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Pretty lights on the tree, I'm watchin' 'em shine   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 21, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with CHRIS ISAAK, live at Universal Studios. Your holiday-themed numbers include "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Hey, Santa," "Last Month of the Year," "Blue Christmas," and "Christmas on TV." Bonus: Dreidel banter!

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS:  Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.  Mental Floss has "The Real Story Behind A Charlie Brown Christmas (and why it almost wasn't shown)." The WaPo has reflections from producer-director Lee Mendelson.

DARLENE LOVE & RONNIE SPECTOR duet on "Sleigh Ride" and "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree."

THE POGUES:  It's not Christmas Eve in the drunk tank (or even St. Patrick's Day) without a "Fairytale of New York."  From 2012, here's the backstory. And at The Week, Michael B. Dougherty argues that it's the greatest Christmas song of all time. NME has 25 Things you didn't know about the tale.

ANTON BARBEAU, an occasional collaborator of the late Scott Miller, crafted his own "Xmas Song."

THE ALL SONGS CONSIDERED Holiday Extravaganza.

THE 10 BEST PUNK CHRISTMAS SONGS, according to L.A. Weekly.



NORAD will be tracking Santa, per usual. CNET has a history and behind-the scenes story.

THE 25 BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUMS, according to Complex. BONUS: The L.A. Times rounds up the Merry and the Meh, including the evolving Christmas Time Again, by The dB's and Friends.

15 BIZARRE CHRISTMAS ALBUMS, courtesy of Mental Floss.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY of Christmas Songs.

BILLY MACK: Because "Christmas Is All Around."  ALSO: Is Love Actually is an awful movie? PLUS: We now know for sure what happened to Harry and Karen.

THE FLAMING LIPS perform "White Christmas" as only they can.

WHITE CHRISTMAS: A Snapshot Of The Most Successful Song In Music History.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS: "The Keep That Keeps Giving."  Not to be confused with "The Gift," which is not Christmasey at all.

THE COURTEENEERS drop a video for "Winter Wonderland" that's not that Winter Wonderland.

CALEXICO: Speaking of presents, here's their "Gift X-Change."

THE MUPPETS: "Ringing of the Bells." Not to be confused with Super Furry Animals.

MICHAEL CAINE looks back at The Muppet Christmas Carol.


AN XMAS FLASH MOB from the Berklee College of Music broke out into an impromptu performance of the classic Christmas carol “O Holy Night” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

GLAM XMAS:  I started the month with Wizzard's awesome "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" (1973's UK Xmas No. 1). The circle is now complete.

HALL & OATES: "Jingle Bell Rock," reduced to its molten kitchy essense.

THE MOST COVERED CHRISTMAS SONGS, according to FiveThirtyEight.

16 WEIRD FACTS About Big Christmas Hits.

MARIAH CAREY's “All I Want For Christmas Is You” just hit the top 10 for the first time ever.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, online. Also, a 5-year-old called 911 on the Grinch.

DAVID BOWIE & BING CROSBY'S cross-generational duet o­n "Little Drummer Boy." This historic event was recreated by Will Farrell and John C. Reilly. Plus, Jack Black and Jason Segel have done a cartoon cover

NOW SHOWING:This weekend's wide releases include Aquaman, which is currently scoring 68 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; Mary Poppins Returns, scoring 79 percent; Bumblebee, which is scoring 93 percent; Second Act, scoring 50 percent; Welcome to Marwen, scoring 24 percent; and They Shall Not Grow Old, scoring 97 percent. Mary Queen of Scots expands to 795 screens scoring 60 percent, while The Favourite expands to 788 screens scoring 94 percent.

THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS:  Many people believe human activity is causing global warming.  I blame Snow Miser and Heat Miser.

CHICAGO CHRISTMAS MEMORIES:  If you grew up in Chicago (and I suspect other places), the season is not complete without watching the short cartoons of "Hardrock, Coco & Joe" (a story fantastic, a story so queer), "Suzy Snowflake" and the jazzy version of "Frosty the Snowman."

THE BEATLES fan club messages for 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969.

A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU...FROM PHIL SPECTOR: Essayed by Aquarium Drunkard and NME.

THE TRON 1982 HOLIDAY SPECIAL, courtesy of Funny Or Die.

THE SEX PISTOLS & THIN LIZZY played "A Merry Jingle" for Top of the Pops.  BONUS: The Pistols' final UK show was a Christmas benefit.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Pate even had a song titled "Rope Around The Moon," so watch the whole thing. BONUS: Vintage Bailey backlash from warped, frustrated old people at the New York Times and Portfolio. DOUBLE-BONUS: 22 TV variations on It's A Wonderful Life.

RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER:  Pull up an ice block and lend an ear!  Herbie wanted to be a dentistNTTAWWT.  BONUS:  The Rankin-Bass classic continues to inspire ads like 2009's Verizon ad, following 2008's Apple ad, even more so 2007's AFLAC commercial, and AT & T bringing in Rudolph, Bumble, and Santa for 2015.BONUS: NPR has a piece on the original manuscript.

FESTIVUS:  For the rest of us.  Technically already started, so I can be one of your grievances.

SCARY GHOST STORIES: I overheard Andy Williams crooning "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" in a store this month, and the lyric about "scary ghost stories" never really struck me before.  Took me a second, but I supposed he was referring to Dickens.  It turns out -- as noted by a coworker -- that this was a thing in Victorian England...  and the modern day. BONUS: Krampus, which has now inspired a major motion picture, and a Nativity set. DOUBLE BONUS: NME rounds up 10 Deliciously Scary Christmas Movies. TRIPLE BONUS: 18 Killer Santas From Film and TV.

LIAM NEESON auditions as a mall Santa.

TEN UNFORGETTABLE Musical Christmas Moments On Film.

THE 30 BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIES, according to Empire magazine.

FIVE REASONS Why Die Hard is a Christmas movie, not including the ornament.

HOME ALONE: Did Kevin McCallister grow up to become the Jigsaw Killer?

DRECK THE HALLS: A Holiday TV Specials Retrospective.

23 TV EPISODES based on "A Christmas Carol."

NAT KING COLE:  His chestnuts are roasting.

MAYMO THE BEAGLE gets 210 bottles for Christmas.


27 DOGS That Do Christmas Better Than You Do Christmas.

29 CATS Trying To Figure Out This Whole Christmas Thing, and 29 CATS Who Just Want To Help You Decorate Your Tree.

A SHETLAND PONY in a Christmas foursie.

14 ANIMALS Who Tried to Ruin Christmas.

CHRISTMAS ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND involves millions of crabs.

AN AUSTRALIAN FAMILY shot into the Guinness Book of Records in 2011 after decorating their home with an astonishing 331038 Christmas lights. If the video at the link doesn't work, try this one.

1094 Reads

Lemon Twigs, Parquet Courts, Markus King, Woody Guthrie, Lion   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS: "Please Come Home For Christmas."

THE LEMON TWIGS play for WFUV at Rockwood Music Hall.

PARQUET COURTS play for WFUV at Rockwood Music Hall.

THE MARCUS KING BAND plays World Cafe.

THE RACONTEURS return with “Sunday Driver” and “Now That You’re Gone.”

WOODY GUTHRIE: Hear and unearthed song from 1954.


EURYTHMICS'. Dave Stewart declares "Christmas is For Lovers".

PAUL McCARTNEY was the Greatest Beatle?

THE RUNAWAYS' bassist Jackie Fox is a Jeopardy chamption.

SNAIL MAIL: Lindsey Jordan talks to SPIN about touring Europe, her plans for 2019, and more.

THE NUMBER ONES ooks at the Beatles' secular hymn "Let It Be."


ELIZA DUSHKU: I worked at CBS. I didn't want to be sexually harassed. I was fired.

ALADDIN: Entertainment Weekly has your first look. People have thoughts on Will Smith.

HELLBOY: The reboot drops a trailer online.

THE  BRADY KIDS revisit the old house.

PENNY MARSHALL Did It Her Way, Yes, Her Way.

KATE MIDDLETON & MEGHAN MARKLE: Modern women who are changing the monarchy.

BRAD PITT turned 55 with his kids at home.

AMERICA'S WEALTHIEST CELEBRITIES, according to the latest Forbes List.


A LION shows you his O-face.

A MASSIVE, 400-LB HOG weighing nearly 400 pounds was captured by a team of dogs and trappers in Palm Bay, FL.

THERE ARE 14 MANDARIN DUCKS (that we know of!) in NYC.

1171 Reads

Magnetic Fields Tribute, Ryley Walker, Amy Grant, Mutant Sharks   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


DARLENE LOVE's final "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" for Letterman.

YOU CAN SING ME ANYTHING: A Tribute to 69 Love Songs.

RYLEY WALKER, Live in Brooklyn, Dec. 14, 2018.

AMY GRANT plays a holiday-themed Tiny Desk Concert


PAUL McCARTNEY plays "Get Back" with Ringo and Ronnie Wood.

RICHARD THOMPSON: Tales Of The Unexpected.

JEFF TWEEDY shares stories from his recently-released memoir and songs from his new solo album.

