next day. Lineup full to near-bursting, so if your band isn’t on that train yet, you might miss the boat.

At the Echoplex, like last year. 1154 Glendale Blvd (entrance near the friendly, open well-lit alley below Sunset Blvd).

‘Round Town

Nov 4 Saw Cyndi Lauper. It was a revelation just how wonderful she is. Backed by Memphis R&B people and Charlie Musselwhite, it was quite a show. (Steve Appleford’s review in the 11-5 LATimes was right on the money, a rare citation herein.) View from balcony was ungreat, and the male showoff dancing that was compulsory at the start of, and throughout, every song was kinda annoying. Club Nokia, in the downtown Blade Runner-theme complex, puts you through a metal detector on the way in (“Empty your pockets”) imparting that warm old-time prison-visit feeling.

Nov 6 Did NOT see Ry Cooder signing his book at Skylight Books on Vermont. I can’t be everywhere !

Nov 7 Ronnie Mack’s Barn Dance, Gram Parsons Tribute. The place was packed to overflowing with fans of 70s Cali country rock.

Julie Christensen greets Rosie Flores.

Carla Olson holds forth, accompanied by John O’Kennedy, mandolin, Dave Raven on drums,vocalizin' ex-Byrd John York, and bassist for all life on earth, I See Hawks In LA’s Paul Marshall.

Pamela Des Barres touches the hem of Gram’s garment.

Ronee Blakley and ex-hubby Wim (as in Vim) Wenders.

Paul Body with James Intveld. Just like me, he longs to be, close to James, whose age we’ve seen double and then some since the Rockabilly Wensday shows at Club Lingerie.


Nov 10 Tav Falco reads from Mondo Memphis, the book he half wrote (co-writer Erik Morse also read) at Stories bookstore back patio.

Nov 11 Drove to Riverside with Diane for lunch at the Mission Inn. Afterwards stumbled upon Tio’s Tacos, which is surrounded by gobs of giant folk art. Estupendo!


When someone says “Let’s give a hand to the band” before they play, isn’t it right to say “Let’s wait and see”? ... Miss Mercy of the GTO’s can often be seen at the Goodwill store on Sunset and Lyman Pl. Same place I ran into Keith Morris a year ago ... If you look real close at the John Fogerty band, the guy playing guitar where Billy Burnette stood is James Intveld ... The Village People are the ‘YMCA’ guys, but it only just struck me that like ‘the Heights,’ when you see ‘Village’ you are supposed to assume NY, in this case Greenwich Village? Pardon my ignorance, but in 1977 did its name mean only gay? ... I remembered that one Sun record had no guitar til its final note, but couldn’t remember which one. I asked around and Deke Dickerson knew it: Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Crazy Arms.” Billy Lee Riley heard a session going on so he walked in, sat down, plugged in and played the outro. You can’t do that at a Mac laptop session ...


‘Walk Like A Man’ came on my iPod, and at first I was distracted by its stereoness. Who wants to hear Frankie Valli on the left and 3 Seasons on the right? Gimmickry, not wizardry. But also I thought for the 500th time “What the heck is he saying - Forget that lookalike anow?” Turns out it‘s “oh yeah, just look who’s laughing now.” Nearly 50 years later it’s still mishmosh 1 ... When I heard “it’s alright once you get past the pain” in the 1978 Pablo Cruise song ‘Love ‘Will Find A Way’, I remembered when that phrase ended in ‘smell’. Some sexual practice ... I wonder if newcomers recognize the hat-tip to the Everly Brothers in “Let’ Em In,” by McCartney & Wings’ ... The worst phrase in a popular song is “for purple mountain majesties” in ‘America the Beautiful.’ Purple is poetic, most people don’t see mountains thusly, it’s clumsy as all getout. Also, ‘The Girl Can’t Help It,’ written by a skilled hepcat for the movie (and then sung by Little Richard) has a line I learned just recently. I thought “if she has a bigger man to squeeze” seemed odd, then decided it was “if she has a bigger main to squeeze,” like being wide at the waist was good. But now, finally, I know it’s “a figure made to squeeze.” Ungood in any delivery (the Animals get it wrong). “If she walks by, the menfolks get engrossed” is ghastly, “when she winks her eye, the bread slice 2 turns to toast” is worse,” and “if she smiles, beefsteak becomes well done” seems like the winning entry in a worst-lyric contest. I am certain the writer, a jazz guy, wrote it in contempt for rock & roll ...

