Rants & Raves: We Crave The Lurid

Posted: March 3rd, 2015 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Personalities | 1 Comment »

historyLouisville is the epicenter of college hoops.

It’s a fact. Check out the TV ratings, come NCAA tournament time.

And, like most places, Louisvillians become entranced with the lurid side of life, such as when celebs get in trouble.

Those two tendencies clashed last week, thus trending upward, like some sort of Ohio Valley Vortex.

So, Saturday, during my gig with James at FPK 91.9, after we schmoozed as usual, I weighed in on the confluxation of those two societal tendencies, college hoops meets tabloid fodder.

Listen up:

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Caffeinated Chronicles: Brian Williams & The Plague of Embellishment

Posted: February 9th, 2015 | Filed under: Culture, Personalities | 1 Comment »

coffee1Have I told you about the time I met the Beatles?

August 12, 1966. International Amphitheater. Chicago. First stop on their last tour ever.

I was with my old pal Moop. His cousin, Ron Britain, née Ron Magel, was a DJ at the Windy City’s WCFL, which was the sponsoring Top 40 station.

His bride Peach sneaked us past security at the artist’s entrance, and we sat in a box on the side of the stage, along with a noted folk singer at the time, Chad Mitchell and his gal, a woman who had been on the cover of Italian Vogue the previous month.

On the way to the box, we were briefly introduced to the Fab Four. As I’ve said through the years, it’s not like McCartney calls to do dinner after his show at the Yum!.

Have I told you that story?

No? Good.

Because, while some of it is true, the punchline is embellishment. Or, what some truthsayers would call “a lie.” Read the rest of this entry »

Radio Podcast: The Man I Wish I Was

Posted: August 18th, 2014 | Filed under: Culture, Film Reviews Podcast, Personalities | 1 Comment »

historyJames and I slogged our way through the aftermath on the streets of post-Louisville Purge dystopia, to make it to the FPK Studio for our weekly radio jam.

We chatted a bit about the sad suicide of Robin Williams, and what it means for us all.

Then I shared my thoughts after seeing a documentary about Shep Gordon.

Who is the man I wish I were . . . other than the Culture Maven, of course.

Please listen.

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Culture Podcast: Ed Beats Elvis & Beatles

Posted: February 10th, 2014 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Personalities | No Comments »

historyThere has, deservedly so, been much ado about the Beatles on the 50th anniversary of their arrival in the United States. And their appearance on Ed Sullivan’s Show several days later.

It was certainly a seminal event in American pop culture. As was the first appearance of Elvis Presley on that same show in 1956.

I discuss the two events in juxtaposition in another blog, which you can read here.

Saturday morning last, after the usual give and take with James, I ventured further into the subject, discussing the role of culture maker Ed Sullivan.

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We’ve All Known Philip Seymour Hoffman

Posted: February 4th, 2014 | Filed under: Culture, Personalities, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

hoffmanYou’ve known Philip Seymour Hoffman for years.

You may be Philip Seymour Hoffman, but have been loathe to admit it.

He’s the hail fellow well met guy at work, always friendly, but often late with important reports, the one who lunches alone at the tavern around the corner.

He’s the old high school chum you hadn’t seen for years, when you ran into him on the street on your way to the car after office hours, the one whose first words to you were “Where’s Happy Hour?”

She’s your old sorority sister, the one who oddly put vodka in her milk in the dining room, the one who flunked out after first semester.

He’s your good friend, the member of the gang who never stopped partying, while you and the rest got married, started families and wonder how and why it is that he always slips out of parties early without saying goodbye. Read the rest of this entry »

Pete Seeger, Rest In Peace

Posted: January 28th, 2014 | Filed under: Music, Personalities | 1 Comment »

seegerHe would have sung through the night, I swear it to be true.

And, we, his adoring followers, bathing in his goodness that reigned over us, would have stayed and sung until we were voiceless.

Sometime in the mid to late 60s, Pete Seeger played Memorial Auditorium. (He may have played here at other times and other places back then, but this is the concert I’m talking about.)

It was patently apparent that Seeger was the epitome of goodness in every cell of his being. But, you know, we knew that beforehand.

He was a sun.

He played happy tunes. And political ones. And kids’ songs. And cajoled even the tone deaf among us to sing along.

He believed that a joyous, motley chorus could sing the world to serenity. As best I can tell he never varied in that quest to the end.

So Pete sang. And sang. And sang some more. Read the rest of this entry »

Vin Diesel is Still Alive & Other Internet Contemplations

Posted: May 27th, 2013 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Personalities, Ruminations | No Comments »

At lunch the other day, my pal Don was talking about a TV interview he’d seen the night before in which Vin Diesel was schilling for the latest cinematic rendition of “Fast and Furious.” Number 6, it is.

“Wait a second,” I interjected, “Vin Diesel is dead.”

He and our other lunch mate Mike looked at me incredulously.

Normally, in such situations, having read and stored such insignificant information, and being totally confidant with the extent of my wisdom, I would have self righteously pounced on what I would be sure is Don’s mistaken memory of the evening before.

This time, realizing that I’d read only one nugget about Diesel’s demise months ago, then not heard another thing, and aware that he was starring yet again in this cars uber alles franchise that just opened at a cineplex near you, I was a little less insistent of the correctitude of my thoughts.

“I swear I read somewhere on the internet awhile back that he was dead.

