?

Log in

the three hundred thirty three faces of eve unindicted co-conspirators table of discontents about a girl M. C. Brennan's Shiny New Homepage back 25 back 25
e=mcbrennan
Random Thoughts Collected and Computed: M. C. Brennan on LiveJournal
mcbrennan
1 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
Look, ma, I'm on the teevee!

Tags: , ,

say it with flowers
mcbrennan
My heart is like a wheel.

Tags:

say it with flowers
mcbrennan
Great, staggeringly condescending 1977 mini-documentary entitled "The New Wave", about that dangerous punk rock music propagated by those hooligans in Devo, Joan Jett, etc. Rodney Bingenheimer's interview section alone is worth the trip.

3 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
This is the first film I ever made, back in 1983. The camera was a 1950s Kodak Brownie that was basically a metal box with a "gun sight" on the top to use as a viewfinder. I reassembled (and let's be fair, substantially reworked) the film for this presentation, which I hope you'll enjoy. If you knew me back then, you may be in this film yourself. If you didn't...well, consider this an opportunity to step through a portal into another world...a world of many, many mustaches....

now playing: Shuggie Otis - Sparkle City | Powered by Last.fm

13 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan

Have They Checked Poland?



I kid--I'm 100% sure it was the former. But just for tonight, spare me my illusions: let me dream it was the latter.

now playing: Those Darlins - Who's That Knockin' At My Window | Powered by Last.fm

say it with flowers
mcbrennan
How the heck are you?
33 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
Forget the tragic tabloid death, the skeezy 90s/00s behavior, the circus sideshow that was his life from "Thriller" on. I'll always remember Michael Jackson as he was in the late 60s/70s--a joyful, exuberant kid with just boundless musical gifts. I think anyone who grew up in the 60s or 70s knows what I'm talking about. The Jackson 5 were everywhere. Late night talk shows, variety shows, Saturday morning cartoons. The records were fantastic. Listen to the Miracles' feeble original version of "Who's Lovin' You" and then play the Jackson 5 version, and listen to 10-year old Michael school Smokey on how it's done. I didn't share the national fascination with "Thriller"--I thought "Off The Wall" was vastly superior--but I think you see the last of the "real" Michael in the playfulness of some of Thriller's videos, and a few of the tracks are still pretty great. After that, unlimited fame and wealth did what it does. I think anybody who truly wants to be famous has not been paying attention. In the coming days, in the onslaught of tweets, commentary, lionization, deification, ridiculous Al Sharpton news conferences, terrible tribute albums, etc, I'm just going to remember that joyous, soulful kid who rocked the Apollo. And hope he found some kind of peace in the next world, because there's too damned little of it here.
7 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
My five year old niece's punk band just played their first live show! I'm terrified at how good her performance moves are. Please enjoy this two-song primer on how to rock.
9 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
There could not be a bigger "fuck you" to the poor, elderly and rural than the DTV switchover. The government, big corporations and popular culture run them over and grind them into the ground at every opportunity. When the idiots who wrecked our economy decide to balance their budgets, do they raise taxes on corporations? Do they put in a windfall profits tax on oil companies? Do they sock it to the bankers, stockbrokers, real estate speculators and Grover-Norquist-inbreds who created the problem? No. No, they shut down hospitals, fire teachers, slash school lunch programs, cut Medicare and Medicaid, eliminate welfare and food stamps, close long-term care centers. The war on poverty has long since become a war on the poor.

So, after indignity and injustice and just generally being told by society that they're useless and unimportant, the poor, the elderly, rural Americans, what do they do? They go home, they switch on the TV and for a little while they get to laugh, or think about something else. Maybe they even have a little luxury like having an extra TV in the kitchen or bedroom. We've had free TV in this country for 60 years. "A public trust", they used to call it, the airwaves. When's the last time you heard somebody say that phrase?

But no. No, even that little escape has to be taken away from them. Why? Because the cable and satellite companies correctly figured they could boost their revenue by scaring the hell out of everyone and forcing them to buy cable and satellite service at $50 or $100 a month. Because the electronics manufacturers correctly figured they could force everyone to buy a new digital set. Because the wireless providers correctly figured they could steal the "public trust" analog spectrum to sell more wireless services to affluent urban tech junkies.

