Wednesday, May 7, 2014

James Cagney and other cool cats

I promised you gifs, and here they are. It's a treat to watch Cagney dance like a cat, in a sinuous manner that is nevertheless always intensely masculine. Nobody else had a style even remotely like his, lending itself naturally to alley-cat leaps and predatory slinks. I see traces of his carnivorous style in Gene Kelly, who purposely seemed to take a step away from the elegance of Fred Astaire. Instead of whirling his gorgeously-gowned girl in the air, he'd lift her up by the inner thigh and let her slide down his body. (Gifs to follow. I promise.)

Ruby Keeler was always the star of these extravaganzas. It's strange, because she isn't nearly as beautiful as some of the other dancers - she's more sweet or cute than beautiful, like the girl you'd take to the drive-in (if they had them back then). She couldn't act, and her singing voice was pretty awful. But she could dance. And there was something about the way she inhabited her body, some indefinable quality. (Or maybe Busby was banging her, who knows.)

I love the choreography in the early musicals - it's about as hokey as it gets. How I wish I still had my YouTube video of Broadway Melody, the first big all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza of 1929. There was a luscious number in it called Wedding of the Painted Doll, and if I had it now I'd gif it to death.

Meow-meow-meow, chow-chow-chow. . . 

Classic Busby Berkeley. Imagine smiling like that for 17 takes.

Order The Glass Character from:

Thistledown Press


Just sittin' on a back yard fence (meow)

Though I wasn't able to find the whole thing, this is a substantial chunk of my favorite number from Footlight Parade, the quirky Busby Berkeley musical I watched for the second time last night. Though the movie runs the gamut from water ballet to gangster drama to pre-code titillation, this is the one I love because it's so damn quirky, and Ruby Keeler looks adorable in a fluffy tail.

I PROMISE I will make gifs of this. The only reason I am not making gifs of this right now is the fact that Gifsforum isn't working - it's "down" - and as usual, Y2GIF is WAY down, permanently it seems, though it used to be the one I liked to use.

This is, by the way, a Spanish version, a strange thing sung by men that has little or nothing to do with the original music. And don't ask me why Ruby dances around on a big face. I'm not sure if it's the moon or what.

Oh, and - in other news - today I walked into Chapters, where I was afraid my book would never be sold, and went through the d's, the e's, the f''s. . . ga, ge, gi. . .gr (lots of gr's) - then (angel chorus) - there he was on a high shelf: HAROLD!! It was an incredible feeling to see that book (or books, 3 whole copies) up there, for the first time in 9 years. I had thought I would never write seriously again, and certainly never publish again. So no matter what happens from now on, we have crossed some kind of threshhold, Harold and I.

The Glass Character will be sold in eight Chapters stores in Vancouver and area, and though that may be the extent of my exposure there, it's better than the nothing I had before. My other two experiences with publication taught me to cherish the sweet moments, someone coming up to make a comment to you in the drug store, seeing the book on a "local authors" shelf, being invited to speak at a book club where you used to be a member - just things you dreamed about, in your hand for one fleeting moment.

Rob Ford calls rehab ‘amazing’, promises to return to election: report
Ford says he is enjoying rehab, is on the mend, and will be back for the election.
Rob Ford announced last Wednesday  that he would be checking into a rehab facility.


Rob Ford announced last Wednesday that he would be checking into a rehab facility.

By: Sean Wetselaar Staff Reporter, Published on Wed May 07 2014

Mayor Rob Ford’s exact whereabouts are still unknown, but according to a media report, he is enjoying his time in rehab.

“I feel great,” he told Joe Warmington, a columnist for the Toronto Sun. “Rehab is amazing. It reminds me of football camp. Kind of like the Washington Redskins camp I went to as a kid.”

Ford announced last Wednesday evening that he would be stepping down from his campaign and checking into a rehab facility to deal with substance abuse issues — though his statement focused primarily on alcohol use.

Though Ford would not lay down an exact timeline on his return, he was adamant that he will return in time for elections on October 28.

On Tuesday, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong confirmed Ford is in rehab, but refused to say where he was.

“Councillor Ford passed me the phone because Rob wanted to speak to me,” Minnan-Wong told reporters

“He said that he was in rehab, he was working out. He asked how things were going at council.”

On Tuesday, The Globe and Mail reported that Ford voluntarily turned back from the United States after landing in Chicago, before he could be denied entry.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, a supporter of the mayor on council, also chimed in Tuesday, telling reporters people deserve to know where Ford is receiving treatment so it can be verified.

“I think that, based on the mayor’s behaviour over the last number of years, because of the amount of opportunity he’s had to come forward and tell the truth and hasn’t on different issues. I would say to you right now that at the very least the city should know the city that he’s in for treatment, and with some verification that he is in fact being treated. And then I’d ask everybody to just leave him alone and let him be treated,” Mammoliti said at city hall during a break in Tuesday’s council meeting.

So far, the name and location of his rehab facility is unknown.

Council will resume at City Hall Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., without the mayor.

I just don't know where to start here. I might as well grab a random thought: addicts lie. It's what they do. Ford has been lying to the nation and to his constituents for years now, and in particular he has been lying to us about his addiction(s), consistently denying flagrant abuse of crack cocaine in public places. So why are people so easily duped? He's "in rehab" now (or so we are told). So doesn't that mean he's getting better?

If Ford is indeed in rehab, it sounds more like a luxury resort to me. If you're in real recovery, you don't feel "great". You usually feel totally wretched, either experiencing the horrendous effects of physical withdrawal or beginning to realize how your addiction has laid waste to your life and your loved ones. This isn't happening, folks, because RoFo is a shallow bastard with no capacity for real insight and self-reflection. He has never had ANY negative consequences for his appalling behaviour, and may even win the next election, not in spite of but because of it.

Ford will say whatever will get him out of trouble and/or call attention to himself. He's playing the rehab card to gain sympathy, and the appalling thing is, IT'S WORKING. He's a slimy slug of a man, repellent in every way, and the people forgive him over and over again, seemingly not caring that he has made a laughingstock of himself and of his entire country, fodder for late-night comedians and editorialists everywhere. This has gone global, folks, and his next escapade - leaving "rehab" early because he "feels so great" that his counsellors have said he can go - will only gain him more attention, the thing he thrives on. Fire up the crack pipe, Dougie - he's heading home.