Saturday, July 30, 2011

Daily Dose #62 (07/ 29-31/11)

Exploring Creative Concepts Part 7

(They Eat Green Bell Peppers in the Emerald City)

1964 / 6:45 am

I remember waking up early on cold winter mornings in the dark, lured into an emerging state of semi-consciousness by the aroma of Cream Of Wheat wafting from the kitchen.


I would stumble out of bed and into the kitchen, beclothed in my baby blue "onsie" with the pink bunnies scattered about the flannel material and the white nubby plastic soles glued upon its feet.

As we three Rossi sprouts took our places around the small square wooden table in the kitchen, Moms would serve up the steaming glop whilst singing "The Cream Of Wheat" radio jingle of her youth, grab the glass bottle and pour milk in three bowls, and let me handle the sugar ratio with a four year old's heavy spoon-wielding hand.


The TV was tuned to The Today Show. Moms said it was for "Current Events", but I think she secretly had a crush on Hugh Downs. Eating for those first ten minutes of the lead-off news segment was a solemn affair. All of us were required to shut up and give Hugh our undivided attention while we blew on spoonfuls of breakfast goo to cool it off some.


At 7:10, Mom would assume her position at the fourth side of the square, and as if by magic, produce "the book". The TV was turned off, its black and white picture closing in on itself, reducing to a lingering white dot in the center of the screen.

Our first hour of an awake state was mapped out with military precision. Reality first, and then fantasy second, accompanied by her rendition of The Cream Of Wheat Song.

It didn't matter what the book was, but in retrospect, it was always of high quality. Charlotte's Web, Winnie The Pooh, Stuart Little, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Wind and The Willows, and The Cricket In Times Square; Every morning a chapter would be read aloud; The dialog acted out in character by my beautiful Moms, and when an illustration would appear in the text, the book was passed around the table.

Day by day, the stories would unfold serially as we ate our cereal. You never wanted the chapter to end. That meant that Alfie and Becky would have their teeth washed and their faces brushed and hustled off to school; and I would be the only kid in the house until they came back.

But I couldn't wait for the next part of the story. I figured the quicker I learned to read, I wouldn't have to depend on Mom to read them to us. Eventually all those books and more were devoured and memorized chapter and verse, read repetitively with my nose buried constantly within them.


But long after I was able to digest novels myself, still; Those breakfast table readings and performances were enthralling ritual.

Moms never read to us to put us to sleep at bedtime. She read to us to fire our imaginations and wake us up.

DANNY KAYE SITTING ON A TOADSTOOL 01/64

Having had to replace our TV set due to my block throwing incident during the news coverage of JFK's assassination and State funeral, the first color TV on Gayle Road made its appearance in the Rossi living room.


We gathered around the set on a cold Sunday's winter night earlier than usually, to watch the televised special broadcast of "The Wizard Of Oz". I'm sure that the yearly broadcast had been established as a yearly event before then. But this is the first of my memory.

It was in color, and it was a revelatory experience.

The family brood, and like every other American Atomic Age, Cold War Era family, tuned in every year as "The Wizard Of Oz" cemented its place in the American cultural consciousness.


No one can deny the overall greatness of this film, or the L.Frank Baum books that had been entertaining about four decades of American children before the theatrical release of the film in 1939.


But the confluence of the film with the medium of broadcast television in the era bears special notice.: With only three major networks and no ability of home video recording or playback technologies in the day burnished the importance of the film and its yearly special broadcasts. You could only see it once a year, and it was a truly special family event, shared by America.

It unified all of us. Just like the airing of Warner Brothers Cartoons did to every kid with access to a TV, every Saturday morning.

So when searching for examples of "Pop Culture" creative output, its impact on our culture, and running it through the criteria of "The Test Of Time", there is no larger or more impactful example than this film.


I knew if I was going to find "The Pepper" of my holy trinity, I would have to deconstruct this film on all platforms, but my first focus was the original progenitor of the film: The actual story, written by L.Frank Baum, and how it was re-interpreted by the multitude of writers that crafted the screenplay and musical numbers for the film.


Allegorical stories seem to have more staying, and thus more sticking power in human experience and consciousness, from Homer's "Odyssey", to The Bible, all the way to "The Wizard Of Oz". In search of a narrative for a central character, I knew that just like everything else about to be cooked up, those narrative elements had to function on many different levels to bear repeat exposure, and have the same type of impact.

The narrative had to be a gift that kept on giving, no matter how many times it was visited by an audience.

Allegory, and its use, was a key component in crafting a future narrative for "The Bunny".

As I deconstructed every element of "The Wizard of Oz", and went on a vision quest to learn each and every little fact and detail I could about the construction and creation of the books and the film, many other new skills and concepts were revealed; and many other pre-existing skills and theoretical concepts that already were within me were validated.


Unknown to me, I was actually co-opting as I was crafting the architecture of this classic American musical film. In search of an actual story, the ideas started to gel as a strong allegorical narrative rooted in fantasy, with its action driven forward by songs.


This was "The Pepper", in it's embryonic state: and it was as green as anything else found in The Emerald City. But I had the foundation dug, and laid, even if the rough architectural blueprint wasn't exactly manifested in a hard reality yet. All I needed now was the building material to draw those blueprints and build my own creative version of an "Oz" upon it.

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW"... Mark Twain, American author and humorist"

1991

I was at the creative "Waterloo". I had my foundational parameters clearly defined, but now I was at the point where you really do have to create something out of nothing.


I used Twain's quote to guide the process and lead the way. If I was going to assume the character of "The Bunny", then The Bunny in the context of an allegorical, picaresque adventure story, was me.

My story was the one story that I knew most intimately.

So roughly, I just decided to take that story, mythologize it and amplify the life themes of existence that were running through my head at the time. As I sat down with a pencil and a yellow legal pad, I jotted down a short list of potential dark adult themes that I wanted to weave into the future "Allegory". I was in a very psychologically dark place at the time, and by writing about what I knew, these themes would reflect me current state of mind:

1. Abandonment
2. Loss
3. Personal Betrayal
4. Lust and Sex as Leverage and Other Substance Abuses: Addiction
5. Heart Break: Love and Love Lost
6. Madness
7. The Nature of Failure
8. Mob Rule.
9. Maintenance of Integrity
10. Death/Murder of the bunny at all platforms
11. Mysticism
12. The Quest for Meaning/Spirituality
13. The Flaws of Humanity, both innwardly and outwardly
14. Resurrection

This was my life in 1991. The commitment to a creative endeavor was tied to the need to get out of the psychic hole that I was in. These were the stages and changes I was experiencing as I continued to absorb cataclysmic professional and personal failures, the personal ones tied to the events of the disintegration and very public implosion of my marriage, specifically tied to the behavior and autonomous life style choices of my soon to be future ex-wife.

I hadn't really figured out how to turn this into an allegorical tale yet, but this was a process of circling around certain conundrums, and slowly tightening the noose around its neck, as mentioned previously.

The challenge was to write a narrative that somehow would be entertaining, and appear to be not only light hearted, but in fact at times extremely comedic as well. Alot of that element would center on the actual character development of "The Bunny" himself.


But at the onset, there had to be a transition of material from the comic R 'N B book of obscure covers that had been hand picked by the future voice of Spongebob Square Pants, fellow Syracusan Tom Kenny. So any future material chosen to cover had to meet two basic criteria:

1. It had to be New Orleans based as a rule. The band had to go through the process of learning how to be a New Orleans style band first before one note of original music could be written. I had to go through this learning curve as well both musically and in the context of being the "Ringleader/Front Person". We had to immerse ourselves in the New Orleans "book" and explore the styles and arrangement techniques and then re-interpret them with an East Coast, New York sensibility. It had to evoke, but uniquely personalized as a representation of who we actually were. New Orleans would function as "OZ".

2. The lyric content had to match these thematic threads. Some of The Fabulous Pushballs material already met that bench mark ("Drunk", "Down Home Girl")... so much so that those two tunes were covers that were included in the final manifestation of all of this, The Shuffling Hungarians eponymously named first recording, released in the fall of 1994.

As a side note, an actual timeline started to emerge of just how long it was going to take to get there. Before we debuted at the Dinosaur, I started to get a feeling for the projections, time wise, and it did look to me like it was going to take about three years from conception of the original ideas to finished product of both band and recording.

BUILDING LITTLE GEORGIE ("You got to do "Good" in the world...")

As I was in the development phase of indentifying basic narrative themes and that the narrative would take on the fictionalized and mythologized version of autobiographical events, I still didn't have the actual "story". That would come in time, but now I needed to actually develop the central character, and had enough structural elements in place to take that challenge on.

By doing this, I knew that the character traits of the character would start to actually redefine and clarify narrative points.

At the time, I was very much intrigued by the inner conflict of popular artists that had fought the battle of becoming secular Pop Stars by using sacred forms, and coming from a personal place of deep spirituality.


There's a recording of an argument between Sam Phillips and Jerry Lee Lewis prior to cutting "Great Balls Of Fire". At the time, I had only read a transcript of it, but thanks to the intrawebs, here's the actual recording as Sam tries to twist Jerry Lee's arm into to recording "Great Balls Of Fire", as both of them cite scripture chapter and verse; Jerry Lee desperately trying to not record "Great Balls Of Fire" and Phillips intent on selling the true power of Rock and Roll.

http://www.myspace.com/sunyears/music/songs/jerry-lee-lewis-sam-phillips-argue-53422860

Listen to the pain and incredulity in Jerry Lee's voice as he asks the question "Nooooo, Nooooo!-How can The Devil save souls? What are ya talkin about? Man...I got the Devil in me! If I didn't I'd be a Christian!"

I especially love one of the sidemen on the session who can be heard in the background saying "Awww, lets cut it man...."

Well as history proves, Phillips prevailed. Rock and Roll history was made.

But Jerry Lee's state of mind before he cut the song? A lost soul, in complete and utter turmoil.

Just like mine at the time I was trying to come up with the "Bunny".

There are other examples of this inner turmoil, when the sacred and the profane collided in rock and roll history and genious was born of that inner clash and turmoil. Elvis. Sam Cooke. Ray Charles. Al Green. Aretha Franklin. Really anybody that came up through the church with a holy roller Pentecostal sensibility. All of them had to eventually accept the very real thought in their minds that they were actually going to burn in hell predicated on a career and artisitic choice.

The art got made in the context of real conflict. The epic and eternal battle between good and evil.

This aspect would define the new character, but also define the as yet written narrative, In any good allegorical story, this is the critical element, be it God vs. The Devil, The Good Witch of the North vs, The Wicked Witch of The West, or The Dark Side vs. The Force or Yin vs Yang.

Magnetic, chemical and electrical force at the atomic level, be they positive or negative, is how energy is transferred through the universe, and it effects us all right here on our lowly little Earth bound existence.


The action of the narrative would ultimately driven by this time honored tradition in story telling and life: What happens when the sacred and the profane collide, and what is the outcome?

OTHER ELEMENTS


In all honesty, much of my direction of character development was directly inspired by Greil Marcus' classic tome of Rock and Roll essays, MYSTERY TRAIN. My paperback copy by 1991 was a much dog eared, coffee stained, yellowed by drool, constant resource and repetitive reference book.

The prologue of MYSTERY TRAIN recounts an episode on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW, the guests present at this taping being Little Richard, Erich Segal (who wrote "Love Story" a very popular book at the time), theater critic John Simon, and Rita Moreno.

Basically, Marcus details an argument between Simon and Segal, with Little Richard quietly watching as the two intellectuals crash their broadswoeds over the cultural significance of Segal's enormously popular but ultimatley crappy book, "Love Story".

Until Richard Penniman sees his opening. This from the prologue of MYSTERY TRAIN:

"The battle resumes. Segal has now slumped even lower in his chair, if that is possible, and seems to be arguing with the ceiling. “You’re only a crutuc,” he says as if to Simon. “What have you ever written? What do you know about art? Never in the history of art…”

“WHY, NEVER IN THE HISTORY!”

The time has come. Little Richard makes his move. Leaping from his seat, he takes the floor, arms waving, hair coming undone, eyes wild, mouth working. He advances on Segal, Cavett and Simon, who cringe as one man. The camera cuts to a close-up of Segal, who looks miserable, then to Simon, who is attempting to compose the sort of bemused expression he would have if, say, someone were to defecate on the floor. Little Richard is audible off-camera, and then his face quickly fills the screen.

“WHY, YES, IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OFAAAART! THAT’S RIGHT! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! WHAT DO YOU KNOW, MR. CRITIC? WHY, WHEN THE CREEDENCE CLEARWATER PUT OUT WITH THEIR ‘TRAVELIN’ BAND’ EVERYBODY SAY WHEEE-OOO BUT I KNOW IT ONLY CAUSE THEY DOING ‘LONG TALL SALLY’ JUST LIKE THE BEATLES ANDTHESTONESANDTOMJONESANDELVIS – I AM ALL OF IT, LITTLE RICHARD HIMSELF, VERY TRULY THE GREATEST, THE HANDSOMEST, AND NOW TO YOU (to Segal, who now appears to be on the floor) AND TO YOU (to Simon, who looks to Cavett as if to say, really old man, this has been fun, but this, ah, fellow is becoming a bit much, perhaps a commercial is in order). I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK, MYSELF, I AM A WRITER, I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK AND IT’S CALLED –

“‘HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED BUT HE LOST WHAT HE HAD’! THAT’S IT! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED BUT HE LOST WHAT HE HAD! THE STORY OF MY LIFE. CAN YOU DIG IT? THAT’S MY BOY LITTLE RICHARD, SURE IS. OO MAH SOUL!”


Little Richard flies back to his chair and slams down into it. “WHEEEEE-OO! OOO MAH SOUL! OO mah soul…”


Little Richard sits with the arbiters of taste, oblivious to their bitter stares, savoring his moment. He is Little Richard. Who are they? Who will remember Erich Segal, John Simon, Dick Cavett? Who will care? Ah, but Little Richard, Little Richard himself! There is a man who matters. He knows how to rock.

A phrase that Little Richard snatched off Erich Segal stays in my mind: “Never in the history – in the whole history of art…” And that was it. Little Richard was the only artist on the set that night, the only one who disrupted an era, the only one with a claim to immortality. The one who broke rules, created a form; the one who gave shape to a vitality that wailed silently in each of us until he found a voice for it."


The "Bunny" became "Little Georgie" officially. An homage and a blueprint.

