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The Scientology Apocalypse: They’re not leaving in droves, ‘there aren’t any droves left to leave’
09.20.2013
07:57 pm

Topics:
Television

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ygolotneicshcruhc.jpg
 
Investigative reporter Mark Ebner has a new haircut. He has gone for the military look. It’s all part of a would-be ruse to infiltrate the Church of Scientology, pop down to their “Super Power Building” in Clearwater, Florida, and deliver a subpoena to “Scientology dictator” David Miscavige.

As regular DM readers will know, I am big fan of the brilliant Ebner, and he is in rollicking good form on this edition of Media Mayhem, “Leah Remini and the Scientology Apocalypse.” Here, with host Allison Hope Weiner, Ebner discusses why Remini quit Scientology, the inside story on Miscavige’s influence on Tom Cruise, the “Super Power Building” fraud, ponzi schemes, and the homicides that have been committed by the “cult.”

As Ebner points out Scientology is in crisis, and it’s not just the likes of Remini that are leaving: to say people are leaving the Church in droves, wouldn’t be right, “as there aren’t any droves left to leave.”
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Louis C.K. says the truest, most profound thing ever said about smart phones
09.20.2013
02:37 pm

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Television

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The man is a gift from the comedy gods, we all know this—but if this isn’t the truest thing ever said about smart phones, then I’ll eat mine.

Louis C.K. you’re in the pantheon of the greats. I salute you, sir and revere your dangerous mind.

No way is my kid getting a smart phone. This settled it in my mind!

From last night’s Conan:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meet Starfish Hitler, the weirdest Japanese TV supervillain of 1970s
09.18.2013
02:16 pm

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Television

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Starfish Hitler
 
I’ve never seen it, but from every indication the 1974 Japanese TV series Kamen Rider X was quite a doozy. Kamen Rider means “masked rider,” and the show was part of a popular “tokusatsu superhero” series created by one of the most prolific practitioners of the genre, Shotaro Ishinomori. The show revolved around the valiant efforts of the technology-fueled, motorcycle-riding, insect-themed hero to battle the malign machinations of the villainous organization G.O.D.

In “Underworld’s Dictator, Starfish Hitler!!”—the 26th episode of the series, which lasted a single season—Kamen Rider tangles with a superhero that terrifyingly combines the deadly powers of the starfish (??) with the legendary whup-ass martial arts prowess of the singular Führer of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler.
 
Kamen Rider
Kamen Rider
 
Remarkably, Kamen Rider’s fight against Starfish Hitler was scarcely out of the ordinary on Kamen Rider X. According to “Niko” at the blog Sick Chirpse, Kamen Rider also confronted “Ant Capone,” “Spider Napoleon,” and “Rhinoceros Beetle Lupin,” the latter being a combination of a rhinoceros beetle and the fictional gentleman thief Arsène Lupin.

Among the episode titles from that season are “The Terrible Genius Human Project!” “Scary! It’s G.O.D.‘s Cat Disguise Operation!!” and “Scary! Humans are Being Made into Books!!” I really need to see this show!

The random weirdness of Starfish Hitler has generated a bit of a cult online—there’s even a heavy metal tribute to him.

In 2012’s FDR: American Badass!, DM pal Jesse Merlin portrayed “Werewolf Hitler.”

Previously on Dangerous MInds
Mongolian Nazis music video is off the WTF scale!
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Roll over, Shakespeare!’ The Beatles take on the Bard, 1964
09.16.2013
02:04 pm

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Music
Television

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The Beatles do Shakespeare
 
In 1964 Great Britain celebrated the 400th birthday of William Shakespeare. In 1964 one subject on everybody’s mind was The Beatles, who had become a nationwide sensation the previous year. It was obvious: Why not combine the two?

That’s exactly what happened on a show called Around The Beatles, which seems to have been a variety show with many musical segments. For the Shakespeare bit, the concept was to peform the rude mechanicals’ performance of the “play within a play” about Pyramus and Thisbe from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paul plays Bottom/Pyramus, John plays Flute/Thisbe, George plays Starveling/Moonshine, and Ringo plays Snug/the Lion. The show was taped and aired the same week as Shakespeare’s birthday—and, as it happens, his death day (they’re the same: April 23).
 
Mad Magazine makes fun of the Beatles
Mad Magazine uses Shakespeare to twit the Beatles, 1965

The following comes from Way Beyond Compare: The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy, Volume One, 1957-1965, by John C. Winn:

April 28, 1964

Following days of rehearsal, Around the Beatles (at least, the portions requiring the Beatles’ presence) was apparently filmed in just over an hour this evening.

