The Thirsty Eye! See?
"The thirsty eye never drowns". That little tagline underneath it is a wee little tribute to Ken Nordine. See, back in 2006 or so, Ken Nordine released a DVD called The Eye is Never Filled. Now, I'd been a Nordine fan ever since like the mid nineties when I found his radio show on NPR by accident. It's on WBEZ on Sunday nights at midnight, "when the big hand and the little hand get together to chime the time." Yeah, baby. Word jazz. Stare with your ears.
Anyway, the "The Eye is Never Filled" DVD is sort of meh. Sorry, Ken. However, the title is fantastic. I thought The Thirsty Eye was a brilliant ripoff/tribute to the DVD's title, and it was. Hat tip to me for thinking of it. Trouble is, lots of other people are similarly brilliant. For example, it's an art gallery in England. Shitballs. So, on to plan B. What's plan B? Well, the old Thunderbirds show was alternately hilarious/fascinating/ridiculous, and those are my three favorite emotions. I thought I'd use a parody of their slogan, "Thunderbirds are Go!". Nuff said. Done. Phil Are GO!
So who's Ken Nordine? Well, he was one of the original Beat poets. He's a Chicago native. He had a long career in voiceover, so you'll know his voice from lots of commercials, like, for example, Levi's Jeans, from the Seventies and Eighties...
Ken lives in an idyllic corner of Wisconsin now, and he still does some stuff, but he's like two hundred years old. Cut him some slack if some episodes of the radio show are re-edits of his old shows. He invented this thing he calls "Word Jazz", which is like surreal free form dreamy conceptual poetry. It's cool as shit and you owe it to yourself to search FaceTube for more. You won't regret it, unless you're an uptight square.
The purest and best form of Ken Nordine's Word Jazz was the album that bore the name, released in 1957. It's up on FaceTube, but people can't resist editing in their own images to go with the tracks. Oh well.
Here's some fun trivia. I used to work at a cartoon studio here in Chicago that did a lot of work for Warner Bros. They farmed out some episodes of Animaniacs, Histeria and Road Rovers (ugh!) to our studio. WB didn't trust the whole "digital" thing yet, even though this was already like 1998. They insisted we work in film. In their defense, they have underground vaults full of negatives of Bugs Bunny and loads of other Warners cartoons that survive to this day. They know how to preserve film for a hundred years. Digital was still "new and strange" to them. Whatever. anyway, when we had to animate something for Warners, we had to get it transferred to film somehow, and that meant sending stuff to a film lab in downtown Chicago (we were in the suburbs) where worked one Kevin Nordine! Yep. That's Ken's son. I never got to meet the guy, sadly, though I would have loved to. The film cannisters were always couriered to and from the lab to our studio, so few people ever met in person. Anyway, our stuff was, more often then not, transferred to film by Ken Nordine's son. And guess what? You can hear Kevin Nordine's voice on one of the old tracks from The Best of Word Jazz. He's the voice of the baby on "My Baby", which is one of my favorite tracks from the album. You can hear him going "be bum, be bum, bah bo, bay-beeee." It's a crazy world, man.
Waiter, two glasses of warm milk.