Music, part one.

I upload a video to YouTube as part of a new site on Drive-In ads. Why I am doing this I do not know, but having come across a YouTube vid that jams them together into a 4-hour wad, I thought it would be a nice public service to break them up.


Oh for Grabthar’s sake, why? When I looked at the particulars it said that the background music was owned by APM, and while they would let me use it, I couldn’t monetize the video. Big whoop; fine, and thanks. But here’s the thing: every time I make a video these days for the paper, I use APM, and have a contact there to report which track I’ve employed. So what the heck: I dropped him a line asking if they had tons of library music that didn't show up in the search fields, because if they owned hours and hours of this stuff, well, we must talk.

I mention this only because you get used to these claims, and I’ve had stuff yanked for employing a snippet of an ancient performance of a piece of classical music, and I’m sure people every day by the millions run up against John Law saying nay, nay, you cannot. This is just the first time I was able to say “hey, I know a guy,” and drop him a line. What if they have long-lost archives never heard since the later days of radio? What if I could find those pieces I’ve only heard in six-second snippets?

Music, part two. Friday night, errands, Traders Joe. The eclectic music goes from a song I do not like to a song I do, and it gives me some juice. I sing along to myself. Take it to the bridge / throw it overboard / see if it will swim / back up to the shore

The clerk beeps my goods and the machine tells me to swipe.

“I did swipe,” I said. “Or so I thought. I was distracted by the music.” Because, you see, I really want to prove I can quote the chorus.

“What’s the song?” the clerk says.

“Squeeze’s last hit. Hourglass.”

“Oh, right,” he grins. Then comes the unexpected twist. “I saw them in concert at the Longhorn.”

Now. You have to understand something. This is like “I saw the Beatles at the Cavern Club.”

“The Longhorn,” I said. “Before it was Zoogies.”

He grins: brother. And he tells the story: he was a kid from the suburbs who took the bus downtown and went to the Longhorn to get a ticket to see this guy called Elvis Costello, but they were sold out. It was, however, a bar, a fellow could go up and have a belt, so he did - and there was EC, mad, steaming, because the gear from the last concert had arrived late and the roadies were BEEP BEEP CLANG, you know, the usual Traders Joe checkout noises. Point is, he pitched in, Elvis gave him a ticket for helping, and he told this story (and others) for a movie about the Longhorn, coming out soon.

“I was there too,” I said. “Elvis’s first show in Minneapolis.”

He handed me my receipt. We shook hands. Brother.

Saturday was the Fair, of course. I showed up at the bus stop and joined a long queue. No buses came. A minute passed. Another minute passed. And suddenly - a minute, passed. The a minute, passed.

The man in front turns around and says “What was the matter with the Wisconsin Fair? I was reading your article and then the water heater burst.”

There’s a conversation starter. I had a nice chat with the family, and was glad I had done a slow fade off to the side a few minutes before. They were ahead of me on the sidewalk, but I had cut across the street to get to the queue, and ended up ahead of them. This was not fair, so I’d maneuvered myself off to the side as the line moved forward so they could take their rightful place. We had a brief conversation about this, and sure enough they had noticed A) how I cut across the street, and B) did The Right Thing. See? Someone always notices.

A minute passed. And then, without warning, a minute. Passed. A man wandered up and explained why no buses were coming: the Black Lives Matter protest had shut down the street, and the buses were all backed up by the dozens on the approach to the Fair. Word traveled up and down the queue, and everyone just shrugged and waited. The fellow in front talked about how his other child had gone earlier to be in the parade, but the bus was delayed and the band didn’t make it.

I wandered around and shot two stories, then went back to the Strib booth. Huge crowd waiting for the free lip balm distribution at 3:30. Really. Every year, a new flavor. (Mini-Donuts this time.) I decided to lead them all in a chant. Only the first “Yay Star Tribune” was suggested. The rest of it - well, they knew what to do.

Usually they just say something about forming orderly lines for people to leave once they have the lip balm, but since I was feeling particularly rambunctious I asked if I could handle the announcement; shouted ARE YOU READY FOR SOME LIP BAAAAAALLLM, got a great shout of assent, then led them in a countdown from ten.

I have the best job in the world.



Short one here, because there's not much in . . .

Wendell Corey plays a jerk. A drunk jerk.

A drunk jerk who doesn’t realize how good he has it. His wife is loving and beautiful, but oh horrors she has her parents over from time to time, and he uses that as an excuse to go get drunk and be sarcastic in that way that’s supposed to give him a wry, intellectual cast. But he’s a jerk. Into his life walks . . .

This is the decent, rich wife who loves him, and who he decides to toss away for Barbara Stanwyck.

I'm not getting it. But as I said, he's a jerk.

If it's a cheap "Double Indemnity" sort of movie, it needs an Edward-G-Robinson suspicious boss:

Unlike “Indemnity,” it ends with a trial. Barbara gets arrested right away for the murder. See, Corey has to prosecute the woman he kinda-sorta loved, even though he helped her arrange the scene after the Rich Old Aunt was shot because Barbara thought it was the old bad husband, or so she said. Sex-mad guys are like that. Whether he regrets this decision, and whether his heart has realigned, sensibly, towards the lovely young rich woman to whom he is married, well, that gives us some suspense.

See, we don’t know if Babs is guilty. That’s part of the fun.

It has that rumpled, tired, end-of-the-40s shopworn look.

But you know what? It’s 1950. Somehow that makes everything in the movie feel passe. The moment the numbers turned over, it seems as if everything should be a bit crisper. There shouldn't be anything left over from the 20s, like this shot.

At least not in movies.

That's it for today! Remember, Fair rules. It's going to be a jam-crammed week. See you tomorrow.



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