Dragnet’s “City of Crime” video at Cinepunx

city of crime cover

“There’s a very short list of things I miss about the movies of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. For the most part, it was a pretty transitory period for the sort of movies I like. Even given the fact that I was a kid at the time, the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia can only do so much to influence my opinions on the actual quality of things like Best of the Best or Judgment Night.

Still, there was a wonderful trend at the time to include end credits songs which weren’t just a pop single they were trying to flog to the audience as it threw away its empty popcorn containers. I’m talking about the terrible end credits rap songs. There was everything from “Monster Squad Rap” from 1987’s Monster Squad to Partners In Kryme’s “Turtle Power!” in 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to even the likes of “Maniac Cop Rap” from 1990’s Maniac Cop 2.

However, I feel like the pinnacle — or nadir, depending on how you look at it — of this trend came rather early, with “City of Crime,” from 1987’s Dragnet. The film — starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks — was a filmic reworking of the popular 1960s television show, which was itself a reworking of the popular 1950s radio program. It’s very tongue-in-cheek, yet managed to be a fairly faithful homage to the show, which had been running in reruns for years by the time the film came out.”

Read the From the Stereo to Your Screen column on Dan Aykroyd & Tom Hanks and Dragnet at Cinepunx, published 6/13/16

Barry Crimmins Q&A in the Pitch


Despite being a regular on the stand-up circuit since the 1980s, comic Barry Crimmins didn’t get broad national attention until last year. After decades of work as a comedian’s comedian, he was the subject of a documentary, Call Me Lucky, which revealed an astonishing life story.

Stand-up comedy is just one part of the Bobcat Goldthwait–directed film, but even the grainy VHS footage and brief interludes of his current work show Crimmins as a genuine force onstage. Now, at age 62, he’s shooting his first special, produced by Louis C.K. — and taped at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Read the entire piece in the Pitch, published 6/1/16

Yo Gabba Gabba live at the Midland this weekend.

yo gabba gabba liveThe past couple of weeks, I’ve been driving to work, listening to the same CD — namely, the fourth volume of the Yo Gabba Gabba “Music Is… Awesome!” series of compilations. For them’s that don’t have kids, Yo Gabba Gabba is a show on the Nick Jr. cable network, and was co-created by Christian Jacobs, who readers of this site might better know as MC Bat Commander of the Aquabats.
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Chunklet’s “Indie Cred Test” charts the myriad flaws of the music geek

book-cover-indie-cred-testChunklet‘s The Indie Cred Test: Everything You Need to Know About Knowing Everything You Need to Know – Second Edition might be the perfect book to amuse me. Strange compliment, I know, but the fact remains: I’ve not giggled and read a book out loud so often in ages. My long-suffering wife’s probably been subjected to a dozen read-throughs, aborted half-way through as yet another selection disintegrated in a cavalcade of snickering.

Henry H. Owings and his crew have created a test that will — depending on one’s savvy — confound, frustrate, amuse, shame, entertain, or embarrass. It’s the sort of book where you’re almost loathe to point out how much certain questions apply. Frankly, I’m not sure as to whether or not reviewing a book that uses “god help you” in response to choosing writing as “which self-aggrandizing behavior […] you display” is a good thing.
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“Brit Wits” uses rock ‘n’ roll to document the history of British humor

book-cover-brit-witsFor those who read Iain Ellis‘ first book, Rebels Wit Attitude, its follow-up, Brit Wits: A History of British Rock Humor, is a bit of a change. While that book was a bit more of a pop culture read, geared a bit more to the general public, Brit Wits requires shifting the gears of your perception.

Rebels Wit Attitude dealt with humor in rock in terms of individual acts or performers (be it Chuck Berry or the Beastie Boys), whereas Brit Wits fits each act into the wider picture of British humor as a whole. Music is simply the thread that connects the likes of Ricky Gervais to the likes of George Formby in the music halls.
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Steve Smith talks Red Green

red-greenSteve Smith is best known as the man who portrayed Red Green, president of Possum Lodge, on the popular PBS mainstay, the Red Green Show. The broad satire of how-to programs and fishing shows made ample use of slapstick, and has been a mainstay of my viewing habits since high school. Smith is bringing his “Wit and Wisdom of Red Green” one-man show to Kansas City’s Uptown Theater on July 31, and to Topeka on September 12. He took time out of his busy schedule to speak to us about the history of the character and his future plans.

Rock Star Journalist interviews Steve Smith
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You have horrible taste

There’s an article over at Bullz-Eye I just got done reading, entitled “Your Favorite Band Sucks.” It’s a pretty vicious series of band overviews, wherein comparisons are made between Perry Farrell’s voice and nails on a chalkboard, Oasis and ordinariness, etc. It’s sort of a grand, band-indicting version of the book Kill Your Idols that Jim DeRogatis edited a couple of years back.

That book was similar, in that it took some potshots at sacred cows. More specifically, however, it singled out albums that are “classic” and explained as to why they were extremely overrated. Derogatis rips on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and there’s a piece in there about killing Fleetwood Mac that may be the funniest piece of music writing I’ve ever read in my life.

Everything is probably taken best with a grain of salt. When I talked with DeRogatis at SXSW last year, even he admitted that some of the records covered were favorites of his. Some of the bands mentioned in the article above might raise your dander up a bit, but it’s humor, folks. Don’t get your undies in a bunch and send “OMG WTF is wrong wit u guyz?!?!1 Teh DOORS are the gratest band EVAR! U suk!!!” I’m sure they’re ripping on some of your least favorite acts, too. Personally, I enjoy the ripping on Radiohead.

The only Radiohead song I care for…
Radiohead – “Just” (Live at Outside Lands Festival 8/22/08)

Flight of the Conchords review

Flight of the Conchords – “Flight of the Conchords”
(Sub Pop)

Much as I love Jermaine and Bret, the novelty of these novelty tunes wears off a bit after a few tracks. Honestly, the best tracks were on the EP that came out at the end of last year. And, yes, the case can be made that Flight of the Conchords are a laid-back Tenacious D. They’re a far more self-deprecating duo than the D, but it’s still two guys with acoustic guitars playing silly songs. The album has its moments, however.

“Foux de Fafa” is a note-perfect Serge Gainsborg take-off, and the way it riffs with French nonsense is a fantastic opener. “Inner City Pressure” is an unfortunate choice for a follow-up, and sets up a series of alternating good-bad tracks that nearly cripples the album. Were the boys to have cut this album in half and released that, we’d have a perfect EP – especially with “Bowie” as a closer. Seriously, starting with a riff on Serge and ending with the best Bowie impersonation I’ve ever heard? Fucking awesome. The sad thing about that is this, however – they already put out that perfect EP.

Last year.

It’s half the price, and the live version of “Robots” is better, too.

Although, really… maybe the poster that comes with the full-length is worth the extra five bucks.

Business Time
Ladies of the World

Yacht Rock returns

When we last heard of Yacht Rock, they’d quietly decided to get themselves can canceled over at Channel 101 after telling us one last story about Steely Dan, then hoisting their sails and drifting away while a satisfied crowd waved goodbye from the docks, exactly one incredible year after their historical debut. Well, surprise (although not really much of a surprise to anyone who’s one of their MySpace friends)! They’re back, this time with the story of how Kenny Loggins wrote the theme to Footloose. Enjoy…

Kenny Loggins – “Footloose