David Lynch On ‘Room To Dream’ ~ LISTEN

NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro asks David Lynch about Room to Dream, the director’s new memoir.

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         ROOM TO DREAM

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An unprecedented look into the personal and creative life of the visionary auteur David Lynch, through his own words and those of his closest colleagues, friends, and family

In this unique hybrid of biography and memoir, David Lynch opens up for the first time about a life lived in pursuit of his singular vision, and the many heartaches and struggles he’s faced to bring his unorthodox projects to fruition. Lynch’s lyrical, intimate, and unfiltered personal reflections riff off biographical sections written by close collaborator Kristine McKenna and based on more than one hundred new interviews with surprisingly candid ex-wives, family members, actors, agents, musicians, and colleagues in various fields who all have their own takes on what happened.

Room to Dream is a landmark book that offers a onetime all-access pass into the life and mind of one of our most enigmatic and utterly original living artists.

The Sensational Idiocy of Donald Trump’s Propaganda Video for Kim Jong Un ~ The New Yorker

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In Singapore, on Tuesday, reporters covering the summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, were surprised with a screening of what appeared to be a movie trailer. You could argue that, because tax dollars likely paid for the creation of the clip, we the people ought to share a producing credit. But the nature of the film—its grandiosity, its gaudiness, its chaotic logic, its indiscriminate idiocy—is such that we must understand Trump as its author.

The clip, a four-minute overture from Trump to Kim, is styled as a movie preview. A golden production logo announces this as a presentation of “Destiny Pictures,” and frequent stock footage finds the sun shining like a dime beyond the curve of a turning world. Is Trump inviting Kim to take command of Universal Pictures? Or join him in playing God? Does either of them know the difference?

In any case, the narrator insists that the fate of the world hangs in the balance, in sentences that combine pompous syntax, palatial rhetoric, and dodgy grammar. Flattering Kim’s vanity while reflecting Trump’s own, he says, “Of those alive today, only a small number will leave a lasting impact,” while crowds scurry as if in “Koyaanisqatsi,”and postcard images of tourist sites flow past—the Great Wall, the Great Pyramid, and also Times Square, because, according to Trump’s understanding of history, the visual noise of spectacle is a postmodern wonder to revere. These sights yield to a vast North Korean flag—an invitation to a tyrant to think more bigly and take his place alongside the men who built the Colosseum and the Taj Mahal.

“History may appear to repeat itself for generations,” the narrator says. “There comes a time when only a few are called upon to make a difference.” Trump appears in oratorical postures, in still photos taken at the State of the Union address and the U.N. General Assembly, manning the lectern like the Cicero of his day. Kim waves and smiles, and waves and smiles, and walks a bit and waves some more.

“Destiny Pictures presents a story of opportunity,” the narrator continues, and the viewer wonders if he’s about to hear a pitch for a time-share. It’s “a story about a special moment in time when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated.” The man is Kim, waving, waving. The chance is to offer his nation industrial progress and material pleasure, represented by images of a seedling, an aircraft factory, a science lab, and a double-clutch slam dunk, of course. (According to Trump’s understanding of geopolitics, his appeal to Kim as a basketball fan is the sort of personal touch necessary to achieving denuclearization.) “What will he choose?” the narrator asks. “To show vision and leadership, or not?”

The key moment of the film happens underneath that last line, at the comma. This is precisely the midpoint of the film and the fulcrum of its narrative. The prospect of Kim failing to show leadership is symbolized by the use of a burning-celluloid effect, as in Bergman’s “Persona,” or “The Muppet Movie.” We watch the film melt. The image disintegrates. The implied destruction of North Korea is figured as a disruption of the story.

“There can only be two results. One of moving back”—missiles launch, a fighter jet rises from an aircraft carrier—“or one of moving forward.” At the moving forward, the narrative is back on track, with the beep and sweep of a film leader’s black-and-white countdown. The missiles return to their silos, accompanied by what sounds like the orchestral crescendo of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” In a God’s-eye view of the Korean Peninsula at night, the lights come on across the North. In a further montage of capitalist delights, Kim is shown a future of manufacturing prowess, medical advances, out-of-season fruit overflowing shopping baskets, and even the friendship of Sylvester Stallone, seen with Trump in a photo recently taken in the Oval Office.

