Monday, March 30, 2015

The Alphabet Game: Music Edition

Hello, and welcome to The Alphabet Game, where I take a look at 26 different things in one common category. This here be the most musical of editions. Have fun.

A is for Abbey Road - So, no respectable list about music can exist without some sort of reference to The Beatles. So why not start with them. It's kind of remarkable when you think about it. As a band, The Beatles were only around for a single decade, and only seven years once they hit it big. The oldest member of the band (Ringo, btw) had not yet reached 30 when the band officially called it quits in 1970. Amazing how they changed music as we know it, and were so young when they did it. Abbey Road was the band's final album recorded together. technically Let It Be came out afterwards, but that album was actually recorded prior to Abbey Road, but not released til after. So there ya have it.

B is for Blondie - One of the seminal punk/new wave bands of the era (they even ushered in the post-punk movement), Blondie was around from 1974 to 1982. Blondie was one of my faves growing up, and front woman Debbie Harry was one of my teenage crushes. Hard rockin' but also with a newer electronic sound, Blondie was the perfect melange of punk rock, pop music, and old style early rock & roll. Oh, and they had Debbie Harry too. Ooh la la. Oh, and I know a guy who actually walked in on Debbie Harry having sex in the CBGB's bathroom, back in '79 or so.

C is for La Cocina - So, my wife and I, and many of our friends, attend a party/salon each and every Friday night. It takes place in someone's kitchen, and has been going on each and every Friday since around 1987. That's right kids! There have even been times when the owners of the house were out of the country, and the party still went on. We all call this weekly event, The kitchen, or la Cocina. There's flamenco music and dancing, and lots of other fun musical doo-dads. Wine flows freely, and a good time is had by all. La Cocina is THE place to be on a Friday night in Harrisburg, Pa, but remember, it is by invitation only. At least your first visit. After that, come all ya want, just make sure your talking is done in the dining room or living room (or front porch) so ya don't bother the actual musicians.

D is for Doo Wop - I have a friend who hates Doo Wop. Seriously hates it. The guy gets angry whenever he hears it. Can't stand the stuff. This is, of course, why I want to play it in front of him.I mean, I like it, so it doesn't bother me, but just start playing the American Graffiti soundtrack around the guy, and watch the fireworks.

E is for Elvis! - Just as much as we can't do a respectable music post without including The Beatles, there is no way we could do one without the King of Rock & Roll himself, Elvis. Thanx to my mother and my aunt, I grew up listening to both The Beatles and Elvis. I remember when the news was released of the King's death. It was a sad day around our house. Probably the most iconic figure in all of music, E is certainly for last name really needed.

F is for 4'33", or: Four Minutes, Thirty-Three Seconds - Avant-garde composer John Cage once composed a musical piece that was exactly four minutes and thirty-three seconds long. What did it sound like, you ask? Well, it sounded beautiful. Seriously, go listen to it now. I'm sure it's online somewhere. Go look it up and listen to the beauty of 4' 33". Yup.

G is for Gainsbourg - Serge Gainsbourg was an interesting man. A singer, songwriter, poet, pianist, actor, director, composer, artist, and all around mad man extraordinaire. The Frenchman was married to English model Jane Birkin, and was involved with Bardot for a bit. He once performed a song called Lemon Incest, with his 14 year old daughter, future actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. Seriously, the guy is fascinating. Go check out his music and such. Go ahead. You can come back to this post later. Go ahead. We'll wait.

H is for The Hollywood Musical - As a born and bred cinephile, one of my favourite cinematic genres is the musical, but more specifically, the old school Hollywood Musical. You know, back in the day when Hollywood knew how to make a musical. From the early pre-code Busby Berkeley ones up through Vincente Minnelli and Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and Stanley Donan and Judy Judy Judy. Films like Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, Bandwagon, 42nd Street, Golddiggers of 1933, Swing Time, Meet Me in St. Louis. Eventually Hollywood started producing bigger and bigger musical fiascoes (Show Boat, Mame, My Fair Lady, Oliver!) and my interest wanes. But back in the day!

I is for Eric Idle - Sure, it was Michael Palin who sang about being a lumberjack, but when it came to songwriting in the Monty Python world, it is Eric Idle who is the queen bee, or Eric the Half-a-Bee, if you will. Other than the aforementioned Eric the Half-a-Bee, Idle is also the man responsible for such songs as The Galaxy Song, The Penis Song, and one of the groups most famous (and should-be Oscar nominee) Always Look On the Bright Side of Life, from Monty Python's Life of Brian. Oh yeah, and teh Broadway musical sensation, Spamalot? Yeah, that's Eric Idle too.

J is for John & Yoko - Christ, ya know it ain't easy. A funny thing about John & Yoko is that it is the name my lovely wife and I use when playing pub trivia. The funnier thing is that she claims she's John, and I am Yoko. I'm okay with that. I don't play into the whole "Yoko broke up The Beatles" mentality. John loved Yoko, and I love Yoko. End of story. They're gonna crucify us.

K is for Kanye - Many say the guy is an asshole, a total douche bag, if you will, and they probably aren't wrong, but recently I decided to open my mind to different things that I had never really delved very much into. One of these things is hip hop. Yeah, the guy's a total douche (even Taylor Swift didn't deserve what he did to her on stage), but his experimental hip hop albums are actually quite fun.

L is for Lila Cheney - And you didn't think I could sneak the X-Men in here. Yeah, ya see, the X-Men have an ally named Lila Cheney. She is a mutant with the power to teleport across galaxies. She also happens to be a rock star across many of these galaxies. Sure, if I wanted to include the X-Men, I could have easily began talking about Dazzler up in the letter D. After all, Dazzler was an actual X-Man, and not just an ally (and sometimes girlfriend of Cannonball) like Miss Cheney. But hey, Lila Cheney can rock any galaxy just as well as Dazzler.

M is for Martha Quinn - Ah, Martha Quinn. I had a huge crush on the Veejay when MTV first came around back in my high school days. This was a time and a place when the M still stood for music. Martha was one of the original Veejays on the network back in 1981. She was just 22 years old when getting the gig, and I was 14, so she was just a bit of an older woman, but the crush was still there.  Martha can now be heard on Sirius XM Radio. Oh, and back in the late 1970's, while at NYU. Martha did commercials, and was the original McDonald's Chicken McNuggets Girl. Top that Nina Blackwood!

N is for Nerd Rock - Hey! I'm a nerd. I like rock. A no-brainer. From R.E.M. to Weezer to They Might Be Giants, Devo, Thomas Dolby, Dead Milkmen, Tenacious D, and Kirby Krackle. Yeah, Nerd Rock is cool. Cool as can be. What of it!? It's hip to be square. Wait, does that make Huey Lewis & the News a Nerd Rock band?

O is for Ocean - Back in my misbegotten youth, my grandparents and I would go to a local diner called Baker's Diner. They still had those old school jukeboxes at each table. The old folks in the crowd know of what I speak. Anyway, one of my favourite songs to play on these jukeboxes (during every single visit!) was the song, "Put Your Hand in the Hand" by the pop/folk band, Ocean. Yeah, it's a religious song (well, sorta) but I liked it anyway. I really miss those old school individual jukeboxes.

P is for Pig Fucker Rock - Okay, I may have made this sub-genre up, or maybe my friend Max did. I don't remember which one of us said it first. Basically, this is a genre of rock music where all the people involved look like they may have fucked a pig at least once in their life. You know, like Primus.

Q is for Questlove - Ahmir Khalib Thompson, better known as Questlove (or Q-Love), is the drummer and sometimes front man for the legendary Roots, and band leader for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, following up his identical gig at late Night With Jimmy Fallon. He is a producer and DJ as well, and a very talented fellow, but his inclusion here has as much to do with his hair, as it does with his aforementioned talent.

R is for Rent - As far as the new musicals go, Rent is one of the better ones. The songs are great and the actors are great (both on stage and in the film, most of whom reprising their roles for said film) but the best thing about the show is Adele, I mean Idina Menzel. The voice, the look, the voice. Fantasteek. I just can't Let it Go. See what I did there? Yup.

S is for Space Lady - Susan Dietrich Schneider, aka Suzy Sounds, aka the Space Lady, started out as a street performer, and came to semi-prominence when she was included on an outside music compilation CD. The nickname Space Lady comes from the musician's alien abduction when she was 20. She does some great covers (her Major Tom is phenomenal) and does many of them on the streets of San Fransisco, dressed in fun and outlandish outfits. At 67. the Space Lady is still at it. I tried to get her to be part of The 11 Question Interview series I do here, but her manager, or whomever he was, kinda cock-blocked me, with demands and worries about her answering all 11 questions. Whatever. I still enjoy her music, if not her manager, or whomever that was.

T is for The Theremin - First put on the market in 1928, the Theremin, named after inventor Leon Theremin, was one of the first electronic instruments. It is played by waving your hand (or other body parts, I assume) around an erect wand. Yup.

U is for Urge Overkill - Urge Overkill may not exactly be a household name, but the band, together (on and off) since 1985, is a hidden gem of rock and roll. They are most famous (if you can call it that) for their cover of Neil Diamond's Girl, You're Be A Woman Soon, which was a major part of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Pretty cool, huh? In fact, Urge Overkill is so cool, no one even knows who they are. They are so cool, that Daniel Clowes, another cool person no one knows (save for maybe Shia Labeouf), drew one of their album covers. Yup.

V is for Vinyl! Vinyl! Vinyl! - Forget CD's. Forget cassettes (just like we all have anyway). Forget online music. Forget the 8-track even. Vinyl is the only true and proper way to listen to music. Well, there's listening to it live, but you know what I mean. Listen to it on vinyl, or not at all. Of course, I could have used this spot to sing the praises of The Velvet Underground, but decided to go all vinyl, vinyl, vinyl, instead. Then again, it could be all about The Velvet Underground on vinyl. Yeah, that's the ticket.

W is for Wilco - Zzzzzzzzzz... Oh sorry, I fell asleep there. Wilco, as critically acclaimed as they may be, have always bored the living daylights outta me. I'm sure their white bread concerts are thoroughly enjoyed by all the typical Caucasians who attend them (I have several friends who are into them), but whenever I hear them, or even hear mention of them, I just fall asl....zzzzzzzzzzzz...

X is for X - X was Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake. They were an L.A. punk/folk band from back in the day. They were one of the seminal bands of their time, even if they are not all that known today. Well, all the cool kids know who they are. Actually they have gotten back together and even did some touring in recent times. I remember, my friend Zuky, while running a regular local poetry reading, tried to get Exene Cervenka to come and read her poetry. But alas, this never did come to fruition. That would have been awesomesauce and a half. Maybe we can still make this shit happen.

Y is for Yankovic, Weird Al Yankovic - Any geek or nerd or whatever, worth their salt, is a fan of Weird Al. This Dr. Demento-inspired comic music genius is just yabba dabba doo fantastic. UHF was a fun movie (yeah, you read that right!), and his songs, from Another One Rides the Bus to Fat to Amish Paradise, are comic gold man - comic gold!

