Archives for the month of: May, 2012

I’m thinking about a certain kind of older woman and wondering, for reasons that aren’t very nice, if they can be an Old Babe.

The boiler room girls are the prototype I’m thinking about, old groupies, kind of, and Esther Newberg is the only one who could possibly be considered an old babe. Mimi Alford, the well-bred intern who slept with JFK and recently wrote a memoir, is not one. Old Babes do not dine out on who they slept with in 1961.

The meditation is inspired, as so much is, by the femme edition of The New York Times, with a piece called “Starting Over at 48” about Kim France. She is the founding editor of Lucky magazine, a revolutionary — not least because it is making money — format for fashion mags, and one of the many revolutions caused by Jane and Sassy in the ladies’ mag market. I find it unreadable. One good reason for her candidacy as an Old Babe is that, like the graduates of Sassy, France claims she doesn’t mind being called a feminist.

The nail in the Old Babe coffin for Kim France is when she says, “I’m 48, but I’m an immature 48. There are people in this city who work in creative businesses whose interests are still very youth-ish. They like rock music, looking cool, but they are not kids anymore. They don’t, you know, respond to crotch high skirts on a style blog, no matter how cute they look.”

Kim France has left Lucky and started over, in her West Village apartment, as a blogger.  She calls her blog “Girls of a Certain Age.” I am thinking in this unnamed sub-species of Old Babe, inspired by Kim France, of Vivienne Westwood, who always appears to be a candidate for an old babe, but is not, and the Guardian’s Invisible Woman, who is not, but writes about it.

As you know, Princess Lilian of Sweden is the captain of the old babe team, along with Iris Apfel, and we must consider both what Lilian and Iris, the floral life leaders, would do about Kim France.

What binds Vivienne Westwood, the Invisible Woman, and Kim France together is being old rock chicks, still trying, it seems to me, to make it on those terms.* The terms are murky, one of them being one’s former career as a groupie, and dining out on who one slept with in 1961. I can’t say for a fact that any of these ladies but Westwood was an actual groupie. I have read the memoirs of Pamela des Barres, Patti Boyd and Bill Wyman, so there’s nothing I don’t know about groupies, including a close encounter when Stephen Tyler and I were young and I was interviewing him for the Great Metropolitan Daily. He thought I was a groupie because that’s the only kind of women he was meeting.

I don’t think Vivienne Westwood is an old babe. While she looks like a chewed rawhide bone with orange hair, and what she wears is old but not babe, she’s not emanating fashion, but rather parroting the 50-year-old rock epigrams which passed for revolution in the 60s. She is, in a young friend’s immortal term, a rock gorgon, mimicking half-a-century old hipster gestures.

Westwood looks 100 per cent better than usual here, in this Guardian video clip, because her Gorgonesque ’70s orange Three’s Company ponytail is covered up in a chic black do-rag, and she’s not wearing a slogan t shirt. She looks chic, but her garrulity, and the idiocy of what she says, which was cute when she first said it in 1964, has worn rather less well than her eyebrow pencil. She did not wear underpants when she went to collect her OBE from the Queen, which is just about the feeblest non-punk gesture I can think of. Any self-respecting punk or Old Babe would omit one or the other, preferably the OBE.

The Invisible Woman excited me with her Ralph Ellison reference, but basically writes,  timidly and 30 years behind the times, about the issues. The Land’s End tugless soft cup tank suit, for example, is known to every woman who put away the bikinis at age 21, because a black tanksuit on the beach where everybody else’s greasyass stuff is all dangling in the sand is 10,000 times hotttter. Trust me.  But not to the Invisible Woman. The Invisible Woman is broken by the tragedy of having to put the bikinis away at 50 — which there is no reason to do, whether or not your breasts and your belly hang down to your knees. Unless you want to be chic and not have the decolletage of a baseball mitt. The Invisible Woman is British; the British are sun whores; think an Ibiza tan is paradise; and must be forgiven. Or Jade Jagger NSFW, perhaps not. (Pippa Middleton, this is your future.)

She writes about bullshit fashion panels convened to discuss the pros and cons of Botox and diet — except there are no cons, and the prospect of old age anorexic and on the needle is clearly and uncompromisingly promoted. There’s a pressing-her-nose-on-the-glass-of-youth tone which is neither old nor babe-ish. Truthfully, I suppose I’m a bit put out because I feel a tiny bit excluded but if I can’t make a grand entrance perhaps I can sneak into the party by the side door? Oh Jeez. She really wrote that, and her circling about parties is at the core of my revulsion. An Old Babe doesn’t go to parties, unless they’re for the arts of seated conversation, business, or ceremonial purposes. She is the party.

