Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hey, meet the Swinger

Hey, meet the swinger
A '60s kind of girl
Walks like a panther
Smiles like a princess
On the blazing white beach
Her body etched in silver nitrate
Her camera dangling like heavy jewels
shoved in the face of the viewers
This new thing was cool

BAM. And with her mouth open,
Beach girl, girl of the raging sands, the girl we can't reach
Snaps the shot, the snapshot 
with her Love Story hair wisping in ocean breeze
her counterculture eyebrows melting hearts
she snaps   to show us how easy
how almost alive
though you know she's snapping at nothing at all

And now comes the Archieparty
The beach blanket bingo we've all been waiting for
those wholesome young people
splashing each other and doing the boogaloo
but we know what's under those blinding smiles that delirious laughter
There's a reason they call it The Swinger

In nervous clicks
the straight-browed girl is squeezing the button again and again
though taking a picture of air
Her day has not come 
but it will
then as swiftly depart
she's a '60s girl bare feet and long hair and straight black brow
not beautiful but has the Look 
her moment on the beach

Again and again she tosses her tresses
in that stoned and blurry way
and for the first time we see
her dangling earrings gypsylike
her careless carelessness
her throwaway look so carefully composed

and Chaplinlike, our lovers proceed into the ocean
a march a brisk step and when seen over and over, how it becomes so clear
they have nothing to do with each other

and how would they ever know it would fade so quickly
yet last forever
broken into bits on a woman's computer
played with like a toy
a sliver of memory seen over and over
"hey, I want to get one of those"
even though "nineteen dollars
and ninety-five" was way beyond my reach
what I wanted was those eyebrows
those thighs
the windswept hair, the earrings, the boy friend
and all that comes between ourselves and time.

More weird shit, late at night

Before the mutoscope, which is one of those things you hand-crank with a lot of pictures on a rotary thing - you know what I mean, you put a nickel in first - well, before THAT even, was this thing, the filoscope. Though you can't see it here, it's just a flip-book mounted on a gizmo so you didn't have to use your finger. The action was pretty limited, but no worse than those goddamned Edison pictures of trains and stuff.

This looks more like an early film than a mutoscope, but maybe it has been cleaned up technically in some way. These less-than-one-minute dramas were thought to be somewhat risque, and a few even showed nudity, or at least titties. They could only be seen by one person at a time, which leant an atmosphere of intimacy. In fact, going to view these supposedly-naughty nickel entertainments is the origin of the term "peep show". Thus they were denounced from the pulpit as pornography, and enjoyed by all.

This lady does a sort of shimmy-dance for 10 seconds or so, then plays around with a chair. She seems to hail from a circus, or perhaps the vaudeville stage. Strong teeth.

This is, well, uh, er, I don't know what this is (or why). Definitely a filoscope, though it isn't clear how the mechanism works.

This one has obviously deteriorated more than the others. The pages seem to have rotted and turned brown. Some of them are missing, so skips and blanks are ubiquitous. I wonder if men snatched individual cards out of these things while no one was looking.

I like this one because you can actually see the thumb. There appears to be blood on it for some reason. The story is the usual sleazy thing.

All cranked up.