Serene Sunday: Hair

Good morning star shine!  For some reason songs from Hair are stuck in my head… hmmm, wonder why?  Particularly one mentioned by our Fitzg.  So, Fitg, this is *your* fault.  Let’s see what the venerable Wiki has to say:

“Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Radoand Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The musical’s profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of “rock musical”, using a racially integrated cast, and inviting the audience onstage for a “Be-In” finale.  Hair tells the story of the “tribe”, a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the “Age of Aquarius” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War.

After an Off-Broadway debut in October 1967 at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and a subsequent run in a midtown discothèque space, the show opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances. Simultaneous productions in cities across the United States and Europe followed shortly thereafter, including a successful London production that ran for 1,997 performances. Since then, numerous productions have been staged around the world, spawning dozens of recordings of the musical, including the 3 million-selling original Broadway cast recording. Some of the songs from its score became Top 10 hits, and a feature film adaptation was released in 1979. A Broadway revival opened on March 31, 2009, earning strong reviews and winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for best revival of a musical. In 2008, Time magazine wrote, “Today Hair seems, if anything, more daring than ever.”

Bet you didn’t know all that.   Here I was confusing it with Oh! Calcutta!, another musical infamous for full frontal nudity.  I recall wanting to see Hair as a child but my parents heard about the naked cast climbing over the seats, so that was vetoed.

A popular group in the 1960’s, the 5th Dimension recorded two songs together  from the musical, Aquarius and Let in the Sunshine.  Released in 1969, the single held the number one position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and was certified Platinum.   Wow, I feel old.


Surreal Saturday: Endless Battle!

…As if the blog hasn’t been surreal enough this week.   Our wonderful Fitzg counseled me to keep writing, and I did.  Hence, the unprecedented burst of creativity.  The only problem is topping that, but no worries.  I envision another tour walking by and maybe… maybe… we might check in on The Man.  It was sad to see him that way.  I felt sorry for him myself by the time the story ended.  Is that what writers mean when they speak of characters taking on a life of their own?  Who knew?

To kickstart Surreal Saturday again, I’ve pondered all day what to do.  It’s pretty hard to top Killer Barbie but I’m still searching.   So I decided to returned to my old standby – DeStorm.   It looks like he’s coming up in the world and is producing slicker videos.  The following caught my eye.




Foolish Friday: The Beard Memorial Edition

ARMITAGEWORLD (AP)  There has been a continued outpouring of grief, ecstasy, apathy, and chicanery over the recent death of The Beard, age 1 1/2.  Admidst the rumors and speculation surrounding The Beard’s passing, fans have been commenting on blogs, Twitter and Facebook, about their fond memories of it, or not.

Nobody knows the exact birth date of The Beard, but it made its first public appearance at the New Zealand The Hobbit press conference in March 2011 with close friend, British actor Richard Armitage.  Apparently, their association at the time was tentative, as Mr. Armitage stroked his new friend and said, “yeah, this is an experiment.”

The Beard lived out its life in relative seclusion, only emerging for public events, small cameos in The Hobbit vlogs, and two photo shoots.  But as one fan commented, “That Beard had a good life, attached to Richard’s face. It travelled the world, met many interesting people. It’s even rumoured to have been fondled and stroked by Richard once or twice. They’ve even showered together! We could all hope to have such a life!”

There are no services announced for The Beard at this time.  Inside sources said that fans who which to commemorate The Beard’s life, can donate to the JustGiving charities in lieu of money or flowers.  The Beard is survived by sisters Lashelle and Lashette; brothers, Brauw, Brow, and ‘Do; cousins, the Elsewheres; and close friend, Richard Armitage.

[Both videos are the same.]




Fatal Shave: Mystery Surrounds Death of The Beard

The Beard with close companion Richard Armitage, July 2012.

DETROIT, MI (AP).  As reported earlier, The Beard, close personal friend of British actor Richard Armitage, is dead. Rumors of its demise first circulated when an extra on the set of The Beard’s untitled film disclosed that The Beard was missing.  Sources later confirmed The Beard had in fact died.  There has been no indication when the event occurred.

