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Say Hello, It's Independence Day   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 04, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE BEACH BOYS!  Yep, 50 years going and time to "Do It Again."  Because folks my age will always remember their mammoth July 4th concerts at the Washington Monument -- as with this 1980 take o­n "Good Vibrations." Given the time of year, I have to include this 1964 clip of "Surfin' U.S.A." which I think is from the same gig that produced these takes on "Little Deuce Coupe," "In My Room," "Shut Down," "Surfer Girl" and "Fun, Fun Fun." Their take on "Dance, Dance, Dance" from Shindig! later that year is like a slice of Christmas in July.  There's also a nifty twofer of "I Get Around" and "'When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)" from their first UK TV appearance o­n Ready Steady Go!  The Andy Williams Show serves up "Help Me, Rhonda," while The Jack Benny Hour produced these quick takes o­n "Barbara Ann" and "California Girls."  There's a primitive video for "Wouldn't It Be Nice" that starts with a cameo from Brian Wilson's dogs (Banana and Louie), who appear at the end of the Pet Sounds LP.  And I'll finish with a live version of "God Only Knows" from the 1967 European tour -- one of the last Brian would do for a decade or so.

MORE BEACH BOYS: Observations from The New Republic and George F. Will. But leave it to the New York Times to be the most political.

RAY CHARLES performs "America The Beautiful" like no one else.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: Bruce Springsteen, circa 1978, before it came out on The River.

DAVE ALVIN: Hey, baby, it's the "4th of July."


THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER: From 2008, Hidden Track serves up 12 video versions. And the only ones not working now are Jimi Hendrix and Whitney Houston.

THE UNITED STATES prepares to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 4, 1776. As the Wikipedia notes, this is a little arbitrary: New Englanders had been fighting Britain since April 1775; the first motion in the Continental Congress for independence was made o­n June 8th; and the Congress voted 12-0 for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain o­n July 2, 1776. Even so, the publication of the Declaration was momentous .  If you're not in DC, the best way to see and learn about the Declaration may be through the Charters of Freedom website. But you can watch Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Renee Zelleweger, Kevin Spacey, Wynona Ryder and other Hollywood folk read the Declaration, after a short introduction by Morgan Freeman.

Of course, the holiday more broadly celebrates the American Revolutionary War, and the Founders' unlikely victory. People with the highest standard of living and the lowest taxes in the Western World fought a sometimes unpopular war for our freedom. Early o­n, the Revolutionaries (also known as "Americans" or "Patriots") had the active support of about 40 to 45 percent of the colonial population. By 1779, there were more Americans fighting with the British than with Washington, which is why Washington needed help from the French, the Spanish and freed Blacks. You can separate fact from fiction regarding the sacrifices and fates of the Founders at Snopes. You can hear two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough read from the first chapter of his 1776 via NPR. Or watch a nifty clip on the passage and public reading of the Declaration from the John Adams miniseries.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN? Not really. The Fun Spider-Man? Mostly. Reboots are even more a matter of art and commerce than the typical movie.  The best, like Batman Begins, elevate themselves over their predecessors.  Others serve larger artistic and commercial goals -- like the Ed Norton version of The Incredible Hulk, which sought to integrate the character into the Marvel Universe that would reach full fruition in The Avengers. (Indeed, the Hulk rebooted even more quickly than ol' Spidey here for that reason.)  In this case, it does not seem like there was much more rationale than to continue the franchise after the prior iteration exhausted itself creatively.  This being a full reboot, we revisit Spidey's origin; this version plays fast and loose with the canon, again for reasons of both art and commerce.  The old skooler in me enjoyed the introduction of the mechanical web-shooters and was less thrilled with some of the other liberties taken.  Indeed, I fear this script limits the series in ways the first trilogy did, even though it could have avoided the biggest of them.  All of that said, this version was not only entertaining, but also superior to Spider-Man 3 (perhaps not the highest bar to clear).  Although director Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) might seem like an odd choice, he does well with young and engaging actors like Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, which is a key to its success.  Moreover, Webb does surprisingly well with the action sequences, which are generally well-planned and easy to follow, rather than the jumble of jump cuts you get from less thoughtful movies.  It's currently at 72 percent with a 6.8 rating on the ol Tomatometer, and that's about right, maybe a little low. 

