This week is really flying off the rails thematically, isn’t it? Only ONE Vnicent Price movie in a week devoted to him? Fuck me. However, in addition to a billion other things, we totally forgot American Horror Story started its new season this week, so we absolutely had to watch the premiere of Freak Show on demand last night.
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Soft Skull Press always presents a unique twist with its biographies or memoirs. It’s never just a straightforward history of the titular individual, but rather an analysis of the environment which produced the subject. In the case of W. Scott Poole‘s Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror, the author uses the ’50s horror host as an entry point to discussing the era’s social mores and how the woman born Maila Nurmi challenged the status quo.
The author has a wealth of information on which to draw. Sadly, little of it is regarding Vampira herself. There’s minimal evidence of her television program, and what remains of her work is, essentially, bit parts in a few films. The thing for which she garnered her initial acclaim exists only anecdotally, leading to a great amount of speculation on Poole’s part.
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Some of you may have recently become acquainted with the UK’s Death Waltz Records via their profile in Spin. Well, the fine purveyors of horror and sci-fi vinyl announced their releases for Record Store Day 2013. They’re fucking choice. While the soundtracks to Horror Business and the short film Yellow will have a lot of the folks out there most excited, I’m pretty jazzed about the series of three split 7-inches of TV themes.
There’s Star Trek / Lost In Space on black and glitter vinyl, The Twilight Zone / The Outer Limits on clear and black vinyl, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents / The Munsters on white and black vinyl. They’re all in exlusive Death Waltz die cut retro disco bag sleeves (300gsm card with matte varnish and black paper inner sleeve), include a free 7 x 7 artprint, and are limited to a one-time pressing of 1000.
WANT. HARD. Somebody in the UK needs to figure out a way to get me one of each, please. Check the art below.
Lorna Jowett and Stacey Abbott‘s new book from I.B. Tauris, TV Horror: Investigating the Darker Side of the Small Screen, is an excellent, scholarly look at how the horror genre is portrayed on television. The authors look both to Stephen King’s oft-quoted opinion that television limits the terror that can be portrayed, as well as examining the possibilities offered by the small screen.
It’s strange, though — the book mentions the likes of the X-Files, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the Twilight Zone, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even the likes of Twin Peaks. However, the greatest number of pages are devoted not to those particular shows, but to Doctor Who.
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Murray Forman‘s new book, One Night On TV Is Worth Weeks at the Paramount: Popular Music On Early Television is an invaluable history, but one with a frustrating premise at its heart. The history, out now through Duke University Press, does an excellent job of setting up and proving the notion that “music television” didn’t start with MTV in the early ’80s.
In addition to the myriad shows that would feature music as part and parcel of their programming as the medium went forward, television used music from its very inception. Singers and musical combos were part of the first broadcast tests. It’s a natural progression from radio, from whose networks television would arise. It’s only logical that the earliest things to come across the airwaves into the sets would be a visual representation of the most predominant aspect of radio. Namely, music.
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Thomas S. Hibbs‘ Shows about Nothing: Nihilism in Popular Culture makes for an interesting confluence of genres. The examination of philosophy in pop culture is nothing new, of course – Open Court Books’ Popular Culture and Philosophy series covers any number of TV shows and movies, including The Simpsons and Star Wars.
However, Hibbs’ book weaves a discussion of nihilism with Cape Fear, Nip/Tuck, and a slew of diverse and seemingly unrelated films and programs. Granted, the subtitle is a trifle over-reaching. Hibbs sticks primarily to film and television, with a brief digression into Shakespeare in the early chapters. Music is left wholly untouched – a smart move, as it could easily be a series of books unto itself – but those hoping to see how video games tie into all of this will be left wanting.
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Live on the BBC’s Later… With Jools Holland, this is a much better recording of the recently-reformed Specials than the bootleg tracks from their special guest appearance at Bestival last year. As you can tell, they sound much better with Terry Hall than the reunion shows they did in the ’90s with Roddy Radiation and Lynvall Golding doing all the vox. Still not quite the same as having Jerry Dammers in the band, too, but he’s kind of a stuck-up git and thus, it’s better than nothing.
“A Message to You Rudy”
My router died.
Then I took a couple days to get a router.
Then it wouldn’t work.
Now it’s working.
Sorry for the absence.
To make it up, you can go right here and watch / download / listen to the Discovery Channel‘s “The World Is Just Awesome” promo. This would otherwise be known as “that Discovery Channel ad with the ‘boom de ah da’ song.”
Goddammit, why didn’t anyone tell me they were making an animated version of DC‘s New Frontier? I didn’t know anything about this until I read it over at Popcandy this evening. Crap. Now I’ve got a DVD, two trade paperbacks, and a series of action figures to purchase.
Jesus, DC… as if Vertigo and Y: the Last Man, Preacher, Transmetropolitan, American Virgin, 100 Bullets, et al hadn’t sucked up enough of my hard-earned cash, now you’re making quality direct-to-DVD movies?
Cracked brings us the 7 Most Unforgivable Grammy Snubs, and I have to say that I agree with each and every one of them. Er, in that they’re egregious snubs – not that I agree with the snubs themselves.
However, it looks like the Grammy Awards are going for some serious novelty team-ups that will draw people in to watch what is (as demonstrated above) a mostly out-of-touch group of old folks voting for safe, boring music. I guess the Eminem / Elton John performance worked so well that it seems that’s pretty much all they’re doing this year.
It seems that the Grammy people really don’t seem to understand much about what makes stuff work. When you have Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, and Dave Grohl performing a tribute to Joe Strummer, that makes sense. Those are all folks who were influenced by Joe Strummer, and whose music is somewhat connected to his legacy. Eminem, who at the time of his performance with Elton John, was under fire for homophobic lyrics. Getting onstage with perhaps the most famous gay icon alive does a lot towards proving some points. Madonna and Gorillaz? With Gorillaz essentially doing the same thing they’d done earlier that year at the MTV Europe Awards? Pointless.
This year seems to be a lot of stunt casting. While I somewhat understand Foo Fighters playing with a symphony on a version of “The Pretender,” and can almost justify having John Paul Jones as a guest conductor, Carrie Underwood, Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin as part of a gospel tribute just seems like trying to pander to three generations and two social groups at once. John Fogerty, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard will perform in a unique “Cornerstones of Rock” segment that seems like an attempt to flog a dead horse. Why didn’t they do this last year when Fogerty was on Lewis’ Last Man Standing album? It just doesn’t make any sense to me, dammit. Still… much as it pains me, seeing Rihanna perform with the motherfucking Time sounds pretty damned cool.
What?! I’m not made out of stone…
Morris Day & the Time – “Jungle Love“