Dancing out of your constrictions: the best songs of 1978

In 1978 disco conquered America and Washington DC conquered Jimmy Carter. Here are the year’s best singles. 1. Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) 2. Rolling Stones – Miss You 3. Funkadelic – One Nation Under a Groove 4. Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive 5. Earth Wind & Fire – Serpentine Fire 6.Continue reading “Dancing out of your constrictions: the best songs of 1978”

Weekly Roundup 5/30

Bob Dylan wrote and sang bad songs too, you know. Terence Davies releases his long deferred adaptation of Sunset Song. I didn’t think the documentary Weiner was anything but a reprise of headlines. On the other hand, Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship is a triumph of style and tone. Reviews of three items in myContinue reading “Weekly Roundup 5/30”

A ticket on the last train home tonight: the best songs of 1979

In the first half of 1979, disco still ruled. The phenomenon had a salutary effect: even Neil Diamond thought about four on the floor arrangements. As usual I wouldn’t take the ranking too seriously. 1. Chic – My Feet Keep Dancing 2. Donna Summer – Hot Stuff 3. Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til YouContinue reading “A ticket on the last train home tonight: the best songs of 1979”

‘Sunset Song’ an uneven retread

I know devotees of Terence Davies who lament his choices in the last twenty-five years. Instead of creating original material that might compete with a film as singular as The Long Day Closes, the English director has turned to adaptations: the muddled The Neon Bible (1995), his excellent take on Edith Wharton’s The House ofContinue reading “‘Sunset Song’ an uneven retread”

The cowardice of Marco Rubio

My twelve-step program allows for relapses. Here’s what happened this weekend re: Marco Rubio: Meditating on everything from Trump’s rise to his fractious relationship with Jeb Bush, Rubio revisited nearly every turn of his presidential run in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that aired Sunday on “State of the Union.” The former presidential candidate,Continue reading “The cowardice of Marco Rubio”

‘What their sexual persuasion is does not enter into it’

A little over twenty-five years ago, the last raid on a gay club happened in South Florida: In a Friday night show of force, 100 armed officers masked drug agents and the U.S. Border Patrol raided the gay bars. Sheriff Nick Navarro, his wife Sharron and a visiting Soviet military man showed up to watch.Continue reading “‘What their sexual persuasion is does not enter into it’”

‘It’s resistance against what San Francisco has been’

Conor Friedersdorf posted a conversation between him and a young Trump supporter. Although the man cites the debt, lowering taxes, “reduction to or an end to affirmative action,” and other points of obsession on the right, the young man also supports birth control access, universal health care, and LGBT rights. Now he sounds like aContinue reading “‘It’s resistance against what San Francisco has been’”

‘Weiner’ offers nothing new about disgraced congressman

As the representative for the Ninth Congressional District, Anthony Weiner was the quintessential new century Democrat. An advocate for expanding Medicare and a protector of abortion rights, Weiner also voted for the Iraq war resolution and to bar the Palestinian delegation from the UN. But his effrontery distinguished him from the pack. During the nadirContinue reading “‘Weiner’ offers nothing new about disgraced congressman”

Can you understand my pain? Dylan’s worst songs

My picks for worst Dylan songs are failures of imagination, excuses for singing like a minotaur, or okay songs hobbled by contemptible arrangements. I could have added “Chimes of Freedom,” a Kristofferson cover with a terrified children’s choir, or “Dark Eyes” (I can’t better Theon Weber’s description: it’s transparently on Empire Burlesque so that stupidContinue reading “Can you understand my pain? Dylan’s worst songs”

The triumph of irony: ‘Love & Friendship’

Kate Beckinsale made her film debut in Kenneth Branagh’s broad-as-a-barn Much Ado About Nothing, in which she projected quiet good sense as Hero. The problem with being a British actor is that you remain a British actor, cast as if by edict in adaptations of classics: Emma, The Golden Bowl, Cold Comfort Farm followed. ForContinue reading “The triumph of irony: ‘Love & Friendship’”

Here’s to your eyes and my final demise: My favorite things

PM Dawn – The Bliss Album…? (1993) A path untraveled for nineties R&B. Plush. Acoustic guitars and pianos on percussive beds as soft as layered cotton. Boy George as a duet partner. Sampling “Father Figure” four years before LL Cool J did. A “Norwegian Wood” cover. A riposte to Tribe Called Quest’s “Butter” called “AboutContinue reading “Here’s to your eyes and my final demise: My favorite things”