What else could I possibly do on Hallowe’en but this 1962 classic by Bobby “Boris” Pickett……..
It’s the first Avengers movie, the next Iron Man movie, the next Hulk movie, the next Thor movie, the next Captain America, and the first S.H.I.E.L.D. movie, all at the same time. It’s the jewel in the crown of the MCU, tying together lots of threads and also being brilliant on its own. The great superhero movie rewatch gushes over Avengers.
And in fact, this movie is full of great lines. One of Whedon’s hallmarks has been his snappy dialogue, and this movie is crackling with it. I could use up my entire allotted word count on this rewatch just quoting lines from it, which I won’t do, but I will in particular sing the praises of all the callbacks, whether it’s the ant-boot conversations between Fury and Loki, the payoff of Fury’s “ten bucks says you’re wrong” line to Rogers when the latter says nothing can surprise him anymore, the constant exhortations of Rogers to Stark to “put on the suit,” going from macho posturing to an instruction to help save the helicarrier, or my favorite: early on, Pepper Potts refers to Coulson as Phil, and Stark jokes, “‘Phil’? His first name is ‘Agent’”; then, later in the movie, when as Iron Man he confronts Loki, he mentions the final person Loki has pissed off: “His name is Phil.”
Spending yesterday at the New York Botanical Gardens at the “Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai`i” exhibit put me in a Hawai`i mood, and so I present this song that Arlo Guthrie wrote after spending the better part of a year as an actor on a TV show that filmed in that Pacific Paradise called Byrds of Paradise. It only lasted a season, and after it was cancelled, Arlo wrote this wordless tune as a tribute to his time there.
It’s been a crazy week-and-a-bit, as we just finished a huge black-belt promotion, which included five people from our Italian branch, the head of our Chilean branch, and seven people from our dojo, including a new fifth-degree and four new fourth-degrees, plus the Italians included a new sixth-degree and two new fourth-degrees.
On top of that, I’ve been working on Mermaid Precinct, doing my stuff for Tor.com, and proofreading a book of essays. But today, Wrenn and I are going to the New York Botanical Gardens for a date day of looking at flowers and plants and outdoor sculpture thingies and also their Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit.
We need this, partly because I’ve been away from home a lot on dojo business, partly because I’m exhausted from all the work I’ve been doing, partly because Wrenn is also brain fried from all the work she’s been doing, and we need a mental health day and to just spend time together. Hence, the Botanical Gardens!
Here’s another Italian classic from Hetty and the Jazzato Band: “Tintarella Di Luna.”
Having taken on Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, the latest in ATB Publishing’s “Outside In” series — in which writers take a unique look at each episode of a favorite TV show — looks at Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Outside In Takes a Stab: 139 New Perspectives on 139 Buffy Stories by 139 Writers. Put together by the mighty Robert Smith?, this book includes my own piece on “Fool for Love,” the episode that flashed back to Spike’s two times killing a Slayer, in China in 1900 and in New York in 1977.
It’s available for preorder from ATB at this link, and will be out on 2 November (just after Hallowe’en, appropriately).
Other contributors include Robert Greenberger, William Leisner, Jill Sherwin, Susanne Lambdin, Rosanne Welch, Rich Handley, David A. McIntee, and 130 more!
Another gem from Hetty and the Jazzato Band, this the classic “Mambo Italiano,” written by Bob Merrill for Rosemary Clooney, and covered by half the world, from Dean Martin to Carla Boni to Lady Gaga. As with the other Hetty/Jazzato songs, the highlight is the superlative clarinet work by Charly on the clarinet.