Monday, March 31, 2014

Goth invented in Memphis (and other places too)!

I came across Travis Wammack's "Scratchy" for the first time last night on The Sound of the City: Memphis, compiled by the late Charlie Gillett. A great novelty record (how many ungreat ones are there?), this 1964 not-quite-instrumental features a break with a vocal phrase that's recorded forward and backward and sounds like gibberish both ways. Even more exciting, Daniel Ash ripped off the main guitar riff for "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Compare:
But upon locating youtubes, I learned that "Scratchy" was a ripoff of Mel Tormé's "Comin' Home Baby," itself a vocal version of a cut by The Dave Bailey Quintet and soon recorded by Herbie Mann. And then Immortal Technique sampled the latter on "N Me Importa" and then...

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Urchins and ushers

Below please find a useful chunk from Mark Sinker's tl;dr "The Shock of the Library: Oasis Versus All of Art and Culture." I like how it conceives rock as not only a fortress warding off parents, school, high art, etc. It also aimed to curate itself, to create gatekeepers who could show us that "Soldier Boy" and "Surfin' Bird" were equal in profundity to Aeschylus and Shakespeare or whoever.

"All kinds of commentators caught up in punk’s aftermath ('flamboyantly new creative language and attitude') had placed themselves at the exact same oedipal fork: of course they too want to be urchins running through museums, but there’s also the urge to seek employment as enthusiastic ushers, showing one and all how exactly this (old-school) radical art ought to be understood and used. And so there was always already a schoolyard-type squabble who gets to be a consider a 'thinker.' Rock was always a dramatisation of growing up in public; less a refusal of the demands and changes and skills that school might produce than a theatre of the confused hope of an alternative: combination NO and YES."


Monday, March 03, 2014

Oscars 2013!

Wow! Oscar finally got it together and nominated ten of the best films of the year. Here's how I'd rank them, last to first to get your heart racing, just like Hollywood franchise films do:

10. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) - How come this wasn't nominated for Best Original Screenplay?

9. Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas) - I cannot refrain from praising a film this self-indulgent. I am a weak man.

8. Camille Claudel 1915 (Bruno Dumont) - Dumont retells the story as, what else, one endless, dreary time suck.

7. Watermarked (DIS/Marco Roso) - Apparently, Kenzo, a Paris-based "international luxury goods brand" (I had to Wiki it), commissioned the fashion pranksters at DIS Magazine to create this commercial for their mens Fall/Winter 2012 line. I only want to know what Kenzo thought of their creepy, hilarious, empty ("queer" I assume they're okay with) take on haute couture.


6. Beyond the Hills (Cristian Mungiu) - The Romanian Orthodox Church encounters modernity in the back of a police van.

5. Tabu (Miguel Gomes) - Murnau's imperialist dreams come home to roost.

4. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel) - Is the long take in which a fisherman nods off to Deadliest Catch a critique of the film's aestheticization of labor? Or is the film critiquing that very sea-raiding labor to begin with? Or is cinema wasted on humans? Or...?

3. L'inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake) (Alain Guiraudie) - 90% of the arguments I get into about cinema concern three types of film - serial killer flicks, gay/lesbian cinema, and current mainstream Hollywood movies. So I maintain files of films I like in each category in the hopes of deflecting any serious meltdowns. L'inconnu du lac wins a spot on the first two lists and might be the greatest film of all time were it a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster demanding several sequels. Ok not really but Guiraudie's masterpiece features the most radically queer redeployment of the public sphere since my beloved La chatte à deux têtes (Porn Theater) (Jacques Nolot 2002). It might even be more radical in that it uses what most would consider nature (a peaceful, remote lake in the summer) as the mise-en-scène for "unnatural" acts of gay public sex.

2. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen) - Aging, sexuality, popular music, art history lessons, mild cultural displacement all swept up in Cohen's gorgeous massage of a film.

1. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski) - For once, the cliché "unlike any film I've ever seen" is entirely appropriate. Best Picture of the year! The Academy chose wisely.

Worst film - Would You Rather (David Guy Levy)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Humor = not transcendent

Vivian Sobchack has an essay in the February 2014 issue of Film Comment called "Stop Making Sense" on two difficult films from 2013, Upstream Color and To The Wonder. The gist is that neither film means. Instead, they exude sensory experiences "in the moment." They aspire to the crystallized nowness of poetry rather than the cause-and-effect thenness of the novel.

