Please visit Morris Kight

Please visit Morris Kight @

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lead Paint and No Bicycle Helmet...

and Soupy Sales are some of my favorite childhood memories. Soupy's pie throwing antics, puppets White Fang and Black Tooth... well, this was anti-Captain Kangaroo elitist after-school tv humor. You had to be a bit of an existentialist to get and appreciate Soupy- or a future substance abuser. None of us kids in my house dared to go into mom's wallet and send Soupy the pieces of green paper with pictures of presidents. We knew how scarce those pieces of green paper were to mom. Yet we waited all week to find out how many other kids did send him dollars. And they did. Soupy Punked the nation. Soupy had juice before there was juice. Soupy was anti-reality tv. For years, whenever in a pickle and needing to make a serious decision, I'd ask myself, what would Soupy do? And then I'd remember "be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you," which I see as "at least try." Soupy had pull. Soupy would only do it his way. Soupy had his time in the light. He was the first one I remember who gave me a new way of seeing the world. He was Kierkegaard for kids. Thanks Soupy. Rest wherever the hell it is that you want to rest.

When did Alice Cooper ever do a 52 week tour?

Years and years later, like maybe a hundred years later, and about three thousand miles away, I met Soupy's sons Tony and later Hunt Sales. Great musicians, played with Bowie on tour and in recording. I never had the nerve (or gall) to ask what kind of advise Soupy gave to them.

If you remember Soupy or if you've never heard of Soupy, you'll enjoy this tribute to our old pie throwing clown slash friend.

And bringing it back to me- I really hope this blog blog blog doesn't turn into a series of obits obits obits. Take care of yourselves, wear your helmet, watch out for asbestos and lead, and... and... and... go ahead throw a pie for a chrissakes, you know you want to.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Your name is on the list at the Pearly Gates, Brendan

They should let you right in.

Not just any punk impresario, Brendan Mullen was The LA Punk scene.

Musicians couldn't break a guitar string in this town without Brendan knowing about it. I wasn't, and I still am not, a musician. I had the lovely pleasure to call Brendan a friend. He was LA family. In LA, all the disenfranchised folks find each other and create what we need and many times, we recreated what we were trying to get away from. Brendan, for me, was a sweet mixture of both and I believe he would say the same about me. I've known Brendan for close to thirty years and I am so moved to see the outpouring of love from everyone who knew him. The genuine caring this man put into his life's work- promoting the best of Los Angeles music and bringing us the best the rest of the world had to offer was always peppered with his salty brogue and dry wit. The blue eyes twinkled in the dark smokey clubs and his ears were perked to what was happening on stage. He prevailed the victor in many of his battles with personal demons. He was smart enough to recognize the authentic love in Kateria and he made the decision to deal head on with his Lothario ways. He never owned a home, but he always had a place for a friend to stay. He wasn't a comedian but I always laughed when I was with him.

He also had an excellent reputation as an A-1 DJ. His eclectic musical tastes guaranteed that he had more than just a little something for everyone. When he wasn't spinning disks at a party, he was the life of the party. A renowned raconteur, he was a bit of rascal and could kick some dust between folks just out of boredom.

Brendan was loved by so many. He loved so many. My life is richer for having been one of those people.

We must be the stupidest nation on earth

Or we are just a bunch of Lemmings following every rat the news agency throw at us?

While the media hypnotized the nation with Boy Flies Away crap-

We missed talking about Obama visiting the aching New Orleans for the first time as president. There was a nice big bowl of gumbo waiting for the Commander in Chief. He didn't leave too much behind but a lot nicely put together words and some more of that hope he likes to pass around.

If you don't think that's a big deal- ask Arianna HuffPoington

Arianna got preempted by Balloon Boy on the Ed Shultz Show.

Ed should know better than that.

Regardless of this possibly being a tragic story, or even a hoax, can we please get off the sensationalism for the sake of any car chase or in this instance, the military chasing down a silver balloon! Keep that stuff to yourselves until you've sorted it out, thank you.

