Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I Never Drink...Wine

Semi-recovered now from a little Bacardi-fueled weekend jaunt to lovely Romania, a country I was fascinated by as a lad due to its deep Dracula connection--Voivode Drak-cool, whose dark mythopoetic shadow loomed large in my youthful cosmogony (it's true, at a tender age I knew deep down-- "where the wild things are"-- that when I grew up, I wanted to be either a vampire or a rabbi...)

My own earliest libidinous stirrings were engendered/provoked by the 1960 black and white cinema spectacle of #1 alltime femme fatale luscious Barbara Steele gasping writhing and heaving on her slab in Mario Bava's "La Maschera del Demonio" a/k/a "Black Sunday", commanding Dr, Kruvajan to embrace her ("the grave's a fine and proper place" indeed--speaking of which, one fondly recalls the Fantasy Lp cover for "The Sick Humor of Lenny Bruce", which depicts Lenny's Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe du Forest Lawn in lurid, appropriately nauseating 50's color supplement tones)...

I was also hooked by Bram Stoker's florid description of the stalking and virtual rape of Renfield by the 3 weird sister predators who inhabit Castle Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola made quite a meal of this in his '92 take on the Count, where one of the 3 vampirellas who molests Keanu Reeves is portrayed by a then relatively unknown Monica Bellucci--but nothing really beats the heat generated by foaming-at-the-fangs Christopher Lee and his fetching toothsome brides in the '57 House of Hammer's "Horror of Dracula").

"Blood is the rose of mysterious union"...

Back to the present-- this here jetski to Romania was a quickie :-)...and due to the security snafu at Heathrow my 8pm flight from JFK on Thursday night was delayed for hours, meaning I would miss my Saturday morning London to Bucharest after frantically searching for an alternate flight route for an hour, I eventually located an 11pm Austrian Airlines NY to Vienna flight with an ongoing connection to Bucharest at 1:30pm the next day...and was cosmically thwarted again as the heavens came tumbling down, down just as we pulled into JFK at 9pm for check-in...the sky was crying for sure, the torrential rain, thunder and lightning delaying my flight for 3 more tedious hours.. finally we took off around 2:30am, and thus I missed my connecting flight in Vienna...I finally pulled into Bucharest at 11pm Friday night on a late flight out of Vienna after enduring the rather spartan hospitality of the Wien Flughafen departure lounge for 5 long hours :-(:-(:-(

But--things perked up considerably upon clearing customs in Bucharest, and my spirits soared once more--as awaiting me outside was a mysterious black coach and horses with a pale, cadaverous, top-hatted livery driver up top...

Actually it was a looooong stretch limo, a white one with "Bacardi B-Live" emblazoned on the side... and inside the plush leather upholstered interior--replete with slowly changing fibre-optic psychedelic lighting, and the requisite ice buckets/fluted champagne glasses/lavishly stocked mini-bar/color tv dvd player and cd stereo (and lotsa Bacardi of course)-- was sexy London fire-dancer Katie and a new acquaintance, the beautiful Swedish VJ Anna, both of whom had flown out of Heathrow successfully that morning and had been cruising around Bucharest for hours waiting for me to show--

The gals proved delightful traveling companions for the next 3 hours as our chauffeur packed my '66 Strat, my Monster Case (Jason Candler calls it "Henry", Richard 'Faust' Mader "The Flying Mary") and my various Gladstone bags in the boot and together we sailed into the mystic, the starry black night enshrouding the largely unseen-to-these-eyes-to-this-day (sad to say) city of Bucharest, accelerating to comfortable cruising speed and hurtling on down the highway through the Borgo Pass (just kidding) en route to Mamaia, the largest resort town on the Black Sea (Jerry Harrison told me to keep an eye out for beachfront property on this trip, as apparently you can still find on the Black Sea beaches of Romania and Bulgaria some of the coolest and cheapest beachfront for sale in the world--true also of Cambodia apparently) ... we made our driver stop at several 24-hour gas stations to pick up necessary vittles (a/k/a rider food) like crisps, nuts, fruit, chocolate, and sandwiches, then busted out the rum and coke(s) and Kristal and some other unnameable pick-me-ups and yes by G my mood doth improveth considerably, I could--finally--really relax, stretch out, and luxuriate in the splendid feeling of yet another stealth crossing of yet another border, and Katie and Anna were excellent company indeed throughout the night...