Princess Lilian, our leader, emerges briefly, on the arm of her great-nephew, to celebrate the millenium.

Which brings us to the case of Kim France, who, having been at the helm of the hot fashion rag quit Planet Conde Nast recently to become a blogger. She had daily migraines and felt she had to quit. Her blog is for women who wanted, she says, to be Tatum O’Neal in Bad News Bears, whatever that might mean. I think it means ’90s feminism as per the Australian-founded magazine, Sassy, a mesmerizing feminist girl power magazine of the ’90s edited by Jane Pratt. It was famous for enterprising girl reporters, and much more than its one true take on the groupie disaster that is Courtney Love, and I miss it.

Sassy discovered Chloe Sevigny, which may have been a mistake. And now they’re all grown up, or grown old Kim France and the Sassy girls, reading the Janedough on line, secretly praying to Tien Hou their grateful thanks that their Rielle Hunter/Mr. Big instincts didn’t work out, and quitting a real magazine gig for the pale simulacrum of the Bohemian life in the West Village, where rich people live. Kim France jokes that she’s starting a Tumblr page called “I Preferred the 90s”, because, as France says, “it sort of was the last time before things started being super adult.”

I don’t know if the manic pixie dream girl is a version of Candace Bushnell’s famous Peter Pan boy — in her immortal piece on the Manhattan biciycle boy — or if the Kim France Peter Pan Girl of a Certain Age  is a new breed — the 21st century version of the Boiler Room Girls. Who stayed waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long at the fair, kicking around Georgetown, doing married men a la Rielle, pretending to be connected. Getting drowned at Chappaquiddick. Esther Newberg got the hell out of Dodge, left for New York, reinvented herself as a ball buster, and started a whole nother non-Kennedy, more or less, life. That’s what an old babe does.

You can become a Bohemian at age 48. And I have hope for Kim France, based solely on her post about the immaculate white cloth flats worn in sooty early summer Manhattan by the girl who waxes her eyebrows.

They’re $6.79 from K-Mart. Princess Lilian and Iris Apfel would say, I think, there was a glimmer of hope here. ________________________________

*I’m still thinking about whether Gracie Slick is an old babe. She has famously retired from the stage, let her hair go white, gained weight, and paints pictures. She says, we didn’t have to be good-looking ’cause there were no music videos. She says, repeatedly, that performing is not for rock gorgons. “God bless The Rolling Stones, but I think old people doing rock and roll is kind of pathetic.”

 I think she’s getting there; much depends on the quality of her paintings and whether or not she’s hiding. I don’t think she is.

http://blog.discoversd.com/san-diego-entertainment-blog/grace-slick-dishes-on-sex-drugs–rock-and-roll.html

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That is the word that rose to the top of the great green greasy Limpopo as I chewed my salad and looked out the window into the rain on — 22nd Street — and thought about what I saw at the Bonnard show.

1. The Open Window is one, if the word means what I think it means. and for the first time in forty years of looking at it I realized that it is Africa that is outside the window: what I saw looking out the window in Africa: the abundance, incredible polymorphous capacity of matter to body itself forth into a million different leaves, forming trees, forming jungles, forming a vast shape against the sky, as rain moves in a gray line implacably toward me every day at 2 o’clock on the dot. The great cat lifts its paw and puts it down as Virginia Woolf says; but this implies malice and caprice. Nature is completely powerful and affectless — one dissolves in it, as Bonnard and not Picasso knew.

The Open Window, Pierre Bonnard, 1921.

Bonnard is the anti-Picasso.

He says, “…that which begins from nothing, that which does not mean anything, a picture just for the sake of a picture, appears to me as a monstrosity….Art will never be able to do without nature. When one forgets everything, all that remains is oneself and that is not enough.”

Picasso: cubism: Guernica: mind-fucking, pinning to the center of the canvas the helpless object for dissection. His horizon will always be beneath him.

2. Her belly button is two, in the great epochal Nude in the Bath and Small Dog. Which didn’t make me cry this time. It only made my chest ache and I had to sit down.

Nude in the Bath With a Small Dog, Pierre Bonnard, 1941-6.