1 Also the title of a Mickey Katz album

2 Many transcriptions say “brass lights”

Maybe I’m easily amazed

Stephen Holden, 11-20 NYTimes. “It may sound outlandish: a British female cabaret singer interpreting Bob Dylan accompanied by a piano instead of a guitar.” Nope. A tuba maybe. A theramin. He calls her “a fearless iconoclast.” Put your eyes back into your head, Steve, now ain’t the time for your astonishment.

Susan King, 10-22 LATimes, calls Elliot Gould “a counterculture icon” and Groucho Marx a “legendary comedian.” One of these is a biiiiiig stretch.


9-28 LAT Business, Domino’s Pizza is the latest to add the word “artisan” to its food. Now that it’s down, I hope it’s soon out ... Oct 30 LATimes hed: ‘Up to 13 Americans killed in Kabul.’ ”Up to” means no more than; could mean three, one. Opening line is “As many as 13.” Then, heard on tv: “It will last up to 10 years or more.” I will live up to a million years ... LAT 9-15 Randy Lewis at Country Music Hall of Fame thing, “The night’s wild-card guest” was So-And-So. Wild card meaning Unexpected? Surprising? That brick that fell on my head was a wild card? ... In a 1995 VHS tape, a giddy promo for ‘The Third Man’ boasts Welles’ role as “The Ultimate Anti-Hero.” Harry Lime, glamorous rebel. He did it his way ... When you misapply “went missing” from a person to something you lost - my notebook went missing! - it passes responsibility to the thing itself. Not ... My friend’s daughter, in my rental car, looked at the chrome animal silhouette on the dashboard and said “Is this car called an impala?” ... A sharp-eyed reader pointed out my use of “levy” in the November Mess for a New Orlens water barrier. I guess it harked back to the Shel Silverstein song “Folk Singer’s Blues” which has the refrains “What do you do when you’re young and white and Jewish” and “and the only levee you know is the Levy who lives on the block” ...
The Encore Channel description of an obsessive girl says she is “fixed” on a guy. Not fixated! Was this written before orientate, fixate, administrate, referencing? A day later I saw the verb ‘transit’ in place of ‘transition’ and nearly plotzed. Is it an awakening? That would be impactfulatious !


I‘m go-go-go for gay guys, but the Sundance Channel sails are gay-rigged. Sundance is in the rugged west, yet it features marathons of NY-based Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, features on fashion designers and a series called Love/Lust where a guy swoons over high heels and women’s clothes and makeup. And there’s a hairdresser show, too ... “Wind Talkers,” shown on the Military Channel, originally was a standard 4:5 screen-ratio movie. Apparently to satisfy people who want things stretched sideways to fill their 4:7 screen, they reformatted it that way. Now we with standard screens see everyone looking 50% overweight and the sides missing. (I'm sorry. Everyone who owns a stretch screen does not distort the picture to justify the set’s wings. Only every one I’ve seen) ... TV reports of ongoing disasters give fluid numbers -- “A hundred and fifty eight dead, and that number is expected to rise.”So why say it? Do people gather the next day and say “How many were reported at 2:45?” ... Daily Show’s return from Thanksgiving was very childish. A trivial “baloney” rhyming scheme and too many bits devoted to pepper-spraying (he gets hit at the end, not funny). When a clip was shown of the president of UC Davis, who speaks with a German accent, lamenting the police actions, Stewart went into - that’s right, Hitler with a pen mustache. Perhaps the writers’ mental level holds firm while mine matures ... “The Untouchables” was a tv series about arresting people selling booze, which is now legal. I dreamed up “Witch Busters,” about a team of sharp young elders who ferret out left-handed people and burn them at the stake every week ...