Nuts, anyone? Gary and fire-dancer Katie, limo ride from Bucharest to the Black Sea, 8/11/06

Gary and VJ Anna on the road to Mamaia Romania

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

We pulled into Mamaia by the sea at 2am, and I was riveted immediately by the visible non-stop action going on/ going down on both sides of the main drag which abutted the beach front--think Italian Riviera with a smidgeon of Croatia's Istrian seacoast resort villages thrown into the mix, and you wouldn't be far off the map--winking and blinking garish neon casinos, throbbing mating ritual-type clubs, and glitzed-out holiday hotels stretched along the sea coast for miles, tanned and buffed beach boyz 'n gurls were observed in various states of deshabille bopping in full-on party mode down the boulevards (Friday night in full effect here for sure)...our limo eventually pulled into the Hotel Malibu, and the flirtatious check-in clerk at the front desk gifted me with a largish suite replete with Jacuzzi and a spectacular view--and after checking out the hotel's outdoor disco-on-the-beach, and after dipping my big toe into the Black Sea for a temperature check (not too cold at all), I collapsed and passed out on the kingsize bed with the tv on--and after being up straight and not so for about 48 hours, it was good brothers and sisters-- it was good...

Woke to a sunny sky-blue summer morning in Mamaia (cue Jonathan Richman's "Summer Morning" here), Cosmo was due to arrive later that day with our percussionist Shovell and head straight from the airport to our afternoon soundcheck at the Kristal Club-- but lo she and he and new female tour manager Danielle were grounded in London as BA canceled more outbound flights at Heathrow...

So bereft of our fearless female leader me and Katie and Anna headed over to the club with our man Yasmin from Bacardi Vienna who came along for the lig...and after setting up my gear on a stage in front of the DJ booth and having Anna subbing for Cosmo preview the tracks over the house PA (which would have to be played as mp3's not turntabled vinyl, tracks which would not get the benefit of the tender ministrations of Cosmo's talented hands mixing and blending them) we headed for a stroll down the beach and a sumptuous lunch at an outdoor Italian joint called La Fattoria (this is Roman-ia, remember?)...

Soundcheck, Kristal Club

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

then it was back to the Malibu for a swim and some sun on the hotel's topless/stopless private beach...and then we made a final return to the Kristal Club at 9pm where we hunkered down for the night while the tech support crew did last minute adjustments to their laser light show, 20 vid screens, artifical waterfalls etc., Katie set up her pyrotechnic Poi paraphernalia, and I clocked the local DJ who had a bad Sasha and Digweed jones...

Hotel Malibu beach

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

I then shmoozed/made the nice with the uniformidable Bacardi meat 'n greet girls, local babes who resembled nothing so much as elegant, fine racehorses (not an ounce of body fat on their tall, lanky perfectly pouting Eastern European frames)...the girls were later to semi-rudely nudge Katie off the runway o'er-arching one of the indoor pools in front of the bandstand (from where I could observe Katie twirling and breathing fire during our show), girls just wanted to strut their considerable stuff and dance and prance to the sub-Digweed jive the house dj kept pushing on everyone... their dancing was so-so, but eye-candy for sure, as they kept changing their uniforms upstairs off the chill-out lounges, and had now morphed into twinkling visions in white...

We three finally went on at 2am Sunday morning, my guitar brashly blasting forth over the super-cranked rhythm tracks, a clarion call that immediately gathered up my now customary contingent of air guitar players and entranced dancers to the edge of the stage scoping every flick of my wrist...and so it went for a couple hours although we were asked to depart for a break in the middle while they brought back the house dj for some more mindless click and thuddery for fear our little momente musicale would actually lose some of the crowd, but yea verily upon hitting again around 3:30am we stellar got our groove back and I got the best crowd reaction yet from these Carpathian Children of the Night, sensuous male/female Corybantic ravers gathered directly in front of me and rockin' in rhythm, it's always such a pleasure to adjust and direct my guitar's trajectory and play directly to Faces and Bodies up close and personal in the crowd (my aim is true...)

Bacardi poster boy Gary

Bacardi poster girl Katie

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

Breakdown time. me on the cusp of exhaustion, a quick return to the hotel for a shower and 20 minute nap--

and then it was "get back in the van" (I mean limo) and the 3 of us stretched out on the long leather divans in back to nap as one as the sun came up and suddenly it was 3 hours later and we were somehow at the airport and I said goodbye to my two compatriots and bleerily made my way onto the Austrian Airlines flight back to Vienna and yes! Yasmin had booked me into Business Class-- and having 4 hours to kill once I got to Wien I decided to take a 20 minute fast train from the bowels of the airport into the city center but as it was Sunday Vienna's peepers be tight shut in the main but I had little trouble finding a nice clean doner 'n wurst stand and feasted on an excellent brat mit brot und senf (White's Deli in New Haven used to have a little paper sign at each table advertising their specialty: "Fat Frank on a Hard Roll"--not a bad meta-description of my Yale buddy Frank Jones, who began his History Dept. senior essay with the sagacious-in-retrospect line: "History has all too often witnessed the gallopings and horn-blowings of many would-be conquerors..."--which brings a smile... and which applies equally to both sides along the Great Divide).

Wandering the empty Viennese streets I went to say a few (right) at the magnificently appointed Rochuskirche, circa 1721, one of the few joints (sorry--Houses of Worship) that was actually open there on a Sunday --said Kirche literally just down the block from 2 other Houses of the Hol(e)y, namely: a joint called Diarchy (a Goth "latex, corsets and fetish" boutique)--and also, the local "Head and Grow Shop" (a one-stop for Sensi Seeds, and related horticultural implements for the gentleman farmer)... I love Vienna!

But now it was time to head-on back, and, repeating my moves in reverse, I was directed onto the ostensibly correct underground train to the airport by an ever-so-helpful ticket seller, and after comfortably dozing off under the influence of severe jetlag (some of which was still residuum from my Indian odyssey of a few weeks ago), I woke to find myself in the charming little town of Medling-- miles and miles and miles away from the Vienna Flughafen...

and mad-dashing out of the station with only an hour to spare before my flight, I very very luckily found a taxi driver who actually was equipped to take Master(card) as I was clean out of euros and honking down the highway barely made it to the airport in the nick of etc., had the best flight back to NYC in Bizness class, serious bliss-ness, best food ever on a plane trip in oh 16 years of doing this to death on a fulltime basis, truly world-class service and then some and I relaxed reclined and read from Bulkagov's "The Master and Margarita"-- where it is writ large in the voice of a mysterious stranger (please allow me to introduce myself):

"You might ask, who governs the life of men and, generally, the entire situation here on earth?"

And here I am at the end of my spiel-sang(uin), to remind you that when in Romania--

Do as the Romanians do...

"For the blood is the life...Mr. Renfield."



ps. Please please please check out James Hillman's "A Terrible Love of War", which my Swedish friend Bertil hipped me to (you can order it for a pittance at is the former head of the CG Jung Institute and the visiting prof who astutely recognized the transcendent quality of Skip James' voice many many years ago at Yale when we played Skip's music to him, as described in one of my March blogs last year...

His book is probably the most lucid account of the current Mars madness ensorceling/afflicting our planet currently...Hillman's is a voice of clarity and sanity in a wilderness of agitprop noise coming from both sides of the fence...

pss. Web-mistress Tanya is assiduously booting up shots from my recent India trip a couple blogs back here...more photos coming soon...

pss. The Dracula/Renfield Master/Slave Diarchy is amusingly expostulated as a gay s&m relationship here ("and you need a fly's eye to see it")

pssst: re the Bulkagov line quoted above--check the colloquy of Dylan and Ed Bradley as reported in my blog of 9/08/05


Blogger munchhausen said...

Hallo Gary!
Good Summer from a "sempiternum" fan of your work. ( I refer to the Lps and Lives with Jeff, above all )
I think that your '66 Strat may be considered a terroristic weapon, on a plane. So, be carefull with your magical guitarness:-)

( Italy )

8/17/2006 5:00 PM  
Anonymous slystone said...

Hi Gary,
sorry for this off-topic..
but, I'm too curious to know.. :)

have you ever met Hasil Adkins?

8/25/2006 4:47 AM  
Blogger Gary Lucas said...

thanks for the nice words mr. munchausen--but i come in peace (yeahhh...)

nope, slystone--never met hasil adkins, but i dig "the hunch"!

and i only want to see those pics if they're of monica bellucci!


8/25/2006 8:44 AM  

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