Sunday, October 30, 2011

confessions of a stevedore

part iv (unedited text)

when in rome, when dallying around the parthenon and (associative) climes, don't forget to mention the RVG Editions, though not horace silver or john coltrane; stay rooted in the garmet district: (name the more popular editions) refrain from worldly insights and revelations… stick to bread and butter, brahms in aspic, fisherman's wharf and haight ashbury.  ludus tonalis is right out, so too the later string quartets of darius milhaud and unless your host(s) are sporting edward teller pins, stear clear of godel escher bach.  work in a reference to love and forever changes, dusty springfield and the memphis sound, the nelson riddle arrangements, father knows best and the plight of billy mummey FIXIT.  this is your key to llama land, to bailey FIXIT park and laurel canyon.

now and again, i see kathy hale in my dreams, braving times square and 52nd street, not the times square of dick clark, but of lindsay, koch and dinkins, the Manhatten: Parts of Harlem
Staten Island: West Brighton
Queens: Queensbridge, Jamica
Bronx: Mott Haven, Soundview, South Bronx
Brooklyn: East New York, Brownsville, Bushwick

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her nikon f, meterless, strapless, a nikkor 50mm 1.2, cocked and ready at f11 and pre-focused to 10 feet, and pockets full of (film she would use) a whistle and a can of mace…  she sells stock photos of jamaican immigrants and puerta ricans, exiled cubans (be more specific…check for controversial 70s immigration) but she retains her preference for miss havishems, the jaded exilled ladies of the georgetown social club and sightings of lee radziwill.  her walls are adorned with lee, always smiling radiantly, courting the 400 with f16 (get exact quote).  lee likes kathy because she doesn't use a flash; no ron galella tactics here… her photos are warm and flat, mildly wharholesque, muted tones and full of grain.  and of course, kathy's a woman, running the gauntlet in a medium dominated by men; remnants of o'keefe fixit, (jane cambell?? exotic 19th century; see photo book)(check also; more female photographers), leibovitz stalking the halls of the riot house.

and then i awaken, often as not in a starbucks or coffee bean, peets or dupairs fixit, partially slumped up against a corner with a card reader dangling from a mac book air, logged on to flickr in the middle of some debate over double stroke leicas.  you can get free coffee if you're persistant; just make precient fixit comments to young men with jimmy dean hornrims fixit, praising some local dive band or some fritz lang epic but be careful…your antics (and southern charm) can get them fired.

i always keep a leica m3 on my table, a 50mm collapsible 2.0 summicron and a hopelessly uncalibrated light meter which gives the overall look something out of a, completely brassed and shredded with nicks and dings fixit (name 1950s horror matinnee/jack arnold/creature black lagoon) (i'm many things but i'm no collector).  honestly, i don't know what all these collectors are up to with all these pristine leicas.  you have to commit a few fouls or you're not really in the game.  i use my f'd up leica as a calling card of sorts, a kind of roland barthe tell-tale flapping in the breeze just waiting for some hipster to saunter up with a pocketful of sly annecdotes.  oddly enough, the original leather cases foster more attention than the cameras themselves.  this doesn't surprise me as a leica in a case, on display on the mantel or buried in some sock door is its usual plight, given up for dead, an impluse buy on some asian sorte fixit, quiet americans on leave in the more fashionable districts of saigon fixit, a surfeit of cash and middle class malaise?  that's why you can pick up these jewels on ebay, lovingly preserved, these obelisks of metal and leather, citadels of a german indian summer, (carnivorous morlocks in a palace of green porceline???fixit check welles time machine text)(-)so pristine in their glory that on first glance your as likely as not to continue their incubation, bury them in some dry climate controlled glass chamber, (a testament to a simpler, more perfect epoch, kilroy was here and this is what he saw, this is what he did)

two things come up on a cursory search on wikipedia for the term paparazzi.  first, a song title by lady gaga and second, an entry for the term paparazzi:

Paparazzi /pɑːpəˈrɑːtsi/ (singular: (m) Paparazzo Italian: [papaˈɾattso] or (f) Paparazza) is an Italian term used to refer to photojournalists who specialize in candid photography of celebrities, politicians, and other prominent people. Paparazzi tend to be independent contractors, unaffiliated with a mainstream media organization.[1]