But in speculating as to why these films turn off so many viewers, she spins out with an odd take on poetry and humor: "Limericks and 18th-century verse aside, poetry is also generally humorless, this because it sincerely believes in its own power to transform the vagueness of vision into something not only concrete but also potentially transcendent." So does this not then mean that humor can never achieve transcendence? Maybe this is why some viewers cannot stand these films and art films in general - they've already received their transcendence elsewhere. Or, more precisely, they want nothing to do with artists who see no link between humor and transcendence. So they rest content with any number of masterpieces by Jerry Lewis. And they have a battalion of knee-slappin' pop songs to send them soaring, ABC's "That Was Then But This Is Now," say, or The KLF's "Justified and Ancient."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Brink of Life II (Ingmar Bergman, 2014)

Just kidding. This post concerns Bergman's 1958 film Brink of Life, obscured by the canonical films surrounding it (The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, both 1957 and The Virgin Spring from 1960) but adored in one of my all-time favorite pieces of film writing, John Waters' 1983 "Guilty Pleasures," first published in Film Comment and then in his Crackpot collection. "Guilty Pleasures" was an early acknowledgement of the thin line between art and exploitation and finds Waters pumping Bresson and Duras as de facto punks alongside appreciations of such still-unsung rage and/or boredom-inducers as Night Games (Mai Zetterling, 1966), A Cold Wind in August (Alexander Singer, 1961), and Mademoiselle (Tony Richardson, 1966). By including Brink of Life amongst such maudit company, Waters means to praise not the Bergman of existential hand-wringing but rather the Bergman of puke scenes and ridiculously gratuitous boob closeups.
These were precisely the selling points that exhibitors wanted to hype in order to attract restless, postwar audiences, e.g., filmgoers educated via the GI Bill and/or troops who saw European (and often art) cinema overseas. And so "Guilty Pleasures" reminds us of a filmscape that leveled the distinctions between Brink of Life and a sexploitation classic like Russ Meyer's 1959 The Immoral Mr. Teas across theaters free to show saucier fare in the wake of the Paramount and Miracle decisions.

But this Bergman, the de facto sexploitation film director, does not survive in legend. Today, he's either the ultimate middlebrow director or, less likely, perched at the highest point of cinematic art. As early as 1959, Hollis Alpert laid out the latter viewpoint in a Saturday Evening Review piece: "It’s already possible to determine whether someone is middlebrow or upperbrow, depending on whether the word 'Bergman' suggests Ingmar or Ingrid." But rather quickly, Bergman lost prestige with some influential critics (especially, Jonathan Rosenbaum) for a variety of reasons laid out by David Bordwell here so that now Ingrid Bergman undoubtedly inspires more reverence (at least when she's paired up with an auteurist-approved master). Both legacies make it difficult to view Brink of Life though Mr. Teas' naughty x-ray vision.

For sure, it contains most of the hallmarks of Bergman's cinema, chiefly, a suffocating milieu. Over the opening credits, we can hear city life outside the doors of a maternity ward, the film's sole location.
A nurse opens the doors and wheels us into the story world.
And at the very end of the film, the doors close on us, no end credits.
Nothing else exists, leaving Bergman open to the common charge of apolitical self-absorption.

Except, of course, the world outside very much exists in his cinema. It's constantly referenced in the extended harangues of his characters. In Brink of Life, it suffocates three women in various stages of pregnancy. But what value one can juice from this inside-outside tension depends largely on which Bergman dominates the viewing experience.

Critics who see Bergman as the quintessential director of middlebrow pseudo-profundity would seize on this tension to conclude that his characters reference the outside world only insofar as it relates to themselves. Rarely do they acknowledge that anyone else might be suffering or that anything besides suffering might ever happen. And so the audience must submit to the endless rants with plenty of mute witnesses as our surrogates. Here, a nurse rides out some Ingrid Thulin dialogue:
But those who find Bergman "a much nervier and riskier filmmaker than the oracular figure of legend" experience more nuance in his filmography. This Bergman is fully cognizant that he's limited his view to a little corner of the world. At times he even strives to let some of the hot air out of his stifling locales. This rare glimpse of the outside world in Brink of Life gives the film a momentary blast of fresh air (even though the window is pretty tightly shut):
Windows provide brief opportunities for the characters to recognize their feverish self-regard. Perhaps they even allow Bergman to roll his eyes at his characters such as in this shot from The Silence (1963), a much nervier and riskier film:
                                                            It is stuffy in here.

