Monday, February 26, 2018

The Song Should Go Where No Song Has Gone Before

There is a Piano Vocal Chord Book, “Only What We Need, The Songs of Peter Dizozza”
Take it home and enjoy at your parlor piano at your leisure, after dinner, or in this case after dinner and a show. It's dinner theater.

Life goes on while I write songs.
I confront issues with success, with failure,
Revealing my character, and its flaws.
How bad can be the portrait that I paint of myself?
This can be one of many nights.
Tonight we share the Fast and Upbeat songs.
THE 1960s... I barely get a few songs in this decade...
1. A Day (Guitar), anticipating the future in 1969
Other early songs include A Christmas Carol called That's What It's All About. Monica's Yuletides sang it at the Forest Hills Station Square Christmas Eve Celebration. That may be my first song.

I came from a time when the songwriter was glorified. Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley didn't write their songs, the Beatles and their friends did.
It's weird now to discover so much of pop songs were played by the same band of musicians, the wrecking crew, but we didn't care about those songs. We only cared about the bands that ostensibly did play their instruments. The Beatles really did, and they played independently together. It's a chamber ensemble. I felt close to them although all I had of them were their albums. Their movies bought them that much closer to me.

Also in the 1960's Burt Bacharach explored radical harmonic progressions, perhaps arising from James Bond Secret Agent music. Radical chord changes. Bacharach enhanced that with asymmetrical rhythm, creating surprise and new momentum. Pop music became asymmetrical. The patterns became hit making. EXAMPLES?

Recovering an Opera, dated from the possibility of writing one.
When did Tommy write The Who, or rather when did The Who write Tommy? It was 1969
Before I heard Abbot and Costello ask Who's on First, my friend Frankie, who was older than me, looked like George Harrison, and played guitar, told me about a band with an un-pronouncable name one day just gave up on it to become The Who,
and they wrote a rock opera where they destroyed their instruments at the end..

In hushed tones, my mother's cousin, Joy, told me about people undressing onstage in Hair. Then we listened to the soundtrack.

I was frustrated by what I was hearing. When I heard something I liked I couldn't find it again and when I heard other things I wanted to improve them. I definitely wanted to write the dialogue for the movies, because they didn't say what I was thinking. Like the girl Mathilda, on Broadway, I wanted to write my own story.

Combining rock intensity/aggression with symphonic fidelity became my preferred approach.
I searched for the illusive song that I heard on WNEW FM.
Radio began playing album tracks, instead of just the hits.

Lyric: I can't seem to get away, I can't seem to know
but somebody up there must not want me to go.

Important lyric:
Say I've Done It with the Help of No One
and the thought of that makes it even more fun,
to think that I have done it alone,
well that is something new.
Oh yeah that is something new.
Because the reality was I was doing very little for myself. Even today I am happy to defer to others, but if no one is going to do it or knows what to do then I'll do it, and that's how I approach songwriting, which is to say, I supply what's missing in music, an ambitious aim.

Oh let me get away from here, you don't know what I've been through.
Oh let me get away from here, I don't know just what to do.
Hey hold on, Hey Hold on. I don't know why you're all so hung up.
Hey hold on, hey hold on. I don't know jus what to say.
So let me go. Oh please just let me go....

The search for the elusive song played once on FM radio became a driving factor in my writing songs.
However, other sound became mine. The song should go where no song has gone before.

Can it work that I am speaking to the phone?

I know what I'm doing! And what I'm doing has a ring of upsetting the table, as if the sound of a bell could upset the table -- that I have some creative thought or new way of looking at things, and communicating that can influence an outcome, can help shape the world as it continues to reformulate.  In a song you have a place to experiment.  It touches upon the random when it is written without training or instruction, but even in the most formulaic formats there is chance, however, as professionals we have left as little as possible to chance. 

I feel today that there is more of a fear or at least a rejection of the random because we live in an intentional world.  We intend to accomplish in an age where chance is no longer thought of as having Integrity, but rather is an act of perversity, like the flip a coin fellow in the Christopher Nolan Batman movie.

But we are on firm footing in the universe.  Believing that is an act of faith. 

