WISDOM! Is that Enlightenment?

WISDOM! Is that Enlightenment?
Quote: "Wisdom knows this. Wisdom is not thinking about how to manipulate affairs so that events work out in its favour. Wisdom performs none of this. Wisdom just knows that we are being manipulated. To stay connected to wisdom through awareness, we need simply to stay in the moment. This involves doing NOTHING. This involves NO PRAYERS, NO MEDITATION, NO MANTRAS, NO RITUALS, NO JOINING,… NO THING. All practices, be they MEDITATIVE or PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES, are exercises in remaining OUT OF THE ONE ETERNAL MOMENT. This is not to say that meditating is bad or wrong, just as physical activity is not bad or wrong. There is no such thing as good or bad, or right or wrong. However, these exercises avail no benefit in reconnecting to the wisdom state. Only emotional detachment, which is to place NO REAL WORTH or REAL VALUE in anything 3 dimensional, is true reconnection to reality. There is no such thing as TIME and SPACE, and to enter into activities where you confess, and admit, disconnection from wisdom, simply by entering into that activity whereby you hope to reconnect to wisdom, (or as some call it, ENLIGHTENMENT), then you have not RECONNECTED WITH your original WISDOM STATE." (Enlightenment is a luciferian term that sounds and seems to speak of reconnection to wisdom, however wisdom and enlightenment have nothing in common). - IM Nuff Said!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Presenting: Hedwig and The Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001)


Adapted from the hit off-Broadway musical of the same name is this tale of an "internationally ignored" rock & roll singer who hails from Communist Berlin and who dreams of becoming an American sensation. Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell), born a boy named Hansel, is raised by a single mother (Alberta Watson) who wishes to see her son do better than his poverty-stricken family. Some years later, Hansel is attracted to a good-looking American G.I, who promises a better life overseas for young Hansel, under one condition: that he undergo a sex-change operation to become a fully functional female who he can then marry. The operation is seriously botched, leaving the now-renamed Hedwig with an "angry inch" only to be stranded in a dingy Kansas trailer park on the day the Berlin Wall comes tumbling down. Hedwig then supports herself through a series of ill-fated lounge gigs and side jobs, meeting up with 16-year old Tommy Gnosis (Michael Pitt), a religious type who befriends her and later steals her songs and becomes the rock star Hedwig always dreamed of being. Undeterred, Hedwig continues to perform in the shadow of Tommy's sold-out stadium tour, attempting to make herself whole in spirit, if not physically. The film features several songs by composer Stephen Trask, who also appears as a member of Hedwig's disinterested rock band; Miriam Shor portrays Hedwig's newfound love and back-up singer.


Review by Francis Cruz: Lawyer-Critic

"Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Cameron Mitchell's breakout film, is a cinematic translation of his successful off-Broadway musicale. It's hugely helped by the song compositions of Stephen Trask --- from its hyperactive opening song to the more mellow, more emotionally driven slow songs that inhabit the work's core. Trask and Mitchell's collaboration has crossed over to the silver screen with relative ease: the film is independently funded; no studio bickering beneath the translation; thus, the creators manage to keep their intentions intact.

Let's stop kidding ourselves though. True, the melodies, the rhythms, the driving force behind the art are all original but the work won't survive without the centerpoint of everything: Hedwig (as played by Mitchell). He's a cinematic anomaly. You just can't pinpoint what he is: he's had a sex change operation (but without that inner drive that pushes most transgender individuals; he was forced to undergo the operation by his American boyfriend and his mother); the sex change operation is not entirely successful as a bit of his phallus would grow back (thus, the angry inch). Hedwig is a character that uncomfortably sits in a vague middle: fabulous and almost nearly female (yet with signifiers of his male past --- underarm hairs, the prominent Adam's apple); Mitchell casts a female (Miriam Shor) as Hedwig's jealous boyfriend (it connotes another conundrum --- is their relationship homosexual or heterosexual?).

