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

The Hitchcock/Truffaut Tapes #19


Part Nineteen entails a general discussion of technique

Artists in Action #384


James Durante sleeps

Jesters of the Empire #11


Harry Secombe

Adventures in the Fight Racket #19


Today's Adventure: Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali holds a press conference, flanked by his recently acquired strategist, Lincoln Perry (1965)

The Art of the Big Top #15

Annals of Crime #26


Original Caption:

Cleveland -- This is the general view of the court room in the Cuyahoga County Criminal Courts building as the first degree murder trial of Dr. Samuel Sheppard (arrow) gets under way. Prosecution attorneys are seated in the foreground at the table with defense attorneys on the opposite side. The 30-year-old osteopath is accused of the bludgeon slaying of his pregnant wife, Marilyn, who was found murdered in the Sheppard lakeside home in suburban Bay Village last July 4th. Dr. Sheppard has testified that an intruder killed his wife and assaulted him. (1954)

Artists in Action #383


Paul Desmond overshadows

(vast thanks to the inimitable Jeff Duncanson of Filmscreed for this image)

When Legends Gather #411


Mickey Rooney and Duke Ellington

Politicians in Action #20


Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson makes Abe Fortas laugh

Great War Art #12

Intervista #5
When Legends Gather #410


Well, here's a strange bit of audio I've had hanging around for a while: An interview (I think) conducted in November of 1961 for (get this) Redbook magazine. The principals are playwright/composer/actor/diarist/Vegas headliner Noel Coward, and Vincente Minnelli's ex, Judy Garland. Now, whom is supposed to be interviewing whom is not entirely clear to this reporter. If any of our visitors have the backstory on this lively exchange, feel free to drop me an email; or, better still, t'row it in the Comment section. We'll be glad you did.

Update (07/01/08)

Lloyd Fonvielle of the frequently amazing and highly-recommended blog Mar de Cortes Baja, makes the following case:

"I'm guessing this was recorded in Boston during the out-of-town tryouts for Coward's musical Sail Away, which ended up running for 167 performances on Broadway. Could the Kay who sometimes moderates be Kay Thompson, vocal arranger and vocal coach to Judy when she was at MGM, later a nightclub chanteuse and author of the "Eloise" books?"

Pursuing that line of (good) speculation, Lloyd continues:

"There seems to be some guy from the magazine there, in addition to 'Kay'. At one point, 'Kay' offers to moderate the discussion -- 'You can cut me out later,' she says. Then Coward says to Kay and Judy that the last time they came over to his apartment his neighbors almost asked him to leave the building.

"Kay Thompson was known as something of a character -- it's said that Auntie Mame was based on her -- and she and Garland remained friends after both had left Metro. Thompson did the vocal arrangements for a TV special Garland appeared on a year after this conversation.

"So this 'Kay' could very well be her."

I'll buy that. Well reasoned and well done, monsieur.

Artists in Action #382


Sergio Leone catches

The Art of Cinema #314


The Servant
(Joseph Losey; 1963)

Jesters of the Republic #4


Bert Lahr

The Cool Hall of Fame #129


Solomon Burke

The City: Reno #1


Original Caption:

Gambling in Reno, and It's Legal.

Reno -- A game of Faro is in progress at the Bank Club here which is one of the centers to be affected by the signing of the wide open gambling bill. Mayor E. E. Roberts of Reno has been a supporter of the drive for legalized gambling. (1931)

Seminal Image #830


Duel in the Sun
(King Vidor; 1946)

They Were Collaborators #471


The Monkees

Joints #13


The Latin Quarter

When Legends Gather #409


Harry Belafonte, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Seminal Image #829


Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers!
(Russ Meyer; 1968)

Friends and Family #33


Original caption:

New York -- Penetrating TV interviewer Mike Wallace is shown talking to former gambler Mickey Cohen on his show this evening. Cohen, now a Sunday School teacher and a florist, lambasted the Los Angeles police for their conduct since he took the road to reform. (1957)

Sex Education #105
Artists in Action #381


Marilyn Monroe reclines

The Cool Hall of Fame #128


Haskell Wexler

The Golden Age of Prurience #50


La Baie du desir
(The Erotic Touch of Hot Skin)
(Max Pecas; 1964)

They Were Collaborators #470


Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur

The Art of Cinema #313


Carry on Regardless
(Gerald Thomas; 1961)

When Legends Gather #408


Clare Boothe Luce and Gore Vidal

The Art of Civil War #11

Before and After #133: Shelley Winters

Before


After

Ben Shahn's American Life #13


We Want Peace (1945)

Jesters of the Empire #10


Tommy Cooper

They Were Collaborators #469


Vilma and Buddy Ebsen

C is for Cunningham #15


Sunbonnet Woman (1950)

An Illustrated History of American Labor #8


Original Caption:

Sixteen women textile strike pickets, imprisoned with 112 men by Georgia National Guardsmen on charges of trying to keep workers from entering a cotton mill at Newnan, GA, are shown eating their dinner at their prison camp near Atlanta. They were members of the strikers' "Flying Squadrons" which traveled from mill to mill urging workers to leave their machines. (1934)

The Hitchcock/Truffaut Tapes #18


Part Eighteen: I Confess (1953)

Seminal Image #828


The Killing
(Stanley Kubrick; 1956)

Artists in Action #380


Peggy Lee watches a repair crew work on a broken gas main outside of Ciro's

Broadcasters #40


Roy Masters

The Heretofore Unmentioned #19


Chubby Checker

The City: Miami #1


Original Caption:

Spectators watch the 'World's Largest Santa,' 65 feet in height, and a 70-foot Christmas tree during the formal lighting ceremony in Miami on the night of Thanksgiving Day. Sychronized to music, the display is lighted by more than a mile of multi-colored neon tubes. The tribute to the forthcoming Holiday, erected on the pedestrian bridge over Miami Avenue, was witnessed by a crowd estimated at 10,000 (1950)

They Were Collaborators #468


Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo

The Art of Cinema #312


The Wild Party
(Dorothy Arzner; 1929)

Before and After #132: Charles Laughton

Before:


After

They Were an Item #46
When Legends Gather #407


Sen. Wayne Morse (D-OR), Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

They Were Collaborators #467


The Beatles

Artists in Action #379


Jeanne Moreau visits Los Angeles

The Heretofore Unmentioned #18


Italo Calvino