Gretchen reminded me in my recent TTMMW post that I’d left out another photo of my Dad’s similar to Lucien Clergue’s work, taken later, when I was about 13. So here it is.
This week, we’re going to do a train of thought, connect the dots Thelonious Monk Memorial Weblog. Try to spot the connection between each post! It’s like a game for your brain.
In news about Seinfeld, Uncle Leo (Real name: Len Lesser) died this week. Yo La Tengo does a little Seinfeld too:
When it comes to other Leo’s, Leonardo da Vinci’s lover may have been the model for the Mona Lisa. Since he was a big homo, this makes sense.
If you’d like to look at some art that actually is good, check out this detail work.
Want real real art? These arches take the cake.
Also I love rainbows! Maybe I should have grown up in the 70s when it was okay to walk around in tie-dye. Except the only tie-dye I have ever really loved was that one creamsicle shirt I made myself that always prompted my dad to go out and buy sherbert.
Along the dessert train, tere is an entire website devoted to the care and keeping of Crème brûlée. Flan is better. I made flan this week. Discuss.
In things that you’d think wouldn’t be around anymore but they are, here is a computer playing Jeopardy. The one thing i liked about this show was that it was basically gimmick free. Why’d they have to go make it all new wave?
I will say that I’m not consistently into these videos where people inspire us to love the gays, but this one is actually super cute and it’s about IOWA and proves that it is a state full of lots of different types of people.
Justified if back on the air, but not back on Hulu. Tears of a clown. Still, it’s pretty good. Elmore Leonard’s books really do translate amazingly to the big and small screens; just watch George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight. Do it. Really.
Roseanne is coming back to TV! “The program, from 3 Ball Productions/Eyeworks USA (The Biggest Loser), will look at Barr’s recent newfound life managing a fully-functional 40-acre macadamia and live stock farm on Hawaii’s Big Island alongside her long-time writer-musician boyfriend Johnny Argent and son Jake.” It’s The Biggest Loser cred that’s got me hooked, not the fully-functional 40-acre-macadamia farm, in case you were wondering.
I love Tootsie. There may have been one afternoon that Jessie and I biked along Lake Michigan, which was exhausting because I was out of shape and I had borrowed KB’s bike which was very rusty and then promptly lost the key somehow which I never do (lose things) and her bike remained locked to our back gate for approximately six months before I paid a very cute, awk young man too much money to saw it off and then she got it all fixed and it was stolen like two weeks later. What gives universe?
Anyway, that one day, we also got amazing sandwiches at Z&H before they were close to campus and were more of a luxury item and then came back to her apartment and ate them while watching this movie. It was perfection, summer-style. Tootsie has some “interesting feminist themes” according to Tony Scott. What doesn’t, Tony. What doesn’t. Also Teri Garr plays another lovable ditz (see Phoebe’s biological mother in Friends).
The Gehry building in downtown Manhattan is actually okay, though I don’t know why they couldn’t have made it seamless and had him design the school below as well.
For architecture that actually tells the test of time, look no further than this book The Complete Architecture of Adler and Sullivan. When I took the AP Art History test in high school, they totally had a Sullivan building on it and you had to identify the architect, but it was a really unfair question, because it was a completely nondescript building. Okay, it might have actually been the Schlesinger and Mayer Department Store, but it was a bad angle and I am certain basically no one got that right. I went on to rock that thing, in case you were wondering and you consider a 4 “rocking.”
Pixar again! Can’t get enough. I would sell my right, non-animating arm for a chance to go back and rewrite my history to be good enough to animate for them. Also, does anyone else have a feeling that Melena Ryzik sticks out like a sore thumb in California? “What’s up Michael Cera?”
Michael Moore is an idiot and is trying to get more money from the Weinstein’s off of Fahrenheit 9/11. While I will say that I did sob silently during that movie, it was definitely due to the footage and not the film. It’s good to know that a dude who made an film entitled Capitalism: A Love Story is asking for an increase in his due profits. America at it’s finest.
Between Two Ferns is back, this time with perfectly paired Tila Tequila and Jennifer Aniston. Dad always said she was the most talented Friends cast member, and despite my soft spot for Ross (and Chandler in the early years) he may be right.
