Amazon

A Graffiti Bridge to Nowhere

It has been seven hours and way too many days since Jehovah’s sexiest witness left us with a major case of the sads. The world is a whole lot less interesting, Minnesota in particular, because now all we have left are 10,000 lakes any of which I would gladly give up if we could get the little guy back. (Not Lake Minnetonka though, we gotta keep that one for obvious reasons.) Prince was of course much more than just a genius musician he was also a bonafide MOVIE STAR. At one point in 1984 he had not only the number one album (Purple Rain), but the single and movie to go along with it. Like everyone else on the planet in 1984 with a heartbeat, five bucks and a driver’s license I saw Purple Rain at the time but had not seen it all the way through since. So in honor of the late, great Purple Yoda I decided to go on a Prince-a-thon to revisit and recap his cinematic career from best to well, let’s just be kind and say less best.

1.) Purple Rain: I loved this when it came out. I loved it because it was filmed at the club where I spent my formative years (thanks to a real fake ID), it starred the most famous music dude in town and the songs were amaze-balls. I am pretty sure that even with the purple-tinted sunglasses (Oakley of course) I had on at the time I knew it wasn’t exactly a Casablanca or Segei Eisenstein’s Potemkin level of celluloid greatness before me (I was a film minor FFS) but I did not care then or now. The electrifying musical performances more than made up for any of the gaping plot holes, the ridiculous amount of misogyny and the fact that Steve McClellan was somehow no longer the manager of First Avenue but had been replaced by some guy from Detroit named Billy. Whatever Prince. (iTunes, and some theaters)

 

2.) Under the Cherry Moon:  I did not see this movie when it came out and sadly I was not alone in my indifference. UTCM was both a commercial and critical flop, winning a whopping five Golden Raspberry Awards and beating out the completely ridiculous Howard the Duck for worst movie of 1986. (Interestingly enough that movie also starred a Minnesotan, Lea Thompson.) But now that I have seen it twice I can honestly say those golden raspberries were completely undeserved and I am not alone in that assessment.

Prince and The Time’s mirror man Jerome Benton play cousins who spend their days and nights on the French Riviera scamming rich ladies trying to earn enough dough to get back to Miami. Kristin Scott Thomas (in her film debut) plays their latest and richest mark yet who is proving to be a bit more of a challenge than their usual suspects. Originally shot in color, it was switched to black and white prior to its release which was a great call  because UTCM is drop-dead gorgeous to look at.

Prince dances, prances and lays the doe eyes on extra thick but he and Benton have great on-screen chemistry and their silly screwball routine about going to the wecka stow is classic. Between the clothes (Chanel, pre-Kunty Karl), the scenery (Nice) and the songs (Kiss, Sometimes it Snows in April, Mountains),  UTCM is more than worth spending three bucks and some of your extra time on. (iTunes, Amazon)

 

3.) Graffiti Bridge: I am not gonna lie, Graffiti Bridge is pretty bad. So bad that I was regretting not having my iPad with me so I could surf the web during the dull parts and there were lots of dull parts. Ostensibly a sequel to Purple Rain it has absolutely none of the charm, hit songs or performance magic of its predecessor. According to the plot line, fake First Avenue owner/manager Billy has gone to the great nightclub in the sky and left another club called Glam Slam (also RIP) to the Kid (Prince) and Morris Day. I do not know who got First Avenue (Apollonia, perhaps?) or how Glam Slam got moved to Seven Corners (WTF?) but at least fake dead Billy had a will. Just let that one sink in for a minute.

Even though money-grubbing Morris allegedly owns half of Glam Slam he somehow wants to destroy it which makes no sense but neither does this movie so there you go. I think Prince hit peak Prince-ness with Graffiti Bridge (he wrote, directed and starred) but seemed utterly bored by the entire process. Mostly shot on a sound stage at Paisley Park his ennui shines through loud and clear. It’s a bloody mess but it could have been much, much worse. According to one-time Prince dancer extraordinaire Cat Glover, Madonna was supposed to play the Angel role that ultimately went to Ingrid Chavez. Watch it if only to say that you have seen it and then go rewatch Purple Rain any of the awesome performances that have cropped up on YouTube while you can. (iTunes, Amazon)

 

4.) New Girl Prince episode: Here is your chance to see Prince show Zoey Deschanel just how adorkable is done. I probably should rate this television appearance above Graffiti Bridge but New Girl is only 20 plus minutes long minus commercials and Prince is not in all the scenes so demerits must be given. On the plus side you hear a snippet of one of my all-time-favorite Prince songs When You Were Mine, there are pancakes involved and he made the producers remove all traces of a certain reality show family that were set to appear. Prince was the sensei of shade and man am I going to miss his not-at-all-subtle ways with the side-eye. (Season 3, episode 14, Netflix)

