Now here is a lady.

Kate McGarrigle.

Her ex-father-in-law was Loudon Wainwright, Jr.:

Wainwright joined the staff of Life magazine and worked in a variety of positions over the years, including covering the Mercury astronauts. He and John Glenn listened to the inauguration speech of John F. Kennedy while riding in Glenn’s car in 1961.

John and Mrs. Glenn:

(from Lily Koppel’s extremely rad blog for her book for her (presumably) rad book The Astronaut Wives Club:

Buying that immediately.  Check out the postcard she has up there now.

Loudon’s son and Kate’s ex of course is Loudon III:

The old Australian Crawl.

Happy Bastille Day!

In his later years [Jean-Pierre] Houël published two illustrated treatises on elephants. Drawings of other animals suggest he was preparing to publish further zoological works; however, his death at the age of seventy-eight cut short his plans.

Wild Heart

Man.  Shoutout to MCW for putting me on to this, I’d never seen it.  She must be 33 here?

Compare to the person on the cover of the album:

“I’m telling you, a piano player and a girl — get it.”

Nicks toured for Rock a Little in 1986. The tour ended on October 10, 1986.

The tour marked a turning point in Nicks’ life. The January before the tour was to begin, a plastic surgeon warned her of severe health problems if she did not stop using cocaine. “I said, ‘What do you think about my nose?’,” she recalled on The Chris Isaak Hour in 2009. “And he said, ‘Well, I think the next time you do a hit of cocaine, you could drop dead.” At the end of the Australian tour, Nicks checked herself into the Betty Ford Center for 30 days to overcome her cocaine addiction. Recalling the strong influence of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix on her music and life, she told a UK interviewer, “I saw how they went down, and a part of me wanted to go down with them…but then another part of me thought, I would be very sad if some 25-year-old lady rock and roll singer ten years from now said, ‘I wish Stevie Nicks would have thought about it a little more.’ That’s kind of what stopped me and made me really look at the world through clear eyes.”


Nicks has started a charity foundation entitled “Stevie Nicks’ Band of Soldiers” which is used for the benefit of wounded military personnel.

In late 2004, Nicks began visiting Army and Navy medical centers in Washington, D. C. While visiting wounded service men and women, Nicks became determined to find an object she could leave with each soldier that would raise their spirits, motivate, and give them something to look forward to each day. She eventually decided to purchase hundreds ofiPod Nanos, load them with music, artists, and playlists which she would hand select, and autograph them:

“I call it a soldiers’ iPod. It has all the crazy stuff that I listen to, and my collections I’ve been making since the ’70s for going on the road, when I’m sick…Or the couple of times in my life that I have really been down, music is what always dances me out of bed. ” – Stevie Nicks. The Arizona Republic

Nick Drake

Gee whiz the story of Nick Drake (1947-1974) is sad.

He played rugby for the C1 House team and was appointed a House Captain in his last two terms. School friends recall Drake at this time as having been confident and “quietly authoritative”, while often aloof in his manner. His father Rodney remembered, “In one of his reports [the headmaster] said that none of us seemed to know him very well. All the way through with Nick. People didn’t know him very much.”

Good song though.

You Don’t Know What It’s Like


photo 1

Some good stuff in this Rolling Stone I picked up.

photo 4




How about this, from an interview with Carlos Santana?

photo 2

I bet!

From another article, about the history of concert festivals:

photo 5


This article was sad:photo 1


photo 2

They wrote this one for Otis Redding, who died before he could record it.



Here’s a piece of advice for anyone who lives in Los Angeles: never, ever drive to Las Vegas.  Somewhere around Barstow you will realize the wisdom in this. If Fate demands you appear in Las Vegas, you gotta fly. If the marginal savings are important to you, you shouldn’t be going to Las Vegas.

(I guess maybe drive if you’re smuggling a trunkload of illegal drugs.)


When it comes to airplanes I am Team Window Seat.  You stare out at the weird American landscape for an hour?  It’s better than the best ride at Disneyland.  The best ride at California Adventure just simulates being in an airplane over California.

