Mark Allen's Top Ten for 3/31/03:

1. Coffee + soymilk + red wine = the "Breakfast of Chimpanzees"
    Life is about choices and inspiration. The other afternoon I was doing some writing at my computer and I decided to have a strong cup of coffee with vanilla soy milk in it. It was good. Caffeine speeds thought you know. Then I looked in the fridge and I saw a leftover bottle of red wine that Jim and I had shared a day or two earlier... so I had a little glass of it. You know alcohol is good for creativity!  Why Dante wrote Dante's Inferno while high as a kite on mushrooms! It's true! While I was pondering this I realized I then I felt a little buzz from the red wine and decided to take the sleepy part off the buzz with another big cup of strong coffee with lots of delicious, delicious vanilla soy milk in it. Then I felt kind of "peppy" so I decided that another glass of red wine would probably be a good idea.
    Besides I thought the way that I was sitting in front of my computer desk with my legs crossed and my left arm across my waist - with my right arm's elbow resting in the hand of my left arm's tucked-away hand - and then holding the wine glass kind of upwards and outwards with my right hand... swigging it back and forth to my pursed-closed mouth like the pendulum of an old grandfather clock, with my head tilted back slightly and my eyebrows ever-so-raised and my eyelids slightly half-closed... this body language made me look really ...sort of confident. Well I looked goddamn fucking amazing confident when I was able to do this with the wine in one hand and the coffee in the other... back and forth taking sips of each one as my confident pendulum arms delivered sweet sustenance to the factory that is my body... which is a temple of God. Did you know I can type with my tongue when drinking out of both hands? Mmmhmmm... yep.
    ;lL ik e t,;;' Thh is/.
    All this super sweet sustenance and terrific tongue typing made me feel real confident... because confidence is what it's all about you know... so then I decided to have another glass or more glasses of all three ingredients... I decided to mix the red wine with the vanilla soy milk. Have you ever had this combination? It tastes rancid. But hey who cares right? It all gets mixed up in the end and squirts out your fucking poop chute ... the poop chute of your temple which I guess is like the servant's entrance - so down the hatch comrades! Soon I decided, after twelve-ty more glasses of all that I should make coffee with soy milk and red wine (instead of water) and it would be mindblowingly fantastic. I've never poured soy milk into my coffee maker's water chamber before. Or wine...
    After this experience I was feeling really "great" and since I now had to go to K-Mart to get a new coffee maker... I decided to wear that matching green and purple striped jogging suit that my dad gave me about a thousand years ago that is hideous and I wouldn't be caught dead in but I suddenly realized is brilliant and it's the thought that counts right? After another plate... I mean cup full of soy milky red wine and coffee grounds I remembered I wanted the ugly nepotistic jogging suit because I felt so good I realized I could JOG to K-Mart instead of taking the subway - because you know what they say about drinking and driving! So after an unexpected three hour nap in a pile of clothes in the bottom of my closet while digging through it looking for the awful jogging suit I woke up and remembered I had given it away so I decided to get up. Is K-Mart open at 4:30AM? Probably not and I think I'll have some more soy milk coffee with red red red yummy wine.
    Then suddenly I had a really, really bad "boo boo" on my tongue because when I squeezed the dish rag I had used to wipe up the mess with after the coffee maker unexpectedly exploded earlier over my mouth (because it had the only remaining red wine soy milk coffee grounds mixture in the house), it turned out to have lots of little bits of broken glass in it.
    But BEFORE I went to the emergency room I just HAD to find my little black book and write down three more names for my "black list". Ever notice how alcohol really centers you and suddenly you remember people from two decades ago that you really hate and you need to put them on your "black list"? And it also makes you remember you had a photo exhibit in Paris once and how much better they are than you because... I mean better we are because of you and... wait no, how better I am because of mees... oh fuck it . Who cares. Hey I can't crawl on the floor no good with all this *pain* on my palms! Why is the kitchen floor so sparkly? When did the floor get so much *pain* in it? And so sparkly?
    Oh THERE you are little black book! Well my little black book... I couldn't read it because I felt kind of woozy like a roller coaster and hari kari combined with a tape worm trade show in my bosom, and finding a black felt marker was out of the question but I bet the felt marker ink would smell n-i-i-i-c-c-c-c-e-e-e-e... and the FIRST name going in written in tongue glass blood: it is that brand new guy at NPR who is taking his time running my second pees ...I mean piece... goddamn wartime no entertainment for nobody my ass... you know who he is? "Jerk Face Jerk" that's who. Boy I may be able to type good with my tongue but writing cursive with it is real hard. Ow. You know it's amazing how you can go from sleepy to caffeine buzzed to tipsy and to oblivion with just a itty bitty drinkie poo of red wines and coffees of the worlds, and soy milks from the soy fields of the slanty eyed nations ...oh and egg roll sounds good right about now... my stomach is hurting from the broken glass and H-E-E-E-E-Y-Y-Y... look I see some Guinness beer in the fridge with my new X-ray vision well I think that Guinness Stout dark is LIKE coffee in a way and I think it would settle my stomach and if I can just crawl over to the fridge and get it maybe the yeast in the beer will give me enough energy to jog to the emergency room and why are their red handprints all over the floor? Well I always aid fur is not murder because you know the from is to the rightyou are RIGHT! It'sS TRUE ANd WHyan id for tomorrow is just ANother dayh lived and Carpet Diem is whay tall afliowha say righjt????? I mean REALLY... what you gonna fo for to goj jfdpopk my fault hmmmm? Who the fuk do you thinsj you arewhmmm? If I wanna I willa OK? What th4e HELLO ARE YOU FOGG  WPFEP g0-34t93034i and WHY?!?!?!?@#inOKay goott get ozafized and organzizedfffff for tommmorrrow isak;shll why f'jpqjferjijp rg pjg4 pjg4 jph4 jp j4h j4 jp rjg ghj ghPIG!!! PIGGG!! PIG!!! PIGGG!! PIG!!! PIGGG!! PIG!!! PIGGG!!pojr09i   ]-0u 349u09u
p[kr h u 2"L q4=hyo pfki 34[l 23[lk[-gkgrjogjpokefgmlkahvdbjwcd   feg wcw fc fc fcadv adv vda va dva dvad gva dgv bjeokhwt4h !~!!!!!!!!!!!gr k'rt;ohkj  po3 kt

 OIJFG                                                                                                                                            poijjpoij spoj soij oijhoijhas ojhwhUYFYTFY                                                                                                                                       J OIWQJF WP' - - - PPP[P?  OLLLLL                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HJHHHHHHHHHHO?
e[pfk oejfg e;ifgh     erq;fgoihq    f qpofgj e'pf                                                     goje vgpo'rjg                                 ekg rg                 o                    jr g'og                            k 4
[                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      kW                                                                                                            LH
-h[p                                                                                                     ak
                                                                                                                                      ]                                                                                                                                      ol
[P                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            K
[                                                                                                                                      P                                                                                                                                      U R
                                                                                                                                      [PLK FP
                                                                                                                                      [W                                                                                                                                                                                                           ..                                                                                                                                      ....                                                                                                                                      .                                                                                                                                      ....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ...............                                                                                                                                      ...                                                                                                                                      .                                                                                                                                      .....                                                                                                                                      ....                                                                                                                                      .............

                                                                                                                                      .                                                                                                                                      .

