Allen Ginsberg: San Francisco, 1994


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Penthouse Scrapbook:

San Francisco: 1994

It was my first year in writing school. It was my first year living away from my home city. It was a year of discovery and exploration. Finding my voice. Finding my place.

I was given the assignment of reviewing a poetry reading. One of the giants of contemporary poetry, Allen Ginsberg, was doing a reading that year and I wrote my review about the reading.

Here it is, 20 years after the fact. I am happy to share it with you.



On Sep. 18th, Allen Ginsberg gave a poetry recital at the Cowell Theater. Spanning 2 hours and covering his career from 1972 to the present [1994 – Editor], the reading represented many styles of poetry: ranging from lyrical to free verse and from spoken to sung with musical accompaniment. Even the music was in many different genres: including blues, American folk, Hungarian Folk, rock, bluegrass, and country. The topic of the poems also captured a broad emotional spectrum: from the perverse to the political, from the light to the serious, and from the personal to the hallowed.

In short, Mr. Ginsberg attempted to portray the many aspects of his body of work in many different registers and styles.

The occasion for the reading was the release of Ginsberg’s 4 CD compilation of his spoken poetry, Holy Soul Jelly Roll, which spans the time period of the 1940’s to the 1990’s. Much of the poetry in the collection is set to music and so Mr. Ginsberg performed much of the poetry during the reading to music as well, usually on the harmonium — his instrument of choice. On all of the songs he was backed by a musician who variously played the violin, the guitar (plain and slack key), and the banjo. Twice in the evening this musician performed on his own, and both times it was to good effect.

Mr. Ginsberg started the evening by explaining that most of the material was going to be from 1974 on, as he had spent the previous evening performing material up to 1974. He had finished the previous evening with a performance of “Father Death Blues”, and he began this evening with a reprise of that poem. He explained the song was originally written on an airplane from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, near Boulder. to New York where his father was on his death bed. Looking at the event with a Buddhist perspective, the song was written to capture both the sadness of loss and the joy of release that is brought by death. The song of the poem was written in 12 bar blues form and Ginsberg used his harmonium to perform the chord changes. The accompanist played the violin, punctuating occasional notes in staccato bursts to give them emphasis. While Ginsberg does not have a natural born singing voice, it does hold the notes and he used his range to good effect: the small range of 12 bar blues being a natural fit for his range. The poem itself, as with most of his poems, used metaphors that were wildly disconnected from conventional meaning. However, this poem was more accessible than many of Ginsberg other poems, as the sadness of his fathers passing gave the metaphors an ample hook for the readers to find meaning in.

Mr. Ginsberg performed songs in many different music styles over the course of the evening e.g. “Do the Meditation Rock” was a rock song. Although the harmonium is limited in some ways in conveying different styles, the accompanist did a lot of work to fill in the gaps, changing instruments through out the evening. For the most part, the songs were succinct and sharp — although “Cigarette Rag” went on for about 4 minutes too long.

The spoken poetry didn’t carry the same energy as the songs for me, and perhaps part of that is I have never liked Mr. Ginsberg’s reading style. I find it too mannered and it doesn’t capture my attention. Where his reading style was lacking, at least for me, he made up for it in his selection of poems. Not only did he cover the major poems of the period, he also brought in some poems fresh enough that he read them from manuscript pages. These two poems ran with the theme of food being eaten, much of it unhealthy and decadent, and food being excreted, comparing the bowel movements of the common person to such celebrities as Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy. Both of these pieces were amusing and light.

Mr. Ginsberg finished the evening by singing a William Blake poem, using the last line of the poem as a refrain with which he enjoined and cajoled the audience to join along in singing. It provided the final touch to what was a varied and diverse view of Allen Ginsberg poetry.


Au Revoir, Thailand


Penthouse Photobook:

Thailand: 2009- 2014

Thailand, Land of Smiles, country of the elephant, hub of South-East Asia.

My 5 years living and working in the Oz of Asia has come to a close.

Here then are photos from my 5 year sojourn in Thailand.


In 2010, the political faction known as The Red Shirts, marched into the capital for a 2 month demonstration. As they came into the capital from the North and North-East, the roads were filled with long trains of their supporters.



Walking Street, Pattaya. Nighttime club and bar district where a mix of entertainment and illicit prostitution co-exist.




The orange robe signifies that this young boy is a monk.




Bangkok at night. A mix of haze and smog fills the night time sky.




A mock sumo competition at a Nippon cultural event. Japanese culture and anime are very popular in Thailand.




In 2011, Thailand had a massive flood during the monsoon season and large parts of Bangkok were effected by the flooding.




Thai taxi drivers often decorate the inside of their cabs with tokens of good fortune or shrines seeking divine favor. This driver had a number of coins stuck to his dashboard for good luck.




Elephants are widely revered and seen as an important symbol of Thailand. This one is from the Chiang Mai Zoo.




Thailand on the right, Cambodia on the left. Any foreigner living in Thailand can become quite familiar with this view as their stays here often necessitate visa trips to Cambodia.



The Grand Palace, Bangkok. The historical residence for the king of Thailand.

That’s me in the photo, of course.



Yee Peng; Chiang Mai. These lanterns (Khom Loy) are set into the sky during Yee Peng. They are meant to carry away bad luck.



That’s it Thailand: now I ride off into the sunset.

Au Revoir and be well.

Songkran BKK 2010

Songkran BKK 2010


Penthouse Photobook:

Bangkok: 2013

New Years in Thailand: water, revelry, music, noise, celebration.

