The Snapshot Chronicles: 7/18/16

Posted: July 18th, 2016 | Filed under: Culture, Ruminations, Snapshot Chronicles | 2 Comments »

chron“The Night Of” HBO. Good guy, son of immigrants, hooks up with mysterious beauty, gets laid, wakes up in the middle of the night at her place to discover she’s been slashed to death.

This exemplary, nuanced, intense crime drama mini series proves yet again what we’ve know for a long, long time: HBO on Sunday nights is Must See TV.

Duke’s vs. Hellman’s? Where do you stand on the critical question of which mayonnaise is the best?

It was a Facebook colloquy last week, among a group of intelligent, critical thinking adults. All of us apparently so tired of contemplating the state of our country in turmoil, our attention was thus diverted.

Having just bought my first jar of Duke’s ever, I have switched my allegiance, such as it was, to that lesser known brand. Eggier. Tastier. Providing a new resonance to that summer classic, the heirloom tomato BLT.

“All Down The Line” Rolling Stones. Anybody who’s seen the self-caricature that is the Stones in, say, the last couple decades, and has marveled how the once greatest rock & roll band ever still has it, needs to listen to this: Read the rest of this entry »

The Snapshot Chronicles: 7/12/16

Posted: July 12th, 2016 | Filed under: Music, Ruminations, Snapshot Chronicles | 1 Comment »


Another Mule (Triangle Park). Kim’s back in town. So he and Monk and Barry and Don and Nick and Michael, whose jokes are corny as ever, but a smidge less blue, got it together for another reunion gig we’ve never expected.

The boys practiced and it showed, kicking it in from the first note. The tuneage rang as true as the perfectly delightful summer night.

Two hours of familiar faces, reminders of forgotten moments from back in the day, and old folks boogie.

We’d a stayed all night if they’d a let us.

Send in the lawyers, guns and money/ the shit’s still hittin’ the fan.

“Hurt” Timi Yuro. The car’s been sitting on a black asphalt parking lot for several hours in the middle of sunny, hot in the 90s day. I forgot to crack the windows open.

The V Dub’s interior is hot at Blue Dog’s baking ovens.

I crank the AC to 11. Just then, Ms. Timi comes on the box, with so much chilling ache in her voice, the Fahrenheit drops immediately. An ache so shivering, her singing gives up. She’s suffering so, her voice quivers, she halting says to her lover with a cracking in her throat, “much more than you’ll ever know/ Yes, Darlin’, I’m so hurt. Read the rest of this entry »

The Snapshot Chronicles: 7/05/16

Posted: July 5th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Ruminations, Snapshot Chronicles | No Comments »

chron“If You Ask Me” Libby Gelman Waxner. Those of you who have been coming here for awhile know that I’m an aficionado of cinema, and podcast my film reviews, forty or so already this year. Given that stature as a card carrying film critic, I’m often asked, “c d, who is your favorite film critic?”

The simple answer is Libby Gelman-Waxner, whose reviews for Premier magazine, may it rest in peace, set the gold standard. Also an assistant buyer in juniors activewear, daughter of the very wise Sondra Krell-Gelman, married to Josh Waxner D.D.S., an orthodontist on the upper east side, many of whose patients are the children of lawyers of famous people, with two lovely children and a dearest friend, Stacy Schiff, “a gifted marketing analyst still unattached,” she set a standard in the 80s and 90s that not only surpassed Pauline Kael, but became an exemplar no critic has come close to matching since.

Here’s just one example of Gelman-Waxner’s incisive and knowing film criticism: “I must confess: I know I’m not supposed to, but I enjoy the Rambo pictures, and for a simple reason — I like to watch people getting blown to bits. It’s silly, but when Sylvester Stallone hangs a hand grenade around someone’s neck and pull the pin out, I always think, Why can’t Sly do that to my dry cleaner, who always loses a button or a matching belt? In Rambo III, Sly is fighting the Russians in Afghanistan, but in my mind, he’s taking on my husband’s entire family. Josh, my husband, says his mother has allergies, and that’s why she spit out my lemon quiches — Sly, get the flamethrower, and while you’re at it, use the crossbow with the detonating arrows on Cousin Leslie, with the adorable two-year old who chews my slipcovers.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Snapshot Chronicles: 6/27/16

