Sunday, January 15, 2006

Great news for Hardcase fans; Filmfax

Charles Ardai e-mailed me this morning to tell me that Hardcase will definitely be back in '07 with its ample supply of great noirs. Congratulations, Charles and gang. You're a vital part of the mystery scene.

Some people consider Filmfax (now merged with Outre) to be a standard "nostalgia" magazine. It's anything but. Within the past few years I've excellent SERIOUS articles on composer Bernard Herrmann, the reality of working in the old Poverty Row studios, the too short life of Charles Beaumont and several informative articles on early television. What follows is an excerpt from an article that talks about the Beats adnd popular culture. Log on to read the entire article.

The Beat Generation

by James J.J. Wilson

Dig: The Beat Generation. Bongos, Goatees, berets, Ray-Ban sunglasses, and sandals. Incomprehensible painting and poetry. Maynard G. Krebs and Edd "Kookie" Byrnes. That's what most people thought it was. People who said things like, "Well, she flipped my wig but she split the scene and I blew my cool...I wasn't about to dance to that jazz!"

Jack Kerouao said that "Beat" doesn' t just mean "beaten" or a musical beat; it means "beatific": the quest for joy. Kerouac struggled to express his thoughts in words. He tested all the standard forms but it wasn't until he heard Charlie ("Bird") Parker play the alto sax that he found his style.

In the early 40's, some of the best musicians got tired of playing the same old pop so they stretched out in post-gig "jam sessions". Bird, Dizzie Gillespie, Thelonius Nonk, and Charlie Ningus created a new sound and called it "Bebop". As soon as Kerouac dug Bop, he understood how to pattern his words. Why shouldn't language flow like music?

What Kerouac and the rest of the Beats knew in the 40'. finally seeped into pop culture in the late 50's. Naturally, everybody wanted to be "hip" but by then it wasn t "cool" to be "hip" anymore. Eventually, the Beats gave up and became Hippies.

The Beat Generation was a blueprint for psychic survival with The Bomb hanging over all of us: an individual's search for happiness amidst chaos. The sound of a Parker solo was the cry of a bird flying where no one had been before. That's what Kerouac did with words, along with William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Alan Ginsberg (the raw nerve of the Beats) and their apostles: Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and The ~les.

Vivid images of reality and abstract constructs melted into a wonderful vision that any open mind could see. And the vision warn condensed and homogenized and dehydrated and sold to the public in .1001 Ade powder form or as "Fizzies" to be dissolved in water and yet, the essense was still there.. and the people dug it, Del Close and John Brent, Chicago's "Second City" gurus, put out an album called ~STC HIP as a guide. It starts like this:

"Hey, look, uh, you know, like, if you bought this record to learn how to speak Hip from a ~ man, that is the squarest thing I ever heard of. I mean, NQRI But look: so, like, you bought it so you must need it. So, that was a smart move. You know what I mean.. .or something?"

Continued on Next Page



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