Star Of The Day — John Carpenter — The Growing Relevance Of “They Live”

carpenterHe lives.

Ahhh, that fresh breeze wafting across your consciousness is the subtle change of current, Mercury moving forward again. Sometimes astrology reminds me of this game my kid loves called “Chuzzle.” It’s about matching little furballs with eyes, in at least three-in-a-row. It’s pretty easy until one of the furballs gets locked up and the entire row cannot move. The only way that you can unlock the row is to come up with a combination of three. But it’s not just one little furball that can be locked up–there can be multiple furballs. So you can unlock one, but there are still little furballs to be liberated. That’s what the stars are like now. The Mercury furball has been released, while The Mars furball and Saturn furball are locked up, meaning they’re still retrograded. But thats ok, at least communication is freed up–that little furball can ascend to the next level.

While the likes of Spielberg, Lucas and Coppola are synonymous with the outrageous success of the USC film school, Carpenter, a Trojan alum himself has cut a decidedly different swath through the celluloid jungle. Born 1/16/48, he struck cinematic gold with his first real full length, “Halloween” which was made for $200,000 engrossed $65 million world wide. That’s 1980 millions, not bloated, overinflated post millennial reserve notes. Carpenter is also a composer and crafted the Halloween theme score, which has become an iconic and instantly recognizable tune.

While his craggy countenance captures the the flinty edge of Capricorn’s features, beneath it, he is an artist, with Moon in Pisces, Mercury and Venus, both in Aquarius. These three personal planets work in a synchronous trinity, providing Carpenter with the poetic inspiration of the Piscean Moon and the technical acumen of executing films with the intelligence of Aquarius. Capricorn knows how to wheel and deal with the power brokers and the producers. John Carpenter was born for the rough and tumble world of Hollyweird. No film can be more illustrative of this, from his body of work, then ‘They Live.”

When I first saw they live I was struck by the film on so many levels. First off, it’s budget probably wasn’t all that much more than Halloween’s. The special effects aren’t that special. The aliens are shot in a reverse polarity tone, visible only when a pair of specially prepared glasses are worn by people to see that there are aliens amongst us and that the system/world that we live in is filled with symbolic cues, that prompt us to “buy,” “breed,” “obey,” and “sleep.” The main character played by Rowdy Roddy Piper (Nada) drifts into LA. Set in the not-too-distant-future, there is a widening gap between the halves and have-nots. People are starting to live in tent cities that are bulldozed at night. The rift in the classes is becoming more apparent on a daily basis.obey

Piper drifts into town looking for work, lands at a tent city where he stumbles upon a a group known as “The Resistance.” They are the ones that are making the special glasses that reveal previously unseen layers of reality. They’re also jamming the local TV broadcast with their wake up calls from a small studio hidden in a church. Piper finds the glasses and puts them on as he’s strolling through downtown LA. He begins to see the butt ugly aliens in plain sit for et very first time, while the subliminal messaging of advertising is reveled to him. The world is never the same for Piper’s character from that moment on. He eventually drifts into bank and gets into a shootout, wasting aliens with a shotgun he wrestled free from an alien cop. While he’s in the bank, he utters, one of the great all tim lines of filmdom;
“I’ve come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass and I’m all out of bubble gum.” Piper then unloads on the aliens. It’s a hilarious moment that provides an almost voyeuristic, vicarious thrill.

From there, he eventually meets up with Keith David, another drifter that does day labor. He tries to convince David of the surreality of the alien world just beyond the lens of the special sunglasses. David refuses. It’s a classic case of someone that actually has a perspective into a reality that others do not or choose not to see, willing to remain in ignorance and doubt. There is no point in reasoning with David, so Piper forces the issue with him, demanding he wear the glasses. David refuses and one of the greatest fights in filmdom ensues. For nearly five minutes, Piper and David beat the shit out of one another in an alley. On one level, it’s metaphoric. If Piper wants to impart the truth, he has to go to the mat, risk getting torn from limb-to-limb. It’s also quite symbolic in the sense that there are many times that we want others to see the world the way that we do and noting short of knocking them out of their trance will do. My friend, Alan Howarth, a collaborator with Carpenter on a number of projects was also involved with “They Live” told me that they had chiropractors and bodyworkers on set to work with Piper and David on the fight scene as the two of them were going as close to all out as they could. The visceral quality of a street fight in an alley between two, rugged and burly brawlers is more than just the magic of cinema. It’s about as real as they could get it.

