Showing posts with label Edweena. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edweena. Show all posts

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spooky Things

Tis the season for pumpkins and such. Did you know that pumpkins come in an array of colours, shapes and sizes? They do. They're also fun to launch from an automobile traveling 120 MPH, but I don't think that's legal anymore, so I don't recommend doing it. I heard that someone recently set a world's distance record by firing a pumpkin from a cannon. Allegedly, the pumpkin traveled over a mile before it smashed onto a Utah desert. That sounds like a good alternative to launching them from cars. Imagine how much fun a bunch of guys could have with a hundred of those cannons... and ten acres of pumpkins. Much more satisfying than paint ball... and colourful too. Rhetro Image (pronounced retro ymaj`e)

Here's a great Halloween costume idea for 2010.

This is a photo of my Halloween costume from 1995. Always a big hit in pro war/Republican neighborhoods. It's Uncle Sam wearing a radiation suit and carrying a duffel/body bag with EDWEENA's feet sticking out. EDWEENA, (my 1950's mannequin that has been in our family for decades), is wearing stylish, authentic Government Issue, black combat boots. This truly scary costume makes a powerful statement while protecting the wearer from potentially harmful radiation. Better safe than sorry, I always say. This costume is best worn on election years ornamented with a tasteful number of political pins of both Republicans and Democrats... the two parties who perpetuate America's wars. That's what makes this costume Rhetro Zenberg's pick again this year.*
This is a photo from my jr. high school year book that features our enthusiastic girl's gym coach, (and health teacher), doing what she loved to do moist. Just look at the satisfaction on her face. I love the reaction of the girls who seem to be awaiting their turn. One of them can't wait to be tumbled by Ms T, another looks terrified, and the third bows her head in shame.
Speaking of faces, more recently, a box marked, "Heads and such" yielded some familiar faces too. What could be more fun than a box full of heads?
* And don't forget to vote LIBERTARIAN on the first Tuesday in November.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hats Off to Staff of Life

$pecial thanks go out to Staff of Life natural foods market today.

A few weeks ago, RHETRO TV-Z began filming a new short film in Santa Cruz, and one of the props, a Staff of Life hat, that was intended to be featured throughout the video, was lost at De Laveaga Disc Golf Course last week. A lengthy search failed to turn up the hat.

I figured, "no problem," I'd simply go to Staff of Life and get another hat. It seemed like the perfect solution until I arrived at the store, and discovered that the hats they had for sale, were different from the one we had been using. They had changed the design and color, which wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that we already have lots of scenes that have been shot with the other hat. The solution was to either re-shoot the previously shot scenes, or find another old-style Staff of Life hat somewhere. If I was lucky, the store may still have some of the old hats, or maybe someone there would be able to loan one to us until we're finished filming.

I called up the folks at Staff of Life, and explained the situation, and before I knew it, they had located the last of the old-style hats, and allowed me to go pick it up at the store.

Mondo Gracias to Staff of Life*

* To me, Staff of Life epitomizes Santa Cruz. A fine natural foods store with everything a person could want. I can't imagine this town without it. Staff of Life was the first grocery store I shopped at when I moved to Santa Cruz all those years ago, and it's still where I shop for most everything my family eats.

Friday, October 24, 2008

=@# - Bunny Boy Review - #@= Part 9

Not to be continuedI'm so excited because I'm finally finished with this Bunny Boy triple trilogy project. After this, I won't need to say anything about the Residents for a long time. Yay!

If you haven't heard the Residents before, the Bunny Boy probably isn't for you. The Residents require an acquired taste, as well as a fully functional sense of humour to be appreciated appropriately. The latter will get a first-timer a long way though, and everyone is a first-timer sometime.


The Residents are an anonymous collective of musicians and artisans who have been hiding in the shadows since before the war. Their
1976 song, Satisfaction, is credited as being the first* Punk single, (even though it isn't punk).

In the late seventies, the Residents associated themselves with the image of a large eyeballed tuxedo in a top-hat. A smart move. Every eye-con needs a good image for devotees to venerate.

