And She Also Maintains Ocean's Ocean at Ecoize.com
Since my only oholic things are good for me, I do need to admit I'm addicted to many great activities, ideas, and to exploring our world - our inner worlds of intellect of imagination and our outer world of splendrous diversity.
What’s a filmoholic ? Someone who must make films, like many of my director and producer heroes, and someone who loves them.
I’m a filmoholic – addicted to especially films from earlier decades.
I adore diving into former worlds and I find their acting, scenery, camera work, film quality and everything else way better quality than anything produced today.
If you’ve landed in my Film Sea, maybe you were searching for info on some of my very favorite film perfomers of all time, like Beulah Bondi, or Sheree North, Dolores Costello, or maybe John Drew Barrymore.
I have provided links to further info on these great stars, whose quality of work inspires us from afar – from far back and faraway.
Most of the actors I cite and applaud were not filmoholics and many were thrust into the limelight by circumstances, birth, beauty, or just by need and expedience.
Beulah Bondi was put upon the stage at 7. Sheree North was just too hot and got enlisted, and her insouciance which is irresistible on film probably would have otherwise taken her elsewhere . ( If anyone knows for sure, I’d love to hear about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Touching emotions, wringing feeling out of our otherwise stoical and errand-wasted lives is the primary focus of the arts, and film does it is perhaps the most sensorily full way – far more intimate, I think, than theater, as we’re seated in our darkened movie palaces or in our own living rooms, we actively become participants in this little make-believe world – if – and only if – the performers are deeply into what they’re doing.
Craft is crap, I think. Either an actor is born with a gift or not. It cannot be adequately learned.
The British lot of actors, for instance, are famous for laughing at our stables of method actors and acting schoolees – they retort, if asked, that they simply act.
Preparing for a role is so ludicrous – if anyone’s ever had to witness someone applying “technique” – gearing up for a performance by staying in character, you know what I mean.
The geniuses among us can just walk out anywhere, any time, and be “on”.
This list of greatness – foremost among them, Beulah Bondi – reminds us how powerfully mesmerizing and compelling an actor can be. Effortless, seamlessly given to becoming everyone from arch-villianess to comedic clown, with romantic queen and staunchly prim grandma types in between, she was also known for the syrupy-sweetnes she could melt audiences with.
Often a character actor – who are they ? Only the very best could fill character roles.
Sometimes the leads, charismatic and beautiful though they might be, depend on the supporting actors for everything, and without them, a film would be robbed of its’ richness, its’ humor, and its’ depth.
All of us, I hope, have seen “The Waltons” episode guest-starring Beulah Bondi. It centered upon Bondi’s late-life character of Martha Corinne Walton, sister-in-law of Grandpa Walton, whose home and property were threatened and then, taken, by the state in order to build a public highway. No one could have created such a haunting portrait of this elderly mountain widow as she had to say a tragic good-bye to the log cabin she’d lived her married life in for over sixty years.
It is powerful acting like this, and beautiful scenes made real by the stellar art direction of old and the greatest of epics filmed in exotic and paroramic locales that draw us mostly into magical realms.
It is to these masters and films that these pages are dedicated in a thank you for the wealth of experience they have bestowed upon us all, and to the wonderful people like Ted Turner who’ve made our film educations possible.
Among the bombshells of the fifties, there was one whose true vulnerability – in contrast to the affected play-acting of tenderness so well exploited by Marilyn Monroe – and sensitivity was so well explored in film that, although she’s not a house-hold name, she has the distinction of being the only one of that whole sex symbol lot who can really act.
Beautiful, accomplished, and not well-enough celebrated, we’d like to introduce others to the work of this phenomenal actress.
She could play low-brow tramps who’d break your heart and big-city gangster girlfriends better than anyone on earth. She – with those huge brown eyes – could make you cry at every scene, and even her happy scenes were always tinged with a touch of tragedy that made her little girl voice sincere.
No caricature, Sheree North could really deliver on the promise of great acting with great feeling. She’d be cuddly supporting chick most times, and it seems that the powers that were did not understand how to create or to find scripts that would have served her well enough to bring her into the center spotlight that found Monroe and others more easily.
Movies like “Bus Stop”, were made for her, and “Baby Doll” as well as “Golden Boy”.
She could also run the gamut all the way to classy bitch, but always with that sadness in her eyes that always adds a further dimension.