Could it be, this audience with Sly? The narrator is cautiously optimistic: “When could this moment in history begin? It comes down to a choice on this day, in this time, at this moment. The world will be watching, listening, anticipating. . . .” The eyes and ears of the world are represented by telephoto lenses and by TV control rooms and by a woman alone on a sofa watching TV, because this is the sum of what Trump knows of persuasion.

  • Troy Patterson is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

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Trump Made Kim a Movie Trailer. We Made It Better. NYT

Jun. 13, 2018| 2:06

Donald Trump showed Kim Jong-un a movie trailer casting both leaders as heroes. The Times’s Opinion video team cut a more honest makeover.

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Colbert Perplexed at Trump’s New Appreciation for Kim Jong-un

 

Welcome to Best of Late Night, a rundown of the previous night’s highlights that lets you sleep — and lets us get paid to watch comedy. If you’re interested in hearing from The Times regularly about great TV, sign up for our Watching newsletter and get recommendations straight to your inbox.

Sizing Up the Meeting

Stephen Colbert was not particularly impressed by the results of President Trump’s negotiations with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. At the end of the meeting, the two heads of state signed a noncommittal joint statement.

“The two countries also committed ‘to hold follow-on negotiations.’ So, the result of this meeting was to agree to another meeting. It’s not exactly a nothing-burger — it’s more like a bun that says, ‘We agree bilaterally to the potential future placement of meat somewhere in the toasted zone.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Colbert scoffed at how Trump heaped praise on Kim throughout their time in Singapore. Trump had told a reporter that he was impressed by how Kim had stepped into his father’s role as leader of North Korea at just 26.

“You don’t give dictators points for being young! That’s like saying, ‘You know, Vlad the Impaler became ruler at age 20. Nobody talks about that. Everyone gets all hung up on the impaling part, not how young he was. He was the Mozart of sticking wood through people!’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Dick Tuck, Democrats’ Political Prankster in Chief, dead at 94 ~ NYT

“in the early 70’s in Aspen he was a fixture at one end of the Jerome Bar and Dr. Hunter Thompson at the other… “  Edgar Boyles

 

Hunter Thompson at Dick Tuck’s Woody Creek Tavern wedding @ 2 minutes

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 9.06.06 AM.pngPolitical prankster Dick Tuck getting married to Joyce Daly in 1989. The location is the Woody Creek Tavern in Aspen, Colorado. In attendance is Hunter S. Thompson, his good friend.

Dick Tuck, the Democrats’ prankster-at-large, who bedeviled Barry M. Goldwater, Richard M. Nixon and other Republicans with bad-news fortune cookies, a comely spy, a treacherous little old lady and other campaign-trail tomfoolery, died on Monday in Tucson. He was 94.

His death, at an assisted living facility, was confirmed by Lorraine Glicksman, a close friend.

Long retired as a Democratic National Committee consultant, strategist and advance man, Mr. Tuck was a king gremlin of political shenanigans, starting in California in the 1950s and needling G.O.P. rivals for decades. Dogged by Mr. Tuck most of his political life, Nixon can be heard on Oval Office tapes enviously praising Tuck exploits over his own team’s crude (and illegal) dirty tricks.

“Nixon was an admirer of mine,” Mr. Tuck said in a telephone interview for this obituary in 2013 from his home in Tucson. With unconcealed glee, he recalled many pranks and quoted Nixon on the tapes as saying: “Tuck did that and got away with it” and “Shows you what a master Dick Tuck was.”

On the morning after the first televised presidential debate between Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960, Mr. Tuck enlisted an elderly woman to sidle up to Nixon in Memphis. Wearing a big Nixon button, she hugged him and cooed as television cameras rolled: “That’s all right, son. Kennedy beat you last night, but don’t worry. You’ll get him next time!”

