(Left): Julian Schnabel.
Look out, cloying Conan, uber-hip Letterman and bubbly Jimmy Fallon.
There's a not-so-new kid on the block and he makes you all seem like gossipy, Britney-struck idiots.
His name is, of course, Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello first made his mark in the 1970s with songs of acidic wit and melodic sneer. But he could also play tthe guitar. He became a frequent guest of Saturday Night Live and I myself wondered how anybody who looked so
dweeby, proboscis-nosed and hairy could be so good.
But he had something. Like Borges to literature, he seemed to have the key to rock'n'roll and he could actually do it
In the language of another time, I did not beware of Wops bearing gifts. This Elvis was the real deal. No Carl Perkins after Elvis. This was a new Elvis. Elvis Costello, and his musical heart seemed to belong to Dada. He could not only ape the great rock'n'rollers he could actually do it straight when in the mood.
"There was no provable reason to think that it would succeed," Costello said to writer Jim Boucher on "Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...," . "I had some experience doing this sort of thing, a talk show that is, but, really, you never know if it's going to actually work out until you go and do it in front of an audience and a camera."
Well, it worked out in spades.
The music talk show shuns the gossip, with guests such as the Police, Tony Bennett, Lou Reed, Costello's wife (Diana Krall) and co-producer (Elton John).
Jimmy Reed is a frequent guest--walking on The Wild Side, I suppose-- but it gets a little too wild when Reed's pal film maker comes on the show. The man is something of a turn off, a plug-ugly. Says one reviewer, "I can't stand the sight of Julian Schnabel, let alone hearing him speak. Hearing that asshole speak, would have brought forth such physical illness so as to render yourself unable to recall any of the otherwise fine program in any meaningful way. Although this Pompous Ass has made some fine films, he should not be encouraged in any instance to speak publicly, interact with real humans or come out into the light at any time. Although I love a lot of Lou`s work, I am not surprised the two are such friends."
Well, here and there a guest from Hades, I suppose. That, or the worst-mannered guest I'd ever watched. He seems to have spat at Elvis Costello, but that is a part of the show that gives it bite.
When you want to throw a shoe at a guest, epecially Julian Schnabel,you know Spectacle has drawing power...Enough to draw you to wanting to kill Shchnabel or some other egregious guest, like sometime even the great JImmy Reed... Altogether too New York hip! Heaven held Elvis if he ever invites Jerry Steinberg--I hate the man. So hip that he's hokey.
In any event, Spectacle is well worth watching. Usually at ten p.m. EST, on Fridays (cable).
The guy's a genius.