2. Am I nuts?
    Let me know! Am I nuts? Or am I not nuts?

3. Having the power shut off in my apartment leading to new romantic heights with Jim
    Okay... anyone who knows me well will tell you that I'm not that great at paying my bills on time. I pay them... but almost always late. You know those commercials on TV with that forlorn lady looking in the crappy apartment sink while she washes dishes and her husband is on the phone with the loan officer and the announcer is all "...paying bills late can hurt your credit and having good credit is the first step in owning a home." Those commercials are for people like ME.
    So anyhoo... where was I? Oh yea. Well... this Thursday, as I was sleeping off my coffee/soymilk/red wine hangover, I was rudely awoken at 7:30am to the strange sound of my hand held phone's battery charger going "beepbeepbeep".
    "Odd..." I thought to myself. So I dozed back off but got up again at 8:00 due to the overpowering *S*I*L*E*N*C*E* in the room. Boy that coffee/soymilk/red wine combo had a really strange effect on my ears the next morning. Zowwie. But it did seem like a quiet... peaceful, sunny day outside, so nice. Like poetry. I could hear every single little pitter and patter and birdie and car alarm and scream and stabbing and drug transaction and live chicken mart outside on the street, and every footstep and roach laying eggs inside my apartment. I had never felt more like Jamie Sommers. Maybe my hearing has improved!
    I walked over to the coffee maker and, after pouring the water and ground coffee into the machine... I turned it on. Then I put in my false teeth and sat down at my computer. When I turned it on I saw that it was taking a long time to boot - plus I didn't hear that *ping* sound of the monitor waking up. So I then went into the kitchen and poured a cup of air and noticed the little red light on the coffee maker wasn't on and OH MY GOD I HAVE NO POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Turns out the super-hearing was caused directly by the absence of all the little machines (phone, computer, TV, etc...) in my apartment that make a collective "hum" with all their micro-whirring and mini-vibrating... a micro symphony that usually creates a nice sound wash that acts like white noise that you never even know is there until it's gone because you kept putting off mailing a check to Con Ed - which was the indirect cause of my super-hearing.
    I'll spare you the dumb details. It's all my fault and I AM the guy in that credit commercial being made an example of. My Con Ed bill was just under two months overdue.
    I didn't know they could do that at the two month point. But since they are Con Ed I guess they can do what they like (and trust me, they do - remind me to tell you sometime about the whole 'back billing' thing they pulled on me last year). Don't these people know I had a photo exhibit in Paris last year? How dare they turn off my power! What if I was in an iron lung and hadn't sent the check in two months because it took me that long to write my name on it with my pen in my mouth? Let alone go downstairs and mail it? What then? Murder charges? Hey... as far as I'm concerned... if you've never had a utility turned off because of a late payment, they you are probably a loser. At least that's what I kept repeating to myself in my head as I dialed my cell to call Con Ed and see what was up. So I found out how much I owed and went uptown and paid it in person. But, due to serpentine, extenuating circumstances... it looked like the power was going to be off until the next morning. And hey... Jim is coming over tonight! Isn't life a rainbow of surprises?
    On my way back from talking to the nice lady at Con Ed to see if I could get it on sooner (she said no, and also let me know there were other people who wanted free mints too and to please not take so many), I dropped by the erotic bakery. When I told Jim that we would be spending the evening like Fred and Wilma Flintstone, he thought it sounded kind of "fun" (he said it would be like PBS' reality show '1800 House'). At the bakery we all gathered around a big chocolate cake of a black lady's torso with big tits and a bush made of frosting (that looked disturbingly vivisection-istic) and shared similar stories of black outs and brown outs and non-paid electric bills and living in squats. I remember my eyes kept looking up at the little Christmas lights in the bakery... longingly...
    You know, something similar happened when I was at Guillaume's apartment in Paris for my photo exhibition. Although that was just a blown fuse and ancient wiring. Maybe I have a psychic problem with electricity... like Carrie White or that guy in the movie "Shocker".
    Back at my apartment that night... with ZERO power... I bumped into (literally) my roommate Domenic, who was marinating some chicken breasts in olive oil and tossing a salad in complete darkness. I know he went to culinary school but he didn't tell me he went to a culinary school for the blind. Maybe it was cheaper. Domenic's first words to me were "Forget to pay the electric bill Mr. Allen?"
    After Domenic was done brailing... I mean braising his chicken. Jim and I went out and bought some candles and pasta and stuff and cooked dinner ourselves IN COMPLETE CANDLELIGHT (oddly the gas for the stove had not been turned off - which Con Ed also supplies). No TV, no computer, no phone, no light... not a single... you know the drill. Have you ever cooked in total darkness? It's funny and surreal. Especially when there is live banjo accompaniment (no radio folks!) Something happened in the darkness and total silence between Jim and I that was very romantic and fulfilling... and it wasn't the part where we decided to tell shadow stories by candlelight against the wall with our hands. It was like super-romance. With nothing to distract us and not even the option to do so... we had to focus on each other 110%. It was pure magic... dark magic. It's like the lack of electricity in our lives let to more electricity in our love lives. I mean... I've spent whole days alone with Jim in the Catskill mountains but none of that was like this night. Talk about a close relationship! Wow! What, do the Amish like fuck each other's brains out like bunnies every night? Geeze.... no wonder they stay married forever. Jim and I's night with no power was like right out of a movie.
    After a mind-blowingly nice evening with Jim... I awoke the next morning - feeling *G*R*E*A*T* -  to the electricity coming on at about 10:00am. Oh yea... that.
    I was kind of weirdly disappointed. Since we had power now, did it mean Jim and I's unexpected second honymoon was over?
    Maybe I won't open my next Con Ed bill for a while... I hope I don't forget it again...

Williamsburg Bridge climbers being taken to court in NYC on Friday night
(can't go one 'Top Ten' without a photo of my TV set can I?)
4. A drunken moment of wild, inspirational abandon on the Williamsburg Bridge prompts full-scale terrorist threat response right outside my door this week after waking up on Friday morning and lamenting the return of electricity in my love life, I had errands to run. It was about 8:30am... and I was getting ready for all the crap I had to do. As I was brushing my teeth I noticed the sound of helicopters in the sky above my building. I'm kind of used to this... ever since September 11th we have had fighter jets, helicopters... everything imaginable over Manhattan. It's the kind of thing you forget to notice after a while. Although I did seem to hear a lot of them. Jim noticed them too. I thought nothing of them and got on with my day. As I left my apartment I looked up in the sky and saw one of the copters... thought not much of it... and walked north.
    Well I WISH I had walked south one block to Delancey street... because when I looked at the news that evening, I discovered that I had missed a total disaster "Godzilla-movie-sized" fiasco free show on the Williamsburg Bridge that morning full with bomb robots and chemical warfare guys in white suits with hoses and gasping throngs of people.
    Earlier in the evening (or morning), while Jim and I had been cupped in each other's arms in embryonic bliss throughout the night in my electricity-less apartment... three Brooklyn-ites were sitting on the walkway of the Williamsburg Bridge, beyond drunk... daring each other to climb over the barricade and up to the tippy top - which they eventually DID in the wee hours of the morning. I wish I had thought of that stunt during my coffee/soymilk/red wine "journey". After all, the Williamsburg Bridge is literally right outside my door. It's practically my front yard! I could have worn my "Ultimate Disguise"! And what a story that would have made, because:
    Turns out the drunken stunt, which in normal instances might have gone by unnoticed, or noticed but not cared about, caused a full-scale terrorist alert response by the NYPD after a 9-11/war-crazed jogger spotted them and frantically called the cops on a pay phone. Dozens of police swarmed both entrances of the bridge and stopped all traffic... the bomb squad arrived with their bomb seeking robot thingies... the Emergency Service Unit arrived, Mayor Bloomberg was alerted, the chemical attack people showed up with their foam, helicopters swarmed the skies... and traffic was shut down on the bridge for hours while investigators and robots combed every inch of the bridge looking for anything that resembled a bomb, and John, Joshua and Tekomah were relentlessly interrogated as to who they were and what they were doing. Of course that snitching  jogger had every right to crap his pants... what with the U.S. and New York City in particular under constant terrorist threat due to the war. The whole thing was all over the news that day... and Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference to announce that although the threat was nothing more than some 20-somethings having a life-affirming right-of-passage... it was proof that "Project Atlas" was working (New York City's terrorist alert response program). All this right outside my window without me even realizing it! There are articles about the whole zany spectacle here, here and here.
    I have done nutty things before... had real "go for it" moments. God knows I have. And some of these decisions have lead to grave consequences... like they did for. One thing I will always regret though... is not turning right instead of left on Friday morning... and seeing a "Godzilla vs The Smog Monster"-style movie played right out on one of my favorite New York landmarks.
    ALSO: A week before this whole thing... on one of my MANY walks across the Williamsburg Bridge... I snapped this photo of some graffiti on one of the girders along the west tower of the bridge. You can't tell from the photo - but the distance between the fencing and the girder is two feet or more - way too far to poke the marker through and write. The person who wrote it (Reid?) had to climb way over the gate and get to that girder to write on it.
    Is Reid happy now that he didn't make it all the way up? Or is he sad?

5. Barf brand detergent
    Did I ever write about this? My friend Larry over at sent me this from the Republic of Georgia. It is made in Iran and is produced by the Paxan Corporation. It is indeed called "Barf" and it's real detergent that is quite popular in the places it is sold. The people that use it probably have no idea what "barf" means in English. It's just a made up consumer word to them - like "Kleenex" or "Crest" over here. Oddly, most of the text on the box is in English... but it also contains a chart on the back with instructions in 12 different languages. According to Larry, it is sold all over Central Asia and Eastern Europe - except for Romania, where they had to change the name because too many people understand English there now. The instructions and warning labels are priceless:

"Use Barf for washing silk clothes, cottons, nylons and wools. Barf washes dishes, tiles and bath accessories. To obtain best results, soak very dirty clothes in a solution of Barf for a few minutes and then proceed normally."

"WARNING: Do not wash hands, face and body in Barf. Do not use Barf to wash food materials. Keep Barf out of the reach of children."

Larry also says that the Romanian word for  "carp"  is "crap," and you can buy the fish tinned over there... in little cans that  say "Canned Crap."

6. Black Dice's CD "Beaches & Canyons"
    I'm kind of late with the early crowd, I just discovered this. Have you heard this CD? Seriously... this is brilliantly unique music. It sounds like what The Art of Noise's "Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise?" would have sounded like if Throbbing Gristle had recorded it. Black Dice started out as this Harry Pussy-ish, insane-o, freak out rock band who played with their amps turned to "explode" and destroyed their equipment and started fights and fires and mini-riots at their shows. But now they've stupefied the art creeps by changing - at least on this release. There's a weird duality of calm, calm, calm and weirdly soothing noise-recorded-all-far-away that happens simultaneously on this CD - which nonsensically combines into an ineffably organic and unidentifiable sound. Weirdly - the "structures" of the pieces are very simple and are truly of their own logic... it sounds like junk yard music created by peaceful teenage inner-Earth Reptilians (the good ones) on quaaludes, who dared each other all "You go up and bang on stuff!" "No - you go up to the surface and bang on car parts!" "No you!" "No you go! Growl! Pass me another 'lude!" Do I sound like a critic? I'm sure class-system classification-ists and professional and non-professional describers had a Hell of a time with this one.
    The appropriately titled "Beaches & Canyons" also seems to have been recorded live in an adequately microphoned, big and open-ended room... which gives it that wide, non-crisp, breathing room organic sound that Jimi Hendrix's "Are You Experienced" and John Coltrane's "Interstellar Space" and The Flying Lizard's "The Flying Lizards" and Sonic Youth's "Evol" and Brian Eno's "Ambient #4: On Land" share. This is a completely mind-widening CD that I would compare to being as good as any of the ones I just mentioned before. You can go here to hear a free mp3 of the very long "Endless Happiness" from this record. Parts of it get chaotic, and parts get incredibly quiet - but the whole CD sounds like that mp3.
    Seriously... I had this thing on all day on repeat when I was at home... and by the ti dusk hit and the warm breeze was coming through the windows I was sitting on the fire escape all "...I am a valley of gently blowing grass in the Swiss mountains, times the speed of light... I am... I am..."

