"Self Control" by Laura "My Idol" Branigan
All of my favorite things together: dachshunds and WWI history…along with some amazing scans of historic postcards.
"Sugar Ray" by the Jesus and Mary Chain
Watching “The To-Do List” last night left me with a hankering for early ’90s music. Honey’s Dead was one of the big soundtracks to my own high school days. I love this album to death.,
"Dossier" by Neneh Cherry
I don’t care how cold it is; new Neneh Cherry heralds springtime in my heart.,
Learn from my mistakes, dear friends…
Daddy Long Legs (1955): If you read this book when you were young you know the icky premise: girl ends up marrying the older guy who anonymously pays for her education. But hey, it was 1912. When I got older I read some other Jean Webster books and became very fond of her portraits of early 20th century life at women’s college. Which is all a lead up to saying, that this movie adaptation is TERRIBLE. Fred Astaire is waaaay too old to play Daddy Long Legs. It makes the story so much worse to inflate the age difference to this extent. Plus, they change plucky Judy into a French orphan named Julie, played by Leslie Caron. And she is a wet noodle…no charisma. Meanwhile, there’s a sequence where Astaire (who’s a rather mature man in 1955) dresses up like a cowboy and dances. I just can’t. Don’t see this movie. You can just download the song “Something’s Got to Give” and be done.
Gigi (1958): Horrible, truly. No one can explain to me why people liked Maurice Chevalier, and I can only barely understand why Leslie Caron was a thing. Gigi features a creepy plot about a pubescent girl being groomed to be a man’s mistress, that ugly 1950s saturated color, annoyingly faux movie set France, boring songs, and Maurice singing “Thank Heavens for Little Girls.” Squick, squick, squick. And did I mention that the leading man is that guy who was the villain in Octopussy? The only thing worth watching is the weird scene where Leslie Caron sings “Say a Prayer for Me Tonight” while carrying her cat around. You can speculate about that suspiciously docile cat — was it drugged? is it stuffed? is she squeezing its balls the whole time? I wanted to like Gigi, because it’s based on a Colette story, but it’s impossible.
West Side Story (1961): Far and away the best movie musical I have ever seen. I rented it just so I could see young Benjamin Horne and Doctor Jacoby in action (Twin Peaks nerd) — little did I know! Young Richard Beymer looks like a mix of young Elvis and young Warren Beatty; young Russ Tamblyn is a fucking ACROBAT. He’s doing standing back flips! Who knew? And, more importantly, Rita Moreno is flawless in this movie, when it’s over you have a new idol. Everything is top-notch — the songs, the music, the choreography, the sets, the intelligent update of Romeo and Juliet. Exhilarating.
Funny Girl (1968): Even if you’ve never thought much of Barbra Streisand, I think you’ll be enthralled with her here. She SELLS her Fanny Brice — she’s intensely watchable. The songs are good, the vaudeville milieu is fun, but mostly, Barbra’s hair, clothes and makeup entranced me. That eyeliner!! I love this movie so much I’m afraid to see Funny Lady.
Hello Dolly! (1969): A big let-down after the divinity of Funny Girl. I hate the look of the movie — the sets, the color, the big-budget musical crowd scenes (that stupid parade!). Plus the leading man: we’re going from hot young Omar Sharif to grumpy Walter Matthau? Major downgrade, Barbra.
Cabaret (1972): Watching this movie I kept thinking: what was it like when Liza Minnelli was new to audiences? I’ve grown up in a world that included Liza Minnelli. But watching her so young here, but still so HER — the mannerisms, the tics, the way she uses her face. She’s a very eccentric performer. We’re used to her now, we accept it as a matter of course. But I wish I could go back in time and experience seeing Liza for the first time in this film. What a new thing she was. Anyway, this is a great movie musical — very good songs, interesting plot, and Joel Grey is fascinating, like a Weimar newspaper caricature come to life. If you are going to watch a musical about the lead-up to Nazi rule in Germany, choose this over The Sound of Music. It’s almost an hour shorter and it has way more bisexual seduction scenes.
A Star Is Born (1976): As a kid I was always grossed out by the cover of this soundtrack album, which my mom had. Bare-chested Kris Kristofferson…ew. But it’s enjoyable enough to watch now that I’m grown. Mid-’70s fantasy of rock stardom. To me, none of the songs are classics (“Evergreen” is nice, sure) but Barbra’s outfits are LEGENDARY. She changes her clothes a million times, and every ensemble is amazing. Then when you watch the credits you find out all of those outfits were Barbra’s OWN CLOTHES and you faint out of sheer admiration.
New York, New York (1977): A musical about an abusive marriage between a singer and a band leader after WWII. Liza Minnelli is the singer and Robert De Niro is the dude. I guess it’s supposed to be a love story, but the De Niro character is SUCH a dick that you never want them to be together. I mean, he plays saxophone, so you know from early exposure to St. Elmo’s Fire that he is not good husband material. But be real: you came for the Liza, and you get plenty of Liza. Liza in snazzy 1940s women’s wear. Liza in a theater usher outfit. Liza singing “New York, New York.” Liza singing “The Man I Love” while wearing giant shoulder pads. It’s a good-looking movie, the sets and cinematography are slick and stylized in a way that pleases the contemporary eye. The story is a mess, the leading man is a jerk, but this is still worth watching.
Best new R&B song!
"I Wish" by Toni Braxton,
I love you, Drew Swope. Worth it!
"It was a whole bunch of nothing, really. I saw a confused person looking for onions and said, ‘Can I help you, sir?’ And he said no," he recalled. "Then I said, ‘Oh, Pat McCrory. Thanks for nothing.’ Then I walked away. And he started yelling at me and eyes were bulging out of his head. He was just insisting that he shouldn’t be treated this way, and all the other workers and butchers were like, ‘Why is this man yelling at Drew?’"