But the Blossoming Almond Tree, which he saw out the window from his death bed, did bring out the specially prepared handkerchief. Van Gogh’s blossoming almond branch, painted at a very low point, in honor of the birth of his nephew. Manet’s last death-bed bouquet painting of his favorite white lilacs. Tooth glass. Perfectly refracting, and blazing out against the oncoming darkness. The burning bush.

3. His eyes in the 1945 self portrait are three and four.

Sel-portrait, Pierre Bonnard, 1945.

This may be one of the most accurate portraits of a human face I’ve ever seen. Yet it is almost featureless.

On his deathbed, he told his nephew, draw more.

Yes, maitre.

Originally blogged January 3, 2003, in Washington, D.C., after the Bonnard show at the Phillips. This post is central to what I think.

My father and his medal for saving some islands from the Nazis.

Thank you, Daddy.

Johnny Tapia, hero of Wells Park. Photo credit — file, Albuquerque Journal.

http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/05/28/news/champ-boxer-dies.html

This is the page one story in today’s Macondo Manana [TILDE!!!!]. Why it took three reporters to tell the story, as written, is beyond me, except that the body was found past deadline at 8 p.m Sunday night,* and as a mark of how huge an event it is here in Macondo.

The retired boxing champion Johnny Tapia has died, aged 45. Local FB is full of multiple sincere posts about this death, of the bi-polar orphan hero of Wells Park, the winner of every parking lot fight a bigger kid would wage with him.

Champ Boxer Dies

By Ed Johnson, Matt Andazola and Rick Wright / Journal Staff Writers on Mon, May 28, 2012

Johnny Tapia’s “vida loca” has come to an end.

The five-time world boxing champion died Sunday, a source close to the family said.

Albuquerque police were called to Tapia’s house about 7:45 p.m. by a family member who found a body there, said Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Robert Gibbs. The body is believed to be Tapia’s, but police could not say with certainty that it was.

The death did not appear suspicious, Gibbs said. An official cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Medical Investigator following an autopsy.

“He was such a lovable guy and a terrific fighter,” said Bruce Trampler, Top Rank Inc., vice president. “I’m not shocked by this news, and I guess we all knew it was coming, but he was a wonderful character.”

“He’s a human being,” said Danny Romero, Tapia’s boxing rival. “We all have our problems. Everybody fights them in different ways. … Last time I talked to him was about a month and a half ago. It was just a high-five (type of conversation), just messing around on the phone. He didn’t sound too bad. We all fight our own demons.”

Tapia’s life was marked by troubles with drug and alcohol abuse and included stints in jail.   Still, he managed to touch lives.   “To me, he was the most giving person that I know,” said Hector Muñoz, an Albuquerque professional boxer being trained by Tapia. “I’m just blessed that he did work my corner and that he trained me. He was a great guy, just unbelievable as a trainer, too.”

TV news vans and police vehicles crowded the far northwest Albuquerque street, casting bright lights through the dim neighborhood. Tapia’s house was quiet; Tapia’s wife, some family members and investigators stayed inside.

Outside, neighbors gathered in a nearby driveway as a pair of boys milled around on their bicycles.

“He’s a legend to New Mexico,” said Luis Montaño, 20, who looked distraught and said he’s a professional boxer. He said he’s met Tapia a few times and was using a punching bag when he heard what happened.   He put on a boxing sweater and came to the house as his friends in the neighborhood called him.   “His team looked up to him. He was a good boxer.”

“He had such a huge heart,” Trampler said. “It seemed like no matter who he met or who he saw, whether he knew them or thought he knew them or thought he’d met them, whatever, it was, ‘Give me a call, here’s my number, here’s my card.’ He was a real people person and I can’t tell you how many times he called me just to see how I was doing, just checking up on you, that kind of stuff. I’m not especially flattered because he probably did that with everybody. … He was just such an upbeat person.”

Tapia, 45, was working as a boxing trainer and is the subject of a documentary being made by Albuquerque-born filmmaker Eddie Alcazar.

“I have all kinds of problems; I am a problem,” Tapia once told the Journal. “But I’ve got three beautiful babies. Now they’ve got me changing Pampers and washing ‘em, and that’s a beautiful thing in its own.

“I’ve got unconditional love right now from my kids and also from my wife. I’m a family man. My kids, that’s more work than boxing, man.”

