Monday, July 19, 2010

Standing Out In A Crowd

Ahhh. Art. Music.

Wanting more than the standard Greek fare of strings and flute, traditional is fine but if I hear the Zorba theme again someone’s going to be beat with a lira. Okay, the theme is fantastic and the astonishingly brilliant 80+ year old composer Mikis Theodorakis lives down the road from my friend- but it’s like hearing Smells Like Teen Spirit every fifteen minutes. At least those are good songs.

The lame Seattle theme: The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle. And the hills are the greenest green, in Seattle. Like a beautiful child, growing up, free and wild. Full of hopes and full of fears, full of laughter, full of tears. Full of dreams to last the years, in Seattle. Needs to be disposed of. Someone please compose a new one. It should acknowledge the dependence on Gates; addictions to BC Bud and flamboyant coffee beverages; serial killers; the depression on body and soul due to the relentless gray; the blend of yuppies, hippies, Goths, artists; ferry boats and crap commutes; and volatile home markets. Get to work. Oh- it can't be soft jazz or too folksy or I will kill you. It needs grit- rust and black soil kind of grit.

Desperate for live music, we came across a Greek rock band online that would be playing in Chania. Cool.

After struggling to find the place, the "theater" was a surprise. A terrifying knot of scaffolding in a free parking lot was its home. But it wasn't just the one band- it was a music fesitval. Five evenings of bands! Most are locals or students doing their thing on a great stage. The drum set never moved- molested by beater after beater. Neither did the dj’s rig. The rest was hauled off and on stage by each artist (normal for small venues). The guys doing sound were incredible- it was better than some big league shows I've been to. Half way through one show, a screen saver popped on the light guy's monitor. Brian and I laughed- someone had been to the EMP in Seattle. Pictures of the gorgeous metal building, needle and monorail whizzed by. It was nice to glimpse home for a second.

It was safe to say Brian and I were the only adults that weren't there to watch their twenty something child play. It was also safe to say we were the only Americans there. Did it bug us? Not at all. Young artsists had their art displayed: airbrushing/spray paint, photography, short animations, etc. Very fun and unmarred by moral or corporate restraints. No Robert Mapplethorps or anything, but there was some spiffy stuff.

Hearing hip hop in Greek was entertaining. For about two minutes. They were good at flicking their tongues, seeming to nail everything well but it was glorified karaoke minus the bouncing ball on the screen. The first boy (probably twenty or so) looked like someone I knew as a kid. His erratic black hair, well worn skater shoes and attire had me giddily thinking I’d see something punk. I’d already seen a half dozen divine mohawks walking the grounds- not fauxs honey, real ones. Dreadlocks, peroxide bleach jobs and natural jet black beauties. Ever since Joe Strummer wore one I've had a closeted fetish for them.

Anyway- this stunning boy gets on stage. Cigarette in hand, he begins spitting Greek. For all I knew he could be reciting: I cannot go to school today say little Peggy Ann McKay. I have the measles and the mumps. A gash a rash and purple bumps...(thank you Shel).

He was adorable. Waving his hand all gangsta like. The serpentine posture pulling his spine backward, the sneer and smirk working his lips. He was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen on Crete. I watched the crowd gathered at the stage. He was basically singing(?) to his friends. By the end of his second song he was wheezing. WHEEZING. Was he out of shape? Oh no. Later that night he was running around shirtless, he looks like a young Adonis. That’s tobacco for you. Snot sucking the life out of you.

A busty girl rapped next. Again, two songs in she was gasping for breath and finally crushed her cigarette out during the third song. She could actually sing sing, was nicely curvy and dressed pretty modestly. But I was bored.

A band came on. No problem with the non-smoking instruments but the singer’s windpipes were gacking part way through. What the hell people? You’re not even twenty-five and you need oxygen at sea level?  I saw Mick Jagger aerobicize on a stage when he was 92 (a guess by the lines in his face) for two hours! Two hours that old man sprinted and shimmied and sang! I’ve seen singers high as Jim Belushi on his last night or drunker than a Chicago Irish cop on St. Pat’s Day sing for hours without gasping for breath.
Disappointed I didn’t expect much after that. Guess what happens when your expectations drop underfoot? They usually can only go up. Except, I must confess that I did find it all entertaining to see these spry looking youngsters holding their knees as they hacked up phlegm. At least they had the decency to be embarrassed about it.