Snark attack

In the 11-11 NYT, Brian Stelter writes that a planned new network morning news show aiming at less frivolity and more intelligence “is already the talk of the tight-knit, gossipy NY television news industry.” (“Already,” not six weeks from now.) People in that industry, he writes, are ”skeptical to downright dismissive.”

He is ‘inside’ with naysayers. It’s the kind of news writers love to report. I can envision the wormy creatures rubbing their hands at the disaster they anticipate.

Comes now the 11/28 NY Times piece about the Broadway show ‘Spider Man’ marching into the black. The show’s troubles were widely reported; production snafus, songs changed, star injuries, the firing of the director and ”scathing” reviews. It now brings in bushels of bucks and the future looks rosy as its base expands, ancillary productions emerge and the show grows with new material.

If the reviews had been kudos and the show recognized for its intrinsic value rather than its difficulties, people like Stelter would have been writing “As so-and-so said on June 17, nothing can stop a show as well-grounded as this.”

The NYTimes should canvas all its naysaying and write “Our foolish writers could not recognize a formula for success when it was staring them in the face.” That would clear the air, if journalism was principled.

Elephant rap

Newt divorced his wife while she was dying, so he could marry his girlfriend. Fiendish? Perhaps. But what role did the girlfriend-cum-wife play. Didn’t Newt know it would look bad for a politician? He must have done it because number 2 (or 3) demanded it. He should divorce her and say she made him do it ... Question I haven’t heard at the debates: Romney slashed hundreds of jobs when he reorganized a company, and pocketed tens of millions for his efforts. What new jobs did he create with the money he got?

The real victims

9-8 NYT Eric Wilson. Ten “promising designers” had their careers interrupted by 9/11. How it affected them.

9-29 LAT Steve Zeitchik. The effect of catastrophic East Coast rains that devastated homes, towns and lives - on Broadway show attendance.

The Face

There’s an entire generation, or more, that believes that news is something delivered by perfectly coifed, model-pretty women on either side of 30. The weather, here in LA, is read and pointed to by younger models, probably as a step to becoming newsreaders.

Do I dislike pretty women? Yes, if their beauty allows them to power out more intelligent, or intelligent, women. I know it’s tv, but aren’t there any non-perfectlooking gals who can read the news?

It came to mind when I was watching CNN at the gym. I was looking at but not listening to one Erin Burnett. This winsome lassie smiled so much and so fetchingly I assumed all the news was soft, like my heart for her. Her eyes squinted in their own smile, and from time to time she tilted her head to give you the pleasure of her adorable animation; and there was a sly pout, too. She looked like she was trying to get her father to buy her a pony.

Was everything she read warm and fuzzy? If she was talking about floods in Thailand or drug murders in Mexico you couldn’t tell from her facial expression. She looked like someone who’d been practicing in the mirror all her life to charm a boy or get a job on a worldwide news outlet.


I’ve never seen anyone mention the diabolical trap that is the National Guard today. In the 60s it was everyone’s desperate choice to keep from serving in Viet Nam, but every guard unit was filled. The lucky ones like George Bush (he got into the fancy Air National Guard, with his dad pulling strings) just drilled and went to meetings once a year. Today I see that National Guard men and women are being killed in the middle-east. Who changed the rules? In what sense are they protecting our shores? I shudder for fathers who advised their spawn to sign up because it was an easy route to service advantages ... Didn’t the kids who threw Molotov cocktails in Egypt get off easy? They were interrogated ‘deeply’ for a day then sent back to their mommies. The shoe/underwear bombers did less, they should be sent home too ... I am loath to quote Pat Buchanan, but is he right that the Supreme Court has six Catholics and three Jews? Of course, only he would express it "Too many Jews!" ... We should invade Mexico. They’re doing a terrible job governing themselves. Quite a few of them are here. Mister Obama, tear down that wall! (This is not a tavern. I am not drunk, I just pretend to be) ...

