Friday, May 31, 2013

hot weather flowers

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These hot weather flowers are harbingers of the crushing summer on the verge of blossoming.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Further Illustrated Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock 'n' Roll

"sludge me no sludge no more Alright sledgehammer guitar!"
A sample.

Someone added *a lot* of illuminating margin annotations to the LSU library's copy of the THE ROLLING STONE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL. This might be some sort of Timecube-style reading, the work of a pop culture-obsessed Straussian or just maybe the catharsis of a graduate student in the midst of a nervous breakdown.

Either way, I think there is something important to be gleaned here.

Scroll over the slideshow below and click "Show Info" for my commentary.

If the slideshow doesn't work for you, see the whole set of photos on Flickr.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

a mile of boudin

The spread at Kartchner's.

Toby Kimball demonstrating the ways of the cracklin at Cajun Corner in Krotz Springs, LA.

The June issue of Country Roads Magazine tells the harrowing and heroic tale of my buddy Clarke and I eating a mile of boudin and cracklins in Krotz Springs, LA. We only got one brief respite that afternoon.
I will not lie; I was relieved when the convenience store clerk told me they were out of boudin. “They have some across the street at Billy’s,” she added helpfully. I nodded and bought a roll of Tums in the attached convenience store.
Read more about it here or on paper from your favorite south Louisiana newsstand. Here are all the meat pics you can handle from Kartchner's, Billy's and Cajun Corner.

What they have at Billy's, splayed out on the hood of my car.

In the same issue, I interview the great songwriter Verlon Thompson about songs and the songwriting workshop he's teaching at the Songbird Music School, July 6 & 7 at the Birdman in St, Francisville. I once say Thompson sing Jimmy Dean's cornball classic "Big Bad John" and render it a thing of beauty. If he can fix that song, imagine what he can do with yours.

I didn't realize the sausage link between the boudin story and Jimmy Dean until I wrote this. I did, however, fully realize the "link" gag. Bon appétit!

Experience the cracklins closeup!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Music of 5/20/2013 - 5/26/2013

View the whole thing on Storify if you cannot work the slideshow.



We spent three days at Universal Studios in Orlando, all three of which I left my camera in my bag, only remembering it for a brief beach romp in Pensacola. We occupied the castles for that photo like we were on Game of Thrones. Here's to summer!

The third photo was taken through the windshield by the astounding 12-year-old, Maya Cook; the rest, by me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Well? He does. This is the poster Kroger Babb used to promote the version of Ingmar Bergman's SUMMER WITH MONIKA that he bought and recut for the grindhouse circuit. Bergman was famous for his depictions of existential crisis; Babb, for "sex education" moves. Here is Babb's trailer.

This is the poster for Bergman's version. The film made waves with Harriet Andersson (then romantically tied to the director) cavorting naked on the rocks of a Swedish island while the young couple in the poster escape dreary Stockholm for a season. Escape from your very own dreary Stockholm and watch the whole thing here.

Ingmar Bergman, SUMMER WITH MONIKA (1953)

One suspects it was that wicked Scandivaian free-spiritedness controlling her, as opposed to the devil's radar beams, though now I want to see that movie. Bergman wasn't afraid to let the devil pop in now and again.

From PERSONA, discussed here.

Things do not pan out so well for our young couple as they often do not in Bergman films, but for a moment, you think the whole world might just go on groovy forever. The devil probably controls that with his radar as well. Thanks, devil.

Rodriguez, "Crucify Your Mind."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Music of 5/13/2013 - 5/19/2013

View it directly on Storify.

This includes a story of how I gave a guy a CD to cheer him up while considering asking out the girl that broke up with him. The 20s/30s cusp is a time of functional honor, at best.

A plea for David Lynch to direct an episode of MAD MEN

David Lynch's HOTEL ROOM (1993) - A miniseries from HBO's silver age about 90 years in the life of a single hotel room, room 603 at the Railroad Hotel. Lynch directed the first and third 30-minute  episodes. The first involves Harry Dean Stanton and a prostitute and Stanton's creepy friend Moe.

