Translating can be fun: Ramon Sampedro

This week I translated some poems from “Cartas desde el infierno,” by Ramon Sampedro. His poems are astounding, to say the least…a truly poetic voice. 

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The Great Gatsby-Thumbs way up…

And yes, I truly enjoyed Baz’s “The Great Gatsby.” It made me want to re-read F Scott’s short stories that were the precursor to “The Great Gatsby.” To me, these stories are the heart of all things Gatsby. 
And I again realized that Gatsby and Nick are so very alike in many ways. I used to think of myself as a Nick, but now perhaps I think I’m a bit of both-a Nick/Gatsby hybrid. But I would guess most every man that has obcessed about Gatsby, has felt at least like one or the other at least once or twice in his life. 

(My copy of his short story collection) 

Go see it.
CV 

Maron on IFC

It’s great to see that Marc Maron has finally come into his own. I’ve been a fan of his for a while now, and it’s nice to see, that it’s finally his time in Hollywood. Marc at age 50, has a TV show, a podcast and an endearingly interesting memoir. He’s doing it all so very well. 
I’m right in the middle of his memoir: “Attempting Normal” and enjoying it throughly. 
To me he’s proof that we all have at least 3 or 4 acts inside of us. 
Never lose hope & Have a great weekend, 
CV 

LA Mayor’s Race: 2013 Eric Garcetti and Mitch O’Farrell.

A quick thought on this fiasco: 

I am voting for and endorsing Eric Garcetti for many reasons, but most importantly because he’s the best qualified person for the job. He has represented my district for years now and he’s made our neighborhood/side of town #1 in job growth. He listens to us and he’s not phony. He has both Republican and Democrat support, and seems to me like the man who would be the best independent thinker out of the bunch. (The LA Times also said the same thing and they were right.) 
Wendy Greuel, his opponent seems quite phony and desperate. She did a mediocre job as City Controller and seems to be hellbent on using her child and the fact that’s she’s a woman who could be “LA’s historical first female mayor and a mommy who knows.” 
In all honesty this “being a mommy” is not a reason to vote for someone. We shouldn’t be voting based on race, gender, or religion. I sure didn’t vote for Obama because he was black and had a tough childhood. And I know a lot of people who didn’t vote Romney just because he would have been America’s first Mormon president. These aren’t selling points people, these are what we are-Americans, of all race, creed, religion and gender. 
My own father was friends with the first female governor of Connecticut back in the 70s. I really wish the time in which we reign in being “first this” or “first that” should be over. Let a candidate’s record speak for itself. 
In additional Ms. Greuel has just about the entire DWP in her pocket along with the ultimate jerk: Frank McCourt-the man who nearly ruined the Dodgers and LA as whole. She also has the backing of Bill Cinton, but what does Bill know about LA? Not a whole lot. Why does his opinion matter? 
In closing, I’m also voting for and endorsing Mitch O’Farrell for City Counsel. He gets my vote because he’s a great candidate to lead our neighborhood into more growth and an even greater sense of community. Mitch is kind of running the exact opposite of Ms. Greuel’s campaign. He is openly gay but we never hear him using his sexuality to get more sympathy and or votes. We only hear his campaign words: “Public service not politics!” And we believe him every step of the way. 
Again we are all Americans and Angelinos, the details don’t matter, ability however does. 
Happy voting Los Angeles. 
CV 
This picture has nothing to do with the election, I just like Moonrise Kingdom. 

"The Dude and the Zen Master" By Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman

“Words are important because they give us a way of informing and dialoguing with each other, but they don’t necessarily help us experience the thing itself.  You can use words to experience an apple, you taste it. To experience life, you can’t give out names, like A440, resonance of the earth, apple, snow, enlightenment, whatever. It’s the experience that counts” – Bernie Glassman

                                          (My rabbit MJ, nothing to do with this book, but he’s very Zen.)

Part of me is in love with this paragraph and the other just thinks about the truth of these words, i.e,  “They’re just words man.” (This is the ‘Dude’ part of my own Zen brain.)

This book, ‘The Dude and the Zen Master,’ has many amazing gems inside it like this. I had to share this one point in order to relate that part of me that loves the true, raw experience that is life and the part that loves writing it all down. These two parts have helped become who I am today.

The truth is never easy but often worth it. I think the greatest part of my being a writer is sometimes, when I truly get lost in my own nonsense. Then, after the dust settles and the high tide washes away, we are left with truth, pretty shards of glass and some poetry. 

I highly recommend this book on many levels,

The great things about Mamet: "American Buffalo" at the Geffen 2013 (Spoiler Free)

Last night I saw David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” at The Geffen Playhouse. “Buffalo” was written in 1975 and you can tell. There are no stupid references to cellphones, email or anything else so modern. It’s now considered a classic, and I can see why-it’s just plain raw.

The Geffen Playhouse in Westwood is often full of the sophisticated, overtly upper middle class crowd. Some of theses ‘sophisticates’ left at intermission. I can only assume because the play was so raw, rough and rather foul mouthed. It also had this sad kind of quality that only Mamet and or a Chicago/city upbringing can produce.

Maybe this crowd of people who left weren’t so used to seeing the direct dreams of the everyday, not-so-intelligent, average Joe’s tragic future? I’m not sure, but I thought it was interesting and down right funny when these eggheads left. You can tell sometimes, when some people just want to ignore other classes while others want to help. Or maybe I’m wrong, maybe they felt too guilty, watching these people decay on stage?

I would assume if it is Mamet, you’re going to have a bit of language, directness and maybe (if your cast is only three men) you might have some woman bashing and or macho (70s style) over compensation. After all it’s god-damned Mamet. He recently described this play as a story about the, “thieves, con-men and junkies,” he grew up with.

It was directed by Randall Arney, who did a great job. He recently directed “Superior Donuts” (Also at the Geffen last year? 2011?) which I was big fan of. In a nut shell (without being a spoiler), it’s a story about: three petty criminals that all hang around this one, run down, wildly decorated/deteriorating thrift shop.

The minimalist cast was excellent and consisted of the following:

Bill Smitrovich (I have enjoyed his acting since the 80s ala “Miami Vice”) as the old man Don. A sublime character with much brewing below the surface.

Freddy Rodriguez as Bob. Freddy was channeling some sort of 70’s version of Brando in “On the Waterfront.”

Ron Eldard as Walter “Teach” Cole. Ron just kicked some major ass as my favorite maladjusted, Iraq war veteran, junkie, bad guy on FX’s “Justified.” His character held this inner rage that could have made Jake Lamotta feel a young girl going to her first prom. He stole show on many levels.

I took a picture of a recent interview with David Mamet about his play. I found it to be hilarious as it’s just like David in his plays: at times unexplainable, memorable and like real life-tough, tragic and without justification.

(Please excuse my typos today as I am having some health problems. So, I’m having surgery in a few days on my head/sinus/other stuff. This dam medication does not help my writing/thought process. And truthfully, I barely made it through the play without getting sick…)

Here’s to feeling better in the future & Have a nice weekend.

CV