Thursday, May 30, 2013

To Be Advertising Or Not To Be Is A Question?

According to a first page banner advertisement in The New York Times, Sir Edmund Hillary topped Mt. Everest with Post Grape-Nuts in his pocket, May 29th, 1953. There's no mistaking the value of the consumers' attention, such that as destructive as consumerism can be, financial democracy is a useful solution. 

It's reassuring that whatever the real problem is if it's just about money and everyone's access then we know the solution. The financial success of nuts and berries and families of buffalo? 

Eventually the panacea of education will have created new people so smart that present problems are just maturing society's past. Though a poll consensus would indubitably run high that this generation already considers itself very mature. Especially as the dark ages of the traditional 20th Century shrink in the collective mirror. The world not only improves through education, earthlings evolved. Yet for all our developed strength, where's the efficacy in thwarting the financial security of the crippled, weak and even beaten since the general necessity is that finance circulates throughout society so that everyone can afford Grape-Nuts wherever they're sold whether they want some or not. Grape-Nuts for everybody.

And Now, While Dominoes Fall In Russia, Something Slightly Different?

A Theoretical New York City Political Tale From The Other Side Of The Commercial Fence

Whose Under Society’s Big Tent?

I had to get away and go where I wasn’t expected to torment myself for my frustrations. I went to see a film I was told I’d never seen anything like before. Still you have to be suspicious when anyone says something will blow your mind. I was. No one’s discovered a new way for James Bond to explode.

I made it to my seat with no difficulty as carpet led my fellow gentry, who can afford feature films, to our individual chairs. Then something was different right away as if revolution was in the air. The music stopped and curtains abruptly closed halfway as the vibrantly pulsating full-screen ad faded to black and a little grainy film came on. The view was from an across-the-street camera slowly panning a graffitied building. Then the camera zooms in and focuses on the sign above the door that says the Tuli Kupferberg Memorial Library and Coffee House. Then the camera lowers slowly to follow the back of a man’s head then his torso inside, so that, after waiting on a car, the camera catches up with the man's back just inside the door. Then the camera widens right to pan from behind the unmanned bar, past the other room of books, to continue left across various heads, sitting at tables and reading alone on the floor. 

So when the camera pan reached the left wall it zooms in on a painting of people screaming at the top of their lungs. Then music starts and the song CIA Man by The Fugs plays in its’ entirety. (3:35 mins.) And when the music started the camera about faced away from the picture to catch the man, grinning in profile, while he surveys the room. Camera 1 also slid backward along the side wall until stabilized in the back corner where it shot from for the rest of the play. So when Camera 1 locks in place, another camera is on a new guy's back coming in and from over that new second man's shoulder, Camera 2 catches his chewing gum extremely slow as the two men stand next to each other listening to the song. 

Meanwhile Camera 2 slid along the front wall to lodge in the front left corner where it remained pointed at the bar to the protagonists' right. Once the visual symmetry of the stage is established, a long-hair got up from the floor to leave and passing the two guys shrugs, “There’s no service here.” Which just gets the two men grinning and looking to their right at the small coffee machine on the small coffee bar. The right guy said, “Serve coffee? Tuli might say we’ve served coffee long enough.” 

So then when they stop grinning, Camera 2 pans left from them and the bar to the table in the center of the floor that the long-hair had sat next to. A chair seated man in his sixties raises his eyes to give them a look and then drops his head back in his book and the men give each other the same look. But short-lived as now Camera 3 enters as if it’s the eyes of the person coming in. The other two cameras check-in as snapshots that miss the front door, then the two men effusively turn around facing Camera 3 as if they're greeting the camera, as Camera 3, as the eyes fade, and Camera 2 catches the new arrival in profile. It was as if a sign on his face said political celebrity even before he said, “I had to see this place.”

Then the first man answers, “Thank you, Mr. Mayor. You agreed to see for yourself. Not just take others' word.”

The politician said, “Yes I make up my own mind,” then the first man mumbled “on a whim” while facing the music/speaker. So the politician looks him in the face and says, “What?” a little angrily, but the first guy just replies, “I just meant what Tuli might think.”

Shrugging, the yet to smile, politician cracks, “And what’s that?”  

Then the first man takes a broad step toward the next room that's the library, and lowers his right arm practically in a curtsey, to say, “Follow me this way to the books.”

Then in passing between the two men, the politician stops to face the first man. He says, “I asked you not to call me Mr. Mayor.” Then the politician listens as if he has to smell this out. Then says, “And will they always have this music?” 

And the first guy says, “Aren’t we all dead when music’s gone?

So now the politician has instinctive reactions. He's dropped his head to a light beat, and discreetly coughed while rubbing his right shoe on the floor. As if preparing to skewer an opponent and lower the boom. With no explanatory narration so far about what a Tuli Kupferberg sign on the door might mean, I’m still following the story. It didn't move at a pace where I wasn't understanding the symbols. 

Then after the last scrape of his left foot, the politician says, “Seinfeld. Can I call you Jerry Seinfeld?” 

And the guy says, “You just did.”

Then the politician snickers and says, "Well. I just did because last time you didn’t want me to know your name.”

So the man falsely accused of being named Seinfeld, says, “Hey.” But the politician ignores him and shifts his weight in place as if he was just peeking inside the library. Then turning back to the first man, the politician's eyebrows move in as his stare centers on the man he'd falsely accused of being a Seinfeld and the politician says, “Everything's a joke to you, huh? The revolution is not coming back to my district. Period. If I don’t have peace and quiet, it’s a blemish on my spotless record I can’t permit.”