(play on the initial, surface impressions paparazzi conjures and contrast with a hint of what your ideas are)

forget paparazzo from dolce vita.  why not, everyone else has.  today paparazzis are pond scum reproducing exponentially with each new revalation in digital technology.  no such thing as a full time pap these days.  too much competition, too many weekend warriors, too many cells sporting 12 megapixels and lenses rivalling zeiss.  in the immortal words of jazzman (ex-patriot from bird, probably sax player etc) "you can't make no living as a paparazzi in the states."  as a mass of swarming ants marching on some machine gun turret, they are tolerated, but solitary paps are anathema, the epitome of societal evil, second cousins to sex offenders and serial killers, that neighbor down the street with the shutters, rusted out mailbox and earthquake fissures in his driveway(-)intellectuals and listeners of gustav mahler, that teachers pet in community college, the one in the fedora finishing all the punch lines of the teachers annecdotes.  walk down the street with anything more than iphone or canon powershot and you're immediately suspect.  in this town, the usual line is that evey waiter is an actor.  the truth is that every waiter is a writer/director or producer.  we leave acting to leaf blowers and pizza delivery men.  on the streets of this town, you must be prepared with reams of model release forms for all the security guards and liquor store owners, dads from wisconsin on third street promenade, aunt julie from saschatewan and forget about some random sighting of a celebrity on the beach.  if her cousin from the sticks doesn't kick your ass some surfer will, thinking, as is his want, that the beach is jerusalem and its inhabitants the meek and underserving, lepers and underfed lying in wait for john the baptist or rashan roland kirk (take your pick).  i don't get all these spreads in star magazine, the hot bodies versus the celluliteers.  my suspicion is that they're staged.  i find it hard to believe that any self-respecting photographer has the free-time to haunt the beaches of southern california in the hopes of spotting some b-actress in the midst of repose.  more likely than not, it's the work of the morlocks; failed jocks and water boys, personal trainers and night club bouncers who pay their gas bill with random sightings of scantily clad cast members from the real housewives of beverly hills.  these guys are brutes, 6'4" and up and who's got the moxie to argue with them. lucky for me, in their gloveboxes they all have nikon d90s, kit lenses and dave busch's guide to digital slr photography, but unlucky for me their numbers are legion and they get all the front row seats at any event and you can't see over them so take my advice and just stay home.

it's not the dissaproving looks of kevin spacey or alec baldwin that grate on my nerves because they all know the territory.  it's glances and side comments from the gallery; mothers from new haven connecticut fixit and all those prescious darlings on spring break with iphones and foster the people t-shirts, the "little people" as we so effectionately refer to them(-)the newly scrubbed offspring of the unwashed masses who wear their middle class mories fixit on their sleaves like some jack straw tattoo on a jersy punk.  so convinced of their superiority, their congeneal credit ratings fixit and their collection of starbucks gift cards which garner a hefty price on ebay.  so self-righteous in their condemnation of anything non-analagous to an episode of the simpsons (does a tree fall in the woods while watching an episode of the sopranos?), so indignant they become when in the presence of leeches like me, feeding carnivorously fixit like remoras on the goatees of celebrity land sharks.  i would like to think that my past time is an amalgam, a result of years spent pondering the various philosophies, a natural outgrowth, a kind of evolutionary appendage but the truth is that i have a difficult time explaining my theories of mcluhan's understanding media while chasing the olson twins down melrose avenue with a 600mm prime L lens dangling between my legs like mandingo on a chase lounge in the backyard of some orange county lean-to. fixit  on the chase (fixit, can;t have two "chases"), you don't notice their looks of suspicion, but once they catch up to you at dupairs while you're uploading all your prize cash cows, their glances become daggers, their guffaws and eye rolls hollow-point bullets ripping into your flesh and penetrating your psyche, wreaking havoc with your convictions and stirring up deep seated memories of ellis island (or the mayflower, if you are so disposed).  you would think that the ones that have the titanium balls to confront me are the worst but not so…  i amply supplied with a lifetime of quips and repartee, certainly enough scorch the pre-natal hairs off of billy's chest, but it's the ones in the corner or the ones ordering chai soy lattes to go, the ones i'll never reach…  those are the ones that hurt the most.  like pete townsend, i want to bite and kiss them…these rough boys in sears leather…knock off gucci and tjay max fixit…to (confer to them the folly of their evil ways)…no, to make amends??? to beg forgiveness???  to hear my acts of contrition???

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