Bill is a bunny

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Yesterday I got to teach Justin American History on my own in the library. It was a lot of fun explaining Mormons to him as well as showing him a globe to illustrate latitude and longitude. "Don't call them Texicans, Justin. They would get offended."

Had a late night, kinda hung over today. It amazes me that I don't lose my temper with the kids on days like this. For some reason I can't get upset with 7th graders making fun of me. Sure, it gets under my skin same as it would with anyone but they are, after all, just children. What a good attitude!

Sorry, I can't write about anything else right now, there's a ton of bullshit going on right now that I'll be sorting through for the rest of the week. If I can, I'll tell y'all about it.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Various updates: emotional, practical

Sorry for the lack of updates last week. I was out sick for a while (vomit and I are not friends anymore. Of course we had been out of touch for a while...) Last week saw some major changes in my life. The most earth shattering: I officially broke up with my girlfriend. Most of y'all probably didn't even know I had one in the first place. There were reasons for that and no, you do not already know all of them even if you think you do. The reasons for me breaking up with her a myriad as well and no, I'm not going to dish on my blog. I want to remain friends with this particular girl and would rather not air our dirty laundrey in public. Suffice it to say that things had not been good in a while and we kept slugging away at it because we both cared about each other. Just not the way a girlfriend/boyfriend ought to.

Don't worry, I won't get all depressed about this and start reverting to teen angst mode. I'm pretty entrenched in 20-something-angst mode anyway. This was a very good thing that happened; it was painful but now it's over and we can move on, hopefully in a responsible and mature way. But knowing me, that is about as likely as seeing GW Bush manning the calls at a PBS fundraiser.

Other wacky stuff has been happening in my corner of the universe and unfortunately it does not solely involve my personage so I'm really not at liberty to divulge any details. Let's just say things got really complicated, really fast for a lot of folks in my sphere. My involvement in said complications was minimal (I think) and Hopefully won't result in any loss of life, limb or friendship. I did find out I could throw folks out of my house if I need to. That's kinda cool.

I watched a cool movie last week called "A Nation Without Women" from Bollywood releasing giant Eros Entertainment. How's that for a name? If you've ever seen any Bollywood films you know they are about as far removed from what that name implies to my Western ears as possible. But I love them never the less. I took a whopping five pages of notes on that sucker (in itty-bitty handwriting) so expect a good sized review from me sometime this week.

I'm getting psyched about the show in El Dorado this weekend (Friday, schleppy). Einstein's has treated us well in the past, let's hope they keep it up. The album continues to inch closer to completion. The artwork is the sole holdup now and Saratoga is working on some replacement artwork if the original stuff doesn't come back to us for reformatting. I kinda hope it doesn't because Sara Herbert is one hell of a designer and if she pulls off something as good as the work she did on The Pillage People EP then we're a lock for that "Best New Artist" Grammy.

Chris Jay continues work on a screenplay he says he want me to act in. I haven't worked onstage or film in a couple of years so this should be cool as fuck. I'm still pissed about not being tapped for The Dog Thief.

If you get the chance go over to famousforfifteen.blogspot.com and check out what's there. Sara and Chris really maintain that blog and I want them to know folks are reading it and caring about it. Liek that fern your mom gave you but you didn't water. I need to karmicly make up for that.

Monday, January 23, 2006

And I thought I was crazy (part 2)

When last we left our heroes they were heading toward Baton Rouge for and aftershow party with the Dimestore Troubadors. Reve valiantly drove through dense fog and bad directions to arrive in Baton Rouge and rendevous with the Troubadors at a Circle K. I started feeling a bit uneasy when Joseph began yelling at a home;ess man panhandleing outside the store about the level of poverty he (joseph) lived in and how rude and borderline racist the man was to assume he had money. The homeless gentleman was enraged by these remarks and began yelling back (though I'm not really certain what he was yelling about outside of "positivity") Short story long, I gave the dude a cigarette (actually two cigarettes because he demanded them). Joseph continued to yell at him as we drove off.

