Hootenanny Time

1. Bob Dylan’s poetry in the New Yorker? Bud Parr says the poems aren’t particularly good, but I like the way Dylan’s going back to that old enigmatic folksinger/hick voice he once used on his liner note poems for early albums like The Times They Are A-Changin’. Stuff like this:

i ran out t the phone booth
made a call t my wife. she wasnt home.
i panicked. i called up my best friend
but the line was busy
then i went t a party but couldnt find a chair
somebody wiped their feet on me

2. Hootenanny time! Somebody wants to make a Broadway musical version of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. I like Ellis (sometimes) but consider American Psycho his least inspired and most sensationalist work. With those credentials … it’ll probably be the next friggin’ Rent. Great.

3. Ed Harris is very good as Ludwig Van Beethoven in Copying Beethoven, a movie making the rounds on cable TV. Ed Harris was also recently great as Jackson Pollock, and while he doesn’t quite equal that accomplishment here, he does transform himself into another creature as Ludwig Van. Copying Beethoven‘s plotline about a young copyist working for the master is sometimes dull, but the big scene depicting the debut of the Ninth Symphony at the end is worth the wait. This scene even captures a moment from Beethoven’s life once described by Schroeder in a Peanuts strip, when the deaf composer is led to the edge of the stage so he can discover that the audience is clapping. Well done.

4. A Scott and Zelda biopic is in the early stages (via Books Inq).

5. Also from Books Inq, a new Nick Cave novel will be called The Death of Bunny Monroe.

6. I am going to check out the new Chuck Klosterman novel. If Klosterman writes fiction as well as he writes about rock music, I guess I’ll be happy.

7. Bill Ectric interviews Pete Brown, a poet from the British Beat scene.

8. Everybody’s calling for a time-out now.

9. The importance of The Dot and other things ASCII.

10. You know, every autumn I get some crazy idea here on LitKicks (like last year’s book pricing inquiry, which certainly took on a life all its own). This year, I think many of us have the upcoming USA presidential election on our minds, but we’re tired of hearing the same superficial angles explored on TV and in newspapers and online. I’d like to dig deeper, using literary points of view and original source texts as much as possible, and hopefully find more insight into some of the difficult issues that Americans are currently debating (especially issues of society, war, violence, international politics). I’m not exactly sure what I have in mind, but I’ve got a few more days before October starts, so at this point I’m just letting you know that this is coming up. I also hope each day’s discussion will be highly interactive, so I’ll welcome your input once this gets off the ground.

11. Ten years ago I directed a digital movie called Notes From Underground, based on the Dostoevsky novel and starring Phil Zampino as the Underground Man. This project was probably the hardest and most obsessive thing I’ve ever done, and it was also probably the most acclaimed (it got rave write-ups in WIRED magazine, Entertainment Weekly, New York Press, Time Digital). The other thing I was really hoping to do this September (but I think time is running out) is celebrate the 10th anniversary of Notes From Underground with a fresh new You-Tube version of the whole 64-minute film (in ten segments). However, I am a perfectionist and I’m not happy with the way the digitizing has turned out, so, unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to do this 10th anniversary thing in September. I am going back to my original video masters, and it’ll probably take another few weeks before I can show anything. Hell, I’m the only one who remembered the anniversary anyway.

12. Well, anyway, now, to lighten up … and because I have no shame and love making myself a damn fool in public, here’s a video I just dug up and digitized while I was working on Notes From Underground, featuring me four years ago performing at the Back Fence nightclub in Greenwich Village, New York City. I’m singing a Bob Dylan tune from “Nashville Skyline”, “To Be Alone With You”. As you’ll be able to see, my guitar playing is highly influenced by Johnny Ramone and I sing like Peter Brady. But I think the song is saved by slide guitarist Will Hodgson, of the Pennsylvania jam band the Manatees, and we really start to cook during the second guitar break.

There was also a good bass guitarist whose name I don’t remember. I was singing “To Be Alone With You” to Caryn, who I like being alone with.

9 Responses

  1. Yes,Brooklyn, you most
    Yes,Brooklyn, you most definitely play the guitar. Your “You Tube” was great. I liked your rhythm guitar section and your delivery. You reminded my of a feller named Billy Bragg. Keep on chooglin’. Oh, I’ve been known to “pick and grin” at parties and open mikes also (mostly a year ago.) Moreover, I occasionally play harmonica by itself. I’ve lost most of the calluses on my fingers now and am a bit rusty on the guitar. So, I know how it is…You sounded like you’d been in good practice. Was Caryn there at that time?

  2. Thanks Steve … notice I’m
    Thanks Steve … notice I’m also wearing my LitKicks Action Poetry shirt! Yes, Caryn was there, though I can’t remember whether or not she was clapping.

  3. Nick Cave’s best: Deanna.
    Nick Cave’s best: Deanna. I’ve not come for your body/I’ve come for your soul.

    Some huge fan of Rimbaud said he’d even read Rimbaud’s shopping lists. I like Bob Dylan’s pre-motopsycho/amphetamine period, Blond On Blond/Bringing It All Home/Highway 61, his mercurial Warhol-foil guitar, Al Kooper’s–Farfisa, too?–organ–some people don’t like the poetry on these albums.

  4. It’s videos like that that
    It’s videos like that that make levi the great and unique guy that he is – seriously! By the way – Dylan’s not “going back.” those were written in the sixties.

    Oh, and how did you get literary CAPTCHAs?

  5. Ahh, got it, Bud — well, now
    Ahh, got it, Bud — well, now that I see these Dylan poems are from the vaults, I’m honestly not as impressed.

    The literary “captchas” — you mean the anti-spam challenge words? Easy! I use Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam plugin (for WordPress) and this is a built-in feature. Fun, eh?

  6. Bill, I think that was
    Bill, I think that was video’d, so I bet the footage exists somewhere. Another good show. I’ve also got footage from my whole 1999 big Bitter End show (about 20 performers) to put up on YouTube eventually …

  7. I sometimes perform All Along
    I sometimes perform All Along the Watchtower. I kinda sound like Roy Orbison and Duane Eddy.

  8. Wow, Ten years for the Notes
    Wow, Ten years for the Notes From the Underground movie.

    I admit, I didn’t remember the anniversary.

    It seems like a lot more than ten years, but then again a lot less.

    I remember it by where I was living and where the computer was and what computer I was using.

    The computer was downstairs in a den like place by the door from the garage.

    I had a Mac then.

    The CD Rom ran on both Mac and PC. I still have it in my archives.

    Kerouac CD Romnibus came out about the same time. This was pioneering stuff you were doing.
    You deserved the good reviews you mentioned.

    My comments were probably the harshest, ot taken by you as harsh. I certainly didn’t mean them as harsh in any way, I was just talking firend to friend artist (or schmartest, as in artist-schamrtest, in my case) to artist. About the talent as it were.

    It was great and I am glad you brought it up.

    I can’t believe ten years. But I actually can.

    It seems like yesterday (ie a lot less than ten years) but it seems like 2 or three lifetimes ago — ie a lot more than 10 years ago.

    No matter, a good work is timeless. This was good.

    It was exciting to see you do it and appreciated and so cool.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!