When I notate songs I wrote at an early age I see that there is order in the universe.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Woody Allen rode on the romantic lead created by and for Humphrey Bogart.  They both crossed beyond the lead but they rode it first, Mr. Bogart through Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and To Have and Have Not, the last of those going so far as to provide him with a wife.  Woody Allen with Play It Again Sam into Sleeper, Love and Death and Annie Hall, then they went overboard into their own reality, with Manhattan and Stardust Memories for Mr. Allen, and Treasure of Sierra Madre and In a Lonely Place for Mr. Bogart. 
Mr. Bogart was rather reasonable in his depiction of the romantic lead gone wrong, susceptible to suspicion, when his female lead, the director's wife, Gloria Graham, takes the bait (offered by the outside world). 
Mr. Bogart seems to have his ego well within his control to portray these roles so completely. 
I'm longing for the romantic lead movie role that allows for the actor to embody an identity worthy or capable of receiving an audience transference.  This transference is the relatability of the movie star, that he or she can sustain the identity transference of the viewer.  Indeed this would happen when I was younger as I became Jack Nicholson in Chinatown sustaining the romantic lead in a movie land.  Mr Nicholson, with director and scriptwriter, provided a substitute identity, the way Bogart does for Woody Allen in Mr. Allen's own script, establishing himself, Mr. Allen, as the romantic lead. 
I'm realizing we mentioned the Quentin Tarrantino romance inspired by Play It Again Sam (True Romance, which provides a lead of great appeal but lacking in substance.  I don't know why I say that with conviction (Christian Slater is ok).  I'm trying to imagine the roles that have substance in a Tarrantino movie.  I feel like everyone is following the acting of Robin and the Seven Hoods, which is also quite a grim and gruesome movie of knuckleheads.  And his True Romance uses Elvis Presley as the Bogart figure.   Elvis is also somewhat lightweight in comparison to his viewer -- forgive me for suggesting this since I know Elvis's own movies can be amazing.  (I think of Jailhouse Rock, Blue Hawaii and Viva Las Vegas).  But who gets the audience identity transference?  Could James Bond get it as portrayed by whomever, ie, Daniel Craig?  When I first saw the newer Casino Royale I was somehow affected by the youthful appearance of the male and female leads, as if they weren't going to put up with the 1960's typecasting, but they had to.  Meanwhile, the 1970's movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway (Chinatown) offers them only a moment before they plummet to the movie's end.
Oh remember where both Mr Allen and Mr. Bogart came from.  Mr. Allen was the nebish behind the scenes author and Mr. Bogart was the gangster, but they were destined for Romantic Lead!  It looks like Mr. Allen wrote the lead for himself.   Mr. Bogart was an egoless actor intent on working, acting, good thing since he only lived 57 years.  John Huston gave him an identical Maltese Falcon script (it had been filmed in the 1930's) with a built in private eye, Sam Spade.  Casablanca was the script that would teach scriptwriters how to activate the ticking bomb (ruining movies by exposing the formula?).   To Have and to Have Not had a director and his wife provide an offscreen model of how the on screen actors could interact... Oh Howard Hawks, the same director, gave Humphrey Bogart a Philip Marlow role.  That's the movie, The Big Sleep, with two versions, the one before realization of the appeal of Bacall, and afterward. 
Create a romantic lead.  Is La La Land romantic?  Maira is suggesting Punch Drunk Love, while I consider Daniel Day Lewis... he can sustain this kind of audience identity transference, but he doesn't care and his main director PT Anderson, is looking to create something new, something that distances us even as our fascination grows.   Robert Downey Jr. could do it with Guy Richie in the Sherlock Holmes private eye... private eyes are everything, like their counterparts, secret agents.   perhaps the most we get from the quirky personality, the loner with paranoia is Humphrey Bogart, the loner with obsessive compulsion is Robert Downey. 
I need someone to speak to me because I need guidance.   Am I really on my own... well, we're on our own together...

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Religion from Shanghai to Ubud

A Mandarin is a Chinese Bureaucrat or Imperial Magistrate.


Hindu, the Bat Cave (Pura Goa Lawah), the monkey forest.   

Taoist -- Qin Yubo a Taoist Deity in the City God Temple, Shanghai, filled with the Guardian Gods of the City.

1997 Informative Essay- My Issue is "I'm Always Right." Wahproovit All Night

What I'm reading below from  20 years ago produces the feeling of a riot in my mind...

I'm trying to communicate coherent thoughts today like I almost did in 1997 when I attended something called "The Landmark Forum,"which was basically a good experience, by the way.
What I wrote then makes sense to me now and perhaps helps others as well, so I'm posting it here...

However, I also remember that the idea of writing my story was to dismiss it, therefore it becomes worse the more I try to clarify it...the more you fix a problem the more you prolong it...

