Monday, January 11, 2016

"THE STARS LOOK VERY DIFFERENT TODAY"

I CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT A SHOCK IT WAS TO LEARN OF DAVID BOWIE'S DEATH.  
My mother has always been a huge Bowie fan so I pretty much grew up listening to his music since I was the size of a little bitty alien.  "THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS" remains one of my top 10 favourite albums.  And Bowie himself has proved to be a major formative influence in my life.  He famously was a chameleon and strove to be a leader and not a follower; to head in directions that were least expected.  Robert Frost's "road less travelled".  Along the way he's managed to create some phenomenal music.  As a woefully inadequate tribute, I thought I'd list my top 10 favourite Bowie songs.  Now, this is a particularly impossible and painful task -- to pick only 10 -- but I've taken my protein pills and put my helmet on.  So here goes . . .

  • 10.  MODERN LOVE
  • 9.   PLEASE MR. GRAVEDIGGER
  • 8.   THIS IS NOT AMERICA
  • 7.   LADY STARDUST
  • 6.   FIVE YEARS
  • 5.   QUEEN BITCH
  • 4.   HEROES
  • 3.   SPACE ODDITY
  • 2.   ASHES TO ASHES
  • 1.   LIFE ON MARS
LIFTOFF!

All I can say is that the world just got a lot less interesting.

THE 2015 PENGUIN AWARD WINNERS

ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF THE 2015 PENGUIN AWARDS!


SONG OF THE YEAR

DO YO DANCE  -  The Family Stone

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

OWL CALL BLUES  -  Tuba Skinny

DUET OF THE YEAR

IT'S ALL GOING TO POT  -  Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard

COVER SONG OF THE YEAR

SHE'S GOT YOU  -  Rhiannon Giddens

Enjoy videos from our winners in the posts below. . .

The Family Stone - Do Yo Dance (Music Video)

Tuba Skinny "Somebody's Been Lovin My Baby" LMF 4/14/15 - MORE at DIGITA...

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard - It's All Going to Pot

Rhiannon Giddens - "She's Got You" | Live at the Grand Ole Opry | Opry

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

MY MOVIE YEAR: THE MARVELOUSLY-MANIACAL HEART-STOPPING FLICKERS PROJECT 2015

THE PAGES ON THE CALENDAR ARE DWINDLING DOWN SO IT'S TIME TO TAKE STOCK OF MY MOVIE-WATCHING IN 2015.  
As we stand at this very moment (and there's still a few days to go in 2015), my total tally of movies watched this year stands at 605 in my MARVELOUSLY-MANIACAL HEART-STOPPING FLICKERS PROJECT of 2015!  As you can see in the picture above, the first movie I watched in 2015 was Mel Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.  Such a funny beginning didn't prepare me for the horrendously trying year I would subsequently have owing to the death of my grandmother at the age of 97 as well as my own multiple health problems.  In such times, I find it particularly necessary and helpful to my own well-being to be able to venture into the world of cinema in order to take my mind off my troubles as well as improving my knowledge and appreciation of the century+ of film history.  I can only say that I gain so much from watching films and I wouldn't want to do without them.  

This year, thanks to letterboxd, I can tell you that my most-watched actor was Sir Christopher Lee.  This seems to be entirely coincidental, however, since the majority of his films I watched BEFORE his death this year; so that was not the reason.  It was the work of Christopher Lee, and not his death, which compelled me to watch 15 of his films this year.  Perhaps fittingly, his good friend Peter Cushing was my second most-watched with 11 films.  The other top-watched stars appear in the picture below:  Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff (10 films each) and Humphrey Bogart (9 films).  And as for most-watched director in 2015, as you can also see below, Jan Svankmajer is shown as my most-watched director - but since his films are short subjects (and I'm only counting features) the honour of my most-watched director must instead go to George Cukor with 6 films!

