Aldo Ray: Brainy beefcake

“Aldo Ray” didn’t exist.  The actor born Aldo DeRe never became the star he deserved to be. Maybe agents confused him for a Tad Hunter blond beefcake type. Recognized by audiences now as the moniker Quentin Tarantino gave to Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds, the force that played a character called Aldo Ray specialized inContinue reading “Aldo Ray: Brainy beefcake”

Singles Jukebox 8/26

As promised last week, the lowdown on Nick Cave: effective for a coupla Birthday Party numbers, otherwise a pompous bore who never got past thinking Poe and Flannery O’Connor are essential literature (for many non-Americans, Southern Gothic seems like such a peculiarity that it must be “quintessentially” American). Also, he’s too old to be thisContinue reading “Singles Jukebox 8/26”

Underworld: Kitsch a go go

If the credits had said Hecht-MacArthur instead of Joseph Von Sternberg, I’d have believed the hardboiled writing partnership, authors of The Front Page and His Girl Friday among countless other stage and film classics, directed Underworld, the 1927 silent that kicked off the gangster picture cycle. Beautifully restored by Criterion — if there was aContinue reading “Underworld: Kitsch a go go”

Ken Mehlman: He’s gay (yawn)

From the No Surprise File: Ken Mehlman, former Bush campaign manager, comes out: Mehlman told Ambinder that he had recently come to the conclusion that he is gay and was looking to become an advocate for gay marriage. He went public in part because he expected to be asked about his sexuality when it becameContinue reading “Ken Mehlman: He’s gay (yawn)”

Merle Haggard: A lot of pride in what he is

Since I’m not  schooled in Merle Haggard’s (vast)  catalog, I have to evaluate I Am What I Am against the six studio albums I own and the superb 2006 single-disc comp Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard, which is, naturally, incomplete but presents such a staggering number of great performances and songs that, like ChronicleContinue reading “Merle Haggard: A lot of pride in what he is”

Jace Everett: Swagga like him

If you watch “True Blood,” then you’ve heard “Bad Things” over the credits. Jace Everett sings it like he heard Chris Isaak’s “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” minutes earlier and liked it, a suspicion that goes double for the show’s producers. I’m pleased to report that host album Red Revelations is a good toContinue reading “Jace Everett: Swagga like him”