"My issue is

I am always right and I prove it all night to the destruction of the relationship.
I was born and loved.
I played piano. 
I felt different from the kids in the alley
I didn't connect physically. 
There was teasing by the older girls, and I was sensitive and protected by my parents, though my parents couldn't do much to, or about, the outside world.   (Instead my parents effectively sheltered me from the outside world...)

I am sure that I was better by being different. 
At a time when My Favorite Martian was a popular TV show, I was a martian.   My friend (Michael Cavagnetto) accepted me as that and when I went to breath the car exhaust he said cut it out you're not. He humored me, but it was fun for me that he went along with my special delusion.

I think people like being with a special person so I tried to be one, to get friends, but actually I never (developed close relationships) because I was never genuine. I was always different and somehow it became right to be my way. I wasn't successful except in my own mind where I was the tremendous hero of supernatural ghost stories, fantasies that compromised my happiness to show how real they could be. 

(By fantasizing, I could convinced myself to believe in my own imagined successes.)

I remember ending one of my ghost stories by confronting a chasm in the cellar by the plumbing
(There were copper pipes under a bar counter at the far end of the finished cellar at 67-113 Dartmouth Street.  Across from the bar were built in bookshelves where I could climb up and catercorner like a monkey.  Covering the cellar floor were black and white tiles large enough for life-size chess pieces to stand upon, so it felt like a location from Alice Through the Looking Glass.)

(As for the ghost story, I persuaded those ghost friends, to back away as I bridged from their ghost world past - 1910?  into my day to day existence of a finite life path.)
I was exceptional and I received some recognition in my 8 years of small school. (Our Lady Queen of Martyrs
High school recognition lasted for the first semester, then my grades plummeted to average.  (Archbishop Molloy   I remained isolated until I joined a rock band.)

My friends were unique but I would abandon one for the more interesting other - a lovely girl friend at 8, a boy – (a href="">
well, I made movies with them and this involved them in creative projects.

If they weren't enrolled, someone else would be there. I never planned filming prior to the moment. Something turned out and I was right to do what I wanted. No one expected anything. In fact there was no competition. I was doing what no one else was doing at the little league. I was making a movie.   (reel three of The Ruins is here with the Pink Floyd sound blocked:
Then, because I didn't practice piano, I did what no one else was doing, wrote songs.  (sample concert (a href="">

I was struggling against excellence in a competitive field (no sports for me... but then I remember loving everyone, all the children in the alley, playing a casual game of baseball while the sun was setting...a lovely event).

I could excel if no one else was doing it at the time. That forged the way for my doing what no one else was doing, ever, in a performance or in writing, but I got so far gone that I embarrassed myself and those around me, because my art was an expression of my emptiness, and here I drop terms like necrophilia and fixual?? ideas.   (For example, my movie, The Last Dodo considers the practice of circumcision as a mark of civilization )
I thought my ideas crazy – like songs of one boy loved by a group
(“Yes It's True” into “Crowded Avenue” )
They were from current pop ideas, I guess.

So I figured, if you are creative, inventive and unique then your limitations won't matter, and indeed I improved, but improved no further because I had proved enough.
And nobody could get it.

I couldn't say about it (writing songs, making these little movies) that I was doing art as my work.  No one wanted it and I was so undisciplined with it. 

 Of course I was right about its uniqueness, and my uniqueness, and I was lonely because no one could accept my distant aloofness... 

Actually, when I revealed myself, I presented a boring ordinary privileged kid with barely an iota of relatable suffering, who had abused his own privacy, and was in fact his own abuser... 
– what was I punishing myself about? 

I was a child (of 4) when I discovered sex.  I couldn't rightfully share that with anyone, and I was getting all the secrets through self-discovery. No sharing there. I was too embarrassed about it.  Years later I could share it but (felt that I and my partner) were at different levels.

I've become so bored by this (I think that was the intention of this exercise), still trying to focus on "I'm right" and that "everyone comes back and agrees," and I prove (I'm right) through the acceptance of my creative work, which remains nebulous and incomplete because of time constraint excuses, preventing the confrontation of people's judgments.

I who am so judgmental and so vicious in my critique with such command of words yet I never really hurt any one.   I'm only dangerous in my callous lack of discretion in revealing secrets, and ihaving no integrity because my word is never fulfilled except by coincidence which I play up, and by blind luck.   Really I act only under pressure and am amazed when it works out and I take all the credit.

Susan (I had a friend as a client who I represented in a car crash) kept pushing me on her case to the point where I said to the adjuster, pay me her demand or she goes to a really good attorney. 
What the hell was I talking about? I have no self regard and I succeeded (the adjuster offered me her demand and we settled her case.).