The Residents' records have mostly been thematic and conceptual. This approach allows the Residents to re-invent themselves whenever necessary... something they've done dozens of times. They avoid personal fame by remaining anonymous, and rarely grant interviews. Their official information is misleading at best. They've done a pretty good job at staying aloof for the past three and a half decades.

Bunny Boy Feels Like the Furr-ssst Time

I've been trying to listen to the new Bunny Boy album as if it was the first time I had heard the Residents. For research, I attended a recent
live Residents performance with two people who had never seen or heard the Residents before. Their naivete was telling, and a little surprising at times. After the show, Mein Frenzel asked me, "Are they always like that?" That's actually a pretty tough question because, no, the Residents have never been like that, and yes, the Residents are always like that... nothing like you have ever seen before. Seeing the Residents is always like seeing them for the furrsst time.

This time the superintendents of the subterranean have chosen a ridiculously contrived story about a supposed former colleague of theirs whose fascination with rabbits and the coming apocalypse has driven him off the deep end. I don't think anyone really believes the tripe about the Residents good-will gesture to help their crazy friend find his brother Harvey who has supposedly, mysteriously disappeared.

To tell the story, (or confuse it further), the Residents have been showing a You Tube series of videos supposedly filmed by the Bunny Boy himself. These short movies chronicle his psychotic search for his brother Harvey. Portions of these videos were featured in their live performance as well.

The songs on the album are all short and catchy tunes that I find myself whistling as I go about my daily duties. The melodies are smart, and the snappy arrangements of deranged songs are FUN to listen to. At the live performance, the songs were presented in a different order than that of the CD. I'm not sure what that means.

Mr. Bunny Boy's video series didn't do much to convince me that the lost brother story was real and I haven't lost any sleep over Harvey's disappearance. In one of the early episodes, (2 I th
ink), the Bunny Boy plays a message on his answering machine from someone who he claims to be his brother. In one of the following episodes, we see the chord to the answering machine unplugged. You'd think he'd want to keep it plugged in in the event Harvey calls again.

In another episode, the Bunny Boy points out his first family photo. It's an old black and white picture that shows himself as a baby with his mom, and dad, (dad is a book). Among the plethora of photos of family and friends pasted on the walls of the Bunny Boy's secretum sanctorum, there are surprisingly none of his supposed brother Harvey. Likewise, when the Bunny Boy shows the family photographs from Greece, there are none of Harvey, however, the Homeric Bunny Boy is present in many of them. I suppose the case could be made that Harvey was the photographer who took the pictures, and therefore wouldn't be in any of them.

These clues lead me to think that the Bunny Boy and Harvey are a
one man show, so to speak. Apparently something happened that forever separated the Bunny Boy from his once golden guy personality. Maybe it was the recognition of his own insanity that pushed him over the edge, maybe it was eight years of the Bush Administration, maybe it isn't even real... so why am I wasting my time pondering it??? It brings to mind the Residents early film, Vileness Fats, where conjoined twins, in a jealous rage, fight to the death over a woman. The victor limps away, dragging the corpse of his conjoined brother behind him. I think the psychological equivalent happened to the Bunny Boy. Maybe not.

For some reason, insane people always find themselves mentioned in Holy Writ as some kind of messenger or messianic figure. This was true of Harvey who's fascination with Saint John's apocalyptic visions took him to all the way to the Island of Patmos** where the apostle wrote the Book of Revelation. Apparently, this is where Harvey came unglued.

The most surprising thing about the Bunny Boy album is how well it works. Who'd have thought insanity could be so artsy-fartsy and down-right fun?

EDWEENA would give The Residents Bunny Boy two thumbs up... if she had thumbs. 

* I held it in my hands, but didn't buy it when I had the chance. It's worth about a million bucks now. Maybe more?

** I was glad that it wasn't Easter Island.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Residents or What Does Salt Smell Like?



The first time I heard t
he Residents was in 1979. I was sixteen or seventeen, and an avid listener of I'm So Bored, Susanne Brown's Tuesday night radio program on KRCL in Salt Lake City. There was nothing else like it in Utah at the time, (or the rest of the country for that matter), and assuming that I would likely never hear the songs again, I began recording the shows on ninety-minute 8-Track tapes. I'm So Bored was unique, and presented me with a plethora of new punk and rock wave music, (as Michael G. Cavanaugh* called it), that I could listen to at my leisure on the tapes I had recorded. One of them contained a track called Plants by the Residents, which was nothing like anything I had ever heard before. I knew I'd have to hear more from these mysterious musicians.

