What better way to end the reading year than with the autobiography of one of the most notorious names of the 80s.
I haven't decided if it's because t...moreWhat better way to end the reading year than with the autobiography of one of the most notorious names of the 80s.
I haven't decided if it's because this is very much a woman's narrative (and thus I relate more easily) or whether Lords's extensive therapy has given her more insight, but the introspection in this journey of addiction, exploitation, and recovery is much more honest and compelling than others I have read.
I did enjoy the fact that on the road to "legitimate" acting jobs, Lords does not think of any job as beneath her. She is equally enthusiastic about working on Wise Guy as she is working with the legendary John Waters (who is really the hero of this tale).
I was equally relieved when the female lawyer, Abramson, took over and stopped allowing the chauvinism of the industry and the law enforcement agencies to exploit and degrade her. There is a clear connection between her love of her female friends and the constant exploitation from her male community--fathers, stepfathers, boyfriends, employers.
Most importantly, Traci Lords is a cat person. I cried real tears at the demise of Mr. Steve, the cat, and I hope there's a special place in hell for the bastard who let his dogs tear that cat apart.
All kidding aside, I remember when her trials became public in the 80s. She was reviled and revered but for most of us a one-dimensional image. Even though this is badly written, her struggle comes through. Traci Lords worked damn hard to get back to normal. And if she had to fuck the some fuckers who fucked her to get to normal....well...fuck 'em.
For the record: I love Aerosmith. I became sexually active to the tunes of Aerosmith, Boston, and Journey. Not gonna lie. Aerosmith has always embodie...moreFor the record: I love Aerosmith. I became sexually active to the tunes of Aerosmith, Boston, and Journey. Not gonna lie. Aerosmith has always embodied sex to me. Steven Tyler was always the long haired, sexy-ugly rock god and like many of the girls in my junior high, I wore a black armband when he married Cyrinda.
Later in my young adulthood, I saw them during the Get a Grip Tour. My ex-husband and I were devout dirt rockers and had been on a grand concert rodeo of Guns N Roses, The Rolling Stones and Living Color. When the ex said "I'm buying tickets to Aerosmith," I was excited. Steven Tyler blew doors on Axl Rose since he had oh, 20 years on the asshole. I still count that as one of the best shows I've ever seen. Clearly, I m predisposed to like Tyler.
There's a line from Marilyn French's The Women's Room which covers the loss of infatuation in a romance and it goes something like this: "Then beloved opens his mouth and says something stupid." Let's just say, beloved opened his mouth and said 376 pages of something stupid. Steven Tyler lost me in chapter 2 when he said "The Vietnam War was terrible, so we made peace by smoking pot." I think the students at Kent State would disagree about the level of sacrifice and activism. Essentially, Steven Tyler was arrested and found unfit for duty and thus sparing him the harsh choices of committing treason and being imprisoned or serving in guerilla warfare. Tim O'Brien made an entirely different choice in The Things They Carried. Instead, Tyler chose to get high and live a rock-n-roll lifestyle for the next 20 years. And then again. And then again. Ah, addicts.
I am not even going to touch the bastardization of Simon and Garfunkel's "A Simple Desultory Phillipic," as I was just Steven Tyler-ized.
As previously reported, I went on a bad boy memoir fest this weekend.
Unlike Aerosmith, I want to state for the record: I have never liked The Red Hot...moreAs previously reported, I went on a bad boy memoir fest this weekend.
Unlike Aerosmith, I want to state for the record: I have never liked The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was traveling in Portland OR when I kept hearing great reviews of the newly released Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis on NPR. Damn you public radio! Add to that, I have always thought Anthony Kiedis was Aych Oh Tee, HOT. I was in Powell's Bookstore on the 3rd floor, looking at used books. There was Scar Tissue. I grabbed a copy and went down to the check out. At the check out, there were coffee mugs and hoodies. I gave up Kiedis for a hoodie.
We were reunited this weekend when I was straight out of low cash and jonesing for a fix. Barnes and Noble had a bargain bin. And there he was in all his glory.
Oh, addicts. I have lived my life with you--parents, cousins, aunts, uncles. We love your beautiful spirits and we hate your horrible ego-centrism that keeps you locked in addiction. Great art. Great people. Shitheads every mother fucking last one of them.
The plus: I don't know if it's because I am of the 90s post punk generation or because of the west coast ambivialence, but Kiedis's recollections of growing up without adult supervision rings true. Unlike Steven Tyler, I get why Kiedis spends his life addicted to drugs. Absentee father, unprepared mother, bicoastal living, domestic abuse, parental infidelities. Seriously. We were all looking for escape.
Kiedis also has a better understanding of his demons but like an addict, he filters all his reflections through the lens of "it makes me who I am." Which near as I can tell is a probably relapsing addict with a penchant for teenage girls.
I was exhausted and a bit disgusted when I was through. (less)
I was hoping for more. Is Billy Bob interesting? Yes. Has he lived a varied life? Absolutely. Do I see strains of the southern style in his stories? D...moreI was hoping for more. Is Billy Bob interesting? Yes. Has he lived a varied life? Absolutely. Do I see strains of the southern style in his stories? Definitely.
However...however...he just stops halfway through a story and then says "I'll never forget it." Or it's equally annoying counterpart "I'll always remember." Then BB moves on to the next anecdote. And I can see why Hollywood types or non-southerners would find this interesting. The stories are unusual. I just want more from them. I want to wring all the details out of them like Woodrell does when he writes of the Ozarks.
Perhaps BB thinks his style is folksy and southern. Billy Bob is wrong. It's bad story telling. If one says, "I'll never forget playing with those guys." The story shouldn't end there. It should be followed with visceral description of the smell of cigarettes, the taste of cheap beer, the late-night, dangling conversations in which musicians outline their dreams, and the vision which drives them to make the music. THAT makes a scene unforgettable. I have dated young musicians. You can't shut those fuckers up.
I realize that stylistically, this is supposed to be southern story-telling. But I've read To Kill a Mockingbird and the best southern stories meander down a road and take a turn to visit Aunt Bee. Then there's a trip to the cousins who live down the road and who are related to someone famous in The War of Northern Aggression and who can maybe trace their roots to the first settlers of Jamestown; but in any case they ended up in whatever southern town in which the action takes place and they are characters. There may be a point buried in the narrative but it won't be realized until the next anecdote/visit/bloodline is being elucidated. No one can ever accuse a southerner of not taking the time to explain. It's what makes northerners roll their eyes, wave their hands and mutter about getting to the point.
I wanted more of that from Billy Bob. If Harper Lee and William Faulkner can do it, so can he. Plus. Saying fuck and shit a lot doesn't make you edgy. You can be edgy without ever uttering a profanity. Conversely, you can use profanity for effect and not as a substitute for adverbs, prepositions and punctuation. Just sayin'(less)