 

To connoisseurs of the dark arts of political tricksters, Mr. Tuck was a master of psychological jujitsu. By his own accounts, he shadowed and leapfrogged Republican campaigns, planted agents with surprises at whistle-stops, disrupted schedules, started nasty rumors and issued bogus press advisories. Democratic officials usually disavowed his activities, and Republican officials nearly always disputed his claims.

But pixilated things happened when Tuck operatives were around. Buses pulled out early. Trains made unscheduled stops. Placards in foreign languages bore miscreant messages. Newsletters hailed Democrats. At Republican rallies, bands struck up Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Happy Days Are Here Again,” Lyndon B. Johnson balloons floated up and fire chiefs — at least they wore fire chiefs’ helmets — underestimated crowd sizes for reporters.

Mr. Tuck said he executed no break-ins, illegal wiretaps, money launderings or felonious cover-ups of the kind that drove Nixon from the presidency in the Watergate scandal in 1974. While the seriousness of political sabotage is open to interpretation — one hellion’s dirty trick is another’s clever tactic — Mr. Tuck insisted that his own stunts were benign mischief.

He began hoodwinking Nixon as a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1950. While secretly backing Helen Gahagan Douglas for the United States Senate, he volunteered to work for the Republicans and made arrangements for a Nixon rally on campus. He hired an auditorium seating 2,000 people but neglected to publicize the event. Only 23 people showed up. When Nixon arrived, Mr. Tuck made a long-winded introduction and asked the candidate to speak on international monetary policy.

In 1958, when Edmund G. Brown, who was known as Pat, ran for governor of California, Mr. Tuck delivered a special treat at a Republican banquet given by Chinese supporters of his opponent, Senator William F. Knowland — fortune cookies with the message “Knowland for Premier of Formosa.”

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‘S.N.L.’: Tina Fey Reprises Sarah Palin in a Star-Filled Season Finale

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Tina Fey returned to “Saturday Night Live” as the host for its 43rd season finaleCredit: Kailey Fellows/NBC

By Judy Berman

 

A crowd filled with famous faces gathered on Saturday to witness a momentous union — and in other news, Prince Harry married Meghan Markle. For its 43rd season finale, “Saturday Night Live” brought together two powerful entertainers: Tina Fey, who hosted the episode, and the rapper Nicki Minaj, its musical guest. Among the stars who made cameos were Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert De Niro, Donald Glover, John Goodman, Anne Hathaway, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jerry Seinfeld.

When “S.N.L.” alums return as hosts, they tend to reprise their most beloved characters from the show. For Fey, that character is unquestionably her rendition of the 2008 vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin. Palin didn’t show up until the final half-hour, in a sketch set in the Oval Office. It was the highlight of the evening.

“It’s me, the ghost of Sarah Palin,” Fey said as if speaking to Palin’s fans, before clarifying that she was just kidding. “I’m still alive,” she said. “But you had to think about it, didn’t ya?” Clad in a leather motorcycle jacket, Fey explained, “One minute you’re on top, and then you’re gone in the blink of a Scaramucci.” Then she sang a few bars of “What I Did for Love,” from the musical “A Chorus Line.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, played by Aidy Bryant, soon popped in to puzzle over her relatively lengthy tenure as White House press secretary. Speculating on what the future would hold for her, she put her own spin on “What I Did for Love”: “Kiss White House goodbye, and point me toward Fox News,” Bryant sang. “I did what he said to do, and I might regret what I did for Trump.”

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Kennedy Center’s Artes De Cuba Festival, An Unprecedented Cultural Bridge Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email May 11, 2018

At 87 years young, the legendary Cuban Diva of the Buena Vista Social Club, Omara Portuondo, brought gasps of delight, then rapturous applause, just by walking out on the stage in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night. She graciously acknowledged the love in the room then continued with her rendition of beloved classic “Veinte Años,” backed by just a pianist.