New Years in Thailand: car accidents, drunk driving, and tainted water.

Every year the Thais celebrate their new year by blessing others with water and bringing good fortune with chalk.

Every year the traffic accident rate doubles from drunk driving and recklessness on the roads. Truck drivers and motor cycle riders splash other cars with buckets and water guns, and people splash passing cars from the side of the road.

It is exciting, loud, and dangerous.

Here then are photos of my first year in Thailand. Songkran 2010.



Like Too Short said, just blow the whistle!



Motor cycle packs are seen all over the roads during Songkran.



Tag, you’re it!



Intersection during Songkran.



Throw your hands up, whoop whoop!



Notice the large buckets of water in the back of the pick up truck?

They splash other cars and people as they drive past them.



Motor cycle taxi driver on a quick break.



Even the city buses aren’t safe during Songkran.



Water, water everywhere.



“Say cheese!”



Mayhem on the roads.


I don’t even.


Umbrella on a sunny day.

Welcome to Songkran. :

That is all for now. Be well.

In the Study: “Status”

Things are OK. 

Well maybe there is a little bit of angst. A little bit of feeling run down. A little bit of the feeling that dreams have been unfulfilled.

Yet still the attempt remains. It persists. The toiling in silence: so far, far away from the light. Silently. Out of sight.

Yet still it’s there.

A small bit of the dream.

Cosplay BKK コスプレのバンコク


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Cosplay BKK  コスプレのバンコク


Now with non-fat Japanese Translation!



Penthouse Photobook:

Bangkok: 2013

New York, London, Paris, Munich… all around the world, people dress up in cosplay. The soft power of Japan continues and it’s even more popular in Southeast Asia than in the west.

In Thailand Manga Kissa are on many corners and you can see kids reading manga translated into Thai, and some can also read them in Japanese.

Here then are some examples of Thai Cosplay.




ニューヨーク、ロンドン、パリ、ミュンヘン…世界中でコスプレは人気がある。 この日本のソフトパワーはアメリカやヨーロッパよりも、東南アジアでより人気だ。 タイでは町中にたくさんの貸しマンガ屋があるし、子どもたちがタイ語に翻訳されたマンガを読む場面も見ることができる。 中には日本語でそれを読む子どもたちもいる。


翻訳 Sho Sato

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Instant wallpaper! It was mine for over a year.




This shot could just as easily have been taken in Tokyo, as in BKK.



She has green hair!!! Really, she has GREEN HAIR!!!




I don’t know which is sweeter: the candy in her hand or her outfit.



She can kill you in one blow.


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Maids are the grunts of Cosplay.


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I just noticed her shoes are on the ground… intriguing.



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I should have asked her to play the flute; think man, think.



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Edo period Japan, only a lot more pink.

江戸時代の日本。 ちょっとピンク色が多いけど。

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Even pandas need love.


That is all for now. Be well.

今日はここまで。 まだ続くよ。

The Original Disneyland


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“The Original Disneyland: Anaheim, California”

Penthouse Photobook:

Los Angeles: March & October 2008.


Disneyland: happiest place on Earth and land of a million dreams and fantasies. Born from the imagination of one man, and feed by the imaginations of millions more, it is a special keepsake that becomes more precious over the years.

Here are my photos from my visits over the last year. I was able to show it off to some friends from Japan who had never been there before, and spent my 39th Birthday with Mickey and his friends.


迪 斯尼樂園:快樂地在地球上的土地100萬的夢想和幻想。出生的想像一個人,和飼料的想像力的數百萬人,這是一個特殊的紀念品成為更珍貴多年來。


Yoroshiku !


OG Dis 1

First visit to Disneyland in 15 years.

Tired but happy.



OG Dis 2

Jungle Cruise ride: me, Ayumi, Mao and a bunch of wild animals.

The wild animals never had a chance.

ジャングルクルーズ:僕、あゆみ、もうは沢山の野生の動物達 に遭遇した。 


OG Dis 3

Big Thunder: Erik and my two bodyguards.


OG Dis 4

Look Ma, no hands!


OG Dis 5 









Time for the character photographs: Cruella Deville and Goofy.

キャラクターの写真撮影の時間:クルエラデヴィルとグー フィー。

My lovely t-shirt. Available in many sizes and colors.


Get yours today!


The Sunwheel of Death.

Ayumi is laughing… to the death!!!



Victims of the Grizzly River Rapids.


Pinocchio float from the Parade of Dreams.


Sleeping Beauty’s Castle… and sayonara to Ayumi and Mao.


The all time classic Main Street Electrical Parade.


Paradise Pier at night.


Goodnight Disneyland, and farewell.


Back again, and happy birthday to me!


Haunted Mansion: Erik and I screamed like little girls.

フォンテットマンション:エリックと僕、小さな女の子の様に 叫んじゃいました。

I can’t tell who is scarier looking, me or Jack.



Pirate time: dance to the music and pass the grog.


I kept waiting for Liberace to show up.

Slumming it up in Toontown. Thanks again for the birthday photo Goofy!


Pumpkin head versus potato head.

パンプキン 対 ポテトヘッド わーい!


Camera whoring on my birthday.


Parade of Dreams: closing time for Disneyland.


Happy Halloween Jack!


Happy Birthday to me.

僕のブログをご愛読いただきありがとうございます。ーーアナ トール。



Penthouse Blogring:

Do you speak Cantonese? Then join my new blogring, Cantonese Speakers United.

Just click HERE.

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That is all for now. Be well.