City of Gold, Perfectly Timed Doc Rec for Bourdain’s B-day

There are so many great things about working at BookStore1. We give and get smiles from super savvy customers, share the mountains and valleys of everyday life with our co-workers, shelve and research books and even write reviews.
A bonus is two of my co-workers share my film passion. Scott recently hipped me to the doc “City of Gold” about Jonathan Gold, the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize who dominated the Los Angeles area with sage restaurant critique. Sadly, Gold died in 2018 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 57.
In fact, how apropos that I watched this on the cusp of what would have been Anthony Bourdain’s 63rd birthday on June 25th. Anthony actually attributed some of his ideas to Gold as, “the first guy to change the focus from white tablecloth restaurants to really cool little places in strip malls”.
City of Gold, written and directed by Laura Gabbert, is a moving tribute to a man who loved food, music and family. As a kid growing up in South Central before the riots of the 60’s, he describes a halcyon world where all races lived in harmony.

Gold truly loved the city of L.A. and he gave back in spades by writing moving food reviews that inspired chefs and helped literally make dreams come true. If Gold thought a restaurant was worthy and wrote about it in the LA Times, it was pretty much destined for success.
The litmus test of a documentary in my eyes, is to make you want to be a better person. Recently, “Ask Dr. Ruth” accomplished the task and now so has “City of Gold”. I want to improve my writing, and actually thought of ideas while watching the doc on how to jazz up my restauarant review podcast (Jackontherox.com) and film podcast (Baker & Mollasis At The Movies on Spreaker.com. So look for future innovation all thanks to Jonathan Gold via Laura Gabbert via Scott. And R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain, gone but not forgotten.

What Gilda Radner and Anthony Bourdain suddenly have in common

I recently saw Love, Gilda with a new funny friend, so I was grateful that the cancer and death piece of the new doc Love Gilda (directed by Lisa Dapolito) was as brief as it could possibly be. Yet the doc was also too safe, not wanting to hurt Gilda’s mom perhaps if she’s still alive(I researched and came up with nothing, there goes my budding (sarcasm) private detective practice).

Clearly, for reasons I will not give (no spoilers, remember?), her mother was not up for any parent of the year award.

I really enjoyed the old SNL footage, especially those including Bill Murray as I lusted for him in my youth. I also learned some things about Gilda (easily found on her Wiki so NOT a spoiler) that she dated many men (nothing wrong with that, as I clear my throat in solidarity) and was even married to G.E. Smith famed guitarist from the SNL band. I also appreciated as with most comics, there dark side, apart of which spurs them to the therapeutic ‘make a joke out of it’ response.

The commonality I see between Anthony and Gilda now, isn’t so much about them as individuals, though, now that I consider it, they both had depressive tendencies. But more so the lack of verve in Gilda’s doc and Anthony’s last episode set in Spain which aired on CNN last Sunday.

The first of the last of Bourdain’s episodes was set in Africa with W. Kamau Bell as his sidekcik. this one still held the beauty of what former seasons had been known, poignancy, intellect, humor. This last one seemed to be cobbled together, inserted seemingly haphazardly was the Spanish chef’s salute to now deceased Anthony. I get not wanting to end the show on the doner note, but the alternative, some weird bonfire scene with random (I assume Spanish) woman dancing like whirling dervishes. This show was not indicative of the talent of his staff. So I invoke Fred Willard from A Mighty Wind…’what happened?’

I consider this last season to be the closest thing to a funeral dirge I’m going to get. Let it not be akin to having store bought cake at a Moose Club. And truth be told, Gilda deserves more fanfare and emotional heights than this doc. No offense to anyone involved, just my opinion.