Differing strokes

An adult woman is being charged because a teen boy killed himself after their affair was discovered. Believe me, he did it because he WASN’T having sex anymore. Take that away from a kid who isn’t hardened to life’s suffering and that’s what you get. They should have let him taper off.

The final semester of high school I had a romance with girl of 18. I was still 16. (I was a year ahead, our birthdays were incongruent.) When graduation came and she ran to the arms of her college boyfriend, our weekly five-time sessions (Thursdays, 9 am til 3 pm) were through.

I was thrown into despair. I would never have that stamina again. It never occurred to me to sue her (though that was her name 3) for taking advantage of underage me. I survived that devastating loss, but went on to a life of frippery, shamelessly exhibiting myself on a tv show that nobody asked for, writing a column on the “internet” alongside teens, posers and alike idiots, and earning, over a lifetime, only $50,000.

My failure to get on the success ladder must stem from that adult woman’s mistreatment. She drained me, then derailed me from the track of life.

Calling Gloria Allred !

3 “Up Down Sue” is a good song by the Luv’d Ones.

Oh, Shut up

* LAT Amy Kaufman, 11-7, seems to thrill in placing the blame on “Tower Heist” earning a ‘disappointing’ $25 mil (second in the US) on Eddie Murphy. Its failure (to hit #1) “leave(s) open the question of whether Murphy holds enough clout” to boost Oscar ratings. Co-star Ben Stiller should feel insulted to see the film’s perceived shortfall placed on Murphy. It’s clear that in Kaufman’s Murphy-clouded eyes Stiller’s draw is chopped liver.

* Nate Chinen’s 11-10 NYTimes Sting concert review respects, almost worships his artistry, but then he lets his crit flag fly. Complimenting Sting’s songcraft, he sticks his inky finger into a pot of pus and avers that Sting writing new songs “might seem risky for a lyricist routinely accused of pretentious blather.” So schreys Chinen, whose fans are ....? Why does he and others like him sling such shit into an otherwise complimentary piece? Such blather.

New York in LA

8-19 Jessica (Oy) G(ev)elt: “Walking into Mohawk Bend in Echo Park at 9 pm (only? AF) on a weekend (dead, week nights? AF) is like stepping off the L train in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (at the stop, or leaping out? AF) , so thick is the abstract (? -AF) haze of pointy black boots, yarn-net tops and high-waisted stone-washed skinny jeans.”

What, dear god, is she saying to LA readers? We must know the intestines of NY City to read the LA Times? Better to tell L.A. readers what subway stop to leap off here when they want to see this haze of identically-dressed people!

Evan George, “beer blogger and cofounder of the popular (You need to say that? - AF) Hot Knives blog” says “It’s hard to think of what L.A.’s definitive brewery is going to be when nobody knows what L.A.’s identity really is.”

I do. It’s rugged individualism, and lost on interlopers.

She’s not alone

10-14 LAT, Charlie Amter “There are precious few bars in Los Angeles that are welcoming, upscale and have a legitimate claim on pre-1950s Hollywood drinking history.”

In most bars in LA, Amter is thrown out on his head.

“For bi-coastal scenemakers, however, the real note of interest is the involvement of Manhattan-based bar owner Nur Khan” who is “behind some of NY’s best known bohemian hangs, including (now-closed) mid-1990s haunt Was, Soho’s Sawy, the Rose Bar at the Gramercy Hotel and the freshly opened Chelsea hot spot the Electric Room.”

Knowledge of New York, its boroughs, its bars (and studying the history of drinking) is what people care about in LA.

It’s the source of the expression “I love you like an LATimes writer loves New York.”

Stuff I know

There was a gal fired from a min-wage job at a library here, and she got a big story in the LATImes saying they resented her for bringing fun to it. Letters came in saying the library is run by bureaucrats with no soul.

It’s true the county library hierarchy is loathsome, but not bec of this gal. In her zeal to bring personality to the library she solicited business for herself boldly. Inserting her straw-weight business card into gift bags being distributed to VIPs broke the camel’s back.

