Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Fallen 2013

When I started doing this post, it was going to be longer, but eventually it just seemed overwhelmingly infinite.  There are just too many greats who pass away every year to cover them all.  So I ultimately decided to just leave out most of them and concentrate on people that were very important to me personally, and whom I feel I have something to say about.  

Ray Harryhausen - I have to begin with good old Ray.  I'm sure I've talked on this blog before about how much Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger blew me away as a kid (I'm sure that this will be at least the third time that I've recounted the story of leaving the theater after seeing Star Wars, released later the same year, and telling my mom that I liked Sinbad better), and how I think The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad is as perfect an adventure movie as any ever made (its peers, in my view, are the original King Kong and the aforementioned Star Wars).  Those fantasy movies to which Harryhausen contributed his trademark stop-motion effects, which would also include The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (with the ridiculously beautiful Carline Munro), Jason and the Argonauts, and Clash of the Titans, are simply magical entertainment.  I don't think I've ever written about Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, which has by far the most thrilling effects of any of the 50's sci fi films.  I've loved that movie, especially the climactic scenes of saucers smashing into the monuments and landmarks of Washington D.C., since long before I'd seen it or even knew the name of it (those scenes were always included in montages of 50's sci fi flicks).  When I think about the remarkable patience (a quality you can practically see on his face when you look at photos of the man) with which he breathed life into those tiny models, there's only one way to put it: Ray Harryhausen IS cinema.

Lou Reed - I'm going to get personal and autobiographical on this, because how could I not?

I started high school in 1982.  At that point, I had been listening to rock music for 3 or 4 years, devouring all I could, refining my tastes, excommunicating heretics. I moved from KISS and Foreigner and Cheap Trick to Van Halen and Led Zeppelin and AC/DC to Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and now I was beginning to listen to some stuff outside the boundaries of heavy metal.  I was just starting to listen to bands like The Ramones, The Cramps and the Dead Kennedys, and I was getting seriously obsessed with Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and The Doors.  And I was regularly reading Creem magazine, which is where I first head of The Velvet Underground.  In fact, I had two separate issues of Creem which each contained a long, hyperbolic essay on VU, both essays placing them as one of the key bands of rock history.  As described, this band apparently played weird, dark, hypnotic music like my favorite 60's bands, and was somehow also the spiritual godfather of every punk band.  The more I read, the more I became intrigued by the idea that this band that nobody had ever heard of was the greatest rock band of all time.  I mean, how could you not be hooked by this idea, that you could go out and search for this secret key to rock history?  I had to hear their music.

This turned out not to be so easy. In 1982, in deep suburbia, those records were simply nowhere to be found.  I spent perhaps a year searching for them every time I went to a record store (which was quite often).  Of course, this made me want to hear them even more.  You can tell me all about the Beatles and Stones, but once I've been alerted to the existence of a record that I can't hear, of course all I can think about is hearing that record!  Finally, on vacation with my family in Atlanta, I found a Japanese import of White Light/White Heat at the Record Bar in the Lennox Mall.  It was expensive--can't remember the price, but in a time when a new album usually cost about $7, it was considerably more than I'd ever paid for a record--but I conned my parents into giving me the money, and it was mine!  Of course, I still didn't have access to a turntable on vacation.  For the next couple days, the best I could do was look at the Japanese liner notes on the insert.  Finally, after arriving home late at night and unpacking, I was able to sit down and listen to it.  I wish I could relate a story about how I was instantly transformed, but truth is, it took a few listens to really even get what I was hearing.  But once I did, I became obsessed, especially with the second side, which consists of two songs: the gospel-ish "I Heard Her Call My Name," with Lou Reed having an absolute spazz attack of a guitar solo, and the 17-minute "Sister Ray."  "Sister Ray" is one of my favorite pieces of music ever made, a maze of strange sounds that you can easily get lost in.  I have the entire thing memorized so deeply, I know what each instrument does at each moment.  That recording is a part of my life.

Soon I was able to also get a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico (mail order), and a bootleg called Velvet Underground Etc. (not as appealing to me, at least at the time).  The strange thing is, this was kind of a lonely period in my life, and I really had nobody to share these records with.  I played them for a couple people, but nobody responded to it.  I eventually managed to get my friend Tercio hooked, but for a few months there, they were just my private pleasure.  And while I don't think that's the best way to enjoy music--it's not really complete until you can share it--it does give it a bit more of a sense of intensity.  How strange, a couple years later, to discover that the most prominent fan organization for the band, The Velvet Underground Appreciation Society, was actually based in Stuart, Fla.  Near the end of 1984, their first three albums got a re-release, and were now available even in the lame mall record stores in Stuart.  This annoyed me--"Oh, now anyone can get them!"