But the Marlboro campaign ended.

Another band came on. I was floored- they were good. Then another. They tore through the crowd. Finally! A frenzy! Slamming, moshing- whatever you want to call it- a group of boys by the stage began thrashing into each other. Crashing, falling and laughing. My husband was wishing he was twenty years younger and not apt to hurt his precariously feeble back. The stage dives were hysterically anxious. It was more like a hop up and then sit gingerly on friends hands. I was snickering hard. Their fear was endearing.

The last band got up on stage. The crowd was spent. Every male was topless and I noted that not all Greek boys were as hairy as I thought they’d be. Glistening skin, giggling girls and bottles of water and beer were chugged. I felt immense pity for this band. They didn’t stand a chance after the last group. Their first song was shaky but relatively solid. Then something magical happened. It was as if it was another band came on stage. As if they had shaken off the jitters with a crap piece of music and said, time to do it or leave. BOOM! A killer start- killer hook- killer momentum. People went ape shit. Exhaustion was kicked in the balls and left to whimper on the pavement. The frenzy multiplied. The band intensified.

I was in awe. A blend of punk, rock, reggae, blues, ska and traditional Greek made for an olive oiled musical orgy. One song blended into the next. It was like wildly great sex. After fumbling the first kiss the guy said, To hell with being nice, I’m going for the kill. Forceful but effective groping had us begging for more. Groping raced into disrobing, disrobing into more groping, that groping becoming sex. Hard core pummeling kind of sex. Filling skin. Filling it, pulling tighter and tighter and tighter and then you burst into a thousand delicious pieces. It’s over. Panting, sweating and smiling. High.

Pass me a smoke, I don’t have to do any singing tonight.

Thank you 2 Festival 2010 of Chania, Crete. I may not understand Greek yet, but by God, I know fun when I hear it.
The two bands that floored us: Orchestra Sonora and Cabaret Balkan. The third band we were enamored with has a name in gobbledygook (Greek) that I can't read nor can my keyboard accomodate. But cheers guys! I'll never forget when I heard "Greek" music and realized I would love to hear it on a daily basis.

Can't wait for summer 2011.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gold. Silver. Bronze? Aluminum would've been more appropriate. Tinfoil.

I will not bore you with historical details but I will give you the crap summary from my poor, vapid memory.

Crete has been plundered by at least a half dozen countries in their existence. My petty opinion thinks it’s because Cretans are always outnumbered. Also, these good people are lovers not fighters, despite their tenacity.

This bronze represents one fight (which one I don’t recall). In the midst of battle the flag pole fell. Legend says one man took on the pole role to keep the flag high. A kickass patriot. A man after the heart of Uncle Sam.
Now. Enough uplifting and time for me to be an ass about this patriotic tribute.

I have a few issues.

Bad art is bad art.
The good intentions are there but the artist had a rather clunky design mind. The concept is good. Located on a cliff overlooking the Chania harbor- stunning locale. Stoicism is thick (appropriate since Zeno coined the word around 300BC in Greece). The project was thought through. It’s the cartoonish, bad twist of Picasso meets Tim Burton and headbutts Renaissance chubby cherubs that I snobbily snicker at.

Here goes my uppity self.
1. Please note the MC Hammer pants gone bad. The true hang of the traditional garb should not resemble a a Depends diaper prototype gone wildly bad with an overload.

2. Knowing the bravery/stupidity/macho/bravado of the Cretan motorcycle and scooter driversof today- I’d say the statue's appearance of testicular elephantitis is accurate. Maybe no one bred with Mr. Big Balls but the testosterone of colossal cojones has stayed the same. Maybe it now comes in concentrate form.

3. The face is good. Determined. I like it. Nowadays he’d be wearing Jackie O glasses, a messy prison camp buzz cut, designer jeans with a touch of glitter and a two day old five o’clock shadow (on Greek men that shadow appears only three hours after they shave) and carrying a man purse without a hint of being anything but sexually smoldering heterosexuals. They are truly amazing men. Gorgeous. Drool inducing delicious looking.

4. The hands and feet are out of proportion like Oprah after a salt and vinegar chip binge. It has a Diego Rivera feel to it. Looking closer, they seem to have been tacked on as an afterthought. Do I see welds there?

5. Here's an even more childish observation. When I approached from far across the courtyard, (please remember I’m crude and immature), the bronze was a mere silhouette and the knife in his belt looked like male appendage coming up for air. Scroll back up and look- you'll see it.