Hedwig's backstory is also wildly interesting. His life is told through the several musical numbers performed by Hedwig and his band in buffet restaurants while trailing rock icon Tommy Gnosis (Michael Pitt), Hedwig's ex-boyfriend and intellectual property-thief. It's an elementary technique that surprisingly works. A decision to record the songs live as sung (it helps that Mitchell and his band has had years of on stage performances to make it work, and work very well). Mitchell's visuals provide a very satisfying range: The song "Origin of Love," about how the Greek gods physically separated men and women as theorized by Plato, is accompanied by crude animation; a dreamy sequence of Hedwig (then, Hansel)'s seduction by his then-husband shows off the uncontrollable tempting power of Gummy Bears and American candies; Hedwig's childhood in Communist East Berlin is treated with nightmarish candor --- Hansel hidingly wiggles to the ditties of American radio or uncomfortably holes up in his mom's oven just to listen to his American inspirations.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is more of a statement, a very powerful one on sexual and gender ambiguity, than a concrete narrative. This brings me to my serious problem with Mitchell's film: it's unconvincing (or pretentious) and highly open-ended conclusion. It's as if Mitchell couldn't come up with an adequate end to Hedwig's mission of reclaiming fame and intellectual integrity from Tommy Gnosis, that he just settled with something more symbolic (a cheap way out as it will excite and satisfy those watching the film as an activism or a strengthening of one's choices in life, sacrificing narrative competency). It's my same problem with Jonathan Larson's Rent (Chris Columbus, 2005; which appears a lot in the film probably as a symbol for selling out) which conveniently ended with a fantasy sequence and a medley of songs of affirmation.

It's a huge complaint, but one that didn't dent my appreciation for Mitchell's effort. Above everything else, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is bombastic, at time irreverent, always hyperactive, truthful, and most importantly, highly entertaining."


Enjoy The Show

Tear Me Down: - The character of Hedwig is presented as a paired opposition: American rockstar glamour versus communist ideals; excess versus repression. One may think Hedwig would simply rebel against hir initial childhood repression, but what Hedwig ends up internalizing is the symbol of the opposition itself, the divide, as we see in the song "Tear Me Down," where Hedwig likens herself to the Berlin Wall. The very beginning of this tale presents a nigh impossible conflict between two opposites; Hedwig takes on the persona of the struggle between two halves, defying those who might bridge the gap and thus destroy hir.

TEAR ME DOWN.


Don't you know me Kansas City?
I'm the new Berlin wall
try and tear me down

I was born on the other side
of a town ripped in two
I made it over the great divide
now I'm coming for you

Enemies and adversaries
they try and tear me down
you want me, baby, I dare you
try and tear me down

I rose from off of the doctor's slab
like Lazarus from the pit
now everyone wants to take a stab
and decorate me
with blood graffiti and spit

Enemies and adversaries
they try and tear me down
you want me, baby, I dare you
try and tear me down

On August 13th, 1961,
a wall was erected
down the middle of the city of Berlin.
The world was divided by a cold war
and the Berlin Wall
was the most hated symbol of that divide
Reviled.
Graffitied.
Spit upon.
We thought the wall would stand forever,
and now that it's gone,
we don't know who we are anymore.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Hedwig is like that wall,
standing before you in the divide
between East and West,
Slavery and Freedom,
Man and Woman,
Top and Bottom.
And you can try to tear her down,
but before you do,
you must remember one thing:

There ain't that much of a difference
between a bridge and a wall
without me right in the middle, babe
you would be nothing at all

Enemies and adversaries
they try and tear me down
you want me, baby, I dare you
try and tear me down

Enemies and adversaries
they try and tear me down
you want me, baby, I dare you
try and tear me down

From East Berlin to Junction City
hello New York, hello Missouri
what you try and tear me down
come on and tear come on and tear me down

Next, Origin of Love - Very Interesting Song. The dual natures of humanity is a very important, repeated theme in Hedwig: we have the early conflict of east/west influences, seen in "Tear Me Down," and the contrast between appearance and identity as seen in "Wig in a Box." The most important, though, for both the film and the tale type, is that of male/female. In "The Origin of Love," we hear Hedwig's account of the creation myth, in which gods tear apart the four-legged dual-humans into "lonely, two-legged creatures." Despite mention of these double humans in male-male (children of sun) and female-female (children of the earth) configurations, it is obvious that Hedwig identifies with the muddled male-female creature, the "children of the Moon."