The second episode is written by Jay McInerny and takes place appropriately in 1992. It's not as good but features Mariska Hargitay in full shoulder-padded bombshell glory and Griffin Dunne being creepy. Lots of champagne and caviar. Great lines. "Make it a magnum!" "I as in 'egomaniac!'"

The third is a beautiful dramatic portrait featuring Crispin Glover and Alicia Witt holing up in the room during a blackout in the mid-30's. I forget after decades of his being a professional eccentric that Crispin Glover was a pretty good actor capable of a singular, fragile tenderness. It says something about Witt's acting ability, though, in that she is the one overdoing it.

I wasn't sure what to think of it until I watched Episode 7, Season 6 of MAD MEN, where mergers were forced and unions were tested and the keystone to this week's psychic avalanche rested involved an artificially and possibly cruelly extended stay in a hotel room not too dissimilar from the one in HOTEL ROOM.

It did make me think that I want David Lynch to direct an episode of MAD MEN. TV is in his heart, as well as the shoddy bubble of '60s normalcy that give MAD MEN is undercurrent tension.

David Lynch, RABBITS (2002)

Check out the stilted absurdity that is RABBITS, a nine-part sitcom of the damned Lynch produced in 2002. It is a mid-century purgatory as much as the offices and apartments in MAD MEN are. The music is an abstract swoon; the dialogs are a stream in humanity pinched into being individual old-time butcher hot dogs of ready-to-devour life.

The dialog in RABBITS reminds me of the non-sequitirs that are the "on the next episode of AMC's MAD MEN" vignettes.

Maybe just have David Lynch direct the "on the next episode" parts. But, just imagine what David Lynch could do with the hollow core of Roger Sterling, how fire could erupt from that ivory chimney.  Let him do a full Burt Peterson or Burt Cooper episode. Let David Lynch follow either Burt home and play with their clay. Have Pete Campbell have to go to Des Moines to court a large agribusiness account. Make Pete Campbell drive a tractor in his little banker suit.

I also thing Godard should do an episode about Megan going to visit her parents but that warrants its own plea. Also, I say this not because I think MAD MEN is lacking anything. It's just that I've been watching old David Lynch things on YouTube and MAD MEN episodes on some less-sanctioned tube and maybe the medium is mixing the message. I'm just saying. How uncomfortable could Lynch make one of Pete's failed amorous adventures become? That alone should be worth giving him a shot.

A scene from BLUE VELVET.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Blues singers named "Pigmeat"

Pigmeat Markham

Pigmeat Markham, "How Long Blues" 1945 BLUE NOTE

Pigmeat Markham was better known for his "Here Comes the Judge" comedy routine which became a meme in the sixties. He performed at the Apollo Theatre (sometimes appearing in blackface long past the age of Vaudeville), on The Ed Sullivan Show and in race films. His popularity finally transcended the chitlin circuit when Sammy Davis, Jr. performed Markham's routine on "Laugh-In" and wove "here comes the judge" into the wider cultural fabric.
The success of Davis's appearance led to Markham's opportunity to perform his signature Judge character during his one season on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.[7] Archie Campbelllater adapted Markham's routine, performing as "Justus O'Peace," on the country version of Laugh-InHee Haw, which borrowed heavily from the minstrel show tradition.
Dig this popular 1968 proto-rap version.

Pigmeat Markham, "Here Comes the Judge"

Pigmeat Terry, "Black Sheep Blues"

Pigmeat Terry was one of many singers who were "[b]iographical ciphers emerged from their anonymous dark, made 78 rpm recordings, and were promptly swallowed up by darkness again" according to the description John Fahey's  Revenant label gave them.  AMERICAN PRIMITIVE V. 2 was Fahey's final curatorial effort for the label her started, and it comtained this song, haunted by Pigmeat Terry's otherworldly voice.