She was part of a spectacular concert that was the kick-off celebration for an unprecedented display of Cuban multi-disciplinary arts and culture currently underway at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts called Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World.

The first of its kind in the U.S., more than 400 Cuban and Cuban-American artists will be participating in an extraordinary showcase of music, dance, fashion, theatre, film, visual arts and more, from May 8 – 20.

Kennedy Center staff began coordinating the event three years ago during President Obama’s historic overtures to the Cuban government and people. But with the Trump administration’s reversal of Obama’s Cuba policy, they faced travel restrictions and a sharply reduced staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. With 200 visas yet to process, they were determined not to let politics get in the way, and routed the artists through Mexico.

Opening night was a celebration in which art trumped politics and was dotted with references to the longstanding musical relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.

‘Saturday Night Live’: Stormy Daniels Makes a Surprise Appearance ~ GREAT STUFF!!!

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Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, in the May 5 episode of “Saturday Night Live,” during the character-packed cold open.Credit, Will Heath/NBC

With every new episode of “Saturday Night Live,” you can find us here writing about the best sketches. Looking for more stories about “S.N.L.”? We’ve got you covered.

A murderer’s row of “Saturday Night Live” cast members and guest performers turned out for the show’s cold opening this weekend, playing President Trump and the many people in his orbit engulfed by the controversy surrounding a payment made to Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress known as Stormy Daniels. The star-studded sketch ended with a surprise payoff of its own: an appearance by the real-life Clifford, who traded a few barbs with Alec Baldwin’s incarnation of Trump.

The episode (hosted by Donald Glover, who also served as musical guest under his stage name Childish Gambino) began with Ben Stiller, reprising his role as Michael D. Cohen, the personal lawyer to Trump, as he placed a pay phone call to the president. Baldwin received the call in the Oval Office.

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Charles Neville Of The Neville Brothers Dies At 79 on the eve of the 49th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival ~ NPR

Charles Neville, performing in southeastern France in 2009. The famed New Orleans musician died April 27, 2018 at the age of 79.

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Charles Neville, saxophonist of New Orleans giants The Neville Brothers, died Thursday in Huntington, Mass. at the age of 79, a representative confirmed to NPR Music. The cause was pancreatic cancer. The news was first reported by The Advocate.

Charles Neville was the second-oldest of four brothers, all of whom would go on to form that legendary, eponymous and definitional Crescent City band.

Neville plied his saxophone chops as a member of the renowned Dew Drop Inn’s house band, supporting legendary musicians like Allen Toussaint, James Booker, Huey “Piano” Smith and Ernie K. Doe. Simultaneously, the Neville brothers cut their teeth playing in various R&B and blues bands in the 1950s and ’60s like The Meters, as well as the proto-Neville Brothers group Neville Sounds.

After a stint in the Navy, Neville relocated to New York, immersing himself in the incomparable ’70s jazz scene there, but returned to New Orleans before the end of the decade to play with all three of his brothers.

The 1976 album The Wild Tchoupitoulas, which Neville helped arrange and featured contributions from all of his brothers, captured the sound of the Mardi Gras Indians tradition. It was recorded with the Neville’s uncle Big Chief Jolly, and served as an incubator for The Neville Brothers‘ band, which officially formed the following year.

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Charles Neville, smiling saxophonist of the Neville Brothers, dies at 79

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Charles Neville, of the Neville Brothers band, died on Thursday (April 26) in Massachusetts. He was 79 years old. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

His brother, Aaron Neville, posted on Twitter on Thursday: “You were a great brother. You’ll always be in my heart and soul, like a tattoo.”

Mr. Neville was the smiling, serene saxophonist with the icicle mustache, swaying in the center of the city’s favorite funk band that included his brothers Art, Cyril and Aaron. His serpentine style lent a lush, mysterious quality to hits such as “Yellow Moon.” The Neville Brother’s instrumental song “Healing Chant,” which features Mr. Neville’s sax over a gentle background rhythm, won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1989.