Then the anonymous Seinfeld seems to wait on the music with this slight look of maybe his message is lost if the song's cursing doesn't stop. So to himself in voiceover the man thinks, "Man. Tuli sure represented the broad parameters of free speech." 

Then the song ends and Man 1 faces the politician, and out loud says, “I’m quiet.” 

So the politician tries taking him into his confidence. A voter is a voter so the politician says, “You know this isn’t about you. You’re hard working. But society doesn’t need radicals here.”

“Well,” the first guy says, “I’m not Jerry Seinfeld. But you’re the man.”

And the politician didn’t miss a beat. He said, “You know I’m cool. I ride a motorcycle." Then that's when the second man, who’d been listening over the first man’s shoulder, leads Camera 3 past the other two into the Tuli room where he sits in a chair and the camera immediately about faces to focus on the first man's face when he’s not blocked by the back of the politician’s head.

Camera 2, across from the bar, catches the politician's smile when he says, “I’ll be honest with you.” Then not Jerry smiles and gives up on it when the politician continues. “Politicians serve a purpose," he says and at that, Man 2 raises his head from his book and Man 1 squints when the politician says, “I serve the public. The most expensive corporation of all.” 

Amused, as if he was Jerry. Man 1 nods and says, “Ah. So it follows then that government might just be too big to not have inherent corruption? Power corrupts absolutely and all that jazz. What do you think?”

The politician's shoulder shakes. He says, “I think, you think, you can put words in my mouth.”

And Man 1 does a Jerry-like laugh and says, “I wouldn’t assume how far an opinion can reach.” 

So to that the politician raises his chin to give Man 1 the sizing up. Then he says, “You can twist words. You should consider writing speeches. There’s more money in that than this.”

And Man 1, actually in Jerry’s voice again, said, “As it should be?” 

From the beginning the politician had a don’t play smart with me attitude reduced to cliche by the comedies. Friction for friction sake to tantrum-wise portray a job. There was an undercurrent of ideology about this film. Then the camera seemed to forget the protagonists were at a rough spot and focused over the first man's shoulder on a woman and man entering with a box they plop next to the bar. They’ve brought dinner and set a table then one spills a water bottle on purpose, that starts a short water fight and the camera backs away as they clean the floor. 

Then backed up from the water fight, Camera 3 stops at the Tuli room door and about faces to follow inside along a bookshelf aisle where it zooms in on the politician perusing the books and stopping to smack his lips and shake his head holding up the book, 1001 Ways To Avoid The Draft, that someone deliberately painted the title in neon to be perfectly seen.

Then the second guy, sitting, looks up and speaks softly to the first man. “You’re smiling?” And Man 1 says, “Tuli would love this.” 

Then the shot goes black and I’m half expecting a Stallone extravaganza to start, or whatever it was that had tricked me into that theater. But bam, Camera 1, in the back, focuses on no one's there then zooms in on the locked front door popping open to The Fugs’ Summer Of Love, (cued to 7:30), and three enter.

First in, a woman throws up her hands and says,  “Wow the mayor is after us.” And the next new guy says, “The councilman. He’s just a councilman,” as the woman smiles at Man 1 crossing the room to look at a new picture of bicyclists playing polo in a park. 

The new guy says, “That’s why he’s mad at us. Labels are all politicians have. Fred, you have to apologize.”

Finally a character’s name Fred answers a mystery. I’d invested time and it seemed no one else complained, as if we all wanted to see what would happen just like from real compelling films with stars all over the place. Even though Jerry Seinfeld was just replaced by Fred. 

So Fred is completely against apologizing or even staying involved with the project. He says, “Celebrity to celebrity, so to speak. If I were Seinfeld famous, which I’m not.” 

But the woman interrupts, “Fred's right. Except we’re closed unless this becomes an issue.”

Fred says, “I’m not an issue. I’m a comedian.”

Which sparks the other guy who says, “But Fred that’s all we’re asking. Hone your craft here for a really big show. Instead of burning yourself out on the road, do it here.

Fred says, “Yeah. The Book's Last Stand.” 

“Right," the woman says, "I'll be Mickey Rooney in the big show. Fred, people were scared not to sign his petition. We were invited to that meeting just to gloat. This isn’t about books Tuli couldn’t bring himself to throw away. He was obscure for a reason, and not just because he didn’t play guitar like Hendrix. The radical point of view isn't poison. What are you going to do?”

Then the cameras fade out and in on Fred all by himself, at a table, in a chair leaning against the left wall. He’s staring at the wall art and laughs and says, “No one's here. I’ll do a monologue. Leverage. Power. Whoever actually is, was, or becomes mayor, they’re not mayor. Mayor is just a title. However you slice social relations, no person has power to pull strings all by themselves. Any title is a network of tentacles. Look, even Stalin, the bastard, had to dupe millions to get what he wanted."

Then Fred looks up in a questioning pose, as if the sky were inside, and he says, "Tuli would say Occupy isn’t radical. Why would people, pleading, for those that can to stop screwing around with the money, be anything but rational? When the world is unhinged by strict compliance to thought control, where can independence compromise? Ever win?"

Then the camera blacks, but the mega-hit has to wait as an across-the-street camera focuses and follows Fred following the original second guy outside to sit at a table and watch a school bus pass. 

Man 2 says, “No matter who bought the Lower East Side, no one owns the state of mind.” And Fred smugly frowns and laments, “Not this week anyway. No telling what the future is compelled to claim.”

Then everything is black for at least eight seconds when the house lights come on and this wild-haired guy, with a film case, flew by and out the back door chased by theater security. Now that's 3-D!

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