 I've been trashed and remain here because I don't care, and succeed and don't care.  How did I get to be an attorney?  'cause I'm so smart and angry, but barely able to drag myself around with these gifts and a creative mind and just being there.  (Yes I'm an attorney:

I don't take drugs or drink.
So the details go to the present (1997) total loneliness because people expose my falsehood of greatness and uniqueness and yet there is something going on so I'm trying to picture what I want and be right about it before going for it.

I want a relationship, and an active creative life. I'm just a story teller. Where do I go? What do I do?
I wrote a show with Jim Vogel while I was in a workshop (Gunshy, our 10 minute musical for the BMI Music Theater Workshop That was an opportunity for the greatest exposure to other people's greatness, and I didn't have time, only excuses.

(I like that piece, Gunshy... based on a William Saroyan short story, knife like,Knife-like, Flower-like, Like Nothing at All in the World) 

All I can say is my opinion of my work matters in that I can pick and choose and it's only mine. How do I leave this stuff?

(We need each other.  I admit I need people.  I need you to agree with I take a stand and be a possibility, and from where I stand, I will listen to your possibility. )

This was 20 years ago....

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Not tomorrow never again I did it and don't want to do it I'll wait until then when everyone's happy nobody is guilty besides I've nothing to give but the strength that is guiding me I who am weak am Despicable with it decrepit without it I must get an agent perhaps I can Market it

Friday, April 08, 2016

The Charles Busch Cleopatra

Mr. Busch presents original productions at Theater for the New City.  I think the prior one was a compendium of religious movies, perhaps like King of Kings, or Samson and Delilah or, the Robe.  I sometimes associate them with sword and sandal movies. There is a genre aspect to his TNC offerings.   His latest is a compendium of Cleopatras, with an emphasis on Mae West.  Part of the script incorporates a Mae West song, and that is a very beautiful segment... We have to begin with the notion that 1930's Hollywood acting is valid, while being perhaps histrionic and over the top.  The ultimate hysteric for me was Colin Clive in Frankenstein.  I sincerely believe in his performance.  The problem may be a question of naturalism.  I grew up with a love for melodrama and it has left me with an expectation.  Melodrama penetrates my skull.  So Mr Busch writes a perfectly eloquent script seriously considering the magic of relationships.  I can't tell how important I think it is to turn antagonism into eroticism, or rather, into coupling.  I don't know... I was thinking about the hit man who goes home to his wife.   It's a closed circle, all his relationships, his seductions with the outside world get redirected to the one true love, and in a way one might think it misdirected... ok
So the piece lives within the realm of gay camp... Maybe it doesn't.  Maybe saying that secures its position elsewhere because in fact I see nothing in it that is gay, nor camp  It's informed... Historically it is informed by Cinema, and yes, to me that is valid.  Cinema dialogue is the drama I know.  

As for his acting, he is reforming the English language.  They all are.  They are excellent actors working with their physicality and further validating the realism of their characters.  

I realize my offering of thoughts to the world requires more thought in doing so. however, this is it.

Addendum:  The introductory announcement for piece, that it's a story of love, betrayal, murder...concludes its list with "eye-liner."   It sounds funny but, yes, look at the eye of Horus.  Eyeliner figures prominently in the symbology of Egypt.  

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Finally an upbeat story reminding us to do and not INVEST PASSIVELY.  

Cement binds.  Its mortar of concrete is ground stone.  

Grind the stones to dust; pulverize them.  Add water to the dust and fill the space between puzzle mounted stones and any space between them is forgiven   You have a sealed fireplace chimney. 

When water permeates the stones, because cracks in the cement allowed the water to gather and freeze, expanding the cracks, then water gets into the fireplace.  

The fireplace insert that was the rage in the 1930’s was a heatilator, with self-contained interior vent-paths on each of its sides, with openings at the bottom to draw in cool air and openings up top to release the hot air, having passed through the fire heated iron lining to the left and right of the fireplace.  How heatilating!

Because our fireplace stones had been laid and cemented around this enormous 1935 iron heatilator box, all our options for the fireplace addressed inserting an insert inside and up the chimney, through its flu, of which there are two running through the one chimney,

The water that permeated the stones for the past 80 years, corroded the iron.  As the iron rusted thin, it became brittle until, at last, gashes breached its elemental fabric. 