Grist for the Art mill

Carol Vogel, “Art Surges,” NYT 10-10. XXX sold “well above its $25 million high estimate. The sales-room burst into applause.” I’m not a commie, but what kind of swine applauds a sale price? It doesn’t hail the artist who created the thing; in fact the swills -- swells viciously fight NY’s “5%-to-Artist” tariff. They merely applaud each other, and that sends shivers up genuflector Carol Vogel’s spine.

11-13, NYT, Julia Chaplin got my hopes up. In the midst of gushing about stuffed-pockets “inside the art bubble” she wrote “A collective gasp was heard around the room.” But my hopes were dashed: it was not a cyanide pellet in the ventilation system, but $35 mil for some goddam painting.

Front-page fawning about the money-bloated and their chic destinations. Put away the spoon, I can gag without it.


Scenes from an exhibition

In the foyer after a screening of the new Roger Corman documentary: Shout! Factory’s Richard Foos, Roger Corman, LATimes tall guy Patrick Goldstein, (back) Mrs. Corman.

“Rock & Roll High School” cover artist William Stout (right) explains nuances to Michael Ochs. Director Allan Arkush looms in the background.

The seeker

Searching for profundity on Facebook - It must be there! - I saw Todd Everett’s post about Keith Olbermann mistakenly identifying the puppet act Wayland and Madame as Waylon Jennings and Madame. Quite the boner.

I wrote in the comment section that I vividly recalled one bit of dialogue from seeing W&M at the Roxy in the 70s:

“Madame, do you remember the minuet?”
“Hell, I don’t even remember the men I fucked!”

I later went back to look at it, and it was gone.
Come to think of it, I can’t remember seeing “fuck” on FB.
Maybe FB banished me.


In the NYTimes review of Steve Jobs’ biography, Joe Nocera notes that Jobs ‘pushed back’ at the author, “rejecting, for instance, the idea that his own abandonment by his natural parents had a major effect on him.”

Clearly spoken by someone who is not adopted. I never felt different, except for a passion to see people who look like me (twice, possibly the same person). I have known many adoptees, and none ever sought birth parents. What for? Cause hurt feelings to your parents who raised you, and also maybe the people contacted? I swear, if a guy screwed a girl after WWII and went his merry way, why should I go “Dad!”? It’s an insult to my father. I was meant to be born no matter who had me. This time as me, next time a goat.

A musician friend’s wife contacted her birth parents, and his band hired her new brother as a roadie. He repaid them by kidnapping her, figuring the band had a fortune, and killing her. It’s one argument against finding your roots.

On the other hand

A musician told me about a guy who’d had a girlfriend in Malaysia when their band played there 28 years ago. In June of this year a 27-year-old boy contacted him from Malaysia, identifying himself as his son. The guy wrote him a cruel, crass letter saying life is tough, and who knows if he really is the father.

My friend sent the kid a photo of the band in 1984 and the kid wrote back with gratitude. ”I never saw a photo of him” he said. “Finally I can see where my looks come from.” The kid wrote what must be the most tactful letter ever written, assuring the denying-dad that he understands that he’s intruding and he wants nothing from him, just the opportunity to meet.

The guy caved and they met in October in L.A. They embraced, and have developed a loving relationship.


Once in a while a good band name stops me.
This time it’s The Lone Sharks.
(Interesting song, if just for the background vocals)

Now I know why I don’t get it !

Dancing With The Stars is this century’s Lawrence Welk Show.

It was the tryptophan talking!

(Caution: Names dropping ahead)

Thanksgiving Day I called George Wendt to see if he was still hosting an annual ‘homeless’ (actors, comedians with no families) gathering at his house. I hadn’t gone for 20 years because I’ve always been with MY family, now scattered. He said it was a small party, but I should drop by.

At 10 pm, after two dinners, I drove to his place. I turned onto his cross street and looked to my left. It was dark. I hadn’t been there lately, but I know it, a white house with a white fence and a barnlike two-story garage.