But what about Bergman the sexploitation maestro or Bergman the obnoxious button pusher? Could we not read his films back through the prism of rock 'n' roll if not punk rock? Instead of linking him to Strindberg backward and Woody Allen forward, why not use Chuck Berry and Pink Flamingos as reference points? In this register, the unnatural rants take on the petulance of Elvis demanding his due from the world in "Mystery Train." The reduced palette starts to give off the intensity of the circumscribed look and sound of punk. And if we submit to it all, the characters will take us down with them into the apocalypse just like classic punk rockers. In short, might we not guffaw at the audacity of Bergman's films rather than cower before their genius?

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Pazz & Jop 2013

Albums

10. Chance the Rapper: Acid Rap (Self-released)
Good kid from a mad city. On the hidden-at-the-start track "Paranoia," 20-year-old Chancelor Bennett flips DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Summertime" on its side and reminds us that many African-Americans in Chicago dread summer for the death toll it brings. This breakthrough mixtape, then, catalogs how he's managed to weather the madness - with weed and LSD, sure, but mostly by keeping in conversation with his inner goofball. Amping the novelty content of his high-humored nasality should take him to the next level. So should his knack for tough-minded inspirational numbers like "That's Love" and "Everybody's Something." And thus he earns his boast from the very first track: "This your favorite album and it ain't even fucking done." He said it, not me.

9. Kanye West: Yeezus (Def Jam)
Now he has something else to brag about - getting to Blood on the Dance Floor in half the time it took Michael Jackson. And with no child star traumas to mine either.

8. King Krule: 6 Feet Beneath The Moon (True Panther Sounds)
At 19 years old, London's King Krule (né Archy Marshall) has already perfected an archetype - the moody bastard who gets all the girls by sulking in the corner and clutching a notebook of terrible poetry. If only we could console him! Ah but we can! The skeletal sound, Chris Isaak spooning with J Dilla, leaves enough space around his Krockadile-tears baritone to make himself attainable. When he double-tracks that baritone, it is to swoon - two Archies for the price of one. But the best moments occur when he puts an echo on his voice giving flight to many Archies, one for each of us to console.

7. My Bloody Valentine: m b v (m b v)
After the new millennium, I didn't even want a follow up to Loveless. How could it compare? How could we even hear it? Clearly, though, I was fooling myself because immediately upon giving up, a slew of artists with some sort of MBV DNA kept popping up like a repressed consciousness: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Ariel Pink, Belong, Glasvegas, The Angelic Process, Li Jianhong, Philipp Matalla (see below), etc. all of whom were reminding me that My Bloody Valentine was in my DNA and I wanted them back.

So the main question I have upon ingesting their 22-year-aborning follow up is what MBV-esque wonders I missed while I was consciously waiting for Kevin Shields' muse to kick him in the ass in the 1990s. The only two albums I can think of are Pita: Get Out (Mego, 1999) and All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors: Turning Into Small (Gern Blandsten, 1998) which I probably would've heard as Stereolab-esque at the time. What else did I miss?

Anyway, my favorite track on this one is easily the first, "she found now." I will never ever forget coming home late from the city that Saturday night and, completely stunned, finding the album in my inbox. "she found now" was Kevin greeting us with a soothing, fuzzy bubblebath, massaging our shoulders, telling us "it's alright now...I'm here...I know...I know...soft...shhh..." I cried. I did.

6. Brandy Clark: 12 Stories (Slate Creek)
The new Nashville aristocracy - queer, left-leaning, filler-averse. Clark doesn't possess the vocal identity to convince me that this is more than a collection of 12 demos Leann Rimes was afraid to touch. But so what? There's not a clinker in the bunch and a line like "He's some stranger's husband and I'm some stranger's wife" is Parton-worthy.

5. Amber London: Tru 2 Tha Phonk (Self-released)
A member of SpaceGhostPurrp's Raider Klan, London has fashioned a mixtape so laid back it's unnerving. Tru 2 her Houston roots, she chops and screws already low key tracks until they clank and echo in a 3am haze. Then things get ever slower, so slow that she accesses some sort of heartbreaking otherworldliness at the core of her creations, especially "Choppa Got Dat Ass Shakin Like A Hoe On Da Flo Nigga," the last 45 seconds of which were the most gorgeous sound I heard in 2013. If Bela Tarr ever wants an alternative soundtrack for The Turin Horse, he should listen here.