There is much speculation as to what precipitated this event.  The Beard last appeared at San Diego Comic Com in July, and attendees reported it appeared healthy and lush.  Sources say The Beard did not have any life threatening conditions such as alopecia and appeared quite manageable.  One visitor stated it seemed prickly and probably needed conditioner, but otherwise there was no evidence The Beard might do itself harm.

The most troubling speculation is that The Beard fell victim to ritual sacrifice.  Strong suspicion has fallen on the make-up department at the film studio north of Detroit, where other beards, moustaches and goatees have been known to vanish.  The hirsute community is demanding an investigation into a possible hairicide, accusing the police of brushing off the disappearances.  Mr. T. Soul Patch, head of the Anti-Shave Society or ASS said, “the police must act immediate or else this investigation too, will go down the drain.”  Speculation has also fallen on Mr. Armitage, who is in seclusion and cannot be reached for comment.

Reaction to The Beard’s death has been mixed.  The Beard was very private and revealed little until recently when it began talking on Twitter under the name RichardsBeard.  Denizens described it as anywhere from “abrasive” to “tickling their funny bones.”  Fans of The Beard have expressed sorrow, stating, ” Nooooooo!”  Detractors of The Beard have been jubilant, saying, “it was a hairy character anyway that was all over Mr. Armitage’s face like a cheap suit.”

The mystery continues.


An Apology to My Younger Self

[Many of you have been following my struggle with depression humorously referred to as Winston.  If you’re interested in reading those posts, they start here.  In addition to medication, resolving the depression requires overhaul and reintegration of pieces of one’s self. It’s a very serious and trying business.   I wrote the following many months ago but never published it.]


tree drawingI’m sorry little Judi.

Tonight I sat in therapy feeling misery and sadness, and things came back to you again.  She told me to picture my earliest sadness, and again you appeared in the old living room, ready to go, dressed in a bright blue jumper, white peter pan blouse, white tights, wine Buster Brown shoes.  Nobody’s around.  It’s just you standing there, small, lost, inconsequential.  You’re looking down a long empty hallway.  I can’t remember why.

I’ve seen you before many times over the years.  They told me to talk to you; I talked to you.  They said to hug you and tell you everything would be alright.  I hugged you and said everything would be alright.  But you always looked the same, so I had to do it again.  Each time, you always looked the same.  Damnable inarticulate child, you wouldn’t tell me what was wrong, where it hurt, so we could put a bandage there and I could finally get on with my life.  So I had to keep reassuring you.  But when you would look up with those sad eyes, I knew you didn’t believe me.

Tonight she said to send you colors of emotions to see how you would react.  I imagined.  You stood there holding big balls of orange and green light in each small hand, looking even more sad and lost.  You were me, but separate from me, something outside of myself that I left in the past.  I needed to move on the best way I could, so I left you behind.

I told her I wanted to reclaim the creative parts of myself I’d lost, find my true self in the pieces that broke off.  I imagined going back and collecting the bits of myself like seashells and dropping them into a bucket.  Then we would put the pieces together in some meaningful way and I would Find Myself.  But I could never collect you because you weren’t small enough. Then I would be angry and frustrated that such a small child could be so larger than life, an immovable object.  Then I would cry for myself, always my adult self.

Tonight I looked at you and realized I’d treated you the same way others had.  I said what they told me to say and hugged like they told me do, all the while hoping for some change for me in the present because I couldn’t connect with you in the past.  You were a stranger who resembled pictures of  my younger self,  a small, lost, inconsequential child.  I couldn’t remember and didn’t care what you thought and felt; I just wanted you to respond to my hollow words and distant hugs.  No wonder you didn’t believe me.

But you kept standing there, quietly waiting, hoping I would notice you,  just you did with everybody else.  Tonight, as you held those spheres of color, looking so sad and lost, I cried, but not for myself as I’ve always done.  I finally cried for you.   I felt so sorry for you.  For the first time, my adult self in the present felt a connection to you in the past.   You weren’t a strange child; you were my child.

