Friday, April 7, 2023

Those Who Wear the Mask

I watched a lot of Scorsese's documentary of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Tour in 1975 last night on Netflix.  Anybody who was alive in the '60s or '70s should be put in prison if you subscribe to modern moral codes.  The '80s, too, actually.  These were the best of times and the worst of times. . . and the worst of times.  The Trump presidency Woke people.  He epitomized everything wrong with America, capitalism, free enterprise, patriarchy, sexual predilections, relationships. . . you could go on and on and on.  Trump fucked everybody in that metaphorical sense.  He was a worthless piece of shit.  

And yet, everyone who graduated college during that time got jobs in the tech industry and made a billion dollars.  With a new sensibility, of course.  Old Dylan was right. . . the times, they were a changing.  The righteous will triumph, right or wrong.  

And the money will prevail.  

Dylan's violinist on that tour was Scarlet Rivera.  She was, at the time, dating a band member from Kiss.  She took Dylan to meet them one night backstage as they were putting on their makeup before going on.  

"I stuck that one away in memory, I think," he said.  

On the Rolling Thunder Tour, Dylan wore kabuki makeup.  Of a sort.  He sometimes wore a mask.  There were not enough of the masks to go around, though.  

"Everyone should have been wearing masks," he said.  "People tell the truth when they are wearing a mask."

There was one of the ideas behind "Lonesomeville."  The mask is a disguise, something to hide your identity, but, as in ancient rituals, it is also intended to call the gods.  

Dylan is pretty bad in The Rolling Thunder Review, but you can't take your eyes off him.  You can't take your eyes off Scarlet Rivera, either.  She was emblematic of the beauty and the weirdness of the times.  

Allen Ginsburg and Patti Smith were hanging on.  The times they were a changing.  

I made a little video about The Mexican Story I wrote yesterday that I didn't post on the blog.  I sent it to friends, though.  One of them astutely commented that I should do a series called "From the Porch."  That is a phrase I used in closing the video.  It is odd to see a video of oneself, of course.  It is fascinating and something else, something more embarrassing.  That is NOT what one thinks himself or herself to look like, sound like, but over and over, it is the case.  I thought my performance in the video fascinating because I saw some of the quirky characteristic movements that my students used in imitating me.  "What?!?" I'd proclaim, but I can see that it is true.  I'd been told many times in the past that people remembered me because of the way I walk.  The way I walk?  What in the hell does that mean?  But people said it often enough that it may have been true.  It will be true no longer, I guess, now that I have a constant limp.  It is strange, though, to view oneself from the outside and recognize the things that people say about you.  

So I thought, yea. . . that's a good idea.  I'd start a new series--"From the Porch."  

Yesterday I set up my little DJI gizmo and decided to do another edition.  But I had nothing to say other than I was making a video for a series called. . . .  That one is going to the vault.  It won't see the light of day.  I need a story or a lecture to riff on before I let the camera roll.  It is hard to talk to a camera.  It is difficult.  When I tried narrating my short 8mm film clip the other day, I was a mess.  I thought I could just turn it on and talk over it.  Ha!  It was very, very hard.  

But still charming in a way, you know?  

I should have been making a documentary during the Lonesomeville years.  The stories I got back then were fantastic.  But hey--they were wearing a mask.  

Maybe I should try recording myself in a mask and. . . no. . . no. . . I wouldn't want to do that.  I might tell the truth.  

Here's an observed truth.  When my blog isn't about women, my hits go down.  I have no woman now, no thing to tell.  I guess the pleading, whining young Werther thing has a certain appeal.  As do photos.  

I guess all my life has been lived in relation to women.  My mother tells people I was in love with Annette Funicello when I was a tiny boy and she was on the Mickey Mouse Club.  Annette, that is, not my mother.  My earliest memory is of crawling around between seated women's legs.  I'm probably hardwired that way.  As my dead ex-friend Brando used to say, if it weren't for women, we wouldn't even bathe or brush our teeth.  We'd just be crawling around in the woods scrounging for nuts and berries.  

I'll keep trying to make "From the Porch," but it will probably come to nothing.  I don't want to end up being some video version of "Shit My Father Says."  

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