Category Archives: famouses

covers: cuties

I, unlike many people, love a good cover… of a song, that is. I’m actually a total sucker for a good cover, the further off from the original the better. I’ll try to share some favorites here and there, if I remember.

first up in this “series” of sorts are two lovely, sort of sad, and very re-imagined covers done by two artists I like, who are both adorable cuties.

here is mirah’s version of bruce springsteen’s 1984 hit, “dancing in the dark.” the video isn’t really a video, just an audio file. while I’m not really a fan of the boss (although I did see him a few years ago at jazzfest, and I will say he puts on a heck of a show), I love what mirah did with her version. it’s certainly *very* different from the original.

next is swedish alt-pop delight lykke li’s version of “will you still love me tomorrow” written by carole king (a favorite of mine–how can you not love her?!)  and gerry goffin, it was a huge hit for the shirelles in 1960, although I prefer carole’s version, which she did with james taylor.

no offense to the shirelles, though, as I also love me some mid-century girl groups.

the shirelles version is much swoonier, poppier, and puppy-love-crush-sick than carole’s, which is much sadder and prettier, but it retains a redemtive quality that lifts it out of the totally depressing bin. carole certainly knows her way around a sad but redeeming ballad.

lykke li’s version, as you’ll see (er, hear), brings the sad to a new level… she makes it seem like a desperate sadness, a truly lovesick ache. and damn if I’m not a sucker for that kind of stuff.

stay tuned for more covers. I’ll try to avoid anything too hackneyed… a dear musician friend of mine once told me that “everyone thinks they can play a good cover of ‘use me’*… and they can’t.”

well said. if I ever take up the ukulele (the only instrument I think  might stand a chance at mastering) I’ll keep that in mind.

*I hope this isn’t necessary, but I am obviously referring to bill withers’s epic tune.

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films, part one

part one of a roundup of my favorite films, in no particular order.

Some Like it Hot
(1959)

Hands-down, one of THE funniest movies of all time. In fact, every time I watch it, I am surprised yet again at just how hilarious it is. Gangsters! Millionaires! Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in drag! Marilyn Monroe’s breasts on all-too-prominent display! She actually gives, in my opinion, a pretty stellar performance, but apparently she was a nightmare to work with as she was a little, shall we say, zonked out of it and unable to remember her lines. I also read that she was actually pregnant at the time of filming (which the costumers tried to hide) and later miscarried. Poor Marilyn. But this film is one of her best, and Lemmon and Curtis couldn’t be funnier. The scene of the party in the train car is my favorite, and in close second the tango scene. Oh, and the last line! What a hum-dinger! They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Annie Hall
(1977)

My all-time favorite. Pitch-perfect. Woody Allen at his best: this film is funny, charming, heart-breaking, sweet, nervous, and delightful. Diane Keaton positively COULD NOT be any cuter. The ultimate relationship story (my favorite topic) that examines the ups, downs, and ultimate demise of Annie and Alvy. Alvy’s ending voice-over monologue about how he feels about Annie (“… how fun it was just knowing her…”) is the most we can all hope for in terms of how we feel about former lovers, and it’s a beautiful thing. One of my favorite parts is the “spider in the bathtub” scene–it’s such a moment of emotional truth, and most of us have been there. The film is also chock-full of funny Woody Allen one-liner exchanges:
Annie – “Do you want some chocolate milk? I’ve got the good chocolate…”
Alvy- “What am I? Your son?”
HA! Gets me every time. It’s also full of great little celebrity cameos (some non-speaking): Paul Simon, Jeff Goldblum, Sigourney Weaver, Shelley Duvall,  Truman Capote…

Sunset Boulevard
(1950)

Absolutely classic film noir. The sets and cinematography are absolutely wonderful in this creepy and gripping film. Bill Holden plays the archetypal struggling young Hollywood writer who ends up a kept man by Gloria Swanson’s reclusive,  jealous, needy silent film star of a bygone era—very Ms. Havesham-esque.

Joe- “You’re Norma Desmond… you used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.”
Norma- “I AM big. It’s the PICTURES that got SMALL!”

The murder-mystery in reverse set-up allows the plot to unravel in such a structured, 1940s way, as it winds through issues of possession, delusion, insanity and need. The whole thing is totally spooky eye-candy that is just brilliant. The monkey funeral? The rotting old mansion? The closing scene? Creepy perfection.