His future story? "HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED BUT HE LOST WHAT HE HAD"

Ultimately, "Little Georgie" was going to fill all the deficiencies that I felt that I represented at a time when my self-esteem was at an all time low. He would be the "Anti-George Rossi".

"Little Georgie" would be everything I was not.

He would be a cross between Jerry Lee, Little Richard, Stack-O-Lee, and John Henry The Steel Drivin' Man.

He would be larger than life, and a complete amplified cartoon: bragadocious beyond belief, physically beautiful, charismatic, talented, and adored. He would be able to out-play, out-fuck, out-drink, out-drug, out-pimp, and out-fight any mere mortal alive.

In my personal isolation and very real abject misery, I would define him as a version of Bacchus, The Devil, and God incarnate. The Alpha and Omega, as defined by Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, Pepe Le Pew and Bugs Bunny via Chuck Jones and Mike Maltese.

At the intersection of Highways 61 and 49, he could close a deal like Ron Popeil on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

But like every epic hero, he would be imbued with a tragic flaw, and an Achilles Heel. For this one flaw, I looked toward myself, and installed the singular point of actual reality firmly and deeply into a utter fantasy of character invention.

He would want to be loved truly and authentically; He would risk all to seek it and that would be his undoing.

The narrative would be a variation on the concept of "Love Conquers All", sideways and backwards.


(Stay Tuned For Part 8: The Third Element Of The Holy Trinity)

Suggested Reading:

Gary Frenay: A Testimony:

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/05/gary-frenay-testimony.html

033.) "On Rhetorical Devices, Influences, and Making Art "Popular": The use of rhetoric as a velvet rope and associative strategy 1981-2011

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/06/daily-dose-33-062911.html

055.) "Exploring Creative Processes: Part 1": An Introduction

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-55-072211.html

056.) "Exploring Creative Processes: Part 2": What's In Your Gumbo?

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-56-072311.html

057.) "Exploring Creative Processes Part 3": The Hard Wiring Of The Really Little Georgie 1960-1964

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-57-072411.html

058.) "Party Time": A "Lake Boy" Tale

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-58-072511.html

059.) "Exploring Creative Processes Part 4": The Test Of Time

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-59-072611.html

060.) "Exploring Creative Processes Part 5": The Test Of Time

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-60-072711.html

061.) "Exploring Creative Processes Part 6": Finding the Second of Three "Trinity" Components: The Green Pepper

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-61-072811.html

As always, if you are following The Dose regularly, its going to be increasingly more helpful if you have a roadmap and scorecard. An updated master index is sent out weekly that includes descriptions and direct hyperlinks to each archived blog: Its a lot easier than searching for archived material for cross referencing purposes than the blogger platform. Just shoot me your email address at:

piannaplunker88@gmail.com

You can opt out at anytime.

As of this writing, The Dose has received over 19,250 page views in 61 daily injections. All I have asked of the general readership is that if you enjoyed what you just read, hit that little share button on the top right column of this site, or copy the blog address down, paste it in an email, and give a friend a taste.

The Dose's original intent and design was for it to be passed along and shared; sort of hoping that we could form a bond and a shared sense of responsibility between the content and its users.

I'd like to continue to keep delivering this stuff, but we're rapidly reaching the point of diminishing returns.

Unfortunately, my personal assessment is that its starting to look like a failed experiment.

It isn't without its harvestable aspects in the face of failure, and I don't regret the amount of time I spent writing 62 consecutive posts at all. I have learned so much by disciplining myself to produce quality writing to the best of my ability for 62 conescutive days. I can look myself in the mirror and honestly say that I gave my all, every little last particle of me. I did not phone it in, or take whoever might be reading The Dose for granted in anyway. I stayed true to principle.

I'm truly grateful to those of you that have read, and perhaps even been inspired by the Blog-O-Thon's content and message. I'm also especially grateful to the folks that took it upon themselves to realize their implied responsibility by enjoying the content, and then taking the time to hip their friends and family to the Blog-O-Thon.

Circumstances beyond my control have led me to a place where I can no longer devote the time to producing a quality experience for you daily.

Those circumstances were the result of broken promises made to me, and the collateral damge is that I no longer can keep my promise to you... everything, IS connected.

That isn't an excuse though. We are what we eat, and we are the choices we make. I sincerely apologize for breaking my promise, and seeming unaccountable. In the end, all you are left with is your Integrity, and mine got compromised by not recognizing the lack of it in others that I openly trusted.

Those circumstances coupled with a rather tepid response of reader participation have led to this unfortunate resolution.

That's cool. I'm a big boy, and I can handle it. "I judge my forward progress and successes by the crushingly epic nature of my failures..."

If you are on facebook, I started a page called "Little Georgie's Blog-O-Thon". Just search it, it will pop up. That will be the final publicly published Master Index for all of the past Dose Output, and any that might happen in the future.

The "Last Dispensary" as it were.

I love you all.

Easy,

Geo


"You may shoot for the stars and end up in a back alley behind Pluto, beaten and bloodied, but at least I dare to dream, and that’s better than being Earthbound, mired in the muck of mediocrity.

I judge my forward progress and success by the crushingly epic nature of my failures.

The more epic the crash, the more I’m convinced I must be doing something right"




AS ALWAYS: PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE, AND SHARE THIS BLOG ADDRESS VIA COPY AND PASTE IN AN EMAIL, THROUGH THE TWITTER OR FACEBOOK "SHARE" BUTTONS,WORD OF MOUTH, FILTHY WHISPERED GOSSIP, FALSE NARRATIVE, TIN CAN AND STRING CONFIGURATIONS, PONY EXPRESS, OR CARRIER PIGEON. WITHOUT FEEDBACK OR ACTIVE "SHARING", WHAT YOU JUST READ.... DOESN'T EXIST!



COLONEL BEAUREGARD "IRON THIGHS" JEFFERSON, A.K.A. "THE MANAGEMENT"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Daily Dose #61 (07/28/11)

Exploring Creative Processes: Part 6

(Finding the Second of Three "Trinity" Components: The Green Pepper)


Deep sea diving through my past, I found certain "Pearls" that matched my objectives of finding a state of conceptual purity. On my first two excursions, I found a few core concepts that would comprise the roux of my projected, but still yet unknown and undefined creative "Gumbo Project".

Just as a refresher, here's a snippet that outlines rough parameters for "The Roux"; The true base of "The Gumbo", defined in a previous blog (The Hard Wiring Of The Really Little Georgie, Daily Dose #57: http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-57-072411.html)

"Those identifiable core elements took this form, when finally digging inside myself to find them.

1. There had to be a "narrative" element. All material, covered or eventually written, had to follow that narrative.

2. Although undefined at that point, the narrative would explore the darker side of the human experience. A creator creates of what he knows.

3. The narrative would be allegorical in nature. And in the end, uplift.

4. The project had to be just as powerfully presented graphically. Everything piece of material that came out of the camp had to deliver the right visual content to be just as evocative as the music, the presentation, the performances, and the narrative.

5. As mis-direction, the narrative had to be hidden, through the use of unabashed humor. It couldn't look like any of us were taking ourselves too seriously.

Entertainment values were what we were going to show first.

6. The band was going to showcase a decided New Orleans Piano flavor; (Insert "Caribbean Calypso" in here: a strong component of Mardi Gras Indian chants and music, and the music of Professor Longhair, blues with a decided Afro Caribbean slant, and the artist that I stole the name of the band from, as an homage, of course!)