-snip-

[Then comes] the Beatles’ Shakespearean debut, performing the “play within a play” from act V, scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paul and John take the roles of doomed lovers Pyramus and Thisbe, hamming up their parts enjoyably. Ringo plays the fierce lion, while George is Moonshine, complete with “lanthorn,” thorn-bush, and dog.

They stick to the general outline of the Bard’s text, altering the dialogue when necessary. ‘Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am/A lion-fell, nor else no lion’s dam; For, if I should as lion come in strife/Into this place, ‘twere pity on my life” becomes “Then know that I, one Ringo the drummer, am; For, if I was really a lion, I wouldn’t be making all the money I am today, would I?” Members of [the backing band] Sounds Incorporated fill in for Theseus, Demetrius, and Hipployta, interrupting the “play” with heckling comments, such as “Roll over, Shakespeare!” and “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Eventually, their constant interruptions ad the scereams of the audience become distracting, but seeing a golden-wigged and deep-voiced John tell Paul “My love thou art, I think” makes it all worhwhile. The “lovers” conclude with “Thus Thisbe ends: Adieu, adieu, adieu,” segueing into “I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside.”

 
Paul does a very serviceable job as Pyramus; the same is true of George as “the Moon”—and the atmosphere in the room could hardly be better, with tons of playful, even collegiate call and response between the performers and the audience, who seem to be in a very intimate space. John, as Thisbe, wore a ridiculous blond wig and had blackened out one of his front teeth. Ringo as the lion is simply hilarious.

According to Barry Miles’ The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years, Paul later named his cat Thisbe. The Around The Beatles TV special also marked the first UK television appearance of P.J. Proby.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
If ‘Breaking Bad’ was set in the UK it would be entirely different story
09.13.2013
12:10 pm

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Politics
Television
U.S.A.!!!

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Brought to you by artist Christopher Keelty.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Sesame Street’ Yip Yip leggings
09.12.2013
03:36 pm

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Amusing
Fashion
Television

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Not sure I would personally wear these, but an A+ for Black Milk‘s creativity with these Yip Yip leggings.

Below, an oldie but goodie: Yip Yips get all gangsta with “Ante Up” (NSFW):
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:

The Steve Buscemi dress
 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Las Dilly Sisters: The Shaggs of Mexico?
09.09.2013
03:20 pm

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A girl's best friend is her guitar
Television

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There’s precious little that I could find out about Las Dilly Sisters, a singing duo comprised of two young Mexican girls who often appeared on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. As readers of a certain age will recall, the Mariachi moppets chirpy repetitive songs were used on the program like maddening musical water torture.
 

 
But when Las Dilly Sisters wanted to rock, they could rock out like the best of ‘em, as heard here on their curious—but freakin’ genius—cover of The Standells’ “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White”(!)

Whoever had the idea for them to sing this, I salute you. This song appears on volume 3 of the legendary Girls in the Garage comps.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The legendary Toronto production of ‘Godspell’ that had half the cast of SCTV in it
09.09.2013
08:07 am

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Music
Television

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Program, Godspell Toronto production
 
Godspell, the musical version of several biblical parables with music by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak, was a spectacle perfectly suited for its times. It was a hippie version of the Bible, complete with a clown concept, and it was jam-packed with great, hummable songs. Having originated at Carnegie Mellon University, it debuted in 1971 off-Broadway in New York City at the La Mama Experimental Theatre Club on the Lower East Side before moving to the Cherry Lane Theatre and the Promenade Theatre—it closed in 1976 after a whopping 2,124 performances.

The Toronto production of Godspell opened at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1972, with an expectation of running for just a few dozen performances. It was a massive hit as well, closing more than a year later after 488 performances. That production is legendary for the budding young talent in the show—including Victor Garber (Alias, Titanic) as Jesus as well as future comedy stars Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Gilda Radner, Dave Thomas, and Martin Short. The show’s musical director was a sassy young fellow named Paul Shaffer.
 
Dave Thomas and Eugene Levy in Godspell
Dave Thomas and Eugene Levy in Godspell
 
Radner, of course, would achieve national fame a few years later when she joined the inaugural cast of Saturday Night Live, while Levy, Martin, Short, and Thomas ended up as the core of an experimental sketch comedy show called SCTV.

There’s an exhaustive website dedicated to the production, and it’s chock full of details. Short and Radner dated during the run, but Short ended up marrying Gilda’s understudy, Nancy Dolman. The show was Gilda Radner’s professional stage debut. Dave Thomas was not in the original cast, but he joined the show near the end of its run.
 
