Thursday, November 29, 2018

Not Ready For Prime Time But Ready For Some Freaking Kind Of Review Film Reviews To Keep The Writers Busy And Not Plotting Cabals Against The Site Manager-Introduction To The New Series

Not Ready For Prime Time But Ready For Some Freaking Kind Of Review Film Reviews To Keep The Writers Busy And Not Plotting Cabals Against The Site Manager-Introduction To The New Series

[Recently I wrote a short, well maybe not short when the thing got finished, summary of my “take” on this American Left History publication that I have been the site manager of since the fall of 2017. Took over full time after the variously called “purge,” “exile”, “retirement,” forced or otherwise of the previous site manager Allan Jackson who had actually hired me to run the day to day operations before the “internal rebellion” of the younger writers against his regime knocked him out of the box. I stood on the side-lines then since taking sides would have hurt my chances of taking full command and also I didn’t have a opinion one way or the other although I cringed when Seth Garth who I respect started talking about Stalinist purges, Siberia and written out of history photographs like this was the second coming of the Leon Trotsky-Joe Stalin fight back in ancient history early Soviet Union days.

I also cringed when the younger writers who obviously had never known privation or hard times started taking Allan to task for glorifying his hometown high school junkie corner boy, a guy called the Scribe, who got himself killed for some stupid reason down in Mexico over a busted drug deal and Allan’s incessant nostalgia for the 1960s, especially the Summer of Love, 1967 which they knew nothing about, didn’t want to write about and could have given a fuck about except to placate him (and move up the food chain which some did even in opposition). I now, now that the dust has settled and I have taken firm control of the operations do have an opinion that indeed Allan was unceremoniously purged and found himself in exile although not to Ata Alma or deep Siberia but sunny California, via a short stop in Utah. Needless to say the same fate will not await me as long as I can keep young and old writers too busy to waste time plotting around the office water cooler.

(Needless to say I have in the back of my mind thought many times that I should just get rid of the damn water cooler and let the employees find their own water sources just like in more offices. Maybe putting this in print will be seen by somebody who will then get all protective and defend keeping the thing as some democratic right or something grandfathered in since it was here before I was. My real problem is that this illustrious water cooler is the place where many a plot against recently exiled Allan Jackson were hatched and where, according to Sam Lowell’s own words, he “got religion” about the need to “pass the torch” and along the way put the knife deeply into the misbegotten body of his oldest friend by casting the decisive vote for Allan’s ouster. So you can see where things stand with these wild cowboys and the cohort of women writers I have brought in, or in the case of Leslie Dumont brought back spend even more time there so who knows what they are talking about).

Yeah, Allan took it on the chin, didn’t see it coming when the younger writers led by Will Bradley who when not conniving with others who harbor some kind of grievous hurts from those in charge, whoever is in charge, is an up and coming writer who now has courtesy of my good offices a by-line, if he can keep it, took a vote of no confidence and Allan took the sack, hit the skids. Some of his detractors wanted him escorted from the office under guard like they do in the high tech and finance fields throwing his boxes of stuff out the window or something like that but cooler heads prevails-meaning this silly Editorial Board which needs to rubber stamp my decisions-nixed the idea since maybe he still had some friends from the old days who might take umbrage at the idea-and come in and do bodily harm to whoever proposed the crazy idea. Worse of all his longtime old-time high school corner boy Sam Lowell under the guise of passing the torch gave him coup de grace giving the kids the deciding no vote. With friends like that I said at the time although not to Sam who now heads the Ed Board and is technically my “boss” who needs enemies. Sam I am sure in true hard-ass Acre neighborhood form will say all is fair in love and war and that Allan had done much worse to him over the years including sleeping with his, Sam’s, third wife.
Adding insult to injury the conspirators, Sam in good corner boy form included at first before he got elevated to the Ed Board and so had to be “neutral” or nice I forget which he claimed he was doing to back out of the battle, to slander and libel Allan when he was down, kicked him in the metaphorical groin. Maybe not court-worthy, not money damages worthy but it made it extremely hard for him to find work on the East Coast, in New York City particularly.  Put the hex on him like he had been some kind of monomaniacal tyrant and put the kiss of death “hard to work with,” tag which gets your resume to the shedder faster than you can walk there. Publishers who a few years ago would have paid big money to him just to sit in the office when important advertisers came by now wouldn’t offer him a cup of coffee, would make him wait all day in the foyer and then  tell the front office that the big boys had gone home for the day and could you come back tomorrow like he was just out of journalism school. 

Those young writers as if to bury the dead deeply or perform some exotic exorcism to insure that Allan would not come back zombie-like from the dead like you see in the current wave of dystopic films or if you are old enough or have access to a Netflix account some films from the heyday of zombie films-the 1950s spread the rumors far and wide. As far as I can tell they made the stuff up. Or they had so-called “third parties” do their dirty work a trick I too learned long ago when you wanted to rake somebody over the coals but wanted to pretend you were just reporting some facts you had picked up along the way. Either way they had a field day once Allan left the office, left without giving a forwarding address (although Seth Garth his main old-time hometown neighborhood supporter knew where he was part of the time, knew at least that when he tapped out in New York that he headed West, not just any West but purely West Coast California west, to get clean, to get washed over by some fresh Pacific breeze in along the Pacific Coast Highway near Todos el  Mundo scene of many early fresh breathes when he and that crowd were young and filled to the brim with Summer of Love, 1967 dreams and visions).        

