George Jones: Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

Via The New Yorker, Obituary of George Jones:

“George Jones, the man with perhaps the most distinctive and iconic voice in country musicPhoto of George Jones, died on Friday in Nashville at the age of eighty-one.

In the first moments after the news broke, thousands of people reached the same conclusion at the same time, a nice instance of hive-mind solidarity, and the Spotify and YouTube tracking numbers will surely reveal a massive spike for his song “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” which is one of the great sad songs in the American songbook, written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman. Jones took it to No. 1 on the country charts in 1980. Great artists are always preparing us for their deaths, giving us, through their careers, the tools with which to remember them. But rarely is a song so apt. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is the ur-country story song, about a man who’d never gotten over his broken heart. The man kept a picture of his old flame by his bed, and her old letters, where he’d underlined “Every single ‘I love you.’ ” The man had lived in torment, released only by death. The chorus goes like this:

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today.

The words are fine, but they don’t do the song, or Jones, much justice. His voice was the source of envy, and sometimes envious parody, among his peers. In its most notable and glorious movement, his voice bent and twanged like the sound an old saw makes when you give it a shake. He found vowels in words where no one had ever seen them before. Other pop singers have possessed what is often called “an instrument,” but Jones’s voice was the closest to making this expression real: it was a thing, like a reliable tool dusted off in an old shed, smooth in places, rough in others. It was like honey that had caught a few specks of dirt.

“He Stopped Loving Her Today” came along at a time when Jones really needed it. It had been six years since he’d had a No. 1 hit, and he’d spent most of those, and the ones before it, mired in bouts of brutal, destructive, and massively anti-social alcoholism. Booze ruined his first marriage, and gave the world the notorious tale of how Jones, his car keys hidden by his wife, once left home on a riding lawn mower to put-put down the highway to a liquor store. At his worst, Jones could be a country-music caricature. Later, he made a cruel mess of the nineteen-seventies: alcohol and cocaine left him broke. The stories of Jones’s drunken antics are legion, and while their hard-living, hard-loving particulars might inspire a bit of awe (and gave him cred with rock and punk artists), just ask the women in his life what it was like to live with him. Yet, even in some of his lowest personal moments, Jones created great, signature music. He recorded “Bartender’s Blues,” written by James Taylor, in 1978. His rendering of the chorus, with its “four walls around me to hold my life,” may be the best expression of his incredible vocal gifts—despair and joy fighting out their eternal battle.

The recording sessions for “He Stopped Loving Her Today” took a long time, and were contentious. Jones was capricious and unreliable—other words for saying that he was a drunk. He never liked his nicknames. “Possum” disparaged his middling looks. “No Show Jones” impugned his reliability and professionalism. Both were unkind, and both were deserved. He idolized Hank Williams, and it seemed like he was bound to follow him to an early grave. Yet “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was a hit, and three years later, at rock bottom, Jones quit the drinking and drugs, and lived on for three more decades, making music, recording too many albums, lending his golden voice to innumerable duets. He was Nashville royalty, name-checked by every young country singer with any sense. He’d been married to his fourth wife, Nancy, for those thirty years. In the end, he wasn’t the lonely, regretful man in his most famous song.

Jones’s songs lifted country-music aphorisms to a kind of high art, and his life and now death seem to demand aphorism as well, something blunt and simple like: George Jones was an imperfect man with a perfect voice. He lived like a devil and sang like an angel. Well, sure, but let’s skip that. There have been more interesting country singers, better musicians, and songwriters that have left a more indelible stamp on the genre. George Jones was, like Frank Sinatra, a gunslinger for hire—and he probably recorded as many bad songs as he did good ones. But let’s say, for today, that the good ones won out, and the best are the best there are: sad songs (“Things Have Gone to Pieces”) love songs (“Golden Ring,” with his longtime duet partner Tammy Wynette, who was also his wife and then his ex-wife), funny songs (“The Race Is On”), and silly songs (“The One I Loved Back Then”).

