Saturday Odds & Sods: People Are Strange

Twin Sisters by Diane Arbus.

Things are slowly returning to normal in post-Ida New Orleans. The trash problem seems to have abated somewhat, but there’s still a lot of tree and construction debris about. It’s time to take the debris out of Debrisville.

I usually only have a Spring allergy problem, but that’s no longer true. I suspect it has something to do with the dust in the air after the storm. Whatever it is, I wish it would relent. Achoo.

I’m getting my Pfizer booster shot at noon today. Unlike Gary Cooper in High Noon, I won’t beg for help. I can take a jab with the best of them.

This week’s theme song was written by Jim Morrison and Robbie Krieger for the Doors’ 1967 album Strange Days. It was originally credited to the whole band. That’s what hippies did; not that Morrison was a hippie. He was one of the original goths.

We have two versions of People Are Strange for your listening pleasure: the Doors original and a cover by Echo & the Bunnymen from the 1987 movie, The Lost Boys.

That was almost as strange as the Diane Arbus featured image. Those twins have always given me the heebie jeebies.

Now that I’ve creeped you out, let’s join arms and jump to the break.

We’ve landed somewhere strange. Is that Leon Russell at the piano?

We have an all Vulture second act this week. We begin with a piece about Doors lead guitarist, Robbie Krieger.

The Doors Revisited: Krieger sat down for an interview with Vulture’s Devon Ivie. They discuss the best and trippiest tunes in The Doors catalog. Krieger’s favorite song is LA Woman. We’re on the same page.

I also agree with Devon Ivie that some of Krieger’s best guitar work was done on this song:

I have a confession to make: I never visited Jim Morrison’s tomb while in Paris. It’s kind of odd since I love cemeteries. So it goes.

Let’s set the dial to Showtime and talk Billions, which just concluded its 5th season with the exit of Damian Lewis. I’ll miss Axe as will Dollar Bill and Mafee. If that’s inside Billions baseball to you, so be it.

The Character We Hate To Love: My favorite character on Billions is Axe’s profanely hilarious hatchet man, Michael Wagner better known to one and all as Wags. The nickname given to former New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin by my pal Liprap applies to Wags as well: The Walking Id.

There’s a swell piece in Vulture by Sean T Collins about the evolution of the character: How ‘Wags’ Became The Hedonistic Heart Of Billions.

When Billions began, Wags did not exist. Yes, there was a character bearing that name played by David Costabile, but his personality was a far cry from the Wags we’ve come to know. “When we first talked to Dave about it, we were like, ‘This is a guy who says as little as he can to get his opinion across,’” Koppelman explains. “He roils inside, but you don’t see any evidence of it.’”

“The character was completely different,” Costabile echoes. “Upper East Side WASP, very patrician, very quiet, the Tom Hagen man behind the man.” (Billions may be the most Godfather-loving show since The Sopranos, so it’s no surprise to hear a cast member drop a reference.) “I auditioned that way, and we shot the pilot that way … and they watched the pilot and were like ‘No, we have to completely change it.’”

It wasn’t that Costabile’s original approach to Wags had gone wrong; rather, his castmate Damien Lewis’s approach to Axe had gone right. “Some of the stuff on the page was Axe being fiery and explosive,” Levien says, “but then Damien came in with this shark-like cool. We realized we needed a fiery id.”

Lewis always underplays his parts even when he played Henry VII in Wolf Hall. That left an opening for Costabile to go nuts and become the character we hate to love.

The last word of the segment goes to Patti Smith with a song that was used in the first episode of season 5 of Billions:

Wags is something of a cannibal, after all. So is Corey Stoll who betrayed Paul Giamatti and is about to become the latter’s new nemesis. Stoll also played Junior Soprano in The Many Saints Of Newark.

Sopranos Decoder Ring: I’m in the minority on The Moltisantis Of Newark. There’s something about The Sopranos universe that makes people talk about the prequel that they wish had been made. I reviewed the movie as it is and liked it. I stopped caring what other people think long ago. Like Wags, I’m out of fucks to give. Oops, wrong show.

Vulture’s superstar teevee critic Matt Zoller Seitz has written another great piece about The Many Saints Of Newark. He found seven important parallels between the movie and the HBO series. It’s unclear if he wore a decoder ring while writing the piece but I can dream, can’t I?

For the details click here.

The last word of our strange second act goes to some guys from Jersey:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: Tina Turner is back in the news: she’s sold her back catalog and image rights to BMG. I wonder if she consulted with Angela Bassett?

The Movie List is hiding from the ghost of Ike Turner. It asked for the week off and its wish was granted. Nice and easy:

Saturday GIF Horse: It’s Wags time again. Of course, it’s always Wags time at Adrastos World HQ.

Billions GIF by Stan. - Find & Share on GIPHY

Oddball Odds & Sods Image: There’s a house in Uptown New Orleans that always goes big for Halloween. It’s known as the Skeleton house and Dr A loves photographing it.

As you can see, the Skeleton People share my opinion of FedEx.

That reminds me of a song. Of course, everything reminds me of a song:

Tweet Of The Week: I never thought I’d post something by the New York Post but this one has legs.

Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with some more music.

Saturday Classic:  There’s no rock and roll on Krupa Rocks, but it’s still pretty darn good.

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to the season 5 cast of Billions.