Hedwig and the Angry Inch - Origin of Love


When the earth was still flat
and the clouds made of fire
and mountains stretched up to the sky
sometimes higher
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs
they had two sets of arms
they had two sets of legs
they had two faces peering
out of one giant head
So they could watch all around them
as they talked while they read.
and they never knew nothing of love
it was before

the origin of love

the origin of love
And there were three sexes then
one that looked like two men
glued up back to back
called the children of the sun
And similar in shape and girth
were the children of the earth
they looked like two girls
rolled up in one
And the children of the moon
were like a fork shoved on a spoon
they were part sun, part earth
part daughter, part son

the origin of love

Now the gods grew quite scared
of our strength and defiance
and Thor said,
"I'm gonna kill them all
with my hammer
like I killed the giants."
And Zeus said, "No,
you better let me
use my lightening like scissors
like I cut the legs off the whales
and dinosaurs into lizards."

Then he grabbed up some bolts
and he let out a laugh,
said, "I'll split them right down the middle,
gonna cut them right up in half."
and then storm clouds gathered above
into great balls of fire

And then fire shot down
from the sky in bolts
like shining blades
of a knife
and it ripped
right through the flesh
of the children of the sun
and the moon
and the earth
And some Indian god
sewed the wound up into a hole
pulled it round to our belly
to remind us of the price we paid

And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
gathered up a big storm
to blow a hurricane
to scatter us away
in a flood of wind and rain
and a sea of tidal waves,
to wash us all away
and if we don't behave
they'll cut us down again
and we'll be hopping round on one foot
looking through one eye

Last time I saw you
we had just split in two
you were looking at me
I was looking at you
you had a way so familiar
but I could not recognize
cause you had blood on your face
I had blood in my eyes
but I could swear by your expression
that the pain down in your soul
was the same as the one down in mine

That's the pain
cuts a straight line
down through the heart
we called it love
so we wrapped our arms around each other
trying to shove ourselves back together
we were making love
making love
It was a cold dark evening
such a long time ago
when by the mighty hand of Jove
It was the sad story
how we became
lonely two-legged creatures
It's the story of
the origin of love
that's the origin of love

Angry Inch: The next major event in Hansel's evolution is his meeting with Luther, another American GI; Luther is a literal and metaphorical "sugar daddy" who seduces Hansel with rich, forbidden Western candy. Luther promises to marry Hans and take hir out of Berlin, to America – there was just one small problem. In order for Luther to legally marry Hans, Hans must become a woman. Unfortunately for Hansel, the doctor was less than competent, and s/he was left with an "Angry Inch"…S/he is left is a scarred "one inch mound of flesh," an external manifestation of hir indecision between male and female; s/he is lost forever between the two poles. This is the moment of transformation in the tale: Hansel thus becomes Hedwig, the Beast, neither male nor female.

Hedwig: The Angry Inch


My sex-change operation got botched
My guardian angel fell asleep on the watch
Now all I got is a Barbie Doll-crotch
I got an angry inch

Six inches forward and five inches back
I got a
I got an angry inch
Six inches forward and five inches back
I got a
I got an angry inch

I’m from the land where you still hear the cries
I had to get out, had to sever all ties
I changed my name and assumed a disguise
I got an angry inch

Six inches forward and five inches back
I got a
I got an angry inch
Six inches forward and five inches back
I got a
I got an angry inch
Six inches forward and five inches back
The train is coming and I’m tied to the track
I try to get up but I can’t get no slack
I got a
Angry Inch Angry Inch

My mother made my tits out of clay
My boyfriend told me that he’d take me away
They dragged me to the doctor one day
I've got an angry inch

Six inches forward and five inches back
I got a
I got an angry inch
Six inches forward and five inches back
I got a
I got an angry inch

Long story short:
When I woke up from the operation
I was bleeding down there
I was bleeding from the gash between my legs
My first day as a woman
and already it’s that time of the month
But two days later
the hole closed up
The wound healed
and I was left with a one inch mound of flesh
where my penis used to be
where my vagina never was
A one inch mound of flesh with a scar running down it
like a sideways grimace
on an eyeless face
Just a little bulge
It was an angry inch

