Where Did The Guitar Go?

This is one of two examples I can find on the Internet where Prince ends by making his guitar disappear. It is a move I have seen no other artist perform. It is astonishing. Watch this 12-minute medely at the 2005 NAACP Image Awards and try to deny that he was the best live performer on the planet.

I have to be honest, though, I think that audience was more excited to see Morris and Jerome than they were anyone.


Last night, I heard Chris Hayes report that, despite the shootings today, the staff of the Capital Gazette in Maryland fully intend that a paper will go out tomorrow. My automatic but certain response as a former news reporter and editor (and one who once covered a live shooter situation) : Well f*** yeah the paper’s going out!


Purple Rain. Again.

I learned via local public radio on Thursday evening that The Little Theater was featuring Purple Rain and Sign ‘o’ the Times on Saturday. There went my normal weekend.

I have probably watched Purple Rain a dozen times since April 2016, and now twice in the theater thanks to the good people at The Little. That is, admittedly, a lot of times to have watched a movie that is, quite arguably, a horrible movie. So bad is it that I have essentially re-written it and tend to choose my version over the one that appears on-screen, and I am able even when actually watching it to apply at least one major change. If I squint a bit, I can pretend that The Kid’s mother is actually dead and is just a ghost haunting he and Francis L. Their haunting by a discorporated being better explains the family’s derangement. I mean, if they’re both alive, then the only other explanation is that they are both insanely unhinged tweakers.

Of late has come the following observation: If indeed The Kid’s parents are off-the-rails meth users, well, then, they’re that and they are prolific gardeners.

I’m referring to the scene after Francis L.’s suicide attempt, after the cops have left, and The Kid is all alone and has a freakout, hallucinates his own self dead by hanging, and, you know, “goes crazy” beating the crap out of the family’s basement. The Kid’s first line of attack is to take a bat or something to the family’s abundant collection of preserves on the shelves.

The Kid’s parents, who are for most of the film only seen screaming and yelling at one another if they are not physically fighting, apparently also engage in the utterly wholesome practice of home cannery. People rarely bother to sterilize jars unless they are putting up food they have grown themselves.

I mean, can you imagine those two working in a garden? And when would they find the time?

It’s these details that fascinate me about Purple Rain, these story elements that were apparently not considered beyond “we need something for Prince to break / how about jars of preserves.” For instance:

In the beginning of the “Lake Minnetonka” scene, The Kid asks Appollonia where she is from. “New Orleans,” she answers, matter-of-factly.

Let me get this straight. She grew up in New Orleans. NEW ORLEANS. She has show-bidness ambitions. Claims she’s a singer and a dancer, in fact.

And she came to Minneapolis?

So many things in Purple Rain don’t make sense. At one point, Francis L. gruffly insults The Kid with, all my songs are in my head, I don’t have to write them down like you do (we later discover this to have been a lie). But we never see The Kid putting pen to paper, not once (as I recall, he is seen writing music in Graffiti Bridge).

Why is The Kid always late to rehearsals?

Why does The Kid show up at First Avenue in the afternoon and ask “where is everybody?” It’s a NIGHT CLUB.

And why does he have no idea how to kiss a woman?

Why is Jill Jones holding a dog near the end? (We actually know the answer to this, but if you don’t know that in a deleted scene The Kid for some reason gives Jill Jones a dog, you’re gonna wonder.)

Why did these filmmakers find Appolonia’s job application process interesting enough to leave in the movie? Why not just have her fill out W-2s as well?

Anyway. Who am I to criticize, I reckon. The thing made Warner Bros. buckets of money. And I, for one, can’t stop going back to it.

#6

I was nominated on Facebook…to list my 10 all-time favorite albums, ones that have really made an impact and are still on my rotation list, even if only now and then. In accordance with directions, I’ll do my best to post an album cover each day for 10 days. No Particular order, No explanations, just the cover.

#6:

#5

I was nominated on Facebook…to list my 10 all-time favorite albums, ones that have really made an impact and are still on my rotation list, even if only now and then. In accordance with directions, I’ll do my best to post an album cover each day for 10 days. No Particular order, No explanations, just the cover.

#5:

#4

I was nominated on Facebook…to list my 10 all-time favorite albums, ones that have really made an impact and are still on my rotation list, even if only now and then. In accordance with directions, I’ll do my best to post an album cover each day for 10 days. No Particular order, No explanations, just the cover.

#4:

#3

I was nominated on Facebook…to list my 10 all-time favorite albums, ones that have really made an impact and are still on my rotation list, even if only now and then. In accordance with directions, I’ll do my best to post an album cover each day for 10 days. No Particular order, No explanations, just the cover.

#3 (are we sensing a trend here?):

#2

I was nominated on Facebook…to list my 10 all-time favorite albums, ones that have really made an impact and are still on my rotation list, even if only now and then. In accordance with directions, I’ll do my best to post an album cover each day for 10 days. No Particular order, No explanations, just the cover.

#2:

Brandi Carlile and Tune-Yards

It was about 3 a.m. that I learned of the existence of Brandi Carlile.

I hadn’t yet heard her segment on The Howard Stern Show. I knew it had aired because many Stern “fans” in my social media stream were bitching about it. Bitchy group, Stern fans. So I was having some trouble getting to sleepyland, and often when this happens, I put on the Stern show. They were playing the last half of her appearance in the studio. I was disappointed not to get to hear the entire segment, but I did get to hear Carlile and her “twins” perform her song “The Joke.”

This is a tremendous performer, and she has written a truly touching song. Her story of how she came to pen the song was even moreso: She met a son of her friend’s, and he was at that age, about 13, where he just didn’t feel comfortable in his own skin, and she noticed he had a habit of tugging on his big white t-shirt, as if he was hiding in it. And she felt herself wanting to call him to offer reassurances about life and how it would improve.

She wrote a song instead.

Here’s NPR’s take on it, and it includes a live performance of “The Joke.” But, hey, a warning: Don’t listen to it if you’re not feeling like having your chin and lip quiver a little.

Then, if you’re like me, you’ll wash that down with a little Tune-Yards.

What do you mean, who? I haven’t gushed all over you yet about Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner?

The article referenced (in the Financial Times, of all places) immediately compares Tune-Yards to Talking Heads, which is an apt comparison.

But. To really dig the Yard-Tunes, you must see the live performance. It’s really something. Got an hour 20 to kill?

How about a half hour?

Junior Walker

I heard a song on WRUR last night called “Sweet Soul” by Junior Walker and the All Stars. I made a note of the song and listened to it several times today. This guy finds an upper register of a tenor saxophone that should not exist. Dude is freakin’ brilliant. I was so happy to have discovered this new musician that I have never heard before.

Except that I have heard him before.

I grew up listening to Junior Walker.

And, if you’re anywhere around my age, so did you.

No Beatles? No Zeppelin? WTF?

From Facedbook, as nominated for the challenge by my friend Cliff: 10 all time favorite albums, in no particular order. Albums that really made an impact and are still on your rotation list, even if only now and then. Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate people each day to do the same.

The list:

Day One: Through the Past, Darkly by The Rolling Stones
Day Two: Class Clown by George Carlin
Day Three: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by Public Enemy
Day Four: Chicago II
Day Five: Saturday Night Fever – The Original Movie Sound Track
Day Six: 1999 by Prince and the Revolution
Day Seven: Diver Down by Van Halen
Day Eight: We’re Only In It For the Money by The Mothers of Invention
Day Nine: The Scofflaws by The Scofflaws
Day Ten: Cup of Fish by The TwistOffs

That was fun.