Tag Archives: Entertainment

MOONA LISA PICTURES COURTESY OF JOHN L.

Moona Lisa with JohnVery special thanks to reader John L. for providing Balladeer’s Blog with some new photos of Moona Lisa, one of the Movie Hostesses covered here.

I will add them to the Moona Lisa article I did in 2011 as well, but first here they are for all of us fans of Movie Host Shows to appreciate. John L himself sets the scene:

“They are from 1970 or 1971. A friend and I drove to the local KOGO TV station in San Diego, just off the 94 freeway, walked in and told the receptionist we were fans of Moona and asked if we could meet her. The next thing you know, a very pleasant and gracious Lisa Clark (in character), greeted us, gave us a tour of the studio and her Moon Base set, gave us an autograph and posed for pictures.”

Moona Lisa with skull

Moona Lisa (Lisa Clark) getting ready to watch and comment on the night’s movie double feature from her “private moon base.” Note the Earth below out the window.

Moona Lisa in stairwell

Moona Lisa in the stairwell leading to her set. Continue reading

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THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: HEROIN

Velvet UndergroundThis latest installment of “Give them a shoutout before they’re dead” needs to have its title adjusted to “Give them a shoutout before they’re ALL dead.” The Velvet Underground – during its years when Lou Reed, “the poet of destruction” himself, was its creative heart and soul – was magnificent.  

Lou Reed is dead but before all the members are gone I decided to do a shoutout to the group that DEFINED being ahead of their time. The Velvet Underground’s influence on music ran so deep it was like the proverbial “Citizen Kane Effect” – its innovations became so universally employed by others that it’s easy to forget there was a time when they WEREN’T being used.

We all know Brian Eno’s legendary line about how – though only 30,000 copies of the Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album were sold – “everyone who bought a copy started a band of their own.” There are times when it seems like that wasn’t just hype. Hell, I often argue that the Prince song All The Critics Love U In New York seems inspired by the Velvet Undergound song The Black Angel’s Death Song.

Lou ReedHere’s the song Heroin, one of the group’s most haunting. The way Lou Reed conveys the hopelessness and obsessiveness of heroin addiction makes this the furthest thing from what it was often accused of being – a song glorifying drug use.

Hardly. Reed hammers home every unappealing aspect of enslavement to the drug while taking the listener up and down on the highs and the inevitable crashes. Even sex becomes a mere secondary (maybe even tertiary) consideration as heroin takes over.

Anybody who would listen to this song and say “I gotta try some of that!” was doomed from the minute they crawled out of the womb anyway.  

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WANG CHUNG: TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.

To Live and Die in LABalladeer’s Blog presents another edition of “Give Them A Shoutout Before They’re Dead.” This time around it’s to Wang Chung, for their memorable soundtrack for the INCREDIBLY underappreciated movie To Live and Die in L.A.

The movie was from some of the creative team behind Miami Vice and was often described as “Film Noir Meets MTV.” After a teaser depicting Secret Service Agent Richard Chance and his partner saving the U.S. president from a Muslim terrorist the main story focuses on the often-neglected role of the U.S. Secret Service: fighting counterfeiters.

Ironically the movie features top scenes from the novel it’s based on, yet presents the story with the exact opposite meaning that the novel offers. Both are enjoyable but in entirely different ways – the film as flash and the book as substance. 

And Robert Downey SENIOR has a small role for you trivia buffs.

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TOM SAWYER: 1973 MUSICAL

Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer

The TOM SAWYER I’m referring to here is the 1973 musical version which is unforgiveably forgotten by many people. This musical has some incredibly catchy songs, memorable dialogue portions and terrific performances from all cast members, young and old.

Most importantly the film nicely distills the essential elements of Mark Twain’s popular story in a nearly seamless way. Anything you loved from the book when you read it is to be found here: Tom’s tall tales to Aunt Polly to explain why he’s late for supper or didn’t show up at school, Tom tricking other kids into paying him to whitewash a fence for him, Tom and Huckleberry Finn witnessing Injun Joe’s murder of Ol’ Doc, Tom chivalrously taking a thrashing for Becky Thatcher, Tom and Huck running away and being given up for dead and of course Tom attending his own funeral.

All that and a great musical number during an excellently mounted 1870’s Fourth of July Celebration. Injun Joe gets a much more merciful end in this movie than he did in the book, so that’s a plus, too. 

Johnny Whitaker, known to generations of Continue reading

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ARKANSAS TRAVELER: WILD WEST WEB SERIES

Arkansas TravelerFrontierado is on Friday, August 4th! Here is a Web Series that goes with it like your favorite whiskey. It’s called Arkansas Traveler.