7. It had to rock, but more importantly, it had to roll. There were going to be moments of collective and communal orgasmic release, just like that scream in "I Saw Her Standing There"; a pure exhibition of the power and resultant joy of Rock And Roll as I knew it."


After another dive in the darkened depths of early memory, I found my "onion", the first of a projected three additional core components, revolving around the filter of "The Test Of Time". What that was, and could again I find the purity in that concept; and then reinterpret that concept as a core design component.

From Daily Dose #60 ("Finding The Onion": http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/07/daily-dose-60-072711.html)

"The first awareness of "The Test Of Time" was drilled into me from 1963-1970 on all platforms, but the source of the springwater? The love and care of my brother through the conduit of the entire Warner Brothers Cartoon Cannon.

I had the onion now, and like an onion, this first component of my "Holy Trinity" was a multi-layered thing......

The onion, and thus the Gumbo, would explore the darkness of the human condition, yet appear to be "light", functioning on many conscious and subconscious levels simultaneously. The Onion would not condescend or cheapen its intended audience in anyway. The onion would be stand repetitive viewings and listenings through multi- layered complexities. The onion at first glance would be funny. The onion was going to have a cast of characters that would be absolutely personality driven.

Everything I knew about the Warner Cartoon Output would be re-interpreted, twisted and personalized, but I knew that those core concepts would be recognized and followed.

And at the heart of it all, and the soul of it all, would stand "The Bunny", as I remembered him from 1962 with my six year old brother sitting next to me with a sketch pad, teaching a two year old how to draw a perfect Bugs with nothing but love and a totally open heart.

I was going to be "The Bunny". As I rushed to to escape the past to gasp the air of the here and now, and broke that water line, the concept of "Little Georgie" was born unto this world."


I was circling around a conundrum, tightening the noose around its proverbial neck.

The last two components of "The Holy Trinity" ("The Green Pepper and The Celery") were now going to be actual creative work that were going to by guided by the parameters outlined, and always run through a set of filters, at this point "The Test Of Time".

These next components were going to be narrative based. I now had the function of a central character in that future narrative, but now I had to actually develop it in form.

Do do that, I had to take one more dive, this time to find that narrative. Find it, and the character of "The Bunny" would flesh itself out, as would the problem of character development in general.



I was very close to breaking through at this point, and probably would have gotten there without this third trip in the Time Tunnel, but since it had born the core design elements, and found them in a state of child-like purity and awareness, I had to make sure I had the narrative's priorities screwed on straight.

DAILY DOSE #62 will be about storytelling, and what types of stories I was attracted to, and what types of stories conformed to these newly defined parameters. Ultimately leading me to answer a critical question: Could I write one of my own?

Could I write one that could run cleanly through the now established filter of "The Test Of Time?"

(STAY TUNED FOR PART 7)

As always, if you are following The Dose regularly, its going to be increasingly more helpful if you have a roadmap and scorecard. An updated master index is sent out weekly that includes descriptions and direct hyperlinks to each archived blog: Its a lot easier than searching for archived material for cross referencing purposes than the blogger platform. Just shoot me your email address at:

piannaplunker88@gmail.com

You can opt out at anytime.

Remember Peep-A-Roos, your feedback and the active sharing of The Dose is what keeps it alive and viable, and is just as important if not more than the actual generation of the content.

As of this writing, The Dose has received over 18,950 page views in 60 daily injections. All I ask is that if you enjoyed what you just read, hit that little share button on the top right column of this site, or copy the blog address down, paste it in an email, and give a friend a taste.

It's designed to be passed along and shared. Otherwise, it just dies on the vine.

Love,

Geo


"You may shoot for the stars and end up in a back alley behind Pluto, beaten and bloodied, but at least I dare to dream, and that’s better than being Earthbound, mired in the muck of mediocrity.

I judge my forward progress and success by the crushingly epic nature of my failures.

The more epic the crash, the more I’m convinced I must be doing something right"




AS ALWAYS: PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE, AND SHARE THIS BLOG ADDRESS VIA COPY AND PASTE IN AN EMAIL, THROUGH THE TWITTER OR FACEBOOK "SHARE" BUTTONS,WORD OF MOUTH, FILTHY WHISPERED GOSSIP, FALSE NARRATIVE, TIN CAN AND STRING CONFIGURATIONS, PONY EXPRESS, OR CARRIER PIGEON. WITHOUT FEEDBACK OR ACTIVE "SHARING", WHAT YOU JUST READ.... DOESN'T EXIST!



COLONEL BEAUREGARD "IRON THIGHS" JEFFERSON, A.K.A. "THE MANAGEMENT"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Daily Dose #60 (07/27/11)

EXPLORING CREATIVE PROCESSES: PART 5

Finding The Onion

In the same mental quantum leap taken to find the authentic elements my "Roux", I used the same techniques to find the first of three elements of my "Holy Trinity", my metaphoric "Onion".

Just like an onion, I stripped away memory layer by layer, falling backward in time to get to some kind of purity, that I knew resided at the core, but was lost to me.

I really did stare into the mirror while I did this. I had to look myself directly in the eye, with no more self-generated bullshit attached to the process. My life depended on it.

I was isolated and alone, and felt abandoned and betrayed by anyone outside of my family who I had ever dared to love. I wasn't at the point where I could accept my own personal responsibility for my current lot. Those were the final questions that needed to be acknowledged and answered obviously; that's where any harvestable wisdom and lessons for the future resided and this was only the start of THAT journey. I wasn't ready for that yet. This was only the second of many attempts at "Soul Scraping".

Framed in the context of finding the root elements of a future creative endeavor, that gave me cover to some degree; yet still, the only council I could keep or trust was my own.

As the imaginary digit counter of the years rolled backward, I left a trail of breadcrumbs by the milestone markers to get back to the present.

Every failure, every betrayal, every fucked up thing done, either to me or what I had done to others, got cataloged and then peeled away. Every mask, every facade, every rationalization that led to false justifications got stripped and tossed aside.

This time though, I was on a specific mission. I was in search of "The Test Of Time", but not the versions that were learned in 7 years of car rides with debating the concept with Eddie Hamell.

I was in search of the first awareness of the concept; it's initial discovery. When was that light bulb lit? Where was that one true and pure moment in life that "The Test of Time" not only existed, but that somehow I had simultaneously placed a value on it without attaching an agenda to it? When was the time, and where was that place of security and innocence?

Where's my real "Onion"?

November 22, 1963

Although I have very definitive memories of my first three years on the planet, its difficult to attach specific times and dates. That's why November 22nd, 1963, and its media aftermath is useful as a memory docking station, and point of real verifiable time reference. The rest of early childhood is based alot in part on ritual. Feeding times, bed times, and repetitive, consistent events.



I remember the pain and anguish of all the adults around me, and being aware of the fact that something was terribly wrong. I had never seen real grief before that day. It was scary.

But there was also a frustration attached to those days as well. All regularly sceduled television programming got pre-empted, and more specifically aimed at the rote rituals of a three year old child, all children's programming on the only available three broadcast networks dematerialized mysteriously.


The disappearance of "The Bugs Bunny Show" the following Saturday morning was a crisis of epic proportions, much more so in my life at the time than a Presidential assassination. I became unglued. I remember this morning well, because all hell broke loose at the realization that my ritual was being denied.

