I actually thought I was done with my rants on narcissism, just as I thought I knew myself pretty well. Wrong on both counts. Now it’s time to face the fact that I just can’t shut up about certain things when they become more powerful than my will to have done with them, more important than my need to let them rest. They make me their bitch, and somewhere deep down (not there, filth-brain) I must really enjoy the humiliation. But regardless of my fascination with the subject, I thank God that I’m just too damn beautiful and sensitive and intelligent to be a narcissist myself.
I guess I was in one of my more masochistic modes recently (I was trying to imagine something more nauseating than recording artists who use self-portraits on their album covers) when I ran into some real gold on an old VHS tape. It was the Saturday Night Live Fifteenth Anniversary Special from l990. It begins with a live segment featuring Chevy Chase tripping all over the balcony, bumping into people, and spilling popcorn on and around them. Everyone is watching Chevy and laughing and having a great time. Everyone, that is, except one person sitting in the balcony’s right front row, who has a very pleased smile on his face as he stares intently only at himself in the monitor above him. Screw the live network hilarity; he is enamored of just one thing in the studio: his own pampered, affected-baby-pout face. We didn’t heed the warning then and we don’t seem to be any closer to doing it now, but what a joy it is to be able to witness this early revelation of the true essence of Donald Trump. Marvelous.
Well, shucks, I’m honored to be able to go into deja vu territory yet again this year with the following announcement: I will again be Master of Ceremonies on the main stage at the Ocean Beach Oktoberfest, taking place Friday and Saturday October 9th and 10th where Newport Avenue meets the beach and pier, where mirth and music meet to play in suds of beer. Friday’s festivities extend until 11 pm this year; the entire event is loads of fun with a lot of live bands, many crazy contests, and tons of prizes. I greatly enjoy being allowed to serenade the bikini’d babes up close during the Miss Oktoberfest competition (observers have noted that as the years pass, the struggle to contain and control my own ardor becomes increasingly pronounced) and my impassioned songs of encouragement as ladies gulp down steamy sausages have brought tears to the eyes and yearning to the hearts of sensitive observers from around the globe. I hope you’ll come and share the love with me. And once again, a special note to any of our female readers who might unavoidably show up just a little bit late to participate in one of her favorite contests: I can bend the rules for you, my darling. Just locate me backstage and say the magic words, “Hose, I’m a Troubadourette. Could you please enter me, now?”
And I will do what I can. Trust me. For further information on this super party, go to oktoberfest.com.
On an earlier Halloween season I used this space to list my own recommendations for late October fright-film watching. I still stand by my list (and still consider The Brides of Dracula to be the finest monster movie ever made) but am ashamed to admit that I completely overlooked a couple of gems from a relatively small but fertile genre: the Horror Movie Musical. What a gift, what a bonus to have a bunch of great songs accompany the thrills, if you can get into that sort of thing, noamsayne? These two deserved placement in the previous tally and are listed here with apologies to all concerned:
Phantom of the Paradise is from Brian De Palma and the year 1974. The songs, which touch on just about every popular musical mode of that time, were composed by Paul Williams, who also stars as the real villain of the piece. The Phantom himself is played by William Finley and the damsel-in-distress is portrayed ( and marvelously sung) by Jessica Harper. Gerrit Graham is utterly hilarious as a rock star seemingly composed of various aspects of Elton John, Mick Jagger, Prince, and Axl Rose. Yes, in l974! The haunting Rainbeaux Smith (look her up) has an extremely brief appearance as a groupie, which automatically certifies the movie as “worth seeing” but it’s more than that – it’s worth immersing oneself in to appreciate as a horror film, a love story on acid, or a straightforward tragedy with an arsenal of wickedly funny twists. Phantom of the Paradise is available in a bonus-laden two-disc Blu-Ray/DVD set that finally does this film justice, and there’s always been the original soundtrack album which, like the movie itself, seems to improve with age. My early love Charberger turned me on to this film when it was new, and has had my gratitude ever since. So it wasn’t just her bod.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (l970). There’s a soundtrack album for this one too, and a double-disk DVD set featuring just about everything a fan would want. The late, great Roger Ebert wrote this down at the Hilton in Bay Park (!) with director Russ Meyer and he’s provided a running commentary among the bonuses, along with several of the film’s stars who do their own talking on another track. (When they wonder whatever became of David Gurian, who has one of the main roles, I wanted to scream at them, “He became a famous photographer, you ninnies– remember the legendary Vanna White photos in Playboy?”) What this is is more than just a cliche-heavy Hollywood rags-to-riches story, turned on its ass and frosted with genius. It’s got comedy (several of the first Austin Powers film’s best lines were stolen from this) and tragedy and mystery and drugs and a lot of vivid horror, as well as several truly “groovy” songs performed by the film’s protagonists, the female rock trio the Carrie Nations. Even the Strawberry Alarm Clock turn up to do a coupla tunes, including “Incense and Peppermints”! Every aspiring musician should see BTVOTD to be cautioned about the dangers of show business, if that aspiring musician’s brain is made of oatmeal. It looks like a million bucks ‘cause they put a million bucks into it (and more) but it’s doubtful that 20th Century Fox ever dreamed it would so appreciated and acclaimed by so many important critics and unsuspecting audiences. Even Duncan Shepherd, the original film critic for the Reader, put Beyond the Valley of the Dolls “…in the realm of magic.”
So that is going to be my Halloween double feature on the 31st. Care to stop by?