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‘Game of Thrones’ Hodor door stoppers
10:55 am


Game of Thrones
door stoppers

Okay, so I’m going to have to keep this post spoiler-free for all you Game of Thrones fans who haven’t seen the latest episode yet. All I’m going to do is park this delightful Hodor door stopper right here without explanation and let you all know it’s available on Etsy for $25.00. You can get it here.

I’ve found other Hodor door stoppers (featured below) but I have no idea if they’re available for purchase yet.



via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘American Horror Story’ tarot cards
01:02 pm


American Horror Story

‎Ligne claire whiz Derek Eads has concocted a gorgeous tarot set for fans of FX’s creepy shudder-fest American Horror Story.

Using the stately Art Nouveau AHS typeface and precise red/white/black drawings on a muted dark slate gray background, Eads has wittily taken some of the gore and shock out of the familiar cast of bone-chilling monster (and their victims).

In the deck, Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) from season 2 occupies the role of Judgement, while The Hermit is the “pinhead” Pepper from seasons 2 & 4 (Naomi Grossman); triple-breasted Desiree Dupree from season 4 (Angela Bassett) is the Chariot, and Iris the hotel clerk from season 5 (Kathy Bates) is the Hierophant. Eads changed the title of season 5’s Elizabeth Bathory (Lady Gaga) from Countess to Empress, whereas the High Priestess is journalist Lana Winters from season 2 (Sarah Paulson).

There’s no better choice for the Devil than season 3’s Papa Legba (Lance Reddick), and the AHS may have had a tarot deck in mind when they introduced the winged Angel of Death (Frances Conroy) in season 2.

The rest, we’ll let you figure out for yourself.

You can purchase the full set from Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles for just $25.

The Fool/The Magician

The High Priestess/The Empress
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Of punk rockers, Bad Brains, CBGB & ‘Quincy’: Charming local news segment on hardcore, 1982
10:36 am


Bad Brains

This is another one of those fun, seen-in-retrospect “time capsules” about how allegedly scary punk rock was supposed to be, whilst presenting footage of kids who seem anything but scary. Misfits? Sure. Scary? No.

The time was pinpointed by one of the people interviewed as either 1982 or 1983. The segment was from something called called “2 on the Town” and I’m gonna guess that this was something seen on the local CBS affiliate in New York at the time. Dig the “Let’s Get Physical” location of the host wraparound. Instead of using an actual hardcore punk soundtrack, for some (bad) reason, they decided to cut it to David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors. Despite this, there’s a choice clip of the Bad Brains and a look at the sort of explosive melee they inspired. We also see a bit of the infamous “punk” episode of Quincy followed by some disgruntled teenage commentary about it.

There’s even an interview with a cool mom!

See it after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Smashing Pumpkins—very early on—live for an hour on a local Chicago TV show, 1988

Smashing Pumpkins
What you are about to see is some pretty incredible early footage of the Smashing Pumpkins performing songs from their first demo tape on a local Chicago television show, The Pulse back in 1988.

While the producer of The Pulse Lou Hinkhouse had heard the buzz on the street regarding the band, he hadn’t yet heard their music. Corgan had just moved back to Chicago from Florida after ditching his gig as the vocalist and guitarist of The Marked. After meeting up with James Iha, the two started writing music together with the help of a drum machine (much like his days with The Marked), and were soon doing live gigs around Chicago. Corgan then hooked up with bassist D’arcy Wretzky and the Smashing Pumpkins became a trio. After some urging, Corgan ditched the drum machine and enlisted a human timekeeper, Jimmy Chamberlin. Hinkhouse was “blown away” by the demo and immediately contacted Corgan (who was just 21 at the time), and asked if the band would perform on the show’s “Basement Jam” segment.

A 21-year-old Billy Corgan
With only a few live gigs under their belt, the Pumpkins agreed to Hinkhouse’s proposal and in the footage below you will see and hear the band perform nine songs, “There it Goes,” “She,” “Under Your Spell,” “My Eternity,” “Bleed,” “Nothing and Everything,” “Jennifer Ever,” “Death of a Mind (that would later be called “Sun” on the 1991 album, Gish),” and the blistering track, “Spiteface.” According to Corgan, during this early time period when the band was still developing their own sound, they were heavily digging on the melancholy sounds of “sad-rock” being made by bands like The Cure…

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
This ‘Twin Peaks’/‘Clue’ mashup board game needs to be mass produced like NOW
12:28 pm


Twin Peaks

Very much like “Monopoly,” the enduringly popular board game “Clue” (known as “Cluedo” in the civilized world) has goosed its sales by offering niche-y special editions, mostly for franchises with heavy geek appeal—Firefly, Harry Potter, D&D, Game of Thrones, even that god damn Big Bang Theory crap. But somehow the gaming world has been mighty lean on Twin Peaks tie-ins. I searched in vain for board games, card games, video games, anything. I find this baffling—a murder mystery with a massive ensemble of odd characters would seem a natural for a board game, but evidently the only one that ever existed was regarded very poorly and is now a bit difficult to come by, even in internetland.