So what happens to the poor, elderly and rural folks I keep talking about? Those jackass government-cheese DTV coupons don't come anywhere close to covering the actual cost of one of those shoddy Chinese-made converter boxes. People often have to shell out $20-50 more to get the converter at a retailer. So much for that extra TV in the kitchen or bedroom. If the Feds were serious about helping people make the transition they would have used some of the billions they made auctioning off the analog spectrum to send out vouchers for the converters. Actual vouchers, not $40 off coupons. And once you have the converter, you need a new antenna--indoor analog-era antennas are often useless with DTV, which means springing for an outdoor aerial, which can be hundreds of dollars and require professional installation. And then, if they've somehow managed to shell out for all this crap, they have to deal with the new DTV converter interface which, while easy enough for tech-savvy younger folks, can be absolutely baffling to older people. Rescan your channels by locating the menu function, grandma, and press "setup" twice to exit.

And then? Somehow, they've gotten all this stuff together, leaned on everyone they know for help, if they even have anybody to lean on, and then? Here's the big secret: DTV doesn't work so well. It has two modes of operation. One, you have absolutely perfect reception, absolutely no interference and a perfect picture. Two, you have no reception AT ALL. The slightest interference, the slightest geographical interference between you and the DTV transmitter and you get nothing. If you're in a valley, if you're a long distance from the transmitter, if there are hills around, if you live in an area with a lot of big buildings, if there's bad weather, you get zippo. Nada. Oh, you can drag your indoor antenna around every time you change a channel like it's 1952 again, and good luck to you. But DTV is an expressly urban, affluent form of broadcasting. And the people who most depend on free television for a little light in their lives--or for basic functions like news, weather and emergency information--are the ones who are going to lose out. I read a New York Times article online a few weeks back and in the comments section, all the fine New York Times readers were saying things like "It will do them good! They shouldn't watch TV at all, they should try reading some books," and "They don't need TV for emergency services, news and weather reports--they still have radio, don't they?" It's that kind of elitist bullshit that helps Republicans win elections, jackasses. Let's shut down internet access to New York for a week and see how they like it.

Would it have killed them to leave analog TV on for a few more years, to phase out analog TV sales and let the transition occur more naturally as people replace broken equipment, and to provide meaningful assistance to the people who don't have the technical, physical or financial means to handle the switchover themselves? Those people bought their equipment in good faith, is it too much for us to apologize and make amends for rendering their equipment (and let's be honest: their lives) obsolete? Couldn't someone in Congress have remembered that "public trust" phrase and not cackled with laughter? In the coming days you'll hear how "smoothly" the transition went, how everything was just fine and there were no major problems. That's because the people who lost their signal have no voice, no representation in this culture. Rural people are dumb hicks! Elderly people are slow and stupid! Poor people are just lazy parasites! Just ask anybody. Nobody's going to do a DTV census, go around asking people if they lost their service. The machines that dutifully record all your TiVo and cable views won't notice. Not too many elderly shut-ins with Nielsen boxes.

Anyway. It had to be said, even though nobody cares. Not too many elderly shut-ins with blogs, either. So long, analog. You'll be missed. And fuck you, digital. Just because.
23 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
An unexpected and most welcome surprise today--I happened by a thrift store and ended up purchasing this 1947 Admiral 4HI-335 TV/Radio/Phonograph console for a low-low price. It's in a gorgeous black cabinet with hand-carved Asian woodwork and hand-painted designs. The radio and phonograph are in good working order, but the TV--that amazing, ultra-small 1947 screen--is in need of some new tubes, I think. I can't wait to get some 78s in that record cabinet and crank it up. There are a few closeups of the different elements on my flickr page so have a look. A beautiful artifact from the beginning of analog television, just in time to witness its end.
7 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan

Butterfly Starpower Superstar


If you have yet to experience the joys of my five year old niece's punk rock band, you're in for a treat.

http://www.myspace.com/butterflystarpower

Some have compared her to Wesley Willis (favorably, you understand). I hear a young Exene there, myself. She writes and performs all the lyrics herself--her dad helps with the music and production. Click on the link. It will give you hope for the future of the human race.