STEVE DITKO, the co-creator of Spider-Man, has long been thought of as the J.D. Salinger of the comics world.

ANDY GRIFFITH, an actor whose folksy Southern manner charmed audiences for more than 50 years on Broadway, in movies, on records and especially on television - most notably as the small-town sheriff on the long-running situation comedy that bore his name - died on Tuesday at his home on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. He was 86. I just got "A Face in the Crowd" for my brithday, which still holds up; here's a Vanity Fair piece on the film.

TOM CRUISE & KATIE HOLMES: She gets vritually none of his fortune under the prenup, and that's fine with her.

MAD MEL UPDATE: Gibson threatened his own 78-year-old step-mom, spit in her face and sabotaged her marriage, according to legal docs.

ANN CURRY was ousted from Today by Matt Lauer?

JENA MALONE is in talks to play snide tribute Johanna Mason in The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire.

THE OLYMPICS: Officials deny reports of an al Qaeda threat.

FRANCE: Police arrested a 35-year-old Tunisian suspected of financing and recruiting for al Qaeda, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Fatah al Islam, and the Islamic State of Iraq.

IRAQ: Insurgents killed 36 Iraqis in bombings in Diwaniyah, Karbala, and Taji. Security forces captured a senior al Qaeda leader in Ramadi.

TWIGGY: Another Fourth of July tradition, the water-skiing squirrel. Great story. Compelling and rich.

A SOUTHERN FLYING SQUIRREL leaps 150 ft. through the night sky.

MOKELE-MBEME: Intrepid explorers hunt for the "African Loch Ness Monster."

THE WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG returns to British soil to promote his new documentary Mutt Ugly.

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New Releases, JD McPhereson, Blur, Motorcycle Snake   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BOWERBIRDS drop a video for "Sweet Moment."

NEW RELEASES from Maximo Park, Teenage Bottlerocket, Gold Motel, Stevie Jackson and more are streaming this week via Spinner.

DELICATE STEVE is advance streaming Positive Force.

DEBO BAND is advance streaming their self-titled album debut.

JD McPHERSON stopped by Oregon Public Broadcasting for a session.

BLUR drops two new tracks, "Under the Westway" and "The Puritan" on the interwebs.

MINUS THE BEAR drops "Lonely Gun" ahead of Infinity Ovehead.

PET SHOP BOYS drop "Winner" ahead of Elysium.

MANFRED MANN: "Do Wah Diddy" and "The Mighty Quinn" are your Twofer Tuesday.

METRIC: Emily Haines talks to All Things Considered about Synthetica and going really indie.

WALKMEN & VAMPIRE WEEKEND: Frontmen interview each other.

ANAIS MITCHELL talks to PopMatters about her current tour, the intrigue and allure of her father and his place in Young Man in America, and her post-tour routine.

RETROMANIA: Ruining pop music


TOM CRUISE & KATIE HOLMES: TMZ claims the final straw in Holmes' decision to file for divorce was that she was convinced Cruise was going to send 6-year-old Suri away to a hardcore Scientology group. The Church of Scientology denies they are following Holmes.  Holmes fired her old security team because she believed they were way too close to Cruise.

ANDERSON COOPER is totally gay, which really isn't news... but is it news that it isn't news?

ASHTON KUTCHER & MILA KUNIS shared an intimate meal together while packing on the PDA.

ALEC BALDWIN quit Twitter (again) after getting hitched, presumably because he can't punch tweeters over the internet.

