Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Saturday, August 15, 2015
"The folkies who discovered the banjo and bluegrass in the 1950s and '60s were sweeping up an instrument notable now for its all-white, pure-white, lillywhite associations. The high lonesome sound, echoing from mountain top to mountain top, more pure even than Julie Andrews singing "Edelweiss" on Broadway [yes, I knew....that was the point.... duh!], was most often a product of white guys who'd listened to race records, just as Jimmie Rodgers' yodels were a brilliant way for a white guy to sing a blues falsetto. The folk revivalists, fed full of romantic notions about a pre-industrial purity of culture, hunted Scruggs-style Mastertone banjos, as gimmicky a piece of mass-produced Rube Goldberg inspired farm-implement as anything Mark Twain ever invested in. The only thing purer, whiter, more proper would have been a certified albino dulcimer twanger."
[Next paragraph commencing with "Dulcimer queen Jean Ritchie...." ]
Posted by Nasrudin at 1:18 AM
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Monday, May 25, 2015
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Nature is fine, as long as it stays outdoors where it belongs.
Posted by Nasrudin at 8:22 PM
Monday, May 18, 2015
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
So this ran in SPIN back in the day, in the slot where the Editor's Note went, oddly enough. As if it weren't odd enough to get paid to write about Irving Berlin. In an issue with Belinda Carlisle on the cover (hilarious story behind that one) and full of features about Poison and Tracy Chapman, OMD, Michael Hurley, Big Pig, and a ton more, with Johnny Cash, LL Cool J, Megadeth, and Soul Asylum all co-starring in the Special Summer Swimsuit Special. With accompanying guide to summer vacations in the US that guided you to The World's Largest Tire, and Einstein's Brain; plus, there was a map to Europe that declared where all the Taco Bells and Elvis Presley museums were. Which is to say, I keep realizing, that as much as SPIN drove all of us all crazy all the time, we were trying to get everything in there. Including, swear to God, Irving Berlin.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
I've been thinking yet again of The Key To Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo. I've quoted from it before, and God willing, insh'Allah, I'll quote from it again. But this quote is not from the book — it's from the book's jacket. I like it tremendously. And I'm betting that it's the work of Judith Jones, the estimable Alfred A. Knopf editor who commissioned Madame Kuo's book, and who was the editor of Julia Childs' The Art of French Cooking.
Posted by Nasrudin at 8:55 PM
The marshal of Tombstone reaches down to his gun belt, runs his hand over the black leather loops that hold the cartridges in an orderly row. His dry fingers push bullets up against the loop, six of them, one after another. One after another, he pushes six bullets down.
The squad cars are parked with their bumpers backed up to the gate of the OK Corral, ready to roll. The southern Arizona sun is rising but the morning is still cool and quiet — maybe too quiet.
from the Washington Post, August 31, 1897 (oops, 1987)
by Bart Bull
published in Vogue (excerpt)
On the wall nearby is a precisely rendered watercolor of a red-brown horse, a little swaybacked with age, standing alone outside a weathered stable. He gets up, stands to gaze at Henry Fonda’s painting of Pie, the horse Stewart rode in movie after movie. “This is when he was — he had to be, had to be twenty-eight years old. Half quarter-horse, half Arabian. I rode him for twenty years. Hank Fonda did this on his days off, and I didn’t know anything about it. That was Pie.” They were making Cheyenne Social Club, and the air was too thin for the old horse, the altitude too high. “He couldn’t make it. He couldn’t make it.”
Staring at a friend’s portrait of another friend, he can’t help but admire it once more. Fonda and Stewart were practically the last of their generation, and now there’s just one of them left. But there’s more to it than that. “This friendship with Fonda over the years was tremendous. I valued it so much. Tremendous friendship, tremendous admiration for him. He was good at his job if anybody was ever good at his job. It was a terrible thing to lose him. Which happens so much, you know. I think about it every once in a while — I try not to think about it. I’ve lost so many — I’ve lost so many people. You think of somebody and then you think, ‘When did she die?’”
The rims of his eyes go moist, nearly wet, not quite. Not quite. He won’t cry, not here, to be observed and written about in a magazine. Instead, he speaks, quickly now, to distract himself. “But Fonda was a wonderful, close friend.” The eyes contain.
Now he’s the last one left, the last star of his era. He doesn’t know why it’s worked out that way, and clearly it bothers him, confuses him just a little. When he was headed off to England during the war, his father slipped the Ninety-first Psalm into his hand — “For He shall give His angels charge over thee. . .” and maybe that helps explain it some, but it’s hard not to wonder. His last movie was made half a decade ago, but even as the unseen voice on the current Campbell’s soup ads, he moves miles past the typical too-sweet lemonade commercial grandfather, lulling us with that querulous voice and then always adding more edge than we could expect. If he were sent the right script, something he could sink his teeth into, would he be ready to do another picture?
“Sure,” he answers. Not a moment’s hesitation, none of his legendary pauses. “Sure.” No stammer, no stutter. “Sure. Sure.”
He considers a moment. “Can’t play cowboys anymore.”
Posted by Nasrudin at 8:43 PM