A Night at the Opera

We went to the opera in Tulsa last night. I've wanted to see one for as long as I can remember. I was not disappointed. The Tulsa Opera Company's production of Donizetti's "L'elise L'amore" was wonderful. I don't know enough about live opera to be critical or to expound upon underlying themes and what not. I'd just as soon never get to that point, as I enjoyed it immensely without knowing all of that stuff.

I bring that up because there was this older guy there, neck in a brace and surrounded by three or four other well attired people, pontificating (in a snooty fashion) about how "L'Elise L'amore" had "decidedly heterosexual overtones" while a production from some earlier date was rife with subconscious homosexual references. Poo. I mean, who the fuck CARES? But even more ridiculous, must it be pointed out that an opera about a man and a woman falling in love has "heterosexual overtones"??? Duh?

Snobby Moron aside, it was a fine evening for all of us. Stacie has been known to say that she hates opera...I knew, though, that if I could get her to watch a real. LIVE one she might very well change her mind about it. And I think that's what happened. She liked it a lot more than she thought she would. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she were just as eager to see another one as I am. As for Bryan...he's never told me how much he likes opera. He listens to and appreciates classical music of all kinds so I don't doubt that he went into it last night knowing what he was in for. Still, I think the grand scale of the production impressed him. It certainly did me.

I would have preferred a more serious work ("L'Elise L'Amore" is a light romantic comedy), maybe some Wagner, but no matter. This was as good an introduction to the art form as any. In fact, I'm positive that Stacie and Bryan would not have liked anything more serious this first time around.

The company is performing another Donizetti work this October (the name of which escapes me), and I think we'll be going to that one. "Rigoletto" is the first show of next year, and I REALLY want to see that one (gotta love Verdi).


Thanks to my new Netflix account I finally was able to see Werner Herzog's 1977 classic "Stroszek". It's been 29 years since I first heard about it. Just goes to show how difficult it is to procure this kind of stuff in the small communities I've lived in. It is alternately depressing and life-affirming...This clip of the "dancing chicken finale" seems out of place when viewed outside of the context of the movie. It reminds me of "O Brother, Where Art Thou". But it takes on a much deeper meaning when it's placed at the end of such a harrowing tale By the way, if you have a NetFlix account you can watch it instantly online.


Music Video of the Week: The Dexter Romweber Duo

"Breaking Into the World of Spirit"
a short film about
The Dex Romweber Duo

"Joy Division: Under Review"

I found "Joy Division: Under Review" to be extremely disappointing. Admittedly I thought I was getting something completely different. When I saw this title on Netflix I was under the mistaken impression that it was the documentary that was produced last year to coincide with "Control" (a horrid Ian Curtis bio-pic). I'd wanted to see that since before it was even released, having seen a promo on YouTube.

Even so, this documentary is awful. 5 or 6 self-absorbed music critics/biographers pontificating on the history and social ramifications of the band and their work. It is obvious from the start that none of them were even remotely associated with the band themselves or in their circle at that time. I doubt that any one of them knows too much more about Joy Division than your typical fan. They certainly shed no new light on their subject and, what's worse, they propagate the whole "Ian Curtis as Visionary Icon" bullshit. One even goes so far as to describe JD's music as about, among other morbid things, suicide. Please.

Okay, so I guess such rockcrit discourse is to be expected in a film that clearly states in the title "Under Review". Maybe I just expected more from it...more performance video, more insider information, an interview with band members (all we have here is a TERRIBLE recording of "Ian Curtis' Last Interview", audio only, so muffled that subtitles are required to make out the words). To be sure there ARE some performance clips, but none of them top the 5-10 second mark and every one of them is of the lowest video quality imaginable. I KNOW there are better quality prints available for some of this stuff, so one has to wonder why the producers settled for this substandard crap. Low budget constraints, I'm sure.

I can't recommend this film to anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the group. I'm not even sure it would be a good introduction to Joy Division for someone who doesn't know who they are and may be interested. "Joy Division: Under Review" trades in cliches, stereotypes and pretentiousness. There is very little depth in the film. If it has ANY redeeming quality, it's the inclusion of quite a few rare photographs of the band (at least I THINK they're rare...I haven't seen them before). But I would expect people would want that kind of thing in a book, not necessarily in a DVD documentary.