Oh, that felt good. Another quiet outrage finally exorcised before dinner.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Warning: Extremely Liberal Material :)

Hey there! I am thoroughly enjoying the Naomi Klein's interview of Michael Moore for Nation. Of course they are both brilliant. Personal opinion: Moore is off-putting sometimes, always to his detriment. But what he lacks in "social graces" he more than makes up for with passion and commitment to "the cause." I can always relate to his position on serious public policy issues. Sometimes it is the bull in the china shop who makes the most sense out of the right china pattern.

I have not seen his new film Capitalism: A Love Story. Yet. The trailer makes it clear that it's Moore's antics all over again with the People in Charge. The People who created The Cause for which we need thirty more Michael Moore's. He is going after The People who instigated the outrage over a bankruptcy so vast it reached beyond financial of every American. He's bringing attention to the moral corruption. Moore blames Capitalism. I don't know about that. Yet.

Progressives do not necessarily have a leader. The Right have always been better at fund raising and knowing how to spend the money. (Heard the first Meg Whitman ad this evening. which was more than a little creepy. You know that she's still on the board of ebay and she's running for Governor of California? Well you do now.) Progressives don't always have deep pockets. While Wendell Potter now gets hailed as the big hero to The Cause of health care reform, Michael Moore still gets knocked around by the Right Wing.

Michael Moore has taken enough abuse. Let's just listen to the guy, with an open mind, and he is entitled to have his say. And anyone is entitled to agree with him. Or not.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rude- a national trend

There is a lot of talk about the madness taking over our public discourse. I want to point to Linda 's article in today's Los Angeles Times. She emphasizes the point better than I:

"If this trend continues, it's not a good thing for the country."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The New Epidemic

We have an epidemic of bad manners. It is spreading into the halls of congress (Rep. Wilson- R-S.C.), the stage of the VMA awards (Kanye West), and on to the tennis courts (Serena Williams). These are just three examples. There is an explosive nature taking over our personal exchanges.

I recently had to leave an email group of my old hometown gang. There were maybe two dozen names on the list, all who grew up in the same small town in the close suburbs of New York City, now spread out through the world. We reminisced and exchanged photos. We kept each other up to date and shared things of mutual interest. And then he arrived. You know the guy. He made some horrible decisions in this life, he screwed up and was screwed over, and he's basically a sorry case. It is a sad story and some of the others on the email list took pity on him but I prefer not to pity people. I want to accept them and help them if they need it and if I'm able, but I won't insult them with pity. Anyway, as soon as he arrived on the list we were all made aware that he had found The One, he had Jesus as his Savior. It was shallow at best, I didn't engage it, and yet it quickly became politically ignited. I tried to reason with him privately ("look," I'd say "protecting homosexuals under a hate crimes bill will not provide protection to pedophiles"). It tested my patience. But I took it as an exercise in balance and restraint. I never expected to convert the guy and that's probably where I made my mistake. People like him are looking to be converted or to convert. They go through their whole lives having to screw with things, they can never let well enough alone. They get their big awkward thumbs all over everything, they can't help themselves. But I drift away from the point of this long story.

I also asked him privately if he could curtail some of his more hate-filled religious rants without saying those exact words. I explained that I'm "sensitive" to that kind of material which is really a nice way of saying "You're a callous bore." Anyway, on the group emails, he just ramped it up. He singled me out. He grabbed on to a quote that I used in my email signature line by Ted Kennedy. It was the week that Kennedy died and I was showing a little respect. Well, Jesus' newly begotten son got on my case, to the whole group, about the mistakes of Ted Kennedy and that he wasn't a person worthy of, of, I don't know, acknowledgment.

I simply and briefly responded that it was a good opportunity to ask ourselves if we really do believe in redemption and forgiveness. Jesus' newly appointed spokesperson responded that Ted Kennedy wrote a letter to the Pope and so he did not deserve to be forgiven. His tirades escalated without my saying another word. This went on for a day and then some kind soul within the group emailed a few of us privately and asked what we can do about the particularly "mean spirit" of the emails of late? A few of the other people decided that they believed in freedom of speech and that we all had the option to delete. That's when I decided that the effort to filter him out and delete him, to have to navigate around his hate in the name of God, was an imposition. I opted out of the group. It took a few tries. I had to get very direct and stern with new Son of God before he understood that he was not to include me in on anymore of his emails. He did not know how to respond to the word 'stop.'

