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Showing posts from August, 2007

Petri Dish 101: Roky Erickson, Psychedelic Pioneer

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In the great opening credits sequence of the John Cusack music-nerd vehicle High Fidelity , we see a good old-fashioned LP player, its needle dropped purposefully on a record. Underneath the homey crackle and pop of the ancient vinyl, the garage rock classic "You're Gonna Miss Me," by the 13th Floor Elevators, begins. Three guitar chords pound through. Then, on cue, the drums and a bizarre alien hum (actually an electrified jug) kick in. After a few bars comes the vocal, a snarling, soaring, utterly out-of-control wail that suggests a bobcat on mescaline fighting for its life. The antiquity of that sputtering vinyl only intensifies the feeling that the voice you're hearing emanates from somewhere gloriously, chillingly not of this earth. It's the kind of tooth-rattling rock and roll howl from which cult worship is born, and the possessor of that magnificent instrument, Roky Erickson, is playing Seattle's Bumbershoot arts festival on Labor Day. Such an anno

This is Tom Jones: Beg, Borrow, Steal, or Kill to Watch It

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It'll come as no surprise to regular Dish visitors that the mighty Tom Jones can do no wrong in these parts. So the arrival on region 1 DVD of This is Tom Jones: Rock 'n' Roll Legends , a three disc set of episodes of Jones' 1969-1971 variety show, is like a spike of pure China white for anyone with a Jones jones. The series came at a key point in the God of Pump's career. He'd already established himself as a proven hitmaker with three worldwide chart-toppers ("It's Not Unusual", "What's New, Pussycat?", and "Delilah") by the time the show debuted, and it remained to be seen if he'd be accepted into American and British living rooms as a TV star. Both sides of the pond responded enthusiastically in the affirmative, and it's easy to see why from the evidence at hand. This is Tom Jones skewed closely to the traditional variety-show format of the day, giving the TV audience what it wanted (musical acts and comics a

Shock Cinema magazine #33 hits newsstands!

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...And I'm in it, baby. My interview with actress Belinda Balaski appears in the newest issue of (seriously, all partisan bias aside) the finest cult cinema magazine on the block . Belinda made her mark in several memorable genre efforts (including Food of the Gods and the Fred Williamson action flick Black Eye ), and was a regular member of director Joe Dante's repertory company, with featured roles in The Howling , Piranha , Amazon Women on the Moon , and lots of others. She's a terrific lady, and full of priceless anecdotes about the last hurrah of truly independent drive-in cinema in the seventies and eighties. The latest Shock Cinema should show up at finer retailers all across the country in the next week or so. And if you happen to be at a Seattle branch of one of said finer retailers, I'll be the weirdo at the magazine rack pointing at the movie rags, giggling like a schoolgirl with a new Lisa Frank three-ring binder and muttering, "There I am, there

Cleanin' the House: A Quinn Martin Production

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Oy. I harbored the naive notion that once we were moved out of Stalag West Seattle I'd be able to blog like the living dickens. No such luck. The new pad is a big, lovely--but resolutely high-maintenance-- old cuss, so most of my/our waking non-wage-earning hours have been spent cleaning, unpacking, organizing, or some combination thereof (I've also earned my Official Membership in the Weekend Warrior Fraternity with an extensive bout of lawn work, all of which was subsumed by weeds again in short order: Gotta love nature). In between all of the chores and work, I have had time to imbibe from the well of pop culture, in tiny gulps (just haven't had time to write about much of it). Said sips largely come at dinner, when 30 to 45 minutes can be spent taking in some episodic TV before another vault onto the home improvement breach. This week's dinnertime diversion: The Streets of San Francisco , the early seventies Quinn Martin cop show that launched Michael Douglas'