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March 23rd, 2005

The Secret Word

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
Dwight D. Eisenhower


Hi folks,

This is an early edition because the newsletter will be on holiday until after Easter. DIFFICULTWOMEN and JUDY SMALL had a packed out show at the Brunswick Music Festival on Sunday night. For those who missed out, DIFFICULTWOMEN will be performing again in Somers and at fortyfivedownstairs in mid-April (see website for details.) I did a radio interview yesterday with the Molson and Lee Show out of Springfield, Illinois, in the States. Johnny Molson and Andy Lee are really creative and funny guys. Here are some audio snatches from the show:

Dr Afis Phone Calls to Nigeria (complete with Grouch Marx Duck Secret Word gong)
Bill Discusses Fame, Homosexuality, and Valentine's Day
Product Placement in 'The Passion of the Christ'


Hey Joe!
Where you goin' with that guitar in your hands? (Apologies to Jimi) Loved 'Gift' and really think your record company should be promoting it.
Paul R

(Note: Thanks Paul but . . . what record company? You mean Dolce, Dolce and Dolce Productions? Those bunch of crooks? They just sit on their butts and wait for ME to make something happen. Then they want their percentage. No way, Jose!)

VITO PAULEKAS - Bohemian Sculptor and Dancemaster


"I still dance. I still can do an hour. I'm 68, I can still do it. Once you're a dancer you can still do it. My friend Vito, a week before he died, he was 79, he was out on that dance floor." Carl Franzoni (aka Captain Fuck)

When I lived on the Star Mountain land commune in Northern California in the 70s, my late friend, Sunnee Supplee, and I used to hitchhike into Cotati once a week to go to the wild dance workshops of Vito Paulekas. Vito was an old man who partydanced like a demon and would appear at rock concerts with his young troupe and take over the dance floor. The guy was an awesome inspiration to behold and I have never forgotten these weekly dance happenings or experiencing his incredible energy at shows. I remember he was particularly taken with Sunnee's free and unique dancing style and got the entire class to try to copy her moves. I only recently found out some more information about Vito. He was a big influence on the style of Toni Basil. The description below is pretty much the way I remember it:

" One of the more mystically apparent non-leaders of this unwinding group was a Beat elder and studied sculptor turned bizzarro dance-guru by the name of Vito Paulekas. At the time, Vito held court within a tangle of wildly attractive lithe-bodied acid-bunny proto-groupies, and a smaller group of polymorphic male impresarios known collectively as The Fraternity of Man. The Frat-family and their gossamer clad women, who looked like the psychedelic brides of Dr. Frankincense, sported some of the most colorful clothing this side of the Munchkin Wardrobe from the Wizard of Oz. The group's interpreter and mephisto-jester was a ringlet-eared Mediterranean fellow named Carl Franzoni, who dressed like a rainbow-clad Oscar Wilde, right down to the crimson-skin tights and brass-buckled, patent-leather Artois shoes--a footwear named after the shoe-designing brother of France's King Louis XVII. Frank Zappa dedicated the Mothers of Invention double album "Freak Out!" to the outermost Carl, and The Fraternity band would become legends as the composers of the reefo-musical pearl, "Don't Bogart Me", later to be included on the sound track of Dennis Hopper's ground-breaking, though to my mind oxymoronic, biker film, "Easy Rider."

Here's something Frank Zappa once remarked about Carl:

" [Carl] is freaky down to his toenails. Someday he will live next door to you and your lawn will die . . . .we flew into Love Field and found ourselves walking down a long hall, full of soldiers and sailors - stopped dead in their tracks, staring in utter disbelief.  They didn't say anything.  They didn't throw anything at us.  They didn't shoot us like Easy Rider- they just stood there. The high point of the performance was Carl Franzoni, our 'go-go boy.' He was wearing ballet tights, frugging violently.  Carl has testicles which are bigger than a breadbox.  Much bigger than a breadbox.  The looks on the faces of the Baptist teens experiencing their grandeur is a treasured memory."

Here is an Interview where Carl describes dancing to The Byrds music.

I met Carl once and asked him what he did for a living. He told me, ' I fuck and suck.' Good answer, I thought. His girlfriend (I think her name was Karen Yum Yum) came up to visit me one time on the commune. Carl wasn't too happy about it but what could he do? We were all supposed to be into free love. Anyway, sometimes it was hard to tell just who was with who in those days. You found out later (usually after the carnal fact) by the one that got the most jealous and banged things around. As my bandmate, Jonathan Edwards wrote in one of his most profound lyrics, 'The door was always open, for things to come in floating, high above the hairlines of us all.' Far out.

Vito Paulekas was a guest once on Grouch Marx's You Bet Your Life show and eventually became Mayor of the town of Cotati! I understand he died of a blood disease. I also heard that Carl Franzoni became the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation. Man, that's California for you.


Judge strikes down ban on same-sex marriage
THE RULING: Law violated 'basic human right'
Bob Egelkor

A San Francisco Superior Court judge declared California's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Monday, saying it violates the "basic human right to marry a person of one's choice.'' More than a year after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom directed the county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples at City Hall, Judge Richard Kramer gave legal vindication to Newsom's rationale: that the state's 28-year-old law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is arbitrary and unfair.