Think I’m a pervert? Ha. I am. But go into the standard tourist shop here and every sexual position from Roman/Greek art is stamped in clay, glass, plastic, metal, etc. displayed quaintly next to postcards or Greek dolls. The refrigerator magnets are my favorite. Nothing like seeing oversized manliness being stabbed sword like at other people’s flesh as it holds up your grocery list. Let’s juice, yogurt, bread, lubricant...

6. To be honest, I just can’t stop looking at the bronze pants and feeling that it was very uncomfortable to walk wearing an immense crotch hammock just to carry spare canon ammo.

Man I love art.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So Immature Am I

So strange what companies make in other countries- Bic Lighters, Bic Pens- Bic Stockings?

Oh yeah. Fishnets.
Have always loved them. Since I was first cruelly aroused/confused by the divine deviant Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

I took to wearing them as an adult- pairing them with knee high boots (which are now as common as tattoos and bad piercings). I never felt naughty in them, just liked them better than plain sheers or lame laces stockings. Loved them. Love them.

One woman approached me a couple years ago, a nice woman, one I rather liked and admired. She dropped one of those comments where you're not certain if you should be offended or not- I'll let you decide. It takes a lot to offend me.

Wearing a black wrap dress that graced a mere inch above my knee + black three inch heeled boots that kissed the top of my shin = a mere six to seven inches of netted flesh was visible, practically prudent Victorian like skin exposure.

Eyeing my knees, she said, "You know who originally wore fishnets stockings?"
"Liza Minelli?"
"French whores."
"Fishnets are the equivalent of a red light."
"So I guess I should carry condoms and small bills with me."

She walked away a little miffed. I walked away a little surprised at my response (my tongue sometimes speaks without consulting all things prim and proper. Okay- it often skips good manner protocols. Very often.)

Later that day, since I hadn't disposed of my beloved hooker apparel, she decided to divulge another lovely fact- one that didn't apply to me.
"Did you know that boys were forced to wear their jeans baggy and low in prison to show they were someone's bitch?"

Giggling because this kind woman was giving me prison rape data, I gave her a little home remedy, humorous history, "Did you know French women used to use half a lemon as a diaphram?"
"Maybe that's why French men's faces are so puckered."

Using my sleazy covered legs, I walked away, proud I didn't crack the joke that was brewing about fishnets smelling like fish after the hooker's snatchery hatchery was emptied. See, sometimes I can bite my tongue.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

For the Love of Zeuss

Local monastery.
Olives, citrus and wine.
Actual Orthodox Christian monks live, work and worship here.
To enter you must be modest- your legs covered (no shorts), no cleavage or bare shoulders. And sorry, no photography of the building innards.

The door alone is stunning.

It's very quiet. Solemn.

After being awed by carved stone, I returned to the car where this was parked next to me....

Please note the "Dragon Man" slithering over her shoulder.
I'm not sure but I think it's the myth Wearacondom Reptillius as to not Salmonella-ize the Virgin.

The birds are a nice touch.
Nice rack.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Anti-Insertion of the Girl Gash Kind

WARNING: If you are male and inwardly shudder when thinking of all things menstrual or if you are easily offended then skip this entry regarding vaginal vulgarity.

All right.

Not a subject I’ve ever really liked talking about but this I found amusing.

Greek women are not encouraged to put anything into their snatch. Hence the supposed vast population of “virgin” girls who only have anal sex so they can be worthy of a white dress while walking awkwardly down the aisle.

So, when I had the female matter to deal with I went to the store. What did I find? The very environmental, cardboard/plastic tube inserter free so you have to use your finger, DIY OB brand. Please note the photo: a wall of pads but only SIX boxes of cotton on a leash. A trip to other markets and pharmacies fared no better.

Panic began to set in.

Praying to the cotton gods, I drove like a menstrual maniac to the 711 sized store on the Navy Base.

That shelf held two boxes of tampons. Scented tampons.

Who the hell wants perfume up there? Isn’t it sensitive enough without faux flower chemicals?

A debate began: OB vs No-one-better-ask-what-new-scent-I’m-wearing-thinking-they-can-sniff-my-wrist-to-get-a-better-whiff.

