The hours during which Vaquero is flying from one place to another are anxious ones for me now. This didn't used to be true, but these days with such terrible oversight of the aviation industry, and the crazy weather, I worry, until I learn he's actually taking off, and until I learn he's actually safely landed. In between I'm muchly unsettled.
To get through last night's flight, I watched my favorite gang movie, The Wanderers. The movie was released in 1979, it was based on Richard Price's novel from 1974, who based it on high school gang life in the Bronx in the early 1960's.
The movie is rather more, um, expressionistic, than the novel. It was much influenced by West Side Story. But as marvelous as West Side Story is choregraphically, musically, , in my opinion, the music for The Wanderers is the Very Best. It is the soundtrack of what was popular music that was played on the radio, at parties,in the car making out, for everyone in that audience: black, white, Asian.
It's also kinda autobiographical for Price.
Price is one of my favorite writers, as I've probably said before. I loved his first novel, The Wanderers, with which he scored so high, so young, and early in his career. His next two novels were -- um, not interesting; young man, trying to leave home, doesn't know what to do with his life and with love. We have lived that story ourselves and it has been written by every new writer so we don't want to read it any more, unless there is something really new here, but there wasn't -- just recycled so many times it was limp (the best part was description of winter in an upstate NY city). Lucky for Price Hollywood called, and Hollywood called because of The Wanderers. It even gave Price a small role in the movie. So the lesson here is -- every new writer -- write a gang novel. The critics and the movies never tire of them.
After Hollywood, Price found a voice again. Most of the time. (In The Wanderers, two of the principals take off for California at the end, having no idea what they were doing or going to do -- didn't even graduate from h.s. This was prior to Price going to Hollywood.)
Price got to write for The Wire. Which no women got to do, and no black people either, but oh dear, I love The Wire anyway, but I still think it could have been even better if there had been any episodes written by women and black people.
Highly recommend that anyone watch The Wanderers. Because, most of all, it points to how music back in those days bridged differences of all kinds and brought everyone together in some way. Which is not the situation these days, with the corporatists niching and thus dividing us. Remember when most radio stations played a lot of music, when the radio provided the common soundtrack to our lives? The Wanderers is from that era. So, as the corporatists got busy buying up our media, the first thing they did was replace our genuine musica popular -- a force that helped create common, public space, where all kinds of people came together -- with hate talk radio. Which has done more to divide us than anything else ever in this nation, except slavery. Music of all different kinds, that was the radio, that was our commonly heard sound track. It was replaced by hate talk radio, to divide us, so the corporatists can continue to screw us without our protest, like the bleed out of your i-pod makes me me annoyed at best and furious at worst, the beat box that I turn my car into enrages you, etc. Even cyberspace is just a bunch of separate ghettos. Divide and conquer. That's what music is about now. Propaganda, like the corporate garbage that does get on country radio -- The Dixie Chicks are the example of what will happen if you don't toe the corporate line. Used for torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. Etc.
Yes, this is part of what the presentation at EMP is about. He's going to do a presentation at one of the San Francisco venues that will be three times longer than the one in Seattle, because he's got more time. But this is the part he's going do. Unless he changes his mind and does one of the other parts instead.