ED SHEERHAN tour has ended 2018 as the highest-grossing tour of the last 30 years.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at Simon & Garfunkel's classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water."


PENNY MARSHALL, who costarred as a Milwaukee brewery worker in Laverne & Shirley before becoming a director of hit movies such as Big and A League of Their Own, has died. She was 75.

PETE DAVIDSON: Lorne Michaels is getting him help. And Rep. Dan Crenshaw reached out to him.

MEGHAN MARKLE declares herself "very pregnant."

EMILY BLUNT & JOHN KRASINSKI give a rare joint interview and reveal why they've kept their careers separate, the reason they made an exception for A Quiet Place.

THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA gets renewed for Seasons 3 and 4.

DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE has a ginormous voice cast.

TONY'S COMPASS: How Anthony Bourdain Became the Food TV Star of a Generation.


MUTANT SHARKS have been found hiding out inside a deadly underwater volcano.

FOUR DEAD, NAKED MOLE RATS LATER, the National Zoo's colony has finally chosen its queen.

POACHER sentenced to watch Bambi. Monthly.

A 13-FT PYTHON in your bed; that's Queensland.

1261 Reads

Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Joe Osburn RIP, Wheelie Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


JON PRATT: Pate's frontman gets soulful on "Testify," with a guitar that once belonged to a member of the Wrecking Crew.

LUCY DACUS, Live at Brooklyn Steel.

PHOEBE BRIDGERS, Live at Brooklyn Steel.

JULIEN BAKER, Live at Brooklyn Steel.


KIM WILDE drunkenly warbles "Kids In America" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" on the subway.

JOE OSBORN, a bassist for the legendary Wrecking Crew, who played on tunes as silly as The Monkees theme and as sublime as Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” died of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 14 at 81.

THE CLASH gets two and a half hours of discussion and analysis on Political Beats with guest CJ Ciaramella of Reason magazine.

THE GUMMY AWARDS winners are announced.

THE BEST COVER SONGS of 2018, according to Cover Me.

THE NUMBER ONES looks at Shocking Blue's English-as-a-second-language pop nugget "Venus" and Sly & The Family Stone's irony-laced funk anthem "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)."


WOODY ALLEN is accused of having a hidden eight-year "affair" with 16-year-old model Babi Christina Engelhardt in 1976.

LES MOONVES will not be getting his 120MM million severance, as CBS concluded after a months-long investigation that there is, indeed, merit to numerous claims that its former CEO sexually harassed several women over the course of decades.

GEOFFREY RUSH has denied new allegations of inappropriate behavior, amid an ongoing defamation battle with an Australian newspaper that published sexual harassment claims. And here's why Yael Stone is terrified to talk about Geoffrey Rush.

MORTAL ENGINES is expected to lose at least 100MM.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 3 has a script, and it may be making people cry.

PRINCE HARRY will miss out on the traditional Boxing Day pheasant shoot with his brother Prince William at Sandringham to avoid upsetting his animal-loving wife Meghan.


THIS DOG loves her wheelchair cause it means she gets to play outside.

BEAGLEY FIELD: A mass of silliness.

DOG: Been Caught Stealing.

NEW JERSEY is first state to ban wild animal circus acts.

1319 Reads

Very little weekend "news," but still a few things.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 17, 2018 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE GAP BETWEEN HOLIDAYS really created a lull across showbiz, but:

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse tops the chart with 35.4MM. That's near the low end of projections, but we are now entering the real cash register portion of the season, so this -- and The Mule, which placed with 17.2MM -- will probably build over the week and into the weekend and ultimately turn in decently leggy performances. We had become used to a Star Wars movie coming every Christmas and blowing up the chart, so you have to go back a few years to recall what the pattern is with a normal slate of movies. Moreover, I'd bet word-of mouth about the Spider-Verse clues people in that this is a good movie for anyone, not just the kids. The Grinch shows with 11.6MM on a leggy 24 percent drop more indicative of what we should see generally through year's end. Ralph Breaks the Internet takes the fourth slot with 9.6MM; it continues to perform somewhere between Moana and Coco, but it might also be the most vulnerable to the competition coming this week.  The debut of Mortal Engines rounds out the Top Five with 7.5MM and will likely get yanked from screns quick in favor of Mary Poppins Returns on Wednesday and especially Aquaman and Bumblebee on Friday.


HARVEY WEINSTEIN & JENNIFER LAWRENCE both denied there had been any sexual relationship between them.

CYBILL SHEPHERD revealed that she too had once been propositioned by disgraced former network titan Les Moonves.

BRADGELINA's custody battle stressed the kids.

PEANUTS: New content will be under the Apple umbrella.

More tomorrow, I hope!

1117 Reads

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