 

If you still need more Prince in your life (and who doesn’t?), check out this fantastic podcast with André Cymon. Recorded a couple of years back after Cymon released his first album in about a hundred years this interview offers great insight into the makings of the Minneapolis sound.. Cymon and Prince were childhood friends and lived together for years after Prince moved in with Cymon’s family. André was also Prince’s bassist during the pre-Revolution days and was known for his uncanny ability to pull off wearing clear pants and not looking like a total try-hard twat. He recorded a few albums in the 80’s but then went on to became more known as a songwriter and producer. Cymon is a great story teller and you won’t be bored for an instant which is good because this podcast clocks in at over two hours, something I wish I’d known when I started listening at 11:30 on a school night.

http://podcastjuice.net/the-prince-podcast-andre-cymone/

 

 

 

A river runs through it

Even though it is not particularly wintry yet in these parts it still gets dark before the local news comes on so the time is right for parking yourself in front of the old tv machine and watching something other than Masters of None (no slam). I loves me some Tom Haverford/Aziz Ansari but I’m figuring you have already binged yourself silly on that one and there are plenty of other shows equally deserving of your precious time.

River: The latest collab between the BBC and our besties at Netflix is one of those shows you should schedule some quality time with real soon. Starring Stellan Skarsgård as John River (Alexander’s dad) and Nicola Walker (Jackie “Stevie” Stevenson here, but forever known as MI-5’s Ruth Evershed). The two play a couple of police detectives but the similarities to all other cop buddy shows ends there. Like the little boy in the Sixth Sense John River sees dead people but unlike Haley Joel Osment’s Cole Sear, River also talks to them, gets into fisticuffs with them and even buys them banana milkshakes at the drive-thru. River is unabashedly weird, even weirder than that “friendship” between the tiger and the goat that was supposed to be his dinner only way less creepy than that because eating your friends is just plain wrong, except perhaps if your plane crashes in the Andes or you get stuck in a blizzard on the Oregon Trail.

Stevie is a major karaoke fan and the song I Love to Love* figures prominently throughout the series. Now Ruth Evershed/Stevie has a lovely voice, but anyone who has had the aural misfortune of seeing (and hearing) the film version of Mama Mia knows that is not the case with Stellan, or Colin Firth, or Pierce Brosnan for that matter. Thankfully Stellan doesn’t spend too much time crooning as he spends all six episodes acting his pants off, not literally of course, but he really impresses here. After a pretty shocking reveal about mid-way through episode one I was hooked. I don’t want to say too much more lest I ruin this cleverer than average show. #nospoilersforyou (Netflix)

Iris: ” You’re not pretty, you’ll never be pretty but you have style”, says the not-so-very-nice owner of Loehmann’s to a young Iris Apfel. No matter how backhanded of a compliment that was, Iris more than took it to heart. True style is something very few people have and it doesn’t necessarily have to mean couture as we see Ms. Apfel collects both designer and flea market finds with equal zeal. Prior to this movie I knew very little about Iris other than her obvious love of Mr. Magoo inspired eyewear but you don’t even need to know that to enjoy this documentary. In addition to being a fashion icon Iris was also a very successful interior designer who along with her husband Carl decorated homes around the world, including the White House for nine presidents. Not too shabby.

Iris is the last movie from Albert Maysles, best known (along with his brother David) for bringing the world the greatest documentary ever made Grey Gardens and for that we will forever be in their debt. In Iris, Maysles found his staunchest, chicest character since Little Edie wore a skirt upside down (mainly because it didn’t fit the regular way) and slapped a sweater on her head with a lovely brooch because after all, accessories do make the outfit. (Netflix, iTunes)

Getting On: is one of the best shows on HBO that you have probably never heard of. I had not until recently and it’s already in its third (and possibly its last) season. Consider it the John Kasich of premium cable, stuck at the kids table while Game of Thrones and Girls hang out at the adult table sucking up all the attention à la someone we all know that I refuse to acknowledge exists. Uncomfortably funny in the British Office sense (not at all surprising since it is based on a BBC series with the very same name), Getting On stars Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) as self-centered head of medicine Dr. Jenna James, Niecy Nash (Reno 911) as the sweet and kind nurse Didi Ortley and Alex Borstein (MADtv’s Miss Swan) as her nut-cake boss and fellow nurse Dawn Forchette.