We met up with the Troubadors at their bassist, Creighton's new apartment. OSme sort of Bergmanesque psychodrama was afoot inside as we could hear Creighton's girlfriend wailing as Joseph explained that we were going to party there. Creighton obviously had no problem with this nor did Brian (Joseph's brother and the band's banjo player/multi-instrumentalist). The girlfriend was not swayed by Joseph's overtures to peace and took it upon herself to liberate the air in Creighton's tires. Creighton displayed minor annoyance by emancipating the air in his girlfriend's tires. Two vehicles with flat tires later, we decide to leave. Moving a couple of blocks down the street we began to get down with it on an old school Tony Montana tip (interpret that how you wish, I ain't losing my job over this post). Conversations bounced around the room like pinbals, Joseph and I escaped to the curb with his acoustic guitar to discuss the finer points of songcraft and Creighton confessed his true love to his tirecidal girlfriend (romantic I thought). Jamie and I ran intyo the Amazing Nuns old manager while looking for breakfast around 7 AM. He kindly treated us to breakfast at Continental Coffee. The party was winding down when we goy back, the Troubadors eventually left, I drew a bunny smoking a cigarette on one of Brian's paintings and Reve drove us back to Monroe. I finally got to sleep around 1:30 PM Saturday, woke up two hours later, watched Astro Boy for three hours, wrote a review of Fudoh and DOA, listened to the Pillage People and Kanye West, went back to sleep, woke up again, smoked too many cigarettes and drank too many beers but STILL made it to the band meeting Sunday afternoon.

I am truly superheroic in my rock star excess. But I can't hold a candle to the Dimestore Troubadors. Those guys are the real deal and I love them for it. I have never seen a group of guys less afraid of confrontation in my life. And that's a compliment.

And I thought I was crazy

Well, I consider the show this weekend in Lafayette a success though without a doubt it was the most poorly attended of any Vidrines' show thus far (not counting the KSCL show from almost two years ago). The drive down was as ardorous as expected and the crowd was thin to say the least (and the cover at the door was $2! I can't eat on $2!). But the folks who were there seemed happy to be present and accounted for. As an added bonus a local "Free" paper had written up the band in their "To Do" section which was surprising and cool (I had no idea my vocals were "Post-hardcore").

Best of all The DImestore Troubadors opened for us and were just...swell. I mean, the first time I saw these guys I thought Joseph, the lead singer, was leaning way too much on the Tom Waits crutch of making the voice all growly. But Friday night he sounded like himself which is really all you can ever ask of any vocalist (I am loathe to use the word singer in reference to myself or anyone else who doesn't do that screechy Mariah Carey thing). After we collected our pittance from the barkeeper ($45! Le bon tempe rolle) Reve and Jamie and I heaed over to Baton Rouge to party with the Troubadors.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Blasting the past

Nothing is really happening here today (at least not until we hit the road for that Lafayette gig) so I thought I would indulge in a trip down memory lane.

When I was a sophmore in high school back in the 20th Century (still the best century in my opinion) I met this cool girl named Kaycee at Mardi Gras and we hit it off. She went to LSMSA with my sister and stayed over at my parents' house one night. Emalie was off doing something or other so Kaycee and I stayed up and watched The Streetfighter with Sonny Chiba. We started talking movies and it dawned on us both that we had very simlar tatses and interests. She was gone the next morning before I could say goodbye so I made her a collage book called "A Tale of Two Cleaners" (a reference to The Professional with Natalie Portman and Jean Reno). My sister took it to her at school and we began a correspondence of sorts by making each other new installments of our explots. I still have a bunch of these little books and pull them out every now and again when I want to feel good about my teenage years.