I threw a block at the TV in an uncharacteristic three year old blind rage, and got thoroughly thrashed for the outburst. These were the days when it was OK to spank your kids, and although I received MANY of them through my early years by being what in my mind was being benignly mischievous, this one was my first, and my three year old ass was a deserving recipient.

You never forget your first time.

For over a year of hard-wiring cognitive development, my Saturday morning ritual was based around "The Bunny". That was the highlight of the week, and the whole of my toddler existence was scheduled around that singular weekly event, with Sunday's airing of "Walt Disney's Wonderful World Of Color" (of which we watched on a black and white set) coming in a distant second. Cartoons were always kind of a crapshoot on that show, and not always guaranteed.

But most importantly, "The Bunny" always was experienced at the side of my older brother Alfie.

My brother was four years my elder, the first born to our little mid-century nuclear family that was housed and based at 12 Gayle Road, Skaneateles, NY.



Alfie was (and still is) a genius. There's no delicate way of saying that. His I.Q. tested off the charts, and he was a child prodigy in many areas. It was normal to me, but in retrospect he must have been pretty scary to some, especially kids his own age. He was that smart, but more so he was freakishly talented in his chosen field of interest by age seven: The graphic arts of all genres, and by relation, the study of Animation.

From the day I spurted out of my mother's birth canal, I became Alfie's charge and he became my protector; He was "Primo" and I, "Secondo". Frick and Frack. Mutt and Jeff. Abbot and Costello. There wasn't a time I can remember where we were separated for very long until he started to go to Kindergarten. Every available moment we had, it seemed like we spent them together.

Alfie knew that if we were going to hang, that he had to get me up to speed and make up that four year gap as quickly as possible. He taught me to read, and he taught me to draw. He sat me down in front of every cartoon available on TV, and deconstructed comic books, from my day one until he finally hit puberty and realized that hanging out with his kid brother as best friend might result in a form of social suicide.

I took that intellectual and skill challenge on. There was no safer, and no more fun place to be for me, than to be pasted at his side.

"The Bunny" was the centerpiece of all knowledge and filial love in 1963, and it grew from there.

As we watched every Saturday, Alf would explain the gags that were dependent on reading, or humor aimed at adults. I knew what cirrhosis of the liver was at the age of three, because of the references to "Sir Osis of Liver and Sir Loin of Pork" from a roundtable scene from "Knighty Knight Bugs"



He taught me what suicide was in 1964. Bugs, Pepe LePew, and Daffy always seemed to commit it, or try to. I wanted to know, and Alfie had the answers.

The punch line of "Good thing I missed!" was much funnier if you comprehended the darkness of the set-up.



He taught me about surrealism through "Duck Amok". Right after viewing it, we'd hit the art books that had paintings of Magritte and Dali. Opera? Right after "The Rabbit of Seville", "What's Opera Doc?" we'd hit the family record collection and listen to Rossini's classic while devouring the liner notes and reading the libretto in Italian, or attempt to plow through Wagner's "Ring" cycle to sing "Kill The Wabbit" along with "The Ride Of The Valkyries"



Why was Bugs commonly dressed as a girl all the time? Here comes the lesson on cross-dressing and Transvestism. Nothing was held back as being "age-inappropriate."



He defined the use of irony in "One Froggy Evening" and "Show Biz Bugs". If you didn't get the reason why the space aged construction guy re-discovers Michigan J Frog in the year 2056 A.D. in a cornerstone placed in 1955 and has the the same delusions of grandeur and moral flaws concerning the frog that the last guy did, you didn't know that he was about to be driven to insanity. You didn't get the joke, the irony, or the absolute existential darkness of the humor being explored and then deployed.



I'd run around the house on Saturday afternoon's singing, "Oh, We are The Boy's Of The Chorus- We Hope You Like Our Show- We Know You're Rooting For Us- But Now It's Time To Gooooo".

It wasn't just a catchy tune. Alfie knew what it really meant, and he made sure that I knew about the concepts of vanity and futility attached to it.

In other words, Alfie had a true understanding of all these things, and made sure he drilled them into me from the jump.

Through the years, Saturday mornings were spent recording The Bugs Bunny Show and its various incarnations and it's network jumps, first with a tape recorder and then with one of the first home VTR's received by both of us as a collective Christmas gift, a fifty pound beast that used 7 inch reel to reel Black and white magnetic tape.

We'd deconstruct the plots, recreate the story boards, type out the scripts and the dialogue and practice imitating Mel Blanc's voice characterizations.

By the time I was seven we were breaking them down frame by frame and tracing each drawing off the television tube.

We'd do it with the rest of the Saturday morning fare.

The Hanna-Barberra stuff, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and any new half hour Saturday animated Kiddie show.

But the animation was crap, even if the writing and voice characterizations were worth careful study study.



By the time I was reading at the age of four, I knew by scanning the title cards and scored the "four horsemen of the apocalypse"; Mike Maltese, Mel Blanc, Carl Stalling and "Directed by Chuck Jones" a winner was about to appear. Alfie made sure my tastes were that refined as far as the output of Termite Terrace was concerned.

Milt Franklyn was an acceptable substitute, but only for special ones like "What's Opera, Doc?"



There was a qualitative difference between McKimson, Freeling and Jones. I was a Chuck acolyte. His stuff just looked better, the animation was more radical while also using incredible subtley at the same time, and the character development was a lot darker. Above is an illustration of the greatest smirk of evil intent ever animated.

By the time I was eight, we were using a Bell and Howell 8mm Film Camera with a momentary control on the shutter, enabling us to shoot frame by frame. Alfie built a light table, peg board and Rube Goldberg vertical camera stand and crane.

We started making our own cartoons.

My mother was always very supportive of all of this. She didn't want Alfie and me to grow up mired in the muck of mediocrity either. She wanted little versions of Leonardo and Michelangelo, and I guess in some form, she ended up with them.

My Mother made sure that every available resource was right at our fingertips at all times; from the complete Encyclopedia Britannica, to Art Books, to college level Animation Text books, to Art Supplies, to the actual advanced technical gear to advance to the point of producing real two-dimensional Animation on film.

All those years, in the act of acquiring all that knowledge, really boiled down to the core in two objectives: I loved my brother and mother with all my soul, and all I ever wanted to do was to please them. Life, from zero to the age of ten, was about seeking that closeness and safety through their collected validation of effort, work, ethic, development of talent, mental and intellectual acuity, and most importantly, creative output.

I can't exactly pinpoint the moment that I realized that The Warner Cartoon Output represented "The Test of Time" to me for the first time. Somewhere between 1965-1968, as I was learning the craft, I put it together. When I started to learn the production dates and did the math certainly helped. Some of these classics were produced as far back as 1948, and to an eight year old, a 20 year gap might as well have been an eon.



But it was more than that. It was their absolute density. How they functioned as not only kiddie entertainment, but functioned on many other levels as well, all at once. Their sheer artistry. That just like a Van Gough painting, you could watch them over and over again, and always be spiritually rewarded on some level in a new and different way. With every single repeat viewing, these seven minute shorts continued to deliver over the span of decades.

They never dumbed it down, or condescended to their intended audience, ever. They weren't worried about some kind of Freudian or Jungian developmental concern for impressionable young minds. They were smart, and the more you dug into them, the smarter you became.