Posted: June 27th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Music, Personalities, Ruminations, Snapshot Chronicles | 4 Comments »

chron“Step On Up” Billy Joe Shaver (Sirius XM Outlaw Country). If Muddy Waters was the most masculine of the electric blues singers — and you know, really, he sang “I’m a Man,” and felt compelled to spell it out, in case his point wasn’t indelible enough — swamp blues master Slim Harpo was the most sensual.

Don’t move your hands/ Don’t move your lips/ Just shake your hips/ And do the hip shake thang

And if author/rock & roll historian Robert Gordon, an inveterate Memphian, came as close to a legit definition of that genre as anybody, when he declared “Rock and roll is white rednecks trying to play black music,” then a sure enough classic example blew through the box in my car the other day.

On the Outlaw Country channel no less. It’s all mixed together now, folks.

Corsicana, Texas’s Billy Joe Shaver was singin’ — no “g” at the end of that verb — “Step On Up.”

The lead is a boogie shuffle — thanks John Lee Hooker — with its back strokes on the guitar. Then a little six string vibrato tag that oozes from the swamp primordial. All Slim. All bayou slinky.

Redneck white boy playing black music. Bingo, RG. Rock & roll.

As an exclamation point, the lyrics assure the listener Billy Joe knows Muddy too.

Step on up here baby/ I’ll show you what’s it about/ You know I’m packin’ something/ Something you can’t live without

“Thunder Road” (2016 Sundance Festival Short Film Tour). The finale of this fascinating eight film potpourri, the pick of the litter of thousands submitted this year for Robert Redford’s annual fete in Utah, was written, directed and stars a guy named Jim Cummings.

Remember the name. Read the rest of this entry »

Snapshot Chronicles: 6/15/16

Posted: June 15th, 2016 | Filed under: Culture, Ruminations, Snapshot Chronicles | 2 Comments »

History“Wristband” Paul Simon. Simon, 74, is a dinosaur. Not so long ago, he wondered aloud whether the record album (a collection of songs presented on vinyl or CD) was a thing of the past in the digital download age? He grew up with 45s, an age of doo wop singles. Would he resign himself to a return there, after fashioning some of The Great Albums, especially “Rhythm of the Saints?”

No is the answer. He’s back with a quite resonant, “Stranger to Stranger,” with the usual mixed to the forefront rhythm tracks, and canny observations of the what’s happenin’ now. As he once explored Third World percussion and harmonies, he here ventures into a bit of atonality, citing the work of Harry Partch.

He’s still elementally a sentimentalist, which suits his effective but less than stellar vocal chops.

He not surprisingly considers death, “The Werewolf.” And such as schizophrenia, “The Parade.” And the ugliness of today’s cultural interaction, using the speed of a Negro Baseball star as metaphor in “Cool Papa Bell.”

He proves yet again that he can astutely observe the human dynamic, and express it with cunning creativity. In “Wristband,” he uses that nightlife delineator of status to comment on societal strata.

The riots started slowly with the homeless and the lowly/ Then they spread into the heartland towns that never get a wristband/ Kids that can’t afford the cool brand whose anger is a short-hand/ For you’ll never get a wristband and if you don’t have a wristband then you can’t get through the door/ No you can’t get through the door

Sign at Payne & Spring. Spotted outside Willinger’s Tavern, where the good ol’ boyz gather daily on their stools outside by the entrance, to observe the passing scene and argue about all that matters, this chalkboard message: “Beer As Cold As Your Ex’s Heart.”

“Love & Friendship” (Whitt Stillman, director). Jane Austen, Comedy Writer. Who knew? This film, a turn on a novella by the famous novelist of 17th C British manners, starring Kate Beckinsale, and featuring the relatively unknown Tom Bennett, brilliant as an addled suitor, is the funniest movie I’ve seen in awhile. You can hear my podcasted review here. Go see it. Read the rest of this entry »