Sunday, November 29, 2009

Much in Life is Defined by Burl Ives

After Friday's groovy shoot out at Hearse Castle in the rain, I returned Saturday with "Friendatella" who loves dark and dreary things but hates cold weather. Appropriately or not, it was a blazing blue skied day all over the city yesterday with possibly the most glorious view I've ever seen in the distance of Mount Diablo on the eastern horizon.

This afternoon, I reunited with Bryce Digdug to go see Fantastic Mr. Fox, perhaps the only "mainstream" holiday movie I have the slightest interest in seeing. (They had a preview for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland that was originally slated for a Christmas release and is now pushed back to March with the hope that people will be too pre-occupied with Mardi Gras hangovers to bother with it. Even Meryl Streep managed to not ruin the movie.

As with any Wes Anderson movie, the music selection was half the fun of the film. Even in disappointments like The Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Express, there were great soundtracks. Could you really have stop-motion without Burl Ives? Fox has three Ives tunes -- "Fooba Wooba John", "The Grey Eyed Goose" and "Buck Eye Jim". Now before you start dismissing Ives as all sentimental Jolly Holly Christmas schmaltz, remember that he played Big Daddy and posed for the above Karl Van Vechten portrait, so he clearly was more than that happy snowman in his orbit.

After the film, Bryce and I had lunch at Sunflower were I was ogled and groped by our server and then down the street to the ever reliable Community Thrift Store. Never mind that Tower Records and Virgin Megastore are gone, Community Thrift never fails to deliver unexpected gems. They can also be political and downright subversive. I found a copy of "Anita Bryant Sings Her Favorite Hymns" wedge in between a sloth of albums by Judy Garland and Michael Feinstein. Right there in their racks was Burl Ives: The Best of Burls for Boys and Girls. No "Fooba Wooba John" but it has "Aunt Rhody", "The Fox" (why wasnt' that one in the movie?) "Shoo Fly", "Polly Wolly Doodle" and "Woolie Boogie Bee".

Was there ever a more evocative name than Burl Ives? Can't you just think of a burl sculpture of a bear covered in ivy? I don't like bears of the human kind (they make go "Ooof" not "Woof"), but I do like Burl. Just the thought of him makes me think of cinnamon in the oven and frost on the windows. Oh, and another song on that album is "What Kind of an Animal Are You?" I heard that was his opening line when he ran into Sebastian Cabot unexpectedly in an undisclosed watering hole south of 14th Street in 1957. But that's another story.

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At 6:04 AM, Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

had I known burl had not one but three numbers in fantastic mr fox, I would have increased my pressure on f to see it; as it was he wasn't interested (wah). what we saw qualified as feel good, schmaltzy holiday fare (the blind side) - ended up being perfect for a cold, windy, wintery afternoon in cleveland.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Mouse - At the risk of a **spoiler** this one is also a feel good movie since the good guys (the foxes, weasels, opossums) win over the bad guys (smoking, mean-spirited corporate farmers).

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Ed has a crush on Burl Ives, but that's a secret. ;)

I did not know 'Mr. Fox' was a Wes Anderson movie...all the more reason to see it!

At 5:32 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jill - Okay, I'll keep it secret. It's not as if we've posted it on the internet or anything.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Bryce Digdug said...

And speaking of "evok" names....what about Sebastian Cabot! My sister and I loved Family Affair because it was about fraternal twins. They were of obviously different ages. Ah- the fussy butler. He once asked the twins before they left for school, "Do you have all your accoutrements?"

At 5:07 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Bryce - Family Affair was one of the most coded shows ever. Speaking of evocative names -- Mr. French! After the twins were tucked in bed, Mr. French called Uncle Bill Mr. Greek.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Gary said...

I love Burl Ives as both a Snowman and as Big Daddy. And his music and voice - wonderful.

I love the image I have in my head of him and Sebastian Cabot. As long as I don't think linger there too long.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gary - I bought Burl's album sort of a joke but was soon amazed by how many of those songs I remember and love. It warms and cheers up the house like having cinnamon rolls cooking in the oven but without the guilt.

Yep, I like the concept of Burl and Sebastian hooking up, but I don't want to visualize the details.


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