Saturday Odds & Sods: Life Is A Minestrone

Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cans by Andy Warhol

It was a long, weird week in New Orleans. I’m one of the officers of the Krewe of Spank and krewe stuff ate my week. We have an early parade date, Saturday February 8th so the typical tumult and chaos have arrived early. If you’re religious, pray for me. If not, have a drink in my honor. This too will pass.

I selected this week’s theme song because all the talk in my latest 13th Ward Rambler column about Spaghetti Westerns gave me an earworm, which led, in turn, to the Warhol featured image. I seem to be more impressionable than I thought.

Life Is A Minestrone was written in 1975 by brothers-in-law Lol Creme and Eric Stewart for 10cc’s Original Soundtrack album. It’s a cheerful ditty with surreal, punny lyrics so, quite naturally, I like it

What’s not to love about a song whose chorus goes like this:

“Life is a minestrone, served up with parmesan cheese.

Death is a cold lasagne, suspended in deep freeze.”

Now that we’ve had soup and an entree, it’s time for dessert:

I had never thought of those tunes as musical kin before but they are. Surreal food wordplay reigns supreme as we jump to the break.

I don’t know about you, but I need more chocolate:

The food theme continues with the first two segments of our second act.

How Do Ya Like Dem Apples, Mr. Graham? January 8th was the 89th anniversary of rock impresario’s Bill Graham’s birth. Us old rockers traded stories on social media about attending his shows and talking to the man himself. I learned many creative ways to curse from listening to BG. My favorite was camel fucker. Why? I’ll never know.

One staple of Graham’s shows at the Fillmore was a barrel of free apples in the lobby. I’d always taken it as a token of BG’s generosity and hospitality. In a piece at KQED.org, Ryan Levi posits an interesting theory about the free apples. Its title says it all: How Bill Graham’s Nazi Escape Might Explain His Fillmore Apples. Check it out. You know what they say about an apple a day.

Contemplating Bill Graham at 89 has given me a non-food earworm:

The older I get the more I identify with that song. Let’s resume the food talk.

The Midlife Crisis of the American Restaurant Review is a think piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books by food writer Theodore Gioia. He posits that the advent of Yelp and other review sites/apps have decreased the value of traditional food criticism. He not only criticizes mainstream restaurant reviews; he proposes some new standards.  It’s an interesting and provocative piece that’s well worth checking out. Click here, my pretties.

It’s time for a musical interlude from David Bowie who shared a birthday with Bill Graham:

The next movement of our second act involves a controversy among romance writers. I am not making this up.

Isn’t It Unromantic? There’s a huge controversy in the world of romance fiction. I learned of this unromantic flap from a bodice-ripping WaPo piece by Antonia Noori Farzan. Once again, the headline says it all: A Romance Writer Called A Novel Racist. Now The Industry Is In Chaos and Its Top Awards Have Been Canceled.

How’s that for a mouthful? There was one passage that really tickled me:

Among the high-profile authors weighing in was Nora Roberts, who wrote in a blog post that the debacle “brought to light a long-standing and systemic marginalization of authors of color, of LGBTQ authors, by the organization.” No longer a member of Romance Writers of America, the best-selling writer said she became disillusioned in 2005, when top leaders drafted a statement defining romance as between a man and a woman.

“I would not be a part of this kind of discrimination against the LGBTQ community,” Roberts wrote. “Jesus, it’s fine to have a character fall in love with a freaking vampire, but not someone of the same sex?”

A question for the ages. The last word of our second act goes to the Velvet Fog:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: It’s time for another casting edition. I’ve come to the conclusion that Sarah Paulson can play anyone or anything. Her turn as Marcia Clark in The People vs. OJ Simpson won an Emmy. Here she is side-by-side with the real Marcia, Marcia.

I avidly followed the freak show that was the Simpson case. I always thought that Clark got a raw deal, so I was pleased with the way she was depicted by Ryan Murphy and his cohort.

The Classic Movie List: This week we feature one of the greatest stars of the Fifties and Sixties, Audrey Hepburn. She was also one of the best people in the film industry, devoting countless hours to UNICEF and other good causes.

My Top Ten Favorite Audrey Hepburn Movies:

  1.   Sabrina
  2.   Roman Holiday
  3.   Breakfast At Tiffany’s
  4.   Two For The Road
  5.   Love In The Afternoon
  6.   Charade
  7.   My Fair Lady
  8.   Wait Until Dark
  9.   Robin and Marian
  10.  The Children’s Hour

Hepburn had only 34 credits to her name, but it wasn’t hard to come up with a top ten list. I only wish there was room for The Nun’s Story, and They All Laughed. Holy honorable mention, Batman.

It’s time for more movie magic but first a wee musical interlude:

Saturday GIF Horse: This week’s image comes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the movie, not my Bayou Brief column that referenced it.

Psychedelic, man. I could have called that segment Timothy Leary Meets Clint Eastwood. The “many fantastic colors” evoke a song from that era with an odd title:

Weekly Vintage Music Video: The first time I heard Luka by Suzanne Vega; I was blown away by her songwriting chops. I still am.

Let’s shut this party down with some movie music, Morricone style.

Saturday Classic: One of George Pelcanos’ characters, Derek Strange, is obsessed with Ennio Morricone’s music. It’s sort of odd for a black detective who lives in Washington DC but Pelecanos is a quirky writer. We Greeks gotta stick together.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Chef Daniel Boulud and Andy Warhol.

One thought on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Life Is A Minestrone

  1. Anthony says:

    Life is a cabernet, old chum…”

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