Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Princess Bride signing: A number of cast members from this cult classic will be at the FanX Comic-Con in Salt Lake City in March, 2017. Fans in the area will be able to meet up with Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon, and Wallace Shawn! Stan (the Man) Lee and Weird Al will also be there! More info here.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Today would have been David Bowie's 70th birthday. Although he's been gone for almost a year now, I still have difficulty finding the words to express just how important he was to me. Creative, diverse, and inspiring, DB was like a favorite cousin I never met, though I did see him perform five or six times over the years. I used to write a site called Art Pioneers and the last entry was to announce the release of Bowie's album, Lazerus. Little did I know he would pass away the very next day. I wanted to celebrate his birthday today as a hero of the Atari Days era. I may post more clips later, but I want to begin with this interesting interview he did with MTV's Mark Goodman in 1983, where he challenged them to come clean on their lack of coverage of black artists. I like how he continued to press the issue- a cool moment of criticism for the medium within which he was operating. Rebel Rebel. Check it out.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Happy Birthday to actress Erin Gray! Born on this day in 1950, Gray rocketed on my radar in 1979 when she was cast as Colonel Wilma Deering in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I loved how she portrayed a strong female role-model on that series. Much like the Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman, Deering was an independent and powerful character who reminded me of the real women in my family. It was a cool age that started to show some evolution in regards to gender. Gray once said, "I was the first female colonel. I enjoyed being that kind of role model for young women watching the show. A woman can be a colonel! A woman can be in charge! Those were new ideas then." Despite advancements in the culture, many people have continued to suffer from power struggles and abuse. Gray courageously shared her story of domestic abuse with Stand! here. This reminds me of a documentary I once helped get made called Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines. We heard from many great minds in the film, including Lynda Carter, Gloria Steinem, Trina Robbins, Lindsay Wagner, and Kathleen Hanna. And as they discussed the various female action characters in films in TV shows through the decades, it was shocking to see how many were sacrificed, tortured, or were simply patterned on male power symbols. The culture still has a long way to go, but I want to give a heartfelt salute of gratitude to Erin Gray (and Lynda and Lindsay) for showing us our better potential back in the 1970s. We can get there! Celebrate by re-exploring the Buck Rogers TV series on DVD or Blu-ray. Reprints of the TV comic book were published recently by Hermes Press. Enjoy!
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
New release: Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics Volume 2 will be released on January 10th. Published by IDW, this 240-page collection continues more awesome Trek stories from the 1970s. From the press release: "This second volume fills in another major gap in Star Trek lore, courtesy of these never-before reprinted comics that originally appeared in weekly British magazines in the early 1970s. There's much to love about these wonky, way-out writings and their atypical artwork. These oft-forgotten Star Trek tales represent a different era. They're lost gems with many facets and a unique perspective, an eccentric corner of Star Trek history unlike any other. These are the U.K. voyages of the Starship Enterprise―and, now, at last, fans everywhere can experience them. As a special bonus, Rich Handley provides the first half of a detailed encyclopedia of all things Star Trek from these British comics. Exploring the minutiae is half the fun of enjoying a franchise, and when it comes to Trek, there's no end of trivia to devour!" Missed out on Volume 1? Here's some info: "In 1969, six months before the Star Trek TV series premiered in England, British comics readers were introduced to the characters in an original comic book series. The stories were serialized, generally 2 to 3 pages at a time, in 257 weekly magazines spanning five years and 37 storylines. These extremely rare comics have never been published in the United States. Star Trek fans will quickly note that the comics were not written with strict adherence to Star Trek's core concepts. The Enterprise frequently traveled outside our galaxy, and the crew committed many violations of the never-mentioned Prime Directive along the way. Spock shouted most of his lines and often urged Kirk (or "Kurt," as his name was misspelled in early issues) to shoot first and ask questions later. But it's precisely that "offness" that makes them so eminently readable and deserving of a proper reprinting. They're unique in the annals of Star Trek and fans have gone without them for far too long." Order Vol 1 and Vol 2 on Amazon. Enjoy!
Monday, January 2, 2017
Sunday, January 1, 2017
The classic late-night series Night Flight has returned as a streaming channel! This cable show originally ran from 1981-1988 and featured musical acts, documentaries, and cult films. Fans of 1980s music can now re-explore appearances by DEVO, Gary Numan, Grace Jones, Laurie Anderson, Tom Tom Club, and many others. More info at Night Flight. Enjoy!
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Friday, December 30, 2016
I had such a fun meeting today with a friend who shares a lot of interests in music, film, and culture. We chatted quite a bit about Prog Rock and I was reminded of this song, "Elephant Talk", by King Crimson. It was the first track on the album, Discipline (1981), which featured a new group lineup with Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford. My college sweetheart and her brother introduced me to many great bands, including Crimson and the solo work of Fripp and Eno. When I heard Discipline, I was completely taken with Belew's vocals and Levin's stick patterns. And similar to the lyrics of Talking Heads songs at that time, I was really interested in "Elephant Talk" for its sociological examination of language and ideas. I never got to see King Crimson, but here's a really cool video of them performing "Elephant Talk" on the show, Fridays, December 4th, 1981. Enjoy!
Thursday, December 29, 2016
George S. Irving passed away on Dec 26th at the age of 94. Irving was an Tony award-winning stage actor with a prolific career on early television and in major stage shows like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Can-Can, Bells Are Ringing, Me And My Girl, and opposite Linda Rondtsadt in Pirates of Penzance. He also performed alongside Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher, in Irene (1973). So sad now to think that all three would pass away within three consecutive days. For folks my age, Irving is probably best remembered as the narrator to the 1960s Underdog cartoon series and as the voice of Heat Miser in The Year Without A Santa Clause (1974) and A Miser Brothers’ Christmas (2008). See below for his iconic Heat Miser song.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
In the wake of the news of Carrie Fisher's passing, we also lost Richard Adams today. Adams is best known for his classic children's book, Watership Down, published in 1972 (his first novel!). Readers might also remember the 1978 animated film version starring John Hurt. Richard Adams, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Prince, Ken Adam, Gene Wilder... It's like 2016 is trying to take the magic out of the world. Be strong, friends. We can't give in to the Dark Side.