Lightening never strikes the same place twice, but it does strike the same general area repeatedly.
Listen to David Oshinsky discuss his Pulitzer Prize–winning book Polio: An American Story, because Jonas Salk was incredible and I once made a highly realistic looking clay sculpture of him in fourth grade.
Computer Rosie the Riveters are not what you think they are, but are still very very cool, and show us that women can rock it in tech.
Unfortunately, the South Street Seaport Museum, one of the only indications that the South Street Seaport Historic District is an actual neighborhood, has fallen on some hard times.
Dylan performed at the Grammys, which some people liked and some people didn’t. I say, just remember the old days:
Like father, like son: Two interviews with Teddy Thompson and Richard Thompson. The best part of Teddy’s interview is when he says, “I would never like to be compared with Michael Bublé. Ewww.” And here’s a good duet of the two of them:
New Paul Simon is pretty bomb, I’ll say. Stereogum is saying the Vampire Weekend fans will like it, but maybe it’s more historically accurate to say that Paul Simon fans might like Vampire Weekend?
Listen to Jame Blake’s cover of Case Of You, one of the best love songs ever.
This piece on not drinking and dating is actually nice, honest and not total bullshit.
Let’s leave it with James Dean and Brigette Bardot, who said it best when he said “If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he’s dead, then maybe he was a great man.”
Playboy, July 1964.
Every year, after the Grammys, which my father would spent the entirety of moaning and complaining about how there was no good music left in the world, I would take the list of winners that The New York Times published in the paper, and highlight all the artists I knew he liked or would like that had won. Even though it’s mostly a lot of bullshit, there are still lots of smaller categories that don’t get featured that honor musicians who quietly live their lives while making us happier. There are a few of my personal choices on here, such as Lady Gaga, who I know for a fact he was sick to death of hearing about. But variety is the spice of life, and I can and will like her next to Patty Griffin. Whatever the awards show ridiculousness was, and the resulting ridiculous ratings, there’s still some good stuff out there, so chin up kids!
An Abridged List, With Choice Commentary
New Artist: Esperanza Spalding
While Spalding may be new to everyone else, she’s been around for years, and the album she won for was her third.
Female Pop Vocal Performance: Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”
Pop Instrumental Performance: Jeff Beck, “Nessun Dorma”
Pop Vocal Album: “The Fame Monster,” Lady Gaga
Dance Recording: “Only Girl (In the World),” Rihanna
Electronic/Dance Album: “La Roux,” La Roux
Was there even another way to go?
Rock Instrumental Performance: Jeff Beck, “Hammerhead”
Rock Song: Neil Young (“Angry World,” Neil Young)
Male R&B Vocal Performance: Usher, “There Goes My Baby”
R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: Sade, “Soldier of Love”
Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: John Legend and The Roots, “Hang On In There”
Urban/Alternative Performance: Cee Lo Green, “_____You”
R&B Song: John Stephens (“Shine,” John Legend and The Roots)
R&B Album: “Wake Up!,” John Legend and The Roots
Contemporary R&B Album: “Raymond V Raymond,” Usher
Rap Solo Performance: Eminem, “Not Afraid”
Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group: Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz, “On To the Next One”
Rap Album: “Recovery,” Eminem
Male Country Vocal Performance: Keith Urban, “ ’Til Summer Comes Around”
The only song I actually like of his is that super sad one “You’ll Think Of Me”, and then maybe also “Somebody Like You.”
Jazz Vocal Album: “Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee,” Dee Dee Bridgewater
Large Jazz Ensemble Album: “Mingus Big Band Live at Jazz Standard,” Mingus Big Band
Rock Or Rap Gospel Album: “Hello Hurricane,” Switchfoot
This is only included because this category is called “Rap Gospel”, a category I didn’t know existed. Another fun fact about Switchfoot: a large percentage of the Walk To Remember soundtrack consists of their songs. Though let’s be real, the one memorable song on that album was a cover of “Dancing In The Moonlight”, a King Harvest song from the 70s covered by Toploader. Though let’s be real, the best cover of that cover is my mother tunelessly singing along to it during a long roadtrip.
