Posts tagged ‘United States’

Book Revue – Does The Sound In My Head Bother You – Steven Tyler

Aerosmith - Steven_Tyler

Image via Wikipedia

I have just finished Steven Tyler’s autobiography and am still a bit unsure of what to make of it all. Problem is that Steven tends to be all over the place with his writing, although once you get over that, and his constant use of the ‘f’ word, this book proves to be an interesting read.

This is a book full of sex, drugs and even a little rock ‘n’ roll, as Steven recounts his life’s’ story. There is a lot of talk about drugs, and Steven is open and honest about his stints in rehab and his many attempts, successes and failures to get himself clean. The drug talk is very frank and open, although I’m not sure whether he fully understands the gravity of his drug problem.

Steven also talks a lot about sex in his book, and about his many infidelities and sexual conquests. Again he is quite open about this and about his inability to understand why his wives and girlfriends have not been able to accept this part of his rock n roll lifestyle.

Perhaps the bits of the book that I enjoyed the most are when he talks about his music and his band Aerosmith, as well as the relationship he has with the other half of the Toxic Twins, guitarist Joe Perry. Steven gives a very good insight into the songwriting process and the chemistry that is needed to be a part of a successful band. It’s obvious that even when the band was disintegrating in the early 80s, to more recent times when Aerosmith has tried to replace Tyler as lead singer due to his inability to remain clean, that there has still been a chemistry and camaraderie within Aerosmith. As Tyler says, Aerosmith are his ‘other’ family and Joe Perry is his soul mate and brother.

One thing that struck me is that despite the fame, sex, drugs and rock n roll, Steven Tyler is a lot like me. Offstage, when he is not playing the rock star, he is shy and reserved and a very thoughtful and caring person who wonders about the mysteries of the world. He has a great curiosity about things. He also seems like the type of person who despite his fame is quite accepting of people from all walks of life. You often hear about famous people who are assholes, but Steven sounds like the type of person who would be anything but arrogant and would be enjoyable company.

I do recommend this book if you are a fan of Aerosmith and yo want to know the ups and downs of America‘s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band and their charismatic lead singer. However if you have discovered Steven Tyler more recently as the crazy old man whose a judge on American Idol I would avoid this, as his life has been anything but wholsome and you will be shocked.

Playing For Change – Gimme Shelter

I sa this posted on the Rolling Stones‘ official Facebook page and have fallen in love with it.

Playing For Change is a multimedia music project created by the American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson whose aim is inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. They are also dedicated to creating and supporting music schools, principally in developing countries.

The official PFC website can be found here.

Gerald McBoing Boing

I know I’ve posted this several times before, but it’s a great cartoon and has inspired me after I watched it at the MIAF on Saturday night.

UPA Retrospective

Tonight I went to the first session of the UPA retrospective at the Melbourne International Animation Festival at the ACMI cinemas. It was a great night with lots of great cartoons. It was good to see such an enthusiastic audience too. It was the first time I have been to see animated shorts on the big screen, and it was good to see people still laugh at these things, although most of the audience seemed to be made up of animation students.

Guest of honour was Tee Bosustow, son of UPA founder Stephen Bosustow. He spoke enthusiastically about the studio and let slip that Sony are finally releasing a dvd box set of the UPA shorts. Actually he said that Sony had outsourced this to two other companies and they will be releasing the DVD. If this is true, and I don’t doubt Tee’s word, this is great for classic animation fans. A UPA set has been a long time coming, and I thikn both John Canemaker and Jerry Beck have in the past tried to persuade Sony to release these cartoons, but failed. If I recollect correctly there was some rights issue with Classic Media owning the Mr Magoo character, despite the Magoo theatrical shorts being owned by Sony.

Most popular cartoon tonight would be a toss-up between

The Jaywalker

Rooty Toot Toot

and Madeline

Melbourne International Animation Festival – UPA Showcase

Today the Melbourne International Animation Festival begins at ACMI and there is one part of the program that I am very excited about and really looking forward to seeing. Every year the MIAF has at least one retrospective on animation history, and this year they have chosen one of my favourite studios from the golden age of animation in UPA. I have previously made posts about UPA, which you can find here.

There are three different programs for UPA, with the first being next Friday evening. The first one features the cartoons Blues Patterns, Outlaws, Mr Charmley Greet A Lady, Be Quiet, Kind, And Gentle,  The Lost Duchess, Madeline, The Jaywalker, Bringing Up Mother, The Wonder Gloves, Christopher Crumpet, and Rooty Toot Toot. Of these I have only seen Madeline, Christopher Crumpet and Rooty Toot Toot, so it should be an interesting evening.