4. Lady Gaga: Artpop (Streamline/Interscope)
I couldn't stand this at first because the song doctor in her had clearly overtaken the disco diva. Born This Way kept both aspects in balance whereas this one sacrificed the forward motion of dance music for a proggy writing in parts. But after many listens, those parts finally became moments to obsess on. And soon I could hear her loving her own genius for pop song construction which just fuels our delight all the more. In other encouraging news, she's still a weirdo.

3. Kurt Vile: Wakin on a Pretty Daze (Matador)
The new pop music democracy - an album easy to ignore but difficult to turn off. It makes so few demands that one need never bother discerning the lyrics nor determining which slab of 1970s stoner rock wooze he's referencing at any given point. Irresponsible perhaps but hey - I'm a busy guy.

2. M.I.A.: Matangi (N.E.E.T./Interscope)
The premier record maker of our era continues to astound. This time out, her charitable donations to your ear extend to a voice which she splinters and unmoors until it echoes like transmissions from the displaced worldtowners who remain her greatest commitment. And for those who thought she's lost her lyrical edge, perhaps the noize obscured this nugget: "Truth is like a rotten tooth, you gotta spit it out/I left the bottom two, let my wisdom work it out."

1. John Wizards: John Wizards (Planet Mu)
It's faintly ridiculous that Cape Town's John Withers labels one of his songs "Finally/Jet Up" as if it had two parts. For the truth of the matter is that all fifteen of these slices of exuberant invention go through multiple permutations of Afropoptronica before morphing into the next track if one can even perceive the divide. Recorded over two years in Withers' bedroom, it's all directionless play and sandbox wonder - King Sunny Adé suffering from ADD, Shangaan electro producer Nozinja popping Ritalin, Disney's Main Street Electric Parade winding its way through the townships. Some will chalk up the truncated song lengths and overall chirpiness to Withers' day job as a writer of television commercial jingles. But mitigating any sense of smarm is the feeling that the album is essentially inexpressive, despite occasional vocal assists from Rwandan Emmanuel Nzaramba. Like another South African curio, the 1985 Via Afrika album on EMI America, John Wizards seems to come from nowhere. Here's hoping, unlike Via Afrika, it doesn't wind up there too.

Singles

10. RuPaul feat. Big Freedia: “Peanut Butter” (RuCo)
Given how much she had to Oprah up drag in order to bring it to the masses, it's amazing her 1993 debut came off as sassy as it did. But she's littered her discography with godawful inspirational numbers and dishwater disco ever since. Now that she's actually become Oprah with her Drag Race empire, she's trying a bit harder, e.g., this wiener-flopping nod to New Orleans bounce. And even at that, bounce queen diva Big Freedia deserves top billing, especially after Ru's tepid rap. With grassroots glamour and impeccable flow, Freedia sends the track sailing to your buttcheeks. Wieners too.

9. DJ Fresh vs. Diplo Feat. Dominique Young Unique: "Earthquake" (Ministry of Sound)
As a writer who mourns the sacrifice of the English language at the altar of efficiency, I loathe the low word count of Twitter. But as a lover of opportunists making a mad dash for the pop jugular, I adore vines. Six seconds is plenty of time to get a hook across and in the war of "whoa what's that one?" while watching pretty boys twerk together, "Earthquake" came out on top. Hook of the year, easy, and I trust that Diplo, the millennium's greatest sound effects man, will land a single on my list each time out. 

8. Philipp Matalla: "Lack of Loss"/"Alright"/"Alright (MMKM Is Not A Mix)" (Kann)
Kinda like the disco correlation to the Amber London mixtape above. From Leipzig, Germany, Matalla takes a slow-motion funk net and trawls through murky waters for half-remembered guitar parts and Bob Dylan songs. The beat clatters like typewriters. Tinkerbells sparkle up top. It's 3am. Matalla puts in a call to his therapist. He needs help with his digital hoarding. But, selfishly, we hope it goes to voice mail.