Without trepidation I parked in front. There was the white fence. I looked at the porch: uh huh, the door opens at the right, not straight ahead. So I walked up and rang the bell. I saw someone peer through the blinds. It was Ed Begley, Jr.

This made perfect sense. Ed is George’s neighbor, I’d seen him at George’s parties. “Hi, Ed” I said, as he opened the door, “Art Fein, remember? You were on my tv show a few times.” “Sure, Art” he said and I walked past him into the living room.

It was awfully quiet. No sign of a party. In two seconds that seemed like two hours I turned back to Ed, who looked at me puzzledly from the door.

“Uh ... Ed ... I have a feeling this isn’t George’s house.”
“No, Art. One block over.”
“Oh, uh, well, nice seeing you!”
“And nice seeing you too, Art.”

As I exited I turned back to him and said “Gee, what did you think when I went marching in?”

“Well, I thought maybe you had some sort of appointment with my wife or something, that she hadn’t told me about.”

“Yeah, well, sorry about that.” I was as red-faced as the Indians I’d honored earlier at the groaning boards.

- 57 -

Mark On The Move

Even at the official TKTS discount booths, Broadway shows have gotten more expensive than the last time I was in NYC two years ago, but finally seeing Stephen Sondheim’s 1971 musical “Follies” revival at the Marquis Theatre, the $88 (half price) tag was well worth it.  It’s tuneful, complex and, still, shockingly avant-garde.  Sondheim and collaborator James Goldman critique the myths of theatre entertainment while paying homage to the styles and attitudes of the thirties and forties that live on like dreams.
The premise is simple but the execution is not: a troupe of showgirls who once strutted, danced and sang as “Weismann Girls” return for a 30-year reunion, in the decaying theatre that is scheduled for demolition.  Their old boss hosts, and some of the women bring their husbands, but as we learn their stories, we see their younger selves, decked out in their sexy, fancy costumes of feathers and furs, haunting the stairways and catwalks above them, and sometimes strolling ghostlike, unseen by members of the cocktail party. 

The focus is on the depressed and deluded Sally Durant Plummer (Bernadette Peters), her former best friend Phyllis Rogers Stone, their “stage-door johnny” husbands, and the four “younger selves” who enact the slowly-revealed past, in which the seeds of a disappointing future are being planted.  Meanwhile we see the still feisty but less limber women re-enact the musical/dance numbers of their youth, including the best-known song “Broadway Baby” (with the wonderful Jayne Houdyshell).

One of the ladies, Carlotta Campion, is still a famous TV star, and a first-class, funny hedonist.  In “Who’s That Woman” the cast begins to eerily interact with their younger selves.  Played in this new production by Elaine Paige (a major British star who was the original “Evita”), Carlotta lays out her philosophy in “I’m Still Here,” a defiant attempt to deny the passage of time leads to less excitement in life.
The second act continues to work out the love story of the four main characters, but as their anger and unhappiness erupts into a screaming match – including their attempts to talk sense to their younger or older selves --the play itself has a kind of nervous breakdown, the stage set is suddenly changed (the printed program calls it “Loveland”), the characters are expelled, and we find ourselves in the middle of the original feel-good Weismann Follies of decades before, the sentimental songs of love turning sour as we realize these are evidence of the “folly” of the pre-War years, when the characters betrayed their hearts and each other.  Sondheim and Goldman take the concept one more audacious step, as the frothy vaudeville musical numbers begin to use the language and psychology of the ‘70s, revealing current neurosis.  One character sings “The God-Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me Blues” (about his distrust of anyone who could love someone as self-loathing as himself), another “Losing My Mind” (about the obsessive desire for what she cannot have).
The original broadway production lasted 522 performances but lost money and was considered a failure.  I hope the current show, with another 40 years of accumulated American angst to power it, and Sondheim’s success with other serious shows like “Sweeny Todd” and “Into the Woods” in the intervening years, will last forever.
-- 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 )

Email Art Fein

Other Fein Messes