Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bill Hicks

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the passing of Bill Hicks. I first discovered him when the Comedy Channel broadcast a documentary called "It's Just a Ride." I remember watching this comedian say amazing things. He said things that really grabbed me and, not only that, but he was hilarious. His worldview was one I really identified with but once you get beyond that you quickly see that his writing and presentation were on par with the great ones. He was as funny and intelligent as Carlin and Pryor with the timing of Steve Martin. He was brilliant and I was hooked. I had found a new great comedian. I had found a new Carlin or Pryor! How many times in your life do you come across an artist like Bill Hicks? I was ecstatic.

Of course you can guess what happened next. After a few minutes more of watching the documentary I realized that those talking about him were memorializing him. Bill Hicks was dead! I had discovered and lost my new favorite comedian in the span of ten minutes. I was crushed.

I have wondered a lot how I had no idea Bill Hicks existed. I love stand up comedy. Especially comedy like his. He appeared on Letterman a lot in the 80s. In the 80s I used to record Letterman on our home VCR. You know what I used to do? I would watch the first twenty or thirty minutes of each Late Show. I did that because I loved how Dave would screw around for the first two commercial breaks and once the guests came on I would lost interest. I wonder if any of those shows I recorded had a Bill Hicks appearance at the end? He would have perfectly augmented my tastes back then. He would have fit in perfectly with Tom Waits, Was (Not Was), Bill Cosby, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young. If only!

I also wonder if Bill Hicks played the Comedy Zone in Charlotte in the early 90s? At that point I was going there occasionally and I saw some good comedy. You know what, though. If Bill Hicks did play the Comedy Zone while I was in Charlotte I really don't want to know. That would really bum me out. If I had caught him early in the week there would have been a good chance I would have been there every night for a week.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Siskel and Ebert on the 1989 Batman Movie

As I think back there were two things I had that talked seriously about art when I was growing up. Rolling Stone magazine and Siskel and Ebert. I can directly attribute my love of Was (Not Was) to a review from Rolling Stone.

I was first attracted to Siskle and Ebert because of their supposed arguing, and they did argue. But to me they were a revelation, They were my first example of two adults discuss seriously the merits of a piece of art. I bet their show created a billion new little critics and here we are clogging the intertubes with our shit.

I just found their review of the 1989 Batman movie and I find myself agreeing with both of them in a way. That is another aspect of their show that I loved, they could completely disagree on a movie but both would have a valid reason why they felt that way. That was a revelation to me. Often when that happened they would compromise like they do at the end of this review, showing that compromise isn't a weakness but a strength.

Monday, February 03, 2014

New Cat

A couple of weeks ago this big beautiful gray cat showed up on our back porch. Being suckers we fed him. He started coming by every morning and night for food. One morning he was even sitting in our bedroom window mewing to be fed. When it started to get colder than normal we put a pet carrier outside on the porch with some towels inside to keep him warm. He slept in there a couple of days, coming out when it was time to eat. A few days after that it started to get really cold, the temperature was getting down into the teens. We then put him in our laundry room. This last Friday I took him to the vet to get checked out and then we introduced him to the other two cats. We call him Mongo.