7. - a "steal this..." web site curated by Thurston Moore and Chris Habib
        Set up just this week, in the midst of pro-war and anti-war madness, is brand new FREE-form music and art web site set up by Thurston Moore and videographer and designer Chris Habib. It's aim is to quote "to express LOVE + LIBERTY in the face of greed, sexism, racism, hate-crime and war and FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT" - and I must say it takes a wider spectrum stance on the current state of The United States of America in 2003 than most yes-no-protest-noprotest-war-nowar-centric art on the web and in real life that's around these days. I'm not against the war but I'm not for it either. Now that it's unfortunately been declared I hope it can be over quickly and with as few casualties as possible. I also didn't vote for George Bush Jr. and I don't necessarily like him... but now that he's been elected I'm not going to spend my time tearing him apart... what do I look like, my parents? 99.99% of the war protests I've seen here in New York seem like total bullshit to me. And trust me... I've learned from experience (here's me in front of George Bush Sr.'s Kennibunkport, Maine residence in 1991). Ugh, get me a barf bag...
    You want some good analysis of the war? go read Noam Chomsky. Then you know what? Go listen to Rush Limbaugh's radio show... seriously. Then after that - make up your own mind ('Listen to what the other side says, not what your side says the other side says' - Camille Paglia). But for fuck's sake don't hang around those goddamn dunderheaded penguin-brained protest marches in midtown and the Village... where porridge-faced, mouse packs of 40 year old children and 15 year old goth octogenarians get into henpecking ceremonies about "Harassment against gays in the anti-war movement". What a waste...
    Actually that above rant has nothing to do with this web site. Actually this web site is the total opposite of what I was just talking about... in some ways. In some ways not. But I like it... so, see how complex the world is? Well go there and make up your own mind about it... what do you want me to think for you? Oh you don't? Ok well...
    Anyhoo here's a sort-of open ended place on the web you can chill at and that contributes to free-form, open ended thought. I think the design is real nice. Not only can you download interesting spray paint stencils (designed by Habib) with graphics that sort of show protest to the war and also some that sort of show support of the war (and everything else in between), but the site also has a quickly growing mp3 library (assembled by Moore) with music created just for the site (99% at least) by artists like Cat Power, Eugene Chadbourne, Sonic Youth, JLIAT, Soylent Gringo, The Fugs, Christian Marclay, Ian Mackaye, Mike Watt, DJ Spooky, Jim O'Rourke, Mudhoney, Beastie Boys - as well as a bunch of other weirdo sound artists I've never heard of. Any and all are invited to "steal" anything from the site, or contribute to it, but not sell anything from it. Log in and check it out.
    And keep FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT and going on, on, on, on...

8. The weird life sentence of being given a bad name... either by your parents, or you family line
    Not that these people can help it at all... but being given a bad name and having to go through it as a teenager in America probably profoundly suck... maybe. In conversation recently... I talked with a girl who went to a school where, in the same graduating class, were five girls with the following names: Kim Horrox (pronounced: 'whore-ox'), Tina Wiener, Leighanne Hieney, Tammy Steamer (who was the school janitor's daughter) and Bonnie Bubeck (pronounced: 'boob-eck'). Turns out Tina Wiener and Leighanne Hieney were best friends and were all-F-getting "bad" girls who smoked in the bathroom, cut class, probably did drugs and had hoodlum drop-out boyfriends that they snuck out at night to go drink beer and vandalize tombstones in the local graveyard with.

9. Dumpling House at 118A Eldridge Street in Manhattan's Lower East Side via Chinatown
    The amazingly multidimensional, unbelievably infinite universe that is New York City uncovers endless hidden veins of gold every minute of every day... even after living in here for ten years. I'm amazed that even on a wandering stroll I can still discover 100 things about this city that I instantly love and have never seen before. Here's one I discovered yesterday:
    Hidden in the limbo between the Lower East Side and Chinatown... at 118A Eldridge Street (between Broome and Grand) lies a no-frills, decoration-less, apocolyptically cheap take-out joint called Dumpling House. The food is big, filling, delicious and prepared non-stop fresh all day non-stop. Everything you order will get made right in front of your face in about one minute. Nothing on the menu is over a dollar, and if it is... then it's a dollar and fifty cents. There you can eat so much food that you can't finish it all - for only about three dollars... or less.
    For $1.00 you can get five fat, and I do mean FAT, plump, oozing pork dumplings (the stuffing is tender, finely shredded pork mixed with chives, the dough is thick, hearty and solid) either steamed or fried (if fried - golden brown crispy on the bottom). The things are huge! They're the size of South American slugs! Just one order will fill you up. For three buck you can get fifteen(!). I think they had veggie dumplings but I can't remember exactly.
    For 50 cents you can get an egg and scallion or sesame pancake, (as big as a slice of NY pizza and as thick as a slice of Wonder Bread - but much denser) and have all kinds of sauces to dip it in. For a whopping $1.50 (take out a second mortgage!) they will slice your pancake through the center and put a several thick slices of beef, some spinach leaves, carrots and "beef sauce" on it. There's other stuff on the simple menu like won ton soup and pan fried noodles... but those things are for rich people - they are $2.00. The place is no-nonsense and a bit rush rush and maybe claustrophobic - but the staff is very friendly... all smiley smiley, dressed all in white and very attentive and casual. I stood in front of the place for a while and watched, and the non-stop revolving door of customers looked about 95% Asian (the other 5% were trendy Lower East Side white kids and a few Latin school girls). There's not really anywhere inside to eat (although I think I noticed some vague area in the back with stools and maybe a counter)... they'll pack everything you order in easy to carry styrofoam containers with forks and lots of paper napkins... though don't ask for chopsticks... that would be a frill.
    I ordered almost one of everything on the menu (one small sheet of paper) for five bucks, and it was all delicious... not five-star gourmet... but hearty and yummy to the point where I gobbled it up and wanted more and would definitely return again and again. Seriously... the food here is so cheap and good... this is where WINOS come to get something to eat with their change from their latest Night Train Express purchase, so they don't drop dead in the street from just ingesting rot-gut. And you know what? The staff would put clothespins on their noses, open the door, smile, welcome them in and ask "Yeth, wad wood yooh laak?"
    You know that thing where they say if you discover something great in the city that you shouldn't tell too many people because then it will become too popular and get ruined?

10. Bo Derek

Mark Allen's Top Ten for 3/24/03:
Words this week seemed supererogatory and recrementitious:










10. I went for a walk today in Brooklyn and I noticed that all the trees had tiny little buds on them


Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for March 17th, 2003

1. Cisco!
    In the brilliant, short lived comedy masterpiece "Strangers With Candy", Amy Sedaris' character - Jerri Blank - once referred to a fictitious street drug... the ultimate one that she was able to cook up herself from household cleaning products, as "Satan's Harelip" (aka: Glint, Glimmer, Glow).
    This liquor product... Cisco (a real street drug)... is made by the nation's second largest wine company, Canandaigua Wine Co., and is known on the street as "Liquid Crack" ...but I think it might be in the running to become the first real (over the counter) Satan's Harelip. It's cheap... tastes like disgusting cough syrup (which this stuff makes seem like Krug Clos du Menil champagne)... and is known to cause psychotic tantrums in users who sometimes strip nude, hijack military tanks and then barrel over cars and carve straight lines through houses and neighborhoods while screaming at the top of their lungs and maybe getting out and tearing apart rancid roadkill with their bare hands and chowing down on it... and all this after just drinking a few swigs of the stuff. The apocalypse is here? Hey it's cocktail time! The FTC made the company take the slogan "It takes you by surprise!" off the label... I don't think they understood that it was a warning... not an advertising slogan. The street cred on this stuff is very hush hush and low-growled "O-o-o-o-o-e-e-e-e-o-o-w-w-w-w-e-e-e!" scruntched-up-face kind of reaction. Apparently the hangover you can get from this stuff can put you in the hospital.
    My dream date? A pair of bus tokens to Jersey, a cardboard box, Jim under my arm, a bottle of Cisco to share between the two of us... and no tomorrow. Life is about "special" moments. Celebrate the coming apocalypse with a special someone and a bottle of Cisco!
    "It takes you by surprise!"

I found all this information about Cisco at the great "Bum Wines" site here.

2. The long, strange and will-be-forever-unknown path of Elizabeth Smart's teenage rebellion against her parents
    In the "Raymond Pettibon drawing come to life" department...
    Teen rebellion is such an odd, viscous constant. It penetrates human culture (and the animal kingdom) at odd, awkward and ill-fitting angles that seem more and more annoying - depending more or less on how rigid the social structures are that ooze in and out of. Then you realize how "normal" it is and how "horrific" crimes are mysteriously and silently pardoned in said rigid social structured societies because of this realization. Then you go "Ohhh..." and remember why your parents didn't punish you when the cops brought your 14-year-old ass home after catching you breaking into the school's football stadium at 2 am on a Sunday night. But by that time you have kids of your own and are all "D'oh!"
    It doesn't take a genius to figure out there is a lot more to the Elizabeth Smart abduction case than it's participants are being open about. Portrayed on news show re-enactments as being haplessly abducted at knife point against her will by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee... one has to wonder what really happened that night (or the weeks leading up to it - between Brian and Elizabeth). We'll never know I'm sure. TV movies and books will no doubt paint mostly her parent's public version of what happened - and perhaps will leave bits and pieces somewhat open-ended enough to let people form their own opinions. But a movie about Smart's ordeal in the hands of Gus Van Vandt or even Larry Clark could be interesting indeed. Maybe...
    Back in real life... apparently the trio of Brian and Wanda Elizabeth stayed at Daniel Trotta's Salt Lake City basement apartment (above, left). Trotta apparently met Mitchell at a local health food joint and offered his place for them to stay since they were homeless. "They seemed fine together. She didn't seem like she was in a big hurry to get away or anything," Trotta said in an interview after he realized the third mysterious wigged, scarf-ed and sunglass-ed figure in his pad had been Elizabeth Smart after seeing Mitchell and Barzee profiled on "America's Most Wanted". He was told by them that  Elizabeth was Mitchell and Barzee's real-life daughter, and that her name was "My Joy". Trotta said that the girl in all the "missing" posters and massive media campaign aimed at finding the missing Elizabeth Smart looked so young compared to the real life, veiled teenager living in his apartment - that he never thought once about a connection. He even spent time talking to Elizabeth ...and she would lie about classes she was taking at a local school. Apparently they spent time eating steamed kale and tofu, drinking beer and listening to Joy Division and Bauhaus records to candlelight. "I didn't notice any fear, nothing weird," Trotta said. "[Elizabeth] was just quiet."
    The three were also videotaped at some wild squatter-ish party by Dan Gorder (stills above, right) all wearing white prophet robes... looking like the Three Stooges in Manson Family drag. What was going through Elizabeth's mind all this time? If her thoughts were translated into a film montage - I think there would have been a lot of empty, abandoned rooms and "flame" imagery. Although I'm sure her ordeal was a wild ride that didn't allow a lot of time for real reflection... again... the mad, swirling rush and heat of flames. The rush of youth.
    Excerpts from Mitchell's manifesto "The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah" (insert roller rink organ music):

