JEWISH GAUCHOS (1975) – It’s no secret that I love cinematic oddities. For this go-round I’ll examine the movie Jewish Gauchos based on the 1910 novel by Alberto Gerchunoff. The film deals with the musical adventures of a group of Jewish immigrants from Russia working as gauchos (Argentine cowboys) in Argentina in the very early 1900s.
This film plus a few westerns filmed in Israel but set in the American frontier make up the very, very unusual subgenre called Matzoh Westerns (as I’m sure you’ve guessed, those are the Jewish version of the Italian Spaghetti Westerns).
Outside of the bizarre subgenre of amputee kung fu movies from Hong Kong, Matzoh Westerns are my favorite cul de sac in the weirdass movie neighborhood. Continue reading
As 2016 rapidly comes to a close I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most moving stories of the year: Kellyanne Conway becoming the first woman to successfully run a Presidential campaign in America. Conway’s work resulted in the election of Donald Trump, so congratulations to Ms Conway for shattering the glass ceiling!
I wish it had been for a Third Party candidate but many people are pushing the notion that Donald “Agent Orange” Trump IS a de facto Third Party candidate given the way his campaign had to fight the one percenters and bloated rich pigs among both the Democrats and the Republicans. The working class vote made the difference.
No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on it is heart-warming to see such a positive story emerge from such a tense year in politics. Continue reading
In Pop Culture these days it’s Marvel Comics’ world and the rest of us are just innocent bystanders whose homes and places of business get destroyed.
In that spirit here’s a Christmas Season look at what I’ve learned was a milestone story in the Marvel Universe. It was from the very first issue of Marvel Team-Up (1972) and featured Spider-Man and the Human Torch taking on their mutual foe the Sandman on Christmas Eve.
Years later an unnamed black woman that the pair saved from a mugging got retconned into being Misty Knight, adding even more significance to the issue.
Synopsis: While photographer Peter Parker was covering the Polar Bear Clan’s Christmas Eve dip (yes, it goes back at least that far) the Sandman showed up on the beach after surviving his apparent death in battle with the Hulk months earlier. (For a long time it was a comic book truism that only Bucky stayed dead but apparently even that eventually fell by the wayside.) Continue reading
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: PATRICK STEWART’S ONE-MAN STAGE SHOW (1988) I’ll come right out and admit it – I’ve always been a sucker for any version of A Christmas Carol. Trouble is, most adaptations distort the story or are produced by people who don’t seem to “get” the story or treat it like it’s a children’s tale. Anyone who thinks that needs to read the novel.
My love of mythology is partly why I love the story so much. A Christmas Carol is the closest thing to an Epic Myth the Industrial Age has produced. The language Dickens uses is very close to prose poetry but precious few adaptations of the story preserve enough of it.
That brings us to Patrick Stewart’s one-man stage presentation of A Christmas Carol. (NOT the made-for- tv movie he did on TNT) Stewart does all the voices and pretty much all the sound effects and his presentation is magnificent. It’s NOT a book-on-tape, it’s Patrick Stewart acting out the story by himself, like he did on Broadway in the Continue reading
YAHOLA and HAYUYA – These two gods resided in the air and the clouds. They were the guardians of Muscogee people being given training in mysticism and the medical arts. Yahola and Hayuya were the two most prominent of the four Hiyouyulgee, divinities who tutored the ancient Muscogee about the use of fire and various plants, medicinal and otherwise. Yahola and his brother Hayuya endowed people with strength, creative inspiration and magical abilities.
Both deities presided over the Busk Ground Ceremonies, the most important rituals in the Muscogee holiday calendar. Yahola in particular had special sovereignty over curing illnesses and the delivery of children. He was also the patron deity of the intoxicating Black Drink consumed in mass quantities by the Muscogee Creek, who would cry out his name when feeling the effects of the drink he had given to them as a gift. Continue reading
Here are just a FEW of the latest blood-soaked actions committed by fanatics from the homophobic, xenophobic and misogynistic religion which continues to retard the rest of the world’s social progress.
November 26th: Mogadishu, Somalia – A Muslim fascist suicide bomber struck at a marketplace, killing TWENTY-FIVE innocent people and injuring FIFTY-THREE more.
Also November 26th: Galmadug, Somalia – Al- Shabaab, the local franchise in the Global Muslim Fascist Murder Machine, attacked and killed 15 innocent people (8 by beheading them) and injured 14 more.
November 29th: Nagrota, India – Islamofascists attacked and killed 7 innocent people and injured 14 more. REMEMBER: Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2016 continues with the 1998 telefilm Ebenezer, the only version of the Dickens classic to feature a whorehouse! Well, as long as you don’t count whatever underhanded business Scrooge and Marley are running in the Alastair Sim version. (I’m kidding!)
Previously Balladeer’s Blog has reviewed The Trail to Christmas, a version of A Christmas Carol adapted to the American West of the 1800s. Ebenezer adapted the Dickens novel to the wild west of Canada in the 1800s, which adds an extra layer of novelty to this production. Casting Jack Palance as Ebenezer Scrooge was the real strength of this adaptation!
Palance’s Scrooge is a miserly and crooked saloon owner while Bob Cratchit (Albert Schultz) is his much-abused bartender. Rick Schroder (yes, Rick Schroder) portrays gun-slinging Sam Benson, a character unique to this version and Tiny Tim is played by Joshua Silberg. Continue reading