Z is for Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah - A beloved happy-go-lucky song from Disney's rich and fanciful past or a racist diatribe from Disney's ugly hidden past? Um...both? Yeah, most people today have never seen the overtly racist 1946 live action/animation Walt Disney hybrid Song of the South. Although it has never been officially banned, it has lost favour in most circles, and like Amos & Andy, is not seen that much these days. The song itself though, the Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah number, is still sung with glee on many occasions. So Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah-Day!

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Here's a pic of the long gone Bleecker Bob's Records.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A New Monster of a Poll: Pick Your Favourite Universal Monster

Hey kids! I has been some time since we last had a poll here at All Things Kevyn. There was the Oscar Poll in Jan/Feb, but that's an annual thing. You have to delve back to pre-X-Mas to find the Walking Dead Poll. But not to worry poll lovers, because it's back, baby! And this is a monster of a poll. Ha! We've done polls on the best Star Trek Captain. We've done polls on classic (and semi-classic) Marvel superhero teams. Polls on Beatles albums, Star Wars characters, and Scorsese and Tarantino films. Now we are traveling in our way back machine, to take a look at those classic Universal Monsters. Which one do you like best?

You have eight official Universal Monsters from which to choose. These are the big eight. The elite eight, to put it into March Madness terms. These are the pantheon of monsters. You know who they are. Count Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. These are the official Universal Monsters, and your job, here and now, is to decide which one is your favourite. Which one thrills or scares or excites you the most. All you need do is go to the poll, found oh so conveniently near the top of this here blog's sidebar, click on your choice, and vote away. Yup, it's that easy peazy. And after doing that, why not come back over here, and leave a comment or two about your fave (or least fave) Universal Monster...or anything else ya'll might wanna talk about. And please feel free to go ahead and tell every dang person ya know about this poll. It's a-gonna run until midnight on May 11th (with results posted here on May 12th) and we wanna get as many votes as we can during that six-and-a-half wee spread. Remember, vote early and vote often. Ha! Anyhoo, glad to have ya'll here. Now get on over there and vote vote vote! That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Heavenly Body of the Week: Space Station 7

Back in 1959, infamous auteur, Edward D. Wood, Jr., released what is often considered the worst film ever made, Plan 9 From Outer Space. Whether it really is the worst thing ever or not (I wouldn't call it that, but it is pretty godawful bad, aka funny as hell), it is still a staple of cinema, even if that staple exists as a staple only to laugh at its ridiculousness. Poor little Plan 9 From Outer Space. It sure ain't no Robot Monster in 3D.

But we are not here to malign this film worthy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 sweeps weeks programming. We are here to talk of the film's most heavenly body. Space Station 7. Granted, it looks like a floating metal boob, but hey, the special effects behind it were...well, they were pretty bad, even for the time period. Space Station 7 is where the alien invader's supreme leader, their "Ruler" lived and/or worked. In the film, The Ruler is played by drag queen Bunny Breckinridge. Breckinridge would go un-dragged in the role, a role that would stand as his only film appearance. Bill Murray deliciously played Breckinridge in Tim Burton's 1994 biopic, Ed Wood.

Yes, the movie may be an infamous piece of crapola to many, but Space Station 7 still has a fond place in our hearts. Okay, no it doesn't. It's just as ridiculous as the movie itself, but here at All Things Kevyn, we would like to bestow this long anticipated honour upon Space Station 7. We proudly proclaim you Heavenly Body of the Week. What more could one ask for? As for Ed Wood, the guy is considered the worst director of all-time, but I'm here to say that at least the guy had heart and passion. He loved making movies...almost as much as he loved the feel of an angora sweater rubbing against his nipples. Let's give the guy a break. Yeah, he was really really really bad at his job, astronomically bad even, but he sure did love doing it. And now he has the highest honour - having his Space Station 7 become a Heavenly Body of the Week here at The All Things Kevyn Entertainment Network.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, March 23, 2015

TV Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

As one watches the inaugural season of the Netflix original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, with its smartly written absurdest comedy, its lovingly mocking tone, and its self-referential meta-esque humour, one is easily put in mind of NBC's 30 Rock. And really, one probably should be. Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the creator/star and show runner, respectively, of the aforementioned 30 Rock, and exec produced by Fey, Carlock, Jack Burditt, David Miner, and Fey's own hubby, Jeff Richmond, all of whom were producers on 30 Rock as well, and even co-starring Jane Krakowski, playing an even less put together version of her Jenna Maroney character (if such a thing is even possible), it is probably pretty inevitable that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is compared to the former show. But not to worry, for Kimmy Schmidt goes into the comparison machine, and just like her plucky lead character, comes out the other side unbroken.

Sure, the naive, but plucky single gal trying to make it in the big city scenario, is a tale as old as time (well, maybe not that old, but still pretty old), and it is a plot that has been used over and over again, in varying degrees of success, but give the creative reigns to Tina Fey, hands down the smartest and funniest thing about TV lo this past decade or so, and you've got yourself a show that acts as one part parody of a genre (or sub-genre, if you will), one part heartfelt gooey center of said genre or sub-genre, and one part smart-as-a-whip satire of life itself. Yeah, all that, and a bag of chips. That bag of chips is actually the show's naive but plucky lead, and the woman who plays her, Ellie Kemper. Kemper is most known for her five year stint as the naive Erin, Pam's receptionist replacement on The Office. Here Kemper plays an even more jejune character. In the opening of the first episode, we see Kemper's titular Kimmy, along with three fellow kidnapped women, being rescued from an underground bunker, where they had been held for fifteen years by a whackjob reverend, convinced the apocalypse was coming. After a stint on the Today Show, Kimmy decides to stay in New York, and in plucky Mary Richards style, make it after all. Kemper plays Kimmy to a the proverbial capital T. Having grown up inside a mad man's bunker (she was just 15 when kidnapped), Kimmy is just now, closing in on 30, having her first real taste of life - and she really has no idea how to do such a thing. Kemper is pitch perfect in the role, and combined with the deft writing behind her, Kimmy, both character and show, is a bang up, boffo success.

