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Waiting For the Firesign Theatre or Someone Like Them
10.15.2009
11:58 pm
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Word of mouth “buzz” should prove strong for reunited comedy icons The Firesign Theatre’s four evening run at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater after Wednesday’s well-received opening night. Performing some of their “greatest hits” including the complete librettos for fan favorites “Don’t Crush That Dwarf Hand Me the Pliers” and their debut record 1968’s “Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him,” the troupe were in fine form, winning two standing ovations from the wildly enthusiastic audience. The second act consisted of scenes from “Anythynge You Want To: Shakespeare’s Lost Comedie” which the group has been working on and retooling for several decades and an appearance by their most popular character, Nick Danger, “America’s Only Detective.”

More from The Calendar: The Firesign Theatre returns to its Los Angeles roots

Here’s an extraordinary performance of the Nick Danger adventure Frame Me Pretty from an 1981 episode of Evening at the Improv:
 

 

The Firesign Theatre’s “Forward Into the Past”
Where: Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.
When: 8 p.m. Oct 14 to 17
www.firesigntheatre.com

Cross posting this item from Brand X

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.15.2009
11:58 pm
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Samuel Beckett Speaks
10.14.2009
05:41 pm
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Footage of Beckett speaking is incredibly rare, so I was thrilled to stumble across this extended clip from ‘87’s Waiting for Beckett: A Portrait of Samuel Beckett.  In it, the playwright discusses the video production of “What Where.”  Beckett died two years later.

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds: Snape Does Beckett

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.14.2009
05:41 pm
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In Praise Of Oliver Reed
10.14.2009
02:03 pm
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Back in my Z Channel days, no actor seemed to show up more often—or was more welcomed by me—than England’s late great Oliver Reed.   In his 40-year career, Reed made nearly 100 films ranging from The Brood, The Devils, Tommy, Burnt Offerings, to the film that killed him (in a Maltese pub, of course), Ridley Scott’s Gladiator.

I think even as a kid, I was able to identify Reed’s onscreen appeal.  It’s the same element missing from so many of today’s career-focused actors: joy.  Reed loved performing, loved having an audience.  As might be expected from the man who once famously said, “My only regret is that I didn’t drink every pub dry and sleep with every woman on the planet,” Reed loved life, loved living it, and he clearly planned to squeeze from it every possible drop of pleasure, pinball wizards and haunted houses be damned.

Even “King of Cool” Steve McQueen proved no match for the Oliver Reed lifeforce.  The story goes that McQueen flew to London to discuss a project.  Putting business aside for a bit, the pair went on a marathon pub crawl which resulted in Reed vomiting on McQueen.  The project was never consummated.

Fortunately, we have all those many great films to remember Reed by.  But now, thanks to YouTube, we can revisit some of his more memorable small-screen performances.  Reed was a frequent, frequently drunk, guest on television both here and in the UK.

In a testament to the saccharine and stage-managed nature of our current talk show landscape, witness below as Reed gropes feminist writer Kate Millett on British TV’s After Dark.  Thanks to After Dark’s supplying of Reed with a “booze buffet” before and during taping, what starts out as a sober-minded discussion on militarism, masculine stereotypes, and violence to women, soon devolves into something else:

 
And that’s just the mesmerizing endpoint to an escalating, tour de force Reed workout you can watch in its entirety here: I, II, III.  But even on the dog-and-pony circuit this side of the Atlantic, Reed was no more willing to dilute his behavior.  His face-off with David Letterman follows below:

 
Bonus I: Oliver Reed drunk on Aspel and Company

Bonus II: Drinking With Oliver Reed

(Thank you, Chris Campion!)

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.14.2009
02:03 pm
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Forward Into the Past: The Firesign Theatre Returns to Its Los Angeles Roots
10.08.2009
10:56 am
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I have a short article in the Calendar section of today’s Los Angeles Times. It was clear to me when I read what my editor there, Dean Kuipers, added to my original draft that he, too, was a big Firesign Theater fan:

The Library of Congress called the Firesign Theatre “the Beatles of Comedy” when its 1970 album “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” was selected for the National Recording Registry.

