Phyllis Kaelin Isn’t Inviting the NBA or Mariachi’s on Her Magic Trip [Fierce Anticipation]

Fiercely Anticipating

Please, tell me its going to happen soon – the end of the NBA Lockout. No, not football, the NFL season is firmly in place, not that I care. What I care about is basketball, specifically basketball playoffs. I love a good playoff series. However, to have a good playoff series, you must have a good season and so far it seems the NBA 2011-2012 Basketball Season is likely to be cancelled.

Trouble started right after the end of last season in June. Despite a good revenue year for basketball, the NBA lost about $300 to $500 million for the season. The owners are howling. Renegotiating the contract between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) David Stern, NBA Commissioner, and Billy Hunter, NBPA Executive Director, laid out competing positions. Neither has moved in more than a month. The NBA has filed a legal complaint claiming that the players aren’t negotiating in good faith. The players are starting to look around for overseas contracts to fill in their apparently inevitable “gap year”.

FIBA – the world governing body for basketball has decided that it will allow NBA players to choose an international FIBA team to play for during the lock-out, but only during the lockout. A number of NBA players, from lesser known to superstars including Boston Celtics E’Twaun Moore and the Laker’s Kobe Bryant – are interested.

This doesn’t give me a good play-off season to look forward to however. While I sometimes enjoy games during the season, by the playoffs, basketball has become an aggressive interplay of strong, assertive players, sneaky moves, and astonishing throws and catches – what’s not to like?

Now that I’ve got you riled up, you can track the developments here: www.nba.com/laborcentral/and here: www.nbpa.org/

Can I console myself with my usual literary or cultural distractions? One is coming right up. About the time the NBA negotiations began, The Getty Museum offered the winning bid — more than $48 million dollars in an auction at Sotheby’s –to purchase a very fine landscape painting by J. M. W. Turner. Modern Rome—Campo Vaccino is considered one of his masterpieces. Starting August 8th, visitors can take a one hour tour, offered once each day to introduce the new purchase. The Getty owns three other works of the man said to be the best British 19th century painter. With Turner’s paintings also at the Huntington Library and Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles has a rare opportunity to enjoy the landscape master.

Great excuse to spend an afternoon and early evening at the Getty. The art is great, surrounded by a wonderful buildings and patios of marble, good food options and a view of traffic on the 405 from that high perch on the hill. Details at www.getty.edu

Kinda Wanna See

Having lived through the 60s and 70s, I am ambivalent about many popular movies, television shows, documentaries and books about the period. However, I do kind of want to see the Ken Kesey movie scheduled to begin August 5 at the Nuart –Magic Trip. But I would wait, because on August 12, filmmaker Allison Lockwood will be there. (Schedule www.landmarktheatres.com/Films/films_frameset.asp?id=106866

The movie has been assembled from previously unused raw footage of Ken Kesey, Neal Cassidy and the Merry Pranksters taking their LSDed cross-country road trip in the gloriously painted Magic Bus in 1964. A closet hippie attending Catholic high school at the time, I remember the Merry Pranksters as surprisingly innocent while still offering a very controversial affront to American culture. The quest for freedom that Kesey, Cassidy and others undertook in the sixties was a physical pilgrimage, an emotional journey, and a mind trip fueled by psychedelic drugs.

The Merry Band of Pranksters included members who later became iconic: the Grateful Dead, Paul Krassner, Stewart Brand, Wavy Gravy, and Mountain Girl (aka Carolyn Garcia, wife of Jerry Garcia). Other lesser known, but still influential writers and thinkers traveled on the bus. Tom Wolfe and Hunter S Thompson, as well as Kesey himself, wrote about the Pranksters and their experiences.

Alison Ellwood calls the film an immersive experience, letting the viewer share in the events. From clips and advertising, I can’t tell if this movie will make me cringe or smile with remembered empathy.www.magictripmovie.com

Magic Bus tempts me more strongly since I have recently watched Man on Wire available through the Sundance On Demand channel. Philippe Petit and friends are best known for stringing a wire between the newly erected Twin Towers in New York in 1974. Philippe then walked the wire – not once, but repeatedly.

The footage of Philippe on the wire is riveting, but learning the story that led to this glorious morning is surprisingly compelling. Here is another band of merry pranksters, this one broken apart by the Twin Towers stunt and Philippe Petit’s utter confidence and determination to undertake it. The movie contains footage of the friends planning the main event and other stunts, playing on the wire, and talking about what happened. These talking heads, reflecting back on their experience make Man on Wire a memoir in the best sense – showing us both what happened and how the people involved perceive what happened.

Wouldn’t Go If You Paid Me

The Beatles were part of the time period too, but I won’t go see the Mariachi Rock-O and Mariachi Mystery Tour performing Friday, August 12 Downtown at noon and at 8 pm. Beatles classics Mariachi style? Uh … no!

While I’m perfectly willing to suffer many “reinterpretations” of the canon, somehow I don’t want to hear Yesterday played by a Mariachi band from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Featuring Lorenzo and Rob Martinez of Los Reyes de Albuquerque, fans report them as quite good. For me, a short clip was enough to confirm that I just can’t quite relax when mariachi music is playing. Performance information at www.grandperformances.org/events/Mariachi-Rock-O-and- Mariachi-Mystery-Tour.html

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featured image credit: SoulRider.222