A year went by and I ended up going to LSMSA as well meeting lots of cool folks and having a grand old time. Kaycee was in a band with one of my friends named CHris Bloch call Princess Hattie. They played mostly in Alexandria and had lots of swell songs like "Kool Kids" and "Bad Touch". I dug them and I dug Kaycee too. Kaycee dug me as well and invited me to MC one of their gigs at an airforce base in ALexandria one weekend. I was nervous and excited to be in front of so many of my peers in a strange place. I got out there and did my thing for the crowd (rather awkwardly since I was 17 at the time) and introduced the first act (LSMSA kids who had been iunvited along for the ride, including renowned writer and musician Brad Demarest). I took the stage again after them with little to no idea how I would fill the 15 minutes before Princess Hattie was ready to come on. I had a bag of old paperbacks with me and began chucking them into the crowd (I did this badly as well, often missing the persons I was aiming for and bopping some innocent pixie in the head with Chaucer) I told a couple of gross stroies then proclaimed that I could shit in a bottle on stage, set it on fir and be paid for it. The crowd went berserk and demanded that I do just that. I dutifully hiked down my trousers (carefully so as not to expose my penis to the crowd, something I still refuse to do to this day) and squatted over an empty coke bottle someone had thrown on stage. I feigned a blocked bowel and asked for a cigarette from the crowd to help get my guts going. A hail of cigarettes flew down around me and I began shuffleing around the stage with my pants around my ankles scooping them up. At one point I turned around so that my back was to the audience and I heard an explosion of applause laughter and screams. I had shown Alexandria my ass.

It was one of those watershed moments in life where you taste something for the first time and immediately want more. Like crack. CHris Bloch's dad convinced the policeman on hand not to arrest me for public nudity, gave me a stern lecture about free speech and what smoking pot in Viet Nam was like (seriously!) and then sent me back to his place with his van and Princess Hattie's equipment. I had never driven something so ungodly HUGE in my life and almost slammed into a cop car on my way back. I narrowly avoided being put in prison again and soundly refused to back into the Bloch's carport after I ran over their pegonias. Kaycee couldn't understand why I was so tense when I walked into the living room at CHris' place and I stalked out of the house and walked around their neighborhood, not returning until I had my fill of drug dealers and come ons from homosexual black men. And of course I was in love.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

We play Lafayette tomorrow

The title speaks for itself.

It's all LIES!

Over my vacation with Spencer this past holiday season I was exposed to a new writer by the name of JT Leroy who Spencer reccomended admantly. I was delighted to find out that Asia Argento had adapted one of his books into a film which was to be released in the US in the coming year. Long story short, I picked up a copy of his book "The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things" and began reading it voraciously. It was a collection of autobiographical short stories based on the author's life with his horrible whore mother who turned him into a teen prostitute and drug addict. I was stunned by the writing, especially when I considered that he was 18 or so when much of this stuff was written. Leroy had a nifty pseudo-drag persona and a swell webpage with merchandise including wiffleballs signed by the author and raccoon penises. I loved the book and hated the author for being so young. Oddly enough Spencer was reading the new Brett Easton Ellis novel "Lunar Park" which was a fake memoir. I've always envied Ellis' stature in the publishing world at such a young age as well.

With all the uproar recently about the fabricated memoir "A Million Little Pieces" Time Magazine decided to publish a full article on the controversy surrounding that book and its author. Tucked away in a sidebar was a smaller piece about JT Leroy called "The Boy Who Wasn't There". Turns out that Leroy did the fake "Million" one better: he never existed at all. The pictures Spencer and I saw online turned out to be the step sisiter of one of the real authors (that's right, it took two real adults to write for one fake teenager). Leroy was invented and marketed by a couple in the entertainment indusrty (whatever that means). All those stories I read were made up by someone else. Admittedly, "Heart" is labeled Fiction so I knew that everything in the book couldn't be true. But knowing the author's own troubled background (abusive mother, drug abuse, AIDS, redemption in a hospital for troubled youths) added meaning to the work that isn't there anymore. If I had known the book was fiction written by a middle aged couple would I have been as forging with the prose let alone knocked out by how good it was?