Godspell original cast program
Godspell original cast program
 
Levy later reminisced about Gilda Radner:

The first image of Gilda was at the final audition for “Godspell.” We were all there. They’d narrowed it down to about 80 people. I just remember this girl getting up on stage and singing “Zippity Do Dah” as her song. I remember thinking, “Oh, this poor girl. She’s so cute, but what a terrible song!” [laughs] And the entire room by the end of the song just fell in love with her, she was so adorable. We always referred to her as the “Zippity Do Dah” girl in the beginning. She was charming and sweet and loved to laugh. She went out with Marty Short for most of the run, and Marty was my roommate, so we were all hanging out. I just remember her always being up and loving to laugh.

In 2011 Martin Short and Paul Shaffer were on Seth Rudetsky’s SiriusXM show “Seth Speaks.” After essaying “It’s Raining Men,” Short and Shaffer decide to close the show with a rousing rendition of “Save the People” from Godspell.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Salvador Dali tries his hand at ‘Dynamic Painting’ on ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ 1963
09.08.2013
05:48 pm

Topics:
Art
Television

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Francis Bacon described Jackson Pollock as the “lacemaker,” as he thought Pollock’s Action Paintings looked like the intricacies of fine lacework. The description was flippant, but in it was also the recognition of Pollock’s talent in creating such fluid and spontaneous artwork.

In 1963, Salvador Dali tried his hand at Action Painting, or as he termed it “Dynamic Painting,” on the panel show I’ve Got A Secret. Unlike Pollock, who used oil, enamel and aluminum paint, Dali opted for shaving foam (yes, shaving foam) to create his mini-masterpiece. As one would imagine, the resultant (comic) mess bears little resemblance to the quality of the lacemaker’s work—though I doubt that was ever the intention.
 

 
A longer version with Dali judging the panelists’ paintings, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Before the punk rock comedy of ‘The Young Ones’ Rik Mayall was investigative reporter ‘Kevin Turvey’
09.06.2013
10:24 am

Topics:
Television

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Rik Mayall was fearless. In the early 1980s, when British stand-up comedy was chubby blokes in too tight dinner jackets telling jokes about wives, mother-in-laws and ethnic groups, Rik Mayall would walk on stage, looking like a Bowie-fan circa Heroes and recite poetry about his love for Vanessa Redgrave and the theater. Audiences were aghast and unsure whether Mayall was genuinely an angry socialist poet ranting about theater or some kind of bizarre amateur stand-up comic taking time out from his sociology degree.

Mayall was part of the disparate group of comics who were filed under “A” for “Alternative Comedy.” Ye olde comics didn’t like these cheeky young comics, because they didn’t have punchlines, and couldn’t understand why younger audiences found them funny.

From the Comedy Store in London, these Alternative comics made their early appearances on shows such as the rather excellent Boom Boom Out Go The Lights, which launched Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Keith Allen, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson, and (the sadly forgotten) late-nite-live entertainment series, Friday Night, Saturday Morning, hosted by amongst others, the avuncular Ned Sherrin, the man responsible for That Was The Week That Was and producing musicals like Side-by_Side by Sondheim. Friday Night, Saturday Morning gave air time to Mayall and Edmondson (as Twentieth Century Coyote) and The Outer Limits (Planer and Richardson). These four would later regroup with Keith Allen, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, and Robbie Coltrane as The Comic Strip Presents… for Channel 4 in 1982.

Yet, before all that, and even before Rik and co. “kicked in the doors of British comedy” with The Young Ones in 1982, Mayall starred as intrepid investigative Redditch reporter Kevin Turvey on A Kick Up The Eighties—the show which launched Tracy Ullman, Robbie Coltrane, and Mayall, alongside more established actors/performers Miriam Margolyes, Roger Sloman, Ron Bain and Richard Stilgoe. Produced by comedy supremo, Colin Gilbert for BBC Scotland, A Kick Up The Eighties was a mix of Alternative and traditional comedy, which set the tone for other sketch shows such as Naked Video, and (to an extent) even Ben Elton’s Alfresco (with Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Siobhan Redmond and Robbie Coltrane).

The stand-out segment of A Kick Up The Eighties was Mayall’s superb “Kevin Turvey Investigates” which presented one of the most brilliant, original and hilarious comic creations of the 1980s. The character’s success led to a one-off “mockumentary” The Man Behind the Green Door in 1982, which starred, Mayall as Turvey, with Coltrane as Mick the lodger, Ade Edmondson as Keith Marshall, and Roger Sloman as the park keeper. The story-line is simple: Kevin investigates what’s going on around in his hometown, Redditch. The answer is “not a lot.”

It’s an astonishingly original piece of television that prefigures the style of shows like The Office, and it still retains its comic brilliance more than 30-years later. Enjoy!
 

 
Bonus clip of Rik reading his angry poetry, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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