“Elvis”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 26th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

It is a significant topic as deep and long as the entire 20th C.

Elvis Presley.

Elvis.

Baz Luhrmann has attempted to tackle it, in his latest release, simply titled, “Elvis.”

Austin Butler is magnificent as Presley, who was known as the “King of Rock & Roll.”

Tom Hanks not so much as the equally important for the tale to be told manager, the self-proclaimed Colonel Tom Parker.

Because I grew up with Elvis and rock & roll, I have many thoughts and emotions about Presley, as well as about Luhrmann’s manner of telling to tale.

For significantly more details of my thoughts on both, listen to the podcast below:

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The Importance of Elvis

Posted: June 20th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Music, Personalities | 1 Comment »

This piece was originally published at the turn of the century. It has been very slightly edited for clarity and content in advance of the release this week of the Elvis Presley biopic.

In his book “The Fifties,” David Halberstam chronicles the most misunderstood of the century’s decades. In the tome, he relates a conversation where noted composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein discussed political and social trends with Dick Clurman, an editor at Time magazine. Halberstam quotes Bernstein: “Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force of the twentieth century.”

Incredulous, Clurman suggests some other choice, Picasso perhaps.

Bernstein, not to be deterred, retorts: “(Elvis) changed everything — music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution . . .”

Elvis Presley is LEO’s Person of the Century.

That is not a typo. No Henry Ford or Winston Churchill or Bill Gates or FDR or Einstein or Rosa Parks or Jackie O could meet our standards at Louisville Eccentric Observer for such critical status.

Elvis Presley is the wise choice, the eccentric choice, the correct choice. Love him or loathe him. Pity his Greek tragedy of a life. Ignore him if so inclined. But don’t make the mistake of dismissing Elvis as irrelevant.

Elvis was the undisputed King of Rock & Roll but no longer a major player on the music scene twenty two years ago when he died ignominiously in his throne room. The causes: Terminal, drug-induced bloat and chronic ennui. He had become the caped, prescription pill-addled Elvis who arrived for a White House audience with Richard Nixon, carrying a handgun as a gift, then requesting a badge to fight drug abuse.

We chose the Elvis who in the summer of 1953 entered the Memphis Recording Service studio at 706 Union in Memphis to record an acetate for his mama. The Elvis who the following year, at the insistence of guitarist Scotty Moore, and with encouragement from Sam Phillips’ secretary Marion Keister, waxed revved versions of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right Mama.” The songs changed Elvis’ life forever.

And the lives of all who heard them.

And life itself.

As Renaissance Woman Caroline Dahl titled her magnificent needlepoint seen above, Elvis was “The New King of Heaven and Hell.”

Elvis Presley. The world’s been a different place since. Read the rest of this entry »


“JazzFest A New Orleans Story”: Film/ Review Podcast

Posted: June 16th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music, New Orleans | No Comments »

If you are here, you understand that I am obsessed with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

JazzFest.

I’ve attended 34 of them, all but one since 1988, and refer to the gathering to honor the culture, cuisine and music of the Crescent City as “the gravitational pull of my year.”

So, when a new documentary about the Fest came out, I was all over it. Watched it the first moment available on Amazon Prime. (Even though it’s being screened in theaters nationwide, none are doing so in my town.)

That was a week ago. The delay in this review is simply explained.

Such is my emotional attachment to Fest, it’s taken this long for me to conjure a reasonably objective assessment of the flick.

Which doc is, despite some personal objections I have to editorial decisions made, an invigorating take, which depicts the Fest in all its glory.

I recommend you watch. After, of course, listening to my significantly more informational podcast review below:

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JF First Weekend, Part Deux

Posted: May 4th, 2022 | Filed under: Food, JazzFest, Music | No Comments »

Though not a world traveler, I feel fairly comfortable opining that there are not any other cities around the globe with as musically an influenced culture as New Orleans.

No, Memphis, put your hand down.

From the time slaves were allowed to dance in what is now called Congo Square, just outside the Quarter past Rampart and Basin Streets, through the advent of jazz, the honky tonks of Storyville, the brass band tradition, Satchmo, Fats, T0ussaint and to this day, this city swings, sways and dances.

Even immediately after funerals to assuage the grief.

I can’t get enough.

So, I have contemporary local faves, some of whom I’ve already heard, some are playing this coming weekend. Then there’s the newcomers, carrying on the tradition, like Tuba Skinny, and others like Naughty Professor, extrapolating from it.

Below I chat about a few of the New Orleans/ Louisiana based acts that had my attention this past weekend

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JazzFest Weekend One, Part Uno

Posted: May 3rd, 2022 | Filed under: JazzFest, Music | 2 Comments »

Too much to say in one podcast about my return to New Orleans for the first JazzFest since ’19. So I broke it in half.

More important than the music or incredible food which inform this unique city’s culture, to see it resilient as ever, as alive as ever, warms the heart.

Just being back brings arguably the most joy.

But, of course, the soft shell crab at impeccable GW Fins, a late lunch at Peche and Crawfish Strudel at the fest bring joy to my taste buds.

Then, oh yeah, the music at the best music festival extant in the world’s most music centric city.

Name Drop Interlude: At my friends Marc and Jill’s crawfish boil the other night, I was chatting with a pal of theirs, whom I’ve know for years. Who, I just learned the other night was roommates in the early 60s in military school with Duane Allman. Who was good friends with Robert and his parents, who hosted Duane and brother Greg for holidays, and whenever they came to town to play. Just sayin’.

Below I discuss some of the non local acts that grabbed my soul.

Stay tuned, Part Deux Coming Soon.

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Back In New Orleans for JazzFest

Posted: April 28th, 2022 | Filed under: Culture, JazzFest, Music | 5 Comments »

My favorite thing in life, the New Orleans JazzFest, the best musical experience extant, is back after a two year hiatus because of You Know What.

So am I.

This will be my 33d Fest, the first in ’76.

Seven days of music on consecutive weekends, on ten stages inside Fairgrounds Racetrack complex from 11:30 in morning until 7:00.

Did I mention it’s in New Orleans, where you can also find something worthwhile to eat when out to dinner with friends?

I am beside myself with joy.

For the reasons why, listen below:

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Le Brer (in A. Miner)

Posted: March 4th, 2022 | Filed under: Culture, Music, New Orleans, Personalities, Ruminations, Today's Lesson Learned | 5 Comments »

The header is not a misspell. Read on.

I live in a part of my hometown where everybody seems to be interconnected, where there are not a lot of degrees of separation. Where your cousin is likely to work with your neighbor’s uncle. The mother of your daughter’s current BF went to the junior prom 25 years ago with your boss’s brother. A former fellow bandmate of your Louisville contractor teaches guitar to your former fraternity brother. In New Orleans.

That kind of stuff.

An educated area, yet when asked what school one attended, the intention is to learn what high school, not college.

I’ve often joked that on my deathbed, two people will walk in together and provide the final tie in to everyone I’ve known.

I am used to connectivity.

So, I look for links in my life.

 * * * * *

I am a huge music fan.

Rock & Roll.

I’m full with it, my history with it. I can tell you exactly where I was when I first heard “Walk Don’t Run.” What acts were on the bill at the first concert I attended. “Biggest Show of Stars.” On July 29, 1961.

I’ve often mused whether I’d have made it as I have to double sevens without tuneage to provide a necessary soundtrack along the way. Read the rest of this entry »


“Get Back”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: December 3rd, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

Before diving into this, one must ask him/herself, do I really wish to spend 8 hours in the recording studio with the Beatles?

Do I want to watch the dynamic of the world’s best and easily most famous pop band, as they interact while disintegrating?

Do I wish to view the laborious process that goes into creating a song, like, oh, “Get Back?” Or how “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” came about?

Do I want to note Yoko Ono’s everpresence and wonder whaaaaaa?

Do I want to watch the fellows in fur jackets sit around and smoke, and argue in an understated way, or frolic about . . . or just exist?

Well, I’m an addict for rock & roll anecdotia. I watched it all.

But, to be blunt, found some of it to be tedious.

For more about the three part, Peter Jackson-directed series on Disney+, listen to my podcast below. Which is actually more informative than usual. Or, so I say.

Audio MP3

— c d kaplan


“The Velvet Underground”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: October 19th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

To be honest, I was somewhat taken aback a few years ago when Lou Reed passed away.

There was a far greater outpouring of mainstream grief than I would have ever expected.

His music, dark and emotive and poetic, had obviously struck more of a chord than I imagined.

As aware as I have been of the Velvet Underground, I have to admit an unfamiliarity with most of the band’s output.

Yet, I’ve always understood the importance of the group that germinated in the avant garde art scene of Manhattan in the 60s.

Director Todd Haynes beautifully lays out the whole fascinating tale in his marvelous documentary, “The Velvet Underground.”

It’s available for streaming at Apple TV+.

For a more detailed take on the film, listen to my podcast below:

Audio MP3

“As Tears Go By”: Rock & Roll Repast

Posted: April 26th, 2021 | Filed under: Music | No Comments »

The image is iconic as any from the mid 60s, when mainstream media was taking notice.

The musical fad of teenagers, the one that rocked forth the previous decade, obviously had traction.

Rock & Roll. In all its many manifestations. Blasting from transistor radios, strapped to bicycle handlebars. Pouring from new stations on Friday night’s in the parents’ borrowed station wagon.

The vision, that moment from the boob tube, as it was still dismissively called, black and white. From “Hullabaloo,” which along with “Shindig” was one of two primetime network acknowledgments of the burgeoning culture.

Paul Anka introduced Brian Epstein. Brian Epstein introduced her.

And, there she was, in all her innocence — or so we thought — dressed on Carnaby Street. Straight hair. Bangs. Pale. Impassive.

Perched by some production designer, supported by one arm, her legs tucked under her, immobile on a cube, but for the slightest occasional tilt of the head or time keeping twist of the ankle. Her voice sweet, a whisper. Read the rest of this entry »


“The Go-Go’s”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: August 2nd, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

History of Rock & Roll Band documentaries have a certain, very familiar story arc.

It seems to be a trend.

This Showtime take on The Go-Go’s is no different.

Other than the fact that they were the first all female band, who wrote their own songs, and played their own instruments, that made a #1 album.

So, yeah, anything else that makes this doc worth watching?

Other than why Jann Wenner’s kept them out of the Rock & Roll HoF?

Or, what’s the story behind those towels they’re wearing on the cover of their first album?

For more reasons, why you might enjoy this pro forma documentary as I did, listen to the podcast below.

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Atlanta Pop ’70, Fifty Years On

Posted: June 30th, 2020 | Filed under: Music, Ruminations | Tags: | No Comments »

This Independence Day marks the half century anniversary of the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival. 

The following memories of mine were written and published a decade ago on the occasion of the event’s 40th anniversary. They have been edited, and updated, though my memory of that time long ago far away is absolutely no better on its own than ten years ago.

Which is why I reached out to a few friends who were at the festival, and, I’ve included the memories of those who responded and have any somewhat cogent recollection at all. They are added in italics. c d k 

Captain Canada and The Mailman.

It’s fifty years gone this Fourth of July weekend since those nicknames were bestowed upon my pal Stephen and me at the Atlanta Pop Festival.

Many if not most of the memories of that magical interlude have long been lost in the daze of time. But this I can say for sure. We came upon those identities honestly.

As for the rest of that weekend outside Byron, Georgia, the tales told here are probably true, but perhaps not. Only the synapses of my and pals’ hippocampi know for sure. And they’ve long since lost most if not all connectitude to that time and place. Read the rest of this entry »