This is just to let my followers know that I am beginning a new blog, RussellPop, which is where I will post my observations on popular culture, music, movies, books, art, etc. It is not about me, myself, and I. It is free of expletives, and controversy, except of course the shallow controversies of popular culture. It is meant to be a fun site, for fans, and to get my take on what is going on in the world of entertainment and the arts. I will avoid heaviness. This site is my relief from my primary blog, this one, which will continue to pursue brutal honesty, and hopefully cause people to think, and feel. Here is where it’s real. RussellPop.wordpress.com is where it’s fun.
James Franco. He is all over the place! Today I walked into my kitchen, opened up my refrigerator and there he was, crouching inside with a smirk on his face. What is up with this guy? He is on the cover of all the magazines. He has played James Dean, Allen Ginsberg, and will soon play the mighty Oz. He is even on General Hospital. And he is so smug about it! Yeah, we know you are James Franco, now get over it! He is so hip, so cool, soooo avant garde! Whatever…… But I do have to admit he is pretty amazing. He isn’t just an actor, he paints, sculpts, produces art films. He isn’t just a pretty face. I’m pretty sure he is going to succeed in fucking up the whole Us magazine entertainment industry machine. They are used to promoting the usual shallow crap. James Franco has the savvy to parody himself. I think he treats his fame as an art project. But I actually don’t know what I am talking about. Nowadays there is so much irony in the media that it is hard to know who is putting on who. What got me going on James Franco was this interview in Believer magazine. Franco and his artist friend Carter, were talking about some of the projects they worked on. I was automatically attracted to the kind of dada quality they brought to their films. In ‘Erasing James Franco’, a film you will probably never see, James Franco just sits in a chair and recalls in his mind, the roles he has played. He can’t move, or speak, so what the viewer sees is very, very subtle. And also incredibly boring. But then that is the point. They did another film consisting of all the seemingly meaningless parts of Franco’s films. All you would see would be Franco walking, answering a phone, eating, drinking, all those things you would normally never notice in a film. Again, insanely boring. But this kind of experiment, if the viewer can stand it, opens up a different way of seeing film. You develop an appreciation for the unnoticed. It reminded me a little bit of John and Yoko’s shenanigans. It really puts some people off. These are the same people that wouldn’t be amused by James Franco chilling out in their refrigerator. I still don’t know how he got into my apartment without my knowing.
I recommend you read this interview, if you can get ahold of the Nov-Dec 2011 issue of Believer. You see, I just got laid off recently from a magazine shop and so I had a stripped copy of that issue, which I was reading today, while waiting in vain for a callback about a job. But enough about all that, lest I become as boring as one of Franco and Carter’s art projects. The interview takes place in a haunted hotel room, room 407 of the Bowery Hotel in NYC. The interviewer brings along a ouija board and they ask the board some questions. It makes total sense that James Franco would be staying in a haunted hotel room, because James Franco himself is haunted. He is haunted by James Dean, whom everybody compares him to. Besides the physical resemblance (actually more of a cross between Dean and Johnny Depp), but he also has that offhand manner, like he isn’t taking things entirely seriously. He is also haunted by Sal Mineo, he shares some of that vulnerablity, and bisexuality. As far as I know, Franco is straight, but that vibe is still there. He resonates with all of the anti-heroes, misfits, and oddballs of the past. Until I read this piece, I hadn’t realized that Franco was more than just another heart throb Hollywood actor. He has gained even more of my respect. I noticed him when he was on Freaks and Geeks, the critically acclaimed but rarely watched, tv show. I thought at the time that he would be ‘going places’, as they say.
Finally! A bit of acknowledgement from Margaret Cho! I had been bitching about that for a few days now, and I have no idea if she read any of it. But, in any case, she thanked her fans for their comments as part of saying Happy New Year. It was nice. There is a God.
I left a comment asking if she would write a post addressing that sticky subject of celebrity and fan interaction. It can be tricky, and it can be fun and heart warming as well. I guess it depends on the fan, and on the celebrity. It’s weird because I hate the whole idea of fan and celebrity. I don’t want to be a fan. I want to be a celebrity, and I am. I just haven’t been discovered yet. Actually, I could give a rat’s ass about celebrity. I have no desire to be famous. I do like the idea of getting my ideas and my humor, and my sparkling personality (Please stop! this is getting sickening) Ok, I’m not all that. But I do think I have something to contribute. Since George Carlin and Bill Hicks died, someone needs to pick up the torch. Margaret has to a large extent, but hey! can’t there be more than one torch?
