Posts Tagged ‘slapstick and superego’

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The Divine Pop Comedy

February 8, 2016

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Author’s Note: With the release of Wonderful Crazy Night (Elton and Taupin’s 33rd album), this seemed like a good time to revise and post this excerpt about the ‘aught’ albums from ‘Reg Soldiers On’, a 50+ page long-form essay about Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s lives, careers and their discography from my 2009 book Slapstick & Superego.  I’ll be posting a new essay this Friday about the three studio albums that followed once I’ve had a little time to digest the newest release.-Tom

Composer/Performer/Legend Elton John and longtime lyricist and classical poet Bernie Taupin’s trio of studio albums from 2001-2006 were a fruitful, fascinating journey, and I’m sure that there’s more to come. From a fanatic’s standpoint, Songs From The West Coast would have made a perfect swan song for the performer. I don’t regret that he’s lived and recorded since, but the album is so perfect, and so close to the roots of Elton’s glory days in the ’70s that it’s near-impossible to trump a second time in his career.

Elton even claimed in his classic bridge-burning interview style that this would be his final studio album. Listening to the tracks, it’s no surprise that this was the first series of songs in ages where Elton and Taupin composed the album together in person. It brilliantly refers back to the roots of his success while avoiding all references to such. ’Emperor’s New Clothes’ (a Billy Joel homage), ’Dark Diamond’ (with Stevie Wonder on harmonica), the sublimely simple and existential ’Birds’, and the retrospective yet hopeful ’This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore’ stand out as hallmarks to the late musician’s career. Taupin draws from a reserve of inspired lyrics for this album with stunning skill, and drives it home with ’Original Sin’ and ’I Want Love’, a song that shows us the team is still capable of sucker punching us into a state of romantic catharsis: /A man like me is dead in places/Other men feel liberated/I want love on my own terms/After everything I‘ve ever learned/.

Elton’s boyfriend future husband David Furnish was photographed for the album cover as the cowboy. Director of Operations Bob Halley was captured for the shoot as the man being handcuffed to a squad car outside of the diner. This series of videos was nothing short of astonishing, with Robert Downey Jr. lip synching Elton’s vocals to ‘I Want Love’ to Justin Timberlake portraying an uncanny ‘70s Elton in ‘This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore’ to Liz Taylor and Mandy Moore showcasing the video to ‘Original Sin’. With a small handful of duds, it’s a shame that ‘West Coast’ came out a week before September 11th, 2001 in the States. It could and should have fared much better on the charts if it wasn’t for the deep psychic and socioeconomic impact of the terrorist attacks.

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‘Bat To The Future’ Appears on BuffaloComedy.com

January 5, 2015
2015 marks the end of DC's year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Batman.

2015 marks the end of DC’s year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Batman.

Since we’re on to a new month and a new year, I’ve got a brand new essay up on BuffaloComedy.com.  It’s on a topic I’ve covered before and most likely will cover again: Batman.  I couldn’t resist the urge to comment on DC’s ‘Batman75’ celebration, so I punched up ‘Bat To The Future a longer essay about the comics, the films, the cartoons and the games with next to no accuracy where chronology is concerned and proudly so.  You can check it out right here, gang:

Bat To The Future

Please take the time to read, Share on any and all networking platforms and to Like on that pesky Facebooks.

When I punched up the first draft I considered putting in the research and including citations along with writing the piece in chronological order.  That notion went out the window pretty quickly.  Much like ‘Reg Soldiers On’ (my essay from the 2009 book Slapstick & Superego)   I opted for a free-association format instead.  This may invite immediate attacks from the sort of comic fanboys who quote chapter, verse and issue number, but so be it.  I thought the piece might be more approachable to the casual reader by not taking that route.

I’m pretty proud of the four essays that have run so far with BuffaloComedy.com and hope that the next eight will follow suit.  Editor Kristy Rock and I have settled into a comfortable routine of submitting two pieces so that she can select one.  That way half of the new material can go live in a timely manner and the other half can be saved for the manuscript of the upcoming book Travesty.

