Stagolee Shot Billy

In a St. Louis tavern on Christmas night in 1895 Lee Shelton (a pimp also known as Stack Lee) killed William Lyons in a fight over a hat. There were other murders that night, but this one became the stuff of legend. Songs based on the event soon spread out of whorehouses and ragtime dives across the country. Within 40 years, Stagolee had evolved into a folk hero, a symbol of rebellion for black American males. With commendable scholarship and thoroughness, Brown shows how we got from the murder to the myth.

so says Leopold Froehlich in Playboy, quoted on the book’s back cover. I’ve been curious about this book since I first heard about it, finally pulled the trigger. Just that a book like this exists brings joy.

The murder was around 11th and Morgan in St. Louis, which today looks like this:

Should it be a UNESCO site? Paired perhaps with another St. Louis place of myth and violence, Cahokia?


I have a pretty good bit of standup comedy worked up that depends…

…on the audience having seen the “pitiless and uncompromising”* Australian western The Proposition (2005).

This movie was written by Nick Cave, who along with Warren Ellis did the soundtrack.

I would like to see Nick Cave perform live again sometime.  He was truly demonic.  The girls I was with did not care for him as much as the guys I was with.  Eventually they walked away.

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis also did the soundtrack to The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007).

That is a good trailer.  From IMDb:

Warners’ wasn’t entirely in sync with the pacing of the movie, or the length. Dominik was thinking more like ‘Terence Malick’ in examining the relationship between the famous outlaw and his eventual assassin, Robert Ford, played by Casey Affleck. Warners was in favor of having at least a bit more action. Ultimately, Warners went with Dominik’s version, even though Dominik didn’t have final cut as part of his contract. Part of the reason was that Pitt, who produced the movie through his Plan B shingle, backed Dominik. At one point along the way, Pitt and exec producer Ridley Scott had put together their own cut. When it tested to only so-so results, they went back to Dominik’s. The original cut of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” was nearly four hours long. It was edited down to two hours and forty minutes, its current runtime, at the studio’s request.

The first few pages of Ron Hansen’s novel are pretty mind-blowing, I recommend reading them.

* Roger Ebert.