So like Glinda the Good Witch explaining to Dorothy that she always had the power to go back to Kansas, telling her; "Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds. ...close your eyes. Tap your heels together three times...and think to yourself...there's no place like home" as a took my freefall back in time to find my "Onion", I realized that I had had it all along, but it was such a fundemental part of me that I couldn't recognize it until I had a soul scrape through my own version of a past "Oz".

My yellow brick road traced a twisting, spiraling path through the folds in my brain, always.

The first awareness of "The Test Of Time" was drilled into me from 1963-1970 on all platforms, but the source of the springwater? The love and care of my brother through the conduit of the entire Warner Brothers Cartoon Cannon.

I had the onion now, and like an onion, this first component of my "Holy Trinity" was a multi-layered thing.

As I re-emerged through the waters of the past to breath the oxygen of my present, my psychological lungs almost burst before I broke the water line. Like swimming out of the amniotic fluid and spurting out the birth canal, I had harvested some pretty major components and was about to have a creative birth of my own.

The onion, and thus the Gumbo, would explore the darkness of the human condition, yet appear to be "light", functioning on many conscious and subconcious levels simultaneously. The Onion would not condescend or cheapen its intended audience in anyway. The onion would be stand repetitive viewings and listenings through multi- layered complexities. The onion at first glance would be funny. The onion was going to have a cast of characters that would be absolutely personality driven.

Everything I knew about the Warner Cartoon Output would be re-interpreted, twisted and personalized, but I knew that those core concepts would be recognized and followed.

And at the heart of it all, and the soul of it all, would stand "The Bunny", as I remembered him from 1962 with my six year old brother sitting next to me with a sketch pad, teaching a two year old how to draw a perfect Bugs with nothing but love and a totally open heart.

I was going to be "The Bunny". As I rushed to to escape the past to gasp the air of the here and now, and broke that water line, the concept of "Little Georgie" was born unto this world.







THE BEGINNING OF THE END

(Stay Tuned For Part #6: Finding Another Trinity Component)

As always, if you are following The Dose regularly, its going to be increasingly more helpful if you have a roadmap and scorecard. An updated master index is sent out weekly that includes descriptions and direct hyperlinks to each archived blog: Its a lot easier than searching for archived material for cross referencing purposes than the blogger platform. Just shoot me your email address at:

piannaplunker88@gmail.com

You can opt out at anytime.

Remember Peep-A-Roos, your feedback and the active sharing of The Dose is what keeps it alive and viable, and is just as important if not more than the actual generation of the content.

As of this writing, The Dose has received over 18,500 page views in 58 daily injections. All I ask is that if you enjoyed what you just read, hit that little share button on the top right column of this site, or copy the blog address down, paste it in an email, and give a friend a taste.

It's designed to be passed along and shared. Otherwise, it just dies on the vine.

Love,

Geo

"You may shoot for the stars and end up in a back alley behind Pluto, beaten and bloodied, but at least I dare to dream, and that’s better than being Earthbound, mired in the muck of mediocrity.

I judge my forward progress and success by the crushingly epic nature of my failures.

The more epic the crash, the more I’m convinced I must be doing something right"




AS ALWAYS: PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE, AND SHARE THIS BLOG ADDRESS VIA COPY AND PASTE IN AN EMAIL, THROUGH THE TWITTER OR FACEBOOK "SHARE" BUTTONS,WORD OF MOUTH, FILTHY WHISPERED GOSSIP, FALSE NARRATIVE, TIN CAN AND STRING CONFIGURATIONS, PONY EXPRESS, OR CARRIER PIGEON. WITHOUT FEEDBACK OR ACTIVE "SHARING", WHAT YOU JUST READ.... DOESN'T EXIST!



COLONEL BEAUREGARD "IRON THIGHS" JEFFERSON, A.K.A. "THE MANAGEMENT"

Daily Dose #59 (07/26/11)

EXPLORING CREATIVE PROCESSES: PART 4


(THE TEST OF TIME: Section A)


Part Three of this series left off with getting to the root of all knowledge, and the act of personal discovery to find core elements of pure authenticity as I made the commitment to "make a gumbo".

Gumbo starts with the "roux", for all of you non-culinary types out there. A base of white flour, slowly and carefully browned and thickened in animal fat or vegetable oil; Making a proper roux, in the proper amount, is tricky business.



You've got to get it almost to the edge of utter destruction without actually destroying it. It has to be constantly stirred and watched for up to an hour to get it to that perfect dark reddish-brown, melted chocolate color and the right consistency of thickness, right before it burns. The darker the roux, the richer and more complex flavors can be achieved. It's a gastronomic high wire act.

Burn the roux, and you have to toss not only it out, but more than the
hour of life you spent trying to render it.

The next steps needed to be taken in making my creative metaphoric "Gumbo" was to conceptually identify what is called in Creole Cuisine "The Holy Trinity": Chopped Celery, Chopped Green Bell Peppers, and Chopped Onions.

There's no variation here. These three vegetables go into a Gumbo. They don't call it the "Holy Trinity" for nothing.

But each ingredient must be carefully chosen. They have to be fresh, and chopped to the desired consistency and in the right amounts; at the ready as soon as the roux is ready to go.

They represent "core" or "ground zero" structural concepts.

As I faced the possibility of transitioning from an instrumentalist to having the opportunity to take the full responsibility of embarking on creative and business initiative that would result in tangible output, you know that output will be judged to some degree.

"Throwing it out there into the Universe" has many emotional and character components attached to the act. One of them is courage.

You can not give a tumbling fuck about what people think about your "output", but if you are working in the arena of "Popular Art", its probably a good idea not to ignore the word "popular" either, especially where the "business" side is concerned.

That isn't to say that you have to be guided by popular trends as you make your own "Gumbo". If you get caught in that trap, you're already behind the eightball.

You just burned your roux if you position yourself as a dedicated follower of fashion.

You can shoot for "Elvis" or aim for "Fabian". There is a quantifiable and qualitative difference, and that choice is not without consequence. The measuring stick is just how much bravery you bring to the table as much as how much creative juice you may think you have to offer.

The goal is to stay true to core elemental concepts, and hopefully go way beyond the trend and set it. Raise the bar and obliterate the bell curve as you find the right escape velocity to create a large distance between what you produce from constraints of "the muck of mediocrity".

As I sat in my apartment on Winton Street in 1991 with my entire existence crashing and burning down around my ears, I knew one thing. If I was really serious about taking this on, and all it represented: Creating a "Gumbo" and assuming the full responsibility of making it, I knew in my gut brain that it was "go big or go home" time.

What ever I was going to end up with, it was going to have to stand up against "The Test Of Time".

It was my first and very possibly, my last shot at it; my feeling at the time was that I had better make it count.

You got nuthin' to lose if you got nuthin' left to lose.

This core concept, was going to be part of my "Holy Trinity". It was the first one recognized, and directly relates to the training I received in my tenure in a band called The Works, from the mind of my tutor and mentor of seven years, Ed Hamell.

THE 7 YEAR CAR RIDE: 1981-1988

When I first joined forces with Ed, his first move was to throw a pile of LP's at me to digest immediately. I had already digested most of them. I wouldn't have been in position to be asked to join the band if I hadn't to some degree, but certainly there were mutually recognized holes in my game and knowledge base.

