Sunday, February 03, 2013


Uncle Eddie did a post about Ralph Bakshis’ Kickstarter project dealing with Coney Island here:

It got me thinking about a project I would love to see happen, but don’t know how to go about.  I love Tom Waits album “Alice” and learned it was for a play done in Germany.  I don’t know the story but the album seems to be little story vignettes  woven around something that happened to the narrator and his love, a girl named Alice. 

I had thought it was based on Lewis Carols “Alice in Wonderland”, but to me the characters are more earthbound and related to the carnival era of early Coney Island.  Some of the songs talk about Dreamland and it's clear this is the Dreamland of Coney, and some are wild hallucinations aboard ghost-trains and sideshows.  There are beautiful flights of fancy like the improbable song about a whale and a bird who fall in love, it's sad and achingly wonderful.  But all have a nostalgic Victorian sound and the last piece is a heartbreaking melody played on a musical saw!

If I could secure the music rights and the stage play, depending on the story I would love to do an animated version of “Alice”.  Perhaps even without the plays storyline an interesting series of songs done in appropriated styles might hang together kind of like a “Yellow Submarine”, or maybe something with the Alice character could bridge each song?  I want to know who is this Alice?  Is she a young girl or more mature?  Did she die falling through the ice while skating, or did the narrator die and everything is his ghostly visitation of this world and the afterlife?  

Sound intriguing to you? 

Update:  I found the stage play script for “Alice” was originally called “Woyzeck”.  The script has some of the songs from the album but many songs are missing and the storyline has no mention of the central character Alice at all.   Elsewhere I learned it was based on Alice Liddell, the young girl who was the obsession and muse of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland books although as I’ve mentioned it wasn’t apparent from what I read.

I may be free to develop my own storyline and push it toward my own fanciful and romantic interpretations.  I might try and track down Tom Waits and his people and see what might develop.   

My tribute picture called Tom Waits for No One
Tom Waits "Alice"


Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Fascinating! Ralph should see this!

Joel Brinkerhoff said...

Thanks Eddie, I may just do that but I want to see what might happen if I try contacting Waits or his people first.