1 Star



5 months to the day since I last uploaded a podcast for the blog. The wait is over! That's right, kiddies, I've used the technology provided to me via HotLink Files and Flash Fetish to provide you with an insightful service that will have all your friends talking. Okay, not really. Basically all we've got this time around is the lengthy ambient "soundscape with musical interludes" "Opus 3". And yes, you can find it on garageband, too. But this is SO much more convenient, don't you think?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

btw, I realize that this isn't technically a "podcast". Sorry if that bothers or confuses anyone.

Marilyn Chambers R.I.P.

Marilyn Chambers
April 22, 1952-April 12, 2009

I was deeply saddened to hear of Marilyn Chambers death earlier this week. She was one of the bright and shining lights of the late 70s-early 80s adult film industry. These days it seems like she is best remembered by a pairing or two with the legendary John Holmes. But that was just a blip on the radar of a career that brought a bit of class to a "genre"" that is often derided and considered unsavory.

The pornography of the 21st century has proven to deserve the negative adjectives often applied to it. There's no sense of adventure, as it's all been done before. No ambitions (realistic or not) that something truly innovative is about to explode into mainstream culture. No attempts to place explicit sexuality within the context of anything more serious than some guy's best friend walking in on him and his gal getting it on, then nonchalantly joining in. Or a gaggle of girls congregated around a coffee table talking about the sexual exploits they've enjoyed with their men(with obligatory flashback) before deciding, en masse, to explore lesbianism (with obligatory male-free living room orgy scene).

I don't mean to suggest that such things were absent from the porn created in what has been called "The Golden Age of Adult Films". Then, as today, there was a demand for it. Yet it seemed that the Golden Age producers, writers, directors, stars were shooting for much more. Like Burt Reynolds' character in "Boogie Nights", realistic about what he's done and is doing, but dreaming of taking his "art" to the next level. He wants to make a "serious film", and one gets the sense that it can actually be done. Maybe not in the USA, but entirely possible in a country with less inhibited sexual mores.

I don't think that any "Golden Age" movie ever rose to such a lofty height, but anyone who remembers it and can compare it to what is produced today will confirm that at least the people TRIED.

Which is all to say that Marilyn Chambers played a huge role in that free-spirited "movement". She was a gorgeous modern beauty with an athletic body that she exploited to amazing effect. She was obviously quite smart, and even more obviously secure with her self and her choice to be an adult movie star. She didn't star in all that many films, actually...but the ones that did feature her became classics..."Behind the Green Door", "Insatiable", "Inside Marilyn Chambers"...Not exactly Academy Award material, but nevertheless the cream of the crop of the embryonic adult film industry (I think it's telling that no one uses the term "Adult films" anymore...what you've got now can only be called "porn").

As of this writing a cause of Chambers' death had not been released. She will be fondly remembered.


If I were to release a Bambo Syndicate album of my most recent compositions it would be called "Woke Up Dead", and THIS would be the cover art...


Springsteen at the BOK Center in Tulsa, 4/7/09

When I first heard that Bruce Springsteen was playing a show in Tulsa I was ecstatic. But it turned out to be short-lived, as I could not find transportation. I won't drive after dark anymore because my eyesight has degenerated to the point where the bright lights of the oncoming cars are too much to handle. I tried to hook up with some friends who I figured would definitely be going. They opted out, though, discouraged by the concert being held on a weeknight...personally, had I been in their shoes, I certainly would not have let that stop me. We're talking about BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN here. He may never swing through Oklahoma again. So I didn't bother buying a ticket...which I probably couldn't have anyway...I didn't have an extra hundred bucks to blow.

I have a friend who bought a couple, though. I figured he was going to ask some lucky girl to the show (that's one hell of a great date, no?). I later learned that he was planning on taking a close relative. As it turned out, however, an unfortunate set of circumstances prevented him from going at all, and I wound up with both of his tickets (which were choice seats he'd bought from an Internet site for $200 apiece). All I had to do was procure transportation and I figured that would be easy enough...I mean, the deal would be "Free Springsteen ticket for a ride to Tulsa and back".