It’s barely after noon on the east coast, probably too early for a whiskey. But later, if you’ve got a moment, pour a couple of fingers and cue up some George. I’d start with one of his earliest hits, “Tender Years,” which was recorded in 1961 but may have been the best thing he ever did. George Jones outran and outlived his shadow for half a decade. He lived a long time. But his best songs are short. “Tender Years” runs at 2:28; you may want to set it on repeat.”–New Yorker Magazine

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Mad Men Mistakes And Remembering John Lindsay In Harlem

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New York’s charismatic  mayor, John Lindsay.   on a walking tour of Harlem in  the aftermath of the Martin Luther King assassination. Mad Men got this right, using it as vehicle for showcasing Henry’s growing political ambition. But almost no one owned a co-op then so Peggy’s flirtation with sboston10_1964logo new0009buying an apartment is bogus. Ditto for tv remote controls. That lazy couch potato  device didn’t became standard equipment until the 80’s. Early versions existed but weren’t wireless.

Via NY Times:

“What on earth happened? We enter the fine new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York and see that handsome patrician, boyishly grinning on posters and magazine covers: John V. Lindsay, Park Avenue-born son of privilege, graduate of Yale and Yale Law School and, in 1965, newly elected mayor of New York City. He is just out of his early 40s and is so charismatic, striding through the city streets with such casual authority, that he might have been a gift of the Fates to replace another boyish, privileged political leader, a president assassinated just two years before.

Related

Neal Boenzi/The New York Times

Mayor John V. Lindsay of New York arriving at the groundbreaking for the Flatlands Industrial Park in Brooklyn in 1966, the year after his initial election. More Photos »

“He is fresh and everyone else is tired,” proclaims one of the campaign posters on display, quoting the journalist Murray Kempton.

But then look at him at the end of his two mayoral terms, on a 1973 cover of The New York Times Magazine blown up on a wall at the close of this exhibition. Lindsay is graying, somber, grim. What happened between these two images? New York happened, the 1960s counterculture happened, racial radicalization happened, budget crises happened, urban renewal and urban despair happened. On the magazine cover, each crease in his face is labeled with a supposed cause: the sanitation strike, the Tombs riots, the presidential debacle, the school strike, the transit strike, the long, hot summer, and on and on.

The catalog tells of a Lindsay administration reunion in 1993 at which someone yelled out a cheery paraphrase of Kempton’s aphorism: “You still look fresh, Mr. Mayor.”

“Not true,” Lindsay bluntly replied. “We’re tired, and everyone else is dead.”–New York Times

2nd Term, Baby: Barack With Bangs Kills It At The White House Correspondents Dinner

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Looking more like Mo item7539m_jpgThe Stooge than the Mr. Big Of The Free World, Obama took a page from Michelle’s playbook and presented pics of himself with fringe. It was just one of the hilarious moments from Saturday night’s 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner. Conan O’Brien hosted.

Bravo TV’s ‘Married To Medicine’ And The Creepiest Cat Fight Ever

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The poolside cat fight on Bravo’s new reality series Married to Medicine is this season’s version of  NJ Housewife Theresa Giudice’s table-flipping tantrum a few years back.

Once again, over-accessorized women who live in over-decorated McMansions bait each other for the camera and the Neilson’s . Female treachery is not pretty but seems to be a cliche-ridden crowd pleaser.  On Bravo, dinner parties and vacations  always dissolve into chardonnay-fueled “she said/she said” shouting matches over imagined insults and gossip gone viral. Andy Cohen must be thrilled with his newest women acting badly hit but some of us still get uncomfortable over these increasingly negative portrayals of women who I suspect share the same stylist and plastic surgeon. (Do you know anyone who visits a girl friend dressed in sky-high heels, huge earrings and hair extensions?)  pawn_stars_cast Duck_Dynasty_PromoTime to switch the channel and watch the Pawn Stars in their cheap black tee shirts actually enjoy life,  each other and their good fortune. Ditto for the  Duck Dynasty clan. Despite their lack of designer clothes and pretensions, these folks likely have more money than the various “housewives”. They certainly have more class.