    "Wherefore, Hephzibah, my most cherished angel, thou wilt take into thy heart and home seven sisters, and thou wilt recognize them through the spirit as thy dearest and choicest friends from all eternity, ... And thou shalt take into thy heart and home seven times seven sisters, to love and to care for forty-nine precious jewels in thy crown, and thou art the jubilee of them all, first and last, for all are given unto thee for thy glory and honor and exaltation, even as thou art given unto them, for thou art a Queen, Oh Hephzibah! ..."
    Hallelujah! Nevertheless... at the end of the day when all is said and done... it's good that Elizabeth is physically alive and semi-well - as many in her situation often don't end up. She'll probably end up wiser in the long run because of it... whatever path she chooses in life. Why she ended up on such a long, strange trip with Mitchell and Barzee will never really be known (it's no mystery what the factual, legal outcome will be for her abductors). And the secrets of what really went on during the nine months Elizabeth was under the "control" or Mitchell and Barzee will forever live in the realm of mystery and legend.
        "I can't recall hearing about an abduction case where the abductee seemed to have so much freedom." Maurice Elias, a psychology professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey told ABC news.
    It is said that they used "physical and psychological coercion to keep her under control". Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee that is...

3. Jim and mine's real life Cronenberg creep-out moment while going to see David Cronenberg's new film "Spider" at a very crowded Angelika Theater
    Jim and I went to the Angelika "the-sound-of-subways-cars-inserted-into-every-film's-soundtrack" Theater last Friday night to check out David Cronenberg's latest film; "Spider". Both of us being big Cronenberg fans... particularly of his films "Scanners", "Videodrome" and "eXistenZe" - we were thrilled with anticipation. Have you seen "Spider" yet? Are you a fan of Cronenberg? Well... let's just say that we were a little... uh... surprised at the film. It's good... it's just kind of... um, subtle? No don't get me wrong... it's definitely a good film... and very well done. It's just that if you're looking for exploding heads or Debbie Harry's lips coming out of a TV screen or video tapes being inserted into people's stomachs or weapons made out of glistening animal bones from icky Chinese restaurants or alien penises coming out of Marylin Chambers' armpit or boobs being placed seductively on top of airplanes... you're gonna be a bit let down. To be brutally honest... we were. The film has zero special effects - a decision by Cronenberg that makes a lot of sense in the long and indeed makes it a stronger work.
    Based on a 1988 Peter McGrath novel of the same name, "Spider" is the story of a mentally disturbed man recently let out of an institution coming back to live in the town where he supposedly suffered a traumatic event as a child. Was his early experience the cause of his imbalance? Or is he just schizophrenic to begin with? Is it5 reality or his memory? And is his memory to be trusted? The film in a nutshell. As he scuffles wordlessly around the creepy boarding house for ex-loonies he's staying at... and the dirty, overgrown English nowhere-town it resides in... we see through his mind what happened oh so many years ago. And since we see it THROUGH his nutso memory and un-stable reality - you begin to get the picture (or don't). You know that whole thing in David Lynch's "Mullholland Drive" where it was like the same characters were looping in and out of two different alternate realities? Maybe? There's some of that going on in "Spider"... with only about 1% of the visual dazzle of that Lynch's style. But whereas "Mullholland Drive"'s never-ending (and interesting) loopholes could be summed up to kooky metaphysics (one theory of many at least) - "Spider"'s surreal mis-connections in plot can be summed up to one simple fact: we are witnessing a story told through the mind of a schizophrenic's multi-faceted memory. As Jim put it as we walked out of the theater; "Well as soon as something didn't make sense... I was like 'Well the protagonist is nuts' so there you go. End of mystery."
    It wasn't until a day or two after I saw the film and began to reflect upon it that I realized how brilliant and smart many parts of it were... and how indeed it was a unique kind of puzzle of a film. Where as many of Cronenberg's earlier films were filled with body into machine into body again goo and visual razzle-dribble that hit your cerebrum well after the shock... "Spider" is strictly cerebral before, during and after the fact. It will sit well in Cronenberg's library of work - but will probably be remembered as his most subtle and low key picture. Oh, and by the way, Miranda Richardson plays two different roles in the film (it will make sense when you see it) - and gives a great performance that steals the show; a total knock-out job on this English actress' part(s). She also has one of the most subtly "bad English teeth" prosthetics I've ever seen in a film (for one of the roles). You can literally smell her breath when she smiles.
    So anyway... the WHOLE REASON I am telling you all this is to lead up to what Jim and I witnessed in the theater during the film. If there was no spurting slime and dripping dog bone guns that shoot teeth in the film... well our need to be ickily creeped out was satiated to the max by the VERY FRIGHTENING AND SEMI-DEFORMED OCTOGENARIAN WITH ONE CRUTCH AND DIFFERENT LENGTH LEGS AND CLOTHES FROM ANOTHER ERA AND POSSIBLY LIVING EELS FOR FINGERS ON ONE HAND, WHO HOBBLED AND QUIVERED AND DROOLED HIS WAY INTO THE FRONT ROW SEAT IN FRONT OF US ABOUT TEN MINUTES AFTER THE FILM STARTED AND CREEPED US THE FUCK OUT BY MERELY EXISTING. Talk about a roller coaster ride of fear! He was the most distracting and terrifying stranger I have ever witnessed in a dark theater. I mean... whoa... what was this guy? A walking, talking bad LSD trip? Oh God... it's like he slithered right out of that last scene in the film "The Sentinel" and into the Angelika theater. Shudder...
    Now first of all the theater was completely sold out for "Spider" - Jim and I had to sit in the second row - and we got there 15 minutes before show time (I know I don't show any other audience members in my drawing above, but I was too lazy to draw them). As soon as the lights went down and the coming attractions started running, lots of groups of people were straggling in and trying to whisper and ask people to move around so they didn't have to sit apart.
    But after about ten minutes everything calmed down and everyone was quietly watching the very slow-moving "Spider"... waiting for someone's head to explode or something. Soon Jim and I noticed a flashlight coming down the center isle behind what looked like a giant marionette skeleton moving underwater. An usher informed the woman directly in front of us (in the very front row) that she would need to move over to the empty seat to her left to allow this "gentleman" to sit in her isle seat - as he was obviously handicapped. She gladly did. Then he stood there for what seemed like an eternity as this... uh, old man... took a very, very long time... one one crutch and maybe a leg brace of some sort... to shuffle to his seat. He was very old... and he had a hump. His body was definitely asymmetrical in some very extreme way... but it was hard to tell exactly how in the dim lighting. This seemed to make walking a real ordeal to him. In order just to take one step - his body seemed to have to go through 6,237,014 separate herky-jerky individual moments... just to put one foot in front of the other. His clothes were neat and tucked in and pressed... but very old fashioned... like he had stepped out of a time machine. His hair looked very strange... and through the flickering film light - it looks like there might have been something wrong with his face. He also seemed to be gurgling very quietly... or maybe mumbling something constantly. In the darkness...
    I swear I saw that he had black eels for fingers on the hand that was holding the walker crutch thing. I swear! Now after about... literally ten minutes. This guy reached his chair. It took that long! And THEN he attempted to actually sit. You know that sensation you get when you find your upper body seems to subconsciously move forward off of a chair back? Like in anticipation of something happening? Like when you have to drive 15 mph in a school zone and you are kind of leaning forward in your seat because you are in anticipation of (and used to) the car moving much faster ...and your body seems to be saying "Come ON!!!" Well everyone in the theater was doing this - waiting for this quivering Cronenberg man to sit in his chair. It was performance art! Jim and I were hiding behind our expensive popcorn in total fear of this guy. I've never seen someone radiate so many waves of creepiness in so many directions at once and have such perfect timing about the whole thing. Jim said later that they guy made him "Very nervous"... and he also hinted at one point when he looked at his face in the dark that it might have resembled something "...insect-like"
    It's like the movie was in 3-D and this guy just walked off the screen. I mean... all the creepy, gooey special effects that WEREN'T in this particular Cronenberg film were happening RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!!! You know that famous B-movie horror movie director from the 1950's that had skeletons come out at the audience on a string in theaters when showing his "House On Haunted Hill" or wired the seats with electricity to shock the audience during the climactic scene in his film "The Tingler" (it was William Castle)? This was the equivalent of that. Jim and I were getting a very bad feeling about this wobbly, prosthetic-ed, possibly roach wing-faced and eel-fingered ghoul sitting in front of us. What a performance!
    Now don't get me wrong... I'm not making fun of him. He did seem to have some sort of handicap(s)... I mean I'm sure his life is very interesting because of it. It's just that I'm trying to give you the whole picture of what kind of apocalyptic creep-out Jim and I were going through... and how weird the timing was.
    After he finally sat down... Jim and I started to watch the film again when we noticed... this guy seemed to be having an epileptic seizure in his seat. No, it turns off he was just trying to take off his coat. It just seemed like an epileptic seizure. I guess taking off a big coat is hard with roach arms and eel fingers. After that ordeal was over and Jim and I's hearts were in out throats and our knees were quivering... the guy started to stand up again! I mean... for what? Popcorn? To go to the bathroom? The concept of economizing your energy must have seemed like a foreign concept to this guy. I mean... it takes you an eternity just to sit down and creep everyone in the front of a theater who came to see a creepy movie (that really turns out to be not as creepy as they thought) out to death... and now you're getting up again? Oh God it was a non-stop horror show.
    After he finally past us (about four eternal minutes) and Jim got another good look at his eel fingers... we got him out of our minds and started to enjoy the very "subtle" film. Eventually I had kind of forgotten about they guy.
    Then, about fifteen minutes later... I heard a very quiet kind of gurgle behind me... way in the back of the theater. I... very slowly... turned... my... head... around ...and looked. Back at the theater... slowly hobbling towards the front like the black shadow of Death itself... was the old man. Clip... clop... clip... clop. I looked at Jim, who was facing me... a look of *fear* in his eyes. I nodded. "Yes" my eyes said... it was him.
    By the time he reached us again and sat down again the film was half over and Jim and I had thoroughly shat our pants. The whole time we were watching the film we kept kind of averting our eyeballs that 1/100th of a millimeter downward to see if we could tell if the guy was eating small children in his seat. What we saw scared us and what we couldn't see scared us ten times as much. I mean... it's like he was the gooey, creepy, special effect-laden character that wasn't allowed in this very subtle Cronenberg film... so now he haunts the film at every showing in every theater. It was an interactive film experience all right... an interaction of every nightmare you had as a small child.
    If you have seen Cronenberg's "Spider" and you had a similar experience with roach and eel finger ghost man... don't email me and let me know. I don't want to know.