Check out these Sheree North links and rent some DVD’s tonight !
Her elegance and regal air of mystery, her obvious physical grace and those gorgeous eyes took her into the movie business early. She’d been born into a theatrical family and she and her sister started very young.
Dolores and John Barrymore
Dolores Costello links
John Drew Barrymore, actor
For a powerful and enigmatic performance, find any of John Drew Barrymore’s films or TV work.
Burdened since birth with the weight of his father’s name and legacy, being the son of the most famous actor in the entire world had to have been tragic, and he found his niche in acting but at a time when filmmaking was undergoing the transformation from big studio to small producer-land, and when TV was starting to cut ground from under the old system.
The film industry never really found the proper place for this gifted actor, and yet his work deserves to be found and applauded.
Sandwiched in between his father, uncle, and aunt’s generation of ultra-famous actors and his daughter, (although at times he claimed they were not really related ), Drew, whether he really wanted to be an actor at all is something we’ll probably never know, but imagine the tyranny of the public’s expectations. Imagine the family’s expectations too.
The fact that he had become a successful force in films is a great credit to his talent.
I’d like to turn you onto some links heralding this great actor here –
John Drew Barrymore Links
A class act.
Virile, handsome, and with a sensual sensitivity that epitomizes the hot Latin lover type, Roland was the love of endless numbers of fans in his many fascinating roles.
His steaminess on the screen makes the modern film actors seem trivial and cardboard by comparison.
“His purring machismo”, as described by Time magazine, brought Roland an enduring Hollywood legacy with such unforgettable parts as the Cisco Kid and the Mexican sidekick in “islands in the stream”, wehrere he played what he was, a Mexican-born macho Hemingway character right out of novels.
His innate sense of style, fiery eyes, and quick humor, plus his engaging smile and especially, his graceful but macho way of moving made him a unique actor. Mercurial and smouldering in equal measures.
Most of us write something on something. Even if it’s raging graffiti or just angsty scribblings of expression or even stick-figuring to let your feelings vent most of us write. Even to stab at the ground with a twig is writing. Or even air writing to trace the stars at night. We primates are fingery and holdy about things in our fingers and our fingers are the routes out from the triggers fired off in the brain, so… don’t let anyone tell you he or she doesn’t write. We all do.
And even before “writing” was invented, we wrote and talked and these noises and vocalizations somehow meandered through eternity fueled by our emotions and found a way out through those limbs down to the old fingers and the famous opposing thumb. Alphabets aside, thinking in words and pictures are the same thing since words stand in for both emotions and for pictures for places and events and for imaginary worlds and airy inventions that haven’t found creation yet.
Writing is cool, essentially.All animals do it but maybe not as formally as we do.We’ve compartmentalized ourselves into a neat little package of beliefs that are unsubstantiated where we’re always the center of everything. The other animals sit around and wonder at it, I’m sure.
Anyway, they all express themselves to. Throwing coconuts down onto a meanie’s head is as much writing as is a headline of the New York Times. Head-butting just as much writing as War and Peace. And a crow squawking on a fence is as much writing as is 50-cent giving out with diatribes as is the Guernica as is Woody Guthrie twanging as is Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
Degrees are the only difference and I just mean – open your mind and notice what a weird thing writing really is, and how cool.
That a feeling can find it’s way to being into the mind and clothe itself in a made-up picture and into a thought and into a word and into a way to communicate that word.
Writing is the way out of a lot of things. The pen is mightier than the sword and so many wars and revolutions have been started with just a little written dynamite that the power of the word really speaks for itself – and loudly.Or softly.
Even though people who never learn to read have way better memories than those who learn to depend on written words, reading still bestows a wealth of experience – a way of mind-reading and time-traveling and understanding that few of the ones who still don’t know how to read would not envy.
To wield the pencil is to hold power in one’s hand, but to make abstract symbols on paper come alive is quite another thing. The magi among us, the shamans and shamanesses like, for instance, Toni Morrison, who’s captivating power of words ensnared me when I first picked up one of her books somewhere and read only a few lines. They literally climbed out of the page and coalesced into a vine, a living thing, strung with colors and images and wound themselves around my mind and my soul. She is a master.
