Kate’s going away for a few days over the weekend, so last night we went to the movies. No action tentpoles this time, but “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” an engaging documentary about a handful of great background singers. Like? Like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Claudia Lennear (to exhaust the ones I’d heard of), as well as Judith Hill, Lisa Fischer, Tåta Vega and many others (whom I hadn’t heard of).
Most Stones fans know who Clayton was: The voice doing the wailing-woman breaks in “Gimme Shelter.” Whenever I listened to that song, I pictured her as a Tina Turner manqué, but the reality is both funnier and more mundane — rousted at bedtime and told to get down to the studio p.d.q., she showed up in her pj’s, a scarf over her curlers, and was handed a lyric sheet that said, Rape, murder, it’s just a shot away. Mick Jagger wryly observes that sometimes, when you record at 2 a.m., you don’t know something is good until you listen the next day.
The film bogs a bit toward the end, when we examine how these talented women failed to make it as soloists, but it’s a small complaint. I was touched a bit by Lennear, whom we first meet as one of the sexiest Ikettes and later see touring with the Stones. She now teaches Spanish and didn’t look how you say fulfilled by it. It all ends on a certain lamentation for talent, period, in pop music, now that so much can be auto-tuned and fixed in the mix.
Human beings — can’t live without ’em, although some people would sure like to.
So. Unlike many people, I don’t block ads from the news sites I visit, although I do practice some avoidance. Embedded-text links I avoid like potholes, and Mac Keeper can kiss my elderly ass, but I understand ads pay salaries, so I will let them play, most days. (Besides, I’ve found if you allow one to play, you can avoid more later.) However, lately I’ve been thinking about what’s fair, ad-wise. Fifteen seconds, I think. A 15-second ad is fair, but a 30-second ad is not. Most web videos are less than two minutes, and I think asking for 25 percent more in the form of a Toyota ad is an ad too far. What say you?
As for me, I think I’m going to bed. Enjoy the end of the week, but I still have a lot to do.