The Cosmic Aeroplane was no doubt the most likely place to find Residents music in Salt Lake in 1979. I was astounded that good old el Cosmico had a handful of
Residents records to choose from. I delightfully selected Not Available, and Fingerprince, and purchased them both, having heard neither. I bought Not Available for myself, and Fingerprince for my summertime girlfriend, Jamie, who accompanied me on my quest for the Residents. Back then, the record department at the Cosmic was located downstairs. At least that's where they kept the punk-produkts and related paraphernalia. After finalizing my purchase, we ascended the narrow stairwell, and exited the store. I had a friend named Bob Ruffner who lived near Skyline High, so we went there to hang out and listen to my new Residents records. Bob's house would be a good place to hear them for the first time because his dad had a great stereo, and surely, the Residents could be best appreciated on a good hi fi.

By the time side one of
Fingerprince had finished playing, there was no way to convince Bob and Jamie to listen to side two, or the other record I had purchased. They had decided that the Residents were too weird. Bob had became partial to the last of the successful prog bands, Rush, while Jamie had metal tendencies, and fancied Van Halen and Ozzy. YUCK! Serves them both right! I had to wait until I had driven all the way back to Tooele, dropped off Jamie, and returned home before I could finally listen to Not Available on my own adequate stereo. I was shocked. It was stranger than anything I had ever... anything. It appeared to be some kind of opera about a woman named Edweena. I wasn't sure if I liked it. I played it for my friends Greggary Peckary, Merlin, Jon and Bart. Jon and Merlin gave it three thumbs up, Peck snickered, and Bart sardonically laughed, declaring, "They sound like little kids." I could forgive Bart. He didn't know any better. After all, he was a cowboy from Stockton, Utah, who's most radical venture in alternative music was Molly Hatchet and Lynnard Skynard. I suspect that Peck secretly liked it.
1979 was a time when music was stagnant on most fronts, yet changing on others. Leading the change, so far ahead they were out of sight, were the Residents, who's brand of subterranean-modern tunneled deeper than other alternatives, and kept their fans entertained with comically spooky treatments of familiar and contrived themes. I had become jaded by the polished cookie-cutter music that permeated the seventies, and in 1979 I began a five-year boycott of commercial music. Who needs commercial radio when there's KRCL? No commercial radio stations, and no TV. As it turned out, I missed a lot of terrible stuff during those years... so I hear. Remember Wham? I don't.
On Wednesday nights, KRCL presented Brad Collins' program** which featured more emphasis on the punker side of neo-underground musick. When the Residents released their critically acclaimed Eskimo album, Brad Collins played his copy in its entirety. It was awesome, and I soon procured my own copy on snow-white vinyl. One of my favorite records of all time. Eskimo was an unprecedented instant masterpiece that made it clear to me that the Residents were not only part of the underground scene... The Residents, in fact, were THE underground. Everything else sounded like pop in comparison.
In 1980 my best friend, Jon, purchased the Residents latest release, the Commercial Album. A departure from their anthropologique Eskimo, the Commercial Album featured forty - one minute songs... a mockery of formulaic top forty pop music. What was most surprising about the Commercial Album to both Jon and myself was the album cover which featured a picture of my friend Jon. I have no idea where the Residents got a photo of Jon, or why they used it on their album cover, but there he was.

Jon 1978

The Commercial Album 1980

When the Residents released their Mark of the Mole album, they pressed a handful of special edition silk screened covers which had been signed by the
Residents with brown crayon, and pressed on brown vinyl. My copy was mistakenly sold at the flea market for one dollar. :-( I wish I still had it, especially since now its worth hundreds of dollars. At least I still have my Third Censored and Roll album, the West German version of the Third Reich and Roll. Still in perfect condition.

