Saturday Odds & Sods: Anything Goes

Grandmother Moorhead’s Aromatic Kitchen by Leonora Carrington, 1975.

It was a weird week in New Orleans. It was oddly quiet as everyone hunkered down for a storm that had minimal impact in the city. I spent a lot of time with Oscar and Della. I’m glad to report that they’re fine. They’re used to hanging around the house and sleeping incessantly. Nobody does it better, not even Bond.

I spent some time this week calling the offices of my Republican Senators about the abominable health care bill. I’m not sure what good it will do. Both of them know deep down that it’s bad legislation that will damage a poor state like Louisiana. I expect them to vote aye anyway: neither has the backbone to stand up to Chinless Mitch and the Trumper hordes. Repeat after me: I hope I’m wrong about this.

This week’s theme song reflects the climate of our national politics: “In olden days, a crooked Oval One was looked on as something shocking. Now heaven knows, anything goes. ” Cole Porter was one smart Hoosier Yalie. Boola boola, y’all.

We have two versions of Anything Goes for your enjoyment: the inevitable Sinatra as well as Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. I’m gaga for Gaga even without the meat suit.

Now that we’ve established that:

The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today,
And black’s white today,
And day’s night today…

It’s time to insert the break and meet on the other side. It’s what Cole would have wanted.

One more tune from Cole Porter and Francis Albert before we move on:

It’s been a tough week. I needed that. We all needed that.

We begin our second act with a discussion of the surrealist artist whose painting is this week’s featured image.

An English Surrealist In Mexico: I didn’t know much about Leonora Carrington until I ran a google search for surrealist artists. When I saw her work, I was blown away.

Her story is an interesting one. Carrington came from an upper-class English family and lived a relatively normal life until she ran off with  Marx Ernst whose work was featured last week. The relationship did not endure but it gave the artist a spirit of adventure that would endure the rest of her life. She lived off and on in Mexico from the 1940’s until her death at the age of 94 in 2011. Hence the segment title; even I make sense occasionally.

Carrington’s long-lost cousin Joanna Moorehead sought her out in the aughties and wrote about it in the Telegraph. It’s a helluva yarn. Check it out.

Speaking of surrealists, Tim Burton’s second Batman flick came out 25 years ago.

Batman Returns At 25: It’s no secret that I like Batman. I’m particularly fond of Tim Burton’s take on the Caped Crusader. He created a surrealistic visual world not unlike that of Max Ernst. I know that sounds pretentious but what’s a bit of pretentiousness among friends?

There’s a terrific piece about Burton’s Batman days at Yahoo by Byron Burton.  As far as I can tell, Byron is no relation to Tim or Richard Burton for that matter. Time to Burton my lip on this subject.

I had forgotten *why* Tim Burton dropped out of the series but it was to his credit:

When Burton made his first Batman movie, he wasn’t thinking about corporate synergy or selling toys. That all changed with Returns.

“At the time with the first Batman, you’d never heard the word franchise. On the second one, you started to hear that word,” says Burton. “On the second one, we started to get comments from McDonald’s like, ‘What’s all that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth?’ So, people were just starting to think of these films in terms of marketing. That’s the new world order.”

It’s ironic that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is even darker and less kid-friendly than Burton’s two bat-outings. So it goes.

Let’s move on to our favorite stolen feature. I’ve been poi dog pondering doing this duo for quite some time but only got the nerve to go there after Michael F did his own separated at birth post comparing the ballfield shooter to John Goodman’s character in The Big Lebowski. Thanks, pal.

Separated At Birth:  Some might say that all bald white dudes with glasses look the same.  I beg to differ but I *do* think John Lennon’s assassin Mark David Chapman resembles Bush’s Brain aka Karl (Turd Blossom) Rove.

I wonder if Rove is into Catcher In The Rye?

I should apologize for that tasteless segment but I won’t. Instead, I’ll offer a musical palate cleanser. In fact, it will be just like starting over:

Tabloid Headline Of The Week: It’s a somewhat old one but I like it because it involves a Trump appointee who’s unqualified even by their standards.

