Saturday Odds & Sods: Dark Star

Flying Eyeball by Rick Griffin.

Dr. A and I went to the batshit crazy Saints season opener against the Houston Texans. The game had everything: bad calls, great plays, and a crazy ending. Most importantly, the Saints won with a 58 yard field goal by Will Lutz. It was his career long. The crowd was stunned in a good way. My personal streak of the Saints always winning when I sit in our friend Fred’s end zone seats was imperiled but it’s intact. Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter in 1968. The music of Dark Star is often credited to the entire band, which seems only fair as it’s the ultimate jam band song.

We have two versions of the Dead’s Dark Star for your listening pleasure. First, the single version, which clocks in at a modest 2:44. It’s followed by a more typical second set medley that commences with Dark Star. It comes from the 12/31/78 closing of Winterland show that my younger self attended.

It’s time for a visit to Dismbiguation City with a swell song written by Stephen Stills and recorded by Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1977.

Now that we’ve bathed in the glow of the Dark Star, let’s jump to the break before the Dead go into The Other One. “Coming, coming, coming around.”

One of my favorite Carmella moments on The Sopranos was when she informed Father Phil that she wasn’t a big Renee Zellweger fan:

What’s not to love about Renee Zellweger? That brings us to the first segment of our second act.

The Comeback Kid: Ever since I first saw Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire, I’ve been a fan. Sorry, Carm. She’s always reminded me of the great Jean Arthur who was one of George Stevens and Frank Capra’s favorite actresses.

Time for a bonus GIF:

After years away from acting, Renee is back. She’s playing Judy Garland in an upcoming bio-pic. There’s a swell cover story by Jonathan Van Meter at New York Magazine about Renee’s return. Welcome back: you had me at comeback.

Before moving on, here’s Judy Garland singing a song by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin. I think you may know what movie it’s from, if not read the caption below:

Let’s set the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1992 when Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick first teamed up on ESPN’s Big Show. That’s what they called it, the suits called it Sports Center.

Just Fucking Talent: ESPN is celebrating its 40th anniversary. I rarely watched their highlights shows until I heard about the magic that happened when Keith and Dan were on the air. I became a devoted viewer until Keith blew things up at ESPN in 1997 and the pair went their separate ways.

The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis revisits the Big Show and Keith and Dan. FYI, the segment title was one of Olbermann’s stock lines about the team’s status on the network. Some things never change.

The dynamic duo get the last word of the segment:

Perhaps I should let the Boss chime in before we move on to a more sordid subject:

Jerry Falwell Junior Is A Criminal: You’ve probably already heard about Brandon Ambrosino’s brilliant investigative piece at Politico. It’s a Pulitizer worthy article that takes a close look at the seamy underbelly of the Falwell family business.

Falwell Junior seems to be Virginia’s answer to  Donald Trump. They have more in common than meets the eye. Falwell is a horndog and a con man. I’m less interested in the sexy bits than in allegations that Junior’s real estate shenanigans could be illegal.

It’s time for the Virginia authorities to investigate whether or not Liberty University should retain its tax exempt, non-profit status. It seems to be Falwell Junior’s cash cow and he’s milking it for all its worth. Fuck that guy.

It’s time to lighten things up considerably with our next segment.

Documentary Of The Week: Catwalk takes a close look at the world of the Canadian cat show circuit. It has spills, chills, hissy fits, and hair balls. Who could ask for anything more?

Here’s the trailer:

Catwalk is currently streaming at Netflix. I give it 3 stars, an Adrastos grade of B, and an Ebertian paw up; way up.

Let’s finish up our third act with a cat song written by noted feline fancier, Ian Anderson:

None of my cats have ever been members of the mouse police. They sleep constantly. Of course, they’re not barn cats. I’m not sure if PD would know what to do with a mouse. The time he caught a lizard, he toyed with it, then got bored and walked away.

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature,

Separated At Birth: This one is almost too good to be true. Mad real life Roman emperor Caligula and mad fictional child king, Joffrey Baratheon.

 

When it comes to Caligula, I’ll always be a John Hurt guy. He was batshit crazy but he could dance:

I’ll let a man who resembles New Orleans native Richard Simmons sing us out of the segment:

The Weekly DC: Instead of a clip from one of his old chat shows, here’s Dick Cavett as a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers. In which he describes how a guest kicked the bucket on his ABC show. Oh my.

The Classic Movie List: Old school Hollywood types refer to multi-talented types as “hyphenates.” It’s a dreadful phrase but it fits the brilliant writer-director Billy Wilder. He’s made so many great films that one of his Oscar winners, The Lost Weekend, didn’t make my list. It was also hard to omit Bill Holden’s phenomenal performance in Stalag 13 but the movie is good, not great.

My Top Ten Favorite Billy Wilder Movies:

  1. Sunset Boulevard
  2. Some Like It Hot
  3. Double Indemnity
  4. Sabrina
  5. The Apartment
  6. The Fortune Cookie
  7. Ace In The Hole
  8. One, Two, Three
  9. A Foreign Affair
  10. Witness For The Prosecution

Before directing his own scripts, Wilder and his partner Charles Brackett wrote three movies- Midnight, Ninotchka and Ball Of Fire-that are as good as anything in the Wilder canon.

Saturday GIF Horse: Speaking of Billy Wilder, one of his favorite actors was Jack Lemmon who appeared in seven of the Master’s films. Here’s Lemmon’s nebbish character from The Apartment making dinner for Shirley McLaine.

What a racket. Tennis anyone?

Weekly Vintage Video: Private Dancer is my favorite song from Tina Tuner’s 1980’s solo superstar phase. It was written by Mark Knopfler of  Dire Straits and features Jeff Beck on lead guitar with a solo that his fellow axe man Knopfler hated. So much for professional courtesy.

Saturday Classic: Ike Turner was a no-good wife-beating son of a bitch but he and Tina made some great music together. It was grittier and funkier than the music she made in her solo superstar period. Having said that, I’m glad she got out of that terrible marriage. Her hell made for a helluva movie featuring Adrastos crush Angela Bassett as Tina.

This album was released in 1970 and features some swell covers of what have become classic rock songs including the title track Come Together:

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Audrey Hepburn, Billy Wilder, and Bill Holden. The picture was taken on the set of Sabrina. I think the man on the left is Wilder’s co-writer Izzy Diamond but I’ve been wrong before.

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