now playing: Butterfly Starpower

5 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
I want to take this opportunity to wish my dear friend modpixie a very happy birthday! Wish I was there to help celebrate, but I hope the day brings you much happiness and hope the year ahead brings you much success.
say it with flowers
mcbrennan
I have no idea why I did this. Which makes it very similar to most of my other decisions.

http://mcbrennan.dreamwidth.org/

Join me there, won't you? I'm told it's twice as fun as Vox.
17 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan


Oh Brock? There's something on the lawn, Brock...
2 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
4 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
My friend Jill (and her awesome pups) are taking part in a walk-a-thon to help raise money for Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation--a great organization that saves countless animals every year and gets them into good homes, keeping them off the streets where they so often fall into a life of gangs, drugs, and petty crime. If you've got a buck or two (or whatever you can spare), it'd be great if you could make a donation--any amount at all would be much appreciated. Here's the link for more info:

http://www.firstgiving.com/jillcooney

Consider it penance for all those albums you've illegally downloaded this year week.

xo,
Caitie

now playing: Jessica Molaskey - All That Jazz | Powered by Last.fm

say it with flowers
mcbrennan
I'm momentarily (and unexpectedly) in LA tonight. My sweetie had a last-minute job-interview thing here so we hurried over, and will be hurrying back Tuesday afternoon, but for the moment, hurrah. I've already done my prerequisite watch-the-sun-come-up-at-Canter's breakfast and feel like a proper 80s rock casualty. In the morning it's breakfast at Nat's Early Bite, a visit to the Big Kid Toy Emporium and then back to Phoenix for a bit.

So, a nice bit of news--I don't think I mentioned it here yet, but I'm featured in this month's Curve magazine...the one with Katy Perry on the cover, yes. It's a very generous and supportive profile and it's much appreciated (and it's not on the website so visit your local newsstand/bookseller and check it out...Borders and B&N carry it...)

I'm doing a bit better healthwise since I last wrote. Working on a ridiculous script I kind of love even though it is unlikely to advance the cause of commercial success. I'm hopeful this year will bring good things.

Could really go for one of those Canter's omelets tonight but I need to sleep. Just saying hi. Hope you're doing well.
16 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
Yes, this is exactly what it looks like. :) Marc took me to meet Russell and Ron for my birthday. I was exhausted but very happy.
13 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
Aw, man. One of my very favorite people, Blossom Dearie has died. The Times obituary gives an excellent sense of her, but you should really hear her records if you haven't. And the beauty of that is, if you're looking for a place to start, you literally cannot go wrong with any album or song she ever did.

If you're around my age, you've probably heard her even if you didn't realize it. Back in the 70s she recorded several songs for the "Schoolhouse Rock" series on ABC, including "Mother Necessity", "Unpack Your Adjectives" and the sublime "Figure Eight", which is one of the strangest and most melancholy and wonderful pieces of music I've ever heard in my life. From the first time I heard it, "Figure Eight" completely captivated me--and probably warped me a little bit, honestly. It was profoundly weird, Miss Dearie's deceptively girlish voice taking what could have been a simple children's song and revealing hidden layers of morbid, Gorey-esque menace--in an educational-cartoon song about math! I had to discover the artist who could create such an odd and magical thing, and I'm so glad I did. Her wit, her merciless observational and interpretive skills, her immaculate taste, her gift for composition and melody and phrasing and precision--no song ever had a better friend. Gosh, I just adore her. I hate that she's gone. Thank god for records.
6 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
Hey, this throwaway "lost and found" ad I wrote on November 5th somehow ended up on the best of craigslist. I'd totally forgotten about it until one of my Facebook friends linked to it...not knowing I wrote it. The internet is weird.
1 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
We had dinner tonight at a nice Italian place in the center of town. I haven't been out much lately, owing primarily to the fact that I'm now one of those feeble, wibbly, physically-useless throbbing-brain aliens from the Star Trek pilot. But yeah, we had a nice dinner. And everywhere we went, I was impressed by the civic enthusiasm for the oft-hated Cardinals. Most of the city will be shuttered tomorrow for the big game. Billboards, flyers, balloons, everywhere we went it was "Go Cards". Which is a very surreal experience.

