Wednesday, December 27, 2006

James Brown is dead...

as is Former President Ford, then again could Jerry execute a perfect leg split at age 70 live on stage?
Could the late President shimmie?
Shuck and jive?
Were his back up singers even comely looking?
We think not.
Ah but James Brown, he had class, the man practically invented funk and threw down major contributions in many other areas of pop music...and did it all with a sort of frantic grace.
Hell James Brown was too graceful, being as he was a physical and musical marvel well into his seventies, his supergenarian act no doubt inspired the grey haired remains of the Rolling Stones and that ghostly aged hobo Bob Dylan to keep tourin' and tourin' and tourin' and tourin'...
If ye' ever wanna see James Brown triumph over adversity rent AIP's "Ski Party" (Starring Dwayne Hickman, Frankie Avalon, Deborah Walley and Yvonne Craig)...the standard pop music interlude has The Godfather of Soul decked out in a hideous Christmas sweater bopping his way thru "I Feel Good".
The man triumphed over that and so much more, rest in peace good sir.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Brief collision between an eighty five year old man and Comedy Central

The All-Highest (y' fell asleep in front on the TV the other night. My mother being a sound sensible woman, stretched out next to him on the coach and likewise snoozed away.
Soon enough, the frantic soundtrack to "South Park" awoke father stirred and grumbled "What is this?"
My mother rejoined "it's South Park its a cartoon".
My father looked at his watch and muttered "Nine fifteen at night and there are cartoons on? Are the kids still up?"

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Revenge of Frank Dell

Wasn't gonna blog on the whole Michael Richards affair.
However upon reflection the whole horrific mess strong resembles Lenny Bruce's old "Palladium Routine".
In it, 3rd rate comic Frank Dell thinks he has never hit the big time because he has never played a "classy room".
Accordingly, he forces his agent to get him a booking at London's prestigious Palladium Theater.
And course, having puffed up his narcissism to Hindenburgian proportions, Dell bombs on the London stage tasteless jokes about motels and all.
Desperate to extract some reaction from his Mount Rushmore-like audience and sodden with flopsweat, Dell howls "***k Ireland" into the microphone precipitating a riot in the theater and his expulsion from the U.K.
Like Frankie Dell, Michael Richards simply lost control of his audience.
Accordingly he became desperate for control, for laughs, for whatever he didn't have at that moment and needed so badly.
Better to set off a riot than to depart the comedy stage beaten and in silence so it was for Bruce's Frankie Dell and so too for Michael Richards.
But what I wanna know is this...was Michael Richards new to stand up comedy or something??
Did he get up on stage on a dare for Open Mike Night.
I mean good Ghod, the weakest wannabe at the Comedy Studio in Harvard Square knows how to deal with hecklers in a swift detached and surgical fashion. It is like the first skill nascent comics learn.
So what happened with Michael Richards then?
The whole sorry assed mess speaks volumes about his character and volumes more about his lack of preparation and professionalism.

Run Don't Walk...

to the Harvard Film Archive (Quincy Street Cambridge) for the "From the Tsar to the Stars" festival of Russian Fantasy and Sci Fi films. The schedule is stupendous, can't decide where to begin, but I will be at tongiht's screening of The Amphibian Man.
Ptushko's "Ruslan and Ludmilla" is also quite tempting.
Check it out, this is the sci fi event of the year IMHO.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Casino Royale (2006)

Is about as close as the franchise has yet come to the ruthless amoral 007 Ian Fleming described in his original James Bond novels.
Trust me, this is not Roger Moore and his submautomobile.
Daniel Craig is not quite as classically handsome as his predecessors but he has a lean hawk-like visage and the best squinty "I-mean-it" look since the salad days of Sean Connery's icy scowl.
Sadly the film had to excise the original cold war context, but much of the book's plotline is maintained including a brutal torture sequence that has to be seen to be believed.
So yeah, Craig will do well in the role, my only question is are they now gonna dial back and start remaking some of the old titles? I can easily see Craig headlining "The Man with the Golden Gun" or even another go at "Moonraker".
I read somewheres, that Casino Royale's plotline (Bankrupting a spymaster at the baccarat tables) was based on a real incident in Ian Fleming's stint as the wartime chief of staff in British Intelligence. Apaprently, they discovered that certain Gestapo agents like to gamble in Monte Carlo with the Third Reich's funds, Fleming proposed sending in a sharper to fleece them at the gaming tables and thus disrupt the Nazi spy apparatus in the south of France.
The plan was never approved, but it makes for a good spy novel and equally good movie.