George Cukor had 6 films (THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, HOLIDAY,  ADAM'S RIB,  BORN YESTERDAY,  IT SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU  and  THE MARRYING KIND).  In second place with 5 pictures each are Martin Scorsese (THE DEPARTED,  GEORGE HARRISON:  LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD,  MY VOYAGE TO ITALY,  PUBLIC SPEAKING and THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT) and William Castle (HOMICIDAL,  THE OLD DARK HOUSE,  13 FRIGHTENED GIRLS,  HOLLYWOOD STORY and  THE FAT MAN). The directors in third place with 4 films each are:  Richard Quine (THE NOTORIOUS LANDLADY,  THE SOLID GOLD CADILLAC,  HOTEL,  and OPERATION MAD BALL), John Huston (THE AFRICAN QUEEN,  ACROSS THE PACIFIC,  WE WERE STRANGERS  and  THE ASPHALT JUNGLE),  Ingmar Bergman (FANNY AND ALEXANDER,  WINTER LIGHT,  THE MAGICIAN  and  SAWDUST & TINSEL), Terence Fisher {ISLAND OF TERROR,  ISLAND OF THE BURNING DAMNED aka NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT,  SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE DEADLY NECKLACE  and  THE MUMMY),  Michael Curtiz (THE WALKING DEAD,  BLACK LEGION (co-directed with Archie Mayo),  THIS IS THE ARMY  and  CASABLANCA),  James P. Hogan (BULLDOG DRUMMOND ESCAPES,  BULLDOG DRUMMOND'S PERIL,  BULLDOG DRUMMOND'S SECRET POLICE  and  ARREST BULLDOG DRUMMOND),  William Wyler (ROMAN HOLIDAY,  MRS. MINIVER,  HOW TO STEAL A MILLION  and  THE CHILDREN'S HOUR), and John Ford (CHEYENNE AUTUMN,  THE LONG GRAY LINE,  THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING  and  THE LAST HURRAH).  Then we come to the films which I saw for the very first time in 2015 that I liked the most.  Not necessarily the greatest films I saw for the first time this year but the one's which I connected with and enjoyed seeing the most.  In no particular order:

(seen above)  I KNEW IT WAS YOU:  REDISCOVERING JOHN CAZALE,  THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY,  LARS AND THE REAL GIRL,  EUROCRIME!: THE ITALIAN COP & GANGSTER FILMS THAT RULED THE 70s,  BRICK,  ROBOT & FRANK,  THE INTOUCHABLES,  EUROPA REPORT,  THE WIND RISES, FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TIME TRAVEL,  PREDESTINATION,  INTERSTELLAR,  THE LUNCHBOX,  THE TRIP,  MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and BEFORE I DISAPPEAR.



KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE,  THE GARDEN OF WORDS,  KUNG FURY,  FILMS OF FURY:  THE KUNG FU MOVIE MOVIE,  LATE AUTUMN,  POLICE STORY,  CARVE HER NAME WITH PRIDE,  MRS. MINIVER,  THE RIVER,  ST. VINCENT,  LAST HURRAH FOR CHIVALRY,  RIKI-OH:  THE STORY OF RICKY,  REWIND THIS!,  MAD MAX FURY ROAD,  THE BATTERY and BLADE RUNNER.



KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL,  INHERENT VICE,  BELLS ARE RINGING,  WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS,  THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA,  DONKEY SKIN,  PICKPOCKET,  LES DAMES DU BOIS DE BOULOGNE,  FANNY AND ALEXANDER,  NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH,  A MAN ESCAPED,  ONE WONDERFUL SUNDAY,  AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON,  WHAT HAPPENED MISS SIMONE?,  FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER and ANT-MAN. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

King Size Special: 175 Jack Kirby double-page spreads

THE 2015 PENGUIN AWARD NOMINEES

"WHAT'S THAT BACK THERE?"
 "That's the year, mate."  "What, you mean it's over already?"  "S'right, mate.  Where ya been?"  Well if that's the way the calendar chooses to act, then I suppose I've got no alternative but to announce the nominees for the 2015 Penguin Awards.

SONG OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

ALL OF THIS AND NOTHING - Dave Gahan and Soulsavers
BLACK MAMBO  -  Glass Animals
BLACKSTAR  -  David Bowie
CHATEAU LOBBY # 4 (IN C FOR TWO VIRGINS)  -  Father John Misty
COME A LONG WAY  -  Indigo Girls
DANGEROUS  -  Big Data featuring Joywave
DO YO DANCE  -  The Family Stone
IT GONNA COME  -  Melody Gardot
KANSAS CITY  -  The New Basement Tapes
MAKE YOU BETTER  -  The Decemberists
2 HEADS  -  Coleman Hell
UNFAIR WEATHER FRIEND  -  Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard
WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU  -  The New Basement Tapes


ALBUM OF THE YEAR NOMINEES


CURRENCY OF MAN  -  Melody Gardot


DJANGO AND JIMMIE  -  Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard


I LOVE YOU, HONEYBEAR  -  Father John Misty


LOST ON THE RIVER  -  The New Basement Tapes


OWL CALL BLUES  -  Tuba Skinny


TOMORROW IS MY TURN  -  Rhiannon Giddens


WHAT A TERRIBLE WORLD, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD  -  The Decemberists


