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Category Archives: music

More TV Jobs for Steven Tyler & Jennifer Lopez to Consider

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Just because Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have announced their departure from “American Idol,” doesn’t mean they have to leave the TV scene completely. There are any number of shows where one or both would fit right in – with some minor adjustments.

JENNY FROM THE DOWNTON ABBEY

AEROSMITH’S GOT TALENT

SCARF BOSS

REAR FACTOR

THE BIGGEST LOSER: ROCK STAR EDITION

LOPEZ, LOPEZ & TYLER TONIGHT

CELEBRITY PLASTIC SURGERY: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT

LOTS AND LOTS OF FRINGE

TWO AND A HALF MEDS

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PRANCE?

KUDLOW & J.LO

That’s just for starters!

Sinatra Duets I Would Have Loved

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God knows, Ol’ Blue Eyes loved his duets. He had great success with them, especially at the end of his wonderful career. But there were a few he never got around to recording. Imagine this album:

THE LADY IS A SUPERTRAMP (with Supertramp)

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR OF THE CAT (with Al Stewart)

ONE FOR MY BABY, BABY, BABY (with Justin Bieber)

SUPERFLY ME TO THE MOON (with Curtis Mayfield)

MY KIND OF FUNKYTOWN (with Lipps Inc.)

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH HOPES (with John Denver)

WALK MY WAY (with Aerosmith)

SEND IN THE INSANE CLOWN POSSE (with Insane Clown Posse)

LUCK BE A LADY MARMALADE (with Labelle)

ENDLESS LOVE AND MARRIAGE (with Lionel Richie & Diana Ross)

THAT’S LIFE IN THE FAST LANE (with the Eagles)

BLOWIN’ IN THE SUMMER WIND (with Bob Dylan)

I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY RHINO SKIN (with Tom Petty)

YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE DANCIN’ SO YOUNG (with Leo Sayer)

DA DOO-BE-DOO-BE-DOO RON RON (with The Crystals)

Ring-a-ding-ding, everyone.

The OTHER Men in Black

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This weekend we get the latest installment in the “Men in Black” movies, and I’m looking forward to seeing Josh Brolin’s take on a young Tommy Lee Jones. But let us never forget that Will Smith and Co. are not the only men in black to come down the pop culture pike. Feast your eyes on these guys.

DARTH VADER

Give it up for Lord Vader, the tragic centerpiece of the “Star Wars” mythology. Voiced by the immensely talented James Earl Jones, Vader is a villain for the ages.

ZORRO

Zorro, the heroic alter ego of Don Diego de la Vega, has been rocking the black hat and mask for generations. From Douglas Fairbanks and Tyrone Power to Antonio Banderas and the ever popular Duncan Regehr, there’s been a Zorro for just about every era.

“THE MATRIX” CREW

For all the cutting edge technology and funky spirituality at the heart of “The Matrix,” it’s also undeniable that part of the fun of the original film is seeing Morpheus, Neo and Trinity in their black-clad personas. “The Matrix” is sort of like the coolest clothing store ever.

SNIDELY WHIPLASH

What kind of guy would tie a pretty girl to a railroad track? Snidely Whiplash, of course. He was the gleefully evil counterpoint to Dudley Do-Right on the old Bullwinkle show. Part of the reason he was so memorable is because he was voiced by the terrific Hans Conreid.

DEAN MARTIN

Nobody looked more natural in a black tuxedo than Dino. He had a masterful ease and assurance, whether he was singing with Sinatra, clowning with Jerry Lewis or pretending he was hammered on TV.

RICHARD LEWIS

Lots of comedians wear black, but Richard Lewis takes it to another level. Black is the perfect manifestation for his neurotic style of comedy and it brands him better than any catch-phrase. He’s a gem in a black jacket.

THE GRIM REAPER

You may also know him as Death. He’s a grim symbol of our impending date with…something, and he finds his way into everything from Charles Dickens to “Family Guy.”

BORIS BADENOV

Here’s another man in black from the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” stable. Bumbling spy Boris Badenov is hilarious, especially when he’s outsmarted by “Moose and Squirrel.” He’s actually charming in his badness.

RICHARD BOONE AS PALADIN

Few are likely to remember Richard Boone as the gunslinger Paladin on TV’s “Have Gun – Will Travel,” but he was wonderful. Boone’s character was a highly-educated, Shakespeare-quoting gun for hire who made the black outfit a statement in style and menace.

