Friday, May 31, 2013

May's Underappreciated Music: James Ray, I've Got My Mind Set On You

This is my first attempt at a new (to me) blog meme, Underappreciated Music, appearing the last Thursday of every month on several blogs, some of which also take part in Tuesday's Overlooked Film/TV. My entry this month is the original version of "I've Got My Mind Set On You," recorded by R&B singer James Ray in 1962, but became a #1 hit for George Harrison in 1987. It definitely sounds like an early '60s R&B tune, because it is, but is as enjoyable as Harrison's fine remake. Enjoy!

For comparison's sake, here is the remake by Harrison.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Classic MTV

I'm currently reading the new book VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave, written by and about the original staff of MTV VJs: Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter, and the late J.J. Jackson. It's a breezy, fascinating read, documenting the early years of MTV from its inception in 1981 to 1987, when this team of VJs moved on from the network. I find it so interesting because their tenure on the network is how most people remember it, before the reality programming took over the channel. I didn't have cable in my house until the fall of 1987, after the original lineup was gone, so I'm unfamiliar with the channel's incarnation, even though it's considered MTV's golden age.

Here, I present a mild recreation of what MTV was like in those days. Here are clips of every one of the VJs, plus a few full length videos and even some promos and commercials. If you were around during the network's glory days, I hope this post leaves you demanding "I Want My MTV!"

Friday, May 24, 2013

List O' Links for Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy your family and friends for an extra day, no matter where you're going or even if you're just staying home. Please take the time to remember those who sacrificed their lives in our wars, as this is why the day exists.

Here are this week's links!

Pop Rewind examines the start-up sounds of Microsoft Windows versions from the very beginning to today's Windows 8. Ah, technological memories!

I'm currently reading and enjoying the new book VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave, written by and about the first crew of MTV VJs. lists 32 facts about the VJs both from the book and new revelations.

The aptly named Network Awesome features a collection of vintage jeans TV commercials from the early 80s. Dig into your closet and put on your old Sergio Valentes!

Freeform FM radio station WFMU has a fantastic blog, featuring such treats as a tribute to the classic 1985 horror film Reanimator.

Finally, my friend Todd Mason at Sweet Freedom showcases some great covers of magazines appearing on newsstands in October 1978.

Have a great and safe holiday weekend!

Friday, May 17, 2013

List O' Links for Friday, May 17th, 2013

Welcome to the weekend, everyone! Enjoy this fine spring weekend with the following fun links.

The broadcast TV networks announced their Fall 2013 schedules this week. TV GUIDE has a handy grid displaying all the schedules here.

Long before the days of Instragram and Flickr, you had to go the extra mile to have your pictures made available to show the world, or at least your social media friends. Such a task may have included a visit to your local Fotomat. You could even rent your favorite movies on VHS there!

Google is implementing improvements to its social media service Google+. Will these changes boost usage of the not-nearly-as-popular-as-Facebook service? We'll see. I have my own page on Google+ and do check it frequently, so if you are a member, feel free to include me in your circles!

Retro-blogger Dinosaur Dracula wrote an article about the cool finds he bought at a Goodwill store--which just happens to be my local Goodwill store!

This should be my theme song--I'm White, I'm Alright.

Finally, Iron Man 3 made boo-koo bucks at the box office in its two weeks of release. Here are 11 things you might not have known about the first Iron Man film.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Street Smart

This week's Tuesday's Overlooked Film is the 1987 drama Street Smart.

Christopher Reeve stars as once promising newspaper reporter Jonathan Fisher, who is looking for a big story to revitalize his career. Deciding to do an expose on prostitution, he hits the streets to investigate, but no one will talk to him. He therefore fabricates a story about a pimp and a murder, which becomes a big success. Unfortunately for Fisher, his phony story too closely mirrors a case involving a real pimp named Fast Black (Morgan Freeman). Both the police and Fast Black close in on Fisher to find out how he knows what he knows.

Reeve wanted to produce and star in this film for awhile but had trouble acquiring financing, until the opportunity to appear in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace came along. Reeve agreed to do Superman only if the producers also financed Street Smart, to which they agreed. The film, released in March of 1987, several months before Superman IV, went nowhere at the box office, but received good reviews, and Freeman was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Here is the film's trailer. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Grand

This week's Tuesday's Overlooked TV is the NBC sitcom Grand.

Grand was a spoof of soap operas, revolving around three families of different economic classes but closely intertwined: the wealthy Weldons, middle class Smothsons, and working class Pasettis. The Weldons owned the Weldon Piano Works (hence the series title) for which the Smithsons worked; single mother Janice Pasetti was the Weldon's cleaning woman.

Similar to previous and more successful sitcom Soap, Grand satirized the usual soap operas tropes while presenting its own story and unique characters, and not all material was comedic. The series infused its characters with heart and weren't necessarily cardboard cutout soap characters.  Unfortunately, poor network management kept the show from developing any momentum with viewers, even though it was a critical hit. The show debuted as a midseason replacement in the winter of 1990 and was canceled right before the end of the calendar year.

The series has been available on DVD before but doesn't appear to be in print now. Online footage is virtually nonexistant, but here is the series theme song. Thanks!

Friday, May 3, 2013

List O' Links for Friday, May 3rd, 2013--Free Comic Book Day Edition!

Hey everybody! For those waiting for part 2 of my Summer Movie Preview, I promise it's on its way. Things  got quite busy this week. However, I couldn't let the week go by without acknowledging that TOMORROW IS FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!! I look forward to this day right after the previous year's event is over. This is the day for comic geeks to get some cool free books and for newcomers to comics to try them out. In honor of this great event, all of this week's links are dedicated to comics in some way. Of course, at this blog, it may not seem different from any other week. To the Batpoles!

Here is the official site for Free Comic Book Day. This will tell you all you need to know about the event and what comics are available.

Don't know where your nearest comic shop is? Fear not! Comic Shop Locator will help you out!

If you're not big on having stacks of paper comics cluttering your house, apartment, car, or other domicile, comics are now available digitally for your computer, tablet, or Smartphone! The biggest digital comic outlets are Comixology, Comics Plus, Dark Horse Comics, and My Digital Comics. Log on and download away!

Shawn Robare discusses his affection for the X-Men at Branded in the 80s.

Do you like Spider-Man? Do you like stamps? Collect Spidey Stamps!

If you're a fan of the Walking Dead TV series, give the comic series a try. And if you'll allow me a shameless plus, visit my Walking Dead-based Twitter feed Zombie Sophia. You can hear a zombie girl say funny things on the Internet!

Finally, actor Wil Wheaton has become a public apologist for nerd culture. Here, Wheaton explains at the recent Calgary Expo 2013 why being a nerd is awesome.

If you do take part in Free Comic Book Day, please remember that, although the selected books are free to the consumer, they are NOT free for the retailer--they still have to pay for all of those books. Please do not just take the free comics and leave. Do your kind comics retailer a favor and pick up a few comics/toys/statues/etc. for sale. Along with the free books, stores also offer great deals on regular merchandise.Free Comic Book Day isn't just about the free comics--it's about getting the public to appreciate and enjoy the entire comics culture. I urge you--go to your local shop, get some free comics, and buy some great stuff. There are items for all ages and tastes.

Have a great weekend! Read some comics!