Saturday, October 30, 2010
I saw two great film noir movies last night at the Stanford. Both were great, but I give the nod to "Pickup on South Street" (pictured above). In it, Richard Widmark plays a pickpocket who inadvertently steals a wallet containing some highly sought-after microfilm. And then the fun begins.
"Where the Sidewalk Ends" was also good, with a detective accidentally kills a suspect and tries to cover it up, but will he confess to the crime?
Don't know if they are on DVD, so you can look on Amazon yourself. I'm too lazy today...
Thursday, October 28, 2010
So I missed seeing former President Jimmy Carter at Kepler's on Tuesday night, but they did have a few copies left of his book that he signed, so I decided and go ahead and purchase it.
I missed out on meeting him, but I did save time not standing in line with 1000 other people.
Here's the book. I may scan and post the autograph some other time...
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I met Charles Burns yesterday at Lee's Comics in Mountain View. Judging by the sight of him, you wouldn't think that he would be the person behind the trippy "Black Hole" graphic novel that is much revered in the industry.
Burns is on tour promoting his new graphic novel "X'ed Out", which is kind of distorted version of an old Tintin graphic novel, and Lee successfully got Burns to make a stop at Lee's on his signing tour.
I bought the book and met Burns, who was very nice and cordial and accommodating to all the fans who were there. Turnout seemed to be about 100, but I left before the signing was over, so more may have shown up.
Seated next to Burns (signing at right) is Lee Hester, owner of Lee's Comics.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I still have never seen this movie, but I am aware of it from being an Abbott and Costello fan and am pleased to know that it is now available on DVD. Columbia Pictures has now joined the ranks of Warner Bros. and Universal by offering lesser-known and sometimes downright lousy films from their past archives for about $20 a DVD-R.
"Candy Rock" is Lou Costello's only film without Bud Abbott and his last film overall. I believe it was released after Costello's death. I saw a brief preview on line and it does look pretty bad, but I will eventually invest in it, because I love all the classic movie comedy teams, even in their awful movies.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Can't think of anything else to post at the moment, so I will write about The Marx Brothers and Groucho Marx in particular. I am currently reading Steve Stoliar's excellent "Raised Eyebrows", a tome about Stoliar's brief time living and working with the great Groucho Marx in the mid-70s.
It reads as many reviewers have said like a page-turner mystery. The book is somewhat hard to find as it came out in 1995, but is worth the purchase if you are a Marx Brothers fan.
Granted there are other, better books out there if you want a strict biographical history, but this is a more personal story for Stoliar and quite unique.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Ok, I'll talk about a current band for once. I really dig on Black Eyed Peas. It's funny because I'm not the hugest rap fan in the world. I do like the Old School stuff like "The Message" and "Rapper's Delight", but overall dropped off the rap train when it ceased being fun like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and got into hardcore gangsta rap.
Anyway, Black Eyed brought the fun back. And with their latest album "The E.N.D." (issued in 2009) they received inspiration from one of my favorite groups, Kraftwerk.
I don't have Black Eyed Peas first two albums because Fergie isn't on them, but maybe someday I'll try them out. In the meantime, I love the three later albums and Fergie's solo album. I need to see them in concert...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Ok, so yesterday I wrote about INXS. Another fave group of mine is Erasure, especially their early albums from the 80s and early 90s. More recent stuff by them have a "sameness" about them, but their classic stuff still holds up. My favorite songs are "Chains of Love" and "Breath of Life".
Of course, they've had many, many other hits. For the uninitiated, I would suggest getting their "Pop!" album of 20 greatest hits.
They are still highly active today, with their most recent album coming out in 2007.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I went and rediscovered INXS. I used to LOVE this group, then Michael hanged himself and it put a damper on my interest. I even went so far as to SELL all my INXS CDs! Well, now I've repurchased all of them (at a fraction of their original cost I might add), and am enjoying them all over again.
I even purchased the revamped INXS CD called "Switch". While no where near their best CD ("Kick"). It is no where near their worst ("INXS"), either.
Wonder if they'll do another one. In the meantime, I'm enjoying it all over again. My favorite INXS song? Hands down it is "I Send a Message" from "The Swing"...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I went to a thrift store the other day and picked up the Charley Weaver drink maker toy for only 15 bucks! It didn't have the original box, but oh well.