THE MAN IN BLACK FROM “THE PRINCESS BRIDE”

Here, the “Man in Black” is a Zorro-like character intended to instill fear by reputation, as well as physical prowess. Cary Elwes played him to perfection in one of the sweetest films of all time.

THE MAN IN BLACK FROM “LOST”

Sweet is not a word to describe Titus Welliver’s character on TV’s “Lost.”  Welliver’s ancient, angry “Man in Black” is the malevolent force riding roughshod over that crazy island.

JOHNNY CASH

My apologies to those reading through this entire list thinking, “Where’s Cash? He’s got to include Cash, right?” In a word, yes. Johnny Cash is my favorite man in black. His scowl was black, his sneer was black, and often his songs were tinged with a darkness fueled by anger, passion or pain.

Those are my picks. Who are some of your favorite men in black?

A Beatles Playlist for Lord of the Rings

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Department of Pop Culture Worlds Colliding: Did you know that many years ago, the Beatles wanted to star in a movie version of “The Lord of the Rings” books? And that said film would be directed by Stanley Kubrick? With John Lennon as Gollum? I can only imagine what the soundtrack’s playlist would look like:

I WANT TO HOLD THE PRECIOUS

NORWEGIAN ORCS

SAURON IN THE SKY WITH EYEBALL

I AM THE BALROG

UNCLE ELROND

THE BALLAD OF SAM AND FRODO

GOL-LEM-DI, GOL-LEM-DA

A DAY IN THE SHIRE

TRINKET TO HIDE

AXMAN

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY ENTS

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD TO MORDOR

This has been your daily Nerd Alert.

Five Unromantic “Hearts”

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Today is a day for hearts: Ones that are given, ones that are won over and ones that are filled with tasty chocolates. But if I may, here are five more hearts that are worthy of consideration. They aren’t romantic, but they’re full of soul.

YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART

There’s a very good reason that everyone from Louis Armstrong to LeAnn Rimes has recorded this song. It has a plaintive purity drenched in heartache. As performed by its author, Hank Williams, it’s also a masterpiece. He reels everyone in by the second line, “You cry and cry and try to sleep,” and has us nodding knowingly by the time he gets to, “Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you.” The song was released in 1953, after Williams’ death.

YOUNG @ HEART

Truly an inspiring piece of work, “Young @ Heart” is a 2007 documentary about a senior citizen chorus in Northampton, Mass. The film is both hilarious and heartbreaking. There is a moment when an old man sits in a chair and sings the Coldplay song, “Fix You,” that will give your emotions a profound workout.

THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER

Young artists also inspire. In this case, Carson McCullers was only in her early 20s when her great novel was published in 1940. It is the story of a deaf man, John Singer, and his encounters with various people in a small Georgia town, including an awkward girl and a union organizer. The book was revelatory for me, as it was for so many readers, detailing the degree to which we yearn for human connection while being tragically unable to clearly see even the people directly in our midst.

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE

If you have kids, at some point or another they come home from high school and mention they’re reading this book for class. You know what this means: In the near future, you will need to sit down with your sweet kid, put an arm around their shoulders and say, “Yes, this happened. It was awful, and it happened.” Dee Brown’s book about what happened to Native American tribes in the late 1800s was published in 1970. It will leave you reeling long before you get to the fate of the Sioux at Wounded Knee, S.D.

THE TELL-TALE HEART

Short stories don’t get any better than Edgar Allan Poe’s classic take on murder and guilt, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” If you haven’t read it since you were a kid, take another look. The writing is miraculous in its pacing and heightened tension. It’s just as effective now as it must have been in 1843.

So that’s five and we’ve barely scratched the surface. What are some of YOUR essential “hearts”?

50 New Ways to Leave Your Lover

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Thanks to an abundance of ingenuity in our modern world, there’s been a real explosion in the number of ways you can leave your lover. Here are some of them, with apologies to the great Paul Simon. (Note: If all else fails, you still can slip out the back, Jack.)

CHARGE UP THE VOLT, HOLT

TEXT HER YOU’RE THROUGH, DREW

CHANGE STATUS TO “DONE,” SON

BUY A NEW PHONE, SLOANE

SHOOT HER A TWEET, PETE

CALL IT A #FAIL, DALE

FIND A GOOD APP, CHAP

ASK SIRI FOR ADVICE, BRYCE

GRAB THE XBOX AND GO, BRO

WEAR YOUR BIG-BOY PANTS, LANCE

SET THE GPS, WES

OCCUPY A NEW SCENE, GENE

GIVE HER SOME SPACE, CHASE

Add to the List! Oh, and one more thing…

Christmas Carols 2011

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Some folks like their Christmas carols the traditional way, with nary a nod to changing times. That’s cool. Me, I’m open to a little tinkering. In that spirit, try these updated carols on for size.

FELIZ NAVIDUDE

DROID TO THE WORLD

I SAW MOMMY KISSING HERMAN CAIN

THE LITTLE BIEBER BOY

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE I MISMANAGED MY RETIREMENT ACCOUNT

SIRI, BABY

O HOLY TEBOW

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? HOW ABOUT NOW? DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR NOW?

IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT TWEET

Wii THREE KINGS OF ORIENT ARE

UP ON A LAPTOP

HERE WE GO A KINDLE-ING

I’LL BE IN THE CLOUD FOR CHRISTMAS

Join the fun and add to the List!

Hold That Colon (Punctuation Make-overs)

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If you’re like me, you often take your colon for granted. Same goes for your comma, dash, exclamation point and other keyboard hieroglyphics. But with National Punctuation Day coming up later this week (Sept. 24), I decided to see what a few pop culture standards would look like with some punctuation tweaks. Here goes.

DR. WHO?

A GROOVY (KIND OF) LOVE

MOBY: DICK

OH. CALCUTTA.

BLOWIN’ IN: THE WIND

LARRY KING – LIVE?

TURN! TURN! TURN!

BRIDGE > TROUBLED WATER

DANCES, WITH WOLVES

A DAY IN “THE LIFE”

SCHINDLER’S LIST!

M&A&S&H

A TREE GROWS – IN BROOKLYN?

#OKLAHOMA

PLEASE DON’T; EAT THE DAISIES

GOOD…FELLAS?

BRILLIANT DISGUISE!

* AND THE MYSTERIANS

SHAWSHANK: REDEMPTION

BOB/CAROL/TED/ALICE

EASY, RIDER

IT’S A MAD-MAD?MAD(MAD) WORLD

Now it’s your turn. Add to the List!

Political Rapper Names

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Here’s an idea to solve the perpetual gridlock in government and politics: Let’s give all the politicians rapper names! It’ll add some spark to the process and perhaps even prompt our leaders to speak the truth more often. Plus, think of how much fun it would be to follow the exploits of:

MC BOEHNER

BARACK “TWO-PACK” OBAMA

LI’L HILLARY

DICK “GRUFF DADDY” CHENEY

NEWT-TANG CLAN

PALIN FIASCO

NOT-SO-YOUNG REID-Y

MICHELLE-L COOL J BACHMAnN

DEMINEMS

NOTORIOUS GOP

JOE “JAY-B” BIDEN

MITT ROMNEY-ROMM

SLICK RICK PERRY

SIR TAX-A-LOT

BIG DADDY MCCAIN

ICE-T PARTY

RUN-DNC

RANDY RAND PAUL

CHRIS LUDAKRISTY

So who did I leave out?

5 Great Irenes

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It’s not a good time for the name Irene, is it? While we live in hope that Hurricane Irene deals only a glancing blow to the East Coast, it certainly seems as if we’ll all be cursing the name Irene before long. As we wait, let’s try to remember a handful of great Irenes.

IRENE ADLER

We start with a fictional Irene from the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. In the years since the original stories, Irene Adler has more often than not been seen as a love interest or playful adversary of Holmes. Here’s Rachel McAdams as Adler from the 2009 “Sherlock Holmes.”

IRENE RYAN

Ryan, a veteran of vaudeville and radio, became a TV icon in the 1960s as Granny on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

IRENE CARA

Did you know that Cara, of the 1980 version of “Fame,” is both a Grammy and an Oscar winner? Yep. The Oscar is for music from the movie “Flashdance.”

IRENE DUNNE

Dunne was not an Oscar winner, and it’s a shame. She was nominated five times.

GOODNIGHT, IRENE

Let’s finish with a classic folk tune, known also as “Irene Goodnight.” It was written and first recorded by Huddie Ledbetter in the early 1930s. Since then, it’s been covered by everyone from The Weavers and Frank Sinatra to Johnny Cash and Deer Tick.

Be kind, Irene. Be kind.