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The Annals of Rock Snobbery

March 2006 Archives

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In The Rock Snob*s Dictionary, we define the word “cosmic” as a “musically meaningless adjective deployed by rock writers to ascribe a mysterious otherness to the actually quite straightforward country music played by Gram Parsons and other lysergically inclined, Nudie-suited, anti-Nashville mavericks.”

Actually, in Rock Crit Land, the word has even less specificity than that. As if to prove how empty yet weighty a term “cosmic” has become, the April issue of Britain’s Uncut magazine–which is kind of like Mojo, only it also covers movies and offers a fulsome appreciation each month of some overrated pug actor like Tom Sizemore–offers a list of “The 50 Greatest Cosmic American Albums” of all time. Naturally, Gram figures in it, with the Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace of Sin charting at #10, but the list also includes Shuggie Otis’s Inspiration Information, Sufjan Stevens’s Illinoise, and The Band’s The Band (the last as earthbound as rock music can get). In other words, Uncut has no idea what it means by “cosmic.”

March 16, 2006 More Rock Snobbery »


You’d forgive most 90-year-olds for disengaging themselves from the ick and clatter of contemporary popular culture, but The New Republic’s Stanley Kauffmann, bless his heart, not only continues to review new films for the magazine, but has delivered a sporting appreciation of The Film Snob*s Dictionary, a book that (affectionately) pokes fun at him. “That paragraph made me wriggle and laugh,” writes Kauffmann of his own entry in the dictionary. “Gad, was my reaction snobbish?” No, Stanley, it wasn’t, and the idea of you at your age wriggling and laughing evokes welcome images of Jack Albertson singing “I've Got a Golden Ticket” in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

(Free registration required to read the review on TNR’s Web site.)

March 13, 2006 More Film Snobbery »


ABOVE: The real Steve Porcaro (left) and the fake Kenny Loggins, Hunter Stair

The Beverly Hills book party for The Film Snob*s Dictionary was a swell gathering to begin with, but what made it an especially Snobworthy event was that it brought about the first meeting between a star and creator of the Channel 101 underground smash Yacht Rock, Hunter “Kenny Loggins” Stair, and an actual, real-life Yacht Rocker, erstwhile Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro.

Yacht Rock fans will recall that in Episode 4 of the program, “Porcaro” tries to enlist “Loggins” to convince “Michael McDonald” (played by the series’ creative mastermind, J.D. Ryznar) to help him out on Toto’s next single, which turns out to be the smash “Rosanna.”

The real Steve Porcaro was endearingly bewildered by his starring role in Yacht Rock, noting that, while he was indeed the member of the band who dated Rosanna Arquette, he didn’t even write the song. “I like how the show makes me out to be the leader of the band–I was just the baby brother!” he said at the party, alluding to his older sibling, Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro. Porcaro sportingly chatted at length with Stair, who professed his love for Toto’s second album, Hydra. Porcaro seemed not to mind that the Yacht Rock guys used a great big fat guy to play him.

Special thanks to Ted Kamp for dragooning Steve into coming to the party. NOTE: To take this photo, David Kamp actually broke up a conversation between Porcaro and Stair by saying, “Hold the line, Steve!”

March 05, 2006 More Rock Snobbery »

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