I thought about who I could ask...my wife didn't want to go for the same reason as my friend: it was a work night. It was a school night for my son, so he was out (wouldn't have mattered, seeing as how he's 14 and can't drive a car yet!). After considering a few people I decided that the one person I knew who would enjoy the show as much as myself was my brother, Charles. So I rang him up, told him I had a Springsteen ticket for him if he would drive. It didn't take much persuading, as you might guess.

We made it to Tulsa and it wasn't too hard locating the BOK Center. We got to the general vicinity and there was no way I could miss it. Wow! An incredible structure, to say the least. It stands out from the rest of Tulsa's skyline in a major way. A very contemporary design, the architecture is magnificent. It's pretty awesome on the inside, too. Strange to say, but I'd go to just about any event held there just to enjoy the building.

The crowd was huge...I did, however, notice one thing...of all the many, many people I saw, I don't remember that ANY of them were black. I don't know what that means, or if it means anything...I don't know why Springsteen's music wouldn't appeal to any race, creed, religion, gender, etc. and etc. and etc....but it was most definitely a Caucasian majority. Most were around my age, maybe a little older. That, however, was to be expected. Nevertheless there were a LOT of teens, several really old folks, and not a few young 'uns with their dads and moms.

The show didn't sell out, and the only reason I can think of for that is the Tuesday night slot. Even that isn't a good excuse and I was a little embarrassed that Oklahoma didn't put in a better showing for the Boss. Still, sell-out or no, the crowd was HUGE. I've never been in an arena before and this was a real treat for me. The roar of the crowd and the sheer numbers...I loved it. I am going to have to make plans to go to the BOK as often as I can. I don't even care if all I can get are the cheap, upper level seats. In fact, I think I would really like being up so high in the stadium, because the crowd is almost as fun to watch as the show.

Springsteen put on an incredible performance. I don't have to tell you that. The sound left a lot to be desired during the first 45 minutes to an hour. Feedback squall on a couple of occassions and this is just too professional a show to have something like that happen. It all came together soon enough, though. The set list was a very good one...I can't complain. I liked the new songs more that I thought I would. "The Wrestler", which I hadn't heard yet, truly blew me away. It is destined to be one of his greater songs. The lights and stage set up were very tastefully and well done. And our seats weren't so gar off that we couldn't see the expession on Bruce's face.

All in all a wonderful evening that will go down as one of the best concerts I've ever been to.


Music Videos of the Week: Bruce Springsteen @ BOK Center, Tulsa Ok, 4/7/09

I don't know how long these videos will stay up on YouTube because Columbia records is quite possessive of Springsteen media, but it was only natural that I would choose these clips of the concert I attended last night as the "Music Video of the Week". In this case, we'll make it Music VideoS of the week.

I'll probably write more about the concert experience soon, but for now I hope you'll enjoy these fairly high quality excerpts from the first Oklahoma show Bruce Springsteen has done since 1976.

"The Rising"/"Born to Run"

Bruce Springsteen

"The Wrestler"

Bruce Springsteen

"Dancing in the Dark"

Bruce Springsteen

"I'm on Fire"

Bruce Springsteen


I have really been in the mood to write, but my damn wrist is still hurting. Not as much as it was a few days ago but enough to where I can tell it will flare back up if I type a lot. I thought, for awhile, that it might be carpal tunnel. Who knows, it may be. But it seems to be more on the back of the hand and the pinky finger than the wrist. The ring finger hurts, too, and I have no doubt it's because I have to press the backspace key so much. Hell, that could be the whole problem, right there. Could be posture, hand placement, just plain inexperience with keyboarding. Who knows? I guess it would be best if I let it rest for a while longer.

I did want to tell you that I watched the "new" Charlie Kaufman film, "Synechode New York" (new to DVD). I rented it on the strength of Kaufman and Philip Seymour Hoffman, both of whom have rarely disappointed. It's a very difficult, demanding movie. I kept waiting for some kind of resolution, a point where everything came together and made it all make sense...but I don't that really happens in this film. To an extent it does, but there's too much going on to make for a tidy ending. I wasn't sure I liked it, even up to about the 2/3rds mark. But when it was over I decided I should see it again before coming to any definitive viewpoint. I'm inclined to say that, yes, I really do like it. And I have a feeling I will really enjoy it by the time the second screening is over. Might even like to own it. Fuckin' Charlie Kaufman. Why is he so good?