Jazz Fest is in its second weekend. I used to love this event, but it’s like an ex-girlfriend who I still like but am not always eager to see. It’s become just another pop/roots rock/kinda sorta jazz festival in the last decade, which has made me lukewarm about attending. I broke up with Jazz Fest a few years ago and have an awkward relationship with it. I still may go this weekend but the thrill is gone, y’all.
In other New Orleans news, a water main broke a few miles from Adrastos World HQ. We had no water pressure for a few hours and are still under a boil water advisory. The pipe was laid in 1905. I should make a crude joke at this point but I try to ignore my inner Beavis and Butthead.
This week we celebrate the music of Marvin Gaye who would have turned 80 on April 2nd, which was the day that the USPS issued the Marvin Gaye stamp. I remember the dark day in 1984 when I heard about Marvin’s death at the hands of his father. It was April Fool’s day so I wondered briefly if the news was a cruel hoax. It was not. I even shed a few tears. I rarely cry but I wept that day. Rage, jealousy, and firearms are a toxic combination. For Marvin, they were fatal.
This week’s theme song was the title track of Marvin’s best album. We have two versions of What’s Going On for your listening pleasure: Marvin’s original followed by a swell 1986 cover by Cyndi Lauper who really rocks Marvin’s composition.
Now that we’ve seen what’s going on, let’s jump to the break with our eyes wide open. I’ll skip the obvious Kubrick joke.
Before getting started, here’s one of Marvin’s best-loved songs. It was featured in Stephen Frears’ brilliant film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s book, High Fidelity:
We begin our second act with a story that helped accelerate the decline of the NRA.
Stupid Gun Nut Tricks: It’s hard not to feel some schadenfreude as we watch the NRA caught up in internal turmoil as well as the external threat from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into this allegedly non-profit organization. Is anyone surprised that Oliver North is a greedy motherfucker? He lost a power struggle to Wayne LaPierre but the ship may be sinking in a sea of scandal. Just sink, baby.
The New Yorker’s David Spies published his Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the NRA article two weeks ago and things have only gotten worse for the NRA. Pass the popcorn, we’re in for a helluva ride.
Let’s move on to the obligatory Vulture article. This one is a doozy.
The Divine Ms, Huston: Anjelica Huston has had a fascinating career and an even more interesting life. Her father John was one of the greatest American film directors. Her brother Danny is an estimable character actor and her nephew Jack played one of my favorite Boardwalk Empire characters, Richard Harrow. That’s quite a family. And that doesn’t include her long relationship with Jack Nicholson who, at the very least, was an honorary Huston.
Anjelica recently sat down for an interview with Vulture’s Andrew Goldman. There are two particularly interesting passages. First, like Sofia Coppola some 20 years later, as a young actress, Anjelica was cast in one of her father’s movies, A Walk with Love and Death. And like Sofia, she received scathing reviews:
A Walk With Love and Death was not well received. The critic John Simon wrote, “There is a perfectly blank, supremely inept performance by Huston’s daughter, Anjelica, who has the face of an exhausted gnu, the voice of an unstrung tennis racket, and a figure of no discernible shape.” I had to look up what a gnu is.
Wasn’t that pretty? That’s good, isn’t it?
It sticks with you. And now that you’ve reminded me, it will stick with me for another ten years.
I probably wouldn’t have quoted it had you not included it in your memoir.
No, I completely accept that. I think the news there is he’s dead and I’m not.
You think he’s dead?
He must be.
I was curious myself. I looked him up. He’s 93 years old. He’s alive.
He’s dead as far as I’m concerned.
Tell us what you really think, Anjelica.
The second interesting bit involves Adrastos bete noir, Oprah Winfrey:
I’d forgotten that you won over Oprah for The Color Purple.Other nominees for 1986’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar: Margaret Avery for The Color Purple, Amy Madigan for Twice in a Lifetime, and Meg Tilly for Agnes of God. As I was watching the footage of you collecting the Oscar, my blood went a little cold thinking, There’s got to be some repercussions for beating Oprah.
She never had me on her show, ever. She won’t talk to me. The only encounter I’ve had with Oprah was when I was at a party for the Academy Awards, a private residence. I was talking to Clint Eastwood, and she literally came between us with her back to me. So all of the sudden I was confronted with the back of Oprah’s head.
Do you think it’s fair to say it’s because you beat her?
Well, nobody else would dislike me so much as to literally, physically come in between the person I was talking with that way. But I admire Oprah. God knows, she’s made some big steps.
That’s some petty bullshit on Oprah’s part. At least she could have given Anjelica a car or plugged one of her movies on the tube. She’s made some good ones.
My 5 Favorite Anjelica Huston Flicks:
- Prizzi’s Honor
- The Grifters
- Lonesome Dove
- Enemies, A Love Story
- Buffalo Girls
I did like her as Morticia Addams but I wanted a short list, which includes her best teevee work.
Let’s shift gears and discuss an intriguing theory about one of the world’s most abiding true crime mysteries.
Jill the Ripper: Ripperologists are everywhere. People are still arguing about the identity of Jack the Ripper 131 years after those gruesome crimes were committed. In fact, diehard Ripperologists have no interest in solving the mystery unless, that is, it’s their own pet theory.
One of the most ripping Ripper theories I’ve seen comes from Tori Telfer at Longreads who posits that Jack may have really been a Jill. It’s not only a longread, it’s a good read.
Before raising the curtain on our third act, another Marvin Gaye tune:
Speaking of peculiar, we begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: Unlike my beloved colleague Athenae, I liked the Battle of Winterfell episode of Game of Thrones. It didn’t strike me as a flaming nutsack but I’m strictly a GOT dilettante so what do I know?
I’ve always had a sneaking fondness for Jaime Lannister. He’s one of the GOT characters who has grown over the course of the series. Besides, he and my boy Bronn are Westeros besteros.
The King Slayer also seems to have been separated at birth from Prince Charming of Shrek movies fame
Jaime is more grizzled in the final season but just scuzz up Prince Charming and they’re still doppelgangers.
We’ll stick with material gathered on the Tweeter Tube in our next segment.
Tweet Of The Week: The Insult Comedian had the champion Baylor Bears women’s basketball team to the White House. He served them junk food without the excuse of a government shutdown. That clearly gave Coach Kim Mulkey the fast food blues.
That spread proved how wise it was for UVA men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett to pull the plug on a White House visit for the Cavaliers. As they say in Charlottesville, Wahoo Wah.
It’s time to pig out in an epic, one might even say Homeric, fashion.
Saturday GIF Horse: The good people at The Simpsons decided to let Homer eat his way through New Orleans last season:
That’s a big ass GIF, y’all. One could even say that it ate a hole in this week’s Saturday post. I wouldn’t but one might.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: Since we’re featuring the musical stylings of Marvin Gaye this week, here’s the official video for one of his last hits:
Let shut this party down with some more music.
Saturday Classic: Some of Marvin’s best, and most popular, work in the Sixties was done with Tammi Terrell. If you like great harmonies, you’ll love Marvin and Tammi:
That’s it for this week. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell get the last word.