(Side note--I also came to feel like I had been sold a bill of goods by a lot of the critics who wrote about them, each of whom seemed to make out like they were the only people in the world who had recognized their genius at the time.  I got the impression that the band was universally hated and driven out of the rock scene with torches and pitchforks.  But later, whenever I mentioned the band to older people, people who had been around in the 60's, they all seemed to think very positively about them, although most of them didn't seem to realize that they had more than one album.)

In all those Creem articles, there was usually also a mention of one of Lou's solo records, Metal Machine Music, which was always described as "four sides of pure feedback and noise."  I assumed this was a bit of hyperbole, that what they actually meant was that it was a double album of noisy, feedback-heavy songs more-or-less in the early VU style.  Obviously, I really wanted that album.  I bought a used copy at the flea market from John Clements (who would soon open Confusion Records).  It was, I think, $12, on account of it being a double album and out-of-print.  I got it home and discovered that there was no hyperbole involved.  MMM is LITERALLY 4 sides of pure feedback and noise.  It's interesting to listen to, though.  Has a strange, hypnotic effect, while not exactly being relaxing like most trance music.

Aside from that, I never really explored Lou Reed's solo career (or John Cale's, for that matter).  Which is kind of strange.  I think Transformer is a fine pop record, I like a lot of The Blue Mask (more for Robert Quine's guitar work than Lou's songs), haven't really listened to a lot of even his classic 70's albums.  I saw him live in '87, pretty lame show, and never really followed his career after that, which means that I've never even listened to acclaimed albums like Song for Drella, New York or Magic & Loss.  But there is one Lou Reed record that I really love: the 1978 double live set Take No Prisoners.  It's Lou feeling lose and playful, running through his 70's material (from Loaded through Street Hassle), but mostly fucking around.  There are long monologues where he seems to think he's doing some kind of stand up comedy performance.  It sounds like I'm making fun, but I really do like these performances.  One of the loosest live records I've ever heard.  Check out this version of "Walk on the Wild Side," with constant digressions into storytelling and ranting:

Roger Ebert -What an interesting life Roger Ebert has lead.  At every stage, something going on.  First, the young critic and screenwriter who wrote the script for my all-time favorite movie, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, contributing such indelible lines as "This is my happening and it freaks me out!" and "Mark my words, Jungle Lad...ere this night is through, you shall drink the black sperm of my vengeance!"  He would go one to write or polish several other scripts for Russ Meyer movies, including the Sex Pistols movie that never quite got made.

Then there's the TV show.  And almost everyone I know describes the impact of that show on their young minds as an introduction to the idea of thinking critically about pop culture.  Whether I agreed with them or not on any given film, I always thought it was just awesome that there was a show that was just about two guys sitting around arguing about movies.

By the time the show ended, Ebert had become the sort of Grand Old Man of American film criticism, and he seemed to embrace that position.  His The Great Movies column, where he would write long essays on classic films, is by design more accessible than the work of many more esoteric critics.  There's also a sense of looking back from an older perspective, best summed up in his review of La Dolce Vita.  Ebert talks about how he saw the film differently at different times in his life, a sort of autobiography through the lens of one film.  And how he finds a common theme in that film, L'Aventurra and Blow Up: the only thing that brings true happiness is working at something you love.

And then there's the final year or so, after cancer had taken his voice.  Unable to speak, unable to eat, he poured all his energy into writing.  He took to Twitter like a fish to water, posting something like 50 tweets a day.  He wrote long essays about film, books, life, food.  The stuff he wrote about food seemed the most poignant, wistful memories of a pleasure no longer available to him.  He republished old reviews, recounted untold stories (like the Sex Pistols adventure), and tied up loose ends.  What a wonderful privilege, to have a year to sum everything up before you go.

Haji - I've always thought that Haji was even more awesome than Tura Satana (if that's even possible), overacting in her fake Italian accent.

Jim Kelly - If Haji pulled off an amazing trick out-badassing Tura Satana, Jim Kelly surely equaled it by out-badassing Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.  When death came for him, he didn't even notice.  He was too busy looking good.