"No rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners,'' Kramer wrote in a decision that relied on rights guaranteed by the California Constitution. He cited as precedent another groundbreaking ruling, the state Supreme Court's 1948 decision striking down California's law against interracial marriage. SITE

by Austen Tayshus

"Sandy Gutman is the greatest crowd controller in Oz comedy. I have seen only two audiences lurch and swoon under a humourist's sway; Austen Tayshus' and Barry Humphries'. For christ's sake, we don't believe Les Patterson is Barry, why do we think Austen is Gutman? Austen Tayshus is everything Sandy Gutman despises. Austen mirrors intolerance. Only an extremely underdeveloped wit could miss this point entirely."

Here is a transcript of of the lyrics to Australiana by my friend, Austen Tayshus. This is a spoken-word "song" from the 1980s in Australia and contains loads of great puns on well-known Australian flora, fauna and place names. Australiana was released in 1983 and went to Number 1 and double platinum on the Australian singles chart. SITE

More about SANDY GUTMAN.



Control Room
(Suberb documentary on the the Al-Jazeera news network)

Rentagerman.de offers a wide range of Germans for your personal and social needs. You can select the German of your choice for an exclusive lifetime experience: Imagine to appear with your German at parties, family events, or just hang out with them at the local shopping center. SITE

Go into Google, enter the word "failure" and see what you get!!
(thanks to Tim Mickleburgh)


Creationists Take Their Fight to the Really Big Screen
US row forces southern IMAX cinemas to shun films on evolution

by Robin McKie

They are the epitome of safe family entertainment, renowned for lavish animations, exquisitely filmed scenes of natural grandeur and utterly tame scripts. But IMAX films have suddenly found themselves catapulted into controversy, thanks to their occasional use of the dreaded E-word: evolution. In several US states, IMAX cinemas - including some at science museums - are refusing to show movies that mention the subject or suggest that Earth's origins do not conform with biblical descriptions.




You Bet Your Life (hosted by Groucho Marx) was originally broadcast on radio beginning in 1947, initially moving to television in 1950 as a radio show with cameras. On the program, contestants could "say the secret word and win a hundred dollars" and a paper-mache duck would come down with the loot. People tuned in to see and hear Groucho grill the contestants, the game itself was almost inconsequential. 'You Bet Your Life' was almost cancelled before it began - the original sponsor DeSoto ("Go to see your nearest DeSoto-Plymouth dealer and tell him Groucho sent you"), assumed when they signed Groucho that he would do the show in his familiar black frock coat and painted-on mustache. When he refused, the sponsors tried to pull the plug, but discovered that there was no clause in the comedian's contract requiring him to wear a costume - "If I can't be funny on television without funny clothes and makeup, to hell with it" was Groucho's attitude. The emphasis of You Bet Your Life was on the banter between Groucho and the carefully selected contestants (often one of the players was a semi-famous person - one episode featured Groucho's daughter Melinda Marx and a pre-teen Candice Bergen). Groucho's quick wit made for some of the funniest moments in television history.
A typical exchange between contestant and host:

Groucho: "Where are you from?"
Girl: "I'm from Ralph's Grocery Store."
Groucho: "You were born in a supermarket, eh? I thought supermarkets didn't make deliveries anymore. . . Oh? You're the cashier? Now it begins to register!"

In the fall of 1960, the series was retitled The Groucho Show, a move meant to distance the production from the quiz show scandal that was erupting at the time. On 'The Groucho Show', whenever a contestant uttered the secret word, the lovely Marylin Burtis was lowered down on a swing with the cash. On one episode, Harpo Marx descended from the swing instead, to the delight of the studio audience. The series was cancelled after one season in 1961, a casualty of the public's wholesale desertion of all game shows.



The Fifties and Sixties saw Groucho as a guest on a number of variety shows including The Perry Como Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, Kraft Music Hall, celebrity roasts and several appearances on the Hollywood Palace. One memorable Hollywood Palace episode in 1965 had Groucho as host and Margaret Dumont as one of his special guests. Dumont was Groucho's foil in several Marx Brothers movies, together they re-created one of their classic scenes together. This was a rare TV appearance for Dumont and her last, she died just a few days after the program was filmed. HERE it is.


Moroccan Beetroot Salad

250 g beetroot steamed til tender and skins removed
1 tsp coriander seeds roasted and ground
1 finely sliced red onion
2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp tbps chopped mint leaves
75ml extra virgin olive oil
50 ml walnut or organic flaxseed oil
50 ml lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup lightly roasted walnuts chopped
handful young beetroot leaves
2 tbsp rosewater

Dice the beetroot in large chunks while still warm add the ground coriander, onion, and herbs (some leaves can be left whole). In a bowl whisk together the oils and lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the beetroot, beetroot leaves and walnuts through the dressing to coat. Sprinkle with rosewater just before serving.


"To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk being
called sentimental. To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self. To place your
ideas and your dreams before a crowd is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk
dying. To hope is to risk despair, and to try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to
risk failure. But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in
life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing,
has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. One may avoid suffering
and sorrow, but one simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow
and love and live. Chained by things that are certain, one is a
slave. One has forfeited their freedom. Only the person who risks is
truly free."
Source Unknown