So there you have it. People are getting more rude every day. I blame the tone of the town hall meetings more than anything. I know it's really a much bigger issue but I don't want to navigate around other people's fears and ignorance's my whole life. I don't know if it will be possible. But we really do need to ask ourselves, what happened to get us so angry?

Now, I'd be so remiss if I didn't mention a particular reason for the rude tone among people, or a reasoning that has come up from New York to Kentucky from what I've seen, I'm sure more folk are mentioning it. So I better too. They are blaming this bad behavior, these over-the-line antics, on the fact that we have a black president. For all the crap we will say about Kanye West, he is not a birther. If I was a betting woman, my money would say that he voted Obama. I think the people who need to act out because the hate our black president are a virus that has fired up the rest of country. It's not a good heat. A vaccine would be more cool heads, but I do not witness an abundance of those.

I'm glad that Congress rebuked ol' Rep. Wilson. Note to South Carolina: get your representatives sorted out or stop embarrasing yourselves.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Did you know the Constitution is for sale?

I am so uneasy about the possibility of the Supreme Court's imminent decision regarding unregulated corporate spending on campaigns. This could be the beginning of the official end of any shreds of democracy left between these two shining (if not polluted) seas.

If the Supreme Court overturns this century's oldest campaign finance protection (the wee bit of protection that is truly left for individuals), We the People will become We the Poop. When I analyze the long-term and short-term implications of giving corporations, who already are able to outspend the consumer/voter, the equal right to endorse and contribute to political campaigns as much as their legislative needs require, well we will truly have given away the keys to the kingdom. I am so sorry. If this comes to pass, I will be so very sorry for all of us.

It reminds me of another tentacle of Jane Smiley's sound argument in favor of the public option in health care reform. She points out the obvious- that if Obama sells the middle-class down the river by signing off on anything less than a public option in a health bill, she rightly says, "that the government is just a sham, a front organization for wealthy corporations."

That's will just be the cherry on top of the real treat- if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiff in Citizens United v. FEC, welcome The United Corporations of America.

And then the truly ugly war between the titans of greed and megalomania will be at our doorsteps, in our homes, in our bank accounts, in our tvs, in our computers, in our books, movies, and schools and there will not be a damn thing we can do about it.

We need help. Individuals need to unite, not try to "divide and conquer" or it will be "divide and be conquered." It is in the hands of the Supreme Court and this will tell us pretty much everything we need to know about the health of our nation.

One more thing- don't miss Bill Moyer's essay to Barack Obama. This is what journalists are supposed to do.

Monday, August 17, 2009

a quick cut 'n past on healthcare reform

My new fav word, birthed from the belly of the beast of the anti-reformers, "Nabobs of Negativity." Unfortunately, those who need to hear it most are those who are most unlikely to know what it means [pronounced nA-bob. A Hindi word originally referred to a provincial governor of the Mogul empire in India; NOW is used to describe a person of great wealth or prominence].

I want to direct you to an associate's well voiced piece about her experience at one of those Nabob rallies. Jennifer is a braver woman than I to have actually gone to one of these reasons for aspirin. I simply don't have enough health insurance coverage to risk the exposure to the violence and anger (yes, over exposure to anger can adversely affect one's health).

Hope you are remembering to drink plenty of fluids, eat your greens, exercise regularly and take your vitamins. in other words: take care of your health.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hippies! Damn hippies!

Hippies! Damn hippies!

That’s what we were all saying last Saturday at Beyond Baroque during Maureen Cotter’s 5th annual reading from her memoirs. This year featured more prison stories centered during Maureen’s stint as a prison guard in 1969 when she was assigned to guard the key witness in the Tate-LaBianca Murders. These were brutal murders that had the entire city on pins and needles even though the intended targets of the rampage were white-rich people. I guess even back then white guys weren’t safe. I don’t mean to make light of the murders. Saturday night, the audience was on pins and needles as Cotter sensitively described the era and her little slice of the American pie. She had a summer residency in a castle in the Hollywood Hills and found herself geographically smack in the middle of both murders as well as her involvement at work.