Tapia, whose biography is called “Mi Vida Loca,” was born in Albuquerque on Feb. 13, 1967, the son of Virginia Tapia Gallegos and Jerry Padilla. It was not until 2010 that Tapia discovered that Padilla was his father.

His mother was stabbed and killed when he was 8 years old. In 1999, law-enforcement officials determined that she was killed by her sometime boyfriend Richard Espinosa. Espinosa died in 1983.

Tapia was raised in Albuquerque’s Wells Park neighborhood by his grandparents, Miguel and Esther Tapia, and a houseful of aunts and uncles.

When Tapia was 16, he won the 106-pound national Golden Gloves amateur boxing title, and captured a second Golden Gloves title at 112 pounds two years later.   He turned pro in 1988 and began fighting with the nickname “The Baby-Faced Assassin.”   Between 1990-93, Tapia was in and out of jail, waging a battle with cocaine and alcohol.   But in 1994, he won the first of his five world titles, beating Henry Martinez for the WBO junior bantamweight title.

He defeated Romero in a 1997 bout in Las Vegas, Nev., a fight that enthralled Albuquerque.

“This is just tragic for us,” said Romero. “Maybe with this awareness we can get everything going in a public way. It’s not like I haven’t fought my battles with alcohol. Everybody needs help.”

“In the ring, he would fight anybody” Trampler said. “He feared nobody, but he was also a gracious winner. The obvious example is him and Danny. He was very respectful of Danny not only the night they fought but in the following years.”

Tapia’s last fight was a decision over Mauricio Pastrana in June 2011.

“I have videos of him with my son, Maximus,” Muñoz said. “He’s gonna be 2. He doesn’t even say grandma, but he says Johnny. That’s how much he loves Johnny.   “I don’t know, it’s awful.”

“It’s strange how you can be away from somebody for a couple of years at a time,” Romero said, “and it seems like nobody’s gone nowhere. He was lively, the energy he had, just making you feel good.”

“You wouldn’t have room to write all I’d want to say,” Trampler said. “He was bigger than life. His life was really much, much more than what his ring career was. Like I said he was just such a people person. I wish I could be more shocked and surprised, I’m not. But I’m very sad.

“This is a punch in the stomach.”

— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal   ——————————————————————————–

Johnny Tapia at a glance

Born: Feb. 13, 1967, Albuquerque.

Aliases: “Baby-Face Assassin” “Mi Vida Loca”

1983: Tapia wins the 106-pound national Golden Gloves title at age 16.

1988: Turns pro.  1990: Tests positive for cocaine following a bout at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.

1994: Returns to the ring, won the first of his five world titles at the Pit.

1995: Judge orders Tapia to a drug-rehab program in the aftermath of a domestic assault incident.

1997: Tapia defeats Danny Romero in Las Vegas, Nev.

2000: Police are called to Tapia’s home in Las Vegas, Nev. After a second incident amid rumors of a suicide attempt, he is diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

2002: Tapia wins his fifth world title.

2003: Tapia is in a coma for three days and spends several months in a California rehab center.

2007: Tapia is hospitalized from an apparent cocaine overdose.

2009: Tapia is taken into custody for a violation of parole related to cocaine use.

2011: Announces his retirement after defeating Mauricio Pastrana by decision.

2012: Tapia is found dead.

_________________

* Ie., one to talk to police; one to get phone commentary; one to cover the scene at the house.

Reading the biography of Pauline Kael out of, I suppose, infernal boredom. But I am interested in her love of ’30s movies and ’30s musicals — pre-code was good. Just saw Gold Diggers of 1933 which is awesome, carnal, and saucy in every way — there’s a whole Busby Berkeley number with Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell called “Pettin’ in the Park”.

And the other blowout Berkeley number is his pean to the World War I veterans now on the soup lines. The movie is fresh and contemporary in every way. There’s real sex without the gross 21st century Jaws mastication trope movie kiss — I mean I know people kiss like that, sort of, sometimes, part of the time, but not every time, it’s a videogenic, kinetic version of a passionate kiss — aaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway — Gold Diggers of 1933 has real sexy girls — Joan Blondell! the original wise-cracking sidekick! — falling out of their teddies while needling each other about their show girl virtue in what they call “the show business”. And for mancake, well, white tie and tails and high-waisted boxer shorts with a three-button waistband. Meaning, 24-inch waists.

