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Still Life


Because mo’ Buster is mo’ better.

Buster Keaton – The Art of the Gag from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

What’s Happening?


Catching up with the Yanks is the ever-excellent Chad Jennings. A good over-view of what’s what on an otherwise slow news day round these parts.

Meanwhile, slide on over to Esquire Classic and check out the little Q&A I did with my pal John Ed Bradley on a story he once wrote for Esky on Lawrence Taylor. 

Picture by Bags

Saturdazed Soul


Smooth out the R&B.

Picture by Bags

Put the Needle to the Groove


Peter Guralnick’s new biography, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, looks promising.

From Dwight Garner’s review in the Times:

Phillips was ahead of his time. So-called race records were selling in the early 1950s, but not widely. The singles he recorded in Memphis weren’t moving. He was in danger of going out of business. When the mystery train that was Presley came around the bend, he was not too stupid to climb aboard.

It’s worth pausing, for a moment, to consider how lucky it was that Presley walked into Phillips’s studio and not someone else’s. Another producer (that term had not yet come into use in the record industry) might have put him to work singing country-pop ditties with string sections. He might have been another Eddy Arnold.

Phillips already had an aesthetic ethos. In some ways, he had prepared his whole life for Elvis’s arrival. Part of Phillips’s ethos, Mr. Guralnick writes, was his “sense that there were all these people of little education and even less social standing, both black and white, who had so much to say but were prohibited from saying it.”

And here’s Louis Menand in the New Yorker:

“We Record Anything—Anywhere—Anytime” was the slogan. This meant a lot of church services, weddings, and funerals, but Phillips’s dream, the reason that he set up the studio, was to have a place where any aspiring musician could come in and try out, no questions asked. Phillips would listen and offer suggestions and encouragement. If he liked what he heard, he would record it. For a fee, the performer could cut his or her own record.

Phillips was extremely good at this. He was patient with the musicians; he was adept with the technology; above all, he was supportive. He hated formulas. He thought that music was about self-expression, and he liked songs that were different. The pop sound in 1950 was smooth and harmonic. Phillips preferred imperfection. It made the music sound alive and authentic. Word got around, and musicians no one else would record started turning up at the Memphis Recording Service. Phillips got them to believe in him by getting them to believe in themselves.

All They Do is Give Out Awards


Dallas and Jake. No soup for Zach.

Taster’s Cherce


All about the lard.

Beat of the Day


Looo Looo.

Morning Art


“Figure of a Woman” by Vilhelm Hammershøi

Million Dollar Movie


One of the wife’s favorite movies…

Movin’ Right Along


S’long JR Muphy, hello Aaron Hicks.

And say, children: what does it all mean?

Murphy was a nice Yankee. Wish the dude good luck.

Picture by Bags

Ain’t it the Truth, Ain’t it the Truth?


I’ve been reading through Joy Ride, John Lahr’s recent anthology of theater criticism and personality profiles. In the introduction, he has this to say about his editor at The New Yorker, Deborah Treisman:

But, short or long, the mind-meld never lost its thrill. On the edited page, you are still you, but somehow brighter, clearer, smoother, almost glamorous. You words dip and swing with their proper music; your hard-won meanings land with their intended clout. No wonder the relationship feels so intimate and joyous. You are being given the greatest of gifts: to be your best self in print.

This is so true and when you’re lucky enough to work with an editor like this it is something to be savored. I love that Lahr was generous enough to point this out.

[Photo Credit: Graham Turner]

Sundazed Soul


Easy, Now.

Picture by Bags

Beat of the Day


Cool out.

Photo Credit: Cate Dingley via MPD.

Taster’s Cherce


What is a quince, Alex?

Million Dollar Movie


“F” for Fatale.

New York Minute


On Saturday afternoon I saw my neighbor Louie standing with another guy in front of our building. I asked the other guy if he was rooting for the Mets.

“I’m rooting for New York,” he said, “I’m a New Yorker. We need to win. It’s been so long.”

He meant it, too. Then: “We need a fuckin’ parade.”

There’ll be no parade this year but I like the sentiment.

Beat of the Day


Play that record you fool.

Picture by Egon.

Morning Art


Monday Morning Modigliani 

Oy and Veh


Oh, what a painful loss for the Mets. They had a great season. It didn’t end well.

Congrats to the Royals. 

Photo via: Getty Images

You Gotta Believe!


the dark knight

It’s Matt Harvey, the so-called Dark Knight with the season on the line in Game 5 tonight in Queens.

The fans have been great at Citi Field. Last game home game of the season, be beautiful to end it on a high note.

Volquez on the hill for the Royals and it’s hard not to root for him after his father’s death. Whole lot on the table…

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Drawing by the great Frank Miller.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver