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Documentaries I Like: Strange Parallel (Elliott Smith)

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I'm a little shocked that I've gone so many years being an Elliott Smith fan, and living in Portland (where it is contractually obligated that you be an Elliott Smith fan), but had never heard of Strange Parallel, a 1998 30-minute documentary on Smith. Directed by Steve Hanft as a promotional film (never released commercially), it's hard to find -- but a copy has popped up on YouTube, and it's well worth a look if you like Elliott Smith. Part documentary, part experimental weirdness (as in the sequence where Smith contemplates buying a "robot hand" to improve his guitar playing), this is a gem, despite the poor YouTube quality.

Here's a nice comment from the Wikipedia page by the director, explaining the film:

Director Steve Hanft says this about the film:

"In 1998 I was hired to make a film for the reclusive rocker Elliott Smith. Very excited, I flew to Portland, Oregon, where he was staying and met with him to figure it out before we filmed. At the meeting he explained, in a very quiet voice, with a slight smile, that he didn't want it to be a straight-up documentary. So I suggested he write down some of his dreams. The next day, we met again, and he began talking a lot, and louder, telling me all about how he "had a fucked up dream last night." It was very funny when he explained it, everyone in and around the music business he was in was telling him to get a mechanical hand to replace the hand that he'd trained for so long to play guitar. There was also a military recruiter who came into the bar where he was writing a song that would yell at him for no reason, and Satan was there, that kills me. A lot of people who know him from his music don't understand that he was really funny. So we wrote the dream into the shot list and intercut it into the more traditional music footage. It was hard to get the documentary footage out of him, he hated being interviewed. He was much more into the dream sequence and we had a lot fun shooting it. It was an amazing experience and just knowing a guy like that, so talented and brutally honest, has changed my life. Bless him."

Update: see also, Lucky Three, a 12-minute short by Jem Cohen featuring live performances of several songs.

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Food
7 Places To Grab a Bite of Elvis
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Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

August 16, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, reportedly from hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with atherosclerotic heart disease. Just 42 years old at the time of his passing, the King of Rock 'n' Roll had a reputation for loving rich, decadent food as much as he loved music, with the infamous fried peanut butter and banana sandwich being one of his favorite delicacies.

While we can’t recommend them as part of your daily diet, there are Elvis-inspired indulgences to be found at eateries across the country. If you’re ever in the mood for a taste of Elvis, here’s where to go.

1. THE ELVIS MARTINI // FORT WORTH, TEXAS

With roots stretching back well over half a century, Forth Worth's T&P Tavern used to be a rail station stopover for notables including Elvis Presley himself. To honor their history, the bar offers the Elvis—a martini flavored with peanut butter, banana, and bacon.

2. MR. LUCKY'S // LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Brian Brown

There’s decadent, and then there’s Las Vegas. To match the city’s reputation for excess, Mr. Lucky’s—the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's 24-hour diner—can reinvigorate patrons pulling all-nighters with the King. It’s an enormous plate of 14 banana pancakes served with Nutella, whipped cream, powdered sugar, and 14 slices of bacon. Before ordering, don't forget to tell your family you love them.

3. JOHNNY J'S // CASPER, WYOMING

In 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama paid a visit to Johnny J's while on the campaign trail.
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Johnny J’s specializes in burgers named after influential rock stars, including Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and, of course, Elvis Presley. With the Elvis, patrons can expect a slab of beef topped with red chili and melted cheddar jack cheese, served open faced—without a single banana in sight.

4. BROOKLYN FARMACY & SODA FOUNTAIN // BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

This reworked early 20th-century pharmacy underwent renovations for reopening in 2010. Like any proper soda fountain, they're all about sundaes and milkshakes—including The Elvis, a vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter, banana, and candied bacon.

5. MEMPHIS MOJO CAFE // BARTLETT, TENNESSEE

Mojo's

The Memphis Mojo Cafe and food truck are go-to spots for burgers, but it’s their dessert that will send Elvis fanatics into a sugar frenzy. Their Elvis Dippers are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in maple waffle batter, deep-fried, and dunked in butterscotch banana cream.

6. OATMEALS // NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The menu at OatMeals offers something for everyone, even if that someone is into Sriracha-covered oatmeal. But the standout might be The Elvis, a bowl of oats topped with peanut butter, banana, bacon, and sea salt.

7. MARLOWE'S RIBS & RESTAURANT // MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Marlowe's Ribs & Restaurant

Just a few minutes from Graceland, it’s almost a prerequisite that Marlowe’s Ribs & Restaurant would have a surplus of Elvis-inspired items on their menu—and they don’t disappoint. Among their specialties: the Elvis Burger, which comes topped with bacon, smoked ham, and American cheese. For dessert, the Crispy Creme Banana Foster Sundae—a donut with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter sauce, sauteed bananas, and whipped cream—is a modern take on some of the King's favorite treats.

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Pop Culture
Prince Is Getting His Own Pantone Color: Love Symbol #2
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Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Prince was music royalty, so it only makes sense that purple—the hue traditionally favored by monarchs—was his signature color. To memorialize the late singer/songwriter, who died in April 2016, the Pantone Color Institute and the Prince Estate have collaborated on a custom shade of dark purple to represent the High Priest of Pop.

Pantone

Called Love Symbol #2, "the color was inspired by Prince’s custom-made Yamaha piano, which was originally scheduled to go on tour with the performer before his untimely passing at the age of 57," Pantone stated in a press release. "The color pays tribute to Prince’s indelible mark on music, art, fashion, and culture."

Thanks to the 1984 film Purple Rain and its Oscar-winning music, Prince has long been associated with royal hue. Now, “while the spectrum of the color purple will still be used in respect to the 'Purple One,' Love Symbol #2 will be the official color across the brand he left behind,” according to Pantone.

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the Funky One’s flamboyant legacy.

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