So I would Kickstart the absolute living hell out of this: way back in 2007, a Craftster forum user by the handle of “riverwatson” posted a detourned Twin Peaks version of “Clue,” renaming the conservatory, kitchen, study et al things like “The Red Room,” “One Eyed Jack’s,” “The Palmer Residence,” and subbing the show’s characters in for Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard. (I hope it goes without saying that Laura Palmer is Mr. Boddy?)


More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
We’ve been expecting you: George Harrison’s charming ‘Crackerbox Palace’ short directed by Eric Idle
02:32 pm


George Harrison
Neil Innes
Eric Idle

George Harrison’s 1976 hit “Crackerbox Palace,” the second single from his Thirty Three & 1/3 album, is one of those vaguely worded songs (Sample lyric: “Sometimes are good . . . sometimes are bad. That’s all a part of life”) that could be just about anything. It’s a happy little tune that you could project just about any happy thoughts onto while you hum along.

In actual fact, the song was written about his visit to the Los Angeles home of the great Beatnik comic, Lord Buckley, after a chance meeting with Buckley’s former manager George Grief in France. Harrison was a big admirer of Buckley (as was Frank Zappa) and thought the name of his house would make a great song title. The song includes references to both George Greif (“I met a Mr. Greif”) and to his Lordship (“know that the Lord is well and inside of you”).

Monty Python member Eric Idle directed a promo film for “Crackerbox Palace” that was shown on SNL (along with another for “This Song”) that featured Neil Innes (in drag and in other weird costumes). Harrison appeared—as himself and as “Pirate Bob” his sea-shanty singing alter ego—on Idle and Innes’ BBC Rutland Weekend Television, on the show’s Christmas special.

A compilation of Harrison’s bits on the ‘Rutland Weekend Television’ Christmas special
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Snorting Coke with the BBC’: A tabloid romp through the BBC’s most notorious drug scandals
04:30 pm



In a past life I made documentaries for television. These were mainly hour long arts films on artists like Francis Bacon and Virginia Woolf, or what was then described as “factual entertainment” shows on celebrities, their obsessions and misdemeanors—these ranged from Peter Sellers to Freddie Mercury. One of the many tabloid tales was a romp through the stories of four BBC presenters and their unfortunate dabbling with a Class A drug.

Called Snorting Coke with the BBC this documentary is small fry compared to the scale and horror of recent scandals that have engulfed the BBC since—see DM passim. The program focused on four highly successful presenters whose lives were unraveled by a liking for the sherbets.

These four men were:

Frank Bough—a likeable, avuncular, seemingly very, very ordinary breakfast time host who had a secret life enjoying the pleasures of drugs, cross-dressing and S&M dungeons.

Richard Bacon—another highly likeable, pleasant, young children’s presenter who was grassed up about having a snort after a night out with friends.

Angus Deayton—an acerbic, witty, actor-cum-quiz show host whose private life almost destroyed his career.

Johnnie Walker—a legendary radio DJ who was ensnared by a fake sheik journalist in a very underhanded sting.

Like most—or at least many—of the people who work in the media, this quartet had sampled the delights of powdered goods. Unfortunately for them—they were caught out in lurid and rather unfair tabloid exposes.

By being caught, these four individuals placed the BBC in a very difficult position. In many respects, the Beeb was being led by the nose (ahem) on how to respond to their stars’ misdemeanors.

The names may not be well known outside of the UK—but that honestly doesn’t matter as the stories are interesting, well-explained and still have a certain relevance to today.

This is how broadcaster Channel 4 described the program on its release in August 2003:

Snorting Coke with the BBC takes a wry look at some of the most highly publicised cases of BBC TV and radio celebrities caught using drugs and examines the attitude of the media towards their behaviour, their subsequent fall from grace and, in some cases, their rehabilitation. Frank Bough, Johnnie Walker, Richard Bacon and Angus Deayton are the stars featured as the circumstances surrounding their dismissal from the BBC are examined. Along with their cocaine use, Frank, Johnnie and Angus were caught in various sexually compromising positions, raising questions about the connection between drugs and sex.

The programme looks at the reaction of their employers, their colleagues and the press to what happened, asking if their response was at times an over-reaction, or if there were inconsistencies in the way that they were dealt with.

Amongst those interviewed are journalists, presenters and media commentators (including the now ubiquitous Piers Morgan and current CEO of the New York Times, Mark Thompson) who all discuss the BBC, the media and their relationship to drugs.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Church: Watch a gorgeous performance by the Aussie New Wave youth group, 1981
09:59 am


The Church
Australian TV

A single for The Church's 1981 track, The Unguarded Moment
A single for The Church’s 1981 track, ‘The Unguarded Moment.’
I don’t think that Australian music television show Countdown could have picked a better backdrop for The Church to perform in front of for one of their most memorable songs—“The Unguarded Moment” from their 1981 album Of Skins and Heart—than a stage rigged with lighting that resembled church-style stained glass. The 35-year-old footage is really quite surreal.

A shot of Steve Kilbey on the churchy-looking stage of ‘Countdown’ in 1981.

In his 2014 autobiography, Something Quite Peculiar, Church vocalist Steve Kilbey, (who also hosted Countdown himself a few times) recalls how that very performace on made such an impact overnight that people were turned away at the door of at their gig the following eveing, as the venue was quickly (and quite unexpectedly) packed to capacity. Kilbey also fondly refers to the early days of The Church’s career as his “halcyon days” thanks to the rather sudden fame the band experienced back in 1981 (as they had only formed the year before). I saw The Church (along with The Psychedelic Furs) last year and can personally vouch that Steve Kilbey’s voice is still as swoon-worthy as it was to my ears back in 1988 when I wore out my cassette copy of Starfish listening to “Under the Milky Way” and “Destination” over and over again. If you missed your chance to see one of the 2015 Church/Furs’ string of gigs, you’re in luck as the two bands are set to embark on a new fifteen-show tour of the US on July 15th, 2016.
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Mike Leigh’s ‘Abigail’s Party’: The 70s British cult TV inspiration for Louis CK’s ‘Horace and Pete’
09:39 am


Mike Leigh
Louis C.K.

Louis CK seems to have an inordinate appetite for risk, and his remarkable TV series Horace and Pete, a self-financed, ad-free project Louis uploaded to his website with zero fanfare from the end of January to early April, is a noble attempt to introduce a little fiber into the diet of the American television consumer.

Having put his FXX show Louie on hiatus for a time and with a new contract ready to be signed at that same network, Louis developed an appetite for a TV project that just could not possibly appear on FXX—or anywhere else in the current TV landscape, for that matter. So Louis developed Horace and Pete, a grim, uncompromising 10-episode filmed tragedy of sorts that wouldn’t feel out of place on New York’s Barrow Street. Set in a bar that has seen better days, Horace and Pete was to feature bracing racism, characters that were stubbornly difficult to warm up to, and a dogged insistence on forging its own very stagelike rhythms.

If you haven’t seen the show, it’s worth paying for an episode or two at Louie’s website to get a notion of just how bracing Horace and Pete is. The show features a lengthy roster of America’s top TV actors (Alan Alda, Edie Falco, Steve Buscemi, Jessica Lange) doing some of their best and most serious work in quite some time.

It’s well known that Louis CK put himself in a bit of a financial hole with the Horace and Pete project—such are the ramifications of dispensing with advertising—but CK will probably be OK. The guy seems to function best without a safety net, and he knows it.

At the end of every show, Louis stuck the names Mike Leigh and Annie Baker in his terse list of thank-yous. Baker recently won the Pulitzer for play The Flick and actually assisted with Horace and Pete, but Mike Leigh’s role was more broadly inspirational.

As Louis recently explained on Marc Maron’s WTF? podcast, the whole idea for Horace and Pete came when Louis happened to see a televised version of Leigh’s jaw-dropping 1977 evisceration of suburban banality, one of the classics of British drama of the 1970s, a play called Abigail’s Party.

Horace and Pete is a long and tangled story centering on a bar that has been in existence for 100 years—Abigail’s Party is far more direct, depicting a single disastrous gathering for drinks in some bland suburb of London. Here’s Louis on WTF? explaining how the play sparked his creativity in such fruitful ways (this starts about 14:30 in; I’ve edited out a few superfluous comments for clarity):

I watched a thing called Abigail’s Party. ... Michael Leigh, the filmmaker from England, amazing filmmaker. Largely an improvisational filmmaker. ... like Secrets and Lies, incredible movies. Even Mr. Turner, the more recent one that nobody gave a shit about. ... Naked.

So he was a playwright in the 1970s. ... He wrote a play called Abigail’s Party, and all it is is about four people in the suburbs of London or wherever in England. They’re neighbors, don’t know each other, and they have drinks. Two hours of one scene—four people having drinks. ...