All of those recordings were not only cherry picked by Ed because of what they represented stylistically. These records weren't based on obtuse esoterica to hide a sphere of influence, but on popularity and their place in the world wide musical, and primarily (but not exclusively), rock and roll zeitgeist.

There was only one true benchmark. All of them would stand the test of time, or had already done so. Either that, or would eventually prove to be of timely cultural significance.

I'm not going to go into a long list here. That's up for you to compile and find for yourself if you want to explore that concept. You are in fact, what you eat.

This I can say though: through thousands of hours of car rides, and thousands of hours spent listening, excavating information, reading books, and rooting out anecdotal stories, hundreds of records were deconstructed down to core elements.

The were dissected not only by their overall structure; Art work and graphic design, genre, concept (if any) or conceptual narrative elements, pacing, song structure and structural elements, hooks, instrumentation, arrangements, spheres of influence, production techniques and lyrics syllable by syllable.

Entire careers got disassembled and reassembled to figure out how the watches actually ticked. Who was the producer? Who was the engineer? Where was it recorded? What was the technology available at the time of recording? Who was the manager, and how was that career stewarded? Who signed them? What Label? Who broke them on the radio, and how? How was the team assembled, and how could we find out the backstory on every last one of them?

What was the cultural climate at the time of impact? What was sheer dumb luck, and what was brilliant design?

This was pre-internet days, peep-a-roos. There were no "Search Engines". There was no Wikipedia, and no YouTube to go to. If you really wanted to know this stuff, you had to really commit to finding it out, by any means at your disposal.

These were also the days when Rock and Roll journalism actually meant something. Ed required that you know just as much about Lester Bangs as you did about The Beatles.

Everybody from Al Jolson to N.W.A. got put under that microscope. Top 100 "All Time" lists were debated vociferously. One of my favorite exercises was the "Career and Output" face off. Madonna or Bowie? Go! Little Richard or Chuck Berry? Go! Springsteen or Dylan? Go! Andrew Loog Oldham or Brian Epstein? Go! The Clash or The Pistols...and Where Do The Replacements fit in? Go! Brian Wilson or George Martin? Go! Roy Thomas Baker or Mutt Lange? Go! Prince or Michael Jackson? Go! "Exile on Main Street" or "Sticky Fingers"? Go! Sam Phillips or Leonard Chess? Go! Lou Reed or Iggy Pop? Go! Dick Clark or Don Kirschner? Go! Berry Gordy or Thom Bell? Go! Lenny Bruce or Richard Pryor? Go! Robert Johnson or Muddy Waters? Go! Johnny Cash or Hank Williams? Go! Jerry Lee or Elvis? Go!

This went on for seven years, and it was like going to a Master's Program of Rock and Roll, Songwriting, Career Management, Street Fighting, The American History of Humor, Criminology, Sociology, World History, Industrial and Technological History, Military Planning and Theory, Advanced Poetry and Literature, Media History, Advanced Marketing and Economics all rolled into one, every time that extensively touring car door opened and I set my foot in it.


Crossing intellectual swords with Ed was like stepping willingly into a running Waring Blender set permanently on "Puree".

These debates could get very heated, but in the end, it hardened and cured your knowledge base like carbonized steel.

We were unified as one, however. Brothers in arms, shoulder to shoulder in the same foxhole, discovering the conceptual strategies in all areas, deployed in the past and present. Hopefully in that process, we would find a unique mixture; one of our own for a common purpose aimed at a collective future.

We wanted to make history.

Or rather he did, and I willingly enlisted myself under his leadership and guidance.

No matter how arcane a factoid was or how it came to light, all of that knowledge had to answer to that one parameter and be housed under a singular umbrella of a concept.

The Test of Time.

In the end, as I look at The Works retrospectively, the band basically went through four phases in the time I was a member; A Springsteenian start, a Clash like turn to the left, a more current for the times 80's English Glam sensibility due to personnel changes and the influence of MTV and emphasis on visual information, and sort of petering out with a more punkish direction and ultimate vision of Ed's that the band, at that time, had difficulty in tacking to and following.

That last turn, due to the economic and sheer physical grind that The Works represented and the fact that we all were growing up and developing diverging strategies on how to acheive the common end goals, was probably one of the main factors for Ed to decide to close the final curtain down on that particular project.

We thought we were pretty slick, but all of those transitions seem a bit sophomoric and forced today. We were young, and we were learning the trade, trying to run through identifiable shapes, "periods" and image changes, and keeping the music and presentation fresh over a grueling seven year period; following the chameleon template defined by Picasso and The Beatles, refined by David Bowie and Neil Young, and copied rather ham-fistedly but quite successfully by Madonna.

That's an over-simplification, but you get the general idea. Cut us some slack. We were kids. We may have been miles ahead of the curve for the provinces, but for the world stage, we were a little behind that eightball.

We built a loyal and supportive tribe. We made some great music. We had a blast has we lived a very low rent bohemian, yet truly Bacchanalian lifestyle, and made great friends. We were downright inspiring to many folks. We walked the walk as we talked the talk, and paid the price dearly for doing so.

And personally, I walked out with the education of a lifetime. I'm proud of every note I ever played in that band and what those notes represented, under the guidance and tutelage of Ed.

Ed was on the right track, however, and has spent the years since refining that original knowledge base and the implementation of it for his following and very successful solo project, "Hamell on Trial". Unencumbered by the constraints of having to deal with other humans in a band and everything else that goes with that, he was able to make calibrations and changes much more nimbly, as he continued to hone and pressurize his coal into his own personal vision of what a diamond should be.

Just as my treasured friend and teacher had done, when my turn at bat came up, all that I had learned was going to be deployed somehow.

In search of my own personal statement and spin on the "Holy Trinity" of a future creative "Gumbo", one thing was certain.

"The Test Of Time" was going to be my onion. I didn't know exactly how that would exactly manifest itself, but it was going to be there. All I had to do was discover it.

(Stay Tuned For Part 5: Finding The Authentic Onion)

Author's Note:

All Dosages will eventually connect, for those that are following the entire cycle.

For those that aren't, here's one quick recommended read concerning Ed Hamell and just one of many of the lessons I learned from him:

033.) "On Rhetorical Devices, Influences, and Making Art "Popular": The use of rhetoric as a velvet rope and associative strategy 1981-2011

http://littlegeorgiesblog-a-thon.blogspot.com/2011/06/daily-dose-33-062911.html

Also if you'd like to learn more about "Hamell On Trial", here's his web address:

http://www.hamelltv.com/

I also highly recommend his interesting take on his "Works" days, which can be found here:

http://www.hamelltv.com/category/the-works/

As always, if you are following The Dose regularly, its going to be increasingly more helpful if you have a roadmap and scorecard. An updated master index is sent out weekly that includes descriptions and direct hyperlinks to each archived blog: Its a lot easier than searching for archived material for cross referencing purposes than the blogger platform. Just shoot me your email address at:

piannaplunker88@gmail.com

You can opt out at anytime.

Remember Peep-A-Roos, your feedback and the active sharing of The Dose is what keeps it alive and viable, and is just as important if not more than the actual generation of the content.

As of this writing, The Dose has received over 18,500 page views in 58 daily injections. All I ask is that if you enjoyed what you just read, hit that little share button on the top right column of this site, or copy the blog address down, paste it in an email, and give a friend a taste.

