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Friday, November 22, 2019


From 1974's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: the ultra-bizarre musical PLANET OF THE APES float. If you missed it, trust me when I tell you it was completely insane, and it pretty much signaled the death knell of the APES craze. 

I mean, think about it for a minute. It's a musical float in honor of a dystopian future in which mankind nuked itself back to the stone age and apes took over, going so far as to sport hunt, geld, vivisect and stuff what remained of humanity. Great fodder for what's supposed to be a happy family holiday!

And I would have killed to see the apes rock out to the Shandells' "Go Go Gorilla."

Friday, November 08, 2019


Poster from the theatrical release.

Released roughly a year before the '70's trucker craze really kicked off with the release of #1 Top 40 hit "Convoy," this no-budgeter follows the adventures of a man who drops out of college after his truck-driving father meets his fate in a suspicious accident, and replaces his old man as a trucker. More refined than the average long-haul driver, thanks to him being a college boy (played by Michael Hawkins, an actor who was at least 15 years too old for the role), our hero charms his way into the pants of a mysterious blonde (Mary Cannon, also too old for her role) who is later revealed to be the daughter of the mobster who ordered his father's brakes cut. The action is lackluster, the hero is in no way believable, his "humorous/endearing" behavior toward the titular character would these days be considered stalkerish and rapey, women find him sexually irresistible despite the aforementioned creepy aspects, the soundtrack consists exclusively of generic mid-'70's truckin' music, and there are agonizingly long shots of 18-wheelers pulling into and out of truck stops and motel parking lots. Oh, and Doodles Weaver's in a featured part and is clearly drunk whenever on camera.
What we have here was likely a staple of southern drive-ins that drunk patrons would ignore while engaging in sweaty groping in their station wagons, and in many ways looks and feels like a more competently-made all-white answer to THE GUY FROM HARLEM (1977), which has rightly been described as "the PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE of blaxploitation films." Utter trash, but an interesting time capsule of a trucker movie as seen before the short-lived genre's tropes were fully codified. It was entertaining enough to hold my interest, but virtually every second of it was a textbook example of a movie whose story particulars you will predict well before they happen. 
Wow. Just...WOW.

Monday, November 04, 2019


There's a woman who lives somewhere in my neighborhood, maybe a little older than me, whom I have run into repeatedly for at least a decade. I do not know her name but she's a gregarious "ghetto fabulous" type who strikes up conversation with any men around her age and tries to put the moves on them until rebuffed. I first encountered her at my favorite local bodega and she approached me because she noticed me chatting with Rene, the proprietor. She sidled over, very obviously sized me up, and proceeded to simultaneously hit on me and try to get me to take her out for drinks. I instantly spotted the crazy, because what sane woman does that, and I also quickly read that she was likely either a full-time functional alcoholic or a well-maintained junkie of some sort. I was polite but I made it clear I was not interested, and when she finally took the hint and left I asked Rene what her deal was. He let out a weary sigh and simply said "She a boozer, meng." After that I kept running into her on the street, in the Associated around the corner, or in the bodega, and she'd a'ways try to chat me up, leading with "Heeeeey, baby..." In more recent encounters she has tried to pry into my business, asking what I do, what "the missus" thinks of whatever I happen to be up to — which was either to determine my status as single or gay — and all manner of other personal info without ever once bothering to ask me my name. Anyway, all of that was background for this brief story of my last memorable encounter with her. Two weeks back I went to sell surplus DVDs and some other items at Book Off in Manhattan, and it was evident that I was loaded with shopping bags full of items to sell. I arrived at the R train platform at Union Street and since the train was not due to arrive for another nine minutes, I went to sit down at an available seat on one of the benches. As I approached the bench I heard that familiar "Heeeeey, baby..." as she beckoned me over. I did not want to be bothered with her but I did want to sit down, so... When I sat down she told me she was on her way to work and then she asked me how I was and what I was doing. I told her I was going to sell DVDs, after which she tried to chat me up regarding her work and looking for something to do when her shift ended. (I did not ask what she does, as I do not care.) I would occasionally try to break into her chatter but she kept interrupting. Finally, just before the train arrived, she asked "You broke?" presumably because the whole exchange had been a lead with which to get me to lower my guard and ask me for money, for god knows what purpose. I looked her straight in the face and said "Of course I'm broke. Like I said, I'm going into Midtown to sell DVDs," and then I indicated the bags of stuff again. The second she realized I was broke and could therefore not be plied for cash, she stood up without a further word and headed further down the platform as the train pulled into the station. Thinking back on that encounter and also on some of the previous run-ins, plus the fact that she hangs around in the back area of the aforementioned bodega with the old Heineken-swilling Latino men, I now wonder if she's one of the neighborhoods low-rent "stealth-hookers." (No, I am NOT interested.)