I’m trying something different this month. I’m pairing the artwork of Edward Hopper with the music of Richard Thompson. Each Saturday in April will feature a different EH image and RT tune. I think they work well together.
My oak pollen allergy has been bonkers this year. We’ve hit a prolonged dry patch: no rain since some time in February. We tend towards extremes in New Orleans. It either rains too much or not at all. The happy medium is unknown in our forecasting annals.
The worst thing about this allergy season during the pandemic is that it’s hard for me to go outside at all. The last time I took a walk, I had a pollen related sneezing jag, which led some fellow strollers to glare at me as if I were Typhoid Mary. So it goes.
This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson for the Pour Down Like Silver album. I have a soft spot for that album: it was the first RT album I ever purchased but not until 10 years after its release. I was a late RT bloomer.
We have three versions of For Shame Of Doing Wrong for your listening pleasure: the Richard and Linda studio original, a poppy version produced by Gerry Rafferty, and a cover by RT’s former Fairport band mate, Sandy Denny.
Is it shameful that I like the poppy version from Rafferty’s Folly? Hell, I like the song below too. It was inescapable in 1978:
As I hang my head for shame of doing wrong, let’s jump to the break in a shameless manner.
We begin our second act with a random RT tune from the Daring Adventures album:
I hope posting that song wasn’t a boner in the Merkle Boner sense of the word. You didn’t think I was talking about an erection or an erector set, did you? If so, that would be your mistake, not mine, this Split Enz song notwithstanding:
Now that I’ve dazzled you with Tim Finn’s snappy patter and stage presence, it’s time to divide this post into segments We begin with the article that inspired the weekly Hopper.
We Are All Edward Hopper Paintings Now: One way people explain their circumstances is by resorting to analogy. Hence a piece in the Guardian by Jonathan Jones with a tagline that sums it up quite neatly:
With his deserted cityscapes and isolated figures, the US painter captured the loneliness and alienation of modern life. But the pandemic has given his work a terrifying new significance.
Things are never quite what they seem in a Hopper painting. He painted in a seemingly hyper-realistic style, but the effect was as surreal as all get out.
Our featured image New York Movie evokes a time when smoking was still allowed in theatres. It was well and truly gross. I thought so even when I was a smoker.
Speaking of smoking and choking:
That smoldering Tubes tune was RT era appropriate. We need a Hopper era appropriate number to balance things out:
Let’s quit smoking and move on to two pieces by friends of mine. One could even call it Crony’s Corner. I consulted with several dictionaries as to whether it’s crony’s or cronies. It could go either way; I think it looks better with a Y but without the MCA…
Still Dangerous: My old friend and fellow OG NOLA blogger Kim (Dangerblond) Marshall’s mother survived a bout with COVID-19. Kim has written a swell piece for The Lens about this brush with the plague. It’s good to know that it’s not a death sentence even for a 78-year-old great-grandmother. FYI, I’ve met Kim’s mom: she’s a pistol.
We move from the present to the past with the next installment of Crony’s Corner. Hmm, sounds like something you’d find in the Trump White House.
Lamar On Carlos Marcello: My Bayou Brief publisher Lamar White Jr. is spending the lockdown working on a three-part series about former New Orleans Mafia Kingfish, Carlos Marcello. The first part dropped this week: Calogero Minacore and the Making of Carlos Marcello. It’s a winner, I tell ya.
I’m feeling cornered after all that talk of cronies. The last word of our second act goes to an old musical crony, the great John Fogerty:
We begin our third act with our newest regular feature.
The Weekly Heller: This quote from Catch 22 could be said either by President* Pennywise or about him. It reflects Heller’s deep cynicism about the human condition:
The Movie List: Mike Nichols directed the 1970 film version of Catch 22. It was an ambitious failure and did not make the list below. I’ve included a mini-series Nichols did for HBO on the list. It’s too good to ignore.
My Top Ten Favorite Mike Nichols Movies:
- The Graduate
- Charlie Wilson’s War
- Angels In America
- Carnal Knowledge
- Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
- Working Girl
- Biloxi Blues
- Primary Colors
- Postcards From The Edge
When I looked at Nichols’ IMDB entry, I was stunned that he’d only directed 22 films. It’s all about quality, not quantity. Of course, he was busy directing plays so it’s not like he was sitting around the house in his underwear. I don’t think Diane Sawyer would have stood for it.
Another thing that flowed from the production of Catch 22 was a song Paul Simon wrote about Art Garfunkel’s absence from the studio during the making of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Artie played the naive Lt. Nately in that movie.
It’s time for our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: We have another image from the Beschloss files. He’s big on comparing statues and dudes.
Yes, this bust of James Madison (born today 1751) does resemble one modern political thinker: pic.twitter.com/QDPi9vyHdV
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) March 16, 2020
That was pretty, pretty good.
Saturday GIF Horse: Speaking of Curb Your Enthusiasm, here are Leon and Larry enthusing. I’m pretty sure that Leon says motherfucker sometime during this scene.
I thought that this season of Curb was one of the best ever. This running gag from the first episode was pure snarky genius:
Let’s transition from the comedic to the solemn.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: By the standards of this segment, this 1996 video by Fountains Of Wayne isn’t very vintage. It’s posted in honor of Adam Schlesinger who died of COVID-19 this week at 52.
Adam also wrote the theme song for the Tom Hanks movie about Sixties one-hit wonders The Wonders:
A final word about Adam Schlesinger. The NYT’s Rob Tannenbaum has compiled a listicle of his 30 Essential Songs. Who knew the Gray Lady did listicles? Anyway, it’s a rabbit hole worth getting lost in.
We’re closing things out with some live music from another artist who died way too young. Bob Marley was only 36 when he died of cancer.
Saturday Classic: This 1975 set was broadcast live on KSAN from The Boarding House on Bush Street in San Francisco. It ain’t dere no more but I saw some great shows there including Borscht Belt master Henny Youngman. Take my reggae, please:
That’s it for this week. I originally planned to post a vintage Crowded House video before Adam Schlesinger’s passing. The original trio still gets the last word.