But Kemper. who was seemingly born to play this character, is not alone out there. Fey and Carlock, who also wrote several episodes, have brought together a wonderfully eclectic cast with whom to surround their intrepid title character. We've already made mention of Jane Krakowski, who plays Jacqueline Voorhees, a rich Manhattan socialite, and Kimmy's new boss. Krakowski's beauty obsessed gold digging second wife (she gets plastic surgery on her toes because of her husband's foot fetish) plays to the actor's strengths. Yeah, it may seem as if she is just playing her 30 Rock character in a different venue, but the lady is pretty darn good at it. There is also Broadway star Tituss Burgess (and former 30 Rock cast member as well) as Kimmy's new roommate, Titus Andromedon, a flamboyantly gay Broadway wannabe (and my favourite character), Dylan Gelula as Xanthippe Voorhees, Jacqueline's obnoxious teenage step-daughter, and the always wonderful Carol Kane as Lillian, Kimmy and Titus' crackpot landlady. With guest stars ranging from Martin Short and Jon Hamm to Tim Blake Nelson, Jerry Miner and even Tina Fey herself, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a success in both acting and writing, both done with a wry yet quite ridiculous comedy chutzpah. But don't tell NBC that.

The show was originally commissioned by the Peacock Network, but once Fey and Carlock presented the show to the powers-that-be, NBC did a flip-flop and said no go.  On a stupid bent almost equal to that of the network canceling Community before its time last year, NBC may have been scared of the show's lack of PC goodness. But just like how Community has found a new life (and a sixth and final season) on Yahoo Screen, Kimmy Schmidt has been reborn on Netflix, debuting all 13 episodes of the season just last week - and with a second season promised for 2016. Granted, the show may be framed by the rather overused plot device of innocent girl in the big city (one critic has all but accused Fey of stealing the basic outline of the show from the show, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23), but its witty, rapid-fire comedy, a la 30 Rock style (and again, this comparison is meant only to compliment), and Kemper and her co-stars firing those rapid jokes at us and each other, make the damn thing work. The haters and scaredy cats at NBC be damned. Thank you Netflix for saving this show - a show that will almost certainly find its way onto my eventual Best TV of 2015 list. Now get on over to Netflix and get your Kimmy on! That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The 11 Question Interview Goes Local

So, everyone remembers the 11 Question Interviews I did last year, right? Actually I did six last year and then a seventh earlier this year. These were interviews done with the elite of the show biz world. People like Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy the Pinhead, Richard Kline, TV's Larry from Three's Company, and Sal Piro, founder and president of the Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Club. Hell, I even scored an interview with Robbie Rist, aka Cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch. So yeah,, these were the elite of the show biz world. But alas, the well of these high profile celebs has temporarily dried up. Basically, this is due to many of my queries going unanswered. For every Richard Kline that agreed to be part of the fun, there were another dozen or so who just never responded at all. I'm talking to you Dawn Wells, and to you Gary Sandy, and to you Erin Moran! And I'm still waiting to hear from former punk rock jailbait turned chainsaw artist, Cherie Currie too! Anyhoo, even though these big name stars have chosen to ignore my pleas, I do have other equally big name stars possibly set to go in the future. For now, their names shall remain undisclosed, but I assure you they are coming to this very blog beginning again in April.

But in the meantime, I've gone and taken The 11 Question Interview local. Meaning that I will begin showcasing celebrities from my hometown of Harrisburg, Pa in new interviews. These interviews, still consisting of the same type of silly James Lipton-esque questions, will be exclusively published at a local blog called Today's the Day Harrisburg, run by fellow blogger, Tara Leo Auchey. My introduction for this new locally based exclusive series can be checked out right here. It gives all the why's, where's, and what for's. Slated for this series are several local musicians, including one who actually made it onto MTV back in the day, the city's poet laureate, an infamous local DJ who has been accused of some shock jockdom in his day, several big wig restaurateurs, the Maestro of the 'Burg's sympony, and a slew of other local celebs of varying occupations and inclinations. And speaking of local celebs deserving of recognition, the first one of these exclusive interviews is now up and running over at Today's the Day Harrisburg. This inaugural edition presents the great and talented Clark Nicholson, one of the guiding forces behind the local theatre scene in Harrisburg, and boss man of the Harrisburg Shakespeare Company. His interview can be read right here.

So there ya have it kids. The 11 Question Interview has gone local. More will be coming at a once every two or three week pace, all exclusively over at Today's the Day Harrisburg. You can keep track of 'em on my Index Page (always linked in the tabs just below the blog's banner) under Celebrity Interviews, and, as always, on my Facebook page (go ahead and friend request me!). For now (but only for now), that's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Here's the skyline from the aforementioned hometown.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Heavenly Body of the Week: Asteroids!

Back in the yesteryear of November 1979, came a video game from a little company called Atari. It was called Asteroids, and it was outta this world. By today's standards, Asteroids of course, looks quite an antique, and to many, probably quite lame, but back in the day (it was just Atari's second arcade release, and came just a sixteen months after Taito/Midway hit the market with Space Invaders), Asteroids was the shizzle and a half. It is actually Atari's most successful coin-operated game.