Tom Laughlin - No, Billy Jack was never quite as awesome as Jim Kelly or Bruce Lee's characters, but there's something so of-the-moment about that film, about the half-breed Native American protector of the flower children with the drippy folky theme song.  When I watch that movie, I feel a shock of recognition of the world as it looked when I was in elementary school.  There are two reportedly horrible sequels out there, and there were plans for a fourth.  In fact, reading Laughlin's wiki page, it's easy to conclude that the guy was just a straight-up nutjob (or a Great American Dreamer, whichever term you prefer to use):

Laughlin had sought funding for a fifth Billy Jack film since at least 1996, when he spoke about it during a lawsuit against a man who had (Laughlin claimed) illegally changed his name to "Billy Jack",[50] and at one point Laughlin had plans to make a Billy Jack television series.[51] In 2004 he announced that the film would be entitled Billy Jack's Crusade to End the War in Iraq and Restore America to Its Moral Purpose; this was shortened to Billy Jack's Moral Revolution in 2006.

In 2008, the film's title was changed to Billy Jack for President.[5] It was re-titled Billy Jack and Jean. Laughlin claimed it would be a "new genre of film" and a great deal of social commentary on politics, religion, and psychology will be discussed,[52] and a debate will take place between Billy Jack and President George W. Bush via computer manipulation of archived speeches.

Michael O'Brien - Along with his brother, Eddie, Michael was the co-founder of The Eat, the band that put Florida on the punk rock map in the late 70's/early 80's with power pop classics like "Communist Radio."  Buy their CD, It's Not the Eat, It's the Humidity, which is stuffed full with pogo-punk masterpieces.  One thing I like about them is how their unusual lyrical obsessions recur throughout their work: sex, drugs and rock n roll, obviously, but also Catholicism, communist Cuba and sports.  How many great songs about football can you name?  None?  Well, then you haven't heard "Open Man!"

Pat Fear (aka Bill Bartel) - Pat Fear was the founder and principle songwriter of White Flag, for my money the most underrated band of the hardcore movement.  White Flag weren't popular in their scene.  For one thing, they were pro-Reagan (but doesn't hating on Reagan seem so quaint after Bush?).  They also wrote...well, let's say they wrote even-handed songs about the relationship between police and punks.  Regardless, they wrote great fucking songs.  They were one of the first hardcore bands to incorporate metal into their sound, but I think they did it in a much more appealing way than most.  Instead of becoming this bludgeoning, testosterone-driven thudmachine, they kept their slick, fast sound and modified the Agent Orange-style leads into something more along the lines of Randy Rhoads and Eddie VH.  Seriously, check out their album Third Strike.

Hal Needham - I honestly didn't know much about Needham before he died.  If you had asked me, there's a 50/50 chance I could have identified him as the director of Smokey and the Bandit (he also made Hooper, Cannonball Run, Stroker Ace and Rad).  Prior to those films, he was the highest-paid stuntman in Hollywood.  Like anyone else my age, I probably watched Smokey and the Bandit over 20 times on lazy afternoons at home, and saw Cannonball Run (where Needham invented the end-credit bloopers reel) plenty of times too, but the movie that really sticks with me is Hooper.  Just thinking about that movie takes me back to the Mayfair Theater, and going there with a group of young friends to see Burt Reynolds drive a rocket-powered Trans Am.  I've seen the film fairly recently, and it holds up much better than the silly car chase films that were more famous, perhaps because (I now realize) it's probably to some extent an autobiography.

James Gandolfini - Way too soon.  So much of The Sopranos rested on the audience just having a good feeling about Tony, a good feeling that would be constantly undermined by his actions, and that came completely from Gandolfini's performance and persona.

Dennis Farina - Did you know that he was a cop before he became an actor?  On one episode of Dinner For Five, Jon Favreau asked him what he thought the most realistic cops show was.  Farina answered Barney Miller, because it shows the part of the job that most cop shows don't show: sitting around the station, filling out paperwork, shooting the shit, being bored.

George Jones - Who's going to argue that George Jones wasn't one of the greatest country singers of all time?  Best known for weepy ballads, but he was capable of rocking pretty hard, as on his first number one hit "White Lightnin'."

Furio Scarpelli - This is the guy who wrote the screenplay to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (and 140 other films, apparently).  It's one of my favorite films, and also one that holds a special significance for me: it's one of, if not the, first movies I remember watching and thinking not "I'm really enjoying this" (although I was certainly thinking that as well), but "I'm really impressed by what they're doing here."  So much credit goes to Sergio Leone's beautiful direction, and Ennio Morricone's immortal score, and the three iconic performances, but let's also acknowledge Furio Scarpelli's contributions.  This is an amazing script, the way it keeps the story moving and twisting for three hours without giving the audience a chance to get bored.

