Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A TL;DR SPECIAL - Mind-Blown Watch: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)



Watched:  09/26/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's

People, for oh so many reasons, I am absolutely baffled and stunned by this movie.

Where to start...

Begin at the beginning, I suppose

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Today is the 30th Anniversary of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Peepshow"

According to Slicing Up Eyeballs, today marks the 30th Anniversary of the release of Peepshow by Siouxsie and the Banshees.




AMAZING WATCH: Streets of Fire (1984)



Watched:  09/04/2018
Format:  Austin Film Society screening with PaulT
Viewing:  Fifth?
Decade:  1980's

I think it's fair to say that Streets of Fire (1984) is one of those movies you either get behind or you do not.  Like, I'm not sure there's a lot of gray area in how people react to whatever it is this movie is serving up - but despite the fact that I am well aware that Streets of Fire is not a very good movie, I am also of the opinion that Streets of Fire is an amazing movie.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Happy Birthday, Madonna!



editor's note:  I thought I lost this post, but found an open tab with a draft still available I was able to copy and add to.  This isn't the original post that went out, but I - for the first time in years - accidentally erased that post when I clicked the wrong button.  

Apparently yesterday was the 60th Birthday of Madonna.

Here at The Signal Watch, we salute Madonna as the person who told us it is 100% okay to like pop music.  You will not lose your edge by enjoying Madonna.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin, America's Queen, Has Merged With The Infinite



According to reports, Aretha Franklin, beloved Queen of Soul and American icon, has passed.

For more than 48 hours, news had circulated that she'd entered the hospital and was with loved ones, and thus I spent last night listening to a lengthy playlist of Franklin's "hits".  I hope that was a good way to keep her in our thoughts.

I can think of few other performers as universally beloved as Aretha Franklin.  Clearly she's one of the last performers multiple generations will have agreed upon and understood as emblematic of Soul, R&B and what the voice can bring and how it can have personality and tell a story.  Even when covering an already popular song, Franklin made it her own.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Musical Watch: My Fair Lady (1964)

some day, we should do a deep dive into the work of illustrator Bob Peak

Watched: 03/04/2018
Viewing: Probably the fourth time
Format: DVR off TCM
Decade: 1960's

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Uncovered 90's! Pics of My High School Years Bedroom

Let it be known - I was remarkably square in high school.  I don't want to over or undersell anything here.

But a kid's room is a timecapsule - not just of a time, but of what was going on and how things intersect.  As near as I can tell from other pics in the stack, these are from some point between Christmas and Prom of 1993.  If the other pics in the pack were taken at the same time, I have reason to think it's Christmas break of 1992.

My folks were incredibly lax about what I did with my room, which was on the second story of our house.  It was in the front, had a big window I never opened, and had a vaulted ceiling, which was kind of nuts.

At some point I just started tacking and stapling stuff to my walls, and by the time I graduated, one wall was pretty well covered and the opposite was getting there.

All this was taken down unceremoniously circa 1995 when I'd left for college and my parents had some visitors with a kid who "couldn't sleep in my room".  Apparently they found it "scary".

In theory some of the contents were preserved during the re-do of my room, but they didn't survive the purging of my old stuff pending the sale of my folks' house before they moved to Austin.

most of high school I was riddled with acne, so I don't know how I look so fresh-faced here

Saturday, September 16, 2017

St. Vincent - "New York"

Lookout. Swears in the song embedded below.



I am very much looking forward to the release of this album.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

On the 30th Anniversary of Something to do with the band Whitesnake



Original Leaguer JimD challenged me to post something related to the 30th Anniversary of something to do with the band White Snake.  I don't know what it was.  I suppose probably the arrival of their big album, the name of which I cannot recall (I looked it up.  It's "Whitesnake".  Those clever bastards.).

But I owned the tape.