I remember I spent many a Saturday at the mall arcade playing Asteroids...among many other games of the early 1980's. Once I got my own Atari 2600 home arcade system (for you youngsters out there, that was my generation's PlayStation and/or Wii), I would play it all hours at home. Yeah, I admit I should have been doing home work, but what can I say, I was addicted. So that is why Asteroids has been chosen as this week's oh so Heavenly Body.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Bit O' the Green, and All That Kinda Blarney

So today is what the folks here on Earth call St. Patrick's Day. Well, at least the folks in some parts of the planet call it that. The others just call it Tuesday. For those who do not know, St. Patrick's Day, or St. Paddy's day as it is sometimes referred to, but NEVER St. Patty's day, but more on that later, please allow me to digress. Anyhoo, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, St. Paddy's Day is the day on which every red-blooded American boy and girl go out and get totally wasted, usually drinking green tinted light beer, and proclaim their Irishness in this drunken debauchery. For those in Ireland, the home of the holiday, they just do what they always do...go out and get totally wasted, but on real beer, not green-tinted light beer. And there is no need to proclaim their Irishness since they are...well, they are fucking Irish. But again, I digress.

As I was saying earlier, St. Patrick's day is often called St. Paddy's Day. But then there are those douche bag idiots who claim it as St. Patty's Day. What the fuck, people!!? It is not St. Patricia Day!! I even sometimes see bars putting up signs saying St. patty's Day. Seriously!? Perhaps these bars should lose their liquor licenses for the day for such a thing. That'll learn 'em. Anyhoo, that's all I got on St. Paddy's day. American's get drunk and drink green piss water and say things like "Kiss me, I'm Irish!" Everyone wears green, which is kinda totally cliche and a half by now. Maybe where blue instead. You know, just to be a bit original. But then they are just going to be drunk anyway, so who the fuck cares. I was a bartender in an Irish pub for three years, and believe me when I say there are a lot of drunken idiots out there every March 17th, as well as the weekend closest to the holiday. Yeah yeah, I know, there are drunks in bars every day of the year, but it gets a special kind of drunkenness on St. paddy's Day. Must be the green-tinted light beer.

But enough of this blathering about. I'm sure I have been a drunken idiot on many occasions throughout my life, so who am I to talk. Still not drinking that green piss water though. Anyway, I just wanted to say Happy Blarney and all that jazz, from Me and everyone here at The All Things Kevyn Entertainment Network. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. And remember, it's Paddy, not Patty, ya wankers!

Monday, March 16, 2015

People Who Need to Be Punched in the Face, 7th Wave

And here we go again with everyone's fave regular series here on the ole blog. And why wouldn't it be everyone's fave? Who, at one time or another, hasn't wanted to punch someone in the face? I think we can all agree that such a notion has come across our mind on more than one occasion. Perhaps we never act on it, nor would we ever (sometimes) but the thoughts are still there. Don't try to deny it.  No one would ever believe you, anyway. After all, this isn't my most popular series for nuthin'.

Ya know, there have been a lot of famous punches throughout history, from Ali and Frazier to Superman and Batman to Crystal and Alexis to that time Buzz Aldrin punched out that guy who accused him of faking the moon landing (that Buzz Aldrin guy rocks!), but today, let us celebrate punches in the faces by showcasing the picture to the right, of Abraham Lincoln punching a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the face. That Lincoln guy is pretty rockin' too, huh? Now there's a cage match. Honest Abe vs. Buzz Aldrin! Anyway, enough of the introductory stuff, let's get on with the punchin'.

Tom Berenger
Lena Dunham
Creeps & Losers
House Flippers
Dissident Sea Mammals
Eddie Redmayne
The Ghost of Martin Van Buren
Teddy Cruz
Jebby Bush
Ricky Santorum
People who don't like this post
Coldplay fans
Bill O'Reilly
Brian Williams
Christian Grey
Butterhead Jones
That douchebag Lt. Governor in Texas
Afton Elaine Burton & Craig Hammond
The Christian at work
Billy Joel
Johnny Paycheck
Ann Coulter (of course)
Tucker Carlson
50 Shades of Grey fans
 Glom Gazingo
Guys named Phil
The Slug & the Sluggette
Fun Bobby (when sober)
People who use the term Bae
Dr. Henry McCoy
Dr. Gregory House
Dr. Pepper
Aiden Monroe
Sir Percival
Michael Moore
That lying bitch on the GPS!
The management of the Warwick Hotel
Parents who say their child has Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Anyone who thinks Lena Dunham is talented
Kaiden the Sociopath
Porch Dick Pete
Dr. Ben Carson
Netanyahu & his 47 Senatorial Ronin
Ashton Kutcher
Robin Thicke
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Fans of Pig Fucker Rock
Cock Blockers
Mean Mr. Mustard
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Chachi Arcola
Ford Fairlane
People who do not like Mahler
Justin Jedlica, aka the Human Ken Doll
Pennywise the Clown
The New England Patriots
The Dallas Cowboys
The Philadelphia Eagles
Oh Hell, let's just say the entire NFL
Tony Stark
Dave Mustaine
Big Bird
Layla Deeza
Paul Nicheems
Devin Edbrards
People who interfere
The American Family Association
Kegel Face
Count Tyrone Rugen
Tim Burton
The State of Alabama (except for Biff and Harper)
The person in charge of continuity on Friends
Old Porkchop Jefferson
Harrisburg Hipsters
Tobey Maguire
Teacher's pets
Jesse Pinkman, Bitch!
Big game hunters
Anyone who disses Buzz Aldrin
All Meninists, every one of them
Whoever said kale was a snack food
Kitchen Interlopers
Flax Seen Enthusiasts
Anyone who prefers Shemp to Curly
Dean Cain
Stephen Baldwin
Troy Aikman
James Belushi
Roger Clemens
Vincent Gallo
All those Shark Tank people
The Dutch
Andrew Lloyd Weber
Wayne Rogers
Patricia Heaton
Thin Lizzy
Franklin Delano Rosebud
The Koch Brothers
The "Geniuses" at the Apple Store
Lena Dunham
Arthur Spooner
Crazy Katy & Carl the Mandolin Player
David Byrne
The editors of the New York Post
Bodybuilders, aka Lunkheads
Black Manta
The folks at Toy Wars
Everybody Loves Raymond Fans
Nicholas on The Walking Dead (the bastard!)
The guy who typed these words