Dick Dodd - The nasty, nasal voice on the Standells' classic garage rock hits "Dirty Water," "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" and "Riot on the Sunset Strip."  He also plays drums on those records, and earlier, on The Belairs' surf hit "Mr. Moto."  Perhaps the definitive garage rock vocalist.

Jeff Hanneman - Early reports were that Slayer's guitarist died of "necrotizing fasciitis infection possibly resulting from a spider bite," which would be the most metal way to die!  The autopsy showed that it was the more common rockstar way to die: he drank his liver into oblivion.

Alan Myers - The original DEVO drummer, known to his bandmates as "the human metronome."

Esther Williams - Here's a great star of Hollywood's Golden Age who is little remembered today.  She was an aquatic ballet dancer, or something like that. Whatever you'd call it, she's pretty much a genre unto herself. She filmed several films in Florida, at places like Silver Springs and Weeki Wachi. 

Elmore Leonard - And speaking of Florida, I have to mention good ol' Elmore Leonard, whose witty, zippy crime novels make my home state seem downright cool.

Richard Matheson - Author and screenwriter, and one of the most important genre writers whose name most people don't know.  I Am Legend, The Incredible Shrinking Man, the Twilight Zone episode with Shatner on a plane, all his.

Bonnie Franklin - I was a compulsive watcher of sitcoms throughout the 70's and 80's, and One Day at a Time holds a special place for me: it's the first show I remember really caring about on any level beyond the jokes.  I cared about what happened to these women every week, even if it wasn't all that funny.  Granted, part of that might have been a crush I had alternately on McKenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertenelli, but whatever.  Bonnie Franklin was kind of a key part of my childhood.

Jonathan Winters - I never really liked Winters growing up.  His comedy just rubbed me the wrong way.  A little too broad, maybe.  But you can't deny his importance in the development of improv and character-based comedy.  And he's great in the incredible movie The Loved One.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Best TV 2013

Well, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a bit of a dud.  I mean, I'm still watching it, it keeps me entertained for 60 minutes a week, but I can't see anyone really getting excited over it.  But there's plenty of stuff that we CAN get excited about.  Here are a dozen shows that I thoroughly enjoyed this year.

East Bound and Down (HBO) - Look, Breaking Bad stuck the landing perfectly, and Game of Thrones was awesome and all that, but THE most consistently entertaining show, the show that gave me more deep belly laughs than anything I've seen on TV in years, was East Bound.  Kenny Powers is one of the greatest TV characters of all time, not just because he's so over-the-top hysterical in his actions, but also because he's so horrifyingly believable.  Kenny is not just some weird goofy joke machine.  His actions, as repulsive and extreme as they are, are grounded in a sense of who he is.  If you've ever had to deal with a drug addict who hasn't gotten around to taking that first step yet, you've dealt with someone pretty much like Kenny Powers: someone who defines the world through the lens of their own narcissistic delusion, and insists that everyone else around them is wrong for not going along with it.

A Game of Thrones (HBO) - Yeah, Ye Olde Red Wedding was awesome, but that was really just one of about half a dozen awesome things that happened in this season: Daenaerys Targarian acquiring her army of unsullied, Varys' box o' conjurer, the fucking bear, and maybe best of all, Arya Stark's strange friendship with The Hound.  It's possible that A Game of Thrones is the most entertaining TV show in history.

Breaking Bad (AMC) - I didn't get around to doing one of these last year.  I was going to put Breaking Bad at the top of the list.  Beautiful follow through this year, with Walter White trying as hard as he can to avoid the redemption he finally seeks in the finale.  And it works mostly because they didn't attempt to make the redemption equal to the sin.  Walter's redemption is, first and foremost, admitting that it was never about the cancer, never about the money (as we all figured out long ago), and letting go of his ego and pride long enough to accept reality and try to so as much good as he can in the last hours of his life.Walter becomes, in his last hours, at least some shadow of the man he was telling us he was. And we end up with a show for the ages, one that I think we can safely put in the top 5 of the post-Sopranos era.

Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (FX and FXX) - For much of the nerd webosphere, bemoaning cancelled shows and participating in doomed letter-writing campaigns to bring them back is pretty much a way of life.  I have to say, it's been a long, long time (Freaks & Geeks, maybe?) since I've really been that upset by a show going away. But the cancellation of Totally Biased, the best and most interesting new late night talk show since the Colbert Report debuted nearly a decade ago (!?!!?!), makes me angry, and all the more so because nobody else on earth seems to care (which, I suppose, is why the show was cancelled).  And, while some shows get to find new homes on other networks, I just don't see anywhere else where this show could really fit in.

Totally Biased was still in the process of finding its voice when it got cancelled, but it was already one of the funniest and most interesting programs on TV.  It's not as tightly focused as The Daily Show or Colbert, but that loose, woolly structure made it more fun.  Most of all, it had a perspective that was pretty much unlike anything else on TV.  While The Daily Show has done an admirable job promoting a diverse mix of correspondents over the years, there's no getting around the fact that the diversity seems like an afterthought, something being worked at, that at its core is a white male liberal perspective.  (Mind you, there's nothing really wrong with that.  When someone like Jon Stewart builds a show, he's going to hire the people that he considers the funniest people, and by nature that group is going to include mostly people who have a similar perspective to Jon Stewart.)  Kamau Bell has built a writers room (which doubles as his correspondent pool) that is diverse from the ground up, and feels naturally so.  And this paid off: the funniest bits on the show were consistently the bits (usually one per episode) where he let one of his writers have some stage time to rant about whatever topic inspired them.  These were very funny people who you just wouldn't normally see on TV, and I'm not just referring to their ethnicity (or gender, or orientation).  Just do an image search for Kevin Kataoka or Hari Kondabolu, and try to imagine either of them getting on Leno.  All of them are funny, but there is definitely a standout, the equivalent of what Colbert was when he was on the Daily Show, or what John Oliver is now, a performer with such star power that it's inevitable that she will eventually be hosting her own show: Janine Brito.  Charismatic, hyperactive and consistently hilarious, Brito upstaged Kamau Bell every time she was on (not a slight to Bell--a good host allows themselves to be upstaged).

But let me make this clear, as well: when I talk about the diversity, I'm not just talking about righting some social injustice.  There is an openness on the show that allows for real discussion from different points of view.  The "point/counterpoint" segments they held, including the discussion of rape jokes between Jim Norton and Lindy West was so different from the "conversations" you see on Chris Matthews, where two guys recite their talking points without really listening to what each other says.  And this extends to the one-on-one interviews Bell did, including a great one with Sarah Silverman, where she really seems to be wrestling with the implications of some of her meaner material.  Maybe FXX was not the ideal home for this series, aiming for that coveted 18-34 male demographic as it was.  Unfortunately, I don't really see anywhere else on the dial where something like this would do better.

Orange is the New Black (Netflix) - I put this one off for a while because I was so put off by the later seasons of creator Jenji Kohan's WeedsOrange, as it turns out, doesn't have the cutesy silliness that infects not only Weeds but so much of Showtime's lineup.  I could stand for it to be about 40% drier than it is, but taken on its own terms, it's a satisfying show.  I know there have been a few who criticized it for being a show about prison based around a white yuppy, using the tired fish-out-of-water motif, which is fair, but look at what they managed to smuggle in: a show with an overwhelmingly female cast, with characters who are women of color, queer, trans, and of every age and ethnic background, that gives each of these women a voice, while also highlighting the horrors of prison life.  Not to say that I'm watching the show because it's politically correct to do so, but I do think that structure, where each character gets their own backstory explored, makes for a hugely absorbing show.  It also does a great job of juggling comedy, tragedy and intrigue.  Also, Laura Preppon is, like, super hot.

Top of the Lake (IFC) - It's hard to even know what to write about this show, co-created by Jane Campion and starring Elisabeth Moss as a hard-nosed detective investigating the disappearance of a young, pregnant girl in a small New Zealand town that keeps its secrets close.  There is the expected stuff, of course: the female detective not being taken seriously by the local cops and whatnot.  But nothing plays out quite the way you expect it to.  This is maybe the overlooked gem of 2013 TV.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey (TCM) - This 15-part series was originally made for BBC, but TCM aired it through the Fall of 2013, and I really think it's as useful a history of cinema as has ever been made, one that covers films from the entire planet, including brilliant filmmakers from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East that most people have never heard of, while still being able to give Robocop its due.  Watching this could pretty much substitute for your first semester of film school.