DUET OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

IT'S ALL GOING TO POT  -  Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard
UNFAIR WEATHER FRIEND  -  Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard


COVER SONG OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

DON'T LET IT TROUBLE YOUR MIND  -  Rhiannon Giddens
EV'RYBODY WANTS TO BE A CAT  -  Charles Perry
I WAN'NA BE LIKE YOU (THE MONKEY SONG)  -  Fall Out Boy
SHE'S GOT YOU  -  Rhiannon Giddens
SUMMERFLY  -  Screaming Orphans

Friday, December 18, 2015

THE BUTCHER'S BILL 2015

EVERY DECEMBER, AS THE YEAR DRAWS TO A CLOSE, I LOOK BACK ON THOSE WE LOST DURING THE PREVIOUS 12 MONTHS. 

Jeff Golub, guitarist
Donna Douglas, actress  "The Beverly Hillbillies"
Mario Cuomo, NY Governor
Little Jimmy Dickens, singer  "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose"

Rod Taylor, actor  "The Time Machine", "The Birds"
Curtis Lee, singer  "Pretty Little Angel Eyes"
Andrae Crouch, gospel singer
Samuel Goldwyn Jr., producer  "Secret Life of Walter Mitty", "Master and Commander"
Taylor Negron, actor/comedian  "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
Brian Clemens, screenwriter  "The Avengers", "Thriller"

Anita Ekberg, actress  "La Dolce Vita"
Kim Fowley, songwriter/producer
Pauline Yates, actor  "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin"
Barrie Ingham, actor  "Dr. Who and the Daleks", "A Challenge for Robin Hood"
Joe Franklin, radio/TV host
Rod McKuen, poet/singer/songwriter  "Jean", "Seasons in the Sun"
Geraldine McEwan, actress  "The Love Letter", "Marple"

Lizabeth Scott, actress  "Strange Love of Martha Ivers", "Dead Reckoning", "I Walk Alone"
Don Covay, singer/songwriter  "Chain of Fools"
Bob Simon, TV journalist  "60 Minutes"
Gary Owens, announcer/actor  "Laugh-In", "Space Ghost"

Louis Jourdan, actor  "Gigi", "Dracula", "Letter from an Unknown Woman"
Lesley Gore, singer  "It's My Party"
Clark Terry, jazz musician
Barry Newbery, production designer  "Doctor Who"

Leonard Nimoy, actor  "Star Trek", "In Search Of"
Lynn Borden, actress  "Dirty Mary Crazy Larry"
Albert Maysles, director  "Grey Gardens", "Gimme Shelter"
Eugene Patton, performer "Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, "The Gong Show"
Fred Fredericks, cartoonist  "Mandrake the Magician"
Terry Pratchett, author  "Discworld"
Ib Melchior, screenwriter  "Death Race 2000", "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"
Irwin Hasen, cartoonist  "Dondi", "Wildcat",  "The Flash", "Green Lantern"
Andy Fraser, musician/songwriter  "All Right Now", 'Every Kinda People"
Samuel Charters, author  "The Country Blues"
Gregory Walcott, actor  "Plan 9 From Outer Space"
Chuck Bednarik, football player  "Philadelphia Eagles"
Ivo Garrani, actor  "Black Sunday"
John Renbourn, guitarist  "Pentangle"
Cynthia Lennon, author/first wife of John Lennon
Bob Burns, drummer  "Lynyrd Skynyrd"
Tom Towles, actor  "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", "House of 1,000 Corpses"
Richard Dysart, actor  "The Thing", "Being There", "L.A. Law"
Ben Powers, actor  "Good Times"
Milton DeLugg, musician/composer  "Orange Colored Sky"
James Best, actor  "The Dukes of Hazzard", "The Killer Shrews"
Ray Charles, choral director  "Ray Charles Singers"

Stan Freberg, comedian
Geoffrey Lewis, actor  "Salem's Lot"
Herb Trimpe, comic book artist  "The Incredible Hulk", "Thor", "Wolverine"
Percy Sledge, singer  "When A Man Loves A Woman"
Rex Robinson, actor  "Dr Who - The Three Doctors", "Dr Who - Monster of Peladon", "Dr Who - The Hand of Fear", "Yes Minister"
Richard Corliss, film critic "Time"
Jayne Meadows, actress  "Undercurrent"
Jack Ely, singer  "Louie Louie", "The Kingsmen"
Suzanne Crough, actress  "The Partridge Family"

