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NBC explains KISS to old people, 1977
07.31.2015
09:56 am
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From Kiss’s 1977 special edition Marvel comic. They said that drops of the band’s own blood had been mixed in with the ink.
 
Gimmicks get a bad rap, and the music snobs who supposedly abhor them tend to be very inconsistent in their denouncements. No one would talk shit on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ manic voodoo schtick for example (unless, I guess, they’re just openly anti-fun). Likewise, “serious” music nerds love bands like The Spotniks, and “Swedish science fiction bluegrass surf” is about as “novelty act” as you can get. But mention KISS in a Pitchfork crowd and you will inevitably encounter at least one disdainful scoff—if not the entire room—but if you can’t appreciate a man in glam rock alien makeup vomiting blood onstage, I feel sorry for you. Take this 1977 NBC mini-doc—“Land Of Hype And Glory”—as your cautionary tale.

The piece starts with scenes from a carnival, which is actually a decent metaphor for the band (carnivals are fun! People love carnivals, and people love KISS!). But the narration goes for the P.T. Barnum angle—“there’s a sucker born every minute”—implying that KISS fans are somehow being swindled by enjoying a sensational live show. (Fun and entertainment? Whatta bunch of suckers!) The reporter goes on to ask the band if they’re “bludgeoning rock to death,” and interrogates Gene Simmons on KISS’ “less-than-average” music. Simmons is quick to point out that their songwriting is intended to be “accessible,” rather than “self-indulgent.” Intended as a denunciation of hype, the entire feature comes off as a besuited old man scolding a group of professional showmen who aren’t taking themselves too seriously.

You don’t have to be a fan, but KISS are dumb, loud and easy, and if you can’t appreciate that, you’re really missing something fundamental about rock ‘n’ roll. And now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to run away before I am pelted by Sleaford Mods and Brian Eno CDs…
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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07.31.2015
09:56 am
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‘HARDTalk with Alan Moore’: excellent interview with comics legend by BBC News
04.16.2012
02:20 pm
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HARDTalk is an in-depth interview program from BBC News, something akin to Larry King Live with a sit down, face-to-face, half hour format (perhaps there’s a better reference point here, but my knowledge of American news broadcasters is limited.) In this edition, which aired last week, host Stephen Sackur talks to Alan Moore, who may be a hero to many but is still a fringe presence in this kind of mainstream news setting.

Moore has nothing in particular to promote, so this isn’t a kiss-ass puff piece, and being a “serious” show there is no talk of magic and mysticism. Instead, Sackur picks issue with Moore’s characterisation of the comics industry as gangsters, and has pertinent questions to ask him about the subjects of his works Lost Girls and V For Vendetta. Moore responds very well to being taken this seriously, answering with an unusual frankness and striking honesty:

HARDTalk with Alan Moore (part 1)
 

 
HARDTalk with Alan Moore (part 2) is after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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04.16.2012
02:20 pm
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A decade before ‘60 Minutes’, ‘The Mike Wallace Interview’ defined intelligent TV

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“My role is that of a reporter.” – Mike Wallace on the debut of The Mike Wallace Interview
 
With the death yesterday of TV journalist Mike Wallace at age 93, we’ve already seen many remembrances of him as the man who—along with producer Don Hewett—created the American institution we know as 60 Minutes in the tumultuous American year of 1968. It’s impossible to short-change Wallace’s 38-year legacy as both gate-keeper of that show and pioneer of the “gotchya question” interview technique that defines much of our current news media landscape.

But it behooves us to also have a good look at the man’s stint as the host of The Mike Wallace Interview, the spartan and penetrating late-night program that broadcast nationally from 1957 through 1960. Wallace was 18 years into a broadcast career (mostly as a radio announcer and game show host) as he launched the show based on Night Beat, a similar and more groovily-named program he’d hosted locally in New York a couple of years earlier. During the show’s tenure, he brought a fascinating array of folks to the American public eye, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Pearl Buck, Eric Fromm, Lily St. Cyr, Aldous Huxley and many others.

Besides its solid bookings and now-surreal-seeming live-ads for its benevolent sponsor Philip Morris, TMWI distinguishes itself with a bare-bones visual setting to focus viewer attention on the substance of the personalities interviewed. Dare I say the only two journalists I can think of who’ve truly adapted the show’s black-background format with similar grace and talent are Charlie Rose and Dangerous Minds’ own Richard Metzger.

Do yourself a favor and check out the digitized collection of interviews from the first two years of the show that Wallace donated to the Ransom Center at the University of Texas. Meanwhile, here’s Wallace throwing down with a 54-year-old Sal Dali on death, religion, politics and the fact that “Dali is contradictory and paradoxical in any sense.”
 

 
After the jump: more Wallace vs. Dali…

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Posted by Ron Nachmann
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04.08.2012
05:18 pm
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Gil Scott Heron was right - the Revolution will NOT be Televised


 
So I’ve been trying to sum up how I feel about Occupy Wall Street and the media coverage (or non-coverage) of the demonstrations the last few days, when I found this clip and realised that one of the most brilliant poets of the last hundred years had already summed it up perfectly. Of course.

I was gonna say that the oldstream media has been over for me since 2000, when I saw some peaceful protests badly misreported on TV and in the papers. I wanted to mention how my obsession with this summer’s “Murdochgate” sprang from a desire to see the established news channels I detest so much crumble, to lose all respect with their audience through their refusal to cover a story with such huge significance. I’ve been struggling to express how we don’t need validation through a mainstream that has always ignored us or deliberately misrepresented us, that people shouldn’t worry too much, the message is getting out there loud and clear.

But fuck it. Gil Scott Heron beat me to the punch (hard) thirty years ago. 

This incredible recording of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (as a spoken monologue with no music and some ad libs) is from 1982. It was performed at the Black Wax Club in Washington DC, as part of a documentary film on Scott Heron called Black Wax. His voice is a thing of rich, easy-going beauty but his words are like dynamite. Yeah, the times and technology may have changed, but this is still so prescient and just so damn relevant it’s amazing.

Gil Scott Heron died only four short months ago, and it’s a real pity he can’t be around now to see the people of his home town out on their streets and taking direct action, how he can’t be there himself to rally the crowds with this incredible monologue and share his no doubt sharp-as-a-pin insights into politics and society. It’s true - sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. But we DO still have this recording, and I hope that everyone, including all the people involved with the protests in New York, gets to hear it.

Because the revolution will NOT be televised.

THE REVOLUTION WILL BE LIVE.
 

 

You see, a lot of time people see battles and skirmishes on TV and they say
“aha the revolution is being televised”. Nah.
The results of the revolution are being televised.

The first revolution is when you change your mind about how you look at things, and see there might be another way to look at it that you have not been shown.
What you see later on is the results of that, but that revolution, that change that takes place will not be televised.

After the jump “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (Black Wax monologue) transcribed, plus footage from the fantastic Gil Scott Heron “Black Wax” documentary/live film.

 

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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10.02.2011
02:30 pm
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MC ‘Single D’ Starkey does The English Riots Rap


 
Last week the British historian David Starkey got into a lot of trouble on BBC’s Newsnight by claiming that the English riots were caused by “Black” rap culture and praising the notorious politician Enoch Powell. As could be expected his views were jumped on by the far right British National Party, and there has since been a public outcry that many think spells the end of the broadcaster’s career.

Now YouTube user sweetbabyjesus has uploaded a great cut-up video turning Starkey’s statements on the news program into actually quite a passable little rap tune - for an English historian.
 

 
There’s also a sequel called “Even Starker”, you can watch it here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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08.16.2011
12:15 pm
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