Something happened to movies between then and now. There’s a thing in American movies I pretty much can’t watch, and I think it’s the lizard eye of the pornographer’s camera. You can’t get away from it, and you only realize it’s there when you watch a Japanese or a French or an Australian or a British movie. They don’t have it. I remember watching The Cook, the Thief et al, a 1989 British movie which actually has Helen Mirren running around naked, and a great number of other cannibalistic carnal scenes too. But I realized the existence of that lizard thing watching that very kinky flick. It doesn’t have it — and neither does John Waters, for example, at his most coprophagic. Neither does Gold Diggers and its take on economic implosion is as fresh today, relevant, as it was 80 years ago. And the “Forgotten Man” Busby Berkeley number, with a solo by Etta Moten, the woman who went on in 1943 to sing Bess in Porgy and Bess*, is an amazing confection of populist resentment and Berkeley’s characteristic (soldier-inspired?) sort of marching band choreography.

This is Ginger Rogers, in what I think is her first film role. She doesn’t dance. She does sing in Pig Latin.

And here is the electrifying Forgotten Man number. Please note Blondell’s 1933 hooker-with-the-heart-of-gold outfit. I think I saw Madonna wearing this to temple the other day.

____________

*And lived to be 102! She died in the 21st century! What a story!

Lunch. Texas caviar awaiting its homemade pita chips.
http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2006/12/black-eyed-peas-for-new-years-day.html

Dinner. The first hors d’oeuvre in Elizabeth David‘s Summer Cooking, a work of genius.
A.) I was way too hungry to style this properly. B.) Eggs for dinner only if you have two dozen farm-laid ones given by friends.

Next up, omega threes per the really stinky French healthy lunch meat, anchoaide de Croze, which is even less photogenic.

I wouldn’t say meatless is cheap. The fresh ingredients for the Texas caviar, the olives, radishes, French bread, cultured butter and some other non-meat groceries ran me nearly $60 at Whole Paycheck. But both are meals I can have a couple of times — let’s say they’re six meals. I really should work out the financials. Next year in Jerusalem.

Nothing I’ve eaten lately falls under the cuisine dolce far niente rubric. Except that really excellent, sublime, actually, dinner of mango sherbet and honey-roasted almonds on a day I didn’t feel like cooking. Mmmm.

This is my quest, for budget, health and happiness, in 2012. I don’t want to fall back on purchased lunch meat or leftovers, but rather to have something special for lunch, with an emphasis on omega threes and greens. The previous fallback has been home-roasted org turkey breast, which is very easy and which I’m very fond of, but which can be pricey and less greeny and fishy than variety suggests.

So far we have had

  • home-made Spam (Fannie Farmer‘s ham loaf with Costco ham ground at home and frozen in 1 lb. packages),
  • ditto salmon loaf (not cheap, but better and cheaper than the traditional canned salmon, with frozen wild-caught filets: I need to investigate Costco’s farm-raised filets),
  • home-brined tongue
  • ricotta spinach pie (>:-P)
  • very garlicky hummus made in 10-minutes with beans soaked overnight and cooked in the pressure cooker, served with demi-peeled cucumber dice
  • Cafe Lula’s awesome peanut butter, sambal, sprouts, cukes, and when in season, tomato Tineka sandwich,
  • chick pea and lentil dal, with Basmati rice, broccolli, and tamarind-date chutney, which may be the perfect vegan meal…except for the quantities of CLARIFIED BUTTER in the dal
  • Fergus Henderson‘s lima bean/cauli/leek salad with lemon/garlic vinaigrette
  • and etc.

Goals have been to steer away from cholesterol and nitrates. (Successful: I had a slice of bacon about two months ago and I nearly passed out. WOW.) And to up fish and greens. (Remind me to add sardines, smoked, in oil, to my grocery list. Licious.)

The least successful of the purpose-built for lunch dishes was the ghastly ricotta-spinach pie, which was also too ugly to want. Given two dozen farm-laid eggs two generous friends gave me, I splurged choles on a frittata with a ton of Parm and broccolli rabe, which is possibly among the best leftovers on the planet and full of greens.

Some of my favorite greens ingestion methods are

  • Glory brand canned collards, nuked for lunch, with Vidalia onion chopped on top
  • a bag of defrosted frozen spinach mixed into a nutmeggy, garlicky turkey/pork/beef loaf
  • beans and greens, like chard in pureed white bean soup, or escarole sauteed with garlic and white canellinis and, finally,
  • a huge veg soup, tons of celery, carrot, onion, beans, thyme with a bunch of kale in chiffonade.