The first time I saw the
Residents perform was at the Barrymore Theater in Madison Wisconsin in 1990. I arrived early, and was the first person in line that night. When they opened the doors to the theater, I sprinted to the front and center of the Barrymore. Best seat in the house. That night the Residents presented Cube - E (being) The History of American Music in 3 E-Z Pieces. The first piece featured old western cowboy songs. One Resident wore an exaggerated over-sized cowboy hat. A neon fire glowed at center stage while a projected desertscape and evening sky illuminated the backdrop. The other three Residents, cloaked beneath Harry Tuttle-esque disguises, tapped away at their electronique instruments . Black slave songs were the theme in the second set. The third and final set featured Elvis as a fulfillment, or personification of cowboy and black rhythm. In the end, the space-age Elvis is made insignificant by the British invasion, specifically the Beatles. At least that's what Zoroaster said.

I didn't see the Residents again until 1997, when Mighty Mo purchased tickets for the Halloween show at the Fillmore, for our anniversary. I was impressed by projected images onto a large balloon on stage. Brilliant idea! Clam rockers, Primus, and fellow Residents fans, must have liked the idea too because they incorporated the concept for their own stage.

A Simple Song - Ralph Viddy - Buy or Die!
I must have been one of the first people to order this fancy NEW Ralph Records Video.

When it arrived in the mail, it was a simple TDK video cartridge featuring seven different Ralph viddys. Five different bands, including the Residents.

The cover-art consisted of basic black ink on a 81/2X11 white paper-board. I
carefully cut out the video cover, and with Elmers Glue, affixed it to the vhs box (included). Crafty!
The fancified package was complete.

These videos were a great alternative to the trendy commercial music being played on MTV.

The Residents have released lots of other videos over the years. Millions of them in fact. In May 2001, My son and I had the opportunity to see the Residents right here in Santa Cruz, Ca, at the Rio Theater. As usual, the Residents presented a unique and unprecedented concept for their stage show. The Icky Flix Tour featured the Residents playing live on stage as their familiar videos were projected onto a large screen above the band. Not long after the tour, the Residents released the Icky Flix DVD, which featured lots of snazzy Residents videos that could be played with the option of listening to old familiar songs, or newly recorded versions of the same tunes. Sparkling idea! I'll take two. Mm... Salty!


* Michael G's show preceded I'm So Bored. His show featured sixties and seventies rock. This was back when KRCL was located above the old Blue Mouse Theater, next to Cosmic Aeorplane. Jon and I paid Michael G a visit one evening. He played Cucamonga by Zappa/Beefheart at our request.

My friend Squirrelly's cousin, Jamie, who lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado, stayed with Squirrelly's family every summer. She returned home with Fingerprince. Jamie reported to me that she had played it for a friend, and that they both laughed at it. What can you expect from a couple of ignoramiatic metalheads?
*** Mr. Collin's program was originally called Dead Air, but was later changed to Beyond The Zion Curtain. When Brad sold out and began playing speed metal exclusively, Jon and I began to pester him by requesting Eskimo every time his program was on. Years later, I asked Collins about his Eskimo album, and he told me that someone had stolen it. He may have assumed that his taunters were the thieves. He assumed wrong

Saturday, May 10, 2008

BIG Love - Texas Style

Actually, the FLDS only recently migrated to the Lone Star State. For nearly a century, the obscure fundamentalist Mormon sect has been based in the state-bordered twin cities of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona where many of their members still reside.

I've been to Colorado City and Hilldale many times, and have
personally known some of the polygamists who live there because, back in the nineties, I worked with an engineering firm who designed and surveyed many of the streets, and utilities for these communities.

With my t-shirt and long dark hair pulled into a pony-tail, I was obviously not from
there, and a parade of local female driven automobiles rolled by throughout the day to view the spectacle of the long-haired surveyor standing behind a tripod. For lunch I sometimes dined with members of the community in the town cafeteria, or a little sandwich shop on the Hilldale side of town. I also frequented the local well-stocked grocery store, and purchased a couple of books from the used book store.

I felt comfortable discussing any topic with them, including their community. On
most occasions, I was treated with respect by the citizens of these towns who seemed completely normal, except for the fact that they practiced polygamy, and wore funny clothes. Contrary to what the hyperbolic media would have one think, the women there weren't chained to any posts, and in fact exercised a great deal of freedom. They could be seen shopping as far away as Mesquite, Nevada and Saint George, Utah, doing whatever they wanted to do... with or without their husbands.

