Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Paul Williams and the Gospel Songs of Dylan Documentary

Bob Dylan- Gotta Serve Somebody - Gospel Songs of from baddaboom on GodTube.
Paul Williams comments on Bob Dylan's Gospel songs at the beginning (and again at 3:11) of this clip (from the documentary Gotta Serve Somebody Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan). 

I think I remember the film maker coming out to our place and interviewing Paul in the early 2000's. Maybe 2004 or 05. You can see my nifty Wurlitzer sitting behind him. I do remember the film maker trying to get ahold of Paul around 2007 to see if Paul liked the way the documentary turned out. Sad that Paul was never able to get back to him.

Thank you Johannes Wilbrand for emailing this link over to me.

Geez, watching this, I sure do miss him. What a wonderful, 
brilliant wack he was...just my type.

PS: you can also find him on this Philip K Dick documentary at 1:27, 7:42 and 9:14. Paul was a good friend to the science fiction writer and, after Phil's death, became the literary executor of the estate for a while.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Deep Sea Fishing

New song and a little film-short to match. Thanks to the fisherman who was willing to 'co-star', the Oceanside Police Dept. for the $56 parking fine (my front wheel was over the line a few inches)
... and to PS and B for the inspiration

(Oct 30th-updated the editing a bit)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Another Friend Visits Paul

Friday I visited Paul Williams at a nursing home in Encinitas. Formerly an accomplished author and rock critic, Paul is now in the late stages of dementia. I was afraid I'd have to steel myself to see how far gone he was. But once I got over my dismay at seeing him bent over and drooling on a book he seemed to be reading, it was actually a pleasant visit. 

I reminded him who I was and said I was glad to see him. He responded with a flash of his old smile and hugged my arm. When we held hands, I marveled at how strong his grip was. He seemed to relish touching and physical contact.

I mentioned people we'd both known, friends from the '60s, and that elicited a few coherent sentences. "Do you remember Larry Stark?" I asked. "I lived with him," Paul said. At one point he even asked me, "Is there a new book by Phil Dick?"

When I was leaving, I caught a glimpse of the book Paul was reading. The cover illustration was a photo of a glowing nebula and at first I thought the book was a science fiction paperback. But the title was "Does The Creator Have A Plan For You?" and it turned out to be a religious tract from the Watch Tower Society. 

"Do you think the creator has a plan for you?" I asked Paul. "I don't know," he answered. 

-William Sarill (October 2012)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lenny Kaye Visits Paul And The Pope of Cool Sends Her Blessing

I feel lucky today. Every now and then and for no good reason it happens. I know it'll be gone soon, that feeling, but I'm gonna relish it right now. 

Paul and I have a mutual friend in musician Lenny Kaye. I met him at a benefit for the freelance writers of the Village Voice in 1988. Public Enemy, Mo Tucker from the Velvet Underground, Lenny Kaye and others and myself were on the bill. We met and he produced my second album, Naked Movie Star. A few nights ago Lenny introduced me to an LA friend of his and said "...he and I talked alot during the recording process, a whole lot. And you and I...." I interrupted "we talked about science fiction". And it was true we have science fiction in common. And so does Paul. Actually my husband Paul Williams and Lenny Kaye met as teenage fans of science fiction, before they became well, rock legends. 

Patti Smith was in town last weekend. A wonderful big show at the Wiltern in LA on friday, big because: the Wiltern has that kinda presence and the band met the challenge with ease, not to mention Johnny Depp getting on stage to play some rhythm and Flea (Red Hot Chili's) pouncing out some massive bass riffs on the epilogue of the show. 

After LA the band had two days off in my town of San Diego. So I met Lenny for breakfast on Sunday in my old section of town Ocean Beach (OB) and ran into Patti and Tony on their way back from the cafe. We said our hello's and she shook my hand. I told her I was whisking Lenny off for a bit to visit Paul in the nursing home and she asked me to give her regards to him. As we began to walk apart and she passed me she stepped to the side and looked me up and down in the way sailors do, on leave . It was very cute. Then she said "nice shoes"

Lenny and Paul had a really nice visit. Lenny said to me several times later on, "Paul is really in there. When I talked about the Beach Boys Smile album it was thumbs up and smiles. When I talked about the science fiction scene of our past he was making comments". 

Paul has his good days and his bad. He was less talkative this day then some of the others, not that he converses anymore, because he doesn't, but he does make occasional comments which add up to complete sentences,( and he can be counted on to remember minute details). But not so this day, not too much said. Nonetheless he smiled and nodded with purpose at things he agreed with and remembered with fondness. 

I left Lenny and Paul in the room alone to say their goodbye's and I could tell Lenny was full of feeling when he came out. We didn't talk for the length of the hall. 

Afterwards Lenny came over and we talked and played one another our newest songs, then I drove him back to the band. They had a show that night. 

I can be funny about my city of San Diego, I have a complicated relationship with it. But Sunday nights show (and Patti's spoken word show at the Spreckles Theater Saturday-where I took Alexander) were wonderful reminders of how San Diego can step up to the plate and love and support a powerful and inspired artist like Patti Smith. 

After the show Lenny led me back into the inner sanctum and I was able to give Patti a few little presents: a chapbook by Paul called Common Sense which has a lovely hand binding and pressed pages and is a numbered edition and then I gave her something I wrote this week, an essay about Women. Before I left the room she walked over to me and handed me something small in her hand, at first I couldn't quite make it out. It was her guitar pick. "Give this to Paul" she said.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Son The Scientist

An essay for science class by Alexander (he's age 10 but turning 11 next week): 

My scientist is a theoretical physicist named Allan Adams. He studies String Theory, the cross between particle physics and gravity. According to String Theory, instead of particles being 0 dimensional, they are 2 dimensional  "strings". These strings can be "open", with the ends sticking out, or "closed" with the ends put together in a loop. Both strings can oscillate, like a guitar string. These oscillations create physical properties such as mass or spin. For example; Einstein said that the energy of a photon, a particle of light, is related to it's color or frequency of oscillation. The more it oscillates, the higher the energy. This is similar to Einstein's theory, E=MC2. Combine the two, and you you get the real world, a place where there is a similarity between frequency of oscillating "strings" and properties of mass, where quantum and relativity theory are all the same thing. And that's just the basic picture!

As a theoretical physicist, your intellectual traits have to be infinite, eternal, forever, but at the same time inflating. You always have to be able to learn from your mistakes, and be prepared to make them. You have to be open to new ideas, old theories crossed out, new entirely different ones created. New questions arise, as old answers are proven incorrect. Long lasting questions still hang in the air, with a million answers waiting to be found. That's what being a theoretical physicist is all about, not finding the one big answer to everything, but the trillions of small ones, that have enough answers to fill the universe.

Something interesting about Allan Adams is his preference for black boards to white boards. His reason? Millions of beings, tiny bacteria called coccolithophores on the surface of the ocean died, and sunk to the bottom. More and more died, and their calcium carbonate-filled skeletons piled up on each other forming a limestone mud. As they got exposed to more heat and pressure, they hardened into what we now know is chalk. then other rock gets metamorphosed and we stick it on the wall. Then we rub the other bit of rock against it, and "we're doing theoretical physics! How cool is that?"-Allan Adams