But of course you need a good album to listen to.

The other day I put out requests for good music on Twitter and got many wonderful and thoughtful responses.

A band that kept coming up is War On Drugs.

Had only kind of heard of these dudes.  But my memory was jogged.  I realized I went to high school with the singer of this band.  If I remember right he was a very good, decent, and funny dude.  I can’t remember if he was on the cross-country team or not; I think so?  Regardless this would be a good album to listen to on a November ride to the New England Class C Championships.

Another suggestion I got pretty into is “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” by The Vaccines:

One of the most passionate responses came in from New York’s Tom Ceraulo, and I turn it over to him:

Okay so Old ’97s MOST MESSED UP (my favorite album by a band I’ve been a fan of forever, going to see them tonight and I’m particularly excited to hear the new stuff), Joe Henry’s INVISIBLE HOUR (consistently terrific songwriting & spare, lived-in arrangements that let the songs breathe), and Sturgill Simpson’s METAMODERN SOUNDS IN COUNTRY MUSIC (an amazing dose of bona fide outlaw country with some genuinely exciting twists – produced by Dave Cobb, who produced Jason Isbell’s stunning SOUTHEASTERN from last year) are great, as I mentioned. Some others:
The War on Drugs – LOST IN THE DREAM (might be the best album of the year, I can’t stop listening to it)
Hamilton Leithauser – BLACK HOURS (the former frontman of the Walkmen)
Bob Mould – BEAUTY & RUIN (another loud rock album from Bob with the super talented and ever-entertaining Jon Wurster on drums)
Sharon Van Etten – ARE WE THERE (heart/gut-wrenching beauty from a Brooklyn singer-songwriter who keeps getting better)
Willie Watson – FOLK SINGER VOL. 1 (did you see the Showtime documentary on the Inside Llewyn Davis concert?  He’s the guy who did Midnight Special – produced by Dave Rawlings)
Joseph Arthur – LOU (quiet and tasteful collection of Lou Reed covers)
Lykke Li – I NEVER LEARN (a beautiful breakup record, epic in sound if not length)
Damon Albarn – EVERYDAY ROBOTS (I think people would prefer if he put out a Blur record but I quite like this)
Rosanne Cash – THE RIVER AND THE THREAD (beautiful new Rosanne songs, beautiful production by John Leventhal)
I could go on (The Hold Steady, Woods, Lake Street Dive…) but I won’t because I have to run to the show.  Oh, and if you like jazz I might have some more to give you.  Most people hate jazz though.  Or think they do.
Thanks Tom!  Incidentally Tom is quite the soft touch in terms of Twitter favoriting (54 thousand!), a testament to his generous spirit.


 (photo of Barstow from

Timeless Art?

If you haven’t watched this in awhile, I think you will find it’s still good:

Let this be the final word on slut-shaming


Question ONE:

* Is 

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.

Question 2:

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.

Question 3:

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.

Question 4:

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.

Question 5:

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?

Question 6: 

What would Minnesotan F. Scott Fitzgerald make of this movie?

I saw it just around the corner from where F. Scott Fitzgerald died.

Question 7:

Will the movie revive interest in The Clancy Brothers?

Question 8:

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.

Question 9:

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.

(Some photo sources.  Are photos of movie stars on the Internet just public property we can repost?  I dunno, but 85% of all HelyTimes profits goes directly to charity)

The Vine For America


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:

The people assembled here are all up to various cool and interesting projects.

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:

Pannonica de Koenigswarter

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.

People didn’t like to waste time back then.

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).

Fish Tea

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.[1] 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)

Someday My Prince Will Come

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, 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.

Too bad.

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.

John Cage

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

Fashion Influence

Clancy Brothers & Makem:

“Bad Poems By Good Poets”

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:

Feufollet – Au Fond du Lac

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!")]

“Cupid,” Sam Cooke, 1963

Like Sam Cooke ever needed Cupid’s help.  ht SDB a long time ago.


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