-- Such that I could bend and pull out the pieces.  The Mason observed that our old corroded heatilator box even came with its own (corroded) flu flap, which was incompatible with the flu cap wire that also ran through it to the chimney top.   

So you could never close the heatilator flu containing the fireplace box without catching the wire running up the chimney to the chimney-top flu cap. 

As for the two flues inside the chimney, they run parallel, side by side.  

Surrounded by cemented chimney stones are two clay lined flues running up to the chimney-top, one is for the fireplace and the other for an oil burner below the house.   This took me a while to comprehend.  There are two passageways, the big fireplace is only using one of them.  It is like only 4 inches square... I know this as if I always knew but I assure you, that is not the case.  Was this small opening causing smoke to pour out when we lit a fire?

Water had also rotted the fan of our forced air oil burner and, along with its corroded 300 gallon iron oil tank, it is now gone from the basement. 

In order to heat and cool the house without oil or propane or other fuels, we are using an electric powered Japanese freon-manipulating Heat-pump which also provides cool air through the old oil burner ducts that snake through basement ceiling.  The installers humored me when I asked them, rather than mounting the air-conditioners around the house, to mount them in the basement ceiling and use the old ducts.  

This is the same split system whose condensers you see everywhere, hanging from brackets mounted into the buildings throughout the shanty tenements in the shadow of the Marriott skyscraper along the windy streets of old Shanghai.   

However, our one big fan vented condenser runs its recycling freon through three differing units also mounted into the basement ceiling.

Realistically a zero degree temperature must make it a strain for that freon to produce heat from temperatures lower than the outside weather, but this is a system that is still somewhat incomprehensible and as they say about our judgment of it, the jury is still out. 

So every shanty apartment in old Shanghai has its split duct condenser hanging from the walls.  It is just another example of how our ancient worlds (of the 1930's) live on.

For the Shanghai of 600 years ago, go to the Yu Gardens.

And we're really straying from the topic of successful fireplace masonry.

So I thought that the self-contained re-purpose idea of using those oil fired forced air heat ducts to run the modern heat pump was a good idea, even though it also sends cold air through the floor vents and cold air tends to settle on the floor.   

We just have to remember to kick around the air during the summer. 

The mason man's first job was to re-point the chimney-top cracks.  He also restored the original stone grill (that Candlewood Isle Founding Father Mr. Ducey must have built his own in the back of the house). 

Smoke still poured into our a-frame living room especially as the fire in the hearth died down, so while the mason scanned the internet for a replacement heatilator (I think he did) I drove around the entire Candlewood Lake searching for insert ideas, two places, and then visited the guns and weapons stores -- a Japanese Guy named Hans was quit forthcoming there.   Yes they are collectible saved from the trenches during world war I.  Yes they work.  And if you want magazine guns, there's an extra form to submit.  And I didn't take pictures, no.  

I also visited the pipe by the damn and lake pump.  I drove around the entire Candlewood Lake.  

What of the wood? Buy proper wood.  Don't use the cuttings from your crazy scissorhand prunning  There's Crenolite?  Pine oils?

Forget it.  All the  cuttings are going in there, and yet the chimney is clean (I bought and ran through it a 50' chimney sweep rod.  Nothing.)... 

So the mason just pulled out the entire interior and relaid the stones without the heatilator, kept the vents to the sides, used the original wood mantle, and raised the fireplace one foot, building a hearth stone that looks as if it was always there.    

We've still got our $5 four flap screen in front of it, it’s low cost attributable to its light weight, which is of course preferable.  And I was at last able to use my Columbian artifact antique bellows with the copper embossings of owl chewing lobster tail on one side and eight-pronged man on the other.  

The turning point for the commercially manufactured wood burning inserts with the glass window was my visit to the New Fairfield thrift store.  I may have actually bought nothing but when the lady behind the counter heard me talking about the woodburning insert with a neighbor she said, all those fuels are dirty.  There’s a reason we no longer use wood as fuel, it’s the dirtiest there is and when I walk down the street I have to breath the smoke from the homes heating themselves with these woodburning inserts.   

Well you can always get pellets. 

That was pretty illuminating.  Even though fossel fuels are NO LONGER the subject of international price-gouging, electricity is still cleaner.  

Finally, in the lower back of the fireplace box the mason installed a vent pulling air from outside through an opening at the bottom of the chimney. 

The Mason is James Delafield, referred to us by our primary country cottage counselor, Joseph Snopkowski.  Green Star installed and continues to support the Heat Pump HVAC system.  

Monica's insisting that we raise hearth is transformative, even as it looks as if it was always there.