Ben E. King, singer  "Stand By Me"
Ruth Rendell, author
Errol Brown, singer  "Hot Chocolate"
Elizabeth Wilson, actress  "9 to 5"
Grace Lee Whitney, actress  "Star Trek"

B.B. King, singer
Robert Drasnin, musician/composer  "Voodoo"
Twinkle, singer  "Terry"
Anne Meara, comedian/actress
John Nash, mathematician  "A Beautiful Mind"
Tanith Lee, author  "Blake's 7"
Reynaldo Rey, actor  "Friday"
Betsy Palmer, actress  "Friday the 13th", "Mr. Roberts"
Jean Ritchie, folk singer
Alberto De Martino, director  "The Blancheville Monster"

Richard Johnson, actor  "The Haunting"
Pierre Brice, actor  "Mill of the Stone Women"
Vincent Bugliosi, attorney/author  "Helter Skelter"
Mary Ellen Trainor, actress  "Lethal Weapon", "The Monster Squad",  "The Goonies"

Christopher Lee, actor  "Horror of Dracula", "The Wicker Man"
James Last, band leader
Dusty Rhoades, wrestler
Ron Moody, actor  "Oliver"
Ornette Coleman, jazz musician
Gladys Mars, beloved grandmother
George "Foghorn" Winslow, child actor  "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", "Monkey Business"
James Horner, composer  "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", "Titanic"
Laura Antonelli, actress  "Til Marriage Do Us Part", "The Innocent"
Blaze Starr, stripper
Magali Noel, actress  "La Dolce Vita", "Amarcord"
Dick Van Patten, actor  "Eight Is Enough", "High Anxiety"

Patrick Macnee, actor  "The Avengers"
Jack Carter, comedian
Leonard Starr, cartoonist  "Little Orphan Annie"
Irwin Keyes, actor  "House of 1,000 Corpses"
Michael Masser, songwriter  "Theme from Mahogany", "Saving All My Love For You"

Omar Sharif, actor  "Dr. Zhivago", "Lawrence of Arabia"
Roger Rees, actor  "Cheers", "Robin Hood - Men In Tights"
Olaf Pooley, actor  "Doctor Who:  Inferno"
Aubrey Morris, actor  "The Wicker Man", "A Clockwork Orange"
Alex Rocco, actor  "The Godfather"
Alan Kupperberg, comic book artist  "Spider-Man", "Thor", "Iron Man"
Tom Moore, cartoonist  "Archie"
E. L. Doctorow, author  "Ragtime"
Theodore Bikel, actor  "My Fair Lady", "Fiddler on the Roof"
Lynn Anderson, singer  "Rose Garden"

Roddy Piper,  wrestler/actor  "They Live"
Cilla Black, singer
Coleen Gray, actor  "The Killing", "Nightmare Alley", "Kiss of Death"
Herbert Wise, director  "I, Claudius"
Mark Sheeler, actor  "From Hell It Came"
George Cole, actor  "Gone to Earth", "Belles of St. Trinian's", "The Vampire Lovers"
Susan Sheridan, voice actress  "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
Frank Gifford, football player/TV commentator
Stephen Lewis, actor  "Last of the Summer Wine", "On the Buses"

Julian Bond, activist/politician
Bud Yorkin, director/producer  "All in the Family", "Maude", "Sanford and Son"

Yvonne Craig, actor  "Batman", "Star Trek"
Melody Patterson, actor  "F Troop"
Oliver Sacks, author  "Awakenings"

Wes Craven, director  "The Serpent and the Rainbow", "Nightmare on Elm Street"
Alan Steel, bodybuilder/actor  "Hercules Against the Moon Men"
Dean Jones, actor  "The Love Bug"
Judy Carne, actor  "Someone at the Top of the Stairs", "Laugh-In"
Rico Rodriguez, musician  "The Specials"
Martin Milner, actor  "Sweet Smell of Success", "Adam-12", "Route 66"
Dickie Moore, actor  "Our Gang", "Out of the Past"
Franco Interlenghi, actor  "I Vitelloni", "Shoeshine"
Brian Sewell, art critic
Jackie Collins, author  "The Bitch"

Jack Larson, actor  "The Adventures of Superman"
Mario Caiano, director/screenwriter  "Nightmare Castle", "My Name Is Shanghai Joe"
Yogi Berra, baseball player/manager
John Guillermin, director  "The Towering Inferno", "Death On the Nile", "I Was Monty's Double"
Catherine E. Coulson, actress  "Twin Peaks"
Frankie Ford, singer  "Sea Cruise"
Chantal Akerman, director  "Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles"
Billy Joe Royal, singer  "Down in the Boondocks"
Paul Prudhomme, chef
Gail Zappa, trustee  "Zappa Family Trust"
Derek Ware, stuntman/actor  "Doctor Who", "The Italian Job"

Joan Leslie, actress  "High Sierra", "Yankee Doodle Dandy"
Bruce Hyde, actor  "Star Trek"
Cory Wells, singer  "Three Dog Night"
Peter Baldwin, actor  "Coronation Street"
Mark Murphy, jazz singer
Murphy Anderson, comic book artist  "Zatanna", "Superman", "Green Lantern"

Setsuko Hara, actress  "Tokyo Story", "Late Spring", "The Idiot"

Maureen O'Hara, actress  "The Quiet Man", "Miracle on 34th Street"
Betsy Drake, actress  "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?"
Al Molinaro, actor  "Happy Days", "The Odd Couple"
Charles Herbert, actor  "13 Ghosts", "The Fly"
Fred Thompson, actor/U.S. Senator  "Die Hard 2", "
Kenneth Gilbert, actor  "Dr. Who:  The Seeds of Doom"
George Barris, custom car designer  "Batmobile", "Munster Koach"

Gunnar Hansen, actor  "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
Helmut Schmidt, former Chancellor of West Germany
Allen Toussaint, musician/songwriter  "Working in a Coal Mine", "Southern Nights"
Phil Taylor, drummer  "Motorhead"
Warren Mitchell, actor  "Till Death Do Us Part", "Hancock's Half Hour"
P.F. Sloan, singer/songwriter  "Secret Agent Man", "Eve of Destruction"
Rex Reason, actor  "This Island Earth", "The Creature Walks Among Us"
Jim Perry, TV game show host  "Card Sharks"

German Robles, actor  "El Vampiro", "The Vampire's Coffin"
Anthony Read, screenwriter  "Doctor Who"
Robin Stewart, actor  "Bless This House", "Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires", "Cromwell"
Arthur Brooks, singer  "The Impressions"
Cynthia Robinson, musician  "Sly and the Family Stone"

Anthony Valentine, actor  "Callan"
Gabriele Ferzetti, actor  "L'Avventura", "Once Upon a Time in the West"
Scott Weiland, singer  "Stone Temple Pilots"
Robert Loggia, actor  "Scarface", "Big"
Nicholas Smith, actor  "Are You Being Served"
Martin E. Brooks, actor  "The Six Million Dollar Man", "The Bionic Woman"
Kurt Masur, conductor
Patricia Elliot, actor  "The Green Slime"
Brooke McCarter, actor  "The Lost Boys"
George Clayton Johnson, writer  "Logan's Run", "Twilight Zone", "Star Trek"
William Guest, singer  "Gladys Knight & the Pips"
Meadowlark Lemon, basketball player  "The Harlem Globetrotters"

Lemmy, singer  "Motorhead"
John Bradbury, drummer  "The Specials"
Wayne Rogers, actor  "M*A*S*H*"
Natalie Cole, singer  "This Will Be", "Unforgettable ... With Love"

Thursday, December 03, 2015

DECEMBER WITH THE SUPER-HEROES

THE FINAL INSTALLMENT OF OUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY POSTS.  All this year, during the 10th anniversary of this blog, I've been posting each month's classic art from Marvel and DC Comics' 1970s calendars. . .and here is the last one:  December.


The Incredible Hulk guides Santa's sleigh in this final page from Marvel's mighty 1975 calendar.


Superman plays Santa Claus in this 1976 entry from DC's calendar featuring artwork by Neal Adams & Dick Giordano (including Adams pencilwork of some Justice Leaguers in the background).


The Mighty Avengers join George Washington crossing the Delaware in Marvel's Bicentennial calendar entry from 1976.


The Big Red Cheese (or Captain Marvel to you) battles Sivana at the Parthenon from DC's 1977 calendar


And in our final entry of the year, the Legion of Super-Heroes battles Toyman from DC's 1978 calendar.

Thank you for being here for the 10th year of this blog . . . and all these calendar pages make me look toward what the new year will bring.