Saturday Odds & Sods: Ripple

Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in Giant.

The heat wave has relented and we’re back to normal hot summer weather in New Orleans. When I first came to the Gret Stet of Louisiana, we rarely had highs of over 95 because we had afternoon showers nearly every day. I don’t function well when it’s over 95 but do fine at 90. It’s only 5 degrees, so it defies logic but I never claimed to be a Vulcan.

This week’s theme song features one of Jerry Garcia’s loveliest melodies. Robert Hunter’s lyrics are swell as well. It’s one of the highlights of the Dead’s 1970 album, American Beauty. That’s when roses became a recurring motif on the band’s album covers.

We have two versions of Ripple for your listening pleasure: the studio original and Jimmy Dale Gilmore:

While we’re making ripples, here’s Genesis:

We begin our second act with a piece about the odd couple friendship between two American originals, Tony Fauci and Larry Kramer.

Fauci-Kramer: Dr. Fauci was inspired to write about his friendship with Larry Kramer after attending a service marking three years since the playwright’s death. They had perhaps the weirdest real life meet cute ever:

The date is June 26, 1988. A one-way conversation from Larry Kramer to Tony Fauci via the written word, in The San Francisco Examiner, reflecting a booming voice before I even knew him: “I Call You Murderers,” the headline read. “An open letter to an incompetent idiot, Dr. Anthony Fauci.”

Even before working with Donald Trump, Tony Fauci was an expert in dealing with difficult people. In Kramer’s case, it was worth it.

Anthony Fauci is a national treasure. It’s horrible that this fine scientist has been vilified by the Trumpist right. His “crime” was being right about COVID. His enemies are the incompetent idiots that Kramer decried 35 years ago.

Pondering Larry Kramer’s passing gave me an earworm: one of Traffic’s most underrated songs.

Yeah, I know. I have an underrated song fetish.

If you were wondering why the featured image is of Liz and Rock in Giant, wonder no more.

Documentary Of The Week: During his lifetime, Rock Hudson was an enigmatic figure. His sexual orientation was widely gossiped about. I recall hearing the “Rock Hudson married Jim Nabors” rumor. The only thing true about it was that both men were gay. I don’t think Gomer was Rock’s type.

The new HBO documentary, Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed takes a deep dive into Hudson’s life and movie career with a focus on Rock’s private life. His sexual preference didn’t become publicly known until he was dying from AIDS. That revelation helped many people as it personalized the AIDS epidemic and obliged President Reagan to break his silence on the plague.

The most interesting talking heads in the movie are some of Rock’s ex-boyfriends. They share warm, not bitter memories of Hudson.

The saddest moment is when Linda Evans discusses working with Hudson on Dynasty. He struggled to kiss her in a scene. He was afraid he might infect her. We now know a kiss isn’t enough, but they didn’t know that back then. It’s the first time Evans has spoken publicly about the scene, which became a raging controversy in 1985.

The movie makes brilliant use of clips from Rock’s movies. They’re full of inside jokes and insight into the star’s life in the closet.

Here’s the trailer:

Grading Time: Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed  is one of the best movie star documentaries I’ve ever seen. I give it 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A-.

The last word of our second act goes to Cyndi Lauper with a song about a friend who died of AIDS:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Twitter Edition: I like to check in with the creator of SAB from time-to-time. This time it’s a Bozo-Cruise-Boehner mashup.

Your Weekly Oscar:  Play Misty for me, OP:

Have I told you lately how much I love Oscar Peterson? I dig that fiddler too.

Saturday GIF Horse: Giant is one of my favorite movies. It features Rock Hudson’s finest performance, James Dean getting oily, and Elizabeth Taylor fainting from the heat.

Nice save, Rock.

Tweet Of The Week: A message from Fake Jack Smith for all the miscreants out there. You know who you are.

The Junk Drawer: In preparation to see Asteroid Lounge, we watched Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch. It may well be the most Wes Anderson Wes Anderson movie ever. It’s quirky and charming like the best of Wes. Since it’s about a magazine, it’s structured like one. Another cool idea from the mind of Wes Anderson.

Grading Time: I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+.

What’s not to love about a movie with this set?

I called that scene: Two Narrators On A Chat Show. Why? Both Liev Schreiber and Jeffrey Wright have done their share of documentary narration. It’s a shame that Peter Coyote didn’t join them. Oh well, what the hell.

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

Saturday Closer: We’re going pulpy tomorrow with a post about Alfred Hitchcock’s final film, Family Plot. This clip features Rock Hudson’s friend and frequent costar Doris Day in Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much:

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor in George Stevens’ Giant:

One thought on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Ripple

  1. Yeah you right about the Rock Hudson documentary. It was better than expected. I never had much affection for Nancy Reagan. She showed her true colors by refusing to help Rock Hudson in obtaining healthcare in France.

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