Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sunday Funnies & Arts










As always, click to enlarge. For more Ben Sargent, Pat Oliphant, Zippy the Pinhead, and Tony Auth, go here, here, here, and here...




Get your NFL free agent tracker here...

Occupied Territory Funk has a terrific Miles Davis video here. It's an abstract soundscape that reflects the  music in visual pulses and and impressions...

The New York Times obituary for Antoinette K-Doe is here. She believed in her spouse and in her community -- and acted on her trust -- in ways that few people have...

Keith Speara writes that her funeral was appropriately musical and flamboyant:
Deacon John Moore, alone with an acoustic guitar, belted "One More River to Cross." Gospel vocalist Jo "Cool" Davis stood on his artificial leg and wailed an uptempo spiritual; the church band, featuring James Andrews on trumpet, joined in as the congregation rose and clapped in time.

Porgy Jones serenaded the casket with a delicate flugelhorn solo. Congregants sang "We Shall Not Be Moved" as they filed past Mrs. K-Doe one last time.

In the lead [of the funeral procession] was an antique-style, glass-walled hearse carriage pulled by two white mules. Once Mrs. K-Doe's coffin was stowed inside, the marchers strutted past onlookers crowding the narrow strip of Ursulines neutral ground. Rain threatened, but held off.

A mule named Christmas pulled a passenger carriage, the sort that normally hauls tourists around the French Quarter. Riding in the front row, wearing his permanent smile, was the mannequin of Ernie K-Doe. A human attendant held the mannequin's top hat in place through a tight U-turn at North Prieur.


Sometimes the most trivial and mundane things take on a life of their own. Take the simple water meter cover in New Orleans. Of late, it has appeared on shirts, jewelry, photos and more. Taking on "the part represents the whole", it has developed an aura of its own. It represents in peoples' mind a symbol of the New Orleans they always knew. A New Orleans from more carefree times.
Big Railroad Blues Dept: Ronni Bennett writes about railroad songs here on As Time Goes By. One of my favorite train songs is "Big Railroad Blues" as covered by the Grateful Dead. It's here, about 2:25 into the video...

Beats me why these guys are called the Moron Brothers. It seems to me that they have it made...

Yesterday afternoon, T. and I saw The Class, the 2008 Best Foreign Picture nominee from France. Although fictional, the film is shot and produced in a cinema verite style that places the viewer in the classroom. We are also present at parent-teacher conferences, in the teacher's lounge (yes, they smoke in there), and at student evaluation conferences. The Class follows teacher Francois Marin (played by Francois Begaudeau, who wrote the autobiographical novel on which the film is based) and the students of his inner city middle school literature class through a complete school year. They achieve enough triumphs that we suffer their failures that much more acutely. 

Throughout the film, M. Marin perseveres in his efforts to convey the concept of the meaning of words to his students. Though some often respond with the frustrating literalness of middle school students, others slowly take his point. Thus it is the height of irony when he loses a student -- one that Marin defended in private while often clashing with in class -- when he misunderstands how loaded a certain slang word is and cannot get the class to accept his literal use of the word. The film ends when the school year ends, with students cheering on teachers as they play soccer, a reminder that the student-teacher relationship is ever symbiotic and antagonistic. Highly recommended.

Discovery Channel: Jessie Lee Miller. This Austin-based cowgirl chanteuse successfully blends torch singing, western swing, jazz, and countrypolitan into a unique confection that epitomizes Texas music. That is, while Miller's approach is neither fish nor fowl, it is an unconventional alchemy perfectly reflecting a musical tradition that borrows from other traditions without qualm and somehow forges its own larger-than-life identity.

Miller has released two CDs, both good if abbreviated. Now You're Gonna Be Loved (2006) is straightforward swing-jazz characterized by Miller's sultry voice backed by a swinging band. Adept, economic instrumental breaks punctuate the vocals as Miller and her band course through thirteen ballads and honky tonkers. An acoustic rendition of "You Are My Sunshine" provides a nice finishing touch. 

Waiting (2007) introduces elements of countrypolitan, with the occasional Nashville-style strings nicely augmented by a New Orleans clarinet. This set is jazzier, further flung in its influences, and definitely more ambitious. The opening torch ballad, "People Fall In Love Like That," with its clarinet intro, jazz piano solo, and sultry vocals sets the tone nicely for the remainder of the CD. Nonetheless, one of the most charming aspects of Waiting is that Miller never forgets her origins: Miller romps through "Good Lookin' No Good," the very next song, accompanied by a steel guitar, and honky tonk piano, and a blues guitar solo that comes out of nowhere. Then comes the mid-tempo "Always October" followed by the lounge blues of "Runaround." Miller continues to mix her pitches deftly (including Latin version of Marilyn Monroe's "Loved By You"!) and holds the CD together with her relaxed yet seductive voice. It's always encouraging when an artist follows up a promising debut with an even stronger second effort, and, with Waiting, Jessie Lee Miller has accomplished just that.

Here is she is singing "Pennies On The Railroad Track" from her first CD:

9 comments:

Roy said...

Oh, man, I so wanna be going up and down the river with those guys!

K. said...

Tell me about it. They were all pretty quick with dry humor, too. And remember: You just never know.

(Which reminds me off former Houston Astro and St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Joaquin Andujar, who said that baseball could be summed up in one word: youneverknow.)

K. said...
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Sylvia K said...

Oh, good funnies today! Thanks for all the laughs -- and grumbles and great music!

K. said...

It's gotten to where this is my favorite blog. Be sure to link to the Moron Brothers video. Although I think you'll agree with Roy and me that these guys are more like the smartest people in the world.

K. said...
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The Clever Pup said...

Gee, Zippy the Pinhead AND he has his own site. I'm going to have to tell my 50-something brother to find a computer and check it out.

K. said...

Zippy is great. I especially like the ones with a punch line is the first panel, with the rest of the comic a reaction (of sorts) to it.

BTW, Zippy is definitely better on-line than in print: It's in color and the panels are larger.

Occupied Funk... said...

I have started reading this and I'm enjoying it and following the great links. Thanks for taking me back to 1945. It would appear that the debate of control over the state or and industry will be the debate of the future and the winner will be the winner of future elections