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Obligatory, But Still Quite Heartfelt Anniversary Post

The date was March 13th, 1998. Yes, it was a Friday the 13th. The place was a justice of the peace office in New Cumberland, Pa. The thing that was happening was the marriage ceremony of myself and my lovely wife, Amy. Neither of us wanted any big wedding. She wore a Doors t-shirt, I wore a Beatles t-shirt. Our one and only witness, Amy's old school chum Dawn, was on her lunch break from work, so she was actually the only one dressed what one would call properly for such an event. The judge, who reminded us both of Harry from Night Court, got his robe caught in the door on his way in. When he asked if I will, I said yes. When Amy was asked, she said I guess so. It was a great start. Of course, we had only known each other for about a month at this point. 

Now cut to today. The date is March 13th, 2015, and yes, it is another Friday the 13th. Amy and I are celebrating our seventeenth wedding anniversary. Evidently there is no traditional gift for the seventeenth anniversary (they break it down to every five years once you hit fifteen), but modern day wedding people say it is furniture. I'm pretty sure neither of us is buying the other a couch or end table today. We're pretty set in that department anyway. Perhaps dinner instead. And we can eat that dinner on furniture, so that can count, right? Sure it can. Many of our friends at the time, both hers and mine, had bets going on just how long this marriage between near complete strangers would last. I think even the two of us may have joined in on the betting. But here we are, seventeen years later, and with all our own furniture. Howzabout that!?

So there you have it, kids! The touching true story of two near complete strangers, defying all logic, and making all the odds-makers cry. The story of me and the greatest significant other for whom anyone could ever hope. Did I also mention how we each came together with matching decorative glass heads and glow-in-the-dark Charlie Manson t-shirts, reading "Is it hot in here or am I just crazy?" Yeah, we did. The shirts have been a bit outgrown (we're not as young and lithe as we once were) but the decorative glass heads still adorn a bookcase in our sitting room. I just wanted to write up this little post to tell everyone how much I love my wife of seventeen years. She jokes around at how I would be living on the streets today if she hadn't come along. I know it's just a joke, but she could be right. I owe her everything. Maybe I'll get her an ottoman after all. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Enjoy these anniversary spirals.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Heavenly Body of the Week: Vulcan

Last week, the world, the universe, lost a great man. Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. The great actor had taken on many roles in his long career, but the most memorable, the most iconic is of course, that of Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Mr. Nimoy's passing hit me harder than most, as he was a central figure in my childhood and into my adult life. He was a great actor and a great humanitarian rights activist. I even loved his music. seriously, unlike Shatner, Nimoy could actually sing, and did a great cover of Ring of Fire. 

So, in memory of the great man, I dedicate this edition of the Heavenly Body of the Week to Vulcan, the home planet of Spock's Vulcan half of his heritage. Live long and prosper Mr. Spock, wherever you may be.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Worst to Best: The Beatles Albums

Hello and welcome to a brand new regular series here on the ole blog. In this inaugural episode of this new regular series, I take a look at all thirteen officially cataloged Beatles albums, from the worst to the best. So here we go. Have at 'em!

13. Yellow Submarine (1969) - Since I like all thirteen of the albums on this list, it is difficult to call one of them the worst, but alas, one of them must indeed come in last place, so why not this one. This album was actually rushed onto the market, and was seen as nothing more than a contractual obligation by the band. They had to provide four new songs for the animated film, so they did. Out of these four new songs, only the two George songs, "Only a Northern Song" and "It's All Too Much" are worth noting. The former was a leftover from the cutting room floor of the Sgt. Pepper sessions and the latter was slated for Magical Mystery Tour but used here instead. "Hey Bulldog" and "All Together Now" are not exactly The Beatles at their best. Side One is bookmarked by the title track and "All You Need is Love," both of which had already been on previous albums and released as singles. Side Two is George Martin's orchestral film score, which being George Martin, is actually quite lovely. Overall, not a terrible album by any means, but certainly the least of the band's discography. Like I said, something had to come in last place, so why not this one?.

12. With the Beatles (1963) - This was The Beatles second studio album, and to be honest, both this one and their debut album (listed next) could easily flip flop spots over and over again. I can never truly decide which is better. For the sake of the list, I'll place this one slightly below their debut, but more on that one in a bit. As for this album, it was the first one to be released in the States, and is what really started the ball rolling on the whole Beatlemania thing leading up to the Fab Four's appearances on Ed Sullivan a few months later. The album has "All My Loving" and "I Wanna Be Your Man," as well as covers such as "Money," "Roll Over Beethoven," and the beautiful "Til There Was You." It was also during these sessions that the band recorded "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy," which were released as a single only.