The modern day equivalent of “hippies, damn hippies,” would be “socialists, damn socialized medicine advocates.” I wish I could say that the debate is heating up; it’s more like the distortion machine has gone into overdrive with smoke and mirrors. Our beloved legislatures are already making changes to the over 1000 page bill based upon bent truths as delivered by none other than that resigned-Governor-rather-than-be-a-lame-duck-Governor, Palin. Why any half brained person would trust her interpretation of the written word is beyond me. But if anyone is interested in taking a look at the actual bill, here it is (most of it is table of contents).

The real catastrophe of this particular bastardization of the democratic process is that it forces many people into defending a health bill before knowing that much about it. We'll do anything to insure health reform. Whatever “it” is, I doubt that it’s socialized medicine in the true sense of the word. It might begin the process to take health care out of free-trade, but it is not socialism. It won’t affect capitalism in the long run. It will, hopefully, begin the process to remove health care from the fair market system, where it never belonged.

But the saddest thing about these arguments is what they represent in the American people. I’m not one of those people. But I'm an American and they're shouting for Americans. They're not shouting and shoving on my behalf. They don’t know their facts and they are not even representing their own best interests. For me, it is another nasty reminder that we have a serious lack of critical thinkers and debaters in the country. Perhaps in the world. I don’t know what will happen to us as a people or as a nation.

My favorite joke recently: Even North Korea couldn't stop Bill Clinton from taking two girls home. I got a little wrapped up in the Euna Lee/Laura Ling capture-release drama. I am happy to see Bill Clinton making good use of his time and talents. And yeah, he's not Secretary of State. She is. But it was a few of those sucker moments that make me proud to be an American. It's probably slutty patriotism.

In any event, there is so much to be grateful for- I hope you're feeling it.

I finally had the opportunity to sit face to face with the fabulous Pat Rocco. He's a tall tale himself and he was generous with his reminisces of Morris Kight. If you have a thing for camp, do not miss the next chance there is to see Pat Rocco film series. These are the real deal, dears.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The new dirty word


The reason some people resist health care reform is that they see reform as socialism. It's fear of the unknown. But from what I’m hearing, President Obama has not forgotten the interests of capitalists. This could be a big boom for insurance companies with mandated insurance and a “provision” for those “hardship cases” who simply cannot afford it. My mantra these days: Health care is not a commodity. If I keep saying this, maybe it’ll go somewhere that it could do something. In the meantime (and that’s going to be quite a long time), I’m keeping my eye on the goal as this is fundamental to the quality of our lives, individually and as a nation.

On a lighter note, check out the new adventures of Smigly from Allen Mez.

And back to a more serious note, if you haven't had a chance to watch Wendell Potter talking with Bill Moyers about his experience as a top executive for a top health insurance company, it's not too late.

Here in LA we say “stay cool,” not so much to wish cool and breezy temperatures or to invoke The Fonz, we say it wanting calm and levelheadedness.

And then we flip 'em the bird.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two Birds - one stone

RE: health care reform

I want to direct you to this page in LA Progressive blog for two reasons. You need to know about Dick and Sharon's LA Progressive, they do a great weekly run down of the issues that matter to people who care.

Also want to bring your attention to this particular piece of video from Bill Moyers' Journal. It is an eye opener from a former health insurance executive. It is the best 37 minutes you'll spend towards effective, progressive health care reform.

The health care industry is described as a "giant ATM" for Wall Street. I'm starting to feel a little sick just thinking about this.

I remember an old adage about an apple a day will keep the doctor away. I am wondering what the formula is to keep the insurance industry away from health care decisions.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

This is embarrasing

Well, this is embarrassing. I set up this blog last year with very good intentions to keep you posted on the comings and goings on over here at the Cherry Urban Ranch (that’s what I’ll call it for today) and you haven’t heard from me since the November election. I forgot the web address and the password. It’s embarrassing. But let me ask: didja miss me?

There have been lots of comings and lots of goings on over here. The right side of the brain is busy working on a new webisode entitled: “Arnie and Mike,” the left side of the brain says not to tell you too much at this time because we don’t want to spoil the surprises.

Am I the only one who sees the Senate Committee questioning Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, as a neutering process? They want to steam all the ethnic and female out of her in their last ditch efforts to protect the integrity of the white male perspective (which is always based upon personal experience). What’s the big concern? They seem to fear what the Supreme Court needs the most- a fresh perspective on the same old laws. Like most successful job candidates, she kowtowed to the interviewers and she seemed to survive intact. Let’s hope she’s not hoodwinking the America people who, while not all white and not all male, have a vested interest in the kind of job she will do. By the way, some of my best friends are white males.

