A new feature spotlighting the things we liked this week.
[Updated] [Today My Spilt Milk launches a new feature, "Milk & Honey," identifying some of our favorite things from the last week. Next week, the whole staff will get involved; this week, I'll start things off.]
For Trayvon: The Daily Show covered the George Zimmerman verdict with a segment titled, "Wait - What? How Could You Possibly ... You've Got to Be Kid ... There's No Possible ... I Can't ... Oh My God." John Oliver's sputtering disbelief is the natural first response to Zimmerman being found not guilty, and that he could successfully claim self-defense in a conflict he initiated. Today reggae legends Steel Pulse address the verdict on their website, complete with a new, downloadable song, "Put Your Hoodies On [4 Trayvon]." The page includes the lyrics and a sidebar of David Hinds' notes on the trial, identifying all the inconsistencies in Zimmerman's stories and the physical evidence, which puts him clearly in the same camp as The Daily Show staff and the rest of us: Wait - What?
I Never Traveled Far …: On Tuesday, July 30, the CAC and the New Orleans Film Society will screen the documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. The film on the legendary Memphis band that included Alex Chilton is, like almost all music docs, too long (fans can never say no to their heroes), but the drama in the band's story holds up. It's hard to imagine anything more painful than making a great thing and having nobody care, and that's essentially what happened. The poetically accurate but chart-wrong #1 Record is a beautiful, haunting, exhilarating album, and when it went south anyway, it took band founder Chris Bell with it. Bell and Chilton shared the singing and writing duties, but the band carried on after Bell's departure to record the equally brilliant and fragile Radio City. Critics loved it, but calling Radio City a commercial grease fire is wrong because people notice a grease fire. Poor distribution meant that like #1 Record, Radio City failed to get on anybody's radar, so it never had a chance to fall off of it. I'm reluctant to ever try to make connections for a mind as idiosyncratic and intelligent as Chilton's, but he appeared to react by valorizing immediacy and irreverence over the pop gifts that had defined his work to that point. Whatever the case, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me shows that for the band, the film's title was a lie.
For those who can't wait, the movie is currently available on Cox On Demand, though for a penny more, you can see it at the CAC with an audience and on a bigger screen, likely with better sound than you get at home. The soundtrack to Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is out now, and it includes a number of alternative mixes and snippets of the band in the studio. Not the place for people new to the band to start, but necessary for completists.
Come Together: As a member of the New Orleans Digital News Alliance and a union man from the days when I worked for places big enough to have unions, I'm pro-people coming together, the more ephemeral the reason, the better. Recently, The Windsor Court Hotel, Kiefe & Co., Cure Co., Bar Tonique and Serendipity came together to form The New Orleans Spirits Exchange to bring limited quantities of high-end spirits to New Orleans. Last Wednesday, Spirits Exchange members were on hand at Cure to show off the first barrel they joined to purchase - Elijah Craig 12-year small batch bourbon (which is very impressive). According to Cure's Neal Bodenheimer, the exchange was deliberately kept small so that its acquisitions reflected a point of view and values. He expected the selection process to be contentious, but the Exchange members agreed quickly and unanimously about the Elijah Craig. You can taste it at Cocktail Bar at Windsor Court, Cure, Bellocq, Cane & Table, Bar Tonique and Serendipity, and buy it at Keife & Co. The Exchange also purchased a barrel of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage, and is considering its next purchase.
Sound Before Sound: When I need to write recently, I've used Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980-1980 (Dust-to-Digital) because it sounds like music not made for this world - which is sort of true. It's as industrial as David Lynch's Eraserhead soundtrack minus the dread, and similarly flecked with bits of melody played on instruments you can't identify or sung on voices you can't quite distinguish. Patrick Feaster used modern technology to coax music out of artifacts that depict sound waves and antique sound recording processes, many of which are no longer in use. As the soundtrack to writing, Pictures of Sound is focusing - sufficiently present to limit distractions, but not so demanding that it requires attention. When you stop to listen, it's complex - not as calculated to feed unease as Lynch's soundtrack, but unsettling nonetheless.
Updated 8:32 a.m.
The Steel Pulse/Trayvon Martin piece was added after the post was initially published.
Updated 3:32 p.m.
The spelling of Steel Pulse's David Hinds' name has been corrected.