Anyway, I hope I see a post from her about all this stuff. I would feel vindicated. My voice is being heard! I didn’t have to pitch a tent in her yard and call it Occupy Cho.
Just a taste of what it’s like being me.
I woke up at 4:30 am this morning, did my usual exercises, and walked out into the chilly air to get the paper. I settled down with coffee, Special K, Cheerios, and Honey Smacks cereals all mixed together, and a banana. I fired up iTunes, leaving it on shuffle, so it becomes my not so little radio station, over 40,000 songs at this point. It always begins with 2120 South Michigan Ave by the Rolling Stones. I worry a bit as I read about Iran being warned not to block the Hormuz Strait. The last thing we need is another war. Buddy stakes out my lap for ten minutes, and then I take off for work. It takes me forty-five minutes to get to work. I walk down Van Ness Ave, and cross over to Polk. The air is thick with fog, and it is cold. The sound of fog horns fill the air. I love that sound. It makes me feel like I’m in the middle of a movie. The lights around me all look big and fuzzy, due to my cataracts. I think about how I can lie down later, after work, and catch up on my sleep. (but I rarely do). I feel pains in my chest occasionally and wonder if it is my heart, or just acid reflux. I think about how short life is, and how I won’t get to do the things I’d like to do, bccause I’m poor. I worry if I will be able to keep my job. I worry about worry.
As soon as I arrive for work, it is non-stop working from 7 am to noon. I lug the magazines in, I check them in. I strip the old magazines, so the covers can be returned for credit. I ring up customers. Finally I go to the bank on my way home, to make a deposit. This morning was far too busy for my usual coffee and bagel, so I grab coffee and a low-fat peach and cranberry muffin at Peet’s before going home, and read in a stripped copy of Foreign Affairs about how America got into the huge disparity in incomes that it is in today. Those rich bastards have really managed to fuck the rest of us over. I hope Newt Gingrich, or whoever the Republicans come up with, goes down to defeat by a very large margin. We need to send a very clear message to the rich. Lest you want to go the way of the Bourbons, give up some of your ridiculous wealth so that the rest of us can survive.
I was very surprised that my niece asked to be my friend, on Facebook. I don’t even know her. I have been out of touch with my family for about thirty years. Well,actually that is an exaggeration. I have talked to my brother for hours on the phone, and there were some rare visits to brothers over the years. but for the most part, there has been no contact. It felt strange hearing from her, because we have almost nothing in common, so far as I know. Of course, I’m her Uncle, I guess that’s a start. Because her father was very conservative, I assume she is as well, but I could be mistaken. But it feels good to hear from family, even if it is family I don’t know. That’s sounds so sad. What a pathetic life I lead. Don’t you feel sorry for me? No? Did I hear you say that you have your own life to cry over? Fair enough. One thing is for sure,. it can always get better, and it can always get worse. That’s the sort of folk wisdom I still carry around from my childhood in the Midwest. Sort of a Midwestern Zen.
I guess the point of this particular post is just to give my followers (provided they are still followers after this boring ass post!) an idea of what I am like, what my day is like. I like to get a sense of what the person is like, when I read their blog. Of course, in the case of Margaret Cho, I already have a clear idea, because she is a big important celebrity. I am so over it!!! I can understand why she doesn’t ever respond to comments left on her blog. She doesn’t want to encourage us to get all wrapped up in her, after all it isn’t practical for her to be friends with her fans. There must be an impenetrable wall between fan and celebrity. But it still sucks. So, why do I continue to leave comments? Very good question. I guess because I enjoy it, other people see them, and hopefully, enjoy them. I hope Margaret enjoys her motorcycle. Fucking celebrities, I hate them. That’s right! Enjoy your bread!
On a final note, I am pleased that there are people out there that follow my blog. I do wish they would comment on it, though. Because I’ll tell you what it’s like. Imagine someone waving at you from a distance, not talking to you at all, but acknowledging your existence. It piques your interest, but you never get to meet that person, you never know what they think. How much fun is that? So, go ahead, be like Margaret Cho and say “Eat Shit and Die”. At least then, I know I have made some sort of contact.