There’s another great announcement to make, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.  Best not to give everything away all at once…

See you in the funny papers,

Tom

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Mockery Soft Launch, Doubt It Publishing Blow Out!

March 1, 2011

Okay gang,
Are you ready for the big secret? I hope you’re sitting down (and why wouldn’t you be if you were at your computer?). Here it is:

-Mockery, my ninth new collection of ONLY funny rants is actually available for purchase RIGHT NOW!

The book launch doesn’t happen until April Fool’s Day (7 p.m. at Dee’s Firehouse in Depew with live band One Hot Minute). Even the local press hasn’t gotten a complimentary copy yet! And I’m going to sweeten the pot on top of all this:

-All of my lulu.com titles will be 10% off until April 1st INCLUDING Mockery.

Slapstick & Superego and Breathing Room Volume I & II AND Mockery are all available for 10% off the cover price. If you order ANY or ALL of these books any time between now and April 1st, you save money, AND you can pick up Mockery for less than what I’ll be charging throughout the launch. Think of it as a huge, wet kiss for all the years that all of you have helped me make money with your continued support doing what I love.
There are some great things in store in the next four months, so a) if you live out of town or b) if you want to save money or c) if you’d rather not make the bar appearances because you’re giving up fried food, having fun or guzzling hooch for Lent, now’s a great time to scoop up some great books. Mockery is going to retail at $15 (my lowest price on a humor collection in over 5 years). You can buy it now for $13.49. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

To buy Mockery this very instant, click here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/mockery/15050885

To visit the entire Doubt It Publishing Shop on lulu.com and save on my last three titles,
click here: http://stores.lulu.com/tomwaters

No gimmicks, no hustle. Please rate high when you visit each individual book. Three years ago I decided to publish two little poetry books on my own because I assumed they wouldn’t make any money. They made a decent amount of money for me, so I branched out. Like e.e. cummings, Allen Ginsberg and a score of other writers, I decided to go into the publishing business. Help me to turn this publishing house into a legitimate one.
Thank you so much. Mockery is a knockout collection and it’s unlike any rant book I’ve released to date. I designed the book to mimic a standup comedy act with light jokes and quick rabbit punches at the beginning, big belly laughs in the middle and a soft, fuzzy feeling at the end. The flow and pacing are better than anything I’ve done to date. I really hope you like it.
So what are you waiting for? BUY MY NEW GODDAMNED BOOK ALREADY!
Start your engines,
Tom ‘literary prostitute’ Waters

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Newsletter Feed: One Bigass Sit. Rep! Two new podcasts, two new articles and a whole bunch of other stuff!

November 7, 2008
Whew!
 