4. The recent congressional hearing on "Does File Trading Fund Terrorism?"
    No comment necessary.

Does File Trading Fund Terrorism?
Thu Mar 13, 5:00 PM ET
Grant Gross, IDG News Service

WASHINGTON-- A congressional hearing on the links between terrorism, organized crime, and the illegal trading of copyrighted material produced more complaints about college students using peer-to-peer networks and other governments sanctioning copyright violations than it did evidence of nefarious connections.

Witnesses and representatives at the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property hearing Thursday did express fears that profits from widespread copying of movies, music, and software outside the United States were being funneled into terrorist organizations, but the hearing produced no concrete examples of that happening.

John G. Malcolm, deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice, did say there seems to be some connection between illegal copying and organized crime, in that many of the groups profiting from illegal copies are highly organized and can have international distribution networks. Organized crime often supports terrorism, he suggested.

 "These groups will not hesitate to threaten or injure those who tend to interfere with their operations," Malcolm said.

Link to story.

5. Mal Waldron's  "Up Popped the Devil" LP (Enja label, 1973)
    On a recent late night all-night listening session to (a habit I'm getting into more and more since I've attained DSL - WFMU's streaming broadband stereo stream sounds amazing on my computer - plus I can do other work on the computer while it plays and plays and plays) I got to finally hear the Butthole Surfer's super-rare and very excellent "Neee Neee"... as well as the entire side one of jazz pianist Mal Waldron's supe-excellent and very rare "Up Popped the Devil" LP. I don't know what it is about free jazz that I like so much. I really know nothing about jazz itself... I can't even read or write music. I just collect it like crazy... it really speaks to me.
    It's kind of like the first time a very young, white Ari Up heard reggae dub in the mid 1970's; she had an epiphany, said she felt it's rhythm "pounding in her heart" and went out and formed The Slits. Or maybe it's like the first time whiteys Vanilla Ice and Marky Mark heard Erik B. and Rakim or Public Enemy - they saw God and went on to become well-respected and genius hip hop icons. All I know is, the first time I heard Sonny Sharrock, Don Cherry and Sun Ra... I finally think I found a music that seemed to match my nervous system in it's normal state... and I was finally able to cancel the frontal lobotomy and get off the lithium.
    White people are so funny.

6. These three guys need to do this
    Finding stuff like this on the internet is what the internet is for. I bet I would be good friends with these people. I'm serious... people that go to the trouble to make stuff like this just because are the people I have bonds with and they make me the godfather of their kids and shit like that.  Actually, these men should have sat next to the creepy man at the Cronenberg film... you know, just to bring everything around full circle.

7. Camille Paglia's Arion essay "Cults and Cosmic Consciousness: Religious Vision in the American 1960s"
     Found here. As usual with Paglia, a great read -highly recommended. It's long and heady but worth it - only read it if you're in the mood and have the patience. If you're one of those scrooges who bats your hand and says "Oh pa's haw!" at her writing, then don't read it.

8. Bad "Weight Watchers" recipe cards from the 1970's some lady found in her mom's basement and put on the web with descriptions of each
    Found here. I was laughing so hard I was crying blood.

9. The fact that we had the first real warm Spring-ish day here in NYC recently.

Chuck suffocates the first woman governor at the Austin State Capitol building... another random photo taken at my apartment...
10. Whatever happened to Chuck?
    Chuck and I were very intense and short-lived soul mates way back in the mid 80's in Dallas, Texas. We had an dynamite and frenzied-ly *A*L*I*V*E* friendship... the kind Truffaut made black and white movies about where the frame froze at the end. It was kind of a zany, intense bond that made an impact on all our mutual friends at the time. It was a bond that burned so bright that it made other friends of ours have to squint when they looked at it. We were inseparable and spent almost all our time together for like a whole Spring, Fall and Winter.... but the whole thing felt like Summer.
    Being a kid is great. Even when you're an adult (sort of). We both had jobs we hated, we lived in Dallas, we liked beer, we were into music, we scraped our pennies together to eat pizza and Dunkin Doughnuts (our favorite foods), we mooched food off others, we scammed free tickets and rides to see late night shows by The Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, The Butthole Surfers, Billy Bragg and The Jesus and Mary Chain... where we scammed our way in because we were underage, we liked to annoy people, we got stoned some more and hung out at weird Deep Ellum clubs, we went on constant road trips to Austin... even in the middle of the night, we got drunk, we ate at Denny's constantly and knew the lay-out of every one in Dallas and Austin, we got stoned a lot off other people's weed, we met weird freaks at Bill's Records (where I worked when I didn't work at the job I hated) in the middle of the night and had them drive us to their weird apartments filled with weird wood paneling and weird maybe psycho killer intentions so we tricked them into driving us to the airport by telling them we had to catch a flight to London - just to escape, we stole stuff, we always promised each other we would drive to Austin nude one day... which we actually did one night after a drunken decision at a 4 am Denny's... and ended with us driving nude for about three minutes and then chucking the idea and putting our clothes back on (while driving) because it was stupid - only to be pulled over by local, between-town, scary cops (literally - five minutes after we got our clothes on) after some scary locals we drove by and waved to reported us, we got stoned some more, we liked watching "M*A*S*H" on fuzzy-bad-antennae UHF TV late at night, we broke onto rooftops in Dallas (kind of) at night just to look at everything, we walked into porno stores drunk and stoned and laughed at everything, we decorated my apartment with signs stolen from my apartment complex, we stole other people's cats, we made an on-going year-long sculpture "instillation" of cooked spaghetti on my kitchen wall that grew and grew every time we threw some against the wall to see if it was "done", we dressed in white tennis outfits and went to Goth parties just to piss people off, we both fancied ourselves "really pro liars" and practiced out art form on a regular basis, we did stuff to our hair, we tricked people into buying us dinners, we had parties and right at the most intense part of the night forced everyone to "get nude or leave" (usually we were the only ones who did), we quoted lines from the film "Eating Raoul" constantly and applied it to everything, we used the word "Swinger" with no irony and meant it, we had a special handshake, we had some special code saying thing that we always greeted each other with to go along with that handshake - and we always joked that we would probably loose touch for several decades and then see each other as old men in the future and both instantly greet each other with that handshake and saying - remembering it instantly (I now can remember neither the handshake nor the saying). We could have fun for hours, alone in an unfurnished apartment with nothing to do but talk and laugh. We were both broke beyond belief and it didn't matter. It almost seems unbelievable thinking back on it all. It was so, so long ago. And we were just kids, really. Looking back on it all seems perfect but dumb in a way - a kind of ignorant perfection.
    My friendship with Chuck lit up through a chance meeting through another friend, burned blinding white hot... then *pop* went out after we had a kind of awkward falling out. We had a weird dissagreement/unspoken argument - parted ways and never saw each other again after one strange night. A thing that burns twice as hot burns out twice as fast I guess - even a friendship. Things got warped when our different sexualities came into play too much. Over time I probably got a little too attached to our friendship... he started going out with girls we both knew... it got odd. Looking back on how intense and perfect it was, it's hard to believe it ended so abruptly... or went so well while it did. Our friendship was legend amongst our friends... and the end of it was inexplicable to all... even us.
    Growing older is weird. As you get creakier you kind of think you might be seeing the beginning of the end. Not that you feel it's around the corner, but you start to conceptualize what it's gonna fucking look like and are like "Oh..." This makes you kind of look back and want to make sure everyone that matters is accounted for. You want to say "Thanks" to people... you sometimes want to make sure people are still around (sometimes they aren't).
    If it wasn't for a handful of photos I have of him... I probably would never have remember it at all. But since they sit in my box full of photos... every time I look at them I laugh and wonder... "What ever happened to Chuck?" When I go back and venture to Dallas (very rare) and visit my friends from the time... which is like stepping into a time machine and going back 1,000,000,000 years... when I ask people from the time if they know what ever happened to Chuck... they never know. No one knows. It's like he just disappeared. I have a lot of people that I had friendships with like I did with Chuck since... some I've stayed friends with forever... but some went the way friendships do if you keep up with the person longer than you maybe should... off into the ether of boring realness.
    It was great while it lasted... and because of it's intensity... and early death, I look back on it as this kind of perfect thing from my childhood. A naive... hilareous time that's best remembered. It remains a hilarious, warped and insane mini-era trapped in memory, a thing that makes me smile and laugh every time I think about it.
    Maybe I should keep it that way.

Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for March 10th, 2003

1. My "Ultimate Disguise"
    I have a secret life.
    This is my "Ultimate Disguise". It is all-powerful and impenetrable. Even by the most well-trained, hawk-eye experts in the art of catching those who are not whom they seem to be. This high-tech outfit is based on years of field and clinical research and is the result of countless, top-notch test runs where important research scientists were involved. It is your ultimate weapon in the fight! The fight against WHAT you ask? The fight against being FOUND OUT!!!
    I have used this ingeniously designed "identity cloak" on countless missions to the corner deli, the United Nations, outside the White House in Washington, D.C., inside the most prominent circles at UFO/Alien-Abductee/Breatharian gatherings and to parties where there were those in attendance that I didn't want to speak to or be seen by. I have gone incognito to many important high society social cocktail parties on Manhattan's upper east side and secret government meetings in Geneva and even more secret Skull and Bones underground meetings in basements at ivy league schools in this disguise - unbeknownst to anyone - even those in high authority and security personal whom are trained to spot spies like me. I have even attended Mensa meetings in my Ultimate Disguise and - high I.Q. or not - no one was smart enough to figure out who I was!
    This disguise has allowed me to slip into the most elite and "off-limits" areas, gain people's trust, and allowed me to - most importantly - GATHER INFORMATION FROM THEM!!! Only Jim and Domenic know about this so far. Now so do you.
    I can't photograph myself in it and show you the photograph - or I would have to kill you all. This drawing will have to do. Only one person I know has photographed me in The Ultimate Disguise - and his body ended up being found in the peacock cage at the Central Park Zoo - mysteriously pecked and feathered to death - his film mysteriously missing from his camera. Although I will tell you - I have appeared on my cam in my Ultimate Disguise once or twice... but don't worry, if you were looking - you didn't see me. That's because NO ONE CAN SEE ME - IN MY ULTIMATE DISGUISE!!!
    Here's the secret ingredients to my Ultimate Disguise, that you and only you now know. Proceed with caution, this information is HIGHLY DANGEROUS!!!
1. Cheap blond "bobbed style" wig
    - largest size. Available from any wig store on 14th street in NYC
2. Oversized fedora hat
    - to fit over large size wig
3. Dark sunglasses
    - large size and very dark
4. "Groucho Marx" fake plastic glasses frames with eyebrows, large fake plastic nose and hairy mustache
    - to be worn over dark sunglasses
5. Fake "Dracula" Halloween vampire teeth
    - to be worn in mouth
6. Large size London Fog khaki-colored button down raincoat with belt
    - can be used to hide things
7. Fake "suit and tie" vest to be worn under top opening of raincoat
    - this is a triangle-shaped false front device strapped to the top of your shirt (and visible through the open top of whatever coat or cape you may be wearing) that can give the impression you are wearing a full dress suit - gives a false, "business-like" appearance, and can be put on and taken off quickly. This item can be purchased at your local "spy and  sleuth" boutique - just ask for it, they'll know what you're talking about
7. Anti-Jane Fonda anti-communist propaganda patch, circa 1970's
    - worn on right lapel of coat
8. Third fake leg, made to match other real legs
   - easily constructed from home materials (sawed off broom handle) and stuffing and extra clothes (pants leg, sock, shoe) - note: make sure pants leg, sock and shoe match real pants leg, sock and shoe on real legs. This third leg can be tied onto one of real legs on upper part of thigh (under coat) with rope or bungee cord and made to "walk". Can also be used as a weapon in emergencies.
9. Fake boobs attached to back of costume
    - are you coming, or going? Your enemies will spend precious minutes trying to figure this out while you make a quick getaway. Note: for added delusion, practice walking backwards with fake third leg.
10. Wheel attached to pole, attached to back of belt
11. Monster hands
    - available at any Halloween joke shop
    - also: good for throwing off "fingerprint"-seekers
12. Exaggerated, upper-class English accent - at high volume
    - If anyone talks to you or asks you a question... try to duck out of the situation. If this is not an option, speak in a kind of cartoon-y, exaggerated English accent, at very, very high volume. Start everything you say with "I s-a-a-a-a-a-y-y-y-y!!!" or "Why, with certainment my good fellow!!!" also... flail your arms around like an epileptic maniac while talking... this will distract and confuse your enemies.
    - note: if you are in England, substitute a Chinese accent, and replace the word "certainment" with "lucky"
    - also: your plastic "vampire" teeth will make it easier to speak with a mysterious accent.
13. Refer to impossible transportation devices whenever asked what you are doing in any given situation
    - For example, if anyone says something like, maybe; "Oh my God what the Hell are you and how the Hell did you get in here?" start off by saying "Oh, with certainment my good fellow {or madame}! I just flew in on my Octo-helistroptic Motorized Cycle-copter!" Remember the English accent and flailing arms.
See you around town...suckers!!!

2. The Institute for Regional Education's "anti-privacy" campaign films from the 1970's
    If you have ever rented the DVD of Godfrey Reggio's "Koyaanisqatsi" - it includes a 60 minute interview with the creators of all the films. In these interviews, Godfrey and his pals talk a lot about the Institute for Regional Education (IRE), which was founded in 1972 in Sante Fe, New Mexico by him and others after spending over a decade in the mountains meditating and praying in silence with monks. The IRE was a non-profit foundation focused on media development, the arts, community organization and research - and was also the progenitor for The Qatsi Trilogy ('Koyaanisqatsi', 'Powaqqatsi' and 'Naqoyqatsi'). In 1974 and 1975, with funding from the American Civil Liberties Union, Reggio co-organized a multi-media public interest campaign on the invasion of privacy and the use of technology to control behavior. He then began to develop the idea for a nonverbal film formed from a non-stop collage of images from real life (which became 'Koyaanisqatsi').
    However, these early films are something else entirely. They mix and match the aesthetic of chilly 50's sci-fi B-movies, late 70's/early 80's "rock videos" made by obscure European disco groups, and that terrifying anti-drug film you watched on a chattering, stuttering film projector in 5th grade home room that showed the girl from art class painting herself blue and jumping off the school's roof because she was on angel dust (remember that one?)
    Supposedly divided into eight separate "campaign" films... these non-narritive montages of Sid-and-Marty-Krofft-style computer animation, Orwellian-prophecy paranoia, post-Watergate government conspiracy fantasy, 50's style sci-fi weirdness mixed with pre-MTV, primitive attempts at an MTV-editing style - mixing that with an overall 70's cinematography style - are truly a genre unto themselves.
    While narrated by a guy with a TV set for a head, in a booming, "I-am-the-Great-Oz! Pay-no-attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain!"-voice... giant eyeballs inside triangles (that materialized off the back of a $1 bill) hover through metallic tunnels and then into outer space, shoot laser beams at planet Earth and then swoop over the suburban sprawl and zap the forehead of a frightened-looking housewife looking out her front window with her baby (zombify-ing her), rats crawl through mazes made of UPC bar codes looking for cheese, file cabinets disappear inside giant keyholes and then turn into the word "YOU", the camera then pulls back to reveal more and more rows of those keyholes that disappear into rows of "1's" and "0's" and then the word "DEMOCRACY" forms above them - which is then replaced with a "?", men with headphones scream at the camera and then their heads turn into atomic bomb clouds, little girls play with balls in spooky rooms and then follow ghostly doors which lead them to police line-up mug shots (of themselves), giant white rooms full of old refridgerator-sized computers with spinning loops of tape spin and spin and spin... all the while the TV set head guy shouts "You are a number! You are not a human being! Your privacy is being slowly coded into a massive information network designed to assimilate you into a filing system controlled by the government!" while teeth-grinding electronic noises wail and creak in the background. Rick Prelinger would go APE SHIT over these things (if he hasn't already)!
    But don't take my goofy comparisons wrong way - these films are brilliant!   If these are the kind of films one makes after meditating with monks and counting little grains of rice in a bowl over and over in a cave in the mountains and not speaking for 14 years - then book me on the next plane to Tibet!
    Unfortunately... I was only able to see a handful of clips of these films on the "Koyaanisqatsi" DVD interview film extra. Godfrey talks at length about them, and how they were the genesis for "Koyaanisqatsi" and the other films (I snapped these photos above from my TV screen - notice how I've really been into doing that lately? I like the way it looks). Godfrey also talks a lot about the cinematographer, editor and collaborator for these early films as an "American genius" - unfortunately I can't recall his name (I don't think he ended up working on 'Koyaanisqatsi').
    I did a search around the web for these films, but could only find passing references to them. Anybody have any info on them? Or copies? Lemme know. I'd love to see them in their entirety.
    You know what my weapon against the enemy of privacy invasion is? Yep! My Ultimate Disguise!

3. Alejandro Jodorowskyís film "The Holy Mountain" (1973)
    Two Thursdays ago, after a dazzling but exhausting trip to the Whitney for the dazzling but exhausting opening night of Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio's dazzling but exhausting "Scanning: The Aberrant Architectures of Diller + Scofidio" exhibit... Jim and I took a dazzling but exhausting walk all the way down through Manhattan to go visit Jim's dazzling but exhausting friend Amy where we watched Alejandro Jodrowsky's dazzling but exhausting "The Holy Mountain" at her apartment in the not-dazzling but exhausting Lower East Side (hey, it's my neighborhood too ya'know - I can criticize it). I had never seen this film before (I had only seen his 'El Topo' and 'Sante Sangre') and I think if this had been the film that I saw when I was 13 years old in that midnight movie theater in Dallas, Texas that night I snuck out with my friend Curtis who was spending the night and we rode our bikes all the way there - instead of David Lynch's "Eraserhead" - well, it probably would have had the same effect on me, I just wanted to say all that stuff.
    Remember that "Imagined Tacticality" thing I was talking about in my 2/24/03 "Top Ten" - #4? Where I was saying how movies with fantastic sets and special effects that are actually made out of objects and amazing props were more enjoyable than computer animated ones because you delighted in knowing that there was actually a tactile, 3-D space like that or object like that somewhere, at sometime, on some sound stage - that was used to make that film - and that it might still be there... or maybe you could go back in a time machine and walk around it at night when the filmmaker and his crew and actors were asleep? And this created a weird, sub-strata level of "willing suspension of disbelief" that was much richer and deeper than a film where all the sets and effects and costumes were only available on a computer hard drive? Well Alejandro Jodorowskyís "The Holy Mountain" is a perfect example of that. Jodorowsky looks like he spent more time building the mind-blowing sets for this film than the slaves and UFOs who built the ancient pyramids in Egypt did. This is definitely one of the most amazing visual feasts I've ever seen - and the imagery is so specifically unique and uncompromising-ly dream like that the experience of viewing it can start to make the molecules separating the air and mass between the screen, your eyes, and your conscious and subconscious brain mix together in improper ways - the surrealist's goal.
    I recommend this film. It was filmed during the Spring and Summer of 1973 in Mexico at these following locations - just in case you want to set the co-ordinates for your time machine. Make sure you wear your Ultimate Disguise... so no one knows you are from the future.

