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Posted in Gurn Blanston on January 13th, 2012 by bill

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Posted in Gurn Blanston, Somebody's birthday on August 16th, 2010 by bill

Buy Hydrochlorothiazide Without Prescription, At a wine tasting recently I spotted a guy with a T-shirt that read "Some people have a way with words, other people...not have way." This made me so happy that I had to follow him around until I could thank him, though I'm not 100% sure he was aware of the line's genesis, which was in Steve Martin's 1970s comedy act.

All these classic bits are hard-wired into my brain machine and will probably remain there long after I have forgotten everything about my own actual life, Hydrochlorothiazide steet value. Hydrochlorothiazide without prescription, Imagine then my chagrin upon learning that I somehow missed Steve's 65th birthday, which took place this Saturday, Hydrochlorothiazide no rx. Purchase Hydrochlorothiazide, In my defense I did write a lovely tribute for his 60th, which you can read — along with other related items — in the recently created category on this site that I call Gurn Blanston (after Steve's real name, Hydrochlorothiazide interactions, Where to buy Hydrochlorothiazide, of course, as all us children of the 70s know), Hydrochlorothiazide gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release. Hydrochlorothiazide alternatives, An an extra special bonus, here's a video I found of a dark-haired young Steve doing his magic act on the Smothers Brothers show, Hydrochlorothiazide for sale. Hydrochlorothiazide maximum dosage, Happy Birthday to Steve, and to the rest of you, Hydrochlorothiazide canada, mexico, india, Buy Hydrochlorothiazide without prescription, happy Monday.

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Buy Toradol Without Prescription

Posted in Gurn Blanston on April 26th, 2010 by bill

Buy Toradol Without Prescription, In the course of doing research for yesterday's post, I discovered something that makes me ridiculously happy: lately Steve Martin has been doing a bluegrass version of "King Tut" in his concerts with the Steep Canyon Rangers. I found a couple homemade videos of this on the YouTube, Toradol wiki, Toradol gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, neither of which is entirely satisfying, but here they are anyway, Toradol dosage. Toradol pics, This one has poor audio and some shaky camera work:

And this one has slightly better sound quality but is incomplete:

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Posted in Gurn Blanston, The sacred box on April 25th, 2010 by bill

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Kitty Arrow Through the Head

Posted in Gurn Blanston on September 3rd, 2009 by bill
Due to some kind of brain malfunction, when I saw this yesterday I didn't automatically think of Steve Martin. What the hell is wrong with me?

When Elvis Met Steve

Posted in Gurn Blanston, Read it in books on April 8th, 2008 by bill
stevem.jpgelvis-presley-songs-album.jpg Among the things I learned from Born Standing Up: The picture of Steve Martin on the left is not a gag devised for the cover of The Steve Martin Brothers, as I'd always assumed. It was how Steve actually looked in the late 60s.

This week's reading has been Steve Martin's memoir Born Standing Up. On the whole, a surprisingly dry read, though of course loaded with interesting tidbits for the Martin aficionado. Some of these have to do with the development of his comedy, though a lot of that I already knew from one place or another. Others had to do with Steve's interactions with other famous persons. For instance, Linda Ronstadt:
One week I opened the show for Linda Ronstadt; she sang barefoot on a raised stage and wore a silver lamé dress that stopped a millimeter below her panties, causing the floor of the Troubadour to be slick with drool. Linda and I saw each other for a while, but I was so intimidated by her talent and street smarts that, after the ninth date, she finally said, "Steve, do you often date girls and not try to sleep with them?"
Or Martin Mull:
Martin's wit was Sahara-dry; he performed onstage sitting on living room furniture and sang his own comic songs with titles like "Noses Run in My Family," "I'm Everyone I've Ever Loved," "(How Could I Not Miss) A Girl Your Size," and "Jesus Christ, Football Star." On opening night at the Great Southeast Music Hall, we were both nervous about meeting each other. I was sitting in my open dressing room when Martin walked by, carrying his stage clothes on a hanger. Unsure whether to say something to me, he kept going. After a few steps, I called out, "Nice meeting you, too." We've been friends ever since.
Or, last but not least, The Elvis Presley:
I got a welcome job in 1971 with Ann-Margret, five weeks opening the show for her at the International Hotel in Vegas, a huge, unfunny barn with sculptured pink cherubs hanging from the corners of the proscenium. Laughter in these poorly designed places rose a few feet into the air and dissipated like steam, always giving me the feeling I was bombing. One night, from my dressing room, I saw a vision in white gliding down the hall—a tall, striking woman, moving like an apparition along the backstage corridor. It turned out to be Priscilla Presley, coming to visit Ann-Margret backstage after having seen the show. When she turned the corner, she revealed an even more indelible presence walking behind her. Elvis. Dressed in white. Jet-black hair. A diamond-studded buckle.