LINDSAY LOHAN apparently skipped the booze at her 26th birthday party, amid rpeorts she's making it through the Liz & Dick bio pic on nicotine.

KRISTEN STEWART reportedly would love to have a baby with Robert Pattinson, presumably a human one.

DJANGO UNCHAINED: Quentin Tarantino's upcoming flick has a new 60-second spot online.

THE OLYMPICS: An al Qaeda plot to blow up a US passenger jet timed to coincide with the Olympics has been uncovered by security agencies, according to intelligence sources.

YEMEN: Security forces detained three suicide bombers in Sana'a. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a video of a captured Saudi diplomat.

IRAN: Sanctions against Iranian oil exports took effect. Iran said it had a stockpile of money and goods to weather the sanctions. However, food prices and unemployment have risen. Iran called for an emergency OPEC meeting as oil prices fell.

AFGHANISTAN:  ISAF killed "numerous" insurgents in an airstrike that targeted an al Qaeda leader in Kunar. A suicide bomber killed seven Afghans at a university in Kandahar.

A SNAKE surprised a biker traveling at 155 mph. 

CHIMPS ATTACK a grad student working as a wildlife ranger at Jane Goodall's famous animal sanctuary in South Africa.

A KANGAROO on the loose in Pasco, WA not only surprised people but also was a serious safety issue.

THE SNUB-NOSE MONKEY leads a new list of the world's most endangered species.

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M Ward, John Lydon. Lucinda Williams & Elvis Costello, Careful Canine   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 02, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BEIRUT finally dropped a video for "The Rip Tide."

M WARD plays a mini-set at World Cafe.

JOHN LYDON stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS & ELVIS COSTELLO, Live on Crossroads, Jan. 13 2002.

JUKEBOX THE GHOST play a full set at World Cafe Live.

DINOSAUR JR. drops "Watch the Corners" ahead of I Bet on Sky.

WYE OAK drops "Spiral" as part of Adult Swim's singles series.

FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE: "Denise," which returned to the Tube last year after a long absence.

ADELE is expecting a child with Simon Kinecki. Or someone like him.

IGGY POP talks to the New York Times about Maine, Miami, Punk, penises and more...

LAWRYN HILL pleads guilty to tax evasion and could face jail time.

THE STONE ROSES reunion is essayed at The Guardian.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Ted is this weekend's surprise champ with 54.1 million, more than 15-20 million over the supposed experts' projections.  It's the biggest opening weekend for an R-rated comedy evah, breaking The Hangover's 45 million record.  This could make 250 million worldwide against a 50 million budget.  Magic Mike placed, but also overperformed expectations with 39.2 million.  Warner Bros. only spent 7 million for distribution rights on this one, which was mostly financed by director Steven Soderburgh and star Channing Tatum.  The profit to cost ration should eb rich here, though the strippers may not have the same legs as the teddy bear.  Brave showed with 34 million on a 49 percent drop from its debut, a bit steeper than the usual Pixar hold (although Wall-E had a similar drop). Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection takes the fourth slot with 26.4 million, about average for a Madea move (excluding Madea Goes to Jail which had a 41 million opening).  Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted rounds out the Top 5 with 11.8 million on a 40 percent drop, clearly feeling the competition from Brave.  Below the fold People Like Us opened in the tenth slot with 4.3 million, making it fortunate that the budget was only 16 million.  Moonrise Kindom finally goes near-wide and moves up to the No. 8 spot, while Rock of Ages and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter really start to tank, each dropping over 60 percent.

TED: I suppose people like me are to blame for this surprise smash.  I am not a big fan of Family Guy, though I have found its creator, Seth MacFarlane is an engaging talk show guest.  MacFarlane's feature debut milks the magical teddy bear gone bad concept for all it's worth, but it does more than that.  Mark this one as a vulgar, but successful entry in the subgenre I call "Chick Flicks for Guys" -- essentially romantic comedies about men overcoming their arrested deveopment (High Fidelity and Wonder Boys immediately come to mind as some of my faves in this subgenre). As such, Ted should appeal enough to women to make Ted a sizable box office success as well.