“Mike, get out that new iPhone of yours and look it up. Vin Diesel’s death.” Read the rest of this entry »

JazzFest ’13: Daze Between Dwindling Down

Posted: May 1st, 2013 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Music, Personalities | 1 Comment »

The festival kicks up again in the morning. (That would be tomorrow a.m., Thursday.)

If you happen to be on your way down, here’s a tip. Think inclemency.

It’s rained every day this week. Without significant periods of sunshine to dry up the Fairgrounds muck we’ve come to know and love through the decades.

Forecast: Musical. Muddy.

And, oh yeah, more rain.

* * * * *

Other than last night’s special evening, celebrating the 75th birthday of Allen Toussaint, which you can read about here, I’ve been essentially taking a respite from tuneage.

I did stop by LMF yesterday on the way back from a late lunch/ early dinner, and caught the last half of slide guitar master Spencer Bohren’s in-store.

It had been a strange day when I’d had a little misunderstanding with an old pal — now resolved I do believe — but was feeling low. Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday’s Tribute to Allen Toussaint = Boffo

Posted: May 1st, 2013 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Personalities | 2 Comments »

The realization hit, as best I recall, sometime in the 70s.

A great majority of the music that really stirred my soul, going back to the Doo Wop days, had a connection to New Orleans.

Either it was recorded here. Or written here. Or performed by someone who was born, reared or schooled (musically speaking) in the Crescent City.

Fats Domino. “Tell It Like It Is.” “Fortune Teller.” Specialty Records, meaning, of course, the Architect of R & R, Little Richard. The irrepressible Ernie K-Doe. “Working In A Coal Mine.”

Then a later wave. Little Feat. “Lady Marmalade.” Dr. John, The Night Tripper. “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley.” The incredible horn charts on The Band’s live album.

Of course, the guy whose aura and genius that permeates so very much of New Orleans music for the last half century: Allen Toussaint.

Last night, I was fortunate enough to be among those who celebrated his 75th birthday at an intimate tribute show, benefiting New Orleans Artists Against Hunger & Homelessness. Read the rest of this entry »

Sandwith Eater Chronicles: Monday’s ABCDEs + P

Posted: January 28th, 2013 | Filed under: Community, Culture, Personalities, Ruminations, Sandwich Eater Chronicle | 1 Comment »

Hello there. I know it’s been awhile. I’ve been off my feed, to use a horse racing metaphor.

But, bolstered this morning by a breakfast of Smucker’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter on Honeycrisp apples, I want to weigh in on several of the burning cultural issues du jour.

A is for Apple. The corporation, not the fruit. The company sold 48 million iPhones over the holiday period. 48 million. The company posted the biggest quarterly profit of any non-oil company. Ever. Ever, as in the history of companies seeking profit.

In 2012, Apple earned $41.7 billion in profits. That’s billion with a B. As in $41,700,000,000.

So, how did Wall Street react to this pretty stunning move?

Apples stock immediately dropped 12%.

Riddle me that.

B is for Beyoncé. The hot singer is getting hammered because she had the audacity to lip sync the national anthem during the inauguration. Read the rest of this entry »

Te’o Armstrong Syndrome: The Amends Process

Posted: January 18th, 2013 | Filed under: Culture, Personalities, Sports | 2 Comments »

Personal insecurity and a will to win in overdrive make strange bedfellows.

It is a combination of personality traits fraught with peril.

Consider Lance Armstrong. Consider Manti Te’o.

Which I shall, but first some perspective.

I was a roly-poly kid, fat, truth be told. Always a little slower on the ball field than my pals. Not as deft at picking up grounders, or putting the ball in the hoop. Relegated to the line in touch football.

Our gang dubbed ourselves the “Bonnycastle Bearcats.” Even though the only opponent we ever played was Jimmy Bevers’ Gang.

Sitting around one afternoon in the corner of the park which was our home field, I told the group my uncle was going to get us uniforms. My standing escalated immediately.

Truth. There was no uncle. There were no uniforms. Out of the blue, based on a desire to be well-liked, some need to feel worthy, I made it up. Consequences never entered my mind.

Weeks passed. The others started wondering, “Where are our uniforms?” Read the rest of this entry »

“How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away” Dan Hicks & Hot Licks: Songs I Love, Part XXXIV

Posted: September 9th, 2011 | Filed under: Music, Personalities, Ruminations | 2 Comments »

Today was the last day for James Bickers as morning show host on FPK 91.9.

I do film reviews on that show every Tuesday morning at a smidge after 8:00 am.

Frankly, the banter between my host and myself through the years had gotten, well, more than a little testy at times. We used to do a quiz in which he’d play a film clip and I had to ID the flick. He was rarely inclined to give me full credit for identifying the movies. Why? Well, you’ll have to ask Mr. Bickers . . . if you can track him down now.

I would attempt to engage the audience with cultural bon mots. Mr. Bickers lives a solitary life, so most references passed him by. Instead of displaying even the merest scintilla of interest, he would feign displeasure. It was, frankly, not a good feeling.

During our last gig together, Mr. Bickers, out of the blue, indicated the tension that many felt emanating from the studio was simply radio shtick. Imagine my surprise. He never, at any moment during our 8 year run, indicated it was all an act.

Anyway, I guess I need to let bygones be bygones, move beyond my justified resentments, understand I’m not the lowly weasel Mr. Bickers would portray me to be, and forgive. Oh yes, and forget.

Therefore, to honor Mr. Bickers, on his last day on the job. I offer this testimonial.

Sayonara, mon ami. Don’t worry, I’ll lock the door behind you.