This rare archival footage finds everyone’s favorite on a hot July night in Jersey amidst its final summer tour, just under a month before the much-acclaimed King Biscuit Flower Hour set at the Carter Baron Amphitheatre in Washington, D.C. Sure, the track list is basically the same as that show—the Band throws in a couple of extra cuts this night—but this is a video of an entire performance. It’s a nearly flawless one at that, save some early feedback and a rough spot in the mix during “Forbidden Fruit.” No frills, no special guests, just the band at peak live powers transmitted through the haze of aging film and tape. Titans in the clouds. Reminding us again that we should say our prayers to the Band before we go to sleep, and that Rick Danko will always be the scrappiest dog in the fight. words / j steele - AquariumDrunkard.com
Rick Danko will always be the scrappiest dog in the fight: 10:15—17:10
City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold came out in the summer of 1994, and all I can remember about it is that when I saw it with my family in an empty dollar theater that doesn’t exist anymore my stepfather tried to smoke a cigarette inside the theater and had to be reprimanded.
Cut to: five or six years ago, and I’m at my friend Sean’s house late one night and CS2 comes on, and for whatever reason we don’t immediately change the channel, and we witness an early scene, the one that sets up the movie: Billy Crystal’s character is getting ready to make love to his wife, and while she’s in the bathroom psyching herself up to fuck Billy Crystal, he shucks off his shirt in preparation, and I remember thinking at the time holy shit Billy Crystal is weirdly buff.
Now, from that time five or six years ago to present, I have on more than one occasion told people about this scene in this movie, stressing how weird it was that Billy Crystal was all sexy and cut. I spent more time than was really necessary wondering if he was always in shape, or if he knew because the movie would call for him to be shirtless he went out and got a trainer, or some combination of the two. I would tell people about this scene, and I’d try to find photographic evidence, but no matter how many times I’d Google sexy Billy Crystal, nothing would show up.
Well, finally my prayers were answered. I was at another friend’s house recently, and with something coming dangerously close to glee I saw that City Slickers II was coming on, and so we sat through the first ten minutes or so of the movie so that I could gather some proof.
Now, the real problem here is this: I realized after seeing it most recently that Billy Crystal, while he’s not in bad shape in any way in this scene, he’s nowhere near as ripped as I remember him being when I saw it five or six years ago—in my memory of the scene it was like whenever Willie from The Simpsonsrips his shirt off, or the horrifying spectacle of Carrot Top. However, when you actually watch the scene you see that while he’s in perfectly good shape, he’s not anywhere near the chiseled Adonis you would expect from the way I’d described it. You can even see that he’s sort of sucking his stomach in a little bit.
So why was my memory so skewed? I’d like to think because, as when I would tell people about it, I stressed how crazy it was that someone so seemingly nonsexual as Billy Crystal would have this rockin bod: the dissonance is hilarious, right? Right.
Or maybe I’m just secretly really into Billy Crystal.
Sitting here at sunrise on Good Friday and right now I can’t think of anything that sounds more like 1991—that sort of weird, rootsy time in rock that fell between the glam bands and just barely before Nevermind came along, when all musicians seemed like they were somewhere at least in their late 30s, and your parents, having given up on vinyl, were still a few years away from fully committing to CDs. You scan the cassette spines lined up in their little plastic cases: John Hiatt, Luck of the Draw, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Delbert McClinton, The End of the Innocence. This, from Chris Whitley’s first album, released two days before Independence Day, 1991. It’s all there in that big Lanois throb: the bones of the song are all shot through with cancer, but you can still build a chapel with them.
Went to a gumbo contest a couple of weeks ago. Looking back on this photo, taken the day of the event, all I can think is that my hairline, which once reminded me of the ragged coastline of darkest Africa, now looks like nothing so much as the yin/yang symbol. That same day I got a terrible sunburn on the exposed, fleshy quadrant of my rapidly expanding forehead.
