Friday, December 4, 2009

Neko Case's Spectacle

Congratulations to Neko Case on her first two Grammy nominations! It was just announced that Middle Cyclone is up for Best Contemporary Folk Album and the Mercury surfing sleeve she designed with her pal Judge is being considered for Best Recording Package at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards which will be given out January 31.
To mark the achievement, the Anti- label has had a museum-quality 18" x 24" Giclée print of the Middle Cyclone cover manufactured in a limited-edition of 1000 numbered copies which you can purchase here.

In related news, Case recently joined Sheryl Crow, Ron Sexsmith and Jesse Winchester on stage at New York's Apollo Theatre for a taping of Spectacle hosted by her fellow Grammy nominee Elvis Costello who's Secret, Profane & Sugarcane record also got the nod in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category (along with Tracy Chapman's Our Bright Future, Shawn Colvin's Live and Steve Earle's tribute to Townes Van Zandt, Townes). Knowing how competitive Costello can be, perhaps it was fortunate that this second episode of Spectacle's second season was taped way back on September 21, before the nominees were announced or the hardware was handed out. I've seen her kick-boxing moves, it wouldn't have been pretty.
During the show, Neko sang Margaret Vs. Pauline and Don't Forget Me accompanied by Attractions keyboardist Steve Nieve and then Elvis stepped in for a new arrangement of Neko's Prison Girls. It would've been great to hear them duetting on Bowling Green as well but for some reason, Costello decided to sing it with Jesse Winchester instead. Hey, he's the boss.
Season two of Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... kicks off with a sneak peak featuring U2's Bono and the Edge on Friday, December 11 at 10 pm on CTV with the rest of the series rolling out in 2010.

That's not Case's only television time, oh no. She's also TCM's Guest Programmer for December which means you can see her chatting about cinema with Robert Osbourne on Tuesday December 8, after which, they'll screen four of her fave flicks: Woody Allen's Radio Days (8 pm), Elia Kazan's A Face In The Crowd (9:45 pm), Carol Reed's The Third Man (12 midnight) and Albert Lewin's The Picture of Dorian Gray (2 am). 

They're undoubtedly all classics but if you haven't seen Andy Griffith's star-making turn in 1957's A Face In The Crowd and think he's only capable of playing the mild mannered Mayberry Sheriff Andy Taylor and the folksy defense attorney Ben Matlock, don't dare miss it. His awesome performance as the singing drifter Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes in this prescient Budd Schulberg-scripted early warning about the power of television will knock you flat. Watch out for a young Lee Remick making her big screen debut as a teenage baton-twirling champ from Arkansas.
Fellow Fellini-fan Dwight Yoakam told me it's among his all-time favourite films and served as the inspiration for his cleverly-titled homage Lonesome Roads... "I'm just a face out in the crowd who looks like trouble."

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