Once again, it’s Trump logic. She’s a black chick so she must know something about public housing. She certainly wags her index finger like a WINNER. I don’t know about you but I’m sick of WINNING.

My old friend Mark shared an article from the New Yorker with me elsewhere on the interwebs. Where on earth did he get the idea that I like progressive rock?

Prog Spring: Staff writer Kalefa Sanneh explores prog in the current issue of the New Yorker. It’s a proggy travelogue of sorts, partially inspired by Dave Weigel’s new book on the genre, The Show That Never Ends. I haven’t read Dave’s book but I’m looking forward to it. Prog is a foreign country to Mr. Sanneh but not to Dave.

Here’s a passage that shows the author’s limited knowledge of the genre:

In place of a guitarist, E.L.P. had Keith Emerson, a keyboard virtuoso who liked to wrestle with his customized Hammond organ onstage, and didn’t always win: during one particularly energetic performance, he was pinned beneath the massive instrument, and had to be rescued by roadies. Perhaps this, too, was an allegory.

I don’t mean to be too hard on Sanneh but Tommy T reminded me that the above event was part of ELP’s act. It happened purt near every show. I always listen to Tommy as should you. He reads Free Republic so we don’t have to, after all.

Sanneh is dead right about one thing: prog fans don’t give it a shit if the critics don’t like it. That sort of thinking is for people who desperately want to hang with the cool kids but can’t cut it. When my friends were listening to punk rock, I remained loyal to Yes and Tull. It was the least I could do. They’d given me a lot of joy over the years. Besides, what’s not to love about the proggiest song of all-time?

In between driving me in-sanneh, the author makes many excellent points. I personally think Yes is the ultimate prog band but there’s a case to be made for Sanneh’s choice: Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Saturday Classic: I saw ELP twice during their bombastic prime. Everything about the performance was big despite the fact they were a trio. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Keith Emerson stab his organ; a Hammond, not his own organ. Get your minds out of the gutter y’all. I’m not even mentioning Carl Palmer’s gong banging since I cannot take you people anywhere.

Welcome back my friends to the 1974 live album that never ends:

That’s it for this week. Since I went on about Batman Returns, I’ll give the last word to the villains of the piece.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Anything Goes

  1. I saw ELP on their Brain Salad Surgery tour. Entered Dallas Memorial Auditorium with anticipation. As I topped the balcony steps the audio geek in me fixated on the P.A. system, reportedly (pre-internet info age) quite a big deal.
    I looked at the stacks on either side of the stage (nobody was flying PA systems at that time) and saw a PA that was the equal if not better than any I had ever seen. – impressive, but not THAT big a deal. Then I turned to the left to go up to my seat and found myself facing the twin of the stage right PA stack. Ulp.
    Slowly I turned (gotta copyright that) to the right and saw, on the other side of the balcony, the twin of the stage left PA stack.

    They were not only carrying double the largest PA system I had ever seen, it was QUAD!
    The FOH man had fun for the whole show, dive-bombing the audience by sweeping Emerson’s Moog leads from upper right to lower left. The snarling Moog (they’re a completely different beast at 115db than they are coming from your living room stereo) made an interesting effect. I could see the heads of the floor audience DUCK as the Moog passed (sonically) over their heads.

    They played just about everything they had recorded, came back for an encore, and played the entirety of PIctures At An Exhibition. The whole bloody album.

    They also played this astoundingly difficult repertoire about 20% over album tempo. It was like they had decided “Well, we’re going to play every single thing we’ve recorded, and if we don’t get on the stick, we’ere going to be here all night.”

    Carl Palmer kept up this relentless pace with perfect timing, and didn’t seem human. I would NOT have been surprised to have seen a big key sticking out of his back.

    They played for 3 hours and 20 minutes, and I was deaf for three days afterwards.

    It was worth it.

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