Tuesday, March 29, 2016


If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m not the most religious of people. If you are, that’s fine…as long as your beliefs aren’t hurting yourself or anyone else, have at it, my fine friend. Please understand that what follows here is not meant to challenge, or offend, anyone.

My personal beliefs are an echo of the Agnostic axiom, “I know that I don’t know.” I don’t believe in chaos as most Atheists do. To me, there seems to be a rhyme or reason to how things work in the universe, but I cannot say with any certainty what sets it all in motion. Unfortunately, I just don’t think that ANY religion and/or belief system truly answers the big questions most intelligent men and women have. 

I was raised Catholic and even went to 12 years of Catholic school. But, the whole “Catholic” vibe just never stuck; I always found all the pomp and circumstance just a bit absurd. Beyond the fact that there’s a great deal of fantastic moral philosophy in the words of Jesus found in the New Testament, the majority of what’s written in the Bible confounds me. Therefore, I view the Bible as more of a historical document than a document of faith or belief. Period.

Epic poster is epic
Even as a lad, I recall thinking on many occasions while twiddling my thumbs in church or in one of my many religion/theology classes, “Well, this just doesn’t make any goddamn sense!”  It wasn’t until I saw the film version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 8th grade that a “real” perspective of Jesus finally clicked in my teenage mind. He wasn’t the water-walking miracle man that I was raised to believe in, he was just a guy, trying to figure out what the hell he was doing and that he and one of his best friends disagreed on some important issues. And that disagreement cost them both of their lives. That’s a sad reality of course, but something about Jesus finally had substance…and that was pretty cool in and of itself.

The complex, tempestuous relationship between Jesus and Judas is the crux of “Superstar.” (It also puts forth a rather interesting, and forward thinking, depiction of the Jesus and Mary Magdalene “situation.” Really listen to the lyrics of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and I dare you to tell me that’s a song written for a friend and not a lover.) Every Easter I watch the film (in lieu of going to actual Mass), and I still get chills during the second part of “The Last Supper” song when Judas and Jesus really lay into each other, Judas condemning Jesus calling him “a sad, pathetic man” and uttering the classic line: “Every time I look at you I don’t understand, how you let things you did get so out of hand. You’d have managed better if you had it planned!”  There are many wonderful lyrics (courtesy of Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winner Tim Rice) throughout the musical, but that one always seemed the most…insightful…to me.

Jesus and Judas throw down with some slap fight action...
In the early 90’s, I was lucky enough to see a stage production of JCS at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia. Both Ted Neely and Carl Anderson reprised their roles as Jesus and Judas respectively. It was, in word, magical. I was transfixed for those two hours…it is a night that I will never, ever forget.

Oh, and I met Garry Maddox (sans mega afro), the ex-Phillies center-fielder on the great 70’s and 80’s teams, out on Broad Street afterwards. It seems he and his wife took in the show as well. So there’s that.

You rock on with your bad self, Garry Lee...
Since Easter just passed, do yourself a favor and check out some version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” (I highly recommend the 1973 film version). I can’t say that it will have the profound impact on you that it had on me, but it’s still well worth a viewing be you a Jew, Christian, Wiccan or Muslim because, religious nonsense aside, it tells the powerful story of two friends who clearly care for each other, but just cannot see eye to eye...and that failure costs them both dearly. That kind of pathos is something we can all relate to, I think.

And maybe someday I’ll get to do the remake I’ve been planning since the mid-90’s that would star Chris Cornell as Jesus, Prince as Judas, Tori Amos as Mary Magdalene, Howard Stern as Herod and Kevin Spacey as Pilate.

That right there is a license to print money, I tell ya…

Thursday, March 10, 2016


It’s been exactly two months now since David Bowie died. I’m still not sure how to process it…I suppose that’s why it’s taken me 60 days to cobble together this post. I can’t say that any other celebrity death has ever affected me this deeply. Most times I just shrug these deaths off with a curt, “Well, that sucks” then I move on with my life.

Just think about it for a minute:

Ziggy Stardust has returned to life on Mars with his badass Spiders in tow.

The Thin White Duke has snorted his last line of premium blow at the swanky after-party.

The Goblin King has been eternally spurned by the haughty, teenage girl.

Lazarus lies dormant in his grave with no hope of resurrection.

Hell, I was still tearing up a few days ago when I showed my daughter the classic “Life on Mars?” video on You Tube. I guess it just boils down to the fact that David Bowie died with aforethought, grace, style and virtuosity. That’s better than most people live, goddamn it. It makes me infinitely sad that someone of his creative stature is no longer with us and I now have to listen to Donald-Fucking-Trump’s hateful diatribes on a daily basis.

It’s funny, the first thing I thought about when I heard Bowie died was one of those awkward, teenage moments that I seemed to have a good many of back in the day:

I was home on break from college and during those breaks I would pick up a few shifts at the local Acme supermarket to make a few bucks. On this particular evening, I was waiting for my mother to return home with the car so I could drive to work. I had the stereo on in the living room while I was waiting and soon, the smooth, Philly-Soul beats of “Young Americans” wafted throughout the room. I quickly sprung to my feet, raising the volume on the stereo to ear-splitting levels (because good music ALWAYS needs to be played LOUD) as I did this. Before I knew it, I was dancing…spinning and grinning like a first class buffoon. What can I say? The sweet, soulful music possessed me in that moment and I was a dancin’ fool of a white boy.

But, alas, all good things must come to an end. As I was completing a twirl that would have made one of the Temptations blush, I swung about to find my mother and brother staring at me from the doorway. I’m not sure how long they had been watching me, but it was long enough.

They were heartily laughing at me as I turned off the stereo, collected the car keys and made a quick exit, sincerely hoping to never speak of this moment again. But, truth be told, I always recalled that moment, and the song itself, rather fondly.

In my estimation, there are a lot of people this crazy world could do without… people who are just sucking in good air that the rest of us could be using. David Bowie definitely wasn’t one of those people…

…and this crazy world is just a bit more terrible now that he’s gone from it. That’s a fact.