Piper’s character experiences betrayal at the hands of Meg Foster who works for the aliens, but rebounds and eventually leads an assault on the TV station that broadcasts the entrainment frequency. if you haven’t seen “They Live,” I highly recommend it. It’s funny, surreal and chillingly prescient.

When Carpenter made this, I really thought he was committing professional suicide. He had just hit some pretty remarkable thresholds of commercial success with “The Thing” and “Starman,” so maybe he thought his directorial cache could take the hit of “They Live.” Because quite frankly, on the heels of “They Live” Carpenter’s golden touch turns decidedly lead like. He trots out bombs like “Memoirs Of An Invisible Man,” “Vampires” and “Ghosts Of Mars.” To be fair, I’ve heard that he had funding pulled on the latter two films and wasn’t able to fully execute the vision he had for both.

“They Live,” besides being an obvious take on aliens living among us is also part a of small wave of alien movies during that time that look at the Jewish diaspora through an extraterrestrial lens. If you sat Abe Foxman down and made him sit through “They Live” there would be little doubt that he would begin to see this as a critique on Jews on Jewish culture, though Carpenter was really assailing Reaganite conservative culture at the time. “Alienation” starring Mandy Pantinkin and James Caan also orbited around this same theme. For this indirect shot across the bow alone, I thought that Carpenter had committed professional hari-kari. But upon more research, it’s looks like another version of “They Live” that will supposedly hit the screens in 2011. I usually hate re-makes and anxiously await this one, if it ever gets made. Even though the effects and even the actors were low budget, there was inherent charm in “They Live” which directly communicated the unsophisticated nature of humanity against the slick and manipulative forces from another world.

Saturn will conjunct John Carpenter’s natal Neptune in 2010/11 and I think we’re going to see his best and most focused work yet, as his natal Moon will get and imaginative boost from Jupiter. They Live was released on 11/4/88. Venus was in Libra (2 degrees), Mars was in Aries (0 degrees) and Neptune was in Capricorn (8 degrees). In the coming two years, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto will all be aspecting those planets in a fairly significant way. Look for They Live to have a social resonance in the months to comes, especially if the remake does arrive in 2011 as advertised. In the meantime, try on these glasses for me.


Best fight scene of all time.

Star Of The Day — 9/11 — Moby

mobyincMoby’s chromatic effect.

While Virgo is often considered to be the one sign that’s driven by an almost insane desire for perfection and purity, a fair number of artists that fall under the spell of it’s arc, from August 23rd to September 22nd, can rarely be called puritanical by any stretch. A quick check list sees Charlie Parker, the archetypal be bop mainliner, shooting junk while deconstructing the song book of his day to blistering triple times. Then there’s Gene Simmons. While Simmons has eschewed alcohol and drugs, the former Chaim Witz, has feasted on the flesh and venerates mammon. Can’t leave out Amy Winehouse, whose appetite for self-destruction is only matched by her detail perfect, post-modern-chanteuse, smokey jazz diva act. The inherent paradox and irony in these Virgoan musicians is plainly and painfully obvious as they are driven, almost obsessively by some form of perfection and and quest for purity. . . well almost. Simmons might seem like a lecherous, old rock god still on the prowl for your little sister, but he is as exacting and systematic in his approach for financial dominance and leverage in all of his deals as any good Virgo obsessed with control would be.

Then there’s Michael–poor Michael.