Six inches forward and five inches back
The train is coming and I’m tied to the track
I try to get up but I can’t get no slack
I got an
Angry Inch Angry Inch

Six inches forward and five inches back
stay under cover till the night turns to black
I got my inch and I’m set to attack
I got an Angry Inch Angry Inch

Wig in a Box:For once they arrive in America, Luther soon leaves Hedwig for a younger boy… and the Berlin wall falls, proving Hedwig's sacrifices to be largely moot. Hedwig is left in middle America, "Miss Midwest Midnight Checkout Queen," inventing an identity for hirself. "Wig in a Box" explores the malleable nature of appearance and its effect on identity.

S/he makes a persona for hirself by composing and performing rock songs, in shopping mall food courts and other very tangibly middle-American outlets. During this time s/he meets a teenage boy, Tommy, with whom she attempts to foster a relationship. Tommy himself has had problems with his own military father; in essence moving from his distant father-figure to the mysterious Beast. During the next section of the tale, Hedwig helps to transform Tommy from insecure gangly Protestant nerd-child to a hip, nubile young rockstar; she molds and sculpts him into a flashy rock performer, all hype and stage presence. Tommy is made the Beauty of the tale: the beautiful young love who can, perhaps, redeem the beastliness of Hedwig's confused identity.

NOTE: Watch for Masonic Symbols...I.E: @ 1:37 mark

Hedwig and the Angry Inch - Wig In A Box & Sugar Daddy

On nights like this
when the world's a bit amiss
and the lights go down
across the trailer park
I get down
I feel had
I feel on the verge of going mad
and then it's time to punch the clock

I put on some make-up
and turn up the tape deck
and pull the wig down on my head
suddenly I'm Miss Midwest
Midnight Checkout Queen
until I head home
and put myself to bed

I look back on where I'm from
look at the woman I've become
and the strangest things
seem suddenly routine
I look up from my Vermouth on the rocks
a gift-wrapped wig still in the box
of towering velveteen.

I put on some make-up
and some LaVern Baker
and pull the wig down from the shelf
Suddenly I'm Miss Beehive 1963
Until I wake up
And turn back to myself

Some girls they have natural ease
they wear it any way they please
with their French flip curls
and perfumed magazines
Wear it up
Let it down
This is the best way that I've found
to be the best you've ever seen

I put on some make-up
and turn up the eight-track
I'm pulling the wig down from the shelf
Suddenly I'm Miss Farrah Fawcett
from TV
until I wake up
and turn back to myself

Shag, bi-level, bob
Dorothy Hammil do,
Sausage curls, chicken wings
It's all because of you
With your blow dried, feather back,
Toni home wave, too
flip, fro, frizz, flop,
It's all because of you
It's all because of you
It's all because of you

I put on some make-up
turn up the eight-track
I'm pulling the wig down from the shelf
Suddenly I'm this punk rock star
of stage and screen
and I ain't never
I'm never turning back

Hedwig and the angry inch - Midnight Radio (Beautiful Song)


Memorable Quotes:

Tommy: Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour?
Hedwig: No, but I... I love his work.

Hansel: Jesus says the darndest things.
Hedwig: [slaps Hansel] Don't you ever mention that name to me again.
Hansel: But he died for our sins.
Hedwig: So did Hitler!
Hansel: Eh?

Hedwig: Our apartment was so small, that mother made me play in the oven. Late at night I would listen to the voices of the American masters, Tony Tennille, Debby Boone, Anne Murray who was actually a Canadian working in the American idiom. And then there were the crypto-homo rockers: Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, David Bowie who was actually an idiom working in America and Canada. These artists, they left as deep an impression on me as that oven rack did on my face. To be an American in muskrat love, soft as an easy chair not even the chair, I am I said, have I never been mellow? And the colored girls sing... doo do doo do doo do doo... but never with the melody. How could I do it better than Tony or Lou... HEY BOY, TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE!

9 comments:

DarkStar888 said...

I liked this movie when I saw it about 7 years ago. It's more interesing when you read the words & realize all the subliminals involved in the story & the music. Some great rock songs here too.

Enjoy!

DarkStar666

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