4. Robert Freedman's film "The Touchables" (1968)
    Speaking, again, of my "Imagined Tacticality" thing in film appreciation, another forgotten film that is a shining, bulbous example of this is Robert Freedman's "The Touchables" from 1968. Why? The film's humungous and very real inflatable bubble house in the English countryside that the female characters use as a hideaway after kidnapping a rock star. The house might as well be a character in the film because it steals the show. According to Laura MacDonald, who is thankfully building an extensive web site about this weird film, the floor of the house had millions of little holes in it - which pumped a steady stream of hot air into it to keep it afloat. The structure amazingly stays very still during the many long takes and scenes in which it is in the film - it seems almost unbelievable, like something you might be able to draw on paper but most sensible people wouldn't even bother to build. But Robert Freedman and his crew did it! The house takes up most of the screen time - with extensive shots of it in the day and night - scenes even occur in the house's weird basement. If there has ever been a perfect example of the real construction of a house a 3 year old kid would draw on a piece of paper as "the ultimate dream house" - built with no compromise - THEN THIS IS IT.
    Story wise - I would say "The Touchables" is a highly stylish romp through a kind of 60's, sexy, wacky, youth-culture wonderland dream world. Perhaps on par with The Monkee's "Head" - though with a band of females as the protagonists. The women dress as nuns and kidnap a famous rock star... for some reason, I could never figure out exactly to what end... and all kinds of trippy drama and zany montages set to kooky music happen as a result. I was lucky enough to see this film on the "big" screen at the Pink Pony's (the place Jim and I had our first date) film series in NYC (now defunct - the Pink Pony film series - not NYC), so I got a good look at that amazing bubble house (and never forgot it).
    Take a stroll over to Laura MacDonald's growing web site about the film to learn more. She even has a video clip! No, it's not of the house. She'll probably not really appreciate the fact that I only focused on the house instead of the rest of the picture (the still-unreleased on video or DVD film does indeed have a strong underground following of fans)... but for me - at least on the surface, that bubble house WAS the film.
    Jim and I both agree that it would be paradise. Unrealistic... but then again, we're talking PARADISE here. In the bubble house, I wouldn't need my Ultimate Disguise. Do you know why? Because life would be perfect.

5. Yasuzo Masumura's film "Blind Beast" (1969)
    For another hearty and robust example of my "Imagined Tacticality" concept, check out Japanese new wave director Yasuzo Masumura's dazzlingly creepy and horrifyingly erotic "Blind Beast", which includes yet another mind-blowing set that look's like what Neverland Ranch would have looked like if Hugh Hefner had designed it instead of Michael Jackson - out of millions of pounds of gray clay, and indoors, and in black and white only.
    Japanese actress Mako Midori ecstatically plays the semi-famous S&M/art photographer's model, Aki. After a tough day of modeling - Aki comes home to her Tokyo apartment and then calls a local massage service to send someone over to help her relax. When the masseur the service sent shows up to Aki's apartment - he turns out to be blind! Huh? Oh well, Aki just rolls her eyes and is so exhausted she decides to let him work on her anyway... hmmm... he acting a little strange and getting a little frisky with his hands and... Oh-oh! It turns out the service has accidentally sent over blind shut-in and obssessed-with-female-body-parts-sculptor Michio (played by Eiji Funakoshi) who also has been secretly stalking Aki for years and got a job at the massage service just hoping that one day she would call and he would happen to get sent so he could then smother her with a chloroform rag and kidnap her  - with the help of his way-weird mother (played by Noriko Sengoku) - and then drag her off to his bizarre art studio and hold her captive forever and ever and ever! Don't you hate when that happens?
    When Aki awakes from the chloroform in the middle of Michio's humongous and pitch black studio - she is pursued by Michio and his mother with a huge spotlight which, in the pursuit (in a long and brilliant panning shot set to a bizarre score) begins to uncover hallway after cavernous hallway with walls filled with giant replicas of wall-to-wall noses, legs, arms, butts, eyes, vaginas, feet, boobs, mouths - each turn revealing a different body part. Turns out they are Aki's noses, legs, arms, butts, eyes, vaginas, feet, boobs and mouths, or at least what Michio thought they looked like after sneaking into a local gallery and spending hours caressing a stone sculpture of Aki (and having friends describe her  to him from those famous and controversial S&M art photographs). When Aki reaches the end she finds a *G*I*A*N*T* room that has two huge headless female body sculptures in it - like you could live inside one of the breasts and have the belly be your front yard huge.
    I won't tell you the rest of what happens in this mind-ripping, head-y, highly conceptual and dark film. It does portray a relationship between Aki and Michio based on sex, pain, and obsession, leading to an inevitable, grotesque, uncompromising finale that end up taking the love/hate act all the way back billions of years ago to when goo and amoebas were the only living things on Earth. And even though it is a brutal film, it achieves this effect without excessive violence. Cinematic blood and guts is nothing compared to  "psychological" violence - which is ten times as damaging, and this film hits straight-center bull's eye.
    I WILL however tell you that, despite practically the entire film taking place in that huge studio - you never once get bored with looking at it and being amazed that someone actually went to the trouble to make it for this film. The official DVD includes a documentary film about the making of the set, and scans of Masumura's plans and blueprints to build it - turns out it took almost a year just to make the sets.
    Brilliant, brilliant sets... that I would love to have been able to walk around in. Polishing walls and ceilings of giant fingers, plucking hairs out of huge noses, trimming the eyelashes on giant eyes... living inside a two giant women. Wearing my Ultimate Disguise. Ahhhh... bliss.

6. The fact that my high school prom was held on the set of "Logan's Run"
    Speaking of strolling around famous, non-computer aided film sets and "Imagined Tacticality" - what would happen if you actually DID get to walk around one of these sets? Would the multi-layers of willing-suspension-of-disbelief collapse and cause your head to explode? Well mine didn't explode at my high school prom... which was held in one of the main set locations from "Logan's Run" - one of my favorite films (which was filmed mostly amongst the 70's modern architecture malls, apartment complexes, hotels and sculpture gardens in Dallas/Ft. worth, Texas). My friend Katy went as my prom date, and her and our double date friends (Heather and, uh... I forget his name) were a little... confused... at my running around during the whole prom in my rented tux... acting out Logan and Francis shooting a runner with blaster guns. I walked up to where all the citizens of the domed city entered Carousel - and the entrance didn't lead to anything... just a wall. Clumsily leaning into my fellow classmate's ears on the dancefloor and whispering loudly and menacingly  "Run runner!!!" as we danced didn't exactly win me any more friends in high school.
    No really, it was totally pathetic and not at all charming! I had been a real fan of this film ever since I was a child... and Market Hall was always closed to the public and this was the only real chance I had to live out my... oops I mean, see it (to see all the locations the Dallas Market Hall was used for in 'Logan's Run' click here). So needless to say as I danced to Journey songs and ate bad chicken dinners and had my prom picture taken (I accidentally put my hand on Katy's breast while we were posing because I wasn't paying attention) I was scanning the giant hall for The New You shop. The above picture was scanned from my yearbook. I was not wearing my Ultimate Disguise at the time because it was long before I had thought of it.

7. The Jim and Jennie and the Pinetops gig at Bowery Ballroom last Friday night
    It was a really good gig for them - but on a kind of strange night. They were second on the bill of three acts - the other two acts were kind of, uh ...slow. Jim & Jennie & the Pinetops are real crowd pleasers, they put on the type of show to really get a crowd going. And since the Bowery Ballroom in NYC is pretty large - and the main act wasn't like a superstar or anything... the cavernous space was a bit sparsely filled. Needless to say when J&J&tPT hit the stage... the crowd of about 200 completely lit up for the whole gig. Jim & Jennie can really get people going - they're so different.
    It's nice to see Jim perform... although when he is in "work" mode he is a little distracted When he went to get beers for me and him and his friend Michele - we both gave him a $20 bill each - he came back and said something like "Now, how much change do I owe you each? Oh I'm just so bad at math." then when we told him he kind of looked forward wide-eyed and said "...uh...", then folded up his wallet, put it in his pocket, sat down and started drinking his beer and staring off into space like a zombie. Michele and I were like "Yes? Hello? Our change?" then he said "Oh yea!" and stared forward like a cigar store indian, sipping his beer. I still never got my change (when I told Domenic about this he said 'Oh that's what happens when you're married Mark!').
    I finally got to actually meet Jennie and Brad (the banjo player) formally. They were very cool. As stated above, Jim's friend Michele O. Marah was there. She's a video artist from L.A. (see Top Ten 3/3/03, #5 - written by Jim - below) and all her stories about L.A. made me want to move there even MORE. J&J&tPT had another gig in Brooklyn Sunday night at Pete's Candy Store - but I was exhausted from work so I couldn't go. Too bad, it was a small, crowded, pub-style place so of course by all reports it rocked all night.
    ...or was I there?