Program 2 is on Saturday evening and features some of the more well-known UPA cartoons as well as some of their earliest work. Hell Bent For Election was the first UPA cartoon made, directed by Warner Bros. Chuck Jones as a favour to the fledgling studio, it was made to help re-elect Franklin Roosevelt as president of the USA. Brotherhood of Man is another industrial cartoon made for the auto workers union to help ease the desegregation of that industry. It seems quite strange today that some people needed a film to tell them that black and white people could live and work together. Flat Hatting was made for the US Navy (I think) as an instructional film of what not to do for the pilots. Then there are the classic commercial cartoons they made such as The Magic Fluke, starring the Fox and the Crow, Gerald McBoing Boing, one of my all-time favourites, The Unicorn In The Garden, Fudget’s Budget and the interesting and gloomy The Tell Tale Heart. I have seen all of these films with the except of Flat Hatting and Fudget’s Budget, but it will be the first time I have seen any of these on the big screen, which I am really looking forward to.

Program 3 is on Saturday afternoon and features UPA’s only really well-known character in Mr Magoo. This is a good cross-section of Magoo’s theatrical cartoons and features The Ragtime Bear, his first cartoon, Trouble Indemnity, Barefaced Flatfoot, Hotsy Footsy, Magoo Express and When Magoo Flew.

All in all it promises to be a very good time and I cannot wait to go. More information can be found at the MIAF website.


Werribee Zoo

Today I went to Werribee Zoo. I thought I would take advantage of my Myki, which charges only $3 for transport to any zone on the weekend. (However at the end of the day nothing has been charged to my Myki!)

I took lots of photos, perhaps too many. It was difficult taking some of the pictures, as I had to zoom in as much as possible on occasion, so they turned out blurred.

I enjoyed Werribee Zoo very much. Unlike Melbourne Zoo it was not crowded. In fact it was quite empty in comparison. There weren’t as many animals at Werribee, but that gives you more time to wander around. If in the morning one of the animals cannot be seen because they are hiding, you can always come back in the afternoon and see them, unlike at Melbourne Zoo where there are so many animals that you need the whole day to catch them all. The bus trip, through the open range part of the zoo, where we got to see the rhinos, zebras, giraffes and hippos, as well as other animals, was very good too. The driver was extremely educational and informative. All in all it was a very good and enjoyable day.

Swimming

View of MSAC from Albert Park Lake

Image via Wikipedia

I went swimming today for the first time in years. Even though the apartment complex where I live has a pool, I decided to walk to MSAC in Albert Park for a swim instead. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly our pool is not heated and gets friggin cold on days like today. Secondly, by walking for 40 minutes to Albert Park (and back again later), it allows me to get in some extra exercise.

There weren’t many people at MSAC today. There were a few old men and a school group, but that was it. I did about 10 – 15 laps of the 25 metre pool before hopping out to hit the spa. I had hoped to do some more but by this time I was exhausted. I definitely am not as fit as I once was, but surprisingly I am fitter than I thought I was, as I thought I’d be lucky to do only a couple of laps before giving up.

Afterwards I had a sandwich and a coffee outside by the lake. It was difficult to find a place to sit as all of the benches and tables were covered in bird poo. I read in the Herald Sun yesterday that the Port Phillip Council had a meeting to decide whether they should ban the Formula 1 from Albert Park because of environmental concerns. I wonder if the reason they refuse to hire someone to clean up the bird crap which is everywhere in the park, is because they don’t want to disturb the environment as well. It was disgusting! Then again this is the same council that allowed Albert Park to resemble a tip prior to 1996. If they are so concerned about the park then why don’t they do something towards its upkeep instead of leaving it up to other people? Port Phillip Council really is good for nothing and if it wasn’t for neighbouring Glen Eira Council, they would surely be the most useless government body in the state. Fortunately for me, due to a boundary shift a number of years ago, I am now residing in Melbourne City Council’s jurisdiction instead of in Port Phillip. I live about 100 meters from the boundary so if for whatever reason the boundaries shift back, I will gladly vote to remove this useless council. For now I just have to console myself with the fact that at the next Melbourne City Council election I will be voting against Robert Doyle as Lord Mayor.

When I eventually found a place to park myself I watched an old guy who looked a lot like Santa Claus, feeding the swans, ducks and gulls. For a few seconds he was swamped by the things and it reminded me of  a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I felt like pointing out to him that he is one of the reasons why there is so much bird crap on the furniture in the park. Because people like him feed the birds, they overeat and naturally need to do a lot more poos than they normally would. Santa looked as though he had just raided a bakery as he had so much bread on him. Many of the ducks and swans look very pudgy and fat too. I must say I did enjoy watching the two black swans swimming in front of me with their grey signet. It looked a little like a scene from Disney‘s The Ugly Duckling. (Everything I see and do has to be compared to a movie or cartoon doesn’t it?!)

Anyway I think that I will continue swimming on a semi-regular basis. I will continue going to MSAC until the summer months when I can swim at home. I am trying to get fitter and live healthier. I had lost about five kilograms in May, but I have not lost (or gained) any weight in June. I am never going to run a marathon or become Charles Atlas, but I do want to become healthier than I have been over the last few years.