    You’d think that being jobless would resemble some manner of paradise involving sitting on my ass, eating government cheese and doing absolutely nothing, right?  Wrong.  In the last month, I’ve put more time into my career (writing) now that I don’t have gainful employment than ever before.  I can honestly say that I’m going through one of those quantum leaps marketing-wise.  The kind I haven’t enjoyed since way back in 2001.  Most of my days have been spent schmoozing on the phone until the battery dies out on my portable, writing any number of different personal projects and assignments, blogging and working on my sites as well as those of others, and spending what little time is left in the evening taking care of things around the house and spending time with my wife while shoehorning research into other side projects. 
    Yesterday alone, I got up at eight in the morning, got a good running start at life and didn’t stop until around midnight.  Aside from a ten minute nap, I didn’t stop.  When I get a full-time job, it’s going to be a bit of a relief, because I’ll have the sort of structure again where I can allow myself to rest once in a while.  Even after getting a molar pulled last week and suffering from related migraines, I felt guilty taking a portion of two days in the last seven to relax and recuperate.  With as many hours in the day as I have at my disposal, I still feel as if there isn’t enough time to accomplish everything I’ve been setting out to do. 
    Bret Easton Ellis told me during our interview a few years back that he treated writing like a job, ‘clocking in’ at 9 a.m., breaking for lunch and then banging out of work around 5 p.m.  I wish I could stop that early.  While tiring, I realize how crucial the time I’ve been given is.  I’ve decided that I’ll be taking this holiday season away from the horrific nightmare that is retail to actually enjoy spending time with my family (new and old) for the first time in 16 years in addition to working on the multitude of projects that are currently under construction or already in progress.  As you may or may not know, the next two essay collections (Slapstick & Superego as well as Merry Prankster) are complete.  I haven’t penned a shred of new poetry for two weeks, but Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick (the next poetry collection) is well over 140 pages without even including the freaky 50 page project I worked on in July (‘Rock/Pop Goes The Weasel’).  And then there are the freelancing assignments….
    My beloved editor at Gusto (Brian Connelly) is apparently moving me up to the big leagues in terms of freelancing and I couldn’t be more grateful.  In addition to the Club Watch bar reviews, he’ll be phasing me into their ‘Tell Me’ section at the very FRONT of Gusto (page two after the front page), conducting interviews with artists, writers and musicians on the cusp of making their big break inside as well as outside of Buffalo.  In regards to that, I’m going to humbly request that if any of you know of an artist (preferably a musician or band) with an upcoming gig in November or December who doesn’t have a firmly established fan base and deserves a wider audience, please email me at once with biographical as well as contact information.  My musical tastes tend to run about twenty or thirty years behind, so I’m woefully ignorant where current up-and-comers are concerned. 
    ArtVoice has also given me the green light on one of two projects I hatched during the idea-storm I was besieged with on my honeymoon at Silvercreek in early October.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I’ll be writing a piece about the hot spots to hit on the day before Thanksgiving, which happens to be the biggest party night of the year, eclipsing even New Year’s Eve and/or St. Patrick’s Day.  Again, if you happen to be ‘in the know’ on a bar, club or pub that blows the doors off business wise before the turkey hits the table, drop me a line.  My deadline window is one week, and I NEVER miss deadline.  It’s one of the qualities that’s reinforced my reputation as a serious writer in Buffalo and I’m certainly not going to call that into question now. 
    Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privelage (sp?) of recording an hour long show plus with my podcasting hero Uncle Hal from the Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal show.  He was my first choice after being offered my own show at Think Twice and with zero notes, bullet points or questions, we managed to fill 70 minutes worth of the most offensive, irreverent comedy imaginable.  If Hal didn’t have an appointment, I seriously would have gone for two hour-long shows in a row.  I raced Episode XV out as soon as I could and my producer Richard Wicka at Think Twice uploaded it at once.  I strongly encourage you to listen at once over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
    I had some issues finding the new episode with more luck refreshing on Internet Explorer, so if you don’t see Episode XV (and the subsequent ‘Bonus Round’), click Refresh and cross your fingers.  I’m not sure if the site is experiencing technical difficulties, but I’ll be getting to the bottom of it over the weekend.
    In addition to the Big Words One Man Mobile Unit, the Monsters Of Verse are full steam ahead.  I returned to Clarence High School on Tuesday to teach my first workshop on the mechanics of poetry as well as writing in general to Ms. Foster’s Poetry Club while recording the event.  That episode (#3, for those keeping track) can be heard over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/monsters/monsters.html
    