11. Please Please Me (1963) - Again, this debut album or their second one (the one listed just before this one - are you not reading along?) could easily flip flop, but right here and right now, I choose this one to be slightly above the other. With tracks such as "I Saw Her Standing There," "Love Me Do," and "Do You Want To Know A Secret?," and covers like "Baby It's You," and their phenomenal take on "Twist and Shout," this debut album is a visceral beast of an album, recorded in just 13 hours (some songs done in one take actually! and all while John had a cold!), started it all.

10. Beatles For Sale (1964) - This was the fourth studio release by the band, and it was the first to showcase a more mature Beatles sound. This album would open the way for the albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver to come about. With songs like "No Reply" and "I'm a Loser," John Lennon, who had recently come under the influence of a certain Mr. Dylan, began stretching as a songwriter. The big hit from the album (and the only single to be released) was "Eight Days A Week," a track that shows just how far the band had come musically. This album also features little-known gems like "Baby's in Black" and "What You're Doing," that only true Beatles fans know and love. We also get several covers, including a pair of great Carl Perkins renditions, with George doing "Everybody's Trying to be my Baby" and Ringo singing "Honey Don't." It was definitely the start of something.

9. Help! (1965) - The album that came between Beatles For Sale and Rubber Soul, this soundtrack had bits and pieces that seemed to be from both the band's earlier pop stuff and the new direction they began with the aforementioned Beatles For Sale. Tracks like "Ticket To Ride" and "You're Going To Lose That Girl," as well as the title track all have that early pop feel, but with a more mature musical sound. "Yesterday" marks a turning point in the band's way of doing things, as McCartney had recorded the song without any of the other three present. Hey, and the album also has Ringo's fun cover of the Johnny Russell tune, "Act Naturally," originally recorded by Buck Owens and his Buckaroos.

8. A Hard Day's Night (1964) - The third studio album by The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night was also the soundtrack to the band's first foray into cinema. The film is one of the best rock and roll films ever made, maybe even THE best, and the soundtrack ain't half bad either. With the band's signature sound coming to a head, this album is the best of their early stuff. This is also the first album to feature all original material, and the only Beatles album to feature nothing but Lennon/McCartney compositions, although George Harrison's guitar work was instrumental in making many of these songs work as well as they did. Sorry Ringo, maybe next time. Granted, this album is probably more pop sounding than the band's previous two more rock & roll sounding albums, but this would eventually lead in many new and interesting directions over the next few game changing albums.

7. Let It Be (1970) - Technically, due to its release date, this is the band's final album, but all these songs were recorded prior to the Abbey Road sessions, and compiled after the band broke up, so we should probably call it their penultimate album instead. Originally the album was meant to be released in 1969 under the title of Get Back, but the band was unhappy with the results and instead moved onto Abbey Road. But happy or not, this album has a lot going for it. It's not a traditional album in the sense of coherence (slapped together perhaps) but it has songs like "Across the Universe," "Get Back", "The Long and Winding Road," "Two of Us," and the title track, so there's that. It also has "Dig A pony" and "Dig It," two songs only true Beatles fans know and love.

6. Magical Mystery Tour (1967) - Released as a six song double EP in the UK and as a full album in the US, this is the oddball non-studio album listed on The Beatles official catalog of albums. Side one are the songs from the Beatles self=produced TV film, while side two is made up of new singles the band had recently recorded. Like Let It Be, this isn't an album in the conventional sense, but more of a compilation. Many music critics would probably put this one a bit lower on their lists, but I like it dammit! Hey, it was one of just five Beatles albums (along with Help!, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, and Abby Road) to be up for Album of the year. The album is in the more psychedelic vein that came about with Sgt. Pepper, released just a few months prior, and features a slew of great psychedelic rock songs like "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Baby You're A Rich Man," "The Fool On The Hill," and a fave of mine "Your Mother Should Know."

5. Abbey Road (1969) - The unofficial, official final Beatles album. This is The Beatles at the zenith of their power, and it is also The Beatles at the end of their road as a band. All four were already releasing solo work by the time they came together for this one final studio session. The bickering and sniping was at an all-time high, but what a damn fine album to come out of all that. With "Come Together," "Something" (George's only number one single), "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," "Oh Darling," Ringo's "Octopus's Garden," and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" comprising side one, and that groundbreaking medley on side two, how can this not be one of the best Beatles albums of all time...and one of the best albums period.

4. Rubber Soul (1965) - Although Beatles For Sale and Help! both began the transition, it was Rubber Soul that changed The Beatles from pop stars to true blue rock & roll legends. Yup. This is the album that changed it all. This is the album that led to Revolver and Sgt. Pepper and The White Album and so on and so on. And it all came from Bob Dylan turning the Fab Four onto the wonders of marijuana. From their new found maturity in songwriting (from boy/girl pop songs to more nostalgic and/or nuanced kind of relationship songs) to their growing experimentation with new musical styles and instruments ("Norwegian Wood" is considered the song that gave rise to the sitar craze of the late 1960's), Rubber Soul was indeed what one would call a real game-changer. This true turning point of an album took the former pop sensibilities of the Fab Four, and spewed forth a mature, deeply resonating (both literally and figuratively) work of art. And hey, it has "Run For Your Life," which Lennon later denounced, but I love.

