Monday, February 24, 2014

Show #116 February 8, 2014

The All Kindsa Girls RAIN DANCE is dedicated to Rainy Jane!

Rainy Jane- Davy Jones Rainy Jane
Rainin' Like Soft Fun- The Orange Humble Band Assorted Creams 
She Brings the Rain- The Grip Weeds Infinite Soul: The Best of the Grip Weeds
Sound of the Rain- The Dils Made In Canada Double-7"
I Wish It Would Rain- Wreckless Eric Big Smash 
Standing In The Rain- Squire Big Smashes
Stood In The Rain- Four O'Clock Balloon Yellow Pills Vol 4 The Best of American Pop!
Standin' In The Rain- The Finders Calling Dr. Powerpop
^Only Happy When It Rains- Garbage Garbage
Singing In The Rain- Just Water Singing In The Rain
Walk In The Rain- The Pop The Pop
As The Rain Goes- Stryker Stryker 7"
The Summer Rain- Shoes Shoe's Best
Cold As The Rain- The Signals Person To Person
*Let It Rain- The Boys Boys Only
*Let It Rain- OK Go Oh No
*Let It Rain- The Dream Syndicate Tell Me When It's Over: The Best of
*Let It Rain- UFO Let It Rain
Another Rainy Weekend- Nushu Hula 
The Sun And The Rain- Madness The Business
Rain- The Jam Direction, Reaction, Creation
When it Rains...- X See How We Are 
Just A Little Rain- The Cryers The Cryers 
Sheltered From The Rain- The Angels The Angels 
>Flowers In The Rain- The Move Flowers In The Rain 
Rain- Status Quo Rain
Delaware Rain- Ric Menck The Ballad Of Ric Menck 
Right As Rain- The Neighborhoods ...The High Hard One...
Crying In The Rain-Rockpile Seconds Of Pleasure 
Another Song About The Rain- Cracker Cracker 

^Power Pop Peak:  #55 Billboard Hot 100 9/18/95

*SacroSet:  Let It Rain (please!)

>Power Pop Prototype:  1967

Never doubt the enduring power of rock and roll!  Case in point, after hearing nothing but dour California drought news the entire month of January I decided to do something about it with the ALL KINDSA GIRLS RAIN DANCE!  I started working on the program the day before the Super Bowl and what do you think happened that night- it started to rain!  What's more, the following Thursday while I was in the studio recording the show it started raining again and didn't stop for four days.  In fact, when the show aired that Saturday night there was flooding all over Sonoma- though we knew better than to complain about it.  Unfortunately it ended up being mere "drops in the bucket" compared to what we need but still, I made it rain!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

As I often do when putting a theme show together I went to youtube and searched on "Let It Rain" and up came this really funny video from Along Came Polly featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman:

I had completely forgotten about his part in this movie, which I think I watched on a flight.  After films like The Master, Ides of March and The Savages, you forget how funny Philip Seymour Hoffman could be.  I decided to include the video (at least the audio portion) in the show's SacroSet of songs called "Let It Rain."  Little did I know Philip Seymour Hoffman would be dead less than a week later...

PSH as Plutarch Heavensbee
I was already ambivalent about the Super Bowl as the Patriots had been wedgied, pantsed and wet-willied right out of Denver two weeks earlier.  That game was straight up embarrassing!  Anyway, my friends Frank and Joanna were coming up to watch the Super Bowl and I was looking forward to seeing them.  When Jaime and I got back from church that morning my daughter Nica bounded down the stairs to tell us that "Plutarch Heavensbee- the guy who plays him, is dead!  Of a HEROIN overdose!"  Nica and I are big fans of the Hunger Games books.  When Hoffman, one of my favorite actors, signed on for Catching Fire I took it as a sign of personal validation.  It meant a lot to me that a guy who had several Oscar nominations and one win believed in the The Hunger Games enough to commit to three movies.  That was the thing about Hoffman, in parts big or small, in blockbusters or indie films, he always brought something interesting to the table.  You could argue that Catching Fire was just a paycheck but I don't think that's the way Hoffman operated.

As is the fate of many character actors, I saw Hoffman in several films before I really "saw" him, including My New Gun with Diane Lane (who I've loved since The Outsiders), Scent of a Woman, Leap of Faith and Nobody's Fool.  I didn't see Twister when it was in theaters so I didn't catch Hoffman's performance as a lunatic storm chaser until later.  I'm glad it turned out that way because it meant Philip Seymour Hoffman first came to my attention in Boogie Nights.  His character Scotty J's desperate crush on Mark Wahlberg's Eddie Adams (a.k.a. Dirk Diggler) was just heartbreaking.  Hoffman could have come off creepy but I think he made the character sympathetic:

After Boogie Nights I went back and saw director Paul Thomas Anderson's first film Hard Eight, which also features a great Hoffman performance as hillbilly shooting craps.

That's it for him in the movie, yet even with limited screen time, Hoffman certainly makes an impression.  It's worth noting too that the title of the movie "Hard Eight" is first referenced in this scene.

I think Hoffman will be remembered most for the deep sadness and internal struggle in his characters, whether it's Lancaster Dodd in The Master or Gust Avrakatos in Charlie Wilson's War or Andy Hanson in Before The Devil Knows Your Dead.  It's hard for me then to separate his performances as these fictional characters from the living, breathing person who stuck a needle in his arm and died of a heroin overdose, leaving three children without a father.  If that is the cost of great talent then happily count me as one of the teeming mass of untalented.  I know it's my morbid side, but I have wondered if there are young actors out there toiling in obscurity who would trade with Hoffman, for all of it- talent, ambition, critical esteem, fame, wealth, artistic freedom, an Oscar.... and death at 46.  On the other hand, I'd like to think that Hoffman himself would take that trade too, choosing to live in obscurity to a ripe old age, maybe as the star of his small town community theater.

The Great Lester Bangs
One of my favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman performances is in Almost Famous.  He plays legendary rock critic Lester Bangs mentoring young writer William Miller (a stand in for writer/director Cameron Crowe).  Early in the film the two meet in a diner:

Then, late in the film they have this phone conversation:

Lester Bangs: Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.  
William Miller: Well, it was fun. 
Lester Bangs: Because they make you feel cool. And hey, I met you. You are not cool.  
William Miller: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn't.  
Lester Bangs: That's because we are uncool. And while women will always be a problem for guys like us, most of the great art in the world is about that very problem. Good-looking people don't have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we're smarter.  
William Miller: I can really see that now.  
Lester Bangs: Yeah, great art is about guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love... and let's face it, you got a big head start.  
William Miller: I'm glad you were home. 
Lester Bangs: I'm always home. I'm uncool.  
William Miller: Me too!  
Lester Bangs: You're doing great.  The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool.  My advice to you. I know you think those guys are your friends. You wanna be a true friend to them? Be honest, and unmerciful.  

The bitter irony is that Lester Bangs died the ultimate "cool" rock star death:  from a drug overdose (Darvon, Valium and NyQuil of all things) in New York City on April 30, 1982.  He was 33.  I suppose we should be happy we got 13 more years from Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Click on these links to download this week's show (pause and un-pause if they get stuck):
Hour 1
Hour 2

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