    Once again, I experienced issues finding the newest episode of each show on AOL, so if you have Internet Explorer, you’re better off visiting the site from there. 
    And last night, the Monsters Of Verse launched their second official reading at Talking Leaves on Main St. in Amherst.  JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner and myself kicked off the evening in alphabetical order with fifteen minute sets of amusing, insightful and philosophical poems that the crowd really seemed to respond well to.  Due to a small snafu regarding our start time (I forgot that we started at 6 p.m. instead of 7), we read for an additional forty minutes for the sake of entertaining those who showed at or shortly after 7 o’clock.  Twenty minutes of the second set were lost from the digital recorder, so if you weren’t there, you won’t get to hear it once the non-stop rock block of genius goes up online.  Depending on where my day (and my weekend) take me, Episode IV of the Monsters Of Verse should be up on the web by Sunday afternoon at the latest.  I’ll shoot you all an email when I’m positive that it’s up. 
    I’ve had a lot of time to think in the last four weeks.  One of the things I was turning around in my head yesterday was just how…overjoyed I am to have two like-minded creative maniacs to tour Buffalo and beyond with for the next six months.  With Jeff Finlayson and Carrie Gardner on deck, I honestly couldn’t ask for two other people I’d rather be out and about reading with.  Aside from sustaining, supporting and inspiring each other, they remain my dear friends and I’m not so much surprised with how well our collective dynamic is growing and improving so much as I’m pleased with the results.  Maybe we’ll hate each other come the beginning of May, but I doubt it.  Their talent, professionalism and their knockout prognostication skills continue to sustain and inform my burgeoning poetry skills.  At the risk of getting gooey, thank you, Jeff and Carrie.  Our events (and this project) are a feather in our cap that I’m very, very proud of.  I realize that putting up with my thousand event-related emails, phone calls and frequent tantrums is far from fun to deal with (just ask my wife), and your respective patience and professionalism is slowly molding me into a better team player.  You two are the best.
    Our next stop on the quest for global spoken word domination hits next Thursday (the 13th) at Spot Coffee on Delaware and Chippewa from 7-9 p.m.  Three days later, we’ll be at my favorite bar, Desiderio’s on Broadway on Sunday the 16th at 7 p.m. with special musical guest Shaky Stage.  Attendance so far has been admirable, but where the hell have you guys been?  Carrie has brought the majority of our audience and I’m embarrassed to say that most of the Big Words army have been missing in action.  PLEASE make the time to show your face for one (if not both) of the next two events.  I’m disappointed in the total lack of support in terms of these promotions where you’re all concerned, and it would be nice to see some if not all of you out during this new experiment in our collective creative careers.  While I realize that our performances are not at the top of your list, you’re missing out.  We’ve had a great big barrel of fun so far and it’s only going to get better as we continue to sharpen our skill set on the road.  Forget everything you know about poetry and give us a try.  I promise that we won’t let you down, and the after-parties thus far have been phenomenal.  I’ll leave it at that.
    And, on a final note, two new articles popped up online this week.  This month’s issue of Acid Logic is rolling out hot at 15 mph with ‘Sawed Off Sam Walton’, a strangely topical essay about spending half of my life in the hell known as retail.  Read all about it over at:
 
http://www.acidlogic.com/retail_sucks.htm
 
    And after a month long unintentional hiatus from comic book reviews, I put my nose back to the grind and started pumping a few new graphic novel critiques and sending them off to my new editor at Comics Bulletin.  You can catch them every Wednesday on www.comicsbulletin.com.  Top Shelf Comics has been kind enough to send me more than my share of advance copies, review copies and entire libraries for research purposes having to do with the radio show, and one of the books they sent me stood head and shoulders above anything I’ve read this year.  Despite what you might think, I actually do read comics that don’t have Batman in the title.  This previous Wednesday, I gave Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole the credit it truly deserved.  Check that review out over at:
 
http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/
 
    You may have to scroll down a tad as my show-notes inform me that it is no longer Wednesday and there isn’t a direct link to each review.  Since the Swallow Me Whole review, I’ve been hard at work building up a stockpile of other new reviews so that there aren’t any gaps on that site.  I’m neurotic about taking advantage of each and every site and publication I write for and I hate to be tardy to the party with any of them unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.  Writing comic reviews is a labor of love and it doesn’t even feel like work to fire off 5 or 600 words about every book I shovel into my brain.  Excelsior!
    That should be all the news that’s fit to print for the time being.  Thanks are in order to: JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner, Richard Wicka, Greg Sterlace (farewell and good luck, new friend!), Jonathan at Talking Leaves, Josh Smith, Uncle Hal, Wil Forbis, Thom Young and last but not least, my wife.  Lindsay has had to endure hell and back and back around again in the last four months.  This wrongful termination from Gamestop was another curveball that we didn’t deserve or anticipate.  She’s a real trooper, and without her love, support and reliability, I’d be well past the point of sanity by now.  I love you, chipmunk! 
    Oof.  One final word.  Now that Hal has popped onto my show, I’ll be doing a walk-on over on his.  We’ll be recording Episode 61 (or is it 62?) next week and you know I’ll give you the head’s up once it’s online.  The two of us are the politically correct equivalent of a keg full of dynamite strapped to a minivan doused in nitroglycerin whenever we get near a microphone.  The Big Words episode was brutal, but now that we’re back in the groove, our show on his site will be worse.  You have been officially warned.  Have a great weekend,