I haven’t written in here for a while, so….Every once in a while I get all caught up in some author, singer, comic, or whatever and have to sit and check out youTube for every little thing I can find on that person. Lately, my obsessive attention has been directed towards Margaret Cho. As so often happens with other people I have become attracted to, the more I dig, the more fascinating the person becomes. This is especially the case with Margaret Cho because she is so forth coming (or perhaps, I should say, forth cumming) about her life. Some might say too forth coming, but fuck them. It is refreshing to find someone who is totally theirself and refuses to play the usual entertainment industry game. Actually, come to think of it, she has played the game to some extent, after all we all gotta eat and keep a roof over our heads. No point in being totally fearless and homeless. But anyhow I admire her, and there is something about her that absolutely captivates me. It is bizarre that she is able to project total innocence and vulgarity at the same time. I can’t stop thinking about her! Someone just kill me now!!! But I realize and remind myself that I don’t actually know this woman. Nowadays, when you can sit and watch endless videos and read endless articles, reviews, and blogs about someone, you can develop this illusion that you know this person. It ain’t so. Margaret has a great line where she reflects on how her fans will approach her as if she were their best friend, and confide in her. “I really hate that!” she said. I can definitely relate to that. That is why I don’t confide shit to her. She knows next to nothing about me and I want to keep it that way! Well, unless she reads this blog, then she might know….ooops! Oh, well. At least I haven’t emailed her. Wait. I did. Shit.
Anyhow I have checked out her website, which I heartily recommend, margaretcho.com and she has a blog there which of course I read. But, for all you perverts out there, her blog isn’t as perverted as her stand-up or her videos. It is just an honest account of whatever is going on in her life, in other words, boring. No, actually it is pretty interesting, except for parts that only her friends could relate to. In any case, she gives you the option of commenting on her blog, which is pretty brave of her. But then as I learned from one of her interviews, she doesn’t take shit off anybody. If you fuck with her with some hateful comment she will post your comment on her website with your email there for all to see, so her fans can fry your ass. Of course my comments only consisted of my pearls of wisdom (Ahem!). But what’s my point here?
My point has to do with the insidiousness of celebrity. For both the celebrity, and the fan. I mean, here comes this celebrity who pours her fucking heart out to the whole fucking world and you just fucking fall in love with her, and guess what??? There is absolutely no chance in hell that you could ever actually have this celebrity as a friend. It is an insidious illusion, my friends. (And you aren’t even my friends, dear readers, I don’t even fucking know who you are. There probably aren’t any dear readers. I’m just sitting here jacking off to myself.) Anyway, it’s crazy! It’s crazy to get wrapped up in a celebrity. They are just people, and there is no conceivable way that they can give a rat’s ass about all the people out there that “love” them, even though they have never met them. Unfortunately, I get the impression that Margaret Cho sincerely wants to fuck the whole world and bring them into her heart and her world. And, girl, that is a very bad idea!!! Very bad, indeed. If you start developing stigmata, Margaret (you know, bleeding from the palms and forehead like you-know-who), it is time to limit yourself to just a few close friends, not the whole fucking planet. Having said all that it is fun to daydream about being friends with someone like her. (Hey, I’m twenty years older than her, almost old enough to be her father, so sexual fantasies just creep me out).
However, it is a testimony to the power of the internet that it has the power to forge connections between individuals that will likely never meet one another. (Well, so far the connection has been one way, no word from her, and I don’t expect any) But it does give you a window onto another person’s life and allows you to care about them. When I read about the injury to Margaret Cho’s hand which she recounted in way too much detail, on her blog, I really felt for her, and couldn’t resist commenting yet again on her blog entry. Caring about someone like that is a beautiful thing. But I think I want to stop. It feels creepy, like I am nursing an illusion. There is no actual relationship here. Which leads me to wonder: Why did Margaret set up her blog that way? She could easily have required that fans register to the site, pay money, or only allow her actual friends to comment on her blog. Why encourage total strangers to comment? Does she actually give a shit about what the unwashed millions have to say about her? I suppose so. Just imagine all those wankers out there who are disappointed in her blog entries. “Shit man, it is soooo boring, she didn’t talk about fucking at all in her blog” They would probably post a comment if they could manage to figure out the controls.