as wonderful as
Look, I don’t want to turn this into another Astor Place riots, but I think there’s a healthy American vs. UK rivalry to start here.
The biggest Dylan fan I know says: “every time Dylan does something, ten years later it’s revealed to be genius.” Is the same true of the Coen Bros?
Even if I didn’t really like one of their movies, they are so good I assume that I’m wrong. I liked this one though, even though it was so so sad.
Listen to Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, and Oscar Isaac sing 500 Miles. Best I can tell they all did their own singing.
Who wrote “500 Miles”?
This song is usually attributed to Hedy West, who put together ”fragments of a melody she had heard her uncle sing to her back in Georgia.”
Her father, Don West, was a southern poet and coal mine labor organizer in the 1930s; his bitter experiences included seeing a close friend machine-gunned on the street by company goons in the presence of a young daughter.
What is the meaning of this movie?
I’ll tell you one message I felt strongly: ”pursuing great art requires great sacrifice. It’s tragic if the art falls short. You don’t get the sacrifice back. Maybe the sacrifice itself is still noble but it’s an awfully lonesome road.”
Also this could be seen as a movie about a man being punished by God for abandoning a cat.
This was a movie where the hero literally does NOT save the cat.
The two best units of art that emerged from Jewish Minnesota have to be the Coen Brothers and Bob Dylan, right? Both deeply fascinated with “the old, weird, America.” Is there anything to that?
What would Minnesotan F. Scott Fitzgerald make of this movie?
I saw it just around the corner from where F. Scott Fitzgerald died.
Will the movie revive interest in The Clancy Brothers?
Why is Justin Timberlake so good at playing lame characters?
Is it because he has moved in his life so far beyond the idea of coolness?
Consider this testimonial by Joe Jonas. Timberlake, who at least in his choices appears very smart, was at an equivalent point of fame and self-awareness TEN YEARS AGO.
How the fuck is some guy in a magazine or a newspaper supposed to review a movie like this?? Obviously everything you’d think of the Coen Brothers already thought of times 1000!!
That’s what I thought as I walked out.
Sometimes Anthony Lane cheeses me off but his review of this movie helped me think about it.
Needham, Massachusetts, where I spent my kidhood, had a fantastic Fourth of July parade. Here’s some video of the local car dealer, who paints himself red and rides around pretending to be an Indian:
Part of the parade was a kids’ parade. The prizes for the best float in the kids’ parade were fantastic. One year my sister and I made a birthday cake for America and won a pool table.
Some weeks ago I had a vision: a Vine that was a synchronized dance move, set to a track that looped properly, so the annoyingly looping sound of Vine wouldn’t be a problem. I realized this Vine should be America-themed.
Vine burned itself out and Instagram Video appeared, but by then it was in motion.
Dan Medina wrote and recorded a six second dance track.
I recruited some awesome people I know:
Originally there were going to be tableaux representing our neighbors, Canada and Mexico. Due to timing Mexico got cut, but God bless ‘em.
Little Esther choreographed:
Here’s the result:
James Eagan is working on a documentary about The Vine For America. I’ve seen a rough cut – it’s quite something.
[Update: here is the doc:]
Compare Medina there to C. W. Peale:
was a British-born jazz patroness and writer. She was a leading patron of bebop music. She was a scion of the prominent Rothschild international financial dynasty.
Her friend Thelonious Monk reported that she was named after a species of butterfly her father had discovered, although her great-niece has found that the source of the name is a rare kind of moth.
The name “Pannonica” (nicknamed “Nica”) derives from Eastern Europe’s Pannonian plain.
In June 1965, his truck caught fire due to an overheated wheel bearing, triggering a forest fire that burnt several hundred acres in Los Padres National Forest in California. When the judge asked Cash why he did it, Cash said, “I didn’t do it, my truck did, and it’s dead, so you can’t question it.” The fire destroyed 508 acres (206 ha), burning the foliage off three mountains and killing 49 of the refuge’s 53 endangered condors. Cash was unrepentant: “I don’t care about your damn yellow buzzards.” The federal government sued him and was awarded $125,172 ($923127 in 2013 dollars). Cash eventually settled the case and paid $82,001. He said he was the only person ever sued by the government for starting a forest fire.
Countryman is an album by Willie Nelson. Ten years in the making, Nelson’s first ever reggae album merges the gospel and spirit found in bothcountry and reggae. It was released on CD format on August 2, 2005 by the Lost Highway label. Nelson made two videos for this album “The Harder They Come” and “I’m a Worried Man” both videos were filmed in Jamaica.
I can’t say this is one of my favorite Willie albums, but I suspect Willie had fun making it.
Countryman is also the title of a 1982 Jamaican film:
Countryman (1982) is an independentaction/adventure film directed by Dickie Jobson. It tells the story of a Jamaican fisherman whose solitude is shattered when he rescues two Americans from the wreckage of a plane crash. The fisherman, called Countryman, is hurled into a political plot by the dangerous Colonel Sinclair. Countryman uses his knowledge of the terrain and his innate combat skills to survive.