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Charles Neville onstage during a performance with the Neville Brothers at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Credit Dave Martin/Associated Press

 

Charles Neville, the saxophonist in New Orleans’s most celebrated band, the Neville Brothers, died on Friday at his home in Huntington, Mass. He was 79.

His family announced his death, of pancreatic cancer, in an online statement. On Facebook, his brother and bandmate Aaron Neville, wrote, “You’ll always be in my heart and soul, like a tattoo.”

The Neville Brothers gathered New Orleans’s abundant musical heritage and carried it forward. Art, Aaron, Charles and Cyril Neville formed their band in 1977 and maintained it, amid other projects, until disbanding in 2012. (They reunited for a farewell concert in New Orleans in 2015.)

The group melded rhythm and blues, gospel, doo-wop, rock, blues, soul, jazz, funk and New Orleans’s own parade and Mardi Gras rhythms, in songs that mingled a party spirit with social consciousness.

Charles Neville — who usually performed in a beret and a tie-dyed shirt, with an irrepressible smile — was the band’s jazz facet, reflecting his decades of experience before the Neville Brothers got started. His soprano saxophone was upfront on the Nevilles’ “Healing Chant,” which won a Grammy Award as best pop instrumental in 1990.

Charles Neville was born in New Orleans on Dec. 28, 1939, the second of the four sons of Arthur Lanon Neville Sr. and Amelia Neville, formerly Landry. At 15, Charles left home to play saxophone with the Rabbit’s Foot Minstrel Show.

He went on to work with blues and R&B singers, including Larry Wiliams, Johnny Ace, Big Maybelle, Jimmy Reed and Little Walter. Back in New Orleans, he was a member of the house band at the Dew Drop Inn, working with local and visiting stars. After serving in the Navy from 1956 to 1958, stationed in Memphis, he went on to tour with B. B. King and Bobby (Blue) Bland.

Mr. Neville began using heroin in the 1950s, sometimes shoplifting to support his drug use and serving short jail terms. It was a habit he would not completely overcome until 1986.

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Charles Neville: Remembering the Neville Brothers’ Saxophone-Playing Mystic ~ RollingStone

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It was 1998, and Charles Neville and I were walking through the French Quarter on a steamy hot Orleans afternoon. Out of nowhere, a small man in a raggedy woolen overcoat approached Charles.

Unhesitatingly, Charles embraced him, exclaiming, “Waterman Willie! When did you get out, brother?”

“Last month.”

“Well, here you go.” Charles emptied out his pockets and handed Willie all the bills and change in his possession

 “You make it out of Angola and the odds are still stacked against you,” Charles told me after Willie thanked him and went on his way.

Charles knew. He had made it out of the infamous Angola penitentiary and did more than survive; as a creative artist and human being, he thrived. He was a man – an intellectual with strong metaphysical leanings – deeply committed to expanding consciousness.

The second oldest of the four brilliant Neville brothers, Charles died on April 26th of pancreatic cancer. He was 79 and at peace. He had been at peace for years.

“When you go from criminality to spirituality,” he told me while I was ghostwriting The Brothers, the Nevilles’ autobiography, “your mantra is simple: gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.”

He learned saxophone well enough to gig with B.B. King, Bobby Bland and Little Walter. He also got hooked on heroin. Minor crimes landed him in Angola.

“My stint was a godsend,” he said. “Despite the inhumane conditions, there were books. I read everyone from Homer to Nietzsche. Ever since genius pianist James Booker was incarcerated, Angola had the baddest band in the land. It was where I was finally able to woodshed and seriously study the masters – Pres, Bird, Trane – with absolute focus. Reflecting on the non-attachment nuances of Zen Buddhism in my miserable piss-stained jail cell was a key to enlightenment. Not to mention getting clean.”

Once out, he eventually worked with siblings Art, Aaron, Cyril and their Uncle Jolly to form the incandescent Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Mardi Gras Indian funk band that brought the divergent brothers together for the first time. That was the mid-Seventies. In the following decades Charles toured with the Brothers, served as featured sideman on Aaron’s solo dates and played jazz clubs with his own group.

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