 
Tom Waters
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Acid Logic Update/Buffalo Rising Update

October 10, 2008

It’s been a LONG time since Acid Logic had a new issue out (well, August, at any rate).  My beloved publisher and longtime editor Wil Forbis has posted a new issue this month including ‘Beer & Foaming At The Mouth On The Campaign Trail’, an article I read for Big Words Radio Episode 8.5.  Read all the gritty details over at:

http://www.acidlogic.com/tom_wedding.htm

     And a new informer has presented him/herself in regards to Buffalo Rising and their spiral of deceit, deception and corruption!  I know it’s been a long time since I’ve gone to bat exposing their stupidty/irrelevance in the Buffalo publishing market, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t forgotten.  Check out PUBLISHER Newell Nussbaumer’s two cents on the region, the viability of the Buffalo market and quite a few other things over at:

http://nymag.com/realestate/features/49491/

And finally, UB Spectrum interviewed me yesterday at the Marriott Hotel in Amherst about both Breathing Room books.  If you’re on campus, grab a copy of the paper next week for an interview/review/spread on ‘this guy’.  I’ll be putting the feelers out next week to see what they had to say.

What’s horrified me the most lately is the fact that EVERYONE has told me time and again that Breathing Room Vol. I is the ‘best book I’ve ever written’.  This is coming from a lot of people who don’t even like poetry.  I don’t know how to deal with that kind of positive praise, and poems were the last thing I expected to start paying out like a slot machine.  In the coming months, I’ll have to accept that sort of positive feedback and run with it, but my main problem is that that sort of glowing optimism makes me wonder if I can ever top that sort of appreciation in my readership ever again.  I hope so.  Volume II just showed up on my doorstep yesterday and it looks gorgeous. 

Nick Peterson knocked it out of the park again with his stellar layout design on the internal workings of the book.   Slapstick is on target for May.  And Volume I is now available at Don’s Atomic Comics as well as Talking Leaves books on Main St. as well as Elmwood Ave.  If you don’t want a personalized, signed copy, visit either of those three locations to get your copy today!  Supplies are for realsy very limited for the time being, so don’t delay!  Talking Leaves has four copies and Don’s Atomic Comics has two.  I strongly encourage you to support local and visit either area business with your patronage!  That’s all I’ve got for today.  I’ve got a few other fires to put out and quite a few other windmills to joust (away from my official site), so I’ll leave it at that.  Peace Audi 5000,

Tom Waters

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‘Fun Home’ review hits Comics Bulletin, CFI aftermath

September 4, 2008

I’ve just had two days off and I could use two more. 

Wednesday is apparently the day that graphic novel reviews go live up on comicsbulletin.com.  Thom Young (my editor over there) and I had a good long discussion yesterday morning and in the midst of it he let me know that my review on Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home had been posted.  On the re-read, I was all over the place, sounding off on homosexuality, political correctness, Elton John, David Foster Wallace, etc.  Read for yourself over at:

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/

And speaking of Elton John, the Night Life Big Words column this week is an excerpt from my 30 page monstrosity of an exposition on the complete discography (and then some) on Elton John that’s going to be in Slapstick & Superego.  The abridged essay covers only Elton’s last three studio albums, which I feel are as perfect a swan song for such an acclaimed career as any fanatic could ask for.  The essay is titled ‘The Divine Pop Comedy’.  I’m really proud of the excerpted edit as well as the complete piece.  Scoop it up on stands this week.

And finally, I did recording duty last night at the Center For Inquiry for Perry Nicholas’ brilliant Literary Cafe.  JR Finlayson was kind enough to read two of my poems for one of the open reader slots and read one of his own from his chap book Gypsy Stance Blues.  It was a diverse night full of quite a few talented local writers including Loren Keller, Martha Deed, John Marvin, Cory Neil and many others.  Think Twice should have it up on the CFI’s banner by week’s end at the latest.

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