Because today is Mel Brooks day.
Anne Bancroft on meeting Mel Brooks
Because today is Mel Brooks day.
Anne Bancroft on meeting Mel Brooks
On Saturday, Oxbow won the Preakness Stakes, dashing any hopes Orb had for the first Triple Crown since 1978. The real news however was that jockey Gary Stevens was the one who rode Oxbow to that victory. Stevens, 50, is a Hall of Fame jockey who had only recently come out of retirement and gotten back in the saddle, so to speak. But boy does he belong in that saddle.
Here’s a Fresh Air interview with Stevens from 2003.
Image via ESPN
The one, the only, the wonder that is Mel Brooks is on the show today. I listened to the interview Friday and, well, I laughed and I cried. When he was talking about his late wife, the actor Anne Bancroft, to whom he was married for 40 years and who died in 2005, I laughed and cried simultaneously. At that point he’s talking to David Bianculli about learning Polish so that he and Bancroft could perform “Sweet Georgia Brown” together in that language, the clip of which is above. It’s fantastic.
Ed Ward on the live albums that revived Jerry Lee Lewis’ career in the mid-late 1960s:
The resulting album, Live at the Hamburg Star-Club, is 37 minutes long, and, because it features a man playing as if his life depended on it in front of a rioting crowd, is widely considered one of the greatest live rock and roll albums ever. Smash decided not to release it. Instead, until it got an official U.S. release in 1980, imported copies were eagerly sought out. What Smash did instead was to record another show, this time with Jerry Lee’s regular band, in July in Birmingham, Alabama. The set list is almost identical, but with a bit more country.
Above, Jerry Lee Lewis performing on Shindig in 1965. If this doesn’t make you want to get up and dance on out of the office and into Friday night then we don’t know what will.
Sarah Polley talks to Terry Gross about how she got to know her her mother — who died when Polley was 11 — while making Stories We Tell:
Having the opportunity to sit with for many hours with most of the people that your mother was close to in her life and get to hear them talk about her ends up forming a much more full picture than the one I had before. At the same time, even though I wasn’t an adult and didn’t get to know the complexity of who she was, I had somebody say to me once, years ago, they were asking me, ‘What was your mother like?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. She died when I was 11.’ And she said, ‘Well, what did she feel like?’
And that was an amazing window for me into the idea that … you don’t actually have to be able to articulate or intellectually know who somebody is to really know them, and that 11 years is actually a really long time — especially to have a really good mother — and it’s more than most people get in a lifetime. And I had, until I was 11 years old, a mother who made me feel like life was really exciting, that the world was really exciting, that she loved us, that she could find joy even when life had been tragic and that’s so much more than most people get. I feel incredibly grateful for that and then — obviously — so privileged to have been able to add all this new information to that picture.
Image courtesy of Roadside Attractions Publicity
Decades before Photoshop was available, American photographer and installation artist Sandy Skoglund started creating surreal images by building amazingly elaborate sets, a process which took months to complete. Her works are characterized by an incredible amount of objects settled against contrasting colours or on a monochromatic colour scheme.
via Lost At E Minor
Bill Hader — who is leaving Saturday Night Live after eight years this weekend — on his audition for the show:
I remember getting in the elevator for my audition and there was a guy next to me who had a backpack full of props and wigs and things, and I went, ‘Oh, my God, that guy is so prepared, I have nothing, I have no props.’ And that was Andy Samberg. And Andy Samberg said he was looking at me going, ‘Oh, that guy has no props. He doesn’t need props.’ And that was the first time we met, was in that elevator.
Q: Do you ever read self-help? Anything you recommend?
A: I’m a self-help queen, dedicated to continuous improvement. I read books about problems I don’t have, just in case I develop obsessive-compulsive disorder or crippling phobias. Of course there’s nothing I recommend. If I ever found anything useful, I’d keep it to myself, to steal a mean advantage.
This interview with Hilary Mantel in the New York Times Magazine is delightful, funny and smart.
An interview with Mantel here.
This song, that played last night on the final episode of The Office is apparently a Creed Bratton original. It is so pretty. Creed, we hardly knew ye! And we’ll miss ye.
(via James Poniewozik)
David Edelstein on the cast of J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek Into Darkness:
The movie doesn’t hold up to post-viewing scrutiny — which matters if you want to see it again. But I found it so much fun to see its variations on an old theme that I found myself having a good time. I surrendered to the bombardment. The new cast is still disconcerting. By the end of the original Trek, the actors were a collection of paunches and hairpieces; these guys are so trim and tender-skinned, they’re like the Baby Looney Tunes.
It’s really a losing battle, a losing proposition for all of us. … The fundamental problem is that we’re on our own and all the risk of retirement — whether it’s this risk of the market going up and down or picking the wrong investments or even outliving our savings — the risk is all on us and that’s just fundamentally not a fair arrangement, not a fair proposition.
— Robert Hiltonsmith talks to Terry Gross about the risks of 401K retirement plans and the tricky business of saving for old age.
For your daily moment of “Wait… who is that?”: “Classic Paintings Recreated Using the Faces Of Modern Celebrities”
via Laughing Squid
Kevin Whitehead pays tribute to clarinetist and bandleader Woody Herman on what would have been his 100th birthday:
In the late ’30s, he never rivaled bandleading clarinetists Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. But then came that late blooming. In 1944, not long before the swing era collapsed, Woody Herman put together a stupendous band known as his First Herd. It was popping with talent, starting with hotdog bassist Chubby Jackson, whose added fifth string made him sound speeded up. The brass included young trumpeter Sonny Berman with his antic bebop solos, and the lyrical but shouting trombonist Bill Harris. Igor Stravinsky wrote his “Ebony Concerto” for them. Herman famously said later, “We had no more right to play it than the man on the moon had.”
Above, Eleanor Powell with Woody Herman and His Orchestra