3. The White Album (1968) - This one is my wife's favourite Beatles album. Technically a self-titled release, the nickname White Album, coming from the barren look of the cover, in purposeful contradiction with the overly busy look of Sgt. Pepper the previous year, has stuck, and will forever be known as just that. An epic double album that was spawned from the band's trip to India, and their discovery of all the wonders that came with hallucinogenics. From the Beach Boys parody opening track of "Back in the USSR," to the melodic brilliance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," to the unique creatures like "Savoy Truffle" and "Glass Onion," to the rock & roll beats of "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution," to the fun of "Rocky Raccoon" and "Bungalow Bill," to the sweetness of "Blackbird" and the tenderness of "Julia," this album just keeps on giving and giving and giving. This album, along with the next two (obviously), are albums that belong in anybody's greatest albums of all-time lists.

2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (1967) - Many lists have this album in the top spot. And not just Beatles lists, but lists of the greatest albums of all-time. Obviously I do not have this at the top of my list, but damn is it ever close. Sgt. Pepper, released on June 1st, 1967, just a month and a day before I shuffled into this mortal coil, was what many would call a game changer. Seriously, this album changed the face of music for years to come. With songs like "Getting Better," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," and "A Day in the Life," possibly the best Beatles song ever, how could this not be a game changer!? An older friend of mine, who was actually around when these albums were first being released, told me something interesting once. He said "We weren't ready for Rubber Soul, but it got us ready for Revolver. We weren't ready for Revolver either, but that got us ready for Sgt. Pepper, and we really weren't ready for that." But alas, this one is only number two on my countdown from worst to best, which means the number one spot belongs to...

1. Revolver (1966) - After the critical success of Rubber Soul the year before, The Beatles knew they were going in a whole new direction in their music, and Revolver was the natural progression from that. I know I have used the term game changer a lot in this list, but how can I not. The Beatles were changing everything in music with every album they made, so with that in mind, here is yet another game changer in the Beatles oeuvre. Author and music critic Robert Rodriguez wrote in his book that revolver is "crackling with potent immediacy." That is exactly it! Some of my favourite Beatles tunes are on this album. "Eleanor Rigby," "And Your Bird Can Sing," "I'm Only Sleeping," "Tomorrow Never Knows," and 'Got to Get You Into My Life," are some of these favourite crackling tracks. I think what makes Revolver a greater work than Sgt. Pepper is that with Pepper, the band did many of the recordings separate from the others. With Revolver, it was a collaborative effort, and probably the last time the band would so closely collaborate on an album. As Please Please Me had ushered in a brand new sound in pop music, Revolver did the same, almost canceling out anything that had come before it. Brilliance in abundance. And I think it may be my favourite album cover as well.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Eight Days a Week-Long Sabbatical From the Blogging World & Some Fun (?) New Things Coming Soon to the Ole Blog

They, whomever they are, say that blogging is over. They, yeah, they again, say that blogging is no longer relevant. Thanks to social media, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to GrizzleFeed, and everything in between, many claim that blogging is going the way of the Brontosaurus. Well, I'm here to say bah! Blogging is as relevant as ever. And on that note, I humbly take a week off from said blogging. Yup, that's right. It's only a short little sabbatical, just 8 days long (I'll be back on Wednesday next week with the start of a brand new series - see below), but I will be away from the ole blog for a period of time. heck, we're even skipping this week's Heavenly Body of the Week. Yeah, even the heavenly bodies need a break now and again. But not to worry, they will be back next week, and speaking of things coming soon...

So, along with the continuing Heavenly Body of the week segment, other faves will still be going on here at All Things Kevyn - once I return. My film and TV reviews will continue, and there will be new editions of The Great Albums series (I've been slacking on those of late) and of course, everyone's favourite (for some silly reason), People Who Need To Be Punched in the Face. Couldn't go on without that one. Also, my Alphabet Game will continue monthly. And not to worry true believers, more top ten lists will also be coming your way. This Spring will also see the return of The 11 Question Interview, with lots of great new celebrities galore! For my local readers, I will also be doing a local version (with local celebs) of The 11 Question Interview, which will be seen at a local blog called Today's the Day Harrisburg. More on that when the time comes. I will also be bringing back my Great Recasting series (at least one or two) later in the year, and more Classic Cinema Corners will also be coming your way. There might even be some more comic book reviews for Comic Spectrum and some new top tens for the GLA. You can check out all these regular series (and irregular ones too) on my Index page, found conveniently through the link in the tabs section at the top of this blog. But what about that new stuff I spoke of in the post's title? Good question.

A new regular series I am excited about is a thing I like to call, Worst to Best. Basically, it is an offshoot of my regular top ten lists. Yeah, I like lists, what of it!? Anyhoo, this series actually got its start a few weeks back, when I did my exhaustive (and exhausting!) list of every single SNL cast member, all 143 of 'em, listed from worst to best. So, I had fun with that one, and have decided to make a regular gig out of it. And don't worry, the ones I have planned are not going to be quite as exhausting. The first one of these will be on The Beatles. I will be taking the band's 13 official studio albums, and ranking them from worst to best. Yeah, I don't actually dislike any of these 13 albums, but someone has to come in last place. And yes, the connection between this first segment of the series and a certain few words from the post's title, are not coincidental. I also have some plans to do ones on Stanley Kubrick films and Oscar winning Best Pictures. There might even be some new La-La & Lu-Lu's. Hey, and my Comic Stripping series (of which there has only been one so far) will also be coming back soon. And don't forget to keep up in April as I will be taking a second stab at the annual Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, wherin I blog every day but Sundays, and do it alphabetically. So there!

Anyhoo, that is all I have to say on that. In other words: that's it gang. See ya 'round the web. And try to enjoy your 8 days without me. Of course, I will surely still be all over Facebook and Twitter and what have you. Can't get rid of me that easily. I'll also be working on my book over this sabbatical. Still hopin' to have that up and ready for publication by year's end. Live Long & Prosper. (#LLAP)