Monday, August 15, 2016

Car Wash

Car Wash
(1976 American comedy starring George Carlin,
Lorraine Gary, Richard Pryor, The Pointer Sisters;
directed by Michael Schultz)
A Musicale presentation at the Royal Cinema
Toronto August 14, 2016
by Live Music Head

It’s gritty downtown Los Angeles,
circa 1976.
And soul, gospel, R&B and disco
make up the soundtrack
to a “day-in-the-life”of a car wash known as
a gathering place for a multiracial group of employees:
Mexican American,
Native American,
and Afro American,
all tryin’ to earn a lousy buck,
the only way they know how.
Dressed in prison-orange, and gettin' down
on your Chevrolet Camaro,
Ford Mustang, or Pontiac Trans Am.
And some of their women drop by for a fight.
the breast and thigh man
has one big-ass motherfuckin’ ‘fro.
Between steam gunnin’ and vacuumin’,
he rushes to the telephone booth repeatedly
tryin’ to win concert tickets from KGYS, 
555 on the radio dial.
Disc jockeys and pinball machines!
He wants to impress Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa
the waitress who works at the 5-Spot diner across the street.
On a break,
T.C. is shown leaning on the jukebox
fawning over her,
and mouthing the words I Wanna Get Next To You.
Cut-off jean shorts and halter tops!
Mona thinks he’s a loser
with no money, no future and no class.
From inside a smelly locker room,
Floyd and Lloyd impersonate James Brown
like on Soul Train,
while practicing their stage act between
manual high pressure pre-washes and tunnel brushes.
Big-ass lapels!
Sexy Bitch, the drag queen
the first drag queen ever, prob’ly
to be employed full time at a car wash
is Antonio Vargas!
He was Huggy Bear on the television cop show,
Starsky and Hutch.
"More man than you'll ever be,
and more woman than you'll ever get!"
Station Wagons!
also known as Abdullah,
is a black Muslim revolutionary wannabe,
with a chip on his shoulder.
C’mon, brother!
That’s Pepe Serna,
also known as Rooster in Honeysuckle Rose,
one of my all-time favourite road films
starring that red-headed stranger from Blue Rock, Montana.
VW buses!
One thing is certain,
when it comes to serving the public,
these men will stop at nothing.
But I thought this was a drive thru/get clean.
Not a walk by/get clean.
Like Marleen,
a lonely, broken-hearted prostitute
who does it in the rest room,
hiding out from George Carlin,
the taxi driver of a yellow Standard cab.
Hang Loose, sister!
In red platform boots.
While street kids on wheelie bikes go by,
or on skateboards in slo-mo,
Sportin’ Adidas and Converse running shoes.
Until Daddy Rich shows up!
That famous money-hungry television evangelist
with The Wilson Sisters,
his back seat singers
also known as The Pointers.
They do a gospel number right there in the car wash parking lot.
Why Not Believe In Me?
Praise the Lord!
TITHE is what it says on the license plate
of their gold chauffeur-driven pimpmobile.
Soapy suds, water balloons and hot wax.
Daddy is Richard Pryor!
He gets outta that car and sits on Snapper’s shoe shine throne,
with JFK and MLK looking over each of his shoulders.
They’re passin’ the hat,
but it’s on me, brother!
Other characters in the story include
a pop bottle urine sample bomber
who gets tackled.
Datsun by Nissan.
And Miss Beverly Hills,
also known as Chief Brody’s wife in Jaws
who arrives hysterical because her boy,
in red Levi’s jeans,
has thrown up all over her Mercedes Benz.
The guy who works the gas pump is Scruggs,
a cowboy with a social disease,
and Hippo is the one who whizzes around on a moped,
with a transistor radio held at his ear.
Right on!
And that guy Sly,
also known as Garrett Morris from Live, it’s Saturday Night
is a con-artist who drives a Cadillac.
Hey baby, how you doin'?
Far out!
Marsha is the hot-and-chesty office girl
who’s having a secret fling with big-hearted Mr. B,
the married owner of the Dee-Luxe.
But holy Plymouth, Oldsmobiles and Pacers!
Marsha has feathered her hair
just like I used to do back then,
with a curling iron.
I also used to have one of them yellow lace-up tops like hers.
I’d wear mine with similarly dark, bell-bottomed blue jeans too,
and those very same clogs.
Typewriters and rotary phones!
The Farrah Fawcett wanna-be forgot all about
her lyin’, cheatin’ married boss
when that Ken doll swooped in and flirted.
Originally conceived as a musical, 
Roger Ebert called this motion picture
"a wash-and-wax M*A*S*H".
And the theme song was an enormous hit for Rose Royce.
What’s more,
the soundtrack won the Grammy
for Best Original Score.
Thank you, come again!

The trailer for Car Wash…

Rose Royce performing the theme song for Car Wash
on Soul Train...