Traditional Gospel Album: “Downtown Church,” Patty Griffin
Americana Album: “You Are Not Alone,” Mavis Staples
Bluegrass Album: “Mountain Soul II,” Patty Loveless
Traditional Blues Album: “Joined at the Hip,” Pinetop Perkins and Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith
Contemporary Blues Album: “Living Proof,” Buddy Guy
Contemporary Folk Album: “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise,” Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs
Contemporary World Music Album: “Throw Down Your Heart, Africa Sessions Part 2,” Béla Fleck
Musical Album For Children: “Tomorrow’s Children,” Pete Seeger with the Rivertown Kids and Friends
Spoken Word Album For Children: “Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies,” Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
Spoken Word Album: “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Earth,” Jon Stewart With Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, Jason Jones, John Oliver and Sigourney Weaver
Comedy Album: “Stark Raving Black,” Lewis Black
Compilation Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media: “Crazy Heart”
Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media: Randy Newman, “Toy Story 3”
Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media: Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett, “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart”
Short Form Music Video: Francis Lawrence and Heather Heller (“Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga)
Long Form Music Video: Tom Dicillo, John Beug, Jeff Jampol, Peter Jankowski and Dick Wolf (“When You’re Strange,” The Doors)
Engineered Album, Non-Classical: Michael H. Brauer, Joe Ferla, Chad Franscoviak and Manny Marroquin (“Battle Studies,” John Mayer)
Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: David Guetta (“Revolver,” Madonna)
Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: Rob Jones and Jack White III (“Under Great White Northern Lights,” the White Stripes)
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical: Danger Mouse
Classical Album: “Verdi: Requiem,” Riccardo Muti, conductor; Duain Wolfe, chorus master (Ildar Abdrazakov, Olga Borodina, Barbara Frittoli, Mario Zeffiri, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Chorus)
This one’s for Jessie.
1) Patti Smith Could Get No Cooler
I really like how she’s a huge fan of Law & Order: SVU.
2) Blake Edwards Dies
Really, really sad. Husband of Julie Andrews, he directed her in one of my favorite films, Victor/Victoria. He also directed and wrote the original Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers, not the bad ones with Steve Martin (sorry Steve).
3) A viral video of all the black people ever on Friends hits the web
The list (though I think it might be incomplete, I won’t bore you with my endless knowledge of trivial Friends Facts, or what I consider Fun Facts).
Jorge Luis Abreu – The One with the Birth Mother – The Waiter
John Eric Bentley – The One with the Blind Dates – Waiter #2
Mongo Brownlee – The One with Unagi – The Instructor
Sean Corvelle – The One with the Holiday Armadillo – The Salesman
Monique Edwards – The One with Christmas in Tulsa/The One with Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner – Claudia
Jonathan T. Floyd – The One with All the Candy – Gary
Jason Winston George – The One Where They’re Up All Night – Fireman
Ron Glass -The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance/The One Where Ross
Hugs Rachel – Russell
Joyce Guy – The One Where Rosita Dies – The Supervisor
Teck Holmes – The One with the Mugging – Jordan
Michelle Anne Johnson – The One with the Mugging – The Casting director
Cleo King – The One Where No One Proposes – Nurse Kitty
Phill Lewis – The One with the Lottery/The One with the Mugging/The One Where Rachel Goes Back to Work – Steve
Tembi Locke – The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel – Karin
Keith Pillow – The One with Rachel’s Dream – Customer #2
Ron Recasner – The One with Unagi – The Doctor
Dennis Singletary – The One with Joey’s Porsche – Guy #2
Tim Edward Rhoze – The One Where Joey Speaks French – Director
Michael D. Roberts – The One with Ross’ Library Book – The Head Librarian
Timothy Starks – The One with the Boob Job – The Handyman
Aisha Tyler – The One with the Soap Opera Party/The One with the Fertility Test/The One with the Donor/The One in Barbados: Part 2/The One in Barbados: Part 1/The One After Joey and Rachel Kiss/The One Where Ross Is Fine/The One Where Rachel’s Sister Babysits – Charlie Wheeler
Gabrielle Union – The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress – Kristen Lang
Janet Hubert-Whitten – The One Where Emma Cries – Ms. McKenna
Barry Wiggins – The One with the Holiday Armadillo – The Man
4) I went to see Mark Morris’ The Hard Nut at BAM Again
This ballet will probably always be my favorite. A modern adaptation of The Nutcracker, I first saw it at the age of four when our good family friend, Clarice Marshall, was the lead, Marie. I even dressed up as her for Halloween the following year. In the following video, which features clips of different performances of The Hard Nut, but a great deal of footage of Clarice in the original production, Morris explains how the holiday party scene at the beginning of the ballet is influenced largely by improvisation, which I feel largely explains why it is some of his best work.
