Anthony Bourdain Meets the Beats

william-s-burroughs

Celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain recently premiered his new show on CNN. The title of Parts Unknown references both the remote locations the show focuses on as well as the odd bits of fruits, veggies and animals that make their way into the more exotic dishes Bourdain spotlights. The title also has a hint of ominousness to it and it’s these dark overtones that tell you Bourdain is really on to something, here.

Fans of No Reservations will find plenty to like here, but fans of particular episodes of Bourdain’s former, famous Travel Channel show will be especially pleased. For me, No Reservations was at its best when the places were gritty and the stories Bourdain uncovered were dark and deeply human – episodes from Columbia, Laos and Lebanon all leap to mind.

The first handful of episodes from Parts Unknown are packed with Bourdain at his edgy best: He recalls the destructiveness of the L.A. Riots in an episode focused on the city’s Koreatown neighborhood; he illuminates the violence and oppression in present-day Myanmar; he returns to Columbia.

In my favorite episode yet, Bourdain visits Morocco, comparing the present-day country and the city of Tangier to their counter-cultural legends, illuminating the lives and works of artists like Paul Bowles, William Burroughs, Brian Jones and the Master Musicians of Jujuka along the way. Oh, yeah! Bourdain even schools you on how to make homemade majoun. If you don’t know what majoun is, you really need to watch this video.

Stay Awake!

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  • Juan

    I’ve always enjoyed this guy’s shows. Especially the one he did from the Amazon. He even drank ayahuasca-respect:)
    Just one thing, it’s spelled Colombia, not Columbia.

    • http://joenolan.com/blog Joe Nolan

      Hey Juan. Agreed. His shows are always well-written and he’s a great narrator. Thanks for catching my typo. Spell check thought this was an article about space shuttles.

  • BuzzCoastin

    thank god Bill is dead
    I’d hate to have to think of him whoring himself out like this

    • http://joenolan.com/blog Joe Nolan

      I wonder if he ever made a comment about Lou Reed’s Honda Scooter commercials? He probably would’ve slapped him on the back and bummed a vodka drink.

      • BuzzCoastin

        Bill once quipped that being a modern artist was like being a rug merchant, always exhibiting and peddling their wares.

        All artists “earning a living” today are rug merchants
        and their products should be regarded accordingly.

        Lou jumped the shark right after The Underground. Not a judgement; selling out is a cliche of the “art form.” If Courtney didn’t kill Kurt, then that fact did. That realization killed Lennon too, but it made Paul a Sir.

        Bill’s art was obscure unacceptable for most of his life. It was sometimes banned and rarely sold well. He was almost 70 before he was rescued from complete obscurity, after which he made up for lost time in commercial exploitation that was his just due.

        I’m thinkin’ in the case of Lou, more likely Bill would’ve slapped him on the back and asked him for a blowjob.

      • Col McGillveray
  • echar

    Thanks for sharing, that looks like a dream of a place to live. The food, the tea, the everything.

    • http://joenolan.com/blog Joe Nolan

      You’re welcome!

  • CosmicAmazing

    I just met Anthony Bourdain recently, twice actually. He was standing in front of a restaurant in Detroit airport staring intently at an advertisement. I approached him (damn he’s tall) and told him his show ‘No Reservations’ kicked ass. The next day he stopped at Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor. I happened to be there also, him and I both bought a 30 year balsamic vinegar and some other gold nuggets. If you’re a foodie and you’re in the area you really need to check that place out.

    • Matt Staggs

      I don’t watch much TV, but No Reservations was a definite must. I’m kind of uncouth when it comes to food, and see it as more of an “eat to live” kind of thing. Bourdain’s narrative sensibilities still kept me glued to the television.

      • http://joenolan.com/blog Joe Nolan

        Most TV is terrible, but Bourdain’s shows keep getting better

    • http://joenolan.com/blog Joe Nolan

      I was born in Detroit. Southern Michigan is my old stomping grounds. I’ve spent a lot of time in A2

  • melissa

    maybe he will have that crazy guy zamir on. he is funny as hell. he always makes him do crazy stuff.

  • GOOGLE

    The CNN Anthony Bourdain show was great. However please spell the name of Bachir Attar and The Master Musicians of JAJOUKA correctly. It is NOT “JuJuka” but JAJOUKA.Thank you. Bachir Attar and Cherie Nutting

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