I'm not especially big on American football, but I do watch it occasionally and have been watching the Cardinals' playoff games, just because the very concept of Cardinals playoff games is so preposterous that attention must be paid lest some kind of infinite-improbability wormhole open up. When the Cardinals moved to Phoenix I had never so much as seen an NFL game on TV but I quickly came to loathe the Bidwells, the family that has owned the Cardinals roughly since the Norman invasion. Their owner and, um, ambassador was Bill Bidwell, this bowtied, disagreeable jerk whose public persona managed to synthesize a marvelous combination of Midwest pig-ignorance and pompous East Coast moneyed entitlement--two traits I for one just can't get enough of. Despite the fact that we already had a perfectly serviceable USFL team, he immediately brought his last-place perennial-loser team to town and started demanding stadiums. Which local leaders would then insanely agree to build him, but then he would decide--no, that's not good enough. I want the stadium to be made of gold! I want it located directly above an Indian burial ground! I want skyboxes hovering in the actual sky! I want a bevy of hot bowtie-loving Playboy bunnies to come stroke my luxuriant beard! I want to be showered with solid gold doubloons while random taxpayers slavishly buff my corns! All while refusing to spend one dollar to actually field a competitive team. So every year they would lose, and every year I thought it was funnier and funnier and funnier. Because if futility didn't just tickle me I would have hurled myself onto a picket fence by now. Anyway, finally against all reason Bidwell did get his stadium which looks like a giant farty thing of Jiffy-Pop, and his son took over managing the team and they got some grizzled old prospector guy to be quarterback or something.

But I kind of want them to win today. Like many mentally ill Americans I have a knee-jerk affection for the underdog. In a contest between a carefully prepared, supremely talented, ruthlessly efficient professional and one dangerously incompetent doe-eyed moron with a dream, I will root for the moron every time. The Steelers will be undone because they are simply too good. They have won many championships, by all accounts they go out of their way to consistently invest in their business and field a good product, their fans are fiercely loyal in good times and bad. Can America afford to reward this behavior? I say no. And besides, there are indeed actual Cardinals in Arizona. I saw one flying around last summer. When was the last time anyone saw this mythical "steelworker" in Pittsburgh? First they came for the pirates.

But again, please, pay no heed--I know nothing about football and don't really care either way. In that regard I get the sense the Cardinals and I are very much alike. I'm one of those wretched individuals who mostly watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, but of course that was back when there were businesses. I look forward to the several dozen NBC "The More You Know" public service announcements in which Christopher Meloni goes all TMI about that rash he picked up in Borneo.

The downside, of course, is that if the Cardinals win, the whole town will be insufferable. This changes things how? So go get 'em, Cards.

now playing: Chicago Bears "Superbowl Shuffle"

6 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
Okay, one more post, and this one is important. I kid you not.

Friday night/early Saturday AM, TCM is showing Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.

You heard me. The Fabulous Stains, in its entirety, on TCM Underground*, at 11:30pm Pacific, 2:30am Eastern. It's a film with a weird and mangled history, and it's a bit of a mess, but if you like cult films, 80s punk/new wave music, Diane Lane, The Clash, The Tubes, The Sex Pistols, Nancy Dowd, Laura Dern, Night Flight, or Mr. Data from Star Trek, you should definitely watch. In fact, here is a handy TCM desktop image to remind you.



* ...um, followed by Eddie and the Cruisers. Sigh. Well, Michael Paré was pretty hot at the time, as I recall from numerous dreamy schoolgirl viewings of The Greatest American Hero.

Tags: ,
now playing: The Stains "Professionals"

2 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
I know I'm just besieging you with posts tonight, but if you haven't already seen it, I know you'll enjoy this strange and wonderful project in which the residents of Pittsburgh's Sampsonia Way created a series of hilarious theatrical tableaux that were (intentionally) immortalized for all time by the passing Google Street View Van. Yes, there is a giant ham walking around. Yes, that mad scientist is firing a charged energy weapon. And yeah, I think those are LARPers having a broadsword battle in the park. Many more scenes to see, all assembled with a loving eye for detail and, clearly, a great love of their neighborhood. Very nice that Google was a willing participant in this project. I'd love to see more of this sort of thing--Google should really let more neighborhoods know when the Street View Van is going to be driving by.
1 the people have spoken? or say it with flowers
mcbrennan
say it with flowers