Sunday, July 12, 2009

Various and sundry.

For the Red Wolf overview, go here. Sorry about the curve. I'll try to keep that sort of thing to a minimum in the future.

Yeah, I know, it's been another week without posts here at the Show. Just can't quite seem to get into that routine for various reasons. But I have been watching, reading, and listening to a lot of stuff, and I thought "Hey, why not do one of those long posts which touch on a number of subjects!" And since I still haven't totally abandoned the notion that this is not just a comics blog, I'll just go from one thing to another and try not to lose everybody in the process. OK? Here we go.


Two birthdays I totally whiffed on in the previous weeks were those of:

RINGO STARR, who turned 69 years old back on Tuesday, July 7. How ironic is it that now, with two Beatles dead and the other survivor looking more and more haggard with every passing year, that the perpetually-ill-as-a-child and oldest of the four looks and acts as vital and lively as he did at least a decade ago? I did a favorite Ringo songs list a few years ago, and I don't think it's changed much today. In the past week, I've seen a few articles and blog posts defending Mr. Starkey's artistry, decrying how little respect he's gotten and taking pains to point out how good a drummer he really was. Thing is, I've known this for a long time, and not because I'm a drummer (I'm not) or even a Beatle fan (which of course I am, very much so)...but because it's plain as day and perfectly obvious to anyone who knows anything at all about music and drumming. I can't recall too many instances of seeing people put down or belittle Ringo's ability in print, but when I do, I automatically discount that opinion, chalking it up to plain' ol' ignorance or contrarianism. Now, ol' Ringo hasn't exactly endeared himself to people with his recent request for people not to send him stuff to autograph, citing being too busy as a reason. Hey, yeah, that's pretty cranky-sounding, but you know, as much pleasure as he's given people for over 40 years now, I think he's earned the benefit of the doubt. As always, we have no idea what he and his mates have been through. Here's Ringo's website, in case you're curious.


Good old BRIAN WILSON (shown here in 1976, from a Rolling Stone shoot I do believe) celebrated his 67th back on June 20. I think he's one of the great genius composers of the 20th Century, but I may be a tad biased since I'm such a fan of the Beach Boys and Brian's solo work. Back in 2003, I wrote this, and I think much of it applies six years later. Here's a list of my favorite Beach Boys songs, which I might change here and there now but probably not. I got his most recent release That Lucky Old Sun back during Christmas, and found it very good- a bit uneven quality-wise, perhaps, but it always sounded committed and his band is excellent. The track "Good Kind of Love" belongs right up there with his best, featuring some wonderful chord changes and a strong melody, as well as a charming, open-hearted sentiment that makes it a winner. The concurrent documentary DVD is also well worth a look; I rented it from Netflix a while back and found it very interesting as it showed us Brian and the Wondermints working on the album, as well as playing it live in the studio.

As far as any other music stuff goes, I listen to a constant stream of tunes all week long, all month long; nothing right now is jumping up and down, begging me to hold forth about it. I did enjoy listening to Hothouse Flowers' Home the other day; while it's got a very early 90's production sound, it isn't as egregious as some records I've heard from this period and boasts many great songs.

If you follow me on Twitter, I post comments on music I listen to fairly often. No plans to resurrect the Off the Record blog; I've been considering reposting the entries here and deleting it. Problem with that is I'd lose my comments, and I have a couple I want to save. Who knows.


I haven't done any movie reviews in ages; probably not since I saw Dark Knight Returns. Back in January, I thought it might be interesting to keep a movie diary, writing it down every time I watch a film in its entirety (or finish watching a film I had started previously). Believe it or not, I have faithfully done this to this day! That said, I don't really want to go back and write about each of them, even though I haven't ruled out posting the list at the end of the year. Recent flicks I've seen that made an impression, though, were Up, yet another excellent Pixar effort which I enjoyed very much, despite the constant aerial action that had my acrophobia going nuts, making me twist in my seat. It also featured a couple of flashback sequences that were so moving that they could wring tears from a stone. Had me awfully misty, for sure. On a completely different note, I was tremendously entertained by the over-the-top theatricality of Repo! The Genetic Opera, a musical about a bleak future in which mass organ failure has led to the creation of a market for organ transplants and a company which makes the possible- for a price- and if you can't pay, they send the black-hazmat-suited Repo Man after you to get the organs back. Forcibly. As in cut them out of you in the alley. It's an obvious attempt to create a cult-movie like Rocky Horror, with a noteworthy cast: Anthony Stewart (Giles from Buffy) Head, singing again; Alexa Vega of Spy Kids, veteran actor Paul (Mira's dad) Sorvino, celebrity scourge Paris Hilton (whose newly transplanted face falls off at one point), and Sarah Brightman as well as Skinny Puppy's "Ogre". One of the co-writers, Terrance Zdunich, makes an impression as a shady whitefaced character named Grave Robber; he gets one of the best songs, an ode to an addictive drug which makes the surgeries less painful called Zydrate. He reminds me a bit of Joel Grey's master of ceremonies in Cabaret. The visuals are very much in that NiN/Marilyn Manson video/Tim Burton aesthetic style, and the whole thing gets across via its sheer chutzpah. Its director helmed a couple of the Saw flicks, which of course I am determined to miss at all costs. Reviews were awful, but I wound up kinda digging it.


Not much of note right now; Earlier this year I had gotten interested in NBC's low-rated Kings, a thougthful reimagining of the Biblical story of David and King Saul. which featured a typically outstanding turn by Ian McShane. When ratings were poor, they put the show on hiatus and aired them late last month and early July, on Saturday nights when no one watches. I'm sorry to say that I missed the most recent episode myself, but will look to see it on Hulu as soon as possible. I think there are a couple more left before it's gone for good- I might consider getting the DVD set so I can watch it in its entirety. Also, at about the same time Kings initially aired, I developed an attraction to Joss Whedon's latest, Dollhouse. After a tentative start, I think it really got in gear towards the end and thankfully has been renewed for another season; the limitations of the concept itself, the adjustable morality brought to bear, and the limitations on the acting ability of star Eliza Dushku give me pause, but it works in spite of everything. TNT's Leverage is another show I watched intermittently earlier this year; it's new season premiere is coming up soon. Another show I like quite a lot is HBO's Entourage; its new season premieres tonight.

And finally, COMICS.

The writer John Ostrander, whose run in the 90s and early Aughts on The Spectre is, in my opinion, one of the best things to come from DC in that period, has been battling glaucoma- and needs help with the expenses that insurance won't pay for. We've all been there, I know. The Hero Initiative is trying to help; go here for more information and if you can I hope you can join in.

Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern? OK, sure. I liked him in Smokin' Aces, even though he was probably the most restrained member of the diverse cast. I might be more worked up about it if I was a GL fan, but I've never been listed in that number.

Go here for a couple of great Powerhouse Pepper stories by Basil Wolverton. You won't regret it.

Go here for an amusing Little Lulu satire by Howard Cruse. We don't see much Cruse these days, and that's a shame.

Tom Spurgeon has been killing it with his Sunday interviews lately; today's is with Peter Bagge, and is well worth your time as always.

Anyway, that's about it. I'm slowly but surely reading Clifford Meth's collection of short stories Billboards, but it takes me forever to read prose novels these days (I've been reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon for going on three years now) so I'm way behind on getting it done so I can review it as promised. I will finish it eventually, and I'll be sure to let you all know what I think.

As always, more later, hopefully sooner rather than. And as always, thanks for your patience.

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