It was a difficult week in New Orleans. In addition to the passing of Dr. John, we lost Chef Leah Chase who died at the age of 96. Her family’s Creole eatery, Dooky Chase’s, has fed presidents, civil rights leaders, and freedom riders as well as the hoi polloi since 1941. A reminder: feeding an integrated group such as the freedom riders was against the law in the Jim Crow Era. Chef Leah did it anyway. After her death, Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry wrote a piece about Chef Leah’s role in the Civil Rights movement. She didn’t scare easily, not even when a bomb was thrown at her Orleans Avenue restaurant.
As she aged, Chef Leah was the smiling, welcoming face of this Treme institution but she never stopped cooking. In recent years, she was a sort of secular saint in our community; something most would find burdensome but she wore it lightly. She led a long and eventful life. She will be missed.
Last month in this space I mentioned the Krewe of Nyx’s hare-brained scheme to stage a summer parade. The city government has finally responded. Here’s how Gambit editor and Adrastos crony Kevin Allman characterized it on the tweeter tube:
Any late-night editor is welcome to use the headline
CANTRELL: NIX TO NYX
I'm off duty. pic.twitter.com/3rUVH967JO
— Kevin Allman (@KevinAllman) June 4, 2019
This week’s theme song, Estimated Prophet, was written by Bob Weir and John Perry Barlow in 1976. It was tested onstage many times before it became the opening track on one of the Dead’s better studio albums, Terrapin Station.
We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the studio original, then a boss reggae cover by Burning Spear.
Now that we’ve visited the burning shore of California, let’s jump through a hoop of fire to the break. Hopefully, we won’t get scorched.
All that talk of fire made me think of this Kinks song:
I’ve never walked through a Wall of Fire but I’ve seen Bob Weir live many times. How about a little fire, Bobby? It felt good to channel my inner Wicked Witch.
King Weir: Bob Weir was the youngest founding member of the Grateful Dead. His colleagues always thought of him as The Kid. Weir is now a grizzled looking 71-year-old with a beard befitting an old testament rock prophet. He may look grizzled but he hasn’t slowed down at all. The man has more side hustles than someone half his age.
There’s a great profile of Weir by Brett Martin in the current issue of GQ. I got a kick out of the forum since the Dead were never known for their sartorial splendor. Martin clearly understands the irony as there’s a companion interview with Weir’s daughter’s about dear old dad’s outfits. Martin lives in New Orleans so he gets the concept of lagniappe.
When the Dead played stadium shows at the end of their run, Weir was known for wearing short shorts. Here’s an example of that as well as a live version of this week’s theme song:
Ye of little faith were probably wondering why there wasn’t a live Estimated Prophet before the break. I hope I’ve redeemed myself, “Don’t worry about me, no.”
Now that Bob Weir has shown a little leg, let’s meet Young Satchmo.
Satchmo Show & Tell: Blog pun consultant, James Karst, is an archive rat but not a rat bastard. He recently unearthed film of a very young Louis Armstrong. Karst has the details at 64 Parishes.
64 what? That’s what the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities calls its magazine/web site. Why? We have 64 parishes, that’s counties in America.
Let’s give Louis the last word of the segment with the Fats Waller tune, Black and Blue:
HBO Listomania: This list ranking 79 HBO series by Noel Murray and Scott Tobias is particularly timely because of the debut of Deadwood: The Movie, which I loved. I thought it was a fucking fitting ending for a fucking great teeve show. If you disagree, you’re a “San Francisco cocksucker.” My only disappointment was that Mr. Wu did not apply that term to George Hearst. So it goes.
The list is a good one. I disagree around the edges, I’d rate Boardwalk Empire and Veep in the top five but the authors do a good job given the length of the list: I was ready to keel over after ranking 40 movies and 50 songs. Their top three of The Sopranos, Deadwood, and The Wire is perfect. Nailed It, but not in the sense of the hilarious bad baker’s show on Netflix. I wonder if Jacques Torres wears earplugs to muffle Nicole Byer’s voice. Who could blame him?
Here’s my HBO Top Ten:
- The Sopranos
- The Wire
- Boardwalk Empire
- Game Of Throne
- The Larry Sanders Show
- Six Feet Under
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
Before moving on to our third act, here’s a live version of one of Bob Weir’s best-loved songs, Sugar Magnolia, from the closing of Winterland on December 31, 1978:
Happy New Year in June, y’all. It makes as much sense as a Carnival parade in July. Repeat after me: NIX TO NYX.
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: For what it’s worth, I threw my support to Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday. That’s why this week’s SAB pairing with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh seems so right.
I somehow doubt the legendarily liberal Lesh would object.
Tweet Of The Week: I am famous for my detestation of The Sound of Music. Schmaltz gives me heartburn, y’all. Perhaps that’s why this photo-tweet tickled me so much.
This looks like if the Von Trapp kids grew up & sided with the Nazis pic.twitter.com/hg7N8h2Nk9
— Ben Wexler (@mrbenwexler) June 4, 2019
That tweet gives a whole new meaning to the term Malice In The Palace. The Three Stooges, however, are probably too highbrow for the Trumps. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
Saturday GIF Horse: I’m a sucker for Eddie Muller’s Noir Alley on TCM. Last Sunday, I planned to just watch his introduction to John Huston’s caper classic, The Asphalt Jungle, but got hooked.
This week’s animated GIF comes from a scene early in that movie where James Whitmore hides Sterling Hayden’s gun in his cash register when the cops show up.
The Asphalt Jungle is based on a book by W.R. Burnett. It’s full of great lines; most of which are pure Burnett. My favorite lands when Hayden gets sick of weasely lawyer Louis Callhern’s incessant complaining and says: “Stop crying and get me some Bourbon.”
Words to live by.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: I’ve had The Cars on my mind since my milkshaking post. Their heyday coincided quite neatly with peak MTV.
You might think I’m crazy for shutting things down with some more music but I do it every week. What can I tell ya?
Saturday Classic: Heaven Help The Fool is the poppiest album recorded by anyone associated with the Grateful Dead. It sounds more like Boz Scaggs than Bob Weir. That’s fine with me: I’ve always had a soft spot for this album.
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to (who else?) the good old Grateful Dead.