I wasn't sure if it worked, but when I got home, I put in two "D" cells and it worked!! Charley mixed a drink, drank it, turned red and smoke came out of his ears.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I went to Fry's the other day. I am a big fan of the "Blue Collar Comedy Tours", even though admittedly the humor of Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and Ron White are sometimes an acquired taste for some as some of their humor is either too sophomoric or too cute or both.
Anyway, there was a "Next Generation" Blue Collar Comedy Tour. I wasn't interested in these new guys, but for 98c, I figured that I would give it a shot. Three of the four new guys were pretty bad. It was almost like Open Mike Night at a local club. Only one of the four really shone among the deep pile carpet clippings and that was John Caparulo. He was just totally funny and I found myself laughing out loud.
My favorite gag: John: I'd like a Coke. Waiter: Is Pepsi ok? John: Is Monopoly money ok?
I've got to get his solo CD called "Meet Cap".
Friday, October 15, 2010
The "Hot Stuff" book is out now (issued last Wednesday), and unlike the version of the cover shown here, there is no Herman & Katnip anywhere in sight. I knew that it was probably a preliminary cover.
If you picked up the recent "Casper" volume, this is more of the same, meaning that the size is slightly smaller in dimension to that of standard comic books, but larger than an Archie Digest. It is the same size as Dark Horse's "Little Lulu" books and is also in full color.
Let's hope for future volumes!
Today is the 50th Anniversary of TTV!!! "King Leonardo and his Short Subjects" debuted on NBC with "King and Odie", "The Hunter" and "Tooter Turtle".
As you may or may not know, I am the author of "Created and Produced by Total TeleVision productions: The Story of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo and the Rest".
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Does anyone remember Information Society? According to Wikipedia, the band was around from 1982-1997 and have staged a comeback since 2006. Their biggest hit was "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)?" in 1988 and they had hit albums in 1988 and 1990. I just recently purchased their 1992 CD called "Peace and Love Inc.". It was a flop, but is actually a very good album!
Anyway, I like bouncy synth pop like this and figured I should blog a bit about one of my favorites.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Ok, I'm going to play dumb here. As most people who are close to me know, I don't have cable and have not for the past 12 years. As a result, I miss out on a lot of stuff, but manage to see things by buying comedy CDs and various TV show season DVD sets.
What I want to know is, who you think are the funniest of the current crop of comedians? Note: they must have put out a CD or DVD or something so I can see them, so "live only" doesn't count.
Anyway, I go to the store and see a lot of comedy CDs by artists I don't know, and don't want to take a chance on them for fear that they might not be funny.
Please let me know.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
I was reluctant to get a new phone, but I ended up getting a Casio Exilim 5.1 which is touted as a camera with a phone. I like it because now I don't have to carry a separate camera. Boy, am I getting techie. From just a couple months ago, when I still had no texting, which annoyed the hell out of a lot of my friends, now I have a data package and everything.
I'm still reluctant to go full force with a Blackberry, because as a writer, I would rather have a laptop than a phone with a keyboard, and I hate touchscreens with a passion. I am also a fast typist, not a fast texist.
Ultimately, I got this for free (had to pay for taxes) because I renewed my contract for another two years, which is no problem as I have been a happy Verizon (and GTE) subscriber for over 12 years.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
I saw "The Social Network" last night and really enjoyed it. It's not the best movie ever made, but was very watchable and interesting. I am wondering how accurate it really is, but in truth, it doesn't really matter.
It's amazing to me that Facebook made a name for itself since MySpace had the market share already. What Facebook DID do was to basically "clean up" MySpace. I am not meaning making it G-rated. Rather, Facebook always looked "clean". All photos are the same size and very uniform. The backgrounds are white and not black.
Overall, it's the boring sameness in looks that attracted older viewers like even my dad to become Facebook members.
My favorite feature of Facebook vs. MySpace is that Facebook sends you the email message that someone has typed in, so you don't HAVE to log into Facebook to read or respond to it. MySpace forces you to log in to read your mail. That was the "selling point" for me.
I originally signed up in 2005, shortly after I signed up and was enjoying MySpace. At the time, Facebook really had nothing going for it. I had to sign up acting like I was still going to San Francisco State, but none of my friends from State were there at the time, so I ignored it until about 2008, when I looked again and saw a LOT of my friends. What a difference three years makes.
Incidentally, I still have my MySpace account, but rarely log into it and wonder if anyone is even watching the show anymore over there.
Interestingly, the movie ends about the time when I signed up, as they were just expanding beyond the US and schools, and then the lawsuits began.