His Company’s productions benefit hugely from the individual attention that all the dancers get; even those that are not leads have their moments, and he does amazing work with partnering. Something that has always set The Hard Nut apart from more traditional ballet is his use of both men and women in scenes that would historically feature only female dancers. While some might find it “gender bending”, Morris sees it differently: “The topic of the snowflakes and the flowers is an interesting one, because I guess because traditionally in most Nutcrackers, those are danced by women, because most women are more like flowers or snowflakes. And as far as I’m concerned, flowers have different genders, there’s a male and a female flower. Snowflakes I don’t believe have sexual characteristics of any kind, so what I wanted really, frankly, was a stage full of people, and my company is fifty percent men and fifty percent women, so if I want a big crowd of people, it can only be that big with everybody. And so that became a political, socio-political sort of thing, when in fact it’s just, bring on the snowflakes!”
5) Norman Rockwell, the Photographer?
I can’t wait to see this show at the Brooklyn Museum of all the behind-the-scenes pictures he used to paint his works. I love how he thought using photographs was cheating, but he did it anyway. When my dad was in art school, he never told anyone that Norman Rockwell was his favorite artist, for fear of being considered a sell-out. The point that “Rockwell must be rolling in his grave” at the thought of this show is definitely an apt one.
6) A few ways to experience Christmas
Not only has Wendall Jamieson written a very touching story about an important male role model, it really reminded me of my dad, right down to the details.
The Man Who Hated Christmas [NYT]
If you’re in the mood for something more upbeat, the Irish Repertory Theater in New York is putting on a reinvention of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas In Wales. The poem/story with very long sentences is a great way to be introduced to Thomas’ work in a more humorous manner. It also definitely helped me bridge the generation gap with my parents, as I was shocked to read that sometimes, people have relatives who get so drunk as to throw away presents in the fire as they try to burn up all the wrapping paper.
7) Kathleen Hanna Tells Us A Long Story About Kurt Cobain
And now we know how the most famous Nirvana song came about and what “us guys can do to help you feminists.” I also had no idea that there are strippers out there who dance to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, which sounds like a show to see. There’s so much goodness in this video, as well as being a really interesting cover; though I’ll always love this one.
When she sees amazing Prince covers. Excuse me, I’ll just be listening to The B-Sides on repeat until my mom comes into my room and is like, “What is this music?” And I’m all like, “Prince, Mom!” And then she’s all like, “What is this inappropriate song then?” And I’m like, “Sexy M.F.”, and then the chorus kicks in and Prince is singing “Come here baby yeah, you sexy mutherfucker,” but it’s totally not my fault because it is my dad’s album that he gave to me.
(Story copyright circa 2000)
My dad was the first person I knew personally who had a blog, way back when on March 11, 2004. Though he had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the internet, I often find that he was able to drag up some of the best stuff I read and watched about politics, art and music, to name a few. So weekly or so, expect to see a new column entitled “Curmudgeon Says”, where I’ll feature pieces that I’m pretty sure he would have been down with.
1) Flamingoes are the best
Image by Danny Dries “Last of the Firebirds”
Best collection of Pink Flamingoes I’ve ever seen. (I now wonder if calling them “Pink” Flamingoes is redundant. But if you don’t know why they’re pink, you should because it is the funnest fact.)
2) The Boss: I Wish I Had A Moniker As Cool
Famous people have driver’s licenses too! Well “too” in the general sense, as I’m not actually part of that club…