An apt comparison, considering that, along with contemporaries Monty Python in Britain, the searing and psychedelic satirical troupe helped invent a literary brand of album comedy that lodged itself in the culture of college students across the country. The group paved the way for later arrivals such as Cheech & Chong, “Saturday Night Live” and Second City.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of one of its most popular characters, detective Nick Danger, Third Eye, the four-man troupe makes a rare local appearance next week, performing Oct. 14 to 17 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre with a new show, “Forward Into the Past.”


Read the entire article at the Los Angeles Times

Tickets on sale for the Firesign Theatre show in Los Angeles next week here

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.08.2009
10:56 am
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Kobe’s Gigantor Finally Unleashed!
10.07.2009
02:43 pm
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For what seems like days now I’ve been waiting for the official unveiling of Kobe’s true-to-scale statue of one of my childhood cartoon heroes, Gigantor (Tetsujin).  Like many of the stories I gravitated to back then, it was about a boy and his subservient robot.

More memorable than the cartoon, though, was Gigantor’s American theme song, whose cover by The Dickies was celebrated both here and in the UK.  You can watch their live version here, but in honor of the big guy’s unveiling, why not check out the original?

 
Kobe Tetsujin Officially Unveiled

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.07.2009
02:43 pm
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It’s Firesign’s World, We Just Live In It! Proctor and Bergman Part 2
10.07.2009
12:48 am
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(Part 1 is here) In which Philip, Peter and Richard discuss the upcoming Firesign Theatre shows in Los Angeles (buy tickets here), the future, conspiracy theories and why everything you know is wrong, the health care debate and why the birthers are actually right about one thing: Obama IS an alien (from outer space. Peter’s got the proof).
 

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.07.2009
12:48 am
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He’s Still the Great Gore Vidal, But Boy Is He Cranky
10.06.2009
08:30 pm
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(Above, Gore Vidal visits “Mary Hartman” (Louise Lasser) in the mental hospital on the Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman soap opera)
 
I have revered Gore Vidal my entire life. He’s a great writer and he’s a great American, perhaps THE great American gadfly amongst men of letters. The older he gets, the more spiteful he becomes about the state of this country. Interviews with Vidal in recent years fall into one of two categories, sometimes they’re terribly amusing, but alarming, other times just alarming. Lately, he’s really letting it rip. He’s 83, why should he pull any punches? In this long interview from London, a cranky Vidal holds forth on the Obama presidency with a jaundiced eye:

Gore Vidal is not only grieving for his own dead circle and his fading life, but for his country. At 83, he has lived through one third of the lifespan of the United States. If anyone incarnates the American century that has ended, it is him. He was America’s greatest essayist, one of its best-selling novelists and the wit at every party. He holidayed with the Kennedys, cruised for men with Tennessee Williams, was urged to run for Congress by Eleanor Roosevelt, co-wrote some of the most iconic Hollywood films, damned US foreign policy from within, sued Truman Capote, got fellated by Jack Kerouac, watched his cousin Al Gore get elected President and still lose the White House, and ?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.06.2009
08:30 pm
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No Apologies for the Truth: Rep. Alan Grayson Cedes No Ground to the Republicans
10.02.2009
03:45 pm
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I love this guy! Keep it up Congressman Grayson!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.02.2009
03:45 pm
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Julius Shulman’s Visual Acoustics
10.02.2009
03:12 pm
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I’m very much looking forward to Visual Acoustics, the 7-years-in-the-making documentary on Julius Shulman.  As today’s NYT says:

Julius Shulman, the prolific architectural photographer who died in July at 98, benefited in equal measure from talent and timing.  He was, of course, a gifted, inventive photographer; his introduction of real people into architectural images is considered groundbreaking.  But he also lived and worked in midcentury Los Angeles, an epicenter of Modernism and a canvas for architects like Richard Neutra, Pierre Koenig and John Lautner, whose landmark houses Mr. Shulman captured.

Since he was based primarily in Los Angeles, expect to see glorious photographs of buildings that no longer remain.

 
In the NYT: The Lens That Loved Modernism

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.02.2009
03:12 pm
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Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg Bicker Over the Soul of Humanity
09.30.2009
09:16 pm
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Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg, as God and the Devil, debate the legacy of the Sixties on Absolutely Fabulous, in a clip that is perhaps the greatest creation of all human endeavor ever.

Posted by Jason Louv
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09.30.2009
09:16 pm
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