It's designed to be passed along and shared. Otherwise, it just dies on the vine.

Love,

G


"You may shoot for the stars and end up in a back alley behind Pluto, beaten and bloodied, but at least I dare to dream, and that’s better than being Earthbound, mired in the muck of mediocrity.

I judge my forward progress and success by the crushingly epic nature of my failures.

The more epic the crash, the more I’m convinced I must be doing something right"




AS ALWAYS: PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE, AND SHARE THIS BLOG ADDRESS VIA COPY AND PASTE IN AN EMAIL, THROUGH THE TWITTER OR FACEBOOK "SHARE" BUTTONS,WORD OF MOUTH, FILTHY WHISPERED GOSSIP, FALSE NARRATIVE, TIN CAN AND STRING CONFIGURATIONS, PONY EXPRESS, OR CARRIER PIGEON. WITHOUT FEEDBACK OR ACTIVE "SHARING", WHAT YOU JUST READ.... DOESN'T EXIST!



COLONEL BEAUREGARD "IRON THIGHS" JEFFERSON, A.K.A. "THE MANAGEMENT"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Daily Dose #58 (07/25/11)

PARTY TIME

(A Lake Boy Tale)

Gayle Road is a steeply graded street located on the east side of Skaneateles Lake; on the outer Eastern border but still within the village limits.


Lined on either side with relatively modest ranch style homes, the street descends sharply in altitude, curves suddenly to the south at a ninety degree angle, turns into a dirt trail, and winds up basically at the shore; a small sixty foot slice of beach side real estate that is shared by all of Gayle Road’s residents.

In the days of my youth, most of the homeowners were of the same age, with children that were all mostly the same age too. It was a little tract of about fifteen homes and fifteen nuclear families; our own little private Utopia within the utopian confines of the village of Skaneateles.

There were cocktail parties hosted in a different home every weekend. It was always an exciting event when it was my mother’s turn to throw a party. The house bustled with major activity during the day; a blur of super-charged anal-retentive cleaning, errand running, hair dresser appointments, liquor deliveries and strange ritualistic preparations of tiny bite sized food.

Around five pm, my brother Alfie, my sister Becky, and myself were scrupulously scrubbed, dressed for bed, and then fed some gawd-awful “quick” repast, usually Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks and tater tots accompanied by the pre-requisite glop of ketchup on the side (parties were usually thrown on Fridays, hence “Catholic food” that passed for fish).
Then that wonderful hour before guests were scheduled to arrive, where Pops did the final tweaking chores of preparing the bar (A six foot sheet metal folding table with kidney-shaped "parameciums" printed on it; covered in an exquisite table cloth.)Dansk ice bucket filled: Check. Exotic fruits cut, lemons peeled: Check. Maraschino cherries and green olives with pimentos jammed inside: Check. Cocktail napkins: Check. Tooth Picks: Check.

It was very quiet, but the anticipatory tension in the house was palpably increasing by the minute, the smell of warming cocktail weenies wrapped in pastry permeating our family quarters. Then my mother’s magic metamorphosis would unfold.

I used to marvel at my mother’s ability to transform herself from a drill sergeant barking out marching orders with militaristic precision in preparation for the upcoming Bacchanalian onslaught to an absolute knockout “Betty”.


I would lay on the linoleum floor of our garishly pink tiled bathroom, watching her carefully in a state of awe: wrapped in a towel, freshly bathed, her coiffed hair wrapped in a protective plastic mushroom cloud of a shower cap, sitting on her green upholstered vanity pouf, applying her war paint with a vast array of strange tools (The curved eyelash curler was always an implement that I found particularly compelling); the application ritual of the smearing of frosted pink lipstick (which seemed to me to resemble a disembodied, rotating doggie penis within a large caliber bullet casing) and then the “kissing” of a Kleenex tissue to set it, smacking her lips; and finally dousing herself in a copious amount of Estee Lauder’s “Youth Dew”, a perfume that was so overwhelmingly noxious that I would almost pass out from the intoxicating fumes. My first foray into the world of “huffing”, I suppose.

In the enchanted pre-party “calm before the storm”, as my Pops would zip up her up in some latest designer cocktail dress and they’d give each other the once over to make sure they were sharp, straight and good to go. They would fixedly look each other in the eye in silent pause, and a deep breath of relaxation would be collectively shared.

And then they would tenderly kiss as the first of a stack of L.P.'s would mysteriously slide down the spindle and plop down on the turntable, my mother's right knee bending, her high heel ascending heavenward in the embrace; the music would start and the doorbell would automatically ring as if on cue.

Here we go.


This was the age where the men wore tailored suits and the women dressed to the nines with teased-to-the-stratosphere beehive hair helmets and rhinestone studded cat’s eye goggles. Martinis, Scotch and Sodas, Manhattans, and Whiskey Sours for the ladies were the libations of choice coupled with the sounds of Frank Sinatra, “Kind Of Blue”, Show Tunes, and calypso music functioning as the soundtrack as it burbled through “hi-fi” stereo speakers.

I didn’t know what was going on, but I did know that I wanted to be in the middle of those wing dings, not on the periphery. I especially hated the collective sibling “trot out” right before bedtime, where all the Gayle Road women cooed collective “oohhhs” and “ahhhs” and then we would be hustled off to bed. I would try to fall asleep to the muffled sounds of Harry Belafonte singing the Banana Boat Song coupled with the amazing booze fueled detonations of cackling laughter that would periodically explode out of the living room.



I remember sneaking around and hiding under the table cloth that draped the bar in my footie pajamas trying to discern just what was going on in that blue haze. Instinctively at age three I knew that staying up late smoking cigarettes, listening to weird music, and drunkenly trying to play grab ass with your neighbor’s wife whilst doing the rhumba to the sounds of Acker Bilk was way more fun then the existence I was currently living, which mainly consisted of a steady diet of toys, “Romper Room”, “Captain Kangaroo”, and “The Silly Book”; my musical fare consisting of songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or worse, and not being old enough to play with most of the other kids on the street.

It was like watching Martians. All I wanted to do was go to Mars in a suit, hair helmet, and a pair of cats-eyed rhinestone studded goggles of my own.

But there I was, up way past my bed-time; crew-cutted and goggle-less, in a set of blue “one-sie” pajamas with pink bunnies printed on them feeling like the plastic treaded soles of my jammies were permanently glued to the slate stone floor of our dining room. Hopelessly Earth-bound.

Not for long.

THE END

Author's Note:

This is a revised and edited version of an older posting. My apologies for having to resort to such chicanery!

Life intrudes sometimes. This was the best I could do in the time alotted... plus #57 was a work out of epic proportions, so in reality, I'm not feeling too guilty. This is a companion piece to #57.

For those that want to follow the story cycle, I again urge you to consider signing up for the Master Index List, updated and sent weekly. Its easier to negotiate than the archived material on the Blogger platform, and to really experience the Dose as its designed, this is a very useful tool.

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Love,

Geo


"You may shoot for the stars and end up in a back alley behind Pluto, beaten and bloodied, but at least I dare to dream, and that’s better than being Earthbound, mired in the muck of mediocrity.

I judge my forward progress and success by the crushingly epic nature of my failures.

The more epic the crash, the more I’m convinced I must be doing something right"



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