Thankfully for Donald Trump There Is A Twitter And A Weiner

  1. Trump loves Twitter because it’s a free way for him to get P.R. And along with Don Imus and every comedian on the planet,
    he’s likely praying for Anthony Weiner to enter the New York mayoral fray. DT is already weighing in with typical Trump subtlety:

    Pervert Alert! Serial sexter @anthonyweiner has promised to use twitter as a “tool.” Parents,make sure your children have him blocked.

  2. Weiner says many more pictures may be out there—this is just what NYC needs, a pervert Mayor

    But ya gotta admit Weiner is comedy gold. Here are the quotes Trump referenced in his tweets. Via USA Today:

    “Some things don’t change.

    Anthony Weiner was a ubiquitous presence on cable TV before the sexting scandal that derailed his political career. Now, as he considers running for New York City mayor, the disgraced Democrat is back on the airwaves again.

    The New York Observer‘s political blog notes Weiner did at least four interviews Wednesday, with local affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS and a regional news network out of Rye, N.Y.

    Weiner’s quote to RNN-TV is a jaw-dropper, suggesting there could be more lewd photos of him floating around out there — but that he’s not going to help in producing them.

    “If reporters want to go try to find more, I can’t say that they’re not going to be able to find another picture, or find another … person who may want to come out on their own,” Weiner told RNN-TV. “But I’m not going to contribute to that. The basics of the story are not gonna change.”

    That almost sounds like a page out of the Gary Hart chapter in the political sex scandals book. The Democratic presidential candidate practically dared reporters in 1988 to trail him to determine whether he was having an extramarital affair — which they did, and Donna Rice became a household name for a while.

    The other notable Weiner quote came out of the ABC News interview, as he explained his return to Twitter. Weiner defended his re-emergence on the microblogging site, where he recently shared his 64-point plan to help New York City.

    “Twitter can be snarky, it can be funny. But it can also be a real tool to help governance. And I’m not going to let that tool go unused,” Weiner told ABC News.”–USA Today

Schiaparelli Revival: Christian Lacroix To Design 15 Piece Homage Collection

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We didn’t know it at the time, but the excessive 21JPLACROIX1-articleLarge80’s were only training wheels for our 21st century world of $3,000 shoes, $30 million dollar apartments and $300 tickets to see Bette be Sue (Mengers) on Broadway.  The go-to guy for gala events was of course Christian Lacroix and his pouf dresses, worn most famously by the then Mrs. Donald Trump, the flamboyant Ivana.

“Christian Lacroix has opened up about his short-term appointment at Schiaparelli. He explained to Dazed Digital that he feels a definitive kinship with the legendary designer: “I don’t want to sound pretentious but this seems naturalTO GO WITH AFP STORY BY NICOLE DESHAYES Elsa_schiaparelli_1937 elsa+schiaparellis+skeleton+dress+1938 elsa2 to me, almost obvious. I do feel a link with her through many signs since I was a child. In my approach I will for sure not do a caricature of her work, but will create a reflection about how the past and the future are connected in the present.” [Dazed Digital]

Via Style.com:

“Finally, something’s happening at Schiaparelli. After6a01156f47abbe970c015392664bfc970b-pi the house’s current owner, Diego Della Valle, announced his plans to reopen the storied maison last year, there had been no news about a creative director, or even a launch date. Until yesterday, when it was revealed that the Schiap revival is set for July, with a fifteen-piece capsule collection of Couture by Christian Lacroix. The 61-year-old,

Paris-based couturier’s homage to Schiaparelli—which will go on display in her original salon at 21 Place Vendôme—will be the first in an annual series of collaborations in which artists will interpret the iconic designer’s wares. The house’s permanent creative director, however, has yet to be named. Here, Lacroix, who has largely been working on costume projects for operas and ballets around the globe since his departure from the couture catwalk in 2009, discusses the Schiaparelli revival and his forthcoming collection.

