Saturday, February 28, 2009

Baby Doll

Photos by Sheva Golkow.

Antoinette K-Doe, widow of the self-proclaimed “Emperor Of The Universe” Ernie K-Doe who is best known for his 1961 hit Mother-In-Law, as well as the proprietor of the New Orleans landmark Ernie K-Doe Mother-In-Law Lounge, died this week on Mardi Gras morning.

Ernie died before Katrina hit, which was strangely comforting to Miss Antoinette. She told a reporter that she would talk to Death and ask him to take Ernie and her mother before her (and he did) because she knew that she could manage alone, but didn’t think the other two could make it without her.

She met and married K-Doe in the 90’s and opened up the Mother-In-Law Lounge mainly so he could have a place to perform. After his death it became a memorial to him, with photos and memorabilia cluttering every wall as well as a life-size mannequin of Ernie dressed to the nines in a style that might best be described as Michael Jackson On Acid.

When the waters rose on N. Claiborne Street, Antoinette fed and sheltered anyone who happened by searching for safety and food. Her club was a total loss but she saved what she could and with the help of 250 friends and volunteers, the Mother-In-Law Lounge reopened in August 2006.

Unhappy with the way Ray Nagin was handling things as Mayor, Miss Antoinette decided to run the Ernie K-Doe mannequin for the office that same year. Certainly he couldn’t have done any worse.

She had a pink limousine that came in handy when she took part in reviving The Mardi Gras Baby Dolls (the creation of the original Baby Dolls is estimated at sometime around the turn of the last century), a group of women who would parade in infant’s clothes complete with bonnets and baby bottles (scotch and milk being the libation of choice). On Mardi Gras 2008, Antoinette felt a pain in her chest and was taken to the hospital with her Baby Doll clothes on.

She managed to recover, but when this year’s celebration came around she wasn’t as lucky. Just a few days prior to her death, it had been Ernie’s birthday. He would have been 73.

Her funeral is happening this weekend, and I bring up the subject partly because it was last year when the wife was in New Orleans on business. She was with a companion who was handling some of Miss Antoinette’s legal affairs and she went along for the ride.

The Mother-In-Law Lounge was everything she imagined and Antoinette extremely gracious. When the wife managed to pry herself away from the life-size mannequin of Ernie K-Doe, his widow shared some stories about the imposing figure.

Antoinette was insistent that the model of K-Doe be kept in immaculate shape and to that end, she decided one day that one of his hands needed some manicuring.

She brought the hand with her to a local salon and when the owner saw what she’d brought in for work, she screamed. She thought it was a real hand.

How strange could that be in New Orleans, though?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Peanut Gallery

The founder of an upstate New York TV station aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes has been arrested on suspicion of killing his wife, who was beheaded, authorities said.

It may seem like a waste of time, but every once in a while it doesn’t hurt to go back and reread the mission statement.

Why Annie Lennox Is Ready To Move On

She wants to try and catch up to wherever her audience went?

Kate Moss: I’ve Just Started Wearing Bras!

You’ve still got a good ways to go before you can even hope to approach my kind of cleavage, girlfriend.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Homecoming For An Only Twin


A heritage plaque unveiled in honour of Peter Cook yesterday would not be complete without a joke. "Peter Cook 1937-1995, comedian and 'only twin', co-founded and ran the Establishment Club here 1961-1964", reads the green disk mounted on the wall of the building in Soho where he opened London's first satirical nightclub. This was the venue where a young Australian comic, Barry Humphries, first took to the stage as his alter-ego, Dame Edna Everage. Dudley Moore danced The Twist in the basement. It also revived the career of Frankie Howerd.

Cook was the first and possibly the greatest of a long line of Oxford or Cambridge-educated comics that has included John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Fry. He formed a duo with an Oxbridge contemporary, Dudley Moore, who was his polar opposite. Cook was descended from colonial civil servants, was brought up by nannies, educated at public school and was over 6ft tall. Moore was 5ft with a club foot, brought up in Dagenham and educated at state school but secured a music scholarship to Oxford. He and Moore starred with Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett in the revue Beyond The Fringe, which Cook wrote in the year he graduated from Cambridge, and which kicked off the satire boom of the early 1960s. Its longest surviving feature is Private Eye magazine, which Cook part owned.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Shock And Awful

I am, of course, an old curmudgeon who is reluctant to leave the 20th century behind and when the subject is books, this condition is aggravated all the more. The more I am confronted with a paperless universe, a world of Kindles and e-books and a sort of literacy defined as sounding out a word phonetically and carving it online as best you can with a pixellated awl, the less enchanted I become.

In the past, these complaints of mine could merely be filed neatly under “crabby,” whereas these days I can feel the world I knew inching away slowly and for good.

For instance, I was watching the Jonas Brothers tonight on the Grammys singing Superstition with Stevie Wonder. Here was a living horror that somehow spoke to my worst fears about where we are headed as a civilization.

Now you should know that the Jonas Brothers can neither sing nor play, for a start. They also appear to have just left the school cafeteria on their way to band practice, which I can only imagine consists of posing in front of a mirror and pretending to perform.

Someone is apparently encouraging them in this delusion as they seemed to be welcome guests at the affair. Now I understand that as the years go by we tend to lower the bar we use to judge creativity, as anything original tends to get xeroxed to the Nth degree until it becomes nearly invisible. But this was an example of taking that bar, breaking it in half, burning it, and pouring sulfuric acid on the remaining ashes.

This is to say that the quantum difference between the artist that is Stevie Wonder and the fingerpainting that is the Jonas Brothers became impossible to ignore and it seemed for a moment that you were watching two channels at once. Each brother posed and pouted his way through a verse while Wonder gamely backed them up. They might as well have thrown a box of ducks onstage. Talk about cognitive dissonance. We were clearly being asked to accept that these folks all belonged in the same club and every time you tried to do it, your brain began to squeal.

Imagine someone walking up to Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon with a can of green spray paint, spraying a big fat “X” on it, and then stepping back to admire it as he said, “Well, that’s better!”

This is where we’re going, like it or not. Get ready to nod your heads and applaud as you witness the latest pack of geniuses produce a bowel movement on the floor. Prepare for a world of global village idiots that will be handed the keys to the kingdom only to lose them during a hot dog eating contest. Welcome a brave new world that has such cretins in it, dragging their knuckles along the linoleum as they attempt a grunt or a groan that will be taken down by the press as a precious pearl of wisdom.

Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes. An imbecile parade of the dead.

But I digress.

Next: Foxed, But Also Goosed!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Lux Interior, 1948 - 2009

What a goddamned crappy year this is turning out to be.

He sang on the first punk record I ever bought. So incredibly influential that it would be foolhardy to even attempt a list.

L.A. Times:

Lux Interior, the singer, songwriter and founding member of the pioneering New York City horror-punk band the Cramps, died Tuesday. He was 60.

Interior, whose real name was Erick Lee Purkhiser, died at Glendale Memorial Hospital of a previously-existing heart condition, according to a statement from his publicist.

With his wife, guitarist "Poison" Ivy Rorschach, Interior formed the Cramps in 1976, pairing lyrics that expressed their love of B-movie camp with ferocious rockabilly and surf-inspired instrumentation.

The band became a staple of the late '70s Manhattan punk scene emerging from clubs like Max's Kansas City and CBGB and was one of the first acts to realize the potential of punk rock as theater and spectacle.

Often dressed in macabre, gender-bending costumes onstage, Interior evoked a lanky, proto-goth Elvis Presley, and his band quickly became notorious for volatile and decadent live performances.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Last Son Of Krypton!

A further explanation of this shot can be found towards the end of the latest My Uncle Bob podcast. Listen and decide for yourself if the unfortunate pictured here is animal, vegetable, or mineral.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Feb. 2

When a young man came up to him in Zurich and said, "May I kiss the hand that wrote Ulysses?" Joyce replied, somewhat like King Lear, "No, it did lots of other things too."
- Joyce biographer Richard Ellmann