TOM CRUISE and KATIE HOLMES are getting divorced. Katie filed the papers — and Tom was “blindsided.”  Katie wants sole legal custody and “primary residential custody” of Suri. Holmes, who secretly rented her own NYC apartment before filing (or was it deeded to her by Cruise?), may have created huge tax problems for Cruise by filing in NY.

ALEC BALDWIN got married to Hilaria Thomas, days after he  got physical with yet another photog in New York City.

MILA KUNIS talks tabloid rumors, online dating, weight in Hollywood, and more at Glamour.

CHARLIE SHEEN threatens suit over a bogus story that he trashed a hotel room. Uh-huh.

JENNY McCARTHY, in Playboy. Gratuitous Monday.

THE UNITED STATES indicted Minh Quang Pham for assisting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

YEMEN: The government said that 13 AQAP plots to attack embassies in Sana'a were foiled.

AFGHANISTAN: ISAF killed the Lashkar-e-Taiba's leader in Kunar and several insurgents in an airstrike in the province.

A CAREFUL CANINE reaches for a ball.

LUXURY DOGHOUSES and the Dogs That Couldn't Care Less.

THE BIRDS: The sounds of gun fire filled the air around the vacant Saturn dealership Thursday morning as several Southgate (MI) Police Officers attempted to exterminate some of the thousands of seagulls that have invaded the building.

A 12.5 CM WORM was removed from a man's eye in India.

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Groovy Gals, Jimmy Cliff, U2, Rhett Miller, Cutout Bin, Pig vs Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, June 29, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with SHINDIG! This special, featuring groovy gals, is Tubed in three parts. Part 1 includes the Shangri-Las - "Give Him A Great Big Kiss"; Aretha Franklin - "Shoop Shoop Song"; Leslie Gore - "Judy's Turn To Cry"; and Ketty Lester - "Love Letters." Part 2 includes -- The Toys - "Lover's Concerto"; Jackie DeShannon - "What The World Needs Now"; The Supremes - "Baby Love" and Fontella Bass - "Rescue Me." Part 3 includes The Blossoms - "I Like It Like That"; Petula Clark - "Downtown"; and Tina Turner - "Ooh-Poo-Pah-Doo."

JIMMY CLIFF stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

RHETT MILLER & THE SERIAL LADY KILLERS play a set of tunes from his newest solo album, The Dreamer, at KEXP.

DIAMOND RUGS, ft members of Deer Tick, Black Lips, and Los Lobos, played live from NYC on KEXP.

U2, Live in Dublin, Aug. 28, 1993.

JONATHAN RICHMAN gives a rare interview to SF Weekly about the internet, air conditioning, and being a Godfather of Punk. So why not a live take on "Roadrunner" at Joey Ramone's birthday party? (Thx, LHB.)

JOE PERNICE talks to the Calgary Herald about forthcoming albums from the Scud Mountain Boys and the Pernice Bros.(Thx, Chromewaves.)

THE KINKS are dropping sets of BBC archives.

THE BEST ALBUMS of 2012 (So Far), according to Paste, with embedded previews via Rdio. More from Uncut.

22 MUSIC LEGENDS, from Steve Albini to Brian Wilson, give advice to aspiring musicians via Blurt: Part 1 and Part 2.

CUTOUT BIN: From First Class to Supergrass, from the Zombies to the Jesus & Mary Chain, from Bruce Springsteen to Terry Jacks, plus CCR, Grant Hart, the Beach Boys, Jane's Addiction, The Yarbirds and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds are streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include: Ted, currently scoring xx percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Magic Mike, which is currently scoring xx percent; People Like Us, scoring xx percent; and Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection, which predictably was not screened for critics.

ANN CURRY left Today yesterday.