The film was shot in Jamaica and featured a reggae soundtrack performed by Bob Marley & the Wailers. It has become a cult classic.
It’s also the name of a newspaper in Perth, Australia that appears to have gone out of business.
Intending to work with his father on their ranch, Brubeck entered the College of the Pacific in Stockton, California, (now the University of the Pacific) studying veterinary science, but transferred on the urging of the head of zoology, Dr. Arnold, who told him “Brubeck, your mind’s not here. It’s across the lawn in the conservatory. Please go there. Stop wasting my time and yours”.
(from It’s About Time: The Dave Brubeck Story by Fred M. Hall, quoted in Wikipedia).
Highly recommend the documentary Marley:
on netflix instant. Well-told, dramatic, incredible story about shyness, power, religion, family, belonging, loneliness.
Maybe my favorite parts were the helicopter shots of Jamaica’s crazy topography:
As he was dying, Marley’s mistress Cindy Breakspeare suggested that he go back home and spend his last days drinking fish tea:
Fish tea is a spicy soup in Caribbean cuisine and Jamaican cuisine. It is similar to a fish bouillon and can take four hours to prepare. It includes ground yam, pumpkin, cassava, potatoes and “bottlers,” cooked until very soft. As much as 15 pounds of fish is added to make five gallons. Carrots and cho–cho can also be added. It is flavored with coconut milk and seasoned with various ingredients that may include black pepper, salt, thyme, butter, scallion and season–all.
He didn’t take her advice.
(photo of the Cockpit Country from here)
Recently we were invited by a correspondent to test-listen to some new speakers. It had been a long time since “listening to music” was the whole activity we were doing. Among other things we tried out this Miles Davis album, recorded March 7, 20, 21st of 1961.
During the next session, while Miles was about to wrap up “Someday My Prince Will Come,” John Coltrane suddenly appeared in the studio between two sets at the Apollo Theater where he was performing.
So says milesdavis.com, which continues (demonstrating why reading about jazz is associated with being a huge douche-out):
In two choruses,Coltrane conveyed the quintessence of his art. The next day he returned bringing, forthe last time, the intensity of his flame to the music of Miles, who in “Teo,” took advantage of his presence to extend the modal explorations of “Flamenco Sketches” even further.
Anyway. The following anecdote was once reported in The Guardian:
In 1987, [Davis] was invited to a White House dinner by Ronald Reagan. Few of the guests appeared to know who he was. During dinner, Nancy Reagan turned to him and asked what he’d done with his life to merit an invitation. Straight-faced, Davis replied: “Well, I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?”
Snopes however tells us it wasn’t so, and quotes Davis’ own autobiography, where he wrote:
Reagan was nice to us, respectful and everything. But Nancy is the one who has the charm between those two. She seemed like a warm person. She greeted me warmly and I kissed her hand. She liked that.
What a great album cover. That’s Miles’ then-wife Frances. According to a message board we came across, she was working as a hostess at Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset Blvd. as of 2004.
She’s still beautiful and has the body of a dancer. Totally charming woman… She seemed totally open about who she is and her past with Miles and would probably be happy to chat with anyone about it should they stop by the restaurant.
Hamburger Hamlet is now closed.
Tyler Cowen talks about John Cage today, as what would be his 100th is coming up. His quotes link doesn’t include my favorite. Possibly apocryphal, I believe I got it from the Paris Review interview of Sam Shepard which I am WAY too busy to reread right now:
Theater exists all around us and it is the purpose of formal theater to remind us.
I told that quote to the actor friend I thought would most appreciate it and even he kinda scoffed.
Couple curios from Cage’s wikipedia page:
On his education at Pomona:
I was shocked at college to see one hundred of my classmates in the library all reading copies of the same book. Instead of doing as they did, I went into the stacks and read the first book written by an author whose name began with Z. I received the highest grade in the class. That convinced me that the institution was not being run correctly. I left.
After several months in Paris, Cage’s enthusiasm for America was revived after he read Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass – he wanted to return immediately, but his parents, with whom he regularly exchanged letters during the entire trip, persuaded him to stay in Europe for a little longer and explore the continent.
Whose parents ever did that?
He went to Santa Monica, California, where he made a living partly by giving small, private lectures on contemporary art.
What? Who paid for that? How much? Sounds like something PON might get away with:
Cage was working at his mother’s arts and crafts shop, where he met artist Xenia Andreyevna Kashevaroff. She was an Alaskan-born daughter of a Russian priest; her work encompassed fine bookbinding, sculpture and collage. Although Cage was involved in relationships with Don Sample and with architect Rudolph Schindler’s wife Pauline when he met Xenia, he fell in love immediately.
Well, yeah. An Alaskan-born daughter of a Russian priest walks in, introduces herself as Xenia, and starts talking bookbinding, it’s Robyn time.
Cage met [Allen] Kaprow while on a mushroom hunt with George Segal and invited him to join his class.
