Monday, August 30, 2021
(White Castle) The Impossible Burger at White Castle has been kinda bitter the last few times I got it. I am not vegan/vegetarian, I just like to mix it up, so I don;t have to take this as serious as some, but sorry to say the science of faking meat seems to have slipped. On the other hand, the veggie slider has improved, and has embraced non-meatiness. There are just whole peas and carrots in this, and it tastes great. Happy 100th White Castle.
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Monday, August 16, 2021
Sunday, August 15, 2021
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Friday, August 13, 2021
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
(Pictures & Blather, 2021) This series of tavern-based vignettes and character studies and fucked up scenes with dim lights illuminating the unifying magic of a certain late night hour and level of inebriation where rich and poor, hipster and regular guy, old and young, all show their asses (sometimes literally). But unlike Dmitri's collections of cab driving vignettes and character studies and fucked up scenes with dim lights illuminating the unifying magic of a certain late night hour and level of inebriation where rich and poor, hipster and regular guy, old and young, all show their asses (sometimes literally), this is a novel. Because names have been minutely changed, and Dmitri is a character, not himself. And it is great. Is there an apposite of FOMO called something like GAFIWT (Glad As Fuck I Wasn't There), because reading about these bar shifts I am not envious. But I am intrigued. This is not romanticized or heroic like Bukowski (mainly because "Dmitri" is rarely interested in sinking to the depths of his cohort) but it's not the opposite of that either. And as an object this beautiful, generously illustrated book, is the perfect size and shape and you can take it anywhere! Even rehab!
Monday, August 9, 2021
Sunday, August 8, 2021
GUEST REVIEW BY GARY PIG GOLD
Now, whilst viewing, Gary suggests you pay particular attention to…
1. The Doors as German (as in Astrid Kirchherr circa ’61-photographed) existentialist beat-group musicians, moodily half-lit and rockin’ in near darkness, for their delightfully low-budget “Break On Through” video from 1967. Nevertheless, making their television debut a mere eight weeks later, mimeing “live” to said song on Casey Kasem’s Shebang, J. Morrison seems so utterly stiff and scared he’d be fortunate to be taken for one of the Pre-fab, let alone actual Fab Four.
2. The late, often great Ray Manzarek, chatting with a surprisingly respectful Dick Clark between numbers (“Crystal Ship” and “Light My Fire”) on American Bandstand, already has mastered down pat his trademark gobbledygook interview style. And I quote: “Well, it’s impossible really to put a label on it because of where we are in the music being on the inside, you’re only of the music, and all categories have to come from the outside so, someone else is going to have to say what our music is, rather than us, because we are our music.” Dick wisely shifts immediately over to John Densmore.
3. Bringing things considerably back down to earth, The Doors – well, three of them (Robby’s brother Ron had to fill in for an AWOL Morrison for most of the footage) – climb aboard a beach blanket bikini-festooned antique fire engine for a Malibu U performance of, yes, “Light My Fire” which is absolutely one of the most ingenious clips this side of the Bonzos’ “Canyons Of Your Mind.” Most unfortunately though, Malibu dean Rick(y) Nelson’s post-song commentary is also absent.
4. As the camera pans semi-cinematically off a still-not-ready-for-prime-time Doors, unwanted down the uneven streets of Battery Park for a Murray the K (!) lip-sync of “People Are Strange,” we are suddenly confronted with an above-motley collection of pantyhose-headed characters direct from Beefheart’s Strictly Personal inner gatefold. Why these exact bystanders weren’t utilized further for the Strange Days cover shoot is a question for the ages …or at least for Elektra Records’ art department. (I guess no one remembered their names?)
5. “Now I don’t want anybody to come unglued, but it’s GANGBUSTERS time!” So enthuses none other than Jonathan Winters as he welcomes The Doors, and “Moonlight Drive,” to guest on the Christmastime 1967 debut of his CBS Television variety show extravaganza. Far from surprisingly though, even the dry ice-clouded, sub-Star Trek …no, make that Lost in Space set, not to mention Jimbo’s quite ill-advised choice of John Kay-style Ray-Bans, can’t hope to compete with the ultimate born-to-be-wildness of Maude Frickert et al (…who, according to Messrs. Krieger and Densmore’s R-Evolution commentary track, kept the entire proceedings in stitches that whole day, even after the studio audience had long returned home to their leftover turkey and cranberries).
6. We are next whisked from the sublime to the ham-fisted for the band’s own “visceral film” …as in a friend with a 16mm spending $5,000 of Elektra’s money on the beach one afternoon to shoot, literally, “The Unknown Soldier.” They say it was the anti-war, extreme social commentary which scared even Canadian television from airing this naughty short subject back in the day. Personally, I think it had more to do with the sight of a dirty-jacketed Morrison being tied, Christ-like (by Ray’s girlfriend) (with a handful of colored twine) to some rotting old dock support, then vomiting up what appears to be a mix of cherry Jell-O and tomato juice over some strategically placed roses as he’s symbolically (?) executed. Or crucified. Or something. No wonder half of this band never made it out of UCLA Film School alive.
7. Come Christmas of ’68, the Smothers Brothers – now there’s entertainers who know how to protest the Vietnam war on television! – present a festive, fully orchestrated “Touch Me,” complete with Nelson Riddle’s Orchestra and completely wailing sax solo by Curtis Amy. Jim has by now wisely left all Bigger-Than-Jesus aspirations behind and donned his iconic black leather pants and Elvis belt, with golden microphone and maracas to boot. But that’s not all! R-Evolution finally reveals the source, perhaps, of Robby’s great big shiner, which I admit has always intrigued me about this clip: John claims Robby was actually the victim of an en-route-to-Smothers car accident. No, wait! Maybe it was an altercation with some backstage, training-for-Altamont Hells Angel that caused the flaming black eye? Alright, John can’t remember. Robby has on other occasions put the cause a bit, uh, closer to home. Tommy and Dickie Smothers aren’t talking …and, for once, neither is Ray either.