Welcome to

Fundamentalist Christians, especially Southern Baptists, HATE Mormons vehemently, so when members of this decidedly unsavory brand of Mormondom recently moved to rural
Texas, the local family-values folks freaked out. Their anti-Mormon rhetoric was stepped up to frenzy level as presidential hopeful, Mit Romney, appeared as yet another Mormon threat to their uni-dimensional world-view. Big Love was destined to go down... Texas style!

Lone Star State Church

Recently, over four hundred children were taken into protective custody by the State of Texas. Southern Baptist Church buses wisped them speedily away to be re-brainwashed.

Does it bother anyone else that the state used Southern Baptist Church property to transport the children... or was it the church who used the state? In any event... what happened to separation of church and state in

"We did it for the children..."

What is most dis-settling about this whole ordeal, is that over 400 children have been taken by the state, and NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED. Child Protective Services claim child abuse, yet have not produced any evidence that this heinous crime occurs with any more frequency among this singled-out polygamous sect than in the rest of society. Personally, I am a bit suspicious of their motives because abuse
was one of the false claims used as leverage against the Branch Davidians which disastrously resulted in the death over one hundred innocent children at Waco Texas on April 19 1993.


The state which gave us George W. Bush, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the Waco fiasco, has recently been added to my boycott list. Mighty Mo and I had planned to go to Austin
Texas this year for our 22nd wedding anniversary, but now, we don't want to contribute to a yeller state that victimizes innocent children. We'll go someplace nice instead... like Nevada.

Mess With Texas

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Xtra Files 2: The Haunted Bedroom

"Daddy, I'm scared!" the small voice of my three year old daughter whispered quietly in the darkness. "Can I sleep with you and mom?" It wasn't the first time she had been scared in the night. She had had trouble sleeping in her room ever since we moved in to our lovely 2,800 square foot home* in Utah's Dixie.

The blanket was a well worn hand-me-down that had been used by my son for years. Even though it was a bit frayed, and was nearly worn through in a couple of places, she loved her soft baby blue baby blanket and slept with it every night... until, one day the blanket mysteriously disappeared. We looked everywhere for it, and it was nowhere to be found. We finally decided that it was lost, and basically moved the thought of it to the back of our minds... But then, one day, months later, the blanket mysteriously turned up. I found it folded, in my daughter's room and placed neatly on her small bed. I immediately inquired with Mighty Mo, assuming that she had found it. To my surprise, she was just as baffled by the appearance of the blanket as I was. I had doubts about either of my kids actually folding** something, but I checked with them anyway. Both of them were also surprised to see it, and denied folding it and placing it on the bed.

Where did it go? How did it get back? Why was it folded and placed strategically on the bed? Could the room actually be haunted? I doubted it... until...

When we moved to Santa Cruz back in 1997, my old college
buddy, Rob, had recently divorced, and needed a place to live. We were heading out to California, and trying to decide what to do with the house... Do we sell it? Do we rent it? We decided to let Rob rent it for a while, and he agreed to pay enough to make my mortgage every month while he lived there and finished the basement. Unfortunately, this arrangement didn't work out, and after six months of not receiving any money from him, and none of my phone calls returned, I decided to fly to St. George and kick him out of the house, and hopefully collect many thousands of dollars in unpaid rent.

When I arrived, a stranger answered the door. As it turned out, Rob had been subletting rooms to college kids, and this guy was one of the renters. The nearly twenty year old boy stood before me in the doorway, wearing excessively loose fitting and large exaggerated denim bell-bottoms which were worn and frayed from having been trampled under foot, and stepped on thousands of times. I introduced myself, and informed him of my intentions. He was accommodating, and told me where I might be able to find Rob. In a strange attempt to
relate, he asked, "What kind of music do you listen to?" Surprised by the strange, out of context question, I replied, "Oh, I don't know... whatever..." He then volunteered, "I like rock!" Nodding his head in affirmative support of his statement. I told him I would like to take a look around, and without hesitation he stepped aside, and invited me inside. It was obvious that college-aged kids occupied the place. A large entryway window had been broken and replaced with cheap oddly-colored glass, and the entire place was in a state of disarray.