Spencer commented over the holiday that he was shocked JT Leroy could write so well considering he grew up in truckstops. The only thing he could have read between blow jobs was comics and Sports Illustrated. Nuts. What a pack of lies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Movin' on up

Life continues to rock and roll here in Monroe. I'm on my lunch break as usual and the kids are roaming the halls of Lee Jr. High like minature Godzillas. Sorry if I sounded a little down in the dumps yesterday. I wasn't. Just got a bit contemplative which is kinda funny when you think that a picture of meyself in a dog collar sparked all that introspection. I love that picture by the way. Anyone who knows me will recall my fondness for Iggy and the Stooges and that "look" is an obvious tribute. When I was 13 I saw the PBS "Rock and Roll" documentaries on TV and there was a good one on The Velvet UNderground, Lou Reed, The Stooges, and David Bowie that I just ate up. I was shocked by the footage of The Stooges performing back inn Detroit. Iggy was just some skinny guy going berserk on stage. I figured if he could do it why not me? At the time I weighed in at 110 (if that) and figured I would never get any girls the way I was. Iggy gave me hope. He still does.

I'm enjoying the mention on famousforfifteen.blogspot.com of Bonn Scott and AC DC as they influence my role in The Vidrines. Scott is indeed a role model of sorts for moi, but he has to take a backseat to Iggy. One way of thinking of the band is a collision of Tom Waits and Iggy Pop onstage. I dig that. "Coffee and Cigarttes-Somewhere in California" with the volume ratched up to 11.

It's been sorta starnge lately being back in touch with Kaycee Eckhardt. She's been in Japan for the past few years and is coming back to the states for a while. I'm going to plan a trip to see her in the near future. She and I used to get up to some pretty wild stuff back in the day (including my first brush with public nudity laws in Alexandria). I get the feeling that old magic may still be there. We'll see.

I'm going to eat some sushi with my father tonight since mom is out of town. I'm looking forward to sitting down with dad over a couple of bottles of sake and chatting about music and movies for a while. Dad and I have always been able to talk to each other about that sort of thing. I like to think we have a very open relationship though I don't go to him for too terribly much advice. If he knew half the shit I get up to he might want to have me committed again. So I'll bite my toungue and try to concentrate the conversation on lighter subjects.

Like Ryan Sarnowski's wedding. I recieved my invitation today and I'll do my damnedest to be there. We have a show the day before but it's possible I can get a flight to Tampa the next morning before returning to work the day after. We'll see.

Takaeshi Miike continues to mess with my head after all these years. For those not in the know he's a Japanese film director with a true ability to turn a genre on its ear while still delivering the goods. Excess is the key word here and if you know Billy you know he likes excess. Miike will never be a critical darling (the movies are uneven) but he fills me with joy after every flick he makes about the possibilties of cinema. Right now I'm watching (and rewatching) "DOA" a truly whacked out yakuza flick. This one was not as balls to the wall bizarre as "Gozu" (nothing could be) but it contains more starnge sights and sounds than I thought possible. By the end of the film I was breathless and immediately rewound to see it again. Currently my favorite in his cannon is "IZO"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A swell show and a swell review

Howdy, everybody! Did y'all have a safe and happy weekend? I certainly did. We played at Sully's saturday night, which was a hoot. One of the problems I've been encountering lately at Vidrines shows is the familiar faces I see in the crowd. Not that I don't want folks to return to see us, I most certainly do, but I sometimes get the feeling we have a nitch audience that will never get any bigger than about 100 (317 if you count evryone who is a "Friend" at myspace.com). We did not have the largest crowd this Saturday in fact it was probably our smallest but it was made up by and large of folks I did not know. This makes me happy since I want new people and new reactions to the show.