A big veg soup, with beefy stock and tomato and a few beans with lots of veg makes a very satisfying light hot cheap lunch. As the Asians know. Salad I find disheartening for lunch.

I have re-invested in this cookbook, which I deacquisitioned two moves ago, because as I recall she has great menus, good recipes for cold green soups and summery picnic dishes for keeping in the fridge, and obvs everything is cooked ahead. I like to cook every two days and freeze my own Lean Cuisines. I think this book will work for me.

Maybe I’ll cook my way through this and Elizabeth David‘s Summer Cooking this summer.  There’s an anchoiade with figs I’m up for. Mmmmm.

Elizabeth David, circa 1960

Elizabeth David, circa 1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, it’s Texas caviar, with frozen home-cooked black-eyed peas, and the Homesick Texan’s bumpin’ recipe. You have got to try it. Do the Rotel. You know you want to. And read the chile’s blog.

So Yvonne Eijkenduijn is probably one of the most influential DIY interior designers on the internet.

She purveys the popular northern Euro all-white aesthetic — well exemplified by Suki in Helsinki or  Benita Larsson who also DIY it —  of what is, I think, an essentially Gustavian Swedish style to offset long grey winters, where evening falls at 3 p.m., with glowing white or pastel interiors.

Eijkenduijn and her husband are meticulous renovaters and crafters; she adds minimal pops of floral color and hand-crafted or peeling vintage things to her white rooms, which makes them seem less twee than beautifully ordered and sculpted. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Eijkenduijn’s style. Essentially Eijkenduijn and Gustav solve the problem of how to make uncluttered modern interiors femme. It is the moral question of the 20th century: where is a girl supposed to sit, and concatenate the moral community home represents, in a Bauhaus living room?

Eijkenduijn has been blogging for seven years and has made a design career from the success of her blog. It carries no ads, which seems to be a point of pride — and an Old School WELL-era  internet campaign — among the professional DIY home design visionaries like Anna Dorfman, for example. Others, equally inspiring and creative, seek sponsors, like Morgan Sattersfield,  for example,  with her hard-core thrifted mid-century-modern Palm Springs Cali aesthetic,  or suburban DIY nesters who have monetized their blogs and, in the case of John and Sherry Petersik, for example, do a terrific professional job.

Eijkenduijn has always seen the blog as a cottage industry marketplace to sell books or yarn, other peoples’ creations and, less often, things she has made. She solicits sponsors and swag in a way the Petersiks, who live off the income generated by their sponsors, do not. The Petersiks, for example, both of whom have creative backgrounds in advertising,  clearly state they don’t accept products for review, and recommend only things they actually use. It is the foundation of their trustability and, I believe, their huge traffic.

But Eijkenduijn recently asked her readers to pay her back for all the time she’s put into the blog by contributing money to build her a new roof. Lots of readers are pissed off. I am slightly put off too, as if I had been lulled into thinking she’d invited me to dinner and then presented me with a check.

What do you think? Should we chip in for Yvonne’s roof? Has she made a faux pas? Is it a cultural thing that her American readers are pissed off and the Europeans aren’t? Are Americans, who generally believe that journalism is about hustling your music video, naive? What’s happening?

Update 5/22/12: Eijkenduijn has taken down her roof fund posts with  strange rancor.

This was only slightly less electrifying than the original New York magazine story.
http://nymag.com/nightlife/features/45933/

Nik Cohn sort of made the whole story up.

But we really did walk down the street that way. Thanks, Bee Gees.

Wehrmacht stable boy on the Russian front, P.O.W. entertainer, baritone, most-recorded singer, transcendentalist.

The German character, which has been under scrutiny since Luther advised his princes to “smite, slay, and stab” a peasant insurrection because the Devil was in the lower classes, has several threads. Fischer-Dieskau, the foremost interpreter of German lieder, who memorized Morgenstern’s poems on the Russian front, took his homeless mother to the opera after she was bombed out, and interposed art to every calamity, represents what is immortal in the German character. The idealism.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/19/arts/music/dietrich-fischer-dieskau-german-baritone-dies-at-86.html?_r=1

The recording of Fischer-Dieskau singing Schubert’s lieder is the one I sent to a dying friend, who had been born in Germany. Hopefully, it took him to heaven.

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