Monday, August 14, 2006

Welcome to my humble chapeau!

Lainie Kazan is the Paul Muni of the modern cinematic world, our nonspecific zaftig 'ethnic' Greek/Jewish/Italian movie-TV lady. Like...a more generalized Renee Taylor. I like her, though. Frankly, I wouldn't mind being either of those women in a few years (quick, gotta go back and grow up in Brooklyn). I feel embarrassed that I'd never taken it upon myself to once and for all figure out her ethnic origins until now (I like to know these things), but it turns out she's a mix of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jeww. Whoo kneww. Brooklyn. Erasmus Hall. I thought she might be Greek because of Kazan (like Elia), but...maiden name is Levine. Anyhow, I was watching her Moonstruck her Italianate way through a made for TV movie (curses, wine, antipasti) and I thought: I gotta know! I can't stand it anymore. Actually, it was her use of "agita" that made me finally look it up. An awful lot of slang is non-geographically specific these days, but that's one word that I've neeeeeeeeeeever heard anybody say out of New York, and I knew it was more Italian than Yiddish (note: that's a great word--awfully useful), but--I just hadda know. Anyhow, now I know, and I still think it's cool she was in Playboy in the early 70s although I have a sense I might not like her singing (Babs' understudy?). I dunno.

Lainie Kazan is also the source of a dumb, slightly offensive, nickname I have for's the result of the confluence of different personas--fandoms. That is, it's easy to mishear rap lyrics, but sometimes I mishear them in a way that is more than just hopelessly uncool. For like fifteen years I thought Chubb Rock was singing "my homegirl Lainie Kazan" in "Treat 'em Right," but it turns out that of course he was, um, saying "Lady Kazam." RIGHT. Right. When I figured that out is when I started calling myself "faggy rapster" in my head.

Dixie Chicks concert from last album was on PBS Saturday night. I wish I liked their new album a little better (maybe it'll grow on me), but I still think (I've said this before here--humor me) that they are one of the greatest pop groups out there. I want to line up a parade of meaningless adjectives to spress myself, but must just say they have great songwriting abilities, are great musicians, their music is hooky in the best ways, moving in the best ways, their lyrics are fun, story-telling, relevant, interesting...not to mention it is three women onstage playing the hell out of their instruments, fronting a male band (I wish I had the song "Wide Open Spaces" when I was 18), and I think Natalie Maines has the reedy voice of an angel, yes I do. They write some great pop songs, yes they do! I got all verklempt and sing-a-long and bouncing watching that concert. Fun. Another reason I like them: I grew to like them seeing them live (always a good sign).

Finally...a non Capitol Years/more Star Is Born version of Judy singing "The Man That Got Away" for me to download from iTunes. Essential listening (faggy rapster!).


Anonymous said...

I was just listening to "Treat 'Em Right" (which I frequently do since it's on my favorite playlist). But I too always thought the Chubbster was paying homage to Ms. Kazan. And then I decided to see if there are any documented references to the homage.

I was simply stunned when my google search returned your blog, and your statement that you'd assumed exactly what I had for years. Not a major thing, but really interesting to me.

Elizabeth M. Tamny said...

That is so funny!! I've never met anybody who had the same issue or even mentioned it either. It *still* catches me off-guard sometimes....I still kinda hear it as "Lainie Kazan." Have to actively remind myself to listen for "Kazam."

Nice to meetcho, Chubbfan. I play the song a lot still, too. 'Sgreat.