Speaking of reactions Chris Jay wrote a very thoughtful review of the show at famousforfifteen.blogspot.com (with a very attractive photo of yours truly with no shirt and a dog collar at the beginning). I really dug the review and the fact that Chris would write about us in the first place. It nmade me a little nervous reading stuff like "Bill is going to take out his penis at one of these shows". I mean, Iggy Pop did this stuff first and did it better than I can ever hope to. The best thing I can bring to the mix is whatever writing ability I have. These worries are often compounded after a show because my voice is shot and the fact that I ain't ever gonna be a Dean Martin type singer starts making me itch. I watched the video we shot at the show and couldn't remember doing half the things I did on stage. I mean, I'm kinda in the moment and kinda fucked up, so whatever comes out of the dances comes out of the dances, right? But it makes me feel like less of an artist sometimes. Like, I don't write any music or choreograph any of the dance moves or anything. I'm not a very good singer. I'm out of shape and not the cutest boy on the block to begin with. I dunno, maybe it's got something to do with the action of doing whatever it is I do. Reve and I talk about the shamanistic aspects of my role in The Vidrines which sounds kinda pretentious (actually, it IS kinda pretentious). To some degree this band and the shows we play are my clearest form of worship. I don't go to Mass anymore. I don't claim any particualr faith. But there is a feeling that there is more than me at stake. I'm not saying I'm possessed by the "Magical Spirit of Rythm" or any of that nonsense but in the best case scenarios I am someone else onstage. Someone I could never be without the distance the stage provides me from my life (but not the audience). Whatever.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Show update

We will actually be playing at Sully's tomorrow not Sharpies as previously posted sorry for any confusion.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Show in Shreveport

The Vidrines will be back in HSrevport this Saturday at Sharpies (?) I think. For more accurate information go to myspace.com/thevidrines. I'm excited about playing a new club in one of my favorite cities (no, Noma, I am not moving there any time soon, unless Chris gets me a job at the new film center). It's been a long time no see for the band and its SHreveport audience. I can hardly wait.

Saw Hostel and Wolf Creek this weekend and can safely reccomend them to horror fans. Wolf Creek does not have any blood to speak of but the atmosphere is swell as is the fact that it was shot on digital video. There are of course a few gaping plot holes and weird pieces of motivation (would you stop and watch a home video while trying to escape a killer?) but overall it whet my appetite for the feast of fear that is Hostel. I saw the US premiere in Austin of Eli Roth's first film, Cabin Fever, and thought it stunk big time. If I had been 13 I probably would have dug that one a lot more but as a 23 year old (as I was at the time) I thought it was a bunch of dumb jokes loosely knitted to the side of a horror film. This has been remedied quite nicely in Hostel, giving us more well rounded characters that we can identify with (Josh was so close to home for me that I became a bit uncomfortable) and a heaping helping of gore that made the packed house screech in disgust and terror. One fella got up half way through and declared loudly, "I'm going to church!" You just know a movie is working right when that happens. I considered dressing up in a devil costume and giving away free tickets to people in line a la The Passion but decided against it. Instead I'll be dressing as a hasidic Jew and giving away tickets to Munich. Just kidding, though I really wish I could.

Well, that's about it. I'm psyched about the new Sam Peckinpah box set that just came out as well as the prospect of playing three shows this month. I wish I could play more often but to do that we would all have to quit our jobs and I'm the only one who would ever do that. I think.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What's Going On

We've started a poetry unit in Reading this week and kicked things off with a round of song lyrics by Marvin Gaye, Fantasia (contemporary R&B singer, I think) and John Lennon. I brought in a copy of the Bob Dylan doc. Martin SCorscese did last year for the teacher (NOT for the students, I sometimes worry that y'all will assume we only show the kids videos in class). She's a nice lady from the New Orleans area who was displaced by the hurricane. I was a little scared of her at first as you generally are with new people who are sorta your superiors in the ranks but we've hit it off really well.