There are only a few real masters in, of, any element, and their charisma and skill is well beyond that of ordinary mortals.I want to commend them here. To honor and applaud them and to turn you onto them. Beware their wicked spells, because they really are capable of awesome things.
Something is at work in our universe that grows out of a certain type of fecundity of spirit. Great writers and other artists have this and it’s far more than mere talent. And works have their own lives to lead. They express themselves. Who knows? Maybe they choose their own vehicles and not the other way around. It certainly feels that way at times.
I like to write songs, but really, I compose music and the words to them just sort of create themselves. And yet the music, too, sort of creates itself and I merely give it expression.Writing is fun on subjects I enjoy, and I don’t include myself in this secret tribe of shamen, by the way, and I advocate it for everyone. We can’t all be geniuses but thankfully we can all enjoy their artistry. I’m going to have this page for links to writings and info on some masters I really admire.
I’ve gone into other worlds and have been transformed by the magic of many of these writers, so…I’d like to share the secrets of their existence with you. Some are world-famous still, others more obscure. I may not keep up with every writer on the new horizons but whenever a book falls into my hand, or an articles, and when it begins a life of its’ own, unbidden, I know I’ve stumbled again upon a magician, so..
I have so many favorite authors – too many to name, but I’ll spotlight a few here. Some are enormously known and some need to be recognized more.Every life is an adventure, and some of these heroes of mine led amazingly interesting lives.Without that sense of adventure, who’d want to read their ideas anyway ?
The tedious lists of people writing even best-sellers who know absolutely nothing about life don’t interest me any more than do the makers of recipe films or music. In this day of blogdom, everyone writes who can grab onto a laptop. It’s no great feat to string words together in imitative ways or through formulas learned at school.The geniuses still exist, though, who can stir the blood of people seated in easy chairs.This gift is still a marvel, and I’ll focus on the ones I think should be applauded as I continue to find more heroes to exalt in this little Pantheon of mine.
The very greatest of all music critics – no critic at all, but a true lover of music and a true magician on writing about it :
To start, I’d like to point to Robert Palmer, the eminent music critic. As a musician, I appreciate his work more than that of any other pop music critic. He understood music. He made music and had an egalitarian aspect and love of all styles of music that made him ideal for his position.
His fresh point of view and willingness to open to new music styles made him a positive force in the blues, r and b, psychedelic, jazz, punk,new wave, no wave, post punk, alternative, grunge, and metal eras, with expertise in every genre in between.He hung with the musicians. He was of them, not against them.
Known for his work in Rolling Stone and Spin, he’d also been the Pop Music Critic of the New York Times – not a shabby position to have attained.He was a musician, first, and a writer, second.
It is this – that he had a legitimate view of music – that made his writings authentic and made his contributions to music history as classic as they are. His talent and acumen, his unique perceptions in a very real way shaped the paths that pop music has traveled along.since.
He was a multi-faceted genius and his restless intellect and many talents had taken him not only to North Africa, where he first introduced Brian Jones to the Joujouka Festival, but he was every bit a scholar on the history of not only music but of cultural traditions. He could get along anywhere and really needed only access to real people of the world and to his own clarinet to be happy. He was most often found either in clubs listening to music or making it or spawled on the floor, listening to music among the boxes of new CD’s mailed to him on a daily basis from would-be subjects for his articles or by their record companies, drinking a Coke and smoking a Marlborough, eyes closed, communing with the spirits of the music and nodding his head.
The ultimate music fan was also a musician, never sought to crush his subjects and was responsible single-handedly for bringing various huge music movements to the forefront that we enjoy today.There aren’t enough of his writings posted yet on the net, but do get his pivotal and the defining history of blues, Delta Blues.
Robert (Bob) Palmer links
Empson, one of the world’s greatest poets, was also someone who had lived in China during the , who wrote outrageously and whose sometimes outlandish and ever irreverent tones added greatly to the distinctive flavor of his work. His poetry and his prose seemed to come from different people. He wrote with a passion and with effortless eloquence, with bold indifference to pedantics and ..
And his impulsivity…impudence pre-dated the slackers and hackers of today’s literary worlds.
He pre-dated all of the smart-alecs and was so gifted and energetic that it’s not really arrogance but impatience that made his easy creations so vivid.
Another critic – I find them lovable despite their jobs – Empson was foremost a poet, but his restless mind ever sought avenues of expression. A genius, most obviously, I was told by someone who’d actually known him that he was the most energetic person they’d ever met – even in his elderly years.