7. Pusha T: "Numbers on the Boards" (GOOD Music/Def Jam)
Where once the impermanent working conditions of musicians rendered their profession exceptionable, perhaps even irresponsible, now such conditions are the post-industrial status quo. But something similar could be said of inner/outer city drug dealers. So the rapper who makes his money dealing positively reeks of the zeitgeist. "How could you relate when you ain't never been great/And rely on rap money to put food on your plates?"asks Pusha T. But yeesh - who can't relate? Who isn't relying on some sort of flexible and devalued mode of employment? And who can't relate to the empty sound with which he evokes America 2013 - a clipped sample of electronic pots and pans from one of those library music tapes Luke Vibert uncovered a decade ago, a stomach-growling beat, and, um, that's it. When a Jay-Z sample appears for four disorienting seconds, it's like a drive-by glimpse of a luxury we cannot afford.

6. Girls' Generation: “I Got a Boy” (S.M. Entertainment)
A Burt Bacharach quote from Bob Stanley's endless Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop: "One-level records always made me a little bit uncomfortable after a while. They stayed at one intensity. It kind of beats you up, you know? It's like a smile. If you have a great smile, you use it quick, not all the time." Or you could use several different smiles for a multi-level record that offers all sorts of demented shifts. G-Dragon had two smiles last year with "Crayon." But Girls' Generation's January 1st release has about six. Hence it's three times better. And as they ride out on 140 BPM, it still beats you up, you know? From "This Empty Place" to "I Got a Boy," multi-level smile pop has been the blueprint for the greatest singles of all time. Why's that so difficult to grasp?

5. Inaya Day Allstars: "Good Feeling (A Director's Cut Master)" (Self-released)
During Labor Day weekend, a friend invited me to check out Frankie Knuckles spinning at a party called Queen. At dinner beforehand, though, his stomach was bothering him and when it came time to make our way to the club, he confessed that he probably couldn't make it. In fact, the pain got so bad that we took a seat on a random tiny brick ledge and people watched. Across the street was a straight bar with a butch name like Sluggers blaring the gayest 1990s dance pop imaginable - Robin S, La Bouche, the like. And...it was a blast. It was like our own little club on the side of the road except we could actually hear one another and no one was bumping into us.

Later in the week, he sent me Knuckles' set and this garagey track stood out. The good feeling of the title is when love takes over, namely love for the DJ and his dancefloor. "Let it take you there when it feels right" chant the Allstars on their way to the track's handraising summit and it must have made for a euphoric moment in the club. For me, though, it will always be about a milder, albeit deeper, euphoria - taking your pleasures where you find them even (especially) when you think the good times may be happening somewhere else.

4. Bruno Mars: "Treasure" (Atlantic)
Mars always seems to be trying too hard ("Grenade," "Locked Out of Heaven") or not enough ("The Lazy Song") to ingratiate himself with the public. But the bubblefunky "Treasure" pours out of the radio with the ease of a natural occurrence, eroded off The Jackson 5 Memorial at Mount Rushmore.

3. Vampire Weekend: "Blurred Lines" (BBC's Live Lounge)
I give Ezra Koenig & Co. a pass for the song's sexism because I already gave Robin Thicke & Co. a pass. Pop music's shitty politics are its blessing and its curse. But with crucial assistance from some soul sisters (who, though?), this version is a much more inviting party that blurs lines between James Brown and Medium Medium. It's altogether looser, warmer, and funnier than the original. Sexier too - Ezra's falsetto will make you wish you were his boat shoes.

2. Baauer: "Harlem Shake" (Jeffree's/Mad Decent, 2012)
Info pop at its richest and most masterful.

1. Busta Rhymes ft. Q-Tip, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West: “Thank You” (Cash Money/Republic)
Alicia Myers' 1981 early morning disco classic "I Want To Thank You" is the gift that keeps on giving. Last year, Dead Rose Music Company rerubbed it until yes I said yes I will Yes. Now Busta has looped the guitar jangle and, along with Q-Tip, goes up against it in a dumbfounding display of virtuosity. They fire out words quicker than you can process them while the guitar jangles on and on, two lines of changing same locked in a death match. But the loop wins because, unlike Busta, it never needs to take a breath. And yet, à bout de souffle, he allows perversely long chunks of chorus to play out, especially at the end. In short, the musical equivalent of holding one's breath for two minutes and then letting it out. It holds forth the scrumptious possibility that flecks of "I Want To Thank You" will grace all ten of the greatest singles of the decade.

