Chris Neary is a producer for On the Media.
OTM Staff Picks Volume 32
Monday, November 05, 2012 - 01:53 PM
A list of our second most important selections today.
My picks this week are two answers to this R. Crumb drawing (at left, click for larger size) I’ve had by my desk at home for years.
Sam Amidon plays almost exclusively ‘folk’ music, your standards, murder ballads, Tom Dooley’s and whatnot. When he plays it straight it’s beautiful, when he unleashes his wicked, tinder-dry sense of humor it’s something else again. He’s the kind of quiet that packs a greater punch and puts the lie to Crumb’s pessimism. This song is thought to be about 300 years old.
This is destined to be sung for at least 300 years. It’s R. Kelly.
And another former busker, operating at a whole other RPM, is Phillip Roebuck. I first saw him playing in the New York City subway as a one man band. He makes old music sound so frighteningly alive that it’s a little scary; he’s a man possessed. I dare you to tell him this music’s dead.
Timed for the release of Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” SNL imagined Louis C.K.’s “Louis” show as starring the martyred 16th president. Words cannot express how ingenious and funny the sketch is, especially this director’s cut with a very raw joke in it. It helps to know “Louis” (and if you do, welcome to perfection), but not necessary.
Looking back after the week that the East Coast has endured, my staff picks from last week seem pretty asinine. I guess I had no real way to forsee the scale of the damage this storm would cause, but still. This Sunday, I went to Red Hook and then to Freeport to volunteer with people who are recovering from the storm. In spite of my best efforts, any work I did bagging rotted drywall and debris, and sweeping up and carrying things felt miniscule in the face of destruction whose magnitude is difficult to describe. But these images and this short film might give you an idea.
So my staff pick this week is volunteering. I plan on doing it every weekend for the foreseeable future, and I hope that our listeners might consider doing the same. My excellent colleagues in the newsroom, who were simply incredible during this storm, have put together this great page with information on how to volunteer. If you were lucky enough to make it through this storm relatively unscathed, please help out other people who weren’t so fortunate.
The White Stripes cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" is great. Why? Well, first give a quick listen to Dolly's version.
The White Stripes version, recorded in Blackpool, England, is considerably more screamy. But by screaming, and screaming well, Jack White really gets at the desperation in the lyrics: A woman at the mercy of another woman who has just about stolen her man. It's a cover that really adds something to the song - brings something out in it. Plus, the way the crowd sings along to the first line of the song is beautiful.
There were a lot of incredible images that came out of last week’s storm (many fake ones as well, as we discussed on our latest show) and this one on the cover of New York magazine has to be one of my favorites. The image was taken from a helicopter by Iwan Baan, and shows the stark contrast between the two different Manhattans in the days after the storm. You can also see the rest of the photos he shot from the helicopter here.
My only comment about my staff pick this week is that you need to give it a full minute -- without fast-forwarding -- before the payoff starts. But the payoff is worth it.
Lest Jim Leher’s moderation of the first presidential debate go forever unappreciated, I wanted to draw your attention to this inspiring take from the good people at Bad Lip Reading. After this election season draws to a close, few of us will remember what Jim actually said in that first debate, but if you’re like me, you’ll still remember what he sang: “I’m jumping in a pimento shower. I wanted the music first. In the tragic square of the fresh prince, there went a perfect brown baby.”