I'm reading Iceberg Slim's "Trick Baby" right now, "The Story of a White Negro". Some of the kids keep asking what it is about and I just say a con man. No one gave a sh*t when I was reading "The Long Goodbye" (by the way, Chris Jay, if you are reading this ask me about that book-it was excellent). I figure if the kids realize that there are books out there that are not jsut about how to eat fried worms and bios of football players then maybe they can start appreciating the whole modus operandi of reading. This is kind of a thorny path to walk upon, though. I mean these kids are, well, kids. Sure they have troubled home lives (in some cases) and are aware of the world around them in a way I was not at their age. But I feel a kind of responsibility to protect their innocence while educating (love that word!) them about the danger and beauty (and dangerous beauty) of the "real", adult world. I guess I'll figure this out as I go along.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Further advetures in Shreveport for our new celebrity

Reve called me up yesterday and asked if I would like to drive over to Shreveport with him so he could get fitted for the movie Factory Girl. He and I got hired on as extras but unfortunately I can't work on it during the week so Mr. Carlson will have to represent our formidable acting abilities. After he was suited out by the Hollywood folks we met up with Carter and Chad for a drink (or two or three in my case) at Stray Cat, a little bar in dowtown Shreveport that supposedly stays open until 6:00 AM. It was nice seeing them and shooting the shit a bit. Reve and I decided to accompany them back to someone's mother's house and watch The Big Positive practice. They were actually really fun and would have made a swell opening act for our New Year's show. In fact those were my wishes, but The Vidrines being a democracy I was outvoted and Gatorbait won the honors. Gatorbait are a swell bunch of guys and played a hell of a set but I still wish we had the Big P out there to represent. Anyway, I had work the next morning and was proceeding to get myself good and drunk in another town so we left after a little cajoling from yours truly. The drive home was...interesting. Reve and I were both a bit toasted and traded up behind the wheel at least once. Have you ever driven with a drunk Reve? It ain't a cinch, kids, not by a long shot. If anyone can push my buttons it's that Daddy Carlson. We fussed at each other a bit but I don't think anyone got their feelings sprained (feelings? What feelings?). One thing it made me think about is the weird nature of friendship. I have and had friends that never said a bad word to me, called me out when I was getting ready to burn the silo, nothing. And I can't barely stand them. But Reve goes at me like a dog with a bone and I love him for it. Well, not all the time, espcially when he starts to get sanctimonious on my ass but I dunno, it works for me. I guess a friend is someone who cares enough to tell you when you're wrong (or at least when he thinks you're wrong) and not just give you the bullshit you wanna hear. I've had a few guys like that in my life (Ronnie, Chris and Spencer also come to mind) and I guess I'm grateful (like the Dead, a subject which Reve knows entirely too much about).
Neat huh? Anyway I can't hardly wait to see Wolf Creek and Hostel this weekend after a crummy wedding on Saturday. Ought to clear out the cobwebs, eh?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And...we're back

Howdy, folks! Did the holidays treat everyone well? I'm pretty good, considering. Made up for all that lost drinking time, slept very little and dreamt constantly of being late for work and/or fired. My visit with Spencer went very well, had a blast and met some pretty swell folks in Houston. Spencer is the smae guy I left in Tallhassee all those years ago and I was gratifide to see that LA didn't corrupt him (anymore than he already is). I saw King Kong a total of three times over the break and would go see it again this weekend if I did not already have a double feature of Wolf Creek and Hostel to burn my retinas with.

The Vidrines had a great New Years show last weekend. We played for almost 2 and 1/2 hours which made me rather proud of my skinny ass. Corbin came back for the show and we all stepped back into the old line-up with nary a hitch. I did not get to see Chris Jay as much as I thought due to car trouble and tooth trouble, respectively. I recieved some swell gifts for Christmas including a DV camera which will hopefully get lots of mileage in the new year. Reve is on my ass about getting out there with it and anyone who knows Reve know he is not to be denied. But I try, oh, how I try.

I'm back at school and the kids are acting like fools, but I don't really mind. I missed them all quite a bit over the break. I was just happy I didn't get fired or replaced while I was gone. I guess they like me here for the most part. I guess I like being here too.