Once again, New Orleans showed the world how to turn adversity into a party. I’m talking about the widespread local boycott of the Super Bowl. It was easy for me. I rarely watch unless I have a rooting interest in one of the teams. I wasn’t down for some of the dumber aspects of “no-call gate” such as claims that the Saints wouldn’t have gone to the big dance after a similar bad call, or that the Rams were cheaters BUT we *wuz* robbed. I blame the league and the referees, not the Rams who lost in one of the dullest Super Bowls in years. Yawn. Brady and Belichick won again. Yawn.
New Orleanians quickly moved from the Super Bowl controversy to an argument over the Krewe of Chewbacchus. It’s a geek/sci-fi parade that sprung up a few years back. I like the idea but hate the execution. I like parades to move quickly and not stall for hours as Chewbacchus invariably does. Yawn.
The head of the krewe styles himself, not as a humble Captain, but as “The Overlord.” He floated a trial balloon that they *might* exploit a loophole in city ordinances and allow commercial sponsorship. That’s a big NOLA no-no: the krewes, not corporations, throw a party for the city and its citizens. The “Overlord” quickly crawfished and claimed he was just joking but I know a deflated trial balloon when I see one. Pop goes the geek weasel.
This week’s theme song was written by Steve Miller and was the title track of his1976 hit album. The Fly Like An Eagle single was a monster hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard charts.
We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the original SMB hit, a live version with guitarist Joe Satriani, and a cover by my homeys, the Neville Brothers:
Now that we’ve soared like eagles, let’s jump to the break, Hopefully, there will be a tailwind so we won’t break our tail feathers or is that bend? Beats the hell outta me.
I remain uncertain as to what the “pompatus of love” is but I *am* certain that our second act will begin with a piece about the Plessy vs. Ferguson case.
Homer Struck Out: The Supreme Court’s 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson decision was a negative landmark as it enshrined into law the pernicious notions of “separate but equal” and white supremacy. The test case was filed in New Orleans by Homer Plessy a light-skinned black Creole. It was hoped that they could overturn a law segregating public transportation in New Orleans. Instead, it gave us the “separate but equal” doctrine, which was tossed on the ash heap of history in 1954 by Brown vs. Board of Education.
The New Yorker’s Louis Menand takes a peek at Plessy in a review of several recent books about the case and the Jim Crow era, which was when blackface minstrelsy was born. Get thee to the New Yorker for the details.
Are you ready for some Vulture Listomania? Ready or not, here it comes.
Pulp Fiction Saturday: Rumor has it that I’m a crime fiction buff. Vulture’s Kevin P. Sullivan has compiled a list that’s right up my alley: 15 Essential British Crime Movies.
It’s a good list but it’s overloaded with recent films at the expense of some genuine classics. It’s a problem that could have been solved by expanding the list. My first suggestion is the 1963 Peter Sellers comic crime movie The Wrong Arm Of The Law. What’s not to love about a movie wherein Sellers’ character is named Pearly Gates? Not a damn thing.
Here’s the trailer:
A more serious omission from the British crime canon is 1949’s The Third Man. This Graham Greene written and Carol Reed directed Cold War crime thriller is one of my all-time favorite movies. What’s not to love about the closing chase scene in the sewers of post-war Vienna? Not a damn thing.
Here’s a lovingly restored version of the trailer:
Anton Karas’ unusual come zither soundtrack makes the movie even cooler. The theme song is such a toe-tapper that the Band recorded it on Moondog Matinee:
Our third act will be short and snarky. You didn’t expect sweet from me, did ya? I’ve given The Weekly GV and our favorite stolen feature, Separated at Birth, the week off. When they heard about the Insult Comedian’s schedule, they demanded executive time. Who am I to argue?
Saturday GIF Horse/Frank Robinson, R.I.P. Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson died this week at the age of 83. He was a fierce competitor who was the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues. He was the first black manager in MLB history and managed my San Francisco Giants from 1981-1984. The teams he managed never had the talent of his 1966-1971 Baltimore Orioles, but he got the most out of them. The 1982 Giants were outmanned and outgunned by the hated Dodgers but we pushed them to the wire and denied them a title.
I realize this is an odd place to honor F Robby but I’m an odd guy and this *is* odds & sods, after all. In the GIF below, you can see 4 great African American ballplayers congregated at an all-star game: Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, Henry Aaron, and Willie Mays.
Here’s a clip from the 1970 World Series when Robinson led the Baltimore Orioles to victory over his former team, the Cincinnati Reds:
Brooks Robinson was the series MVP BUT Frank was the leader of that great team. He exuded authority and swagger. He was one-in-a-million. He will be missed.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: Robbie Robertson, the lead guitarist and primary songwriter of The Band, had been out of the music biz for a decade when he released his eponymous first solo album. The cinematic video for his environmental opus, Showdown At Big Sky, received a lot of airplay in 1987 and deservedly so.
Let’s close things out with some live music. Robbie Robertson is involved.
Saturday Classic: This is a Japanese bootleg of 1976 radio appearance by The Band, which I’d never heard before. It’s a winner, I tell ya. Let’s go Up On Cripple Creek:
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Joseph Cotten as hack pulp western novelist, Holly Martins, in The Third Man: