Thursday, September 25, 2008

Upcoming Movie Nights

While reading about, pondering and getting utterly confused by yet more staggering news on the economic front, I realize that. . . oh yeah, I'm involved in two classic movie nights very soon. The first is for Stephen Parr's Oddball Film. Stephen, director of the San Francisco Media Archive, is another of the brethren who creates fun, delightfully bizarre, original and historically fascinating shows from a wide array of film footage.

My cinematic crazy quilt this time is 'Wine, Womanizing And Song', an evening of partying-nightclubbing-carousing-hallucinating and philandering mayhem from 1930s and 40s classic Hollywood cartoons, double entendre-packed comedies and musical “jukebox” Soundies.

Date: Friday, September 26th , 2008 Time: 8:30PM
Venue: Oddball Film, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 RSVP Only to: 415-558-8117 or info@oddballfilm.com

I will also be with most of the KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival crew on Friday, October 3. Cinema Insomnia's Mr. Lobo and The Queen Of Trash will host the Lobo-tronic Film Fest that is the Friday evening entertainment for the SiliCon at San Jose's Doubletree Hotel.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Gilberto Family Band

Relish this clip of Joao Gilberto and Bebel Gilberto, sweetly, deeply, profoundly personifying the bossa nova groove. . . I like them a lot better than I liked The King Family.



Since that isn't enough for me, here's Bebel, singing "All Around" from her 2004 album.



Is there a cooler, sexier vocalist on the planet? If you know of one, tell me about her!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sinatra and Jobim, 1967

To celebrate post #200: Frank, in his Brazilian blue bossa nova period, joined by the superb songwriting and lush guitar of Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Burt Bacharach Day



Enjoy Diana Krall's take on The Look Of Love, Burt n' Hal's sultry pop-bossa. This tune is so sensuous, it would survive a cover by Pee-Wee Herman and Pinky Lee with most of its sexiness intact.

Personally, I hope the ageless Burt teams up with Diana's husband, Elvis Costello, to write her next album.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bill Hicks, Standup Philosopher



"I believe that there’s this agenda in mainstream media - and I think it’s fairly easy to back this up - to keep people stupid, docile and apathetic. – Bill Hicks (1961-1994)



The risk-taking, fearless, restless, unpredictable, sometimes devastatingly inspired social satirist Bill Hicks lets 'er rip in this 1989 “Late Night With David Letterman” appearance. While his act was definitely toned down for the appearances on Letterman's show, Bill still managed to get in a few amazing, funny, bizarre and satiric moments.






Unfortunately, Bill Hicks passed away at 32, so it wasn’t possible to have the pleasure of seeing him expand, grow and continue to riff thoughtfully and madly through his 50's and 60’s, as George Carlin did.











I hope Mr. Hicks ultimately found a measure of peace and some respite from the stresses of this earthly ride.




Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare A Couple Of Billion?

Jim Terr's spoof of "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?" is especially timely these days.



Will the new dance hit be "party like it's 1929?"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lenny Bruce On The Steve Allen Show

Lenny discusses airplane glue and how he became offensive in this 1959 appearance on The Steve Allen Show.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

That Lucky Old Sun


Brian Wilson, in concert, 2007

It's true - I was among the greying but enthusiastic multitudes wearing Hawaiian shirts at last night's Brian Wilson show at Oakland's historic Paramount Theatre, and damn proud of it! I sat in the second row right, jumped up and down, yayed, yelled and whooped loud enough that Brian and his bandmates could definitely hear me.

Yes, it's no accident that I did not become a music critic.



This may have been the best Brian Wilson Band performance, start-to-finish, I've had the pleasure to hear. It was easily the hardest rocking version of a Brian Wilson or Beach Boys band I have heard. There was no filler in the opening set of BB evergreens, performed with a passion and exuberance that breathed vibrant new life into the classic 60's chestnuts. As is his custom, Brian has surrounded himself with talented vocalists, including soprano Taylor Mills, 'CEO of falsetto' Jeffrey Foskett, Scott Bennett and all of the superb L.A. band The Wondermints, who nail those "Four Freshman" harmonies as if they're the proverbial piece o' cake.



My favorite part of the show was the performance of the new album, That Lucky Old Sun (written by Brian, Scott Bennett and Van Dyke Parks) in its entirety.





Part homage to 1950's and 1960's Southern California, part candid autobiography, it's short, sweet and offers that unique blend of happy power pop with poignant, moving interludes. A string section joined the band and, as the cellos and violins do on Pet Sounds and Smile, added yet more gorgeous layers of harmonies to the mix. Here's a short piece about the album, which for me provides a valuable balancing antidote to the snotty cynic within:



Nothing if not brave, Brian directly addresses the personal problems he has survived in sections of That Lucky Old Sun - and relates them to the human experience we all share.
Since I'm a (shudder) 'sensitive guy', this aspect of Brian's music gets me, every time. Alas, the struggle and emergence into the light from a long dark night of the soul is rarely a topic for pop songwriting, especially in the current environment that treats an awful lot of music as a consumer product like french fries or Funyuns, to be marketed primarily to those under 18 years of age.

In short, great show! It rocked the house and, in those reflective passages, achieved something virtually no one other than George Gershwin, Louis Armstrong, Lester Young and Duke Ellington can for me - elicited the good tears.

Thanks, Brian and band - hope to see ya on your next swing through these parts.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Miles Davis At John Lennon Tribute Concert, 1990

My favorite Beatles cover ever: Miles and saxophonist Kenny Garrett toss an original, imaginative, polyrhythmic and sweet spin on a tune that's in my top ten created by John n' Paul (with a brilliant and invaluable assist from producer/arranger la magnifique George Martin), Strawberry Fields Forever.



Since Miles sounded great in his last tour, his untimely passing in 1991 is still something of a shock.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More Electric Miles, 1973

I'm still absorbing this pungent explosion of churning burning rocking maniacal wah wah funk sludge frenzy from the 1973 Miles Davis Group. It's difficult to say what I like the most: Miles' sardonic trumpet blasts, driving wackajuckawackajuckawakcajucka rhythm guitar by Reggie Lucas, Dave Liebman's soprano sax that sounds like rhino clarinet, the unrelenting, pounding percussion by Mtume (congas) and Al Foster (drums), or lead guitarist Pete Cosey playing like some evil spawn of Sonny Sharrock, Albert King and Jimi Hendrix.