Good morning, gang. What a lovely Saturday it is here in Crazeysburg.
I’m finishing the laundry right now and beyond that, I have nothing on my plate today but working on Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town, so what could be nicer?
And this evening, I’m streaming the new documentary film Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N Roll Magazine (!!!).
Creem was my absolute most favorite magazine of all time, and when I was a teenager, I looked forward to every single issue with every fiber of my being, because to me, it was my only connection to the outside world — to what I considered the “real” world. (And I believe, even all these decades later, that I was right.) Stream the movie here. Here’s the trailer:
On a similar note… Yesterday’s issue of Please Kill Me had a great interview with Angela Bowie Barnett (aka Angie Bowie) by Lucretia Tye Jasmine. (Hence the title of today’s post.) If you are not old enough to remember David Bowie’s career, a point came when he was extremely famous and Angie left him, and then the PR machines and Bowie’s management, etc., did their best to silence her, discredit her, de-materialize her, and just plain disappear her.
I honestly believe that David Bowie would never have figured out how to become “David Bowie” if it weren’t for Angie. In the beginning, she was his manager. They created everything about his onstage persona together. Working really, really hard to come up with a version of “David Bowie” that could actually sell records. (It took years to accomplish that, btw.)
And now that Bowie is completely and thoroughly, 100% dead, people are more interested in what she has to say about the past.
My favorite exchange from the interview:
Responding to my question, “Was David the love of your life?” Angie says, “Excuse me?”
I repeat the question, falteringly. “Good God, no!” We laugh. “I had a headache with David, I really did. And it wasn’t anything to do with him. It was to do with the people stealing the business from me…I was furious.”
But managing someone’s career is tedious. “They’re totally and utterly egocentric. Not at all interested in anyone else on the planet. Dealing with them becomes tedious after ten years.”
Their break–up didn’t feel like a betrayal.
“I was dying to get out.” David’s drug addiction made him the best liar. “I just couldn’t stand it. It was nauseating. It made me sick. So I just wanted to get it over with and be gone.”
“At a certain stage, you just stop. You’ve realized…it’s enough now. And you want to move on.” — Lucretia Tye Jasmine, PleaseKillMe.com
And here is the accompanying photo!! Angie, Iggy , Lou Reed with Creem magazine!! Photo by the great Lee Black Childers.
I was a huge fan of Bowie’s from 1973 onward. I really was. But he was always a shifting “persona.” A carefully crafted character. He was never just himself in public, in the world. Ever. I had no feel for who he really was as a human being, and when he died, I didn’t miss him at all. Because I never felt “who he really was”. He was sort of just a big PR machine that made music I usually really liked.
Well, the music lives on and I still like it, but I have no real idea who the man was and, actually, at this point, I don’t really care.
Unlike people like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Tom Petty, even Elvis — those guys wore their whole hearts & lives right out in the open, all over themselves; whether or not it got really messy. They weren’t just trying to sell records and concert tickets. They were (are) human beings.
Yesterday, FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) sent out a press release that just made me completely insane (you can read it here), about a student at Stockton University in New Jersey who is facing a fine and suspension because he had a photo of President Trump as his background on a zoom conference and other students felt “offended, disrespected, and taunted.”
It is absolutely unbelievable how intolerant and fearful so many young liberal Americans are now when people have points of view that differ from theirs. The spinelessness is just unreal.
“In my day” — we were all just thrown to the wolves and you had to figure out how to survive. No matter your race, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, etc. We were all just sent to school and we had to figure out to survive it, you know?
Trump is the fucking President, whether you like that or not. He got elected through the electoral college. It was legal. He got elected. He’s the President. Fucking deal with it. A reminder to just go out and fucking vote during an election year. Jesus.
And though it would be legal, it’s not “threatening” like using Hitler, or Goering and Goebbels and Himmler, with tons of swastikas as your zoom background. (Although I am wont to put American Leftist students onto a dangerous path that leads to men like them.)
This absolutely terrified way of non-thinking is truly prevalent, gang. It’s in universities all over the country and it’s been going on for a lot of years already — but it is getting worse. And it’s not just students, it extends to faculty members, too. (Even tenured professors are getting death threats, and online hate campaigns, and threatened with disciplinary actions for the opinions they hold.) (You might recall the director of my play, Tell My Bones, was told to take down one of Helen LaFrance’s paintings as his zoom background because his (white) colleagues accused him of behaving like a white plantation master with a bunch of slaves. And it made them “uncomfortable.” Fucking ART makes them uncomfortable — and he’s so fucking liberal; it’s ludicrous. ) (I can’t even really tell you how furious that made me. There aren’t even enough words, really.)
It really is just out of control. I got so fed up yesterday, that I wrote a letter to the Dean of Stockton University.
And I guess, as long as we have a Constitution in place here, I’ll just keep writing letters now. Sometimes it actually helps, gang, when people think the world is watching them. (I used to write tons of letters for Amnesty International, for people in various countries who were wrongfully imprisoned — and the letters worked. The people were freed. From fucking prisons in awful places.)
The Constitution means everything to me. It kept me out of prison when John Ashcroft and the President George W. Bush crew were trying to round up Internet-based pornographers all over America and get them into federal prisons. It was fucking scary.
But that same Constitution covers everybody’s rights to free expression in America — even for Republicans and various conservatives, who perhaps would have preferred that I had gone to prison. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on. You have your right to express what you believe.
All righty!! I’m going to get on with this wonderful day and go work some more on Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town. (My Constitutional right to free expression in action, all day long!!!)
Last night, I was listening to e e cummings read some of his poetry on YouTube. So I’ll leave you with a little of that today. It’s old, of course, and not the clearest sound quality, but it’s still pretty cool to listen to his actual voice. So, hope you enjoy. Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!