They did a TV version of the play, and this was 1973, and it looked like All in the Family—any show that was shooting back then, Maude or something? ... It looked like a sitcom in that it was shot with multi-camera, you can tell there was somebody live-switching the cameras, and you have four characters talking. ... No audience. That was the thing, and it was funny! I was laughing out loud, and there’s silence. But it’s not silence, it’s a sound stage, there’s a living feeling to it. ...

So when I watched that, I was like, “This doesn’t exist in the American TV diet. It doesn’t exist anywhere.”

And Louis set out to rectify that, post-haste. As he says later, Horace and Pete was to be a “hybrid” in that it would be “episodic like television, but the medium feels like a play, and yet also like a sitcom, in that it will look robust ... multi-cameras, a decent set.”

Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh premiered Abigail’s Party in April 1977, and in November of the same year—two cheers for government-funded television—a recording of the play appeared on the BBC TV program Play for Today. The stage play and the TV play had the same cast, so both centered around a remarkable performance in the key character of Bev, played by the brilliant actress Alison Steadman, who also happens to have been Leigh’s wife at the time (she has appeared in several of his films; the couple got divorced in 2001).

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Movin’ On Up’: How the Black Panthers invented ‘The Jeffersons’

Somewhat like top basketballers before Michael Jordan (thinking of you, Dr. J….) the reputation of Norman Lear’s sitcom The Jeffersons suffered somewhat by poor timing and the shows that came after it. Cheers and Seinfeld are regularly lauded as among the greatest sitcoms of all time, but The Jeffersons, whose impressive 253 episodes were spread across a whopping 11 seasons (1975-1985), never seems to get mentioned with the same respect.

If you eliminate animated series and long-running staples from the dawn of TV history, the longevity of The Jeffersons puts it in a special category with Two and a Half Men (262 episodes), Cheers (275), M*A*S*H (256), Frasier (264), Married ... with Children (258), and Happy Days (255).

At a minimum, The Jeffersons is arguably the greatest put-down show of all time!

And it never would have happened but for an intervention by the Black Panthers.

Norman Lear, creator of a fair portion of the most successful sitcoms of the 1970s, including All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, and Maude, is the subject of an upcoming PBS American Masters telecast under the title “Just Another Version of You,” which is expected to get a theatrical run in the summer before appearing on PBS affiliates in the autumn. Since the 1970s Lear has become more or less synonymous with the introduction of ethnic diversity in American TV as well as the foregrounding of what might be termed a liberal consciousness in televised comedy.

Remarkably, the creation of The Jeffersons was a direct outgrowth of an intervention staged by three members of the Black Panthers political organization at some point during 1974. A trio of pissed-off revolutionaries went to Lear’s office to complain about the “garbage” they were seeing on TV, specifically Lear’s show Good Times, which ran from 1974 to 1979 and focused on a black family in the projects of Chicago. You wouldn’t think that the Black Panthers would object to a popular sitcom calling attention to poverty in urban America, but they wanted to see a broader palette of Black America on TV.

Last weekend Lear visited Dan Harmon’s weekly podcast Harmontown, which is taped live every Sunday at the Nerdmelt Showroom in Hollywood, to promote the American Masters documentary and shoot the shit with a well-known showrunner (Community) from a more splintered era of TV programming, namely, ours. Harmontown tapings are usually attended by GenXers and Millennials, so the appearance of the 93-year-old (!) legend of TV was an unusual event.

‘Good Times’ aired on CBS from 1974 to 1979
At about 42 minutes in, Harmon and his sidekick Jeff Davis engaged Lear on the subject of the beginnings of The Jeffersons:

Harmon: There’s this anecdote, about ... three Black Panthers show up, and come to your office and say, “We want to talk to the garbageman! I wanna talk to Norman Lear, the garbageman!” And they storm into your office, and say, “Good Times is bullshit” ... They read you the riot act ... You credit that moment as starting us down the road towards The Jeffersons. ...

You’re still listening! You’ve already proven that you’re the king of television at that point, and people are barging into your office to call you a garbageman, and you listen to them! And took their feedback and made another great television show, that was great from another perspective.

Davis: What was the Black Panthers’ [complaint]? ... Because they were living in the projects, because they were downtrodden?

Lear: Their big bellyache was, why does the guy have to hold down three jobs and occasionally—in an episode, it almost seems like he’s looking for a fourth—he’s so hungry to make some money to support his family and why can’t there be an affluent black family on television? ... They were pissed off that the only family that existed, the guy had to hold down three jobs.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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