ALEC BALDWIN and his bride-to-be have so little faith that their A-list guests and closest relatives won't blab about their wedding-reception plans that the details will be sent by text message on the day of their nuptials. Leakers will be punched out by the groom.

GEORGE CLOONEY & JENNIFER ANISTON board a private jet together; paparazzi spontaneously combust.

JOHNNY DEPP & AMBER HEARD are "100 percent dating."



COMMUNITY: The entire cast - including Chevy Chase - will return, in the wake of the firing of show creator Dan Harmon.

TOTAL RECALL: The reboot has a new trailer online.

IRAN's hardline government has hailed the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi's victory in Egypt's first democratic presidential polls as "an Islamic awakening" in the region.

EGYPT's religious affairs ministry has sent a letter to all the country' imams ordering them not to accept invitations from Tehran to visit Iran or face "serious" punishment. Egypt's presidency planned to reveal how Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi would be sworn in at the weekend in a ceremony whose symbolism the Muslim Brotherhood and interim military rulers have both struggled to shape.

PIGLET vs CAT, Round 1.

2000 MICE were stolen by heroin addicts, but rescued by police.

PET HOARDING: A judge has ruled that a Florida man cannot care for nearly 700 cats removed from his cat sanctuary while he faces multiple animal cruelty charges.

ESCAPED ANIMALS = Ratings Gold, Jerry.

DOLPHIN & SEAL, inseparable pals... Mass hysteria!

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The Hives, Maps & Atlases, PJ Harvey, Mini-Pig   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BETTYE LaVETTE covers The Black Keys' "I'm Not the One" in a lyrical video.

THE HIVES play a Session and do a Q & A at Spinner.

MAPS & ATLASES perform a set of experimental yet accessible songs from their album "Beware and Be Grateful" live on KEXP.

DEVIN tears through a mini-set of garage-pop at KEXP.

PJ HARVEY: The Secret Solo Show.

LAVENDER DIAMOND drops “Oh My Beautiful World” ahead of Incorruptible Heart.


THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS give Spinner a track-by-track tour of their latest LP.

CAT POWER: Chan Marshall talks to Pitchfork about the trial and error that went into her forthcoming LP, Sun.

FIONA APPLE talks to Interview about The Idler Wheel and more..

THE BEACH BOYS: Mike Love has already booked fall dates with his touring version of the Beach Boys, without the group's other principal founding members.  That is soooo Mike Love.

15 GREAT INSTRUMENTALS by vocal bands.

SIMON REYNOLDS & GREIL MARCUS talk and talk and talk...

CHARLIE SHEEN did not trash is hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in NYC.

ANNA PAQUIN & STEPHEN MOYER are expecting twins.

LINDSAY LOHAN has settled with the 3 men she allegedly abducted and took on a wild drug-fueled car chase through Santa Monica back in 2007.

ROBERT PATTINSON was dissed by Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.

SETH MacFARLANE and... Alexis Knapp?

THE 25 BEST MOVIES of 2012 (So Far), according to Paste.

FRANKENWEENIE has a new trailer online.

YEMEN: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has established a new base in the Al Mahfad area in Abyan province. Yemen's foreign minister admitted that the US is conducting drone strikes against AQAP.

SYRIA: Gunmen attacked a pro-Assad TV station near Damascus, destroying the station and killing seven employees. President Assad said the country was at war and no effort should be spared to achieve victory. The UN said violence had worsened since the attempted peace plan in April.

EGYPT: A court struck down a decree giving the military authority to detain civilians.

PAKISTAN: Western states pressured China at closed-door talks last week to address concerns about its plans to expand a nuclear power plant in Pakistan and provide more information, but were rebuffed.

HAMLET the MINI-PIG navigates the stairs.

BOWSER BEER is crafted for a canine clientele.

A TREE-CLIMBING DOG proved less adept at descent.

LARRY the CAT occupies 10 Downing Street.

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