—Katharine K. Zarrella

Schiaparelli is a legend, yet also mysterious; you referred to her as a sphinx. Are you at all intimidated by the undertaking?
This will perhaps sound pretentious, but this seems natural to me, almost obvious—let’s say logical. I do feel a link with her through many signs since I was a child. I’ll face her glance on a portrait and try to guess what she thinks…and I’ll tell you yes, she’s goddamned intimidating!

How did Mr. Della Valle approach you for this project?
We have known each other for more than thirty years. [We met] when I was working for Guy Paulin and Byblos in Italy. Later, he made my first shoes for the first Lacroix ready-to-wear show. And we have friends and collaborators in common.

Why were you drawn to this collaboration?
I’ve adored Schiap since my childhood. This kind of project that falls in between the history of costume and fashion was impossible for me to refuse [particularly because] I planned to be a fashion museum curator and became a stage designer after twenty-five years of couture.

Do you see any similarities between your and Schiaparelli’s aesthetics?
Of course I was very inspired by her work, mixing past and modernity, high and low, elegance and eccentricity. We are both Mediterranean characters inspired by Paris’ special flavor and style.

While many are excited to see new life breathed into Elsa Schiaparelli’s house, some are wary of the revival and feel her legacy should be left untouched. What is your response to this and what are your feelings on the revival?
When you enter 21 Place Vendôme, the place which never stopped being “her” home since the thirties, you feel something alive, far from nostalgia. Everything screams, “I’m still here, alive.” I think this is good timing and momentum [as long as] we don’t copy her but try to extract the quintessence of her style. Her heritage is too often reduced and simplified to only the crazy, surrealistic, and caricatural side of her clothes. [People] ignore how close to the practical, modern, pure aspect of a wardrobe she was, especially during the war. We have to epitomize this image of her.

How do you plan to embrace the Schiaparelli spirit without making the designs look costumey? How will you modernize Schiaparelli’s vision?
By listening to her own voice. This is not a musical about her life, with Beaton-esque costumes, but an exercise of how her French-American (much more than Italian) style—clever clothes with a twist of spirit—is close to nowadays’ needs and approach.

What about this project most excites you?
I just signed and have not begun designing, but let’s say that I’m excited to not provide what everybody is waiting for—a caricature—but a reflection about past and future connected in the present.

What is your favorite Schiaparelli design?
Probably something plain and black with a precious detail.

How does it feel to return to designing couture?
Natural.

Do you have any plans to continue this partnership in the future?
No, that’s clear. Next year’s homage might be a ballet, a novel, or a movie, and the house is about to name a creative director. I’d have too many stage, design, or curating projects to be free for this. At the moment, I’m still working on many curating and scenography projects, three operas, and three hotels. I’m in fittings for Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, and sketching for Wagner’s Lohengrin in Austria. Right now, I’m in Arles for a wide scenography in Montmajour Abbey, with pieces of glass from Bob Wilson, Ettore Sottsass, Jana Sterbak, et cetera, along with contemporary installations, paintings, and photos. Then I’m doing a Balanchine ballet revival at Paris Garnier Opera, and projects for Comédie Française and Opera Comique, Christoph Willibald Gluck’s [opera] Ezio in Francfort, Traviata in Tokyo, Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny in Berlin, and so on.”–via Style.com

Parade of The Shiksas: Lucy As A Showgirl With Fred Astaire; Victoria’s Secret Angels With Bruno Mars

I was trying to find pics of gorgeous  Ziegfeld girls in barely-there costumes and headdresses  that predated the Victoria’s Secret fashion show by almost a century and lucille_ball_01 photo-768134stumbled on Lucille Ball as a movie chorus girl. Fred Astaire did the crooning then; Bruno Mars does it now.