Of Rock Stars and the Rest of Us; The Seven Samurai’s Western Revival

“Find hungry samurai. Even bears come down from the mountains when they are hungry,” states the Old Man of the beleaguered village in Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

In the next scene, in a nearby town, four peasants look for samurai who would deign to fight for them against ruthless bandits. But would a noble samurai ever . . . → Read More: Of Rock Stars and the Rest of Us; The Seven Samurai’s Western Revival

Yu So-chow Rocks; or, A Silver-Screen Western/Eastern Heroine

Silver-screen western heroines have it tough.

They’re not as pioneer-hard as actual historical Western women, and they have the added burden of the madonna/whore paradox, eternally scripted as being either the sweet Clementines or the volatile Chihuahuas of the Silver-Screen West.

Henry Fonda and Cathy Downs (Clementine)

Victor Mature, Linda Darnell (Chihuahua), and another goddamn fake saguaro

(Not . . . → Read More: Yu So-chow Rocks; or, A Silver-Screen Western/Eastern Heroine

Roadtrip Sidebar #4; or, A How-To Wyatt Earp Makeover

Wyatt Earp brought himself from pragmatic businessman/lawman/gambler/loyal brother

to epic gunfighter of the high plains.

A straight-talking, straight-shooting saint to pray to when life needs dividing into black and white.

How’d he DO that? How can we do that too, before our ending credits?

1. Accept your averageness . . . → Read More: Roadtrip Sidebar #4; or, A How-To Wyatt Earp Makeover

Roadtrip Sidebar #3; or, Tombstone’s Wyatt Earp, Pre-Makeover

It was a messy fight–short, bloody, and confusing, the way most fights are that aren’t guided by judges, rules and regulations, and a boxing ring.

Cue Frankie Laine, please…

Thanks. It’s also the epic that caused Tombstone, Arizona, to revamp itself from fading mining town to THE Wild West town, and the draw that sucks tourists from . . . → Read More: Roadtrip Sidebar #3; or, Tombstone’s Wyatt Earp, Pre-Makeover

Classic Western Setting 2; or, Tombstone, Boots, and Val Kilmer Souvenirs

The rental car rocked and shook on the narrow trail–I mean, road. Tucson and its spangly lights and hard-hearted soiled doves had been left far behind. My urban cowboy and I were heading south toward the frontier, toward adventure, toward a date with destiny and hopefully some great souvenirs.

I had high expectations of Tombstone. OK Corral. . . . → Read More: Classic Western Setting 2; or, Tombstone, Boots, and Val Kilmer Souvenirs

Classic Western Setting 1; or, Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgaii, Of Course

“I’ve been here before,” you say, and you have–in the movies.

Visiting Monument Valley,  a space of mind-blowing proportion,  30,000 acres on the Utah-Arizona border, is best seen on foot, as part of a tour, or on horseback, or even in a rental car to drive through the fine red dust of the . . . → Read More: Classic Western Setting 1; or, Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgaii, Of Course

Happy Birthday to Real-Life Cowgirl Hero Annie Oakley

Back in the late 1800s, she was hawtness personified–Annie Oakley, sharpshooting superstar, a favorite of Buffalo Bill, Chief Sitting Bull, and European royalty. She was the idol of American youth.

No, she wasn’t  a cussin’, mannish, cross-dressing kind of gal. She was a typical late-1800s lady, decked out in heavy skirts and petticoats and awesomely cute . . . → Read More: Happy Birthday to Real-Life Cowgirl Hero Annie Oakley

Villains and Badmen: Your Own Worst Enemy, Part I

So in the What Silver-Screen Western Hero Are You? quiz you figured out you’re a lawman with a touch of singing cowboy and a slice of gunslinger. Excellent. But you still want to walk on the dark side. All right, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Just know that good versus evil isn’t just a story—it’s a . . . → Read More: Villains and Badmen: Your Own Worst Enemy, Part I

Which Silver-Screen Western Hero Are You?; or Part III, The Answers

The most satisfying part of a quiz are the answers. It’s as if having something hard and fast–a yes/no/write/wrong/you are this/you are that–keeps all the demons of uncertainty at bay and hence make us happier and more satisfied, right? Who wants to be consumed by doubt when so much is at stake (you, your love interest, . . . → Read More: Which Silver-Screen Western Hero Are You?; or Part III, The Answers

Roy Rogers @ Christie’s; or, Happy Sales to You

The Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, MO, closed = bummer.
An exceptional collection of western kitsch and singing cowboy duds for previewing at Christie’s auction house = lifts the spirits a little
Trigger = $266,000
Bullet, Roy Roger’s dog = $35,000
Hand-drawn music and lyrics to “Happy Trails” = $27,500
Most of the items bought by collectors who will keep the . . . → Read More: Roy Rogers @ Christie’s; or, Happy Sales to You