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Archive for the ‘Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 26, 2019] MST3K Live

I didn’t realize it was exactly one year ago that I went to the previous MST3K Live experience.  How funny.

I have enjoyed both of the two previous MST3K Live shows quite a bit.  So when it was announced that they were going to do it again and this time it was going to be in New Brunswick instead of Glenside, PA, I got tickets right away (and wound up in the third row).  I only wish I had picked the other side of the stage, because Joel and the bots did their movie watching from over there.

I have been very lucky to have gotten two movies each time I’ve seen the performance.  It seem like a lot of locations get only one movie.  I’m not sure why I’ve been so fortunate.  (And State Theatre offered a discount if you bought seats for both movies!).

Last time the riffing was done by Joel Hodgson and Jonah Ray as well as many of the actors from the show.

This time things were very different.

Jonah Ray was not there.  Nor was Rebecca Hanson as Synthia Forrester.  And of course, no Felicia Day nor Patton Oswalt (not even on video).

But the big announcement was that this was going to be Joel Hodgson’s last MST3K Live tour.  I don’t know if that means there will be more, or if this is the end of them entirely. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BEST COAST-Crazy for You (2010).

I really enjoyed the Best Coast concert that was downloadable from NPR.  I liked it enough for me to rethink my initial skepticism about this album.  But I have to say that I fall into a minority in that I really don’t like this album all that much.  In concert, the band is loud and raucous–the songs are poppy but they have a kind of growly edge and a punk veneer, and singer Bethany Cosentino has a sneer to her cutesy lyrics that gives them a nice edge.

But all of that is missing from the album.  In fact, to me this album sounds like a long-lost relic of girl groups from the 60s.  And, blasphemy as it may be, I just do not like girl groups from the 60s.  I hate the tinny sound and I hate the “my life sucks without a boy” sentiment that most of those songs project.  (I love a good love song, I hate an insecure love song).  And, for the first few songs at least, this album conveys both of those things. 

Nevertheless, there’s a lot I appreciate about this record.  I like that it’s lo-fi.  I like that it’s just the two of them making all this music.  I even like many of the lyrics (the lyrics that Cosentino describes as “about weed and my cat and being lazy a lot”).  I also like that the songs are super catchy and super short ( no songs are over 3 minutes and that most are only about 2 minutes long). 

So even if I don’t love the record sonically, I can appreciate the simplicity and ease of singing along that the album presents.  And there are a few songs on the disc that I do like.  I especially like “When I’m with You” (the bonus song) for being a stupid pop song but somehow transcending the stupidity. 

As for the lyrics.  They are little more than teen girl diary entries, except when they turn into college girl diary entries (and then they turn funny rather than sad).  From a lyrical standpoint I am much more in tune with “Goodbye” (“I lost my job, I miss my mom, I wish my cat could talk.  Everytime you leave the house, everything falls apart”) than with “Boyfriend” (“There’s nothing worse than sitting all alone at home.  And waiting waiting waiting waiting by the phone.  I hope that he’s at home.  Waiting by his phone”).

I guess, overall, there’s just something about California pop music that I don’t like as much as my East Coast bands.  [NYHC rules!].

[READ: September 14, 2011] The Emperor’s Code

Gordon Korman is back helming the series which is set in China. Now, I have seen pictures and movies of things in China, but the real scale of things has never come across to me until reading this book.  Which is kind of sad for me, but it’s really cool for the book.  I knew that the Great Wall of China was huge, but I never knew that it could stretch from Boston to San Diego with extra room at the end.  I never appreciated the kind of training the Shaolin monks undergo (the description of the statue of  Bodhidharma as being well over 750 steps up and taking over an hour to climb really sunk in for me just how big this place is!).  In short, while I know that parts of the story disregard history, the historical parts are fascinating and informative!

Dan and Amy’s first stop is the Forbidden City, where they sign up for a tour.  Dan sneaks out of the tour to enter an area where they think a clue is.  Much like with Pee Wee Herman looking for the basement of the Alamo, Dan Cahill looks for the attic of the Forbidden City.  And he finds it.  And then he is caught by guards.  But this little preview of Dan and Amy working separately doesn’t quite prepare us for the massive change in the series that Korman is preparing for us.  

Dan and Amy start talking about what the clues means and the fact that they are Madrigals–are they (and their whole family line) really killers?  This leads to much tension which ends with Amy wondering aloud if maybe their parents weren’t good people at all.  Dan and Amy fight and Dan storms off.  And through a series of scary events, he ends up in the clutches of Jonah Wizard (whom we have not seen for a long time).

And thus, for the bulk of the book, Dan is on his own.  Amy, Nellie and Saladin work hard to try to find Dan and maybe even a Clue.  Meanwhile, Dan is with Jonah, thinking that Jonah’s father is trying to contact Amy.  Dan is still pretty angry so he doesn’t really care what Amy is up to (and he believes she is not trying to find him).  But Amy is freaking out thinking of her 11-year-old brother in the most populous, hugest country all alone.  But he’s not alone, he’s got Jonah Wizard, yo.  And for much of the book, Dan lives the high life.  He hangs out with Jonah, plays video games, lives a first class lifestyle and even gets to be backstage to see what it’s like to have tens of thousands of fans screaming at you.  (more…)

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