I have always loved kd lang. I liked her country-punk performance-art style back from Angel with a Lariat. She caught my eye in the 80s with her spiky hair, Buddy Holly glasses, and country-western wear; she was a genre-bending artist as much as a gender-bending one. Somewhere in my Texas life, where I was raised by a family of genuwine wannabe cowboy poets, I developed a secret, half-assed appreciation for the older fiddle-and-banjo country sound. Probably at the roller rink. I didn’t pay much attention to Lang’s music until Shadowland, though. I played the heck out of that CD because it harkened back to aRead More →

Like every good, card-carrying leftist, I know about Woody Guthrie and what he stood for. Surely everyone in the U.S. has heard part of “This Land is Your Land,” at least in the white-washed setting where it’s severed from its political roots. I didn’t know about the additional verses to the song, though. They are on on Wikipedia: In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple; By the relief office, I’d seen my people. As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking, Is this land made for you and me? The Wikipedia talks about how the lyrics were restored atRead More →

Trailers for the new Fame and all the buzz about the remake’s quality have gotten my attention. The cast includes Debbie Allen, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelsey Grammer, and Charles S. Dutton. I’m hopelessly retro, though, because the original Irene Cara song, and Erica Gimple’s version are better than the generic remake. No matter how corny the old versions are, they just capture the spirit better. I already talked about Seether’s remake of Careless Whisper. The Covers Project, a pretty decent website, has a list of..well…covers. But here’s my hopelessly retro feelings on the subject. My top ten list of pointless cover songs in no particular orderRead More →

I am making steps toward my goal of cleaning my office this summer. Yesterday, I tackled one of my bookshelves and encountered my 1929 edition Oz book, Ozma of Oz. I’ve always loved the art by John R. Neill, and I especially like the 1929 art nouveau cover. Finding this book raised many fond memories for me. I learned to read with the Oz books, starting with my father reading them to me, and then me slowly taking over and reading ahead. I’ve always loved Baum. Not many people know that he wrote a whole series of fourteen Oz books, as did several other authorsRead More →

I just watched the pilot of TNT’s Raising the Bar on the TNT website. I didn’t get to see it during air time because of the power outage during Gustav. The show stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Saved by the Bell, which I admit I’ve watched now and then. I was hopeful that the show would knock my socks off given that it is a Steven Bochco show. I loved LA Law in its time. Even though Gosselaar did a great job (he’s really grown), I was still bored. I guess there are only so many courtroom stories to be told and then it’s the same ol’,Read More →

Thursday night we went to see the Dark Knight at the midnight movie. I have to say that the Rolling Stone review hit the mark. They call the Joker “pure chaos,” which he is in so many ways. Reviewer Peter Travers also approves of the way the movie refuses to explain the joker through “pop psychology.” No oedipal narrative here. He writes: The deft script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, taking note of Bob Kane’s original Batman and Frank Miller’s bleak rethink, refuses to explain the Joker with pop psychology. Forget Freudian hints about a dad who carved a smile into his son’s faceRead More →

Whoopi and Elisabeth Hasselbeck got into it recently on The View over use of the N-word. You can see the video of the exchange on Us Magazine. Elisabeth, of course, cries, wearing her white guilt on her sleeve. She refuses to understand why it’s alright for black people to use ‘the n-word.’ Of course, she cites the movie Crash as her politically correct credentials. Whoopi makes two important points in response. First, she explains that when black people use ‘the N-word,’ they have taken it from the hands of white people who use it against them. She says, “This is a word that has meaningRead More →

I can’t believe it’s been fifteen years since Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyville.” I’ve been listening to the CD a lot lately for some reason and then FLOW posted a brief commentary on its impact fifteen years later. I really loved this album, but I didn’t find it as much of a feminist anthem as might have. But it’s fifteenth anniversary re-release reminds me that back in ’93 I was busy listening to Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge. There was a brief spike in popularity for women musicians in the late 90s with the Lilith Fair crew, but today the scene for me is bleak.Read More →