So when she said to conjure up a life where you wouldn’t feel so sad and lonely, I imagined a place where you could play with other children and took you to the playground myself.  I coaxed you to the monkey bars and watched you mingle tentatively.  I heard children’s laughter.  I’m not sure if it was yours yet. Among all the pants and tops, you looked out of place in the blue jumper and white tights that you refused to change.  But it’s early yet.  Small steps.  I took a mental picture and framed it, to remind us things will be different.

I’m so sorry little Judi.  Things will be better.  I see you now.

Judiang Walks

Water Tower

Well, hello there. Yes, this is my last walking tour of the day.  My rate is a bit higher than my competitor here, but I’ll show you the unique quirker side of Chicago’s Gold Coast, unlike Sly, who simply memorized Wiki and keeps trespassing on my turf.  Thank you.  Here’s your change.

Yeah? well f*ck you very much too, Sly.  See you in court Monday.

*Ahem*  Sorry about that.  We’re both lawyers and with the downturn on the economy, things are a bit dog-eat-dog in town, you understand.  Oh no, it’s just friendly rivalry.  Let’s move along, shall we?

Thanks for joining Judiang Walks this evening!  I’m Judiang and I share some  of the more interesting tidbits of the area.  Looks like it’s just you and me this evening, so you’re get my special undivided attention.  Where are you from?  London!  Such a wonderful city; I’ve been there many times.  So, what brings you to our city?  I’m sorry, did you say you’re an actor filming in Detroit? I can see why you’d want to get away for recreation then.  So, you’re an actor – anything I might see you in?  No.  No.  No.   No.  No.  No.  Wait — er, no.  Sorry.  To be honest, I haven’t watched much British stuff.  What’s your name?  Oh, that does sound British.  Not many people use that name here anymore.  Oh. Well, see, my grandmother’s last boyfriend was called that.  Never liked him.  He was a real scruffy character – halitosis something awful and I’m pretty sure he had mange.  Can I call you Dicky?  No? Oh sure, I can use that.  You can call me Ms. Ang.  Ha ha!  Just joking, call me Judi.

Hancock Tower

Now love, we are on North Michigan Avenue called the Gold Coast because of the upscale stores and residences.  This limestone water tower here is one of the last structures left standing after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  The popular myth was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern that started the blaze. Absolutely not true.  Nobody knows how it started.  A few years ago, the local bar association put the cow on mock trial.  She was acquitted of all charges, and her name cleared.  Yes, her testimony was quite moo-ving… haha… you’re funny.Across the street, sweetie, is Water Tower Place, one of the first vertical shopping malls.  Over there is the John Hancock  building. Before  Sears Tower – I mean, Willis Tower, was built, the John Hancock was the tallest building  with 100 floors.  The thing is here is that you can stuff yourself with every variety of cheesecake imaginable in that restaurant or go to the top on a windy day.  You’ll see the windows pop out and feel the building sway.  I’m told it’s really exciting.

4th Presbyterian

Adjacent, honey,  is the Fourth Presbyterian Church, the second oldest building on the Magnificent Mile.  What?  I can’t say much about it.  They took exception to my story about the dead body and the candlestick, so I’d rather not.  No, I can’t tell you.  Nope.  No.  Stop it, I can’t tell you!

Quick, let’s catch the light.  Oak Street here is known for expensive trendy boutiques.  But if you keep walking down to Rush Street, you’ll hit the trendy restaurants where the beautiful people like yourself hang out.  Seriously sweetheart!  You’re dressed in black already, so you’ll fit right in.   Are you blushing?  You’re blushing!  You are just too cute.


Speaking of the beautiful people, baby, the city nightlife offers something for everyone.  Down this other street is an exclusive gentleman’s club called Pussy ‘n Boots.  Every other Saturday night, the police pop in to collect donations for charity.  I suggest you give generously.  The gimmick there is the women use their teeth to – not your style?  Well, a block down is a discrete gay club called The Back Door.  The entrance is – no?  Hmm.  Above The Back Door is a place called Shackles.  They make you sign a hold harmless agreement at the door and it’s strictly BYOW – Bring Your Own Whip.  Still no, eh?  My, you area challenge.  Let me think… there’s splodging at Food Fight – what?  If I have to explain it to you, er – nevermind.  You probably wouldn’t want to know.

So darling, what would you like to do?  Read a book and turn in early, with all the city has to offer???  C’mon, how about taking a night cruise out on the lake – oh, you have a thing about deep water?  That’s a shame.  So I won’t see you in a swim suit on the beach, huh?  That’s really a damn shame.  Oh, stop that!

What’s wrong honey, you sounded a bit odd just now.  Ohhhhh, you were trying out your American accent for the film… I see.  Cool.  When you’re done with the voice coaching – um, that is the accent…

No, no, no!  You’re doing fine, don’t worry.   Americans love British actors.  They’ll forgive them anything.  Haha!  Seriously sweetie, don’t get upset.  You’ll going to do just fine.  When your film premieres, I’ll be first to see it.  Yes, what’s it called?  Really.  Oh yes, mid-westerners love movies about natural disasters like that.  Honestly.

Oh, you’ll staying at this hotel?  Sure, it’s a decent enough place.  Hasn’t been a murder here in two years.  Gotcha!  Haha!  Yeah, I was taking the piss out of you.  A drink?  I’d love to but I need to go home and walk my dog… yeah, a little Pomeranian.  She’s pissed off at the sitter for letting the groomer shear her, so they aren’t getting on at the moment.  I’m telling you, she thinks she’s a person.

Well, good luck with your film, love.  I wish you all the luck.  If you’re ever back in town, look me up.  Here’s my card.  Depending on the season, I also do ghost chasing, cemetery walks, and rabbit and turkey hunts.

Goodnight, and break a leg.


It Happened One Summer

In the plate glass window, the man watched the reflection of three girls, young women actually, arguing across the road.  His own image reflected there revealed a fit, bearded, middle-aged man, dressed in black from his sunglasses to his boots, sipping black coffee and munching brioche in front of a Pret A Manger.  From their furtive glances and head tilts, he knew they recognized him.  He really wasn’t into the whole celebrity thing and had half a mind to get up and continue on his way.  But his new PR people had warned he had better get used to it, especially once the film hit the theatres.  So here he sat, watching a curious drama unfolding.

The shortest girl spoke sharply and turned as if to cross the street towards him.  The tall, bossy one shot out a hand to stop her, while the middle looked on helplessly.  Bossy wagged a finger in clear admonishment. The man frowned.  A bit full of herself, wasn’t she?  Bossy appeared to be making points as she ticked off finger after finger. Shorty’s face drooped a bit further with each one.  The man’s brow furrowed as he pondered what the problem could be.  Maybe they didn’t want to intrude on him eating.  He stood, pushing the last bite into his mouth.  Placing a hand casually in his pocket and still sipping the coffee, he turned slightly towards the girls.

Shorty’s head dipped a bit as her shoulders sank in defeat.  The man didn’t like Bossy one bit.  Look over here, Shorty, he thought. He turned fully towards them and smiled in open invitation.  Shorty and Middle noticed and stood, rooted to the spot, while Bossy kept lording it over them. Oh hell.  He had to cross the road and pass them anyway. He would be extra sweet to Shorty just to show Bossy.  Tossing the cup in a bin, he caught the green light and crossed.  He could see Shorty and Middle tracking his every step.   He rehearsed what he might say as he strode closer.  Good morning, ladies? Nice to see the sun today, ladies? What the fuck is going on here, ladies?   But before he could get within hailing distance, Bossy whirled around and spotted him.  The three of them turned and fled into the park entrance. The man stopped at the entrance in disbelief, watching their retreating backs.  They ran away!  He knew he was tall, but he didn’t think he was scary.  He rubbed the back of his neck. Well, there was no telling what went on people’s minds.  He shook his head, chuckled and went on his way.


The man walked in the mist, the collar of his jacket turned up against the unusual summer chill.  He’d been a bit glum since the last project ended.  He knew this was to be expected; he’d been gone a long time, the longest in his career.  The next project did not begin for a few weeks, so he felt caught in a limbo of sorts.  Reasoning that he simply needed to get re-acclimated, he had taken to walking around the city.  He kept his head down and avoided eye contact, hoping nobody would recognize him.  Since his return, practically nobody had, except for those girls near the park, the ones who ran away.  Down Under, nobody knew him, so he blended in easily.  Here, at least one or two fans approached him weekly for an autograph or picture.  But for the past month, nobody at all had come near him, not on the Tube, on the buses, in the parks, or even here, in Leicester Square.  He relished his new-found anonymity; it would disappear soon enough in a few months.  But if he were honest, a tiny, eg0-driven part him worried that he might have been forgotten. He smirked; ah, the insecurity of actors. As if to prove the point, he lifted his head, squared his shoulders and sought to make eye contact as he walked through the square. He’d darkened the hair again and shaved the beard. This should be easy.  He thought he’d caught a few glances, but their gazes slid from his and back to their own worlds.  A tired-looking woman approaching in a sodden-looking Burberry looked his way and did a double take, her eyes widening in recognition. An instant later, he chided himself.  Feel better now?  Remember, *you* started this.  He readied a charming smile.  She stared for a few seconds before suddenly averting her gaze and striding by quickly.

The man stopped in his tracks and glanced over his shoulder to make sure she hadn’t simply lost her nerve.  Nope, still walking.  Hearing a gasp, he glanced at two young women standing by a theatre door with bored-looking boy.  They stared and whispered, clearly recognizing him, but none approached.  He took a deep breath and walked on.   He felt glum again.


The man’s head throbbed.  On the agent’s desk in front of him sat a pile of scripts covered in post-it notes.  In his hand, he held a sheaf of paper detailing recommendations in close, cramped writing.  He had asked for the stack to be delivered to his house.  Then he had asked for his fan mail.  That’s when the headache started.  There was no mail.  Well, there were the usual requests from autograph seekers, but no long missives, no gifts, not even complaints – none of the stuff that had kept him connected to his fans for years.  He, the agent and the marketing strategist stared silently at the stylish sweater, mangled in the post, sent for his birthday as the fandom’s communal gift.  They thought his profile might require some upgrading. He was unable to follow the marketing strategist after that.


The man poked at the dry cake with his fork.  He glanced over at his lunch mate, an outgoing, gregarious, affable bloke with a high forehead and a wave of reddish blonde hair.  This guy was a hot property, touted as the Next Big Thing, who was beating him in entertainment polls.  They were eating in the most chic, but not appetizing, restaurant in the city, a place to be seen, according to his strategist.  Their lunch date was discreetly broadcast to arrange a casual meet and greet with photographers and fans. The bloke had already chatted up the staff and half the restaurant, all of whom seemed to adore him.  His date pushed aside his own dessert shrugged and smiled wryly.  Showtime, he sighed.


They rode in silence.  The photo and fan op had occurred without a hitch.  The man felt ridiculous relief as a handful of fans waited for him to approach.  He found himself trying to chat longer, but they seemed content to collect their autographs demurely and pictures and eager to leave quickly.  Meanwhile, the other bloke’s fans swarmed him; everybody chatted and laughed as if it were a small, impromptu party.  The man decided to wait in the car.   It had taken awhile for the thing to be over. The man thanked the bloke for taking him home.  The bloke waved away the thanks, saying any time.  As the man turned towards his house, the bloke rolled down his window.  Hey, I’m really sorry about your fandom, he said.


