I was raised on oldies and classic rock. That’s what my dad listened to. Those were the mixtapes he made for me growing up. That’s what I listened to. Incidentally, he also facilitated me discovering my own tastes when he introduced me to Weird Al Yankovic. I started reading the liner notes on Yankovic albums, figured out what songs he was parodying, and my interests spun out from there. But the Weird Al story is a song for another time. This is a story about me furthering my musical interests with weird shit. Weird shit like Daft Punk.Continue reading “Daft Punk: A Fond Farewell To a Huge Influence”
I knew the day would come soon enough. While not having the national reach of Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, Family Video has been a Midwest mainstay for the past 40 years, and a regular stop during weekly errands throughout my adult life. The news they’re closing their remaining locations hit me especially hard last week.Continue reading “A Farewell to Family Video”
I know much of the western world is deeply saddened by the news of George Carlin’s passing earlier today. I am in particular. He wasn’t just my favourite comedian. He was the reason I got into comedy in the first place. I got my hands on one of his tapes way back when I was a wee lad, say around 6 years of age. It was “FM&AM”, if I’m not mistaken. I was six, so I didn’t get a lot of the jokes, but he was making the audience laugh. And from then on, I was hooked on stand up. Loved it ever since. I’ve seen numerous specials and plenty of live shows. And thankfully, last year, I got to see Carlin down in Escanaba.
He was a brilliant comedian. Words were his instrument, and he was the Eric Clapton of comedy. And he wasn’t about quips, one liners or insults. He was about dissecting the language and the absurdities of it. He didn’t need to be profane, but because the dirty words were part of our language, they were part of his act. He could do 10 minutes on the word shit. In fact, I’m pretty sure he did.
He got his start in the late 50’s, hosting a radio show with Jack Burns. He did several TV appearences and live shows. This is an early one of his from the Smothers Brothers way back in ’68.
He was a frequent guest and guest host on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He was the first ever host of a little program called Saturday Night Live.
This link takes you to the first part of “FM & AM.” I can’t embed the video, but I can link you to it. You can listen to the entire album, and you should, it is fantastic.
This link takes you to the first part of “Toledo Window Box.” Again… no embedding, but I can link you to it. Listen to the whole thing, it too is fantastic.
But I can give you a few of my favourite bits.
Carlin’s Revised 10 Commandments:
And I can’t do this post without posting…
The comedy world, and indeed the world itself is saddened by his unfortunate passing. He will be missed.
I’ve been shying away from movie reviews this week, not because I don’t have one to review. I do, it’s Horton Hears A Who!, I give it 3.5 stars, it was a delightful flick. But the reason is… well one, I’ve got a lot going on this week, don’t ask, it’s pretty heavy shit. Two, I really wanted to get that Freaks and Geeks piece done, and I lazed a bit over the weekend. Three, it’s Tarantino’s birthday today.
This is a big deal for me. It’s not like I know the guy, or have a man-crush on him or anything. The man-crush is saved for Clooney. But I do idolize the man. He, along with two other filmmakers, are the reason I love movies so much. The other two being Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith.
I remember always having an interest in film. Sitting down and watching films with my parents was always fun for me.
But it was… I want to say right around my freshman year in high school that I really started getting into films as a hobby/passion.
One day I went to the library, got all three Godfathers and there went my weekend. But the big red letter day came when my mom got a Blockbuster account. I had a short list of flicks I had always wanted to see, and after she got what she wanted, she let me get a few I wanted. They were out of Empire Records, so I went with Clerks. and Pulp Fiction. I think I also got Mallrats. Thankfully my mom was pretty clueless about those flicks and said “Sure, we can get these.”
I went home and popped in Clerks first. Right away, I knew I was watching something that was meaningful or important. At that point, I didn’t really have the perspective to grasp why, but I knew it. It was something. And I had just become a part of it. Then I went with Mallrats and Pulp Fiction. In the few days we had them, I must have watched each several times over. At one point my mom walked in during the “My girlfriend sucked 37 dicks!” scene, and was disgusted to say the least. But I just laughed.
After that I got online, to the 1999 edition of IMDb, and read up all I could on the maestros who created such wonderful works of art. And at that point, Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith became my heroes.
A year later I caught Desperado early one morning on HBO or something. And that too blew my mind. Because it was a western, but different. That wasn’t my dad’s western, the John Wayne/Clint Eastwood flicks. This was fuckin’ different.
But I really got into these cats, Tarantino, Smith and Robert Rodriguez. At 12-14 years of age, these were flicks that were unlike anything I had ever seen before. And it was just… holy shit.
Then I started reading up on them, anything I came across online about them, I read. Any book I could find, I got. I own a copy of the script for Pulp Fiction. And I read it. Over and over. One day at Hastings I sat down with Rodriguez’s Rebel Without a Crew, read about half of it there in the store, then purchased it.
I own copies of scripts by all three. I own movies, soundtracks, memorabilia. It’s just… these guys are why I love movies.
And here’s why: Above all else, above being directors, writers, producers, editors, actors, musicians, what have you, above all of that… they’re fans. They got into it because they love film. They still do it, because they love film. They got into the game on their own terms, and they continue to operate on their own terms.
So as a fan, they’re filmmakers I can respect. They love what they do, and that shows in what they make. They make they’re films, and if you didn’t like it… too bad, it wasn’t made for you. It was made for the cats who did like it. Cause they’re gonna get it.
I came across this, and I suppose it’s only fitting since it’s Tarantino’s birthday. Happy 45th, Q!
And then there’s this video, which for me, was like… if heaven were real… this is what it would be like.