The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Seminal Image #744


Applause
(Rouben Mamoulian; 1929)

Artists in Action #278


Duke Ellington advertises

When Legends Gather #312


Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and John Mills

The Art of the French Postcard #12

Before and After #95: Leonard Cohen

Before


After

Fun at Bohemian Grove #26


Bohemia's first born (1904)

The Art of Cinema #259


The Patriot
(Ernst Lubitsch; 1928)

Artists On Artists #1:
Patti Smith on Edie Sedgwick


She begins talking about Edie Sedgwick, an early heroine -- "It's funny how heroine and heroin are very similar . . . " -- from the days when Patti first hit New York, and suddenly her voice becomes less assertive. She uses even more 'ya knows' than usual. "Half of Blonde On Blonde was written about her and, uhm . . . she just burned herself out. She was a deb, a socialite . . . I just met her . . . I was a fan of hers . . . I just met her once . . . I thought she was really wonderful." Behind the RayBans the shadows of her eyes have stopped darting. "She was like traveling with Warhol and I used to see her at art exhibits and I wrote a couple of poems about her because I thought she had so much abandon and she was such a fantastic . . . it was the days of like discotheques and the Peppermint Lounge and stuff and she was like, she wore these mini-skirts and had platinum hair and black eyebrows and she was gorgeous, ya know, really American, like rich, ya know, especially like she was upper-class and I was lower-class, I had this sort of like fascination for her . . she was really, totally in tune with her body, all her movements and, ya know, she was really like a rock'n'roll Salome and I really dug that." You get an image of Patti, the gawky girl grown to gawky late-adolescence, watching Edie and getting the germ of an idea....maybe it's alright to be weird...
© Bart Bull, 1976

(This excerpt from an interview with the always demure Patti Smith appeared in the December, 1976 issue of Sounds, and was generously supplied by its author, a just and righteous man of letters named Bart Bull. Señor Bull's blog, which achieves in prose what we seek to achieve with images here, is heartily endorsed by this corner of the Gunslinger quadrangle, for whom it has become a favorite among favorites)

Musical Indulgence #11


Committed to Parkview
(Porter Wagoner; 2007)

Second only to Kinky Friedman's 'Sold American' in its limning of Country music dissipation and madness, 'Committed to Parkview' was written and recorded by Johnny Cash for his 1976 Columbia LP One Piece at a Time. And no better song could have been chosen to represent what turned out to be Porter Wagoner's welcome, but cruelly brief, career revival.

Porter Wagoner Dead at 80


All of North America awakens this morning to very sad news of the passing of Porter Wagoner, who succumbed to lung cancer last evening at the age of 80. Variously known to multitudes as leader of the Wagonmasters; the duet partner of Norma Jean, then Dolly Parton; as The Thin Man from West Plains, Missouri, and someone who could wear a spangled, rhinestone-studded Nudie jacket like no man alive, he should perhaps best be remembered as author and singer of some of the finest (and some of the most gloriously deranged) Country music ever committed to record.

For what it's worth, I always preferred his recording of "Settin' the Woods On Fire" to Hank Williams' original.

That's my heresy for today; all in his honor.

More about his life and work can be found in the following Obits:

CMT.com

The People's Daily (China)

The Washington Post

The Art of Science Fiction #8


Operation Interstellar
(by George O. Smith)
(Merit Books; 1950)

When Legends Gather #311


Milton Berle and Marlene Dietrich

Before and After #94: George Jones

Before


After

They Were Collaborators #387


The Will Mastin Trio

The Art of the Gig #11

They Were Collaborators #386


Clara Bow, Jean Harlow and Jean Arthur join forces for The Saturday Night Kid.

Collect 'Em All #39


Ann Harding
No. 24 in a series of 50 from Player's Navy Cut Cigarettes
Ann Harding, who was christened Dorothy Gatley, was born in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on August 7th, 1904. The daughter of an army officer, she began to earn her living in an insurance office, and in her spare time read manuscripts for a film company. Then she joined a group of amateur theatrical players, subsequently appearing professionally in stock companies. This led her to the Broadway stage, and later to Hollywood, where she was persuaded to try screen work while on holiday. Paris Bound was her first film, later productions including Gallant Lady, The Right to Romance and The Life of Vergie Winters.

Adventures in American Filmmaking #86


Today's Adventure: Charles Chaplin dictates from on high.

The Friends of Milt Hinton #7


Cab Calloway, Chu Berry and Tyree Glenn have fun with some local kids in Durham, N.C. circa 1940

Yé-Yé #7


Brigitte Bardot

Where the Boys Are #3


Erroll Flynn (1937)

Poets are both clean and warm
And most are far above the norm
Whether here or on the roam
Have a poet in every home! #25


Hart Crane

They Were Collaborators #385


The Shangri-Las

Artists in Action #277


The Specials chow down.

A Is For Arbus #44


Roy Lichtenstein (1966)

Great Canadians of the 20th Century #10


Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald

Heroes of Animated Cinema #1


Gertie the Dinosaur

Glamour Jungle! #9

When Legends Gather #310


Sammy Cahn, Dean Martin and Louis Prima

Before and After #93: Marilyn Monroe

Before


After

(this post is for the inimitable Mick Farren)

They Were Collaborators #384


Willie Nelson and Ray Price

Artists in Action #276


Samuel Clemens shoots Pool

Sex Education #89


Jean Harlow

They Were Collaborators #383


Lou Clayton, James Durante and Eddie Jackson

Joints #3


The Stork Club

Faces from the Past #15


Charles Chaplin (1917)

Tricky: Scenes from a Life #42


Tricky visits his old workplace (1988)

Friends and Family #13


Charlie Lucky takes a stroll through Roma

The Art of the Gig #10

G is for Gedney #11


San Francisco (1967)

Seminal Image #743


Robinson Crusoe on Mars
(Byron Haskin; 1964)

They Were Collaborators #382

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Kraftwerk

When Legends Gather #309

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Tony Wilson, Peter Saville and Alan Erasmu

They Were an Item #22


Marina and Lee Oswald

The Cool Hall of Fame #100


Gene Kelly

The Art of Jazz #44


Takin' Off
(Herbie Hancock)
(Blue Note records; 1962)

Relevant Quote #93


"All the worst people are good Americans"
-- Norman Mailer

Adventures in the Fight Racket #9


Today's Adventure: Sonny Liston anticipates good fortune (1963)