Albums
1. John Wizards: John Wizards (Planet Mu)
2. M.I.A.: Matangi (N.E.E.T./Interscope)
3. Kurt Vile: Wakin on a Pretty Daze (Matador)
4. Lady Gaga: Artpop (Streamline/Interscope)
5. Amber London: Tru 2 Tha Phonk (Self-released)
6. Brandy Clark: 12 Stories (Slate Creek)
7. MBV: m b v (m b v)
8. King Krule: 6 Feet Beneath The Moon (True Panther)
9. Kanye West: Yeezus (Def Jam)
10. Chance the Rapper: Acid Rap (Self-released)

Singles
1. Busta Rhymes ft. Q-Tip, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West: “Thank You” (Cash Money/Republic)
2. Baauer: "Harlem Shake" (Jeffree's/Mad Decent, 2012)
3. Vampire Weekend: "Blurred Lines" (BBC's Live Lounge)
4. Bruno Mars: "Treasure" (Atlantic)
5. Inaya Day Allstars: "Good Feeling (A Director's Cut Master)" (Self-released) "Keep Pushin'"
6. Girls' Generation: “I Got a Boy” (S.M. Entertainment)
7. Pusha T: "Numbers on the Boards" (GOOD Music/Def Jam)
8. Philipp Matalla: "Lack of Loss"/"Alright" (Kann)
9. DJ Fresh vs. Diplo Feat. Dominique Young Unique: "Earthquake" (Ministry of Sound)
10. RuPaul (feat. Big Freedia): “Peanut Butter” (RuCo)

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Beam Me Up, Scotty

In 1946, a handsome former marine named Scotty Bowers was working at a gas station in Los Angeles when he was propositioned by Walter Pidgeon. Bowers took him up on the offer and, as word got around about his talents, rather quickly found himself the de facto pimp to the Hollywood stars (and lesser known industry personnel). He could hook up anyone but his clientele was mainly Tinseltown's closeted firmament. Now pushing 90, he's recently come forward with a tell-all called Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars. And like clockwork, the dreary question of the verifiability of his accounts has moved to the center of discussion.

Naturally, David Ehrenstein makes it plain that "there's no question it's all true" in Film Comment while The Democratic Republic of Amazon Comments (I won't even link there) has deemed Bowers an unethical liar. It's the fate of most queer historiography no matter where your book lands on the scale between well-researched scholarship and pure trash. William J. Mann, author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, summed up the dilemma in the New York Times: “Some of the pushback is going to be homophobia...But there will also be people who say he’s making it up to sell books and others who say why can’t you let these people rest in peace.”

But, of course, both the latter claims exhibit homophobia too in all their "the personal is NOT political" glory. Shipwrecked in the quest for truth and ethics, queer historiography becomes, well, queer - always a half-measure no matter how shiny the evidence or dusty the archive. So the most fascinating aspect of Full Service is not the saucy recreations of sex with the stars (which get numbing a third of the way through) but rather its unexpected glimpse into the policing of history.

In the late 1970s, writer Hector Arce approached Bowers for confirmation on rumors that Tyrone Power, a former client, was into scat. Bowers convinced Arce that the stories were untrue and thus they did not appear in Arce's 1979 biography The Secret Life of Tyrone Power. Upon publication, however, Bowers admitted to Arce that the stories were, in fact, true providing the following rationale: "It was too soon after Ty's death [in 1958] to be shattering the myth of one of Hollywood's golden boys. Twenty years after his death Ty was still looked upon as an idol. It was right for us to protect his fans from any disappointment or disgust they may have felt after reading about his odd sexual habits. Much time has passed and, as we know, time heals everything. Perhaps Ty's followers are more ready for the truth now than they were thirty years ago when the book was first published" (206). Perhaps, Scotty, perhaps. But what if they're not? Might they be soothed by a federal law stating that fifty years after the death of a celebrity must pass before an author can write about their odd sexual habits? And what counts as disgust? Shouldn't there be some sort of measurement for it the way homosexuality must be constantly verified else it winds up in the dustbins of silence? Does silence have dustbins?

Oh well. There's a least one classic line in the book (concerning Charles Laughton): "Jesus, why did he even take the trouble to wash the fucking lettuce and tomatoes?" (204)




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