Driven by some horror from his dark and wounded past, Michale Jackson sought perfection in form, reshaping the face he couldn’t bear to look at in the mirror, a face doctors disfigured to the point of deformity. But while all of these Virgo musicians have a fatal flaw that seeps into the crevices of their psyche, we are not here to judge, nor mourn their humanity–no, we are here to specifically look at one Virgo that seems to have made peace with the infernal, internal and eternal critic that drives Virgos to the edge of obsession and even mania–we’re talking about Richard Melville Hall aka “Moby,” born September 11th, 1965. Continue reading “Star Of The Day — 9/11 — Moby”

Star Of The Day, June 21st, The Electronic Medium, Marshall McLuhan

marshall-mcluhanThe medium is the medium.

The weather is getting weird, weird, weird today and it doesn’t feel like it’s being HAARP played. No, this could be the real deal. It’s fitful and biting, the waves are frothing and frequent as they crash around the point today. The Sun and The Moon are colluding to create a tempest out here. The cosmic drama is rising.

I’ve been holding this date for a while as it marks the birthday of Marshall McLuhan, who might just qualify as one of the great prophets of the 20th century. Not only was McLuhan dialed into the impact of the media on the popular and individual psyche, he also used language in such a unique way in order to contextualize his vision that his descriptions seem like they could fit right into a Gibson or Stephenson novel. His verbiage and adjetives can seem obscure and even a bit over-the-top Just check out this nugget from an interview in “Playboy” circa 1970 where he speaks about Freud and narcissim.

“I call this peculiar form of self-hypnosis Narcissus narcosis, a syndrome whereby man remains as unaware of the psychic and social effects of his new technology as a fish of the water it swims in. As a result, precisely at the point where a new media-induced environment becomes all pervasive and transmogrifies our sensory balance, it also becomes invisible.”

The interview goes onto explore the untennable dynamic between tribal society and the overarching, one nation state. McLuhan gets into “The Balkanization Of The USA” and it’s inevitaility. I see this as being the same, astrological dialectic being played out in the opposition between Pluto in Capricorn and the US chart with it’s Cancerian stellium.

Here is the bulk of that exchange: Continue reading “Star Of The Day, June 21st, The Electronic Medium, Marshall McLuhan”

Star Of The Day (Barely) Iron Mike Tyson — Driven By An Unstable Mars

tysonWhen Iron Mike had a leaner build and a fatter wallet

A little late on the draw again today, but sometimes, that’s how these things go. The day is nearly done here on the edge of the continent, but I still have a few hours to reflect on the birthday and life of Mike Tyson.

A few years back, I thought that the ultimate reality show would have been Mike Tyson and Michael Jackson together, in the same house, rehabbing their lives and images. I’m I am shocked that no one ever thought of this and if they did, even more surprised that neither Jackson or Tyson would have accepted this. They were both being handled The Nation of Islam. The ratings would have been off the charts and both Mike’s could have settled some debts and made a little cash on the side. But we’ll never know now.

Mike Tyson’s star is rising again, albeit amidst the recent tragedy of his young daughters death. “Tyson” by James Toback (whom I recently interviewed) the biopic, was released to critical acclaim. He did a star cameo turn in the recent hit, “The Hangover,” just a had an Ali vs.Tyson video game released and will be portrayed by Jaimie Foxx in an upcoming movie based on his life. It seems as though “Iron Mike” is back in the ring of life.

Tyson’s exact time of birth is not public, but we can certainly see that from the angles in his chart, their are angels and demons fluttering in and out of his life.

When we look at the life of a warrior, and make no mistake, Tyson is a warrior, we look to Mars.

Mars in Tyson’s chart is problematic and might have destroyed a lesser spirit. His natal Mars in restless Gemini (Mars 22 degrees) squares his natal Pluto, Uranus and Starurn, while opposing his natal Moon. Mars squaring Uranus is combustible, erratic and unpredictable. Mars squaring Pluto can be self-destructive, addictive, violent and driven towards some form of regeneration through close encounters with death. Continue reading “Star Of The Day (Barely) Iron Mike Tyson — Driven By An Unstable Mars”

Star Of The Day, June 11, Gemini, Barry Adamson, As Above, So Below


Duality is thy name!

(Editors note) I broke out this interview with Barry Adamson back in 1998. I was in New York and did the Q & A at the headquarters of Mute Records. Barry was on the other end of the phone, in his home in London. It was a crazy time for me in NYC. It was like I had stepped into an alternate dimension and strange phenomenon was unfolding around me on a moment-to-moment basis. I won’t go into details here, but I do refer to it cryptically in the intro.

Barry Adamson is one of the most talented musicians and artists you’ve probably never heard of. He played with Magazine and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds and then carved out a brilliant solo career, that in many respects, surpassed that of both Howard Devoto and Nick Cave. Barry Adamson also happens to be a Gemini and it is indeed, his birthday today. If one delves down into the canon of his recording career, they can see the tell tale signs of duality all over the place. In the interview, we really focused on topics like; “As above, so below,” “Light and dark,” and “Good and bad.” All, tasty topics for any Gemini. This interview originally appeared on Pete Darling’s Art-Damage site. Pete is an uber-talented friend and is one of those people who could have easily been a rock star if he’d wanted to do the wrong drugs and screw the right people. Here’s me and Barry.

New York; Summer of 98′ things are falling all around me–like something out of a Fortean tale of misplaced gravity. Everywhere I go the sky is descending. And then the numbers start coming; sixes and nines, variables and their fated triple-digit-deity. I escape the crash and tumult for a few moments ducking into the offices of Mute Records. I’m here to talk to Barry Adamson, the former Magazine and Bad Seed Bass Player, on the phone from his London home. On solo terms, he’s become known for noirish soundtrack work such as “Soul Murder”, “The Negro Inside”, “Moss Side Story” and the brilliant “Oedipus Schmedipus.” His record of the moment is, “As Above, So Below” (Mute) and with Adamson, the cradle of potential is vast in it’s meaning. Of mixed racial origin, he embraces contrasting cosmologies and diverse scales; polyrhythms and whitenoise, Nile gods and Atlantic sea wardens; demonic muses and angelic hosts. As heaven crashes around me, Barry’s trying to reconcile it all in his music. From New York to London, we attempt to ground the dipole in extremis for a Trans-Atlantic free-exchange of shadow and light.

RP: What has the response been in terms of the British Press and some of the other magazines towards your newest work and how that compares with some of your earlier stuff?

BA: I think its generally been quite favorable. There is always the odd fellow that doesn’t get it really. They’re off on their own sort of thing. I think generally what has happened- I guess with each album I kind of raise my profile a little bit more, getting to the hearts and minds (if you like) of the ever-listening public. In that way it has been a success. I think the feedback has been encouraging. I think this album and the Oedipus album particularly has kind of moved the goalposts into a place more accessible for people; they can get what’s going on and they seem to enjoy what’s going on, which is always encouraging for me. Definitely the step forward in a way that I hope to be. I am pleased with the way its gone.

RP: The title of the record As Above, So Below: It reminds me of Heraclitus.

BA: What’s that?

RP: Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher. His whole contention was above so below- like it is in Heaven as it is on Earth. So there is a metaphysical connotation there. But it also to me reminds me of “as above so below”: as above the waist so below the waist.

BA: That’s interesting. I never thought of that. I kind of did have a little subtle idea about that: above the waist, also below. I guess for me, it is that thing as in Heaven, so shall it be on Earth, and perhaps even lower. I think that you can’t have one without the other. Just that whole faith, love and fear… and all those things have ramifications in the world as well and that’s what makes man as a sensor of the whole cosmos-type thing as well. I think for me its about balance as well: as above so below and therefore stepping out into the world is like okay about everything. I think that was kind of the establishing factor of where to go from in terms of exploring Heaven and Hell in the confines of the record, if it’s possible.

