Ghost Dog, El Verde, and Karaoke

I love this movie…urban asian fusion of RZA’s music beating in the background, the meditation of it.

And everyday without fail one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the way of the Samurai.

There’s a bit of the opening scene, during the credits, ghost dog walks down the street, hooded and menacing and invisible, a man comes out of a restaurant to dump the trash and ghost dog passes by him unseen in the seconds that he dumps the trash before turning around to go back inside, un-noted and it seems an impossibility and yet so easily done. I am so fascinated by invisibility. It is the skill of the assassin and the thief. It is a power and a weapon, an advantage in times of war. It is the fate of the poor and one of the things that allows the wealthy to live with themselves. It is carries such contradictions in its meaning.

I love how every detail of this movie is perfect. I love the tawdry velvet paintings and plaster figurines on mob walls, I love the beauty of the pigeons in perfect formation swooping across the sky, I love the narrow-mindedness of some and the great-mindedness of others. I love the deserted city at night, the sweat-suits, the collision of systems of honour and dishonour, the amazing character of each and every one of the people in this movie.

I love the round-table of the old mob guys, they’re all crazy, brilliantly crazy and to watch them cope with a hit-man named ghost dog who communicates with pigeons and is paid once a year on the first day of autumn… no, you really can’t get better than that.

The mix of mob and 17th century Japan and…damn, have to turn it off now.

We went to see El Verde, Luke’s play down at casa0101 in Boyle Heights, and it was phenomenal…it is one of a series, and this series I am sorry to say is sold out for the rest of its run but you can catch future episodes in…the future. You should, you will, you must. El Verde is a spectacular hero who fell into a vat of corn and cleaning chemicals and emerged without any superpowers whatsoever…unless you count belief in your superpowers a power, in which case he has loads. As do I. He battles la evil quinceaneara, with her two chambelanes…and god damn, you know they are going to show up because Chayanne singing tiempo de vals comes up and there they are, the are so funny they made me cry. Chambelanes uno y dos, dressed all in black, their waltz moves down to a perfect T, attending la quinceaneara as any good chambelan should, moving in perfect time. The other bad guys were Frida Kahlo with her unibrow and ray gun that turns people into monkees, and la…cabron, se me ha olvidado, but she roams East LA trying to give people makeovers. And La Cucaracha, the Cocka-roach king with his sidekick the Gnat, and Luke as the Gnat was fantastic. He was also fantastic as the evil pinata created to crush the world…the world was only saved because his colours clashed…

So I laughed as I have not laughed for a long long time, my stomach hurt. And then we headed to the gold room and I listened to some German girl tell her mother about how she had a $1,000,000 overdraft on her bank account…what the fuck? How could such a conversation happen in an Echo Park dive bar? But it did, I bear witness. We left el gold room, and headed for karaoke at the Smog Cutter…the waitresses are vietnamese, ours saw me and Celine, and pulled out two shot glasses, she spat out at us, “what, what are you drinking?” We didn’t go for shots, we won the battle and got a couple more beers. And the songs were rocking…Bon Jovi who I love to sing along to, a very large man singing Pat Benetar’s Love is a Battlefield absolutely brilliantly…how many times did I sing her songs into my hairbrush while standing seductively on my old bed and staring into the mirror? And the someone sang Aqui Estoy and that really made my night, no words on the screen of course, you sing in Spanish and you don’t get words, but I love that song.

We piled into the old volvo when George Michael came on…and had Jimi Hendrix, the wind cried Mary by my request and I was happy…another brilliant LA night, a bit short perhaps as Jose is up early to work this morning, but brilliant all the same…

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