In the basement, an entire wall had been knocked out. The damage was excessive. When I peered into the upstairs bedrooms, I noticed that there were three beds crowded into one room while another room (the haunted bedroom) was completely empty. I found it odd, but didn't think much about it at the time. When my disappointment was sufficiently satisfied, I set out to find Rob.

He was surprised to see me. I told him that he had to move out of the house and give me at least half of the rent he had failed to pay... I made it clear to him that I wasn't leaving his side until I had the money. I shadowed him for the rest of the day as he made attempts to raise money from his friends and business associates, and he did recover nearly half of the money he owed.

I inquired about the bedroom situation. "Why are there three beds in one room, while the bedroom next to it is completely empty?" I asked. "Oh, no one will sleep in there...
that room is haunted!" he said.

*The house seemed like the best deal when we were shopping for a home. It had five staggered levels, and eight bedrooms. The lowest level in the house was the basement which is where we kept the ping pong table. There were three other rooms as well. A room for my guitars, a storage room, and Edweena had her very own room... the luckiest mannequin in town. The next level was the garage and work room. A handful of stairs lead to the laundry room. There were two other rooms on that level, as well as a large walk in closet, and a large foyer. One of the rooms is where I kept my (electric) organ, and the other served as both an office and library. I had thousands of my favorite books*** at my fingertips, and could find any of them upon request for information about anything. Meanwhile, Kombucha Mushrooms in large glass jars flourished in the dark closet. The foyer lead to the living room which had large windows with a view of Zion National Park off in the distance. The kitchen was also on that level. There was a large wood burning stove which kept the house toasty warm all winter. Stairs lead from the living room to the fifth and highest level. There was a large bathroom, with two sinks and tub and shower. The master bedroom was large, with another restroom adjacent to it. The two other bedrooms on that level were occupied by my son and daughter.

They're teenagers now, and they still don't fold anything.

**Sadly, 90% of my book collection was destroyed while in storage a few years back. It broke my heart.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

EDWEENA - A Hard Woman is Good to Find

Her feet were sticking out of the dumpster when Mighty Mo found her... But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Mighty Mo had been making a Father's Day gift at a ceramic studio in Salt Lake City. The shop had the paint and kiln she needed to finished her artistique creation - bookends, that looked like large stones, with a lizard or two on each one. She had meticulously formed them from clay, and had planned to make the stones look as though they were made of metal. When she entered the studio, it was hot and orange, and so were the tempers... She asked one of the employees for assistance, and was told, "It is impossible to make silver-stone, Miss." The place was filled with metal shelving, and reeked of burning clay. Mighty Mo suggested layering rust, copper, and turquoise glazes. She figured if she "layered and gooped on lots of it", maybe it would turn out the way she envisioned. The employee rolled their eyes back, and said, "It will never work, honey." She tried it anyway...

This was the day she would find out how her creation had turned out. She arrived early, before the shop had opened for business. As she sat in her gold Mazda 323 waiting for the store to open, she noticed two bare feet and legs sticking out of the dumpster behind the shop. At first disturbed, she got out of her car, walked to the dumpster, looked a little closer and realized that these legs were not human legs, no... but something less animatedd. Mighty Mo opened the lid, and pulled out a beautiful, 5'10" female mannequin in perfect condition. She tucked her new-found friend under her arm, and scurried back to the car, hoping no one was watching, and layed her across the back seat. The shop soon opened, and Mighty Mo quickly made her way inside to check on her book ends. There they were. Perfect! The risky glazing experiment worked wonderfully. The ceramic stones were metallic silver, and the lizards were lizard-green. The cashier that morning was the same person who had said the "experiment" would not yield Mighty Mo's desired results. She was wrong, and the proof was right there before her very eyes. There was no greeting, comment, or eye contact as Mighty Mo paid for her project, and left the shop. As she approached the car, project in hand, Mighty Mo was startled for a moment when she saw the mannequin laying across the back seat. EDWEENA has been part of our family ever since... about seventeen years.

"When Edweena made me mushrooms, she ate the grain and ground the groom..." The Residents