By Kyle | August 18, 2011
I’m not sure I believe this story from Lennon’s assistant Fred Seaman about the boss’s alleged love for Reagan.
Lennon died a month after Reagan was elected. His last album was in some ways a rebuke to his own save-the-world-ism and a return to individual and family values, though, and his hair wasn’t a whole lot longer than Jimmy Carter’s when he died.
By Kyle | June 2, 2011
Paul McCartney’s 1967 Lamborghini is for sale, expected to fetch $200,000. Seems a little low, no? Kind of a unique item. Marlon Brando’s driver’s license and Jackie O’s fake pearls sold for tens of thousands, didn’t they?
By Kyle | May 13, 2011
Via Instapundit: This scholar has compiled a study (one-click download up top) of all the times Bob Dylan has been cited in court opinions. I’m kind of proud that the first-ever Supreme Court cite was made by a Republican (John Roberts), who noted in 2008, “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” I’m slightly ashamed that Roberts misquoted the line (from “Like a Rolling Stone”), which of course is actually, “When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.” Roberts’ clerk must have checked with Dylan’s Web site, which gets the lyric wrong in the same way.
By Kyle | November 5, 2010
An elegant and appreciative post by Mike Potemra explores Keith Richards’ love for music and appreciation of his blues forebears.
By Kyle | October 30, 2010
A couple of nifty gifties to keep in mind are two projects that illuminate creativity. Anyone who has ever produced any creative project of note will report (often with bewilderment) that the question people most often pose of him is, “Where do you get your ideas?” “From my head” seems an unsatisfying answer; people want to hear about a secret path to a markdown ideas superstore that they, too, might patronize in order to bake up something of excellence or at least of profit.
Both “Finishing the Hat,” a compendium of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics (no. 16 on Amazon!), and “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town” are portraits of the obligations of genius. “Hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat,” sings George Seurat, the obsessively punctilious pointilist who furnished Sondheim with one of his most Sondheim-ish heroes in “Sunday in the Park with George.” “Stick, stick, stick, stick, stick” intones Bruce Springsteen in 1978 in a farmhouse in New Jersey, telling his suffering drummer Max Weinberg that every beat he produces is accompanied by an irritating-to-Springsteen but-inaudible-to-others undertone of raw drumstick striking the drum surface.
“Where do your ideas come from” is a question that presupposes there is some more efficient, more lovely, and much easier detour to artistic triumph than chain-gang-style hard work. As Seurat, Springsteen and Sondheim show us, it’s obsessive and even unhappy dedication — brain sweat — that make art. “More than anything, more than being rich or famous — or happy –” Springsteen says (I paraphrase) near the beginning of the HBO documentary “The Promise,” “I wanted to be great.” Springsteen’s crew exists in a black-and-white world of airless, womanless drab, going over and over dozens of songs in an effort to find enough great tracks to fill the album. One song, “The Promise,” involved three months of intense labor — and was ultimately discarded by Springsteen as not good enough.
Sondheim’s Seurat paints a hat as his woman leaves him. Does he throw down the brush and chase after her?
Yes, she looks for me-good.
Let her look for me to tell me why she left me-
As I always knew she would.
I had thought she understood.
They have never understood,
And no reason that they should.
But if anybody could…
Finishing the hat,
How you have to finish the hat.
How you watch the rest of the world
From a window
While you finish the hat.
By Kyle | October 28, 2010
In today’s Post I have a piece on the hot campaign theme songs this season, including “Hello, Goodbye,” “I Won’t Back Down” and, sort of, Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.”
By Kyle | October 14, 2010
My friend Mark Rotella’s book “Amore: The Story of Italian American Song” is playing beautifully with readers. In the New York Times, Rotella writes movingly about dealing with his wife’s cancer while comforting himself and her with Italian cuisine and music. The New Yorker loves “Amore,” calling it “a lively history” and Publishers Weekly says “Rotella’s keen eye and enthusiast’s ear make for sumptuous reading and will garner a renewed appreciation for these performers while those readers unfamiliar with the major works of Tony Bennett or Perry Como, let alone Russ Columbo and Julius La Rosa, will be inspired to load up their iPod.” Mark talks about the book with NPR here.
By Kyle | September 16, 2010
I know nothing about Lady Gaga, who I am reliably informed is a celebrity who wears different “outrageous” outfits on different occasions, but I do know author Maureen Callahan, whose first book is “Pokerface,” a biography of the Lady G. Maureen, who never fails to remind me that I am wrong about every movie I review, nevertheless writes sharp profiles and think pieces for the Sunday Post, and anything she has to say on Gaga is bound to be definitive. So ease yourself into her book and thank me later.
By Kyle | August 6, 2010
“Another Brick in the Wall” updated so that the chorus becomes “Hey, Ayatollah, leave those kids alone!” Seeing Roger Waters perform The Wall on Potsdamer Platz in 1990, I thought: cool, because the album is sort of about the Berlin Wall. It wasn’t, of course; it was about adolescent/rock star angst. I doubt Waters fretted much about East Germans getting shot for trying to breach the barrier. He cared a great deal, though, about his own alienation.
By Kyle | July 8, 2010
Mike Judge writing thirty new episodes of Beavis, according to this site….I’m not feeling this. The show was intermittently hilarious, but it was very much of its time. (Who sits around watching videos anymore?) Also, if you’re a tremendous creative force, as Mike Judge is, you should keep moving forward, not back.