What the kids who think they know about the 1980's misunderstand is that in 1987, the music scene was not all Depeche Mode and LL Cool J.  It was lots and lots and lots of "hair bands", Phil Collins, Whitney Houston and Gloria Estefan.  But, wow, were there a lot of hair bands.  Like, all @#$%ing day long on the MTV, it was a bunch of guys with terrible, teased hair.

I was never much one for Motley Crue or whatever, and I really wasn't into:  White Lion, Great White, or even White Snake.

But in that Year of Our Lord, 1987, what White Snake had that nobody else had: Tawny Kitaen

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Crawford Watch: Humoresque (1946)



As mentioned, I'm listening a bit to the You Must Remember This podcast during my commute, and moved on to a 6 episode run on Joan Crawford.  One of the topics covered toward the end of the series is how much of an impact Mommie Dearest (starring Faye Dunaway as a cartoonish Crawford) had on the popular conception of Joan Crawford, surpassing the image the actress had worked tirelessly for decades to make herself a star and retain her star status for decades past those of her contemporaries.

Humoresque (1946) should probably be thought of as a John Garfield picture, first and foremost.  He's certainly got the most screentime and the longest character arc.  The actions of the other characters in the film are focused upon what focused on their relationship to Garfield.

He plays Paul Boray, a violinist who rose from working-class roots in the streets of New York to become a national sensation within the high-class world of classical performance.  The film is a melodrama, no doubt, and an examination of a man of extraordinary talent and passion and the women in his life, including the girl-next-door, his mother and the wealthy society woman who elevates him from nothing to star status, but who carries an incredible amount of baggage.

Musical Watch: Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)


Everyone has the idea of the 1930's big, splashy movie musical in their head thanks to clips used in other movies and television, and I'd argue that Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) is the platonic ideal of this sort of film.  I really don't know much about what was going on at the real Ziegfield Follies or on Broadway in the 1930's, but it seems that what Hollywood was doing at this point was bringing over the basic template of fluffy stories about two young lovers trying to make it work as the excuse for a lot of song and dance.  But with the ability to put the camera wherever they wanted, visionaries like Busby Berkeley would redefine what audiences could expect in regards to cinematic spectacle.

Produced at Warner Bros. (I know, I had to triple check it wasn't from MGM), the movie stars a lot of those names you hear about from Hollywood's Golden Age, but who I haven't seen in that many movies.  Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler...  and certainly other players who were the "that guy" actors of their day.

All in all, the movie is a bit of fun and nothing too challenging to the audience, storywise.  Light comedy interspersed with those unbelievable visuals of dozens of dancers creating geometric patterns or almost surreal visuals (20 cops on rollerskates chasing a baby).

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Disco Watch: Saturday Night Fever (1977)



It's difficult to say how or why I wound up watching all of Saturday Night Fever (1977) on a Saturday night.  I will also very quickly disabuse you of the idea that I watched the movie ironically.  After roommate CB showed me the movie in college, I realized it's actually a straight up decent movie about a young man realizing what is and is not important as he crosses the threshold from youth into adulthood.

With disco.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Musical Watch: Pennies From Heaven (1981)




It's literally impossible to imagine this movie getting made in the last ten years.  A studio film that's a musical wherein the leads are actually lip-synching to mostly tin pan alley versions of 1930's era songs, and, by the way, it's more or less a depressing late-1970's story that maybe is deconstructing the conventions of the movie musical.  Cheerfully titled Pennies From Heaven (1981) and starring the lovable duo from The Jerk, Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters.

We wanted to see it as The Alamo Drafthouse had included clips in the La La Land pre-show as a modern musical we might not have seen.  And I was curious why I had heard of the movie, but it's not discussed much and I don't recall anyone ever telling me to check it out.

I think if I'd been clued into any of this before the movie, I might have enjoyed it more than I did.  But I spent the first thirty minutes trying to figure out what I was even looking at, and then adjusting to what they were doing.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saying Good-Bye Double Bill: Star Wars (1977) and Singin' In The Rain (1952)


Before the year (and my break) ended, I wanted to watch a couple of films as we say good-bye to a pair of women we're all going to miss.

No write up.  It was actually great seeing them both in their pivotal roles again.  We'll have these films forever, even if we've lost the women who made them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Debbie Reynolds Merges With The Infinite


Actor, singer and dancer Debbie Reynolds has passed.  This would be something we'd cover under any normal circumstance, but, of course, Reynolds was also the mother of actor and author Carrie Fisher who left us just yesterday.  We can only imagine the tremendous loss Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourde, is experiencing at this moment.  She has our sympathies.

Reynolds is most famous for her part in Singin' In the Rain, one of the best remembered musicals of any era in Hollywood (and a heck of a film).  A few years back she appeared in Behind the Candelabra, a Liberace biopic, playing Liberace's oft-referred to mom. She was honestly pretty great.

Here's one of the show-stoppers from Singin' In the Rain, with Gene Kelley and Donald O'Connor.



Sunday, December 25, 2016

George Michael Merges With The Infinite



Utterly shocking if it weren't 2016 - today we found out that George Michael, the famed pop singer, had passed at the age of 53.

A lot of other people are going to memorialize Michael better than I could.  As much a singer and entertainer, the last couple of decades I've been impressed with how Michael pushed back on the MTV machine and made it through when his personal life was exposed in an era when coming out of the closet was something that could kill your career.

I liked some of George Michael's songs despite the fact he wasn't exactly in my wheelhouse, but my favorite was always Freedom! '90.  That's one of his "doesn't matter your genre of choice" songs.  It's just solid.

Let's remember George Michael today by wrapping up Christmas Day with some of his best.






Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)



We'll sign off for Christmas Eve with Darlene Love performing her classic "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)".

I've said it before and I'll say it again - seeing Ms. Love perform this live was one of the greatest live music experiences of my life.

Merry Christmas.  May we have peace on Earth and goodwill to all.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Musical Watch: La La Land (2016)



The fact that La La Land (2016) even exists may be the most stunning thing about it.  In a movie that should draw out superlatives about near every aspect of the film, that in an era of pre-awareness and Oscar Bait that usually equates to "who can tell the saddest kinda true story (but we cut so much stuff out)?" filling theaters in December - really, it's astounding to see anyone financing something there's no guarantee anyone will show up to see.  While Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are two of the best of their generation, the era of "star power" guaranteeing a hit is long over.

Hollywood still puts out the occasional musical, adapting a Broadway show here or there (example - Chicago or Hairspray), or the forthcoming melding of CG and live action with Beauty and The Beast.  Moulin Rouge may be the last original musical, and that was a collection of pop songs sung in period dress.

But this is a new movie, not an adaptation.  It's a fantasy of Los Angeles as the epic backdrop large enough for the widescreen adaptation of lives as they play in our heads, saturated in Technicolor, all the other players happy background roles as we cast ourselves as the protagonists in the romantic, astounding story of our lives.  And that's more than okay.

Before we even get started, I'm curious what JAL has to say on this film, as I thought of him many times during and afterwards as I've worked on this write-up.

Look, I don't know much about dating.  It's been a while - but if you're looking for a movie to see with someone you just started seeing?  Hot tip:  La La Land.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Your Signal Watch Christmas Playlist 2016


Christmas is a holiday that impacts all the senses.  Twinkling lights, the smell of wassail, the chill of the air against the skin, the taste of peppermint.  Sleigh bells, of course.  And, man, the music.

I have my Christmas favorites.  White Christmas, Rudolph, and a surprising number of non-secular songs I sang growing up Lutheran.  If you've never been to candlelight service on Christmas Eve to sing Silent Night, you're missing out on a great, not-often-mentioned holiday tradition.

But this isn't a list of my favorite Christmas songs.  If it were just a list, it'd be quite long, and kind of pointless.  A playlist needs to be curated.  It's the heir to the mixtape.  Song content and order need to work together.  It can't just be your holiday tunes on shuffle (although serendipity can create some amazing combinations).