It's ultimately amazing that Facebook works so well and people actually got rich and are getting rich off of it. By you reading this blog (assuming you're not reading it on Blogspot where it was originally written), supports Facebook and justifies their cause.
John Lennon would have turned 70 on Saturday. People often speculate what would have happened had Lennon not been shot at 40. I think he would have turned out a few more albums, but I honestly don't think he would have been as prolific as he was pre-1975. Some people disagree with this.
Honestly, of the four Beatles, Paul McCartney has always been the "workaholic". The only reason that the four ex-Beatles churned out so much music after they broke up from 1970-75 is that they were contractually obligated to do so. After 1975, except for McCartney, all of them took long breaks. It's only in recent times that Ringo has upped his output while Paul has kind of slowed down.
It would have been nice if Lennon had lived to see him on his planned 1981 tour. I would have definitely gone. I think that Lennon would have done the "Anthology", but if there were a proper Beatles reunion, it would have been very short-lived, and in retrospect, what did come out was probably more than what would have happened had Lennon survived.
Everyone thinks Lennon was all happy about bringing The Beatles back. Sure, in a deposition made shortly before his death, Lennon revealed that there were plans to eventually reform The Beatles in some capacity to finish work on "The Long and Winding Road" (which became "Anthology"), but who knows when or if that would really happen. Lennon was just covering his butt and protecting The Beatles name and image, so that no one could take it away.
Ultimately, in life or in death, they are all tied together and since it doesn't really matter anyway what WOULD have happened, I just say, enjoy the music that Lennon did create and listen and/or buy the umpteenth greatest hits collection or remaster in honor of what would have been his 70th birthday, or go pull out an old scratchy vinyl and listen that way...
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Finishing up watching the fifth season DVDs of "Saturday Night Live" and wondering if they will bother issuing the sixth season onto DVD. Granted there were some great musical acts on the sixth season and Eddie Murphy made his debut (as did Gilbert Gottfried and Joe Piscopo among others), but the writing was deplorable.
Even the fifth season writing wasn't the greatest, but I somehow managed through it.
So here's the cast from then...what do you think? Would you buy this?
Monday, October 04, 2010
Former Harvey Editor Sid Jacobson and former Richie Rich artist Ernie Colon have teamed up yet again to bring you their fourth book, a graphic novelization of "The Diary of Anne Frank". This follows hot on the heels of last year's graphic novelization of Che Guevara's biography, and the two books they did about the 9/11 tragedy.
Their first book on the 9/11 tragedy garnered Jacobson and Colon a lot of press and a lot of awards and was a "New York Times Best Seller". The sequel was an unfortunate flop. The reason for this is that the original book was based on straight fact, while the sequel was merely speculative.
I'm not sure how "Che" did, but probably not well as I never heard of it until I find out about the "Anne Frank" book. The "Anne Frank" book looks very promising for the team and promises to be another success for the team, maybe not in the league of their first 9/11 book, but successful, nonetheless.
All are available on Amazon and in most major bookstores. Covers to "Che" and "Anne Frank" pictured above.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Saturday, October 02, 2010
The comic strip "Peanuts" debuted 60 years ago today. It is too bad that Charles M. Schulz didn't live for this or even the 50th Anniversary of "Peanuts" as he died in February 2000.
One wonders how "Peanuts" would be if he had continued it these last 10 years. The strip went into such a decline during the 90s that it was getting harder and harder to like.
Also, would Schulz have approved "The Complete Peanuts" book series from Fantagraphics. Probably not, as he was never very fond of his early work, which I find quite fascinating. Incidentally, that series is complete up through 1978 with another 11 volumes to come over the next six years.
Friday, October 01, 2010
I feel fortunate to have met Tony Curtis. He was at a function about 7 or 8 years ago receiving one of probably many lifetime achievement awards at a local film festival. He was a treat to be around and I did get his autograph which I cherished then and of course I do now.
"Some Like it Hot" is one of my favorite films and in fact, I got a free copy of it at this same film festival. I had met Jack Lemmon years earlier, but did not get his autograph, but I am glad that I was able to meet the main stars of this great film that were alive during my lifetime.
I also love Tony in films like "Trapeze" or "Houdini", which he did with his first wife, Janet Leigh. Of course, he did many, many films and he was good even in lame stuff like "Lepke" (look it up).
Anyway, as always he will be missed, and missed a little more by me as he was so gracious when I met him.