8. The more than obvious change – and not for the good – between the vividly hued recording studio footage of “Wild Child” (July 1969) and the drudgingly monochrome’d rehearsal footage of “Crawling King Snake” (just seventeen months later) shockingly demonstrates just how soft this band’s particular parade had become as Sixties turned Seventies, and pop/rock’s intelligentsia had duly moved on to all things Wishbone Ash and King Crimson. The “Wild Child” shoot, which almost managed to completely hide all signs of bassist Doug Lubahn, shows four enthused musicians a bit crusty, but still completely confident and supremely creative. On much the other hand however, even the most catatonic Let It Be footage of those Beatles, for instance, can be tons more fun to watch than the 1970 Doors (bassist du jour? no less than Jerry “TCB” Scheff, completely hidden) desperately trying to fulfill duties to label and lawyers before calling it a wrap as Jim escapes, permanently it turns out, to the other side.
9. Of course the post-Morrison Doors never were much to listen to, and despite all the MTV-era technological advances still aren’t much to watch either. Wholly late-night-cable caliber clips of “Gloria” (lotsa teasingly blood-red-nailed, slo-mo back-and-belt-scratching), “Strange Days” (featuring a boom-box-totin’ cameo by R. Manzarek) (not to mention cardboard cut-out Morrisons galore, I kid you not), “L.A. Woman” (wherein director Ray hires protégé John Doe to attempt his best John Densmore impersonation over Josef von Sternberg’s Hollywood Star) and “Ghost Song” (surviving Doors “re-unite” with their old singer via the wonders of nascent digital video and, as Robby still tries to explain it, extremely posthumous “poetry and jazz, kinda” from the American Prayer, um, album). You mean there wasn’t enough space left in this collection for more Malibu U out-takes ?!!
10. Which reminds me: Pay real close attention especially to the Bonus feature Love Thy Customer, a miraculous half-hour 1966 Ford Motor Marketing Institute training film with music by a moonlighting Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger. This is a band who may have once turned down the chance to license “Come on, Buick, Light My Fire” for commercial use, but it seems, on quite the sly, they cashed all the way in corporately nevertheless. A trend which, apparently, they continue to embrace to this very day …if the Official Cyber Doors Store with its “high-quality light-weight terry-lined hoodies with distressed Doors logo,” “Ladies’ Hello I Love You T-shirt,” “Doors Logo Beer Glass” or “Dusters California Doors Skateboard Collection” is of any indication whatsoever.
Saturday, August 7, 2021
(Personal, 1983) This was such a classic dance record in Chicago (and around the world) and at Whitney Young high school in Chicago there is an African choreography dance that the dance team has done for decades that is legendary, and the song re-peaks in popularity every few years. Yet I can't help feeling it has a joyful Dr. Demento novelty aspect to it. You can seriously dance to it, but the nonsense words and robotic music spurts and stops seem so fun and funny that I do not take it seriously in the pejorative sense of "serious." This is such a good record that it makes me feel religious fervor, even if it is silly fervor. This is my gospel music!
Friday, August 6, 2021
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
(whitesox.com) People really wanted to hate Tony La Russa when he got hired to manage the White Sox, mainly because he is old as hell. That seems like a shitty reason to dismiss him. He definitely drove drunk at least once and he certainly did not stop some of his players from steroid-ing up in the late 80s/early 90s, though no one else did, either. That his players took more seems immaterial. Some folks think he is racist, which he may be, who knows, and the thing he has done this year that I hate the most is using the "no racist bone" line is a presser. Don't invent a bone to defend yourself! But to me the loudest critiques when he was hired seemed to be super racist. How could young Black players like Tim Anderson relate to this old White man?, many asked. As if Anderson (at the time the only American-born Black player on the roster, La Russa has added and regularly played two more) was some kind of undisciplined hip hop wildman that did not know what a coach was. Anderson has the highest batting average in the league since 2019 and is as disciplined and mature as anyone; wearing nice sneakers and listening to hip hop does not change that. The two things the White Sox, with all their talent, needed in a manager was a Spanish speaker (check) and someone who would not fuck things up. I guess La Russa possibly lost one game this year because he (and many others) did not know a new complicated rule for extra inning ghost runner substitutions in the case of a pitcher being placed on 2nd automatically to start the 10th. People also act like he ruined Yermin Mercedes because he criticized him for something not unreasonable (nor was Yermin doing something unreasonable humiliating a fake pitcher with a big homer). Well, the Sox won April because La Russa put Yermin as an opening day starter when no other manager in the league woulda done that. The team had a bizarrely challenging injury onslaught this season and La Russa has helped some ragtag lineups win a lot of games, so I'm all in. Just take Ubers when you drink and don't say anything racist out loud and you are a Hall of Famer baseball person in my book.
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Monday, August 2, 2021
(Motown, 2020) I was kind of expecting this to be like the 2019 "You're the Man" release, where instead of presenting an outtakes/rarities comp this would be presented as a self-contained album that could have been released at the time. It turns out this extra material from the Trouble Man sessions cannot quite carry that load, but I did listen to this fifty times. There are really only a few songs here being repeated in alternate take sor edits, but they sure are good. The best thing here is the "worst" thing here, a rather lo fi vocals sketch with Gaye dueting his high voice against his low voice. I have never seen the movie, but this soundtrack is probably Top 5 Black action movie 70s soundtracks (a VERY competitive field), and the more I hear of it the more I believe that.