I really enjoyed watching the Laker’s Victory parade. Not because I’m a big parade-ophile – I just like spending time with winners. And the Laker’s are so pretty when they win.

Like most of us, I was excited to see Barack Obama become president. It represented so many things, all of them good and positive. I admit, I wasn’t an Obama supporter from the gate (I wasn’t for Hillary either) and I never did get around to drinking the kool aid. I’m cool on his handling of the economic disaster; I feel that he is using the same tools and thinking that got us into this mess. I am not hopeful for his health care plan, which looks like it will amount to mandated health insurance (a big yahoo for the insurance companies). But I am loving Michele. She is by far the classist first lady ever. She’s an intimidating role model for working mothers only because she makes it look so easy (of course, she must have more help and handlers than a Ringling Brothers circus). She always shows up, looking cool and calm, she’s got it handled, whatever ‘it’ happens to be that day. She must intimidate Barack on some level and good for him for marrying a woman who does that to him. I was moved watching the photos of Sasha and Malia standing in the "Door of No Return" at Cape Coast Castle, Africa (a fortress where slaves were kept before being shipped to America). The two girls walked through the doorway, and then walked back out. It was a reminder that progress does prevail and as our president commented on his daughters freedom of movement, “while the future is unknowable, the winds always blow in the direction of human progress."

I’m going to leave all further comment regarding the City of Los Angeles paying for Michael Jackson’s funeral (in a time when we are laying off school teachers and cutting library hours) to Arnie & Mike. They will have something to say about that right from the start.

I’m here waiting for Suzanne. We are going to a special event at downtown’s Union Station. It’s SVREP’s 35th anniversary gala. What’s so special about this one? It features faire from six of Los Angeles’ top South American cuisine restaurants, which means a few hours of some serious um um. Suzanne will agree that an evening of multiple cuisines is probably the last thing that the either of us need right now- but it’s for a good cause.

The really important news, the big reason for you and me to be here, on this page at this time is the wonderful Morris Kight biography that has been keeping me the busiest. I love this work. It is time consuming, challenging, and it has added so much to my life. It has been a long process and I have grown from it. If nothing, Morris Kight’s memory is well served by the response of the people who knew him and the community he helped to create. The gay and lesbian community has opened their homes, their hearts, their photo books, their personal diaries to me to assist my effort to tell the story of this fascinating individual. In addition, I have traveled across the country and been given the privilege to scour private collections of personal letters, notes, doodling, audio tapes and 8mm films that help to piece together the 83 years that Kight put in on this earth and a majority of those years were dedicated to the liberation of all gay peoples. I want to thank the gay community who, for the most part, are a real classy bunch. See the photo of Morris Kight and this blogger taken in 1995.

And that’s not all. There are other people embracing the telling of gay history. It is so pertinent to this country’s overall history; these human stories need to be told and retold and examined from many different perspectives and experiences. First-person accounts of “the bad old days” of entrapments and arrests on trumped up charges are as important as the documentation of the holocaust. There are two such movie projects that I’d like to bring to your attention. “The Other Side,” by Jane Cantillon is an excursion through the oldest gay piano bar in the Silverlake section of LA. Beautifully told stories woven together by regulars at a neighborhood piano bar, reminiscing an incredibly oppressive era in a place where they would find joie de vivre and also a place that one police raid could abruptly destroy career and family.

Another recent effort is “On These Shoulders We Stand,” a gift of love to the LGBT community from mechanic-turned-filmmaker Glenne McElhinney. McElhinney has assembled an impressive trove of archival research, some of the finest film footage and photographs available from pre-Stonewall days entwined with personal accounts.

All the attention being given to the gay right struggle brings me back to the words our president said just the past week when referring to slavery: “While the future is unknowable, the winds always blow in the direction of human progress."


So with this blogisode I am making a sincere effort to begin the practice of “blogging,” as created by generation X, Y, or one of those. We’ll see how it goes and let me know what you think. Which, if any, parts of my ramble do you like? Dislike? Do I get a “D” in blogging?

Good night Uncle Walter. There will never be another anchor like him.

That’s the news from here for now.