Saturday, October 2, 2010

the Fantastic Johnny C. & the fantastic George Gerdes

OK, now let's all boogaloo down Broadway.

Back in the day, when I worked weekends at Folk City (early 80s), I used to see a singer-songwriter named George Gerdes.  He was funny, and although he wasn't necessarily a good-looking man, he had some kind of insane charisma.  He was sexy as all get-out.  Around the mid-90s or so, he went out to California to pursue an acting career, and has done fairly well as a character actor.  I'm posting two of his reels, since one includes his recent True Blood appearance (as well as a recent A-1 commercial), and the other has his appearance on the Seinfeld "Bubble Boy" episode:

A few years ago, George came to New York for some special gig, I think it was Ed Sanders' (The Fugs) 65th birthday.  When I approached the club, there was an older balding guy standing outside, and V. said hello to him.  After the show started, the baldish guy got on stage a struck a pose with his guitar.  And OMG, it was sexy old George Gerdes! In fact, later, I told V's wife that we had seen Gerdes, and she asked me, "Is he still so hot?"  So it wasn't just me.  George had something going on.  His album or albums are out of print, and I'd love to get one.

Barry is still feeling crummy, and it makes me feel pretty crummy too.  Although the herbals I procured yesterday are very happy-making.  I'm thinking that Herbal Guy is getting some medical-grade product, maybe from NJ.

I weeded out all of my Facebook "friends" who weren't really friends -- I had acquired a lot of blues-oriented "friends" during the five minutes that I wrote for  They were kind of cluttering up my Facebook experience -- I'd log on and see posts from people I didn't know,. about gigs in other cities and such, and I finally edited out about a hundred people so that my "friends" are now people I know or people who interest me.  It means that when I log on, I mostly see stuff that interests me, though the political stuff leaves me cold.  I've finally become deeply interested in history over the past several years, but I'm still easily confused and bored by politics.  Maybe I'm missing the gene.

I loved the first two "girl who" Steig Larsson books, and have ordered the third.  I'm not a big mystery reader, or a reader of foreign fiction (I always feel I'm missing out because I don't get the cultural stuff).  But reading carefully, I think I got enough of a sense of Swedish life to enjoy the books, though I still don't understand certain things like the characteristics of certain neighborhoods.  (As if a Swede were reading an American book that said, "she moved from the Lower East Side to the Upper East Side, and she wasn't sure it was much of an improvement" -- s/he wouldn't know what those neighborhoods were all about and thus what the move or comment signifies.)

I enjoyed my reread of Kalki, which I read so long ago that I'd forgotten a lot of it, and I think I had a very different experience of it than when I was 20 or so (I read it many times over when I was younger).  It was also very interesting to see the plot against the publication date of's always interesting to see how the past envisioned the future.

I'm reading Marge Piercy's Sex Wars now, and she's become a real ace at historical fiction. The book is a fictionalized account of several real people from Gilded Age New York, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Victoria Woodhull.  It is of course told from a very liberal point of view, all about women's rights and status in that area, and those who broke away from the social conventions.  It's more history than politics, though the politics are fairly simple and not very dull.

Marge Piercy has been one of my favorite writers for many years, even before she wrote a lot of historical fiction.  Vida was always one of my favorites, about a 60s radical in hiding.  Woman on the Edge of Time is fascinating, and raises a lot of questions about mental illness: is the woman mentally ill, or is she truly transported to another place -- or rather, how does it look from her point of view?  Braided Lives is another good one.  They're all fairly feminist without being preachy.  And she has a wonderful style of writing.  I even like her poetry, and I'm not much of a poetry reader.  (Even when I wrote poetry myself, I didn't care much for reading poetry.)

A favorite male writer is John Irving, though I haven't read any of his new work for about eight years.  But I used to buy his books in hardback.  He has a real talent for odd plots, and also a great writing style.

I'm not sure what to do with myself today.  I saved a four-part talk about Scientology on YouTube, and may check that out.  Lot of scary movies on TV, now that it's October.  That's more Barry's thing than mine -- he watched a string of Hammer Dracula movies last night.  I just can't watch Hammer films.  A lot of British stuff has that Politics Effect on me.  A lot of people I know or knew adore British mysteries, whether books or films/TV, but I can't stand them.  I had a couple of serious Anglophile friends in summer camp, and I would just look the other way when they started doing Goon Show and Monty Python riffs (though I eventually did develop a liking for Monty Python). The girl Anglophile friend has a poorly hidden passion for Peter Cook, which was kind of embarassing when she wrote a novelette or something where the characters were clearly a fantasy Cook and Moore.  The boy Anglophile friend came to it more from a musical point of view -- he played a number of instruments and particularly enjoyed traditional music from the British Isles.  I don't know if he plays any music any more -- a random computer course pushed him away from music and toward technology, and as he is wildly intelligent, he became a Big Deal in finance and technology, rather than an awesomely talented musician (he played about a dozen instruments, many of them ancient ones).  With his long hair cut and beard shaven, in an expensive suit rather than jeans, he's been living in London for some years now.  I find it hard to imagine anything longer than a visit (even a long one) to another country.  I can't imagine wanting to live in any other country, but I've visited very few myself.

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