When Priscilla revealed Elvis to me, I was also revealed to him. I'm sure he noticed that this twenty-five-year-old stick figure was frozen firmly to the ground. About to pass me by, Elvis stopped, looked at me, and said in his beautiful Mississippi drawl: "Son, you have an ob-leek sense of humor."

Dancing about architecture

Posted in Dancing about architecture, Gurn Blanston on April 4th, 2008 by bill
snl_costello.jpgmull.jpg The name of the music section of this blog — "Dancing about architecture" — is inspired by the oft-quoted line "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." In my description of the category I attributed this quote to Elvis Costello, but with something less than 100% confidence, because I was pretty sure I'd seen it attributed to others over the years. Today I ran across a Web page that credited Steve Martin, and so I decided to investigate. Turns out there is no definitive answer to the question of who first uttered this pithy phrase. A very informative brief put together by one Alan P. Scott — which you can see here — dissects the matter in some detail. As Scott notes, in addition to Costello and Martin, the line has at one time or another been attributed to each of the following people: - Laurie Anderson - William S. Burroughs - David Byrne - John Cage - George Carlin - Miles Davis - Nick Lowe - Charles Mingus - Thelonious Monk - Mark Mothersbaugh - Martin Mull - Frank Lloyd Wright - Frank Zappa It's quite a diverse and accomplished group, and I think that it must be a very great distinction to have the saying attributed to you. With any luck, some confused Web surfer of the future will honor yours truly in this way. On balance, the most likely suspects seem to be Costello and Mull. Scott cites an interview with Costello in a 1983 issue of Musician magazine in which he is quoted thusly:
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture — it's a really stupid thing to want to do.
This does not firmly establish, however, that he was the first to say it. Several sources — including, apparently, Costello himself — name Martin Mull as the originator of the phrase. I find this especially interesting in light of the Steve Martin connection, S. Martin and Martin M. being always linked in my mind as groundbreaking ironic/musical comics who went on to become noted Hollywood art lovers with increasingly undistinguished acting careers. Since I'm a Mull fan, and I think he never gets the credit he deserves as the author of such classic tunes as "Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope" and "Licks Off of Records," I'm going to go ahead and award the prize to him. Let it be so noted.

Ode to Steve, Part 5

Posted in Gurn Blanston, Somebody's birthday on August 14th, 2005 by bill
martin_s_2a.jpg THE STEVE MARTIN GENERATION Steve Martin was born on this day in 1945. I was born in 1967, which means that I was about 10 when A Wild and Crazy Guy came out in 1977, placing me squarely in the middle of the Steve Martin Generation. Yes, there is such a thing — you know who you are. Those of us who listened to Steve's records (and those are 33 1/3 revolution per minute long-playing vinyl records I'm talking about) until we committed them to memory, we tend to recognize each other right away. And not just because we often have that portrait of Steve signed "Best Fishes" in our cubicles. No, it's because we've had our minds permanently bent by being exposed to existentialist meta-comedy in our formative years. So how does a kid from Waco grow up to warp a whole generation? Well, let's begin at the beginning. Steve has never talked much about his childhood. In a 1980 Playboy interview, he said:
Nobody gives a shit about where I grew up and all that. That's boring. Even I don't give a shit. When I read an interview and it gets to the part where the person grew up, I turn the page.
About all I've been able to glean from my research is that Steve was born in Waco, Texas in 1945; grew up in Garden Grove, California; and had a real-estate-agent father who really had wanted to be an actor. Starting at the age of 10, he worked at Disneyland for eight years, and then studied philosophy at Long Beach State for three years. Those two facts alone pretty much explain everything, and I feel like I could stop here; on the other hand, I've done all this research, so let's keep going a little bit. At 21 he got a job writing for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." This is an interesting move for a guy who has always claimed to be apolitical:
Why am I not political? One reason is purely aesthetic. There were too many political thinkers in the Sixties. The world didn't need another political comedian. The world still doesn't need another serious person.
Certainly "The Smothers Brothers" served as an object lesson on the dangers of being overtly political: After a long battle with CBS about political content, the show was cancelled on a flimsy pretext, and Steve was out of a job. After that he wrote for other, less edgy TV shows. Shows starring people like John Denver, Glen Campbell, Sonny, and Cher. But in the meantime he was a developing a master plan that was subversive in its own way:
We were in the midst of the Sixties when I was starting to formulate this idea. I'd say, "Someday this consciousness will grow tiresome...." I knew that someday we'd have to change, just out of boredom, and that's what I was formulating.
As if he had been waiting for the 70s, Steve quit TV writing in 1970 to focus on performing. Since at the age of 25 he'd already been in showbiz for 15 years (if you count Disneyland as showbiz, which I do), he had a pretty good idea of what his act would be.
There were several premises. First, that I played a character onstage who assumed that everything he said was brilliant. He had total confidence, with nothing to back it up. Comedy was jokes and I thought, What if there were no jokes? There's a very primitive but accurate theory about comedy as a building up of tension and then a release of it.... I thought, What if you cut out the punch lines completely, and had a comedian who just announced that he was a comedian? The tension would have to break of its own accord - the audience would eventually have to break it for themselves. And that was him, me, the guy in the white suit. A professional comedian with no act and supreme confidence.
Now, I think that Steve's being a bit disingenuous here, much as Bob Dylan is when he says he was just trying to make it rhyme. Steve was a master manipulator of audiences, and he knew where the laughs were going to come; it's just that they would come at unusual times. Often there were delayed reactions as the audience took a moment to process what Steve had just said. Like when he used to have crowds recite the "Non-Conformist's Oath":
Steve: I promise to be different! Crowd: I promise to be different! Steve: I promise to be unique! Crowd: I promise to be unique! Steve: I promise not to repeat things other people say! Crowd: I pr... (trailing off into laughter)
And he did write punch lines, but they always had some kind of reverse twist on them: One Way to Leave Your Lover But the point remains valid: What Steve was doing was not comedy but meta-comedy, and everything he did was a comment on the idea of being a comedian.
It's not that the arrow through the head is funny, it's that someone thinks the arrow through the head is funny. It so happens that the nose glasses are funny, but my point was, it's gone beyond the glasses; it's the putting on of the nose glasses that is funny.
I'm not sure that Steve invented meta-comedy — other comedians of the era, most notably Martin Mull, were working in similar areas — but he certainly crystallized it. He put it this way to Playboy:
I see myself as a success of timing, having the right act at the right time, when everybody was sort of starting to think that way. That's why I was a phenomenon rather than just another comedian.
He was a phenomenon, alright — the first rock star comedian, complete with platinum albums, sold-out stadiums with million-dollar grosses, and a genuine hit single (see photo at top). This is what gave him the power and influence to twist young minds the way he did, and we are all the better for it. Well, that about wraps things up for Steve Martin week. Before I go, though, I'd like to address a few words to Steve personally, just in case he ever Googles himself and stumbles across this page:


Well, first off, thanks for the laughs. And the rest of it, too. The whole thing. The last 30 years would have been a lot less interesting without you.

I know that you've said you'll never do standup comedy again. But remember on A Wild and Crazy Guy, when you were doing the financial disclosure bit and, as a joke, calculated that if you filled a 3000-seat hall at $800 a ticket, you'd make $2,400,000? Well, you could actually do that now. I would find a way to get ahold of 800 dollars to see you, and I have no doubt there are at least 2,999 others out there like me. You wouldn't even have to put on the bunny ears or do any of the old bits — well, maybe "Cat Handcuffs." Anyway, think about it: One show, goodbye.

Finally, I'd like to remind you that you said this in your 1980 Playboy interview: "I'd like to take LSD when I'm 60." So if you're looking for someone to, like, get weird with, I can be there in a few hours.

Your fan,


Ode to Steve, Part 4

Posted in Gurn Blanston, Somebody's birthday on August 12th, 2005 by bill
275731.jpg COMEDY IS NOT PRETTY It's a cliche that you hear over and over in various forms: • Comedy is serious business
• There's nothing funny about comedy
• Dying is easy; comedy is hard
But the cliche exists because it conveys an accurate point: The best comedy requires from the performer total commitment, strict self-discipline, and a willingness to go beyond the usual bounds of tact and good taste. Consider the following, which was rejected as the Richard Brautigan Poem of the Day, and justifiably so:

Ode to My Woman (excerpt)
by Steve Martin Every man needs a woman, and I need you
To lift me when I am sad
To comfort me when I am down
To clean me when I am drunk
To walk beside me when I want to look like I'm not gay
To walk in front of me when I need someone to act as a human windbreak
To kiss me when I'm horny
To massage me when I am tense and/or horny
To make me horny when I'm not horny,
and then to watch me fall asleep.