A Faustian Western Web Series

“Thanks to its smooth-talking, whiskey-drinking, gun-slinging elements, Arkansas Traveler contains everything it needs to appeal to… western fans… At the same time, its washed out, low-lit style brings something new to the genre…” – tubefilter

Travelin’ Productions‘ Arkansas Traveler web series unravels the enigmatic journey of Wayland McGlowhorn, Starring Garret DillahuntAngela Bettis, and Sean Bridgers.  

A mini-series in six parts, Arkansas Traveler is a gritty, dark adventure into the life and mind of a man released by forces beyond his ken from the grip of the bloody last days of the American Civil War.

The series is based on a revered feature-length screenplay by Sean Bridgers, of Deadwood fame as Johnny Burns, and acclaimed shows like Rectify and the upcoming Epix original, Get Shorty. Under Travelin’ Productions’ banner, Bridgers co-directed the series with Michael “Ffish” Hemschoot, an animation and visual effects super villain, who worked on films like The Matrix, and Master and Commander. 

It’s a project years in the making, as the filmmakers have reimagined original teaser footage they produced with Missouri production company, Wide Awake Films, back in 2010, into this web series. The web series carries the same goal as the original teaser short: to intrigue and grow an audience, and inspire them to demand more.  

Travelin’ Productions’ mandate is simply to tell damn good stories, and with this project, the filmmakers hope to rally fans of westerns and dramas with a darker bend. Ray McKinnon once called the screenplay for this Faustian Western, “…one of the best un-produced scripts I have read in the last decade” (Arkansas Online, 2011)  

Watch all the episodes for free online Continue reading

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POSSE (1993): MOVIE REVIEW

 Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 4th!

POSSE is a terrific western about a gang of African American  gunfighters (plus the goofiest  Baldwin brother) involved in an action-packed epic journey across the American west.

The Frontierado holiday is the perfect time of year to hunker down with this film while drinking a Cactus Jack or a Deuces Wild or two. I’ll review the recipes for those mixed drinks in a few days, for now we’ll focus on this movie on our countdown.

Posse stars Mario Van Peebles, who also directed, as Jesse Lee, the brooding, revenge-driven hero of the saga. He and all but one member of his gang, our titular posse, are soldiers fighting in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. A dangerous assault they carry out turns out to be Continue reading

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MANTIS 20: ULTRON VS THE AVENGERS, THE FANTASTIC FOUR AND THE INHUMANS

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Fantastic Four 150

FANTASTIC FOUR Volume 1, Number 150 (September 1974)  Ultron-7: He’ll Rule The World

Just like during the Avengers/ Defenders War this crossover story alternated between the Avengers’ comic book and in this case the Fantastic Four’s comic book. In fact it was the 150th Anniversary Issue for the F.F, an appropriate setting for the momentous events in this story.

NOTE: This was back when Ultron was still numbering his iterations, hence him going by “Ultron-7” here. For instance, Ultron-6 was the first time the android villain used adamantium for his body and Ultron-5 was when he created the Vision to use against his archenemies the Avengers.

Ironically, though today Marvel’s fictional metal adamantium is mostly associated with Wolverine’s claws and skeleton it was actually introduced as a new discovery in the pages of The Avengers in the 1960s. In fact it was introduced in the very story in which Ultron stole some of the indestructible metal to make himself even more dangerous.

After this current Ultron-7 story, when Ultron returned for the long-running Bride of Ultron storyline he was no longer  numbering his versions.   

Ultron 7 againULTRON-7: HE’LL RULE THE WORLD

Synopsis: We pick up where we left off in our previous installment, in Atillan aka The Great Refuge, hidden home of the Inhumans. It’s the night before the former Avenger Quicksilver and the Inhuman named Crystal are to be married.

Crystal has been kidnapped by the gigantic robot called Omega, but after a battle with the Inhumans plus the wedding guests – the Avengers and Fantastic Four – the enormous figure pulled off its mask to reveal that it was really Ultron-7. (Nicely, this was early enough in Marvel’s history that Ultron had previously never fought the Fantastic Four OR the Inhumans, just the Avengers.)

Ultron-7 taunts the assembled heroes plus the thousands of terrified citizens of Atillan about how they gathered for a wedding but instead of that joyous occasion have found only horror, defeat and death.

Mantis againHe revives the heroes he had put into comas last time around – MANTIS, Iron Man, Medusa, Quicksilver and the Swordsman. Meanwhile the Thing rushes forward to attack Ultron-7 but is easily defeated as the villain reminds him that the Omega body now has all of HIS (Ultron’s) powers, not the lesser powers it used to have.

Before the Thing or any other heroes can renew the attack, Thor, Mister Fantastic and Triton remind everyone that only Ultron-7 knows where the kidnapped Crystal is being held. The villain has the edge until they can learn if she is even still alive.       Continue reading

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