RP: Are you familiar of the material of William Blake?

BA: Only in passing, do you know what I mean. I am not really in a studious way at all. Of course a picture comes to mind (I don’t know the name of course) of the guy pointing down from above?

RP: With the Sun. Yeah.

BA: Very powerful image.

RP: It seems like in your work that there is a definite sort of a psycho-analytical yoga or work-out.

BA: I think it is. I think I could realize that one could pretty much exorcise and exercise various- you know, whatever it may be, if you’re troubled you could put those troubles into a song. Or what you’ve experienced you may want to pass that information on.

RP: How does the cathartic process of your work effect you? For instance, do you feel more catharsis after you’ve finished a certain piece or after you’ve created a whole piece?

Continue reading “Star Of The Day, June 11, Gemini, Barry Adamson, As Above, So Below”

Star Of The Day — February 28th — Brian Jones — The Mystery Of Death Revealed?

jonesmontStone dead.

A little late in the day, but feel like this is worth posting for a number of reasons. As the final hours fade from the last day of February, we look at the life of Brian Jones, one of the founders of The Rolling Stones along with being one of the most popular musicians of the sixties.

Jones was born 0n 2/28 1942, in Cheltenham, UK. There is no definitive chart with ascendant for Jones, but based on his history, we know that he was born on a Saturday night. which would either make him a Libra or Virgo rising. Two writers from the same website debate one anothers rectification and while they do come to any sort of agreement, their back and forth is fairly entertaining.

Jones was a Pisces Sun with a Leo Moon. His Mercury was in Aquarius and the three lead planets in is chart connote elements of artistry, showmanship and keen intellect. His Moon and Mercury are in opposition and might have kept him from trusting either one for sustained periods of time. I believe this on/off mode made it difficult for him to see what was taking place within The Stones as Mick Jagger began to supplant Jones as the leader of the group by a number of different means, including bonding with Keith Richards, who had originally started The Stones with his childhood chum, Brian Jones. Keep in mind that Jagger is a Leo Sun and his Sun was conjunct Jones’ Moon. In this alignment, Jagger/Sun takes on the masculine role, while Jones/Moon, the feminine. Did Jones’ Leo Moon make him defer to the more dominant Sun of Jagger? Did his Moon not allow him to see Jagger’s subtle subterfuge and when he did moving to the other pole of the opposition in Mercury/Aquarius, taking a more objective stance, what caused him to slide back into the submissive, lunar position? Was Jones pining for some kind of approval from Jagger and his more dominant Leo Sun? To complicate matters even more in this highly complex battle of egos and need for approval, Jaggers Pluto in Leo, Jupiter in Leo and Mercury in Leo were also all conjunct Jones’ Leo Moon. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, Jagger’s Pluto in Leo at 6 degrees was conjunct Jones’ Chiron in Leo at 9 degrees. I believe that this conjunction was what made Jones so vulnerable to Jagger and Jagger, so obviously keyed into power and it’s attendant manifestations used this against Jones.

Recently, a new online pal (Beany Bird) from Twitter turned me onto Magi Astrology, which I am slowly learning about. One of the main differences between traditional Western astrology and Magi astrology is how they view Chiron. The traditional view of Chiron is that of “The Wounded Healer.” In Magi Astrology, it’s assigned to the task of defining and assigning our true love and soulmate. Much like how there are two views of The Mayan count (Arguelles/Jenkins) and how they might actually reinforce one another, like masculine/feminine. light/dark, etc, perhaps these two versions of Chiron are not mutually exclusive of one another and that through the wound and reparation of separation, we find the value and vibration of a true love. If this were the case then The Chrion/Pluto conjunction these two shared becomes even more complex and hints at homo-eroticism, shadow projection, un-requited love and even cruelty. Continue reading “Star Of The Day — February 28th — Brian Jones — The Mystery Of Death Revealed?”