Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

2001 on the big screen

Last night, we went to the Ziegfeld to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on a big screen. I still don’t understand half of it, but it was good to see it on a gigantic screen with a big print and six-track sound and the whole nine yards. The Ziegfeld is one of those old art movie theaters, with only a single screen and a giant auditorium of real movie seats. The whole place, from the hallways to the bathrooms to the snack stands is covered with old trim and looks like real class, not something that was spit out next to a strip mall. (Oddly enough, the current Ziegfeld was built in 1967 a few doors down from the old Broadway theater, which was torn down to put in a skyscraper.)

I hadn’t seen the film in a few years, I think since I got the DVD re-release. And I think I only saw it before that once or twice, on VHS. I do remember, though, as a little kid, my parents had the score on vinyl. I have no idea why, and I couldn’t really see either of my parents watching the movie or feeling a need to buy the album, but it was in the pile of records that I pretty much memorized as a kid. Listening to it was weird and not that interesting, but I loved the gatefold jacket with pictures of the movie in it. This was probably around the time Star Wars kicked in, and those photos of the moon base, and space station, and guys in spacesuits was pretty cool to me back then. I also remember when I was maybe about ten, the film was on TV (probably chopped down to 90 minutes and filled with bad commercials every other minute) and I tried to watch it. I was enthralled by people walking in space and the effects shots, but I didn’t get the last part of the film at all. At that age, there were a lot of things I heard or saw on TV that I didn’t understand at all and my parents would entirely no-sell, and the tiny cultural cracks remained until I was thirty and remembered back to that bad sitcom and thought “oh, that guy was supposed to be on heroin” or whatever. I often wonder if my life would have been radically different if my parents would have just treated me as an adult from the age of three and told me everything that was going on, instead of compartmentalizing things and then never getting around to going back and explaining stuff.

I’m now reading that Legs McNeil book on punk rock, Please Kill Me, and it’s not bad. I’m not into the whole Velvet Underground, David Bowie, New York Dolls thing, and that bores me to tears. I was glad to see some Iggy Pop early on though, because I think he’s hilarious and intriguing. I think this thing will be somewhat boring until it hits the Ramones or so, and then the rest of the book will pretty much explode and be done in a day and a half.

Somewhat related, I was reading somethingawful, and there was a thread where someone found GG Allin’s appearance on Jerry Springer on some web site, and posted it, sort of as a “look how hilarious and cool he is!” The thread devolved into people saying “he’s not punk rock!” and arguing the theory of what is and isn’t punk, which eventually led to anti-corporation rhetoric and explanations as to why it’s inherently evil to go to a restaurant and order breakfast rather than make it yourself. And people ask me why I was never into punk. I sometimes wish the whole pseudo-political movement that attached itself to punk rock had glued onto country music instead, so people on CMT could circle-jerk about Noam Chomsky while discussing what is and isn’t country.

Speaking of GG, his brother Mearle just released a new DVD of three shows from 1993, called Terror in America. It also includes some bonus footage of GG at a family reunion, getting some tattoos, and doing an in-store appearance. From everything I’ve heard, it’s supposed to be a fairly fucked up DVD. But I still remember back in 1994 or 1995 when I bought the “Hated” movie on tape, and me and Larry watched it, and we were sorely disappointed. The video was so lame – it was mostly just GG all strung out back stage, and when he played, there were like 7 people at the show, and the most outrageous thing he did was hit himself in the head with the mic. I guess they re-released it on DVD and put footage of his funeral on there, but still, pretty weak. Even his Springer appearance was better.

Not much else. It’s actually cold here. I wanted to get the bike all cleaned up and see if I can ride with the knee, but it’s in the thirties and windy and I’m not up for some all-weather extreme bullshit when I don’t even know if I can ride or not. So, back to writing.