Monday, December 21, 2009

Donald Fagen on Jean Shepherd and A Christmas Story

Nice little thing on Jean Shepherd by Donald Fagen in Slate. Shepherd was responsible for the stories that make up A Christmas Story. Here's a peak under the lampshade:
If you know Jean Shepherd's name, it's probably in connection with the now-classic film A Christmas Story, which is based on a couple of stories in his book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. He also does the compelling voice-over narration. On Christmas, TBS will continue its tradition of presenting a 24-hour Christmas Story marathon. There are annual fan conventions devoted to the film—released 25 years ago this Thanksgiving—and the original location in Cleveland has been turned into a museum. But long before A Christmas Story was made, Shepherd did a nightly radio broadcast on WOR out of Manhattan that enthralled a generation of alienated young people within range of the station's powerful transmitter. Including me: I was a spy for Jean Shepherd.

In the late '50s, while Lenny Bruce was beginning his climb to holy infamy in jazz clubs on the West Coast, Shepherd's all-night monologues on WOR had already gained him an intensely loyal cult of listeners. Unlike Bruce's provocative nightclub act, which had its origins in the "schpritz" of the Catskills comics, Shepherd's improvised routines were more in the tradition of Midwestern storytellers like Mark Twain, but with a contemporary urban twist: say, Mark Twain after he'd been dating Elaine May for a year and a half. Where Bruce's antics made headlines, Shepherd, with his warm, charismatic voice and folksy style, could perform his most subversive routines with the bosses in the WOR front office and the FCC being none the wiser. At least most of the time.

Read the whole thing if you've got a few minutes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Father Christmas, Give Me a Kinks Reunion

From 101.5 WQUT Tri-Cities Classic Rock:
Ray Davies has expressed interest in teaming up with brother and Kinks co-founder Dave Davies on a new project from their long-standing rock band.

Though they haven't worked together as bandmates since 1996, Ray said that a reunion was contingent upon Dave's recovery after a 2004 stroke, and whether or not he was able to play music again.

"I suggested he do some low-key shows to see how well he can play. If we're going to play together again, we can't hit the road straight away with a big-time announcement," Ray said in an interview with News of the World.

"But, if Dave feels good about it and there's good new material that we can write, it'll happen," Ray added.

Additionally, Ray said that the project could include other musical contributors as well, such as a certain New Jersey songwriting legend.

"Bruce Springsteen has expressed an interest" in the project," Ray said.

Bruce Springsteen will not be a part of this project. The Advanced are always saying that things like this will happen, but they never do. I do hope Dave can come back though.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lou Reed's iPhone App: Lou Zoom

Lou Reed has a new iPhone app, and though it has nothing to do with music, your grandfather might enjoy it:
With Lou Zoom, your contacts have never been this beautiful—or this huge and legible! Each name in your contact list expands to the full width of the display, making them easier to select, and allowing you to read you contact info without squinting. No pinching, no panning around—just your contacts, clearer. Dramatically set in Helvetica Neue type, this contemporary take on classic Modernist design turns heads as quickly as it dials phone numbers.
This is one of the most subtly Advanced moves I've ever seen. (Thanks, Michael, for the tip)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bob Dylan "Must Be Santa" and LIttle Drummer Boy Videos

I'm late on this, but the video for Bob Dylan's "Must Be Santa" is one of the most Advanced things you'll ever see. What is up with the Advanced and wigs?

And now Little Drummer Boy is out.

For an interview with the director, go here.