8. Why can't I introduce myself to this homeless guy sleeping in my hallway?
    You know I was recently at a really nice dinner party... and I remember that I remarked to everyone I talked to... at some point... that I usually prefer to talk to the help (the maids, the butlers, the bathroom guy) at posh events rather than talk to my fellow guests. I can be a real charmer. I seem to have more in common with these people. When I was growing up in Texas, I was always getting stuck at 7-11's talking to the all-night guy behind the counter when I was making a beer run for friends at a party.
    I have this "problem" according to some of my friends, with seeking out the wrong "class" of people... in any given situation. Oh and trust me... this isn't some kind of false modesty or pretension... trust me, I'm trying to move UP on the class scale.
    Of course when I was a doorman at clubs in NYC like the Roxy, Twilo, Limelight and Sound Factory in the mid-90's... I was always bugging the promoters to try and let me have "reverse door policy night" - you know, a night where I would let in all the "bridge and tunnel" people and fashion mistakes and "shabbily" dressed misfit tourists in T-shirts and cuffed jean shorts - you know, the interesting people - and ignore and snub all the fashion crowd and celebrities and industry people and agents and PR people and club kids and DJ hanger-ons, I mean literally ignore them. And not tell anyone why. Trust me - it would have been a real party. And one Hell of an unforgettable door scene that would live in infamy if it was done without compromise. But no one seemed to like my idea too much as it never really sailed on to becoming a reality, so - oh well - I decided it was an idea ahead of it's time (plus I always eventually got 'let go' from those high-profile door jobs for trying to do this anyway, little bit by little bit - and for not wearing fashion-labeled clothes despite hints to please do so being dropped to me by the promoters like fart bombs being dropped in an elevator). So anyhoo...
    There is this homeless drunk guy that hangs out near the corner of my street (near the Asian-run liquor store) AND who sometimes lives in the mysteriously-still-standing shack on stilts under the Williamsburg Bridge (see 'Top Ten' from 12/16/02, #3). Well, the shack must be full because lately, thanks to the cold weather, he's been sleeping in the bottom of my stairwell. I have no problem with him - in fact I think he's quite welcome! I've been trying to get up the nerve to talk to him but whenever I get around him I'm so nervous I get tounge-tied. My knees just get all wobbly!
    One time I came into the building and he stood up real quickly from the floor and started to try and read the exterminator notice posted above the mailboxes... probably trying to give me the impression he lived there. As soon as I started up the stairs, I looked at him and nervously smiled and raised my hand as if to say "Hi!" - he looked up from his hood and smiled a no-teeth smile and said "B-W-A-A-A-Y-Y-A-A-A-A!" loudly in my direction. And like an IDIOT I just kept going up the stairs! Ugh! I could just kick myself! He was trying to start a conversation! God I wish I could just relax and be myself while I'm in his presence.
    I took this picture late one night while he was sleeping. The weather's gonna start getting warmer soon so I'm gonna start running out of chances. Maybe I'll have a few drinks before I see him next... that'll loosen me up!
    H-e-e-e-e-e-y-y-y-!-!-! I'll wear my Ultimate Disguise too!!!

9. "The Great American Glory Hole"
    In The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror XI" episode (#BABF21), during the "Night of the Dolphins" segment - Homer Simpson riles his townspeople up to overcome killer land-walking dolphins who are threatening their American way of life by shouting a speech at the local town hall that includes the line; "We can outsmart those dolphins! Don't forget, we invented computers! Leg warmers! Bendi-straws! Peel and eat shrimp, the glory hole, AND the pudding cup! I'm not going to let a bunch of hoop-jumping tuna-munchers push me around!" ...and indeed Homer is right.
    Is the glory hole an American invention? Probably not... it probably originated in Germany... nazis invented butt sex. Anyways... it appears that American TV producers at FOX Television are proud enough of the probably thousands, no... millions of glory holes hidden in men's public bathrooms around this great land that they decided to include one in the FOX TV's recent reality show "Married By America". Producers hand picked potential male/female couples and then allow viewers to phone in and match them up to get hitched on the show (no same-sex couples please). Contestants are kept in the dark as to who America picked for them until the final moment - in which the male contestant is placed in front of a scrim (that has a hole right at his crotch level), he then kneels down, a ...uh, hand pokes through from the other side, and the man smile and slides a ring onto it. Ooookaaaayyyy....
    I just realized that mom and dad were right all along: Hollywood is run by lisping satanic perverts, masculine topless feminists and anti-child porn nay-sayers who are using subliminal brainwashing campaigns in their entertainment programs designed to corrupt America's children and convert them to homosexuality. Now that campaign of evil is striking at one of America's most sacred and cherished traditions.
    Damn you to Hell Hollywood perverts! Damn you all to Hell! You finally did it! You blew it up! GODDAMN YOU!!!

10. Jim


Jim's Top Ten Things for March 3rd, 2003
This week I have a guest writer on the "Top Ten"; my boyfriend, Jim Krewson (Mark returns next week). What are the Top Ten things on Jim's mind for the week of March 3rd, 2003?

JIM'S #1:  The five string banjo
    EVERYONE in the world should own one. It's true. There was a George Dobson (famous banjo maker) ad at the turn of the century  that said something like "If you have a banjo around, you've always got a  friend". He was RIGHT! BUY ONE. You can learn the basics of frailing in a  couple of days if you try. Those cap-to-the-side Electro posers should forget the shitty 80's and get with the '90's - the 1890's! Buy a banjo!
    I'll show you how to play it.

JIM'S #2:  "Sally" from the film Demons 2
    What's her real name, Mark? Anyway, her name is Sally in the Argento film Demons 2 and she was in Operatoo. In case you haven't figured out, Mark's a Dario Argento freak, and is now turning me on to all his movies. Although they are a hilarious roller coaster ride of bloody insanity, one thing that always bugs me is that the victims are these ineffectual Keane-eyed wimps who get paralyzed and cry when the killer shows up. Not Sally. Yeah, OK she does end up crying - but before that she has a good time! She reminds me of your fag hag friend in high school who listened to Yaz and knew everyone was full of shit. She acts like I wish I would before getting hacked up with a butcher knife or after transforming into a pointy tooth demon. In Demons 2. She has fits of screaming, crying and laughing all within like 5 minutes, and this is BEFORE she turns into a demon. I don't wanna ruin it for you but while all the other demons seem pretty tortured, Sally's havin' the time of her life!
  [Mark says: the actress' name is Coralina Catildi-Tassoni, also - Lamberto Bava did Demons 2, Dario was the producer]

JIM'S #3:  Blue Cheer's "Outside Inside"
    With the exception of "The Hunter", the perfect rock album. Mark Arm and the Mudhoneys knew it and so should you. Look at the cover! The band lives in giant shoes and geodesic hollowed out mushrooms.

JIM'S #4:  The concept of running away with Markallen to who-knows-where in a Westfalia camper van and taking only some clothes and #1 (a banjo)
     In reality we'd probably kill each other before we got out of Manhattan or maybe not but wouldn't it be great? You know - working on some hippie's farm for a few weeks. Maybe I'll take up leather work and start smoking grass. Mark could give healing massage in exchange for some beautiful beads and gasoline. Then we find out that leather's really unkind and wear suits made of fruit roll ups and duct tape. Then we ditch the Westfalia in Oregon cause gas supports the war effort and become permanent residents at the Green Tortoise camp, living off dead skin cells licked from German tourists and old people. Why should a healthy cucumber die just so we can have tabouli?
    It'll be beautiful.
    [Mark says: for Westfalias on sale on Ebay - go here]

stills from Michele O. Marah's "Valley Girl"
JIM'S #5:  The videos of Michele O. Marah
    She's a video artist who remade Valley Girl pretty much shot for shot with cardboard props on a tiny budget!  There's a LIVING Psychedelic Furs poster that wanders around the room behind the actors and they don't even notice. Michele is obviously clued in that art can be funny and entertaining as well as brilliant. All her friends are involved, including  reworking the whole soundtrack. Another one is a double screen thing with a crazy but true interview with Elizabeth Taylor and Dick Burton using actors but taken verbatim on one screen, and a hilarious Vietnam drama comedy (Vietdramady?) on the other.
    Her videos are a big lovefest.

JIM'S #6:  Neil Young's big coke booger in the film The Last Waltz
    It's really funny. Look at it. Hangin' in there! Scorcese and company spent thousands of dollars trying to edit it out frame by frame, but it's still there. The whole movie's pretty great but that's a personal highlight for me. Van Morrison's outfit comes in as a close second.
    If you've been on tour with a band for any length of time,  you know that feeling - the last show of the tour, after hanging out with the  same people night after night, eating Arby's market-fresh blt sandwiches, drinking Mobil-supposed-to-be-earthy-gourmet-but-really-toilet-water coffee, sleeping (or not) and shitting in close close proximity. I don't  know, it's hard to explain but this movie really captures that happy/sad last show feeling. And it's only illustrated further by the coke booger.

JIM'S #7:  The beautiful blue eyes of Markallen

JIM'S #8:  Hints of springtime
    Hints of springtime. It's comin! I went for the first bike ride of the warm weather season yesterday and I was LOVIN' IT! It was about 34 degrees outside and I still had to wear gloves but fuck it. It was great. I was sweating under my sweater and everything. This winter's been extra brutal and although skiing's fun, I gots to git my BIKE ON!

JIM'S #9:  The free Ben and Jerry's coupon I get every month with my Working Assests long distance bill
    I know by this time if you've read this far you're goin "Wow, Jim's such a fucking hippie" and maybe so but still number nine is definitely the free Ben and Jerry's coupon you get every month with your Working Assets long distance bill. Ha ha! Working Assets is so lefty that they're probably run by the CIA to keep tabs on all the leftys. The paper they send your bill on seems so recycled that you expect to find coffee grounds and flattened used tampons woven into it. And you can check off little boxes with writing after it like "yes! I want all governmental military funds to be transferred to the Save the Lesbian Dolphins Fund." All this and free ice cream every month.
   [Mark says: only the granola/commie town that Jim lives at in the Catskill Mountains has this - the rest of the world has normal phone bills, and no free ice cream]

note: these are not The Stuart Brothers of Canton, North Carolina
JIM'S #10:  The Stuart Boys of Canton, North Carolina
    They're twin brothers who play banjo and fiddle. Travis and Trevor. We took 'em to Ireland last November and had a blast. They know lots of old time and bluegrass music people over there and made the whole trip more fun. They're great to drink with and rock with, they have really trashy senses of humor, and love hip hop and fags. Home for them is way back in the mountains of North Carolina. I want to bring em up to party in New York before ALL the fun gets sucked out of the city by trust fund brats.
    You know what I mean.

[Mark says: Thanks Jim!]

Jim Krewson is a renowned painter and artist who's work has been exhibited in several galleries in New York, as well as featured in magazines like Vice. He sometimes does portraits of small, unsuspecting children for a fee. Jim used to play in an art-punk band called Fagbash, whom were notorious mostly for having Warhol-era actress Pat Ast try to sue them for their use of her image on one of their record covers. Jim now sings and plays guitar in a very successful bluegrass band called Jim and Jennie and the Pinetops - whom he tours the world with and whom have released two CDs on the Overcoat and Phovsh labels. He also is a twelve year master of the erotic cake art industry, and his edible boob, cock and vagina desserts have delighted customers, perverts, birthday party attendees and sketch comedy television audiences around the world.
He lives in the Catskill Mountains.

go back to "Top Ten" archive page

go to back to