Saturday Odds & Sods: Into The Lens

Noir et blanches by Man Ray.

New Orleans weather is as variable during the fall as it is unchanging in the summertime. It’s been cold and dry then warm and muggy, but I have not resorted to air-conditioning. So it goes.

The Orleans Parish runoff election is scheduled for December 11th. I’m supporting an old school NOLA pol in one race and a reformer who’s running against an old school NOLA pol in another. Sometimes I even confuse myself.

I voted to reelect Jay Banks as my district city councilmember. He ran first in the primary despite all the mud thrown at him by his “reformer” opponents. They lost me forever when I saw that they’d rented a billboard together to plug their primary candidacies. Collusion is a bad look.

In the Sheriff’s race, longtime incumbent Marlin Gusman just missed winning in the first round. He’s a terrible sheriff but an excellent politician. I’m voting for his opponent, Susan Hutson, but she looks like a long shot because of all the local political muscle massed against her.

Like many others on the left, Team Hutson seems to underestimate how conservative many older black people are. When I was a neighborhood leader, the most rabid people about crime were elderly black folks. They’re also comfortable with Gusman who is favored to stay in office despite all the outside money being spent on behalf of his opponent.

This week’s theme song was written by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes in 1980. It began life with the title I Am A Camera and was intended for the Buggles second album. Then Horn and Downes joined Yes, and it became Into The Lens, the first track of side two of the Drama LP.

We have the song in both incarnations for your listening pleasure. I prefer the Yes version because of Howe’s guitar and Squire’s bass, but Downes excels on keyboard on both versions.

There’s an oddball link between our theme song and this week’s Friday Cocktail Hour. Cabaret was based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play I Am A Camera, which in turn was adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 novel Goodbye To Berlin. It doesn’t get much odder than that.

Before we nod off like Lee Miller in the May Ray featured image, let’s jump to the break.

We go from I Am A Camera to just plain Camera, an early REM song.

What’s an old school camera without film?

That concludes this edition of Confuse the Kids Theatre but wait a minute, here’s my favorite Ringo song:

It’s so good because it was written by George Harrison. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Our second act consists of  two book excerpts. I think of book excerpts as the free samples of the literary world. Free samples usually involve food as does out first segment.

The American Chef: Julia Child did not want her revolutionary cooking show to be called The French Chef, but the producers insisted. I used to watch Julia with my mother who would sit spellbound as the great woman cast her culinary spell. To this day, I remain fond of Julia Child. I’ve even seen Julie & Julie multiple times although Amy Adams’ presence may have something to do with it.

There’s a swell excerpt at the Atlantic from Mayukh Sen’s book Taste Makers. Obviously, the excerpt is about Julia Child. Check it out by clicking here.

I just used the word spellbound; chances are you’ve never heard this song:

When Mel Met Anne: I recall being gobsmacked when I first learned that Mel Brooks was married to Anne Bancroft. Mel is one of the funniest men on the planet but he’s not exactly a looker. Anne Bancroft was a knockout who two years into their marriage played Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. Holy temptress, Batman.

In a New York Magazine excerpt from Mel’s new memoir All About Me, he describes their meet cute:

After a few minutes, the guest star, Anne Bancroft, takes the stage. I’d never seen anything like it.

She was wearing a stunning white dress, and she was singing in a sultry voice a Gertrude Niesen favorite, “I Wanna Get Married.” She was just incredibly beautiful.

When the song was over, I leapt to my feet, applauded madly, and shouted, “Anne Bancroft! I love you!”

She laughed and shouted back, “Who the hell are you?”

I said, “I’m Mel Brooks! Nobody you’ve ever heard of!”

She said, “Wrong! I’ve got your 2000 Year Old Man record with Carl Reiner. It’s great.”

That was the beginning.

Kudos to Anna Maria Louisa Italiano DBA Anne Bancroft for not being shallow and marrying the funny man. Their marriage lasted until her death in 2005. Anne and Mel are an inspiration to all of us.

The last word of our second act goes to Mel and Anne singing Sweet Georgia Brown in Polish:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Twitter Edition: Who among us doesn’t love the Great British Bake Off? That’s its real title, the rights to the name bake off are owned in the US by the Pillsbury Doughboy so they call it something else here. I refuse to use that title. Does that make me a bad American?

One of the finalists is an Anglo-Italian engineer named Giuseppe. I think he resembles Frank Zappa. So does this guy on the tweeter tube:

The last word of the segment goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers with a song that’s about a cookie tycoon or some such shit:

Saturday GIF Horse: Speaking of the Bake Off, here are some GIFS featuring fan favorite Chigs and my GBBO crush, Crystelle:

Lest you think me half-baked let’s move on to our weekly exercise in Listomania.

The Movie List: I’ve had the great Laurence Olivier on my mind after featuring his image here and here this week. I would deserve to be censured and stripped if I didn’t feature him in this, uh, feature.

My Top Ten Favorite Laurence Olivier Movies

  1.   Richard III
  2.   Hamlet
  3.   Henry V
  4.   Marathon Man
  5.   Rebecca
  6.   Sleuth
  7.   Spartacus
  8.   The Entertainer
  9.   Wuthering Heights
  10.   Love Among The Ruins

Not a bad list for a guy who was primarily a stage actor. He was also married to two pretty darn good actresses: first Vivien Leigh, then Joan Plowright.

Tweet Of The Week: Danny Goldman is one of my favorite MSNBC legal analysts. He was chief counsel to the House Intelligence Committee during the first Trump impeachment. When he returned to cable punditry, he styled himself as Daniel. We learned why the other day: he’s running for New York Attorney General.

This week’s tweet is a flashback to the impeachment hearings.

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

Saturday Classic: I used the opening track from King Crimson’s 1982 album Beat in my On The Road post. Here’s the whole damn album via Spotify.

That’s all for this week, The last word goes to Larry Olivier as Hamlet and poor Yorick, alas.