The man stared at the monitor, willing himself not to move again.  He’d gotten up ten times and gulped two glasses of wine.  His fans had all “defected?”   Well, yes, he had been away, engrossed in that long project he couldn’t talk about, but he’d sent a Christmas message, and a birthday message, and some other message, he was sure.  He jumped up, sloshing the glass of wine.  So those fickle bitches left me?  After all these years?  For the latest, youngest hot totty?  He wallowed in self-pity for a moment before chiding himself.     That’s the ebb and flow of things, fans come and go.  There was bound to be some attrition while I was away.  No matter what the bloke said, he still had people who liked his work.  Resolute, he sat, set the glass down none too gently, tapped at the keyboard.  He would visit his fan sites.  Years ago, he had sworn he wouldn’t, to avoid getting his feelings hurt and being swayed by opinion, but he had to know.  He had to see for himself.

Thirty minutes later, he sat back.  The three main fan sites still existed, all following his career and updating with the latest releases. He checked the membership rolls at the bottom.  Yes, they seemed troublesomely low, but they all didn’t defect, so there, red-haired bloke.  The participants in general forums chatted about his work, interviews and public appearances, all in glowing praise.  They chatted about themselves, a lot about themselves.  There was nothing remotely critical.  It was very pleasant and wonderful and well, uninteresting.  When did that happen?  He gulped more wine.  Clearly these sites would tell him nothing.  Time to google himself.

He typed in his name, leaned forward eagerly and scanned the page.  Blogs!  Yes, he’d heard about blogs and actually read a few theatre ones himself.  The bloggers were an independent, unpredictable lot.  They would tell him what he needed to know.  He eyed the top listed ones; his name appeared in the titles.  With another swallow of wine, he hesitated, then clicked.  404 page not found.  What?  He clicked the next link.  404 page not found.  The blog was gone?  He clicked a different blog link.  404 page not found.  He scrolled through several Google pages, clicking on blogs about him.  404 page not found.  He checked links on blogs not focused on him, but frequently mentioning him.  404 page not found.  He checked tumblr links.  404 page not found.

An hour later, he sat back.  All the blogs and tumblrs concerning him had disappeared.  Sometime over the summer, they had all vanished.  His fan forums were decimated.  What happened?  The only bit of information he found was a farewell post remaining on a defunct tumblr: I will not abide by The Rules. I will create a new account elsewhere.  If you know me, you’ll know where to look.  Rules?  What rules?  His fandom had no set rules. He returned to the main fan sites, searching for rules.  He found something on etiquette, but nothing to cause an exodus.   Finally his eye stopped on a section: members only.  Of course! Rummaging through the desk drawer, he found the secret name and password he had used to join the site years ago.  He’d chickened out and never used it, allowing that his fans should have privacy.  But he would use it now.

Entering the logon, he clicked.   There they were — The Rules — in large bold type.  Due to the defection of old fans and expected influx of new ones, in order to promote proper respect for our actor, a reorganization of this fandom is necessary. Compliance with the following rules is necessary for membership. He groaned as he scanned the lines: 2. Our actor is a busy man.  Approach him only at approved public events designated as publicity for his work. At these events, interact with him briefly, politely and respectfully, and leave as soon as possible.  But what if I have time to stay and chat?  the man thought. Don’t chase them away!  4. Our actor is a shy, private person.  He has stated in interviews that he does not care to give autographs in the street.  So if you see him out and about, leave him strictly alone.  He moaned.  That’s not what I meant!  Now they’re running away from me.   6.  Real Person Fiction in any form or access level is forbidden. Since it involves the person of our actor, character fiction in any form or access level is also forbidden. Such works are potentially distressing to our actor, his family, and friends, and thus disrespectful.  He pistoned back in his chair.  When in the hell did he say this? His eyes fell to the last line: 10. These rules are non-negotiable and will be strictly enforced.  Violators will be brought before a tribunal of their peers for the enforcement of appropriate penalties, up to and including exclusion from the fandom.

His mind reeled, confusion and wine overtaking him.  His head sank slowly to the desk.  What’s happened to my fandom? he thought.