Pigmeat Terry, "Moaning the Blues"

Pigmeat Pete & Catjuice Charlie, "On Our Turpentine Farm"

All I know about Pigmeat Pete is that it was a psuedonym used by Harry McDaniels, as told by Eugene Cadbourne's biography of Wesley "Catjuice Charlie" Wilson on
 The origins of the name Catjuice Charlie are unknown, but speculation is certainly encouraged. Pigmeat Pete's real name was Harry McDanielsWesley Wilson played both organ and piano and was extremely active as a songwriter with his wife, their most famous creation being the demanding anthem "Gimme a Pigfoot," a song strongly associated with classic blues queen Bessie Smith.

Pigmeat Pete Smith, "The Devil Makes Work of Idle Hands"

Pigmeat Pete Smith was a latter-day English blues performer seduced by the blues of all the pigmeat singers that came before him. Adam Blake has a touching tribute on his blog.
The last time I saw him play was at a festival where Errol and the Blues Vibe were booked to play on the main stage. Pete was doing a solo set on the acoustic stage. Errol, Richard Rhoden and I went along to watch. Pete unfolded his tunes, told his stories like the masterful raconteur that he was, revealing once again his love and devotion to the memory of Max Miller and then, at the end of the set, launching into a fast one-chord boogie shuffle at a tempo so punishing that Errol, Richard and I glanced at each other with trepidation: “he’ll never be able to keep that up”, was the unspoken comment between us. Well Pete kept it up, and sang himself hoarse, and left the stage to tumultuous applause. And we applauded and whistled and shouted right along with them because Pete’s rhythm was safe, safe as houses.
EDITED 5/17/2013 7:27 A.M. TO ADD: (Thanks to my good friend, Joseph Winterhalter)

Pigmeat Jarrett, "Freddie"

Pigmeat Jarrett. The info posted on this video says more than I could about this Cincinnatti bluesman:
Born 1899 James Pigmeat Jarrett played piano on Ohio River Riverboat Excursion boats - most notably the Island Queen between Cincinnati and Coney Island a local day resort on the River - He played the river, speakeasies, rent parties ----

He could change keys in the middle of a song - he was not a musician - he was music.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Allegorical images for the impending graduate


(1) A hatched or pecked open robin's egg lay on the sidewalk outside the geoscience building. (2) The normally bustling design building is an instant ghost town once the fall semester is over. I wish they'd at least keep the coffee shop open through graduation. (3) Baby raccoons gaze on unfazed in the bushes by the drug store. (4) This has been written on the underside of the steps of the architecture building for at least two years. (5) A stately palm gets some support outside Woodin Hall. A colleague and I walk by there everyday and just recently remarked that we have no idea what goes on in there.

All but (3) were taken by me this morning while walking across campus to my office. The raccoons were encountered on the way home yesterday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Sunset during the art walk in our neighborhood. It was actually more hoppin' than this photo might suggest but I really like the sky and the wire and the bloody smear of brake lights.

We decided Lazy Lester is the coolest portrait from the mural of Baton Rouge blues musicians being painted by the mighty Charles Barbier on the side of the pawn shop near my house. It's the one that spells it "jewerly" on their sign.

This house down the street has a sunroom filled with bottles. It has only taken me a full nine years in this neighborhood to walk by it at night with a camera and catch its true magic.

I at all this during the mother's day feast at Big Al's in Houma. ~$15, though my brain was too swollen with food to actually read the check.

This is a rare portrait of my sister Anne, my niece Luna, my daughter Maya, my Mom and Dad, caught at the Jolly Inn in Houma before the band kicked in. I didn't mind twisting my ankle throwing Luna around the dance floor. Literal throwing, like dancing with a giant sack of coffee beans wanting to be slung.

A few words on Wim Wenders

Life and death are nearly as meaningless as the concept of choice. Fun movie!

The slideshow contains links to full-length YouTube versions of ALICE IN THE CITIES, PARIS, TEXAS, and THE GOALIE'S ANXIETY AT THE PENALTY KICK.

See the whole thing on Storify, especially is the little wheel never stops spinning.

Here is the video of the Schwebenbahn in Wuppertal, should you just want to cut to the good part