Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Rag Trade, Dept.

Brooks Brothers hates children.  Arguably, it hates human beings, because, really, who the fuck wears lime green pants?  But especially children.

Let's see...we have the painfully thin girl who's dressed as a waitress at the Existentialist Diner; we have the mixed-race girl because an actual black child would cause BB's target demo to soil its patchwork Madras skirts and aforementioned lime green pants, and, really?, the last person who could carry off the tie-as-belt was Fred Astaire; and a boy whose outfit pretty clearly says to his classmates, "Beat the shit out of me. Please. Take an army sock full of quarters and whale the fuck away on me."  And they're all carrying signs that read "My School Is."  Run out of paint, then?  At least the cretin ad agency didn't do the backwards "S" that's shorthand for "childlike script."

Ugh.  Brooks Brothers: Where good taste goes to die™.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Où sont les neiges du futur?, Dept.

Mondo 2000 (Nina Hagen, pictured)

Oh, Mondo 2000.  Where are my smart drugs and my teledildonics?!  I didn't get my cyberpunk future.  Nina Hagen is not pope.  The sky over Milk Chocolate City looks like an Ad Reinhardt outtake, not television, tuned to a dead channel.  I was gonna be a hacker, Mondo, 1337. 1n5734|) 0|= 4 |3|_|m vv|-|1(|-| 15 vv|-|47 1 4m.

Let's Get Physical, Dept.

Curtis Mayfield's America Today is one of my favorite album covers ever.  And the source photo, 1937's "At the time of the Louisville flood," by Margaret Bourke-White, is specific and textured and gorgeous.  The variations from the photo to the album cover are minor but pointed.  The woman's expression.  A different boy in a different mood.  Fido is cropped.  Why isn't Mom smiling?  Does President Roosevelt have a cold?

The music is every bit the match of the cover.  Sexy.  Warm.  Curtis spreads the love even as he tells it like he sees it.

I found a beautiful original pressing today at a bargain price after many years of searching.  To hold it, hear it and behold the cover makes a good vinyl day.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Frayed Genes, Dept.

The above-pictured is "Mama June" from something called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

Now, your sobsister has been insulated from this show and its cultural impact, but from what I can tell, it's as if the banjo-picking kid from Deliverance pitched a sitcom and got it green-lighted.

You see, kits and kittens, in the olden days, people used to go to sawdust-strewn sideshows off the dark end of the midway and gawk at the "Freaks of Nature" therein displayed: the Dog-Faced Boy, the Bearded Lady, the Geek who would bite the heads off of live chickens.

Nowadays, we have TLC on basic cable.  Where--let's check tonight's schedule...--you can watch three hours of Cake Boss interrupted only by an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

TLC used to be called "The Learning Channel."  Did you know it's owned by Discovery?  And here's what they discovered: people don' lahk learnin'.

Here's how the latest season of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is kicking off: Get your Watch 'n' Sniff card ready and smell what Alana and her family have been up to during the premiere of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"!

By comparison, watching Christians being eaten by wild animals and gladiatorial fights to the death seems uplifting and even edifying.

Jenifa, oh Jenny, Dept.

Jenny McCarthy is the Gen X Suzanne Somers.

Not just because both had short-lived careers in television.  Not just because both support medically/ethically/rationally dubious therapies.  Not even because both bared their tits for Playboy.  But because Jenny McCarthy, like her fellow Irish Catholic Suzanne Somers née Mahoney, is indomitable in the extension of her meager claim to fame into decades in the limelight.  When the world's cities are rubble, and roaches claim the streets, Jenny McCarthy will still be holding signings for her latest book on the lighter side of pregnancy.

This posting is prompted by the news that McCarthy is replacing Elisabeth Hasselbeck on that 21st-century successor to the Athenian symposium, The View.  Whether replacing a woman best known for being a football player's wife,  a finalist on Survivor and a conservative mini-pundit with a fame whore who has manipulated the anti-vaccine issue into a reliable revenue stream can be considered a net positive for the show, in the final analysis, it's The View.  They could feature bull baiting and dwarf tossing, and the intellectual tone couldn't be any lower.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Vinyl? Vinot?, Dept.

Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Bruno Walter, cond., Brahms/Symphony No.1

Had an interesting dollar record shopping day.  Alongside vinyl from Callas and Casals, who, if they ever appeared together must've pissed off the guy who had to put up the marquee--

"Bill, do we have any more 'L's?!"
"No, man! We only got two with this cheap-ass set!"
"And we lost one of the 'C's!"

--I picked up this album entirely for the cover.  I'd never heard a Brahms symphony before.  It's not like the cover, which looks more like a Joseph Cornell collage IRL.  With this cover, I'd expect a Satie theater score for a floral-themed proto-absurdist comedy.

And then, at the second place I went, I found the original cast recording of A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, which is a 1980 Broadway musical that grafts onto a camp '30s backstage musical pastiche (is that redundant? it's redundant.) an imaginary Marx Brothers movie that features a 1980 Tony Award® Best Featured Actress in a Musical performance as Harpo by Priscilla Lopez, best known as "Diana Morales" in A Chorus Line.

Does film exist of this?

Friday, July 05, 2013


Coffee, Tea or Me?, Dept.

Poster for Los Amantes Pasajeros (U.S.: I'm So Excited)

As you can see, the graphic, shall we say, thrust of this film's poster shifted north in translation.
I saw this today and thought it a hoot.  I think there's a disadvantage to apprehending this film through subtitles, as the rhythms and wit of Almodóvar's dialogue are crucial to the fun.  But this is the director's camp discourse on sex and death.  Mostly sex--gay, straight and bi--with knowing nods to his earlier films, including cameos from Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.  The English title refers to a lip-synced version of the Pointer Sisters' hit performed by a Greek chorus of three flight stewards who are among the flounciest characters Almodóvar has committed to film and who provide commentary throughout the film on the goings-on.

In short, the flight to Mexico on which the characters find themselves may or may not be able to land in one piece due to a stuck landing gear, and, so, the possibility of their imminent demise puts the passengers in business class in a tell-all mood.  Helped by the mescaline-laced cocktails the crew serves to lighten their spirits.

Some sourpuss film critics (and, here, I'm looking at you, Manohla Dargis) seem to want Almodóvar to stay in serious gear, ignoring the fact that his ability to turn out sex-farcical trifles is what put him on the map.  His inability to provide Ms. Dargis with a "coherent, sustaining gestalt" troubles her and some of her fellow critics.  My suggestion might be that she knock back one of the Valenciano cocktails the crew liberally dispenses and pop the cork out of her...critical mindset.

A perfect bit of foam and fizz for this hot July, with just enough substance to keep it all from floating away.