It seems odd to think of Empson, a knighted and eminent scholar, as an unruly punk, but his impatience with artifice and with cruelties and class distinctions coupled with his disdain for authority made him forever seem like a wild young man with a real attitude. I adore that in him.
He lived in China for much of the thirties and forties, and also in Tokyo.
William Empson links
minstrels] Let It Go -- William Empson
I met her once, having stood in line after her brilliant lecture, while still a child.
I’d skateboarded to her speaking gig and maybe looked a little out of place among the other anthropology groupies and scholarly types.
She surveyed me with a slight smile and I felt her scan my little brain. Her eyes sparkled even though that word is so trite I loathe to use it – but damn it, her eyes did sparkle with a mischieviousness and with a worldly wisdom all at once.
We talked for aawhile and she was kind enough to speak on the subjects I’d only just discovered and she’d dissected for half a century already.
We sat at a table and she signed my copy of her book.
She was as cool and enchanting as was the subject of her investigations – the Great Goddess.
I'll be adding more of my writing heroes and heroines as we go along!
The sister of doom, the original gothic heroine - Emily is someone I've grown up with and I've re-read Wuthering Heights probably every year since I was eight and was first spell-bound by this, the greatest of all books in my own estimation.
I have plenty to say on the subject of Emily Bronte, and I think all the others I've read have gotten it dead wrong.
Her clues are there everywhere, and yet most think inside the boxes of their own heads and mores and prejudices. One thing I do is think freely.
I'll be sharing my thoughts on Bronte, the other Brontes, and the first modern novel - along with Flaubert's tragic tome, that is, Madame Bovary - on this my own Writoholic section.
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald
Yet another of my writing - yes, writer - heroines, Zelda was perhaps known more for her glamor, her untamed revelries, her personal tragedies, and of course, for that pretty-boy enfant terrible she married.
The very symbol, along with her mate, of the Jazz Age, Zelda was the ultimate flapper. Unflapped by fame, she as, in the end, undone by booze and probably, as most would have it, by what I term her inability to be seen as a creative force in her own right, and what others more uncharitably believe was her envy of Scott.
Back to Oceanize
This is where I adore other music artists and their creations!
There are so many I will be citing as personal heroes and as people and artworks I've grown up with, that I'll be adding along as we go along in time together, so, let me first start with the man who probably started it all with me and with most people in the Western world, if not the entire world, James Brown.
I had wanted to meet him someday. I have attended his concerts, and once, my parents lifted me up almost onto the stage, right in front of the man himself!
I thought we made eye contact - I'm sure of it - and I already so loved him and his music that I was dancing around, mesmerized by his music, his style, his presence, and that Smile he sent down to me!
That's as close as I'll ever get now.
He's in heaven, doing his heavenly music there now.
what a jolt for all of us! And yet, that electricity generated by him, that musical magical current, will go on forever! Were you aware that sounds, once made here on our own little planet, resound out into the universe FOREVER?
So, while we are gyrating and zooming inside and out to James Brown's sound that is, let's face it, a huge part of ALL pop music and always will be a part of our own bodies - that hot funk sound, that hot funk orchestra in sync, that hot voice is entertaining God Himself somewhere out there!!!
Rest in Peace, but I'm not sure if someone so alive could ever be thought of that way, so, let's think of James Brown as we always have, and let him entertain us the rest of our lives as well as the future generations who have him to look forward to!
But films willl never document what it was like to see them all arrayed in a line, horizontally, playing like one instrument at James' design, while he'd prance and do acrobatics no one else could do, meanwhile singing his heart out!
Arthur Lee is another one of our GREATS we lost in the last year. Lead Singer, and genius ground-breaker of cross-overs from pop to ballad, from rock to avant garde, from soul to crooning, from African-American to mainstream audiences, he single-handedly advanced what was then "hippie" music, of the real psychedelic style, back when Love One Another was the credo, Arthur Lee died young, and was just being discovered yet again!
Discover him at the links we'll be adding !
Nina Simone - what can I say? The very essence of sultry, worldly, soulful genius. That voice! Those proud lyrics and the queenly ways of her delivery, of the way she lived her life, of the example she created. Otherworldly and wise, like a goddess.
She is missed.