You know how in movies there will be a scene where the hero or whoever is asleep in bed, and the bad guy will try to bump him off by having someone slip a cobra or a scorpion or some other deadly animal into the bedroom to do the dirty work? I guess on paper it seems like a great idea, but there are some serious holes in this sort of plan.
For one thing, animals are really unpredictable: you don’t know from one minute to the next what the hell they’ll do. Sure, you might get the snake into the room, but it’s just as likely to crawl under the dresser and not come out as it is to bite the victim. Probably more likely, really. Secondly, if you’re close enough to slip a deadly animal into the room, why not just go ahead and kill the person yourself? Unless the idea behind using the cobra or the venomous spider or whatever is to make the murder look like an accident, but what kind of idiot police detective is going to write off something so unlikely as just plain bad luck? I shudder to imagine a world where cobra attacks—in this country at least—become so common the cops don’t even think twice about marking my murder off as Just One Of Those Things.
I don’t know what’s happened to me, but I’ve gone from being a movie lunatic to someone who pretty much never watches anything unless I happen to see it’s at Redbox. I don’t have Netflix or Hulu or cable, so my pickings are pretty slim. I didn’t see a single movie that got nominated for a Best Picture Oscar—granted, I didn’t really want to see many of them, but still—until maybe a few weeks ago, when I watched Dallas Buyer’s Club and The Wolf of Wall Street, both of which I thought were pretty good—The Wolf of Wall Street in particular I loved. I rented American Hustle and watched literally two minutes of it before deciding it was going to be the most boring thing I’d ever seen, then turning it off and probably watching America’s Test Kitchen or something.
I didn’t have to work last night, and since I knew I was going to be up well into the wee hours, I figured I’d have to have something to entertain me, and so I found myself at Circle K at ten o’clock at night, and, seeing nothing whatsoever that looked even sort of good, and in despair, I picked Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said.
I don’t know if I was just in A Particular Mood—I guess if I was a lady I could blame it on my cycle, right? Right? No?—but it was just what the doctor ordered. I’m not a big fan at all of romantic comedies, but I think that’s because when I think of what a romantic comedy is, I think of some bullshit movie with Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler or Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher or Reese Witherspoon and Josh Duhamel (whoever that is) or literally any combination of those names—hot garbage, in other words. Shrill, unfunny movies about unlikable people exploring a subject that has been beaten to death.
But Enough Said, while not being spectacularly different from the usual romantic comedy kind of setup—a masseuse finds out that one of her clients is the ex-wife of the man she has just begun dating; rather than dropping the client, she befriends her in order to hear why the marriage ended and whether or not she should continue the blossoming relationship—succeeds because Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini behave like real, believable human beings who are actually in the process of forming a genuine affection for one another. I imagine the fact that both of them are—or were, in Gandolfini’s case: this movie really made me miss that guy—well into middle age gives the movie the sort of adult gravitas that’s usually absent from your typical romantic comedy.
There’s nothing groundbreaking or radical about Enough Said. It’s just a sort of sweet little trifle. God knows there are worse things to be.
What the Andrews Sisters won’t tell you is just how bad the War rattled his cage; he was at Guadalcanal, he was at Buna. He got malaria and thought he would die. He was afraid every single day. He saw things that he could never forget. And when he got back to the states he had a hollowed-out look in his eyes and he was using the skull of a 12-year old Japanese girl as his trumpet mute.
As an infant, Dolly Parton was struck by a mysterious wasting disease known locally only as “mountain sickness”. There was no cure, and after every attempt at alleviating the malady was made, the townsfolk took her to the center of town—Pigeon Forge, Tennessee—and laid her upon an anvil, whereupon it was presumed she would shortly expire. But it was not to be so, for upon returning the next day, the townsfolk found the infant being nursed back to health by a female bighorn sheep. The young girl was soon back on her feet, and all traces of the disease fled from her body.
I hear this thing on the radio every now and again and the singer’s wounded, quavery voice never fails to make my blood boil. Have you ever heard someone sound so wormy and desperate for pussy? Listen to how sad he is, ladies! How can you hear this guy’s heartbroken croon and not want to poon-tang him to death?