Back at the abode, cotton devices in hand, the laptop was booting up while I attended my girl bits. A few moments online I discovered I can purchase what I need and have it shipped. Ovary crisis averted for next time, I entered my bedroom and doused myself in designer perfume hoping it would not clash with the floral eau-de-twat-lette.

I believe that if men menstruated most would run to the emergency room every month, “Oh no! My abdomen is killing me! I'm bleeding! I’m gonna die!” Wussies. A nurse would hand them some cotton and say, “Either shove it in your underwear or your dick. You’ll live.”

Saturday, March 6, 2010

At least it wasn't an RV

This Granny zipped around us on the left (despite oncoming traffic) and then drove for five blocks with her turn signal on.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

At least she was faster than most of the elderly drivers in the US. I'm always shocked at a senior's lack of speed- I'd think they'd want to get to their destination before they're dead.

Love the giant purse.

This reminds me, I need to buy Brazil on DVD since my tape is long dead.

John. Head. Restroom. Shitter. Loo.
Loo. I like loo. Skip to my loo.
Apparently named after pay toilets in England ages ago, the handle looked like the letter L and the two coin slots two Os. (That is not a checked fact but came from an English girlfriend who spent her youth hopping from the UK to Whidbey throughout our childhood.)

Loo. Around a group of little ones I use the word “loo”. If you say “bathroom” or “potty” in the middle of a collection of kids- there’s a sudden tidal wave of “I have to go to the bathroom!” Then you have to try and decipher who really has to go and who is giving in to that peculiar odd kid tendency to hide in the lavatory and stuff paper towels in the sink (and hopefully not the toilet) to watch water cascade over the side.

This was a water closet. The Barbie Dream House powder room has the same square inchage as this bathroom.

Airplane designers should take a lesson. After witnessing and using this little latrine, I came to believe that they could easily plan better so I wouldn’t have my shoulder pressed against the door as I stringently wash my hands. There’s definitely a better way to situate that damn garbage can so I wouldn’t have to touch it to toss in the paper towel. (I always retreat to my seat and feel gross until I’ve wiped my hands again using a babywipe and sanitizer.)

Anyway- enough rant. Time for a little admiration.

In the cities of Crete, many of the sewer pipes are old. Hundreds of years old. And made of glass. They were not made for tissue. Your used tissue goes into the trash can. GACK. This compulsive hand washer is hyper aware of sources of potential ick. I shudder when I think that people found “handy” ways to clean their southern orifices of the unfun sort of messes. Shudder and then wish to wash myself in the Silkwood manner: a wild fervor with wire brushes and harsh cleansing chemicals.

The plumbing here is ingenious in the MacGyver duct tape, paperclip and gum kind of way. I wish you could hear the gurgling. The noises, which percolate in three different tones from three corners of the tight room, are continuous. Thankfully there’s no odor to accompany this symphony of bubbles from the tangle of pipes that curl through crudely cut holes in walls and floors. It is unbelieveable I am not grossed out. That is astonishing.

It reminds me of a scene in the movie Brazil. For those who haven’t seen it- GO! GO NOW! Or at least rent it this weekend or add it to your Netflix que. Creepy, clever Terry Gilliam evoking the horror and humor with a “1984” (the book- not the crappy year) feeling. A huge dose of Big Brother (not the crappy show) and government truly having its way in every aspect- so good. So very good.

Now, Robert DeNiro has a small role, small but fantastic. I daresay one of my favorites. Yes, Raging Bull took my breath, the mob thing has grown old and okay- he’s even made me laugh. And Taxi Driver, that's on another level completely: the mohawk, a gun and Jodie Foster. Wow. Don’t get me started on that brilliantly depressing piece of heaven. Flawless.

Anyway, Rob plays an outlaw plumber who avoids paperwork. Sneaking to rescue people when the government’s endless red tape chokes them into madness- wanting nothing else but to flush the basin or take a shower. Rapelling in on a dark night, he quickly disembowels this complex wall of pipes, cords, cables and flashing lights with a joyous zeal. Gurgles, bubbles and smoke ooze as he twists them in such a manner you almost expect to see some sort of balloon animal as a result, but he tucks them back in and gleefully leaps away as the booming voice of the law begins to close in.

So, as I sat in this water closet doing none of your damn business, Robert- wearing the charming/mischeivious facial hair of an otter and a glittering white grin, was dancing among a tangle of black making me giggle. Giggle like an evil scientist in a lab- the gurgling of god knows what passing by.