Arrested Development (Netflix) - OK, let me start by admitting that the actual laughs are far less frequent in this season than they were in the original run.  No comparison there.  But this wild formal experiment, filming a 13-episode run from a series of overlapping points of view in a Faulkner-meets-Tarantino style is one of the most audacious and witty things that has ever been done in episodic television.  Put another way: we know these characters now, we understand them, and we'll accept a lot more from them without going for a joke every 30 seconds.

Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central) - I've always liked Schumer, but I have to say that my opinion of her has gone way up in the past year, both due to her stand up act and her hilarious sketch show, which mines the dark, vulnerable and sexual in exactly the way I like it.

American Horror Story: Coven (AMC) - I gave up on the original AHS after a few episodes, not so much because it was bad, but because I just had a lot going on at that point.  My TiVo didn't catch the Asylum season, since it had a different title.  But Coven, with it's girl's boarding school for witches in New Orleans setting hitting all my buttons at once, is SO AWESOME!  Coven achieves what True Blood keeps failing at: delivering a fun, trashy southern gothic soap opera with lots of kinky sex, gory violence and bizarre twists. It's completely ludicrous and nonsensical, and about 100 times more entertaining than The Walking Dead.

Treme (HBO) - I was going to stop at 10, but then these new episodes of Treme, little promoted and dumped into the holiday graveyard, started turning up on my TiVo.  And, as I discovered when the last episode began last night, this is the end of the show.  And since I didn't write about it last year, I'll write about the last two seasons here.

Anyone that gave up on the show after the second season should really go back and give it another chance, because it's been so much more on point through seasons 3 and 4.  The first season dealt with the immediate impact of the storm, the second season with the sort of city-wide PTSD left in its wake.  As I wrote after that second season, David Simon and his team are a little out of their element when they try to depict something as ethereal as the creative process among musicians.  But in the third season, the city is on the slow road to recovery, and the rot of corruption has set in, the grifters have descended on the city like vultures, and Simon and company are right in their wheelhouse.  And as chef Jannette and fiddler/singer Annie both get entangled with corporate entities, the temptation and corruption makes for some great drama.  Plus, you have what's always been the major strength of the show: great actors doing great work, and a backdrop of amazing music.  Even when the show doesn't work, the music makes it worth tuning in.  I can't really be too sad it's over.  It probably only lasted this long because of HBO's desire to contnue working with David Simon.  But I really enjoyed it while it lasted.

The Jeselnik Offensive (Comedy Central) - Since I've gone past 10, I might as well make it an even dozen, right?  I can't really decide what I think of Anthony Jeselnik.  I'm not sure why, out of all the possibilities, you'd want to dedicate your life to being a "shock comic" in an age where nobody can really be shocked any more, to doing shallow one-liners about horrible tragedies and human suffering.  But having said that, Jeselnik does it well.  I mean, his nasty little jokes are at least well-structured and thought out, and I find myself laughing more often than not.  His show, like his act, can be tiring, but with a strong roster of big-name comics participating, he managed to produce some pretty good late night entertainment.

Friday, December 27, 2013

One Last Stand Up Video To Round Out The Year

Here's a good set I did at Flappers last week.  Starts with the Noah's Ark bit, then a new bit and a topical one-liner about Kanye.  Mostly just wanted to get an idea of how the new camera works, but I think this was a good performance.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sleestak Lightnin!!! Ep. 1.5 - Hello, Mr. New Year!

A collection of songs to celebrate the arrival of a new year.  As a bonus, I don't talk at all on this one!  Download or stream it here.

The Coolbreezers - Hello, Mr. New Year
Spike Jones and his City Slickers - Happy New Year
Johnny Otis Orchestra - Happy New Year, Baby!
Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns - Happy New Year
William Shatner - It Was a Very Good Year
Big Jay McNeely - Just Crazy
Tommy Ridgely - Looped
Little Sonny Jones - I Got Booted
Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Half Pint of Whiskey
The Jazz Butcher - D.R.I.N.K.
Jerry Lee Lewis - It Was the Whiskey Talking (Not Me)
Nas - Make the World Go Round (w/Chris Brown and The Game)
Prince - Party Up
Marvin Gaye - Got to Give it Up (Part 1)
Black on White Affair - Auld Lang Syne
The Heartbeats - After New Year's Eve
Lou Reed - Goodnight, Ladies
Velvet Underground - Afterhours

More Sleestak Lightnin!!! here.