Saturday Odds & Sods: Something’s Gotta Give

Piazza d’Italia by Giorgio di Chirico.

It’s election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. As I stated in my last Bayou Brief column, I plan to affix a clothespin and vote for Governor John Bel Edwards. Here’s hoping that we don’t have a run-off with more visits from the Trumps and Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire. They’ve held events in small-ish venues but there have still been empty seats. A good slogan for Pence’s next event would be: Empty Seats For An Empty Suit.

We’re having our first cool front of the year. Fall hasn’t exactly fallen but we’ll take what we can get. The only seasons you can depend on in New Orleans are summer and carnival. I forgot football season: LSU and Florida are squaring off tonight in Red Stick. Here’s hoping the Tigers feast on Gator.

I have a new motto: Surreal times call for Surrealist art. This week’s featured image is by the Italian Surrealist, Giorgio di Chirico who was originally a Futurist. That gives me an excuse to quote Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto: “Oh, maternal ditch.”

If you expect me to explain that quote, you’re out of luck. I’m feeling cryptic like a proper Surrealist if there is such a thing. There were more than a few improper Surrealists if you catch my drift.

The title of this week’s theme song aptly describes our current national situation: Something’s Gotta Give. It was written by Johnny Mercer in 1955 for the Fred Astaire movie, Daddy Long Legs.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Fred Astaire from the movie, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Lets make like Daddy Long Legs and crawl to the break.

We begin our second act with another Johnny Mercer song. This time from Dr. John’s songbook album, Mercernary. What’s not to love about an album with a punny title?

Dr. John isn’t the only one with a big personality. My favorite cable news host has one as well.

Rachel, Rachel: It’s a running joke in my house that I watch the Rachel Maddow Show every week night on DVR with my cats. I think Oscar was more devoted to Our Rachel than PD but he participates too. in his case, that involves lying on the living room rug and showing his belly.

There’s a great profile by Amanda Hess in the NYT magazine about Rachel and her fans. I got a kick out of this passage about Rachel’s on air uniform:

On TV, Maddow appears in slim black blazers over black shirts. She wears smoky eye shadow and subtly glossy lipstick, and her short hair is swept elegantly away from her forehead. The only tell that her business-casual femininity is a mirage created for television is that she has not modified her look for 11 years. It is a uniform she selected for work and steps into every day, so that she never has to make an aesthetic choice that can be picked apart by the commentariat and elevated above what she has to say. When the show is over, she wipes off her makeup, removes her contacts and changes into her civilian clothing.

It’s a brilliant way to duck the inevitable comments about how women look and dress. Rachel always looks the same on the tube. Perhaps that’s why Oscar and Paul Drake are fans: they have their own uniform. It’s time for a musical interlude from noted feline fancier Ian Anderson:

I’m a huge fan of the A block of the show wherein Rachel exercises her considerable gift for storytelling and deep knowledge of history. It’s why I think of her as our Explainer-in-Chief.

Here’s the A block from 10/8/19 wherein Rachel takes a look at the bizarre spectacle of corrupt former Attorney General Ed Meese receiving the medal of freedom from the corrupt Current Occupant:

The last word of the segment goes to Eric Clapton with a song from his LA heroin era:

Butch & Sundance In Exile: I grew up on Westerns. Some of my earliest movie theatre memories are of seeing the revisionist Westerns that exploded on the scene after Bonnie and Clyde, which was not technically a Western but played like one.

My favorite revisionist Western was Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. It taught me the power of movie stars and how to fight dirty:

There’s a fabulous article by Patrick Symmes at the Daily Beast about the real Butch and Sundance’s time in South America. It’s an entertaining piece by a writer who thinks they died as they did in the movie: with their boots on, guns ablazing.

This Townes Van Zandt tune isn’t about Butch and Sundance but it could be:

Pancho and Lefty? What happened to the Cisco Kid and Pancho? Were they casualties of War?

We begin our third act with a segment that Harry Longbaugh aka Butch Cassidy would have dug. What cowboy wouldn’t have liked being played by Paul Newman?

The Movie List: I’ve always had a strong emotional connection to Paul Newman’s movies. It was hard to winnow this list down to ten so I cheated in the third slot. What can I say?

My Top Ten Favorite Paul Newman Movies:

  1. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
  2. Hud
  3. The Hustler/The Color of Money
  4. The Sting
  5. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
  6. Nobody’s Fool
  7. Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
  8. Absence of Malice
  9. Cool Hand Luke
  10. Road To Perdition

Notice that I used the word favorite. I’m not sure that Butch Cassidy is Newman’s best film but it’s my favorite. I’ve seen it oodles of times and it always makes me laugh. I still holler along with Redford when he jumps off the cliff and shouts: “SHIT.” No shit.

Since I’ve gone on about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid here’s the Bacharach-David song from that movie:

We continue with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: I’m not usually a fan of paring some random person with a movie star but there are exceptions to every rule and this is one of them. I’m not sure where the picture of Judy Zipper came from BUT she sure looks like Leonardo DiCaprio.

Saturday GIF Horse: Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in The Bandwagon. Say no more.

This Gershwin song isn’t from The Bandwagon but it features Fred with an all-star band of jazz musicians led by the great Oscar Peterson:

Let’s time travel from 1953 to 1986.

Weekly Vintage Video: Lone Justice is a largely forgotten band that doesn’t deserve such a fate. Their singer Maria McKee had some serious chops and I’m not talking pork or lamb.

Saturday Classic: Before Peter Frampton posed shirtless for the cover of Rolling Stone, he was a respected musician, not a teen idol. He was a particular favorite of my circle of high school friends: we saw Frampton live half a dozen times before he became a superstar. In fact, we were present for some of the recording of Frampton Comes Alive.

This radio set was recorded in 1975 and broadcast on KSAN: Jive 95. It takes me back.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire on the set of You Were Never Lovelier:

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