Some of the stuff really was unbelievable although as long as it didn’t impinge on the operations here or diminish my authority starting out trying to fill some pretty big shoes in the industry after Allan’s demise, I tucked my head in. A couple of things I tried to check out, stuff like he was selling encyclopedias door to door out in Westchester County when Readers Digest turned him down for an office boy’s job. (Does anybody still use a hard copy set of encyclopedias in the age of Internet anyway which is what made the story seem fishy to me.) Was working in a fish factory for wages down in North Carolina. Nothing to it. Had gotten a job as a bellhop at the Ritz. (Maybe but I could never get anybody to follow up on the story). Had been washing dishes when the Ritz had banquets and needed extra day labor help. Nothing.     

The three that did keep coming up and which had an aura of possibility since he had been seen in the West (which is how we were able to discount the North Carolina fish factory story since he was in either Utah or California by then confirmed by Seth) are worth noting. Let me put it this way I hope the next generation that rebels, assumed to be against me, will just shoot me and get it over with rather than run my reputation into the ground.

According to the most prevalent rumors Allan had variously been “seen” running a high-end West Coast whorehouse with his old flame Madame LaRue, acting as stage manager for the  famous Miss Judy Garland “drag queen” Queen of  the notorious KitKat Club in San Francisco or more improbably “selling out “ to the Mormons via attempting to get a press agent’s job during Mitt’s now successful U.S. Senate campaign out in the wilds of Utah. The first one was totally wrong although Allan did stay at Madame’s place, not the whorehouse, on Luna Bay for a while and who knows what they did or did not do together but it was not running the whorehouse since Madame according to Seth was very touchy about anybody running her place since she dealt almost exclusively with rich Asian businessmen with a taste for the wild side. Still even spreading such a rumor was just another nail in Allan’s coffin in a profession where things at least had to look aboveboard.

The KitKat Club rumor was really a vicious one and I was kind shocked when young Sarah Lemoyne, who was hired by me after the Allan dust-up so had no reason to seek some silly revenge, told me in all good faith and naivete that Allan had come out of some “closet” and was MC-ing the nightly shows at that establishment in full drag regalia. When I asked Seth about it, actually ordered him to find out what was happening, he laughed and said that yes Allan was out in Frisco town, all these older writers love to call it Frisco town like they were just slumming wherever else they landed in life. What the younger writers didn’t know, maybe couldn’t know, or didn’t give a damn about just so they could throw some mud was that Miss Judy Garland, the owner of the club and the Queen of the “drag” set out there was none other than their old-time corner boy Timmy Riley who after years in the closet, after years of being abused, mentally and physically by everybody in their old home town from immediate family to some Acre young toughs had drifted West to a friendlier environment. The real deal was that Allan had staked Timmy to the money to buy the club and so was only staying in one of the apartments above the club (which Timmy also owned) while in town to see if he could catch on in the publishing industry out there far from the East where he really had tapped out. End of story.        

I would not ordinarily in a publication dedicated to the left side of society, politically and every other way although some of the writers, especially the younger ones, are either pretty wide-world politically indifferent or just slightly to the left of say the Democratic Party, give two words to the Romney slur. But maybe, just maybe although none of this ever surfaced in any piece submitted to me except maybe a vague reference in a film review about Utah, whoever surfaced this one will learn a small political lesson, or at least get the facts right before running to the water cooler all heated up. What that rumor did not recognize was that Allan had skewered Mitt Romney for years when he was governor of Massachusetts all the way to his failed Republican Party presidential bid in 2012. Had particularly homed in on counting his inadequacies as a executive against his Mormon pioneer great-grandfather who had five wives in the days when that religion went in for polygamy. The guys here from what I have been told had great admiration for the old man. Nevertheless no way was Allan going to get any job with the long-memory Mormons hovering around Romney, or even anything in the whole state of Utah for that matter. End of story although I hope not end of lesson.    

I noted above that I had been looking over the on-line archives since this publication went to a totally on-line format in 2006 and offered some observations about what way the winds were blowing and which way they should blow in the future. (See From The Archives Of “American Left History”-An Analysis And A Summing Up After His First Year By Site Manager Greg Green, date November 18, 2018) One key observation, especially since I was brought over from American Film Gazette by Allan Jackson (who by the way now writes an occasional contributing editor piece here belying all those rumors mentioned above except as I have also mentioned that he did wind in Frisco will old friend Miss Judy Garland when he was broke and needed a place to stay before heading back East) where I had spent many years editing some 40,000 film reviews of varying lengths and by everybody with any pretentions to film reviewing expertise from long time film editor Sam Lowell of this publication to the legendary Janie Dove and Jack Cummings was the yearly decline in the number of film, book and music reviews.

I wondered why given the sparse political environment, the general decline of street politics which animated a lot of the early work and decline in end-around cultural and social material to report on, to spent money sending people to cover. I have since his return talked to Allan, we have exchanged e-mails since he is now up in Maine, about the matter and gotten some other feedback. Allan had insisted that each review had to be full-blown “think piece” style contribution or else forget it apparently. (He denied this originally when he resurfaced to edit a rock and roll anthology which I thought needed his touch, but most senior older writers have testified under oath and a couple before God for balance that anything less than three thousand words and worthy of print in some academic cinematic journal went into the ashcan and I accept their takes on this.) Frankly, many of the films that I have seen come to my desk or have reviewed personally are not worth more than about three or five hundred words, maybe less, maybe just a thumb up or down is plenty.

To bring more balance, to get better into the film review business which is what many people who don’t have time to read endless reviews expect of a publication like ours I have started this new series of short movie reviews which has the dual purposes of giving today’s busy world a quick but incisive opinion. And keep these monstrous writers who are hanging around the “water cooler” plotting against the “boss,” me, occupied. Greg Green]  

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