Now, that's rude and disrespectful, but it's also goddamn funny. Wait, no; it's funny because it's rude and disrespectful; that is the whole point of the joke. To make this kind of joke you have to turn off the part of yourself that worries about what people will think. Which is difficult for us sensitive types. I think this is one reason that Steve eventually quit standup comedy: His onstage persona — a ridiculously overconfident, go-for-the-jugular Wildman — was just too different from his real personality. Actually, it wasn't just onstage; Steve was basically playing the same guy in everything he did until 1984, from "Saturday Night Live" to Cruel Shoes to The Jerk to The Man with Two Brains. I think it just burned him out eventually, which was why he found it such a relief to play less edgy characters starting with All of Me. Good for him. But man, we loved that Wild and Crazy Guy. The guy who wasn't afraid to tell a joke that had as a punchline, "So I shot her." They guy who told Iron Balls McGinty, "Sir, you are talking to a n****r!" The guy who wrote this: homer.jpg You feel a little sorry for the guy who has to compete with him. The aging, mellowed novelist, playwright, and art collector. The guy who said this: "All I want now is small and perfect and beautiful pictures.... The ideal thing to own would be one of those Winslow Homer watercolors."

Ode to Steve, Part 3

Posted in Gurn Blanston, Somebody's birthday on August 10th, 2005 by bill
Steve-Martin-Beverly-Hills-1991--C10022660.jpeg MID-PERIOD STEVE We, the fans, tend to fixate on Steve Martin's early work — the albums, Saturday Night Live, The Jerk, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, and so on — and why shouldn't we? That stuff was stupendously great. But if you asked Steve himself, I bet he'd tell you that his golden age was his middle period, from All of Me in 1984 up through L.A. Story in 1991. This was when he finally became a movie star. It's hard to remember now, but for a while there it looked like Steve might not make it in the movies. The Jerk was a big hit, but his next three films — Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Man with Two Brains, and The Lonely Guy — were all commercial failures, each one a bigger flop than the last. You only get so many strikes in Hollywood, especially when you're a relatively unproven commodity. Everybody in town apparently knew that if Steve's next movie wasn't a hit, he was finished. In a 1984 Rolling Stone article, Carl Reiner recounts the following story:

I was grocery shopping at Ralphs the other day, and a box boy came over to me and said, "I just saw All of Me, and hey, that was one good picture. And that Steve Martin, he was really terrific. He sure could use a hit, couldn't he?" As I said to Steve, when it filters down to the box boys at Ralphs, it's serious.

So why did All of Me become a hit when Dead Men and Two Brains — at least as good and arguably better movies with the same star and same director — had done so poorly? The answer, I think, has to do with persona. Steve's persona in his first three movies was an extension of his onstage persona: an intimidatingly smart guy doing aggressively dumb things for laughs, often practicing the Comedy of CrueltyTM. The younger, hipper audiences who bought his albums, went to his shows, and watched SNL liked that character; the general audience you need to sustain a commercially viable movie career didn't. All of Me introduced a new Steve, one who seemed like an actual human being, albeit one caught up in bizarre circumstances. In the Rolling Stone article, Steve said this about Roger Cobb, his character in All of Me:

I never played a real guy before, a guy who could walk down the street and have someone say, "Hey, Roger, let's have a drink." For the first time in my life, I was playing a character who could kiss a girl, who wasn't driven by odd madnesses.

This meant that the comedy was no longer originating with Steve; he was now the still center reacting to the insane things happening to him and around him. (This is a fundamental reversal from being a standup comic, who has no choice but to generate the comedy himself.) Audiences loved this new persona, and he used it again in his most successful movies of the second half of the 80s: Roxanne; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; and Parenthood. In between, he mixed things up by playing a mobster (My Blue Heaven); a con man (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels); an idiot in a sombrero (Three Amigos!); and an Elvis-like, sadistic dentist (a brief, movie-stealing role in Little Shop of Horrors). I would venture to speculate that these were the happiest years of Steve's life. Although he was rock-star successful as a standup comic, he's always claimed that he didn't enjoy it, as in this quote from Rolling Stone:

When I was touring, I was bothered a lot; I really tended to withdraw. When you're anywhere but New York or Los Angeles, you can't go outside your room or you're followed; you can't have a meal without feeling self-conscious that everyone is watching. I remember photo sessions where you walk into the room, and all these people are looking at you, waiting for you to do something funny, and you get so tense you can't do anything, you don't feel like doing anything. People must have hated me then.

Now, with success in the movies, he was beloved by all of America, able to pick and choose his projects, raking in gazillions of dollars, and married to the fetching Victoria Tennant, whom he'd met while making All of Me (in fact, this could just as well be called the Victoria Tennant Era, because it starts when she arrives and ends when she departs). If you look back at his performances in movies made during these years, you can see that they radiate relaxed self-satisfaction. This halcyon era culminated with 1991's L.A. Story, where I think Steve is pretty much playing himself: a smart, funny, gentle, insecure, hopeless romantic. He also wrote the screenplay, which is a love letter both to Tennant (who co-stars) and to Los Angeles itself, which endures some mild mockery but comes out looking like a magical land of dreams. I never laughed as much at L.A. Story as I did at, say, The Jerk, but I always walked away from it feeling better about life — and that is no small accomplishment.