Getting On is set in a geriatric extended care facility called Billy Barnes and anyone who has ever spent an iota of time in such a place will be able to practically smell the hand sanitizer through the screen. Just like in real life, Billy Barnes tries to alleviate its medical industrial state institutionality with therapy dogs, music and water features. Now I like all three of those things but no amount of puppy love, Duran Duran or even a spectacular waterfall could ever make an extended stay in a care facility seem appealing. This show sucked me in though and I binged watched all three seasons in two nights. Much less impressive than it sounds since there are only six episodes a season (and there is one more left of the current season) but still, squad goals people. (HBO, Amazon, Hulu)

* Iceland’s favorite pixie scream queen Bjork got her first recording contract covering this alleged disco classic. The world makes no sense sometimes.

 

Please sir, can I have some more? Kinky pudding shots that is

Did you even know there was such a thing as Jell-O Strawberry Creme Instant Pudding*? I am not so sure even Jell-O is aware it exists because it’s not listed under products on their own website. Was this mysterious strawberry creme instant pudding an urban legend like the old don’t flash your headlights at a car without its lights on as it’s a gang initiation and you will be shot and killed instantly? After trying three different grocery stores with no luck I was just about to Snopes this elusive product when I decided to give old Amazon a try, and lo and behold, not only did they have it, but they also had a book I wanted (The Last Weekend) that also did not seem to exist in a store, total amaze-balls! Being Amazon, they also bewitched me with the offer of two-day day shipping if I signed up for Amazon Prime (sigh, again) and since I wanted that pudding BAD I fell for their cunning scheme hook, line and Jell-O pudding sinker. Even though the last time I tried Prime free for thirty days to catch up on all the episodes of Bunheads I missed I had to PAY for half of them. Not cool Amazon Prime, not cool.

Oh Amazon, I wish I could quit you

Oh Amazon, I wish I could quit you

For those of you who unfortunate enough to not be on a first name basis with Kinky, it is a “naughty fusion of super premium vodka distilled five times with succulent mango, blood orange liqueur and passion fruit” that once you taste it will make all your problem ago away. Pouf, just like that, at least until the bottle runs out. It’s kind of a small bottle so depending on how many problems you have, you might want to double up.

So very pretty, it's like the Christy Turlington of booze

So very pretty, it’s like the Christy Turlington of booze

One package of Jell-O Strawberry Creme Instant Pudding–and good luck finding it in a store but if you do, I want to know where it is

8 oz. container of Cool Whip–this took me almost as much time as the pudding to find because I normally find my dairy products in the dairy section and whatever toxins this stuff is made up of have to be kept FROZEN

3/4 cup Kinky, of course

Whipped cream to top–real stuff, well, in a can, but found in the DAIRY section

Some sprinkles, to make it pretty. I used pink to match

Shot glasses with lids–mine were 2.5 oz and holy crap they are not cheap, or I am when it comes to plastic shot glasses, seriously, ten dollars??

Ten dollars for these? I guess because they are imported from France. Apparently mousse shots, or creme brûlée shots are big over there and yes I made that up

Gelatin glasses imported from France. Apparently mousse shots, or creme brûlée shots are big over there

Mix the Kinky and the pudding mix until blended, add in the Cool Whip a little bit at a time until incorporated, you know like Hobby Lobby. I put this mixture into a pitcher and poured it into the shot glasses, spooning it in was far too messy and tedious. I was not blessed with the patience gene.

Chill in freezer for a couple of hours, makes about 18-20, depending on how much sampling goes on. Not that I did that or anything.

My little Kinkylings, before they go into the chiller

My little Kinky-lings

Just like the margarita poptails, I made a few of these Kinky-free, figuring some children I know (who just happen to live in my neighborhood) might like them. I am not 100% sure if it is a good idea to get them familiar with the idea of Jell-O shots but what the heck, one of them will be off to college in three years and their parents weren’t around. I am also not sure if Shaun Ryder and the rest of the Happy Mondays would be into Kinky, but since their known for being notorious consumers of copious amounts of both drugs and alcohol (see 24 Hour Party People, no, really you should, it is a great movie with even better music) I am going to say yes.

 

* thank God I had to order four of these boxes from Amazon because let me tell you, Jell-O Strawberry Creme Instant Pudding is insanely good and I don’t even like pudding. Now I know why there are so many Pinterest boards dedicated to it. It also supposedly comes in Peach Creme, which might be almost too much for me to even contemplate right now.