That’s from the chapter of the wiki called ’60s: FAME
Clancy Brothers & Makem:
is an interesting anthology published in 1957. Copies are SUPER hard to find, I bought mine at the Needham Public Library’s Used Book Sale for 50 cents. Some of them are definitely debatable (the Yeats one seems fine, the T. S. Eliot one is a little mean-spirited because he wrote it when he was 10) but some of the guys (they’re all guys) like Frost looked pretty clowned on.
Hey, at least they swung for it, right? In the Frost one, too, you’re still like, “well, he’s still Robert Frost, you know? I’ll give him a pass on this one.”
Anyway, on that subject:
In the Cajun people of Louisiana writers find what writers always find in the remote peoples of the world: pride of race, a healthy love of pleasure, a gift for spinning sorrow into beauty, ruddy confidence, a balance and a rhythm of life that seems enviable to the alienated wanderer. I have gone to their parishes myself on several auto trips.
In the wrong mood I find their men crude and ribald. But their women are at every age attractive. A girl of 13 or 14 from the Acadian parishes can be almost impossible to look at in her beauty and passion. Look her in the eye and it can stop you cold. You will think on her for days. Many of the older women spend the rest of their lives in the consequences of their first sexual blossoming.
Of their men I will say this: in a tight situation they are heroic. None can argue they bleed life.
But above all it is this, you can feel it in their humor, in their food, in their music, in their religion, in their stories: they don’t treat life as though it’s too damned important. Sad, beautiful, sorrowful, happy: it’s something, good and bad, take it as it comes, do your damnest.
- Vivien Kent, How To Travel (1947)
[HT our Virginia Beach office via Garden & Gun magazine. As of last reading, all the comments on this video were perfectly nice ("she was my substitute teacher in 4th grade!")]
Like Sam Cooke ever needed Cupid’s help. ht SDB a long time ago.
Gotta admit, like what she’s up to. Who can make an introduction? Coming in just ahead of this blog’s firm three minute rule:
The Green Cathedral or De Groene Kathedraal located near Almere Netherlands, is an artistic planting of Lombardy poplars (Populus nigra italica) that mimics the size and shape of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Reims, France….The work was planted by Marinus Boezem (b. 1934) on April 16, 1987 in Southern Flevoland, Nederland.
While walking there I assume you should listen to Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Notre Dame (1360s), composed for the cathedral at Reims (which isn’t too shabby in stone either).
Machaut survived the Black Death which devastated Europe, and spent his later years living in Rheims composing and supervising the creation of his complete-works manuscripts. His poem Le voir dit(probably 1361–1365) purports to recount a late love affair with a 19-year-old girl, Péronne d’Armentières, although the accuracy of the work as autobiography is contested.
Pictures from wikipedia and from inhabit.com
Russell-Myers is married to her longtime sweetheart of over twenty years. They reside with the rest of her family in New Jersey, where she works as an accountant at a bank.
This song is a good way to remember the population of Jamaica (actually just shy of “3 million,” says wikipedia (2,868,380 is their 2011 estimate))
There are rumours that “Sundown” was inspired by his then girlfriend, Cathy Smith, later more infamously known for her involvement in the death of John Belushi. Lightfoot has commented in interviews that she was “the one woman in my life who most hurt me.”
More, from Cathy Smith’s wikipedia page:
Catherine Evelyn Smith (born Catherine Evelyn Smith, 1948 in Hamilton, Ontario) is an occasional backup singer, rock star girlfriend, “groupie” and drug dealer, who served 15 months in the California state prison system for injecting John Belushi with a fatal dose of heroin and cocaine in 1982…
…Smith became an employee and then mistress of Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot in the early to mid-1970s. At one point, she even drove their tour bus. Smith sang backup on Lightfoot’s song “High and Dry” which was on the Sundown album. She apparently sang more backup on the album but Lightfoot mixed most of it out.
By several accounts, the Smith-Lightfoot affair was volatile and illustrated in the lyrics of “Sundown”, Lightfoot’s Number One hit and most financially lucrative song. It reflects the dark feelings Lightfoot was experiencing at the time. Drinking too much and married to another woman, he on one occasion broke Smith’s cheekbone in a fight. Lightfoot has stated of his three-year relationship with Smith, “I was sometimes crazy with jealousy”.
Picture of Cathy Smith, from this amazing website:
Once, on a bus between Vancouver and Whitehorse, I heard a woman tell the story of how Gordon Lightfoot kissed her one time.
What became of Nicolette Larson, I wonder, whose voice is certainly too pretty for this world?:
Larson died on December 16, 1997 in Los Angeles as a result of complications arising from cerebral edema triggered by liver failure. According to her friend Astrid Young, Larson had been showing symptoms of depression and her fatal seizure “was in no small way related to her chronic use of Valium and Tylenol PM”
(album cover lifted from a French blog)
The Civil Wars won the Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and for Best Folk Album of 2012. I’d never heard of them until then. I’ll be impressed if you can get through one of their videos without getting massively douched out:
The duo’s web site says that the name of their band, The Civil Wars, and their thematic direction, is best summed up in the lyrics of the song “Poison & Wine”. It is about the good, the bad, and the ugly of married life.
I hope Amadou and Mariam are ok